I was ministering in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. My husband, Peter and I, went shopping. While in the building, we met an Australian woman.
She told us, smilingly, in a very friendly fashion, that she was in the country to go to Sai Baba’s Retreat. I said that we were Christians and that I was a preacher. She replied, “Oh, yes, Sai Baba says that it is all right to believe in Jesus. That belief can be added to belief in Sai Baba”. My reply in return was, “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except by Me’.” Her face fell. Her friendliness disappeared. She left us in anger. When we saw her later, she would not even look at us. There was a division between us. She was on one side of fence and we were on the other. She was on one way and we were on the only Way, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Often in India, a believer will greet us with his testimony in this way. “I was a Hindu but now I am a Christian”, or “I had a Hindu background.” He, with all other believers, knows that it is either Hinduism or the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Sai Baba or the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have found similar beliefs in Indonesia, for example, in a large way. The testimony then is, “I was a Moslem but now I am a Christian”. It is either Mohammed or the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even with Pastors of Pentecostal churches in India who had been Roman Catholics, trained in a Jesuit Seminary, their testimony is, “Now I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.” For them, there is no more mass or prayers to Mary. It is either Mary and the mass or the Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember a wealthy man in Bandung, Java, Indonesia. I was staying in their Guest House. He showed me a front room in his home and said, “I used to be a Roman Catholic. At the same time I was still a Buddhist. This room used to be full of idols of Buddha.” It is either Buddha or the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Communism first began to control China, there was a woman, Gladys Aylward, who had gone from England across Europe and Asia on little money, to be a missionary. I heard her on tape after she had to leave China, which she did with quite a few orphans in a miraculous way.
She said that Christian University students were brought before the authorities and the large crowd gathered in a stadium. Those students had written in answer to questions from the University, that they were Christians and not followers of atheistic communism. She saw the first one to appear before them. This one was a new Christian and a young woman. She said she thought that this one would never stand. She would falter and all the others following would do the same. Her surmising was in error.
This student when asked whether she followed Christ said firmly and loudly, “I thought I loved Him, but now I know I love him”. Then the other students who followed pronounced their faith in Christ. From memory, I would say they were martyred. It was either Communism or Christ.
With believers in our Western societies, it should be and often is not, it is either the world, with its entertainments, humanism, psychology, the whole mass of its ungodly beliefs and practices, its sin or the Lord Jesus Christ.
There can be no sitting on the fence. There should be no compromise.
When the false and supposed move of God calling the Laughing Move or Toronto Blessing appeared, there should have been no compromise. It was either that or the true moves of the Holy Spirit of God exactly in accordance with the Word of God. Sadly, instead of Truth, there was this Satanically inspired obstruction in hundreds of churches to the purity of the Word, the gospel and the ways of the Spirit. Demon filled people in India laughed in exactly the same way.
The Apostle Paul used the expression “the Truth” in many of his writings. He was speaking about ultimate truth. It was not to be a mixture of Truth and error, concerning the message that Jesus began to preach, as is stated in Hebrews 2:3,4 “This salvation, message, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will”. There is only one true message.
It is not found in the Old Testament or Covenant. Even those scriptures written by almost every writer of that Old Testament were scattered over the centuries. Not one individual understood it all. Israel, as a nation, had a veil over their minds and hearts, 2 Corinthians 3:14,15, and “it remains to this day”. As a nation, she has never received the gospel and never will.
Peter records it like this, in his first epistle, chapter 1, verses 10-12, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven”. We will not find the mystery of the gospel revealed in the Old Testament. Neither will we find it in theological books by many modern authors, such as those by Rick Warren or even John Brevere. Even the old evangelists such as Billy Graham have rerouted their journey from going down the highway of gospel Truth. When one says that people from different faiths or religions can enter heaven, true believers must see their error and denounce it, as we are told to do in the Scriptures.
