Jesus and the Woman of Samaria, part 1

John 4:1–26, part 1

Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Jesus, with His disciples, crosses through Samaria on their way to Galilee. About noon, they pause at the site of a well Jacob had left to his son Joseph. The Twelve go into Sychar, 0.7 miles away, for food. Jesus, wearied, stays to rest, sitting on the well (fountain in Greek), and is today about 100 feet deep.
  8. Samaria, the site of the “10 Lost Tribes” was overwhelmed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. Many were enslaved in other lands and other captives, non-Jews, were brought in to live in that area. They intermingled, NS were considered half-breeds. They built a rival temple and accepted only the books of Moses as inspired. Their religion was a composite of biblical and pagan worship. It was destroyed a. 120 BCE.
  9. A woman of Samaria came to draw water about noon. Jesus spoke to her, asking her to draw water for him, which shocked her as Jewish men simply did not speak to Samaritan women.
  10. Jesus then says to the woman that if asked, He would give her “living water.” It is obvious that Jesus intends to give witness to this woman, and utterly against all norms.
  11. Jesus tells her the water she would receive would quench her thirst forever. And she wants this living water.
  12. Jesus calls the woman’s attention to her immoral, sinful life. She then suddenly realizes Jesus is very different. After listening to Him, she speaks of a Messiah who is to come.
  13. Jesus announces that He is that Messiah.

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

The Gospel of John # 9

John 3:22-36

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. John the Baptist was considered a prophet like those of old. After the appearance of Jesus, John is still baptizing, but now in Samaria, the location of Aenon and Salim.
  8. We notice that John was baptizing there because “water was plentiful.”
  9. A discussion arose between some of John’s followers and an unnamed Jew over the concept of ritual purification and the fact that Jesus’ followers were growing.
  10. John, not envious, states that Jesus had been given much, more than he himself because this had been given by God.
  11. John is able now to summarize his calling and also making sure that people understand that he is not the Messiah. John is a friend of the bridegroom, meaning Jesus, and to Jesus are coming the bride, those who belong to God.
  12. John will decrease while Jesus will increase, and for this, John rejoices. These are John’s last words of testimony.
  13. Now, we have the words of John the Apostle again, who explains that the one who comes from above, meaning Jesus, is above all, including then John the Baptist.
  14. In verse 34 we see a primitive presentation of the Trinity: (he) meaning Jesus, (God) meaning God the Father; (Spirit) meaning the Holy Spirit.
  15. Jesus has the Holy Spirit without measure, while then, John the Baptist had the Holy Spirit with measure. And so, like John, will be all of us who become followers of Jesus.
  16. The issue is vital: either eternal life or eternal death.

 

The New Pagans, written in 2003 by Kent Philpott

THE NEW PAGANS

Pagans were the country folk (‘pagan’ means country dweller) who resisted organized religion and practiced ancient rituals and ceremonies. Their pre-Christian religion could be described as animism — the belief that everything is alive with natural or supernatural spirits. 

The ancient pagans used magical enchantments, honored a myriad of gods and goddesses, and lived close to ‘mother earth’, which they tended to deify. Due to their somewhat bizarre beliefs and practices, which sometimes included devil worship, they were easily dismissed. But this is beginning to change.

Pagan spirituality

Many of today’s pagans reject supernaturalism, tending toward a ‘natural’ spirituality without systematic theology or dogma.

Modern paganism (or ‘neo-paganism’) includes a variety of spiritual practices, but they almost all share a respect for (even worship of) mother earth.

Neo-pagans are an eclectic bunch. Since the 1950s they have multiplied so rapidly that they could be the fastest growing religious group in the world. They have no single organization or doctrines, and many people embrace a neo-paganistic worldview without realizing it.

A surprising number of people I know could be described as neo-pagan, though they would be astonished if I said so. Others, however, have no problem with the identification.

Caring and ethical

My experience is that they are caring and ethical people, who live well and do well. They believe that all nature is sacred and therefore to be cared for. They speak of gods and goddesses — of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Druids, for example — as though they were real, all the while knowing they are not.

Some neo-pagans are attracted to the ‘Great Spirit’ that many American Indian tribes believe in. Many practice ancient, naturalistic, healing methods. They may be vegetarians and frequent stores that sell organic, health food products.

Their political stance is often radical, sometimes highly so, and focuses on the environment.

Live and let live

Neo-pagans will not reject me because of my Christianity and hold some of the beliefs that I do. However, they are mostly relativistic, allowing me my truth and holding to their own without worrying about the contradictions.

They are rarely quarrelsome and are not readily attracted to theological debate, preferring to ‘live and let live’.

Neo-pagans’ commitment to the earth, however, borders on pantheism. The earth becomes Gaia, the earth goddess. Their goal is to take care of mother earth so that mother earth will take care of them.

For many neo-pagans, a chimpanzee, a primitive microbe, and a human being all have equal rank and value. Humans, therefore, have no transcendence and are not made in the image of God.

All life is here and now, passing quickly never to return. Humans are simply, and temporarily, at the top of the food chain.

A natural spirituality

Neo-pagans are attracted to ritual and ceremony, observing the onset of the four seasons and special days like May Day. This ‘worship’ takes many forms, but a common goal is to escape from the normal state of consciousness.

Mind altering drugs, ceremonies and rituals may be used to achieve alternative states of consciousness, allowing them to access ‘higher spiritual planes’.

Neo-pagan spiritual leaders are not teachers as much as facilitators — of experiences that harmonize devotees with the flow of nature. It is a peaceful, meditative, simplistic religion with little dogma and no centralized authority.

It is just what many, fleeing the frenzy of modern life, are looking for.

The real Church?

From its establishment in the Fourth Century down to even this very day, the organized church has sought to crush paganism. Possibly millions of ‘witches’ were killed, many burned at the stake, and practitioners of the old ways went underground.

But today, in a technological age when people are out of touch with nature and themselves, neo-pagans are gaining a hearing. And there is some validity in what they say. I can see why many young adults spurn the church altogether.

However, for the most part they have little understanding of real Christianity. They could not so easily ignore it if they understood its true nature.

The God of the Bible

The God of the Bible is Creator of all that exists, yet he stands above the creation. Nevertheless, as the sustainer of all things, He is intimately involved with the material world in which we live.

God told the first humans that they were to care for the world and have dominion over it (Genesis 1:26). Of course, ‘dominion’ can be misinterpreted as freedom to exploit and ravage the environment, but this is not what it means.

God’s care and involvement were demonstrated most clearly when he took flesh and fellowshipped with humans in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus cared for those in need and in pain. He healed, fed, and freed needy people. And he suffered and died for sinners like us. His was and is the highest ethic.

Responsibilities

Mankind was given the right to live off the land but not to abuse it. As the only creatures made in the image of God, humans are responsible for the care of the earth. But making earth a goddess is idolatry.

The earth is not our mother. It is simply where we ‘live and move and have our being’.

Paul’s words to the Athenians in Acts 17 speak pointedly to the neopagan viewpoint and experience:

‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed … I found also an altar with this inscription, “To an unknown god”. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

‘The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.

‘And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, and in the hope that they might feel after him and find him.

‘Yet he is not far from each one of us, for “In him we live and move and have our being”.’

A temporary abode

The earth is our home, made that way by God. And He remains deeply involved with his creation. God is personal, loving, and caring and, says Paul, intends us to seek after him — for this true and spiritual God of the Bible is knowable.

But the earth is temporary. Science is pretty much agreed that the universe will eventually either burn up or freeze out. The Bible is more specific:

‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up’ (2 Peter 3:10).

The ‘day of the Lord’ will usher in a new history and a new home — the paradise of God. The earth we know is filled with corruption and disease, but new heavens and a new earth await those who trust in Christ.

Duped

Neo-paganism can be dangerous. Seeking ‘higher levels of consciousness’ may instead bring devotees face to face with evil spirits through occult practices.

I have often wondered if it dawns on neo-pagans why they are so dependent on rituals and ceremonies — from spells to drumming, chanting and dancing. Is it not to induce altered states of consciousness? Are our minds so numbed by life that we have to manipulate and be manipulated?

Some neo-pagans recognize that they are connecting with spiritual entities — which they break down into good, neutral, and evil spirits.

The Bible, however, tells us there is only one Holy Spirit and the rest are neither good nor neutral. Neo-paganism is serious stuff — much more serious and even dangerous than most people realize.

Satisfying and peaceful

It is not difficult for me to understand the appeal of neo-paganism. Jesus talked about the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choking the Word of God (Mark 4:19), while Paul warns against being ‘conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2). Christianity has a rich history of simple living, including appreciation of the created order and harmony with it.

But in rejecting ‘the world’ and seeking tranquility, an undiscerning Christian can fall into the trap of deifying nature, just like the neopagan. Christian tranquility is found, not in communing with nature or in altered states of consciousness, but in knowing Jesus Christ.

Christians are free to live in the hubbub of the modern world or to retreat from it. But, either way, they are called to live first and foremost for the praise, worship, and service of Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth.

Neo-paganism misses the mark. It boils down to worshipping the creation and rejecting the Creator — and that is a big mistake.

It may sweep up many who feel their environment is toxic and out of balance, but it is powerless to deliver what it promises — a satisfying and peaceful life lived in harmony with nature.

Only in Christ can we find both joy and peace and a proper relationship with this impermanent earth. The earth is our home for a while, but those who trust in Christ’s salvation have another home, eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God.

Kent Philpott

December 2003

 

For God so loved the world

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN # 8

John 3:16-21

For God So Loved the World

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. John the Evangelist now makes the universal application of the words of Jesus found in the first 15 verses.
  7. First, with “God so loved the world” we note the word “loved” is from the Greek word agape and is a kind of love we are not able to fully appreciate or comprehend.
  8. “World” is cosmos in the Greek, and refers to all the peoples of the earth, not only the descendants of Abraham. The Gospel is to go to Gentiles as well.
  9. God loves His physical creation, yet even that perfect garden experienced corruption. And it too, has a built-in shelf-life. One day it will cease to exist.
  10. The “love” is intended to prevent perishing and give eternal life to those made in His image, those He has chosen..
  11. The “world” in the process of perishing may be saved.
  12. The saving is based upon one thing, and one thing only, the One sent, the Son of God.
  13. Judgment is also a central theme. The Light has come into the world yet the object of God’s love preferred darkness because their deeds were evil.
  14. It is the hating of the Light that brings judgment. Because of the doing of evil deeds, a fear of the Light develops. The Light is Jesus, and thus He will be hated.
  15. John the Evangelist knew of this intimately; all of the called apostles were martyred. He had already seen severed persecution. He himself alone is left.
  16. Only those who have been born anew will want to come to the Light.

 

Jesus said, “You must be born again.”

JOHN’S GOSPEL MEDITATION # 7

  1. John 3:1–15

    You Must Be Born Again

    1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
    2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
    3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
    4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
    5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
    6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
    7. A Pharisee, Nicodemus, a member of the grand counsel of Israel, the Sanhedrin, and we find him mentioned three times in this Gospel. We see that he becomes a follower of Jesus.
    8. He talked with Jesus at night, and we are not sure why.
    9. He respected Jesus, called him ”rabbi” meaning teacher. And Jesus had not earned that status, so perhaps out of respect or something far more, Nicodemus honors Jesus.
    10. Jesus did signs, miracles, in Jerusalem for all to see. This came to the attention of the Sanhedrin, so maybe Nicodemus was sent by this group to find out about Jesus.
    11. It seems Jesus, declining to provide anything about who he is, moves abruptly to what Nicodemus really needed to hear. “You must be born again.”
    12. Of course, Nicodemus could not possibly understand what Jesus meant, and of course, Jesus knew that.
    13. Nicodemus would have thought he already was in the kingdom of God, and Jesus assures him he was not.
    14. The esteemed elder statesman must be born of “water and the Spirit” in order to enter the kingdom of God. And to a Jew like Nicodemus nothing was more important.
    15. “Water and Spirit”–likely a metaphor for radical conversion, which is something Nicodemus could not accomplish on his own.
    16. The how of this new birth is likened to the blowing of the wind; something mysterious and beyond the ability of a human being to accomplish or even comprehend. It is wholly a work of the Spirit of God.
    17. Jesus concludes the conversation by saying that He would be “lifted up” like the serpent Moses lifted up. (Numbers. 21:4–9)

     

Jesus Cleanses the Temple & Jesus Knows What is in Man

JOHN’S GOSPEL MEDITATION # 6

John 2:13–25

Jesus Cleanses the Temple &Jesus Knows What is in Man

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The temple in Jerusalem, still in the process of being rebuilt, and this begun by Herod the Great, was used for many purposes. It was the center of trade, a money exchange, a bank, a depository of the nation’s wealth, and lots of gold plating. Besides, sellers of animals for ritual sacrifices made for a zoo like environment. The hides of which were sold.
  8. Here Jesus, being upset and angry, zealous actually, causes extreme consternation for the temple authorities.
  9. These authorities challenge Jesus. They ask for a sign, or miracle, from Him. If such could be produced, then maybe Jesus is a prophet sent from God and His actions would have to be accepted. Jesus’ reply is mysterious: If the temple is destroyed, He would raise it up.
  10. Jesus is looking ahead to His crucifixion, and that He is the temple, the real temple, and He would be raised from the dead. We note the “echad” of the Trinity here. On the one hand Jesus said, “I will raise it up” then on the other, when “he was raised from the dead.” There is no difference here.
  11. At the Passover Feast, many began to believe in Jesus due to the signs or miracles Jesus did.
  12. Jesus, despite His growing popularity, would not “entrust” Himself to His fan base because He knew what is at the core of human beings. He did not know every person’s wickedness, but He knew human beings. He knew and knows that we are corrupt and polluted in our inner being.

The Wedding at Cana

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 5

The Wedding at Cana

John 2:1-12

  1. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  2. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  3. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  4. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  5. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  6. At Cana, 8.3 miles north of Nazareth, lived a family who knew, maybe even related to Mary and her family, including Jesus who at this point had gathered four disciples, if not more. These are all invited to a wedding.
  7. The location seems to be a synagogue because of the six large jars present, which were used for purification rites, since the Temple in Jerusalem was not close by.
  8. A situation developed when the supply of wine gave out. This wine was alcoholic, but of some low proof.
  9. Mary informed son Jesus of the problem and His reaction, “Woman” was one of “polite distance.” Jesus, most agree, thinks that it is not quite time to reveal Himself as the One sent by God to deliver His people. But the time had come.
  10. Jesus, perhaps on the quiet, asks servants to fill up the six jars that held the purification water. When this was accomplished, he wanted more water drawn from the same source, not from the jars themselves, and bring it to the wedding master, perhaps the father of the bride or groom.
  11. The water had turned into good wine, which would not have been necessary as the wedding guests were in a position not to know the difference.
  12. John tells us this is the first “sign” that Jesus did, which is intended to let it be know who this son of Mary really is. “Manifest his glory” means revealing Jesus’ deity.
  13. This incredible sign/miracle is a much larger event than most of us imagine as it moves directly contrary to laws of physics.

 

The Account of how Jesus called His first disciples

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 4

Jesus Calls the First Disciples John 1:35–42

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael John 1:43–51

  1. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  2. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  3. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  4. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  5. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  6. Immediately following His baptism, Jesus begins to call/invite disciples to follow Him.
  7. The first one is Andrew, Peter’s brother, along with another un-named disciple, who is likely John himself.
  8. Andrew then finds his brother Peter and announces that they had found the Messiah (Christ in the Greek).
  9. Peter receives a nickname after meeting Jesus, Cephas. Simon is the birth name, Cephas, also Aramaic, means rock. Peter, a Greek name, means the same.
  10. A day later, Jesus wastes no time, He finds Philip and said to him, “follow me.” Philip, a Greek name, finds Nathanael, which is Aramaic, and means given by or to God, and announces, proclaims, “we” have found the Messiah. Philip tells Nathanael (only in John is the name Nathanael found, in the Synoptics the name is Bartholomew, which is likely the birth name), that the Messiah Moses and the prophets spoke of is “Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.” (It is probable that the virgin birth of Jesus was as yet unknown.)
  11. Nathanael doubted anything good could come from Nazareth, and Jesus, perhaps by a word of knowledge, acknowledges that here is a man not eager to please.
  12. Jesus now references a fig tree, which is a symbol of Israel (see Jeremiah 8:13 and Joel 1:7), and one sitting underneath it refers to a student of the Hebrew Bible.
  13. Nathanael is told he would see heaven open as did Jacob/Israel. (see Genesis 28:10-13).

