Disturbed or Settled on the Thought that Jesus is the Only Way to Salvation?

Ross Sawyers
Feb 20, 2022    48m
When you are firm in your belief that Jesus is the only way to salvation, it gives you the bold faith to share this truth with non-believers. This truth can be disturbing to others because it feels limiting, but when you embrace it, it is the one path to eternal peace and freedom. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:30] It's not a suggestion in Scripture, it's an obligation. And he goes on to write that in Scripture that a child's obedience is both right and it's rewarded. He talks about the parent-child relationships being marked by love, trust, and obedience. When we live like that, we produce healthy people, and when you have healthy people, you have a healthy society. We're watching our society crumble around us as a family, it's crumbled around us, and yet there is a way forward that God is very clear on in his design with the family.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:14] He goes on to say that there are five truths to consider in thinking about our children. One is, that they're a heritage from the Lord, they're a gift that prompts gratitude. Second, our children belong to God, they're on loan to us, but they belong to God. Third, they're flawed from conception, guilty of sin, and undeserving of eternal life, just like us. Because they're sinful, fourth, he says they need God's commandments and God's instruction. And the fifth thing he says is, they're saved only by grace. And as parents, or grandparents, whoever has responsibility for a child, teach them to look to Jesus alone for salvation. Then he went on to say in the devotional that many of us live where these truths are opposed, and that would be more and more where we live today, and yet God has given us clarity on how to raise the next generation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:24] A few years ago, I went to a seminary professor at Southwestern Seminary, it's where I graduated from years ago, and there was a youth ministry professor there. And I'd read a stat, and I actually saw the stat again this week, that two-thirds of students who come through a church and out of a youth group, that two-thirds by the time they get into their twenties, will have abandoned the faith, that means a third remain true to Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:53] And that really just stoked a different idea in my mind, I wasn't so interested in why the two-thirds aren't making it through, I was interested in the one-third. What is it that we can do for that one-third, that maybe that decreases the two-thirds? And so I asked this professor, I said, can you help me understand what you see happens when kids that come through the church actually stick in following after Jesus? And he said three things.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:21] He said one, they have a genuine heart conversion to Christ. You can easily go through all the kid's ministries, you can go through all the youth ministry, you can do everything that the student ministry has to offer and still miss Jesus. So what insurers then that that third, it's those who genuinely know Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:47] The second thing he says is, that they are emotionally connected at a heart level to their parents. Their parents have an active, vibrant faith, and then they're connected to that faith of their parents, they're emotionally connected to them, the third, and that's how they keep following Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:08] And the last thing he says is, they need two or three mentors. We prayed that for our boys, that God would raise up godly men to be mentors, Christian mentors for our boys, and he did that, he answered that prayer for us. We try to set our ministries up in such a way that our kids are exposed to a number of adults with the hope that our kids connect in with one or two of those adults and that we can be part of helping be those mentors that are supporting what's going on in the home, and that are true to what Scripture says. And so when they go away, what they have is a solid parent base, they have a solid faith in Christ, and they have mentors that help them as they navigate things in life.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:54] I wanted to share with you three resources as well, that I think can be a help, so that we can have the best opportunity to see our kids be saved by grace and grace alone and then follow after Jesus. I've mentioned this one a few times, I have these on the screen, and the first one is the culture translator. This comes out every Friday, I would encourage this for anybody that has any contact with kids, which that means all of us at some level. Either your parenting, or you know somebody that's parenting, or your grandparent responsible, or you're some kind of mentor or working with students. In the culture translator, they're helping us stay up to speed with what's going on week to week at the rapid pace that things change with social media, all kinds of things going on in the music and entertainment world that our kids are being exposed to, and then they offer biblical ways to have conversations with your kids. That's the hard part, sometimes we can be aware, but we have no idea how to have the conversation. And I think this is a helpful resource for us today.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:55] The second one is Mama Bear Apologetics. You should sign up for this, just because of the name, Mama Bear Apologetics. But every generation raising their kids has a different set of questions, in addition to the normal things. And the generation coming up now, there is a whole set of questions and things going on out there that none of us that are my age or older had to deal with, they weren't questions, they weren't even a question. And today in your world, raising your kids, there are questions that need to be answered from you with your kids. Sometimes we don't know what to do, well, there's resources to help, and Mama Bear Apologetics is helping with those controversial topics and issues and questions that are out there and with ways to respond and have dialogs with your children and with your teenagers.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:47] The third one I recommend, at risk, because I haven't read it all the way through. I just started it, and I got excited about it, and because of today, I wanted to go ahead and suggest it. It's called Well Done, Mom & Dad by Tim Alba. My thought in this so far is, if you're strategic in your thinking, you should read this book. If you don't like strategy, you're probably not going to like the book, but what he does is lays out a strategic way for families to have a vision for what they see their families becoming. And I think sometimes we have a vision for the educational side, or a vision for the sports side, or the art side, but I don't know that we often have a family vision for the Spiritual side for our kids. And he lays out a vision and a strategic way to move inside that vision. I love what he says at the outset, he starts out by saying, this is my vision of what heaven is like. I don't know exactly, he said. but my hope is that when I arrive in heaven, that I'll just be walking around amazed and stunned by what I'm seeing. And then I can just imagine Jesus coming running towards me and saying, well done, Tim. And he said later when my kids join me, I can just envision them receiving God's well done. But then my kids finding me and my wife, and saying, Well Done, Mom & Dad. What a compelling vision, that our families as we arrive in heaven one at a time, well done, good job, well done. And then he says something else about our kids, we can't make them have our faith, but we can make them want to have our faith because it's so compelling in our lives, there's so much joy, so much peace, so much life, that they grow up and they can't imagine having anything else other than what our faith is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:00] Well, if you turn in Acts 4:1-12, I want to anchor these ideas in the Scripture itself. It might seem a little odd that I would spend that much time, I want us to always be the best help we can to families and parents and those who are working with our kids. It's an incredibly challenging season of time, and yet we can walk well in it. And when we get to Acts chapter 4, what we've seen so far is the early church established, we've seen the basic tenets of how we're to do church established at the end of Acts chapter 2, we've seen a healing take place in Acts chapter 3. Peter has spoken one sermon, he's in the middle of a second sermon when we get to chapter 4.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:46] And what we find in chapter 4, is the first opposition to the faith. This will not be the last opposition to the faith, there will be many more times that people will be opposed to the faith. Alastair Begg said, that when we raise our children to follow Christ in Christ alone, there will be those in our culture that oppose that. We're increasingly seeing that in our culture today, and there will be opposition to the things of which I speak this morning, but it was the same kind of opposition that they faced in the early days of the faith.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:17] There's a question I want to ask as our big idea? And this is the question, are you disturbed or settled on the thought that Jesus is the only way to salvation? Does that disturb you? Or is that settling to you? Generally, when I'm speaking with people, it gets disturbing, when you think about a family member who doesn't believe this, or you think about a friend who doesn't believe this, or you think about someone across the waters, and they don't believe this? And sometimes it disturbs us to the point where we're not even really sure we believe it. I want you to know, this is a safe place for you to wrestle through this thought. If we can't wrestle through it here, I don't know where we wrestle through it. But that's what I want us to ponder as we move through Acts 4, are we disturbed or settled that Jesus is the only way to salvation?

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:17] Well, let's begin in chapter 4 verses 4 through 4, and here we see that some are disturbed, and they're so disturbed that they try to stop it. Peter is in the middle of his sermon, he just said that they need to turn from their wicked ways. They'd probably heard enough at that point; they weren't interested in hearing about their wicked ways. And in verse 1 it says, "As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them." So as they were speaking, so Peter and John, two of Jesus disciples, now they've been empowered by the Spirit they're preaching. Peter's the primary one talking, but it says here they both were, so as they were speaking...So somehow, maybe it was two of them doing the sermon together, I don't know.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:15] But as they were speaking, they were rudely interrupted, and this would be the idea. It'd be like, I'm preaching right now, I'm bringing this message, you decide you don't like what I'm saying, and you might not, candidly, by the end of the day. But you don't like what I'm saying, and you decide you're going to stop me from saying it, and so you just kind of gather up some people, and then you kind of move forward as I'm speaking, and you interrupt what I'm saying. That's what's happening here, they're at the temple, Peter and John are speaking, the priests and religious leaders come up, the captain of the temple guard.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:51] The captain of the temple guard was second in command to the high priest, and the captain of the temple guard had the authority to arrest people, and it was that person's job to keep order at the temple. This person was second to the high priest, oftentimes would later become the high priest.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:12] The Sadducees, are one of three major groups of people that led the Jewish people in this day. There were the Essenes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees. What did the Sadducees believe? They believed that only the first five books, if I just think about our Bibles today, the first five books of the Bible, that's what they believed was true, nothing else in Scripture did they believe was true Scripture. They did not believe in demons, angels, immortality, or in the resurrection, those are things they did not believe. The Sadducees were the wealthy aristocrats of the day, and they were collaborators with the Roman government. Because they had wealth, they wanted their interest protected, so they were in bed with the government. Sadducees' religious leaders, they kept things good with the Roman government, so they could stay good, that's who they are.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:28] In verse 2 they are "Greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.". So they were disturbed, some people are disturbed by this message, and they try to stop it. They were greatly disturbed, why were they disturbed? They weren't disturbed because a lame man had been healed, they were disturbed because of the teaching that followed, that there was resurrection from the dead and that Jesus himself was resurrected, that bothered them. It also bothered them because a big crowd had gathered, and they were fearful of an uprising. And the Sadducees had to keep things in order because the Romans did not like disorder, and the Sadducees one of their interests protected.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:20] So they're disturbed, verse 3, "They laid hands on them and put them in jail." That's one way to stop somebody from preaching to the crowds, put them in jail. And they did that, until the next day, for his already evening." The next day, they'll come before the Sanhedrin, it's essentially like the Supreme Court for the Jewish people of the day. So that would happen the next day.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:40] Verse 4, "But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.". They were coming by the thousands to believe in Jesus. So in spite of the interruption, in spite of knowing that these people had the authority to arrest, all of these people are believing the message. As we sang earlier, people can be disturbed and try to stop it, but God's unstoppable, and his message will not be stopped. People will try. our culture will try. As a whole today, our culture is disturbed by the message that Jesus is the only way to salvation. We'll talk about that more in a few minutes. But an observation here, Peter and John, a bold faith, and when someone has bold faith, it inspires other people to have bold faith.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:50] A few weeks ago, some of us were at Passion, it's a worship gathering for 18- to 25-year-olds, and Tim Tebow was one of the speakers among many. Tim Tebow has been in the media limelight since he was in college, and to my knowledge, anything I've seen, he is not shrunk back, he's never wavered on who he is in Christ and proclaiming the message that Jesus Christ was crucified and risen, and that the way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. Tim Tebow is as settled as any public figure out there that I see in his faith. And it is settling to other people, there's a reason they brought Tim Tebow to speak to sixty thousand 18 to 25-year-olds. If you want to see a young 30 something that has not wavered, that's managed to maintain his place in the sports media market, that's played multiple sports in the professional ranks. He's failed in front of us, he succeeded in front of us, and in all of it, he's been faithful to Jesus in the midst of no matter what it was for him. A bold faith, it inspires others to live a bold faith.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:07] Or we could be inspired by Ramesh Langde who leads COI, a ministry that we've partnered with in India since 2004. Ramesh is a part of children being taken care of and taught, he's part of helping children that are being trafficked so that that won't happen, they'll be rescued. He teaches, he was teaching at one point, he had an audience of over five million people, where he had former Muslims with him on his TV show. And as they had the money, they would produce shows where he was proclaiming this message of Christ in Christ alone. He's in the midst of an area that in the last few years has clamped down on Christians and Christian organizations. And yet, I'll show you this picture, I've shown it before, and I'll probably show it again, it's one of my favorite pictures. Several years ago, a couple of us were in India and we were doing a leadership development with pastors. And before you go into the place where we would meet and train, you take your shoes off, and these are the shoes of those pastors who had come from all over the country for a few days just to be equipped so that they could be better at taking the message of Jesus to where they were pastoring. They are pastoring in places where persecution happens and where people were disturbed by the message of Jesus, and yet when I saw their shoes, I took the picture and I thought of the Scripture, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news?". And I've never lost sight of when we finished the conference and the leadership training and they all left, and they all walked, they didn't have transportation and they were walking to town, to the train station, and they walk, and they have one bag. It's just sort of like what Jesus said, keep it light and make sure that you don't have anything holding you down. They had one bag, that was their possessions, and they were walking off in those shoes that are so beautiful to bring good news to people who did not have the good news. Those are the people, we'll never know their names, by the way, we're not going to see their name like we see Tim Tebow's name. But I tell you what, I'm probably more inspired by those shoes, and who's in those shoes, that are refusing to be stopped. Some are trying to stop them, they're disturbed, but they're not stopping.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:43] Well, sometimes in verses 5 and 7, we'll get questions that'll open up opportunities for us. Verse 5, "On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem." Now all of the religious people are gathered up, and then, "Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent." By the way, do you ever wonder why we get all these names? Like John and Alexander, we don't really even know who these guys are, so why would the Scripture put it? There's just validity, historically, Annas and Caiaphas we know. Annas was a high priest from 6 to 15 A.D, Caiaphas was the high priest from 18 A.D. to 36 A.D. Luke refers to him as the high priest here and Annas, the reality is, he still has had the power. Caiaphas is his son-in-law, and so they're kind of working together on this deal.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:35] And yet historically, we just see the names of people, these are real people that were of high priestly descent. And then, "When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”. Now, imagine a semicircle of about 70 men, and they're probably all robed up, they're the Supreme Court, so here's the semicircle of 70 men, and then a 71st one who is the high priest that oversaw the proceedings. And standing before them are Peter and John, these country guys that came from around the Sea of Galilee. So they're standing before all these religious leaders, who in human terms, kind of hold their destiny in their hand, that's the picture. And we have them standing there, and they're asked this question, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?"

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:39] These are the kind of questions to me, that I just long for people to ask. Anybody play tee-ball, or you had your kids play tee-ball, that's where you started somewhere around that range, right? So you just kind of set it up, you don't want the ball moving so they can work on their stance, and work on their hands, and their swing, get all that going. And then the ball is set on the tee, and you can set at different levels, and then you can just kind of keep hitting and hitting. This is like putting a kickball on the tee-ball stand and taking a plastic big fat Wiffle ball bat and taking a whack at it, and there's no way we should miss. It doesn't matter what your skill level is, if you put a kickball on the tee, and a big fat Wiffle bat and I don't care how bad your swing is, you can loop it, you can swing down on it, you can go right at it, but you're going to hit it, and that's what this question is. And we don't want to whiff when people give us a wide-open opportunity to talk about Christ and Christ alone.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:41] Sometimes people just give us opportunity, and that's what's happening right here, there's opportunity for it. Now, what we see in the next few verses is that some are settled and will speak no matter the consequences. So here's the question, we can do something with the question, we can whiff, or we can take advantage of it, Peter takes advantage. Before I describe these verses, I want to give us a visual look at what I think this scene might have looked like. It's a movie made a few years ago called Luther.

Video Plays: [00:24:28] Order in the Hall. Order! Order! Martin Luther, are you the author of these writings? I am. Do you recant what you have written here? I cannot renounce all of my works because they are not all the same. The first of those books in which I have described Christian faith and life so simply, that even my opponents have admitted that these works are useful. To renounce these writings would be unthinkable, for that would be to renounce accepted Christian truths. He is not here to make speeches, only to answer

Video Plays: [00:25:23] The second group of my work is directed against the foul doctrine and evil living of the Popes, past and present. No. Yes! Through the laws of the Pope and the doctrines of men, the consciences of the faithful have been miserably vexed and flayed. If I recant these books, I will do nothing but add strength to tyranny and open not just the windows but also the doors to this great ungodliness. He has condemned himself.

