Have you ever had that conversation with someone who tells you they are a Christian BUT.... you leave thinking they might not actually be saved?
For me this is far to often the case. One such instance that comes to mind, is when I was in downtown Cleveland at Public Square handing out gospel tracts. A young man came out there a little ways up the street from where I was and began to open air preach, I was excited, and thought to myself this is great, I need to talk to this person before they leave, thinking how nice it would be to have another brother in Christ to labor with on the streets in Cleveland. I was already engaged in a conversation with an individual when this young man stopped preaching, so I sent my son to go let him know I wanted to talk. After I wrapped up the conversation I was already in this young man and I began to talk and everything started off great until I asked him what church he belongs to. He responded by saying "he goes back and forth between two churches", going to Bethel Cleveland one week and a local Baptist church the next. To him that was not an issue but for me it was and lead me down another line of conversation with him. I expressed my concerns over Bethel and the many false teachings that come out of there, however, he did not see those as problems that he needed to be concerned about. When the conversation ended, I went from being excited at the possibility of having another brother to minister with, to being saddened by the fact that this young man may very well be a false convert.
That was not the first or last of the many conversations I've had with individuals that were not exactly the same things I discussed with the young man above but similar in the fact that I walked away with no sense of assurance that the profession of faith they initially made was valid.
Ultimately, I am not the final judge and my prayer is that if these individuals were true believers they have grown in their faith, and if they were false converts as I perceived them to be, they would come to repentance and genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Why is this such a problem? Let me try to explain some reasons why I believe this is all to common.
1) They are goats
We need to be honest and say that many who profess Christ today are not His sheep, they are goats, they are tares and not the wheat. True and false converts alongside one another in the church. These false converts are goats and while pastors and elders do their best to minimize the amount of unbelievers who become members of their local churches, there will still be those goats who convince others they are among the sheep. The Lord will in the end be the one to separate the goats from His sheep.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
2) The are a new convert
We need to be gracious with those who may be new to the faith. If they are a new convert they may still be trying to figure things out within Christianity. While we believe there are some essentials to the Christian faith, some brothers and sisters may not be fully aware or even understand some of these essential doctrines yet. For example, they may say they believe in the Trinity but not understand the dangers of modalism and may make statements that sound as if they were a oneness pentecostal and not even know it, until someone points it out to them. This is why discipleship is so important for a new believers life. They need a biblical church and solid believers around them to hold them accountable and point them to truth.
>>>1 Peter 2:2
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
3) They are in an unbiblical church
Most professing Christian's in questionable churches (although they do not see them as questionable) have no desire for the truth. They may say they love Christ, they may say they are a Christian, but care little to grow in their understanding of the scriptures and conformity to what is true but rather desire to stay biblically illiterate and under happy go lucky, make me feel good about myself churches. And the majoirty of the time they are more offended that you would challenge the teachings of their church than they are offended that their church would teach contrary to God's Word.
2 Peter 2:1-3
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4) They are in a church that preaches the gospel but has poor theology
This is a tough position to be in because there are some churches that get the gospel right, and they don't teach things that would deny what many would consider the essentials of the faith. They may affirm the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Justification by faith alone, hold to a biblical view of the atonement, and yet still have very poor theology. This could be because the pastor and/or elders in the church aren't doing a good job of training up their people, along with teachers in the church teaching a very basic Sunday school class that just goes through the same teachings every couple of years and never digs in to deep theological studies on the scriptures. I was once in a church where the pastor kept his sermons short and never to deep because he would say he needed to bring it down to where he believed his people were at rather than preaching and teaching at a level that would bring his people up to a stronger theological standing.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive list, but I do believe these are reasons why we see so many who profess Christ but do not really know Him. These four reasons are not exclusive from one another but intertwine with each other.
A major indicator that one may be a goat is when they are in an unbiblical church and after being warned that their pastor is a false teacher time and time again with evidence given on the false teaching being taught, they get mad and disregard the warnings and continue to support and follow these false teachers.
A new convert may be under a false teacher in an unbiblical church, but because they are in Christ the Spirit will lead them into all truth, so when they receive correction they will over time come out from among them.
Honestly if you are a true believer and someone challenges something you have always been told or believed regardless of how long you have been a Christian, you response should not be well my pastor said this or my favorite preacher said..... it should be what does the Bible say.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Our first desire should be to honor the Lord and give Him glory, which means we must conform to the truth found in His word.
Not everyone who says they are a Christian is truly a Christian!
Let us remember that even those who may be a false convert may one day be brought to saving faith, so preach the gospel in season and out of season. Everyone from unbelievers to believers need to hear the gospel, unbelievers that they might be saved and believers that they might walk in accordance to the gospel which Christ used to save them.
Grace and Peace Be With You
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.<<<
For the last four years G220 Ministries has hosted a College Evangelism Tour in which we visit local college campuses seeking to engage with the students and bring to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The glorious gospel is that Jesus came into His own creation, never once sinned, lived in perfect obedience to the Father, and willfully went to the cross, died, was buried and rose again on the third day and God commands all to repent and believe in Him. All those who by grace through faith in Christ alone receive eternal life while those who reject Christ will receive eternal death.
>>>1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,<<<
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God<<<
One of the things we have observed over the last few years, is a growing surge in the LGBTQ+ community and those who would affirm it. So much so that it appears to be a quickly growing percentage of the student body. Those who openly profess to be homosexual and proud to call themselves such, as well as those who embrace and celebrate this with them who would claim to be heterosexual. Almost as if its the cool new fad among young people today. And anyone who disagrees is unloving and intolerant.
In one conversation with a male student at Cleveland State University who told us his name was "Jenny", claimed to be transgender. Our first encounter with "Jenny", he walked passed with a couple female students that took gospel tracts from us and then "Jenny" proceeded to rip up the tract, tossed it in the air and kept on walking. He stopped and came back with one of the tracts that another in his group received and asked me what was this about. I began to share the gospel with "Jenny", however, he didn't really seem as if he desired to engage in a meaningful conversation but rather mock. Even though every argument he brought forth we showed his inconsistencies and pointed him back to the scriptures.
He left but kept coming back to talk with us throughout the day. One of those times was with my wife, who came in the afternoon for a few hours before we ended the day at CSU.
While talking to my wife, he started with the premise that everyone should be left alone to live in a way that makes them happy. My wife went back and forth with him for awhile using scripture and talking about the foundation for morality, which he did admit that there had to be a standard for morality or you're just left with total chaos. Yet, continued to be inconsistent with what logically he knew to be true.
This just goes to show you that regardless of the evidence of something being true unless God does a supernatural work in the heart of an individual they will continue to suppress the truth for a lie and good they call evil and that which is evil they call good.
>>>Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.<<<
>>>Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!<<<
This young man in the same five minutes of the conversation denied the existence of God, while claiming that God had created him wrong. Do you not see the problem with that thinking? In one breath, he says God doesn't exist, while in the next breath lashes out in anger at the same God he is denying for creating him as he believes, he is a woman in a man's body.
This is the sad state in which we find ourselves today, if we are truly honest and believe the scripture in Romans chapter one, we would have to say we are definitely living in a nation that is not awaiting God's judgment but rather we are currently experiencing it as we see God give them up to the lusts of their hearts in impurity.
As you can see in the picture above college students are willing to engage with you. Most of the time they believe themselves to be wise in their own eyes and think they will put the Christians in their place, which they often seem to think is back in the first century as if truth has evolved and changed over time.
>>>Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!<<<
Interestingly enough most of the time if not all the time when we are preaching the gospel at the college campuses in the open air or passing out tracts and engaging in conversations with students we don't even mention homosexuality. They are the ones who bring it up in questions they ask us, and from there we take them to the scriptures to show them what the Word of God says.
While at CSU a student named Patrick came up and was looking at our free materials we brought to the campus to give away. I asked him if he had any questions and he said yes, then he ask if we were zealots? Wanting to be informed about what it was he was asking, I inquired saying what do you mean by zealot? His reply was not exactly what I thought it was going to be, I thought maybe he was asking if we were like the angry street preaching crowd that goes around from campus to campus making it hard on the true biblical Christians who preach the truth, and not those who spend the day yelling at students and calling them names preaching law with no grace.
Patrick went straight for homosexuality, he asked do you preach against gays? I said that we preach the gospel and stand on the Word of God. Pointing out to Patrick that the scripture says all those who die in their sins will not inherit the kingdom of God but rather eternal damnation, homosexuality is one of many sins that God calls us to repent of. Expressing to Patrick that we were not out there to single out homosexuality but rather to point people to Jesus Christ because we are all sinners in need of a savior unable to save ourselves.
He walked away, but like "Jenny" kept coming around as if to hear us but not engaging in more conversations.
These students and many across the country who have the same kind of mindset, one that says there is no absolute truth, some of which will actually tell you there is no absolute truth. They embrace the lies of the world and worship creation over the creator. There is no fear of the Lord in their hearts and they are not seeking after God, which is why they need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ which is our hope and prayer for them. The gospel is the means by which God brings dead sinners to life, releasing the captives and setting them free, opening the blind eyes that they may see and it is only by His grace.
We know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ, so preach Christ on the college campuses to these young students, preach Christ to family members, preach Christ to your friends, preach Christ to your co-workers, preach Christ and Him crucified, risen and coming again. Christ changes stony heart to flesh, so trust in Him to bring others to salvation, and let us stay faithful to the proclamation of His gospel message.
Even when it seems that homosexuality and those who support it is ever increasing and anyone who speaks out against it is viewed as unloving, intolerant, and hateful bigots, we know that God can bring these individuals to repentance and faith. We find great comfort in the writing of the Apostle Paul when he says in Corinthians, and such were some of you.
>>>1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.<<<
All those sins listed can be forgiven in Christ, not that one who comes to Christ can continue in their sinful lifestyle, regardless of whatever sin that was, but we repent and believe in Christ and He changes our desires and where sin still remains in the flesh we are called to die to ourselves and obedience to Christ. Too many today who want to preach and teach that you can be a homosexual Christian, when Paul is clear in the passage above that such were some of you, you were but you are no longer identified by the sins which kept you in slavery but you have been set free in Christ.
We have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who lives but Christ who now lives in us and the life we now live by faith in the Son of God who died for us. What comfort we have in Christ we are no longer enemies of God, we are now at peace with God.
So let us remember the grace of God that He poured out on us and extend that grace to the lost by giving them the gospel in truth and love that they might experience the same grace and say, such was I but I have been washed.
May the Grace of God be with you!
Ricky & Elesa Gantz
Election is really a remarkable view of God's grace, that He would chose His elect before the foundation of the world, not arbitrarily, but in His wisdom to bring about His purpose to fulfill His will. So often we hear from those who oppose God's sovereign election stating that it is not fair that God would elect or chose to save some but not make it possible for all to be saved. Some even go so far to accept a universal atonement, that God would ultimately save everyone because of His love for all. Now to be fair, not all those who hold to mans free will, meaning it comes down to man making the choice as to whether or not God will save them, ascribe to a universal atonement. They reject that God will save everyone, and do not deny that some will go to hell. Thankful for these inconsistencies, because ultimately with the idea that Jesus died for everyone, past, present and future, when taken to its logical conclusion leads you to universalism. Like I said, thankfully there are inconsistencies.
Matthew 1:21 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
This verse does not say He will make it possible for His people to be saved from their sins, does it? No, it says He will save! That is a one hundred percent guarantee that God will do exactly what he said He will do, because we know that God does not lie. (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29)
Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Again, not to sound redundant, Isaiah 53 which is used so often by many Christians as this is a wonderful prophetic passage pointing to Jesus, completely miss the point that because He took upon Himself the curse of being hung from a tree (Galatians 3:13), He was pierced, crushed, chastened, and scourged and by this we are healed, not that we have the potential to be healed but that we are healed. He did this for His people not only of the Jews but also of the Gentiles, for the world. I can say world without fear because when it is rightly understood in context, you will see that often it is referring to both Jews and Gentiles, and not meaning every single individual on the earth, but from every tribe and people group God is saving from them His elect.
Here is the link to a previous article looking at the word world as used in scripture, looking deeper to understand the context behind world in different passages to help you see that it is not always referring to everyone. does-world-mean-everyone.html
We can not say that Christ did not accomplish His purpose and fulfill His plans to redeem His people if He only made it possible and is now sitting on the edge of His throne waiting to see if people will accept and choose to be saved, relying on man to be the deciding factor in salvation. Which is ultimately what one is saying, even though they will strongly argue that salvation is of God, they fail to see how they are being unbiblical in their position by making salvation a work of God plus man, and man being the determining factor. This type of thinking along with the many inconsistencies lead to many errors in properly expounding the scriptures as we will see with Ephesians 1:4, they simple continue to miss the mark. Thinking they hit the bullseye but in reality are not even hitting the target.
Let me first just look at this verse alone without the context around it and see if there is anything that stands out and is clear and easy to understand.
The scripture says just as He chose us, who is the He, this is referring to God choosing us in Christ, so God chose us to be in Christ, that is pretty clear and simple to understand, now comes the hard part, well it's not really hard to grasp but for some they attempt to make it harder in order to fit their free will theology into the text by eliminating election. However, the verse goes on to tell us when He (God) did this electing or choosing, the scripture says, "before the foundation of the world", and goes on to say that we would be holy and blameless before Him. This choosing by God that we would be in Christ before the foundation of the world is not something that we should be so quick in twisting the scriptures to avoid the plain text simply because we don't like what it says. It says what it says, whether you like it or not this is plain and clear that God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, any other means of interpreting this verse differently to avoid the truth is either because one is being outright deceptive or just plain ignorant of the scriptures. We cannot allow our opinions or ideas about what we think God says in His word to dictate what God actually says in His word simply because it doesn't fit with the theology we hold.
Here is an example of someone doing just that, trying to make this passage say something it is clearly not saying.
Do I really even need to respond to this foolishness? I mean honestly think about what this guy is trying to say, the inconsistencies and mangling of the scripture is so bad that this is the best you can come up with to explain away the fact, yes fact, that Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. As I said above when someone clearly hates the doctrine of election they will go to such extreme lengths to avoid the clear truths of scripture, that are so plainly seen right before our eyes in this verse and we haven't even looked at the context yet.
Look how bad this argument is, he says that when you use proper hermeneutics you will see God is not choosing individuals but all believers, both Jews and Gentiles meaning the church. The church is made up of individual believers who collectively make up the church or body of Christ. It's like saying God elects the church but not those who are in the church. Basically what this individual is saying, is ridiculous, yeah ridulous! This is the outcome though when one tries to explain away truth, they claim to use logical arguments and have those who properly exegete the text scratching their heads like...WHAT?
This individual loves to point out the IN HIM phrase in this verse and argue that we are not in Christ until salvation, however, what this individual fails to understand is that regardless of when God chooses to bring one of His elect to the point of conversion, this does not the fact that the one being saved was elected before the foundation of the world. Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world yet this take place before the beginning of the world but at the appointed time God had set forth. the same applies to salvation of God's elect, which God brings about at the appointed time for that individual He has predestined unto adoption.
Basically this man is arguing that God set in eternity past to bring about the church but doesn't choose the individuals He will save to be part of the church, which is the typical free will position, but is contrary to Ephesians 1:4.
At this point I have some serious concerns about this individuals understanding of scripture and even more concerned that this individual claims to be a teacher of God's word. He goes on from there to end the post by saying you are not elect until you are in Christ. The ridiculousness of this argument shouldn't be overlooked and the error needs to be pointed out. First the elect doesn't become elect because they believed, they believe because they are the elect. Also even by this mans logic only the elect are saved, how so? Well if the elect become the elect because they believe and only those who believe will be saved then that would mean that only the elect will be saved.
Let's look at the definition of election from Websters Dictionary 1828.
ELECT', verb transitive [Latin electus, from eligo; e or ex and lego; Gr. to choose.]
1. Properly, to pick out; to select from among two or more, that which is preferred. Hence,
2. To select or take for an office or employment; to choose from among a number; to select or manifest preference by vote or designation; as, to elect a representative by ballot or viva voce; to elect a president or governor.
3. In theology, to designate, choose or select as an object of mercy or favor.
4. To choose; to prefer; to determine in favor of.
ELECT', adjective Chosen, taken by preference from among two or more. Hence,
1. In theology, chosen as the object of mercy; chosen, selected or designated to eternal life; predestinated in the divine counsels.
2. Chosen, but no inaugurated, consecrated or invested with office; as bishop elect; emperor elect; governor or mayor elect But in the scriptures, and in theology, this word is generally used as a noun.
ELECT', noun One chosen or set apart; applied to Christ.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth. Isaiah 42:1.
1. Chosen or designated by God to salvation; predestinated to glory as the end, and to sanctification as the means; usually with a plural signification, the elect
Shall not God avenge his own elect? Luke 18:7.
If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect Matthew 24:24.
He shall send his angels--and they shall gather his elect from the four winds. Matthew 24:24.
2. Chosen; selected; set apart as a peculiar church and people; applied to the Israelites. Isaiah 45:4.
As A.W. Pink is quoted above, election is all throughout the Word of God, the only reason it's argued against is because man wants to say he had a part in his own salvation, again to be fair that may not be what they actually verbalize but when you get down to the root of the issue, that's it, man wants to be in control of his own soul.
If you would like to know more about the doctrines of grace, especially the doctrine of election please visit Monergism here>>
Verse 3 says, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
We who are believers have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places even though we are not yet with Christ we have every spiritual blessing given to us in Christ.
Now for Verse 4 which we have already discussed says, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
This verse ends with In love, which is the beginning of the next verse and this is why the idea that this is not referring to election is absurd because Paul reiterates it here in verse 5 with predestination.
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
God predestined us as sons by adoption through Jesus Christ, He chose us and predestined us before the foundation of the world, scripture is clear, those who continue to deny the clear and plain reading of scripture only continue to prove their ignorance of God's word due to their hatred of the doctrine of election.
Verse 6 says, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
All that God does is to the praise of the glory of His grace, why would we argue that anything that God chooses to do would be anything other than to His glory.
Verse 7-10 says, In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him.
Verse 7 says, according to the riches of His grace.
Verse 8 says, He did this in His wisdom and insight.
Verse 9 says, He made known the mystery of His will, which if you are following along closely, Paul is speaking to the saints in Ephesus about this mystery that this is for both Jew and Gentile believers and this was His will which again we see He chose us before the foundation of the world and predestined us to be sons by adoption through Jesus Christ. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get around the clear reading of scripture unless you flat out deny the truth in order to hold tightly to the lies.
Verse 10 says, suitable to the fullness of the times, and summing up of all things in Christ, in heaven and on the earth. Again as I said in the beginning, God elects man to come to salvation and then works it out throughout time at the appointed hour that He decreed it to come to pass.
In Him continuing onto verse 11 says, also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
Once again predestined appears to plainly make it know that this is Gods Sovereign election and it is all to His praise and His glory and He is working it all out after the counsel of His will.
Why would anyone want to find themselves on the opposite side of God's sovereign plan in which He will bring about His purposes. As Romans 8 verses 28-30 so plainly lays out in the order of salvation, it says, 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
To the praise of the glory of His grace
Racism is Sin!!
Racism in the body of Christ by those who hold to a teaching or preaching position, the level of accountability for you will be much higher.
Let's just be honest.... If you can't have unity with the brethren because of skin color ..... Do you really have unity with Christ?
They will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another!
Not they will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another as long as they respond in the way you want them to or how you feel they should, but because of the unity in Christ among His own they will have love for one another!
It seems the more the world claims to be woke .... there are those in the church that instead of pointing the woke ones to the Hope found in the one that is Christ Jesus, they just join them.
Instead of responding from a biblical worldview seeking restoration through Christ, some seek restoration through reparations.
Probably wondering, what I mean by that??
It seems unless you are willing to agree with those who are seeking more of a social justice approach to our faith when it comes to racism you can't say anything about it or even ask the questions without being labeled, unaware, privileged, and/or racist.
If you challenge prominent men who may have been used by God to bring about some needed changes in our society like Dr. Martin Luther King who held to unbiblical views of Christ and other theological errors, the same type of labels are used against you.
God has used ungodly men at times to bring about His graciousness to His people throughout history. While we can appreciate the work in which God used these men to bring about change, we should never worship these men or esteem them higher than they are.
And we should not have to fear or be labeled falsely for examining the theology of these ungodly men in which God has used to bring about His purposes.
There is also a serious problem within the professing body of Christ when a Christian is told they aren't able to speak to the issues of racism because they are white.
When I see posts like that, which imply that unless you are the same skin color then you can't really speak on it, unless you agree on it, truly grieves my heart.
What is happening within the body of Christ?
Christ revealed a mystery to us of bringing Jew and Gentile together and it seems like there are those who want to separate over ethnicity.
The above statement was made by Thabiti Anyabwile, a prominent leader in the church today. Link here>> https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/await-repentance-assassinating-dr-king/
Another well known pastor, Eric Mason said this on twitter. Does anyone see anything wrong with this? As I stated above, if you pushback (Mason's words) or disagree, well you are just out of luck because you wont even be able to engage due to your privileged position.
Does racism still exist today? Yes
However, this is not the way the body of Christ should be responding to one another. This type of response only causes division in the body and not unity, as Christians we should know and understand that better than anyone, yet it seems that so many are falling for the same type of thinking of the world.
What should be the response? Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that changes the hearts of men. Heart change is the only true change that will bring peace, hope and restoration to man. First to the one we all need to be restored to, which is Christ Jesus, then to our fellow man. Brothers and sisters in Christ should be in unity with one another, seeking to grow in sanctification, not perfection but growing in sanctification and where there is the sin of indwelling racism in a man, whether he is black or white, repentance is needed.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We look to the scriptures to see that the gospel goes forth to both Jew and Gentile, the dividing wall has been torn down by Christ, we should not be seeking to build a wall of hostility back up among other brothers and sisters based on their ethnic background, nor on the basis of their so-called privilege or lack of, regardless of social status that society may put us in based on your income, where you live, or any other area by which they try to make divisions, for those that are in Christ Jesus they are one!
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Does that mean only preach the gospel? No, preach the gospel, and love your neighbor as yourself, that may mean get involved and love those around you. Be a light in the darkness as an ambassador for Christ.
Let us as believers not seek to tear down those in the body but build one another up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Exercising the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
My heart in this is not to add to or cause more division, I already see to much division over this as it is. My heart is grieved by what I am seeing and my only desire in this is that it will cause us all to think through the issues at hand and grow deeper in our love for one another. Starting with the body, which is not ours but belongs to Christ.
When a brother has experienced racism towards himself as a body regardless of color we should grieve when that saint grieves and rejoice with our brethren when they rejoice.
Racism is sin! It's not going to go away, there will always be a form of it until the LORD returns for His bride. As the bride for which Christ will return let us walk in a manner that brings glory to His name by being united in Christ and not divided in the same manner and way in which the world divides.
May the grace of our Lord bless you and keep you until He returns for His bride.
Soli Deo Gloria
Doesn't world mean everyone when it is used in the Word of God? This is often a debated topic among professing Christians, often the very famous John 3:16 is quoted as a go to passage to say, the reference to world means everyone. However, is that truly the case or could there be more to it. Let's start by looking at this passage in John chapter 3.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.-John 3:16
The Greek word used here for world is κοσμον. A noun - accusative singular masculine
kosmos kos'-mos: orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively (morally) -- adorning, world.
We can see by the understanding of this word that it can be used in a wide or narrow sense, which is important to note and we will see as we look at other passages of scriptures using the word world.
I want to start by looking at this word from the Gospel of John since that is where it comes into question the most for those who are advocating that world means everyone.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!-John 1:29
Ask yourself, does world here mean everyone? I don't want you to take that question lightly with this passage or any other passage we look at going forward in this article. If this literally means the world in the sense of everyone, then everyone has their sins taken away. Because the text literally says, "takes away the sin of the world!" If Jesus' death, burial and resurrection takes away every individuals sin, there would be no one who would be cast into the lake of fire because Jesus would have taken away their sin.
I honestly don't want to sound like I am continuing to make the same case or argument throughout this article but I do believe this is truly important in helping others see clearly in order to be consistent with the scriptures and not make the same arguments that say it means the entire world, meaning all people.
They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”-John 4:42
Here again we see the implication in this verse that Jesus is "the Savior of the world". Does that mean He saves everyone? No, there are many references in scriptures that speak of those who have not believed in Christ will face God's wrath. So the idea that this means everyone is reaching for something that just is not there.
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”-John 6:33
If world means every individual and you want to be consistent with that you will find yourself as a universalist, because there is no way then of arguing against universalism when the scripture above says about Jesus that he, "comes down from heaven and gives life to the world," this doesn't mean that I believe everyone who says that world means every individual is a universalist, however, I am only trying to demonstrate how you are being inconsistent by trying to apply that to the word when as mentioned already it can mean in a wide sense or in a narrow sense.
So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”-John 12:19
Now this cannot clearly be meaning every individual has gone after following Christ.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.-John 12:47
Here is an example as to why context is key when it comes to interpretations of the scriptures. One who holds to a universal atonement could easily try to say this verse is teaching that Jesus doesn't judge anyone (the world) but saves everyone (the world).
Again, I don't want to come of sounding like a broken record but it seems that where we fail in understanding the text of scriptures is because we try to impose our own presuppositions onto the text, twist the text and misinterpret the passage.
Please consider that when reading the Word of God!
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.-John 14:17
Thought this was an interesting verse to add, especially in light of this whole discussion comes about due to those who believe in a free will theology that limits the atonement of Christ in its effectiveness by saying it only makes it possible for man to be saved but ultimately comes down to mans free will choice. John 14:17 says the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Context is important brothers and sisters.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.-John 15:19
We see here the word world used five times in this one verse, now truly think about this passage because there is much to glean from it.
