Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Million Dollar Case

Today, Chad continued talking about the tough questions that many of us have. Today’s big question was “Is Jesus the only way?” That was the question that was debated in a skit, that a lady and I performed, at the beginning of the service. We made the arguments that a lot of people make; the ones like “there are many ways to God” and “whatever works for me….whatever makes me happy” and the “intolerance” of Jesus saying that HE is the “only way.”

What about these claims? IS Jesus the only way? Doesn’t every belief system get you to heaven? Some say yes, but what about the question I proposed at the end of the skit “What if we’re wrong? Have you ever thought about that?”

In order to ponder these things a little, Chad talked about the difference between Christ and a few different “belief systems” - including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. He presented it kind of like “deal or no deal” in which he had people bring out cases with the names of the religions on it. He said that all our “sincerity” believes that our “system” is the right one. But does every case contain the million bucks? No, of course not! Not everyone wins! It’s not all balloons and confetti every time is it? If that’s how things go in a GAME, how much MORE important is it for us to win in life (and the after-life)?

Chad explained the different kinds of beliefs. You can listen to his descriptions of them when the sermon is uploaded at http://www.missionoflife.com/ Or, you can visit http://www.wikipedia.org/ to research it. I am just going to be brief about the three religions mentioned by saying that it all boils down to legalism and self. How can you earn your way to eternity. How can you “make it” on your own efforts? In those systems, you are exhausting yourselves to meet standards that most will spend their whole lives obsessing over and trying to be “good enough” to attain. It must be discouraging and stressful!! I know that I could never measure up!! And, through it all, none of those “cases” hold a million bucks!! (Oh well, you can always be “reincarnated” and try again right? LOL)

Not one of those cases contains salvation because there is no Savior to do it (except “yourself”). I don’t know about you, but I CANNOT save myself! I am not my own salvation or my own god. Someone greater and bigger than me made all you see here. Therefore, it’s His rules, His world, and His way. And, it’s not “intolerant.” Just like a parent disciplines their child and does everything out of love for them (even when it’s tough or the child rebels) so does our heavenly Father do with us. EVERYTHING He does is out of love - which no other “belief system” preaches. If you are in Christ, you believe in the ONLY ONE who ever LOVED AND PURSUED YOU (and is COMING BACK FOR YOU)!!! He DEMONSTRATED His love for you by dying on a cross for YOUR sins so He could provide to you THE WAY to heaven! Salvation is HERE and it‘s for YOU! HE took care of it!! Getting to heaven doesn’t depend on anything that you do or earn! Whew!! What a relief!!

Shouldn’t that be great news? You are loved and pursued by your Maker; God cares about you and HE PROVED IT!! Romans 5:8 says: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Do you see the beauty in that? We don’t have to save ourselves! Christ already has!! All we have to do is believe; confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts that He is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). And, you don’t have to be “perfect” to make that confession. That’s the whole point of Romans 5:8. He died for us “while we were still sinners.” He died for us “imperfect” people in order to give us “perfect” salvation! We can’t clean ourselves up first before we ask Him to save us. How much sense does that make? If you could save yourself, what need do you have for a Savior? That’s like trying to take a shower without water. You can’t wash away the dirt without that cleansing water. All you will do is just spread that grime around with a filthy rag - that’s what our own “righteousness” is: filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We can’t clean ourselves without the purifying blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our sins! If we try to present ourselves to God without that cleansing blood, He will not be able to accept us or look upon us in all our sin stained glory. In His perfect, just, and holy being, He cannot look upon it. It’s through Jesus’ blood, that filter of grace, that He sees us and we are purified and made clean!! That blood washes our black sin as white as snow!! Praise God!!

Do you want to know how I know that Jesus is the only way? I know it because I have experienced it! Those who are in Him have these “God stories”. Several people shared theirs today onstage (if you can listen to the sermon on our website, I highly recommend it!). I have tons of “God stories.” There have been countless times where God has demonstrated His reality and presence to me in miraculous and unexplainable ways that can ONLY be attributed to Him! He’s the real deal!! Take the deal!!! Have the assurance of that “million dollar case.” Don’t just pick a man-made belief system. Screw the “systems”!! God doesn’t want our religion, He wants a RELATIONSHIP!!

If you’re just “hoping” that you make it to heaven, I encourage you to “know” that you’re going to make it by accepting Christ!! Confess, believe, and LIVE (eternally!!). Say “no deal” to all the rest and choose JESUS!!

I’ll leave you with two videos that I think fit beautifully with today’s message. The first one is the song/music video “What If” by Nichole Nordeman and the other is the song “Perfect People” by Natalie Grant.

Grace and peace to all of you!! May God bless you this week (and especially as you go out to VOTE!! Vote values America!!! Vote McCain/Palin!). ;)

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