Launch Sermon Player

Our Billboard campaign has begun! Below are the mission critical truths we need to know if we are to be successful in fulfilling our evangelistic ministry (2Ti 4:5):

 

1. Salvation requires you believe/practice the right gospel (i.e. the gospel of gain by faith in Jesus Christ and maintain by faithful obedience to all His commands versus the false gospel of faith alone).

1.1. (Rom 3:28 [gain] AND Jam 2:24 [maintain]; 1Jo 1:6, 2:3-4) = We need more than faith to get to heaven. We must be faithful, otherwise what was gained initially by faith wb lost and we wb counted as “liars” (to our covenant oaths) before God. GRAVEDIGGER: Can a Christian get to heaven whose life is characterized by disobedience? (No, Jam 2:14ff). Obedience is therefore another condition of salvation and the FAG is (therefore) false.

1.2. Popular today is the idea that precision/correctness w/respect to the gospel doesn’t matter. What God cares about is strictly belief and practice. IOW: Even if our gospel is wrong/false, we are good as long we truly believe it and are committed to its practice.

1.3. What God’s Word teaches (Gal 1:6-9) = The context is gospel mechanics (what we must do to be saved) not historical facts (Who Jesus is and what He did). We need to get both right (historical facts: 1Co 15:1-4).

1.4. What about those who sincerely love God yet are ignorant to the right gospel? God leads those people out of their ignorance and into the truth (He sends messengers):

1.4.1. The apostle Paul (1Ti 1:12-15 “Yet for this reason I found mercy”) = B/C Jesus saves the ignorant sinner who is sincerely seeking God (v12, “faithful” = Paul’s problem was intellectual not moral)

1.4.2. Cornelius (Act 10:21-22 w/34-35)

1.4.3. Apollos (Act 18:24-26)

1.4.4 Woman at the well (Joh 4:20-24 [“must worship Him in spirit and truth” = You need to have the right gospel] w/28-29, 39-42).

1.5. These are the kinds of Evangelicals we are looking for (those welcome to God/those whose problem is intellectual not moral/those “worthy” to receive the gospel). What to do w/those whose problem is moral (Mat 10:12-15) = Notice: those who are “worthy” are: 1) the only ones we give our time to, 2) the ones whose problem is not moral (v14, “does not receive you, nor heed your words” = Is not teachable to what you are saying; Mat 16:1-4).

1.6. POINTS NOT TO MISS: 1) There is no such thing as a saved person that believes and practices the wrong/false gospel. 2) God wants us to be seeking those who are seeking Him (those whose problems are intellectual – not moral).

 

2. Just because a person or church claims to believe/practice the right gospel doesn’t mean they do.

2.1. (Tit 1:16)

2.2. Most every person or pastor who claims to be a Christian will initially “agree” that obedience is necessary to salvation yet when pressed further, it becomes only nice but not necessary (e.g., Andy and Kasey pastoral interviews). Further investigation is therefore necessary.

2.3. Questions for assessment: 1) do they hold to the FAG? (if a church, check their website), 2) Can a Christian get to heaven whose life is characterized by disobedience (e.g., continues to live with their girlfriend) if that person continues to fully trust Christ for their righteousness and faithfully confess their sin to God? 3) In relation to a church, how often do they practice church discipline, enforce obedience or declare people apostate? (Mat 7:15-23: bad fruit = practicing lawlessness – or in the case of a church, allowing for the practice of lawlessness).

2.4. Verifying a person or church as truly legitimate takes time. In the early church, you could not move from one church to another w/o pastoral collaboration for this very reason. Churches or people professing to be legit was not naively assumed to be true (or allowed to be true b/c people wanted to take a “vacation” from their current church [usually a sign of rebellion and thinking they will be more effective at flying under the radar elsewhere – (e.g., my conversation w/a Reformed Baptist pastor in LA; our response to the elder and people from the Evergreen church).

 

3. You cannot be a saved person (Christian) yet not baptized and a member of church believing/practicing the right gospel.

3.1.There is no such thing as a saved person who has not received remission/forgiveness of their sins (“Baptism is said to be ‘for the remission of sins’ and to ‘wash your sins away’. Unless one is prepared to say that one is saved without their sins being forgiven, then they must admit that baptism is a condition of salvation” – Robert Oliver, Clinton Church of Christ) (Act 2:38, 22:16; 1Pe 3:21). Consider Christ’s confirmation of baptism in the gain and maintain gospel presented by Jesus in (Mat 28:18-20).

3.2. The “keys” of the kingdom (baptism and the LT) have only been given to those churches built by Christ—churches possessing the right gospel (Mat 16:17-19 w/Joh 20:21-23 w/Act 20:28).

3.3. Hence the reason the early church was fond of saying, “there is no salvation outside of the church.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. It is possible for people/churches to have different doctrinal beliefs/practices yet still believe/practice the right gospel.

4.1. Though a church/person may possess different doctrinal beliefs or practices (doctrine or practice that may even create theological, ethical or logical contradictions), as long as those doctrines and practices do not negate their belief and practice of the right gospel, we are to view them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.

4.2. Examples of different doctrine that does not immediately negate a person or church’s ability to believe and practice the right gospel: 1) Calvinism, 2) Creedal Baptism, 3) limited forms of Continuationism (those versions not negating Scripture as our final authority or the existence of a closed canon), 4) Dispensationalism, 5) Premillennialism.

