Service Video Message Video Message Audio The service video is unavailable at this time. The sermon video is unavailable at this time. The sermon audio is unavailable at this time. Scripture Verses Luke 4:43-44, John 7:16-17, John 1:39, Colossians 1:15-16, John 14:6, John 7:17 Downloads & Resources God's Son: Do You Know Jesus Christ? Dr. Jon Morrissette - 9/7/2003 Initially, I had great reservations about becoming a preaching minister. I had a strong desire to teach people about Jesus Christ and to help them follow his leadership. I lost sleep knowing that so many people around me were headed toward an eternity without Christ. I was burdened by the realization that the Church was less than she could be and that it was so often poorly led with the leftovers of people’s time. I was burdened that life transformation wasn’t taking place as it truly should and that so much more could be accomplished for God’s glory if men and women would rise up and respond to God’s call. I thought that I should stop criticizing the Church, take my life, and do something about the problem. But I had reservations about preaching because I didn’t know enough. I didn’t feel like a person full of profound spiritual insights. I couldn’t pray eloquently. I had unanswered questions. There were mysteries about God that I hadn’t reconciled. If I were to preach, I knew I’d only be able to offer those I served the "basics" of the faith. And I was concerned about whether that would be enough and if it would satisfy people’s hunger. The "basics" of the faith are revolutionary truths for most Christians. At one point I shared my reservations with a professor at Bible college. He completely understood how I was feeling and he was quick to respond. He told me to preach the basics. But he told me something that shocked me. He told me that with just one semester of Bible college under my belt, I already knew more than most people would know after spending their entire lives in the Church. He didn’t say that to me for my ego gratification. He was indicting the local Church. He was telling me that the basics would be an advanced course for the majority of those I would preach to every week. He said that most Christians didn’t even possess basic knowledge about God or Jesus Christ, despite their faithful attendance in church since their childhoods. Despite the multiplication of Christian radio and television programs, despite the proliferation of books, tracts, and Christian literature, the basics of the Christian faith are not understood by most churchgoers. The basics of the Christian faith would be revolutionary truths to the over-preached and over-taught masses of born again Christians who would live wherever I’d choose to serve. For over a decade I have been preaching and teaching the basics about Jesus Christ. Through the years I have discovered that my professor was absolutely right when he, in essence, told me that the basics would be revolutionary truths. It is true. To what degree are people embracing a biblical world view? This summer I attended a George Barna conference in Indianapolis. He was in the process of releasing one of his newest books titled Think Like Jesus. His book began as a research project. Barna wanted to study the beliefs and practices of the millions of born again Christians throughout America. He wanted to discover how closely the thinking of the church-going people around the United States measured up to the thinking of Jesus Christ. You know, to what degree are people embracing a Biblical worldview? Are people viewing themselves and their world, their life-choices, and their general reality through God’s eyes or through some other lens? Is God’s revelation, as revealed in scripture, trickling into people’s hearts and minds? Barna surveyed born again Christians' beliefs on seven issues of critical importance. First, does God exist? Is there a divine being we have to pay attention to or are we alone on earth? Is there another drumbeat to march to besides our own? Barna says, "If God does not exist, then the whole equation changes in terms of truth, morals, values, purpose, behavior and the afterlife." Second, what is the character and nature of God? If God does exist, then what is he like? Is he personal? Compassionate? Loving? Merciful? Just? All-Powerful? All-knowing? Holy? Perfect? Jealous? Or what? You will notice that children often take on the character and personality of their parents. The same is also true in the spiritual realm. We take on the character and personality of who we perceive God to be. If I think God is angry and vengeful and condemning, I will become that way to others. If we think God is impersonal, uninterested and distanced, we reflect that toward others. Don’t tell me this doesn’t make a difference. The terrorists on September 11, 2001 believed in God, but as they attacked, they believed they were acting in harmony with his character and nature. The consequences of a wrong worldview were devastating. Third, how and why was the world created? This is the question of origin. Where did we come from? How did we get here? Does history have meaning and significance? Does God have a grander plan? Is God playing an ongoing role in all that he has created? Adolf Hitler believed in God, but he had embraced