Thursday, 30 March 2017

What Can You Do to Escape Hell?

Bearing in mind what I've written in the past few posts, the answer is obvious. God is calling everybody through Christ and his followers to turn from their rebellion against him.

Paul and Barnabas gave the right answer which is recorded in Acts 14:15 (KJV). After healing a lame man, local people jumped to the conclusion that their gods had come down to them in the fashion of men. The priests of the false gods were ready to sacrifice animals to them.

Paul restrained their misguided actions with these words, "And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:"

The next step is to follow Christ, obeying his teachings. The first step of obedience is being baptized as a public display for  the world to see. Christ said in Mark 16:16 (KJV), "He that believeth and is baptized shall be  saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." This shows that baptism is for those who trust in Christ and want to obey his commands.

But the  work of following the Saviour doesn't end there. Romans 12:2 (KJV) states, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

One thing I never was told about when I was a new believer was the need to gather with fellow Christians. Hebrews 10:23-25 explains why. Here's how the Bible in Basic English renders these verses:

23  Let us keep the witness of our hope strong and unshaking, for he is true who has given his word:
24   And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works;
25   Not giving up our meetings, as is the way of some, but keeping one another strong in faith; and all the more because you see the day coming near

Discipleship is highly important for new believers. Had I been mentored by mature believers, I wouldn't have ended up in a toxic house church which taught blasphemous doctrines. I wrote how the Lord led me out of error and into truth in a book called How I Was Razed. Follow that link to learn more about this wondrous miracle.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

What About People Who Were "Good" All Their Lives?

In past posts, I've established that the Bible says that people who refuse to repent and ask Christ to save them are bound for hell. I've also established that we can't go to heaven on our own merits since no person is without sin. Even so, some folks seem to have lived such righteous lives that they ought to be in heaven after they die.

The Pharisees appeared likely candidates for Heaven. According to their outward show of piety, they must have seemed like extremely holy people to the general public of Christ's day.

But Jesus wasn't fooled by their outward religiosity. Look at the parable he gave them in Luke 18:9-15. Here's how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:

9   And he made this story for some people who were certain that they were good, and had a low opinion of others:
10   Two men went up to the Temple for prayer; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-farmer.
11   The Pharisee, taking up his position, said to himself these words: God, I give you praise because I am not like other men, who take more than their right, who are evil-doers, who are untrue to their wives, or even like this tax-farmer.
12   Twice in the week I go without food; I give a tenth of all I have.
13   The tax-farmer, on the other hand, keeping far away, and not lifting up even his eyes to heaven, made signs of grief and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
14   I say to you, This man went back to his house with God's approval, and not the other: for everyone who makes himself high will be made low and whoever makes himself low will be made high.

Tax collectors were the most hated people in Jewish society since they worked for the occupying Roman empire and they extorted extra money for themselves. Pharisees were thought of by the public as being the most holy temple members. Jesus pointed out that it's penitent sinners who are justified by God, not self-righteous people who place their heavenly hope in what they do.

Self-righteous attitudes are what condemn people, even ones who seem to be doing many good works. It's the intent of their hearts which God knows and he's not fooled by outward acts of charity.

This is why I'm writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? No matter how laudable people's deeds are, they're only for show if their lives aren't given over to serving Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Is Hell Really on Fire?

This is a question which scoffers use to make fun of hell. They do so because the torments described in the Bible seem to contradict each other. For example, the words "fire" and "darkness" are used to depict the way hell is. But how can fire be black? That seems illogical upon the face of it.

What critics of the Bible miss is that these words are metaphors. Additionally, they barely convey the horrific conditions suffered by its occupants.

The most graphic depiction of hell is recorded in Luke 16:19-31. Christ told a parable to show the people listening to him the horrific nature of hell.

This is how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:

19 Now there was a certain man of great wealth, who was dressed in fair clothing of purple and delicate linen, and was shining and glad every day.
20   And a certain poor man, named Lazarus, was stretched out at his door, full of wounds,
21   Desiring the broken bits of food which came from the table of the man of wealth; and even the dogs came and put their tongues on his wounds.
22   And in time the poor man came to his end, and angels took him to Abraham's breast. And the man of wealth came to his end, and was put in the earth.
23   And in hell, being in great pain, lifting up his eyes he saw Abraham, far away, and Lazarus on his breast.
24   And he gave a cry and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may put the end of his finger in water and put it on my tongue, for I am cruelly burning in this flame.
25   But Abraham said, Keep in mind, my son, that when you were living, you had your good things, while Lazarus had evil things: but now, he is comforted and you are in pain.
26   And in addition, there is a deep division fixed between us and you, so that those who might go from here to you are not able to do so, and no one may come from you to us.
27   And he said, Father, it is my request that you will send him to my father's house;
28   For I have five brothers; and let him give them an account of these things, so that they may not come to this place of pain.
29   But Abraham said, They have Moses and the prophets; let them give ear to what they say.
30   And he said, No, father Abraham, but if someone went to them from the dead, their hearts would be changed.
31   And he said to him, If they will not give attention to Moses and the prophets, they will not be moved even if someone comes back from the dead.

I intend on writing much more about this important subject in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Hell is nothing to joke about or to consider it of being no consequence. As the above scriptures show, there's no escape from hell.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Is Hell Really Forever?

Now that I've established what and where hell is, does it really last forever? Some Christians argue that a kind and compassionate God could never send people to hell for the rest of eternity.

One scripture verse they use to bolster their claim is 1 Timothy 2:4 (KJV), which says of God,  "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." What these people fail to understand is that this is only God's wish for humanity. Though he wants all people to be saved, he gave us a choice in the matter.

These proponents of hell being for a set time and not forever also twist what Christ said in John 3:16 (KJV) which reads, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." But they overlook what he said in the next three verses. People don't want to come to the light because their deeds are evil.

As the minister of the sick house church I once attended claimed, some people believe that the word "forever" doesn't mean for the rest of eternity. Even a casual search in a concordance would show that all uses of "forever" mean exactly that. In fact, repetitions such as in Revelation 20:10 (KJV) reinforce the eternal period's length. "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

The truth is that nobody is good except God. As Paul wisely pointed out in Romans 3:10 (KJV), "As it is written, 'There is none righteous, no,  not one:'" How then can anybody claim to be good on their own terms? The truth is that they can't.

And if "forever" doesn't mean forever but a period of time, what does that do to the biblical promises that say we'll be with God forever? Proponents of hell's limited time never seem to consider that aspect of their argument.

Because of heresies such as this, I feel compelled to write my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The most important aspect of our lives is where we will end up after death. I want nobody to end up in hell because nobody warned them about this important matter. Sadly, many people either reject God or think they can please him with their own righteousness.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

What Will Save You from Hell?

Having written on how to avoid the unforgivable sin, what must we do to be saved from an eternity of agony and separation from God? We must surrender to the rule of Christ in our lives.

The first step is to beg the Lord for his forgiveness. This is called repentance. As Peter said in Acts 2:38 (KJV), "Then Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'"

Baptism is an outward display to the world that you have died to your old life and are now following Christ. As Paul pointed out in Romans 6:4 (KJV), "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

The next step is to be witnesses for Christ. This means that we proclaim the good news of salvation to all who will listen to us. This is called by Christians The Great Commission. As Christ told his disciples in Acts 1:8 (KJV), "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

As we live and obey our Lord, we become sanctified. This means that we become set apart so we will be devoted servants to God. In turn, he provides us with what we need to live. As Christ promised in Matthew 6:33 (KJV), "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his  righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Salvation is such a vast subject that a single blog post can't do it proper justice. This is why I'm writing a book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many professors of Christianity have never surrendered their lives to Jesus and will be in deep trouble on the day of judgement.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

What is the Unforgivable Sin?

Before I say what the unforgivable sin is, I need to explain what it isn't. Far too many ignorant teachers have rambled on about what they think it is when they actually don't know. It isn't a single sin such as saying "mad dog" backwards. Neither is it turning away from God for a season.

Jesus said in Mark 3:29 (KJV) that it's blasphemy of the holy Spirit. "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:"

And what is this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Hank Hanegraaff has wisely said that it's the steadfast resistance to the Spirit's conviction until death. When Stephen confronted the Pharisees and gave them the history of Israel's apostasy, he recognized that they refused to listen to him. But it wasn't him only but the Holy Spirit speaking through him. In Acts 7:51 (KJV), He summed up, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."

The reason we can tell that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Stephen, a man filled with the Spirit, is because of what Christ said in John 14:26 (KJV). "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

And as we saw at the first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection, it was the Holy Spirit preaching through the disciples. When the gospel is proclaimed, preachers are speaking for the Lord and the words from the Bible are those which the Holy Spirit inspired men to write.

