Archive for September 6, 2007

What’s the most important decision you will make? This is just 53 seconds but very thought provoking. To listen, click here

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Are you a new christian or struggling in your christian walk?

Then save yourself some pain. Click here and read these 10 principles that will help you to grow and mature in the faith if you obey them.

I am writing to you because I care for you and because I assume you are like a lot of other people that I know. PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS .

Whenever people think about life after death they have no fears at all. After all, they believe in God and Jesus… and think that they are a pretty good person. They think that if anyone could end up in Heaven, they probably would. They think “Well, there are a lot worse people than me and I go to church”. While it may seem that God’s goodness will cause Him to overlook your sins, the opposite is actually true. Now what is sin? It is a violation of God’s moral laws (1 John 3:4). Have you ever lied, stolen, used God’s name in vain, looked at the opposite sex with lust? Then you have sinned against God and that is just three of the ten commandments. If you sinned just five times a day for a year, you would have broken his law 1825 times and if you lived to be 70, you would have broken it over 127,000 times in your lifetime.

Perhaps the following illustration will add some clarity: Imagine you’re standing before a judge, guilty of multiple crimes. The judge is about to pass sentence when he asks, “Do you have anything to say for yourself?” You stand up, look the judge in the eye and say, “Yes Your Honour, I believe that you’re a good man… and because you’re good, you will let me go.” The judge will probably say something like, “Well, you’re right about one thing… I am a good man. And it’s because I’m good that I’m going to see that you are punished for your crimes.” The very thing you are counting on to save you on the Day of Judgment — namely God’s goodness — is going to be the very thing that will see to it that justice is done. Because God is so good He will make sure that every murderer, rapist and thief receives justice… but He won’t stop there. He will also make sure every liar, blasphemer, and adulterer is punished (1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8). While this is something that is extremely tragic and far from God’s ultimate desire for any person, the Bible is clear that the place of punishment for those who do not turn from their sins is Hell.

Does this concern you? It should. Would you sell one of your eyes for a million pounds? How about both eyes for ten million pounds? No one in their right mind would! Your eyes are precious to you… but they are only a “window” for your soul. Your soul (your inner being, your life, your personality) looks out through those eyes. Consider how precious your eyes are… then realize that Jesus said that Hell is so horrible that you would be better off tearing out your own eyes than ending up there for all eternity.

Giving money to charity, going to church, and reading the Bible are all good activities–but none of them impress God. The Bible says, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) That means, all our “righteous acts” — these “good deeds” can never make up for the fact that we’ve broken God’s Holy Commandments. Your own so-called “goodness” can’t get you into heaven any more than mine could. Going to church on a Sunday does not reserve your place in heaven. Think of it this way… If a person was guilty of a serious crime… such as murder… but he gave money to charity, does that make up for his crime? No. The person’s crime hasn’t been paid for because he gave money to charity. This “good deed” will mean nothing to the judge when he passes sentence. The murder must still be punished. Again imagine you’re in a courtroom, you’re guilty of many serious crimes. The judge says, “You have to pay a fine of £500,000 or go to prison.” You don’t have anywhere near that amount of money, so the bailiff begins to walk you out of the courtroom when someone you don’t even know appears. He runs up to the judge with a cheque and says, “I’ve paid the fine for you.” Now that the fine has been paid, the law no longer has any hold on you. You’re free — because of the gift you were given.

This is what God did for you by sending Jesus to die on the cross in your place. So that you wouldn’t have to go to Hell, God sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross — suffering the punishment that justice demands. So it’s like this…we broke the law, Jesus Christ paid the fine. Then He rose from the grave, forever defeating death! The Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. He is the “Door,” the only “mediator.” There is salvation in no other name. Just like the court case we just talked about, if you repent (that means to confess and forsake your sins) and put your trust in Jesus, then you will not have to suffer God’s justice in Hell because the payment for your crimes was made by Jesus on the cross and God says he will forgive all your sins and grant you the gift of everlasting life. Remember, you do NOT go to heaven because you are a good person but rather because you are a BAD person whose sins have been forgiven by a very kind God. So don’t come to God just to get out of hell but come to him because he has been so kind to save you from hell.

