Often life can seem like a barren wilderness – a brutal desert where nothing grows. And there are many voices to tell us that any claim that there is more to life is a mirage at best and an evil lie at worst. But hidden down between the barren wastelands there is a thin green ribbon of flourishing and growth that winds its way through life. Those who walk it encounter the hope, love, and peace of God. Join us today as we hear the harshest critics of Christianity as well as the sure voice of the One who loves us to the moon and back.
Often life can seem like a barren wilderness – a brutal desert where nothing grows. And there are many voices telling us that anyone who claims that there can be more to life is a charlatan. But hidden down between the barren wastelands there is a thin green ribbon of flourishing and growth that winds its way through life. Those who walk it encounter the hope, love, and peace of God. Join us today as we hear some of the harshest critics of Christianity as well as the sure voice of the One who loves us to the moon and back.
“Consciously or not, we are all on a quest for answers, trying to learn the lessons of life. We grapple with fear and guilt. We search for meaning, love, and power. We try to understand fear, loss, and time. We seek to discover who we are and how we can become truly happy.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
There are a thousand different places to dwell philosophically, a thousand different places to plant your flag. The skeptics are right that we have to be brutally honest about the real world, and be willing to turn from what we want to believe towards what the hard cold facts tell us. Reality is an empty, lonely, barren desert… except where it is not.
Psalm 1 says of the person who dwells in that place known as the Gospel:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.”
WHEN YOU DWELL IN THE OASIS OF THE GOSPEL
YOU CAN SEE THE BEAUTY OF THE DESERT
Despisers say “there is no God, only empty desert” and claim the God of the bible is horrible:
“The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.“
BUT WHAT IS THE OLD TESTAMENT GOD ACTUALLY LIKE? WHO IS THE GOD THAT JESUS DESCRIBED? WHAT DOES THE SCIRPTURE ACTUALLY SAY? PSALM 103:8-12 says:
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
Aas far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
IF GOD IS TRULY FOR YOU, WHY DO YOU DWELL IN SHAME?
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
SERMON NOTES UPDATE: Further research indicates that the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson may have been spurious. It may have been cobbled together from several different Jefferson quotes by an overzealous skeptic. See https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/christian-god-three-headed-monsterspurious-quotation What we do know for sure is that Jefferson believed in the idea of a creator God, but rejected orthodox Christianity including the beliefs in supernatural revelation, the divinity of Christ, and the concept of the Trinity.