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Guard the Gospel

Guard the Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Gospel is under attack from several approaches including MTD and Pomo

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Introduction

GUARD (Heb. šāmar, nāṣar; Gk. tēréō, phylássō).

As a verb the term means to watch over and protect, to have charge of, or to keep. The ordinary use speaks of guarding prisoners (Josh. 10:18; Acts 12:4), a palace (2 Kgs. 11:5), or a gate (Neh. 13:22). It may indicate guarding against something: intruders in the Garden (Gen. 3:24), invaders (2 Kgs. 9:14), or enemies (Ps. 12:7 [MT 8]; 25:20). A person may guard or protect another from danger: Nabal, by David (1 Sam. 25:21); believers, by angels (Ps. 91:11) and by God (Isa. 27:3).

2 Timothy 1:13–14 NASB95
Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

13 1aRetain the bstandard of csound words dwhich you have heard from me, in the efaith and love which are in fChrist Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who adwells in us, the 1btreasure which has been entrusted to you.

Every Christian should know the attacks against the Gospel and how to refute them.
There are three attacks to briefly look at and then offer some refutation of them
1. Attacks on Person of Jesus
2. Attacks by Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
3. Attacks from Postmodernism (Progressive Christianity)

Attacks on the Person of Jesus

Jesus Didn’t Exist
Jesus sinned
Jesus wasn’t God

Attack from MTD

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a phrase coined by Christian Smith who wrote three outstanding books about the emerging culture beginning with Millennials. Soul Searching; Souls in Transition; and Lost in Transition.
After several years of researching and conducting interviews with teens and young adults across America, Smith concluded that the religion most ascribed to was what follows.
1. A God exists and orders the world and watches over all of Human life on earth.
2. God wants people to be good, nice and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and most other world religions.
3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to solve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die

Attacks from Postmodernism

Any intellectual movement is defined by its fundamental philosophical premises. Those premises state what it takes to be real, what it is to be human, what is valuable, and how knowledge is acquired. That is, any intellectual movement has a metaphysics, a conception of human nature and values, and an epistemology.
Hicks, Stephen R. C. (2010-10-19). Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Kindle Locations 290-292). Ockham's Razor Publishing / Scholargy. Kindle Edition.
Attacks from Postmodernism are essentially attacks on “absolute truth” and reality.
“What does it mean to be the inspired word of God? For a long time inspiration was taken to mean that the words of Scripture revealed an objective portrait of God - sort of like Newton’s laws of physics. The same was thought about reality in general. Many still believe that humans are able to perceive the actual and objective reality of the world. Much has occurred over the last two centuries to change that view. From our current, postmodern perspective, we realize that we can only have a phenomenal understanding of the world (that is, knowledge filtered through our human concepts). The same is true concerning our understanding of God.” James P. Danaher, Eyes That See - Ears That Hear pg 87.
2. Attacks on absolute truth attack God, Jesus, and the Bible.
3. Attacks on absolute truth directly affect morality.
Hicks, Stephen R. C. (2010-10-19). Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Kindle Locations 290-292). Ockham's Razor Publishing / Scholargy. Kindle Edition.
“Deconstruction,” Stanley Fish confesses happily, “relieves me of the obligation to be right … and demands only that I be interesting.”
Metaphysically, postmodernism is anti-realist, holding that it is impossible to speak meaningfully about an independently existing reality.
Metaphysically, postmodernism is anti-realist, holding that it is impossible to speak meaningfully about an independently existing reality.
Postmodernism substitutes instead a social-linguistic, constructionist account of reality. Epistemologically, having rejected the notion of an independently existing reality, postmodernism denies that reason or any other method is a means of acquiring objective knowledge of that reality.
Postmodernism substitutes instead a social-linguistic, constructionist account of reality. Epistemologically, having rejected the notion of an independently existing reality, postmodernism denies that reason or any other method is a means of acquiring objective knowledge of that reality.
Postmodernism then becomes an activist strategy against the coalition of reason and power. Postmodernism, Frank Lentricchia explains, “seeks not to find the foundation and the conditions of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change.” The task of postmodern professors is to help students “spot, confront, and work against the political horrors of one’s time”

Refuting Attacks on the Person of Jesus?

1. Jesus Didn’t Exist - Play the clip of Bart Ehrman chastising atheists who don’t believe Jesus existed.
Jesus’ brother was known outside of NT documents
Paul was known as a disciple (apostle of Jesus) outside the NT
2. Did Jesus sin?
The accuser must present the evidence for Jesus’ sin. They are making the accusation, so they must defend their statement with evidence.

Refuting MTD

1. A God exists and orders the world and watches over all of Human life on earth.
Not “A” God but “The” God - Which God?
2. God wants people to be good, nice and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and most other world religions.
The refutation here and following is the same - How did you come to that conclusion?
What is your authority for this?
How can “most religious books” agree on anything?
What about contradictions between two religions?
Is this a moral imperative? Or, is it a way to salvation?
In other words can doing this “good and fair” save you?
3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
Again, where is this from? How did you come to this conclusion? Is the authority secure?
4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to solve a problem.
Is God then our servant? Does He exist for us?
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.
Define Good. How does one know when they have done enough to be good enough to get into heaven.
Is Mother Theresa the standard of God?

Refuting Postmoderism

Don’t you have to know something about reality to know you cannot know reality?
The fundamental question of reason is its relationship to reality. Is reason capable of knowing reality— or is it not? Is our rational faculty a cognitive function, taking its material from reality, understanding the significance of that material, and using that understanding to guide our actions in reality— or is it not?
The question to return to is: Is there not something perverse about making our organs of consciousness obstacles to conscious-ness?

Conclusion

Three attacks on the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Person of Jesus Christ
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
Postmodernism
The church must learn how to engage the culture especially around these attacks and also learn how to refute them.
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