“Are you sowing into the Kingdom of God?”, that’s one question both good and corrupt preachers tend to ask their ‘flock’ these days. If you hear the preaching on TV chances are more that once you may heard “Are you sowing into the Kingdom of God? And if not then don’t expect God to bless you.” and so on. Questions of these sort make people fear a lot at times while others go even more miserly!
First off we are not to give our offerings to anyone who is preaching a false gospel. Secondly it’s not a sin to give our offerings which can help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations. And thirdly we are not called to live in deception. So, don’t get entangled into giving ‘seed’ offerings to those who are only looking forward to consuming your offerings for their personal luxuries instead of using it actually preach and by preach I mean preach the Gospel in its entirety. Those who preach prosperity as the sole output of believing in the Gospel need a lot of preaching as to why the 12 Apostles of Jesus except for John died by martyrdom instead of living like actual princes. O people of God, please check whom are you considering as a real preacher of the Gospel before you send your offerings to them. I once heard, that which preacher you give your offerings to, you end up partaking of their spiritual legacy. I that to this; so be careful if the preacher is not of the right spirit because you’d end up receiving the bad effects of the same!
With all this being said, there is less emphasis these days especially by quite a lot of preachers who are not telling their TV ‘flock’ to sow the seed of the Word of God into the lives of others. Now I’m not talking about brainwashing others into causing them to give their offerings at so and so ministry or preacher. But rather this is about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Now for many reasons, there are people who are still not able to define ‘others’. So let me make it real to you; your numerous friends, relatives, colleagues, people everywhere who have still not heard of the Gospel are the ‘others’. Let me make it clear your aim is preach whenever possible. However don’t make an excuse that it’s not possible to preach at all. I’d say that if your life is in righteousness in the Lord God, then there is no reason to fear sowing the see of the Word of God into others you can reach out to. I’m not saying go to a remote desert or island and find people to preach to. If that’s however the call of God for you then I won’t mind at all, in fact I’d encourage you. My point is; there are others near enough to preach the Gospel to, so go out and reach to them.
Now even before you decide to preach to others, I’d strongly suggest that you get right with the Lord God. Don’t get disqualified when you aim to help others to grasp the Gospel and embrace it. Any sinful tendency must not cling to your heart when preaching. Don’t lie to your heart ever; that unless you tackle sin you won’t preach the Gospel but you don’t know when you’d stop sinning. Self deception is a great hindrance to preaching the Gospel! Some take pride in ‘living’ a holy life and consider themselves superior to sinners. That pride itself is a sin. If you are not sinning, then don’t exalt yourself but praise the Lord God for that.
The work that you do for the Lord God in sowing the seed of the Word of God into the life of others, must also be accompanied by sincerity and humility, else it would be dead works. You’d not like to lose your eternal reward that comes from the Lord God due to silly reasons like clinging to pride or lack of belief in the Gospel. But if you preach the Word of God for the love of God and in purity then be assured that your reward will surely endure forever in heaven and in new heaven and new earth to come.
Reflect on the below verses:
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:31-38)
If someone doesn’t understand certain terms in the Gospel then feel free to explain to them the clear meaning of it. There could be people who are of a different culture or region might not be familiar with certain things in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can do this, without changing the Gospel to them and ensure that they get the right knowledge and understanding of it. There could be people who might wonder why they need to help the poor because in their place begging is forbidden. So you could tell them it’s not about encouraging others to be poor always but rather about how one cares for them.
However if someone gets upset that the Gospel forbids adultery because that someone is secretly an adulter or adulteress then don’t worry about offending them. You are not to go overboard on mercy that (ironically) you don’t offer them mercy. In plain words I mean you say those who repent of all their sins including adultery and believe in the Gospel have a place in heaven with Christ but never ever should it mean that you say adultery is harmless if you don’t get caught. Because even if a person who commits adultery is never tackled by his or her spouse, be sure that in the afterlife the person who died a sinner will not go heaven but rather to hell. So why change the Gospel for them only for them and you to face judgement in the afterlife?
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. (2 Corinthians 11:4)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.(Galatians 1:8-9)
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.(Revelation 2:2)
For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. (Luke 16:8)
In the parable of the Dishonest Manager/Steward (read John 16:1-9) Jesus mentions about a crooked manager used his shrewdness to escape from an audit by his boss who suspected him of wrong doing and also gain favour with those who were in debt from the place he worked in. The point that Jesus makes is that though wicked people use their cunning to escape an earthly punishment, they will still not escape eternal damnation and will also be accompanied by their partners in crime when being tormented.
