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August 30, 2021

Ep.1193: Am I Failing as a Christian?

Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:31]
Are we expected to change who we are or develop who we are?


[00:29:30]
Is my life supposed to be about everyone else or do I just need to focus on loving Jesus?


[00:46:52]
How often do I have to go to church and study the Bible?


Theme Scripture: Luke 6:27-28

So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.

Continue Reading

What are we measuring against?

To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.

Now we have to live as a disciple

This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?

Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Who should we confess our sins to?

The concept of confession of sin to a priest is nowhere taught in either the Old or New Testaments. In fact, the New Testament teaches that all true believers are priests. 

1 Peter 2:9-10 describes believers as a “holy priesthood” and a “royal priesthood,” “a people belonging to God.” In the Old Covenant, the Jewish nation could only approach God through its priests who offered sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of sins of the entire nation of Israel. This practice is no longer necessary because of Jesus’ one time all-encompassing sacrifice, which fulfilled the Law, thus granting Christians direct access to God for forgiveness of individual sins through Jesus Christ. 

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

The New Testament teaches that the organization of Christ’s church would have elders, deacons (1 Timothy 3), overseers (Titus 1:6-9), and pastors (Ephesians 4:11). There is never any mention of priests. Believers are told to confess their sins to God (1 John 1:9) and God is faithful and just to forgive sins as they are confessed to him. Although James 5:16 speaks of confessing trespasses to one another, this confession is in no way linked with God’s forgiveness of the trespass. 

The Roman Catholic Church bases its practice of confession to a priest primarily on John 20:23, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Because Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins, Catholics claim that that authority was passed on to their successors, i.e., the bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church. There are several problems with this interpretation. 

First, John 20:23 nowhere mentions confession of sin. Second, the scripture nowhere promises, or even hints, that the authority to forgive sins would be passed on to the successors of the apostles. Jesus’ promise was specifically directed to the apostles. Lastly, the New Testament nowhere states that the apostles would even have successors to their apostolic authority.

Therefore, should we confess our sins directly to God or do we need to confess them to a priest? We are to confess our sins to God. He has the power to forgive us.

 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

A priest does not have the power or authority to forgive sins. No man living on earth in this day and age has that authority. This fact does not negate the need we have as individuals to confess our sins openly to other believers. That practice is encouraged in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” 

Although God hears the prayers of the righteous, a righteous individual has no power to eradicate the sin of another. However, and most importantly, we Christians are admonished to always forgive others for transgressions against us. 

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) 

To learn about repentance listen to, “How Do I Live a Life of Repentance?”

(23)

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September 20, 2021

Ep.: If Adam and Eve had repented, would we be free of sin?

We do not know if Adam and Eve repented, since the Bible makes no mention of their repentance. Since Adam lived a long time (930 years – Genesis 5:5), it is quite possible that both he and Eve did repent, especially after the murder of their son Abel by his brother Cain. That act must have been devastating to our first parents and very likely impressed upon them the terrible consequences of their sin. 

However, we do not believe that neither Adam nor Eve lost their love or appreciation for God and His plan for redemption. Evidence of this appreciation is borne out by Eve’s statement after the birth of her third son Seth, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” (Genesis 4:25) In this statement she was referring to God’s promise that her seed would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). 

If Adam and Eve had repented, would we then have been free of sin? No, we would not be free of sin. Why? Unlike all of us, Adam was created perfect. He was intelligent. His thinking was not flawed. He possessed moral discernment and had free will to choose between right and wrong. God warned Adam in Genesis 2:17 that if he obeyed God’s law, he would live—but if he disobeyed, he would die. 

Because Adam was perfect the sentence of death was already passed on him if he sinned and that sentence was made very clear to Adam. Nonetheless, by his own free will, Adam chose to disobey so that he could die with his wife and not be alone. In order for Adam’s sin (and, in fact, the sins of all of his yet unborn progeny) to be forgiven, God’s justice was required—a perfect life for a perfect life. The scales of justice needed a perfect sinless man (Jesus) to die for the perfect sinful man (Adam). When Jesus died and was resurrected he not only redeemed Adam, but also the entire human race. 

God’s plan was all encompassing. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, each of their children and grandchildren, etc. down through time would have to be tested throughout their lives in order to maintain a perfect everlasting life. The testing would be ongoing. Some might pass the tests. Others would fail. Some would need a redeemer. Others might not. Each perfect sinful human would then need his own perfect sinless redeemer. That certainly would not have been a good plan. 

But, God in his infinite wisdom and foreknowledge knew Adam would sin, so he planned all of humankind’s redemption through one man’s death (Jesus’ death) long before the foundation of the earth (1 Peter 1:18-20).

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19 

When Jesus died for Adam’s sin He died for all of Adam’s yet unborn progeny as well. 

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 

What a wonderful plan! Each of fallen humanity has an opportunity to experience the sinfulness of sin and its consequences and yet each will have an opportunity for everlasting life in the future due to our Redeemer’s one time sacrifice. 

To learn more about Jesus’ ransom for Adam listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and our Salvation the Same?”

(15)

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September 08, 2021

Ep.: Do we always need to forgive others even when they cause us harm or severe pain?

Yes, there is forgiveness providing the person asking forgiveness is truly repentant. There are many scriptures that indicate that God forgives all manner of sin and shows mercy to the sinner. 

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’-and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5 

“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

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:7

The above scriptures are clear that God forgives provided the sinner is repentant. Repentance means changing one’s mind and actions for the better. Without a positive change of direction, there is no real repentance and, therefore, no forgiveness by God. 

However, if there is real repentance and God has forgiven the sinner, there are still consequences for the sin. These consequences are necessary for learning to take place. One story of betrayal and forgiveness is found in Matthew 26:69-75 and John 21:15-19. It begins with Peter denying Jesus three times and ends with Jesus reinstating Peter when he asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Each time he tells Peter to “feed my sheep” thereby canceling out the sin by the action of telling Peter to do now what he was called to do. This is a beautiful story that illustrates the cost of forgiveness and the importance of fixing what we broke. 

Is there forgiveness for those who inflict pain on you? Yes, God will grant forgiveness to those provided they are truly repentant. Should you also forgive them? The scriptures are clear that you should, even if they are not repentant or have not asked for forgiveness. 

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 

How thankful we are that God is the ultimate judge of each of us! 

To learn more about forgiveness listen to, “Did I Really Forgive Them?”

To learn more about repentance listen to, “How Do I Live a Life of Repentance?”

(6)

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August 30, 2021

Ep.: Can you be forgiven if you have premarital sex?

There are many scriptures that indicate that God forgives all manner of sin and shows mercy to the sinner. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’-and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5) 

“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) 

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) 

The above scriptures are clear that God forgives provided the sinner is repentant. Repentance means changing one’s mind and actions for the better. Without a positive change of direction, there is no real repentance and, therefore, no forgiveness by God. 

If you are truly repentant you are seeking to honor God and His laws in all aspects of your life.

To learn more about what true repentance is listen to, “How Do I Live a Life of Repentance?”

(14)

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August 30, 2021

Ep.1193: Am I Failing as a Christian?

Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:31]
Are we expected to change who we are or develop who we are?


[00:29:30]
Is my life supposed to be about everyone else or do I just need to focus on loving Jesus?


[00:46:52]
How often do I have to go to church and study the Bible?


Theme Scripture: Luke 6:27-28

So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.

Continue Reading

What are we measuring against?

To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.

Now we have to live as a disciple

This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?

Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”

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August 16, 2021

Ep.1191: Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?

Biblically clarifying WHY we preach the gospel to others

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:16:31]
Is it true that this is the only time anyone can come to Christ or they suffer the consequences?


[00:28:51]
What happens when missionaries fail to reach people or people just don't want to listen?


[00:45:32]
Did Jesus ask us to convert the world?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 28:19

To live a life as a disciple of Christ is to live a life of discipline and focus. We are walking in Jesus’ footsteps, and that means there are many things we need to do. After all, by his teachings and examples, Jesus wrote the book of our faith. So, what did Jesus expect from his followers regarding his gospel and a world full of unbelievers? When he ascended to heaven and gave us what is known as the Great Commission, what was he instructing? Are we responsible to get the good news of the gospel message out? Or are we responsible to get all the unbelievers in? If we are not sure of what he was instructing, how can we know if we are doing a good job?

Continue Reading

Jesus’ Great Commission to his followers contained several directives

After revealing that the restoration of Israel as a nation under God was some time in the future, he listed them:

  1. First was a reminder that God’s spirit would come upon them. This would give them power and direction to do God’s will beyond anything they ever knew.
  2. Next was the instruction to be witnesses for him, beginning in Jerusalem, through Israel, to neighboring lands and all the earth. This showed the small beginnings and the expansive nature that their witness efforts were to follow. They had to begin in Jerusalem because that is where the spirit would begin to guide them.The next directive Jesus gave tends to be somewhat misrepresented.
  3. He told them he had been given all authority, and they were to therefore, “...make disciples of  all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Many Christians look at this as a command to go out and convert the world, but that is not what it says. Jesus is telling his followers to find disciples from within all those nations in which they are preaching the gospel. There is a significant difference between these two interpretations. The first essentially says you need to convert the world, while the second says you need to preach throughout the world and convert as you go. We are saying it is NOT Christianity’s responsibility to convert the world to Christ now.

While this conclusion may seem radical, it does have wide scriptural support. Notwithstanding, it also creates many large-scale questions as well. Do people not need to hear the gospel in order to be saved? What about the teaching of an eternal hell? Check out our August 16, 2021 podcast, “Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?” for more. We further examine the details of this Great Commission. We also delve into several other New Testament teachings that support the concept of not having to convert the world now. The sound biblical evidence we find directs us to a broader and inspiring understanding of the power of Jesus and the gospel. Join us for this unforgettable journey!

 

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August 09, 2021

Ep.1190: Did I Really Forgive Them?

Learning to make our forgiveness toward others genuine

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:09]
How does the meaning of forgiveness vary with our circumstances?


[00:25:34]
Have you ever forgiven someone and found yourself having to do it again and again?


[00:44:56]
How can forgiving someone else dramatically change us and make us happier?


Theme Scripture: Ephesians 4:32

Forgiveness is a tough thing. The times we need to forgive are usually the times we are in no mood to forgive. It can be easy to say, “I forgive you,” but are those words reflected in my thoughts, emotions and actions? Do I say those words out of mere obligation or to just end an uncomfortable exchange? What does it mean to forgive someone anyway? Does my forgiving someone who wronged me release them from the consequences of the wrong? Is it supposed to make life go on as if the wrong never happened? Am I still obligated to forgive if the person who wronged me doesn’t care about being forgiven? So many questions that can only be answered by understanding how the Bible defines forgiveness.

Continue Reading

What does it really mean?

To “forgive” can mean several different things, even in the Bible.  The most dramatic biblical definition of forgiveness is that of granting freedom or a pardon.  Someone has broken a law and they are legally pardoned. This means they are no longer liable to the consequences of their crime and they can walk free. In the New Testament, this particular word for forgiveness is only and appropriately applied to Jesus’ sacrifice. Adam sinned and we are all born into that sin and live lives guilty of that inherited sin. Jesus came and gave his perfect life in exchange for Adam’s and made a pardon available to us through that gift.

In Scripture, when we “forgive” others, we are not pardoning anything. Another word for "forgive" in the New Testament has to do with sending something away from you. While the meaning here is not as dramatic as freedom or pardoning, it is still a formidable task. Think about an experience you have had where someone wronged you. Think about the physical pain, or the trauma, or the emotional upset, or the ripple effects they caused. Now imagine yourself pushing those things away from you so they are no longer relevant. Go ahead, close the door on them! This little exercise probably didn’t get you very far, did it. Why? Forgiveness is hard, that’s why.

To forgive - to truly send the unrest someone’s wrong has caused you away - takes more than an impulse or a thought. It requires a serious commitment to living a forgiving life. Jesus showed us how difficult a forgiving life can be when Peter asked him if forgiving his brother seven times in a day was enough. His answer was no, forgive seventy times seven! I hope you are not counting!

Check out our August 9,2021 podcast, “Did I Really Forgive Them?” for more.  Jesus told us we need to be forgiving in order to be his followers. We isolate the meaning and challenges of truly forgiving someone. We walk through the steps and thinking needed to be forgiving. Finally, we focus in on the benefits of such a decision. Join us as we tackle what can be a difficult but profoundly positive and life-changing experience. This is absolutely a journey worth taking!

 

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Ep.1187: How Can We Overcome Crushing Guilt?

Learning how to face, understand and conquer guilt and shame

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[00:17:02]
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[00:34:05]
Guilt is a warning sign - where do shame and regret fit in?


[00:49:04]
How can our faith fight back when we have done the unthinkable?


Theme Scripture: Psalm 32:5

What are we supposed to do?  What do we do when we have done something - either on purpose or by accident - that causes someone excessive harm or loss, or even tragedy? How do we go on, how do we face our family or those we have hurt? How do we live with ourselves? Crushing guilt can bring us into a place of dark and misery-ridden hopelessness. It can make our life feel joyless and pointless. The good news? As Christians, we have access to God through Jesus. While they won’t miraculously lift us out of the mire of crushing guilt, they will, if we let them, give us direction, strength and hope. We just need to be willing to do the necessary work in faith. So, how do we get there from here? We’ll start with the story of someone who has been here and is now walking this difficult road to acceptance.

Continue Reading

A car accident changed everything

Jennifer has been married for almost 20 years and is a mom of four. About five years ago, the trajectory of her life changed when she was in a car accident that took the life of another. Though not criminally negligent, Jennifer did cause the accident. She now must live with the reality of someone’s death happening as a result of something she did. Jennifer is intimately familiar with the overwhelming consequences of crushing guilt.

The first thing we need to know is that we cannot take the consequences of our guilt away. We can try and ignore them.  We can pay them lip service. Or we can even try and redirect the blame for the wrong done away from us. Yes, we can do all these things, but inevitably none of them will help us alleviate our guilt. The only way to productively and decisively manage crushing guilt is to work through it. We need to face it in all of its misery, confusion and hopelessness so we can sort it out.

Her painful story

This is by no means an easy or even a welcome task. On the contrary, the time and effort needed can be daunting. But there is good news! Not only do we have biblical guidance as to how to navigate through this mess, we also have Jennifer and other real current-day examples to help us through. Check out our July 19, 2021 podcast, “How can We Overcome Crushing Guilt?” for more. We listen to Jennifer unfold her journey beginning with the trauma of the accident. She walks us through the stages of growth that brought her to a point of healthy and godly acceptance.

As a backdrop for her story, we look at two Psalms of David written about a specific tragic event in his life. One Psalm tells the story of plowing through the guilt, and the other tells the story of what the victory over guilt looks like. We can overcome the crushing guilt in our lives. Further, we can also learn to pass on the value of our learning experience to others. Don’t miss this opportunity to unlock hope!

 

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April 19, 2021

Ep.1174: Did God Make Heaven and Hell Humanity’s Destiny? (Part I)

Uncovering who goes to heaven and what happens to planet Earth

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:07]
Does the Bible say the earth will be burned up?


[00:30:15]
What does heaven look like for the followers of Jesus?


[00:45:16]
Who exactly goes to heaven and who doesn't?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 6:10

The general consensus in Christianity is that there are two paths, two destinies that await humanity. First, there is the heavenly bliss of being with Jesus. After all, Jesus himself said he was preparing a place for his followers in heaven and that he would bring us there. Second, there is the fiery torturous eternal existence of hell. This is reserved for everybody else who did not follow Jesus. While this “two destiny” approach may sound simple, it does not stand the test of scrutiny. For starters, the fact is the vast majority of humanity has not known or accepted the name of Jesus. Does this mean God’s careful creation of humanity “in His image” was a resounding failure? And what about planet Earth? If it is doomed for a fiery end, then why did Jesus tell us to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth? These are just the beginning of some big questions, so let’s see if we can find big biblical answers!

Continue Reading

Is the earth burned up or not?

To best comprehend the eternal destiny of humanity, we need to look carefully at Bible prophecy beginning with earth. Some scriptures seem to indicate the earth will be burned up and every living thing upon it will be destroyed. While this sounds disturbing, the good news is that it is simply not true. On the contrary, we believe the earth will be an eternal habitation in a perfected state in the future. How can we say this when 2 Peter 3:10 reads “…the earth and its works will be burned up.”?

The key is understanding what is literal and what is figurative in Scripture. How would we respond to the skeptic who says we can determine something to be figurative to make it fit our narrative? The answer here is to have integrity. Not just personal integrity. We also absolutely need to maintain the clear and consistent teachings of God’s word from beginning to end. The Bible tells us what is true if we allow its message to surface!

Check out our April 19, 2021 podcast, “Did God Make Heaven and Earth Humanity’s Destiny? (Part 1)” for more. We dig into several Old Testament prophecies written at different times, in different places by different prophets. We find is a crystal-clear narrative that explains not only what will happen to earth, but why it will happen. These biblical texts are an absolute key in understanding the destiny of humanity in God’s plan.

How do you REALLY get to heaven?

With the question of earth settled, we next take a scriptural look at heaven.  Who goes to heaven, why do they go and what do they have to do to qualify? The bottom line is: If we want to know where the righteous and unrighteous of humanity go for eternity, we need to understand what is real and what is not according to the Bible. Join us for this revealing two-part discovery series!

 

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