Faithlife Sermons

Making Sense of the Nonsense

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Christians around the world differ to a varying dgree on how they understand the Bible and practice their Christian faith. However, there are certain non-negotiables that all Christians everywhere hold. Unfortunately, there are many teachings that mimic the social teachings of the Christian faith without the emphasis on persoanl responsibility and that ignore the basic fundamentals of the faith. In Paul's letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul identifies several ways by which we can evaluate the various teachings we encounter in this world to determine whether or not they are true and compatible with the Christian faith.

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Introduction

In the world we live in, both today and in the days of the early Church, many different ideas exist about how the world works and what, if anything comes next. If not careful, it is easy to become susceptible to some of the unbiblical ideas and teachings that are prevalent in our society. We need to know how to make sense of the non-sense that we encounter so often.
Christians around the world often differ to a certain degree in terms of how they understand the Bible and practice their Christian faith. We dont always see eye to eye on some of the finer aspects of Christianity and how to live it our; however, in most cases, these are areas we call the negotiable aspects of Christianity. These are areas that we may agree to disagree on, yet still hold to the same common faith, calling ourselves Christians.
For example, we have some who disagree on whether or not it is appropriate:
for women to wear pants,
for mixed company—men and women—to swim together or sit in Church together,
for Christians to partake of alcoholic beverages in limited amounts,
for Christians to smoke,
on whether or not it is biblically permissible for women to serve as Deacons or be ordained as Ministers
and even on things such as whether or not it is OK to have drums in Church.
There are those who debate whether we are saved because we hear the message of the Gospel and choose to give our life to Christ, or if we are saved because God chose us to believe.
We have those who disagree on the events of the Last Days.
We can disagree on all these things, and more, yet still hold to the same fundamental teachings of the Christian faith that identifies us as Christians. None of these are salvation issues. None of these are among the non-negotiable teachings of the Christian faith.
However, there are many teachings today that contradict areas, which are not negotiable. There are some points on which we cannot waver and still rightly call ourselves Christians. The early Church faced similar problems.
Recognizing the need for a simple statement that defined the necessary elements of the Christian faith, before any formalized Church existed as we know it or the division of any separate denominations, and before it was possible for people to have their own individual copy of God’s Word, the Church put together a statement of beliefs, based on the Apostle’s teachings that defined the essential aspects of the Christian faith known as the Apostles Creed.
It reads as follows:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died, and buried.
He descended into hell; On the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; The Holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen
These are the essential elements of the Christian faith that the Church felt could not be divested from the faith without renouncing the faith altogether. It is essential for Christians, and those considering accepting Christ, to understand at least the basic elements of the Christians faith, because there are many teachings that exist in our world today, just as there were in Paul’s day, that mimic many of the qualities of the faith, while denying the essential aspects of it.
They often focus on the social morality of the faith without the personal responsibility. They focus on the potential of man, while ignoring the sovereignty of God. If one is not careful, it is easy to get swept away and deceived by these teachings, just as many in the Corinthian Church did, because they often sound close to the truth, but leave a little more room for the pleasures of life.
In the Church at Corinth, the issue that began to cause problems was the belief in the resurrection of Christ. To the Greek philosophers, the idea of a bodily resurrection was foolishness. In their understanding of the World, which taught that the flesh was the source of evil, they could not understand why anyone would want to be resurrected in the flesh.
As people in the Church began to listen to this teaching, they began to believe that the rewards promised by God were only what they experienced in the here and now, which led to their degradation into sexual immorality and carnal living. It was so bad that in , Paul criticized them for making a mockery of the Lord’s Supper by stuffing their faces before anyone else was served and becoming drunk on the wine meant for communion.
Being open to every teaching they heard left the Church at Corinth vulnerable to sinful practices and heretical teaching that had the potential of completely derailing their faith altogether.
As Paul addresses this poor teaching that led to poor behavior in , his intention is to clarify the message that he first preached to them in such a way that they would not only understand the implications these new teaching had on salvation, but also how they were leaving them with no foundation for their faith.
Paul essentially tells them that what we believe about salvation is as essential as our belief in salvation.
There are many different ideas in this world about God and Heaven, but not all of them are true. In todays world, there are several teachings that many people hold that provide them with a false sense of security, with no scriptural, historical, or logical foundation whatsoever, and too many people are slowly being swallowed up by these false teachings.
All Roads lead to God.
There are many different ideas in this world about God and Heaven, but not all of them are true. Knowing how to evaluate what you hear is essential to maintain a right belief in God.
God loves everyone too much to judge them.
There is no objective truth—no eternal lawmaker and judge.
As Paul addresses the issue of the resurrection, he gives us several areas in which we should evaluate every teaching that we hear in this world so that we can Make Sense of the Nonsense.
he gives us several

