19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord‘s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord. (Psalm 118:19-26)
The very person rejected by the scribes and the Pharisees has turned out to be the cornerstone which the builders rejected. Jesus of Nazareth is his name. He comes in the name of the Lord God of Hosts. He did not come into the world for his own glory but for the glory of the One who sent HIM. To those who believe this are the doors of salvation open in the land of the living.
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:28-40)
It is truly wise to accept Jesus Christ as the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Not a king of earthly limitations but rather a king sent from God himself. Not everyone in the world accepts him as their king, the king of righteousness but for those who do, they will never be wrong. Therefore hold fast to your confession of faith which Jesus came to die for all sinners so that those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life.
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matthew 23: 37-39)
Jesus came for the Jews and also for the Gentiles but first for the Jews. Now remember that most of the disciples of Jesus when he walked on this earth were Jews. However not every Jew including the religious leaders had faith that he was sent by the Lord. This was because they didn’t understand the Scriptures in the light of the Holy Spirit but were legalistic. Yet the Savior of the world has given them this, that if they acknowledge him as sent by the Lord, then their house will not longer be desolate. But even as their times come again, let everyone who is capable of breathing even now say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. Amen.
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)
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you,always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people,devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved,building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others bysnatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:17-23)
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
What is the Difference between a Red Letter Church and a Grace based Church?
The Christian Church has Jesus as the Foundation. It is built upon the Red Letters of the Bible, the words that Jesus Christ Spoke Himself. Build upon that, are the many pillars of Scripture, revealed through Prophet’s, Apostles, Kings, Priests, ETC
The Pillar of GRACE
The Pillar of RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Pillar of JUDGMENT
Altogether these pillars build up the teachings of the Church.
But in many Churches, a problem arises when, the Red letters of Jesus are removed as the foundation of the Church & the Pillar of Grace, is set as the new foundation.
With GRACE being the new foundation of the Church, Some pillars fit nicely on that.
Love & Mercy
Forgiveness & Blessing
Peace & Joy
But other pillars don’t fit so nicely on this Foundation. Therefore those subjects need to be de-emphasized, and rarely brought up.
While other pillars of Scripture don’t fit at all on this foundation.
The Fear of God
Those subjects need to be ignored, disregarded or just briefly mentioned. Those subjects were from the God of long ago, who no longer exists. (Edit: This part as per hyper grace teachings is basically saying the Lord has changed his behaviour in the New Testament times, but reality is that the Bible never says the Lord God has become permissive of sin because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ)
The Sermon topics of the Grace based Church are VERY important topics, that need to be thoroughly covered. But as many people have discovered, it wasn’t that those topics were being covered, it was that other topics were just being ignored. The problem is that anytime you ignore parts of Scripture, it distorts the image of God.
The Grace based church presents the congregation with a Path of Salvation, and a Doorway to go through. The problem is that the path presented is Wider than the Narrow path depicted in scripture. This will result in a rude awakening for some people, who feel secure, yet are not on the RIGHT path.
Jesus taught that the House built on ROCK, does not fall. Therefore if we ignore parts of Scripture when building the Church, then the Church becomes less stable, because it’s missing part of the foundation.
Because Jesus is the Cornerstone of our Faith, His teachings demand greater focus over the teachings of any other. As Jesus even said, “My testimony is weightier than John’s”
But in many churches we see that the Greater Focus is given to the Teachings of the Apostle Paul, over that of Jesus. Which Paul even warned us NOT to do.
In scripture we are told to behold the kindness and severity of God, and God is revealed as both a Lion and a Lamb.
But in the teachings of many Churches, we see this Principle is changed to. Behold the Kindness of God.
The LION is de-emphasized, and most sermons only reveal God as the Lamb. And this causes an imbalance in doctrine.
Put back the Words of Jesus, as the Foundation of the Church. Where the teachings of the Apostle’s and Prophets are built upon the ROCK. Not ignoring any portions of scripture. This is the Church that Jesus Built.
– By Robert Brownell
My note about teachings/letters of the Apostle Paul (call it a disclaimer if you wish):
Generally I wouldn’t put in a note at this point but I felt since the above quote somehow makes a distinguishing mark between the teachings of Jesus Christ and those of the Apostle Paul, so I felt it’s best to clarify this out for you.
To be clear enough; the letters of St. Paul in the Bible are fully part of the Holy Scriptures and are fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. However some people have tried to use that justify elimination of certain key doctrines of the Bible, in fact the very things that Jesus taught! The teachings or letters of St. Paul are not of his own but are of the Lord God who spoke through the Holy Spirit and inspired his letters.
Like I said the letters of St. Paul are inspired by the Holy Spirit, this means that they are to remind us of things which Jesus Christ taught during his ministry on earth and even more revelations of God without undermining the truth of the Gospel.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14: 25-26)
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15)
A quote from an Evangelical preacher which in a way sums up how the preaching of the Word of God can go wrong:
Evangelicals, (including myself), have distorted the image of Jesus
FROM a Righteous, Reigning, Awesome King of Glory, to be feared, loved and obeyed.
Down to a Friendly Neighbor.
We have diluted the Gospel down to “Say a prayer and get your free ticket to Heaven.” We handed out tickets to heaven, like it was free candy, forgetting the words of Jesus “It is hard for a man to enter the Kingdom of God” and “narrow is the door…few there be that find it”
We have diluted down the image of Hell,
FROM a place of Miserable Agony, Torment, Wrath, Burning & Regret
Down to a much more digestible phrase, “Godless eternity” (which doesn’t seem to put fear in any unbeliever)
Never ever dilute the Gospel even if the person who is hearing might reject the true meaning of the Gospel. It’s your job preach the Word of God without altering it. Don’t worry about the so called “undue” fear mongering because certain things are actually good to fear; ” The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)”
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
For that believe in Christ Jesus, they know their righteousness is from him alone, by faith in him. They conduct their lives so in a manner pleasing to the Lord Jesus and refrain from evil. These do not bear bad fruit but rather good fruit, for they are of God to whom belongs the tree of life. Such are these people that they don’t keep the Lord of all goodness all to themselves but speak of his mercy to those who are in darkness. The righteous don’t take pride in their holiness but commend all things to God. They gain back people to the Creator of all by offering his grace and knowledge of salvation. Blessed are those who respond to them favourably by accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For if in they continue in the way of life then they will receive the crown of glory in heaven from God in the presence of the holy angels.
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!
While in the earlier post I had shown how preaching goes on in Pakistan, I’d now also want to show that persecution and terror is real over there.
On Resurrection Day, the 27th of March 2016, as per the new reports “a bomber blew himself up near an entrance to Gulshan-e- Iqbal Park in the Pakistani city of Lahore, close to a children’s play area on Sunday evening. The sound of the explosion was heard several kilometres away and eyewitnesses said there were big crowds in the area because of the Easter holiday.”
Here’s what a news snippet from the Guardian news agency says:
“A faction of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the explosion, saying it was targeted at Christians celebrating Easter. A spokesman for the group, Ehsanullah Ehsan, told the Guardian: “We have carried out this attack to target the Christians who were celebrating Easter. Also this is a message to the Pakistani prime minister that we have arrived in Punjab [the ruling party’s home province].” However the Punjab government denied the claim that the bombing was aimed exclusively at Christians, as those in the park were from all backgrounds.” (read full article : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/27/dozens-killed-in-blast-outside-lahore-park-pakistan)
The fact that Resurrection day was chosen and the terrorist group directly claimed they intended to attack Christians, shows that persecution against Christians in Pakistan does exist, though the government may officially deny it.
Taliban says it targeted Christians in a park on Easter Sunday, killing 65 : http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-pakistan-blast-20160327-story.html
Pray for those affected by the bomb blasts that killed lots of people. Pray for the victims and their families. Also keep in your prayers both Christians and non christians who are affected by this brutal bombing.
Ask in faith, that the workers of sin, who carried out this blast are punished by the Pakistani government and if that government cannot do so, then let the Lord God still find other workers of justice who are truly capable and willing to get justice done.
Finally, pray that the preaching of the Gospel still goes on even more strongly in Pakistan.