Category Archives: Christianity

Hope, Change, or Hope and Change?

By johninnnc

My apologies to those who thought this might be a political article.

There is a great deal of confusion in the world of professing Christendom about how one receives eternal life.

The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith in Christ. The Bible also says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. For those of us who have understood and believed the gospel,it is incumbent upon us to defend it.

One of the keys to defending the gospel message is to make sure that our Christian testimonies are based on our hope of heaven, which is the finished work of Christ.

Just as our assurance of eternal life should be based on God’s promises alone, our Christian testimonies should not point anyone to the change in our lives, or the combination of our hope and change.

Hope

The founder of this ministry, the late Jack Weaver, wrote a great article entitled “What is Bible Hope?” That article, which  is far and away the most popular one of all time for this website, is linked below:

What is Bible Hope?

Hope, in it’s New Testament usages, means “to expect or anticipate with pleasure.” For Christians, the hope of heaven is based solely on God’s immutable promise.

Titus 3:7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God promises eternal life to anyone who will believe that Jesus (God in the flesh) paid the full price for his sin (past, present, and future), and that He was raised from the dead to prove His payment was accepted.

Our Christian testimony should be based squarely on Christ as the sole basis for our hope of heaven.

Change

While eternal life is promised to all who believe in Christ as Savior, having positive, beneficial changes in our lives is conditioned on learning God’s word and applying it to our lives.

John 8:31-32:

[31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
[32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Please note that only those who have believed on Him can continue in His word. Those who haven’t believed on Him are not even in His word.  The freedom that Jesus is speaking of here is not eternal life (the people who have believed on Him already have that) – it is the life-changing power of His word, applied to our lives.

Please note, again, that the transformation in this life is not automatic.

Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

One does not have to believe that Jesus will “change his life”, or even desire to have Jesus change his life in order to be saved. 

More from Ron Shea:

When the “changed life” becomes the focus of a “conversion” testimony, it is not only a practice unknown to Scripture, it is in fact, counter productive in pointing men and women to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It implies that salvation is allowing Jesus to change one’s life, with the consequence of observing a change. Ultimately, such “testimonies” teach, by implication, the doctrines of Lordship salvation and justification by works, wherein justification is a process by which our lives are transformed. This is, by definition, the doctrine of Justification by works.

In addition to implying that justification is by works (or grace and works), Christian testimonies that are focused on changed lives are very difficult to distinguish from other sources of changed lives.

By necessity, the zealous adherent to any religious or secular pursuit undergoes change in his life.

The Bible makes it clear that religious zeal cannot bring eternal life. Many religious people spend lots of time proselytizing.

Matthew 23:15: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Likewise, unregenerate people who believe that they can save themselves may go to church every time the doors are open, do mission trips, work the soup kitchens, donate money to charity,  and know every jot and tittle of scripture.

John 5:39-40:

[39] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
[40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Similarly, lots of people change bad behaviors, but that doesn’t result in eternal life. J.O. Hosler put it this way:

A lost person can change his mind about sin and reform from some forms of wickedness, but he will be neither saved nor eternally rewarded for this. He may, however, reap some earthly benefits from living a prudent life.

So, if our testimony is about the change in our lives, how is the hearer to separate our message from all of the others? HE CAN’T!

Last, if the focus of our testimonies is our changed lives, what if our lives change for the worse? Does that mean that Christ didn’t die for our sins, or that He was not raised from the dead? Does this mean that we were never saved in the first place? Of course not!

That is why the focus of our testimonies should not be on our changed lives.

More from Clear Gospel:

The gospel is not about how great we are. It is about our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And our testimony is not how God became “yummy in our tummy.” Without question, the quest for meaning and purpose are powerful. But not everyone achieves a sense of purpose simply because they come to faith in Christ. Some go to their grave clinically depressed and emotionally unfulfilled in this lifetime. But no one who has ever come to the cross has walked away dead in their sins. They walk away alive in Christ. The gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. May this truly be “our testimony.”

Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation – Part IV

By johninnc

(Following are some questions we have received from readers  via e-mail to ExPreacherman, along with our responses. We chose to publish some of these questions in a series of articles, since they are both good questions and similar to questions we have gotten from other visitors to ExPreacherman. In some cases, we have made edits to our original answers for additional clarity. Please note that the e-mail questions are in italics, and our answers are interspersed in bold).

______________________________________________________

Question: Only God can judge the heart of a person if they are genuinely saved, but aren’t we given permission to be “fruit inspectors”? If a person is truly saved, should they not be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

My comment: Yes, only God can judge the heart of a person, which means that we cannot.  Accordingly, we are not called upon to look to peoples’ works to see if we think they are exhibiting enough good works or cessation of sin to provide evidence of salvation (i.e., be
“fruit inspectors”).

The fruit of a false prophet is his false gospel.

If a person is saved, then he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The extent to which a believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit in transforming his life is a matter of moment-by-moment choice,
as scripture clearly states:

1 Thessalonians 5:19: Quench not the Spirit.

Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Question: I understand that salvation is a free gift with no works, but after one is saved, then works should follow out of a love for the Lord and wanting to please Him and the new believer must grow and mature and learn to put God first. Lordship salvation is getting the cart before the horse.

My comment: You said that good works SHOULD follow salvation. We would agree. Scripture tells us that:

Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them.

But, the word SHOULD is the only word that is consistent with grace. It is not that we MUST – that would be works for salvation. It is not that we WILL – that would be Calvinism. It is SHOULD. And we SHOULD!

You said that Lordship “salvation” is putting the cart before the horse. I believe that is glossing over the seriousness of what Lordship “salvation” really is – a false gospel of salvation by works! False gospels do not have any power to save anyone. That is why they are accursed.

Galatians 1:9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Question: Do you believe that there are “counterfeit” christians who are only pretending? Also, do you believe that God chastens His children who choose to walk in a way that does not glorify Him? Are there “carnal” Christians?

My comment: You asked if we believe there are counterfeit Christians who are only pretending?

Yes. Some may pretend for familial harmony, running for office, trying to get out of jail, attracting a love interest, making money, feeding their fleshly appetites for power, etc.

But, I don’t think most false professors are pretending.  Instead, I think they have sincerely believed in a false gospel of salvation by works, or by faith plus works. As such, they are not saved.

You asked if we believe that God chastens His children who walk in a way that does not glorify Him?

I think that God chastens (teaches, disciplines) all of his children – not just the ones who walk in a way that does not glorify Him. In fact, those who remain in His word are likely to become the more disciplined.

John 8:31: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

People respond to God’s chastening in a number of ways. Otherwise, there would be little variation in Christian behavior, and no purpose for the Judgement Seat of Christ, at which all believers will be judged according to their works.

2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

One should not seek assurance of salvation from the extent to which he feels, or does not feel chastened, any more than he should look to his behavior for assurance of salvation. The only basis for assurance of salvation is whom one is trusting for eternal life.

You asked if there are carnal Christians?

Yes. I am sure of it.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 uses the word “carnal” four times to describe these eternally secure believers.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4:

[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
[2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
[3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
[4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Question: Some people think that a watered down gospel leads to a license to sin. What do you think?

My comment:The gospel leads people to faith in Christ.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I don’t know what a “watered down” gospel is, but the gospel is not a license to sin. Lordship “salvationists” often refer to the gospel as a “watered down” gospel, because it doesn’t include faith in works, to which they so tragically cling.

______________________________________________________

If you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel

Something Greater than a Mother’s Love

By johninnc

My wife’s mother passed away last week, and I had the privilege to deliver the following message at her funeral. My wife’s mother (Doris) did not write this, but we are sure she would have approved.

Ephesians 2:4-7:

[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
[7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

There’s something that Doris knows is true that she wants everyone else to know. I don’t think she would mind us paraphrasing for her. It goes something like this:

Dear friends,

There is an old adage that there is nothing greater than a mother’s love. As someone who has a mother, and is a mother of five, I understand why some would say this.

But, a mother’s love cannot compare to the perfect love that God has for us.

There is a God. He is the eternal creator, without beginning or end. He created everything, including you and me. He is perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. As such, He cannot allow anything that isn’t perfect into His presence.

You and I aren’t perfect. We have all broken God’s laws, and can’t do anything to fix that. Our efforts to work our way back to God are completely useless.

But, God loves us so much that He would rather die than spend eternity without us.

So, He gave his only begotten Son –Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – to reconcile us to Him.

Jesus had no sin of His own, but bore our sin so that we might be reconciled to God. He had no sin and we had no righteousness. Jesus took our sin from us. He made the complete payment for our sin, leaving us nothing to pay.

He did this by suffering a criminal’s death by crucifixion. He died on the cross, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead three days later, proving that His payment for our sins was accepted.

Anyone who believes in Jesus, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection, has eternal life. Eternal life means that it can never be lost or forfeited. God no longer sees believers in their sins, but sees them as perfectly righteous.

People will tell you all kinds of different ways to have eternal life, or even that there’s no such thing.

Many people will tell you that Jesus is necessary for salvation, but that He isn’t enough – that you have to “do your part” by reforming your behavior, doing good works, and so on. But this is not true. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

You should listen to what Jesus has to say, above what anyone else tells you. Since Jesus is God, and God is perfect, He cannot lie.

Here is what Jesus says on how to have eternal life:

John 11:25-26:

[25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
[26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

I hope you believe this. I do.

Love. Doris

 

 

 

Helping a New Believer Find an Oasis of Grace in a Desert of Lordship Salvation

By johninnc and Jack Weaver

We recently received an e-mail from a fellow grace believer who wants to spread the gospel to people with whom he comes into contact.  Following are excerpts from the e-mail:

When l share the simple plan of salvation and they believe in Jesus to give them the gift of eternal life, what do l do with them to help them grow as christians. lt seems to me that if l send them to a church in my area, they will get this LS teaching…l know that l will have to have a fellowship in my home to encourage and also be encouraged, if you know of a web site that would teach new christians ” what’s my next step” i would love to know about it.

This is a great question.  Many of us do not have a home church, and would not be comfortable steering anyone – much less a new believer – to any church that distorts the gospel in ANY way.

Before anyone begins looking for a church, he should be thoroughly grounded in the gospel.

In addition to the home fellowship that you suggested, below are some recommendations to help new believers grow in grace, and some things to avoid.

1. Suggest that they repeatedly read clear explantations of God’s plan of salvation.  Such resources will remind them of the Biblical truth that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This will also reinforce the truths of eternal security and assurance for the believer in Christ.

We recommend two such resources at ExPreacherMan.

“The Gospel” booklet by Ron Shea

http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/the-gospel.pdf

“How to Be Sure You are Going to Heaven” by Dr. Thomas Cucuzza:

http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/how-to-be-sure-you-are-going-to-heaven-with-cover.pdf

2. Have them learn to read God’s Word.  Start by suggesting they read through the book of Galatians several times, one chapter per day. The book of Galatians is a defense of the gospel that will help new believers understand the nature of the attacks that they will face from the world of professing Christendom, and the Biblical response to those attacks.

3. Emphasize the importance of  not looking to changes in our lives for assurance of salvation, nor to let the lack of sufficient changes in our lives undermine our assurance of salvation.

4. Suggest they read ExPreacherMan articles and comments.

5. Have them listen to online sermons from sources that you have evaluated and are convinced are reliable.  We recommend Dr. Cucuzza’s sermons.  See link below:

http://northlandchurch.com/go/downloads

6. Warn them to avoid playing “Russian Roulette” with books, sermons, and websites that claim to be teaching Christianity. There is more bad teaching out there than good.