Is it Consistent with the Evidence?

Many people hold to the Christian faith on the grounds that you must have faith, despite what the facts say.
Unfortunately, not only does that do little to sway most people to Christ, but it is contrary to the examples of the Apostles or Christ Himself. The Bible saves that we are saved by grace, through faith. However, Jesus taught on several occasions that we only need a kernel of faith to be saved. The faith we need is in the promise that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to pay for our sins, and that because He was resurrected to a glorified body, so shall we.
However, the birth, death, and especially the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is not something we have to take on faith. Paul tells us in that it was foretold in the Scriptures, it was witnessed by followers who knew Him intimately; it was witnessed on more than one occasion, and by a large number of people, at the same time. He appeared to His own brothers.
Now, it might be argued that all of these testimonies are invalid, because people may have seen what they wanted to see; However, Paul says that lastly, Jesus appeared to Him. While one might argue that his close disciples and His brothers saw what they wanted to see, or that the large number experienced a case mass of hypnotic suggestion or hallucination, even though they touched Him, spoke with Him, and ate with Him on numerous separate occasions, Paul was an enemy of Christ, who violently persecuted the Church. Not only did he witness the resurrected Jesus, but his witness was so powerful and convincing that He became the most outspoken witness for Christ.
Anytime we encounter a teaching in this world, it is essential that you evaluate it based on the evidence available. Is it evidentially supportable, and does it line up with what we know about reality. Christianity is the only worldview that is supported historically, forensically, Scripturally, and scientifically. Unfortunately, many beliefs held by people today are simply that, beliefs. They have no concrete foundation beyond their personal opinion, yet people hold to them passionately.

Is it Consistent with the Christian Faith?

