Monday, July 23, 2018

Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved




For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 
(Rom 10:13)

Friend, I pray and desire that you may be saved today. This is also God’s own desire for you, for He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). Your greatest need is not to have a job or money. Your greatest need is not a wife or a child. Your greatest need is not to be healed and be healthy. Your greatest need is salvation from your sins. You may be wealthy or healthy, but what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? There is no profit for your soul if you drove a Porsche and lived in the most expensive neighbourhood but remain unsaved. If your sins are upon you, then you will surely die. But there is a message of good news here. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into world to save sinners, even the worst of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).
Let us unpack the verse that heads this message. Let us in it hear the promise of God. Let us see in it a faithful saying and let us receive it as ours. Let us receive it with meekness and believe its message: “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
EVERYONE - Anyone and everyone - without distinction. Jews and Gentiles can appropriate this wonderful blessing of salvation to themselves. Our Saviour calls upon male and female to be saved - and He is able to save them. This promise may be received by a boy or a girl. It may be an old man as well as a young man. Anyone means the sick as well as the healthy so long as they call upon the Saviour Jesus Christ, there will be salvation for their souls. Therefore, the salvation that there is in Jesus Christ does not discriminate in terms of nation or tribe, language or race, age or gender or anything else. Rich or poor may gain entrance into the glorious kingdom of God. Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same way. Neither Jews nor Gentiles have righteousness of their own. Salvation is for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.
WHO CALLS ON - To call on or upon is taken from the Greek word epikalesntai means a believing expectation of our all from Christ. To call upon is to express faith in prayer, trusting only in the one being called upon. Calling upon is the same as crying out for help, having abandoned all hope in oneself. Calling upon is not despair, where all hope is abandoned. It is trusting in another to who is both able and willing to offer or bring help to the one who calls. The point is made - if anyone is to be saved, he has a responsibility to call upon Christ. Do you need to saved from your sins? Then call upon Christ. 
THE NAME OF THE LORD - In Joel 2:32, from where this verse is cited, the LORD referred to is Yahweh, but both Peter and Paul's inspired hermeneutics takes it to refer to Christ! Salvation full and free is to be obtained from only one Saviour - the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God became man and so was and continues to be God and Man in two distinct natures and one person forever. To call on the Name of the LORD is to appeal to Him to save in accordance with who He is and what He has done and accomplished for salvation. The saving mercy and grace is extended to those who ask the Lord for it. God says that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and who is it that He will have mercy? Everyone who calls on His name.
 Charles Hodge commenting on this verse puts it this way;
     "Whosoever, therefore, betakes himself to God as his refuge, and calls upon Him, in the exercise of faith, as his God, shall be saved, whether Gentile or Jew." 
Robert Haldane also commenting on this verse puts it this way:
"By calling on the name of the Lord, all parts of religious worship which we render to God are intended. It denotes a full entire communion with God. He who calls on the name of the Lord, profoundly humbles himself before God, recognises His power, adores His majesty, believes His promises, confides in His goodness, hopes in His mercy, honours Him as his God, and loves Him as his Saviour. It supposes that this invocation is inseparable from all other parts of religion. To call on the name of the Lord is to place ourselves under His protection, and to have recourse to Him for aid."
WILL BE SAVED ­– The Gospel speaks of salvation from sins. Salvation is eternal and happy blessedness, where our sinful nature is replaced with a new nature after the image and likeness of Christ in true righteousness and holiness. It is being born again and adopted into the family of God. It is becoming a child of God, and therefore co-heir with Christ. It is being made a partaker of the kingdom of God. Therefore, salvation spoken of is that happy condition in which even angels have never been partakers. Remember that by nature we were sinners, dead sinners, enslaved in sin, blind to the riches and preciousness of Christ, children of wrath and enemies of God. In salvation all that old condition is done away with and we are immediately made to be the redeemed of the Lord.
No one has ever called upon the name of the Lord who did not get saved. Zacchaeus was saved in spite being a corrupt man in his duties. The paralytic was forgiven his sins and freed from the bondage of sin. Mary Magdalene, who was a prostitute and who, perhaps, broke many families in her sexual immorality was saved. The dying thief who repented while he was upon the cross went to Paradise with Christ that same day.
Don't trust upon yourself or any other. Don't depend upon your work, merit or conduct. Depend on Christ. Don't depend on a preacher or a pastor or a priest. Depend on Christ alone. Don’t repeat any preacher’s prayer – repent from your own heart, thinking about your own sin with your own mind, sorrowing over your own guilt, weeping for offending such a benevolent God, pleading for the forgiveness of your own iniquity, entrusting your soul only to the Saviour. To get to God, you need a Mediator – Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). However, to go to the Mediator, you don’t need another mediator! The Mediator has already come to men and has taken the nature of men in order that He may be a merciful and faithful high priest in relation to God, on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16). The mediation of Mary is not necessary; the mediation of a human priest is completely unwarranted; the mediation of a pastor is completely useless! Don’t trust any other mediation to be saved. Jesus Christ is perfectly sufficient to handle your case. He is all you need and you have Him if you will trust Him!
We have a great Saviour in Jesus Christ. There is no need to delay a salvation so full and free. There is nothing to keep you from coming to Christ except your own rebellion and sin. A great high priest is none other than the Saviour Christ – come to Him. A great sacrifice of Christ who is the sin-bearing Lamb of God. He is able to save to the uttermost all those who draw near to God through Him (Heb. 7:25).
He bears the name above all names – reigning Son of God, surpassing all other titles, powers and claims. He is our mighty Advocate with the Father. He is our Friend, Prophet, Priest and King. He knows all our weaknesses, tears and pain for He was tempted like us in every respect yet emerged triumphant, without sin.
Come and obtain salvation for your soul. Come and find rest for yourself. Do not harden your heart. You have heard His invitation – “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest!”
Seek His grace and you will find it. He is supreme to save go to Him without any more delay. Let us praise our risen, ascended Lord, the great Saviour of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 18, 2018