We are all part of the ultimate statistic. 10 out of 10 people die. We all will die one day and none of us know when that day will be. For some of us, it will be sooner rather than later as life can be so unpredictable so don’t take the risk and play Russian roulette with your soul. The bible says that it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

I DO NOT WANT YOU TO GO TO HELL SO PLEASE CONSIDER EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE SAID. DO NOT WASTE ANOTHER DAY. TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.

If you’re not sure what to pray, read Psalm 51, and make it a model for your prayer. The words are not “magical,” what God cares about is the attitude of your heart. When you pray, it should sound something like this, “Dear God, I repent (forsake) of all my sins, such as (name them). I put my trust in Jesus Christ as Lord (to say Jesus is your Lord means you are now making Jesus the master over your life) and Saviour. Forgive me and grant me your gift of everlasting life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you have done this sincerely, then you will become what the bible calls ‘born again’ where God gives you a new heart with new desires. This is not an overnight process and will happen over time as you mature in the faith. Now read your Bible daily, obey what you read and find a good bible believing church. God will never let you down.

Related Post:

What can wash away your sins?

Did you know that 98% of Christians don’t share their faith regularly? And that doesnt mean just praying for them or ‘lifestyle’ evangelism but actively explaining the whole gospel message. ie, unless a person repents and puts their trust in Christ ALONE, they will incur God’s wrath and go to a place of eternal punishment called hell because we are all guilty before God of breaking his laws but Christ showed his love to us by taking the punishment that should have been ours while we were yet sinners, and by dying on the cross, provided a way out for us so that we can receive the forgiveness of sins and be made righteous by him. He was then raised from the dead for our justification

Are you a part of that 98%? If we are true christians, then we MUST spread the gospel. It is not an option but a commandment from Jesus. You do not have to be an evangelist to share the good news. Jesus said that we should “GO (and not wait for them to come) into the high ways and by ways and compel them to come in’. A lot of christians will not GO. You have to be deliberate about MAKING opportunities and not just WAITING for opportunities

Some people believe in ‘lifestyle evangelism’. I call this lazy evangelism because that is ALL that they do but your lifestyle alone cannot communicate the gospel. Your lifestyle should backup what you TELL them. Some people feel that “my life will let them know that I am a christian’ and then feel ‘well that’s my job done’ but they will not speak to someone and expound the good news. Is that you?

Maybe you dont know how to do it, or how to answer the questions that come your way or dont feel equipped.These websites can help you to get equipped and have some very good tools to get you started.

www.livingwaters.com
www.wayofthemaster.com
www.wretchedradio.com (You can hear witnessing encounters here from a wide variety of people. From atheists to JWs to Mormons to muslims to ‘christians’ who have no idea how to get to heaven). You can listen/podcast the two hour show everyday
www.adventuresinchristianity.com
www.juststopandthink.com
www.evangelismteam.com

Two good apologetic sites are www.carm.org and www.str.org

Some people underestimate the power of the humble gospel tract. What’s even worse is that some professing Christians make claims against them; that they don’t work, are offensive etc. The Bible itself is one big gospel tract! Gospel tracts are just God’s word put onto the printed page. George Whitefield (one of the best Open Air preachers since Paul the apostle) was saved from reading a gospel tract.Get some good ones and give them out of every opportunity. Every day we talk to a multitude of strangers, to whom we could give a good gospel tract. From the Petrol Station Attendant, to the checkout person at the supermarket.. Everywhere we go there are lost souls, who if they died would spend eternity in the lake of fire.

 

Whatever your reason has been, stop making excuses and start somewhere. Even if that means handing out a gospel tract and running away, leaving one on a bus. Maybe send an email/letter to a loved one or friend like this.

So get to it! Stop wasting those opportunities to sow the seed and lets do it when ever and where ever we can

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.(Jude 23)

Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.(James 5:20)

Until the world hears

Alan

P.S By the way, I’m still learning too

One of the main questions I ask myself when listening to preachers is ‘Is this message man-centered or is it Christ-centered?’. Believe me, you can filter out a lot of the false teachers out there by asking that simple question. Dennis Pollock has written a very good article about this called The dangers of the “seeker-sensitive man-centered Gospel”. This is a very challenging article, especially to those who love the popular preachers but do not match up what they say to scripture or do not know how to differentiate sound doctrine from false doctrine.

If you are one of those people who may want to tell me “I dont want to hear what you have to say because I have been blessed by their ministry”, may I encourage you to defend scripture first and not your favorite preacher. Be like the Bereans who didnt swallow everything they were told but checked it against scripture first. If what you hear preached doesnt match up to scripture, then reject it, no matter who is preaching it.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

Please have a receptive heart as you read the article and examine if your main diet of preaching is man-centered or Christ-centered. If it is the former, then make the necessary adjustments.

Here is the article:

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8 )

Though few seem to realize it, Satan has been in the “another gospel” business for a long time. His goal, since the glorious good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ burst onto the world scene nearly 2000 years ago, has always been to produce a counterfeit gospel, which would replace the true, and keep men in darkness and spiritual slumber.

In the early days Gnosticism suited his purposes well. The early church found itself in a battle for its theological life, as this heresy rose up and persuaded many that Christ was a spirit-being and had not truly come in the flesh, or truly died on the cross. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians is a strong refutation of this ancient heresy, and serves as a continual warning to believers throughout the ages to “beware, lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

Though the Gnostic fallacy has come and gone, Satan’s attempts at deluding the church are as vigorous as ever. In today’s self-preoccupied generation, one of the most prominent counterfeit gospels is the one which centers around man and interprets all Scripture in the light of potential benefits to man.

Technically, this approach is called the anthropocentric gospel or, more simply, the man-centered gospel. It is a form of theological humanism, and has made major inroads into the evangelical church. It does not deny the basics of the faith: Christ’s sinless life and His death and resurrection. Rather, it sheds a new light on these things by focusing almost exclusively upon man’s comfort, pleasure, and success. Let us consider some of the differences between a man-centered and a Christ-centered gospel.

Salvation

Traditionally, salvation has been seen as relating to sin and righteousness. The Bible plainly teaches us that all have sinned and are in need of a Savior (Romans 3:9-18). We are told that God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and He cannot look upon iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). Man is said to have gone astray like a wayward sheep and turned to his own way (Isaiah 53:6). All our best efforts at impressing God by our good works and noble intentions appear as filthy rags in the sight of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Since the reformation, this has been the standard evangelistic presentation of the gospel by the evangelical church.

Today, in many quarters, professing Christians have decided that the world is no longer interested in such antiquated notions as sin, righteousness, and justification. We must keep up with the times, and so salvation is now being presented as an experience with Christ which will fulfill us, make us happy, and give us the tools we need to be successful in life. From “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself take up his cross, and follow Me,” we have degenerated to, “If any man would like personal fulfillment, high self-esteem, and be rid of all feelings of inferiority, let him deny himself nothing, take up a positive self-image, and be happy always.”

This folly has crept into our “evangelism” to the extent that Christians think they have witnessed to a person when they have told him that Jesus would improve his life, though they have said virtually nothing about sin, repentance, or man’s need for the righteousness of Christ.

What kind of gospel is this that neglects the cardinal doctrines of the faith, and focuses instead on promises of a blissful life which can only lead to disillusionment? Is this the same gospel Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 15:19 when he said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable”? Is this what Peter referred to in 1 Peter 4:13 when he said, “Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy”?

The Cross

If the man-centered understanding of salvation is warped, what its advocates do with the cross of Jesus is absolutely appalling. The problem is not that they deny the cross; it is the meaning they attach to it, and the conclusions they draw from it.

Traditionally the cross has always been seen as the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for mankind. Christians over the centuries have beheld our Savior on the cross, dying that torturous death, bleeding from his hands, feet, and side, and have been struck with awe and amazement at the incredible love of God. The thing that made it the most amazing was the fact that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Amazing grace has lost its appeal these days. In our zealous headlong rush to prove our own self-worth and convince ourselves of how marvelously valuable we are, the cross has gained a new humanistic interpretation. No longer is it a reflection of God’s amazing love for sinners; rather it is a declaration of our personal value. Cecil Osbourne has declared, “There must be something truly wonderful about us if God can love us and accept us so readily.”

Has Christianity been reduced to this? How appalled the fiery reformers and revivalists would be to see such a perversion of the meaning of the cross. Martin Luther almost seemed to see this day coming when he wrote his fourth thesis: “God does not love us because we are valuable; we are valuable because God loves us.” To look at the cross and say, “Jesus died for me, am I not wonderful?” is to utterly pervert the meaning of grace. The proper declaration is, “Jesus died for me; is He not wonderful?”

If we were truly such wonderful prizes, fully worthy of Christ’s death on the cross, there would be no amazing grace. You might call it routine grace, or expected grace, or perhaps you might just call it smart purchasing. Such is the folly of those who would turn the< cross of our Savior into an excuse for self-glorying.

Faith

Both the man-centered and the God-centered gospel emphasize faith. The difference is the purpose for which it is used. In the man-centered gospel, faith becomes a means to get what you want in life.

Accordingly, many Christians seem to be under the impression that God has established faith as a means for us to receive all the desires our flesh could wish. It matters not whether what we want might be good for us, or even whether it might be the will of God just turn your faith loose and get whatever you want. We are “the King’s kids,” and we should have everything we want.

The ultimate man of faith, of course, was Jesus Christ. He had faith to spare. With a word of His mouth sicknesses were healed, the dead were raised, storms were stilled, and demons cast out. When He stood before the tomb of Lazarus, He had the audacity to pray, “I thank you Father, that you have heard Me, and I know that You always hear Me< . . .” (John 11:41,42).

If ever a man could be said to be a man of faith, it was Jesus. And yet Jesus never used His faith to get whatever He wanted. He declared that “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do . . .” (John 5:19). When tempted by Satan to use His faith to turn stones to bread on His own initiative, He would have none of it (Matthew 4:3-4).

Faith is not a tool for getting anything we want. If it were, James would not have had to write, “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your pleasures” (James 4:3). Jesus used His faith for enforcing the will of God on the earth. He went through life as One who was not His own, doing the will of the Father, saying what He heard the Father say, and doing what He saw the Father do.

I have found that there is a lot less strain involved in believing God for something that you are convinced is His will, than reaching for things that are either against His will or that He seems to have no real interest in your having.

Benefits

Let me conclude by emphasizing that there most certainly are benefits in knowing Christ. Eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, inner peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit are all promised those who will put their faith in Christ. Nor is it wrong to speak of these benefits to sinners.

The problem comes when, in our eagerness to appropriate all that God has for us, we lose sight of the One who is our shield and our exceedingly great reward, the Lord Jesus Himself. He does indeed promise to meet our needs and answer our prayers, but He asks that we fulfill His condition: to abide in Him.

As we yield our lives to His service, and become set apart as vessels fit for the Master’s use, we will walk in a fearless faith that establishes the will of God on the earth, and we will glory in the cross, not for what it shows us about our value, but for what it reveals of the deep, deep love of Jesus.

This article was written by Dazzarai and he answers this question very articulately:

WHAT IS DOCTRINE?

Firstly, let us define the term “doctrine”. It is derived from the Greek word didache (Strong’s G1322)

It can be defined as the following: teaching, that which is taught, the act of teaching, instruction. In religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching. In distinction from other modes of speaking in public.

Now you have an understanding of the meaning of ‘doctrine’, let us explore what the Word of God says concerning this, and how important it is for Christians and our walk with Christ.

I have noticed while conversing with many Christians that there seems to be confusion to “where” doctrine comes from. The bible speaks of ‘doctrines of God’, ‘doctrines of men’ and even ‘doctrines of devils’.

How can we know whose doctrines we are following?

Jesus said in John 7:16 – “Jesus answered them, and said, my doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me”.
If we remember that doctrine means “teaching and instruction”, we understand that Christ is saying that what He teaches is from God. They are the doctrines of God and not man, as other men were teaching at the time.

Some people believe that the teachings of Christ over rule the teachings of the apostles, i.e. Peter and Paul.

This ideology could not be more wrong. The apostles taught the doctrines that Christ taught them and passed them down to the believers.

Paul says in Galatians 1:11
‘I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.’

Also the bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16 ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (Emphasis added.)

Firstly we see that ALL scripture (not just the words of Christ in red) is given by inspiration of God. God has used man to write His word. Secondly scripture is profitable to us, firstly for DOCTRINE or as we said before, teaching and instructing in the things of God. Everything we need to walk and be perfected as Christians is in the scriptures. God no longer needs to give individual revelations to us; he has given his guidance in his Word. The problem is we are just too lazy at times to STUDY the word for ourselves.

IS YOUR DOCTRINE SOUND?

The bible says in 1 Timothy 1:9-11

‘9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.’ (Emphasis added)

‘Sound’ is the key here. Is your doctrine sound? Does it line up with the teachings of Christ and the apostles? Or do you choose which parts of God’s doctrine you practise?

The bible also says in 2 Timothy 4:3
‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ (Emphasis added)

I’m sure most Christians today will agree that we are in the season of the last days, yet most will deny that there are false teachers about. I find this very disturbing to say the least.
Never before have there been so many teachers and so little gospel. People are heaping to THEMSELVES teachers (a great number) teaching a gospel that is not a gospel at all. Some rarely mention Jesus except when trying to Jes-ify there worldly teachings. You cannot take the things of this world, add Jesus to it and call it the teachings of Christ. This is a grave deception. Hence, we are to “STUDY to show ourselves approved, also RIGHTLY divide the word of truth.

It is funny how Christian’s, even leaders today will tell you “let God deal with people if they are teaching doctrines that are false”. Here’s what the word of God says:

Romans 16:17

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

1 Timothy 1:3
I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.

Titus 1:9
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
(Emphasis added)

Refute those who oppose it? So we should not just sit back and let God deal with it. You know why God won’t do anything about it? Because we are charged to deal with it, it’s that simple. Unfortunately, most Christians today have been sold a lie, that Christianity promises a great life on this earth. So because we don’t want any persecution we would rather allow doctrines of devils to plague the body of Christ. Is that not wicked?

DOCTRINES OF MEN & DEVILS

This is what Christ said concerning those who teach the commandments of men:

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Hebrew 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
(Emphasis added)

The teaching of the tithe is a great example of this scripture. Men have turned the grace of God (Gods’ determining of whether we have health, finances, etc) and turned it into meats (If you do, God will do, when the praises go up, the blessings come down, i.e. works), yet it has not profited them that practise these things.

For example, the next time you meet someone who says tithing WORKS (and that’s exactly what it is WORKS,) ask them when last they had so much blessing that they had no room to receive it. Or do they have any bill that they struggle with while a tither?

It amazes me how so many tithers are broke yet believe in the tithe as the means for God to bless them, according to Malachi 3. Someone has to be a liar and it certainly is NOT God. I guess that leaves the teacher then, or a lack of understanding of scripture…

Ephesians 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
(Emphasis added)

So many people today are being tossed to and fro, believing and being deceived by whatever they hear their “favourite” preachers say and teach. I’ve heard preachers say that people must have blind faith about the things they are taught; to just believe them. Or you are poor because you are slow to believe. What happened to the Bereans in Acts 17?

Acts 17:10
As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

This is a prime example of how we as Christians are to receive the Word of God. And as teachers if what you teach are the doctrines of Christ, then you need not be afraid to have your teachings examined. It’s very simple, don’t you think?

THE DOCTRINES OF GOD

We have gathered that the doctrines of God are profitable for us, but what are the doctrines of God. The doctrines of God are what we are taught by Christ and by the apostles in the Word. It is very simple: follow what Christ AND the apostles taught.

The bible is filled with doctrines of Christ including but not limited to: his birth by a virgin, his miracles, his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God. However, there are many other important doctrines of Christ. These include His church, worship, repentance, baptism, the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s Supper, order of ordination of ministers, correct applications of the gifts of the Spirit, right living, and His Second Coming as well as others. There is a tendency to emphasise Christian living and neglect Christian doctrine. They go hand in hand: one cannot go without the other.

Basically, when you read the Word of God, obey it and you will find favour with God.

SO IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT?

1 Timothy 4:16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

We will be saved if we hold on to the teachings of Christ and the apostles. One of the dangers of losing our salvation is being deceived away from the doctrines of Christ. So the answer is YES, doctrine is very important to the believers. Especially if you are a teacher, since you will be held accountable for those you lead away from Christ by the doctrine you teach, if it is not of Christ.

“By laying these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Jesus Christ, being fed with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which you have followed (1 Tim. 4:6),

Verse 13: “Until I come, pay attention to reading, to comforting and to teaching (doctrine)”

I hope you will continue (or begin) to pay more attention to the doctrines of Christ as you continue to grow as a Christian, following in the noble footsteps of the Bereans in Acts 17, rightly dividing the word of truth, so that no man will deceive you.

May God bless you and keep you,

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.