Why Should I Not Kill Myself?

Life is a precious gift from God. However there can be times when we do not view our life as being precious, nor do we perceive our life as being a gift.

When you have problems and issues that seem unsolvable and problems that bring enormous guilt and shame, you may be tempted to believe that life is not worth living.

When problems lead to anxiety and depression, one can be forced to believe that suicide is an option.
However when we focus on our problems & circumstances, we do not always see the clear picture.
When we focus on our problems & challenges we may not always discover the solutions or answers that may be available to us.

Therefore the times when you are depressed or feeling guilt and shame, or faced with a seemingly unsolvable situation, it is not the time that you should make any detrimental decisions.
Instead it is the time that you should seek help and support. It is the time to seek help from your family, your friends, your church or anyone who is loving and compassionate enough to help you and comfort you during your time of distress.
Most importantly you must also seek help from God who is your Creator.

God created you for a reason. God created you for a purpose. It is never God’s will or purpose that we commit suicide.
Even during the most tragic of situations, God can give us guidance and peace.
There is also no sin in your life which God cannot forgive.
God says in Isaiah 43:25: “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

Your life is a gift from God and you are truly loved by God. However you must understand that the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy all that God loves and has created.
Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

In 1 Peter 5:7-9 God’s word says that we must cast all our issues and anxieties on God because He cares for us. It also says that we must resist the devil knowing that the kind of problems we experience are similar to what many people face throughout the world.

1 Peter 5:7-9 says: Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world

You are of value to God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).
God knows you more than you know yourself. He knows you so well that He knows how many hairs you have on your head (Luke 12:7).

There is nothing too difficult for God to handle. God is able to give you peace that surpasses all understanding. God is also able to use people to support you in a difficult situation.
God is able to turn a bad situation and use it for His good purposes and glory (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20).

God does not have plans to harm you. Instead He has plans to give you a future and a hope.
God says the following in Jeremiah 29:11-12 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you.”

God loves you with steadfast love. He loves us even when we are in our worst and shameful state.
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God is always ready and willing to forgive us of our sins. God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness is possible because of the penalty that Jesus paid for mankind on the cross.
1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The truth is, we are all sinners who have sinned against God (Romans 3:23). We live in an imperfect world that is filled with problems and tragedies because of the sin that exists in all of us as mankind.
Thankfully Jesus Christ paid the debt for our sin so that through Him alone, we can receive eternal life and be able to overcome the challenges and issues of life in this world.

Jesus Christ alone is able to give you spiritual and inner peace that is better and different from the kind of peace that the world offers.
Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
In John 16:33, Jesus also says the following: “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

God says that He does not desire that any man should perish but that we should all repent so that we may receive His peace and eternally be reconciled to Him (2 Peter 3:9).

If you’ve had thoughts about committing suicide, speak to someone. Urgently seek help; seek support and seek counselling.
You still have people who love you and who want you to stay alive. There are still people in the world who are compassionate enough to love and support you.
Proverbs 15:22 says “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Most importantly, no matter the condition or state of your life right now, remember that God is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Therefore seek God and allow Him to give you His peace and guidance.

 

The Importance of Premarital Counseling

The rising increase in the divorce rate not only within the secular world but also within the church is a clear indication that many people are entering into marriage without understanding and also without the mental, social and spiritual preparation.

A marriage can often begin well, but then end up in disaster.
Therefore one of the purposes of premarital counseling is to educate and address any misconceptions or preconceived ideas about the marriage covenant.
Another purpose of premarital counseling is to help the couple to understand and be prepared for the realities regarding the kind of challenges and issues that occur within a marriage relationship.
In any marriage relationship it is inevitable that there will be disagreements, annoyances and all sorts of challenges and problems.
Marriage can be hard work in which both spouses must participate and contribute to its success.

The marriage relationship is so unique and so intimate above any other human relationship in that both the husband and wife will become one flesh (Genesis 2:21-24). Marriage is a relationship between 2 people who will intimately know each other more than they will ever know any other person.

Premarital counseling also helps a couple to understand God’s role within a marriage.
True Biblical marriage will always consist of God, the husband and the wife.
Therefore because God is the Creator of marriage since the beginning of creation, it is therefore necessary for a husband and wife to have God to be the centre and ultimate leader of every marriage.
A strong marriage must be governed by Biblical principles and guidelines if it is to overcome various relationship challenges and trials.
Therefore premarital counseling will also reveal the value of a couple remaining unified through both the good and difficult times in life.

Premarital counseling also helps a couple to set realistic and practical goals and objectives for their marriage relationship. There are many factors and circumstances in life that can cause confusion and disunity within the relationship.
When a couple sets agreeable goals and objectives before marrying, it may help set the direction of the overall relationship and help a couple to overly remain unified during the marriage.

Therefore specific areas such as the roles of the husband and wife must be discussed and understood (Ephesians 5:22-33).
The caring of children and issues related to finances and career plans are essential issues to discuss and plan.

 

Sources for Premarital Counseling
The most important kind of premarital counselling must have Biblical principles and guidelines.
Biblical premarital counseling enables a couple to differentiate between God’s view of marriage and the secular world’s view of marriage.
God’s word is the best source for providing us with how we should conduct our relationships with one another including marriage.
Marriage is a covenant created by God and therefore the principles and foundations of how a marriage ought to function should come directly from the word of God.
God’s word clearly outlines such things as the role of the husband and wife (Colossians 3:18-20); God’s view of divorce (Matthew 19:1-9); God’s view of sexual immorality or adultery and the like (Hebrews 13:4).
God’s word also commands us to be motivated by love in how we conduct all our relationships.
Therefore in all situations and relationships the Bible is God inspired and necessary to teach, reproof and correct us in all areas of life including marriage (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Proverbs 15:22 says “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Within Christianity premarital counseling can be done by a multitude of counselors from a pastor, an elder, parents of the couple or any elderly and mature Christian person who can be trusted to give sound Biblical counsel (Titus 2:1-6).
However, one of the main criteria is that anyone who counsels, is that his/her own family and household must be in good order before he/she can counsel or advise anyone else according to 1 Timothy 3:4-5 and Titus 1:7.

In Titus 2:1-6 says that older women are to “train the younger women to love their husbands and children… and to be submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”

Parents of the couple must also play a major role as they have a duty to counsel their children as they grow up.
Therefore from childhood to adulthood, Christian parents always have a constant opportunity to train up a child concerning all areas of life including marriage (Proverbs 22:6).

Therefore premarital counseling provides the basis for Biblical understanding; for preparation and for the creation of Biblically sound foundations in order to make the marriage relationship work and function for the glory of God.

 

 

What is God’s Plan of Salvation?

The Bible teaches us that God has a plan of salvation. This salvation is available for all of mankind.
Whether we are religious or not, many people will realize that there is something morally and spiritually wrong with humanity. One does not have to be religious to understand that there is evil that exists in the world. Furthermore, we do not have to be religious to realize that all people are capable of wrongdoing. We as mankind are not perfect and we are capable of making mistakes, errors and disobedience.

Romans 3:10 says – as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.”

Romans 3:23 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Therefore there is clear evidence from Scripture that man is sinful; man is not perfect; he is flawed and he falls short of God’s glory and standards. Sin is rebellion or disobedience against God and His word.

 

Why Do We Need Salvation?
Why do we need to be saved? It is because we are sinners and therefore we do not meet God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:10).
We inherited our sinful nature from Adam who disobeyed God in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24).
Romans 5:12 says: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Therefore all of mankind needs salvation because we all need to be saved from the power and consequence of sin in our lives.
The Bible tells us that sin has consequences. For example, sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) so that we live at enmity with God. Sin also creates enmity or relationship problems amongst us as people (Genesis 4:6-8).
Ultimately sin also leads to eternal punishment if we do not choose God’s plan for salvation (Revelation 20:11-15 and Romans 6:23).

Therefore we need salvation because we need to be eternally reconciled with God. Without God we are spiritually lost and cannot relate with Him.
When we become saved, we eternally become children of God (John 1:12) and we are saved from the power and consequence of sin.

We also need salvation because we ultimately cannot pay for our own sins. Our own goodness or righteousness are like “filthy rags” before a perfect God (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot save ourselves by our own righteousness or effort.

 

Where Do We Find Salvation?
What is God’s plan for salvation? God’s plan for salvation is found in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Therefore God Himself is the only one who can provide for our deliverance and salvation.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is God who came in the flesh (John 1:1-3,14).

John 3:16-17 says: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

So we understand from John 3:16-17 that salvation is found through Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ came so that we may have eternal life and not perish.

Jesus Christ came to save us from the power and consequence of sin. Jesus Christ did not come for the righteous people – because there are NO perfect people and all are sinners.
Instead Jesus Christ came for the sinners and to save sinners from eternal punishment.
Luke 5:31-32 says: And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin which we could not pay. Jesus lived a sinless life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sin through the shedding of His blood for our sins on the cross (Ephesians 1:7).
2 Corinthians 5:21 says: For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus Christ paid for our sins on the cross once and for all (Romans 6:10-11; 1 Peter 3:18).

 

How Can We Be Saved?
How can we receive God’s salvation? The answer is found in such verses as John 1:12, John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9.
We become saved by believing or trusting in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Saviour.
John 1:12 says the following about Jesus Christ: But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God
Believing means that we change our mind or repent by making the decision to reject sin and we choose to embrace God and allow God and His word to have influence in our life through the power and presence of Jesus Christ in our life.
Believing means that we fully trust in the grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the perfect and only payment for our sins on the cross. Therefore our salvation is found in no one else but Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Believing means that we understand that we cannot save ourselves by our own personal merit or effort to be good. Instead we faith in the grace of God and the sufficiency of Christ’s death on the cross as being the complete payment for our sins.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

The Most Important Decision
The most important decision we can ever make is to believe and by faith receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour.
Acts 4:12 says the following about Jesus Christ: And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

Have you accepted & believed in Jesus Christ as a result of reading this article and would like to know more about what to do next? If so please acknowledge by clicking the “I Have Accepted Jesus Christ” button below

What is a Wilderness Experience?

A wilderness experience can be described as a period of time when a Christian experiences testing, trials, spiritual warfare or persecution. It is a period where one may experience different kinds of problems at various levels of one’s life from health & financial issues to social & spiritual issues.

During a wilderness experience a Christian may also experience confusion or doubt about one’s purpose and direction in life. Sometimes a Christian may even question God due to the confusion, doubt and painful trials and experiences that one may be facing.

For the Christian, a wilderness experience can either be positive or negative because it all depends on how the Christian responds to his/her particular situation.
Therefore a believer may either backslide or experience a setback in one’s spiritual growth or maturity.
Alternatively a wilderness experience is an opportunity which God uses to build our character and to help us to mature and grow in our Christian life and relationship with Him.

Romans 5:3-5 says: More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

James 1:2-4 says: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Therefore a wilderness experience is common in the life of all Christians and is necessary for molding us into the person that God wants us to be and to equip us to endure and have victory over future battles in life.

A few examples of people in Scripture who had wilderness experiences are Moses (Exodus 2:11-22 & Exodus 3:1-12), Job, Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-9), John the Baptist (Matthew 11:2-3), and Paul (Galatians 1:17-18).

The nation of Israel also had a wilderness experience after God rescued them from slavery in Egypt.

Jesus Christ Himself was also tested in the wilderness where He consistently used the Scriptures to overcome the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).

