“JESUS: THE ONE AND ONLY”
April 7, 2002—FBC, Richland
Is our culture asking us to give up Jesus for a greater religious cause? Joseph Stowell, the President of Moody Seminary spoke at a Pastor’s Conference and related the following personal story.
This past November he went to the Chicago Leadership Prayer Breakfast. The major segment of this event included a Mullah from the Muslim faith, a protestant church leader, a Roman Catholic priest, and a Jewish rabbi. Each of them prayed a prayer in unison symbolizing that they were all praying to the same god in reality.
The speaker for that morning was the director of Holy Trinity Church on Wall Street, which was right next to ground zero. He said, “After 9-11, theology is back. God is back, but in this new environment we must all be willing to give up those traditions that divide us so we can be one.” He went on to say that God speaks to other faiths and other religious groups.
Stowell was stunned. He was being asked to give up Jesus. He hoped the man would not get a standing ovation, but he did. Joseph Stowell knew that if he stood he would be denying Jesus. So, he remained seated and refused to clap.
This push to blur the distinctions of various religions and create a one-world religion is upon us. Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times, “It is urgent that the different religions reinterpret their traditions to embrace modernity and pluralism and to create space for secularism and alternative faiths.”
Going back to the first century I want you to see that this pressure to give up Jesus is nothing new. Peter and John had been instruments of the risen Savior to heal a man who had been lame his entire life. This man gets up and runs into the temple praising God. As you might expect, a great crowd gathers and Peter begins to preach.
In this sermon he points out that Jesus Christ is the Author of life [3:15]; He was raised from the dead [3:15]: He fulfilled a 1500 year-old prophecy [3:22]: He is coming again [3:21]: and all the families of the earth are blessed through Him [3:25]. Jesus Christ has global impact! This was his message.
When we come to Acts 4, we find that the Jewish officials arrested them for preaching Jesus. After spending the night in jail, these believers were called to stand before the religious leaders of Judaism. In defense of their actions, these men—now filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit—proclaim the absolute supremacy of Jesus Christ. They were being asked to give up Jesus. But they refused. Look at verse 12, which is our text for today: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Today you and I need to feel the impact of this audacious claim—“There is salvation in no one else.” We need to wrestle with this claim because you and I are being asked in many subtle ways to give up Jesus for a greater religious cause. I want you to see three practical ways of examining the supremacy of Jesus.