Marks of a Cult

Why are Baptists properly considered Christians, but Mormons are not? Why is the Jehovah’s Witness religion classified as an anti-Christian cult while Presbyterians, Wesleyans and Pentecostals are simply seen as denominations within the Christian faith? How does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? And just what are the marks of a cult? Watchman Fellowship, a great anti-cult ministry, states that there is an easy way to differentiate a cult from a church. The marks are as simple as add, subtract, multiply and divide. Add: Cults add to Scripture. The revelation of God provided in the Bible is never sufficient for a cult. Thus they must add to the written revelation of Scripture, usually with additional scriptures or with their own translation of the Bible. In this way we have books such as The Pearl of Great Price of the Mormons and the New World Translation of the Bible produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since the Bible claims exclusivity as the written revelation of God, we must see that other books, even if the followers of cults claim that they are equal to the Bible, must actually be over and above the Word of God. Subtract: Cults subtract from the person of Christ. Cults cannot tolerate the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus and thus usually reduce Him to being a created being. In some cases they make Jesus only a manifestation or mode of God. In either case, the role of Jesus as revealed in Scripture is diminished. Multiply: Cults multiply the requirements of salvation. Salvation, as it is presented in the Scriptures, is by God’s grace through faith alone. Cults continually add to the requirements of salvation, always adding human works as a necessary prerequisite to salvation. No cult teaches or endorses justification by faith alone. Thus all cults reject the very heart of the gospel. Divide: Cults divide the loyalty of believers. Each cult believes that it has exclusive revelation and understanding of God that ensures its followers are either exclusively God’s people or are somehow more blessed than others. Cults always seek to divide believers against each other based on the previous three marks. Thus cults are, by their very nature, divisive. Each one is proven to be true within the belief systems of several different cults including the Seventh Day Adventists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, The Moonies, and Oneness Pentecostals (or the Jesus-Only Movement).

Are You A Rescuer?

“When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36)

Are You A Rescuer?

Have you ever been to the beach?  Here in Florida, we often get extremely dangerous riptides.  For those non-beach goers out there, a riptide is where the waves come crashing into shore, and then the water returns, making a river with a very strong current going directly back out into the ocean.  If a person’s not careful, they can get pulled right into a rip current and very quickly end up1/2 mile off shore.  I once found myself in a riptide in Hawaii and almost lost my life. Many people drown every year from these deadly traps!      Recently, there was a story in the headlines that really moved me.  A large church youth group was visiting the beach on the west coast.  Without warning, a young man wading in the water was yanked by a riptide, was swept out to sea, and vanished.  Immediately, the panicked youth group relentlessly looked for him and called for help.  There was no trace of him.  In approximately10 minutes, the surf rescue team was on scene.  During the search, twenty-plus kids from the youth group, kneeling on the sand, sobbed uncontrollably and prayed, a truly heart wrenching sound and sight if ever there was one.  It took another 15 minutes before the rescue swimmers found his lifeless body floating in the ocean.  Time was of the essence and they had no time to waste.  They grabbed him and pulled him aboard the Jet Ski and rushed his lifeless body to the beach.  Then, to the absolute amazement of all, he miraculously was revived and saved!   In the same manner, God is pleading for us to rush to the masses and rescue them!  Time is of the essence!  What type of person could sit back on the beach in apathy while someone is dying in the ocean?  What kind of person could care less if the perishing person dies?  If they could ignore it, they’re heartless.  No, a person with any heart would do everything in his/her power, whatever it takes,
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to rescue the perishing.   Likewise, there’s a multitude all around us dying in a sea of sin!   Have you ever noticed that in a rescue attempt, the rescuer must go to the perishing?  The perishing doesn’t come to the rescuer.  I’ve never seen a drowning person swim to the lifeguard to ask for help.  The lifeguard rushes to the drowning person!  I want to challenge you to be a rescuer for Jesus and rush to that neighbor, friend, relative, classmate, or worker who’s perishing and tell him/her there’s a Savior who loves them and wants to come into their life to save them! Sadly, many lost people around us remain just that, lost forever, because we’re waiting for them to come to us!  But the reality is, most lost people have no intention of going to a religious meeting to hear a religious speaker talk about a religious subject in a religious place.  Often the biggest mistake Christians make in getting the Good News to dying people is we’re waiting for them to come to us.  Most of our efforts to change people’s destiny from hell to heaven focus on the lost coming to our meetings, to our buildings, to our places of worship.  Tragically, most of those lost and dying people remain just that, lost and dying!
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)    
They’re looking for a church about as much as a thief is looking for a policeman.  They’re not looking.  They’re not coming to us, so we need to rush to them!  We have to take the initiative and “go.”  Whatever the risk, no matter what the cost, we must rush to them and rescue them.  Dr. Chuck Kelly said, “The only thing that is worse than being lost, is being lost and nobody is looking for you!”  The question is are we even looking for them?   The great 19th century evangelist, D.L. Moody, once commented that one day he saw a painting that captivated him, and he immediately purchased it.  It was a picture of a man coming out of the stormy-tempestuous waves clinging to the cross with both arms.  Later, Moody said that he found another picture which spoiled the first painting altogether.  It was an engraving of a man coming out of the stormy-tempestuous waves clinging to the cross with one hand, and with the other hand pulling another person to safety.  Moody said, “That is what I like.  Keep a firm hold upon the cross, but always try to rescue another from drowning.”  As you and I tenaciously cling to the cross every day, I challenge you to reach out and grab hold of the perishing that are all around you in the sea of sin.  This same D.L. Moody said he envisioned himself in a lifeboat every day, and as he paddled in the sea of sin, his objective was to daily rescue as many perishing as he could before it was too late.  Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)   Maybe you’re thinking right now, “Well I just don’t believe in confrontational evangelism, I believe in lifestyle evangelism.”  So do I, that is, if you define lifestyle evangelism as making Jesus known every day as a lifestyle.  But if you mean never opening your mouth to share the life-giving Gospel, well I respectfully choose to disagree.  You see, there’s only one problem with that point of view; it’s unbiblical!  When you read the book of Acts, you see a common thread throughout the book, a common denominator.  The believers were constantly going out from the church and reaching as many people for Jesus as they could.  Throughout the Scriptures, you consistently see that the church was an offensive entity!  They didn’t sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya.  No!  They were passionate about the One who was passionate for them!  The disciple’s earnest plea throughout the Book of Acts was, “Lord, grant that Thy servants speak with all boldness,” and they went into the highways and byways boldly and compassionately making Jesus known.  They were passionate about their Savior!  They wanted to make their Savior known because of the intrinsic fire and love that consumed their heart for their Savior.  The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).  They knew this, embraced this, and acted upon this.   Let me ask you a question.  Suppose you were walking down your street and you saw a family on the second floor of their house in the dining room.  They were eating, laughing, and enjoying themselves.  You probably wouldn’t want to interrupt them.  However, what if you walked by and saw raging flames engulfing the lower floor of the house; would you just walk on by?  No!  You would beat on the door; maybe even kick it down as you raced to warn them of their impending doom.  Even so, if we have any heart, we will rush to those perishing all around us. Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, and “When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).  The Greek word “splagchnos” is the word for bowels or intestines.  It means to be moved to the gut level.  In other words, Jesus was so burdened, so broken over the lostness of Jerusalem that he felt like He needed to vomit.  Are you so burdened over the lostness of the world to the point of being nauseous?  You see, having compassion isn’t just having sympathy or even having pity; it’s even more than being stirred emotionally or to tears.  Compassion means “being stirred to action.”  It conveys being proactive, taking initiative and doing something.

