God's Sword of Truth - The Word
Many people write, asking me, “What makes a true Christian”? The answer is very simple – true Christians BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, LOVE JESUS CHRIST and TRUST in what He did (having died for our sins – I Cor 15:1-4 ) for us and not on what we can do for ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9), but to LIVE HIM EVERYDAY of our lives as our Lord and Savior.Then there are those who write, claiming they are “religious” and feel that they must DO things (like attending ornate and large buildings, having flamboyant men and women preachers, continuing in their traditional rituals, etc.) and yet they believe that they are Christian.
The following is a list of a few statements taken from e-mail’s received from people over the last few years who believe that these are the things that make them Christian. How about you, do you feel that you must do, or act on, any of these things in order to be a Christian? Think about it! WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE....................
SIGNS OF A NON-CHRISTIAN
People Say: “I must go to church (a building) regularly”
Religion Teaches: Most religions require one of the following: Manditory Participation (must be fulfilled according to ones religion, otherwise it is sin for them), Obligation (these are bound by a moral code), Membership (those who have joined a religion or denomination), Fellowship or Congregation (meeting for religious instruction, worship service and Sunday School on Saturdays or Sundays and Wednesdays).
THE WORD SAYS: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6) “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).
No one can get to heaven by following man made rules of any religion or denomination. There is only one way to heaven, by God’s Grace and the finished work of Jesus Christ on the tree. Our salvation was ratified at Calvary and there is nothing that any one of us can add to that Sacrifice, without removing the efficacy of His Sacrifice on the tree. Our fellowship has nothing to do with our attending a church – but has everything to do with Jesus Christ. Why do churches feel that they must bind the practice of church attendance upon others and those “others” are bound in conscience to attend church on a regular basis, or, they are told that they are backslidden and fallen out of fellowship if they don’t go to church. It is by our fellowship in His Word, His Gospel of Grace, which frees us from such bondage. Read I Cor. 1:9; Matthew 7:21; Luke 13:23-28; John 4:23-24.
People Say: "I must tithe to my church system in order to be a disciple of Christ and nobody will out-give me..…tithing was a standard enforced in the Old Testament and that’s good enough for me today…otherwise I would be robbing God.”
Religion Teaches: Nearly all religious organizations or denominations require 10%, which is a Commandment for some, Faith Promise for others, or a Pledge to build giant organizations, paying the salaries of pastors or priests, and giving them the best of everything.
THE WORD SAYS: That Paul let it be known in 2 Cor. 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”. Hebrews 7:5, 11, 12; vs. 16, 19, 21; Matthew 6:4; Mark 12:42-44.
The only people that were commanded to give a tithe (1/10th) to God was the nation of Israel. Jesus does not command a tithe under the New Testament. There is no temple/storehouse anymore to hold the Tithe, it was destroyed nearly 2000 years ago. The law of tithe was for a specific people (the Jew), for a specific time, in a specific place, which two of the three are gone, the time and place…and only the Jew remains, but has no temple or storehouse to place their 10%, plus more. If only everyone would remember that all that a person possesses belongs to the Lord anyway – it’s ALL His. Yes, be a cheerful giver, feed someone who has no food on their table, clothe someone if they have no clothing, share your home if they have no roof over their head, feed them spiritually (the Word) – and you will be rewarded in heaven.
People Say: "I read from several different bibles"
Religion Teaches: People of different denominations accept many translations, disbelieve the KJV infallibility, or, listen to and believe their own “religious” ministers, priests, authorities of the Roman Catholic Church or the Mormon temple so called prophets and their books. One pastor said: “When we read from different translations of the Bible, the more knowledge we will obtain about God”.
THE WORD SAYS: When Christ prayed to the Father, He prayed: “I have given them thy word… Sancify them through thy truth; thy word is truth…John 17:14, 17 also, “For God is not the author of confusion…” (I Cor. 14:33).
People, would the Lord write more than ONE Word? Do you understand that the various translations you read from all contain different meanings? God is not the author of confusion. Also, what about adding to and taking away from the Word (Rev. 22:18-19); Also read:1 Peter 1:23-25; Acts 17:11; 2; Matt. 24:35; II Timothy 3:14-15. Any man, pastor, priest, teacher or preacher that believes he, or the people that he teaches, will gain more knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ by reading several translations is sheer nonsense. All a person would gain is untruths and damnation, because the Word has been changed to suit the translators. No one can be saved out of lies of Satan in false translations. Get yourself a King James Authorized Version, New Testament, and you will learn about Jesus Christ Who died for your sins. Why? Because the one true God, Who sent His one true Son has given us His ONE TRUE WORD – READ IT! It’s the ONLY Bible that has solid food that one needs to survive on.
People Say: “I can associate with anyone, regardless of what they believe (Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, etc.) doesn’t matter, I’m still a Christian.”
Religion Teaches: This is what many in religion believe – saying things like, “It just doesn’t matter what one believes, just do your best because we are all going to the same place in the end and we all worship and believe in God.”
THE WORD SAYS: In 2 Cor. 10:12 – “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 wise.” 2 Cor. 4:1-6; 2 Thes. 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Ephesians 5:3-16; 2 Cor. 6:14; I Cor. 5:1-11; 2 John 11.
We must NOT be conformed to this world (by its people, its religious denominations). Instead, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so as to prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1, 2).
People Say: “One form of religion is just as good as the next.”
Religion Teaches: Many religions would have you believe that you must be tolerant of everyone’s belief….even if they teach falsehoods and are in darkness.
THE WORD SAYS: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:7-9); “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephes. 2:8-9).
For any man to believe that all religions are equal, or that one is as good as the next one, is a man centered idea. The Word of God shows conclusively that Jesus Christ alone gave us the only truth. No religion, or any other means, that is based only on the ideas of men, is reliable, for they contradict each other and the Word of God. No one needs to look anywhere for truth other than the New Testament of the King James Authorized Bible, the Word of God.
People Say: “I’m told that I must be baptized by immersion in order to have my sins forgiven so that I can go to heaven”
Religion Teaches: Many religions teach that a person’s sins are only forgiven at baptism and therefore is essential to salvation; they also teach that even if you are a church member, you cannot be forgiven of your sins until you are baptized by immersion or sprinkled with water.
THE WORD SAYS: “In whom [Christ]we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephes. 1:7). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9); John 6:47; I Cor. 1:17; Ephes. 2:8-9; Romans 4:5; Romans 3:23-24; Gal. 5:6
True Christianity is not determined by some external ritual done to or with the body (i.e. baptism, circumcision, etc). It is an internal change in the heart which takes place, through a spiritual surgery, a spiritual baptism, and a spiritual resurrection…which all adds up to a spiritual quickening of the person’s heart. The thief on the cross accepted Jesus and he wasn’t baptized and Jesus told him from the cross that he would be with Him in paradise (Luke 23:39-43). The only thing essential is trusting your life to Jesus and submitting to Him as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9). We are not saved by baptism, but by the gift of Grace through Faith.
People Say: “I believe I am a good and moral person and I do good works which are good enough to get me to heaven.”
Religion Teaches: Religion today preaches a universal reliance of “works”, Good Works Program, Penance, Works of Charity, Good Deeds, works to justify faith, good works as appeasement or recompense and always trying to establish their own righteousness.
THE WORD SAYS: Galatians 2:16 – “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Also read: Romans 3:10; Romans 5:12; Titus 1:16; Rev. 3:2.
People in religion are like unto Israel, the Jew, always trying to obtain heaven by their own human righteousness “…they having a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:2-4.
People Say: “I try to keep the 10 Commandments”
Religion Teaches: Religion teaches: one must be a keeper of the Law, Old Testament, and conform to and observe the commandments, statutes, ordinances and doctrines of religion.
THE WORD SAYS: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shalt no flesh be justified. (Gal. 2:16); John 13:34; John 15:12; I John 3:23; Gal. 3:10-11; James 2:10.
No one is saved by keeping the 10 commandments. The Bible teaches us that we are not saved by works of the law, i.e. doing what is right… We, like Israel, could never be saved by keeping the commandments (law) – “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” – Gal. 2:21.
People Say: “What is wrong with having a belief in Church Ordinances and Doctrines?”
Religion Teaches: Religions of men have: Dogmas, Canons, Creeds, Catechisms, Baptism of water or 2 Baptisms, Lord’s Supper or Communion, Membership a must, Rites, Chanting, Meditation, Mass, Transubstantiation, Sabbath Keeping, and the list goes on.
THE WORD SAYS: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6); Also read Romans 5:1, 2; Matt. 15:8, 9; Romans 7:11; Romans 13:2; 2 Cor, 3:6; Col. 2:20, 22; Hebrews 9:10.
Doctrines, Ordinances and belief systems are the focus of religion, held by denominations of man, but not of Christianity. Man has always attempted to formulate his own doctrines and practices into a religion, and most denominations today mix doctrines by teaching some Bible doctrines and then mixing them in with their own.
People Say: “I am Once Saved Always Saved forever, no matter what”
Religion Teaches: Religion teaches a believer’s salvation rests on God’s ability to keep him, he’s in His hands, it would not be good if one could lose salvation, salvation endures forever, no matter what sins are committed, all sins are gone for those “once saved always saved”.
THE WORD SAYS: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:9, 10); I Cor. 10:12; Rev. 3:16; Rev. 21:8; Heb. 4:1, 2; Gal. 5:4.
Man’s religion teaches that once the individual is saved he cannot be lost, and many believe in this teaching. They feel that they have a free ticket to sin and still be saved. It just isn’t so and do not allow anyone to convince you otherwise. The above scripture, I Cor. 6:9, 10, is sometimes used to say that it means the unsaved only, no, it doesn’t. There are many who claim to be Christian, committing adultery, fornication on a regular basis, and some divorcing their spouse and remarrying over and over, yet these same people truly believe that they will not be condemned for their sins….they are deceived and will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
People Say: “There are many ways to heaven”
Religion Teaches: Each religion has a different way to heaven: live the good life; chant to scrolls; enter the Catholic priesthood or convent; worship and pray to Mary and the saints; give to the church fund; be baptized; confess sins to a priest; follow and live by ones own church doctrines and ordinances; pray at the wailing wall; attempting to keep the ten commandments, and many more.
THE WORD SAYS: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” And Jesus said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” John 10:1, 9; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31; Rev. 15:3.
Jesus is the DOOR and the ONLY WAY. Be careful, God is not mocked and if you try to get there any other way, then He considers you a thief and a robber. You just won’t make it and He will say to you: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…” (Matt. 25:41) “…Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3. I pray you understand this – no matter what you believe, no one can reach the Father but through Jesus Christ. There is only one way to the Father and heaven, not several ways: Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
People Say: “I do not believe in a literal hell or Lake of Fire”
Religion Teaches: Hell is not a very popular teaching by the many false teachers in churches, who water down what the Bible says about Hell, some even teach that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s only temporary to pay for your sins. Then again, others teach a second change after death like the Mormons who baptize in proxy for someone who is dead….and others say that the teaching of hell is unreasonable because some do not believe in a God of wrath.
THE WORD SAYS: Hell is a burning Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15); Hell is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt.8:12); Hell is a place of eternal torments (Luke 16:23) (Rev. 14:11); Hell is a place of outer darkness (Matt. 8:12); Hell is a place of everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46); Hell is a place for those who have rejected the Lord Jesus (Heb. 2:3).
As you can see, according to the Bible, Hell is real! Hell is a terrifying place of torment for all non-believers and unrepentant sinners. Hell is for those who do not believe in or accept Jesus Christ as their Savior for having shed His blood for them; and for all those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, but by their fruit (actions) and the way they live their lives, do not truly know Jesus or live His Word each and every day. God doesn’t send people to hell. You send yourself there. He made a way for all of His creation, and that was Jesus Christ. It is by man’s freewill that he either accepts Christ or rejects Him. By accepting Him one has eternal salvation, by rejecting Him one has to take the consequences and that is eternal damnation in hell.
People Say: “I do not believe in Satan, the devil or demons”
Religion Teaches: There are those that teach false doctrines and there forms of deception and these have ensnared many unwary people this way – teaching them that Satan isn’t real – yet Satan employs false doctrine and methodology in attempting to control people for his own ends.
THE WORD SAYS: “…Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14); “The devil has taken people captive at his will” (2 Tim. 2:26); “The god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (2 Cor. 4:4).
People, Satan is alive and well! And the days we live in are the days of extreme peril. Why? because of the danger of yielding to the evil deceptions of the “lawless one”, Satan himself. Don’t ever think for one minute that you cannot be deceived by this evil demon. Satan deceived and enslaved the entire creation. There is no truth in him – “…He is a liar, and the father of it [untruth] (John 8:44); He is a murderer, a destroyer. But Jesus has come to set the captive free. He has come to give life. Jesus Christ is the ONLY Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) and He has conquered the power of Satan by His death on the tree and His resurrection from the dead, But again, it’s up to you by your free will choice.
People Say: “I believe the Sacraments save us”
Religion Teaches: Some religions have 7 sacraments (Roman & Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches), others have less; Lutherans (communion & infant baptism), Methodist/Episcopal (Baptism of infants & communion), Mennonites ((2) adult baptism and communion), Mormons (Baptism, laying on of hands, communion and Baptism for the dead). All of these religions teach their members that each sacrament consists of a visible external rite, which is composed of matter and form and that a sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
THE WORD SAYS: The Bible states repeatedly that good works will never save anybody: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight…” (Romans 3:20); “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17); “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3); John 6:35; Ephes. 2:5,8.
Salvation cannot be secured by any human merit, including the performance of good works that many religions believe in for salvation. One cannot experience God’s saving presence in any sacrament, for they are NOT instruments of God’s grace. Salvation can only be obtained through faith in Christ’s work on the cross. If you do not believe this and try to have salvation in Christ by some other means, then you will perish in hell. That’s very plain, isn’t it? Not by Baptism, communion, penance, etc. can you be saved. And if you accept these sacraments of religion and have refused to hear God’s Words, you are not of God (John 8:47). Follow and obey God, rather than men (Acts 5:29).
People Say: “I do not believe in a literal heaven”
Religion Teaches: Many religionists do not even believe that there is a literal heaven. Some believe that once the body has died and been put in the grave that it will remain there. And, the reason some believe this is because they do not believe in the existence of their own soul and where it will go following the death of their body. Eastern religion believes in reincarnation. Baha’i’s do not believe that heaven is limited to Christians. The religion of Spiritualism does not believe in heaven because they believe that life can be heaven or hell-like, just as each spirit chooses to make it, the same applies to their life here on earth. Most religions that believe in heaven state that you can only get there by working for it and trying to live a good life. Ask any Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu if they know for sure that they are going to heaven when they die – they would have to say “no”,for they have no assurance because their religion depends on gaining enough merits to get them there.
THE WORD SAYS: Acts 7:49 and Rev. 22:3 (God’s throne and of the Lamb); 2 Corinthians 12:2 (third heaven); 2 Cor. 5:1; Col. 1:5; Acts 7:55-56; John 14:1-3; John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:8.
By the Word we know that heaven is the dwelling place of God; Heaven is where His throne is; Heaven is the final dwelling place of the saints (us). Jesus said that no one can enter heaven unless they are born of the Spirit. The Word says that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we would have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. We have heard about heaven in the word of the truth of the gospel. Stephen’s vision by the Holy Spirit was of heaven opened and he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. To be absent from the body is to be ever with the Lord. There truly is a heaven and those who follow and obey the Lord God’s Word will be there with the Lamb (Jesus Christ) forever. There is a literal heaven to gain as well as a literal hell to avoid. The only way a sinner can be saved for heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Since all are born into this world with a sinful nature we must be “born again” by the Holy Spirit of God using the Word of God to bring conviction to our souls. There is absolutely nothing we can do to merit or inherit the kingdom of God (heaven).