Whats the Solution?

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For the past four weeks, we’ve been in this series I’m calling “Framing Your Worldview.” We’re learning to look at life from God’s viewpoint.
We’re looking at the major questions of life. We started the first week with, “Why does it matter what I believe?”
Does it really matter what I believe? We’ve dealt with what I call the sincerity myth – it doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. The fact is you can be sincerely wrong. You can sincerely make mistakes. I’ve done it many, many times and so have you. So it does matter what we believe. If it’s not the truth then we have a shaky foundation when the earthquakes of life come through.
Then the second week we looked at “How do you know what’s true?”
How do you know what’s real or what’s unreal. In the world of reality television there are a lot of things that really aren’t that real – virtual reality. We talked about the ways that you can test the truth. How do you know if somebody’s telling you the truth or not? We looked at that in quite detail.
The third week we looked at “Who am I and where did I come from?”
The implications of that in terms of your value, your vision, your direction in life.
Then last week we dealt with the question, “How did the world get so messed up?”
We talked about the fact that we live in a broken planet. When sin and evil entered the world – we live in a fallen planet.
If you have missed any of these, check them out on our FB page.
So today we’re looking at what’s the solution based on what we talked about last week. The world is full of problems and because we live on a planet that has sin and has evil in it nothing is perfect.
You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect. No relationship is perfect. Things don’t work right. Everything’s damaged. So as a result the world has a lot of problems.
Today we’re going to look at what is the solution to the world’s problems, particularly the root cause of the world’s problems.
There are unlimited approaches to solving the symptoms of the world. You can see all the symptoms all around you the many, many problems and deal with kind of the band-aid approach to surface issues. But we have to get beneath that if we’re going to make a real difference in the world.
ILL - When I get weeds in my yard I don’t go out and just cut them off with a pair of scissors. I pull them out by the root. If I just cut off the symptoms they’re going to grow right back.
A lot of the problems in your life, in your family, in your career, in our nation and in the world we tend to treat them as symptoms and we just cut off the problem at the top but the root is still there so they just keep growing back and back.
I am going to give you some of these approaches. As I go through them, you will recognize all of them.

Approaches to the Worlds Problems

Political Change what we do (laws)
We are more than familiar with this one. It’s front and center all the time. This view believes that we can solve the worlds problem through policies. Unfortunately, a lot of people, even Christians believe this. They believe that government is the answer to our problems.
Educational Change what people know
This line of thought says that the road of all the problems of today are because people are ignorant. If we could just get everyone educated, all the problems would be solved.
Nothing os wrong with education. Christians began over 90% of all schools. 90% of all hospitals were begun by Christians. Usually the first one in each nation.
So obviously we believe in education. But we don’t believe in Salvation by education because in reality, education is not enough. There are people who do horrible things who are highly educated. terrorist… dictators… criminals...
Material Change what people have (money)
This line of thought deed everything in economic terms. This carries the idea that if people just had enough money, their lives would be ok.
Of course money matters and there is nothing wrong with having some or a lot. As Christians, we would love to get rid of poverty, but money doesn’t make someone a follower of Jesus.
There are two different versions of salvation by compensation or the material approach to world problems. There’s socialism and there’s capitalism.
Socialism basically says we’re going to take all the money and put it in a pool and we’ll redistribute it equally and we’re going to take a little bit of yours and give it to somebody who has a little less.
Then capitalism says, No, we believe in free market enterprise and we believe in entrepreneurship and if in creating freedom for people to start businesses they will naturally use their own God given opportunity to better their economic income.
The bottom line is just helping people get more money does not solve all the problems of the world. There are plenty of people who are FRMs – Famous, Rich, and Miserable. Having a lot of money does not solve all your problems. If it did the people who are wealthiest would be the happiest in the world and that’s just not true
Psychological Change what people feel
This line of thought says that what we need to do is just help people change the way they feel about themselves. We need to help them deal with their past and deal with their relationships and deal with their self-esteem. I would call this Salvation by Actualization.
As if the whole goal of life is just to take all the stress out of your life. It’s not. You were made for more than just to live a stress free life. You were made for more than happiness. You were created for a purpose. You were made by God and for God and until you understand that life is not going to make sense.
Sociological Change how people relate
This line of thought says says, let’s change all the social structures of society. If we do that then everything will be great. At the beginning of the twentieth century there were a lot of social activists that genuinely believed – even Christians – that if you just changed the social structures of society then things will naturally get better.
After the twentieth century where we had more people die, more people killed, the holocaust with six million Jews, so many evil things in the world. People realize that there’s a deeper issue than just the social structure – Salvation by Association doesn’t work.
Biological Change people’s bodies
People are doing all sorts of things to improve their physical bodies.

Biblical Change Hearts!

None of these approaches work. None of them get to the root of the problems in our world.
The bottom line is this. You have to change the hearts of people if there is going to be lasting change. That’s salvation by transformation. God specializes in that, changing prejudiced people into loving people and hateful people into kind people and self-centered people into unselfish people.
No law will ever teach people how to love. Only God can do that. You have to have salvation by transformation. It starts in the hearts. It begins inside you
The bible says in Pro 4:23
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
That means it’s the root. Each of these other things have a role but they don’t attack the root. This is the root of all our problems. The wellspring of life is your heart, your character. It’s who you are inside. When you look at the world the heart of a problem is a problem of the heart. We’re not going to see any changes in society until there’s changes in the self, changes inside. The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.
There’s an old story about a father whose son was bored on a rainy day. They didn’t have any games and they didn’t know what to do. So he found a picture of a map inside a magazine, a map of the world. He took the map and cut it up in little tiny pieces and put it on the table and said, put this together. He thought, that’ll keep him busy – putting the world all together. About fifteen minutes later the son came back and he had it all taped together and the map of the world was perfect. He said, “How did you do that? How did you put it together so fast?” The boy said, “On the back of the map was a picture of a man. When I got the man put together the world fit too.
It starts in the heart. The fact is, only changed hearts can change people. Only changed people can change the world. So that’s why today we’re going to look at what changes the heart. What makes the changes in me that can make a change in the world.
Because we live in a fallen world, a broken planet, human beings have heart diseases. You can find them in every culture, every single culture. I don’t have time to go into all of them today but let me just give you five. Five common universal heart diseases.

Heart Diseases Symptom

1. Guilt: You feel worthless
We all blow it at times and don’t measure up so we feel guilty all the time. It is impossible to be happy and guilty at the same time. It’s impossible to feel good about yourself and bad about yourself at the same time. So because many people live with guilt the symptom is many people feel worthless. They feel worthless. And it is guilt that causes that feeling of worthlessness in their lives.
Psalm 40:12 NLT
12 For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.
You can’t feel good and guilty at the same time. So a lot of people feel worthless.
2. Compulsions: You feel Helpless
There are things in your life that you know are not good for you but you do them anyway. There are things in your life that you know would be good for you but you don’t do them. You may not call these addictions but they are.
And every one of us have compulsions in our lives that you habitually act in self-defeating ways. We do it all the time. You act in ways that defeat relationships and you act in ways that defeat your health and you act in ways that defeat your happiness and they are compulsions. As a result of this you say, I’d like to change but I can’t.
There are a lot of things that I’d like to do but I don’t. There are things that I know would be good for me like exercise. You know exercise would be good for you. How many of you wish you did it more?
The bottom line is we know the right thing but we don’t always do it. And we feel powerless to change. That’s a symptom. The symptom is many people feel powerless. They not only feel worthless because of guilt they feel powerless because of the compulsions, the habitual actions in their life that they can’t seem to change
Romans 7:14–25 NLT
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Paul is talking about compulsions that make us feel helpless.
3. Alienation: You feel Friendless
Alienation means I feel disconnected. A lot of people feel disconnected. They feel disconnected from God. They feel disconnected from other people, their friends, their family.
Many people are married and feel disconnected from their spouse – I just don’t understand you. I feel like we’re in two different worlds.
That’s part of the cause of sin and evil in our world. It causes a breech in relationships.
As a result of that alienation in the heart that many people feel, many people feel lonely. Loneliness that says I can’t get close to anybody. Most people have never experienced genuine intimacy in their life – soul to soul, heart to heart, companionship. They feel separated. They feel like they’re detached. Before you accepted the Lord into your life that’s the way you were with God. The Bible says,
Colossians 1:21 GNB
21 At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought.
So alienation creates loneliness.
Here in America we have so valued the American spirit of independence that we have created the greatest generation of loneliness in history. There are a lot of lonely people today. Because it’s a problem in the heart
4. Confusion: You feel Aimless
Confusion of the heart brings a feeling of restlessness and aimlessness. You don’t really know who you are, where you came from and where you are going. You drift along with no goals through life.
Once you have become a follower of Jesus and discover your purpose in life, you forget how miserable you were before you came to know Jesus.
You forget how miserable it feels to wake up in the morning going, “is this all there is?”
You forget how miserable it is to get up in the morning, go to work, come home watch TV and go to bed… get up in the morning, go to work, come home watch TV and go to bed. Maybe go to aa party on the weekend, dread Monday and do it all over again.
This isn’t a new problem. In Matt 9:36
Matthew 9:36 M:BCL
36 When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.
Confused and Aimless is a problem of the heart. No politics no education and no amount of money will fix that.
5. Worry: You feel Restless
Worry is a universal heart disease. People worry in every single culture. When you worry the outward symptom is restlessness or hopelessness. They become disengaged, anxious and restless.
Psalm 55:2 GW
2 Pay attention to me, and answer me.  My thoughts are restless, and I am confused 
Proverbs 12:25 NLT
25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
You cannot be worried and happy at the same time. Worry will weigh you down and create a sense of restlessness.
When you look at those heart diseases and you look at how the world has attempted to solve these problems and that’s not a very pretty picture. But I’ve got some good news for you. This is what we’re going to talk about today. The good news is that Jesus Christ specializes in heart transplants.
Ezekiel 36:26 GNB
26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.
That’s what we are going to focus on tonight for a few minutes. How Jesus changes Hearts. How does He replace a heart filled with guilt and worry and alienation and compulsion and confusion with a new heart? How does He replace feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness and loneliness and aimless and restless? How does He do that? And what did Jesus do on the cross and how did that make a difference?

How Jesus Changes Hearts

If you asked people what the most well know symbol in the world is, people might say some different things like… the Golden Arches… Starbucks… Flag… They would all be wrong because the most well know symbol in the world is the Cross. It’s worn by millions and it’s on and in millions of buildings all over the world. What’s the big deal about the Cross? Why is is the most well known symbol? What did it accomplish? Why do Christians wear it as a symbol of home when it was an instrument of death?
What Jesus did on the Cross solved out 5 biggest problems. What he did on the cross solved our heart problems and many other problems.
So today we will look at 5 benefits of what Jesus did on the cross. If you are a follower of Jesus, we all need to be able to explain this. When someone says what’s the big deal about Jesus and the cross, you will be able to use the five benefits.

1. Replacement: He took my punishment

On the Cross, Jesus took the punishment you and I deserved. He was my replacement, my substitute.
Romans 3:25 LBP
25 For God sent Christ Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against us. He used Christ’s blood and our faith as the means of saving us from his wrath. In this way he was being entirely fair, even though he did not punish those who sinned in former times. For he was looking forward to the time when Christ would come and take away those sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 LBP
21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!
Jesus was our substitute. He took our sin and put it on him and he paid the price for it and at the same time, He gave us His righteousness.
We all sin. None of us measure up to God’s standard of holiness.
If I speed, I pay a ticket. If I shoot someone, I will serve time. If I drink and drive and have a wreck, I will pay the price.
When we break mans laws we pay the price. When we break God’s laws, we pay that price as well and God says the price is death.
Romans 6:23 NLT
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
This means we all die and deserve to die. Someone said, “none of us are getting out of here alive.”
Someone had to pay for our sins, and the person who paid that price was Jesus. It was a price you could not afford to pay on your own. If Jesus didn’t pay it, you would be paying it in hell for eternity. But the good news is that Jesus said, I am paying the price for all of your sins. It’s like you go out to eat and someone else pays your bill. Jesus paid your bill.
In the OT, they sacrificed animals over and over again for the forgiveness of sins. When Jesus died on the Cross, He did away with the old sacrifices. In Heb 10:12
Hebrews 10:12 NLT
12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
We see that Jesus paid the price ONCE for all sins for all times. He does not keep sacrificing himself.
One of the 7 sayings on the cross was It is finished. What he was referring to was that the sins of the world were paid in full. (Tetelestai) He didn’t have to die again and again. It (the payment for sin) was finished.
God did that for you because He loves you. He says that in John 3:16
John 3:16 NLT
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
He made you, he loves you and he wants to have a relationship with you. No one will ever love you more than Jesus does.
Why is this such good news? Most people in the world would die to hear three words. You are forgiven.
When you accept what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross, you say “I’m accepting You as my replacement, as my substitute. I’m putting my faith in You.” Jesus says you are forgiven.
We need that because guilt is probably the most paralyzing emotion. One study said half the patients in hospitals would go home if they could get rid of the guilt and resentment they feel. Guilt what we’ve done to others. And resentment what they’ve done to us. Guilt and resentment have such physiological effects on our bodies, you weren’t made to walk around carrying guilt. God says I don’t intend for you to live that way. I want you to be forgiven. It is finished.
Jesus forgives you instantly, completely and freely. When God looks at you, there is no condemnation.
Romans 8:1 NLT
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

2. Redemption: He bought my freedom

1 Timothy 2:6 NLT
6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
We were slaves to sin and Jesus bought our freedom. You may be thinking, “I’m not a slave.” Well Peter said different.
2 Peter 2:19 NLT
19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.
We are all slaves to something. Whatever controls us, we are slaves to that. peers… relationships… a substance… money… your work or your schedule… past… memories… guilt… resentment… You fill in the blank.
1 Thessalonians 4:4–5 NLT
4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
Are you a slave to your desires?
Paul said,
1 Corinthians 7:23 NCV
23 You all were bought at a great price, so do not become slaves of people.
God paid a high price for us to be free so don’t become a slave to people. Don’’t live for the approval of others. parents… kids… spouse… someone you are dating… them…
Jesus paid the price for your freedom.
Galatians 5:1 GNB
1 Preserve Your Freedom Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.
1 Peter 2:16 NCV
16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as servants of God.
So here’s the question. What is it that controls you? Are you controlled by you past? Are you controlled by your habits? Living for the approval of others? Are you controlled by your schedule? I know some people who would rather die than be late to anywhere.
Let me give you a picture of what Jesus’ death on the cross did to purchase our freedom. Imagine a busy market place. A lot of commerce going on. People all around, selling things, clothes, vegetables. But in the center of the market place there’s something else that is being sold. It’s people who are being sold as slaves. To really picture this you’ve got to put yourself on the auction block. You have to be the one whose up on the slave block being sold. Perspective buyers are eyeing you, looking you up and down. Thinking of you as a thing and not as a person. And the bids begin to start. As each successive bid is shouted out you look in the eyes of those who are bidding on you trying to size them up. Are they kind or are they cruel. It really doesn’t matter because they’re still trying to buy you for their own purposes. Just as the auction is winding down a stranger off in the crowd stands up and he offers a bid that is a thousand times higher than any one else’s bid. There is no way that any one could ever match that bid or beat the bid. As the auctioneer hastily accepts that bid you look into that stranger’s eyes and you realize that he’s not there to buy you to use you. He’s there to set you free.
That’s what Jesus did for us on the cross. He paid for us to set us free. He paid the price to set us free that was so high, a free gift that you and I could never purchase on our own.
It would be like waking up on Christmas morning, going downstairs, opening up all your presents and then going around collecting all the name tags of the people who gave you those presents to find out who gave you the presents then whipping out your checkbook and trying to pay them for those presents. It’s absurd. You wouldn’t do that. No one would do that.
Yet so many of us feel like we have to pay for God’s love by good works, by the things we do. But it’s impossible because the price is so high. It’s so great
Psalm 49:7–8 GNB
7 A person can never redeem himself; he cannot pay God the price for his life, 8 because the payment for a human life is too great. What he could pay would never be enough
Nothing we try will satisfy the price that had to be paid. Only Jesus could pay and did pay the price for your sins and your freedom.
Jesus was my substitute. Jesus bought my freedom.

3. Reconciliation: He restored my relationship with God

Reconciliation means he restored my relationship with God. Before Jesus reconciled you, you were at odds with God.
Romans 5:10 GNB
10 We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life!
Whenever you do something to anger someone, it breaks the relationship and there is a distance there. Reconciliation brings them back together.
Most people in the world do not feel close to the Lord. They feel like he doesn’t care or is too busy for them. If you don’t feel like God is close, it wasn’t God that moved. He says that it’s our sin that separates us from Him.
But God takes the initiative and when we blow it, God takes the initiative to reconcile us to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:18–19 GNB
18 All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19 Our message is that God was making the whole human race his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends.
Jesus erased your sin account. Because we are his friends, we can talk directly to him. We don’t need a priest or anyone else. You can talk directly to the Lord.

4. Rebirth: He gave you an new identity.

We all have things in our past that we would like to forget. Millions of websites and magazines talk about how to change your identity. People are searching for identity in many of the wrong places. Our culture identifies identity these ways…
What we do… carreer.
What we have … Our possessions
It’s what we know… our education
How we look… our appearance.
That’s the best the world has to offer.
But Jesus offers us a radical change of identity. When you ask Jesus into your life, you become a totally new person.
Titus 3:5 CEV
5 He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning.
look at what Paul said here…
2 Corinthians 5:17 GNB
17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.
The moment you believe in Christ, there’s a spiritual transaction that takes place where everything changes. This is a matter of faith not by sight. It’s when you become a believer you don’t all of a sudden look different to yourself in the mirror. It’s still the same face. For some that’s too bad. Many things will remain the same… quiet person will still be quiet.
But what happens is a metamorphosis where you spiritually become a new person. Like a butterfly that comes out of the cocoon… You are something new when you accept Jesus. Not talking about positive thinking or self help. I am saying you are made new… different from the inside out.
Romans 6:3–4 LBP
4 Your old sin-loving nature was buried with him by baptism when he died; and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought him back to life again, you were given his wonderful new life to enjoy.
He makes us right with God and gives us a new identity.

5. Repudiation: He defeated the devil and death

1 John 3:8 NCV
8 The devil has been sinning since the beginning, so anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work.
Have you ever wondered what the devil’s work is? It’s messing with you… your heart. He wants to fill you with worry, guilt and resentment… anger … fear… confusion… feelings of worthlessness… helplessness and hopelessness.
Fear does not come from God. God is love.
1 John 4:18 NLT
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
So when you are afraid it didn’t come from God.
The number one fear people have is death. Satan uses that fear to keep us enslaved to fear.
The real test of your faith isn’t here at church, or at a wedding, birth of a child, a promotion, graduations, retirements… parties and the happy times of life.
The real test of your faith is in the funerals of life. How do you act in the terrible times when things are not going well or when someone dies.
I have done a lot of funerals over the years and there is a huge difference between believers and non-believers. We grieve differently. I have seen terror in unbeliever’s eyes and I have seen peace in the eyes of believers. As believers, we don’t grieve for the person… we will see them again. We grieve for ourselves because we will miss them.
Last week my mom would have been 100. I miss her, but she is celebrating in heaven.
The longer I am here and the more people I know that are in heaven, the better heaven looks. We were never meant to live in this imperfect world. God made it perfect and our sin messed it up. Heaven will be perfect when we see it.
Paul siad,
Colossians 2:15 NCV
15 God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.
The devil is powerless against the Lord. I am not afraid of the devil because John said in 1 John 4:4
1 John 4:4 NLT
4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
We have the Holy spirit of God living in us. We don’t have to be afraid of the devil. We have the Lord is us. We don’t have to be afraid.
Jesus loved us so much that he became one of us to break the power of sin and death.
Hebrews 2:14–15 NLT
14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
Jesus put an end to the power of the devil and death.
Romans 6:9 M:BCL
9 We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word.
We don’t have to be afraid of death anymore. Anytime you are afraid of something, turn and run to the Lord because when God is near, fear is gone.
Here’s the point – when you understand these five things Jesus did instead of feeling worthless and hopeless and helpless and powerless and aimless in life the cross says this about you. You are valuable. You are lovable. You are forgivable. You are capable. And you are usable for God’s purpose in your life.
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