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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Three Reasons to Believe Christianity Is True

James Meehan - Three Reasons to Believe Christianity Is True

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    James Meehan - Three Reasons to Believe Christianity Is True
TOPICS: The Habits of Holiness, Christianity

So all throughout my teenage years, I had this same opinion of God that I did of Santa Claus, right? I had the idea, the belief in my mind that God and Santa Claus were both made up by people in positions of authority to try to get people to behave in a certain way. Now, over the course of a lot of years, my opinions about God have changed radically. Still believe the same thing about Santa Claus, right? Don't believe in Santa Claus. If you're hearing that for the very first time, I'm sorry that I just burst that bubble for you, but we just wanna be honest, and we wanna honor the truth anytime we are here at Switch. And here's the thing. When I think about so much of my life, what I realize is that most of what I had heard about God were all the reasons not to believe. There were all of the questions that people had that made them want to run as far from God and faith and religion and Christianity as they could possibly get. And so all throughout my teenage years, I found myself in this place where not only did I not believe that God was real, I didn't even believe that Christianity was good.

And then there was a moment where, honestly, everything changed for me. It started because I was introduced to a group of Christians who loved me unconditionally. They showed me love that I had never experienced before. And even though I was ridiculously skeptical of what they believed, I still wanted what they had. The sense of joy that no matter what was happening in their lives couldn't be taken from them. This identity that they had that was so much more than just how they felt day to day. And this overwhelming sense of purpose that helped them see every day as a day that mattered. And so as I'm interacting with these people, as I'm being surrounded by these Christians, I found myself in this place where I started to question what I had assumed for so long. And on this journey of questioning and seeking truth, I stumbled upon a number of brilliant Christian thinkers who forced me to totally rethink my worldview.

There were people like the author C.S. Lewis or Alister McGrath or John Lennox or Ravi Zacharias or William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Trent Horn, Alvin Plantinga, and so many more. These are all Christian thinkers and authors and theologians and philosophers and scientists who thought really, really hard about the evidence. And when they looked at the evidence, they became convinced that God was real. And not just any god, but specifically the God of the Bible, the God of Christianity. And so what we're gonna do today is we're gonna wrestle with the question is Christianity true? Because as we're in this series wrestling with what is truth, we've gotta figure out is Christian even true, right? Because if it's not, then bye. If Christianity isn't true, then what are we doing? But I'm absolutely convinced that it is. Because when I personally look at the historical, the scientific, and the philosophical evidence, I cannot help but come to a place where it seems way more likely that Christianity is true than that it's not.

And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna present to you three of the arguments for the existence of God that I have been introduced to from some of these different thinkers. And really what this is gonna be is just like very introductory, right. I'm not gonna go into all of the details, because these different arguments and all of the evidence associated with them, like fill books upon books upon books. So what I'm gonna do is introduce you to the ideas, and some of the people that you can learn from even more, so that you can continue on this journey even after we're done here today. So, that's what we're gonna do. Three arguments for the existence of God. Three reasons why I believe that Christianity is true. The first reason is this, that something came from nothing, something came from nothing. In the very first book of the Bible is a book that we call Genesis today. It starts off with these words, Genesis chapter one verse one, "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth".

Question for you, where do babies come from? Now contrary to what you may have heard in a like kid's fairy tale story, they don't come from storks. That's actually made up, not true. Kids also don't just randomly pop into existence out of nothing when a mommy and daddy love each other very much. Kids, babies, they come from parents getting frisky, right, these biological mechanisms that lead to the conception of a new life. That's where babies come from. Question for you, do magicians really pull rabbits out of hats? Is it magic? Right, when you think about it, I hope your answer is no, that they do not magically pull rabbits out of hats. And here's why I'm asking you these questions is because there's just something in us that knows that things don't just randomly pop into existence out of nothing. But what's so interesting is that both the scientific and the biblical account claims that the universe began to exist.

