Religious Bargain Hunting
Text: II Peter 2:1-3
I. There are few of us who don’t like a good bargain when we can get one.
A. There are some here who will look high-and-low for the best deal, whether it be groceries or a used car.
B. Of course, some people don’t seem to have a clue as to what truly is a bargain.
1. We all hear of people who will buy the milk that is on sale for $2.19 even though the store down the street’s regular price is $1.99.
2. I suspect, too, that several stores have sales by first raising the regular price and then advertising a discount that brings the price back down to a typical range.
3. I’m sure quite a bit of merchandise moves just because a retailer slaps a sale sign on the product.
C. A few times I will get caught buying what I think is a good deal, but then later finding out I wasn’t buying what I thought I was getting.
1. Cheap substitutes are not bargains.
D. Unfortunately, people let their desire for a discount drive their search for a church - II Peter 2:3
1. The word “exploit” is translated from a Greek work meaning to engage in business trade.
2. The King James translates it as making merchandise of you.
II. The bargains offered in denominations
A. Unity of all believers
1. There are people who want unity for unity’s sake. So long as a person is a believer, then they should join together.
2. Yet the definition of a believer is very flexible. You will find acceptance for groups who do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus or do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Often they have doubts about the miracles found in the Bible or whether Jesus was really divine.
3. Unity is important - Ephesians 4:1-3
a. But not to the acceptance of lies in place of the truth.
b. Jesus was born of a virgin - Matthew 1:23
c. The resurrection of Jesus is a fact that is the basis of Christianity - I Corinthians 15:1-4
d. Look at the consequence of this one disbelief - I Corinthians 15:12-19
4. Yet people buy into a religion that accepts anyone and any belief for the simple fact that it is cheap.
a. It is a religion that contains no challenges.
b. There is no way you can go wrong.
c. It offers salvation to everyone, whether they are obedient to the Scriptures or not.
d. There is not need to reform your life, you can be saved just the way you are.
5. What a bargain, yet it is a discount on lies.
B. Join the church of your choice
1. It has become a prevalent belief in the U.S. that one church is good as another.
a. Have you seen denominations whose membership far exceeds their weekly attendance?
(1) Many find the convenience of sending in their contributions.
(2) They can be members without ever having to go to church
b. In fact, you don’t even have to be apart of any organized religion if you don’t care for that sort of thing.
c. This kind of discount is snapped up by people who don’t want to be bothered finding true church of Jesus Christ.
d. Convenience is the primary objective.
(1) Whether it is selecting a church because we have always gone to that type of church
(2) Or picking the one that is closest to home
(3) People want a church that takes no effort to examine.
2. Jesus, though, said he would build his church - Matthew 16:18 – singular
a. When people are saved they are added to the Lord’s church - Acts 2:47
b. He is the head of that one church - Colossians 1:18
c. That one church was purchased with his blood - Acts 20:28
d. He saves that one church - Ephesians 5:23
e. What can be clearer than - Ephesians 4:4. There is one church (see Ephesians 1:22-23 for the definition of body as the church).
3. Yet we have thousands of denominations competing for members, yet saying it doesn’t really matter where you meet.
a. Our brand is just as good as the original, and look at all these things we will throw in that the original doesn’t have.
4. Instead of choosing the church of your choice, why not choose the church of God’s choice?
C. Faith Only
1. Lower the terms or lessen the monthly payments and people will buy a product.
a. People do it for cars and they do it for religion
2. Take a look at the doctrine of salvation by faith only.
a. They discount the need for repentance and especially baptism despite the evidence found in the book of Acts.
b. Salvation, they claim, is at the point of faith. Nothing else is needed.
3. Yet Jesus said we need to obey - Matthew 7:21-23
a. You can believe and call on the Lord and still be lost!
4. Paul said we are justified by faith - Romans 5:1
a. But in the next chapter he continues to say we were made free (saved) by obedience - Romans 6:17-18
b. So when is one justified by faith? When that faith leads one to obedience. - Hebrews 5:9, I Peter 1:22
c. Faith cannot be separated from works - James 2:14-17
d. Faith works through love - Galatians 5:6
D. Salvation without Baptism
1. Think of the religions you know that teach that baptism is not necessary for salvation.
a. Even though they teach it is not necessary, almost everyone still practices some form of baptism. Why is that?
2. Despite the simple and plain teaching of Mark 16:15-16.
3. The examples of the early church affirms this
a. Acts 2:37-38 - Repent and be baptized. What was the result - 3,000 were baptized - Acts 2:41
b. Acts 8:12 - When they believed they were baptized
c. The eunuch was baptized - Acts 8:36-38
d. Cornelius’s household was baptized - Acts 10:44-48
e. Lydia and her household - Acts 16:14-15
f. The jailer in Philippi - Acts 16:29-33
4. Why such an emphasis on baptism?
a. It washes away sins - Acts 22:16
b. It puts us into Christ - Galatians 3:26-27
c. It saves us - I peter 3:21
5. Don’t let a discount house of religion offer you a cut rate deal on salvation. They cannot guarantee their product.
a. Salvation is of God. Anything less is a cheap substitute that will not get us into heaven.
b. Sure it takes a little more to be saved God’s way, but it does what it is advertised to do.
E. Once saved always saved
1. Some believe that man is born sinful. As such, he cannot find salvation without the direct intervention of God. The Holy Spirit must operate on a person’s heart enabling him to believe and receive Jesus. Of course, once God has converted a man, it is believed that it is permanent. A man so saved cannot willing choose to sin.
2. This is just another form of bargain religion.
a. Have you ever debated buying a vacuum cleaner? One offers a five-year warranty and other a ten-year warranty. Oh, but this one offers a lifetime guarantee!
(1) You’re tempted to pay just a little bit more because of that security.
(2) You might even be a little bit more careless with the product because after all it is guaranteed.
(3) But then when the product does break, where is the company that made the promise?
b. Some religions offer a lifetime guarantee on salvation.
c. You don’t have to put any effort into maintaining your salvation
3. Sin is the breaking of God’s commandments - I John 3:4
a. We must hold on to the end - Hebrews 3:12-14
b. Some though will draw back into perdition - Hebrews 10:38-29
4. Those who accept this bargain are looking for a religion that takes little effort to maintain.
a. Yet it is this very carelessness that can lead us into trouble - I Corinthians 10:12
b. We have to work on our salvation - Philippians 2:12
III. Religion is not a place to go looking for bargains. Our eternal salvation depends on what we choose. How unfortunate to be reject by our Lord because we thought we could cut corners.