There are a lot of false teachings in the world. Paganism, Gnosticism, Buddism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucionism, Shaminism, even Judaism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Deism, Darwinism, Naturalism, Secular Humanism, Feminism, Agnosticism, Atheism, and Islam...ism.
All these different ways to get to God or be a god or deny God. But Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father but by me" (John 14:6).
Of course, not everything that claims to be of Christ is truly of Christ (Matthew 7:21). Like Catholicism, Mormonism, Unitarian Universalism, Oneness Pentecostalism, Heaven Tourism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Eastern Orthodoxy, Word of Faith, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Rob Bell.
So why all these false religions and teachers? Why would God allow there to be so many, many lies? Two reasons: Testing and judgment.
The Bible says of those who refused to love the truth and so be saved, God "sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in their unrighteousness" or their sin (2 Thessalonian 2:9-12).
In Deuteronomy 13:1-4 we are told, "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' you shall not listen to that false prophet. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul."
When it comes down to it, there are only two religions: you either worship the created or the Creator, when we understand the text.
At a Las Vegas concert, Lady Gaga ripped on Vice President Mike Pence because his wife works at a Christian school that does not allow gay students and requires employees to affirm a biblical view of marriage. Imagine! A Christian school that teaches what the Bible says.
Yet Lady Gaga said, "You are the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian. I am a Christian woman. And what I do know about Christianity is that we bear no prejudice and everybody is welcome."
So Lady Gaga says she's a Christian. Let's ignore that she's hardly ever dressed, she blasphemes God, and her music and videos are raunchy. Setting that aside (please), Lady Gaga does not meet her own standard of Christianity.
She said, "We bear no prejudice and everybody is welcome." Except for Mike Pence, his wife, and everyone who believes as they do, right? Romans 2:1 says, "For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things."
Plenty of people came to Jesus and claimed to be children of God. Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin" (John 8:31, 34). When the people argued, Jesus said, "Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires" (John 8:43-44).
So who is a Christian? Everyone who believes the word of Christ. And whoever believes will do what He said in the Bible (John 14:15), when we understand the text.
Announcer: We interrupt this broadcast for a special report. On the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the New York senate is voting on a measure that would expand abortion acess in the state. The legislation decriminalizes abortion at any stage of pregnancy, and allows nurse practitioners, physician assitants, and licensed midwives to legally conduct murder—I mean, abortion.
We go live to the New York senate for the final tally on the vote.
"Announce the results.""In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, 'Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?'
"I's 38, nays 24."
"The bill is passed."
"The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes see and test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
"Let Him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sufer and a sorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face."
Save yourselves from this crooked generation. Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and be saved from the wrath of God, when we understand the text.
From an interview between Anderson Cooper and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on "60 Minutes," January of 2019.
Cooper: "This would require though raising taxes."Absolutely! Everyone should be paying their fair share of taxes. That's in the Bible.
Ocasio-Cortez: "There's an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes."
In Exodus 30, the Lord instituted the head or poll tax. Each person numbered in a census, from twenty years old and up, shall give half a shekel. "The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord's offering to make atonement for your lives." (Exodus 30:15). And who paid this tax? The men, the head of the household.
In Deuteronomy 14, we find laws about tithing, giving a tenth of "all the yield of your seed that comes in from the field, year by year" (Deuteronomy 14:22). This rate was the same for everyone, whether they yielded much or little.
There was even a system of welfare in place, so the community provided for their poor, namely the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. But the rate of exaction was still the same for everyone who gave. Those who wanted to contribute more could give more of their own will (Deuteronomy 15:7-10).
Jesus said to pay your taxes: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). We read in Romans 13:7, "Pay taxes to whom taxes are owed." And if that amount is the same for everyone, then everyone is paying their fair share!
Cooper: "Do you have a specific on the tax rate?"
Ocasio-Cortez: "Sometimes you see tax rates as high as sixty or seventy percent. As you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more."That's not fair, when we understand the text.
Are you looking for some good new years resolutions? Well consider these words from Jonathan Edwards:
#25 Resolved: to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.Or how about this from Charles Spurgeon: "I wish, my brothers, and sisters, during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend on it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us."
#28 Resolved: to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
#67 Resolved: after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
Or this from Thomas Manton: "Great resolutions are always vain, unless joined with the consideration of our own weakness. The people of God have promised much, but always it is with the concurrence of Christ. The apostle saith, Philippians 4:13, 'I can' or will 'do all things,' but it is through Christ."
And recognize that these resolutions aren't just good for the new year. They are life-long resolutions. Let us resolve to trust the Lord with all our heart, and in all our ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Proverbs 16:9 says, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps," when we understand the text.