I don’t know that there is a more divisive topic out there than the topic of Heaven and Eternal Life vs. Hell and Eternal Damnation. Typically it begins with the question- “What do you mean I might not go to Heaven, I’m a good person!!!!” I know that this has caused more than one conversation to go sideways around here.
Before we begin, let me make this perfectly clear – I am NOT a theologian. What I am writing here is a culmination of information gained while studying and researching some of the finest Christian minds and writers.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. Hebrews 11:1
Sure and Certain
These two qualities, sure and certain, require a secure beginning and ending point. The foundation of FAITH is belief in God’s character; that He IS who He says He is. The finish point of FAITH is belief in His promises; He WILL DO what HE says HE will do.
“… without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” Hebrews 11:6
But believing that God exists is only the beginning; even the demons believe that much. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19. God will not settle for mere acknowledgment of His existence. He wants a personal, dynamic relationship with every person… a relationship that will transform your life. The reward for those that seek Him… His intimate presence surrounding you, guiding you, indwelling you, and loving you.
This is in continuation of the previous couple articles about false teachers, preachers and prophets. I think in my own mind I am trying still to answer the question of why it is so easy for false teachers and preachers to take hold and deceive the Church with their lies. Why doesn’t the Church recognize it?
I did some research and here was some enlightening information.
In a 2017 Gallup survey, 75% of Americans claim to be Christian, yet only 24% of them believe the Bible is the literal Word of God. “Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,” similar to the 26% who view it as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”
Why are so many denying the Word of God? Why are so many denying the TRUTHS of the Bible – the creation, the fall of man, the flood of Noah, the Ten Commandants, God’s covenant with Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, Israel enters the promised land, Saul, David, Solomon builds the temple, Jesus is born and baptized, Jesus begins his three year ministry, the sermon on the mount, the transfiguration, His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus’ ascension, Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, Saul’s conversion, John’s revelation of Jesus’ return for His church… and that just names a few of the hundreds of Biblical TRUTHS.
We all want to think that the preacher we sit under is an anointed man of God and he is there to teach and speak the TRUTHS of the Word of God. But sometimes things happen and that person (man or woman) stumbles or falls. Somehow they begin following the wrong path. Perhaps it is greed, the allure of notoriety, the attention, or the perceived worship of an entire congregation of folks wanting to hear what they alone have to say… perhaps it is arrogance or pride… whatever it is; sometimes our leaders fall. Sometimes they take on the mantle of being the singular authority in all things Biblical. Their interpretation and understanding becomes TRUTH; and while it is acceptable and palatable to those listening, it may not be the TRUTH of the Bible.
Accurate and sound doctrine is fundamental to our salvation and increase in spiritual development. God warns us many times in the Scriptures to be alert and watchful of false teaching. As Christians, we need to be able to identify counterfeit teachers in order to know when we are being led down a wrong path. As an individual, we should be already in tune with the urgings, or promptings of Holy Spirit. Call it intuition if you want, but you know when something just isn’t right. You recognize the small voice inside telling you to be warned. When that feeling deep in you starts to stir, what then?
2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
Matthew 7:15-20 “Watchout for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
The Storm Inside – Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are by Shelia Walsh
“Women feel the storm activity all around. We find ourselves teetering somewhere between everyday chaos and crisis. We can feel a storm brewing, we are in the middle of a storm, or we are facing the aftermath of a storm. But don’t be afraid because it is possible to grow through turbulent times. Storms show you what’s really going on inside, reveal what you really believe, and actually make you stronger.“
The Storm Inside is a powerful book written for we women that somehow seem to spend a good portion of our lives either about to be run over by a storm, are in the middle of a storm, or have just come through the other side of a storm a bit battered and bruised. Those storms of our lives sap our strength and resolve and leave us precious little resources for the next. In this book, the author – Sheila Walsh – shows us that while we may not be able to avoid the storms, we can triumph in and through the storms. Continue reading →