Is my church teaching truth?
First of all, we have to acknowledge that the Bible is the one and only truth. We can know it is truth by studying fulfilled prophecy and looking at historical facts. John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Prophecy helps us believe. And, while there are more than 25,000 archeological digs that prove the Bible is 100% accurate history, the Bible has never had an incorrect prophecy. Many people say that the King James Bible is so far from the original text that it cannot be accurate, the opposite is the reality. It is only two steps from the original text. The original Old Testament Hebrew was translated into what is called the Masoretic Text by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes and that text was used to create the English translation. The New Testament is translated into English based on the Textus Receptus (a collection of the original Greek texts) which was compiled by Dutch Catholic scholar Desiderius Erasmus. While some people argue that this is still not good enough, the important thing to remember is that God preserved His word for us and He didn't give us a book that we cannot understand. 2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Any deviation from the pages of the Bible and you will corrupt and taint the truth and end up somewhere else. Religions like Islam and Judaism take the parts of the Bible that they like and discard the rest. Islam says they believe in the whole Bible, but they choose the parts they like and say the parts they don't like are “corruption” in the Bible. Judaism, like Islam, doesn't believe Jesus was the Messiah and they are still waiting for him to arrive. Even Christianity is full of doctrinal deviations and have very wide extremes of beliefs. The Catholic church is one of the biggest extremes. The Bible does not teach many of the doctrines of the Catholic church, and her daughters (many of the modern Christian churches) took many false doctrines along with them when they split away at the reformation. Most of the churches of western faiths broke away from the Catholic church because they knew the error of the Vatican. The problem is that most of them did not return completely to the truth as taught by Jesus and the Apostles.
The Roman Catholic Church is the self proclaimed “mother” of all churches. In western society this is true for a lot of churches. Protestants, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, etc. were born of the Roman Catholic Church, and most still have very similar beliefs to the Catholic Church. The Bible calls the end time religious leader the Great Whore, and her daughters are harlots (false churches), as discussed in previous chapters. The Catholic Church is one of the driving forces behind Interfaithism and is promoting the lie that all religions worship the same God. This is so not true! For example: Did you know that Allah was a pagan deity? In fact, he was the moon god who was married to the sun goddess and the stars were his daughters. The Muslims want us to believe Allah is the God of Israel!? They are definitely not worshiping the same God I do, or any Jew or Christian, by any stretch of the imagination. The Roman Catholic leaders today are even saying that you don’t really need to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved! (Article #841 of the Catechism says that Muslims, who do not believe in Jesus, will be saved just like Christians). This is a direct contradiction to the words of Jesus Christ himself!
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
We absolutely must believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh as of the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), was crucified for our sins and rose again. This is the gospel!
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
There is no salvation in any other name but Jesus! Not Mohammed, not Buddha; no other name…
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not slamming Catholics. I have friends that are Catholic who are very loving, kind people, and I love them very much! I don’t have anything against Catholics or Muslims or anyone who practices other religions, but I do want to stress that the leaders of those religions are teaching false doctrine! If you’re Catholic, Muslim or any other faith at all, please don’t be offended by my comments, and please pick up a Bible and read it for yourself! It’s the false teachers and false prophets that we need to see and expose for what they are.
If your church’s theology is "wide," or "broad," and understood and complied with by the many, which way are they teaching? The broad way, or the narrow way? Which way did Jesus say we should go? Matt 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Most Christian churches are founded on the same verses of scripture:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world…
John 3:3 Ye must be born again.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved.
Romans 10:9 That is thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
These passages are truth, yes, but that’s not all that the Bible teaches us! We cannot take a few truths out of the Bible and ignore the rest of it. Many people like to justify themselves by hanging on the fact that God saved us by His grace. It is by grace that we are saved, but God expects us to obey Him and love Him with all our heart, mind and strength. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. If we’re looking for excuses, God sees our inner hearts and we can’t hide from Him. We can fool other people and can even fool ourselves if we really want to, but do we really want to do that? Do we really want to justify ourselves instead of pleasing our God and trying to do His will? The meaning of these verses goes much deeper than that! I repeat; there is great danger in taking scripture verses out of context and misinterpreting them!
For example: John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Basically what some people teach is that the Bible says that if we believe, we are saved. That's true! It does say that. Here in John it says that if we eat and drink of the body of Jesus, we're saved. Does this mean that all we have to do is take communion (symbolically eat and drink of his body) to be saved? If we wanted to take this verse and make a doctrine of it, we could. But that would be silly, wouldn't it? So why do we allow people to deceive us with similar types of doctrine? We have to take the Bible as a whole and obey God in every thing He says, not just pieces of it.
We are saved by grace and belief in Jesus Christ is salvation, but as Jesus said, why would we call Him Lord and do not the things He says? Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Why wouldn't we obey Him if we truly love Him? The thing I'm arguing here is that many people don't really give their life to God and truly repent. Many people are taught that saying a prayer saves their soul, but aren't told that they must absolutely mean that prayer, or that it's not saying the words that saves you, it's changing your heart and mind, admitting you're a sinner, repenting of those sins, and turning to follow and obey the Lord that saves you.
We have to be very careful that we don't follow the watered down "Christianity" that is very prevalent in the world today. We can't do anything to save ourselves, Jesus did it all on the cross, but we also can't listen to people who are so adamant about "doing nothing" that you don't even repent! If we change our mind, we're doing something. If we repent, we're doing something.
Take a look at this scripture. Jesus is rebuking the church of the Laodiceans which is a church that existed at that time.
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot : I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot , I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
That is a picture of the Church today. Remember, this is not to unbelievers, but this is addressed to the church of the Laodiceans! These are professing believers! And the Christian Churches of today look just like it... Most churches today would say that those people were doing no wrong, but Jesus explicitly said differently.
The bible teaches that repentance is necessary
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Jesus taught repentance and the Apostles taught repentance in many places in the bible. To repent is a conscious decision to turn away from your sinful nature.
Would you agree that even repenting is doing something? It's not physical, and nothing physical is required for salvation, but if we don't turn away from our sinful life to follow the Lord are we saved?
Matt 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Matt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Jesus said that the way to be saved (to see the kingdom of God) is to be, “Born Again”. Surprisingly, most people can't tell you what that means
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Belief alone does not mean you are born again. The devil believes, James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But he will be cast into the lake of fire for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10). There are many people that believe, but will be turned away, that will fully expect to get into Heaven.
Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord , shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord , have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven! Be careful that you aren't deceived by those who don't know the truth! Simply believing and confessing with my mouth is not enough!
Acts 8 contains the story of Simon, who believed, and was even baptized, but: as Peter said, in Acts 8:21, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”
If I truly believe, I will follow Christ. If I don’t follow Christ’s teaching, do I truly believe, or am I just trying to get there with the least possible affect to my life? Am I saying I believe just because I want to cover all the bases? That won’t work. I must repent and give my life to Jesus Christ without any reservation at all!
The Bible teaches us to “obey the Gospel”.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
2 Thess 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Paul teaches us what the Gospel is:
1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Paul declares the gospel; how that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and rose again. That is the gospel.
The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Being born again is the death, burial and resurrection of our spirit. To obey the Gospel is to be born again.
How do we do that?
We die to self by repenting and giving our lives to Jesus Christ totally and completely. Don’t gloss over this. This, is salvation. If you haven’t truly repented, you can get baptized all you want, but God is not going to fill you with His Spirit and save your soul if your heart is not right, and you don't truly repent of your sins. You must give all of yourself totally and completely!
Burial is the act of emersion in water; baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. The original Greek word for baptize: baptizo (bap-tid'-zo) means to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).
Jesus was baptized, taught baptism, supervised His apostles doing it, and the apostles commanded it of everyone after Christ rose up into glory!
John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
People might argue that Jesus did not baptize Himself (John 4:2), which is true, but why would He teach and supervise his disciples doing it if it was not necessary? And, Jesus actually said it was necessary.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
He didn’t say, “and is baptized if he wants to be, but it’s not really necessary.” We must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and we must truly believe with all our heart!
The apostles all taught and commanded both Jew and Gentile to be baptized with water.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We are buried with Jesus by baptism into death, to walk in the newness of life with Him!
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Does this mean that baptism saves you? No, alone it does not, but it is part of being obedient to God, and obeying the gospel. Like Simon in Acts 8:21; He was baptized but his heart was not right. It's the heart that matters and obedience in baptism is only part of it. What I mean by this is, like the thief who was hung on a cross next to Jesus, Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. This man did not get baptized but Jesus clearly said he would be with Him in paradise. If you don't have the ability to get baptized, and you die before you get a chance are you damned to hell? No way. But should you be baptized? Yes! Absolutely! We should be baptized into Jesus Christ as it says in Romans 6. True faith and repentance will always cause a person to be obedient to the plan of God for salvation. Always.
We are resurrected by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues , and prophesied.
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Some churches teach that baptism is the “baptism of the Holy Ghost”, and that water baptism is not necessary. But you’ll notice that Paul re-baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and that Peter commanded them to be baptized with water after they were filled with the Holy Ghost. The baptism Jesus and His Apostles are talking about isn’t the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is one part of being obedient to the Gospel, and receipt of the Holy Ghost is a promise of God, not something we can earn or do for ourselves. Receiving the Holy Ghost isn’t something we go get; God gives it to us when our heart is right and we’re ready to accept Him. It is God’s promise. God cannot lie.
So, the question remains: What does God expect? What does it really mean to be born again? What must a person do to be saved?
Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance do save a person. However, true faith and repentance will always cause a person to be obedient to the plan of God for salvation. This has always been the case through history (see Hebrews 11). Faith always produces obedience.
It's important to understand that Jesus is the body of God manifest in the flesh and that He came to the earth as a man, born of a woman as we are, to die in our place. Sin began with Eve when she believed Satan and ate of the tree that God commanded not to. Adam took the apple and listened to the voice of his wife instead of God and ate as well (Genesis 3:17 and 1 Timothy 2:14). The penalty for sin is death, and Jesus paid the price for us. He died, was buried, and rose again. That, is the gospel. He will return to gather those who believe this and turn away from sin (repentance) to follow the Lord in obedience. That, is the way to salvation.
Is water baptism in Jesus' name essential? Jesus said so in Mark 16:16--"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." It is part of being obedient to the Gospel and obedient to God. While some argue that this is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, it’s evidenced very clearly in the book of Acts that the Apostles knew the meaning of this to be water baptism. And if baptism really isn’t necessary, why did Jesus get baptized in water followed by the Holy Ghost landing on Him like a dove as an example for us to follow ? Matthew 16:19 shows us that Peter was given the keys to Heaven and whatever he bound on earth would be bound in Heaven, and Peter said that baptism was for the remission (Greek aphesis - forgiveness) of our sins (Acts 2:38). Paul said that it was our burial with Christ (Romans 6). And, why did God send Phillip to baptize and teach the Eunuch in Acts 8 if baptism doesn't really matter? And why, when Paul was saved, was he told to be baptized and wash away his sins? Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Is the gift of the Holy Ghost essential? Yes it is. According to Romans 8:9, if we don't have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we don't belong to Christ. It is the Spirit of God that seals us until the day of redemption (Eph 1:13, Eph 4:30).
The Lord Jesus Christ is loving and merciful. It is His love and mercy that has given us this great plan of salvation. However, the scriptures clearly teach that those who reject His plan will be lost (2 Thess 1:8, 2 Cor. 4:3). We need to be careful, lest we start down the path of thinking that God's mercy will justify people that do not obey God's plan. The same argument can be used to say that those who live in India, who have been surrounded by Hinduism all of their life, could not be lost simply because they don't believe in Jesus. There are many that would claim that God would never be so unmerciful as to damn those people, even though they haven't believed in Christ. At that point, we're at a place of "universal salvation"--i.e., everybody will be saved. As much as I'd love to say that is true, we know that it isn't. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they were evil (sexually deviate) and did not obey Him. He destroyed the whole planet and millions of people with a flood, only saving one family, because they were evil and would not acknowledge, love and obey Him. God is an awesome loving creator, but He is also a God of wrath against those who deny Him and refuse to obey Him.
We are obedient to our faith by following the plan of salvation taught to us by Jesus and the Apostles; by obeying the gospel.
We must continually seek God’s face! We can never get to a place where we think we know it all and get complacent. We know the truth and what the plan of salvation is by reading the Word, but we cannot ever stop reaching for Jesus. The Holy Spirit in us gives us the discernment to understand the Word of God and we continually learn by reading and searching the scriptures and allowing the Spirit to guide us.
The devil will always try to lure every one of us away from the truth. It's a common occurrence. All the way back in the garden we see it. The devil's first question to Eve was - "Hath God said?" He hasn't changed his tactics much in 6000 years. That's why it is so essential that we are continually and prayerfully digging into the Word of God. Our offensive weapon to the devil's "hath God said" will always be "It is written."
What have we learned so far?
We’ve learned that God loved the world so much that he saved us by His grace, that we must be born again, and that we must truly believe, and that if we do we will obey the gospel and have a love for His truth.
When Peter and the apostles were asked, “What shall we do?” (to be saved), Peter answered them by saying: Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
The promise is to any and all who believe and obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you Jesus! Without His sacrifice we would be lost!
Do not be deceived by the false prophets and false teachings. The Bible is very clear about the Great Whore and her daughters. We must not be part of that or we will be punished with her.
Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
The best advice: Read the Bible yourself! Don’t take another man’s word for it. I can’t say it enough times; read the Bible! God gave us His word so that we could know Him! It’s the only way we can really know God and know His truth.
Ps 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
We need God’s word in our heart! We have to actually read it before we can have it in our heart!