Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
© Linda Lovett
DOES SEEING HELP BELIEVING?
A man, who knew I was a pastor, wondered how I could believe all that crazy religious stuff. Then he explained why he knew it was all so ridiculous saying:
"There is no way to know if any of it is true. No one has ever come back from the dead to tell us anything about it. How do you know any of that stuff is true? If Jesus wants me to believe in Him, He'll have to come and convince me Himself."
A lot of people are like that. They want God to reveal something they can see with their eyes before they'll believe. They'd like Him to demonstrate His power in some convincing fashion.
WE KNOW GOD WOULDN'T DO THAT
But it would certainly be easy enough if He wanted to. Consider the possibilities:
1. He could orchestrate THUNDER into audible and musical sounds, and shake the earth with such force, that it would shatter rocks. His voice could make men shake with terror as it rolls around the globe: "TURN TO ME AND BE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!" Men would be paralyzed with fear. God did that once, when He descended on Mt. Sinai. The Israelites were so scared of His booming voice, they asked Moses to have Him stop.
2. He could TWIST THE WESTERN SUNSETS into color panoramas that would dazzle the eye with breath-stopping scenes. Imagine His INVITATION flaming across heaven.
3. He could make BILLBOARDS TALK and the four heads of Mt. Rushmore shout the invitation. Confronted by such majesty, men would be forced to believe in Him.
There is no limit to the things God could do if He wanted to CONVINCE people about Himself. But He won't use any of them. Why not? It wouldn't bring Him what He wants. He wants people to LOVE Him because THEY WANT TO, not because they HAVE TO. He wants to be loved for WHO HE IS, the kind of person he is, not His power nor His riches. With all His power, wealth and glory, He has the same problem all rich people have. People like them for what they can get out of them.
SO, GOD DOES SOMETHING DIFFERENT
He uses a different method―THE FAITH METHOD. Perhaps you have never thought of faith as a method, but it is and it is ingenious. Here's the principle:
God supplies sufficient evidence for faith to operate, but not enough to convince the unbelieving doubter.
That is, He supplies JUST ENOUGH evidence for anyone who WANTS TO BELIEVE in Him, but not enough to persuade anyone who prefers NOT to believe in Him. God will not touch man's freedom of choice or interfere with it in any way. He simply makes sure there is enough evidence to satisfy any heart that WANTS to believe. And this world is filled with satisfying evidence for those who are inclined to believe in Him.
BUT PEOPLE ARE FUNNY
One day, right after Jesus had miraculously fed 5000 men with five loaves and two fish, they said to Him, “What sign can you give us that we may see and believe you?” Think of that! They had just seen a whopper. There are those who will not believe no matter what God does. In Jerusalem He healed a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, raised Lazarus from the dead, healed a man born blind and they finally had the gall to say to Him as He hung on the cross, "Come down from the cross and we’ll believe you!" Would they? Of course not. The last thing they wanted was for Him to come down from that cross.
BUT THERE IS ONE SIGN THAT GOD HAS GIVEN THE WHOLE WORLD
Pick up your newspaper. Look at the date. Note the year 2018. How come it's not 5778 or whatever the Jewish calendar is? Something happened years ago that divided time into B.C. and A.D. Can you imagine what it would take to do that? Something a lot bigger than world wars. We have had world wars and they didn't affect the calendar. This change occurred because Christ arose from the grave. Without His resurrection there would be no B.C. and A.D. In fact, His name would have disappeared, and I wouldn't be writing about Him today.
The resurrection of Jesus is the one sign men may behold and believe – if they are inclined to do so. Matt.12:38-40 says this was exactly as God intended:
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
In other words, only one sign will be given the world to satisfy man about Jesus--and that sign is His resurrection from the dead. It’s a beauty! No one else has ever done anything like it. If men WANT to believe, this one sign is enough ― but if they don’t want to believe, it's NOT enough. This is why the resurrection was at the heart of Paul's preaching to the Gentile world.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST IS PROBABLY THE MOST ESTABLISHED FACT OF HISTORY.
One scholar told me: “There is more evidence for believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for believing that Columbus came here in 1492.”
KNOW WHAT THE NEXT SIGN IS?
It's going to take place in the sky. On an approaching day, a trumpet blast will shatter the heavens. Eyes will turn skyward to behold an awesome sight. Men will have to shade their eyes for the brilliance of the spectacle. It will be Jesus coming with ALL His saints and accompanied by the angels. That should just about empty heaven. And you and I will be there.
For any left on the ground and looking up, it will be too late! The FAITH METHOD ends that day, for when Jesus appears and "every eye" can see Him, the program shifts from faith to SIGHT (Rev. 1:7). No one will be saved from that point on, for the door of salvation is slammed shut (Matt. 25:10-13). The salvation program which began at Pentecost with the new birth, ends when Jesus appears in the sky. Faith is no longer possible when people can see Jesus. As Paul says, "Hope that is seen is no hope at all. For who hopes for what he already has!" (Rom. 3:24). And we know what we already have, don't we!
PAUL'S STARTLING CONCLUSION
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins!" (1 Cor. 15:17).
But if Christ is raised from the dead, then everything He told us about Himself is true, and everything about us is true and about the faith life also!
SO HERE'S WHAT'S TRUE BECAUSE CHRIST AROSE!
1. If you put your trust in Jesus to save you, the guilt of all your sins, past, present and future―is gone.
2. Those believing in Him will never die. His resurrection confirms that.
3. When we receive Him we become God's children instantly!
4. Because our Father is in control, there are no accidents in the life of a Christian.
5. Our future is settled. A place in eternity awaits us.
This is why the resurrection is so precious to Christians. While it is a SIGN to the world, it is a SEAL to BELIEVERS that their sins are gone, and they are ready to meet the Lord in the sky! We don't have to care how sick or rotten this world becomes. We've been detached from it. It's no longer our home, we're just passing through the place. And it all takes place in the snap of a finger. Once we receive Jesus as our Savior, the miracle happens―it's all ours!
LOOK HOW LITTLE IT TAKES FOR THIS MIRACLE
Back in the days when I was a Chaplain at the Los Angeles County General hospital, I was given a card with the name of a Japanese man. The card said he didn't speak much English.
I tried to explain how the Lord loved him and wanted to come into his heart and give him eternal life, but I couldn't seem to get through to him. I tapped on his heart and went over to the door and knocked and walked through it to demonstrate my words, but I got nowhere. Then suddenly he said..."I SEE PICTURE ON BUS MAN HIT DOOR. JESUS? JESUS?"
I nodded my head exclaiming, "Yes! Yes! Jesus!" (He had seen a picture of Salmon's “Christ at the Door” on the bus).
I wasn't ready for what happened next. He began to shout so loudly that people heard him all over that 7th floor, "MY GOD! MY GOD! I OPEN DOOR. YOU COME IN!"
Wow – was he excited! Tears rolled down his cheeks. A smile spread across his face as he settled back on his pillow. When I left him, that beaming told me he was at total peace with God.
Here was a case where it didn't take much evidence at all. All he needed was to understand that the Lord wanted to come into his life. And just a picture on a bus put it together for him. My few words and his hungry heart was all that was needed.
Perhaps someone reading this article has already come across evidences of God's working in his life, but so far hasn't acted on it. Maybe you are waiting for God to send something more powerful to convince you that now is the time to invite Jesus into your heart. You'd better not put it off any longer. God will not convince you or anyone else.
Remember the calendar stands there, showing time split into B.C. and A.D. If you want the Lord, but are waiting for better evidence than that, you're not going to get it. Don't take a chance. Act on what you already know . . .
AND DO IT NOW!
C. S. Lovett
(Edited by Marjorie Lovett)
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