Thursday, July 5, 2012

To Believe Or Not To Believe...That is the Question

Start with Prayer---

Faith v. Doubt—Trial by Jury

Note:  This is a very fun, interesting lesson that leaves a lasting impression.  We had a mock trial...Faith v. Doubt.  If you have a large group of children, you should have one attorney (child) who represents the side of faith and another attorney (child) who represents the side of doubt.  The rest of the children can be jurors.  Teacher is the judge.  The setting is the Gospel Courtroom.  The Judge (teacher) is Hon. Ima Notshur.  Set up the room like a courtroom.  Teacher sets at desk (put a name plate on desk (with judges name), wear a black robe if possible and use a gavel).  Court is in session.  The Judge is not sure if there is a god or not and if the Bible is really His word.  The attorney on the side of faith uses scripture to convince the judge there is a god and that the bible is His word.  The attorney on the side of doubt uses scientific theories such as evolution, big bang theory to attempt to convince the judge there is no god and that the bible must have been written by mere men.  FAITH MUST WIN THE ARGUMENT.  You should give each attorney a file folder.  Faith's folder contains bible evidence (scriptures) proving God and His written word.  Doubts folder contains googled "evidence" (documents) of no god and erroneous word.  Teacher, ad lib.  Be like a judge deciding what is good and acceptable evidence and determine at the end that there is a God and the Bible is His infallible word.  (pound your gavel a few times in objection to the "doubt" attorney's case).
Faith v. Doubt—Have the trial now...ask the attorneys to present their cases (give them each 3-5 minutes to do so.  In the end the judge (and jury) must be convinced that there is a God and that the Bible is His word. 

After your short (10 min. or so) trial, do the following object lesson (optional) or skip to the lesson below it!  

Object lesson—water and air---explain that faith is believing in something that you cannot see.  State that although you cannot see God (Jesus) because he is a Spirit, you can still know that He is real.  Explain that something else you cannot see, but is real is the air.  State that you are now going to prove that the air in the room is real.  

You will need two glasses for this experiment.  One clear glass (which you will fill 3/4 of the way full of water)  and one opaque (not see through) glass with a small sponge glued inside the bottom.  You also need one piece of cardboard cut slightly larger than the mouth of the clear glass of water.  

Pour water into a glass until it is almost full.  Place the piece of cardboard, over the top, shiny side down.  (An old breakfast cereal box is an ideal source of suitable cardboard)  Hold cardboard in place, and invert glass (turn glass with cardboard upside down).  Take away your hand from the cardboard.  Explain that gravity is still at work trying to make the water fall on the floor, but that the air air - which we cannot see - is stronger than gravity and is keeping the cardboard in place.  Invite a few of the children to put their faith in the air - which they cannot see - and walk under the glass.  As they are doing so, reinforce the truth that they are trusting in something that they cannot see.

If you wish, you could conclude this illustration as follows:

State that you are now looking for someone with GREAT faith.  Choose a volunteer.  State that you are now going to hold the glass of water over their head as before and tip it upside down, but this time you are not going to use any cardboard!  Say you wouldn't want them to get too wet if things went wrong, so you will pour some of the water out of the glass.  Pour out water until about 2 or 3 cm. remains.  State that you still don't like the idea of wetting their hair-if things did go wrong-so you will hold a cup between the glass and their hair. Pour the water out of the glass and into the cup.  Act surprised that the water came out of the glass.  State that you have worked out the problem.  You weren't really using faith, because real faith in Jesus is trusting in Him alone.  Therefore, real faith in the air is trusting in the air alone.  Therefore you are now going to invert the cup (now containing the water) over the volunteer's head, but with nothing in between.  Do this.  The will not come out of the cup, because you had previously placed a SPONGE in the bottom!

This little object lesson is to simply prove that you can believe and trust in a God that you cannot see.

To Believe Or Not To Believe...That is the Question

I have heard many people tell me, even recently, that they just don’t believe the Bible is God’s word.  That it’s a great book and that it’s got a lot of good principles for living in it, but that it was written by men and therefore there is no need to take it seriously.  I recently had a friend of mine tell me that he didn’t believe the whole bible was the word of God and that furthermore it was not even understandable by most people.  He said, that the interpretation of the scriptures was at the discretion of the reader.  That no one could say for sure what exactly was meant in the scriptures.  Basically, what he was saying is that he believes there is a God, but that there was no way that God would speak to men so his word could be recorded for all generations to have and understand.   I told him that it was very understandable.  That is was not left up to individual interpretation but that one must believe and follow God’s plan for salvation and allow the Holy Ghost to lead him and guide him into all truth and understanding.  The main point is believing (faith).
2 Peter 1:20—Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
John 1:11-12—He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
Hebrews 11:6—But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

John 14:26—But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 16:13—Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...

Do you believe what the bible says is true, or not?  Do you believe what it says about God, or not?  Do you believe that it’s God’s word and not mans; or, like some, do you believe God said only the things that you like, but that the rest of the bible was written by selfish, egotistical men? Do you even believe in God?   

What it all comes down to is faith v. doubt.  Just like in our little trial.  You have faith on one side that believes that there is a God and that he really did inspire men to write his word for us to have and to live by and that he really does love us and wants to save us from our sins.  

2 Tim. 3:16—All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness:

On the other side is doubt (which includes pride). Those doubting that there even is a God because they can’t see him and that if there was such a being he would never lower himself to save humanity or that he would allow us to come into his presence.  

