Message

2022.11.27

Why are People Born and Why do We Live?

 

Good morning everyone.  Today, I’d like to begin by sharing how I met God. 

 

I was born in Koto Ward, Tokyo.  I was born into a big family, living together with my parents, brothers, grandparents, uncle, and aunt.  I was the first grandchild for my grandparents, so I’m told that I was adored by my grandparents and uncle and aunt when I was young.  I remember it was a very lively house with many people, but gradually, due to various circumstances, there were less people in the house.  By the time I was in junior high school, I stayed at the house to commute to school, and I was living with my grandparents, only the three of us.  The space that had felt crowded came to feel much more spacious that it almost felt lonely.  It was so even for me, so I think my grandparents felt more so.  However, entering adolescence in junior high school, it was a time I felt I didn’t fit in at school, depressed, and feeling rebellious towards my grandparents who were taking care of me.  Not so much an outright rebelliousness, but the type that turned inward, not talking to about anything to anyone. 

 

Though it was such a time, I was pretty eager to listen to the stories during wartime that my grandmother sometimes told me.  I had great respect for my grandparents who survived through the war with small children, and the hard times even after the war, but it was difficult for me to tell them so.  Also, every time I listened to stories about the war, I would be thinking, “Why are people born, and why do we live?”  At the same time, I was a child who would be thinking, even though we are living in an age that is much more privileged than during wartime, I somehow felt empty and did not feel happy, so I must be a hopeless human being, and did I even deserve to be alive? 

 

Speaking of war stories, I have another memory.  My homeroom teacher when I was in my first year of junior high school was a man over 70 years of age who had retired, but was reinstated as a teacher at the request of the school.  He was a science teacher, and sometimes, he would talk about the war times during class.  He had been a sergeant in the Navy, and even when he talked about unimaginable hardship of how he had drifted on a ship that was bombed for days, he told it in a humorous way, not at all miserably.  His wartime stories were memorable too, but there is something that I remember the most about that teacher’s class.  It was about the theory of evolution.  Darwin’s theory of evolution.  After he explained the theory of evolution, I remember even his tone so vividly, he said as follows.  “But, has anybody seen a monkey turn into a human?  No one has yet to see it.  No one can change a monkey into a human being.  If you tell a monkey, you are my ancestor, the monkey would get angry.” 

 

At the time, I didn’t know why the teacher said such a thing, but I thought his talk on the theory of evolution and wartime stories were related somehow. 

 

One day, my mother told me the following after talking to my teacher who had come for a home visit.  She said he talked about a sad experience of not being able to save the lives of his men who were thrown out into the sea from the ship that was bombed.  My teacher had talked about the war even on home visits.  It was a tragic aspect of war that he didn’t talk to us students about, and a painful experience that he had born and kept on bearing ever since the war.  After hearing that, I thought about it in my own way.  Monkeys aren’t as intelligent as humans, but they don’t kill each other using weapons.  They don’t make weapons that kill many people at once.  Humans are the animals that fight in planned and cruelest ways, and if we tell the monkeys that they were the ancestors of such us, wouldn’t the monkeys get mad? I thought maybe the teacher wanted to say so.  Of course, since I can’t ask anymore, so I’m not sure if he had meant it ironically about humans causing wars like that.  However, since he had spent time on the front lines during the hard wartimes, and had suffered the emotional scars that came with it, he hadn’t wanted to teach his students the nonsensical idea that humans had evolved from apes, and that he had wanted to negate it, I think.  And this teacher’s talk helped me later on to believe in the true God the Bible writes about. 

 

I mentioned I was a child who would think about the meaning for humans to live listening to stories of war times from my grandmother.  And it was the same when I listened to the talk of my homeroom teacher.  As he had said, I didn’t think humans could have evolved from animals either.  Monkeys were monkeys, and humans were humans.  Then why were humans born and why did they live, I would wonder. 

 

Then the time came when this question was answered.  I became a Christian when I was nineteen.  Actually, the nursery school I had attended was a church.  A teacher there was good friends with my mother.  When I was nineteen, she came to visit at my house after more than ten years.  She was a Christian.  With her encouragement, our family started attending church. 

 

At that church, a person prays as a representative during worship service, and the words of that prayer stuck in my mind.  “God, thank you for leading each of us who had gone astray like sheep to You because of the cross of Jesus.”  It was a prayer like that.  This phrase, “gone astray like sheep” felt like it fit me at the time.  When I looked it up, I found out that sheep have the natural inclination to flock together, but once they get separated from the heard, they cannot get back to the herd on their own.  When the shepherd takes care of the herd, they cannot do anything separated from the shepherd.  The person who lead the prayer said You, and You meant God in the Bible who the person was praying to, had led us who had gone stray like sheep to You.  From those words, I was able to imagine further.  I am a sheep gone astray, but then I would be one to return to this God of the Bible whom everyone here is worshipping called You.  Then, I was born out of this God.  And I was able to strangely accept without much reservation that the one who was on the cross that I had seen on the cross in the nursery school I had attended must be that God. 

