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October 5, 2008 AM

JUDE 1:3

INTRO: I have in my library a set of three very thick books entitled The Creeds Of Christendom". The premise undergirding all of these creeds, dating back hundreds of years, I assume was some concern for the inadequacy of the scriptures. As the creeds developed over time, they came to represent the unique beliefs of particular religious groups. The creedal statements distinguished one group from the others. Further, it is not too difficult to find in these creedal statements doctrines divergent from that which is revealed in scripture. It is accurate to say, then, that the creeds of Christendom have been divisive in their effect. Are the scriptures sufficient? If they are, creeds of human origin are unnecessary and harmful.

    1. Deut 4:2 - 12:32 - Prov 30:6 - Rev 22:18,19
      1. historically, scripture has warned against adding, subtracting
      2. the only way to obey God's commands is as they are revealed
    2. Jude 1:3
      1. "the faith" - a reference to that body of truth believed
      2. "once" is from word meaning "once, for all time" - thus, the body of truth has been revealed and is sufficient for all time! contend for it
    3. 2 Tim 3:14-17
      1. these verses declare without ambiguity the sufficiency of scriptures
      2. certainly one would wonder what more could be needed for salvation, spiritual growth and spiritual maturity!
    4. 2 Pet 1:2-4
      1. by the time Peter writes he can say, in effect, "We have all we need"
      2. there is no doubt that Peter would claim sufficiency of the scriptures
    5. Four propositions based on these texts:
      1. the scriptures are complete
      2. the scriptures are sufficient
      3. the scriptures are exclusive
      4. the scriptures are understandable
    1. There are the latter day "revelations"
      1. these purport to have been received from God
      2. each is unique to a particular religious group founded by man/woman
      3. each is contradictory to scripture in numerous points
      4. yet, adherents are ardent in their acceptance of them
    2. There are the creeds and governing documents
      1. of these we made mention earlier
      2. though some are general, many are unique to religious groups
      3. these govern the beliefs and practices of those groups
      4. the group can only exist as a group with its special document
    3. Faulty interpretation
      1. "well, it doesn't say we can't" - the view of John Calvin
      2. "I don't believe a loving God..." - the view of universalists
      3. "the Bible is a horse and buggy document" - post modernists
      4. "truth is in the eye of the beholder" - my truth, your truth ... but no absolute truth
    1. Humility of mind
      1. egotism, pride, prejudice, preconceived ideas are ruinous
      2. Micah 6:8 - humbleness of mind lets one receive instruction from God
    2. Readiness of mind
      1. a readiness to accept the discoveries in truth is a "must" - no "yes, but"
      2. 1 Sam 3:10 - arguing with scripture will not bring spiritual satisfaction
    3. A searching mind
      1. Acts 17:11 - there is so much religious speculation in the world
      2. so, one must be willing to search the scriptures for truth of the matter
    4. A diligence of mind
      1. mental laziness will not bring one to truth of the scriptures - may be one of the reasons for so many creedal statements
      2. 2 Tim 2:15 - exploring for truth takes effort!

CLOSE: I have often hear this. "God said it, I believe it. That settles it." But I hear someone take issue with that thought ... and put it this way. "God said it. That settles it." Whether or not I believe it does not change the truth. The fact is, the scriptures are sufficient to all of my moral, ethical and spiritual needs!

Cecil A. Hutson

05 October 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

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 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 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 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)

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!

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)