The Bible and the Catholic Mass, #2
Topic: Midweek Sermons
We return this evening to our study and examination of the principles of the Catholic Church and I am very glad that you are with us as we do this today, and over the past few weeks and in the next couple of weeks to come. The Reformation, the 500th anniversary is in two weeks but I want you to know that we're doing this not simply for historical purposes or to mark an anniversary, there are really important pastoral reasons for us to be having this study together, especially for you young people that are on the brink of life. There are many voices in evangelical, not Catholic, circles that would tell you that we should reunite with the Catholic Church, that there is nothing that would keep us from doing that and that we need to be united and not have this schism any longer. That is absolutely untrue. It's completely false and it is important for you to understand some of these things in some depth and in some detail, first of all to guard your own heart so that you would not be attracted by the bells and smells of the Catholic Church. Some people are drawn to that liturgical and the visual aspect of it. There is a reason why we have a plain worship center. You know, the Lord has blessed us here, there's a reason why we don't put up a bunch of pictures and everything. It leads people astray. So we need to guard our own hearts, also we want to help you be able to witness to Catholics and to be able to talk to them intelligently, to understand something of their own religion from their perspective and from their own sources so that you are able to interact with them intelligently. This will make you a better witness to them.
We need to be able to discern what's true and what's false and also just to make a very practical pastoral implication for you young people, you need to understand enough about the Catholic Church to understand that it is never ever an option for you to get married to a practicing Catholic. That is not an option. You cannot mix Catholicism with biblical Christianity. A true biblical Christian cannot get married to a practicing Catholic because we are not talking about the same Gospel, we are not talking about the same Christ, and there is no basis whatsoever to move forward in raising a family when you have two different gospels under one roof. It is one thing, you know, if two Catholics get married and one of them becomes a Christian after that, that's something separate. That's a different issue. What I'm talking about is talking to you young people to help you understand that this study will help you understand why you can never even consider it, and so you don't even take the first step down a relationship with a Catholic. No romance with a Catholic could ever be justified by a Christian who is biblical in their thinking and desires to be faithful to the Gospel that they say saved their soul.
So there are multiple reasons for us to be clear and detailed on this in addition to the other things we have mentioned over the past few weeks. What we're going to do tonight is continue our examination of the Catholic Mass which we started last time, last week. And to the Catholics, as we said last time, the Mass is central to their entire system of religion and the more that you understand about what they believe and teach about it, you can see why that will be the case. At paragraph 1324 of the Catholic catechism, it says this, it says, "The Eucharist," which is a word that means thanksgiving and is another name for the Mass, "The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, for in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the church, namely Christ himself." What Catholics teach, as I'm going to show you more this evening, is that Christ himself is present in the Mass, their perverted version of Communion. They say that Christ himself is there and make no mistake, they are not talking symbolically. They are not speaking figuratively. They literally mean that the body and blood of Christ is present in the elements when they celebrate the Mass. This has nothing to do with what we celebrate as Communion, as we have it as a memorial by which the elements simply remind us of Christ but have no independent significance.
So our goal tonight and our goal throughout this series is not to insult individual Catholics. We would extend a hand of love and the love of the Gospel and the true love of Christ to them. We would befriend them and share Christ with them in earnestness and open the Scriptures and take them to the Scriptures so that they could see the truth. We are not the enemy. Oh, let it be said loud and clear: a biblical Christian in this series is not the enemy of a Catholic. This is the best friend that they could have because this is the truth from God's word. And as somebody has said so often, if somebody is asleep in a burning house, you are not violating them or doing something wicked by waking them up and warning them of the danger. So to warn Catholics and to warn each other of the dangers of Catholicism is the highest act of love and friendship that we could show to them. Despite the postmodern sense of our age and everybody has their own truth, that's not true, and we need to be definitive on what the Bible says and where it speaks.
Now, I had the very unpleasant privilege, can you combine those two words, an unpleasant privilege? I had the unpleasant responsibility but it was a glad privilege for me, to observe a Catholic Mass online recently. I wanted to watch it in preparation for what I had to say tonight, and so what I'm about to say comes from what I observed so that you wouldn't have to. I went through the pain of it so that you wouldn't have to, you might say. So at a Catholic Mass, the priest performs a ritual on the platform, and I'm going to give you kind of a truncated version of it, a shortened version of it, and not go into all of the detail that I could. It's the same week after week after week. So what the priest does is this, he recites a lengthy verbal formula, several of them actually, interspersed with some congregational singing, and after that, he pours wine into a chalice, into a golden cup, and he bows before it, and he prays that the sacrifice that they are about to make would be acceptable to God. He asks God to make holy the elements by sending down the Spirit upon them and I quote, "So that they might become for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." So they have a cup of wine and they have these little wafers. I will pejoratively call them crackers from time to time even though that might offend somebody. I don't really care about that. It deserves to be mocked. They have these elements and they go through these rituals and he prays and he asks the Holy Spirit to come down and kind of zap the elements and change them into the body and blood of Christ.
Now, after he has done that, he raises the wafer in an act of consecration, and it's all very dramatic. They used to call the Mass the opera for the poor. It's a big drama that they make. So he raises the wafer in an act of consecration, brings it back down, and then he bows before it. He takes the chalice and he recites a formula, and he raises the chalice in consecration, and then he bows before it again. Notice the bowing. I'll come back to that in a moment. And after a series of recited prayers, he mingles a portion of the wafer into the cup. He snaps it and drops some of it into the cup. Then he will eat from the wafer and he drinks from the cup as the congregation watches him. Now, you should see by now if I said nothing else, you should realize that this has nothing to do with Communion as we practice it in Truth Community Church or in any Protestant church whatsoever. This has nothing to do with a biblical practice of Communion.
After he has done this and the congregation has watched him partake of the elements, he steps down with a plate full of the wafers and the congregation will line up and come before him. As they are approaching, they bow before the plate of wafers and he hands them one and he says to them, every time he hands it he says, "The body of Christ," and they take the wafer in their hands and they walk away and as they are walking away, then they eat the wafer themselves and return to their seat. The body of Christ.
Now, for those that are unaccustomed to the ritual, I had to watch it a couple of times to just try to get my notes straight, for those who are unaccustomed to the ritual, probably most of us here in the room, it all happens very quickly. There is no teaching or explanation, really, that goes on during this ritual. It doesn't allow much time for thought and because it happens so rapidly and because there is so much symbolism and so many different things going on, there is not time to think about or contemplate what's really happening here. What am I participating in. You know, another thing that I would say is that under no circumstances whatsoever should a biblically instructed Christian ever partake of the elements at a Catholic Mass. That is the worst form of betrayal of your Lord Jesus Christ that you could ever make. Whatever else you do, whatever else decisions we make about sitting in back during a Catholic funeral of a family member or something, I'm not talking about that. You cannot take the elements of a Catholic Mass as a biblical Christian. Don't ever do that. Never. Don't ever do that because it is a participation in a gross form of idolatry.
Now, tonight what I want to do is just unpack what Catholicism teaches about it in three different ways and then refute it in parallel segments. So there are going to be two sections here: the Catholic teaching about the Mass, and then a biblical refutation of that, and each part will have parallel three subpoints that go on with it here. And as we've done throughout this series, I'm going to quote at length from the Catholic catechism. I believe the first edition was in 94 and the second edition in 97, perhaps, is what's in my mind. But I'm quoting at length for a very specific purpose: I want you to hear it in their own words, first of all; and to the extent that this is ever shared with Catholics, if Catholics ever encounter the audio of this, I want them to know that we are doing our levelheaded best to represent their teaching fairly even though it must be done in a summary fashion simply for the sake of time. As I said a week or two ago, the Catholic catechism has 98 paragraphs specifically devoted to its teaching on the Mass in addition to other references that are spread throughout the relatively thick book that contains their teaching, and so obviously we're going to have to summarize and be somewhat selective in what we say but we are quoting at length from their catechism to represent their teaching fairly, and that is right and proper for us to do. We are trying to be fair with what we say here and then hold it to the light of Scripture.
So we've said that the Mass mean something completely different to them than Communion means to us. Let me express that now in their own words from paragraph 1376 of the Catholic catechism it says, "By the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation." What they mean by that is that the substance of the bread and wine transcends or it goes across into a different substance. So it goes from bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ.
Paragraph 1413, "By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity." So they are saying that Christ is really present in his body, in his blood, with his soul and with his divinity.
Now, we need a word of explanation here. I use the term or they use the term, I should say, in the catechism, they refer to the "species" of the bread and wine. That's a technical term that simply means this, it's simply referring to the outer appearance of the elements. They recognize that they've got a dilemma on their hands because there is not an actual change in the outward form of the wafer and the wine into anything else. The outward form is the same before and after the consecration, and so they have to explain that away. They have to do something with that and what they say is that a miracle occurs when the priest offers these things up to God. A miracle occurs so that – watch this – the outer essence is the same but the inner essence of the bread and wine have ceased to exist. In that inner essence, Christ's true body and blood come to exist, although they are existing in the outward appearance of bread and of wine. That's it. I mean, that's what they teach.
Now, let me stop here and give you a little room to breathe and absorb all of that and let that sink in. That's utterly impossible and when you think about it, when they say that this is necessary for salvation, there is a sense in which the Mass is a payment that would allow them entrance into heaven. That's a gross oversimplification. We're going to talk about their whole system of salvation in the future, but just to set up an illustration, I just want you to see that they are saying that this Mass is a payment for sin that helps them get to heaven.
Now, think about that. This is in the sense of an outer appearance of bread and wine but it's really the body and blood of Christ. Let's use an illustration to show how ridiculous that is and how foolish that is. Suppose that I had in front of me a stack of Monopoly money, a stack of $500 Monopoly bills. You're sitting there and you're watching me and I go through some motions and everything and I lift them up and I pray over them and I ask the Holy Spirit to come down and change it into genuine $500 US currency, and then I hand it to you and I say, "This is a real $500 bill. Go spend it on whatever you want." Now, would you believe that? There's no change in the appearance. You wouldn't believe that at all. The truth of the matter is despite all of the bells and smells that I might surround with this little feat that I do, you would have the common sense, every one of you would have the common sense to say, "That's crazy. That is not a real $500 bill, that's Monopoly money." And I'd say, "But friends, you don't understand. I changed it. I agree with you in its outer appearance it looks like Monopoly money, but inside it's real currency." That's exactly what the Catholics teach. That's exactly what the Catholics trust in to take them to heaven, is that kind of charade, that kind of false ritual that contradicts everything that you know intuitively by the observation and use of your five senses. Now the Catholics tell you explicitly, "You cannot trust your senses on this one. You have to trust us, that what we say happened there really happened." I am not being unkind or unfair here. In essence, they tell you, they tell their 1.27 billion adherents, they ask them this question, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" So people turn off their senses and accept in blind faith contrary to Scripture that what the Catholic Church says about those elements in their hands is true. It's tragic. It's tragic.
Now, I drew attention multiple times to the fact that they bow before these elements. The priest bows repeatedly on the platform. The congregation comes and they bow before they receive the bread and they are doing that, they are doing that as an act of worship. They are bowing in worship to those elements. Here's what it says at paragraph 1378 of the Catholic catechism, it says and I quote, "In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord." They are doing that to show adoration to those elements. In 1964, the Second Vatican Council said this, he says and I quote, these are in a book called "The Documents of Vatican II" at page 104, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind, "that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament the worship which is due to the true God." And in paragraph 1410 of the catechism it says, "It is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice." There is no room for doubt. They are exceedingly clear on this and their practice confirms it. They think that that bread and wine in front of them is Jesus Christ to the point that if you were holding a wafer, I've got a little paper clip here, if you were holding it and you let go, you could say, "Oh, I dropped him. I dropped him." That's what they would have to say because that's what they believe about the elements that they are holding in their hands.
So they believe that there is this change into the body and blood of Christ. Secondly, what do they believe about the Mass? They believe that the Mass makes a sacrifice for sin. The Mass makes a sacrifice for sin. As we've said many times, the Mass is not a memorial to Catholics, it is a literal sin sacrifice. And in paragraph 1357 of the catechism it says this, they say, "We offer to the Father what he has himself given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present."
They go on, paragraph 1364, listen carefully, "When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present, the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. As often as the sacrifice of the Cross is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out." They are saying this is a sacrifice that carries out the work of our redemption. Now, we're going to refute that later on. Understand I'm quoting them, I'm not affirming them. I'm contradicting them here tonight.
Paragraph 1365, they go on and say, "The Eucharist is also a sacrifice. In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he 'poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'" In other words, to the Catholic the Mass sacrifices Christ to make propitiation for sin; to turn away God's anger from sin; to secure forgiveness of sin. It is a redemptive sacrifice to them.
Paragraph 1367, "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner...this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."
That's a lot to take in, I know, and let me step back and just say this: the fact that it is a lot for you to take in shows you how impossible it would be to undertake to try to understand this if you're just observing it for the first time and they go through this in 5 or 10 minutes. But what you need to understand is that they are pulling the wool over a lot of people's eyes with what they're doing and the significance that they attach to it, we do not have the liberty though there are teachers who would diminish what I'm saying, you have to take them at their word that this is what they believe that they are doing, and there are powerful forces saying we should reunite with them.
Listen, I'm getting ahead of myself here. There are those who are saying that Protestants should reunite and come under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. Do you know what? I am never going to do that. Everybody else can but I will never ever do that. Can you imagine going into a church and submitting to the authority of a pope that has no true authority? To submit yourself to Catholic tradition which we have refuted here? And then can you imagine, you as a true biblical Christian, can you imagine giving your worship over to wheat and wine? That's unthinkable. There is no compatibility. There is no reunion to be had. There was never a union in the first place, as I'll talk about in future weeks. There is no compromise with this. Catholicism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, even though Catholics steal some of the same terminology and doctrine that we truly teach from the Bible in other areas.
So when they say that it is propitiatory, they mean that it has the power to atone for sin. Paragraph 1414, they say, "As a sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead," we're not even dwelling on that point, they offer Masses for the dead to forgive their sins, "and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God."
Now, beloved, in this series, I have focused primarily on the current catechism for teaching reasons, but what you must understand is that they have been saying these things for centuries. Nothing has changed. At the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century, they met and discussed how they were going to respond to the Reformation. Canon 3 of the 22nd Session of the Council of Trent in 1562, what is that, 455 years ago? Stated this, "If anyone says that the sacrifice of the Mass is only a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross but not a propitiatory sacrifice, let him be anathema." In other words, what they are saying is that if you teach that Communion is only a memorial, that there is not a literal propitiatory sacrifice that takes place in it, you can go to hell, indeed, you must go to hell if you deny our teaching on the Mass. So what they are saying in their current catechism four and a half centuries later is in perfect alignment with what they said at Trent in the mid-16th century.
There has been no change and, friends, the problem here is that you will have evangelical scholars, of whom we won't name them, although perhaps I should, you'll have evangelical scholars get together with Catholics and then they will come back and report to Protestants like us and say, "Look, it's all okay. The Catholic Church has changed and there is no reason for us to be apart from them anymore." Beloved, that is not true. There is perfect consistency from what they were saying at the time of the Reformation to what their catechism teaches now. It was unacceptable in the 16th century and that's why the Reformers gave their necks up to oppose it, and there is perfect consistency from then to now with what the Catholic Church has said. Nothing has changed. There may be stray Catholic theologians who try to speculate but they do not have the authority to speak on behalf of the Church. Their official teaching is contained in that catechism and we have shown you at length what it says.
So what you must understand is this, again getting ahead of myself a little bit: when they say it's a sacrifice for sin, they are teaching Catholics to trust in the Mass for the forgiveness of their sins. Scripture teaches us that there is only one sacrifice for sin, the sacrifice that Christ made at Calvary 2,000 years ago, and that is the only place where you can repose your trust for pardon of all your iniquities. If you trust in a different sacrifice, you have a different Gospel and you do not have true salvation. You're going to hell because your sins are still unforgiven. That's what's at stake here. This isn't simply about the mere terminology or, you know, a little theological tiff between competing groups, this is the difference between heaven and hell for all of eternity. That's why this matters.
Now, finally they say, and just to kind of reinforce my point, this is the third sub point: they say that the Mass is necessary for salvation. If you do not partake of the Catholic Mass, you cannot be saved. This sacrifice is essential to salvation and the forgiveness of sin. At paragraph 1129, the catechism says and I quote, "The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." That "necessary for salvation" is emphatic in the original. It's in italics in the original. They mean it. Paragraph 1416, "Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins." Paragraph 1365, "In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he 'poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'"
Now, that's their teaching. The elements change into the literal body and blood of Christ. It is necessary for salvation. The Mass makes a sacrifice for sin. That's what they teach as stated by their own words. Well, after you go through this in the kind of detail that we have here, there are two things that you want to do, maybe: first of all you might want to just take a really hot shower and just kind of wash yourself of all of the yuckiness of this, all of the distasteful things that have been said about it; but secondly, it also just makes you long, "What does the Bible say? What does God's word say? Where can I get a pure drink of truth in order to have a right perspective on these things?" And that's what we're going to do for the rest of our time tonight as we take it, point 2: a biblical examination of the Mass. A biblical examination of the Mass.
Now, to point out the biblical errors of the Mass, to use a trite and cliché turn of a phrase, to point out all of these biblical errors is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's not difficult for someone who reads the Bible and so we'll just go through these and let the Lord lead us through his word as he may. First of all, let's say this: the elements do not change into the body and blood of Christ. In the Mass, those elements, the wafer and the wine, they do not change into his body and blood.
Now, we really covered this last week and so I'm only going to summarize it tonight. Jesus supposedly according to the Catholics, introduced the Mass at the Last Supper described in the Gospel narratives, and according to the Catholics, told the disciples to literally drink his blood and to literally eat his flesh. As we saw last time, in light of Leviticus 17 and Acts 15, the disciples would not have taken literal blood to drink. They knew that Jesus was using a symbol. They knew that. If they had thought that he was literal, there would have been all kinds of problems and objections to it because they were so steeped in the understanding that the Jew did not drink blood, and they reaffirmed that, as we saw last week, in Acts 15 when they were instructing the Gentiles on how to move forward in their Christian life. "Don't drink blood. Don't drink blood. Don't drink blood." There is no way that they drank blood on that night.
Now along with that, you know, Jesus said, "This is my body, take, eat. This is my blood, take, drink." All you need to know so that you don't get thrown off by Catholic accusations on this, in addition to what we said last week, is to remember that Jesus often used figurative language in his teaching. He said in John 6:48, "I am the bread of life." In John 8:12, "I am the light of the world." In John 10:9, "I am the door." In John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd." In John 15:1 he said, "I am the true vine." Now no one looked at him and thought that he was the wrapped-around stems of a grape vine. Nobody thought that. Everybody understood that he was speaking figuratively; that he was using a symbol; that he was using an illustration to make a spiritual point; that he was using physical realities to illustrate a spiritual reality that otherwise we would miss. Everybody understood that. If the Catholics were serious about the way that they approach those statements in John 6 about drinking his blood and eating his flesh, they would have to use the same principle and come up with whole things about how he is really a door, how he is really a vine, and introduce all other kinds of changes into their liturgy if they were serious about it. They don't believe their own interpretive principle because they don't apply it consistently.
But you say, "Well, that's just you talking." Well, okay, fine. Don't take my word for it, take the word of Jesus for it. Speaking after the conclusion of the Last Supper, Jesus said in John 16:25, he said,
25 "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father."
Jesus on that night made it plain that he was speaking in figurative terms and yet Catholics just shove all of that aside because it doesn't fit with the system.
So, beloved, Scripture is the final authority. It does not support the notion that the elements are transformed. Indeed, it contradicts it. Now, what does that mean, then? If the elements aren't really transformed and they are what they appear to be, just a wheat wafer, grape wine, then what is happening when they bow before these elements and the priest says to them, "The body of Christ. The body of Christ. The body of Christ," and they nod in agreement? What is happening there? Beloved, it is this: the Mass is a crude idolatry. Crude in the sense that it is just so thoughtless and baseless. It is crude idolatry. It honors earthly created things made by the hands of men and takes those and gives them the worship that should be given, they say they worship these things as they worship the deity of Christ. This is an outrage! This is not a mere difference of opinion. Scripture says in the 10 Commandments, "You shall worship the Lord God and worship him only."
Look, do you remember when Moses went up on the mountain when God gave him the law and he came back and the Jews had made a golden calf to represent God and they were bowing down before it? How did Moses respond? He was so outraged that he threw the tablets down and broke them. It was an outrage that they were worshiping as the true God a calf that they had made with their hands. The Jews had nothing on Catholics. Catholics do something even worse. In the light of fuller revelation than the Jews had, in the light of fuller revelation of Scripture, they hold up a cracker and they bow down and say, "This is my God." There is nothing to be said about that except that that is a horrific sin against the true God. That is idolatry. "You shall worship no other gods." And what does Scripture say? God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. There is no deity whatsoever to be found in that wafer and in that wine. There is no deity there. What you have instead is a satanic falsehood. They bow down before a false system of worship created by Satan himself. This is serious.
Now, by the way, if you think about it, one of the things that Scripture teaches us, we've taught on this when we were teaching in 1 John a long time ago, and we have emphasized it at other points as well, in the true Lord Jesus Christ we believe that there is true deity and true humanity; that Jesus Christ took on true human flesh and took on a full undiminished human nature like ours. He shared in flesh and blood like ours. That's what Scripture teaches. To have true humanity means that your humanity is limited to one place and one time. None of you can be in two places at once, even though as busy as you are, sometimes you'd like to be able to do that. You can't because humanity is local in one place. Christ is in his body in heaven now from which one day he will return, but think about what the Mass does. Think about what it teaches. You know, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of Catholic churches across the world, many of them simultaneously practicing the same Mass and doing the same thing in multiplied locations throughout the world. What does that mean? That means that they're saying the humanity of Christ is in more than one place at one time. That's not true. This is contrary to his true human nature. It would mean that his human nature was not like ours after all. You cannot have true human nature and then be in multiplied places. He is omnipresent in his divine nature but not in his human nature and they say that his human nature is present in those wafers scattered throughout the world. Not true.
Now, Catholics teach, as we said, that the Mass is a sacrifice for sin. What's the biblical answer to that? The biblical answer is: no, there is only one sacrifice for sin. There is only one sacrifice for sin and now I invite you to turn in your Bibles and we'll start to look through several passages rather quickly. Turn in your Bibles to Romans 6. Now, remember the Catholics are saying that each time the Mass is celebrated, Christ is sacrificed, and so multiplied billions of times over the centuries, Christ has been sacrifice at the Mass. Well, what does Scripture say about this? If God had wanted to make this more emphatic in the Scriptures, I'm not sure how he would have done it because he said it so clearly, so many times in so many different places.
10 For the death that He died [meaning Christ], He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Once for all, it says.
Look at Hebrews 7:26 and 27. Hebrews makes this point so many times. Hebrews shows that the priesthood, the Old Testament priesthood has been abolished. Beloved, listen, if God was going to abolish the Old Testament priesthood and identify Christ as the great High Priest, the one true High Priest, it's impossible that he would turn around and duplicate the priesthood system in a New Testament form. He just would not have done that. Christ is the great High Priest. He is the final Priest. There are no other priests after him. Hebrews 7:26,
26 ... it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
"Once" is the operative word there.
Listen, brothers and sisters, there is no room in Scripture for a human mediator like a Catholic priest who offers up other sacrifices. Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:5, "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Catholics say that the priest mediates before God for you. That's not true. All the priest does is under an external trapping mediate for you and bring you to Satan. Jesus is the great and final High Priest.
Hebrews 9:12. Notice again, once for all, once for all, once for all. We can start in verse 11,
11 ... when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place
What does it say, beloved? What does it say? Say it. What does it say?
once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Once for all, covering all of eternity. There is no more sacrifice to be had.
Verse 24 of chapter 9,
24 ... Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often,
You don't offer him often. You don't do that.
as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die [say it with me] once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
You would think that that would be enough to make the point about "once." Not to the writer of Hebrews. Look at chapter 10:10.
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Every priest [talking about the Old Testament priests, not this Catholic fabrication] stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
Once. Once for all. Once for all. How many times does it need to be said?
Turn a few pages over to 1 Peter 3. You see it from Paul. You see it from the writer of Hebrews. You see it from Peter. Verse 18,
18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,
Beloved, look, here's what Catholics say and they start to contradict language and make language have no meaning: Catholics say that the cross, the true cross of Christ when he suffered at Calvary, they say that the cross and all of these Masses are one great sacrifice. They say that, and we saw this earlier, they say that the Mass is an unbloody offering for sin. So there are all kinds of contradictions going on here. First of all, they repeat these Masses but they say it's only one sacrifice. That's irrational. That just violates the basic tenets of human expression of thought. And they also say that that Mass is an unbloody offering. Christ made a bloody offering at the cross, now we make an unbloody offering for sin. That's not possible under Scripture because Scripture says that, look at chapter 9 of Hebrews, verse 22. Catholics say an unbloody offering, making sacrifice for sin, Scripture says nope. Hebrews 9:22,
22 ... according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
They say, "We're offering an unbloody sacrifice," to which Scripture says, "Then it's not doing anything about sin because sin requires a blood offering to take it away before God," in addition to all of the things that we've seen about once for all, once for all, once for all.
What's the truth of the matter, beloved, after Christ died on the cross? Hebrews 10:18, look at it with me. Hebrews 10:18,
18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.
There is nothing left to be done after the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. He made a perfect payment because his life was perfect, because in his deity he was able to give infinite value to his shed blood. He shed it, God accepted the sacrifice as shown by the fact that he raised him from the dead. There is nothing left to be done. There is nothing else that could be done. The work of Christ was finished 2,000 years ago. It was successful in its design. It accomplished what God intended. There is nothing left to do.
And beloved, what this means for you is this: is that when you put your trust in Christ for your salvation, it means that everything has been paid on your behalf. There are no works for you to do to somehow finish the work of Christ. There is no ritual for you to do to add to it. There is nothing to be done. Jesus – what do we sing – Jesus paid it all. There is nothing left to be done and that's why we love him so deeply and so intensely. That's why we worship him in spirit and in truth. That's why we love his word. That's why we proclaim him to the lost. It's because he is a perfect, sufficient Savior and you have to take him on the terms that Scripture gives him to you, a once for all sacrifice for all of your sin, not by your works so that you cannot boast in any way about contributing to your salvation.
And it is settled. To come alongside or to come after the fact and say, "No, our sacrifice is necessary and our sacrifice is also sacrificing Christ and it's also atoning for sin," no, there is one sacrifice and for a man contemplating truth claims when he sees the Bible and he sees Catholicism, he is at an irrevocable fork in the road and you must choose which one you will follow. Will you trust in the Catholic Mass for the forgiveness of your sins or will you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as it is stated in Scripture? You cannot have it both ways and it is shocking beyond comprehension that there are evangelical scholars who say those two things can be brought together. Impossible. The Reformers saw it clearly 500 years ago. It hasn't been an advance that men now think that we could reverse the Reformation and be true to Scripture.
What the Catholic teaching on the Mass does is it renders Christ an ongoing victim. Why do you find Christ attached to their crosses, to their crucifixes? Because he is an ongoing victim. The cross is empty. According to Scripture, Christ is an accomplished victor over sin and the grave. Colossians 1:20 says, Christ has reconciled us to God, "having made peace through the blood of His cross."
So finally we can say this and we'll say it quickly. Catholics say the Mass is necessary for salvation, the Bible says the Mass is not necessary for salvation. What is the Mass except a ritual, except a work that they do? The priest is doing a work on the platform, doing a work at their so-called altar. The people are coming forward and taking the wafer in their hand and then walking away and, you know, chomping down on Jesus. I mean, when you take them literally, these are the conclusions that you're brought to. They are chomping, they are chewing Jesus, according to their beliefs. This is insanity. If this was any other context, they would be recommended for a psych ward someplace. They would say, "You are so disconnected from reality, you need professional help."
Well, what they need is spiritual help as revealed from Scripture. The Mass is not necessary for salvation. Scripture says repeatedly that salvation is by faith, not by works. And let me just read for the sake of time, let me just read you some scriptures that are familiar. Galatians 2:16 says this. Remember, Catholics say you have to do our ritual in order to be saved, Scripture refutes that. Galatians 2:16 says,
16 … a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Catholics would say, "I've done the Mass. I participated in this. I've done my part." To which Scripture says, "No, by grace alone. By faith alone. Not by any works that you have done."
Finally, Titus 3:5 which we studied in the past when we were meeting over in northern Kentucky. Titus 3:5 says this,
5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
That's Titus 3, Ephesians 2, Galatians 2. Catholics say repeatedly, "You must do this to be saved." Scripture says repeatedly, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." These are mutually exclusive.
So we conclude this two-part teaching on the Mass by asking this question to summarize it all: is the Mass a real sacrifice of the literal blood of Christ that is necessary for salvation, the literal body and blood of Christ? Is it that and is it necessary for salvation? Emphatically we say no. Those who trust in the Mass are lost in sin, no matter their zeal, no matter how sincere their belief. Their belief is for an invented man-made righteousness, not the true Gospel revealed in Scripture. The Mass has never saved anybody. It never could. It never will. This is tragic that almost 20 percent of our planet believes that, but it's not true and it is laid out for us plainly in Scripture.
Two final things I'll say real quickly. Here is a simple little take away to kind of remind you of all of those passages that we looked at about the once for all nature of the sacrifice of Christ. Once for all. Once. Once. Once. Once. Beloved, if you can count to one, you can refute Roman Catholicism. One sacrifice. They say many. No. They do it many times. They try to say, "But it's only one." No. No, one sacrifice. Anyone that can count to one can refute Roman Catholicism and when you add on there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, you can refute it on the priesthood also.
I agree with John MacArthur who says this as we close and I quote, he said, "In simple terms, the Mass has nothing to do with the Christian Gospel, nothing to do with the Christian life, and nothing to do with the Christian church. It rejects the true biblical nature of God, Christ, sin, salvation, atonement and forgiveness. It robs the cross of its meaning and replaces it with superficial man-centered idolatry. It is a lie, a fraud, and a damning fabrication that enslaves hearts and ushers people to hell." That strong statement is verified completely by the Scriptures that we've seen tonight.
Beloved, if you have loved ones who are Catholics, you need to pray for them that God would open their eyes because they are enslaved to a satanic system that has blinded their eyes and their eyes need to be opened just like your eyes needed to be opened to your sin. It takes a supernatural work of God to deliver someone from this but we believe in a Gospel that has that power. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." It's that Gospel which we go forth out of this room and into the world as we carry it out tonight.
Let's bow together in prayer.
Our gracious Lord, you know that we've said these things in a spirit of love with a desire for the truth to be known. Father, we are mindful of the fact that we would be lost also had you not shown mercy and grace to us in our sin, and so it's not with a spirit of superiority or anything like that with which we teach these things. We simply open the word of God and point to what it says, Father, in the hopes that you would use it in order to bring some to a saving knowledge of Christ. We pray for our loved ones that are in the Catholic Church, that are under that system of darkness, and we ask you to shine the light of Christ into their hearts to bring Scripture to bear and, Father, that by the power of your Spirit you would open their eyes to see the foolishness that they have entrusted their eternal soul to. Father, may they turn from that in order to entrust themselves to the true Christ and may you help us to be instruments, each one to deliver that saving truth and trust you for the results that would come from it. Father, for those that are in this room not Catholics but also not Christians, not having bent their own knee to Christ, Father we ask for a work of your Spirit in their hearts that they might turn from sin, believe in Christ and enter into eternal life according to your promise. We pray these things in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.