I Never Knew You

Matthew 7:21-23).

1d8ec86ffee4c30a21aaebe0c1193f27_zps7587cdc1

It’s hard to believe but there are a lot of Christians who believe that the good works they are doing will get them into Heaven.  However, Jesus made it clear that this is not the case.  He specifically said that those who get into Heaven are those who do the Father’s will.  It doesn’t matter if you are ministering to the homeless, helping the poor, active in church or your community or distributing literature.  If you are not practising what the Bible teaches you are not right with God.  God wants people who are obedient and whose lives are in harmony with His Word.

Jesus said that those who claim to prophesy and cast out demons in His name also practice evil and that is why they will not enter the kingdom.  They are living in disobedience.  “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9).  Anyone who practices evil or lawlessness does not have the Spirit of Christ in him or her, therefore the Spirit cannot testify to their spirit that they are children of God (Verse 16).  As long as we walk in the flesh, we will not please God.  It doesn’t matter how often we go to church, are involved in ministries or how well we know the Bible, if we are not keeping ourselves unspotted from the world or walking by the Spirit, we will have no part with Christ.

Everyone thought I was living a godly life based on how I was so passionate about serving the Lord in church and in ministry but they never suspected that I was having relations with another church member.  We were both single.  No one knew what we were doing – name withheld

If I hadn’t gotten pregnant, no one would have suspected anything – name withheld

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples.  He went out with the others and preached that people should repent, cast out many demons, and anointed many who were sick with oil and healed them.  However, he turned out to be a thief and would be the one who betray Jesus.  Following Jesus didn’t make Judas a true disciple just as being in church doesn’t make a person a true Christian.  We may be able to fool others but we can’t fool the Lord.  He sees what is on the inside.  He knew the real Judas (John 6:70, 71; 13:11, 21, 26, 27).

Just as Jesus places more importance on right living than on good works, God ranks obedience above sacrifice. When Saul went ahead and made an unauthorized sacrifice to God, Samuel chided him saying, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).  Today, we could ask a similar question.  “Has the Lord as great delight in prophesying, casting out demons and doing wonderful works?  As in turning away from evil and doing His will?  Behold, to obey is better than all of these things. ”

These people were trusting in their works.  They were asking, “Lord, didn’t we do all of these things in Your name?”  What is the point of doing all of these things and not living a godly life?  They are like wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They give the appearance of being Christians, doing good works but in reality they are living in sin.  They are not practising what the Bible teaches.  God would rather have them bear fruit worthy of repentance than bearing fruit to make themselves look good.

This reminds me of when the Israelites asked God, “Why have we fasted and You do not see?  Why have we humbled ourselves and You take no notice?”(Isaiah 58:3, MEV).  Their fasting did not please God.  Why?  It wasn’t the fast He had chosen for them.  “Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your house, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family?” (verse 7, CEB).

Did Jesus ask these people to do all of these things in His name?  Wouldn’t He have preferred if they stopped practising evil and repented?  Instead of serving the Lord, examine your life and see if there are any areas where you haven’t brought yourself completely under His control.  If there is any sin or lifestyle you are holding on to, let it go and let Jesus give you the victory.  Don’t gamble with your eternity. The most terrible words anyone could ever hear are, “Depart from Me.  I never knew you” when they had the opportunity to change.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Advertisements

Two Sabbaths?

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome – 1 John 5:2, 3.

Last Sabbath I read this definition in my Bible’s dictionary:

Sabbath  A holy day of rest and worship (Exodus 20:8).  The seventh day of the week, from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is the Jewish Sabbath.  The first day of the week, or Sunday, became the Christian Sabbath in memory of the day of Jesus’ resurrection (Mark 16:2).  Early Christians “came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7) on the first day of the week.

According to this definition there are two Sabbaths.  Are there indeed two Sabbaths–one for Jews and one for Christians?  Where in the Bible is this distinction made?  According to the Bible the Sabbath existed long before the Jews did.  So, hSabbath6Gsmow could a day be made for people who did not yet exist?  Simple.  And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27).  The word used for man here is anthrōpos which means a human being, male or female.  It is clear from Jesus’ own words that the seventh day Sabbath was made for everyone–not just the Jews.

When God created the Sabbath, He had everyone in mind.  It was supposed to be a day of rest for all of us–Jews and Gentiles. We read in Genesis 2:1-3:  And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Keeping the seventh day Sabbath was so important to God that it was one of His ten moral commandments.  By His own finger, He wrote: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11).

Would Jesus thank His followers for changing the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first?  The Sabbath was created as a memorial to the creation and was written in stone which means that it was never meant to be changed.  The moral law represents God who is unchanging.  It represents Jesus who says He is the Lord of the Sabbath because He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  The fourth commandment is the only one which begins with the word, “remember”.  It was given as a reminder to the Jews who were not practicing Sabbath worship while in bondage in Egypt.  So, now that they were free, they could keep the Sabbath.

As Christians, we are supposed to follow Jesus’ example.  It was His custom to worship or attend the synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).  Paul kept the Sabbath.  If the day had changed to the first day of the week as some claim, why did Paul wait to preach to the Gentiles the next Sabbath instead of preaching to them on the following day?  Acts 13:42:  And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbathOn the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God (Acts 13:42, 44).  And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:4).

Compare Exodus 20:8-11 to: ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Exodus 20:11 is a direct reference to Genesis 2:2, 3.  In Deuteronomy 5:15 is a reminder that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord had delivered them.  As their Deliverer, He was commanding them to keep His Sabbath day holy.  So, we see that the Sabbath reveals God as our Creator and our Redeemer.  Just as God delivered His people from the land of Egypt where they were slaves of the Egyptians, Jesus, delivers us from slavery to sin.

The Sabbath is symbol of restoration, deliverance, liberation.  Many of Jesus’ healings took place on the Sabbath.  It was lawful to do good on the Sabbath.  There is the example where the ruler of the synagogue objected to Jesus healing a woman with an infirmity on the Sabbath, saying, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”Jesus response was, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” Jesus had loosed the woman from her bondage.  He had delivered her from Satan.  The cripple by the pool was healed from an infirmity he had for thirty-eight years.  Jesus said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:5-14).  Jesus was not breaking the Sabbath as some accused Him of doing.  He was doing the Father’s work.  He was healing people of their infirmities and of their sins and delivering them from the enemy.

Some people use Acts 20:7 to support the idea that the Sabbath had changed.  Let’s see what it says in verses 7-12.

Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

This was not a worship service.  The disciples had come together to break bread.
In the Jewish community, to break bread was to share meals.  When the term “breaking bread” is used in the New Testament writings, it is either in context of the Passover Seder, or the weekly community meal (Breaking of Bread the Jewish Understanding
By: Luana Fabri). 

They were in an upper room and Paul was leaving the next day so he had lots to say to them.  This was a farewell meeting.  In fact, he spoke to them until midnight.  No weekly worship service would have lasted that long!  After he revived the young man who had fallen to his death, Paul broke bread and ate then continued talking until daybreak before leaving.  Breaking bread was a regular thing.  In Acts 2:46, 47 we read, So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Some people cite 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 as evidence of Sunday worship.  Paul wrote, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.”  There is no indication here that this was a public meeting. Paul was merely telling the church members to set aside what they have on the first day of the week and to store it up until he comes.  The person was to begin saving early in the week at home so that he or she didn’t have to wait until Paul came to determine how much would be donated.  Paul didn’t want people to still be collecting donations when he arrived.

No one seemed to have told Paul that the Sabbath had changed.  In Antioch in Pisidia, Paul and his company went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down (Acts 13:14). When he and Luke were in Philippi, on the Sabbath day they went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made and sat down and spoke to the women who met there (Acts 16:13).  One of them was Lydia, the first European convert to the Christian faith (verse 14).  In Acts 18:4, Paul reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. Paul was a Christian who was keeping the Sabbath of the Lord his God holy.

Roman Catholic and Protestant churches admit that there is no scriptural evidence of a Sabbath change.  Read their confessions here.

The commandments are mentioned after the resurrection which makes it clear that they were still binding.  Paul wrote, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).  James in his warning against church members showing favoritism, said, If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty (James 2:8-12).  John warned believers, Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).  As we can see from these scriptures the commandments are still the same, why is it that the commandment about the day of worship is the one that was changed? 

