Why is there so much pain and evil in the world?

Why is there so much pain and evil in the world?  To help us tackle that question we are going to look at 1 Peter chapter 1.

1 Peter 1:1, “1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen”

  • Scattered:  The word “scattered” is used in verse 1 because the original audience was going through heavy persecution from the Roman Empire, and personally experiencing pain and evil in their lives.
  • Do a quick google search on the life of Nero!
  • Key:  It is important to remember that what we see today is not what the God of Scripture created in the very beginning.  If you look at Genesis 1 you will see the God of Scripture created everything to be perfect.  But then in Genesis 3 we see our sin show up and ruin everything God created to be good, so that today we see pain and evil.

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Is Jesus the only way? Part 2

1 John 4:1, “1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

In Part 1 we examined the position, “Jesus is just one of many ways to consider.”  We saw in 1 John the Apostle John is teaching us “do not believe every spirit” and “test the spirits” therefore, we examined the fruit that is produced when we consider “Jesus is just one of many ways.”

In Part 2 we will examine the other position, “Jesus is God in the flesh.”

1 John 4:2, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;”

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Is Jesus the only way? Part 1

1 John 4:1, “1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

In verse 1 the Apostle John is writing to a group of people who have heard about Jesus, but never seen Jesus, and the Apostle John writes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit.”

The phrase “do not believe every spirit” is reminding us that we live in a spiritual world. Yes, we live in a physical world that we can see, smell, hear, taste, and touch, but we are also living in a spiritual world, and in verse 1 John writes “We live in a spiritual world, and we need to test the spiritual world to see if it is true or false.”

When you see the phrase “false prophets” it doesn’t mean crazy people with googely eyes that you can smell coming a mile away. No, the Apostle John is talking about invisible forces at work intentionally creating confusion and leading people astray.

The word, “spirit” in verse 1 means “spirit of the age” or “ways of thinking.” It means there are messages coming at us all the time through movies, music, education, friends, school, and even through this blog.

Therefore, the Apostle John writes, “Beloved, we must test every spirit.”  We must be on the alert. We must consider the messages and test if they are true or false.  There are two primary views in our culture about Jesus today. The first is that there are people who believe Jesus is God in the flesh who has come to provide the means for men, women, and children to be reconciled to God by grace through faith in Jesus.

The second is that Jesus is not God in the flesh, but simply one of many ways to consider in life, therefore, we must test both of these claims to see if they are true or false. Lets take the second one first.

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Life of Samson

Judges 16:13-14, “13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web. And she fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.”

At this point in the life of Samson it is clear that Samson has been equipped by the Lord with extraordinary gifts (Judges 13), but instead of using those gifts to bring glory to the Lord and be a blessing to the people, we see Samson using those gifts for his own personal gain.

We need to remember Samson has been doing this for 20 years.   Samson knows he can wonder into Philistine territory behind enemy lines because he believes his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger (Judges 16:1).

Samson can hang out with prostitutes all hours of the night because he is confident his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger (Judges 16:3).

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Enduring patience to bring hope into our lives

Judges 13:1-3, “1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children.” 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.”

In verse 2 there is a reference to a woman being physically barren, unable to have children, and this reference would have been symbolic to the spiritual condition of the people in Israel in Judges 13.

They were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, again (verse 1). It wasn’t necessarily evil in their eyes, but it was evil in the eyes of the Lord, so that the Lord’s response is to send the Philistines to bring oppression for forty years.

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The Celebration of Judges 5

In Judges chapter 5 we see the importance of celebration. The people of Israel have been living under oppression for 20 years, and yet they pause in Judges 5 to celebrate.

Do you know why? It is because life is hard! Hardship doesn’t discriminate. Pain comes for all people, and none of us escape life without at least a little difficulty.

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God’s Love Through Discipline

Judges 3:12-14, “12 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. 14 The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.”

In verse 12 we see the “sons of Israel turning from the Lord.” In Judges 2 a new generation grew up that didn’t know the great works of the Lord, and in Judges 3 the pattern continues.

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