 

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND DURING A WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE?
1. Learn to trust in the Lord with all your heart. Learn to totally depend on Him in your daily living and to trust in His perfect character and steadfast love towards you (Psalm 33:22-24).
2. Do not stop praying. Do not give up praying to God. Instead learn to pray without ceasing despite your situation (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1).
3. Do not give up studying and meditating on God’s word. When Christ was tempted as He fasted, Jesus consistently used the Scriptures to defeat the tests of the devil. The word of God is therefore a weapon during a period of spiritual warfare and it is important that we meditate on God’s word and live obediently according to His scriptures (Ephesians 5:17; Hebrews 4:12).
4. Be thankful in all circumstances. We must have an attitude of gratitude not only when things are good – but also when we are experiencing a wilderness experience. A thankful heart allows us to focus on the goodness of God (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
5. Remember that God is always in control and that He uses every experience in our life for your benefit and for His glory (Romans 8:28).

 

Ultimately a wilderness experience cannot be avoided. Therefore the most important thing during such a period is how we choose to respond during this particular time.
We must be reminded and be encouraged that in all circumstances in life, the Lord is with us and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

 

Why Do I Keep Sinning As A Christian?

When many people become born again Christians, there are some who wonder why they can’t stop sinning as Christians.
Why do Christians continue to sin if they have genuinely received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? Will Christians ever stop sinning?
We find that even the apostle Paul struggled with sin as a Christian. At times he would find himself doing the very things that he hated to do simply because internally there was a struggle between himself and his sinful nature.

Paul says the following in Romans 7:15-20 (NLT)
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

In Romans 7:15-20 Paul is speaking about the battle that occurs inside of us between our spiritual mind and our carnal mind. This is why scriptures such as Romans 12:1-2 and Ephesians 4:22-23 encourage us to renew our mind in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-23 (ESV)to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds

The Christian does not become perfect the moment he/she is born again. The Christian’s mind must be renewed daily through the word of God and through fellowship with God.
However, in order to answer the question of why Christians continue to sin after becoming born again, it’s important to understand the process of what happens to the Christian from the time he is saved to the time he enters Heaven.
It’s therefore important for the Christian to understand the meaning of justification, sanctification and glorification.

 

From Salvation to Glorification
From the time a person gets saved there are 3 things that will happen in the life of the genuine Christian. The Christian becomes justified, sanctified and glorified.
Remember, salvation is not as a result of our own good deeds or personal ability (Titus 3:5).
Our salvation does not depend on how much or how little we sin. It does not depend on how much or how little we do good deeds. Our salvation is entirely the result of God’s grace and it is received freely through faith in Christ.
It’s also important to realize that our salvation is immediate. The moment you made a decision become a born again Christian through faith is the moment your eternal life in Christ began.

 

Justification, Sanctification & Glorification
Every genuine Christian who has been saved through Christ will experience the following: Justification, Sanctification and Glorification.
Romans 8:29-30 (ESV) “For those whom he foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.”

 

Justification
From the moment we are saved – we become justified in Christ. To be justified means to be declared righteous and innocent in God’s eyes.
Justification is God’s eternal declaration of those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed to the accounts of those who receive Christ as Lord and Saviour.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Our righteousness comes from placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Christ for our sins on the Cross covers our sin which then allows God to see us as righteous and unblemished on account of Christ’s finished work.
Therefore, because we are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3) – God no longer sees our sin but instead He sees Christ and His righteous work which He completed on the Cross.
We have been justified and become the “righteousness of God” in Christ not because of our own deeds but because of the deeds of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 (ESV): Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 3:28 (NKJV): Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

 

Sanctification
While justification (which occurs upon salvation) is immediate, sanctification is a process.
Sanctification is the process by which those who are in Christ are gradually transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ. This means that from the moment you become saved, the Holy Spirit begins the work of changing your character; your thoughts; your desires; your values; your purpose; your deeds and your motives so that you become more like Jesus Christ.
The genuine Christian is a person who is transforming into the image of Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit implements this transformation and renewal.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV): Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day
Philippians 1:6 (NIV): Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:29 (NKJV): For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Therefore sanctification is a spiritual and progressive process where God is renewing us and conforming us into the image and nature of Jesus Christ.
However as this renewal or sanctification is taking place we will make mistakes along the way. This means that as long as we are in this fallen world, as Christians we will continue to battle with sin, opposition and temptation. The major difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is that the Christian can defeat temptation and sin through the power of Christ. The Christian is constantly equipped in Christ to defeat sin as long as he submits to Christ during temptation.
Our physical bodies are also still subject to sickness, disease, pain and the like.
Therefore sanctification happens progressively throughout our lifetime and we are not immune to temptation or sickness or problems.
However, in comparison to the time before he became a Christian, it is certain that the genuine Christian will sin less the more he matures in Christ, and he will be more aware and conscientious of sin.

 

Glorification
Romans 8:30 speaks of the Christian becoming glorified. Glorification speaks of the moment when every Christian believer will be physically and spiritually changed to the extent that sin is removed from the presence of all the saints. Through glorification, the Christian will have a new body; the Christian will no longer be capable of sinning; the Christian will no longer become sick or old. Through glorification, the Christian will be just like Christ. We become immortal and without the hindrance and presence of sin.
Glorification will occur when we die and are with Christ or when the rapture occurs.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV): And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:53 (ESV): For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV): For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison

 

This article has been excerpted from The Genuine Christian which is available on Amazon and through this website.

Why Is God A Jealous God?

In Exodus 20:5 God says “… I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”
So the question is: If jealousy is a sin, then why does God describe Himself as “a jealous God”?

The word jealous can be generally be described as the following:
1. Strongly wanting someone else’s position, advantages or possessions
2. To covet or be envious
3. Suspicious or unduly suspicious or fearful of being duplicated by a rival

The above definitions would be used to define or describe the sin of jealousy that is mentioned in such verses as James 3:14-16 or Galatians 5:20.

However, the kind of jealousy which God refers to in Exodus 20:5 is different from the sin of jealousy.
In context, God is speaking of the love, commitment and faithfulness that is expected in His relationship with mankind.
Just as in a marriage relationship between a husband and wife, there is the expectation that both spouses will be loving, committed and faithful to one another.
A husband who deeply loves and is faithful to his wife would expect the same reciprocal response from his own wife.
A good husband would not want to share his wife with other men. He would not desire his wife to flirt or be interested in other men because he loves his wife and because he values the marriage relationship that he has with his wife.
If a husband were to discover that his wife is flirting or having sex with another man, then the husband would be naturally jealous or protective over the relationship that he has with his wife.
The husband would do what he possibly can to prevent the violation of their relationship and he would jealously guard his wife and do what he can to protect his relationship where possible.

In the same context, God is like our husband who does not want to see mankind falling into the sin of idolatry or worshiping any false god. This is the context of why God describes Himself as jealous.
In Exodus 20:3-6, God gives the reason why He describes Himself as a “jealous God”.

Exodus 20:3-6
“You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me,”

There is only one true God and therefore it is God alone who should be worshiped and no one else.
God alone is the Creator of the universe and the Creator of all of mankind. Therefore when mankind directs his worship to other things or entities besides God, this becomes idolatry and is likened to a wife who cheats on her husband.
It is in this context that when God sees mankind worshiping false gods and participating in idolatry that He describes Himself as being “jealous”. It is because God desires that all of mankind be loving, committed and faithful to its relationship with the one true God.
In Ephesians 5:22-29, the Scriptures also describe the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church as being that of a marriage between a husband and a wife with Christ as the groom and His Church as the bride.

 

HOW MUCH DOES GOD LOVE US?
God loves us so much that even when we are actively engaged in the sin of idolatry or the worship of false gods, He is ever ready to reconcile with us so that we may be faithful to Him alone (2 Peter 3:9).
Therefore even though we are not committed to God, the Lord remains committed to reconciling with us. 2 Timothy 2:13 says that “if we are faithless, He remains faithful”.
The Bible tells us that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus Christ on the cross to die for our sins so that we would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Therefore even though we are sinners and even though we fall short of God’s perfect standards (Romans 3:23), Jesus Christ came to pay the debt of sin that we cannot pay.

Romans 5:6-10 says: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God.

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

Have you accepted & believed in Jesus Christ as a result of reading this article and would like to know more about what to do next? If so please acknowledge by clicking the “I Have Accepted Jesus Christ” button below

If God Is Real, Why Doesn’t He Reveal Himself?

Most atheists will argue that if God is real, then why doesn’t He reveal Himself? They question why God would choose to hide Himself from His own creation and not just simply prove His existence to the entire world.

However the following question must also be asked to every atheist: If God physically or supernaturally revealed Himself to the world, is it likely that every atheist will bow down and choose to humbly worship Him?
Unfortunately, when asked this question, many atheists have answered “No!” and declared that they will not worship God even if He does reveal Himself. Why? Atheists will then attack the character and nature of God as reasons to deny worshiping Him as God.

Therefore atheism is an issue of the heart and it is a choice to suppress God rather than to naturally accept His existence.
Psalms 14:1 says that “A fool says in his heart, there is no God…”
Therefore atheism is a choice that a person convinces himself to believe; It is a choice to not believe in God or His existence.

The Bible itself makes no effort to prove that God exists. Instead according to Psalms 14:1, it is the atheist who tries to prove and assert in his own heart that God does not exist.
Romans 1:20-21 says: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

From Romans 1:20-21 we discover that clearly it is not the issue that God has not revealed Himself which would cause an atheist to deny God’s existence. Instead the denial of God is because of a hardened heart.
The existence of a Maker is in creation itself just like a building cannot exist without a builder. God’s invisible qualities are revealed through His creation. Every design has a designer. Rather atheism is the result of a darkened heart that has made the choice to rebel against God by suppressing His existence.

 

HAS GOD EVER REVEALED HIMSELF?
God has revealed Himself in many different ways to many people. God has revealed Himself not only to believers – but also to unbelievers.
In Exodus 14:21-27 God revealed Himself to Pharaoh but yet Pharaoh refused and rebelled against the one true God.
The Lord used the 10 plagues against Pharaoh and the Egyptian people in order to reveal Himself to the Egyptians and the Jews that He alone was the true God and not the false Egyptian “gods” whom Pharaoh worshiped (Exodus 7-11). Yet we learn that Pharaoh refused to believe in the one true God because Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

Throughout the Bible we will notice that God would also constantly reveal His presence and who He was to the Israelites, yet the Israelites would continue to fall into the sin of idolatry and choose to worship idols or false gods instead of the one true God who chose them and rescued them out of Egypt.

Therefore the problem is not that God does not choose to reveal Himself, but the problem lies with the sinful heart of man. A heart that is controlled by sin will always deny or rebel against God.

The ultimate way in which God revealed Himself was through the Person of Jesus Christ.
John 1:1-3,14 says the following about Jesus: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made… 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Therefore we learn that even though God became flesh to dwell among us, Jesus was not popular and He was rejected as God.
God chose to reveal Himself through Christ but yet He was ridiculed, persecuted and crucified even though He performed miracles to reveal that He was indeed God and came from Heaven (John 10:31-39).
John 1:11 says “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him”.

Therefore it does not always mean that if God reveals Himself that people will automatically worship Him. Seeing is not always believing. The problem is not with God, but the problem is with the condition of the heart of man.
Jeremiah 17:9 says: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
A deceived or deceitful heart will not submit to God. Therefore atheism in itself is a deception or a sign that one is deceived.

