Costa Rica

RIGHT JUDGEMENT

                                              RIGHT JUDGMENT

 

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.  Philippians 1:9-10 kjv

 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  John 7:24 kjv

 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 kjv

 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  Proverbs 9:8 kjv

16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16 kjv

 

 

One of the most profound and destructive lies spouted by both Christians and non-Christians alike, is that believers in Jesus Christ are not to ever judge anyone or anything. We are simply told to live and let live, as our culture and even our Christian friends disintegrate before our eyes…falling into apostasy, and away from all that is true and right before our great God.

In Matthew 7:1-5, the passage most often quoted when the issue of judgment arises, Jesus Christ makes it clear that “judging” others is wrong…if the person doing the judging is guilty of the very same thing they are pointing out to the recipient of the judgment:

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eyeThou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Based on the above passage (and John 7:24, quoted at the top of the article), it is clear that Jesus is not rejecting all judgment, but is only condemning hypocritical judgment. He even instructs his audience at the end of this passage, that once they have removed the plank from their own eyes, they are free to help their brothers deal with their own sin as well. A few verses later, Jesus goes even further, warning the people to be on guard for false prophets, whom they will recognize by their fruit, thus, making it clear that we must not only evaluate (aka judge) the fruit of others, but we must also have a clear standard by which to test that fruit. That standard is truth. What is truth? According to Jesus, Christ while he is praying to his Father, “Thy word is truth,” (John 17:17b), and the Bereans knew that well….

In Acts 17, the Bereans were noted to be more noble than other believers because they tested every single thing they heard from their teachers, with scripture. They used the word of the Lord as it should be used – as a sharp two-edged sword, separating truth from error, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart and laying bear everything before the one to whom we must all give an account (Hebrews 4:12-13). The Bereans, even with their lack of resources compared to today, relentlessly used the word to ensure that they weren’t ingesting false teaching shrouded in charisma, the wisdom of the world or sweet-tasting lies.

Jesus made several other statements about his own judgments, which explain why they were truly righteous, rather than being sanctimonious or hypocritical. In John 5:30, Jesus stated that his judgments were “just” because he sought not his own will, but instead sought only the will of his Father. In John 7:18, Jesus reminded the Jews gathered outside the temple that he was not on earth to seek his own glory but instead was seeking only the glory of his Father who sent him. The eternal truths of God are the only things that matter when exercising biblically sound judgment.

As Philippians 2:5-11 states so eloquently (see the entire passage at the end of this article), the humble and obedient attitude Jesus had toward his Father during his earthly life, must be our attitude when making scripturally mandated judgments. Humility, biblical truth and obedience to the unambiguous teachings of Jesus Christ are the measuring stick we must use when testing our hearts for jealousy, pride or anger, as we both give and receive reproof, encouragement and exhortation to and from those we love and respect in the body of Christ. The only way we can be certain that our judgments are “right” is if they line up perfectly with the word of God, and if they are spoken in gentleness and love.

An excellent example of a “right” judgment is found in Galatians 2:9-21, when Paul, very publicly and without equivocation, rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy and fear of man, which was leading others astray. After an unidentified friend of James started influencing the brethren for the worse by encouraging them to turn back to elements of the Jewish law, Peter began to withdraw from his Gentile brothers during meals. It became such a problem that even Barnabas was deceived (vs. 13) into believing that the grace of God was not enough, and that believers must still honor certain Jewish customs and traditions in order to maintain their salvation.

When Paul saw that Peter and the others, “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel,”(vs. 14) he called Peter out and reminded all of the gathered brothers that they were saved by grace alone and not by works of the law. While the passage does not explain how the situation was resolved, I am certain that Peter humbled himself and repented, gladly turning away from his metastasizing sin, so that no one else would be led astray. The truth of Jesus Christ was Paul’s only goal in bringing this issue up publicly. He was not concerned with the short-term embarrassment this confrontation caused, even to a much-beloved personal friend of Jesus, such as Peter.

Paul clearly loved Peter, but he was no respecter of persons when it came to contending for the truth of the gospel. We too shouldn’t place men above the clear truth of the word (1 Cor. 4:6), meaning that we must never be afraid to challenge our brothers in Christ who are teaching (or practicing) that which is manifestly false according to the scriptures. Paul revered the saving gospel message and knew that Jesus Christ alone bore his sins in his body on a cold, hard cross, broken and bleeding in the presence of his enemies. Therefore, he did not shrink back from a brief, but necessary moment of disunity among the brethren. Instead, he fixed his eyes firmly on the truth of Jesus, pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him (Philippians 3:7-16).

Paul also made the point in 2 Corinthians 10:12,18, that we are not to measure ourselves by our brothers or sisters in the Lord. Other fallible men are never our standard. As Paul said, those who measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves are not wise. It is not those who commend themselves who are approved by God, but it is those whom God commends. We must never test ourselves or others by what men think or say…even men we love and respect. Instead, we must judge rightly by using the penetrating blade of the word of God as we test everything…prove everything. Men can and often do become idols, and can subtly replace the truth of God in our lives. Let us do as the Bereans and test, first ourselves, and then our brothers, with the eternal scriptures, not to criticize or wound, but to prepare each other to meet the Lord face to face. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

As Jesus noted in John 3:19, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Most of us don’t want the truth, so when our entrenched ways are tested by those who dare to love us enough to challenge us with the word of God, we fling it back in their face imploring them not to judge. Paul pointed out this problem when he rhetorically asked the Galatians if he had now become their enemy by telling them the truth (Galatians 4:16). Don’t we, as servants of the living God want truth, even the sharp, soul-piercing truth of the word of God? I pray that myself first, and then everyone else who longs for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, will speak and receive life altering biblical truths in gentleness, meekness and love.

 

EPILOGUE

God’s judgments are always right, and he has given us a sharp two-edged sword with which to rightly cut away the clever and wicked deceptions of this age from his pure and everlasting message. We MUST wield this sword in power and grace, not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect his precious little flock from the sweet sounding lies of western “Christianity” which lead down the broad and primrose path of eternal destruction. Jude tells us, in no uncertain terms, to earnestly contend for this great faith, given to us by Jesus Christ and his Father. We honor that command by growing in love, knowledge and judgment, so that we are able to approve that which is excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 1:9-10kjv). The only way we are able to mature in Christ is to eat, drink and breathe the everlasting word of God…not as taught by fallible men, but as taught by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27). May we all invest our hearts in the things of eternity as the clock of time…winds down.

 

***BONUS KJV SCRIPTURE***

 

Romans 16:17-18

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

18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

 Titus 1:13

 …Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith….

 Titus 2:15

 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

 Titus 3:10

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject….

 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

1 Timothy 4:16

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

 1 Timothy 5:20

Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

 Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the crossWherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

False Prophets and Teachers

The Written Word of God

The Bible Version Controversy: The War Over God’s Word

Ecumenism Part 1: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word, is the Only Way to God 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DR Fish

Preach the Word Boldly, and do Not be Ashamed of Jesus Christ

  PREACH THE WORD  BOLDLY AND DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF JESUS

42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

John 12:42-43

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:14

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18-24

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Romans 10:15b

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:5

Saint Francis of Assisi said something to the effect of, preach the Gospel…but rarely use words. While this may sound wise to some, it directly contradicts what the Bible commands regarding teaching and preaching. The word of God tells us to, boldly and humbly, and without fear or shame, proclaim the gospel message of Jesus Christ, for it alone is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). The unchanging Word of God always overrules anything any man has ever said – no matter how brilliant it may sound. As 1 Peter 1:24-25 says, all men are like grass and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and flowers fade…but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Every book we read, every sermon we hear, and every piece of advice we both give and receive must line up clearly and perfectly with the everlasting word of God.

Are we, perhaps, embarrassed to say the name of Jesus Christ to non-believers? Are we afraid of giving advice that is in accord with the scriptures because it may not be socially acceptable or culturally sensitive? Are we more concerned with the approval of men than the approval of the one and only God (John 5:44; 12:42-43)? As Jesus says in John 15:18-23, if we love Him and truly are His disciples, then the world will hate us. James, the brother of Jesus, tells us in very clear language that friendship with the world is hatred towards God, and that friendship with the world makes us enemies of God (James 4:4). Peter and Paul both state that if we are going to follow Christ, we are going to be persecuted severely. Paul was persecuted so intensely that at one point that he even despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

There are those who say that men can disciple others in Christ without ever talking to them about Jesus. Instead, by discussing family, work, leadership principles, and relationships, the Spirit can move to communicate Christ. There is nothing in scripture that supports this position. Instead, it appears to be more in tune with the basic philosophies and principals of this fading world as mentioned by Paul in Colossians 2:8. As Matthew 5:19-20 says, to be great in the kingdom of heaven, we must both practice and teach His commands. As I will discuss in a subsequent portion of this document, Paul makes it clear that the world cannot know about Jesus unless we proclaim him.

When Jesus is about to ascend into heaven in Matthew 28:18-20, he specifically tells his followers to go and make new disciples throughout the world – and he goes on to tell them exactly how to do it. He commands them to “teach” these disciples “to obey everything” Jesus has commanded them to do. There was nothing in that charge that states or implies that they (or we) are to avoid or slow-play the words of Jesus and build strong and trusting relationships based on mutual temporal interests and leisure before we begin to share the things of Christ. There is nothing in the final words of Jesus that say that we are to teach others to build better relationships with friends and family or instruct them how to become leaders in the business or political world. On the contrary, as previously noted, Jesus instructed his followers to teach their new disciples to obey… everything that He has taught, knowing that if they do that, everything else will fall into place.

Our job as disciples of Christ is to lift up Jesus as he is in the word, and if we obey that command then He will draw all men to Himself. While it may not make sense to our temporal minds to focus so intently on what Jesus told us to do in his final instructions to his disciples, and while it will cost us relationships and perhaps our reputations, the Holy Spirit will use our obedience to draw hearts that are truly interested in the real Jesus of the Bible to himself. By our obedience the spirit will reveal who truly wants to know Jesus Christ and the power of His death and resurrection for our sins. That will allow us to avoid expending unnecessary time and effort on those who aren’t really interested in knowing Christ, but are more interested in relationships with the wealthy, the influential, and the powerful.

John 15:26-27 is another example of Jesus specifically instructing his disciples to proclaim him. He tells them that, once they receive the Spirit, they must testify about Him, just as the Holy Spirit will testify about Him. More specifically, Jesus says: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”

I greatly admire how Paul took the commands of Jesus to heart and boldly and unashamedly proclaimed the word of truth across the known world – despite the most extreme resistance and severe suffering. In Romans 1:16-17, Paul stated that he was not ashamed of the pure Gospel of Christ because he knew it was the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, for in the Gospel of Christ, the righteousness from God that comes through faith is revealed. Paul bravely lived his post-conversion life looking not at his temporal needs and wants – but looking instead to a better country…a heavenly one… one that God has prepared for his people, for we truly are strangers and pilgrims on this earth (Hebrews 11:13-17).

Based on Paul’s words and actions, simply talking about principles of leadership, while enjoying sports and leisure time together, with a measure of Christian principals and relational dialogue mixed in, does not reveal the righteousness of the everlasting God. Instead, Paul clearly emphasizes a desperate need to actually preach the Gospel – and to be careful about our way of life, our doctrine – and even about the things of which we approve (1 Timothy 4:16, Romans 14:22b). In Romans 10:14 and 17, Paul states exactly why unbelievers need to hear the gospel. He asks, how can they (unbelievers) call on the one they haven’t believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they haven’t heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? In verse 17, he reaffirms the above by proclaiming that faith comes from hearing the message and the message comes from the word of Christ. In Titus 1:3 Paul also states that knowledge of the word is manifested through preaching.

We are all, in no uncertain terms, called to preach the word to those around us. With boldness and great humility, we are to spread the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified – in weakness, in fear, and in the confidence that comes from knowing what we are before the living God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). A powerful example of preaching Jesus, even under great stress is illustrated in Acts 8:1-4, when, even after the church was scattered due to Paul’s violent persecutions, those who were scattered went “everywhere preaching the word.” I have come to deeply appreciate the fact that Paul and the early church were never ashamed of the name of Jesus and His words. I pray that one day I may have the same boldness and Jesus-centered confidence.

While our culture has painted Jesus as a passive, social justice-seeking hippie, with long hair and sandals, Paul is not concerned at all about who men think Jesus is. He preaches what he knows for a fact – and he proclaims it without hesitation, even in the most dangerous and godless places. Paul was flogged and imprisoned multiple times, he was stoned, and was even dragged outside of a city and left for dead. But, after regaining consciousness, he got back up, and walked right back into that city where he continued preaching. He knew exactly who it was he was proclaiming– the Jesus who rescued him from the dominion of darkness, and the one who is before all things and in whom all things consist.(Colossians 1:13-20). The Jesus who did not consider equality with God something to be hold on to, but made himself nothing. The Jesus who did not retaliate when insults were hurled at him as he hung cold, naked and alone on a hard wooden cross…and the only God who has a kingdom that can never, ever be shaken.

In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus says that whoever acknowledges Him before men will also be acknowledged before His Father in heaven. This message is also contained in Luke 12:8-9. Jesus knows who He is and he wants us to know it and bravely proclaim it as well. John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:13-20, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Peter 2:23-24, Revelation 1:12-18 and Revelation 19:11-16, are all excellent scriptures which paint accurate and powerful portraits of Jesus as He was, is…and is to come. I strongly suggest learning those scriptures and teaching them to others. As Philippians 2:5-11 indicates, Jesus is God, and He stepped off his throne willingly in obedience to the Father – and for our eternal benefit. Because he did this, God the Father exalted His Name above every name, and one way or another, every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I suggest that we encourage those whose lives we touch to do that acknowledging now, rather than later when it is too late.

Psalms 91:14 has always spoken deeply to my heart about the power of acknowledging the name of God. In Psalm 91:14 David writes, “…because He loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him. I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.” This verse speaks powerfully to me as to why the Lord has so often protected me from my own foolishness – and from the lies of the world. In His mercy, and by His grace, I do love to speak His name to people I encounter – and I constantly ask Jesus to create a context where I can bring up His name naturally and peacefully. And He always does. There is no need to be obnoxious about it or to bring it up in a way that doesn’t fit the moment. For the God of peace will, if we ask Him, give us opportunities to proclaim exactly who this King of Kings and Lord of Lords is and what He has done for us. I pray that I will always have a heart to share the name of Jesus Christ. It is infinitely easier to do so in America today than it was for Paul in the violent, idol worshipping near east, in ancient times.

In Mark 3:13-14 and Mark 6:7-12, Jesus makes it clear that he called the twelve (12) apostles so that He might send them out to preach. In Acts 10:42-43, when Peter is talking to Cornelius about the Gospel and the life of Christ, he says that Jesus commanded ALL of his disciples to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed to judge the living and the dead. In Acts 5:18-20, 29, 41-42, the text states that the apostles “never stopped teaching and preaching the good news.” In Acts 3:11-26 and in Acts 4, Peter preaches the Word boldly and he is not ashamed or afraid to preach Jesus even when the Jewish leaders specifically forbade him from doing so. In Acts 9:27-29, Paul preached fearlessly, even in the face of death. In Acts 14, Paul preached boldly despite great opposition, and even after being stoned (with rocks) and left for dead. Paul constantly preached the Gospel of Jesus, and he was never ashamed and never let fear control his message despite the intensity of the violence he suffered. For he truly considered everything that was of personal benefit to him a loss for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7-14).

I believe that one of the greatest passages of scripture setting forth the differences between the ways of Jesus Christ and the ways of the world is 1 Corinthians 1:17 through 1 Corinthians 2:5. In this passage, Paul boldly proclaims that Jesus Christ sent him to preach the Gospel – but not with words of with human wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. He knew that this message was foolishness to those who were perishing, but to those who were being saved it was the very power of God. He pointed out how God uses the weak and foolish things of the world to shame the wise so that no one can boast before him. Paul also powerfully affirmed that the only thing he wanted to make certain that he communicated to the people under his charge was the core message of the gospel – that Jesus Christ was crucified for their sins (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Paul didn’t teach principles of leadership or brotherhood. As the 1 Corinthians passage referenced earlier indicates, he taught the cross of Christ – a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles – and he did it in weakness, and fear, and with much trembling so that his message would not rely on men’s wisdom but on God’s power. I believe that we are all called do the same. In Acts 20:24, Paul stated that he counted his life worth nothing, if only he might finish the race and complete the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace. In 1 Corinthians 9:16-18, Paul says, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel,” and when he does preach, he states that he does it free of charge so that he is not tempted to abuse his authority.

There are many additional passages that encourage us to proclaim the gospel boldly. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul reminds the church of the gospel that he originally delivered to them, and that in that gospel they must stand. In 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, we are told that we are Christ’s ambassadors to the world, and that God is making His appeal through us, imploring all men that He wants them reconciled to Him. In Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul asks for prayer so that whenever he opens his mouth, the gospel may be proclaimed fearlessly. In 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Paul says that we should not to be ashamed to testify about our Lord but should join with him in suffering for the Gospel. In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul says that he is suffering, yet he is not ashamed because he knows whom it is he believes. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul tells us to preach the Word and to be prepared in season and out of season to correct, encourage, and rebuke with great patience and careful instruction.

In 2 Timothy 4:10-16, Paul makes it clear that both his teaching and his way of life were consistent. His words and his actions worked together to make his message powerful. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:19-20, to be great in the kingdom of heaven we must practice AND teach his commands. In Romans 15:18, Paul says that he leads the Gentiles to obedience by both what he has said and by what he has done. Clearly, as disciples of Christ and spokesmen for the gospel, our words and our actions must be consistent and must not be based on our flesh our supposed gifts. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul made it clear that the message he was preaching had nothing to do with his natural affinities, and he wasn’t worried at all about coming across as eloquent, powerful, or wise. In fact, he knew that eloquence might actually quench the power of the message of Jesus. He simply wanted to preach Christ crucified, in weakness and in fear of the Lord, in order that the Holy Spirit might do the talking.

In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul states that we as believers are to shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life. In Colossians 1:28-29 and 2:1-3, Paul says that we proclaim Jesus, teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. This act of teaching the gospel is our labor, our vocation as followers of Jesus. Paul’s stated purpose was that, through his teaching, everyone might have the full riches of complete understanding in order that we all may truly know Jesus Christ. Paul makes it eminently clear that the commands of Jesus must be taught in order for men and women of this earth to understand the truth and to be freed from the bondage of sin.

In Colossians 4:3-5, Paul prays that God will open a door so that he may proclaim the mystery of Christ to all people, and he encourages the church in Colossae to make the most of every opportunity to share Jesus with others. In Philemon 1:6, we are instructed to be active in sharing our faith so that we will have the full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9- 10, we are told that, as chosen people we are to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.

I believe that the more we understand exactly who Jesus is and what it is he has done for us free of charge, the bolder and less ashamed we become in proclaiming Him, as He is in scripture. That is why I believe that knowing, teaching, and even memorizing John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:13-20, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Peter 1:23-24, Revelation 1:12-18, and Revelation 19:11-16, is of the utmost importance as a follower of Christ. What could be more important to a believer than having powerful and accurate portraits of our living God from his eternal word, burned into our hearts and minds? There are very few things that I would want someone whose life I am somehow touching, to know more than these passages.

EPILOGUE

Someday every knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth, will bow down to Jesus Christ and every tongue will indeed confess that he is Lord. Let us encourage those we know and love to do this confessing before death … instead of after. And let us do it boldly, and powerfully, and without fear, through the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we truly are heirs of an eternal kingdom that can never, ever be shaken.

1 Corinthians 1:17- 24

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

The Written Word of God: What do the Scriptures say about it?

True Leadership in Christ

Money and the Ministry: Teachers, Preachers and Mammon

Sousua mountain, DR

HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE LIVING GOD: Ecumenism Part 2

HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE LIVING GOD: Cowardice and Joining Together With Unbelievers

 

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?              1 Corinthians 10:20-22

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men….  2 Corinthians 5:11

 

As our time on this planet melts away, I feel a great urgency to encourage all believers, myself first, to test each and every action we undertake in the name of Jesus Christ, against the eternal word of God, lest we be deceived by the sweet-tasting lies of this world and face a God who is disappointed with us when we stand before him. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, when speaking about the judgment seat of Christ (which all believers will face), “Knowing, therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” It is my passion, stemming from my own past failures and brokenness, to persuade everyone I know who calls upon the name of the Lord, to test everything…prove everything, while there is yet time so that we will not experience terror on that day, and as John says, that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his appearing (1 John 2:28).Preach the Word Boldly and Do Not Be Ashamed

False teaching, the patterns and traditions of this wicked world and the love of money and recognition, abound in the modern church. May everyone who reads this article, test their hearts and their actions against the Holy Scriptures, and flee from that which is not clearly supported by the word of truth. False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

One of the areas that is most disturbing to me in terms of patent apostasy, is the move towards ecumenism. This grieves me deeply because the scriptures are so very clear on that topic, yet so many good men are involved in prayer groups and gatherings where Muslims, Buddhists, and Jewish friends are treated as brothers before God…allegedly all under the same heavenly Father. There is no brandishing of the sharp double-edged sword of the gospel of truth, which leads to repentance, and there is no discussion of the reality of the fires of hell for those who do not turn from sin to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Therefore…in fact…there is no concern for the eternal destiny of these “friends.” The false, short-term relationships created by such events will perish in the flames, along with those men’s souls, when this world ceases by the breath of God. Hell and the Wrath of God Almighty

As the scriptures state, without equivocation, Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word, and that blade is swinging, dividing parents from children, brothers from sisters and friends from friends.(Matthew 10:34-39; Ephesians 6:17). How much more does Jesus Christ want us to divide from those who do not even believe that he, as God and man, bore our sins in his body on the cross? He wants (and even demands) that the truth of God separate us out from the world – not to create meaningless disunity, but rather to create true unity among those who truly know and love the God of the Bible, all under the headship of the one who made us and loves us with an everlasting love.

Perhaps the most comprehensive and direct passage on the issue of separating from unbelievers is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, quoted below:

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 2 John 1:9-11, also states, in no uncertain terms, that if we invite one who does not hold to the doctrine of Christ, into our house, or wish them well, without confronting them with the gospel of Jesus, then we are actually partakers in their evil and godless deeds:

 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 If these passages and the one quoted at the top of the page from 1 Corinthians 10 are true, how can we possibly sit down at a table with unbelievers (and even more with those who openly worship a pagan and thus, demonic “god”) and fail to confront them with the death, burial and resurrection of our great Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of the world? We cannot, therefore, do not, lest you taste the anger of God when you stand before him.

 Jesus and Paul made it clear – we, as believers and children of the living God, are not to join together with unbelievers unless we are preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ to them. The context of the relevant passages is not limited to marriage, business or prayer meetings. Our God is a jealous God, and he demands that we pursue holiness, purity and righteousness by refusing to water down exactly who he is and what he did for our sin on the cross…ever. Jesus also made it abundantly clear that when we do follow him with all of our hearts, the world will indeed hate us just as they hated him (John 15:18-27). Let us embrace the fact that we are, as Peter said, strangers and pilgrims on this earth, living not for a city built by men, but for an eternal city – one built for us by the very hands of God. Heaven: Your Best Life…Later

 

EPILOGUE

If we are not experiencing pushback and rejection from the world, and even from the “believers” we know who are caught up in the most glaring heresies of today (false signs and wonders, hypergrace, the contemplative,ecumenism, prosperity/word of faith, latter rain, etc.) then perhaps we should examine our hearts to determine if we, like Paul, are truly considering everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord, and his death and resurrection for our sins (Philippians 3:7-15). We all must, without fear or shame, boldly proclaim the only message that can save souls from a rapidly approaching eternity in hell…the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. As Peter says so eloquently regarding the inevitable reproaches we will receive for the sake of Christ, “Happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you…” (1 Peter 4:13-14). For in a short time, we will receive an eternal reward, far more glorious and wonderful than anything our temporal minds could ever comprehend. May we all seek that everlasting kingdom with all of our hearts.

Heaven: Our Best Life Later

 

*** A Few Bonus Scriptures***

1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:2

For the preaching of the cross is to them the perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:18

For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. 2:2

Proverbs 9:8

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  

 Proverbs 14:12

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

 2 Corinthians 10: 12,18

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise18 For (it is) not he that commendeth himself (who) is approved, but (he) whom the Lord commendeth.

