"A SIMPLE MESSAGE FOR A SINNER"
1. I don't believe in coincidence. Do you? I do not subscribe to the notion of chance. Do you? I believe there is a reason for every event and every occurrence, even if the explanation is beyond my ability to comprehend. So, there is a reason why you and I are here together this morning.
2. Putting out of your mind all the preconceived notions you might have about what you think I might say, or about what you think I might do, let me ask you some things this morning.
3. Will you listen to me? Will you show respect for those around you by giving to me your attention? And will you show respect for me by considering carefully what I will say to you over the next few minutes?
4. I am neither an idiot nor a fool. And there are people in this room, beside my wife, who have known me for almost twenty years, who can attest to my honesty and personal reputation. I am not a flim flam man. I am not a con artist. I am not a charlatan or a weirdo.
5. Because you will show respect to me you give to me the freedom to show respect to you. And I will show respect for you this morning. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, even though I am as much a stranger to you as you are to me. I will assume you, too, are not an idiot or a fool. I will assume that you are willing to reflect on what I will be saying this morning and that you will weigh my words.
6. This building is a Church auditorium, so, naturally, I will be speaking to you about spiritual things. Do you ever think about spiritual things? I think you probably do, more than you might realize. Thinking people ponder spiritual matters from time to time, so I'm going to assume that you think about spiritual matters on occasion.
7. I want to suggest some things for you to think about, some things to consider and ponder and reflect on, that may very well fit in with what you already think about from time to time. As well, I will want to suggest to you a course of action.
8. Do you have a Bible with you? If not, there should be one in the book rack under one of the seats in front of you. Or you can look at someone else's Bible sitting next to you. It's important that you actually look at some Bible verses, when we turn to them, since the Bible is God's book and God will work in your life if you will read the Bible. Are you ready?
9. My sermon this morning is extremely simple and rather low keyed. For the last several years I have preached sermons to people who have listened to hundreds of sermons, perhaps even thousands. In an attempt to bring them to Christ I have typically preached very hard hitting sermons that are designed to dislodge those who are entrenched and Gospel hardened. And God has blessed our efforts and answered our prayers.
10. This morning, though, I am preaching to you who have not heard hundreds or perhaps thousands of sermons. This morning I am going to preach to you, from my vantage point of fifty years of age, the way I think someone like I should have been preached to, more than twenty five years ago before I became a Christian.
11. Please consider things I wish some preacher would have urged me to consider. Please consider some things that will be very good for you to consider, I assure you.
1A. FIRST, CONSIDER THE FACT THAT YOUR MIND TELLS YOU THERE IS A GOD
1B. I've Read The Bible Through About Twenty Five Times Since My Conversion. In Addition To That I've Studied The Bible For Twenty Five Years. And In All My Studies I Have Never Come Across Any Attempt In The Bible To Prove The Existence Of God. There Is No Passage Or Argument In The Bible That Attempts To Prove The Existence Of God.
2B. Why Is That So? Why Does The Bible Never Attempt To Prove The Existence Of God, But Rather Assumes The Existence Of God? It's Because The Mind Of Every Human Being Exists With A Pre-Programed Belief In The Existence Of God. My Friend, You Were Born Knowing That God Is, And No One Needed To Teach It To You.
3B. Think About This For Just A Moment. Haven't You Always Known That God Is? Hasn't It Always Been Something That Even Though You Sometimes Questioned It You Really Always Knew? Well, You're Not The Only One. Every Single Human Being That's Ever Lived has Been Hard Wired By God With An Awareness Of Him, A Realization Of His Existence. It's Just Something Every Human Being Knows.
4B. Now, There Will Rise Up From Time To Time Some Fellow Who Declares, "There Is No God." But Such A Fellow Is Only Protesting Against The Truth. He's Denying The Undeniable. Turn In Your Bible To The 19th Psalm. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. 2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."
1C. Verse 1 declares something that every human being already knows, that the very universe around us, from those things which can be seen in a microscope to those things which can be see with a telescope, and everything in between, has on it the fingerprint of God. This is what scientists are referring to when they admit that the entire physical universe in which we live gives undeniable evidence of intelligent design. But design means there is a Designer. And that Designer is God.
2C. Verse 2 reminds us, in poetic language, that each and every day, and every night as well, is filled with the testimony of God's creative artistry and sustaining providence.
3C. So powerful is nature's testimony of God's doings that verse 3 declares such testimony to be universal among men. "There is no speech nor language, where0 " the traces of God's work proclaiming His existence "is not heard."
5B. So, You Know God Is. I Know God Is. Everyone Knows God Is. And If Anyone Needed Convincing There Are The Marks Left On Creation By Him. Such As When The Potter Leaves Evidence Of His Hands On The Vessels He Forms, Just As The Artist Leaves Behind His Telltale Brush Strokes On His Painting, So Has God Left His Marks On His Creation.
6B. Now, I Know There Are Those Who Vehemently Deny That God Exists. Perhaps You Know Such A Person. Turn To Psalm 14, Which Is One Place Where The Bible Addresses The Issue Of Those Who Deny God. Verse 1 Reads, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Two Observations:
1C. First, the person who maintains that there is no God is categorically described as a fool. Why so? Such a man or woman denies the reality of something that is so obvious as to not need proof. God is.
2C. As well, take a close look at the phrase "There is no God." The italics indicate the words that are not in the Hebrew Scriptures from which this verse is translated, but were supplied by the translators as an aid to understanding. So, in actuality, the fool doesn't deny that God exists, despite what he may claim. What he, sometimes violently, objects to is God being God in his life. So, what he says, literally, is "no God!" To paraphrase, he means "No God for me."
7B. There's Another Passage That Deals With Those Few People Who Deny That God Is. Turn To Romans 1.19-20. We Simply Don't Have Time To Fully Examine This Passage, But I Want You To See Two Things: "19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."
1C. Verse 19, at the end. "For God hath showed it unto them." The fellow may claim he doesn't believe in God, but it's not true. He believes in God as much as you or I do, because "that which may be known of God" can be seen by everyone. Watch a bumble bee fly. Hold a newborn baby. Watch a hummingbird fly. Now tell me there is no God.
2C. Verse 20, additionally, shows that certain things of God are "clearly seen" and are "understood" to such a degree that "they are without excuse." There is no reason to deny that God is.
2A. TIME FORCES US TO MOVE ON. IN ADDITION TO YOUR MIND TELLING YOU THERE IS A GOD, I WOULD ALSO LIKE YOU TO CONSIDER THAT YOUR CONSCIENCE SAYS YOU'VE SINNED AGAINST HIM
1B. You Don't Need A Bible To Know That There Is A God. And You Don't Need A Bible To Know You've Sinned Against Him. You Know You've Sinned Against God, Even If You Don't Know Precisely How Or Why. It's Just Something You Know.
2B. I Distinctly Remember Walking Home From School When I Was Seven Years Old. It Was Early Spring And There Were Still Frozen Puddles In The Shadows, Though It Was In The Afternoon. As I Uttered A Blast Of Profanity To Some Kids In Response To Something They'd Said To Me, I Was Overwhelmed With A Strong Sense Of Guilt And Condemnation, And I Said To Myself, "Seven Years Old And Talking This Way. I Am Surely Going To Hell."
3B. I Have No Recollection Of Ever Attending Church Prior To That Time In My Life, Though I Certainly May Have. I Have No Recollection Of Ever Hearing Anyone Comment On Or Discuss The Subject Of Hell In My Hearing Before That Time In My Life, Though They May Have. But Even If I Had Never Been Taught That Some Things Were Right And Other Things Were Wrong, A Human Being Simply Knows It, Even As A Little Boy.
4B. You See, Hard Wired To That Human Brain That Knows God Is, Without Ever Being Taught That He Is, Is Also Something Called In The Bible A Conscience. What Is A Conscience? A Conscience Is Something Placed Into Each And Every Gentile That Indicts A Man Of Wrongdoing Even When He's Never Been Exposed To God's Standard Of Right And Wrong, The Law Of Moses.
5B. Jewish People Certainly Have A Conscience, Though There Is Some Evidence That The Jewish Conscience May Work In Conjunction With God's Law In The Bible. But What About Gentiles Like You And Me? Though It's Not A Perfect Reflection Of God's Absolute Standard Of Right And Wrong, You Were Given A Conscience By God That Tells You That You've Sinned Against God.
6B. Turn To Romans 2.14-16: "14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
1C. Do you see verse 15? Your conscience works through your thoughts to accuse you when you are guilty of wrongdoing. And come judgment day, verse 16, it will be your conscience which will testify against you for having sinned against God.
2C. So, just as you know that God is without a Bible, you also know that you've sinned against Him without needing a Bible.
7B. True, There Are Some People Who Claim They Are Guiltless Before God And Who Deny That Their Obvious Wrongdoing Is Wicked, Because They Say It's Only Wrong If You Think It's Wrong. That Lie Is Dealt With In The Bible In First Timothy 4.2, Where Reference Is Made To A Seared Conscience.
8B. You See, You Can Desensitize Your God-Given Conscience By Your Determination To Continue Doing Wrong. And Perhaps You've Already Done So. Some Of You May Remember When Sexual Sin Left You Feeling Guilty, But Not Any More. Others Remember Feeling Guilty When You Failed To Tithe, But Not Any More. You've Seared Your Conscience. But My Point Is Proved, Because Your Conscience Has Long Since Told You That You've Sinned Against God.
