A Faith-Informed Worldview

Hebrews 11:3

Everybody has a worldview. Uvula, hangy-down-thingy in throat; glabella: space between eyebrows – people have ’em, don’t know what they’re called, don’t think much about ’em. Same with a worldview. Just like uvula is necessary for proper breathing, eating, speaking, so worldview is necessary for proper interaction with surroundings. Two definitions:

Worldview: any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement, or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world, and man’s relation to God and the world. Summit Ministries

“a worldview is a network of ultimate beliefs, ideas, values and assumptions about the universe and our place in it that shapes how a person understands their life and experiences and how that person acts in response.” Dr. James Anderson, M & L, Fall 2015

Worldview supplies answers to foundational questions:

Is there a God and what is God like? What is real and what is true? What is the origin of life? What is the basic nature of man? What is right? How should society be structured? What is the basis for law? What is the purpose of government? What produces a sound economy? How should we interpret human events?

Might wonder, how diverse can people we rub shoulders with in our pluralistic society be? In “neighborhood”: full range of churches, 6 buddhist; 1 hindu; 4 mosques; + atheists, socialists, Marxists.

“[M]ost of the objections to Christianity we encounter today are grounded in anti-Christian worldviews from the very outset. The objections themselves make assumptions that are fundamentally at odds with a biblical worldview. This means that these common objections take a non-Christian worldview for granted and then criticize biblical Christianity on that basis.” Anderson

How do we deal? Not by becoming worldview expert! Deal with objections as apostle Peter instructed:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” 1 Pet. 3:15

Oh yes, one more thing – every worldview without exception includes element of faith: belief or confidence in some authority that can be depended on to give right answers. Possible optons: Buddha, Confucius, Q’uran, self, God and Bible. Wise man has said: “What we revere, we will resemble either for our ruin or for our restoration.” (Greg Beale) Means if we revere God and his Book, we will resemble Lord Jesus… including our worldview. So what does that have to do with our text?

When we take our faith out the front door and into the world, we must grasp significance of faith as we interact with others.

Faith that is a gift from God enables us to recognize his fingerprints all over his creation as explained by his story.

Biblical faith tell us that God, not the cosmos, is eternal and that faith takes God’s word for it.

If it takes the right kind of faith to properly understand the first chapter of the Bible, the same is true for the rest of the book.

Biblical faith relies on the power of God applied through his Word by his Spirit to change the heart and mind of an unbeliever.

A. when we take our faith out front door and into the world, must grasp significance of faith as we interact with others

absolutely everyone who can reason has faith in something or someone – one without any faith at all is completely paralyzed

true at all levels of existence: faith in senses, that perceptions are correct; faith in answers to ultimate questions, that future whatever it may be like is secure

is by no means situation where some have faith (with / without reason) and others have reason without need for faith

apostle John greeted readers Rev. 1:4 “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,”

Carl Sagan began show in 1980: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” – wording not coincidental!

those two statements mutually exclusive – both can be wrong but both cannot be right; more important, what is fundamental difference between how apostle John and Carl Sagan viewed same universe? difference was in object of their faith, how that informed their worldview

both apostle John and Carl Sagan had faith – John’s faith in God and his promises, Sagan’s faith in his own reasoning powers

John started with God and his word – believing God has knowledge / character to describe reality, seen and unseen, accurately

Sagan started with self, own reasoning abilities; believed he could accurately assess reality, had no confidence in God’s story

problem was not that Sagan had no faith, he did have faith… as much as John or you and I; same is true of everyone in here and out there – difference between people: object of their faith

