Simply teach the word Simply


I have been involved for quite some time now using social networks and other internet sites to post Christian oriented videos, writing from a biblical perspective. I have made many friends (some enemies) and met some very interesting people. It is a blessing to see so many people using the internet and various sites to promote and proclaim the gospel.

The whole world is within reach, people from all over the world are just a few mouse clicks away. There are many people out there that are lost and seeking for the truth.  Many have questions about the Christian faith, what we believe and why we believe and how to live the Christian life. Questions like, why is Jesus the only way to salvation and to heaven, and  why do Christians believe that the Bible is the infallible and true word of God? What is the difference between Jesus or Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna and other spiritual philosophies?  What is the difference between Christianity and Islam or any other religion, do we not all believe in the same God? Are there not many path that lead to everlasting life and eternity besides Jesus?

These and many other questions are asked every day by people who are truly seeking. What a great opportunity for us as believers to share our faith with them. I believe that if we study the word of God and present the gospel in its purest form, that many will see that the gospel is very simple. God has made salvation available for those who want it and there are no ladders to climb, nirvana’s to reach or fences to break down.

The difference between Christianity and other religions is that in religion man is trying to reach up to God. All religions are man centered. Christianity is quite the opposite, God reaches down to fallen man and that is much easier for me to comprehend than working for my salvation and proofing myself to God, never knowing if I will ever be good enough. Christians are not perfect or better people than anybody else, Christians are sinners that have been forgiven because they have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Heaven is not full of good people, heaven is full of forgiven people.

God by His mercy and His grace has reconciled us to Him through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and shed blood on the cross. The gospel means good news and we as Christians have good news to share: God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

That is the good news, Jesus who knew no sin was made sin for us. Unfortunately, there are those on the same internet sites that are proclaiming to be Christians, complicating the word of God. They have perverted the gospel, twisted the truth and compromised the word of God. They are false teachers, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, drawing people into their destructive heresies. They are misleading many onto the broad road that leads to destruction, missing the narrow gate. They pose as wise men, fulfilling their desires of the flesh and prey on the weak. Followers and disciples of Christ have an obligation to warn those who are being led astray and to rebuke those who teach the way of Balaam. The internet can be used for the furthering of the kingdom in a mighty way, but as we all know it also can be used to destroy and kill. Satan is not sleeping, he is never-resting, neither should we. He knows his time is coming to an end and he is trying to keep as many as possible away from the truth. This is where I think we as true and genuine believers can make a difference.

We may not be perfect, but we can be honest and share the truth so that many can be saved and find the true and simple way which is only through Jesus Christ. God is not the author of confusion and if we proclaim and teach the word for what it is and not make it into what it is not, chance are that people will listen. Simply teach the word simply. The gospel is foolishness to the world. The gospel is simple, lets us keep it simple and explain the gospel in a simple unadulterated way. Let us have the heart of God, loving one another and care for each other. Let us proclaim the truth to the world as God desires it, Simply.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1Cr 1:18

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 1Cr 1:21

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1Cr 1:25-31

The world hates you…


If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18, 19

As Christians i.e. followers and disciples of Jesus we  are to be separated from the things of the world. We are in this world but not of this world. If we are genuine believers we should separate ourselves from many things that this world has to offer, we are not to participate in the things that the world seeks after. Jesus said: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Mat 6:33.

The apostle John in his second letter warned the Churches of the danger to compromise with the world: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 2John 2:15, 16.

It was pride that caused Lucifer to fall from heaven, (Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he used those three to tempt Jesus to compromise and to worship him. Jesus did not give into those temptations. Jesus answered all three temptations with scripture, “It is written”.  Satan is the ruler of this world and Jesus did not deny that, but He did not sub-come the schemes of the devil. Just as he tempted Jesus, so is he tempting people all over the world today. Satan really has no reasons to change his tactics, he knows mankind too well and knows how to keep the world in his grip. If it is not broken, why fix it? As Christians we have to be very careful not to buy into the deceptiveness of the world.

We need to discern the times and stand up against the wiles of the wicked one. We need to put on the whole armor of protection. (Eph 6). Everyday we are getting bombarded with all kinds of temptations, just turn on your TV.  Everyday we have to decide, do I wanna serve God or do I want to serve the world?  The problem is that the closer we want to be with God, the more Satan attempts to make us fall. Genuine believers have a bulls-eye painted on their chest. Satan could care less about the backsliders or lukewarm Christians, they have already compromised with the world sitting on the fence, one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom.

I am not writing this to criticize others, I am including myself in this and I once walked in the things of the world just as most of you have. When I surrendered my life to Jesus, and ask for His forgiveness, my mind was changed, I looked at things differently. I repented, which means a “change of mind”.  Things that I used to do, just like everybody else, not even thinking that it is wrong in the eyes of God. Looking back now, most of the stuff I did was unfruitful, unimportant and a waste of time.  Seeking after the things of the world never satisfied and I was striving after the wind as the wise King Solomon said. Sin may satisfy for a while and there certain pleasure in it, the Bible does not deny that, but in the end it stings. Living after the world is traveling on the broad road that leads to destruction, as Jesus said, “many will enter into it”. Traveling down the road of destruction has caused people all kinds of pain, just look at the world, it is so broken and lost, there seems to be no way out. Society is on a moral decline and is sinking deeper and deeper into it.

Paul wrote this:  “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Rom 1:28-32. 

Sounds just like the world today, doesn’t it?  This last part of the verse, “that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Do we as believers approve of these things, or have we become silent, not speaking out against these things?  There are many that have the attitude of “live and let live” like it’s ok, let’s just not ruffle any feathers. I assure you if we as Christians stand up for the truth and  the things of God  not giving in to the world standards and it’s beliefs, we as people and children of God will suffer persecution, ridicule, mocking and genuine hatred. Just as Jesus said, the world loves its own, but they will hate us if we stand up and speak up.

As disciple of Christ we have to choose, either the narrow gate or the broad road that leads to destruction. Compromising and giving into the world is dangerous and can lead to a broken fellowship with God. Jesus had John write seven letters to the churches, Jesus rebuked all of them to a degree, except the church of Philadelphia. These seven churches were actual churches in then Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) but they were also representative of the churches throughout the church age. I also believe that these seven churches represent different believers, some have compromised, some have mingled with the world and some have become lukewarm. I think that Jesus had a purpose for the letters for us today, we need to examine ourselves if we are truly in the faith and are indeed seeking after the kingdom and not the world.

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2Cr 13:5

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Mat 7:13, 14

If the world calls us narrow-minded, good, it is better to be narrow-minded in the things of God, rather than being on the broad and dark road that will lead to certain destruction in a person’s life.

For unto us a Child is born…


“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6, 7 

“For unto us a child is born” This glorious prophecy of the birth of the Messiah reminds Israel that the victory bringing Messiah would be a man. The Messiah could have been an angel. The Messiah could have been God without humanity. Neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. The Child had to be born.

“Unto us a Child is given” This Child would be a man, but more than a man. He is also the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. Theoretically, the Messiah didn’t have to be God. He might have been a sinless angel, or merely a perfect man like Adam. Neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. The Son had to be given.

“And the government will be on His shoulder” Ultimately, this will be fulfilled in the Millennium, when Jesus Christ will rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords ( Revelation 20:4-6, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 65:17-25, Zechariah 14:6-21.) We are still waiting for the ultimate fulfillment of this promise.

“His name will be called”  This is not be mistaken as the literal names of the Messiah. Instead, these are aspects of His character, they describe who He is and what He has come to do.
The Messiah is “Wonderful” The glory of who He is and what He has done for us should fill us with awe and wonder. No one can really look at Jesus, know Him, and be bored. He is “Wonderful” and will fill our heart and minds with amazement.

The Messiah is our “Counselor”  Jesus is the One fit to guide our lives, and should be the Christian’s immediate resource as a counselor. Jesus can help us with our problems. He may use the presence and the words of another Christian to do it, but Jesus is our “Counselor”

The Messiah is “Mighty God” The God of all creation and glory, the Lord who reigns in heaven, the One worthy of our worship and praise.

The Messiah is the “Everlasting Father” The idea in these Hebrew words is that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the Creator Himself. It does not mean that Jesus Himself is the Person of the Father in the Trinity.

The Messiah is the “Prince of Peace” He is the One who makes peace, especially between God and man.

From His names and character/attributes, verse 7 goes farther into the future, into the millennial reign of Christ.

“Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end” The reign of the Messiah will not last merely 1,000 years, though the millennium is a special aspect of His reign. There will be no end to the reign of the Messiah, and He will rule for all eternity.

“Upon the throne of David” Jesus will rule on David’s throne, and over his kingdom that is Israel. This is a fulfillment of God’s great covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7.

Jesus Christ can be the Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace for everyone now. One day, these offices will be imposed upon the world. For now, they are real for those who receive Jesus and submit to Him. Have you surrendered your life to Him? Jesus is coming again to set up His kingdom here on earth. At His first coming, He came as the Passover lamb, at His second coming, He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Which one would you rather meet, the lamb or the Lion? Jesus will come in judgment, He will judge the world in righteousness, those who rejected Him will face judgment at the great white throne of God. Do you think that you can face God and defend your life before Him? Those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will not face the great white throne judgment. Believers in Christ have the imputed righteousness of Christ and God the Father will not look upon their sins, they are forgotten as far as the east is from the west.

If you are not sure if you go to heaven or hell, call upon Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart, He will forgive you, no matter how bad you may think you are. The only unpardonable sin is to reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He laid down His life for you, so that you can have eternal life and be with God forever. It is a choice everyone has to make, whether they believe it or not. God is real and death is real, physical death will come to all, no one is excluded. Are you sure that there is nothing after you die? How can you be sure? Jesus has told us of the afterlife, what happens to those who reject God and it is not a pretty picture, eternal separation from God.

Eternity is a long time. I hope and pray if you have not received Jesus into your heart, stop and think, you may be young at this time, healthy, but things change real fast, sooner than you know you will look back at your life wondering, where did it go? Our spirit will not die, the decision whether to follow Jesus or not can have dire consequences, once a person dies without Jesus, it is too late. Think about it.

“For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2Cr 6:2

Come as you are


What does it mean when Christians say “Come as you are?”  Many of the unbelievers  have the wrong notion thinking that they have to change their habits and lifestyle etc. before they can come to Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness.  They think, well I am an alcoholic or a drug user, I am angry or I have too many issues. They think that Jesus will not receive them in their current condition and that they need to clean up their act before asking Jesus for help and forgiveness.  Jesus does not see it that way. He had dinner with sinners. He sought out the sinners,  just look at the disciples, they were sinners just like everybody else.  He chose them in their current  sinful condition.

Look at the woman who was caught in the act of adultery or the Samaritan woman at the well who had 5 husbands and was living now with a her boyfriend. He did not condemn them, He ministered and reached out to them in their current sinful condition. There are many more examples of Jesus reaching out to the lost, something the religious leaders of the time did not. The religious leaders looked on the outside and not at the heart. They judged purely on appearance, and instead of welcoming them, they cast them out. 

Many Churches today cast out people simply by their appearance which is a shame and not very “Christ-like”.  In the late 60’s and early 70’s many of the Hippies came to faith in Christ and they came to a little country church in Santa Ana Ca. They were long-haired “dirty looking” people and not what some might expect coming to church on a Sunday morning. It was small church, and the Pastor was Chuck Smith. The small congregation at the time was upset with Pastor Chuck because they had just installed new carpeting and these long-haired hippies were messing up the carpet. Pastor Chuck assured the complaining members of the Church that he would take care of it. They sensed victory and thought that Pastor Chuck Smith would just cast them out.

Little did they know, when they saw Pastor Chuck  ripping out the carpet and welcomed the hippies with open arms. They came by the thousands and were called “Jesus people” or “Jesus Freaks”. The church known as Calvary Chapel has grown into a fellowship of over 2000 churches world-wide. Because of one man who did not look upon the outside, many of these broken people who had believed the lie that peace and happiness can be found in sex, drugs and Rock’n Roll, found true peace, happiness and salvation in Jesus Christ. He transformed a generation. Jesus never told anybody, “clean up your act and then come back to me”,  He received them just as the were.  Jesus is the One that transforms lives, He changes people. There are millions of testimonies around the world of transformed lives.  Drug addicts, alcoholics, broken people,  you name it, they all have a testimony and story to tell about how Jesus changed them when they surrendered their lives to Him.

That’s what we need to remember when witnessing to unbelievers, no matter what their condition is, no matter what they have done, no matter how grave the sin,  Jesus wants to forgive them and save them from a life of sin that leads into destruction and eternal damnation. Jesus wants them to “Come as they are”.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”Mat 11:28-30

The Trinity; is it biblical?


The doctrine of the Trinity, simply stated, is as follows: The Bible teaches that there is one eternal God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the only God that exists. However, within the nature of this one God are three persons, or three centers of consciousness – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three Persons are co-equal and co-eternal. They are also distinguishable or distinct from one another. These three distinct Persons are the one God. Everything that is true about God is true about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While the Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God it is wrong to say that God is the Father, God is the Son, or God is the Spirit. God’s nature consists of three distinct Persons. Therefore it is incorrect to limit God to one particular member of the Trinity.

We find all three members of the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus.

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. Mat 3:16, 17
 
God the Father acknowledged God the Son, while God the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus.
The doctrine of the Trinity was not clearly formulated until after the New Testament was written. However there are anticipations of the doctrine in the Old Testament. A hint of the doctrine of the Trinity can be found in the first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen 1:1

The Hebrew word for God is Elohim. Elohim is a plural noun but it is used here with a singular verb bara. In the remainder of the Old Testament, when Elohim speaks of the true God, it is always used with a singular verb. The conclusion to be drawn is that in some sense God is both singular and plural. The doctrine of the Trinity states this – within the nature of the one God there are three eternal persons. We find a further hint of the Trinity in Genesis 1

“Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” Gen 1:26
 
The phrase “let us” again gives the idea of plurality. The word “Us” cannot refer to angels because angels do not create.
Therefore, in the first chapter of the Bible we have a hint of the Trinity with the plural title Elohim used with a singular verb and God speaking and saying, “Let Us.”

The words “Let Us” is used elsewhere of God speaking in Genesis. After Adam and Eve sinned the Bible records.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Gen 3:22

At the incident at the Tower of Babel we read God saying.
“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” Gen 11:7
 
Isaiah the prophet recorded God saying.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me” Isaiah 6:8

There is one statement in the Old Testament that gives a fairly clear indication of the Trinity.
“Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there. “And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit. This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:16, 17
 
In verse sixteen, God the Son is speaking. He identifies the Father [the Sovereign Lord] and His Spirit as having sent Him. In the next verse, the Son is clearly spoken of as the Lord. Consequently these verses identify three distinct Persons who are God without denying the fact there is only one God.

The concept of the trinity is clearly taught in the Bible, there are many more verses in the OT and of course in the NT where the trinity is more explained. People that try to deny the triune nature of God, do so to diminish Jesus and His deity. The baptism of Jesus mentions all three, Father Son and Holy Spirit. When Thomas who was doubting that Jesus had risen wanted proof. Jesus appeared to him: “Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:27, 28
 
Thomas clearly calls Jesus God. In Acts we find Peter calling the Holy Spirit God when he confronted Ananias about his deceit: “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3, 4
 
Peter clearly calls the Holy Spirit God. There is one more example, in the account of Steven who was the first martyr we read this:  “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Acts 7:56, 57
 
Here we can clearly see that the Holy Spirit was indwelling Stephen, God the Father on the throne and Jesus standing on the right side of the throne to receive Stephen.

The trinity or triune nature of God is clearly taught in the Bible and was not made up later as some claim, there are some religions like Islam, Cults and even some Christian denominations who would deny the trinity. I personally can not see why anybody would or can deny the trinity given the overwhelming evidence in the Bible about the triune nature of God.

Thankfulness to God


I think that we as believers in Christ worry too much about what God thinks of us or how He looks at us. We read and study the Bible, we fellowship at Church, we are witnessing, helping others who are in need and whatever else we might do for the furthering of His kingdom. All these things are not bad in itself, we as believers should do them. However, so many Christians are thinking and wondering each and every day how they can please God.

The Bible clearly teaches that we cannot please God on our own by our good works or deeds. Our own righteousness won’t get us very far. Unfortunately  many believers are not resting in the finished work of Christ on their behalf, they labor to either please God or to appease Him. The good news is that God has done for us what we were not able to do ourselves. By His grace He has forgiven us of our sins through faith in His Son who died for us on the cross at Calvary.

Jesus Christ the Son was the only One that was pleasing to God the Father. Through Jesus we have received the reconciliation, and we are at peace with God, we are not appointed unto the wrath. God has imputed the righteousness of Christ onto all of those who believe in Him by faith. As believers in Jesus we have nothing to worry about, God does not remember any of our sins. They are forgotten as far as the East is from the West. The blood of Jesus has washed and cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself so that we do not have to face judgment on the day when God will judge the world. So, how can we please God in our daily lives, if we cannot do it through works or good deeds?  I think God would be very pleased if we as believers thank Him for everything that He has done for us, He has provided a substitute for us and He has promised us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Eternal life is definitely something to be greatly thankful for.

Everyday God blesses us and He is so good, that He even blesses those who reject Him. Everyday the sun rises,  giving light and warmth to all. He sends the rain upon the land. He gives the air that we breathe, He provides food, He clothes and cares for us. There are so many blessings that we receive everyday that probably most of them go unrecognized. Let us be thankful to God as His children everyday, thanking Him for His goodness, His love and His grace. Giving thanks is pleasing to God. Giving thanks shows gratitude.

A thankful heart is a right heart in the eyes of God. I thank You Father for everything, I am truly blessed and I am so thankful that You have transformed my life. I am what I am, but I am not what I used to be. Thank You for your mercy and Your grace, thank You Father for giving us your Son, Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Faith; a gift of God


faithNow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1

Many people claim to have faith, faith in something or someone, but what is faith from a biblical perspective? Can faith be proven or can it be seen? God’s word says,  that the just shall live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.  Can a Christian prove his or her faith to an unbelieving world and how do we explain faith? Paul in writing to the church in Corinth writes: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1Cr 2:14 

Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus who came to Him at night said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 

Jesus is saying,  that without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life, there is no way for them to know God or to see things from a spiritual heavenly view. Unbelievers are blind to the things pertaining to God and His kingdom,  they cannot see beyond the human realm which the Bible calls the flesh. They go by their instincts, feelings and emotion that are purely  from a human level and not a divine level.

Most people live by what they can see touch or smell and they disregard faith as something childish or foolishness. Many Atheist are very outspoken these days about people of faith, especially the Christian faith. I like what Norman Geisler once said in his book: “I do not have enough faith to be an Atheist.” What is this faith within the believer, is it something that can be learned or can be earned by some kind of practice or ritual? Where does this faith come from?  Christians walk by faith, a faith that was not earned or attained. 

I believe that faith is a gift of God just as salvation is a free gift of God for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Before anybody was a true believer and disciple of Christ, they walked in darkness just as everybody else. I came to Christ pretty late in life, at the age of 46 years. What took me so long, and why wasn’t I a believer much earlier in my life? Certainly I had heard about Jesus, and that He died on the cross for my sins.  I heard about His resurrection from the dead and that He promised eternal life to those who would believe and follow Him. I’m pretty sure that most people know John 3:16

It seems that knowing about Jesus and reading about Jesus is not enough. There are many people saying: “I think He was a good man and a great teacher.”  They put Him in the same category as Buddha, Krishna and others.  And that is as far as most people will go,  they refuse to come any closer towards the truth of God that would set them free. Why is there such hostility towards Christ?  Why would people not receive Christ by faith and the forgiveness of their sins by repenting of their former ways?  God’s promise is  forgiveness and eternal life. Could it be because there is no faith nor hope in them,  unless God draws them?  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8  
 
How come that some received grace and some not?  Did God predestined some to be saved and some not?  I do not believe that God has chosen some unto salvation and some to hell for eternity (although He knows in His foreknowledge who would come to Him and who not).  People have a free will to choose, and that those who reach out to God asking Him for forgiveness will be saved by His grace.  I can only go from my experience,  how I came to the Lord.  I can’t speak for others, everybody has their own unique story.  I’m not going into a long-winded story, but I had a severe alcohol problem, and my life was going downhill real fast.  I would go on binges days upon days drinking until I would be sick. I took me about a week to get better after these binges and a couple of weeks to get back to drinking resulting in another collapse. Well, long story short, one Sunday morning, May 14th 2006 to be precise, I hit rock bottom. I sat on my patio chair feeling pretty lousy and I remember as if it were today, I cried out to God saying, “please help me, I don’t want to be like this anymore, please God help me I am sorry.” From that moment on, my life completely changed, I was still feeling sick, but something happened, something I can’t fully explain. God took the desire of drinking away and I have not had a drink or desire to have a drink one ever since. 

That day God changed me, He transformed my life. There used to be twelve packs of beer in my car and Ozzy on my radio. That all changed that day,  I went and bought a Bible. Not knowing anything about which translation to get, the first Bible I bought was a NASB version. I’m using the NKJV now, but have others as well to get a better flavor on some passages. I was reading everyday and because I didn’t work at that time and spent all day and night reading God’s word. Looking back, I know that the moment I cried out to God that He saved me from a life of destruction, and the transformation within me started.

Did I have true faith at that early stage? To be honest I don’t know. What I do know is that reading the word of God brought me closer and closer to Him. I had a change of mind which came through His word. His word ministered to me. Reading the Bible and studying it, showed me without a doubt that I was reading the truth and that God had a wonderful plan for my life.  Faith came by reading the word of God just as it say’s it in the Bible. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom10:17
 
Today,  I have absolute faith in God. It is not a “blind faith” as many atheist like to call it. I know in my heart that God is the truth and that He is faithful. He keeps His promises, and one day I will see Him face to face. Can I prove faith to an unbeliever?  Maybe not, but I believe that faith can be shown by the conduct and behaviors of  Christians in the world.  Genuine faith brings forth good fruit.

Many will laugh at believers and mock them, but the genuine believers have a blessed hope of salvation and eternal life. They have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, something the unbeliever searches for but will not find apart from God.  Jesus explained why many will resist Him and fight tooth and nails against His Lordship: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:16-20

The unbelievers are already condemned because they do not want to acknowledge God.  Many want to keep living in darkness, they want to live a life without being accountable to anyone. They love the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.

Hope


In 1957 Dr. Richter of John Hopkins Medical School did an experiment on laboratory rats. He placed a few rats in a cylinder filled with water and placed the rats into the water. Frantically the rats were trying to stay afloat, resulting in them drowning within a few minutes. The next day Dr. Richter placed some more rats into the water, he waited just before they started drowning, and pulled them out of the water for just a few moments, he placed them back into the water, this time the rats stayed afloat for more than three days. Why? Because they had hope, they were rescued once before from certain death by drowning.

The rats had hope, a savior in the form of a hand. It was hope that made them continue to stay above the water, waiting for the hand to once again pull them to safety. Hope is something that we as Christians have, hope of eternal life because of a Savior Who saved us from drowning and certain death. Hope is a beautiful thing and as Christians we have a sure hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom 5:1-5

As Christians, we are to live by faith, not sight, feelings or emotions, we know that Christ died for us, cleansed us from all sin and gave us eternal life through faith. That is a faith and hope that the heathens don’t have. We as believers have the Holy Spirit within us who testifies to us of this truth. We can face any kind of trial, tribulations and hardships, knowing that God will uphold us by the power of His Spirit. As long as we abide in Christ and seek His wisdom, guidance and direction for our daily life we have a hope, a blessed hope that will not disappoint. God has promised the believers to never leave them nor forsake them. Joshua 1:5

We are never alone, in times of despair, He is there, in times of trouble, He is there, in times of tribulations, He is there to lift us up and pulls us out of the water. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” 1Th 2:19

Unlike the first batch of rats that drowned fanatically without hope, so will the people who reject Christ drown in the judgment of God, unlike the Christians who were saved by the mighty hand of God, these unbelievers have no hope of eternal life. Christ has given us a hope and peace that surpasses all understanding, the world is frantic, almost hopeless, they are drowning and most don’t even know it. It is my hope and prayer that we as believers would feel the need to pray for the lost. God does not want anybody to perish but come to repentance. Let us be good witnesses and tell them about the hope that we as believers have. This world as we know will come to an end, things will change dramatically in the very near future. The Bible tells us what is going to happen, we have the comfort of God’s word for the believer, let us warn people of the danger to come and save those who want to listen to us from drowning and certain death, (spiritual death).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1Peter 1:3-5

The Muslim Dilemma


As Christians we have many opportunities to come in contact with Muslims, maybe at Starbucks, the grocery store or at work. It is not very tough these days to meet them. They are our neighbors, colleagues and fellow citizen of this great nation. Because so many people from different parts of the world with various backgrounds and different beliefs have come to this country,  makes it much easier for us to share what we believe as Christians. We don’t necessarily have to travel abroad on mission trips. I do respect and admire those who do have the calling of God to go out into the world. God has brought many of them right here to America, from Europe, China, Asia and of course the Middle East.  In the past I had plenty of conversations with Muslims, some of them were moderates almost secular and some of them very religious following the Quran. It is always exiting and interesting to me, starting up a conversation about God and faith.

I like to share my faith when the opportunity arises, and as Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Gentiles).  Rom 1:16.

In the past I  have tried to show them that the Bible is the true word of God versus the Quran. That Jesus was and is more than just a prophet of God.  But those conversation never really went anywhere. Most Muslims have made up there mind that the Bible is corrupted and the Quran is the true book and that Muhammad  is the greatest prophet of God.  Most of these conversations or debates just go back and forth without any real outcome or a changed mind on either side. I believe that we have to go to the fundamentals, one of them is the subject of a just God.

Asking Muslims about Allah and how they view him, they will answer most likely with that Allah is just. Allah is a just god. My second question to them is, I am a sinner and you are a sinner, both of us will die and one day and stand before God to face judgment. If Allah is just, how do you as a Muslim have assurance to make into paradise?  If Allah is a just god, he has to punish sin, he cannot let sin go unpunished.

Most likely the answer is that Allah is also merciful. That is what Muslims believe. Allah is just and at the same time merciful.  If sin demands justice i.e. the punishment for the offense, how can Allah be just and at the time be merciful. If Allah is just and merciful at the same time, would he not compromise being just? 

It would be like a criminal found guilty before the jury for his crime and the judge saying, well I feel really good this morning, I will let you off the hook. That judge would not be just. He would have compromised justice. Some may argue that they can be merciful and just let someone go. That is a human perspective and many people may think that way, but none of them or any of us for that matter know true righteousness. If Allah is a just god, he cannot be just and merciful at the same time. And that in my view is a dilemma for the Muslims.

A dilemma, because Muslims cannot be sure if they are good enough to make it into paradise. There is no loving relationship with Allah. So they try to weigh out the good and bad they have done, in hope that Allah will be merciful and let them into Paradise.

That is another reason that we see so many suicide bombers. For them according to the radical Islamist, it’s a short cut and assured entry into paradise where they will be welcomed by 72 virgins.

Do Christians have the same dilemma as the Muslims? The Bible clearly teaches the God is just and cannot let sin go unpunished. God is also perfect in His Holiness and a perfect God cannot compromise His justness. The Bible declares that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have offended God, no matter who we are or from where we are, we all have fallen short i.e. missed the mark. How can God be appeased? How can we get a right standing before Almighty God?

The Bible says that we cannot come before God and stand on our own righteousness or by our works. The Bible also says that the law cannot make us righteous and save us from the wrath of God. What are we to do, how can we escape the punishment for our sins?  May I say, nothing? God has provided a way out, and that way is Jesus Christ.

God in His foreknowledge has determined long ago before the foundation of the world that He would send His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ is the propitiation i.e. satisfaction or appeasement for our sins.  Jesus who knew no sin became sin for the sinners. He suffered on the cross and paid the penalty that we deserved as sinners with His blood.  Justice was served without God compromising His justness, and because the penalty for the sin of the world was paid in Christ, God by His grace showed mercy to those who will believe by faith in His Son Jesus. God loves us so much that He provided, the unblemished passover lamb, the only acceptable sacrifice and payment for fallen man.

The God of the Bible YHWH is truly just and merciful without compromising His perfect Holiness. For a Christian there is no dilemma, God is Holy,  just and merciful to those who believe in His Son and His finished work on the cross.

The Islamic faith however has a dilemma, and if you are a Muslim, you have to ask yourself this question: How can Allah be just and at the same time be merciful? Do I have assurance of eternal life?

“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1Peter 1;20, 21

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Eph 1:3-6

The Christian Dilemma


“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…Phl 1:27

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Phl 2:1, 2

When Paul made these statement to the Church in Philippi, division and false teaching had already crept into the churches. Paul exhorted the believers to be like-minded and to be of one spirit and of one mind. Just as in the past, we see much division in the body of Christ today. We have denominations that vary in doctrine i.e. teachings. Some are so liberal that they deny the inerrancy of the scriptures. Pastors today preach a seeker friendly message from the pulpit in order not to offend anybody.

Many are driven by the prosperity gospel, thinking God is a ATM machine and others have embraced the “green gospel”.  Paul and the other apostles had to deal with a lot of false teachers, deceivers and heretics. Looking at Christianity today around the world, the picture is not much different. Some churches have completely departed from the faith, denying sin, denying the deity of Christ His blood sacrifice on the cross and they do not want to talk about hell at all. The goal is to make people comfortable and cozy by preaching a watered down gospel, which really is no gospel at all.

I heard someone say once that if John Wesley, who founded the Methodist church, would preach a sermon today,  he would be kicked out of his own church. There are so many divisions within the church today that it can get very confusing to the unbelievers who may be seeking God and instead are getting bombarded with different doctrines. How is it that if we all read the same book, come up with so many different opinions, views and teachings? Are we not suppose to have the same Holy Spirit living within us and teachings us all the same truth? How is it that some that call themselves Christians come up with false teachings, taking scriptures and twisting them to fit their own theology?

Could it be that many that claim to be Christians never really study the Bible and rather listen with itching ears what others teach? They follow men rather than the word of God. They call themselves Calvinist, Armenians, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and the list goes on and on. Every one of them claims to have the truth, but obviously are not of the same mind and spirit as Paul exhorted us to be. The Bible is the infallible word of God and the absolute truth, by which we must abide. It is the responsibility of every believer to study the Bible and to know the word, so that they would not listen to false teachings or getting trapped into legalism.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2Timothy 2:15

Paul is making it very clear, we as believers need to study the word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth and if we do we will not listen to false doctrine. We who know the word will not be lead astray from the truth and we will have the knowledge to defend the truth against those who are contrary to the teaching of the Bible.  The institution of the Roman Catholic Church kept the people in darkness for over 1100 years, telling the people that they can not understand the Bible and that they need to be taught by the priest, rather than reading and learning for themselves. Until today, most Roman Catholics don’t know the Bible.

Many believers in other denominational churches are in the same boat, because they are not getting encouraged by their pastors to read and study the Bible. I believe that knowing the word of God, by studying and attending a Bible believing and teaching church is crucial to every believer. If not, many that confess to be Christian can easily be drawn into false teachings and liberal views and there is a  danger to fall into the hands of a cult or legalistic oriented church. These false fellowships are all over the place and many are drawn to these movements like the Toronto blessings, the Holy laughter movement, the emergent church headed by Brian McLaren and Rob Bell and the many seeker friendly, make me feel good churches. The Christian dilemma is that we look divided, striving with one another and are not of the same mind and spirit. To the outsider, the churches do appear to be divided and striving against each other.

That is not what the Bible teaches. We as believers are the body with Christ being the head of His church. We are to follow Christ and His teachings and not the teachings of men. Do we trust and believe in Men or do we put our faith and trust solely in Christ Jesus?

“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1Cr 1:11-13

Just as in Paul’s days, today we have many that follow certain men and their teachings rather than being one and all in Christ. Christ is all-sufficient and we do not need anybody to lead us into the truth. God has given us His truth and it is not hidden or in secret for some select people. God wants us to know the truth and it is revealed in His word. Christians, I exhort you to read and study God’s word, the word of truth.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31, 32

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