Let's Talk... It Makes Sense To Trust In Jesus Christ - November 7, 1995
I got a parking ticket recently. Do you know the frustration of getting a parking ticket? Can you feel the emotions that build up inside you? Re-live this with me, if you would. At first you approach your car and see that fluorescent envelope under your windshield wiper. "Oh, no," you think. You look at your license plate, your bumper stickers, anything asking: "Is that MY car? No! That can't be MY car!" But it is and you have to pay and there's nothing that you can do about it. It's quite disempowering. Have you ever gotten one? Hold onto that thought a bit. We'll come back to it.
I work for a company now that makes parts for engines. It's really fun to watch the parts being made. We start with large pieces of solid metal. We choose the type of metal we want, and hours and hours are spent programming the machines to cut the parts accurate to a thousandth of an inch sometimes. Everything has to work just right. The angle of the cuts, the dimensions all have to be right. The finished product is awesome! You should see it; it's quite different from the original slab of metal we started with.
If I showed you the final part coated with a finish, and placed it next to the original slab of raw metal, do you suppose you would believe that the part was formed by chance? Would you look at the crafted piece and say it happened by wind and time and rain? Could you say that the finished product, with it's carefully carved blades and perfect threads, happened by itself?
Of course not; the design implies a designer. An engineering team formed the part. Now since you've read this far, I have a question for you. When you look at a human being, at yourself, you see bones and joints and neurons all firing at the right time and chemicals all in stasis. Now would you say you are more like a finished and crafted part or like a slab of raw metal? It doesn't take much study of the human body to see the sophisticated design. And as the designed part implies a designer, so do we imply a designer. I don't have enough faith to believe that human beings are a product of wind and time and rain. That seems too strange to me. Just like the finished part, we have a designer.
Yes, yes, I'm talking about God. Is that so bad? I've noticed that the subject of God can give a strange reaction to people. On the one hand, some people react harshly and don't want to hear about it. "Don't force that stuff on me!" they say defensively. I do not blame them, many people are hurt by religion or have had it shoved down their throats.
But there's another reaction too. I think that people generally like to talk about God. I can remember lots of times I was up late in the UNH dorms when the discussion moved to God. People tend to have hidden smiles about God. They like him. Do you want to talk about God?
Okay, I warn you that my next example is going to be a bit graphic. It's just an illustration though, so I hope it's okay. Imagine with me a tiny new-born kitten. Can you see his big eyes opening for the first time? Can you feel his soft coat as the kitten rubs up against you? Now what would be your first gut-reaction if someone took the little kitten in his hand and with a swift stroke smashed the kitten as hard as he could into the pavement? Yikes, I realize that's a disgusting thought. But it makes a point. I believe that everyone would think that's a terrible thing to do. We all think that. But think about it: why do you suppose we all had the same reaction?
I think the reason we would all hate to see that happen is because we all are moral. And morality, like us, is not the product of chance. In fact, if brute survival of the fittest were 100% true, then we shouldn't mind the kitten being killed. The kitten wasn't strong! The kitten wasn't necessary for our survival! Only the STRONG survive!
Yet we all felt pity. Pity is not a good trait for survival, yet we all have it. Why do you suppose?
What makes sense to me is that we have pity, (we are moral), because our designer has pity and our designer is moral. The Bible says that we are made in God's image. So it makes sense that we are moral because God is moral. And without God it is hard to explain why we all universally felt pity for the dead kitten. We are moral because our designer is moral. It just makes good sense.
If you can see that, then go a bit further with me please. You see, if God is moral then he has to be just. I mean, justice is part of morality. Have you ever seen someone wronged and the guilty party got away with it? There's something about us as humans that hates that. It rubs us the wrong way. We can't stand injustice. And so it's reasonable to say that neither can God stand injustice.
This is exactly what the Bible says and it makes good sense. Let me get a bit personal: have you ever done something that you just knew was wrong? I have. I think if we're honest, everyone has. The reason we just knew it was wrong was the same reason we just knew that killing the kitten was wrong - we are made in God's image and therefore have an understanding of what is right and wrong in God's sight. And all of us, from the President to the Pope have all done things we know in our hearts were wrong.
Here's the dilemma though. God is eternal, or forever. If you wrong an eternal God, that has eternal consequences. God said in the Bible that the penalty for sin (or wronging him) is death. But it's talking about eternal death away from God. That is what the Bible calls hell. Yikes, I don't like talking about hell so I'll get to the point.
Our wronging God is like getting a parking ticket. It's on our car and there is nothing we can do about it. The penalty must be paid. You can't move out-of-state on God. There is a penalty that needs to be paid.
Here's what the Bible says. It says that God himself came down to the earth to pay our penalty for us. Jesus Christ can be imagined as God in his work clothes. Jesus is God in human flesh and he died on a cross and rose from the dead in our place. Jesus paid our death sentence but only if we acknowledge that and ask Jesus for forgiveness. It's our parking ticket, but Jesus paid it; if you ask forgiveness. There is a real need for Jesus Christ on this campus.
That's the hard part. You see, in order to ask for forgiveness, you have to admit that you need forgiveness. That's a hard thing to do. It's hard to get real with God and admit that you've wronged him by living your life ignoring him. I ignored God for twenty years. I kinda liked the subject of God, and I kinda believed in a God-like force or something, but I never admitted my need for a personal and real God in my life. Not a Sunday-only God, but the real God of the Universe making an impact in my life (every day of the week).
Before I prayed to let Jesus into my life I was pretty lost. I was for all kinds of causes. I got excited about all kinds of things. But you know, now that I walk with the Lord, I can get excited about him. God forgave me, he paid my ticket so to speak, and he gave me value and worth. It's great to recognize my designer and not live like a raw slab of metal.
In Jesus' days there were some who believed him and followed and many who thought he was crazy. I think it's crazy that we live in a world where there is so much violence and pain. Today is the same as back then. There are some who believe Jesus and follow and many who think he's crazy. Where are you? Where would you like to be?
There are many students on this campus who have trusted Jesus Christ with their lives. It's not crazy. If you know someone who follows what the Bible says and lives for Jesus, ask them about it. You'll make their day (and maybe your own). Or if you'd like, call me at 742-5281 and I'll talk with y