Summary: Things God’s children can be confident about.
During the first half of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 23 workmen fell to their death. Working on the project became so dangerous that they halted construction of the bridge to install a huge net at the cost of $100,000 (a large sum in the early 1930’s). After the net was installed no one lost their life on the project and efficiency on the job increased by 25%.
Having the net under them made the workers more confident and more efficient!
Today we want to look into God’s safety net. We’re going to look at God’ truths that can make us more confident and efficient.
Today’s message, “Living with Confidence,” is the final part of the series “Made to Count, Am I Living a Life that Matters?” This series is based on the Apostle John’s first letter to the Christ followers of the first century who needed their confidence bolstered because of the attacks on their faith being advanced by agitators trying to stir up trouble.
These false teachers in John’s day weren’t just sincere people with honest questions. Nothing wrong at all with people like that. They were antagonists who wanted to rationalize their selfish lifestyles by telling lies about the Christian faith.
The same game is being played today. The Word of God, especially what the Bible says about Christ, is under constant attack. Misinformation is being spread at an alarming rate. Last week during the Easter weekend several TV networks decided to air supposed “documentary” programs that question the most basic tenets of the Christian message about Christ.
It was appalling, not because Christianity can’t stand up to testing. We saw last week in 1 John chapter four that faith in Christ is founded on testing. The problem with the steady stream of anti-Christian content is that it is unfounded, undocumented and unquestionably in error. The critics of Christianity are utilizing “made up” information. Fabrications, fiction and fantasia – that’s how we can describe a lot of the anti-Christian rhetoric in our culture today.
Most notoriously are the “Gnostic Gospels” that have been proliferated on the Internet, in books, etc. Problem is, not one of the Gnostic Gospels stands up to testing. Most importantly, none of them can be said to truly have been written in the first century like the authenticatable Good News accounts we have in the Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Since they were NOT authored in the First Century, they were NOT authored by people who knew Jesus. They are not eyewitness testimony like what’s in the Bible.
1) The Gospel of Thomas, an anti-women document, which is ironic, since many people have the mistaken notion that these Gnostic Gospels uplift the role of women. After close scrutiny it was discovered that this document borrowed from a Harmony of the Gospels written in AD 175 (The Diatesaron) by the church father Tatian.
2) The Gospel of Peter, that includes such fanciful stories as 2 angels whose heads reach all the way to the clouds and a talking cross! That’s fantasia. That’s not miracles. We know that this is not a first century document because it includes the story of the ruling Jewish priest spending a night in a cemetery – something anyone with knowledge of the first century Jews would have known was preposterous!
3) The Gospel of Mary, popularized by Dan Brown’s page-turner (yes, I read it) The DaVinci Code. Scholars are virtually unanimous that it was written in the 2nd century so Mary is definitely NOT the author. By the way, it does NOT mention the now-popular idea that Jesus was married to Mary.
4) The “Secret” Gospel of Mark. Professor Morton Smith of Columbia University claimed he found this gospel in a monastery in the Judean wilderness in 1960. Today it cannot be found. Can you say, “Hoax?”
5) The Gospel of Judas. Claims Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ greatest disciple, who alone was able to understand Jesus’ most profound teaching, and that the two of them conspired to arrange for Jesus’ betrayal.
We could go on, and unfounded fictitious documents and ideas like these are bound to increase. None of them promote CONFIDENCE in Jesus Christ or the Bible. In order to combat this flow of error we need renewed CONFIDENCE in God and His promises.
So let’s look together at the Things God’s Children Are Confident About.
I. God’s children are confident they can overcome evil through love and faith.
John mentions love 40 times in his letter to the early Christ followers! That’s a substantial number, especially in just five chapters. We can’t follow Christ without love being preeminent. And one of the great things about living a life of love is that it gives us greater CONFIDENCE because we are living the way God created us to live.