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Entrusted With Catholics

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I had the privilege of talking to one of my students yesterday who is a Catholic.  I must admit that I have been rather naive about Catholic’s beliefs.  I have assumed that they are basically all Christians with some different/incorrect theology.  In the ten minute conversation I had with her, I realized that she is lost, despite her sixteen years in the Catholic church.

I am now starting to understand that while some Catholics are Christians, there are many who are not.  They are following a different set of Scriptures (including the Apocrypha as inspired) as well as following the doctrines of their Catechism.  A great starting resource  for understanding the differences between Protestant and Catholic beliefs is Mark Cahill’s talk: Roman Catholicism vs. The Bible

As I talked with this student, I asked her about some of her beliefs.  She told me about purgatory, but ironically enough couldn’t really tell me what it was.  This is significant as this is a place she plans to spend some time after she dies.  I personally would want to know what it is like!

I also asked her about confession and the process of getting out of purgatory.  I asked her, “If Catholics believe that all these things must be done by us to eventually get to heaven, why did Jesus come to die?”  She was really confused and said she had never thought about it before.  I did a quick presentation of the fact that we have broken God’s law and that is why Jesus came to die- to pay for our sins.  I explained that there is no way for us to be good enough on our own; we need a Savior.  She really was thinking about it by the time we parted ways.  She was confused and said nobody had ever asked her that question.

I know that the Lord is using conversations like this to open my eyes to the lost all around me.  I do not want to ever assume that someone has heard the gospel, knows the gospel, or is saved based on a religious affiliation, church attendance, or any other potential indications of a belief system.  Religious zeal is giving many people a false security about their eternal state.  True salvation is found only in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross including His death, burial, and resurrection.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses- Part IV

onetruthJehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus did not actually rise from the dead in the physical sense.  The Watchtower teaches that the resurrection was that of an invisible spirit.

Luke 24:39 clearly states otherwise:

See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me, and see.  For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.

Jesus is speaking to the disciples.  He knows that they are having a difficult time comprehending the resurrection.  They thought they were seeing a ghost.  He tells them to reach out and touch Him.  He was resurrected in the physical body.

Jehovah’s Witnesses rely on the teaching of the Watchtower to lead their religion.  The only text that is qualified to base our beliefs on is the Scriptures.  All else cannot compare with the infallible Word of God in the cannon of Scripture.

A few more posts will follow in the Jehovah’s Witness Series.  There is such vast online resources dealing with the specifics of their beliefs.  I am going to link to some of those resources in the next post and deal with the topic of distractions in the final post.

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You Didn’t Get to Heaven

coldplay_leftrightleftright Coldplay has offered their latest album LeftRightLeftRightLeft as a free download.  I was intrigued as I listened to a few of the tracks.  The song 42 has the following line:

You didn’t get to heaven but you made it close.

The line caught me by surprise.  It is very true about our society, our churches, and our country.  There is so much truth mixed in with the false teachings.

The problem is that getting close to heaven is not getting to heaven.  And any gospel besides the full gospel is a false gospel.

The caution is that we can look around us and see many people who are so close to heaven.  They may be sitting next to us in church.  They may be in our own family. And the truth is that they are lost.  They are breathing down the neck of truth without it actually being a part of their own lives.  The important distinction is that there is only one other option besides heaven- and that is hell.  People who “made it close” are in hell.  There is no making it close.  There is one way- through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross making atonement for sin that can open up the door of heaven to us.  The closest we can get to heaven without the Savior is hell.

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Longing for God

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Our longing to do something for God should never supersede our desire to know God.  I had this thought as I listened to a Paul Washer clip yesterday.  How often we find ourselves ready to serve God but without the hard pressed hours on our knees in preparation for the service.  I am guilty.  Even as I sit here writing this post, I am reminded of how much I need to read His word and approach the throne of grace on my knees.

I want my desire to first be to know God.  If I ever want to effectively serve Him, I MUST know Him.  It becomes a very self-centered task to do things for God without first knowing what it is He requires.

A man would hesitate to purchase a lawnmower for a woman whose heart he hoped to win.  He would strive to know the heart of that woman and then purchase his gifts in accordance with his knowledge.  A Christian can offer all kinds of nice gifts to God- a life of service, a willing heart, a giving spirit.  But we must first understand the person we are serving in order to be an effective servant.  The priority must be our personal devoted relationship with God above our outward tasks for God.

Do not put to death the desire to be used of God and to do much for His glory.  Simply prioritize the knowledge of Him over all else.  The stronger our relationship is with God, the more naturally the outpouring of our usefulness will be to God.