One Man’s Story

A  Christian who had done mission work in South America told me about a man there who picked up a leaflet from the church and liked what he read. He requested a Bible correspondence course, and after completing it asked for someone to visit him.

So the missionary made contact, and during the two hours they studied the Bible together, he would start to quote a verse and the man would finish it. This happened over and over. To say the least, the missionary was amazed.

The man told him he believed everything those passages taught. When asked if he had been immersed for the forgiveness of his sins, he said he had. He then told his story.

Dissatisfied with his religion, he began studying the Bible in earnest—all by himself. As a result he realized his christening as an infant was not scriptural baptism and that his church was not the church of the New Testament.

He approached a religious group that practiced immersion and asked to be baptized, which he was. He was then encouraged to consider himself a member of their group.

“No,” he said, “I am just a Christian.” He did not wish to be aligned with a denomination but yearned instead to be in fellowship with others like himself who were trying to go by the Bible only.

Because his family and friends thought he was crazy, he concluded he must be the only Christian in the world since no one else he knew shared his understanding.

When he finally found the church associated with the missionary, he was thrilled and began worshiping with them.

The missionary told me that as a result of this and other experiences, his own faith was strengthened in the validity of the plea to go back to the Bible and be Christians only.

He and his brethren had always taught that if all that people have is a Bible, and if they study it and do what it says, then they will be Christians only.

The truth-seeker he met was proof of this. He had studied the New Testament and had come to the same conclusions as those who believed in going by the Bible only.

The Restoration Plea is valid!

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Does It Really Matter What We Believe?

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What medical error can do

In The Doctors Mayo, Helen Clapesattle describes how difficult it was to convince surgeons in the 19th century of the value of a sterile operating environment.

Many hospital patients died of preventable infections.

If ignorance in medicine was potentially fatal, what of religious error?

What religious error can do

Many reject Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God (John 14:6).

Jesus said, “. . . unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

And, “. . . he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me” (Luke 10:16).

So does it really matter what we believe?

Can we afford to assume we’re right with God until we’ve carefully examined our beliefs in light of His word (Acts 17:10-11)?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Question

Jesus’ challenge

On several occasions in interacting with the hostile chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, or Sadducees, Jesus countered them with this question: “Have you not read…?” or “Have you never read…?” (Matthew 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31).

In each case He referred them to a specific teaching in their Scriptures (the Old Testament).

From this we may conclude….

Jesus placed tremendous importance on the Scriptures as the authoritative word of God.

Jesus expected people to be familiar with the Scriptures.

He demonstrated that religious error should be challenged by the Scriptures.

Why would it be any different today?

“Have you not read…?”

Good question!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Heirloom Faith?

A hand-me-down faith?

I’m grateful for the Elgin pocket watch that once belonged to my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Heirlooms and hair color can be inherited, but what about faith?

Many people believe what their parents believed. But is it a carefully thought-out choice?

If we simply accept what our parents tell us, is our faith really our own?

Loyal to whom?

Parents can be wrong about matters of faith. Can we afford to take another person’s word for it—even Mom’s or Dad’s?

Should we let loyalty to parents outweigh allegiance to Christ? “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:35-37).

Whatever we sacrifice for Christ, even if it’s our family, He will more than compensate (Mark 10:28-30).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Even More Dangerous

The danger

The computer spell-check thought I meant “terrorist.” But “errorist” is what I intended.

Oxford English Dictionary defines “errorist” as “One who is inclined to error; one who encourages and propagates error.”

Satan uses both terrorists and errorists to hurt the church.

Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a violent terrorist (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2, 13-14; 22:4-5, 19-20; 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13).

Terrorists work from the outside; errorists from within. Satan has been much more successful using errorists.

Errorists corrupt the truth. People then believe the lie and are lost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Countering the danger

The best safeguard against errorists is to truly love the truth, search for the truth, and compare teachings we hear with the standard of God’s word (Acts 17:10-12).

Beware of errorists!

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The Day He Changed His Mind

Speaking to King Agrippa, Paul recounts his own conversion (Acts 26).

“I thought”

“. . . I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus . . .” (v. 9).

Point: What we think may contradict what God thinks.

“I saw . . . I heard”

“. . . at midday, O King, I saw . . . a light from heaven . . . . I heard a voice . . . saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (vv. 13-14).

Point: Painful truth is far preferable to sincere ignorance.

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“I obeyed”

“. . . I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision. . .” (v. 19).

Point: Truth learned must be truth lived.

Have we made sure what we think is really the truth?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Should Everyone Become a Christian?

Many faiths

Years ago I took a graduate course in world religions. It was a profitable study of the major faiths espoused by millions.

Questions: Do all religions have equal validity? Are they simply alternate paths to God?

First, two truths: 1) There are many good and true beliefs in every religion; 2) These religions have much in common.

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One way?

Two more truths: 1) There are also major differences among them—what they teach about God (or gods), salvation, how to worship, etc.; 2) Christianity teaches that Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Timothy 2:5).

This claim, of course, runs counter to the broad, inclusive thinking of our day.

But what if it’s true?

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