Please find below many "Messages" that Dennis Smith has written based on scripture. To comment or ask a question contact Dennis via email: Dennis@ManosdeDios.org
Message: OK GOD,
LET’S MAKE A DEAL!
Message: THE NEW COVENANT IS A PROMISE COVENANT
Covenant; Agreement God made with mankind based on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Under the new covenant God would write His law on human hearts. There would be a new knowledge of the Lord, a new level of obedience and a new forgiveness of sin.
When did the new covenant start? I have heard some say it started at Pentecost, some say when Jesus broke bread at the last supper and some say at the resurrection of Jesus. After studying scripture I feel it started at the resurrection of Jesus. Here are the reasons that support why I believe this.
If we read Luke 22: 19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, they make a good argument that the new covenant started at the last supper. At the last supper Jesus reminded the disciples that He was instituting the new covenant (that had been prophesied in the Old Testament). He spoke of the new covenant as “My blood,” Luke 22:19-20 (NIV): And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. And also in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (NIV): The Lord Jesus, on the night 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, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
However, when I read the above scriptures it tells of something that was to happen in the future (His body had not been broken or His blood shed yet) because Jesus has not been crucified and resurrected yet. He also says to do this in remembrance of Me. This tells me that the new covenant is to start at a future time.
In Hebrews 8:8 -13 it tells what the Lord says about the new covenant. And we read in Hebrews 8:13 (NIV): By calling this covenant “new,” He has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. This tells me that for the new covenant to start something has to happen. I think that it is the death and resurrection of Jesus. That is when the new covenant is ushered in to our lives.
I also read that the Old Testament shows a covenant of the law (which we could not follow because of our sin nature) and that the new covenant (mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments) is a covenant of the promise. The blood of Jesus would start the new covenant when we are justified by His blood and by God’s grace and mercy.
The death and resurrection of Jesus served as sealing the oath (the promise from God) of a new covenant where by we would be saved. Hebrews 7:28 (NIV): For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath (new covenant), which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. I read that these things could only happen after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Hebrews 9:15 (NIV) states; For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. To get that eternal inheritance Jesus had to die as it states in verse 15. This is another reason I feel the new covenant started at His resurrection.
Hebrews 10:22 (NIV); let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. This scripture also tells me that the new covenant started with the death and resurrection of Jesus in the ‘full assurance that faith brings”. In the old covenant we had to rely on sacrifice; in the new covenant we have faith in the blood of Jesus. “Hearts sprinkled to cleanse us.” Sprinkling of blood is talking about the blood of Jesus. “Bodies washed with pure water.” This pure water is Jesus, He is the living water. For these occurrences to happen Jesus would have to have died and then been resurrected. These scriptures are why I believe that the new covenant started with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
You may wonder why I think it is important to figure out when the new covenant started. Good question. I am interested in finding the start of the new covenant because some people (and denominations) use the start of the new covenant as a guidepost as to the meaning of things that happen in the old and new covenant. They use that date to justify their beliefs. For example, some people believe that baptism is a condition of salvation. When the question is brought up that if this it true then why did Jesus tell the thief that was next to Him on the cross (there was no proof that he was baptized) he would be in paradise with Him today? Their answer is that the thief and his death were under the old covenant law because the new covenant did not start until Pentecost.
Defining the start of the new covenant can have an effect on how scripture is viewed and in my opinion is important.
Your comments are welcome and encouraged.
Message: "Does God Change
His Mind?" (Part #3)
Message: "Does God Change His Mind?" (Part #2)
Before we go any further let's touch on possible contradictory
scriptures such as in Genesis, Jonah, and in Exodus. Genesis 6:6, “The
LORD was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was
filled with pain” Jonah 3:10, which says, “When
God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had
compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.”
Exodus 32:14 , “Then the LORD relented and did not bring
on His people the disaster He had threatened.” I read these
verses as speaking of the Lord “relenting” of something, not
changing His mind. And when you study these passages they seem to show
that they tell us God does not change. In the original language, the word
that is translated as “repent” or “relent” is
the Hebrew expression “to be sorry for.” Being sorry for something
does not mean you have changed. It simply means there is regret for something
that has taken place. In Genesis 6:6 it states that God was grieved. If
He truly changed His mind and regretted putting man on earth then why
did He not destroy all people in the flood? Why did He save Noah and his
family and allow them to reproduce? Besides, if God knows the end from
the beginning (Isaiah 46:10-11) He knows what is going to happen and does
not need to change His mind. Scripture seems to show that ordinary things
undergo change, the changeless Creator does not. However, if God did change
His mind, I ask, is that a characteristic of a divine being or is that
a characteristic of a human being? God does what He needs to do to cause
humanity to fulfill His perfect plan. To us it may look like change. God
gives us a choice in all things and when we make the choice He is not
changing His mind, we are choosing and deciding the final outcome.
Message: "Does God Change
His Mind?" (Part #1)
Before I give you my perspective on the above scriptures
let me tell you where this message is going and why I am asking these
Message: "Christ followers and Satan"
WHAT POWER DOES SATAN HAVE?
Limited! And that information comes directly from scripture. However, he is still dangerous and we must take him seriously. An unknown author put it this way “Demons cannot live in Christians hearts, but they can perch on Christian shoulders and whisper in Christians ears.”
CAN CHRISTIANS BE POSSESSED?
Many people think that Satan can possess a Christian and make them do sinful things. Some Christians even think that there are Christians that are possessed by the devil and there are words you can say with the power of Jesus and drive them out. This is not a true statement and there are scriptures that refute that claim (as I will show in this message). Satan cannot possess a true Christ follower! However, Satan can oppress or influence a Christian and that is the big difference. In the New Testament scriptures dealing with Satan and spiritual warfare, no one has ever been told to or has cast out an evil spirit from a believer. Repeatedly though, we (believers) are told to resist evil.
WHO DO WE BELONG TO AND WHO IS IN CONTROL?
Before we get into what power or lack of it Satan has, we need to look at ourselves and what the scriptures say about us and the power we have to fight him.
The Christ-followers I am refering to are defined as people that truly and honestly accept Jesus in their hearts as their Lord and savior, repent, accept His ways and change their lives in order to follow Him. They are the believers that have total faith in Him and with this confession, the Holy Spirit will live in them and they will be a new creation.
With that said, let’s start with 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
First off, we belong to God and our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit. God dwells in us. This is also backed up by Romans 8:9. "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." And in 1 Corinthians 3:16 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?"
As we all know, we can only have one master. Iti is in Matthew 6:24 that we are told; "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." And in Ephesians 6:9-10 we are told who our master is. "And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him."
In 1 Peter 1:18-19 it tells us we were purchased with Jesus’ blood. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." And with that purchase we became a new creation as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."
1 Corinthians 10:21 “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.” And in Matthew 6:24 we are told; "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Do these scriptures not tell us that if we have accepted Jesus and He reigns in us that Satan can’t possess us?
For all the logical people, let’s put faith aside for a moment and look at this logically. Do you think if there is a God, He would sacrifice His Son for us, save us from eternal damnation, make us a 'new creation' and then allow Satan to share power, control and allow His children to be possessed by demons? I think not, both logically and scripturally.
Who has controlling interest in us? Look at 1 John 4:4. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." Who is in us? The Holy Spirit. Who is in the world? Satan. God is greater than Satan.
I think scripture has established who we belong to and who is in control. Now let's look at what scripture has to say about how much power Satan has and how we are to fight him.
SATAN’S POWER AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT.
Satan and his angles have the power to do many things and even perform miracles. As told to us in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." And 2 Thessalonians 2:9, "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders."
There are many scriptures that state his power is in tempting such as in Luke 4:13, "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him <Jesus> until an opportune time." 1 Corinthians 7:5 notes "Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." And Mark 1:13, "and He <Jesus> was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan."
Satan's strategies also include;
Leading the whole world astray; Revelation 12:9, "The
great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil,
or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth,
and his angels with him."
WHAT DO WE DO TO RESIST?
Rely on the Lord and follow the instructions He gave us
in scripture and follow the promptings from the Holy Spirit who lives
Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us to rely on the power and the
armor of God when challenging or being challenged by Satan. “Finally,
be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of
God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our
struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against
the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." And verse
18 tells us to PRAY. "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests."
What I have learned from this study it that as a Christ
follower can’t be possessed by Satan, the devil, or the evil one
(or whatever name he goes by). If a person is thought to be a Christ follower
and is acting as if possessed they are either faking it or they have not
honestly turned over their lives to the Lord. God will not allow us to
serve two masters at the same time.
There is one more thing I need to add to this study. There
is another common assumption of Satan's power that is untrue. It is the
belief that Satan can make you sick. In all the research I did, I did
not find any scripture in the New Testament that states Satan can make
you sick, give you a disease or kill you when ever he wants. Illness and
disease are from things like germs, poor hygiene and an unhealthy life
style. Sin and death have been in our lives since Adam and Eve.
One last thing, remember 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No
temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful;
he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you
are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under
Some of us take it weekly, some monthly and some quarterly. I have taken it at all three different times. I have taken it in denominational and non-denominational churches. I have even tried to take it a Catholic church where it was immediately pulled back (inches away from my lips) when they found out I was not Catholic.
Scripture states in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I have received from the Lord what I also pass on to you. The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took the 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, after super He took the cup, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in my blood, do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."
Scripture does not tell us when to take communion. It does tell us to give thanks (after breaking the bread He gave thanks – a Jewish tradition). It does tell us to remember that the breaking of the bread is a symbol of His broken body and the cup is a reminder of His blood that was shed for us to remove our sins and His blood is also a symbol of the coming of the New Covenant.
Communion is a time to reflect on Jesus, what he did for us and the suffering He went through to accomplish prophecy. To me it is to be taken seriously, because we know what He was in store for when He broke bread that night. However, the disciples still did not understand at that time.
The reason I am mentioning this is because Lucy and I had the opportunity to take communion the other day in a totally new way. This made me reflect on how many different ways I have taken communion.
The standard way I use to take communion when we attended denominational (and non-denominational) churches was pretty much the same no matter where we went. After the message we would get ready for communion. The words spoken by the pastors were pretty close to the same concerning communion. We would pray and then communion was served. The ushers would come down and serve the bread and juice and we would partake, either together all at the same time or some would allow you to reflect for a minute or so before taking the elements when you were ready. Usually there was more time taken serving the elements then there were time spent on prayer and preparation for the elements. Most of the churches we have attended serve communion every week and in the same manner. And the activities around serving the elements, before and after, always seem to be rushed. Could it be because it is usually at the end of the service and people are in a hurry to do whatever it is they have too do after church?
I never noticed it till now, but communion has become quite a let down for me and did not even see it coming. Maybe taking communion every week, going through the motions hearing the same message about communion has made me not take it very seriously. I also see myself, and others, going through the motions of communion, hurrying through prayers and getting it done so we will not hold up the preacher; he is on a time schedule and must keep it! I am going to change my attitude about communion.
Why have we become in such a hurry, what has happened to us that has made us go through the motions and not really take the sacraments very seriously? Is not the death and resurrection of our savior worthy of a little more of our time and attention? And why are some of us in such a hurry to leave church when the service is over?
What brought up all this reflection on my part was taking communion at the church we attend in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico and the way it was presented.
The Friday evening service was a praise and worship service to God and then there was to be communion. We spent the first hour singing praise songs to God, mostly up beat and full of joy. In between songs, prayers were offered up to Him concerning our sins, His forgiveness and our salvation through the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood. It was a time of joy and serious reflection concerning the last supper and what it really meant. There was no hurrying, no rushing and no time schedule. Just time spent with fellow believers that had one thing on their minds: worshiping Him, thanking Him and remembering His sacrifice. For the first time in a long time I actually had time to think about what I was doing and the importance of it. What a great feeling!
Before communion we were advised to hold no offence to anyone before we took the elements. It was also suggested that if there was anyone in the room that we had a conflict with, we should go to them and make amends.
1 Corinthians 11:26-30 states pretty clearly what our attitude should be before we take communion. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”
Shouldn’t WE also be right with Jesus before we take communion in honor of Him?
Let’s slow down and remember His broken body and His shed blood, all done to save our lives.
May His words be burned in your heart.
Message: "Hell, temporary or permanent?"
A number of weeks ago I read a blog from a nondenominational pastor that stated “after studying scripture and reading books on the subject of Hell,” he changed his mind about the eternity of Hell. This pastor went on to say that Hell was real but there were two legitimate interpretations regarding the nature of Hell among serious Bible believing scholars (he did not mention any names). He also stated that Hell is a disputable subject and after studying, any final decision would be an opinion for people to make on their own!
The two views of Hell are; First) the traditional view; the first is seen as the traditional view, where Hell is a place of conscious eternal torment. This view holds that the wicked, or unsaved, will experience eternal and final conscious punishment and be aware of it and experience it forever.
The second view, (the one he now believes in) is sometimes called annihilationism. This view holds that Hell is real and permanent, but a soul experiences a temporary punishment that ends in destruction rather than eternal torment. Hell is not an eternal torture chamber for the lost, but its fires destroy the soul so that the unbeliever is eternally separated from God. The unredeemed are punished for their wrongs and then cease to exist.”(The two views are a quote from his article).
Wow, what a change from what I had learned and read in scripture. I had never given the question of the eternity of Hell a second thought because scripture gives some pretty good information on Hell and what it entails. I read, Hell is permanent just as heaven is permanent and it is not a disputable subject.
After studying scripture, this is what I discovered and my view has not changed (Hell is permanent for those who do not accept Jesus).
As far as I can tell, the views of annihilationism are wrong. The punishment for not accepting Christ is permanent as stated in many scriptures and not “the unredeemed are punished for their wrongs and then cease to exist” as stated as their belief.
And the comment that “Hell is not an eternal torture chamber for the lost” to me is an insult toward God. Scripture makes it very clear many times that we have a choice and can avoid the punishment of Hell if we accept Him. Scripture gives us many examples of how to avoid damnation and have a blessed eternal life in Heaven if we chose to! (see John 8:11, Romans 1:16, 2 Corinthians 7:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Titus 2:11, Hebrews 5:9 to name a few). God does not torture anyone. God gave us the Bible and sent His Son Jesus to us to show us how to avoid the punishment of Hell. Then, when we do not heed His advice and realize the prospect that we may spend eternal punishment in Hell we say God is a torture for sending us there, I think not. To me that is just another excuse some of us make because we have been taught not to accept responsibility for our actions and to blame our deserved punishment on someone else’s harshness. He gives us a way out but many of us don’t take it. We chose to either follow Him and have eternal salvation or be disobedient and have eternal damnation. We sinners, bring upon our self the judgment we rightly deserve. C.S. Lewis stated “the doors of Hell would be locked from the inside! We walk in freely and by then it is too late to return.
Matthew and Thessalonians tells us that punishment is eternal; Matt. 25:46, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." And then we have 2 Thess. 1:8-9, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.”
Some people say that eternal punishment is being removed from the presence of the Lord. Second Thessalonians tells us that we will be eternally punished and removed from the presence of the Lord if condemned.
Other scriptures that tell of eternal torment and punishment are; Matthew 25:41, Jude 1:7, Revelation 14:11 and 20:10.
Please let me know “how do you read it” as Jesus asked in scripture.
His student, Dennis
Message: "The Love Wins controversy"
There has been a lot of talk about this new book by Pastor Rob Bell, “Love wins” on TV and in the newspaper. In a recent Associated Press story (Arizona Daily Star 03/28/2011) it states; “in Rob Bell’s new book he states that he questions the existence of Hell for eternity. That God’s love can triumph over every obstacle including sin. That notion is appalling to many people.” Bell also states “the book is saying we need to take Hell a little more seriously because the people who warn about Hell don’t seem to talk about it very much.” That last statement is the only statement that I agree with him on. The average pastor rarely seems to talk about Hell and I will go a little further and state they also don’t talk very much about the responsibilities we have as Christ followers and what is required of us if we say we are believers! And I think that is a sad commentary to those ministers. Many don’t want to teach or talk about the tough stuff in the Bible. Then it goes on to say “There’s no broad agreement within Christianity about what happens to people after they die.” That may be a true statement and it is only true because so many people profess to be Christians but want to change what the Bible says to fit their own cultural or social needs. To the Christ followers that believe in the Bible and that it is the written truth, there is no discussion; hell is permanent as stated in Scripture.
The article also Talks about the Christian faith. “Some mainline Protestant churches started moving away from the familiar concept of hell as long ago as the 19th century. The Unitarian Universalists Association, which is not a formally Christian denomination but has roots in Christian churches, contains in it’s very name the concept that Bell’s critics accuse him of endorsing; Universalism, the notion that every soul will eventually be united with God in paradise.” The article then closes with the comments about some important denominations and theologians have moved quickly to criticize Bell’s book and that it has generated a lot of discussion. The last paragraph states “this is partly due to Bell’s influence in evangelical circles. His 10,000 member church in Grand Rapids Michigan has grown significantly, and his online videos and breezily written books are popular among young evangelicals.”
I won’t go into what scriptures states about the eternal existence of hell (for more information see my teaching above about hell) except to give two scriptures that state it pretty clearly; Matt. 25:46, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." And then we have 2 Thess. 1:8-9, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” What I would like to cover is the other comments made in this article and comments in general I do not think are accurate or appropriate.
Personally I believe the Bible is accurate and the written word of God inspired by Him; 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." I also believe that we are not to change Scripture as stated in Revelations; Revelation 22:18-19, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll." And we are not to be swayed, Hebrews 13:9, "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings." I think the Bible is also clear as to who we are if we accept Him; John 1:12, "yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of people that don’t believe in God and people that say they believe in God but are very far away from His teachings telling us what the Bible says and means.
Rob Bell states that God’s love can triumph over every obstacle including sin. He is incorrect; God’s love has triumphed over everything including sin as is stated in scripture, Romans 4:25, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." However, the power He has over sin does not remove us from the responsibilities we have. If we are a true Christ follower we be a new creation; 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" And what are we asked to do as a new creation? The Bible tells us; Colossians 1:10 "so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." Another comment he made was that there is no broad agreement within Christianity about what happens to you after you die. That may be correct for those people that call themselves Christ followers and then manipulate the Word of God, but it is not true of those of us who believe in His Word and Scripture is the Word of God.
The article quotes “The Unitarian Universalists Association, which is not a formally Christian denomination but has roots in Christian churches. It contains in its very name the concept that Bell’s critics accuse him of endorsing; Universalism, the notion that every soul will eventually be united with God in paradise (this is another quote from the article).” My question to the reporter is 'why are you even mentioning comments from an organization that is not a Christian denomination on matters that concerns Christians?'”
The last paragraph in the article just serves to add fuel to the fire for those non believers who point fingers at us Christians and say we are in it for the money. To the sadness of many believers that statement is true and can be see by the number of ‘name it and claim it’, ‘prosperity gospel’ and other evangelists that seem to promote wealth for themselves. The statement is (talking about the wave of discussions that is going on) “this is partly due to Bell’s influence in evangelical circles. His 10,000 member church in Grand Rapids Michigan has grown significantly, and his online videos and breezily written books are popular among young evangelicals.”
To this I can only say, what should we expect? We live in a culture where rarely do people take responsibility for their actions and often blame someone else for their problems. Our attention span is measured in short minute increments, we want to do what is easy and fun, we want to read breezy (and lets not leave out sexual) written books and we want to stay away from the hard stuff. We also must include our lack of desire to commit.
As Pastor and marriage counselor Emerson Eggerichs stated “the Beatles gave us a song, ‘All we need is love’, and we bought it hook, line and sinker.” Yes, love is important. It is the most important commandment; Matthew 22:35-37, 35 “One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: '‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'” But love does not relieve us of the responsibilities that come with it.
Some of the ways we can show we truly love Jesus is by following His request as stated in Ephesians. Ephesians 15-20, "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." If we don’t attempt to follow the ways of Jesus and do not truly accept Him, then we better consider what it states in Matthew 7:21; "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
And as for every soul going to be in paradise as believed by the Unitarians and others, I wonder how they would reconcile the teachings stated in the following scriptures. Luke 13:5. "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Matthew 7;13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Luke 12:49-53, 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Revelation 3:16 "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Hebrews 5:9 "and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him."
Remember what Paul told us in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 "So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter."
Another thing I find interesting is that some people state they are Christ followers but they don’t really believe everything in the Bible. They want to change some things and make it more palatable (easier) to follow. Some even say they feel this way because they can’t believe Jesus would actually carryout the difficult things, like not allowing people into heaven that don’t accept Him – even though He clearly states He would deny them entrance.
If these people do not want to believe in what the Bible states or do not think Jesus is the same person He states He is in the Bible, that’s ok. They have a choice and we (the believers) are not to try and force them to believe. In Luke we find scripture that states if people do not accept the words of Jesus you (the messenger) are to leave town and leave judgment to God. Luke 9:5 says "If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
When a person becomes a Police Officer they take an oath to uphold and enforce the law and they have a code of conduct they are supposed to follow. If you do not like those requirements, you don’t become a Police Officer. It is same with a Fireman and many other career choices. Society depends on them to follow the oath they took when they accepted the position. No matter what organization you belong to, you are required and expected to believe in and follow what their guidelines spell out. And most people do. If not, they move on and disassociate themselves from that organization.
