The Problem of Good Deeds

This is a good video from Pastor Michael Durham of Real Truth Matters. It should be watched and considered by anybody who thinks that good deeds will grant you any grace before God. Modern American Christianity has been redesigned in a way that seeks to make you feel good about yourself, but it does not match up with true Biblical Christianity.

Enduring Heartbreak

The last few months in the lives of our family have brought great pain and heartbreak, but God has been so faithful. Apart from the time we spent in the jungles of Liberia, West Africa, I cannot remember a period where we have been so broken and spent emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.

Looking at YouTube, Vimeo, or other similar sites will reveal a large amount of messages on various aspects of encouragement. However, as a pastor, I have had to learn that sometimes it is easier to stand in front of a congregation of believers and preach than it is to have to learn the hard lessons of life. It is easier to preach from Job 23:10 than it is to sit in sackcloth and ashes with Job when it seems like you have lost much of what is special to you.

mis-comfort

Looking back through tears, I have to wonder what Job would have thought of my attempts to provide encouragement. In Job 16:2, he tells his fair-weather friends that they are nothing more than miserable comforters. He was in the middle of learning what they could not know. The truth was and is that you cannot fully understand what you have never experienced. Sympathy is feeling sorrow for your hurt, but empathy is knowing your hurt in my heart.

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I know what it means to lose a position as shepherd because the majority of the leaders were not saved and had no true testimony. I know what it now means to come home broken from leadership meetings have been told over and over again that if I do not stop preaching the gospel of Christ alone by grace through faith alone that I would lose everything. I know what it means to have leaders tell you that there is more than one way to heaven, “if we are even good enough to get there.” I know what it is like to come home and there is nothing you can do but hold your wife as she weeps uncontrollably and knowing that she bears as much of the pain as you do, but somehow she believes she is supposed to be strong for those who are watching. I know what it is like to see the vitriol and anger spewed at a meeting because I took a stand against homosexuality, and this from people who were nothing more than “casual Christians.” I know what it is like to see those who claim the name of Christ tell you that they want to do what is right, but yet remain in bondage to false leaders who live in rebellion against God.

My wife and I now know what it means to have to pick up the pieces of the lives of some of our family members. It seemed a lot easier to provide “comfort” and “counseling” to others from a Biblical perspective than it actually is to live through the heartbreak of watching those you have sought to love lie repeatedly and even throw out threats about what they will do if they don’t get their way. We now know the pain of being deliberately kept from seeing somebody that means the world to us.

Psalm 59:16-17, “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.”

However, like Job, my family and I are learning. The details of what has caused the pain actually pales in comparison to the details of the education being afforded us through these trials. We are learning more and more of what it means to live in grace, but to show grace. Some would define grace as being non-judgmental and allowing people to live any way they desire. But that is not grace.

Grace is understanding what Christ did for us on our behalf. Grace means that I remember that what others meant for evil – God means for good. Grace means that I recognize that my own sin is no less and no greater than the sins of others and that forgiveness was granted to me by Christ just as I must do to others who have deliberately hurt us. Showing grace means offering to others what I cannot humanly manufacture. Grace does not come from praying through the Imprecatory Psalms against others. Grace means I have to be reminded that those who cause the hurt are not the real enemy. The real enemy is the evil one, Satan himself.

We have learned much this year and I expect the trials are far from over. However, the pain we have endured was obviously a necessary part of God’s perfect plan for our lives. Shall we take good at the hands of a sovereign God and not also the bad? Who am I to question what God deems is right and necessary in order to conform me into the beautiful image of His Son? I have no more right than the clay does to tell the Potter what vessel to make.

Enduring heartbreak is never easy. What you will go through is ultimately designed to bring honor and glory to the Lamb who was slain from before the foundations of the world. My prayer though is that whatever you are suffering, whoever may have hurt you, or however you have arrived at your present situation, than you and I will each be able to come to the point where we can stand triumphantly and say, “He has tried me, and I have come forth as gold!”

If you have never experienced great pain, you can still be there for friends and family. Trust God to give you the words that will bring comfort and encouragement. For those who have gone through pain and heartbreak, you are in a unique position to give glory to Christ for the work done in your own life and how you can come through the other end as a victor because of Christ alone. Each of us have people who have been there and cared for us through our tears. For those friends, we each give thanks to God.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with a beautiful hymn by William Cowper, a colleague of John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace.”

Some Really, Really Bad Sins

A fellow pastor in Scotland, Bro. Jon Gleason posted this on his own blogsite and as we have done a few times in the past, I felt this was one worth sharing and giving much consideration.  Thank you, Jon, for your faithfulness to the Lord.

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Some Really, Really Bad Sins

In I Corinthians 10, we have a list of really bad sins.  We get these sometimes in Scriptures, describing our lives before we were saved, or describing the extent to which sin takes people when they turn away from God.  In this case, we’re told that these sins are recorded in Scripture for an example to us, warning us not to do the same things.

 

I Corinthians 10:5-6, 11-12

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples….

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

So Paul here tells us that the sins listed in verses 6-10 are sins that brought destruction on the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness, and that these things are examples we must not follow.  They are written (in the Scriptures) to teach and warn us against doing the same things.  Let’s take the time to look at them.

I Corinthians 10:6

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Paul doesn’t here tell us exactly which event in the Old Testament he is describing, but there are several that could apply.  “We should not lust after evil things.”

This one isn’t hard to understand.  We know this.  If we find out a Christian is lusting after evil things, we aren’t going to say, “Oh, that’s ok, his circumstances make it all right for him to do that.”  We know there is no excuse.

We would tell someone who is doing this that he needs to repent and confess his sin.  We wouldn’t give sympathy to someone for sinning in this way, we’d tell him he needs to stop.  We know that God destroys people for this kind of sin.  We know the examples from the Old Testament that “are written for our admonition.”  We’d warn him.

I Corinthians 10:7

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

This sin is also easy for us to see clearly.  Oh, there are forms of idolatry that are deceptive, for we’re told that covetousness is idolatry.  But once idolatry is clearly recognised as such, no Christian would permit another Christian to make excuses for it.  It is wrong, and we know it.  If we try to make excuses and say that our circumstance is different, is a situation that creates an exception and makes it ok to commit idolatry, we know we are lying to ourselves.

We know this is a dangerous sin.  The Old Testament examples are clear.  This is one we wouldn’t dare to take lightly.

I Corinthians 10:8

Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

This is another easy one.  Sure, people make excuses for their immoral behaviour, but we can see right through those excuses, and so can they.  We know that when people do this, it is simply because they want to, not because they have to or because God put them in an impossible situation where they had no other choice.  Sin is sin, and we know it.

Some churches just let these things go, but even they know it is wrong.  No one who takes the Bible seriously at all will condone this or give any sympathy to a person who makes excuses for their sin.  A person doing this needs to repent — it is a really, really bad sin, one Christians should never ignore.

I Corinthians 10:9

Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

In the Old Testament account (Numbers 21), we’re told that the people spoke against God by saying He had brought them into the wilderness to die.  Thus, they accused God of either malice or incompetence — in other words, blasphemy.

We know that is wrong.  No one who claims to be a Christian should speak against God in this way.  We know that unbelievers might say things like this, but it is sin, and any Christian who does this needs to repent.  We wouldn’t hesitate to warn people against making accusations like this against God.  We know this is a really, really bad sin.  If we love God, we wouldn’t listen to someone who claims to be a Christian speaking this way about Him, would we?  We would remind them of the Scriptural warnings and examples.

I Corinthians 10:10

Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Murmuring and complaining.  We know this is a really, really bad sin.  We wouldn’t accept excuses for this, would we?  Would we?

Would we give someone sympathy for this sin?  Would we let them use the excuse that their circumstance is bad enough that it is ok to sin in this way?

Would we fail to warn them that this is a really dangerous sin that can bring destruction?

Would we neglect to tell a complainer that their sin is listed right in there with fornication and idolatry?

Or do we let them decide, and so we decide right along with them, that murmuring and complaining isn’t a really, really bad sin after all?

Maybe we even decide it is a sin we ourselves can get away with.  After all, there aren’t really any Scriptural examples / warnings about this, are there?

