Future, hope and good, these words makes me feel warm and fuzzy; they should make you feel that way to. This is the God we serve that wants us to have a future that is good and full of hope. This message was given by the prophet Jeremiah to the Israelites who were in exile. This message is still applicable to us today. God is behind us and wants the best for us.
1. How does knowing that God wants what is good for you affect your decisions?
2. Is your life full of hope?
Challenge: Let your life show the hope you have that Christ wants what is good for you.
Do you run the race in vain? Is your work useless? I think we have all asked ourselves these questions. Maybe more like, does my job make a difference? Does our busy life have a point or is it making a difference. We need to step back and ask God why he has given us this job and take the time to see all the blessings God has given us. Our lives should be a sacrifice poured out to Christ. We need to live sacrificially and give God the glory in all our circumstances.
1. How are you living sacrificially?
2. How does knowing that everything we have comes from God, change your outlook?
Challenge: What will you do to not run the race in vain?
Faith without works is dead? This should be a motto that rings throughout the church today. Do the works save us? No way! Only faith in Christ saves! Everything we do as Christians should be driven by our faith in Christ; how we treat others, how we do our jobs, how we spend our time, even how we spend our money. These are all works and all should show our faith in Christ.
1. How do your works show your faith in Christ?
2. How does your faith in Christ affect your decisions?
Challenge: Make Christ first in all your decisions, now matter how big or small.
Yesterday we read that the only way to salvation is through Jesus. Today we read that God loves us so much He sacrificed His only Son for us. Man, that is love. Do we show this kind of love in return? God’s love is unconditional, and sacrificial. We need to show the world the kind of love Christ has for us. We do this through our works, and deeds.
1. What does sacrificial love mean to you?
2. Do others know that you have faith in Christ?
Challenge: Let others know that you have received salvation and the sacrifice that God made for you.
Jesus is speaking with the disciples and telling them that he is preparing a place for them in His Father’s house and he quizzes them with the statement “you know the way to where I am going.” They are confused and say they have no Idea. Jesus answers and says no one can “come to the Father except through me.” How many people do we know that are confused about how to receive a new life in Christ. Jesus answers the question in one simple verse.
1. What have you done to let others know the way to eternal life in Christ?
2. If it is so simple to receive salvation, why are we so reluctant to tell others about it?
Challenge: Do not shy away from any opportunity that God gives you to share the salvation message with others.
Christianity is unique in the sense that it teaches that those who put their belief and faith in Christ alone enjoy eternal communion with God in Heaven. However, for those that choose to reject God’s gracious gift given in Jesus Christ there waits an eternal separation from God and torment in a place called hell. The Jehovah stance on this is that most people will go to some sort of heaven. The 144,000 “elect” will reign with Christ in heaven, while most other JW’s will live on a glorified paradise earth. The only other option involves annihilation of those that choose to reject Jehovah. Somewhat different than what our Bible reports, huh?
1. How do you reconcile the fact that people believe that the Jehovah’s Witness religion is just another facet of Christianity? How would you combat that idea having worked through the Scriptures this week?
2. Do you believe the JW religion is a cult? Why or why not? What is your evidence for your answer?
Challenge: Look up the word “cult” in the dictionary. Webster uses the word “spurious” to describe it. Check that out as well. Be on the lookout for lies wrapped in the skin of the truth. Read 2 Corinthians 11:1-14 and see what it says about a counterfeit Jesus.
Salvation for the Christian involves release from the penalty, power, guilt, and, ultimately, the presence of sin. This is God’s gracious gift given through the sacrificial atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All who believe in Christ and put their personal faith in Christ alone for their forgiveness of sin are granted forgiveness and adopted into God’s family on the basis of Christ alone. The Father ordains the salvation plan. Jesus accomplishes salvation by living a sin free life and dying a death we deserve in order to satisfy God’s righteous anger at sinful humanity. The Holy Spirit applies salvation to our lives by continually sanctifying us and causing us to become more Christ-like. The Jehovah plan involves allegiance to Jehovah plus good works (baptism, Kingdom Hall work, etc.). Those who are ignorant of Jehovah are given a second chance to believe after death.
1. Do you favor the Jehovah’s Witness idea of a second chance to believe after death? Why or why not?
2. Take a look at Hebrews 9:27. What does this verse say about the second chance program?
Challenge: Pray for the Jehovah’s Witness people in our community. Pray that the Holy Spirit would invade their soul and steer them toward the truth of faith in Jesus Christ.
The basic human problem is SIN. Where did it come from? How do we get rid of it? Christianity teaches that all humans are sinful by nature. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. By our free will, we have chosen to sin against a holy God, rejecting His nature, and pursue a course of life that is opposed to His essential character and revealed law in the Ten Commandments. Outside of Christ, we are enemies of God by our evil works. In the Jehovah’s Witness religion, sin is simply defined as “willful rebellion against Jehovah.”
1. How do I see my sin? As primarily a problem originating outside of me or originating within me?
2. How does my answer to #1 help me to seek an answer to my problem differently? Am I seeking to be changed from the outside/in or from the inside/out?
Challenge: At the end of the day, we all want God (whoever we believe that to be) to be happy with us and let us into heaven, etc. However, we must be willing to go to Him to see how we might get that verdict. Are we willing to do that? We will learn more about that tomorrow.
In Christianity, Jesus Christ is one divine Person, eternal existent with two natures both human and divine. He was born on earth as fully human and was manifested as a supreme example of God the Father’s character and His love for humanity. However, we have a stark contrast in the Jehovah’s Witness definition of Jesus. Having been created by Jehovah as his A plan, he morphs through stages of existence as (1) Michael the Archangel or the Word, (2) Jesus, the perfect man, then becomes Messiah at his baptism; and (3) ultimately, after his spiritual resurrection, Jesus once again becomes Michael, but retains the Jesus title. Do these two belief systems look or feel remotely the same?
1. If someone were to ask you who Jesus is, how would you answer?
2. Who is Jesus Christ to you? Who can you share that truth with today?
Challenge: A few years ago, I saw an older and younger lady going door to door. I was fumbling with my keys to get my car door open and get out of dodge, but God had other plans. As it turned out, they were from the JW’s and we struck up a conversation and I found them to be kind and engaging and willing to discuss with great fervor what they believe to be true. Of course, they wanted me to convert, but I found I was able to leave them with something heavy to think about as I expressed the truth and hope we find in Jesus Christ. So how about you? Will you heed the call to talk to those who are perishing? Do we care enough about them to be uncomfortable?
Who is God in Christianity? God in Christianity is a personal supreme God who is Creator and Lord of everything that exists. He eternally exists as Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – one God in three Persons and co-equal. However, in the Jehovah’s Witness camp, God is seen in a rather different light. He is the supreme being, properly called Jehovah (as the religion’s name so aptly calls out), but the Holy Spirit is represented by an impersonal force, and the idea of a co-equal Triune God is expressly denied. So in regards to these so often mixed up religious systems, it appears, one of these can be right or both can be wrong, but it is most certain that they can’t both be right. So how can we know the truth?
1. When you look at the obvious differences noted above, how is it that Jehovah’s Witnesses are represented as just another Christian “denomination”?
2. How would you explain the doctrine of our Triune God if someone were to ask?
Challenge: Do you know how they train bank personnel to recognize counterfeit bills? They train them to become so aware and adept at recognizing the real article that they recognize a fake right away. It is the same with God’s Word. The more intimately you are aware of His truth, the more easily lies can be unmasked. Read your Bible every day!
This devotional is written every week by Hillcrest members.
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