Helping The BLIND to SEE and The Deaf to HEAR

The Blind and Deaf need our Compassion and Kindness, a miracle so they can see and hear their NEED of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 734: The FISHERMAN’S MIRACLE.

When The Fish Jump INTO the Boat.

 

How does SIN Separate Mankind from God?

People are BLIND = Cannot immediately see their need of Jesus.

People are DEAF = Cannot HEAR when you tell them the Good News.

Need to be shown HOW they’ve become SEPARATED from God.

Good morning my friends, we’ve got a wonderful thing happens once a month in West Norwood: The West Norwood Feast. It’s a GOLDEN Opportunity for us as Christians, to build significant and purposeful relationships with our community. We’ve been commanded by the LORD himself to GO into the world to share the good news, that’s brilliant and so many of us are being obedient to that command here in St Luke’s, in many different ways. However, once a month we don’t really need to go out and go fishing, because it’s like the FISHERMAN’S MIRACLE, the fish are jumping into the boat, i.e. The Community is coming to us.

When we don't need to go fishing
Fish Jump into The Boat

 

THE FISH ARE JUMPING INTO THE BOAT

A TRUTH We’ve Discovered:

94% of people want to go to Heaven.

How have we discovered this TRUTH? Because every week we go out into the streets and engage with people who don’t go to church, and we ask this question: “Do you believe in Heaven?”

Another TRUTH:

They want to go to Heaven on their own terms, i.e. without the NEED of being religious.

How do we know? Because we ask them, “Do you think you’ll get into Heaven when you die?”

Again 100% of people, who believe in heaven, HOPE they’ll get in, and 94% think they’ll be good enough for heaven.

Most say things like this:

  • “You don’t need to go to church to be a “good” person.”
  • “You don’t need to be a religious person to get into Heaven, you just need to be good”.
  • “If there is a God, then He’d be a good God and let people into Heaven”.

This my friends, is the ‘religion’ of the vast majority of people in the world.

They believe in a god that will let anyone into heaven, regardless of how they’ve lived their lives, because most of the time, they’ve been good, i.e. Their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. So they’ll be good enough for heaven when they die.

They don’t know it, but in believing this, they’ve broken the Second Commandment: They’ve made a god to suit themselves, which is Idolatry. Because their god is not the God of the Bible: It’s a world-wide man-made god. Their god is tollerant of sin and will allow the sinful to get into Heaven. However, we know that they don’t know or understand that God is Holy, Righteous and Good.

WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW OR UNDERSTAND:

My friends, most people don’t know or understand this truth; “How sin actually separates mankind from God”. (or more pointedly, how their own sin has separated them from God forever and forfeited all hope of heaven).

They are convinced of their own goodness in God’s sight. It’s like they are wearing: Dark Glasses and Sound Excluding Headphones. (i.e. they won’t see and can’t hear: The Bible says, they are BLIND and DEAF: DEAD in their transgressions and sins).

So like the miracle of the BLIND man being healed and the DEAF man being able to hear, we need a way to ENABLE them to see and hear this truth.

First: Let’s Check Your Own Compassion Level:

You are out having a picnic at Beachy Head: (Beautiful White Cliffs & Lovely Green Grass): You are sitting eating your sandwiches and drinking your juice. You notice a BLIND MAN: He’s walking along towards the edge of the cliff tops, tapping his white stick. Oh and by the way, he’s wearing PINK Headphones.

If you were watching a Blind Man walking along with big pink headphones on his head, tapping his way with a white-stick towards a three hundred foot cliff, blissfully unaware of where he’s heading, what would you do? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? You know that if he keeps going he’s going to tumble over the edge and die. What would you do?

(BTW: Josie Nystrom: Thank’s for being prepared to act this out in church on Sunday: You are a STAR).

That’s right, YOU’VE GOT COMPASSION, you would run as fast as you could and grab hold of the blind man and stop him in his tracks.

  • Shouting at him wouldn’t work, because he can’t hear you.
  • Showing him the cliff won’t work, because he can’t see the danger. 

So you’d just grab hold of him.

Your NORMAL human compassion kicks-in and you act automatically to stop anyone from falling to their death: right?

Firstly: For you to be able to LEAD people to Jesus from today onwards, I’m going to explain what happened in the Garden of Eden. How mankind, because of Adam’s sin, got separated from God, and remained separated until God came down to the Earth in Jesus and made it possible for us to come back into Heaven (Paradise, The Garden of Eden)  and be with Him again.

Secondly, God has given us a WAY to GRAB PEOPLE: Hold them and show them their DANGER.

Thirdly: Have COMPASSION: Remember, they are BLIND and DEAF: The People of this World who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord: They can’t see and they can’t hear so they don’t KNOW the Danger they are in.

We KNOW that if they were to die in their sins, they’d face God on Judgement day and be sent to Hell.

Surely we’ve got the same kind of COMPASSION for the lost souls of this world as we have for a blind man walking towards the edge of a cliff?

Listen to your NORMAL Human Compassion and think about their ETERNAL Destiny.

The GARDEN of Eden Explained:

(How SIN Separates Mankind from God). 

To Demonstrate: I need: an Adam, an Eve, God and the Serpent (Devil). (Demonstrate Physically). A fruit tree and an apple (piece of fruit). Light Sabre: Flaming Sword. & Jesus. An Cherub and someone to be Jesus.

Read Genesis Chapter 3. Genesis 3.

(Act it out: Demonstrate HOW Mankind Got Separated From God).

  • God said, “Don’t touch or eat or you will die”:
  • Eve was tempted first, then gave some to Adam.
  • They hid themselves, because they KNEW they were NAKED.
  • God came looking for them. (He knew what they’d done, but wanted to confront them with the truth).
  • Eve blamed the Serpent (Satan).
  • Adam blamed both God and his wife.
  • God banished them all from the Garden of Eden.
  • Put flaming swords in the way… (Question: Why did God put a flaming sword between mankind and Eden? Answer: Because man wants to get Eternal Life without going to God).

What is SIN?

1 John 3:4 (NIV) “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

Another translation of the Greek says; “Sin is TRANSGRESSION of The Law”…

The LAW spoken of in the verse above is The Commandments of God. When we sin we break God’s Law. The punishment for breaking God’s law is DEATH and Banishment from God’s presence or access to the tree of life. (Example: See Adam and Eve in Genesis 3)…

What Is The Punishment For SIN?

The Bible tells us: “The soul that sins it shall die” Ezekiel 18:20.

And: “The Wages of sin is DEATH”… Romans 6:23.

A person who sins is acting as if there are no commandments, i.e. without any laws. Or as if God has not said that it’s wrong.

This is a perfect picture of what life is getting like in our world today, people doing whatever they like, as if there is no moral law against it or as if God had not declared in the Commandments: You shall not steal, you shall not lie, you shall not covet, you shall not….

When Adam sinned the whole human race became infected with SIN. It’s in our blood, our nature and our character. We sin from early years all the way through our life. Every day we sin in some way. In our natural born state as human beings, we are sinful. King David said, “I was sinful from birth”… When was the first time in your own life that you became aware of your own sinful condition? For me it was when my brother and I stole some lead. We both knew we were doing wrong, then it was stealing sweets from Woolworths. When we stole those sweets we blamed Woolworths for making it so tempting, by putting them right next to the exit doors. Just because we were tempted to steal, it was our own greed that was driving us, not Woolworths placement of those sweets. One act of stealing, in God’s eyes, makes me and my brother into thieves. We are guilty of stealing. The punishment for sin: is death, because we’re guilty of offending God, not Woolworths. Whenever we sin, our conscience is crying out to us to STOP: But we ignore our own, God given, Conscience. Over time, with repeated offences the conscience gets quieter and quieter until it becomes almost undetectable by our soul. It’s like our conscience becomes seared or dies. However, a miracle can happen, we can have our conscience re-awakened and revived, by Hearing God’s LAW. Suddenly when we hear the Ten Commandments the Conscience comes back to life again and warns us of the impending dangers of our sinful actions, thoughts and choices.

What’s The Cure For SIN?

God came down in Jesus to rescue us from Satan, Sin and Death, Eternal Separation from God in Hell. (Hell is God’s place of banishment for rebellion against Him. Away from God’s presence for all eternity is going to be terrible, all you need to do to know what it’s like is read or listen to the words of Jesus on the subject).

  • But BECAUSE of HIS LOVE: God so loved everyone in the world, He doesn’t want a single soul to perish forever in Hell. So that’s why Jesus came to die in our place upon the Cross.
  • Forgiveness for our sinful rebellion is possible. It’s free for us, but it cost God dearly.

Question: How can we GRAB HOLD of the Blind and Deaf?

  • They can’t see.
  • They won’t hear.

Satan has both blinded them and made them deaf to the Gospel. (i.e. those who’ve never repented and trusted in Jesus).

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 (NIV) They Can’t SEE.
3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (They are Blind)
4  The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Matthew 13:14-15 (NIV) They Can’t SEE or HEAR.
14  In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15  For this people’s heart has become calloused (hard); they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn (Repent), and I would heal (Forgive and Cleanse) them.’

Thankfully God has given us a WAY:

It is POSSIBLE: To open blind eyes and unblock deaf ears.

With two great tools: To open eyes, unblock ears and in the process to soften hard-hearts.

1) The Conscience: God given moral compass. (Some people’s conscience is dead, but we can bring it back to life again).

2) The Commandments: God has written these upon their hearts. (They KNOW the truth deep down inside their souls).

With these two great Spiritual weapons, we can enable the blind unbeliever to see and the deaf rebel to hear. We can grab hold of them and stop them falling over the deadly cliff of death into the pit of eternal Hell.

Their own Conscience will bear witness to the TRUTH within their hearts. It will do so long after we’ve finished talking with them. Because, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Who’s job it is to bring conviction of sin), they’ll be brought out of the darkness into the light of understanding.

John 16:8 (NIV) “When he (Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:”

Only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction of sin. All we have to do is get people’s hearts ready for the Holy Spirit to do His work. He’s already bringing conviction upon many people in the world today, because you’ll have been praying for them before you even go and speak to them.

God has chosen you and me, those who believe in Jesus Christ, to work with Him (Holy Spirit) in bringing the world to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Here’s HOW Jesus did it: It’s called THE WAY OF THE MASTER.

OPENING UP THE COMMANDMENTS:

(Practically Grabbing Hold of the Blind and Deaf Before they fall into Eternity).

Here is explained HOW to use God’s two great tools to bring people out of the darkness into the light.

Start where people are: That’s what Jesus did.

They (most of them) all want to go to Heaven.

Ask them, “Are you or Do you think you are good enough for heaven?”

Most will think they are or hope they are good enough.

Ask, “Have you heard of God’s Ten Commandments?” Even if they haven’t heard them, they are written upon their hearts anyway, so their conscience will remind them.

Ask, “Do you think you’ve kept those Commandments?”… Most think they have.

Begin by asking, “Have you ever told a lie?” Explain that a liar can’t get into Heaven.

Then proceed through all Ten (if you need to). Most times you won’t need to go through all TEN of the Commandments, because you’ll notice that the Holy Spirit is working on their souls, their conscience also bearing witness. When they stop trying to justify themselves, you’ll know they are ready for the GRACE of the Gospel: The Good News of Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The Old Time Preachers: The Apostles, Jesus Christ, George Whitefield, Charles Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody, J.C. Ryle, etc: all called the COMMANDMENTS (The Law) the preparation of a soul for the Gospel. The preaching of the Law opens up a heart, ploughs the hard soil-hearers, and gets ready for the seed of the Gospel to be planted.

Once you’ve explained the Commandments, and God’s Holy Standards of Righteousness, you don’t need to spend very long at all on the Gospel. The GOOD NEWS.

It’s like a good doctor explaining a patient’s need for treatment. He won’t spend very long on the cure, because once he’s explained the symptoms and what will happen if the patient is not treated, they’ll be ready for the cure. “Give it to me, please, Doctor. Give me the cure…”…

When you are like a good doctor and explain the patient’s need for a cure, then I’m sure you are going to see many of those fishes jumping into the boat all by themselves 🙂 Once they know the danger they are in, they’ll jump into the net of Salvation.

The CURE for Sin’s Curse: Death and Hell: New Life and Heaven.

Jesus came and died in their place upon the Cross, so they don’t need to go to their death with their sins still on them, they can be forgiven, cleansed and given a new life, if they will believe in Jesus, trust that His death was for them, turn in repentance (forsaking sin) and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour. (SEE The GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ).

Conclusion:

Here in West Norwood in London, we’ve been given a Golden Opportunity, when the World comes to us once a month for the FEAST, let’s be focused and be ready to make the most of God’s amazing golden opportunities, and build significant relationships with those He is already drawing into His Kingdom Family. With His help and tools we can open up blind eyes and deaf ears.

Be strategic, look for the people who’s hearts He’s already softening:

  • They’ll be the ones He’s drawing to Himself,
  • They’ll be open to hearing the Good News about Jesus.
  • They’ll be ready to discover a new way of living.
  • They’ll be frustrated with their life so far.
  • They’ll be aware they can’t live-up to their own standards.
  • They’ll be being convicted by the Holy Spirit of their need of Jesus.

They may not be instantly ready to repent, because it may take several times to hear God’s good news and the whole Gospel, but there will be AN OPENNESS. Remember how stubborn you were, before you finally repented and trusted in Jesus Christ? It took a while to convince you of your own need of a Saviour, so don’t ever give up on someone, keep praying for your loved ones every day. God cares more about their eternal welfare than you do, He’s patient, because He doesn’t want a single human soul to perish in Hell. (2 Peter 3:9).

Remember: Adam and Eve, they show us how the great divide happened, how mankind’s relationship with God was broken, and in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, we find the cure for man’s sinful rebellion, sin, wickedness and waywardness. Like the compassion we have for the Blind Man, let’s be filled with the same compassion as our Lord Jesus Christ has and go out and save those He’s calling into His Kingdom family. Amen!

The People of this World need our COMPASSION not our CONDEMNATION.

Have a wonderful week, keep fishing for men and women.

Remember to have compassion because they are blind and deaf; don’t shout at them they can’t hear you, don’t try and show them, because they can’t see their need of Jesus yet, but rescue them and with the tools God has provided to open blind eyes and unblock deaf ears; Their Conscience and His Commandments, and the Holy Spirit working on their souls, together let’s make them aware of their spiritual condition: let’s go fishing for souls in the sea of life. Hopefully, with God’s help, we’ll be able to catch a few fish before we’re taken back into our Eternal dwelling place. Amen!

Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men” Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17… i.e. When we come to Jesus, He makes us want to catch fish.

“If you don’t want other people to be saved, then you are NOT saved yourself. Be certain of that.” Charles Spurgeon.

The people of this world need our compassion not our condemnation.

They are Blind and Deaf: But you can, with God’s tools and help, open up their EYES and EARS…

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

The People of this world are BLIND and DEAF: S.O.S….

They need our compassion and kindness, to be shown their need of a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are headed for a fall into Eternity, so let’s get the same kind of compassion as Jesus Christ has, and save some souls. There is an S.O.S. but they don’t know their danger, because if they did they’d cry out “S.O.S” … “Save Our Souls”…

 

Jesus Restores Peter

After denial Peter is restored

Daily Spirit & Word, 510: Jesus Restores Peter.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 26.

Good morning my friends, I’ve just come back into the study after being with the Lord in my garden. It’s beginning to look a lot like summer, the wonderful blue Spring border is starting to be replaced by the warmer red, orange and yellow tones of my new flowers. The Seasons in the garden are awesome, but what’s even more amazing is the way that Jesus gives us new Seasons in life; today we’re going to discover more about Peter’s new life after being restored by the Lord Jesus and indwelt with the Holy Spirit a few days later.

Review; all last week we were thinking about Jesus Resurrection Appearance to His disciples at the Sea of Galilee: He’s watching them from the shore when they decided to go fishing, they’d been fishing all night and had caught nothing for all their efforts. Jesus shouts to them from the shore and asks if they’ve caught any fish, they say, “No!”, then He tells them to let the nets down on the right side of the boat and they’ll catch some. As they do so, John realises that it was Jesus who was speaking. Peter puts on his clothes and jumps into the water and swims ashore. He meets with Jesus and the Lord cooks them breakfast. Now today, we’re going to see Jesus taking Peter aside and interviewing him.

John 21:15-19 15  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
18  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
19  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

As Jesus was cooking the breakfast of fish on the charcoal fire, it would have brought back to Peter’s mind, like a flash-back, the time that he was warming himself by a fire after Jesus had been arrested, and he first denied Jesus:

John 18:15-18 15  Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard,
16  but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17  “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”
18  It was cold, and the servants and officials stood round a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

Yes my friends, it’s often strange how the Lord chooses to bring back memories of our slips and failures in our walk with Him. What truly amazes me is how gentle the Lord’s rebuke to Peter is: He asks him three times; “Do you love me?” Each time Peter responds with, “Yes Lord!” until the last time, when he finally blurts out, feeling hurt because of Jesus probing questioning, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Our English translation of the Greek here doesn’t do the questioning very much justice, because the words for ‘LOVE’ in Jesus questions are different in the Greek language. The Greeks had four words for love; each indicating a different kind of love. If we were to use them properly, we would not simply put the word ‘love’ in their place.

Here Are the Greek Words For LOVE and their Meaning:

GREEK WORD FOR LOVE MEANING
AGAPE This word was used in Greek literature to refer to someone who was generously favoured by a god. It has the idea of a person giving all his or her love or favour to another. It was used to speak of parents giving all of their love to their only child. So in the New Testament it is used to make the same point. God gives each of us all of His love.
PHILEO This Greek word has the idea of emotional love. While AGAPE emphasizes the complete giving of love to another person, PHILEO emphasizes the affection, emotion, a fondness one person has for another.
EROS EROS refers to love between a husband and wife. It is more than sexual ecstasy because it also includes embraces, longing, and caring.
STERGO STERGO primarily refers to love between parents and children. It sometimes refers to love between people and their ruler and to love between a dog and his owner / master.

The first time Jesus asked him “Do you love me?” The Greek word was: Agapao: From which we get Agape: meaning in table above. It’s a sacrificial kind of love. The KJV translates this word not as simple ‘love’, but Charity: Charity is a sacrificial kind of love. It means putting something else before your own affections or desires. It’s like when Jesus said, “Not my will, but Your will be done”… Jesus is asking Peter, “in the order of your affections for other people, do you love ME more than everybody else?” Peter answers, “Yes Lord! You know that I love You.” The word is not the same, Peter said, “You know that I Phileo you” Here Peter is expressing his deep friendship affection for Jesus more than the others. Can you see, simply using love doesn’t do the Greek or the Text of the Bible adequate justice. There’s far more to Greek LOVE than our English language allows.

The next time Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” He’s saying do you Agapao me: Is your love for me sacrificial. Are you dying to yourself to give Me this affection?

Peter responds in the same way: “Yes Lord, You know that I Phileo You”… (Fellowship / Friendship affectionate love).

Then Jesus asks Peter a third time: but this time Jesus uses a different word in the question: Jesus replaces AGAPE with PHILEO… He’s not asking Peter for his sacrificial love, but his affectionate, friendship and fellowship. Peter’s is HURT that Jesus would ask him a third time. But his answer this time, must have brought with it a much deeper conviction and true knowledge that he really did love Jesus more than anything else in the whole world, because Jesus had finished his probing of Peter.

The Lord has restored Peter: “Feed my lambs, look after my sheep, feed my sheep” Each time after the question Jesus is giving Peter a mission and a purpose for those deep and probing questions.

My friends, if Jesus was to ask you that question today how would you respond? If He were to ask you three times: “Am I your Lord? Am I your Lord? Am I your best friend?” How would you respond?

Notice what Jesus doesn’t say:

He didn’t take Peter aside and say, “Peter, do you remember when you denied me?” No! Jesus goes right to the HEART of the matter. He’s telling us all today that it’s a Matter of our HEART AFFECTIONS.

  • Do we love Jesus more than our fellows?
  • Do we love Jesus more than our world?
  • Do we love Jesus as our Best Friend?

When we get our HEART affection for Jesus right, then everything else in our Discipleship makes sense. We’ll automatically want to live in obedience to the Father’s will as well. We’ll LOVE Jesus commands and we’ll walk with Him every single day. Yes my friends, the heart of the matter really is a matter of the heart’s affections.

The HEART of the MATTER really is a matter of your HEART’S affections for the LORD.

The emphasis of Jesus questions about our LOVE for Him, is not that it’s an EXCLUSIVE love, like a husband must love ONLY his wife, but a measure of our love: Quantitative rather than exclusive. He wants us to love Him with our ALL. Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength. All that we can muster must be focused upon serving and loving the Lord. If it was an exclusive love then we’d not be able to LOVE others as we love ourselves. No Jesus point is about our total love, the quality and quantity of how much we LOVE Him and others. We’re called to a sacrificial love for others and a fellowship / friendship and sacrificial love for Him.

Matthew 6:21 21  For where your treasure (Heart’s Affections) is, there your heart will be also.

Where are your HEART’S affections set today?

Remember, Jesus was gentle with Peter, but He’s so good that He can’t just leave Peter to wallow or worry about his past failures and denials. Jesus will also sort us out too, but be assured He’ll do it in a way that He intends to restore us and lift us up and set us upon the right pathway again. Trust Jesus with your whole HEART today. Jesus will restore you my friends.

Points to Ponder:

  • Has the Lord shown you today any areas of your life where you’re affection has been more on the world, other people or other things rather than the Lord Jesus Christ? 
  • It’s so easy to be self-deceived and think we are serving the Lord, when in actuality we’re just self-serving. Let’s be certain today, that in everything we’re doing for Jesus, we’re really doing it for Him and for His GLORY, not our own. 

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to thank you today. You’ve shown me that I need to get my heart priorities right in order to serve you. I know that You are calling me into a deeper and more committed friendship and fellowship with Yourself today. Help me to lay aside all other affections of my heart and enable me to truly love You. Amen.

Have an exciting day loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ, remember to seek His fullness of the Holy Spirit for your walk.

Don.

Every Day With Jesus: 26: Jesus Restores Peter.

40 Days Home Page

Jesus Restores Peter.

 

Do All Religions Lead To God?

Daily Spirit & Word, 441: “Do All Religions Lead To God?”.

 

Do ALL Religions Lead To God?
Do ALL Religions Lead To God?

Daily Spirit & Word, 441: Do ALL Religions Lead To God?

Questions & Objections to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Good morning my friends, I thought I’d start a week thinking through some of the common objections and questions that people have, give or say when we are out sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We go out each week onto the streets of London and we talk to all kinds of people. London, believe it or not, is a very ‘religious’ place, because almost every week we encounter folks who follow lots of different religions and faiths. This makes sharing Jesus challenging, exciting and sometimes perplexing, but definitely always interesting, because people have strongly held beliefs. But there are many we come across, probably the majority, who believe in God’s existence, but don’t follow any one particular path or religious sect.

London is a VERY religious place.

The reasons for that are many. London is a hub of peoples from all over the world so many come with their own religious traditions; we’ve got people from Poland who tend to be nominal Roman Catholics. I say nominal because they are normally baptised as babies, but don’t continue to follow the faith or do so quite sporadically. Chinese people who follow Pagan ancestral worship, Buddhism and some Christians (these are the folks we’ve met, but I know there are many more religions in China). We’ve met Muslims from many nations and they’ll even say to us; “We must be tolerant of one another, because we all worship the same God”… But we’ve met other Muslims who believe that ‘Allah’ revealed through the teachings of their Prophet Mohammed is the only way.

So to answer the question: Do All Religions Lead To God? We first need to consider the statement is normally given in response to our sharing about Jesus with folks. You see we don’t normally get to the point of someone saying “All religions lead to God” immediately, it comes after we’ve talked about Jesus or the Christian faith for a while. The reason people are responding with the statement is because they are like a fish wriggling on the fishing line. When you catch a fish with the bait of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they normally put up a strong fight, sometimes all the way, until they are landed safely on the bank and in the net. They’ll often-times only give up the struggle when you’ve knocked them on the head with a fisherman’s knock 🙂 But we don’t do that with those we hope to win to Jesus.

When you catch a fish on the hook baited with the Gospel, they’ll normally put up a fight. No fish wants to be landed 🙂

What’s the REAL problem for the FISH that’s wriggling against the tug of the Gospel? We’ve normally presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ by that stage, and though they can see and understand the good news of Jesus, they’re still not prepared to come to the Saviour. They’ve understood what Jesus did upon the Cross and how He died there for their sins, because we’ve taken time to show a person how they’ve offended against a Holy God by breaking His commandments. They’ve admitted to themselves, that they’d be in deep trouble if they were to die and face a Holy Just and Righteous God on Judgement Day. We’ve shown them that Jesus is the answer to the dilema of sin, He’s the solution for Mankind’s SIN problem. But they want it to be more open than that, their thinking is; “It’s too narrow, it’s too dogmatic, there must be another valid way of being saved other than Jesus or the vast majority of people in the world will be condemned to eternal torment in Hell”…

Also, they’ve been raised in an Education system that devotes a great deal of time and teaching on being tolerant of other people’s faiths and beliefs, the end result is that we’ve raised a few generations of people in the UK now, who believe there is NO one way, that all faiths must be respected and that ultimately leads to the majority thinking that all faiths MUST lead to God.

Some believe that being ‘Sincere’ in what you believe is what’s most important to God. They believe that a genuinely ‘sincere’ person will be welcomed into Heaven, because they’ve been sincere about the religion they’ve been taught since a baby.

There is also a big problem of not wanting to offend family, friends and country; If they were to accept that Jesus is the only way to God, they’d loose out big time, some would be rejected or shunned by those they love the most in life, if they trusted in Jesus Christ. In some places in the world they would be in danger of loosing their lives if they converted to Christianity from another religion.

So they’ll say, “All religions lead to God”: because they don’t want to offend others, they want to appear open-minded and tolerant or because they want to stick with what’s become familiar or for fear of what might happen to them.

Another abjection to the Gospel we’ll hear often is, “People should be left to choose their own way and make up their own mind”. This is the objection of ‘Free Choice’. Yes my friends we too agree with you on that one, and so does God. That’s why He will not force anyone to accept Jesus. No one can make another person become a Christian; Evangelists can’t neither can; Priests, Popes or Pastors. They can’t make people into Christians just by baptising them in water or by being religious or by making them attend church. God will not force people to be saved against their wills, but He will hold them to account and they will be responsible for their freedom of choice, so we have an human, loving, responsibility to show them the error of this kind of thinking. You ARE free to choose, but you’d better make certain you choose the right one or the right way, because your eternal destiny is at stake.

These arguments and objections to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fact that He is the ONLY way to heaven are just ways of trying to evade the need of commitment to one way or one person. You can sometimes see what’s happening, the fish get uncomfortable and wriggle harder close to the point of submission and being landed on the shore. Their flawed thinking is that by saying these things it allows them some wriggling room, some way of evading the hard choice of responding and being committed to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, How can a Christian land and net this wriggly fish?
I think it is wise to admit that God can and does give people the light of His self-revelation, to know that there is a God who created everything and that people respond to that revelation by being religious and worshipping. However, what people normally worship in response to God’s self-revelation, is man-made religious rules and regulations. Or they’ll often worship what’s been created by God instead of God Himself: The Bible calls that Idolatry – it’s making a god to suit yourself.

Did you know that the statement “All Religions Lead To God” is a form of idolatry too? Because we’re saying something about the God of the Bible that’s NOT true, in a way we’re making a god that we’re comfortable with, that doesn’t demand too much from us and that ultimately will accept people no matter what they believe.

Does it matter what people believe? Are there others ways of being SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin and rebellion apart from Jesus Christ? Is it too narrow-minded to declare that Jesus is the ONLY way of Salvation for human beings today?

DEBATE: It’s good to debate with people and get their viewpoints, it’s interesting to hear what they are thinking in regards to faith and religion and to know what path they are currently following. But when you get to this point and they say; “All Religions Lead To God”… What are you going to say to help them see the error of that kind of thinking?

Remember first; we’re in good company, because the Apostle Paul often debated with people in the streets about faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself was out and about with the people, doing exactly what He’s called Christians to be doing: Sharing the Message of the Kingdom and how people can know God for themselves today.

Secondly: Admit that what they say would be really nice. If all religions really lead to God, then we wouldn’t be out on the streets telling people about Jesus Christ, because if what they are saying is true, then we could just leave people alone and let them be comfortable with their decision that no matter what you believe, God will let you into Heaven.

Thirdly: The REALITY: Every religion teaches a different way to God, so they can’t ALL be right. You could ask the person who says this too you; “All Religions Lead To God” you can respond with, “That’s really interesting, what teaching in each religion leads people of all religions to the same God?” They’ve responded to me by saying things like, “Most religions offer peace and harmony and tolerance and being a good person” That’s right they do, but is that enough to satisfy God?

You see Christianity teaches that we can never be good enough to enter into heaven, no matter how hard we try.

Some will say that the Ten Commandments revealed in most religions are the way to be saved, but we then gently show people that following the Ten Commandments just leaves every single person on the earth condemned, because no one has ever kept all of them and God’s standards of holiness and perfection are just too hard and impossible achieve. Most religions teachings and that of Jesus on goodness overlap, but Jesus always goes further than every other religion in the world. He says, “be perfect as my father in Heaven is perfect.” None of us can be perfect and we are all left failing and condemned because we’ve not obeyed the Ten Commandments.

Once they understand the difference between Christianity and every other religion, they are ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that Jesus died to make it possible for people of all faiths and none to be saved from God’s wrath and anger against sin. It’s not too narrow to show people Jesus is the only way, when you know that what they are believing will leave them condemned by God and on their way to certain judgement. The loving thing to do is to show people the folly of their thinking; “All Religions Lead To God”, and showing them the TRUTH; “ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE YOU”.

Winning An Argument: My friends, when we engage people with the Gospel, we’re not out to win arguments with people, we’re not going out to brow-beat people into submission, we’re going out to win people for Jesus Christ and His love compels us to reach out and save them. God wants all people to be saved, but He’ll not force them and neither should we. If we win an argument we can loose a friend for life. We’re going out to share and we must depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, lead us in conversations, because every individual is different and though they sometimes say the same old things, their thinking and beliefs about them can be as varied as the colours on a black-bird’s wings.

We know that Jesus is the only way, because we know Jesus. He’s revealed Himself to us and brought us out of darkness into His marvellous light. We know that all other religions are false, but we must be gentle with folks who hold fast to the faith of their fathers, who have no faith at all and who doubt the very existence of God. When they say, “All Religions Lead To God”, that’s their safety net, but with gentle persuasion and revelation of truth in humility, hopefully in God’s good timing, they’ll see, they know and they’ll understand that what we were telling them was TRUE.

My friends, look carefully at what Jesus said about Himself being the ONLY way to Heaven.
John 14:5-14
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

And that one day, every KNEE will bow to Jesus.
Philippians 2:9-11
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

You’ll not convince anyone of these truths without first ploughing up their hard hearts with the revelation that comes from sharing the LAW of God, revealed in the Ten Commandments, because they show everyone of every faith that we all need a Saviour. The LAW is a Schoolmaster who teaches us our need for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death in our place upon the Cross for sin.

Don’t be afraid of the objection or statement, “ALL RELIGIONS LEAD TO GOD”, because God will equip you by His Holy Spirit to enable you to demonstrate the folly of that kind of thinking.

Have and AWESOME Monday and a whole week of SOAKING yourself in God’s Word and Truth.
Don.

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Recommended Reading:

For more information on why there are so many religions in the world and an answere to the question; “Do all religions lead to God?” A great source of information is Got Questions Website. Enjoy the extended reading. May the LORD bless you. Don.