I read that line in a book I’ve been going through by Ray Comfort. The title of the book is God Has a Wonderful Plan For Your Life. Ray’s ministry, however, is entirely not devoted to the teaching that Jesus is Better Than Beer. The analogy is given in his book, and in his lecture material that we’re using in a class I’m taking at Hope Chapel, that what we’re preaching in our modern evangelism is “Life enhancement.” Well, guess what? That is, as far as I can tell, and what I’ve always been aware of, decidedly not what the Gospel is about!
You have to go back and study what Jesus said about why He came. He told Pilate that He had come to “Testify to the truth.” What truth? Or, as Pilate said, “What is truth?” The truth is that since we were created “In the image of God” that we have some characteristics that are like Him. Probably the most important characteristic in this respect is the fact that we are eternal beings and life doesn’t actually stop when we die. Our soul, the part of us that is eternal, the spirit, the part that is “Not of this world” will go on after we breathe our last breath on this planet.
And, the truth of the matter is that what we believe is important. Because if we have faith in Jesus, that He came to suffer and die on a cross for our sins, and that He rose again after 3 days in the grave, and that He now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven interceding for us, that Jesus has the power to save us from Hell, which is where will go if we do not repent (turn from our sin, change our mind, give up control of our lives and let God have us) and believe in Him with our whole being, then we can be “Born again” and live with Him forever in Heaven.
The truth, unfortunately is, that you cannot simply pray a “Sinner’s prayer” (there’s no such thing in the Bible) and be saved. You must do the things it says to do in the Bible, that Jesus told us to do! Repent, and believe! Heaven is a real place, it’s not part of this world, Jesus said that too, to Pilate of all people as well, and Pilate acted like he understood that part! Why didn’t he get the part about truth? Because in Rome, in the Roman Empire, Caesar was truth, in other words power. There was no concept of an eternal soul that persisted forever. That was out of the grasp of a Roman functionary.
But, it’s not out of our reach. Even atheists will admit there is something about us that is not all just physical, causal, simply one billiard ball colliding with another (alright, zillions of billiard balls colliding with zillions of billiard balls). The laws of the universe do not support “Life” in any way shape or form. In fact, according to the laws of the physical universe, things should simply have exploded at the “Big Bang” and slowly (or quickly depending on your point of view) started receding from a state of high energy to lower energy, from low entropy to high entropy (disorder increasing). The fact that there are systems that tend to become more ordered does not fit with any cosmological or evolutionary theory.
Evolution itself, in fact life, is so implausible according to our best “Scientific” theories, that it gave me great comfort after becoming a believer that was the case! That’s right, did you catch that? I became a believer, full-fledged, before I learned that evolution and cosmology and all that were on the wrong track. Jesus reached down and saved me, poured “Truth” into me before I ever learned that most of the stuff I had learned in universities (and High School) science was bunk. Oh well… I read this morning in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 what Paul said about that: “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.”
In other words, “Knowledge” is often used as a crutch, as a defense for the self-seeking in order to justify their behavior. Hitler justified his behavior with just such knowledge. President Obama is doing the same thing. We are moving steadily from a society of Christian “Thinkers” and “Truth seekers” to a bunch of mindless rabble who have nothing better to do than to “Occupy Wall Street” or “Occupy Main Street” and protest that life is so unfair. “Waah!” You whiners! Wake up, nobody ever gets anything without WORKING for it!” That’s what America is, not a welfare state, but a place of opportunity! You fools! Wake up!
In the end analysis, even though Jesus is better than beer, that’s entirely not the point. In fact, that is demeaning to our Lord and King, and we should not even be thinking that way, nor should we preach the Gospel in that fashion (Life enhancement, i.e., happiness, fulfillment, peace, joy, etc…). Rather, we should tell people that they will be measured according to the standards in the Bible (the 10 Commandments or “The Law”) and that they will be found guilty at judgment after they die! Their only hope, our only hope, is to repent and believe in Jesus, that He is God and can save us from Hell. That, is the truth.