Our Hope

Many ex-members who leave these destructive, spiritually abusing groups actually form their own groups composing of ex-members of the "mother group"

Even though they feel they are different from the parent group, the similarities are obvious to outsiders. They accept and defend (most) of the parent group's teachings and practices.

It is only natural that some will have pre-conditioned belief, thoughts, practices and influences from the mother group and it's leader. And it would be very HARD to discern some of the former group's most critical errors, so they will more than likely mimic the former group's errors such as distrust of Christianity, rejection of the deity of Jesus Christ, rejection of the deity and personality of the Holy Spirit, and salvation by grace through faith alone.

Even worse, ex-members will unknowingly retain practices learned in the former group, such as their methods of interpreting God's Word, Us versed Them mentality, rules, etc.

Ex-members need the help from people who love Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior, WHO were NEVER members of a destructive group, or from ex- members who are well along in the process of putting off the old ways.

It would be almost funny, if it was not such a dangerous belief that people can actually save themselves. God is so perfect and holy, we as humans cannot even comprehend this.

"But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags,"
Isaiah 64:6

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23

"For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin."
Eccl. 7:20

God, unlike man is "unchanging". God does not break promises..........man will always break promises.

God is the same today as He was yesterday. Isn't it a comfort to know that God is not going to change? NOT going to break his promises??

The Bible teaches us that we as believers have a peace and joy that can only come from knowing that we have been accepted into His family.

"Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." WE all learned this song as children...right? It does us good to get back to the simplicity of the gospel, to get a clear perspective on things.

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

"And those who know YOUR name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9:10

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
Psalm 18:30

We are told NOT to trust in Man for our salvation and that would clearly include "ourselves"

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths".
Proverbs 3:5-6

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
Galatians 5:1

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
Ephesians 1:7

You know I could give you TONS more Scripture here, but I will give you a few examples here instead.

I am not the best person, I do not have a hundred Bible verses memorized, and God will always be working with me.......... correcting me and showing me things I need to do or change in my life. But I will fight and defend Jesus Christ and what He accomplished and finished on the cross.

A few years ago I became friends with a pastor's wife from the Church of Christ denomination. I did not know what their doctrines were at the start. When I found out, I very politely explained that I did not believe in a "works" way to heaven. It was only through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ that anyone is saved. She did not like this belief and she was not happy to continue our friendship.

My former father-in-law was a very "righteous" man (by human standards) He would always help anyone at the drop of a hat, he was always a good example of human kindness, he was a very hard worker and provided for his family of eight cheerfully. He went to church, attended and helped at most all church activities.........I could go on and on.

When it came time for him to leave this world (through many days, weeks and months of suffering) one day he became very worried about his salvation. His family quickly supplied him with the Word of God and what it means to be saved, what it actually takes to be saved, you could see a change come over him. Once he finally understood, he said, "Oh, I understand it now.......that was so simple." It was like a cloud was lifted from his eyes and his face was transformed from worry, doubt and pain, to complete joy and peace. Even though it took his whole life to understand the simplicity of the gospel he was made right with God.

I believe that God has given us the responsibility to present the gospel and to present it clearly and easily the way it was meant to be.

Most people see Christianity as a religion of do's and don'ts, most of which they perceive as impossible to follow. They do not see Christianity as a relationship with Christ. Our job is to make the truth of Christianity clear.

In 2 Corinthians 4:5, Paul said "We don't go around preaching about ourselves; we preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. All we say about ourselves is that we are your servants because of what Jesus has done for us."

Christ's death on the cross, His resurrection, and the fact that He is the only way to God are the basics of our message. We put our faith in Christ based on these truths.
(See 1 Timothy 2:5,6; John 4:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.)

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Luke 23:34

Then they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking while they mocked and made fun of Him.
One of the criminals beside Jesus said, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us!" But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus answered him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise."

Here we have one yelling out his anger and insults to Jesus and one who somehow understands two very important things.
1. That they (the two criminals) are deserving of their punishments. 2. That Jesus was the Messiah.

Most all Jesus' disciples had fled or linger on disillusioned and in despair. Their hopelessness is echoed later on (Luke 24)

But this criminal does not see a dying man, but the Messiah. He knows He is the Messiah and does have the power over life and death.

This account is an encouragement and I know it has given many comfort in the past, present and will do so in the future. But have you ever stopped to think what that meant to Jesus at the time? Do you not recall passages of Scripture when Jesus was pleased with accounts of total faith in Him?

Once a person realizes what Jesus accomplished on the cross, there will be a changed heart.........AND only God knows our heart.

to be continued