4.3 Examples of different doctrine that does immediately negate a person or church’s ability to believe and practice the right gospel: 1) Antinomianism (belief that any portion of God’s Law is no longer in force or must be observed), 2) Modalism (Oneness Pentecostalism), 3) any denial of Jesus’ full humanity or full deity, 3) Open Theism, 4) denial of Ecclesiastical Soteriology (sacerdotalism or the authority of the church in salvation), 5) denial of eternal and literal heaven and hell, 6) denial of baptism as necessary to salvation, 7) any rejection of God’s Word as our final authority, a closed canon or the embracing of progressive revelation (e.g., some Pentecostals/Charismatics and all Roman Catholics), 8) Neo-Orthodoxy.

4.4. POINTS NOT TO MISS: 1) There is big difference between saying that someone holds to different doctrine versus a different gospel. 2) Some doctrine/practice automatically negates a person’s belief or practice of the right gospel (e.g., Gal 5:1-4).

 

5. Just because a church believes/practices the right gospel doesn’t mean it is a safe church.

5.1. True churches can still be dangerous churches.

5.2. The problems these churches (or their pastors) can still have: 1) Intellectual problems. The pastor is weak in the following areas: logic and critical thinking, Special Revelation -i.e., Scripture [1. hermeneutics or interpretation, 2. grammar or how language works, 3. worldview/framework theology, 4. biblical theology, 5. biblical jurisprudence/justice – inc. the proper practice of church discipline/excommunication and apostasy, cap crimes, 6. systematic theology -most esp., soteriology and theology proper, 7. church history and tradition, 8. ancient culture, 9. the ability to recognize biblical patterns of continuity and timeless principles], General Revelation [philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, business, finance and law]) (Hos 4:6). 2) Moral problems. The pastor is a hypocrite (preaching against the practice of sin yet practicing sin), lazy, cowardly (not enforcing obedience) or a people-pleaser (not willing to say the tough things).

5.3. Examples of the kinds of spiritual dangers created by pastors w/intellectual or moral problems:

5.3.1. Practical antinomianism (pastor preaches obedience but does nothing to see that it is enforced).

5.3.2. Legalism (Practice/Prohibition incorrectly supported/not supported by Scripture – e.g., Some Churches of Christ claim to hold to the right gospel yet b/c of their gross ignorance of the continuity that is communicated between the Old and New Covenants, they don’t allow for anything not explicitly mentioned in the NT – like musical instruments in worship [in the OT, God establishes musical instruments for worship in His OC house, why wouldn’t we expect the same for His NC house?]. For this same reason, they also reject infant baptism [1. NT teaches the church/Christians are the inheritors of the Abrahamic promises – 2Co 1:20; Gal 3:29, 2. one of God’s promises to Abe was special provision for babies born to covenant parents – Gen 17:7-13, 3. that promise now looks like baptism – Col 2:11-12]).

5.3.3. Fail to create an environment promoting faithfulness/fail to understand what constitutes faithfulness (Def., of faithfulness = A life characterized by obedience that is driven by a constant lack of intellectual and moral satisfaction; 2Pe 1:5-11; 1Co 9:24 = Run to win not simply finish; 1Th 4:9-10 “But urge you…excel still more” w/3:12-13 = Perennial push to excel is the key to being established before God as “without blame”, the requirement for getting to heaven – 2Pe 3:10-14 w/3:17-18; Mat 18:7-9; Mat 28:20 “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded” = Constant learning and changing. We are driven to increase our knowledge so that our obedience may also increase; Heb 5:11-6:6 = Lack of maturity/excelling makes us more prone to apostasy).

5.3.4. Lack of wisdom. Examples: 1) inability to make the distinction between intellectual and moral problems. An improper diagnosis w/respect to either – or ignorance of the need to make such distinction, will lead to improper prescription [discipleship or discipline], abuse and people failing to possess the tools necessary to gain victory over their sin. 2) ignorance of the church’s authority and the power of her sacraments. Rejection of these two truths results in an impotent community overrun by sin.

5.3.5. The creation of unnecessary stress and suffering that makes faithfulness more difficult (e.g., church’s position on divorce: never any grounds or limited to a very wrong understanding of what constitutes adultery [i.e., sexual intercourse w/another person versus Mat 5:32 = porneia establishes mocheuo]).

5.3.6. Lack of justice or equity. Most churches’ jurisprudence is non-existent. The pagan courts of America have thought more and instituted, more of what the Bible teaches on this subject than the majority of churches on the planet. As a result, the justice practiced by most churches often protects the guilty and punishes the innocent.

5.3.7. Lack of proper pastoral oversight (See Malcom Gladwell, Revisionist History podcast, In Triplicate (findings from the Triplicate Program during the Opioid Crisis = More oversight/policy/rules results in more people obeying the law and less people suffering as victims). Where would this congregation be if left to self-police? Would JUDCO even exist? What crimes and violations would go unpunished? How many more people wb taken advantage of? What curses wb upon our congregation for sins left unchecked in the Body? If a Christian whose life is characterized by disobedience cannot get to heaven , what is that church doing to prevent that from happening (Jam 5:20)?

5.4. POINT NOT TO MISS: Not all saving churches are safe churches. The stupidity or sinfulness of its shepherds will affect your chances of getting to heaven (Mat 10:24-25a = Most Christians will not rise above the intelligence or morality of their shepherd; Mat 18:6).