Summary: Faith has a tangible result in the real word. Faith does not get caught up in idealism that does not root itself in the recognition of sin or God’s sovereignty.
Utopian Dead-Ends and the Faith that Lives Beyond Death
Pastor Jim Bohrer
November 23, 2008
If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?" I
asked the children in my Sunday school class.
"NO!" the children all answered.
"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into heaven?"
Once more they all answered, "NO!"
"Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?" I
asked them again.
Once more they all answered, "NO!"
"Well," I continued, thinking they were a good bit more theologically sophisticated than I had given them credit for,
"Then how can I get into heaven?"
A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!"
The FAITHFUL look to God’s city, his POLIS to be the Good Place. Politicians (from the Greek word “Polis” for city have been promising heaven on earth for some time). It goes back to Nimrod in BABYLON. Hey follow me and I will build you a staircase into heaven. Rome, submit to us and we will give you the Pax Romana (The peace of Rome), but remember it came under the boot of the Roman Soldier. Hitler offered the Third Reich or the Third Reign offered what they called genetically pure people that would be stronger and healthier than ever before. Even here in America during our political cycles we have heard a number of claims towards heaven on earth. We are promised healing through health care, financial security, and Global healing and even peace in Israel for as long as anyone here can remember. But no one can find that place we long for unless as the little boy says, you are dead.
People long for heaven. People long for a life of comfort and ease. My mother was just laughing with one of her friends. She has a husband who sells yachts for a living. This woman said to my mom, “Kathy, I just prefer to live where people who own yachts live and spend time...” I laughed with my mom and said, “Oh do you mean in comparison to the crime infested slums where you have to worry about stray bullets hitting you? I can’t imagine why you would prefer the yacht people.” Given the choice who would not want the best seat in the house? Well, the problem is that without faith, we cannot see where the best seat really is. In the hall of faith, God sums up what made these people different in verses 13-16:
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
THE MARKS OF FAITH:
Faith Sees the INVISIBLE.
Abraham followed a God he could not see without knowing WHERE he was going. How he would get there. What he would find. When the promises would come to pass. He had no idea. He went as they say SITE UNSEEN. But he had a great faith in that God rewards those who obey.
Faith Hears the INAUDIBLE.
Imagine Moses at the burning bush... Exodus 3:2-4. Imagine Moses. He was walking along. The burning bush caught his eye. He had to go over and check it out. It did not talk to him. But he said he had to check it out. And only after God saw that Moses went to check it out did God speak to him.
And then imagine that conversation at the dinner table. Zipporah is passing the Salt and says, “Well honey how was your day?” Oh fine sweetie. I had to move about 150 sheep off the backside of the mountain. Oh were they OK. Yeah, they were fine. But then I saw this burning bush and God spoke to me. Zip, would you pass the sweet potatoes? A burning bush spoke to you Moses. And just what did this burning bush say to you?
Well, it told me to go back to Egypt and to confront Pharoah and free my people out of slavery... Do WHAT? Listen, I don’t know what crazy idea you and your brother Aaron pie in the sky have cooked up in Egypt, but you are not going... I can just see that conversation. But think about it. Moses did not have an army of supporters calling or campaigning for him. He just had God and the burning bush and a nice staff. He was told, now go and talk to the most powerful King in the world at the time.