 

Listening this far, do you think it was because I was such an imaginative person?  However, rather than using my imagination to think so, I felt as if the question I had in my mind and the great mysterious anxiety I had were being solved.  Tugging on my childhood memories, though I didn’t know anything about God, even in my ignorance, I had been taught in nursery school and had known about praying, and conveying to God what was in mind heart by saying, “God”.  Having this mysterious anxiety, and without being able to find the meaning for living, when I heeded this prayer, it felt that God had drawn me close to Him, and responded to the thoughts in my mind. 

 

I started reading the Bible and found that it was written as follows in Isaiah 53:6.  It was shortly after I started attending church.  Please look in your handouts.  All of the Bible passages today are printed there.

 

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

I understood that “like sheep gone stray” came from this passage.  However, the phrase “each of us has turned to our own way” that followed seemed natural because it was our own lives, I thought then. 

 

Here, I would like to talk about the question I had had, “Why are humans born and why do they live?”  Actually, the answer to this question cannot be considered without the foundation of the Bible.  It is because the Bible teaches as follows.  Please look in our handouts.   I will read.

 

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

 

Genesis 1:1 is the first words in the Bible.  As it is written here, there is One who created this world and humans.  That is the God of the Bible.  The heavens and earth, us humans, too, were created by God, and are God’s creations.  Humans did not begin with a single cell organism like amoebas and evolved naturally over billions of years.  If you don7t believe God yet and have the same questions as I did, please first stand on the foundation of this creation by God. 

 

Why are people born into this world?  I will read the next passage.

 

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth

 

It is because God the Creator commanded us to fill the earth.  What we should pay attention here is the phrase, “God blessed them.”  God’s blessing is God fulfilling the needs of the people, and giving them happiness.  God created humans to bless them and commanded them to fill the earth.  God commanded humans to be born on earth and live. 

 

Then if God blesses us, why do people die without being able to live continuously?  In Genesis chapter 3, it is written that humans rebelled against God who blesses us.  People who are new to the Bible, too, may have heard this story.  Humans ate a fruit of the tree that God had told then not to eat, that we would die if we ate it being tempted by the serpent, which is the devil.  The first humans, Adam and his wife Eve must have known they were wonderfully blessed by God.  However, they were caught by the serpent’s lie that God was mean to not let them eat the fruit.  Do you think then that the bad one was the serpent and not humans?  No, Adam and Eve could have believed God and rejected the serpent.  However, they chose to believe the words of the serpent that they shouldn’t have.  Then, human sin was born, and death was born.

 

This is not just a myth or a fable.  It is written as follows in the Bible.  Please look in your handouts.  I will read Romans 5:12.

 

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (that is Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

 

Listening to this, you must think, why would I too, have to be a sinner just because Adam sinned?  However, please think about it.  Are there people who can say you have no lacks faults at all?  Are there people who have never once lied since birth?  Never hated anyone?  Can say you have no inkling of self-centeredness?  As people grow, do we not realize there are some flaws in us?  There are evil things, that is sin, in the hearts of humans.  Sins in the Bible means being off target of the righteous God, and all humans are off Go’s target.  By the sin committed by the first person Adam, all humans who are descendants of him have inherited the nature of sin.  Eve also is one in body and mind to Adam as his wife.  The two of them, rather than believing God’s righteous words, were overconfident in themselves, and chose the serpent’s evil words.  As a result, the nature of sin was born in their hearts, and people came to fight, even to murder.  And sins increased, and the humankind came to wage war. 

 

Please look at Isaiah 53:6 again.

 

I had thought “each of us has turned to our own way” was natural because it is our own life, but please recall.  God created this world and humans.  If we stand on the foundation of thinking there is a Creator, and we are created beings, we begin to think about what would happen if we proceed with our lives as we please.  As I mentioned before, being overconfident of oneself and living off God’s target is sin, and death awaits beyond sin.  Death will surely come.  Are there people who have never felt anxious about dying?  Death is something everyone experiences, but it is not natural.  What all humans have to go through for their punishment for sins, that is death.  Going about one’s own way without knowing God the Creator is like walking in a fog we can’t see ahead in, and even if it is fun for a moment, what lies ahead is anxiety and fear. 

 

I will read the latter half of verse 6.

 

The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

What does this mean?  “He” refers to Jesus Christ who is God’s only Son.  This Book of Isaiah was written 720 years before Christ was born, but had already prophesied about Christ.  Isaiah is a person’s name.  Isaiah was a prophet.  Prophecy are words entrusted to us from God.  It’s almost Christmas.  Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah prophesied in another passage that Jesus would be born.  God said through Isaiah that He would have Jesus Christ bear the iniquities of all people.  Would you be surprised to know that the reason Jesus Christ was born for that reason?  And think would there be anyone who was prophesied about 720 years before?  Jesus Christ indeed was born 720 years after that, about 2000 years ago from now.  And never once sinned in his life.  God the Father laid all our iniquities on that only Son Jesus Christ.  Iniquities are sins to be punished.  Jesus received the punishment for our sins in our place on the cross.  Crucifixion was a really terrible punishment. 

 

Why did God do such a thing?  As I said earlier, God created us humans to bless us.  However, God the Creator of all things is absolutely holy, so cannot overlook human sins, and there was punishment.  That was “death”.  “Death” in the Bible is not just the deterioration of the physical body, but refers to eternal separation from God.  The destination of sinful humans is not only physical death but the terrible everlasting destruction of being separated from God the Creator.  However, God gave us a solution that does not lea to that “death”.  That is the substitutional cross of Jesus Christ.  God made it okay by punishing his own Son in our place.  It says as follows in the Bible.  Please look in your handouts.  I will read 1 John 4:9 to 10.

 

9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

 

I will say it again, but God crated us to bless us.  Therefore, even for human sins, as these words in the Bible says, God provided a way to solve it.  “Live” in verse 9 is life of blessing connected eternally with God being forgiven of the separation from God.   “An atoning sacrifice” means that Jesus Christ became a sacrifice, being punished for sins on the cross in our place.

 

Then why did Jesus Christ become our replacement and be crucified?  That is because God the Father and the Son Christ are together one God.  Christ in flesh came, and suffered the same physical sufferings as us, but his thoughts were always one with God the Father.  That is why he received the unimaginably terrible punishment on the cross, and became our replacement.  Here is shown the love of God for us who created and had us be born to bless us. 

 

Let me go over it again.  We were born into this world by God He Creator.  The reason we were born is for God to bless us, but humans rebelled against God and sinned.  And were to go into everlasting destruction of death of being separated completely from God.  However, God gave us a solution that is the cross of Jesus Christ to forgive our sins. 

 

Then what should we humans do?  What is to believe and accept what I just said.  We have only to respond to God.  Because the reason for us being born and to live is precisely that.  The meaning for us being born and to live is to be forgiven by God and be excused from the death of being separated from God, and gain eternal life.  And to know more and more of God love and walk with God in the life of blessing that continues on for eternity. 

 

The first human Adam, and his wife Eve were tempted by the devil and made the wrong choice.  The world is filled with things that prevent us from believing in the true God.  The theory of evolution is so, too.  We need to make the right choice. 

 

I will read the last Scripture passage for today.  This is God’s truth.

 

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

“The world” here is us, people in the world.  God loves us.  “Whoever believes in him” are people who believed the replacement of Jesus Christ’s cross, and those people will not perish that is the punishment for sins, but have eternal life and live receiving God’s blessings. 

 

If you heard about the Bible for the first time today, and wish to believe in the God of the Bible I talked about, please pray with me.  Let’s pray. 

 

“God, I heard today the story of the true God in the Bible.  And realized Jesus Christ was crucified in place of the punishment for my sins.  I believe that now.  Amen.” 

 

Those of you who prayed this prayer have been given eternal life to live with God.  And have become Christians. 

 

Finally, I would like to conclude my message by saying the following. 

 

We are not born naturally and live on our own.  I spoke that there is God who created us.  There may be people here who lived a really had and painful life up until now, and there may be people who say you have not experienced such hardships.  Either way, if you believed in the substitution of Jesus Christ today, and wish to know more about the true God of the Bible, the greatest blessing has come into your life. 

 

I am not saying your life up until now has had no meaning.  Looking back now, I know I have been receiving God’s blessing through many people even before becoming a Christian.  I said I had a big family, and the family and relatives who raised me, especially my grandparents who took care of me when I was a rebellious adolescent, and my junior high school teacher who talked to us about the theory of evolution, and the nursery school teacher who encouraged us to go to church.  And though I wasn’t able to talk on it today, but I had a Christian friend in high school.  She prayed for me.  And all these people are the people God gave me.    

 

God who created us has plans for us that we don’t know.  Because God loves us and created us to bless us.

 

Those of you who heard about the Bible for the first time today, did not come here and listened by chance.  God made it so.  And to realize that God is such a One is the most important thing in our lives. 

 

Please continue coming to worship.  Let’s learn about God from the Bible together.