Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Gary Petty] If you believe in this approach to God you sort of custom design your own religion. You pick a little bit from Christianity and a little bit from the New Age, a little bit from Wikipedia, a little bit from pop psychology and you mix it all together and you create a God in your own image. It's simply a form of paganism where you make yourself into an idol.
A prayer given on January 2nd, 2021 by a Christian minister before the United States Congress caused quite an uproar. And much of the controversy was about the end of his prayer when he said, "Amen, and A-woman." Now, the word amen has nothing to do with gender. It simply means so be it. And it's just said at the end of prayers all the time. It's an expression of agreement.
The minister later said that he was trying to make a lighthearted pun in what he said, but you know, there's something else in that prayer that should cause great concern for anyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ. The last line of the prayer was, "We pray to the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many different names by many different faiths." Now, this statement was intended to unify all faiths and for many Christians, it was a prayer that was seen as an example of Christian love and tolerance.
You know, here on Beyond Today, we believe that every human being was made in the image of God, every person has purpose, has value, has meaning in your life. Now, at the same time I could never say amen to that prayer. In reality this prayer is an example of a cultural trend to redefine the teachings of the biblical Jesus Christ. A trend that challenges a fundamental teaching of Jesus when he said that he is the only way to God.
Now, today we're going to look at what Jesus meant when He claimed to be the only way to God because knowing what He meant is absolutely necessary if you want to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. A Christian is more than just a person who believes in Jesus Christ as good teacher. A Christian believes that Jesus is the unique son of God and that they must dedicate their lives to following Him and obeying Him.
You know, the reason the congressional prayer was agreeable to many Christians is because of the belief that Jesus wants all people in this society to live in peace and love and harmony and to accept each other and not to judge. Now, if you believe that this is what Jesus taught, that that's His purpose in this society today then I want you to explain something because I want you to think about this. I'm going to read something that is actually something that Jesus Christ said. And we know what He said in certain circumstances because it's in the Bible.
The only record we have of the actual teachings of Jesus Christ is in the scripture. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is all we have. Those are the oldest records of Jesus Christ. Read this with me. "Do not think." Now, this is Jesus Christ. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Now, what did Jesus mean by that? I mean, first of all, read the rest of the passage which we're going to do in a minute, we'll see that He isn't telling His followers to take up arms or riot or to violently persecute people who disagree with him. Jesus leads his followers by teaching and by example.
One of the most dramatic events in all history, Jesus Christ was dragged before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and condemned because He claimed to be a King. Pilate feared that Jesus followers would rise up in armed rebellion. And here's what Jesus told Pilate. He said, and these are the words of Jesus again, remember this is the only record we have of what He actually said. Anything written later, because these men either were there or they collected what He wrote from people who were eye witnesses. So this is the only eye witness accounts we have of the teachings of Jesus. We have to understand that. Jesus, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from here."
What's amazing is after He said this, that very same night, He allowed himself to be humiliated, beaten beyond recognition and suffer the gruesome death and crucifixion. Jesus told His disciples that His sacrifice and you'll see that in His teachings, was out of love for all human beings. So obviously when He said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." He's not telling his followers to take up the sword. It's like killing all believers.
So what did He mean? Okay, what did He really mean? Well, let's go back to what we just read and let's look at the rest of what he says, because it's very important what he says here. He says, "For I have come." This in the same context of he came to bring a sword. He says, "I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be those of his own household."
Understand something Jesus just says here, if you really follow Him, some people are not going to like you. And that may even mean some members of your own family may turn against you. Now, this is the real Jesus. This is what He said. Now, what is the Christian response to this kind of opposition from others? Well, if you read the Gospels, if you read what Jesus actually said you find Him telling His disciples to love their enemies and to treat others with kindness even if they abuse you. But you know one thing you'll never find Him saying, accept the religions of all people as being equal. He doesn't say that. His followers, He said, are to live as examples of his teachings, treat others with love and then be prepared to suffer for their beliefs.
Let's continue what He says here. He said, now I want you to really listen to this. "He who loves father or mother more than Me," this is Jesus, "is not worthy of Me. "And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross "nd follow after Me is not worthy of Me. And he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it." Wow.
Jesus actually says, you have to make Him more important than any other relationship in life, your own children, the person that you're going to marry, your husband, your wife, your parents. He actually said that, and you know what? Either Jesus is revealing a profound truth about His uniqueness or the man has serious mental problems. One or the other. Either He's actually revealing something very true or He has mental problems. He's delusional because He says you have to love Me more than anybody.
How much do you really know about the biblical Jesus? He claimed to have come to earth from heaven. He taught that, He will reject those who reject him. Are you ready to confront the real Jesus Christ? You know, today we're offering one of the most detailed and extensive Beyond Today study guides, "Jesus Christ: The Real Story." Did you know that the Apostle Paul actually says, that Jesus is the Creator of the universe? He's right. When you get this study guide, don't just read it. It is filled with scriptural references. Take the time to get a Bible and read these passages. The authentic Jesus Christ is one of the great mysteries of all time. And here you can discover how God came into human history to save us from suffering and death. Order your free copy by calling the number on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv. Okay, that's beyondtoday.tv.
Jesus said that He had came to teach the way of love but He also said that His teachings would cause people to be offended. In fact, His teachings would be so offensive to some that it would divide people even members of the same family. Now, think about this. Why would the teachings of Jesus who promotes love and peace, be offensive. Okay, to understand that you have to realize the story doesn't start with you and me.
What we call Christianity has been evolving and changing for almost 2000 years. And there are many practices and teachings accepted by Christian churches today that are quite different than what the earliest Christians actually believed. And in the past few decades there's been a new influence on Christianity that is actually redefining the biblical Jesus. And this movement is often called the New Age Movement. New Age thinking isn't based on a specific religion or even a specific text like the Bible. Although many of the basic principles are actually from Hinduism and other Eastern non-Christian religions. It is a movement made up of a variety of ideas and beliefs to determine what it means to be. And this is a very important word, what it means to be "spiritual." Have you heard someone use these phrases? "There's more than one way to God." "You need to discover your inner divine spark." "When bad things happen to people, it’s karma." Watch for that word. "Jesus taught to accept everyone, "no matter their lifestyle." "Jesus taught that we can never judge another person's actions." And this is real important. "God is more concerned with your mystical experience with Him than communal worship or teachings about personal conduct."
You know if you've heard these kinds of statements in your church, then your church has been influenced by New Age teachings. And you know what, Biblical verses are often used to support these statements. And so it can be a little confusing. Now, listen to this. If you really want to find out what Jesus taught, it's not difficult. All you have to do is get a Bible. Remember these are the oldest listings of His teachings. These were written by people who were there. Get a Bible, read the Gospels and see what He taught. If you listen to what I'm saying and you say, well, that doesn't make sense I don't accept what he's saying. It's simple to prove me wrong. Go to the Bible and read the Gospels. Just go see what He said and see if that matches up with some of the New Age teachings.
Now, there's two ways that New Age thinking has affected Christian culture. The first way is, all religions lead to the same God. Now, John, one of Jesus' original disciples described a meal that Jesus ate with His disciples on the night that He was betrayed and killed. And Jesus said to them, now this is really important. When he said to them, He said to them, "I am the way, "the truth, and the life." And then notice this next part of this verse. Just go to the book of John and you'll see, this is true. This is what He said. "No one comes to the Father except through me." The Father here is the God of the Bible. Jesus said that no one is able to come to the way, the truth and the life, and truly know God, except through Jesus Christ Hinduism, Islam, and all religions that call on the various gods worshiped around the world, deny this. They deny that Jesus is the only way to God. But Jesus said He is.
This is the great barrier by the way, to the worldwide ecumenical movement that the New Age wants to create. Well, He says He's the only way. Well it can't be the only way, there can't be an ecumenical movement if there's only one way. Here's the problem. And once again, we have to be very honest here, either Jesus is telling the truth or He's not telling the truth. Either this exclusive teaching of Jesus is true or He was a very troubled person.
Now second influence of New Age thinking is the belief that "spiritual" means creating a mystical, personalized individual religion. Now, if you believe in this approach to God you sort of custom design your own religion. You pick a little bit from Christianity and a little bit from the New Age, a little bit from Wikipedia, a little bit from pop psychology and you mix it all together and you come to the conclusion that all religious ideas are equal. Truth is determined by personal feelings. And this is the basis of the New Age Movement. In reality, when you custom design your spirituality, you know what you're doing? You create a God in your own image. It's simply a form of paganism where you make yourself into an idol.
I know that's a strong statement. Well, let's back it up with Jesus. Let's go look at what He taught. In Luke, He says this, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord', "and do not the things which I say?" He says, when you call me, Lord, you have to do what I say. And then He gives a story to explain what He's saying. There's sort of a parable here, "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you who He is like. He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against the house, it could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock." So He says, when you listen to my sayings, you know who He is. He's not just a good teacher. He's the son of God. He's the savior. He says, when you understand this, and then you follow Him it's like you're building your life on a rock and it doesn't matter what comes and beats at your house. It survives, you survive. You're okay because of what you've built your life on. And then He said, "But he who heard and did nothing, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently, and immediately it fell. And there was ruin of that house, which was great."
You see, Jesus expects His followers to live by His teachings. He expects them not only to accept Him as savior, but as master and Lord. And remember what He taught, remember what Jesus said. He actually said that nobody can come to God except through Him. In fact, Jesus told His followers to pray in His name. That's why you often hear Christians pray at the end of their prayer in Jesus' name or in the name of Jesus.
At the beginning of the program I quoted a public prayer and here's what it ended with. "We pray to the monotheistic god, Brahma, and 'god' known by many names by many different faiths." Did you notice that it's not a prayer given in the name of Jesus? And there's a reason why. Public prayers are given in the name of Jesus Christ many times because you know what happens when you pray in the name of Jesus Christ? You claim that He's the exclusive way to God. You've made a claim that He is exclusive. You can't be a follower of the New Age Movement and believe that. So you have to drop Jesus Christ's name out of the prayer. This man, wouldn't say, by the way he doesn't believe in Jesus Christ, he does, but that's not the point.
This is the important question you need to ask yourself, is Jesus the only way? Yeah, there's very many ways to feel religious that aren't true ways to connect to God. Discover the life changing power that you could only experience by understanding what God is doing through Jesus Christ. Order your free copy of, "Jesus Christ: The Real Story." You know of the sections in this study guide are much more than a man talking about Jesus Christ, was much more than a man and Jesus amazing fulfillment of prophecy. This section will help you by going through the Old Testament prophecies that predicted Jesus' life, and death in amazing detail. Order your free copy by going online to beyondtoday.tv or by calling the number that's on the bottom of your screen. And you can download it, you can read it online or we'll send a copyright to your home.
Why would Jesus claim to be the only way to God? Now, to answer that question we have to outline the core fundamental message of authentic Christianity. So let's just do that in a few minutes. What is the core fundamental teaching of Christianity? It all starts at the very beginning of the Bible where it says, let us make man in our image. All human beings. All human beings, you, you may think you're worthless but you were made in the image of God. God wants to have a relationship with you. Yes, He designed you. He wants to reveal Himself to you and guide you through your life. Every human being to God has meaning and purpose and value because He made you with meaning and purpose and value. All of us are designed to have a deep need for God. That's the basis of the all religions by the way. They know they need, God, they just define Him differently. That's not who He says He is.
We are empty without God. We long for His presence. We long to have some connection and Jesus Christ who claimed to be the unique son of God said that, only He can supply the answers so that we can find our way God. We spend our lives trying to discover God and His purpose for us. Okay, but why we separated from Him in the first place? If He made us in His image, why are we separated from God? Let's praise God gave all of His free will. There's that big problem. That means we get to make decisions and we get to make choices. And now there's billions of us and we're all making wrong choices all the time. And the result is you and I we have corrupted human nature. At the very core of who we are, we're wrong. Oh man, that's tough.
Where's the good news about Jesus? This is the good news because you will never discover the true God and until you accept your absolute need for him and how hopeless and helpless you are without him. You will never discover God until you face your corrupt nature. That your thoughts and emotions and actions are against God's way. And you need to be saved and healed and changed. And human salvation can only come through accepting and following Jesus Christ. He said that.
In other words, you're never going to discover the true God until you accept that statement from Jesus Christ. No one comes to the Father, except through me. This means accepting Jesus Christ as savior and Messiah. Of all the major religious texts, only the Bible teaches that human beings are separated from God because of their evil and are judged by God to deserve eternal death. It is only in the Bible that we find the teaching that God loves us so much that He sent His eternal son to be a sacrifice for our evil. And there is no other way to be able to come before Him and be accepted.
I understand how difficult this is if you have accepted some of the New Age teachings. Maybe what I'm saying sounds so exclusive and so judgmental. Well, are you ready to be confronted by the real Jesus Christ? You know, sometimes it seems easier to believe that if we just love one another and accept each other, then we can live at a new age of harmony and peace. Well you know if you really want to test that just tell your New Age friends that you think Jesus is the only way. You may find there's a limit to their love and acceptance.
Another teaching of Jesus that offends New Age ecumenicalism is His claim that He is returning to earth to establish God's kingdom. It's another exclusive teaching of Jesus. He taught that He is returning to establish one world government, one world religion, and the basis of his religion is He's the only way to the Father. He's the only way to God. And this message is found throughout the Bible. Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah he's prophesied in the Old Testament.
His Kingdom will bring justice, love, peace and not by having all people create their own vision of what it means to be spiritual. He's returning to rule as a sovereign King over all nations. He told Pilate that He was a King, not a president, not voted in the office. Yeah, how do you think most people will respond to Jesus Christ when He returns to rule? He actually told us, He actually told us in what is called the Olivet Prophecy.
Okay, so I'm going to go here to the Olivet Prophecy and read to you what He said. He said, "The sign of the Son of Man." That's a term in the Bible used for the Messiah. "The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn." People are going to be very unhappy when He comes back, He's going to be quite unpopular. And remember He told his followers not to be surprised if they are unpopular for following Him. And what does it mean to be a true Christian? Well, true Christians are those who because of their dedication to Jesus Christ have the real God reigning in their hearts and minds right now. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is the greatest adventure of life. You see, He leads us to the Father, to God and God will give you meaning and purpose and value and a vision of a wonderful future as His child. And this is the good news. This is why God created you, to be His child forever.
So let me just quickly remind you here to order your free copy of, "Jesus Christ: The Real Story." You can call the number on the bottom of your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv. Go online, you can read it. You can download it. I just covered five important points about the Bible's message from God to you. Let's quickly summarize them. All human beings are made in the image of God. That's where these all starts. You have purpose because God made you in His image.
The second point is and we covered this, is that human beings are corrupted images of God. You and I have to accept, we're messed up. If you haven't figured that out yet, we're messed up every single one of us. And we need God to restore us back to what we were. That means we need to be saved and human salvation can only come through Jesus Christ. There's no other way to get there. And that's what Jesus taught. Then we have to accept that Jesus Christ is returning. This is a very exclusive teaching. He's returning to establish God's kingdom on this earth. And when He does, there'll be one religion.
That's why a New Age ecumenicalism can't work according to Jesus Christ. And you can't claim to be a Christian if you don't start studying what He said. True Christians then have God reigning in their hearts and minds. Reigning in their hearts and minds. You see, God wants to give you a new mind and a new heart. Jesus Christ is the only way. That seems a little overwhelming. I mean, that's not what you've been looking at. That's not maybe what you've thought.
So I'm going to leave you with something I saw a number of years ago. It was on a child's T-shirt. And I remember the experience because I was a little surprised that this profound message was on a T-shirt. And I was watching this little guy walk up and he was walking towards me and on the front of his T-shirt I noticed it said, "Be patient with me. God, isn't done with me yet." And I was chuckling, I was thinking that's really good. And I watched the little guy walk by and as he walked by I saw what was on the back and on the back of this T-shirt was, "And God doesn't do bad work."
Be patient with me. God isn't done with me yet. And God doesn't do bad work. That's the good news. New Age ecumenicalism isn't the answer. The gospel is your Creator wants to forgive you. He wants to heal you. He wants to work in your life. And the only way that can happen is through Jesus Christ for the work of God to be done in your life. And remember, God never does bad work.
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