Now that we know the end of the wicked, its time we also take one thing into consideration; the way the sons of light deal with each other, shrewdly. In context of the wicked being shrewd with each other we can expect some twisted and corrupted dealings. While for the sons of light who I can say are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, the context is how wisely they deal with each other while being holy and just and loving to each other. This does not mean we cheat or trick each other, for if we do then can such people be truly called the children of God?
Let me make it real to you. It’s truly possible to be shrewd when dealing with other Christians and I will show you how. But first let’s get a clear meaning of the word shrewd.
Shrewd : having or showing an ability to understand things and to make good judgments : mentally sharp or clever (Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary)
Since we have realized what the word ‘shrewd’ means let me give you three ways you can be shrewd in your interactions with other Christians. Here we go:
1) You can remind and encourage each other to follow the Gospel
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a psalm or a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done to build up the church. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
Don’t expect the world to tell your fellow brother or sister in Christ to follow the Gospel. The world well, is the world. It’s hidden master is the Devil. Would the Fallen One really encourage those under his grip to tell the people of the Lord God to follow the Gospel? Definitely no! At most the hellish serpent instead would let the world teach Christian as many counterfeit Gospels as they can. Oh, wait that’s already happening.
So it’s better that you who believe in Christ, follow what’s mentioned in the Bible and encourage each other who are in Christ to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can speak, you can sign, even in psalms and hymns to encourage the people of God to cling to the Lord God. Nowadays it’s possible to even send Bible verses, Christian praise and worship songs and videos and images which contain biblical messages to others via various social media. You can thank the ushers at church, say a kind word to your preacher and say thank you to those who go overseas to preach the Gospel. A small word of encouragement may mean a lot to them especially those who are taken for granted.
2) You can warn others tactfully and save them from trouble
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)
There are some Christians who are being tempted all the time and this is a tough burden to carry. You can’t expect the world to help them. That’s where you intervene and help all those in Christ from falling away from the path of righteousness.
Suppose you observe that a brother in Christ is in danger of being a drug addict, you can tell him to stop his habit. However, some people are very hostile to direct confrontation. So if you don’t want to be direct, you can given him examples of those who took to drugs and are now in poverty and have ruined careers and how now they are far from the Gospel. Perhaps, that brother might repent and turn to the Lord Jesus again.
Maybe you know of a woman who attends your church and is known to attend the worship of false gods, you can act on that too. Pray about it first to the Lord God for her salvation. If you can then directly speak up if possible. Now at some local churches they are too finicky about a man speaking to a woman and vice versa. So in such a case, one can request a woman who is strong in the Lord to approach the woman who worships false gods and preach the Gospel to her. Or at best, get the preacher or the pastor to do that. As usual do your due diligence.
3) You can refrain from blindly believing things
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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:1-3)
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4)
There is a serious need that while you help Christians to be loyal to the Lord God, you yourself don’t fall off the way of life. And for this reason do not blindly believe things that even other Christians tell you. Everything they say must stand the test of the Holy Scriptures. Always remember that no Christian leader is above the authority of the Bible. It doesn’t even matter if they tell you how sincere they are. If what they say contradicts the Bible, you better not follow what they say. Instead you follow what the Lord God says in the Bible.
Christ be with you!
A few years ago, I had been contacted by a representative of a local church and this was about a case that sounds extremely odd. There was a woman who would attend their church and perhaps still attends it. She would exhibit Stigmata while the church services would go on. This caused the church goers to be in wonder of her and the church leadership was suspecting demons at work. Because in certain types of demon possession, the affected individual also exhibits Stigmata. The people were getting too interested in her instead of praying to the Lord. So I was asked for a strategy to deal with her, since they didn’t want to directly cast her out of the prayer services, since part of the congregation believed her to be genuine. Eventually following my advice this was tackled cleanly and effectively.
Let me now give you a few definitions of what Stigmata stands for:
- Stigmata: bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy. (As per Merriam-Webster dictionary online)
Now the church representative was very concerned that the Stigmata ie the bleeding wounds on the woman’s hands were of the devil. I told him not to get too presumptuous about that but let me give him my advice on it. So I decided to ask him a few questions and by this analyze the situation. So for your convenience let’s call the church representative as George. Here’s how our chat went on:
Myself: Where do the wounds show up on her?
George: On the palms, both of them.
Myself: Not anywhere else?
George: Only the palms.
