” The Distinctiveness of Christianity” IT HAS NO EQUAL!!
I. JESUS WAS HIMSELF AFTER ALL DISTINCTIVE.
Luke 5:26 – “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.” This statement is an appropriate description of Christ.
• This was one of the outstanding characteristics of Christ that gave Him the power of appeal.
• His life from birth to ascension was marked by wonders, surprises, and amazement.
• It was distinctive.
A. Mat. 7:28-29 – “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
B. Luke 4:22 – “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?”
C. John 4:27 – “And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?”
D. He amazed His parents; Luke 2:48 – “And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”
E. After discussing the dangers of riches; Mat. 19:25 – “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?”
F. These are only a few statements that point out Christ’s distinctiveness.
1. Since Christ is distinctive, His religion is also distinctive.
II. DISTINCTIVENESS IS THE POWER OF CHRISTIANITY.
A. Loss of distinctiveness is loss of power.
1. The power of the church is not being like other religions.
2. Real Influence comes from Distinctiveness!
B. Christ recognized this not only in His own life but pointed it out to His disciples.
1. Mat. 5:47 “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”
2. Christ was not satisfied that His disciples should do as much as others.
3. In a real sense, we are only Christ’s disciples when we surpass others.
C. What does the church do more than others?
1. If the church cannot do more for the world than other religions, we would do well to question whether or not it is the Lord’s church other than in name.
2. Does the church:
a. answer more questions?
b. cover more ground?
c. offer more comfort??
d. invest the soul with more vigor and strength?
3. How does it raise and elevate above the level of denominations and meet all the spiritual needs of man? a. If it doesn’t, something is wrong.
b. Don’t talk about Social Church! No Veggie Tales VBS.
III. THE CHURCH IS DISTINCTIVE IN THAT IT HAS A DIVINE MESSAGE.
A. A part of the power of the church is in the message.
B. The message is no human product.
1. Gal. 1:11-12 – “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. l2For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
2. 1 Cor. 2:13 – “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
3. 1 Cor. 14:37 – “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”
4. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 – “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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
5. 2 Pet. 1:20-21 – “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
6. It finds its origin in the mind of God and is totally reliable.
C. The Message is Truth:
1. John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
2. Truth unmixed with error will save; truth mixed with error will not save.
a. While other religions may have some truth, it is laced with the doctrines of men.
b. Ex. How Many Like Soda? 99% Soda… 1% Snoos spit!
3. The church has truth unmixed with the doctrines of man.
a. This gave the church power in the days of the apostles, also during the restoration.
b. It has the same power today.
• Rom. 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 1 7For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
• Jam. 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
IV. WORD IS DISTINCTIVE IN THAT IT ENABLES A PERSON TO SEE HIMSELF AS HE IS.
A. The gospel is a mirror for the soul.
1. Jam. 1:23-25
2. No man can know himself until he has seen his picture in the gospel.
B. Christianity makes a person realize how far short he is of the divine goal of perfection.
1. A Christian never feels that he has arrived. Do not be Satisfied!
2. Phi. 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 141 press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
V. THE CHURCH IS DISTINCTIVE IN ITS IDEALS AND VALUES.
A. Things others count as gain are readily counted as loss for the knowledge of Christ. (purpose of life)
1. Phi. 3:7-8 “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
a. Ex. Education, Riches, friends, Party, Fun! – Christ wants me to have fun? (BCV?)
2. Would you rather know Christ or watch the television shows you want?
3. “…Christ” or listen to the music you want? Dress How you want? Engage in Physical Pleasures out of Marriage? Stay home when Saints assemble? You cannot Serve God and the Satan!
a. 1Pe 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
4. Would you rather know Christ? Or be free of unborn Child? Marry what/who you will? Sit in your pew?
• The whole world is counted as nothing when compared with Christ.
VI. THE CHURCH IS DISTINCTIVE AND STRANGE IN THAT IT ATTACHES SUPREME IMPORTANCE TO EVERY SOUL
A. Mat. 16:26 – “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
B. Church is not guided by worldly standards; but like God, sees in everyone, something precious.
1. God’s grace is extended to all; – Ex. Poor, Asian, Lawyer, Prison, Women, Free, powdermen.
a. Tit. 2:11 – “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
b. Does the Hindu? (India); Muslim (middle East);
2. Christ died for all;
a. Heb. 2:9 – “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
3. Every person may inherit the kingdom of heaven.
a. I Tim. 1:15-16 – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
4. Our Command from Christ: Mar 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
VII. THE CHURCH IS DISTINCTIVE AND STRANGE IN ITS CONDUCT TO OTHERS
A. Christians love their enemies.
1. Luke 6:27 – “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,”
a. Luke 6:32 – “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them.”
2. Are we distinctive?
B. Christians do good unto those that hate them and mistreat them.
1. Luke 6:28 – “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
a. Luke 6:33 – “And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.”
2. Are we distinctive?
a. How do we treat those who mistreat us?
b. When have you returned good to the one who mistreated you?
c. Do we turn from them, avoid them?
C. Christians are to love one another.
1. This is a mark of His disciples.
a. John 13:35 – “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
b. Are we His disciples? We wear His name… Are we doing it justice?
c. John Smith: “If someone knows you for a week and don’t know you are a Christian, don’t tell them.”
2. 2 Cor. 12:15 – “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”
3. Gal 4:16 – Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
a. Paul said he loved them more even if they loved him less.
b. Is this our practice?
D. Christians are humble and not seeking exaltation.
1. Mat. 20:25-28 – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
2. Mat. 23:11-12 – “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
3. Christians should be interested in the work, not a position; in serving, not an office.
4. The apostles of Christ were not ready for the work He had for them to do. They were thinking about place and position not service.
a. Mat. 20:20-21 – “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 2 lAnd he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two Sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”
b. Luke 22:24 – “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.”
So Christ gave them an example; John 13 – Washing of their feet
1. Inconceivable for a Christian to suppose he/she can live in the world of sin & go to heaven – Jas. 4:4; 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Rom.
2. Yet, some in Corinth were arguing for just that – 1 Cor. 6:13- 15.
3. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 – Our conversion, our commitment to divine truth & our communion with Christ compel us to put sin to death &
live for Him!
4. 1 Cor. 6:11; Acts 18:8 – Washed, sanctified & justified:
a. In the name of the Lord Jesus – Power of His blood.
b. By the Spirit of our God – By means of truth He has given.
A. Cleansed By The Blood Of Jesus – Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:13-14, 22.
B. Through A Washing Of Water By The Word – Eph. 5:25-26.
1. “…in 1 Cor. 6:11, lit., ‘ye washed yourselves clean…'” (Vine).
2. Action of faith: Baptism – Rom. 6:3; 5:8; Acts 22:16.
a. Grace: Christ’s blood/bodies washed – pure water – Heb. 10:19-22; Tit. 3:5.
b. Faith: Man’s answer of good conscience – 1 Pet. 3:21.
A. Set Apart From Sin By The Blood Of Jesus – Heb. 10:29.
1. “To separate from profane things & dedicate to God.” (Strong’s)
2. “To purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin (blood, jrp); to purify internally by renewing of the soul” (faith, jrp).
3. Jesus our means – 1 Cor. 1:2, 30 (Eph. 5:26-27).
B. Things Which Sanctify Sinners:
1. Blood of Christ (grace & power).
2. The Holy Spirit (agent of our sanctification) – 2 Thess. 2:13 (1 Pet. 1:2).
a. Via truth (means) – Jno. 17:17, 19 – Action of faith by man!
b. Obedience to the gospel – Rom. 6:17-22.
3. God’s grace (blood of Christ) & man’s faith (obey gospel)!
C. Holy Living – Eph. 5:27.
1. “Sanctification is also used in NT of the separation of the believer from evil things and ways.” (Vine)
2. 1 Thess. 4:3-8: This sanctification is:
a. 4:3 – God’s will for us.
b. 4:4 – Learned from God (via truth, Psa. 119:9).
c. 4:7 – Called by God to holiness (cf. 1 Pet. 1:15-16).
d. 4:8 – Do not reject God in this matter!
3. 2 Tim. 2:19-23 – Faith put into practice to avoid sin!
A. Acquitted Of Guilt Of Sin By The Blood Of Christ – Rom. 5:9.
1. Pronounced “not guilty” of sin & granted life – Rom. 4:25; 5:18.
2. By grace, through faith – Rom. 3:23-26; Jas. 2:21-24.
3. Justified before God, not necessarily before man!
1. Acts 18:8 – Hearing, believed & were baptized:
-Washed (cleansed by their sin).
-Sanctified (separated unto God).
-Justified (freed from their guilt of sin).
2. 1 Cor. 6:9 – “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”