DOES EVERYONE HAVE A RIGHT TO HIS OWN BELIEF?

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

††† 1.Satan has impressed most of this world that everyone should be allowed to set his own standard.Everything is relative, something that is wrong for you might not be wrong for me, etc. etc.Consequently weíre seeing today a moral degradation in our society that is unparalleled in the history of this country.

 

††† 2.One may have a legal or personal right under our civil law to many of the things that people are advocating, such as abortion, no-fault divorce, or any number of others, but God's law is not determined by civil law, one's conscience, or the collective opinions of the academic elite.

 

††† 3.Godís law has been revealed to us in only one place, the Bible.

 

I.REASONS ONE DOES NOT HAVE A SCRIPTURAL RIGHT TO HIS OWN BELIEF:

 

A.Christ is absolute in authority:

 

Matthew 28:18"AND JESUS CAME AND SPAKE UNTO THEM, SAYING, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH."

 

††††††† 1.God said that we should hear Jesus.When the disciple of Jesus, Peter, was so impressed with the sight of Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration and gushed, as men will, let us make three tabernacles, three houses of worship, God corrected him on the spot.

 

Mark 9:7"AND THERE WAS A CLOUD THAT OVERSHADOWED THEM: AND A VOICE CAME OUT OF THE CLOUD, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON: HEAR HIM."

 

Peter later stated it this way:

 

Acts 3:22-23"FOR MOSES TRULY SAID UNTO THE FATHERS, A PROPHET SHALL THE LORD YOUR GOD RAISE UP UNTO YOU OF YOUR BRETHREN, LIKE UNTO ME; HIM SHALL YE HEAR IN ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER HE SHALL SAY UNTO YOU.AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERY SOUL, WHICH WILL NOT HEAR THAT PROPHET, SHALL BE DESTROYED FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE."

 

††††††† 2.We must do God's Will and Godís will only:

 

Read Matthew 7:21-27

 

Salvation, eternal life, is promised only to one class of people.A class of people that the Hebrew writer describes as those who are obedient to the Son of God:

 

Hebrews 5:9"AND BEING MADE PERFECT, HE BECAME THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM;"

 

B. God forbids variation from His will:

 

††††††† 1.Addition:

 

I Corinthians 4:6(RSV)"I HAVE APPLIED ALL THIS TO MYSELF AND APOLLOS FOR YOUR BENEFIT, BRETHREN, THAT YOU MAY LEARN BY US TO LIVE ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, THAT NONE OF YOU MAY BE PUFFED UP IN FAVOR OF ONE AGAINST ANOTHER."

 

††††††††††† The Corinthian brethren and all others who would be children of God are to live ďaccording to the scriptureĒ.They were not at liberty to go beyond or detract from scripture.Scripture is the revelation of the mind of the Almighty God; the creator and ruler of this universe, all scripture, if it isnít; it isnít scripture:

 

II Timothy 3:16-17 ď16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works

 

Scripture is the doctrine, or teaching, of Jesus Christ; that which John warns all mankind that they must abide in, live in, in order to have God in their lives:

 

II John 9"WHOSOEVER TRANSGRESSETH, AND ABIDETH NOT IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HATH NOT GOD.HE THAT ABIDETH IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HE HATH BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON."

 

The Apostle John makes the whole thing very clear and simple for everyone who will listen.Abide, live in the doctrine of Christ or be without God, be such that God will have nothing to do with you, be such that God would turn over to the devil, be such that God will send a strong delusion that you should believe a lie. (II Thessalonians 2:11)

 

††††††† 2.Subtraction:

 

Deuteronomy 4:2"YE SHALL NOT ADD UNTO THE WORD WHICH I COMMAND YOU, NEITHER SHALL YE DIMINISH OUGHT FROM IT, THAT YE MAY KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD WHICH I COMMAND YOU."

 

Moses and the Israelite nation were not to diminish, take away or deduct from the commandments which they were given.Under the new covenant we are given the same prohibition:

 

Revelation 22:18-19"FOR I TESTIFY UNTO EVERY MAN THAT HEARETH THE WORDS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK, IF ANY MAN SHALL ADD UNTO THESE THINGS, GOD SHALL ADD UNTO HIM THE PLAGUES THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK:AND IF ANY MAN SHALL TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS OF THE BOOK OF THIS PROPHESY, GOD SHALL TAKE AWAY HIS PART OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, AND OUT OF THE HOLY CITY, AND FROM THE THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK."

 

††† C.Only one source of authority; God:

 

II Timothy 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, THROUGHT FURNISHED UNTO ALL GOOD WORKS."

 

1.      That Covenant, that new law is recorded as The New Testament.The new will of God provided to mankind to replace the ordinances that Paul says were against us and were blotted out (Colossians 2:14).That law was completed, fulfilled, its purpose for being ended; as a result of the death of His only begotten son:

 

Hebrews 10:9-10"THEN SAID HE, LO, I COME TO DO THY WILL, O GOD.HE TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST (the first Law, given through Moses) THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE SECOND.BY THE WHICH WILL WE ARE SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL."

 

That covenant, that new will and testament of God was confirmed by the death, given a warranty by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.No man can change it, no man can take away from it and no man can add to it:

 

Galatians 3:15"BRETHREN I SPEAK AFTER THE MANNER OF MEN; THOUGH IT BE BUT A MAN'S COVENANT, YET IF IT BE CONFIRMED, NO MAN DISANULLETH, OR ADDETH THERETO."

 

††††††† 2.God will allow no changes, even by an angel from heaven:

 

Galatians 1:6-9"I MARVEL THAT YE ARE SO SOON REMOVED FROM HIM THAT CALLED YOU INTO THE GRACE OF CHRIST UNTO ANOTHER GOSPEL:WHICH IS NOT ANOTHER; BUT THERE BE SOME THAT TROUBLE YOU, AND WOULD PERVERT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.BUT THOUGH WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL UNTO YOU THAN THAT WHICH WE HAVE PREACHED UNTO YOU, LET HIM BE ACCURSED.AS WE SAID BEFORE, SO SAY I NOW AGAIN, IF ANY MAN PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL UNTO YOU THAN THAT YE HAVE RECEIVED, LET HIM BE ACCURSED."

 

II BIBLE EXAMPLES SHOWING ONE DOES NOT HAVE SUCH RIGHTS:

 

††† A.Manís first attempt to change, alter or add to the Word of God was in the very beginning and that man was Cain:

 

Genesis 4:3-5"AND IN PROCESS OF TIME IT CAME TO PASS, THAT CAIN BROUGHT OF THE FRUIT OF THE GROUND AN OFFERING UNTO THE LORD. AND ABEL, HE ALSO BROUGHT OF THE FIRSTLINGS OF HIS FLOCK AND OF THE FAT THEREOF.AND THE LORD HAD RESPECT UNTO ABEL AND TO HIS OFFERING: BUT UNTO CAIN AND TO HIS OFFERING HE HAD NOT RESPECT.AND CAIN WAS VERY WROTH, AND HIS COUNTENANCE FELL."

 

††††††† 1.God had prescribed in his word, his direction to the family of man, his commandment; the kind of worship that man was to provide:

 

Hebrews 11:4"BY FAITH ABEL OFFERED UNTO GOD A MORE EXCELLENT SACRIFICE THAN CAIN, BY WHICH HE OBTAINED WITNESS THAT HE WAS RIGHTEOUS, GOD TESTIFYING OF HIS GIFTS: AND BY IT HE BEING DEAD YET SPEAKETH."

 

How do we know that Cain and Abel were given instructions regarding their offering?Because Abel worshiped by faith and faith comes from only one source:

 

"SO THEN FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD." Romans 10:17

 

††††††† 2.But Cain thought that he had a right to his own belief.We can be sure that Cain heard the same instruction that Abel did.But Cain substituted his own offering, he thought as many do today, just so long as he does something he calls worship that God is obligated to accept that worship.But God rejected Cainís offering; God wouldnít accept worship that was conducted according to the opinions of Cain.

 

††† B.Our second Biblical example is Nadab and Abihu, sons of the High Priest of Israel, Aaron:

 

Leviticus 10:1-2"AND NADAB AND ABIHU, THE SONS OF AARON, TOOK EITHER OF THEM HIS CENSER, AND PUT FIRE THEREIN, AND PUT INCENSE THEREON, AND OFFERED STRANGE FIRE BEFORE THE LORD, WHICH HE COMMANDED THEM NOT.AND THERE WENT OUT FIRE FROM THE LORD, AND DEVOURED THEM, AND THEY DIED BEFORE THE LORD."

 

†† †††††God did not say not to, God didnít say that they couldnít get the fire for their incense offering from here, or from there, or from over there did he.He said use this specific fire; probably fire that He had sent down to consume the offering in the preceding verse of scripture: Leviticus 9:24Because these sons of Godís high priest, Aaron, disobeyed, they were destroyed.

 

††† C.Another Biblical example of someone who had no right to his own beliefs was Saul of Tarsus.He had been trained in the law and traditions of the Jewish religion by one of the most prestigious teachers in Jewish history; Gamaliel.His conscience was clear. He thought he was doing exactly what God would have him do.He was opposing the followers of one that he thought was an imposter, heretics.He was as sincere, perhaps even more so than any denominational neighbor that we have.But he was sincerely wrong.He was strict, he was very religious; he displayed all the attributes that any man would expect of a man of God:

 

Acts 26:5"WHICH KNEW ME FROM THE BEGINNING, IF THEY WOULD TESTIFY, THAT AFTER THE MOST STRAITEST SECT OF OUR RELIGION I LIVED A PHARISEE."

 

Acts 23:1"AND PAUL, EARNESTLY BEHOLDING THE COUNCIL, SAID, MEN AND BRETHREN, I HAVE LIVED IN ALL GOOD CONSCIENCE BEFORE GOD UNTIL THIS DAY."

 

††††††† 1.Followed his own conscience.

††††††† 2.Contrary to Christ

 

III SOME THINGS IN WHICH WE HAVE NO PERSONAL RIGHT

 

††† A.The first that we will consider is the right to choose the name we shall wear in religion.

 

††††††† 1.The name for Godís people was given by Jehovah.

 

Isaiah 56:5"EVEN UNTO THEM WILL I GIVE IN MINE HOUSE AND WITHIN MY WALLS A PLACE AND A NAME BETTER THAN OF SONS AND OF DAUGHTERS: I WILL GIVE THEM AN EVERLASTING NAME, THAT SHALL NOT BE CUT OFF."

 

Isaiah 62:2"AND THE GENTILES [nations] SHALL SEE THY RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL KINGS THY GLORY: AND THOU SHALL BE CALLED BY A NEW NAME, WHICH THE MOUTH OF THE LORD SHALL NAME."

 

††††††† 2.That name was given early in the first century of this age and only the name "Christian" has been divinely given.When the elders at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to confirm the church there he went to Tarsus looking for Saul.

 

Acts 11:26 ďAnd when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

 

I Peter 4:16"YET IF ANY MAN SUFFER AS A CHRISTIAN, LET HIM NOT BE ASHAMED; BUT LET HIM GLORIFY GOD ON THIS BEHALF."

 

††† B.Secondly if we are to be Godís children we have no right to determine what church weíre going to belong to.

 

††††††† 1.We understand this fully in the physical world.When we were born into this world physically we did not choose which family we would be born into.

 

††††††† 2.In the same way, when we are born spiritually, as Jesus told Nicodemus we must do in order to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).If we are to be a child of the living God, live in the house of God, there is only one way we can get there.Part of the reason that Paul wrote to the young man, Timothy, was to instruct him how to conduct himself in the house of God.

 

I Timothy 3:15"BUT IF I TARRY LONG, THAT THOU MAYEST KNOW HOW THOU OUGHTEST TO BEHAVE THYSELF IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH."

 

And when we obey the commandments that God has given us for this purpose; we are added to the ďHouse of GodĒ the ďchurch of the living GodĒ Luke records that fact for all of us. All of those who were baptized in Jerusalem on Pentecost were added to the church and continued in the Apostles doctrine, teaching and:

 

Acts 2:47 "PRAISING GOD, AND HAVING FAVOUR WITH ALL THE PEOPLE.AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY SUCH AS SHOULD BE SAVED."

 

††††††† 3.We have no right to join another, and if we do we have no right to expect that God will bless us as his children.Because we have joined ourselves to another family that is not of God.

 

††† C.We have no right to determine our personal course in Christian service.In our lesson this morning in Bible school we learned from Jesus teaching in Luke 12 that the talents and opportunities provided us by God, determines our responsibilities in Godís kingdom.

 

††††††† 1.Belong to Christ, we have been bought with the price of his own blood:

 

I Corinthians 6:20"FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH ARE GOD'S."

 

††††††† 2.We are to live holy lives; we are to be as the apostles instructed:

 

James 1:27"PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD AND THE FATHER IS THIS, TO VISIT THE FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD."

 

I Timothy 5:22"LAY HANDS SUDDENLY ON NO MAN, NEITHER BE PARTAKER OF OTHER MEN'S SINS: KEEP THYSELF PURE."

 

††††††† 3.We are to avail ourselves of the opportunity to worship God, and we have no right to determine what should be done in that worshipBut first we are to worship.

 

††††††††††† Read Hebrews 10:25-29

 

††††††††††† a. In Spirit and in Truth

 

John 4:24"GOD IS A SPIRIT: AND THEY THAT WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH."

 

God is a Spirit being, He is not flesh and blood as men are; He does not think as men do; His ways are much higher than our ways.God is a spirit and the spirit of man must worship God, not simply with outward fleshly conformity to some ritual as under the Law of Moses or as is practiced by most of our religious neighbors.A spiritual being like God can be pleased with worship only when it comes from the heart and all worship to him must be guided by truth; His truth.

 

John 17:17"SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH: THY WORD IS TRUTH.

 

††††††††††† b. Not all worship is acceptable, Jesus made that fact very clear:

 

Matthew 15:9"BUT IN VAIN THEY DO WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN."

 

††††††††††† Paul, in Athens, told his audience that they were worshipping ignorantly.

 

Acts 17:23"FOR AS I PASSED BY, AND BEHELD YOUR DEVOTIONS, I FOUND AN ALTAR WITH THIS INSCRIPTION, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. WHOM THEREFORE YE IGNORANTLY WORSHIP, HIM DECLARE I UNTO YOU."

 

††††††††††† That ignorant worship was not acceptable to God, therefore, Paul went on to instruct them more clearly about God.

 

††† D.We have no right to determine how we shall be saved:

 

Proverbs 14:12"THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, BUT THE END THEREOF ARE THE WAYS OF DEATH."

 

††††††††††† From our study this morning, who determines what is right and wrong?God does.Consequently the wisest of men, directed by the Holy Spirit tells us:

 

"HE THAT TRUSTETH IN HIS OWN HEART IS A FOOL: BUT WHOSO WALKETH WISELY, HE SHALL BE DELIVERED." Proverbs 28:26

 

††††††† 1.God's plan is the same for all.He didnít provide one standard of living for one and another for someone else.He didnít provide one means of entering his eternal kingdom for some and something else for others.He didnít tell you and I one thing and our religious neighbors down the street something else.

 

Acts 10:34-35"THEN PETER OPENED HIS MOUTH, AND SAID, OF A TRUTH I PERCEIVE THAT GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS:BUT IN EVERY NATION HE THAT FEARETH HIM, AND WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, IS ACCEPTED WITH HIM."

 

††††††† 2.All must obey the same

 

Hebrews 11:6"BUT WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: FOR HE THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM."

 

We must seek him, and when we find him we must believe in him (Mark 16:15-16).Then we must repent as Paul tell us:

 

Acts 17:30"AND THE TIMES OF THIS IGNORANCE GOD WINKED AT; BUT NOW COMMANDETH ALL MEN EVERY WHERE TO REPENT:"

 

We must confess, we must confirm to God that we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God:

 

Acts 8:37"AND PHILIP SAID, IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST.AND HE ANSWERED AND SAID, I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD."

 

Then after we have confessed our belief we must be baptized just as the Ethiopian did on the Gaza road (Acts 8:38) and as Peter commanded:

 

Acts 2:38"THEN PETER SAID UNTO THEM, REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST."

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      Oh, yes, God made man as a free moral agent; but he has no right to what he may believe and be a child of God.He can choose only to accept Godís commandments, obey them and spend eternity with him in heaven; or he can choose to reject God and Godís commandments and spend eternity with the devil and his angels in hell.