Summary: I must earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
Last week we said all of us need recovery because none of us is perfect. The root cause is our sin nature, our desire to play God, to be in control rather than give God control. So we've each been hurt, we've each hurt others, and we've each hurt ourselves. And we find ourselves constantly dealing with fear, frustration, failure, and fatigue.
How do we break this death spiral? Not by our will power. Only by God's power can we see life change. Through the cross Christ has won victory over sin and death. Through faith in Him and learning to yield to His daily control, we can be delivered not only from sin's penalty and presence one day, but from sin's power today and everyday.
But we have to get past denial. How? John Maxwell says there are 3 things that help a person to move past denial and on to change:
A. We change because we've learned enough we want to.
B. We change because we've received enough we're empowered to.
C. We change because we hurt enough we have to.
Most of us don't consider the possibility of change until we hurt enough that we have to. We rarely change when we see the light; we often change when we feel the heat. Most people never move into recovery until they're forced into it, because there's no other option. Only then are they willing to learn enough and receive enough to change. If you want positive change to come to your life, it can happen by the power God gives. But only if you're willing to first realize that you're in no position to control your life. You must give control to God.
That's the first letter in "recovery" - Realize. Now today, we're moving to the second letter in "recovery" - E stands for Earnestly. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover. (READ TEXT)
There are three parts to taking Step 2 to finding our freedom in Christ.
1. Acknowledge God's Existence.
Many of you have no problem in this. Not just because you're in church today, but because there just aren't that many atheists left anymore.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that "96% of Americans say they believe in God, while less than 2% say they are an atheist.
We have fewer atheists than 50 years ago. Why? Because as we learn about the universe, fewer folks believe it happened accidentally. It takes more faith not to believe in a Creator than to believe in one.
If I took a watch apart, put it in a bag, shook it up, and emptied the contents, and if it all just came out exactly as it was, the odds would be pretty incredible. But our universe is full of "watches." If you multiply that times a zillion you get the odds of it just happening. Where there's a Creation there's a Creator. Where there's an effect there is a cause. Where there's design there's a designer.
A leading scientist from Israel, Gerald Schroeder, claims science has proven the existence of God as described in Genesis. He has over 30 years experience in research and teaching; has earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and holds two Doctorate degrees in earth sciences and physics. He says science has proven the universe was created out of nothing. However, for something to come out of nothing, there needs to be an acting force. In science they call that, the force of nature. However, that “force of nature” is described almost exactly as the God of Genesis in the Bible. He points out there are four key properties of the “force of nature” that align with the biblical teachings of God. First, this force predates the universe. Second, it is not physical (in other words, it is not made of physical matter). Third, it acts on the physical. Fourth it can create the physical out of nothing.
"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship." - Psalm 19:1 (NLT)
The real issue isn't, “Is there a God?” but, “What is God like?” There are two places we can look to learn more about what God is like:
A. Man's flawed reasoning.
Some get their idea about what God is like from philosophy. But imagine an ant trying to describe what a human being is like, and you see the futility of a human being trying to describe what God is like. Others get their ideas about God from how their parents were. Because their dad was unloving they tend to see God as unloving. If their mom was to be feared, they tend to think God is to be feared. People say, "My idea about God is..." Who made you an authority? Frankly, I don't care what you think God is like or what I think God is like. I want to know what He's really like.