Summary: In this message we try to arm ourselves with answers that will both show why all religions are not the same and how Christianity is far above them all.
I Have A Friend Who…
Thinks All Religions Are The Same
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:11-21
TURN – back a few pages to 1 Corinthians chapter 2:6-9 and as you turn let me give you a little background… There were people in Corinth who were criticizing the message that Paul had brought to them – basically saying that his message was not as eloquent or philosophical and that he did not use fancy words like other messages they had heard from pagan wise man. That accused Paul of bringing a message that was kind of foolish and immature…
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" - 1 Cor 2:6-9
I’d like to ask you a few questions as we begin our time together today… They are real easy questions to answer. OKAY – here we go.
q Is every soft drink the same?
q Is every french fry the same?
q Is all music the same?
q Is all fried chicken the same?
q Is all make up the same
q Is every ice cream the same?
q Is every donut the same?
q Is every restaurant the same?
q Is every; car, house, college football team, mattress, hotel, shampoo, soap, razor, tooth paste, chicken sandwich, church, teacher……the same?
LISTEN – we all know that those things are not the same… And why is that BECAUSE – they look different, feel different, taste different, have different stuff in them
TODAY is our 5th week in a message series that we are calling – “I have a friend who.” Our theme verse is; 1 Peter 3:15; ; “…always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
AND – in the last 4 weeks we have talked about; I have a friend who doesn’t believe that God exists, I have a friend who thinks that the bible is just another book, I have a friend who thinks that waiting until you are married is out of date (hey – is sex just a physical thing? Are then any good reasons to wait?) AND - last week Len Mcdade shared with us a message called, I have a friend who thinks that Jesus was just a great man…
LISTEN – those are some of the questions that you & I encounter as we engage our culture AND share our Christ… These are the kinds of questions you hear sitting at a cafeteria table (while eating an awesome lunch – yeah all food isn’t the same is it)… These are the kind of questions you hear at the office – where you work…
NOW UNDERSTAND – there are basically 2 types of people that ask you these kind of questions…
q FIRST – there are people who are honestly seeking the answers, they are sincerely searching they really want to know what truth is…they are open - they want to hear what you have to say.
q SECOND – there are people – who ask questions, just to stir things up. They aren’t honestly seeking answers, they don’t want to know any truth other than their own, AND they aren’t seeking anything except to attack what you believe and justify their own behavior and beliefs.