Religions and the Gospel (Matthew 12:43-45, Acts 4:12)

 

-When you decide to live as the children and evangelist of God in your field, you will face many hardships, problems, conflicts, and bad circumstances. At this moment, you can receive important answers and guidance in your life.

 

 

1)Don’t be deceived by yourself, problems, and circumstances

-If you are God’s child, God is leading and guiding you for His good purpose. Don’t be deceived.

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

 

 

2)Re-interpret all things through the gospel and the Word of God!

-When you have difficulties, suffering, and problems, you must have questions for them. Bring your questions to God! When you realize the distance and gab between you and God’s Word, you have to pray for it. Ask Him these questions through prayer! God gives you answers and guidances through the Word of God. You can re-interpret your hardships, conflicts, and circumstances through the gospel.

Psalm 119:130 (ESV) The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

-Today we should realize the difference between religions and the gospel. First of all, who is a nonbeliever?

 

1.A nonbeliever as the most foolish and miserable person.

1)He/she is separated from God who is the source of life.

-People as sinners have the spiritual ignorance to be unable to know who God is. Their mind and heart become hardened.

Ephesians 4:17-18(ESV)  Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

 

 

2)He/she does not believe the existence of God

-They deny the existence of true God in the Bible. Some worship idols as false gods. Others declare that they are atheists.

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

 

 

3)He/she doe not like to remember God in his/her mind

-Because their heart and mind are hardened, they do not listen to the Word of God and keep God and His Word in their mind and heart. They pursue their own plan, lust, greed, and desire or the worldly things in their mind.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

 

 

4)He/she lives for the sake of him/her and for his/her own glory

Genesis 11:4  And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

-Eventually, because they lost their original purpose to worship and honor God, they give glory to themselves and the world.

Acts 12:21-23 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

 

 

5)He/she misuses the name of God

-Because they do not believe the existence of true God in the Bible, they mock and use the name of God in vain.

Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

-One of examples is “Oh, my God” or “Jesus Christ” when people face strange or abnormal situation. These are misuses of God’s name. 

 

 

6)He/she persecutes believers and churches

Acts 12:1-3 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

-Like King Herod, many people try to please people and persecute Christians and the churches. In the midst of persecution, however,  God’s will and plan will be fulfilled.

 

 

7)He/she becomes a slaves of others which are not God.

Galatians 4:8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

-Naturally, they worship idols. Money is their god. Sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, ice hokey, etc) is their god. Singers, actors/actresses, writers, celebrates, and human beings are their gods. 

1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led

-Nonbelievers are under the influence of the idol, world, and Satan directly and indirectly.

 

2.Religions versus the Gospel

-Human beings choose religions to try to resolve their problems.

1)The author

①Religions are made by human beings.

Psalms 115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7  They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8  Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.

-People made different images and bow down and worship them.

 

②The gospel is given by God

Romans 1:2-4 (the Gospel) which He (God) promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

 

 

2)The main agent

①The main agent of religions is man.

1 Samuel 28:8 (ESV)  So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.”

-In order to resolve their problems and difficulties, people seek fortune tellers, shamans, religious leaders, and temples where people received answers. 

 

②The main agent of the gospel is God.

-It shows that God became the flesh in order to save human beings. God the Son came to the earth to die instead of us and to save us.

John 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

 

3)How to receive salvation

①religions emphasize religious deeds of human beings.

-They make efforts to receive salvation through religious rituals, good works, merits, charities, offerings, and worshipping.

1 Samuel 18:25-29  Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. 27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

 

②The gospel testifies that by God’s grace we will be saved

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

 

4)Living method

①Religions make people discard greed and empty their heart.

-They underscore the life of non-possession to empty greed, desires, materials, thoughts, and emotions in their mind and heart.

Matthew 12:43-45 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

 

②The gospel underlines the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

 

Conclusion

1)Confirm your gospel in your alone time!

-When you are alone, you can have the time confirm your gospel through meditation upon the Word. This time is a scheduled prayer time or a scheduled worship time.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved