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Christianity Then and Now - Hebrews 13:8

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Introduction

1. Recently, at one of my Bible Studies at a local nursing home a gentleman asked me an interesting question

2. He asked, "Why is it that Christianity is so different today from what it use to be?"

3. Good question!

4. I donít think he knew what he was getting into with that question

5. Why is it that when we look around us today, we see so many different denominations of "Christianity"?

 

Body

I. IT IS NOT BECAUSEÖ

A. It is not because God has changed

1. "For I am the LORD, I do not changeÖ" - Malachi 3:6

2. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" - Hebrews 13:8

3. In a world that is constantly changing, we can take comfort from the fact that the God we serve never changes

B. It is not because Godís word has changed

1. The Bible we have today is the same Bible they had 2000 years ago

2. It was true of the Old Testament.

"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" - Matthew 5:18

3. It is true of the Christís teachings.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" - Matthew 24:35

4. No change to Godís word is permitted or needed

a) "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" - Revelation 22:18-19

b) "As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" - 2 Peter 1:3

c) "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

C. It is not because God has given us a law that we canít understand alike

1. Some make the charge that man is simply incapable of understanding Godís word

2. To hold that position is to say that God is incapable of giving us a book that we are able to understand

3. We are capable of understanding Godís word.

"if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets" - Ephesians 3:2-5

4. We are capable of understanding it alike.

"Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,  that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" - Romans 15:5-6

 

II. IF GOD HASNíT CHANGED AND THE BIBLE HASNíT CHANGED THEN TRUE CHRISTIANITY HAS NOT CHANGED

A. The Bible still makes Christians only and the only Christians

1. In the first century, you never had to ask a person "what kind" of Christian they were

2. No one ever became a Baptist by obeying the Bible for the Bible never mentions Baptist Christians

3. No one ever became a Methodist by obeying the Bible for the Bible never mentions Methodist Christians

4. No one ever became a Lutheran by obeying the Bible for the Bible never mentions Lutheran Christians

5. When this type of division began to manifest itself, Paul put an immediate stop to it.

"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloeís household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" - 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

B. There is still only one church

1. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling" - Ephesians 4:4

2. "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" - Ephesians 1:22-23

C. There is still only one plan of salvation

1. Hear - Romans 10:17

2. Believe - Mark 16:16

3. Repent - Acts 2:38

4. Confess - Romans 10:9-10

5. Be baptized - Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16

6. Stay faithful - Revelation 2:10

D. There is only one acceptable form of worship. In Spirit and Truth.

"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" - John 4:24

 

III. SO WHY DOES THE RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE LOOK SO DIFFERENT TODAY COMPARED TO 2000 YEARS AGO?

A. The Scriptures warned that there would be a Great Falling Away

1. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" - 1 Timothy 4:1-3

2. "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" - Acts 20:29-30

B. Things look different today becauseÖ

1. People have stopped thinking for themselves.

"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" - Acts 17:11

2. People have stopped reading their Bibles

a) They have been told that they canít really understand it

b) They have been told that it is unreliable

c) They feel like they canít trust what it says

d) None of these statements is true but people have come to believe them anyway

3. False teachers abound

a) Just like Paul predicted, many false teacher have popped up to lead people away after them

b) What was true then is still true today

 

Conclusion

1. Why does "Christianity" look so much different today than it did 2000 years ago?

2. It is not because God has changed

3. It is not because the Bible has changed

4. It is not because we canít understand the Bible alike

5. It is because many have let themselves be led away by false teachers and have quit reading their Bibles

6. True Christianity has not changed!

 

Have you become a true Christian by accepting His SalvationAre You Saved?

 

-- Ralph Price, March 2010 --

 


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