Faith and Reason

 

(Romans 1:17 KJVA)  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

 

(Isaiah 1:18 KJVA)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

 

Often your relationship with God is bouncing between faith or reason. By that I mean we live in the 21st century. We are highly intelligent, technically advanced people. We no longer live in an era of mythology and superstition. If we are going to believe in God we are going to believe because of our rational, logical, inductive reasoning. However the more we dig into intellectual conversations or academic research, the more answers we try to solve the more questions we end up with. The fact is there is no way without fallacious reasoning to prove the existence of God. Likewise, there is no way to disprove His existence. Now, there are some real good arguments for the truth, but like most things that can not be seen of held or measured the arguments against the truth can be just as intelligent.

 

I hope I haven’t bored you all ready. Let me come down off my pedantic horse for a minute and look at my proposition from another angle. All you have to do, and I highly suggest that you don’t, is to google “Faith and Reason” and you will be taken on an intellectual, emotional rollercoaster of a ride.

 

The Bible tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” I can’t remember who it was that said “Only the person who can see the invisible can do the impossible,” but it is a pretty cool quote. What I am trying to get at today is that it is ok to question your faith and it is ok to believe something that you can’t prove. But do not blindly live your life on someone else’s faith. God gave you a mind and the ability to reason for yourself. He wants you to discover Him for yourself.

 

I want to address, believers and unbelievers today. I want to address Jews and Gentiles. I want to address Baptist and Pentecostals. I want to address Catholics and Protestants. We can all agree on at least the one fact that we are all a part of the Human race. We really don’t know where we came from and we don’t know what is going to happen to us when we die. Or do we? I know that by faith I can tell you that I know both without a shadow of a doubt. And it is also by faith that an atheist believing in evolution also can say that they know these things without a shadow of a doubt. But reason tells us that both can not be right. 

 

OK, OK, Blah, blah, blah Bob, what is the relevance of any of this ballyhoo? The relevance has to do with your purpose in life. The relevance has to do with your eternal soul. The relevance has to do with your moral judgments and what and why you do the things you do. Some people, and in many cases I believe most people would just assume not think about it. They simply “go with the flow.” And you know, that’s all right too. As long as the levi doesn’t break. I remember reading Hermann Hess’ book Siddhartha. I guess it was my introduction to Buddhism. What I discovered there was that not thinking was not as easy as it sounds. As long as everything is going smoothly in your life why change a thing? Why even think about it? Kind of like that frog in the pot of nice warm water. As the water gets hotter and hotter the frog doesn’t even know it until it is too late and he is boiled alive.  

 

So, let me stop right here and ask you a question. Where are you going when you die? My next question would be “Why?” If you don’t know the answer to this question keep reading. If you think you do, but your are not real sure…. Keep reading, and if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt then you are definitely going to enjoy continuing to read.

 

I am going to start at the beginning. “In the beginning….”

 

You basically have two theories here. Creation and The Big Bang.  No matter what, you have to agree that something outside the universe did something to make nothing, go “BANG” in the first place. If you Want to start your reasoning somewhere, start it there. If you want to build your faith, build it there. The Bible says that God spoke and “Bang,” there was light.

 

Let’s look at it from a more modern perspective. One of the greatest documents ever written by man begins this way:

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

Our very own Declaration of Independence states without equivocation that we are created beings. Hopefully I have you in agreement with me so far. The real problem is no matter what, there are still some who refuse to believe. And that saddens me for them. What is there, if there is not God? What is there, if there is no purpose in life? What is there, if you stick your intellectual head in the sand and refuse to see the good news right in front of your face? You know what there is? Plain and simple, it is death!

 

Stay with me, because I am going to take you across to the promise land real soon. But first we have to go back to the beginning. God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into him and Adam became a living soul. He placed him in that beautiful garden and gave him free reign. The only thing He asked was that he do not eat from that one tree. It was for his own good that he not eat from it. He told him the consequences if he did. Read it for yourself.

 

(Genesis 2:16 KJVA)  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

 

(Genesis 2:17 KJVA)  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

Then the very next thing that God does is give man a woman:

 

(Genesis 2:18 KJVA)  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

 

OK, you know where I could go with this, but I am not. You know what happened next. They went ahead and did exactly what they were told not to do, then made some bad excuse for it.

 

(Genesis 3:6 KJVA)  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

 

We could take this one verse apart and discover the three besetting sins that stalk us all still today, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life,” but we really don’t have time today. Just keep it in the back of your mind and we will talk more of it in the coming weeks.

 

Suddenly their eyes are open and they discover that they are naked and run and cover themselves up and try to hide form God.  We are still doing that today, only we are so much more sophisticated aren’t we? We build cities and create technology and fill our lives with so much “stuff” that we can’t even find ourselves. Then when we do have those encounters with God we start right out with the excuses. Remember the excuse that Adam gave? It was the woman…. And not just the woman… but the woman “You gave me.”