Video Plays: [00:26:01] In the third group, I have written against private persons and individuals who uphold Roman tyranny and have attacked my own efforts to encourage piety to Christ. I confess that I've written too harshly. I am but a man, and I can err. Only let my errors be proven by Scripture and I will revoke my work and throw my books into the fire.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:43] I think that moment for Martin Luther, is the same kind of moment Peter found himself right here? Before these who were about to make judgment on him, but it says in verse 8, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.". And Jesus said in Matthew 10, he was telling His disciples, he was preparing them, he said there will Be moments where you're going to come before kings and you're going to come before courts, and you don't need to worry about what you'll say in that moment, because the Holy Spirit of God will give you what you need in the moment. And Peter is leaning into the Spirit of God, he's filled with the Spirit, which means he's controlled by the Spirit, so these words that he speaks are coming from the Spirit of God within him. And he says this in verse 8, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified." Now imagine, he's standing before them in a semicircle of seventy-one people and he's looking at them and said, "This Jesus whom you crucified, but God raised him from the dead, by this name, this man stands here before you in good health." It's in the name of Jesus, that this man stands.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:10] In verse 11, “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.". Peter quotes an Old Testament Psalm, Psalm 118:22, it's a psalm about the Messiah, the Savior. Peter did this often, he would quote the Scriptures to give proof of who the Christ is. But he's looking at them saying, You're the builders, you're the one that's doing the building, and you've rejected the chief cornerstone, you've rejected Jesus. He's the one that holds all this together, he's the fulfillment of the Old Testament law, that without him, this whole thing collapses, and you've rejected him. Peter would also quote this in his letter that called First Peter in chapter 2:7-8. They rejected, but Peter was settled, he was settled that Jesus is who he said he was. And when a person is settled, a person can speak with confidence and bold faith. And sometimes I wonder if we're just not settled and really believe that Jesus is the way to salvation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:31] But Peter makes a declaration in verse 12, he says, "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”. He leaves options for no one else, it's not Jesus and some other names, it's not Jesus plus self-effort, good works, great church attendance, a real servant's heart, it's not someone else, this is the only name, it's Jesus by which salvation comes. And so I want to ask the question again, when you hear verse 12, when you think about the world in which we live, are you settled with Peter that there is salvation in no one else but Jesus, or is that thought disturbing and it seems unfair, and narrow-minded, and not right, and [inaudible]. Is it disturbing, or is it settling?

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:58] He says this is the name given among men by which we must be saved. We, he's talking about himself, an uneducated fisherman, he's talking about the wealthy aristocrat, he's talking about the teacher of the law who actually knew the Old Testament Scriptures that the way they're saved is through the name of Jesus who's crucified and risen. Jesus would make this same statement in John chapter 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” He says, eternal life is in Jesus, if not, eternal wrath abides on the person, that's what Jesus said.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:54] And then a verse that we'll lean into for assurance of our own salvation oftentimes is First John chapter 5. And remember, Peter was here with John, verse 11 of chapter 5 says, "The testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." This is a clear choice, Jesus said of himself, "I'm the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me." Peter says the same thing, John says the same thing, about Jesus, He is the way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:38] Now that's a challenge today, and it's disturbing to our culture as a whole, and maybe it's disturbing to you, I don't know. The reason it's a challenge today is our cultural norm now is that reality is whatever someone imagines it to be, and the truth is a personal opinion that comes from within each individual person. Now, if reality is whatever I can imagine it to be, and if the truth comes from within me and I decide what truth is and it's not to be disagreed with, then the conclusion is, there's no objective truth, there's no truth outside of ourselves, therefore, making everything equal in its validity. Which is actually not rational, because so many things say different things about themselves. We believe, as Christians, that the source of truth is actually outside of us and it doesn't come from within us, that God himself is truth, he's unchanging, he's eternal truth. And God himself has made himself known in the Scriptures, and because he's made himself known in the Scriptures, the Scriptures are our authority. Our experience is not our authority, our tradition is not our authority, our feelings are not our authority, our imaginations are not our authority, rather, God is our authority through Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, which he's revealed himself.