Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Jesus is the Original Message: Remain Faithful to Him (1 John 2:24)

So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us
(1 John 2:24-25,

The Apostle John was concerned that some people may be led astray by those who do not love God or live as Christians. Same concern as I have for my students and youths today. In Bible verse above he mentions a safeguard to help us when we’re not sure what to do or where to turn: “Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message” (MSG). In other words, we should remember to “remain faithful” to what we have learned since we first heard about God – the Good News about Jesus Christ, the original Message (see John 1).

If we’re not sure about the truth of a particular religion, we should compare it to the message about Jesus Christ that we read in the New Testament, in the Christian Bible. Not the kind of quoting-verses reading but full-contexts reading. This is the best and most accurate test to see if it is true or not. The Apostle was seriously concerned about people who were interested only in the ‘latest’ spiritual ideas – the religious fads. I know many such people in persons and thru social media. They are excited and very passionate to share these ‘latest’ spiritual ideas but once the ideas are outdated, they find something ‘new.’ They run from church to church or religion to religion to listen to something ‘new’ or to find a new spiritual ‘high’ especially in terms of feelings. They never seem satisfied with what they have or what they believe.

The other Christ’s disciples, such as Dr. Luke, as well as the Apostle Paul, were quite concerned about people who were searching for new ideas all the time. For example, the people in Athens were described by Luke as “seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21). Paul also challenged the early Christians in this way: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you” (2 Timothy 4:3-5).

There are countless cults and other religions around us today, even in Malaysia. You can find articles and books on them, as well as people trying to share these beliefs at shopping centre malls, local bookstores, restaurants and food courts. Many of them even go from table to table, door to door to try to find converts. Stay away! Some of them even use our terms such as “God”, “sin”, “grace”, “Bible”, even “Jesus” etc. but their interpretations and meanings are very different from the true Biblical teachings. Some of their beliefs may be quite spectacular or unusual and arouse some interest in us. It’s one thing to learn about other religions to see how their beliefs are different from our own. But it’s more dangerous to consider making another faith our own.

Gently but firmly God reminds us to stay with what we have learned and heard “from the beginning” of the Christian faith. If we remain true to that message we “will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father”; to wander around in search of something else is to give up our faith in Christ. Brothers and sisters in Christ, stay close and remain faithful to Jesus, Your Lord. Amen.

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