Murmuring and complaining.  It is a really, really bad sin.  It is listed right there in I Corinthians 10 with evil lusts, idolatry, fornication, and blasphemy.  We have no right to decide it isn’t really that bad after all.  The murmurer does not need sympathy, the murmurer needs to change his thinking and his words, to repent.

The Roman Catholic Eucharist

Why the Catholic (and Emerging Church) “Eucharist” Does Not Line Up With Scripture

By Roger Oakland    Pope

The Catholic Church teaches that once a Catholic priest has consecrated the wafer of bread during Communion, the wafer turns into the literal and real body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.1 Therefore, the Communion Host is no longer bread but Jesus, under the appearance of bread and is therefore worthy of adoration and worship. The Catholic Catechism states succinctly:

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”2

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.3

 

What Does the Bible Teach About the Lord’s Supper?

We have documented [in Another Jesus] what the Catholic Church teaches concerning the Eucharist. But what does the Bible teach? The Bible encourages believers to study “all the counsel of God”(Acts 20:27) and to “[p]rove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). And as believers, we are admonished to:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)

With these instructions in mind, let us search the Scriptures to determine what the Bible teaches concerning the Lord’s supper.

The Last Supper was celebrated by first century Christians in obedience to Jesus’ words “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This observance was established by the Lord at the Last Supper when He symbolically offered Himself as the Paschal Lamb of atonement. His actual death the next day fulfilled the prophecy. Only Paul uses the phrase “Lord’s supper” (I Corinthians 11:20), while the Church fathers began to call the occasion the Eucharist meaning thanksgiving from the blessing pronounced over the bread and wine after about A.D. 100. Christians have celebrated the Lord’s Supper regularly as a sign of the new covenant sealed by Christ’s death and resurrection.4 Today, the Eucharist means far more than simply thanksgiving.

 

This is My Body

To what exactly did Jesus ordain during the Last Supper? The Bible states:

[Jesus] took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22: 19-20)

Proponents of the Catholic Eucharist point to Jesus’ words recorded in John 6. Though this chapter does not deal with the Last Supper, Jesus’ words, which are taken to relate to the Communion meal, are as follows:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:51-55)

Just what do these Scriptures mean? The answer to that can be found in our examination of the Word of God itself.5

 

Metaphors and Similes

Throughout the Bible, context determines meaning. Bible-believing Christians know to take the Bible literally, unless the context demands a figurative or symbolic interpretation. Before exploring Jesus’ words in John chapter 6 and elsewhere, let’s review a few examples of symbolism in the Scriptures. All scholars would agree that the following verses are metaphorical. An explanation follows each verse:

O taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8; Try to experience God’s promises to find if they are true.)

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14; For those who receive the gift of salvation, Christ’s Spirit shall dwell in their souls assuring them of everlasting life.)

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. (Ezekiel 3:1, 2; Receive into your heart, internalize, and obey God’s Word.)

And I could go on and on with one example after the next. At one point Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The Jews thought He spoke of the literal temple in Jerusalem, but if we keep reading, we find that Jesus was referring to His body (John 2:20-21). On another occasion, Jesus said, “I am the true vine” (John 15:1). Of course, we know that Jesus did not mean that He was a literal grape vine twisting around a post. When the Bible says God hides us under His wings (Psalm 91:4), we know that God is not a bird with feathers. God is the source of all life and our provider and protector, and these figures vividly illustrate this.

Throughout the Bible, figurative language is used to compare one thing to another so that the listeners can easily understand. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus regularly used parables to figuratively describe one thing as something else (Matthew 13:34).Jesus Himself stated, “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs” (John 16:25). The Bible should always be interpreted literally unless the context demands a symbolic explanation. So what does the context of John’s Gospel and the other Gospels demand?

 

John Chapter 6: The Bread of Heaven

If we read the entire sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, we not only get the context, but also some startling insights into what Jesus meant when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. John 6 begins with the account of Jesus feeding five thousand, followed by the account of Jesus walking on water. On the following day, people were seeking Jesus for the wrong reasons, which we understand from Jesus’ words in verses 26 and 27:

Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.

These verses begin to frame the context of the verses that follow, specifically, that Jesus emphasized the need for them to seek eternal life. Jesus goes on to explain to them how to obtain eternal life. And in verse 28, when the people ask Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus replies, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (vs. 29).

Here Jesus specifies only one work that pleases God, namely, belief in Jesus. Jesus reemphasizes this in verse 35 when he states: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Notice the imperative is to “cometh to me” and “believeth on me.” Jesus repeats the thrust of His message in verse 40 where He states:

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus could not be clearer—by coming to Him and trusting in Him, we will receive eternal life. At this point in the narrative, the Jews complained about Him because He said: “I am the bread which came down from heaven” (vs. 41). Jesus responds to their murmuring when He states that He is indeed the “living bread” and that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to obtain eternal life (vs. 42-58). However, let’s remember the context of this statement. First, Jesus contrasts Himself with the manna that rained down on their fathers and sustained them for their journey. But their fathers have since died. But Jesus now offers Himself as the living, heavenly bread, causing those who eat of Him to live forever.

Jesus is not the perishable manna that their descendants ate in the wilderness—He is the eternal bread of life that lives forever. Only by partaking in His everlasting life can we hope to live with Him forever. This contrast strengthens His main message, where Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (vs. 47). Notice, Jesus said that as soon as we believe in Him we have—present tense—eternal life. It is not something we aim at or hope we might attain in the future, but rather, something we receive immediately upon accepting Him by faith.

When Jesus said these words, He was in the synagogue in Capernaum, and He had neither bread nor wine. Therefore Jesus was either commanding cannibalism, or He was speaking figuratively. If He was speaking literally, then He would be directly contradicting God the Father: “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat”(Genesis 9:4). Therefore, because Jesus Himself said, “[T]he scripture cannot be broken”(John 10:35), He must be speaking metaphorically. And that is exactly how He explains His own words in the subsequent verses.

 

The Flesh Profits Nothing

After this, in verse 60 (of John 6), we find that many of His disciples said: “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Jesus was aware of their complaints and He responded saying:

Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. (vs. 61-64)

Wait a minute, the flesh profits nothing! I thought Jesus said we must eat His flesh? Yet, if the flesh profits nothing, Jesus must be speaking in spiritual terms. And that is what He says: “[T]he words that I speak unto you, they are spirit.

Jesus uses the exact same Greek word for flesh (sarx) as He did in the preceding verses. Therefore, He is emphatically stating that eating His literal flesh profits nothing! If the Lord Himself sets the context of the dialogue, we would do well to hear Him. He said that the words He speaks are spirit and that the flesh profits nothing. In other words, Jesus has just told us He has spoken in a metaphor, so we need not guess at it.

If that isn’t clear enough, Peter’s words add further clarity. Immediately following the dialogue with the Jews, in which some disciples left, Jesus said to the remaining twelve apostles, “Will ye also go away?” (vs. 67). Peter’s response is profound:

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (vs. 68-69)

Amazing! Peter did not say we have come to believe that we must eat Your flesh to live. He said that we know You are the Christ, and we have come to believe in You as the Christ. This is the confession of faith that leads to eternal life, not eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood. It also agrees with the totality of Scripture.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

[W]hat must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:30, 31)

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. (John 3:36)

To understand more fully the Catholic Eucharist versus biblical communion and salvation, read Roger Oakland’s book, Another Jesus.

Think on These Things

“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Years ago, I felt I needed to watch the News every night to make sure I didn’t miss something important. After a while of hearing about every homicide, accident and tragedy that happened in a 24-hour period, I was almost afraid to step outside of my house. Bad things were always happening to good (and not-so-good) people. After a while, I decided this was not helping me in any way, shape, or form so I stopped watching. It’s possible I have now swung to an opposite extreme, as I hardly ever know what’s going on in the world unless someone tells me or posts it on Facebook, but if I don’t sleep at night, it’s at least not out of fear that someone will murder me in my bed. I realize most people aren’t affected to this degree simply by watching the evening news but I do think it’s easy for anyone to focus on or worry about things that are really beyond our control.

In Philippians 4, Paul gave us a list of things to think about and focus on. I don’t always do it perfectly but, at times, I go over this list and begin to think about what I am putting in my mind. What books am I currently reading? What movies am I watching? Who am I listening to on a regular basis? If anything does not match the above criteria, I need to seriously consider why I am allowing these things into my mind.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

My desire is that everything I do bring glory to God. This begins in the mind. If my focus is on God and what He desires of me, how He desires to bless others, etc., then He will answer my prayer to bless the work of my hands. Not because I am anyone special but because I am ready and willing to be used by Him at a moment’s notice.

If you are down today or fearful of something, I hope that you will take some time to focus on this verse. Think about the good things God is doing in your life and begin to praise Him. Don’t let the devil use the negativity that is all around to bring you down. Recalibrate your mind, and I trust that the worry and fear will begin to subside.
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Francis the Pontiff Speaks Against the Most High

Francis the Pontiff Speaks Against the Most High  Pope

By Richard Bennett and Robert Nicholson

In keeping with Pope Francis’s identity his upcoming visit to Israel is the perfect vehicle to move forward his objective.1 The unfolding of this religious drama is intended by the Papacy to present Pope Francis on the real world stage as a great reconciler in promoting peace in a land riven with racial conflict and ideological confusion. The May 24-26 trip to Amman, Jerusalem and Bethlehem will mark the 50th anniversary of a landmark trip there by Pope Paul VI in 1964, the first by a pope in modern times. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II visited in 2000 and Benedict XVI made a visit to the region in 2009.2 However, since Benedict XVI’s visit, considerable destabilizing changes in the region have added incentive to this latest opportunity for the Papacy.

On Monday, May 26, 2014, Francis will visit Islam’s Grand Mufti in Jerusalem. After 5:00 p.m., Francis will celebrate the Roman Catholic Mass in what is claimed to be the Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper. Francis and the Papacy officially teach that at a Mass people are to offer themselves with “the sacred victim” (Christ Jesus) and receive in the communion bread the same “sacred victim.”3 For Francis to enact publicly such a teaching is to speak against the Most High. Jesus Christ the Lord was never a victim. The idea of His being victimized is nowhere in Scripture. Rather, it was in conscious submissive obedience to the divine plan of redemption that the Lord Jesus followed His Father’s will.4 He declared, “No man taketh it [life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.5 In spite of Jesus’ clear words, Francis and the Papacy focus one’s mind on a tragic Christ as victim, and not on Christ as Victor; i.e. as “the Lord of lords and King of kings.”6

The Bible shows that the Lord’s Supper is a living memorial and not a sacrifice. The Lord Jesus Christ declared,This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”7 The root meaning of the word “remembrance” entails the concept of personal interaction with the Lord.8 The Apostle Paul explained the purpose of the Lord’s ordinance with the words, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he comes.”9The purpose is clearly given; it is to show forth Christ’s death, to proclaim and publish it. Believers are to declare His death and resurrection to be their life, the cause of their comfort and hope. They show forth His death and participate in its fruits before God the Father. Consequently, for Francis to enact a service called the Mass in which people are to offer themselves with “the sacred victim” (Christ Jesus) is a blasphemy! Thus, graphic words of the prophet Daniel aptly apply in our time,behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. … And he shall speak great words against the most High.”10

The Significance of Francis meetings with Islamic Leaders in Jerusalem

No modern player commands the place that Francis has in the world today. While Francis has been careful to shun certain external trappings of his office, yet the whole history of the Papacy surrounds him as a cloak. It is of this historical position that the talented and well-trained Francis is making full use. Thus, with his Jesuitical cunning, he continues to deceive the nations of the world, seeking to entice even those within Islam. This is clearly evident by his careful preparation of a seductively diplomatic approach to the Muslim turbulence of the Middle East, especially prior to his visit to Jerusalem. Pope Francis has stated,

The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.”11

This statement is similar to what Francis believes and what official Catholic dogma states,

The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.’”12

The idea that the faith of Abraham could be a common foundation for some kind of Roman/Islamic interfaith dialogue for mutual appreciation and cooperation is absurd. The Word of God completely demolishes the concept that there is some kind of Abrahamic connection either to, or between, Islam and Romanism. Abraham is united to the Gospel by faith and nothing else, as Scripture states, Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed.13All doubt on the issue of the content of Abraham’s faith is removed by direct testimony from the lips of Jesus, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”14The synthetic construction of alleged Abrahamic interfaith dialogue between the Papacy and Islam is a casuistic engineered deceit that is deconstructed by biblical truth. We confidently declare its origin to lie in “the rulers of the darkness of this world15 standing behind the promulgated apostate anti-Christian dogma of the present time.

With this anti-Christian propaganda – that the faith of Abraham is the common foundation for a Roman/Islamic interfaith dialogue – Francis will fly to Amman, Jordan, on May 24th. There he will meet with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. The Pope will leave Jordan on May 25th and fly to Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is the one to whom the Vatican refers as “the President of the State of Palestine.” On May 26th, Francis will meet with the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem and also address other Palestinian authorities. If faced with the facts, one sees that Francis’s statement, “They [the Muslims] also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need,”16 is sheer propaganda!Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Muslim terrorists have fired more than 8,000 rockets into Israel. Over 3.5 million Israelis are currently living under threat of rocket attacks. Most rockets launched from Gaza into Israel are capable of reaching Israel’s biggest southern cities. Rocket fire from Gaza is a constant threat facing Israel’s civilians. In 2011 alone, 630 rockets from Gaza hit Israeli towns. It is an even higher number than in 2010, when 231 rockets hit Israel.17 We raise these points so each one may weigh carefully the context of Francis’s visit before blithely accepting his professed intent of promoting peace. This pope is striding boldly into an arena where Islam’s malignant hatred of the Jews is constantly expressed. Francis has demonstrated an astonishing temerity in publicly stroking the religious vanity of the Muslim leadership by noting their “ethical commitment,” and “mercy toward those in need”! This is not just an offence to both common sense and the dignity of public honesty; it frankly is crass flattery! Clearly the Papacy intends to trollop around this land of troubles again, taking every opportunity to pontificate on peacemaking priorities and promote the Vatican to world media as the great reconciler of alienated brethren. Francis and his scarlet clad imperial cohort will dutifully ignore any point of historical or contemporary order for the sake of gaining influence within the political and social milieu of Israel-Palestine. There is no statist institution on this earth that can match the exquisitely subtle seductive tones of Roman diplomacy when it is bent on asserting influence. Every Middle Eastern leader who succumbs to this deceptive Vatican propaganda will eventually find this out, to his temporal and eternal loss.

A mouth speaking great things”

Pope Francis’s outreach to Islam represents another tactical re-appraisal of circumstances and opportunities for the Vatican. The profound danger for Evangelical people is that they might incautiously support a push for peace by Francis while not appreciating the Papacy’s claim to be the only true spokesman for Christ on this earth. This subtle assumption of the supreme authority of the Papacy is deeply embedded in all the Vatican’s efforts to push its agenda of interfaith ecumenicity. Bible-believing Christians must recall the truth that the Pope is not a “first among equals” as a bishop, as he may with feigned humility claim. He is not even a bishop in the biblical sense of the term. Pope Francis is the head of a totalitarian hierarchy. Francis has his own secular government inside Vatican City and more property worldwide than any other person on the planet. He has territorial dominions, cardinals, worldwide ambassadors, a legislature, jurisprudence, laws, advocates, taxes, banks, foreign treaties, ambitious plans, and policy, more than any other secular prince. Yet, he differs from other secular leaders. Francis’s spiritual commerce goes hand in hand with his civil power, claiming infallibility and international recognition.18

However, there remains unfinished business, particularly in Europe and the US, from the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Weary of Vatican hypocrisy and stonewalling, the secular media has drawn concerted attention to the consequences of the Roman clergy’s scandalous criminal behaviour throughout the world.19 Again, recently it is reported that, “The U.N. is cracking down on the Vatican. A U.N. committee said Monday [May 4] that the numerous cases of sex abuse by priests should be prosecuted and dealt with by the Vatican as cases of torture….Pope Francis has asked for victims forgiveness and said he takes personal responsibility for the evil of what had transpired.”20The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the sure means by which we know the moral condition of those purporting to speak for God.He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.”21

As the Scriptures teach, we wrestle not against flesh and blood,so we must gird ourselves for conflict with Satan in the right spiritual frame and only with the God-given weapons for warfare.22 It is incumbent upon the Lord’s people to recall that the principal arena of Satan’s operations is not the phenomenal, but the noumenal.23 That is to say, Satan’s most effective devices consist in the development, promulgation, and insinuation of deceits that correlate directly to the conceits which are latent in the darkened understandings of men.24 This supreme element of cunning is exposed in his wickedly effective appreciation that nothing is more powerful than a lie whose time has come.25 The urgent need for interfaith ecumenicity built on mutual respect and appreciation between apostate Christendom and false religions like Islam is a lie whose time has come. Satan is sure of it. Francis believes it. Sadly the spiritually diminished pseudo-evangelical “leaders” may end up ignorantly applauding both of them.26 Our exhortation to all our dear brethren in the Lord is, be not deceived!27 When you see the so-called Supreme Pontiff standing in the “cenacle” exercising his claimed priestly powers of turning a miniature-sized pancake into deity, to be worshipped and venerated by the “faithful,” remember that John the Apostle states emphatically, you have heard that antichrist shall come…28 John confirms that while there were contemporary opponents of Christ (many antichrists), these spiritual forces of wickedness would eventually coalesce in one entity. If contemporary Evangelicals accept what Francis is attempting to propagate in Jerusalem, without open public protest, it will mark yet another significant betrayal of the Gospel testimony toward the poor, deluded adherents of Romanism and leave them languishing in the claws of the devil. It is imperative to take heed of the warning in Holy Scripture that in these last days the lure of fleshly false religions and their embedded demonic delusions will be so great that, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”29 We have before us the harlot religious system pretending to be the bride of Christ while factually being a political and religious power under the dominion and direction of the powers of darkness.30

Francis trip to the Middle East will be broadcast worldwide. It will be proclaimed by the secular and religious media as a grand act of reconciliation in that the Church of Rome is set forth as peacemaker in the world. Many religious people who mistakenly think they are Christians will be deceived. But to true believers in the Lord, we exhort you from the Word of God with these words, Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.”31 Fellow believer, recollect the heartfelt words of Luther when he received his final excommunication from the Roman system. Luther wrote,

Unless with all your hearts you abandon the Papacy, you cannot save your souls. The reign of the Pope is so opposed to the law of Christ and the life of the Christian, that it will be safer to roam the desert and never see the face of man, than abide under the rule of Antichrist. I warn every man to look to his soul’s welfare, lest by submitting to the Pope he deny Christ. The time is come when Christians must choose between death here and death hereafter. For my own part, I choose death here. I cannot lay such a burden upon my soul as to hold my peace in this matter: I must look to the great reckoning. I abominate the Babylonian pest. As long as I live I will proclaim the truth. If the wholesale destruction of souls throughout Christendom cannot be prevented, at least I shall labour to the utmost of my power to rescue my own countrymen from the bottomless pit of perdition.”32

