This was a very difficult testimony for me to watch, as it is so very similar to my own conversion story. My greatest fear is that there are so many more people sitting in church wearing themselves out, unregenerate, and unaware of the eternal consequences. The lie that saying a quick prayer can get you out of hell, that you can earn your way into heaven by saying that prayer, has fooled millions. Satan is so deceptive, he found a way to lull the world into this deception. Between this and evolution is it any wonder that we are seeing such a great falling away in the church?
I hope Charo’s testimony will be as much a blessing to you all, friends, as it was to me.
I’ve been wanted to write about this for a while now, as much as salvation is confused by charlatans and wolves in the church, prayer is as well. It’s all packaged together in the same lie, that to get saved all you have to do is say the sinner’s prayer, then everything in your life will be perfect. You’ll be healthy, wealthy, and full of joy! What a selling pitch, I would suggest these pastors missed their marks as car salesmen but they’re making a bundle already.
This is disturbing, as we see statistics showing as many people leaving charismatic churches as there are coming in. Once the people coming in realize that their financial troubles never went away, their health is still bad, their marriage is still falling apart, they have no peace or joy, they leave. The sad part is that most of those disenfranchised by the lies peddled in modern churches leave the faith altogether, most becoming agnostics.
How can this be, when the truth is so clear in the Word of God? Most of these churches do not push scriptural knowledge, the pastors come in on Sunday with one or two short verses and a bunch of feel-good mush in between. This is why the music is so important, you have to pump the music and get the masses to an emotional state. Then you scratch their itching ears with personal stories, and everyone goes home feeling happy right? That’s not what the statistics show.
When you spend hours each week praying for more money, bigger and better stuff, adoration from your spouse and children, respect from your family and coworkers, and yet nothing changes, you begin to wonder. If anyone is reading this right now and finds themselves in this very discouraging place let me give you one scripture that destroys the ‘name it and claim it’ TV evangelistic philosophy.
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
You see, these men are promising things that they have no authority to offer. When they don’t come true, when you stay poor and sick, they tell you it’s because you don’t have enough faith. Thus, they hang heavy burdens on you, burdens they are unwilling to help carry. Christ said His yoke is not heavy.
Jesus gave us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6: 9-13, not once does He suggest to His disciples that they should name it and claim it. He gives another example when He, Himself, is praying to the Father before His crucifixion. He says Your will, not mine. Is this what is being taught? Pray for Gods will, even if it means pain, suffering, or death? What does Paul tell us, that when he prayed for the thorn in his flesh to go away it did? Did he pray for health and wealth? Just the opposite, in fact, he tells us that he thanked God for his many afflictions, and worked with his hands to provide for himself rather then taking money from believers.
Friends, please do not be fooled by the promise of wealth, or health. We are promised in the Bible healing, when our bodies are glofied and we live in a sinless world with no curse. There are those who God chooses to heal, but it’s for His glory not some egomaniac on TV. Pray for the sick, pray for yourself when you are sick, there’s nothing wrong with that, unless you hope to heal someone so you can look spiritual. God searches the heart of man. It always comes back to the heart.
If you’ve been told that saying a quick prayer when you were a teenager was a get out of hell free card, let me implore you…work through your salvation through fear and trembling. Where there is a conversion there is evidence of that conversion. If you have been saved you will bear fruit, you will HATE the sin you use to love. You will LOVE the God you use to ignore. A prayer can not save you. You’re confidence in that prayer can not save you. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Acts 8 gives us another story of conversion as an example of what salvation is. Grace alone. Faith alone. Christ alone.
Today, in keeping with the series of testimonials, I want to give a short outline of another conversion story we see in Acts. Last week we talked about the conversion of Saul into Paul, this week we’re going to talk about The Ethiopian man. We don’t know much about him, but we know he was searching for answers in Isaiah when the Spirit led Philip to go and talk to him.
As we learned when we went through Sauls conversion, repentence and a change of heart happen when salvation comes. In these verses we see the biblical docterine that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We also see what we, as believers, need to do to become fishers of men. When someone is seeking salvation we must preach Christ, and Christ crucified. Once Phillip had done this, interestingly enough using the Old Testment alone, the Ethiopian was saved.
There is so much confusion over salvation, and the burden on my heart is to show what conversion is, and isn’t. There is no ‘sinners prayer’ in Sauls conversion or the Ethiopians. Nor did either of these men come to salvation because of a prayer. It was through expounding the Word, and finding a clear understanding there in. Through Gad’s great grace salvation has been offered, with faith alone we can now be saved, once we put that faith in Christ, and Christ alone, the one and only Messiah. To be saved we must have faith, once salvation comes and conversion takes place, there will be evidence of that change.
Another important thing we see here is that Phillip wanted to make sure, before baptism, that the Ethiopian had faith in the right person. Willy nilly baptising folks to gain numbers on the books, and bottoms in the seats, is not what we see here. If Christ is our example all else fades away, including ‘church building’.
As always friends, be good Boreans, study, pray, and use the full counsel of God’s Word.
I had heard for years that this scripture meant that you needed to pray with brothers and sisters in Christ for your prayer to be really effective. When I first learned the context of this verse I felt like the confusion was benign. What did it really hurt that church folk over-romanticized this?
After focusing on this, the longer I thought about it the more concerned it made me. There are two problems with getting this verse wrong. But first, what is it actually about?
The context of this verse is actually church discipline, when someone has backslid, brothers and sisters lovingly need to help pull one another out of sin.
First, you take your brother aside if they won’t listen bring two or three if they still won’t repent you bring them before the church. If they refuse to repent when the matter is shown them the third time, that is when they need to be removed from the congregation. Again, the heart is important, this needs to be done in love with a deep concern for the souls of the congregation and the individual in sin.
So, what’s the big deal about getting this verse wrong? First, suggesting that this verse means Christ is only with us when two or three are gathered is clearly a contradiction of other verses that say God is omnipresent. It also seems to say that we can manipulate God into doing what we want, so long as we say the prayer the right way.
The second and a more concerning point is the church disciple that is neglected. As churches move to watered down gospels, church discipline has disappeared. Due to this, many of the true believers are being hurt by the sinful conduct of false converts. True believers are also being neglected by church leadership, whose responsibility it is to confront sin.
Lastly, we need to remember that God’s Word is holy, it must at all times be treated as such. God’s Word is a light unto our path, let’s not muffle that light! Take the full counsel friends, not twisted scriptures used out of context to make things more comfortable.
“People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye
be like Satan.”
― Paul David Washer
There are many places in the Bible where it warns us to be careful not to take God’s Word out of context. This is no small matter, this is a deep concern.
We are told to be on guard, watchful of the untaught and unstable who will distort to the word. So what happens when the world of unbelieving church goers pick one verse and use it to their advantage? Chaos, confusion, manipulation, and even spiritual death. This, then, is truly a matter we must address. As believers, we’re given the wonderful blessing of the Holy Spirit, who, coming to make His abode within us, will teach us all things. Confusion on God’s Word need not stand, friends. Not when we have the Helper to clarify. Remember, Christ spoke in parables to the unbelieving multitudes, but in private He expounded the parables to his disciples. If we are true followers of Christ, we do not have to remain in darkness as to the truth of God’s Word.
Now that we are in the light we must be wary of false teachers, false preachers, and false gospels. There are men from within our churches who arise speaking perverse things. These men twist the scripture to fit their own desires.
One such scripture that is well known, and well used, is ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’. Whew…well, in that case, I guess we better let our brothers and sisters fall into sin without helping them back up. I guess we better not proclaim the Gospel to the world because in doing so we pronounce judgment over sin. You cannot hear the good news without first understanding there’s bad news.
Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Jesus is speaking here to the people about how they can discern the weather, but do not discern the time they were in. They are not judging for themselves what is right.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul even writes about how the congregation there should have judged one in sin, and how he had already judged the man and given him over to Satan that his spirit might be saved. Those are some stern words, however, Paul is speaking of salvation…is there a greater, or more weighty matter?
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples, he gives many ‘blessed are,’ and ‘woe to them’, then he says…
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which do good to you, what thank have he? For sinners, also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father also is merciful. JUDGE NOT, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:31-37
Whoa…what a minute…did Jesus just tell us to judge not, then in John 7:24 contradict himself? Of course not. So, what happens when we take the full counsel of God?
Matthew 7 Jesus expounds on the point, to further explain what we are being required.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? OR how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother‘s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Are we told here that after we remove the beam from our own eye that we should ignore the speck in our brother’s eye? No, we’re told to work on our own sin so we can see better to help our brothers. This is judging righteous judgment, the command not to judge is referring to hypocritical judgment. Therefore, again, it is so important to take the full scriptures and not cherry pick the ones that fit your own agenda.
In Roman’s 2 Paul writes “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for, in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
So we see this repeated over, and over again. Judge righteously. How? It’s the heart friends, it always comes back to the heart. God is the very one who judges our hearts, He sees why we judge one another. So often we pick the flaws out in others that are actually things we don’t like about ourselves. This is a small example, but it is true also for sin. Men living in the sin of adultery preach the loudest against, as to not appear guilty. This is the sinful type of judgment, to judge others while sinning yourself.
We should first deal with our own sin, confess it, repent of it, ask for forgiveness for it. Then, when God has granted us the strength to overcome that sin, we will see clearly to help others out of it as well. There is no better testimony than to throw down the shackles of sin, not by our strength but through God’s Grace.
As always friends, take the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Be good Bereans, and study to find yourselves approved.
For today’s blog, I asked some folks if they had any questions about Genesis, creation vs. evolution, or the likes. I got back some awesome questions!
The first one was asked by Linda C. (This is the only one I’m going to answer today since my response was so long)
Linda asked why the fruit offering wasn’t as good as the meat offering with Cain and Abel. This is such a fantastic question! It’s always important for us to look towards scripture to interpret scripture. This is even more important in the case of Cain and righteous Abel, seeing how it is the only source we have.
