Saturday, June 29, 2013

Come Let Us Sing To The Lord

New Testament Lesson                                                                    Luke 9:51-62
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”[a] 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then[b] they went on to another village.
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus[c] said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

How many of you like to go to the baseball game?
          What is your favorite part of the game?
          Mine is the Seventh Inning Stretch – We all get to stand up and sing -“Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”
          Do you know that song?
          Sing it!
          Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.
          You know what is sad about that song?
          Some of you sang that louder, with more skill, enthusiasm and passion than you did when we sang our opening hymn this morning,
          We sing in every worship service – well, almost every worship service.  Once in a while we will have a special prayer service or some other somber, quiet worship without music, but by and large it is rare that we have worship without music.
          Music is a vital part of our worship service – have you ever wondered why?
          I have to tell you that a few years ago, someone sold his soul on ebay. (
Hemant Mehta put his soul up for sell on the Internet auction company, ebay, and sold it for $504.
Actually, he didn’t sell his soul for eternity, but only for one year. The way it worked was this – whoever submitted the highest bid would be able to take this atheist to the church of the buyer’s choosing.  A minister won the highest bid and they went to nine different churches.  In the end, the atheist remained an atheist – at least the last time I heard.  But he did go to these services with an open mind, and what impacted him as much or more than anything else was not the preaching, or the friendliness of the congregation – it was the music.
What stood out every week was the music.
Now I know that not everyone is gifted with music.  Thee are those who do not know how to sing.
When I was in Seminary, all of the students would go out to preach in different churches, and one of them went out one Sunday to the Hopewell Presbyterian Church out in the rural country several miles outside of Atlanta. 
The student got up to begin the worship and invited everyone to turn in their hymnbooks to Hymn Number 26.
Everyone stood and picked up a hymnbook and looked for hymn 26.
The student preacher stood up and picked up a hymn and turned to number 26.
And when everyone began to sing, one of the elders rushed up to the pulpit and asked, “son, do you have the same hymnbook as everyone else?”
And the student responded – “Sir, I’m not only using the same hymnbook, but I’m even on the same page as everyone else.”
We all have different levels of gifts in music, but we are all invited and expected to sing out.
Why is music such a part of worship?
We sing to teach.
Even today, when I look up a word in the dictionary, I know what the alphabetical order is by singng, ABCDEFG…
First, we sing in church to teach the faith.
There is an old saying that most of the theology that a church teaches is taught through music.
This past week we had music camp here in the church, and one of the songs I heard the children sing was, “The B I B L E.”  You know that song?
“The B I B L E, yes that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B I B L E…”
Children who sing that not only learn how to spell the word “Bible” but also learn that the Bible is a special book – the word of God.
Or as adults we sing the words of
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
Why do we sing in church?  We sing to teach and to remember our faith.
When we are at death’s door, and our memory is fading, what will often be remembered are those familiar passages of scripture, and songs. Amazing Grace, When we gather at the river, Joyful joyful we adore thee….
We also sing out of joy. We sing because we are happy.
If I am in a good mood, I start singing.  I sing in the car, I sing in the shower.  I sing in all sorts of places where no one can hear me.
We sing because we are in a good mood.
When Christ was born, the angels sang.
You cannot have Christmas without singing.
And we also sing to honor God, to give praise to God.
          Time and again in worship, we read about this.

Psalm 95 says, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord:  let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”

“Make a joyful noise.”


You know, I’ve always had a problem with that verse from the Bible.  “Make a joyful  -------- noise.”

And I’ve heard people use this verse as an excuse.  “God doesn’t expect me to sing well, he just asks for us to make a joyful ---- noise.”

But that is not what this verse says.  “Noise” is the same as “sound” – not a racket, not a cachophany, but a sound.  

In fact, elsewhere in the Bible, in our Old Testament lesson, it says, “Play skillfully.”

I know some of us have more musical talent than others – but God expects of us to give him the best we can.

In the New Testament passage from Luke, Jesus invites people to follow him.  People have all sorts of distractions – they have to say good bye to people, they have to bury a father, but Jesus invites them to let those things go and to stay focused.  Focused on him.  To follow him with resolute determination. 

With --- excellence.

God expects the best of us.

In music, we are to play skillfully.

But not just in music – in all life.

II Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Do your best, do it with excellence.

Colossians 3:23
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

Do your best, do it with excellence.

I Corinthians 10:31 whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Do your best, do it with excellence.

That means if we have a mission program, we should not settle for just good enough.  We should expect it to be done with excellence.

When we teach a Sunday School class, help with the landscaping, prepare fellowship events, we should do it with excellence, because we are doing these things for God.

And outside of the church, in our school work, our athletics, our conversations, being a friend to others, or going to work – we should do it with excellence, because we are doing all of these things for God.

As we read in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. “

Friday, June 14, 2013

Psalm 32 - Forgiveness

Psalm 32

Of David. A maskil.

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose iniquity the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Do you remember the old Star Trek television shows – not the movie that just came out, or the more recent series on television, Star Trek Enterprise – or Star Trek the Next Generation, or Star Trek Voyager, and definitely not the cartoon series – I’m talking about the Original Series that was on television back in the 1960s. 

In that series, every time someone was injured or had some fatal disease, Dr. McCoy would struggle to find a cure.  Within 60 minutes, not counting commercials, Dr. McCoy ALWAYS found a cure.  Usually it was just in time.  And he would inject something into the sick person who was by this time either covered with scabs or looking very, very old – or something.  And then immediately the sick person would look young instead of old, or immediately the scars would disappear, the broken bone would be healed, or the burn would go away.

I’m looking for the day when that is reality. 

Imagine.  You have shingles?  Get a shot and the pain is immediately gone.  Got cancer?  Skip chemo. Get a Dr. McCoy shot and the disease vanishes and you go back to work that day.  Break your leg, no problem.

We know it doesn’t happen that way – at least not in our reality.  Healing takes time.

And so it is with forgiveness.

When you have sinned against God.  Or when you have hurt someone.  Or when someone has hurt you.

Forgiveness takes time.

Psalm 32 starts out this way:

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose iniquity the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.
          To be forgiven is a blessing.
          Forgiveness is elusive. 
          Forgiveness is hard to experience.
          I think the reason is that most of us do not know what forgiveness is.
          I looked up “forgiveness” in the dictionary, and you know what it says?  I kid you not, it says, “Forgiveness.  The act of forgiving.”  That doesn’t say much.
          So I looked up “forgiving.”  The definition?  “To be willing to forgive.” 
          I felt like I was in a loop that kept taking me in circles.
          Forgiveness is hard to define, and it is hard to experience – and I think it is hard to experience because it is so hard to define.

          Let me tell you what forgiveness is NOT.[1]

Forgiveness is not something that comes quick or easy.  It is something that takes time.

Forgiveness is not stopping to feel the pain.  It may be the beginning of a long, long road to healing, but it is not the momentary, instant stopping of the pain we have experienced.

          Forgiveness is not approving of someone’s actions or sins.  How many times do we dismiss the seriousness of an offense by saying, “Well, it’s okay.  Nobody’s perfect.  Everybody makes mistakes.”

Forgiveness is not forgetting.  It is one of the great Christian myths that ‘forgive and forget’ is in the Bible.  It is not.  Kenneth Haulk says that just the opposite is true.  He gives an example that if your youth pastor is arrested for drunk driving, you can certainly forgive, but you never ever forget about that arrest and give the youth pastor the keys to the church bus or let him drive the kids to the mountains. 

You can’t forgive and forget. You can’t. You were raped, molested, abandoned, beaten, abused, cheated on, betrayed, lied about.

"Forget it?"

You can’t forget it. It’s impossible.
Nor should you forget.  It is one of the things that makes forgiveness so hard and elusive.  You remember, in remembering, it is hard to let go and not to hold the past against yourself or someone else.

Forgiveness is not trusting.  If someone says to me, “My dad molested me. He said he’s sorry. Can he babysit my kids?”
Answer? No way. No way.
“My boyfriend or husband hit me, but he said he’s sorry. Should we just pick up where we left off and keep going?”
No way.
Trust is built slowly. It’s lost quickly. And restoring trust happens very, very slowly.
One of my parishioners many, many years ago molested a child.  The church member went to prison.  Upon his release, he returned to church, but there were some strict boundaries set as to what this person could and could not do.  Come to church, yes.  But only with an elder sitting next to him.  Attend children’s events?  Absolutely not. 
We told him it was for his protection as well as the protection of the children.  We were protecting him from rumors and false accusations.  We were also protecting him from committing a crime that something in his nature had allowed him to do previously.  And of course, we were protecting the child. We forgave, but never trusted him again.  The risk is simply too high. This is particularly true with children who are vulnerable. We need to be exceedingly careful with who we trust.

Forgiveness is not reconciliation. 

It’s not that you’re friends and you hang out and everything’s okay. You’re close and it’s back to normal. Not at all.

It takes one person to repent.

It takes one person to forgive.

It takes two people to reconcile. That’s why St. Paul says, "In as much as it is possible with you, seek to live at peace with all people." Here’s what he’s saying. Do your best, but you can’t be at peace with everyone.

          So what is forgiveness?

          If it is not forgetting, erasing, reconciliation, denial, or a quick fix – what  is it?

          It’s healing.

        Forgiveness is healing!

          And in spite of what we may have watched on those old original Star Trek episodes, healing is not instantaneous.  Healing takes time.

          When I was a child, my father told me not to play with knives or to use a pocket knife if he was not around.

          So naturally, I played with my pocket knife when he was not around.

          I cut myself and started bleeding.  There was so much blood flowing from my hand, I had to tell my Dad what happened.  I asked my Dad if I had to go to the hospital to get stitches. 

          Dad was a textile man and he said, “I know how to sew cloth together.  Sewing skin together can’t be much different.”

          So he patched me up with a needle and thread – sterilized, of course!

          But the scar was very prominent.  And every time I looked down at that scar I would remember – “don’t play with knives.”

          Sometimes I would bump my hand against something and it would hit that scar just right and I’d feel some extra pain. 

          Slowly over the years, the scar has faded.  You can barely see it today.

          Healing takes time, but the lessons endure long after the healing process is completed.

          To this day, I am extra careful with knives.
          Forgiveness is also a freedom.  It is a relief from the stress and guilt and shame.
In Hebrew, one of the words this Psalm uses to describe forgiveness conveys the sense to “lift up” or “carry away.” 

If you are at fault, if you have hurt someone, if you have committed some grave offense against another, if you have sinned against God or neighbor, that carries with it enormous stress. 

Forgiveness is also a covering of the mistake – not in the sense of hiding it or denying it.  Not at all. 

What it means to have your sin covered is to have it covered by Christ.  The youth pastor who is arrested for drunk driving might not ever be allowed to drive the church van again, and rightfully so – it is for the protection and the youth and the youth pastor that everyone remember what happened.  But in terms of acceptance, community, love, and ultimate salvation, the sin of that youth pastor has been covered by Christ.  Not hidden, but no longer to be vindictively held against him.

Forgiveness is also a pardon.  It is a release from punishment.

We may still have to live with the consequences of our sins.  A spouse who is unfaithful may have to accept that the marriage can never be healed.  Or a person who embezzled funds still has to fulfill a prison sentence, but there is a divine pardon and a restoration of a relationship with God.

So how does one find this elusive blessing of forgiveness.

Take a look at Psalm 32:

I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.
          Confession is, as they say, good for the soul.
          The first step is that we confess our guilt and sin to God.
          And as that confession takes root and as the forgiveness is received, healing begins.  And with healing, comes a return of the joy of life.
The last verse of Psalm 32 is this:  Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

[1] Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church preached a sermon on “What Forgiveness is Not,” and the main points of this part of my sermon is indebted to his work.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A Way or The Way?

          Galatians 1:1-12
1:1 Paul an apostle--sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--

1:2 and all the members of God's family who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

1:4 who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--

1:7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!

1:9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

1:10 Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

1:11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin;

1:12 for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

  Do all roads lead to God?

Are all people saved?  Does everyone get to heaven?

Does it matter what religion you embrace?

That is an interesting question – does faith make a difference?

            I found that answer on a web not long ago.  The question had been posted on one of those sites in which anyone can join the discussion. 

            And the answers on that web page were mostly – no.  It makes no difference.

            One response had this to say, and it was fairly typical of the discussion:

“I think that as long as you are a good person, don't hurt animals, molest children, murder, get the idea and be kind to mother earth...there is room in heaven for you regardless if you go to church or not. It is between you and who you believe to be higher power above. God will accept everyone - Christian, Jew, wiccan, atheist, muslem, ....everyone.”


Actually, that statement is widely accepted in our culture today.

But is that true? 

Do all roads lead to heaven?

Paul, in our New Testament lesson is upset.  He is shocked!  He is astonished to learn that people in Galatia have deserted THE Gospel, for some other Gospel.  To Paul, it mattered what your faith us. 

Paul spoke as a man who changed his faith.  He went from being a devout Jew who persecuted Christians, to becoming the leader of the Christian Church. 

Paul would have been especially astonished at our culture today.

This week the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church, USA, issued his annual report on the membership of our denomination. 

            It is not good news.
We’ve lost over 100,000 members. 
            In fact, for the past ten years, we have had a net loss year after year.

            Presbyterians are not unique – this same statistic is reported from almost all Christian denominations.

            People are leaving the church.

            They are forsaking the Gospel and turning to other faiths.

            So let’s ask the question – so what?  What’s the big deal about people leaving the faith?  Does it really make a difference?

Is Christ THE way? 

Or is Christ one of many ways?

Now in John’s Gospel, Jesus said, “I am THE way, THE truth, THE life.  No one comes to the Father, EXCEPT through me.”

Now if you accept that as true, then you have a couple of problems.  First of which is this – what about all those were born, lived and died, without ever having even heard about Jesus?  Are they doomed to hell because they never heard the words of the one who said he THE way and the only way?

That doesn’t seem fair does it?

In fact, some people would say that it is arrogant of Christians to say they are the way and the only way.

We all have loved ones and friends who are Jews.  Or Muslims. Or Hindu.  Or who have no faith at all.  Or who are simply confused about their spirituality and have not yet taken the time or opportunity to make a decision about what they believe.

