Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
There’s a common misconception about the Kingdom of God. It’s taught in error that Jesus will one day set up a physical kingdom, reigning in Jerusalem. According to the error, His plans were foiled by the Jews who rejected Him, and murdered Him. This is commonly called the doctrine of PREMILLENIALISM. Is this true?
It’s against scripture for Christ to reign from a physical throne in Jerusalem. “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jer 22:30).
Never trust a doctrine based on the premise that mankind foiled God’s plans. LOL. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged,” (Isaiah 42:4).
His own disciples expected an earthly kingdom, but Jesus said, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21; cf John 18:36).
However, He does have a Kingdom and it does have a TEMPLE on earth, a spiritual house. In Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom, the church, there is a Temple and it’s being built continually with LIVING STONES. What does the bible say about these living STONES?
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5).
God’s Temple today is a SPIRITUAL HOUSE. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1Cor 3:9-15; cf. 1Pet 2:5). The church of Christ is the Spiritual House of God, the individuals are the living stones.
The church of Christ is the TEMPLE of God and individual members are the living stones. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1Cor 3:16-17)? “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (6:19; Eph 2:21-22)? Anyone that claims that there will be a physical kingdom on earth has overlooked that the Kingdom of God is the church of Christ. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13).
There is only ONE Kingdom, ONE BODY. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph 1:22-23; cf. Eph 4:4). Since the church is the Kingdom, and the church is His body, then there is only ONE BODY (temple) in His Kingdom.
Every Temple has a foundation, and this Spiritual Temple is no exception. NO OTHER FOUNDATION exists except the Chief Cornerstone, which is Christ. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:20-21). Referring back to a previous passage about the Spiritual House, Paul said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:11; cf. Matt 16:18).
As was prophesied, this Kingdom is an ENDURING Kingdom if we keep His commands “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb 3:6).
Lastly, since people are the Living Stones, we are to STAND FIRM. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,” (Col 1:23). The stones that STAND FIRM are precious STONES, but those stones that are not of precious material will be burned. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1Cor 3:12-13).
Spencer is an evangelist in Borger, Texas.
THE KINGDOM is the CHURCH:
The Same Beginning: Pentecost. (Mark 9:1; Acts 2:47)
The Same Duration: Forever.
(Daniel 2:44; Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 12:28; Ephesians 3:21)
The Same Ownership: God and Christ. (Ephesians 5:5)
The same historical period: During Roman empire.
(Luke 2:1; Acts 2:1; Colossians 1:13)
The same eschatological beginning: In the “Last Days” or “end times”
(Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20; Acts 2:15–17; James 5:1–3)
Kingdom and church used interchangeably: (Matthew 16:18)
Yes, I can hear your eyes rolling after having read the title, perhaps thinking, “Another holiday bashing lesson.”
Before you toss this bulletin aside, know that this article is about seizing opportunities as they become available. Every year for about 5 or 6 weeks, the world is talking about Jesus. [1Co 16:9; 2Cor 2:12]
We might as well join in the conversation, but more accurately. (Where have we heard that before? Acts 18:26)
We can have friendly conversations about Christ with the hopes that we may lead others to Him.
Many of the Myths about the BIRTH of Jesus surround the popular manger scenes on display and many of the pageants performed this time of year. The rest are based on assumptions of what people think the bible says.
The FIRST Myth is that Jesus was BORN on December 25th (or January 6, or 7 according to some denominations). If you were to ask the average person when Jesus was born, they would say, “Dec 25th of course!” When you point out that no date is revealed, they may say, “It doesn’t matter, let’s just all agree.”
How can we have the conversation? Instead of taking the “you’re wrong, here’s why approach” we might ask, “do you know a day of birth that we are certain about?” The day of Pentecost is the day the church BEGAN. [Mat 16:18, 28; Acts 2]
The SECOND Myth is that the shepherds came to worship Jesus and brought Him gifts. My favorite unscriptural song this time of year is the little drummer boy. Full of emotion, zero scripture.
How can we talk about this? The shepherds truly did see the star and hear the announcement of His birth, the angel saying, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:12]. What did they do? They went to INVESTIGATE the words of the angel to see the sign. “So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child” [Luke 2:15- 17]
The FOURTH Myth is that Joseph & Mary RECEIVED the wise men at the manger. What does the Bible say and how can we have a conversation about it?
Perhaps you could show folks the scriptures where Herod ordered children under 2yo and younger be killed. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” [Matt 2:9-12] This same passage has Joseph & Mary RECEIVING the wise men in their “HOUSE” after they returned to their home from Bethlehem.
Which brings us to the FOURTH Myth; the Myth that there were THREE wise men. The bible says there were THREE kinds of gifts of “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” The number of wise men is unrevealed. The divine text simply states, “behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem” [Matt. 2:1].
Why do we do this? The goal is to get folks to read for themselves the biblical narrative. Perhaps we could invite our friends to read the BIRTH story with us and they would see it for themselves. If folks read it, perhaps they’ll question the many other false things they have heard.
Which brings us to the FIFTH Myth, that this is a HOLY DAY (Holiday) we are commanded to observe. Many folks are CEO believers (Christmas & Easter Only). Some are commanded to attend a midnight mass. Clearly the BIRTH story of Christ is important especially as a fulfillment of prophecy.
Why should we talk about this? There is a day specified that we are commanded to observe; A Memorial of His Death, upon the first Day of the Week. Jesus commands us to remember His Death each first day of the week.
“…this do in remembrance of me.” [Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-23; 1Cor 11:17-34; Acts 20:7]
Whenever the topic of Noah’s Ark comes up, mockers will attempt to destroy the Biblical narrative.
This is not limited to unbelievers, there are some that claim a belief in God that also deny the literal story of the ark, the flood & even the creation.
The True believer can stand confidently on the biblical narrative. Science & reasoning will bear out that the evidence points to a literal world-wide flood and with it the real possibility that Noah could carry out God’s command to rescue himself, his family and the animals.
The first objection fails to acknowledge that Noah wasn’t called to carry every single species of animal. The bible tells us that the ark only needed those animals that were air-breathing. “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” (Gen 7:22) This eliminates all marine animals logically reducing the number of land animals dramatically!!
Then they will use the logical fallacy of equivocation. The denier of the narrative will replace KINDS of animals with Species of animals. They will lump together every species of animal AND its variant, making it impossible for them to fit into the ark. The Bible clarifies that Noah need not carry every species; he only needed the KIND. “Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.” (Gen 6:19-20; emphasis mine seb) “KIND” is not the same as species. Today’s scientific terms uses “family” or “genus” to categorize the animal kingdom. For example, dogs, wolves, foxes etc are all of the “CANINE” family. This significantly reduces the number of animals.
Science classifies all life into ‘families’ or Kinds. Science has catalogued the number of species to about 1.8 million. This number includes Plantae, Fungi, Protozoa, Chromista, Archaea, and Bacteria, which were not included with the command of “two of every kind.” When you consider just the air-breathing KINDS, you come up with a number of about 6,700 animals!
This brings us the next subject, that of the size of the Ark. Was it large enough to house all of those animals, and their needs? When you consider the dimensions of the ark as revealed in scripture, using a cubit of 20.4 inches, you will find that the ark was INCREDIBLY huge. The ark was 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. An ark had a volume of about 1.88 million cubic feet. The ark of the bible has enough volume to hold a comparable volume of 450 semi-trailers. We have learned that there were significantly fewer animals housed in an INCREDIBLY larger ark than most realize.
On a side note; this discussion about the KINDS of animals gives us clarity to the NAMING of animals by Adam. The animals of Adam’s early days would have been the original ‘genus’ or class of animal. This would mean he could NAME them very rapidly. (cf. Gen 2:18-20). Science doesn’t really know how many KINDS originally existed at creation.
