TO LIFE'S COMPLEX QUESTIONS
by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord.” (Ps. 37:23). God has a PLAN for our lives. He knows all about us. He cares for us and loves us with an eternal love! From our first breath to the last, our Heavenly Father watches over us! It is His divine will and purpose that we give ourselves totally to Him through His Son Jesus Christ, Who came to this earth to purchase our salvation through His death on the cross!
God has a PURPOSE for our lives, the same as He has for the earth and universe, which He created and upholds by the Word of His power! (Heb. 1:3). Albert Einstein - one of the world’s most celebrated scientists - stated, “I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world”.
Einstein was aware, like many of his colleagues, that it is scientifically impossible for a precise, perfectly ordered universe such as ours, to have happened through some fluke of chance! That is but a pipe dream of foolish evolutionists who constantly lobby governments and philanthropists for more money, for their mostly ill-fated and flawed experiments!
Werner Von Braun, head of NASA's man-on-the-moon project stated, “The farther we probe into space, the more I believe in God”. The brilliant space scientist often communicated his strong belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and his own personal Saviour!
Werner Von Braun stated: “It is only natural for a scientist, working with God's universe, to believe in Him. It is as difficult for me to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe, as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”
Concerning his own faith, the man behind the moon walk declared: “I find it best through faith to accept God as an Intelligent Will, perfect in goodness, revealing Himself in the world of experience more fully down through the ages as man's capacity for understanding grows.”
Because Science has made strides, he felt that people put too much faith in it: “We should remember that science exists only because there are people and its concepts exists only in the minds of men.”
He believed that God built within man a curiosity and expects us to use this gift. And since we have the tools available to explore space and if it were not the Creator's intent for us to explore celestial bodies, He would not have permitted us to acquire them. Werner von Braun received great strength through reading the Bible and guidance through prayer. His belief in life after death has a scientific foundation.
“Science has found that nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. Now, if God applies this fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of His universe, doesn't it make sense to assume that He applies it also to the masterpiece of His creation - the human soul? I think it does.”
Sir Isaac Newton, the brilliant scientist from the eighteenth century who discovered the ‘Law of Gravity’ stated, “If the Bible is true, the time is coming when men shall travel at 50 miles an hour”. How did the so-called brilliant French atheist and freethinker, Voltair respond to that statement? “Poor Isaac! He was in his dotage when he made that prophecy. It only shows what Bible study will do to an otherwise scientific mind.”
US President Thomas Jefferson declared: “I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better husbands, and better fathers”.
Daniel Webster, the author of the famous dictionary which bears his name, stated unequivocally: “I have read it (the Bible) through many times. I now make a practice of going through it once a year. It is the book of all others for lawyers as well as divines. I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rules for conduct?”
Secular humanists as well as advocates of the New Age Movement are eager proponents of diabolical doctrines. They teach that human beings need no God but themselves! Their major doctrine is that we are gods!
NEW AGERS REJECT GOD!
The Mormons still teach Joseph Smith’s ridiculous delusion, which stated: “As man is now God once was and as God now is man may become”. WHAT NONSENSE! Here is a simple yet profound question for the Mormon leadership: “If God was once a man like we are but became God at a later date, who created the man THAT BECAME GOD?”
Their teachings about God are as ridiculous as that of Joseph Smith’s, regarding the MOON: “The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the earth, being about 6 feet in height.
“They dress very much like the Quaker style and are quite general in style, fashion or dress. They live to be very old: coming generally, near a thousand years. This is the description of them as given by JOSEPH THE SEER, and he could ‘see’ whatever he asked the father in Jesus name to see.” (‘Journal of Oliver B. Huntington’, Vol 3, page 166 of typed copy at Utah State Historical Society)
On July 24, 1870, Brigham Young, the second President of the Mormon L.D.S made this ridiculous statement:
“Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the MOON? …when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find the most learned are as ignorant in regards to them as the ignorant of their fellows. So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the SUN. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 13, page 271 – July 24, 1870)
FROM ONE TO MANY!
“First God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, IS A MAN like unto yourselves that is the great secret… I’m going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity… God himself is the father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did… You have to learn how to become gods yourselves; … No man can learn you more than what I have told you.” (Times & Seasons, Vol 15, page 613-614)
The Mormon apostle Orson Pratt made this statement concerning Mormon doctrine of a plurality of gods: “If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more gods than there are particles of matter in these worlds…” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 2, page 3-5)
The Mormon Latter Day Saints teaches that ‘God the Father’ had a father, and that God’s father also had a father, and so on. Brigham Young, the second President of the Mormon L.D.S. made these statements:
“He (God) is our father – the father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. How many gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not gods…It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkness and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being…” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, page 333)
C. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency, made these
observations: “…then we shall go
back to our father and God, who is connected with one who is farther back; and
this father is connected with one still farther back, and so on…” (Journal of Discourses, vol 5, page 19
“…for our God is a natural man…the first of all mechanics. Where did he get his knowledge from? From his father, just like we get our knowledge from our earthly parents.” (Ibid., Vol 8, page 211)
Joseph Smith stated on July 26, 1857: “I want you to tell them, and tell all the great men of the earth that the Latter Day Saints are to be their redeemers… Believe in God, believe in Jesus, and believe in Joseph his prophet, and in Brigham his successor. And I add, if you will believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph was a prophet, and that Brigham was his successor, you shall be saved in the kingdom of God…” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 6, page 229)
In the ‘History of the Church’, Vol 7, page 281, Brigham Young made this blasphemous statement: “Every spirit that confesseth that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that he lived and died a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of anti-Christ”.
Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth President of the Mormon L.D.S., says that there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith: “If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth… then this knowledge is of the most vital importance to the entire world. No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. (Doctrines of salvation, Vol 1, page 89-190)
How stupid and deceived Joseph Smith and Brigham Young really were! To think that people could believe such garbage is almost unbelievable! New Agers and Secular Humanists actually believe that they are equal to God or more intelligent than their creator!
These poor deluded souls think they are Gods or in the process of becoming Gods! How Satan must rejoice, having deceived millions of otherwise intelligent people!
It is possible that some may end up like Adolf Hitler, who was obsessed with clairvoyants and spiritist mediums! The infamous murderer who called himself Den Fuhrer (the leader) had God’s name inscribed on his soldiers’ belt buckles.
No doubt Hitler was referring to himself as God, for even though he was a Roman Catholic, he violated God’s laws, murdering and killing six million Jews and millions more who were a threat to his diabolical regime!
It is no wonder then, that Hitler voiced his fear and distrust of Germany’s Evangelical Christians. They rejected him and his New Age beliefs and clung to the Gospel of Christ, even in the face of death!
Here is a diagram and summary of Humanist Manifesto 1 and 2 from ‘A Battle For The Mind’. Douglas R. Grosthius states that there are six distinctions of the New Age Movement. They are as follows:
(1) All is one (4) A Change in Consciousness
(2) All is God (5) All Religions Are One
(3) Humanity is God (6) Cosmic Evolutionary Optimism
1. An imperial god (force)
2. An eternal universe
3. An illusory nature of matter
4. A cyclical nature of life
5. The necessity of re-incarnation
6. The evolution of man into Godhood
7. Continuing revelations from beings beyond the world
8. The identity of man with God
9. The need for meditation (or other consciousness changing techniques)
10.Occult practices (astrology, mediums, etc)
11.Vegetarianism & holistic health
12.Pacificism (or anti-war activities)
13.One world (global order)
14.Syncretism (unity of all religions)
Theologians teach that there are three approaches people may take to God, the Bible, and the Church! Here they are:
1) ATHEISTIC APPROACH - Proponents of this ideology say that there is no God and the Bible is only the writings of men. Atheists, communists and some evolutionists hold to this viewpoint!
2) RATIONALISTIC APPROACH - Those who believe this teaching say: Whatever corresponds to reason, whatever we can see, hear and understand in the Bible about God, we accept. However, whatever we cannot reason out or rationalize about God and the Bible, we will reject! Many false cults favour this philosophy of religion!
3) ORTHODOX BIBLICAL APPROACH - We who adhere to the orthodox Biblical approach accept everything about God that we can understand. Everything in the Bible, which corresponds to reason, we accept. We go a step further, however.
Whatever we cannot understand or are unable to reason out about God and His Word, if it is in the Bible we take it by faith, because we realize that it is impossible for the created being to fully understand our Creator. And His Word is absolute, authoritative and true!
Speaking to his friend, Joshua Speed in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln said: “Take all this book (the Bible) upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a better man.”
4) REALISTIC APPROACH - New Testament, Full Gospel, Pentecostal believers go a step further. We believe the gospel of Jesus Christ really works! We not only sing the song ‘Standing on the Promises’, we stand on God’s Word. We believe the Full Gospel!
Those who repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, receive new life and are born again (John 3: 3,7). Those who are hungry for the Holy Spirit and ask Him in faith, are filled with the Spirit (Luke 11: 13). And the sick are healed in answer to believing prayer (James 5: 14, 15)! The Gospel of Jesus Christ works!
Millions of people across the world today, are baptized with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues - which is the initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 4; 10: 17; 11: 17)
God is pouring out His Spirit upon the pagan as well as believers in this End-time hour and great miracles of divine healings, providence and protection are happening regularly among His people!
Many years ago, Anglican Bishop Polloch of Great Britain made this statement: “The Bible is a corridor between two eternities down which walks the Christ of God: His invisible steps echo through the Old Testament, but we meet Him face to face in the throne room of the New; and it is through that Christ alone, crucified for me, that I have found forgiveness for sins and life eternal. The Old Testament is summed up in the word Christ: The New Testament is summed up in the word Jesus; and the summary of the whole Bible is that Jesus is the Christ”.
LIFE’S COMPLEX QUESTIONS!
Like Job - the ancient Bible character - many of our more than seven billion people wonder, “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14) Preachers, prophets and philosophers never stop poking their long index finger toward us, with the all-important question, "WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY?"
Attending the pietistic branch of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a child, I remember the almost apocalyptic tone in our Pastor's voice, as he pronounced the Benediction. “And now, unto Him which was and which is, and which is to come...one true God. World without end! Amen.”
In my young heart, I wondered about a God who is without beginning and end. And the same yesterday, today and forever! I also pondered my own existence in a world that will be eternal. One, which transcends death - a world that will never end!
And I shuddered at the prospect of having to participate in this “world of forever”, in either Heaven or Hell - whether I liked it or not. I wasn't so sure that I wanted to live forever, even if it was in a perfect paradise of peace called Heaven!
Have you ever tried to rationalize, philosophize or ponder these issues?
I'm sure most everyone reading this book has experienced similar thoughts, fears, feelings or frustrations! WHY? Because of the uniqueness of birth, the uncertainties of life, the absolute certainty of death and the fear of eternity!
I'm happy to report that at age 24, I had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, which forever sealed my allegiance and love to Him. As well as my eternal destiny, with the redeemed!
It was at that moment that I began to really live! And the older I become, the more thankful I am to God for His provision of eternal life for us all, through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ! I now have the answers to the perplexing questions of life and death!
NO. 1 - WHO AM I?
“And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness...So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them...” (Gen. 1:26-27) “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7)
WHO AM I? I am a human being created in God’s image. I am unique, made in His likeness. There is no one exactly like me, among the more than 7 billion people upon this clod!
It's difficult to comprehend how marvellously we have been created, with individual lip prints, fingerprints and footprints. Each one of us is an eternal spirit that will live forever! Every human being is unique and special: created in the image of God.
He has a plan for each of our lives! The Bible says: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." (Ps. 139:14-16)
God created three kingdoms to live on planet Earth: 1) The Plant Kingdom; 2) The Animal Kingdom; 3) The Human Kingdom.
Plants have life but they have no mind or spirit. Animals have life like the plants, but they have a mind. They can feel happiness or sadness and they can understand, to a point. Animals can also be affectionate or ferocious. Animals do not pray or worship God, however, because they do not have an eternal spirit or soul!
Man has life like the plants and a mind like the animals, albeit a far superior intellect. But man also has an eternal soul or spirit through which he can fellowship with God!
It is important to note that only man has an eternal spirit or soul that was given by Almighty God! And that eternal spirit came from God! Who am I? A special creation of God! I am blessed by the Lord, needed by my fellowman and endowed with compassion and love for others, in order to bring God's saving and healing power to my generation!
NO. 2 – WHERE DID I COME FROM?
God is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, everywhere present, just, perfect, and benevolent: His Word is immutable (permanent, changeless). He is triune - Father, Son and Holy Spirit! We were created in His likeness and are spirit, soul and body!
The Bible states that our ‘spirit man’ came from God and when death takes place, our spirits will again be separated from our bodies and we will return to God!
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God, Who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7) King Solomon speaks of God placing a little bit of “eternity in our hearts”! (Ecc. 3:11)
WHAT IS THAT ‘ETERNITY’? It is our conscience! St. Paul calls it “the Word of God in our members”. (Rom. 7:18-25; 8:1-2) The Hebrew word for man (Gen. 1:27; 2:7) is ‘adahm’ or ‘adam’, which literally means, “The blood of God”!
The truth is that we all have a spark of God within us. Our spirit (inner man) is eternal, created by God! The Eternal took of Himself (His own life), to make man! The word ‘blood’ as denoted here is figurative: “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11), since God is Spirit and has no blood!
The Bible says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul”. (Gen. 2:7)
The Hebrew word for image is ‘damoot’ which means, “an exact duplication in kind”. When God made Adam (man), He made him just like Himself - eternal and triune. That is why people everywhere have a desire to worship their Creator. We are spiritual beings made in God’s likeness!
The Hebrew word for dust is “afar” meaning ‘minute particles’. A recent scientific report stated that all matter is made up of “minute particles”. The word for ground is ‘adamah’ meaning ‘the totality of all that God is’, and the Hebrew word for breath is ‘nephish’ which means spirit. God breathed His own Spirit into man!
THE MARVELLOUS TRUTH IS THAT ALMIGHTY GOD TOOK OF HIMSELF TO CREATE ADAM. WE ARE GOD’S OFFSPRING. WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD THROUGH CREATION, AND ALSO THROUGH THE NEW BIRTH!
The reason Jesus Christ came from Heaven to redeem us is because Adam was the created Son of God, while Jesus is the Eternal Son of God and is called the ‘Second and Last Adam’. In order to redeem the first Adam (blood of God), Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin woman (without a human father). Jesus came as the “Last Adam” (blood of God) to redeem the children of the first Adam!
He poured out His pure and perfect blood - which was not contaminated by sin - as a ransom (payment in full) for our sins. Through His incarnation and the shedding of His pure and holy blood for us, Jesus was made the propitiation (satisfaction, expiation, covering) and met the demands of divine justice for the sins of the world, past, present and future!
The vicarious (substitutionary) death of Jesus Christ satisfied the wrath of God against our sins and through His glorious resurrection from the dead, He has given us power over sin, sickness, fear, death, Satan and Hell!
St. Paul writes: “And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (Jesus) was made a quickening spirit”. (1 Cor. 15:45) Jesus Christ - the last Adam - had to shed His perfect blood to redeem fallen man (the blood of God)! “The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second man (Jesus) is the Lord from Heaven”. (1 Cor. 15:47) Hallelujah!
Satan - the adversary of God - hates and despises God’s highest creation, man! He also has a plan for our lives: a plan, which is devious, cruel, evil and destructive! But, his plans have been thwarted and destroyed because of the ‘glorious plan of salvation’ deployed on our behalf by our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ our Saviour, Lord and Deliverer!
Jesus Christ stated, “The thief cometh not but for to steal, kill and destroy. I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly”. (John 10:10). The Bible says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil”. (1 John 3:8)
When Jesus Christ, the Son of God hung on Calvary’s cross, He was fulfilling the Holy Scriptures. He had come to earth to die for the sins of the world and rise again in power for our justification! (Rom. 4:25)
Just before He died on the cursed tree, He cried, “It is finished”. (John 19:30) He spoke the word “tetelestai” in the Greek language. It is taken from the Greek verb “teleo”, which has three essential meanings:
1. TO BRING TO AN END, FINISH OR COMPLETE SOMETHING.
2. TO CARRY OUT, ACCOMPLISH, PERFORM, FULFILL
3. TO PAY WHAT IS OWED.
St. Paul states: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:5-11)
The key to His exaltation by Almighty God and His great power, lies in the fact of WHO HE IS - God the Son, Who through the miracle of the Incarnation (God in human flesh) descended to this earth to salvage and redeem us by paying our debt through His death on the “cursed tree”. Jesus shed His precious blood for us!
When He cried out “tetelestai”, He was declaring: “I have completed My mission on earth. I have FINISHED My work, defeated Satan and opened God’s Kingdom for repentant sinners who will believe in the efficacy of My shed blood for their eternal salvation”.
Jesus had brought an END to Satan’s domination over the human race. No longer could he dominate those who would receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Jesus defeated him fully and totally. Satan, the Enemy of God and Man is an eternally defeated foe!
The Bible states: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through Death He might Destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” (Heb.2: 14)
He was declaring that He had Fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah (332 in all), and that He had Paid the awful cost of salvation!
Isaiah had prophesied more than 700 years earlier: “But He (Messiah) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed”. (Isaiah 53:5).
St. Paul stated: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (made alive) together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. And having spoiled principalities and power, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col.2: 13-15).
“Who (God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Tim.1: 10)
All our sins, fears, torments, sickness and death were nailed to the cross and our sin debt was cancelled, when Jesus “tasted death for every man” (Heb.2: 9) and “loosed the pains of death” by His glorious resurrection from the dead! (Acts 2: 24)
St. Matthew and St. Peter confirmed that Jesus Christ was the Suffering Servant of Isaiah and the Messiah of the Jews: “When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matt. 8:16-17)
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
NO. 3 - WHAT AM I DOING HERE?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)
There are three reasons why we are on this earth: To love and worship God; To love our fellowman; To be a moderating influence in the world!
We have been placed here to worship and serve God, and to minister the love of God to our fellowman! We are all travellers into eternity. Destination - Heaven or Hell! Blaise Pascal stated: “We were created with a blank space (vacuum) in our hearts that only God can fill”.
A battle is constantly raging between God and the devil for the souls of mankind. Who will win that battle for your soul? That depends upon you! Joshua stated, “Choose ye this day whom you will serve...As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. (Josh. 24:15)
The Bible says, “Moses chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season”. (Heb. 11:25) On the contrary, St. Paul writes: “Demos hath forsaken me, having loved this present world”. (2 Tim. 4:10)
The Bible says, “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 for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
He desires our love, obedience and faithfulness! He sent Jesus Christ into the world ,“to seek and to save, that which was lost”. (Luke 19:10). When Jesus Christ had purchased our total salvation through His victorious death upon the cross and the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out on the day of Pentecost, the Church was born in a blaze of fire and power!
The Bible states that the Church was “purchased through His blood". (Acts 20:28) We are redeemed, washed, purged, purified, sanctified, healed and empowered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!
Why and for what Purpose? To become living stones in His building (1 Peter 2:4-5), members of His body (Eph. 5:30), ambassadors of His Kingdom and proclaimers of the glad Gospel message! (Mark 15:15-16). The Bible says: "Ye are epistles seen and read of all men". (2 Cor. 3:2) Born again Christians are the only Bible that some sinners will ever read!
WE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH! Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”. (Matt. 5:13) What does salt do?
God promised Abraham that He would spare the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction, if there were 10 righteous people in Sodom! Ten righteous souls would have held back God’s judgment on those wicked cities. Think of that – my friend!
Sodomites should be thankful for all the godly people who are holding back God’s judgment - which is due to fall on many - because of their sins! I urge all who are bound by sexual perversions, to carefully study Genesis chapters 18 and 19, and thank God for all the ‘born-again Christians’ who are praying for them!
The Bible says that if a ‘believer’ is married to an unbeliever - if she keeps the faith - her husband and their offspring are sanctified (made holy) by her faith! “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” (1 Cor. 7:14)
The word ‘religion’ comes from the Latin words re and ligio - which means “to hold back”. We hold back the surge of evil in the world. We hold back the flood of unrighteousness, wickedness and lawlessness as well as God’s judgment upon this world, by our godly testimony and the presence of the Holy Spirit! Note: It can also mean “to be bound to”. And we are bound and tied to Jesus our Saviour, with a compassion for our fellowman!
NO. 2 - IT IS A CLEANSING AGENT. Salt has a cleansing property. We cleanse society by God’s Holy Word that we proclaim and through our righteous lifestyles!
NO. 3 - IT GIVES FLAVOUR AND TASTE. Salt adds flavour and Christians have so much to offer through music, art, literature and clean humour! And Christian Joy! The joyful and balanced lifestyle of Christians shows the strength, peace, resilience and creativity that their individual experiences with God brings to the community!
NO. 4 - IT MAKES PEOPLE THIRSTY. We should make people thirsty for fellowship with God because of our vibrant faith, wholesome lifestyle, kindness, gentleness, forgiving spirit and generosity! And Christian Love!
Our lives should help cleanse people’s hearts by the preaching of the gospel. We should give this world a taste of God’s goodness, and our testimony and preaching should make people thirsty for God and His Word!
And in the Old Testament ‘salt’ spoke of loyalty, faithfulness and trust. Jesus Christ makes us faithful to His kingdom, to our families, loved ones and those around us!
NO. 4 - WHAT DOES MY FUTURE HOLD?
Jesus Christ spoke of two roads upon which mankind may travel into eternity. One is the way of Truth and Righteousness, which leads to life. And Jesus is the Way! (John 14:6). The other road is the way of Darkness and Sin, and eventual damnation! Satan, the Deceiver, is the Conductor on that train!
Here are Jesus’ Words: “Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14)
The Bible says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death”. (Prov. 14:12)
Isaiah admonishes, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will abundantly pardon.” (Is. 55:6-7)
Jeremiah chides, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings...” (Jer. 7:3) That means that we must all change our ways if they are displeasing to the Lord! What must we do to receive the forgiveness and blessing of God? Read, honour and obey His Word!
The Bible says: “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. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalm 1:1-6)
There is no better way of being sure we are on the right track, than by heeding the high call of God to our souls! And by copying the godly lifestyles of other men and women of God, we will be certain of spiritual victory! Let us use them as role models for ourselves today!
Here is the Word of God to Joshua: “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
“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.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Josh 1:7-9)
One who built his house upon the sand and the other, who built his house upon a rock: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. 7:24-27)
Let us all be like the wise man and be absolutely sure that our lives are built upon our Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel and not on the sinking, shifting sands of unbelief, superstition, fear, false religion, and mysticism!
Jesus Christ invites us all to come to Him, for He is the world’s only Saviour. He alone has all the answers to the complexities of life. The Holy Spirit desires to teach us how to live and how to die, when that time comes!
Jesus is the ‘Great Physician’ Who heals broken hearts and lives! And He loves us all and waits for us to call upon His Name for salvation. He said, “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. (Matt. 11:28)
THE WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT:
St. John warns: “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:11-15)
This Scripture corresponds with the warnings of the Prophet Daniel: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit. Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Dan. 7:9-10)
WHAT IS OUR EVENTUAL END?
What a terrible ending awaits those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Jesus stated: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
“Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt. 25:31-34, 41, 46)
The Bible warns: “For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation: which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will”. (Heb. 2:2-4)
Jesus told the story of a rich man who died in unbelief and went to Hell:
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
“And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
“And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:19-31)
No wonder Jesus spoke about “weeping and gnashing of teeth” of those who are everlastingly lost! (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30)
False cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses have long denied the existence of hell! And now the Roman Catholic Church has started on the slippery slope into error, with both the Jesuits and Pope John Paul II declaring that hell is not a literal place of suffering- rejecting the Word of God - to be politically correct!
Although a news story from Vatican City (July 16, 1999) carried the headline: ‘Hell is Not a Place”, the influential Jesuit magazine Civilta Catolica, also added: “The existence of hell is a fact of faith. It is not a place but a condition, a form of existence for those who suffer the pain of being deprived of God.”
The Jesuits made a good point, however, in stating that: “Hell is eternal not by God’s will, but because men condemn themselves in rejecting God.” The editorial acknowledged that in the past “the church insisted too strongly on fear of hell in order to save mankind from perdition.” It also regretted that the modern world has gone to the other extreme: “People hardly talk of hell any more.”
The National Post, July 28, 2001 reported that Pope John Paul said that Hell is not a physical place but “a condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life.” The Word of God, however, clearly teaches that Hell is both a place and the absence of God!
What will now be done with the millions of deceased Roman Catholics who are supposedly in PURGATORY and the thousands of MASSES that have been said to keep them from going into a burning hell? Will they refund the millions of dollars paid by parishioners over the years for useless masses that guaranteed a way out from a fictitious purgatory? The ‘Church that never changes’, continues to surprise us all!
Jesus declared that Hell is a place of torment and eternal separation from God and the redeemed! Modernist preachers may tell you otherwise, but the Word of God cannot be changed by papal pronouncements or the whims of sinful, backslidden Ministers! We must line up with the Word of God instead of trying to modify the Holy Scriptures to soothe consciences and sinful lifestyles!
HEAVEN IS PARADISE!
In the Apocalypse, Jesus Christ shows us the wonderful New Jerusalem. Oh, what a glorious HOPE we have!
“And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:
“And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 22:1-5)
What happens to a believer at death? St. Paul answers that important question: “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor.5: 6, 8).
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose, I know not. For I am in a straight betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. (Phil. 1: 21-23)
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)
Jesus told the dying thief: “This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise”. (Luke 23:43). St. Paul wrote about being “caught up into paradise...” (2 Cor. 12:4), and Christ's message to the Church at Ephesus was, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God”. (Rev. 2:7)
My appeal to everyone reading these lines is: Repent of your sins today, receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, and prepare your heart for the ‘Coming of the Lord’! God bless you, my friend!
Please Note: This article is written in the spirit of grace and for “love of the truth”, without malice to any religion or persons! AMEN.