Ten Key Questions About Life
This study is dedicated to developing a Biblical world view by "girding up" or sharpening our minds with ten key questions about life. These are: What is man?; What is the real meaning of life?; How am I to make moral choices?; What is truth?; What is love and where can it be found?; Why is there suffering and how can we live with it?; What is death?; What hope is there for the human race?; What is real?; Is there any hope in fighting evil and injustice?
What Is Man?
What Is The Meaning Of Life?
How Are We To Make Moral Choices?
Is It Possible To Know The Truth About Ourselves And The Universe?
What Is Love And Where Can It Be Found?
Why Is There Suffering And How Can We Live With It?
What Is Death And How Are We To Face It?
What Hope Is There For The Human Race?
What Is Real?
Can Evil Be Defeated?
by: Allan Turner
Too many fail to appreciate the radical nature of New Testament Christianity. This is evidenced by the attitudes and conduct of a great many Christians. Currently, in too many instances, there is little real difference between the mind-set and behavior of secularists and many who claim to be Christians. The fact that the gospel of Christ is actually the “power of God” to radically change men and women seems to be denied by many who are doing nothing other than “playing church.”
Despite what one may observe in our churches and in the personal lives of many who claim to be Christians, the gospel of Christ is a dynamic force in the heart of the believer and its effect is totally radical. The transformation it causes is so revolutionary that the Christian is described as a “new creature” (II Corinthians 5:17) who has been “born again” by the “word of God” (I Peter 1:23). And one must never forget the power of this Word—namely, it caused the universe to come into existence and “light to shine out of darkness” (Genesis 1:3; II Corinthians 4:6). This Word, which in the beginning was with God and was God (John 1:1), became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14). It is “in Him” that we have eternal life (Romans 5:21), receive the remission of our sins (Ephesians 1:7), and experience all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).
True Christianity, which is described in the Bible as a “not conforming to this world,” is evidenced by a transformed and renewed mind that will “prove [to a lost world] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). The “new creature” of Christianity is dead to sin, but alive in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:7,8), and has been created “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Unfortunately, many churches, basking in the twilight of the twentieth century, are like the church at Sardis, which basked in the twilight of the first century. The church of Christ at Sardis had a name it was living, but was, for all practical spiritual purposes, dead (Revelation 3:1). The church at Sardis ceased to exist, and churches of Christ that follow in its footsteps will cease to exist also.
This study is designed to aid the Christian in developing a Biblical mind-set or world view. By world view, we mean, the beliefs, attitudes, and values on which people act. Everyone has a world view! Everyone sees the world through a set of beliefs, attitudes, and values. (More will be said about this in the lecture.) A Biblical world view compels the Christian to be the discerning person the Lord created him to be. But, be warned, developing a Biblical world view is not without serious dangers.
Jesus Christ, who is “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21) has been given “all authority” by His Father (Matthew 28:18). His teachings have always been on the “cutting edge.” In fact, they are nothing less than revolutionary. Furthermore, they are, by their very nature, counter-culture. As such, Jesus calls upon those who would follow Him to out-think, out-live, and out-die the pagans around about them. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines “pagan” as “a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome),” or “one who has little or no religion and delights in sensual pleasures and material goods: an irreligious or hedonistic person.” The Lord knowingly built His church “smack dab” in the middle of a pagan culture and world. He warned His disciples that as the pagan world hated Him, it would also hate them (John 15:18-25; 17:14-18).
Unfortunately, we still live in a pagan world. Western culture, at one time significantly inspired by Biblical truths, has become almost thoroughly pagan once again. As our society slips further and further into the darkness of paganism, Christians, if they are not themselves enveloped by the darkness, will more and more find themselves the object of disdain. This is the clear teaching of God's Word. Christ's church, as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar or special people (I Peter 2:9), will be a constant irritation to a world dying in darkness. Why? Because the salt that preserves, when applied to an open wound, is extremely painful, and a light shining in darkness exposes the evil lurking there (Matthew 5:13-16).
The constant temptation for Christians is to blend in. We do not want to be different. The thought that living a godly life in America could cause us to be looked upon with disdain by our neighbors is totally unpalatable. Such thoughts make us feel strange, and although we know the Bible calls upon us to be strangers here (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:13), we do not relish feeling like strangers. Satan, our ancient and crafty enemy, by reason of his experience with the human race, knows our weaknesses and is not slack in exploiting them. Realizing that he would probably fail in a full frontal assault, he attempts to convince us that Christianity is a sugar-coated, country-club, hot-tub religion. He tries to convince us that we no longer need to keep our minds razor- sharp (I Peter 1:13). He tries to convince us that the religion of Christ can be a relaxing, floppy, laid-back experience. Nothing could be further from the truth taught in God's Word!
If our behavior is not radically different from the world's, then we can be certain that we are not pleasing our Lord. If we are conformed to this world instead of to the image of Christ, then we can be sure that our heavenly Father is displeased with us. If our minds have not been transformed from what they once were when we served our own lusts, then we are not proving to the world what that good and acceptable and perfect will of God is (Romans 12:2).
Two keys to developing a Biblical world view are repentance and revival. In II Corinthians 10:4,5, the Bible says that every philosophical stronghold and every argument that arrays itself against a knowledge of God, along with “every thought” must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Therefore, we must examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5). If not, we must repent. Then, by way of revival, we must remember who we are and what we are. We must remember that we have been bought with a price so that we might demonstrate to a lost and dying world what is right. Let us heed the Biblical call for discernment. Let us develop a Biblical world view so that we can discern what is truth and what is error. Let us do everything within our abilities to out-live, out-think, and out-die those around about us. To do this we will have to examine the objective standard, the Bible. Let us open its pages and learn from the Garden of Eden, with its two trees (one allowed, one forbidden), all the way to man's future destiny (either in heaven or hell), that there are two (and only two) ways—namely, God's way and all others. According to God's Word, people are either saved or lost; individuals either belong to God's house or the world; there is Gerizim, the mount of blessing, and Ebal, the mount of cursing; there is the narrow way leading to eternal life and the broad way leading to eternal destruction; there are those who are either with us or against us; there are those who are within or without; there is life and there is death, truth and falsehood, good and bad, light and darkness, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan. The Bible teaches us that there is love and hatred, spiritual wisdom and demonic wisdom, and many other things that are to be contrasted with each other. Without a Biblical world view, without discernment, we will miss the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
In this study, we will develop a Biblical world view by girding up or sharpening our minds with ten key questions about life. These questions are: What is man?; What is the real meaning of life?; How am I to make moral choices?; What is truth?; What is love and where can it be found?; Why is there suffering and how can we live with it?; What is death?; What hope is there for the human race?; What is real?; Is there any hope in fighting evil and injustice?
It is our prayer that you will begin this study with open minds and open Bibles, ready to think God's thought after Him. If you will do this, we are confident you will be blessed in your studies.