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861. The One True Religion

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
November 16, 2020 7:00 pm

861. The One True Religion

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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November 16, 2020 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit preaches at a BJU Evangelistic Service from Ephesians 2:8-9.

The post 861. The One True Religion appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today's speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, who served as an evangelist for over 29 years before becoming president of Bob Jones University. I'm going to ask you to take your Bibles with me please and turn in the New Testament to the book of Ephesians chapter 2 tonight. Ephesians chapter 2, and tonight we're going to read two verses that are very familiar verses, but I would like to take the familiar and even make it more simple and plain tonight as we look at Ephesians chapter 2 and verses 8 and 9. Let us hear tonight God's word. For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves.

It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. And may God add his blessing to the reading of his word and all God's people said, amen. Have you ever stopped to consider how many different religions are there in the world today? Well, if you were to go to Google and type it in you'd find out that generally the answer would be there are at least 20 different recognized religions in the world and included in that number there are one billion secularists who believe in nothing. Well, you would think with so many religious options that people would be confused and frustrated and they are. And as a result, many people have sort of tossed up their hands and they've simply cried out, all religions are the same. And we see this especially in the United States of America, a pluralistic society where freedom of religion has come to mean that basically all religions are equally the same because everybody's trying to get to the same place. And the bottom line is that all religions seem to be basically equivalent. However, to lump them all in one basket may be convenient, but it is not facing the truth, the reality, and that is they are not all equal.

So tonight let's try to cut through the confusion and get to the heart of the matter of what to believe and let's go back to the original question. How many religions are there in the world today? And if you were to somehow able to boil it all down, you would come to this conclusion that there are only two religions in the world today. If we could strip away all the externals from minor differences to major theological divides, you would discover that if you were to look at all the religions, they would come down to two categories. So what are these two religions?

Well let me first of all start out by saying that I think it's fair to say that all religions essentially agree on some of the basic things. Like, there's a divine being. There's a higher being. There's a higher power.

In some cases, it may be more than one. There's a spiritual world. There's the physical world that we can see and then there's the unseen realities. There are values in life by which we should live. All religions have basic value propositions. There's the presence of evil and good in the world. There may be a difference over what is evil and what is good but there's the belief in the two. And then there is some belief in afterlife. You go somewhere.

Whether you go to a place called heaven or you go to a different place or somehow you're reincarnated and you come back into this world in a different form, there's a belief in an afterlife. The distinction however, between these two religions is found in the way that you answer these two questions. Number one, how do we have a relationship with the God that exists? How do I know Him?

How do I get to know Him? Secondly, how do we enter into afterlife? When I die, and I will, how will I enter into life after death? And there are two basic answers that distinguish the two basic religions. And what are these two religions?

The first one is this. It is the religion of do. These are religious systems that emphasize what I must do to gain God's approval and get entrance into heaven. The general agreement among these religions is that man is either separated from God, he's not properly connected to God or perhaps he's on a path to self-discovery to find the God that is within him. In either case, you have to do something to get divine favor. Many, many people believe that God is upset with the human race and we have to do something in order to make up for our wrongs.

We have messed up. We have to get our act together in order for God to accept me. You know, that's what I believed growing up. I grew up in South Carolina. I grew up going to a, basically a Protestant church. My father was a Sunday school teacher and a deacon.

I remember church all the way back to K4. But growing up, somehow I believed that when I died, I would stand before God and God would put all my bad here and God would put all my good here and He would weigh them out and it would determine my eternal destiny. And when I was a little boy, I had a big good pile and a little bad pile. And then I became a teenager. And then I graduated from high school and I went off to college. And I began to realize that my bad pile was far bigger than my good pile because I believed that in order for me to enter into afterlife, I had to be good.

This is what most people in the world believe. My junior year of college, I was on our soccer team in our school and we were flying to spend a couple of weeks in Holland and playing soccer matches. Our flight over was from New York City to Paris, France, and then from Paris, we went on to Amsterdam. And on our flight over to Paris, I noticed a young guy, looked like a college student, who was wearing a very nice three piece suit.

