Despite the controversy that continually follows Mark Driscoll and that reached a crescendo last week with his removal from the Acts 29 Network, I will continue to post from this sermon series of his, which has five more segments, because I believe there is a lot of good in it; his clear and engaging answers to these twelve common questions about Jesus helped bolster and clarify my faith when I was a college student, and I am hoping that you too will find value in them and won’t let the accusations against Driscoll discolor your reception of them.
You can see part 1 of the series here.
6:21: The concept of “savior” in popular culture
12:56: The concept of “savior” in world religions
All religions besides Christianity teach that you are your own savior, that you can save yourself by living a certain way or practicing a certain technique.
15:39: The concept of “savior” in the Christian Bible
- We need a savior, there is a savior, God is that savior, and Jesus is God.
- Despite all the denominational differences and disagreements, what unites Christians into one body is that we all acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Savior.
21:59: Jesus’s love is all-inclusive.
“Jesus doesn’t just love one country, doesn’t just love one nationality, doesn’t just love one ethnicity. Jesus loves all peoples in all nations—past, present, and future. Jesus loves the whole world. And Jesus is the savior of people from all the nations of the earth. And again, this is distinctive. This is the exact opposite of saying, ‘God loves us exclusively. God loves our kind of people. God loves our gender. God loves our race. God loves our language. God loves our culture. God loves our geographic location. God loves our socioeconomic standing, at the expense of others.’ No, Jesus is the savior of the world, and people from all over the world receive salvation through Jesus as Savior God.”
26:49: He seeks us, not the other way around.
- In other religions, God says, “If you can find me, if you can work yourself out of the predicament you’ve gotten yourself into, then I’ll save you.” But Christians believe mankind is so lost that we could never find our way to God, and so he comes looking for us. We’re like kids who have wandered off from our parents and are lost; we don’t know where we’re going or how to get back home. That’s why Jesus came: to seek and to save us. He’s the one who takes the initiative.
- Other religions teach that we’re basically good but the world is ruining us, so if we just tap into our own basic goodness, we can save ourselves. But the Bible teaches the opposite: that sin is not just out there, it’s in here, inside us. We’re not the solution; we’re the problem. We can’t save ourselves because we’re the ones destroying ourselves. We need to be saved from ourselves.
- In other religions, God loves only the lovely, those who are clean and pure, the “good guys.” But the Christian God loves the unlovely, the wicked, the “bad guys.”
- The hope is not in us; it’s in Christ.
31:52: Jesus is the savior not only of many people but from many things.
- from sin (Matt. 1:21), from God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9), from death (2 Tim. 1:10), from Satan
- We don’t need to accept sin as simply part of our personality; we also don’t need to hide it or be enslaved by it. We can be delivered from it!
- “Some of you have struggled with questions like ‘How could a good God send people to hell?’ I don’t struggle with that one. I struggle with ‘How could a good God let anyone into heaven?’ That’s the one that continually perplexes me. If I was God, no one would get in! I mean, you look at what we’ve done to the earth. I’d say, ‘They’re not coming to my house, that’s for sure!’”
42:26: Jesus is the only savior.
Pluralists say that it’s OK to have Jesus as an option, but not the only option:
- John Lennon: “I believe that what Jesus and Muhammad and Buddha and what all the rest said was right, it was just that the translations have gone wrong.”
- Buddha: “There are 84,000 paths to enlightenment.”
- Homer Simpson: “I’m gonna die! Jesus, Allah, Buddha, I love you all! Doh!”
- Gandhi: “All paths leading to God are equally good.”
- Oprah: “One of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe there’s only one way.”
- Stephen Colbert: “Although I am a committed Christian, I believe everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.”
“How many of you would want directions, while driving, from a religious pluralist? Can you imagine you’re driving, and you say, ‘I don’t know where I’m going; I want to get to Canada.’ You pull over at the gas station, you meet a directional pluralist, and you say, ‘I want to get to Canada.’ They say, ‘Pick a road, drive on it; they all end up in Canada.’ You’re like, ‘Actually, they don’t. Some go to Mexico, some go in the water, some go to New York, some go to Florida, some go around in a circle, some go to a dead end.’ ‘No, just believe.’”
“There has always been resistance to the exclusivity, superiority, and singularity of Jesus. . . . In the early church, the reason why Christians were opposed and persecuted and put to death is because they refused to say, ‘Jesus is a savior.’ They continually maintained that Jesus was the savior, and that got them into all the trouble.”
Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else.”
John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”