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An Introduction to the Gospel Under Attack in Our Generation

06 May

The Gospel under Attack in Our Generation:

Introduction

Stephen: Is this attack on the gospel new?

Pastor Joel: No, Paul, Jude, and Peter all warned those in the early church, that the gospel was already under attack even in the early church:

Galatians 1:6-12 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed…the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:3 Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

2 Peter 2:1-3 There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

We can see examples of the gospel under attack in every culture, and in every season of church history:

Stephen: Is the gospel under attack in Ghana?

Pastor Joel: Absolutely yes.

In a recent interview of around 700 people:

  • 95% have made Christ their personal Lord and Savior
  • Nearly half say they attend church 3 or more times a week
  • 65% read the Bible at least every other day
  • Only 21% say that salvation is a free gift that is not earned in any part by our good works and obedience to the law.

Galatians 2:21 If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Romans 10:1-4Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God forIsrael is, that they might be saved…they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

  • Many people think they understand salvation because they know Romans 10:13, but if they do not understand Romans 10:1-12, then they do not understand verse 13.

Matthew 7:2123 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven…Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me.

Stephen: Is this attack only in Ghana?

Victor: No, the gospel is under attack in every place it has been or is being clearly preached, and history demonstrates the truthfulness of that statement.

  • How common is the Christian faith inNorth Africatoday?
  • Why did western missionaries need to reintroduce the gospel to Africa, when the gospel was in places like modern Sudan and Ethiopia hundreds of years before it was in Britain and perhaps a thousand years before it was in America?
  • Why are countries likeEgypt,Israel,Libya, andTurkeyless than 10% and in some cases 5% Christian?
  • Some of the strongest churches in the early church were inJerusalem,Antioch,Alexandria,Carthage,Rome, andEphesus, yet now in many of these places, there is very little Christian influence.
  • Why did Jonathan Edwards see many converted while preaching in the church, not in open air meeting?  It was because so many people attending church were unbelievers.
  • Why was Martin Luther’s stand against the Roman church so revolutionary?  It is because the gospel had been lost in the church.
  • The organization that viewed itself as the Church of Rome had corrupted the purity of the gospel expressed in Paul’s epistle to the original church atRome, the book of Romans.
  • Why is Europe andAmericabecoming so secular, and why is the entertainment industry that is coming out of these countries so vulgar?  It is because the gospel is under attack.

Stephen: How does this happen?

Pastor Eric:

  • Some knowingly twist the truth to gain a crowd.
  • Some are not ready to lead and teach, and because of their lack of skill in teaching God’s word, they twist the truth accidentally, or are not very precise in their articulation.
  • Some assume too much about people and let them teach or lead a church when we do not know how sound they really are in the faith.
  • Some introduce unbiblical ideas from places likeAmericaorEurope, and soon they become normal and distract from the truth, like the sinner’s prayer or high pressure alter calls.
  • Some are careless in the way they handle the truth.
  • Some are not passing the pure faith down to their children, so they will embrace the truth.
  • Some are not studying the Bible carefully for themselves, but rather trusting others to tell them what it means.
  • Some blindly accept traditions.
  • Some are being persecuted.

Stephen: What can we do to make sure we are not trusting in or preaching a false gospel?

Victor:

  • We must understand the difference between human traditions which are fallible, and the word of God, which is pure and unchangeable. 

1 Peter 1:18 Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…received by tradition from your fathers.

Romans 10:17Faith cometh by hearing the word of God.

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure; enlightening the eyes…the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

  • We must go back to God’s word and honestly compare what believe to the standard and only sure object of our faith, the word of God.
  • This was the primary reason behind one of the “solas” of the reformation: Sola Scripture…the scriptures are the final and sole authority for faith and practice. 

Stephen: How many ways of salvation can actually give us eternal life?

Pastor Joel:

  • There is only one way, and that way is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.

Romans 11:6 And if salvation is by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace.

Romans 4:16 Salvation isof faith, that it might be by grace;

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 17:30 God commandeth all men every where to repent.

Galatians 1:6-12 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed…the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  • God’s gospel is the only gospel, and we must repent of our self-righteousness to depend alone on God’s provision for us in Christ. 

Stephen: What does it mean to be justified?

Pastor Eric:

  • Legal term
  • Means to be declared righteous
  • It does not mean to become righteous
  • It is by grace alone, meaning that it is a gift
  • It is on the basis of Christ’s perfect righteousness and obedience alone.
  • This righteousness is credited to us at the very moment we place our faith in the finished work of Christ alone.
  • It is a permanent declaration that can never be changed, or else it would no longer be by grace.
  • God does all the work in our justification.  We simply receive it as a gift of His grace.

Stephen: Why is our understanding of justification so important?

Pastor Joel:

  • Our understanding of justification reveals the ultimate object of our faith, and our understanding of the nature of salvation.
  • Is salvation a free gift by grace alone or is it a reward for faithfulness and good works?
  • Is justification a process or a once and for all declaration?
  • Is salvation about what we do for God, or about depending alone upon what He has done for us?
  • Our salvation depends upon a mighty chain called the gospel.  Each link to that chain makes up the message upon which our salvation depends.  If one of those unbreakable links is supplemented with a human substitute, the gospel that we have embraced is not another saving gospel, but rather a fraud, and a substitute that is powerless to save.

Stephen: What is your challenge to our listeners?

Pastor Joel:

Acts 17:11 The Bereans received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

  • Be like the Bereans.  Search the scriptures, and see if what we are saying is true.  Compare what you see in the scriptures to what you currently believe, and respond to the Lord as He graciously opens your eyes to where you stand before Him. 
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