WHO HATH BELIEVED OUR REPORT? (PART 3)
What also lends support to the fact that simply because a majority of people believe a thing it is no evidence in and of itself that what they believe is right, is the matter of a nation called Israel. The Scriptures say of Israel "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people" (Deut. 7:6,7). Now, it was not because of what they believed or who they were that made them so but the one Who had revealed Himself to them. No other nation was privileged to receive the blessings of God but the nation of Israel "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth" (Deut. 14:2). If one was not of Israel one was simply not of God. The pages of the Old Testament are filled with God’s dealings with this special people, His chosen people. "He sheweth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His judgements unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for His judgements, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord" (Psa. 147:19,20; cf. Ex. 33:13; Amos 3:2). God blessed the nation of Israel and He gave His laws to that nation. He enriched that nation with His special favors. The Lord even showed those people the way in which their sins could be forgiven them (Lev. 16). It was through a sacrificial system that the Lord introduced Israel to His Son Jesus, the Messiah who would come. In particular, the Lord ordered a priesthood to be established and once a year the high priest was directed by God to enter into the Holy of Holies, there to make sacrifice for the sins of God’s special people: the physical nation of Israel (Lev. 16:34). No other nation was part of this. The sins of no other people were atoned for. Only Israel was to be the recipient of God’s forgiveness. No matter how religious any other people were, no matter how loyally and faithfully they worshipped their gods, all other nations were pagan nations, a heathen people whose gods were all false, and who could therefore not save them. Only the God of Israel could save because only the God of Israel was the true God. Only the people God chooses, elects, are His people and the others are not. And only God’s people believe God’s Gospel, for all others are not His chosen (see Jn. 10:26). In Old Testament days God’s people were revealed as those of the nation of Israel. In New Testament days and beyond, God’s people are recognized, Scripturally speaking, as those who have, by grace, been given His faith to believe His Gospel and reject all others as God’s means of saving His people. Interestingly, all those who reject our Gospel, be it the doctrines or the ramifications, have no problem with the Old Testament type/picture of God electing one people, one nation, as His people and rejecting all others, and that He counted every other nation’s gods as false gods. There was no salvation for any other nation than Israel, the chosen nation of God. Yet these same people who see no problem with God’s discriminatory and exclusive love for Israel in the Old Testament cannot, and will not, accept the fact that only those whom God has chosen to receive His Gospel—the truth about man, God and His Son—will be called God’s children and all those who do not believe what God has said in that Gospel will be damned!
Though there are multitudes of people who are religious, multitudes of people who faithfully follow the teachings of their respective religions, the safety-in-numbers theory is also blown to bits by the fact that none, the Bible says, seek after God! "...there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one....there is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom. 3:10-12,18). Unless a person has been born again of God’s Word, His Gospel, one can have all the religion there is and still be lost. This is a hard concept for natural man to get his mind around, who has been raised on the ‘if it smells like a duck and looks like a duck it must be a duck’ philosophy which allows no room for the possibility of someone coming up with a counterfeit that can smell and look like a real duck but in reality be just a decoy. The faith that is of man by nature, that spawns his best religious efforts and sincerest moral reformations, can only lead to a false christ—an idol— a false religion, and therefore to ultimate destruction, for man is corrupted, and his heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9), so that all of man’s judgements are based on a darkened understanding of what the truth is. Some people who have seen that what they believe may not be the right Gospel, dispel any controversy in their minds with the line, ‘whatever the Gospel is and whether I’ve got it wrong or not, God knows my heart’, etc. Those who do not believe the Gospel fail to realise that it is precisely because God knows their hearts that they stand condemned, "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh..." (Matt. 12:34) and evidences that there is no love for God’s Gospel resident therein! The Word of God does not say that there are some who seek God, or that even one or two seek Him, but it is clear as clear can be that NO ONE AT ALL, by nature, seeks the true God. None understand God and therefore none seek God. None seek the God of the Gospel that says all of salvation is by the grace of God from beginning to final glory. This is the Gospel man naturally rejects, according to his fallen nature, and all those who do not judge saved and lost by this Gospel, or who reject it as the only Gospel which can save, reveal their accursed and unregenerate natures. They have all gone their own way and out of God’s way. Therefore we all start off equal in that none of us know God by nature. Those who end up knowing God and believing His Gospel, going HIS way, do so only because of God’s grace.
