God’s Plan of Salvation
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Why I am Not A Roman Catholic – God’s Simple Plan of Salvation
I was challenged this morning after the second service. Someone came up to me and said, “It’s really wonderful to know everything that the Bible says is wrong about that; but how do you get in to the family of God if you don’t get in through the Mass, through the sacraments? How do you get in?” And I said, well, tonight I will make a point to conclude this evening message with actually taking you through, if I was going to lead one of you, in fact, if one of you came forward at the end of the service and said I want to know how to become a Christian, I’ll just share with you one of the many different portions of scripture that I would use and that many here would use to lead you to the Lord, Jesus Christ.
There are seven biblical reasons why I cannot associate with, promote, recommend or even consider, as being a part of the Christian faith, the Roman Catholic church. Seven reasons.
Now even after I preached last Sunday, I had someone come up to me and say, “I don’t have those concerns you do.” And that troubles me and so this evening I’d like to even more emphasize that this is not my testimony of how I feel, but it’s my testimony to you of a whole lifetime of studying the scriptures, of reading through the Bible four dozen times and looking intently for what the Bible teaches about salvation, about the church, about the nature of redemption, about the atonement, and about the God that we love. And I’d like to share with you my testimony, but my testimony based on the scripture.
- The first reason why the Roman Catholic church is wrong is because of the Mass.
- The second reason is because of the inordinate place that Mary has been given.
- Thirdly, because they have elevated tradition over the scripture. And as I get through these points I say it’s not only the Roman church that does these things. And I’m not saying that everyone in the Roman church is an unbeliever. And I’m not saying that associating with the Roman church means that you will not go to heaven. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that the very basic, doctrinal teaching with the Mass, with their doctrine of Mary, and with their doctrine of the Corpus Maj???, is what they call it in Latin which means the body of teachings. They put it, their teachings which have become traditions, over the holy scriptures. So their traditions started from the scriptures. They came alongside the scriptures and now they are above the scriptures.
- Fourthly, because of the veneration or worship of images. The scriptures tell us that God is not to be reduced into a physical form. He is not to be worshipped by anything we can make with our hands. We are not to aid our worship of God with objects. Now the scriptures tell us that there are many symbols that will help us as we understand; that’s why we have the Lord’s table once a month here; that’s why we have Christian baptism; that’s why we use flannel graphs and pictures with the children. There’s nothing wrong with teaching events of the past using objects, as we use the Lord’s table to show the death of Christ. We do not believe that the Lord’s table is the body and blood of Christ, because the Bible said that it’s a portrait of the body of Christ. We don’t believe that the Christian baptism saves people. It’s just a picture of what has already happened to them. But the Roman church puts focused worship on objects. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the pre-cism???Church, which was just the Roman church, or whether it’s the orthodox church that broke off from the Roman church 1,000 years ago. Both of them venerate objects and worship and pray.
The Deadliness of Images in Worship
I remember during the time of my life when I was able to live and minister in Eastern Europe when it was still communist. Although I think it still is communist they just have changed the names and they’re still doing the same things. But, during that time in the orthodox churches, which were rarely open, the people would go and they would lay down on these images of Mary that were only, instead of being, they were called icons, instead of being an actual three-dimensional statue, it was just a relief, raised picture. And it would be covered with glass and it would be solid gold underneath there, and people would just thrown themselves down. Their tears would flow profusely down these images and they would pray for themselves, their family and for departed people. The Bible calls that worship. We’ll see that and look at that scripturally tonight.
- Because of the false teachings about the sacraments. The Roman church, fifthly, teaches that grace is given through exopere operato, again is the Latin. It’s through the operation of these sacraments that you actually can dispense grace. That a priest can stand up and by going through just the first sacrament, baptism, he actually is able to exorcise any demon in the person, he is able to wash away all the original sin, he is able to make the holy spirit, all through a bunch of different incantations, literally, that the priest offers. And if you’ve ever been at the baptism, it’s a very mystical thing, of a child. And they actually believe that they’re dispensing grace to that child, as well as the other six of the seven sacraments.
- Sixthly, the teaching of the Roman Catholic church about purgatory is a falsehood. It’s a lie, it’s not true. It’s not in the Bible, never has been in the Bible. Jesus Christ in his whole sacrifice on the cross is antithetical to the idea of purgatory. The idea that Jesus Christ could die on the cross but you still have to suffer for your sins, in the hell with a backdoor that you can get out after you’ve burned enough, is totally contrary to all the teaching prophetically of Christ’s sacrifice and then of the New Testament apostles and prophets looking back at the sacrifice of Christ. The idea of purgatory is just a terrible, blasphemous fight against the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s saying that Jesus is not sufficient.
