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Demons on a Leash

from Answers Magazine


by C Dickason on May 27, 2009; last featured October 27, 2009

Demons are alive and active today, but we can rest in the reality of our Father’s gracious and powerful control.

Haunted houses, ghosts, demons—our Western culture can’t seem to get enough of the spirit world. The latest Gallup poll indicates that 42% of Americans believe in demon possession, 37% believe in haunted houses, and 32% believe in ghosts. (Not just Americans are enthralled—40% of the British believe in haunted houses, too.)

Though interest in the paranormal is widespread, the majority of people are skeptical. They discount all spirit activity, going so far as to deny the existence of Satan and demons. Atheists stated this view succinctly in a sign they planted next to a manger scene last Christmas at the capitol building in Olympia, Washington:

“There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world.” What is the Christian position?

Clearly, outright denial of Satan and demons is not the answer. That view rejects the revelation in the Bible and the phenomena witnessed clearly and broadly in many lands and societies. The first- and second-world countries, not just third-world countries, experience demonic powers, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

As the former chairman of the theology department at Moody Bible Institute and author of Demon Possession & the Christian, I have carefully studied such topics. Demons are real and need to be taken seriously, even if many claims about evil spirits are fabricated or exaggerated.

Unless we have a biblical view of God, mankind, and the spirit world, we will not have the perspective to understand the evil that plagues our world.

Biblical Perspective on Satan’s Role

How does the Bible throw light on this problem?


Finish article HERE

Here is another article on “Love the sinner…hate the sin.” This phrase is tossed out many times on threads discussing escalating sin in our world.


Question: “Are we to love the sinner but hate the sin?”

Answer: Many Christians use the cliché “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” However, we must realize that this is an exhortation to us as imperfect human beings. The difference between us and God in regard to loving and hating is vast. Even as Christians, we remain imperfect in our humanity and cannot love perfectly, nor can we hate perfectly (in other words, without malice). But God can do both of these perfectly, because He is God. God can hate without any sinful intent. Therefore, He can hate the sin and the sinner in a perfectly holy way and still be willing to lovingly forgive at the moment of that sinner’s repentance and faith (Malachi 1:3; Revelation 2:6; 2 Peter 3:9).

The Bible clearly teaches that God is love. First John 4:8-9 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” Mysterious but true is the fact that God can perfectly love and hate a person at the same time. This means He can love him as someone He created and can redeem, as well as hate him for his unbelief and sinful lifestyle. We, as imperfect human beings, cannot do this; thus, we must remind ourselves to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

How exactly does that work? We hate sin by refusing to take part in it and by condemning it when we see it. Sin is to be hated, not excused or taken lightly. We love sinners by being faithful in witnessing to them of the forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ. A true act of love is treating someone with respect and kindness even though he/she knows you do not approve of his lifestyle and/or choices. It is not loving to allow a person to remain stuck in sin. It is not hateful to tell a person he/she is in sin. In fact, the exact opposites are true. We love the sinner by speaking the truth in love. We hate the sin by refusing to condone, ignore, or excuse it.

Read more:

Indeed it seems that the saying, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner” is abounding. Here is a list of scripture that is helpful. Also here is another article stating where the false teaching originated.





Highly Recommended!

”Take Heed That No Man Deceive You” – Jack KinsellaWhen He was asked, ‘what will be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ (Matt 24:3) one of the first things Jesus said was: “take heed that no man deceive you,” but He warns us not to follow them.

He also warned the Church that in ‘the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).

That is not to say that the Church plays a role in the time generally referred to as the Tribulation Period. There’s plenty of tribulation in the world for the Christian right now already, but Jesus is letting us know its all according to Plan, so don’t worry.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that the Tribulation Period is the Seventieth Week of Daniel, the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’.

It is for this reason that I believe the pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine to be correct according to the Scripture.

To follow the flow of Bible prophecy during the final hours of the Church Age, there must first be an understanding that there IS a ‘Church Age’.

There are few Christians who deny the existence of a ‘Church Age’ — the Bible is divided into Old Testament and New, after all — most churches acknowledge the Birth of the Church at Pentecost, and so on.

But when it comes to the Tribulation, understanding Bible prophecy and the signs of the times, conflicting doctrines are often preached within the same messages by the well-meaning who solemnly pronounce the conflicts as ‘mysteries of faith’ — or they ignore Bible prophecy altogether.

If there IS a Church Age, then there was something before — and something that comes after. That is the basic premise of Dispensationalism. Dispensational theologians divide human history according to the way God interacted with man at that time, into seven ‘dispensations’ of God’s grace.

