GLORIOUS PROMISES OF GOD

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.John 14:12-13

Jesus was speaking to his disciples from the heart, in the knowledge that the cross awaited. Contextually, he is talking about his miracles, urging his disciples to believe in him as the Son of God because of the works he has done in their sight. Caught up in the Spirit, he prophesies that those who believe in him, including believers down through the ages, will perform the same, and even greater miracles. In the power and effectiveness of his children, Father God will be glorified. What a glorious promise!

Also, Jesus’ initial statement is that we would do the miracles He had done. The additional clause of ‘even greater things will you do builds on that, rather than diminishes it. 

Most denominational churches do not see or believe miracles occur today so have lost faith in the word of God.

The consequences of believing false traditions over the word of God are serious. We lower our expectations of God, reducing his incredible promises to match our experience. By doing so, we lose our hold on faith, because we are no longer clinging to his Word – our grip has been transferred instead to the tradition, and we are well adrift of the truth. Once we drift from the truth of God’s active, compassionate, interventionist love, and the promises of his miraculous provision, deliverance, and healing, we lose sight of who God is altogether. We paint a lesser picture and worship it instead.

The testimony of Francis Chan is very revealing in regard to miracles. When he was pastoring a church of 5,000 in California and esteemed highly in the World because of the size of his church and authoring best-selling books like Crazy Love he never saw or expected to see miracles.

Speaking during the virtual International Association of Healing Ministries conference this week, Chan said, “What I do know is for many years I didn’t believe in healing, I didn’t believe in miracles, it was pretty much what I was taught in seminary.

“Humbly, I have to say, I used to ridicule people who spoke in tongues or prophesied or believed they could heal, even though when I personally read the Scriptures, I saw this available.”

Earlier this year, Chan shared that he and a team of other Christians supernaturally healed several people in a rural village in Myanmar, including a little boy and girl who were deaf. 

“Every person I touched was healed,” the Crazy Love author said in a sermon delivered at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference.

“OK, this is craziness to me. I have never experienced this in 52 years,” he testified then. “I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands on her and she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.

Do you think Francis wants to go back to his church of 5000? No, in fact, he is setting up House Churches with no buildings or paid pastors.

KNOWING GOD BY KNOWING HIS WORD

Knowing God, as He is presented in scripture, is a non-negotiable for Christians. Theology offers an eternal well of joy and a shield of protection from the enemy. Any Christian who thinks they can continue with a “no creed but Christ” is setting themselves up for failure. Anyone with this paradigm should truly self-evaluate if they really love the Lord at all. A denial of the need for theology is a denial of the Lord Jesus.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

It is impossible to know doctrine, love, or God without the scripture. This is where the oracles of God and His gospel are contained. It is this special means by which God has chosen to reveal Himself to us.

Psalm 119 is extraordinarily helpful here. I do not think it is a coincidence that the single longest chapter in scripture (176 verses) is dedicated to loving the law of God. The psalmist reminds us over and over how his true delight and protection are only found in knowing God, via His word. He writes:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips, I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies, I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.Psalms 119:9-16

A pursuit of theology is fundamental and vital to our makeup as human beings. Because we bear the Imago Dei (made in the image of God), we’re designed with a natural inclination for the spiritual and divine. We are wired to pursue theology – if not formally, then certainly informally. Even atheists, by their own self-admission, are going out of the way to classify themselves by an a-theological position. The great efforts made to publicly deny God are, in and of themselves, admissions of the great importance God plays in our world. It’s for reasons like these that statements that deny the need for theology are so absurd.

In Australia, WordLive from Scripture Union is a free, online Bible reading guide, to help you meet with God devotionally through the Bible. It is just one of the many Bible reading guides available free online for your use.

EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS NOW AMONGST “THE OTHERS”

The cultural “OTHERS” in Social Sciences states that in any society or group, there are those who are “in” and those who are “out”— that is, inside the shared agreements of understanding and social practice, or outside them. The cultural other is an individual or, more than likely, an entire group, whose beliefs and practices place them outside of “normal” or “acceptable” society. Their way of thinking and of life offends the sensibilities and ideals of the dominant group, and in this sense, they are stigmatized in the extreme. As such, the cultural other is regarded as not just outside of the in-group, but so far outside that their very presence represents a profound ethical violation that might even be experienced as repugnant to those who are not part of it. This would now seem to be how many people have come to think about Evangelical Christians, those that truly believe the Bible is God’s Word and want to live by its constructs.

INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH HAS FAILED

These statistics are from three different Research organisations.

  1. Less than half of Americans, including just 63% of churchgoing Christians, believe Jesus existed before His virgin birth in Bethlehem, a new study from Lifeway research shows.
  2. recent survey by Probe Research found that nearly 70% of so-called evangelical Christians disagree with the biblical position that Jesus is the only way to God. Also, the percentage of Born Again Christians with a Biblical Worldview has been cut in half over the last decade
  3. Another study from Arizona Christian University published earlier this year, showed that among an estimated 176 million American adults who identify as Christian, just 6% or 15 million of them actually hold a biblical worldview.
Jesus' Nativity Story
The live reenactment of Jesus’ nativity scene held outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday Dec. 2, 2021. | Christian Post

The Lifeway study, conducted Sept. 3-14 through an online survey of a national pre-recruited panel of 1,005 Americans, shows that only 2 in 5 or 41% of American adults, in general, believe Jesus existed before His Bethlehem birth. Some 32% disagree with the idea that Christ existed before His Bethlehem birth, while 28% say they’re not sure.

Researchers also found that even among Christians who attend church four times a month or more, only 63% agree that Jesus existed before His Bethlehem birth even though many Scriptures from the Bible support that position.

“Prophecies such as those in Isaiah 9 reflect that the Messiah would be the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. While these titles reflect the Trinity, some Americans do not connect the Jesus born in Bethlehem with the Messiah who already existed as God now coming in the flesh,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.

The religiously unaffiliated were the least likely among respondents in the survey to believe Jesus existed before Bethlehem, with fewer than 15% of them supporting the notion.

And yet in John 6:62 for example, Jesus asks His many disciples at the time: “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

The Scripture further highlights how difficult it was for many of them to embrace the idea of His divinity and pre-existence when it notes in John 6:66 that: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

In a 2016 presentation in New York City, the American Bible Society explained that despite the Bible being the most printed and sold book in the world over the last five decades, less than half of practicing Christians in the U.S. spend serious time engaging with their Bible and the rest of the country is even worse.

At the time, Samuel Harrell, director of Project Ignition at the American Bible Society, presented evidence gathered from a six-year assessment of the state of the Bible conducted by the Barna Group which showed that just 18% of the American population 18 years and older read the Bible. Among practicing Christians, only 37% were found to engage with their Bible.

The good news is that Jesus told us that this would happen just prior to His return and that before God pours out His wrath on unrepentant sinners Christians will be taken to Heaven.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:9-14

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

AS MANY AS 160 MILLION AMERICANS WHO IDENTIFY AS CHRISTIANS WILL FACE THE WRATH OF GOD

Of an estimated 176 million American adults who identify as Christian, just 6% or 15 million of them actually hold a biblical worldview, a new study from Arizona Christian University shows. The finding was published by the Cultural Research Centre of Arizona Christian University in its recently released American Worldview Inventory, an annual survey that evaluates the worldview of the U.S. adult population.

The study shows, in general, that while a majority of America’s self-identified Christians, including many who identify as evangelicals, believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and is the Creator of the universe, more than half reject a number of biblical teachings and principles, including the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Strong majorities also errantly believe that all religious faiths are of equal value, people are basically good, and that people can use acts of goodness to earn their way into Heaven. The study further showed that majorities don’t believe in moral absolutes; consider feelings, experience, or the input of friends and family as their most trusted sources of moral guidance; and say that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue. “Too often, it seems, people who are simply religious, or regular churchgoers, or perhaps people who want a certain reputation or image embrace the label ‘Christian,’ regardless of their spiritual life and intentions,” George Barna, the lead researcher at the Cultural Research Center, explained in a statement.

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:30-31

Some 62% of self-identified born-again Christians contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity.

Another 61% say that all religious faiths are of equal value, and 60% believe that if a person is good enough, or does enough good things, they can earn their way into Heaven.

“As the groundbreaking American Worldview Inventory surveys have demonstrated, just 6% of U.S. adults possess a biblical worldview. Labelled ‘Integrated Disciples’ for their demonstrated ability to assimilate their beliefs into their lifestyle, this group consistently,  albeit imperfectly, comes closest to reflecting biblical principles into their opinions, beliefs, behaviours, and preferences,” Barna explained.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Matthew 7:13-14

More than 99% of this group “believe that the Bible is the accurate and reliable words of God, believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful and just Creator of the universe who still rules the universe today” and “say they have a unique, God-given calling.” Significant minorities still held beliefs that challenge the biblical worldview. These include: 25% say there is no absolute moral truth; 33% believe in karma; 39% contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity; 42% believe that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue, and 52% argue that people are basically good.  “The survey results clearly demonstrate how careful you have to be when interpreting data associated with a particular segment of people who are labelled as Christians,” Barna warned.