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Jesus sets the standard for total self-denial. In Luke 14 you find the message is always the same. There’s a great multitude in 14:25 accompanying Jesus,”and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life. he cannot be my disciple.” (vv.25-26) It’s not about you, it’s not about your self-esteem–it’s about your sin, your desperation, and your need to see Christ as so priceless and valuable as your Savior from sin and death and hell, that you would willingly give up everything, even if it costs you your family or your marriage. In verse 27 Jesus says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” If can’t be any clearer than that.

In Luke 17:33 Jesus says, “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it. and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” It’s the same principle. If you try to hold on to your plans, your agenda, your success, and your self-esteem….you lose.

From Landmark Sermons

The Starting Principle of Discipleship

November 3, 2002

John MacArthur

Only Scripture

by Pastor Anton Bosch

 One of the non-negotiable essentials of orthodox Christianity has always been the completeness of Scripture. By completeness we mean that the Bible (66 books) is the complete and final revelation of God to man. Nothing is to be added to the Scriptures, nothing is to be taken away from it, and nothing is to be placed above, or next to it (in authority or priority). The Bible stands on its own, is complete, and is the final measure by which every other doctrine, statement, creed or revelation is to be judged.

 Over the centuries various groups have strayed from the principle of the completeness of Scripture. Most notably the Roman Church places the Apocrypha, the Magisterium, Canon Law, the Ex Cathedra statements of the Pope and a bunch of other stuff at the same level, or higher than Scripture.

 One of the things that most cults have in common is that they all have their books, prophecies, and teachings that are equal to, or that supersede, the Bible.

 Some historic churches hold their traditions, creeds and council decisions as equal to Scripture. Many also believe the teachings of deceased teachers above God’s Word. Most (not all) Charismatic and Pentecostal churches place prophecy, visions, revelations, experiences, and the teaching of special gifted leaders (often called apostles or prophets), above the Bible.

 This is an old problem, but it has recently been escalating to new levels. Many evangelicals who previously held to the completeness, inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture are abandoning those truths…..

Tom Horn is one of the writers and teachers that has taken the church world by storm with his wild speculations about mutant life forms in the Old Testament, alien visits and abductions, as well as all sorts of fantastical science fiction sold as new Christian revelation (sounds very similar to Scientology – and it is). In addition to his own wild imagination and twisted use of Scripture, Horn has based many of his doctrines on apocryphal books as well as astrology. He strongly defends his use of extra-biblical sources and many evangelical Christians agree with him. He is endorsed by many Evangelical pastors and leaders.

These are but two of dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of “Christian” leaders rejecting the truth that the Bible is complete and closed.

Full Article HERE

heaven+sky+bright+light

Is Evangelism About “Going to Heaven”?

Excerpt by David Cloud

Heaven is definitely a product of salvation, but why is it that none of the apostles preached on Heaven when they were presenting the gospel? Why are the sermons recorded in the book of Acts so different from the one Hyles preached?

Consider the sermon Paul preached on Mars Hills to the idolatrous pagans in Acts 17. Paul did not preach on Heaven; he preached on God and His righteous judgment so that the idolaters would understand their sin and turn to Christ for redemption.

The average person in North America today is very similar to those idolatrous pagans, and North Americans need the same type of preaching. An idolatrous and apostate people need sermons on Hell more than sermons on Heaven. They need sermons on the law more than sermons on grace, because biblical grace is only understood in the context of the law.

No one can understand and appreciate God’s grace unless they first understand His holiness and justice. The law was given to prepare the way for grace. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).

The book of Romans begins with nearly three whole chapters of the law of God and the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man and his utter condemnation before a holy God before it gets to the grace of Jesus Christ. That is the biblical way to preach the gospel. That is the true Romans Road. That is how Peter preached on the day of Pentecost.

Read Full Article HERE

From MSN August 23rd, 2011

 Earthquakes in unlikely places

Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia (see how far away it was felt) showcases the fact that earthquakes can strike in unlikely locations (how long has it been since the state had a 5.8 magnitude quake?). Recently earthquakes have hit in some other seemingly unlikely places, like Colorado (find out where fault lines are in the United States).
 
Earthquakes hit in these unlikely areas in July:
 
Africa  – 5.2 magnitude
 
Canada – 3.5 magnitude
 
Texas –  3.0 magnitude
 
Utah – 3.4 magnitude
 
Wyoming – 3.1 magnitude
 
*******
 
 

Mat 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Serving the Lord is a wonderous thing but we must be careful of what is in our heart…..Those who pound the table or their chest and say, “Look at all the things I have done for the church,” expose their thoughts.  What does God say about our works?

Consider Psalms 64:6   “All of us have become like the one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;”

Even all our righteousness are like filthy rags. The good we may try to do is unacceptable and unclean before the Lord. Because we are all like an unclean thing, even the good we do is polluted. “Brethren, if our righteousnesses are so bad, what must our unrighteousnesses be?” (Spurgeon)

“Those that seek to be saved by their works, Luther fitly calleth the devil’s martryrs; they suffer much, and take great pains to go to hell . . . We must do all righteousnesses, rest in none by Christ’s, disclaiming our own best as spotted and imperfect.” (Trapp)

Because of our fallen nature we do well to consider this verse.  

” Do nothing out of vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3

One of my favorites quotes is from James Montergomery Boice .

“God uses the small things and the small people…as a matter of fact, the smaller you can become, the more effective his work in you will be….”

 The bookstores abound with new-age books that seem to have Christian teachings. The reality is that these books have false teachings that do not line up with scripture. The only way NOT to be deceived is to become a student of the Bible and to examine all things against scripture.

Please read:

 Heaven is For Real: A Dangerous Book for an Apostate Age

August 18, 2011   by David Cloud 

***Heaven Is For Real, a book about a four-year-old boy’s supposed visit to heaven, has sold over 1.5 million copies and is currently the # 6 best seller on Amazon. It has broken Thomas Nelson’s sales records and is popular with Independent Baptists. One pastor told me that it is “circulating around many of our IBaptist camps; many are recommending it.” The book is the true story of Colton Burpo, a Methodist pastor’s son who allegedly visits heaven during emergency surgery. There he meets a dead sister and great grandfather, sees Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and Satan, and learns things not revealed in Scripture. We don’t doubt that the little boy is convinced that he visited heaven, but we don’t believe for a minute that it actually happened.

First, the book is contrary to the testimony of Scripture that the apostles were the last to see the resurrected Christ. This was one of the evidences of apostleship (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). Paul said that he was the last of the apostles to see Christ, meaning that he saw Christ some time after the other apostles had seen him (1 Cor. 15:8). This occurred on more than one occasion in his life as described in the book of Acts. Paul gave this testimony in the context of giving the eyewitness evidence for Christ’s resurrection. We also know that the apostle John saw Christ on the island of Patmos as described in Revelation 1. All of the evidence we need for our faith is found in the testimony of Scripture and in these particular eyewitnesses.

Second, the book is contrary to Paul’s statement that when he had visited heaven he heard things that he was not allowed to repeat (2 Cor. 12:4). Obviously, then, a person cannot visit heaven and describe whatever he sees and hears there.

Third, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary God’s emphasis on the priority and sufficiency of faith and Scripture. The book contains testimonies of how people have believed in God and heaven because of Colton’s alleged visitation, but the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and faith comes by hearing God’s Word, not by signs and wonders (Romans 10:17). In his account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that if someone does not hear the Scriptures, he will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). All of the signs and revelation we need are found in the completed canon of Scripture (John 20:30-31). The Bible is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works “(2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has told us everything He wants us to know about heaven at this time.

Fourth, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary to the Bible’s plain teachings. For example, Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11). Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125), whereas the Bible says the Holy Spirit came from heaven at Pentecost and He is the power (Acts 1:8). Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101), that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102), and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152). Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).

 

I know that I have been posting a lot of articles about this subject, but the current events will have a huge impact on the future of the Church today.

Will the Evangelical Church Sell Out the Gospel for a Dominionist Political Agenda?

A Special Report by Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails

As America is quickly approaching another presidential election year, some interesting things are taking place within evangelical/Protestant Christianity that are connected to next year’s election. Dominionist/Kingdom Now political and religious figures are joining forces with evangelical Christian groups. While having concern for the state of America is more than legitimate, will Christians replace commitment and loyalty to the Gospel for commitment and loyalty to a dominionist agenda? If they do, they will learn the hard way that compromise and a “whatever it takes” attitude will do more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than good.

This article is not a statement that Christians should not be involved in or concerned about the political state of their countries. Rather, the intention of this article is to exhort believers to use discernment in understanding the times in which we live. It is to show how a present ecumenical, dominionist movement (that is heading toward a one-world religion to “establish the kingdom of God on earth”) is operating and deceiving many Christians. As Christians, we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ and His Gospel message of salvation to those who believe on Him by faith. But today, many Christians may be on the brink of buying into a plan that will ultimately create a global religion and global government.

The apostle Paul was very clear that we are not to entangle ourselves with those who say they are of the faith but preach “another gospel” (Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10, 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15).

The definition below of dominionism is helpful in understanding the goals of the dominionist movement:

The Gospel of Salvation [according to dominionism] is achieved by setting up the “Kingdom of God” as a literal and physical kingdom to be “advanced” on Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ.(1)

Full Article HERE

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/06/seven-mountains.html

The Berean Call picked up this article from Pastor Larry DeBruyn

If you are not familiar with dominionism it is coming forefront because of the  latest prayer rally called the Response. What is wrong with a prayer rally? In the background you will find The New Apostlic Reformation. These self-ordained “apostles” claim they have to christianize the world before Jesus Christ can return. They call themselves, forerunners, or Joel’s Army. They will not be going away anytime soon. True prophets call for repentance of sin and preach the message of turning away from things of the world and of turning only to Christ.

DOMINIONISM’S FATAL FLAW  [Excerpts] 

Despite the involvement of the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition in America’s political process over the last few decades-in 1976, a cover of Newsweek read, Born Again, and declared that year to be the year of the evangelical-the moral decline of this nation continues down that slippery slope. Because little has changed, many who have fought the good fight against national corruption are understandably discouraged. One leader has even informed his constituency that, “attempts to restore morality ‘through the political process have failed’.”

 About the religious right’s failure to influence this nation’s moral life, one thing needs to be said: Welcome to the school of the biblical prophets. Their warning of judgment and witness to God’s Law could not prevent the moral meltdown occurring in their era either (See Hosea 4:1-3; Jeremiah 9:2-6; Micah 7:1-6; Isaiah 1:4, 21-23.). Their ministry also failed to affect significant moral change in ancient Israel. They were voices crying in the wilderness.

 
Any prophetic message does not resonate with America for the same reason that it did not in Israel. The reason is sin, the forgotten word not only in our culture, but also in the church. Within the pan-evangelical movement, there seems to be an “us-against-them” mentality. We’re the righteous, they’re the sinners. While concluding his argument regarding the universality of depravity amongst both the irreligious and the religious, and before stringing together a list of biblical quotations to prove his point, Paul addressed such an attitude. He first asked and then answered, “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin” (Romans 3:9).

As one critical historian notes, “The only trouble with Christian morality is that Christians on the whole, do not practice it.” It’s doubtful that efforts at a Christian reconstruction of and dominion over America would succeed. From the evident lifestyles of pan-evangelicals as revealed by surveys-bornagains are no different from non-bornagains-and the moral failures of a few high-profile but now disgraced leaders, there is every appearance that would-be reformers desperately need reforming.

Good laws cannot change bad people. Only grace can do that. The only end for wickedness is divine judgment. It was for Israel, and it will be for America. So beloved, don’t be discouraged by political ill fortunes of the present. Press on. Keep the faith. Live the right. Speak the truth. Be good neighbors and loyal citizens. Vote truth, right and your conscience, all the while knowing that there will be no earthly utopia this side of God establishing His rule on earth, a kingdom “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). In the meantime, continue to pray, “Father . . . Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).     

http://guardinghisflock.com/2009/06/30/dominionisms-fatal-flaw/#more-34

Excerpts FROM:

Truth Endures: Landmark Sermons from Forty Years of Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time

“It is only through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that you or I or anyone will ever enter the kingdom of God. We can’t enter through our religious emotion or our sanctified feelings. It is only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Lip profession is no good–there must be obedience. And in the statement, “Lord, Lord,” you get the idea that these people are surprised-in fact they’re shocked. “You mean we’re not even getting in?” But remember what Jesus Christ says in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”‘

The following verse is on an old slab in the cathedral of Lubeck, Germany:

Thus speaketh Christ our Lord unto us,

ye call Me Master and obey me not,

ye call me Light, and see Me not,

ye call me Way and walk Me not,

ye call me Wise and follow Me not,

ye call me Fair and love Me not,

ye call me Rich and ask Me not,

ye call me Eternal and seek Me not,

you call me Gracious and trust Me not,

ye call me Noble and serve Me not,

ye call me Mighty and honor Me not,

ye call me Just, and fear Me not;

if I condemn you, blame Me not.

“Millions of people depend on their morality, their good deeds, their baptism, their church membership, even their religious feelings. There will be many church workers in hell, many pastors, and sad to say, many teachers in so-called religious schools. I’m sure many of them are going to say to Christ, “Christ, it’s us, we prophesied in your name.” But Jesus will tear off the sheepskin and lay bare the ravening wolf. That’s exactly what He’s been talking about in Matthew 7:15-20, where He reveals the false prophets–those who claim to have reality and have it not.”

“The true church of Jesus Christ is not a religious institution that welcomes everyone; it is the body of Jesus Christ apart to God, uniquely married and wedded to Christ, and redeemed by faith.”

This was taken from the very first sermon John MacArthur gave to 300 people at Grace Church in 1969.  The sermon is titled

“HOW TO PLAY CHURCH”

TEXAS GOVERNOR’S UPCOMING LEADERSHIP EVENT INCLUDES CULT MEMBERS

By Marsha West

August 3, 2011

NewsWithViews.com

The prayer event I’m speaking of is The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis. The cult Gov. Rick Perry has involved himself with is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR has dozens of offshoots and an assortment of names such as Dominionists, Latter Rain, Kansas City Prophets, Third Wave, Joel’s Army, Manifest(ed) Sons of God, Five-Fold Ministry, to name a few. Another offshoot, and the one I’ll deal with here, is the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a splinter group of the Kansas City Prophets. Confusing? You betcha!

I’m not alone in my view that much of the NAR and IHOP theology and doctrines are unbiblical, most conservative Bible scholars, apologists and pastors agree. According to Brannon Howse:

The Response…is being promoted as a time of prayer and repentance. However, how can Christians and Christian leaders gather together in a spiritual enterprise and a spiritual service, with individuals that embrace a theology and doctrine that teaches a different Jesus and a different gospel? I, and thousands of pastors and theologians, believe that the Word of God reveals that the teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, (NAR) the Word of Faith movement and the prosperity gospel is completely unbiblical. (Online source)

The American Family Association (AFA) is sponsoring the event. AFA is part of the Religious Right a.k.a. the Christian Right (CR). Is the fact that cultists are involved just a slip up or a failure on the part of AFA to fact check? No. They know perfectly well who these people are and have decided to unite with them anyway.

So why would a so-called Christian group pal around with members of a Christian cult? In a word, pragmatism. This is the philosophy that “the end justifies the means.” In this case the end is getting people motivated to show up at a prayer rally. The NAR has the resources to accomplish this task because a large part of what they do is planning global prayer events. Although I have no way of validating how this project was conceived it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the NAR wanted to do a prayer event in Texas that included the governor so they presented the plan to the AFA and a partnership was created. Since it benefits politicians to have the support of the Religious Right, Perry also jumped on board. Another possibility is that AFA’s leadership has Dominionist leanings and they, feeling comfortable with this group, sponsored the event. Finally, it very well might be that the governor’s staff came up with the idea and presented it to the AFA, they liked the idea and agreed to sponsor it. Although it would be interesting to know how the idea for this event was conceived and how this group of organizers was put together, the fact remains that Gov. Perry and the CR are involved with cultists.

Full Article HERE

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