This week our church's senior pastor, Brian, was back from a multi-week hiatus and I was excited to have him back. I've really been enjoying the summer series that has been focused on digging deeper into the theology behind the Apostle's Creed.
All of our pastors have preached at least once throughout the series, each bringing their unique point of view and preaching style to the topics. I thought it was great, this week, that Pastor Brian was back to wrap up the series by talking about why it does matter what we believe and how our worldview really plays a huge role in our lives.
On a sidebar - I do teach 2-year-olds during our 11:30 AM service and am a big fan of Pastor Brian (and another pastor who will remain nameless) for more than his preaching style...he almost ALWAYS ends the worship service on time! Those of you who volunteer with our uniquely energetic toddlers know exactly how wonderful that can be. Don't get me wrong, I love my little ones, but after about an hour we all start getting tired of each other!
Back to Brian's message...
One of the things I really found beneficial were the examples of popular worldviews (the belief systems we build our lives around). He not only explained the concept, but matched each with a Biblical passage that explained why each worldview isn't satisfying and doesn't work.
#1 - Materialism: "The one with the most toys wins"
#2 - Individualism: "I've got to think of ME first"
#3 - Hedonism: "Do whatever feels good"
#4 - Naturalism/Atheism: "God doesn't exist or matter"
#5 - Pragmatism: "Whatever works for you"
#6 - Humanism: "You are your own god"
As far as materialism goes, unfortunately, it does run rampant in our culture here in the US. Is there really a better example of how damaging this worldview can be than our insane national debt situation? Luke 12:15 - Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.
Individualism is another popular concept. This really came into play in the 1980s...my decade - goody! Yep, I made my debut smack in the middle of the original self-indulgent revolution. We really have developed a culture of narcissism and it is something I personally have to fight on a near daily basis. Let's be honest, in the short term, it feels great to think of myself first! However, the longer I wallow in that lifestyle, the more shallow and dissatisfying it is. Matthew 16:25 - If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life.
Hedonism. Brian made me laugh for sure when he mentioned the inherent southern-action old school Baptist-style of that word! Can't you just hear it? Do yourself a favor - scroll down and watch this message and get a good laugh out of his accent when he talks about hedonism...oh and the rest of the message is a great watch too!
Hedonism is an emotions-driven lifestyle. If it brings you pleasure you should do it. Unfortunately pleasure was never meant to be the extreme focus of our lives. It is the by-product of doing right, not the ultimate goal. Proverbs 21:17 - You're addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.
Pragmatism has become extremely popular in our culture. The concept of tolerance has been extremely overblown into the whole "whatever works for you is fine" idea. Pragmatism has no emphasis in moral boundaries of any kind - sort of a fly by the seat of your pants way of life. Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Naturalism/Atheism is one of the most depressing worldviews to me. If God doesn't exist or matter, then neither do you! Such a sad concept and way to live. God has left his fingerprints all over this world if you are intellectually honest enough to look. Ironically it takes a lot of faith to be an atheist and ignore God's influence all around us. Romans 1:20-22 - From the beginning of creation, God has shows what He is like by all He has made. That's why they don't have any excuse. They know about God, but they don't honor Him or even thank Him. They claim to be wise but are fools.
The idea of humanism really centers around lifting ourselves up as being the center of our own universe by claiming God's own attributes as our own. It really is the ultimate idolatry. It's also an easy trap to slide into with concepts like "I am in control of my life" rather than accepting God's hand in our world and our lives. Romans 1:25 - They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.
So what is the correct worldview? It is called "Theism" and simply means believing that God made you for His purpose and placing Him at the center of your world. Colossians 1:16 - For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible...everything good started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.
Why does it matter what we believe? Because our beliefs determine our behavior, they determine how I am blessed by God and also determine my believability to the world.
When it comes down to it, if someone asked you why you believe what you believe, can you answer?
I feel so fortunate that I do feel equipped by God and the experiences I've had in my life so far, that I can absolutely explain why I believe what I believe to anyone who asks. I have had some wonderful mentors, teachers and friends who have patiently taught, challenged and shown me through example who God is and why I believe in Him and His Word.
So check out Brian's entire message at http://orbc.net/sermons "Why Does it Matter What I believe" and let me know what you think! What worldview do you hold or struggle to overcome?