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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 20, 2009

  • 2009 Jan 20

Sacraments and Purgatory

Gal 1:6 would be the way that I would start giving my testimony. Why it’s so crucial and imperative tonight, in the life our church, and in your life particularly, that you know why I believe, biblically, it’s wrong to be a Roman Catholic and to claim to be a Christian.


There are seven reasons, but I’ll introduce that starting in verse 6, because the apostle Paul was confronted with something of nearly as great a magnitude as the Roman Church is. And you can see how he spoke out very strongly. In fact, this book, his epistle to the Galatians, is the most strong, denouncing, almost imprecatory of all of Paul’s writings. Nowhere else, does he so strongly wield the sword of the Spirit against specific individuals as when they tampered with the simplicity of the gospel.

Look at verse 6… “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” The apostle Paul went to these people on his first missionary journey. Of course, in theological circles, I would be of the Southern Galatian belief. There are two schools of thought: One is that we don’t even know whom Paul is writing this to, the other is that we do. And I believe that when you read chapters 13 and 14 of the book of Acts, you find the group of people that Paul was ministering to, and then he wrote back a letter to them to encourage them. This is probably Paul’s second epistle. It was written about the time of the council in Jerusalem because he was so agitated about the fact that people were coming in and destroying the gospel. Now, how can you destroy the gospel? Well, keep reading,


which is really not…”


That’s an awful, awful judgmental thing to say. But Paul the apostle was very serious.


Legalism is Adding Something to the Gospel to Earn Salvation


So briefly, that introduction will tell you that the apostle Paul was quite angry because a group of people had infiltrated those Southern Galatian cities. And what they were telling the people was, “Believing in Jesus Christ by faith is not enough.” You’ve got to add a little surgery to it, circumcision, and a whole list of laws, the laws of Moses. That’s why he said it’s really not another gospel, it’s a different gospel.


Because anything that clouds the simple gospel of the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ, that you don’t need three theological dictionaries, that you don’t need a seminary degree, that you don’t need to go on a pilgrimage to get it. All you need to do is acknowledge the overwhelming debt we owe to God and the singular sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered. That’s the gospel. But what happened to that gospel? Well, if you turn back to the 15th chapter of Matthew, I want to show you the problem started when Christ was here and it’s never left us.


And if I was to give a general introduction of what’s wrong with the Roman Church it would be Matt 15:1-6. I don’t want you to miss this, because the real danger we’re facing today is the elevation of some very erudite, some very earnest people’s opinion elevated over the Bible. And when you do that, you totally destroy the simple gospel message that Christ accomplished on the cross. Look at Matt 15:1-2


Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”


Now, this wasn’t saying that the disciples were a bunch of slobs, what it’s saying is they didn’t do it their way, they did it their own way, instead of the Pharisees’ way. Basically, in Christ’s time, the Pharisees went through this ritual that involved taking sacred water and putting it from one hand to the other and then letting it run down to the bottoms of their elbows. Then they would take it again and put it from one hand to the other, then they’d let it out of their hands and it would run down. And they would wash their hands all the way down to the bottom of their elbows.


And had become a tradition, and it became such a big thing that you’d wear your special clothing, and you’d come into the banquet, and you’d get a little of this water and you’d pour it in your hands and you’d let it run down and drip on the tablecloth, and you’d do this several times. Now look, verse 3.


and he…”


Just to give you an example, Sunday School. You might think that Jesus started Sunday School. Jesus did not start Sunday School, Sunday School was started in 1783 by a fellow named Robert Rakes in England. No one had Sunday School before that. Did you know that? But yet if you say we’re going to change Sunday school, some people go right through the ceiling. They would have a heart attack. They would collapse outside. They would quit going to church because they think it’s in the Bible. It’s not in the Bible. The Bible says that parents are to instruct their children. And your children’s primary spiritual learning should be from you and from me as a parent and not from Sunday School. That’s a secondary, that’s a supplement. Do your children live on vitamins? Church is a vitamin; Sunday School is a vitamin. It’s a supplement; it’s not their diet. If kids ate vitamins all the time, they’d be sick. If your children only get a diet from Sunday School, they’ll be sick.


The Error of Sacraments


And I read to you again from Vatican II that was 1962-1965. In Vatican II, they reaffirmed, and this is what they said,


“If anyone says the sacraments of the new law are not necessary for salvation, but that without them men obtain from God through faith alone grace of justification. Let him be anathema.”


That’s exactly Roman doctrine that they do not, they aren’t ashamed of and they don’t veer from at all. That is what the Roman Church believes. Look at Titus 3:5…

not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,


That’s salvation, how do you get it? Ephesians 2:8,9


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.


Not by sacraments, not by as Vatican II says and affirms,


“That this sacred counsel proposes the decrees of Trent are true, and that the Eucharist, and the sacrifice of the Eucharist the work of our redemption is accomplished.”


The work of our redemption, your and mine, is accomplished by Jesus Christ alone. Not by sacrifice.


The Error of Purgatory


I want to explain to you how horrible purgatory is because some of you are going to go to funerals. And you’re going to be there because of someone you love or a friend of someone you love, and they’re going to be having a Mass for that person that died to help him out of purgatory. And everyone’s going to stand up and they’re going to start filing forward and you’re going to be at a moment of truth. And I’ll tell you something, it is wrong for you to participate in what they’re doing. It’s not wrong, you can go to a funeral, you can go to a wedding, but when they get and down and do all their things and march forward—you should not. Why? Because what they’re doing is wrong, and if you go along with them you are affirming what they're doing. You’re affirming their error. Don’t make a face and do something to upset them, just reverently stand there. And if they ask you afterwards why you didn’t go just explain to them. I’ll explain to you what’s wrong with purgatory…


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