The time before the Fall was the Age of Innocence, after the Fall, but before the Flood the Age of Conscience, and so on.

Of interest to us at this juncture are the Ages of the Law and the Age of Grace (Church Age).

Don’t get pulled down a rabbit trail, stay with me here. Forget all the clever but somewhat cloudy arguments from those who’ve ‘dug deeper into God’s truth’ and just follow the simple map for now.

You can always go back later if you get lost. I’m not trying to deceive anyone.

Either there was an age under the Law of Moses that ended with the introduction of the Age of Grace at Pentecost, or there was not. If your Sunday School doesn’t teach that, better take another look at your Bible.

The Bible teaches there is a purpose FOR the Church Age. The Jews first, then also the Gentiles.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” Paul writes in Romans 11:25.

The blindness of Israel to the coming of the Messiah Jesus is ‘in part’ and conditional — ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ to the Church.

I needn’t go into exhaustive exegesis — it is either clearly what God intended to be understood as written, or it is not. Truth needs no propping up — it can stand by itself nicely, thank you.

Paul pictures the three kinds of spiritual human beings — Jews, Gentiles, and the Christian redeemed out of each group. There is no fourth option in Scripture. Every human falls into one of these three categories, according to the Scriptures.

What happens when ‘the fulness of the Gentiles be come in’ then?

According to Daniel, the Dispensation of the Age of the Law was limited to seventy ‘weeks’ (of years) totaling 490 altogether, starting from the command to rebuild the temple given Ezra by Artexerxes.

Daniel said the time would run concurrently until the Messiah is ‘cut off’ after 69 weeks (483 years). The seventieth week resumes sometime in the future with the introduction of antichrist.

The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is the conclusion of the Church Age. It is hard to see that any other way.

Misunderstanding the Dispensations allows one to end the Church age in the middle of the tribulation with the Rapture. But then there is no sense to Daniel’s 70th Week, since it is now just three and a half years.

Set aside all the deep thinking and careful, painstaking calculations and tortured interpretations for now and just look at the obvious, clear and logical flow.

If there IS a point when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ AND there is a point in which the 70th Week of Daniel resumes, then there is a point BEFORE and a POINT after. Just like beginning of the Church Age. There was a point BEFORE Pentecost, and a point AFTER.

Since the Church Age is for the gathering of the saints, and Daniel’s 70th Week is set aside for the national redemption of Israel (the purpose specifically given by Daniel FOR the 70th Week) and for the judgment of God against a Christ-rejecting world (the purpose from the perspective of John) why, logically, would the Church Age end with any less definition than it began?

Why would the Age of the Law resume while the Church is still here? What then, is the ‘fullness’ of the Gentiles? Logically, I mean, following the simple path, not the contorted one that creates so much friction and division.

Ignoring the clear pattern of dispensational truth in the Scripture in favor of something more complicated and therefore, somehow, deeper, appeals to the human propensity for pride. (“I know something you’re too stupid to figure out”)

But does it make clear sense? Where does it lead?

Christians are exhorted to walk ‘by faith and not by sight’ but I’ve heard pre-tribulationalism decried as ‘the Great Escape’ and its preachers called false teachers who were not preparing the Church for the coming tribulation.

From this perspective, if I don’t teach that we are going to go through the Tribulation, you won’t be prepared to stand. So you need survival gear, a year’s supply of desiccated food, some gold (money won’t be any good) and maybe a nice underground shelter.

THEN, you will be ‘prepared’ for the coming troubles, during which time you’ll walk by faith and not by sight when the antichrist is about to kill your children in front of you unless you take the Mark. Uh-huh.

My favorite argument is that Dispensational pretribulationism is a new doctrine first introduced by Margaret MacDonald in 1820. So how come I’m quoting the Bible instead of her?

Regardless of when you think the Rapture happens personally, did you ever notice how MAD people get if you don’t agree with THEM?

There is no profit in preaching a pretribulation Rapture and eternal security. I can’t sell you desiccated food, gold for the coming catastrophe or even a book on what to do if you get left behind, because if you are saved, you won’t need it and you won’t get left behind. No money in that.

And if you believe me — then neither can anybody else. (Maybe that’s why they get so mad, who knows?)

We are living in the last days. The signs of the times are all around us. The Lord is coming soon, and when He comes, the Bible says that the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4)

When Jesus ascended into heaven, an angel appeared to the Apostles, (not to the Gentiles) “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. ” (Acts 1:11)

To the Gentile world at the Second Coming; “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” (Revelation 1:7)

Unless you have different definitions for the words “every” and “all” then what would Christians be ‘wailing about’ at the Lord’s 2nd Coming? It’s what we’ve been waiting for since His Ascension.

