Dear Prayer Warriors, Here is the scenario. This Easter the pastor announces that there will be offered three different meetings. In one auditorium, the pastor will be preaching his traditional Easter Sermon from John 24. In an adjoining auditorium, Brother Hezekiah will be giving his testimony on how he died and went to both heaven and hell. He will be revealing extensive knowledge of both places, as well as encounters with angels and demons. Then, in the third auditorium, there will be four testimonies--one by a former Muslim businessman, one by a South American college girl, one by a former Hindu priest and one by a former Chinese communist. Each of these has come to Christ through a visitation/appearance of Jesus. They will all give their testimonies. In each auditorium there will be a time for questions after the lectures. Which will be full? Where will you be found? This Easter is the Resurrection of Jesus--just the same-old- same-old story, especially when you can have a first person account.
Let me begin by putting all my cards on the table. In a few weeks, a movie will come out about a boy who supposedly died and went to heaven â€“ he did not do this. Churches, Christian bookstores, para-church publications, conferences, etc. are full of testimonies of people who died and went to either heaven or hell â€“ they did not really do this. These same venues will claim to have testimonies of people who came to Christ because Jesus personally visited them â€“but they did not really see Jesus nor have a visitation. In addition, there are endless stories of apparitions of the dead, primarily Mary the mother of Jesus â€“ she has not appeared to anyone. The church has, as well, slipped into paganism by allowing these deceivers to give messages (â€śa word from Godâ€ť, prophecy, dream, vision) from Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, demons, angels and the dead â€“ these all spring from satan, the great deceiver, and are being given by the deceiver or the deceived.
For the life of me I cannot figure out why Jesus is not enough. Jesus, though existing as a member of the Holy Trinity for eternity, chose to come to earth â€“ God Incarnate--lived a perfect life, was crucified, shed His blood and suffered as a substitutionary, propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, was buried, entered the presence of God, rose on the third day, ministered on earth for some forty days, ascended into heaven and will return. For me, this has always been more than enough. Jesus Himself was put out by those for whom this was not enough - Matthew 12:39-40 â€śBut He answered and said to them, " An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.â€ť
Thatâ€™s it. Jesus died, went to heaven, rose from the dead, ministered and ascended â€“ end of story. Those who demand more are labeled as being in the class of â€śevil and adulterousâ€ť people. This theme is also picked up by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Again the question is begged â€“ why isnâ€™t Jesus enough? It is one thing for Jesus to not be enough for pagans, but why is He not enough for Christians? Why does the modern church need these so-called â€śvisitationsâ€ť to heaven or by heaven to prove their faith? Why isnâ€™t it enough for the church that God the Father rules over it, that God the Son has done it and that God the Holy Spirit reveals it? Why is this is not enough?
Now this is how we are going to deal with this issue. I am going to give you the truth as given by God the Holy Spirit through the holy Scriptures. I will stand on one side with Him. These charlatans will stand on the other side with their stories and their testimonies. You, then, will choose whom you believeâ€”the testimony and teaching of God the Holy Spirit or the testimonies and teachings of men. Every time you say, â€śBut what aboutâ€¦â€ť and give me the testimony of man, I will reply, â€śI do not doubt his experience but what he claims did not happen because God the Holy Spirit saysâ€¦â€ť. Even if an angel from heaven were to stand next to you and affirm this new â€śgospelâ€ť I would not be moved.
The Biblical teaching on: Coming back from the dead â€“ visiting Heaven or Hell: Hebrews 9:27 â€śAnd inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,â€ť Luke 16:26 â€śAnd besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.â€ť John 3:13 " No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. Job 16:22 "For when a few years are past, I shall go the way of no return. (The Bible is clear. You die once. You stand before the judgment seat of Christ. You are eternally destined for Heaven or Hell. No one may ever return. I think it is interesting that, in these â€śafter deathâ€ť experiences, no one ever stands before the judgment seat of Christ. It should also be noted that both Christian and pagans have the same experiences. Lastly, in these experiences Christians come back having visited hell, pagans come back having visited heaven. No collection of false mystical experiences could be more convoluted and alien to Holy Scripture than the books and testimonies of these false teachers.)
The appearance of Jesus: Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. Acts 1:11They also said, " Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Jesus will appear a second time, not a hundred times. One thing I always ask these so- called apostles or spiritists who claim to have seen Jesus. â€śGive me the five facial characteristics that differentiate Jesus from satan?â€ť They cannot and neither can they affirm that they saw Jesus. It is a great coup of satan to get people to talk about an apparition which cannot be duplicated as cornerstone to their testimony, as opposed to the easily duplicated Christian witness centered on the Word of God. There exists a symbiotic relationship in these so-called â€śJesus appearanceâ€ť testimonies. On the one hand, the sponsoring church or organization can attract great crowds and offerings. On the other, the one giving the testimony achieves fame and a lifestyle which otherwise would be far beyond their wildest dreams.) Talking with angels: Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (I am not saying men and women do not have angelic encounters. I am just saying they donâ€™t know it. This type of revelation ended with the closing of the scriptures in Revelation 22:18,19.) Talking with demons: 1 Timothy 4:1 â€śBut the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,â€ť (It is forbidden by God for men to talk to demons. It is forbidden by God for men to learn spiritual things from demons. It is forbidden by God for men to pass on these truths. It is indeed possible to know that which is forbidden. It is possible to know pornography. It is possible to hack into a computer and know PIN numbers and bank accounts It is possible to break into someoneâ€™s house and know all sorts of private things about them. It is possible but it is sin. It is sin to talk to demons, to learn their doctrines and to pass them on. It is sin to read books by so-called deliverance ministers who talk with demons, learn spiritual lies not taught in Scripture. It is sin to listen to them and to pass on their lies.)
Implicationsâ€¦ Extra Biblical Revelation Deuteronomy 29:29 29 " The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. 1 Corinthians 4:6 6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. Revelation 22:18-19 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Once we accept that men go to Heaven or Hell and return, men talk to angels and demons, men have visits from Jesus-- once we accept these things, then two things start to happen. First, there begins to be a perception of a class of poor, semi-ignorant Christians and bible teachers who just have the Bible. Secondly, we have to begin being open to the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and all other groups who have received spiritual truths from mystical experiences. We are not saying they did not have an experience, we are just saying that this is deception from satan.) Power of the Gospel Romans 1:16 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 1 Peter 1:23 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (Because of the churchesâ€™ embracing of â€śJesus visits, there exists a whole class of Christians who believe Muslims, Hindus or any other difficult to reach people group is beyond the power of the gospel. This is not only a lie, it is a great coup of satan. Now instead of preaching and suffering for the gospel, men and women wait around for false visitations and the false and shallow teachings that accompany them.) Roman Catholic Mass Hebrews 9:24-28 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after thiscomes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (The same passage that teaches that Jesus will return once, teaches that He died once. If we are going to accept multiple appearances of Jesus then we are going to have to accept multiple sacrifices of Jesus in the Roman Catholic Mass. You cannot have it both ways.)
This Easter, truly celebrate your faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Make sure Jesus is enough. Do not become a part of the evil and adulterous generation for whom Jesus is not enough. Reject all extra-biblical revelation. For us, the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Trinity and our Resurrected Lord will be enough.
By His mercy, II Corinthians 4:1 Rev. John S. Mahon Director â€“ Grace Community International
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