Friends, the truth is the truth whether one person believes it or one million people believe it. The fact that few believe it shows the majority’s ignorance of it or their lack of courage and willingness to want to believe it. It is difficult for many to come to terms with this and that only one or two people out of thousands could be the ones who are right about a thing and all the rest wrong. But when considered in light of the following example, one will readily see how plausible the concept is, and hopefully it will help them to understand how very real it is that a few could be right and the majority wrong. A true Gospel believer can be standing in the middle of a million Mormons and be the only saved man there because he would be the only Gospel believer there. A true Gospel believer can stand among ten million Hindus and be the only saved man there because he is the only one who believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a man is the only one who has true spiritual life because he is the only one there born of the Gospel of the Lord. All those around him may be very religious in their beliefs with deep and abiding loyalties and this carries through, and is easily seen, in their actions, in their manner of dress and in their treatment of others. All these people would give you the shirt off their backs if they could and many of them are learned people who have for years studied the doctrines of their particular faiths. Yet all this adds up to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the eyes of the Lord, for none of these people know or believe the only Gospel that the only God has declared His own. Only one person out of all those others is saved, for God revealed Himself only to that person and no others. The distinction is evidenced, not primarily in the person’s deeds, but by their belief in the true Gospel and rejection of the false. Now we begin to see how a few can be right and the majority wrong. Now we see that such a thing is not only possible, but is far from being the ridiculous assertion that so many think it to be. As was mentioned earlier, how many times have men stood out from the crowd and their ideas been scoffed at, who were later proven to be the ones who were right and the organized, long established and respected organizations that mocked their ideas, wrong.
The following statement, made without including any evidence and simply taken at face value, sounds ridiculous, far-fetched, outlandish and ignorant: ‘Most of the world’s population at any given time in its history have died lost people and are now perishing in hell.’ It just sounds so outrageous to say such a thing and most people immediately dispel such a notion without giving it another thought. To think that the many religious people, and even the irreligious who led lives that were filled with all sorts of ‘good deeds’, have all gone to hell because they did not believe the Gospel sounds crazy. But when the matter is looked into and certain facts brought to light, one will see that not only is such a thing plausible but it is irrefutable! The Word of God says that none who believe not the Gospel of God will be saved. No saving faith no salvation, is the Bible’s cry. Most estimates put the world’s population today at approximately six billion. Six billion people inhabiting the earth as we speak. Many of them are fine upstanding members of their communities, many of them are outlaws, many are rich, many more are poor, most of them are religious. Over one billion of these people are said to be Roman Catholic and, going by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church does not teach the Gospel but a perverted version of it, none of these people can be said to be saved. No one is saying they are not sincere, only that they are sincerely wrong. Muslims, the followers of Islam, are said to number approximately 1.3 billion worldwide. Such people, who for the most part are honest hardworking people who are kind to their neighbours and are dedicated to prayer and a ‘spiritual’ life, openly admit that they do not believe that Jesus Christ was anything but a good man and a prophet. They do not believe He was the Son of God and certainly not that He is God. To such people the Scriptures speak clearly, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Jn. 3:36); "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 Jn. 5:12); and Christ Himself says "...if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24). The Muslim gospel is not the Gospel of God and therefore no Muslim can be said to be saved. This is not a slur on the character of Roman Catholics or Muslims, it is simply stating a fact based on the Word of God. We do not deny these people’s zeal for their gods but declare that their zeal is not according to right knowledge (see Rom. 10:1-4). So, thus far we have looked at only two groups of religious people and already find ourselves with over one third of the world’s population as presently being with no hope of being saved, for they are without the faith of the true God which believes only in the true Gospel of God. Already we begin to see that the statement in question is not as crazy as it first appeared to be. Hinduism claims 900 million adherents and Buddhists are said to number 360 million. None of these people are saved for they abide not in the doctrine of Christ. That makes a total thus far of well over half the world’s population who are at the present moment, lost! But we are not finished yet! Now add to this Chinese traditional religion (225 million); primal-indigenous (150 million); African traditional and Diasporic (95 million); Sikhism (23 million); Spiritism (14 million); Judaism (14 million); the Mormons and the J.W.’s number collectively at least 12 million people. Neither one preaches the true Jesus and therefore they too could not be the bearers of God’s Gospel. Baha’i (6 million); Shinto (4 million); Neo-Paganism (1 million) and we now have over 4 billion people worldwide who are involved in false religions! That’s two thirds of the world’s population! And still the number is not complete! Add to all these: Charismatics, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists, The Quakers, the Shakers, Christian Science advocates, Scientologists, every Arminian based ‘christian’ denomination