Being Filled With The Holy Spirit Is Not A Once-And-For-All Experience: You Can Be Filled As Many Times As You Need!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit fills the believer in Christ with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and releases upon him the gift(s) of the Spirit. The effects of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit are to energise the believer and empower him/her for effective service and ministry. The initial infilling of the Holy Spirit after salvation is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Spirit experienced in the life and ministry of a believer wanes with service and use. Unless regularly refilled, a believer baptised in the Holy Spirit runs the risk of running out of gas. We shall examine Scripture to see how we ought to be regularly filled with the Spirit, despite the initial baptism, to keep the fire burning!

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples of Christ and filled them for the first time. The promise Christ made to them concerning the Comforter was thus fulfilled. The baptism of the Holy Spirit they experienced on the first occasion was manifested by the gift of speaking in foreign languages they did not learn, leading to wonder and amazement among their foreign audience who could hear them speak their foreign languages clearly. This was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on display. It led to Peter’s inspired sermon and the conversion of about three thousand people. This was preaching of the gospel with power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit! The result was amazing: one sermon produced three thousand converts! No wonder Christ asked them to wait until they were endued with the power of the Holy Spirit before launching out to fulfil the great commision he had given them. The great commision can only be successfully fulfilled with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit!

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

The Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

The first baptism of the Holy Spirit endued the disciples with power from on high, and enabled them witness for Christ in a powerful way, with tremendous success. We see many signs and wonders done by the disciples by virtue of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon them. As they continued to minister to people in the power of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, they got regularly refilled by the Holy Spirit. The initial baptism of the Holy Spirit wasn’t sufficient to carry them throughout the Christian journey. They needed regular refillings to replenish lost virtues and keep the fire burning. As Jesus demonstrated to us in his encounter with the woman who had the issue of blood, virtue or power leaves a minister whenever the Holy Spirit works through the person to effect healing or deliverance, or to bless people in other ways. If virtue could leave Jesus to effect healing in people, then every minister needs to replenish lost virtue after each ministration. The more we minister in the power of the Holy Spirit to people, the more we need to go back to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Each time we meet resistance or opposition, we need to pray for more power to face and overcome them. We need more of God as we serve! We need to replenish power everyday!

Luke 8:43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,

Luke 8:44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.

Luke 8:45 And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”
When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”

Luke 8:46 But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”

Luke 8:47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.

Luke 8:48 And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

The Acts 4:1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

The Acts 4:2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

The Acts 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

The Acts 4:4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

The Acts 4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

The Acts 4:6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

The Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

The Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

The Acts 4:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

The Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

The Acts 4:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’

The Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

The Acts 4:14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

The Acts 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

The Acts 4:16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

The Acts 4:17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

The Acts 4:18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

The Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

The Acts 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

The Acts 4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

The Acts 4:22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

The Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

The Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

The Acts 4:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

The Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

The Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

The Acts 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

The Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

The Apostle Paul, in his admonition to the Ephesians, enjoined them to be filled with the Spirit, rather than being filled with wine which leads to drunkenness. The Apostle encouraged believers to be filled to the brim with the Spirit, to the same extent drunkards get filled with wine to experience inebriation. Believers are thus exhorted to be constantly filled with the Spirit, rather than indulging in works of the flesh. It is only as we get filled with the Spirit that we put to death the flesh and its works. Paul equally prayed for the Christians in Colosse to be filled with knowledge and wisdom, all gifts of the Holy Spirit. The more we’re filled with the Spirit, the more we grow in knowledge and wisdom and spiritual maturity. To be filled with the Spirit means to regularly receive full and fresh anointings of the Spirit. It means not to rely on the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit as a once-and-for-all phenomenon! We need to be overwhelmed or subsumed in the Spirit always. Once we run low on the anointing because of constant usage, we need new topping up, new refillings, to keep us always ready for service!

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

In conclusion, the filling of the Holy Spirit is not a once-and-for-all phenomenon. After the initial baptism that endues one with power from one high, one needs to be regularly refilled with the Spirit. This is because, as one ministers in the power of the Spirit, virtue leaves the minister, as he uses the anointing to minister to people. The more we minister, the more we need to be refilled. It is as we get regularly filled with the Spirit that we serve God more effectively and put to death the works of the flesh. May we go to God daily for fillings of the Holy Spirit, after the initial baptism, so that we will always walk in the Spirit, and thus avoid fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh.


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After Salvation, The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit Is The Most Important Need Of A Believer!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to believers in Christ. Its aim is to empower Christians to be bold and effective witnesses for Christ in terms of soul-winning, as well as to build up the body of Christ. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is something God wants every believer to experience. Christ specifically ordered the Apostles to wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit before launching out in their ministries. The disciples were told to wait to receive the power of the Holy Spirit before embarking on the mission of evangelising the world. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the success of the great commision given to them by the Lord was not guaranteed! That’s the message Christ transmitted to the disciples after his resurrection! We shall examine the Scriptures to see how important the baptism of the Holy Spirit is in the lives and ministries of believers in Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

The Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

The Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

During his own earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus gave power to his disciples to assist him reach areas he could not go to. He transferred some of his own powers to them, to enable them preach the gospel with power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. In giving them power to preach the gospel, he commanded them to heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse lepers (Matthew 10:1-3). It’s instructive to note that Jesus not only gave such powers to the twelve apostles, he also empowered seventy other disciples to carry out such power-packed ministry (Luke 10:1-2). Jesus thus showed that effective preaching of the gospel cannot be done without the anointing of the Holy Spirit and power! As Jesus was about leaving the apostles following the end of his ministry, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to them so that they too would, collectively, do even greater works than he himself had done. While on earth, Jesus operated entirely by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. He promised to anoint his followers in the same manner, so that they too would achieve tremendous success in their own ministries. We find that promise fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. The great works the Apostles accomplished thereafter, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is testimony to the transforming power of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives and ministries of ordinary men and women.

John 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

The Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—

The Acts 10:37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

The Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

John 14:13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Acts 2:32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

The Acts 2:33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

The Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

The Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

From that initial baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost and the great works it enabled the disciples to accomplish in Jesus’ name, every where else believers were found, the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was emphasised. The Apostles made the baptism of the Holy Spirit the most important issue for every believer, after salvation. The first question they asked any believer, upon meeting them, was if they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Nothing else was considered of more importance in the lives of believers than the baptism with the Holy Spirit! The reason should be obvious to all- without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can’t fulfil our ministries and the great commision! The preaching of the gospel is not to be done with the energies and stratagems of the flesh, and certainly not with the enticing words of human wisdom! We’re not to use oratorical skills or psychological gimmicks to win people over to Christ. The gospel is to be preached with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, so that the faith of God’s people would not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God! It is only the gospel preached by the power of the Holy Spirit that produces the greater works prophesied by Christ, and only such works will stand the test of time and of God’s judgment!

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Every believer in Christ needs the baptism of the Holy Spirit to manifest his special gift and ministry to the Church and the world. The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes with the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit to individual members of the body of Christ. The individual gifts of every member are needed for the building up of the entire body of Christ. A church lacking in the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a church lacking in power and the gifts of the Spirit. Such a church will be weak, feeble and carnal, and will not achieve its mandate or fulfil its mission. A church without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and his gifts upon it will neither grow nor be edified. Such a church will not attain spiritual maturity. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and his gifts upon the church, the church will remain human and ordinary, and neither will it be able to do the greater works of Spirit-powered evangelism and witnessing as promised by Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Romans 12:3 Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith
.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

Romans 12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Romans 12:11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Romans 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

In conclusion, the most important need of believers after salvation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and power. The singular most important thing the church needs to fulfil its mandate and accomplish the great commission of evangelising and discipling the world for Christ is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and power. No believer or ministry should take off without seeking and receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is to be carried out in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, so that the faith of the people converted will not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. The baptism of the Holy Spirit releases the gifts of the Holy Spirit into the lives of individual believers, and empowers them for victorious Christian living as well as effective witnessing for Christ. It also enables the edifying and building up of the body of Christ to spiritual maturity. It is therefore understandable why the first question the Apostles asked any new group of believers they met was if they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit and power more than ever today, to be able to do the greater works Christ promised to the Church! And, by God’s grace, we all can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for God is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to his children who ask him, than we are to receive him.

Luke 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11:11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?

Luke 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Thank you so much for visiting this blog. We appreciate you and the precious time you spared to read through this lengthy post. If you were blessed by this message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with others (with due acknowledgement of the source). You can also follow us to have subsequent posts sent directly to you through your email. God bless you abundantly in Jesus name! Amen!

The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit Doesn’t Save People; It Only Empowers Saved People To Be Better Christians And More Effective Witnesses For Christ!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is thought by some Christians to be the means by which we are saved. Such groups of believers opine that one cannot be saved without being baptised in the Holy Spirit, making the salvation process incomplete without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Can someone be saved without the baptism of the Holy Spirit? What’s the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers? We shall examine relevant portions of the Scriptures to understand the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well as its role, if any, in the salvation process.

Before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit did not dwell in any believer. Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would anoint people and empower them from outside to perform God-given tasks in supernatural ways. However, prior to Pentecost, the Spirit never dwelt in anybody (other than Christ) on a resident basis. The Holy Spirit was not given to men to dwell on the inside of them until Jesus was glorified (died, resurrected and ascended back to heaven to the glory he had with God before the foundation of the world). It was 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven that he received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and released him upon his disciples on the day of Pentecost. From that moment, the Holy Spirit has filled, indwelt and resided in Christians. From that moment, the promise of rivers of living water flowing out of believers’ hearts unto eternal life became a reality.

John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Luke 24:36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”

Luke 24:37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.

Luke 24:38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Luke 24:39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

Luke 24:40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

Luke 24:41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”

Luke 24:42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.

Luke 24:43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.

Luke 24:51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

Luke 24:52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

Luke 24:53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

The Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

The Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

The Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

The Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Acts 1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

So, we see that the promise of the Holy Spirit was made to people who had already believed in Jesus and had been saved, for salvation is obtained by placing one’s faith in Christ Jesus and confessing him as Lord and Saviour. To fulfil his promise to those who had already believed on him, Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon them ten days after his ascension, on the day of Pentecost. The coming of the Spirit was to empower and embolden the already saved believers to be better and more effective witnesses of Christ. We see that happening upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Hitherto afraid, shy and timid, the believers suddenly became extraordinarily bold and confident in speaking the word of God and testifying of Jesus. People who had hitherto locked themselves up for fear of the Jews suddenly became fearless and bold in a way that couldn’t be explained by those that knew them. They were able to witness for Christ in an extraordinary manner from that moment onward.

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians Andrew Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

The Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

The Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

The Acts 4:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

The Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

The Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

The Acts 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

The Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

People normally receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after they have believed and received Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not what saves people. What saves people is believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes in their heart that Jesus died for their sins and rose up again for their justification becomes saved immediately. That’s how people get saved. Thus, people can get saved without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We see that on several occasions in the Scriptures, where people receive Christ and get saved, and experience a long interval before they get baptised by the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit in such cases wasn’t essential to salvation, because the people thus baptised by the Holy Spirit were already saved people. The baptism of the Holy Spirit received by such people was to imbue them with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit to be able to live and witness for Christ more boldly and more effectively.

The Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 The Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

As we have seen from the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures cited above, salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate events, occurring at varying lengths of time apart. We should therefore not mix up both events. What’s the purpose of the Holy Spirit baptism upon people who are already saved? From some of the Scriptures cited above, we see that the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings the power of the Holy Spirit upon believers to live and witness more effectively for Christ. The Holy Spirit brings his gifts and fruits into the believers’ lives. The gifts of the Spirit are to confirm the gospel message, and the fruits of the Spirit are to vindicate the believer as being of Christ. The Holy Spirit thus acts as God’s seal of approval to believers for their acts of obedience in believing and having faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit also comforts and inspires believers, as well as teaches, guides and leads them.

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (AKJV).

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,

Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

The Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

In conclusion, salvation is entirely by believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The salvation process is complete the moment we believe in our hearts that Jesus died and rose for our justification and we confess him as Lord and Saviour. From that moment, we are saved and become children of God. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is God’s gift to believers, occurs at variable periods after the salvation experience, and is not part of the salvation process. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to make our salvation complete, but rather, the Holy Spirit comes upon saved people to indwell and empower them to be powerful and victorious Christians and more effective witnesses for Christ.

Thank you so much for visiting this blog. We appreciate you and the precious time you spared to read through this lengthy post. If you were blessed by this message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with others (with due acknowledgement of the source). You can also follow us to have subsequent posts sent directly to you through your email. God bless you abundantly in Jesus name! Amen!

Is It Possible To Lose One’s Salvation After Being Saved?An Examination Of The Doctrine Of The Eternal Security Of The Saved.

(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version)

“Once saved, always saved” is the mantra of those who believe in the eternal security of the saved. Proponents of this doctrine believe salvation is an eternal possession that cannot be lost for any reason. They believe one cannot be born again and later become “unborn again”; that one cannot become a child of God through the new birth experience and later become a child of the devil again, for whatever reason. What does the Bible say about this issue? Can a born again child of God backslide and be lost? Can someone who had once experienced salvation end up in hell? Let’s examine the Bible to answer these questions.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

John 15:2 Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

The Lord Jesus, in the passage above, compared himself to a vine tree, and those who believe in him as branches of that tree. He went further to say that branches of that tree (believers) that aren’t fruitful would be cut off, and those believers that don’t abide in him would be cast away like dead branches of a tree that people gather for burning. If it’s not possible for believers who no longer abide in Christ to be cut off from him, why would he give this analogy of the relationship of believers (branches) to himself (the tree)? Remember that the Lord was addressing none other than the original twelve apostles here! (And, didn’t Judas Iscariot, who was among the twelve, end up being cut off and destroyed?). John the Baptist also used a similar analogy in his message to people who came to him for the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. He told them that God’s axe was at the root of every tree (symbolising God’s people here), and that any tree that didn’t bring forth good fruits would be cut down and cast into the fire. Jesus too used a similar metaphor when talking about false prophets and unfruitful believers in another passage. Surely, this cutting off and casting into the fire of bad-fruit bearing trees (and non-fruitful branches) can’t be referring to unconditional salvation for all believers? Surely, it can’t be validating the doctrine of “once saved, always saved”?

Matthew 3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Matthew 3:9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father, for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

Matthew 3:10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 3:11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Matthew 7:21 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.

Matthew 7:22 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?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Scripture makes us understand that only those who believe and endure to the end shall be saved; that it’s possible to start off as a believer in Christ (saved), but get derailed along the way and get lost in the end. Some people will get saved, follow Christ and enjoy the benefits of salvation, and later draw back unto perdition (destruction). Christ threatened to remove a whole church out of its place, for abandoning its first love, if it didn’t repent and come back to where it fell from. Surely, the Lord wasn’t just making a vain threat? Surely, he meant what he said? We would be wise not to write off such remarks as empty threats! God does not mince words! He says what he means and he means what he says!

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Matthew 10:17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,

Matthew 10:18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

Matthew 10:19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.

Matthew 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Matthew 10:21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,

Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,

Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,

Hebrews 6:6 if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Hebrews 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions;

Hebrews 10:33 Partly, whilst you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst you became companions of them that were so used.

Hebrews 10:34 For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Hebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.

Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back to perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul (AKJV).

Revelation 2:4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

The Apostles of the Lord referred to several Old Testament Scriptures where God rejected and destroyed some of his people he had earlier saved, but who later departed from him, and used those examples to warn believers in the New Testament of a similar fate awaiting those of us who would follow their evil examples in departing from the living God. If Jehovah could destroy people he had saved earlier, because they stopped believing and following him, the same thing will happen to those of us who once believed Jesus and were saved, but later turn our backs on him and stop believing him as Lord and Saviour. Our salvation depends on our faith in Christ. For as long as we place faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour and follow him, we’re saved. The moment we stop having faith in Christ and following him, we lose our salvation, for we have then cut ourselves off from Christ. Eternal life is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. For as long as we have the Son of God, we have life. The moment we abandon him, we forfeit our eternal life. People who have believed in Christ as Lord and Saviour can fall from grace and be lost! That’s why the Scriptures constantly warn us to take heed to ourselves, to constantly examine ourselves to see whether we’re still in the faith. That’s why we’re constantly warned to remain steadfast in our faith in Christ to the very end, for only those who believe and endure to the end shall be saved! Only overcomers at the end will be saved and rewarded for their steadfast faith in Christ. Christ will deny those of his people who deny him before men. It’s not a vain threat, for he’ll acknowledge those who acknowledge him as Lord and Saviour, and deny those who deny him as such.

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, Today, if you hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,

Hebrews 3:9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works

Hebrews 3:10 for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest.

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:14 For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Hebrews 3:15 As it is said, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

Hebrews 3:16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?

Hebrews 3:17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

1 Corinthians 10:1 I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

1 Corinthians 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

1 Corinthians 10:9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,

1 Corinthians 10:10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Jude 1:5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Galatians 5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.