Then we have extreme doubter (which is really pride) who don’t’ want to believe there is a God.  They don’t believe they need one.  That they can do everything without him.  If they can persuade themselves that there is no god then they are persuaded that they can live however they wish and there is no punishment for it.  They can’t fathom a being who is bigger and better than they are.  One who would inflict judgment on them for their unrighteousness.  

Then there are also those that believe in God but they don’t take his word at face value and only do or believe those things they want and those things that make them feel good about themselves and of God.  They also really don’t believe in his judgment. 

 All doubters, regardless of what type they are, have placed themselves in a position above God and resist him simply because they can’t fathom his vastness, they believe they don’t need him, or they don’t want him meddling in their business and they doubt that if God is so loving and good that he will punish them eternally for not obeying him.  They resist God on all counts.

Acts 7:51—Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

1 Cor. 2:13—Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

That’s wherein the problem lies.  They are comparing spiritual things to natural things.  They are comparing God to natural man and not as God.  They can’t explain the spirit world so they dismiss it as false or nonexistent.  They really can’t fathom that there is a God and that he is what he says he is, and that he will do what he says he will do. That he will save or he will punish because they can’t see him or understand him.  But, you see that’s where faith comes into play. The bible says that we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corin. 5:7).  Faith is believing in what we can’t see,  fathom or understand.  No one has proof that God breathed every word of the bible to the men of old who wrote down his words on paper (or stone) (except for the bible which tells us it is) (2 Tim. 3:16).  No one has proof that God framed the worlds just by speaking the word because no one saw him do it (Heb. 11:3).  No one can see that their sins have been forgiven when they ask and remitted in baptism except for by faith.  

We can only choose to believe or choose not to believe.  Believing is faith.  No man has ever seen God at any time so does that mean he doesn’t exist?  In John chapter 14 Jesus says to Philip and doubting Thomas, if you don’t believe me because of what I say then believe me because of my works. Saying that, we can have proof of God because of the works he has done.  We have seen the evidence through creation and other natural forces (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, birth of a baby) that there is a being bigger, smarter and more advanced than we are (we can’t do those things, although egotistical scientists have tried). We have the proof that God’s word has never been able to be disputed. The walls of Jericho really did fall.  Sodom and Gomorrah really was destroyed by balls of fire. It must be truth.  We may not have seen our sins forgiven or washed away but we have the evidence of speaking in other tongues as proof that he has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost which he promised.  Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  We may not see God but there is evidence that he exists.  

Faith is the key to everything.  Faith that God exists (Heb. 11:6).  Faith that he did come to earth in the form of lowly man to become the pure sacrifice for our sins (that is grace).  One can only be saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) (this is believing in the grace of God unto salvation (1Pet.1:5)).  We must have faith that he does forgive and remit sins within the constraints of the Acts 2:38 plan of salvation.  Those who doubt are missing out.  They will not receive the grace that God sent unto salvation because they simply do not or will not believe.  

So where does faith come from?  The bible says that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  So does that mean that if someone has not heard they cannot have faith and so maybe that’s why there are those who doubt?  I guess we could say that to a certain extent, but the bible also says that God has given to every man a measure of faith.  So you see there really is no good excuse for doubt especially to those who have heard the word. 

The problem with man is that everything has to be proven, visible, reasonable and understandable.  We have a need to rationalize things and make sense of things but that’s precisely why God operates in the realm of faith.  If we could understand everything we would have no need for God.  You see God is not a man and his understanding is unsearchable (Isaiah 40:28).  His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts greater than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).  They can’t understand that His abilities are not limited like ours are, but you see God limited us on purpose so that we would have a need for him and that we would look toward him for answers.  So that we would trust and depend on him and so we would respect his power and authority.  Instead because God is unexplainable some have become as fools who have said in their heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1).  THOSE OF US WHO ARE BELIEVERS NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM THOSE WHO WOULD DISPUTE GOD WITH US.

1 Tim. 6:20-21 says—O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith.

2 Tim. 2:16 also says—But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

It’s important that we don’t entertain the thoughts and ideas of men disputing God’s supremacy, power or existence.  We should take God at his word then there will be no doubt in our hearts. 

Just like our little trial where we had two sides disputing over God, that happens all the time in the real world.  People debating where one side is defending their faith and the other side is defending their non-faith.  However, God’s word is not up for debate and it is unwise to do so and God does not want us to do so.

Remember the story of Peter cutting off Malchus’ ear with his sword when the officials came to arrest Jesus?  Jesus rebuked Peter and told him to put his sword away.  Jesus did not need for Peter to defend him then and He don’t need for us to defend him now.  He doesn’t need us to defend his existence or his word, so when those around us come to crucify the God we believe in, we need not pull out the sword (the word) in defense of God.  He can and will take care of himself.

So, to believe or not to believe, that is the question?  Here’s my thought on the whole matter, I would rather spend my life believing in God, living the way his word says and find out when I die that there is no god, than to live how I wish now only to find out that there really is a God and be judged by him according to his word.  Truly those who don’t believe are fools!!  Case closed!

Choose your memory verse—

Hebrews 11:1               Hebrews 11:6 Psalm 14:1

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This blog is dedicated to all things inspirational, with it's basis solely from the infallible, inerrant word of God. Unless otherwise posted all scripture references will be taken from the Kings James version of the Holy Bible. Some biblical material and docrinal views on this blog may be controversial in content. I ask when viewing this type of material that you open your heart solely to the word of God and allow his truth, as written in his word, to teach and guide you.
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