Summary: The Ultimate Issue of life is eternal in nature. This message looks at that reality and opens possibilities for sharing the Christian Faith effectively.
Issues of Life Series
Your Faith in Today’s Marketplace of Ideas
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
October 2, 2005 & February 3, 2008
The issues of life shared two weeks ago were, in some detail, the matter of abortion, and in much less detail, other matters such as so called mercy killings of handicapped babies and other people deemed to have low quality of life. Today, I am going to focus on the place of eternal life and the gaining of God’s perspective, because this is where issues of life ultimately begin and end: eternal life, and God view of things.
The marketplace of ideas is where the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian World View competes with other ways of thinking. This competition among various ideas, various ways of thinking, is for an important prize. That prize is nothing less than the loyalty, the very allegiance of men and women, girls and boys.
Every decision people make is driven by an underlying set of assumptions on their part. Some people make moral decision ranging from whether to cheat in business, to cheating on their spouse based on the moral vacuum of a materialistic world view which denies that there is a God or any future Judgment day to face. Others call that same assumption science, and worship at that altar.
Increasingly however, people who were taught the material view of reality in government schools, find it empty, but have mistakenly sought to worship the creation rather than the creator in ways ranging from Mother Earth worship to looking to the stars for guidance and even destiny. Others try to fill that same hole with worship of old Pagan gods.
Many today set money and status up as the god they serve. People wear themselves out chasing that particular very demanding god. Some even claim to believe in Jesus Christ, but serve money or status more.
At the other extreme, more and more people today in America serve their lowest impulses. For them, the highest question is simply, “What do I feel like doing right now?” People who think this way tend to get trapped in poverty and the downward spiral of poor decision making. For millions, even the question, “Do I feel like getting up early, or would I rather sleep in?” will determine whether they can keep a job and ever hope to gain the trust of an employer and then advance in a career. Sad to say, even basics such as good personal hygiene also lose to this kind of thinking. Even taking a proper and effective shower and shampoo, or brushing one’s teeth thoroughly, correctly, and consistently lose out to a decision making process that consists of the question, “What do I feel like doing right now?”
Some people who live like this claim to know the Lord, but sleep in on Sunday, and set a poor example through the week; serving the god of lowest impulses rather than the true God many of them claim to worship.
People worship at the altar of false religions or cults of many kinds, ranging from Islam to Buddhism. Meanwhile Hedonists run after pleasures of the flesh, chemically induced euphoria, and the party life as the god they serve. Still others work very hard serving the god of political utopianism, seeking to perfect the human experience by creating a huge, supposedly benevolent and all-wise, God-like government.
Besides all these, there are people who think that they are Christians because they try to be good, and think that this will get them into Heaven. Still others, especially from the older generation, place their trust in a sort of “God bless America” civil religion which feels a little like the real thing, but isn’t because it is devoid of the demands, the acknowledging of our own sinfulness, and the decision moment of the Cross of Christ.
The founders of Massachusetts Bay Colony would not recognize what we are today in this land. We are very far removed from their concept of a Godly society that is a “city that is set on a hill” for the World to see and be drawn to. In fact, these hardy and brave colonists would recoil in revulsion from the darker undercurrents of our fractured culture.
One more thing that exists strongly in America today, which our founders would immediately see as a great deception, is a relativism that is so pervasive that it has spawned a mindset which states: “This is true for me. That is true for you. A third thing is true for Hazel. Let’s all just smile and include everyone. All sincerely chosen paths lead to God, or peace, or nirvana, or something.” People who have bought into this overriding relativism, known as post-modernism, don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that mathematics, engineering, and other disciplines teach us that truth is in fact objectively real, and that when we ignore fixed truth, we do so at our own peril.