I'll be explaining much more about this topic in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many people, including those who profess to be Christians, resist the Spirit by not obeying and totally following Christ. They'll be in for a horrible shock on the day of judgement when they find themselves on the left side of Christ with the condemned souls.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Does God Send People to Hell?

One of the most-often cited reasons people have for rejecting God is the idea that he sends folks to hell. Critics argue that people who never heard the Gospel or never heard of God are damned unfairly. The truth is that human beings choose to be apart from God's love and dominion over their lives.

From the beginning, God allowed humanity the choice of obeying him and being blessed verses disobeying him and being cursed. Adam and Eve had only one rule to obey. Genesis 2:17 KJV() shows God's warning to them regarding disobeying it. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and  evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof  thou shalt surely die." Though they didn't physically fall down dead, they became cursed because they listened to Satan.

We can also see how God allowed the Israelites abundent opportunities to obey and live or disobey and perish. Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV) plainly states, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"

Another example of choice is given in Joshua 24:15 (KJV) where it says, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Choice was extended to the New Testament people as well. Matthew 4:17 (KJV) reads, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Jesus likewise warned people about hell in Luke 13:3 (KJV) when they asked him about the spiritual wickedness of some people who died. "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."

The Disciples likewise warned people to repent. Peter said in Acts 3:19 (KJV), "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;"

Paul also stated in Acts 17:30 (KJV) to the Greeks,  "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"

I've presented only a few verses here to show that all people have a choice whether to obey or disobey the Lord. I'll be able to expand fully on this topic in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Some people think God is cruel to send sinners to hell but it's actually a mercy. After all, they hate God and his people. Being dragged into the Lord's holiness for all eternity would be torture for them since They would rather not be with him or us.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Where is Hell?

Now that I've dealt with what hell is, the next question to answer is where it is.

Many people believe that it's down somewhere since the Bible uses that metaphor. One such verse is Deuteronomy 32:22 (KJV) in which God says, "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains."

Though the centre of the earth is hot enough to melt any element, it isn't the actual location of hell. That's because it's not a physical location but a spiritual dimension. The same is true of Heaven. We know this from scriptures which describe Enoch and Elijah being taken into heaven without dying.

As it's written in Hebrews 11:5 (KJV), "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." I trust that nothing was lost in the translation.

Likewise, 2 Kings 2:11 (KJV) states, "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

And as Hank Hanegraaff shrewdly pointed out, spirits have zero mass. Therefore they take up no physical space. Asking where hell is located would be like asking what the colour blue tastes like.

Though the Bible doesn't give us the physical location of hell, in that it isn't a physical place, it's quite clear on who goes there after death. This is why I feel compelled to write my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? This is thee question we all must deal with. Once I get out of debt, I will save up to pay for its publication.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

What is Hell?

This month, I feel that I must explain what hell actually is and who goes there. People have taught so many unbiblical ideas about it, therefore I feel compelled to write what Scripture says.

Hell is a place of punishment for those who refuse to be under the rule of God Almighty. According to Jude 6, (Bible in Basic English) it was originally for the rebellious angels. "And the angels who did not keep to their kingdom but went out from the place which was theirs, he has put in eternal chains and in dark night till the great day of the judging."

When people rebelled against God, they also ended up in hell. As Psalms 9:17 (KJV) states, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."

Jesus also warned in Matthew 10:28 (KJV), "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

We can also see that rejecting proofs of Christ's divinity, such as his mighty miracles,  is punishable by being sent to hell. Jesus said in Matthew 11:23 (KJV) that unbelief is an affront to the Lord. "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."

Even those who seem to believe in God but who reject the Lordship of Christ are damned. Jesus said in Matthew 23:15 (KJV)  "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

In some passages of the King James translation, the grave is spoken of as hell. We can tell this is so by the context of the passages which speak of the grave. In Jonah 2:2 (KJV) he prayed while inside the fish's belly "And said, 'I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.'" Had not God intervened, Jonah would have perished and been digested.

Another example of hell being a simile for the grave is in Revelation 20:13 (KJV). "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

In future posts, I'll explain where hell is and who is sent there. I'll also explain why God lets people go their own way so that they end up in eternal torment.

I also will expand on what I've written here in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven. Being sure of your eternal destiny is one matter not to be taken lightly. It deserves serious contemplation.