Poised to write more on evidence for the existence of God by talking about the origin of life according to scientific findings, I awakened to another mass shooting. Then there is more video footage emerging of Hamas’ evil of unspeakable proportions and now war… I got a request for prayer from a psychologist who is seeing an 11-year-old child who thinks he is an animal—oh yeah, and then there is the hatred for the Jews rising on our college campuses.
What is going on??
How did we get here?
Is there anything that can be done about it?
This is evidence for the other side--life without God.
Back to our text. When Paul was writing to the Roman Christians, he described how God has revealed himself to all people through his creation. But always, God gives us a choice – choose to follow him or ignore him and go our own way. Then of course, God went further, and gave us his Son, Jesus, who stepped into time and space to become one of us, show us the Father, set us free, and give us life forever with him. But again, we can believe the historical evidence for the Jewish Savior or ignore him and go our own way.
Paul explains God’s reaction when we ignore all the evidence for him: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”1 [now in first century Rome, there were pagan religions that had idols of animals, but here in the 21st century, people have gone even further—they think they are animals! What is going on?]
God has said, ‘Okay, have it your way.’ And we have--and accordingly, we have abandoned the evidence for the one true God, we have turned away from the truth of the historical Jesus and the miraculous events of his life, we have rejected a life of meaning and an eternity forever in the presence of God.
What is left? The further we go away from God, the more evil mankind gets. The more we have devalued life, the more disposable it has become. Hmmm.
Segue for a moment – years ago, while leading Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Southern California, a 16-year-old lacrosse player started attending our huddles and was absolutely rocked by the truth of God. He had not heard about Jesus—and the kid could not get enough. Then he brought his younger soccer-playing sister to hear the news as well.
Stop right there a minute. Why did these two American teen agers not know about a loving God and a relationship to be had with him—of hope and guidance for each day, and a future forever with him? Their parents were of the mindset that they would not ‘push’ religion on them, would not influence them about God, but would let them make up their own minds. Because I knew these friendly parents, they were not meaning to be irresponsible or unloving—just the opposite—but how could Robby and Emma choose God if no one ever told them? hmmm.
I remember another conversation I had about that time while standing in the ocean at T Street; my youngest, Danny, 6, on a bodyboard within my purview. As is my bent, I had turned the conversation to matters of the faith, and when it fit, asked another soccer parent, a dad, where he took his family to church. He said, ‘Oh, I believe, but I don’t force it on my kids,’ and smiled. ‘But then how will they know?’ I quietly asked.
It is not just the responsibility, but also the privilege, of a parent, guardian or grandparent to introduce her children to an all-wise God. The culture, including our public schools, is promoting an agenda that is opposed to the truths of God and the right way to live. If they are to know the truth about God and experience his comfort and love, we must teach them about Him.
Back to our text. After Paul’s explanation of mankind’s exchanging the truth of God for a lie, he says three times then that “God gave them up…” to immorality, homosexuality, to a debased mind to do what ought not be done.”2 ‘Have it your way—do what you want,’ God says, while his heart breaks, and society becomes more broken.
What then shall we do? ‘I heard the Lord asking, who shall I send as a messenger to this people?’ And I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’3
Do not wring your hands or live in fear over what you see today, answer God’s call by saying ‘I am here. Use me.’ Ask God for opportunities to speak up and share
--the hope that is yours because of the relationship you have with him
--what you have seen and experienced of God at work around you...
you know how he has changed you, and no one can deny your experience.
--the truth of the evidence for God, the verifiability of Scripture
--the faith you have because you trust in the promises of God and who he is
No matter what is going on in the world, God is on the throne. We can put our entire trust in him and go forward boldly into each day. And we ought also embark on the greatest adventure ever, taking someone with us.
great song: Faithful God, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUaS1Y-jyMk
Praying you will say "here I am, use me!"
1 – Romans 1.21-23
2 – Romans 1.24-32, link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1.24-32&version=ESV
3 – Isaiah 6.8