This sermon is going to focus on trying to answer the question often asked about our faith, Is Christianity the only true religion? hence we are going to look at the true religion in the bible.
The one problem that hunted the Jews was the belief that they were the only race chosen by the living God.
In other words, they thought that people from other races: the Edomites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Assyrians, etc; were pagans and idolaters.
That is to say, they were worshipping false gods and thus were rejected by God Who will soon wipe them all off the surface of the earth.
This misconception blinded them so much that they couldn’t see nor understand; whenever God was trying to show them that those pagans were also created by Him. And at such they automatically belong to Him.
The example of Jonah.
For example, in the book of Jonah, they kept the record of how God sent Jonah down to Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria; to announce that because of their sins, he is going to consume them with fire after forty days.
But when the people of Nineveh repented and turned to God; after hearing that message, God was merciful towards them.
As the result, he repented of the destruction he was going to visit upon them.
And even when Jonah, after realizing that God did not destroy Nineveh as He said after forty days; became angry and wished for death.
But God made a plant to grow and give him a shed and later killed it; Jonah then became angry about the plant and God then said to him (Jonah 4:10-11).
The Jewish syndrome.
The greatest blindness that came upon the Jews, because of this syndrome; is ‘we alone are God’s chosen race and we alone are going to be saved’.
Was that, they rejected; and worst of all crucified to death, the very Messiah that was prophesied by nearly all their prophets. And was fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Jews even applied this syndrome to their Jewish Christians, which was why the early church in Palestine could not survive.
Permit me to give you details of what happened as recorded in the history of the early church.
History of the early Church.
How Christians were expelled from Palestine.
Even though the Jewish nation came under Roman control; they still did not forget the glory and kingdom of their ancestor Davi; or the independence they enjoyed from 142 to 69BC.
So despite advice from their Jewish leaders against it, the Jews planned a revolt against the Romans.
Now the Jewish Christians were faced with the option of choosing either to support or not support the rebellion.
They settled for the latter option and the result was: James, the Lord’s brother; and leader of the Jerusalem church was killed.
So in 66BC, the Christians decided to depart from their homeland; Jerusalem since they were no longer regarded as true Jews.
About 84AD, the Jewish leadership in Palestine gave orders that all Christian Jews should be expelled from their synagogues; and excluded from their assemblies.
And for that reason; a Jewish Christian, could no longer hold his Christian faith and still be a member of the Jewish community.
The early Christians.
Thus the beginning of Christianity, which is connected with the Jewish church; the first years of church life were Jewish days.
The first preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles took place through Jewish witnesses.
The whole church in the world, which grew out of Judah; had to surrender its historical pride to be taken away to the Gentile land.
And the church, which had its roots in the Old Testament, which produced a Jewish savior; whose holy books were written by Jews became a fellowship of the Gentiles.
All because the Jews thought they were the only ones chosen, owned, and destined for salvation by the Creator.
In other words, they thought that the Jewish religion is the true religion.
Jewish syndrome in Christendom
Now it is sad to discover that this same syndrome had slowly crept into Christendom. That is to say, Christians believe that Christianity is the only true religion.
So many Christians look only upon themselves as the chosen ones. It worsens more as they even apply it to their respective denominations.
For instance, the Protestants claim that the Roman Catholics are worshipping the Virgin Mary; and as such all their members will be condemned to eternal fire.
They also go on to claim that the other religions are not worshipping the true God.
But if we look into all these churches that claim the worship of the only true God; we will find the portraits and crosses hanging on the walls of their churches and houses.
And they always kneel in front of them to pray; forgetting that this is a form of idolatry the scripture warns us about in (Exodus 20:4-5)
And goes on to show us in (John 4: 23-24) that; those who truly worship the Father do so in Spirit and in truth:
Jesus gives us the same Holy Spirit, Who is never represented by any object or symbol; but lives inside every believer and is the only access for approaching God:
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18).
And This means no praying of rosaries, no hanging of crosses and portraits, no sprinkling of holy water, no anointing of oils, no waving of handkerchiefs, etc.