Why should we treat the Bible and the words of Jesus any different? If people don’t like what the Bible states or don’t believe in it, don’t belong to the family of believers. In America you are welcome to start your own religion, set your own rules and regulations and make it as easy as possible for people to follow you and believe in what you are saying. Do that instead of trying to change scripture to fit what you 'feel is true'.
I have never understood why people want to join something because they like it and then say, “well we can make it better if we just adopt the changes I think need to be made.” So if someone can do that, then everyone in the organization has the same right to infuse their changes so to make it better (as they feel it would). Eventually the organization will have completely changed and it will no longer resemble what it started out to be nor does it have the same goals and results. Can anyone explain this logic to me?
If I could offer any advice it would be; if you want to have a religion where there is love without responsibility, little or no consequences for your poor choices, and no absolute truths then go for it. Start your religion and promote it. Make your god, give him/her another name and write you own set of scriptures, if you want. You can do all this if you want but my God is the only God, His word is the only word in scripture and He has no other name (there is no vacancy in the Trinity). And His word is not to be added to or taken away from. So start your own religion and I will stand up for your rights to worship even though I don’t believe in your faith, but please leave Jesus out of it.
I will close with one final question Lucy brought up.“If there is no permanent hell and we do not go to eternal punishment if we don't accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then why did Jesus come to Earth and then have to die?”
Dios te bendiga, Dennis
Point to ponder; Romans 16:17-18, "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people."
Message: "God’s Word is alive!"
Some people say that God’s Word is alive. Yes I agree it is. They also say that it is living and can mean one thing now in a person’s life and years later mean something else. That, I don’t think is true.
Yes, scripture is alive and living according to 1 Peter. 1 Peter 1:23 ” For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” As time goes by and we mature, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we learn and understand scripture more clearly. We need to remember that it is we that change and grow in God’s living and enduring Word, not the scripture. In John chapter 1, it tells us that God is the Word. John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And in Hebrews we are told that Jesus never changes. Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” If anything changes, isn’t it us?
Some people say there are many interpretations of scripture. Scripture seems to state this is false. There may be many suggested interpretations but only one true meaning. Having only one meaning does not mean that the application of scripture is limited. The Holy Spirit will guide you to see other applications. However, they will remain true to scripture's original meaning. Example; scripture states to lust is a sin. I may think that lust refers only to physical lust of another person. While that is true, lust can come in many different forms that I don’t want to admit. I may refuse to believe I am lusting after a new car until the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to the sin of lusting for a possession. Then I will see that the application of the sin of lust has changed for me, but not the meaning and sinfulness of lust.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” If we are not living according to God’s Word, His Word can be painful (when we are convicted of sin) as stated in Hebrews 4:12.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This scripture and Hebrews 4:12 talks about God’s Word and does not mention it changing with the times or with different cultures. God’s Word never changes, it is permanent and forever. Again, the application in our lives of God’s Word does and can change. As we grow in our walk, tackle different challenges in life, mature and take Jesus more seriously we see scripture differently. Just the other day I was reading a book on evangelism for the second time. When I read a book I highlight important things I want to remember or re-read. As I was reading, I noticed I needed the yellow highlighter because there was important information that I wanted to remember and that I must have missed the first time. I did not miss that information, it’s just that it is more important to me now because the circumstances in my life have changed. I change, the Word of God does not.
Isaiah 40:8, tells us God’s Word is forever. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 55:11 tells us it has a purpose and will accomplish His will. Again there is nothing about change. Isaiah 55:11 says “so is my Word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The following scriptures tell us of His word being holy, cleansing, the Word of truth, living and enduring. Nothing is mentioned of it changing or being flexible.
Ephesians 5:26 "to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word,”
James 1:18 “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.”
1 Peter 1:23 “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”
If we believe 2 Timothy 3:16 (and other scripture), we must then believe that God’s Word is not to be changed. If it could be fluid, then how could the Word of God be profitable for reproof, correction and instruction?
Yes God’s Word is living but not changing.
What do you think?
His servant, Dennis
To read more of Dennis' teachings go to the Blog in English link on right column at top of this page.