The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 4/21

Posted on | April 21, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 4/21

Scripture reading: John 20:24–31

Faith? Or Gullibility?

Without faith it is impossible to please him. (Hebrews 11:6)

 

Of the following news reports, which ones are true?

,. Combining both evidence of a cold snap two thousand years ago and sophisticated mapping of the Sea of Galilee, Israeli and U.S. scientists have come up with an explanation of how Jesus could have walked on water. Their answer: floating ice.

,. The National Geographic Society has released the first modern translation of the ancient Gospel of Judas, which depicts the most reviled villain in Christian history as a devoted follower who was simply doing Jesus’ bidding when he betrayed Him.

,. The Louvre museum in Paris attracted more visitors in 2006 than in any previous year since it was opened in 1793. Why? People were trying to figure out the supposed centuries-old codes hidden in the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci.

,. Elvis is alive and well and living in Cleveland.

The first three reports are all taken from actual news stories. (I threw in the last one myself, just to see if you were paying attention.) You would think that an educated society like ours would be smart enough to discern truth from error, fact from fiction, history from myth. And yet it seems we are more gullible and naive than ever before. Malcolm Muggeridge prophesied about our day when he predicted that current forms of public education would only serve “to enlarge stupidity, inflate conceit, enhance credulity, and put those subjected to it at the mercy of brainwashers with printing presses, radio and television at their disposal” (Jesus Rediscovered).

Now, listen to this news report. Jesus is alive! He has risen from the dead!

Do you believe it? Yes, faith is required. But biblical faith is not synonymous with gullibility, naiveté, or irrationality. Yes, faith is a leap. But it is not a leap in the dark. The Gospel is not a call to surrender your intellect so that you can believe myths, legends, and fairy tales. The angel said, Come and see the place where he lay (Matthew 28:6). This is an invitation from God himself to examine the evidence. But be aware that God has balanced the matter perfectly. There is just enough evidence to make faith possible, but not enough to make it mandatory. You must choose. Faith is a choice . . . as is unbelief. Jesus put the matter forcefully to Thomas, the one we call “Doubting Thomas”: Do not disbelieve, but believe (John 20:27).

Friends, everything hinges on this. If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (I Corinthians 15:14). What about you? Do you believe?

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:9–11).

 

When a man stops believing in God,

he doesn’t then believe in nothing,

be believes anything.— attributed to G. K. Chesterton

 

point to ponder There is enough evidence to make faith possible, but not enough to make it mandatory.

prayer focus For the friend, family member, or someone in your workplace struggling to believe.

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