Summary: What if it’s not enough to be a church member or attender? What if it’s not enough to raise our kids to be Christians? What if it’s not enough to simply study the Bible or belong to a small group?
Read Psalm 146
One of the things that church does really well is help people. My family and I have been helped by the church many times over the years. When Kristi gave birth to our still born son in 1994, the Boulevard Church of Christ in Lake Charles Louisiana where I was the youth minister helped us get through that tragedy. Over the years the church has helped me and my family in a variety of ways, and I’m guessing you have stories, too of how the church has helped you. Now our family is involved with managing Jared’s cancer treatments, and we are receiving help from the church. Churches we haven’t been a part of for years, like the Boulevard Church of Christ have responded to our needs, and even churches we’ve never been a part of, or knew of until we received a card from them, or a care package. The Church knows how to help people.
I don’t understand how people go through what my family has been through, or is going through without faith, without the church. I don’t have any presence of mind to even begin to understand how a parent who is facing a terminal illness in their child could only believe that their child if they died would just be gone. I know that many in our world believe we are just a cosmic accident, a mass of cells without any purpose other than to sustain a temporary existence and then die. My hope and my joy is found in Jesus Christ and the resurrection of these cells in a completely different eternal life form known as a spirit or a soul.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:13-20 “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.”
I believe in a Creator God who purposefully crafted all matter on earth and in the universe, formed it with this one purpose that all He created would make Him happy. All our praise, our behavior and our motives should encompass this one purpose; we simply want to make God happy.
I know that this sounds simplistic. But any time we use words like “glorify” or “praise” or a phrase like, “We want to bring God more Glory” “We want to make His Name more famous” “We want to please God.” What these words and phrases basically mean is that we want to make God happy. When we obey Him, please Him, love Him, glorify Him, praise Him, worship him, remember Him, and serve others in His Name we are making God happy.
But what does this have to do with God’s justice? What is one of the first complaints that you hear from your child from almost the moment they can put words together in coherent sentence. “it’s not fair!” Every human being has a sense of fairness seemingly woven into the very fabric of our DNA. The fact that life isn’t fair is one of our very first life lessons, along with the fact that when mom is using the iron, it hurts a lot when we touch it. We find out that life isn’t fair even before we are potty trained.
A child’s sense of fairness is the central theme to a series of TV ad’s by Ally Bank. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4TVRPvFGt0&feature=related)
So is it God’s fault that life isn’t fair? This is a difficult question that has plagued the thoughts of human beings since our beginning. We talked about Job a few weeks ago. Most Biblical historians believe that Job was one of the first books that was written, even before Moses wrote most of the first five books of the Old Testament. What is Job about? Job is a guy who loves God, who wants to make God happy and is blessed with a great family and wealth and is well respected in the community. Satan believes that Job makes God happy because God is making Job happy. “Take away all his wealth, respect and his family, and he’ll curse you”, Satan says to God. But God knows the heart. God knows Job will not curse Him, so He allows Satan to take everything from Job. We’re told that Job did not blame or curse God. He asked why. He certainly didn’t feel that life was fair in that moment. But Job didn’t do what Satan thought he would.