Galatians 5:3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Luke 9:23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Luke 9:25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Matthew 10:32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

Matthew 10:33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

2 Timothy 2:11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

2 Timothy 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

2 Timothy 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

2 Corinthians 13:5 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!

1 John 5:10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

2 Peter 2:21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

2 Peter 2:22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.

We’re severally warned in Scriptures not to grieve the Holy Spirit, to abstain from fleshly lusts and to continually purge ourselves and remain steadfast in our faith. Why are we exhorted to do all these things? If we continually grieve the Spirit by ungodly lifestyles, what will happen? Can the Spirit depart from us? Can we become reprobates? Paul spoke of a fellow worker, Demas, who deserted him and the Lord, and went back to the world. If Demas remained in that state until his death, what do we think would be his fate? Are there no consequences for a backslider who never comes back to the Lord and to the faith? Paul also talked of some disciples who had previously believed the truth of the gospel, but later swerved from the faith. What would happen to such if they died in their errors? In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul warned believers about certain categories of people who would not inherit the kingdom of God. Was such a warning necessary if no believer could fail to inherit the kingdom?

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

2 Timothy 2:16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

2 Timothy 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

2 Timothy 2:18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

2 Timothy 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: The Lord knows those who are his, and, Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.

2 Timothy 2:20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

2 Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmathi

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

1 Corinthians 6:10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Proponents of unconditional eternal security of the saved (once saved, never can be lost) quote the popular Scripture that has the Lord saying: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29). It’s true that all that the Father has given Christ will come to him. But, that also included people like Judas Iscariot, Demas, etc, who later fell from grace and were lost. It’s also true that no one can pluck any man out of God’s hands. However, a man can pluck himself out of God’s hands! A man can cut himself off from God and from his grace! Israel was engraved in the palm of God’s hands, and her walls were continually before God (Isaiah 49:16). Israel could not be cursed, nor could she be defeated, as long as she remained in God’s hands (Numbers 23:7-23). However, Israel abandoned the loving and protective arms of Jehovah and went into idolatory, and she ended up being cursed, defeated and disgraced! (Numbers 26:1-18). They’ve had their natural branch cut off from God’s tree because of rebellion! In the same way, a believer in God’s hands today can cut himself off and be lost, if he rebels and abandons God’s protective care. For such people that abandon the faith and go back to the world, God is not obligated anymore to protect and preserve them. Like Israel of Old, they would be left to their own fate. They would thus bring curses and damnation upon themselves.

Romans 11:13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry

Romans 11:14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.

Romans 11:15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?

Romans 11:16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,

Romans 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.

Romans 11:19 Then you will say, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.

Romans 11:20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.

Romans 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

Romans 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

Romans 11:23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

Romans 11:24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

Matthew 23:38 See, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Finally, Scripture promises that some people’s names will be removed from the book of life! Yes, some people who were once saved and had their names written in the book of life would have their names expunged from there, for failing to keep the faith, for failing to endure to the end and for failing to overcome. God promised that he would remove from his book of life those who sin against him. Christ promised not to remove from the book of life those believers who would overcome to the end. This means that those who fail to overcome will be removed from the book of life! Nothing can be plainer than this truth! For as long as we remain in Christ, our salvation is secure, and our names will not be removed from the book of life. If we lose faith in Christ, cut ourselves off from him and backslide totally and completely, our names will be removed from the book of life, and we will be eternally lost if we die in that state! If someone’s name is removed from the book of life, it means the name was once in the book of life. Who else have their names in the book of life but the saved and the redeemed? This means that the once saved and redeemed can be lost!

Exodus 32:31 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, Alas, this people have sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold.

Exodus 32:32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.

Exodus 32:33 But the LORD said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.

Revelation 3:5 He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels (AKJV).

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (AKJV).

In conclusion, salvation is contingent on one’s faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Eternal life is found only in Christ Jesus. Whoever has Christ has eternal life; whoever does not have Christ has the wrath of God abiding in him/her. For as long as a believer abides in Christ and Christ abides in him, he has eternal life and will bear the fruits of righteousness. If, however, a believer stops abiding in Christ and stops having faith in him, he’ll be cut off from eternal life and cast away as a dead branch to be burnt. Believers can have their names expunged from the book of life, for failing to endure till the end, and for failing to overcome. For sure, no one can pluck a believer out of God’s hands. However, the believer can remove himself out of God’s protective care, by ceasing to have faith in God. When someone who once believed and experienced salvation backslides, goes back to the world and dies in their backslidden state, it will be as though they were never saved. Their previous righteousness and walk with the Lord will not count. That’s what the Bible teaches. Thus, the doctrine of unconditional eternal security of the saved is unscriptural. Salvation can be lost, and the once saved person will be damned if he backslides and dies in his backslidden state.

Ezekiel 33:12 And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.

Ezekiel 33:13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die.

Ezekiel 33:14 Again, though I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right,

Ezekiel 33:15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Ezekiel 33:16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.

Ezekiel 33:17 Yet your people say, The way of the Lord is not just, when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel 33:18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it.

Ezekiel 33:19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by them.

Ezekiel 33:20 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not just. O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.

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The Grace Of God For Salvation Is Available For All Men: A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Selective And Arbitrary Predestination Of Men Unto Salvation

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The question as to whether salvation is available for all men, or only for some predestined elect, is a cardinal focus of reformed theology. Those who believe in absolute predestination of the soul deny human freedom in salvation. According to proponents of predestination, only those chosen before the foundation of the world by divine election can and will be saved. All others, irrespective of their faith in God, cannot be saved, as they’re not part of the elect. So goes the doctrine of predestination. Is arbitrary predestination the basis of salvation? Can all men be saved? Is there a place for human freedom in salvation, or is salvation all of God, without any human contribution? This article will attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Apostle Paul makes us understand in the passage above that the saving grace of God is available to ALL MEN! The grace for salvation can be accessed by all! And why shouldn’t it be so? After all, Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people, and not just for those in the Church! He paid the price for the sins of all men, from every tribe and tongue and nation. He’s the saviour of the whole world! He’s the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world!

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.

John 1:29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father —Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

It shouldn’t be difficult to fathom why God would extend saving grace to all men, and why he would send a saviour for the entire race. The answer lies in the depth of God’s love for mankind. God loves all men and wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires for all men to be saved. All men are his creation, and he cares for all, both the good and the evil. He doesn’t want any man to perish. For this reason, he gives all men the grace and the space to repent, and doesn’t give up on anyone till their very last moment on earth! God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but rejoices when any wicked person repents and comes back to him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (ESV).

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

We see then that salvation is a free gift of God to all men. Whoever believes in the Son of God and confesses him as Lord and Saviour will be saved. Anyone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and appropriates it for himself will experience God’s salvation. There’s no exclusive group of people for which salvation is predestined. There’s no particular group of people for which salvation is foreclosed. God is no respecter of persons; anyone who fears God and draws near to him will be accepted by God. The promise of salvation is for “whosoever will“, “he that believes“, “all that believe“, etc. It is for all men and all women!

Romans 10:11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Exponents of arbitrary predestination teach that God foreordained and elected some people to salvation before the foundation of the world, while sentencing others to eternal damnation, for no reason other than his good pleasure. Based on this teaching, no matter what anyone does, those predestined to salvation must be saved, and those foreordained to damnation must be damned! There is thus no room and no place for the exercise of free will. In essence, we’re all just puppets/automatons in the hands of God. Our actions have no consequences whatsoever, as the elect of God can do no wrong (because of unconditional love bestowed upon them), while those reserved for destruction can do no right, because of God’s perpetual displeasure with them. This teaching collapses everywhere in the face of Scripture, as it has no biblical foundation. First, salvation and redemption are available to all, and not just to a predestined few, as shown above. It flies in the face of countless Scriptures to say that God planned to save only a select few, when the Bible plainly teaches that God desires for all men to be saved, and that it’s not his will that any man should perish.

Second, predestination is not arbitrary; it’s based on God’s foreknowledge. Because God can see the end from the beginning, and because he knows all things, he is able to know before hand those who would believe the gospel and those who wouldn’t, even before they were born. Based on this foreknowledge, he calls those people he knew would choose him his own, while disowning those he knew would not accept his salvation. The elect according to the foreknowledge of God will hear and receive the word of God and be saved, thus confirming God’s foreknowledge of them! Predestination is thus not arbitrary, but is based on God’s foreknowledge of people before they come into existence. That’s what Scripture teaches!

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (ESV).

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (ESV).

Genesis 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Genesis 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.

The Acts 15:18 Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Why would the Scriptures ask men to choose between good and evil, and between life and death, if we do not have the freewill to make that choice? Will God be justified to judge us according to our works if we were divinely programmed to do those works like automatons? If human freedom is out of the question, and arbitrary predestination is the basis of salvation, then there should be no need for judging men at all, since all are just fulfilling the divine will. There should be no punishment for human actions, since all human actions are just manifestations of the divine will. Why do we need to preach the gospel to all creatures if those to be saved would be saved anyway, and those to be damned will be damned no matter what we do? If the outcomes of our lives are already predetermined and cast in stone, why do we work and toil and labour? Why don’t we just sit still and let God’s will be done?

Scripture teaches us that humans are free moral agents with the capacity to make moral choices. We’re also taught in Scripture that our actions and our choices do have consequences. We’re not some robots or automatons programmed to do God’s will without a mind of our own! We’re not puppets being manipulated by divinity. Man was created in God’s image and likeness, with the ability to choose between good and evil, else God’s command for man to shun evil and choose good would be meaningless! We can choose to follow God and be saved, or we can choose to turn our backs on him and be damned! We can choose to be on God’s side, or we can choose to be his adversary. And, whatever moral choices we make, God respects and honours them, and will justly judge us based on our actions at the end of it all. The only way God can be a fair and a just judge is if all men are placed on the same footing and given the same chance to serve and follow God. Anything other than that would make God unjust and unfair. But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jehovah is a God of justice. He’s the epitome of justice and fairness, as he gives everyone equal opportunities for salvation.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;

Deuteronomy 30:16 In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

Deuteronomy 30:18 I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell you, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? who has told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence from the Scriptures that salvation is a free gift of God which is available to all men. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, even though some will reject it. All men are created free moral agents with the capacity to choose between good and evil. No one is arbitrarily predestined to salvation, as no one is also arbitrarily foreordained to eternal damnation. Our final destination is contingent on our choices here. If we choose life, we shall live eternally. If we reject life, we shall die. If we accept God’s salvation in Christ, we shall be saved; if we reject it, we shall be damned. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our actions and our final destination. Divine predestination and foreordination are based on divine foreknowledge of our actions. In predestination, God only affirms the choices he knew we would make, based on his foreknowledge. Predestination is just an affirmation of human freedom before it actually takes place, like being able to see and record tomorrow before it happens. The record does not impose on men what they must do; it only foresees and records before hand what men will do on their own, as free moral agents.

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Will Everyone Be Saved Just Because Jesus Christ Died For The Sins Of The Whole World? A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Universalism

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

Jesus Christ has paid the price for the sins of the whole world. He died on Calvary to redeem every son and daughter of Adam. However, not every one will be saved from God’s wrath. Some people will end up in hell and the lake of fire, despite the fact that the ransom for their souls had been paid. Why will some people go to hell despite the fact that the penalty for their sins has been paid by some else? Shouldn’t salvation for everyone be automatic, since the price for all our sins has been paid? Is God justified to allow anyone to go hell? We shall examine the Scriptures and other relevant legal documents, to find answers to these questions.

We’ve shown elaborately, from previous teachings on the blog, that salvation is a free gift of God to mankind, made possible through the atoning sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ. Anyone can access that gift of salvation by just believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin on Calvary, and accepting him as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes and confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be saved. There are thus two parts to salvation- the provision of the sacrifice needed to appease God, and the acceptance and presentation of that sacrifice back to God. God, even though he’s the offended party, took it upon himself to make a way for rebellious men to be reconciled back to him, by providing the atoning sacrifice for sinful mankind. Compelled by his great love for mankind, God offered his only begotten Son as the sin offering to make a way of escape for men. God did for all men what no man could do for himself or for the race, for no man was/is capable and worthy of offering himself as a propitiatory sacrifice for his sins and those of others. Now, having provided man the needed sacrifice, the least God expects from man is to accept the sacrifice. It is every man’s responsibility to appropriate that sacrifice for himself and present it to God as the ransom for his soul. Anyone who fails to do that is not only rejecting God’s provided sacrifice, he’s also trampling underfoot the blood of the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of Grace that made that atoning sacrifice possible. Such a person has only himself to blame for not accepting God’s provided way of escape from the curse of sin and death, because he failed to accept God’s free gift of grace!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

John 8:22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

John 8:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

While testing his obedience, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to him. Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac up to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Just as he was about to kill Isaac who was bound on the altar, God spoke from heaven and stopped Abraham from proceeding further, offering Abraham an alternative sacrifice (a ram) to present to him instead. Abraham had the choice to either accept God’s provided alternative, or go ahead with the killing of his son. He made the wise choice of using God’s alternative and sparing his son’s life. That’s exactly the same scenario sinful men have found themselves in. Because we’ve all sinned, we all deserve to die, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). And while we were staring death in the face, God came down and provided an alternative sacrifice in our stead, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in his loving bid to save us from death, asked us to use that sacrificial Lamb he has provided and present it to him instead, as the ransom for our souls. Anyone who fails to accept God’s Lamb, will only have himself to blame. His sins will remain unremitted, because he refused the provided ransom. He will justifiably die in his sins and cannot blame anyone but himself for his fate. Such a person rejected God’s mercy, and should be ready to face God’s wrath!

Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”

Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.

Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 22:11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”

Genesis 22:12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

John 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

In th Old Testament, the sinner would approach the brazen altar with the sacrifice for his sins, lay his hands on the sacrifice and confess his sins over the animal, before the innocent substitute is killed. It’s a symbolic act of transferring guilt to the innocent animal and laying the penalty of one’s sins upon it. The transferred sins would make the animal guilty and worthy of death. This is a type of the process of redemption that was played out by Christ, the Lamb of God. We have to lay our hands on him, receive and accept him as our personal sacrifice, for his death to count for us. We must personally appropriate his death for ourselves, in order to benefit from the redemption therein. God has offered the free gift of salvation to all, but we must all individually receive it for ourselves for us to possess it. A gift may be offered by someone, but until it’s accepted and received, it’s not yet the property of the intended target. You must accept and receive a gift for it to become yours. Just as people can reject a gift and thus never enjoy it, one can reject God’s gift of salvation and end up not enjoying it! God wishes all mankind to be saved. He’s offered everyone that chance. But, not all will accept it, and not all will come under the shadow of his wings for protection, though he offers all the chance.

Leviticus 16:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died;

Leviticus 16:2 and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.

Leviticus 16:3 “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.

Leviticus 16:4 He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.

Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

Leviticus 16:7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

Leviticus 16:8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.

Leviticus 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.

Leviticus 16:10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

Leviticus 16:21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.

Leviticus 16:22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Luke 13:35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

2 Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Before the destruction of the ante-diluvian world, God ordered Noah to build an ark to preserve the lives of as many as would enter it for safety. Noah obeyed God and built the ark to God’s specifications. Thereafter, Noah preached to people to get into the ark to avoid being destroyed by the impending flood. But, all (less his immediate family) scorned him and his message. Eventually, the flood came as prophesied, and the entire world, less those in the ark, was wiped out. People who died in the flood didn’t die because of their sins. They didn’t die because there was no way of escape. Those people died simply because they rejected God’s provided way of escape from the catastrophic flood. They spurned God’s salvation and died for their rebellion. Similarly, people will not go to hell because of their sins. People will not go to hell because there is no way of escape from hell. Rather, people who end up in hell will do so because they rejected God’s salvation!

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

1 Peter 3:19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Finally, let me leave us with a landmark legal case, culled from http://www.wikipedia.com, that shows a pardon can be rejected, and thus become ineffectual. United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 150 (1833), was a case in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death [1]. Due to his friends’ influence, Wilson was pardoned by President Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case [1]. The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him” [2]. Wilson was hanged [3].

And so will everyone burn in the lake of fire (the second death) who dies without accepting God’s pardon for sin as purchased by Jesus Christ on Calvary for the whole of humankind. This is why every one will not be saved (though all can be saved), even though there’s pardon for everyone’s sins. Only those who accept God’s pardon and have their sins remitted will be saved and enjoy everlasting life, while the rest who reject God’s mercy will experience his full wrath in the everlasting lake of fire. May we be wise to accept God’s mercy (while it’s not late) rather than face his judgment, for it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

If you’re blessed by this message, kindly like, share and drop a comment. You can also follow us on the blog to have new posts delivered straight to you via your email. Thanks for visiting the blog. We appreciate you. God bless you!

References:

  1. Bohm, Robert M., Death Quest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States, p25.
  2. ^http://press -pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents

3.^ “11 notable presidential pardons-CNN.com

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The issue of salvation of the soul and its preparedness for life after death has agitated every descendant of Adam since the fall of man. Instinctively, every man knows he’s on the wrong side of God, and like Adam, tries to hide from the divine presence. Sin is at the heart of man’s apprehension to meet God. God is holy and can’t behold iniquity, whereas every man is born in sin and is full of iniquity. Since Adam, every man, from philosophers to artisans, in confronting the sin problem, has sought to find a satisfactory answer to the question, “what must I do to be saved?”. The question can also be asked in another way: ” How do I prepare to meet God?”. Until we find a satisfactory answer to this all-important question, we’re not ready to live and, even less ready to die. This article seeks to answer this question that’s as old as mankind, from the Apostolic point of view.

The Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

The Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

The Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

The Acts 16:28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

The Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

The Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

The Acts 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

The Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

The Acts 16:34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

The Philippian jailor was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to ask this life-defining question to the people who could give him the right answers. Having seen the miraculous manifestations of God’s power in the lives of the Apostles, the jailor believed them to be servants of the most high God who could show him the way of salvation. Overwhelmed by the presence of the supernatural in the ministry of Paul and Silas, their jailor fell at their feet and popped the all-important question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. The answer he received was brief but life-transforming: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, for only Christ paid the ransom for men’s souls on the cross of Calvary. Only Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was found satisfactory by God as an atonement for men’s sins. Only the blood of Christ can blot away sins and reconcile fallen men back to God. To be saved, one must believe in Christ’s death as sufficient atonement for his sins, and must confess him as Lord and Saviour. Whoever does that genuinely will be saved and become a child of God. It’s that simple! This simplicity of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus is corroborated throughout the New Testament.

Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)

Romans 10:7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

How simple God’s provided way of salvation is! How free it is to mankind, though it cost the life of God’s only begotten Son! It doesn’t require us performing tedious tasks or acts of penance (like the labours of Hercules) before we can be saved. It doesn’t require us getting a profound knowledge of theology before we can be made right with God! It doesn’t even require us to change our ways before we become acceptable to God! For, how can we change our ways on our own without God’s help? If we could change our ways on our own before coming to God, then there would have been no need for Christ to die on Calvary in order to redeem us back to God. If we could have mended our ways on our own, we wouldn’t have needed a Saviour! We can’t work our way to salvation. If we needed to do any works to be saved, then salvation would not be a free gift. It would be a reward, an earned wage, in that case . But God has made it a free gift! It’s all a work of grace. It’s all dependent on the merits of the works of Christ on Calvary. From A to Z, salvation is of the Lord!

Isaiah 55:1 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Isaiah 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David (ESV)

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Romans 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Justification (being made right with God) is thus entirely by faith in Christ Jesus. By placing our faith in his finished works on our behalf at Calvary, God pardons our sins and imputes righteousness unto us. By accepting that Christ died for our sakes, God reckons we died with him too. And when he rose up again the third day, we rose up with him too. And right now, we’re sitted with him in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers. If someone has paid the price for our sins, why should God still hold us accountable, if we identify with our substitute and place faith in him? God will not be righteous if he holds us guilty still, after the ransom for our soul has been paid. But because Jehovah is the righteous judge, he accepts our righteous and perfect sacrifice, and so declares us not guilty. By believing in Christ, we become free from the guilt and penalty of sin! Hallelujah!

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 5:11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Romans 5:16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Romans 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

We cannot make peace with God any other way. Salvation can be found in no other way, for there’s no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved. There is no other person to reunite fallen mankind with God other than the only mediator there is between God and men. There is nothing else we can give to ransom our souls. Our silver and gold and the entire riches on earth cannot be given in exchange for our souls. The wages of sin is death, and only a fellow sinless man can act as kinsman redeemer on our behalf. And, in the entire human race from Adam to this moment, only one person has met that qualification of perfect sinlessness required to redeem man. Only the Lord Jesus Christ, immaculately conceived and virgin born, who lived a perfect and sinless life, was found worthy to pay the ransom for our souls by the sacrifice of himself. It’s no other person than God’s only begotten son himself, manifested in human flesh, that was found worthy to vicariously die for Adam’s race and redeem us thereby, having become kinsman to us through the incarnation. At once, we see both the justice and the mercy of God at play. Divine justice demanded that God punish sin severely, but his mercy triumphed over his judgment, by providing the sacrifice to atone for our sins himself. God loved us so much that he sacrificed his only begotten Son to pay the penalty of our rebellion against him! Oh, the length and breadth and height and depth of God’s love! What riches of mercy and grace God has shown to mankind in Christ Jesus! Glory to his name!

The Acts 4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

The Acts 4:6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

The Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

The Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

The Acts 4:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

The Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

The Acts 4:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’

The Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Mark 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Mark 8:37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Psalms 49:7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life,

Psalms 49:8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,

Psalms 49:9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit.

Psalms 49:10 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.

Psalms 49:11 Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names.

Psalms 49:12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.

Psalms 49:13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah (ESV).

In conclusion, the most important question in life is that of the salvation of the soul. Until we have answered that question satisfactorily, we’re not ready to meet God. Thankfully and mercifully, God has provided a way of salvation for the soul, in the sacrificial death and resurrection of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. All we need to do to appropriate God’s salvation is to believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and confess him as such. Just by having such faith in Christ, we are made new creatures by God, and thus saved from the wrath to come. That’s how to escape from the second death in the lake of fire, which is the deserved punishment for all sinners. That’s what we all must do to be saved!

You can say the sinner’s prayer below, and be saved right now, and thus make peace with God and escape the wrath of God awaiting every sinner in hell:

” Heavenly Father, I acknowledge I’m a sinner and that I’ve fallen short of your glory. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and to rise up again for my justification. Right now, I believe and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and I receive your pardon for my sins. Thank you for remitting my sins and for making me a child of God. I ask and receive all these in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen!”

If you have said this prayer sincerely, you are now born again and your sins have been forgiven by God. You’re now a child of God! Congratulations! I advise you to join a Bible-believing church right away for fellowship with other children of God, to read the Bible and to pray regularly to God, your heavenly Father. Kindly give us a feedback so we too can be praying for you.

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The Cross Of Christ Is The Heart And Soul Of Christianity

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The central message of Christianity and of the gospel is the cross of Jesus Christ. Christianity rises and falls on it. It was the crux of the Apostles’ message, and the one thing they fought and died for. Jesus Christ and him crucified was the only message Paul was determined to transmit to the people he ministered to. Our justification, sanctification and glorification are all tied to this message and how we relate to it. The greatest and most damnable heresies the Apostles combated and contended against had to do with perversions of the message of the cross or its outright repudiation. Because it’s a matter of life and death and has eternal consequences with respect to the soul’s destiny, we need to understand the message of the cross clearly. Only by having a clear revelation of the cross of Christ will we be able to appreciate the sacrifice made for us at Calvary. This article intends to scripturally review the message of the cross and rally Christians back to it.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;

1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The preaching of the cross is the gospel message, the good news of salvation from sin and death, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the message that salvation can only be found in one place and in one person- the cross of Jesus Christ! This is the central message of the Bible. All the prophets of old pointed to it, and all the Apostles pointed back to it, as the fulfilment of God’s promise to mankind to provide a way of escape from the curse of sin and death. Christ’s life gave us a wonderful example of God’s love, holy living and righteousness. He was the perfect and sinless man, full of grace and truth. However, without his death on the cross, his life would not have been of eternal benefit to us. Without his propitiatory and substitutionary death on our behalf on the cross of Calvary, no person would have been saved, and all of Adam’s race would have ended up in hell and the lake of fire!

It was not the gracious words of Christ that purchased our salvation. It was not his inspiring and motivational speeches that ransomed our souls from death. His life and and his teachings would have made us live long and good and prosperous lives, for he was a great teacher and a great motivator and inspirer. His healing power definitely cured diseases, cast out demons and raised the dead, even though they still died again, after a full lifespan. However, without his death on the cross, we all would have died and gone to hell, in spite of the good lives his inspiring words would have enabled us to live. So, we see that his death was more important to us than his life. His death and resurrection are the basis of eternal life and Christianity.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,

1 Corinthians 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Right from the book of Genesis, we see the pattern of salvation clearly laid out. When Adam and Eve sinned, God shed an innocent lamb’s blood to cover their sins temporarily, while clothing them with the skin. All throughout the Old Testament, sacrificial animals were offered in place of sinful man as atonement for sin. God thus made it abundantly clear that without the shedding of blood, there can’t be any remission for sin. The penalty for sin is death, as God forewarned Adam and Eve, and every soul ever since has deserved to die, for we were all born sinners. Yet, the mercy of God has always triumphed over his judgement, providing a way of escape for sinful man, through the death of innocent substitutes. All these animal substitutes pointed to the perfect Sacrifice God would provide as a remission of sin- his only begotten Son. Those sinless and unblemished animals foreshadowed the perfect Lamb of God who would come to take away the sin of the world by the sacrifice of himself. Christ was the embodiment and fulfilment of all the sacrifices for sin in the Old Testament. Only his voluntary, substitutionary and propitiatory death could satisfy God’s righteous demands and secure mankind’s salvation.

Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

Hebrews 9:20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

Hebrews 9:21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Hebrews 9:23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Hebrews 9:25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—

Hebrews 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’

John 1:31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

John 1:32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

John 1:33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John 1:34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

1 Peter 1:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

Matthew 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Matthew 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—

Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Salvation is therefore based on what happened on the cross of Christ at Calvary, and the resurrection that followed three days after. Without Calvary, there would have been no resurrection, and without the resurrection, we all would have been doomed to an eternity in hell! The sacrifice of Calvary justifies and sanctifies us, and is the basis of our glorification. Without the cross, we’re nothing but hell-bound, Satan-enslaved, sin-loving damned souls. It’s the great exchange that took place at Calvary that made the difference between dead men and living souls. On Calvary, the sinless and perfect Lamb of God, the righteous and holy one, took upon himself our sins and gave us his righteousness instead. He died in our stead, so we could have life and have it abundantly. It wasn’t motivational speaking that freed and loosed us from the bondage of sin and made us accepted before God. It wasn’t humanistic psychology that rehabilitated and cured us of the addiction to sin. You may wash and make over a pig and bedeck it with jewelries, but until the nature of a pig is taken out of it, it will remain a pig, though polished and refined. It will go back to wallowing in the mire with time. Only the cross of Christ could reach down to our very soul and transform us into new creatures, by the power of his blood and Spirit. Philosophers may consider it foolishness to think sinful man can be made righteous by just believing and placing faith in the death and resurrection of another. But, that’s the wisdom of God. He chose the foolishness of the message of the cross to save those that believe! Hallelujah!

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 12:23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.

John 12:24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 12:26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

John 12:27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

John 12:28 Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

John 12:29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

John 12:30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

John 12:33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

Revelation 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Salvation is not about what we can do on our own to please God, for the best of our righteousness is but filthy rags before him. It’s not how much we can pray, fast, give alms or try to avoid sin. Salvation is a free gift of grace. It’s not by any works we’ve done or we can ever do. The message of salvation starts and ends with the cross of Christ. Salvation is of the Lord! He paid the price for our redemption on Calvary, without a single contribution from any man. He single-handedly ransomed our souls from death and hell on the cross. All we’re required to do is just believe what he’s already done for us, accept him as our Lord and saviour and live eternally! But, will proud man, used to working hard before earning his wages, accept such a humbling free gift? Can those of us used to boasting about our abilities and about what we can do, humbly accept the fact that it’s not about what we can do but what God has already done for us through Christ Jesus? No wonder the idea of the cross was a stumbling block to the Jews who were used to the works of the law for justification, and foolishness to the Greeks used to philosophical jangling as a way of numbing the desires of the thirsty soul. But to everyone who believes, both Jews and Greeks, the cross is the power of God unto salvation. God indeed chose salvation through the cross to humble men and remove boasting far from us. The fact that we contributed nothing to our redemption reduces our pride to zero. The fact that we have no bragging rights in salvation humbles us and shuts up all mouths before God. And when our mouths finally open, only praise and worship to the one who sits upon the throne, and to Lamb, should proceed from hearts full of praise and gratitude.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 64:7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Romans 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)

Romans 10:7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Revelation 5:7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,

Revelation 5:12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

The message of the cross does not glorify any man but the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished works at Calvary. Every blessing and favour we will ever get from God comes through the cross of Jesus Christ. Our glory lies in the cross, as our justification and sanctification are dependent on it. The cross crucifies and mortifies flesh, and releases upon us the Holy Spirit with his fruits and gifts. The message of the cross is unattractive to vain-glorious and self-seeking men, as it cuts off the ground from under our pride. It also reminds us of the need to carry our own crosses daily and follow the Master, as we carry on his life and sacrifice for others. The cross is an enemy to the flesh, as well as being its deathbed. Hence, carnal men hate the cross, despise it and persecute it fiercely. However, the redeemed of the Lord glory in the cross, for it’s the symbol of their salvation and glory.

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

Luke 9:25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Any message that glories man or his abilities to motivate or improve himself outside of the cross of Christ is anti-Christ and satanic. Any message in the church that does not place the cross of Christ at front and center of Christianity can only be from the enemies of Christ. Any blessing that doesn’t come through the cross of Christ is devilish, for every good and perfect gift of God comes from above and reaches us through the cross of Jesus Christ. Anyone therefore who’s ashamed of the cross of Christ has neither experienced its total saving power, nor the blessings that come through it. The cross of Christ brings God and man together, and totally undoes all the effects of the fall and the curse of sin and death. Therefore, we should only glory in the cross of Christ by which the world is crucified to us and we to the world. We’re nothing outside of the cross of Christ!

Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

Colossians 1:22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—

Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

In conclusion, the message of the cross is the only authentic gospel message, which provides for man’s total redemption and reconciliation with God. Unfortunately, this message has been replaced in many Christian circles by humanistic psychology, motivational speaking and self-reformation programmes, as the methods of human improvement and acceptable behaviour. Only the blood of Christ can loose and free the soul of man from the bondage of sin and make us accepted in God’s sight. Only the blood of Christ can justify, sanctify and glorify the sinner (and we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory!). Any attempt at self-reformation through the works of the flesh will only produce self-righteousness, which is considered as filthy as menstrual rags before God. To be saved, sanctified and glorified, we must embrace the cross of Christ and carry it daily! It’s in the cross of Christ that we’ll ever become all that God wants us to be.

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Rivalry And Competition Among Christians And Churches Do Not Serve The Interests Of Jesus Christ!

Christianity is fragmented into hundreds of denominations involved in endless dogfights about who’s right and who’s not. The way most Christians and Christian organisations behave towards other Christians not in their groups makes one wonder whether there’s a different Lord and Master for each denomination. And so, we find groups focused on poaching members from one another, and celebrating and gloating over it as success in ministry! Thus, while some organisations and denominations grow numerically in strength (and others decrease proportionately), there occurs no net growth in the Kingdom of God. What are the implications of this inter-denominational rivalry on the health and growth of the body of Christ? Whose interest does love of denomination, rather than love of Christ and of the brethren, serve? Let’s examine these issues in the light of the Bible.

Philippians 2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.

Philippians 2:20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.

Philippians 2:21 They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel (ESV).

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul mentioned a disturbing scenario among the people associated with him in ministry: with the exception of a few people like Timothy, other ministers were more concerned about their personal interests in ministry than about the interests of Christ and his flock. A minister is supposed to be a servant engaged in the service of the Lord. He’s supposed to be serving in the Lord’s vineyard, tending it for the Lord, to the best of the abilities God has given him. The Church is God’s building, and ministers are fellow-labourers with God, in the construction of this magnificent edifice. It’s therefore most disloyal to find ministers more interested in their own agenda than that of the Lord. The Church is God’s property. Any man overseeing any portion of it is just a caretaker. For a caretaker to look out for himself more than for the owner of the property is the greatest betrayal of trust! It’s simply the height of mischievous deviousness and sleight cunningness. However, God sees and keeps records of all actions and intentions, and will reward every man according to his faithfulness in ministry.

1 Corinthians 3:3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, I follow Paul, and another, I follow Apollos, are you not being merely human?

1 Corinthians 3:5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—

1 Corinthians 3:13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

1 Corinthians 3:14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.

1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire (ESV).

Romans 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;

Romans 14:11 for it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Romans 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God (ESV).

Most of the rivalries we see among churches stem from ministers putting their interests before those of the Lord and his people. When men are more interested in making a name for themselves than in projecting the Lord’s name and his glory, they’ll actively work to undermine the interests of Christ and the oneness of his body. Such wolves will do anything to divide the brotherhood in order to draw away men after themselves. Men who seek to make disciples for themselves, rather than for the Lord, will not hesitate to bring in damnable heresies into the church, even denying the Lord that bought them. When ministers and ministries are motivated by fame, greed, covetousness and power, their goal will be to build bigger organisations (with greater financial potentials) by all means, even if it means ‘stealing’ members from other churches. Membership may increase in such organisations, but the body of Christ doesn’t experience any increase! The Lord’s interest has not been served in such a case.

The Acts 20:18 And when they came to him, he said to them: You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,

The Acts 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;

The Acts 20:20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,

The Acts 20:21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Acts 20:22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,

The Acts 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.

The Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The Acts 20:25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.

The Acts 20:26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you,

The Acts 20:27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

The Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

The Acts 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;

The Acts 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

The Acts 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.

The Acts 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

The Acts 20:33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.

The Acts 20:34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.

The Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The Acts 20:36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all (ESV).

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

James 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

James 3:15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

James 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (ESV).

Until every Christian sees every other Christian as a brother or a sister and members of the same body, there will be unhealthy rivalries and competitions that tend to engender strife and further polarise believers. Until ministers and churches see every other minister and church (that meet the basic qualifications to be called ‘Christian’) as fellow labourers and partners in the Gospel, poaching members from other churches will be considered church growth and expansion, even if the kingdom of God does not experience any net gain. When we see ourselves as rivals and competitors in the body of Christ, we will not be our brothers’ keeper. Instead, when we see believers from other groups in trouble or stumbling, we will gloat and rejoice and just walk pass. In fact, we might even help to quickly dispatch any such wounded soldiers, just to prove that we alone are approved of God! As it is presently, we’re no better than the Priest and the Levite in the story of the good Samaritan! As long as it’s not our members and those of our group, we hurry pass another Christian in danger and look the other way. We love only those from our group and look out only for our narrow interests!

Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Luke 10:26 He said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it?

Luke 10:27 And he answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:28 And he said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.

Luke 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

Luke 10:30 Jesus replied, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.

Luke 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

Luke 10:32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Luke 10:33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

Luke 10:34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Luke 10:35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.

Luke 10:36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?

Luke 10:37 He said, The one who showed him mercy. And Jesus said to him, You go, and do likewise (ESV).

But, we’re commanded not to look out only for the things that concern us and our groups; we’re enjoined by the Scriptures to look out also for the things that concern other Christians. Surely, the Lord can’t be happy when some of his children who are doing well neglect and trample underfoot other less fortunate ones? If he readily leaves 99 sheep who are doing well to go after one sheep in danger, then it should be clear to us all that if one part of the body suffers the entire body suffers! When another group of Christians are rejoicing and celebrating, we should rejoice with them. When a denomination is making exploits for the Lord, all others should rejoice with it. When a Christian or a Christian group is suffering persecution or hardship, all others should rise up to support them. When Jewish Christians at Jerusalem suffered some hardship due to persecution and famine, Gentile Christians in other parts of the world rose up to make contributions to support them. That’s the Spirit of Christ in action! That’s the Christian brotherhood on display! We celebrate together and we mourn together. We’re not a bunch of rivals or competitors, but one brotherhood, though we be in different groups or denominations. We have one Lord, one faith, one hope, one Spirit, one baptism and one God! We’re one, for Christ is not divided!

Philippians 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,

Philippians 2:2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (ESV).

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (ESV).

1 Corinthians 12:18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

1 Corinthians 12:19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?

1 Corinthians 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

1 Corinthians 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

1 Corinthians 12:22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,

1 Corinthians 12:23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,

1 Corinthians 12:24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

1 Corinthians 12:25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (ESV).

The Acts 11:27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.

The Acts 11:28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).

The Acts 11:29 So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.

The Acts 11:30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul (ESV).

God has gifted every member of his body some talents and some measure of faith. He alone is to decide how and where those gifts and talents are to be deployed for his glory and for the greater good of his Kingdom. The Lord may separate someone from a group or a denomination with the intent of using that person to reach other groups of people elsewhere that may not be easily reached by the parent denomination. As long as someone leaves our group to still serve in other parts of the Lord’s vineyard, we should not treat them as rivals or enemies. They are still our fellow labourers and partners in God’s Kingdom. Unless we delusionally believe the Kingdom of God starts and ends with our group, we shouldn’t hesitate to extend the right hand of fellowship to such ‘breakaway’ believers. Before we deploy all arsenals and propaganda to fight and destroy such people, let’s consider that they could be heeding God’s calling to separate themselves for the work he’s called them to do! To resist, oppose and fight them then means resisting, opposing and fighting the will of God! God doesn’t have to clear with us before calling and separating people from our group to start a new work somewhere else. The church and all the members belong to him, and he can choose to use anyone anyway it pleases him!

The Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

The Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.

The Acts 13:3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

The Acts 13:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus (ESV).

Galatians 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.

Galatians 2:2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.

Galatians 2:3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.

Galatians 2:4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—

Galatians 2:5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Galatians 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

Galatians 2:7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised

Galatians 2:8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),

Galatians 2:9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do (ESV).

Genuine love of the brethren precludes rivalry and bitter competitions. A kingdom-focused ministry and vision sees every other Christian as a brother/sister, and every other ministry and minister as partners. If we’re all serving the same Lord and Master and working for his glory, we shouldn’t be having all these bickerings and dogfights. The Master’s interests should override all personal interests. We’d collaborate, team up and join forces to defeat the forces of darkness and achieve the Master’s purpose and goal. The Lord’s cause will trump every other cause. We’d be glad to see other labourers in the vineyard, because we can’t do the work alone. The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. We’d be praying the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers into his harvest, rather than fighting and maligning the few other labourers available. If we’re truly seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, we’d rejoice when a lost sheep is brought back to the fold through other ministers in other denominations, because the whole of heaven is rejoicing. We’d be glad to help and support people at the frontline fighting the Lord’s battle and winning souls, even if we don’t know them and they’re not from our denominations. We’d be glad to offer help where it’s needed, rather than compete with others in a particular area already suffused with an abundance of gifts, while other fields are lacking labourers. We’d not seek to fish from other people’s fish ponds or from already caught stocks in their freezers, because that won’t increase the Kingdom! If we’re serving the Lord’s interest and praying for the expansion of God’s Kingdom, every other ministry engaged in soul-winning becomes a partner that we should support with everything we have. Every Christian, no matter their denominational colour or stripes, becomes a brother or a sister to rally around and defend/protect in times of crises. We’d cease speaking ill of other ministers and other Christians. When we hear of scandals involving other Christians and ministers, we’d weep and mourn and never rejoice or celebrate, because there is nothing to rejoice over a fellow soldier wounded or killed in battle! It could have been us! Rivalry is a fruit of the flesh and carnality, and works against the Holy Spirit and his mission for the Church!

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;

Matthew 9:38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (ESV).

Romans 15:17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

Romans 15:18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed,

Romans 15:19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;

Romans 15:20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,

Romans 15:21 but as it is written, Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand (ESV).

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,

Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,

Galatians 5:21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (ESV).

Galatians 1:21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

Galatians 1:22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.

Galatians 1:23 They only were hearing it said, He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.

Galatians 1:24 And they glorified God because of me (ESV).

Gifts and ministries in the body of Christ are designed to complement one another, and not for competion! As no part of the body is complete on its own and cannot therefore be independent or self-sufficient, no gift and no ministry can stand on its own. God intends for us to collaborate and depend on each other’s ministries for the success of the body of Christ. Members of the five-fold ministry need each other to express the complete revelation and power of God! If, rather than acknowledge our individual limitations and the need to collaborate with others, we insist on competing with one another as rivals, we’ll build up stunted organisations and ill-equipped individual believers. A church that relies only on the ministry of an apostle, a pastor, a prophet, an evangelist, or a teacher is in trouble, because such a church cannot produce believers who are balanced and grounded in all aspects of the Christian life. Rivalry will prevent a pastor from inviting a prophet to come and bless his church with his prophetic gift. It will prevent a prophet from inviting a teacher to come and ground his people in the Word. The result will be half-baked Christians only knowledgeable in the area of calling of their in-house ministers. That’s a disservice to the body of Christ! Selfish interests and rivalries will only breed malnourished Christians! There’s a reason Christ gave the five-fold ministry to the church! If one type of ministry could have done the job, there wouldn’t be any need for five different types of preaching ministries in the church!

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (ESV).

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Romans 12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,

Romans 12:5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;

Romans 12:8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor (ESV).

1 Corinthians 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

1 Corinthians 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

1 Corinthians 12:22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,

1 Corinthians 12:23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,

1 Corinthians 12:24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

1 Corinthians 12:25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?

1 Corinthians 12:30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (ESV).

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up (ESV).

In conclusion, rivalry and competition in ministry is a work of the flesh inspired by the devil to hamper the growth, development and unity of the body of Christ. It only serves the interest of selfish and self-seeking ministers and not those of Christ or his church. The gifts and ministries in the body of Christ, like members of a human body, need to complement one another, not compete in factious rivalry. A house divided against itself cannot stand. For the body of Christ to actualise its potential and swiftly accomplish its mission, we need to reach out across denominational divides and cooperate and share gifts, experiences, resources, and other blessings of Christ. It is as we cooperate and collaborate that we will find the unity and strength to accomplish our mission in an effective and timely manner! United, we’ll stand and chase away every foe; divided, we’ll suffer unnecessary self-inflected losses to the forces of darkness. But, when we put aside our differences and stand together as one body, knitted, strengthened and nourished by what every joint and ligament supplies, we’ll be an unstoppable force and an invincible army, and a formidable battle ax in God’s hands! The gates of hell cannot prevail against such a church! May God give us such a church in Jesus’ name! Amen!

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Don’t Despise Fellow Christians From Other Denominations: We May Be In Different Divisions, But We’re In The Same Army!

The Christian faith has experienced a lot of divisions over the centuries, resulting in the formation of the hundreds of denominations we see in Christendom today. For both essential and non-essential issues of the faith, Christians have left groups they started out with, to establish new ones, sometimes under contentious and acrimonious circumstances. Some of these divisions have left deep, festering wounds in the body of Christ, which have frustrated efforts at unifying the body. Should belonging to different denominations make Christians enemies to one other? Is it possible to achieve unity of the Spirit in the body of Christ despite denominational differences? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Ephesians 4:3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—

Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (ESV).

There is only one Church of Jesus Christ, and it’s not any of the denominations on earth! The Church is the mystical body of Christ, made up of all born again Christians of all ages, irrespective of their denominational affiliations. Some members of the Church are currently in heaven with the Lord (the Church triumphant), while the rest are still here on earth, toiling, labouring, living and witnessing for the Lord (the Church militant). One day, all will be physically united with the Lord to ever remain together with him, throughout the eternal ages to come. That’s the promise of the Lord.

Ephesians 1:9 Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself:

Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will: (AKJV)

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also (AKJV).

So, Christ’s body (the true believers of all ages and from all denominations) is one and not divided. There may be hundreds of Christian denominations, but there’s only one body of Christ (both corporal and mystical). The sooner we realise and understand that the body of Christ is not any particular denomination or group (by whatever name it’s called), the better for us and the body of Christ! Let this truth sink in!

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another (AKJV).

Anyone who believes Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour, repents of his sins and lives for Christ, is a child of God. By placing personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we become born again. That’s how we become members of the mystical body of Jesus Christ. That’s the most essential tenet of the Christian faith! Whatever denominations we come from, whatever group we belong to, as long as we personally place faith in Christ’s finished works on Calvary as the only basis of our salvation and redemption from the curse of sin and death, we are saved! And every other saved and sanctified child of God everywhere else is a brother/sister! We may be separated by denominations, but we’re united by the blood of Christ! We have one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one hope, one baptism and one Father!

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (AKJV).

Galatians 3:26 For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (AKJV).

Despite the oneness of the body of Christ and the common blood and Spirit running through every genuine believer, most Christians strenuously strive to undermine the unity of the body of Christ. Most prefer to emphasise their denominational allegiance, rather than their Christianity. Most take pride in belonging to a particular denomination, rather than in belonging to Christ. Most of us glory in men of God and the organisations they’ve founded, rather than in the Lord and his Church, which is his body! What a shame! How disappointed must the Lord be with us! How grieved must the Spirit be, to see us doing all we can to help Satan in his ministry of opposing and dividing the Church of Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 3:1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

1 Corinthians 3:3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, I follow Paul, and another, I follow Apollos, are you not being merely human?

1 Corinthians 3:5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (ESV).

1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;

1 Corinthians 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s;

1 Corinthians 3:23 And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s (AKJV).

I appreciate the fact that there are real differences in certain beliefs among the various denominations, for which disagreement is absolutely necessary. I acknowledge that there are differences in administration, in attitudes towards certain grey areas, in how we praise and worship God, etc, that may never be reconciled. Also, there are socio-cultural differences that may make us gravitate more readily towards certain groups of people. I agree also that certain breakaways were (and still are) essential, in order to preserve certain truths of the gospel. These are all legitimate reasons to form groups and associations that allow us to express ourselves more freely in the worship of God. Just like we have people with different cultures and backgrounds aggregating to form social units and ethnic groups, it’s alright to have various focal groups in the Church. Diversity in the body of Christ can be a wonderful spice of the spiritual life!

However, what is not acceptable is to judge and condemn all those not in our cliques and denominations as not Christian enough or not Christians at all. It’s the same as looking at other human beings not belonging to our race and tribe as being less human or non-humans! That’s the spirit of heresy in the Church! It’s akin to racism in the world! You have no right to judge another believer in Christ as not being Christian enough! You have no right to judge another man’s servant as not being good enough for service. Only the Master of us all has the right to do so! Rather than judge and condemn one another for not being Christian enough because we have differences of opinion on lesser or non-essential matters of the faith, let’s strive to encourage one another to serve the Lord better! Let’s support one another as we fight the common enemy–Satan! Rather than turn on each other, let’s concentrate and focus our fire on the adversary, who is Satan the devil!

Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

Romans 14:2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

Romans 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Romans 14:7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

Romans 14:8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Romans 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;

Romans 14:11 for it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Romans 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Romans 14:14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

Romans 14:15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

Romans 14:16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Romans 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Romans 14:20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

Romans 14:22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.

Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (ESV).

Even during his earthly ministry, some of the Apostles of Jesus harbored this divisive denominational spirit of “us” versus “them”, in relation to other believers not in their group.They saw someone else preaching the gospel and casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and tried to stop him, simply because he was not part of their group or caucus! They even had the effrontery to tell Jesus about their selfish interest in trying to stop someone from doing the work of the Lord, simply because he didn’t belong to their denomination! How so much like many of us today! Trust Jesus to straighten them right there! He blasted that denominational spirit away with a scathing rebuke! We all need to hear and receive that rebuke of the Lord today more than ever!

St. Mark 9:38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t one of our group.”

St. Mark 9:39 ” Don’t stop him! ” Jesus said. ” No one who performs miracles in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me.

St. Mark 9:40 Anyone who is not against us is for us (NLT).

Because of different cultural inclinations and the calling to focus on particular groups of unbelievers in the preaching of the gospel, the non-essential contents of the gospel message may be adapted to fit the cultural milieu of the target audience. It may lead to the formation of assemblies of Christians with different attitudes and opinions on the non-essential matters of the faith. This flexibility and adaptability of the non-essentials of the faith can only help to foster the spread of the gospel. Thus, some denominations may be better suited than others in reaching particular audiences or populations for the Lord. We should therefore not despise any denominational group, as long as they hold onto the central message of the cross and preach Jesus Christ and him crucified as the only means of salvation. We should rather give them the right hand of fellowship as they focus on their target population, while we focus on ours! We may not belong to the same Division, but we all belong to the same Army, the Army of the Lord! Let’s support each other to achieve the Lord’s mission, rather than engaging in counterproductive civil wars!

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.

1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings (ESV).

Galatians 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.

Galatians 2:2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.

Galatians 2:3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.

Galatians 2:4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—

Galatians 2:5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Galatians 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

Galatians 2:7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised

Galatians 2:8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),

Galatians 2:9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do (ESV).

Paul and Barnabas, initially partners in ministry, separated because of differences in opinion on administrative matters. They parted ways, but continued to preach the same gospel with different partners in new groups. Despite the separation, I’m sure Paul and Barnabas never saw themselves as enemies or rivals. I’m sure they continued to relate as partners and fellow-labourers in God’s vineyard. Each may have decided it was better to be on his own, but there was no reason why they wouldn’t have continued to see eye to eye. After all, they were still preaching the same Christ as Lord and Saviour. Splitting into two units from one, Paul and Barnabas ended up covering more ground in the preaching of the gospel. Even John Mark, who was the cause of the initial dispute that led to the parting of ways between the Apostles, was later found useful by Paul in the ministry. The cause and cross of Christ should override every individual and group differences. We must all hold high the Lord’s royal banner, irrespective of our denominational inclinations!

The Acts 15:36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.

The Acts 15:37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark.

The Acts 15:38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.

The Acts 15:39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,

The Acts 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

The Acts 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches (ESV).

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry (ESV).

Finally, when we refuse to accept other Christians who have met the basic requirements of salvation as brothers and sisters, simply because they belong to different denominations, we’re not discerning the Lord’s body. When we refuse to fellowship with other Christians because they do not belong to our denominations, we’re dividing and dishonouring the body of Christ. When we oppose and resist others who are doing the work of the Lord simply because they are not from our group, we’re resisting and opposing the Lord and the gospel. Whatever other people’s motives may be in preaching the gospel, as long as they preach Christ crucified as the only Saviour of mankind, we should rejoice and give them the right hand of fellowship!

Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

Philippians 1:16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

Philippians 1:17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.

Philippians 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, (ESV).

In conclusion, denominational divisions have come to stay in Christianity, and we must learn to live with them, as imperfect as they are. Rather than love and hate one another along denominational lines, Christians should rise above denominational divides to embrace, love and fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Denominations may actually work to foster the spread of the gospel, if we stop seeing ourselves as competitors and begin to consider ourselves instead as partners in the Gospel. Each denomination is uniquely adapted and equipped to reach a particular population. Let’s recognise and discern the oneness of the body of Christ, and extend the right hand of fellowship to each other, as we unite forces to execute the Lord’s mission. We may be in different Divisions of the Church, but we’re in the same Army. We cannot afford to turn on each other in civil wars, for that would be handing Satan victory without his firing a shot! Remember, in heaven, there will be no Catholics, no Lutherans, no Baptists, no Presbyterians, no Methodists, and no Pentecostals! There will be no denominations there! Heaven will be populated by only one group of people–Children of God!

Matthew 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand (ESV).