- And finally, and most interestingly enough, and I think that when we get to this it will be one of the most interesting sections for you, as I describe the tie of paganism to the Roman church. In fact the Roman church is merely the heir of the ongoing Babylonian paganism that started at the tower of Babel and is continued to this present day. In fact all of you know that right now we’re in the, what season of the church, the Roman church? Lenten. And Lent is not in the Bible. And if it’s not in the Bible, where did it come from? Well it came from the country and region around Babylon. It comes from an ancient teaching, we’re going to see, of the death of Baal, as in the Old Testament Baal, which was a false God. And Baal’s mother mourned for him for 40 days. And after 40 days, guess what Baal did? Came back to life. Isn’t that amazing? Now how did that get into the church calendar? Well that’s what we’re going to see when we go through this.
The Doctrine of Salvation
But let me real quickly take you to your Bibles, and first of all, I share with you in the book of Hebrews the truth of the sacrifice of Christ. And for those of you that weren’t with us, the book of Hebrews, starting in chapter nine, is a crucial book for you to understand. And I share with you from the depths of my heart that the most important truth for you to know is not what some church affirms, or what some church has always believed, but what the Bible says. Because no church is going to stand with you before the judgment seat of Christ. No church is going to stand with you when you come into the afterlife, into the eternal realm of God. No church will be there. No building, no clergy, no order of anybodies will be there. It’ll just be you and your life, whether or not it was in obedience or disobedience to God’s word; not to some church, not to Quidnessett and not to St. anything, but to the word of God.
Hebrews 9:12 Jesus Died Once
Look at the word of God, starting in chapter nine, because chapter nine really shows clearly of the book of Hebrews what has happened to the Roman church. And what we find in the Roman church is that they have taken the once and for all sacrifice of Christ and they have made it to be ongoing, ever-repeated. Starting in verse 12 it says,
“And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood He entered the holy place, once for all.”
What are the last three words? Once for all. That’s why there are so many hymns that emphasize that, within the body of hymns of the faith. Once for all, oh blessed Redeemer. Once for all, Christ died for me. Not twice. Not four times. Not 200,000 times a day. That’s how many times the Mass is performed in Roman church around the world. But once Jesus Christ died. And look what that twelfth verse says,
“…having obtained eternal redemption.”
Hebrews 9:22 – Jesus must not be offered again and again
Okay, continuing on down to verse 22.
“And according to the law, one may almost say all things are cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there’s no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of things in the heavens to be cleansed themselves, but the heavenly things, with better sacrifices. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy, but into the heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor that He should offer himself often.”
That’s one of the most glaring errors of Romanism. The ongoing sacrifice of Christ. That’s why it’s very difficult for me to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in some ecumenical stance against some current issue. Why? Because if I stand next to a Romanist, I am saying that we are both Christians. But I can’t say that because the Bible says that a Christian believes, look at verse 26, that Jesus Christ, in the middle of the verse,
“…but now once in the consummation of the ages He has been manifest to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this comes the judgment, so Christ also having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation to those who eagerly await Him.”
The ones who are going to be saved are the ones who believe in the once and for all sacrifice of Christ; not those that believe they have to add to it and keep offering Him over and over again. So that’s what’s wrong with the Mass. And I could share with you (and you can get the tape of last week as we went through actually the Council of Trent and looked at all that the Council of Trent). Trent was reaffirmed by Vatican II as being the position of the Roman church as to the work of Christ, and they believe the work of Christ is ongoing, that the work of Christ is not finished, that it must be constantly, He must be offered over and over again.
Mary is Given the Attributes Only Belonging to God
But secondly, and I’ll share this just briefly, the scriptures teach us that the position of Mary in the Roman church is a against the biblical teaching of our redemption. And you say, what does Mary have to do with redemption? Well, the Roman Catholic church teaches this, and I read this last week, I’ll read it again for you to understand. Mary is the co-redemptrix of the human race. Because with Christ she ransomed mankind from the power of Satan. Jesus redeemed us with the blood of His body. Mary redeemed us with the agonies of her heart. The church and the saints greet her thus,
Now that is entirely, entirely against the scriptures. That is paganism, that is idolatry, and that is totally anti-Christian to think that God needed help in redeeming mankind. And the scriptures clearly say in 2 Corinthians, chapter five, God was in Christ redeeming the world. It didn’t say Mary was in Christ. It didn’t say that Christ was in Mary’s heart. It says God was looking out through the eyes of Christ at the world and as Christ hung in his own body, bearing our sins on the cross, that God was satisfied with the debt that we owed Him. And that’s the truth of salvation. And it doesn’t end there though. Because it was a once and for all sacrifice Christ was taken down from the cross, and now we serve a risen savior who, look at chapter seven what He’s doing. Chapter seven in the book of Hebrews in verse 25, on the other hand because He abides forever, He holds his priesthood permanently, verse 25, hence also He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them. That’s why I don’t want Mary to make intercession for me, because she can’t. I don’t want a priest to make intercession for me because he can’t. Only Jesus Christ can make intercession for me. Why? Well, turn back one more book, actually three books.
Jesus is the Only Mediator
First Timothy, chapter two, verses five and six. And these are very important verses if you know a Roman Catholic, if you have a Roman Catholic in your family, if you happen to go to different events with them. You should be prepared in your Bible to not fight with them, but to longingly, from your heart with compassion share with them that they are worshipping another gospel – a gospel that Jesus Christ did not write, a gospel that Jesus Christ did not author. It’s a gospel that has seeped in. And by the way until the year 1400, and the mid-sixties of the 1400’s, it really was not at a head yet. And it wasn’t until after the 1500’s, after Martin Luther, that the Roman Church came down hard and said, okay we won’t have any more of these Martin Luthers and John Calvins and Ulrich Zwinglis and John Husses and Wycliffes. Boom. We believe this.
Were Catholics Saved and Remaining in the Church?
And that’s why before the sixteenth century, yes, probably a great number of the people in the Roman church were born-again Christians. Most of those Romanists that we look at in past years were probably Catholic and not Roman. Because they didn’t believe in the Mass. The Mass was not even introduced until 13 centuries after Christ.
That’s why the Roman church of today is not the church that Jesus Christ started. Nor was it the church that Peter and Paul and John and James were apostles in. It is a false church that has evolved. Because they denied 1Timothy chapter two, verses five and six. It says in 1 Timothy 2:5 and 6, that
“there is one God . . .”
There aren’t three Gods, and there aren’t four. Mary hasn’t joined the trinity. There’s one God in three persons; father, son and spirit. God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Don’t let the Moslems or Jews make you look bad and say you worship three gods. We worship one God in three persons. They are co-substantial, they are of the same essence, they are distinct, individual persons. But there is one God, and listen, verse five continues,
“and one mediator also between God and man”
us, between God and mankind, between God and men, as Paul says. And who’s that? The man, Christ Jesus. And it says here,
“…who gave Himself as a ransom for all the testimony born at the proper time.”
Jesus Christ is the once and for all ransom and the perverted teachings of paganism that have come into the church, as I shared last week, that Mary can give special protection, that Mary can give you armor against hell, and I’m reading from a rosary card with the imprimatur of Patrick Hayes, Archbishop of New York, that
Mary can sanctify you . . .
Mary can keep you from perishing eternally . . .
Mary can make you worthy of eternal life . . .
Mary can deliver you from purgatory . . . (there isn’t even a purgatory to be delivered from),
that she can give you a high degree in heaven . . .
and can obtain for you all that you ask by faith . . .
and she can give you a sign of predestination . . .
- It denies Christ’s exclusive role as mediator.
- It denies the exclusivity of His redemptive work, making Mary a co-redemptrix with Him. And finally
- it denies the sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for us.
Mary is on the Same Level as Other Saints
I want you to look for just a minute in Mark chapter three, because some of you might not know how much the Bible does say about Mary. Mark’s gospel, chapter three, because Jesus Christ plainly taught that Mary was on the same plane with all other Christians who would do the will of God. Now don’t listen to some father of the church. Don’t listen to tradition. Don’t listen to something that’s been passed on for centuries and has changed all along the way. Listen to what the Lord, Jesus Christ said in Mark chapter three, in verse 31. Because He put Mary on the same level ground as you and me and every other saint throughout history, that wants to do the will of God.
During her whole earthly life Mary was just a normal human being that needed to be saved. She evidenced unbelief at times in her life. She evidenced a sinful desire to promote her son. There’s no doubt that Mary was as human as you and I are, and a sinner. And Jesus Christ had to confront her on various occasions, and here’s one of them. In verse 31 of Mark three,
“And his mother and brothers arrived.”
Now isn’t that interesting? Jesus Christ had brothers. We know that he had four, their names. He also had sisters. So he had at least two. So that means Joseph and Mary had seven children. Joseph had never been married before and Mary had never been married before. Jesus was Mary’s firstborn child, but not Joseph’s. He had nothing to do with that child coming into the world. But Mary had at least six other children.
And it says that she’s standing outside with her kids, and they arrived. And they were standing outside, and they sent word to him and called him, as if he should, you know, come whenever she calls. And you know what, for people that are counting on Mary to influence God the father, they should really read this. Because when Mary told Jesus, “Could you come on out here? I want to talk to you,” look what He responds.
“And the multitude was sitting around Him and they said to Him, ‘Behold, your mother, your brothers, they’re outside looking for you.’ And He answered them and said, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’”
That’s a very important question to be answered. Verse 34,
“And looking about those who were sitting around Him He said, “Behold, my mother and my brothers.”
Can you just see Him going like this (opening His arms wide as if embracing the entire crowd), “Behold, my mother and my brothers.” And He says,
“For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
That means there are many mothers of Christ. They are mothers of the faith. They are Godly women. There are many brothers and sisters in Christ. There’s no one mother of God. There’s no mother who is co-redemptrix with Jesus Christ.
There is no Mary Worship in the New Testament
So secondly, because of Mary worship it’s improper to believe the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church. There’s no hint in the Bible that the New Testament Christians ever regarded Mary as more than another good woman. Now I have to say that usually Protestants go the other way. And they almost ignore Mary. They don’t even want to talk about her. They kind of, if she was in a crowd, they’d look the other way ‘cause they don’t know how to handle her.
But basically Mary, (as well as Hannah, as well as Hulda the prophetess, as well as a whole host of women that are listed in the scriptures) was a Godly, virtuous, exemplary, holy woman of faith. Mary had learned that God was her savior, that Jesus Christ paid the debt of her sins and that she was going to serve Him with her whole life all her days.
- She had no authority among the apostles.
- No one was taught to pray to her, to do homage, to adore her, to partake of unscriptural worship, which Catholics do, but call it by other names.
This unscriptural worship has brought a plague upon the church of Romanism.
The Vatican is Filled with Idols of Mary
It’s really sad to go to the Vatican, we were just there last fall, but every time I go to the Vatican, I always (and seven times I’ve) look over the railing into the papal gardens where the pope walks and meditates. And right in the center of the papal gardens, (and you can get a picture of this today) there is a gigantic M with a cross drawn beside it. A cross of Christ with a gigantic M for Mary, mediatrix, superimposed over that cross. All done in beautiful hedges and flowers. It’s the largest thing in the papal gardens and it’s just an obvious symbol when you go to the Vatican of the elevation of Mary to an unscriptural place.
Rome Elevates Tradition Above God’s Word
Well, quickly, continuing along. The third reason why Romanism, and this is the first new information this evening, but I wanted to review that to bring the rest of you up to speed. The Roman Catholic church has perverted the Bible by substituting tradition.
Do you remember when Jesus Christ, in chapter 23 of Matthew excoriated the religious leaders of the day, do you remember what he said? He said, you have put your traditions over the Bible. Now, isn’t that interesting that that same thing would happen in the church of Jesus Christ? The scriptures tell us that there is no more sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ, Hebrews chapter nine, paid it all. And since the Old Testament priesthood had been succeeded by the perfect priest, Jesus Christ, that offered one sacrifice forever that there was to be no more ongoing sacrifice of sin.
Transubstantiation (the mass) is Not in God’s Word
But the Roman church in the year 1215 had a priest named Radbertus who debated fiercely with all of the bishops and all the leaders and finally convinced them that the only way to hold the church together was to say that the church performed transubstantiation. That the church could take at an altar in front of the congregation normal bread, normal wine, and through an incantation, turn the host into the very body of Jesus Christ to be worshipped. And actually at a Roman Catholic Mass, the host is held up to be worshipped. Why? Did they think of that overnight? No. It was the gradual raising of tradition and the gradual reducing of the scripture.
- Why do you think that the people were not allowed to read the Bible?
- Why do you think that the Bible is kept in Latin and locked up on the altar in front of the church?
- Why do you think that during the Reformation that people were anathematized for reading the Bible. Why?
Well, as I said last week, you never have to defend the Bible, just turn it loose. Let people start reading it and it will liberate them. It will set them free.
How Was Martin Luther Born Again?
One monk who agonized for years, who was afraid of death, who joined the priesthood because lightning struck near him and startled him and he fell down on his face and cried out to Saint Ann, Mary’s mother, which isn’t in the Bible either, “Oh, Saint Ann! I will serve you all my days as a monk.” And that monk went and nearly killed himself laying during the winter on a cold earthen floor by barely eating until he was emaciated, by offering every type of penance that he could offer, by actually, through flagellation, hurting his own body, by torturing himself. That man could never do enough to get to God.
So finally his overseeing priest, the overseeing monk of his order of Benedictine monks said, “Why don’t you go and teach the Bible at Wittenburg Why don’t you go there? That will help you.” And so, young Martin Luther began teaching the Bible. And when he got to Romans chapter one, he learned something very interesting. Romans chapter one, verses 15 and 16. He says,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. To the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written.”
And here’s the most often repeated Old Testament quote in the New Testament. Here it is:
“For the righteous man or the just man shall live by faith.”
And that monk who had done everything humanly possible to please God, who would come before the people trembling to offer the Mass because he was told he was actually making the body and blood of Christ, and that man who would hold that up with trembling hands and merely in trepidation, afraid that God would strike him down with lightning, that man one day standing in front of a congregation of people in a college town, Roman Catholic church, preached on this text. And all of a sudden his eyes were opened and he said,
“The righteous man will live by faith.”
He said, I didn’t need to climb Pilate’s 33 steps on my knees. I didn’t need to make pilgrimages and walk barefoot over the passes of the Alpine mountains to get to Rome. I didn’t need to beat my body with a whip. By faith, I can be acceptable to God. And that started the Reformation.
What Were the 95 Theses?
And what that man did was he took some normal pieces of paper and in the Latin language wrote down 95 questions he had that he wanted to discuss in a public debate with church men. And they’re called theses. And he didn’t challenge the church, he just said, let’s talk about this. He says, I just found some stuff in the Bible that you might not know about.
And you know what the church said? We don’t want you teaching the Bible. We don’t want you teaching those people to read the Bible. We don’t want you telling those people they have to come by faith. Leo the tenth said I have a monument of St. Peter to build in Rome. It’s going to be the largest church in the world. It’s going to cost more than any other church in the world. And I want the people to offer their indulgences to fund my church. And thus with a crack of Martin Luther’s back, he couldn’t take it anymore. And he said that was one straw too many. And he started going against the tradition of the church.
The False Doctrine of the Priesthood
Well, it’s not just the tradition of the Mass. Another tradition, I want you to turn to 1Peter chapter two, and if you can’t find it, write it down and you can find it later. But I want you to realize that there’s a false tradition in Romanism that the Old Testament priesthood is continued on with a select group of people that are priests. And that select group of men that are priests are going to confer grace through the offering of the sacraments.
Do you know what the Bible says? That Jesus Christ did something. He abolished the old. Now, there’s a continuity between the old and new covenant. It isn’t an abrupt… like that. You know, the old was bad and we got rid of it, and the new started. There’s a real continuity there because the old points to Christ. It’s beautiful. And that’s why we have to watch out for a lot of dispensational teaching that says that, like I was just in a course recently where someone asked the professor, they said, “Well, what about this verse in Matthew?” And the professor said in the class, he said, “No, no, that’s Old Testament.” I went, “Old Testament? OLD TESTAMENT? That’s Jesus Christ talking.”
I Peter 2:9 We All Are Priests
But, you have to watch out even in Protestantism of cutting the Bible too finely and dividing it into little pieces. All scripture is given by inspiration and there is a very clear teaching that the old economy, every part of it pointed to the new. But the priesthood was fulfilled. I want to show you why. In 1 Peter two, in verse nine. And this is the apostle Peter talking about the church, talking about us today.
Matthew Declares Christ Finished The Work of Redemption
And by the way, God’s Word by Matthew more than anybody else is showing Judaism being fulfilled. And that’s why Matthew shows the great earthquake and he shows the tombs being opened and he shows the resurrection of the Old Testament saints walking around and testifying of Christ after Christ’s resurrection. But another thing he does is Matthew tells us that when Christ said, “it is finished,” and when that earthquake came, and when God turned the lights out, it says that God cut the veil of the temple from top to bottom, actually He tore it in half. Why? Because He said now the way into the holiest place is open for everyone through Jesus Christ.
We don’t need a bunch of priests wearing little bells tinkling on the bottom of their robes with pomegranates intermingled with them. Walking in like this with a rope tied to their foot in case they did something wrong and God killed them on the spot and they’d have to be pulled back out because they had profaned God. We don’t need, anymore, for them to be going through all this rigmarole of doing rituals, of slitting throats and catching blood, and slaying animals, and putting them on the altar, and piling them the right way, and dumping the blood in the certain spot. We don’t need that anymore. Why? Because, look at verse nine. Now God has called us
“. . . a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”
Now it should really rejoice your heart that in the Old Testament women could not approach God directly. They had to come through a priest. Do you know what the scriptures tell us in the New Testament? That men and women and boys and girls can come intimately into the very presence of the holy God because you are a priest and Jesus Christ has opened the way. Jesus Christ has said all of us are priests, not just people that wear backward collars, not just people that say that they’re going to be celibate for life and marry the church.
But to all who will marry Jesus Christ, who will embrace Him, who will be engaged to Him, who will be His bride, that’s us – you, tonight – by faith can be a priest of God. And you can come into His presence and you can come knowing that you can call Him not distant eternal inhabitor of heaven but father, because He’s opened the way for you. And Roman tradition robs the saints of their standing.
We Are All God’s Priesthood
Look at Revelation chapter five. We haven’t seen this for a few weeks. By the way, we’re still in our Revelation series. This is going to answer a lot of questions when we get to Revelation 17, because I’ll explain when we get to Revelation 17 what’s going on there. But chapter five and verse 10, one of the things that born-again Christians are going to rejoice about throughout all eternity, and all of eternity is going to be looking back on what God did through Christ on Calvary, and we’re going to be looking back and we’re going to go, “Wow, oh, the wonder of it all!” It’s just so wonderful. And here’s one of the songs we’re going to sing. A new song. Revelation 5:10.
“And thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priest to our God and they will reign on the earth.”
Do you realize that? One of your joys of heaven is going to be rejoicing in the fact that you’re a priest of God. That’s part of what we’re going to do forever. That’s why it says in Romans 12:1:
“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you give yourself in a spiritual act of worship to God.”
That’s the consecration of us – totally dedicating ourselves so we can be priests in holiness before Him.
Purgatory is Not in God’s Word
Well, I don’t have time tonight to talk about all the strange and unscriptural doctrines of the Roman church, but basically this: If you cannot in a plain, simple reading of the Bible, ferret out something you’ve heard about, it most likely isn’t there. Romanism has the most convoluted way of proving their point. Purgatory, when we get to there, comes from an apocryphal book that no one has ever believed is a part of the Bible, has one obscure phrase about pagans praying for the dead. And from that one text in 2 Maccabees 12, about verse 23, they have developed the entire doctrine of purgatory. It’s not in the Bible.
Most of Rome’s Church is Not in the Bible
But there are many things that aren’t in the Bible that the church teaches, the Roman church.
- In the Bible there was no pope,
- In the Bible there’s no papal authority,
- In the Bible there’s no papal infallibility,
- In the Bible there are no prayers to Mary,
- In the Bible there’s no doctrine of Mary’s immaculate conception nor of her body’s ascension to heaven,
- In the Bible there’s no penance,
- In the Bible there are no indulgences,
- In the Bible there’s no confession to priests,
- In the Bible there are no orders of monks,
- In the Bible there are no nuns.
There are No Holy Days We Must Follow
All of this has been manufactured by the gradual seeping in of paganism. Just like Lent, just like the church calendar. You know there’s something to beware of and that is, God said in the church, don’t put any day higher than another day. There aren’t holy days. This is a day that we’ve all collectively agreed upon to worship God. But this day is not higher than another day. We’re not Sabbatarians. We do not believe that you’re in sin if you do any work on Sunday. The Bible says in Colossians chapter two that we’re not to regard new moons and Sabbaths and holy days. And that’s why we’re not supposed to have a church calendar, and we don’t need a bishop to say over the radio that you will not sin if you don’t go to Mass this weekend ‘cause it’s Lent. Because we’re not bound by some law. We’re bound by the cords of love to Jesus Christ.
So the third reason, briefly stated, that I believe that the scriptures tell us that the Roman Catholic church is wrong is because of the unsubstantiated, unbiblical adhered-to doctrines of tradition that the Roman church has manufactured over the last 1,500 years.
God’s Word Forbids Any Worship of Images
Well, fourthly, the Bible plainly forbids making any image for worship and bowing down to any image. I’d like to read to you Exodus 20, verse four. And I’ll tell you what, if something bothered God 1,400 years before Christ, I have a strong feeling it still bothers Him. And if God would go to the extent of saying that anyone who makes an image and bows down to it is to be stoned to death and the image burned, and if people actually were killed for worshipping images, I don’t think God has changed at all. I want to read to you from the Ten Commandments in chapter 20 of Exodus, verses four and five.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”
Did you know God is jealous? Jealousy is good. Did you know that there are nine human emotions that the psychiatrists and psychologists have identified that humans have. And did you know that God, in the scriptures, has eight of them? You know the only one that He doesn’t have? Fear. That’s something that God has no concept of and we should not either. But God is jealous. Why? Because God wants intimacy with us. He doesn’t want you… I mean it’d be like a fellow that has a choice between his wife or a picture of his wife and he just oogles over the picture. The woman would take it away from him and say, what’s wrong with you?. I mean if you have a choice between the real thing or a representation, which would you take? The real thing.
Continuing in Exodus 20…
”For I the Lord thy God am a jealous god. I visit the iniquity of the fathers and the children to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me.”
And He goes on and on with the Ten Commandments.
Jesus Forbids Any Worship of God by Images in the New Testament
You say, “A-ha, that’s in the Old Testament.” Okay, let’s look in the New Testament then. Let’s look first of all at John’s gospel, chapter four. Because that’s what impacts us especially here. And that’s why I am a firm, firm, believer biblically that we are not to have any holy hardware.
What’s holy hardware? It’s all the stuff that people need to kind of feel like they’re worshipping. We should be able to all trample across the street, sit in the parking lot in the middle of it, carry our chairs with us, and you should be able to feel as worshipful as you feel in here. We ought to be able to go, as we do for sunrise service to Gordon Johnson’s pond in East Greenwich, and stand around that pond and freeze and sing hymns on Resurrection morn, and worship God as much as in vaulted ceiling with stained glass windows and organ music going. Why? Because it says in John 4:24 –
“God is spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth”
not in holy hardware and formality, not in liturgy and all types of incantations and pagan rituals. In spirit and in truth. We have to be careful that we don’t attach vestments or some type of sequence of events or some type of external appearance of the building we’re in, with worship. Those have nothing to do with worship. Some things can detract from worship, yes.
The scriptures tell us that God is abundantly concerned with modestly in worship. That’s all the way through the Old Testament. He says, “Don’t come before me unless you come modestly.” God is very concerned that we come reverently. So that means we don’t come in here joking and carrying on, and thinking about everything, and comparing all the sports scores, and talking about your favorite whatever, and then think you can click instantly into worship. Worship takes time. We have to prepare our hearts.
This day of worship begins really on Saturday night when you decide you’re not going to stay out so late on Saturday night. When you decide you’re going to prepare your children, if you have them, for worship on Sunday. You’re going to go over whatever they’re supposed to know for Sunday school. You’re going to pray with them. You’re going to get them prepared to come in an attitude of worship.
But that has nothing to do with holy hardware. That’s reverence and that’s respect to God. But the Roman Catholic church not only has images but it encourages people to pray to images, to crucifixes, to images of Mary and saints. They are encouraged to wear them around your neck, and in crisis times to grab those images and hold on to them, or to rub them, and feel like there’s some power coming from rubbing that medallion of a saint.
Images have always been a snare
Things really got out of hand in Martin Luther’s day and, by the way, they’re still out of hand now with images. But in Martin Luther’s day, and one of the reasons for the reformation was his soul was so grieved at how devout people would bow down before an image and beseech that image to set loose their uncle who had died. And that they would offer a Mass before an altar where a host was elevated, and believe that that took time out of someone’s purgatory time and that grieved his heart – not only because there’s no purgatory, but because they were bowing down in worship.
Well, the Roman church tells us that there are to be images, that they are to be venerated, and that tradition violates the Bible, and the commandments of men take the place of the commandments of God. And whenever the commandments of men supersede the commandments of God, that’s sin.
The Wonder of Salvation
Look at Philippians chapter three. I want to show you how Paul described a born-again Christian. And tonight as a close I’m going to actually explain to you the plan of salvation. Because I’d like it to be abundantly clear, especially as this tapes goes out in the series, that the way to God is very near you even in thy mouth and in thy heart that if thou shalt confess Jesus Christ.
But look at Philippians chapter three, verse three. Because the apostle Paul was constantly dealing with much of the same problem we have with Romanism today, only it was called Judaizers back then. And back then they thought you could get to heaven by having a little surgical operation called circumcision. And they thought if I can be circumcised, God’s got to accept me into heaven. It’s kind of like, if I join the church, and come to Mass at least once a year, and do penance, and confess my sins, and don’t do too many bad things, and get enough, you know, whatever, I’ll get to heaven. Well, they had the same problem the first century and Paul was always countering that, the whole book of Galatians is about that.
But look at chapter three, verse three of Philippians.
“For we are the true circumcision.”
We Are True Catholics Just Not Romanists
And I say to you tonight, we are the true Catholic church. We’re not the false Catholic church. We’re the true Catholic church. Do you know what Catholic is? Don’t ever lose the holy Catholic church. The holy Catholic church is the church that’s built on the rock of Jesus Christ. It’s the church built on the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all the saints of all times that have believed on Jesus Christ. We’re the true circumcision. But what is the true circumcision? Verse three continues,
“…who worship in the Spirit of God.”
Not through the conveyance, or the enablement, or the help of some saints, or through a hierarchy of priests, or through some church that says outside this church there’s no salvation. Extra ecclesium nola salus (a Latin creed) – that’s the doctrine of the Roman church. Outside the Roman church, no one can be saved. Semper, ubique et omnibus. See, I could be a priest. I know all that Latin myself. You know I had to learn it in seminary. It means always, everywhere, and by all. Everyone has always believed the Roman church is the only way to God. No, that’s not true. Paul didn’t believe that. He said we’re the true circumcision who worship in the spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus. We don’t glory in the saints, we don’t glory in Christ’s mother, we don’t glory in the pope. We glory in Jesus Christ alone and put no confidence in the flesh.
There are three very important elements here: Worship – worshipping God in the spirit; Glory – seeing Jesus Christ as the singular focus of all glory and everything we have is to Him; And finally,
“Have no confidence in the flesh.”
I do not believe that there is one thing that I can do to get to heaven. And I hope you believe the same thing. Because Jesus did it all.
Now, how does a person get to heaven? I’d like to show you that very briefly. In fact, I rarely ever do this the same way, but I’m going to take kind of a normal route. I always like to vary the way I lead someone to Christ. But I want to take you to Romans because that’s the easiest one for all of you to understand. And for some of you, this is going to be the umpteenth review. For others of you, it’s going to be a marvelous time, because what you have believed in Jesus Christ, you’re going to see before you right now.
The Romans Road to Heaven
But just for the last five minutes or so I want to show you the scriptures starting in Romans chapter three in verse 10. It said
“there is none or no one righteous, no not one.”
And the scriptures tell us again in verse 23 that all of us
“have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
All of us. Adam sinned. Eve sinned. Cane and Abel sinned. All of their descendants sinned. And so did Joseph and Mary and all of Christ’s brothers and sisters. There’s only one person that didn’t ever sin nor was born with original sin. Only one person who was non peccare impeccable. He couldn’t sin. Jesus Christ. Why? Because He didn’t have a human father.
Did you think about it? Adam and Eve were sinless until they sinned. Why? Because they were directly created by God. Eve even came out of the side of Adam. She still was sinless. Why? Because sin had not been transmuted and passed to her through the generations. Jesus Christ was made of human flesh yet without the agency of a human father.
There’s not a single person, even with test tube babies. Even with all the new technology that doesn’t have a father involved. And that’s why Adam was a sinner and through Adam passed sin to all. You say, “what’s your theory of the Tradution Theory, or how do you believe sin is passed?” The Bible doesn’t really say except for one thing. That everyone that’s born of a father is going to be born sinful, and guess who didn’t have an earthly father? Jesus Christ. And so he’s the only one that’s exempted from verse 23. And you and me and all of us are sinners. And that’s the first thing you have to understand to be saved, but it’s not the only thing.
Look at chapter five, verse eight. It says,
“God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is you’re a sinner. The good news is that Christ died for you. Verse 12, continuing on,
“Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world and so death through sin, and death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Oh. We’re sinners. The good news is that Jesus died, but death is passed to us. Well, look at chapter six verse 23, because it says there
“the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God,”
it’s a gift, is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Well, I ask you this, how much do you have to pay for a gift? Well, if you’re going to a sales presentation they say you get a gift but you have to watch our sales show for 90 minutes. If you’re going in to deposit your money, they say we’ll give you a free gift if you’ll put your money in, but they lock your money up at some ridiculous rate, you know, and they make money on you. That’s not a gift.
You know what a gift is? It’s something with no strings attached. It’s given to you and you can’t pay for it. It’s too priceless to be paid for, and that’s what the scriptures tell us salvation is,
that God commendeth His love toward us while we were sinners, that Jesus Christ died in our place, the wages of our sin is death, we’re all facing terminal illness, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ.
How do you get in Christ? That’s the big question. Well, same books answers that. Look at chapter 10. And very briefly, starting in verse eight. But what does it say? What does what say? Well, what does the Bible say?
“The word is near you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith which we’re preaching.”
The apostle Paul says I’m preaching to you this word of faith, this word that becomes operative as you believe it. Verse nine,
“that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
Beware of Mere Demon Faith
Wow! How do you do that? Is it just a mere mental ascent? Is it just saying I believe in Easter, I believe in Christmas. No. Because it says in the book of James, that was our Lord’s brother by the way, James, the first pastor of the church in Jerusalem. Chapter two, you know what it says? It says the demons and Satan they just shake with fear. They believe all that. They believe Jesus Christ walked on the earth. They saw Him do His miracles. They saw Him crucified, and horribly enough to them, they saw Him rise from the dead. They believe and tremble.
It’s not enough just to believe it here. And that’s one of the plagues. I believe, even in this room tonight, there are kids of Christian homes that believe in their heads. Yeah, I guess that stuff’s true. It sounds better than Buddhism to me. But they’ve never believed in their heart of hearts, their innermost being. They’ve never embraced Jesus Christ. They’ve never received Him. They’ve never gotten in Christ. How does that happen? Well, it says in verse ten,
“…for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness.”
And by the way, if you believe, righteousness will take place in your life. You say what do you mean by that? Well, the Bible describes it this way. If you’re in Christ, you’re a new creature.
Now if we didn’t have a Bible and if I had to explain salvation, I would explain it in farm terms, ‘cause I understand those. A pig and a lamb. Both of them get dirty in the barnyard. The lamb doesn’t like it. The pig does. The lamb will avoid the water and the mud. The pig will run to it. You can take a little pig, and you can scrub him up until he’s pink, and you can tie a little bow on his tail, and put perfume on him, and turn him loose, and he will look for the nearest mudhole and contentedly wallow in it. Just change the metaphor to people.
A born-again Christian is a pig that gets transformed into a brand new creation, a little lamb – no longer enjoying mud which is sin. Verse 10,
“…for with the heart you believe, resulting in righteousness.”
You don’t want to tell those stories you told anymore. All of a sudden you find yourself go, “Oh. I can’t say those words anymore.” You start looking and then you look away. You say I can’t look lustfully anymore. And you sit down with your taxes and you say, boy, I have an awful lot more income than I ever have claimed before. I’ve got to write it all down.
You see resulting in righteousness. Your life has changed. When Jesus Christ met the woman that was in adultery, you know, he didn’t say, you can go back, now you’re a Christian, go back with your adulterous relationship. He said, go and what? Sin no more. Resulting in righteousness.
“And with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation.”
Tonight you can be born again if you never have been, by with your heart believing in Jesus Christ so much that he died for you and commended His love toward you, that you love him more than yourself or your sin.
Salvation Must Include Repentance
And you’re willing to repent. And that means you’re willing to turn. You know, only God can give us the faith to do that. Some people don’t get saved ‘cause they say I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I could never do that. You’re right. You never could. But God can. And if you’ll simply by faith say, “God I’m a sinner. I believe Jesus Christ died for me, and with all my heart I will love and obey and follow him. Help me.” He moves in. And as nearly everyone here tonight could testify, he gives you a brand new heart. Brand new desires. Brand new direction. And guess what? You don’t need anybody to give you the key to this book because the author moves in.
We All Have the Holy Spirit to Teach Us
Now I have the privilege of spending my life teaching the Bible because I have spent all of my life preparing and studying and learning, but that’s the only edge I have on you. I have the exact same spirit that you have. I don’t have any more and no less. It’s just I’ve had a lot more time to study and I’m called and gifted to teach. But you have the same anointing and access to God as I do. I’m not a clergy and you’re not laity. I’m a Christian and you’re a Christian and we all come the same way. And you can understand this book tonight if you’ll just call the name of the Lord.
And when you’re saved, you find the monolithic, incredibly traditional monarchical Episcopate, which is the official name of the Roman church, is false and unbiblical and anti-Christian. Does that mean that people aren’t Christians who are Catholics? No. God knows their heart. But what it does mean is
- if they’re believing in a Jesus Christ that needs Mary to atone for your sins,
- if they’re believing in an operation sacrifice that goes on every week in a church all over the world that re-sacrifices Christ,
then they’re not believing in the Jesus Christ that died for them. Because He only died once. And that Jesus Christ can save you tonight.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Apologetics – Church History here
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