Romans 10:13-14

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

John 12:42-43 (This refers to confessing Jesus as he truly is in the scriptures, not a generic Jesus, who, as a prophet, is respected by all religions. He is God and savior…nothing else)

42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Jude 1:3

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Ecumenism: Jesus Christ, as He is in the Word, is the Only Way to God

Preach the Word Boldly and Do not be Ashamed of the Gospel

Catholicism and the Worship of Mary

Leadership in Christ: Our Responsibilities as Teachers and Hearers of the Word of God

 

 

Dorado Beach, Dominican Republic, September 2015

The Bible Version Controversy: A Brief History of The War over God’s Eternal Written Word

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6-7

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9

Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.1 Thessalonians 5:21

 

I used to dismiss the King James Version of the English Bible entirely. I thought of it as a ridiculous and outdated translation – an anachronism at best…and then I studied the history of current English Bible translations in great detail, and realized that ALL of the new versions use corrupt and purposely adulterated Greek manuscripts, which water down the eternal word of the living God…every last one of them. That Greek your pastor often refers to in church? It flows from corrupt Greek manuscripts first edited by the gnostic, self-castrating “scholar” Origen (and a student of his work, Eusebius), who believed in purgatory, universalism, that all human souls have existed from eternity past, that satan (and demons) would eventually be redeemed, and that Jesus did not actually return to earth in the flesh after his resurrection.

The manuscripts Origen prepared and/or edited in Alexandria, Egypt in the 200’s, form the two primary Greek manuscripts (Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Siniaticus) used by Westcott & Hort, Nestles & Aland and the United Bible Society to make all of the modern English Bible versions. These manuscripts were more or less hidden from view from the late 300’s until the 1400’s (1800’s in the case of Siniaticus, when it was found in a trash bin at the St. Catherine’s monastery in Egypt)…hardly making them the word of the Lord preserved from generation to generation per Psalm 12 (see above).

Then, in the 1800’s Westcott & Hort, two clergy men and open occultists, whose own letters expose their love of seances and total disregard for Eden, Heaven, the flood and the cross, made their own Greek manuscript which cleverly deleted out and added in whatever they thought they could get away with, without causing a furor. Interestingly, they expected some push back on their changes even back then…but they heard nary a peep since it was, after all, easier to read….Again, all of this information is gleaned exclusively from their own correspondence published by their children after their deaths. That is the only way we know these facts about their unbiblical beliefs, reverence for the occult and motives for changing the scriptures…and we are all reading and teaching from their Bibles.

The first English translation to flow from the Westcott & Hort Greek was the Revised Version. Their Greek manuscript (with additional changes made by the Nestles and Åland committee and the UBS) underpins EVERY single new version. It is deeply, deeply corrupt, and if you see charts with the actual edits (additions and deletions), I can assure you that you will see through this brilliant plan to weaken God’s unchanging word, and turn eternal concepts into temporal ones (the famed Jeremiah 29:11 is but one example of a spiritual promise turned into a temporal one). I, personally, was both shocked and disgusted by the numerous substantive changes to my Bible, yet… I do concede that the modern versions are a teeny bit easier to read and understand. The translators (and satan) knew all too well that this generation would take ease of reading over the sharp double-edged sword of truth any day. I did for over 25 years.

The KJV detractors, and there are many since satan despises it, attempt to denigrate the 54 scholars who jointly worked on the KJV, with their subjective and pseudo-intellectual textual criticism. Many of those men were brilliant, with sterling , easily verifiable scholarly backgrounds (I have seen all of their CV’s)…men such as Lancelot Andrews, George Abbot, John Aglionby and the head of the OT committee, Dr.John Bois, who was reading and writing in Hebrew at age 6. All of the criticism of the KJV on intellectual grounds is pseudo-academic nonsense. The KJV is hated because it stands as the preserved word of God, starting in Antioch and then spreading all over the world, only to be gathered together by the brilliant catholic-defying scholar Erasmus in the 1500’s. Luther, Wycliffe, Tyndall, Coverdale, and many more used his Greek manuscript family, and since satan couldn’t burn all of the copies…he decided to change the Bible from the inside, using proud men, far too “enlightened” to believe many of the “superstitions” of God’s word. Noted occultist/ theosophist Helena Blavatsky (a favorite of Adolph Hitler, and publisher of the periodical “Lucifer”) and her disciple Alice Bailey, have openly discussed satan’s ultimate plan to infiltrate the church from the inside. The Bible was a perfect place to start.

I understand that the language of the KJV is old fashioned at times, and most seminarians and Bible college graduates will have a dismissive attitude towards it. Why? Because the vast majority of seminaries and Bible schools are part of the ecumenical, watered-down gospel machine (even Dallas Theological Seminary is waxing emergent). Yes…satan, the father of pride, works everywhere – but especially in academia. Men love to know better than other men because they went to this school or that school and studied under this professor or that one. Satan was and is counting on the pride of men to weaken God’s word by imparting to them limited, but “scholarly” knowledge, in order to proliferate his altered Greek manuscripts and thus, his modern Bible versions. The apostle Paul specifically noted that he was not unaware of satan’s clever schemes to deceive men. 2 Corinthians 2:11.

As for the new versions having older manuscripts…that is technically true in a general sense, because the Alexandrian manuscripts were written on higher quality papyri/vellum at their well-funded gnostic schools, and because they weren’t frequently handled for over a thousand years…since almost no one took them seriously outside of Vatican City until the 1800’s. The Antioch(KJV) manuscripts from the 200’s were true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles, yet were on lower quality paper, because the  early church wasn’t wealthy – and they were sent all over the world by foot and by ship. They were also worn down due to constant usage and thus, were recopied time and time again…unlike the gnostic manuscripts, which were hardly used at all. Despite those facts, the earliest New Testament manuscript surviving today is an Antiochan Syrian translation, called the Syrian Peshitto, which dates to circa 157 AD. So…even the “oldest manuscripts” argument, often used to support the corrupt Alexandrian Greek texts, fails.

Kurt Aland, co-author of several late editions of the Nestles & Aland Greek New Testament text, and a KJV detractor, admits that early copies of Textus Receptus (TR) manuscripts  are non-existant (besides the Syrian Peshitto) because they were intentionally destroyed by Rome during the brutal Diocletian persecution(303-311 AD), and due to unfavorable weather conditions in Asia Minor and Greece. Once the Roman persecution ended, there was, naturally, an explosion of new TR manuscripts prepared by actual Bible believing christians (versus the RCC), in order to make up for all of the copies which had been burned. This explains the sudden appearance of a multitude of TR manuscripts in the late 4th Century, and beyond.

Even KJV rejecting scholars agree that well over 95% of all ancient Greek manuscripts agree with the KJV, while less than 5% agree with the new versions (the last official count I have seen was 5,210 to 45). Any claim that the new versions are superior is patently false from both a spiritual and scholarly standpoint. Yes, they are easy to read, but they have many deep heresies intended to draw mankind away from many of the simple yet profound truths of God. As Jesus said to his Father in John 17, “Thy word is truth” – but not if his eternal word has been edited by wicked and deceitful heretics.

Much is at stake for this generation of Bible believers and for the church as a whole…much is at stake.

EPILOGUE

This is by far the most divisive topic I have ever written about because we all love our modern Bibles, and cannot possibly believe that so many people have it wrong. My beloved seminary professor is wrong?? My distinguished and learned pastor?? My youth group leader?? Yes…even him – or her. It took a trusted friend about 8 months to finally shake me out of my NIV 84 stupor with hard, raw evidence. Once I took the time to review the specific changes in the actual biblical text, and study manuscript history…I was done with all of my new versions forever (A few changed passages: The removal of the compassion of Jesus four times in Matthew, Jeremiah 29:11,Mark 10:24, Luke 4:4, Luke 9:55-56, John 7:8-10{is Jesus a liar??},Acts 8:37, Galatians 5:12, Colossians 1:14, Romans 8:1,1 John 5:7, and Revelation 1: 6, 8, 11, are just a few of the hundreds of doctrinal edits***). Sadly, I discovered that my dear NIV – even the one written back in 1984 – was the worst of the lot (the Message doesn’t count because it cannot seriously be called a Bible due to multiple ridiculous and even occultic changes). It was hard to read the KJV at first…but I prayed for help from the Holy Spirit of the living God…and now I can’t live without it.

I am not one of those people who believe that one can only be saved via the KJV Bible, or that the KJV is perfectly written. I simply believe that the KJV, which does agree with over 95% of all ancient Greek manuscripts, according to the most recent studies, is the preserved word of God for this English speaking generation(The Reina Valera is an excellent TR Spanish Bible)…while the other versions are dangerously watered down. The Greek manuscript that underpins the KJV – The Textus Receptus (also known as the TR, the Received Text, the Majority Text, or the Byzantine Text) – is the only legitimate Greek, flowing from the spirit-fed spring of the early believers in Antioch in the 200’s. Do the new versions have many things right? Of course. What satan does best is weave darkness and light together, so that the two cannot be distinguished. He has done a brilliant job with the new Bible versions…yet with an open heart and mind, along with a willingness to exchange comfort and familiarity for truth, his scheme can be defeated. I challenge everyone who reads this, to study the actual textual changes for themselves, in context, ignoring ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed this scheme…for there are many, and they are often nasty. John 15:18-19 warned us that if we were of Jesus Christ, the world would hate us…and nowhere is that more evident than in the battle for God’s eternal voice to mankind. The very truth of His preserved word to this and every succeeding generation is at stake.

Revelation 22:18-19

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 

***Please remember that if you look up the changed/corrupted verses in the Greek online, chances are very high that the only Greek you can find is the Westcott & Hort/Nestles & Aland Greek, which is where the changed verses originated. Unless you check the verses in a verifiable Textus Receptus (TR) Greek (and several people who have dedicated their lives to study this issue say that there are no true TR’s online) you are using the corrupt Westcott & Hort/Nestles & Aland Greek. Even some of the supposed online TR manuscripts have been intentionally altered, as has the new supposed TR Bible, The Modern English Version (and the New King James for that matter). Now why would anyone and try trick us into reading a Bible that we thought was based on the TR but really isn’t? As Paul said in a verse I cited above, we are not unaware of satan’s devices.

 

Additional Resources:

The Trinitarian Bible Society, Dr. Edward Hills, Dr. David Otis Fuller, Dr. Mickey Carter, Dr. Hayes Minnick, Dr. William Grady, Dr. D. A. Waite, David Cloud, Dr. Sam Gipp, Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer, Dr. Al Lacy, and Dean John William Burgon(1813-1888).

The Underground Christian Network has excellent podcasts on this issue, which can be found via a search inside your Iphone or smart phone’s podcast app., and I recommend Dr. David Otis Fuller’s book Which Bible?; Chick Publications, Look What’s Missing; Dr. Stauffer’s book One Book Stands Alone; Dr. Sam Gipp’s The Answer Book; Dr. Edward Hills’ The King James Version Defended; and Dr. William Grady’s Final Authority.

Quotations Proving that Westcott & Hort Were Not Christians

NIV Chart Showing Deletions and Changes

More NIV problems

ESV deletions and changes

King James vs. New King James…which is really no King James at all

David Cloud’s www.wayoflife.org website also has helpful resources on this issue (including a well-researched downloadable book), as does D.A. Waite’s excellent scholarly book Burgon’s Warnings on Revisions of Textus Receptus and the King James Bible. The Burgon Society’s website is: www.deanburgonsociety.org. Dean Burgon’s, The Revision Revised, is a brilliant critical, and often incisive analysis of Westcott & Hort’s Greek manuscript by one of their contemporaries.

Eternal Answers Ministry has some helpful information as well: http://eternalanswersministry.blogspot.com/2009/06/textus-receptus-vs-alexandrian-codices.html; Some of the NIV’s problems are laid out on this site: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/PDF/keith-piper-serious-omissions-in-the-niv.pdf

Many KJV questions are answered at the link below, which I found the night this article was published:http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/pages/KJV/400-years-of-the-king-james-bible.htm

If you want to watch a long but thorough video on the changes in the new Bible versions, watch Gail Riplinger’s 2.5 hour, 80’s era presentation to the Prophecy Club on youtube: https://youtu.be/zpQ_W6-tb84https://youtu.be/zpQ_W6-tb84

Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer has several first-rate presentations on youtube on the NKJV and how it masquerades as a TR Bible – and on the NIV. Below is his EXCELLENT presentation on some of the NIV’s most glaring errors, especially those edited or omitted to conform to catholic doctrine: https://youtu.be/OQFtvmVHBb4

And another video from Dr. Stauffer showing NIV changes which affect  New Testament doctrine of salvation: https://youtu.be/T0o2yKJgvnA

Ecumenicism: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word is the Only Way to God

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

Catholicism and The Worship of Mary

 

 

 

 

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Favorite Scripture #6: One of The Many Reasons Why Jesus Christ is Great…And I am Not

One of my all-time favorite scriptures is 1 Peter 2:21-24, which so beautifully and powerfully captures the essence of who Jesus Christ was while he was on this earth:

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

This passage speaks to my heart about the supreme greatness of Jesus because it illustrates his perfect obedience to the Father, and his unwavering humility, even in the midst of the most horrific of suffering. As our magnificent saviour hung on a cold wooden cross, iron spikes protruding from his hands and feet, all in the presence of his gloating and triumphant enemies…he did not retaliate, speak a word in his defense, or even threaten his tormentors with what was going to happen to them at death. Instead he silently entrusted himself to the one who judges justly…his Father.

Jesus knew that in obedience to God and as an example for us, he must endure unfathomable suffering and humiliation at the hands of his most bitter enemies…and so must we…so must I.

The primary lesson I absorb from this passage is that, for me to truly be Christ-like, I must be willing to quietly endure even the pettiest of rejections I face as a follower of the biblical Jesus. Really – anything I suffer for his name is petty compared to what he went through on our behalf – yet sadly, it is difficult and even agonizing at times not to defend myself. My pride rises in my throat as I seek to defend my name, my reputation. But wasn’t Jesus of no reputation? Didn’t he allow himself to be mocked and even abused for the very same sin that rises in my wicked heart as I speak his truth?? As Paul said so eloquently: oh what a wretched man am I!  Who will rescue me from this body of death? …

…Jesus Christ…He alone bore my sin in his body on the cross so that I might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his wounds I have been healed. I believe Lord and I am so thankful for who you are and what you did. I forgive those who have hurt me…help perfect that forgiveness in my heart just as you forgave me while I was yet a sinner. Do not let my love grow cold but help me to fix my eyes on you as you truly are in your word, as I speak your scriptural truths in love and as I run this race with endurance, hand in hand with you, my saviour and my Lord….

Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective on the Purpose of Life

The Written Word of God: What Did Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles Say About the Written Word of God?

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

chapel

AUTHORITY: Whose Authority Should A Believer Be Under?

                           

                 Authority: Whose Authority Should A Believer Be Under?

There is a strong movement amongst church and Para-church leaders to push professing Christians under the umbrella of a group or a “leader.” I believe that the scriptures do, with great clarity, point to submission to government entities as long as they are affirming values that are objectively good and are punishing evil. (Romans 13:1-7). We are also exhorted to submit to our brethren in accordance with the biblical model given to us by Jesus, Paul and Peter. Christ centered leadership does not lord authority over others, as Jesus Christ himself showed us by serving the sick and the poor and by washing his disciples’ feet even as he was about to be brutally executed by his enemies.

Many of the well-known Christian leaders of our day reject any type of scriptural examination of their teachings, claiming that, as David spoke of Saul, so we are not to touch (or question) God’s” anointed.” Fortunately, we have the great apostle Paul as an example of how a leader is supposed to respond to a flock that tests his teachings. In Acts 17:10-12, it is clear that the Berean church was highly esteemed…because they tested EVERYTHING Paul taught them with the scriptures. They were not rebuked or rejected by Paul for daring to test his teachings. Instead they were considered to be more noble than other churches for examining his words, and have been recorded forever in the canon of scripture for that very act. May we find leaders who feel the same way about honest men testing their teaching in the refining furnace that is the word of God.

It is a very good (and sadly, a very rare) thing to have mature and honorable people in our lives who truly believe and understand the word of God. I am a firm believer that when the Lord brings us such people, they should feel the freedom to use God-breathed scripture to correct, train, teach and even rebuke us…getting us back on the straight path to Jesus Christ. The word of God should always be our final authority, as it was for the noble Bereans, for it will endure long after this earth and it’s inhabitants burn away. (1 Peter 1:23-24).

I personally long to know men and women of honor and truth with whom I can share this journey to Jesus Christ…believers who have put aside the deceptive lies of this world: wealth, status, sex, power, constant recreation, and instead joyfully subject themselves to the only one who judges righteously…Jesus Christ. But as noted above, such believers are few and far between as the wickedness of this world flows like an open sewer into the body, destroying the hearts and minds of even the most sincere followers of Christ.

Below are several scriptures that set forth the biblical model of authority, warning us that we should be cautious when submitting to fallible men, and reminding us that Jesus alone is our final authority. The scriptures also illustrate that biblical authority should not look like temporal authority. Instead it should look … like Jesus. I encourage those who read this to do so with a Bible in hand. This is far from an exhaustive study, but it does attempt to capture the primary theme of the verses that address this issue.

Matthew 23:8-12

In this passage, Jesus instructed a large crowd that they should not call anyone teacher or master, for Jesus Christ alone is our master. He also warned them that they (and we) are not to call anyone father other than our Father God in heaven. Instead, whoever is greatest among us must be our servant and whoever exalts himself will be humbled. In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus also emphasizes the fact that those in authority through Christ should be a servant, just as Jesus Christ came to serve mankind and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Luke 16:15

In this passage Jesus points out that what is highly esteemed by men is detestable in the sight of God.

Nowhere is the above statement truer today than in the church, where both leaders and laymen are enamored with the wealthy “Christian” businessman or the “Christian” celebrity athlete. Often authority and respect are erroneously given to a wealthy businessman not because their hearts and character have been tested with the refining fire of scripture, but because character is simply assumed because they have had temporal success. In my experience I have seen church leaders ignore the fact that many of these men have stepped on the necks of business partners – even ones who were struggling financially – to gain more power and wealth for themselves. Also, the fact that many of these men have often ignored or left behind wives and children as they built an empire for themselves that will soon burn away (Revelation 18:10-19), is forgotten, because in today’s church, cash and outward appearances are almost always king. Paul and Jesus, however, cared nothing for material wealth and had no place to rest their heads as they traveled from city to city on foot, in order to love and serve the poor with integrity. (See Paul’s thoughts on all things temporal: Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective On This Short Life (Philippians 3:7-14)) Are those in power in our spheres truly caring for the weak and powerless on a consistent basis as Jesus and Paul did? Not likely, because as much as it is talked about in our sanctuaries, it is rarely a significant item on the schedules of the men leading our churches since there is much fund raising and book writing to do.

John 2:24-25

Jesus did not entrust himself to men for he knew what was in men.

While Jesus was God, and was fully submitted to the Father while on earth, this statement by John makes it clear that we should be very cautious when trusting ourselves to others, just as Jesus was. Perhaps that is why Jesus, in John 14:26 (and 1 John 2:27) told us that the Holy Spirit, not rabbis or pastors, would teach us all things. We must all simply take the time to study the word of God ourselves, with the help of the spirit, and not delegate that duty to any man.

1 Corinthians 4:6

Do not think of man above that which is written.

This is an excellent verse, making it clear that Paul does not want any man to place him or any other elder above the scriptures. The word of God alone is our final authority, not man.

1 Corinthians 4:6

The head of every man is Christ

This unambiguous statement by Paul makes it clear that in Christ, men do not rule over men. Jesus Christ is our Lord and it is to him alone that we must give an accounting for our lives. Thus, we should get to know what is important to him straight from the fountain…avoiding the middleman where the fountain often becomes polluted.

2 Corinthians 1:24

In this verse Paul makes states that he did not want to have dominion over anyone else’s faith. He simply wanted to be a helper…a servant to his flock because each one of them, and each one of us, stand and fall based on our own faith.

In 2 Corinthians 11 and in Galatians 1, we also see that in both Corinth and Galatia, the people in the churches were easily submitting themselves to a different gospel and a different Jesus than the one Paul preached. Why? It was undoubtedly because they, unlike the Bereans, did not test what they heard from their leaders with the word of God. Even Jesus Christ himself used the word of God when he battled Satan in the desert after starving for 40 days. He could have easily come up with his own memorable and powerful phrase with which to hammer Satan. But Jesus Christ himself chose to use the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God in reminding Satan that, “It is written….” With those words, Satan fled.

Jesus and Paul both warned us, and Paul with tears, that we must be on guard, for many false prophets and teachers will arise from inside the church. These greedy and power hungry men lord their authority over the flock, and as Peter said, turn us into merchandise…a means to comfort, wealth, power and fame. I believe we can all say that we have seen far too much of that type of leadership in the body…some subtle and some not so subtle.

In Galatians 2, Paul also makes it clear how he feels about challenging authority if he believes that false practices or teachings are taking place. He did not mind challenging even the great apostle Peter – and in front of other believers. Peter was leading the church back into legalistic practices, some of which Peter himself ignored when it suited him. So Paul called him out in a very clear and direct manner, not demeaning Peter but calling the sin that was taking place sin, with no attempt to prop him up or protect him from what he had to face. Paul’s only desire was to honor and glorify God by making it known publicly that Peter’s actions were wrong and were infecting the body.

Neither Jesus nor Paul was a respecter of persons. They loved people but did not idolize them or place them on a pedestal. The scriptures are clear: only Jesus should be worshipped and treated as above criticism. Yet somehow today, some in the church feel that we should cover or down play the sins and false teachings of our leaders because it will hurt the body if they are exposed. Quite the opposite is true. There is nothing…nothing more beautiful than a good, strong leader in Christ owning up to his failures and being an example of humility and teachability to the brethren. That…is true power through the spirit of Jesus Christ.

It is also clear that Paul did not believe that he had to run every decision he made by other men. When he received his calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he stated that he did not confer with flesh and blood before undertaking that commission. (Galatians 1:16). He, like Jesus, did not need to be told by fallible men what he knew the spirit was calling him to do. Is it wise to run important decisions by men we trust, who know the word and use it as their lamppost? Yes. But if there are no such men available, we are able to trust the word of God and the mighty Holy Spirit within us to lead us into all truth. (John 14:26, and 1 John 2:27).

Ephesians 5:21

Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of the Lord.

Again, Paul makes the point that in Christ, we who are growing towards maturity are not supposed to lord authority over each other. Instead we should mutually submit to the biblical wisdom and insight that our brothers and sisters have for us through knowing and fearing God. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ,” meaning follow him to the extent that what he is doing is truly following Jesus. We do not have to blindly submit to the worldly advice and insights given to us by our friends and fellow believers, for each one of us are ultimately accountable to the only one who judges justly.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

Paul states that he and his brothers put their faith, not in men, but in the gospel, seeking to please God who tries their hearts.

I love that Paul emphasizes throughout his letters, that we must remain aware, at all times, that it is ultimately Jesus Christ to whom we are accountable. We must constantly live in a state of godly fear and awareness of his mercy, power and majesty as we remain in him, bearing fruit to the glory of the Father.

1 Timothy 2:5

There is only one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

This is another scripture that states clearly and directly that we, as believers, are beholden to no man, but are instead personally responsible for our own faith and must communicate our sin, our troubles and our thanksgiving to Jesus Christ himself.

Similarly, Hebrews 4:15-16, reminds us that we have a high priest in the heavens who can relate to our infirmities since he himself was a man. Therefore, we can approach his throne of grace with boldness so that we may obtain mercy from him directly in our time of need.   Notice how there is no mention of going first to a pastor or brother. We all may, due to the sacrifice of Jesus’s body on the cross, approach him directly and with great confidence. Furthermore, Hebrews 12:1-3, tells us, eloquently and with great spiritual power, that we are to fix our eyes not on man…but on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith who, for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. It is the Jesus of the Bible that we must focus or minds, our hearts and our eyes on, not man.

2 Timothy 2:15-17

In this passage Paul reminds Timothy that he has known the Holy Scriptures since he was a child, and that those scriptures are able to make him wise unto salvation. Paul goes on to tell him that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness so that he – and we – might be fully equipped for good works.

The lesson here is that, if I am to mutually submit to another for instruction, correction and reproof, those admonishments must come from the scriptures…and not from the mind and heart of a man.

Hebrews 13:17

In this passage, Paul tells us to obey those that have “rule” over us for they are accountable to God for our “souls.”

Based on how the words “ruler” and “soul” are used in both this passage and in Romans 13:1-7, and based on what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 23:8-12(discussed above), it appears that this passage is addressing temporal rather than spiritual authority. Regardless, the Berean church established with great certainty that examining those who posses the gift of leadership with the word is a noble thing.

1 Peter 5:1-3

Peter instructs the elders to feed the flock of believers rather than to lord authority over them. He also encouraged them to be good examples to the younger brothers and sisters.

1 John 2:20,27

We all have the anointing from God and “know all things,” so we “need not that any man teach” us since the anointing from God will teach us instead. These verses are similar to Jesus’ statements in Matthew 23:8-12 and John 14:26, which are discussed earlier in this writing.

1 John 2:20 and 27 directly address two key issues as they relate to authority in the church today. First, they establish, with certainty, that there are no longer any specially anointed men who are not subject to a careful examination with scripture. While we all have different gifts and we can learn from each other…everyone who is truly in Christ is personally anointed by God. Secondly, these verses remind each of us NOT to delegate our responsibility to learn about Jesus Christ to an authority figure. We all are to seek God ourselves while he may yet be found and we must test everything we hear from men with the word, lest we be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14).

There are many men and women today who are desperately trying to obtain power and wealth by declaring themselves (or by having their cohorts declare them) apostles and prophets of Christ. They expect all believers to get in line under their self appointed headship and to obey everything they teach, including many so-called revelations, which often contradict scripture directly. One of the best examples of the obvious false teachings of both the Dominionists/NAR and Bethel, is their false eschatology, which is the exact opposite of the clear teachings of Daniel and Revelation. In Revelation 13:7 and in Daniel 7:21, 7:24, 8:24, and 11:33, it is clear that believers are NOT going to retake the world to usher in Christ’s return. Instead, the saints will be defeated by the antichrist, and Jesus will take his revenge in his time and in his way. It is not about us and our fleshly desire to reign. It is about Jesus Christ and his perfect plan, which takes place in his perfect timing.

There truly is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ, our wonderful and precious high priest who gave his body and his blood for us…cold and naked on a hard wooden cross. This great and wonderful God has given us the gift of his Holy Sprit, which will indeed teach us all things as we seek him with all of our hearts. (John 14:26). We must reject the worship of proud, charismatic men and must instead invest our hearts in the one thing that we know is true…the unchanging, everlasting word of God. Then we will be able to understand God’s perfect love and his will for our lives.

EPILOGUE

If we do find faithful believers who are truly following the model of a Jesus centered life, as illustrated by the apostles, by all means follow them as they follow Christ. But…know the word for yourself so that you, like the Bereans, are equipped to test everything, and do not fall for clever sounding phrases and thoughts sprinkled with the name of Jesus and other Christian language. Submit to committed followers of Christ as they teach you God’s eternal word…but understand this: all men will fade away and die, like grass in the hot sun (1 Peter 24-25), but the word of God endures forever. When we stand before God at the end of days, with everything laid bare before him, he will ask us if we truly loved him with all of our hearts, and if we did, why didn’t we take the time to test the things we were taught and practiced with the scriptures since many courageous men were burned at the stake so that we could have it by our beds and on our electronic devices. I hope that we are all able to tell Jesus, with great boldness, that we did love him and that we were not fooled by the call from proud and deceitful men to listen to their interpretation of the Bible and ignore our own, through the Holy Spirit. Seek the Lord in truth and with great earnestness while he may yet be found. Time is short my brothers and sisters. Make the most of it while there is still daylight….

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

The Written Word: What Did Jesus, The Apostles, and the Psalmists say about the Eternal Written word of God?

Teachers, Preachers and Mammon: Money and the Ministry

Leadership In Christ: Responsibilities of Teachers, Leaders and Hearers of the word

Sousua family pic

LIMITED ATONEMENT: Does Everyone Have an Opportunity to Be Saved?

                        Limited Atonement: Does Everyone Have an Opportunity to Be Saved?

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.  Proverbs 11:30

 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…. John 1:12

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  John 3:36

To him(Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.  Acts 10:43

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

For Christ is the end of the law for righteous to every one that believeth. Romans 10:4

…God our Saviour…will have all men to be saved , and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all…. 1 Timothy 2:3-6

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.  James 5:20

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.  John 12: 32-33

 

   The idea that God, before time began, preselected certain unborn people to be destined for salvation, while certain other people were pre-designated for hell, with no opportunity to believe and repent, is clearly and outrageously false – and fails when tested in the refining fire that is the word of God. We are to look to the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) for guidance on all issues, and the full counsel of God, as found in the eternal scriptures, obliterates the idea of limited atonement, along with several of the other pillars of Calvinism. However, for the purposes of this writing, I will focus on the error of limited atonement because it is a critical concept for believers since, if it is true, the Christian life of evangelizing, being a living example of Christ, and making disciples, has no value in terms of saving others from the flames…and both the piercing gospel of Jesus Christ (which is the power of God unto salvation, per Romans 1:16) and prayers for the salvation of others…are rendered meaningless.

From the dawn of time, men and women have had free will. In the garden, Adam and Eve had the choice to either obey God, or to listen to the deliciously wicked voice of the serpent. God did not make or want mindless robots, but instead, He has intentionally given each of us freedom – which is best illustrated by the opportunity we all have to choose life or death, good or evil (see, Joshua 24:14-15). More often than not, we have chosen evil. But the idea that we are all preordained to go to heaven or hell, without a volitional element, makes the life and brutal death of Jesus, as well as the commands of Jesus and the apostles, moot, a waste, a sham, a fraud, and an unfathomable cruelty perpetrated by a God who in reality has an unsearchable love for each and every one of His beloved children. We are far more than robots living an essentially meaningless, preprogrammed life. We are men and women who have received the gift of free will from the one and only God, and he wants us to use that will to seek him with all of our hearts. The evidence of his love and mercy…is everywhere.

My primary problem with Calvinism and all other structures and belief systems superimposed on the Bible, such as hyperdispensationalism, and pre/post-tribulation rapture, is that we tend to force every other scripture we find into the mold of those manmade phrases, even if there are 20, 40 or even 100 scriptures that seem to contradict the 3 or 4 verses that support our belief. We tend to cling to our position as an idol, rather than seeking the “whole counsel” of God on a subject. Why? Because we learned it from a trusted youth leader, a long-time pastor or from a wise seminary professor. Instead of trusting men, who will fade away like grass (1 Peter 1:24-25), we must take the eternal word of God, as a whole, gathering all of the verses on a topic we seek to understand, so that we can study every single word Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, et. al. said regarding that issue. That is the ONLY way to truly understand the things of God. We must all rely less on the teaching of men, no matter how much we love and respect them, and rely more and more on God’s everlasting word. As John 14:26 and 1 John 2:27 say, the Holy Spirit will teach us all things.

My hope is that we will all obey the Apostle Paul’s command in 2 Corinthians 10:5, and cast down every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We must tear down the manmade paradigms that we place on the unchanging word of God, no matter the cost, and instead search the scriptures diligently and in full, for ourselves, just as the Bereans did and were commended for it (Acts 17:11).

Below are an abundance of scriptures, most of which are self-explanatory, which establish the fact that every single person born on this earth has a chance to be saved. While I will never understand the thoughts and intents of the heart of God, or fully comprehend His foreknowledge (and Paul’s statements on predestination), I do believe that Jesus has made it more than clear to all of us who truly seek Him in His word, that no one, pre-birth is designated for hell at the whim of God, and that everyone has an opportunity to recognize and choose the only one who can save us.

Psalm 19:1-4 In this passage, David states that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord and the earth shows His handiwork. Day after day they pour forth both knowledge and night after night they pour forth speech. There is no language where their voice isn’t heard. Their words have gone out to the end of the world.

Psalm 97:6 The heavens declare His righteousness and all of the people see His glory.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest….

Anyone who is weary and burdened is invited by Jesus to come to Him for rest.

Matthew 18:14 When Jesus is talking about children, He specifically states that it is not His Father’s will that even one of these should perish.   Since Jesus was only minimally concerned about the temporal, I believe that it is clear that He is sharing about His and the Father’s hope that every single one of the children on earth will find Him.

Luke 2:9-11 When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds to announce Christ’s birth, he told them that he was bringing tidings of great joy which will be “to all people.”

Luke 3:6 All flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Luke 13:34 Jesus laments over the fact that He so desperately longed to gather all of His people to Himself – but they refused to come. They willingly rejected the one who made them and was calling them home.

John 1:1-12 In this passage, which I believe is one of the greatest in all of the Bible because it establishes exactly who Jesus was before time began, who He was when He was on earth, and who He is now, the Apostle John states with great clarity that: Jesus “was the light of men.” Jesus was not the light of some men, He was not the light for certain chosen men, He was the light of all men. John then goes on to state that John the Baptist came as a witness to Jesus so that through Him all men might believe. Again it was Jesus’ hope that every single person on this earth would believe in God, not just some men, not just preselected men, but all men. In verse 12, John also specifically said that anyone who receives Jesus, to him he will give the power to become a son of God. Clearly, John is emphasizing the fact that there is a strong volitional element to salvation. Anyone who receives Jesus Christ can become a child of God.

John 3:16-21 In this well-known passage, Jesus restates the point made by John in chapter 1 noted above, by stating that anyone who believes in the name of Jesus will not perish but will have everlasting life. Verse 17 goes on to state that God sent Jesus into this world not to condemn it but to save it. He did not come to save a few preselected people who were already marked for salvation. Why would Jesus come and die a brutal, torturous death to save people who were already saved? Why would Jesus and Paul tell us to preach the word of God, to make disciples, and to contend for the faith if it was already predetermined who would and wouldn’t be saved?    In the rest of this passage, we learn, from the mouth of Jesus Christ, the author of our salvation, that we all have a choice…darkness or light, good or evil. (See also, John 3:36, which is just as strong on this topic. It is quoted in the heading).

John 5:22-24 Jesus states that all judgment has been committed to Him by the Father, and it is the Father’s hope that all men would honor the Son. Jesus then goes on to state that whoever hears His words and believes that He was sent from the Father, has eternal life.   Again, there are no limitations placed by Jesus or the Father on who can hear and believe in Jesus Christ and Jesus specifically states that it is His Father’s actual hope that everyone would honor Jesus Christ. The only person who seems to place limitations on who can hear the word of God and be saved is John Calvin.

John 5:39-40 Jesus tells His fellow Jews that they search the scriptures daily, but do not choose to come to Him, the very one whom the scriptures point to, so that they might have eternal life. Jesus is pointing out the fact that having eternal life does not involve academic exercises…but it does involve willingly coming to Jesus Christ.

John 6:45-47 Jesus again states that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life, not just a preselected few.

John 12:32 Jesus says that, if He is lifted up from the earth He will draw all men to Himself.

Many men will ignore Him, but He says with unmistakable certainty, that He will draw ALL men to Himself.

Acts 7:51 When Steven, “full of faith and power” is explaining the prophesies of Jesus from the Old Testament to the Jewish council, he informs them that, just like their fathers, they resist the Holy Ghost.   Steven would not need to waste his time preaching this message to the Jews if it were predetermined who would and wouldn’t be saved. He also makes it very clear that their forefathers chose to resist the Holy Spirit. In both Deuteronomy 30:19-20 and Joshua 24:15, God commands His people to choose…this day life or death, blessings or curses…so even in Old Testament days, God gave men the choice as to whether or not they would follow Him. Most of them, sadly(like us today), chose the golden calf or Ashtoreth poles over the Living God. We all have the ability to resist or accept the unchanging truth of our great God. He speaks to our hearts through His eternal word and through the glory and beauty of creation, so that all of us are without excuse. See, Psalm 19 and Romans 1:19-20.

Acts 10:34-44 When Peter was sharing the gospel with Cornelius, he stated that God is not a respecter of persons, and that every nation that feareth Him and works righteousness, is accepted by Him. In verse 43, Peter teaches that through God’s name, whoever believes in Jesus shall receive the remission of sins. We also see throughout Acts and the epistles that Peter, Paul and many other Apostles spend their lives relentlessly preaching the gospel throughout the world knowing that all men everywhere have an opportunity to hear the truth of Jesus Christ and be saved.

*****Acts 17:24-31 In this powerful passage, when Paul is preaching to the philosophers at Athens on Mars Hill, he lays out, in very clear terms, the fact that God, who made everything, created each person at a specific time and in a specific place that “they should seek the Lord and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” So even the godless Greek philosophers were placed on earth at a specific time and in a specific place, so that perhaps they too might seek God, find Him an be saved. This is true for every person ever created says Paul.

Romans 1:16 This verse is self explanatory. The power of the God unto salvation is NOT predestination. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ransoms men from the flames of hell:  16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The great passage on Grace in Ephesians 2:8-9, also makes it clear that we are saved by “grace through faith,” not by “grace through predestination.”

Romans 1:19-23 Paul essentially restates what David said in Psalm 19, that all men are without an excuse when it comes to knowing God because God has revealed Himself to everyone from the dawn of time, through the glory and power of creation. Yet men choose to ignore what God has placed right in front of their five senses, and instead choose to degrade each other and embrace the darkest of sins.

Romans 5:18 Just as judgment came upon all men by Adam’s sin, so by the righteousness of Jesus, the free gift of justification unto life came to all men.

***Romans 8:29 In this verse. Paul defines predestination as “foreknowledge,” just as Peter defines the “elect” as those God foreknew, in 1 Peter 1:2. The point is, that God did not preselect men to go to heaven or hell, but he, in his omniscience, “foreknew” who would choose to believe on his name, and those who would reject him. See below:

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ….” 1 Peter 1:2

 Romans 8:32 Paul states that God the Father delivered His Son to death “for us all.”

Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone that believes.

Romans 10:13-17 Paul then teaches us, without any limiting language, that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (See also, Joel 2:32) Paul then goes on to implore the Roman church to preach the gospel, since the only way that people can believe in Jesus is by hearing the word of God. He states, “How shall they believe in him of whom they haven’t heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans10:14).

***Paul does NOT say that people believe in Jesus Christ because they are part of the “elect.” He makes it clear that people will not, and cannot believe unless we preach, and they hear…the word of the living God.

In summary, Paul is telling us in Romans 10, in clear and powerful language, that salvation wasn’t accomplished at the pre-creation whim of God, but instead Paul exhorts us to go out into the world and preach the gospel in order to give more people an opportunity to hear the name of Jesus Christ…and perhaps be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 Christ died for all, thus if any man be in Christ he is a new creature and all things become new.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 Those are damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.   Who is damned? Those who choose not to believe.

1 Timothy 3:6-7 God’s wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, for He gave Himself as a ransom for all.

 1 Timothy 4:10  We labor and suffer reproach because we trust God, who is the savior of all men.

1 Timothy 4:16 We must be careful how we live and with our doctrine for in doing so we shall save both ourselves and our hearers.   Clearly, our words and actions may have a bearing on who is and isn’t saved.

Hebrews 2:9 Jesus, was made a little lower than the angels and was crowned with glory and honor so that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.

James 5:19-20 James tells us that many of our sins will be covered if we, through the truth, convert a sinner from the error of his ways, saving him from death. Jude 1:22-23 also emphasizes that by our actions, as followers of Christ, men can be pulled from the fires of hell.

1 Peter 1:5-9 After describing several virtues that come with maturity in Christ, Peter tells his readers to be diligent in acting in accordance with those virtues in order to make their calling and election sure, and to protect themselves from falling away.

2 Peter 2:9 God is long suffering toward us and is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

1 John 2:2 Jesus is the propitiation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus Christ, the one who was with God in the beginning and through whom all things were made; the one in whom is life and that life is the light of men; the one who gave us grace and truth; the one who bore our sins in His body on the tree; the one whose head and hair are white like wool as white as snow and whose eyes are like blazing fire; The one who holds the keys of death and hell; the one who someday will appear in an open sky, riding on a white horse wearing a robe dipped in blood with a name written on Him which no one knows but He Himself; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and the author of such a great salvation, makes it clear, through His own words and the words of His Apostles, that He wants every single person born on this planet to be saved from the flames of hell. Why would He waste so much time teaching the jews about the dangers of hell if it was already predetermined who would and wouldn’t go there? Why would he give us the great commission or have us pray for the salvation of others, if everything was already set in stone? Why would he have allowed his son to be brutalized and murdered if we are all simply preprogrammed, predestined robots?

Because of His surpassing love, He gives all people everywhere an opportunity to repent and turn to Him. However the road is narrow…and few find it. Let us all seek the kingdom of God through His everlasting word, unpolluted by the doctrines of demons and men, and let us joyfully share it with others who might also choose His glorious free gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.

EPILOGUE

I strongly recommend that each one of us ask God to tear down ANY man-made belief system, which we have placed on His glorious word, no matter who taught it to us. Jesus promises us in John 14:26 (and John says essentially the same thing in 1 John 2:27), that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, so I humbly suggest that we pick up our Bibles, and ask the Spirit to destroy any preconceived notions we have about anything related to God…and then simply read.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.   Revelation 3:20

All 5 Points of Calvinism Refuted

 

ECUMENICISM: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word, Is the Only Way to God

Grace, Obedience and Salvation: The Narrow Road

The Written Word: What Did Jesus, The Apostles, and the Psalmists say about the Eternal Written word of God?

Favorite Scriptures #4: God Chose the Weak and Foolish Things of the World (1 Corinthians 1:17-25)

Leadership In Christ: Responsibilities of Teachers, Leaders and Hearers of the word