It is hard to look at people we know and arrogantly say, “I know the way.  It’s the only way to God.”

Some Christians resolve this by adjusting their theology in such a manner that they refuse to believe that Christ is THE way, but rather simply A way to God.  In our multi-cultural community, it is comforting to many to believe that all roads lead to God.

Jews are God’s chosen people.  The Bible says so.[1]  Therefore surely they are saved.

Muslims worship the same God we worship.  Historically speaking at least, Muslims and Christians and Jews when speaking about God are talking about the God of Adam, Noah, and Abraham. One of the bedrock principles in Islam says, “There is One God.”  Therefore surely anyone who worships the one God will be saved.

Hindu, Buddhists, all of those folks seek to develop their spirituality.  Won’t God honor their search?

And what about people who are just plain good and descent people?  Aren’t they saved?

The Uniqueness of Christ

But if you resolve the problem of the arrogance of Christians in this way, all you have succeeded in doing is depriving Christ of His uniqueness. 

Or as Paul would say in our New Testament Lesson – you are forsaking the Gospel for another Gospel, and there is no other Gospel but Christ’s.

The cornerstone of the Christian faith is that Christ died for our sins. 

In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we read, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

And of course, what is probably the most familiar passage of Scripture teaches us in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”[2]

The belief that Christ is the only way to salvation has historically been a cornerstone of the Presbyterian faith.[3]  But some people in our culture are now saying that “all roads lead to God.”  They suggest that it is time to put apparent arrogance aside and say, Christ is not the only way, but one of many ways.

But ----

When you say that, you strip Christ of His uniqueness. 

If all roads lead to God, then why send the Son of God to suffer and die for our salvation?

If all roads lead to God, then why not just send the Son of God to teach us and inspire us and leave it at that? Let’s skip the nails the cross and the grave.

So is Christ really the ONLY way to God?

All Roads DO Lead To God – But…

Actually, the truth of the matter is that the Bible does teach that all roads do lead to God.

Jesus did not say, “No one comes to God except through me.” 

What Jesus said in John’s Gospel was, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Did you hear the difference? 

Jesus did not say, “No one comes to God except through me.” 

He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

All roads lead to God.  The Christian road.  The Jewish road.  The Muslim road.  Even the Atheistic road. 

Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel that there will be a time when all people will end their journey and come face to face with God. 

However, while all roads lead to God, it is not necessarily what we all people might hope for. 

Jesus puts it this way:  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him.”

Well, so far, so good.  All roads lead to God.  “All nations will be gathered around him.”  But, Jesus continues.

“All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

Now, as Jesus explains it, He will say to some, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

But then, Jesus looks at the others and will say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”[4]

All roads lead to God, but at the end of most roads, people encounter God as a judge. 

We read about this final judgment often in Scripture.  In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we read, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  II Corinthians 5:10

In Revelation, there is a stunningly visual account in which the writer says, “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”  (Rev 20:12)

A Road To God The Judge, Or To God The Father
Well, if all roads lead to God and that at the end of that road we find a judge, why say there is anything unique about Christ and Christianity?

It all goes back to what Jesus said and didn’t say.

Jesus did not say “No one comes to God except through me.”  He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If all roads lead to God anyway, then at the end of that road I would rather face God my Father, rather than God my Judge.

I want to approach God as one of his children.

Now how do we become children of God – rather the accused in the courtroom of God?

St. John said it plainly at the beginning of his Gospel: “to all who received Christ, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12-13

Or as Jesus put it, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

What about the non-Christians?  Will they have eternal life?  It’s best to let God be the Judge. 

James warned us in his epistle (James 4:11-12), “Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it … There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-- who are you to judge your neighbor?”

And Jesus said (in Matthew 7:1), “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

All of the people in our community, whatever their faith, will be led to God.  We let God judge them.  It’s not our place to judge.

But never forget there is a uniqueness about Christ that allows us to approach God as His children.

To forget that is to forget Christ’s own words when he said, “I am the THE way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” 

And to forget that, is to run the risk of being guilty of what so astonished Paul in this morning’s New Testament Lesson – to forsake the Gospel for another, when in fact there is no other Gospel at all.

Copyright – Dr. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

[1] This concept appears several times in Scripture, including Isaiah 65:9:  “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.” (NIV)

[2] Other texts for consideration: Isaiah 53:6 – “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  I Peter 3:18, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”  I John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  I Peter 2:24,  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

[3] In the Presbyterian Church, we have several statements of faith that we have collected in our Book of Confessions.  In that book there are clear statements of what we believe and teach.  One of these statements of faith is called the Second Helvitic Confession, and it has this to say:  “Jesus Christ is the only savior of the world.”  (Second Helvitic Confession, Chapter 11). 
[4] Matthew 25