Truth, Foundation Stones, and a Fixed Point of Reference-Part 3

December 18, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

(Note: If you haven’t read part 1 &2 of this, you need to go back and do so. These messages all build on one another so it’s important to read them in order)

Remember that we are looking at Acts 17. The apostle Paul is in Athens and he is addressing the intelligentsia of the times. Here are a few of the verses that we are focusing on…

Acts 17:23-24- For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. [24] “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

We’ve seen that Paul has provided some pretty major foundational principles of the Christian faith. Here’s what we’ve seen so far: Foundation Stones…

#1— God EXISTS and is a PERSON

#2— God is the ORIGIN of all things

#3— God is the LORD of all things—MORAL AUTHORITY

#4—God is SELF-EXISTENT and SELF-DEFINING

Let’s go on… this is where we really get into the heavy stuff in terms of your personal view of yourself 

Acts 17:25-26- 25… he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

What Paul is saying here is that this God— who EXISTS and is a PERSON, who is the ORIGIN of all things, who is the LORD or MORAL AUTHORITY over all things, who exists in and of himself—he SELF-EXISTENT—and is SELF-DEFINING…

This God created you FOR A PURPOSE. He knew when you’d be born, where you’d be born, why you’d be born. He knew everything about you; he created you for a purpose; he gave you a destiny; he has a plan for your life!

What does that mean for you?… That means a lot. We said before he is the origin of all things—but this adds to that. It wasn’t like you came off an assembly line. You were hand-made by a skilled craftsman It is that basic foundation stone that gives Christians the weird idea that human life is sacred. That every life is sacred. That every life is important. That every person has dignity.

That sounds all well and good. But think about what we are teaching our kids these days. Picture a young student entering his biology class in middle-school. Here is what they might hear from their teacher… 

“Kids… Welcome to biology 101… We’re gonna learn lots of fun things in this class. We’re gonna cut up frogs and we’re gonna pick flowers and we’re gonna learn about pistals and stamins and all kinds of fun things… But the first thing you need to know… above all else… is that you are an accident!… You have absolutely no reason for being here. There is no meaning, no purpose to your life. You are nothing but a meaningless conglomeration of molecules that came together, purely by chance, billions and billions of years ago… All the dust and the gas in the galaxy floated around for who knows how long. And they bumped into each other and they said, “I know! Let’s be organic.”… So they became organic. And they became little gooey, slimy things, swimming around in the primordial soup. And they little grew little feet and they climbed up onto the land. And they grew fur and feathers and they became higher forms of life. And they finally became monkeys and the monkey developed into an ape and the ape decided to shave— so he shaved. And became what you are today… From goo to you, by way of the zoo… As such, you don’t really have any reason for being here. Your existence is pointless. The universe won’t mind a bit when you die. And when you die, you just become so much composte… (bell sfx) Oh okay, class dismissed. Head on down the hall now, kids, to that new class that’s just started this week on self-esteem.”

So then the educational system tries to come up with ways to build up a kid’s self esteem… 

“Kids… Kids listen… Yeah, you’re an accident; but you’re a good accident. You have so much wonderful potential for causing more accidents. Just do it safely— you’ll be fine… Just look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m important because I can do things.’”

What about the kids who can’t “do things”?

“Oh, but, look in that mirror and say, ‘I’m important because people appreciate me!’”

How many of you feel “appreciated” all the time?

“Well,say, ‘I have value because I BELONG!’”

Where do you think peer pressure comes from in junior and senior high school? Kids want to belong and if they don’t belong, they don’t feel any good. Do you see the challenge that is created when we take God out of the picture? When we don’t believe these foundation stones?

I want to tell you something, we teach our kids that principle every Christmas. I call it the “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” syndrome…

Now those of you who aren’t familiar with that— let me tell you the story… Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you’d even say it glowed. Now all of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names— Nah, nah Rudolph, can’t shut it off; nah nah. And they wouldn’t let Rudolph play in any reindeer games— and he’s all by himself; and he doesn’t belong; and people don’t appreciate him; and he can’t do things… and besides that he’s ugly, he’s got a weird nose; and he feels all by him self; and he has terrible self esteem. He says, “I’m just a meaningless conglomeration of molecules that came together purely by chance; I never had a reason for being here; and now I don’t even feel good about myself!” What changed it? (dramatically) Then one foggy Christmas Eve. Santa came to say (ho, ho, ho). Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight. So Rudolph guides the sleigh through the sleet and the snow and the dark and he saves Christmas. And then— then— then— and only then— all the reindeer loved him, and they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history!

And I can just hear Rudolph saying, “Well, thanks a lot!… Where were you guys when I was all by myself and I was lonely and I had no self-esteem and I thought I was a meaningless conglomeration of molecules that came together purely by chance with a big shiny nose— you wouldn’t let me play in your reindeer games, you made fun of me, you called me names you ostracized me… NOW suddenly— when I DO something that benefits the collective— I’m a good guy!… Friends like you, I don’t need!”

Let me tell you something. You got a friend. And he loves you— even though you did have a very shiny nose. There is a God who made you— and maybe he gave you that very shiny nose. God made each of us just the way he wanted—FOR A PURPOSE. When God designed each one of us, he didn’t set up his drawing board and say, “How can I hurt them?” (wicked laugh) The foundation of a Christian’s self-esteem— oh, listen to me because so many of us have heard the lie and we’ve believed the lie… The foundation of a Christian’s self-esteem is not in what you can DO… or how good you LOOK… or how ATHLETIC you are… or anything else… It has nothing to do with that… It has to do with the fact that you are here for a reason; that God created you for a purpose; he has a plan for your life; YOU HAVE WORTH and VALUE because he says so!

Question:           How do you know what something is worth?

Answer:            Only determined by what someone is willing to pay.

How much are you worth?… What did God pay?… YOU ARE WORTH THE LIFE OF HIS SON.

God loves you.

This is what builds the Christian worldview. This is what makes a human life from becoming a mere product— a mere machine part in a Christian’s thinking.

The last part of this, verse 27-28- Acts 17:27-28- God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. [28] ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

This God… Who EXISTS and is a PERSON; who is the ORIGIN of all things; who is the LORD or MORAL STANDARD and AUTHORITY over all things; this God who is SELF-EXISTENT and SELF-DEFINING; this God who created each and every one of us FOR A PURPOSE; this God is not just a God who created us and, you know, wound up the world and set it spinning and went out for coffee or something.—like he left his answering machine on… You try to call him: “Hi, this God… I hope you like yourself today… I’ll be back in a millennium… You got problems? Hey, the answers are within you— go for it baby.”

No… This is a God who desires a RELATIONSHIP with you—day by day, moment by moment, total intimacy.

Which brings us to our 6th foundation stone…

#6—God desires a RELATIONSHIP with you

How far does God go to have a RELATIONSHIP with us?

He’ll leave heaven and come to earth as a baby (Christmas); He’ll suffer the pain of the cross (Good Friday); He’ll rise again from the dead! (Easter). He is close to us—whether we know it or not; whether we acknowledge him or not.

Wow… what kind of God is that?

He is different from the other gods people talk about. The God of Islam— Allah— is capricious… He’d just assume to wipe you off the face of the earth… You have the New Age God who isn’t a person at all— it’s an impersonal force, and an impersonal force doesn’t give rip about you… You have the Deist view that— oh yeah, there’s a God but who knows, he’s not in touch with us in any way… There’s the agnostic idea of God— well, he might be out there somewhere, but I don’t know; he’s never talked to me or anything.

Those are not the true God—the God Paul is talking about. We have a God who cares for each one of us… knows each one of us by name and he wants us to know him. And I want to tell you something… If you want to talk to him, he’s all ears.

That’s the kind of God I’m glad to know; that’s the kind of God I’m glad to serve. And I’m glad that that God is unchanging… Yesterday, today, and forever, Jesus Christ is the same. (Hebrews 13:8— 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.)

God is a fix-point of reference in our lives. All these things are ture about the One True God—the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings.

#1— God EXISTS and is PERSONAL

#2— God is the ORIGIN of all things

#3— God is the LORD of all things

#4—God is SELF-EXISTENT and SELF-DEFINING

#5—God created you FOR A PURPOSE

#6—God wants a RELATIONSHIP with you

In part 4, we will look at a very interesting topic: WHAT WENT WRONG?!?!?!? 

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One Response to “Truth, Foundation Stones, and a Fixed Point of Reference-Part 3”
  1. jsolomon says:

    doug very timely. paticularly when we think about what Christmas is all about. its about God establishing, in greater intimacy, His relationship with us. its about God giving us access to Him–because He really does like us and He really does want this relationship with us.

    thus, God so valued this access, He so desired this ability to commune with us, He so wanted us to have this favor that He sent His Son. His desire for us equaled His desire for His Son.

    the thought that really struck me was the concept that this relationship that we have with Him as His son’s and daughters only equals His love for Christ.

    He Loves us just as much as He loves His Son. and this is what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about God providing this kind access to mankind, Christmas is not just about the gift of His Son – but in that, its a gift of not only salvation, but that of access.

    i don’t think that God simply had mankind gaining salvation in mind when He sent Jesus- because those living in the time of the Old Testament had that — but God had intimacy in mind. He had this crazy thought that He could come to us so that we at any time could come to Him. this access — this favor — i think is what God was really after.

    salvation came because of Jesus i know – “for God so loved the world that He sent His Son . . so that who would believe in Him would have eternal life.” yes Christmas is about salvation — but that only came through the giving of Jesus.

    the Father so wanted us to have this salvation – so wanted access to us and us to have access to Him that He gave His Son.

    God’s desire for us equals His love for His Son. Jesus tells His disciples this, that the Father loves them just as much as He loves Jesus. and that they in turn will love the Father just as much as the Father loves Jesus.

    what an incredible thought. the Father’s desire for us to have this favor, this access, this love equals that of the love He has for His own Son.

    what favor. what blessing. what an amazing God.

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