an evolutionary view of creation. He believed that our world, humanity, had been slowly evolving toward perfection. He believed that the perfect man had blond hair and specific physical attributes. He took it upon himself to speed up the evolutionary cycle by exterminating, through genocide, an entire race of people, millions of Jews, that he believed tainted the DNA pool of humanity. Does our view of creation matter? You better believe it. Think of how much our future is being shaped by people who hold specific beliefs about creation. Environmentalists have specific beliefs about creation that impact their actions. Fourth, what is the nature and purpose of humanity? This is the question of significance? Who am I? Why am I here? Why are you here? Do I have value? Am I special? Why do I suffer? Why is there evil? Are we like the animals, below the animals, or above the animals? Am I created in God’s image? Am I fundamentally good or evil? Does sin exist? Is evil a real reality? What happens when a young person believes his sole purpose is self-gratification? What happens when they believe that their purpose is to be true to their desires and lusts and who they think they are? What happens when a man thinks that the only meaning for his life is what he assigns to himself? What happens when man determines his own purpose and meaning apart from God? Abortion. Euthanasia for the suffering. Stem cell research for the common good. Fifth, what happens after we die on earth? This is the question of destiny. Does God want an eternal relationship, or is this world our permanent home? Is there life after death? Will there be a resurrection of the dead? Can we find hope in death, beyond the grave? Are there consequences to the life choices I am making right now? Will there be a final judgment? Are there preparations I need to be making right now in this life? Sixth, what spiritual authorities exist? Do angels exist? Do demons exist? Are there spiritual forces and realities that are unseen? Is Satan a metaphor or a master of evil? Does the devil inspire evil in us? Seventh, what is truth? What is right and what is wrong? Are there right beliefs and wrong beliefs? Is there an established mechanism to distinguish truth from error? Is truth relative to culture? Are there moral absolutes that transcend culture and history? Is the Bible authoritative over my life? Is the Bible really God’s truth? The results of Barna's research may surprise you. What Barna discovered was that ninety-one percent of all born again adults and ninety-eight percent of all born again teenagers do not have a biblical worldview! If our church were a representative sampling, it would mean that only nine adults in this room and not even one teenager actually view their world through Jesus’ eyes. The rest of us have an alternative perspective on one or all of the questions we’ve just mentioned. For nine out of ten of born-again adults and for most all born-again teenagers, one or all of the following statements would be true. I do not believe that God exists or can be known. I do not believe in the biblical God, as revealed in Jesus Christ. I do not believe that creation has its source or origin in the purposes of God. My life has no purpose or significance beyond what I assign for myself. After my death there is no hope of eternal life or judgment that I must prepare for. There is no spiritual realm behind this physical existence I know. There is no truth or absolute moral authority to which I should yield my lifeor allow to guide my thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. I don’t know about you, but I thought only non-Christians believed these sort of things. No, these are the beliefs of the majority of born again adults who worship alongside us week after week. Who sit beside us in Bible school and attend our small groups. Who profess to be born again and be in love with Jesus Christ. Jesus preached the basics. Preach the basics! The basics will be revolutionary truths to the church-going masses. That is what Jesus did. He came preaching and teaching the most elementary truths about God's existence, his nature and character, creation, our purpose, eternal life and judgement, and the spiritual realities behind this world. He came speaking truth. He came to help us see life and reality through God’s eyes, instead of just through our own eyes. In Luke 4:43-44 (NIV) the masses tried to dissuade Jesus from this purpose. "But he said, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.' And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea." Jesus came to give us a different set of lenses through which to view ourselves and the world in which we live. He came to open our eyes to the kingdom of God. In John 7:16-17 (NIV) Jesus said, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." To begin a relationship with God, learn from Jesus. The starting place for us in our relationship with God is to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. It is to accept the invitation that Philip gave Nathaniel concerning Jesus, and the invitation that Jesus first gave to Andrew and John in John 1:39 (NIV). "Come, and you will see." It is to come to Jesus like Nicodemus did, at night if necessary, to begin understanding God’s perspective