What is Wrong with the Roman Catholic Church?


Ten Grave Errors of Roman Catholicism
What is wrong with the largest ‘Christian’ denomination, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC)? Why should true Christians be more wary of it and run away from it? It is primarily because their teaching is opposed to God and the gospel of His Son. It is because its teaching holds no hope of salvation for sinners. It is because it’s teaching is heretical, erroneous to the mind. It is poisonous to the soul and can eternally condemn to hell. RCC does not claim to teach salvation from sin. It does not give any assurance of salvation to her follows. The head of the RCC, the Pope exalts himself against Christ, claiming to be the vicar of God.

1.     Justification by faith, baptism and works:
The Vatican Catechism claims that for God to justify us, which means ‘to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ and through baptism’. This is a serious problem because if followed many would not be saved at all. This is because their way of salvation is not the one that God has revealed in His word, that is, salvation is by God’s free grace through faith alone in Christ alone. The reality is that once you add to the grace of God, then it is a claim to earn salvation by one’s own merit. This is very wrong because it is not the teaching of the Bible since it adds that we are justified not just through faith in Jesus Christ, but also through baptism! The Bible unequivocally states that, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law “(Rom 3:28). Will any sinner be saved from his sins? Then he must believe in Jesus Christ and he will be saved (Acts 16:31).

2.     Papal infallibility
This infringes on the absolute attribute of God - placing a man at par with God, whose Word only cannot be broken (John 10:35). Popes are men and no man is infallible nor righteous – no, not one (Rom. 3:11) – God alone is righteous, just and the justifier (Rom. 3:26) and it is only the word given by God that is inspired because it is breathed out by Him (2Timothy 3:16). Popes do not and cannot speak from God as they are carried along by the Holy Spirit. They err and have erred; they sinned and have sinned and fallen into wickedness and perdition over and over again. Only the Bible, is the Word of God and is the only rule for faith and for life. Scriptures alone!

3.    Devotion to Mary
This teaching is blasphemous because she is referred to as the mother of God. RCC follows even make prayers through her and, even more, outrageously to her! Mary is made a mediator between God and men yet we know that the Mediator is One – the Man Christ Jesus (1Tim. 2:5). This is elevating a sinful person into God. Mary, just as any other woman, while was highly favoured by God to bear the Messiah, is in absolute need of salvation from her sins just like anyone else. The doctrine of immaculate conception which is the conception of Mary, free from original sin. RCC unashamedly teaches that God acted upon Mary in the first moment of her conception keeping her "immaculate".

4.     The Mass
The Mass or Eucharistic Celebration is the central liturgical ritual in the RCC, where the Eucharist (Communion) is consecrated by the priest. RCC describes the Mass as "the source and summit of the Christian life" and teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ[1] It is blasphemous and foolish to suppose that the elements of the communion are transformed miraculously to become the substance of the body and blood, soul and divinity Christ, as to be worshipped or venerated. This tenet lacks common sense and being deficient of Biblical truth is absurd.
We learn from the Scriptures “… that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying. ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Cor. 11:24-26). Therefore, the Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ, and the proclamation of His death until He comes. It is not a sacrifice of Christ by the RCC priest as is the mass. People are made to think that the grace of God flows to men through sacraments yet we know that salvation is by faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8).

5.     Devotion to their priesthood
It is serious for mortal sinful men to replace themselves with Christ by purporting to offer sacrifices. It is wrong because Christ is the last and the great high priesthood, who has offered Himself as the final sacrifice once and for all. The Bible clearly teaches that we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.
Read on from Hebrews 8:4-7, 13
Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain." But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second… In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
At best the RCC priest serve in the old covenant which has now been made obsolete – it is null and void because we have a better covenant, the New Covenant in the blood of Christ. Devotion to the earthly priests shows a religion that is deficient of the power to pardon sin, and to convey divine salvation.

6.     Penance and auricular confessions
This is a terrible teaching which is out rightly deceptive, lacking any warrant from the Holy writ, the Word of God. RCC classifies sins into mortal and venial sins, something that the Bible doesn’t do but says that the wages of sins (all) is death. It is wrong because the mediatorial role of Christ is taken by a man, the priest who hears, receives confession of sins and conveys forgiveness! Anyone who goes to the priest to confess his sins, wastes his precious time and energy. "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Luk 5:21) The response to Jesus of these two questions is important on this matter, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" (Luk 5:24) Catholics would be better instructed to go to Christ, who invites, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat 11:28)

7.     Indulgencies
RCC encourages their people to give offerings, that is money, to the church for the sake of the dead relatives so that their sins may be pardoned and that they may be transferred from purgatory to heaven. This is ridiculously wrong because they provide another way in which sinners can be saved. Salvation is only through Jesus Christ, for He is the only way, the only truth and the only life – No one can get to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

8.     Purgatory
This is middle-ground of eternal destiny as one awaits judgment! It is wrong because it provides for a place which the Bible does not talk about – a person dies once then after that is judgement (Heb. 9:7). This is a human invention and cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. Anyone who dies outside of Christ, will eternally live away from Christ and will be subjected to the fires of hell forever, where the worm does not die and the fire is unquenched.