John Harper: An unseen hero of unshakable faith

It was declared “The unsinkable ship.”  Tradition tells us that an employee of the White Star Lines who built the Titanic boastfully stated that “Not even God can sink the Titanic.”  Many of us are familiar with the immense tragedy that happened over 100 years ago with the RMS Titanic, but there is more to the sinking of the Titanic than a historical tragedy.  There is a story of courageous heroism of a man with incredible faith.  Among all the passengers who boarded the Titanic, there was a simple man, a pastor whose name was John Harper, who was passionate about JESUS.  He was a man who was saved at the age of 13; GOD called him to preach at 17; and he was passionate about the Lord and His Kingdom. As John Harper’s life unfolded, one thing was apparent…he was consumed by the Word of God.  Every day after working at the mill, for over five years, he could be found preaching the Word of God on street corners.  John Harper loved his Savior and his heart was consumed with a fire that could not be quenched.  This fire was seen by Pastor E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England, who called him to the work in a church.  This set Harper free to devote all of his time and energy for the Kingdom of God.  Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896, now known as the Harper Memorial Church.  When asked by different pastors what his doctrine was, he consistently replied, “The Word of God.”  This church which John Harper started began with 25 members, and had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later.  During this period of time, he fell in love and got married, but was shortly widowed after the birth of their daughter, Nana. Almost as if God had been preparing him, ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life.  When he was two-and-a-half years of age, he drowned when he fell into a well, but was resuscitated by his mother.  At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a riptide and barely survived, and at thirty-two, he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. On April 11, 1912, when the Titanic began her voyage, John Harper boarded the RMS Titanic with his six year old daughter, Nana, to come to America to preach a revival at the Moody Bible Institute.  There were three classes of passengers on board: first, second, and third class.  Aboard this luxurious ocean liner, there were some of the wealthiest people in the world desiring to embark on her maiden voyage.  While many passengers spoke of their next business deal, their acquisitions and material desires, John Harper could be seen diligently sharing the love of Christ with others.  In the days leading up to the tragedy, survivors reported seeing Harper living like a man of faith, speaking kind words and sharing the love of Christ. It was the night of April 14, 1912, when the RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history.  As passengers danced in the ballroom and tried their luck at the card tables, John Harper put his daughter to bed and read his devotions as he did every night.  At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, the Titanic struck an iceberg.  The “unsinkable” ship was doomed once the ship’s starboard side scraped an iceberg, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments.  The sea poured in; either in disbelief or unaware at the time, passengers continued about their pleasures.  It wasn’t until the ship’s crew sent up a series of distress flares that passengers realized the seriousness of their situation.  Then chaos ensued.  It all happened so fast.  Harper quickly awakened his daughter, picked her up and wrapped her in a blanket before carrying her up to the deck.  He took his daughter to lifeboat 11.  As a widowed preacher, John Harper could have easily gotten on board this lifeboat to safety; however, it never seemed to have crossed his mind. He bent down; the flares reflected off the tears streaming down his face, he looked into his daughter’s eyes and told her that she would see him again someday.  Harper knew he would never see his daughter again on this side of eternity.  His daughter would be left an orphan at six years of age.  He then turned and rushed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner. From a survivor we learn that he called out, “women, children, and unsaved people into the lifeboats.”  John Harper understood that there was a more important thing than surviving that terrible disaster.  He understood that there were those who were unprepared to face eternity.  He understood that believers were ready to die but the unsaved were not ready.  Harper then ran along the decks, pleading with people to turn to Christ, and with the ship sinking, he called upon the Titanic’s orchestra to play, “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”  Gathering people around him on deck, he then knelt down, and “with holy joy in his face,” raised his arms in prayer.  As the sounds of terror and mayhem continued, Harper focused on his God-given purpose. Survivors reported seeing him on the upper deck on his knees and surrounded by terrified passengers, he was sharing Christ and praying for their salvation. The ship began to lurch and break apart.  Most people thought it was an explosion; actually, the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half.  At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the frigid, icy, dark waters below.  John Harper was one of these people who were forced to jump into the icy waters.  He swam frantically to all the perishing he could reach, beseeching them to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.  That night 1,528 people went into the frigid waters.  John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water, leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal.  Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris.  John Harper asked him as he gasped between breaths, “Are you saved?”  The young man, who was near shock, replied that he was not.  John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, “Here then, you need this more than I do” only to then quickly swim away to other people. A few minutes later, Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation.  Of the 1,528 people that went into the water that night; only six were rescued by the lifeboats, and John Harper was not one of them.  In his last moment, this tireless man of undying faith continued his life pursuit of winning lost souls.  As his body succumbed to the intense cold of the icy water, his body frozen, but his heart afire, John Harper’s beckoning call to the lost and perishing before he slipped under the water was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Four years later, a young Scotsman by the name of Aguilla Webb, who was one of the six individuals pulled out alive from the icy waters stood up in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and gave the following testimony: I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar (wood debris) that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper of Glasgow, also on a piece of wreck, near me. ‘Man,’ he said, ‘Are you saved?’  ‘No,’ I said, ‘I am not.’ He replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’  The waves bore him away; but, strange to say, brought him back a little later, and he said, ‘Are you saved now?’  ‘No,’ I said, ‘I cannot honestly say that I am.’  He said again, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,’ and shortly after, he went down; and there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed.  I am John Harper’s last convert. Does Hollywood remember this man?  No.  It doesn’t matter, Heaven does!  This man’s heroism will be ringing throughout the eons of eternity.  This faithful servant of God lived his life for an Audience of One.  While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.  John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!  When the Titanic began her voyage there were three classes of passengers: first, second, and third class, but when she came to her abrupt end, history records only two kinds of passengers: those who were lost and those who were saved.  Even so, God’s word divides all humanity neatly into only two classes.  “And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11-12).   There’s a lost and dying world of people who are drowning in a sea of sin, who desperately need to be rescued.  May you and I be passionate, relentless, determined, and consumed “Life-Savers” for Jesus! “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends…”   John 15:13 The great hymn writer Fanny Crosby penned these powerful words in the hymn Rescue the Perishing:   Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.   Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.   Though they are slighting him, still he is waiting, waiting the penitent child to receive; plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently; he will forgive if they only believe.   Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.   Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, chords that were broken will vibrate once more. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it; strength for thy labor the Lord will provide; back to the narrow way patiently win them; tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;  

“When you fish for fish, you catch something that’s alive that’s going to die.

When you fish for men, you catch someone dead that’s going to live.”

 

 
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.   Are you a Rescuer for Jesus?  Our goal at ETI (Evangelism Training International) is to train followers of Jesus Christ to become passionate “Rescuers for Jesus Christ.”  Come join us in the harvest.  Would you consider partnering with us by praying and investing your time, talent, and resources to reach the multitudes that are perishing?  THANK YOU! GOD bless you as you consider partnering with us in this great calling.  

Evangelism Training International 1825 Demastus Lane  Ocoee, FL  34761   www.GodsLoveProject.org

 
   

Thoughts For The Day

Did you know that it’s been estimated by scientists that we have around 70,000 thoughts each day?  If that weren’t mind boggling enough, the Bible tells us that the thoughts that GOD has for us each day are innumerable! Psalm 139:17-18 says, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” The Bible tells us that GOD’s WORD is a Hammer; HIS WORD is a fire! (Jeremiah 23:29) Yet, it’s this all powerful WORD that brings healing! “GOD sent HIS WORD and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”(Psalm 107:20) It’s the WORD that brings healing!  It’s the WORD that brings  freedom!It’s the WORD that brings liberation!  It’s the WORD that breaks strongholds!  It’s the WORD that sets the captives free!GOD takes HIS WORD so seriously that HE has even elevated HIS HOLY WORD above HIS Own HOLY NAME! When we understand this; know this; embrace this; believe this; and act upon this fact…FREEDOM COMES!!!!!!! The devil is a liar and the father of lies! The devil will do anything and everything to keep you out of and away from GOD’s WORD!  Why?  Because that’s where the cure is!  That’s where the answers are!  That’s where the freedom comes! David said in Psalm 142:7- “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy NAME.” It’s the WORD of GOD and the Power of the HOLY SPIRIT that can set the captives free!  It’s not pop-psychology or humanistic philosophy; it’s the WORD of GOD! JESUS is not only our Savior; HE is our example!  When you look at the life of JESUS; HE always combated the devil using Scripture! (Matthew 4:1-11) HE was always victorious using this lethal weapon!  You must use a spiritual weapon on a spiritual foe! The Bible says that we have the “Mind of Christ.”  This mind only comes from being born of the Spirit of GOD and having HIS Holy Word saturate our minds and our souls. The word “meditate” means to “Chew the cud”.  Have you ever watched a cow or a goat as they are relaxing?  They lay there, spit up some of the food, chew on it, and swallow it again.  That’s what GOD wants us doing throughout the day.  As we go through the day, we think about His Word, chew on a verse, muse on it, and swallow it.  Then do it again and again.  Joshua 1:8 says – “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Psalm 1:1-2: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. [2] But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” When we think about, meditate, and let our mind be filled with the Word of GOD throughout the day, GOD says we will blessed, we will be prosperous and that we will find good success.  Wow! Throughout the day, we must use our mind as a filter to sift through all of our thoughts.  2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says : “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Philippians 4:4-8: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. [6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Bottom line, memorize verses where you are weak in and every time you are tempted, fire the Word of God out loud and the enemy will flee from you!  Use your mind as a filter screen and let all the junk thoughts sift right through the screen and hang on to only those thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report; the thoughts that have virtue and praise, think on these things and watch what happens!    