While we’re talking about kinds let’s talk about DINOSAURS. That term only came about in 1841. Scientifically, DINOS are classified as Dinosauria. Dinosaurs include reptiles, a group that includes crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and snakes. Crocodiles are the closest living things to dinosaurs. Birds also fall under this family of animals!! So yes, DINOSAURS were on the ark. The specific KIND of DINO is unknown.
One final consideration is that of the SIZE of the animals. The antagonist will point to an adult elephant as proof that the ark was inadequate. What they fail to consider is that it was not necessary to carry only adult animals. Noah likely would have been sent SMALL juveniles. Additionally, the vast majority of animal kinds are very SMALL. The majority of animals in the world are about the SIZE of a beagle (13-16 inches tall & 20-25 inches long). To visualize this think about the size of a jumbo package of paper towels one could buy at Walmart!! This greatly reduces the space needed for the animals, and their needs. Noah could easily house all the required animals with room to spare.
The Christian can firmly stand with the word of God.
Part one in answering our question 3 points were made in the last article…
Now we will offer three more points as we answer the question…
Does it MATTER what one believes?
When someone tells you to “choose the church of your choice,” what they’re appealing to is YOUR wants & wishes and NOT GOD’S. This is not an appeal to authority of God; it is an appeal to THEIR BELLY. This is not my opinion; this is what the bible says, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Phil 3:19)
Another way we usually see this is when people try to defend unscriptural practices. They often make an appeal to an emotional situation. Instead of looking for a ‘thus saith the Lord,’ they will give you a ‘thus saith my feelings.’ What they fail to realize is that they have made THEIR BELLY THEIR GOD. Feelings are subjective and can be deceived. Did you know that it’s not possible to know through just feelings if God is with you? “And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” (Judge 16:20)
The way to know is by searching the scriptures. The Bereans were called NOBLE because they were Not Gullible (Eph 4:14; 5:6), had Opened their hearts while they Opened the scriptures (Prov 2:1-5), had Belief based on Looking through the scriptures daily (Rom 10:17), and this Earnest Endeavor made it possible for them to know the truth.
If it doesn’t MATTER, then all the little ‘g’ gods are EQUAL to the One Omnipotent God of heaven. Did you know that the bible says it’s possible to hear another Jesus, another gospel, by another spirit? Paul wrote warning us about a perverted gospel.
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2Cor 11:4)
“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal 1:7)
None of these false teachers were trying to win you over by convincing you of doing some harm. Paul said that they appeared as “the ministers of righteousness.” Satan himself using the mask as “an angel of light.” (2Cor 11:13-15) If it’s possible to be deceived by a false gospel, spirit, or Jesus, then it DOES MATTER what one believes.
An extension of the last point, since it’s possible to follow a false Jesus, it must then be concluded that it’s possible to be RELIGIOUS and wrong.
Paul warned the Colossian Christians against false RELIGIOUS practices. “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Col 2:23) “Will Worship” refers to self-developed RELIGIOUS practices. We see this all the time, people deciding on man made RELIGIOUS practices foreign to the scriptures.
This is nothing new, we can read about it in Leviticus 10. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”
Nadab and Abihu had just been trained on what God wanted. They altered the pattern and were immediately struck. While God doesn’t demonstrate His disapproval in this way today, it doesn’t mean He is pleased with our altering of the pattern for New Testament practices.
If it doesn’t MATTER what one believes than any and all beliefs, even one’s contrary to the others is ok.
Does it MATTER that one religion to deny Christ, while the other says that He is the way the truth and the life? (John 14:6)
Does it MATTER that the bible calls out sin, while man-made doctrine says it isn’t a sin? (1Cor 6:9-11)
Does it MATTER that the bible says “baptism doth also now save us,” while man says that baptism has nothing to do with salvation? (1Peter 3:21)
Does it MATTER that some will say we’re saved by faith alone when the bible says we’re not? (Jas 2:14-26)
Does it MATTER that some say you can never lose your salvation when the bible says you can? (Gal 5:4; Heb 2:1-3)
It does MATTER what we believe. Your eternal soul is at stake.
“When it’s lightening, that’s God taking pictures.”
“When it’s raining, that’s God crying.”
Perhaps many of us have heard these as children from our parents trying to comfort us. While their intentions were good, the doors were opened for more errors.
I remember hearing a little girl refer to spirits, witches, demons, devils & ghosts to explain sickness, troubles and strange events in her young life. She said, “that’s what my mom told me.”
And this mom is a church goer!!
This little person continued to describe other things she was taught from her parents. “The devil has horns, a red face and a long tale.” Truly sad.
You think that these lies will leave the heart of an imaginative child and not follow them into adulthood? Nay, Nay. An acquaintance of mine spoke about the loss of an adult son; “he had demons.” They weren’t speaking figuratively. Truly sad.
These lies continue to be taught through movies, songs, and YouTube videos. All of which our children are given unfettered and unsupervised access without giving them access to the truth, God’s word.
These stories illustrate a problem we have, people know more that isn’t so than they know about the comfort from the truth. They don’t know the truth, because they are too busy to read it.
A LITTLE MAID.
In second Kings, we hear of a little maid who offers comforting hope to the man that had stolen her from her home in Israel [2King 5:1-4]. What can we learn from a little girl, a little MAID?
Rather than withhold from her enemy the hope of a cure, she ADVISED her mistress, Naaman’s wife, who then told Naaman. Naaman believed and was willing to go to the land from which he stole, and went to the land for help! This all began because of the faith of a little maid. This speaks volumes about her more than it does of the others.
What was it about her that she was willing to tell of a cure to her enemy? Perhaps it was the teaching about love for an enemy… “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” [Lev 19:18; cf. Mat 22:35-39] This command is connected to Loving God Himself! When a person has love for their enemy, the desire for vengeance will evaporate. Love changes our actions toward another, even toward an enemy.
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” [Luke 6:27-28]
What Advice did she give her captor?
“IF ONLY my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” She told of a cure, not half-truths or falsehoods. She told of actual hope, not the mythological fairy tales we tell children to give them false hope. AND THEY BELIEVED HER.
We have to turn to hear Jesus to complete the story…
“And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” [Luke 4:27] Did you catch it? She told them of a cure that She DID NOT HERSELF SEE!! She knew it because of her faith in God, her trust in the Almighty. She had more faith than the king of Israel [2King 5:7]. Jesus uses her example to illustrate Himself being rejected by his own people.
What’s the moral to the story? Children can learn the truth and be comforted by it during their time of need. They don’t need to be told myths. They can handle the truth. The truth will make them free from fear [John 8:32]. And not only that, they can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and share their faith with others in their time of need.
A problem with many denominations today is the belief that God still uses Holy Spirit gifts [9 HS Gifts, 1Cor 12:7-11] through men today. The belief includes thinking that God is still speaking directly to individuals. They say things like, “God spoke to me,” “I’ve been called by God.”
While God is all powerful and can do whatever He wants, He is not still revealing His will and is not using men to do miracles today. Remember this verse:
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:30-31]
The miracles & the revelations to the Apostles recorded in Scripture are sufficient for us to believe, repent & obey [Eph 3:3-4]. The miracles in Acts will bolster this assertion.
Purpose & Result
Baptism of the Holy Spirit #1
to confirm the teaching at beginning of the church. John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Peter heals a lame man
Teaching. 11-26; Belief John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Ananias & Sapphira struck dead
Teaching at the beginning of the New Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3
Apostles perform many wonders
20 “go stand & teach”
8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching
Road to Damascus
To call an Apostle out of due season. 1Cor 15:8
Peter heals Eneas of a palsy
Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Peter raises Tabitha, or Dorcas, to life
Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Gentiles receive Holy Spirit Baptism #2 (& last)
10; Acts 11 & 15
Confirming God’s acceptance; Acts 2
Peter delivered out of prison by an angel
Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
God smites Herod, so that he dies
Teaching at the beginning of the new Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3. 24 word of God grew.
Elymas, the sorcerer, smitten with blindness
12 astonished at the teaching. Belief Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals a cripple
17 witness. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul casts out a spirit of divination
Confirming Preaching. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul and Silas’s prison doors opened by an earthquake
Lead to converting the Jailor
Paul communicates the Holy Spirit
Confirming the word before it was written. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals multitudes
Belief John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul restores Eutychus to life
Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul shakes off a viper
Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals the father of Publius and others
Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
An honest review of the above list will show the student why the miracles were needed.
To Confirm the preachers and the teaching were from God.
John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
For Belief, not for them alone, but for us in our times.
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:31]
Spiritual gifts were to edify in the absence of the written Word [1 Cor. 14:12-13,26; cf. 13:9]. The written Word is now completely sufficient to edify us [Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:16-17].
To produce Godly Reverence at the beginning of a covenant to demonstrate God’s displeasure. Not repeated for same error.
see Leviticus 10:1-3; Acts 5:1-10; Acts 12:21-23;
Spiritual gifts have fulfilled all three reasons for which they were given.
WHAT MORE SHOULD WE SEEK? When you review both the Old and New Testaments, considering the time frame of the writing, you’ll discover that the Miraculous is quite rare. Additionally, you’ll see that God is very patient and longsuffering [2Pet 3:15]. You don’t see God constantly striking people down. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” [1Cor 10:6]
God has completed His revelations to us, and He confirmed them through the various signs, miracles and wonders. As you read the last chapters of Acts, you’ll see fewer and fewer miracles. Even Paul, Timothy, Trophimus & Epaphroditus did not perform miracles on each other to cure their pains. [cr. 2Tim 4:20; 1Tim 5:23; 2Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25-27].
The Miracles in Acts show us how and why miracles were done. They were done primarily to confirm the Word that was spoken through the Apostles. These signs were referred to, NOT REPEATED, in Acts 15:7-12 to show the others God’s approval of their activities. Now that the Scriptures are complete and the church has been built, what further need do we need of Miracles?
“…thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 10 tells us that a person cannot confess Christ unless they have heard of Him.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:14]
Many antagonists of the Gospel, this includes denominational believers, will often challenge obedience to the Gospel in Baptism by asking this question. This is one of the most challenging questions, but not unanswerable. As with all questions we turn to scriptures for the solution.
Before we answer, we must establish some undeniable facts about Christ. Here are 3 absolutes about Jesus:
1: JESUS is the ONLY WAY to the Father. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [John 14:6]
If reconciliation to God could be done by good works of man, Mohammed, philosophy, ignorance or any other way, then what was the need of sending Jesus to provide a sacrifice? No one will get to heaven without coming to Jesus the Christ.
2: JESUS is the author of salvation for all that obey Him. All of the saved are obedient to Christ [Luke 6:46]. This is exactly the meaning of Hebrews 5:9: “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
There is no salvation by accident, ignorance nor faith alone.
3: OBEDIENCE to the Gospel is required. The knowledge of God and obedience in Baptism are essential to salvation. One is not saved by faith only [Jas 2:24], is not saved then baptized. We are saved when we are baptized (buried) in water through faith.
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” [1Peter 3:21]
There’s more that could be said, but this is sufficient to prove the point, “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]
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD?
We answer this with the bible and just a little bit of reasoning.