One of my favorite philosophers and Christian apologists is a guy named William Lane Craig who has explored this argument for the existence of God more brilliantly and thoroughly than almost anybody I know. This argument is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the argument that something came from nothing. And here's how he presents this argument. The first premise is that if something begins to exist, it must have a cause for its existence. Right, things don't just pop into existence out of nothing. If something begins to exist, there must have been something that caused it to begin to exist. The second point is that the universe began to exist, that means the universe has a beginning. And the final point, what William Lane Craig says is that if those first two points are true, then point number three, therefore the universe has a cause for its existence. We know that babies don't come from storks. Rabbits don't magically pop into existence out of hats. And the universe didn't just appear to exist, because it just doesn't make sense. And I'm not just like throwing this out there, we've got tons of evidence in philosophy and science that we can point to.

As a matter of fact, the reason why I read that verse to you from Genesis is because that was believed to be written, I believe about 3,400 years ago. So about 3,400 years ago, the biblical author claimed that the universe had a beginning. And what's crazy is that it wasn't until the last like hundred years or so that science confirmed what the Bible claimed thousands of years ago, that the universe has a beginning. The last hundred years or so of research have provided overwhelming evidence that there was a point when everything we see, the universe, all of space, time, matter and energy began to exist. And so the question becomes, if everything that begins to exist has a cause, and the universe began to exist, therefore the universe must have a cause, what is that cause? That's the real question. That's where the debate is often most heated is what that explanation is. And what I love so much is the reality that if we're looking at the evidence, like I said, philosophically and scientifically, we can conclude, right, that the universe, which consists of all of space, time and matter. Like all of space, time, and matter is a part of the universe.

And so before the universe began to exist, there was no space, no time, and no matter. And so whatever the cause of the universe was, it must be something outside of the universe. So that means whatever caused the universe to begin has to be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. And so it has to be like spaceless, so it has to be infinite. Timeless, it has to be eternal. Immaterial, it's not gonna be something physical. The best way I've heard it described is it has to be some type of spirit. Also, it's gotta be really, really powerful to create everything we know in the universe. So what is it that we call this thing that is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, and immensely powerful? Well, as Christians, we call that thing God. Because there's a point in time where the universe began to exist. The question becomes, what caused it to exist?

And again, what I'm not trying to tell you is this argument on its own proves without any question that Christianity is true. What it does do is it provides the evidence that there is something beyond the universe that caused it to exist. What's really interesting is that for literally thousands of years, atheist scientists held on to the belief that the universe was eternal, because they knew that if the universe had a beginning, that would be evidence for the universe having a beginner. And it wasn't until, like I said, the last hundred years or so, when the scientific evidence was so overwhelming for the beginning of the universe, that many of them changed their minds. So why do I believe that Christianity is true? Because both science and the Bible agree that there was a point in time where the universe began to exist. In Hebrews chapter 11, I believe it is verse three, if I can find it. Yes, Hebrews chapter 11 verse three says this, "That by faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible".

Why do I believe that Christianity is true? Because something came from nothing. And I believe that Christianity provides a better explanation for that something from nothing than any other worldview. That's argument number one. Argument number two is this, order from chaos, order from chaos. Back in Genesis chapter one, "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth. Now the earth was formless and empty," that means that there was chaos, there was no order. "The darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters". Then in Psalm chapter 19 verse one and two, it says this, That "the heavens proclaim the glory of God, the skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak. Night after night, they make him known".

So, once upon a time there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She had golden hair. And she was wandering through the forest when all of a sudden she found herself very hungry and a little bit tired. As she's wandering through the forest, she sees a house, and she thinks to herself, "Well, I'm sure that there are nice people in this house, so let me just walk up to the house, knock on the door, and see if they will feed me". Well, Goldilocks knocks on the door, and there's no answer. And as often happens in children's stories, when nobody answers, you just walk right on in. And so Goldilocks enters the home and she finds three bowls of porridge sitting on the dining room table. She decides, well, I mean, they're not here, and like, these are big bowls. I'm not gonna eat too much, they won't notice. So she takes a bite of the first bowl, and it was way too hot. Then she takes a bite of the second bowl, way too cold. But that third bowl, come on, somebody, that third bowl was just right. After eating, Goldilocks is like, "Man, I've been walking all day, I need to, you know, just take a load off my feet. So let me go find a seat".

She goes into the living room where there are three different chairs lined up. The first one too hard, the second one too soft, but that third one, come on somebody, was just right. So she sits in it for awhile. And after sitting for awhile, she's like, "Man, sitting is good, but napping is better. So I'm gonna go on upstairs, and I'm gonna see if they got any beds, because look, here's the deal. If I've already eaten their food and sat in their chairs, it would just be messed up to not go the extra mile and sleep in their beds". So Goldilocks heads on upstairs. She goes into a room where she finds three different beds. The first bed, I don't know, didn't work. Second bed also didn't work, can't remember the reasons, been a long time since I read Goldilocks, but that third bed, you already know where I'm going with it, that third bed was just right.

Now I'm not gonna spoil what happens after that. If you wanna hear the end of the story, you're gonna have to go read it on your own, because there are no spoilers here at Switch. So what does that have to do with the existence of God? Great question, I'm so glad you asked. So this second argument, order from chaos has been called by some, the Goldilocks argument. It's the idea that the universe appears to be designed, to be just right for the existence of life, so much so that it seems very, very, very, very unlikely to be the product of random chance. One of my favorite Christian scientists who talks about this argument is a guy named Hugh Ross, who wrote a book called "The Creator and the Cosmos". Where he goes in depth into all of the scientific evidence that if it were just a product of random chance, would be so unlikely that it has led many scientists, even atheist scientist to describe it as almost miraculous. The argument is that because of how fine-tuned, because of how much the universe seems to be just right for the existence of life, many people have been led to believe that it's much more likely to be the product of an intelligent creator rather than the product of random chance.

Now one of the common misconceptions with this argument for the existence of God is that it's all about life specifically on Earth. And that's not actually the case. This argument doesn't just talk about human life on Earth, but any life in the universe at all. So I got this quote, feel really bad, 'cause I can't remember where I got it from, so I'm not giving credit, but I'm sure you can find it somewhere. It might have been from Hugh Ross's book, but I'm gonna read it anyway. So, this is what this author said, I think it was Hugh Ross, but I might be wrong. This author wrote that "We are told by today's astrophysicists, that there were close to 150 variables that would need to be lined up perfectly in order for our universe to have come into existence. If any one of these variables was off by even a million millionth, the slightest degree, matter would not have been able to unite and hold together. There would have been nothing, no stars, no world, no people".

Like I said, these odds are so small and so unlikely that there are many atheist scientists who have described the appearance of the fine-tuning of the universe as one of the most compelling and powerful arguments for the existence of God. One of those scientists is a man named Sir Roger Penrose, who, in one of his studies, where he was exploring just one of those 150 different variables, he was studying the level of entropy, the level of disorder that happened right after the universe began. He calculated that the likelihood of that measurement being what it was, what was necessary for the universe to form, was one in 10 to the 10th to the 123rd power. So like one in 10 to the 10th to the 123rd power. That is so precise, it's like, .0000, like tons of zeroes, that if you wrote all the zeroes of this number side by side, it would literally stretch from one end of the Milky Way Galaxy to the other. Right, it is more likely that you would win the lottery 10,000 times in a row, and then be struck by lightning every time you won for that number to be as precise as it is. And that is just one out of over 153 different variables, that if they were not just right, nothing, no stars, no world, no people, the universe would not be life-permitting. But it is. We're here.

And so the question becomes, what's the best explanation for the appearance of design that is present in our universe? Now, I would tell you all day long, that the best explanation is what we find right there in the Bible, that the God of everything created the heavens and the earth. And he brought order to chaos. Because at first they were formless and void, but then he brought order, he brought design, he brought intentionality, so that life could exist. I believe that it's because God was so intentional in crafting every little thing to be just right, that life would be possible. Why do I believe that Christianity is true? Because science and philosophy agree that the universe had a beginning. There was an origin to everything, that something came from nothing. Because science is very, very clear that there is a level of appearance of fine-tuning in the universe, that it makes it really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really unlikely that it's the product of random chance alone.

