Monday, August 28, 2006

On sobriety

There are so many christians I have known that drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, even do drugs. They say, "I won't go to hell for drinking a beer; smoking a cigarette, etc." But what does the bible say?

Leviticus 10:8-11, "And the LORD spoke unto Aaron, saying, do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." KJV

That was spoken to Aaron in the old testament. Alot has happened since then. Mainly, that Jesus Christ came into the world, the Messiah prophesied of by all of the old testament prophets. Some things changed concerning the temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

In the Old Testament, they didn't have the Holy Spirit living in them because Jesus hadn't come yet. Before the Holy Spirit could be sent to us, Jesus had to live the sinless life, die on the cross, be raised from the dead, and then glorified. But now, Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day, and has been glorified and now sits on the right hand of the Father in heaven! Praise God! The Holy Spirit has been sent to us and now abides in the believer. That changes things! In the old covenant, they came to the temple to get into the presence of God, but when Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn! Through Jesus we have a relationship with God and our bodies are the temple in which we worship. The temple that is now your body! It's not a building, it's you!

So we know that drinking, smoking, and ingesting illegal substances aren't just bad for you, but they are against God's word. That's more than enough reason not to do it, but there's more.

In Acts 1:11, two angels spoke to the believers who had just seen Jesus ascend to the throne, saying, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

What does that mean? It means JESUS IS COMING BACK! He is coming back first for the church (the rapture), and then to judge the world. In regards to the rapture, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." Praise the Lord God!!!

Therefore, aside from defilement being against the Word, we have the return of Jesus to look to. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10 says, "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."

Tit 2:11-13 says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;"

1 Peter 1:13 says, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"

1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

Ephesians 5:18-21 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."

Now some may be thinking, "all of these verses are referring to people getting drunk. Drinking a beer every once in awhile isn't bad." That would be true if your body weren't a temple of the Holy Spirit, but the first verse stated from Leviticus cancels that out. It says, "...Do not drink wine nor strong drink..." the term wine used in Leviticus 10:9 comes from the hebrew word 'yayin', which means fermented grape juice. Wine in most instances in the bible referred to grape juice (tirosh in hebrew, oinos or gleukos in greek), but in the instances that it was fermented, the wine they drank back then contained minimal amounts of alcohol.

Read the Bible. Believe the Bible. Obey what God has commanded. Gird up the loins of your mind and be sober! Be watchful of the return of Jesus! Until next time, may God bless you with all the prosperity and abundance He has promised to those who love Him.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Have you ever heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Maybe you've heard of their nickname, 'The Mormons'. These people claim to be christians, and go door-to-door attempting to convert people to Mormonism. Upon questioning, you might even think they are christians. But take a closer look at what they really believe, and you soon find that their beliefs contradict what the bible teaches, labeling them as a Cult. Let's look at the main differences in their beliefs.

According to Mormonism:

The Bible is the Word of God insofar as it is correctly translated. There are three sacred books in addition to the Bible: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.

According to the Bible:

2 Peter 1:20, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." KJV

Revelation 22:18-19, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the word of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add onto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." KJV

According to Mormonism:

God was once mortal and lived on an earth and has over the years advanced and progressed to where He is now. (Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 1:123 and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345)

According to the Bible:

Malichi 3:6, "For I, Jehovah, change not; Therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." KJV

Psalm 102:27, "But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." KJV

According to Mormonism:

Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. (Journal of Discourses, 1:51)

When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle (body), the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. (Journal of Discourses, 4:218)

The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was a result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood--was begotten of his Father, as we are of our fathers. (Journal of Discourses, 8:115)

According to the Bible:

Luke 1:35, "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." KJV

Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

According to Mormonism:

Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one's salvation. Many go so far, for instance, as to pretend and, at least, to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept Him as our personal Saviour, we are thereby saved. His blood, without other act than mere belief, they say, makes us clean... Salvation in the kingdom of God is available because of the atoning blood of Christ. But it is received only on condition of faith, repentence, baptism, and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God. (What the Mormons Think of Christ, Bruce R. McConkie, 27-33)

According to the Bible:

Romans 5:9, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." KJV

Romans 5:10, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." KJV

Eph 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." KJV

Isaiah 43:11, "I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior."

I think it is abundantly clear that Mormonism is in no way in line with the Word of God. It is completely against what is true. The bible talks about those who would pervert the scriptures to their own ends. They are called false prophets. Joseph Smith, the so-called prophet of mormonism, obviously did not hear from God.

Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." KJV

Matthew 24:11, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." KJV

2 Peter 2:1, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." KJV

2 Timothy 4:4, "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." KJV

Keep your eyes open always to the truth, and do not let the ravening wolves of the world aid in your destruction.

John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." KJV

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Are you good enough?

Let me ask you a question. If you were to die right now, do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt where you would spend eternity? Are you just hoping for the best? Maybe you're thinking, "Well, i'm a pretty good person. God would let me into heaven, i think." There are so many people who think that the way to heaven is being an overall good person, or that, "I don't do stuff as bad as that guy over there! I'm a pretty good guy/girl compared to some people."

The question isn't whether or not you think you're a pretty good person, is it? It's what God thinks. So let's see if you're a good person in the eyes of God.

Have you ever told a lie? Someone who lies is called a Liar. Have you ever stolen anything? If you have, that makes you a thief. Ever committed adultery? Jesus said that if you've ever looked at a woman to lust after her, you've already committed adultery in your heart. Have you ever coveted something that was someone elses; desired something that wasn't yours for yourself? Have you ever dishonored your parents? Ever taken the Lord's name in vain?

Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." That means that everyone on the planet has broken God's law. Romans 6:23 says that, "The wages of sin is death." That means that if you've ever broken any commandments, and obviously everyone has, that you're deserving of death. The bible says that your sin has seperated you from God.

God sent Jesus of Nazareth into the world for our sin. The bible says God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us. 1 John 3:5 says, "And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin." Jesus lived a sinless life. He gave his life on the cross for you. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

What does that mean? It means that being a good person isn't good enough to get you into heaven. It means that you can never be good enough to get into heaven, because you already sinned, and if you already sinned, then it's too late to try. It means that there is only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus.

Repent. Turn from your sins, and come to Jesus. Don't want to do it right now? The bible says, "Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation." There will never be a better opportunity than now. Believe that Jesus lived a sinless life. That He died on the cross for your sins. That He rose from the dead three days later. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Did you accept Jesus before, but you aren't living right now? Do you claim to be "just a sinner saved by grace"? The bible says, "How can we who died to sin live any longer in it". The bible says that old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. The bible says that if you are a new creature in Christ, that you are the righteousness of God in Christ.

The bible says that if you once followed God and fell away from him, repent, confess your sins to Him, and he will be just to forgive you. Does this mean that you can pray the sinner's prayer and continue to sin? The bible says Certainly Not! or God forbid! The bible says that a person that walked with God and goes back to their old ways and does not repent and chooses to live seperated from God has trampled the Son of God underfoot, and has counted the blood of the covenant an unworthy sacrifice.

If you have fallen away from the faith, recommit your life to Jesus. It's not too late. You haven't messed up so bad that God, who is bigger than anything, won't forgive you. The bible says that His mercy is everlasting. Praise God, that He is just. Praise Him, that He is worthy. Praise Him, that He is Holy. Praise Him, that His mercy endureth forever.

Until next time, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The subject of tongues

There have been, over the years, many arguments over the controversial topic of speaking or praying in tongues. What is it? Is it right or wrong? Jesus said the Word of God is truth. What does God say about speaking in tongues?

Jesus said in Mark 16:17, "And these signs will follow those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues" Jesus said those who believe would speak with new tongues. In John 16:7, Jesus said, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if i do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if i depart I will send him to you." Before Jesus ascended to heaven in Acts 1:5, He said, "For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Not many days after that, the Day of Pentecost came. Acts 2:1-4 says, "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

What does this all mean? Well, let's put two and two together. Jesus said those who believe will speak with new tongues, that after He departs, or ascends into heaven, He would send a Helper, that they would be baptized not with water, but with the Holy Spirit.

On the Day of Pentecost, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues unknown to the speaker, as a result of the Holy Spirit (having been sent to them) giving them the ability.

Some say that speaking in tongues passed away long ago; that it was for a certain time and purpose, specifically the Day of Pentecost. However, there is absolutely no biblical evidence to support these claims. In fact, later on in Acts 10:44-46, after the Day of Pentecost, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God." Why were they astonished? Because the gentiles received the baptism in the Holy Ghost. How did they know? "For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God." They knew they had received the Holy Spirit because they spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Then, in Acts 19:5-6, "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied."

No matter what people say, you can't argue with the Word of God. The bible says that the Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. The Word says that those who believe will speak in new tongues, which is evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 14:2, Paul said that "He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries." in verse 5 he said, "I wish you all spoke with tongues," and in verse 18, " I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all." In verse 39, Paul said, "Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues."

There are those who argue against these truths. No matter what any person may say, it is the Word of God. Until my next post, let my parting words be the words that Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 16:13-14, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."