B. faith that is gift from God enables us to recognize / acknowledge his fingerprints all over his creation as explained by his story

we look at universe, reach one set of conclusions; unbeliever, even a really smart one, sees same evidence, reaches radically different conclusions

by faith in God we understand reality this way; by faith in different object they understand reality a different way

it’s not because they’re stupid, uninformed, careless; is because they do not have right kind of eyesight, informed by faith in God

like looking at world through someone else’s glasses, not knowing any better, thinking own eyesight normal and accurate

impossible without prescription change for them to even see true reality, then would have to be convinced of truth

took group of high school students to Boston Museum of Science – got into lengthy discussion with staff; harder students pushed, harder staff pushed back defending their own beliefs

btw, Sagan’s viewpoint not new; 350 years before Christ, Aristotle knew nothing comes from nothing, so matter (the cosmos) must be eternal

problem was staff at Museum had wrong kind of faith – like Sagan and others, had faith in reason, in science, not in God

for example, all who believe the common view of evolution put as much faith in science to give right answers as we do in God and his word

so it really comes down to authority – who or what do you trust to supply right answers to worldview questions: who am I? where did I come from? why am I here? where am I going? how do I get there?

don’t get to pick and choose – if God is authority, then he is the ultimate authority in every area on which he speaks

cannot take Muhammad’s word or Buddha’s word or science’s word on “who am I? where did I come from? why am I here?”, God’s word on the rest

you need to know what to think, how to act in particular situation – does God have something to say about it? if so, understand and follow what he says

does God not address it specifically? understand general principles God has given, apply them to that particular situation

C. so what does biblical faith tell us? if it is either/or, either God is eternal or the cosmos is eternal, biblical faith takes God’s word for it

faith God gives recognizes God as ultimate authority who has spoken through his word the Bible which can be trusted in all things

God’s word for it is he “created all things from nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good”

one who has faith in God that came from God is confident that God has power to create ex nihilo, used his power to do just that, communicated accurate description of what he did to Moses… who wrote it down in Genesis 1-3

important note: God didn’t reveal how he created all things other than “God said…”; even if he explained, our tiny minds don’t have capacity to comprehend

another important note: God didn’t create baby earth with baby plants, animals, people; he created mature universe

e.g., stars created on Day 4 (Gen. 1:16) and were visible on earth just as sun and moon were from moment of creation

so how did things get to look like they do today? God says he made it all, he cursed it because of sin, he judged mankind with a flood

in God’s view, those are sufficient explanations for current reality; oh yes, Lord Jesus keeps it all going, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3)

D. if it takes right kind of faith to properly understand chapter 1, what about rest of the book? exactly! it is mostly closed to unbeliever

we know that… from personal experience, also from what God’s word says about itself; btw, Bible a complete revelation, consisting of 66 books – to use one book in argument about another not circular reasoning

if you came to faith later in life, how much of Bible did you grasp before conversion? if was at young age, how many times have you struggled with understanding portion of Scripture?

1 Cor. 2:12-14 “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

natural man, unconverted, cannot understand/receive biblical truth you try to tell them without faith accompanied by power and help of Holy Spirit

do not use that as an excuse to keep quiet, hold back from telling someone truth even when involves things of spiritual nature

we have no way of knowing for certain what Holy Spirit is up to; when speaking to others, pray for Spirit’s help… for you… and them… and then speak

Holy Spirit doesn’t work in a vacuum – Rom. 10:14ff “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?And how shall they preach unless they are sent?So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

can be true of practical truths found in Bible as well as spiritual; don’t get frustrated with unbelieving family and friends

godly wisdom from the Bible has enough of God’s fingerprints on it to make difficult for unconverted to grasp

E. Biblical faith relies on power of God applied through his Word by his Spirit to change heart and mind of an unbeliever.

true not only in evangelism, other contemporary hot-button moral issues also – abortion, homosexual marriage, unmarried w/kids

people with non-biblical worldview can’t see it – must depend on Holy Spirit as we do our part, speaking truth in love

have talked a lot about creation; if God got that part of story right, can be sure he got rest of it right, too

So how does God expect us to live each day? What is necessary for us to be included in those who obtain a good testimony (39)? Use the faith God has given you as title guaranteeing your future heavenly reality. Exercise that faith, pray diligently for more of it, do what you know is right according to God’s word, follow leading of God’s Spirit – believing God will keep his promises, trusting God knows what is best and will lead you right even when you cannot see past next curve in the road. And be prepared to give an answer, to share with others the story of hope and love and forgiveness found in Christ alone.

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