Conclusion

For anyone to substitute living personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by trusting in the Pope and his superstitious system of sacramentally communicated grace and works righteousness is eternally fatal.33 The Roman religious cultus and doctrinal system is the epitome of a man-made religion system. It is an authoritatively self-referencing dogmatic belief system that substitutes itself in the place of a relationship with the living God through the Gospel.34The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.35 True Christians see God’s power and boldly proclaim His grace; every individual who is saved is “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”36The precious blood of Christ shed once on Calvary is the appointed means that God uses to save His people from their sins.37 Thus, it is proclaimed, “but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”38Sin is an evil of infiniteconsequence because it is committed against an infinite HolyGod. There is no way of escaping the wrath of God against sin except by His grace. Thus the Scripture states, “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.39The Scripture interprets grace as power, mercifully extended. Redemption comes by this means, because it was by the grace of God that Christ tasted death for each true believer. The Lord Jesus Christ alone saves His people from their sins. He sends His Holy Spirit into their hearts, so that they are radically changed from what they were previously. The Holy Spirit sheds forth the love of God in the hearts of those whom He regenerates from spiritual death.40 That love is manifested by a deep desire and honest resolve to please the Lord and to serve Him: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”41When Christ Jesus saves a soul, He also delivers that soul from the rule and power of sin.42 It is true that the Lord has not yet completed His work in believers, for the sin which still resides within them must be eradicated. However, any person that He has truly saved is delivered from the “dominion of sin.”43 We thank God for those who are saved that do not live in sin as Scripture states, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?44 Can you say that this is true for you? In the difficult age of compromise in which we live, do you act under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Do you make the Word of God your measure of truth and the grace of God your assurance of life? If you can honestly say yes to these questions you will understand that you are not under the condemnation of law, but your faith is in Christ Jesus and His righteousness alone! You can then proclaim joyously, in harmony with the Apostle Paul, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”45

Permission is given by the authors to copy and post this article, if it is done in its entirety without any changes.

1 See http://www.bereanbeacon.org, “Key to Pope Francis’s Identity: Master of the Jesuit Spiritual Exercises” “Pope Francis Portrays Himself as a Reformer,” “Pope Francis Shows His True Colors,” “Pope Francis Elected, Mystery of Iniquity Moves On”

3 “Consequently the eucharistic sacrifice is the source and the summit of the whole of the [Catholic] Church’s worship and of the Christian life. The faithful participate more fully in this sacrament of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise, not only when they whole-heartedly offer the sacred victim, and in it themselves, to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same victim sacramentally.” Vatican Council IIDocument No. 9, Eucharisticum mysterium.

4 Philippians 2:8, Acts 2:23, 3:18, 15:18, Daniel 9:26, 1 Peter 1:18-21

5 John 10:17-18

6 Revelation 17:14

7 I Corinthians 11:25

8 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, #364 Anamnesis, “a remembering, recollection to call me (affectionately) to remembrance.”

9 I Corinthians 11:26

10 Daniel 7:8, 7:25

12Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 841

13Galatians3:6-8

14John 8:56

15For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Eph 6:12

18Revelation 18:12-13 The Roman Catholic Church went apostate formally at the Council of Trent in 1548 when it denied the Gospel in favor of its Sacramental system. No Pope, including Francis, has ever denied the Council of Trent. Rather they all teach it – including Francis. The merchandise involved in Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the Sick is the souls of men!

21 Matthew 7:15-16

22 1 Thessalonians 5:8 cf. Ephesians 6:12 -19

23 Ephesians 4:17-19

24 2 Chronicles 18:20-22, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, Rev 12:9

25 John 8:38 cf. Acts 13:10

26 Daniel 11:35

27Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2:2-3, II Timothy 2:19

28 I John 2:18 (The Greek text says that the antichrist shall come.)

29 Matthew 24:24 cf. Daniel 11:35

30 Revelation 17:1-8

31 2 Peter 3:17

32Martin Luther, December 11, 1520, Sermon at Wittenberg. Wylie. History of Protestantism, Book 6, Ch 2, p 296

33 Galatians 1:8-9, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

34 Mark 7:6-9, cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:14

35 Romans 1:16

36 Romans 3:24

37 Hebrews 10:10-15 and I Peter 1:18-20

38 Ephesians 2:4-5

39Hebrews 2:3

40 John 3:5-8, Titus 3:5-7, Ezekiel 36:26-27, cf. Romans 5:5 and 8:15, Galatians 4:6

41 1 John 2:3-6

42 2 Corinthians 4:6, Colossians 1:12-14, 1 Peter 2:9

43 1 John 1:5-10, Romans 7:14-25

44 Romans 6:2-7

45 Romans 8:1, 14

How Much Do You Love Christ?

Oh Father, may you reawaken the first love we had for Christ when we were rescued from the pit of hell and from having to undergo Your wrath. May our hearts be overwhelmed with Jesus Christ so that there is nothing that will ever be first above Him.

Christ does not want prominence (first among many), He demands that preeminence. He must be the first and only one we worship.