on things that are of eternal consequence to us. It is to, like the Samaritan woman, allow Jesus to meet us where we are at and allow him to move us into a deeper knowledge of the truth and of ourselves. It is to no longer be among the masses of born again Christians who have yet to embrace a life-changing Christian worldview. We need to get intentional about investing our time until we begin thinking like Jesus Christ. Over the next several Sundays we are going to explore the first of four life-changing relationships that every Christian must cultivate. The first relationship is with God’s Son Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. With every relationship there are four major steps we must each take in our own time. For our relationship with God’s Son, that first step is simply knowing Jesus Christ. By knowing Jesus, we develop Christian world view. It is getting our questions answered. It is learning about God’s existence, his nature and character, his creation, our purpose, the afterlife, spiritual authorities, and the truth. There are several ways to come to know Jesus. We come to know Jesus Christ by joining a Lifestage Bible Fellowship each week where the Bible is taught in a comprehensive and systematic manner, where we can learn the basics about Christ’s life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. You can know Jesus Christ by visiting our "YES" table in the lobby where you can get great books in your hands like The Gospel of John, Mere Christianity, Know Why You Believe, and Know What You Believe. We even have video resources on the life of Christ. You can start to know Jesus Christ by attending our new guest reception at the end of this service where you can express your desire to investigate Jesus Christ, church membership, and basic beliefs. Knowing Jesus can begin by joining a New Lifegroup where tough questions are asked about Jesus Christ, Christianity, God, the afterlife, science, creation, suffering, and more. Knowing Jesus is sitting down with our leaders to go through the Peace Treaty Bible study which helps you form a Biblical worldview and helps you take the introductory steps toward becoming a Christian. These steps are faith, repentance, confession, and baptism. Knowing Jesus Christ is daily coming to Jesus to see and discover his perspective on your life. A relationship always begins with gaining knowledge about that person or somebody. Answers to a few tough questions. Do you believe God exists? In closing, I want to revisit a few of the questions we asked earlier. Do you believe God exists? And if so, what kind of God exists? Not only does the Bible teach us that God exists, but it demonstrates how God made his true character and nature known through his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want to be a question mark in our lives. He wants to be an exclamation mark! He wants a personal relationship with you. He wants you to know his grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, compassion, justice, peace, jealousy, power, wisdom, and his name. On this day you can choose to begin knowing God through his Son Jesus Christ. God will only remain a mystery to you if you decline his offer to, "come and see." How and why was the world created? What is the purpose of my life? Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV) says, "He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Ephesians 1:6 (NIV) tells us that we exist, "to the praise of his glorious grace, which he (God) has freely given us in the One (Jesus) he loves." The purpose of all creation and of our lives is to glorify God. It is to live out of the overflow of our relationship with him. It is to find meaning, purpose, and significance in him rather than apart from him. Apart from Jesus Christ we will find no satisfying purpose that will sustain us unto death. What happens after we die on earth? The Bible tells us that when we die, we will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Those who do not know Jesus Christ will have their sins exposed, and be condemned, and be cast into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and where all will be cut off from God’s love eternally. But on that same day those who have received Jesus Christ's righteousness by faith, and have repented from their sins, and have pledged their lives to Christ in the waters of baptism, and have proudly professed their faith in Jesus, will enter into eternal life. This life is all about making preparations for eternity, for our everlasting destiny. What is truth? Jesus said in John 14:6 (NIV), "I am the way, the truth and the life." He also said in John 7:17 (NIV), "If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." Jesus is our connection to God. He is our means of knowing God. He is the wisdom of God for us. He is our pathway to God. He is the key to living life to the fullest now and for all of eternity. He invites us to, "come and see" and to explore a new life in God. Why not take that first introductory step today of knowing Jesus Christ? It is possible you know, but you have to show interest. There are two ways to respond. You may come forward during the invitation or you may visit the guest reception to speak to someone personally about coming to know Jesus Christ.