5 reasons our evangelism isn’t working

Sharing the Good News to people has always been the objective of the church to obey Christ’s command to preach. Though the only idea we need to dwell on is “preach” but we have to make converts for Church to grow.

Many among us are very concerned of the truth that we share and I do not question the idea of sharing the TRUTH. It has caused debates and arguments for standing on what is right which I never directly say to be wrong. However, we are in the business of reaching out to people to teach and lead them to the Kingdom.

We have to realize that we have to do all we can to bring one or many souls to the acceptance of the truth. After bringing them to Christ, like a new born babe, we have to guide and teach them as they desire the sincere milk of faith (1Peter 2:2).

These are the common tips often forgotten by those sharing God’s word:

  1. Lack of Hospitality 

    Relationship are not built with trust and closeness. How can you be concern of the spiritual needs and not be hospitable?  Often, the attitude of the one preaching is being studied by prospects.  When we show a good heart, eventually we may be more effective in sharing the truth.1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (ESV) and Matthew 12:35 “The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”(ESV)

  2. Lack of Sensitivity 

    Christians should learn how to listen and read people – their weaknesses and strengths. When we are not sensitive to their life’s problem and are not willing to even offer any help, how can we convince them that we cared for their souls? Many are so impatient and not willing to extend what is necessary to be able to help and make him a brother or sister. 2 John 1:8 says; “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” Romans12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (ESV)

  3. Neglecting regular conversation.
    Talking and spending good time, eating and coffee drinking seems to be so hard as we always count time so “precious.” We can watch games for hours and hours and yet we have not developed the ability to carry a conversation to the one we want to bring to our Lord. Proverbs 12:25 (ESV) “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” 
  4. Not willing to spend
    If bringing the word to the lost is sacrificial, it means we are willing to extend in our capacity what we have to build. We are building a Kingdom of God. Use money, time, mind and effort to advance the kingdom of God. Luke 6:38; “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Proverbs 28:22 “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.” 
  5. Too proud
    If being denied hurts our pride, it is not us – it is our Lord’s. Remember, our Lord was denied, mocked and even people plotted to kill Him. This business is not ours but of the Lord. If we pursue and be aggressive, we still have not lost anything. Jesus said; ““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11. James 4:6 says; “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (ESV)

David Cariaga is the pulpit minister at the Convoy Avenue Church of Christ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Happy Mature Group in Coffee House

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Prov 12:25

 

Are we on the right path?

We have come to a generation filled with “high and advance technology” yet morally, our generation is filled with confusion. We do not know whom to believe as the devil is also working hard to lead people astray. Imagine, the coming of different Philosophies, concepts and values made our world so filled up with so many different ways and even Religions and gods. It has deviated our minds into different ways and many say “one way is as good as another.”  In marriage, it used to be sacred and the “living together” of two persons is based on vows and blessings from God. These vows were made with commitments in the presence of witnesses and of God.

Today, the sacredness of marriage is tarnished by many people who ignore God’s will. We often see men and women living together, changing partners often as they change their clothes. Children were raised without complete parents, and if with parents, they are not even legally married. If married, they change partners easily and children are often times not given consideration to have and see a life where family is at peace happy and intact. Oftentimes, I read articles about divorce and the pains of the family and children. Since divorce is easy to acquire, people have the convenience of cutting off the relationship to escape from “little problems” and hope to find peace with another person of his/her choice.  Worst than these, we see man and man – woman and another woman living together. WHAT A GENERATION!

Then we hear, WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE US? It seems like there is no more right and wrong in all aspect. It means “their happiness” is the most important and as long as it is not hurting anyone “Physically,” they can go on in their way. Is the world in the right path? Let’s start with the “Church in the Bible” as we seek for the truth.

Our Lord Jesus established a church. He died and bought it with a price. He said; “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ” (KJV) Matthew 16:18. There is only ONE TRUE CHURCH and that is what Jesus built! Satan introduced many churches for man to follow. These are not the church in the Bible. If the Bible is “God breathe,” this same Bible should be the bases for man to build a church. Stephane Maillet of Moncton NB posted in the Facebook his comment regarding religious division- creating so many churches saying “With love and respect I humbly ask all who care to seek and understand eternal truth (Jn. 8:32). Within the pages of God breathed New Testament law (from Matthew to Revelation), do we read of Jesus Christ our risen King (Lk. 24:2-3), … building a Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Wesleyan, Gospel Hall, Presbyterian, Mennonite, 7th day adventist, Salvation army, Community Church, House of Nazareth, and or any other of the thousands of denominations out there, is Christ divided? If so, please provide BCV to prove your case. If not, then why remain loyal to something God never built?”

Religious conflicts, division, disagreement or confusions were made by Satan to deceive man. 1 Peter 5;8 says; “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (ASV). Division is NOT caused by God himself. It is caused by people who ignored God’s word and are not afraid to mislead people. Tweeting with God article says; “It is therefore very painful to see that Christians are so divided. The main causes of this division in various churches and communities are the stubbornness, prejudices and sinfulness of the people themselves.”

Check the Bible if your church is found in the scriptures?
Check its teachings if its basically Biblical.

Open your eyes and see! Matthew 15:14 says; they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

If you have difficulty in checking and you wanted to be guided, please give us a call or contact our website so we can help you and respond to your needs.  We are also open for Bible studies anytime at your home or at Convoy Church of Christ building at Convoy Avenue, Halifax NS, telephone number 904-443-9628 or call us at (902) 410-8496. We at Convoy Avenue Church of Christ would be so willing to assist you in your search for the truth.

Brother David Cariaga is the pulpit minister at the Convoy Avenue Church of Christ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

wooden signpost near a path

Are you on the right path?

The Causes of Liberalism in the Church

In the 19th century, the emergence of Theological Liberalism in America can be traced in New England with the rise of Universalist and Unitarian apostasies. Liberalism was championed by well-known American individuals like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Bushnell, Washington Gladden, Henry Ward Beecher and more recently by Harry Emerson Fosdick (Hobard E. Freeman “Every Wind of Doctrine”).

In Biblical Christianity, they converted from liberalism to modernism. They started denying the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. They do not agree that the Scriptures is all true and declares emphatically that God commits an error than believing that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18, NASB). Paul speaks of the “God who does not lie” (Titus 1:2, NIV). He is a God who, even if we are faithless, “He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13, NKJV). God is the truth (see John 14:6), and so is His Word. Jesus said to the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17, NKJV). The psalmist exclaimed, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Ps. 119:160, NKJV) (Norman Geisler, “the Inerrancy of the Bible). That is the reason why they fail because the Holy Scriptures is not the basis of their authority.

They deny hell and eternal punishment. They said; there are several major issues to the problem of Hell. The first is whether the existence of Hell is compatible with justice. The second is whether it is compatible with God’s mercy, especially as articulated in Christianity. A third issue, particular to Christianity, is whether Hell is actually populated, or if God will ultimately restore all immortal souls (universal reconciliation) in the World to Come.

Assuming the suffering of Hell is something God could have prevented. The discussion regarding the problem of evil may thus also be of interest for the problem of Hell. The problem of Hell can be viewed as the worst and most intractable instance of the problem of evil (Kvanvig, Jonathan L. (1994). The Problem of Hell). The real picture they are trying to show here is they cannot accept that they should be accountable to the pattern given to us by God, revealed by Jesus for us mankind to follow. Plain and simple – disobedience is the problem.

They substitute for the New Testament message of repentance and salvation from sin through faith in Christ a Humanistic Social Gospel of reformation and social improvement. The Humanistic Social Gospel is a progressive concept of ease and comfort. It boils down to the idea “what pleases me is great!” salvation no longer go with rules to be respected and obeyed but an aim that “all” can have in the later times. Tommy Douglas described “Social Gospel” by saying that “the Social Gospel was equally a secularizing force in its readiness to adopt such contemporary ideas as liberal progressivism, reform Darwinism, biblical criticism and philosophical idealism as vehicles for its message of social salvation. It developed, however, a distinctive spirituality elevating social involvement to a religious significance expressed in prayers, hymns, poems and novels of “social awakening.”

If the authority of the Bible is questioned and Salvation is achieved with ease and comfort – an organizational concept of “Everybody happy program” then we certainly have deviated from the original truth that Jesus showed to his followers. This is contrary to the words of Jesus! One has to remember, we will be judged by His word as Jesus said; “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day” John 12:48 (NIV). We will be in great danger if we go our way and not His way. John 15:3-5 says You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.…”(Berean Study Bible)

The hardheadedness of man – wanting to be free and do their own way is the cause of the disaster. There are more reasons to give but the root cause of departure from God’s teaching is the clamor for freedom, ease, and comfort. At the end, those who disobey are the losers in the call for the heavenly promise.

 

Is Church a Social Club?

In my experience in the ministry, many of the people who do not know God’s way and wanted “their own way” are often hurt if the truth is revealed. It sometimes bothers me because there are good people around that we wanted to be around us but hates to hear the truth about “Gods’ Way.” It has caused conflict and deep prejudice to the Truth because most of these people want to hear what they want and not “God’s way.”  Sometimes, I thought about “sugar coating” the discussions just not to drive people away, but my conscience is often bothered with the question: AM I TELLING THE TRUTH? Topics like Alcohol/Vices, Fornication/Adultery, Homosexuality, Gambling, Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage, Instruments in Worship and many others not to name them can either offend and drive people away. With these issues, a topic is going to be discussed whom to please – God or Man?

We all know that in Christendom, our goal is to PLEASE GOD. This is the most important act for a “Follower of God.” In the Old Testament, Joshua expressed his desire who to serve and please God in Joshua 24:15 as he said: “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”Joshua has chosen God over men or any other things. In the early Christian times in Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles answered: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Notice our Lord Jesus Christ as He said: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37 NIV). Matthew Henry Commentary exactly says the words we needed to hear today – “Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him…. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.”(Commentary on Matthew 10:37)

Compromising God’s truth because of the feelings of the world could lead God’s people to disaster. If you read Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 17:3-4, he sought the Lord and faithfully stayed God’s way. He removed idols from the land and sent out teachers to instruct people in God’s law (17:7-9). When a prophet rebuked him for his wicked partnership with Ahab (16:10), Jehoshaphat accepted and went to do religious reforms (19:2-11).His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord. He served faithfully in the fear of the Lord. His relation with Ahab has endangered him but in the end, he has chosen to serve God. If he endured the danger of compromising with the world, then all of us are not exempted as well.

Whom should we please? If God is our answer, whatever man says, instruct and command, it will always be God who will be followed. If we stand for the truth, we are not a Social Club but a True Church truthfully serving our God because the truth will set God’s followers FREE!

Why Is the BIBLICAL CHURCH Called a Cult?

First, we must realize that those who do not like the “Biblical Church” are many and the enemy attempts to destroy the Lord’s Church image are constant. Secondly, many would rather go to a church where their “comfort and ease” are given importance and one cannot see that in the TRUE Church of our Lord Jesus. Third, when “Biblical Rules” are to be implemented, all sorts of accusation were made to destroy its image rather than respecting and obeying God’s command. On and on we can talk about peoples’ complaints about the workings of the church but this author would prefer to clarify why people refer to the Lord’s Church a cult.

A definition given as this author search google its meaning says; “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object. It is also defined “A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister – like “a network of Satan-worshiping cults or religious cults.” And another definition says; “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.”

The Church of Christ is a church established and founded by Christ. Those who are followers of Christ are called Christians having the great hope of promise for eternal life. Its creeds and doctrine are all from the Bible – nothing more nothing less. Christians speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent. By principle, Christians practice activities that are in consonance with the Biblical teaching when there are no specific command or information that is offered. Life must be wholesome fitting to what God wants us to have – by faith and by works. They say, Christians are a cult because they abide in one person Jesus Christ whom the only one considered as Savior who delivered hope to mankind. All teaching must come from Him and all lives of people must abide in His teaching for you to be called a TRUE follower of Christ. Since cult is usually marked by a very strong, centralized authority, and since the Christians go back to the Bible as authority, is also considered a cult.

Cult if they say Christians are because they are not free to sin and encouraged to live holy after they have received our Lord Jesus through baptism. They should walk in the “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Others charged the Christians as a cult because they are “overly aggressive” in spreading the Gospel. It is not wrong to be overly aggressive because “Salvation is at hand and must be received before it is everlasting too late” (2 Corinthians 6:2). However, Christians still go with the principle taught in 1 Peter 3:15-16 that says; but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you, yet does it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame” (NRSV). It is worth noting that an overseer or elders of the church are to be “respectable, hospitable…not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome…He must also have a good reputation with outsiders…”  It’s hard to imagine someone who is obnoxious or forceful with non-Christians meeting these qualifications. In fact, all Christians are called “to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (https://www.rationalchristianity.net/xian_cult.html)

Is Christianity a cult then? If we understand Jesus teaching and see the value of it, only people against Christianity calls Christians as a cult. Those who go against the teaching of Christ are the ones who “apostatized” which term means “what is not.” It denies the authority of Christ and the Scriptures. They shy away from anything firmly believed, other than the right to believe what you wish.

So, is the Church of Christ a cult? The answer is absolutely NOT. It does not force people to follow (right or wrong) but leads people to live a righteous life pleasing to God (2 Timothy 3:16). It touches the heart for a man to willingly obey with sincerity. It guides the minds of man to see God’s direction ( Psalms 119:105) by using it as a light. Christ’s Church goes with reason (1 Peter 3:15-16) and the cult does not. Cults have blind followers while the church can see the truthfulness of Jesus (John 14:6; John 1:1) who gives life and a way to the Father.

Why call the Church of Christ a cult? Critics want to build it this way to avoid people from knowing the “TRUE way” and that they continue to be blind. It is a work of Satan a long time ago that he has sown seeds that cause prejudicial attitude toward the “True Church.” In order for a man to continue in his own “worldly freedom,” he must destroy the truth and make his false teaching look true and acceptable. Proverbs 14:12 says; “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (NKJV) Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8) NASV.

Those that are seeking for the TRUTH and had been wanting guidance, I encourage you to contact us for answers your questions and queries on matters regarding your salvation.

 

Giving Honor to Whom Honor is Due

I might not the only one to have witnessed that during a funeral there good things are said about a person who is already dead. Don’t get me wrong, but I can understand those good things must be said to make the family feel uplifted in times of their grief. However, most speakers exaggerate their appreciation to ease the sorrow of the loved ones. This causes me to question the way things are done- what are those good words if the one being honored is already dead? What effect would those affirmations have had if the person honored could still hear the good words about his/her deeds and can receive the actual appreciation of the people who have warmly thanked him for the job well done? Someone said; “being appreciated (honored) is a “need” to every human individual.”

To HONOR someone means to show them special attention and respect. Reasonably, we would expect that a person who is worthy of such attention and respect has done something to merit honor or special recognition. So we might well ask, Whom should we honor, and why is such honor merited? (Watch Tower- Study Edition March 2017). Next, to God, we have parents to be appreciated. Common sense will tell us that we should also appreciate those who have helped us for years and years, those who have influenced us and taught us to live a good life and many other people who deserve to be followed due to their deeds. When we honor someone, we as Christians are sincere to do it. It is a feeling that is free from deceit, and exaggerated and pretentious compliments (Matthew Henry Commentary). All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, LOVE. This love must have the characteristic of being “unforced or unconstrained.”

Suitably, the people of God must readily render HONOR to Christian servants. We as Christians collaborate with them as they perform their duties. Our honor and support have reasonable Biblical boundaries for we cannot violate and disobey God. The Bible mention that we are to fear God and honor men where honor is due.

1 Peter 2:13-17 says; Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” If the Bible says we are to honor all men, how much more will we honor a child of God who is our very own brother in Christ’s family?

Matthew Henry in his commentary says;  “Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths, and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection.”

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (New American Standard Bible)

Romans13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respects; if honor, then honor. (NIV)

Romans 2:10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (NIV)

Someone questions the “scriptural” of honoring Christian Brethren as they claim “only God has the right to honor our deeds.” This statement is debatable as it carries both sides of the coin – true that God will honor our deeds but false that ONLY GOD can and has the right to honor the good works of men. When we see GOOD WORKS done, time, effort and their tenacity to persevere in the work that resulted in good things, why deprive them of good and humble recognition? True, we will be given the greatest recognition in heaven, but the earthly recognition will help encourage individuals to follow, be appreciative of good works witnessed by men. Those who have not seen be able to know the cause of appreciation. This is not against the principles of the Bible but Biblical in the sense that there is “encourage one another” atmosphere, “rejoice with them that rejoice” and setting as an example to all. However, we do not praise them in the sense of praising God for there is only one deserving our Spiritual praise and it is God.

Let us not lose our sense of gratitude and honor. People today have lost their ability to honor good works, Christian brotherhood, and friendships. They have lost their ability to honor relationships. They have lost their ability to honor fathers, and mothers, and grandfathers, and grandmothers. They have lost their ability to honor the leadership in God’s church—or any church, for that matter (speaking of those in the world). (Martin Collins)

Honor is “critically necessary” when it comes to dealing with our physical fathers. Let me go a step farther. Honor is utterly critical when it deals with our Spiritual Father and Savior—that is, God the Father and Jesus Christ, and all the men who labored faithfully for so many years and years to see the Lord’s church continue until this day. The world is full of people whose sense of how to bestow honor is distorted. Truly, we are grateful to know that God allows us to honor those we owe and deserve the honor.

 

What is Life – Living Without God?

People nowadays are so entangled with the “World” and have no time for God. The demands of their needs are so overwhelming that attending to God is an extra burden to deal with. Another observation coming from a man saying; “it is too much of my time to go to Church and seek for the truth.”  People are at the age of “comfort and ease” where seeking is an additional burden to carry. We are in an age of disposables, fast food, fast computers- the internet, fast automobiles, fast travels and many other where the ease and comfort of having their needs are all easy and immediate to get. They feel like religion is out of fashion. By all of these, people treat the life around God as a hindrance to advance and by doing all things “freely.” In other words, God’s way makes a man think and meditate with Spiritual reason and values which are so hard to do. Sinful works are works of darkness. The wicked world keeps us far from this life as they can.

People think the other way around. Christ is hated because sin is loved. While we teach a man to give meaning to their lives by living a life around God, they see this as all waste of time. While we teach life is ultimately meaningless and have no hope or future without Christ, they see no immediate need for that. We teach the essence of life that we are so in need of life’s future, the hope of Salvation than a lonely stage with no audience, no one watching or caring. If Jesus Christ is not a savior of one’s life, their lives have no viable basis for hope!

Life is empty without God.  “Richard Dawkins denies the existence of God and if he is right, his opinion doesn’t actually matter. His words are merely the empty echoes of inanimate chemical reactions firing away in the evolving synapses of his brain.” If Carl Sagan was correct when he said, “the cosmos is all there is or was, or ever will be,” his words composed an epitaph of utter eternal despair” (Daryl Witmer- A life without Christ ).

God gives eternal life to those who believe.  To be in Christ is to be born again. This new birth is from heaven (John 1:12-13). It is the kind of birth the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live anew. We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures.  Our savior Jesus Christ came that we may have a life when He said in John 10:10“I come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” We have to be to Jesus to have life and be entirely different from what we were before. John 17:3 says; “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” For a man to truly live, he must know our Lord Jesus Christ.

To think that man can live without God is to suppose a sunflower can continue to live without light or a rose without water. We, as children of God, is clearly admonished today: “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” This is such a profound principle that it is repeated throughout the Scriptures. The idea is that when we draw near to God, He reveals Himself to us. God does not hide from the seeking heart. Deuteronomy 4:29 says; “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Life without God is empty and without a purpose. To live a life without a purpose is meaningless. Let’s be happy and be optimistic about the promise that there will be life eternal for those who follow and obey God’s Word. Remember, our Lord Jesus gave that as a promise to you! (John 14:1)

Should Christians indulge in Alcohol Drinking?

Many people involved in drinking alcohol would try to justify their works even knowing the consequences of it. They know that getting drunk is strongly prohibited by the Bible, but they try saying “it was just a social drinking that has not caused me to be drunk.” Then they say “Jesus made water into wine and so He condones drinking!” Apostle Paul also encouraged Timothy to drink a little wine for the sake of stomach. All these gathered reason people make, try to justify drinking wine as long as it doesn’t make you drunk.

  • Starting from the Old Testament, Noah was shamed because of drunkenness in Genesis 9:21-23 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were turned away so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.”(NASB) Considering another advice by the wisest man Solomon who knew how the effect of wine to man is by saying in Proverbs 20:1 “ Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” (NASB) So, when will a man be intoxicated with wine and how small is small that won’t intoxicate man? The wisest man added the effect of wine even by not drinking by the warning;

“Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, (Then its effects) When it goes down smoothly; At the last, it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things.” (Proverbs 23:31-33). Looking at all these verses in the Old Testament, it strictly prohibits the “Holy” people of God to be indulging in it.

Remember, the young man Daniel who was so submissive to everything, but he drew a line at eating meat and drinking the King’s wine in Daniel 1:8. When we go through life with moral questions, we must be careful of what practices we adopt. If it fails these three tests to distinguish Right from Wrong, then this doubtful practice must be rejected. 1. Is it contrary to the scripture? (Is it expressly forbidden by the scripture or is it consistent with the moral principle based on Scripture?) 2. Is my motive pure? 3. Will I and others escape defilement? (Bible Studies at the Moorings) If wine defiles our body, why insist on being indulging in it?

In the New Testament, 1 Peter 4:3 “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” In Ephesians 5:17-18; “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (Berean Study Bible) A person filled with the spirit is not under in any circumstances by “Little wine.” Galatians 5:19 warns us to avoid drunkenness as Apostle Paul said; But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions,” (Galatians 5:18-20 Berean Study Bible) Debauchery means crazy partying and wild nights, usually accompanied by a lot of alcohol. Debauchery is all about indulging in some of the life’s pleasures — overindulging, in fact.

Then justification comes by saying, “I am not going to get drunk. I am just socially drinking with friends.” The Bible speaks about the act of getting closer to the act prohibited. Apostle Paul said but test all things. Hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.…” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 Berean Study Bible). Scripture is silent concerning many modern vices because they did not exist in Biblical times. But they are certainly inconsistent with moral principles based on Scripture. The Bible does say, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

Christians are encouraged to avoid drinking wine that leads to drunkenness. No matter how people justify their “little drinking habits” to be accepted, let us look at ourselves under the influence of alcohol –whether it be small or large amount but “not drunk” if this is a presentable offer of ourselves to God. Romans 12:1-2 says Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NASB)

 

Practical Atheist

Our world today has an influx of people who do not want regulations, control, policies or directives and even religion. One lady hinted that she did not grow in an environment where rules are observed and punishment is imposed upon violation of rules. Meaning, it seems that rules have never been presented since childhood and the strong opposition for punishment has been so clear. Now, what kind of society are we having with this kind of attitude of the mind? It seems to me that there is an absence of ACCOUNTABILITY. Since there are no restrictions, there are no rights and wrongs – definitely there is no STANDARD to be followed. That makes one to think that he is free to do anything – harmful or not as there are no rules to signify the acts as good or bad. The concept of Atheism can easily come in as they do not want to be subjected and accountable to the rules of God.

Atheists do not believe in the existence of God. They strongly state by definition that there is no God. Though their voice is strong, their reason to be an atheist is so weak to prove that God does not exist.

Ron Rhodes in his argument against atheism says:

“The burden lies on you to prove that evil actually exists in the world. So let me ask you: by what criteria do you judge some things to be evil and other things not to be evil? By what process do you distinguish evil from good?” The atheist may hedge and say: “I just know that some things are evil. It’s obvious.” Don’t accept such an evasive answer. Insist that he tell you how he knows that some things are evil. He must be forced to face the illogical foundation of his belief system.” (Strategies for Dialoguing with Atheists).

From a rabid Atheist to a more moderate called “Practical Atheist or Christian Atheist” both sounded the same but a little difference can be clearly seen in them.

George Smith says: A “Practical atheist, or Christian atheist, is defined as someone who believes in God but lives as if He doesn’t exist.”

Another definition says; “Christian atheism, also called non-realistic Christianity, is a bizarre form of quasi-spiritual philosophy that keeps the forms and practices of Christianity while denying God’s existence. Christian atheists attempt to “de-mythologize” Christianity, doing away with all belief in the supernatural yet maintaining liturgies and corporate worship experiences as meeting humanity’s need for socialization and the communication of lofty ideas.” (Gotquestion.org)

To sum it up, a Practical Atheist believes in God but does not do God’s will. He may believe in God’s existence but does not give importance to God’s commandments. He claims that he belongs to a religious group and goes to the church occasionally but his heart and mind is so far away from God’s teaching. He may profess his religion and yet does not have any Biblical verses to support his claim. They are likened unto a car without a gas. What is the use of a car to travel and transport people when it cannot start and run because it has no gas? What is the use of a light bulb when there is no electricity? Same in religion, what use is your faith when you do not do God’s will?

Our Lord Jesus says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)

James also said the same thing; 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b]works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:14-19 NKJV).

It is my aim to state that a mere belief or faith is not enough to please God. Non- acceptance of God’s existence and non-obedience of God’s commands do not make any difference. What this author is trying to say is that – Many in religious groups today tried to justify that “all is alright with God” even to the point of someone who do not know God or who deliberately ignore God – CAN STILL BE SAVED. Can you imagine that? He is saying that a car can still be a car and run even without gas or a lightbulb can still give light even without electricity! Listen to the interesting statement of a Pope.

Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ has good news for atheists according to Catholic online. He said “Atheists can do good and go to heaven too. Jesus died and was raised for them (atheist) as well. His redemptive embrace was for all, not just a chosen few…… The Church wants all men and women to be saved. (Catholic Online) What the “Catholic Online’s” article is stressing that one who considers God foreign or not at all existing, can be saved by God. What a dream! It says, regardless of your religion – may it be christian, pagan, muslim, hindu, Buddhist, or whatever – can all be saved! There is no more church in the Bible – and Christ dying for His church is unnecessary, no more Right and Wrong. No more Word to follow. Wow! This is the same or worst than the Devil’s teaching taught long time ago in the garden of Eden! THIS IS A CLEAR LIE and OPPOSITE TEACHING FROM GOD. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS! This is not TRUE at all. It is interesting that the devil believes in God and yet the Pope claims that one who does not believe in God will be saved by God. Harold Vaughan says; “The Devil is a practical atheist. He knows there is a God, but operates as if there were no God.  He believes in God, but he does not love God. The Devil knows he will give account to God, yet he persists in his rebellion. He acknowledges God, but does not glorify God.” Stephen Charnock said, “The devil knows there is a God, but acts like an atheist; and so do his children.”

What did the truth say? There is no other salvation in any other name except in Christ Jesus –Acts 4:12. Hebrews 5:9 says; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Additional verses goes back to Jesus as man’s only source of Salvation. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” ( John 11:25-26) “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.” ( John 14:6-7) “And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” ( Matthew 19:29) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” ( John 5:24) There can be no other source of TRUE guidelines for man to follow except the WORD of God for him to be saved. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

David Cariaga is the pulpit minister of Convoy Avenue Church of Christ, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Street

Let’s Allow God to Rule our Lives!

By David Cariaga

An article by Larry Tomczak entitled Is America destined to become like Sodom and Gomorrah? says, “observing the president of United State States kicking off the official celebration of ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month,’ was introduced by two 9-year-old girls celebrating their lesbian mothers. Flanked by a smiling Vice President Biden, President Obama then called out individuals with gay backgrounds amid applause. Finally, he reaffirmed his commitment to same-sex marriage and gay initiatives in America. This coincides with his administration releasing directives so that individuals will be forced to affirm homosexuality in the federal government. Remaining silent will be seen as discrimination and put their jobs in jeopardy.

The world today seems to be no different from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. I saw and read in the newspaper, some people asking to be given recognition and they wanted to be treated like anyone else – “equally”. If they (Gays and Lesbians) are right and we who are against it are wrong,  the world is either confused or has distorted God’s word by doing their own desire.

If we believe and respect God, why are man’s opinions heavier than the word of God?

By what standard do we seek to live and conduct our lives? Whose standard is it?
Who legislated its rules? By what authority is their standard established?
Notice what Leviticus 18:22 says, You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination”; Leviticus 20:13: If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.” And also “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes Proverbs 12:15.(NASB)

So now with these Biblical verses, why will we push our human opinion to justify homosexuality and say it is OKAY with God?  We cannot deny the fact that this behavior is against God’s teaching – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” And Romans 1:26-27(New International Version-NIV) “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

If it is an abomination to God’s will even in the Old Testament, this act stands on par with prostitution, adultery, uncleanness, lying, murder, idolatry and any other sins against God. They charged those against their acts as “harsh” and “inhuman”, where they too deserved to be loved and respected. There is no question about that. I can love a person, and God without a doubt loves mankind more, but these acts (behavior/mentality) are what God hates.  Meaning, God can love us so much but not our “unlawful acts.” Not all happiness of man is acceptable to God.  Adultery, stealing and many others make people (who do this) happy.  This is contrary to God’s teaching!  This is what people need to know.

The scripture says, For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart Hebrews 4:12.  Gays and Lesbians may get mad at those who speak against their practices, but the Lord’s teaching is their real enemy, and not us Christians merely reminding people to follow what God wants us to do.  They get insulted.  God has the authority to remind anyone.  They think it is an intrusion to their life.  God needs to get in to their lives to make them realize that they must change!  Build a world with high Moral Standards.  Build a world where God’s word is respected and obeyed.

Let’s allow God to rule us, not us people distorting His rule for us to follow!

David Cariaga is the pulpit minister at the Convoy Avenue Church of Christ, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Corinthians 13

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  (Hebrews 12:1-2a, NIV)