7. Make yourself available for questions – within reason. Some people will fail to do things they need to do to grow in grace, or will do things to undermine their faith (see number 6) and be pretty shaky. Challenge people to take an active role, and not just have you feed them.

8.  Pray that God will provide for them, and for you, a church in which the gospel is taught clearly, consistently, and without contradiction. If you are unable to find a church, don’t despair.  ExPreacherMan is available as a place for fellowship, discussion and encouragement for people who have church homes, as well as for those who don’t.

9.  Let them know to never let down their guard and to maintain vigilance. Avoid any church where there is evidence of Calvinism or Lordship “salvation.” Many churches and pastors will claim to believe in grace, but their words will betray them.   Consider the following from one false teaching mega-church:

From “Core Beliefs:

Those who put their faith alone in Christ for Salvation are children of God and heirs of eternal life.

From the Senior Pastor’s blog:

Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.

10.  Tell them to share the good news with others.

Want to know the good news?  Here it is:  Good News!

Lordship “Salvation” — Willful Naiveté ?

By Jack Weaver and our fellow Administrator, John

We will borrow some ideas from a Conservative friend’s web site. He applied the thought to politics, but we see some parallels between the politically naïve and the theologically naïve.  In both cases, otherwise intelligent people seem to park their brains at the door and believe astonishingly stupid propositions.  For lack of a better term, we will call it “willful naiveté.”

In politics, willful naiveté can be seen in people who hold advanced degrees in economics that have convinced themselves that 1+1 = 3, because it fits their political narrative. In the theological realm, there are scores of prominent “educated” theologians who are teaching their theological narrative, the lie of Lordship “salvation”, to vulnerable non-believers and believers alike.

Lordship “salvation” (LS) is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to make that faith result in eternal life.

LS arrived on the scene just after the start of the church.  It was first manifested in false teachers who claimed one must be circumcised – in addition to trusting in Christ as Savior – in order to have eternal life.

Acts 15:1:  “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved”

LS has shown up in various forms ever since, and has dominated popular Christendom through the centuries.  And, the raging wave of LS continues to invade and overtake our Grace Faith communities.

We see stunning examples of “willful naiveté” in those who advocate LS.  The Bible has more than 150 verses that state that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  See article linked for more information: Believers Justification << Link

However, this overwhelming biblical evidence does not daunt LS advocates.  Instead, they lean on their own understanding of certain biblical “proof texts”, always taken out of context to support their false teaching.  Or worse, their misinterpretation of scripture leads them to believe there are biblical “paradoxes”.  For example, many LS advocates say things like “salvation is free, but it will cost you everything.”  This is non-biblical nonsense.  The fact of the matter is that there are no paradoxes in God’s Word.

LS destroys everything it touches.  It impedes the advance of the gospel, thereby keeping lost people lost; for believers who are bewitched by LS, it undermines their faith and assurance, it robs them of the power to live the Christian life, and it keeps them from a sound spiritual understanding of scripture.

LS has only two potentially “attractive” features that both appeal to the flesh.  First, it appeals to man’s pride.   One may internalize feelings of having contributed to (or merited) his salvation in some way.  He may feel like he has somehow “purified” himself.  There are side benefits, including a sense of comfort in “group think” and a sense of belonging in the ecumenical mainstream. Second, it appeals to the tribal need for an external, common enemy.  So, LS advocates make bogeymen out of proponents of salvation by Grace through faith in Christ alone.  Accordingly, they malign believers, using all sorts of pejorative language. Lordship “salvation” is very much a separate “religion,” a cult in the worst sense of those words.

LS advocates will continue to be deceived and to deceive others until the Millennium. They have successfully “converted” many into a works-based religion, false salvation and probation — which result in no salvation at all. By selling books, designing seductive web sites, producing slick YouTube videos, by infiltrating and taking over churches, religious schools, Bible colleges and seminaries, LSers have raised yet another generation of “Christians” who will continue to refuse, or fall from, God’s true Grace. They abhor the freedom and individual liberty we are to have in Christ Jesus as is so clearly delineated in God’s Word, the Bible. (John 3:16-17, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5)

Is their deception a willful naiveté or deliberate?

Our suggestion: We waste our time using secular logic on these folks, so let us use God’s Powerful Word!!! (Hebrews 4:12)  Scripture says, “Let us reason together.” However, we often find LS advocates very unreceptive to either reason or scriptural proof.  They find it virtually impossible to accept Biblical, contextual “reason.” We must continue to “earnestly contend for the Faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) and do it Biblically. That is the goal of our ministry here at ExPreacherMan.com which, by God’s Grace, we will continue! We thank the Lord for our many friends who support this ministry by commenting here in support of God’s Biblical Grace.

Please click here >> Wiki-Index of False Teachers for our compilation of a partial index of false teachers.

The Truth of FREE Eternal Life << Click

A Free Gift? Absolutely FREE? You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

By Jack Weaver

TV Clothing store – Buy one get two absolutely free

An electric razor, buy one and get one absolutely free — just pay shipping and handling.

Free web computer scan for problems — absolutely free — just a small fee to find out what it is and fix the problem.

Christmas – good kids get absolutely free  gifts — “bad” kids get none.

There always seem to be strings or conditions attached to FREE! Don’t believe the advertisers. NONE of these are free. The words FREE and GIFT have been perverted in so many ways that when we speak of salvation and eternal life as God’s free gift, folks automatically throw up a guard and think there must be conditions attached.

THE GIFT:

It did not begin with the Creation of the world. John 1:1-3

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

It did not end with the Birth of Jesus Matthew 1:22-23

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

It did not end with the Life of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

It did not end with the persecution of Jesus John 19:16:17

“Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:”

It did not end with the crucifixion of Jesus. John 19:18

…  they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

It did not end with the burial of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:4a

“And that he was buried, …. according to the scriptures:”

It did not end with the resurrection of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:4b

“…and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

It does not end!!

God’s GIFT of Eternal Life is still FREE to you — no strings attached, never ending.

Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, the Savior is Himself Eternal. His Gospel of FREE Eternal life is just as ETERNAL. Eternal means NEVER ENDING!!

Eternal Life — the totally FREE Gift <<< Click and Believe

Giving Thanks for What and Why

By Jack Weaver

Realizing that ExPreacherMan is read and commented upon all over the World, this post will not necessarily be about the American Holiday, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, the act and attitude is not unique to America but should be a constant thing for Believers in Jesus Christ all over the World.

Join with us as we itemize our thanks. This can always be iffy since many things for which we are thankful will be neglected.

Our friend John wrote a note to me this morning: “By the way, the word “thanksgiving” shows up in Psalms eight times.”

THANKFUL FOR:

  • The Gospel of our Salvation so free for the taking.
  • That God loved the whole World and desires that each individual in the whole World choose to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life.
  • God’s Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me.
  • That we have been given a choice to believe in Jesus Christ or not.
  • That once one believes in Jesus for Eternal Life — it is Everlasting and without end.
  • God’s everlasting, infallible Word that explains His FREE Gift of salvation so clearly.
  • That God does not require the Performance, the Promise or the Evidence of good works to accompany our faith in Christ in order to make that faith result in eternal life.
  • That our eternal life in Christ is in no way dependent upon our behavior.
  • That when we depart this earth by death or Rapture, we shall “ever be with the Lord”!
  • For the opportunity to share the Gospel of God’s Grace and expose those who would pervert that Pure Gospel.
  • And so many thousands more, ad infinitum.

And we here at ExPreacherMan are forever thankful for our  friends and visitors, some of whom have come out of the darkness of false teaching into the Light of the Gospel Truth. Your testimonies are a blessing to all of us.

If you desire to express your thankfulness, pleases do so in a SHORT paragraph or two. [Edited] 8-)

Thankful – The Gospel! << Click