Summary: “Questions Inspire Deeper Study”
Sermon Series: “Questioning the Faith”
Sermon #2 “Finding Answers”
Text: 1 Peter 3:15
OPENING JOKE: “Sack in the Basement” I heard about a rich man who was determined to take his wealth with him. He told his wife to get all his money together, put it in a sack, and then hang the sack from the rafters in the attic. He said, "When my spirit is caught up to heaven, I’ll grab the sack on my way." Well he eventually died, and the woman raced to the attic, only to find the money still there. She said, "I knew I should’ve put the sack in the basement."
INTRODUCTION: Tonight we continue our series called ‘Questioning the Faith’ and I will begin answering some of the questions that have been given me.
I would like to get some more questions to build these messages around, so please take these sheets and write your best questions and hand them to me or place them under my door.
Illustration: “Questions Inspire Deeper Study” When Rembrandt’s famous painting, The Night Watch, was restored and returned to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the curators performed a simple, yet remarkable experiment. They asked visitors to submit questions about the painting. The curators then prepared answers to over 50 questions, ranking the questions according to popularity.
Some of these questions focused on issues which curators usually don’t like to include:
How much does the painting cost? Has this painting ever been forged? Are there mistakes in the painting? Other questions focused on traditional artistic issues: Why did Rembrandt paint the subject? Who were the people in the painting? What techniques did Rembrandt pioneer in the particular work?
In a room next to the gallery which held the painting, the curators papered the walls with these questions (and answers). Visitors had to pass through this room before entering the gallery.
The curious outcome was that the average length of time people spent viewing the painting increased from six minutes to over half an hour. Visitors alternated between reading questions and answers and examining the painting. They said that the questions encouraged them to look longer, to look closer, and to remember more. The questions helped them create richer ideas about the painting and to see the painting in new ways.
This story so relates to my purpose of creating this series on question.
• Questions inspire us to want to know more.
• Questions make our imaginations come to life.
• Questions allow us to express our true belief in the authority of God’s Word, because we are showing confidence that it will answer.
Some might think God gets tired of our questions…
Illustration “How will you learn?” A little boy that said to his dad, “dad, why is the sky blue?” I don’t know son. "dad, why is the grass green?" I don’t know son. Dad...etc. Finally the boy said, "Dad, do you mind me asking these questions?" "Why no son, if you don’t ask questions you don’t learn anything.”
God tells us that same thing in His Word…
James 4:2 “ye have not, because ye ask not”
If we ever expect to grow closer to God, we need to not be afraid to ask Him questions and be confident that His Word will bring us our answer.
Let’s begin tonight with a good question left for me two weeks ago:
(I really like this question, I hear it often…)
Why does it seem that Christians never seem to get ahead, but lost people are sitting pretty?
1) Let’s begin by clarifying something I am sure you all know, but still needs to be said
a. Not all Christians have trouble getting ahead
i. Think about the CEO of Chik-Fil-A, an avid Christian who builds his business practices around Christian principles. He has one of the best and most profitable fast food chains in the U.S.
ii. And Mel Gibson, who was trashed because of his Christian views after making ‘The Passion’ is still considered an ‘A’ list celebrity
iii. Even the most powerful man in the world, the President of the U.S. is a praying, Bible reading Christian
b. And not all lost folks are sitting pretty
i. I would guess that there are just as many unsaved homeless as there are saved homeless
ii. Think about the Kurds in Iraq who were slaughtered by Saddam Hussein – this was not a Christian group
iii. And even the Jews in Nazi Germany – no one would ever consider them as ‘sitting pretty’
2) The truth is there is a such thing as ‘common grace’ and ‘common wrath’
a. Matthew 5:45b “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
i. What this basically means is that God has a ‘common grace’ that is poured out onto mankind