1. Why Jesus? He Makes Sense Out of Nonsense
A man cuts down a tree, uses a part of it to create a “god” and sets aside the remainder to cook the meal that his created “god” will provide for him.
Today, we laugh at that as the nonsense that we associate with primitive minds.
Yet, celebrated lyrical icon Bob Marley declares in the anthem “Get up, Stand Up” …
“We sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game – Dyin n goin to heaven in-a jesus name, lord. We know when we understand: Almighty God is a living man. You can fool some people sometimes, But you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
Marley and the Rastafarian movement have moved the game up one notch from wood to human flesh and blood. They look to man who has no idea about the source of his first, last or next breath to guide, protect and provide for them.
So, some dismiss that set as being intellectually unsophisticated. The intellectually sophisticated do not need the drug that religion is to navigate through life.
They replace the ‘wood god’ and ‘man god’ with the idea that life is just one big accident. There is no intelligent design to be respected as the Source and to be revered and respected as God.
Knowing what we know about life, what we see about us, what our experience has taught us – does any of the above explanations provide a sensible answer about how this game of life came into being?
Can you reasonably expect that Ras Tafari – whose rotted remains lie in the earth – can respond to your prayers? Can Jah really “Guide”? Does Jah really “Know”?
Would you believe that it is by mere accident that the earth and the sun coordinate their movements so that they have not missed a sunrise or sunset for thousands of years?
Would you then also believe that there was an accident last month on the highway and out of it emerged a highly sophisticated space craft with a power source that is unknown to man but with the capacity to go to the moon in six hours? Check google….
On the other hand, Jesus states clearly that He has been there from the beginning and knows exactly how it was designed and created.
John 8: 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!
John 8: 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.
John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
Jesus clearly states that He has the answers to our questions. He knows the truth.
The wood has not yet been able to make any claims. Selassie disclaimed divinity. The intellectuals create theories that are less rational the worshipping wooden idols. At least they could be seen. It is hard to “see” the logic in the arguments of our intellectuals.
1 Cor 1: 20 Where is the wise person?Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signsand Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified:a stumbling blockto Jews and foolishnessto Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishnessof God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weaknessof God is stronger than human strength.
2. Why Jesus? He Answers Our Questions
Jesus and His Apostle’s who carried and reinforced His teachings give us clear answers to questions that have occupied the minds of humans throughout the ages.
What is this game of life about?
How do I know when I win?
What are the rewards for winning?
What are my chances of winning?
What are the rules?
Is there a winning strategy?
Marley expresses a philosophy that is embraced by the intellectual unbelievers:
“But if you know what life is worth, You will look for yours on earth:”
This view is that the game of live is entirely about what happens during our brief stay here on earth.
On the other hand, the Christ-anchored philosophy highlights the misery and hopelessness that is ours if everything is confined to this life on earth. (1 Cor 15:19)
Removal of intelligent design from life takes away its meaning.
If we remove the rules and objectives governing Scrabble or Monopoly or Football then they lose their meaning. Anyone could come up with their own rules and the end – confusion.
That is what we have when we remove Divine Intelligence from life – confusion.
The Christian understanding of the game of life is the clearest and most logical.
The game was conceived and created by God…..the bearer of the intelligent design that is the source of the jaw-dropping complexities and creativity that is common place in nature.
The concept of God is in itself complex but Christians understand that there is a God-head of three Divine Beings – God (the Father), Jesus (the Son) and the Holy Spirit (the Counsellor).
God – not an accidental explosion of non-existent materials – created the universe. How He did it and how we choose to explain how it could have been done – using our limited scientific knowledge – is irrelevant. Nothing about the order and the description of the creation process has been discredited by scientific research.
God states that He created man. His grand design was that man would spend eternity with Him. The concept of life being confined to our life on earth is flawed.
Gen 1:26 – 28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Man has a soul that outlives his body. The soul never dies.
God is a spirit and so any image of God in us must be in spiritual form – our souls.
Our souls are of critical importance
God is particularly interested in our souls.
Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The soul is more than our physical parts.
Our souls are far more important that our bodies.
“Soul” occurs 458 times in the King James Version of the Bible.
Our souls are to be treasured and are beyond the reach of man.
Matt 10: 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
What we do here in this life on earth determines what happens to our souls when our physical bodies die.
Matt 16: 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
This is the most credible reason why it would make sense for us not to look out for our own benefit at the expense of others.
If we are playing a game without objective rules and nothing matters outside of the game, why would I not play in a way that suits me?
If there are 10 of us and 10 pieces of chicken in the buffet, why would I not go to the front of the line and take 3 pieces?
Jesus gives us a compelling reason.
We are advised that if we play the game of life right we will be rewarded. Our reward is differential treatment of our souls after we leave this physical body. If we play the game poorly we are condemned to eternal torment.
Jesus goes further by giving us the simple strategy for winning the game:
Matt 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
That is why it makes sense to put the common good above our selfish desires.
Matt 16: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
This respect for a higher authority, rules and rewards is the most credible reason for doing good.
The description of a carefully designed, ongoing game with well documented guidelines and rewards and punishment gives us clarity as to how to go through life.
We understand the why, the what and the how.
We were created to fit into God’s carefully designed plan. We have one guiding principle to follow:
The key principle is the need for man to do the will of God. That is our duty.
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
We messed up through Adam’s failure to be obedient.
Rom 5:18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people,so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one manthe many were made sinners,so also through the obedienceof the one man the many will be made righteous.
3. Why Jesus? He saves us our souls
Acts 4: 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
What must WE do to save our souls?
1. Hear the Word – the Gospel
John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
What must we do to save our souls?
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
What must we do to save our souls?
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.
What must we do to save our souls?
4. Confess Jesus is Lord
Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
What must we do to save our souls?
5. Be baptized for the remission of your sins
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What must we do to save our souls?
6. Remain in Christ
John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
4. Why Jesus? He provides solutions to our problems in this life
Now that you are in Christ, the amazing rewards are open to you.
Is 59: 1.Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Eph 1: 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who has blessed us in the heavenly realmswith every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This is the Father who says:
Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?
Because it makes SENSE!