Sermons About or Influenced by C.S. Lewis

"Reasons Enough to Believe: 

Evidence Within and Without"

As we begin this morning, let us our first scripture from the first letter of Peter, chapter 3, verse 15. Here Peter is commanding all Christians, both to know what we believe and to be able to share effectively with others why we believe as we do. It is a call for us not only to be inspired and faithful in our Christian life, but also to be informed and willing to share, in the right attitude, what we know with others. Let's read 1 Peter 3:15:

"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;"

For you see what we hear Peter telling us is that our faith and experience of God is not only to be heart-felt, but also reasonable and thoughtful. Some people want it all one way - all feeling and emotion. Some others want it exactly the opposite - logical and rational. We need both in order to be the kind of Christian that God wants us to be.

Let's look at another scripture and see just how Jesus dealt with this heart/mind issue. Do remember when the Pharisees asked Jesus to tell them what the greatest commandment is? What was His answer? Let's read it in Matthew 22, verses 37 and 38.

Jesus said, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment."

Yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing Him as our personal Lord and Savior, must be heart-felt and experiential. He really does come in and set us free from our sins and from our selfish ways and it should be a heart-felt reality. Yet, it is also true that living for and obeying God does not mean that we have to park our brains at the door when we become Christians. As we just read, Biblical integrity calls for each of us to have reasons for the hope that is within us.

And with that introduction, this is where I want to begin my message this morning. In fact today, I will begin a series of messages that I hope will help us focus on some of the most important and most basic questions about our faith. I claim no special knowledge in these things that is not available to anyone else who would both study God's Word and the writings of those faithful Christians who have gone on before us. But I do want to mention at least one person who has been a faithful teacher and mentor to me over the last 30 years, as I have tried to make sense of both the Bible and of the world we live in, and that person is C.S. Lewis. His books have been an education in themselves and have pointed me not so much to look at Lewis but to grow in my relationship to Jesus Christ Himself.

Let's begin by asking a simple but important question: Is there a God and does He reveal Himself to us? Some would outright argue that there is no God and just leave it at that. I remember back in the mid 1960's when it was popular to talk about God being dead. But such thinking is not new. Look at what the Bible tells us in our next scripture in Psalm 53, verse 1. These are some comments that David made about 3000 years ago regarding those who were unwilling to look at the evidence within their own hearts. David wrote,

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."

But I say to you that God has given each of us enough evidence of His existence so that we need not just talk about Him, but we might also need to commit ourselves to Him.

Let's look within the heart that David mentions in Psalm 53 and see if we can find any evidence of God. Here we find in our human heart at least two hints of God's presence in our lives. The first hint I call a universal moral code. That's right - a universal moral code that is found within every person and within every culture that has ever existed. Now we may not live up to it, and we may not always acknowledge it, but we all have a built-in sense of right and wrong. I'm not just talking about what our parents have taught us. No. I'm speaking of a morality that even the most hardened criminal understands. Simple things like fairness and not breaking in line ahead of others - not taking someone else's seat at a ball game - making and keeping promises - giving the correct change when we buy something at the store. Where do we get such a sense of fair play and personal dignity? C.S. Lewis says that there must be a Lawgiver, a Someone or Something, who has placed such a moral code within us. (Mere Christianity, 20) If we look at our next scripture from Romans 2:14-15, we'll note that Paul had this same revelation about a moral law being written on the hearts of people who had never even heard of the 10 commandments. Here is what he says of us non-Jews, us Gentiles:

"for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, {15} who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them."

Beyond the moral law within us there is something else that I mentioned last week when we were discussing some of positive things that Zaccheus had going for him. One person calls it "a God-shaped vacuum" within us (Pascal). St. Augustine speaks of "our hearts being restless until they find their rest in God." (Paul Little, Know Why You Believe, 23) Whether we admit it or not, each of us has inner needs and heavenly longings which cannot be fulfilled in this life by things on earth. The painful truth is that we each move throughout life trying to have this need met by some physical substance or by some earthly person, and ultimately we come to realize that the pain and discomfort, that inner longing that is within us, can only be made whole and satisfied by God. Again, I like what C.S. Lewis says about this inner longing. He writes, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." (Mere Christianity, 106) And so, the Bible, in Ecclesiastes, confirms what our hearts tells us, that God "has put eternity in their hearts." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Many of our most favorite Psalms speak of this longing and desire to know God and to dwell in His house forever (Psalm 23:6), almost as if it were a physical appetite that needed to be satisfied. Look at the next two scriptures: first, from Psalm 42:1-2 and then, from Psalm 84:1-2 that speak of our thirst for God:

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. {2} My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."

"How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! {2} My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."

So we find two clues for the existence of God within our own hearts - first, in that sense of morality and fairness that we expect of everyone; and second, in that deep, inner longing that transcends this world we live in. But there are also reasons for our faith that can be found in the natural world around us. It's only common sense for most people to admit that "every effect must have a cause." (Bickel and Jantz, Guide to God: A User-Friendly Approach, 40) "A four-year-old child might really believe his muddy footprints 'just happin by theirself,' but [his] Mom sure doesn't." (Guide, 40-41) And so, our universe and all that is in it must have had a beginning, an incredibly powerful cause to create it. Thus, we hear the words of Moses in Genesis 1:1, in the very first verse of the Bible:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. "

But let's read further in the first two verses of Psalm 19:1-2:

"The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. {2} Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge."

And this takes us to a second clue that we find in our world. Some today would tell us that our world, and all that is in it, is the mere evolutionary product of time plus matter plus blind chance. Is this reasonable? Is it possible that the very rational thoughts that we express each moment of the day are produced by billions of brain cells that just happen to exist by accident as the result of an mindless process without God? No. Our world not only has a beginning; it also has order and design, purpose and harmony. (Guide, 41) How can anyone who looks out at the beauty of this fall season, as you drive toward Monticello, how can anyone not sense the awesome presence of an Intelligent Designer? Paul himself expresses this so plainly as he is writes to the Christians in Rome in the very first chapter of the Book of Romans (1:20). Let's read it:

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse."

You and I and this wonderful creation around us have been brought to life and given purpose and direction by an Awesome and Powerful God.

Yes, this morning, you and I have reasons enough to believe in God. We have evidence for the hope that is within us. I have merely touched the surface. Indeed, He has given us a sense of wonder and awe as we have looked both within and without to discover that we are not alone. The case has been made. Our hearts and our world speak of both the inner longing and the breathtaking wonder of His presence among us through His creation. 

The question remains: What shall we do? This awesome Creator invites you and me to live for Him, to offer ourselves in worship and service, to give Him glory and honor. Above and beyond all the worthy things that we may want to do with our lives - in our life's work, in our families, in our church and community - we are called by God's Word to do something of even greater worth, an even greater dignity. What is it? Look with me at our last scripture from Revelation 4:11. Here we see our greatest calling and purpose:

"You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

This morning, you and I are an incredible part of this wonderful world that has been created by God. Will you come and offer yourself to Him - to seek His forgiveness, to know His Son Jesus Christ, to serve Him all of your days. Will you let Him be not just your Creator, but also your personal Lord and Savior? Let us open our hearts and respond to His invitation of love. To God be the glory.

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Last Updated: Monday, September 03, 2001