His hair was cut short. This was like 1976, long before you discovered America. And I thought to myself, this guy is either a Baptist or he's a Mormon. So I walked up to him and he had a little tag on it that said, Elder so and so. And the young man wearing elder definitely is not a Baptist. So he was a Mormon missionary.

He was doing a two year missions trip to France. And so I started talking to him and I said, well, you're, I mean, you're a religious guy. This is what I said to him.

I said, so let me ask you a question. What does a person have to do to go to heaven? I mean, you're religious so you're going to talk about heaven. And he didn't even bat an eye. He looked at me and he said, you have to do good works. So I asked him the question, I said, do you believe that the Bible is God's word?

He said, absolutely. I said, you know, I just happen to have a pocket New Testament. And I pulled out my Bible. And I turned to Ephesians chapter two and verse eight. I said, would you read that for me? And he read it, for by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves.

It is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. He looked at the Bible again. He looked at me. He looked at the Bible again.

And then he said, I need to think about that. I said, you need to think about that because the Bible does not say that you get into heaven based on what you do. Somehow we believe we must do something to earn God's favor or to make up for our failures.

And if you live long enough, you'll have enough failures to feel this way. So then the question you have to ask is what does God want us to do? And this is where religion comes in.

Religious systems may vary, but the core is pretty much the same. Do the right things. Don't do the wrong things. And somehow hope in the end that God will accept you and you'll find God. And every religion has its do list. Confess your sins to a priest. Get baptized, get confirmed, give money, go to church, shave your head, sell flowers at the airport, ride on a bicycle with a white shirt and a tie, sell literature at the door.

And the list is endless. And whatever the way, the basic message is always the same. You have to work your way to God. You must perform God's list, do God's commands and earn God's favor.

However, there is a problem. And that is, if you're honest, and that's the big question because most people are not honest, you're gonna ask yourself two questions. Number one, do I do enough?

Do you ever feel like you don't do enough? Secondly, is what I'm doing good enough? It's not just that I'm doing something, but is what I'm doing good enough? And if you're an honest person, you will ask yourself that question. Do you realize that those are the questions that a Roman Catholic priest named Martin Luther asked himself?

A very dedicated, zealous, religious priest of the Catholic church, Martin Luther, who if there was anybody who was on the fast track to sainthood, it was Martin Luther who was an earnest and devout Catholic who was trying to earn God's favor. But when he was all alone, he would ask the perplexing questions, am I doing enough? And is what I'm doing good enough? And in agony, he would ache over the reality that his own heart was not good, but his own heart was, was evil. In the end, if your religion is based on what you do, you will never have inner peace and assurance that you've been fully accepted by God. The reality is that eventually you'll start to recognize that you are operating under slave labor.

Think about it. If God only will love you and accept you based on what you do and doing the things that make him happy, how will I ever know if God is really happy with me? If my acceptance with God is based on my performance, then I'm going to be held hostage to the fear that God will inevitably reject me because I will never measure up.

And the sad thing is that due religion in the end makes God look like a slave driver rather than a heavenly father. It leaves the human heart with the feeling of rejection rather than acceptance, with a feeling of despair rather than hope, with a feeling of doubt rather than peace and assurance. The problem with do is this, it never relieves your inner fears. What you do on the outside will never change what's on the inside. It will never fill the empty voids of your heart. It will never heal your guilty conscience for the things you've done in your past. It will never bring a sense of God's divine favor. And in the end, you will never ever experience the genuine love of God. However, the teaching of the Bible actually makes it very clear that we are not saved by what we do.

Okay? I don't care what you do. I don't care if you've grown up in a Baptist church and your dad is a Baptist preacher.

And you got baptized so many times in the creek that every tadpole knows your social security number. That whatever meritorious awards you could win for whatever you're a part of. Kids for truth.

Patch clubs. Awana. Whatever you do is insufficient. The Bible says you are saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. The Scripture is clear. Not by works of righteousness which you have done, but according to His mercy He saves us. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith of Jesus Christ. But to Him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly. His faith is counted for righteousness. There is not a do list on the planet that will gain you one bit of favor with God or get you closer to Heaven.

