the last days there will be many who proclaim to be messengers
of theological truth, which proclaim there are many religious
and new age belief systems that lead believers into the
kingdom of God. To support their theories of faith, these
messengers must take a stand against the Christian belief
that Christ Jesus is the only way to enter the kingdom
of God. Else, their message cannot stand up under the scrutiny
of those who believe in their message. Non-Christian religious
systems teach the way to heaven is through personal works
of self sacrifice and deeds that improve their standing
with their god. But, Christianity is the only faith system
that teaches God is not waiting on man to approach Him.
God is pressing in to approach man and teach him to open
the door to his heart through faith, not through personal
deeds - Revelation 3:20-21 (NIV) - Here I am! I stand
at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and
opens the door, I will come in and eat with him,
and he with me. (21) To him who overcomes, I will give the
right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame
and sat down with my Father on his throne. God seeks
out those who believe and establishes a life line connection,
a personal relationship with each who believe. He is not
in heaven waiting to see who can make it into heaven by
their own strength and power. He is here and He is knocking!
Jesus the Son of God Or Just a Prophet?
most common theological element between non-christian religions
is the denial of Jesus' deity as the Son of God. Jesus is
thought to be only a messenger or prophet of God. After
all, he was born of a woman just like all other prophets
or messengers of god in other religions. These religious
tenets place Jesus on equal footing with Mohammed, Buddha,
Confucius, or any other proclaimed messenger of god.
underlying motive is to destroy faith in the shed blood
of Jesus the Son for the forgiveness of sin. Why? If Jesus
is believed to be the Son of God, His name is exalted above
all other prophets or messengers. If Jesus is the Son of
God, then His blood is the blood of God. If the blood of
God was shed for the forgiveness of sin, then forgiveness
and repentance has a most profound impact on those who hear
this truth. This truth cannot be passed over as meaningless
words. Thus, there can be no greater message of God than
a message sent through God's Son.
hearer of Jesus's words must make a decision to accept or
reject what he has heard. If he rejects Jesus' message of
truth, then he must reject Jesus as the Son of God without
denying God. To do this, he reduces Jesus to the level a
prophet or messenger of God, like all other prophets.
Jesus is believed to be the Son of God, then all other religious
messages are of a lesser truth. So, adversaries of Christianity
want to remove the deity of Jesus so their messages will
be on equal footing with the gospel.
has always been great conflict between Christian messages
of truth and other messages of lesser truth. Jesus' truth
includes the statement in - John 14:6 (KJV) - Jesus saith
unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. When
a believer from a non-Christian faith hears this statement,
he is offended because Jesus's words reject his belief system.
He then feels rejected and sees Christianity a faith of
exclusion rather than inclusion.
truth also includes the statement in - John 3:16 (KJV)
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life. "Whosoever" means
this truth applies to all peoples regardless of their religious
systems and is inclusive of all peoples on earth. After
hearing these words of Jesus, do believers in other religious
systems feel rejected on included in this truth?
religious belief systems cannot wrap their minds around
the deity of Jesus, the Son of God. If anyone accepts Jesus,
He has accepted God. If anyone believes in Jesus, He believes
in the one true God. If anyone seeks Jesus, He seeks God.
Jesus doesn't stand in the way of people getting to God.
He has prepared the Way to God, because He was the only
One to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin and made
reconciliation to God possible. It was God's blood that
open the Way! What other religious prophet or messenger
ever paid the sin debt for mankind's sin?
Words of Jesus will always bring into conflict the truth
of God and the words of other non-Christian prophets or
messengers. Real truth has no common ground with other religious
tenets proclaiming God's acceptance of those who try to
enter the kingdom of God by any other way (gate) other than
through faith in Christ Jesus. To get to God all must have
their sins covered by God's blood through faith in His Son
as His Messiah. This is the true message of salvation.
Do So Many Religious People Reject Christianity?
natural man desires acceptance by God. He will seek to follow
religious precepts that will guide him and teach him the
things he must do in order to be accepted. Things that are
within his ability to acquire. He will resist precepts that
deny self actualization. He basically wants to remain
in control of his own eternal destiny. Therefore, to appeal
to this basic desire of the natural man, many religious
theologies are formed which open the eyes to spiritual enlightenment
for self actualization through good deeds.
will follow precepts that tell him what to do, how to do,
when to do, and why he does it. His eternal vision is one
of self improvement until he gets it right, as defined by
the religious system of his choice. Self righteousness is
earned by good deeds and is his point of acceptance before
God. So, he does not believe he needs to be saved from his
sins because he has worked past his old beliefs and he no
longer does things that are wrong. He lives his life to
please his god.
good deeds the way into the kingdom of heaven? Remember,
the Bible states in Genesis the fall of Adam was due to
his consuming the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Evil. The fruit of this tree (believing life is centered
on worldly knowledge and vain philosophies) brought death
to the perfect man Adam. Not only there evil in this tree,
but there is also good in this tree that leads to death.
Good deeds are the right things to do, but cannot get man
past the realm of death. There was no life in the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil.
14:12 (NIV) - There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.
is the knowledge of good and evil? Knowledge is based on
man's observance of his environment, even down to the particle,
atomic and molecular level, even to the RNA and gene level
of the human body. What man observes becomes rationale for
his brain to analyze and determine what is factual. Through
his observations he forms philosophies, laws, morals, ethics,
religious beliefs, etc. His whole life is based on the knowledge
derived from man's power to observe and decide. Things he
learns from this tree are true, but there is no truth concerning
eternal life. The only truth of eternal life is in the other
tree that was in the midst of the Garden of Eden, the Tree
of Life. This Truth is eternal life in the kingdom of God
is through faith in God's Son. All of mankind lives daily
using the knowledge formed by the minds of men, but to rely
on this information as the source of real Truth is a stumbling
block to the spiritual growth of men.
two trees that were in the midst of the Garden of Eden is
a metaphor of life and death that is set in the midst of
every man's life. God's Word teaches us to chose the fruit
of the Tree of Life, God's provision of eternal life. Do
not trust in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for
your provision of eternal life. The precept of self actualization
is based on the knowledge of good and evil in this tree,
leading to self-righteousness.
is prudent to seek greater enlightenment beyond self actualization.
What is this enlightenment according to the Bible?
Does Christianity Proclaim Jesus as Savior?
first basic thing one needs to beware of is this scripture
- Romans 6:23 (NIV) - For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
of sin is death" - This a most powerful statement
by the Apostle Paul. But, this statement is rooted in the
Genesis account of the original sin of Adam - Genesis
2:17 (KJV) - But of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God separated Adam from God and he and his descendents will
die for their sin. Death is man's wage for his rejection
of God. Man earned death by his own decision and action.
Man is held accountable for his decisions. Man's sin is
an offence against God and requires seeking God's forgiveness,
to be reconciled to God.
from death is not merited by good deeds. It is therefore
imperative man be saved from eternal death by reconciliation
to God and by God's forgiveness.
to God is a covenant precept first mentioned in the Bible
when Abraham asked God to bless Ishmael in Genesis 17:19-21
(NIV) - And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might
live before thee! (19) Then God said, "Yes, but
your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him
Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting
covenant for his descendants after him. (20) And as
for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him;
I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.
He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make
him into a great nation. (21) But my covenant I will
establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by
this time next year."
covenant of reconciliation is through Isaac. God blessed
Ishmael, but did not make the covenant with him and his
descendents. The Abrahamic Covenant was first made with
Abraham, then with Isaac, and then with Jacob and it provides
a way for man to make things right with God. Reconciliation
to God by seeking His forgiveness is the correct precept
of the Way God provides man to return to Him.
what is the Way of forgiveness? The shedding of blood is
the Way of forgiveness!!
1:1-4 (NIV) - In the past God spoke to our forefathers through
the prophets at many times and in various ways, (2) but
in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom
he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made
the universe. (3) The Son is the radiance of God's glory
and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all
things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification
for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty
death on the cross shed the blood that provides purification
for sin. Prior to Jesus' death the shedding of blood for
the atonement of sin, as defined by the Mosaic Law, was
a part of temple worship and would suffice until the day
of Jesus' death. The blood of animals could never remit
sin because remission is only through the blood of God's
Son, Jesus. Hebrews 9:21-22 (NIV) - In fact, the law
requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,
and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
was God's blood that was shed on the cross for the forgiveness
of sins. His Son had to die in order for other sons to live!!
There had to be a death, so there could be life!! Else,
each man will die for his own sin against God.
is prudent at this point in this study to quickly review
what is meant by the "wages of sin is death"
because we all will die.
9:27 (KJV) - And as it is appointed unto men once to
die, but after this the judgment. It
is true that we will all die once. But, is there another
2:11 (KJV) - He that hath an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall
not be hurt of the second death. Jesus last statement
to the Ephesus church mentions that overcomers will not
be hurt by the second death. So, there is another death
for non-overcomers. When is this second death to occur?
20:14-15 (KJV) - And death and hell were cast into the lake
of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever
was not found written in the book of life was cast into
the lake of fire. The white throne judgment at the end
of the millennium reign of Christ will judge each man whose
name is not found written in Jesus' Book of Life. Those
who have rejected Jesus as God's Son will not have
their names written in the Book of Life. The second death
is a eternal spiritual death in the lake of fire.
are saved from the second death by the grace of God
through faith in God's Son. This truth of the second death
is not proclaimed by any non-Christian prophet or messenger.
Surely, if they had heard from the one true God, they would
not have overlooked this truth in their messages. The truth
of salvation from the second death is a covenant promise
of God to all who believe.
Does Love All People - But We Must Will Ourselves to do
His Will or We Miss the Mark He Set in Place
gave His Son out of love - John 3:16 (KJV) - For God
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
so loved the world
" - This phrase includes all inhabitants of the
world. God's forgiveness is made available for each of earth's
inhabitants and is based in love. Love is the power to forgive.
Forgiveness apart from love is mere words. This is the reason
Jesus told the disciples to love their enemies, so they
would be empowered to forgive and be set free from hatred,
resentment, bitterness, etc.
believeth in him should not perish" - Man's
participation in reconciliation is by faith in Jesus, as
God's Sacrificial Lamb for the forgiveness of sin. Then
eternal life is assured!!
gave his only begotten Son" - It was the will
of God that Jesus die in order that many may live eternally.
Apart from the death and blood of Jesus, all of mankind
would die and go to hell. Even while man was hostile or
separated from God, God open the door to forgiveness and
way into the kingdom of heaven is faith in God's Son, Jesus
- Matthew 16:24-25 (KJV) - Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me. (25)
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever
will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
The Way of reconciliation is the way of self denial by giving
his life to God and becoming His adopted son. Even as Jesus
denied self will to do the will of the Father and endure
is the Gate to the Father - A Study of the Parable of the
Matthew 7:13-15 (NIV) - "Enter through
the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the
road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(14) But, small is the gate and narrow the road that
leads to life and only a few find it. (15) "Watch
out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."
is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction,
and many enter through it" - There
are many theologies and doctrines that widen the way to
destruction and death by compromising the truth of the gospel
- "If any man will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow
is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life"
- The gate is narrow because not many are willing to deny
self and give themselves wholeheartedly to Christ.
to you in sheep's clothing" - False prophets
in the church that teach false doctrines and precepts. They
look life Christians and sound like Christians, but teach
a gospel of self justification through deeds, in one form
or another. Denial of self is a big obstacle in the church's
growth and effectiveness in the ministry of grace and love
to those who sit in darkness (no enlightenment to God's
they are ferocious wolves" - But in their hearts
they are ferocious wolves who preach and teach messages
that cause Christians to stumble in their growth of faith
and devotion to the Lord.
false prophets in the church - Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV)
- Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (21)
"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. (22) 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?' (23) Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never
knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
and precepts that edify self and good works will lead many
into a form of legalism that prevent them from having a
viable relationship with Christ, because they rely on their
good works as evidence of their righteousness before God.
This is self righteousness, because they believe they gain
righteousness through good works or deeds.
is a free gift of God by faith in Jesus, His death for the
forgiveness of sin and His resurrection for a new of life
of love and grace to others. Good deeds is something Christians
do because they love God and love those who God loves. Especially
those who are lost, and those who are in need. Good deeds
are gifts of love, not investments expecting something in
10:1 (NIV) - "I tell you the truth, the man who does
not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some
other way, is a thief and a robber. This scripture
speaks of those who claim to be in God's flock, but entered
into the flock's pen by means other than faith in Jesus
as the Sacrificial Lamb of God for the forgiveness of sin
or by failing to follow the example of Christ. The thieves
and robbers are false prophets, preachers and teachers.
states that He is the gate for salvation - John 10:9-10
(NIV) - I am the gate; whoever enters through me will
be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
John 10:2-5 (NIV) - The man who enters
by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. (3) The watchman
opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When
he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them,
and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (5)
But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will
run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's
man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep"
- This scripture speaks of those God calls to be shepherds
of His flock. Pastors, evangelists, teachers, caretakers,
missionaries, administrators, donors, etc., all who are
in the body of Christ are called by God to do the
work of Christ Jesus in the earth. In this light all Christians
are shepherds. However, some are called and specifically
anointed to work in specific offices with specific gifts
of the Spirit - 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (NIV) - Now you
are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of
it. (28) And in the church God has appointed first
of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers,
then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing,
those able to help others, those with gifts of administration,
and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
by the Christian, at the time of his entering through the
gate, is the responsibility to be involved in the ministry
of grace and love to others in need. All Christians indwelt
by the Holy Spirit will have this desire to serve others
because caring about others is the essence of God's love.