A pre-Trib Rapture leaves nothing to sell to see you through the Tribulation. No motive to deceive. Like the Gospel, it’s simple and direct.

First, the ‘fullness of the Gentiles be come in’ and the Rapture, then the pouring out of God’s Wrath on those who make war against the Jews, then the national redemption of Israel at the Second Coming, and finally, the destruction of antichrist and introduction of the Millennial Kingdom.

Simple. In harmony with Scripture.

The only incentive for preaching it is to tell people they need to get saved — NOW, not later when the antichrist hands them his calling card.

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:).

In the past, I remember being warned that certain events were about to happen, a nuclear event, bank holidays, 2012, attacks on the US, etc. These things simply did not happen. They did create a fear in me. Researching the sources led me to discredit these men and their $$$ ministries. Many are survivalists stirring up a perceived need for their products, DVD’s, food storage, knives, seeds, etc. Many spread their false visions and others love their fame by creating misinformation. While I have no illusions about this groaning world and its increase of SIN as it is laid out in scripture…..I do not listen to the false prophets. If they are wrong only ONCE… we are not to listen or fear them.


How conspiracy theories are detrimental to a Christian’s spiritual health

Do not say, “a conspiracy,” concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats or be troubled. (Isaiah 8:12)

As I have traveled over the internet super-highway, I will occasionally drive by websites dedicated to the promotion of some elaborate conspiracy theory. Just like the attractions along the side of the road promising to show anyone willing to stop such glorious curiosities as the world’s largest gum ball or genuine baby Bigfoot skeletons, those conspiracy websites promise that if you are willing to open your eyes, read all the facts, and connect all the dots, you too will be awakened to the truth of reality.

Now, before I go on, it may be helpful to define what I mean by a conspiracy theory.

A “conspiracy” is simply defined as a “planning together…

View original post 1,509 more words

Program Description: Tom welcomes guest Matt Ferguson, youth pastor at Calvary Chapel Bend and former Jehovah’s Witness as they discuss Matt’s background and experience in the Watchtower Society.




Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could join us. In today’s program, Tom welcomes Matt Ferguson, youth pastor at Calvary Chapel here in Bend, Oregon. Now, along with his guest, here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.


Tom: Thanks, Gary. On our program today, I’ll be having a conversation with Matt Ferguson, and we’ll be discussing a religious cult that most people are aware of because they-well, they seem to show up at everyone’s door. And some weeks ago we addressed the followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who take the same approach in trying to attract converts, but this week and next week we’ll be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses.


Matt, welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7.


Matt: Thank you, Tom. Appreciate you having me on here.


Tom: Yeah, Matt is the youth pastor at Calvary Chapel here in Bend, Oregon. Matt, you know, we’ve known each other for quite a while, but I really don’t know your testimony. How did you come by your knowledge of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, better known as Jehovah’s Witnesses?


Matt: Well, Tom, I was actually born and raised a Jehovah’s Witness the first 18 years of my life. I grew up in that organization, or that cult. My father was an elder in the Kingdom Hall. Both my parents were heavily involved in all the activities: going door to door, and the public speaking. So I was involved in it from the get-go, really. So I spent many, many of my early years learning the Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine and going door to door at a very young age. In fact, I was five when I first started going door to door, knocking on people’s doors, handing out the Watchtower and Awake magazines, and so I grew up very, very much involved in it.


Tom: So, Matt, in a nutshell, what would you say JWs-what they’re all about regarding theology? Could you give us kind of an overview?


Matt: Mm-hmm. Yeah, so the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ theology is really-it starts with the belief of who God is. They don’t believe in the Trinity, so their belief is that God is a single person, and not a triune and single Being united in three Persons like most Christians. They believe that Jesus is the Son of God but in the sense of being God’s first created being. So they believe that Jesus is really Michael the archangel. They get that from their translation somehow, but they believe that Jesus is Michael the archangel, who becomes Jesus when Jehovah, His Father, sends Him here to earth to ransom mankind from sin, from Adam. So their belief is that Jesus lived a perfect life; then He died. But rather than being crucified on a cross, their belief is that Jesus died on a torture stake. A couple other differences are [that] Jesus rose, but He rose spiritually in the Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine, not physically. Their methods of salvation, or how man is to be saved, comes by, I’d say, both Jesus’ sacrifice and then also obeying God’s commands, which are given primarily and solely by the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society. So it’s a mixture of Jesus’ sacrifice and a good dose of works.


Tom: Mm-hmm. Now, Matt, you know, it’s stunning, as you said-you’re five years old, you’re out there, going from door to door. So this is all you knew! I mean, obviously, many who know about Jehovah’s Witnesses-they’re not allowed to read any other material. They’re not allowed to-sometimes they have to have a conversation with those they’re witnessing to, but still… Now, where did this begin to unravel for you?


Matt: Well, really, Tom, it was probably my eighteenth year, and when I was eighteen years old, I started questioning some of the things that were being taught. I started really looking at the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I started looking at some of the prophecies that were made, some of the contradictions that were pointed out to me…


Tom: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say, Matt: you didn’t come to this on your own. Somebody was challenging you, or was this when you were out witnessing, or what?


Matt: Well, you know, I had some people that were challenging me. In fact, my wife now, who I was beginning to date, which…that was-that’s a story in itself as far as that being a no-no, but she really challenged me. She was a brand new Christian, born again Christian. Two weeks after getting saved, she starts dating a knucklehead Jehovah’s Witness, and we spent a lot of our dates debating Scripture. And, you know, what was beautiful is she didn’t know a lick of Scripture, but she had something that I did not have, and that was evident. That was apparent to me, and that ended up being a relationship with Jesus Christ. But we, you know, we would debate. We would talk about differences between Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. That got the ball rolling, and I started noticing some of the errors that were in their doctrine, or in their teachings.


Tom: You know, just a side note on that, one of my buddies is Greg Durel; he’s a pastor down in Louisiana, and he had a Catholic background. His wife was a Jehovah’s Witness, okay? They started dating, and then it definitely was the Lord that began convicting them both, so they accused each other of being wrong with their belief system, and they went out to prove that the other was-what they were believing in-was not true. And in that process, they both came to Christ, and they both admitted they were wrong! It was incredible!


Matt: That’s awesome. [laughs]


Tom: Yeah, it’s really a terrific, terrific story of the Lord’s grace. So then how did you come to the Lord?


Matt: Well, I came to the Lord after-as soon as I started dating my wife, Shari, and as soon as I started questioning some of my beliefs, and some of the things that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had erred on, or done wrongly, they gave me an ultimatum, you know-and this is something that some people know about the Jehovah’s Witnesses-but those who question, or those who basically don’t follow all that the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society say is what one must do, you’re faced with excommunication. So that was my choice, was excommunication, or go in line, basically. Follow in line. And so I came to the Lord by exiting the Jehovah’s Witness faith, and really, when I left, I had no desire to have anything to do with God. I was kind of just done with it. And it was really the Lord that drew me to Him. He used my wife; He used Calvary Chapel. I started attending a Calvary Chapel, which was word by word, Scripture by Scripture, and the Lord gradually drew me, and it was really the verses where Jesus invites people to Him that really spoke to my heart, you know? “Come to Me all you who are tired and heavy laden. Come taste and drink.” These different passages really spoke to my heart, having to do with a relationship with Christ rather than an empty relationship of works.


Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, Matt, many of the cults, they have a cult leader; they usually end up worshipping him. As I said, we did a program with the Higleys not too long ago dealing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but you find out it’s not really Jesus Christ, it’s Joseph Smith, so you have an individual. But what makes the Watchtower Society unique, at least compared to others, is that now it’s the organization that’s the prophet; it’s the organization. How did you feel about that?


Matt: Well, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was really-you know, that was a big thing for me. That was Charles Taze Russell. He started that in 1870 or 1871. But, you know, he was the one who claimed that God spoke to him, and that he was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in finding the truth, and he started the Watchtower Society and, really, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t even adhere or follow most of Charles Taze Russell’s teachings. They don’t-they really shy away from it, in fact. But then you look at all the material that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have-even their Bible, the New World Translation, is a translated Bible from the Watchtower Society, so all your material, all your doctrine and theology, is being fed to you directly by these men in Brooklyn, New York. So that was an issue, because though they claim to be men and women of the Bible, much, if not all, comes from the Watchtower Society. So that presents a problem.


Tom: You mentioned earlier about prophecies, failed prophecies. So this organization has to keep readjusting things or…give us some of those examples.


Matt: Well, you know, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have had a long history of making prophecy, and obviously we have prophecy in Scripture, and whenever one is dealing with prophecy, you better get that prophecy right. Scriptures tell us if they don’t, then you’re not to believe that person. That person is a false prophet. You’re not to be afraid of them is what Deuteronomy says. So they’ve made a lot of false prophecies, but most Jehovah’s Witnesses are not aware of it. They kind of deal with it in ignorance, because you’re discouraged strongly from looking into the history of it. But, you know, you can look throughout even a lot of their older literature and publications, many of the teachings of Charles Taze Russell, and you find hundreds of false prophecies, mostly in regard to the coming of Jesus, His Second Coming. They taught a lot in 1914, early 1900s, 1925, 1975, a lot of those-you know, a lot during that time, they made a lot of very clear prophecies that did not come to pass. Yeah, there was a lot of correction, a lot of covering up of those false prophecies. Then you have a lot of doctrine that was revised. You have a lot of doctrine about who Jesus is, you have a lot of doctrine about hell, and heaven, and all these things that are in a constant change, and so there’s a lot of revising and editing and covering up, basically.


Tom: Yeah, but you say that somehow doesn’t really filter back, or-you know, I’m not saying there aren’t some that recognize these things, because they’re going to hear it. I mean, if you’re going door to door, and all of a sudden you come into a situation where the people are really Bible believers, evangelicals, and so on, they’re going to question them. They’re going to ask these things. I remember in my own case, and it probably isn’t always this way, but usually you have a veteran and a neophyte, right? [chuckles] And I always like to look at the neophyte and say-well, whatever the Lord puts on my heart and mind.


But one of the things…you know, not too long ago, Matt, I did an article called “Warning to the Witnesses,” and I wanted believers to have some Scriptures there that they could-you know, whether they kept it right near their door, or something like that-that they could challenge the Witnesses on. And, Matt, a verse I like to use is John 8:24 where Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you that ye shall die in your sins, for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.” Now, in the King James, it’s italic in “he,” but He’s claiming to be Jehovah God right there.


Matt: Mm-hmm.


Tom: So if they get that wrong-well, there’s no hope for them. And, again, because it’s the Scriptures, hopefully…well, the Word of God says that His Word will not return void. So it’s going to be there for them to think about, for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of that verse and so on.


Matt: Mm-hmm. That’s a great Scripture. It is. In fact, I was-we’re in John right now it seems in a lot of our studies, but in our high school study, we covered that two weeks ago, and that was really the theme verse, you know, in Jesus claiming to be the great I Am, and really, you know, making a very radical statement there, and a very narrow statement. And I do take them to verses like that; that’s a great verse to take them to. You know, I look at Romans 10:9-13 where you have Paul saying, “Those that call upon the name of the Lord are the ones that are going to be saved.” There’s many Scriptures where you could take them to even in the gospels, and in their own Bible, in fact-the New World Translation-where you could show them where Jesus accepts worship of men. We have, obviously, like Isaiah 44 that talks about Jehovah God is the only One that is to be worshipped, and when you see these verses in the gospels where Jesus is being worshipped, and then you take all these verses and you start to understand that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same, as far as both being God and both accepting worship. It’s irrefutable.


Tom: Now, Matt, I came out of a Roman Catholic background, and that’s works salvation. But it’s not the works that you guys-before as a Jehovah’s Witness-that you did. How did people handle-I mean seriously-all of this [going] out witnessing? And isn’t there some kind of quotient, or quota, that they need?


Matt: [chuckles] Yeah, I believe it’s four to five hours a month, I think, is the bare minimum. But, you know, most Jehovah’s Witnesses handle going door to door-they do so very zealously…


Tom: Mm-hmm.


Matt: …and it’s admirable to look and see how zealous they are in going door to door, and in their study of the Bible, but you kind of nailed it: for me, going door to door was part of earning my way to salvation. That’s part of earning my way into God’s good graces and His favor. You know, it also-going door to door-fed into my belief that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were different than all the rest, that they were carriers of the truth, and they alone had the truth. But there is a very organized way that they handle this. There is, in fact, a time sheet. I crack up at it now at the thought of it, but you turn in a time sheet, and you mark down how many hours you go door to door. You have different classes of those that go door to door, and they’re called publishers. You have regular publishers who they, on an average, are under 10 hours a month. You have different classes of pioneers who spend a minimum of 50 hours a month going door to door, all the way up to 90. And yeah, there’s a very, very strict way, a quota, as you said, in how many hours you spend, how many magazines you place, how much donations you get for the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society-all of these things you turn in, and all these things are recorded and they’re put on your record.


Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, Matt, having said all of that, what would you say would be the type of people that are most vulnerable to being convicted, to being converted, basically?


Matt: I’d say that the most vulnerable would probably be those who spent a lot of time in religions that placed an emphasis on works, so I could go down the list, but you mentioned Catholics-a lot of current Jehovah’s Witnesses were former Catholics; those that a great deal of emphasis was placed on working your salvation out; a lot of emphasis placed on tradition and different practices. Jehovah’s Witnesses are very much about that: works and tradition. Also those that are family members that are involved one way or the other in that threat of dealing with excommunication, that threat of losing your ties with your family-that’s a big draw or a big kind of area in making their decision.


But I’d say many people are attracted to the Jehovah’s Witnesses because they claim to have the answer to life’s problems, and so they’re looking at the world around us, and any person is going to be attracted to somebody who claims to have all the answers, claims to provide a solution and who stresses-you know, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they stress very strict morals; very much centered on family values, much like the Mormons. And so it’s appealing to people who are looking at that and who are somewhat coming out of an area where it’s very works-based. So that’s appealing to them.


Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, Matt, it’s not unlike what we would call a self-help program, right?


Matt: [laughing] Right!


Tom: Because it is works salvation. But here’s what I do, and later, maybe even next week, I really want you to lay out your encouragement and how-give us some ideas about witnessing. But one of the things that I do is when they come to the door-and we don’t all do it the same, and there’s no one absolute way to witness. I mean, obviously you need to be prayed up and looking to the Lord-but one of the things that I say to them is, “Well, what’s your deal?”


And that kind of pulls them back a little bit. “What do you mean?”


“Yeah, what’s your deal? You see, I have a deal, and what I want to know is-is my deal…or is your deal better than my deal?” And of course my deal is the free gift of salvation that Christ paid for, so I want to know-again, I ask them, “So what’s your deal?”


And I find that interesting, based on all that you just said, Matt, because talking about the works, the hours, all of these things: if it’s works salvation, it doesn’t-I mean, nothing compares with God’s free gift of grace, Jesus having paid the full penalty for our sins-I mean, there is nothing like that, and it sounds a little bit crass to say it that way, but it shakes them up a bit, and it gets-hopefully, it gets them thinking, because they…there’s nothing out there-I don’t care, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, whatever-whoever is coming to you outside of biblical Christianity has got a bad deal, right?


Matt: Your mentioning that, that’s…you know, that was a big draw for me:  in doing all these works that I was doing when I was a Jehovah’s Witness, all the hours I spent going door to door, all the hours I put in-they go to their Kingdom Halls three to five times a week, so you have all these things that you’re doing, all these works that you’re performing. You know, I could say when doing all those things, I could look at it and say, “Man, I’m doing all these things for the Lord.” But there was one thing that, like you were talking about, the free gift-the big thing for me was I was doing all these works for the Lord, but I didn’t feel any closer to the Lord, and I didn’t have a relationship with Christ.


Tom: Right.


Matt: And so there was a dryness, there was an emptiness, that all these works I was doing was not helping with. It wasn’t bringing me any closer to God; I felt so far from God. So, yeah, when you bring them to, “What’s your deal?” and you show them that free gift-you know, Ephesians 2:8,9 talks about “it’s by grace that you have been saved [through] faith and not of works, lest anyone should boast,” that’s a big point to go ahead and bring out to them. Our deal is, yeah, salvation-it fully is God’s giving His grace to us, His unmerited favor, and our salvation is dependent upon receiving it rather than this works-based relationship that doesn’t bring you any closer to the Lord.


Tom: Right. My guest is Matt Ferguson. He’s the youth pastor at Calvary Chapel here in Bend, Oregon, and Matt, as you’ve heard, if you’ve been listening, Matt grew up in the Watchtower Society, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and his insights have been terrific.

Matt, we’re about out of time for this session, but the Lord willing, we’ll come back to this next week. So, again, Matt, thanks for being with us.


Matt: Absolutely, Tom. Thank you for having me.

Have You Been Called As A Watchman? This is serious business.


“It is the work of ministers to give him warning, to say to the wicked, It shall be ill with thee, Isa. 3:11. God ways in general, The soul that sinneth it shall die. The minister’s business is to apply this to particular persons, and to say, “O wicked man! thou shalt surely die, whoever thou art; if thou go on still in thy trespasses, they will inevitably be thy ruin. O adulterer! O robber! O drunkard! O swearer! O sabbath-breaker! thou shalt surely die.’ And he must say this, not in passion, to provoke the sinner, but in compassion, to warn the wicked from hi way, warn him to turn from it, that he may live. This is to be done by the faithful preaching of the word in public, and by personal application to those whose sins are open.”


Matthew Henry Commentary Ezekiel 33:1-9


The prophet has now come off his circuit, which he went as judge, in God’s name, to try and pass sentence upon the neighbouring nations, and, having finished with them, and read them all their doom, in the eight chapters foregoing, he now returns to the children of his people, and receives further instructions what to say to them. He must let them know what office he was in among them as a prophet, that he was a watchman, and had received a charge concerning them, for which he was accountable (v. 1-9).


The prophet had been, by express order from God, taken off from prophesying to the Jews, just then when the news came that Jerusalem was invested, and close siege laid to it, ch. 24:27. But now that Jerusalem is taken, two years after, he is appointed again to direct his speech to them; and there his commission is renewed. If God had abandoned them quite, he would not have sent prophets to them; nor, if he had not had mercy in store for them, would he have shown them such things as these. In these verses we have,

I. The office of a watchman laid down, the trust reposed in him, the charge given him, and the conditions adjusted between him and those that employ him, v. 2, 6. 1. It is supposed to be a public danger that gives occasion for the appointing of a watchman-when God brings the sword upon a land, v. 2. The sword of war, whenever it comes upon a land, is of God’s bringing; it is the sword of the Lord, of his justice, how unjustly soever men draw it. At such a time, when a country is in fear of a foreign invasion, that they may be informed of all the motions of the enemy, may not be surprised with an attack, but may have early notice of it, in order to their being at their arms and in readiness to give the invader a warm reception, they set a man of their coast, some likely person, that lives upon the borders of their country, where the threatened danger is expected, and is therefore well acquainted with all the avenues of it, and make him their watchman. Thus wise are the children of this world in their generation. Note, One man may be of public service to a whole country. Princes and statesmen are the watchmen of a kingdom; they are continually to employ themselves, and, if occasion be, as watchmen, to expose themselves for the public safety. 2. It is supposed to be a public trust that is lodged in the watchman and that he is accountable to the public for the discharge of it. His business is, (1.) To discover the approaches and advances of the enemy; and therefore he must not be blind nor asleep, for then he cannot see the sword coming. (2.) To give notice of them immediately by sound of trumpet, or, as sentinels among us, by the discharge of a gun, as a signal of danger. A special trust and confidence is reposed in him by those that set him to be their watchman that he will faithfully do these two things; and they venture their lives upon his fidelity. Now, [1.] If he do his part, if he be betimes aware of all the dangers that fall within his cognizance, and give warning of them, he has discharged his trust, and has not only delivered his soul, but earned his wages. If the people do not take warning, if they either will not believe the notice he gives them, will not believe the danger to be so great or so near as really it is, or will not regard it, and so are surprised by the enemy in their security, it is their own fault; the blame is not to be laid upon the watchman, but their blood is upon their own head. If any person goes presumptuously into the mouth of danger, though he heard the sound of the trumpet, and was told by it where the danger was, and so the sword comes and takes him away in his folly, he is felo de se-a suicide; foolish man, he has destroyed himself. But, [2.] If the watchman do not do his duty, if he might have seen the danger, and did not, but was asleep, or heedless, or looking another way, or if he did see the danger (for so the case is put here) and shifted only for his own safety, and blew not the trumpet to warn the people, so that some are surprised and cut off in their iniquity (v. 6), cut off suddenly, without having time to cry, Lord, have mercy upon me, time to repent and make their peace with God (which makes the matter much the worse, that the poor creature is taken away in his iniquity), his blood shall be required at the watchman’s hand; he shall be found guilty of his death, because he did not give him warning of his danger. But if the watchman do his part, and the people do theirs, all is well; both he that gives warning and he that takes warning have delivered their souls.

II. The application of this to the prophet, v. 7, 9.

1. He is a watchman to the house of Israel. He had occasionally given warning to the nations about, but to the house of Israel he was a watchman by office, for they were the children of the prophets and the covenant They did not set him for a watchman, as the people of the land, v. 2 (for they were not so wise for their souls as to secure the welfare of them, as they would have been for the protection of their temporal interests); but God did it for them; he appointed them a watchman.

