The Scariest Words Jesus Ever Said

You know the verses, you have probably heard them your entire Christian life, but when is the last time you really meditated on the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 7: 21-23? Here are the verses…

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Understand the context of this verse. Jesus is referring to His “followers”… or at least those who claim to be followers of Jesus. This is a startling proclamation from our King that should give us pause. In our culture today, where people are taught to say a “sinner’s prayer” and they are saved… where hyper grace doctrines are being pushed at every turn… where many are seeking to live their BEST LIVES NOW…

In our culture it is almost a crime in the Christian community to speak of this truth: MANY Multitudes of “Christians” today are deceived and unknowingly on a path to Hell. You see scripture is very clear… Jesus was VERY clear…

Matthew 7:13-14  (ESV)

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

According to PEW Research nearly 70.6% of Americans self identify as Christians. That means that out of 325 Million Americans, 227 Million think they are going to Heaven. Yet Jesus tells us that the path is NARROW and FEW will find it.

So where is the breakdown?

What are Christians missing in this equation of salvation? This gift freely given by God. John 3:16 famously reveals “…that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ Emphasis mine.

So is that it then? All one needs to do is believe in Jesus? What does that mean to believe in Jesus? Does Satan believe in Jesus? Do the demons believe in Jesus? Is salvation then just an intellectual exercise?

I would argue that salvation has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what you have brought yourself to believe in your mind, and has everything to do with the condition of your heart. In fact, let’s go back to the Gospels, in the book of John chapter 3…

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Here Jesus clearly indicates a requirement for those who wish to live in eternal paradise with God, they MUST be born again. This goes beyond a mental exercise of simple belief and delves into a transformational relationship with the Holy Spirit of God. You must DIE to your SIN… another way of saying it… you must repent or “turn from your sin” towards God. This is not to say you become sinless or perfect when you accept Christ as your savior. But every Christian should be in the process of change, where we grow more and more Christ-like the closer we draw near to God.

If you have been a Christian for some time, and you still find yourself living the same life you always lived, you may need to examine your life closely. This is what Paul exhorted the church members of Corinth to do… “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5

Brothers and Sisters, if you said a prayer years ago, and just accepted what people in church said about your eternal destination, I would strongly encourage you to follow Paul’s advice and evaluate your relationship with Jesus. If you find yourself running joyfully into sinful behavior or with little regret when you transgress God’s law… you have a real reason for concern.

Most Americans take the time to be absolutely certain of things far less important than their eternal destination, don’t make that mistake. Eternity is a very very long time.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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Fellowship Friday #13 Have You Met These Christian Bloggers?

Welcome back to Fellowship Friday, a weekly post on Stand Tall For Christ where I will share four Christian Bloggers with you I have met from around the world. It is my hope by doing this you will discover some of the amazing men and women doing the Lord’s work and spend time in fellowship with them. I want to encourage you to visit their blogs, follow their blogs, comment on their blogs, share their blogs and ultimately grow spiritually from the time you spend with them.

Here are this week’s bloggers:

daily hopeful

Daily Hopeful: “Daily Hopeful is a place where I where I share images, Bible verses, and inspirational quotes that emphasize faith-based hope. As with my other blog, Daily Thankful, I write from a Christian perspective, and hope that this new blog will be a source of blessing and encouragement to any who may read it.”

Lift Him Up

Lift Him Up: “My name is Debra, and I write to acknowledge the name of our merciful and glorious God! In 1997 I heard a sermon preached by Rev. Mark Arnott about God’s gifts to each of us. The message presented offered clear points regarding God’s gifts to us. When we share our gifts they help make a difference in the lives of others. It was on that day in 1997 that I decided to hone in on discovering God’s gifts to me and begin sharing them with others.”

Gracelife Blog

GraceLife Blog: “Mark McGee is a Christian apologist, career journalist, and former atheist. God saved him by grace through faith in Jesus Christ in 1971. Mark became a professional journalist in 1968 and retired in 2009. He worked on the news staff of several radio and television stations and two large metropolitan newspapers. Mark was a reporter, correspondent, anchor, managing editor, executive producer and news director during a four decade career in news.”

Divide the Word Blog

Divide The Word Blog: “DivideTheWord.blog is a cloud-based ministry whose purpose is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in such a way as to be available to all of God’s children. Free from denominational judgmentalism, free from race, color or creed stipulations. Our Purpose needs to be His Purpose – that we would visit people in their time of distress, be a salt that still has its savor, a light set upon a hill for those lost in the darkness. We cannot and must not silo ourselves into little communes, sects of this denomination or that denomination, all vying to prove who is right, and who is wrong.”


Thank you for taking the time to check out these Christian authors, all doing Kingdom Work in the name of Jesus… AMEN! Check back here every Friday for another installment of Fellowship Friday with all new bloggers from around the world.

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Want to submit your blog to be featured in a future edition of Fellowship Friday? Or maybe you are familiar with a blog that deserves to get noticed? Send me the information below… I do not promise to feature every site I review… but I sure do love to meet new Christian bloggers!

 

Do You Believe The Bible? Video Podcast

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Debating Atheists: Three Types of Atheist

In the eleven years I have been a Christian, I have debated Atheists a few hundred times, not in formal debates mind you, just online social debates. Mostly on facebook, youtube, twitter and on various blogs. What I have discovered is I can place nearly every Atheist into one of three categories… now I don’t mean Atheists in general, but rather Atheists who engage in online debates with Theists.

This article is intended for Christians who seek to engage Atheists in online debates with the purpose of equipping and preparing them for the challenge ahead. Before I get started I want to highlight some character qualities and traits found in ALL three types that you might find interesting.

  • Superiority Complex. Nearly every Atheist I have ever engaged with, believes they are intellectually superior or at a minimum they believe the Atheist position is intellectually superior to that of a Theist. This always works to our advantage, as many of them don’t know how to answer a well-equipped Christian.
  • Close-Minded. While they rally behind banners such as “enlightenment” and “free thinker”, they tend to be very close-minded, which is ironically the primary accusation they cast against Theists. Don’t be shy in pointing this out during your discourse.
  • They Strongly Believe what they DON’T BELIEVE. They will fight tooth and nail to proclaim they have “no beliefs” and avoid labeling their non-belief as a worldview. Why? Because they don’t want to be forced into defending their position, they simply want to remain on the offense.
  • They love to bully. They do this in a number of ways, from outright name calling to talking down to believers with condescension. Ironically many of them claim to be social justice warriors who should most certainly frown upon bullying in any form, but for some reason don’t see this behavior in themselves.

Lastly I will say this, if you venture out into Atheist blogs and social media accounts, you will be grossly outnumbered. Prepare yourself ahead of time. Generally you will debate 3-5 Atheists at a time, as few Christians are equipped to join in, so few ever show up.

Now let’s talk about the Three different Categories of Atheists as I see them, keeping in mind some Atheists could fit into more than one category at the same time!

The Wise Grandmaster

Oofwya_with_a_cape_and_staffThese Atheists are perhaps the most challenging in a debate, and you must be prepared when facing off with them. Generally speaking they are very polite but have done a lot of research and reading. They are familiar with nearly all of the prominent Atheist arguments and counter-arguments offered by leading Christian Apologists.

They know their stuff. They will never (or very rarely) resort to name calling or profanity and are very cordial.

Strategy:

KNOW YOUR STUFF. This is the bottom line, we as Christians stand on the side of Truth. Not one of many truths, but THE Truth. A universe where no God exists defies logic and reason, the very tools Atheist rest their non-belief upon. Present your arguments in a very clear and precise manner, always remain polite and thank them for participating at the end. You will never change the mind of the Wise Grandmaster, but you can have a sound debate and answer all of their arguments in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

Sample Debate:

You can find the full comments on the original article by clicking here.

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The Atheist here displays all the qualities of the Wise Grandmaster and is well prepared for this dialogue. He is measured and controlled, never goes too close to insulting his opponent and even if a perceived slight occurs is usually quick to apologize.

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The Belligerent Scoffer

Angry-man-internetThese Atheists are easy to identify as you will notice their telling behavior within the first few minutes of the debate. They will quickly descend into name-calling and profanity filled rants. They will act completely shocked by your “ignorance” and scoff at every rebuttal. This is usually a well exercised routine, as they have done it countless times in other exchanges. Even though we know when someone has to resort to profanity it makes them look foolish, to them they feel bigger and better.

Strategy:

Stay Calm. Keep cool. Attack their arguments and point out their profanity as unnecessary and child-like. Always get the last word, this will irritate them even more and most likely cause them to erupt into more and more foolishness. Once they start with the profanity they have already lost the debate in almost every viewers eyes… except of course the other Belligerent Scoffers who are cheering them on.

Sample Debate (WARNING – OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE FOLLOWS):

You can find the full comments on the original article by clicking here.

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Notice below how this Atheist enters the debate, he obviously visited my site first to see who he was dealing with, and then upon seeing my posts on Pornography Addiction tries to use my past to discredit me, right out of the gate.

Counter – Strategy: I don’t hide from my past, I embrace who I was, and through Christ alone who I am today.

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This is a shining example of how quickly and easily the Belligerent Scoffer can descend in nonsensical tirades. It is highly predictable and comical. The only people that read this debate and think the Atheist had the upper hand are other Belligerent Scoffers.

The Primma Donna

ap,550x550,12x16,1,transparent,t.u6This last category of Atheist believe the Theists of the world are Bronze Age Religious Zealots and love to lambaste believers in every public forum they can find. Their Superiority Complex overflows into every thought and every sentence. Often times, but not always, they are the higher educated, perhaps Professors at a University… but many times simply well read. They have a true disdain for all religions, although Christians in particular, and believe the world would be a vastly better place with the religions of the world erased permanently from its surface.

