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Christianity? Why Are There So Many Rules?

February 27th, 2011 by Will Martin

Scripture:  Deuteronomy 5:6-21

Scripture Memory:  2 Cor 1:3-4

Journey:  This week’s Small Group discussion guide describes a popular objection to Christianity with these words, “People say that the Christian belief in an absolute, one-size-fits-all truth that is objectively true for everyone is subversive to our individual and communal freedom. Christianity is an enemy of authentic personhood, social cohesion, and even freedom.”

 In other words, when you become a Christian, do you miss out on being free, on being fully alive, on the good stuff? Are there too many restrictions?  Do you give up being able to decide for yourself what you think is right and what you think is wrong? 

How do you respond to that objection and help people to see that following Christ provides you with the greatest freedom you can possibly experience in this life? That’s what we’ll be thinking about today in our Jouney in the Word. 

Free from the law of sin and death, 

Will (for the pastors)

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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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