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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Answering the Top 10 Questions Teenagers are Afraid to Ask

James Meehan - Answering the Top 10 Questions Teenagers are Afraid to Ask

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    James Meehan - Answering the Top 10 Questions Teenagers are Afraid to Ask

Well today to, close out our series, "Big Questions, Honest Answers", we're answering 10 of your questions with our best and most honest answers. So we're going to move fast because we've got a lot of ground to cover. Make sure you are taking notes because chances are really good that we will cover a question that you or someone you care about has been asking. Now, before we dive in, I want you to know that Switch is a safe place for you to bring your questions and your doubts. In fact, you are totally welcome here, even if you don't believe what we believe or you disagree with some of what I'm going to say today, no matter what though, we hope that you will bring your questions to God, that you will process your doubts with people you trust, and most importantly, that you will choose to follow Jesus because we believe that following him will change everything for you.

Now, let's get started with question number one. Doesn't science disprove the Bible? Nope. Now, that idea comes from a lot of people misunderstanding science and misinterpreting scripture. Now, back in my day when I was a middle school and high schooler, I would've said, "Yeah, it totally does," but that's because I didn't really know what I was talking about. Now, after years of following Jesus and trying to see how these things work together, I've seen that there are absolutely limits of science, and I have a better grasp of what scripture is for. And when you see how they work together, it is a beautiful picture of how God brings truth to us, about him, about us, and about the natural world.

As a matter of fact, there is a verse in the Bible that speaks directly to this. Psalm 19 says that the heavens proclaim the glory of God, the skies, the skies, the stars, space displays his craftsmanship. Day after day, nature continues to speak. Night after night, the world makes him known. So does science disprove the Bible? I would say not even close. That when you understand them both, you can see how they work together to reveal truth about God, us, and the world.

Question number two, why does God let bad things happen? Now, this is a really big one that has continued to cause people to have questions for literally thousands of years, and the very simple answer is this, that God allows bad things to happen because he uses bad things for good. As a matter of fact, the very first book of the Bible, Genesis ends with this beautiful declaration of how God takes what is bad and uses it for good. Genesis 50:20, Joseph says, "You intended to harm me," but listen, "God intended it all for good". What you meant for evil, God used for good. He brought Joseph to this position so that many people could be saved.

This is why God allows bad things to happen, because uses bad things for good. He allows bad to exist because he wanted us to have this beautiful thing called free will, the ability to choose for ourselves what we are going to do. Why? Because God didn't want rocks or robots. He wanted a relationship. He wanted us to choose him. God allows bad things to happen for the good of our character being formed. For us developing virtues like courage, compassion, mercy, integrity, all of those different things, our trials and struggles, the bad things that happen to us allow us to grow in. God allows bad things to happen because he uses them for good. God allowed Jesus to be killed on the cross so that on the third day he could rise from the dead so that anybody who trusts in him could be saved. This is why God lets bad things happen because he uses them every single time for good.

Question number three, what happens when we die? Now, if you have chosen to be with Jesus in this life, then after you die, you will go to be with him in heaven. And then when he returns at the end of time to remake all of the world, you will live with him in the new creation forever and ever. It will be a place with no evil, sin, suffering, or death. It'll be a place full of life, love, goodness, beauty, and joy, like imagine all the best parts of life, but even better. With none of the bad stuff. All of that is gone. That is what the new creation with Jesus is going to be like. But if you have chosen to not be with Jesus in this life, then you will not be with him after you die. Now, the exact specifics of what life without Jesus in the afterlife is like isn't entirely clear in scripture, but it's definitely not good because in the same way that eternity with Jesus is all of the good stuff with none of the bad stuff, eternity without Jesus is the opposite.

Now, a quick note, most of the time when people imagine hell, they picture something that is more based on the writings of medieval poets than the actual words of Jesus. So for your Bible nerds out there, when Jesus talked about hell, he was often referencing a passage from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that described the aftermath of this epic battle between God and the forces of evil where the forces of evil were totally wiped out. It is pretty gruesome, but if you want to read it, you can find it in Jeremiah seven.

Question number four, what do I do when my friends are making bad choices? Well, to illustrate, I want to invite my bad friend Beau to show us that it is a lot easier to get dragged down than it is to lift somebody else. See? Now, one more time. If Beau's my bad friend and I'm trying to lift him up, look at how much harder this is. And like I'm not kidding, I'm a decently fit dude, like I work out regularly, but if I'm trying to lift him up onto this chair, it requires immensely more effort than if he drags me down.

Now, there are some of you who are entirely unconvinced by this illustration, and because of that, you probably keep getting dragged down by your friends, even though you want to be a light. So here is my advice to you. Be a light without getting dragged down by creating the appropriate distance in your relationships. Like if you've got great friends who move you closer to Jesus, keep 'em real close. Spend a lot of time with those people.

If you've got friends who pull you away from Jesus, then still spend time with them, but don't make them the people you spend the most time with. Jesus was really good at going out to reach people who were far from him, but then he would come back to spend time with his heavenly Father and to spend time with his closest disciples. That's where he spent the most time with, and if you don't have that inner circle of great friends who are building you up, you need to find them and Switch is probably the best place you can do that.

So question number five, how can we know that Christianity is true when there are so many other religions? It comes down to the recognition and the resurrection of Jesus. Because just about every other religion recognizes and makes room for Jesus to be something that is more than human. But Jesus doesn't make room for any other religion. Just about everybody else says there is something special about Jesus. But Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me".

So if everybody thinks he's special, but he says that he's the only way to God then maybe we should listen to the one that everybody recognizes as special. And because of the resurrection of Jesus, it was a historical event. There is a claim that Jesus really lived, he really died, and he really rose again, and his resurrection was witnessed by hundreds of people who, because they saw him come back from the dead, were they themselves willing to die for their faith. There are people who might die for something they believe is true, but I don't know anybody who's gonna die for something they know is a lie. They believed that he rose from the grave and they bet their lives on it.

Question number six, what if I don't feel good enough for God to love me? If you don't, I need you to know that you are right. But thankfully, God is so good that none of us have to be good enough for him to love us. He is so good. He loves us even though we are not good enough. Ephesians chapter two, verse eight through 10, "God saved you by his grace when you believed, and you cannot take credit for this. It is a gift from God that is grace. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done". It's not something we achieve, "So none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us brand new in Christ Jesus so hat we can do the good things that he planned for us long ago". Before he asks you to do something good, he saves you first because of his grace, because of this gift that we can't earn and we don't deserve, all we have to do is receive it.

Question number seven, how do I forgive someone who has done something really bad? The quick answer is that you remember how much God has forgiven you. That's what Colossians chapter three tells us, to remember that the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. All the things that we have done wrong, if we go to God, he will forgive us, no matter how bad they are, and because of the forgiveness we have received from him, he's calling us, he's commanding us to share that same forgiveness with others.

Now, I wanna be really clear that forgiving somebody does not mean you stay best friends forever and nothing in your relationship changes. Obviously, sometimes it is wise to put new boundaries in place to protect you and the other person. Forgiveness is about not holding a grudge or attempting in your own power to punish the person who wronged you. Justice still may need to come. We just don't make ourselves the judge of another person. We trust God and the proper authorities to do that.

Question number eight, why doesn't God make believing in him more obvious? Now, some of you, depending on your experience with faith, might be wondering, "What are you talking about? God is obvious. All the things that he's done in my life, all the things that I've seen, what I've experienced, the evidence for Jesus, the evidence that we see in creation, all of it is overwhelming," but that's not so with everybody because depending on somebody else's experience, the evidence for God may seem lacking. Like there's so little of it that it doesn't actually make sense to believe. Why is that the case? Well, because God wants us to choose for ourselves whether or not we are going to trust him or not. He gives us enough evidence that we can with confidence believe in him, but not so much evidence that it does not require faith.

Now, let me be very clear. Faith is not believing something just because you want it to be true. Faith, according to the Bible, is trust based on the evidence we have been given, that leads to obedience. And all of us, if we look closely at our lives, if we look closely at history, if we look closely at the world, if we look closely at the scriptures, have enough evidence available for us that we can make an informed decision whether or not we believe God is who he said he was. Ultimately, it's your decision, will you trust based on the evidence and if you will, you get to experience life with him. But if you don't, then that's your decision, and I hope that even if you're not convinced yet, you will keep coming back, that you'll keep searching to see if maybe just maybe God will reveal himself to you more and more, little by little, until you're ready to accept him.

Question number nine, how come so many Christians are such judgemental hypocrites? Two big reasons for you. Reason number one is because they are still in the process of changing. You see, much of the hypocrisy we see is actually caused by spiritual and emotional immaturity. Like all of us as followers of Jesus have a lot of growing up to do in our faith if we want to become the kind of people who, with integrity, love God and love others like Jesus does. We got a lot of growing up to do. That's one of the reasons there are so many hypocritical Christians because we are still in the process of changing.

The other reason is because there's a lot of people who call themselves Christians but aren't actually following Jesus, and it might be more people than you think. As a matter of fact, in Matthew chapter seven, verse 21, Jesus says, "Not everyone who calls out to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven, only they will enter". Only they are actually in on the family of God. You see, following Jesus isn't just saying you believe in Jesus. It's not just calling yourself a Christian in your bio. It is doing your best to go where he goes, to do what he does, to trust what he says, and learn to love how he loves.

And for question number 10, why did Jesus have to die? Put simply, Jesus died to rescue us from sin, to repair our relationship with God, and to restore our purpose of partnering with him. This is the good news of the gospel, that God created every single one of us with life and purpose designed for relationship with him, but because of our choices, because of our sins, we were separated from God. But God loves you so much that he became a human being named Jesus. He went to the cross dying as the perfect sacrifice for your sins, rising from the grave on the third day, Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus, proving that ultimately God and God alone is the highest power in all of the universe because not even death could hold him, and he conquered death so that all of us might have a life through a relationship with him. This is why Jesus died, to save us from sin death in the devil. So that we could have life and life forever with God in heaven and in the new creation. And so if you have not put your trust in Jesus, then maybe today is the day that changes.

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for your love for us, for the fact that when we bring our questions to you, we discover more of your truth and your goodness. I pray that all of us would continue to wrestle with the hard parts of our faith, that we would not ignore them or shy away from them, but that we would dig in and trust that on the other side of our deepest questions is more of your goodness and truth. Pray all this in your name, amen.

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