By Benjamin H. Liles
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. ~ Galatians 1:6-10, New American Standard, what is in bold is the point here
Of all the religions in the world, almost every one would say, "But there are many roads to Jesus Christ." Are you sure of that? Jesus Christ Himself said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6, New American Standard) and again, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.' Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell--and great was its collapse!"(Matthew 7:13-27, Berean Study, what is in bold is the point here).
If few ever enter the narrow gate that leads to life, and Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me" we are so then assured He is that narrow gate that leads to eternity. It means Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer; the ONLY gate to go through to the Father. It means religions like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Baha'i, Confucianism, Jainism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, and organizations such as the Church of Scientology, the Catholic Church, Mormonism--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Dawn Bibles Students, Living Church of God, Oneness Pentecostals, Members Church of God International, Unitarian Universalist Christians, The Way International, The Church of God International, the United Church of God, and to add on the Philadelphia Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God (Let me also be quick to add on Westboro Baptist Church, this church specifically does not hold to the Christian faith in the least bit). I also want to add on that if any so-called Christian Church believes they have a corner on Jesus Christ and they are the RIGHT and true Church, they are also wrong.
These religions and the organizations listed as well that have a "form" of Jesus Christ as their head piece are in fact preaching a different gospel than that of actual and true, authentic Christianity. I doubt I have to go back to what Paul said, but it should be worth repeating here: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8, New King James).
Jesus Christ told Peter, ""I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18, New American Standard). It doesn't mean Jesus Christ instituted Peter as the first Bishop. Where is any title mentioned in regards to how Peter was to be seen within the Church? Did Paul ever say, "Oh, yeah! Peter? He's the rock! Jesus told him, he was more important than all of us?" No. Nowhere in scripture is it said that one apostle was better than another.
In fact, Paul said this, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that I do not remember baptizing anyone else. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with eloquent words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power" (1 Corinthians 1:13-17, what is in bold is the point here).
This is the command Christ gave to those who have been given a message to preach and to teach: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20, Berean Study, what is in bold is the point here). Not one Christian who lived under the headship and authority of Jesus Christ ever lived for him or her self but to Christ as their Lord, Savior and Master.
There are some and certain things I will teach on that may not exactly be right, but I want this one thing to be noted: I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ more than anything. I don't want anything to distract me from that singular point. I will preach Christ, and Him crucified. He came to give of Himself; to end the sacrificial institution that the blood of animals would still have to be sacrificed for over and over. Besides, if you notice within scripture, up until the birth of Christ, the sacrificial system was heavily relied upon to atone for sins. Ever since the atoning work of Christ on the cross, not one person who believes fully in Him has to sacrifice daily, monthly, or even yearly. Christ has accomplished that which the Father sent Him to do.
So, how can we tell which Church is the actual Church of Christ? First off, it's not a building made by human hands, where rock and stone will eventually fall and eventually crumble. Look at the vision Nebuchadnezzar receives of God's kingdom: "As you were watching, a stone broke off without a hand touching it, struck the statue on its feet of iron and fired clay, and crushed them" (Daniel 2:34, Holman Christian Standard). Heaven is such a kingdom that wasn't made by human hands, and with that said, neither is the Church made by human hands. The Spirit of God, His Holy Spirit, indwells the hearts of believers who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (see John 4:23). The Church is made up of Christian believers who gather together. This is Christ's Church and because of His Spirit, the Church exists without human hands due to His Spirit.
Second, we are told how any person can tell those who are filled with Christ and His Spirit: "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35, New Living Translation). An overriding concern of another's welfare is showing the love of Christ to each other. This is a wonderful hallmark of Him and His Church. John later writes, "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death" (1 John 3:14). We are no longer under the curse of death, we have life eternal because of Christ's work on the cross.
It is why John, a little later on in this book said, "If anyone says, "I love God," but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20). If you love God you will have a tendency to love others. Christ said this as well when He summarized the whole of the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 5:17; 22:37-40).
Rather, the true Church is one that doesn't just keep the commands of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, and in loving others, but it seeks to do the best by all people. "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (James 1:27). We even see in Proverbs this same sentiment, "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed" (Proverbs 19:17). God gave Isaiah these words, "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday" (Isaiah 58:10).
The actual Church Christ established has a hunger and is moved with compassion for the care and welfare of others. It is moved by the hand of God to go where God goes. It seeks to give God's light to those who are in darkness. The Church doesn't do the things that will incur His wrath, but does all to receive God's blessings on the things she does. After all, the Church is Christ's bride. He washes His bride with His word, which in fact keeps her clean. But also the Bride of Christ, the Church, will do everything she can to remain pure, undefiled, ever watchful for her Lord and King, Jesus Christ. She will not fall astray for anyone who seeks to destroy and devour; she is steadfast and unmoving in her devotion to God Almighty.
And this takes me right back to where it has been said, "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18, New American Standard, in bold makes the point that the Church will abstain from any wrong). Also, I want to note that since Peter was one of the twelve disciples who became apostles and spread the gospel message as far as they could after Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven to sit down at the right hand of God the Father. I write this all not to disparage anyone. I write this as God allows me to help deliver you from darkness to the light of His truth and love.
The only reason I have not added Judaism to that list is because overall the Laws of Moses and up to the last of the prophets had faith in Him who gave them words to speak for their Messiah. Just because they didn't recognize Jesus doesn't mean He isn't for them. Time after time in countless articles He has allowed me to write I have felt He wanted me to say it and I will say it once more, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling. Look, your house is left to you desolate. And I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:35, Berean Study).
My Messiah, my Lord and Savior, is the same One who called Israel out of Egypt, who delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh. He is the One who subdues nations and kings. He is the One who exalts and who brings low. I serve the One True God of Israel! And I will do so until the day God calls me home, in His time. Furthermore, I will always do my best to preach the gospel of Christ as best I can as I know how. It is Christ who set me free from sin and death. He is the reason I put this blog/website up. It's not just a site where I review books and tell you what I like about certain books. This site is purely and simply devoted to Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, the son of Mary (by God's Spirit) and Jospeh, the son of King David. I pray this helps and bless you immeasurably. God bless you and may His light shine on you. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.