As many of you know, I was born again while attending a liberal “Christian” church and attended it after for a couple years. My faith was like a wildfire, growing exponentially every day. I discovered the bible, although it was never lost. I simply found it, like one would find something carelessly discarded in a junk drawer. Yet when I did find it, wow! When I read it with eyes that Jesus had opened, I couldn’t get enough of it.
That’s no exaggeration. I read it carefully, underlining some verses and highlighting others. Some were so good that they got both and even special notes to boot! My first bible fell apart and was re-covered by a good friend using the softest goat skin. It’s truly a work of art and such a pleasure to hold. I still use it, but not regularly as the pages are getting so thin.
What makes the bible so special? Certainly, it’s a book of history, but it’s much more than that. It is God speaking directly to us in words that we can savor over and over. At its core is the story of God’s redemption of his children. From the very beginning, we see that all that God made was good but soon was violated by man and Satan. In the third chapter, we see a hint of things to come – the “seed” who would destroy evil.
That storyline shows up over and over as man does his own thing, ignoring God’s command, and walking straight to their own destruction. Over and over, mankind is warned through prophets of their behavior and of promises of things to come, both curses and blessings. Amongst all that a Savior is revealed.
God has offered eternal life to those who will obey his commands. How often do we read that God says, in effect, “Repent and be saved!”? More than we care to admit. Yet the bible also reveals very strange things that humans simply refuse to acknowledge. Actually, the bible is plumb full of these things.
Take John 17, for example. This was in the upper room at Passover, on the eve of Jesus’ capture and crucifixion. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, including Judas’ whom Jesus knew would betray him. Judas was no disciple but was an agent of Satan’s, the enemy. After Jesus sent him out so that he might get all that done quickly, Jesus spoke at length with the remaining eleven.
He spoke of going away and preparing a place for them, that he would come back again for them, and that he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them while he was gone. He spoke of his exclusivity with these well-known words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus also instructed them to abide in him, and that if his words abided in them, they might ask whatever they wished and he would do it for them.
He also made it clear that Jesus is the one that chose them, not the other way around, and that they will pay dearly for their faithfulness to him – even to their death. Their life would be very difficult on this earth, but Jesus would bring them peace because he has overcome the world. (v. 16:33).
Then Jesus turns towards heaven and prays for the disciples. He’s done instructing; now he’s praying. And he’s praying for them. In that prayer, Jesus reveals that God gave them to Jesus. These are the ones Jesus would be saving. Not the world, these disciples. He spoke that he has kept them and asked the Father to keep them while he is away. He asked to fill them with joy. He also asked that while they are in this world, the Father will keep them from the evil one. He asked that God would sanctify them in truth.
It was clear in this prayer that Jesus was not of this world and that neither were they. They were of another world, one in which they would see Jesus glorified in the presence of the Father, to see him as he is. That they would be one with Jesus as he was one with his Father. The distinction is clear. There is this world, with its evil and tribulation, and the other world, the one Jesus was going to and the one he was bringing them to as well.
But that’s not the end. Jesus also prayed for those who would yet come to believe that these, too, might be with them in this other world. These would come to believe through the word that the eleven shared. These would receive the same welcome as the eleven.
It’s an incredible prayer, one we can be positive was answered in full. Jesus only did and said what he learned from the Father, and the Father is well-pleased and eager to do what the Son asks. We know this is true because Jesus tell us. Yes, he could have lied about that, but we have good reason to believe that he didn’t. Why? Because his whole story meshes with itself and with the entirety of the Hebrew bible. Everything is seamless.
Not only that, but his actions proved that he was someone far different than ordinary. Jesus performed countless miracles, cast out demons like nobody’s business, walked on water, and even stopped violent storms immediately simply by saying, “Peace. Be still.” He talked like nobody ever talked, taught like nobody ever taught, and performed like nobody ever performed. Oh, and we might add, he never sinned. Not once. He was the first (and only) one to perfectly obey ALL of God’s commands. Always.
So, yes, we can believe that his prayer was answered. He’s not a liar. Those who claim he is are the ones who are the liars. Their father is Satan, the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning. He lies because that is his nature. He always lies. So do they.
Now, I’m going back to the beginning. The liberal Christian church has a major problem with this. One cannot help but notice that Jesus was being very exclusive in this prayer.
John 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
Out of all the nations of the world, God chose one to be his favored. Out of all the people of the world, God chose a few and gave them to Jesus. These are the ones who are born again, the only ones who will be saved. These are the ones Jesus prayed for who will be with him and the Father in heaven. The rest of the world, most of all humanity, won’t.
People don’t like that. They don’t like the idea of this at all. “Christians” have distorted this message to say that all it takes to be saved is to be baptized. Some say you need to do certain things as well, but for the most part, the idea that faith alone is all that is needed to be saved has been lost to their religion. Why? Because few have genuine faith. Few are born again. Few are saved.
So the rules were changed by man. Actually, God’s rules can never be changed except by him, but man made new rules, ones they THINK God will honor, but he won’t. That’s because they make him to be a liar. Why would he go along with something like that?
Yet that’s not enough. Liberal churches say that even THAT’S too inclusive, too restrictive. THEY say that it doesn’t matter who you pray to – as long as you pray! Buddha, Allah, you name it. It’s all one and the same. Doesn’t matter.
But, really, that’s not enough either. Some of these churches have ordained ministers who are avowed ATHEISTS teaching their congregations about the things of God. Many of these are elevated to life-long positions of church governance.
All this is absolute insanity! It doesn’t fit with the bible at all. One doesn’t need to read much of the bible to see there is a big disconnect between the bible and the everyday practice of the typical church that flies under the banner of “Christianity.”
Someone’s lying, folks. Either Jesus is or it’s those who call him a liar in their thoughts, words, or deeds. Folks, it’s not Jesus. His story is tight. And so is the story of those who actually wrote the bible. Their story is tight, too. There is no conspiracy to be found there. No, the conspiracy is with the liars, the ones that are of this world.
John 10:1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
Rest assured, no one who doesn’t belong will succeed in entering the world Jesus is in right now. Only those who are born again will see the kingdom of God.
Revelation 19:9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Luke 10:20 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
If you are among those whom Jesus prayed for in John 17, you have much to rejoice about! Nothing can remove your name from the book of life. Nothing can remove you from the palm of the Father’s hand. Nothing.
Why not sing to the world about this today?
Father, I really want to have this in the core of my being so that I am not hesitant or ashamed to share this glorious news to all men – that you desire all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Give me a burning desire so intense that I simply cannot contain it. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers