Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knowing the Difference - October 31, 2010

1 John 4:1-6 (New Century Version)
1 My dear friends, many false prophets have gone out into the world. So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God.2 This is how you can know God's Spirit:

Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ came to earth as a human is from God.3 And every spirit who refuses to say this about Jesus is not from God. It is the spirit of the enemy of Christ, which you have heard is coming, and now he is already in the world.

4 My dear children, you belong to God and have defeated them; because God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.5 And they belong to the world, so what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them.6 But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. But those who are not from God do not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit that is true and the spirit that is false.

We see much said about spirituality these days. There are many people claiming that they are the right way and the right god. Just because someone says they believe in God doesn't necessarily mean they really do believe in God, or the same God that you do. The same things goes with someone saying they believe in Jesus. Say so doesn't mean that they believe in the true Jesus of Christianity. Many cults and religions claim they know Jesus, but He is far different than what you might believe.

So how can you know for sure what you should believe? First and foremost, you need to become very familiar with the Bible. Not just any Bible, but one that has been translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts that are closest to the original inspired texts. The ones I quote in this blog are all such texts. Next, if someone is trying to tell you about a Jesus that sounds a little different than the one you believe in, ask them who they believe Jesus is.

Some will say that Jesus is a Messenger of God who was sent to guide the People of Israel with a new scripture, the Gospel. He was a prophet a long with a long line of prophets sent from God, and he never died on the cross or intended to die on the cross. Others say that he is the literal son of god and his goddess wife. He was born through physical sexual relations with Mary. There is a religion that believes that Jesus was a perfect man, and that He is a person distinct from God the Father. They also teach that before His earthly life, Jesus was a spirit creature, Michael the archangel, who was created by God and became the Messiah at His baptism.

These are but a few examples that teach a Jesus contrary from true Christianity, that professes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament Scriptures. He was God in the flesh, fully human and yet fully God. He sacrificed himself on the cross as payment for our sins. He died, and three days later rose from the dead to prove that he is God. All we need to do is to accept the gift of salvation, given by God. Yes, it can be a little confusing, but knowing what you believe about Jesus is the most important question you will ever have to answer for yourself.

Many will come and twist the Scriptures and dispute the true nature of Jesus Christ, and if you are not familiar with the Bible, you might be fooled into believing them. Many have come since Jesus walked the earth and have made claims that he is not who he said he was. Don't be misled; seek Him while He is near to you. Ask God to help you understand; the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to you. As Paul writes in his letter to Timothy:

8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:8-12 (New International Version)

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