Strategy:

Very similar to the Belligerent Scoffer, the best way to debate a Primma Donna is to keep calm and present the Truth on a point by point basis. A common tactic with this group is to throw a dozen objections at you all at once, hoping to overwhelm you. Do not let them go down rabbit trails, keep the dialogue focused and on point. When they try to deviate from the debate at hand, always go back to the main argument.

Sample Debate:

You can find the full comments on the original article by clicking here.

1-debate2-debate3-debate4-debae

Here the Atheist decries anyone who does not believe in evolution, and if you don’t bow down at the alter of Darwin, you do not have the truth in you.


Debating Atheists will be an ongoing series on this blog, and in future posts will explore more strategies to use, tactics they deploy and provide resources to get you equipped for the road ahead.

Here are five prominent Christian Apologetic resources to get you started:

  1. C.A.R.M
  2. RZIM
  3. Stand to Reason
  4. CRI
  5. Be Thinking

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Why Is Sound Doctrine So Important?

This post has been re-blogged from my friend Bruce’s site over at Reasoned Cases For Christ. If you like this article, pay him a visit, his blog is a gold mine of Christian resources, with over 500 articles!


 

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Doctrine is a set of accepted beliefs held by a particular group. In Christianity, it is the set of true beliefs that define the parameters of our belief system. Consequently, there is true doctrine and false doctrine relative to each belief set. For example, within Christianity, a true Biblical doctrine is that there is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:1044:68). A false doctrine is that there is more than one God in all existence.

This major_christian_doctrines link provides a PDF list of the basic major doctrines of the Christian faith that are accepted by all Protestant denominations that are considered Christian, should you wish to peruse them. Bear in mind that there are a good number of other subjects within our Bible that are also important such as our understanding of the end times, the Law of Moses and the covenants etc.

Understanding the doctrines of the Bible is a skill set that is quickly diminishing within the body of Christ, the Church. The reasons for this are varied but paramount among the reasons is a basic lack of knowledge or familiarity with God’s Word. In order to be able to recognize a teaching that is not in accordance with God’s Word, it is necessary to be conversant with what God’s Word teaches on a given doctrine.  If you’re reading something in a book or listening to a podcast or watching a video, we need to be able to have a standard to which we can compare it with to discern as to whether what is being taught is in line with God’s Word. If you aren’t conversant with God’s Word, then you have nothing to compare it with and are more subject to being mislead.

“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” ~ C. H. Spurgeon

Sound doctrine is important because our faith is based on a specific message. The overall teaching of the church contains many elements, but the primary message is explicitly defined: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures [and] . . . he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is the unambiguous good news, and it is “of first importance.” Change that message, and the basis of faith shifts from Christ to something else. Our eternal destiny depends upon hearing “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:3; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

Sound doctrine is important because the gospel is a sacred trust, and we dare not tamper with God’s communication to the world. Our duty is to deliver the message, not to change it. Jude conveys an urgency in guarding the trust: “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3; see also Philippians 1:27). To “contend” carries the idea of strenuously fighting for something, to give it everything you’ve got. The Bible includes a warning neither to add to nor subtract from God’s Word (Revelation 22:18-19). Rather than alter the apostles’ doctrine, we receive what has been passed down to us and keep it “as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).

Sound doctrine is important because what we believe affects what we do. Behavior is an extension of theology, and there is a direct correlation between what we think and how we act. For example, a man who believes in well-defined moral standards will have a tendency to conduct himself differently from one who believes in no standard or accountability. In one of the Bible’s lists of sins, things like rebellion, murder, lying, and slave trading are mentioned. The list concludes with “whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:9-10). In other words, true teaching promotes righteousness; sin flourishes where “the sound doctrine” is opposed.

Sound doctrine is important because we must ascertain truth in a world of falsehood. “Many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). There are tares among the wheat and wolves among the flock (Matthew 13:25Acts 20:29). The best way to distinguish truth from falsehood is to know what the truth is.

Sound doctrine is important because the end of sound doctrine is life. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Conversely, the end of unsound doctrine is destruction. “Certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 1:4). Changing God’s message of grace is a “godless” thing to do, and the condemnation for such a deed is severe. Preaching another gospel (“which is really no gospel at all”) carries an anathema: “let him be eternally condemned!” (see Galatians 1:6-9).

Sound doctrine is important because it encourages believers. A love of God’s Word brings “great peace” (Psalm 119:165), and those “who proclaim peace . . . who proclaim salvation” are truly “beautiful” (Isaiah 52:7). A pastor “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

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Podcast Episode #4: Who Is The Real Jesus? And Do We Have Free Will?

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Episode 4 of our weekly podcast is now available, this week I discuss the real Jesus Christ after encountering a “Christian” who denies the resurrection… and answer the question, do we really have free will?

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Do you have a question you would like to have answered in a future podcast? Comment below. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.

Christian Foundations

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This is a collection of STFC articles and resources on Foundations of Christian Beliefs. More will be added here as they are written. You will always find a link to this article on the front page of the website.

ARTICLES: