1 TIM 1:3,4 & 1 TIM 4:11 & 1 TIM 6:2-4
INTRO: In the course of discussions I have been asked from time to time, Why are you so dogmatic? After sermon presentations, I have had a few people to comment as they have shaken my hand, You are too dogmatic. And neither question nor comment was intended as praise or commendation. In fact, the use of dogmatic in this way is almost always a form of criticism. But I try to answer such questions and comments (if circumstances allow). I think that these folks are well intentioned and are not being mean spirited. This morning I want to try to address this little question because I believe there is a need for us to not to be frightened of such labels and comments.
I WHAT DOES DOGMATIC MEAN?
A. Ordinarily, it has to do with an opinion stated emphatically as truth
1. it is usually stated with no room for disagreement or options
2. and it can be unpleasant, haughty and, occasionally, mean
B. It can also mean positive in the matter of truth
1. my being positive of something and presenting it positively may be called by one who disagrees dogmatic
2. however, my task is to both be certain and to present certainties in such a way as to convince one who disagrees of the certainty of my assertion!
C. Relativism may contribute to the issue, too
1. absolutes are out of date - we are taught not to be absolutely sure
2. truth is relative (we are told) - even Bible truth may not be absolute ... so, should be expressed as opinion so that we can agree to disagree without eternal consequences
II LETS LOOK A BIT FURTHER INTO THIS DOGMATISM DILEMMA
A. Jno 8:32 - Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
1. now, these are the words of Jesus ... or, are they? can I say for sure?
2. next question: but what truth? mine? yours? theirs?
3. and if no one can know the truth for certain, then, no one can be free!
B. Jno 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth
1. Gods word is truth - but since truth is relative, Gods truth is totally open to the interpretation of each person for his truth ... right?
2. if sanctification is important, what truth will I use to know of it?
3. and if no one can know the truth for certain, can anyone be sanctified?
C. Jas 5:19,20 - If any of you do err from the truth...
1. this admonition makes no sense if I cannot be positive about the truth
2. how can I restore someone from error to truth if truth is unknowable?
3. fact: salvation depends on truth which can be known and which is the same for all people
III SOME THINGS I KNOW?
A. I know that Jesus is Deity and that He did dwell among men
1. Jno 1:1-3.14
2. this is truth of which I am certain because it is revealed in scripture
3. it is truth which I will always present as definite ... I am positive of it
B. I know that Jesus was crucified to be an atoning sacrifice
1. 1 Pet 2:21-24 & Heb 9:28
2. it is a truth I will always joyfully present as absolutely true - positive
C. I know that sin has separated human beings from God
1. Eph 2:1-3,5 & Rom 3:23
2. here is truth which I must present with definiteness - otherwise, people will just go on in their condition of death
D. I know that a believing, penitent person who is baptized with be forgiven
1. Mk 16:15,16 & Acts 2:37,38
2. I must plainly preach this so people can know how to reach forgiveness
E. I know that a person is baptized into the body (church) of Christ
1. 1 Cor 12:13 & Col 1:18
2. I must plainly tell this truth so people will know necessity of the church
F. I know that there will be a great judgment day
1. 2 Cor 5:10 & Heb 9:27
2. if I fail to plainly make this known, I will be failing in my responsibility to others ... and to the Lord
CLOSE: Yes, there are many, many other things I know from scripture and which I must proclaim with certainty and definiteness. If that makes me dogmatic, then, dogmatic I must be. I wonder ... of what truths are you absolutely sure? Are you sure of the status of your relationship with God? Yes? No? Why?
Cecil A. Hutson
23 May 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)