How can we adhere to a religion with so many problems? How much is too much? Isn’t Christianity just too problematic?
Pastor Tim LeCroy attempts an answer to this important question about the viability of the Christian Faith.
I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?
– Ayaan Hirsi Ali
There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
-David Foster Wallace (Ithaca native)
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Man, this part of Your creation, desires to praise You. You move us to delight in praising You; for You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.
-Augustine of Hippo, 4th c.
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
-Simon Peter of Galilee, 1st c.
Why I am now a Christian, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali: https://unherd.com/2023/11/why-i-am-now-a-christian/
Previous Sermon: How can we say that Christianity is the only true religion? https://newlifeithaca.org/sermons/how-can-we-say-that-christianity-is-the-only-true-religion/
Previous Sermon: How can we say that the Bible is God’s only true word? https://newlifeithaca.org/sermons/how-can-we-say-that-the-bible-is-gods-only-true-word/
Scripture Texts: Acts 17:16-34
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”– because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. 22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
This is the conclusion (part eleven) of a new sermon series at New Life Presbyterian Church called, Hard Questions, Real Answers. Here is the schedule of our sermon series with the topics we will cover:
|How can we say that Christianity is the one true religion?
|How can we say that the Bible is the only true religious text?
|How can we take the Bible literally?
|How can a loving God allow suffering?
|Doesn’t science disprove religion?
|Doesn’t Christianity allow slavery?
|How can you believe in hell?
|How can I be in the Church when it has hurt me and so many others?
|Isn’t Christianity anti-women?
|Isn’t Christianity homophobic?
|How can we adhere to a religion with so many problems?
“How can we adhere to a religion with so many problems?” a sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Timothy R. LeCroy on Sunday, November 19, 2023 at New Life Presbyterian Church, 950 Danby Rd., Ithaca, NY. Join us for worship every Sunday at 10:00AM. Visit us at our website at www.newlifeithaca.org.
The intro and outro music is from “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” provided by Sandra McCracken and with her permission. Please visit her website at www.sandramccracken.com.