Does It Really Matter What A Person Believes?

After All, Aren’t All  Religions Basically The Same?

     Some years ago a Pastor, doing door-to-door mission work, was challenged by a man who said, “Look sir, there are hundreds of religions in this world, all with sincere followers, and each claims to be the only right religion.   You may prefer Christianity, but how can anybody really be sure which religion, if any, is the true one when there are so many from which to choose?”     “So many, you say?”  responded the preacher.  “I’ve only heard of two religions.  Oh, there may be many differences in the religious teachings, attitudes, and opinions of people, but finally there are really only two religions.  The one covers all those who expect salvation by their own doing;  the other covers all who have been saved by something done by Someone else. That’s why your question is really a very simple one.  Can you save yourself, or must you be saved by Someone else?   Now, if you can be your own savior, then you don’t need my Savior.  But if you know you cannot save yourself, I’d like to introduce you to Jesus Christ, the only One who can save anyone.

     Some maintain that all roads lead to heaven;  that  it really doesn’t matter what a person believes, since sincerity of conviction is enough.   Could they be correct?  Is Christianity just one of many religions, all basically the same?   Or is ours the only true and satisfactory religion?  

     This morning, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and on the basis of the in-spired Word of God, we will address these concerns, arriving at the conclusion that there is only one true religion, the one built on the Foundation of Jesus Christ, the true God and the world’s only Savior.  In our Old Testament Lesson the Lord of Scripture declares that in the end all people will bow down before Him and acknowledge that He is the only true God.  Today’s Epistle Lesson emphasizes that all people are inherently aware of the existence and authority of the true God, though many reject Him.  In the end, those who reject Him will suffer God’s everlasting judgement, while those who believe will receive honor, glory, and eternal life.   In our  Gospel Lesson Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets, whose messages lead to destruction.  He then compares faith in Him to a home built on a solid, secure foundation, while those who reject Him are compared to a home built on a foundation that will crumble.   Other religions and ways to salvation may seem acceptable, but, as our Children’s Lesson reminds us, eventually all those other roads lead to damnation.  Only Christianity, which proclaims Christ as God the Son and the Savior of the world, is the religion that saves.   That point, finally, is the emphasis of today’s Sermon, based on Acts 4:12.



Pre-Service Music

Time for Silent Prayer and Preparation


The Greeting and Invitation to worship


Then, the Congregation will rise for

The Invocation


We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen


The Opening Psalm                                                                                          Psalm 96, selected verses


  • Sing to the Lord a new song;  sing to the Lord all the earth!


  • Sing to the Lord, praise His name;   +   proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
  • Tell about His glory among the nations, about His marvelous deeds among all peoples.

  • For great is the Lord and  worthy of praise;   +   He is to be feared above all gods.

  • Ascribe to the Lord, families of peoples,  ascribe to the Lord glory and power.
  • Bown down to the Lord in the splendor of His holiness;   +   Look away from His face  all the earth.
  • Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”    He will judge the peoples with fairness.
  • Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth celebrate;    +    let the sea roar  and all  that fills it;   +   let the fields be overjoyed,  and everything that is in them.
  • Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD, for He  comes,   for He comes to judge the earth.
  • He will judge the world in righteousness   +   and the peoples in His faithfulness.


The Opening Hymn                                                                                 “Onward Christian Soldiers”


1 Onward, Christian soldiers,   Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.

Christ, the royal master,  Leads against the foe;

Forward into battle   See His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers,   Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.

2 Like a mighty army    Moves the Church of God;

Brothers, we are treading   Where the saints have trod.

We are not divided,   All one body we,

One in hope and doctrine,   One in charity.

Onward, Christian soldiers,   Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.

3 Crowns and thrones may perish,   Kingdoms rise and wane,

But the church of Jesus   Constant will remain.

Gates of hell can never   ‘Gainst that church prevail;

We have Christ’s own promise,   And that cannot fail.

Onward, Christian soldiers,   Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.

4 Onward, then, ye faithful,   Join our happy throng,

Blend with ours your voices   In the triumph song:

Glory, laud, and honor   Unto Christ, the king;

This through countless ages  Men and angels sing.

Onward, Christian soldiers,   Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.



The Confessional Order


Pastor             “O LORD, Open my lips.”


                        Congregation   And mouth shall show forth Your praise.



Pastor             “Hasten, O God, to deliver me.”


                        Congregation                     Hasten to help me, O Lord.



Pastor             “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”


                        Congregation                      A broken and a contrite hear, O God, You will not despise.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.

world without end.  Amen.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor –                       “I now ask you before God, who searches your heart, do you confess that you

 have sinned against God  and deserve His wrath and punishment?  Then declare so by saying, “I do confess.”


Congregation –         “I do confess.”


Pastor –                       “Truly you should confess, for the Holy Scriptures say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive  ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

                             Second, do you, with all your heart, repent of all your sins, committed in

                         thought, word, and   deed?  Then declare so by saying, “I do repent.”


Congregation –         “I do repent.”


Pastor –                       “Truly, you should repent, as other penitent sinners have done:  King David, who prayed for a contrite  heart;  Peter, who wept bitterly;  the sinful woman, the prodigal son, and others.

Third, do you sincerely believe that God, by grace, for Jesus’ sake, will forgive

                        you all your sins?  Then declare so by saying, “I do believe.”


Congregation –         “I do believe.”


Pastor –                       “Truly you should so believe, for the Holy Scriptures say, “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.

Fourth, do you promise that with the help of the Holy Ghost, you will, from this

                         time forward, reform your sinful life?  Then declare it by saying, “I do promise.”


Congregation –         “I do promise.”


Pastor –                       “Truly, you should so promise, for Christ, the Lord says:  “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”        

Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive from God the  forgiveness of all your sins?   Then declare it by saying, “I  do believe.


Congregation –         “I do believe.”


Pastor –                       “Upon this, your confession, I, because of my office as a called and ordained servant of God’s Word, announce the  grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place, and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I  forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Peace  be with you.  Amen.”

After which the Congregation will be seated


We Hear God’s Word


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                      Proverbs 14:12


There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the road to death.


“The Wrong Way — And The Right Way”


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                              Isaiah 45:20-25


20 Gather! Come! Draw near together,  you survivors from the nations.

They have no knowledge—  those who are lifting up their idols of wood

and praying to a god that cannot save.   21 Make an announcement and come close.

Let them consult together.   Who made this known ahead of time?

From time past who announced it?   Was it not I, the Lord?

There is no god except me,   a righteous God and Savior.

There is no one except me.   22 Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth,

because I am God,  and there is no other.

23 I have sworn by myself.  From my mouth a righteous word has gone out,

and it will not return unfulfilled.  Indeed, to me every knee will bow,

and every tongue will swear allegiance.  24 “Only in the Lord,” they will say of me,

“Only in the Lord is there true righteousness and strength.” To him they will come and be ashamed—

all those who are angry at him. 25 In the Lord, all the descendants of Israel will be justified.

They will be praised by him.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                           Romans 1:18-32


18 Indeed, God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who try to suppress the truth by unrighteousness. 19 This happens because what can be known about God is evident among them, because God made it evident among them. 20 In fact, his invisible characteristics—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, because they are understood from the things he made. As a result, people are without excuse, 21 because, even though they knew God, they did not honor him or give him thanks as God. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless heart was darkened.


22 Although they claim to be wise, they have become fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human, or like birds, four-footed animals, and crawling things. 24 So, as they followed the sinful desires of their hearts, God handed them over to the impurity of degrading their own bodies among themselves. 25 Such people have traded the truth about God for the lie, worshipping and serving the creation rather than the Creator, who is worthy of praise forever. Amen.


26 For this reason God handed them over to disgraceful passions. Even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 And, in the same way, their males, after abandoning natural sexual relations with females, were consumed by their lust for one another. Males perform indecent acts with males and receive in themselves the penalty that is fitting for their perversion.


28 And since they did not consider it worthwhile to hold on to the true knowledge of God, God handed them over to a corrupted mind to do things that should never be done. 29 They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, and malice. They are gossipers, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent mockers, arrogant boasters, and loudmouths. They dream up evil things. They disobey their parents. 31 They are senseless, faithless, heartless, and merciless. 32 Even though they know God’s righteous decree that those who do these things are worthy of death, such people not only continue to do them, but also approve of others who continue to commit such sins.



after which, the Congregation will rise out of respect for the words of Christ for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                          Matthew 7:15-29


15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. You do not gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, do you? 17 So then, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and drive out demons in your name and perform many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’


24 “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on bedrock. 25 The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was founded on bedrock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine but does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—it was completely destroyed.”


28 When Jesus finished speaking these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught them as one who had authority, and not like their experts in the law.



The Apostles’ Creed                                                     


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.   +   And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;  +   Who was conceived by the Holy  Ghost;  +   Born of the virgin Mary;  +  Suffered under Pontius Pilate    +   Was crucified, dead, and buried;   +   He descended into hell;   +   The third day He rose again from the dead;   +   He ascended into heaven;   +  And sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty;  +  From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  +   I believe in the Holy Ghost;   +   The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;   +   The forgiveness of sins;   +   The resurrection of the body;    +  And the life everlasting.  +   Amen.



The Hymn of the Day                                                                        “The Church’s One Foundation”


1 The Church’s one foundation  Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;

She is His new creation   By water and the Word.

From heav’n He came and sought her   To be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her,  And for her life He died.

2 Elect from ev’ry nation,   Yet one o’er all the earth;

Her charter of salvation:   One Lord, one faith, one birth.

One holy name she blesses,   Partakes one holy food,

And to one hope she presses   With ev’ry grace endued.

3 Though with a scornful wonder   The world sees her oppressed,

By schisms rent asunder,   By heresies distressed,

Yet saints their watch are keeping;  Their cry goes up, “How long?”

And soon the night of weeping  Shall be the morn of song.

4 Through toil and tribulation   And tumult of her war

She waits the consummation   Of peace forevermore

Till with the vision glorious   Her longing eyes are blest,

And the great Church victorious   Shall be the Church at rest.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                          Acts 4:12


12 “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”


Does It Really Matter What A Person Believes?

After All, Aren’t All Religions Basically The Same?


after the Sermon is concluded the Congregation will rise for the post-sermon blessing



The Post-Sermon Blessing


To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forever.  Amen.


We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord


The Offering


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today during today’s worship

service those in attendance may leave their offerings in the offering plates

by the exit door at the close of our service today.

For those watching today’s service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to the church address

(415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can go online to our website (

and use the giving option there.

Special Prayers for this Day  


Included in our prayer this morning is an intercessory prayer on behalf of our sister,

 Harriet Johnson, who will be having surgery this week.

Also, for Bill Krizsan, who will undergo surgery this week

Plus for Mary Karloski, underoing surgery this week; and

Also Vic Walker, who will have an operation this week;

And a  Prayer of Thanksgiving for Ken and Tammy Abernathy,

whose wedding anniversary is this coming Wednesday.


Our Prayer for Today


C:        Our Father Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;  Give us this day our daily bread;   And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever and ever.  Amen.



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction 


                        The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.   Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                                     “Now May He Who From The Dead”


1 Now may He who from the dead   Brought the Shepherd of the sheep,

Jesus Christ, our King and Head,   All our souls in safety keep!

2 May He teach us to fulfill   What is pleasing in His sight;

Perfect us all in His will,   And preserve us day and night!

3 To that dear Redeemer’s praise,   Who the cov’nant sealed with blood,

Let our hearts and voices raise  Loud thanksgivings to our God.



Last Week at Grace Lutheran Church                                                           Worship Attendance: 40

Tuesday Bible Class: 15            Budgetary  Offerings: $2642


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


            Today                        Morning Worship,  at 9:30 a.m.  with the Lord’s Supper

            Tuesday                    Morning over-the-phone Bible class, 10:30 to 11:30

            Sunday                      Morning Worship  9:30 a.m. 

                                                Congregational Voters’ Meeting, after worship


This Week’s Birthdays and Anniversaries                   

July 19 – Heath Jones;     Jul 20 – Andrea Bratton;    July 20 – Soren Hoyord

July 22 – Tammy & Ken Abernathy;     July 23 – Murray Mansch;

July 24 – Rosy Krizsan       July 25 – Brenda Bontke


Serving Us Next Sunday                                    Elders:   John Johnson, Steve Stone, Tim Pfortmiller

Ushers:   Tom Otto,  Kent Mayer,  John Johnson, Tim Huebner

Altar Guild:   Marilyn Outlaw,   Harriet Johnson