Faithlife Sermons

Untitled Sermon (2)

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Defending Your Faith Only Jesus Christ Meets Human Needs at Their Deepest Level

ONLY JESUS CHRIST MEETS HUMAN NEEDS AT THEIR DEEPEST LEVEL

We now come to the most serious of the three assumptions noted above: Christians need the “psychological” assurance of Christianity in order to cope with life.

What Crutch and Weak Mean to a Christian

Now I can make a statement that would have sounded contradictory earlier: Christianity is a crutch for weak people! Obviously, my definitions of crutch and weak are different from the critic’s. Nowhere in Scripture is a Christian’s faith seen as a crutch in the sense of an escape from the reality of a fallen, suffering world (John 17:15). Likewise, nowhere are Christians portrayed as weaklings. On the other hand, throughout Scripture our faith is seen as a supporting pillar, an anchor, a means to healing broken and damaged lives. Likewise, throughout Scripture, believers are seen as depending on and drawing strength from the person who created and sustains them (2 Cor. 12:9–10) and who offers them life more abundantly (John 10:10). It’s in these senses that Christianity is a crutch and Christians are weak. We gladly accept the power of God to us through His Son Jesus Christ (John 14:16).

p 224 Why We Need a Crutch

There are three basic needs all people seek to fulfill in order to have peace of mind. First, physical needs: food, shelter, rest, warmth, and so on. Second, emotional or psychological needs: love, acceptance, self-esteem, and many others. These two needs are tangible and easy to identify, and they are fulfilled by either our physical environment or other people. We need food and shelter to live; we get this from our environment. We need love, acceptance, and a feeling of worth to function happily in human society; we get this from human relationships.

Being human also means that we seek to satisfy a third basic need: spiritual fulfillment—peace of mind with regard to a belief in a supernatural Being who can answer life’s most perplexing questions in a relevant and believable way that is consistent with reality. The quest for spiritual peace of mind is a worldwide phenomena and a characteristic of mankind as far back as history and archaeology allow us to investigate. As mentioned earlier, all peoples in every culture exhibit a belief in supernatural beings and seek to live in harmony with them. Cultures that have attempted to suppress this instinctive drive have invariably met with failure. The religious fervor in atheistic communist countries, now that religious freedom is returning, is an open acknowledgment that no society can totally suppress humankind’s spiritual need.

C. S. Lewis and others have argued effectively that every natural desire the family of man exhibits is a manifestation of a real and necessary human need. In the physical realm, we crave food because we are hungry; we crave warmth when we become cold; we crave sexual fulfillment because we are created to enjoy intimate physical relationships. Likewise, in the psychological realm, we desire love because we were created to be loved, self-esteem because we were created of value. In the same manner, we crave spiritual fulfillment because God has placed this desire in us. As fourth-century theologian Augustine said, “Thou [God] hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”

It is logical to assume that if man possesses a natural desire for something in which the world offers no fulfillment, there is something p 225 outside the world that will fulfill it. In short, we will have no longings that are unfulfillable, including spiritual longings.

It is crucial at this point to see something very clearly. Of the three innate drives we seek to fulfill, the spiritual drive is the most vital for peace of mind. Let me explain. Physical health does not necessarily lead to peace of mind. The suicide rate among handicapped people is far below the national average. Many handicapped people experience a genuine peace of mind as a result of spiritual fulfillment. Likewise, neither money nor material possessions guarantee peace of mind. Many spirit-filled poor people are vastly more content and happier than many rich people. Nor does emotional fulfillment necessarily lead to peace of mind. The suicide rate among mental-health workers (psychologists, therapists, etc.) is as high as it is in any other profession (some say higher). One would expect that those most knowledgeable in the means of attaining emotional good health would be the ones most likely to achieve it, but that’s not necessarily true. As another example, many thousands of prisoners, isolated from normal social interactions, and after years of living angry, violent, and bitter lives, have come to possess a profound peace of mind and deep spiritual fulfillment by experiencing God’s love and forgiveness.

What’s my point? This: Whereas fulfilling spiritual needs can result in peace of mind in spite of unfulfilled physical or psychological needs, the opposite is not true. Fulfilling physical or psychological needs does not lead to peace of mind without spiritual fulfillment. Regardless of how satisfying one’s life is with regard to good health, material prosperity, and emotional contentment, there exists a longing for something that this earth or human relationships cannot provide: spiritual peace of mind. And only God through Jesus Christ can satisfy that longing.

Defending Your Faith Only Jesus Christ Meets Human Needs at Their Deepest Level

ONLY JESUS CHRIST MEETS HUMAN NEEDS AT THEIR DEEPEST LEVEL

We now come to the most serious of the three assumptions noted above: Christians need the “psychological” assurance of Christianity in order to cope with life.

What Crutch and Weak Mean to a Christian

Now I can make a statement that would have sounded contradictory earlier: Christianity is a crutch for weak people! Obviously, my definitions of crutch and weak are different from the critic’s. Nowhere in Scripture is a Christian’s faith seen as a crutch in the sense of an escape from the reality of a fallen, suffering world (John 17:15). Likewise, nowhere are Christians portrayed as weaklings. On the other hand, throughout Scripture our faith is seen as a supporting pillar, an anchor, a means to healing broken and damaged lives. Likewise, throughout Scripture, believers are seen as depending on and drawing strength from the person who created and sustains them (2 Cor. 12:9–10) and who offers them life more abundantly (John 10:10). It’s in these senses that Christianity is a crutch and Christians are weak. We gladly accept the power of God to us through His Son Jesus Christ (John 14:16).

p 224 Why We Need a Crutch

There are three basic needs all people seek to fulfill in order to have peace of mind. First, physical needs: food, shelter, rest, warmth, and so on. Second, emotional or psychological needs: love, acceptance, self-esteem, and many others. These two needs are tangible and easy to identify, and they are fulfilled by either our physical environment or other people. We need food and shelter to live; we get this from our environment. We need love, acceptance, and a feeling of worth to function happily in human society; we get this from human relationships.

Being human also means that we seek to satisfy a third basic need: spiritual fulfillment—peace of mind with regard to a belief in a supernatural Being who can answer life’s most perplexing questions in a relevant and believable way that is consistent with reality. The quest for spiritual peace of mind is a worldwide phenomena and a characteristic of mankind as far back as history and archaeology allow us to investigate. As mentioned earlier, all peoples in every culture exhibit a belief in supernatural beings and seek to live in harmony with them. Cultures that have attempted to suppress this instinctive drive have invariably met with failure. The religious fervor in atheistic communist countries, now that religious freedom is returning, is an open acknowledgment that no society can totally suppress humankind’s spiritual need.

C. S. Lewis and others have argued effectively that every natural desire the family of man exhibits is a manifestation of a real and necessary human need. In the physical realm, we crave food because we are hungry; we crave warmth when we become cold; we crave sexual fulfillment because we are created to enjoy intimate physical relationships. Likewise, in the psychological realm, we desire love because we were created to be loved, self-esteem because we were created of value. In the same manner, we crave spiritual fulfillment because God has placed this desire in us. As fourth-century theologian Augustine said, “Thou [God] hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”

It is logical to assume that if man possesses a natural desire for something in which the world offers no fulfillment, there is something p 225 outside the world that will fulfill it. In short, we will have no longings that are unfulfillable, including spiritual longings.

It is crucial at this point to see something very clearly. Of the three innate drives we seek to fulfill, the spiritual drive is the most vital for peace of mind. Let me explain. Physical health does not necessarily lead to peace of mind. The suicide rate among handicapped people is far below the national average. Many handicapped people experience a genuine peace of mind as a result of spiritual fulfillment. Likewise, neither money nor material possessions guarantee peace of mind. Many spirit-filled poor people are vastly more content and happier than many rich people. Nor does emotional fulfillment necessarily lead to peace of mind. The suicide rate among mental-health workers (psychologists, therapists, etc.) is as high as it is in any other profession (some say higher). One would expect that those most knowledgeable in the means of attaining emotional good health would be the ones most likely to achieve it, but that’s not necessarily true. As another example, many thousands of prisoners, isolated from normal social interactions, and after years of living angry, violent, and bitter lives, have come to possess a profound peace of mind and deep spiritual fulfillment by experiencing God’s love and forgiveness.

What’s my point? This: Whereas fulfilling spiritual needs can result in peace of mind in spite of unfulfilled physical or psychological needs, the opposite is not true. Fulfilling physical or psychological needs does not lead to peace of mind without spiritual fulfillment. Regardless of how satisfying one’s life is with regard to good health, material prosperity, and emotional contentment, there exists a longing for something that this earth or human relationships cannot provide: spiritual peace of mind. And only God through Jesus Christ can satisfy that longing.

Related Media
Related Sermons