Archive for the ‘Thought-provoking’ Category

Do you believe Jesus saves [Part 2]?   Leave a comment

Do you believe?

Do you believe?

We have seen in an earlier post the implications of a belief. A belief is to consider something as true or trust in something. For example, I believe that the chair I’m using will hold me and not break. I have faith in this chair because I know its structural strength. After many years of use,  I still do not verify if it is still strong before using it. I would never have had this attitude with a weak chair. On what base is your faith sitting on?

Paul entrusted God his life and said: “I know in whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12) . What does a Christian mean when he says ” I entrusted/gave my life to Christ” ?

Jesus said :”anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life“. As per Strong’s concordance, the greek word πιστεύων (pisteuōn) used to describe believe means:

pisteúō (from 4102 /pístis, “faith,” derived from 3982 /peíthō, “persuade, be persuaded”) – believe (affirm, have confidence); used of persuading oneself (= human believing) and with the sacred significance of being persuaded by the Lord (= faith-believing).  To entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

The belief described above is not a shallow one but based on conviction, being persuaded, having faith and entrusting self. It is not just knowing what Jesus said but acting upon this knowledge. Jesus died for the sins of all men (John 1:29,1 John 2:2, 2 Cor. 5:19) but not all men will be saved because they refuse to trust in the work of Christ. They have the knowledge but refuse to be persuaded, to have confidence and entrust their destiny to Christ. Religions taught us to do good works and obey God’s laws to obtain God’s mercy and forgiveness. When we do good deeds and obey the requirements of religions, we have an inner satisfaction that “we’re not that bad” and that God somehow owes us a good ‘karma’ or place in heaven. To have a good conscience, many have conceived in their minds the illusion that there exists such a thing as a weight balance between right and wrong that God looks at to decide our destiny.

Jesus did everything so that men stop trying to earn God’s favor by their good deeds. God wanted to draw men to Him through a mediator, the man Jesus-Christ.

This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.” 1 Tim. 2:5

What gives this man Jesus-Christ the credentials that He should be obeyed? Why should we take Him seriously? The main reason is that He claimed to be God. In previous posts, it has been discussed lengthily why Jesus is God. We’re not going to go through these here. We’ll take as a fact that Jesus is God to establish the foundation of the Christian faith and hope in Jesus. It would be risky to believe in Jesus’s words if He was just a powerful celestial being like an angel. Jesus is God’s Word who was made flesh(John 1) i.e. God took a human body. Jesus promised to give eternal life(Jn 10:28, 1 Jn. 5:11) and a place in heaven (Jn 14:3) to all those who believe in Him (Jn 1:12). If we believe that Jesus is God, it implies that we accept all His teachings and believe that He is the only true God (1 John 5:20).

This is why sinners are saved through faith. i.e. trusting Christ for giving them eternal life.

Paul said: “Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” 2 Cor. 5:14

The public acknowledgment and confession that Jesus alone is God and saves are sufficient to render a sinner righteous.

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Rom. 10:8-11

A sinner is declared righteous because of His reliance on Jesus (Phil 3:9, Rom. 1:17, Rom. 3:22 Rom. 4:3). The basis of this righteousness is that God declares: ‘You are right oh sinner to come to Jesus and trust Him alone for the salvation of your soul!‘. The public declaration that Jesus is God, that He died for the sins of humanity and was raised from the dead implies that there’s a total rejection of getting right with God by any other means.

Posted July 30, 2016 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Do you believe Jesus saves[Part 1]?   Leave a comment

Do you believe?

Do you BELIEVE?

As per English dictionary, the word ‘Believe’ means:

  • to accept or regard (something) as true
  • to accept the truth of what is said by (someone)
  • to have faith, confidence and trust

The antonyms would be:

  • to reject or disregard (something) as true
  • to dispute, deny or distrust what is said by (someone)

The ‘Acceptance of a truth’ is used to define the word ‘belief’. A truth is a collection of statements considered as a fact/reality. The decision to believe in this fact is called faith. We have different beliefs or ideologies because we each decide what is the truth or the right way of doing things. The only way to be sure or prove that a fact is the absolute truth is when it can defend itself by its own existence. An absolute truth leaves no room for doubt for doubt is a form of unbelief. 99% truth is still falsity and not an absolute truth.

When Copernicus(1543) came with his statement that the sun was the center of the universe, he was ridiculed and ignored by those who had a Ptolemaic belief. For 2000 years, Aristotle, wise men and philosophers believed in an Earth-centered universe. The belief that Aristotle had could not change the fact that the earth was revolving around the sun. What a deception it was when the teachers of geocentrism discovered that they got it all wrong!

Heliocentrism is nowadays a fact that no one can disprove. Those who consider it false are considered fools.

If I ask a child: Do you believe that the Sun is the center of the universe? He will honestly say that he does not understand anything of what I am talking about. He never thought about it and is unable to say yes or no, unless he can verify by himself.

I have not been to outer space to verify with my eyes whether the sun is really the center of the universe and yet I believe like billions of humans in the sun-centered universe. If I really cared and wanted to be sure of this fact, I could still use the same observations that Copernicus made and find out by myself why Mars occasionally appeared to move backward with respect to the stars before moving forward again. It was not because billions of people believed in geocentrism that it made it true. It is also not because billions of people believe in heliocentrism that it makes it true, that would be ad-populum. The truth was over Aristotle head but in his head he conceived false beliefs out of ignorance. Though he was intelligent he did not behave like a child who would have acknowledged he did not have the answer .

It is prideful to say that a belief is false without examining it and it is imprudent to believe in something without verifying whether there is an absolute truth behind.

Jesus made statements that appealed to verify whether these were absolute truths or not. His declarations were serious and ignoring or believing them without careful examination would have both eternal implications.

Jesus claimed to be the Truth and not a truth among others. He said He was the way to God and not just another way. He claimed He was the life and not just another life giving source.

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” John 14:6

Jesus was radical when He said that those who do not believe in Him are already judged for their unbelief. After Jesus healed the man born blind, He asked:

Do you believe in the Son of Man?”The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.” John 9:35

Jesus clearly said that the sin of the world is unbelief. “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me”. John 16:9

The bible says:

There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” John 3:18-20

All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:10-13

 

 

Believer or Disciple?   2 comments

Disciple or Believer?

Disciple or Believer?

Therefore, go and make DISCIPLES of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the COMMANDS I have given you.” Mat. 28:19

While discussing with a friend of Catholic faith, I asked him several questions and his replies left me perplex for several days.

I asked him the following questions and these were his answers:

  1. Who is Jesus for you?

He answered with conviction: “Jesus is my God. He died for my sins. He is a mediator between God and me“.

I had the preconceived idea that he did not know these things about Jesus and his answers left me benumb.

2. Do you believe you’re a sinner?

He said he was a sinner and that he prayed every day to ask Jesus for forgiveness.

3. What is repentance?

So I ask him if he knew the difference between repentance and asking for forgiveness. He answered that repentance is changing completely from a precedent bad habit but asking for forgiveness is something continuous.

4. What is the meaning of Christmas?

As we were in the Christmas’ period, I asked him what it meant for him. He replied that Christmas made him remember that one day Jesus came to die for his sins and that it was important to celebrate it.

This friend of mine had all the knowledge necessary to be saved as per Romans 10:9. He confessed and believed in his heart that Jesus was his Savior. He knew the core message of the Gospel and I wondered why I should evangelize this guy.

One day, while going for a long walk, I decided to make a shortcut by passing through a Catholic church yard. When I passed by the church’s entrance, I heard the priest say clearly that it was necessary to have saving faith in Jesus. This again left me perplex. The Catholics are taught about the saving faith and they believe it. Why then do the Christian claim they are still unsaved?

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he wrote to people who knew nothing about the gospel. The confession of Jesus being their Lord was sufficient evidence of them being saved .

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved“Romans 10:9

It was also crucial for Paul to teach to the Jews and those of non-Jewish that faith in Jesus was sufficient to save one soul apart from good work and following the law(Romans 3:23-26).

My friend also told me that he was a believer but did not really practice the requirements of his religion.

I shared my perplexity with my wife and we went through his answers again.

I reached the conclusion that the Catholic church succeeded in deceiving people by making them believers but not disciples. A disciple is a believer but a believer is not necessarily a disciple.

Jesus’s command in Mat. 28 was clear: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

Jesus did not say ‘Go and make believers‘.

During Christmas week, I always stand in amazement at seeing all my colleagues of muslim, hindu and catholic faith excited to make Christmas preparations. They all know the meaning of Christmas but this belief or knowledge did not save them.

What then differentiates a believer and a disciple?

My friend demonstrated much allegiance to Jesus but he violated the first commandment for he was an idolater through his prayers to Mary. I saw people of hindu faith worship Jesus, among other gods. One who confesses Jesus is God and worship him is not necessarily a disciple. We therefore need to be careful that in our church we have disciples and not just believers.

 

It was quite easy to discern that my friend was an idolater. However, we can easily ignore that an idolater is someone who worships the things of this world.

Paul says: “You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” Eph. 5:5

John also warned against idols: “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” 1 John 5:21

A disciple is therefore one who does not worship the things of this world. He does not cling to anything or anyone, except Christ. His joy, peace, assurance and hope is Christ.

Another genuine mark of a disciple is Love.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34

One who does not love, does not know God and is not a disciple.

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love…But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us…If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” 1 John 4:7-21

Christ’s command was this: “Teach them to obey all my commands”. All these commands can be summed up in 2 commands: Love God with all your heart and Love people.

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Mat. 22:37-40

If one loves God with all his heart, he will not worship idols or the things of this world. If one loves people he will do no harm. He will not lie to his neighbor, gossip, slander, steal, murder or have evil thoughts. The law is therefore fulfilled in these 2 commandments.

One clear evidence of an evil believer of the living God is Satan. He believes everything written in the bible, that Jesus is God and that He died for the sins of man. However, this belief did not have impact on him.

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” James 2:19

A disciple is therefore someone who loves God and loves people. Do our churches have more believers than disciples?

There has been many crusades and massive amount of money invested in evangelism program. Sadly, many of these programs were fruitless for there has been no follow up after proclaiming the gospel. The biggest work starts at discipleship and this is where many church leaders failed. Discispleship is the greatest omission of the Great Commission.We are therefore left with people who left their religion and became believers and think they are saved. This is a tragedy  and a deception for as we have seen, a believer is not necessarily a disciple.

Posted December 18, 2015 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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He is jealous for me…   Leave a comment

Understanding

heartonfire

“…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” Exodus 20:5

We rarely understand God’s jealousy towards us. Much less do we understand it when he is demonstrating it. There is always some kind of hurt whenever jealousy is being demonstrated. There is always some kind of hurt when God is demonstrating his jealousy for us. There is a big difference between man’s jealousy and God’s jealousy though.
Man’s jealousy flows out of selfishness. Whenever people are being jealous, most of the time it is because they are not getting what they were looking for for themselves, from someone else.
God’s jealousy flows out of pure love. God demonstrates his jealousy when he sees us giving ourselves over to someone or something else and know that this will not bring a healthy balance of things in our life. Whenever…

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Posted November 7, 2014 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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In the Beginning, God   Leave a comment

In the beginning

In the beginning

In the beginning the Word already existed.The Word was with God, and the Word was God.He existed in the beginning with God.God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” John 1:1-4

Scientists aimed to date the age of the universe some 13 billion years ago. According to them, the universe was expanding rapidly while in a hot and dense state. This gives rise to another question: when did the matter which was expanding first existed? The ‘big bang’ as it is called had to be formed of particles of some kind. This energy required had to be derived somewhere. What is the origin of all things and when did it occur? Following this logic, if we think about the effects caused by the origin, we’ll reach a point where we’ll reach non-existence. The reason behind is that matter has to originate somewhere regardless of its mass. Taken in this perspective, we’ll reach a point where the mass from which another particle originated will be smaller. Taken to infinity, we will reach a zero mass and thus  nonexistence. So how can nonexistence of energy or particles produce matter or mass? As Einstein said, God does not play dice with the universe.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrews 11:3

This verse contradicts the theory (a theory is not proven) that the universe originated from existence of mass.

The bible has the answer to this question of the origin. The answer is quite simple, “In the beginning, God“. We should not bother about the millions of years to put a start point to the origin. We only need to know that God is the initiator of this beginning. What is the origin of all things, or more precisely who? The first verse of the bible says that God is the beginning or initiator.   The book of Psalms says :

The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word,and all the stars were born.He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.Let the whole world fear the Lord,and let everyone stand in awe of him.For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.” Ps 33:6-9

The picture of dust in the hand of this post does not rightly represent how the world was created. The scripture says that God just spoke. God did not have to make a discourse but He only commanded and said : “Let there be light, and there was light“. He just spoke and things came into existence.

So I ask what existed before the Universe? The bible says, that the Word existed before anything. John and the author of Genesis(Moses) started their book by rightly putting God at the beginning of everything.

The word “Word” used here originates from the Greek word “Logos” which means something said, including the thought, reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive.

It was the very thought of God, His will which was the origin of everything. John is also inferring that the earth had a beginning at time t = 0. However, before that beginning God was already there. Our mind is highly reliable on visual effects for reasoning and it is quite impossible to imagine non-existence. We will never be able to understand its fulness because we will be limited by our own existence.  Out of nothing God created the universe says the author of Hebrews.

If we stand in a dark room we can try to imagine what it could be like. After the creation of the universe, the earth was a desolated and wasted  place. A kind of indistinguishable vacuity as the Hebrew words illustrate it. It was like wilderness, a sorrowful dark place. If we look at the satellite imagery of the moon or Mars, we can have an idea of how it could be without the sun light.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep” Genesis 1:2

If we agree that the Universe has God as origin, we should not find it difficult to admit that God just spoke to make the desolated earth have waters, land, sea creatures and earth creatures. The existence of man itself cannot be an accident. It was purposefully, meticulously and wonderfully made. It is just impossible that all the faculties we have was a result of coincidence.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ” Psalm 139:13-16

If there is not an initiator or a designer  how is it possible that the universe stands in perfect harmony? The distance separating the sun from the earth, the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere, the planets in the solar system have all been purposefully regulated and positioned. The human machinery, our metabolism, physiology have been designed so perfectly. Can existence be a result of coincidence? Could coincidence bear such harmony in the entire universe and stability in organisms?

So Great Salvation [1]   2 comments

So Great Salvation

So Great Salvation

So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:3

These past few weeks I listened to the series of sermons by Paris Reidhead on this theme “So Great Salvation”.  What that basically means is that we have sufficient knowledge about who Jesus is and failing to show allegiance to Him is rebellion. Ignoring and neglecting what He did make us self-condemned.

Whether we like it or not, we will all have to give an account to God of what we did and did not do.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13

Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say,“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me,and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’”Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:10-12

We also have to give an account of things we said. If we blasphemed against Jesus, these word will be brought as evidenced against us. If we confessed Jesus as our God, these words will acquit us (Romans 10:9).

And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” Mat 12:36

Notice well here that we will personally have to give an account. Our parents, Mary, angels, the pope, priests, pastors, spouse or friends won’t be able to speak for us or defend us.   Jesus will look at us in the eyes to either tell us “Good and faithful servant” or “Soul of iniquity”.  We will have to acknowledge on this day our sinfulness and it will be too late.  The Father will ask ” I have sent you Jesus to save your soul ,what have you done about it?”.  I have sent people to talk to you about me at school, at work, on facebook, in the media and you ignored such a great salvation? How dared you? You have heard but did not listen.

There will be only one Advocate before the judgement seat of God. This Advocate is Christ Himself (1 John 2:1) and He will defend those who relied on Him for the salvation of their soul. On the other hand, the devil will use God’s law to accuse those who rejected Christ (John 5:45).

It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night.” Rev 12:10

As Paul said, God’s law is holy (Rom 7:12-13) but its purpose was to make people realize that through their own efforts they would not be able to please God. No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands, follow rituals and religion.

Actually Jesus said this about the law of Moses:

Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes.If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.” John 5:45

God’s law made all men sinners and guilty (Rom 3:19). If you ever lied, you’re a sinner since you violated God’s law. Since we are all sinners, there is no escape to such a great salvation. We will all have to face God’s wrath or mercy.  Jesus is the one God appointed to be the dispensator of this long planned salvation.

CARE ABOUT YOUR OWN LOAD!   Leave a comment

Mat 25:15 tells us : “To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability”.

Mathematically speaking, the guy who had 5 talents and the one who had 2 talents, both doubled their talents. No one worked harder since they both doubled. The efforts were the same since it was according to their abilities. What God looks at is obedience, God is not impressed by the quantity we do. It is God who gives us abilities to do certain things and there’re no reasons to boast.

Luke 17:10 says: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

Understanding

jesus carry your burdens everyday

‘Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.’  Psalm 68:19

I was walking back from the store the other day with a friend, after having done some grocery shopping.  I don’t know what we were thinking about on that day, but we had quite a walk to reach home and our bags were very heavy.  While we were walking, I kept on thinking about how my friend’s bag looked lighter than mine and I felt my arms getting a little longer with every step that I made.  This made me think about how very often we tend to look at what other people are going through and compare it with what WE are going through.

We minimise other’s daily load and maximise ours.  This is the selfish part of us that always try to give itself a little bit more importance, a little but…

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Posted June 18, 2013 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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