If you are a Christian, whenever you hear something that claims to be true, especially as it relates to the way the world works, the nature of man, and the issue of life after death, you should always evaluate it based on how it lines up with the Bible. If it contradicts the Bible, especially in the areas that matter the most, you need to disregard it as being wrong.
Paul points out to them that this teaching they were embracing, that there is no resurrection of the dead was inconsistent with the proclamation that Jesus has been raised.
Essentially, Paul says that there is a contradiction between the two beliefs. On one hand, they believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They held to the Christian faith, believing they would receive God’s blessings as a result. However, at the same time, they used this teaching that there would be no resurrection of the dead as an excuse to live however they wanted, claiming that the pleasures of this World represented the rewards of God. Paul tells them that this teaching is a blatant contradiction of what they had believed, and proceeds to point out the logical conclusion of this new teaching.
He says that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been resurrected, and if Christ has not been resurrected, then He is still dead. If that is the case, then everyone who has fallen asleep in Christ have truly perished, and they themselves have no hope whatsoever.
They were holding what is referred to as contradictory truth claims. One of the major problems that the Church faces today is the widely accepted idea that each person has their own truth, based on their own personal opinion. The World claims that what is true for one person might not be true for another, which is a logical fallacy.
They were holding what is referred to as contradictory truth claims. One of the major problems that the Church faces today is the widely accepted idea that each one of us can hold to our own truth, based on your own personal opinion. The World claims that what is true for one person might not be true for another. We often see hints of this in the Church, where people will make statements like, “Well, this is what this means to me.” Now, they might mean that they apply it differently to their life and their individual circumstances, but there is only one truth to Scripture.
First, the nature of truth is that if something is true, it is always true no matter what time or place, and no matter what the situation. Second, you cannot have two contradictory statements that are both true.
For example:
If I told you that 4 + 4 equals 10, what would you say? You would say I was wrong. 4 + 4 = 8.
In the same way, if I said that 4 + 4 equals 10, and you said that 4 + 4 = 8, can we both be right?
Can we both be right?
What if I told you that might be true for you, but it’s not true for me?
You would probably tell me that they are exclusive statements and both cannot be right.
One or both of us would have to be wrong.
Many people who count themselves as Christians believe things that are equally contradictory with the Christian faith.
Many of the teachings in our world today are just as incompatible with the truth of the Gospel message as saying 4+4 = 10.
Many of the teachings in our world today are just as incompatible with the truth of the Gospel message as saying 4+4 = 10.
In the same way, Paul tells them that this teaching is a blatant contradiction of what they had believed.
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been resurrected, and if Christ has not been resurrected, then He is still dead. If that is the case, then everyone who has fallen asleep in Christ have truly perished, and they themselves have no hope whatsoever.
Therefore, must consider how differing worldviews measure up to our Christian faith, because the implications of these teachings often negate the promises for which we are hoping.
It is impossible to rightly claim that Jesus’ statement that “No comes to the Father except through me,” and the belief held by many people today, even some in the Church, that all roads lead to God are both true. They are both exclusive in their claims. They can both be false, but they cannot both be true.
It is impossible to reconcile the teachings of the cross with any other religion, because every religion makes a truth claim.
Paul tells them that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been resurrected, and if Christ has not been resurrected, then He is still dead. If that is the case, then everyone who has fallen asleep in Christ have truly perished, and they themselves have no hope whatsoever.
To look at it another way, if every religion is a path to God, how do we determine whether or not we will get to Heaven?
Hinduism says Nirvana is achieved through working off your Karma, negative energy caused by bad deeds;
Buddhism says it is by ridding yourself of all desire, which logically would include the desire to rid yourself of desire;
Islam says you get to paradise is by keeping the commands of Allah, or by dying as a martyr to his service;
Judaism says it is by keeping the Law of God, which is impossible according to the NT.
In the same light, many today hold to no particular belief system at all, believing in general that good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell, of something along those lines.
Paul says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ and that “the wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
However, Christianity says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ and that “the wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus Himself said that only God is good. The Bible teaches that salvation is a gift of God’s mercy, paid for by the blood of Christ on the cross at calvary and made possible through His resurrection, and only available through faith. It can’t be bought at any earthly price.
The claim that all roads lead to God is logically contradictory and biblically unsupportable, because each religion makes an exclusive claim. A person cannot believe one without rejecting the other.
The claim that all roads lead to God is logically contradictory and biblically unsupportable, because each religion makes an exclusive claim.
And, as to the idea that God loves everyone too much to judge them, if that were true, if God could simply have forgiven everyone of their sins with no payment being made, then we would not be here today celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If it were possible for man to reach God through some means of His own, then it would have been completely unnecessary and the utmost cruelty for Christ to die on the cross. The judgment of God and the death and resurrection of Christ are essential to the Christian faith because they provide the only path to God. Any belief that claims otherwise is contradictory to the Word of God, and therefore, wrong.
So, we must carefully consider how different worldviews and truth claims measure up to our Christian faith, because the implications of these teachings often negate the promises for which we are hoping.
Therefore, must consider how differing worldviews measure up to our Christian faith, because the implications of these teachings often negate the promises for which we are hoping.
It is impossible to justify the teachings of the cross with any other religion, as well as the view that many teach in a quasi Christian form that since God is love, He will not judge anyone. Without the judgment of God, the cross has no value.
If it were possible for man to reach God through some means of His own, then it would have been completely unnecessary and the utmost cruelty for Christ to die on the cross. The judgment of God and the death and resurrection of Christ are essential to the Christian faith because they provide the only path to God.

Is it consistent with Human Experience?

Paul sums up His argument in , based on the human experience.
He puts the question to them, if the dead are not raised, why are the people teaching this being baptized for the dead. Paul was not condoning this practice, but he was drawing attention to the fact that the very same people who were teaching that there is no resurrection of the dead, were themselves baptising one another for those who had died without being baptised.
Basically, he was saying that their practice contradicts their position.
In the same way, the people in the Church of Corinth held Paul in high regard for his courageous pursuit of advancing the Gospel in the face of many dangers and trials. They themselves had faced many hardships in the name of Christ, and continued to endure because of the hope they had in Christ.
But, as Paul says, if Christ was not raised, then what is the point of facing such hardships. Anyone who would endure such conditions for something that will never happen should be greatly pitied, because they are a great fool. If there is no resurrection, the only thing they could look forward to was the pleasures of this world.
Basically, he was saying that their practice contradicted their position.
Many of those who oppose the Christian belief, do so because they believe there is no judgment of God; there is no objective moral standard outside of our own personal opinion. Truth is what you make it.
However, look at the turmoil in our country today concerning social justice. Every group wants to be recognized and protected. They want to be treated fairly under the law; they want justice for when they are unjustly wronged. They want the law of the land to be changed to meet a higher standard of morality, to match what is deemed right.
Their entire argument is based on the unspoken notion assumption that there is an objective standard of morality that the current law does not meet. It’s not that they do not believe in an objective moral standard; they just want to be the one to set the standard. When you take God out of the equation, it does not eliminate a moral standard; it just makes it subjective. Instead the standard is based on whoever has the loudest voice and whoever carries the biggest club. All they are doing is removing the objective nature. Instead of a standard based on the character of God that does not change, it is based on the whims of man.

Conclusion

So, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to understand to recognize the claim that is made that the Easter celebration represents. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Do I believe it?
Is it true?
Is it supported by the evidence?
Is it consistent in what it teaches?
Does it match what we know about reality?
Second, if so, we need to we need to consider how we will respond as a result.
Paul told the Corinthians at the close of his argument not to be deceived by these people.
Essentially, he tells them to not give them the time of day, because their teaching is corrupting their Christian morals. Instead, he tells them to come to their sense and stop sinning, because the people they were listening to were ignorant about God.
We need to be careful to evaluate the things we hear in light of the Christian faith, but also in light of the evidence at hand. And, just as importantly, we need to decide what we are going to do about it.
If you believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you need to ask yourself if you believe the reasons for His crucifixion and the promise of His resurrection.
If so, you need to ask yourself what you plan to do about it?
In essences, Paul tells them that if they are truly counting on the promise of Christ, then they need to take a stand for it in their life. They need to start living like they are trusting in Christ, and cut out all the other nonsense.
The same thing applies to us. Are we going to live like we believe it? or are we going to believe just enough to give us peace and comfort?
It is important at this time to ask yourself, do I believe what the Bible says about Easter? Do I believe that on this day, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, after paying for my sins, ending sins hold on me so that I may receive eternal life?
If so, what are you going to do about it?
Paul ends his case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by telling the Corinthian Church to reject the false teaching, come to the senses, and stop sinning.
In the same way, Easter is an opportunity to decide what you believe about Jesus and start taking action. It’s time to make a decision.
If you have never accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, asking Him to forgive you of your sin, submitting to His authority in Your life; now is the time to do so.
If you have been living a contradictory life, trying to be a Christian while still holding on to the World; its time to stop. The Bble says that we can either have Jesus or the World. We can’t have both.
Let us pray.
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