Allow me to offer 2 possibilities:
EVERYONE WHO IS SEEKING THE TRUTH, GOD WILL ENSURE THAT THEY HEAR IT. We have a few examples of this in the New Testament. The first is the house of Cornelius. He was a devout believer in God and had been praying about this very thing. God sent him Peter to, “who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.” [Acts 11:14]. We can also see this when Philip was urged to go down toward Gaza and encountered the seeking Eunuch. [Acts 8:26-39]. All the more reason we need to keep preaching to the whole world. [Mat 28:18-20; cr. Lu 10:2]
GOD KNOWS WHO WON’T ACCEPT THE GOSPEL EVEN IF THEY HEARD IT. The rich man in Luke 16 wanted Lazarus to go back from the dead to warn his brothers about the torment they were facing. The answer was, nope, if they’re not listening to the revelation they already have, they won’t hear even if someone were raised from the dead. [Luke 16:19-31]
Romans 1:20 tells us people are without excuse in light of creation. We all know that many reject God and they use His creation to do it. We could all think of a person that is NOT SEEKING the truth, rather they’re seeking THEIR TRUTH. [2Thess 2:8-10].
If they wouldn’t accept the basic light of creation declaring the existence of God, they won’t accept any more light. Jesus acknowledged this when He said, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” [Mat 15:14].
He also warned, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” [Mat 7:6]
There are those who just won’t believe regardless the effort, even if someone comes back from the dead. That’s what Jesus did, and many still won’t believe.
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION is very simple but not liked. The question always arises after such violent tragedies as was seen this last week in El Paso & Dayton (just 2 of many in recent years). In reality, millions of people have suffered under tyrannical evil from the time after the Garden. [Gen 3]
Evil exists because of the fall in the garden of Eden. It entered the world through the tempting by the serpent.
Since then, mankind has had to struggle with sin (evil’s real name). EVIL does not exist unless there is something that is GOOD (it’s the absence of good). For us to distinguish between the two there must be a moral law. A moral law that doesn’t move with the times requires a MORAL LAW GIVER. We call Him GOD.
Paul wrote, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “There is none righteous, no, not one:” [Rom 3:10; Ps 14:1-3; 53:1]. This being true, mankind is not generally good. Neither are they generally evil as the error of inherited sin proposes. Babies are innocent (2Sam 12:23; Mark 10:14), as are those born with stunted mental ability & remain with a childlike maturity. What this means is that sin is in the world, and man learns to sin. We all sin, if we say we’re without sin we lie. [1John 1:7]
So, where does all of this evil come from? It comes from sin. James gives more information about the source of wars & fighting;
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” [James 4:1-4]
Therefore, evil comes because of selfish, narcissistic lusts & desires. Now that we’ve established that sin is in the world, which is evil, let’s approach it from another direction.
Witnessing the terrible evils of our day give us much grief, perhaps anxiety. Definitely frustration and anger. The next question is this; “HOW DO I COPE WITH THE EVIL?”
This question is a bit more difficult to answer as each person must wrestle with their own emotions & reasonings. However, there may be help by understanding a major reality of this life. (This is just one of five things to help you cope. The other four will be in this morning’s sermon.)
PARADISE has been lost. It was lost within 100 years of creation and will no longer be found on earth.
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” [Gen 3:22-24]
We will never be able to eradicate EVIL; no laws will stop it. There’s no place on Earth you can go to avoid it. Therein lies the key, no place ON EARTH. Utopia, bliss, peace, whatever word you want to use shall not be found on the Earth. This is awaiting the faithful in HEAVEN.
God has provided a way of escape and a way to cope with the evil of this world by providing a rescue plan in Christ Jesus. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Rom 5:21, cr. Rev 21:1-8]
This is the first of five keys to coping with EVIL in this life but, it’s one of the most important. Let me sum in up this way; EVIL angers & frustrates us because we think we can get rid of it. We can’t. We CAN make things better in this life by working on brightening our own lights in the Gospel and teaching others to obey the Gospel also. This is the only proven way to fight evil.