Tuesday, June 21, 2011

True or False (Teachers) Part 2

The last post shared the main Truths of the doctrines of Faith as taught to us by the Word of God. No other Truth stands in this lifetime and there's no way for us to try to go around the Truth of Jesus. It is the only source of Truth and anything above and beyond it is just schemes of the enemy to lure us away from the road that leads us to life.

Since we've seen what those major points are that most "Christian" religions in the world today offer. Let me share a few of the other specifics that will give away a false teaching religion and expose their lies with the Word of God.


1. False teachers devote themselves to demonic practices!

The Bible speaks of false teachers in 1 Timothy chapter 4 and they are described as follows:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars who consciences are seared ... (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

These false teachers devote themselves to following the teachings of demons!!! They are deceived by these demonic spirits and are teaching through lies. They are the ones Jesus described as "blinds leading the blind" and "whitewashed tombs that appear beautiful on the outside but are full of dead men's bones and uncleanness. Who are these and what do they follow as doctrines? Please read carefully the following verses ...

Who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:3-5)

We ought to allow the Word of God to open our eyes to see if we are following and believing in the preachings and teachings of those who follow the devil instead of God's Truth. Look carefully in the specific descriptions of them in God's Word.

Forbidding marriage is one of the main doctrines of the Catholic church for its clergy. They call it "the call of Celibacy." They forbid their priests and nuns from getting married. This teaching deceivingly becomes presented as a "holy calling" and is taught as allowing the individual to "focus" their devotion on Christ alone. But there is just no way around God's Word. No matter how holy or spiritual or righteous a practice may appear to be, if it is the abomination that the Word of God teaches about, there is really no excuse for the deceiving teachings of following demonic practices as such.

Another thing mentioned in the Word of God was the requirement to abstain from foods. This is another give-away for the religions that teach the practices of demons instead of Christ Jesus's. We see this often as abstaining from eating meat and certain food groups. The Catholic church orders its faithful to abstain from meat on certain days of the week during Holy Week. Seventh Day Adventism, Islam, and many other religions also require their faithful to abstain from certain foods like pork, shellfish, shrimps, crabs and the like as a general practice of faith. But just like forbidding marriage is a practice of deceitful, demonic spirits, the abstinence from certain foods is counted as part of these practices by demons.

2. False teachers put emphasis on mysticism

The Bible presents another specific clear picture about false teachers. In Ephesians 2 we see them described as follows:
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetism and worship of angels, going on in details about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Ephesians 2:18-19)

Ascetism is the practice mentioned above about abstinence. But many of the false teachers in the world are described in Ephesians to not only dwell in ascetism, but also present a kind of spirituality in the picture of mysticism. 

Mysticism is defined as the phenomenon of having a unique experience of communion with God. It is usually presented as a unique spiritual enlightenment or visions. Many religious groups rely mainly on this as a basis for most of their doctrines. We find it practiced in Hinduism; in the practice of Kabbalah within Judaism; Surfism in Islam; Christian Mysticism usually in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, and in Quakers, Anglicans and Episcopalians and Charismatics.

Many of these religions boast of the visions and spiritual experiences that some of its leaders have that eventually lead to the formation of doctrines and teachings for the faithful.  These experiences are not only limited to the religious leaders, but the faithful experiences them as well, seemingly adding a "proof" to the various claims they will formulate regarding issues of faith.

Among many others, spiritual mysticism evidences itself in the so-called visions seen by individual faithful and the messages they received from it.  Marian visions widely embraced by the Catholic church is one of the biggest deceptions that drive millions into committing to a religious belief that is based on a lie. Many apparitions and spiritual experiences such as idols moving and showing some unique "spiritual" manifestations are among these upheld in mysticism. Some chants and incantations and forms of spiritual experiences of uncontrolled laughter, dancing and/or shaking are other forms of mysticism being boasted by many religious groups.

The Word of God is clear ... these are boasts coming from a mind set on the flesh--a sensuous mind, a mind hostile to God's Truth. These practices DO NOT HOLD fast to JESUS CHRIST, the Head of the church. Furthermore, read carefully what the Bible says about these...

These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and ascetism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgences of the flesh. (Ephesians 2:23)


3. False teachers boast of the wisdom of this world.


Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Cor. 1:20)

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19)

This last one gives away the religions of this world who oftentimes boast of their own worldly wisdom. A lot of them rely on the wisdom of the world to back up whatever "revelations" they have for their doctrines and practices. Worldly wisdom like Psychology, Logic, Typology, Neurotheology, Rational Mysticism, and Behavioral Sciences to examine the psychological dimensions of Scripture are among the many wisdom boasted of by various religions. All of which are set on earthly things, and all conclusions they arrive to prove to become foolish in the eyes of God.

The Bible tells us that God's ways are higher than ours. They are beyond the grasp of our feeble, finite human mind. Anyone appearing religious and spiritually discerning enough to conclude that they've finally "understood clearly" what all these hullabaloo about God is, plainly fit into the description of the Word of God--they are enemies of the Cross of Christ Jesus.

Now, with all that is being described in the Bible, we are given the Truths that we must stand on in discerning which teacher is really preaching the Truth in Jesus Christ. The devil's work is to deceive us from the Truth. We need to EMPTY OURSELVES of the many things we've been preset with in order for us to deliberately renew our minds and take every though captive to Christ Jesus and HIM alone who is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE!

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ 
(2 Corinthians 10:5)



True or False (Teachers) Part 1

I have a "secret-admirer" ... No, I'm just kidding! Haha ... I have a blog visitor who wanted me to answer a question of why there are so many different religions claiming to be BIBLE (emphasized) Christians and we see them have varying names and doctrines followed. The question was to somehow drive the point that there should only be one true church of God and not have many denominations and the like.  

I would not claim to be an expert to answer that question, but I will share what I have learned about "False Doctrines" in this post, hoping and praying that it will shed light to this particular issue and give us the chance to discern wisely if the teachings we are following is that of God or just one of the many false doctrines.
~~~

The world today is loaded with gazillion of religions and philosophies that pose to be a way worthy of following because it will lead to some deliverance and/or  peace in the end. Although a lot of religions and philosophical bodies blatantly oppose the Truths of the God of the Bible, many call themselves "Christians" just because they pledge allegiance with the Bible--which Christians consider the Word of God.


We see today a variety of these christian religions and denomination, and their varying doctrines of faith, and we come to wonder, which ones are teaching Truth and which ones are not? The Bible gives us many pictures of the so-called "False Teachers" that we are warned about. From Jesus Christ to the NT writers who echoed His words years later, one particular flag they always raised was the one that warns us of false teachers. They mention about many who would come to entice us of doctrines that our itching ears would want to hear, and they even tell us that many will be deceived to follow them instead of the True Way of Jesus Christ. And so, how are we to identify these false teachers when the Lord tells us they are going to be wolves in sheep's clothing, appearing as angels of light? We will let the Word of God guide us from here...

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

We will start with the major or PRIMARY PROOFS:

1. False teachers DENY the full divinity and humanity of Christ.
  • For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh... (2 John 1:7)

  • Many religions, some even claiming to be "Christians," DO NOT acknowledge that Jesus Christ, as God, came in the flesh. One that comes to mind is the Jehovah's Witnesses. But the Word of God teaches us this truth also known as the "Incarnation." The Word of God guides us to this Truth--that those who DENY the Incarnation of  Jesus Christ IS False Teaching. 

  • If you are holding on to this belief and religious doctrine, Jesus offers an invitation in His Word ... "RENEW YOUR MIND and Come, FOLLOW ME."
2. False teachers forsake the right way, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor.
  •  If you don't know who Balaam is, you can know more about him in Numbers 22-24. He was a prophet, a diviner who was initially set on obedience to the command of the Lord. When the king of Moab (one of the enemies of Israel) sent men to ask for him to send a curse over Israel, this was his initial reply:
"Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could NOT go beyond the command of the LORD MY GOD to do less or more." (Numbers 22:18, emphasis added)
  • BUT we eventually see Balaam traveling with the men whom the king Balak sent to fetch him. And three, yes three, times he ATTEMPTED to offer a curse to Israel as he was in the company of the Moabites. Although three times the curses were turned into blessings, we see Balaam compromising and believing that there is something he can do to change God's mind eventually. He never totally believed in his profession of faith in the "Lord his GOD." It sounded like a lip-service to me as we see him still attempt to bring a curse after God told him to leave the Israelites alone.

  • Balaam's three attempts may not be his biggest mistake yet. In verse 25 of chapter 24 in Numbers, we read that Balaam rose and went back to his place. And Balak also went his way. This prophet, who professed faith in the LORD God, didn't do anything after what happened. He would have known and understood in his last attempt that God curses those who curse against Israel. Now, knowing THAT, he should have done something to the Moabites knowing that they uttered a curse already in their hearts. If he were genuinely obedient to God, he could have asked Him again if there was anything HE wanted to do with the Moabites. But Balaam just walked away from that scene, allowing the king of Moab to walk away as an enemy of Israel, and ultimately an enemy of God.

  • This paved the way to Israel's whoring with the gods of Moab. The people eventually joined in the sacrifices of the Moabites and they ate and bowed down to their gods. Israel eventually "yoked" himself to Baal, the god of the pagans, the idol god. (see Numbers 25:1-3)

  • This forsaking of the right way and embracing and incorporating paganism into its so-called Christianity is indeed the foundation of a religion that poses as that of Christ's Truth. The Roman Catholic Church is an example, where most of the rituals and its icons of deity worshiped/venerated in the church budded from the embracing of pagan cultures and "Christianizing" them. 
3.  False teachers oppose THE Truth.
  • The Truth is found solely in the Bible. The Word of God IS TRUTH (John 17:17). 
  • The doctrines of Truth are found in the Word of God and whatever teachings are in CONFLICT with the teachings of JESUS, then we will know it is false teaching.

    • Many other religions claiming to be Christians can easily be identified using this proof as the tool. Doctrines of Mormonism teach of things that are opposed to the Truth, including for example:
      • Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both.
      • God used to be a man on another planet. God the Father had a Father. God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's.
      • The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible.
      • After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god.
    • The doctrines and teachings of Seventh Day Adventism that are opposed to the Truth, includes for example:
      • Our sins will ultimately be placed on Satan.
      • Jesus is Michael the Archangel
      • The dead do not exist anymore--soul sleep.
      • The soul is not immortal.
      • Hell fire isn't for eternity.
    • The doctrines and teachings of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ that are opposed to the Truth, includes for example:
      • Jesus was the savior for the Jews and Quiboloy for the Gentiles.
      • Quiboloy calls himself the Son of God.
      • Eve had sexual relations with the serpent in the Garden to cause the Fall--Serpent Seed Doctrine.
      • God's work of salvation was not finished at the cross.
      • We can only have salvation by acknowledging "Pastor" Quiboloy as the Son of God.

    • The doctrines and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that are opposed to the Truth, includes for example:
      • The sale of indulgences.
      • Salvation through various sacraments AND Jesus Christ.
      • Mortal sins and venial sins (major and minor sins).
      • Infant baptism as a means of rebirth and regeneration.
      • Doctrine of Purgatory.
      • The doctrines and teachings of Oneness Pentecostal that are opposed to the Truth, includes for example:
        • Denial of the doctrine of Trinity.
        • Jesus is God the Father. Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
        • Baptism is necessary for salvation.
        • Speaking in tongues is a necessary requirement to demonstrate that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and is, therefore, saved.

    • If you are holding on to this belief and religious doctrine, Jesus offers an invitation in His Word ... "RENEW YOUR MIND and Come, FOLLOW ME."
     4. False teachers pervert the grace of God. They LET GO OF FAITH, and believe in doctrines of good works.
      
    "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8)
    • We see this as religious doctrines imposed by many of the so-called "Christian" religions. They uphold the doctrine of salvation by Grace + good works. 
    • Take for example the following:
      • They require abstinence from certain foods (either entirely or on certain days).
      • They require completion of some religious rituals and ceremonies in order to be saved.
    5. False teachers entice by sensual passions of the flesh.

    For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error... (2 Peter 2:18)

    • Greed is one of the primary passions of the flesh that is fed by these false teachers. They entice people toward PROSPERITY.
      • Their gospel message is not dying to self and following Christ, but enjoying self while compelling Christ to bless.
      • Professing Christian preachers teach multitudes of followers every Sunday about God's goodness, love and encompassing greatness, and that He wants us to have our "best life now."  They preach about the power of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life allowing one to accomplish ANYTHING we set our minds on. It's a "name it, claim it" fiasco!
      • These are the likes of Joel Osteen, Joyce & David Meyer, Randy & Paula White, Benny Hinn, Kenneth & Gloria Copeland and Bishop Eddie Long, as well as many, many more.
    The Bible, the Word of God is clear about them and their work. We are to be very careful to discern the kind of teaching we are laying our lives down to. The teachings of Jesus Christ offers an abundant life of joy and love, but it also offers persecution, trials and a whole lot of tribulations to refine us and mature us spiritually. Jesus Christ offers THE ONLY WAY to salvation BY FAITH... a FREE GIFT from God the Father. We are only to hear Him call our names and say, "Come! Follow ME"... 


    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth & THE Life

     


    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Encountering God's Truth: The Mind of Christ


    The way we think is vitally important in all the things we do in this lifetime. It is significantly important as well during our faith journey with Christ on the narrow road. It is not just a matter of emotions and sentiments that we give our lives to Jesus Christ, but the Bible tells us that it is a matter of the mind as well.

    The Word of God is essentially clear when it comes to the way we think things through. It has talked about the wisdom and the way of thinking that this world has in relation to the things of God. Now, our minds are pre-programmed in one way or another. Depending on the culture and the lifestyle of the people in which we were born into, our minds are pre-programmed according to the drive, character, nature and belief of that particular people. 

    The mind is an important part of our relationship with God since it is one of the arenas mentioned by Jesus to include when we strive to follow the greatest commandment of all:
    And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
    Image source

    The word "mind" in this passage comes from the Greek word διανοίας (dianoias), meaning the mind, disposition, thought. Jesus didn't just include this for the sake of saying it, He made sure that ALL our thoughts are also aligned in worshiping God.

    God's Word teaches us that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). And because this is our case, the state of our minds is carnal (not spiritual), and it is of the nature of our flesh--the nature of sin. The problem with that is this:


    The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law,  
    nor can it do so. (Romans 8:7)

    Before a person comes into the knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ and believe in Him and His work on the cross, his or her thoughts remain carnal. And this state of mind leads to death, just as sin that is the nature of the flesh leads to death. (see Romans 8:6)

    The Bible is clear that we cannot submit to God's law and His Truth while  in this carnal state of mind. We just don't have the capacity to do so no matter how intelligent, learned or wise we consider ourselves to be. The wisdom that we hold on to remains the wisdom of this world until the time we become born again. This is why Jesus clearly states that we MUST be born again. (see John 3) Jesus explains that unless we are born of the Spirit, we cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). And unless we are born of the Spirit, we can never understand the spiritual truths of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:12). 

    The mind we have before we come to Christ is sinful. It is hostile to God and can never submit to His Truths. This mind can never fathom the spiritual truths and will consider them foolishness because of this:

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing ... For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:18-20)

    No matter how "wise" we consider ourselves to be in this world, no matter how far we've gone through attaining higher education and the like, the Bible is clear to say that this wisdom leaves us illiterate to the things of God.

    How then can we understand the things of God? We only start that journey when we come to Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The gospel of Christ, the word of His cross becomes the power of God to us who are being saved! (1 Corinthians 1:18) When we become born again the moment we surrender everything to Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit as promised (John 14:16). 


    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 
    (1 Corinthians 2:14)

    Unless we receive the Holy Spirit of God, we can never come to accept and understand the spiritual truths of God. That is why the Bible tells us we will always be HOSTILE to it.

    Many of us believe that the Bible contains spiritual truths that are hard to understand. Some of us were even brought up with a mind-setting that made us believe we need higher officials of God who are divinely appointed in order to interpret these spiritual things to us. But this is so contrary to what the Word of God is telling us. 

    Those who come to Christ for salvation and those who believe in His gospel become born again--born of the Spirit--in that we receive the Holy Spirit in our lives that allows us (individual believers in Christ Jesus and not just presumed divinely inspired and appointed leaders) to understand God's spiritual truths. 

    Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)

    When we come to Christ Jesus to believe in HIM who IS Truth, we become redeemed by Jesus Christ, we live holy lives in and through HIM and we come to clearly understand His Truth, and we boast not of our own wisdom but of HIS WISDOM alone! 

    And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)


    When we come to the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ and surrender our lives to His lordship, we make a decision to follow HIM. 

    And when we choose to believe in Jesus Christ alone, we become righteous in God's eyes THROUGH Him, we become sanctified or set apart into holy living THROUGH Him, and we understand the spiritual truths of God as we renew our minds THROUGH Christ Jesus who becomes wisdom for those who believe.
















    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Encountering God's Truth: A Church Built upon THE Rock (revised)

    I am so blessed to have made new friends last week. I had a good discussion over at Facebook with some of them and I'd like to share it with you as well. One friend had a few questions raised and so I shared this Truth with them from the Word of God... 

    May you find a blessing in here today as well. :)

    --------------

    I'd be glad to share what I learned from the Word of God with you regarding this matter, to at least make it more "sensible" for you. Please bear with the length of my reply on this. :)

    But before I do share what I have (also) learned, may I request that you ask yourself this one question: "What do I want to have more authority in my life right now? The "Word of God" which I profess to pledge allegiance to, or the words of men whom I believe to be founding fathers of the faith?" This question is the grass root level of all questions we could ever ask ourselves. I faced this question myself before, too, so don't think that I am aiming any ammunition at you right now. I'm just sharing what I had been given as well. :)

    Now, you must agree that our belief system and the faith we have on something or someone comes solely from the culture we were brought up in. If we had been born into a family in China, we must have also followed the ways of Buddhism; or a family in Saudi Arabia and must have been brought up in the practices of Islam. This faith and belief system we currently follow was inculcated to us throughout the years by family and community. It will be the "Truth" for us because that is what we had perceived from since we were able to understand. I'd like to say that we were more blessed to be brought up in Catholicism because at least we were introduced the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--the God of the Bible.

    Okay. If we are to consider the last point, we have to believe that the Bible is authoritative over any other books in the history of mankind. Many other faith systems have their "Holy Books," too, but why pledge allegiance to this particular book called the BIBLE? Because no other book of faith has EVER been written the way it has been. The Bible we have today is a compilation of books penned by more than 40 authors over a period of 1500 years! These various authors interestingly come from various backgrounds and locations. For example: Moses, a prince of Egypt; Isaiah, a prophet of ancient Israel; David, a king; Luke, a physician; Matthew, a tax collector; Peter, a middle-class fisherman; Paul, a pharisee. Despite the various backgrounds and locations of the authors of the books compiled as the Bible and the amazing span of time between their writings, the message is STRONGLY unified all throughout the book.

    The only reason why these books have a unified message is the reality that the various writers were "inspired" by just One author--the God of the universe, the Creator of all, the Almighty. This book is in reality the Creator's communication to His created being--man. The Bible has parts that are historical (mainly the OT), poetic (Psalms) and doctrinal (NT).

    Now, when we profess to believe in the Bible as THE "Word of God," we now come to know of the BEGINNING and the END. :) For the Bible said, "In the BEGINNING, GOD created ..." The Almighty God created the world for this purpose: that His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, can be clearly seen, being understood through what has been made. (see Romans 1:20) God created everything for HIS glory.

    Everything was good when He first created the world (Genesis 1:31). But the Bible tells us that sin entered the world through the disobedience of man. Human kind was supposed to be living in fellowship with God for eternity (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). BUT when sin entered, death entered as well because of sin. (Romans 5:12) Instead of living for all eternity, mankind now has an end and the Bible tells us that after this we face judgment. (see Hebrews 9:27)

    And yet, we see the Almighty God working to SAVE His people from this death and sin. For from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation we see God's plan for man's salvation enfold. We are very familiar with John 3:16 that says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life." This was God's plan of salvation. Humankind cannot save itself from the bondage of sin and death. No matter what we do to try to be good before the HOLY God, our good works will never suffice to what HE required to appease His anger toward sin. In fact, the Bible describes our good works as "FILTHY RAGS" before the Holy God. No matter what GOOD a person attempts to do and maintain in this lifetime, it will always come short of the glory of God because all have sinned since the fall of Adam. (Romans 3:23)

    Jesus, the Son of God, had to be born of a virgin in order to meet the requirements of saving the human race. He was born of a virgin, Mary, undefiled by the seed of man, thus conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary, being the mother, brings forth the flesh of her flesh making Jesus fully man, as well as fully God. The reason for God to send Jesus this way was because He needed to be like man in order to take our place when He pleads our case to the Father. Human wisdom cannot fathom God's wisdom for doing so, but it is by FAITH that we believe in this.

    Jesus and the NT (New Testament) writers left us with the things we needed to know in order to understand God's plan of salvation. They all spoke about Christ Jesus's work on the cross and the power it bestows upon those who believe in it. Romans 10:9 shows us that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus IS Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, then we will be saved. Saved from what? Saved from the wrath of God against sin--against sinners (Psalm 7:11)). No-one is exempted from this wrath for the Bible tells us that there is none righteous, not even one.

    Now, when the Bible talks about the "CHURCH," we find the apostle Paul explaining this clearly in the book of Romans that those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who are saved, form one body--the church. (Romans 12:5) We would understand as we read in Paul's letter to the Colossians that BELIEVERS of Jesus are the CHURCH and CHRIST is the HEAD of the CHURCH. (Colossians 1:18)

    It is very important at this point that we acknowledge that the original text for the BIble isn't English. They are either Hebrew (mostly for the OT) and Greek (NT). When Jesus talked to Peter in Matthew 16 and told Him that he is "Peter," the original Greek word was Πέτρος (petros) which means "a detached STONE." This was a totally different word from what Jesus said next that He will build His CHURCH upon this "Rock." He used in the original Greek πέτρᾳ (petra), which means a solid MASSIVE ROCK or BOULDER rising up through the earth.


    It would be tempting to believe that Peter is a rock upon which Jesus built His church if we stick to this verse, but the Bible had provided us with verses that help clarify these doctrines to us. It is AMAZING how the apostle PETER himself clarified this to us in his epistle. In 1 Peter 2:5 he clearly explained that those who believe in Christ Jesus become living STONES! If we read the entire chapter we can see that all this talk about "stones" and "rocks" were to give a picture to us about how the church is built. JESUS is the foundation--the Cornerstone, the ROCK upon which the church is built. Then individuals who come to believe in the LORD JESUS become living stones that form the "CHURCH."

    It is only dangerous for anyone to continue believing that the "church" is built upon Peter--a man. We will be in trouble in the end because Peter himself was corrected by Paul at some point for being a hypocrite (see Galatians 2). Peter is only a mere man like any of us and if indeed the church was built upon him, then we find no hope in this life since Peter also made many mistakes.

    It is not upon MAN that the church is built but upon the foundation of JESUS CHRIST alone. :)

    As to the question of worshipping the "CREATED," I was pertaining to Mary. She was like any other individual who was created by God and had sin and needed salvation. It is an eye-opener to realize that Mary herself acknowledged this in Luke 1:47 when she said she rejoiced in God her SAVIOR. If she didn't have any sin then she wouldn't have needed a Savior.

    I used to believe in all the doctrines of Mariology, but the Word of God is always clear to refute all of it. It was never easy for me, too, and was quite offensive because it presented a Truth that was in contradiction to the truth that I perceived and believed in for so long. But it only takes a step of FAITH to believe in the WORD of GOD, in JESUS CHRIST and Him crucified and in Him who is THE Truth.

    This is why Jesus always offered the invitation to "Follow" Him, because we all are taking the same road to destruction since we were born. CHRIST offers THE Way to life as HE is life. There is no-one else who can save.

    I pray that these Truths may shed light to your faith journey as they did to mine a few years ago. And I continue to pray that you will not be afraid to embrace God's Truth as you encounter them, for Jesus's words and HIS TRUTH will always prevail as it had been since the beginning of time and as it always will be until the end of time.
     
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    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Listening to God's Voice

    Wouldn't it be amazing to be in the boy Samuel's place and hear God's audible voice that one magnificent night in his life? It must have been a glorious thing to spend the rest of the night conversing with God as Samuel learned to listen to HIS voice.

    People do not anymore hear an audible voice from God, BUT the great Creator and wonderful Father in heaven still speaks to individuals today. It is such a blessing for people on earth to realize that God had sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to speak to us in these last days (Hebrews 1:2). That Truth in the Bible should be one that we all must consider carefully. For the Bible speaks of Jesus to be the Word of God, and we are so blessed to have His Words recorded down in history through the disciples that walked with Him during His time on earth. 

    The words and insightful teachings of Jesus are available to all of us today in the "Word of God" (also known as the Bible). This is the primary way that God speaks to us today. If we must learn to listen to God's voice like Samuel did, we ought to understand that it is through Jesus's words that we hear Him speak to us today. And we see Jesus's words recorded in the most important book in human history--the Bible.

    If we indeed want to listen to God's voice then we must find time to sit and open up our Bibles to read from it and hear the words of Jesus, our God, as He speaks to us individually. There is nothing more important than to listen to God's message. As Jesus himself said, "My sheep hear my voice." If we belong to his flock, we MUST open the Bible and read it. 

    There are many other voices around us today that speak of lies and deception. Most of them take our focus away from the Savior. If we want to indeed FOLLOW our Good Shepherd, we MUST learn to listen to HIS voice and His voice alone.

    May you and yours be blessed always!

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Our HOPE sustained

    Faith will always be paired with a ray of Hope. Anyone of us who will have faith in something or someone will have to always Hope in it as well. 

    The faith of a believer in Christ Jesus is something that's vital in the christian walk. It's the pre-requisite of a life lived as a follower of the Savior. Believing and having Faith in Jesus Christ saves us from unrighteousness as well as God's wrath. And it is this Faith that gives us the Hope of our salvation and eternal security in the arms of our loving Savior.

    But many of the devil's schemes against the believer is aimed at the very foundation of faith. For the enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy whatever HOPE there is for us in this life. The devil prowls to devour us as he attempts to ravage the faith we have for a life lived with Jesus in eternity. 

    The enemy aimed it's full ammunition at me the moment my book project became published online. The devil's arrows of discouragement and oppression came flying from left and right in order to bring down the faith I have in the work God has called me to do. 

    But I was encouraged by a verse I read in Romans 15:13 today. It reminds me of a God who never forsakes us nor leaves us to fend for ourselves. This is what it promises to all who believe ...

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that 
    by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

    I am reminded today that the life of a believer in Christ Jesus will always be filled with trouble, but the Word of God said that HE delivers us from them all. With that in mind, we are encouraged that our walk through this life may be difficult but we can be filled (and truly have) all JOY and all PEACE in our believing in Jesus' promises because it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we will abound in Hope. 

    When we feel weak amidst the oppression of the enemy, we have a Comforter and a Sustainer that God placed in us that we may continue on with our striving for HIS cause and HIS glory. And that no matter what goes on in and around us, we have our great and mighty and strong and faithful God who increases our Faith and allow Hope to abound in order that we will have pure JOY and pure PEACE in HIM who strengthens us, allowing us to walk by Faith and not by sight.


    All blessing and honor and glory and power be unto the God of our salvation, now and forever!


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