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How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

February 20th, 2011 by Will Martin

Scripture:  Luke 16:19-31

Scripture Memory:  1 Cor 9:21-22
Journey:  Some people object to Christianity because of the concept of hell. There is a popular image of God as a malicious being who grabs people, against their wills, and at the end of their lives tosses them into a place of eternal punishment while they are screaming, “No, no, no!!” Other than that about the only time you run into a reference to Hell in our society is in a joke or a Halloween costume. Kids were running around in November with little plastic pitchforks and horns and tails—Hell is just a kind of joke. 
The Small Group discussion guide for this week reads, “People can accept the idea of a loving and forgiving God — but cannot accept a God who would knowingly send people to hell. Hell seems incompatible with the idea of a loving God.”
Are the two ideas of love and wrath incompatible? How would you explain to someone the concept of hell and God’s punishment of all wrong in this life? 
For sure, it’s no joke. The Scriptures teach that the human soul is not disposable and that human beings face an eternal destiny. They teach that this will either be an eternal destiny with God, or an eternal destiny apart from God, one or the other. Come along today and think about how you can be prepared to explain this critical biblical doctrine that seems to be offensive to so many people. 
 

To know Him and make Him known, 
Will (for the pastors)

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How Can a Loving God Allow Suffering and Evil?

February 13th, 2011 by Will Martin

Title: How Can a Loving God Allow Suffering and Evil?

Scripture:  2 Peter 3:1-14

Scripture Memory:  1 Cor 1:10

Journey:  Some people object to Christianity because there is evil and suffering in the world. Roughly, their argument follows this line of reasoning: If God is all good and all powerful He would stop evil and suffering. But evil and suffering are rampant in this world. Therefore, God is either not all good (he’s unwilling to stop evil/suffering) or God is not all powerful (he can’t stop evil/suffering). In other words, according to their reasoning, the God of the Bible can’t exist.

If someone tossed this objection your way how would you respond? Really? Are you prepared to answer in a way that demonstrates wisdom? Today’s sermon is intended to help you respond thoughtfully and biblically. 

God’s richest blessings on you (please read that “you” as plural!),
Will (for the pastors)

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Why Don’t Christians Act More Like Christians?

February 6th, 2011 by Will Martin

Hypocrite. Self-righteous fop. Intolerant bigot. Moralistic jerk. These are just a few terms that people might use in less kind moments to describe Christians. It’s been said before that the greatest hindrance to the church is the church – meaning the people who comprise it. Why is it that we are so often thought of in negative terms? Is it just because there is a spiritual battle being waged between darkness and light and we are being persecuted by bad people because of our obvious goodness?  Or has it often been true that those who profess to follow Christ are just really not that much like Him and, therefore, end up bringing criticism on themselves and others of the faith as a result of perceived hypocrisy, real unkindness or, worse, just outright selfishness and hatefulness?

We’re in the third week of our sermon series today called “The Reason for God” which deals with popular objections that people have to the Christian faith. Today our subject is, “Why Don’t Christians Act More Like Christians?” It’s a time to get real about how our lives either (1) strengthen and provide support for what we say we believe or (2) weaken our testimony that we are followers of Jesus Christ the righteous.  

If someone asked you “Why don’t Christians act more like Christ?”  Would you be able to answer beyond, “We’re just forgiven, not perfect”? Doesn’t that answer sound like a cop-out by the way? Hopefully today will give us an opportunity to move beyond the superficial. . .         

God bless, 

Will (for the pastors)

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Can We Really Trust the Bible?

January 30th, 2011 by Will Martin

 We’re continung our sermon series today called “The Reason for God” which deals with popular objections that people have to the Christian faith. I don’t know if you’ve thought about it or not but if you try to share the Gospel with someone who has deeply seated objections to major tenets of the Christian faith your words are not likely to be listened to very carefully.

Actually, we have something in our culture that has been referred to as “defeater beliefs.” Deafeater beliefs are pressuppositions that, if held, make the Christian faith seem implausible. Therefore, an  important element of being an effective witness is overcoming defeater beliefs as you witness to someone. That is, you want to gently and yet convincingly show someone how their convictions (which are contrary to God’s revelation) may actually be flawed. 

Today our subject is, “Can we trust the Bible.” If someone said to you, “I don’t believe the bible?! You don’t actually believe that is God’s Word do you? It was just written by mere men who were trying to gain control over other people” how would you respond? Hopefully, today will give you some answers beyond, “Well, I do believe it’s God’s Word and that’s all there is to it.”     

By the way, Small Groups which officially began last week are following complimentary studies of the questions we’re partially answering on Sundays. Today is the last day for Small Group signup. Please take an opportunity to get connected with some other believers mid-week. It will give you the opportunity to give the gift of  real friendship to someone else.     

God gives His best to you and is incapable of anything less, 

Will (for the pastors)

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How Can You Say, “There’s Only One Way”?

January 23rd, 2011 by Will Martin

We’re beginning a sermon series today called “The Reason for God.” This series is somewhat based on a NY Times bestselling book of the same title, written by author and pastor Tim Keller. I say the sermons are somewhat based on the book only because we will seek to answer the same questions which form the heart of each chapter of the book. Our approach will be to do that from passages of Scripture.   

Today our subject is, “Can Christianity be right if it is exclusive?” Many people say, “There are many ways to find God so Christianity is just one of many options and it is wrong, arrogant and divisive for Christians to claim that Jesus is the only way.” Well, “How do you answer such a criticism?” We will seek to grow in our ability to do so with gentleness, clarity and wisdom.

Incidentally, the Small Groups which officially begin this week will also follow complimentary studies of these same questions. Between our 2Ways Evangelism Studies on Sunday morning (10:15-10:50), our Sermon Series and our Small Group Studies, this is a great season for us to grow in our ability to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.      

Please be in constant prayer towards that end, (Matthew 28:18-20)

Will (for the pastors)

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