Gary Carpenter Ministries
If you are like me you often come across people who believe that Christianity is not the only path to God. Many people believe it does not matter what religion you choose, as long as you are sincerely seeking after God you will ultimately be saved. But the bible is very clear that religion alone without Christ, no matter how sincerely believed, will not bring anyone to God.
In bible times the people of Asia living in Ephesus were very "religious" long before Paul first preached the gospel there. The temple to the goddess Diana at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It had first been built 570 years before the Christian era. It took 220 years of construction to bring it to perfection. It is said that not only was Diana worshipped by the Ephesians but also all the people of Asia Minor came to worship her there. The temple was built through contributions from the rulers of many nations. This was one of the greatest "religions" of the time and the people were so serious about their devotion to their goddess that when Paul came to preach Christ in Ephesus the people gathered together in the theatre and shouted for two hours "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"
Acts 19:34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
Picture that in your mind … one of those ancient amphitheaters filled with people so fanatical in their devotion to their religion that for TWO HOURS they shouted the same thing over and over again. Surely these people were sincere! Not only by this public demonstration but also by their building of such a magnificent temple we must conclude that these people were sincerely seeking to please the one they "thought" was god. If the modern day naysayers are correct and all that matters is that people be sincere in their seeking after God … then the Ephesians would certainly qualify for acceptance with God. But read carefully what Paul wrote to these same people of Ephesus after they became Christians. He did not mince words. He did not tiptoe around the truth.
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
It didn't matter at all how sincerely they worshipped Diana … or any other false God. When they were without Christ they had no hope, and they were without God in the world. All of their sincerity and devotion to worship the false god Diana was worthless. She was just another idol in a world full of idols. I was speaking with a man just yesterday who was almost shouting at me over the telephone that he has God because he believes in God. But when I asked him if he believed if Jesus was the Son of God he told me no. I asked him if he believed Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the world. He told me he did not believe God had limited salvation of mankind to only one specific way.
1 John 2:22-23 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
If you do not have the Son, you do not have the Father.
1 John 5:10-12 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
I asked him if he believed the bible to be the Word of God and he said no. He believed the bible was just a bunch of books written by men. According to the verse shown above this man is calling God a liar because he is choosing not to believe the record (the bible) that God has given of His Son. Before our conversation was over he was accusing me of being a narrow minded bigot, a crook and a charlatan, and many other things that I shall not repeat in this letter. So what is my attitude toward this man? I am praying for him and I will continue to pray for him according to our Lord's instructions:
Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
I am not mad at him at all. Christ died for that man the same that He died for me. That man is part of the "precious fruit of the earth" that the Lord intends to harvest before the end of the age. I will continue to call his name before the Lord and asking the Lord of the harvest that He would daily send people across that man's path, people whom he can relate to, that will sow seed of God's Word and water the seed until one blessed day that man receives Christ as his Savior.
Paul did not give up on the Ephesians. He left for a season but returned later to preach the gospel and eventually a great Christian church was established there. History tells us that Paul's disciple Timothy became the pastor of that mighty church. "Religion" without Christ is not enough. Being sincere is not enough. There is only one name given under heaven by which man can be saved … the Lord Jesus Christ! Let us hold fast our confession of faith and be willing to suffer abuse at the hands of unbelievers as we continue to speak the truth in love.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,