Uncovering The “Covering Doctrine”

[Article by Cheryl McGrath] —

“I hope you will be patient with me as I keep on talking like a fool. Please bear with me. I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. For I promised you as a pure bride to one husband, Christ. But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” ( 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 NLT)

In this two-part edition of “Bread for the Bride,” I am inviting you to take a journey to freedom. Freedom, though, rarely comes without a cost, so be prepared for a few bumps and bruises along the way! My fervent prayer is that by the time you reach the end you will at the least be stirred to do some personal exploring of the scriptures, and at the most some long-held religiously-based mindsets will be shattered beyond hope of repair.

Firstly, though, let me share a little personal history in order to establish the fact that the teaching I offer you in this article has not been arrived at hastily, presumptuously, or with lack of experience in what is commonly known as “the church”. For almost my entire life I have been “churched”. Born to a Catholic-Italian father and an Anglican-Australian mother, anyone might have guessed there would be a few pot-holes along my spiritual path! I do remember at a very early age being taken by an uncle to a Catholic Mass, where the sheer majestic atmosphere of the church overwhelmed me. He must be some God! I thought. Later, I was introduced to Sunday School at a nearby Baptist Church by yet another conscientious relative, where the most important thing I learned was that God loved me. Good start! In my first year in high school a friend and her mother shared the gospel. As a result, alone in my bedroom, I experienced a life-changing revelation of Christ on the Cross. I was born again! Several years were then spent attending a local Anglican church with my friend. After some time I was allowed to teach the kindergarten Sunday School class, but was still forbidden to take communion because I had never undergone infant baptism. (That scenario had been too stressful for my Catholic father and Protestant mother!)

In my early twenties, through the encouragement of the same friend, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. My husband and I started attending a little Assemblies of God church, where to my great delight I heard for the first time about the gifts and anointing of the Spirit. There followed nearly twenty years in that denomination, and during those years, I was certain that I would spend the rest of my life there. God had other plans, however, and after a series of deep family crises which my church preferred not to know about, my husband and I found ourselves fellowshipping briefly at a Uniting Church (Methodist to American readers). Perhaps “fellowshipping” is not the right word. “Attending” might be more appropriate, as fellowship did not appear to be an offer. From there the journey through “churchianity” continued, when a Congregational Pastor friend who’d been Spirit-filled invited us along to his church. Alas, the pastor wanted the Spirit, but the congregation didn’t, so we, as well as the pastor, found ourselves being offered the left boot of fellowship! A major geographical move found our family churchless again, so off we went to find our new “spiritual home” among the local Pentecostals, trying several different flavours, but somehow we knew we weren’t fitting. God came to the rescue again, directing us to a Baptist church with a charismatic pastor, but with the clear message this was to be for “a season only”. This would prove interesting! (Lord, isn’t this where I started???) We spent three years of relative peace there, before He suddenly said “the season’s up.” That was four years ago. These days we fellowship in a house church community. I know this is the place of fellowship the Lord has for me at this time, but I also know that He alone is my spiritual home. It took a lot of years and a long journey for me to discover that truth.

Of course, there are many details I’ve omitted, some not so pleasant, to make this history as brief as possible. My purpose in relating these facts is not to imply any kind of pretentious credentials, or to elevate one type of worship expression above another. My desire is only to establish the fact that there IS a denominational history, and a fairly extensive one, from which I draw upon in addressing this issue of “spiritual covering”.

You see, in a number of the denominations I’ve been involved in, including at leadership level, a “doctrine of covering” was taught and accepted. And for many, many years, I never questioned this teaching. After all, everyone believed it; the leadership upheld it, so it must be right, right? It is only as the Holy Spirit has impressed me to study the scriptures more deeply on this teaching that I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that He never originated it! In His infinite grace, He chose to wait patiently for a time when the Spirit of Truth would become dearer to me than the traditions of men.

The teaching on “covering” goes like this. Everyone needs to be accountable to someone who is spiritually his or her superior. This someone may be your cell group leader, the head of a church department or your senior pastor etc. In turn, these leaders receive covering from someone further up the line, for instance a denominational leader or a “recognized” apostle. The necessity for this covering is based on the belief that believers need to be safeguarded from falling into error and/or sin. So covering is provided by those who are more spiritual than we to protect us from such error. At the top of this pyramid of covering there is quite often a well-known and recognized “name” but the chances of meeting or having any kind of relationship with that person if you are at the bottom of the pyramid are fairly slim. Currently, there are several networks offering this kind of covering to those in some form of church leadership or ministry, more often than not for an annual fee. The annual fee usually provides for the running of the network, and conferences where you can fellowship with others under your particular brand of covering. You may also be denied entrance from one of these networks because you don’t have the appropriate credentials.

One of the strange things about this “covering” teaching is that rarely is anyone asked about their spiritual covering, until they step outside their particular church, denomination or network. However, the minute a believer shows signs of having something important to share with the wider Body of Christ, suddenly all and sundry are interested primarily in that one important question: “Who are you covered by? ” It all sounds pretty reasonable except for one problem – it’s not found in scripture. In fact, the early church was taught to rely on the inner anointing to discern the spiritual source of potential ministers. (1 John 2:20; 1 John 4:1)

So, where did this idea originate that believers need to be “covered” in order to serve God and minister within Christ’s Body? Are you, like many others, living your Christian life under the shadow of this fear that without “covering” you dare not minister, preach, pray or do a myriad of other things you’re called to do by the Spirit of God, because you will somehow be ministering without protection?

The purpose of this article is to shed some light on this issue based on scriptural truth. To begin with, though, we need to understand that this need to be covered by a perceived spiritual authority, and the scriptural instruction to submit ourselves to God’s delegated authorities, are NOT necessarily one and the same thing. Furthermore, New Testament authority as demonstrated by Jesus and the first apostles, is servanthood-authority, upholding, strengthening, reinforcing and overseeing the Body from beneath, not domineering, controlling and ruling from above. Therefore, it is vital in examining this issue that we begin from a correct understanding of Biblical submission and Biblical authority.

“LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU”

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought in not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8)

The current mindset we carry in much of the church concerning submission is quite unrelated to the submission taught and demonstrated by Jesus and the early apostles. There is a desperate need to return to the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. The scripture tells us that though He was equal with the Father, Jesus CHOSE to submit Himself, He CHOSE to humble Himself, He CHOSE to obey. This is the key to Biblical submission, and the model laid down for us by both the Father and the Son. Submission is firstly a choice; a choice that can only ever be made by the giver. Biblical submission can never be demanded or forced. That kind of relationship is subservience, not submission. Jesus chose to subject Himself to the Father, but the Father “so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son.” Sacrificial giving and sacrificial submission are married to each other. In the Spirit, you cannot have one without the other. If you try, you will invariably end up with control, dependence and abuse rather than humility, interdependence and grace.

The New Testament concept of submission, or subjection, is one of a totally voluntary attitude of giving, of yielding one’s preference and deferring to another. In this way, Jesus as a child was subject to His parents, yet the scriptures record that He did not even consult them when He was “about His Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49,51)

“IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU”

“Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” (Hebrews 13:17, NLT)

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44)

“Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads.” (Mark 10:42 The Message)

There is no question that the scriptures instruct each one of us to submit to God’s delegated authority. It is the understanding and the application of that authority we often stumble over. The Bible records that Jesus taught the twelve this Kingdom authority as they walked along the road to Jerusalem. His face had been set toward the Cross, and it is certain He was keenly aware of the short time He had left with them. Perhaps He was conversing with His Father about what were the most important lessons He could impart to them during the time that was left. We know that He heard them disputing over who among them was the best “leadership material”. Perhaps Peter, having not long before witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, thought that gave him special status. Perhaps James and John felt they were more likely candidates for rulership than impetuous Peter. Shortly before, they had asked Jesus to give them special places of honour in His Kingdom. Whatever had started their dispute, Jesus certainly knew how to end it! “Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave…..” (Matt. 20:27).

The Lord was speaking to a group of people who had grown up under the rule of the Roman Empire. The Romans exercised their authority through forced subjection and harsh cruelty. In fact, the literal translation of the words Jesus used in reference to Roman rule mean “to be under the power of” and “to be subdued.” Despite having witnessed Jesus using a very different kind of authority and power, the disciples had not yet understood exactly what He would require of them. The Romans were, in the political sense, their masters. Yet here was Jesus stating that to exercise the authority He was going to invest in them they would need to become slaves to one another, and not masters. One might safely assume these weren’t words any of them particularly wanted to hear that day!

Kingdom authority has nothing to do with titles, positions, educational qualifications or reputation. Kingdom authority is granted by the Lord according to the measure with which He can trust us to wield it with humility. The greatest authority in the kingdom is reserved for His bondslaves.

WHAT ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY?

In today’s church system we have confused the word “covering” with the need for accountability. Consequently many are holding themselves accountable to people with title and position, regardless of whether or not they are developing an ongoing transparent relationship with that person. In the Kingdom, it is not possible to be truly accountable to those with whom we are not actively growing in relationship. How can I be trusted to call you to account righteously if I don’t love you in Christ? How can you love me with Christ-like love and not call me to account?

Paul was able to correct the Corinthians because he had true relationship with them. He had travailed over them, nurtured them, wept for them and rejoiced with them. Therefore he was able to reprove them, for their edification and not for their destruction. (2 Corinthians 13:10)

When we turn to the scriptures for guidance on this issue of accountability, a startling fact confronts us. The News Testament mentions accountability ONLY in terms of the believer towards God. The scripture teaches that we will give accountability TO GOD ALONE in the following areas:
• stewardship (Luke 16:2)
• ourselves (Rom. 14:12)
• fruit (Phil 4:17)
• what we do in the flesh (1 Pet. 4:5)
• leaders shall give account for the souls they watch over (Heb. 13:17)
What then, DO the scriptures teach about how believers, as members of the corporate Body of Christ, are to relate to one another?
“… all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
In Galatians Chapter Two we read of a journey Paul took to Jerusalem. He states that he went up “by revelation”, that is, at the instigation of the Holy Spirit, in order to confirm that the gospel he had been preaching was approved by the eldership of the Jerusalem church. He goes on to state that “those who seemed to be something, whatever they were, it makes no difference to me,” had nothing to add to his teachings. He further adds that when James, Cephas (Peter) and John perceived the grace God had shown him, he was given the “right hand of fellowship.”

At the instigation of the Holy Spirit, Paul had subjected himself to the Jerusalem eldership, including Peter, for the purpose of accountability. One may safely assume that Peter, having spent around three years day and night with Jesus, and highly regarded by the early believers, held very great authority in the church. Paul, however did not ask Peter to cover him. Instead, he did not hesitate in calling Peter to account when Peter was later swayed to go back on his word by the fear of men (Gal. 2:11-14). Bear in mind this is the same Peter who stated “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

These men understood the nature of relationship through the Holy Spirit; ALL of you be submissive to one another, ALL of you be clothed with humility. Each of us is accountable to one another, whatever our function in the Body, whether apostles, teachers, deacons or helpers. This is the church Christ is building.

To say that we are demonstrating accountability to a person or group of people we may briefly rub shoulders with at a meeting once or twice a week, or perhaps once or twice a year, is ludicrous. True accountability is about how we express Christ in us – our lifestyle, our character and our integrity in families, jobs and church community. This cannot be measured outside Godly relationships, and without a humble willingness to be in subjection one to another. Each one of us needs to seek out and submit ourselves to those in the Body the Lord has placed close to us to provide that accountability, regardless of their position, title or function. Each one of us needs to be willing, in humility and service, to provide that same accountability base for others in the Body. This applies to leadership equally as it does to the newest, most inexperienced member of the Christian community.

Sadly, what we see today in so much of the church, is a frenzied jockeying for position under the supposedly protective umbrella of some ministry name or reputation, in order to prove ourselves “covered”. “Who covers you? ” has become one of the most frequently asked questions among Christians, and too often it is the deciding factor in assessing a ministry’s integrity or otherwise. Consequently, an unsatisfactory answer to that question in some church circles can label you “outside the camp” and almost certainly not to be trusted. Christians are judging each other’s worth and relationship with God on this issue of covering, and using it to justify self-righteousness and spiritual elitism.

In Part Two of this study we will talk about what is at the root of this distorted doctrine, and the clear choices that lie before us in order to be free from it.

UNCOVERING THE COVERING DOCTRINE
PART TWO

“…..then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.” ( Isaiah 4:5)

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Ps. 91:4

IT’S ABOUT HIS NAME

“Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?” (Luke 20:1-2)

As we see from this portion of scripture, the question “who covers you? ” is not new. The chief priests, scribes and elders were not simply asking Jesus where His supernatural power came from. More than that, they wanted a NAME. “Who is he? ‘ Come on, tell us Jesus, who is the scribe, who is the rabbi, who is the prophet who covers you? And no more of that over-spiritualized talk about your Father. We want the name of the person who said you could do these things!”

The apostle Paul confronted a similar problem in the Corinthian church.

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:10-13)

The Lord is jealous over us concerning His Name. We were bought and paid for by His Blood, and His Name is the only Name by which we are to identify ourselves. When believers choose to find their identity in another name other than His, the Spirit is grieved and His Name is dishonoured.

IT’S ABOUT THE FLESH

“Don’t ever let anyone call you `Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as `Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you `Master,’ for there is only one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. “ (Matthew 23:8-11, NLT)

The Corinthians were apparently separating into factions according to whom they considered was the most authoritative teacher. They were following after men, and for that reason Paul took issue with them. Further in his letter he goes on to challenge them by describing this kind of mindset as carnal and fleshly rather than spiritual:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?” (1 Cor. 3:1-4)

Finally, he instructs them:
“Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come–all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Cor. 3:21-23)

The Corinthians had become so obsessed with the attributes of certain teachers they were idolizing them. They wanted to regard particular individuals as their “master”, “father”, or “teacher”, but Paul wanted them to understand that in doing so they were falling short of their full inheritance in Christ. He wanted them to see that all of these teachers, belonged to them as servant-ministers, and not the other way around.

IT’S ABOUT A SUBSTITUTE KING

At the heart of the Corinthians’ idolatry was the age-old desire for a ruler, a king. The flesh would much rather fear man than fear God. The flesh would much rather submit to the control of law than submit to the freedom of the Spirit. This principle is seen throughout scripture.

Afraid they would die, the Israelites begged Moses to be God’s messenger to them, rather than hear His Voice for themselves.

“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” ( Exodus 20:18-19)

God desired for the people to hear Him for themselves, but they refused. Effectively, the Israelites were elevating Moses as their mediator. The entire nation had been called as a kingdom of priests, but their preference was to be ruled by one man. (Exodus 19:1-9)

Many years later, when the prophet Samuel officiated as Israel’s judge, Israel’s carnal desire for a man-king surfaced again.

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day–with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behaviour of the king who will reign over them.” So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behaviour of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.” (1 Samuel 8:4-22)

The key to Israel’s demand for a human king, rather than the direct reign of Yahweh over them, was “that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” They wanted a name and a face that could “go out before” them. They wanted someone visible they could show the other nations. They wanted a symbol, a token leader who could take responsibility for how they would live and conduct their lives. They wanted someone with a reputation they could identify with. They wanted to be like the world. They wanted human “covering.”

You see, friends, there is a place for governmental leadership, there is a place for accountability within the Body, there is a place for submission to legitimate God-delegated authority. All these are valid and in order, but only insofar as they are not permitted to substitute for the direct rule of God in our lives. And only insofar as they are not sought out as a counterfeit for the sovereignty and rulership of the Holy Spirit within each believer.

IT’S OF A DIFFERENT SPIRIT

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.” (Ezekiel 28:14)

Many Bible scholars agree that God’s rebuke to the “king of Tyre” recorded in Ezekiel 28:1-19 is prophetically addressed to Satan. In it, we find that originally this fallen angel was called the “anointed cherub who covers”. Some scholars believe he was especially anointed to cover the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. In the Presence of God, he walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. The passage states that when iniquity was found in him he was cast out of God’s holy mountain, and removed from the midst of the fiery stones.

This Hebrew word “to cover” means “to hedge, fence about, shut in, block, overshadow, screen, stop the approach, shut off, cover” ( H. “cakak” Strongs 05526 ). It is a word than can be used either in relation to defense or oppression.

Beloved, Satan still desires to walk back and forth in the midst of God’s living, fiery stones. He still desires to be the covering cherub on God’s holy mountain, but the covering he offers is oppressive, designed purely to hinder believers and rob them of the freedom and full potential that is ours through Christ.

The doctrine of covering is an old lie with a new name. It is fundamental to the maintenance of a false hierarchical religious system controlling many Christians in this day. Without the power of this erroneous mindset, it is even doubtful that some sections of the “church” could survive.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is OVER ALL and THROUGH ALL and IN ALL. (Ephesians 4:3-6)

The scriptures plainly state that it is God alone who is OVER all. Only God can cover His people, and only the Holy Spirit can unite them. The most disturbing aspect about the covering teaching is that it subtly encourages believers to look to men and women rather than develop their own deep relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. It upholds a man-made church built on hierarchy rather than a spiritual temple built through the unity of the Spirit. It promotes a class system of rulership by title, human appointment and personality, and devalues the priesthood of every believer. It negates leadership by the Holy Spirit and discourages believers from hearing the direction of the Spirit for themselves. It is a doctrine of demons being used to deceive and bind countless believers.

Now, about that freedom we were talking about at the beginning of this article! Don’t, repeat DON’T, use your newfound liberty as a license for rebellion against authority. If you have been trapped in this covering doctrine be wise in how you appropriate your freedom. There are many, many humble and faithful men and women overseeing and serving the Body of Christ with humility and devotion, and it may well be that whoever has been “covering” you is one of them. If you are blessed enough to be aligned with a servant-leader who demonstrates true Biblical authority, honour them, support them, and submit to them. But don’t expect them to cover you – that’s not theirs to give.

False doctrines are mindsets and beliefs that can only be cast down by the Spirit and the Word together. And ultimately, our walk in the Spirit is not the responsibility of leadership; it is our own responsibility. It is time for each one of us to choose – do we want the rulership of kings, or do we want the rulership of THE King?

Finally, let me leave you with these thoughts:
1) Who covered Philip when He went down to Samaria and started a revival? (The apostles heard about it and sent Peter and John down to check it out!) (Acts 8:4-8)

2) Who covered Philip when the angel of the Lord directed him to the Gaza desert? (Acts 8:26-40) (There’s no record of the Ethiopian eunuch asking him for his “covering” credentials!)

3) Who covered Ananias when he was sent to pray for Saul? (He went to pray for a known enemy of the church and didn’t even get permission!) (Acts 9:10-18)

4) Who covered Apollos when he taught boldly in the synagogue, even though he had not yet received the full gospel? (Acts 18:24-25)

5) And who covered Aquilla and Priscilla when they took Apollos under their wing to instruct him further? (Acts 18:26)

6) Who covered Agabus when he traveled down from Judea to deliver a prophetic word to Paul? (Acts 21:10)
The answer is the same in each instance: The Holy Spirit covered, protected, led, and enabled. He is the only covering we need. The real question is this: is He the only covering we want?

“IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU.”

This article has been reproduced with the permission of Cheryl McGrath

©Copyright Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride Blogsite. Permission is granted to reproduce any of my original posts in emails, blogsites and internet forums, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.

Is Christianity A White Man’s Religion?

Why is there hostility towards Christianity by many people of color and why is it frequently viewed as the white man’s religion?
Is Christianity really a white man’s religion? Was Christianity really founded by the white race and did they use religion to exploit people of color for their own personal gain?

Christianity has always had a complicated history simply because both the religion and the Bible itself has been exploited and misinterpreted for centuries.
Even satan attempted to twist scripture from the Bible in order to tempt, deceive and exploit Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:5-7).
Misinterpreting and twisting the meanings of scripture in the Bible can be very dangerous and it can give rise to extremism and cultic practices. For centuries many false prophets, cultic groups and false doctrines have arisen as a result of people exploiting and misinterpreting the Bible.
Therefore historically many people and various people groups have become abusers and persecutors supposedly in the name of Christianity. Throughout history and even in this present day, many people have been subjected to extremist behavior and abuse by deceived people professing to be Christians or under the banner of Christianity.
Jesus once told His disciples the following “… Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor Me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you” (John 16:2-4)

Therefore it is important to acknowledge that many people over the centuries have done many despicable and wicked things whilst professing Christianity or whilst twisting the Bible.
For centuries, many people have falsely used the banner of Christianity in order to deceive, abuse and perform wicked acts against others.

However neither Christianity nor the Bible is the real problem – but instead for centuries it has been man’s misinterpretation or twisting of scripture which has opened the doors to exploitation, extremism and the abuse of others, supposedly in the name of Christianity.
The Bible itself with its principles and commandments has never been the real problem – but rather it is the sinful nature of man which has been the root cause of many issues that we have in this world.

So Why Has Christianity Been Perceived As The White Man’s Religion?

1. Christianity and the Bible was used by (not all but various) Europeans as one of the methods to psychologically exploit and colonize various nations, particularly in Africa
2. Christianity and the Bible was used by white salve owners to justify slavery and racism particularly in the United States. For example even to this day, many who are part of extremist groups such as the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) are racists and yet claim or profess to be Christians.
3. In recent centuries, many missionaries who brought the Christian religion to such continents as Africa were individuals who were predominantly white or Caucasian.
4. The suffering and exploitation of slaves and many victims of colonialism at the hands of their white colonial masters exposed the spiritual and ethical hypocrisy of the white man during colonialism and the slave trade era. Such behavior undermined the authenticity and truthfulness of Christianity.

 

The Real Historical Roots of Christianity
To understand the real roots of Christianity and whether or not it is a “white man’s religion”, we must first understand the definition of Christianity and what it really means to be called a Christian.
Christianity is not just a religion. Instead it is a relationship with God the Creator which has been made possible by Jesus Christ. Man is sinful and his sins spiritually separate him from God (Romans 3:23). Christianity exists because of the love of God for sinful man such that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the debt of sin that mankind cannot pay (John 3:16).
Man is destined for eternal punishment because of sin and therefore he needs eternal forgiveness and he also needs a Saviour.
Therefore man can only find forgiveness of sins and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ alone by believing and receiving Him as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12).
Jesus Christ is the only Saviour and Mediator between God and man and nobody can find salvation or have an eternal relationship with God without Jesus Christ (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5).
Christianity therefore exists because of God’s desire to have an eternal relationship with man through Jesus Christ who became man’s substitute for sin by dying on the cross and resurrecting on the third day.
Jesus Christ is the Founder of Christianity and His Church (Matthew 16:18). It is Christ alone who is building His Church and He alone is the Author and Finisher of our Christian faith (Hebrews 12:2). Christianity therefore begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

When the Church age began at Pentecost, there were Africans, Asians and people from other parts of the world who were present and who responded to the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:10).
In Acts 8:26-38, Phillip shared the gospel to an African or Ethiopian official who believed in Christ as Saviour.
Therefore Africans as well as Asians and people from many parts of the world were part of the early church many centuries before the existence of the transatlantic slave trade.

In the Old Testament, in Numbers 12:1, Mirriam and Aaron apparently objected to Moses marrying a Cushite woman. A Cushite was a black person of African origin. However, even though Mirriam objected, God did not object to the interracial marriage.

The first Christians were Jewish or Semitic and therefore had dark brown skin. They were not white or Caucasian.

Therefore regardless of the slave trade or colonial history, Christianity was not founded by the white man and neither is it a white man’s religion.
The Bible states that all mankind are equal and made in God’s image regardless of skin colour or background (Genesis 1:27).
It is not known what skin colour Adam and Eve were when they were created by God. The reason? Because it didn’t matter whether they were white, brown, black, yellow etc.
What mattered is that God made all people of different skin colour in His image.

 

Christianity Is NOT The Problem – But It Is The Corrupt Nature of Mankind
Christianity in itself is not the problem and neither is the Bible the problem. The law of God is perfect and holy.
The problem is that man is sinful and corrupt and he falls short of God’s glory (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23).
Therefore because man is sinful, then this means that man is capable of exploiting even God’s word for his own selfish and personal gain by deliberately twisting or misinterpreting the scriptures.
In 1 Timothy 1:8-11 it says: Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Therefore whether historically or presently, when man uses the Bible to exploit and abuse others, it is not because Christianity or the Bible is not true – but it is because man is corrupt and his heart can be desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
So whilst God’s law is good, one must use it lawfully or properly. However man can be lawless and therefore he is capable of doing many wicked things including whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.

Therefore Christianity was not created for one group or race. The problem of sin exists in people of every race. Therefore every person regardless of color or race is in need of God’s forgiveness.
Christianity exists because there is a Saviour who came to earth to save people of ALL races. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the entire world so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

 

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”

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9 Dangers of False Doctrines & Teachings

The Bible warns us that spiritual deception will increase in the last days in preparation for the eventual arrival of the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-11).
Jesus Himself warned people of the inevitability that many false teachers will arise who will propagate false doctrines and perform false signs and miracles (Matthew 24:24-25), (Matthew 7:15).
False doctrines have a dangerous and life altering effect on people. When you accept false doctrine it can be likened to accepting a disease in your life. The disease infects you and it begins to methodically and slowly weaken and destroy your body if the disease is not removed.
In the same way, false doctrines subtly infect the spiritual life of a person and are methodically capable of leading to a person’s spiritual destruction. Such examples of false teachings that are popular in this age are the prosperity gospel, spiritual covering / shepherding doctrines, seed-faith teachings, antinomianism / hyper-grace, the word of faith teachings and many more.
False doctrines not only affect an individual, but false doctrines can affect entire generations and masses of people at the same time.

 

THE DANGERS OF FALSE DOCTRINES / TEACHINGS

The consequences or dangers of false doctrines are as follows:

1. False Doctrines Cause Followers to Submit to Spiritually Blind Leaders
False teachers are themselves both deceived and blind. They are deceived and in the process they are deceiving others.
Jesus spoke of the blind leading the blind in Matthew 15:14 by saying “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit”.
Therefore both the false teacher and his followers will fall into the same pit. Jesus is thereby warning that false doctrines are capable of leading both the false teacher and his followers to destruction in hell.

2. False Doctrines Cause Followers to Obey the Teachings of Men Instead of the Doctrines of God
False doctrines will always oppose the word of God and cause people to disobey God’s values and principles.
Matthew 15:1-3 says Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Therefore you will discover that various religious groups, cults or false teachers might put their own group traditions & beliefs above the authority of the scriptures.

3. False Doctrines Create Hypocrisy and a Counterfeit Christianity
When followers who profess to be Christians have a culture of disobedience against the word of God because of their false doctrines, this type of culture ultimately leads to hypocrisy.
Jesus says the following to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:7-9 : “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
The Pharisees were hypocritical teachers who only honored God with their words. However by their actions, the false teachers considered their own doctrines & traditions as being better than God’s commandments through their lifestyle and conduct. They reflected their hypocrisy by twisting scriptures and coercing their followers into obeying the traditions of men rather than God (Matthew 15:3-7).

4. False Doctrines Lead to People Becoming Followers of Men Instead of Followers of God
People who obey false doctrines are ultimately followers of men and not followers of Christ. Victims of false doctrines and teachings tend to have more of an adoration of men or their leaders rather than Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:29 says: But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts 20:29-30 says: I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

By using deceptive teachings or deceptive words, false teachers ultimately encourage their followers to be loyal to them above their loyalty towards God or towards His word.
We learn in Matthew 15:1-9 that Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and some of their false teachings. Jesus also exposes the fact that the Pharisees were not teaching their followers to obey the scriptures but they were teaching their followers to obey their own personal man-made traditions and twisted interpretations of the scriptures.
Hence blind men were leading blind men instead of blind men following God.
Colossians 2:8 says that we should be cautious about receiving philosophies of men and evil spirits – or any principles which oppose the teachings of Christ.

5. False Doctrines Lead to Spiritual Bondage and Legalism
Galatians 2:4-5 says Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
The Christian life is not meant to bring people into a life of spiritual bondage but instead when you are in Christ you are set free from bondage and you have liberty in Christ.
Galatians was written by the apostle Paul because the churches of that region were facing a theological crisis pertaining to the gospel. The essential truth of justification by faith rather than by human works was being denied by the Judaizers. The Judaizers were legalistic Jews who falsely taught that salvation was by human works or obeying the Mosaic law rather than by faith alone in Christ.
Paul therefore wrote Galatians in order to set the record straight that salvation is a free gift received by grace through faith in Christ alone and not by our own works or human effort (Galatians 2:21).
We therefore consistently see through many of the epistles which Paul wrote that false gospels and doctrines were being spread during Paul’s lifetime & ministry. Therefore in many of his epistles, Paul himself had to consistently correct and warn his readers pertaining to the existence and rise of false teachings.

6. False Doctrines Lead to Devotion to the Teachings of Demons
1 Timothy 4:1-2 says Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
The Bible is clear that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against evil forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore it’s important to understand that false doctrines are teachings which have been inspired by demonic spirits who ultimately report to Satan.
In other words, every false doctrine or false gospel that opposes the scriptures – especially the essential Christian doctrines is most certainly demonically inspired.
1 John 4:1 says: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Why does 1 John 4:1 link the testing of spirits to the existence of false prophets? It’s because false prophets and false teachers are mostly inspired by demonic spirits whether these teachers are aware of it or not. Therefore their false teachings are also inspired by evil spirits.
The Bible itself and all its scriptures was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and God used men. Therefore the devil himself will inspire false teachings to oppose God’s word and he will use men whose consciences are seared to spread false doctrines.

7. False Doctrines Create A Counterfeit Christ or a False Concept of the Biblical God
2 Corinthians 11:4 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.
False doctrines are able to create a different Jesus than the actual Jesus that is mentioned in the Bible. For example there are false doctrines that deny the deity of Jesus Christ. These doctrines claim that Jesus is not God and that Jesus was only a man. There are also some false doctrines where Jesus is not seen as the ultimate Mediator between God and man. These doctrines have false teachers and cult leaders who claim that it is they who either mediate or co-mediate on behalf of their followers before God. Yet the Bible is clear in many verses of scripture that Jesus is God and that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).
There are also false doctrines that falsely teach that God exists to give you any material possession that you can desire because Christ died for such a purpose. Other false doctrines teach that you can buy or earn the favour, the gifts and the blessings of God with money or by the amount of money that you donate or “seed”.
These kind of doctrines and many others do not speak of the Biblical Jesus or the God of the Bible. These false doctrines speak of another Jesus. Therefore while false teachers may read from the Bible and mention the name “Jesus” in their teachings, their false teachings do not represent the true Biblical character and nature of Jesus Christ. Hence false teachers will present a different Jesus by misinterpreting and twisting the actual meaning and context of various Scriptures.
Popular false doctrines and teachings that are taught today such as the prosperity gospel, spiritual covering / shepherding doctrines, seed-faith teachings, antinomianism / hyper-grace, the word of faith teachings and many more, all create a false concept of Jesus Christ and the true character of God. They propagate a false gospel and another Jesus instead of the Biblical Christ.
These false doctrines and others tend to diminish and distort the authentic nature and character of Christ.
Therefore following a counterfeit Jesus results in counterfeit Christians which then results in a counterfeit Christianity.
Jesus said “not everyone who says “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of Heaven.” When we read Matthew 7:21-23 we learn the tragedy that there are those who presume they will enter heaven but they will end up in hell simply because they lived hypocritical lives. They lived a counterfeit Christianity.

8. False Doctrines Encourage Sin, Pride and Rebellion
False doctrines do not lead people to Christ nor do they lead to authentic Christian living. Instead false teachings will energize the flesh and encourage the desire to sin or rebel. False doctrines will also encourage a spirit of pride and arrogance rather than Christ-like humility.
2 Timothy 2:16-18 says that false teachings not only lead to “empty chatter” but it also leads to ungodliness and is capable of spreading like a disease.
When you read Titus 1:10-11 it says that false teaching leads to
a) Rebellion or insubordination against God
b) Empty talk or mischievous conversations
c) Deceptive or manipulative behavior
d) Upsetting or division of families
In verse 11 it says that the motive of some of these false teachers is that “they teach for shameful gain what they ought not to teach”.
This means that false teachers teach false doctrines for their own personal gain even if they know that they are sinning and rebelling against God.
The result of continuous rebellion is that false doctrines eventually leads to both false teachers and their followers having a seared conscience.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 connects false doctrines to having a seared conscience because of people devoting themselves to teachings of demons.

9. False Doctrines Give False Teachers Abusive Control Over Their Followers
This happens especially within religious cults or groups that exhibit high control behaviour. False teachers and cult leaders tend to twist scriptures to enable themselves to intimately control, manipulate and spiritually abuse their deceived followers.
1 Peter 5:3 says that the church leader should not lord over or be domineering towards his followers but he should be an example to the flock.
In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus gives His disciples the template for Christian leadership. He basically mentions that Christian leadership is when:
1. the leader becomes the servant
2. the leader serves the flock and not himself
3. the leader imitates Christ’s leadership style
Another name for Christ’s leadership style is Servant Leadership.
However false teachers will teach false doctrines that cause their followers to fear them, idolize them and follow them without exercising any critical spiritual thinking.
Many false teachers have caused divorces, separated families, sexually abused members and destroyed lives because of the application of false doctrines upon blind followers.

 

Conclusion
The Bible consistently warns believers to beware of false prophets and false doctrines. They key to avoid being deceived is to seek a sincere relationship with God and to imitate the example of the Bereans who studied and verified the scriptures for themselves irrespective of who preached it (Acts 17:11). For example, even though Paul was an apostle of Christ, the Bereans would fact-check Paul’s message by going back to the Scriptures to see if what Paul had preached was really true.
In this age of deception, this is the kind of Christian that is needed: a Christian who tests the spirits and diligently studies and rightly interprets the word of God. It is necessary that as we grow in our walk with God that we avoid a culture of being spiritually spoon-fed, but instead we grow into a culture of personally studying and obeying God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15-19).
False teachings and doctrines lead people to hell rather than to eternal life with Christ. They encourage idolatry by creating a false concept of the true nature of God so that people are deceived into worshiping a false god and a false christ. It is therefore necessary that the truth be preached and the deception exposed because the spiritual lives of people are at stake.

 

 

The Purpose of The Gospel of Christ

[by Lantz Manomano] — 

What is the gospel and what purpose or impact should the gospel of Christ have in our lives? Do people in general really understand what it is or what the word of God actually says about the gospel?

What is the Gospel?
1 Corinthians 15:1-4Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

The gospel simply means the good news of Jesus Christ. The definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ is found in 1 Corinthian 15:1-4.
In a world where many false gospels and false doctrines exist, the authentic message and definition of the gospel may become distorted and irrelevant – but let’s examine 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 in order to reveal what this particular scripture tells us about what the authentic good news or gospel of Jesus Christ comprises of:
Verse 3, the gospel message consists of the death of Christ for our sins,
Verse 4, the gospel message consists of His burial and resurrection on the third day
We needed Christ to take our place because He took up human form (Galatians 4:4) in order to fulfill the law and satisfy God’s wrath as it could only be satisfied with One who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). His death and resurrection is good news because we know He is not dead and therefore we serve a living God. We also know He has overcome death and so that everyone who believes in Christ as Lord and Saviour has passed from death to life (John 5:24).

I hope by now you have an understanding of the gospel.
So let’s look into what the gospel does and its importance according to the scriptures:
• According to Romans 1:16, the gospel is the power unto salvation to everyone that believes in the good news of our Lord. The gospel message with its purpose and impact brings us to a realization that we need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
• According to 1 Corinthians 1:18, the gospel or good news is foolishness to those perishing. In other words, the gospel message and its impact in our lives is deemed to be irrelevant and foolish by those people who reject it and by people who will eventually perish in hell.

How Does The Gospel Free Us?
The gospel is the first step to freedom because it results into a relationship from which we learn about the love of God and how God has ultimately given us freedom from the power of the enemy through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The gospel helps us to understand the heart of God in relation to His desire to see all of mankind repenting. God desires that all of mankind should hear the gospel and be saved. Without accepting the gospel of Christ, we cannot have a genuine relationship with God.
Our relationship with God grows through our obedience and understanding of the Word of God and the gospel or good news of Christ helps us understand the heart of God.

The gospel also exposes the devil’s schemes and lies that have been spread through religious acts hiding in the name of Christ.

The good news frees us from:
• Blindness of the mind (2 Corinthians 4:4)
• Blindness of the heart (Ephesians 4:18)
• Blindness of the eyes (1 John 2:11, Mathew 6:23)
• The gospel free us from lies or spiritual deception (John 8:32, 44)
• Frees us from the world and worldly culture (John 17:9,14-17)
• Frees us from darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
• Frees us from self or living for ourselves and into living for Christ (Galatians 2:20)
• Frees us from the traditions or philosophies of men (Mark 7:8)
These are just few examples of how we have been freed by the gospel.

Is the Gospel for a Specific People?
Did Jesus die only for a specific people? Did Christ come to save only a specific nation like Israel?
Many people will make a variety of excuses of not wanting to receive or accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For example, some people might claim that the gospel is a “white man’s religion”; Others may believe in their culture or tradition above the word of God; Others may simply be people who love their sinful lifestyle so much that they reject the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
However the gospel reveals the grace and mercy of God so that if people are to reject it, they will ultimately have no excuse because to reject the gospel means to also reject the grace and mercy of God. Jesus Christ died for the entire world (John 3:16) and not just for a specific race or tribe. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and therefore everyone needs saving.

Mathew 24:14 says: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.

Luke 24:47 says: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem

The scriptures are on point and leave no room for confusion, instead God demonstrates that the Gospel message is for everyone. So please open your heart to God’s goodness if you have not done so already.

What Does the Gospel Reveal?
The gospel reveals the heart of God and of man, so there are things that do come with the gospel. Let’s list some of the things:
(1 Thessalonians 1:5) – it’s not in word only but also in power, Holy Spirit and much assurance
(1 Thessalonians 1:8-10), there is not only freedom when we repent and accept the gospel, but there is also judgment and wrath for those who reject or disobey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:27), there’s unity in gospel that is one spirit and one mind for the faith of the gospel
(2 Corinthians 4:3-4) It is hidden to those who are lost because their minds are blinded by satan who is the god of this world.
(Acts 5:41) Suffering for the good news of Jesus Christ
(Luke 21:12) Persecutions leading to trials and prison time

These are things that show that God wants all men saved. At the same time we find that many men will resist the good news because they can’t surrender to Christ’s Lordship. Persecution and suffering will come but Christ’s glory is revealed in us through our obedience to the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray we may pursue a relationship with Christ and be taught of His good news and experience the power and joy that comes with the gospel. Be blessed.

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

What Do You Know About Jesus Christ?

[by Lantz Manomano] —

Matthew 16:13-17
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT JESUS CHRIST?
What one knows about Jesus Christ is very important and is what also determines how one goes through life here on earth. Victory and disappointment is redefined by the relationship and knowledge we have of Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ does not remove us from life challenges but we are strengthened and equipped to implement what we know during such times. Let’s get to know Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% Man
This is one of the most important fact of the bible which has caused so many religious divisions and has partly led to the creation so many false churches. Jesus is not a creation but He himself is a creator, and to bring this point to light we have to understand that angels and the human race are the creations of God and can’t create.

Understanding Christ is 100% God:

Creator: as we mentioned above Christ is not a creation. Man invents and God creates, the difference being that an invention comes from an idea of bringing together resources that are in existence in order to improve the standards of living whereas creation is bringing something to life from nothing.
John 1:1-5 says: 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. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 1:2 says that Christ was in the beginning with God. Not only was He with God, but He was God. When it all started Christ was there and then verse 3 goes on to say all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Verse 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. He is the light of the world. Also read Colossians 1:16-17.

Foreknowledge: only God knows all things and Jesus Christ knows all things. John 13:11 says: For He knew who should betray him; therefore sad he ,Ye are not all clean.

Search the heart: the Bible says only God can search and know what’s in a human heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Jesus knew their thoughts and what was in their hearts (Matthew 9:4-5)

Forgive sins: only God can forgive sins Christ forgave sins. The scribes knew this and said among themselves that He is a blasphemous because they knew that only God forgives sins. So is it that Christ functioned outside God’s will or He is God.

Point to note: There is only one God who exists in 3 Persons. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one or united. They operate harmoniously. The Father glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies the Father and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son as they execute the plan from the beginning. (Read: What Is The Trinity? Do Christians Worship 3 Gods?)

Understanding Christ is 100% Man:

• Christ was born: Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law
• Jesus got hungry Luke 4:2
• Jesus slept Luke 8:23
• Jesus had a natural growth Luke 2:40

It’s very important to understand Christ’s conception is miraculous which means He was not born of fleshly man otherwise he would also need saving. We also have to understand the reason why He had to leave His place at the throne to serve and save a people He created. These are just points to stir up our spirit so that we grow a hunger and thirst for the Word of God.

Why did Jesus come to die for us?

When sin corrupted mankind, death also came into existence because God surely said if you eat of this tree you will die, Genesis 2:17. This death was both physically and spiritually because we were then separated from God. We became enemies with God and no longer had peace with God. Let’s see some of the reasons why Jesus came:
1. To restore life in us and save us from eternal death (John 3:16). Also Ephesians2:1 which states that He quickened those who have believed on Him because we were dead in our trespasses.
2. Reconciliation: this is the amending of a broken relationship (2 Corinthians 5:18,19)
3. To adopt us as sons and to be able to come to the Father. (Romans 8:14,15 John 1:12)
4. There was an exchange where Jesus took our place of death as the wages of sin is death and we deserved to die, but Christ who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could receive His righteousness (Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
5. To restore the lost peace (Romans 5:1)
6. To give us access to His grace (Romans 5:2, Hebrews 4:16)
7. To take away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 1 John 2:2)
These are just a few reasons of why Christ came. It was all from a place of love. With the way we act one would think that Christ did not come or that He came but did not accomplish what He came to do, which brings us to our next question below.

Did Jesus complete His mission on earth?
This is an interesting question and it has different answers as people at times answer based on how they are feeling leaving out the Word of God. Christ completed his mission; He left no stone attended. Below are a few points of how we know Christ has completed his mission:
• He died for our sins and announced the completion, (John 19:30) It is finished.
• He rose from death (John 20:14-17)
• He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3)
• We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit which he promised us, John 16:7-16

If Jesus accomplished satisfying God’s wrath and being the ultimate sacrifice, what does it mean for us who have believed?

• We are saved from God’s wrath, (1 Thessalonians 5:9,10)
• We are forgiven and should also forgive (Colossians 3:13)
• Put off the old man and put on the new man after Christ, (Ephesians 4:22-32)
• We are new creations, (2 Corinthians 5:17)
• We are complete in Him, (Colossians 2:10)
• We are dead to sin, (Romans 6:1-10).
• We now set our affection for the things of above and not on the things on the earth, (Colossians 3:2)
• Our life is hid in Christ with God, (Colossians 3:3)
• Christ is our life, (Colossians 3:4)

These are just but a few snippets just to spark one’s desire to hunger and thirst for the word of God. To conclude here are some of the names Jesus Christ was known by:

1. The Son of Man, (Mathew 8:20; 9:6, John 5:27)
2. Son of David (Mathew 1:1, 12:23, 2 Timothy 2:8)
3. King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelations 17:14, 19:16)
4. A Corner-stone (Psalms 118:22, Mathew 21:42, Acts 4:11)
5. Morning Star (Numbers 24:17, 2 Peter 1:19)
6. Messiah (Matthew 11:3)
7. The Word (John 1:1, 14, 1 John 1:1, 5:7)
8. Master (Luke 5:5, 8:24)
9. The True Vine (John 15)
10. Prophet (Luke 7:16, John 4:19)

Jesus Christ is indeed Lord and there is no other name that can save under heaven (Acts 4:12) and also His name is above every other name and at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under earth, (Philippians 2:9-10). We can never know the Father’s heart if we don’t know about Christ because Him and the Father are One in nature and likeness and no one can come to the Father except through Christ.

Life Objectives
• To stir up a hunger and thirst for the Word of God
• To find out how much we know about Christ
• To assess whether we believe in Christ or not
• To discover whether Christ is active in our lives today

Life Questions
1. How much do you know about Jesus Christ?
2. Which name shall every knee bow to?
3. If Jesus’s name saves, it saves us from what?
4. Did Jesus complete the will of the Father?
5. According to the answer provided on question 4, how does it make you feel?

What Are The Christian’s Weapons of Warfare?

The Bible tells us that every Christian is consistently engaged in spiritual warfare. In 2 Timothy 2:3-4 the Christian is described as a “soldier of Christ” who is engaged in a war.
In Ephesians 6:12, Christians are reminded that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but instead we fight against spiritual forces of darkness.
The devil together with his demons is described as the enemy of God whose primary objective is to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).

 

WHAT ARE THE DEVIL’S WEAPONS OF WARFARE?
The devil’s weapons of warfare include such tactics and techniques as:
a) Deception and temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Genesis 3:1-13)
b) Encouraging the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21)
c) Causing fear, doubt and confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Peter 5:8)
d) Idolatry, paganism and all forms of occultism (2 Chronicles 33:6)
e) Creating worldly philosophies & systems (Colossians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 4:4)
f) Creating false teachings and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

The devil is known as “the god of this world” who uses his own weapons of warfare to blind the world and to fight against Christian believers. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says: In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Therefore devil’s weapons of warfare are ultimately aimed at fighting against God and blinding people from having a relationship with Him through the knowledge and experience of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

THE CHRISTIAN’S WEAPONS OF WARFARE
However, God has also given the Christian believer some weapons of warfare so that he/she may be equipped against the attacks of the enemy.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NIV) says: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

According to 2 Corinthians 10:3, even though we live in the world, we do not war or fight our battles according to the principles of the world or according to our fleshly desires.
In other words, the Christian believer does not use the same deceptive or worldly tactics or techniques as the devil. Instead the Christian believer responds differently because according to verse 4, the Christians weapons of warfare have “divine power”.

So What Are The Christian’s Weapons of Warfare?

Ephesians 6:11-18Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Ephesians 6:11-18 gives us an insight in relation to what our weapons of warfare consist of.
We are to wear the armour of God that we may be able to withstand the schemes and tactics of the devil.

The armour of God consists of the following virtues or principles that are necessary when engaged in spiritual warfare:
1) Speaking the truth and standing for the truth (verse 14)
2) Righteous living and standing for what is morally and spiritually right (verse 14)
3) Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ (verse 15)
4) Living by faith and not by sight (verse 16)
5) Being reminded of who you are in Christ because of the salvation you received because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (verse 17)
6) Knowledge of the word of God and living according to the Scriptures (verse 17)
7) Praying according to the will of God (verse 18)

Therefore whenever we are engaged in warfare and in our daily walk with God, we wear the armour of God by applying and living according to the 7 principles or virtues mentioned above.
Wearing the armour of God and using this armour is only possible through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In Galatians 5:16-25 we are told not to walk or live according to the desires of the flesh but we are to live according to the Holy Spirit who enables us to bear good fruit and overcome satanic deception.
Therefore whilst the devil may use carnal, deceitful and corrupt means to wage war, on the contrary the Holy Spirit will enable Christians to use Biblical principles to withstand the enemy.

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S WEAPONS OF WARFARE?
According to 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 the weapons of the Christian’s warfare are useful for the following purpose:

1) For pulling down strongholds / destroying strongholds (verse 4)
2) For destroying arguments (verse 5)
3) For destroying every high thing or opinion that is raised against the knowledge and principles of God (verse 5)
4) For capturing every thought or idea so that it obeys Jesus Christ (verse 5)
5) For encouraging obedience to the things of God (verse 6)

Therefore whilst the devil’s weapons of warfare are meant to kill, steal, destroy and blind people from seeking a relationship with God through Jesus Christ – the weapons of warfare that the Christian has been given are meant to destroy the very tactics and schemes of the devil and instead promote obedience and a right relationship with God.

 

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”

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When False Teachers Have A Seared Conscience

Have you ever wondered why many false teachers/ prophets are capable of hypocrisy, manipulating, cheating and even abusing many of their followers and yet not feel a single ounce of guilt, shame or remorse for their actions?

Have you ever wondered if false teachers actually comprehend or care about the kind of spiritual damage that they cause to people when they spread false doctrines & teachings in order to brainwash and manipulate people for their own personal or financial gain?

Do you wonder why false prophets are capable of performing false or staged miracles & healings in order to deceive their followers that they are men of God who have been given healing powers?

Why do these false prophets speak false prophecies or hire people to give false testimonies in their churches and not feel any shame or guilt?

Why do false teachers deliberately twist and misinterpret God’s word in order serve their own appetites or for monetary gain?

Why do such false prophets / teachers seem to lack an authentic fear of God when they consistently manipulate, control or brainwash followers to satisfy their own ego and pride?

Where is their moral compass and do they actually comprehend the wrong that they are doing?

The answer to all of the above questions is found in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV) which says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron

The ESV version of 1 Timothy 4:1-2 says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared

Therefore a seared conscience is the reason for why false prophets / teachers can behave badly without feeling any shame, guilt or remorse.

What Is A Conscience?
A conscience is defined as a person’s moral sense of right and wrong. Our conscience is our internal moral compass that enables us to know and feel when we have behaved badly or correctly in life.
The Greek term for conscience in the Bible is [suneidesis] which means “moral consciousness”.
Therefore our conscience helps us to distinguish between what is morally good or morally bad and our conscience is supposed to illicit the appropriate feelings depending on our moral behavior.
God has placed in every individual whether religious or not, a basic understanding of what is fundamentally right or wrong.
For example, you don’t have to tell an 8 year old child when he/she has done something wrong. Children already have an inbuilt moral compass that gives them knowledge of sin.

However a seared conscience is when a person has a conscience that is so damaged and deceived because of rebellion and pride to the extent that the person no longer feels shame, guilt, remorse or any appropriate feelings whenever he/she has committed sin.
A seared conscience no longer distinguishes between right and wrong because the conscience has become uncaring and insensitive due to consistent disobedience and pride.
Therefore when people have a seared conscience they have become insensitive to basic human morality and they no longer care about what is morally or spiritually right or wrong.

False Teachers With A Seared Conscience
According to 1 Timothy 4:1-2 there are many people who are going to be deceived by false teachers and therefore depart from orthodox Christian faith (vs 1).
Why will many people depart from the faith? It is because people will be coerced into believing and following deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons (vs 1).
Any doctrines or teachings that contradict the word of God and attacks the gospel of Christ is either inspired by the sinful nature of man or such doctrines are sourced from deceitful demonic spirits (vs 2).
However, for any demonic doctrine to spread, both the teachings and the deceitful spirits who create the doctrines require a host in order to spread or propagate the false doctrines.
Hence in verse 2, Paul explains that men with a seared conscience are the hosts through which doctrines of demons are spread “through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared”

So in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 we learn the following about why false teachers can deceive without guilt, shame or remorse:

  1. False teachers have the characteristics of insincere or hypocritical liars whose consciences are seared. They have no moral compass and they no longer distinguish between right and wrong when they deceive their followers.
  2. The seared state of their conscience makes false teachers to be eligible mouthpieces for evil deceitful spirits. Hence in 1 John 4:1 Christian believers are encouraged and warned “not to believe every spirit but to test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone into the world”
    Therefore by comparing 1 Timothy 4:1-2 and 1 John 4:1, it is revealed through these scriptures that there is always a spiritual or demonic link & influence between false prophets / teachers and the demonic doctrines they teach. According to these scriptures, evil spirits influence the behaviours of false teachers / prophets.
  3. Thirdly we learn from 1 Timothy 4:1-2 that many people will depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers who propagate the doctrines of demons.
    This reveals in the broader context that the battle between good and evil in not physical, but it is a spiritual battle between God and satan with his demons (Ephesians 6:12)
    Evil spirits are at work to influence men whose consciences are seared so that they may spread false doctrines and lead people astray from God’s word and truth.

A seared conscience enables a person to perform acts of wickedness and deception without the desire to repent or the comprehension that his/her actions are wrong.
False teachers with a seared conscience are easy instruments for the devil and for performing the works of the devil.

In Matthew 23:13-33 Jesus describes the Pharisees as being hypocritical and deceitful and lacking basic moral conscience.

In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 we are warned of false apostles who are described as “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.”

In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets who will come disguised in sheep’s clothing but yet they are wolves. Jesus said they will be recognized by their fruits.

In Matthew 24:24-25 Jesus further warned about false prophets who will perform signs and wonders in order to lead people astray.

It is therefore clear that such actions by false teachers reflect the characteristics of people who have a seared conscience because they do not have any genuine fear of God.
False teachers will use the Bible and deliberately misinterpret it in order to manipulate and deceive others. They will stage false signs and wonders, speak false prophesies and spread false doctrines for personal and monetary gain without any moral compass or shame for deceiving others.

Men with seared consciences are consistently open to demonic influences because the truth of God’s word does not truly reside in their hearts. False teachers lack the true conviction of sin of righteousness and of judgment that comes from the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11).

Therefore the only way to prevent having a seared conscience is by having a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In the life of the Christian it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin. It the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us to all truth regarding the word and will of God for our life.
So as we yield more to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will have the conscience and the mind of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

How Can I Become More Like Jesus Christ?

The word Christian was originally a nickname for people who were followers or disciples of Jesus Christ or the Christian faith.
The word Christian means to be Christ-like or an imitator of Christ and therefore that is the aim of every Christian or born again believer: Christians are supposed to conform to the image or character and nature of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

When we give our life to Jesus Christ so that He becomes our Lord & Saviour, our life no longer belongs to us but instead our life now belongs to Jesus and it is Christ who is at the throne of our life.
Galatians 2:20 says: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

 

So how do we become more like Jesus Christ?

1. We Need To Give Our Life To Christ
We cannot conform to the image or nature of Christ unless we are born again (John 3:3). To be born again means that we recognize our sinfulness and depravity to the extent that we realize our need for Christ as Lord & Saviour.
In other words, you cannot become more like Jesus unless you become a Christian.
Being a Christian means that we have a one-on-one relationship with God through Jesus Christ because it is only through Christ that we are able to please God.

2. We Must Be Motivated By Love
We do not simply follow Christ out of a sense of religious duty or ritual. Instead we follow Him because we are motivated by love.
The more we love God and His word, the more we will express God’s nature and character.
1 John 4:7-8 says: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Therefore as Christians we must be moved and motivated by the love of God and the love of people.
In John 3:16 God was motivated by love when He sent Christ to pay for our sins on the cross. The nature of God is that whilst we were sinners, Christ loved us and died for us (Romans 5:8).
Furthermore, to become more like Jesus, we must love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates (Romans 12:9).

3. We Must Meditate & Obey God’s Word
How can we know who God is? How can we know the nature & character of Jesus Christ? How can we know what God loves and hates?
We can know all these things through the studying and meditation of God’s word. The Bible expresses the mind and heart of God because God Himself is the Author of the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
It’s in the Bible that we know the difference between good and evil. It is also through His word that we receive encouragement, counsel and instruction on how we can become more like Jesus Christ.
Also our obedience to God’s word enables us to experience the nature and character of Christ who was able to obey God’s laws perfectly whilst He was on earth.
Therefore imitating Christ comes with the knowledge and of God’s word and the understanding that all we need to know about Jesus Christ is found in the Bible.

4. We Must Spend Time With God In Prayer
Communication with God is an integral part of every Christian’s life. The Bible tells us that Jesus Himself would spend time to be alone with the Father to pray (Luke 5:16).
Prayer draws us near to God and enables us to intimately fellowship with Him. It is also through prayer that we realize our utmost dependence on God because without God we are nothing.
Just like Christ it is important for us to spend time alone with God to pray and pour our hearts on God.
The disciples admired Christ’s prayer life and they witnessed Christ’s intimacy with the Father.
Because they witnessed Christ’s prayerful life, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray because they wanted the kind of prayer life that Jesus had (Luke 11:1-2).

 

Conclusion
Ephesians 5:1-2 says: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
So as Christians we are called to imitate the character and nature of Jesus Christ. Our Christian walk must reflect to the world the love and nature of God so that God may be glorified and by His grace many who are lost can be saved.
Ultimately the Christian life is not a religion – but it is a relationship with God. The more we love God and the more we want to know Him and spend time with Him – the more we will desire to imitate Christ.
Therefore to become more like Jesus Christ we must delight in Him and cultivate a desire to know Him intimately.

 

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”

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What is The Christian View of Xenophobia?

One of the interesting facts of life is that before a person is born into the world, that person does not choose which country he/she wants to be born into.
Nobody chooses their nationality nor do they choose which family they would like to be born into. At birth, such choices belong to God alone.
However this simple truth is missed by many racial or xenophobic individuals.

Xenophobia is the fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. It is also defined as a deep-rooted fear towards foreigners or strangers.

For years we have witnessed xenophobia expressed in its most horrific and extreme forms. For example, in various countries foreigners have been beaten to death, burned to death or even stoned to death.
Whilst perpetrators and supporters of xenophobia have given economic & social reasons as justification for their behavior, such violent xenophobic attacks clearly indicate that there is something terribly wrong with the fabric of society and in or world today. Society is increasingly becoming morally lawless and desensitized.
In Matthew 24:12, Jesus speaks about the condition of mankind in the last days by saying “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

Therefore while the definition of xenophobia relates to fear of that which is different or unfamiliar, it has been clear for centuries that xenophobia eventually leads to hatred and intolerance.
Hatred ultimately leads to anger, violence and even murder as witnessed in such countries like South Africa.
So xenophobia is not only an expression of fear, but it is also an expression of hatred and anger.

In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus says that anyone who is capable of anger in his heart is just as guilty of the same judgment as one who commits murder.
Proverbs 10:12 says “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

Hatred towards people of different skin colours, nationalities and cultures stirs up division and strife. This kind of hatred is not only rooted in fear, but it is ultimately because mankind is sinful and he is losing his ability to express true love. As Jesus said – the love of man will grow cold in the last days.

One of the greatest commandments that Jesus gave us in addition to loving God is that we learn to love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:30; Luke 10:27).

In Luke 10:27-37 when Jesus was asked “And who is my neighbor”, Christ specifically chose a Samaritan who was a foreigner and despised by the Jews to emphasize in His parable that love must be extended to foreigners and people whom we may despise.

In Exodus 22:21 the people of Israel were instructed to treat foreigners with kindness and respect because the Israelites themselves were once foreigners in Egypt.
Exodus 22:21 says: You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Since the Israelites were once mistreated themselves whilst in Egypt and yet God helped them escape, God did not want the Israelites with the same hatred and bigotry that they experienced at the hands of the Egyptians.
Instead God expected love to be the motivation of how they must treat foreigners

Therefore xenophobia is wrong for a Christian. The mandate of all Christians is to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:37-40).
We are to see all of mankind as created equal and as being created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).

Numbers 15:15-16 says: The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the Lord: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.

There is no nationality or race or individual who is better than another. We are not to judge others according to their nationality or outward appearance but we should see people through the eyes of God.

A nation whose society cannot express genuine tolerance and love for each other nor for foreigners and immigrants, is a nation whose basic sense of morality is on the decline.
Love is the therefore the ultimate Biblical solution to such issues as xenophobia.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

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.