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Are You Drawing a Line in the Sand?

Are You Drawing a Line in the Sand?

How real is God to you? How many of your beliefs about God come from the Bible? Let’s take a closer look at who God really is, what He expects of you, and how willing you are to act on His instructions.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

The Biggest Gamble

Are you betting for, or against God’s existence? Think about it. You may not consider yourself a gambler, but how you live your life is the greatest gamble you will ever take. Either God does exist, or He doesn’t. And if He does exist, how far will you go to live according to His will? Will you go “all in” with God? Or will you draw a line in the sand and say, “Thus far and no further”?

These are questions that we would do well to consider, as we are, by the way that we live our lives, betting on the answers to these important questions. Join me here at Tomorrow’s World where we’ll do some serious self-examination.

Does Your Faith Go “All the Way”?

Welcome to Tomorrow’s World where we tackle the big questions of life, and today I’m asking, “How far will you go to obey God—all the way, or are you drawing a line in the sand.” Are you betting for or against God’s existence? Your actions tell more than what you profess.

None of us has seen God face to face, yet billions profess to believe in some form of God. But how real is He to you? Are you so certain of His existence that you are willing to put it all on the line? To put it another way, if you are familiar with poker, are you “all in?” Now lest anyone misunderstands, I’m not promoting the gambling industry, but the fact is that you are, by your choices, by your decisions, by your day by day actions, making a very real wager on the existence, or non-existence of God. And when it comes to the God of the Bible, you must be “all in.” So says Jesus in Luke 14:26:

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [meaning to love to a lesser degree by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26).

You have no doubt seen the bumper sticker using various religious symbols to spell out the word “COEXIST.” That’s a wonderful platitude, but what does it mean? Is this taking God seriously, or mere virtue signaling? Is it not saying, “All religions are equal, so let’s just get along?” We should get along, but is it true, that exactly what we believe when it comes to God, does not matter? Not according to the Judeo-Christian God! The very first of the Ten Commandments emphatically states,

You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).

And Jesus proclaimed,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).

When the Apostles Peter and John were hauled before the religious leaders of their day for teaching in the name of Jesus, Peter boldly told them that they were guilty of rejecting the Messiah and there was no other path to salvation.

This is the “stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11–12).

My guess is that most viewers of this program are at least nominal believers in Christ, but how solid is your belief, and how far are you willing to take it? Consider the following.

The Bible tells us that a man named Jesus, walked the rugged hills of Israel about two thousand years ago. He claimed He came from God and was returning to Him. He was tortured and murdered on a stake, and hundreds of witnesses claimed they saw Him after being resurrected to life once again. Further, Jesus proclaimed that He is coming back to rule over all the earth and give rulership to a group of individuals who in this life are called, chosen, and faithful.

Now let’s be honest. That is a lot to accept. Even His closest followers, who saw all His miracles, and were mentored by Him for three-and-a-half years had difficulty accepting the resurrection. Thomas, one of His disciples, said in effect, “Show me the evidence.”

Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe (John 20:25).

This is in John 20:25. This clearly shows that Thomas was convinced of His death. There was no question of that being faked. Of course, once Jesus appeared to him, Thomas did believe. But there’s a message in this for all of us when we read how the conversation continued in verse 29.

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

So what about you? Do you believe, having not seen Him? Just how far are you willing to go with your belief? Will you put Him first above all else, as we read earlier? Or will you draw a line and say, “no further”? Sadly, most professing Christians are drawing lines in the sand, by reasoning around clear statements of scripture to avoid going against human traditions.

Our actions declare the depth of our conviction. It’s easy to profess belief in God, but the choices we make often tell a very different story. The example of ancient Israel entering into a covenant with God can be instructive. Notice in Exodus 19:7–8:

So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD (Exodus 19:7–8).

That was their profession—they would obey. But to what degree did they do so when confronted with difficult choices? Would they trust God or trust themselves? Every student of the Bible knows that ancient Israel failed miserably when it came to obeying God, but what was the root cause of their problem?

Is Seeing REALLY Believing?

Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:17–19).

How easy it is to profess belief, but to follow that belief with actions is something else. Even Jesus’ disciples failed to grasp His statements that He would die and be resurrected after three days and three nights in the grave. This is surprising, given the fact that they knew that others had been resurrected.

It was not as though a resurrection from the dead had never occurred before. Jesus’ disciples knew the account of the man who came back to life when let down into the grave of Elisha. You can read of that in 2 Kings 13:21. And they knew scriptures that prophesied a resurrection from the dead. Such as:

Job 14:14–15

Psalm 17:15

and Daniel 12:1–2

But reading about something that happened a long time ago, or hearing about something that will happen way off in the future, is not the same as experiencing something today. And even experiencing something in one’s lifetime quickly fades from one’s memory. For example, Jesus’ disciples knew a man who was resurrected from the dead just a short time prior to the crucifixion.

Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, had died and Jesus came to the tomb where he was laid. We pick up the account in John 11:39:

Jesus said, “Take ye away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days” (John 11:39, King James Version).

That’s from the King James Version. Then we read in verses 43 and 44,

Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Now that must have been quite a sight. But did it really happen? The resurrection of Lazarus created quite a stir among the people in Judah. And even Jesus’ detractors could not deny it. Notice what we read a little bit later in John 12:9–11:

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus (John 12:9–11).

In spite of this, Jesus’ own disciples had difficulty believing in Jesus’ own resurrection. It might be due to a fundamental difference. They were there when Jesus called Lazarus forth out of the tomb. They saw many other miracles performed by Jesus, but when the miracle worker is killed, who to look to then? Jesus came to reveal the Father to them, but Jesus they saw—no one had ever seen the Father, as it tells us in John the first chapter, and verse 18:

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18).

Jesus performed many other miracles. He healed all kinds of diseases, cast out demons, turned water into wine, calmed a stormy sea, and walked on water. Many people were still alive and remembered these miracles when the gospel accounts were written. They knew these things happened. And even the contentious Pharisees had to admit these miracles of healing were real, as seen by this confession from Nicodemus, found in John 3:2:

This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).

So the questions remain. Do you believe these miracles happened? Do you believe there is an all-powerful God who is working with mankind on this small planet, which orbits an average sized star—one of tens of billions in our galaxy, and only one galaxy among the currently estimated one to two trillion galaxies that make up our universe?

Truly, we ought to wonder as King David did when he looked up at the night sky and mused,

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? [That’s from Psalm 8:3–4].

Now that dear friends, is a question of great magnitude. If God does exist, what is His plan for you and for me? We must know, and know that we know, that we are the result of an incredible mind, a great Creator God. And if we do truly believe, that belief should shape our decisions.

Are Miracles Enough? What “Proof” would Convince You?

Most of us think that we would believe if only we could see a miracle, but that is a fallacy, not backed by the facts. The children of Israel saw miracle after miracle. They escaped through the Red Sea, and they were fed supernaturally with manna, but the miracle of manna was far greater than most comprehend. For forty years it came six days every week, but never on the seventh day. Clearly, God was teaching them a lesson regarding one of His Ten Commandments. But have we learned that lesson?

Miracles are like food and water. They survive in our minds for only a short period of time, until the next challenge appears. Those who rely on miracles, must have miracle after miracle to replenish their hunger. This is not to say that miracles are not important, and we read of many of them in the Bible. And perhaps you’ve even experienced one. And, in fact all of us have, as life itself is a miracle, if we will only open our eyes. As Paul tells us in Romans 1:20,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20).

King David wrote in Psalm 139:13 and 14, when considering his own existence,

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. (Psalm 139:13–14).

Think about it. Does your soul know that very well? Faith is elusive. It must not be blind, but our nature is such that the evidence of miracles never lasts.

It is natural to think of the early Church as having great faith, unlike today. And that may be true, but perhaps not to the degree we imagine. A rather humorous account is found when Peter was put in prison. Herod was fully set on executing him, as he had recently done with the Apostle James. Many were gathered together praying for Peter’s release from an otherwise certain death, but God sent an angel to rescue him. And when Peter arrived after this miraculous escape, those praying for a miracle couldn’t seem to accept that one was there at the front gate. Notice it:

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary...where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished (Acts 12:11–16).

Are you and I any different from those dedicated people? Would we be astonished in a similar situation?

Prove God is Real to You

I’ll show you why it is impossible to please God without living faith. And that is not an opinion, but a statement of scripture. Hebrews 11 is known as the faith chapter, and in it we read this profound statement that we would all do well to consider. Here it is in Hebrews 11:6:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Why is this so? An examination of this chapter reveals that everyone listed in it had the kind of faith that generated actions. We read of Noah, who built a huge boat to preserve life through a worldwide flood--his neighbors most likely mocking him, until the flood swept them away. Abraham obeyed God when he left his comfortable home to go to a land where he would be a stranger, and he trusted that God would give him a son in his old age. Then there was Moses that we read of in verses 24–27:

By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:24–27).

Notice that each of these individuals did more than profess faith. They acted on faith. Which one of us would have done the same? Now some may think, “Well if God spoke to me directly I would.” But isn’t that what He is doing through His word, the Bible? Or do you believe that?

While God spoke directly to some in dreams and visions, many others down through the ages only had the written word of God to cling to. And not all were rescued, as we read in verses 37–40:

They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (Hebrews 11:37–40).

God was real to them. And if God is real to us and we truly believe there is a reward for obeying Him, we too will keep His commandments. Do you, dear friend, keep the weekly Sabbath, as spoken of in Genesis 2, as commanded along with the other Ten Commandments, and as God revealed to Israel for forty years by withholding the manna each seventh day? Or do you follow the traditions of men and choose the day that Constantine decided for the church? Do you observe the same annual days that Jesus, His Apostles, and first century Christians kept? Or do you follow human traditions of pagan holidays with the name of Christ slapped on them? Do you do what Jesus said to do in Matthew 19:17, where he said

[B]ut if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. (Matthew 19:17)

Or do you compromise so as not to create waves on the job or within your family? Remember Jesus’ sobering words found in Matthew the 10th chapter:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to “Set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”; and “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:34–38).

Now that my dear friends, is where the rubber meets the road. Are you putting Christ first in everything? Are you putting it all on the line? Or are you drawing a line in the sand and saying, by your actions, I’ll go so far, but no further?

Thank you for watching! Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video, and if you would like a copy of our booklet The Real God: Proofs and Promises (it’s free of charge, of course), click the link in the description. See you next time.

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