These days, it’s popular to claim that adherents of various religions all worship the same God. To claim otherwise is to be labeled intolerant and promptly silenced. But what does God Himself say in His Word? Our 2020 State of Theology survey shows that many professing Christians are listening more to culture than to Scripture. Conducted in partnership with LifeWay Research, the full results of this survey are now available.
One of our Teaching Fellows, Dr. Stephen Nichols, recently commented on these disturbing results from the State of Theology survey.
Religious pluralism may be a popular idea in America, but it has damning consequences. No one comes to the Father but through Jesus Christ, who alone is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Christians must be unyielding in proclaiming the exclusivity of Christ. By God’s grace, we hope the 2020 results from our State of Theology survey will encourage the church to stand firm for the truth of God’s Word.
* Evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements:
There is no direct parallel quote in the New Testament for this verse. Of course when one reads the NT we find most of it to be just that a New covenant and new information with select quotes from the Old Covenant.
The influence of the Old Testament is seen throughout the New Testament. The New Testament writers included approximately 250 express Old Testament quotations, and if one includes indirect or partial quotations, the number jumps to more than 1,000. It is clear that the writers of the New Testament were concerned with demonstrating the continuity between the Old Testament Scriptures and the faith they proclaimed. They were convinced that in Jesus the Old Testament promises had been fulfilled. ( Holman Bible Dictionary)
Why the select certain verses over others? My theory (I have yet to do a comprehensive study or analysis) is that since the OT was available in Hebrew and the common Greek; the matter of God was for the most part settled. So the main topics to reinforce were Christ and man’s fallen nature.
In context here we find our text in the center of a portion of scripture defining the Covenant between God and the Nation of Israel; Exodus 34:10-17. They are called to destroy all other idols, put aside all other practices, and worship the one true God. In return v.10, God promises He will do wondrous works (miracles) such as have not been created or produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations.
Four things does Rev. Spurgeon call upon his reader to ponder carefully:
I. Reverently, let us remember that THE LORD IS EXCEEDINGLY JEALOUS OF HIS DEITY.
II. The Lord IS JEALOUS OF HIS SOVEREIGNTY.
III. THE LORD IS JEALOUS OF HIS GLORY.
IV. In the highest sense, THE LORD IS JEALOUS OVER HIS OWN PEOPLE.
The Lord Whose Name Is Jealous – John Piper
Here in Chapter 43 of Isaiah we find God proclaiming Israel’s redemption v.1-7, then about Israel being witnesses to God’s redeeming salvation v.8-13.
Verse 10 sets up our text today: You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. Israel (like all who come to Christ) are God’s chosen witnesses to Him being the great I AM
11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. – Again God repeat the affirmation that He is the great I AM of Exodus 3:15; then adds as a reminder that He is the (only) source of their salvation Exodus 6:6-7 , Exodus 14:13-14
12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. –
God in past times (thing Abraham, Moses, Etc.) declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, that no other (strange) god’s help in my efforts to save Israel;
Because of this (therefore) I call upon you to be witnesses to my greatness and glory to the ends of the earth declaring; that I am God.
Many folks are AFRAID to share God’s word to be Witnesses for the Kingdom. The Jesus, the Apostle Paul and Peter all make it clear we should never be ashamed of sharing the Good News.
As we noted yesterday Daily Devotional – A Light, this does not mean shoving our faith down someone’s throat but being ever ready to answer questions and share the pure Gospel as opportunities present themselves.
If you are an Evangelist you openly and continually share the Gospel, that is what you have been called by God to do. Most of us are not called to be Evangelists, but we are all called to be a witness (Matthew 28-18-20) for the kingdom.
So another simple question for today; are you prepared to Witness, to answer questions and share the pure Gospel as opportunities present themselves?
As a immature Christian I remember reading Romans 3:10–12 where Paul is quoting Psalm 14:2-3; at about the same time our Pastor was going through a study on the Book of Isaiah. When he go to our text I was thinking the bible contradicts itself right?
Of course not! CONTEXT, is everything and in both cases the Lord being near is key. In Psalm 14 and Romans 3, He is looking upon man that is casting His gaze and influence over. In our text He is near enough to be found.
There is no contradiction when it is God offering His mercy and Grace freely.
Seek ye the Lord – Not for blessings and favors but for redemption and Salvation
while he may be found – When can God be found? The Holy Spirit convicts man of sin John 16:8 and as Romans 1 says all mankind are without excuse.
call ye upon him – That is to cast ourselves as lowly sinners wholly upon His mercy and Grace.
while he is near – God is a patient and loving God, but like all Fathers will only put up with so much, He extends His generous offer of Grace for only so long before allowing us to go our own way Romans 1:18-32.
When God calls we need to be ready to listen. Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:2 again quoting Isaiah, this time 49:8 says, this reconciliation to God has an expiration date, its a limited time offer. There is a time that is “favorable or acceptable” and we need be ready to take advantage of God’s offer on that Day.
The parallel passage in the New Testament can be found in the book of James 4:13-17 . The message is pretty plain, you can plan for tomorrow all you want ( and there is not biblical principle against proper preparation and planning) but do not brag about how successful you are to be for only God knows if there will even be a tomorrow.
Unless we understand the depth of our sin, we likely won’t recognize our need for God’s saving grace. Sadly, the results from our 2020 State of Theology survey uncovers widespread confusion among Christians in America about the reality and effects of sin. Conducted in partnership with Lifeway Research, the full results of this survey are now available.
According to our recent findings, 46 percent of professing U.S. evangelicals* agree with the following statement: “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.” This idea cannot be reconciled with the emphatic teaching of Scripture that all people are radically corrupted sinners in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23). Even the smallest sin is high treason against our Creator, leaving us hopeless of escaping His judgment apart from His mercy in Christ.
Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols recently spoke on the significance of this finding in the State of Theology survey.
When Christians take sin lightly, our gospel witness is jeopardized. In a rapidly changing culture, the church must remain steadfast in proclaiming the message of salvation in Jesus Christ for ruined sinners. We hope these survey results will encourage American Christians to defend the gospel boldly to the praise of God’s glorious grace.
* Evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements: 1) The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe. 2) It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. 3)Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin. 4) Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
by Jerod Gilcher | Sep 29, 2020
There is a myth that has long filled the church: that the more theology you know, the more prideful you become. And sadly this is often more reality than myth (cf. 1 Cor. 8:1). Men and women throughout church history have all been guilty of becoming ‘puffed up’ with knowledge that doesn’t humble them. We have all, at one time or another, clubbed down well-intended, yet misinformed saints with our doctrine. And if we’re not careful, we all will grab our theological clubs again.
But doctrine is not to blame for pride. The one responsible is the fallen saint who wields the doctrine. What if the intended effect of doctrine was just the opposite? What if the deeper we descended in our understanding of God, the more humble we became?…
God makes it clear that the unclean, those whom He has not made clean through the blond of Christ can in no way enter the kingdom of Heaven. Twice in this Chapter (V.8 and our text) John makes this abundantly plain. So what hope does mankind have to reach heaven? Can they be good enough? I mean as long as they are not murderers, adulterers’, rapists etc. surely God will grant them entry won’t He?
As always the Whole Counsel of God is needed and understanding we are saved by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, to the Glory of God Alone. No amount of self effort will help anyone get to heaven, and that is the issue that J.C. Ryle in our comic above points out; far to many live on the false hope of good works.
Today I offer a sermon on that very false hope by one of my favorite preachers Dr. M.L. Jones. May you be greatly blessed.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (ESV)
What is the only hope for this world? Mankind puts his hope in all kinds of different things, from politicians to wise men. The world is always looking for a cure to its many ills. However, try as it may, the world has never found an answer to its many problems over the hundreds of years it has searched. Why is this? In this sermon on Revelation 21:5, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the answer is really quite simple. The world does not know God. For this reason, it always looks to the wrong places for hope. The world looks to itself, but this is vain and hopeless because only God can take this broken world and make it right. He is doing just this in His Son, Jesus Christ. By dying on the cross Jesus has vanquished not only sin and death, but He has destroyed Satan and broken his hold on this world. Jesus will return and put all things under His feet, He will make all things new and finally vanquish sin and evil once and for all. In the New Heaven and Earth, creation will be remade and freed from all pollution. All those who believe in Jesus will be made partakers of this new creation by grace and faith in Christ Jesus.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as “Spiritual Depression”, “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount” and “Great Biblical Doctrines”. He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.