The Apple Of God's Eye

July 8, 2011

Do You Ignore God The Father?

hoax-slayer.com

What are the two most universal errors in the proclaiming of the “Gospel” by the various sects and denominations of traditional Christianity today?

1) They ignore God the Father

2) They proclaim a false gospel—in which God the Father is mostly ignored. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that Jesus Christ, as God’s Messenger, brought. In other words, the message GOD THE FATHER sent to mankind by His Son and Messenger (Malachi 3:1) to mankind.

Jesus said plainly, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father . . . for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (John 8:38, 42). Again, Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works” (John 14:10).

In the first sermon Peter spoke to gentiles, he said, “The word [Gospel] which God sent. . . preaching peace by Jesus Christ. . .” (Acts 10:36).

What has been proclaimed? MAN’S “gospel” about the Person of the Messenger, but omitting His MESSAGE, which came from God the Father.

Now how else do they ignore God the Father?

They preach Christ—but Him only. (more…)

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June 5, 2011

So You Think You’re Safe Under God’s Grace?

toourgod.web.officelive.com

The chances are that you, if you believe you are a Christian, are today on mighty dangerous ground!

You’d better STOP—and check up!

Open your Bible! Take a look at the real Christians back in the days of Peter, John and Paul—and compare! Take a look at the power in the original true Church—in the lives of those Christians. See how your life stacks up!

. . . But are you sure?

You think you are under God’s grace? Safe and secure for all eternity? Well, listen! “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he FALL”! So warns God’s Word (I Cor. 10:12). It’s time to realize you are going to be finally judged by the very word of God. You need to see to what standard you must measure up.

Jesus told His disciples, just before He ascended to heaven, that they should receive power when they were converted.

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,” (Acts 1:8).

Do you have that same POWER today? Did you ever study closely to see what that power is? Have you ever been concerned about how you may receive it?

Have you ever checked to see whether you need it? It’s time you did, for without it you are not truly Christ’s! (more…)

May 1, 2011

Should A True Christian Admit Jehovah’s Witnesses?

apologetics315.blogspot.com

When the so-called “Jehovah Witnesses” come to the door of the true Christian, would it be discourteous not to admit them? How does God look at it?

God says “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8).

What does God Command?

“For many deceivers (including “Jehovah Witnesses”) are entered into the world … Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not (obeys not) in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God … If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (of Christ, and of God’s true Church), receive him not into, neither bid him God-speed: for he that biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (II John 7-11)

These “Jehovah Witnesses” DO NOT OBEY GOD! They argue against God’s Commandments, and especially against the Sabbath. They will argue Scripture, in a spirit of contention, which your Bible forbids. “Jehovah Witnesses” especially will argue against God’s Law. They transgress God’s Law, and don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ. Therefore their deeds are evil. God says the true Christian also, is partaker with them of their evil deeds if he receives them into his home.

Should you, then, be discourteous or un-Christian? Of course not. When these people come to your door, just smile and tell them politely, but firmly, you are not interested — you do not discuss religion – and be closing your door as you say it, and be sure you do close it as soon as you have said merely that short sentence. Do not give them any chance to talk back, or continue the conversation, or get into an argument.

You can’t change them! You can’t talk them into the truth! If you already know the truth, they cannot deceive you with false teachings, or talk you into anything. Any further conversation with them are idle words.

April 6, 2011

What Is A Christian’s Business?

time-warp-wife.blogspot.com

When Christ was 12 years old He asked His parents after they had been searching for Him for three days, ” How is it that ye sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

What was that business and why did no one else grasp the deep meaning of this sentence? Even today, the world is unaware of the living, resurrected Christ’s preoccupation and concern for His Father’s business.

Christ came to do His Father’s work, and true Christians must know what this means and how they can be involved in their Father’s business – their real livelihood. Here is the biblical meaning of what Christ meant:

“My meat (food or substance) is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34)

God’s work is of primary importance to Him. True Christians today are to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33). They are called not just for salvation, but to support the work of God, which Christ died for.

This is no small incidental or half-hearted matter to God, as He states in John 5:17: “My Father works hitherto, and I work.” If we are to follow Christ, we have to work also because God works through human instruments. That means supporting the true body of Christ in prayers, study, meditation and financial means.

Those who argue this concept fail to understand  God’s government because their hearts are not in His work. They resort to selfish arguments to back up inconsequential and spiritually lacking efforts. They look only to their own interests, exhibiting few fruits in their life to enable spiritual growth. God says:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:21).

If Christ lives in the true Christian (Phil. 2:5), then whatever Christ is excited about, the Christian will also want to be doing. This requires the power of the Holy Spirit, without which we can do nothing (John 5:30).

February 3, 2011

Is Belief The Only Requirement For Salvation?

faithinterface.com.au

The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty. If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3). This means belief alone is not enough to know Jesus Christ. We actually have to live by the law of God.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). Christians always say they have God’s love, but this scripture tells us that it is impossible to have God’s love without keeping His law.

Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32). How can anyone say they are a Christian by ignoring this plain teaching?

Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26). This is the end result of lawlessness – life outside the boundary of God’s law.

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good!

The word of God is plain! Will you believe it?

 

Source: The Good News, April 1985

January 11, 2010

Can Christians Be Saved Without Obeying God's Commandments?

The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Many believe this verse says we don’t have to obey God’s commandments, but that we can still be saved just as long as we believe. Is this right? Not if you understand your Bible!

What do you mean by believe? The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty.

If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

This is about as strong as a verse can get in the Bible. It is also abundantly clear and straightforward. Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

  • “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
  • “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3).
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3).
  • Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32).
  • “Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good! Will you believe Him?

August 31, 2009

Was Jesus Striving To “Save Souls” While On Earth The First Time?

Was Jesus striving to “save souls” while on Earth the first time?  Let’s notice just a few verses that show Christ was not trying to save every soul He could find. Matthew 5:1: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.” Christ had a tremendous opportunity to preach His message before the multitudes. But notice, instead of speaking before them, He went up into the mountains so He could teach just His disciples.

Despite this, Christ did attract great crowds, mainly due to the miracles He performed. But even when He did attract great crowds, He spoke in parables. Not so the multitudes could understand—but that they would not understand! “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matt. 13:10-11).

Can you imagine Christ intentionally allowing Himself to be misunderstood if He was only concerned about saving as many people as possible? Not once in the teachings of Jesus do we ever find Him pleading with or begging individuals to be saved! Why not? Because Jesus knew, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him …” (John 6:44). If Christ had been coming to save the world, that is precisely what He would have done.

So why exactly did He come? Jesus came with a message to proclaim—that of the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14).

Is Keeping The Sabbath A Ritualistic Law?

riovidafoundation.wordpress.com

riovidafoundation.wordpress.com

Is the Sabbath a ritualistic law?

The short answer: no! It is one of the basic Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5). When a young man asked Jesus how he could enter into eternal life, Jesus replied: “Keep the commandments.” Jesus then proceeded to quote several of the commandments of the decalogue to show which law He meant (see Matt. 19:16-19).

Second: Since the Sabbath is one of those decalogue commandments, the breaking of which is sin (I John 3:4), a person who has knowledge of the true Sabbath must observe it to avoid sinning.

Third: Jesus Himself talked about the liberty of the gospel. He said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Not understanding what Jesus meant, the Pharisees retorted that they “were never in bondage to any man” (verse 33). So “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin [transgression of the law] is the servant of sin” (verse 34).

Some of the Pharisees were indeed in bondage to sin. And anyone who knowingly breaks God’s Sabbath is committing a sin and is, therefore, in spiritual bondage. James said: “… To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Fourth: It is fulfilling God’s law of love to keep the Sabbath. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments [including the Sabbath] are not grievous” (I John 5:3). Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Further: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me …” (verse 21).

In summary, keeping the Sabbath is one of the four basic ways in which we love God. It is an unchanging moral law — not a ritualistic law.

August 28, 2009

God, The Failed Hypothesis?

1I recently ran across a book entitled: God, the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. It is the author’s conclusion, after examining the scientific data relating to every attribute, that the empirical scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against the existence of any being possessing any of them. In short, none of the standard attributes accepted by most believers as being true about their god can be salvaged in light of known facts about the universe. This, in turn, prevents any rational, reasonable, or justified belief in such a god from being salvaged.

Life, he says, was not designed, it evolved naturally. The universe was not created, it arose naturally. Morality was not divinely created, it evolved naturally. The universe was not fine-tuned, it’s just what we would expect to find.

As usual, this type of book rambles about on with a crude sense of cynicism, arrogance and hostility wrapped up in the cloak of science. I did not however find that the author knew much about theology, philosophy and history and found at least a dozen logical fallacies and false generalizations.

For example, the arguement that no indisputable evidence of God has been found in nature, therefore God must not exist is futile, since God is spiritual and cannot be seen by human eyes (Col. 1:15). God is everywhere in nature, since it is His creation. He says in Rom. 1:20:

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

“The expression “his invisible things” refers to those things which cannot be perceived in an intellectual way, by the faculty of the understanding; things which may be known of him, though not discoverable by the eye. We judge of the objects around us by the senses, the sight, the touch, the ear, etc. Though we can’t judge God this way, we may come to the knowledge of him by, ‘his eternal power and Godhead, by means of the material universe which he has formed. The argument implies that is enough to leave mankind without any excuse for its ignorance.” (Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible).

So, the power of God is evident in invisible things, and yet clearly seen in creation. The workman is known by his work. The variety, multitude, order, beauty, harmony, different nature, and excellency of the things that are made, the direction of them to certain ends, and the concurrence of all the parts to the good and beauty of the whole,  abundantly prove a Creator and his eternal power and Godhead. The proof is not weakened because we don’t see the process of creation constantly going on. It is rather augmented by the fact that he sustains all things, and continually controls the vast masses of matter in the material world.

God has given us so much clear evidence of his existence and claims, that man is without excuse for his denial. We have all the modern discoveries of astronomy, and no one thing more proves the stupidity of people, than the sad forgetfulness of Him that made the heavens and the earth.

Is archaeological proof lacking?

The book also argues that no archaeological evidence exists of a certain Biblical person, place or thing, therefore he/she or it must be mythical. In other words, the Bible is guilty until proven innocent, and a lack of outside evidence places the Biblical account in doubt. This standard is far different from that applied to other ancient documents, even though many, if not most, have a religious element. They are considered to be accurate, unless there is evidence to show that they are not.

Contrarily, when archaeological findings show “supposed”proof of  “discrepancies,”  we find when these are examined in detail, it is found that the problems lie with misinterpretation of evidence, lack of evidence, or poor scholarship, and not with the Bible.

Although it is not possible to verify every incident in the Bible, the discoveries of archahaeology since the mid-1800s have certainly demonstrated the reliability and plausibility of the Bible narrative.

Here are some examples:

  • The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name “Canaan” was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word tehom (“the deep”) in Gen. 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. “Tehom” was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
  • The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey.
  • Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon’s wealth were greatly exaggerated. Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon’s prosperity was entirely feasible.
  • It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Is. 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Is. 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
  • Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzarr was Nabonidus’ son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make  Daniel “third highest ruler in the kingdom” (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position. Here we see the “eye-witness” nature of the Biblical record, as is so often brought out by the discoveries of archaeology.

Source: Christiananswers.net

The universally accepted nature of science is that it is always evolving, with old theories and hypothesis being revised or discarded in favour of new ones, on the basis of the latest evidence. Therefore scientists do not believe in absolute proof, because new evidence might turn up which alters an old model, theory or law.

However, the existence of God can be proven. It is evident in the power of His creation; it is evident through archaeological evidence; through records of accounts written even after the facts by enemies of Christ, by the Roman Catholic church; it is evident by faith; and certainly will be evident through eschatological verification – when Christ returns, or when we die – whichever comes first. We will then have conclusive proof.

I find it pitiful that evolutionists or atheists believe that religion is a mere superstition: irrational folk beliefs that arose from fear and the human need for meaning and control of our surroundings. Science and our ability to control our environment has supposedly made us the captain of our own fate – no need for God anymore. But our control is a mere illusion. God says:

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (I Pet. 1:24-25)

So you see, we have only a few years on this earth and then we die. Without God, we have no hope, no future, no reality. It is only the word of God which is truth (John 17:17), not the ego filled vanity of atheistic nonsense. If all we have is hope in the present life, we are indeed hopeless.

But God promises eternal life, and He (unlike man), cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). I’ll take that statement above the fables foisted upon man by evolutionary science. At least I know where I’m going.

July 12, 2009

Free Beer During Service: Church Of England Loses Reality!

2782874518_601ff9e585_m[1]Well, the state of modern religion is starting to border on the insane. I found an article in the London Telegraph which shows just how desperate churches are becoming to attract members. This article says the Church of England offered beer and barbecued meats on Father’s Day. Men attending St. Stephen’s church in Barbourne, Worchester were handed bottles of beers by children to slake their thirst during the service.

Other churches offered bacon rolls, chocolate bars, and even a hog roast to the few who found economic times hard enough to sit through a sermon in order to get their alcohol fix and grab some “manna.”

In some ways it is understandable, as a study recently found that less than 20% of men in England attend church monthly. So if you have the wrong message, at least give them the right product to fill the pews.

The archdeacon of St. Stephen’s defended the beer giveaway, comparing it to the flowers that are given to mothers on Mother’s Day. Another bishop tried to legitimize the giveaway by comparing it to the gospel story in which Jesus turned water into wine, because He was “in favor of partying.” This from a man supposedly versed in the Bible, which advocates moderation, rather than a party spirit.

He argued that the free beer was intended to be symbolic of “the generosity of God”. Nothing about the gospel message. Don’t you just love recognizing the truth of the Bible?

July 5, 2009

What Does "Selah" Really Mean?

blog.jstaten.com

blog.jstaten.com

What does the word “selah” (Hebrew: סלה‎) as found in the Psalms and the book of Habakkuk really mean? There have been numerous studies and articles on the meaning of “Selah”–and not a whole lot of agreement.

Selah is found in two books of the Bible, but is most prevalent in the Psalms, where it appears 71 times. It also appears three times in the third chapter of the prophet Habakkuk (3:3, 9,13) .

There is a great deal of confusion about the meaning of “selah,” primarily because the Hebrew root word from which it is translated is uncertain. As such, “selah” may be the most difficult word in the Hebrew Bible to translate concisely.

The Psalms were written as songs and  accompanied by musical instruments and there are references to this in many chapters. Thirty-one of the thirty-nine psalms with the caption “To the choir-master” include “Selah” so the musical context of selah is said to be obvious. Many scholars believe that it was a direction for the musicians to repeat verses, play interludes, tune the instruments, and so on.

Some render “selah” from two Hebrew words: s_lah, to praise; and s_lal, to lift up, or even salah, to pause. From these words comes the belief that “selah” is a musical direction in the Psalms. This would encompass all the meanings—praise, lift up, and pause.

The Septuagint translates Selah into Greek as Äéáøáëìá diapsalma, which may mean interlude. And Strong’s Dictionary gives the meaning under number H5542 as; “suspension (of music), that is pause: Selah.”

However, where it is mentioned again in Habakkuk 3:13, we realize this passage was not written to be sung, though Habakkuk’s prayer could inspire the reader to praise God for His mercy, power, and grace.

Interestingly, Holman’s Bible Dictionary says many of the musical theories proposed  by scholars (the pause either for silence or musical interlude, a signal for the congregation to sing, recite, or fall prostrate on the ground, a cue for the cymbals to crash, a word to be shouted by the congregation, a sign to the choir to sing a higher pitch or louder) are unproveable.

A more plausible meaning?

Another plausible meaning translated “selah” is from the primary Hebrew root word [calah] which literally means “to hang” or “to measure or weigh in the balances.” An example of this word [calah] as it is literally translated ‘valued,’ is in the book of Job, indicating that which is measured.

Job 28:15-16

  • “It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
  • It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.”

These verses use the same Hebrew word [calah], showing the context of “measuring against.” The translation ‘valued’ illustrates the measuring of something for an exchange. In this case, it shows us that wisdom cannot be measured against gold, as it is obviously is beyond monetary value.

In verse nineteen we see this very same illustration again. Referring to wisdom, Job says, “The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.”  Again, the word translated “valued” in this verse is the same Hebrew calah. Job repeats that wisdom is beyond comparing against even jewels, and when weighed in the balance against wisdom, the finest jewels cannot equal its value.

In the French book “The Music of the Bible Revealed,” by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura, we find the same explanation which seems to fit every use of the word in the Bible. The author, who is a Jewish music student, concludes that “selah” was part of the sung text and not an instruction to the players. While she does not define the word itself, her work does suggest that “selah” is similar to the word amen at the end of a prayer, an exclamation of confidence or and certainty of what has been said.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible agrees, stating that it is added “as a mark of attention, something of moment and importance being observed.” The purpose would be to emphasize the truth or seriousness of a passage, and that we should measure and reflect upon what has been said.

And the Adam Clark Commentary says it may come from äìñ salah, meaning to strew or spread out intimating that the subject to which the word is attached should be spreadout, meditated on, and attentively considered by the reader. This may be confirmed by by Psalm 9:16, where the word “higgaion’ (signifying meditation), is put before selah at the end of the verse.” So it is a fit subject for meditation; and shows selah to be really a nota bene; attend to or mind this.”

Vine’s Expository offers another similar explanation: “The word is never used at the beginning of a psalm, nor has it any grammatical connection with the context. Its usual position is either at the end of a strophe or at the end of a psalm. It often connects what precedes with what follows (sometimes by way of contrast, as if to stress both, as if saying, “This being so, give heed to what is now to be said.”

From all facts presented, we can easily see there is a lot of disagreement as to what various experts think is meant by the word and what is conveyed in the use of it. Logically, God knew that the Psalms would be read and not sung over many years of their use, and that there would be confusion about a musical term put into them. He also knew they would be printed in a book to teach His people spiritual concepts of His word of truth in the end time. As such, it seems highly likely that He would put in a word to call special attention to exhort us to ‘weigh’ these things thoughtfully, and to reflect and consider in good sense judgment what is ‘really’ being said, whether we read or sing the psalms.

June 18, 2009

Mystery Of The Ages: Free Book Clarifies Life's Unanswered Questions!

1One of the best books I have ever read is called, “Mystery Of The Ages,” by Herbert W. Armstrong. It really clarifies the most important knowledge ever revealed from the supreme Source of understanding—about man, his origins, his identity, the world around him—knowledge that has mystified humans since mankind first appeared on Earth.

I highly recommend this book as it is written in a straightforward manner, with no twisted scriptures, no private interpretations – nothing but factual truth, straight out of the word of God.

If you have an open mind, then you are ready for the true biblical answers to seven of life’s most puzzling mysteries:

1. WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?

God reveals himself in his Word, the Holy Bible, yet almost no one has understood it. The Bible, as author Bruce Barton said, is “the book that nobody knows.” The Bible itself is the basic mystery that reveals all other mysteries.

2. THE MYSTERY OF ANGELS AND EVIL SPIRITS

Is the existence of spirit beings fact or myth? Is there a devil? Did God create a devil? If there are holy angels, what is their purpose? Do evil spirits influence humans and even governments today? Do they affect your own life?

3. THE MYSTERY OF MAN

What and why is humanity? Is man an immortal soul? Do the dead know what the living are doing? Is man flesh and blood being with an immortal soul within? Is there meaning and purpose to human life?

4. THE MYSTERY OF CIVILIZATION

How did civilization develop? Why does our world of awesome advancement and progress also have such appalling evils? Why can’t the minds that develop marvels of science and technology solve the problems of human helplessness?

5. THE MYSTERY OF ISRAEL

Are the Jews the ancient nation of Israel? Why did God raise up one special nation? Are they God’s favorites? Does God discriminate against other nations? Is God a respecter of persons? What is Israel’s purpose in the divine order of things?

6. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH

Why should there be the institution of the Church in the world? Is it one Christ-originated Church, or does it consist of many differing denominations? Does it have government and authority? How could one recognize the true Church today?

7. THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Jesus’s gospel message was “the kingdom of God.” Is the kingdom of God something within each person? Is it something that may be set up in men’s hearts? Is it the institution of the Church? Or is it something else altogether?

These are the seven great mysteries that concern the very lives of every human being on earth. The plain truth of all these mysteries is revealed in this eye-opening book, and it is yours FREE for the asking! It is given away here.

May 12, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved: Are You Sure About That?

Today’s popular evangelical maxim “once saved, always saved” has transformed into a virtual “cheap and easy” salvation for millions. The gospel call to repent and believe – to diligently make a personal effort to persevere in the faith – has been overshadowed by the new doctrine that Christians can live just like anyone else in the world.  Gone are warnings to watch and pray, endure to the end, and to make your calling and election sure.

In their place are cool Christian clubs called churchianity, public shows of prayer, Christian rock bands, and young disciples in jeans and t-shirts spouting tender assurances of eternal salvation as a gift which God cannot take back. Never mind the ten commandments – everybody makes mistakes, so don’t don’t sweat it, we’re all under grace, right?

Is this the message of the Bible though? Is it really true that once a person has truly believed and put their faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are eternally saved? In other words, there is absolutely nothing that this person, can do which could nullify or forfeit that salvation. It doesn’t matter if that person kicks a dog, punches an elderly lady or robs a bank. No matter what his spiritual outlook – NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING will prevent him from a loss of salvation. Almighty God supposedly takes over his life to hold him, keep him, and sanctify him regardless of what point of the law has been broken.

What does “saved” mean?

A favourite OSAS phrase comes from the Book of Ephesians 2:8-9, to wit:

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

But what does it really mean to be “saved?” Not one single individual in the history of this world (besides Jesus Christ), has ever been saved—YET. Not Noah, Abraham, David, Peter, James, John or Paul. Not Ruth or Esther or Mary. These people are dead and in their graves – a pile of dust.

II Corinthians 2:15 speaks of those that “are being saved” — present tense. The verb, here, as inspired originally in the Greek language, is a present participle and should be translated, as in the RSV, “are being saved,” and not “are saved,” as in the King James version. The Moffatt, and other translations render this as “are being saved.”

To make it plain, notice the whole sense of the passage: “For we are unto God a sweet savour (fragrance) of Christ, in them that are saved (being saved), and in them that perish.” In other words, Christians are like sweet perfume or fragrance to certain others. If to those that are (already — past tense) saved, then also to those who are, already (past tense) perished. Now those already perished are not smelling anything. This is speaking of LIVING people. If those that “perish” are merely ON THE WAY toward perishing — but not yet perished — then, also those “saved” are BEING saved — on the way to the final salvation.

Then many, many scriptures speak of the salvation to come — of those who “shall be” (future) saved. Most passages referring to the TIME of salvation refer to it as taking place at Christ’s coming — as Revelation 12:10 and elsewhere.

In spiritual salvation, the blood of Christ — the death of Christ — paid the penalty we have incurred in our stead. And it saves us from this destruction (which is the second death) — that is, prevents us from having to pay it — if and when we repent, and accept Jesus as personal Saviour in faith believing (read Romans 5:8-10).

But, God’s gift of eternal life comes to us through Christ’s life (verse 10), through His resurrection and life — not by His death. His death paid our penalty of past sins in our stead. These sins had cut us off from contact with God. When Jesus’ sacrifice is accepted by repentance and faith, we are no longer cut off from God, but reconciled to Him — the connection or contact established, so that, through His Son’s life, He now can give us His Holy Spirit, and, at Christ’s coming and time of resurrection, eternal life. This, finally, preserves our life for eternity.

That is why God’s Word says, “he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13 and elsewhere).  One is already saved from the death penalty — eternal punishment — for sins that are past, upon repentance and faith in Christ — as long as he does not sin again! And he will! But, if and when he slips and sins again, then, upon repentance, he is again forgiven. Yes, again, and again and again! That is, as long as his attitude of heart is submissive to God, he has faith in Christ, and God’s Spirit continues to dwell in him.

So we have:

  1. “Justification,” which is forgiveness of sins that are past (Romans 3:24-25) — because Jesus paid our penalty, thus justifying — or vindicating — us.
  2. “Sanctification” (Greek, “hagiasmos”), meaning separation, a setting apart for holy use or purpose. This is a continual process — once so set apart — and leads to ultimate salvation — the change from mortal to immortal — from material composition to spiritual — from human to divine. Thus: “God hath … chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit …” (II Thes. 2:13), and “unto obedience …” (I Peter 1:2).
  3. Salvation by resurrection — eternal life.

The Crux of the Truth

OSAS says once we receive “God’s Spirit, we will be led to obey and please God. Is that really how it works? In Rom. 8:14, Paul comes to the crux of the whole truth, so far as the Christian life is concerned.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

God’s Spirit dwelling in the Christian is God’s own divine love, which can fulfill God’s Law. Thus what God has given him by grace – His righteousness within the Christian – may actually make him righteous! But notice, I said God’s Spirit in you can, or may put His righteousness within you!

Here is the all important point — God’s Spirit in the Christian will not force him to live righteously. He remains a free moral agent. He only has the spiritual equipment to live God’s way – his mind is open to spiritual understanding — that is, to live by the whole teachings of the Bible.

Notice Acts 5:32: “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy [Spirit], whom God hath given to them that obey him.” God says He doesn’t even give us his Spirit unless we obey!

A maturing process

Where the Bible does talk of Christians being “perfect,” it merely means “those matured in Christian experience and knowledge (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary). We are to be growing every day of our spiritual lives. And with God’s help we can obey His commandments.

God says: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). This verse should be translated, “Become ye therefore perfect….” It’s a process. Christ referred to this way of life as going through a narrow gate. “Because strait [difficult] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14).  None of us have received salvation yet. Salvation is something we don’t have now.

In Matthew 25, Christ spoke the parable of the talents. He gave one of the individuals five talents, one he gave two, and the other only one. The individual who received one talent ended up burying it. Notice Christ’s answer to that in verse 26: “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed.”

This wicked person not only failed to grow, but he lost what God gave him! “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 30). It’s not a matter of how much you get, it’s what you do with it.  God gives true Christians a wealth of spiritual knowledge. And to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).

Sin leads to loss of salvation

So how can one lose salvation? The OSAS crowd claims that if a person is not continuing or persevering in their faith, and growing in holiness, they could not have been saved to begin with. Thus, only those who have rightly been saved, are those who “are born again.”

But obviously all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), even those of the OSAS crowd. Sin is defined as the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4). We are commanded to keep this perfect law, otherwise we cannot even know God. Neglect merely makes us out to be liars (I John 2:3-4).

Convoluted reasoning which says “law keeping” is a doctrine of works needs to be checked according to truths and provable facts in the Bible. True, Christ came so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. But belief is not the only condition to salvation. James 2:19 says “the devils also believe and tremble.” The mere belief of the devils (fallen angels) does not save them. Neither is repentance a do-it-once thing and then we just sort of cruise through God’s calling any way we like.

This does not mean the fight against sin is a perpetual game of Russian Roulette where we never know if we’re saved or not. The effort (through repentance) is guided by the scriptural “yardstick” of God’s law, which tells us how many or what kind of sins void our salvation. Yes, you read that right. Every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward (Heb. 2:2), just like it did with the angels. So the Christian must decide, and must exert will, to follow that way.

Jesus Christ said to follow in His footsteps and he kept God’s law perfectly. The Bible is also replete, from beginning to end, with proof of this, as well as those denouncing people who do NOT keep the law.

  • Exodus 32:33 (Old Testament) says: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book’”.
  • Rev. 3:5,6 (New Testament) says: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels…. Clearly this means that God can take the eternal life, which they now think they have.

What this means is not just “….the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). They  must actively decide whether to walk down that road — to be led by the Spirit of God — or to be led by the pulls of human nature. There is no “floating” Christian doctrine.

So all of this means “Once Saved, Always Saved” IS WRONG. God’s love of giving us eternal life is CONDITIONAL upon keeping His law. Getting saved is not a one time deal and it’s over with. It’s a lifelong project – sorry Pentecostals, you’re wrong.

If we think we stand, we may fall (I Cor. 10:12). An important aspect of conquering is preserving to the end – not as though we had already attained it or were made perfect (Phil. 3:12). We are to work out our own salvation (Phil. 2:12), and not sin deliberately for fear of the prospect of a fiery judgment (Heb. 10:26-29).

April 2, 2009

Christianity Ignores God The Father – Do You?

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There are two basic common and universal errors in the preaching of the “Gospel” by this world’s “Christianity.” What are the two most universal errors in the proclaiming of the “Gospel” by the various sects and denominations of traditional Christianity today? 

1. They ignore God the Father and they proclaim a false gospel.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that Jesus Christ, as God’s Messenger, brought. In other words, the message God the Father sent to mankind by His Son and Messenger (Malachi 3:1) to mankind. 

Jesus said plainly, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father . . . for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me” (John 8:38, 42). Again, Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works” (John 14:10). 

In the first sermon Peter spoke to gentiles, he said, “The word [Gospel] which God sent. . . preaching peace by Jesus Christ. . .” (Acts 10:36). 

What has been proclaimed? MAN’S “gospel” about the Person of the Messenger, but omitting His MESSAGE, which came from God the Father. 

Now how else do they ignore God the Father? 

2. They preach Christ—but Him only. 

Let me explain something here. There are two ways of life: 1) the way of getting, receiving, acquiring—the way of self-centeredness; and 2) the way of giving, of helping, cooperating, sharing, of outflowing love—which is the way of GOD-centeredness. 

Now how do they of traditional Christianity preach? 

Assuming that this is the only time of salvation, they plead with people, “receive Christ”—in other words, “get,” not “give.”  They believe the blood of Jesus—Christ’s death, gives life. But life cannot come from death! Notice Romans 5:10: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God [the Father] by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” We are not saved—given eternal life—by Christ’s shed blood—by His death. We are only reconciled to God the Father by Christ’s death. 

How is that? The penalty of sin is death. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4). There is one Lawgiver. Not Jesus, but God the Father! When we sin we are cut off from God the Father! That is what modern “Christianity” ignores. All have sinned. All have put an impassable wall between themselves and God the Father. We must be reconciled to God first, for it is He who has eternal life to give! 

How may we be reconciled to God the Father? By real repentance. Repentance is toward God the Father, and faith is toward Jesus (Acts 20:21). 

Once we truly repent, which means a complete change of attitude, way of life and purpose, then our faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood for payment of the penalty of our sins, destroys that impassable wall between us and God the Father—and we then may receive His Holy Spirit—after we have given our life, through repentance and faith, to Christ, who bought and paid for it by His death. Then our salvation—gift of eternal life—is made possible by Christ’s resurrection—by His life! 

But this world’s Christianity thinks it may receive eternal life from Jesus’ death, and from Jesus alone—leaving out the Father. 

And once converted—changed—what then? We must keep reconciled to God by obedience to His Law. If we make a slip, or fall down along the way, then if we “confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (I John 1:9). 

Of course, traditional Christianity has lost sight of God’s law and of what constitutes sin. They ignore the fact we must be first reconciled to God the Father! 

None can come to Jesus for eternal salvation, except God the Father first draws him! Jesus said plainly in John 6:44: “NO MAN can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” 

It is God the Father who decides whom He shall call. It is God the Father from whom we have cut ourselves off by transgressing His Law. It is the Father who has the Holy Spirit to give. The sinner must first of all, upon being called, repent—change his mind and attitude in regard to sin, and obedience to God’s way of life! 

How does God call one? He draws one (John 6:44) by the power of His Holy Spirit, working externally from outside one. Through His Spirit, God convicts one. On the very day Christ founded the Church, Peter had preached a Spirit-inspired sermon. Three thousand there were “pricked in their heart”—”they were cut to the heart” (Revised Standard Version); “it went straight to their hearts” (Moffatt translation). In other words their whole minds and attitudes were convicted of guilt and changed, ready for repentance—a complete change to God’s way of life. This led them to repentance toward God the Father. Then they believed on Jesus Christ, were baptized, and God the Father then gave them His Holy Spirit! 

Now what gospel did Jesus bring from God the Father? What was the message the Father sent to mankind by Jesus? In Mark 1:1, 14, 15, we read: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the KINGDOM OF GOD is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” 

Jesus proclaimed the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, based on the LAW OF GOD, to rule the whole earth, at Christ’s Second Coming—now SOON! 

The Kingdom of God is the divine born family of God, of which God the FATHER is Father of the entire Family. 

Today, by leaving God the Father out of their message, the churches of traditional Christianity do not know that a real and true Christian may be, in this life, only begotten by receiving the Holy Spirit—which is the begettal of God-life—and may be born a full God being, immortal, composed of Spirit, at the resurrection of the just—at Christ’s coming! 

In a word, by ignoring God the Father, they make the life, Gospel, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ utterly meaningless! 

Let’s be sure we have God the Father and the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ both in the picture, as they, themselves, have placed themselves! 

Source: Plain Truth May 1980, Page 33,  by Herbert W. Armstrong 

March 14, 2009

A Passover Examination

Every year, the Passover comes and goes. The world largely ignores this day, but even those that partake of it may view it as a matter of routine, while glossing over its deep meaning. The Passover is one of the most important occasions in a true Christian life, and its solemn meaning must be refreshed annually. That is why 1Corinthians 11:27-28 admonishes us to examine ourselves before we partake of its symbolism.

An important aspect of the Passover is how we partake of it. Jesus’ body was broken for us, for our healing. So we read in verses 29-30, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself not discerning the Lord’s body.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible says many people interpret the word “unworthingly” to mean their personal qualifications; or to be “unworthy” or “unfit” to partake of the Passover. But the word “unworthily” ” (ἀναξίως anaxiōs) is used as an “adverb,” rather than an “adjective,” and simply refers to taking this ordinance in a proper manner, with a deep sense of our sinfulness, and our need of a Saviour and Redeemer.

Does accepting Christ or baptizing save you?

So although the world, in large part, does not obey of the biblical command to observe the Passover, the meaning of it has been appropriated and twisted. Quite a few denominations believe that if you are “saved,” you go to heaven when you die. Otherwise, they say you go straight to hell, a torture that continues eternally. But on the bright side — all you have to do is accept Jesus Christ, and the blood of Christ saves you. Bingo, there’s your ticket to heaven, right? Not so fast!

Let me set the record straight here — the blood of Christ does not save anyone! Such a statement is unbiblical. Romans 5:9 says we are “justified” (or rendered innocent), by the blood of Christ. In other words, it was shed for our forgiveness of sins past and we are reconciled to God the Father by the death of Christ. But we are to be saved by His resurrection, and through our own resurrection, made possible through Jesus Christ.

Others think if they’re baptized they’re saved. That is also not biblical. You are not a Christian merely because you’re baptized. Here’s Mark 7:6-9 says on the matter: “How be it in vain do they worship me.” Yes you can accept Christ, believe in Christ, worship Him, but still do it in vain. “…teaching for doctrines the commandments of men and making the commandments of God of none affect by your tradition.”

So how exactly are you saved? What is the biblical teaching on the subject?

Two conditions to be saved

Luke 13:3, 5 tells us exactly the opposite of what some denominations teach — regardless of how many times you’ve been baptised, or what you believe — if you have not repented you will perish. Read it for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you worship and accept Christ as your Saviour, nor how much you believe in Him. You must repent to be saved.

John 8:30-31 states: “As Jesus spoke these words many believed on him.” Here are people that believed on Christ, yet He said to them: “If you continue in my word then you may be my disciples indeed.” They were told to do something, not merely believe!

Notice the immediate reaction of the people. Verse 33 shows they began to dispute Him right away. They believed on Christ, but they did not believe what He said.

So just accepting Christ, just believing on Christ doesn’t save you. You have to believe what He says, and you have to repent.

Contrary to popular religious opinion, there are two official biblical conditions to be saved: (1) repentance and (2) faith.

Mark 1:14-15 shows that Jesus came into Galilee preaching, “…the time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand, REPENT ye, and BELIEVE the gospel.” A lot of people don’t fully know what that means. They say, Oh, I’ve repented; yes, I know I’ve sinned. But they haven’t really repented without a full understanding of what it means, and they are not Christ’s until they have the Holy Spirit of God, and they cannot have the Holy Spirit of God until they have repented.

Again, let’s let scripture verify this in Rom.8:9: “But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man (or woman) have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.” Pretty plain right? Verse 11 continues to show us that without the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and leading us, there is no salvation.

Another fact – without the Spirit of God, we cannot comprehend spiritual truths. So you read in 1 Corinthians 2, and beginning verse 9, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the mind of man,” [the spiritual truths], the things that God has prepared for us.” Then the next verse says, “But God has revealed them to us.” See it comes from God, but He reveals it by and through His Spirit.

Many understand a certain amount of the Bible, because so much of it is related to ordinary materialistic or physical knowledge, and much of it is history, which can also be readily understood. But when it comes to real deep Spiritual teaching, the natural mind of man cannot comprehend.

Repent…Believe…be baptized

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to a total of one hundred and twenty people. And Peter preached the first really Spirit inspired sermon by a human on that day. Then in Acts 2:37 it shows the people were “pricked in their heart.” They were really hit emotionally. “And said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” What are we going to do now, now that we’ve heard what we did and heard how Christ had been crucified. Then Peter said unto them, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

There is no promise in the Bible that anyone will receive the Holy Spirit until after he has repented and been baptized, which is only an outward physical ceremony picturing your real repentance and belief. Going into the water pictures the death of the old self and as a type of the death of Christ. Coming back up out of the water is a picture of the resurrection of Christ and your coming up to live a new and a different, a much-changed type of life, going a different direction from this time on.

So real repentance means you have to admit you’ve been going in the wrong direction, believe you’ve lived wrong and done wrong – been wrong through and through. That is the type of repentance most have never admitted to, they merely accept what they believe is the truth in their own goodness and their own righteousness. These people haven’t got any more real salvation than a cat, a dog, or a cow.

David’s Repentance

A lot of people can’t understand how David could ever be called a man after God’s own heart. He shed so much blood, and deliberately disobeyed God in taking a census of His nation. And God really punished him for that. And another time he saw a woman taking a bath out of his window and told some of his servants to bring her over. She then became pregnant. So David committed adultery with another man’s wife and ultimately sent him up in the forefront of the battle where he was killed. David now became a murderer.

However, the 51st Psalm shows a prayer of David when he woke up and finally realized what had happened. Most people would say that had any man done those things, he’s no good, or God couldn’t use a man like that. Yet it is God who calls him a man after His own heart because David was crying out to God: “Have mercy upon me Oh God according to thy loving kindness, unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Here he begins to admit how wrong he was. And further, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquities, cleanse me from my sin.” Now he’s confessing it. “For I acknowledge my transgression and my sin is ever before me.” And then, notice verse 10, where it says, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit in me.” He confessed his sins and David never did it again.

Every one of us has sinned. God knows every sin of man and all had better be forgiven before the Passover is taken. Eph. 2:1 shows that every person is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins because of walking in disobedience with Satan who leads with “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” That means some steps of examination have to be undertaken.

What can a Christian do?

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins….” God wants to forgive us, but Christians who have the Holy Spirit, must confess their sins and repent, because that changes everything. God is then “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23) but converted Christians are not in disagreement with Him. They don’t mean to sin, but often slip up, forgot, or maybe get careless.

God will grant forgiveness, but not to the Christian who doesn’t change his main attitude and main purpose. If repentance and acknowledgement is lacking, and if they continue on, pretty soon they’ll just be lost entirely.

Annual Passover is great reminder

It’s good to have this Passover season come once a year and to have Christians realize they make mistakes; maybe through thoughtlessness, maybe through a deliberate act. But as they come to realize it, they must repent quickly. No one should say, “I’m not worthy to repent.” You’re never too unworthy to go to God and ask for forgiveness, and ask Him to get you back on the track.

Now, it says, “let a man examine himself, and then let him take of that Passover.” We have to examine ourselves and we should before the Passover, to know that we are walking with Christ as we should be.

February 25, 2009

Why Are There So Many Denominations In This World?

This is one of my pet peeve topics. Why are there so many denominations today? Does anyone question the legitimacy of all these quarrelling and bickering sects founded by men? None agree with each other and most teach different things, yet all proclaim to teach the truth. Your mother can go to the Catholic church and your brother may attend a Protestant church down the road with his wife, even though he is Lutheran. Is this what Christ sanctioned when He started His Church? Did he found many denominations? Listen to His words: “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18).

He did exactly that built one true Church, which was commissioned to preach and to publish His Gospel — the Message He brought from God — to all the world!

How Was The Church To Grow?

Most people believe that God’s true Church is probably a huge, powerful organization, exerting powerful influence on the world. Nothing further could be true! Rather, Jesus called it the “little flock” (Luke 12:32).

In His final prayer, Jesus prayed for His Church, not for the world. In fact, He said that the world would hate those belonging to His Church (John 17:9-16). Members are described as being strangers and foreigners in this world — ambassadors, yet never being “of” the world! The true Church of God was to be persecuted and scattered (John 15:20, II Tim. 3:12).

That’s a hard concept to swallow in the civilized portions of the world that pride themselves on tolerance. But Jesus Christ said after He was smitten (crucified), the “sheep” — His Church — were to become scattered! (Mark 14:27, John 16:32).

This persecution and scattering began early in the Church’s tenure (Acts 8:1) and continued throughout history. Despised and scattered by the world — it was never separate and always spoke the same thing. It was never made up of many differing sects, a fact overlooked by historians because they never knew where to look for the true Church — for they didn’t even know what the true Church is.

Most Of The World Is Deceived

You might argue with my last point, but in the Bible, all the prophecies foretold apostasy, deception, and division. Christ himself said “…many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4, 5.)

Did you notice that? It was the many who were to be deceived, and the few who were to become true Christians, not the other way around! This condition is again pictured by Christ saying, “”Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

It’s not up to you to believe me, but if you’re a Christian, you had better believe your Bible. All humanity has become deceived by Satan (Rev. 12:9), the god of this world. He appears, not as a devil, but as an angel of light, proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ. “Believe on Jesus and you will be saved,” is the common altar call. But what about the Bible admonition of repentance, and being baptized for the remission of sins to be saved? (Acts 2:38). Why is this scripture lost on much of Christianity?

World’s Influence Into God’s Church Foretold

In Acts 20:29-30, Paul delivered to the elders (ministers) of the Church at Ephesus a final message. He told them that immediately after he left Ephesus, there would come within the local Church congregations false ministers to make a prey of Christians. And even from those elders already in the Church congregations some would pervert the doctrine of Jesus to secure a following for themselves. Peter also warned the churches about this problem (II Peter 2:2).

Although numerous deceivers, called Gnostics, left the Church, drawing away disciples after them, there was an even more dangerous apostasy which infiltrated the true Church. Paul told the Evangelist Timothy, that there would be congregations which would not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts” — would do what they please and elect ministers who for the sake of money would preach fables of mysticism and sun-worship that were engulfing the Roman Empire(II Timothy 4:2-4). The letters of Paul were twisted by them to give another meaning than intended (II Peter 3:15-16).

Here’s the odd part. Instead of leaving the local congregations and forming their own sects, as some Gentiles did at first, the false preachers remained within the congregations and soon began to expel the true Christians (III John 9 and 10), who alone comprised the true Church. They were being put out of the visible, organized congregations. They were the scattered ones of whom John said: “Therefore the world knoweth us not” (I John 3:1).

Where Historians Get Confused

After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the deaths of the apostles, something incredible happens. The true Church almost disappears from history, and false churches arise! Historian Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, in his book The Story of the Christian Church, page 41, says: “We would like to read of the later work of such helpers of St. Paul as Timothy, Apollos and Titus, but all these… drop out of the record at his death. For fifty years after St. Paul’s life a curtain hangs over the church through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D., with the writings of the earliest church-fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of peter and Paul.”

So what happened to the true Church which was lost out of sight by most historians? It did not disappear, but continued to exist from the time of Christ until the present. This is a promise from Christ Himself: …I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

You can find it by looking for a small Sabbath keeping Church which keeps ALL of God’s commands, faithfully preaches about the Kingdom of God, as well as warning the world through prophetic vision. That should be no mystery, but yet it is!

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