Thursday, 31 January 2019
One test is seeing genuine change in a person's life. Zacchaeus is a good example. Luke 19:8 (BBE) says, "And Zacchaeus, waiting before him, said to the Lord, 'See, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone wrongly, I give him back four times as much.'" Jesus said that salvation had come to Zacchaeus' house, showing that his desire was genuine.
Though Peter said the following to justify himself, real followers of Christ leave behind their worldly ways. Mark 10:28 (KJV) quotes this foot-in-mouth disciple as saying, "Then Peter began to say unto him, 'Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.'"
I love Jesus' reply in the next two verses. The Bible in Basic English reads, "Jesus said, 'Truly I say to you, There is no man who has given up house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or land, because of me and the good news, Who will not get a hundred times as much now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and land--though with great troubles; and, in the world to come, eternal life.'"
As a side note, Jesus made no secret that suffering would come to true believers in him. That too is another way to tell the real followers from the fakers. In John 6:67 and 68 (BBE), the crowds abandoned Jesus because of his difficult teachings of total commitment to him. "So Jesus said to the twelve, 'Have you a desire to go away?' Then Simon Peter gave this answer: 'Lord, to whom are we to go? you have the words of eternal life;'"
Another indicator of faithfulness is the resultant change in a person's actions. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 (KJV). "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
Endurance is another indicator of true conversion. Matthew 10:22 (KJV) tells us, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
Joy in adversity is also an indicator we can watch for. James 1:2 (KJV) reads, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;"
I could write so much more on just this topic. Instead, I'll save other examples for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many sincere people will end up in hell because they never gave their lives to the rule of Christ. May God use my writing to turn them from the gates of hell.
Next month, I'll deal with the question of repentance and why it's crucial for true salvation.
Monday, 28 January 2019
Even a casual reading of the New Testament shows that our Master wants total devotion, not mere ascent. Luke 14:26 (KJV) says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
The word "hate" is comparative, not a commandment. Our devotion to Christ must be so strong that familial affection is comparatively hatred. We love people but we absolutely adore our Lord.
Neither must we let money and other worldly attractions interfere with our service to the King of kings. Matthew 6:24 (KJV) quotes him as saying, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
So it is that one of our Master's commandments is to warn people against ending up in hell. Look at the extreme language he used in Mark 9:47 and 48 (BBE). "And if your eye is a cause of trouble to you, take it out: it is better for you to go into the kingdom of God with one eye than, having two eyes, to go into hell, Where their worm is ever living and the fire is not put out."
This warning must also be given to pseudo-believers. The Pharisees were outwardly holy but Christ exposed their hidden sins. In Matthew 23:14 (KJV) our Master tore a huge strip out of those pretenders. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."
Jesus was insistent about Judgement Day as well. Matthew 3:12 (KJV) shows how God will judge the disobedient, "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
We mustn't fear telling sinners about God's wrath. As Christ said to his disciples 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."
And since hell is so horrific, the Bible uses various metaphors. Darkness is one of those which describe the utter misery of the damned. Jude 1:13 (KJV) describes the fate of the wicked this way. "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
Hell is no joke. That's why I want to warn those churchgoers that they too could be imprisoned there forever if they don't repent and follow Christ. I'll explain all that in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven?On Thursday, I'll post about how to recognize the real believers from the pretenders.
Saturday, 26 January 2019
Listen to this meaningful song here.
The Apostle Paul summed up our proper attitude toward our faith in Romans 13:9 (KJV). "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
It's easy to love nice people but what about the nasty ones? Christ extended love to even the hateful folks. Matthew 5:43-44 (KJV) says, " Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.' But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Since we call Christ our Lord and king, his sayings are our orders. James 2:8 (KJV) "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
But our Lord doesn't leave us defenseless against those who might oppress us. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:16 (KJV), "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"
Sadly, there are those calling themselves Christians but who don't obey Christ. Paul wrote of them in 2 Corinthians 11:13 (KJV) saying, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."
How wonderful that Jesus told us how to recognize false believers. Matthew 7:16 (KJV) reads, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
What a wonderful truth this is. The world is watching to see if we truly believe what we teach. May we all be found to be true disciples of Christ.