There are indeed two Sabbaths–one is God made and the other is man-made.  Many Christians are worshipping on a day which God did not bless or sanctify or claim ownership of.  In the Bible, God says that He is the Lord of the seventh day Sabbath.  Jesus said that He was Lord of the Sabbath.  The Sabbath God made was for everyone not just one group of believers.  The man-made sabbath excludes Jews.  However, as followers of Christ, we ought to be following His example and keep the seventh day Sabbath as was His custom.  After His resurrection, Jesus did not ask His followers to keep the first day of the week as a memorial to His resurrection.  He would not have encouraged them to replace the day which His Father had blessed and had rested upon.  Jesus said, Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).

Baptism, not Sunday worship is the memorial of Christ’s resurrection.  Baptism is the memorial of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.   Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 3:3-6).  

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:5, 6) and one Sabbath which is the Lord’s.  Which Sabbath are you going to keep–the Lord’s or man’s?

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 5:3

humilityThe message seems to contradict itself but God’s way of living is usually at odds with the world’s.  His ways may seem strange to the world.  We must be poor in spirit which means to be humble.  Pride and self-importance have no place in God’s kingdom.  The Bible says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

People don’t like to submit or be dependent on anyone.  They like to be self-sufficient, idependent.  Jesus is saying  blessed are those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord.  As disciples of Jesus we must submit to God and resist the devil who offers us worldly things.  These traits are the ones Jesus is looking for in His followers.  God blesses those who live out these traits.

It is not easy to do what may seem strange and opposite to the societal norm.  How could a humble person inherit the kingdom of heaven?  The Lord Himself declares, “I will dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.  To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

God dwells with the humble–the poor in spirit–those who for recognize their need for God.  They are lowly in spirit.  Paul describes this kind of attitude best.  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3, 4).

Jesus was poor in spirit–He was humble and He came to serve, not to be served.  He always puts the needs of others before His own.  And the result is, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).  Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death.  As disciples of Christ we are to humble ourselves and be obedient to God in all things.

Like Jesus, our kingdom is not of this world and that is why the world does not know us just as it did not know Him.  We are God’s peculiar people.  Our way of life is at odds with the ways of the world.  Being poor in spirit brings us God’s riches which are eternal.

The First Lie

RH-EveTemptation“You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” – Genesis 3:4, 5

Eve, the first woman God created was not with her husband Adam when she was deceived by the serpent. At the time the serpent was the most cunning of the species. It was not surprising that Satan used it as his medium. How did the serpent deceive Eve?

We learn that in chapter 2 of Genesis, God gave Adam this commandment, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16, 17). Adam and Eve were allowed to eat freely from all the trees except one. That was not unreasonable. God explained why they could not eat from that particular tree. He said, “…in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” He didn’t say, “you may die” or “it may kill you.” He used the word surely. It is a certainty. If Adam or Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they will die. The word used is muwth which means to die, kill, have one executed. For them death will be their penalty for eating from this tree after God expressly commanded them not to. There is no question as to what would happen to them if they disobeyed His command. Death would be the result.

“Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” it asked her. This is what the enemy does. He questions or puts doubts in our minds about God’s word. The serpent was really asking Eve, “Did God really say that you can’t eat from every tree of the garden? Are you sure He said that? Notice the way he twisted God’s word. He said that God said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden.” God said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat.” And the enemy left out the rest of what God said about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan likes to quote God’s word but always out of context or omitting the parts of scriptures that wouldn’t serve his purpose.

Eve’s response is interesting. Here is what she said. “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Now, God did not say anything about touching the tree. Eve added to what God said. We must never to do that. Eve said too much. Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips [is] wise.” As one Bible commentator puts it, “Much speech involves risk of sin; hence the wisdom of restraining the tongue”. Eve would have been better off not saying anything. She misquoted God and she referred to the tree as the “tree in the midst”.

One Bible commentary states that, “Some Jewish writers . . . state that as soon as the woman had asserted this, the serpent pushed her against the tree and said, ‘See, you have touched it, and are still alive; you may therefore safely eat of the fruit, for surely you shall not die.’” This is why it was dangerous for her to add to God’s words. Another thing to note is that she quoted God as saying, “lest you die” when in fact, He had said, “you shall surely die”.

The serpent then proceeded to say to her, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He attacks God’s word. He opposes what God said. He contradicted Him. It is the same thing he did when Jesus told the disciples that He would suffer at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Peter rebuked him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” And Jesus turned and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:21-23). Again we see Satan speaking through Peter and contradicting the Lord’s words. Jesus saw right through that and rebuked him.

The enemy gave Eve the impression that God was being selfish in keeping her and Adam from the tree by telling them that they would die because He didn’t want them to be like Him, knowing good and evil. This was a terrible lie. God’s reason for commanding Adam and Eve from eating from the tree was to protect them. He had provided for them. He had made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food (Genesis 2:9). They could have eaten freely from all the trees in the garden except one. God gives us so much but the enemy tempts us into wanting more. Here Eve was tempted into taking fruit from the tree with the attractive offer that she would be just like God.

The serpent was right. Her eyes would be opened and with the knowledge of good and evil will come devastating results. Eve, believing the serpent, looked at the tree, saw that the fruit looked good, she wanted it and she took it. Then she gave some to Adam. As soon as she gave the fruit to him, both of their eyes were opened. They were aware of their nakedness and when they heard God coming into the garden, they hid. They experienced emotions that were once alien to them–shame, guilt, fear. Their relationship with God and each other was never the same. So, the serpent was right about their eyes being opened but they realized too late the horrible consequences of disobeying God.

The first lie, “you shall not surely die,” is what give way to the erroneous teaching of the immortality of man. Many Christians believe that people either go to heaven or hell when they die. But what does the Bible say? Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24). Adam and Eve did not become immortal because of their disobedience. They would return to the dust from where they came (verse 19).

Paul teaches us that it is when Jesus comes the second time that the righteous dead and living will become immortal. ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory”‘ (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). The bodies we have now are not the bodies we will have when we are taken to heaven. We will be changed like Jesus was before He ascended to heaven. Until then the dead will be resting in their graves and the living will be watching and waiting as they continue to serve the Lord.

The Bible says that David, the man after God’s own heart is not in heaven (Acts 13:22). “Men [and] brethren, let [me] speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day” (Acts 2:29). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 1:17).

The idea that people will burn in hell for eternity is the doctrine of demons. This is an attack on a loving and just God. How could we believe that God would have the devil in charge of a place where he is burning people? Does this sound like the same God described in Ezekiel 18:23? “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “[and] not that he should turn from his ways and live? And in order for these people to burn for eternity, it would mean that the devil would have to be immortal too, right? Well, what does the Bible say? “And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:9, 10).

Jesus also mentioned that there an everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Please note that forever and ever does not mean that they will be burning for eternity. Jude said, “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Are those cities still burning? “…and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6). The fire which destroyed the two cities may have burned for a while but it went out. It’s the same with the fire that will destroy the devil, his angels and the wicked. It will burn for a while and then it will go out. All that will remain are ashes. Eternal fire means that its results are eternal. What is destroyed in the fire is gone forever.

Satan lied when he said that man would not die even though man disobeyed God–broke His law and brought sin into the world. He knowingly deceived Eve into thinking that nothing would happen to her if she ate from the tree and this is why Jesus called him a murderer (John 8). Thankfully, the devil did not get away with it. 1 John 3:8 states, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus swallowed up death, our enemy. And one day, sin, death, the grave, the devil, his angels, the wicked, pain, suffering, sorrow will be no more.

In Our Image

adam-eve_019Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness – Genesis 1:26

There are many people who deny that there are three Persons in the Godhead. They don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What does the Word of God say?

In the first book of the Bible, God is speaking to others when He says, “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness.” Who is He talking to? The angels? Psalm 104:4 says “Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.” Angels are created beings. Would God create us in the image of other created beings even though we were made lower than them (Psalm 8:5)? Remember what the angel said when the apostle John fell down at his feet in worship? “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God” (Revelation 22:9). Twice John fell at the angel’s feet to worship him and twice he told him not to do that. They were both servants. Only God is to be worshipped.

He was talking to the other members of the Godhead who were present at creation. The Son was present. The apostle John confirms this in the first chapter of his Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:1-5).

The Holy Spirit was present at creation. Genesis 1:2 states, And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. All were present at Jesus’ baptism. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).

When Jesus gave the great commission to His disciples, He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:19, 20).

Though commonly known as the “Trinity”, the term “Godhead” is actually in the Bible. It is used by Paul in Romans 1:20 and in Colossians 2:9. He uses the Greek words theiotēs and theotēs. Both of which refer to the state of being God. The Godhead is one God, three persons. Paul refers to these three Persons in his letter to the Christians in Corinth. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). The author of Hebrews writes, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Many use these words of Moses to dispute the teaching of the Godhead. What they need to remember is that the Israelites had come from Egypt which had many gods and the other nations at that time were also polytheistic. The golden calf Aaron made was the Egyptian god, Apis.

