A STERN WARNING
Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, said, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" Galatians 1:6-9.
Paul elaborated to the churches…to the church at Galatia in this instance, “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. - Galatians 1:11-12.
Yet, when Paul began to preach this Gospel, first to the Jews, He said, in Acts 13:38-41, "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: 'Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.”
Why did Paul declare the Gospel of Christ first to the Jews? He tells us why in Galatians 13:46-47 –“Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: (The Jews and Gentiles who gathered to hear his message) ‘We had to speak the word of God to YOU FIRST.. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what he Lord has commanded us: "I have made you (Paul) a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Some people thought that Paul and Barnabus were “gods” because Paul, as a confirmed Apostle of Christ, performed miracles in front of their eyes…like healing a man crippled from birth whom the people at Lystra knew all his life. When Paul and Barnabus heard that these people were paying homage to them as though they were “gods”, this is the message that Paul and Barnabus delivered to the people:
“Acts 14:14 –“But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: Men, why are you doing this? We too are ONLY MEN- HUMAN LIKE YOU. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things (false gods) to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, God let all nations go their own way. Yet He has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.”
Paul wanted to teach us that the Gospel of Christ is delivered to the individual and that anyone delivering the Gospel message should NEVER be looked upon as anything but another human being.
Those who elevate themselves above the common man are taking the glory from the giver of salvation (God) away from Him, and heaping it upon themselves, and this is wrong.
The Gospel of Christ that Paul preached is that all men should be “saved” from an eternal destiny in hell.
One time, Paul was tossed into prison. Through a series of events, the jailer became interested in getting the answer to this question – a question that all mankind should be asking:
“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "SIRS, WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?" – Acts 16:29-30.
In the very next verse, Paul gave the answer, and it was quite the promise to this jailer and to all mankind who are willing to ask God to point them to the TRUTH.
Paul replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”
After that question, Paul gave them the TRUTH –the Gospel of Christ, and they believed. After someone accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, as part of receiving the Gospel, they obeyed the next commandment given, and that is to "REPENT, and then BE BAPTIZED".
“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.”
When I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord at age eleven, I knew that Jesus was alive on the earth once….the records indicate it. I also knew that He was crucified on a cross, and that He was laid in a rich man’s tomb. I heard that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, and that His father was God Himself.
Many reject that part of history, yet over 515 Jews saw Jesus AFTER his death on the cross. 500 fellow Jews in the city of Jerusalem were witnesses.
Eleven apostles were not only witnesses, but put their life on the line for the rest of their lives – so they could preach this Gospel of Christ to all of mankind, and they finished writing what we call the New Testament.
In it, the Gospel of Christ is delivered to individuals who must give an account to God Himself one day as to what they did with Jesus.
So, we must ask, “What specifically, is this “Gospel of Christ” that Paul warns religious leaders not to tamper with in any way, shape or manner or they SHALL be cursed…both upon the earth and certainly cursed for eternity?
The Gospel of Christ is broken down into these things that one must do to inherit eternal life in heaven:
1.CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED FOR OUR SINS.
2.CHRIST WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD.
3.REPENT OF YOUR SINS - Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
4.CONFESS YOUR FAITH IN JESUS - That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. – Romans 10:9-10.
5.REPENT – And THEN BE BAPTIZED - in water to demonstrate to your church congregation that you have trusted Christ for forgiveness of your sins - Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin.” Acts 2:38.
6.RECEIVE the GIFTS of GOD: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And – we shall receive the additional gift of having God’s Holy Spirit live within us – to lead, guide and direct us. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ was to be taught FIRST in Jerusalem, then in Judea, Samaria – and then into the outermost parts of the world.
When this is accomplished, Jesus told us that He is coming again to retrieve all those who believed in Him and in His Gospel, and who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, He is the Son of God. He is sitting at the right hand of God. He did come to die as a sacrificial lamb on the cross of shame for OUR sins, and He did become resurrected from the dead in three days, and He is the only one who can forgive sins, and that there is no alternate way to get into heaven except by way of the cross.
John 14:6 – Jesus Himself said these words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
We cannot possibly earn our way into heaven by “being relatively good”. We cannot buy our way into heaven and out of some sort of “soul holding tank". That "theory" being preached as truth by some is not in the 66 Books of the Bible.
What is in the Bible is that when the spirit of a born-again believer leaves the body, it is immediately united with the Lord in heaven. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
When the spirit of a non-born again person is released from their body at death, it also lives for eternity, but they are, in fact, set aside into a “holding tank”, and they can freely migrate from this place in Hades or Sheol (Hell), and go to and from from there to the earth - but they have not been cast into the pit of hell, fire, outer darkness, torment until God sees them face-to-face in what is referred to in Revelation as the “Great White Throne of Judgment.”
The proof of this is found when King Aul asked the Withc of Endor to "conjure up Samuel the prophet. Saul asked the withch, "What did you see when you caused Samuel to wake from his "soul-sleep in a place called "Abraham's Bosom"?
1 Samuel 28:13 - "And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth."
When God sees YOU and me, He will ask us why we should be allowed into heaven. After that question is answered (that we come by the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ - or, "We come some other way), God will judge us, and if we did not accept His Son as Lord and Savior, He will then cast that spirit of the non-believer into hell to spend their eternity apart form Him – forever.
You have the choice: Ask God to show you the way, the truth and the life….and He will direct your paths accordingly…or, take your chances and risk being cast into hell forever – because you CHOSE to listen to some elevated clergy who got it all wrong, and who will also be joining YOU in the place of eternal torment.
Are you willing to risk losing eternity in heaven – or do you CHOOSE to ask God to point you to the TRUTH?
John Tyler, Author of nine books.
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