"Is There a God?"
Acts 14:17 and other selected Scriptures
We’re beginning a new series of messages on what I call "THE BASIC QUESTIONS OF LIFE." We’re going to examine questions such as: Is there a God and if there is, what is He like? Is the Bible accurate and reliable? How did we get here? Why are we here? What happens when we leave here?
These are questions every person will eventually ask. And how they answer them will affect how they live and how they view the world around them. If you are still seeking the truth, then I hope this series will help you develop your faith in Christ. If you’ve developed your faith in Christ, then I hope this series will help strengthen your faith in Christ. And if you’re faith in Christ is strong, then I hope this series will help you share your faith with others.
Let’s go back to the first question - Is there a God? This is the most important question a person can ask. If a person says, "There is a God" - then that belief should drive them to find out who He is, what He is like, and what He wants from us. And if a person says, "There is no God" - then that belief should encourage them to live as they please and make up their own rules as they go.
So, what’s the answer? Is there a God? The Bible says that God has not left Himself without testimony - without evidence of His existence (Acts 14:17). Consider . . .
1. The Testimony of Creation.
Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (NIV). Romans 1:20 adds, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (NIV).
These verses tell us that the entire universe is God’s thumb print. It testifies to the existence of a creator who has unlimited power. How? I’ll explain this with three simple propositions.
PROPOSITION #1: The Universe is filled with order, complexity, and purpose.
For example, consider the fact that our planet is just the right size and mass. If the earth were either 10% smaller or 10% larger than it is, life would not be possible upon this planet. Furthermore, our planet is just the right distance from the sun which enables us to receive the right amount of heat and light. If it were farther away, we would freeze. If it were any closer, we’d literally bake ("Why I Believe", by D. James Kennedy, p. 41)
And consider the relationship between the earth and it’s moon. If it wasn’t for the moon, it would be impossible to live on the earth. God provided the moon as a maid to clean up the oceans and shores of all our continents. Without the tides created by the moon, all our harbors and shores would become a giant stench pool of garbage, and it would be impossible to live anywhere near them. Because of the tides, continuous waves break upon the shores of the ocean aerating the oceans of this planet and providing oxygen for the plankton, which is the very foundation of the food chain. Without the plankton, there would not be oxygen and man would not be able to live upon this earth. So God made the moon just the right size and placed it the right distance from the earth to perform these and numerous other functions ("Why I Believe", by D. James Kennedy, p. 42).
The universe is characterized by order, complexity, and purpose - from the smallest cell to the largest star.
PROPOSITION #2: Order, complexity, and purpose point to an intelligent designer.
Take my watch as an example. Have I ever told you the story of my watch? Well, once upon a time my watch was merely a number of disorganized elements and metals lying on a dusty road. Over the process of time, it began to take shape. A few dinosaurs, trotting along a dusty road, kicked a few of the metals together. Some cavemen in the nearby area passed that way and their shoeless feet kicked more elements together. Billions and billions of years passed and it began to evolve. It developed hands and a face, but no legs. Then one day it started ticking. I came along, picked it up, and put it on. And it’s been running ever since.
Do you believe the story of my watch? Of course not. My watch is a thing of order and purpose - and this implies that there had to be a watchmaker! You have no trouble believing that because order, complexity and purpose point to an intelligent designer. This brings us to the third proposition
PROPOSITION #3: Therefore the universe had an intelligent designer.
Remember my watch? My watch is a thing of order and purpose, and this points to a watchmaker. Now, think about the universe. It is far more orderly, complex, and purposeful than my watch. If it’s logical to assume that my watch has a watchmaker, then it’s even more logical to assume that the universe has a creator.
Let’s move on the second evidence
2. The Testimony of Your Own Conscience.
Romans 2:14-15 says, "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them" (NIV).
In the first verses of chapter 2, Paul states that God will judge those who break His law. And the question comes up - "What about the Gentiles who don’t have God’s law as recorded in the Bible?" Paul answers, they have God’s law written on their hearts - it’s called the human conscience. It testifies that there is a God who deserves our worship and respect; that it’s wrong to mistreat your parents, commit premeditated cold blooded murder, or cheat on your spouse; that it’s wrong to lie about your neighbor or to covet what he has. These are the same principles revealed through the 10 Commandments.
This is a universal code written in the hearts of every single person under the sun - from the deepest, darkest jungles of Africa, to the rural farm communities, to the bright lights of the big city. Every person has a conscience which testifies to the existence of God and His law. The only problem is: not every person listens to his or her own conscience. That’s why people still mistreat their parents, commit cold blooded murder, have sex outside of marriage, lie, steal, and covet. That’s why some people say, "There is no God." They’ve learned to tune out their own conscience.
But what about you? Listen to your conscience and it will testify to the existence of God and His law.
Let’s move on to the third witness for God’s existence.
3. The Testimony of Christ.
Jesus Christ is the greatest argument for the existence of God because He is God in human flesh (John 1:1, 14).
When you consider the amazing prophecies of the OT that detail His life and death, when you consider the record of His ministry, the miracles He performed, the stories He told, and when you consider His death, burial, and resurrection, you must conclude that Jesus was more than a man. He was the Son of God.
Ray Pritchard, who pastors a church in Oak Park, Illinois, was talking to a devout atheist. Pritchard asked him what he thought about Jesus, and the atheist replied that Jesus was probably a great man but he never intended to start a new religion. Then Pritchard pressed the issue and asked, "What about His resurrection? What if Jesus really did rise from the dead?" The atheist thought for a moment and replied with a grin, "Then I’d be in trouble." ("What a Christian Believes," by Ray Pritchard, pp. 41-42). And he’s exactly right. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then He really is the Son of God and God really does exist.
Let’s move on the final evidence. Consider, last of all, the . . .
4. The Testimony of Personal Experience.
This is the weakest argument for God’s existence. But nevertheless it is still extremely important. You see, believing that God really exists won’t do you one bit of good until you experience God for yourself. That’s why Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the LORD is good . . ." (NIV).
You’ve got to experience God for yourself! How? Hebrews 11:6 has the answer, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (NIV).
You can experience God on the basis of faith. You’ve got to believe that the God of the Bible is real and that He will respond favorably when you diligently seek Him.
Dear people, I can give you argument after argument that God exists, but nothing will convince you until you respond in faith. When you respond in faith (that is, you’re able to say, "God I believe you are real and I want to know you on a personal basis), God will make Himself known to you.
What about you? Have you responded to God in faith? If so, then I commend you and I encourage you to put Him first, spend time with Him every single day, and discover what He wants you to do with your life. If not, then I encourage you to do so right now.
If you’ve never had a personal experience with God, then silently and sincerely pray this prayer:
Lord I am convinced you are real and that you will respond favorably to me. I admit I am a sinner and I need to be saved. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead in order to pay for my sins and purchase for me a home in heaven. And I call to you in faith and ask you to save me.