Tag Archives: John 4:34

The Shack – One Christian’s Perspective

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The Shack – One Christian’s Perspective

From what I have read, the author of The Shack, Paul Young attended a Christian college where he took Bible courses in addition to other courses taught with a Christian viewpoint. Around the year 2000 he and another person founded a theology think tank that met on a regular basis. It was a forum where new and different ideas could be discussed, with a few guidelines. One guideline was that the truth of the Bible would be the final authority. Around 2004 Paul Young presented a paper to the group in defense of universalism. The next month another member of the group presented a rebuttal to Paul Young’s paper concerning universalism. That was to be the last time that Paul Young attended the group. Later Paul Young went on to write the book, The Shack.

Universalism is a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved.
People that believe in universalism …
* believe that all people will be saved.
* believe that a good and loving God would not condemn people to eternal torment in hell.
* believe that after a certain cleansing period, God will free the inhabitants of hell and reconcile them to himself.
* believe that after death, people will have another opportunity to choose God.
* believe that there are many ways to get into heaven.
* believe that in the end everyone will be brought into a right relationship with God
* ignore the consequences of unrepented sin.

I did read the book and I found that universalism and other ideas / theologies contrary to the Bible are laced throughout the book. Many in the world, and in the church, defend the book by claiming that it is just fiction.

The dictionary describes fiction as:
something invented by the imagination
an invented story
an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
written stories about people and events that are not real
literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer

While the book may be fiction (in the sense of the definition of fiction) and a feel good book packed with emotion to some, the false teachings (universalism and other non-Biblical ideas) in it are very real. There is nothing wrong with using imagery in writing about God, but not in a derogatory fashion that goes against Him or His Word. We have been instructed to be careful what we set before our eyes.

Psalm 101:3-4 NKJV
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”

God wants us to control what we think about, what we meditate upon, what we allow in our minds. Things can enter into our minds through what we watch and what we read.

Philippians 4:8 NKJV
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

If you choose to read the book, keep your Bible next to you as you read it and ask God for discernment. Does The Shack glorify the God of the Bible, the One true God? Is the doctrine of universalism presented in a positive or appealing way? Does it make light of the precious blood of Christ?

A few, but not all, of the heresies in the book are:

  • God the Father was crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross.
    False, God the Father was not crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross. If God was crucified with Jesus on the cross, why does Jesus cry out to God in heaven, “…why have You forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27:45-54 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”
Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

At the crucifixion, Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world. He did not become sin, He became our sin offering. For the first time, Jesus, a sinless man, felt what it was like to feel the weight and judgment of sin. The judgment for sin is separation from God – separation from the glory of God, the manifest presence of God.

Romans 3:23 NKJV
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”

Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind when He was on the cross.

1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”

Colossians 1:19-22 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV
“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

1 Peter 2:24 NKJV
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed”

There was a darkness lasting three hours during Jesus’ crucifixion. During the three hours of darkness Jesus was separated from God the Father. We serve a holy God that cannot look upon sin. On the cross, as Jesus took upon Himself our sins, God could not look upon Him, His own beloved Son.

Matthew 27:45 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”

Mark 15:33 NKJV
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

  • God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice, and justice will never take place because of love.
    False, God is not limited by His love. God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin, they go hand in hand. God practices justice because He loves us. Justice is what is right – the way things should to be. In the Hebrew language the word justice and the word righteousness are, in many cases, interchangeable. God’s righteousness, justice, is not limited by His love.

Romans 3:25-26 NKJV
“whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Justice is described as…
the administration of law
the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
conformity to this principle or ideal
the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
conformity to truth, fact, or reason
what is right or what is normal
fairness of laws coupled with fair and equal treatment
a recognized code of conduct.
what is right or as it should be

Righteousness is described as…
acting in accord with divine or moral law
free from guilt or sin
morally right or justifiable
conforming to a standard of what is right and good
conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong
rightness, fairness, or equity
moral excellence in character
guiltlessness or blamelessness
moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character

John 3:16-21 NKJV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Justice requires a penalty for sin – there is a judgment for sin. God loved us so much that despite the fact that our sin demand judgment, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our substitute upon the cross. By doing so His justice was not violated, but instead satisfied.

When God’s offer of salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus is rejected, justice calls for us to be judged for our sins. To God sin is lawlessness (not obeying) and iniquity (wickedness).

1 John 3:4-9 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Sin represents everything that goes against God’s holy nature. Sin is disobedience to God and justice demands a penalty. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God’s presence. There is a penalty for sin.

Romans 1:18-32 NKJV
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Romans 3:23-26 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to pay our penalty for us because He is both a loving God and a just God.

Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

Romans 6:23 NKJV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Eternal life, a gift from God, is available to all who believe in His name.

John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 20:31 NKJV
“…but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

God’s own righteousness is given as a gift (salvation) to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. Salvation is based upon God’s grace and mercy in response to our faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The Bible tells us that God loves justice.

Psalm 37:27-33 NKJV
“Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

  • Hierarchical structures (whether they are in the Church or in the government) are evil, and there is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead.
    False, God is a God of order and authority.

Job 25:2 NKJV
“Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places.”

Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.”

John 4:34 NKJV
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

Luke 22:42 NKJV
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit”

John 14:26 NKJV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

John 15:26 NKJV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

There is to be order and authority in our life. We are to submit to God.

There is to be order and authority in our family.

There is to be order and authority in the church.

There is to be order and authority in the government.

When there is not authority everyone does what is right in their own eyes. And that is evil.

Proverbs 21:2 NKJV
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

  • On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
    False, to receive forgiveness you must repent. Those who practice unrepented sin will not be in heaven. No matter what our relationship is with God, He loves us, but He hates sin. We have the choice to accept forgiveness of our sins (through repentance) or to reject it. Relationship with God is a choice and so is forgiveness. Not everyone will make it to heaven.

Matthew 7:13-23 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ. Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:47 NKJV
“… and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

John 3:3 NKJV
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Romans 10:12-13 NKJV
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…”

Titus 2:11-14 NKJV
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Titus 3:4-7 NKJV
“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.”

On the cross Jesus provided us with a way to be restored unto God. Forgiveness and a right relationship with God is offered to us through the work that Jesus did on the cross, however we have the free will to choose.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life”

John 3:14-17 NKJV
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

John 3:36 NKJV
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24-27 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

John 6:40 NKJV
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

  • God will never judge people for their sins.
    False, all sin will be judged. If we choose to reject repentance and a true relationship with God then we will be judged for our sins.

Judgment is described as:
a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion
a formal decision given by a court
an obligation (such as a debt) created by the decree of a court
a divine sentence or decision
punishment for breaking the law or a code of conduct

2 Peter 2:9 NKJV
“…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…”

2 Peter 3:7 NKJV
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

Jude 1:14-15 NKJV
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Hebrews 9:24-28 NKJV
“ For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Romans 2:12-16 NKJV
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

2 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.

John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

  • God submits to human wishes and choices.
    False, God never has and never will submit to our choices and wishes. He is not a god created for us, we were created by Him and for Him. Our choices, wishes, desires and will must submit to Him. There will come a day when each and every person will bow down to God / Jesus in submission and reverence.

Romans 14:11 NKJV
“For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Isaiah 45:21-24 NKJV
“Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.”

Revelation 5:13 NKJV
“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

We are to submit to God in all things.

James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God.”

Job 22:21-22 NKJV
“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, And lay up His words in your heart.”

We do not decide the path that leads to heaven. We must submit God’s will and to the one and only path that leads to heaven.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

  • There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.
    False, there is a literal hell and lake of fire. The lake of fire will be the eternal home of those who reject God’s free gift of salvation, along with all the fallen angels and demons. Hell is just as real as heaven, however more people believe in heaven than hell.

. The Bible gives us several descriptions of hell and the lake of fire.

Luke 12:4-5 NKJV
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Luke 16:19-31 NKJV
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ “

Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.
False, there is only one way to God and only one way to eternal life with Him. That way is through Jesus Christ, God‘s only Son. If there was more than one way to God, Jesus would not have had to sacrifice His very own blood to redeem mankind. Jesus Himself said that He was the only way to God.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Conclusion:
The Bible tells us that in the last days many will be deceived. Each believer must stay full of the Holy Spirit in order to avoid the deceptions that will come.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

Matthew 24:4-8 NKJV
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Deceptions can come in many different forms, but we have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to see the deceptions for what they are. And we have been given the armor of God to help keep us spiritually strong, especially in the last days.

Ephesians 6:10-20 NKJV
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

1. As a believers you must study the Word of God for yourself – don’t just lightly read over it, or hear it from someone else. If the only thing you know about what God says in His Word is what you have been told then you will not be able to stand. The only way to keep from falling prey to false doctrine is to know what God says. You must have a firm foundation and that only comes from you reading and studying God’s Word for yourself. Jesus and His words are our firm foundation.

Matthew 7:22-27 NKJV
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

2. As a believers you must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment.

3. As a believers you must be care what you allow into your mind. You must be careful not to allow the enemy into your life by opening a door. All actions, good and bad, start with a little thought in your mind. Don’t allow the enemy to plant evil/sinful thoughts in your mind. Guard the door of your mind Remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.

4. As a believers you must keep your eyes on God alone. Don’t put people ( leaders, actors, singers, pastors, churches, radio stations, television stations….) on a pedestal. If you do and they fall, or error spiritually, you will be disappointed. In this life people will disappoint, but God never will.

5. As a believers you must know what you believe and why. You must know error and hearsay when it comes to you – even when it is sugar coated.

6. As a believers you must determine that you will stand for God and what’s right even if you have to stand alone. Remember: What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.

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The Lord’s Supper

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          The Lord’s Supper is also referred to as communion. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus gave us “communion” as we know it today.

1 Corinthians 11:25-26  NIV    

“In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is

the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

          The dictionary describes communion as the act of sharing (having in common), an exchange of thoughts and feelings, an intimate time together, fellowship, and a close spiritual relationship. When we receive the communion elements (bread / juice) we enter into a very special (sacred) time with God.

1. Sharing

Share means to use, enjoy, or have something in common with another. Share emphasizes the idea of common possession, enjoyment, and use.

Romans 8:15-17  NKJV    

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

          Communion is a time to remember that you share an inheritance with Jesus because of what He did for you. We are joint heirs with Christ. Those who have received the salvation that Jesus paid for are the sons of God. They have been adopted into the family of God. Because of  this adoption, they will receive an eternal reward (inheritance). God has already set aside a wonderful inheritance for each believer in heaven.

1 Peter 1:3-5  NKJV    

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

2. Exchange Of Thoughts And Feelings

Exchange is to give one thing for another or to substitute one thing for another. When we exchange something we replace it. Communion should be a time of exchange. During communion we should exchange our mind, will, and emotions for those of Christ.

A.) Mind: Communion is a time of renewing your mind. It is very important for us to have the mind of Christ. When we have the mind of Christ we can resist the temptations of this world. We will also see ourselves as God sees us.

Romans 12:2  NKJV   

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

          When we have the mind of Christ we will strive to be obedient to the Father, just as Christ was obedient to the Father. Obedience comes from having the mind of Christ. Humility will also be part of our life as we take on the mind of Christ. All of our actions begin with a thought (within our minds).

Having the mind of Christ is important for the corporate body as well as the individual believer. As a body we must think and act like Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:6  NKJV    

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”

Romans 8:5-8  NKJV    

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal minded life is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

1 Corinthians 2:14-16  NKJV    

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

        During communion you can exchange your worries and fears for the peace of God. As we keep our focus on God we will be at peace no matter what we see, feel or experience. When we have the mind of Christ we will be at peace. It will be a ‘perfect  peace’, one that comes only from God.

Isaiah 26:3  NKJV   

  “You will keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on You,

Because he trusts in You.”

B.) Will: The power of the mind to decide and do; deliberate control over our thoughts and actions; purpose; determination; what is chosen to be done; a legal statement of a person‘s wishes, feeling toward another.

Communion is a time of exchanging our will, our hopes, our dreams and our goals for those of God.

John 4:34  NKJV  

   “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

          Jesus desired to do the will of the Father, and we too should desire the same. Jesus delighted (desired greatly) and was determined  to do what His Father wished.

Psalms 40:8  NKJV  

   “I delight to do Your will, O my God,

And Your law is written within my heart.”

          Communion is a wonderful time to hear the voice of God as His Spirit teaches and instructs you to do His will.

Psalms 143:10  NKJV   

  “Teach me to do Your will,

For You are my God; Your Spirit is good.

Lead me in the land of uprightness.”

          Communion is a time when we can rededicate our lives to God and renew our commitment to Him. It is a time when we can express our desire to do His will and not our own. Like Jesus, each one of us must come to a point in our lives when we say, “Not my will Lord, but Yours.”

Luke 22:42  NKJV  

  “…Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

C.) Emotions

Our emotions are the tender and sensitive part of us. Feeling, emotion and passion are pleasant or painful sensations produced in a person in reaction to something. Examples of these sensations are: love, joy, grief, fear, hate, anger, excitement, or sorrow. Communion is a time when we should exchange our emotions, our feeling, and our passions for those of Christ.

3. An Intimate Time With God

Communion is a very intimate time with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The dictionary describes intimate as very familiar; known very well; closely acquainted; resulting from close familiarity; close; personal; private; far within; deepest; inmost; a close friend. Communion is truly a very special, personal and private (even when in a corporate setting)  time between you and your very best friend that takes place deep within your inmost being. As we draw close to God (intimate with) He will fill us with living water. There will be a river of living water coming out of those who are intimate with God. It will satisfy not only them, but others may drink from the water and be satisfied.

John 7:37-38  NKJV    

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

          Because of your intimacy with God, He will guide you, satisfy you and strengthen you. It is only natural to want to bless the ones that you are intimate with. The Holy Spirit will satisfy our thirst and produce a fountain flowing out of us for others.

Isaiah 58:11  NKJV    

“The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

4. Fellowship

Communion is a time when you can experience true fellowship with the Trinity. Fellowship is a condition or quality of being a member; companionship; friendship; a being one of the group; membership; brotherhood.

1 John 1:6-7  NKJV   

  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

          When you have fellowship with someone you will reflect their character. Our fellowship with God is dependent on walking in the light of God. In God’s light sin can be revealed (by the Holy Spirit). When the Holy Spirit exposes sin we can go to Jesus for forgiveness. Communion can be a wonderful time of forgiveness and restoration.

5. Close Spiritual Relationship

Close: with little space between; near; fitting tightly; tight; having its parts near together; intimate; dear.

          Spiritual: having to do with the spirit or soul; caring much for the things of the spirit or soul. 

          Relationship: connection; condition of belonging to the same family.

          During communion your spirit can connect with the Spirit of God. It is a time to draw near to God.

We Have Been Anointed

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We Have Been Anointed

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         Jesus was called and anointed to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open the prison to those who were bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort all who mourn.

Isaiah 61:1-3  NKJV    

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

          The body of Christ we have been called and anointed to continue the ministry of Jesus. We are the physical body that He has chosen to work through. As Jesus in this world we are to do the things that Jesus did and even do greater things.

I. To Preach Good Tidings To The Poor

Preach means to speak publicly on a religious subject, to give earnest advice, and to recommend strongly.  As a Christian we are to speak publicly about Jesus Christ and the Good News (good tidings). We are to be informative concerning spiritual things. The light that God has given us should not be hidden.

Matthew 5:14-16  NKJV    

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

          We must give earnest advice based on the Word of God and strongly recommend that it is followed. We must know what we believe and why we believe it. Also, we must know why we have hope in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:15  NKJV   

  “…and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”

II. To Heal The Brokenhearted

During His ministry, when Jesus healed someone, He made them whole, sound, or well. He removed from them everything bad. In Isaiah we are told that it is by the stripes that Jesus took that we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5  NKJV    

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.”

          Jesus has already paid the price for our healing. It is up to us to take the authority over evil (bad) and receive what has already been paid for. Heal means to make whole, sound, or well; to be free from anything bad; to get rid of anything bad. As  Christians we are to take authority over evil on behalf of others. We are to be used by God to bring healing to those that are crushed by sorrow or grief(brokenhearted).

III. To Proclaim Liberty To The Captives

To make known (declare) publicly and officially is to proclaim.

Liberty is a condition of being free; freedom from captivity, imprisonment, or slavery.

A captive is someone who is held against their will, prisoner, or someone owned and controlled by another.

          As a Christian we are to publicly declare to those who are being held against their will and controlled by sin and Satan that they have been made free by Jesus Christ. Jesus’ sacrifice paid from their freedom in full. When a person is held in spiritual bondage (slavery) they can not break away from it on their own. They must be set free by someone else. Jesus gave His very own blood as a payment for our freedom.

John 8:36  NKJV    

“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abides in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’ ”

Galatians 5:1  NKJV  

   “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

IV. To Open The Prison To Those Who Are Bound

Open means letting anyone in or out; not shut; not closed; not having its gate, window or door closed; not closed or confined; not taken; unfilled; free; exposed;  exposed to general view, knowledge, etc.; not hidden or secret; not obstructed; not prejudiced.

A prison is a place where criminals are confined; jail; any place where a person is held against their will; captivity or confinement; imprisonment.

Bound means under obligation; tied down by circumstance; tied fast; fastened.

          By sharing the gospel with those that are bound  by sin we are providing a door for their escape. The gospel will reveal their condition and provide them with knowledge. God’s Word will bring light into their life and expose the plans of Satan. It will also reveal to them the wonderful plan that God has for them. By turning to Jesus they will find freedom. What was hidden from them can be clearly seen.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17  NKJV   

  “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

V. To Proclaim The Acceptable Year Of The Lord

We are to make known that today is the day of salvation. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today.

2 Corinthians 6:1,2  NKJV   

  “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 together I have heard you,

And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

             We never know when those around us will breath their last breath. They may never have another tomorrow or another chance to hear the gospel. It is up to us to let them know that today, this day, is the day of salvation.

VI. To Proclaim The Day Of Vengeance Of Our God

Vengeance is punishment in return for a wrong. God is a God of mercy and grace, however one day He will be a God of judgment also. As Christians we must proclaim the whole gospel, and that includes the fact that one day God will judge man for his sins.

Revelation 20:11-15  NKJV    

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judges, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

          After the judgment of sin the sentence (penalty) for those found guilty will be eternal damnation. The guilty will spend eternity in the lake of fire, a place of great torment and pain.

VII. To Comfort All Who Mourn

Everywhere we go we are to give comfort to those who need it. The church has been called to ease the grief and sorrow of those around us. We are to help and give support. In their times of trouble or sorrow we are to help ease their burden or hardship.

A. To give those who mourn beauty for ashes.

Every situation can be used to bring glory to God. God can take a bad situation and make something beautiful and good out of it. We are to help those around us see the good in whatever they are going through.

B. To give those who mourn the oil of joy for mourning.

Joy does not come from what is going on around us. True joy only comes from God. We can have joy even in the midst of everything around us falling apart.

C. To give those who mourn the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

When man begins to praise God something wonderful happens. No matter how down or discouraged a person is, when they praise God they begin to fell the heaviness leave their life. The situation that caused them to be down may still be there, but they have a renewed assurance from God that He will be with them through it.

Conclusion:

We need the Holy Spirit to help us finish His work. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do what Jesus has called us to do. We need His power, His strength, His knowledge, His wisdom, His counsel, and His direction. Our attitude should be the same as Jesus.

John 4:34  NKJV  

   “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

Dear Father,

Help me by the power of Your Holy Spirit to do what You have called me to do. Help me to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open the prison to those who were bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort all who mourn. Let me continue the ministry of Jesus. Thank You that You have chosen me to work through. When people encounter me, let them encounter Jesus Christ. Cause my life to be a reflection of You, O Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.