 

 

 

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER

     May 12, 2019

             MILLER AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH

 

The Gloria Patri

 

Morning Hymn # 300 All Glory, Laud and Honor

 

Call to Worship:

Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai echad

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

 

Leader: Jesus never changes; He is always the same.

People: WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS,

CHRIST DIED FOR US.

Leader: His love for us never changes or fades.

People: THOUGH WE SHOULD BE FAITHLESS,

HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFULL.

Leader: Let us praise and worship the Lord our God.

 

Morning Prayer—Prayers of the Church–Silent Prayer

 

Collect of the Day:

ALMIGHTY AND ETERNAL GOD, YOUR SON OUR SAVIOR IS WITH YOU IN ETERNAL GLORY. GIVE US FAITH TO SEE THAT, TRUE TO HIS PROMISE, HE IS AMONG US STILL AND WILL BE WITH US TO THE END OF TIME; WHO LIVES AND REIGNS WITH YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN.

 

We Confess our Faith—The Apostles’ Creed

 

Scripture Reading: Genesis 28:10–13; Mark 8:18–22; John 1:35–42; 43–51; 6:1–7; 12:20–26; 14:8–11; 21:1–3; 1 Cor. 12:43–11.

Memory Verse: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.1 Corinthians 12:7

Reflection: The Body of Christ has many parts.

 

Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs

 

Offertory Theme: Not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing.

Receiving of Offerings

The Doxology

 

Announcements: Birthdays, Sunday evening Gathering 6pm; Bible Study Tuesday 7pm; Sunday breakfast 8:45am & class 9:30am; Choir practice 9:15am. TV Programs: The Bible Study, Fridays 8pm, & Why We Are Christians, Friday, 7:30pm; The Imam and the Pastor, Sundays 12 noon & Mondays 2:30pm. All on channel 26 or 99.

 

Second Hymn: # 299 In the Name of the Lord

 

The Sermon: The Gospel of John #4, John 1:35-51

Jesus Calls the First Disciples &

Jesus Calls Philip & Nathanael

 

Receiving Jesus in the Bread and the Cup

 

The Confessional:

“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

 

The Jesus Prayer: (sung twice, it is the oldest prayer found

outside of the Bible)

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

The Promise of acceptance and forgiveness

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

Individual, silent prayers of confession-The Lord’s Prayer

 

The Confirmation:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

 

The Assurance:

“Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:30

 

Everyone is invited to Receive the Bread and the Cup

 

Benediction Hymn # 444 I Love to Tell the Story

 

The Benediction: The Aaronic Benediction, Numbers 6:24-26

MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU;

MAY THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU AND BE GRACIOUS TO YOU;

MAY THE LORD LIFT UP HIS COUNTENANCE UPON YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE. SHALOM. AMEN.

 

Everyone is invited to continue worship

with the Agape Meal in Spangler Hall.

Monthly Budget                                                         $3500

Giving for April                                                          $1587

 

Church Website: www.milleravenuechurch.org

See Earthen Vessel’s Online Journal

www.earthenvesseljournal.com

 

Even Song-6pm-Vern Preaching

If I Were Not A Christian, I Would Most Certainly Be An

IF I WERE NOT A CHRISTIAN

I WOULD MOST CERTAINLY BE AN ATHEIST.

AND HERE’S WHY!

 

Part One:

 

There is no need for a creator. The universe just is. Who could argue, convincingly, otherwise.

 

Religion is crazy, thus religionists are crazy: Avoid religion completely.

 

Who made God? The whole God thing is Preposterous!

 

The enormous difference among the world’s religions show the absurdity of it all.

 

Theists, especially Christians, are just afraid of dying. They are looking for false assurance.

 

The religionists: are they good people? But who’s good? Good deeds only! In our minds we are wicked. Our thoughts are weird, immoral, even evil much of the time. Better to admit it than go on with self-deception.

 

Part Two:

 

So why not just be an atheist and forget about it? Tempting, but here’s why that won’t work for me:

 

—One second I was not a Christian, the next I was.

 

—I did not want to be a Christian; I was dead set against it.

 

—Suddenly I had an interest in Jesus and the Bible.

 

—Suddenly I wanted to go to a church.

 

—Suddenly I loved talking to Christians.

 

—People rejected me because of my faith and I didn’t care.

 

—I left a sure thing, being a psychologist, for the unknown.

 

—The “Call” to the hippies in San Francisco, February of 1967.

 

—The casting out of demons. And I did not believe in demons or Satan or any of that, because I was a college grad in psych and I knew better.

 

—The miracles I directly experienced, which included healings, the multiplication of matter, and a whole lot more. Really staggering for a materialist like I was.

 

—The defeats, personal and real, yet here I still am.

 

—Though I was an idiot a lot of the time, God never let go of me.

 

Part Three:

 

I tried to be an atheist. It seemed logical to me, but it was empty. It didn’t work.

 

Would I be a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, plus the strong lure of the occult with its promise of power and knowledge, no, nothing there either just more religion. And weird religion at that. Then there are those who are not religious, just spiritual. Look out. Trouble ahead, just religion of a different type.

 

I am not advocating a particular church or branch of Christianity. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. And no one comes to the Father except through Him. No church can save you. Not even if you join, get baptized, and jump through any number of hoops.

 

Find a group of believers in Jesus, there are plenty of Gospel preaching, Bible teaching churches around. Find one. Don’t give up.

 

Avoid a group that says it has the only right teaching or are more special than others. I admit, it can be a minefield out there.

 

Here are some questions to ask of a pastor, minister, elder, deacon, etc.

 

  1. Do you believe in the Trinity? (Biblical Christianity is Trinitarian, and believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
  2. What do you believe about the Bible? (Is it the Word of God?)
  3. How is a person saved? (Is it through Jesus alone?)
  4. Do you hold to the Apostle’s Creed? (Goes to the 2nd century)
  5. Are you the only right Christians? (If yes, head for the door.)
  6. Are you evangelical, do you care about reaching out to others who do not know Jesus as Savior? (If it is all about feel good stuff with the big band, head for the door.)

 

These are starter questions. In time you will discover if a church is good for you.

 

Last point: It is no simple or easy road, the following of Jesus. Personally, I have been through hell, and back, yes back; I was never left alone. My Lord was always with me and will be with you no matter what happens.

 

Kent Philpott

December 2018

 

A Startling Comparison of Islam and Mormonism

A Startling Comparison of Islam and Mormonism

 Both Islam and Mormonism were started by a prophet who said he had the last word from God. This was the last word and there would be nothing else. This was finally it. Mohammed said this and so did Joseph Smith.

  1. Both received, as they reported, a revelation from an angel, Gabriel for Mohammed and Moroni for Joseph Smith. (A number of religions and sects have begun with a visitation by an “angel.”)
  2. The purpose behind both visitations was to restore Christianity and true religion. Everything that had been revealed by God before then was wrong or temporary and was now to be put aside.
  3. Both of these encounters with angels resulted in a book, the Koran for Mohammed and the Book of Mormon for Joseph Smith.
  4. Opposition began and both prophets were martyred. Upon their martyrdom, the groups split along family lines, some following one side of the feud, some following another.
  5. Both groups developed a system of prophets or other leaders who proclaimed the authoritative word of God on an ongoing basis.
  6. Then there was rapid growth, both groups employing some rather radical methods of evangelism, some quite militant about it.
  7. Both religious groups are rich and powerful.
  8. Both groups are quite defensive when they perceive that their belief systems are being attacked.
  9. Both groups rely on miracles to substantiate their “truth.”