Maria Yeager

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Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 7

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

This is a verse that I hear many evangelicals repeat over and over again. Another popular one is Romans 10:9:

“…because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

These are wonderful passages. How comforting it is to know that if you truly believe in Jesus, your sins will be forgiven and you will be saved. In this Easter season, we should never forget that Jesus suffered tremendously and gave up His life in order to save us from our sins. How wonderful!! I am so incredibly thankful for the free gift that Jesus gave to us!!

But is that the end of the story? Is that all we have to do to be saved? Well, not exactly. Yes, the evangelicals are correct in saying that if we truly believe, we will be saved. However, the key word here is “truly”.

First, let me address several evangelical teachings that are correct. First of all, Paul does say that we are no longer under the law.

“But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” Romans 7:6

In addition, Paul does say that we are not justified through deeds:

“For no human being will be justified in his sight by deeds prescribed by the law; for through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20

However, some evangelicals have a tendency to cherry pick scripture. They like to point out the passages they like but then they seem to ignore what else Paul said. The above scripture passages are beautiful; however, without reading the rest of Romans, you could be easily misled. Here are some statements by Paul in the book of Romans that counter evangelical beliefs:

“Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Romans 3:31

“What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?” Romans 6:1-2

“Therefore do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions.” Romans 6:12

“What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one who you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:15

The point I am making in this blog is that you cannot cherry pick scripture. Yes, Paul says that a person is not justified through deeds, and he also said that those who truly believe in Jesus are no longer under the law. Like I said earlier, the key word here is “truly”. Remember what I pointed out in my previous blogs – just because a person says “Jesus is my Savior” does not mean that person TRULY believes. Remember that Jesus said that not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is all about what is in a person’s heart and if a TRUE SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION has taken place. If you really take the time to read Romans….really read it slowly…you will see how Paul makes this exact point. If a person has TRULY accepted Jesus and is a TRUE Christian, his/her actions will automatically follow – he/she will do their best to avoid sin and to act in a Christ-like manner.

So how do we know if someone is a true Christian? Well, none of us really know because only God knows what is in a person’s heart. However, Jesus taught us how we, as human beings, can begin to distinguish between true and false Christians when he said, “By their fruits you will know them.” We are not to judge others; however, we are also not to condone sin. The only way for us to discern good from evil is by watching a person’s actions, and it is up to us, as true Christians, to rebuke sin when we witness it.

I think it is obvious that by cherry picking scripture, some evangelicals have gone off track. Some of these people support Donald Trump, and if you look at EVERYTHING that Paul says in Romans, not just select scripture passages, you will see that true Christians should be rebuking Trump for his immoral/unethical behavior. True Christians should never, ever support a person who says he never ask for forgiveness and who is waist-deep in sin. We should pray for Trump, but we should never condone his behavior.

Have a wonderful Easter! God bless!

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 5

Today, I am going to take a little break from Matthew and jump to the book of James. It is only a few pages long but it is full of direction on how we must be “doers” and not just “hearers”. I think we need to take a good hard look at this little section of the Bible today.

Again, I hear many evangelicals say that actions don’t matter – all that matters is grace, and that if we confess “Jesus is our Savior” with our mouths, that is enough to get into heaven. Now let me make this very clear – we DO need to accept Jesus as our Savior. We DO need grace to get into heaven. By all means! But the point I am trying to make is that actions are also important, and that the teaching that we are to get into heaven by grace alone….without any work on our part….is incorrect.

In my search for answers, I found James to be quite enlightening. Many people focus on the gospels which are so important, but if you go further into the New Testament- into the letters of Paul, John, James, etc., it really clarifies things. This is where it clarified for me that actions do in fact matter.

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. But let’s keep going:

“But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who ACT – they will be blessed in their doing.” James 1:25

These passages clearly refute the beliefs of some evangelicals who say that our works on this earth don’t matter, and all that matters is grace. These passages also directly apply to those evangelical preachers who turn a blind eye to Trump’s immoral behavior. They are not “doing”…they are not standing up and saying that Trump’s behavior is unacceptable.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” James 2:10-11

Let’s think about that for a moment. Some of the evangelicals and even other Christians constantly speak out against abortion. But these same people are quiet about Trump. Some even give Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels. Now, read the above passage again. Clearly James is telling us that this kind of behavior is wrong. We have to call out ALL sin, not just the sin that “fits” into our little box. You can’t pick and choose.

Going on, James clearly states that faith without works is dead:

“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17

Then James makes a statement that should make everyone think long and hard. He states that even the demons believe that God is real….and they shudder:

“Even the demons believe – and shudder.” James 2:20

Then he goes on to reiterate that works are a part of accepting Jesus fully:

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:24-26

Now, as we read the next verse, let’s think about the evangelical preachers who are giving Trump a “mulligan” and who teach that we don’t have to act or to follow the Ten Commandments:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1

Kind of scary, huh?

Now think about the obvious hypocrisy that we are witnessing in some evangelicals today. Remember, they jumped all over Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, but now these same evangelicals are mysteriously quiet about Trump. Also, a recent poll showed that during the Clinton administration, the percentage of evangelicals that said that moral behavior of a President wasn’t important was in the 20s. Today, under Trump, that number is in the 70s. What happened? Is it hypocrisy, or do the rules change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of PARTIALITY or HYPOCRISY.” James 3:17

James is very clear. These teachings and behaviors of evangelicals who still support Trump are not in line with true Christianity. My hope is that they will read this, pray about it, and return to the only path that leads us to Jesus.

I implore preachers like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Andrew Wommack and others to rethink what they are teaching and to call out Trump on his immoral behavior.

I will close with this:

“Anyone then who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” James 4:17

Have a wonderful weekend! God bless!

 

 

 

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 3

Today, I will continue to look at New Testament passages and how Jesus calls us to action.  He doesn’t want us to just say “Jesus is my Savior”. He wants us to act on those words. Let’s start with Matthew 7: 24-27:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and ACTS on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not ACT on the will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!”

It is very clear in this passage that God is calling us to do more than to just listen to His word. He is calling us to ACTION. Again, it is very easy to say the words, “Jesus is my Savior”, but it is an entirely different thing to actually ACT on those words. Recall in a previous post in this Bible study where Jesus said that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Take that with the above verse, and it becomes very clear that God expects us to act. Words without action just simply isn’t going to cut it.

Let’s look again at those evangelical preachers that say we don’t have to follow the commandments and/or say that our actions don’t matter. Again, Jesus refutes this in Matthew 15:3:

“And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”

And again in Matthew 16:27:

“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been DONE.”

And again in Matthew 19:17-19:

“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus has made it very clear what we need to do to enter into eternal life. Any preacher who claims that it is easy to get into heaven and/or says that we do not have to follow the commandments and that our actions in this world don’t matter is a false prophet.

As we get further and further into the New Testament, you will see that there are many, many more times, including in the letters that the disciples wrote after the gospels, where it is very clear that we must follow the commandments. This is why I ask people to open up the Bible and read it instead of relying on a preacher to tell them what is in the Bible.

Hope everyone is having an awesome day! God Bless!

 

 

 

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 2

Well, today I was going to continue to examine evangelical beliefs and how they compare to the teachings of Jesus. But something happened. I heard Trump speak at CPAC, and one statement that he made stood out. I want to start with this since a majority of evangelicals support Trump.

The statement that he made goes against what Jesus taught us in the gospels. He said that if other nations are nice to us, we will be nice to them. If other nations are mean to us, we will return the favor. This is basically saying, “an eye for an eye”. Let’s remember that Jesus taught us otherwise:

“You have heard that is was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.” Matthew 5:38-41

So, basically, even though Trump wants to APPEAR as a good Christian, his own words don’t align with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

On that topic, I saw Mike Pence at the Olympics. I saw how he didn’t acknowledge the North Koreans. Yes, this regime has done some awful things. However, if you look at the above verse (Matthew 5:38-41), did Pence do the right thing according to the Bible? Not necessarily. Let me share this passage (spoken by Jesus), and think about how Pence ignored the North Koreans:

“And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:47

That’s not an easy one to follow, but Jesus did say it. This is what He taught. I have also heard some evangelicals and even other Christians in other religions say that they want a “purer” church…one in which members are only people who believe exactly as they do. This thought process also goes against biblical teaching as evidenced in the above passage (Matthew 5:47).

