What is the Meaning of Life
Sorry, Video Not Available.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 139 A New Start in Life By Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking at some length these months on this program about the meaning of life. What is the meaning of life? Why are you alive? What’s the point of it all?
One of the things we discussed, you remember, was the question of whether there was any order, or any meaning to this life. As we discussed that, we discovered there is great order in the universe. Not only do the seasons follow in logical progression, but the stars orbit round one another in a way that forces you to accept that a great mathematician has worked out the whole system. So, we came to the conclusion there had to be an intelligent mind behind the universe.
Then, you remember, we asked the question whether that intelligent mind had ever communicated to us. We believed it would be reasonable for that mind to do that if it existed. That’s where we began to study the lives of those people who claimed to be able to tell us about this Creator. The thing we discovered about them all, people like Buddha, Mohammed, Zoroaster and Confucius was that they were all ordinary human beings and died like the rest of us, and were buried and were never seen again.
Except for one remarkable individual who was born in the first century of our era and who died like everybody else but who said that He would destroy death. In fact, three days after He was crucified, He got up from being dead and lived for over a month, appearing on 13 or 14 different occasions to different people and on one occasion to about 500 people at one time. So strong is the documentary evidence for the history of this man’s life and of His death that some of our greatest scholars have said there is no fact in history so certain and so sure that has been examined in such detail as the resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Then, you remember, we talked about whether this man was really more than a man. We studied His resurrection and we studied His power over disease and power over storms and the powers of nature. We concluded He was either a lunatic, which He did not seem to be because of His balanced personality. Or He was a liar, which He did not seem to be since we all regard Him as the greatest ethical teacher the world has ever seen. He’s either that or He’s a legend and we saw that there was not time for a legend to develop because the accounts of His life were circulating just a matter of twenty years after He died. There were many people still alive who could confirm or deny the records.
So, we came to the conclusion that He had to be true. He had to be really the Son of the creator of the world. Then, you remember, we made a jump in our discussion because we talked about one of the basic problems of human nature as being our inability to do what we know is right. Then, we began to tie this up with the problems we all had of trying to change this personality of ours to make it do what we wanted it to do. We discussed the frustration and futility that most of us experience in trying to achieve this.
Then, we began to talk again about this man’s death. It was there, you remember, that we made what was probably a leap for many of you, a logical leap. We began to point out that this man, when He died in the first century of our era, again and again told us His death was more than just the death of a political criminal. It was more than just His death. He, in fact, would say some mysterious things. He would say He had come to give His life as a ransom for many. He had come to give His life as a ransom for many.
He would say that the Son of Man came not to live but actually to die. He came to die so that people like you and me could enter into real life, and life that was abundant. Some of His followers outlined it in greater
detail. A man called Paul said that when Christ died, we all died. That’s what He said. He wrote to some people in a church at Colossae, and He said to them that when Christ died, everybody died. If you ever want to look it up it’s 2 Corinthians, chapter 5 and it’s verse 14. He said, “Christ has died for all; therefore all have died.”
He continued to explain what Jesus, Himself, had explained; that His death was not just His death, but, in fact, His Father had put all of us into Him and had made Him the representative of the human race and had destroyed us all in Him and remade us all in Him so that when He rose from the dead, the whole human race rose from the dead.
Later on some of His followers, especially one man called John, explained that actually the death and the resurrection that took place in the first century of our era was simply an expression of a death and resurrection that had taken place from before the foundation of the world. He actually said some mysterious words in the book called Revelation that he wrote and he said that the lamb (which is, of course, Jesus) was slain from before the foundation of the world.
He implied that actually our death and our resurrection in Jesus took place before the foundation of the world. God had foreseen what would happen to us in our selfish natures and had arranged to remake us in His Son even before the world was created. So, what we have been saying is that when you look at the death of Jesus and His resurrection, you have to begin to read carefully the comments that His followers made about this death because they imply that you, yourself, actually died in Jesus.
That is, your old self nature, your old self, your old intractable personality that will not keep its temper, that will not be patient, that will not be generous, that does not want to be pure and clean. This old miserable, intractable nature of yours was actually in Jesus when He died on the cross, and was actually in Jesus when He was slain from before the foundation of the world and the Creator of the universe destroyed you in His Son. When He raised His Son up from the dead, He raised you up also and made you absolutely new and whole and clean.
That’s why in 2 Corinthians, Paul said what he said. He said that if anyone is in Christ (of course, he implied that all of us are in Christ because Christ died for all of us), then he is a new creation. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” That’s what he said. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5 verse 17 it is found. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself.”
So, when Christ died, you died. All the old nature that you had passed away and the new nature has come. If you say to me, “Why? Why then am I putting up with this old nature?” It’s because you don’t believe that. You don’t believe that. A basic principle that God works on is, “Be it unto you according to your faith.” It will be to you what you believe.
It’s not that your faith creates it, but there are two situations. One, the old nature; and two, the new nature. You will live under the nature that you believe is yours today. If you believe the truth that that old nature has been destroyed in Jesus and that the new nature is available now, in Jesus, for you, that will be the nature that rules your life.
If you say to me, “Is that all you need to do?” Yes, if you do that, God has a power, who is really a person, the power of the Holy Spirit, but really He’s a person. He’s the third person, we call Him, of the trinity or of the Godhead. That Holy Spirit is alive today, and He’s in you. He’s actually the one that is making you
think, “Yes, this is true. This is true. This is true”, because He is the Holy Spirit of truth. He actually is able to take that new nature that God has given you in His Son, Jesus and He is able to make that real and actual in your life today.
All you have to do is believe it and begin to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to run your life instead of people, and circumstances and things. That can be your experience today. I really hope it will be. Let’s talk a little further tomorrow.