The Godhead is comprised of three Persons with different roles but one purpose much like a family with more than one member with different roles. “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one” (1 John 5:7, 8). Here the Spirit refers to the Father, the water to the Holy Spirit and the blood to Jesus. They are one. Together they created us and together they devised the plan of salvation when our first parents, Adam and Eve sinned. Together they are working in and through us so that one day we will spend eternity with them on the new earth.

Focus on Jesus

EyesonJesus_jpg-10_26_10Too many times we focus more on our differences than on our similarities.  Too many times we focus more on the different denominations and whose doctrine is in keeping with the Bible than on Christ.  One night instead of having a discussion, on who God is, what He is like, what He has done in our lives and on Jesus’ ministry here on earth, I brought up the subject of the idolatry of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Mariology is a phenomenon that really troubles me and I cannot help but address it.

I showed them the book written by a former Catholic entitled, “Is Mary Dead or Alive?”  One person glanced at it and thrust it aside dismissively while another picked it up to browse through it.  I mentioned that people should not be praying to Mary.  After some discussion and disagreements, we established that people were praying to someone who is dead.  I tried to find in the Bible where it is mentioned that we should not be speaking or contacting the dead but, couldn’t find it so I was unable to make the point.  However, I found it the day after and here is what the Bible says, “And when they say unto you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter.’ Should a people not seek their God?  Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” – Isaiah 8:19.

I spoke of the appearances around the world and made it known that I did not believe in any of them simply because Mary is dead.  I mentioned that when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He was in the flesh.  Here is an excerpt of what was written about the three children in Fatima.  The shepherd children saw the vision of an angel of peace whose mission was to prepare them for the Coming of the Virgin Mary three times. For each Apparition, the angel invited the children to pray and accompanied them in their reverence.  During the summer, the angel appeared a second time to the children who were playing and urged them to pray “Constantly offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High”. He presented himself as the guardian angel of Portugal.

The Coming of the Virgin Mary?  Mary is no longer among the living.  She like the rest of those who died in Christ will be resurrected at His second Coming and caught up.  In the Bible, the angels’ will appear with Christ at His Second Coming.  “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire.” – Matthew 13:41, 42.

This angel invited the children to pray for each apparition.  He is praying with them for the appearance of a spirit.  Man, according to the Bible, is lower than the angels, yet here was one encouraging the worship of Mary, a person.  She is the mother of Jesus, not the mother of God, therefore, not to be worshipped but respected as the most blessed of all women.  Reverence should be given to God, “Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” – Hebrews 12:28.  Reverence should be given to Jesus.  “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11.

What sacrifices is the angel talking about here?  In Daniel 9:27, it says that Jesus brought an end to sacrifice and offering.  The only sacrifices we are exhorted to offer up are spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).

The following is an account of the last of six appearances of Maria in Fatima.  On 13th October 1917, the day of the last Apparition, it poured with rain on the Cova da Iria. Lucy asked the faithful to close their umbrellas to recite the rosary together and observe the arrival of the Holy Virgin.  The Virgin Mary presented herself to Lucy as Our Lady of the Rosary and asked her to build a chapel in her honour. She announced that the war was going to end and asked Lucy to “heal several of the sick and convert sinners”.

The Virgin Mary then raised her eyes to heaven, the rain stopped and the sun shone brightly, radiating different coloured beams of lights. The crowd cried out in terror but after a few moments, everything returned to normal.  The Virgin Mary then disappeared into the firmament, reappeared a few moments later, under the amazed eyes of 3 shepherd children, accompanied by Saint Joseph, the Infant Jesus and Our Lord blessing the world using the sign of the cross.

What disturbs me about this is that Jesus is seen here as an infant.  When we last read about our Saviour, He had risen from the dead and after spending time with His disciples, He ascended to Heaven.  Yet, in this vision, He is an infant again.  In Italy, the majority of the paintings and sculptures are of Mary and baby Jesus.  It is not the infant whom died on the Cross for us but the Man.  It is not Jesus, the infant that is going to crush Satan’s head but Jesus, the Man.  And why is Joseph in the vision?  Joseph is resting in his grave.  And why did Mary disappear into the ground and then reappear again?

This vision is going back to before Jesus’ ministry, His finished work on the Cross, His death and His resurrection.  The very things Satan tried to hinder when first he tried to have the infant killed, then, the temptation in the wilderness, and the rejection of the people, the crucifixion and finally, the resurrection when the Pharisees had the tomb guarded.  The things said in the vision contradict the Bible.  And we know that the devil likes to contradict God’s Word—twist it to suit his purposes.  That is why in the case of Fatima, caution should be exercised because the devil is good at disguising himself.

Paul warns us, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15.  This was met with the objection that God would not allow children to be deceived.  The Bible addresses this, “And he (the beast) was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.  It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.  And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” – Revelation 13:5, 7, 8)

Genesis 3:15, says that Satan will enjoy limited success.  The Bible does not say that only adults will be deceived.  It says that the inhabiters of the earth are subject to the wrath of the devil who knows that he has a short time (Revelation 12:12).  The devil is no respecter of persons when it comes to leading them away from God.  He deceived the angels.  And Jesus predicted that if possible even the elect could be deceived by false Christs and false prophets (Mark 13:22).

We should be focusing on Jesus rather than on the different churches, but when people are being deceived it is hard not to say anything.  This is why the Bible was written.  It warns us of the devil’s schemes and how we can protect ourselves.  Jesus came into the world to wake us from spiritual darkness and His parting words to the disciples were, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” – Matthew 28:19, 20.

 When these disciples had God’s truth in them they didn’t keep it to themselves, they shared it, knowing that they would encounter resistance, ridicule, and scepticism.  Jesus came to expose the lies of the devil and we should do the same by sharing God’s word, which is truth.  We should focus on the Word of God because the scriptures testify of Jesus.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”  – John 14:6. 

Do Not Judge

do-not-judge-w_design“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

 

It is so easy for us to judge people.  We always tend to see faults in others but neglect or fail to see our own.  We look at someone and wonder why he or she is dressed inappropriately for church when we should ask ourselves why we are not happy that the person is there worshipping God.  We wonder how person could cheat on his or her spouse yet we cheat God in our tithes and offerings.  We cringe when someone swears yet we take God’s name in vain.  We criticize the way others do things yet we don’t lift a finger to help them.  We criticize the way some parents raise their children yet we don’t spend much time with ours.  We wonder how people don’t know about God or read their Bibles yet we don’t take the time to share stories of how God has helped us or go through the scriptures with them.

 

Instead of judging, criticizing and pointing fingers, we should take a long hard look at ourselves first and ask God to help us to shake off these bad habits and mould us into the people He desires us to be.

 

Matthew 7:1-5

Revelation 12

Rev%2012%20Pictures_clip_image001_0000Revelation 12:4 says the dragon stood before the woman.  In the book, John uses symbolism but there are times when an angel explains what these symbols mean.  For example in Revelation 17, John sees a woman on a beast.  He marvels at her because she was dressed in purple and red, wore gold and precious stones and pearls, had the words MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH written on her forehead and she had the blood of Jesus’ followers on her.  Who was this woman?

The angel tells John.  “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (verse 18).  If Mary was the woman with the sun, the moon and the stars, who is this woman on the beast?  These two women are not literal women.  They represent something.  They represent churches.  The woman in Revelation 12 is the true church while the woman in Revelation 17 is the apostate church.  The apostate church is the mother of other apostate churches.  They may have broken off from her but they still follow some of her teachings.  The dragon does not make war with her because she is doing his bidding.  Instead he makes war with the true church.

The dragon used King Herod to devour (destroy) the child at His birth.  It was for this reason that God had Joseph to take his family to Egypt where the Child would be safe.  Herod had boys ages 0-2 slaughtered.  Revelation 12:5,6 state:  And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Jesus was taken up to heaven when His work here was done and He is sitting on the throne next to the Father.  Verse 6 says that the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God and where she would be fed for 1260 days.  How does this relate to Mary?  As far as I know Jesus placed her into John’s care and he took her to Ephesus.  I visited what is believed to be her house in Ephesus.  I saw John’s tomb.

Verses 13-17:  Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.  But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.  And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

When did Mary face persecution?  What is the wilderness that she was taken to after Jesus ascended to heaven?  Who helped her?  The Christian church fled into the wilderness–it went into seclusion during the Dark Ages to escape persecution at the hands of the apostate Church (the woman on the beast).  The true Church hid in caves.  God nourished her (Revelation 12:6).  This is like when the prophet Elijah fled from Jezebel who threatened his life and God took care of him.

