Tag Archives: truth

What is a Cult? How to tell the false from the true

 

How to tell the false from the true

 

Written by Dan Lee on 11/07/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: Church, Cults, Discernment

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

 

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Do you remember the “People’s Temple”? Started in Indianapolis in 1955 by the Reverend Jim Jones, it moved to San Francisco in 1971. The headquarters was just a few miles from my house, and mere blocks from the hospital where I was born. As a teenager I often rode the bus right past it.

 

In 1974, the People’s Temple established a settlement in Guyana, South America. It promised a tropical paradise, free from the wickedness of the outside world.

 

By 1978, the population of Jonestown, as it was called, had grown to over 900. And in November of that year, the residents of Jonestown were forced at gunpoint to drink poison. Nine-hundred and eighteen people died that day, the largest deliberate taking of American lives before September 11, 2001.

 

The people tasked with cleaning up found a shocking discovery: Not a single Bible was found in Jonestown. This “church” turned out to be one of history’s most dangerous cults.

 

As a follower of Jesus, you need to be regularly involved in a church, or local fellowship of believers — “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

 

But you must choose your church carefully, avoiding false teachers, and making sure you don’t end up in a cult. Here are some characteristics of a cult, or a church or group that has gone the wrong path:

 

Authority Other than the Bible

Sometimes it is writings, such as Mormonism’s The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. Often it is the teaching of an individual, such as Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claimed that historic beliefs of the church were wrong (the Trinity and the deity of Christ).

 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses took this a step farther with their New World translation of the Bible, which is “the first intentional, systematic effort at producing a complete version of the Bible that is edited and revised for the specific purpose of agreeing with a group's doctrine.” (gotquestions.org)

 

Additional Revelation

Many cults are based on new discoveries or so-called revelations. For example, Joseph Smith’s founding of the Mormon church was based, he claimed, on his discovery of golden tablets. Other cult leaders simply declare that they have received direct revelations from God, which cannot be proven or disproven.

 

Paul warned in his very first epistle about those who departed from the established truth of the gospel: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

 

The Mormons make their stand very clear: “We do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or the final word of God.” (From an address to the Harvard Divinity School in March 2001 by Robert L. Millet, former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University.)

 

Incorrect view of Jesus

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons deny the full divinity of Jesus. They cite isolated passages to prove their point, rather than looking at the totality of teaching about the Lord. They ignore passages that show the eternal nature of Christ, such as John 10:30, “I and the Father are one” or John 17:5: “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” Also, Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

 

Salvation by Works

Most cults do not teach that one is saved by faith alone in the finished work of Christ, but by following the rules and teachings of that particular group.

 

For instance, the Mormons add “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” to the requirements for salvation. But the Bible makes abundantly clear that works cannot save us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Romans 4:5 says, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Also see Titus 3:5, Galatians 5:4.

 

Authoritarian Leadership and Excessive Control

If a church, or even a fellowship group, is led by someone who has complete rule, whose authority is never to be questioned, watch out! Pastors and elders are to lead gently and lovingly, “not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

 

Another warning sign is when group members are required to submit their daily lives to group control – to quit their jobs, or give all their money to the group. This was definitely true at the People’s Temple.

 

Other possible reasons for caution include:

 

Exclusivity / Denunciation of other groups – “Everyone else is wrong”

Secret rituals or doctrines

Bondage – you cannot leave, and if you do you are shunned.

 

Jeremiah 23:1-2 gives a dire warning to pastors who lead their people astray: “‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: ‘You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.’”

 

One of life’s most important decisions is choosing your church family. Ask Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (Hebrews 13:20), to help you find a church and a shepherd who will be true to God’s word and lead you and help you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

 

Pray this week:

Lord, guide me by Your Holy Spirit to know when a church or group is one that I should participate in, or avoid as a cult. Lead me to a true Christian fellowship that honors and glorifies You, and where I will grow in my faith and witness for you.

 

Do you have doubts about the group you’re involved in? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

ANOINTED TO KNOW THE TRUTH

Pastor Chris 

 

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time… But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1 John 2:18-20). 

 

The Scripture reveals that in the last days there’ll be many antichrists, many who’ll come in their own names with false doctrines. A false doctrine is a perversion of truth, intended to deceive and lure people away from the true Gospel of Christ. 

 

However, as a child of God, it makes no difference how many antichrists, false preachers, and false teachers are out there; you can’t be deceived. 1 John 4:3-4 says, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome THEM: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” “Them” in the scripture above refers to the antichrist, false prophets, and teachers; you’ve already overcome them all. 

 

Your heart and mind are anointed to know the truth. Because of the Holy Spirit who lives in you, you’re able to tell right from wrong, and to discern the right teaching of the Gospel from false doctrines; you have insight into Kingdom mysteries and secrets. No one can toss you to and fro by any wind of doctrine; you know, and judge the truth. 

 

1 John 2:27 tells us, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” The Holy Spirit is the Lord of the Church, and when you hear the Word of God, the same Spirit in you bears witness with your spirit that what you’re hearing is the truth. That’s why you can’t be swayed from the truth, because there’s a special ability from the Holy Spirit that makes you know, and keeps you in the truth. 

 

Trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life. Apart from helping you recognise all false and antichrist doctrines, He’ll also cause you to make right and accurate choices, decisions and investments in life.

 

                PRAYER 

 

Dear Father, I thank you for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in my life. I’m anointed to decipher between light and darkness, and I’m deeply rooted in the Word of truth. I can never be deceived, because I dwell in the light, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

FURTHER STUDY: || John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. || 

 

|| John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. ||

 

|| 1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. || 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Jesus calls us to be different from the world while making a difference in the world

Jesus calls us to be different from the world, while making a difference in the world.

Written by Joy on 15/08/2015
Series: Weekly Devotional
“(Jesus praying) My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one….As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.’” John 17:15,18

How can we make a difference in our culture today? Jesus says He is sending us into the world, as He himself was sent. What are we being sent to do? What was Jesus’ mission?

To Seek and Save the Lost (Luke 19:10)
Jesus came for one reason: to provide salvation through His death and resurrection. He did not come to give political freedom and rights, but spiritual freedom from sin. He came to give us spiritual victory over death and the treasure of Eternal Life with God, not to give financial success or health in this life. He did not come for only those religious people who follow the rules, but he was known for spending time with "sinners." “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13).

This means we too must go out looking for sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20) who need to hear about the love and mercy of Jesus.

To Save, Not to Condemn (John 3:17)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we boast, we make ourselves seem superior because of our morals. Unbelievers only see someone who is acting holy and judging them; caring only about rules and details. They don't see Jesus. Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel, (Mark 16:15, Romans 1:16-17) not just to get sinners to change their moral behavior.

To Show God’s Love (John 3:16)
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9, 11).

This is the only message that has the power to change our culture: Love. Our prophecy, teaching and good works are worthless without love (1 Corinthians 13). “True love Is patient, and kind, not boastful, proud or rude…not rejoicing in wrong-doing, but rejoicing in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6). Beware, of the world's definition of love: extreme tolerance. “Instead, we speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” (Ephesians 4:15)

Pray this week:
God, help me stay on your mission of love and salvation through Jesus Christ; help me to change my culture by changing lives through the Gospel. Give me chances to share your truth in love.

What kind of freedom does God wnat you to have?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Seven Truths About Christianity

Religion or relationship?

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 28/08/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Fear, Relationship, Truth, Religion
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15
The best part of speaking before any group is what happens afterwards. Often times, folks stop and chat with me. This past week, that very thing happened.

A man shook my hand. “I was touched by your message,” he said, “and I just want to know how you deal with the fact that the disease with your eyes is hereditary?”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Well, I have a disease. It’s hereditary, and I can’t let go the worry and total fear my child will inherit it. I’m afraid of the future.”

He paused. “And I don’t have any religion…don’t believe in much of anything.”

I wanted to give him a huge hug and whisper in his ear, “You don’t need a religion, you need a relationship with Jesus to set you free from that worry and fear.”

Forgive me for being presumptuous. But if you are one of those who believe that religion is the answer, here are seven truths to ponder upon:

Religion offers rituals, Jesus offers a personal relationship.
Religions can change; Jesus is the same today, tomorrow and forever.
Religion works to win grace, Jesus becomes the grace we can work under.
Religion doesn’t offer forgiveness; Jesus became the forgiveness for our sin.
Religion offers no miracles; Jesus delights in performing them.
Religion doesn’t take you to heaven; Jesus took the blame so we could enter it.
Religions bind us; Jesus sets us free.
When we spend sleepless nights, we wring our hands about the uncertainty of tomorrow, and mistakenly, we go by the way of religion, that’s why Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Pray this week:
Lord, forgive me for trying to reduce you to a religion. I want to know you and live this life as your friend. You are the Way the Truth and the Life. Guide me to help others know and follow you too. Amen.

What rules your life these days: nothing in particular, a religion or a relationship with Christ, the Savior?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member