3A. MEN WHO HAVE NEVER READ THE BIBLE KNOW IN THEIR MINDS THAT GOD IS. AND MEN WHO HAVE NEVER READ THE BIBLE KNOW FROM THEIR CONSCIENCES THAT THEY'VE SINNED AGAINST GOD. WE HAVE SEEN THAT DENIALS AND PROTESTS TO THE CONTRARY ONLY IDENTIFY THOSE WHO ARE FOOLISH AND THOSE WHO HAVE HARDENED THEIR HEARTS AND SEARED THEIR CONSCIENCES. I WOULD LIKE YOUR FINAL CONSIDERATION TO FOCUS ON THE FACT THAT THOUGH YOUR MIND TELLS YOU GOD IS, AND THOUGH YOUR CONSCIENCE SAYS YOU'VE SINNED AGAINST HIM, IT'S ONLY IN THE BIBLE THAT YOU BECOME AWARE OF THE GOSPEL THAT SHOWS YOU HOW TO BE RECONCILED TO HIM
1B. In Your Mind You Know God Is. In Your Heart, From Your Conscience, You Know You've Wronged Him, And There Must Be Consequences For Sinning Against God. But Only The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Offers You Reconciliation With The God You've Offended. Please Turn In Your Bible To John 3.16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." My Friends, This Is The Most Well-Known Of All Bible Verses, And In It Is God's Remedy For What Ails You.
2B. "For God so loved the world" This God You Have Always Been Aware Of, And Who You've Sinned Against, Loves You. Not A Sentimental Love, Mind You. Certainly Not An Emotional Love. It's A Superior Love That God Has For You. A Love That Is Willing To Meet Your Deepest And Most Profound Needs, All The While Knowing Your Sinfulness And Wickedness Of Heart. No One Has Ever Loved You Like God Loves You, My Friend.
3B. "that he gave his only begotten Son" Your Conscience Is Right When It Accuses You Of Wrongdoing Against God And You Feel Condemned. You Are Condemned, And Deservedly So, Because Of Your Sins Against God. And Sins Against God Must Be Punished. But So That You Might Be Saved From Your Sins God Actually Sent His Son, Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son, To Die On Calvary's Cross And To Shed His Blood, To Suffer The Punishment That Is Properly Due You. Think Of It. God Gave His Son Up To Suffer For Sin, His Son Who Had Done Him No Wrong, In The Place Of You Who Have Done Him Nothing But Wrong. Peter Explained It This Way: "The Just For The Unjust That He Might Bring Us To God."
4B. "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Here We See Two Responses Leading To Two Eternal Destinies.
1C. There are two responses open to sinful men. There are two responses open to you today. On one hand, there are those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. These are the ones who ignore the testimony of their minds, ignore the declaration of their consciences, and ignore the message of the Gospel, both warning and invitation, found in the Bible.
2C. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ you will perish. And to perish is to go to Hell when you die and to begin your eternal torment and punishment for the sins you've committed against God. Do what you may to alter your destiny, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ you will go to Hell, you will perish. "I don't believe in Hell." Your personal beliefs do not alter the reality of Hell one bit. Die without Christ and you will still go to Hell, believing in its existence or not.
3C. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, which is to say that you lay hold of Him by faith, you trust Him, you come to Him, you rest in Him, you cast yourself upon Him, then you will not perish. Rather, your destiny will from that moment of believing in Him be eternal life and not eternal death, heaven and not Hell, rejoicing and not regret.
1. Do you see how very simple it all is? You are a sinful human being, estranged from God. You know God is, your mind realizes that God is. And you know you are estranged from Him, that you've sinned against Him, since your conscience has told you so again and again throughout your lifetime, even if it is now seared and you no longer pay attention to it.
2. Knowing that God is and that you've sinned against Him is where every human being alive today is, if only they would admit it to themselves. And you know this is true. Everything I've said rings true to you if you will only admit it, because it is true.
3. But here comes something beyond your existence, past your experience. Here is something you'd never know on your own without the Bible, which is God's Word. And that is the good news that Jesus Christ, God's Son, was sent by God to suffer and bleed and die on your behalf so that if you will believe in Him He will save you from your sins and give to you eternal life.
4. If you will believe the Gospel and come to Jesus He will save you. If you do not come to Jesus you will continue in your sins and will go to Hell when you die. It's that simple.
5. I told you at the beginning of this sermon that I would ask you to consider some things. I've done that. I've asked you to consider. Now it's up to you to consider. But I also told you I would suggest a course of action for you to take, so I want to do that now.
6. I want to urge you to come to Christ. I want to urge you to believe in Him, as in John 3.16 He Himself urged you to do so long ago.