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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Is it the Last Days? A Video Presentation I Recently Made

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Quote:
This deserves a longer answer, but in summary, her doctrine is that you can escape the death penalty and receive eternal life by making a deal with God. She proclaims that God will grant us salvation as long a we do such and such. In other words, she proclaims that a man can be saved by works.

I am sure you are a bit puzzled as to why I think this (for after all, the protestant church claims just the opposite). However, please look over this post that I made a few months back. If you do, I think you will understand my position a little better.
http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=53944&forum=35



From reading your conversion testimony it sounds like you had a bad experience with a church that preached a watered down or false gospel. Sadly there are indeed many "churches" like that and I've had my share of visiting some of them. My concern is with your assertion that all churches preach the same false gospel. Again, based on past personal experiences of being part of and visiting many different churches over the past several years since I've known the Lord, I can assure you that that is not the case. I think it's unfair to paint such a broad brush over all the Body of Christ like that and over all preachers of the gospel who are involved with different churches.

There is only one true saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said He is the Way and the Truth and the Life and there is no other way to the Father but through Him. The biblical gospel is the message of repentance and faith in Christ (Mark 1:15). Ever since the first century AD God has always had a faithful remnant that has believed and proclaimed that same saving message, both within and outside of organized churches. Again, while it is true that there are many false converts within many organized churches, not all are false converts. And again, not all organized churches are apostate as you claim.

It's one thing to not prefer being part of an organized church for certain "non-essential" reasons, but it's quite another thing to say all such churches are apostate. That's a serious claim. Many cults have been started by those who condemn all churches and say they are all apostate. I say that as a loving warning Jason. Beware bro.


_________________
Oracio

 2015/5/13 22:06Profile
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

You know, the way I read the testimony, Jason, is that you somehow ginned up the right kind of faith to "stir up" (as you described it) God's favor. That He saw something in you (faith, as you described it) while you were still dead in your sins, and that this something moved Him to give you "favor" (as you define grace) and to save you.

Am I right?

A simple yes or no will probably suffice.


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Tim

 2015/5/14 7:43Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5184
NC, USA

 Re:

Quote: "I kept the t.v. off. Prayed every day, and consumed the word of God like nothing else. It was one of the deepest seasons of my life. But I let it slip away. I don't recall how it started but as some point I just didn't feel the stirring in my soul. I didn't feel the hunger that I did just days before."

Pardon the comparison, but this sounds like the stages of romantic love to me. When we first fall in love, we know how powerful and all consuming that is. But things don't stay at that intensity forever (if it did we couldn't function properly). But things progress to something different- not worse, but different. I love my wife at a much deeper level now than in the 1st year or our marriage, although passions have cooled to some degree. However there are seasons of heightened passion.

This is all to say that I don't think it is necessarily "normal" to always have extreme burning passion in our relationship with the Lord. We have seasons of that, which are wonderful, but as Oswald Chambers says our real work is done in the valley, not on the mountain top. Sometimes slow and steady does win the race.


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Todd

 2015/5/14 9:49Profile









 Re:

Tim said:

Quote:
You know, the way I read the testimony, Jason, is that you somehow ginned up the right kind of faith to "stir up" (as you described it) God's favor. That He saw something in you (faith, as you described it) while you were still dead in your sins, and that this something moved Him to give you "favor" (as you define grace) and to save you.

Am I right?

A simple yes or no will probably suffice.:



If I am confined to a simple yes or no, then I am going to say no. For genuine faith towards God is not something you “gin up,” or “stir up,” or “work up.” Instead, coming to a place of genuine faith towards God is just the proper response of any wise person who sees God as he is.

God begins the work by calling to a person and revealing his greatness to them. Next, it is up to that person as to how they will respond.

I see it kind of like this: God calls to the foolish and says: I just thought you should know that I am the creator of this incredibly beautiful world. I think you should know that I created all these things for my pleasure, and that includes you. I think you should know that you were created to bring me joy. So now I am asking you to repent and turn towards me with all your love and all your devotion.

To this revelation, the foolish will respond in one of several different ways.