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:33] In Second Timothy 3, we're told that all Scriptures are inspired by God, it's God-breathed, and it's profitable. We're taught through Scripture, and we're taught that Jesus is the only way to salvation. It corrects us, so when we drift off of that and start to believe something different, the Scripture will correct us and bring us back to who Jesus is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:56] Now, what are other possibilities for salvation that people would go with today? What are other names? If there's no other name but Jesus, is what Peter says, what are other options out there? We can go to the major world religions and look at Islam for a moment, is Islam and Christianity the same? Is it two equal, it's the same, equally valid? Islam has five major holy books, the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, the Psalms of David, and the Gospels. The fourth holy book is the Hadith, and in that book, it's where they get their different ways and interpretations for doing life. The Koran is the most holy book for them. Five holy books.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:58] So we can find some connections with Islam, with those different books of the Bible. But where we differ, is in Islam, there is no original sin. They don't believe in original sin; they don't believe it's born with a sinful nature. If there's no original sin, then there's no need to be saved from sin. If there's no need to be saved from sin, there's no need for a Savior. So while Jesus is revered in Islam as a holy prophet, he is not the savior of the world. And in Islam, Jesus did not die on the cross, they believe somebody else did. That's a major departure for us, that's the whole crux of our faith, is at the cross and in the resurrection. So these two, that someone that is Muslim would say that. Like this isn't me just saying that; that's someone who's Muslim would say that. And we would sit across from each other, and we would not see this the same, and yet somehow, the other several billion people in the world have determined that essentially it's all the same. It's not the same.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:25] Well, that's one option. Buddhism, the way to salvation for the Buddhist is through self-effort, that's different. And Jesus is simply an enlightened man in a Buddhist's thought.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:44] Hinduism, and again, I can be very respectful of this, I'm simply saying what someone else believes, and what they believe about Jesus and how it's different from Christianity, and how these can't be the same. So in Hinduism, there are millions of gods, of which Jesus can be one of those millions of gods. That's a departure from what Jesus says about himself and what the Scripture says about him, it's different.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:14] We could look at New Age Philosophy, which several years ago became kind of a deal, we could lean on that name. And the New Age, folks, they just kind of see that Jesus completed a process of spiritual evolution to become an enlightened master. They like some of Jesus's teachings, especially the ones about loving your enemies and love, Which a lot of these like some of Jesus' teachings, but they pick and choose Jesus's teachings. It's not all of his teachings, it's picking the ones that you like.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:49] Judaism does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, they believe he taught, that there are disciples, that there was an empty tomb that his followers believe he was resurrected, but they don't believe he's the messiah, that's different.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:07] So we've got several billion of us that are on different pages, and all I'm trying to say is that they're not equal, they're different, and by their own beliefs are different.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:22] And then I would say that today, that's a movement in our world right now, is Progressive Christianity, are we going to lean on this name? And a lot of people are drifting into it, they may not even know they've drifted into it. This one's dangerous today, because it keeps some of the basic tenets of our faith, but then it's changing some, it changes so it can fit the culture. Alyssa Childers, she's an apologist, wrote about progressive Christianity, and in it, she said, "A Progressive Christian does not necessarily adhere to all of these things I'm about to write, she says, but at least one or more of them." So these are some things that in progressive Christianity, if you're hearing people talk like this today in the podcast you listen to or the things that you read, I would encourage you to look for someone else because they're taking you down a path of Progressive Christianity, which will not have a good end.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:18] So here are some of the things in Progressive Christianity, the atonement, what Christ did on the cross, is actually thought of as cosmic abuse, and it's horrific and unnecessary in their minds. Scripture is not authoritative, rather, it's just contradictory. Original sin, that idea is rejected, and that helps us to be good people if we reject that idea. And then the resurrection, that's more a good idea, not necessarily something we need to focus on in what Christ did. They also can tend to be universalists, meaning that all of these roads end up in heaven. It means in the end, everybody is saved, you just pick a road, and it gets you there, but that's different from what Jesus says. And then they are pluralist, meaning that everyone has a seat at the table. These are all different than Christianity.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:15] And then the other one I would put is self, self increasingly becomes the god of our age. Peter didn't say that salvation comes from ourselves, it comes in the name of Jesus. Now, I know there are a number of hurts and pains and misinformation and so forth to make this a challenge, so this is what I would say today. If you're unsettled and disturbed about the teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation, would you be willing to read the Gospels with somebody, and take a really good look at the life of Jesus, look at everything that he says and what he did? Let's go to the primary source before we let other sources tell us who Jesus is. Would you be willing to take somebody else, and ask somebody else who doesn't believe this way and say, hey, would you be willing to read the Gospels with me? Let's just see what Jesus says, because I think most of the time, not all the time, most of the time people have not read for themselves, they've allowed someone else to be...Including Christians, by the way, you should not lean just on what your teachers are telling you, you've got the book, you should be examining it to see whether these things are true that I'm saying, but I think that's one way that we can work through and get settled. And then I think as Christians, as the culture changes around us, we increasingly read and remind ourselves, so we stay settled in who Jesus is, he's the only way to salvation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:19] In Christianity, when you look at all of these, all of these are self-effort, good works, achieve something, and hope it works out in the end. Only with Jesus, does salvation come by grace, and only in Jesus do we have forgiveness, and release of guilt and shame, condemnation, death, only in Jesus do we find that freedom, that's distinctly different than every other view.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:59] I want to read and pray Acts 4, we've just been trying to model praying the Scripture, and I want to continue to do that. Mike and Karen Murray are in the back, I just wanted everybody to know that I'm not ignoring sections of the church, I've gone to the right this time, so I'm almost hitting the whole of the church between the different services. And I've asked them, and so I'm going to pray Acts 4:1-12 over them. And after I pray over them, if we could just stay silent, and maybe God would have you pray this over someone next to you or someone that you're thinking about.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:41] So, Father, this morning, I thank you for the power of your word and the strength of it. I pray, God, that our children would know these truths and be raised in them. But Father, thank you for Mike and Karen today, and God, I pray that in moments when they get the opportunity to speak of Christ crucified and risen, that if someone's disturbed by that teaching, that they would not shrink back or not be stopped by that disturbance. I pray that whatever the cost is to them and to their family, God, that they would be willing to stay true to this message, I thank you that they are. And God, I pray that many around them would hear the message and believe and that because of who they are in Christ, who their kids are in Christ, who their kids' spouses are in Christ today, I pray God that people would believe the message of Jesus today rather than be disturbed by it. Father, I pray that you'd bring people in their path, that they're not expecting, that would ask them questions, something that would just tee it up, where they might be filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered by you, and address the person graciously and boldly and not shrink back from proclaiming Jesus crucified, and God, that you raised him from the dead. And the people around them would know it's by that name that their lives have been changed, it's by that name that their children have been changed, and it's by that name that they can be changed. I pray, Father, that they would continue to lean into you as the chief cornerstone, that you'd be their plumb line for all of life, God, and that when people reject that, that it would not cause them to waver at all, but that they would stand firm and stand in your grace. And Father, I pray that their declaration until the day they die would be that there is salvation and no one else, there's no other name under heaven that's been given among men by which we must be saved. I thank you for saving them by your name and then, Father, I pray that there'll be many more to come that will proclaim that name. In the meantime, God, help us be the most gracious to people of all different views so that they might see the beauty of what Christ does in us, and that the name would be beautiful to them and not a name that they reject, and I pray that for Mike and Karen in Jesus' name. And let's continue our prayer quietly.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051