Let’s look at how some of the evangelicals pray around Trump. Have you seen the pictures of the evangelicals as they lay their hands on Trump as they pray? Have you heard evangelicals say that this man is a wonderful Christian because he prays like this? Let’s look at what Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew:

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Jesus is teaching us here that just because someone tries to APPEAR good and righteous doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good and righteous. Beware of appearances.

Next, let’s take a look at the tweets that Trump puts out on a daily basis. How many times have you seen Trump call people names? Let’s look at some specific examples:

  1. “Cryin Chuck Schumer”
  2. “Lyin Ted Cruz”
  3. “Crooked Hillary”
  4. “Little Rocket Man”
  5. “Crazy Bernie Sanders”
  6. “Dicky Durbin”
  7. “Liddle Bob Corker”
  8. “Psycho Joe” (Scarborough)
  9. “Sneaky Diane Feinstein”
  10. “Jeff Flake(y)”
  11. “Dumbest man on television” (Don Lemon)
  12. “Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren)
  13. “Sleepy Eyes” (Chuck Todd)
  14. “Mentally deranged author” (Michael Wolff)

Then there are the constant insults that he uses over and over again on many different issues: “fake news”, “obstructionists”, “incompetent”, “clueless”, “dummy”, “false”, “phony”, “horrible”, “disaster”, etc.

Many people who support Trump, including some evangelicals, say that they like this because Trump is just “telling it like it is.” But is this the right thing to do according to the Bible? Let’s take a look:

“…for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37

“…every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:17

I think it is very clear in these verses that Trump’s insults and “telling it like it is” is not the right thing to do.

Let me finish today by sharing the following passage. Again, this emphasizes the need to ACT in our attempt to become more Christ-like…not just say the words:

“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50

Have a great day and God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

A Plea to Andrew Wommack

Today I watched Andrew Wommack as he gave his talk on The True Nature of God. To be honest, I was disturbed. In fact, at one point, I was so upset that I called him a false prophet and I turned off the television. Later, after I had settled down a bit, I looked him up and watched it on line. Why was I so upset? In short, because he states that those who are saved are no longer under “the law” (The Ten Commandments). He claims the Ten Commandments are there only for those who are not saved.

Believe it or not, I actually had a dream about this last night. Was it a divine dream? I think so. I believe that God was calling me to clarify a few things this man said. After watching it on line, I believe there are things Andrew said that were true, but there were also things that I believe were misleading.

It is true that we are under a new covenant and that Jesus Christ died to save us from death. If we truly believe in Him, we are saved. The key word here is “truly”. I have seen many times in my life people who believe that all they have to do is say, “Jesus is My Savior”, and they are guaranteed to go to heaven even if they keep on leading a sinful life. Some people truly believe that by saying those four words, they have an open license to sin. By the way, I wrote a previous blog on this exact subject.

Now, Andrew does say later that if you truly believe in God, you would not hurt others, and this is my point. But by emphasizing that we are no longer under “the law”, I believe you are sending the wrong message. God still expects us to abide by the commandments, and he repeatedly says in the New Testament that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. Here are just a few examples that clearly show that Jesus expects us to abide by the commandments (taken from the gospels):

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matthew 8:21-23

Where did the ten commandments come from? God the Father.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.” Mark 10:18-19

[Jesus said] “…those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:29

[Jesus said] “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent Him is a man of truth: there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” John 7: 17-19

[Jesus said] “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” John 8:51

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-24

[Jesus said] “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

[Jesus said] “Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:9-10

These are just a few of the numerous times Jesus tells us in the New Testament to obey His commands. We do not have a license to sin because we say “Jesus is My Savior” with our mouths. The true test of our belief in God is what is in our hearts, and only God has that knowledge. I do believe that actions speak louder than words, and we can get a glimpse into what a person truly believes based on his or her actions. We are all expected to follow God’s commandments, not just those who are not saved. The above passages from the gospels are very clear about this. I challenge Andrew Wommack clarify this issue on his show. Too many people are misguided.

 

 

 

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