Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?

Question: “Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?”

Answer: Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such an exclusive statement may confuse, surprise, or even offend, but it is…

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-only-way.html

A surprising response to “The Great Commission”

This was shocking and should be of serious concern to everyone calling themselves Pastor, Elder, Preacher, etc. James 3:1

In today’s Barna Highlight, we’re sharing another bite-sized finding you can use to become a more informed leader.

Just because a word or phrase is common in church leadership, doesn’t mean it’s common among churchgoers.

For example, half of all U.S. churchgoers (51%) say they are unfamiliar with the term “the Great Commission.”

(Also note when you add up the unfamiliar with the unsure and can’t explain, a whopping 82% have never heard of or do not comprehend Christ’s command to ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS.)

This surprising finding comes from Translating the Great Commission, a report we created with Seed Company

News from the PERSECUTED CHURCH

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 5:10


Open Doors International

More than 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.

That’s 1 in 8 worldwide, 1 in 6 in Africa, 2 out of 5 in Asia, and 1 in 12 in Latin America.

NOT ALONE, NOT FORGOTTEN NOT EVER

[Urgent Prayer] Suicide bombers attack church in Indonesia, at least 19 wounded

’God is alive!’—in Nigeria, this pastor finds hope in the rubble

Eritrea is rounding up and arresting Christians—37 in two days

Terminally ill and 62—Christian convert faces prison in Iran

The Chinese church is exploding … but will it survive?

CLICK HERE for a list or an interactive MAP of countries where persecution is taking place today. 

Main website: OPEN DOORS INTERNATIONAL


An Educational Antidote to a Rising Tide of Tribal, Religious, and Political Violence in Africa

Giving Meaning to ‘Never Again’ in Africa

Myanmar Massacre: GFA World Calls for Prayer Amid Military Coup


Barnabas Fund

Christian Newsline

News updates on the persecuted Church

The following stories and more can regularly be found updated at barnabusfund.org/news

APRIL PRAYER FOCUS UPDATE

DAILY PRAYER LINK

Barnabas Aid Calls on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Recognize the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Greek Genocide

Churches Draw Up Religious Studies Syllabus for Christian Students as Part of Pakistan’s New National Curriculum

Five Out of 39 Nigerian Students Kidnapped From Kaduna College Released

Islamist Attacks Illustrate the Growth of Jihadism in Mali and Niger

Church Minister and Three Worshipers Killed by Gunmen in Benue, Nigeria

U.S. State Department Confirms Turkish Participation in Nagorno-Karabakh War, Highlights Azerbaijani War Crimes

Christian Families Lose Everything as Fire Engulfs Rohingya Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

Dozens Killed and Thousands Flee as Jihadists Attack Town in Northern Mozambique

Eight Christians Abducted by Bandits in Kaduna, Nigeria

Praying for the Persecuted Church review of 40 countries and 7 other areas to pray for


Logo

Pakistan:

When 13-year-old Shakaina Masih’s mother arrived to take her home from the job at which she helped with housework, she was informed that her daughter had already left. When Shakaina never showed up, concern soon became alarm as her parents urgently filed a missing person report. After initially delaying to respond, police informed Shakaina’s parents that she had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man last month.

Devastated to learn that their teenage daughter was supposedly married to a man whose name they had never even heard, Shakaina’s parents believe she was abducted. “Shakaina is just a kid,” Shakaina’s father, Johnson Masih told Morning Star News. “She was kidnapped and taken to Okara, where they forcibly converted her and conducted the fake marriage to give it a religious cover.” Many Christian parents in Pakistan fear exactly this occurrence — and it is all too common.

Hundreds of girls from Christian and Hindu backgrounds are kidnapped each year and forcibly converted before being raped and often forced to live as their abductor’s wives. Widespread discrimination and the government’s failure to protect religious freedom creates an environment that enables horrific incidences of forced marriage to thrive. Islamic clerics who solemnize underage marriages, magistrates who make the marriages legal, and corrupt authorities who refuse to investigate all contribute to the problem.

For more on this issue and what the United States can do about it, check out Family Research Council’s new publication titled, “Combatting Forced Marriage of Young Women in Pakistan.

Africa:

Hardly a day passes without accounts of mass kidnappings of Nigerian schoolchildren, Christian clergy and aid workers gunned down, villages torched, or churchgoers massacred. Africa is in trouble, and the United States and other global leaders must wake up to the horrifying levels of violence suffocating Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Read more in Lela’s op-ed in Newsweek.

China:

In coordination with the United States, new sanctions were placed on several Chinese officials responsible for atrocities in Xinjiang by the United Kingdom, European Union, and Canada. In retaliation, China decided to sanction two U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) Commissioners, including FRC President Tony Perkins.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s sanctions are nothing but tactics of intimidation, designed to help them save face in an international community that’s denounced their brutal and repressive policies,” Perkins said. It is telling that while Western countries sanction Chinese officials over human rights abuses, China sanctions individuals who merely speak out in defense of the oppressed.

See FRC’s resources:

What we’re working on:

We recently started an “International Religious Freedom 101” series on the FRC Blog. Check out our second installment, “Pakistan Is Captive to Islamist Mob Rule.” Stay tuned for more!


The Voice of the Martyrs

GLOBAL PRAYER GUIDE

Christian Mother Recently Widowed

Christian Women Released from Island Prison

Christians Endure Persecution as God’s Kingdom Advances

Tough Times for Ethiopian Believers

Believer Facing Prison and Family Harm

Two Christians Sentenced to Prison for “Shaking Faith”

Family Barred from Two Villages for Christian Faith

Christians Rejoice After Church Destroyed

Many Audio Bibles Already Distributed This Year

Family Fined for Hosting Worship Gatherings

Newly Baptized Followers of Christ Face Persecution

Sunday Sermon Series – Resurrection of Christ

He Is Risen Illustration Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures
https://images.app.goo.gl/iGTNYL4CtYdb17C39

Whether you call it Easter or Resurrection Sunday is not the crux of the matter. Today we celebrate our Risen Savior, Christ Jesus. There would be no other reason to celebrate this or any other day if He were not Alive. Whom do you celebrate and serve today?

Philippians 3:20-21

SERMON

Philippians 3:20-21 – The Power of Christ Illustrated by the Resurrection by C.H. Spurgeon

Other Resources:

The God of Peace Brought from the Dead the Good Shepherd by John Piper

Evidence for the Resurrection by Josh McDowell

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/29/2021

What Does Deuteronomy 6:4 Mean?
https://images.app.goo.gl/87trm6vfkMdj5kWMA

Deuteronomy 6

As always some context is required with our main text v.4. In the previous chapter, God has made a covenant promise with His people and the 10 Commandments are delivered through Moses.

Chapter 6 can be broken down as follows: A persuasive to obedience. (1-3) An exhortation to obedience. (4,5) Obedience taught. (6-16) General precepts, Instructions to be given to their children. (17-25) – Matthew Henry

Our text obviously come from the second part an exhortation to obedience:

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

I do not usually quote from the NLT but in this case, I like its rendering over most others for a couple of reasons. First where it says … the Lord alone it is making a definitive statement there can be no other God but Jehovah. Second, in verse 5, where most translations render You shall love, the NLT renders it

you must love again nothing passive or suggestive about it.

Not only the Jews by birth but all those who were grafted into the nation of Israel sounds like the New Testament Gospel message were to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and love Him unconditionally.

Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary

What a blessed verse is this, which folds within its short, but mighty contents, the foundation of all our faith. Our GOD, though existing in a manner totally distinct from all his creatures in a threefold character of Person, is but one and the same JEHOVAH. For, as the apostle beautifully represents it, There are Three that bear record in heaven; the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST yet these three are but one. I would beg the Reader to remark with me, that though the verse be but short, yet no less than three times is the glorious name of JEHOVAH repeated in it. May we not suppose, that the very design of this was to convey the glorious truth of a threefold character of Persons in the divine unity? Happy the soul who hath an evidence in his own breast of the truth of this; in being enabled there to trace the tokens of the FATHER’s love, and the Redeemer’s grace, and the SPIRIT’s fellowship. I detain the Reader only to make a short observation more upon this precious Verse, and to ask him, whether the manner in which Moses calls upon Israel to attend to this leading truth, that our GOD is but one LORD, doth not carry with it a testimony, that as the people had been accustomed to receive tokens of a plurality of persons in the GODHEAD, they were not to lose sight, at the same time, of the unity of the divine essence. 1 John 5:7.

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, You alone are worthy of our praise and worship.. for You alone are the true and living God. What amazing grace You have shown to me, and the entire human race, that Your love for us is so great.. that You would send Your only begotten, Son to die for our sin. No matter what it takes, I pray that I may learn to love You with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength – and with every fiber of my being, knowing, that it is only as I die to self and live for Christ, that Your love may be manifested in me Praise Your holy name for You alone are worthy of our worship, in Jesus name we pray, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Deuteronomy/6

Sunday Sermon Series – Christ Invitation

Matthew 11:28 - Bible Quote - Bible Verse Images

Matthew 11

Chapter 11, can be broken down as follows: Christ’s preaching. (1) Christ’s answer to John’s disciples. (2-6) Christ’s testimony to John the Baptist. (7-15) The perverseness of the Jews. (16-24) The gospel revealed to the simple. The heavy-laden invited. (25-30) – Matthew Henry

As Matthew Henry points out our text v.28 is part of the invite to the heavily laden by Christ. There are three quick points I wish to make, that I gleaned from the text before we come on the sermon and other materials:

  • It is only through Christ Alone that the invite can go out
  • The invite is directed only towards those burdened by sins
  • Only Christ, by His atonement at Calvary, can provide rest from that burden

SERMON

Christ’s Invitation by J C Ryle

OTHER RESOURCES

Come – Matthew 11:28 by J C Ryle

Come Unto Me All Ye That Labor Thomas Boston

The Rest of Christ by A W Pink

The Yoke of Christ – Matthew 11:28 by A W Pink

The Present and Future Rest of True Believers – Matthew 11:28 by John Newton

Christ’s Gracious Invitation – Matthew 11:28 by Archibald Alexander

Come, All Who Are Weary Desiring God Ministries

Rest, Rest C.H. Spurgeon

A Knowledge of God By Dr. M. Lloyd-Jones

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/26/2021

GOD ORDAINED

Logos.com

ROMANS 8

Overview of Romans 8: The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God. (28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39) – Matthew Henry

Often called the “more than conquerors” chapter in obvious reference to v.37, it is our main text v.30, shown above along with v.28-29 that contains the greatest of Biblical doctrine concerning God-Ordained Salvation.

In v.28, God says; them who are the called according to his purpose.

The called of God and of Jesus Christ; not to any office, or by the external ministry of the word only, but by special grace; from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from the company of sinful men to fellowship with Christ, from a trust in their own righteousness to a dependence on his, to grace here, and glory hereafter; which is done according to the purpose of God: the persons called are fixed upon by God; none are called but whom God purposed to call; those who are called can assign no other reason of it than the will of God; and no other reason but that can be given why others are not called; the time when, the place where, the means whereby persons are called, are all settled and determined by the will, and according to the purpose of God. – John Gill

In v.29 God says; For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… In other words, God predetermined whom He will save to conform them to the image of Christ.

Our main text v.30 for today tells most of the story if you will, of how we get there. When it comes to Salvation most folks think it all about them, I gave my.., or I went forward and… The fact is this and many other bible verses make it clear that it is all about God and His amazing Grace and not at all about us. God Predestined, Called, Justified, and will eventually Glorify everyone of His Elect.

Below are some posts on the subject of Salvation and the actual order in which the Bible says we are saved. 


Visual Theology – The Order of Salvation

“Ordo Salutis” The Order of Salvation, Part I

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part II

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part III

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part IV

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part V

Ordo Salutis, the Order of Salvation; Part VI

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VIII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation – Part IX

What is the Ordo Salutis / order of salvation?

The Order of Salvation

The Ordo Salutis PDF by A A Hodge
 
The Ordo Salutis by Geerhardus Vos

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/25/2021

Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian life
https://images.app.goo.gl/BhdfFNJsUfasy47u9

Recently I had a discussion with someone who maintained that doctrine was not necessary, in fact it was ‘old fashion archaic thinking and his time was much better spent working for the kingdom.’

I hope that I am not the only one that saw the issue with that statement. How can one hope to serve the Kingdom with out having a right understanding of God’s Holy Word and how to apply it to your life? Forsaking Biblical doctrine can mean only one thing, we would rather live in the world.

Doctrine after all is in the basic sense, teaching or instruction. The word translated “doctrine” means “instruction, especially as it applies to lifestyle application”  2 Timothy 3:16.

Doctrine is very important in the bible. One can not seriously read the Bible without seeing it as an instruction manual from God as to our moral, ethical and spiritual behaviours. Yet we live in an age, as Paul predicted, 2 Timothy 3:4, when mankind would either reject sound doctrine or doctrine altogether. That is not to say one must get tied up in or argumentative over controversial biblical doctrines. Yet in most areas, the Bible is completely CLEAR and CONSISE

It should be the “DESIRE” the “GOAL” the “HOPE” of every true believer to mature in the Doctrine of God so we can fulfill the mission God has for each of us.

Today’s Prayer

Thank You, Father, for Your Holy Scriptures. Teach me, convict me, correct me and train me through the living, powerful inspired Word of truth, that I may be equipped to carry out the work that You have ordained for me to do. Keep me mindful of the dark days that face the Church in these times and may I live and work to Your praise and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Timothy/3/16

OTHER RESOURCES:

Why is Doctrine Important?

What Is Doctrine and Why Is It Important?

What is doctrine?

What Is Sound Doctrine?

Why is sound doctrine so important?

Bible Verses About Sound Doctrine

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/22/2021

Logos.com

2 Corinthians 9 

In short, this Chapter is a reminder to the church in Corinth to fulfill their promise to help the church in Jerusalem.  Paul reminds them that gift-giving should be done willingly and cheerfully, that God blesses those who do so and closes with our ext v.15.

Paul uses v.15, as a reminder that they, the members of the church in Corinth had already received a very special gift.  The CSB, NASB, and NIV all render it “his indescribable gift!”  The ESV is depicted above the KJV uses “unspeakable and the NLT renders it “this gift too wonderful for words!”

What is this gift?  It is interesting (to me at least) here Paul does not clearly spell it out, one has to dig a little, I think he understood the church at Corinth should know and so should all true believers. A clue is given in the previous Chapter 8:9 (AMP)For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favor], that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed).  The Gift that goes beyond measure is none other than Christ.

Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary – Read the whole commentary here

REFLECTIONS

It will be a blessed improvement from this Chapter, Under the Lord’s teaching, to learn, while Paul is speaking of alms-deeds, and liberality to the poor; how pure that source of real charity is, which runs from God, and leads to God. What an astonishment would it induce in the minds of some men, if they were told, that as no alms-giving whatever is real charity, unless it ariseth, as a stream doth from a fountain, from the love of God; the numberless public charities as they are called, which have not this origin for their birth, cease to be real charities; and will be found more the effect of pride, and ostentation, than either intended for divine glory, or human happiness. If all the actions of men on the score of charity, were ascertained by this standard, what a draw-back would be found, in the calculations of self-righteous Pharisees, of their real state before God? Reader! do attend to the Apostle’s character of the love of the heart, in that which comes from God, and leads to God. God loveth a cheerful giver. Not simply self-delight, in the deed; for this is often the choicest fruit the self-righteous character gathers, from his charity, in the offering made to the shrine of his vanity: but a cheerful giver to the Lord, of his own bounty, as the Lord’s Almoner. Cheerful in seeing the Lord’s poor, fed from the Lord’s gifts; in which self hath no gratification of pride, but feels humility. Here it is, the cup of cold water becomes a precious gift. And the hundreds of the affluent, given without it, hath no value in the sight of God.

But, Reader! if things be so, think what a gift was, and is, that which flowed, and will forever be flowing, from the free, pure, disinterested love of God, in the gift of his dear Son? Think, what a sovereign, unlooked-for, boundless, bottomless mercy, in the gift of God the Spirit! Oh! for grace to have a right apprehension, of this unspeakable gift!

Today’s Prayer

Loving heavenly Father – thank You for the unspeakably precious gift of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ – Who has been freely given to me and to all who will sill simply believe in His name. Father the gift of Your only begotten Son is beyond all expression, beyond all measure, and beyond all bounds. I fall on my face and worship You for Your unspeakably precious gift to me – in JESUS’s name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Corinthians/9/15

10 Things You Should Know about Christian Ethics

Introducing Reformation Theology with Crossway (Matthew Barrett) - Credo Magazine

10 Things You Should Know about Christian Ethics

July 24, 2018by: Wayne Grudem, This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series.

What is Christian ethics and what role should it play in the life of a believer?

1. Christian ethics teaches us how to live.

Christian ethics asks what the whole Bible teaches us about which acts, attitudes, and personal character traits receive God’s approval and which ones do not.

This means that Christian ethics teaches us how to live. It is important to study Christian ethics so that we can better know God’s will, and so that each day we can “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (Col. 1:10)…

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