God First Spiritually – Do I Live Like An Atheist?

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

God First Spiritually – Do I Live Like An Atheist?

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Psalm 14:1


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Sunday, May 26, 2019 am                    

LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (19)
PUTTING GOD FIRST IN EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES (3)
Seeking First His Kingdom (3) – Do I Live Like An Atheist?

                We are continuing our study of putting God first in every aspect of our lives. We are in the midst of a discussion of our spiritual lives.   Understanding this will impact every aspect of our lives – our relationships and well as our conduct and attitudes.   We began this section by examining Matthew 6:24-34, and noting some things involved in seeking first the kingdom of God – asking, “Where is your treasure?”, “What are you bringing into your life?”, “Who is your Master?”, and “Who do you trust?”   In other words, is God’s kingdom your priority?     We followed this up with a lesson last week addressing the subjects of overcoming apathy and pursuing righteousness (being right with God according to His standard).

I.    Are you an atheist?

  1. What is an atheist? By definition, one is an atheist if he is   against theism (the belief in God). We are living in times where atheism is increasing in popularity.
    The secular world has done a good job (or horrifying job) to convince more and more to reject the idea of this world being created by God.   And quite honestly, many professed believers in God have done a poor job of refuting it. It is often a product of apathy as we discussed last week.
  2. Certainly, as Christians we believe in God. And we understand the foolishness of rejecting God.   Psalm 14:1 tells us, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”
    Psalm 10:4 notes that, The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. We see this all around us today.
    Romans 1:20-23 describes the behavior of those who reject God, which certainly would include the atheist.   Paul notes that they worship and serve the creature (themselves, i.e. humanism) rather than the Creator.     Paul’s point is that we must NOT be like this.
    As Christians, we understand this and hopefully, we would repudiate such attitudes.
  3. BUT, even though we believe in God, do we really act like it?   Is our conduct different from the atheist.   One obvious observations about atheists is that if they reject God, they also reject His word.   Are we “Christian atheists”? While we would never deny the existence of God, do we sometimes live as if He doesn’t exist?   Do we live our lives as if His word is not important? How does our actions compare with that of an atheist?
    Titus 1:16 – speaks of those who profess to know God, but in works they deny Him
    2 Timothy 3:5-7 – concluding his list of selfishness, Paul describes them as, “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.”   He further warns, “And from such people turn away.”
    1 John 2:4, He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    So, while we profess to believe in God, do we live like it?   Let’s consider some examples.
  4.   Do I Live Like An Atheist?
  5. Do we defend our faith?
    1. Atheists do not have a faith to defend. And, while many are willing to engage in philosophical debate, IF there is no God, it really doesn’t matter. So what?????
      Atheists spend most of their time poking holes in the case for God, rather than making an affirmative case that He doesn’t exist.   That’s because they CANNOT prove it!
      But what is interesting is how many atheists are adamant they don’t have or need faith. I would debate that! There are multitudes of things they accept by faith – because naturalism doesn’t verify them. (E.g. By faith, they accept no God; that matter is eternal; that live suddenly appeared, etc.).
    2. But what about us as Christians? Do we defend our faith? Do we defend God?
      1 Peter 3:15 calls for us to give a defense for the hope that is in us.
      Jude 3 calls for us to CONTEND earnestly for the faith.
      But do we? Are we willing to take the time to learn God’s word well enough that we can answer, at least in our minds, attacks against the faith?
  6. Do we really trust God?   Do we live our lives with hope?
    1. An atheist doesn’t trust any god and has no hope beyond this life.   Therefore, he may live however he wants.
      He may CHOOSE to be moral and honorable, but it is only because he wants to, or he sees it for the better good of society (and wants to promote a better society). But in reality, how can he question anyone else’s moral decisions?   What right does he have to impose his morality on others?   It is inconsistent.
    2. As Christians, do we live our lives with genuine faith?   (cf. Hebrews 11:1, 6, 13-16)
      Are we really putting our trust and decisions on the next life? (Proverbs 3:5-6 – trust in the LORD with all your heart…)
  7. Do we pray as we should?
    1. Atheists have no one to pray to. Their only source of comfort is whoever they have in this life. Facing death and its uncertainties, who are they going to turn to?
    2. Christians, have the blessing and privilege of prayer – 1 John 5:14-15, Hebrews 4:14-16.
      But how often do we pray? How openly do we pray?
      Do we pray with the promised hope of His word? 1 John 3:21-22, James 1:6
  8. Are we worldly minded?
    1. Obviously, atheists can be as worldly as they want to be.   Any moral restraints they exercise are purely by choice.   Not as a result of some moral accountability.
      How many today live selfishly and without restraint, because they don’t believe or CARE whether or not there is a God?   That is one point of Romans 1:20ff.
    2. But what about Christians? We are reminded that we CANNOT love the world and the things in the world (1 John 2:15-16).   We are to be content – 1 Timothy 6:6, Philippians 4:11.
      We are to be other worldly (Colossians 3:2, etc.)
      Proverbs 30:8-9 – Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
    3. But do we find ourselves engaging in worldly and sinful behaviors? Do we live in pursuit of worldly things? Enough on that!
  9. Do we respect God’s word in the way we live? Or do we dismiss it?
    1. Clearly, the atheist rejects God’s word. He may study it, but only to find faults and criticisms (though depending on how honest he is, he MAY be converted).     Many times, the arguments atheists will make point to hypocrisies of Christians, or teachings he interprets to be immoral and out of touch (e.g. political correctness).   They do NOT respect God’s word and many mock those who do.
    2. Obviously, God’s word must be important to us as Christians – Romans 1:16-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 – we must welcome it as the word of God which effectively works in you who believe, etc.
    3. BUT, how many Christians show little regard for God’s word in the way they live and the way they use it? We find compromise and the justification of immoral practices, sometimes using the same arguments atheists would use.
      Furthermore, many may teach they truth, but they JUST DON’T LIVE IT!
      Notice 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
      Note again 1 John 2:4 – to profess to know Him and not keep His commandments is to be a liar.  
      Romans 1:18, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…   When one changes God’s word, is he guilty of suppressing the truth?
      Luke 6:46 – why do you call me Lord and no not the things that I say?
  10. Finally, do we live with a view toward eternity?
    1. Atheists, as already noted, live only for this life.   There is no eternity. Only our present existence. How tragic to live knowing that such is all there is.   Some are more reckless than others because they don’t care.
    2. Christians ought to live like the Lord may return soon or this may be our last chance to make things right with Him? 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, Hebrews 9:27, etc.
      But do we? 2 Peter 3:3-4 – Do we live like we have all the time in the world?   Do we live like all there is to worry about is this life?   If so, how are we any different than the atheist?
  11. Could it be that many of these examples are because many professed believers are just that – PROFESSED believers? We can’t be just a professed believer.   We have to live as a genuine believer looking to heaven.   That needs to be important to us and others ought to see and know that. But do they?

 

NOTE: It is my hope that no one here is an atheist, or even doubters of His existence. But this lesson is designed to provoke each of us to THINK as to whether or not our actions betray our claims.

Recall the challenge of Paul to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

These are a few things Christians need to consider as we think about letting our lights shine spiritually.   Are we seeking first the kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33) And is that impacting our behavior in everything we do?   May we resolve that such will be the case.   Think about it.

One final thought – God desires to save the atheist (Acts 14:17, 2 Peter 3:9, etc.), just like everyone else.       But He will not force them or ANYONE to obey Him.   But consider this, if you are not ready to stand before God, and that day of judgment comes, you will not be any better off than the atheist. He will bow on that occasion, but it will be too late.   Don’t spend eternity with those who reject God in this life.   Make yourself spiritually whole.   Think about it.