May 23, 2012

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Peter is still rightly fixated on Jesus Christ alone. Far too many churches effectively teach “Jesus and…” It is true that the Bible is of great importance and is a wonderful gift from God, but we are not saved by Jesus and the Bible. It is true that the Church is the Body of Christ, and every believer needs to be actively planted and participating in it, but we are not saved by Jesus and the Church. And it is even true that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, and is the One who brings the conviction of sin that is necessary for repentance and salvation, but still, we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone, not in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Frankly, all these other things can and have been counterfeited. In competition with the Bible there are the Koran and Book of Mormon, not to mention Buddhist sutras and many other “sacred” writings. Many religions effectively suck people into organizations that pervert the whole concept of “church” in one way or another. And there are multitudes of evil spirits operating in the world today. Just because something is “spiritual” doesn’t mean it’s holy! As a matter of fact, a tract from a Buddhist cult was put in our mailbox just yesterday that talked about “spiritual alignment!” Some genuinely Christian churches today put so much emphasis on manifestations that may or may not be of the Holy Spirit that you hardly hear anything about Jesus. The way to discern if a manifestation is indeed of the Holy Spirit is if it exalts Jesus, because the Holy Spirit will always do that. This whole emphasis on Jesus is of course a terrible affront to every person and organization controlled by the devil, because he hates Jesus! That’s why there’s such a push in the US right now against any public prayer in Jesus’ name. Pious-sounding prayers to “almighty God” don’t raise much stir, but the minute someone starts praying to “Lord Jesus,” like they know Who they’re talking to, all hell breaks loose, literally. Christians must not back down from the supremacy of Jesus, or stop using His name rightly, in thanks and praise rather than profanity, because it is at the name of Jesus that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. (Philippians 2:10-11)

This is a powerful Word, and I’ve got to remember and act on it. In my public prayers I generally start off with “Heavenly Father,” or “Lord.” I don’t feel that’s bad, particularly since very few non-Christians have any concept of God as Father, but they also don’t know that when I say Lord, I mean Jesus. I need to be intentional in bringing out the name of Jesus in my interactions with others. Particularly in Japan, there’s no telling what image comes up in someone’s mind when you say “God!”

Father, thank You for this clear Word, particularly as I’ll be doing hospital visitation today. May my words draw people to Jesus, and not to me! This is going to require getting out of some habits, but that’s a good thing. Help me keep growing, so that I may be increasingly effective in drawing people to Jesus Christ as Lord, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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