Summary: 1) What does Bible say about universalism? 2) Because of what Bible says, how is church to conduct herself? (Material adapted from David Faust in his book, "Growing Churches, Growing Leaders", chapter called Children of a Graceful God, pgs. 108-113)
David Faust asks, What do you get when you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with a universalist? A knock on the door for no apparent reason. Universalism is a widely accepted philosophy. Universalism says that no matter what everyone will eventually be saved. Today people say things like, “Oh well, we’re all headed for the same place,” or “A loving God would never condemn anyone,” and these all reflect universalism.
Danny Pelfrey in a recent article in the Restoration Herald comments about the lack of interest in evangelism among Christians. “I was disappointed that the passion I had seen in the past for lovingly reaching out to those outside of Christ seemed to be vanishing. I was not hearing the Lord’s people talk much about evangelism. I was concerned that most churches did not seem to be planning for evangelism, and I was hearing very little preaching and teaching on the subject. Worst of all, the waters of the baptistries in our churches seemed to remain still- very little stirring. Many others have verified that a renewal of evangelistic passion among God’s people is one of our most crucial needs.” The title of the article is “Biblical Evangelism requires passion”
Talked to one of my son’s about this message. After explaining the idea of universalism, my son asked, “What’s the big deal?” A big deal among the unsaved is that they think they are going to heaven when they are not. A big deal among Christians is that we have no motivation to share the gospel message with others- if everyone is going to be saved, why bother? One of the reasons that there is little passion about evangelism is that many people have adopted universalism if not with their heads at least with their hearts.
Thesis: 1) What does Bible say about universalism? 2) Because of what Bible says, how is church to conduct herself?
I. What does the Bible say about universalism?
1. The Bible teaches the absolute uniqueness of the one true God and the salvation He offers.
a. Uniqueness of one true God- “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39. “We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.” 1 Corinthians 8:4.
In a recent interview, not long before his death this past year, Charlie Daniels was asked an interesting question. Is there a song you wrote that you regret writing? Answer was yes, called the Universal Hand. “Jehovah, Allah, Jesus or any other name, no matter what you call him, no matter how you see him, there is only one Universal Hand”- Daniels says he has found it not true
b. Uniqueness of the salvation God offers. “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.” Isaiah 33:22, NIV.
“I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43:11, NIV.
Also- Isaiah 45:21-22- “Declare what is to be, present it--let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
God reached down for us. Many religions talk about how to reach up for God (impossible) but God reached down for us. Listen to Jesus- “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3. God reached down by sending his Son. Johnny Cash- When he reached way down for me. I was lost and undone without God or His Son when he reached down his hand for me. “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” Psalms 18:16.
2. The Bible emphasizes the absolute uniqueness and exclusive claims of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6, NIV.
“Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”” Acts 4:12, NIV.
3. The Bible stresses the reality of judgment, heaven, and hell. ““Then they (goats) will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous (his sheep) to eternal life.”” Matthew 25:46, NIV. “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9, NIV.