Monday, May 2, 2011

What Do We Believe?

What do we believe? Let me start by asking you how many planets there are in our solar system, nine or eight? How do you know? What do we base our belief on, facts or what some scientist or scholar tells or do we believe only when we have solid substantial proof right in front of us? Do we only believe when we have something we can hold in our hands or touch or taste or smell? What does it take for us to believe, that’s the question today?

I have looked through a telescope and can honestly say I’ve seen some of the planets. But I’ve never really been close enough to actually verify that they really are planets. I’ve looked at the surface of the moon through a telescope and it was pretty neat but I can’t tell you much more about it than it was pretty cratered. I do see it every morning when I walk Murphy so I believe it’s really there.

But there are some things I can’t see that I wonder about. I’ve never seen an atom but scientists tell us that atoms are the building blocks of everything. I’ve never seen electricity but I have seen what it can do for me.

I see planes that are so huge flying through the air and I honestly don’t know how they are able to do that. And there are ships that are made of steel that should sink like a rock but they are capable of going around the world and carry people and cargo without anything getting wet. It’s just plain amazing. I know the physics behind all these things but I still find it hard to understand how it’s all possible.

So, I guess I either have to just believe or choose to think it’s all an optical illusion. Right? What do you believe? Why?

Now, Jesus, what do you believe about Jesus, and why? How could he possibly come back from the dead? We know from what we’ve read and it can be verified in other historical writings that Jesus was in fact crucified, died, and was buried. But how can we validate his resurrection? Oh I know, it’s written in the gospels but how can we trust what they’ve written? How do we know it’s not just a story?

Do you struggle with doubt? Do you wonder whether Jesus really did come to earth as a baby and eventually was crucified, was buried, and rose from the tomb? How do you resolve these conflicting doubts?

Friends, I believe everyone struggles with doubt. Everyone at one time or another has questioned the existence of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

So, what do we do with our doubt? Are we ever free from doubt? I think not. I think that we will always doubt or wonder until that day when Christ returns and everything is revealed.

The question for us is what do we believe and why? The disciples all believed because they were witnesses to the crucifixion. Some of them saw the empty tomb. All of them looked at the nail holes in his hands and they saw his pierced side. And then they believed. Two of the disciples walked with him and sat down at a table with him and they believed. Mary talked to him. She touched him before anyone else. She believed.

None of us have ever seen Jesus but we believe. Why? What proof do we have? The only proof we have is what we read in the Bible and some of us believe and some don’t. Many of us believe, and we have doubts.

Friends, I can’t explain it. I believe because of the experiences of my life, the nurturing, the teaching, and the examples of my parents, grandparents, and those who taught me the lessons from God’s Word. I believe because there’s this yearning deep within me that keeps me reading and praying and trusting and coming to God with my doubts and questions. I believe because I trust what I read in the gospels. I believe because God has given me faith.

Can I explain how God does that? No I can’t. I just know that he does and that has to be enough for me today.

So good friends, what do you believe? And can you explain why? God keeps bringing me back to his Word. My soul’s longing for Him keeps me coming to him in prayer every day. I think that’s why I believe. God has given me this faith, this trust and that’s why I believe. It’s nothing I can see or touch or taste or smell but it’s as real to me as every one of you sitting here this morning.

May you all be filled with God’s abundant grace and know that he is real. Amen.

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