What Are The Questions For Which Christ Is The Answer?
The Big Idea: Make a lifestyle of directing men to the questions which only Christ can answer.
The core issues men face are not that different than they have ever been—finding significance and love, resolving loneliness and guilt, contemplating one’s own mortality, coping with the emptiness of material success or lack thereof, broken relationships, pride, fear, anger, lust, and sin—to mention some of the most obvious ones.. God inserted Jesus into human history not merely to comfort and encourage us when we are afflicted, but to be the answer to our deepest, most profound questions about truth and ultimate reality. Join us as we think about the questions people around us are asking for which Christ is the answer—and how we can be there for them.
Hanging Out With Jesus: What Are The Questions For Which Christ Is The Answer?
Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44
Good morning, men! So let’s go ahead and do a shout out today. We have a new group to welcome, they’re called Pointmen. It’s a men’s discipleship group out of Turning Point Church in Fort Worth, TX. The leader is Eddie South. 50-70 guys that meet in seven different groups and what they do is they grow their groups, but when they reach ten, they divide, and then have a new leader. So they’re growing and using the Bible Study here with us, so I wonder if you would join me in welcoming Pointmen from Turning Point Church today? One, two, three, hoorah! Welcome guys, we’re glad to have you with us!
Before we get going here, I want to make you aware of a new resource. Maninthemirror.org, our website for the ministry, has over the last decade and a half increasingly moved to be more for leaders, to help leaders with the resources that they need to disciple men. As such, we have put increasingly less emphasis on having a website where men can go to get resources for their own personal growth, so we’re just launching a new website here called patrickmorley.com. What I want to do here is acquaint you a little bit with the site for you and the men you come in contact with. This is the website, and the top row here are the three most recent books for men that are available. How God Makes Men there, I’ll come back to that, but it’s now out and we have some of those here this morning for purchase. If guys want to they can also connect to the video Bible Study here, there’s a direct link. This and a few other things act as a portal over to Man in the Mirror’s website, where we host the Bible Study. To show you, let’s click on that and see what happens, and it takes us over to Man in the Mirror, and there you see the message that released this morning at 7:00am from two weeks ago. Then we have the Equipping the Man in the Mirror magazine, and we’re offering a free six month subscription on patrickmorley.com that men can sign up for. I do a Weekly Briefing, a weekly email on things of interest, and we have other subscriptions as well. This also has what’s current on our twitter and Facebook, and then at the bottom we have links to Man in the Mirror, our Books by the Box program, and Area Directors resources. Across the top here we have links to my bio. There I am on the big screen, what a good looking guy! Under books we have here all titles, some free e-books that can be downloaded from Man in the Mirror like Is Christianity for You, and a few others. If you want to order books from Man in the Mirror, you can do it there, too. There’s a description of each of the books and some of the different places you can get them like Amazon. They’re listed in the order in which they were published, and this gives you one place to see them, all the way down to How God Makes Men. There are other resources available, we have several articles up on the website and you can get access to those. Any possible topic on men’s leadership and men’s discipleship that you can think of can be found there. We have a one minute radio program that’s on 700 radio stations nationwide, we’ve been doing that for about five years and you can find it there. We now have it set up, thanks to Brian, so that you can listen to it online. You can also get to the Man in the Mirror Blog and the Bible Study podcast, so if you want to listen to this on iTunes, you can do that. Under opportunities we have links to the Area Director pages and the Annual Summit, and lastly under follow we have links to social media.
So back on the home page, here’s the new book How God Makes Men. It’s kind of a funny story how this web page got finished. Kevin McMillan is the graphics designer/web person who we outsourced putting this together. He’s probably in his mid to late 30’s and has younger children. I got an email from him about two days before we’re supposed to go live. He said I’m sorry, but I won’t be available for two or three weeks, I broke my wrist. I said what happened? He said well, I was out skateboarding at night with headlamps with my two sons, and went over a three foot ramp and fell down and broke my right wrist. Not a very good thing for a graphics designer. Then he said damn you John Eldredge for telling me to be wild at heart! So Brian Russell here actually finished the website, so thank you Brian for the good work you did here.
So here’s just a little description about the book, How God Makes Men, and there’s some ordering links, and you can read and download chapter one. Hey Brian, you know what we ought to do? We ought to put links to the How God Makes Men Bible Study series we did here. Could we do that? We should do that with Man Alive as well. Anyway, that’s the deal there. I wanted to show that to you so now you know there’s a resource out there you can send men to if they’re looking for ways to grow.
We’re going to take a look now at this question, what are the questions for which Christ is the answer? The series is Hanging Out With Jesus, we’re looking at the Tuesday of holy week. It’s now later in the day, all the religious leaders have sort of asked all their questions and now Jesus decides to ask the religious leaders a question. We’re Matthew 22:41 and it says:
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
So first off I just want to talk about Christ, our Lord and savior. They answer:
“The son of David,”
Now the reason they said the son of David is because there is in Jewish theology this Messianic idea that there is a future hope, an anointed one, a messiah who is going to come and rescue us. Now, as it turned out, the clarity of that idea for us looking back is extremely clear, but it was still somewhat muddled at that point. So many Jews were expecting a political messiah like healthcare.gov, and so there’s this idea, this divine covenant that God has made with his people. It started with Noah, it started with Adam for that matter, then progressed through Moses and others eventually to David. The idea was that this messiah would come from the house of David, this was well known. The question is, since they’re very much aware there is a Christ coming, notice what Jesus says, he says what do you think about the Messiah? Not about me, but what do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? So he’s asking this very interesting question, and they say the son of David, and he says to them:
“How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’?
Look what Jesus has just done. He has established that the writings of David are inspired by the Holy Spirit. So Jesus here is authenticating the inspiration of the scriptures given by David. That’s a very significant point! Then he says:
“’The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’”
If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”
So it’s a riddle. If the Messiah is the son of David, how can he also be his Lord or his father? He is both the father of David and the son of David. It’s pointing out to these leaders that they don’t know everything.
No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
So that’s the Christ, and Jesus has already declared that he is this Christ, this Messiah in the story about the woman at the well in John 4, the Samaritan woman, where he talks about how she’s had many husbands. She says when the Messiah comes he will explain everything, and then Jesus says I who speak to you am he. So he has already declared that he is the Messiah. In John 5:39, Jesus goes on and he says that the scriptures are about me. So he is claiming to be the Christ.
There is a volume of books called The Nature and Destiny of Man by Reinhold Niebuhr. Seventy years ago, he wrote this, and this is a tour de force when it comes to the doctrine of man. This is the classic text for the doctrine of man. So we have a doctrine of Christ, a doctrine of man, and we have a doctrine of salvation. Adam failed, that’s the doctrine of man and it’s the issue of man’s sinfulness and separation from God. Then you have the issue of who is Jesus, that’s the doctrine of Christ. Lastly, you have grace prevailed, the doctrine of salvation. In this book about the doctrine of man, Niebuhr says some very interesting things, and I’d like to read you the first 8-9 pages of the second volume, but I’m not going to do that. He says the basic distinction between historical and non-historical religions and cultures may be succinctly defined as the difference between those which expect and those which do not expect a Christ. So there are religions and cultures where no Messiah is expected, there is no savior. So he goes in depth on how those religions and cultures that rely on reason, or those that believe more in nature, that what you see is what you get, become hopeless. In fact, Jean-Paul Sartre, the famous French existential said man is an empty bubble with nothing inside. A man draws his portrait, and that’s all there is. Life is a useless passion. So there’s this whole world, and Niebuhr would say half the world believes this way, and half the world is expecting a Messiah. So what I want to do in this message is get into the questions that people are asking today for which Christ is the answer. So this is the question being asked then, who is the Messiah, but what are the relevant questions today that men are asking for which Christ is the answer?
There is a friend of mine who told me this story about a guy named Joe. Joe was a top flight salesman. As a result, he ended up becoming the sales manager of his company. He flew out to Texas to make an important sales call with a young man that worked for him named Mike. He was on the ground for about a day, they had a fantastic meeting, and they also had some time to get to know each other and became friends. After a day, Mike drove Joe back to the airport, and as he was saying goodbye, he said, you know Joe, you are amazing the way you are able to present our product. You’re brilliant! But as smart as you are, you don’t have a clue. You don’t have a clue where you came from, you don’t have a clue where you’re going, and you don’t have a clue about what your purpose in life is. A few months went by, and some local businessmen were putting on a prayer breakfast and they invited Joe to attend. He started hearing answers to those questions that had been awakened in him, and he made a change. One month later, he experienced at the age of 44 a mild heart attack and was scheduled for bypass surgery the next day. That night, Joe took his Ph.D. educated wife out to dinner. She was a basket case, and he said to her, you know honey I love you so much. You’re amazing! You are brilliant! But as smart as you are, you don’t have a clue about where you came from, where you’re going, what your purpose in life is. Isn’t it interesting?
So the Big Idea for today is this: Make a lifestyle of directing men to the questions which only Christ can answer. I’ve asked you guys once a week to ask at least one man where he’s at in our spiritual journey. One of our members was telling me that he works for a company that has an anti-religion policy, but he has made it his practice in his career to end his phone conversations by saying have a blessed day. So taking the challenge, he has a boss who every other word out of his mouth has four letters imaginatively arranged. He’s not a bad guy, in fact he says he believes in God, he’s just crass. He’s not asking any questions for which Christ is the answer. He’s off in some kind of a worldly belief system, trying to make money, get ahead, stomp on people, all these things. So the man here at our Bible Study who works for him asked him where are you on your spiritual journey? They had a very nice exchange. A few minutes later, our man heard his boss on the telephone going back and forth with an angry customer. At the end of the conversation, he said you have a blessed day. You see? Make a lifestyle of directing men to the questions which only Christ can answer, because it will actually make a difference in people’s lives!
The Ultimate Questions
So what are those questions? Let’s take a look at the ultimate questions. So Jesus is prophet, priest, and king. Christ is the title he has in the role of Messiah, it’s not a last name, everybody knows that right? He’s a prophet like Moses, a priest like Melchizedek and a king like David. Jesus in his role as the Christ, the Messiah, he does come at one level to comfort and heal the afflicted, but beyond that Jesus came to take the most profound deepest questions about what is truth and what is ultimate reality and answering them with his gospel. So we’re going to look at that, but first let’s look at what are these ultimate questions. Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is my ultimate purpose in life? Those are three really good ones. In this book, Is Christianity for You, I’ve put a list of some of the unexpected questions that sort of sneak up on people. I was walking with a young guy once who was a student, and he was going to law school. I said you want to change the world? He said no, I want to make a lot of money. So there are lots of people like that who want to make a lot of money and they want a big house, country club, etc. But actually, they don’t really want any of those things. What they really want is the idea of how they think those things are going to make them feel inside. Eventually, those things lead to a series of unexpected questions, questions they weren’t ready for, like why am I still so restless? I have everything I ever wanted and I hate my life. Why do I feel so empty inside? Why do I feel lonely? I remember one of our most prominent citizens one night was standing around his pool at a party he hosted. He said you know, all these people at my house, and I don’t have any friends. He just felt so alone. He’s become a Christian since. Why do I keep repeating the same mistakes, or sins? Why do I feel like my life lacks purpose? Will anything I do ever make a difference? Does my life matter? Does anybody really care? What happens when I die? Where can I go to find some relief? These are the questions about ultimate reality and truth that at some point in everybody’s life they want answers to. God has put us there in their path so that when they ask those questions we will be able to direct them to the answer. The big idea is this: Make a lifestyle of directing men to the questions which only Christ can answer.
When you look at the core issues of life, whether 4,000 years ago in the Bible or 2,000 years ago, or today, the core issues that men are dealing with are still basically the same. The issues of finding significance and love, dealing with one’s mortality, how do I handle this feeling of guilt, dealing with this emptiness that we were talking about. I was listening to NPR this week, the Whitey Bulger trial, and a man was on there. His sister was strangled decades ago and he’s living it and plans to do so every day of his life. He said I want Whitey Bulger to rot in that prison. I want to know that every day he’s suffering in that prison, that he didn’t get away it. He was just consumed with hatred. You think there’s a question we might be able to direct him to that only Christ could answer? How do you get rid of this hatred? We know that in Christ not only are we forgiven but we are given the ability to actually forgive others as well.
That’s a far cry from a man I actually had lunch with last week. He’s a pastor here in town and last year he and his wife were driving in their car, and a young man high on drugs traveling 70 MPH ran head on into their car and killed his wife and put him in the hospital for 21 days. He broke bones and kinds of stuff. When he met with that young man and his father, and they were talking about what was going to happen, the seventeen year old boy was just sobbing. He put his arms around Mark and he said Mr. Matheson, would you ever be able to please forgive me? I am so sorry! Then the father with tears coming down his face said would you be willing to forgive my son. That’s a serious request. Mark has daughters, his wife has a father, and he said let me get back to you on that. So he talked it over with his daughters and his father-in-law and he said this is the right thing to do, to forgive this young man. So instead of him spending the next ten years in prison, and the sentencing has not happened yet, but they are going to ask the judge for probation for ten years, five hundred hours community service and regular drug tests. But they decided to forgive him. That’s the kind of difference that Jesus Christ can make in someone else’s life, and given that is there anyone else we want to send them to? So make a lifestyle of directing men to the questions which only Christ can answer. How can I forgive? Jesus Christ can show you how to forgive.
The Gospel Of Christ Our Lord
Finally, the Gospel of Christ our Lord. This is the answer, and I hope that everyone you knows right now how to express the Gospel or you will take the time to find out. In a nutshell, the Gospel is this: that 2,000 years ago, motivated by his love for mankind in the fullness of time, God inserted his son Jesus Christ into human history. All of God in a human body, the exact representation of his being, to lead a sinless life, to provide a way through his sacrifice, his sacrificial death. An atoning sacrifice for our sins. And he was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, and as it says in our text today, he sits at the right hand of God and he is the Lord. He is prepared to forgive men’s sins and give the promise of an abundant life, life everlasting. That’s the Gospel.
So who do you know out there who is asking questions for which Christ alone is the answer? I urge each and every one of us to make this into a lifestyle, having our antenna up, so that when we find people who are wondering why their life is so empty, who are asking these ultimate questions, that we will direct them to Christ, the only answer. Let’s pray
Our dearest father, thank you for the privilege that we have of being your ambassadors, your representatives. You’ve given us the ministry of reconciliation, to tell people that you are not counting men’s sins against them because of Christ. They can have all of their ultimate questions about truth and reality answered in the Gospel of Jesus. So, Lord, help us to know where we stand in this process. Maybe we’re the ones who need the gospel. Maybe this morning some of us needed to be reminded about this truth. But Lord, more than likely there are people in each of our lives are wondering what’s it all about, is it even worth it? Would you help us as a matter of our lifestyle to direct them to the questions that only Christ can answer? We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen!