I AM YaHWeH but you can call me Jesus the Messiah 2 Cor 11:1-15

What are the marks of a false religion?

The primary marks of a false apostle or religion for that matter are that they preach a Jesus other than what Paul teaches (see Gal 1:6-11 Paul preached that you are in danger of hell to proclaim it). So what do false teachers teach?

  1. Most false teachers teach that Jesus Christ is NOT God incarnate equal to and one with the Father – Yahweh in the flesh – LORD. Jesus is proclaimed to be JUST a man, prophet, angel, or lesser god with a small “g” or that he is JUST the “Son” of God lesser than or not equal to the Father. 2 Peter 2:1
  2. Most false teachers Deny the Absolute truth and authority of the Bible or claim to have special extra-biblical revelation given to them for you and do not substantiate it with God’s revealed Word the Bible. They reinterpret the meaning of God’s word to suit their doctrines. Then they place their own revelations on par with or above the authority of Scripture when the two do not agree – wielding power over their believers.
  3. Most false teachers teach various works to do to be saved. E.g. Baptism in their particular organization, paying penance, self flagellation, pray to other humans, secret initiations, and good deeds, all without any guarantee of success achieved in this life. (Paul makes it perfectly clear as do the other Apostles there are no other methods of getting to heaven. There is no other mediator beside Christ Jesus through which you can approach God. That those who believe, are sealed by God for eternal life.)
  4. Most false teachers convince you to pay dearly for their position and services i.e. giving is mandatory. Their messages often teach wealth promised to you from God for supporting them and tends to take center stage of their preaching. They make you think that they deserve a rich lifestyle as your leader. Those who do not give are looked down upon.
  5. Many false teachers isolate their followers from true Christians and do not allow outsiders to witness their meetings. They are very secretive in their higher latitudes within their organizations. They are very defensive and argumentative, emotionalism is more important than intellectual accountability. They could be considered to use brainwashing.
  6. Often times, if anyone leaves their “church”, those people are ostracized and censored by even their closest friends and family who are still involved.
  7. Scripture warns that in the end times they will even demonstrate supernatural powers and “miracles” deceiving even the elect if that were possible. People will flock to what they “see” instead of what God’s word says.
  8. Most false teachers deny the Supernatural creation of the universe by God, his ownership of everyone and his future judgment to come holding humanity accountable for their unbelief, and their actions in this life and their subsequent punishment in hell.

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I AM the God who gives through people 2 Cor 9:6-15

Prosperity Gospel is wrong

Many think that because they are Christian, or raised in a “Christian” family or live in a “Christian” country that it is their Divine right for God to take care of all their physical needs, You may say you don’t, but when things go wrong in our lives, it betrays our attitude in this; we blame God for allowing it. People get these expectations from a faulty view of Old Testament promises to Israel that are being erroneously applied to the church today. God is our good father who gives us all good gifts for our enjoyment – BUT. This passage is one of the only passages in the New Testament that deals with this subject as compared to the countless passages where the Apostles warn us of the dangers of money and the impending trials, hardships, and persecutions that believers would know as the norm for life today for those who would be instruments of God’s righteousness in this world. See my post on Eph 1:3 regarding the physical verses spiritual blessings. 2 Cor 8 and 9 deal with the gathering of donations to ease the suffering of the people of Jerusalem. James deals with this subject from the perspective of proof of your faith in meeting real needs of those around us.  This passage tells us why God provides for us so abundantly and graciously as he does vs 11-13 specifically; and it is not so we can have bigger houses and more stuff. Continue reading

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I AM the God of Integrity 2 Cor 8:16 – 9:5

God’s people are to be accountable to each other

Integrity, accountability, transparency and honesty are paramount for God’s workmen. These qualities

Do others see Jesus' love in me?

Do others see Jesus’ love in me?

prove the message of the Gospel to be true. Our Christian witness in the eyes of unbelievers is a very fragile thing and can be broken very easily. If we fail in the area of Church finances, God’s reputation will be tarnished not to mention our own testimony. We believers need to be above board in how we do our work, especially when it comes to earning and using our money. It seems that everyone has a right to know what the church does with the money that is given to God even those who are outside the church. People should not have purse strings attached to their giving to the church, but they do have the right to know that it is used properly. Unfortunately many arguments arise within churches over how the funds get used. Chapters 8,9 are one of the only instances in the New Testament promising physical blessing and what they are to be used for. Continue reading

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I AM the God who meets your needs 2 Cor 8:1-15

Giving reveals God’s love to others

I love the story of Elijah being fed by the ravens in 1 Kings 17. It is a well known fact that

Being God's hands

Being God’s hands

ravens are selfish creatures. No one looking for Elijah would have suspected that he could have trained ravens to bring him food in the wilderness as he hid from Jezebel because everyone knew the raven’s selfish nature. It was simply a miracle that God directed the ravens to bring him his daily meat unsuspected. This same miracle takes place every time God directs a human to give of his own to alleviate the need of another human. We humans are hard-wired to be selfish like the ravens. If naturalism is correct humans should not give away their resources to provide for the needs of other humans which could have been used to further our own lineage instead of the others. But that is not God’s way. For God so loved the world that he gave; he laid his own life down for our need. This is why Jesus said that all men will know that you are my disciples as you have love for one another. James says that your love should be in deed, not word only, i.e. put your money where your mouth is, but not out of necessity or some sort of obligatory religious requirement. Paul says to the Philippians that “he was not looking for the gift but the opportunity that it be credited to their account.” We are to look for opportunity to be ready to give as in vs 7-10. And of course we are to give so spontaneously that our left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Continue reading

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I AM the God who is True Just and Righteous 2 Cor 7:8-13

“I was wr-wr-wrong.”

There are at least three things which you cannot tell a man: how to drive, how to do his job and how to raise his kids. Pride makes it so hard for us to say we are wrong. However, just as you cannot save someone who does not realize that he is drowning, you cannot receive God’s forgiveness until you humble yourself before God and realize and admit that you need it. After Adam sinned, did he go running to God to apologize? No – first he sewed leaves together to try to cover up their shame so no one would notice he was naked (are you involved in a cover up of some wrong?), then they hid from God to avoid the situation (are you avoiding someone you have offended?), finally when that all failed, he then blamed God himself for giving him the woman who got him into their predicament (are you blaming God for some predicament you are in?). Adam never did own up to it until God called them out onto the carpet. Only then did God kill the animals for them and covered them with the skins. God’s forgiveness requires our admission of wrong and declaration of need. He paid the price already for you when he died on the cross. But just like Adam let God clothe him, you need to let God to clothe you in his Son’s righteousness by appropriating, i.e. accepting / receiving, his salvation and then thanking him from that day forward for what he did for you. Continue reading

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Who I AM to the world is reflected by how you emulate me. 2 Cor 7:2-16

Discipleship

When another person takes to heart of what you give to them from the Lord, it is one of the most rewarding joys we can experience in God in this life. When someone else recognizes God’s work in you so that they emulate your behavior makes worthwhile all the hardships you experience in the process. John says so much when he talks of the joy he receives by watching his children follow the Lord. Paul calls the Thessalonians’ church his “crown and joy”. To watch them go through trials successfully is a confirmation that God is in control of their lives as he is in yours. How will our spiritual children turn out? God looks at each of us with that same desire. Are we continuing to grow in his grace? Keeping in mind God is at work in his children’s lives, am I successful in my training, did I teach them adequately to trust the Lord for themselves? Paul tells Timothy to train faithful men who will be able to train others also. The responsibility is huge; we will never really know what result will remain until we stand before Jesus. This process is full of unsettling situations which can make us doubt whether we were successful. Besides today’s passage, there is one other occasion where Paul sent Timothy to check up on the Thessalonians church, only to be relieved to receive word back that they were still faithful. Continue reading

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I AM the Holy God and demand that from my people 2 Cor 6:14 – 7:1

In the world but not of the world

Christ’s high priestly prayed for us was “not to take us out of the world, but to protect us

"Then it will be as in the days of Noah..."

“Then it will be as in the days of Noah…”

from the evil one” while we live sanctified lives before the eyes of the world in unity for God’s glory to be revealed through us. If you are not careful, you can become like those who you hang around with, and we think nothing of how it will affect our testimony. Being unequally yoked is illustrated as in dating partnerships and marriage, business partnerships, affiliations and clubs, i.e. anywhere your testimony will be tarnished or compromised by a binding association. We are meant to be the salt and light to the earth as believers but if we are not perfecting holiness as per 7:1 below, these relationships can damage our testimony to where our saltiness is lost and our testimony is worthless. We are to be a vital part of the community – yes, but don’t let the trend of the community squelch your witness. Don’t let your purity be maligned by compromising situations which the world will entice you with. Also don’t be surprised by the negative reaction from the crowds, networking media, and possibly legal ramifications when you speak out. Paul told Timothy, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” and Jesus said, “If they hate you, remember they hated me first.” Continue reading

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