Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Produces Faith?

Be careful this might be considered a theological question. The focus is on Luke 16:19-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This story raises many theological issues. Here Jesus names one of the individuals by name, Lazarus. Many then conclude that this is not a parable but perhaps a real story of a real experience.

We find the rich man enjoyed all the best that life had to offer at least materially speaking. The rich man could have eased the suffering of Lazarus without really interfering with his own lifestyle. In fact little effort would have been required if the rich man really wanted to help the poor man.

They both die. The rich man finds himself in torment. The KJV says Hades. The NLT says he went to the place of the dead. The poor man was not. It is verse 31 (vv. 31) that is the focus of this article. The rich man asks Abraham to send a messenger from the dead to his brothers so they will believe and repent to escape such punishment. Abraham tells him flat out no. Miracles will not change them.

Here is a story. I met a man and shared my faith in God with him. After talking a while he still told me that he just does not believe in God. So I asked him, “What would it take for him to believe.” He looked around the room for a moment then at his jacket hanging over the chair. He said, “When my green jacket turns red then I would believe.” Looking at me as if I could snap my fingers and poof it is done. We soon parted ways. Later that evening there was a heavy rainstorm. The hillside behind the man’s house which he had lived for years was saturated and broke loose mud spilling towards the back of the man’s house. The next morning the man came downstairs to survey the damage. The coat closet had some damage. Within the muck he pulled out his jacket. At first he did not recognized it. The green jacket was now red. Did he immediately believe in God? No, instead he tried to explain what had happened. By chance they had had a very heavy rainstorm. By chance the hillside behind his house, which had been stable for years some how, gave way. By chance the iron rich mud slid to the back of his house where the coat closet was located. By chance the red mud mixed with the pigment of the green jacket changing it from green to red. Did he deny that the jacket had turned from green to red? No. He simply denies that what had happen was by chance and not by God. So do miracles produce faith? No, that is what Jesus is telling us in Luke 16:31.

So what produces faith? In Romans 10:17 faith comes from hearing by the Word of God. We see in Genesis that Satan attacks Eve by manipulating God’s Word. We see atheist groups trying to manipulate God’s Word to further their cause. When we fail to regularly study God’s Word we find ourselves attacked more and more. Studying God’s Word regularly keeps us in communication with Him along with prayer. Knowing the scriptures and knowing the author are two different things. Many atheists know the scriptures better than us. The bible tells us that Satan himself knows them better than we. I find it interesting that in Romans 10:17 the word “hearing” is used. We need to hear God’s Word. That means out loud. Shared among us through group study, reading aloud, song and worship. Yet our streets are void of God’s Word.


Sharon said...

Duke, you are absolutely right!!! You shouldn't apologize for speaking the truth. I hope no one shows up with pitchforks and such, but if they do, let me know and we'll come and stand with you. That's what God has been telling me also. We have to go where people are!!! That's why Becky and I are going to start a women's Bible study in Aug. for women in Attalla Housing Authority homes and anyone else who wants to come. She is going to teach the ladies and I am going to teach their kids. We have to get out of the church walls and disciple people or the churches will NEVER be filled. Like you said, they don't even know what goes on in church!! We have to show them Jesus first, then they will want to come to church, and yes, WE Christians have made church services a spectator sport! We need to make them a WORSHIP event, remembering that our ONE TRUE GOD is the only spectator we should worry about. IT'S ALL ABOUT HIM NOT US!!! Love you Brother and I agree totally

Anonymous said...

Well said my friend, well said!


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