Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Gospel Other than...

Wow, the more I study God's Word to find the answers to so many things, I am in awe. In fact, the more I hear Christian leaders who talk as if we can't know the answers to the big questions in life, that we are left to speculate on topics such as death, heaven and hell and such, the more I say, "not true!" I am not sure what Bible they are reading, I assume it is the same one as I read, but why don't they see it? God tells us exactly what He wants us to know. Just go to an online Bible such as http://www.blueletterbible.org and check it out for yourself. Don't depend on others, God already covered it all. Sure there are some things we don't know for sure, but we trust Him enough to know, that He knows what He is doing. He is worth all of our trust, let Him have His mysteries because after all, He is God and He knows what we can handle and what we can't. 

And actually, those who are claiming we can never know the answers to key questions, so we can speculate and "discuss" the possibilities, sound very sad to me. It is as if they are choosing to weaken the gospel by not believing all God's Word says because if they did, they would know that we do have the answers, in great detail and they would seem a lot more joyful and reassured! Go ahead, ask questions, but be prepared for the answers. Just because the response isn't what we would like, doesn't mean we get to ignore it and toy with our own ideas. We are even warned about that Scripture: 2Ti 4:3-4 NIV - For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

There is incredible sure hope and peace in the middle of any storm, when we embrace what God's Word tells us! For example, Hell is not on earth as some are teaching, in fact as long as God holds this earth and all of us in His hand, no matter how bad some things can be, we are still ultimately under His Sovereignty. Yes, there is the temporary god of this earth, Satan, but even he has to obtain permission from God before he does anything. It isn't like he gets one past God! Just read Job chapter one! Here, is not anywhere near what the actual hell, will be like for those who refuse to have faith in Jesus Christ. To toy with the idea that heaven and/or hell, is what we make it right now in this life, goes against God's Word. Check it out for yourself. We are told that if we really want to hear and learn, even more truth will be revealed, but if we don't want to really know, then even less will be revealed. That would include those who can't handle the Truth of God's Word and insist on creating an alternate reality or even suggesting an alternate Truth. 
Mat 7:7-8 NIV - "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 
Mat 13:9-15 NLT - Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!" His disciples came and asked Him, "Why do you always tell stories when you talk to the people?"  Then He explained to them, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to My teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don't really see. They hear what I say, but they don't really hear, and they don't understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: 'You will hear My words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes-- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let me heal them.'

Make sure all teaching in the name of Christ, lines up with God's Word before you take it seriously! When someone has the job of spotting counterfeit money, what do you think they have to do to be able to spot fakes? Some of us would automatically assume that they would have to study impostors really well, the smell, texture, every line and marking, that was what I thought, but nope, they are to become so familiar with the real thing that they can spot a phoney right away. The more time they spend with genuine money, the more familiar they are, the easier it is to instantly recognize a counterfeit.

The same principle apply to Christianity. First of all there are impostors or false teachers and prophets that call themselves, followers of Christ. We wouldn't want to spend all of our time listening to and researching every word of every teacher, pastor, writer or person that exists - it wouldn't just be impossible to do, but it would be a waste of time, because without a point of reference, how would we even know if what they stood for was from God or not? But instead, if we spend more time soaking ourselves in His Truth, which for a believer is, God's infallible Word, then it's easy to spot those false teachers/believers that we are warned about. 

Mat 24:4-5 NIV - Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.
Mat 7:15 NLT - "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart. 

Mat 24:24-25 NLT - For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.  See, I have warned you. 
Mar 13:22-23 NLT - For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones. Watch out! I have warned you! 
Act 20:29-30 NLT - I know full well that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some of you will distort the truth in order to draw a following. 
2Cr 11:1315 NLT - These people are false apostles. They have fooled you by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.
1Ti 6:3 NLT - Some false teachers may deny these things, but these are the sound, wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are the foundation for a godly life.  Anyone who teaches anything different is both conceited and ignorant. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, fighting, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they don't tell the truth. To them religion is just a way to get rich. 
2Pe 2:1 NLT - But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. Theirs will be a swift and terrible end. 
1Jo 4:1 NLT - Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

We are given God's Word so we will know all that God wants us to know about Him and we are also given the Holy Spirit so we can do all He wants us to do and so we can know all Truth. Jhn 16:13 NIV - But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.

Again, we are told that those who don't really want to know the Truth, will not know it. If they only want to hear what is pleasing to them or acceptable, then that is exactly what they will hear. In fact, as the distortion of God's Word increases, as we near the end of the age, leading to Christ's return and the final fulfillment of all prophecies in the Old and New Testament - 2Ti 4:1 NIV - In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Mat 24:10-13 NIV - At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

The warnings in God's Word exist for a reason. Any leaders who down plays those warnings, are persons we should be mindful of. 

The Scriptures are full of answers, so I could write and write. Since we are to follow His Word, then here are but a few to follow: 

2Ti 3:16-17 NKJV - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

John 1:1-5 NLT - In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

1 Corinthians 3:11-13NLT - For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have--Jesus Christ. Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value.

Galatians 1:6-8 NLT - I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who in his love and mercy called you to share the eternal life he gives through Christ. You are already following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.  God's curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed.

Galatians 1:9-11 NLT - I will say it again: If anyone preaches any other gospel than the one you welcomed, let God's curse fall upon that person. Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant. Dear brothers and sisters, I solemnly assure you that the Good News of salvation which I preach is not based on mere human reasoning or logic. For my message came by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself. No one else taught me. But then something happened! For it pleased God in his kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born! What undeserved mercy! Then he revealed his Son to me so that I could proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When all this happened to me, I did not rush out to consult with anyone else;

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV - But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

2 Timothy 3:10-15 NKJV - But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra--what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.