Why do you believe?

For part three of our Called to Mission series, Kyle urged us to consider the question, "Why do you believe?" This may seem like a simple question, but the answer determines how we live out mission in our lives.

The Christian story is bigger than us

Of course there are personal benefits to Christian belief. The peace, joy, and contentment that come with knowing Christ may top your list of why you believe. But if that's all we think about when we think about Christianity, then we may be describing little more than therapy. The "why" of our salvation extends beyond personal benefits. Ephesians 1 describes some of those benefits: we are "blessed with every spiritual blessing," chosen to be "holy and blameless," and adopted as God's own children. Then, three separate times, Paul provides an end goal for all those blessings: "the praise of God's glory."

God's Glory is the Goal

God is so giving and loving to us. He abounds in grace. He acts out of love. When He gives and loves, His true character is revealed, and that character is a glorious one. "Glory" means honor or renown, beauty or magnificence, and to glorify something or someone is to praise or worship it; to exult and boast in it. God's acts of love and grace reveal His beauty and magnificence, which leads to our praise, which leads to more revelation of His beauty and magnificence. It's a cycle: Grace --> Glory --> Praise --> Glory --> Grace --> Glory...

We praise what we love

At this point, some people may view God as rather prideful. Shouldn't He be acting out of "pure" motives, without any concern for His glory? Two ideas help to answer this concern. First, God's glory is best revealed in His grace. In other words, God's best interest is also our best interest. Our good and His glory are not mutually exclusive; they are two sides of the same coin. Second, it's natural to brag about the things we love. God doesn't demand honor like a petulant child-King -- He designed us to delight in Him and to take joy in sharing that delight. The honor we give Him flows naturally out of our relationship with Him. 

We can't praise what we don't know

Since our praise for God flows from our knowledge of Him, it follows that the more we know Him, the more we will praise Him. And what is praise but simply proclaiming what God has done? This praise is our witness. Telling people about Jesus shouldn't be hard; we love to tell others about the things we know and love. So learning to tell others about Christ begins with knowing Christ, because we can't praise what we don't know. 

As a closing thought, remember this: evangelism has an expiration date, but worship will go on forever. 

Questions to Consider:

  • Am I remembering to praise and thank God for His gifts?
  • Am I seeking God first in my life? How can I know God better?
  • Am I living in such a way that reflects the truth that God's glory is linked with my good? Does my life point to God's beauty and goodness?
  • Am I thinking about my faith only in terms of what I can receive or in terms of giving praise and glory to God?

Listen to the full sermon here and read more sermon notes from this series here.