Thursday, 24 January 2019
When we call Christ our Lord, it means we submit to him and obey what he says. As he told his disciples in John 13:13 (KJV), "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am."
Since we're Christ's disciples, we must heed what our teacher teaches us. Like he said in Luke 6:46 (KJV), "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
Being Christ's also means that we belong to him. He bought us with his blood from the slave market of sin. As Paul aptly pointed out in 1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV), "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Likewise, Romans 6:17 (KJV) explains, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you."
The trouble is that many professing churchgoers only want the side benefits of "receiving" Christ but they don't want to obey his commandments. As he said in Matthew 7:21 (KJV), "Not every one that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Furthermore, we are given this ability to obey his holy edicts. Philippians 2:13 (KJV) says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
But we aren't unwilling slaves to our Lord, as if we were forced to serve him. John 14:15 (KJV) says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Obeying out of love for our Master is so much better than obeying out of fear. I'll emphasize this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many churchgoers want only a form of fire insurance against going to hell. But only those who love Christ will be saved.
I think you'll enjoy my Saturday Song choice. It aligns perfectly with the theme of churchgoers verses true Christians.
Monday, 21 January 2019
But what does God's Word say about righteousness? If we depend on our own works to save us, we're headed for hell.
Those who assume that believing about God is good enough need to heed the warning in James 2:19 (KJV). "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." In other words, the demons are more orthodox in their theology than those who just believe there's a god out there somewhere.
And if just being good is good enough, what about what Romans 4:2 (KJV) says? "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."
Furthermore, the Pharisees kept the law but not out of love for God. But Christ's harshest criticisms were levelled at them because they were inwardly corrupt. He said in Matthew 23:23 (KJV), "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
Paul also pointed out in Galatians 2:16 (KJV) that, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
According to James 2:18 (KJV) righteous works done out of love are proof of one's faith in Christ. "Yea, a man may say, 'Thou hast faith, and I have works:' show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works."
God doesn't reject all good deeds but only those done to butter him up. I'll be pointing this out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many churchgoers depend on their denominational affiliation for their salvation when they should surrender their lives to Christ.
Saturday, 19 January 2019
This song by Canadian band Bachman-Turner Overdrive is about a woman who keeps changing her mind. She's with one man one minute and then leaves for another the next.
Listen to this song here.
James certainly had something to say about such unstable people. He wrote in James 1:8 (KJV) that, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
Our chief duty as Christians is to proclaim the gospel. But how can people believe us if we keep changing our minds and attitudes? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:8 (KJV) that, "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"
And as we should be steadfast in our trust in the Lord, so we must pray with total trust in him. James 1:6 (KJV) says, "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
And Paul summed up steadfastness in prayer in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV). "Pray without ceasing."
I hope you liked this song and what I wrote. Please comment in the box below if you wish to.
On Monday, I'll be posting about the difference between believing about and believing in God. It's important to know why we need to believe in him and in Christ.
Thursday, 17 January 2019
From what I read in the New Testament, immersion is the prescribed method of baptism. But why should this be so? Because baptism is an outward confession of a person's commitment to follow Christ.
Paul, explaining why we mustn't practice sin now that we're saved, described baptism as being symbolically burried with Christ and rising again through his sacrifice on the cross. In Romans 6: 3 to 6 (BBE), he wrote, "Or are you without the knowledge that all we who had baptism into Christ Jesus, had baptism into his death? We have been placed with him among the dead through baptism into death: so that as Christ came again from the dead by the glory of the Father, we, in the same way, might be living in new life. For, if we have been made like him in his death, we will, in the same way, be like him in his coming to life again; Being conscious that our old man was put to death on the cross with him, so that the body of sin might be put away, and we might no longer be servants to sin."
Two kinds of baptism were mentioned in the New Testament. The first was a baptism of repentence which John the Baptist preached. The second was the baptism into Christ.
In Acts 19:1 to 4 (BBE), Luke wrote, "And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having gone through the higher country, came to Ephesus, where there were certain disciples: And he said to them, 'Did you get the Holy Spirit when you had faith?' And they said to him, 'No, we have had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit.' And he said, 'What sort of baptism did you have?' And they said, 'The baptism of John.' And Paul said, 'John gave a baptism which goes with a change of heart, saying to the people that they were to have faith in him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.'"
I suppose those who believe in sprinkling get this from verses such as Hebrews 9:19 (KJV) which reads, "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,"
But the whole point of the book of Hebrews is to show the superiority of Christ over the law, angels, and all other things. Hebrews 10:22 (KJV) explains the need to be baptized as well as separated from sin. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
Since we are under the new covenant, we need to abide by it and not Israel's old covenant. Jesus himself initiated this new contract when he gave his disciples bread and wine at the last supper.
This is also why believer's baptism is needed. Infants can't decide to follow Christ. Neither does christening do anything to secure an offspring's salvation.
I'll be pointing out salvation by grace alone, not by ceremonies, in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Since God set the rules, our opinions don't change a thing.
My Saturday Song post will be about a song by Bachman-Turner Overdrive and individuals who are inconsistant in their conduct.
Monday, 14 January 2019
Paul summed up baptism's universality in one short sentence. Ephesians 4:5 (KJV) says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism,"
This shows that no one church has a monopoly on believers' baptism. Neither does it mean that the baptism in one church is null and void in another, as far as the Lord is concerned.
Look at what Paul wrote 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."
No church affiliation is mentioned in that verse, or the entire New Testament for that matter. Baptism is a universal practice in Christianity.
Some people might think that 1 Peter 3:21 (KJV) means that baptism saves us. But that's not what he was saying. "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"
So it's by Christ's resurrection that we are saved when we put our trust in him and his work. Being "dunked" in a tank or river doesn't make us holy but the imputed righteousness from Christ and obeying his voice does.
What must we do in light of all this? Paul answers that in Romans 12:1 (KJV). "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
And though there were many first-century churches and many good leaders, the Holy Spirit frowns upon factionalism. Look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:12 (KJV). "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." We must all be unified in service to Christ, not to our denominations.
Also, look at Psalms 133:1 (KJV). "A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Of course the psalmist doesn't mean the town of Unity, Saskatchewan. :-)
I plan on writing more about Baptism in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So much utter nonsense is preached on the subject of baptism that I feel compelled to rebut it all with Scripture.
I'll be dealing with the method of baptism on Thursday. Some churches "sprinkle" congregants while others "dunk" them. But which method does God's Word favour?
Saturday, 12 January 2019
That's why I fell in love with the sound of Lenny Kravitz in 1991. It sounded so much like what I grooved to in 1970 that I bought many of his albums.
Listen to "Let Love Rule" here.
We who trust in Christ are encouraged to do this throughout the scriptures. Instead of separating ourselves into cliques, we should fellowship with all the members of our church. As Paul pointed out in
Romans 12:9 (KJV), "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."
Because we have the love of Christ dwelling in us, we naturally are kind to others and passionate about worshipping the Lord. As it says in John 3:21 (KJV) "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
So, what's your opinion on Lenny Kravitz's music and what I've written? Please let me know. But if you'd rather not, have a beautiful weekend anyway.
I'll be posting on Monday about church membership baptism and why it doesn't appear in Scripture. Stay tuned for that controvercial post.
Thursday, 10 January 2019
Teachers of this errant doctrine should heed what our Lord warned Nicodemus about in John 3:18 (BBE). "The man who has faith in him (Christ) does not come up to be judged; but he who has no faith in him has been judged even now, because he has no faith in the name of the only Son of God."
Neither does misfortune or the lack of it prove one's righteousness. Look at what Christ said when people asked him about the Jews who were murdered by Pilate's soldiers as they worshipped in the temple. Luke 13:2-5 (BBE) says, "And he, in answer, said to them, 'Are you of the opinion that these Galilaeans were worse than all other Galilaeans, because these things were done to them? I say to you, It is not so: but if your hearts are not changed, you will all come to the same end. Or those eighteen men who were crushed by the fall of the tower of Siloam, were they worse than all the other men living in Jerusalem? I say to you, It is not so: but if your hearts are not changed, you will all come to an end in the same way'"
But, I suppose some will ask, isn't God merciful to those who lived unsaved lives? Matthew 10:28 (KJV) makes no exceptions when it comes to God punishing disobedience. "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."
Many churchgoers assume that they'll automatically be in heaven when they die. Matthew 23:15 (KJV) shows Christ's warning to those who were outwardly holy but inwardly wicked. "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."
Though apostate denominations discount the danger of eternal damnation for not surrendering one's life to Christ, Jesus made this truth starkly clear in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Luke 16:23 KJV) says, "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."
And if angels who disobeyed God ended up condemned, how much more ought rebellious humanity be damned? Look at what 2 Peter 2:4-9 (BBE) says. "For if God did not have pity for the angels who did evil, but sent them down into hell, to be kept in chains of eternal night till they were judged; And did not have mercy on the world which then was, but only kept safe Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when he let loose the waters over the world of the evil-doers; And sent destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah, burning them up with fire as an example to those whose way of life might in the future be unpleasing to him; And kept safe Lot, the upright man, who was deeply troubled by the unclean life of the evil-doers (Because the soul of that upright man living among them was pained from day to day by seeing and hearing their crimes): The Lord is able to keep the upright safe in the time of testing," and to keep evil-doers under punishment till the day of judging;"
When Judgement Day comes, these nominal Christians will find themselves on the wrong side of the Lord. Revelation 20:13 (KJV) warns, "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."
This will be one of my themes in my upcoming book, You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many folks assume they'll be in heaven when they die but they'll be in for a horrific shock once they pass away. I must warn every complacent churchgoer that they too must be born again.
As for Saturday's song, it's one of my favourites. We believers must let agape love rule in our hearts.
Monday, 7 January 2019
First of all, Satan is merely a created being. When referring to Judgement Day, Jesus told his disciples what will happen to the Devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41 (KJV) quotes him as saying, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
Jude 1:6 (KJV) also speaks of the fate of rebellious angels, including the Devil. "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Hebrews 1:4 (KJV) also shows that Christ is no created being but the Son of God. "Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." Some folks might think that the word "Made" means that he was a created being but it really means that he was appointed by God.
The next verse, Hebrews 1:5 (KJV), shows how Christ was never a created being. "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?' And again, 'I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?'"(
Since worship is reserved only for God who is eternal, the next verse shows that Jesus shares in the Father's nature. Hebrews 1:6 (KJV) explains, "And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, 'And let all the angels of God worship him.'"
Revelation 3:5 (KJV) also proves that Jesus was no created being. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
As with all apostates, these people deny biblical truth. I'll point that out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many people claim to be Christians but their actions show that they are just faking it.
On Thursday, I'll post about churches which teach that God is too nice to send sinners to hell. This is a deadly error which we all must confront.
Saturday, 5 January 2019
Check out this song about cities here.
Though I live in the country, I do look forward to living in a certain city. As we learn from Hebrews 11:10 (KJV), Abraham yearned for this special dwelling place. "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
But long before the heavenly city comes down, Israelites held onto the hope of being in Jerusalem. Psalms 46:4 (KJV) exalts, "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High."
Likewise, Psalms 87:3 (KJV) sings, "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah."
And as Revelation 3:12 (KJV) assurs us believers, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Someday, we all will see God's city come down from heaven. Revelation 21:2 KJV) "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
Are you yearning for that wonderful event too? Please feel free to write me about your hope.
On Monday, I'll post about the dualism error. Some folks actually think that God and Satan are two sides of the same coin, metaphorically speaking.
Thursday, 3 January 2019
Apostasy began with Satan's rebellion in heaven. Revelation 12:4 (KJV)tells how it happened. "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." This verse reflects upon both Satan's fall and how he sought to destroy Jesus.
Isaiah 14:12 (KJV) also mentions Satan's fall. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"
We also see how Satan, whose character is that of a snake, got Eve to doubt the Lord. Genesis 3:1 (KJV) says, "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, 'hath God said, "Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"'"
And throughout history, Israel kept wandering away from God's protective embrace until life grew too painful. One of many apostasies happened just after the Lord rescued the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. As 1 Corinthians 10:7 (KJV) explains, "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.'"
But we believers can't smugly assume we're immune to apostasy. Paul showed in 2 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) that those who ought to have known better left the faith. "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes."
It's sad that entire denominations have become apostates. Even so, the Bible promises that there'll be a remnant who will stay true to Christ. I'll be writing about how to spot such people in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many churchgoers appear pious but it's all for show.
As for Saturday's post, it's about cities and one city in particular which all believers desire to live in.