There is scarcely a T.V. evangelist or preacher who preaches the gospel as it is. There is a mixture of gospel with error, almost minus what Jesus Christ did on the Cross and in His Resurrection. Sometimes works are added, as I heard when listening to John Brevere in his sermon on “The Judgment Seat of Christ”. In other sermons there is error and a mixture of Law with grace.
Other famous T.V. “Stars”, such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Myer preach parts of the Word of God added to psychology. The Truth of the gospel cannot be diluted with psychology. Others emphasize experiences, or just “receiving Christ”, or “Giving your heart or self to Him”. Still others have emphasis on healings that occur in a very minimal manner – perhaps 3% of those prayed for, as we have seen when visiting large campaigns or on Television.
The only gospel we are to preach is that revealed in the New Testament. Paul said we would be judged “according to my gospel”. He either told the truth or he lied. In that case, there would be no gospel! He said in Ephesians 3:2,3 “God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation.” Verse 4 relates “the mystery of Christ which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets”. Verse 8, 9 “Though I am less than the least of all God’s people this grace was given me to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ And to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God”.
Dare we alter this gospel?
Sadly, the preaching of it has altered, in particular during the last thirty years or more. Prior to that, it was common to hear the true preaching of the gospel. Since then there has been intrusively brought into the church world-wide, similar to what happened in the church of Galatia, another gospel. Paul said “If any man preach any other gospel than what I preach, let him be accursed”. What now can be said of all those preachers who are doing what he said should not be done and if done, to be “accursed”?
Books and sermons abound on positivity, confessions concerning oneself, having a dream, good relationships, modern worldly ways of thinking, laxness on sexual matters, homosexuality, lesbianism and not becoming married, prosperity on this earth when Jesus said “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven”. “the Lord told me”, a new revelation, having dominion now, looking for the millennium or “we must all be one”, whether Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, the Lord Witnesses, Mormons, Charismatics and indeed sometimes Moslems, Buddhists and others are included in the “unity”.
The messages of Jesus Christ, the Almighty, the Beginning and the Ending, to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 pronounce judgment. That judgment still applies to us today. He holds out His grace to individuals and not to churches when He says, “He (not the church) who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. It is an individual matter, a personal one. Each person must seek for himself to make sure he has the Truth – and ‘nothing but the truth’.
With regard to the matter of eternal salvation, the whole of the Scriptures are clear.
The words of Jesus disclose that there is no such thing as Universalism in His doctrine. There is no such thing as anyone finding his own way to heaven. It is not possible to get to heaven except through His way. All roads might have led to Rome but they do not lead to heaven. There is only one road to heaven.
He said things such as –
“I am the door for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers. I am the door, whoever enters through me will be saved”, John 10:7,8.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life”, verses 27,28. Only the “sheep” enter into the blessings of Christ. Those who are not His sheep do not. Followers of other figures, whether human, mythological, gods do not enter in. Neither do those who do not follow Him. What is involved in following Him? “If you love Me, keep My commandments”. The involvement is that we follow His Truth and not fables as some believers did in Peter’s time.
“My kingdom is not of this world”, John 18:36. It is from above. It is of heaven. It has nothing to do with this world’s system of thought, doctrine, philosophy or religious ideas.
Not every one goes to heaven, John 5:24, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”. Receiving eternal life and being in the position of eternal life, is only for those who truly believe in Christ. It is not for those who believe in some one or something else.
Then there is the matter of truly being born again. He said, in John 3:3, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”. Of course, that means more than just “going forward to accept Christ”. It involves the knowledge that “I am a sinner on the way to hell. I am a rebel and enemy of God. Jesus Christ died for my sins on the cross. He rose again. I believe all this in my heart and with my mouth I confess that Jesus Christ is God – of my life”. The Spirit of Christ does a miracle within. If someone goes forward, says the prayer and then returns to his old life of sin there has been no born again experience. Here again is the divide. People are either born again or they are not born again.
He says further down in the chapter that “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light”. There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who remain evildoers (outwardly nice as they might be) or those who have repented of their evil and turned to Christ as the only Saviour. There is no other. We do not have to be blind or deaf to realise that the world is full of these two varieties – the evil living in the darkness of sin and those who repented of their evil now living in the light of Christ and of the Gospel.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. No one and nothing else has that power. His light is revealed to us through the gospel. We deny it at our peril. We add to it or take away from it at our peril. Preachers who do that will face a very severe judgment from Christ when they face Him in eternity.
The words of John 3:36 show that not everyone will be saved. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains in him”. Serious words. Frightening words. Not everyone will find salvation. To be saved is to be saved from God’s wrath that finds its fulfilment in an eternity of darkness, torment and separation from Christ. A terrible lot for those who refuse to believe in Christ.
Jesus even spoke about hell. It is real. It is not, of course, in the centre of the earth as some would say. Who can say where it is? It cannot be of this world. Again there is a division for people, at the end of Time. Some go to heaven and the others go to hell. Not everyone finds heaven.
Jesus said there are two roads for us to follow, spiritually, One is the wide road that leads to destruction and the majority of people are on that way. The other road is narrow and it leads to eternal life. Not everyone is on that blessed road. Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” of older times, shows very plainly how this applies.
The things Jesus said about judgment and hell – for many – are set out below. There can be no such thing as truth in Universalism.
Matthew 5:29 – “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell”. On looking at other scriptures, it is evident that the body in which we now live is not what he is speaking about. He has said elsewhere that the dead will come up out of their graves, righteous in Christ and unrighteous, all with bodies. The saved will have bodies like Christ has. “We will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is”. The unsaved will have some kind of body, yet unknown to anyone.
Matthew 10:28 – “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”. Many people take out Life Insurance Policies, to benefit their loved ones on their decease. Far better to have an assurance of salvation so that God will not destroy their soul and body in hell.
Matthew 13:42 – “They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. This is about the unsaved. Their lot is such that it is to be avoided. This can be done by any person who will. He or she must turn to Christ from his present way of darkness and sin. What form this fiery furnace takes is not disclosed in Scripture. We must accept the words of Christ.
Matthew 23:15 – Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, teachers of the Law, under the Old Testament, “You make him twice as much as son of hell as you are”. I wonder if He is still speaking to any of the preachers and teachers under the New Testament?
Verse 33 – “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell!” These are the words of “Gentle Jesus”, He being “God is love”, yet in His justice He must condemn such to hell.
Matthew 25:41 – “Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. Surely by now, we must agree that not everybody or just anybody will find eternal life and will be saved. There are those indeed who will end up unsaved and in hell forever.
Mark 9:47,48 – “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched’, a quotation of Isaiah 66:24. Hell was taught to Israel under the Law and the Old Testament. It was not a new teaching at the time of Jesus.
John 5:27-29 – “He has given Him (Christ) authority to judge, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. According to Jesus Christ there is no such doctrine s Universalism in the Bible. It is to be as Jesus Himself said.
Luke 12:51 – “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division”.
Luke 13:27,28 – “’Away from Me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out”.
From the above quotations, we can see that hell and its torment are spoken about in each of the four Gospels, showing how important the subject is.
Let us see what is to be found in Acts and in the epistles.
Acts 17:31 – “For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed”. Judgment with justice presupposes there will be those condemned and those not condemned. This is the revelation as given to Paul.
Hebrews 9:27 – “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment”. Again, it must be said that judgment is for a separation of the just in Christ and the unjust without Christ.
2 Peter 2:4-9 – “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world – then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment”.
Thus Peter adds his witness to that of all the other writers in the New Testament and in the Old.
The final scripture is that of Revelation 20:12-15. Here the revelatory had a vision of all the dead standing before the throne while the books in heaven were opened. “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”.
The solemn words given to us in the Holy Bible should cause us to fear, if we have not found Jesus Christ as our Saviour and are living in His ways and not in the ways of sin and the world that are in the grip of Satan and darkness before God.
“There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” – except the Name of Jesus.
There is only one road. All roads do not lead to heaven. All people will not enter heaven.