This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Marti Wiegman, Northpoint’s Director of Women’s Ministries.
Who Do You Say Jesus Is?
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last Sunday evening at the Golden Globes Awards, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Her impassioned and inspiring acceptance speech had the audience on their feet and the national media buzzing about a potential presidential run.
There was a lot to admire in Oprah’s speech, but there was one thing she said that really caught my attention. She made the comment that, “speaking YOUR truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” as if truth is a personal thing—you have your truth and I have my truth. That might sound good but it’s not sound thinking.
Sadly, this concept has found its way into the church. A number of years ago, the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life published a major study on religious beliefs and practices in the United States. One of the more significant finds was:
• 70 percent of all Americans believe that many religions can lead to eternal life.
But perhaps the most surprising discovery was:
• 56 percent of all evangelical Christians believe that many paths, other than faith in Christ, lead to God and eternal life.
More recently, LifeWay Research at the request of Ligonier Ministries (founded by R. C. Sproul) conducted a similar study with more stringent criteria. The study singled out those who called the Bible their highest authority, who said personal evangelism is important, and who indicated that trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way of salvation.
• Yet nearly 50 percent agreed that “God accepts the worship of all religions including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”
The author of the article reporting on this LifeWay study made this observation: “The most striking thing is how many of these folks evidently see no contradiction between their casual universalism and the evangelical creed that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone.” (G. Shane Morris, “The Federalist,” October 10, 2016, “Survey Finds Most American Christians are Actually Heretics”)
In our society today, it seems so progressive to be accepting of everyone’s truth. But Romans 1 warns that when we reject God’s truth for our own ideas, proclaiming how wise and sophisticated we are, we actually become fools. It’s important to hold to a sound understanding of what truth is, including the related reality that opposing ideas can’t both be true.
For example, we all understand that you can’t say two plus two equals four, but also equals five and nine and sometimes 23. In the same way, you cannot bring contradictory statements of faith together and say that they are all true:
• Hindus believe there are hundreds of thousands of gods.
• Buddhists will tell you there is no personal God who can be known at all.
• Muslims believe in Allah, but he is not the God of Scripture, and they deny the death and resurrection of Christ.
Obviously many churchgoers today still think that there is room for more in heaven than Christ followers—for God-seeking people who do good and help others, whatever they call themselves. The Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Mormon, or just the nice guy next door who likes the idea that God and heaven exist but doesn’t believe much more. Certainly, a loving God wouldn’t do anything so horrible as to send good people to hell just because they put their faith in a power by another name than Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, he called out in agony to his Father, “If there is any way for this cup to pass from me, spare me.” And God sent an angel to encourage and strengthen him to endure the cross he had to face. Why? Because there WAS no other way, and there IS no other name, whereby we can be saved.
In Women of the Word, we have been studying through the book of Luke. This past week, we looked at chapter nine where Jesus turns to his disciples and asks them life’s most important question: “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter speaks up on behalf of the team and answers, “You are the Christ, the Messiah sent by God to be our Savior.” That’s the only right answer. Because Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.
So let me ask you: Who do you say that Jesus is? It’s a question we all must answer, and that answer will impact us for eternity.
Let’s stand firm in God’s truth, in our hearts, in our church, and in our community. This is the truth—the good news: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in HIM should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Living together in truth,
The rest of NP News for 1.11.2018 can be found on the “This Week” page at http://www.northpointcorona.org/this-week/