HOW SIGNIFICANT IS YOUR WORLDVIEW? part 3

We have been examining the matter of a Christian worldview. Let me remind you that our worldview shapes all of our thinking on moral, social, economic, and psychological issues. That is why it is so critical to get the right world view. I remind you again that the Apostle Paul stated his concern clearly on this matter in Col. 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” We are considering how to form a Biblical world view and live by it. We considered the  first two steps:

Step one: We must decide who will be the ultimate authority in life for us.

Step two: We must commit ourselves to see all of life in relation to Christ.

Now let’s consider the last two steps.

Step three: We must accept an unchanging foundation to rest our worldview on-namely the Scripture. Matthew 24:35 states clearly that “…heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Hebrews 6:13-15, 17-18 affirms the following: For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,  saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”  And thus Abraham,having patiently waited, obtained the promise. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”

The foundation upon which we rest our belief system is only as good as its ability to endure and prove reliable. We need to stand on something to sustain and hold us up through life (“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). One of the old hymns  speaks of “Standing on the Promises of God.” The second verse states, “standing on the promises that cannot fail.” The fourth verse reads, “standing on the promises I cannot fall.” These verses declare a simple truth: when standing on the promises of God, we cannot fall because the promises of God cannot fail.

Psalm 119:89 gives additional assurance about the unchanging foundation of the Word of God. “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” There is something satisfying, and settling about having your belief system resting on something that will not change–ever. There is another old hymn that expresses the unchangeable nature of God and His word.The second verse of Abide with Me, goes like this:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Our worldview may grow and develop in maturity, but when it is anchored on the unchanging foundation of scripture we are safe, firmly rooted for whatever storms assault our lives.  We do not have the time or the wisdom to experiment with worldview options. Go for the gold from the start. Let the scripture dictate  what you believe about science, sociology, psychology, government, marriage, vocational ethics, etc. It will never steer you wrong. It is rock-solid!! You will find it more than sufficient to govern rightly your belief system. Read Psalm 119 and listen to why the Psalmist based his worldview on the Scriptures!

Step four: We must believe that sin and evil are offensive to God. R. C. Sproul used to say “If we understand who God is, and catch a glimpse of His majesty, purity, and holiness, then we are instantly aware of the extent of our own corruption….That is the dilemma that Scripture sets before us: we have a holy God whose image we bear and whose image it is our fundamental responsibility as human beings to mirror—yet we are not holy.”

This is a day of extreme toleration.  Sin and evil are  called good. When man sins, excuses are given on a wide-range of possibilities. We tolerate it in ourselves because we see it in others. We feel smugly righteous if we discount the evil and sin we see in others and conclude we are loving and kind by not mentioning or condemning such actions and behaviors. R. C. Sproul’s take on this very idea is compelling:

When we sin, we want to describe our sinful activity in terms of a mistake, as if that softens or mitigates the guilt involved. We don’t think it’s wrong for a child to add two and two and come up with five. We know the answer’s wrong, but we don’t spank the child and say, “You’re bad, because you made five out of two and two instead of four.” We think of mistakes as being part of the human condition. But as I said to that pastor, if one of us is wrong, it would be because he came to the Scriptures while wanting it to agree with him, rather than wanting to agree with the Scriptures. We tend to come biased, and we distort the very Word of God to escape the judgment that comes from it.

Listen to Psalm 16:2 “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” The psalmist’s worldview was that God was Holy and he was not.  There was a divide between himself and God that he could not bridge. Isaiah’s testimony confirms this biblical reality. “And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'” (Isaiah 6:5)

The importance of this step in forming a biblical world view is that it draws the rightful conclusion that man needs a Savior. He does not need rehabilitated, he needs redeemed. He does not need reformed, he needs transformed entirely from the inside out. He does not need refurbished, he needs rescued.  He does not need a makeover, He needs a totally new creation.  Our worldview as believers embraces the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only hope man has.  It is the Gospel that confesses to the Holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. The coming of Christ to die on the cross, to be buried, and to rise again the third day, substituting Himself for sinners admits to the truth that the people of this world need saving from their sins!

Do you have a biblical world view? Are you willing to take the steps it requires to form a biblical world view and then live by it?  Think it thru!!!

 

ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?

asking right questions

Each of us is bombarded with information. Every day we encounter new facts and opinions that writers and newscasters and self-proclaimed experts want us to accept. Let’s face it, in all areas of knowledge there are some issues about which experts in those fields disagree. In Neil Browne’s book “Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking” he rightly observes that “You as a reader [or listener] have the tough job of deciding which authority to believe….As a thoughtful person you must choose how you will react to what you see and hear. One alternative is to just accept whatever you encounter; doing so automatically results in your making someone else’s opinion your own. A more active alternative consists of asking questions in an effort to reach a personal decision about the worth of what you have experienced.”

The problem we face is this: What is the right question to ask? I often have people ask me if it is wrong for a believer to engage in a certain practice. Take drinking alcoholic beverages for example. The question I hear is this: Is it wrong for a believer to use alcoholic beverages? But you see that is the wrong question. The question is not “What is wrong with it?” The right question to ask is this: “What is right about it?” With that question I am not thinking in terms of what I can or cannot do…nor am I posing in my mind the issue of how close I can walk to some line and still be ok… godly… Christian! Rather, I am forced now to think of what is best for Christ and His Gospel. The answer is not about what I can do for me, but what am I able to do for Christ!

This is why Paul counsels us in Colossians 3:1-3 about restructuring our thinking when it comes to our life choices. 1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Conversion literally changes our thought patterns. The presence of the Holy Spirit brings a new spiritual influence into our lives. The result is that we now engage in a whole different approach to life and the desires of life. The selfish life always asks the question –what is wrong with this- why can I not do this? The selfless life, on the other hand is preoccupied with Christ and thus asks the question – what is right about this- if I did this how would it impact Christ and His gospel?

Why do we struggle with asking the right questions? Henri Nouwen in his book “The Inner Voice of Love” gives us a possible answer: “In many ways, you still want to set your own agenda. You act as if you have to choose among many things, which all seem equally important. But you have not fully surrendered yourself to God’s guidance. You keep fighting with God over who is in control.”

Are you ready to ask the right questions? Think it thru