[A talk I gave this morning at Bedford]
So I want to ask for your permission this morning, to not waste the next 10 minutes of your time.
Here’s what I mean.
I’ve spoken to you guys twice before, and I hope that’s been enough to convince you I’m not a Psycho.
[Click to read more]
The first time I spoke about how the Bible says we should be thinkers.
I’m not asking you to turn your brains off and get some religion instead.
I think if you honestly use your brains, you’ll end up at Jesus.
And then last time I was here I spoke about how this world proves God is real.
He’s the creator. I love the stuff he’s made. And because he made it, he’s got every right to rule over it.
So you’ve seen me twice and so I hope you’ve worked out I’m not a psycho.
That’s important for you to keep in mind because the next 10 minutes are going to be intense and confronting.
And the reason is because I care about you guys.
Do you believe that?
I could be anywhere else in the world right now except for here.
But I chose to be here because I care about you guys.
And this could be my last chance to speak to you guys.
So I want to make the most of it.
And my guess is that since you have to listen to me for the next 10 minutes, you’d rather me be a bit intense for 10 minutes than waste 10 minutes of your life.
So here’s my promise.
In the next 10 minutes I will tell you the most important stuff you will ever hear.
It will be intense, but not many life-changing things are light and comfortable.
My hope is to change your life.
A friend of mine called Connor once asked me, “If God is real, why doesn’t he do something about all the crap in our world”
Doesn’t God care? Why doesn’t he do something?
The Bible says God has done something and He will do something.
How do we make sense of suffering in this world?
You know things aren’t right, don’t you?
You look at the world, your friends or family, or you watch the news, and you think… this isn’t right. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be.
Because this isn’t the way it was supposed to be.
Genesis chapter 1, the first book of the Bible says,
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”… “and it was very good”
Here’s the first thing to get clear in our heads.
God isn’t the one who caused the problem.
He made the world and it was very good.
So what went wrong?
If you think about your life, how much pain in it was caused by another person?
Fights, gossip, bullying, divorce, abuse, lies, backstabbing, selfishness…
There is enough food in the world to feed everyone.
It’s our GREED that stops us doing it.
Here’s what the Bible says went wrong: Romans 3
There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away.
The Bible says that there is no such thing as a good person.
If you compare yourself to other people, you might be good compared to them.
But if you compare yourself to God’s standard, eg to the 10 commandments, you realise that this verse is right.
Because God made the world, he has every right to rule it.
He made us to live in the world with him as our king.
But I know for me, I didn’t want a king.
I wanted to be king.
So I ignore what God tells me to do.
I know I shouldn’t steal, but I steal.
I know I shouldn’t lie, but I lie.
I know I’m supposed to love other people, but I’m chronically selfish.
And the most serious thing of all is the reason under all of those: I have turned my back on God as my king.
That’s what I’m doing every time I sin, every time I do the wrong thing.
That has 2 pretty big implications.
Did you know that it is an Australian law right now, that if you hit the Queen of England, you can go to jail for the rest of your life?
It’s a pretty serious thing to hit a king or a queen.
And it’s a very serious thing to turn your back on and reject the King who is God, who rules the entire universe.
We deserve more than life in prison.
The bible says that it’s so serious we deserve hell.
And that is all of us.
Every one of us deserves that.
Your teachers do.
Here’s the second implication.
It explains why our world is so messed up.
Because God tells us how to treat each other, but we ignore him and so treat each other badly.
That’s the cause of lots of the pain in the world.
You might be thinking, yes but what about sickness and natural disasters.
How is that caused by people?
Imagine you are part of an orchestra, and you’ve all been given sheet music that tells you what to play.
You just have to follow the conductor.
But right before you start playing, you decide you don’t want to obey the conductor.
So you get out some other music and start playing that.
How is it going to sound?
Especially if you are on drums or trumpet.
Because the thing with an orchestra is, it works like a harmony.
Every bit flowing together makes a beautiful whole.
If you break that, you break the whole lot.
There is a word in the Jewish language called “Shalom”.
It means, peace, harmony.
Everything is ‘in sync’.
That’s what the whole of creation was like when God created it.
It was in beautiful harmony.
But we stopped following the conductor, and it broke the harmony.
Not just for us, but everything was thrown out of sync.
The whole of creation is now broken.
It’s chaotic, disordered, broken.
So we get sick, and natural disasters happen, because the whole of creation is cut off from the conductor and out of sync.
That’s the natural consequence of ignoring the conductor.
But also, God is letting it happen so that we will see it and realise, there is something wrong here.
So here’s the situation. We have broken relationships in 3 different directions.
Our relationship with God is broken, because we’ve turned away from him and actually done stuff that makes him angry with us.
Our relationship with each other is broken, because we don’t treat each other well, because we don’t follow the way God says to.
And our relationship with the world is broken, because we broke the shalom, the harmony.
Every religion in the world agrees there is a problem with humanity.
That’s what the Bible says it is.
But what is God going to do about it?
Well, he could wipe out all evil.
But what would that mean?
He’d have to wipe out all of us.
He has another plan.
He’s going to fix it.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Then I heard a loud voice from the throne.
Look, God’s dwelling is with men and he will live with them.
They will be his people and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will exist no longer. Grief, crying and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.
God has a plan to fix it.
He’s going to re-create everything, the way it was supposed to be. Everything will be fixed. It will be good again.
What is God doing about it?
He’s going to fix it.
But there’s a problem for you and me. Verse 27 – Nothing bad will ever enter it. No one who does what is vile or false.
The problem is, we don’t deserve to be there.
We’re rebels against the King of the universe, we deserve to be punished.
The solution – the amazing solution – comes right at the centre of Christianity.
Why doesn’t God do something about the crap in our world?
Let me show you what he did.
He left the perfection of heaven, and became part of this world.
He experienced it.
And then he died to save us from it.
Jesus turns to the criminal – the last person on earth who deserves to go to heaven.
And says to him, today you will be with me in paradise.
Did the criminal do anything to earn it?
Every religion in the world says, there is a problem with you. Here is how to fix it.
Except Christianity. Christianity is must more real than that. It says, there is a problem with you. You can’t fix it.
Jesus died to fix it.
How can Jesus say to the criminal, today you will be with me in paradise?
Because of what Jesus is doing on the cross in this moment.
That’s why this is such a breathtaking moment.
Jesus didn’t deserve to die.
We do deserve to die, we’ve insulted the king.
Jesus is taking your place.
You rejected God and deserve to be punished.
God loves you so much that Jesus, God himself, came down to earth to take that punishment.
He pays the punishment for you.
So now it is possible for you to go to heaven, to be part of that fixed kingdom.
1) But be careful. Only 1 of the 2 criminals was saved. Not everyone will enter heaven.
2) Don’t try to earn it.
Here is the good news of Christianity.
God understands the crap in this world.
He experienced it.
But he is doing something about it. He is going to fix it. And he died to make it possible for you to be part of that new creation.
I’m just going to tell you how to be part of it, and then I’ll be done.
1) Look at what the criminal did. He realised Jesus was the king. You’ve been living your life for yourself, not for God as your king. Come back to God and make Jesus your king.
2) Ask Jesus to save you.
- Don’t try to earn it. You can’t. The criminal didn’t.
- The Bible says, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. All you have to do is ask for it.
Then your life belongs to God, and you start living with Jesus as king. You start to love Him, because he died for you. You start to do crazy stuff like go to church because you want to know more about him.
You start to read your bible because you want to hear him speaking to you.
And you start to want everyone around you to know this truth:
Yes, this world is stuffed up, but I’ve found hope.
I want you to find it too.
Make Jesus your king and ask him to save you.