For the past few months the Rock church has studied through two different series regarding various world religions and cults. This weekend we had a big review of all of these sermons from the past four months, so get ready, it's a lot of stuff to remember!
Pastor Miles opened this weekend's message sharing about his cousin who passed away last week. This cousin was the only male cousin he had in his family that was his own age. He left behind eleven children, and when Pastor Miles went to the funeral he was able to talk to his nephew, his cousin's oldest son who is twenty-three years old. The son was visibly upset, and when Pastor Miles went to talk with him, the son noted how he is the man of the house now, and for him it wasn't a choice, but something he had to be.
In the same way we as Christians don't have a choice, when it comes to what we are suppose to do as Christians. With the identity comes a responsibility. We must take our role seriously and take advantage of every opportunity to serve and minister to others.
Christians of the Rock Church
The Rock Church exists to save, equip, and send out soul-winners for Jesus Christ. The vision of the Rock church is to be a powerful evangelistic force that engages every segment of society as a motivated army of believers in Jesus Christ. We are wholeheartedly committed to using our gifts anywhere, at any time, to share the gospel while influencing and transforming our culture. This force will evangelize San Diego and empower other churches to use this ministry model around the world.
The vision statement describes our preferred future, or what our church should look like if we successfully accomplish our our mission. If we want to learn something it demands more of us than just our ears to hear. To retain knowledge we must say it, write it, and do it.
As we overview several different cults and religions it is important to keep in mind our mission and vision, to remind us of what we can do to reach out to the people involved in these religions and cults.
What is a Cult?
A cult is a belief system that follows a distorted version of biblical Christianity, mainly focusing on a distorted view of the identity of Christ and the plan of salvation.
Charles Taze Russell started this cult. One of the main beliefs of this cult is that only 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses will enter heaven. They also believe that Jesus was simply the Archangel Michael, and that the Holy Spirit is simply a force like electricity.
According to Jehovah Witnesses Jesus did not rise from the dead, salvation is not a result of faith, and that the Holy Spirit is not a person of the Trinity. All of these teachings are not in accordance with Scripture and therefore false.
Joseph Smith founded Mormonism. He wrote the book of Mormon after receiving revelation from God. Mormonism teaches that the path to salvation is good works. They believe that Jesus was the spirit child of Elohim and Mary, and the spirit brother of Satan.
Mormon's belief about God is that He was once a sinful being who was exalted to godhood because of good works. Once again we find that the teachings of Mormonism, because they are not in accordance with what the Bible teaches makes them false.
The founder of Scientology was actually a science-fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard. The main beliefs of this cult are that man is generally good and had divine potential. Scientologists believe that salvation is a result of good works and a result of following the principles of Scientology.
Once again these beliefs are contrary to what Scripture teaches. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Buddhism moves us away from cults and into the category of religion. Siddhartha and Buddha are the main figures of this religion that taught and believed that humans are temporal creatures meant to live lives of sorrow and suffering. It is also taught that the quality of life is directly related to karma.
For Buddhist's every life that they live is striving to reach perfection or nirvana, and until then they will continue to be reincarnated, however, once that perfection is reached, they will cease to exist.
Buddhism obviously teaches what is contrary to Scripture, as it is a religion of complete hopelessness.
Muhammad is the main figure of Islam. He supposedly received revelation from the angel Gabriel while in a cave, and from that came the Q'uran and a monotheistic religion that worships Allah. Unlike Jesus, Muhammad was a sinful man who performed no miracles, and remains dead.
Islam requires salvation as a result of works as well. Heaven is guaranteed to those who die fighting the infidel. That is why Muslims are so committed to their cause, like in the events of 9/11.
We spent the last two weeks looking at the religion of Catholicism. Though it is similar to Christianity we saw that there are actually many differences in the beliefs of these religions. Catholicism teaches that the traditions of the church are equally important to what Scripture teaches. However, this is contrary to Scripture.
Traditions such as praying to Mary or other saints are idolatry. Catholicism teaches that salvation is a result of works as well, which puts emphasis on the efforts of man, and not salvation by faith alone, even though that is what the Bible teaches.
Ephesians 2:8-10 states, for it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast.
It is easy to have a lot of information and have it remain as head knowledge. However, this is not the point of studying these religions and cults. Now that we have an understanding of what other religions and cults believe and how what they teach is contrary to scripture, we can be better equipped to evangelize. Notice how it ties into the Rock's mission and vision.
This weekend the Rock held a ministry fair. There are many ministries within the Rock church alone; no matter where you are gifted there is one that will fit your needs and desires. With all these opportunities to serve and share Jesus, don't wait, just dive in and do something!