Monday, April 30, 2012

Ten easy steps to earning your Salvation

Everybody loves "10 easy steps". After all, most Christians use the Bible as a "Self-help book", which it is not.


First of all, you can't earn your Salvation.

With that out of the way, I need to take a few moments to PROVE IT to you.

About 15 times a week (at least) I get the honor of getting to speak to a "Lost Christian". I say "lost", because they say that they're depending on Christ for their Salvation, but they never, Ever, EVER learned the rest of the story and most times they don't even want to hear about it.

There are literally 1,000's of Ministers out there, keeping Christians in bondage, by making them believe that they have to continually, day after day, week after week, year after year, EARN their Salvation. This does two things, it keeps you coming back to their church to find out how to keep earning it and second, it keeps the money flowing in, because after all, it's your DUTY to continually give your tithe to the church.

Now remember, I don't INTERPRET Scripture, I read from it as if it were a "children's book"! God always says what He means and means what He says, so let's be like a Berean and make sure that I haven't lost my mind.

The key to understanding your Salvation, is to understand GRACE. If you don't understand GRACE, you will never understand a multitude of things from Gods Word.

I once heard a preacher say these words, and they really hit home. Not because they tickled my ears, but because the truth in them was so simple and so beautifully easy to remember, "Mercy is not getting what you DO deserve and Grace is getting what you DON'T". And the cool part about that, is you don't even need your Bible to understand that. Now that you understand what GRACE is, allow me to help paint the picture for you, as to WHY you can't EARN your Salvation.

Without a doubt, Paul is definitely one of Gods most Blessed children. God made him responsible for more than HALF of the New Testament writings.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 - We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: " In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

First of all, the beginning of 2 Corinthians 6 is a continuation of Chapter 5. So don't misread "as workers together with Him" as some kind of proof that you need to do "works". Chapter 5 ends with how we are "Ambassadors for Christ". But what Paul is saying in those two verses, is this... "You accept the grace of God in vain, because you just accept it at face value and don't understand what it really means."

As most of you are aware, I use the NKJV translation of the Bible, because I have found it to be the most clear and the most complete of all the English translations of the Bible. There are times however, where other translations can offer you some additional insight. For example, the ESV (which in not on my list of favorite translations) , instead of saying "In an acceptable time", uses the words "In the time of my favor". I have often heard GRACE described as "undeserved favor". It's a FREE GIFT from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) We have not earned His favor, nor have we done anything to deserve it. In fact, according to the Bible, we've ALL fallen way short of the favor of God.

Romans 3:22-24 (GW) - There is no difference between people. Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory. They receive God's approval freely by an act of his kindness [grace] through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free [from sin].

So if something is "TRULY FREE", that means that it costs NOTHING. That right there is the heart and soul of understanding Grace and Salvation. Either it's the "free gift" that Paul tells us it is in Romans 5:15,16,18 or God is a liar. Think about it... God did everything in His awesome power to ensure that His Word would survive for thousands of years, so why would you believe anything that anyone else told you, that doesn't MATCH His own Words?

Another example I can use to PROVE that you can't EARN your Salvation, is this wonderfully simple verse from Romans 4:4 - Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Allow me to reword that, "If you do works to try and earn your Salvation, you are not paid with God's Grace unto Salvation, you are instead making God OWE YOU". God would only OWE us if we were in a works based system... As we ARE NOT, then works do not in fact make God owe us. No action taken by man will ever make God indebted to our cause or make our reward EARNED. (See Romans 11:6) Don't believe me? Then go ahead and read that verse again.

God has literally gone out of His way to get everyone on this miserable planet saved. From the Garden of Eden to the Cross, He never once stopped trying to help us to become "Holy as He is Holy" (1 Peter 1:16). How much more could God possibly love us, than He already does?

Titus 3:4-7 - But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I could go on and on and on and on and on (and on), showing you verse after verse of SOLID PROOF, but in the end, you have two choices. You can either believe the preachers who fed you poisoned grass or you can believe the Word of God, who feeds you the "bread of life" (John 6:35).

Addition: After writing this, it occurred to me that I left one huge component out. About 90% of my teachings are designed for "babes in Christ", but sometimes I blur the lines between babes and small children. I believe that it's really important for me to point out that GRACE is not a license to sin.

Paul says several things on this, but it's important that I paint this out for you, so that you understand clearly.

Paul is just beginning to explain GRACE to us here:
Romans 6:1-2 - What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!...

Paul is trying to make it clear to you that you are no longer under the law at all:
Romans 6:14 - For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Now Paul needs to explain what he just said, so that you wouldn't be confused:
Romans 6:15 - What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Now Paul drives home his point, regarding our freedom from sin (Grace):
Romans 6:22 - But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

And finally, the culmination of both your freedom and your free gift:
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I can't stress this enough, so many of you have been brain-washed into thinking that you have to "act" a certain way, think a certain way, do things in a certain way. And so much so, that you spend more time worrying about your flesh (which is supposed to be dead) than you do exercising your freedom in Christ. For an awesome teaching on this subject, click HERE and listen in to this most excellent message.

The other thing (thank you Pastor Beau for your research), I mention in almost every single show, "There are more than 38,000 Christian Denominations in the world. Each of them is their own Religion". Well there are many denominations that teach you can lose your Salvation. Does that make them right? NO! How can "man's opinions or interpretations of God's Word be more important than God's actual Word? It can't be! For those of you wondering, here are just a few of the major-denominations that teach that you can lose it:

Assembly of God - False tongue speaking religion.
Lutheran - Teaches you must "persist in the faith". (This contradicts John 18:9)
Roman Catholic - Teaches "final perseverance is a gift from God, but man must cooperate with the gift". (This is a contradiction with Ephesians 2:8-9)
Methodist - Teaches that you can "end up losing the salvation that God has begun in us". (Again, contradicts John 18:9)

See, this is what I mean by "Be like a Berean" (Acts 17:10-11). It's only when you place what you are told up against Scripture, that lies, deceit and just plain misunderstood language can come to light. God does not wish for you to be mislead, so He's warned you to watch out! (Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16)

As many of you know, we just recently recorded the finale for our "Basic Discipleship Series" and we're currently on hiatus. In a couple of weeks we'll be doing a special on SALVATION. If you'd like to make sure that you're notified, please go to the website @ http://www.butisitbiblical.com and drop us a note and we'll be sure to notify you, so you can listen in live or even call in with questions!

Like I said, I don't need for you to believe me, I do need for you to believe God. Please be like a Berean and look this stuff up for yourself. There's no Greek or Hebrew required, just make sure that you're being lead by the Holy Spirit and also, make sure you take notice of how many times the words "Grace" and "Mercy" are being used in these verses.


2 Chronicles 25:9 - Then Amaziah said to the man of God, "But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?" And the man of God answered, "The LORD is able to give you much more than this."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why did Angels minister to Jesus?

I often share questions I get from other people here in my blog, because I feel it's a waste to not share them with others who may struggle with the same questions.

Question: What does it mean angels came to Jesus and ministered to him? (Matthew 4:11 & Mark 1:13)

Answer: Well, I suppose if you put it in context, Jesus is God and He created the Angels to serve Him and His every purpose. After 40 days in the desert, I would suppose that since He's fully God and fully Man, that He may have needed some "tending to" or ministering. Or to put it simply, they FED HIM! Could you imagine how weak and hungry He must have been?

I try to tell people all the time, that MINISTER should be EQUAL to SERVANT. As a Minister or Pastor, it is our responsibility, indeed OUR JOB, to serve the sheep. Think about it. Pastor is basically Latin for Shepherd. What do Shepherds do? They continually find the best green grass for the sheep to feed on and protect the sheep from wolves and other potential disasters like keeping them away from cliffs and sharp rocks. No matter how you look at it, it's the Shepherds job to SERVE the sheep.

Matthew 20:28 - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

It's only through reading and understanding God's Word that we can truly understand what we should be expecting from our Ministers. Bright white teeth and a wind-tunnel tested hair-do are not requirements of a good Pastor...

I hope you found this helpful!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Predestination - Biblical Fact or Fiction?

Today I was presented with a question I get once in a while, from Christians who are starting to grow in their faith. Many people have such difficulty with the concept of "predestination" that they simply believe that it's not true.

Question: I hear about predestination from time to time and I just can't wrap my head around it. How can everything we do or say be predestined to happen before we actually do or say it? Wouldn't that mean that I don't have the ability to make any decisions, because they've already been made for me? I'd much rather believe that I'm in control of my destiny. The other problem I have, is because I don't really know too much about this subject, I can't really discuss it with other people, so instead I've chosen to stay away from it altogether. Can you help?

Answer: Sister, while I can appreciate your "fleshly need" to believe that you need to be in control of everything that happens in your life, the simple fact of the matter is that God is in control of ALL THINGS, not just the things you'd like for Him to be.

The idea about predestination is actually quite simple and entirely Biblically accurate.

God tells us (through His Word), that He knows the ending from the beginning...

Isaiah 46:8-10 - "Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'

As far as predestining whom gets Salvation and who burns for all eternity, that is also very simply derived from Gods Holy Word.

Romans 8:29-30 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

John 18:9 - that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none."

Romans 9:11-12 - (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger."

But you are wise to want to keep away from this issue of predestination. Greater men than I have spent hundreds of years arguing and debating this exact issue. If only they'd read the Bible without interpreting it, they could have been praying together instead of planning the others demise!

Hope this was helpful!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Should a small child share the Gospel with their dad?

God's been keeping me mighty busy lately, with lots and lots of questions.

Today's question comes from a divorced sister with a 10 year old son.

NOTE: This question has been modified from it's original form in order to protect sensitive information.

Question: I have a 10 year old son. I had him before I was a Christian, I considered myself an Agnostic at the time. Well I came to the Lord about 2 years ago and up until our son was 9 years old his father, who is a very devout Atheist, was not involved in his life at all.

My son, who is a Christian, is constantly witnessing to his dad whenever they are together. While I have not yet shown him how to witness, he is talking to his dad about Christ anyway.

My ex had our son with him last week and my son told me when I got him back yesterday that his dad yelled at him to stop telling him about Jesus because he doesn't believe it and since I told him that he couldn't discuss Atheism with our son, then our son wasn't allowed to discuss Christianity with him.

Needless to say it upset my son as he wants his dad to be saved which leads me to my question.

Children are supposed to honor their father/mother. I am showing him how to witness and his father told him he cannot witness to him. But God says to witness.

Where is the line? How should I advise my son? I don't want him to dishonor his father at the same time I don't want him to dishonor God but also he should be able to have fun with his dad without always feeling like he should witness. They should both be able to enjoy their time.

Answer: First of all, your son is 10 years old. As wonderful, smart and loving as he might be, he's only 10 and is obviously being driven by emotion. Your son is probably scared senseless over the fact that his father is on the road to hell. So to say that, "My son is a Christian" is not really supportable at this age and will only be determined once he is not only above the age of accountability, but also by time itself. At best, you could say that your son is "walking in the statutes that you have set". Only time will tell if your son truly and adequately understands the how's and why's of his Redemption and the Atonement that Jesus offers.

The Bible does however offer us some insight, as to how to handle this situation you're dealing with.

First of all, I know you've only been a Christian for a short time, but there is something you should know about Mark 16 before we continue. Verses 9-20 DO NOT APPEAR in the oldest copies of the NT texts that we have. While the information contained in those verses is not technically wrong, it's argued that perhaps they are not written in the inspired way that the rest of the Bible is. I believe that knowing this is important, because when you're in a position to either evangelize or apologize with a non-believer, it might be a good idea to steer clear around those 12 verses and use others to make your case. Again, I'm not saying those verses are "wrong", but the Great Commission outlined in Matthew (which we know is reliable) is markedly different in one big respect. We tend to hang on the "every creature" wording revealed in Mark, when Matthew says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations". There's a huge disparity between "every creature" and "all the nations". The Greek word being used there is "ethnos" which literally means "nations". A more thorough study of the word ethnos, also reveals it's usually used to refer to "Non-Jewish Tribes or Nations". Not the "every creature" that's depicted in Mark. All I'm saying here, is if one day we find a whole bunch more texts and those 12 verses are still missing in Mark, it may finally be decided that they should be removed. Of course if the inverse happens, then we can thoroughly and completely embrace those verses. Either way, I'm praying that the Rapture happens sooner than the time needed to find more scrolls! For more information on the Mark 16 issue, go to this link at the CARM website. (In other words, I'm not making this up.)

So with that out of the way, now we're tasked with "What did God intend for us to understand in regards to the Great Commission"? Were we to go to every nation and convince "the powers" (or rulers) to be baptized? Or were we told to go to every single human being, one at a time? I don't know, so I'm hedging my bets and desiring to do both.

As a matter of fact (and a little off topic), one of our Ministers (Pastor Jeff), will arrive in the Philippines tomorrow, in order to help set up a Birthing Center in a city that is extremely far away from the nearest hospital. Infant mortality is off the charts in this particular area of the country. In any event, most Filipinos are Catholic and Pastor Jeff has become personal friends with the Mayor of this city. God willing, the Mayor will be open to the true message of the Gospel and not what the Catholic church has fed him his whole life. If we can change the leaders we put in place, we can change the people. This has already happened in the USA, under Presidents such as Wilson and Roosevelt. The only problem, is they caused us to begin moving further away from God, not closer.

So back to the question at hand, "Should the 10 year old son obey his father in reference to talking about God or should he press on because the Bible tells him so?"

One of the problems we have, is the MISINTERPRETATION of the 5th commandment. Honor is not a synonym for OBEY. It's a commandment to bring HONOR to your family by your actions. There are times (many as fate would have it), that God would PREFER that you DO NOT OBEY your father.

Ezekiel 20:18-19 - But I said to their children in the wilderness, 'Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them;

Like I said earlier, your son is 10. He's still below the age of accountability. As such, he can not possibly comprehend anything beyond an emotional level or "how he feels about it"... If he could, you could point him to 1 Corinthians 1:18.

1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

But no matter how you slice it, your son has already:

  • Discussed God and the bible with his father
  • Shared the Gospel with his father (albeit against his wishes)
  • Been yelled at for his troubles

Your son already approached the line, crossed it and then crossed it some more...
No matter how much your son loves his father, that love will not affect any conversion...

Perhaps you can explain to your son, "Salvation is a choice sweetheart. Just as I have made a choice and just as you will one day hopefully also make a choice, daddy needs to make the choice to accept it ALL BY HIMSELF. You can't save your daddy, only Jesus can. We just need to place all of our trust in Jesus and we can pray that daddy will one day make that choice for himself."

As for the thing about your son being below the age of accountability, it's kind of a parallel to one of the unbiblical practices within Catholicism. The Catholics believe that their baptism at birth somehow offers them their Salvation, even though Acts 22:16 makes it clear that YOU MUST CHOOSE TO DO SO. Neither an infant nor a young child is able to make the comprehensive choice necessary in order to affect them being "born again". A child can no more understand the concept of "free-will" than they could about how dirt is "made". Only God knows that. HE MADE IT! Besides, I know some 50 year old men who still don't understand that their Salvation is a FREE GIFT FROM GOD. They think they have to earn it somehow...

As for what the age of accountability is, is a matter not easily put in numbers. Jewish tradition places that age between 12-14 years old, while the law in the United States says it's 18. While the age that a child truly can comprehend these things is certainly different from child to child, I think it's safe to say that there aren't many 10 year old's who have REALLY been saved at that age. Every time I hear someone say, "So I received Christ at the age of 4 and I was baptized when I was five. Mom says that I went into the church afterwards and then read from the book of Revelation and then explained it to everyone, it was a real miracle!", so every time I hear these outrageous stories, I roll my eyes. Someone lied to this poor kid and now he's passing it along as fact. Anyway, you're his mom, you'll KNOW when he's truly comprehended it all and when he's been saved. For now, all you can do is raise him right, train him in God's ways and pray that he too makes this LIFE ALTERING CHANGE.

I pray that you can appreciate this answer, knowing that I don't believe it's necessary to always give "baby answers" to real issues that people have to deal with in their life. In other words, I'd rather have you think and reflect on God's Word than to have you walk away smiling, all happy and proud of yourself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hell hath no fury, like a faith-healer scorned...

About 2 years ago, I was told, "You'll know when you've made an impact, as soon as you receive your first attack!".

Well today I received my first attack! It was exciting to read about how bad of a man and how unskilled and inexperienced I am....

FROM A PHONY FAITH HEALER NO LESS...

They were apparently very upset with me, because I teach against them making a living stealing peoples money and how they destroy peoples faith, and also how I teach against false Prophets and Apostles.

They didn't show any love though. I wonder, do faith healers have a different Bible than the rest of us? And where do they get the chicken feathers from? Do they sell them at Costco or eBay?

For the record, I have never claimed to be a "Bible Expert". I'm pretty sure that there's only one of them and it's certainly not me.

Don't forget, "Be like a Berean!"...
It's the only way to keep each of us GROUNDED in the Word...

Friday, April 13, 2012

The passing of my mother...

I just wanted to get out a quick post to let you know that my mother passed this evening.

She had been battling a brain tumor for several years and tonight she passed peacefully.

I will be sporadically available over the course of the next week...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is a Catholic Bible worth using?

In my soon to be released book "But is it Biblical?", I have an entire chapter on "choosing a Bible". What I do, is point out actual language from a selection of Bibles and show you the how's and why's of which Bible(s) you should use and for what purposes. I also go out of my way to warn you against certain Bible translations.

Today's question comes from a young woman in Pakistan that recently converted to Christianity! God Bless her!

Question: I've been reading the Bible (Catholic Version), is it reliable and okay to read it? Is there any difference in teachings or the words from other versions of the Bible? I've been researching,and I found out that the Bible was adulterated and changed with the passage of years and the Jews have changed the Word of God in the Bible, is it true? Is there any reliable version of the Bible that has been 'unchanged' and same when it was first written. I'm using the NRSV Catholic Bible, just for your reference. Also, I heard that the NIV is bad to read, but I heard a lot of people use if because it's easy to read. Is it good too?

Answer: I'd be remiss if I didn't at least tell you something about that Bible you have in your possession...

It contains books that not only Protestants and Jews don't agree with, but they haven't agreed with them since the early 1st century.

For example, the books of Tobit and Judith don't exist in a "proper Bible". Neither does the "book of Wisdom" for that matter.

My advice to you, if you have the ability to, is find one of these Bibles: NKJV, KJV, NASB, ESV (and in that order as the ESV is a worst case scenario). Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light", reading this Catholic Bible may make you find yourself questioning certain basic things like Salvation, Grace & Freedom in Christ. Needless to say, it is not considered "reliable", as you had asked...

As for the NIV issue, I cover this quite thoroughly in my book. I've had some quite heated discussions with people regarding the NIV as well.

From my perspective, any Bible that goes out of it's way to LEAVE THINGS OUT or change Scripture in such a way as to weaken it or make it seeker friendly, is a Bible to avoid.

Missing Verses from the NIV:

Matthew 12:47
Matthew 17:21
Matthew 18:11
Matthew 21:44
Matthew 23:14
Mark 7:16
Mark 9:44
Mark 9:46
Mark 11:26
Mark 15:28
Mark 16:9-20
Luke 17:36
Luke 23:17
John 5:4
Acts 8:37
Acts 15:34
Acts 24:7
Acts 28:29
Romans 16:24
PLUS MORE!

So how many missing verses does a Bible have to have, in order to consider it rubbish?
I say *1*...

And then there's MAJOR issues like 1 John 5:7...

NIV - For there are three that testify:
NKJV - For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

Why did the NIV leave more than half of verse 7 out, and why oh why is there a CRITICAL teaching missing here?

Another big thing, is the NIV only mentions the "Blood of Christ" about 80 times, while the NKJV & KJV reference it more than 100. Most of the NIV readers I meet and speak to in my Ministry are completely clueless, as to the redeeming nature of His Blood.

There are more than 60,000 words missing from the NIV. Which words are missing, that would further your maturity in Christ? Do you know?

I've been using this example to try to make people understand WHY Bible choice is so important:

If you've got a glass of water and there's one small drop of POISON in it, will you still drink it?

I teach every week on my show, "Be like a Berean... Never believe anything I tell you, LOOK IT UP FOR YOURSELF and be CONFIDENT that what you have learned is TRUE. Not because I said so, but because God said so..."


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Special Show: Freedom in Christ

Most Christians throughout the USA have been mis-taught again and again regarding "what's not good for you". Most Pastors get scared when they're surrounded by a group of people, who are all at different STAGES in their walk with Christ, so those people never get taught properly.

Just like a baby, we teach new Christians "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle" (Colossians 2:20-23), in order to protect the "young Christian" from getting hurt. But what happens when that child starts to GROW UP? So many Christians never learn, nor are they ever ENCOURAGED to GROW UP, or in this case GROW IN CHRIST.

This week on our special edition of "But is it Biblical?", we're going to teach you about the "4 stages of your walk" and we'll also help you to better understand what it means to have your Freedom in Christ. Please join us, you will be blessed.

The show will be broadcast live on 4/5/2012 @ 10PM Eastern / 7PM Pacific.

Please watch the right side of this Blog for the link to the show or visit www.butisitbiblical.com.