Tuesday, 31 May 2016

WAS JESUS RICH? IS THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL VALID?

The belief that Jesus was rich lends support to the prosperity gospel. But was Jesus truly rich when He walked upon the earth? 

                                                                        

Recently, someone commented that Jesus must be rich since he received gold, among other things, at his birth. Besides that, he reiterated, Jesus’ garments must be expensive, the ancient equivalent of an Armani suit, since the soldiers did cast lots for it. Well, so much for conjectures.

If Jesus was rich, he would have been born in a palace, not in a manger. He probably would have entered Jerusalem in a grand carriage drawn by eight horses, not riding on a borrowed donkey. He would not have needed to take a coin from the mouth of a fish to pay his temple tax. He would not have needed several women to help support him and his team as they carried out their itinerant ministry. He would have a place he could call home; but, as it turned out, he was worse off than foxes and birds which had holes and nests. And he would not have to be laid to rest in a borrowed tomb, courtesy of Joseph of Arimathea. 

The trouble with ‘prosperity gospel’ teachers and adherents is that they have already decided what they want to believe. So they twist scripture to support their premise, a practice termed as eisegesis. The correct way of interpreting scripture is to let it speak for itself, exegesis, without our pre-conceived ideas clouding the picture.

Eisegesis occurs when a reader imposes his interpretation onto the text whereas exegesis is the process of drawing out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and intended meaning of its author.

                                                                 
Here’s another instance where scripture is being misinterpreted. Some say Jesus became poor so that we might become rich. They base their reasoning on this verse: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

The context of 2 Corinthians 8:9 is this: The apostle Paul was encouraging the believers at Corinth to excel in the area of giving. The context here is the subject of giving, why the ‘haves’ should give to the ‘have nots’. What better example of self-sacrifice is there than Jesus—whom Paul quotes—who set aside His divine glory and power when He came down to earth (Philippians 2:5-7).

The “riches” Jesus set aside is His glory and power. It does not refer to material riches. Consequently, we become spiritually rich when we believe in Jesus for we are saved from the penalty of sin, enjoy a relationship with God and gain access to heaven when we die.

Christ went beyond humbling Himself; He became a curse for us so that we might be blessed: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14).

In summary, Jesus was certainly not rich in worldly wealth. And this verse, 2 Corinthians 8:9, is not to be interpreted to mean that we will invariably become rich in material wealth when we become followers of Jesus.

To assert that Jesus is rich in worldly wealth and that we would invariably become materially rich by being followers of Jesus is to align ourselves with the teachings of the ‘prosperity gospel'.

The true gospel focuses on the cross (self-denial) and things above, not the things of the world.

And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).


POSTSCRIPT
Balance is needed when we approach the touchy subject of prosperity. We must not think that poverty is a virtue. On the other hand, we must not be mesmerised by money. For the love of money is the root of many evils.

In making a stand against the prosperity gospel, we are not implying that money is evil, God doesn’t bless believers, being poor is good, laziness is a virtue or that ministries can flourish on sunshine alone. What is seriously wrong with the prosperity gospel is the use of stratagems such as ‘seed faith’, ‘name it, claim it’, ‘the more you sow, the more you’ll reap’ for personal gain and lavish lifestyles, often with little accountability. Paul strongly rebuked those who preach Jesus as a means of financial gain, referring to them as men “depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain" (1 Timothy 6:5).

RELATED POSTS

DOES GOD WANT US TO BE RICH?
What does the Bible say about abundance and riches? What does Jesus actually mean when He says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)?

DID JESUS BECOME POOR SO THAT WE MIGHT BECOME RICH?
Some say Jesus became poor so that we might become rich. Is this true? Those who say so base their reasoning on this verse: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

TRUE GOSPEL VS FALSE GOSPEL
How do we know the difference? The true gospel focuses on the cross (self-denial) but the false gospel emphasises what can God do for me: Prosperity, happiness and comfort.
http://bit.ly/1OfG6bP

RELIGION AS A MEANS OF GAIN
There are some ministers today who have all the trimmings and form of religion but inwardly harbour an ambition for the world’s goods. They may have started out well but, along the way, got bedazzled by riches. Their ethos is coloured by material comforts and well-being far above spiritual considerations.
http://bit.ly/1XnWdu7

EXTERNAL LINKS


WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO STUDY THE BIBLE IN CONTEXT
Popular ministers today quote various isolated verses they have memorized, even though this means that they will usually leave 99% of the Bible’s verses unpreached. The Bible is not a collection of people’s favorite verses with a lot of blank space in between. Using verses out of context one could “prove” almost anything about God or justify almost any kind of behavior–as history testifies.
http://www.craigkeener.com/why-it-is-important-to-study-the-bible-in-context/

WAS JESUS RICH?
"Many prosperity preachers today who would like you to believe that Jesus was rich while here on earth and that God wants nothing more than to lavish His children with an abundance of material blessings. After all, a rich Jesus would certainly make it easier for them to persuade their flock that God wants them to be rich, too. However, a materially rich Jesus Christ is utterly incompatible with biblical truth."
http://www.gotquestions.org/was-Jesus-rich.html


PROSPERITY GOSPEL DEFINED AND REFUTED
Definition: “Believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the ‘sowing of seeds’ through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.”
For more: https://www.lausanne.org/content/a-statement-on-the-prosperity-gospel


MINISTER WITH A PENCHANT FOR PRIVATE JETS

WAS JESUS WEALTHY? IS THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL JUSTIFIED?

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

OBEDIENCE TO LAW: NECESSARY UNDER GRACE?

Is obedience to the law a requirement for believers saved by grace?

Obedience is an expression of our love for God. It should be the spontaneous response of sinners saved by grace. Jesus taught: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).


                                                                   
Obedience is also a requirement God places upon us, who are recipients of His grace. This is seen in the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-11). While Jesus did not condemn her, unlike the crowd, He also made it clear that she should no longer continue living a sinful lifestyle. In short, Jesus told her: “I forgive you but make sure you obey God’s law by forsaking your adulterous lifestyle.”


                                                                        
Though God forgives us, we need to demonstrate personal responsibility. We need to keep our end of the bargain.

The foregoing is in contrast with the teachings of hyper-grace which states that, when believers embrace grace, they do not have to be subject to the law. Obedience to the law is seen as something negative—an attempt to earn God’s blessings apart from grace.

The following (IN BLUE) is the stance taken by hyper-grace:
“While most people have no problem with agreeing that we have been saved by grace, they are nevertheless still subjecting themselves to the law. They are depending on the “works of the law” or their obedience to the law to earn, merit and deserve God’s blessings.”
“Grace is the undeserved, unmerited and unearned favor of God—the moment you try to merit the free favors of God, His grace is nullified.”
(Page 262, "Destined to Reign")

In other words, hyper-grace asserts that obedience to the law is undesirable for believers—that we should not nullify God’s grace through obedience to the law or merit points attained through “works of the law”.

                                                                    
Those who think that believers under grace can do away with the law need to consider Christ’s teachings: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
(Matthew 5:17-18).


                                                                                                                                                  Believers today are free from the yoke of the Mosaic law with its ceremonial regulations (Acts 15:10, Acts 15: 28-29, Galatians 5:1). Though we have been redeemed from the curse of the law through Christ’s death (Galatians 3:13), it does not mean we are free to break God’s moral law as revealed in the Ten Commandments. 


                                                            
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

Thus, grace does not free us from having to live a moral life in obedience to God’s laws.


                                                                   
Condemnation is reserved for those who pervert God’s grace into licentiousness: “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4).

Judgment is reserved for those who profess to follow God but practise lawlessness and fail to do his will: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

Those who are immoral will fail to make it to heaven: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Are believers free from the ceremonial laws of Moses? Yes.

Are believers free from having to obey God’s timeless moral laws? No, despite the fact we are now under the dispensation of grace.

Next time, if someone asks you these two questions you should be able to give the answer.
  • Is a believer’s obedience an attempt to please God through self-effort or ‘works of the law’?
  • Does obedience constitute a return to legalism?
Your answer should be something like this: Obedience is the believer's positive response to God's grace and should not be viewed negatively as an attempt to gain God's favour through self-effort or "works of the law". The latter represents the false view of obedience of hyper-grace.

Obedience should be seen positively. It is God’s requirement for believers living under grace (John 8:3-11). It should be also seen as the believers’ expression of love and gratitude towards God for His undeserved grace (John 14:21).


                                                                           
Thus, obedience is both a requirement and a response: God’s requirement for all who are saved by grace as well as our grateful response to His grace.

If the believers’ motives are pure and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment has been sought, how can we ever deem obedience as a return to legalism or self-effort? The latter is an invention of hyper-grace.

RELATED POSTS

A WALK IN THE PARK
Some compare the Christian life to a walk in the park. They say everything is by faith. You just have to believe in what Jesus has done for you at the cross. Anything more than that smacks of self-effort, pride and legalism.

ENJOYING GOD’S FAVOUR: UNMERITED AND MERITED
It’s great to experience God’s unmerited favour. But we must not stop there. There are other ways to gain His favour.

FOCUSING ON HALF-TRUTHS
Many believers focus on the privileges of being a Christian and forget that there are conditions attached to the blessings. In short, blessings come with responsibilities.

FAITH-WORK COMBO
Though we are saved by faith, we must not forget the fact we are destined for good works. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works.”
http://bit.ly/1oE2RYX

Thursday, 12 May 2016

SPIRITUAL DETOX

Why is it difficult to purge false beliefs from our system? Why do Christians persist in embracing error—even when it is shown to them that what they believe is false?

                                                                    
Firstly, believers would rather follow their leaders and friends— people that they have been familiar with over the years—than “risk” taking on a new doctrinal position.

They prefer familiar doctrines they have embraced for a long time. After all, they might be branded as renegade and lose their friends if they should decide to embrace change. So for convenience and comfort, they would rather let friends and familiarity dictate their beliefs.

But if they had taken the trouble to scrutinise the issues at hand in light of the Bible, they would have arrived at the truth. And they would know the steps needed to stop believing in error. But they often remain adamant, fiercely resistant to change. 


                                                                       
Unlike the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who were impartial and open-minded to the truth, which serious Bible study would unveil, many believers are not diligent and vigilant enough. Thus, they are led along the slippery slope of deception and destructive heresy (2 Peter 2:1).
                                                      

Another key reason why people persist in false doctrine is that it is so soothing that it tickles itching ears. It feeds their natural human tendency to gravitate towards blessings and comfort.

  • Isn’t it good to know that God never gets angry with us, never points out our faults and never convicts us of sin? http://bit.ly/1OczgqH


  • Isn’t it good to know that once we are saved, we will remain saved (OSAS)—no matter what we do or fail to do? http://bit.ly/1MPWDB0
Spiritual detox and rehabilitation are not easy to achieve. Indeed, it is difficult to purge false beliefs from our system—not when false teachings have been ingrained in our system for many years.


                                                                       
However, when the truth illuminates our spirit, with the Holy Spirit's help, we will be set free.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 (NLT)

RELATED POSTS

                                                                          
SEVEN REASONS WHY FALSE TEACHING THRIVES
Why it’s easy to be fooled without realising you’ve been had.

HYPER-GRACE: THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT CONVICT BELIEVERS OF SIN
A God who never gets angry with you, never points out your faults and never convicts you of sin. That is the feel "good message" of hyper-grace for those who love ear- tickling half- truths.

HYPER-GRACE: FUTURE SINS AUTOMATICALLY FORGIVEN
Hyper-grace teaches that the future sins of Christians are automatically forgiven (FSAF). Is it rational to say Christ’s blood covers all our future sins even before it came into being?

HYPER-GRACE: ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED
Hyper-grace teaches that believers enjoy eternal security and will never lose our salvation: “The truth is you are saved by grace and you are kept by grace. It’s grace from start to finish! Don’t let anyone frighten you into doing dead works, but rest secure in His finished work. Just as you did nothing to earn salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose it.”
Is it true that believers will never lose our salvation—even if we deny God or willfully live in sin?
http://bit.ly/1MPWDB0

Saturday, 7 May 2016

IS THE WAY TO HEAVEN EASY?

                                                                    


Please watch this short video to find out who is telling the truth—Joseph Prince or Paul Washer? 

Whose teaching reflects the way the Bible should be interpreted? Who is distorting the truth?


                                                                         
Notice that there are two gates and two ways (roads) in the passage about getting to heaven:
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14)

This is the picture of heaven in future:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
(Revelation 7:9-10)

Speaker A (Joseph Prince)

Jesus is NOT referring to eternal life—but about life on earth—in the traditional passage about the way to heaven found in Matthew 7: 13-14. The broad way which leads to destruction does not refer to hell but destruction on earth (physical, emotional, etc).

Many people think that the Matthew 7 passage means that 'many will end up in hell, few will end up in heaven. But this, according to Prince, is NOT what Jesus said.

Getting to heaven, Prince suggests, is not difficult based on the great multitude in Revelation 7 above.

Jesus is the only way (only one door) to heaven.


Speaker B (Paul Washer)

The way to heaven is difficult. First, you have to enter through a narrow gate (Jesus is the only way). Then you will have to walk along the narrow road: Deny yourself, obey God and bear fruits.

Those who merely enter the narrow gate (claim they are saved based on a past decision or 
sinner’s prayer) but later do not actively pursue God (obedience to God by living holy lives and doing His will) will not be able to enter heaven—even though they have decided to follow God once upon a time. They may fulfill their religious duties by going to church on Sunday but their sinful and worldly lifestyle will condemn them on judgment day (Matthew 7:21).

In contrast, genuine believers subject themselves to God’s discipline and allow God to keep them along the narrow way that leads to life (Hebrews 12:8). They not only talk, but walk the talk. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). They are changed from within, gradually transformed as a result of the new heart God created in them (Ezekiel 36:26).

Ultimately, where is our heart’s main focus in life? Is God reigning in our lives?

                          
COMMENTARY

Though we can find multitudes from every nation in heaven in Revelation chapter 7, this does NOT discount the fact that there are many, many, many, many more people (majority) who will end up in hell as the Matthew 7 passage reveals.

The white robes of the saints show us that, without holiness, no one will be able to stand in God’s presence. Surely, getting to heaven is not going to be easy.

Many on earth will be heading to hell because they reject Jesus as the only way to heaven. Even among churchgoers, many who merely profess to be believers will not make it to heaven.

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14 (Amplified Bible) 

According to Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:13–14, there is absolutely no doubt that MORE will go to hell than to heaven.

“Never were there so many millions of nominal Christians on earth as there are today, and never was there such a small percentage of real ones. We seriously doubt whether there has ever been a time in the history of this Christian era when there were such multitudes of deceived souls within the churches, who verily believe that all is well with their souls when in fact the wrath of God abideth on them."
     Arthur W. Pink, Bible commentator

If so many believers fall under the category of deceived souls, where do you think they will eventually end up after their sojourn on earth? That, of course, will depend on whether you subscribe to the theology of Speaker A or Speaker B.

The last part of Matthew chapter 7 alludes to false prophets (bear no fruit) and spectacular miracle workers (perform signs and wonders but do not obey or know God). Though they may seem like “spiritual superstars”, these two categories will not make it to heaven. So there will be major upsets whereby the “first” will not even get to heaven.

False prophets condemned
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
(Matthew 7: 15-20)

 False miracle workers condemned
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
(Matthew 7: 21-23)

The wise obey God, not only listen to messages
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
(Matthew 7: 24-27)


                       
RELATED POSTS


MISSING THE MARK
As believers, what’s the point of having great miraculous power, riches, wisdom and unbridled pleasure at our disposal if we miss out on heaven?
http://bit.ly/1IWziMY

THE FINAL DESTINATION
After everything is done and our short sojourn on earth is over, one crucial question remains: “Where we will spend eternity?”
http://bit.ly/1RhWFFl

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER
How many of us prepare ourselves to meet our Maker?
http://bit.ly/1iiRhQT

A TALE OF TWO BUDDIES
Two Christian friends, Alex and Bob, decide to go on a holiday. While travelling on a treacherous road that cuts through mountainous terrain, their 4WD vehicle fell off the cliff. Both died. What happens next?
http://bit.ly/1PsyvVJ

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

HYPER-GRACE: JESUS’ PRE-CALVARY TEACHINGS IRRELEVANT

Are Christ’s teachings before He went to the cross irrelevant for believers?

                                                               
A hyper-grace pastor, Joseph Prince, implies that what Jesus taught before He went to the cross is not relevant for believers.

His argument is this: Believers are now under the New Covenant, which is based on the merits of Jesus’ shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Since the New Covenant began only after Christ’s death at the cross, what Jesus taught before going to the cross belongs to the Old Covenant—and, thus, is not relevant for believers.

If you subscribe to his teaching, it would mean that these traditional gems of the Christian faith are not relevant to you as a believer:
  • The Sermon on the Mount (Beatitudes in Matthew 5)
  • The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6)
  • The Olivet Discourse on the end times (Matthew 24)
  • The parables of Jesus 
That would mean an abridged, truncated version of the Bible, a la hyper-grace. So believers who love hard copies of scripture would only need to carry a much thinner Bible to church.

This hyper-grace pastor, Joseph Prince, writes: “There is a lot of confusion and wrong believing in the church today because many Christians read their Bibles without rightly dividing the old and new covenants. They don’t realize that even some of the words which Jesus spoke in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are part of the old covenant. They were spoken before the cross as He had not yet died. The new covenant begins only after the cross, when the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost” (p. 92, “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince).

Equally strange is that, while Prince downplays Jesus’ words before going to the cross, he also downplays huge swathes of scripture after Calvary such as Hebrews and Revelation that allude to unpleasant themes such as apostasyperseverance, and overcoming.  
(Hebrews 6:4-8, Hebrews 10: 36-39, Revelation 2:10,  Revelation 3:5 ) ** 

Why? In order to accommodate the liberal teaching of hyper-grace, only portions of scripture that align well with it are allowed. 


   
But what will happen to those who choose to tamper with scripture?
“And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

Although this warning in Revelation 22:18-19 is specific to the Book of Revelation, the gravity of its message is directed at anyone who seeks to intentionally distort God's Word by sharing part of it, rather than the whole.
  • Moses warned in Deuteronomy 4:1-2 that the Israelites must obey God’s commandments, neither adding to nor taking away from it.
  • Paul, in his farewell message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, declared that he did not shrink from delivering to them the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
It is wise not to “cherry pick”. Tozer warns: "Heresy is not so much rejecting as selecting.” By examining the whole Bible, we do not dwell on half-truths or emphasise one truth at the expense of another equally fundamental truth.

To reiterate, though the warning in Revelation 22 above applies specifically to that book in the Bible, the underlying principle is that we must treat the whole Bible with utmost reverence so as not distort its message.

                                                                   
***     Hyper-grace represents a new wind of doctrine blowing across the church, doing enormous damage, deceiving believers and giving them a false sense of security. http://bit.ly/1ghthQF
                                                                   

When a doctrine is new, we must already be on the alert that something is fishy. For we do not invent another gospel but can only build upon the existing good old gospel, fundamental truths that are held by the church throughout its long history.

Watchman Nee teaches that there is no such thing as a new scriptural revelation as the canon of the Bible is already closed. But there can be fresh insights, amplification and exposition of whatever truth laid out in the Bible.

Indeed, we need to guard the truth against the assault of heresy (2 Tim 1:14) and hold fast to the truth (1 Tim 4:16), which was delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3).   http://bit.ly/1NPpH1f

                                                                 
And how do we do this? By studying the whole counsel of God so that we know how to rightly handle the Word: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Certainly, it does not mean we “divide” the Word and choose only the delectable portions—only the ear-tickling parts of scripture are relevant to us. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Timothy 4:3).

By the way, have you come across any renowned author or teacher who teaches that what Christ taught before dying on the cross is irrelevant for believers? Would Baxter, Jones, Packer, Piper, Ryle, Spurgeon, Sproul or Tozer ever teach something unorthodox and outlandish like that?

It is utterly amazing that the standard of Bible literacy has fallen to such abysmal lows. Churchgoers simply accept a man’s words that what Christ taught BEFORE going to the cross is NOT relevant for believers as it belongs to the Old Covenant. Does it mean that all the well-respected theologians in church history are simply mistaken—and one man is correct?

Furthermore, has the following thought ever crossed your mind? If Christ’s words before Calvary are unimportant, as hyper-grace implies, it follows that what Jesus teaches about self-denialobedience, abiding and bearing fruit (Luke 9:23, John 14: 21, John15: 7, 8) should have no relevance to believers. That’s hyper-grace for you. While it prides itself in being Christ-centred, it refuses to honour His words. http://bit.ly/1KVJQjt

It would also mean that the Old Testament and Christ’s words will have little influence on the life of a believer, who will then have to feed on the epistles for his or her spiritual sustenance.

Even Jesus did not disregard or downplay the importance of the Scriptures of His time. He chided the believers on the road to Emmaus: “And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:25-27).

Surely, the richness of God’s full revelation will be missed if we disregard or downplay the Old Testament and Christ’s pre-Calvary teachings as hyper-grace teaches.  Thus, we will not be able to fully appreciate the fact that the Old Testament (OT) is the New Testament (NT) concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed.

If Jesus’ words are irrelevant and can be done away with, as hyper-grace asserts, why does Jesus categorically affirm that, though heaven and earth pass away, His words will not pass away?
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). 

In fact, Jesus’ words are so significant that even, after His ascension, we need to be reminded about it by the Holy Spirit.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

So Jesus’ words are definitely meant for believers, in sharp contrast to what this hyper-grace teacher tells us. Though Jesus is now absent physically on earth, His eternal words are so important that we need to cherish it and be constantly reminded of it by the Spirit, who now dwells within believers living under the New Covenant.

Now who says that what Jesus taught before He went to the cross is not relevant for believers?


“Christ’s momentous words, once spoken, impacts and influences the lives of man for all eternity—and no illustrious personality or teacher should dispute that. To do so would be tantamount to exalting man above God. However, it seems strange that many still prefer to cherish and uphold the words of their teacher rather than the Word or Christ, the incarnate Word.”

    -   Porridge for the Soul

                                                                            
FOOTNOTES

**  According to hyper-grace, there is no need to overcome and persevere.
After all, according to hyper-grace, there is eternal security for believers even if they deny God or continue living in sin:   http://bit.ly/1mIQKvq
And, according to hyper-grace, futures sins are automatically forgiven when we believe in Christ:  http://bit.ly/1dXOjBB

QUOTES   

Their understanding of the ministry and teachings of Jesus is erroneous because they consider the teachings of Jesus before Calvary as irrelevant for Christians (this includes the Sermon on the Mount, the parables and the Lord’s Prayer).”
-       
            -  Dr Roland Chia, referring to hyper-grace: http://bit.ly/1pZR1j2
(Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine of Trinity Theological College and the Theological and Research Advisor of the Ethos Institute of Public Christianity)


Do you think there's any danger in claiming that the teachings of Jesus before the cross don't apply to us as believers today? I take a lot of time on this subject in my book, exposing what I believe to be the very real dangers in doing this, but for the moment, I'm wondering if you could tell me why grace preachers like Spurgeon or D.M. Lloyd-Jones gloried in the Sermon on the Mount and considered it to be choice material for believers today, whereas you reject it as being applicable to us. Were they missing something?”

                  -     Dr Michael Brown in “Charisma” link: http://bit.ly/1WAPvSs


“Whether interpreting the Old Testament, or the words which Jesus spoke in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), let Jesus and His finished work at the cross be the key to unlocking all the precious gems hidden in God’s Word. This means that we have to read everything in the context of what He came to do and what He accomplished at the cross for us. For example, some things that Jesus said in the four gospels were spoken before the cross—before He had died for our sins—and some were said after the cross—when He had already won our complete forgiveness and rightfully given us His righteousness. It is the latter that applies to us (believers under the new covenant) today.”
-         -         http://bit.ly/1TgFmIC Link from Joseph Prince’s website

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