There is a lot in the OT that is simply not explained, or expounded upon, until the NT. As many faithful men throughout the ages have quipped ‘The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is the in the New Testament revealed.’ Like the brass serpent in the wilderness, our Messiah saves us in so many ways, not just from sin, death, and damnation…but also from confusion.
Genesis 4:2-7 tells us that Cain and Abel brought to the Lord their minchah, translated offering. Cains offering was rejected, while Abel’s was accepted. God then warns Cain not
to be angry, but to rule over sin. Was Cains offering rejected because it was fruit and not meat?
Minchah is translated throughout the levitical law as ‘meat offering’. However, there are other words frequently used when referring to sacrifices, such as olah olah, so we cannot come to a decisive conclusion based on a word study if Abel’s offering was accepted simply because it was meat and Cains was not. We do see though, that when Adam and Eve sinned God killed an aminal to cover their sins, giving an example of the sacrificial system and a foreshadowing of the final sacrifice in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is possible that by the point reached with Cain and Abel everyone understood that offerings brought before God needed to be blood sacrifices.
If we were Old Testament believers we could go back and forth for a while, but we are blessed to be in the New Covenant! So this question is cleared up in the NT. Jesus calls Abel righteous in both the gospel of Matthew and Luke. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abel gave his offering by faith. Even repeating that his sacrifice was more excellent than Cains. John, the revelator (try not to sing the song, I bet you can’t do it) not the baptist, also refers to the Cain in his epistle 1 John. He tells us to love one another, not as Cain. He speaks of Cain as a son of Satan and calls his works evil. He hated Abel because he was evil, but his brother was righteous. It always comes down to the heart. God searches the heart.
Cains sacrifice would have been rejected no matter what he had brought. Proverbs 15:8 tells us that God hates the sacrifice of the wicked. Proverbs 21:27 calls the sacrifice of the wicked an abomination. John tells us Cain was wicked, even Cains actions cry out to his wickedness.
This is not just Biblical history, it’s a warning to all who read it. Those who come before the Lord with a wicked heart might fool the righteous, but they will never fool God. We cannot become righteous of our own accord, we must believe that Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, then rose again. We must cry out in repentance of our sins, and becomes slaves to the Lord who bought us out of the chains and bondage to sin. In Pauls letter to Timothy, he reminds him to work through his salvation through fear and trembling. We need to do this, and we also need to remember that the world, just as Cain did, will hate the righteous. Even unto death. They hated Christ and murdered Him, a slave is not greater than it’s master. If they hated Him, they will hate us.
We must, as Christians, take the Bible seriously. How do we know that Cain and Abel even ever existed? Because Jesus Christ verifies this, and the disciples led by the Holy Spirit do as well. What happens if we don’t take Genesis as literal history? Then we have no reason to hold to the Gospel or saving Grace. Why? It was only due to the first Adam sinning that God sent His only begotten Son, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, to atone for all sin. For by one man sin entered the world…you see our entire belief system hinges on Genesis. I can trudge through fossils, data, and more archeological evidence each Monday, but it would all be pointless without one certain agreement, Genesis is history. World history. Our history. Stand firm on the whole counsel of the Word, friends!
This week the book I’ve chosen to review The Autobiography of George Muller. Last week we talked about The Pilgrims Progress, A Review of Pilgrims Progress, and in keeping up with finding older Christian books to edify the church this book follows Muller’s journal through the mid-19th century.
I’ve read this book slowly, like eating Cheesecake Factory desserts, it’s not often that you get something this edifying. I first heard about this book in a Paul Washer clip, HeartCry, were he said this book was the second most influential book of his life. I can see why.
The pages turn through journal entries, this man’s own words, as he walked through his life. He started out as a thief, and a wretched sinner, but where he ended should encourage every believer.
At the time of Muller’s life, street children were decidedly viewed as vermin, as such the dozen or so orphanages in London were only for those children whose parents were wealthy before they died. Muller wanted to do something for these children, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
So he started out a wretch, and his father had clearly lost his patience with his son. He decided to send him to become a minister. At the time, being a man of the cloth was seen as a noble way to make a living. It would provide a living for George, and less worry for dear old dad. However, the many distractions of school life proved to be too much for Georges wild ways. He continued to lie, cheat, and steal…until he had a fortuitous meeting. A young man who showed an apt for good behavior, who was himself backslid and hoping to have fun with George and his friends. On the other hand, George was hoping a friendship with this believer would help calm him down.
He attended a meeting with said friend, found Christ, and never looked back. He knew he couldn’t continue on the path his father had him on. As such he ceased taking any financial assistance from him. This was the beginning of a style of living George Muller would later become quite faithful in, trusting in God.
Muller didn’t trust in God the way we say it, oh you have a cold? Trust in God! No, he refused to take pew rent from his sheep, and instead would trust God to provide his needs. This autobiography follows those moments of trial, and each and every time God provided. Thus each page is a sermon on faith all on it’s own!
So how do orphanages fit in to the story? Muller built them, great orphanages capable of taking hundreds of children, without loans. They waited for every bit of financing to come in before they even began building. As his life continued on God continued to provide all the way down to the bread the children would eat.
If your faith has recently been tried, this is the book for you!