 

FAITH IS NECESSARY TO RELATE WITH GOD
Hebrews 11:6 says: And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Both the atheist and the Christian exercise faith. The atheists believes that creation came from nothing and therefore concludes that there is no God or Creator of the universe.
However according to Hebrews 11:6, if the atheist is to know God or draw near to God, then he/she must first believe or have faith that God exists.
Faith in God is important for our relationship with God. Our salvation is possible through faith alone in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The entire Christian life and journey is by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
In John 20:29 Jesus says: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

Have you accepted & believed in Jesus Christ as a result of reading this article and would like to know more about what to do next? If so please acknowledge by clicking the “I Have Accepted Jesus Christ” button below

How Should A Christian Respond to Suffering?

We undoubtedly live in a world where pain and suffering is inevitable. The Bible reminds us that this world is a fallen world in which man is a sinner who needs God’s redemption.
The Bible also reminds us that the condition of the heart of man will grow from bad to worse.
2 Timothy 3:1 says that “in the last days there will come times of difficulty” because of the ungodly nature and attitude of man towards each other and towards God (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
Therefore in a world that is filled with ungodliness, there will always be pain and suffering.

However, how should a Christian respond to the issue of pain and suffering? What attitude should Christians have during times of persecution and opposition?

First of all it is important to categorize suffering into 3 types or 3 reasons for why a person suffers in life.

 

3 REASONS FOR SUFFERING

1. Persecution or Suffering for Righteousness Sake
1 Peter 3:13-14,17 says “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled… For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
Therefore there is the kind of persecution and suffering which one experiences for doing the right thing or for standing by godly and righteous principles or for exposing wrong-doing. For centuries, many Christians have been ridiculed, excluded, punished and even killed for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and for exposing wrong doctrines and lifestyles. In other words, they experienced forms of persecutions for righteousness’ sake.
In our world, anyone who stands for Biblical truth is likely to be viewed as an outsider or threat to an existing and ungodly system which then leads to persecution. For example, Jesus faced persecution from the scribes and Pharisees and was eventually crucified for standing for the truth and for exposing the false religious systems of the scribes and Pharisees. All of Christ’s disciples also faced persecution on account of the message of the gospel, yet the Christian values that they preached promoted godly living and character.
In 2 Timothy 3:12 it says that anyone who desires “to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Therefore persecution for righteousness sake is unavoidable for the Christian believer who stands for the Biblical truth and seeks to live a godly life.

2. Suffering Because of The Culture / Systems of the World
The Bible tells us that the world is at enmity with God and at enmity with Christians. The reason is because the standards, values, philosophies and culture of the world are opposed to Biblical values. It is the very reason why Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to standards of this world. The philosophies and ideas of this world have created suffering, pain, injustice within the social, political, economic and even the spiritual areas of people’s lives.
Therefore when the system and culture of the world is corrupt, there will be many who will suffer as a result.
In the world there are also natural occurrences that are beyond human control such as natural disasters which may cause man to suffer. These include such things as earthquakes, cyclones, floods and the like which contribute to the pain and suffering of mankind.

3. Suffering Because of Personal Sin or The Sins of Others
Our own personal sin has consequences which can lead to pain and suffering. The sin of Adam in the garden of Eden led to the tragic consequence of every person being born a sinner and death affecting all of mankind (Romans 5:12).
1 Peter 4:15 says: But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
The acts of a murderer for example, do not only affect the murderer, but they also affect the victim and the victim’s loved ones. Therefore whether it is sin that is committed by us or by another, our sins can have consequences which affect other people in general. Ultimately sin causes suffering.
The scriptures warn us that we should not suffer because we have committed evil. Instead it is better to suffer for doing good or for the truth of God’s word.

 

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO SUFFERING?

A) We Must Be Prayerful & Thankful
James 5:13 says “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray…”
Therefore we must talk to God about the issues that pain us and allow Him to take charge of every problem and challenge in our life (1 Peter 5:7).
Through prayer we can both seek God’s direction and receive the peace of Christ through our situation. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Furthermore, even in pain and suffering, we must count our blessings and have an attitude of thanksgiving because 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says that we are to give thanks in all circumstances (both good and bad).

 

B) We Must Endure & Persevere
The word Endurance means the power to withstand hardship or stress; a state of surviving or remaining alive.
The word Perseverance means to be steadfast; persistent determination; the act of persisting; continuing or repeating behavior.
Therefore in the midst of suffering of any kind, we are expected to endure and persevere. And both to endure and persevere during trials can be used by God as a testing of our faith which can develop our character.
James 1:2-4 says: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 5:10-11 says: As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Ephesians 6:10 says: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

 

C) We Must Count It All Joy & Count Yourself Blessed
Every Christian who suffers or is persecuted for righteousness sake or for the Biblical truth shares in the sufferings of Christ and is therefore blessed.
In Luke 6:22-23 Jesus said the following: “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
1 Peter 4:13-14 says: But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

 

D) Remember The Sovereignty of God
Romans 8:28 says: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
We are reminded that God uses all things and all situations in life – both good and bad – to accomplish His own purpose.
Despite the chaos in the world and the personal challenges we may face in life, God still remains in control and God is never surprised by anything that happens in the world.
God remains all-knowing and all-powerful. Therefore even in the midst of suffering we must remember that God is in control and we must continue to live a godly life in Christ Jesus despite our circumstances.
1 Peter 4:19 says: Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

 

E) Repent If You Have Sinned & Resist The Devil
Where sin is the cause of our personal suffering, then we must repent and walk according to God’s word. We are to resist the devil and resist his temptations by seeking to be close to God and casting all our issues on Him.
1 Peter 5:7-11 says: Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Therefore pain and suffering is part of life. However, God is always in control and all who are in Christ Jesus will only experience the discomfort of difficult times for a short while. Ultimately the born again believer will one day experience a painless life and a life that is free from suffering when he/she receives the eternal promise of Heaven and eternity with God.

 

What is a Cult? What are the Characteristics of a Cult?

Cults are everywhere and they exist all over the world. A cult can exist in different forms. For example there are religious cults, political cults, sex cults, new age cults and many more.
Some groups are extreme and abusive cults, while others are very subtle and deceptive cults. Some cults are widely accepted and mainstream, while other cults prefer to be isolated from the general public.

However, the most important thing to understand about most cults is that there is a major element or culture of lying, deception, manipulation and control. Cult leaders or the group leaders will excessively or subtly deceive, brainwash and control their members.

The context of this article is specifically related to defining religious cults that are of a pseudo-Christian nature.

Since there is an overwhelming number of religious groups existing all over the world, it’s important for people to know and understand the difference between a legitimate Christian group and a religious or pseudo-Christian cult.

 

WHAT IS A CULT?
What is a cult? In the Christian context, a cult is a religious group that either subtly or blatantly denies or distorts one or more of the fundamentals or essentials of Biblical doctrine. Most religious cults are also known for exercising manipulative mind control techniques in order to brainwash or control the lives of their followers.
Therefore when understanding the characteristics of a cult, it is important to understand that a religious cult has 2 natures that govern how the group operates.

The two natures / aspects of a cult are the following:
1. The Doctrines / Beliefs of the Cult
2. The Group Dynamics of the Cult

A cult’s doctrines / beliefs and its resulting group dynamics are usually interrelated as these natures are like 2 sides of the same coin.

 

1. THE DOCTRINES / BELIEFS OF THE CULT
Every cult either denies or distorts the fundamentals or essentials of Biblical doctrine. For example, a cult may deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Some cults may deny salvation through faith alone and instead teach a works-based salvation. Other cults may distort the Biblical view of grace and instead they will teach a perverted type of greater grace / hyper-grace which is sometimes called antinomianism.
At their core, the doctrines of these groups creates a false concept of God and causes the followers to believe in a false gospel and to follow after a false christ (2 Corinthians 11:4). Furthermore, the doctrines of a cult can lead to false conversions or false believers (Matthew 7:21-23).

In 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul says: For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Therefore there are many religious cults which claim to be Christian and may teach from the Bible, but yet because of their false doctrines and beliefs, these groups have created false believers who believe in their false gospels.
Therefore in the Christian context, a cult denies or distorts one or more of the fundamentals of the Christian faith by promoting the group’s own false doctrines and religious traditions above the truth of the Bible. Such groups are likely to prevent the genuine conversion of their followers. The nature of a cult is such that if the false doctrines of the group are believed, it will cause many of their followers to remain unsaved or to be under the deception that they are saved when the Biblical reality is that the members are not truly born again. Hence Jesus emphasizing that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

Examples of mainstream or well-known religious groups that claim to be Christian but are actually cults are Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons (Latter Day Saints) or the Moonies.
These religious groups and many more are known for preaching a different gospel, a different Jesus and they are under the influence of a different spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4).
Their teachings deny the essentials of the Christian faith and put emphasis on the doctrines and traditions of the group rather than on the true interpretation of the Bible.
(read Are The Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult?); (read What Do The Mormons Believe?)

However, besides well-known groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, there has been a fast-paced growth for several decades of a different breed of pseudo-Christian groups that teach a variety of false gospels and heretic doctrines. For example, such false gospels / doctrines include the prosperity gospel, seed-faith teachings, hyper-grace / antinomianism, spiritual covering doctrines and word of faith theology.
Many of these groups, whose leaders have become extremely wealthy due to their false teachings, have either become cultic in nature or have over the years evolved into full-blown cults that have distorted the true gospel of Jesus Christ and Biblical Christianity.

In 2 Timothy 3:13 Paul speaks of evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

In Matthew 7:15 Jesus said that we should “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Ultimately a group becomes a cult simply because it denies or distorts the essentials of the Christian faith and the group’s false doctrines & traditions are promoted by its false teachers above the truth of God’s word.

 

2. THE GROUP DYNAMICS OF THE CULT
Group dynamics refers to the interactions or system of behaviours that occur within a cult and influences the attitudes and behaviours of the followers / members.
The Bible says that “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33) and therefore the consequence of being a member of a cult will psychologically and spiritually influence the members in a negative and ungodly way. Members may become morally, spiritually and also psychologically corrupted because of the social system and cultic methods that may exist within the group.
In most cases the cult leader is a narcissist who seeks to intimately control the lives and decisions of his followers for his own personal gain. Therefore control and dominance is a very big thing within a cult.

Some of the group behaviours or characteristics of most cults are as follows:

A) The Cult Leader is a “little christ” – In a cult, the focus shifts to a man and not to the Biblical Christ. In a cult, the cult leader can be a dead person. For example in groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons and many other groups, the heretical teachings of the founders of these groups are still believed and practiced by the members long after the founders / leaders have died. Therefore the founder of the cult is extremely revered and adored by the cult members as if he/she were a type of deity.
The founder can be either dead or alive, but his heretical teachings will remain as foundational doctrine to the members and to the overall function of the group.
Followers perceive their leader as a “spiritual father”, “God’s man”, “God’s anointed”, “God’s apostle”, “God’s prophet”, “God’s special messenger” or a type of “christ”.
If an outsider were to speak or comment negatively about the group’s leader or even the cult itself, the members are likely to get very upset and even vindictive for being against their leader or the group.
Therefore the cult leader, whether dead or alive, is revered by the members as one who stands as a human deity for the group – or as spiritual mediator on behalf of his group. (read 12 Characteristics of a Cult Leader).

B) Authoritarian Leadership – A cult leader will teach and enforce false doctrines such as spiritual covering theology or use various submission and fear techniques to influence their members to submit to them and their control. A culture of legalism is also introduced in the group.
The leader demands total submission and unquestioned obedience from members even when there is a conflict with the scriptures. The leader claims to be a “spiritual covering” or a “spiritual father” over his members. The “touch not my anointed” phrase is used to subdue members. Therefore the leader can never be challenged; he is always right and no one should correct, judge or criticize him or else they will encounter curses or the wrath of God for “touching the anointed”.
In the authoritarian system of a cult the members are always under pressure to please the group leader and to gain the leader’s approval rather than God. The members also fear to disappoint the leader rather than God because in the cultic system the leader and God are perceived to be one. As a result the members fear opposing or criticizing their leader even in situations where it is Biblically justified because they are falsely warned of inviting a curse from God if they disagree with their leader.  (read  Who Is Your Spiritual Covering? Is It Biblical?)

C) Group Over Individual – The group’s goals, objectives and purpose supersede the individual’s needs, concerns and aspirations. Therefore the group always comes first. To say “no” to the group is to say “no” to God or to the group’s leader, which is considered to be unacceptable. Members can be persuaded to deny or forsake their friends, family and even job for the sake of the group agenda or group goals.
Members lose or shed their original personality / individuality and take on a cultic personality or the personality of the group or the group leader.
Therefore there is always a psychological and emotional pressure by individual members to please the group and its leader. Fear, guilt, love bombing, and other forms of emotional manipulation is also used to coerce and control members.

D) Critical Thinking Not Allowed – The cult leader is the exclusive means by which the “truth” is revealed or taught. Therefore members will often quote the leader or reference the leader’s teachings instead of referencing Bible scripture or Biblical truth. To the members, the teachings of the cult leader on particular issues are more accurate than what the Bible actually says about those particular issues. The group leader’s teachings must not be questioned.
Therefore members lack critical or independent thinking regarding many topics that are taught within the group.
Members become a clone of their leader and will often channel their group leader’s characteristics through mimicking / imitating the leader’s personality and traits. Members will often quote the leader’s phrases or talking points almost word-for-word and use loaded language to promote or defend the group.
Members are also spoon-fed spiritually instead of learning to be Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) or to think for themselves because the group leader is believed to be infallible or always right.

E) Us versus Them Mentality – Anyone who is outside the group is either viewed as inferior or as an enemy. Cults often have a superiority complex because they believe that it is the group alone that has special knowledge and revelation whilst other religious groups or individuals are perceived as lacking the special revelation or knowledge that the group has.

F) It Is Difficult For Members to Leave the Group – In a cult there is great spiritual bondage which is caused by fear and manipulation. Therefore members are threatened with spiritual, emotional and even physical punishment if they consider leaving the group. Members may want to leave the group but they fear retaliation or harassment from the group leaders or the other members. Members may also be told that if they leave the group they may face curses from God.
Members also fear being unable to cope with life outside of the group. They question themselves if there is any group that is “better” or they fear joining another abusive group.

G) Sexual Exploitation of Members – In a cult, the leaders have a culture of sexual promiscuity and abuse. Therefore a leader will commit sexual immorality with many members within the group. Sex is used as a form of initiation and power over members. This exists because of the amount of spiritual and psychological control that the leader may have over individual members. (read How Cult Leaders Use Sex to Control Followers)

H) A Culture of Lying & Deception – Many members in a cult are taught to lie or deceive on behalf of the group. Cult members are taught to behave unethically as long as it is in the best interests of the group. Therefore in a cult, the end justifies the means. In a cult, lying and deception is not a sin if it is for the “good” of the group and its leader.
There is also a culture of deception among the group members themselves where they may spy on each other and report back to the group leader.
A new member cannot know or understand the true and dark nature of the group until he/she has been either properly indoctrinated, brainwashed or initiated.
Therefore manipulation, deception, brainwashing and coercive techniques are consistently used in order to manage and control a member’s decisions and behaviour.

I) Economic or Financial Exploitation of Members – Leaders may use various manipulation and coercive techniques to financially exploit their followers for their own monetary or personal gain. Unbiblical doctrines and techniques are introduced to deceive followers out of their money for the purposes of enriching the group leaders (read What Does The Prosperity Gospel Teach) , (read Seed-faith teachings).

J) Salvation Can Only Be Experienced / Achieved Through The Group – Anyone who is not part of the group is either lost or not saved. Anyone who leaves the group has lost his salvation. Therefore it is common that most cults are obsessed with deceptively recruiting followers into the group because they believe that joining their group is the pathway to salvation.

K) Isolation of Members From Family or Anyone Who Is Likely to Expose The Group – Many cults do not respect marriage nor the family unit. If a member joins, they are likely to isolate that particular member from his/her family so that they may effectively control the individual’s life. Some cults or cult leaders will separate marriages and destroy relationships between parents and children.
Members are also trained to avoid or smear people who may expose the group’s true nature especially family or ex-members.

L) A Culture of Double Standards – There are standards or rules that are applied unfairly where some are expected to achieve or follow but other people are not. Therefore a culture of hypocrisy is very rife in a cult, especially among group leaders.

 

What Can Christians Do?
Cults are very controlling and very deceptive groups by nature. They employ different manipulative and coercive techniques to brainwash their members. They cause their members to live in spiritual bondage and they spiritually and psychologically destroy or corrupt the lives of their followers.
Quite often, the last people to know that a group is a cult are the cult members themselves. More often it is those who are not part of the cult who can easily discern a particular group’s aberrant doctrines and abnormal behaviour whilst the members themselves are either unaware or totally deceived about the group’s true dark nature and beliefs.
As Christians we should always pray for people who are involved in a cult and seek to minister to them the true gospel of Jesus Christ whilst exposing any false doctrines that may be detrimental to the salvation of many people.
In Matthew 15:3 when Jesus asked the question: “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” , Christ knew that there were people who had no interest in obeying the true Scriptures, but instead many people preferred to follow their religious and legalistic traditions than to follow the authentic word of God.
Matthew 23:1-39 is one of the major chapters in the Bible where Jesus dealt with the hypocritical and cultic nature of the Pharisees who sought to exploit and abuse their followers through false teachings and for the purposes of gaining power, wealth and control over the people.
The Bible encourages us to test the spirits because of the rise of false prophets and teachers in the world (1 John 4:1).
We must also be diligent to expose any group that teaches demonic doctrines that are contrary to the fundamentals of the Christian Faith with the hope that people will be educated and not be trapped or deceived by various cultic groups (Ephesians 5:11-13).

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Index of Cults and Religions | Watchman Fellowship, Inc

 

What is Christian Ministry?

Misconceptions About The Definition of Ministry
One of the most common misconceptions by many people regarding the definition of Christian ministry today is that the word ministry has been defined to mean either a church, a particular department within a local church or a Christian organization.
The other misconception pertaining to the definition of ministry is that anyone who works full-time for a church or Christian institution such as a pastor or missionary is perceived to be “doing ministry” whilst anyone who is not full-time is not perceived to be a minister nor to be “in ministry”.

 

The Correct Definition & Concept of Ministry
Biblically, the word ministry is translated diakonia in Greek which means “service” or “to serve”.
Therefore ministry is an act of service to spread the gospel of Christ, and to serve and edify others to the glory of God.

This act of service to God is not limited to a selected few such as a pastor or to someone who is paid a salary by a Christian organization. Instead ministry can be done by any born again believer who seeks to serve God and glorify His name in any capacity. In other words, every Christian is a minister of God because every Christian has been given a gift/gifts by the Holy Spirit to give one the capacity to serve the Lord.
Romans 12:6-8 says: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Therefore one’s ministry does not have to be limited to preaching, singing in the choir or ushering in a church. Rather ministry or service to God can be extended through helping the poor, sharing the gospel to a friend or strangers or even using social media or the Internet as a platform to spread the word of God. Methods of ministry or service to the Lord not only include public speaking / preaching, but God uses artists, filmmakers, Christian writers, sculptors and people with many different skills and talents for the benefit of His kingdom and to the glory of His name (Exodus 31:3-6).

One’s ministry does not have to be limited to a central location such as one’s church, but one’s ministry can be extended into the workplace, at home, on the Internet or any venue and in any circumstance where God can be glorified. Christians have been commissioned by Christ to minister to the entire world (Matthew 28:19-20), and the Bible says that whatever we do must be an act of service to the Lord.
Colossians 3:17 says: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. [Emphasis Added]
Colossians 3:23-24 says: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. [Emphasis Added]

The Bible acknowledges that every born again believer has been given a gift by the Holy Spirit to minister or to serve for the edification of others and for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Even though every Christian is a minister of God, the Bible also tells us that we do not all have the same gifts or the same functions. Though Christians are one body in Christ, we have different functions and therefore we serve differently. Therefore not all can pastor, not all can sing, not all have the gift of generosity.
The Bible also tells us that there is no gift that is better than another gift and neither is any member of the body of Christ better or more important than another member, but all people are equal before God.
Romans 12:3-6 says: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 says: For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

 

What Can We Learn From How Jesus Christ Ministered?
Since ministry means “to serve”, we can take the example of Jesus who took the form of a servant and He said Himself that He came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45).
Jesus Christ served or ministered to others with humility and even though He was the Son of God, He became a servant of God and humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:1-8).
Jesus also taught His disciples that whoever desires to lead must be a servant. Therefore Jesus Christ’s perception of leadership and ministry was different from that of the world.
In Matthew 20:26-27, Jesus says: It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

The ministry of Jesus Christ and also the ministry of the apostles and the early church, was not an organizational institution – but their ministry was a lifestyle of servanthood to God; their ministry was day-to-day; their ministry extended to every situation and circumstance in their everyday life.
Jesus did not only minister in a synagogue, but He ministered in homes, at a well, on a mountain, on a road or in a conversation. Many times Christ used the least expected methods to minister. Even in the midst of persecution, Christ’s every word and action was a life of ministry or service to God – even unto His death on the cross when He said “It is finished” (John 19:28-30).

Even whilst in jail in the midst of persecution and awaiting execution, people like Paul still ministered to others and he was used by God to write part of the New Testament Bible whilst he was in prison. Paul continued to share God’s word as he called himself “an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:20). Therefore despite Paul’s location and despite his circumstances, Paul was used by God to fulfill one of his most important ministry or service to the Lord which was to write part of the New Testament scriptures that we read today.
As was the case with many Christians in the early church, Christian ministry extended beyond the 4 walls of a building. Instead for the Christian, ministry must be a lifestyle or a way of living.

 

Conclusion / Summary
Therefore, every born again believer is a minister of the Lord. Every born again Christian has been given gift(s) or talents by the Holy Spirit to equip him/her to minister and edify others to the glory of God.
As we faithfully and genuinely minister or serve, we must do it in humility, not thinking that we are better than others. No function, talent or gift in the body of Christ is better than another instead we are equal before God.
Our ministry or service is not unto men or to gain recognition from men, but our ministry it is unto the Lord and for the glory of the Lord alone.
Our service or ministry as believers is not limited to a specific venue or location and neither is ministry limited to a selected few. Your life or lifestyle is a ministry because one’s life can be an epistle / letter that someone reads so that Christ is glorified (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
Therefore in every place in the world and in whatever circumstance, we have an opportunity as born again believers to minister to others for the glory of God.