Summary: In a day of political correctness where society and religionists teach an all embracing God that accepts all who come to Him regardless of the way, consider the exclusivity of Christ.
THE EXCLUSIVITY OF CHRIST
Introduction: We are living in a significantly different culture in America from when we were young, and from what our grandparents or even our parents encountered. No longer can we think and speak in terms of a America as having Christian or Judeo-Christian culture. The United States has become a multi-religious culture. Our world has changed. One main reason for the change in the US is immigration. As of the latest population survey in March 2000, the numbers of foreign-born have risen dramatically-from 9.6 million in 1970 to 28.4 million in 2000, effectively tripling the immigrant population. If you combine those numbers with the first-generation U.S. residents, then you have the highest combined number—56 million, or a ratio of 1-in-5 of the U.S. population is either a foreign-born or first-generation resident. While America has always been a nation of immigrants, previously the major immigration was from Europe and other areas with a Christian based culture. Today more than ever, immigrants come from culturally non-Christian nations bringing with them the religions of the world. Islam will replace Judaism as America’s second-largest religion in about 10 years. There are more than 4.1 million Muslims, 2.4 million Buddhists, and 1 million Hindus living in America. In the past 10 years Islam has increased by 109%, Buddhism by 170%, Hinduism by 237%, Baha’i Faith by 200%. In light of these trends, it has become fashionable and politically correct to say that it doesn’t really matter what one believes about God and one’s religion as long as he or she is sincere. Just as the old saying "All roads lead to Rome" likewise "All religions lead to Heaven". This attitude is illustrated by Pope John Paul II in one of his weekly general audiences in late May of 1999, in which he addressed Muslims in a series discussing "interreligious dialog." He quotes from the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 841 which states, "... together with us they (Muslims) adore the one, merciful, God." Today there is a misconception as to who God is and how we can come to Him. This morning I want you to consider the exclusivity of Christ.
I. Three Popular Misconceptions
A. We all worship the same God.
1. Isaiah 43:10-11 "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior."
2. Allah is not God and God is not Allah
a. Allah is non-personal and unknowable – God is personal and knowable. (John 17:3)
b. Allah is non-spirit – God is a Spirit. (John 4:24)
c. Allah is Unitarian – God is Triune (I John 5:7)
d. Allah is unloving – God is love (I John 4:8)
B. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.
1. Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
2. You can be sincere, but you can be sincerely wrong.
3. What aman believes, however sincerely, does not mean it is true even if there are millions who believe it. Sincerity is an evidence of conviction but is it a conviction based on Truth?
4. John 14:6 "Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
5. Sincerity, or the lack of it, has nothing to do with determining truth or destiny. We can be sincerely right or sincerely wrong. For example, during a football game, a quarterback sincerely throws the ball to someone who appears to be one of his receivers. His sincerity did not change the fact that he threw an interception.
6. The devil is sincere, but he is sincerely wrong. - Billy Graham (1918- )
7. Some people, however, think that there is no harm in having misguided beliefs, so long as they are sincere held.
8. A fireman rushes into a burning building, grabs a blanketed little baby out of the crib and come down only to find that in the blanket is a doll. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong.
9. No one is pure enough in their intentions. Faith in Christ alone is what God accepts.
C. Live and let live, as long as you live by the "golden rule" you’ll be ok.
1. If we believe we’ll get to heaven because we’ve been a "good" person, "How good is really good enough to get to heaven?"
2. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man boast."