The Pastor’s Piece – April 23, 2023
The Pastor’s Piece
April 23, 2023
I subscribe to a magazine called The Progressive Farmer. On the last page of each edition the editor prints a bunch of quotes from people, mostly of whom I’ve never heard of, but some of them are famous people from the past or present. The following quote by self-proclaimed radical atheist Douglas Adams (1952-2001) caught my attention. He said: “I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies: 1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that is invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things,” (end quote).
Immediately following that quote is one from the Bible from the book of Proverbs: “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.” (Proverbs 8:10-12).
The greatest proof for God’s existence is that people’s lives are constantly changed. I’ve never heard of anybody who said, “My life was meaningless and without value until I found atheism. Now it is so much better.” You just don’t hear that.
I have spent a few hours of my life sitting on the edge of the bed of people who are dying. I have never heard anyone denounce God or the existence of God. What I have witnessed are people, who perhaps all their lives had no use for God, find themselves suddenly seeking Him and in fear of death cry out for Him to save them. The Bible says that God has set eternity in the human heart, (Ecclesiastes 3:11). A person’s soul will not let him deny that.
I have read where some atheists have faced imminent death with great regret. For instance, atheist Caesar Borgia (1475-1507) said: “While I lived, I provided for everything but death; now I must die, and am unprepared to die.” Atheist Sir Thomas Scott, (1535-1594) Chancellor of England: “Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.” (preachitteachit.org).
God’s Word says: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29: 13).
In Ephesians 1, the Apostle Paul says that, as children of God, adopted by Jesus Christ Himself, we are called to be holy and without blame before Him “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He (God) has made us accepted in the Beloved (Jesus),” (Ep. 1:6). I would ask, are there any words more grand in any language than those four – accepted in the Beloved? The moment we repent and believe in Christ, God makes us completely, fully accepted in the Beloved – His beloved Son with Whom He is well pleased. And because we are in Him, God is also well pleased with us! The dictionary says that to accept means to receive willingly, to regard with approval, to value, to esteem, to take pleasure in or to receive with favor. And so, Paul is saying in essence that the Father has accepted us willingly, with approval, with value, with esteem, with delight, not because we have in any way merited His approval, but because His Beloved paid the price in full for our approval.
Everybody needs and wants acceptance. We need affirmation and love. On the outside, you can be embraced, affirmed, and accepted, but that embrace and affirmation and acceptance will always be fleeting, and you’ll be empty and sad because ultimately, the only acceptance that is acceptable to man, is acceptance by God. And the only way to acceptance by God is through Jesus Christ. You won’t find satisfaction and soul-healing by someone agreeing with you when you disagree with God – you will never even agree with yourself until your sin has been dealt with. And that goes for anyone and everyone. We are all sinners. Sin causes conflict. Sin causes conflict in the inner being of a person. It causes conflict in all of us – that’s the nature of sin – it goes against the nature of God and until it is dealt with in a personal way, it will consume you.
That is the message I want to take to the person who is hurting today, grieving, crying, lost, and hopeless. It’s for everyone … Because that is the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and it has the power to save.
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).