Someone mentioned that since Jesus is a king that makes his mother a queen.  I know that Mary is referred to as the Queen of Heaven.  There is mention of a Queen of Heaven in the Bible.  We read about her in Jeremiah 7:18, 19:  The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead [their] dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.  Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: [do they] not [provoke] themselves to the confusion of their own faces?  And in Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25:  But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.  But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all [things], and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.  And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.

The queen of heaven was an idol which the people were worshipping, incurring God’s wrath.  There is no queen in heaven now.  Mary is not a queen.  She is as the Bible refers to her, “the mother of Jesus”.  Granted she is blessed above all women but that is because she was the one God chose to be Jesus’ mother.  This does not make her a queen or a co-mediatrix or co-redeemer.  We have one mediator and one redeemer and that is Christ because He shed His blood for us.  Mary did not shed her blood for us.  Mary simply obeyed God.  She saw herself as a humble servant of God.  She even called God her Savior.  She said, My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.   For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;  For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.   For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name (Luke 1:46-49).

“A woman,” signifies a true church. (2 Corinthians 11: 2.) A corrupt woman is used to represent an apostate or corrupt church.  “The sun” here signifies the light and glory of the gospel era.  “The moon” is the symbol of the Mosaic period. As the moon shines with a borrowed light derived from the sun, so the former era shone with a light borrowed from the present. There they had the type and shadow; here we have the antitype and the substance. “A crown of twelve stars”.

The woman, the church, had the moon under her feet; that is, the Mosaic period had just ended, and the woman was clothed with the light of the gospel sun, which had just risen. By anticipation the church is represented as fully organized, with its twelve apostles, before the man child, Christ, appeared upon the scene (Source:  Daniel and the Revelation).

The woman’s offspring is the last generation of true Christians–God’s remnant church which the devil makes war against.  The remnant is made up of Christians who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.  What is the testimony of Jesus–it is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).  This is what the spirit of prophecy means:  «In the last days,» said God, «I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  In the last days, God’s true church (the woman’s offspring) will have the gift of prophecy as it experiences a final reawakening before Jesus’ return.

We should all take John’s advice regarding the Book of Revelation:  “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18, 19).

Boasting

2 Corinthians 10:12-18

boast-in-the-lord

Too often Christians boast about all the wonderful things they are doing.  This was happening in the church in Corinth and that is why the apostle Paul addressed it in his second letter to the church leaders.  He wrote, “Oh, don’t worry; I wouldn’t dare say that I am as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, and measuring themselves by themselves. What foolishness!  But we will not boast of authority we do not have. Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us, and this plan includes our working there with you. We are not going too far when we claim authority over you, for we were the first to travel all the way to you with the Good News of Christ. Nor do we claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow and that our work among you will be greatly enlarged. Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places that are far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question about being in someone else’s territory. As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.  When people boast about themselves, it doesn’t count for much. But when the Lord commends someone, that’s different!”

Paul is right.  When we boast we should boast about God.  We should be saying, “This is what God has done” or “God is a great God.  He has done this or that.”  We should always give credit where credit is due.  If God has done something wonderful, boast about it.  David in his psalms was always encouraging us to sing about the wonderful things God has done, to declare His wonderful works or to tell others how great He is.  We are to exalt God.  We are to brag about Him not ourselves and our accomplishments.  Without God we are hopeless—nothing.  We are great only in our eyes and maybe in the eyes of others.  But what good does that do us.  The Bible says we should be humble. Jesus never boasted and He had every reason too.  He was humility in the flesh.  God doesn’t like boastful people.  Humility is a quality He prefers and encourages.  Satan is boastful.  He thought he was great, so great that he wanted to be like God.  That led to his downfall.  Pride goes before a fall.  When we do great things, give God all the praise.

It is better to have God commend us.  He commended Job.  He commended Moses.  Instead of boasting and comparing your accomplishments with others’ boast about God.  People admired famous people like Princess Di and Mother Theresa because although they were wealthy, they were humble.  They helped others.  God is not impressed with people who have the most degrees or plaques hanging in their offices, the most possessions, the most talents or anything like that.  He is impressed with those who put others first and go out of their way to help people and not make a show of it.  Be the kind of person God wants you to be.  Humble.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: