We live in a time of spiritual hunger and searching. In order to treat America’s ailing soul, three groups have developed and are spreading religion to others. Be wary, these groups may or may not have the best intentions, and almost certainly practice harmful theology. They are:
The “spiritualists”- You may have heard these people mention they are “spiritual, but not religious.” This is a trendy form of belief, but spiritualism offers no boundaries of belief, and often fails to support true Christian teachings.
-The “self-help gurus”- These are people who advocate that the answers to all kinds of questions are truly found through self-reflection and discovery. By emphasizing the self they undermine the importance of Christ.
-The “church in a box”- This is a church existing on TV, radio, in movies, or print media depicting the church as acting or worshiping in a particular way—based on extra-Biblical ideas and bad theology, such as works-based salvation.
How do you discern whether the things you see and hear are truthful? Confusion about beliefs frequently leads people to leave the church; discerning the truth means to distinguish, investigate, examine, scrutinize, and question whether what you’re learning aligns with the things you know for certain about Jesus. Identify error by knowing the truth.
The first major question to ask is, What do they believe about Jesus? Not everyone who claims to follow Jesus is correct in Biblical theology! One essential question to find out is, do they confess Jesus is the only divine Son of God? Doctrines will also help you to determine the condition of their beliefs, such as:
-Virgin birth -Divine nature -Sinless life -Bodily resurrection -The literal second coming
Another question to investigate is, do they believe Jesus was a real man who fulfilled a real mission? Some groups consider Jesus to be a symbol only, but Jesus’s real humanity was important. It affects how we relate to Him; We know that He understands our struggles because He has experienced them Himself.
The final and most essential question to ask in examining the truth of a message you see is this: Do they believe the death of Jesus on the cross is the final substitutionary sacrifice for the sin that separates sinful man from Holy God? This is a critical component of theology based on the Bible, and something Christians should know as truth. There may be error out there regarding this question, but you can know with certainty that the truth is salvation comes in Christ alone, by grace alone, though faith alone.
Other sermons in this series: