GOD’S SPIRIT IS JUST THAT…GOD’S SPIRIT OF LIFE???

The church of Jesus promises resurrection and rapture after the crucifixion, founded upon the bible.  But the Bible is not the word of god, but is scripture.  Who is Satan and the antichrist?  Is sin, death and hell for real?  How can we find love’s power, which is heaven and the atonement of the heavenly father?  The Holy Spirit speaks to those who are spiritual; those who are the church.  Are all sinners?  What about the Pentecostal, charismatic experience of revival, such as the Toronto blessing and Brownsville-Azusa outpouring?

THE AXE TO THE ROOTS

BY:  LOUIS CHARLES

Copyright 2002

Questions That Will Challenge Your Traditional Christian Beliefs

To cause one to think is the purpose of questions.

CHAPTERS

TITLE

PAGE

 

PREFACE

1

1

INTRODUCTION

2

2

JESUS: CRUCIFIXION, RESURRECTION AND RETURN

2

3

SIN, SATAN AND THE ANTICHRIST

3

4

WHAT IS DEATH?

4

5

HELL AND DEATH

5

6

HELL AND DEATH

7

7

THE CHURCH

7

8

TRUTH AND WORD OF GOD

8

9

LOVE, POWER AND HEALTH

10

 

PREFACE

I have been a believer in Christ for over thirty years.  My only desire has been to know God and equally important, who I am.  In 1986, I began pouring through scriptures trying to make sense of it all.  Soon, six years had passed and I found myself a teacher, elder and at times a minister of healing at a local church.  I saw and experienced amazing things such as: people healed of sickness; spiritual giftings and foreknowledge displayed openly; and powerful manifestations of God’s Spirit upon people physically and mentally.  However, after several more years I knew inside me it was time to leave that local church, and no one could understand why.  At the time, even I did not know why.  Today, others still do not understand why! Through eyes of judgment, they can only see me and my family as “lost.”

Now, it is easy for me to look back and see why I was to move on in my spiritual journey.  I had become a very, religious person.  Religion is the false, man-made idea of who or what God must be. The truth will not be found within the walls of religion. I thought I knew God because I knew the scriptures.  Did I really know truth or did I simply learn too well the beliefs others had taught me?  Was I willing to let go of all doctrines and ask God to show me the truth of who He is and who I am?  Did I really understand the scriptures and the meanings behind the sayings Jesus spoke?  Would I lay scriptures down and trust God to not only “save” me, but also speak to me by the voice of His Spirit?

It is safe to say that I have a very good perspective from which to write.  If you think perhaps that I lack understanding of traditional teachings and doctrines of the scriptures let me say you are mistaken.  For years, I taught the very doctrines many believe and hold true to today.  I had believed I could prove to you the doctrine was true based upon lining up one verse of scripture with another verse.  Even though I was a very good lawyer, making my argument with a book of law known as the “Bible,” it did not mean I was correct in understanding or knowing truth.  When I began hearing for myself the truth within me, it challenged the very doctrines I had defended whole-heartedly.  It has taken many years for these things to be undone in me, and still today I seek to know the answers… the truth.

My goal of this writing is not to give you answers.  If you are looking for answers, I only want to direct you as to where to find them. You need to learn to seek answers to life’s questions through yourself.  The answers you seek cannot be found from the mouth or pen of any man, but must be heard inside you, “the hearer.”  I challenge you, “the seeker,” to find those answers within. In fact, if you look deep enough, you will find you already knew the answers; you just simply forgot.  I give you questions to assist in your seeking of truth and the undoing of your traditional beliefs in doctrines, which simply cannot be true.  Due to my challenging of what some may consider being core fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, the religious may find this journey to be highly difficult.  You may say, “I am not a religious person,” but the truth of the matter is man’s influence upon your mind has caused you to perceive things, which are false, as if they were true.  Are you willing to have your current beliefs challenged by questions for only you to find the answers to?  If you are to be true to yourself, then do not give patent answers learned from another person or book to the questions I will ask you.  Ask yourself, “How did I arrive at this belief?  Where did this belief come from and is it truth?”  The truth one knows will set one free.

Where can truth be found?  How can one hear God?  Look within you.  An answer of truth will always come without fear, condemnation or guilt upon the wings of peace: like an angel that brings tidings of love, hope and joy.  Quite easily, anything less is not truth or God sent.  Some, who I will again badge as “religious,” will no doubt try to scare you with fear into not even considering thoughts outside of their own beliefs and teachings.  Does that make their beliefs valid?  They may say, “How do you know what you are hearing is from God and not from the devil himself?  Perhaps, Satan is whispering his lies in your ear!”  Judge what you hear by one simple means of measurement: does it come out of love on wings of peace?

May your journey continue…

-LC

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

AND WHO DO YOU SAY?

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I, the son of man, am?”  So they replied, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

How about you?  Who do you choose to follow in your life?  Do you wish to follow what others may have taught you or the spirit of God who lives within?  What are you hearing inside of you?  What would your reply to Jesus be if you were personally asked that question today?

CHAPTER TWO

JESUS: CRUCIFIXION, RESURRECTION AND RETURN

I love to read the gospels, which tell the amazing stories of Jesus.  When I think about him blowing people’s minds by his unbiased love, power and healing, it is then I know inside of me that he is real.  The stories are real.  The miracles are real.  How do I know this?  I just know deep down because the truth gently rings within me like a long-lost friend to my spirit.  Still I have many questions.  Likewise, many around him in that day, also had questions.  Jesus never seemed to give the answers to them, but rather asked questions of them.  Why did he do this?  I believe he merely asked the questions that would cause us to question our own beliefs and their origins.  He causes us to seriously consider our current beliefs and ask, “Are they truth or has my own mind become the prison which keeps me from freedom?”  My approach to Jesus is not an attempt to discredit him or his ministry in any way.  Rather, I believe we are the ones who have totally misunderstood his life and message.  What was he saying?  What is the truth that ultimately brought him to crucifixion, then resurrection, shaking the entire known world of that day and affecting us still today?

Question One: Some teach Jesus and his kingdom to be coming again to this world.  If true, why then did Jesus teach, “The kingdom of God is within you…not outside of you…not visible with the physical eyes…and at hand;” and how come we do not hear that very same message preached, today?  (Luke 17:20-21; Mark 1:15)

Question Two: If Jesus is the only Son of God, why did Paul and John both state that, “we are the sons of God?” (Romans 8:14, 19; Galatians 3:26; I John 3:2)

Question Three: Jesus was crucified because he claimed to be the son of God and Christ.  The scriptures state that we are the sons of God and Christ is in us.  Who then killed the idea of us being one with God, God or man? (Colossians 1:27)

Question Four: Some teach Jesus to be coming back literally in the clouds of the sky.  Why then would Jude and the writer of Hebrews refer to clouds as being people, and could we have missed Jesus’ appearing? (Jude 1:12; Hebrews 12:1)

Question Five: If we understand resurrection correctly, why didn’t Jesus’ own disciples immediately recognize him after his resurrection? (Luke 24:13-31) 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

People are brought into your life for a purpose, and so I must recognize just a few, who have carried with them messages for only me to hear.  Many have impacted my thinking both positively and negatively.  As always, the challenge is to sort out the pearls of truth while discarding the muck of falsehoods.  If you think back to your own childhood, you will find many people who helped shape who you are and what you believe today.

I must first thank my wife, who has shown me what it looks like to give to others.  She is unselfish in her love and has constantly challenged my beliefs while at the same time been patient enough to listen to me.  My wife has inspired me consistently through our marriage and has taught me so much through her inward vision, dreams and many good questions.  Actually, I am still learning from her.  Also, I have many good friends who challenge me with what they are hearing inside, regularly.  Thank you all and especially W.E.B. and JAY for your shared wisdom and insights, which have spawned many of the various questions, I will continue to pose in this series of writings. 

Let us go on and share what we know…

Copyright 2002

Take time to ponder these questions…

Research them…

Don’t give man-taught answers…

Seek the truth within…

Did you ever wonder why “the church” focuses mainly on the death of Jesus…in effect holding the longest funeral in history, when Jesus’ gospel message was about life and resurrection? 

CHAPTER THREE

SIN, SATAN AND THE ANTICHRIST

There have been so many different beliefs, doctrines and teachings on these subjects that one would find it hard to know just what to believe.  Some think the only “safe” way to live their lives is to look at every action one does and judge it, accordingly.  Others, cowering under fear, believe “the devil” is hiding behind every tree or underneath every rock, just waiting to pounce on them!  In both cases, that’s certainly no way to live and I do not believe those to be truths Jesus stated would set one free.  To me, freedom simply comes from not having fear, but peace within me, in its’ place. Maybe, we have complicated these subjects.  Perhaps, we can find simpler understandings of them and remove the fear of the unknown.

Fear forms closed doors in one’s life. Each of us have the ability to choose to go through each and every door of fear and see what lies behind it.  The only way fear can be vanquished from a life is for it to be faced. When faced, a new freedom and sometimes pathway to travel is found. You have to make the decision to not fear.  Fear is the opposite of love and God is love.  That means God is not the source of fear. Will you choose to face your fears to find inner peace?

You may be wondering why I am writing about fear.  In the past, I was stopped from following what I was hearing on the inside of me, by people who were telling me “God might send me to hell,” if I do not follow their teachings.  Funny, how I figured out later that I was already in hell by believing others’ false beliefs about God and myself. I spent years in that hell by refusing to hear anything but the religious teachings I had learned. Yet, I had no idea my beliefs were in error and hurtful to me and others.  Fear has a way of paralyzing and hurting each of us. 

The following questions are for your consideration:

Question Six:  Some teach and believe “sin” as being an outward physical action, but Jesus taught sin to come from within a person’s heart or mind.  Could “sin” simply be a forgivable mistake due to lack of understanding, and perhaps meaning only to “to mis-think?” (Matt. 12:35; 15:17-20)

Question Seven: Could “repentance” simply mean “to change one’s mind?”  What is repentance? (Mark 1:15)

Question Eight: It is written that Jesus spoke numerous times, “only believe,” and “have faith.”  Could he be saying, “What you believe becomes real to you?” (Mark 5:36; Luke 8:50; Matt. 17:20;21:21-22)

Many teach the “devil” or “Satan” to be a powerful, invisible being, lurking around every corner, just waiting to attack his helpless victims. If that were true, then why would Jesus call Peter, “Satan,” and Judas Iscariot, “a devil?”  Could Satan and the devil represent something within us, far simpler to overcome? (Matt. 16:23)

Question Ten: The book of Revelation states that the devil, Satan, serpent and dragon are all one and the same.  Knowing this, why do you think Jesus also called the religious leaders of that day, “vipers” or serpents? (Matt. 12:34; Rev. 12:9; 20:2)

Question Eleven: Why are believers still waiting for Jesus to come when John clearly stated that “He is come in the flesh,” and anyone who denies this is the antichrist?  In light of this verse of scripture, what is an antichrist? (I John 4:1-4)

Question Twelve: The unclean spirits Jesus confronted never denied who he was, even proclaiming him to be the Son of God. I John 4:2 states Jesus to have come in the flesh and whoever denies this is “antichrist” (against Christ – wouldn’t the unclean spirits count as anti-christ?).  In this verse, could John have been speaking of man’s denial of Jesus’ appearing (or coming) within our own flesh? (Mark 1:24-25; Col. 1:27)

Question Thirteen: Why do men teach there to be only one antichrist to come when John clearly stated, “There are many antichrists?” (I John 2:18-23)

Take time to study and think these questions through.

CHAPTER FOUR

WHAT IS DEATH

We build tombs, monuments and memorials to commemorate lives as if they are gone and all we have left are the memories.  Does the person who has tasted death still exist?  If you answered, “yes,” then why do we act as if they are gone?  We seemingly exalt death as if it is a “grim reaper” who steals lives daily.  What a cruel and unjust world.  I can’t help but feel death is hiding a great truth and blinding us from our peace and freedom.  Could God be the power who gives us life and could that life-giving energy ever be destroyed?  These are hard, puzzling questions to consider in the midst of what our eyes have sadly shown us.  Can we explore death’s veil and test its’ bold statement and find error?  Do you want to explore death or have you decided it is what it is?

Death is a subject many of us do not wish to talk about.  We just try and forget about it while believing one day we will have to face it.  Most of us hope that day will not come anytime soon.  Staying back in our minds it becomes a nagging fear for most people.  Is death something to be feared?  Paul said, “Oh, death, where is your sting?”  Jesus’ life was a triumph over death.  He proved by his resurrection that death does not matter or change who we are.  He proved we are eternal.  Jesus couldn’t really be killed.  He lives on.  We shall live on.  Do we really understand death, as Jesus knew it?  Is our definition of death the same as his?

Why do we live now hoping for tomorrow to be better?  It appears to me that we only have today, because the future is not here right now and yesterday is gone!  Now, some want to live in the past, but that is an illusion.  The past can only exist in the mind’s memory.  What if we could live right now as Jesus lived?  I think we have come to believe it cannot be done.  He lived in power and in control, overcoming all that this world could throw at him, right now.  Most of us, however, want to wait until after we physically die, thinking death to be a quick fix.  Is it?  I am not sure, but I do know Jesus walked in the “right now.”  Did he teach to wait until after death to have peace?  Did he ask us to put off today for tomorrow?  Was he triumphant in death or resurrection?  Was death important or life?  Was not his life triumphant and incredible before his death?  Could death triumph over Jesus?  Did death direct and dictate Jesus’ life?

Question Fourteen: Did Jesus believe in death?  Is death real?

Question Fifteen: The scriptures indicate that no man could take Jesus’ life.  In fact, Matthew tells us the people tried to stone Jesus and throw him over a cliff and he walked right through them!  If death is an absolute, why couldn’t the people kill him until he laid his life down to be taken? (Luke 4:28-30; I John 3:16)

Question Sixteen: If we truly understand death, then why did Jesus say the little girl and Lazarus, both of whom he resurrected, were not dead but only sleeping?  By Jesus’ definition of sleeping, what must one awake to?  (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:35-43; John 11:11-15)

Question Seventeen:  When a man who wanted to follow Jesus asked if he could first go home and bury his father, what did Jesus mean by telling him, “let the dead bury the dead?” (Matt. 8:22; Luke 9:60)

Question Eighteen: Some teach we are not to speak to the dead on the other side of the grave, so why did Jesus speak to Moses and Elijah at the mount of transfiguration? (Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4)

Question Nineteen: If Jesus spoke to Moses and Elijah, why did Saul get into trouble by speaking to Samuel through a medium? (I Sam. 28:11-15)

Question Twenty: What did Jesus mean when he quoted scripture saying, “God is not the God of the dead but of the living?” (Matt. 22:29-32)

Question Twenty-One: Many denominations and doctrines of men deny the existence of ghosts as being possible.  Why is this so, when clearly the disciples believed in their existence when they mistook Jesus for a ghost when he came walking on the water?  What about the appearing of Samuel’s spirit or ghost to Saul? (Matt. 14:25-26; Mark 6:49)

CHAPTER FIVE

HELL AND HEAVEN

Check out these links on hell if you haven’t already! 

The Bible Hell

Hell is leaving the Bible “Forever”

This world just doesn’t make sense.  You look outside and this place appears right at times, but look real close and you find there is nothing of value here, except people.  All that your eyes can see is passing away.  Can you ever find peace in this world if your hope is in it?  Where can you look and not find crisis?  Thomas quoted Jesus as proclaiming, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”

Behold religion closely and you will find turmoil within their ranks, as well.  Squabbling, divisions, differences and unspeakable crimes have torn apart the walls of religion, exposing their man-made foundations and ideas.  Often times, we see hurting people who are looking for life’s answers, trapped within their visible and invisible walls.  Hurting people do not need religion in a crisis; they need love and truth.  The fact that there is any crisis at all within religion’s walls should say to us that its’ doctrines might not line up with truth.  Have you ever considered that?  Have you ever examined your Christian beliefs and thought to yourself, “These seem good, but I can’t help but feel there is something wrong or maybe even missing?”  Could it be a small voice within you whispering the truth in your inner most being?  And if so, could it be this same, small voice causing you to desire what is true, by allowing you to finally see what is false?  Have you succumbed to believing doctrines you were taught by others?  Are you even open to hearing what is true or has your mind been made up?  Has what you heard within your heart come into conflict with the teachings you have received from others, but you decide to follow others beliefs instead?  Is the basic Christian doctrine true as it is portrayed by the religious and believed by millions today?

Those are just a few questions that I have come to ask myself while trying to discern what Jesus was teaching us.  When people discuss hell, they seem to have varying beliefs.  What I find to be interesting is that many cannot comprehend any of their loved ones spending eternity in hell, yet they believe in it.  My brother often tells me, “If my family and friends are not going to be in heaven, then why would I want to be there without them?”  If heaven is eternal, then it is available now to all and never has been unavailable to us.  And if heaven is eternal, then it is true and what is true cannot have an opposite, such as an eternal hell.  Have you ever run into a person who tries to convert you to their religious beliefs, usually through the fear of missing heaven and ending up in an eternal hell?  If you have, then may I suggest questioning them about their beliefs regarding hell?  There are too many contradictions taught to people about hell and it may not even be recognized when the error is plainly exposed!  All we need to do is follow our train of thinking through to the obvious conclusion and it begins to become clearer that these doctrines just cannot be correct.  I will assist in pointing out some errors through the following questions, while you work to figure out the truth for yourself!

Question Twenty-Two: If hell is an eternal place of torment, why did Jesus set the captives free from the time of Noah…the same people whom the flood waters were meant to destroy?  (I Peter 3:18-20)

Question Twenty-Three: If hell does exist eternally, why would Jesus possess “keys to hell and death,” knowing that keys are needed only to unlock something?  What need would there be of even having keys if they are not needed to unlock?  If the keys were only used to lock something up for all of eternity, why wouldn’t the keys be destroyed, if no longer needed?  (Rev. 1:18)

Question Twenty-Four: Let us assume there is an eternal hell and some we know and love will be there in torment, while we are in heaven.  How could God wipe away all tears from the eyes of us in heaven if we have lost loved ones in the fires of an eternal hell?  Could we ever be at peace or do you suppose God would just erase our memories of those we knew and loved, but have perished?  Could you ever forgive God for doing that to someone you love?  (Rev. 7:17; 21:4)

Question Twenty-Five: If it were true that once a person finds himself in hell he is trapped in a prison of torment without hope, why would Jesus state that “the

Question Twenty-Six: Why did Bible translators use the word “eternal” in the scriptures when the Greek word properly translated means “for a set period of time” (an age), properly meaning hell has an end?  And why are the Greek words Hades and Gehenna translated as “hell” in the King James Bible, when Hades simply means the place of all departed souls, good or bad (the other side of the grave), and Gehenna was just a local trash dump outside of Jerusalem? (Mark 3:29; Jude 1:7)

Question Twenty-Seven: Some teach fire in the scriptures to be of the devil and part of his torment upon the godless in his future dwelling place called “hell.”  If fire is of the devil’s hell, why would Jesus say, “all will be salted with fire?” Why does the writer of Hebrews state, “Our God is a consuming fire?”  (Mark 9:49; Heb. 12:29)

Question Twenty-Eight: Many believe very few people will be saved and make it to heaven.  How could Jesus say he would draw all men unto himself?  Why did Paul say in I Corinthians, “all shall be made alive?”  (John 12:32; I Cor. 15:22, 28; Col. 1:20; II Cor. 5:19)

Question Twenty-Nine: If you believe only some people will inherit heaven and eternal life, what percentage would be saved in your opinion?  If all are not saved from hell, wouldn’t that mean Jesus and God failed in their plan to “destroy the works of the devil,” making the devil victorious if even one perishes?  Who is more powerful, God or the devil, and which one failed since both could not be victorious?  (I John 3:8)

CHAPTER SIX

HELL AND HEAVEN [continued]

Question Thirty-One: Jesus called heaven “the kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven.”  In fact, both were used interchangeably in the same parables that were recorded by the different authors of the four gospels.  The very word “kingdom” implies the totality of all God has and is, heaven obviously being included.  Why, then, do we wait to “go to heaven” some day after we die, when Jesus plainly stated that the kingdom is here now and within us?  What does that mean?  (Matt. 3:2; Mark1:15; Luke 17:21)

Question Thirty-Two: A common belief of most Christians is that unless one worships Jesus alone, heaven is unattainable.  They base this doctrine upon the scripture, “no man comes to the Father (God), but by me (Jesus).”  Jesus’ ministry showed us how to live and how to love.  He led by example.  He showed us how to follow our heavenly Father.  In essence, when you look at Jesus and his life, you should see yourself and your life.  How might that give new understanding to the above verse of scripture?  (John 14:5-7)

Question Thirty: When the disciples asked, “Who then shall be saved?” Jesus replied, “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.”  How can some still teach it to be impossible for all to be saved?  Didn’t Jesus answer man’s doubts in his response?  (Luke 18:26-27)

“Where can I go from your spirit?

Or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, (God) you are there.

If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there.”

-David Ps. 139:7-8

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE CHURCH

What is “church?”  Where is “church?”  How is “church” to be?  When I was teaching at a local “church” from scriptures, I couldn’t help but wonder about Christ stating His church will become “one.”  To me that would mean no separation or division.  Would God gather all the denominations together into one organization, or would He establish a governing body to rule over all the differing denominations?  Neither idea could be farther from the truth.  My error was in looking at the church as a building or denomination that worshiped together on Sunday.  In fact, when I began having these ideas burst into my head, I decided to research where the concept of church buildings, offering plates and pulpits came from.  The more I looked at the early church in the book of Acts, the more I became convinced that these things were instituted by man to establish control.  The early “church” simply did not look like what many call “church” today.  Many current Christian “church” teachings did not exist then, either.  Most of the established doctrines and traditions, such as buildings and pulpits came into existence around the time of 300AD.  Today, if one believes the scores of church buildings on every street corner to be God’s ordained church, then that same person will be misled into believing and following doctrines not taught by Jesus.  It took me years to finally realize the power of this illusion.  Christ said His church is not divided but will be “one.”  Is what you believe the church to be today “one” and undivided?  I believe the current “church system” to be the major cause of division amongst people and therefore rendered powerless.

So, what is the church and where is it? I can’t help but feel like we have been trapped into believing that what we call “the church” is not what Jesus had in mind.  Have you ever been afraid to ask these questions?  I have.  Still, I cannot help but ask, “If our understanding of church is true, then where today is the power Jesus and His followers demonstrated almost two thousand years ago?”  I personally have seen some miracles.  But, what caused those miracles to happen?

Question Thirty-Three: Did Jesus go to church every Sabbath or did He go wherever he was led by the spirit?   (Luke 4:1; Rom. 8:14)

Question Thirty-Four: When did the concepts of church buildings, pulpits and collection plates come into practice?  Were these practices man-made or God-ordained?

Question Thirty-Five: If the exact same message Jesus taught is being preached today, then why didn’t He command all the people to come into buildings for a service every Sunday and worship Him?  Why did crowds flock around Jesus to hear His words wherever He went, but today people are not flocking into church buildings to hear a message?   (John 13:34-35)

Question Thirty-Six: If Christ’s church is represented by the numerous assemblies of different denominations (e.g. Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, etc.), why are they so divided?  Didn’t Jesus pray that we may all be one and will His prayer be answered?  Can all these denominations hold onto varying beliefs, separating themselves from each other and yet be “one” in Christ?   (John 17:11, 21-22)

Question Thirty-Seven: Are denominations and divisions of God?  How can all be “one?”

Question Thirty-Eight: Today, if what we call “the church” is successful and possessing the correct structure and message “to save the world,” why are there divisions amongst so many Christians while the world is still in chaos?  Why are so many churches today losing membership, splitting or folding if they are of God?

Question Thirty-Nine: What is the church to you: a building or people?  Which do you think is more important to God?

What is the “whore” in Revelation Chapter 17?

THE CHURCH IS NOT: ANY CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION, ROMAN CATHOLIC, BAPTIST, PROTESTANT,

METHODIST, WESLEYAN, PRESBYTERIAN, LATTER DAY SAINTS, MORMON CATHOLIC, EPISCOPAL, JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES, LUTHERAN, CHURCH OF CHRIST, OR A BUILDING.

THE CHURCH IS PEOPLE.

“Come out of her, my people…” Rev. 18:4

The Bible is not the Word of God!

CHAPTER EIGHT

TRUTH AND THE WORD OF GOD

When a person begins looking for God, most run to a religious organization and buy the products they are selling.  Think about the amounts of money given to sustain a local “church” in return for their beliefs on who they believe God to be.  Could this be similar to the “buying and selling,” which Jesus with whip, drove out from the Jewish temple?  Can you have a personal relationship with God through a mediator of men who tell you what God is saying?  What if they are wrong?  What if their teachings are incorrect and have just been passed down for centuries from one to another?  Does longevity make a wrong belief or doctrine correct?  Could the Israelites know God through Moses, whom they sent up the fiery mountain alone to hear God for them?  Did they not all end up bound under laws and fear from what Moses told them God had said?  They could only see God as a ferocious fiery mountain and one to be feared due to all their second-hand knowledge of Him.  Law is second-hand knowledge of who God is. Do not fear the journey for God to show you the truth personally.  Really, truth is what you have been searching for your whole life.  Jesus stated, “The truth will set you free,” and that He “is the truth.”  Following Jesus’ bold statement would lead one to believe knowing God is to know truth.  Wouldn’t you agree when truth is found, the seeker has found God?  Start your journey by backing up to the beginning and searching for pearls of truth amongst the chaos surrounding us.  Jesus told a parable about a pearl of great price.  The man sold all that he had and went and bought that pearl.  In my opinion, truth is that great pearl we should purchase with all we possess.

The gospel of Luke records Pontius Pilate asking Jesus, “What is truth?”  Jesus gave no response.  Ever think why didn’t He reply?  My best guess is that truth cannot be heard by, or defined by the words of men, called human language.  Everyone has different understandings of what words mean to them.  For example, my definition of the word “love” could easily be different than another’s definition of love.  Heck, the word “love,” has several different meanings in the dictionary!  Another example might be the word “forgiveness.”  Some may see forgiveness as something to be given to a person conditionally, always keeping track of the offense in the back of their mind.  Others may understand forgiveness as striving to forgive all unconditionally, forgetting any wrong had ever occurred.  Your definition of forgiveness could be much different than mine.  Language can easily be a barrier in communication of truth.  People constantly misunderstand each other.  Man’s language, therefore, cannot easily define truth.  It must be understood within the heart, heard with spiritual ears listening to the spirit of God.  When recognized, truth is simply known.  It may seem like a new revelation upon being received, but when one recognizes truth, it is found to always have been known within that person’s being.  It just seemed to be forgotten for a moment in time.  Truth is a constant that has always been and always will be.  That is my next question…

Question Forty: Think this one through carefully: Is truth absolute and can it change? (Psalms 31:5; James 1:17)

Question Forty-One: Jesus stated that He is the truth.  Is truth eternal? (John 8:32; 14:6)

Question Forty-Two: Here is the deep question for those who believe truth to be eternal and unchanging: If truth is eternal, what does that say about the world you see passing away before your eyes?  What does that say about your physical body?  What does that say about sickness and death?

Question Forty-Three: Think about the concept of God at war with the devil, as believed and taught by so many.  If God is truth, can truth ever be defeated or even threatened?  If not, then can evil be real?  Are things contrary to truth real?  (John 15:26; 16:13)

Question Forty-Four: Many Christians today believe and teach the Bible to be the “word of God.”  If this were true, how can John 1:3 state, “…the word of God is God.”  Is the Bible God or was John saying something else?  What is the “word of God?”  (Ephesians 6:17)

Question Forty-Five: John, chapter one tells us, “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Did the Bible become flesh?  Did the Bible even exist in Jesus’ day?  (John 1:14)

Question Forty-Six: What if scriptures are men’s interpretation of what God was saying to them?  What if their interpretations were at times wrong?  Could they be wrong?

Question Forty-Seven: Some teach to only be led by the Bible.  Did the Bible or the spirit lead Jesus?  Why would Paul write, “It is those who are led by the spirit who are the sons of God?”  (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18)

Question Forty-Eight: People teach to take the scriptures literally and line them up, one with another.  If this would be the correct way to learn from the scriptures, why would Jesus tell us He speaks in parables so men could not hear the truth of what He was saying literally?  Can we learn from His parables and statements literally?  (Matthew 13:13-17; 21:45; Mark 4:11-12) 

Question Forty-Nine: Jesus said to call no man your master or rabbi (teacher), and Peter stated, “You have no need for any man to teach you.”  So, why do we look to men for answers to life’s questions?  (Matthew 23:2-13)

Question Fifty: Paul tells us that all scriptures are profitable for instruction.  Why didn’t Jesus, Paul or the rest of the apostles tell us to look to scriptures (the Bible) for answers?  Where did they tell us to look?  (II Timothy 3:16-17; I John 2:26-27)

CHAPTER NINE

LOVE, POWER AND HEALTH

I used to be involved in the “charismatic movement.”  It is the belief in the gifts of the Holy Spirit being available not only to the original apostles, but to us here today.  When one first experiences the power of the spirit, he or she can be overwhelmed with a new and exciting spiritual journey.  It is like coming alive to something wonderful you had been missing right before your eyes.  All of a sudden, God becomes real to you.  Many worldwide have experienced prophecy, visions, dreams, spiritual tongues, healings and most importantly, transformed lives.  I personally have seen God’s power come and “touch” an unsuspecting person, incredibly changing them while sometimes even taking them physically down to the ground.  Many of these were people who would never allow themselves to be taken by surprise, if they could have stopped it from happening.  During these “manifestations” of God’s spirit, often times the different giftings or healings would appear.

There is one fine example that now comes to mind.  I remember a very reserved, non-charismatic lady in particular.  “Leslie” came hobbling into the sanctuary of a local church, about an hour before the service was to begin.  Immediately, I had asked her, “What happened to you?”  She replied, “It is a back problem that I recently found out from my mom, runs in our family.  Both my mom and aunt have it and have been told I am destined to have it, also.”  Well, I was immediately under the impression that Leslie had believed a lie about her health and so I told her if she wanted us to pray for her, she should come up at the end of the morning service for us to “lay hands” upon her in prayer.

Someone must have seen the surprise on my face when Leslie came up for prayer that day.  We had many invitations over approximately two years for people to come up and receive prayer, but never had she come up for herself.  She must have thought prayer wasn’t for her, or that we might embarrass her.  Still bothered by her limp, I felt inclined to read her a passage from Galatians, which stated that we are not entitled to curses, but blessings.  The mind is a powerful thing.  I knew she had believed whole-heartedly that she was cursed with some form of a hereditary disease and therefore had fallen ill.  As I spoke those freeing words to her, I waved my hands toward Leslie and the spirit of God poured upon her like a river!  She struggled to remain standing, but eventually succumbed to the power and fell completely to the floor.  She just wanted to be healed and stood up very surprised that day.  Her healing had come to her by simple faith, but also in a new and unique way.

With all the great things I witnessed by the power of the spirit, I knew there were major things missing with our beliefs.  For instance, we did not see all people healed as Jesus spoke of and demonstrated.  A good friend of mine once said, “It is like being up to bat in a baseball game.  When you make contact with the ball and drive it out of the ballpark, it is a great feeling.  You know it can be done.  However, what about all the other times you swing the bat and do not connect?  How can you hit the ball perfectly every time?”  He was making a good point.  If we are correct with our current beliefs and they are identical with Jesus’ teachings, why are we not having a 100% success rate with healings and miracles.  Who failed to heal?  Was God too weak in power to heal one person, but plenty more powerful and more willing to heal another?  I believe what God would give to one, He would give to another, as well.

I think our message has been wrong.  In fact, I believe we totally missed Jesus’ core message as demonstrated by his life.  I firmly believe we still do not know him or even ourselves, yet.  I think at times when we have seen miracles and healings we have “connected” with a true faith and understanding, in line with God’s spirit…truth. When we haven’t connected with God, I believe we have missed the mark and fallen short of truth.  What was his message?  John stated in Revelation, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  I believe John was saying that when we look at Jesus’ life of miracles, healings and unconditional love, we are seeing who we really are to become.  We become Him (Jesus) by coming to the knowledge of the truth of who we are and what we already have.  His life prophesies or reveals God’s plan for the future of mankind.  This is Christ: being one with your heavenly Father.  Here are some questions to contemplate with regard to Jesus’ message and ministry: 

Question Fifty-One: The scriptures state “God is love,” “Perfect love casts out all fear,” and “Now there is no condemnation.” How then, can preachers preach and teachers teach a message of fear, condemnation and guilt?  Is that “love” in light of Jesus words, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and “Judge not lest you be judged?”  Why didn’t Jesus preach a message of condemnation?  (Romans 8:1; I John 4:8,18)

Question Fifty-Two: Is fear, condemnation and guilt even from God or is it man-made?  Are not these the very things Jesus set people free from?

Question Fifty-Three: Whom did Jesus speak against, the common people or the religious leaders who led by fear, guilt and condemnation?  (Matthew 23:13-16, 23-29)

Question Fifty-Four: We are told in the New Testament of the Bible, “God is love,” while the Old Testament tells of a God who kills women and children.  Can they be the same God when several verses tell us, “God does not change?”  How can there be a God of opposites?  (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17)

Question Fifty-Five: Many believe it is not always God’s will to heal sickness.  How could this be true if Jesus “healed all that were oppressed of the devil,” and exclaimed it was His will to heal?  God is either a healer or non-healer, if He is eternal and true. He has to be one or the other.  What about the scripture, again, that says, “God does not change?”  Could it be God’s will to heal all today?  (Matthew 13:15; Acts 10:38)

Question Fifty-Six: Jesus said, “You will do greater works than these.”  If we are correct in our current doctrines and dogmas, why haven’t we seen these greater works?  Could it be we have missed his message?  (John 14:12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AXE TO THE ROOT, Pts. 1-9 [Louis Charles]          1

 

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