Working With African Pastors Hungry For Training

Working With African Pastors Hungry For Training

The experience of working with African pastors who are so hungry for training so that they can train their people. It was an arduous endeavor; as two pastors were determine to ride their bikes three long days on the dirt roads and trails from Mozambique to Malawi. Set out on a trek to one of ETI’s pastoral trainings, one of the pastor’s bikes was plagued with a flat tire, but he remained relentless, pushing onward toward Malawi in spite of his situation. They did arrive with many other pastors who came from villages all around, were trained, and became effective witnesses for Jesus. Hunger is not an adequate word to adequately describe the many pastors in Africa. Desperate; devouring; determined would better describe their insatiable desire to learn. Most pastors in Africa have had very little or no seminary training at all. Proverbs 27:7 says, “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Teaching is sweet to these men and they are passionate and hungering for the Word of God! A couple years ago, before we went to train these men in Malawi, Pastor Malvory Peffer flew up from South Africa to Malawi to meet and help set up our upcoming training. When he arrived there; to his surprise, numerous pastors showed up and said, “You must speak to us now!” Pastor Malvory ended up preaching 14 times in 3 days because of the spiritual hunger in these men! Later, when we came back to do the official training, these men ate up 5 days of evangelism and pastoral training. They subsequently went back to their villages and have been faithfully leading people to Christ and their churches are growing. I will never forget, when we began training these pastors, I encouraged them to take out their bibles as they were going to make a road-map in their bibles. After about 15 minutes, I noticed that very few were doing what I asked, but were simply writing on paper. I turned to pastor Malvory and said, “Pastor Malvory, they’re not making in their bibles, they’re not doing what I asked.” Malvory whispered back to me, “My brother, that’s because they don’t have a bible.” My heart broke. Malvory and I brought numerous cases of Bibles to give to these pastors at the conclusion of the training, but our agenda quickly changed as we broke out the bibles to give to these men. I wish you could have been there to see what we saw; I have never seen such jubilation! Many of these men had tears in their eyes; numerous embraced with both arms their new and only bible, and held it tightly against their chests. The joy of possessing in their hands what we often take so much for granted. Once they received their bibles, then we started all over and they gladly followed the instructions. I also remember distinctly going into a full church where only two people in the entire church had a bible. It was heart breaking. Malvory has been in countries where pastors take out pages of one bible to pass around to each other throughout the week so they can have something to preach on. I remember how we went into a major city in Malawi, driving from store to store, just to find bibles. They were almost impossible to find. What we in the western world take so much for granted; the majority of the world hungers for, not just in the physical realm, but especially in the spiritual realm. Hopefully you will look at your Bibles differently and never take for them granted. Please pray for these pastors.

Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

A Warning About False Prophets

God’s Word tells us that the “god of this world” (satan) has blinded the minds of those that believe not. We live in very tumultuous times where false religions, cults, and the occult are running rampant. Jesus and his apostle warned us explicitly and told us to be on guard at all times; to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. God takes very seriously His Word, the proclamation of it, and the distortions thereof. This month, let’s look at just a few verses pertaining to these warnings: Col 2:8-9 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Matt 7:15-16 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matt 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Luke10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Acts 20:29-31 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 1 John 4:1-6 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. Jude 1:14-16 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 2 Cor 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 John 1:7-11 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 1 John 2:18-23 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

Effectively Sharing The Gospel of Jesus Christ With Jews

Leading A Jewish Person To Jesus

The Bible tells us that we are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6). Although Judaism is not considered a cult or the occult, it is classified as a world religion. The nation of Israel is very dear to the heart of God. It was through the Jews the “oracles of God” were given to the world (Romans 3:2). Through the Jews came the Messiah Who came to take away the sins of the world. Through the Jews, all nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 18:18). Yet, there has never been a nation more persecuted than Israel. God continues to miraculously preserve this tiny nation. The Canaanites are gone. The Hittites have vanished. Where are the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Jebusites? They’re gone, nowhere to be found. Yet, God has supernaturally protected Israel. The Bible even tells us in Romans 1:16 and Romans 2:9-10 that the Gospel is to the Jew first. The Jews are very special to the heart of God, yet they are one of the most hardened group of people to the Gospel; the “veil” remains over their eyes (2 Corinthians 3:14). David Brickner, Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, has some very insightful information and helpful tips when speaking with Jewish individuals. There are several popular myths which keep people from sharing with their Jewish friends. Some of them include: Myth: All Jews are well versed in the Old Testament. Fact: Most Jews have a strong cultural identity with a very limited knowledge of the Scriptures. Myth: I can just invite my Jewish friend to my church. Fact: Many Jewish people might be hesitant to attend church. There is no substitute for you personally sharing your faith. Myth: I may not be able to answer their questions. Fact: That’s true. But it does not change the truth of the gospel. Tell your friend you are happy to research the information. This gives you an opportunity to have further witnessing opportunities too. Myth: I need to wait for the Holy Spirit’s leading. I don’t want to lose my friendship. Fact: God has already told us we are to be his witnesses. (Mt.28:19-20) If you are friendly and forthright you will gain your friends respect for genuinely caring even if they don’t agree to discuss the matter at length. Myth: I will let my life be a testimony and wait until they ask me about Jesus. Fact: That will likely be a long wait. Most Jewish people feel that religion is a private matter and might be uncomfortable asking. Besides, the great commission commands us to go tell! Practical Tips When witnessing to a Jewish person, remember: Make friends. Demonstrate that you really care about the person. Affirm the fact that you know they are Jewish and that you appreciate their Jewishness. Let your friendship serve as the foundation for your witness to them. Be up front. Declare yourself a follower of Jesus right away. You do not want to appear deceptive or coercive. Be yourself. Ask questions. Everyone likes to be asked their opinion. This can be a good way to steer the conversation towards spiritual matters. Questions about Israel, an upcoming Jewish holiday or even a Bible question from the Old Testament are a good place to start. Give a personal testimony. The reality of God in your life is a powerful witness. Many Jewish people think that you were born a Christian in the same way that they were born Jewish. Hearing how you became a follower of Jesus, how God answers your prayers can provoke your Jewish friend to jealousy. (Rom.11:11) Use Scripture. Don’t be afraid to answer questions with a verse from the Bible. Encourage your Jewish friend to read the New Testament. Most Jewish people have never read the New Testament and most Jews who have come to faith in Christ came as a result of reading the New Testament. After all, it is a very Jewish book! Be prayerfully persistent. Don’t be put off if you receive a negative reaction at first. In Fact, you should expect it. Keep looking for opportunities. Keep praying. Seek to introduce your friend to a Jewish believer or to one of us in Jews for Jesus. Lend books or other evangelistic literature. Ask for a decision and follow up. Don’t think that your Jewish friend will automatically understand they need to pray to receive Christ. If they are a willing listener then you should ask if they are willing to receive what you have said for themselves. Be diligent to follow up any decision. Contact Jews for Jesus for help with the new Jewish believer. When witnessing to Jewish individuals, it’s good to share out of the Old Testament and then show them the New Testament fulfillment. Some great passages to share with them regarding the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament fulfillment are: Important Messianic Passages These references will be shown in the following order: Topic, Old Testament, and the New Testament. Messiah to be the seed of the Woman. OT: Genesis 3:15, NT: Galatians 4:4 Messiah to be the seed of Abraham. OT: Genesis 12:3; 18:18, NT: Luke 3:23,34, Matthew 1:1-2, Acts 3:25, Galatians 3:16 Messiah to be of the tribe of Judah. OT: Genesis 49:10, NT: Luke 3:33, Matthew 1:1-2 Messiah to be of the seed of Jacob. OT: Numbers 24:17, 19, Matthew 1:1-2, Luke 3:34 Messiah to be of the seed of David. OT: Psalm 132:11, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15, Isaiah 11:10, NT: Matthew 1:6, Luke 1:32-33, Acts 2:29-30, Romans 1:3 Messiah to be a prophet like Moses. OT: Deut. 18:15, 19, NT: Matthew 21:11, John 6:14, John 1:45, Acts 3:22-23 Messiah to be the Son of God. OT: Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4, NT: Luke 1:32, Matthew 3:17 Messiah to be raised from the dead. OT: Psalm 16:10, NT: Acts 13:35-37 Messiah to experience crucifixion. OT: Psalm 69:21, NT: Matthew 27:34-50, John 19:28-30 Messiah to be betrayed by a friend. OT: Psalm 41:9, NT: John 13:18, 21 Messiah to ascend to heaven. OT: Psalm 68:18, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9 Homage and tribute paid to Messiah by great kings. OT: Psalm 72:10-11, NT: Matthew 2:1-11 Messiah to be a priest like Melchizedek. OT: Psalm 110:4, NT: Hebrews 5:5-6 Messiah to be at the right hand of God. OT: Psalm 110:1, NT: Matthew 26:64, Hebrews 1:3 Messiah, the stone which the builders rejected, to become the head cornerstone. OT: Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 8:14-15, Isaiah 28:16, NT: Matthew 21:42-43, Acts 4:11, Romans 9:32-33, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6-8 Messiah to be born of a virgin. OT: Isaiah 7:14 http://biblia.com/books/niv2011/Is7.14, NT: Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-35 Galilee to be the first area of Messiah’s ministry. OT: Isaiah 9:1-8, NT: Matthew 4:12-16Messiah will be meek and mild. OT: Isaiah 42:2-3, Isaiah 53:7, NT: Matthew 12:18-20, Matthew 26:62-63 Messiah will minister to the Gentiles. OT: Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 49:1-8, NT: Matthew 12:21 Messiah will be smitten. OT: Isaiah 50:6, NT: Matthew 26:67, Matthew 27:26, 30 Messiah to suffer, die and rise again. OT: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, NT: The Four Gospels The new and everlasting Covenant. OT: Isaiah 55:3-4, Jeremiah 31:31-33, NT: Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-13 Messiah as the right arm of God. OT: Isaiah 59:16, Isaiah 53:1, NT: John 12:38 Messiah as intercessor. OT: Isaiah 59:16, NT: Hebrews 9:15 Twofold mission of the Messiah. OT: Isaiah 61:1-11, NT: Luke 4:16-21 Messiah will perform miracles. OT: Isaiah 35:5-6, NT: John 11:47, Matthew 11:3-6 Messiah is called “The Lord”. OT: Jeremiah 23:5-6, NT: Acts 2:36 The time of Messiah’s coming prophesied. OT: Daniel 9:24-26, NT: Galatians 4:4, Ephesians 1:10 Bethlehem to be the place of Messiah’s birth. OT: Micah 5:2, NT: Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-6 Messiah will enter the Temple with authority. OT: Malachi 3:1, NT: Matthew 21:12 Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkey. OT: Zechariah 9:9, NT: Matthew 21:1-10 Messiah will be pierced. OT: Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16, John 19:34, 37 Messiah to be forsaken by his disciples. OT: Zechariah 13:7, NT: Matthew 26:31, 56 The coming of the Holy Spirit in the days of the Messiah. OT: Joel 2:28-29, NT: Acts 2:16-18 Opposition of the nations; Messiah’s final victory over death. OT: Psalm 2:2, Isaiah 25:8, NT: Revelation 19:19, 1 Corinthians 15:54, Revelation 7:17, 21:4 The glorious Messiah; Messiah as King. OT: Isaiah 63:1, Psalm 2:6-9, NT: Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 19:15-16 Submission of all nations to Messiah’s rule. OT: Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:1-4, NT: Revelation 12:5 The Gentiles shall seek the Messiah of Israel. OT: Isaiah 11:10, NT: Romans 11:25 Dr Ron Rhodes has written numerous books and articles pertaining to cults and world religions. He gives some great insights when witnessing to Jews as well. Consider the following: As one reads through the Bible, we find progressively detailed prophecies about the identity of the Messiah. Obviously, as the prophecies become increasingly detailed, the field of qualified “candidates” becomes increasingly narrow. In showing a Jewish person that Jesus is the Messiah, one effective approach is to begin with broad prophecies and then narrow the field to include increasingly specific and detailed prophecies. You might use circles to graphically illustrate your points as you share these prophecies. As suggested by Stuart Dauermann, seven increasingly detailed “circles of certainty” include: 1. Messiah’s humanity (Genesis 3:15). 2. Messiah’s Jewishness (Genesis 12:1-3; 28:10-15). 3. Messiah’s tribe (Genesis 49:10). 4. Messiah’s family (2 Samuel 7:16; Jeremiah 23:5-6). 5. Messiah’s birthplace (Micah 5:2). 6. Messiah’s life, reception, and death (Isaiah 52:13; 53). 7. Chronology of Messiah’s appearing (Daniel 9:24-26). Let us look at these in a little more detail.

Circle 1: The Circle of the Messiah’s Humanity

Scripture says that the Messiah had to become a human being. This circle is obviously a very large circle. The Messiah’s humanity is prophetically spoken of in Genesis 3:15, when God is pronouncing judgment against the serpent following the fall of Adam and Eve: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. The word “offspring” refers to descendants. The Messiah would be a descendant of the woman – that is, He would be a human being. We find this fulfilled in Galatians 4:4-5: But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Circle 2: The Circle of the Messiah’s Jewishness

Scripture says that the Messiah had to be Jewish – that is, He had to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This narrows the circle considerably. Of all human beings who have ever lived, only Jewish human beings would qualify. Point the Jewish person to Genesis 12:1-3, where God makes a covenant with Abraham (the “father” of the Jews): The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Then point the Jewish person to Genesis 28:10-15: Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” These Bible passages indicate that the promised seed (in Genesis 3:15) was to come through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Circle 3: The Circle of the Messiah’s Tribal Identity

The circle gets even narrower when it is demonstrated that the Messiah had to come from the tribe of Judah. This is demonstrated in Genesis 49:10: The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. Here Jacob is on his deathbed. Before he dies, he affirms that the scepter (of the ruling Messiah) would be from the tribe of Judah.

Circle 4: The Circle of the Messiah’s Family

Scripture tells us that the Messiah had to be from David’s family. This narrows the circle still further. We see this affirmed in 2 Samuel 7:16: Your [i.e., David’s] house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever. We also read in Jeremiah 23:5-6: “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.” Clearly the ruling Messiah had to come from the family of David.

Circle 5: The Circle of the Messiah’s Birthplace

Scripture clearly prophesies that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. This narrows the circle of possible candidates for the Messiah tremendously. Micah 5:2 tells us: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” So far we have seen that the Messiah had to become a human being, had to be a Jew, had to be from the tribe of Judah and the family of David, and He must be born in Bethlehem (a small, insignificant city in ancient times). Failure to fulfill any one of these conditions disqualifies a person as a possible candidate.

Circle 6: The Circle of the Messiah’s Manner of Life, Rejection, and Death

Regarding the Messiah’s manner of life, rejection, and death, point the Jewish person to Isaiah 53. Note the following excerpts: Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (Isa. 53:1-4). He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isa. 53:7-9). Note from these verses that: (1) The Messiah was to be despised and rejected by His fellow Jews. (2) He would be put to death following a judicial proceeding. (3) He would be guiltless. Obviously these facts about the Messiah narrow the circle still further.

Circle 7: The Circle of Chronology

Point the Jewish person to Daniel 9:24-26: “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens’, and sixty-two ‘sevens’. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens’, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. Regarding this passage, note the following facts: (1) The city would be rebuilt, as would the Temple. (2) The Messiah would come. (3) The Messiah would be “cut off” (die) but not for Himself. (4) The city and the Temple would be destroyed. Note especially that the Messiah had to come and die prior to the destruction of the second temple, which occurred in A.D. 70. Clearly, this narrows the circle of potential candidates incredibly. Is there anyone who has fulfilled all these conditions? Is there anyone who was a human being, a Jew, from the tribe of Judah and the family of David, born in Bethlehem, was despised and rejected by the Jewish people, died as a result of a judicial proceeding, was guiltless, and came and died before the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70? Yes there was, and His name was Jesus! To further demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, note the following facts, which are derived from my book, Christ Before the Manger: The Life and Times of the Preincarnate Christ. These prophecies – taken together – narrow the field so much that there can be no doubt as to who the Messiah is.

MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN CHRIST

From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Malachi, the Old Testament abounds with anticipations of the coming Messiah. Numerous predictions – fulfilled to the “crossing of the t” and the “dotting of the i” in the New Testament – relate to His birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and glory. Now, some liberal scholars have attempted to argue that these prophecies were made after Jesus lived, not before. They have suggested that the books of the Old Testament were written close to the time of Christ and that the messianic prophecies were merely Christian inventions. But to make this type of claim is to completely ignore the historical evidence. Indeed, Norman Geisler and Ron Brooks point out: Even the most liberal critics admit that the prophetic books were completed some 400 years before Christ, and the Book of Daniel by about 167 B.C. Though there is good evidence to date most of these books much earlier (some of the Psalms and earlier prophets were in the eighth and ninth centuries B.C.), what difference would it make? It is just as hard to predict an event 200 years in the future as it is to predict one that is 800 years in the future. Both feats would require nothing less than divine knowledge. God’s ability to foretell future events is one thing that separates Him from all the false gods. Addressing the polytheism of Isaiah’s time, God said: * “Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come – yes, let him foretell what will come” (Isa. 44:7). * “Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one” (Isa. 44:8). * “Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me” (Isa. 45:21). * “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass….Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them’” (Isa. 48:3, 5). Of course, anyone can make predictions – that is easy. But having them fulfilled is another story altogether. “The more statements you make about the future and the greater the detail, the better the chances are that you will be proven wrong.” But God was never wrong; all the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled specifically and precisely in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus often indicated to listeners that He was the specific fulfillment of messianic prophecy. For example, He made the following comments on different occasions: * “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). * “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matt. 26:56). * “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44). * “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). * “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47). * “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:20-21). Any reasonable person who examines these Old Testament prophecies in an objective manner must conclude that Jesus was the promised Messiah. “If these messianic prophecies were written hundreds of years before they occurred, and if they could never have been foreseen and depended upon factors outside human control for their fulfillment, and if all of these prophecies perfectly fit the person and life of Jesus Christ, then Jesus had to be the Messiah.” Indeed, Christ on three different occasions directly claimed in so many words to be the “Christ.” (Note that the word Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah.) For example, in John 4:25-26 Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman who said to Him: “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.” To which Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am he.” Later, Jesus referred to Himself in the third person, in His high priestly prayer to the Father, as “Jesus Christ, whom You sent” (John 17:3). In Mark 14:61-62 we find the high priest asking Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” To which Jesus declared unequivocally, “I am.” Others also recognized that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. In response to Jesus’ inquiry concerning His disciples’ understanding of Him, Peter confessed: “You are the Christ” (Matt. 16:16). When Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Martha answered, “Yes, Lord….I believe that you are the Christ” (John 11:25-27). Some may ask why Jesus didn’t explicitly claim more often to be the prophesied Messiah. Bible scholar Robert L. Reymond offers us some keen insights in answering this question: Jews of the first century regarded the Messiah primarily as Israel’s national deliverer from the yoke of Gentile oppression….Had Jesus employed uncritically the current popular term as a description of Himself and His mission before divesting it of its one-sided associations and infusing it with its richer, full-orbed Old Testament meaning, which included the work of the Messiah as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, His mission would have been gravely misunderstood and His efforts to instruct the people even more difficult. Consequently, the evidence suggests that He acknowledged He was the ‘Christ’ only where there was little or no danger of His claim being politicized – as in the case of the Samaritan woman, in private conversation with His disciples (at the same time, demanding that they tell no one that He was the Messiah), in semi-private prayer, or before the Sanhedrin when silence no longer mattered or served His purpose. Even if Jesus had never verbally claimed to be the prophesied Messiah, the very fact that He was the precise fulfillment of virtually hundreds of messianic prophecies cannot be dismissed, as some liberal critics have attempted. The odds against one person fulfilling all these prophecies is astronomical; indeed, it is impossible to calculate. But fulfill these prophecies, Jesus did – and then He added proof upon proof regarding His identity by the many astounding miracles He performed. Truly, Jesus is the Messiah.

Watch Out For False Teachers

Or: How Cults Are Established

False Prophets Are The Founders Of Cults

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36 Jesus continuously warned His disciples that heretics would creep into the church; some intentionally to deceive and others unintentionally. Subsequently the Apostle Paul, John, Jude, and others warned the believers to be on their guard continually and “to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” Jude 3. Many of us remember the tragedy of the Jim Jones cult which ended in over 900 people taking their own lives because of heresy. We remember the tragedy of the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas and their charismatic leader David Koresh who persuaded many to take their own lives. Yet in light of all these tragedies, believers and non-believers continually set dates with dire results and great casualties following in their wake. Many cults of today and of the past, started as a seemingly innocent study. Consider the following… Back in 1818, a Baptist preacher named William Miller predicted that Jesus would return in the year from March 21, 1843 to March 21, 1844. Miller interpreted Daniel 8:14’s 2,300 days as 2,300 years and came to the conclusion that this was clearly the time that Jesus would return. When his prediction did not materialize and Jesus did not return, he and his followers, known as the Millerites, set one final date of October 22, 1844 as the return of Jesus Christ. With great disappointment, when this date failed to occur, Miller confessed that he was wrong and should never had set any dates. Never-the-less, the damage had been done, and it set in motion the creation of numerous cults that would spin off of his erroneous teaching. One of the groups who tenaciously followed Miller’s teachings, were a husband and wife named James and Ellen White. When the Miller’s predictions failed to come to pass, the White’s proclaimed that Jesus did actually cleanse the sanctuary on October 22, 1844, but He cleansed it in heaven, not on the earth because men had not been keeping the Sabbath. This then began the Seventh Day Adventist movement. From there, a man named Charles Taze Russell studied with the Adventists but decided to break fellowship with them as he had a disagreement about the atonement of Christ. Russell then started his own group which became the Russellites, which then became the Jehovah Witnesses. Russell, whose parents were Presbyterian Congregationalists was terrified of the doctrine of hell, so he conveniently changed the doctrine to accommodate his own fears and belief. From the Jehovah Witnesses, over 9 different cults have emanated, such as the Christadelphians. When I was a new believer, I read a seemingly innocent prophecy ad in a local newspaper. I called the number, left my address, and they said that they would send me some additional information. They did send me the information, through a personal messenger with a personal visit. As I listened intently to them, their false doctrine began to surface in the visit, and they began to try to undermine my new faith. They informed me that hell did not exist; God was limited in what He could do; etc., etc. yet the Holy Spirit inside of me was screaming, “That’s not right!!!” I went to a pastor; he showed me their errors, and it set my life on a course to know THE BOOK and to be ready always to give an answer to every man (1 Peter 3:15). The bottom line is when we intentionally or unintentionally disobey or disregard Scripture; the consequences are serious, catastrophic and affect many! May you and I know GOD’s Word, defend GOD’s Word, and share GOD’s Word! “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9)

Seeing The Shanty Towns of South Africa For The First Time

Poor American = Rich African

The experience of seeing the shanty towns in South Africa for the first time. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) “Stop the car” I yelled out to pastor Malvory as we drove down a steep hill in East London, South Africa. He pulled over to the side of the road wondering what was wrong. It’s been said that a picture speaks a thousand words and did this one ever! I didn’t want to miss this one. Quickly, I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car to click one of the most profound pictures I had even taken in my life. There, sitting on the top of a hill, was a beautiful church shining in all her glory. Surrounding the perimeter of the church grounds was a huge block wall that must have been at least 10 feet tall. On the other side of the wall was some of the worst abject poverty that I had ever seen. Jesus said that a city set on a hill cannot be hid; likewise, it was obvious that this church was not hid from this community. The ultimate question I had…was the community hid from this church? A fence or a wall conveys the message “say out!” It says, “We’re here and you’re there. You stay on your side and we’ll stay on our side.” As I pondered the immense perplexity of the scene, I couldn’t help but wonder what was that church doing to reach the multitudes on the other side of this wall? Were they proactive and reaching out to a lost and hurting world on the other side of the wall or were they an island unto themselves? Were they impacting these needy people or were they now an isolated, insulated, inoculated institution completely oblivious from the obvious plight of the hurting outside and below them. I still wonder to this day. The reaction cannot be described adequately with words when a person sees the poverty of Africa for the first time. As a westerner, one realizes very quickly that the poorest of poor in America is wealthy in comparison to the majority of Africans. I remember driving down a road in Malawi with pastor Malvory years ago. I had an empty 2 liter bottle as trash so I asked pastor Malvory what I should do with it; he simply replied, “Throw it out the window my brother, they can use it!” Although I was puzzled, I threw the bottle out the window. The bottle had hardly hit the pavement before someone rushed over and grabbed it. I was amazed to say the least. What we count as trash in the western world, they count as treasure and utilize almost everything. We complain about having to get up from the table to get a glass of water; yet many Africans don’t complain about walking miles to get contaminated water. It’s been said that the greatest crime in the Sahara Desert is to know where the water is and not to tell. I believe that the greatest crime in modern Christendom is to know where the “Living Water” is and not to tell. May we cross the street to the other side and rescue the perishing; care for the dying!

STAND UP! LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

It’s Just A Movie. Right?

STAND UP! LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! “Be not deceived; GOD is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Film after film; film after film; just when you thought Hollywood couldn’t get any more perverted, they seem to achieve another all- time low in the 2013 blasphemous film, Rapture-Palooza. Written by Chris Matheson and directed by Paul Middleditch, this film is an all-out, in your face, frontal assault on Christianity, whose clear objective is the mockery of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the reality of the future events that are soon to unfold. There is nothing new under the sun and infidels have, and will continue, to mock the LORD of GLORY. It was John Lennon who stated in 1966, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first-rock’ n’ roll or Christianity…” Well, John Lennon was wrong and we need not argue with that and was proven wrong. John Lennon has come and gone and Christianity continues on, charging through the pages of history sharing the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. The anvil patiently takes the blows of the hammer, and the Word of GOD has patiently taken the blows from mockers throughout the ages. As the pile of broken hammers lies under the anvil; shattered, worn out and broken, so the scorners and scoffers of time lie broken under the anvil of GOD’s immutable WORD! They are dead and gone, but GOD, HIS Word, and HIS Kingdom live on! So what is a believer in Jesus Christ supposed to do? What can we do when there is an outright assault on our Savior and HIS WORD? First, we need to pray for the people who produce, direct, and act in such films. Second, we need to, in love, be proactive and respond. It was Edmund Burke , who over 200 years ago said, “All that has to happen for evil to prevail is for just men to do nothing.” We must as the body of Christ stand up for righteousness! How can we as the church be silent about those things that matter to God? Jesus said that a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” David said in the Psalms, “I believed, therefore have I spoken.” The Apostle Paul reiterated what David said in 1 Corinthians and said, “We believe, therefore we speak.” Does our heart break for what breaks GOD’s heart? Are we passionate about what GOD is passionate about? Do we sincerely care about what GOD cares about? Sadly, it seems as though the western church has been silent about what matters to GOD. We are AWOL. What can you do? Call that company! Call that congressman! Call that TV or movie company, stand-up; let your voice be heard for Jesus Christ and for HIS Kingdom! Politicians know that just one phone call represents 30,000-50,000 people, so again, in love, pick up the phone, email them, let your voice be heard! Take a stand for Jesus!!! “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)   David A Hook

Are You Sold Out To Jesus?

Really Sold Out, Not Just Playacting

UNWAVERING FAITH

(A True Story)

Are you sold out for Jesus? I mean really sold out? Jesus was totally sold out to His Father and we should be totally sold out to Him! Let me share with a true story of a modern-day man who was completely sold out to Jesus. Recently, a young African pastor was martyred for his unwavering faith in our LORD JESUS CHRIST. With the sentence of death upon him and his impending death imminent, he penned his own epitaph just hours before his execution. After his death and his inauguration into GLORY, the epitaph that was later found in his desk drawer:

“MY COMMITMENT AS A CHRISTIAN”

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have HOLY SPIRIT power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of HIS. I won’t look back, let down, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small planning, smooth knees, cheap living and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on HIS presence, walk by patience, live by prayer, and labor by power. My face is set, my gate is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, turned back, lured away, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, negotiate at the table of the adversary, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up and preached up for the cause of CHRIST; I am a disciple of JESUS. I must go till HE comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till HE stops me. When HE comes for HIS own, HE will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear… This man was unwavering in his faith! The great theologian John Calvin once said, “Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day; set him on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.” John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church said, “Set yourself on fire, and others will come to watch you burn.” I believe that God wants us “on fire” for Him! I believe He wants this type of courageous commitment to be found in every believer in every church across the globe today. If you and I have been saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, then the Bible tells us that we are ministers of the Gospel. And if we are ministers of the Gospel, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 1:7, that GOD makes his ministers “a flame of fire.” We are to be passionate about the things that matter to God. What is passion? Webster’s dictionary calls passion an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” What are you passionate about? What is the intense, driving, overmastering feeling or conviction in your life that you live for? Is it a job? A relationship? A sport or hobbie? Or is it to live a life completely sold-out and saturated with Jesus Christ? The apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Why has the flame of passion turned into a flicker in so many Christians lives? Why has apathy and lethargy crept into many churches, especially in the western civilization? I believe it’s because many churches and believers have neglected the weightier matters, the things that matter most to God: the Word of God and the souls of men. We have let the world’s value system infiltrate the church. We’ve been sucked into the vortex of materialism. We’ve allowed much of the world to creep into the church and set the standard for the church, instead of the church setting the standard for the world. It’s like the old saying, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything!” We’re spending more time being amused than being consumed with the things of God, and it is sucking the life out of the church. This world system is diametrically opposed to God. The Apostle Paul even warned us in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” In 1 John 2:15 -17, God’s Word tells us: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. May you and I be fiery, passionate, sold-out witnesses and ambassadors for Jesus! May we not be enamored by the world, but in radically in love with Jesus!