Starting Point | Don't Stop

Introduction

The ability to believe is the most powerful force at mankind’s disposal. Everything that has been done, for good or bad, was done because someone believed it could be or should be done. Every problem that has been solved was solved because someone believed it could be or should be solved.

We constantly look for evidence to support what we believe is true. In the case of religious belief, that means if you believe deeply enough, any religious system becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If that’s true, isn’t it possible that Christianity is just an example of groupthink on a massive scale?

 

DON'T STOP

Everything has a starting point including your faith journey. Faith has a starting point. But faith is perhaps the most confused, misused, and abused concept in religion.

 

Three Observations about Faith/Belief:

1. The ability to believe is the most powerful force at humankind’s disposal.

  • Everything that has been done, for good or bad, was done because somebody believed it could or should be done.
  • Ideologies/belief systems drive world events.
  • When we believe something is possible, we look for a way until we find a way.
  • Belief empowers us to . . .
    • Try.
    • Try again.
    • Anticipate.
    • Hope.
    • Imagine.
    • Create.
    • Improve.

2. We constantly look for evidence to support what we believe to be true. 

  • We filter out what doesn’t fit.

3. Belief is easy to maintain within a community of shared belief.

  • Community helps filter out contrary information.

 

The ability to believe is one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind.

  • Religious belief is simply belief applied to things of a religious nature.
    • Religious belief hinges on “believe that . . .”
    • Believe deeply enough and any religious system becomes a self‐fulfilling prophecy.

 

When Jesus died, those closest to him believed that he was dead.

  • They believed he was a powerful speaker whose powerful speaking got him crucified.
  • They believed he was not the Messiah.
  • They believed he was not the Son of God.
  • They believed their lives were in jeopardy.

Jesus’ closest followers lost faith in the end

When Peter and John and the rest of the disciples went into the streets of Jerusalem a few weeks after the crucifixion, their message was simple:

  1. You killed Him.
  2. God raised Him.
  3. We’ve seen Him.
  4. Say you’re sorry.

 

MOVING FORWARD

Christians believe that when you place your faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, that single act of faith leads to forgiveness of sin. And that is why we said from the very beginning that the starting point for the Christian faith is a question:

"Who Is Jesus?"

A single event—the resurrection—changed how those closest to Jesus answered that question. In a moment, they went from unbelief to belief—the moment they saw him risen.

As Christians:
We believe that something happened.
We believe that Jesus was crucified for our sin, and God raised him from the dead.

 

CHANGING YOUR MIND

“He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
Acts 17:31b

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What is something you were once afraid to do that you don’t think twice about now? What changed?
  2. Is trusting in someone or something without knowing all the facts easy or hard for you? Why?
  3. In the message, we said, “The ability to believe is the most powerful force at mankind’s disposal.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
  4. Did you find parts of the message disturbing? If so, which parts and why?
  5. How has your faith grown or changed over the years?
  6. What does having faith in Jesus mean to you?