What the Bible tells us is that it's because we have an intelligent loving creator who made everything just right. And again, I'm not saying that either of these arguments on their own 100% prove the existence of God or the God of the Bible, but what they do is they start providing evidence, little by little that makes Christianity more likely and naturalism or atheism less likely. So, argument number one, something from nothing. Argument number two, order from chaos. Now argument number three is one of my favorites, life from death. Because this is the argument that starts to make it more clear who this God is, this first cause that exists outside of the universe, this intelligent designer who brought order to chaos.

The apostle Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament documents wrote this in First Corinthians chapter 15 verse 14. He said that "If Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless and your faith is useless". Yeah, pretty strong words here. Paul is saying that if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then Christianity is useless, our preaching is useless, your faith is useless. You see, Christianity is the only falsifiable religion in the world. What that means is Christianity is the only religion that makes a claim based on history that can be disproven. And so the question then becomes, if all of Christianity hangs on an event that happened in history, the resurrection of Jesus, we've gotta know, did Jesus rise from the dead? Because if Jesus rose from the dead, then all of a sudden Christianity is true. Right, like if Jesus really came back from the dead, then Jesus is the Son of God.

The God of the Bible created something from nothing, order from chaos and brought Jesus back from the dead. But if it's not, if Jesus did not return from the dead, then Christianity is false. It was, I believe Houston Smith who said this. He said that "Christianity is basically a historical religion. That is to say, it's founded not on abstract principles, but on concrete events, actual historical happenings". The foundation of the Christian faith is the claim that something happened in history. Now what's interesting is there are a lot of different atheists throughout the years who have understood this. And so they've gone on journeys to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. And what is so fascinating is the number of these people who set out to disprove Christianity, and along the way ended up believing in the very thing they tried to prove false.

Just a few of those names, J.D. Anderson, William Ramsey, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Gilbert West, and Frank Morrison. These are all peoples, like I said, who they're original goal was to prove that Jesus didn't rise from the dead, but on the way, they were so overwhelmed by the evidence, the historical evidence, surrounding the resurrection of Jesus, that they couldn't help but change their minds, believe that Christianity is true, and become a follower of the man they set out to disprove. There was a guy named Gary Habermas who is one of the foremost experts on studying the resurrection of Jesus. And he led a team of scholars on one of the most intense investigations ever, where he and his team looked at thousands of different sources that were all documenting and looking at the historical evidence surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. And these were sources that didn't just come from Christians, right, there were tons of sources that came from skeptics and atheists, in addition to scholars who did believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

And along this journey, Gary Habermas and his team, they compiled a list of what he calls the minimal facts. And these are facts that more than 90% of those thousands of sources agree actually happened. And mind you, these were sources that included a significant number of atheists and skeptical scholars. And so what Gary Habermas presents are these minimal facts. And he just asks the question, based off of these facts that more than 90% of these thousands of sources agree took place, what is the best explanation? So what I wanna do is present to you these facts. We're just gonna go in order, these minimal facts, there's anywhere from six to 12. I'm just gonna give you six of them, because I don't have time to give you all 12.

So these six facts. The first one is this. That 90% of those thousands of sources agree that Jesus was a real person who died by crucifixion on a Roman cross. The second fact that very soon afterwards, Jesus's followers had experiences that they believed were actual appearances of a resurrected Jesus. Then number three, because of those experiences, these followers were transformed and were willing to die for their belief in Jesus's resurrection. Number four is that the message of Jesus and the Christian church started right after Jesus was killed right where Jesus was killed, the city of Jerusalem. Number five, James, Jesus's own brother, who was not a Christian at first, became a Christian after the death of Jesus, because he believed his brother really did come back from the dead. And then number six, Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, went from killing Christians to starting churches, because he had an experience that he believed was with the risen Jesus.

So, what is the best explanation for these facts? I believe that the best explanation is that Jesus did exactly what he said he was going to do, that he rose from the dead. Now the difficult thing here, though, is that if you already assume that God is fake and that miracles are impossible, then of course, you will come up with any other explanation than God performed a miracle and brought Jesus back from the dead. Right, like if you already assume there is no God. But when we look at the fact that science and Scripture agree that something came from nothing, that everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, therefore the universe must have a cause. That cause has to be something outside of the universe. When science and Scripture agree that the universe is just right for the existence of life. All of a sudden, it opens the door to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there is more to the world than what we see around us, that maybe, just maybe, there is something outside of the universe, an all-powerful being that has the ability to raise someone from the dead. Because if you can create the universe in a moment, you better believe raising somebody from the dead, like that's easy.

So what's the best explanation? Like I said, I'm convinced when I look at these scientific, the historical, and the philosophical evidence, that the most coherent and consistent explanation for this evidence is that there is a God who exists outside of the universe, who brought something from nothing, who brought order from chaos, and who brought life from death. But the reality is is that me presenting these arguments and this evidence to you may or may not convince you. And that's not what my goal is. My goal is simply to present to you some of the good reasons based on the evidence to believe. That belief in God is actually reasonable, that it actually makes sense. So wherever you might be on your journey of faith, on your journey of wrestling and seeking the truth, I hope that you will not stop here, but that you'll continue to wrestle with the evidence, to follow it wherever it leads.

If you are a follower of Jesus, and maybe you've been wrestling with doubts, you've been struggling with questions that you just don't know how to answer, my hope and my prayer is that you would bring your questions to God, that you would process your doubts with people you trust, and that you would choose to follow Jesus anyway. Because what you've got to understand is that your doubts do not disqualify you, they make you human. Because in this life, we're gonna have questions, we're going to have doubts. And that's the beauty of faith is that it's not a leap into the dark, it is a leap into the light, based on the evidence. Because when we look at the evidence of science, of history and philosophy, I am convinced that the best explanation for the origin of the universe, the design of the universe, and the historical facts surrounding the resurrection of Jesus is that the God of the Bible is real. And here's what that means for you. The same God who brought something from nothing, who brought order to chaos, who brought life from death is inviting you to trust in him, to follow him, to partner with him in bringing heaven to earth.

Heavenly Father, I pray right now that every single person hearing this message, that they would choose to seek the truth, that they would follow the truth wherever it leads.

And you wanna know is there are people who you, you're watching this right now, whether in a building or online, and you are wrestling with questions and doubts, and you're just not sure what to do with them. And whatever that looks like for you, I need you to know that you are in the right place at the right time. And if that is you, and you want help to process your doubts, to bring your questions to God, would you just lift your hand wherever you are, type it in the chat, and let us know so that we can pray for you. And as those hands are going up, let me pray:

Heavenly Father, that you would give them confidence, that if they seek the truth, they will find you. That God, as they're going on this journey to wrestle with their questions, to process their doubts, that they would do it with people who love them and are there for them. And that, God, throughout this process, your presence would be felt.

Still in an attitude of prayer with heads bowed and eyes closed, there are others of you, who you find yourself in a point in life, where you're just not sure what to believe about anything. Maybe you find yourself in a place where you're not even sure why life matters. But what I need you to understand is that the beauty of the Christian God, the beauty of the God of the Bible is that in the beginning he created everything with and for a purpose. That means you were created for the purpose of living in relationship with him, but here's the problem as human beings, every single one of us, you and me, we do things that hurt ourselves and others, and those things cause sin. It's this disease of self-centeredness that creates a separation between us and God.

But the good news, the gospel is that God loves you so much, 2,000 years ago, he entered his creation, our loving creator became a person. That person was Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life. He died a brutal death on the cross for your sins and for mine. But the good news is that on the third day, God brought life from death. Jesus rose from the grave, so that anybody who puts their trust in him would be saved, they would be made new, their life would forever be different. And that's exactly why you're here to day, to begin a relationship with Jesus, to put your trust in him. Wherever you are, if that's you, and you're saying, "Jesus, I wanna trust you, I wanna follow you, today I give you my life". Then lift your hand right now, wherever you are, type it in the chat, click on the link, letting us know that you're making the decision to follow Jesus. And as you are, we're gonna pray this prayer together, every single one of us out loud, alongside. Because even though you made that choice on your own, you don't have to pray alone, because we are a family at Switch, so repeat after me:

Heavenly Father, forgive me. I'm turning from my sins. I'm turning to you. I'm choosing to trust you. I ask that you forgive me. That you extend to me your grace, your love and your mercy. It's in Jesus' name, amen.

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