daily Broadcast

Why Christianity Matters, Part 2

From the series Jesus Loves Me

Have you ever been criticized or made fun of for being a Christian and didn’t know how to respond because you weren’t confident in your answers? In this program, guest teacher John Dickerson will prepare us to better handle those conversations. As he picks up in his series Jesus Loves Me, John will stress the influence Christianity has had and why that reinforces its validity and reliability.

This broadcast is currently not available online. It is available to purchase on our store.

Chip Ingram App

Helping you grow closer to God

Download the Chip Ingram App

Get The App

Today’s Offer

Jesus Loves Me free mp3 download.


Message Transcript

Whether or not you believe in Jesus or God or the Bible, if you care about the women in your life, you want them to grow up in a Christian-influenced society. If you care about your kids and you want them to grow up to be educated and have good jobs, you want them to grow up in a Christian-influenced society.

These universities became what I call seed universities. That is their graduates went out and started other universities like IU. Indiana University started as the seminary of Indiana, started by a Presbyterian pastor who had been trained at Princeton, which was started by six pastors. Not making any of this up, but I’ll move on, okay?

Christianity accounts for one out of three people in the world today. So, there are some weirdos who call themselves Christians.

But that doesn’t change the reality that these huge leaps forward for humanity, like women’s rights and universities and hospitals were founded by devoted followers of Jesus. And that’s what we are about here. We want to be the kind of Christians who actually follow Jesus. And that’s why it matters that we know the basic beliefs about who Jesus is and who we are and what the Bible is.

So, let’s transition to furry, fuzzy animals since we have been looking at a lot of numbers, okay? Here’s a picture of a super cute animal, alright? This is a California sea otter. And if you look closely, there are actually two sea otters, you see the two noses? This is a mommy holding her baby, okay? Now, California sea otters, if you have ever seen them, they are, like, the cutest creatures. They are super cuddly, they actually float around and they’ll hold hands. Sometimes there will be a group of five or six of these, they are just holding hands, floating in the water. They just look like these little cute, cuddly, teddy bears.

Here’s a picture of a California sea otter eating lunch. This is their favorite meal. These little purple sea urchins, okay? Now, there’s something significant about the California sea otters. And marine biologists, the people who study oceans, they learned this actually the hard way.

You see, in the 1900s, these California sea otters, they were all over this area in California called the Monterey Bay. Well, hunters came in and started hunting these sea otters for their skin, and the sea otters got completely wiped out. They became extinct in the area. And then something really unexpected happened. The entire ocean ecosystem for hundreds of square miles, it all died. There used to be great white sharks and orcas and tuna fish and a whole food chain from the tiny animals all the way up.

Once the sea otters were hunted to extinction, the whole food chain died. And so, some people started looking into this and here’s what they found. They found that under water, there are these giant trees called kelp. Sea kelp. And here’s a picture of these giant sea kelp.

At least seventy-five to a hundred and fifty feet tall. As tall as the roof is in here and taller. And what happens is the smallest sea creatures eat this and then the next sea creatures eat them, and then the next sea creatures eat them, you know, so these fish eat the small fish and then the tuna, which are pretty big eat these fish and then the sharks eat the tuna and on it goes and you get the whole food chain, right?

Well, here’s what happened. Remember that little sea urchin? The purple thing that was on the sea otter’s chest? The sea urchins eat these kelp and they devastate them. If the sea urchins are just left to their own devices, if the otters are not there to eat the sea urchins, the sea urchins destroy the sea kelp; they eat it all. And the food chain starves from the very beginning. The smallest creatures don’t have anything to eat.

So, here’s what happened. Huge success story. In the 1970s, marine biologists reintroduced the cute, cuddly, furry sea otter back into the Monterey Bay. And after a few years, with the sea otter being back, the sea otters started eating their favorite meal – the sea urchins. And the kelp came back to life. And when the kelp came back to life, the little creatures could eat again and then they could get eaten by the bigger creatures. And after a few years, now there are orca whales, there are great white sharks; the whole food chain is there. There are orca whales that swim from around the world and they now go to the Monterey Bay to mate and to breed and to feed, because it’s such a rich, rich food environment.