along with the Orthodox churches of Russia and Eastern Europe, and Freemasonry, not to mention all the irreligious people of the massive populations of Russia, China and India and we see just how verifiable and accurate the original statement, ‘most people are lost’, really is. The figures we have shared with you concerning the followers of false religions and believers of false gospels makes this a fact which none can deny or ignore. The statement is made not according to our statistics but according to Adherents.com. Their numbers are an approximate estimate and were last modified in September of 2002. The statement is made not according to the fact these people do not believe what we say but that they do not believe what God says in His Word. This brief study has easily proven that the vast majority of the world’s population is lost. Proportionately, true believers elected of God to believe the Gospel of the Righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ, number only a handful. The Lord Jesus says "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:13,14). Scripture says: "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 Jn. 5:19). Yes, there will be a great multitude of people saved (see Rev. 7:9; 19:6), but this does not mean that at any one time in history true believers numbered in the millions or even in the hundreds of thousands. The following will bear this out: if there were only one thousand people saved each century, that’s just ten people per year, over the past six thousand years this would come to a total of sixty thousand people! If two thousand were saved it would total one hundred and twenty thousand. If only three thousand people were saved every hundred years, that’s only 30 people per year, there would be one hundred and eighty thousand people saved, and so on. So we see that for there to be a great multitude of people in heaven which no man can number, there needs not be millions saved at any one time. There may well be only a handful of people saved during the course of a generation but this does not mean that heaven will be occupied by only a mere trifle. The fact that the prophet’s question, "Who hath believed our report" is still asked today by the true followers of God makes this a fact that cannot be ignored. To do so would be foolhardy.
I believe that the examples and evidences we have presented have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the majority, even those long established denominations which have built empires that span the globe and include Bible colleges, schools, hospitals and churches etc., can be wrong. In fact, history would testify that this is the norm and not the exception! When it comes to the truth, the majority does NOT rule! It is of equal and vital importance to point out that this should in no way be inferred by anyone as lending any credence at all, nor of our support for, the view that says the smaller the group, or the fewer the people who believe a thing, the more chance there is that they have the truth. Cults have appeared and continue to surface at a rapid rate. Schisms and splinter groups may be found to have come from much larger groups throughout history. Pockets of groups, or cells, some having as few as fifty people or less, can be found the world over who believe that God has decided to favor them and no one else. They have taken the fact that only a remnant will be saved to mean their own little group who believe certain things and who pride themselves in certain peculiar traits and whose existence is based on a Scripture or two. Many such groups, who have cut themselves off from the world and who live in communes or exclusive little communities, have perverted the Scriptures for their understanding of the Bible, just like their bigger sibling organizations, comes not from God but from their sin-polluted minds. Many of these groups have some form of perverted sexual relations as a core element of their teachings, while others caught up in doctrinal errors invariably become involved in some form of sexual perversion. Some believe that their ability to handle snakes and not get bitten too often is a sign that God favors them and no others, whilst others believe that a certain color or style of clothing or how the women wear their hair and the fact that the men all have beards is a confirming sign that they are the ones whom God calls His own. The one thing that binds all these groups, large or small, together is the fact that they all promote error when it comes to what the Gospel is—that is, Who God is and how God saves. The key to finding out if a group, whether large or small, teaches the truth or not is to home in on their doctrines. What do they teach about God? Specifically, what do they teach about the cross of Christ. Who do they say the Son of God is and what do they say Christ did on that Cross; what was accomplished, and for whom was it done? These things combined will tell you the Christ/christ they believe in, whether or not it is the one God bears record to in His Gospel or whether it is another christ of whom God says nothing other than there is no salvation in such a one. The only group I am a part of is the Body of Christ. That group of people that Christ has, by His blood, redeemed unto God "...out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9) and who have been given the faith by God to believe only His Gospel. Only those who believe the Gospel of God have God. This is what the Scriptures say, this is what I say. God’s people do not have a name, they go by no title other than the elect of God, the Body of Christ, "...the general assembly and church of the firstborn which are written in heaven..." (Heb. 12:23). They are also known as sheep (see Jn. 10), and a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people (see 1 Pet. 2:9). Only those saved of God, the believers in the Gospel of God, are deserving of the name CHRISTIAN, for they alone are the true followers of Christ. They are believers in the only Gospel that reveals the true Savior of men: Jesus Christ the Lord. Scripture also says of believers: "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true..." (1 Jn. 5:20). Without that God-given understanding, one cannot know the true God and therefore cannot possess a saving belief of God’s glorious Gospel.
The truth is what God says it is and it is never to be, and can never be, reliably judged by how many or how few there are who believe it. This rule tears down the claims of those who belong to the religious majority that sheer weight of numbers is the conclusive evidence, God’s indelible stamp of approval, that undeniable sign from God, that what they believe is the truth. It was never the case in Noah’s day, it was never the case in Jesus’ day, and it is NOT the case in our own day! It also breaks down the argument that says that because there are few who believe such a thing it is more likely that the truth is in their possession. What neither view has highlighted and concentrated on is the fact that the truth belongs to God and He gives it to whomsoever He wills. It has never been a matter of how many or how few believe a thing but the issue is, and has always been, WHAT IS IT THAT MUST BE BELIEVED? What is the truth? What is God’s Gospel? Again, the truth is what God says it is. The Gospel is what God says it is and how many or how few believe it is just not the issue. It does not figure in the equation, nor in the answer to, ‘what is the Gospel?’ It is a DISTRACTION from the real issue. It is designed to detour people from their independent studies and divert them into becoming mind-numbed followers of the world system!!! Yes, the system of the world, the way the world sees things and runs things, has two faces—one secular, the other religious. The world could not function if it only had a political side to it. It must also have a religious side that works hand-in-hand with the political, thus covering all the bases. The world is a very religious, or superstitious, place and every religion that does not teach the only Gospel of God is of the world. What the Gospel of God is that must be believed in for a man to be saved is all we need be concerned about. The issue is not ‘Who hath believed our report’ or ‘How many have believed our report’ but WHAT IS OUR REPORT? What is the Gospel which must be believed in? Some stupidly say that the Gospel is something which cannot be defined, that no man knows it! If this were the case, how could Christ Himself have told His people to preach it? How could they ever preach it if they did not know what it was? Don't look around you trying to decide the truth by how many believe a thing to be the truth or at how long it has been believed. Don’t look around to see how many agree with you. What matters is what God says His Gospel is and not how many who claim to believe it. Look to God’s Word and compare Scripture with Scripture, not Scripture with what your favorite author says or with what your pastor says. Examining those you listen to is not a matter of hearing what they say and then believing it is what God says merely because the Scriptures they have quoted are all right there in the Bible. Compare what they are saying about the Scriptures they are quoting with what the rest of the Bible says and see if it is all united or if there is any contradiction. Friend, we had better know what the Gospel is because the Scriptures speak clearly when they say that there is no salvation, indeed there can be no salvation, without the Gospel believed in to the point where every other gospel, past, present and future, is rejected as God’s Truth, as His means of saving His people. This is the prime evidence that God has come to a person and revealed Himself to them. Belief of the Gospel is of paramount importance because it is the evidence that God has graciously favored a person with His faith, which can only believe His Gospel. This is why if there is no saving faith there can be no salvation. Belief in a false gospel—an incomplete gospel is also classified as such—is the unmistakable sign that a person is not a child of God but a child of the Devil, for in believing a false gospel, one automatically rejects the true, showing that one has not been given the faith of God. "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" (Gal. 1:8); "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ (of Paul’s Gospel) let him be anathema..." (1 Cor. 16:22); "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God..." (2 Jn. 9); "...preach the Gospel to every creature...He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:15,16). And to those who scoff at what we say, who believe one can be saved without the Gospel of God, "...the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God AND THAT OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" (2 Thess. 1:7,8 cf. 1 Pet. 4:17). You will be rained on by the wrath of God who believe not His Gospel, for if you do not abide in the Doctrine of Christ the wrath of God abides on you (see 2 Jn. 9 & Jn. 3:36)!
The truth, God’s truth—His Gospel—has not been placed, nor is it, in the hands of large organizations or small ones, but is, as it has always been since the days of the apostles, in the hands of individuals. It is the Gospel for the people, but it is not the gospel of the people. God has not given His Gospel to some large religious group to disperse among His people, but has given it directly to His people wherever they are in the world. It is the Gospel of God, for God’s people, the elect, and the interesting thing is that they come from every nation and are brought out of the various forms of Babylonian religion. They are brought out of the kingdoms of darkness, where perverted and erroneous doctrines mixed with some truths are taught, and are brought into God’s Light, which is something that has no hint of darkness in it and that has never been found ‘here’ or ‘there’ but where God chooses to shine it. This bringing out from false religion is done via the faith which God gives that believes only His Gospel and rejects every other. This is why God’s people ALL come out of the various forms of Babylonian anti-God religions, for they cannot abide in their false gospels now that they have the faith of God with which to believe the truth. For the saved man, justified by the faith of God, there is nothing a ‘church’ which preaches a false gospel has for him. The faith God has given them is not attracted by false gospels and those who possess it can have no fellowship with those who do not believe God’s Gospel. The Church of God is not made up of a bunch of people who go about as chickens with their heads cut off, one believing this gospel over here and the other believing that gospel over there. They are uni-directional, for they have all been given ONE faith to believe in ONE Gospel, God’s Gospel. Only those who have the Light know where they are going: "...for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth" (Jn. 12:35). The very foundation of God’s Church, the ones He has called out of the world to believe His Gospel, is the doctrines of the apostles. All those who are now fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God "...are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone" (Eph. 2:20). "That is the doctrines of Divine revelation, whether communicated by prophets or apostles, were laid at the foundation of the Christian Church. It was not founded on philosophy, or tradition, or on human laws, or on a venerable antiquity, but on the great truths which God had revealed....The Lord Jesus is called the ‘Cornerstone,’ because the whole edifice rests on Him, or He occupies a place relatively as important as the corner-stone of an edifice." Importantly, Christ is said not to be the whole foundation of the Church but the chief Cornerstone. This does not in any way minimize the importance of the Person and Work of Christ, for He is an integral part of the foundation and without Him the edifice could not stand. "Were it not for Him the edifice could not be sustained for a moment. Neither prophets nor apostles alone could sustain it." It merely shows that there are other doctrines, as well as those which specifically deal with Who Christ is and what He has done, which make up the foundation upon which His Church stands. For instance, Paul said he preached Christ and Him crucified, but to correctly do this he also preached the fact that if any were to be circumcised thinking that this was an essential work that had to be done to ensure salvation, then Christ would profit them nothing (see Gal. 5). A person could claim Christ and preach what He did all they like, but if they were ignorant of the fact that there is nothing one must add to what Christ has done, such as a work of man’s, Christ would profit them nothing. Therefore, the doctrines of grace, which negates any need for man to perform a work in order to get or remain saved, and which cannot be preached without election, which talks of God’s Sovereignty etc., is an essential Gospel matter which does not take away from the Person and Work of Christ, but enhances all that He is and all that He has done. The Church is founded on doctrines and these doctrines are collectively called the Gospel of God. If one only has the doctrines which teach Who the Messiah is and what He has done, one does not have the whole Gospel. Likewise, if one only has all the other doctrines of the apostles but does not have the doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ, one does not have the whole Gospel. One can see from this that the doctrines of the Gospel MUST NOT be separated, for if they are, if even one of these doctrines is left out, then one no longer has the Gospel of God. In light of all this, can you imagine even one error being among that which Scripture calls the foundation of God’s Church? Can you imagine the words and teachings of mere men, found in every false gospel, forming part of the foundation of the Christian Church? Or can you imagine Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone of the foundation a people who believe in a false gospel are built upon? Of course not. Then how, it may well be asked, can anyone believe that a person is saved, or can be saved, whose house is built on a foundation that is not the foundation of the doctrines of the apostles and of which the apostles’ Christ is the Chief Cornerstone? God does not build His Church on any other foundation than that of the prophets and the apostles, so how could God save anyone whose faith was founded on doctrines that are simply not of God? The Lord God does not place any of His people in a house that is laid on any other foundation than that of His apostles and prophets, of which Christ His Son is the Chief Cornerstone!