What Makes Us Different?

1 John 4: 1-3

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

What sets Christianity apart from other religions? Have you ever wondered that? There are some that teach that all religions are essentially the same and are valid paths to God and therefore there is no right or wrong one. Is that true? Unfortunately for all who have been deceived by false religions, no. The Bible is very clear that there are not many paths to God, only one. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There are many things that make biblical christianity exclusive and set it apart from all other religions. We don’t have the time to list them all today so lets focus on just two of them.
The First is the incarnation of Christ. Jesus becoming a man. To be fair, there is one other major world religion that teaches incarnation and that is Hinduism. They teach that their god (Vishna) was or will be incarnated 10 different times in ten different forms: a fish, a tortoise, a boar, a man-lion, as Parasurama, as Ramachandra, as Krishna, as Buddha, and some day as Kalki. Each one supposedly came for a different reason (one came in response to a flood! sound familiar?) and these stories are fanciful and full of mythological content! None of them came to bring salvation to all who believes! Only the Bible teaches that God’s only Son came to this word to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life so that He could be the sacrifice that would redeem the souls of men! And John tells us that those who deny the incarnation of Jesus are ani-christ! Jesus becoming man makes Christianity exclusive!
The Second is the resurrection of Christ. Here in just a few days we will be celebrating this event, that three days after He shed His blood on the cross and died for the sin of mankind, Jesus rose from the grave! The founders of each other major world religions are dead and many of them you can go and visit their graves. Only the tomb of Christ is empty. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that this event is not just important – he says  that without the resurrection we are hopeless! If Jesus is still in the tomb then He was nothing more than a good teacher that was here to help us live moral lives and there is nothing past the grave that He can do for us! But in verse 20 he says, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept!” The truth of the resurrection of Christ makes Christianity exclusive! 
It is faith in Christ – not just that God became a man and died on the cross for you and for me, but that He also rose from the grave – that brings salvation! Romans 10:9 says “9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” And as the apostle Peter proclaimed before the council in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Sounds pretty exclusive to me!
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us be wary of all those who claim to speak for God but deny the incarnation and the resurrection. These are anti-christ and the enemies of the truth. There is one way to God – through His Son – and may we boldly proclaim this truth that all may here and know that there is salvation in the name of Jesus!