Jump Start # 2402
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
The religious community was rocked with shocking news this past weekend. Best selling author, Joshua Harris, who wrote the book, “I kissed dating goodbye,” announced that he and his wife were divorcing and he was no longer a Christian. He has apologized to the LBGTQ community for things he has said about them. So, this author who wrote a great book on purity has now kissed God goodbye.
All of this brings us to the discussion of how does one believe and how does a believer “disbelieve?” What Harris admitted is something that happens throughout the church every year. We hear of couples divorcing and one dropping out completely. When folks reach out and try to open a conversation, the reply is short, sad and to the point. “I do not believe anymore.” Sometimes the statement is wrapped around the church. I don’t believe the way you do. And the person dances off to a nearby church that is more into fun and self. But other times the declaration is, “I don’t believe in God.” And with that, the person kisses God goodbye.
So, we must begin with how does one become a believer? Understanding this, helps us to understand how one kisses God goodbye. Our verse defines the process. Belief in God is based upon the word of God, or the Bible. It’s not a feeling. Without the Bible, our faith wouldn’t be much different than the pagans. They worshipped rivers, the moon, the sun, and had idols for all kinds of things, including animals, that they considered to be gods. While God is everywhere, God is not everything. God is not a tree. God is not a cloud. God is not a feeling. God is real.
Our faith is built upon the truthfulness of God’s word. The Gospel of John concludes with these thoughts: “these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Feelings are hard to describe. God uses evidence, proof, facts. These undeniable facts lead to conclusions, which builds our faith. The children’s song, “Jesus loves me, because the Bible tells me so,” illustrates this concept. We know God loves us because His word says so. His word is true. His word is proven. His word has stood the test of time. His word is accurate. The apostles were sent into all the world preaching the Gospel of Jesus. Young Timothy was told to preach the word. We believe because the Bible is so.
This is the reason our Bible classes must teach the Bible. This is the reason our sermons must be laced with Bible. We are not sharing our opinions. We are not persuading and changing moral behaviors because we feel that it would be right for society. We are teaching the word of God. How is that we know we are forgiven? A feeling? No. The promises of God’s word, the Bible. How do we know that there is a Heaven? We just know there is? No. The Bible tells us so.
Our faith is not in each other. Our faith is not in the church. We can let each other down and even disappoint each other. Our faith is not in some historical tradition. It has nothing to do with politics. It’s all about the Bible. I believe in Jesus because He is real. How do I know He is real? The Bible.
Through the years I have heard people wonder, “What if none of this is true? What if man actually wrote the Bible?” Christians have responded, “Well, at least I have lived the best life.” That’s the wrong answer. The Bible is so true, that there is no other possibility. Man could not have written the Bible. Jesus is. There are no plausible alternatives. The evidence is overwhelming. There is too much proof. Internal as well as external evidence is off the charts. The Bible is from God. Absolutely. Positively. Base my life upon it.
This is what our faith is built upon. We believe because it’s true. We believe because of the evidence. We believe because the Bible. And, the more time one spends with the Bible, the deeper, richer and stronger that faith becomes.
So, how does “a believer” quit believing? There can only be two answers, which really are the same.
First, a person has to deny all the evidence. He has to no longer believe the Bible is true. He has to close his eyes to all the facts. We can do this in other areas of life. It happens in marriage. One spouse is having an affair. Friends bring evidence to the faithful wife. She refuses to believe it. She has an answer for everything. Turth be, she’s living in denial. She doesn’t want to admit the cold fact that her husband is cheating. Somehow, she thinks by denying this, it will go away. It doesn’t exist if she doesn’t admit it, she thinks. Some can do that with the Bible. They don’t want to admit that God expects them to live a certain way. They don’t want to acknowledge the truth that God will some day judge all of us. So, by denying the obvious, maybe it will go away. It never does. Maybe by ignoring the facts, I don’t have to face them, think about them, nor deal with them.
God’s word is true, whether I believe it or not. I can preach His word, distort His word, or even deny His word, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is there and it is true. And, when a person says, “I know longer believe,” a great reply question would be, “Upon what evidence have you changed your mind?” Now, it may be the harshness of life. A loved one dies. A child is killed. Unfairness. Yet, had they studied and known that Bible, they would have understood the answers to those things. However, it is easier to say, “I don’t believe simply because life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.”
Second, behind much of this is someone who doesn’t want to be confined by God’s rules and restricted to a lifestyle of holiness and purity. Sin and the devil has much to do with pulling the rug out from faith. It comes down to faith and sin. The more of the Bible that believe, the less you’ll like sin. However, the more of sin you embrace, the less of the Bible you’ll like. You won’t find a heart filled with faith in the life of one who longs for sin. The two are opposites.
Why does a believer stop believing? He allowed something else to take the place of Christ. He lost his first love. He lost his focus.
And, when one kisses God goodbye, they are kissing, hope, salvation and Heaven goodbye. Is it possible for such a person to come back and again believe? Certainly. It’s going to be a journey, but it can be done. He must start over and look at the truthfulness of God’s word. He must be honest. He must stop listening to doubters.
The apostle Thomas wasn’t going to believe until he saw with his own eyes the resurrected Jesus. A week passed. Where was he? When the following week rolled around he is still with the apostles. He’s not sitting in a bar with a drink. He’s not with the Romans. He’s with believers. Don’t you expect during that week he was asking a lot of questions? Don’t you think he was trying to find the answers he needed. When Jesus appears, he believes. Having questions is fine. What do you do with those questions. Do you feed your faith our your doubts?
The true reason why a believer stops believing is because he closes his eyes to God and spends too much time sitting among the enemy and drinking the poison of Satan. You do that, and you’ll likely lose your faith.