The obvious stand out here for one holding to the Doctrines of Grace is the fact that Jesus says, " but I chose you out of the world," clearly world there does mean out of all the world but the next line states, "therefore the world hates you." Which is not in the wide sense but a narrow sense, not every individual is an unbeliever, and we know that Jesus said, "they will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another."
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.-John 17:6
Let's really discuss this verse in the Gospel of John. Jesus says, "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world, " What a beautiful portion of scripture pointing to the fact that these individuals where given to Jesus by the Father and that it is they who keep His word. Ask yourself, if everyone in the whole world has been given to Jesus why do they not all keep the Father's word?
Let me just add some more scriptures here from Jesus' pray to His Father in John 17 to hopefully help you understand why it is so important to be consistent with how you interpret the scriptures.
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.-John 17:9
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.-John 17:11
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.-John 17:13-16
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.-John 17:18
that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.-John 17:21
Now this last verse here (v.21) is another used to say that Jesus is speaking about the whole world again with the idea of including every individual. Which is way I put up so many verses from this chapter to give a better understanding of the context of John 17. Back in verse six Jesus tells us these are those whom the Father has given Him and that He is not praying for the world but for His own and those who will believe because of their preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not every individual on the entire world.
Which is further explained here in the next three verses.
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.-John 17:23-25
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.-John 18:20
Lastly in the Gospel of John we see Jesus say, "I have spoken openly to the world." The Mormons might like the idea of making that use of world to mean the entire world being as they believe Christ came to the Americas. However, that is not the meaning of the passage, Christ was using in the narrow sense.
I will leave you with one last passage of scripture from the Apostle Paul concerning the world. Which hopefully if you are consistent with the scriptures you will see how this is referring to the known world at that time and not to the very ends of all the earth.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”-Romans 10:18
Romans 10 is another section of scripture that gets thrown out there when those who want to argue against Calvinism speak about whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord, which I would say, amen! The whosoever is the elect, but that would take us into a much longer article which might comes at a later time. However, in this verse, as stated above, Paul is saying that they have heard the and that their voice has gone out to all (side note there is that word all, which you could apply the same principles being used to understand the word world), the world. Clearly Paul who was the Apostle to the Gentiles did much of his missionary work in Asia Minor. Paul did not travel across the world neither did the other disciples at this time, he was speaking of the known world to them.
My prayer in this is that it would help you to understand and see the importance of rightly dividing the Word of God. Being consistent with the scriptures and doing our best to not be inconsistent. Honestly, there are some with good intentions and a desire to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ that may not fully grasp this but that doesn't give us the excuse to be sloppy with the scriptures and impose our traditions and/or presuppositions into the scriptures. We must look at the context of scripture and allow the scriptures to speak for themselves.
Yes, I am aware that man is fallible, which is why we must study hard the scriptures and dig deep into the passages and have good exegesis.
My prayer for you is that this will draw you closer to Christ, and that this would be encouraging and edifying to the body of Christ and help you answer some of those objections about John 3:16 referring to world as meaning every individual.
May the grace of God richly bless you and draw you even closer to Him in your walk.
Soli Deo Gloria
These artists and bands are some of the most popular artist out today in the Christian Contemporary Music scene. However, despite being popular with many professing Christians today these groups are not Christians.
Bethel Music/Jesus Culture/Kim Walker (pictured below) are directly connected to and hold to the teaching of Bethel “Church” lead by Heretic Bill Johnson (pictured on the left) which has been misleading people and teaching doctrines of demons for a long time now, yet many professing Christians still continue to promote their music.
Hillsong probably the most popular of the groups listed us the most albums out and many professing Christians sing a great many of their songs in their Churches. Hillsong is also connected to Hillsong “Church” lead by heretics Brian Houston (pictured on the left) and in NY Carl Lentz (pictured below).
And then there is Matt Maher (pictured on the left) who is a Roman Catholic, which has performed for the Pope and is a dedicated Roman Catholic which is not Christian, yet as like the others, he is promoted, supported and loved by many professing Christians.
The biggest problem with these groups is the fact that they are so closely aligned to their churches and the theology that comes from them. Christians we are called to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Please exercise discernment, Satan is deceptive and he doesn’t come into the Church with a pitch fork and a red suit with horns and a tail, he comes in as an angel of light, he is crafty, churches that are no longer churches didn’t die over night but over time because they let their guard down and allowed Satan to bring in his false teachers and prophets to destroy the church from within.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
As Christians we must be on our guard against these false teachers who use their music as a way of getting their hooks into churches and church goers using it to bring many under their teachings.
All truth is God's truth and I know that not every song these heretical groups sing are without truth. They do have some songs that are sound and/or convey truth in which we could apply to the one true and living God, however, as already stated Satan uses false teachers to bring in their false teachings masked as truth. Just look at the garden when the serpent deceived Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Was everything the serpent said to Eve a lie? Spurgeon once said something along these lines about discernment, that it is not a matter of knowing right from wrong or truth from error but discerning between truth and almost truth.
Take for instance modalism, which is a heretical teaching that denies the Trinity. Someone like TD Jakes is careful how he says things when it comes to this topic, while Jakes is a heretical word of faith modalist teacher, he never comes right out and says that he denies the Trinity. What he does is make statement about the Godhead in such a way leading you to the conclusion that there is no Trinity and that Jesus is actually the Father and the Holy Spirit. That's modalism!!! That's heresy!!! Now if he just came out and said he denied the Trinity it wouldn't be so deceptive, but since it is concealed in the teaching and very carefully spoken about when teaching on it, unless you are aware of the modalistic teachings and have a firm grasp of the doctrine of the Trinity, well it can be easy to be deceived into heresy.
Which is why this matter is not just about some preference over a style of music or likes and dislikes of certain bands but rather a care and concern for the body of Christ. For those who are being lead astray by these groups and supporting them, by purchasing their music and attending their concerts and yes, even singing them in their churches sadly.
This is not out of hate for these groups or an attempt to be divisive but again out of love for those whom call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ to be aware of these false teachers and artist who promote the false teachings from the churches they are connected to regardless of the fact that some of their songs have good lyrics and may contain some truth.
When it comes to false teachers this is what they Word of God says...
2 Timothy 4:3 - 4:4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
1 John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1 Timothy 6:3 - 6:5
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Deuteronomy 13:1 - 13:3
1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].
2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
1 John 4:1-6
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1 John 2:26-27
26 These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
2 Timothy 3:13
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Why do we think there is a different standard for artists and musical groups who hold to and promote the false teachers mentioned above? There is no difference!!!
Do not be deceived by these false teachers and by they music that comes from their churches. God is serious about how He is to be worshiped, therefore, as believers in Christ we should be also. If you think God is pleased by supporting musical groups of heretics and this article hasn't convinced you to avoid such people, well that will have to be something you will have to give an account of before the Lord. Whether you think I am right or wrong in this the obvious truth is this wouldn't even be a problem if the professing Christians in America were discerning because if they were, these groups would get no air time on Christian radio and in churches.
If you honestly have never heard about these groups and the churches they come from and the false teachings they promote. Well I want to encourage you to look up "Clouds Without Water" by Justin Peters. He lays out the false teaching of these and many others to help inform you of what it is they teach and why it is so dangerous.
I care about the truth and desire to glorify the Lord, while I know I am not perfect, my desire is to give Him glory in every area in my life and when it comes to music, especially music that claims to be Christian, my desire is to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and I fail to see how music from those who blaspheme the Lord with their false teaching brings Him honor and glory.
Soli Deo Gloria
What does it mean to be unpopular? The definition is to be not liked or popular, and synonyms are: disliked, friendless, unliked, unloved, loathed, despised. As for a Christian none of these should be an issue among professing believers and yet it is.
For instance, as a open air preacher, much of the push back I receive from people about how I am doing it wrong or that it doesn't work comes from professing believers. Who believe it is unpopular to "push" religion on others, as they say.
Other instances of being unpopular among professing believers is over doctrine. Being an open air preacher I have sadly had the opportunity to speak to multitudes of people who say they are believers, however, when it comes to knowing sound doctrine, they simply fail to know what the Word of God actually says about many issues and tend to actually go against truths from the Word of God by accepting them, such as woman pastors, homosexuality, abortion denying the Deity of Jesus and the denial of the Trinity. These individual still believe they are Christians and for you to say otherwise based on doctrine makes you extremely unpopular.
In a similar fashion, concerning doctrine, music is another area in which I find myself unpopular among other professing believers. I am not legalistic when it comes to music, I don't only believe in Hymns. In fact, I listen to many genre of music from Christian Rap, Hymns, The Psalter, Psalms by modern day artists, and more. But since I speak out against Christian Contemporary Music mostly played on family friendly radio that makes me also unpopular. It isn't popular to speak out against someones favorite band or "worship" song despite that many of them come from groups or bands that are heretical and while you may not catch the heretical teachings in all their music, it still introduces people to it and they go to the concerts and by the music and begin to follow their favorite artists. They watch them on YouTube and listen to them and are exposed to the false teaching behind these "Christian" artists. Which comes down to sound doctrine. Having good theology truly keeps you from falling into the deceitfulness of false teaching. Many music groups such as Hillsong, Bethel/Jesus Culture and Elevation Worship know full well what their intentions are, they want to reach people through their music, and it works. millions of people buy their albums and many people follow the "churches" they come out of by the same names as I mentioned of the music groups above.
It doesn't seem very popular these days to speak out against anything that goes against the Word of God. You get labeled as a legalist, or a Pharisee, simply for desiring to seek holiness and honor the Lord God by holding to sound doctrine and exposing that which is contrary to it.
I know this is why some people avoid me.
I am unpopular because I desire to seek truth in all things. Not that I am always right about everything because I am not, but because my heart desires to please the Lord and to worship Him. And the Word of God says we must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. And when your beliefs go against the Word of God that is not in the Spirit and Truth, but contrary to the truth.
As Jesus prayed for His own as recorded in John 17, 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
My prayer is also that God would sanctify us in His truth and that those who profess faith in Christ would grow deeper in their understand of God's Word and stand on sound doctrine and be brought into agreement with the Word of God.
To God Be The Glory
The Gospel--Sin separates us from God, we all have sinned, we were born sinners, Adam sinned in the garden and due to his sin against God it has past down to all being born with a sin nature. JESUS CHRIST who is God in the flesh, the second person of the Trinity, came into His own creation born of a virgin without a sin nature, lived in complete obedience to God the Father, not once did He sin. Willfully went to the cross and laid down His life so that sinners like you and I could be reconciled back to God, JESUS died on the cross was buried and rose again the third day. JESUS said you must be born again or you cannot see the kingdom of God. Repent ( which means change of mind, turning from ) of your sins and believe in JESUS by grace through faith and you will receive eternal life.
Many unbelievers in this world need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sadly many professing believers don’t know the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Which is one of the reasons I hosts evangelism outreaches, to help teach people how to share the gospel, in some cases, those who have come out to share the gospel have realized they weren’t Christians and got saved, others have grown in their faith and understanding of Gods word by being around others to learn from and grow.
Don’t be comfortable in your Christianity, if you can’t articulate or explain the gospel ask yourself why? Could it be you don’t know it? Could it be no one around you is helping you develop by discipling you? Could it be you are pretending?
A Christian is a disciple of Christ Jesus, a disciple is a learner, a learner is always seeking to learn. Don’t just be comfortable with a once a week Christianity on Sunday mornings, Christianity is not just church attendance on the Lords day, its a life style of worship lived out daily.
Some people sit in churches for 30-40 years and are as lost and dead in their faith as the unbeliever who never attends a church their whole life, because salvation is found in Christ not church attendance, and Christ radically transforms the heart of a believer, a Christian doesn’t stay in a state of dead faith they have a living faith and active faith and they will be a witness for their faith in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote to those in Corinth to examine themselves to be sure they are truly in the faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
There are many people who are trusting in their church membership as proof of their salvation and as I have already said salvation is found in Christ not church attendance nor membership. This in no way is to take away from the importance of being in membership to a local church, that is vitally important to the life of a believer in Christ, the point here is not to base your salvation upon the fact that you hold membership at a local church.
Far to many people that we talk to on the streets while out sharing the gospel have said, "I am a Christian, I belong to such and such church", and when asked what the gospel is they fail to articulate it or to even give it in a basic understanding.
During our college evangelism tour, we began a conversation with a student who said he was a Christian and in fact, he was studying to go into the ministry as a pastor, he was from a Methodist church in our city of Elyria. When we asked him how is someone saved, he literally could not give us an answer. Is this the type of men we want to bring in to the pulpit to teach and preach the Word of God and have no idea what the gospel of Jesus Christ is? I say, absolutely not! A man must first be a believer before he is called in the ministry to preach, and if a man be called to preach, he better take that calling seriously, because that is a high calling on a mans life from God.
2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
The man called to preach God's Word will be held to a higher standard for expounding upon the Word of God and teaching those under his preaching.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
We cannot assume that just because someone attends church or says they are a Christian that it means they truly are a Christian.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
How do you know if your a Christian, ask yourself these questions.
1. Do you enjoy having fellowship with Christ and His redeemed people? (1 John 1:3)
2. Would people say you walk in the light, or walk in the darkness? (1 John 1:6-7)
3. Do you admit and confess your sin? (1 John 1:8)
4. Are you obedient to God's Word? (1 John 2:3-5)
5. Does your life indicate you love God rather than the world? (1 John 2:15)
6. Is your life characterized by "doing what is right"? (1 John 2:29)
7. Do you seek to maintain a pure life? (1 John 3:3)
8. Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life? (1 John 3:5-6) [Note: this refers to not continuing in sin as a way of life, not a total absence of sin.]
9. Do you demonstrate love for other Christians? (1 John 3:14)
10. Do you "walk the walk," versus just "talking the talk"? (1 John 3:18-19)
11. Do you maintain a clear conscience? (1 John 3:21)
12. Do you experience victory in your Christian walk? (1 John 5:4)
If they seem to be a believer but just lack knowledge than our goal should be to help them along the way in truth.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Being a Christian is not based on good works, church attendance or membership. It is based upon being in Christ, which will produce Christ likeness, you will desire to do good works because we were created for them.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Also you will desire to be in a local church body of believers and not forsake it.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The Lord works through and has given gifts to the Church by those whom He has called to lead and teach His Church to grow and to protect us from false teaching.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
And seek to be in membership, active and utilizing your spiritual gifts for building up other believers.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
I write this out of love for the LORD and care and compassion for the lost and/or deceived, who believe themselves to be right with God based upon the things I mentioned other than in Christ alone.
Grace and Peace
Everyone it seems is talking about NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem at the start of football games around the United States. Even the President had something to say about it recently.
As a man who served in the United States Army sacrificing much to serve this nation, and serving alongside those who lost their lives in service to this country, I can understand how some view this as a sign of disrespect towards the military, the flag and this country. In fact, in the past, whenever I would attend a sporting event (which hasn’t been many times), I have shed a tear as the National Anthem has been played, remembering those whom I have served with and the many others who gave their lives while serving this country.
However, as someone who has served I understand that the very reason I and so many others have served, currently are serving and for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life in service, have done so for the freedom that everyone in this country has.
Freedom..... supposedly we have it in America.
Freedom of speech!
Freedom of religion!
Freedom really isn't freedom if it is only freedom when it lines up with what you believe.
Freedom will vary over time and as leadership in the nation changes.
Freedom that is forever is only found in Jesus the Christ!!
Freedom from the bondage of sin!
Freedom from the wrath of God that abides on all those outside of Christ!
The truth will set you free... !!!
Jesus said' "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life"
You see the freedom we have in this country allows men the freedom to protest peacefully, preach the gospel on the streets, and believe what they choose to believe whether it is right or wrong, true or false, freedom gives us the right to do so.
Colin Kaepernick felt the need to protest peacefully by taking a knee during the Nation Anthem at the start of a football, while others stood for the singing of the Anthem Kaepernick took a knee in protest to what he believes and many others believe they have seen with police injustice in this nation.
Which has caused many people to speak out, the left speaks out in favor of Kaepernick, unfortunately it always seems to be for political gain, and the right standing against Kaepernick, showing their patriotism and also I believe for some in an attempt for political gain as well.
Regardless of where you come down, either the left or the right, if you are honest, you’d have to admit that racism still exists in this country. And many people may come up with ideas and ways in which they believe we can combat racism, but the truth is racism has been around for a very long time and will not end until Christ returns, because racism is a sin problem and the only way to take a sinner from his sin nature to a new nature is through Jesus.
1 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Growing up I played a little football in Junior high and seen a few high school games over the years and numerous pro football games on television as well to know that when another player is hurt or suffered an injury the other players out of respect would take a knee for the injured player.
We need to admit that honestly are nation is hurt and injured in a sense, because of sin, we have roots of slavery in this country and racism still exists today and as I already stated will continue, we as a nation have murdered millions of babies in the womb of their mothers through abortion which as a nation we have made it legal and call it a women’s right to choose if she wants to murder her baby or keep her baby. Homosexuality is becoming more popular through television and movies and more and more are embracing it, and as a nation we legalized same sex “marriage” which is a redefining of what God created as marriage, and now as a nation accept and embrace transgenderism, where the woman of the year award was given to a man who believes he is a woman.
We are living in Romans one.
(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (29) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32) Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
After watching so many people being upset with the NFL players taking a knee, many of which were professing Christians, my wife wrote this:
“Just some thoughts:
I am thankful for the right that we currently have in this country as Americans to stand and speak freely. My husband and many others over the years have served, fought and many have died for that freedom. Today we see those freedoms slipping away day by day. But what is it that is truly worth speaking for?? As so many are upset and riled up about some football players who fail to stand for our Countries National anthem how many of those same people who are upset by this are using our current freedom to stand and speak up for what counts in eternity?
Are you upset by the lost and dying that are on their way to an eternity in hell separated from Christ, are you upset about the millions of babies who have been murdered by abortion in our country and the thousands more who will be murdered tomorrow, are you upset at the state of the church and the easy Christianity that costs you nothing that so many "Christians" ascribe to today? The right to stand and speak and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is given by no man, and if the freedoms we hold as AMERICANS today are gone tomorrow how many of us will still stand and speak??”
So many professing Christ seem to be more upset over some football players on a Sunday afternoon who take a knee before a game during the National Anthem rather than being upset over the many other issues that as a nation we should be grieved over.
As Kaepernick has been grieved over the racism in this country and what he believes to be injustice by the police he took a knee, what are you willing to take a knee for.
Especially as Christian, are we standing up against the evil of abortion in our day, racism, injustice, watered down false gospels being preached in the name of Christ, are we taking a knee in protest over these evils.
Now please hear me, I am not calling for a social gospel nor do I believe that we should support groups that may stand against some of the things listed above who hold to a anti biblical worldview. My point is as Christians are we really that upset over a football player peacefully protesting over a conviction he has and yet we as Christians aren’t upset with abortion enough to go and stand in front an abortion center to preach the gospel, hold signs and seek to help woman to not murder their babies, are we not that upset to speak out when we see injustice happen in our country.
Are you upset about the protesting at NFL games this past Sunday?
Here's an option for you:
How about going down to your local NFL stadium each week there is a home game and stand outside with signs pointing to Jesus, handing out gospel tracts and preaching the gospel in the open air.
Want to see change in the people of this nation.... starts with a changed heart by grace through faith in Jesus, by which he uses the preaching of the gospel
Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(14) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” (17) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
So are you willing to take a knee? To take a stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Because here is the thing, every knee will one day bow and confess that Jesus Christ is LORD!
for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
(10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Are you willing to take the gospel to the lost and dying world that they might bow the knee with you in submission to Christ now while we have time? Or are you more upset over NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem of a football game, which while be entertaining has no eternal value whatsoever.
If you have less concern over the things of God and taking the gospel to those in need than you do over NFL players protesting, what does that say about your Christianity?
To the Glory of God
by Ricky Gantz
Recently on Facebook I posted on the local church, which there seems to be a growing number of individuals who have a disdain for the local church and/or no desire to be a member of a local church.
I am sure we have all heard at some point in our lives that individual who says, “You don’t need to be a member of a church to be a Christian”, to which I would say, I agree. Church membership doesn’t make you a believer but if you are a believer there should be no reason why you don’t desire to be.
Maybe you have heard other statements as to why an individual says they don’t need to be or want to be a member of or attend a local church. Statements like this one, “I don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites”, to which I would say of course there are hypocrites in churches, doesn’t change the fact that we are still told not to forsake the gathering together with the body of believers as the church in local bodies.
This idea that you don’t desire to go to church because of hypocrites, let me ask you, do you go to work, school, shopping, etc. because anywhere you go you will run into hypocrites. Not to mention that we are all sinners in need of Christ even after we become a believer we are still growing and the process in one person’s life may not be exactly like your experience in growth. Which is one reason why being a member of a local church is so important, to be able to minister to others, to come alongside a newer believer and disciple them, assist them in their growth.
Another argument is that the church is the people and not a building, which I also agree. However, we meet somewhere and when we gather together as the body of Christ in a local church guess what…. It’s usually in a building unless you are meeting outside or in a cave because where the saints are gathered together to sit under the preaching of the Word of God and to take part in the means of grace that is the church. While we understand and know it’s not the building let’s not lose focus or sight of what is important here. Church membership, belonging to a local body being committed to the local church and serving one another to the glory of God.
Here is an example of a post that I put on my Facebook wall about being a member.
If you preach on Facebook or on the streets and aren't a member of a local church or desire to be in one..... just repent!
Repent and believe in Christ and be saved!!!
Repent and believe Gods word about His church and be obedient!!!
Now let me speak on what I posted to be clear to those who may have misunderstood what I said and taken it as saying I was adding church membership as a requirement for salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Salvation is a gift of God not of works, we are not saved by baptism, by keeping the commandments, or by church membership. Those who are saved are saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus, who died on the cross, was buried and on the third day rose from the grave.
This post came about do to interactions with individuals some on Facebook and others whom I have ran into on the streets who call themselves “street preachers” but do not belong to a local church nor do they desire to be a part of a local church.
To which I will say as I have stated above if you are not a member nor do you desire to be one repent, some of those individuals whom I have interacted with need salvation and others just need to obey.
In another Facebook post I said this trying to be even more clear on the matter.
If you are not a member of a local Church or desire to be one. It's only a matter of time before you fall away from the faith (proving to not be a believer to begin with) or into damnable heresies (proving to be a false believer or teacher).
To disconnect yourself from a local body of Christ and have no desire whatsoever to get connected is to disconnect yourself from the one who gives eternal life which is Jesus Christ.
Which again I stand by this statement, time and time I have seen individuals who had no desire to connect with and be a member of a local church and they have fell away from the faith, no longer attending church anywhere and sadly many even walking away from the faith they once held on to. The other issue that myself and many others can attest to is how those who have no desire to be a member of a local church become a law unto themselves, they set themselves up as the authority and have no one to help them and keep them from doctrinal errors, and I am not talking about secondary doctrines like eschatology or of the like but on serious issues that if one continues to hold to are damnable heresies.
You see the dangers are there when you are not connected to a local church. Now don’t hear me wrongly, God is the one who saves and if anyone leaves the faith or begins to teach damnable heresies it is clear they never were a believer to begin with as stated in 1 John 2:19 which says, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Christ is the head of the church and to separate yourself from the local church is have absolutely no desire to be connected is to only expose that you aren’t connected to Christ.
Finally, my last post on the local church.
Local Church Membership- What a joy, what a blessing to be a part of a local body of believers and to use the gifts for which God has given you to minister to others and to be ministered to.
Don't forsake the gathering together with a local church.
Remember there is no perfect church... but Christ died for His church so be committed be obedient and be a member of a local church.
Don't be like the guy or girl who wants to stay in a relationship but refuses to commit to one another in marriage.
To be a member of a local church where the Word of God is preached is a joy and a blessing, and to use the gifts that God has given us believers to minister to others and to be ministered to, what a picture of love and grace and compassion for the body of Christ displayed through the gathering together of local churches.
Some want to argue over the fact they don’t believe a church is doing everything the way they want it to be done. Maybe they don’t have a certain ministry that they believe the church should have or they don’t have every theological position that you do, regardless of the excuses used by people to disconnect themselves from being a member of a local church is just that, an excuse!
As with the analogy that I gave in the above Facebook post, don’t be like that person who wants to be in a relationship with someone but never wants to make the commitment to marry. Christ is married to the Church! The Church is the bride of Christ and when we have no desire to be connected through a local church essentially what we are saying is I want the benefits of a relationship without the commitment.
Now let’s look at the importance of the local church.
Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Now this verse obviously comes up and is used to encourage believers to meet together and not to forsake it. And if we look at this verse which comes after verse 24 we might get some understanding.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
Stir up one another to love and good works, this verse assumes that we would know one another. I am connected to the saints all over the world unity in Christ, but I don’t know their struggles personally or areas where they need to grow in love and good works. However, being a member of a local church, I will be able to serve alongside other believers and get to know them and be able to do exactly what this verse is saying to do.
1 Peter 5:1-2 (1) So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
How? That would be my question to you, how does one shepherd the flock of God that is among you and exercising oversight over the flock if there are no local churches?? If someone just comes in for a little while and then moves to another church and another church, or just comes and sits at a church but never becomes a member just attends, not making a commitment to the local church, the leaders or the others within the church. Personally, I don’t even see why this is something we should have to defend, as if it is not clear enough in scriptures.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Here is another scripture speaking about the elders but notice whose benefit it is for….YOURS! It is for your advantage to submit to your elders. Now I know, the first objection will be in everything submit, what if they are abusing their position. I understand that and the scripture speaks about that as well.
1 Peter 5:3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
If someone is abusing the authority as an Elder that’s a problem and should be addressed because as stated above they are not to lord their position over the flock but to be an example to them.
Now if they are ruling well, here is what God’s Word has to say.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
How are they to rule if they don’t have a local church gathering of committed saints, how are they to receive double honor, if there is no local church then how do you know if the preacher in the next town or city or state should receive double honor.
Its honestly pretty easy to see that God establishes local churches to which He gives gifts.
Ephesians 4:11-14 (11) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
For the purpose of equipping the saints so that we are not tossed to and fro carried away by every wind of doctrine, which was my point in the one above Facebook post, to disconnect yourself from the local church where you do not have an elder to lead you and other members evangelists and teachers and church members to help you grow to mature manhood or womanhood then you are setting yourself up to be carried away, either from the faith you claim to believe or into every wind of false teaching that is out there.
So, don’t be deceived by those who run around claiming to be believers but have no desire to be a member of a local church and spend more time arguing against local church membership rather than repenting becoming a member of a local church and submitting to the elders in order to be ministered to and to use their gifts to minister to other saints within the body of their local church.
To God be the Glory!
By Ricky Gantz
Ever been in the mood to listen to some good music? Music that is clean with a Christian message, something you can listen to while your children are in the car with you and not worry about hearing lyrics that are obscene or promoting ungodly values that you really don't want your children to be exposed to.
Well just turn it to the family friendly christian contemporary radio station, like K-Love or The Fish. Where you can listen to music that you don't have to worry what your children will hear, because it's good clean Christian music, or is it?
Discernment is something that many American Evangelicals seem to lack, we have thousands upon thousands of professing Christians who send in their money or follow many of the false teachers on Christian Television, such as TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, John Hagee, Kenneth Coepland, Paula White and Joel Osteen, just to name a few, believe me many more could be named. However, that is not the purpose of this article. I only stress this fact because so many individuals who claim the name of Christ lack discernment and follow false teachers. Calling out false teachers, especially those mentioned above is like picking at low hanging fruit on a tree, it is so easy to do because their teachings are so bad that you think how can anyone be so deceived.
When it comes to christian contemporary music that is promoted by these family friendly radio stations, we don't always know the theology of the ones behind the music.
The music also doesn't only stay on the radio, many songs find there way into many churches across the United States and abroad.
Hillsong is one of the most popular music groups out there today, with many of their songs being used by churches to sing worship to God on a Sunday morning, and even if the song you choose to sing by Hillsong or any other group like them has good words to the songs you choose to sing, many fail to realize the danger they are setting up for individuals in their own churches.
For example it would be like quoting Joel Osteen from your pulpit each week in your sermons without giving a qualifying message behind it that he is a false teacher. By quoting Osteen you are basically affirming his teaching and may just lead others in the church to start listening to and following his teaching. That would be a really bad idea!
The same thing happens with music except for some reason we seem to give it a pass, while many in the church who know Osteen is a false teacher wouldn't quote him week after week, those same people would use music by Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Matt Maher and others.
Because these groups along with many others, either have really bad theology or are heretical, and should not be promoted by family friendly radio and most certainly not promoted by churches.
Maybe you are thinking to yourself some of the songs these groups sing aren't necessarily worded with heretical teaching, and some songs aren't but I think by stating that we miss the point. The point is not so much whether or not a song they write is in error but rather the association with the one writing the song.
Let's take Matt Maher's song "Lord, I need you", the song is a beautiful song and there is nothing inherently wrong with the words of the song, yet many people don't realize that Matt Maher is a Roman Catholic. Why should that matter? It matters because in affirming Matt Maher and his music, whether you want to acknowledge it or not you are affirming Roman Catholicism by pointing your people to his music and blurring the lines for the very reason in why we are protestants, we are still protesting against Rome and their false teaching.
Jesus Culture another very popular music group out of Bethel Redding in California, that is entrenched with heresy and false teaching, has been using their music to introduce more and more people to that false teaching. The more popular the band gets the more people follow Bethel. Just like Hillsong they are using their music to draw more people to the teachings of their churches.
Now when I say churches I am not doing so in the sense that these are actual churches of God but only in identifying them by how they are represented in the world as being a church even though they go against the biblical teachings while promoting their heresies.
I've used this analogy before but consider this, these individuals have a different gospel and a different god, they do not follow the one true and living God, therefore when they write these songs they are speaking of the idol in which they are singing to, not praising and worshiping the King of Glory. So by that alone we should stop singing and promoting their songs in our churches.
Imagine writing a song for an ex-girlfriend, someone you had a long relationship with that many said was the love of your life, and sadly it didn't work out and now you are married to a lovely woman and your anniversary is coming up and you want to give her something special to let her know just how much she means to you, so you think I should write her a song, and you remember this amazing song you wrote long ago for your ex-girlfriend, and you think all I have to do is change the name to my wife and she'll love it.
Do you seriously think your wife would love a song given to her on your anniversary that was actually intended for another woman but just changing the name. I don't think that would cause your wife to love you more but most likely you will be sleeping on the couch for a week maybe longer. NO......that would be disrespectful to your wife to just change the name from your ex to hers.
Is that not what we are doing by singing songs to God that were written to false gods when we sings songs by these individuals who have a different gospel and different god.
We need to exercise discernment in many areas of are Christian life and this area is not an exception. Don't be deceived by these groups that promote there false churches and false beliefs by allowing them to deceive those around us in our churches.
We must have a discerning ear when it comes to what we listen to and what we allow our children to listen to and what we sing in our churches.
I am not saying if a church sings some songs by these groups that it automatically makes them a bad church or heretical, sadly some are just uninformed, which can be any of us. I for one do not always look up an artist and dig deep into what they believe by doing extensive research to find out and make sure before I turn on the radio, but maybe we should be, or at the least do a better job about what we allow to come into our churches.
Let's go back to the song by Matt Maher, 'Lord, I need you", if the song comes on in the car, I use it as a way to teach my family to be discerning, to inform them of who it is that is singing this song so that they are aware. The last thing I would want to do is mislead my family into thinking something is solid or okay. Some songs are catchy, and they are clean that you find on the family radio shows but at what cost.
Exercise wisdom, be cautious, and seek to be discerning in all areas of life, including the music we are listening to.
by Ricky Gantz
Sex outside the bounds of marriage is the sin of fornication. The Bible says all fornicators will have their part in the lake of fire.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Just so we are clear here about fornication being sexual immorality, this is the dictionaries definition.
Fornication-sexual intercourse between people not married to each other.
If you profess Christ and are living in sin.... repent!! If you refuse to repent and rebel against Christ staying in your sin then the reality is you don't know Him and your profession is nothing more than lip service.
Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
Matthew 15:8-9 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
1 John 3:4-10 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his
If this is you someone professing with your lips you know the LORD and yet continue in your practicing lifestyle of sin, REPENT and believe in Jesus Christ that your sins may be forgiving and that you would have new life in Him.
What if you are a Christian? Like I said above, if you profess Christ and are living in sin.... repent!!
So what does that mean?
Turn from your sin, flee sexual immorality as the bible tells us.
1 Corinthians 6:8 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
In fact God tells us in His word that this should not be even named among us as believers, this should not be the pattern of our lives to be engaged in sexual immorality but that we should put it to death. It is contrary to sound doctrine.
Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
1 Timothy 1:10 The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
So if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, flee from sexual immorality! Know that as a believer you can find forgiveness in Christ, if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), not giving us a license to sin, as stated clearly in the scriptures above that we must put to death sexual immorality and that it shouldn't even be named among us as a practice in which believers take part in. God is gracious with us but as Paul wrote in Romans that doesn't mean that we can continue in sin because of God's grace (Romans 6:1-2).
What if you are living together? What if you have a lease together?
It may not be easy to get yourself out of a situation in which you may be in, however, that doesn't mean we can stay in a sinful situation, rather we must work towards being obedient to Christ and it may be costly. But neglecting God's word on account of your situation and allowing your situation of living together outside of marriage to dictate whether or not you obey God's word should not be the stance of a believer, who desire to please the Lord and glorify Him in all areas of life.
Find your strength in Christ, God tells us to flee sexual immorality and tells us that when we are tempted He provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
If you are in a situation where you have come to faith in Christ and living with someone outside of marriage seek counsel from your Pastor, and if your Pastor gives you advice that contradicts the scriptures above flee the sexual immorality and also flee that Pastor and church.
Trust Christ and obey His word, for He knows what is best for us, sex is not a bad thing, in fact, it has been given to us by God, to enjoy and to procreate, however, He has also given us the guidelines of sex being within the marriage union.
Grace and Peace;
May 1st already..... where does the time go? When I was younger I don't remember time going as fast as it seems to be going now, I'm 40 years old and it seems like the days fly by. Feels like just yesterday but it's been years and they keep flying by.
