Summary: Unfortunately too many people think Christianity is just one amongst many religions. This sermon gives the three main differences why it is not!
Is Christianity just another religion?
Discussion with some friends at restaurant in Caloundra
• Is Christianity just another religion? They said “guess so”
• That bothered me. Here were long time Christians saying Christianity is just another religion
• Hope none of you say it is just another religion otherwise I’m not doing my job very well
So I’m going to ask you the same question today, “Is Christianity just another religion?”
• It has a god like all the other religions
• It has a code of conduct and expectations like all other religions
• It promises an afterlife like other religions
• 72 black eyed virgins
So what makes Christianity different to all other religions?
1. Christianity is the only faith where the one worshipped loves us so much He was willing to pay the penalty of sin, death for us so we can be acceptable to Him
• All religions including Christianity have a code or a law spelling out to their adherents what is expected of them
• Has anyone ever lived up to the expectations of any law regardless of its origin?
• Broken the speed limit lately?
• The point is we are all offside when it comes to satisfying the requirements of our gods
• This is where the big difference comes in
• Did Buddha or Confucius or Allah do anything to bring their followers back into a right relationship with them?
• No, Christianity is unique in that the one worshipped did something unbelievable for His followers
• John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
• Only Christianity has a means by which its disobedient followers can be welcomed back into the presence of God
• What is that means? God died for us so justice would be satisfied, but He also imputed his righteous to us so that we would be acceptable to God
• NKJ Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
• NLB 2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
• In the movie, “The last Emperor”, the young child anointed as the last Emperor of China lives a magical life of luxury with a thousand eunuch servants at his command. “What happens when you do wrong? his brother asks. “When I do wrong, someone else is punished,” the boy Emperor replies. To demonstrate, he breaks a jar, and one of the servants is beaten. What is unique about Christianity is that the Eternal One reversed this ancient pattern: when the servants erred, the King is punished.
• No other religion has a god like our God who loved us this way
• The Gospel is the good news of mercy to the undeserving
• And that is why the symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not a set of scales - John R. W. Stott
• In the comic strip B.C. two women are sitting on a small hill. One is reading the Bible and says, “Oh, my goodness. . . Says here. . . Jesus descended into hell!” The other is shocked and says, “You’re kidding!” Then the woman with the Bible says, “Oh, no. . . Not to stay! He just dropped in to cancel our reservations!”
• No other religion has a God who went to hell to cancel our reservation
2. Christianity is the only faith that makes it possible for its followers to live up to the expectations of its God
• Like I said, all religions including Christianity have a code or a law spelling out to their adherents what is expected of them
• No one has ever lived up to the expectations of any law regardless of its origin whether it be God or man’s?
• That’s why most religions include a system of penance for when the law is broken– have to bring an offering or perform some ritual in order to appease the wrath of the gods
• Even the Mosaic Law had a sacrificial system for disobedience
• Christianity too requires a sacrifice, but what is the sacrifice we bring to God to make us acceptable? Sacrifice of Jesus
• So we are accepted, but now he requires us to live like the son of God that we are
• How does He do that? By being Born Again, by being birthed spiritually
• This is the discussion Jesus had with Nicodemus in John 3
• He gives us a new heart, His heart, the heart of God comes and lives in us through the Holy Spirit