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QUICK – without thinking about it, tell me what the Good News is.
Jesus launched his ministry with the words “Repent, and believe the Good News!”
So what is the Good News he was talking about?
And what exactly does he want us to believe?
If you’re like most Christians, you won’t have a clue.
Most Christians will say something like: “Jesus died for our sins.”
But the truth is that Jesus preached the arrival of God’s Kingdom on Earth. His entire ministry was preaching and teaching about the Kingdom and how to live in it. Remember that Jesus’ people were at that time waiting for a deliverer to save them from the occupying Roman forces, just as his people previously had been waiting for someone to save them from their enemies (the heathens) who were constantly a threat to them. God had promised them such a deliverer, and Jesus preached the Good News that God had kept his promise: The Kingdom that would keep God’s people safe from their enemies had finally been established.
This is incredibly important to understand. You cannot preach or teach the Good News without understanding exactly what the Good News is. Jesus preached the coming of the Kingdom not as an event that would happen thousands of years in the future, but as something that was happening then and there and would continue forever. The founding of the Kingdom that would have no end was the Good News, and it had to be believed (that is, taken on faith) because, as Jesus explained, you can’t see the Kingdom with your eyes: It’s within you.
Jesus was very clear that the Kingdom had come, and that his ability to cast out spirits “by the finger of God” was evidence of it. The Kingdom, as Jesus explained, is a spiritual realm, not a geopolitical one. What the coming of the Kingdom accomplished was to give believers a safe spiritual space where they would be protected from their spiritual enemies, not a safe geopolitical space where they would be protected from their worldly enemies.
This is the Good News that Jesus preached. This is the gospel.
Unfortunately, most Christians today are preaching another gospel – that the Kingdom of God will only come at Jesus’ second coming, and that Jesus will at that time set up a geopolitical realm. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is that the kingdom came with Jesus and has continued for the past 2000 years. The truth also is that a false messiah who calls himself Jesus will emerge at some point out of the worsening chaos to “save the world”, and this false messiah will set up a global government that he will call the kingdom of God, dubbing himself “God” in the process. This is the reason for the lies being pushed lately that Jesus is God and that he is “coming back soon” to set up his kingdom.
Don’t be deceived. When Jesus proclaimed the Good News 2000 years ago, he was declaring the coming of God’s Kingdom at that time, and he never called himself God. He always referred to “The Father” as a separate person. The gospels make no sense if you read them as Jesus being God. Old Testament prophecy is very clear that “God’s suffering servant” and “prophet” (a term used interchangeably with “son of man”) will set up the kingdom that will have no end, and that this will be done in the midst of other kingdoms, not as a final kingdom.
The problem, as I see it, is that most Christians today don’t bother to read the Bible and are profoundly ignorant of scripture. They’ve been relying instead on priests and pastors and ministers and YouTube false prophets to spoon-feed them what they’re told is scripture, and in so doing are learning, believing, and spreading lies.
This problem can easily be resolved by people simply opening up the Bible and reading it for themselves, but most Christians don’t want to do that. And so, we have the major falling away that we are now experiencing, along with a whole generation of Christians who are gearing up to welcome the false messiah as Jesus/God.
Please read the Bible. If you have been given the very great privilege of teaching and preaching God’s Word, please read the Bible, and learn and know scripture before you try to teach others. Don’t rely on other people to teach you; learn from the Master himself (Jesus) and from his Father (God) through God’s Spirit. Don’t rely on people.
The Good News that Jesus preached all those years ago is that the Kingdom had come and that God’s people were now safe from their spiritual enemies if they followed Jesus’ teachings. That is the Good News that Jesus preached, and that is also the Good News we need to preach. Anything else is another gospel.
As a born-again, the purpose of your time here on Earth is to do whatever it takes to make it home to Heaven. The way to get there is The Way that Jesus showed us. Here’s a summary of the four most important points that you need to take to heart AND DO if you want to make it home.
First and foremost, you must put God first and foremost. Jesus said that this was the most important commandment. If your earthly family and friends and their needs and wants are more important to you than God, then you won’t make it home. Remember Jesus saying to the guy who wanted to attend his father’s funeral “Let the dead bury the dead; come follow me”? Remember Jesus clearly defining “family” as those who do the will of God? He said: “Who is my mother? Who is my brother? Those who do the will of my Father in Heaven are my mother, my sister, and my brother.” It might come across as harsh, but Jesus meant it to sound so. He meant to shake people up and remind them what their priority should be.
You are either aligned with the world or you’re aligned with God. You can’t be both.
The world is very good at tempting us to forget about our purpose. It sidetracks us, demonizes us, perverts scripture, and even tries to redefine what it means to be a born-again Christian. God permits all this because it is part of our test: He wants to know if we truly want what we say we want. It’s all well and good to claim that you want to follow Jesus and live a “Christian life” (whatever that means), but when things get tough, do you get tougher or do you just wimp out? Scripture says that most will ‘fall away’ from God. You don’t get a third chance if you fall away this time around. Being born-again is already your second and last chance. God didn’t have to give us a second chance, but he did so out of love for us. We all screwed up the first time and fell for the lies of Satan. We rebelled against God. Don’t do it again. Always put God first, even if it means you must suffer and die for it.
Secondly, you must go out in the world and preach the Good News. You must. That’s not just a suggestion; that’s an order from Jesus, who was handing it on from God. How you choose to do the preaching is between you and God, but my advice is DON’T DO IT FOR MONEY. Freely you have received from God, freely you give. The so-called churches that have appropriated the gospel for their own purposes ALL preach for money. They water down and twist God’s Word so as not to alienate any potential customers, but they do this to their own detriment. Don’t be like them. Jesus never preached or taught for money. Be like Jesus.
Thirdly, you must endure to the end. Being born-again is not a first-class ticket to Heaven. It’s a means to getting that ticket, but it’s not a ticket in itself. The Jews thought that being children of Abraham meant they had a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, and Jesus told them they were wrong. Christians or born-agains who think their state of grace is all it takes to get to Heaven are just as wrong at the Jews who thought their Jewishness was enough. Jesus very, very clear in this regard: THOSE WHO ENDURE TO THE END WILL BE SAVED. Just because you’re in a state of grace now doesn’t mean that you’ll die in a state of grace, and those who do not die in a state of grace will not make it to Heaven.
Jesus is very, very clear about that, too, when he says that we MUST be born-again to get to Heaven. Being born-again means being in a state of grace. Grace can be lost, not by a decision of God but as an outcome of our own choices. If you consciously and persistently choose against God’s will, you will lose your grace. If you do something that might appear to be “good” in your own eyes but God says not to do it and you go ahead and do it anyway – that’s sin. God’s spirit cannot dwell in the same soul as sin. Paul spoke about it, as did Jesus. If you lose grace, there is no way to get it back. Jesus said that losing grace is even worse than not having it in the first place – the house that was swept clean is later inhabited by more and worse demons than it was the first time around. Jesus said it would have been better for that person never to have been born.
Fourth and final – you must shake people up. Jesus did it, and so must we. He said he wasn’t come to bring peace to the world but a sword that will divide families and make enemies of unbelievers. The chief characteristic of those who are unbelievers is that they are asleep. We need to wake them up. It’s better for them to hate us and maybe someday turn and embrace God, than for them to keep sleeping and never turn. If they hate us, there’s hope for them. I used to hate born-agains, and look at me now!
God put his laws into everyone’s hearts. That means every soul here on Earth today has God’s laws engraved on their souls. They all crave what we crave – to do God’s will and to go home to Heaven – but their craving is stifled by their self-inflicted pain of sin. We’re not going to shake them out of their sleepy stupor or shock them out of their self-absorbed pity by tip-toeing around and trying not to offend anyone. Remember Jesus’ conversation with the Samarian woman at the well? He didn’t hide his Jewishness or the fact that he was the Messiah, even though Samarians and Jews were not supposed to socialize in those days. If everyone who knows us doesn’t know that we’re born-again followers of Jesus, we’re doing something terribly wrong. We’re God’s representatives here on Earth, just as Jesus was. Jesus didn’t tip-toe around, not for anyone’s sake, and neither should we.
So go ahead – get spat on, be called a bigot and crazy and narrow-minded, be an outcast from your family and friends, lose your job, get driven from your hometown, and get arrested for preaching God’s Word. If you suffer all this solely for being a born-again follower of Jesus, then congratulations, my friend! You are well and truly on The Way home.
Of the original disciples, Peter was the one Jesus relied on the most. And yet it was Peter who was outed as being the second biggest traitor (after Judas) when Jesus was arrested.
What happened to Peter? What made him hide who he really was?
Talk is cheap. Anyone can say anything until put to the test. Peter said he’d rather die than deny he was with Jesus (as did all the disciples). Then the test came just a few hours later, and Peter did exactly what he said he wouldn’t do – deny he knew Jesus, so as not to get killed.
And he did it not once, but three times.
Jesus told him beforehand that he’d betray him, but Peter refused to believe it. Jesus said: Before the cock crows, you’ll deny me thrice.
Peter said: No way!
Jesus said: Way.
Peter said: NO WAY!
Jesus said: Way.
And Jesus was right.
We all have a bit of Peter in us. Some of us have a lot of Peter in us. We talk a good talk, but when the test comes, who do we obey – God’s voice, or the voice of fear?
(The spirit is willing; the flesh is weak.)
Some of us are even that version of Peter stuck in a time-warp, denying over and over and over again that we know Jesus. To ourselves, oh yes, we’re Christians, but to the world – no way.
That’s how we deny Jesus like Peter did.
Jesus warned us about that. He said that if we deny knowing him, he’ll deny knowing us. That’s a pretty straight-forward warning. And if Jesus denies knowing us, we can kiss heaven good-bye.
Peter knew that if he admitted to being with Jesus, he would be signing his own death warrant. He didn’t want to die. It was as simple as that.
Outing ourselves as followers of Jesus can be uncomfortable. People stop liking us. People talk down to us. People accuse us of being bigots, racists, homophobes, relics of the ‘dark ages’. People start watching us like a hawk, and at our slightest slip-up, they triumphantly point their finger as us and shout “That’s not very CHRISTIAN of you!”
Sometimes, given the world’s response to us when we say we’re Christians, it’s easier just to say nothing. Sometimes it’s easier just to ‘go along to get along’, to hide that we believe in God and follow Jesus. But when we do that, we’re right back in the courtyard with Peter, warming our hands by the fire and sipping a latte while Jesus is out back getting beat up.
Jesus knew Peter would deny him, and later, after his resurrection, Jesus gave Peter another chance. He gave them all another chance, but first he bawled them out for being so hard-headed and cowardly, for having so little faith and for not paying attention to what he’d told them before his crucifixion.
Jesus has told us and shown us everything we need to know to make it to heaven. He beat down the path for us, but we still have to follow closely behind him on that path. Those who try to sneak into heaven another way are kicked out.
It’s not enough to say “I’m a good person” or “I try to be nice to people”. That’s not enough. We’re to go out in the world and preach the Good News, not the watered-down inter-faith version that the world accepts. The name of Jesus features prominently in the Good News. The Good News is all about Jesus. We, as his followers, should be all about Jesus.
Everyone who knows you should know you’re a Christian.
If they don’t, it’s not too late to let them know.
But some day – cock-a-doodle-doo – it will be too late.
We know from scripture that the devils speak the truth as well as lies. Demons were among the first to ‘out’ Jesus as the Messiah, and he had a devil of a time shutting them up. Paul and Peter later had the same problem, with a demon-oppressed fortune-telling slave-girl following them around and declaring: “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show us the way to salvation” (Acts 16:17).
What should be a good thing – declaring Jesus as the Messiah, and his way as God’s way – turns into a bad thing when it’s spoken at the wrong time to the wrong people. Rather than promote to the general public that he was God’s Christ, Jesus requested the people he healed not to reveal who he was. You would think that hiding rather than proclaiming who he was would be the opposite of Jesus’ mission, but in this, as in everything else Jesus did, there was a method to his perceived madness.
Jesus often mentioned that the Jews were out to kill him. He meant the Jews in positions of power in Israel, not the everyday-Joe Jews. The Jews in power wanted to kill him because if the everyday-Joe Jews saw Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, their established power and authority under Roman rule would be threatened. The establishment Jews had the most to lose both in Jesus being the Messiah (eternal damnation) and in Jesus being seen as the Messiah (worldly loss of power), so the best way to rid themselves of this all-round threat was to get rid of Jesus.
Knowing this, Jesus avoided traveling and preaching in some areas. So when the demons ‘outed’ him by speaking through demon-oppressed people and taunting him with “we know who you are”, Jesus told them to be quiet before casting them out. Paul and Peter did the same thing to the demon who spoke through the fortune-telling slave girl. In these cases, the demons were speaking the truth, but at a time and place that put Jesus’ and the apostles’ lives at risk. The truth, when spoken by demons, is always bad news.
Obama has a way of saying things about Christianity that casts Jesus in a bad light and therefore threatens those who follow him. Obama’s latest attack on Christians was launched at the National Prayer Breakfast a few days ago. At the breakfast, Obama stated that Christians should “get off of their high horse” about how brutal the Muslim religion is, considering how brutal the Crusades and Inquisition were, both of which, Obama declared, were carried out “in the name of Christ”.
Obama is speaking the truth in saying that the Crusades and the Inquisition were brutal and were carried out in the name of Christ (meaning, under the banner of Christianity). However, in pointing out atrocities that were carried out in Christ’s name, Obama puts Christians in the same boat as Muslim fanatics who are carrying out mass murders and other atrocities today. In equating Christians with Muslim fanatics, and Muslim fanatics with terrorists, Obama condemns both Christians and Muslim fanatics for the same crimes and thereby implies that these groups are equally dangerous and thus equally enemies of the free world.
This is how demons speak the truth – with the intent to harm, not to help, and their target is almost always followers of Jesus. Yes, the Crusades and the Inquisition were horrendous, and yes, they were carried out in the name of Christ, but Obama’s dredging up of past crimes against humanity serves as a means of deflecting from current atrocities carried out by so-called “extremists”. Obama’s statement is also only “truthful” if taken at face value, considering that the Inquisition was carried out first and foremost to find and ‘convert’ to Roman Catholicism genuine followers of Jesus who refused to submit to the pope. That it was carried out under the banner of Christianity doesn’t mean it was a Christian act.
It should not be surprising that Obama would defend Islam and attack Christianity, given his Muslim upbringing. It should also not be surprising that Obama would attack Christianity, given that the world is under Satan and the POTUS is one of Satan’s chief spokespersons. Islam is a fanatical ideology whose founder was a murderer who encouraged and sanctioned murder. The Koran is filled with exhortations to kill and torture ‘infidels’, meaning all those who refuse to submit to Islam. In contrast, Christianity is an open invitation to live your life by faith by following the example of its founder, Jesus, who never committed murder and always counseled his followers against murdering anyone. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to “love your enemies” and do good to them. The two ideologies – Christianity and Islam – could not be further apart, either in word or deed.
Yes, horrendous acts were committed long ago in the name of Christ, but these acts were carried out by demon-inspired people who did not know God, did not know Jesus, and did not know the New Testament. The horrendous acts being carried out today in the name of Islam use the Koran as an instruction manual for those deeds and bear Mohammad’s seal of approval. The demon speaking through Obama at the Prayer Breakfast may have been speaking the truth, but its intention was not to enlighten, as truth should; rather, the demon’s aim was to deflect blame from the guilty and, in so doing, condemn the innocent.