The truth is life is but a vapor..... and we are blessed to have any amount of time here that the LORD allows us to have, whether we are a believer or not GOD is still the one who by HIS grace allows us the time we have here this side of eternity.
But once we step off into eternity there is no time just eternity which is never ending. If you are in Christ that eternity is with Him, what a joyous and wonderful thing to be with Christ, but if you step off into eternity apart from Christ... what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living GOD, because that eternity will be spent in torment, in the eternal judgment of GOD.
Jesus Christ came to save sinners, which we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GOD, the wages of sin is death (physical and eternal), but Christ demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, if you repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone you can have salvation (eternal life in Jesus Christ), so why wait until it's to late.. today is the day of salvation, don't harden your heart to the gospel of Christ, Repent and Believe today and be saved!!
Grace and Peace
Why is theology so important?
Theology is the study of God through His Word, the scriptures is how God has revealed Himself to us that we may know Him and believe and believing in Christ Jesus (God- the second person of the Trinity) we may have eternal life. (John 6:29)
The only way anyone will see the Kingdom of God is that you must be born again (John 3:3) and being born again means a spiritual rebirth, and whoever is born again believes in Jesus and will not perish (John 3:16) but have eternal life.
Unfortunately, many people are deceived and on the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13) and many will stand before the LORD on that day that believe themselves right with God but are not and hear those horrifying words, depart from me you who practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23) and the Bible warns of false prophets who will deceive (Matthew 7:15) so it is so important that once you have been born again and placed faith in Jesus Christ that we study theology, studying the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Don't follow your heart because your heart will deceive you (Jeremiah 17:9) rather trust in Christ Jesus by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) which is a gift from God because we have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and the penalty for sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus (Romans 6:23).
So if you haven't trusted in Christ do so today, believe that Jesus Christ (God in the flesh, 2nd person of the Trinity) came down born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, and willfully went to the cross laying down His life for sinners, was buried and three days later was raised from the dead, that is the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Jesus is God (John 1:1-3; 1:18; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 5:20) believe in Christ today.
To God be the Glory
Grace & Peace
Definition of Legalism:
strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription,
especially to the letter rather than the spirit.
Alright, now that we have defined legalism, let me attempt to explain how it may look in the life of professing believers, whether they are false believers or true ones.
One of the ways in which we see legalism today is through the teaching that one must keep the law to be saved. Which is clearly not the biblical view of how a man can be saved, that's not the gospel of Jesus Christ, which says that a man can be saved by grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus, teaching that one must keep the law to be saved is a salvation of works.
The scriptures are clear when it comes to how a man is saved.
>>>Romans 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,<<<
>>>Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.<<<
Another way in which we can see legalism is through the keeping of the law after one is saved so that the individual can maintain salvation. In other words...another form of works righteousness, this time in order to stay saved. However, we know that this is also not the case because not only is a man not justified by the keeping of the law but also does not maintain salvation by the keeping of the law. Truth be told, no one in Christ who is being honest would say that they no longer sin and now keep the law perfectly, unless they are a sinless perfectionist who claims they no longer sin, except in the fact that they fail to see their dishonesty by making that claim.
>>>Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”<<<
STOP! HOLD ON! Before you go making the claim that I am saying something I am not let me be sure to make this point. What I am not saying is that because no one can keep the law perfectly and that Christians will still have sin to deal with in their lives does that give us the right to sin because we are covered by God's grace. Paul clearly warns us when he says, "shall we continue in sin that grace may abound....GOD FORBID." So please don't walk away from this thinking that it means we have a license to sin. Because that is not what I am saying.
Already quoted was Ephesians 2:8-9 which speaks of man being saved by grace through faith in Christ alone not of works so that we cannot boast in those works. However, so often is the case that people forget about verse 10.
>>>Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.<<<
So one who is truly born again will do good works but not as a means to earn salvation, nor a means by which to keep it.
Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments", and we who are in Christ know that it is not a burden to follow Christ but out of love for our Savior who gave Himself for us and who changed our hearts and minds towards Him. Therefore we desire to please the Lord, while we may fail, it is Christ who has justified us and it is Christ who sustains us, it is not by our works.
Now that we established the above stated forms of legalism, I now want to focus on another type of legalism for which I will spend the rest of the article dealing with.
Perhaps as we dive into this next form of legalism you may have experienced some of these first hand, either on the receiving end or possibly the one holding to them and expecting others to do so as well.
Here are some examples:
The way you dress, a man should be in a suit and tie and women in a dress or long skirt.
Women are not permitted to wear earrings, make-up or cut their hair.
Alcohol is a sin and smoking will send you straight to hell...I am not kidding I just seen that the other day posted on social media.
I am sure you have heard this before, "You don't drink, you don't smoke, you don't chew and you don't run with those who do"
Tattoos......BAD REALLY BAD! The Bible says not to get Tattoos. Does it really say that?
Dancing is sin, going to the movies is sin, playing cards, playing pool(billiards), watching TV, owning a TV, listening to any music that is not hymns, and I am sure we could keep going. But I think you probably get the point.
This form of legalism is nothing new, the pharisees and religious leaders of the day added new laws to the commandments in an attempt to keep themselves from breaking the commandments of God.
Pastors/Elders/Deacons/Teachers/Evangelists are giving by God to the Church as gifts to shepherd the flock and to lead them by teaching them the Word of God and how to apply it to their lives, they are not called to be dictators and require people to adhere to their own personal preferences.
This doesn't only apply to those in leadership positions. Christians at times are guilty of being legalistic in their approach with other Christians attempting to apply a standard upon others because of their own personal convictions.
We must be careful not to impose a standard on another believer who may have a different conviction on an area that is not clearly stated as sinful in the scriptures.
Christian rap music is something I enjoy listening to from time to time, it's not the only type of music I listen to but enjoy it. A few years back I remember posting a few Christian rap songs on social media and had this one guy (who turned out to be KJVO, which is another type of legalism and huge discussion that would be better for another time) who would comment every time that it was the devils music and no Christian should have anything to do with rap music and that rap music cannot be Christian. I was gracious with the man for some time but then had to just use the block button. He was trying to apply his personal preference and convictions about a certain type of music upon myself and others who enjoyed that genre of music.
A genre of music is not in and of itself evil and sinful. In fact, there are many great Christian rap artist who are theologically sound and their music is rich with biblical truth, but this man could not see past his own personal preferences in an attempt to bring everyone to the same views he had.
What about the clothes we wear to Church?
My wife used to attend a Church where the women who worked in the nursery or Sunday School ministry were not allowed to wear pants they had to wear a dress or skirt or they were unable to serve in those areas.
These days we are seeing more and more pastors preach without wearing a suit but rather in jeans and dress shirt. Some people won't even take these pastors serious because they don't wear a suit and tie when preaching. However, to be fair, we do see some hipsters in their skinny jeans and Jesus is my homeboy t-shirts, and the majority of the time they are not really preaching the full counsel of God, but more of what they call a relevant message for today. Nevertheless, you are not more spiritual based on the clothes you wear to Church. Exercise wisdom in that statement though, because that doesn't mean we should just dress however we feel like. The bible does speak about modesty.
Probably one of the most argued over areas of legalism and Christian liberty is alcohol. Some people have some really strong views that if you drink a glass of wine or have a beer you are not a Christian.
Years ago I attended my brothers wedding and they were serving and drinking wine along with other alcoholic beverages (I don't drink alcohol as a personal preference of my own) and I remember my Grandmother saying to me how disappointed she was in another grandchild who professed faith as a Christian, because he was drinking alcohol. She said she even asked him, "as a Christian why are you drinking alcohol?" Which he said, "well Jesus turned water into wine". While I personally would question my cousins faith but not for drinking alcohol but for some other issues concerning the gospel, this is an area where some individuals have some strong convictions.
Honestly we all have our own preferences and personal convictions. These aren't a bad thing to have it's when we attempt to force those convictions and preferences on others who may not have the same stance.
Is it a sin to drink alcohol? Well what do we know for sure from the scriptures. We know that the bible speaks clearly about drunkards and that no drunkard will enter into the kingdom of heaven. So it is clearly a sin to be drunk. But what about just having a glass of wine, or a beer, well for some it may very well be sin and for others it may not be. If a person struggles with alcohol and it has been an idol in their life it could be sin for that person to drink.
When it comes to anything mentioned above, while it may not be inherently sinful, a grey area in scripture, it could be sin for the individual based upon their own personal convictions. However, that doesn't mean that it may then be sinful for everyone.
As Christians we should strive for holiness, to be more Christ like. In that effort lets not confuse desiring to be holy for legalism, but let's not be legalistic and mistake it for holiness.
To God be the Glory!
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