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Belief: What is your faith based on?

Published: Wednesday, 05 March 2014 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

And God’s Word says,

The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.  He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?  I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.”  Mark 8:11-12

I sincerely believe that our generation has reached a point where Jesus would tell us the same thing that He told the Pharisees in the verses above.  “No sign will be given to it.”  Let me explain why I believe this.

 

The Pharisees were a group of Jews who were considered the most righteous.  The group developed after the Hebrews were exiled to Babylon, and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.  For all practical purposes, the heart of Judaism had been demolished.  All of this happened as a judgment from God because of the Hebrew Nation’s repeated disobedience of God’s commands.

About 515BC, remnants of the Hebrews returned to Israel and rebuilt the Temple.  This is the temple that Jesus walked in and taught in.  From all of the judgments from God, the Hebrews finally got the message that they were to be obedient.  Therefore, a group developed within the Hebrews to guard against being disobedient to God.  This is the group who became known as the Pharisees.  They were considered strict righteous living Jews.  However, they took being righteous to such an extreme that they slowly grew away from the unconditional love of God and toward a life of being self-righteous.  This legalistic way of living for oneself versus loving others including your enemies is the major reason that the Pharisees had so many problems with Jesus.

In the verses above, the Pharisees came to Jesus to test him.  Jesus had obtained a reputation of being a great teacher, and some were saying that He was from God.  They asked for a sign from heaven to prove He was who He said He was.  This is exactly where most people are today concerning Jesus Christ.  “Show me a sign, and I’ll believe!”

Did He really exist?  Did He really perform all the miracles described in the Bible?  Was He really the Son of God?  I hope these questions sound familiar, because I have talked with so many people about the truth concerning Jesus in the Bible.  I believe that most people approach the topic of Christ with only the tool of reason in their mind.

For the Pharisees, they were approaching Christ with the idea that anyone from God would obey ALL of the Jewish laws, even those not contained in the Old Testament.  My point is that they had predetermined the criteria for who Jesus was based only on their human reasoning.  Also, they had already decided in their hearts that Jesus was not from God.  They had closed their minds based on a false use of the tool of reason.

This is the major war weapon that Satan uses today to deflect from the absolute truth for faith to be a basis for living a healthy life (even for atheists.)  An atheist has to believe that there is no God.  Anytime his basis of belief is threatened  as not being true, then the incident has to be explained away at any cost to reason.  It is typical that man or Satan always takes what God has created and abuses and misuses it to discredit the Creator.  In this case, it was the use of reason: created by God and abused by man.

In His Word, God asks us to come together and reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18).  I really like that because I love reason.  God created reason for us to get to know who God is.  How man abuses it is to redefine reason to fit ONLY his set of beliefs.  This is the proverbial “getting the cart before the horse.”  This is how a lot of people approach Christianity today.  Deep in their minds and in their hearts, they will tell God to give them proof that He exists.  But, they have already excluded that miracles cannot exist. They have predetermined their answer before discussing the possibility that Jesus is the Son of God.

There are many stories of people who were atheists or agnostics that set out to prove that Jesus was not God.  Most of these people became Believers.  C. S. Lewis is one of the most famous.  Lee Strobel is a current doubter who, after extensive research, has become a strong believer.  Note: I recommend reading any of his books but especially, The Case for Christ.

The response from Jesus to their request is astounding – “he sighed deeply.”  Take a moment and try to find something in your life that would provoke such a response in you.  I can think of the loss of a football game with only seconds left in the game.  The losers would sigh deeply.  I can think of parents whose adult child has made another bad decision, and they would sigh deeply at the bad news.  What prompted Jesus to sigh deeply?  Jesus was doing only what God was telling Him to do.  Yet, the human emotion of sighing deeply was produced, because He knew that true belief does not come from performing a miracle.  He knew their belief would not change, because they had preconceived ideas about who He was.  It didn’t matter if He recreated the entire universe in front of them while they looked on, they would revert back to obeying the law.  He was very disappointed that they did not hear and listen to what He saying about the Kingdom of God.

We are living in a time that “believing” is becoming more and more difficult to base our lives on.  But that’s exactly what God requires.  I will be so bold to say that if you are waiting on a miracle to substantiate your faith, you will never see a miracle!  That’s what Jesus told them.  This generation, today’s generation, is not functioning on faith but rather on facts and logic that can only be defined correctly by man.  One person has said, “Give me the facts and I’ll believe.”  With God, it is “Believe and I’ll show you the facts.”  What do you base your faith on?

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Seven of my DVD lessons teaching on the Book of Revelation are now on the web site, www.lifechangingverses.com

You can get a bag of popcorn, click on any of the seven lessons, and the Revelation class will begin.  At any time, you can stop, reverse, or fast forward (don’t use this one too much!)   They are also located on You Tube.

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