Some of the foolish will just flat out say “no!” then go on their way.

Some of the foolish will say “yes, I repent,” but then continue as before.

Some of the foolish will sincerely repent, and walk hand in hand with God for a while, but they soon grow weary in serving the creator and eventually turn away.

But when God calls to the wise, it goes like this: I just thought you should know that I am the creator of this incredibly beautiful world. I think you should know that I created all these things from my pleasure, and that includes you. I think you should know that you were created to bring me joy. But up until now you have been walking foolishly, living your life unto yourself. It is now time for you to repent. It is time to turn to me with all your heart. It is time for you to bow your knee unto me and give me the allegiance that I rightfully deserve as the creator of all things.

And once God reveals himself and calls to the wise in such a way, the wise will always respond in the same way. They will first acknowledge the yes they have been a fool. But then they quickly rectify the situation by immediately turning to God with everything in them. And from that point on they will live completely unto him.

This is not something the wise “gin up.” It is just how the wise respond once they see the beauty and magnificence of the one who created all things.

Then once a man turns to God with this sincere love and allegiance, God is filled with great joy and pleasure towards that person. That person will then have God’s favor (or grace). And because of the favor that God feels towards this person of faith, God will give unto them the greatest gift imaginable – he will make this person of faith a son of God through his glorious gospel.

 2015/5/14 12:29
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

I accept your response. The question came from two potentially conflicting readings of your testimony. Thanks for clarifying.

How does what you say implicate the "core doctrines"? You are not saying anything, really, that differs from the doctrine of the organized church.

Oh, sure, you describe things in different words perhaps than some might prefer but at bottom is nothing objectively different.

You have a deep and abiding conviction though that it somehow is and I am missing it.

You wrote:

"--Now, I believe it is worth asking: how can this be? How can the institution that is supposed to belong to God, miss it so bad? I mean we are not talking about some non-essential doctrine here, but instead, we are talking about the very foundation of God’s kingdom. And it’s not just this generation that has missed it, but you can trace this flaw back to the very earliest “Christian” writings that exist outside of scripture. How could God let this happen to His church?

--The answer to that question is really surprisingly simple; however, at this moment, that is not the important question to ask. The important question is this: Are you working for God or are you coming to Him because you love Him for who He is?"

I love Him because He first loved me for who He is. He loves us for His own glory. I feel the frustration, too, at the treatment of Jesus as get-out-of-hell-free ticket, or even Jesus as go-to-heaven-free-ticket. I think most here share that frustration in many ways. But, are you tilting at windmills somewhat? Surely, you impugn the whole of the church do you not? It would help if you got down to cases, I think, and not sweeping in the whole body to this thing you reject.


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Tim

 2015/5/14 13:52Profile









 Re:

Tim, can I ask you two questions?

First I would like to know if you watched the video that I shared all the way through.

Second, I would like to know if you believe that the gospel presentation that Ray Comfort uses is accurate and life giving?

If not, then please direct me to a place on the internet where I can find a presentation of the Gospel that you %100 endorse (anything in the form of audio, video, or writing).

I also extend the second question and request to Oracio. Oracio you said that there are many "churches" that proclaim a true and accurate "gospel."
So I ask you Oracio, do you accept Ray Comfort's gospel as accurate? And if not, will you also direct me to a link that contains a presentation of the gospel that you view as accurate and life giving.

Thanks,

Jason

 2015/5/14 16:28
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Quote:
So I ask you Oracio, do you accept Ray Comfort's gospel as accurate? And if not, will you also direct me to a link that contains a presentation of the gospel that you view as accurate and life giving.


Yes, I accept that gospel message as biblical. It's the gospel of repentance and faith in Christ. It's the same gospel message preached by other well-known preachers like Paul Washer, Zac Poonen, and many other faithful preachers of the gospel whom God has raised up in His service. What is wrong with the gospel message they preach? If your concern is that it is "fear-oriented" because it begins with reasoning about sin, righteousness and judgment, respectfully, you will have to take that up with multitudes of passages from God's Word in which we see it presented in that way. Jesus warned over and over about God's judgment against sin and so did all the prophets and apostles and disciples. It is true that fear of hell should not be the only motivation for coming to Christ, but it can and should be part of it (e.g. Matt. 10:28). The truth of God’s judgment against sin helps us understand the holiness of God, it helps us see how serious God takes sin. Meditating on the cross of Christ also helps us see that. There is a healthy fear of God that every child of God is commanded by God to have. Yes, we must also understand the love of God and relate to God based on that truth and reality, but again, He does not only deal with us in loving terms. I'd like to ask you this, do you fear God? If so, please explain in what sense you do or don’t.

I wrote and shared this short piece recently dealing with the fear of God in case anyone is interested:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."-Philippians 2:12-13

The truth that God commands His people to strive after holiness in a healthy sense of fear (reverence) toward Him has been largely ignored and dismissed by much of Christendom. I hear many professing Christians say things like, “God doesn't want us to live in fear of Him, He only wants us to have a loving relationship with Him and to be thankful for what He has done for us and continues to do for us.” But that is only a half-truth; it is not the whole teaching of the whole counsel of God’s Word. Jesus said to His disciples, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”-Matthew 10:28

Yes, it is true that we are not to be like the cults and false religions that offer no assurance of salvation and believe in a false, distant god who may or may not save them. It is most certainly true that we cannot earn salvation or a place in heaven by any works of our own; it is most certainly true that Jesus paid our full sin-debt on the cross and that it is only by God’s grace through faith in Christ that we are saved (Rom. 3:24; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5). But it is equally true that it is seriously dangerous to consider the grace of God as a license to sin. God’s Word warns us over and over about that danger.

In Jude 1:4 the early church was warned about false teachers who “crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” That warning is just as needed today as it was back then. That scripture is fulfilled today whenever you hear a preacher say things like, “Look, as long as you believe in Jesus you can know He accepts you as His child regardless of the kind of lifestyle you live or the sins you commit”.

In Titus 2:11-14 we are told what the true grace of God teaches us and looks like; it declares there, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Then in verse 15 Paul goes on to tell Titus, “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

Concerning Philippians 2:12-13 the Matthew Henry Commentary says:

“It concerns us above all things to secure the welfare of our souls: whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. We must be diligent in the use of all the means which are conducive to our salvation. We must not only work AT our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work OUT our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence...with fear and trembling, that is, with great care and circumspection: "Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short...Fear is a great guard and preservative from evil. "And because it is God who works in you, do work out your salvation. Work, for he works." It should encourage us to do our utmost, because our labor shall not be in vain. God is ready to concur with his grace, and assist our faithful endeavors. Observe, though we must use our utmost endeavors in working out our salvation, yet still we must go forth, and go on, in a dependence upon the grace of God; as there is no strength in us, so there is no merit in us. As we cannot act without God's grace, so we cannot claim it, nor pretend to deserve it. God's good will to us is the cause of his good work in us" (emphasis mine)

A few additional relevant scriptures:

“And he commanded them, saying, "Thus you shall act in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and with a loyal heart”-2 Chronicles 19:9

“And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.' "-Job 28:28

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”-Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”-Proverbs 9:10

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”-2 Corinthians 7:1

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.”-Hebrews 12:28-29”


_________________
Oracio

 2015/5/14 17:51Profile
dolfan
Member



Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632
Alabama

 Re:

1. No. It was just too long.
2. Yes it is accurate. The gospel of Christ is the power of God into salvation to all who believe. It isn't Ray Comfort's gospel but I believe he presents it accurately.


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Tim

 2015/5/14 20:48Profile









 Re:

(Tim, I wish you would have watched the video. For then you may have a better understanding as to what this thread is completely about. Nonetheless, I do recognize that it is long, but there is not a whole lot I could do about that (with the exception of a few minor edits). Maybe you could download the audio version and listen to it on the go.)


Ok, since you both believe that Ray Comfort presents the gospel accurately, let’s take a look at this "gospel" as it is presented.

I remember reading “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” years ago, and at that time,I thought it was a great revelation.

If I remember correctly, Ray was perplexed by all the people who would make a “decision” for Christ only to immediately fall away from the faith. As he began to examine this problem, he came to understand that the problem was with the way the gospel was presented. He believed that most messengers of the gospel would present the gospel as a way for people to have a better life in the here and now (as well as eternity), but soon after “coming to Christ,” these same people would discover that life with Christ really wasn’t all that great. Instead of receiving peace and joy, these people would encounter trials and tribulation and as a result, eventually abandon the faith.

His most vivid example of this that I remember involved a plane, and a parachute. Here is this example as it appears word for word in his book (I don’t currently have the book, but I was able to track this down online):

From “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”

Quote:
Two men are seated in a plane. A stewardess gives the first man a parachute and instructs him to put it on as it will "improve his flight."

Not understanding how a parachute could possibly improve his flight, the first passenger is a little skeptical. Finally he decides to see if the claim is true. After strapping on the parachute, he notices its burdensome weight, and he has difficulty sitting upright. Consoling himself with the promise of a better flight, our first passenger decides to give it a little time.

Because he's the only one wearing a parachute, some of the other passengers begin smirking at him, which only adds to his humiliation. Unable to stand it any longer, our friend slumps in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart because, as far as he is concerned, he was told a lie.



There is more to this analogy, and the remainder of it provides a picture of the way that Ray came to believe the gospel should be presented.

Quote:
Another stewardess gives the second man a parachute, but listen to her instructions. She tells him to put it on because at any moment all the passengers will be making an emergency exit out of the plane at 25,000 feet.

Our second passenger gratefully straps the parachute on. He doesn't notice its weight upon his shoulders or that he can't sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without it. When other passengers laugh at him, he thinks, "You won't be laughing when you're falling to the ground!"



So as you can see through the above illustration, Ray came to understand that it was incorrect to motivate people to come to Christ with the promise of a better life. Instead, he came to believe that a proper presentation of the gospel should focus on the fact that man was a law breaker who rightfully deserved hell. He came to believe that if you first showed someone there guilt before God then that someone would be much more likely to turn to Christ. And not only would they turn to Christ, but they would also be willing to endure any discomfort that results from following Christ because the know the he is ultimately saving them from the righteous judgement of God.

With that said, let’s not go through a gospel presentation as suggested by Ray Comfort:

First you use the 10 commandments to show someone that they are indeed a law breaker.

Next you explain to them that because God is a righteous judge, he cannot simply ignore their lawlessness. And therefore, they are confronted with the fact that they are in a whole heap of trouble.

Once this person is confronted with the fact that they are in a whole heap of trouble, you introduce them to the good news that Jesus died on the cross to take the penalty for them. You explain to them that they can have the benefit of having theirs sins paid for through the death of Jesus if they will turn from there sin and place their faith in Jesus.


So now, what is wrong with this presentation? Well, pretty much everything thing! However, I will only focus on its most glaring fault.

Let’s pretend for a moment that someone heard this message and really came to a place of genuine fear. Let’s imagine that they realized that their sins were deserving of hell and lets imagine that they responded to the message with all their heart. Let’s imagine that they sincerely confessed every sin and diligently tried to resist their sin in the future. Let imagine that this person began to diligently read Gods word and began to spend a great deal of time each day in prayer. Let’s even go so far as to imaging that this person became so excited about the “gospel” they believed, that they would sell everything they owned and then travel the world to spread this message to the world. And finally lets imagine that this person endured much hardship and persecution because of the gospel they believed and let imagine that this person is eventually put to death for the sake of their gospel.

It is likely that you believe that this person will experience a joyful entrance into the kingdom of God. However, I am quite certain that this person will have received no such thing. And I am quite certain that this person will hear the words “I never knew you, depart from me.”

So why do I think this? I think this because this person only came to Christ as a “work.”

How was it “work?’

It was work because of the motives behind it. The initial reason that this person turned away from their sins and believed on Jesus was in order to escape hell and receive eternal life. It wasn’t the magnificence of God that provoked this man to turn away from sin and profess Christ. It was his own selfish motives that inspired his actions. And when something is done for selfish motives, God considers it work and he will give nothing to such a person.

The problem with Protestants is that they tend to think that only Catholics do work. Protestants mistakenly believe that “works” are all those physical, outward rituals that Catholics do in hope of gaining eternal life. Protestants believe that just because they do not trust in outward physical rituals as their means of salvation, that they are not working. A Protestant will claim that instead of working for their salvation they trust in the work of Jesus on the cross. They call this act of trusting in Jesus and his death - faith. And they believe that this act of faith will motivate God to give them his gift of eternal life.

However, Protestants are greatly mistaken. For this act of trusting in Jesus and his death on the cross, is just as much a work as all the Catholic rituals that are performed in the hope of gaining God’s gift.

For you see, whenever the apostle Paul tries to tell us that we are not saved my works., he is not referring to any particular outward action, but he is instead referring to the motive behind that action.

If an action is performed (whether an inward mental action or an outward physical action) with the hope of gaining something as a result of that action, it is considered work.

Why do you get up in the morning and go to your place of employment? Is it because you just love your boss so much? Or is it because you expect to be paid at the end of the week? And why does your boss pay you at the end of the week. Is it because he really likes you, or is it out of obligation because you worked?

Maybe you have a blue collar job that is physical demanding. Or maybe you have a white collar job that requires little physical effort. Regardless of these facts, the blue collar worker and the white collar worker both show up to their place of employment for the same reason – because they want to be paid. And because of this, the actions they perform are considered work.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you do, or how hard or easy it is physically. If you are doing it with the hope receiving a benefit of any kind, then it is work. And once the work is done, you are not paid because your employer favors you. You are paid because he is obligated to do so.

The gospel of Ray Comfort (and the gospel that is proclaimed elsewhere in the institution called the church) is a false gospel of works. For they all teach that if we perform the action (or work) of sincerely believing on Jesus, then God will be obligated to pay us by removing our death penalty and granting us eternal life.

But oh how wrong they are. God gives nothing out of obligation. God gives nothing in response to work. God only gives his gift of salvation to those whom he feels favor towards. And God only has favor towards those who sincerely repent towards him.

Sincere repentance is not turning from sin and believing in Jesus because you realize you are a razor’s edge away from eternal torment. Instead, sincere repentance is turning to God with all your love and devotion simply because you recognize him as the good and wonderful God that he is. When someone sincerely repents, there is not one selfish motive behind it. It is all done completely for the glory and pleasure of God.

Then when God sees the sincere faith, God is filled with great delight and joy. And in his delight, God desires to bless this person of faith. And so, God gives unto them the greatest gift a person could ever dream of receiving. God makes them a son of God through the mystery of the gospel.

Ray Comfort says (as well as all other messenger from this institution the calls herself the church) that God will make a deal will you. If you do your part of the deal and believe on Jesus, then God will do his part of the deal and grant you eternal life. But the scripture clearly teaches that God offers no such deal.

But Paul says (paraphrased by me): You were given the gift of salvation because you are favored by God. You are favored by God because you have faith towards him.. You have nothing to boast about, because you did nothing worthy of boasting about. Ephesians 2:8-9

And that my friends is the truth of God’s word. And it is this truth that you will never hear proclaimed from any man who claims loyalty to this institution called the church.

As I said in my video: this institution called the church primarily exists to separate the wheat from the chaff within the kingdom of God. It is spreading the great lie that Paul spoke of in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2. And the reason you believe this lie is because you are under a very strong delusion – a delusion that has been placed upon you by God himself. And unless you repent and come to a place of true faith towards God, you will continue to believe this lie until it leads you to your destruction.



 2015/5/15 15:50
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

To hold on to your version of the gospel and your conviction concerning the Body and Bride of Christ, you have to ignore and dismiss so many clear scriptures. I wouldn't know where to start. The only thing I can say at this point is that I'll pray for you to come out of this phase because it is not spiritually healthy to say the least. Take care bro.


_________________
Oracio

 2015/5/15 17:20Profile





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