Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jesus is the only way!!!

(This is for the benefit of my unbelieving friends and luke warm Christian brothers and sisters)
You must be born again. You must be converted and recieve the Kingdom of God like a child. You must believe that Jesus alone is your saviour and be Baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Read On For More.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God's only begotten Son.

John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to God the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the only way. There is no other way. The psalmist says, “Kiss the Son lest he be angry and destroy you.” Psalm 2:12

These verses might sound narrow minded, bombastic, arrogant and very unsecular. But please note that I haven’t said anything evil about any religion or so called "gods". I don’t need to. Once you see the glory of the only, true, living God, a worm like me doesn’t have to harp about the incapability of lesser gods to save peoples souls. I can sing about this God whose Son is Christ Jesus, The Saviour of the world, and about his unfailing love for the rest of my life. He is coming to establish his kingdom and there is only one way to escape his wrath, that is to be reconciled with him because he loves us and desires that none of us perish.

Does he love only me?
No. God sent Jesus to be punished on the cross, to endure hell and to die in my stead and yours; not only for my sins but for the sins of the whole world. John 3:16

Does the whole world get saved then?
No. Only the one who believes that Jesus endured hell on the cross and died for his sins and believes that he was raised from the dead by the power of God, will be saved. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, WILL, and I repeat, WILL be saved. Joel 2:32

What about those who don’t believe in the name of Jesus?
Jesus loves you. The bible says that it is Gods desire that not even one should perish. 2 Pet 3:9. His desire is that all should come to the knowledge of the grace of God and be saved. He never made Hell for human beings. Hell was made for the devil and his demons. But disobedience will be punished. If anyone is arrogant enough to reject Jesus, who is Gods perfect sacrifice, the perfect atonement for your sins and mine, will be sent to the lake of fire. This is not a speculation but a fact because the bible says so and God is incapable of speaking lies. Jesus is coming soon; and this time he is coming to judge. My intention is not to scare anyone into believing in Christ(although I would do that if I could), but I long to enable everyone to see the abundant love that he has for you and me and believe in him. Jesus is not a figment of somebody’s imagination. He is the Son of God, the Savior that God had promised to redeem mankind from sin. He is the King Of Kings and The Lord Of Lords. He is coming to judge the living and the dead; and believe you me that all the Cow Gods, Snake Gods, Monkey Gods, Elephant Gods, Baba’s etc are powerless to save anyone. They can’t save themselves let alone mankind or even one man.

Why did Jesus have to die?
For two reasons. God loves you and he hates SIN. Sin has to be punished. Every individual has to bear the punishment for the sins he/she has committed. This sounds like the most logical thing. So ideally I should be crucified for my sins and you for yours. Not much of a good news; is it? But the Bible says that there is a God; who made you. He loves you. He thinks of you. If we were to count the number of times he thinks of you the number would be greater than the number of grains of sand. This God is the Great I AM. Gods love for you and me is unimaginable. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. His mercies are new each day and because he loves you and me, he made Jesus; his only begotten Son; to be sin and allowed evil men to crucify him for your sins and mine. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice because he never sinned but was made to be sin on the cross and when he was being punished, beaten, spat on, nailed, abused, insulted, stripped, mocked at and murdered on the cross he was really being punished for your sins and mine just so that by believing in him, we might be forgiven and reconciled to God and be with him forever. But there is more to it than meets the eye. More than the physical torture and pain, Jesus endured hell in spirit and soul. That is what it really means to be forsaken by God, and Jesus was forsaken by God so that by believing in him we might not be forsaken by our creator. Jesus went to the cross like a lamb goes to the slaughter house; without complaining. He went in perfect obedience to God the Father, because of the love he has for us. Isn’t he amazing? He allows sinners like you and me to come to God through his own blood. He was raised on the third day by the power of God and now he lives forever more. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is coming to judge the living and the dead. If we believe in what Jesus did and live as he has commanded us to live, then the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness and justifies us. We can fellowhip with the Lord of this universe, because of Jesus. Now that is “Great News”.

Who is this Jesus? Could he have saved himself?
Jesus is the Son of the Living God. He is God in flesh. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is the Word of God. He is the King Of Kings and The Lord Of Lords. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He is the Good Shepherd, the Lamb who was slain. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

My dear friend!! Fall at his feet and he will have mercy on you. I assure you that you will not find another God like him. There has never been anyone apart from him that is worthy of being called a GOD and there sure is not going to be one either. All other Gods are fashioned by the hands and the minds of men. There is only one who has the power to forgive and his name is Christ Jesus. My prayer for you is God have mercy on you and the only condition for that mercy is Jesus. We need to be baptized in the name of God The Father, Jesus his Son and his Holy Spirit. Jesus said that if a man is not born again, he will not even see the Kingdom of God. By believing in Jesus and being baptized in his name we are being born again in to the Kingdom Of God. John 3.

Coming back to the question about his ability to save himself; Jesus was not some powerless mortal hanging on the cross. He was God. He had absolute authority to destroy the Universe even before anyone looked to harm him, let alone lay hands on him. (Mathew 26:53) But he chose not to do that because the will of the Father had to be fulfilled. The will of God was to make a provision for sinners to be saved by believing in the atoning death of Jesus. So he allowed worms like you and me to insult him, strip him, beat him, whip him, tease him, spit at him and nail him to the cross all so that you and I could have a way to live forever. Yes; You and I can live forever because Jesus has taken the punishment that we deserved; and he did it by enduring hell in stead of you and I. And he was raised from the dead by the power of God. Praise God. We can live because he lives. Forever. We are victors in Christ. Nobody in this world would die even for a good person. But this God that I am talking about, cares so much for sinners like you and I, who are destined for ETERNAL destruction, that he has made a provision for us to be reconciled with him through the atoning work of Jesus. My request to you is to repent of your sins. He will forgive. Be baptized in the name Jesus and he will cleanse you and give you a new heart. He will teach you his ways and your life will never be the same if you obey his commands.

May the grace Of God and his Son Jesus be with you. Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Religion Vs Spirituality

Jesus once told the pharisees that tax collectors and prostitutes are going to heaven ahead of them. That was really a bold statement to make, and only Jesus being God in human flesh had the audacity to do that. Being God he could see that those who didn't have a reputation of being "holy" to boast of, acknowledged that they were miserable and were desperately in need of what only God and no body else could give them. They knew that there is nothing they had done or could do that would get them closer to God, but believing in the Messiah and God's promises was the only way out.
The encounter of Jesus with a samaritan woman in John 4, shows us that Jesus came to save sinners and not to condemn them, IF, and I repeat IF only we repent.

John Chapter 4: 1 – 42
In a prelude to this chapter, we see in Chapter 3 how approachable Jesus was. The high priest of Israel (Member of the ruling council) Nicodemus, went to meet Jesus at night. He was probably proud for meeting a poor carpenter during daytime might tarnish his reputation or he was too busy to meet Jesus during the daytime. Whatever his reasons, he knew this Jesus was no ordinary man, but the Son of the living God; and being who he really was, Jesus didn’t ask Nicodemus to get an appointment to come meet him. A lesson for us. We must be approachable to people. Jesus spoke to him about Baptism, the Fathers tremendous love, spiritual rebirth and the like. Then there was John the Baptists disciples trying to provoke him against Jesus by telling him that he was taking over his ministry by baptizing people to repentance. Being the Godly man that he was, John hushed them by stating that the ministry is not about us but rather its all about God and his glory being manifest in our lives; “He must increase and we must decrease.” And in the beginning of this chapter we see that Jesus knew the heart of the Pharisees. “God always knows our hearts. The psalmist says that even before we utter a word, God knows what is in our hearts.” Now even though the Pharisees despised John, they knew from the scriptures that John was the “Voice of the one calling in the desert. He was the one who was to come before the Christ.” And when Jesus knew that they had heard about his ministry growing, he decided to depart from Judea to Galilee. Jesus was not afraid of them (Remember he is God. But rather than defending himself, if he had only prayed a small prayer to his father in heaven, the Father would have sent just 12 legions / 72000 angels to defend him. 72000 angels are enough to rip the whole Solar System apart. But Jesus didn’t come to condemn but to save. Praise God.) This is where the scriptures reveal the truth. Jesus was going to Galilee BUT ..
Verse 4:
The bible says “He had to go through Samaria (NIV). Or he needed to go through Samaria (NKJV) or he must needs go through Samaria (AKJV).” We understand that Jesus was not merely passing by Sychar but he really had to be there. He really needed to be in samaria. God had a purpose for Samaria. Jesus had meat to eat that others didn’t know of. His meat was to do the will of the Father. (Man does not live by bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.) Jesus was always led by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the spirit will always be where the Father wants them to be and do what the Father wants them to do. Religiosity causes us to believe that we are doing the will of God when we are actually not. The disciples had gone to get bread for their Lord. That is service alright; but was it really? It is Jesus and Jesus alone who was doing the will of God. We need to be spiritual like Jesus and not religious like the disciples. God is least interested in our sacrifices, our tithes and our outward forms of worship. He knows our deepesst secrets, the thoughts in our mind and our intentions behind doing so called christian work. The question really is are we doing the will of our father? (This is an encouragement for us that Jesus chose imperfect, narrow minded, religious people and made them spiritually sensitive to God.) It was derogatory for the Jews to associate with the Samaritans. What is more, gentiles were detestable to the Hebrews. (In Verse 27 we see that the disciples were surprised to see that Jesus was talking to a gentile woman.) But God was about to commission the great new covenant. This great covenant was meant to present the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Jews and Gentiles alike.
In a nutshell; Jesus is God. He had to be in Sychar because needed to speak to:
Ø A woman.
Ø A gentile.
Ø A nobody.
Ø A characterless person with whom most self proclaimed righteous people would not associate.
We will see in the rest of this analogy that Jesus came to call sinners and "Nobody’s" to repentance and not the righteous. Praise God.
Verse 9 – 10
It is Jesus who starts the conversation with the woman (verse 7) by asking her for a drink which tells us that it is God who sought after us first. This woman had no face even before a reasonably respectable man, let alone God. God first loved us. This is the fundamental truth that we need to understand then we will see that our love for him is so less and measurable. God was standing before the woman and it is so in our lives too. God has always been there in our lives but we have always had seemingly more important things to take care of until a time when we have made a mess of our lives and realize that there is a big void in our lives that only God can fill. This woman was a total wreck. 5 broken marriages, 1 recorded extra marital affair, looked down upon by the jews and as far as she was concerned she probably thought that even God had forsaken her. It is so with us too. When we are in a mess we also think that God is against us. It is God who then in his love and mercy showers his love despite all the times we rejected him. Sinners like this woman have no face before anyone let alone God. There is shame, embarrassment, despair, hurt and the "devils lie" that God will never accept a sinner. God hates sin but he never stops loving us. Jesus came to Samaria to establish this very fact that despite all our sins there was a way out. And that was through HIM rather; that Way was HIM. The bible says that it is the Lord our God who makes us holy. He is the one who forgives and justifies us and turns our hearts from sin to doing his will. It is only God who can lift us up from our situation and turn things around for Good. Jesus is the gift of God who never seizes to seek after our hearts. He is the only one who can give meaning to our lives and in time give us the privilege of being in his holy presence for eternity; if and only if we surrender to his Lordship.
Verse 11-12
Our sinful condition will always blind our eyes against God. We always try to assess the situation and try to figure out how God can achieve what he says he can do for us, forgetting that he is God and nothing is difficult for him. Jesus was talking about heavenly things and fullness of life and salvation and the woman was concerned about the limitations of man (asking him about how he was going to draw water) not knowing that he was God in flesh. The truth is there are so many instances in our lives when God is right there but our eyes are blinded and ears are deaf so we don’t see and don’t hear. But it is God who seeks us. He is always the first to love us. The woman asked Jesus (She knew that the messiah was to come, but she didn’t know that Jesus was he.) if he was greater that Jacob. There is a slight hint of idolatry here. She held Jacob in high esteem. Perhaps more than she should.
Verse 13-14
Jesus tells the woman that people will thirst even if they have all that the world has to offer. But God is the only person who can give meaning to our lives. He is the only one who can give us fullness of life and he is the only one who can make us holy and acceptable in his eyes because he presents us holy and blameless before his glorious presence. He is basically telling the woman that the Gods of this world can give us things that seem like they can satisfy us. But he guarantees that we will still thirst. There will still be a void and we can and more times than not we do try to fill that void with the Gods of this world; money, pride, power and the like. But there will still be the void that only the True God can fill through Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is through Jesus we have eternal life.
Verse 15-16
The woman is now really listening. She asks Jesus for what he says he can give her. The Living Water. The truth is that we need God, we need his presence, his salvation, his love and we need to be Holy. Yes sin gives pleasure for a while but the consequences of sin are devastating. That is the trick that the devil employs i.e. to make sin as attractive as possible. But it is only God who can complete us. The Holy Spirit is on a mission to convict the world of Sin. Jesus, led by the spirit, talks about the womans husband for he knew about her sinful relationship. Sin is detestable to God and because he loves sinners he wants to save us from our sins.
Verse 17
When God convicts us of our sins, we must be humble enough to acknowledge our sins for if we don’t even acknowledge our sins we will never be able to repent and receive the forgiveness of God. Let God be true and every man a liar. The woman acknowledged that she was in a sinful relationship rather than trying to justify herself. (She still doesn’t know that Jesus is the messiah, but by now she at least thinks that he is a prophet of God.)
Verse 19-21
The woman tries to change the subject from her sin to the attributes of Jesus. (I perceive that you are a prophet.) We are not very comfortable when our sins are being pointed out. So we change the subject. But Jesus doesn’t embarrass her. He also switches over to the subject about which she was talking. God never wants to put us down, but rather his intention is always to lift our countenance. Jesus had already achieved the purpose of making the woman aware of her sin. He didn’t want to embarrass her. She had enough humiliation and shame in her life. Jesus was clinical in his approach. This is a lesson for all who want to do Gods will. If we can’t speak the truth in love without hurting anyone, then it is best not to speak it until we allow God to fill us with his love. Jesus didn’t come to embarrass the woman but to save her and her city. So he gracefully changes the topic of discussion and talks about true worship.
Verse 25-26
The woman didn’t know who this man was and Jesus plainly tells the woman that he is the Messiah. When we don’t know, it is best to humble ourselves and admit our ignorance and God will reveal himself to us. We must respond when he is seeking us. He loves us and we are dear to him. Lets cling to him.
Verse 27-29
A soul is being saved, heavens are rejoicing; but the religious disciples despise the woman. This just goes to prove that they were not in touch with Gods heart. Gods heart is full of love. On the other hand, when someone who has been touched by God he/she will not care about being despised. Like the woman we will also leave our pots and possessions behind and go do Gods will. The woman was never directly given the great commission, but she went and told the whole city. When God has touched us, we WILL go and preach. People like the disciples will try to show us our status, our sins, our situations but we are supposed to see what God has shown us. In Christ we are holy, righteous, perfect. It is more than enough if we see and believe what God shows us. When God is for us, who can be against us.
Verse 31
The disciples urge Jesus to eat. Sometimes we feel that we are bringing God an offering, but all that is nullified if there is no love in us. Love for God and love for people. All that really counts in Gods eyes is if we are doing his will. Love for God is more important than works. In this situation it was the woman who was doing Gods will by telling the city about the Messiah. She was sharing the good news. It was She who had been converted and had the heart of God and not the disciples.
Verse 34-38
Jesus didn’t care about the bread that his disciples brought him. God doesn’t desire sacrifices and offerings. He desires a heart that wants to do his will. God wants us to stop analyzing, criticizing and he needs for us to come out of the religious rut and follow the example of Jesus in doing the fathers will. The fields are ripe. People need a messiah. Rather than fighting to ascribe people to a certain church, a certain group or a certain denomination, we ought to do the fathers will. It doesn’t matter who preached, who evangelized, who baptized and which church is eventually taking the offerings of that person. All that is important is that a soul is being saved. The will of our father is our food. It is Gods desire that not even one should perish. Let this desire of God burden our hearts.
Verse 39
A city is saved because one Dog chose to believe God. Once God touched her, She didn’t care about being despised by the disciples, about being hated. She just did the fathers will. She went and told the whole city.
Verse 40-42
People totally discount the womans word after coming to know about the messiah, but does it really matter? We must always do the fathers will by doing what is required of us. In this instance it was taking the word he has given us to those who are desperately in need of it. They might not even acknowledge that it came through you; does it matter? We can do without the awards, approval and honor of men. The honor of men is fit for the dustbin. God is our rewarder. We must seek his face, his love and his approval ALONE.