Thursday, June 26, 2014

Updated Resources Page

whats-new

It’s long overdue, but I’ve finally added a few new links to the Resources page.  These are sites that have been of particular help to me through this journey into recognizing the peace and security of standing in God’s grace.

I hope that they prove as useful and informative to you as they have been to me.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Joe

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Discern Truth from Lies

Below are some excerpts from an e-mail exchange I had a couple of years ago with someone who teaches that the Law of Moses is still applicable to believers today.  I had originally written to this person in order to seek understanding and clarification about their beliefs and teachings that they had posted on their web site.

None of these words are mine, but are from the individual I was conversing with.  I would honestly love to hear some feedback on the below doctrines:

"It began to change with the Roman Catholic Church about 115 AD. That's a long time ago and what Christianity thinks is Gospel is a doctrine of men that nullifies God's Word, as hopefully, you're beginning to see. The traditions of the Church have caused many well meaning Christians to sin against the One that they love. Pharisaism is very much alive in the Church today."

"the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God are one and the same Spirit, but it is a separate entity from the Father and the Son. Look, Joe, if we have a family and we have a father and a son, shouldn't the mother be part of it, too? Man was created in God's Image…Adam/Eve/children…if you remove the Spirit from being a Person you only have a Father and a Son…"

"The promise is that we are to be exactly like Yeshua is now, except that He was always God the Son, while we will be like Him through the New Creation."

"In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is always feminine in grammar; both Old and New Testaments (for Israelis today the Greek New Testament is translated into modern Hebrew and all the passages relating to the Holy Spirit are feminine and use feminine pronouns; she/her). In Greek, the pronoun for he and she is the same word, so, context determines what is written in English. I'm saying that the English translators didn't know what they were doing when they wrote "He" for the Holy Spirit. "Wisdom" in Hebrew is feminine, Joe."

"Joe, in creation everything mated 'after its own kind.' Gorillas with gorillas, cats with cats, and humans with humans…in the New Jerusalem the Body of Christ will become the Bride of Christ. How can this Bride marry the Lord unless it has the same nature (deity) that the Lord has?"

Believers are... "to be like God and to be one with Them…the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

"You may take 'God' to mean the Father, but 'God' is more than Father, as the Apostle John and others plainly reveal. Yeshua is also God (the Son), so, "God" speaks to more than one Person and using the name of the God of Israel as a 'last name' (Yahveh) gives us Father Yahveh, Spirit Yahveh, and Son Yahveh…all God, yet as distinct from one another as you are from your wife and children, yet all sharing the same last name/nature…human, or in Their case, divine."

Begotten - "The offspring of two species (male and female), usually related to human offspring, but obviously, in Christ's case, relating to His being begotten by the Father and the Spirit in eternity past."

"And what does it mean that Man is made in God's Image and Likeness? Man becomes the model or pattern that pictures the Godhead…again, if there is a Father and a Son, and the Holy Spirit is mentioned, the Spirit must be feminine, which is exactly the pronouns that are used for it in Hebrew in both the Old and the New, no matter what your English translation of the Greek says. Greek has the exact same pronoun for he/she, so it's left to context, and the translators got it wrong…the Spirit is always in the feminine in the Old and the New…so, Father, Mother and Son, just like Adam, Eve and Abel…"

"Messiah is saying that ALL the other commandments have their reason for being in either the first or the second commandment. In other words, if I love God I will keep His Sabbath day holy and I will celebrate Passover, and I will not eat pig or shrimp, etc. The commandments are actually concrete expressions of God's Love for us…telling us how to love Him and how to love one another. Isn't that beautiful?"

""Just love" brings in problems that speak of much sin in a Christian's life because the Word of God has been severely compromised for 1,900 years."

Additionally, in response to pointing out that this person's teaching that "believers will be like God" was very similar to the serpent's words to Eve in Genesis 3:4, they responded:

"You're right, it is a variation of the sin of Satan, but isn't it possible that Satan was preempting what God was going to do? Satan is a counterfeiter. The pagan religions of old and today present issues to their adherents that are reflections of God's salvation, Son, and Spirit, etc.

"On the other hand, God is freely offering deity to us through the Sacrifice of His Son because He wants us to spend eternity with Him. This is the free gift and shows us His heart for us, both in its cost to Him and Yeshua, and in it's greatness (extending deity to those who walk with Him)."

"The deity issue, is something that I believe that many Christians before me have seen, and again, if we are both the Body of Christ, and His Bride, it would be a necessity for us to be like Him, not 'just' like Him, but like Him in every respect, except that Yeshua was always God the Son, and we will be God the sons by creation. That's what the new creation is truly about and why the gift of God to us is so great."

"You haven't addressed the main issue in this and that is our marriage to Jesus Christ forever. why not? Please realize that Jesus can only marry someone who is like Him…and that means deity for all believers. You do believe that Jesus is the Bridegroom, no? What's a Bridegroom without a Bride?"

Sometimes we scan through posts like these, never really testing what the author is saying, but giving them a free pass because the language sounds spiritual enough, or the writer sounds authoritative enough.

Be discerning.  NEVER put a minister or teacher on a pedestal, or assume that they are somehow more Godly, more spiritual, closer to God than you.  Instead, God wants YOU to be discerning, to test everything that you hear and read against the perfect standard of His word.

How do we develop discernment?  By spending regular time in the Bible, and by listening to the Holy Spirit.  Jesus says in John 10 that His sheep know His voice and will follow Him, and will RUN from the voice of a stranger.

Reread the excerpts above, and ask yourself.... "Whose voice?"  Whose voice do you hear in the above teachings that the Holy Spirit is essentially God the Mother, who along with God the Father, begot God the Son?  Whose voice do you hear in the teaching that believers become part of this God family when they die, gaining deity?  Whose voice to you hear in the implication that the 'truth' had been corrupted 1900 years ago, and only now, through a few select people, is God finally restoring 'truth'?

This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what this person (and so many others like them) teach.  It tickles the ears, and it intrigues our sense of spiritual pride to become part of a select few who are have been 'enlightened to the real truth.' 

I close with Paul's words to believers who were being drawn into false teachings concerning Christ:

"I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me. For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. ... But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:1-4,12-15)

"I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.  Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed." (Galatians 1:6-9)

Hold fast to the truth.  Exercise discernment.  Test the spirits.  Let no one deceive you.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Joe