Thus if we, call ourselves the true worshippers of God, and claim that Christianity is the only true religion, we are doing one and many more of such things as seen above.
Besides, who gives us the power to judge people from other religions, who tries to approach God by the use of objects and symbols; which all boils down to the same idolatry?
Worship of God depends on people’s faith.
If you truly have the Spirit and abide by God’s teachings; He will help you to understand that faith is very necessary for Christianity.
Most importantly, people’s faith differs because there are some who have strong faith; like the Centurion found in Mathew 8:5-13.
And there are some who are of little faith; like the woman with an issue of blood found in Mathew 9:20-22.
And for this reason, the worship of God depends on people’s faith.
Thus there are some who can tell Jesus; “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only speak a word and my servant will be healed”
And there are some who will want to say; “if only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well”.
And the Holy Spirit will conclude by teaching you that idolatry involves denying the existence of the only true God and indulging in sinful and fetish practices.
For example, sacrifices – passing people through the fire, sexual immoralities – adultery and fornication, homosexuals, lesbianism, oral sex, sex with animals, etc.
And every other practice which goes against the commandments of God.
Therefore if people do not deny the true God and indulge in sinful acts while they pray rosaries, hang crosses and portraits, sprinkle holy waters, use anointing oils etc.
But try to find access by the same one Spirit through the Name of Jesus Christ as Christians; and through any other name of God in other religions, they are in no way engaging in idolatry.
Why people from other religions will be saved?
Christians also confuse themselves so much with certain scriptures that seem to point out that Christianity is the only true religion.
This means that people from other religions like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even the Jews from Judaism (who also had this same misconception); must all convert to Christianity as the only true religion before they can make heaven.
Before we go further, I want you to stop and ponder on this question: supposing you were born, raised, and taught as a Moslem, will you ever accept that any other religion is right apart from Islam? Of course, the answer will be no.
And that is the same way most of us believers; being born, raised, and taught as Christians end up thinking that Christianity is the only way.
But the scriptures do not teach us much, in fact; let us examine Peter’s speech after finding out in Cornelius’s house that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit the same way they, the Jews, did.
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. “But in every nation whosoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.(Acts 10:34-35)
Now after seeing from Peter’s speech above that God does not accept people based on their race, tribe, or religion, but rather on their good or righteous deeds.
We can access what the scripture says in (Romans 2:14-29)
(Paul might have been writing this epistle about the Jews, but seeing that the same thing has also befallen Christians; we can (through the above passage) boldly substitute the Jews for Christians, the Gentiles for unbelievers, the law for the bible, circumcision for repentance.
And with this knowledge, we can then perfectly understand what the above scripture means.
Thus the above scripture answers all the questions we could ever have about Christianity being the only true religion.
Because so long as every human being that exists; (notwithstanding the religion) gets to maturity; where they fully understand what is good and evil.
The law of God has already been written in their hearts.
And whatever choice they make at any given time; whether good or bad, their very hearts have already bared them, witness, to testify on that day of Judgment.
And from this scripture, we can also see that it is through Jesus Christ that God will judge every living being (still notwithstanding religion); based on the things they do while on earth, and not on the fact that they are Christians or not.
The final judgment in the bible.
Now, if we properly review the only recorded act of the final judgment in (Mathew 25:31-45); we will have a proper understanding of the fact that Jesus will not tell anyone to enter into the kingdom of His Father just because he was a Christian.
But rather, because he kept the commandments of God.
And if we look deeper into this final judgment; we will again discover that it is the attitude we have toward our fellow human beings that will determine our everlasting fate.
Jesus summed this up in the law and the prophets: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Mathew 7:12)
Thus, it is only in keeping the law and prophets that one can attain all righteousness.
Because anyone (notwithstanding religion) who considers first how he will feel if someone had done to him what he is about to do to another person, will never ever do evil to a fellow human being.
And in doing so will never transgress, but be able to keep all the commandments of God (Romans 13:8-10)
We discover in Mathew 22:36-40; that this law and the prophets is also the greatest commandment that our Lord Jesus gave to us:
And also summed it up as His final commandments to His disciples as seen in (John 14:15) and (John 15:12-14 and 17).