 

(Genesis 3:12 KJVA)  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

 

And what excuse did the woman give? “The devil made me do it!”

 

(Genesis 3:13 KJVA)  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

 

Here is my point! Did the devil really beguile her? Is it our reason that is not right when we make the bad choices we far too often make? Let’s see exactly how the serpent supposedly beguiled her.

 

(Genesis 3:1 KJVA)  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

 

(Genesis 3:2 KJVA)  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

 

(Genesis 3:3 KJVA)  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

 

(Genesis 3:4 KJVA)  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

 

NOW STOP RIGHT THERE! The serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die.” But didn’t we just read only one chapter before that God said,:

 

(Genesis 2:17 KJVA)  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

The simple fact is they chose to believe the serpent and not believe God!

 

That is what this is all coming down to. Who’s report do you choose to believe?

 

Let’s read that passage from Isaiah together.

 

(Isaiah 53:1 KJVA)  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

 

Who’s report are you going to believe? God’s or ….. some man’s?

 

And don’t ask me what difference does it make. It makes all the difference in the universe, in all of eternity. When God spoke and said let there be light. He had the faith that there was going to be light, because He could make it happen. All we need to do is believe that He can make it happen.

 

Too often with our faith we think we have to be the ones that are going to make thing happen. Someone asked me a question about whether or not someone else could get into heaven. I can not make that judgment call. Who am I to say yes or no to something that important. All I know is that I found the Way, the Truth and the Life. God is so much bigger than you and me. And He sees every little detail.

 

Am I telling you this by faith or by reason. My point is that the two do not have to be separate enemies. What I want us to do is to see the reason of faith. And likewise put more faith in our reason. I promised you the promise land, and left you with Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the garden. God’s word is true. And when He said that they would surely die, He meant it. Not only did they no longer have eternal life, but their relationship with God was dead too. But God is bigger than you and me and His love is so much stronger than anything we can imagine.

 

Have you ever really loved some one so much that you would do anything for them? So much that you would die a terrible death in their place?  Now, I want you to think about this for a minute, If you being as simple as a humanbeing can have that kind of love, how much more love do you think God has for you?

 

Who’s report are you going to believe? Let’s go back to this book of Isaiah. If there is any one prophet who so loudly pointed God’s people to Jesus it was Isaiah. He asks “Who’s report are you going to believe?”

 

 (Isaiah 53:1-5KJVA)  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

Do you know why Abraham is so respected in the world, by Christians, Jews and even Muslims? Because he believed God’s report. He knew that God could make a way when there was no way!

 

We all know that in one way or another we don’t add up, we don’t quite cut it, we just continue to miss the mark. If we can stay right here in this chapter of Isaiah, we can see the Lamb of God, we can see the Way, the Truth and the Life, We can see where God makes a way even after we made the bad choices and got lost:

 

(Isaiah 53:6 KJVA)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

For thousands of years God has been screaming to the world His plan of redemption. He paid the price. His word is true. All the promises are yours. Stop believing the lies of the devil. Who’s report are you going to believe?

 

I am going to end today by telling you what happened to my good friend Steve Lombardo. Steve was just pumping gas, minding his own business and this guy holding a twelve pack of something, (could have been soda, could have been beer, whatever) walks over by the telephone booth and ice machine. You know how you will glance at someone for a second or two and then just naturally look away? Well, for some reason Steve was compelled to keep watching this guy. Infact, he said that he ended up just staring at him. He could not for some reason take his eyes off  guy. As the man walks up to the phone, he turns and looks at Steve. The guy kind of pushes his sunglasses back up on his eyes then turns and picks up the phone as if to make a phone call. Then only a second later he hangs up the phone and opens the ice freezer door, grabs a bag of ice and quickly walks away. He stole the bag of ice!

 

So Steve goes in the store and tells the cashier that someone stole a bag of ice, but he was going to pay for it for the guy. The cashier thought Steve was nuts but Steve insisted and told the cashier that he was going to let the guy know that he paid  for the ice for him. So Steve starts driving in the direction that the man walked, and soon sees him in the distance. He rolls down his window and waves his hand and yells.

 

“HAY! HAY! IT’S OK…. IT’S OK,  I PAID FOR IT FOR YOU!  IT’S OK,  I PAID FOR IT!!!!!!!”

 

That is exactly what God has been yelling at the world for two thousand years now. But we like that cashier can’t reason why anyone would do that. God is telling you today. “Hay, it’s OK!” He paid for it. He took all of your sins, all of your mess-ups, all of your bad choices and paid the price for you. Why? Well, it might not make much reason, but then, since when was love ever reasonable.

 

Faith and reason? Yes you can have both. How? Well, nothing is impossible with God!

 

And as my good friend Steve Brown always says;

 

“You think about that!”