So we have worldly leadership and church leadership, which are opposites. Worldly leadership works on a pyramid hierarchy system, which emanates from the demonic hierarchy used by Satan. As a worldly system it is evil, according to Jesus. However, church leadership is based on service and the leader being at the bottom supporting everyone else. In addition, Jesus demands that we do not call church leaders by any formal titles of respect (Matt 23:8), because everyone in the church is a brother.
Grace from the Work of Christ is NOT to be understood as grace to be external enlightenment or instruction graciously provided for humanity by God. God does not just demand that human beings should be “perfect”, which is a vague term. Rather, God graciously provides specific guidance as to what form of perfection is required – such as keeping the Ten Commandments, and becoming like Christ. Grace thus informs humanity what its moral duties are (otherwise, it would not know what they were); it does not, however, assist humanity to perform them, because there is no need for such assistance.
Moralism is the default mode for preachers. It’s second nature. But it misinforms the congregation. Why do it then? Maybe it tells them what they really want to hear, which is that they can please God through moral improvement. But moralising cannot save. We must do better than this if we are to escape the rebuke of Christ: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me”
Therefore, those who truly understand the Gospel will not downplay doctrines, to do so is to minimise how much they will know about the Gospel. Could it be that those who are arguing for the “Gospel” at the expense of “doctrines” are simply trying to find a way to justify their opposition to some of our distinctive beliefs or avoiding to disclose their ignorance.
We depart from Biblical teaching when we think that today’s so-called gospel rock, gospel clowns, gospel magicians, and other forms of gospel entertainment can legitimately be employed to communicate spiritual truth. The Scriptures teach that the world is on its own, “without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12). Therefore, instead of borrowing worldly methods to reach the world, Christians are sent forth like the apostle Paul, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”
With the explosion of different sects that claim to honour and follow Jesus, how does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? Just what are “the marks of a cult?”
During the darkest period of my life I had no one to say “Brother, how is your faith? Is Christ alive in your life? Are you lawless and doing your own thing? Brendon do you know that if you are carrying on in your sin and ignore God’s will – Jesus will say to you, ‘depart from me you lawless one – I don’t know you!”.
Jesus took these notions another radical step when he challenged his followers to examine their way of living: “And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:34–35).
The tabernacle was instituted by God as the place where he would dwell in the midst of the people of Israel. It was the forerunner of the temple; it was a tent that went before the children of Israel as they made their way to the promised land. Within the tabernacle was the most holy place, where God came to meet man. Just as God came to meet man in the tabernacle, he came to meet man in the person of Jesus.
Christians, by definition, believe Christ to be God- made-man, God-in-the-flesh. His claims cannot be amended, watered down, relativised, negotiated away or nuanced into acceptability. But this exclusivism is not an exclusivism of Christian culture, of Christian ethics or of Christians as the only candidates for heaven.
Should a Christian use some Zen Buddhist meditation techniques? Should Chinese Christians use Confucius as their teacher of social ethics? Should Christian pacifists learn from Gandhi’s methods? Should Jewish Christians celebrate the Jewish holidays? Such questions should be addressed with great care, for religion is the active, actual service of God, gods, spirits or demons.
Chinese New Year is the largest holiday of the year in China and if you are praying for China or joining some Chinese friends during the festival, there are two things that every Christian should know.
Baptismal regeneration is not a biblical concept. Water baptism is the symbol of what has already occurred in the heart of one who has trusted Christ as Saviour (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christian should take, but it is not a requirement for salvation. To make it such is to question the sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection.
In summary, as the Son of Man, Jesus followed the pattern laid out for the “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7:13. He had authority; he suffered at the hands of his enemies; and he was vindicated and exalted by God. As the Son of Man he also called on his followers to follow him in this pattern of life. (1) They were God’s chosen people and possessed the authority God gave to his people. (2) Now they must suffer faithfully in their commitment to Jesus. (3) When God brings his purposes to an end and executes judgment on all peoples, they will be vindicated and restored to their rightful place of authority.
After Jesus fed the five thousand, those who came to find Jesus asked him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” (John 6:30). Do not miss the audacity of their questions. They asked Jesus these questions the day after the feeding of the five thousand—after that miracle, after that sign, after that work. They refused to see it.