VIDEO Pagans And Christians – Witness To False Christians

pagan Christian

I read a very wise thing in John MacArthur’s Parables. Consider it well:

“The underlying error… the belief that people can gain God’s favor by being good enough–is the central lie that dominates all false religion.”

In pagan religions, worshipers are always trying to buy the gods’ favor, or, as it were, hire the gods as their employees, by promising to do this or that good work, or sacrificing this or that prize animal. And where does it get them?

In Homer’s Iliad, Zeus, the king of the gods, is upset by the sight of Hector fleeing from Achilles. Zeus exclaims, “Confound it, I love that man whom I see hunted round those walls! I am grieved for Hector, who has sacrificed many an ox on the heights of Ida or the citadel of Troy. And now there is Prince Achilles, chasing him round the city of Priam. What do you think, gods? Just consider, shall we save him from death or shall we let Achilles beat him?” (W.H.D. Rouse translation)

And of course, in spite of Hector’s piety, in spite of all the sacrifices he gave the gods throughout his life, it turned out Zeus couldn’t save him, after all.

In contrast to every  religion ever invented by man, Christianity teaches that we cannot hire God, we cannot buy His favor, there is no magic word or special kind of prayer that will compel Him to do our bidding.

Instead, His favor, His grace, our salvation, eternal life, forgiveness of sins–these are all free gifts, given by a sovereign God and paid for, paid for on the cross, by Jesus Christ the Son of God. God saves us; but when we reach for our wallets, we discover the bill has already been paid. By Jesus Christ.

At the root of it, Christianity is very simple. How simple? In Acts 16:30, during a crisis in which he was within an inch of taking his own life, the jailer in Philippi asks of Paul and Silas, temporarily his prisoners, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (v.31)

And that’s the whole theology.

You couldn’t possibly do enough good works, sacrifice enough bulls or rams, donate enough money to the church, to earn, to deserve, eternal life. But God can give it to you. It’s as simple as that.

 

by  LEE DUIGON 


How to Witness to False Christians

Nice Shot?

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever.Psalm 136:10

When Walt Disney’s Bambi was re-released, moms and dads relived childhood memories with their sons and daughters. A young mother, whose husband was an avid outdoorsman with an impressive trophy room, was one of those parents. With her little ones at her side, she experienced with them the gasp and groan of the moment when Bambi lost his mother to a hunter. To this day she’s reminded at family gatherings of her embarrassment when, in all innocence, her little boy shouted out in the theater, “Nice shot!”

In time, we laugh at the embarrassing things our children say. But what are we to say when the people of Psalm 136 do something similar? Israel, God’s chosen and rescued people, celebrate a love that endures for all creation and for themselves—but not for their enemies. The psalm sings the praises of “him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt” (v. 10; see also Exodus 12:29–30).

Doesn’t that sound a bit like a shout of “nice shot” at the expense of someone else’s mother, sister, father, brother?

That’s why we need the rest of the story. Only when the lights come up in the resurrection of Jesus can the whole world be invited into the joy of one family’s stories, tears, and laughter. Only when we receive Jesus as our Savior and are made alive in Him can we share the wonder of a God who loves everyone—at His own expense.

By:  Mart DeHaan

REAL Christianity

Abram Had No Bible No Church
It was still dark when Mary Magdalene made her silent, mournful way through the streets of Jerusalem. Passing through the gate in the city wall, she walked the short distance to the grotto where Joseph of Arimathea had provided a tomb for the burial of Jesus.

Approaching the tomb, she stopped short. Was this the right place? In the dark, everything looked different from when the tomb was sealed two days earlier. This couldn’t be right. She was standing in front of a tomb that was open, a tomb whose sealing stone was rolled to the side. Clearly, this was a tomb waiting on its eternal resident, not the tomb where Jesus had been laid. How could it be? How could Jesus’ tomb—a tomb she saw sealed with her own eyes—now be open?

Inching closer, Mary looked in and gasped. The light of dawn was enough for her to see that Jesus’ body no longer lay on the stone shelf inside the tomb. The tomb was empty—Jesus’ body was gone!

Fleeing the grotto, Mary ran to the home where the disciples of Jesus were staying and told them of her discovery. Peter and John leapt to their feet, dashed out of the house, and ran for the grotto, Mary trying to keep up. By the time Mary arrived, Peter and John had entered the empty tomb and verified her report. The burial cloths in which Jesus had been wrapped were there, but His body was gone.

The disciples walked away silently, heads down. But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. (Based on John 20:1-11.)

What an image the apostle John gives us of the confusion and despair the followers of Jesus must have felt: Mary standing outside the empty tomb of Jesus, weeping (John 20:11).

Seeing Jesus crucified two days earlier was bad enough. But now someone had stolen the body? Or, had He been raised from the dead—a possibility as they recalled things He had said (John 2:19)? To their despair was added confusion; to their grief was added the loss of all hope.

Would we not have felt the same way? The Christian life—following Jesus as Lord and Savior—is a real-life event. It comes with joy and sorrow, grief and grace. This snapshot catches the followers of Jesus at a critical moment, a crossroads of faith. Would they trust that answers would come? Would they trust that the One who had not failed them for three years would not fail them now?

Will we? Will we trust when Jesus seems invisible to us, nowhere to be found? What does it take to live the REAL Christian life? What does it take to be a REAL Christian when the valleys seem darker and deeper and the dawn looks like it will never break through the night?

It is possible, of course. If we continue reading the four Gospel accounts, and the beginning of Acts, we find a changing story. Over forty days, Jesus met with the disciples (Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8). He ate with them, walked and talked with them, and commissioned them to take the Gospel into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20). And then He left them and returned to heaven (Acts 1:9).

Jesus was with them for three years, taken away for three days in the grave, then was with them for forty days, then was taken from them again. They were up, they were down, up again, now down again. In that final down state, they huddled together for ten more days, praying about what to do (Acts 1:14). They had been given a mission, but Jesus had told them to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). They waited out of obedience, not out of understanding.

When the Holy Spirit came at the end of the ten days, at the feast of Pentecost, the disciples’ lives were changed. They launched into REAL Christianity: Ready, Expectant, Authentic, and Loving. They set out to fulfill the commission Jesus had given them—and they never looked back, not because their faith became suddenly easy, but because their faith, by the power of the Spirit in their lives, became REAL.

By David Jeremiah

From generation to generation, I Am

Jesus - I Am2

Exodus 3: 15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’“This is My name forever, the name you shall call Me from generation to generation.

What a blessing…from generation to generation My name shall always be, I Am!

We are familiar with Jesus’ I Am statement in the Gospel of John. It is also a blessing to find Him making this declaration in other Scriptures. What an Awesome God! How blessed are those who are His children. Truly, He is our greatest treasure!

John 6:51:”I AM the Living Bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever”

John 7:29: “but I know him because I Am from him and he sent me.”

John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the Light of the World. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 8:18: I Am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

John 8:23: And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:58:  Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

John 10:9: “I AM the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

John 10:11: “I AM the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 10:36: “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I Am the Son of God’?

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 15:1: “I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

John 19:2: Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I Am the King of the Jews.”‘”

Acts 7:32: Stephen speaking of Moses’ encounter at the burning bush  “saying, ‘I Am the God of your fathers— the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.”

Acts 9:5: And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I Am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

Revelation 1:18: I Am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I Am Alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Revelation 22:13: I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22:20: He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I Am coming soon.

Jesus - I Am

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power
and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Revelation 7:12

revelation15.3

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

From generation to generation, I Am

Just a Small Church Upcountry

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. —Psalm 139:17-18

No matter how insignificant he may have been before, a man becomes significant the moment he has had an encounter with the Son of God. When the Lord lays His hand upon a man, that man ceases at once to be ordinary. He immediately becomes extraordinary, and his life takes on cosmic significance. The angels in heaven take notice of him and go forth to become his ministers (Hebrews 1:14). Though the man had before been only one of the faceless multitude, a mere cipher in the universe, an invisible dust grain blown across endless wastes—now he gets a face and a name and a place in the scheme of meaningful things. Christ knows His own sheep “by name.”

A young preacher introduced himself to the pastor of a great metropolitan church with the words, “I am just the pastor of a small church upcountry.” “Son,” replied the wise minister, “there are no small churches.” And there are no unknown Christians, no insignificant sons of God. Each one signifies, each is a “sign” drawing the attention of the Triune God day and night upon him. The faceless man has a face, the nameless man a name, when Jesus picks him out of the multitude and calls him to Himself.   WTA019

Lord, I pray for the pastors of small churches. Let them see how much You care for them, and how significant You see their ministry to be. Amen.

Welcome, Holy Spirit!

In all their affliction he was afflicted…and in his pity he redeemed them….But they…vexed his holy Spirit. —Isaiah 63:9-10

We can best repent our neglect by neglecting [the Holy Spirit] no more.

Let us begin to think of Him as One to be worshiped and obeyed.

Let us throw open every door and invite Him in.

Let us surrender to Him every room in the temple of our hearts and insist that He enter and occupy as Lord and Master within His own dwelling.

And let us remember that He is drawn to the sweet name of Jesus as bees are drawn to the fragrance of clover.

Where Christ is honored the Spirit is sure to feel welcome; where Christ is glorified He will move about freely, pleased and at home. POM072

When the Scripture says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30), it is telling us that He loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved. COU052

Transcendent Service

Matthew 19:19

During the Second World War a merchant ship on its way to Russia was

torpedoed. Sixteen men were in a lifeboat when it capsized. Somehow they

turned the boat right side up again but it soon became waterlogged. As they started frantically to scoop out the water with their hands, the captain, searching desperately for something better, suddenly remembered his briefcase stuffed with money for paying the crew. At once he emptied it and used it as a bucket.

When men are near to eternity their sense of values changes. Some things in life transcend all monetary value. Those who live for the material lose the spiritual. Of the shipwrecked man who had tied about his waist his bags of gold and went straight to the bottom, Ruskin asked, “As he was sinking had he the gold or had the gold him?”

The best work of the world, the noblest sacrifices, the greatest risks, are not done for money. What made Dr. Adrian Stokes, the English bacteriologist, go to Africa to study yellow fever, to catch it himself and to his last breath set down his symptoms, having his blood analyzed to supply data for future research? What could pay for that?

In the realm of clear moral vision, getting on, making money or winning fame profanes the noblest instincts. Kipling touched the ideal when, in speaking of celestial service, he said, “No one would work for money and no one would work for fame, but each for the joy of working!” It is the highest achievement of the human spirit.

To work only for wages destroys those finer qualities of character. Real life consists in developing our personalities and gifts by doing useful work for the joy of it and not for rewards. Materialism as a social force has its grip upon our civilization, and the only power that can break it is love expressed in transcendent service.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19). These wise words of Jesus contain the motive force for genuine service to God and humanity. This kind of love through Christ is alone able to regenerate and unite society and is the answer to its international, national and domestic problems. The real test of our nearness to God is the way we feel and act toward one another.

George B. Smith, Meditations for the Ordinary Man