RIGHT RELIGION:

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Fast food restaurants entice us by allowing us to order our food exactly the way we want it. Some coffee shops boast over a hundred different flavors and varieties of coffee. Even when buying houses and cars, we can look for one with all the options and features we desire. We no longer live in just a chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry world. Choice is king! You can find about anything you want according to your own personal likes and needs.

So how about a religion that is just right for you? How about a religion that is guilt-free, makes no demands, and is not encumbered with a lot of bothersome do’s and don’ts? It is out there, just as I have described. But is religion something to be chosen like a favorite flavor of ice cream?

There are a lot of voices vying for our attention, so why should anyone consider Jesus above, say, Muhammad or Confucius, Buddha, or Charles Taze Russell, or Joseph Smith? After all, don’t all roads lead to Heaven? Aren’t all religions basically the same? The truth is that all religions do not lead to Heaven, just as all roads do not lead to Indiana.

Jesus alone speaks with the authority of God because Jesus alone conquered death. Muhammad, Confucius, and the others molder in their graves to this very day. But Jesus, by His own power, walked away from the tomb three days after dying on a cruel Roman cross. Anyone with power over death deserves our attention. Anyone with power over death deserves to be heard.

The evidence supporting the resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming. First, there were over five hundred eye witnesses of the risen Christ! That is a lot of eye witnesses. Five hundred voices cannot be ignored. There is also the matter of the empty tomb. The enemies of Jesus could have easily stopped all talk of the resurrection by producing His dead, decaying body, but there was no dead body for them to produce! The tomb was empty! Could the disciples have stolen His body? Hardly. To prevent such a contingency, the tomb of Jesus had been heavily guarded by armed soldiers. Considering His closest followers had fled in fear at His arrest and crucifixion, it is most unlikely this ragtag band of frightened fishermen would have gone head to head against trained, professional soldiers. Nor would they have sacrificed their lives and become martyrs—as most of them did—for a fraud. The simple fact is that the resurrection of Jesus cannot be explained away!

Again, anyone who has power over death deserves to be heard. Jesus proved His power over death; therefore, we need to hear what He says. Jesus claims to be the only way to salvation (John 14:6). He is not a way; He is not one of many ways. Jesus is the way.

And this same Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This is a tough world and life is difficult. Most of us are pretty well bloodied, bruised, and battle-scarred. Agree? So what do you want? Restoration or mere religion? A living Savior or one of many dead “prophets”? A meaningful relationship or empty rituals? Jesus is not a choice—He is the choice!

Jesus is the right “religion” if you are looking for forgiveness (Acts 10:43). Jesus is the right “religion” if you are looking for a meaningful relationship with God (John 10:10). Jesus is the right “religion” if you are looking for an eternal home in Heaven (John 3:16). Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior; you will not regret it! Trust in Him for the forgiveness of your sins; you will not be disappointed.

If you want to have a “right relationship” with God, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”

Prophet Nathan Emol

GOING TO HEAVEN:

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Face it. The day we step into eternity may come sooner than we think. In preparation for that moment, we need to know this truth—not everyone is going to heaven. How can we know for sure that we are going to heaven? Some 2,000 years ago, the apostles Peter and John were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to a large crowd in Jerusalem. Peter made a profound statement that resonates even in our postmodern world: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Now as then, Acts 4:12 is not politically correct. Today it’s popular to say, “Everyone’s going to heaven” or “All paths lead to heaven.” There are many who think they can have heaven without having Jesus. They want the glory, but they don’t want to be bothered by the cross, much less the One who died there. Many don’t want to accept Jesus as the only way of going to heaven and are determined to find another path. But Jesus warns us that no other path exists and that the consequence for rejecting this truth is an eternity in hell. He told us that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). Faith in Christ is the key to going to heaven.

Some will argue that it’s extremely narrow-minded of God to provide only one way to heaven. But, frankly, in light of mankind’s rebellion against God, it’s extremely broad-minded for Him to provide us with any way to heaven. We deserve judgment, but God gives us the way of escape by sending His one-and-only Son to die for our sins. Whether someone sees this as narrow or broad, it’s the truth. The good news is that Jesus died and rose again; those who are going to heaven have received this gospel by faith.

Many people today hold to a watered-down gospel that does away with the need for repentance. They want to believe in a “loving” (nonjudgmental) God who never mentions sin and who requires no change in their lifestyle. They may say things like, “My God would never send a person to hell.” But Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven, and He presented Himself as the Savior who offers the only means of going to heaven: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Who will actually enter God’s kingdom? How can I guarantee that I’m going to heaven? The Bible makes a clear distinction between those who have eternal life and those who do not: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). It all goes back to faith. Those who believe in Christ are made the children of God (John 1:12). Those who accept Jesus’ sacrifice as the payment for their sins and who believe in His resurrection are going to heaven. Those who reject Christ are not. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).

As awesome as heaven will be for those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, hell will be that much more awful for those who reject Him. One cannot read the Bible seriously without seeing it over and over again—the line is drawn. The Bible says there is one and only one way to heaven—Jesus Christ. Follow Jesus’ command: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13–14). Faith in Jesus is the one means of going to heaven. Those who have faith are guaranteed to get there. Do you trust in Jesus?

Prophet Nathan Emol

SPIRITUAL WARFARE:

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There are two primary errors when it comes to spiritual warfare—over-emphasis and under-emphasis. Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons that need to be cast out. Others completely ignore the spiritual realm and the fact that the Bible tells us our battle is against spiritual powers. The key to successful spiritual warfare is finding the biblical balance. Jesus sometimes cast demons out of people; other times He healed people with no mention of the demonic. The apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and warns us to oppose the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Ephesians 6:10–12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only stand strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is ultimately against spiritual forces of evil in the world.

Ephesians 6:13–18 is a description of the spiritual armor God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit. What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to know the truth, believe the truth, and speak the truth. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we face. We are not to waver in our faith, trusting God’s promises no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. And we are to pray in the power and will of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is our ultimate example of resisting temptation in spiritual warfare. Observe how Jesus handled direct attacks from Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). Each temptation was combatted with the words “it is written.” The Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

A word of caution concerning spiritual warfare is in order. The name of Jesus is not a magic incantation that causes demons to flee from before us. The seven sons of Sceva are an example of what can happen when people presume an authority they have not been given (Acts 19:13–16). Even Michael the archangel did not rebuke Satan in his own power but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9). When we start talking to the devil, we run the risk of being led astray as Eve was (Genesis 3:1–7). Our focus should be on God, not demons; we speak to Him, not them.

In summary, what are the keys to success in spiritual warfare? We rely on God’s power, not our own. We put on the whole armor of God. We draw on the power of Scripture—the Word of God is the Spirit’s sword. We pray in perseverance and holiness, making our appeal to God. We stand firm (Ephesians 6:13–14); we submit to God; we resist the devil’s work (James 4:7), knowing that the Lord of hosts is our protector. “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:2).

Prophet Nathan Emol

Articles

IS ETERNAL SECURITY A LICENSE TO SIN?

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The most frequent objection to the doctrine of eternal security is that it supposedly allows people to live any way that they want and still be saved. While this may be “technically” true, it is not true in reality. A person who has truly been redeemed by Jesus Christ will not live a life characterized by continuous, willful sin. We must draw a distinction between how a Christian should live and what a person must do in order to receive salvation.

The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6). The moment a person truly believes in Jesus Christ, he or she is saved and secure in that salvation. It is unbiblical to say that salvation is received by faith, but then has to be maintained by works. The apostle Paul addresses this issue in Galatians 3:3 when he asks, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” If we are saved by faith, our salvation is also maintained and secured by faith. We cannot earn our own salvation. Therefore, neither can we earn the maintenance of our salvation. It is God who maintains our salvation (Jude 24). It is God’s hand that holds us firmly in His grasp (John 10:28-29). It is God’s love that nothing can separate us from (Romans 8:38-39).

Any denial of eternal security is, in its essence, a belief that we must maintain our own salvation by our own good works and efforts. This is completely antithetical to salvation by grace. We are saved because of Christ’s merits, not our own (Romans 4:3-8). To claim that we must obey God’s Word or live a godly life to maintain our salvation is saying that Jesus’ death was not sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus’ death was absolutely sufficient to pay for all of our sins—past, present, and future, pre-salvation and post-salvation (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Does this mean that a Christian can live any way he wants to and still be saved? This is essentially a hypothetical question, because the Bible makes it clear that a true Christian will not live “any way he wants to.” Christians are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), not the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). First John 3:6-9 clearly states that a true Christian will not live in continual sin. In response to the accusation that grace promotes sin, the apostle Paul declared, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Eternal security is not a license to sin. Rather, it is the security of knowing that God’s love is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ. Knowing and understanding God’s tremendous gift of salvation accomplishes the opposite of giving a license to sin. How could anyone, knowing the price Jesus Christ paid for us, go on to live a life of sin (Romans 6:15-23)? How could anyone who understands God’s unconditional and guaranteed love for those who believe, take that love and throw it back in God’s face? Such a person is demonstrating not that eternal security has given him a license to sin, but rather that he or she has not truly experienced salvation through Jesus Christ. “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (1 John 3:6).

Prophet Nathan Emol

 

WHY IS DAILY PRAYERS IMPORTANT?

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Quite simply, for followers of Jesus Christ prayer is the best way to communicate with God. Prayer is the vehicle for daily dialog with the One who created us. The importance of daily communication through prayer cannot be overestimated. It is so important that it is mentioned over 250 times in Scripture. So why is daily prayer so important? First, daily prayer gives us an opportunity to share all aspects of our lives with God. Second, daily prayer gives us the chance to express our gratitude for the things He provides. Third, daily prayer provides the platform for confessing our sin and asking for help in overcoming that sin. Fourth, daily prayer is an act of worship and obedience. And finally, daily prayer is a way to acknowledge who is really in control of our lives. Let’s take a look at each of these important reasons in a little more detail.

Daily prayer gives us an opportunity to share all aspects of one’s life with God. Life’s circumstances change on a daily basis. In fact, things can go from good to bad to worse in a very short time. God calls us to bring our concerns to Him for disposition and potential blessing. He also calls us to share our joys and triumphs with Him. In fact, Jeremiah 33:3 states, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” God wants us to call on Him so that He can answer our prayers. He also wants to share with us incredible blessings that we might otherwise have missed had we not reached out to Him through prayer. And finally, James 4:8 tells us to “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” God wants us to be close to Him at all times.

Daily prayer gives us the chance to express gratitude for the things in life that He provides. It is no secret that we must give thanks to the Lord for all the things that He provides and all of the things He does on our behalf. His goodness and lovingkindness to us should be recognized on a daily basis. In 1 Chronicles 16:34, we are commanded to “give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” The psalmist tells us in Psalm 9:1, “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.” We pray on a daily basis to acknowledge His faithfulness and His abundant provision in our daily lives.

Daily prayer provides the platform for confessing our sin and asking for help repenting of that sin. Let’s face it, we all sin daily whether we know it or not. So as followers of Jesus Christ, what must we do? Scripture makes it very clear: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’— and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). Tell God what He already knows and do it on a daily basis. Daily prayer time is a great place to unburden one’s self from the debilitating effects of sin. So often Christians walk around with unconfessed sin that hinders our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, when we should humbly submit ourselves and ask for forgiveness in prayer. Another important element of daily prayer is asking God for the strength to repent of our sins. Only God can help us turn from our sins, and, for this to be so, He needs to hear our plea to repent.

Daily prayer is an act of worship and obedience. Perhaps no other verse better summarizes why we should pray on a daily basis than 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It’s God’s will for His children to rejoice in Him, to pray to Him and give thanks to Him. To pray without ceasing simply means that we should make prayer a regular habit and never stop doing so. Prayer also is an act of worship because by praying to Him we are showing Him how much we adore Him. Daily prayer is also an act of obedience that brings joy to the Lord to see His children following His commands.

Daily prayer is a way to acknowledge who is really in control of our lives. As Christians, we know who is really in control. God is sovereign. Nothing happens without God knowing about it (Isaiah 46:9-10; Daniel 4:17). Because He is sovereign over all, He deserves our worship and praise. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11). God is our great King and as such He controls every aspect of our lives. Each day we should acknowledge His proper place in our lives humbly and with a reverence reserved for such a great and awesome King.

Finally, prayer is something that we all should want to do on a daily basis. Yet for many Christians it can be a challenge to humble one’s self in daily prayer. For those who have been walking with the Lord for many years, daily prayer may become stale and lacking in proper conviction or reverence. Whether one is a new believer or an established one, prayer should always be considered as THE best way to speak to God. Imagine not speaking to a loved one or a close friend. How long would the relationship last? Daily prayer with God is daily fellowship with our heavenly Father. It is truly amazing that God would want to have fellowship with us at all. In fact, the psalmist asks, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4). Daily prayer is a good way to understand this incredible truth and the marvelous privilege God has given us.

Prophet Nathan Emol