Fact is, it's the opposite. The Bible is tough on those who are trying to get to Heaven based on a do list. Listen to what Paul writes in Galatians 3 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse.

For it is written, cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Do you realize that the law requires not partial but perfect obedience? Do you understand that? Do you get that in your mind? Do you understand tonight that in order for you to get into Heaven you have to keep God's law perfect all the days of your life?

Never a variation. Never less than your best. The Ten Commandments are like a chain link of ten links put together and you pop one link and the whole thing breaks. God requires perfect obedience. You say, well preacher, does that mean that doing good is irrelevant?

No. Good works have their place but not in earning or gaining eternal life. A cart has its place but it should never come before the ox. And the conclusion of the Bible is that the religion of do does not cut it. So let me just stop here and ask the question.

Do you, in your heart of hearts, are you thinking that in order for me to gain God's favor and to get into Heaven I have to do something? Then whatever your religion is, it's all the same. It's the religion of do. But then let me go back to the original question. How many religions are there in the world?

And I said there are two. There's the religion of do but then secondly there's the religion of done. You say, what do you mean by done?

Well, means job finished, task accomplished, mission completed. The whole message of the Bible is that everything needed for you to be restored to God, gain favor with God, gain entrance into Heaven has already been done. The Bible says Jesus Christ, God's son, came in the world to do for you what you could never do for yourself. What did he do? First of all, he lived the life that you should have lived. He kept the law perfectly, he fulfilled the requirements, he satisfied the Father, he perfected human life. You could say it this way, he did it. But not only did he live the life that you and I should have lived but he died the death that you and I should have died. Jesus was executed as a criminal on a cross. According to the Roman government, he was the bad guy.

To the world, he looked that way but in reality, he wasn't the bad guy, he was the good guy. On the cross, Jesus cried out these words, it is finished. What did that mean? It meant paid in full. It's the statement that you would use back in ancient times when you would pay off your taxes.

It would mean done, finish, completed. It's like paying off your school bill at Bob Jones University. It's done. Jesus paid the debt of sin. Jesus justified the wrath of God. Jesus made atonement for your sins to his blood.

He did it for you. And at the very moment of his death, something miraculous happened to show us what God had done. And that is when Jesus died in the great Jewish temple, there was a veil, a curtain that divided the two rooms called the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place.

The presence of God was in the room called the Holy of Holies and that veil was between those two places because it barred entrance into the room where God's presence dwelled. And if anybody would try to go in there, they would be put to death. They would die suddenly.

God would take their life because he does not allow sin into his presence. But do you know what happened when Jesus died? That veil that stood 60 feet tall, think of 60 feet tall, to almost the top of this building. A veil that was 30 feet wide, a veil that was four inches thick, the breadth of a man's hand. From the top to the bottom, that veil was torn or it was ripped down the middle in two. And suddenly, the way into God's presence that had been barred was now wide open.

What does this mean? It means that because of Jesus' death, the way of entrance into God's presence and into Heaven is now totally opened. The tearing of Jesus' body on the cross tore open the way to God and whatever separated man from God was instantly and completely removed. Jesus died for our sins.

He paid for them in full. He opened the way to Heaven and God is now inviting all men to come directly to Him and be saved. He is saying, it is done. There's nothing more to do. The price is paid. The way is open. If you're trying to work your way to Heaven, if you're trying to do something, you're wasting your time.

It's all ready done. A number of years ago, we were holding a series of revival meetings in the state of Florida. We were there for probably six weeks. And of course, when you go to Florida, you really don't think of working, you think of playing.

And of course, Florida has many, many beaches. And so, we were there and my children were wondering, are we going to get to go to the beach? And so, we were there for five weeks and we were just busy and never got to the beach. And finally, we got to the last church. It was in Tampa, Florida, Hillsdale Baptist Church.

My son, Michael, who's a senior here at the time, I think Michael was probably, I don't know, seven or eight years old. And we pulled into the parking lot of the church, knowing this was the last week we were going to be in Florida. We pulled into the parking lot of the church and he looked up at my wife, his mother, and said, Mommy, is this the church of the beach? And we knew that at the end of the week, we were going to be leaving and the only time that we could go to the beach was on Saturday that afternoon. So we decided, okay, let's go to the beach. So we got in my truck and then we had another fellow traveling with us, an evangelist named Will Galken and his wife, Christy. They had a truck and so we piled in and took off across the causeway from Tampa to Clearwater Beach and we got into Clearwater. It dawned on us, it was spring break. That's a really bad time to be in Clearwater, Florida. And we were stuck in the worst traffic jams.

And it was like forever. We're sitting there in the traffic and Michael is riding with Will, sitting between Will and Christy in the front seat. And he's looking out the window and he sees a bunch of kids playing over in a park and he says to Will, look at the kids playing in the park. And Will looked over to his right and did not realize that his truck was rolling forward.

And he hits a guy in the back end in front of him that was driving a Lego car because when he hit it, it just popped and went everywhere. And right in the middle of Clearwater, Florida, we ended up in an accident. Well, we did make it to the beach. I got Michael in my truck and said goodbye to Will and said you take care of your own business. Well, we got back to the church and come to find out there was a man in the church that owned a Ford dealership so he took the truck in and fixed the front end of it. And on Friday night, I saw the man and I said, do you have the bill for the cost of the damage? And he handed me the bill and it had stamped on it, paid in full. And I looked at it and I looked at him. I said, I don't owe anything.

He said, your money is no good. I said, amen. Folks, we have here, if I could say it this way, a bill that is stamped paid in full.

For by grace are you saved through faith, that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God. How many of you like gifts? How many of you like expensive gifts? How many of you are disappointed on your birthday if you don't get a gift? Yes.

How many of you would be disappointed at Christmas if you got nothing? The gift of God is eternal life. It is bought.

It is paid for. You cannot earn it, but you can receive it. The greatest way for you to bring glory to God is to stop believing in yourself and start believing in God's promises. Eternal life is a free gift. It is never based on your self-efforts.

Why? Paul tells us, look at what he says in Ephesians 2, he says, for by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God and here's the reason why. Not of works lest any man should what? The problem of self-effort is the problem of brag. If you could get into heaven based on your good works, you know what you would do for all eternity?

You would brag and you would swag and nobody could put up with you. In eternity we enter in humble over the grace of God. What is the end result of the religion of do? God gets the focus. You get the focus, excuse me, and you get the glory, but in the religion of done, God gets the focus and the praise belongs to God. So let me ask you a question, Knight.

Where are you? What is your religion? Is your religion of do?

Is it based on your works? What you do for God, your own righteousness, what you achieve, trying to earn God's favor or is it the religion of done? Is it the grace of God? Is it what God has done for you, God's righteousness given to you, gifted to you? Not based on what you achieve but based on what you receive. Have you received God's favor? So let me ask you a question, Knight.

Where are you? If you died right now, what would your religion be? Would it be do or would it be done? If you have never, ever, by the grace of God, received Jesus Christ as your savior, it's really not complicated. It's believing he died for you.

Accepting that is true. Accepting that you're a sinner and you can't do anything. And then the fall on your face before God and say, God be merciful to me. God save me.

And God has promised that if you will confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, he says, thou shall be saved. May God grant you the grace to be saved. Would you bow your head with me as we pray tonight? Father, we thank you tonight for your promise of your word. We thank you for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God, I pray that you would work deep conviction in hearts. Bring Lord people tonight to the reality, the recognition of their need of salvation.

Lord, I pray that they will not be settled in where they are until they pursue you and they come to peace in their heart. Thank you for the eternal promises that you've given us in your word, that they are all true. Lord, may you strengthen our faith. May you strengthen our confidence even in the experience of our own salvation. We thank you for what you have done for us through Christ on the cross and through the empty tomb as he is resurrected from the dead. And we thank you for these things in Jesus' name.

Amen. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry. We'd love to hear from you, so don't hesitate to send us your feedback by going to the website thedailyplatform.com. There's a place where you can send a message and you'll also find our phone number along with more information about Bob Jones University, the sponsor of today's program. Thanks again for listening and we look forward to having you tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 07:59:40 / 2024-01-27 08:09:31 / 10

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