So, biologists call this a keystone species: the sea otter. In other words, you know, a keystone, if you pull it out, the whole building falls down. A keystone species is a species that might look like it’s not a big deal, like the sea otter. But if you remove it, the whole ecosystem dies. And here’s the conclusion I reached, not as a pastor, but as a journalist. The Christians, while imperfect, are actually a keystone species for humanity. And that where Christians go, where sincere followers of Jesus go, society flourishes.

I saw it first as a reporter, that when I go to a natural disaster, guess who would be there handing out water bottles and helping the people who are now homeless: Christians. You go to a developing country, a Third World country, and who is digging the wells? Who is building the orphanages? Who is building the hospitals? It’s the Christians.

And I realized, both from on-the-ground experience as well as statistics and documentation and irrefutable history, Christians are a keystone species. Now, we are not perfect, there are a lot of messed up Christians, yes. But it doesn’t change the fact that it matters for society if there are Christians.

Next, it matters for our kids and our grandkids. Does it matter if we get Christianity right? Well, it matters for our kids and grandkids. I mean, this can be as personal and real as moms and dads who would have been divorced who don’t get divorced because they are devoted to the teachings of Jesus and they keep working through their stuff. Or moms and dads who were divorced but one of them becomes a follower of Christ or the other one does and they are able to turn that situation for good.

It matters for our kids and our grandkids. It matters for the society they will live in. But it also matters for who they will become. Do we want our kids and grandkids to live lives of freedom? Do we want them to enjoy healthy marriages and relationships? Do we want them to live a life free from addiction? Do we want them to have eternal life with God in heaven after this world? If so, then it matters if we get Christianity right.

You know, history, sadly, is littered with the corpses, the empty buildings of churches that once followed Jesus but drifted away. If you travel to Europe you’ll find all over England and France and Germany, places where education started, you’ll find these giant, empty cathedrals that are now museums or very often they get sold as commercial real estate, they get turned into shopping malls or apartment complexes. Why? Why did those vibrant groups of Christians die off?

And the answer is always that they abandoned one of these core beliefs of Christianity. They either stopped believing that Jesus was God, maybe some really slick, nice looking person stood up and said, “Hey, it doesn’t, you don’t really have to believe Jesus is God.” Or maybe they stopped believing that the Bible is the standard for what they do and believe.

But in every one of those cases where you find those empty cathedrals, they drifted from one of these core, simple things that anyone can know, that a child can know, that’s summarized in the song Jesus loves me, this I know.

And here’s my heart for us as a movement, and for you as my brothers and sisters. I want you to know the essentials of Christianity so well that if someone stood on this stage who looked better than me, that’s not that hard, okay? Who told funnier stories and made you feel so good about yourself, but one day they said, “You know what? We really don’t have to believe Jesus is God,” that a red flag would go off in your mind and you would know, That’s wrong. That leads to death.

The way that leads to life is believing that Jesus is God, that He died on the cross for me, that He rose again, and knowing that I have received that by faith. Or if someone were to stand up here and say, “You know what? This book, it’s kind of old. There’s a lot of myths in there, there’s, like, a lot of weird stuff in there. Let’s not take that book so seriously. You know, we could be followers of Jesus and not really care about that book,” that a red flag would go off in your mind, and that you, as a church, and as individuals would know, No, no, no. That’s not right. If we lose the Word of God, we will lose our way.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. It matters for our kids and our grandkids. Next, it matters for you personally. It matters for you personally. I described earlier how I have seen the teachings of Jesus transform me from the inside out. I mean, that’s my desire for you, is that you increasingly and continually see that through all the seasons of your life, that Jesus makes you a better version of yourself. And it happens when you believe the truths about Him. It happens when you obey Him and you do what He says.

And it does matter for you personally. It does make you a better version of yourself, a more honest version of yourself, a more productive version of yourself, an easier person to live with. It matters for you personally.

You know, when you get on an airplane, a good pilot has a checklist. One of my best friends is a pilot and it’s a very long checklist that they go through before a plane takes off. They’re checking the flaps, the wheel, all sorts of dozens of things.

They are making sure that things are precisely where they need to be – why? Because that plane taking off is a matter of life or death. And my heart for you in this series is that you would know the checklist, the simple things that you need to know for sure.

You don’t want to build your life on a belief system that hasn’t been inspected. You know, Jesus taught. He said that He’s the way, the truth, and the life. He also said this, that every one of us builds our life on something. And He made the analogy, it’s like building your house and you want to make sure you build your house on a solid foundation. And He said that He is the solid rock and there are all these other belief systems that are like shifting sand.

And so, this series is about you knowing what your foundation is as a follower of Jesus. Again, I have tasted, I have seen this power in my life. Now as a pastor I have seen this power in hospital rooms, I have seen it at gravesides, I have seen it in triumph and in tragedy, in health and in sickness. The gospel of Jesus is the power of God unto salvation.

Let me show you a living proof story of this. This is a friend of mine named Tim. Tim, for a long time, was not someone you would have wanted to cross paths with. Tim was an addict and a lot of the things he did as an addict, under the influence of those drugs, hurt other people. Tim ended up in prison as a result of that.

His life was a real mess and it really hurt the people around him. And then Tim had a moment where he believed in Jesus. And like all of us, that salvation moment, it starts with just the simplicity of acknowledging, “I need help, I believe Jesus is God and wants to help me.” It’s as simple as that for the start. And that’s where Tim started.

And as he followed Jesus, he learned Jesus is the one true God, Jesus died on the cross for his sins. That’s why he’s got a cross tattoo on his arm now. That Jesus rose from the dead. Tim had a moment in his life where he said, “This I know,” where he believed it for himself. He said, “God, I need Your forgiveness for my sins.” And then as he said, “For the Bible tells me so,” and he started to say, “What does God’s Word say about every area of my life?” Tim transformed and became a totally different person. Tim now lives a life that helps other people. He runs an addiction center called the Set Free Center where he helps other people get free from their addictions.

And Tim goes every month to an orphanage in Haiti, because he is following the Jesus who cares about the least of these. And so, he goes to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest areas in that country to help boys and girls who don’t have moms or dads.

And Tim is part of my life story because I saw his transformation with my own eyes. But then when my wife and I started praying, we felt like God was calling us to adopt. And we had this sense that if we are going to adopt, it’s going to be from one of the poorest countries in the world.

And we had this moment of surrender where we said, “Okay, God, if You want us to adopt a child who needs a family from one of these really poor countries, we will do it; we are surrendered. But You have just got to bring the opportunity along.” And we were in that moment of surrender when Tim stopped by our house in Arizona.

And he had this photo album of this orphanage in Haiti that he goes to every month and he started showing us these pictures of these little kids who didn’t have a mom, who didn’t have a dad. And ultimately that’s how we met our youngest daughter Evie, was through Tim.

So, does it matter if we get Christianity right? Well, it mattered for my youngest daughter, it has mattered for me, it mattered for Tim, it matters for our families, it matters for our society.

And, finally, it matters when you face death. Every one of us, no matter how much money we make, no matter how much power we have, these bodies will wear out. The Rockefellers were the richest – you know, John D. Rockefeller was one of the richest people in the world, but he’s dead. Bill Gates will someday be dead. Vladimir Putin will someday be dead.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter how many great doctors you can afford, your body will wear out and die. All of ours will.

And I saw this as a reporter. I saw, I interviewed a group of people; they were multi-millionaires and some of them were billionaires. And they were in their seventies and eighties and they were starting to realize that they were going to die. That they could afford the very best private doctors all over the world, but their bodies were still going to die. They were going to face death. And you know what they had devised because they were atheists? They refused to believe in God.

They devised this group called Alcor that will have their bodies flash frozen like sushi so the moment they die, they are going to have their body flash frozen and they are leaving a trust with hundreds of millions of dollars to keep their body frozen in the faith and belief that someday, science will figure out how to reanimate them back to life and then heal whatever was broken in them. That is the only hope they have as they are facing death.

And what I saw as a journalist as I interviewed those people in that group Alcor is this: Everyone is going to face death. And the smartest people acknowledge that it’s coming for all of us. And the smartest people are making some plans. But as I compared that plan to this plan, I felt a lot better about this one.

I felt a lot better about this thing that we all kind of inherently know there is a God who made us, and that there is this real documented person in history who claimed to be that God. And that today, all of our birthdays are based on His date. And every time an atheist signs a check, they are writing Jesus’ birthdate on there. You know? This Man has so impacted humanity that we can almost miss it it’s so big. It’s like the ocean that we swim in. And as I investigated that, first, through the facts but then with my heart to say, “God, if You really are real; Jesus if You really are God, I want to believe.” He has changed me from the inside out.

And now, I know that someday when I face death, it’s not going to be the end for me. It’s just going to be a transition into a much, much better eternity. I remember sitting at the bedside of a ninety-two year old woman named Ruth. And I had walked with Ruth through the final months of her life. Her husband had been a follower of Jesus. He had gone to heaven ten or fifteen years before her.

And Ruth was ready to meet Jesus. And none of us look forward to death, but she knew that for her, that moment that she breathed her last breath here would be her first breath in heaven.

And Ruth had asked me, she said, “John, when I start to pass, will you just sit next to me?” And she couldn’t breathe anymore and so, the people at the nursing home had given me these ice cubes to just set on her lips, because she couldn’t swallow a whole cup of water, she couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t talk, but she could still hear.

And she had told me weeks before, “John, when that times comes, I just want you to keep reading the words of Jesus to me.” And she had this verse in particular, Jeremiah 29:11 where God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” That was Ruth’s life verse.

And I watched her. I watched her breathe her final breaths. I watched her pass from this life to the next. And while I already believed it at that time, I got to see with my eyes that when you follow Jesus, when you allow Him to transform you, you can face death with a total peace, a total calm, a total fearlessness.

So, does it matter if we get Christianity right? Yes, I believe it does. And this series is all about you knowing for sure that you have got it right and that you have it in such a way that if your kid asks you, “Well, what does it really mean?” that you can tell them this little song, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” And you can know what each of those words mean.

Let me pray that for you here. Father, You have gathered us here to plug into Your power. You are the power source of the universe, You are the way, the truth, and the life.

Lord, many of us in here, we have believed and we have seen this power in our lives, but, Lord, maybe the connection has gotten a little bit corroded and we have forgotten that this isn’t just a belief system or a religion; this is about the power of God that leads to salvation. And this power is available for every area of our lives today. And so, Lord, we just pray in this series, will You recharge our connection to Your power?

And, Lord, will You use us to raise up a generation that our kids and our grandkids, they would know the power of God that leads to salvation? They don’t need to go to seminary or memorize books to know Your power so well that they can always recognize if a message is not quite right or if it’s actually connected to Your power. God, You have placed us in a world that is getting darker and darker. People are fighting about how to make the world a better place and they disagree so much. And You have shown us the real answer, that the power to change the world is found in Jesus. And now You have entrusted this to us.

So, Lord, as we go from here, will You just send us out as lights in the darkness, showing and telling this good news, this hope, this light, this warmth that our world needs so much? Lord, would You use this series to anchor us deep, that we would be men and women who know the truths of Jesus and who experience the power of Jesus in our lives? We pray it all in Jesus’ name. Amen.