9.     Tradition as an addition source of truth
This is the basic problem of the Catholicism and it is a serious one, since for them the Bible is neither sufficient nor final. It is wrong to add or to subtract from the Bible because when all has been said and done – it is only the Bible that is able to make people wise for salvation (2Tim. 3:15), not the traditions of Roman Catholic or of pope. The warnings from the Word of God need to be sufficient reason for them to stop any aspects of adding or subtracting to it.
You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. (Deu 4:2)
"Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Deu 12:32)
Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Pro 30:6)
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev 22:18-19)

10.Inquisition
Those who dissented from the Roman Catholic teachings were subjected to the cruellest trials that lead to tortures and ultimately death at stake. This lead to truth being suppressed, and resulted in a thousand years of the church being in darkness and shows how serious it was. This has now been renamed to colloquium (conversation) and it shows that Catholicism has not changed much. It is wrong to force rational people into adapting into a theological system that is not even biblical. Christianity is a religion of love, even for one’s enemies and we are told to pursue peace with all men (Heb 12:14). Never should a Christian use violence – it is for God to avenge. God does this in the modern society through the state, which His agent, for good to those who do good. The state is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath (Rom. 13:4,5)




[1] Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

CHURCH MEMBERS: WHAT IS THEIR PRIMARY DUTY?



                       


One of the tragedies of the church today is that the concept of church membership has been lost. In this article I do not intend to defend the biblical position of formal church membership for it is obvious; my purpose is to show you the practical need for church membership.
What is your membership responsibility in your local church? In one word, members are to LOVE. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and your neighbour as yourself. The Lord said:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40, see also Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).
1.    LOVE GOD
To love the Lord God is both the duty and delight of every believer. God has shown so much love to Christians that they cannot do anything but love Him. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Jesus has shown His redeeming love. Therefore, ‘redeeming love should be the theme of our song’ until we die. You cannot afford to fail to love God because the Bible pronounces a curse on anyone who fails in this. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). So what is expected in loving the Lord our God?
a.    Negatively
(1) Hate sin. God is holy (Joshua 24:19); there is none holy like the Lord (1 Samuel 2:2); Our Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness (Isaiah 5:16). Habakkuk nails it when he says, “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? (Habakkuk 1:13). For this reason, we who are called by His name must be holy (1 Peter 1:16), and hate sin by killing it (Roman 8:13).
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you; sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming … But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off, the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Colossians 3:5,6,8-10).
(2) Hate the world. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We have no abiding city in the world, and so we must live as pilgrims do. That is, we must not be too attached to this world or the things of this world. After all, they are transient. Be dead to the world. Your heart must not be stained by any worldliness. But why should we take this serious step in our relation to the world? You should realize that our hearts are too narrow to contain both loves. The human heart is more likely to be worldly than to be godly. The way to demonstrate your love for the Lord is by giving yourself to spiritual things. Unless your heart loves the Word of God and spends time listening to it, reading it, studying, memorizing, meditating and applying it, you are still in love with the world. Pray every day. Spend time with believers in Christian fellowship.
b. Positively
(1) Love Christ. God loved us so much that He gave His only Son (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave His life as the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). He is our Advocate with the Father. He died our death. He took our curse and gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). How can we fail to love Him?  It is expected that we love Christ and live to serve Him. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible (Ephesians 6:24). You love Christ by knowing and doing His Word. This is how Christians become Christ-like. You love Christ by loving His church for which He gave His life. True believers are part of a local church themselves, and this is how they demonstrate that they are part of body of Christ. Christians are commanded not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25). Christians gather on Sunday, the Lord’s Day for worship and fellowship. In this way the fourth Commandment is fulfilled.
2.    LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR
a.    Love fellow Christians
(1) Love for their Pastors. Christ has appointed that His church be orderly. There are men whom He has provided for the leadership of the church. These men shepherd the flock of God which the Holy Spirit appointed them overseers to care for the church of God which He bought with His own blood (Acts 20:28). How are you to show that you love those that Christ has given to lead in the local church where you are a member?
·  Submit to them (Hebrews 13:17). The church has a responsibility to listen and obey the pastors. Listen attentively to what they teach and seek to practice it. The authority of the pastors is in the Word of God that they teach. When you seek their counsel (you should avail yourself this privilege), you should do as they recommend. The Bible teaches this truth in various passages:
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1Thessalonians 5:12-13)
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17).
·  Pray for them (Colossians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, Hebrews 13:18). You should pray for your pastor to be a godly, faithful preacher and shepherd of the flock. Pray that he may not be slothful in zeal but be fervent in spirit serving the Lord. Pray that he would grow in discernment so that he may not lead the church into error. Pray that the Lord may open doors of ministry for the Word to go forth through them. Pray that they will not be discouraged.
·  Financial support (1 Corinthians 9:2-14, 1 Timothy 5:17). While every pastor may not necessarily be financially supported, yet the church should always desire to meet the general principle that the labourer is worthy his wages. Pastors are usually poorly remunerated, not because people don’t have means but because they do not highly value the work that they do. Yet it is the pastor who will bring them the gospel, by which they are saved (salvation is the greatest and highest blessing ever!). It is the pastor who will counsel them in godliness, and usually this counsel is invaluable. It is the pastor who visits when they are sick, when they marry, when they have a baby. It is the pastor to baptize them. And the pastor is there even to bury them when they die!
(2) Love for their brethren.
·  We are to love with a fervent love those upon whom the heavenly Father has cast His electing love. Love with a sincere heart those that Christ has redeemed by His blood. May you show brotherly affection to all those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. What does this love look like?
·  We are our brother’s keeper: It is our duty to watch their backs so that the enemy, the devil does not attack them. Satan is compared to a roaring lion prowling around looking for someone to devour. We should be on the lookout to help them differentiate wolves in sheepskin from their fellow sheep.
·  The ‘one-anothering’ ministry. The Bible has a lot to say on how we are to relate with each other. Some of the phrases show that ours is a very close relationship. There are many passages that have this kind of exhortation. Jesus said, “Be at peace with one another” (Matthew 9:50) and “Love one another” (John 13:34, 35; 15:12,17). Paul wrote, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour (Romans 12:10). We are to live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16, 15:5); to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us, for the glory of God (Romans 15:17). We are to instruct one another (Romans 15:14), greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12); and wait for one another (1 Corinthians 11:33). Members are commanded to have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25). Brothers are to comfort one another, and to agree with one another (2 Corinthians13:11).
·  We are encouraged through love to serve one another (Galatians 5:13) and to bear with one another’s burden and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2; c.f. Ephesians 4:2). At all times we are warned against and discouraged from biting and devouring one another or consuming one another (Galatians 5:15). We are to desist from provoking or envying one another (Galatians 5:26). Neither are we to bear false witness nor are we to lie to one another (Colossians 3:9). Instead, we are to be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32).
·  Moreover, we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). We are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom (Colossians 3:16). We are urged to abound in love for one another and for all (2 Thessalonians 3:12). Besides, we are to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11; Hebrews 10:25) and do good to one another and to everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
·  We are to exhort one another every day (Hebrews 3:13) and to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). It is also the will of God for us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16).
·   We are to show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).  Let us also remember to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5) and to have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).
b.    Love unbelievers
(1) Set an example of godliness. Christ expects us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The way we show that we belong to Christ is by living in this world as He did. Our conduct must show that we do not belong to this wicked world of sin, but that we are citizens of the kingdom of God where righteousness dwells. A godly example for a Christian is the best platform for preaching the gospel. Unless one has the moral authority established on the principle of being above reproach, honest, godly, peaceable, loving, respectful and a man of integrity, the possibility of your faith being taken seriously is very low. How you live can either endear sinners to the cross of Calvary or repulse them. While we should endeavour to be as perfect as our heavenly Father is, yet we should realize that we do have flaws. The difference between us and the world is that we are willing to accept responsibility for our failures, confess our sins and even bear the brunt of our shortcomings while the unbelievers will try to hide.
(2) Preach the gospel. While our conduct is vital in representing Christ as His ambassadors, unbelievers are unable to see them. This is why we should bring the gospel in words and in a way that they can understand.  As witnesses of Christ we should be prepared to give an account for the hope we have. We must not get tired of telling the world of Christ and of His saving grace. We should constantly urge them to believe in Christ and repent of their sins.