So, shepherds are those who care about other members of
the flock, as they follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
John 10:14-16 (NIV) -
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my
sheep know me - (15) just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for
the sheep. (16) I have other sheep that are not of
this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too
will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock
and one shepherd.
am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know
the Father knows me and I know the Father"
- The sheep know the Good Shepherd relationally, as
Father God knows His Son and the Son knows His Father. Through
this spiritual unity between the Christian, the Son and
the Father, spiritual discernment through love is the voice
of the Father and the Son.
have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must
bring them also" - This statement is one that
speaks of another flock in a different pen. These
sheep are Jews who are under the Abrahamic Covenant and
still under the Mosaic Law, but have yet to accept Jesus
as God's Messiah to Israel.
The proper interpretation
of this parable is very important to understanding this
parable and the gospel agenda of Christ.
false teaching and preaching interpret this scripture to
mean that there are others outside Christianity that will
enter the kingdom of God, because it's a different pen and
a different flock. This is an improper precept of
New Testament theology.
the proper interpretation the following scripture should
be used as a pre-supposition through which all New
Testament scriptures should be viewed - Ephesians 3:2-6
(NIV) - Surely you have heard about the administration of
God's grace that was given to me for you, (3) that is, the
mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already
written briefly. (4) In reading this, then, you will be
able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
(5) 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. (6) This mystery is that through
the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel,
members together of one body, and sharers together in
the promise in Christ Jesus.
of Christ" - The end result of Christ Jesus'
death and resurrection was a mystery because God kept it
a secret (I Corinthians 2:7-8) and did not reveal
it to His prophets or apostles until after Jesus' ascension
into heaven. The mystery was revealed by revelation from
the Holy Spirit.
mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs
together with Israel, members together of one body"
- There are two groups of people that become heirs together
to the Abrahamic promise that all peoples on earth would
be blessed through Abraham - The Jews and the Gentiles (those
outside the nation of Israel). This covenant promise is
available only through Christ Jesus, because only by the
blood of Christ are sins remitted and reconciliation with
God manifested. So, when Jesus said, "I have other
sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them
also", He was speaking of the Jews who had rejected
the gospel message of Christ and His apostles at the time
of His statement. But,
He goes on to say, "They too will listen to my voice,
and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." There
will come a time "after the full number of Gentiles
have come in" that all of Israel will be saved
and there will be one flock (Jew and Gentiles united together)
and one shepherd.
(NIV) - I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery,
brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced
a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles
has come in. (26) And so all Israel will be saved,
as it is written:
will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
(27) And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins."
the Jews, the Abrahamic Covenant cannot be complete until
they accept Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord and are saved.
This event will take place during the first half of the
end time seven year tribulation period of time under the
preaching and teaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.
Jesus is the narrow gate that leads to eternal life in the
kingdom of God.
blood remits sins and reconciles men to God.
death and resurrection parts the Way across the Great Divide
and the land of the covenant promise is granted to each
of HIs followers.
Gentiles (people outside Israel) are grafted into the Abrahamic
Covenant promise that is available through faith in Christ
Jesus, as the Son of God and as God's Sacrificial Lamb for
forgiveness of sin. This includes Islamists, Buddhists,
Hindi, etc. God does not exclude anyone. But, He does exclude
any theological way to Him other than through His Son.
Wide is the gate that leads to death and destruction and
many more enter through this gate than through the narrow
gate. No one should think theological belief in any religion
that proclaims one God for all religions will gain him entry
through the narrow gate. A one God for all religions percept
is a part of wide gate theology.
Christianity is not about self actualization, but rather
it is about transformation into the likeness of His Son
through God's grace and by faith.
most important decision that any man can make during his
life time on earth is to make the decision to believe Jesus
is Savior and Lord and no one is reconciled to God apart
from faith in His blood covering for the forgiveness of
his sins. Eternal life in the kingdom of God is solely based
on our acceptance of this truth. I encourage all readers
of this lesson to ask God for wisdom and seek the truth
of His Word through diligent study and prayer. He will grant
you what you ask! Amen!