All posts by John

Christian saved by grace through faith.

Survey shows most U.S. “Christians” don’t believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit….um what?

Anyone else think enough is enough with the surveys that attempt to denigrate and destroy Christianity?  Yes I’m talking to you Barna Group.  Unless the results of these surveys are intending to bring glory to God and shine a light on our Savior Jesus Christ, then I say enough already.  These surveys continually focus on the negative of how few Christians there are now, or how many are moving from this denomination to that one, and now this: Most U.S. Christians don’t believe that Satan is a real being or that the Holy Spirit is a living entity.  Well I’ve got a news flash to those performing the survey, if these are your results, then the people you’re interviewing are not Christians!  The fact of the matter is that surveys are a cheap effective way to skew personal opinion in any direction you want.  It works the same in the political world as it does in the religious world. 

Here’s a quote, on the latest survey, from George Barna, founder of The Barna Group and author of books analyzing research concerning America’s faith, “Most Americans, even those who say they are Christian, have doubts about the intrusion of the supernatural into the natural world. Hollywood has made evil accessible and tame, making Satan and demons less worrisome than the Bible suggests they really are,” he said. “It’s hard for achievement-driven, self-reliant, independent people to believe that their lives can be impacted by unseen forces.”  Really?  Let me caveat that statement, “It’s hard for those who don’t believe that Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to die on the cross for our sins, raised again on the third day, and left us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to believe that their lives can be impacted by this great gift.”

The following qualifying statement was made regarding the survey, “The Barna report is based on telephone interviews for two surveys among people who described themselves as Christians. A total of 1,871 adults were randomly selected from across the 48 continental states, with the first 873 interviews conducted in January and February 2008, and the remaining 998 interviews conducted in November 2008.”  Here are the real results from this survey, that should make you stand up and take notice: those who describe themselves as Christians, specifically those who took part in this survey, are under a false assumption that they are a children of God.  I know you must be thinking how can I make such a claim, but it’s simple really.  The Bible tells us that Satan, or Lucifer, is not merely a manifestation of evil, but an actual being, or angel, that was cast out of heaven. Revelation 12:9, Job 1:7 To discount this truth is to deny the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

The second part of this survey, regarding the Holy Spirit, is the most important and discredits the entire survey.  A person cannot claim to be “Christian” and deny the existence of the Holy Spirit.  The Christian faith is built around the Trinitarian belief that God exists as 3 in 1 with His Son and the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19 The Holy Spirit lives within everyone who has accepted Christ as their Savior.  In fact, Jesus himself says that He will send us the Holy Spirit in John 15:26, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

This survey can be summed up in one verse, one scripture of Truth that at the same time addresses both of these doubts that the so-called “Christians” are having.  In Matthew 4:1 scripture tells us, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”  If you doubt that any part of that verse is true, then you doubt the truths of the Bible.  In fact this survey should actually be titled, “Many Americans are Unsure of what it means to be a Christian, doubt beliefs”

“Test everything. Hold on to the good” I Thessalonians 5:21

Forgiveness

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21

 

What would be your response to this question of Peter’s?  Once?  Twice maybe, using the old adage, “burn me once shame on youe, burn me twice, shame you?”  Our society is one that’s not very forgiving.  It seems like we are quick to throw people under the bus, just to make a news headline, often resulting in ruining not only a person’s public life but destroying their home and personal life.  When someone falls, whether it is by sin, mistake, or “trespass” against us, why is everyone so quick to pick up a rock and lead the chants of “stone him!”  I want to challenge each person reading this, whose heart may have become hardened, or hurt so bad that they have yet to forgive that person in their life.  The Bible is emphatic in how it directs us to deal with forgiveness.  Not only does it say, “”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…”, but it declares that our God is a God of forgiveness.   “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.” Psalm 130:3-4 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18

Forgiveness isn’t a gift that we give to someone or something they have to earn, it should be inherent in our nature, just as it is in God’s.  So my challenge is this, find that person to whom you are holding on to that anger or hurt.  The person whom you said you would never forgive.  Reach out to them and forgive them.  Not only does this free you, but it releases them from the bondage that you’ve held them in.  Do it today.

Because just as Jesus replied to Peter’s question on how many times to forgive, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22 ESV

Victory in the Lord

On this day, Good Friday, let us remember the reason for this Easter weekend, that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, past, present, and future.  He died for my disgraceful sins over 2000 years ago, so that I might have an opportunity for eternal life and cleansing from those sins, if I only believe in Him.  Think about that, that God loved us so much that He gave up His Son to die on the cross for our sins.  Just as John 3:16 KJV says, “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.”  We’ve all seen that verse on signs at ballgames, but do we stop to think about what it means?  God so loved the world, everyone from Adam to you reading this and me writing and all those in between, Everyone, that His Son died on the cross with our sins on his shoulders on this day.  To think that my sins helped drive the nails into His hands and feet is just heartbreaking, but to know that He was willing to undergo all of that for me, despite my sins, gives me more hope than anything ever could.

In Romans 6:23 we learn that “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  This death is a spiritual death, because sooner or later we will all die physically.  But aren’t you thankful that on this Good Friday we were given the gift of God through His Son Jesus, so that we might not die that spiritual death, but have everlasting life.

It’s really easy for us to get caught up in the marketing of the Easter holiday, with the chocolate bunnies, eggs, baskets, etc.  But the real celebration lies in the resurrection of Jesus, His victory over death, and His burial of our sins with His fleshly body.  As we read in I Corinthians 15:3-5, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.”

If there’s any one of you who are unsure of what would happen if you died today, there’s hope for you too.  All of us have sinned Romans 3:23, so as Christians our sinfulness is no different from yours.  The difference is we’ve been cleansed from our sins through the bloodshed of Jesus on the cross, because we believe that He died for those sins.  That’s all it takes for you too.  If you’re uncertain, you can be certain, by just believing.

If you want that freedom from sin and to know that you have eternal life, just pray something similar to the following:

Dear Lord, I’m a sinner.  I recognize that as a sinner I’m not worthy of your mercy and grace.  But I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I believe that He rose again.  I ask now Lord for Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior.

In Jesus name, Amen.

If you sincerely prayed then that’s all it takes to begin your life with Jesus.  If you prayed that prayer, I want to challenge you to begin reading the Bible so that you might nourish the seed that’s been planted.  I would encourage you to begin with the gospels, in Matthew.  If you don’t have a Bible, email me your name and address john@voiceoftruthblog.com and I will send you one for free.

Have a blessed day!!