2. His business as a watchman is to give warning to sinners of their misery and danger by reason of sin. This is the word he must hear from God’s mouth and speak to them. (1.) God has said, The wicked man shall surely die; he shall be miserable. Unless he repent, he shall be cut off from God and all comfort and hope in him, shall be cut off from all good. He shall fall and lie for ever under the wrath of God, which is the death of the soul, as his favour is its life. The righteous God has said it, and will never unsay it, nor can all the world gainsay it, that the wages of sin is death. Sin, when it is finished, brings froth death. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, not only against wicked nations, speaking ruin to them as nations, but against wicked persons, speaking ruin to them in their personal capacity, their personal interests, which pass into the other world and last to eternity, as national interests do not. (2.) It is the will of God that the wicked man should be warned of this: Warn them from me. This intimates that there is a possibility of preventing it, else it were a jest to give warning of it; nay, and that God is desirous it should be prevented. Sinners are therefore warned of the wrath to come, that they may flee from it, Mt. 3:7. (3.) It is the work of ministers to give him warning, to say to the wicked, It shall be ill with thee, Isa. 3:11. God ways in general, The soul that sinneth it shall die. The minister’s business is to apply this to particular persons, and to say, “O wicked man! thou shalt surely die, whoever thou art; if thou go on still in thy trespasses, they will inevitably be thy ruin. O adulterer! O robber! O drunkard! O swearer! O sabbath-breaker! thou shalt surely die.’ And he must say this, not in passion, to provoke the sinner, but in compassion, to warn the wicked from hi way, warn him to turn from it, that he may live. This is to be done by the faithful preaching of the word in public, and by personal application to those whose sins are open.

3. If souls perish through his neglect of his duty, he brings guilt upon himself. “If the prophet do not warn the wicked of the ruin that is at the end of his wicked way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; for, though the watchman did not do his part, yet the sinner might have taken warning from the written word, from his own conscience, and from God’s judgments upon others, by which his mouth shall be stopped, and God will be justified in his destruction.’ Note, It will not serve impenitent sinners to plead in the great day that their watchmen did not give them warning, that they were careless and unfaithful; for, though they were so, it will be made to appear that God left not himself without witness. “But he shall not perish alone in his iniquity; the watchman also shall be called to an account: His blood will I require at thy hand. The blind leader shall fall with the blind follower into the ditch.’ See what a desire God has of the salvation of sinners, in that he resents it so ill if those concerned do not what they can to prevent their destruction. And see what a great deal those ministers have to answer for another day who palliate sin, and flatter sinners in their evil way, and by their wicked lives countenance and harden them in their wickedness, and encourage them to believe that they shall have peace though they go on.

4. If he do his duty, he may take the comfort of it, though he do not see the success of it (v. 9): “If thou warn the wicked of his way, if thou tell him faithfully what will be the end thereof, and call him earnestly to turn from it, and he do not turn, but persist in it, he shall die in his iniquity, and the fair warning given him will be an aggravation of his sin and ruin; but thou hast delivered thy soul.’ Note, It is a comfort to ministers that they may through grace save themselves, though they cannot be instrumental to save so many as they wish of those that hear them.


From The BlueLetterBible

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Tribulation2“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Mt. 24:21-22)

Both Christians and non-Christians are interested in the future. Everybody has questions. Some of us are motivated by curiosity, others by fear and anxiety. For the most part, our questions will remain a mystery, but certain future events have been revealed in the Bible.

I would add a word of caution to anyone who attempts to study this topic. We cannot know everything about the future, but we can know certain things. In our attempts to discern what the Bible says about the future, we must be careful our conclusions come only from the truth of Scripture and not our own…

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The Gift of Spiritual Discernment

What is the Gift of Spiritual Discernment?

The Bible makes it clear that, even in the church’s infancy, there were many false prophets and teachers who claimed to speak God’s words with God’s authority. These men were strangers to God and yet claimed to speak for Him. Many Christians were drawn in by their words and were led astray by them. Because of this Scripture contains many exhortations for Christians to test all teaching. John writes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Just one verse earlier, in John 3:24, John has spoken of the fact that the Holy Spirit is given to us as evidence of God’s presence in our lives. And having spoken of the Spirit, John now ensures that his readers know that not every spirit is holy. We are tempted to believe and obey spirits, for they represent a spiritual realm that is outside of our experience, but many spirits are commanded by Satan, the father of lies. Because of this we need to test or prove the spirits to see if they come from God.

Some commentators draw a direct line from the spiritual gift of prophecy to the gift of discerning spirits, but I am not sure this argument can be sustained. When we combine the presence of this gift with Paul’s exhortation to “test everything,” it seems that the gift of discernment would be likely to extend far beyond prophecy.

All Christians are responsible to test words of teaching and prophecy. The Bereans were considered noble for hearing the teaching of Paul and Silas, receiving them with eagerness and “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). These believers tested the words of the apostles, examining the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was consistent with what they knew of God’s revelation of Himself. In doing this they modeled the task of all believers. Christians are ultimately responsible for what they choose to believe, no matter whether or not they have been gifted with the spiritual gift of discernment.


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June 2014



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