Myself: Strange, because these even happen on the feet, sometimes on the forehead and even on the chest.
George: I’ve not faced this before so I’m not sure what you are talking about.
Myself: No problem. Let me ask another question?
Myself: Does she belong to your denomination?
George: No, she’s from so and so denomination.
Myself: Do you suspect this stigmata that shows up in her might be a ploy to poach your existing church members in her denominational church?
George: (A bit startled) Nothing yet. She didn’t tell anyone to join her church.
Myself: Are you sure?
George: But she does attend other churches too?
Myself: Then why does she attend your church. Are you not aware that certain denominations proclaim other denominations as heretics?
George: I’m not sure but she is regular with us.
Myself: What’s the attitude of others in church towards her?
George: They are awestruck by her and are eager to see her every church service.
Myself: (Concerned) Does this mean she attracts others to Christ?
George: Can you be more specific?
Myself. Yes. By her getting the mysterious blood marks on her palms, do people at your church feel like praying more to the Lord? Do they feel like reading the Bible even more? Do they feel like fasting? Do they pray for more miracles to happen in your church?
George: (Stumped) I’ll have to check on this. This will need me to research on what’s going on.
Myself: Can I suggest a thing?
Myself: Don’t put her on a position of prominence in church. Make sure that people at the time of praise and worship are focused on Christ. You are to keep track of what messages she gives the others in your church and check if it is consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
George: We always focus on Jesus Christ at the church services but I will make sure people continue to focus on the Lord and not her.
Myself: That’s fine enough. I also want to ensure that somebody preaches the Gospel to her.
George: We preach the Gospel at church. I’ll make sure some woman also reaches out to her in this regard.
Myself: I also suggest that you keep track of your people. I mean you don’t want a situation that her stigmata causes people to switch over to her denomination?
George: No. We preach the true Gospel, why should people leave us?
Myself: That’s not my point. I’m not blaming your church. I’m only asking you to make sure your church is not carried away into impulsiveness.
George: What about demons? Don’t you suspect her stigmata could be a demonic manifestation?
Myself: I’d say its demonic if she abhors the name of Jesus that she ends up getting fits (epilepsy) all of a sudden on hearing the name of the Lord. Or she reacts violently and screams a lot.
George: Ok, thanks. I will keep track of the things you’ve said.
Myself: No problem. I will pray for her and your church services to not be affected negatively.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5: 19-24)
Now it took the church representative a few weeks to get back to me as to what happened. He told me he tried the stuff I told him. They made sure someone preached to the woman who got the Stigmata. The church services were done with the wholesome preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Plus the worship was purely focused on the Lord. George said the woman didn’t have any specific revelation nor prophecy to give to the church nor did she cause any people to join the other churches she would go to. Most importantly, the woman no longer manifested the Stigmata on her palms. She instead prayed and read the Bible and leads an upright life to George’s best knowledge. The people were not attracted to her but instead focused on the Lord God.
The point here is not just Stigmata, it might have been levitation in mid-air or even holding poisonous snakes without getting harmed, what should be our reaction?
- It definitely does not mean that we consider such people as worthy of more respect than Christ.
- It does not mean that we throw away our knowledge of the Gospel in exchange for untested visions or revelations accompanying the “miraculous” person in question.
- It does mean that we continue to worship the Lord God without deviating from principles of the Bible.
- It does mean that we do not worship false gods on the insistence of any person who can even perform supernatural feats.
- It does mean that we document such cases, including the mental state of the person having Stigmata etc to be able to clearly analyze the situation instead of being clueless.
- It does mean that if we don’t know how to deal with such cases we are humble enough to ask some other Christians who are aware of such situations.
- Above all pray and read the Bible and do research by yourself too.
Verses for reflection:
- Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is already in the world. (1 John 4: 1-3)
- But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
- “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
- How is it then, brothers? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him remain silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. If anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first keep silent. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)
You salvation which comes from Jesus is highly valuable. This will keep you from going to hell when you die and away from eternal judgement at the Final Judgement. With salvation they joys and security of eternal life in Christ are promised. We must take care that we always have our salvation from God. So here’s a question that pertains to this; can salvation be lost?
A quick and direct answer to this is that salvation can be lost if you give up on Jesus and the Gospel. One can also say that if a person was a Christian but renounced the faith later and then became an atheist then he will automatically lose his salvation. It’s that simple. Now, I know that for a question like this, it’s important to know why salvation can be lost. Also some may wonder what does it mean by ‘give up’ in this case. I’d suggest that you read the following as objectively as you can to understand why a person may lose his/her salvation.
An uneasy question indeed!
This question that makes people very uneasy in church, office and school. The fear of eternal damnation is so compelling that people try to avoid this topic when at dinner at home or at a church picnic. They prefer if the preacher is preaching about dangers of being in sin to a general audience instead of smaller groups or one on one.
If you don’t ignore physical safety then why ignore spiritual security?
When it comes to your physical safety, you know there are rules and principles to be followed. You don’t fiddle with the law of gravity but take due precautions when going in an aircraft. Small babies by instinct scream when they see a vicious snake around and so alert their parents. If you see a landmine its unwise to step on it even if your captain says to tap it, you’d rather choose to disobey him and throw a stone on it from (real) far away to show him that is dangerous. So if we take care of our physical safety how much more must be aware of everything related to our spiritual security in this life and the life to come?
Beware of the bandwagon effect
Then as usual you have the denominational bandwagon effect in which legalistic people are of the opinion that if you follow all their rules you are saved but if you do not, then you’re not going to heaven. Also, there is the permissive crowd which has a feeling that everybody will go to heaven if they say the sinners prayer no matter how they behave later. It’s not wise to depend on someone’s feelings or opinions when it comes to salvation. You need to have the facts which prove themselves true in every situation and every time. This is a case of reality and not wishful thinking. No wonder you need to know that the Bible says about salvation and losing salvation.
To understand salvation lets read the below scripture verses. I’ve put an explanation in italics, where necessary.
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
- Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24) (‘my word’ means the Gospel which also includes repentance of sins)
- Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
- and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)
- For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
- If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
- Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) (It’s Jesus who saves us and not our good works)
To get a clear picture of how a person can lose salvation you can refer to the following scripture verses. Lots of verses here, so you may like to slow down a bit, when reading them:
- Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18)
- “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46)
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
- For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)
- He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans 2:6-8) (here ‘patience in well-doing’ means to continue to believe in Jesus’ work of salvation for them)
- Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
- But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. (Exodus 32:33)
- And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:19)
- The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us (2 Timothy 2:11-12)
- For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (Hebrews 10:26-28)
- And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:3-4)
- But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. (Ezekiel 18:24-26) (in context of the Gospel, this would indicate any person who turns away from the Gospel is deemed a sinner)
And finally please consider:
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)
So by this we must have great regard of the salvation which comes to us from Jesus and never take it lightly. If you have sinned, there is hope. Simply repent of your sins and unbelief and choose to follow Jesus again.
In the world there are people who seem quite wise in their words until the time their reasoning is questioned. The same thing happens in the church. Especially in churches dominated by legalism or heresy. Is cross-questioning someone consistent with the Bible? Yes it is.
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him (Proverbs 18:17 ESV)
We don’t question someone for the sake of doing so. It can be that we need to ask questions for clarification on what the person spoke first. Sometimes it can be because we want to stand up for the Gospel.
There’s a thing you can consider before cross-questioning someone who is speaking ill about you or ill about the Christian faith. Let’s read the following Bible verse
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13 ESV)
Yes my friend, it is foolish to try to use cross-questioning as an answer to something, especially when the other person has not been heard. Be patient and try to hear out what the other person is trying to say and then cross question. Sometimes cross-questioning prevents a person who spoke ill of you from speaking ill of you again.
Like I said earlier, you can cross question others for clarification. Its better to ask a question and get your doubts resolved or simply keep it all underneath and waiting to explode into anger later.
For instance, today if a person in church insists that praying in tongues is the best way of praying and wants to everyone to try only that. However, you feel that any prayer said in faith is good enough but you keep quiet at that time. So later you can’t keep itself to yourself and reach out to others saying that praying in tongues is not the best but there are other forms of praying too. So then two groups emerge, one by you saying that we can pray any prayer as long as it’s in faith and then the other saying that praying in tongues is the only prayer form that is valid. No group is willing to hear out the other in a fair and free meeting. This could then lead to conflict in the church with the obvious name calling. Then the person who started off the theory that praying in tongues is the only prayer will try to put the blame on you. He may say that you didn’t speak to him about it and didn’t give him a fair chance to explain himself.
Cut back to the present time, that same person insists that praying in tongues is supreme. You can cross question him saying, ‘I’ve heard that the Bible says prayer of the righteous man avails much, so I think you are trying to say praying in tongues is an act of faith, correct?’. To this he may say ‘yes’ and for this you can tell him even other types of praying methods are best as long they are done in faith. If he says ‘no’ then you can tell him that praying in tongues is indeed good but there are times such a marriage service or baptism service where prayers are needed to be said in simple words for sake of uniformity. You may further add that its good that people pray in tongues but it doesn’t mean that we give up our other praying methods.
Jesus himself cross questioned others when they tried to ensare him by his words. Here are few instances:
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marvelled at him. (Mark 12:13-17)
The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18:19-24 ESV)
Sometimes, it’s not even about matters of religious affairs. Your preacher suggests that a particular place is the best place for a church family picnic. But you have another place in mind which you feel may be more fun. You may ask him like this, ‘If the place is yet to be finalized, then may I suggest another place which might be more fun? I can give you the details on that’.’
You can even try this in the office as well. Some manager in the office is speaking of ‘smart sizing’ the staff and how it will increase the revenue of the company. You can just ask, ‘does smart sizing mean that some of us are going to get kicked off our jobs?’ and also ‘how increasing the company revenue help those who are going to get fired, will they be given handouts if they are jobless?’. Tough questions indeed. You will need courage to speak up. Some of the questions may be perceived as rude to the management. So you can tweak them in such a way that you can’t be said to be an annoyance. You can ask ‘what are the objectives for the welfare of our fellow employees in light of this ‘smart sizing’?’ or ‘does this mean that the company is running into losses and since when?’. Regardless of the answer by your manager, you bring forth your point of justice and welfare so that they take note that there are people who can think for themselves. Also by asking these questions, even other people who are mentally asleep during such meetings are awoken to the reality of the situation.
In terms of national affairs, I maintain that you have a right to question what the government intends to do with border security, illegal immigrants, nuclear reactors, gun control etc. It’s not going to be possible that every time you have a question you can just dial the President or Prime Minister to get answers. However there are many peaceful ways to get your point across. You can use an online media campaign, handbills, town halls etc. Even approaching the relevant unions or lobby groups will help you. You will need to be clear on your questions and justification for them.
With all this being said, I’d like to remind you that Proverbs 18:17 works both ways. So you too must be ready for any cross-questioning done towards you. Usually this can happen in a family set up, where the spouse asks why such and such thing was said by you. Here the emphasis by you should be to be honest, calm and friendly while trying to clear the air on your actions or words. Even at church or work, you can answer back any questions directed towards you without having to compromise on the truth and avoid all undue anger. Not everyone will like your answer but you must speak what is right in the eyes of God.
Jesus had a lot to say about Satan. It’s strange that in some Christian circles the preachers and the congregations don’t want to hear about Satan nor his wicked plans when Jesus himself was highly critical of the eternally condemned liar. I find it odd and tragic in equal measure that certain people want to speak that Jesus is victorious but don’t want to mention whom he was victorious against. This brings to my mind the words of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Some people want a ‘customized’ gospel as per their own hearts desires and they find preachers who are willing to ‘tweak’ the gospel for them. By reading 2 Timothy 4:3-4 we are already forewarned about this and must accept the entire teachings of the Bible and not just bits and pieces of it. About such deceived people, may the good Lord Jesus open their eyes before its too late for them. Amen.
Now here’s what Jesus said about Satan. I’ll put a (sub) header or explanation about the context for each of his words about Satan for the sake of clarity. Read on:
On the Jews rejecting Jesus as Messiah but still claiming eternal security by being descendants of Abraham.
John 8:4 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jesus compares Satan to a murdering thief.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Jesus explained the parable of the sower (Matthew 13: 1-23) and compared Satan to the seed eating birds.
Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
Jesus explained the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13: 24-29 and 36-43) and called Satan as the enemy.
He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
When Peter advised Jesus against the will of God.
Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
When the disciples were amazed that they could cast off demons in Jesus’ name.
Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus spoke to Simon Peter on how Satan wanted to claim Simon Peter for eternity but Jesus prayed against it.
Luke 22:31-33 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Jesus clarified that he doesn’t need Satan’s nor his henchman Beelzebub’s assistance to cast out demons.
Matthew 12:22-27 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub,by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Jesus mentioned that the lake of fire at the Final Judgement (Matthew 25:31-46) has been prepared for Satan and his angels and unbelievers too share in it.
Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
By reading this, I hope and pray that you don’t take the great deceiver of the world ie the Devil lightly and instead trust Jesus forever. May the the light of Christ always shine in your life. Amen.