Jesus preached a universal religion and not Christianity as a true religion.
If you study John chapters 14, 15, and 16 where the last words of Jesus to His disciples before He was taken to death are recorded.
You will truly understand that He did not come to teach Christianity as a true religion, but rather a universal religion which is based on one orthodox “love one another”.
That was why all His disciples preached the same thing.
John: (1 John 2: 3-6).
Peter: (1 Peter 1:22), (1 Peter 1:5-8).
James: (James 2:8)
And Paul as the least of the apostles made the greatest recovery about love in his first letter to the Corinthians chapter 13.
From here we can go on to discover that God did not give us the law for His own benefit But for ours.
Because no good or evil that we do will ever affect Him in any way, rather it is a fellow human being like us that will suffer the consequences, good or bad, even as the scripture says in (Job 35:6-8)
Thus, the key to heaven does not lie in being a Christian: i.e. going to church, reading the bible, fasting, praying, etc.
But rather, it lies in keeping the commandments of God which are summed up in the words “love one another”.
That is why John 3:16 reveals to us that it is because of love that God sent Christ to redeem us and grant us the gift of eternal life.
The scripture confuses us about Christianity being the true religion.
Now let us see how we can briefly have a better understanding of some of the passages that seem to confuse us that Christianity is the only true religion.
1. Jesus the way, truth, and life.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
If you read the above passage in its whole context i.e. from verse 1, you will discover that Jesus made this statement immediately after predicting His death.
And from there you will understand that what He really meant was that He is the only person that all righteous people must pass through in death to the Father Who will reward them with eternal life.
And in (Acts 4:12) we see that salvation is in no one else except our Lord Jesus Christ.
This scripture shows us in (Colossians 1:19-20) that Jesus is the only One who was able to make atonement for the sins of mankind; through His shameful death on the cross of Calvary.
Thereby, reconciling mankind back to that grace they missed because of the original sin – eating the forbidden fruit.
And John and Mathew finally conclude this point by showing us in (1 John 2:1-2) and (Mathew 10:32-33) that Jesus did not die for the Christians alone but for people from other religions, races, and tribes.
2. Confessing Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour.
Confessing Jesus as many Christians think is not letting people openly know they are Christians, or becoming preachers.
Rather it is putting the words and teachings of the Master into practice; because it is through sinful acts that we deny Him as the Bible reveals in Titus 1:16.
For this reason, the scripture says in (Romans 2:21-23) that those who teach others should also teach themselves.
If you preach that people should not steal, you also must not steal.
If you preach that people should not commit adultery, you also must not commit adultery, etc.
(N/B: all the scriptures above are personally referring to Jesus and not Christianity as a true religion)
Not all Christians will enter the kingdom.
Now Jesus himself made it clear to us in (Mathew 7:23) that, it is not all who call themselves Christians who will enter into heaven; but those who do the will of His Father.
He goes on to say that on that day many will say to Him that they prophesied, cast demons, and did many signs using His name.
But He will tell them to depart from His presence because they practiced lawlessness.
Beloved, I assure you that many so-called Christians, i.e. sons of the kingdom, who through their sinful actions deny the teachings of Jesus written in their bible; will be cast out of heaven on that great day as we see in Mathew 8:12.
While people from other religions i.e. from east, west, north, and south, who obey the teachings of Jesus written in their hearts, will enter into the kingdom of His Father as it is written (Mathew 8:11).
Finally, in Revelation 19:12 we see that Jesus has a secret Name that no one but Himself knows. And in chapter 13 we see that Name as the word of God.
Whom He used to create everything, Who incarnated into the earth as a human. (John chapter 1, Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:1-2).
Now in Isaiah 45:15, we discover that Jesus is God and a savior who hides.
Therefore, as God is hidden He can choose to reveal Himself to people of different cultures in diverse ways.
Moreover, since He is the One that created every human being He cannot choose a particular race above others. t
That is why the Jews who had this misconception rejected Christianity (up till today) when it found its way to the hands of the Gentiles.
How God chooses to reveal Himself to people and not through religion.
So with this knowledge, we find out that God is capable of revealing His Son Jesus to other religions with whatever Name He chooses and to whatever extent He allows them to see beyond.
For instance, in Islam, Jesus is known as Isa.
And even though they do not accept Him as the Son of God and the word of creation, they accord Him a respect so high that it is considered disrespectful, uncouth, and barbaric if His name is mentioned without these words of respect: (Hazrat Eesa meaning revered Jesus, or Eesa alai-hiss-salaam meaning Jesus peace to be upon Him).
And in the Quran Jesus is mentioned five times more than the number of times Muhammad, the founder of that religion is mentioned.
That is to say, Jesus is mentioned twenty-five times while Muhammad is mentioned just five times.
And you will never blame the Muslims on the level they understand Jesus to be; because as we know, no one can know who Jesus is if the Father does not reveal it to that extent for him as we can see in (Mathew 16:15-17).
So if the Father had chosen to reveal Jesus to Muhammad the limit He did; who are we to question His actions and blame Muhammad?
Even the so-called God’s chosen race – the Jews – were themselves blinded to discover Jesus as the Son of God; even when their Holy scriptures (Torah) – our very Old Testament – confirm the fulfillment of God’s promises on this Man The Christ Who Himself was their own flesh and blood.
How could Muhammad of a far-removed race and tribe accept Jesus as the Son of God?
Let us not forget the fact that the thoughts and ways of God are not our own (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Even the apostle Paul shows us in Romans 11:7-11 that the Jews were blinded so that salvation can reach the Gentiles.
And ended up by prophesying salvation again for the Jews as seen in (Romans 11:23-32).
Jesus is recognized in other religions.
And With this fact, I can challenge most Christians that people of other religion accord Jesus much more respect than they do, and had it they knew Him deeply as we do, they would believe and act upon His teachings and put most of us to shame.
But it’s however sad to discover that some Christians only know that Jesus had done everything for them by sacrificing Himself on the cross and in so doing gave them a free chance to continue in their rebellious way of disrespecting God through their disobedience.
If only we are all equipped with this knowledge, we could be able to see beyond religious barriers and look upon God and His Son Jesus as One even as Jesus Himself made this known in John 10:30 that ‘I and My Father are one”.
And most importantly, we would be able to try our best to obey all His commandments and statutes.
This is summed up in just one commandment which is to “Love God by loving our fellow human beings” as we have learned from this sermon.
So that we would be counted worthy on that great Day of Judgment; which will not be based on any particular religion.
After all we are all descended from the same father and mother; Adam and Eve, and created by the same one God. I AM THAT I AM.
Why Christianity is the true religion.
But still, there is no denying the fact that Christianity is the true religion and supersedes every other religion, because of the following reasons.
1. Jesus is the Son of God
When you study ‘the parable of the wicked tenants’ in Luke 20:9-18, you will understand that Jesus Christ is the Only Son of God.
While the founders of other religions, for instance, Moses who founded Judaism, Muhammad who founded Islam, etc. were just messengers and prophets sent by God.
2. The resurrection of Jesus.
Secondly, it is only in Christianity that the founder, Jesus truly died and rose again on the third day Mathew chapters 26, 27, and 28.
And in so doing fulfilled God’s promise to make peace between Himself and man; after their fall in the Garden of Eden. (Hebrews chapters 9 and 10).
3. The gift of the Holy Spirit.
The greatest benefit of Christianity is the gift of the Holy Spirit; Who dwells in the conscience of the believer and wills him to perform every good work. Not by human power or might; according to the promise (Ezekiel 36:27)
And as the scripture says in Philippians 2:13, it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
But, this Holy Spirit can only be received by those who accept and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As the scripture says in John 7:38-39 those who believe will have rivers of living water flowing from their heart.
And He was speaking concerning the Holy Spirit which was to be given after He was glorified.
By letting go of their sins and resolving never to go back to them again; giving proof after being baptized in the name of Jesus for the washing away of their past sins.
He maintains that this promise is to you and your children, and those who are far off as many as the Lord our God would call.
Show me any other religion which offers such a benefit?
Therefore, we can boldly conclude that Christianity is the only true religion.