Our HopeMany 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
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
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
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,"
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
"For there is not a just man on earth
who does good and does not sin."
God, unlike man is
"unchanging". God does not break promises..........man will always break
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
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
"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.
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
"And those who know YOUR name will put their
trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek
As for God, His way is perfect; The
word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in
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".
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made
us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
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.
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
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
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know
what they do."
Then they divided His garments and
cast lots. And the people stood looking while they mocked and made fun of
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.
they (the two criminals) are deserving of their punishments. 2. That Jesus was
Most all Jesus' disciples had fled or linger on
disillusioned and in despair. Their hopelessness is echoed later on (Luke
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.
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