Over 2,000 Downloads…and STILL Counting

September 28, 2013 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Over 2,000 Downloads…and STILL Counting!

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210X350FatScraper-shadowDonna and I are very pleased to announce that a milestone had been reached. The FREE audio MP3 series, The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel, has achieved over 2,000 downloads to date—and that number is still growing daily.

What is even more remarkable about this fact is that this entire audio teaching series comes with a Creative Commons 3.0 license, which allows people to give it away to others for FREE too! Thus, while there have been over TWO THOUSAND direct downloads from our download page on Archive.org, there are likely several thousands more copies circulating out there on MP3 players, Compact Discs, tablet devices, smartphones, and etc.

We have been told by people that they have installed this series on the devices of other people, such as family members and friends. Hence, it is quite reasonable to assume that 3-5 times this number are in circulation, and perhaps even more. That means that this series may be in the possession of over 10,000 people by now…and we are absolutely THRILLED at that possibility!

Donna and I want to express our gratitude again to the international team that came together with us in order to get this series produced and distributed. Several of them do not want to have any attention given to them, as they prefer to have all of the attention on Jesus Christ and His REAL Gospel instead. So out of respect for their wishes, I will not name them all here. Nevertheless, they were a huge blessing to us, and vital to the production and success of this series. (Thank you all!)

If you are reading this and have not downloaded your own copy of this series yet, then let me encourage you to do so. This series is absolutely FREE, and you can download it over any broadband or WiFi wireless Internet connection in the world onto your computer or portable device. You can then transfer it to other devices as you see fit. Again, you can also give copies of this series away to others for free. Simply click here, or upon the top left banner graphic for this series, and you will be transported directly to the download page within a new browser window. (However, the banner in the right column of this page will take you instead to our previous announcement regarding this series.)

A series description is provided upon the download page. The download instructions are found by scrolling down beneath the description text.

If you have already downloaded the series, then please be sure to tell others where to go in order to obtain a copy, or just give them a copy directly. It is so important within these days of widespread apostasy that the TRUTH of God’s unadulterated message of Jesus Christ be understood. A thorough knowledge of the REAL Gospel preached by the apostles is the first step toward immunizing people from many of the heresies that circulate today. Amen.

Lastly, if you are on Facebook, you can find our page for this series at the following link. Please click the “like” button on it, and do whatever else you can in order to spread the word about this important series. Here is that link: The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel Facebook Page

Thank you for reading this announcement. It was certainly our pleasure to bring it to you. :)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich & Donna Vermillion

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Are You a Mature Christian? (Take the Tests and Find Out!)

July 30, 2013 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Are You a Mature Christian?
(Take the Tests and Find Out!)

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Surprised Baby B&WIf you are a professing Christian, let me ask you this: How spiritually mature are you? Many of the people that I run into online and within congregational settings, seem to have a much higher estimation of their own spiritual maturity than what the facts seem to bear. Of course, the Bible tells us why this is the case:

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.

(Proverbs 21:2, NKJV)

All of us are susceptible to assuming we are “right” (or in the case of our topic here, “spiritually mature”) when we might not be so. Consequently, we need a “measuring stick” or “standard” by which we can accurately assess our behavior (i.e., to see if we are really “right” in God’s eyes).

The source of that measure, of course, is the Bible itself. Understandably, the Scriptures also provide us the “measure” of spiritual maturity too. So are you ready to take the test? If so, then be very ready for a possible “reality check” that you may NOT have expected…

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The Biblical Standard

Here is the exact “measure” of spiritual maturity provided within the Scriptures:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

(Hebrews 5:12-6:3, NKJV)

Looking at this passage above, we see TWO “tests” of spiritual maturity: Namely, the test of “Behavior” and “Comprehension.” I will begin by explaining the first initially because it is also a test to see if a person is truly saved at all.

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TEST ONE: Behavior

This first test is identified within the Hebrews passage as whether a person has “their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” i.e., whether they are consistently living a godly life. This single point is explained in the Bible as both a test of salvation itself, but it is also a test of spiritual maturity if the person has truly been born again. Let’s begin with the salvation part of this test, therefore, and then move on to the other afterwards.

Test 1A: The Test of Faith

Although Paul explained to the Ephesians that although “works” can NEVER earn a person salvation or righteousness before God, he also clearly stated that “good works” (a term that is ONLY used in the New Testament to describe the works of Jesus and born again Christians) are expected of a truly saved person:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

(Ephesians 2:8-10, NKJV)

Paul said above that God had “prepared beforehand” (in the KJV, “ordained”) that we should walk in these “good works” that he mentioned. Paul elaborated on this quite a bit more within his letter to Titus, wherein he explained by the Spirit of God that the very SAME grace that “saves” ALSO “teaches” a person to live godly in Christ Jesus…which is a part of the “good works” for which Jesus saved us to perform:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

(Titus 2:11-15, NKJV)

If a person is NOT demonstrating that they have the “grace” that teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” and how to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,” then that same person may NOT have the same “grace” that SAVES either. Consequently, Paul had earlier told Titus that a person’s behavior can reveal that they are “denying Christ” in their hearts, and thus, are “disqualified” from every doing the “good works” which God has ordained for genuine Christians to perform:

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

(Titus 1:15-16, NKJV)

The “works” of a person (i.e., behavior) can reveal that they are “disqualified for every good work” that God has ordained for believers. Again, the term “good works” (plural) is only used in the New Testament to describe the works of Christ and genuine believers, while the phrase “good work” (singular) is only used in the New Testament regarding specific works that God has done Himself or commended of others. (To verify these facts that I am sharing, please click HERE to see a page listing all the “good works” passages, and click HERE to see a page listing all of the “good work” passages.)

The apostle John then explained these same principles in even greater detail within 1 John chapter three:

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

(1 John 3:2-10, NKJV)

Thus, we have Test 1A identified: The very first thing a person needs to “test” is their own salvation, if they find that they are having difficulty living a godly life in Christ Jesus and avoiding habitual sin (i.e., “practicing sin” as a habit, versus “practicing righteousness” as a habit).

Of course, the word “practice” implies imperfection. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect”? Thus, John was not saying above that a truly born again person could not commit a sin categorically because of their new nature in Christ, but that they will not “practice” such behavior habitually because their consciences will not allow them to do so. Similarly, John was not saying that an unsaved false-Christian could not do something righteous from time to time, or that they cannot put on a show of piety when they are around other people. However, an unsaved sinner cannot “practice righteousness” habitually because they have an inner nature that “defaults” toward sin:

How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, Who drinks iniquity like water!

(Job 15:16, NKJV)

As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

(Romans 3:10-26, NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God….Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”

(John 3:3-7 excerpt, NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ…

(2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NKJV)

Apart from Christ, mankind is naturally inclined toward sin. No matter how hard they try, they cannot possibly “practice righteousness” habitually because it is not in their nature. Thus, the unsaved false-Christian might put on a good show when he or she is around Christians (often because they know that is what is expected of them), but both their private life and general habits betray their true nature. If you watch their habits and listen to their conversation over time, they will demonstrate their true character:

For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

(Luke 6:43-45, NKJV)

Therefore, Paul admonished the highly sinful Corinthians to check up on themselves to see if they were really saved, since they seemed either unwilling or unable to live godly lives:

For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced. This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare—since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

(2 Corinthians 12:20-13:5, NKJV)

Thus, again, we can see Test 1A made clear to us from God’s Word: If you have not been able to live a godly life in Christ Jesus consistently, despite your best efforts, then the first thing that you need to do is to check up on yourself to see if you are genuinely saved or not. This is particularly true if you have been a professing Christian for a number of years, and yet, are living a hypocritical life of “habitual sinfulness.”

To check up on yourself in this regard, let me direct you to my own article, The Supreme Value of Righteousness, for further information and instructions. That particular article also contains a little of my own testimony, as well as another “test” that will help you to check up on your salvation experience specifically. Please do not delay, however, because Jesus Christ Himself said that “few” people find the “narrow gate” and “difficult way” that leads to life, because “many” have been deceived into following the various “broad way” false-gospels instead. Thus, such people will discover to their HORROR and TOO LATE that they were never saved, despite their professions otherwise during their lifetime:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. MANY will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

(Matthew 7:13-23, NKJV, ALL-CAPS and underlined emphasis mine)

The same “many” who follow the false gospels are the very same “many” who discover that they are damned. That is a terrifying thought!

So for convenience sake, please allow me to also provide for you here three Bible “short lists” of major sins that demonstrate clearly that a person is not really saved at all (again, these lists are certainly not exhaustive):

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

(1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV)

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

(Ephesians 5:2-7, NKJV)

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

(Revelation 21:8, NKJV)

Thus, please do not delay to study The Supreme Value of Righteousness right away if you have ANY of the signs of possibly being a false convert, as we have described regarding Test 1A within this section.

Now, let’s move on to the next part of Test One…

Test 1B: The Test of Carnality

While it is true that Paul was becoming quite concerned by the time of his second letter to the Corinthians that some of them might not actually be born again, it is also true that in his first letter he chalked up much of that behavior to something called “carnality.”

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men.

(1 Corinthian 3:1-3, NKJV)

It is interesting to note that Paul said that “carnal” Christians behave somewhat like “mere men.” The Amplified Bible expands this out a bit more for clarification purposes, and here is how it expresses verse three:

For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?

(1 Corinthians 3:3, AMP)

In short, sometimes it can be quite hard to tell the difference between an unsaved false-Christian who was never saved, and a “carnal” Christian who needs to grow up and start behaving as they should.

I should point out that “strife” in and of itself is not a sign of “carnality” if it is done according to the Word. After all, we are to “contend for the faith” (see Jude verse 3-4) and the apostles often confronted people in sin and error (note Acts chapter eight, for example, as well as James’ admonition in James 5:19-20). However, frivolous fights that are based in jealousy and envy are certainly baby behaviors wherein no mature Christian would engage (except to perhaps rebuke those who were doing so).

However, what does this word “carnal” mean? Let’s define it.

The original Greek word that was used by Paul when he wrote this letter to the Corinthians is “σαρκικός” (or spelled phonetically using our Latin characters, sarkikos, which is cross referenced in Greek dictionaries and lexicons by Strong’s #4559). This word is derived from another Greek root word “σάρξ” (sarx, Strong’s #4561), which means the flesh or body. Consequently, the Greek word for “carnal” means, “fleshly, carnal,” or we could say, “under the control of the animal appetites…governed by mere human nature” (Thayer’s Lexicon). Our English word “carnal” is actually derived from the Latin term “carnālis” (Dictionary.com), from which the Spanish term for “meat” (carne) is derived. In short, we could say that people who have their “minds on the flesh” are proverbial “meat heads” that need to grow up in Christ!

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

(Romans 8:1, NKJV)

Returning to our Hebrew quote from the top of this article, we find that those who “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” are the ones who are spiritually mature. In the Romans passage above, we find that this is because the person has their MIND set upon the things of the Spirit and not what the body craves. A few other passages explain to us how this is supposed to look:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

(Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot….Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

(An excerpt from 1 Peter chapters 1-2, NKJV)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

(Ephesians 4:11-32, NKJV)

We can see from the above passages that in order to “walk in the spirit” with our minds focused upon the things of God, we need to have our minds renewed by God’s Word. This is done directly from God’s Word as we study it individually (e.g., see 2 Timothy 2:15), but it is also clear from above that Jesus Christ has ordained it that godly ministers teach His people. (Please note my emphasis on the word “godly,” because there are “false” ministers abounding these days, who are quite ungodly; please see Matthew chapter 24 for Jesus’ warning that false ministers would so prolific in these Last Days, and compare that passage also with 2 Timothy chapters 3-4, 2 Peter chapters 2-3, and Jude).

The genuinely born-again Christian who seeks to learn God’s Word in this manner will, over time, “grow up into Him which is the Head, even Christ.” In other words, they will mature. As they mature, they will “put off the old man with his deeds,” referring to the old nature we had before we were born again and to which our flesh was previously trained. As their minds are renewed they will then discipline their bodies and habits in order to conform to the “new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” that we are through being born again. In short, they will behave more and more like Christ Jesus Himself, as they genuinely continue to mature in Christ:

Now by this we know that we know Him [Jesus], if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him [Jesus] ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

(1 John 2:3-6, NKJV, bracketed notes for clarification, mine)

Thus, we have clearly identified Test 1B: The Test of Carnality.

In essence, a genuinely maturing Christian will act less and less like the unsaved world in which they live, and more and more Christ-like in character, behavior, and genuine holiness.

Summarizing Test One

It has been demonstrated from the Bible that this test should be applied in two ways:

In discussing Test 1A, I have shown from the Scriptures that “practicing sin” habitually may be proof that a person was never genuinely born again (saved), despite the fact that they may profess to be a “Christian” (or perhaps identify themselves by a denomination). They are still in their sins, and thus, if they were to die in that state—despite professing to be a Christian—they will be horrified to discover TOO LATE that they were never saved at all!

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it….

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

(An except from Matthew 7:13-23, NKJV)

In discussing Test 1B, I have shown from the Scriptures that a genuinely born-again Christian who still behaves like a lost sinner (to include acting like the unsaved false-Christians described beforehand) is “carnal” or “fleshly-minded,” and they need to grow up. This is achieved over time through prayer, worship, and most importantly, through studying the Scriptures (directly and under the teaching of godly ministers of Christ).

By the way, we ministers are still always growing too, so this applies to all Christians and not just the non-clergy.

Now, it is time to get into Test 2 for spiritual maturity, and this is “where the rubber REALLY meets the road” (to use a common American colloquialism). If you have felt that you were doing pretty good until now, then get ready to have a major “reality check” to see if you are walking in genuine spiritual maturity…

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TEST TWO: Mastery of Fundamental Biblical Knowledge

Let us review once again what Hebrews told us about spiritual maturity:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

(Hebrews 5:12-6:3, NKJV)

Paul listed the foundational doctrines found within the “elementary principles of Christ”:

  1. Repentance from dead works (e.g. compare Hebrews 9:14 with Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 2:11-15 )
  2. Faith towards God (e.g., note Paul’s statement in Acts 26:19-20 about what he preached everywhere, plus Romans chapters 4 and 10)
  3. The doctrine of baptisms (note that this is a single doctrine, but that “baptisms” is plural, meaning that there is more than one type; e.g., please compare Acts 1:4-8 with Acts 2:38-39, 10:44-48, and 11:15-18)
  4. Laying on of hands (e.g., compare Acts 6:6, 8:17, 9:12, 13:3, and 28:8)
  5. The resurrection of the dead (e.g., compare 1 Corinthians chapter 15 with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2)
  6. Eternal judgment (e.g. compare Jesus words in John 3:16-21 with Matthew 7:13-23 and Revelation chapter 20)

These are the essential “elementary principles of Christ” that ANY and EVERY mature believer has already mastered, and moved beyond. (Note: I provided only a few sample passages for each item above, and not an exhaustive list of references for each doctrine listed.)

We should also add to this list above the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself, since it is ONLY through THAT doctrine that one can be saved and learn these other principles.

Thus, in all, there are seven core doctrines that each Christian—if they are mature—should have already mastered, and know “like the back of their hand.”Along with these, as they are listed in Hebrews, we have associated core doctrines of the Christian faith that are logically contained within these; chief among these would be the doctrines of the Deity of Christ and the Trinity (the denial of either of which makes a person a heretic, and thus, unsaved; but unless you know these doctrines, you cannot even understand why my point is irrefutably biblical and true).

Thus, to be a truly mature believer, you must KNOW what it is that you believe! Or stated better, you must know what God said about these subjects, in His Word, and be familiar with them to the point that you can teach these same things to others on-demand, without having to use notes or other such “aids.”

TEST TWO IDENTIFIED: Can you, without ANY supplemental aid (such as a “statement of faith” or handy outline) open up your Bible, and explain these basic doctrines to another person clearly? (Again, I am talking about the basic doctrines of the faith that are listed above, and not every doctrine of the faith.)

This is where the proverbial “rubber meets the road,” my friend: If you cannot explain very easily, using only your Bible, the core Christian doctrines such as these (and the other related basic doctrines of the faith, such as the Trinity, Deity of Christ, and etc.), then you are NOT a mature Christian.

I do not care what you think about it; you simply cannot be “mature” and be “ignorant” of the elementary principles of the doctrines of Christ at the same time. That would be a self-contradiction, and thus, it cannot possibly be a reality. Either you know your God and His Word, and live a godly life accordingly, or you are a carnal and immature Christian (or unsaved). You must demonstrate both knowledge of Christ and godliness, in order to be spiritually mature in Christ:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

(2 Corinthians 10:4-6, NKJV)

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

(Ephesians 3:14-19, NKJV)

…[until] we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ…

(Ephesians 4:13-15, NKJV, clarifying note in brackets mine)

CLARIFICATION: Yes, when teaching others the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, even a mature Christian might have to look up a passage or two wherein they may remember the quote itself, but cannot remember exactly where it is located. That is normal, unless a person has a photographic memory and does not need such handy resources from time to time. So I am not saying that you cannot use a concordance or some other handy reference for that purpose.

However, if you are NOT familiar enough with your Bible to teach these core doctrines to others—at the spur of the moment, on-demand—without the use of theological “aids” such as your denomination’s statement of faith, or some check list that someone gave you, then you cannot possibly be a mature Christian. You are still a baby or child spiritually speaking. You need to grow up “into Him which is the Head, Christ,” by learning the fundamental doctrines of the faith that are contained in your Bible, but which are not yet fully in your heart and mind.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

(Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)

To summarize:

  • You can live a reasonably godly life, and still be spiritually immature (i.e., a “baby” or “child”) in Christ simply because you do not KNOW CHRIST and His doctrines, through a reasonable comprehension of His Word.
  • On the other hand, you can be a theological scholar and yet be completely unsaved if you are still “practicing sin” habitually (and seminaries are full of unsaved theological scholars, frankly).
  • You need to pass BOTH parts of the “maturity test” in order to be a genuinely mature Christian, i.e., you must be one who is born again and living a godly life in Christ AND who can articulate to others the essential doctrines of Christ easily, from your own Bible, WITHOUT any help from others, or written aids.

An Illustration

I have often encountered people who are very theologically “sophisticated” on the surface, but who are clearly immature as believers. (I am merely assuming here they were actually saved, although I certainly wondered about some of them.) This has happened with regard to people from all sorts of denominations, such as Baptist, Assemblies of God, & etc, as well as non-denominational groups of every kind. They have their beliefs, of course, but many seem to struggle in their ability to articulate those beliefs from the Scriptures directly (especially within such a way that demonstrates sound reasoning).

However, I most commonly come across this phenomenon whenever discussing the Bible with people who consider themselves “Reformed Theology” adherents (e.g., Lutherans, Calvinists, Presbyterians, etc.). This group tends to sound the most “sophisticated” with regard to their doctrinal beliefs, but upon further examination many are found to be rather shallow in their actual understanding of the Bible itself. When that is the case, such people will use plenty of theological terminology (i.e., the “buzz words” of their particular denomination), but yet rarely quote from the Scriptures themselves in order to support their alleged beliefs.

Generally, whenever I try to explain a point to them using Scripture alone, they seem baffled by that fact. Based upon their reaction, it would almost seem that many of them think that I just stepped off of a spaceship and said, “Greetings, earthling!” They simply have no idea why I would want to quote the Bible—and ONLY the Bible—as being the sole source for my doctrine, and the measure by which I am testing theirs. At that point, they typically  then ask me from where I get my theology.

(Note: Again, my answer is “I get my theology from the Bible,” because no other source matters as much.)

Of course, such people are demonstrating themselves to be “carnal” (immature) already because of their denominational identification. The very fact that they are asking me where I get my theology (especially since I am quoting the Bible, and thus, am already showing where I get my theology) proves that they are sectarian, and thus, carnal:

For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?…

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

(Excerpts from 1 Corinthians chapters 1 and 3, NKJV)

Nevertheless, it is hard to get them to understand how immature they really are by pointing out their sectarian carnality. People who are that self-labelled consider themselves “superior” to most other groups, and thus, it is hard for them to comprehend that this very sense of sectarian superiority is proof of immaturity.

Thus, I have found that the best way to confront this is to ask them simply, “Are you able to take out your Bible at any moment, and using ONLY your Bible, to explain any of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith to someone using that one source alone? In other words, without resorting to your denominational statement of faith, the Apostle’s Creed, notes, or any other aid, are you familiar enough with these doctrines from the Scriptures themselves that you can explain them to another person WITHOUT any help?”

It is rare that I find one who can (and generally they ask me why I want to know). So I quote the Hebrews passage to them, and then tell them the same thing that I have proven within this article: If you are not grounded enough in the elementary principles of the doctrines of Christ to be able to explain them to another person without some sort of “crutch” to help you, then you are an immature Christian and “you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God”:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

(Hebrews 5:12-6:3, NKJV, underlined emphasis mine)

My friend, even if you are saved: If you are NOT living a godly lifestyle and/or you cannot teach others the essentials of the Christian faith, then you are still a spiritually immature “baby” or “child.” You still need to grow up.

Oh, and don’t think that every “Christian minister” can pass these tests either, my friend.

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A Loving Challenge To Ministers

The late great evangelist, George Whitefield, is quoted as having said:

The Lord enabled me to open my mouth boldly against unconverted ministers; to caution tutors to take care of their pupils; and also to advise ministers particularly to examine the experience of candidates for ordination. For I am verily persuaded the generality of preachers talk of an unknown and unfelt Christ; and the reason why congregations have been so dead is, because they have had dead men preaching to them. O that the Lord may quicken and revive them, for His own name’s sake! For how can dead men beget living children? It is true, indeed, God may convert men by the devil, if He pleases, and so He may by unconverted ministers; but I believe He seldom makes use of either of them for this purpose. No, the Lord will choose vessels made meet by the operation of the blessed Spirit for His sacred use.

(Online Source)

And the great evangelist from the First Great Awakening above was not the first one to observe this phenomenon of unsaved ministers, for Paul (e.g., 2 Corinthians chapter 11), Peter (2 Peter chapters 2-3), and Jude discussed them at length, as well. Thus, we can understand three very clear points with this regard to this phenomenon:

  1. No alleged “minister” is consistently able to help others experience what they themselves have not; so if they are unsaved, likewise most of their followers will be unsaved.
  2. No carnal and spiritually immature “minister” (i.e., one who either lives an ungodly life, and/or who is unable to articulate the basic principles of the Christian faith on-demand) is able to help their followers to grow beyond their own spiritual level of maturity. If they are carnal, so will be most of those who follow their “lead.”
  3. Every Christian needs to be able to know how to “test” the salvation and spiritual maturity of others—including ministers—in order to be sure that they are not being led to a “ditch” by a “blind man” (i.e., either an unsaved false minister or a carnal Christian who has no business leading others).

Moreover, here is one of the several passages in the Bible explains these very same facts above:

And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

(Luke 6:39-40, NKJV)

Consequently, this article has some very practical uses for all Christians beyond your own immediate need to test your spiritual maturity. You need to know how to check out the “preachers” too!

When I used to pastor within local congregations, I would take some of my Wednesday evening services and open it up to questions from the congregation. I not only found this to be particularly helpful to me at those times when a specific topic did not seem to be clear in my own mind after my time in prayer, but it also proved to be extremely helpful (and appreciated) by the people in attendance too.

“What are you all struggling with? What Bible questions do you have? What problems are you facing?,” I would ask. Once the first person asked their question, I would then take everyone through the Bible in order to answer it for the benefit of those present (or who listened to the cassette tape later… yes, I just dated myself a bit with that comment). Then the next person would ask their question, I would answer, and then the next, and so on.

Of course, I did start off by telling the congregation that I am NOT omniscient. Thus, I told them that if I do not know the answer, I reserved the right to not answer their question right then (or if I felt that the inquiry was about a personal matter that was inappropriate to address publicly, or if the answer required more time than I had, etc.). Nevertheless, I typically answered every question that I was asked—from the Bible, with clear and logical explanations that satisfied the person making inquiry. Moreover, with regard to the “elementary principles of the doctrines of Christ,” I have never been unable to answer the questions asked of me.

Preachers and pastors, can you do that? If you cannot, then you are still spiritual children or babies, and you need to grow up—so that the people you attempt to “teach” can finally begin to grow up too:

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

(James 3:1-2, NKJV)

Frankly, most “ministers” are be terrified by the thought of ever doing such a thing publicly. Most of the preachers that I have met throughout the years are far more comfortable when “preparing a message” than when called upon to provide instruction on the spot in answer to specific questions.

Thankfully, I do know several godly ministers of Christ who are very good at answering questions on the fly, because they are spiritually mature Christians who are also faithful to their calling. However, I have met many others who would be completely unable to do that. I have also seen videos of “famous preachers” being asked impromptu questions and being unable to address them on-demand. In short, either charisma and personality, nor a good marketing department, can ever be substitutes for genuine spiritual maturity.

Another Illustration

Let me give you an example of how common it is for very immature Christians to be in “leadership” positions within churches today. I have a very good and godly minister friend named Raymond Luster. He is an amazing man of God with a solid grasp of the Scriptures, and I am very honored to call him my close friend.

Raymond spends most of his time mentoring other ministers rather than filling pulpits, however, because he is a real “leader of leaders.” (He also does not particularly care to be “seen by men” either, because he is faithful to his own calling before the Lord; please note Matthew 23:5 in comparison with Galatians 1:10.) Consequently, he is often asked by pastors to help them train their leadership too.

As I remember this particular story, he was visiting with a particular pastor one day in that man’s office. They were discussing that man’s desire to have his associate pastoral staff trained in leadership skills. After a while, Raymond said to this pastor, “What you don’t understand is that your ministers first need to go through the catechism.” Neither men are Roman Catholic or Lutheran (two groups which serve as examples of those which use “catechisms” to school people into their religious beliefs). So the pastor just looked at Raymond kind of funny, and did not immediately reply.

Raymond was simply trying to provoke the man to think, and was not suggesting that the guy join a new denomination. So he grinned real big at the pastor’s reaction, and told him to call his associate pastors into the room.

When the four or five associate pastors arrived, Raymond looked at this group and asked them all,”Which of you can open your Bible for me right now, and prove to me from the Scriptures that Jesus Christ is God?” In short, he was asking them to demonstrate that they knew how to teach on the Deity of Christ without any aids or notes, which is a sign of genuine biblical maturity; thus, it is certainly a fundamental ability for any person to master before venturing into the “ministry” (although heretics do it all the time, of course).

When he asked them that question these men looked around at each other baffled. Not even one of them could do it.

Raymond then turned around to the pastor and said, “See! Your people don’t even know the basic doctrines of Christianity. How can I teach them ‘leadership’ when they are not even mature Christians?”

And by the way, this same principle also applies to the many self-appointed “Internet” teachers that I run into online (and especially on Facebook). If you are living an ungodly life, and/or you cannot open up your Bible and address the fundamentals of the faith with someone on the spot, then you need to (1) Make sure that YOU are saved; (2) Realize that even if you are, you are yet “carnal,” and (3) That you need to stop trying to teach others, and instead let someone else teach YOU the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

(Hebrews 5:12-14, NKJV))

Christians: It is certainly time for the Body of Christ to grow up (preachers included).

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A FREE Resource

I realize that this article may have seemed a bit like too much of a “reality check” for some reading it. However, I had to express this truth to you because I would be held accountable otherwise:

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

(Acts 20:26-27, NKJV)

According to Ephesians 4:11-16, it is my job as a minister to teach the truth of God’s Word in love for the maturing of the saints (see also James 5:19-20). So I have hopefully given you something major to “chew on,” and that you appreciate the clarity and frankness with which I have written this article. However, I want to give you something else too, which will help you to master some of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. It will teach you the proper methods of Bible study, as well.

I teamed up with some very blessed brothers and sisters from around the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom, to put together a FREE audio teaching series, which you can learn about (and subsequently download) by clicking here, or by clicking on the following banner link:

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Download instructions are on that same page underneath the description. So are the reviews of some of the many people who have listened to that series already. So please take advantage of this free resource, and even share it with others, so that you (and they) can grow in to genuine maturity in Christ Jesus.

Moreover, I would like to recommend also another of my key articles on this very website, Four Characteristics of Sound Doctrine. This teaching will show you some of the biblical principles by which you can ensure that your own understanding of the Bible is sound, and by which you can test the doctrines of others, as well.

Lastly, if this article was a blessing to you, then please “like” it or “tweet” it so that others can know about it too. You can also print this article, or create an email-ready PDF of this page, using the feature for that purpose found at the very top of this article. Feel free to also post a comment below.

Now for a biblical benediction in closing:

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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Joel Osteen’s ‘Mantra’

November 20, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Joel Osteen’s ‘Mantra’

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A "spoof" of Joel Osteen's book, "Your Best Life Now," which portrays Joel as a Hindu, and is entitled, "Your Best Life Next Time" (referencing reincarnation beliefs).

This widely circulated “Hindu Edition” spoof of Joel Osteen’s famous heretical book, “Your Best Life Now,” was just too funny and too appropriate for me to not use for this post. (Click to enlarge.)

If you have ever watched Joel Osteen’s “church” services from Lakewood “Church” in Houston, Texas, you have probably seen him lead the congregation and television viewing audience into making a “positive confession” right before he begins his teaching. What you may NOT know about that “confession” is that Joel — consciously or unconsciously — is programming his audience to receive his false doctrine without ANY question or discernment.

(Let me note briefly that I have hyper-linked many of the words in this article to Dictionary.com in order to provide definitions for terms that might not be readily understood, especially by those for whom English is a second language. So if you do not understand a particular word or phrase, simply hold your cursor over it to see if a message appears that indicates there is a link there for you to click.)

“Now,” someone might object, “How can you say that about Joel’s innocent confession? It is simply a profession of faith that we are going to be teachable and to learn from God’s Word.” Oh, is it? We will take a closer look at that confession and find out that there is more to it than readily meets the eye.

However, before we get into that detailed examination of the “Lakewood Church Confession,” let us first take a look at the word “mantra” which I used in the title of this article. You will readily see as we progress how accurate a word this is for us to use to describe what Joel Osteen encourages his followers to do (and why I picked the spoof book graphic to the right for this post). Here is the definition:

1. Hinduism: A word or formula, as from the Veda, chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer.

2. An often repeated word, formula, or phrase, often a truism: e.g. If I hear the “less is more” mantra one more time, I’ll scream.

(Source: Dictionary.com)

Now as we get into studying this “confession” of theirs, you will find that the NET EFFECT thereof is the same as the “mantra” definition #1 above: Namely, that it is an “incantation” (of a sorts) that takes place, through which the people are led into programming themselves to be deceived by the man.

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Word of Faith, or Word of Poison?

To begin, let me note that this “Lakewood Church Confession” was actually created by John Osteen, Joel’s father, many years ago. John was a very respected leader within the “Word of Faith Movement,” and had the typical “confession” theology that prevailed in those circles for many years and even today (though “money” now dominates their attention more than “faith” or “confession” typically). That brand of theology contains a mix of biblical truth with significant error. As it has proliferated since Kenneth Copeland became more prominent within the movement back in the 1980s, it is also mixed with Masonic doctrines as well.

I came out of that background myself, and even served as an Associate Pastor on the staff of a then-4,000-member “Word of Faith” church. So I know “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” of those doctrines. (And Osteen’s use of  “confession” is one that comes under the category of the “ugly,” as you shall soon see.) However, rather than get into a detailed analysis thereof, let me just offer here a few observations for the purpose of this article…

There is a fairly old saying that points out that, “Rat poison is actually 98% perfectly good corn meal.” Obviously, just 2% of poison is enough to turn a perfectly good “dinner” into a “death sentence” for any rat that dares to feed on the meal they are offered. Likewise, heretics often mix their spiritual “poison” with Scriptures that seem to support their thesis only at first glance.

There is a term within the legal profession that goes by the Latin phrase, prima facie, whereby they describe a lawsuit which appears legitimate at first, but has not yet been tested in a court of law against all the available facts. Heretics absolutely THRIVE on presenting “plausible looking” doctrines which seem to be authentic, but which are actually incapable of surviving close scrutiny. A closer examination of their false doctrines reveals that what appears to be truth is actually a myth.

(By the way, I teach on this subject of “truth verses myth” at some length in my free MP3 audio series, The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel, which you can download FOR FREE by clicking here to visit the download page.)

In the case of the “confession” theology found within the Word of Faith circles, this mixture of error and Masonic heresies with God’s Word, creates a dangerous mix of “spiritual rat poison” for those who accept or study it. Thus, I highly recommend that you stay away from such teaching, as any effort to “feed on the good” necessarily causes you to mentally “ingest” the “poison’ that is mixed therein.

But since I do not want to expand this article too far from it’s original topic, I will leave this subject here at present. I will have to write on this issue separately at a later date. Please check back to this website frequently to read it when it is posted, or simply sign up for our Feedburner™ notifications by clicking here to be updated about all our posts.

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Confession of Deception

Getting back to the “Lakewood Confession”: The DANGER with Joel’s pre-instruction confession is NOT found within the first two sentences. That opening portion is actually pretty nice, and tends to lull the person into not questioning the remainder of the mantra.

So the DANGER of the “confession” that they repeat before EVERY service at Lakewood “Church” is found in what FOLLOWS, starting at the third sentence. Here is the full confession (as copy/pasted from the Lakewood FAQ page, last accessed on November 20, 2012):

This is my Bible. I am what it says I am, I have what it says I have, I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess; My mind is alert, My heart is receptive, I will never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the Word of God. I will never be the same, never, never, never, I will never be the same, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s now begin to dissect this mantra and find out where the danger lies therein…

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Begging the Question

The FIRST problem found in the Lakewood mantra is that it is founded upon a logical fallacy known as “Begging the Question” (aka “Circular Reasoning”). The confession first ASSUMES that the “teaching” which is about to follow is BIBLICAL, and thus, will actually convey genuine Christian doctrine.

However, logically, one should not merely ASSUME something is fact (or true), but rather they must PROVE it to be so — especially if there is any question in the matter — BEFORE accepting it as such. So in terms of doctrine, one should always prove that a doctrine is sound and congruent with the Scriptures BEFORE accepting it as being true.

This is certainly the biblical thing to do because “gullibility” is to be avoided:

Test all things; hold fast what is good.

(1 Thessalonians 5:21, NKJV, emphasis mine)

The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.

(Acts 17:10-12, NASB, emphasis mine)

Paul preached truth, and these people were receptive to what he was preaching as he quoted extensively from the Old Testament prophecies to support his assertion, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ” (verse 3). However, these people were NOT gullible; and they wanted to move beyond the prima facie appearance of plausibility, and to put this doctrine of Paul’s to the test. So they examined “the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” BEFORE they “believed” what the man proclaimed.

As the passage from 1 Thessalonians above reveals, Paul actually wrote a letter to the Christians in Thessalonica to tell them that they were to be similarly “noble-minded.” Like their Berean brethren habitually did already, the Thessalonians were told to likewise “test all things” and only accept that which “is good” (i.e. those things that pass a closer examination).

But does Joel Osteen encourage people to “test everything” that he says? No, he does not. He instead “begs the question” whether what he teaches is biblical or not — and through the Lakewood mantra, Joel has all the people predetermine beforehand that they will “accept” whatever he teaches as being “biblical” BEFORE Joel has PROVEN anything from the Scriptures.

Worse yet, the instruction that follows the Lakewood mantra is generally NOT biblical teaching. Rather than dive into his heresies here, however, let me first refer you to a few resources of mine which discuss Joel’s “other gospel”:

And let me also suggest the following “Joel Osteen” resource pages, each of which provides a generous list of other websites that document his errors and heresies (listed alphabetically):

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Switching Definitions (Equivocation)

The SECOND problem found in the Lakewood mantra is that it is also founded upon another logical fallacy known as “Equivocation.” Equivocation generally occurs when people switch the definitions for words in how they use them, in order to either obscure the the truth (i.e. to hide something) or to deceive another person (i.e. to interject a lie into their mind).

(Note: Some people “equivocate” because of sloppy thinking and/or because they were themselves deceived by someone else, and are just repeating what they were told. However, I am primarily addressing within this article the intentional use of equivocation as a tool of deceit and manipulation, although is is possible that the “deceived deceiver” scenario might be the case with Joel Osteen. Regardless, he is deceiving others — whether intentionally or unintentionally — which makes him a dangerous “leader” who should be avoided, and not “followed.”)

So to illustrate: When a Mormon — or a “Latter Day Saint” (LDS), as they prefer to call themselves — comes to your door and claims that the “Jesus” of Mormonism is the “same Jesus that is in the Bible” they are equivocating. I had this happen to me recently, and I refused to let them do that. I replied to these Mormons, “The Jesus of the Bible NEVER came to America after His Resurrection as you claim, and thus, your ‘Jesus’ is NOT the same one.” They tried to use equivocation on a few other terms in an effort to hide the distinctions between Mormonism and GENUINE Biblical Christianity, but I kept catching them at their tactic and REDEFINING the terms according to the Scriptures —i.e. in CONTRAST to how they interpret them. Those two Mormons were quite confounded by that (as I guess they had never run into someone who knew their heretical tactics) and they soon looked for a way to exit the discussion (but I kept re-engaging them and extending the conversation…hee hee.)

(Click here if you want to learn more about the Mormon’s many absurd heresies, and their ties to Freemasonry, as I have to move on beyond this example and get back to our main subject.)

As you can probably guess, this fallacy of equivocation is another TOP favorite among heretics. Understandably, therefore, the Bible specifically addresses this practice of theirs in numerous places. Here are a few selections for us to discuss (of the many which could be cited):

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Jude vs. 3-4, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Jude warns that these ungodly men (and women) would “turn the grace of God” into something that the Bible does NOT describe it as being. (Joseph Prince falls into this category, by the way.) Such heretics will redefine “grace” according to definitions which will actually produce “lewdness,” and that even actually DENY the Lord Jesus (by either word or deed…please note Titus 1:16). Such “changing the definition of grace” is an example of the use of equivocation as a tool for deception.

Now look at one of the things that Peter discussed along these lines:

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 3:14-18, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Peter discusses how heretics “twist” the Scriptures, to include the New Testament writings of Paul. This “twisting” is typically manifested by heretics through how they apply both “equivocation” to the terms they use, and how they apply still other logical fallacies in order to lead people to wrong conclusions.

Now let’s look at how Paul discussed this use of “definition switching” by false ministers (heretics):

Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches ANOTHER Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a DIFFERENT spirit which you have not received, or a DIFFERENT gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

(2 Corinthians 11:1-4, NKJV, emphasis mine)

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a DIFFERENT gospel, which is NOT ANOTHER; but there are some who trouble you and want to PERVERT the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches ANY OTHER GOSPEL to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

(Galatians 1:6-9, NKJV, emphasis mine)

It is important to note that Paul was writing by the Holy Spirit to churches that he had founded himself. He was concerned that because of the outright carnality (i.e. fleshly mindedness) of the Corinthians, that they seemed to be “easy prey” for false teachers to deceive through the use of equivocation.

When he wrote to the Galatians, he was shocked that they HAD ALREADY been taken prey by such heretics using this very tactic. A “different gospel” had been presented to them, and they were in danger of losing their salvation thereby — not only by being “accursed” for spreading that heresy themselves, but also for “falling from grace” through a works-based religion (see Galatians 5:3-4 for Paul’s statements regarding this last point).

ALL of these heretics were preaching different things than what Biblical Christianity teaches, but were using the subtle tactic of “equivocation” in order to confuse their hearers and to lead them astray with their false doctrines. They say “jesus,” “cross,” “baptism,” “gospel,” “holy spirit,” “salvation,” “christianity,” & etc., but mean entirely DIFFERENT things than the TRUTH of what the Scriptures reveal about those Persons and things. (Note: I used lower-case letters intentionally above, though not grammatically correct, because I wanted to differentiate these false terms from the REAL ones of the Bible.)

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Conclusion

So what is the problem with the Lakewood mantra, which the people “confess” before Joel Teaches? What is wrong with them saying that they are going to “receive” the “Word of God” and accept it from Joel Osteen without questioning it or putting it to the test?

By getting all the people (and his television audience) to “confess” this mantra, Joel Osteen is doing the following:

  1. Equivocating his FALSE doctrines with the GENUINE doctrines of Christ….
  2. …and fallaciously ASSUMING that they are the same (i.e. “begging the question”) without first PROVING that they are actually sound biblical doctrine…
  3. …and thus, he is PROGRAMMING his audience to “receive” something that is often NOT BIBLICAL as if it truly is biblical….
  4. …when the BIBLE tells us that people should INSTEAD be taught to TEST THINGS that they hear — instead of just “swallowing” it like a fish, “hook, line, and sinker,” without questioning its validity and veracity.

Thus, the PROBLEM with the Lakewood “confession” is NOT the first two sentences of it, which are actually quite nice and sound good. Rather, the problems are found within the REST of the confession — because it softens the minds and discernment of Osteen’s audience in order to make them more receptive to his false doctrines and gross heresies.

Thus, I highly recommend you do NOT ever make such “confessions” whenever ANY alleged “minister” wishes you to do so before they teach you. A genuine minister of Christ will always want you to learn the truth for yourself, and to “test things” to ensure you both understand their teaching, and have confirmed that it is truly biblical.

Again, in closing, my audio teaching series, The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel, actually explain how to discern true from false doctrine — AND true and false ministers as well. I hope you will obtain your own copy of this FREE series today, and begin to listen to it — searching the Scriptures daily as you do, to “see if these things be so.”

Thank you for reading this article. I hope it was helpful. The comments section is open below if you would like respond or to add your thoughts to this discussion. (And yes, comments are moderated.)

Now in closing, let me offer you the following benediction from the Bible itself:

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich Vermillion

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Christianity: Are You Missing the Point?

November 9, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Christianity: Are You Missing the Point?

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Shepherd's StaffThere is a VERY fundamental question I would like to ask you: If you are a Christian, do you REALLY understand what Christianity is all about?

Some people think that Christianity is all about having a good marriage and raising decent kids. Others think it is about getting their personal needs met. Still others believe that Christianity is a about social projects, such as feeding the poor or helping out within their communities. Still others believe that Christianity is about political action, and “get out the vote” drives.

While these things might be good in their own place, they ALL miss the point: Christianity is about CHRIST. The “sheep” are supposed to be following the “shepherd.” Somehow Jesus Christ — and His Gospel — have seemed to be forgotten by many of those claiming to belong to Him.

Have you ever noticed the ROOT WORD of the term “Christianity”? We don’t have to get really deep in order to understand this concept. Let’s just start off this article with an examination of the term by which our religion is named. The root word of “Christianity” is the word “Christ.”

So while the things names above might be good in their own place, they are SECONDARY (at best) to the principle message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, our faith would have different names:

  • “Family-anity” would be the name if it was about about marriage and raising kids.
  • “Prosperity-anity” would be the name if it was about money and financial/material issues.
  • “Social-ianity” would be the name if it was aboutt community projects.
  • “Political-ianity” would be the name if it was aboutt getting the “right” people into public office.

But since God’s Word calls it “CHRIST-ianity” (Christianity), then it should be pretty evident that NONE of the above “ideas” are primary to the biblical faith.

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Only One Faith

Jude said something pretty bold about genuine Christianity. He basically said that there is ONLY ONE true faith in Jesus Christ, and that all other “versions” (to include those I mentioned above, as well as many more which could be named) are NOT the real thing:

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

(Jude verse 3, NKJV, emphasis mine)

There is only one faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints” by the Lord Jesus Christ through His apostles. And these apostles made it pretty clear WHO and WHAT genuine Christianity is all about:

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth….

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

(An excerpt from Colossians 1:3-18, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Note that “in all things” Christ is to have “the preeminence.” The Greek word originally used in the writing of the New Testament within verse 18 above is, “prōteuō” (πρωτεύω, Strong’s #4409). This word is used only ONCE in the entire New Testament, and it means simply, “to be first, hold the first place” (Thayer’s Lexicon).

This same Greek word, however, is derived from another Greek word, “prōtos” (πρῶτος, Strong’s #4413), which is far more prolific in the New Testament, having been used by the original writers about 100 times. It means “FIRST” in a couple of important ways:

  1. FIRST…in time or place, in any succession of things or persons.

  2. FIRST…in rank, influence, honor; chief; principal.

(Source: Thayer’s Lexicon)

In other word, Jesus Christ is to be FIRST and FOREMOST the focus of genuine Christianity, because He was first in time and place; and He is the FIRST in rank, influence, honor — being the “Chief” and “Principle” of the Church. Look again at the passage from Colossians chapter one above, and notice what it said. ALL these elements of Jesus Christ being “first and foremost” (i.e. “preeminent”) are included in the description of Him.

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The Definition of Idolatry

So this bring us back to our original question above: If you are a Christian, do you REALLY understand what Christianity is all about?

If you thought it was about ANYTHING other than Jesus Christ and His Gospel, then you do NOT have genuine Christianity. You might have a religion; but any OTHER religion must — by definition — be man-made. It cannot possibly be the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints,” because your version of “Christianity” does NOT match the one revealed in the Bible.

Thus, ANY alleged “Christianity” that is in conflict with the one delivered to the saints by the Bible, is a form of idolatry…and thus, sin (see Exodus chapters 19-20).

What is an idol? A “god” that one has invented. What is idolatry? The “religion” that was invented along with that “god” as a method of “worship” of that idol.

So ALL man-made religions, are by their very character, idolatry — EVEN if they call it “Christianity.”

Please listen: A very REAL Jesus went to a very REAL Cross, and died a very REAL death for your sins and mine. This very same Jesus was raised from the dead in a very REAL resurrection, and appeared to His very REAL apostles, and dictated to them the very REAL Gospel they were to give to the world through their preaching and teaching:

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

(Luke 24:44-48, NKJV, words of Christ in red)

Having delivered His REAL Gospel to His apostles, do you know what they preached and taught? The very thing Jesus commanded them to preach:

The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

(Acts 10:36-43, NKJV, emphasis mine)

In other words, the REAL Gospel is the same thing that was preached by the original apostles. NOTHING ELSE can possibly be that same faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints.”

And if you thought Christianity was about ANYTHING other than Christ and His REAL Gospel, then you are either unsaved — or at the very least, you are lacking the proper foundation upon which you can build a solid genuine faith in Jesus.

That is why I gathered a team of volunteers around me to help me produce the FREE audio MP3 series,The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel.” Therein, I walk you through the Scriptures, ancient history, and even some logic, in order to reveal clearly from the Bible what the REAL Gospel is — and what it is not.

The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel (cover art)

(Click the graphic to view the MP3 DOWNLOAD page within a new browser window.)

Again, this series is absolutely FREE and available for download right now. Either CLICK HERE or upon the cover art above graphic, in order to go to the download page for this series. Once there, you will find download instructions on that very page, along with further information about this series.

My team and I certainly do hope that you will take advantage of this FREE teaching. So please view the download page for more information about its contents.

Always in Jesus,

-Rich Vermillion

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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel (FREE Audio MP3 Series)

October 27, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel
(FREE Audio MP3 Series)

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(Update October 28, 2012): Additional download instructions were added to the bottom of this article.
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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel (graphic)Donna and I are very pleased to announce the release of a major new ministry project, “The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel” audio MP3 series. This project was truly a labor of love for the last couple of months, as an international team of volunteers joined with us to create this series and to make it available to the public for FREE.

There is NO OTHER SUBJECT more important than the REAL Gospel itself. It is only by that Gospel that men can be saved, and thus, ALL genuine Christian doctrine begins at this core tenet of the faith.

Rather than describe the series myself, however, I will allow someone else to do the honor.

The following descriptive text was written by the prolific Canadian Christian author, Ronnie Dauber, in collaboration with our entire project team. After listening to this series in its entirety, she penned this description in order to explain how she and the whole project team view the content of this MP3 series.

Below her description of this FREE audio MP3 teaching series, you will find the Creative Commons licensing information that permits you to share this series with others. And below that, there is another link to the download page where you can obtain your own copy of this FREE audio teaching.

Donna and I — and the entire project team — pray that you will be blessed by each of these teaching sessions tremendously, in the Name of Jesus. Amen. :)

Always in Jesus,
-Rich Vermillion

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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel
MP3 Audio Series

by Ronnie Dauber

Don’t get caught in the wrong net! There are false preachers with household names who are fishing for men and women to commit to their “gods” and not to the REAL Jesus. It is easy to get snared when our hearts are seeking God for the wrong reasons — and the outcome of our ignorance is death, not life.

Brought to you by an international team of volunteers, “The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel” is a seven-part MP3 series divided into eight individual MP3 files (or “album tracks”). This series teaches with simplicity and with clarity who the real Jesus is — and the truth of HIS Gospel. It’s exciting! It’s challenging! And it’s convicting! This series includes:

  • easy-to-learn basics of the real Gospel that you can apply to your life
  • simple-to-understand lessons that are powerfully explained by an inspired teacher
  • profoundly detailed content to equip you with the ability to discern truth from false teaching
  • mini-teachings on associated subjects interspersed throughout the series
  • BOLD — but rational — commentary on controversial topics such as women in ministry

Under God’s anointing and with His wisdom and knowledge, Rich Vermillion teaches The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel and explains how we can discern the truth of the Gospel from false and erroneous teaching. He exposes the deceptions and the heresies that are saturating the Christian world today.

The Christian world is flooded with doctrines that claim to stem from the Gospel of Jesus, yet they are in conflict — either obviously or subtly — with Truth of God’s Word. The message in this series is simple and yet absolute: it is the fundamental truth of the REAL Gospel taught in a down-to-earth fashion that is easy to relate to and comprehend.

While this series is designed to enlighten the Christian with biblical truth, it firmly confronts several of the false “gospels” as well. Also known as “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” heretics are exposed as the message of the REAL Gospel is revealed. Beyond this, Rich actually explains how heretics weave their seemingly endless varieties of myths as he teaches how to easily identify the true from the false by providing:

  • facts accurately researched for correct Scripture translation
  • non-sectarian (non-denominational) instruction from the Bible
  • prime examples of some of today’s most well-known heretics and heresies
  • popular “convenient doctrines,” based upon logical fallacies, which false ministers use to ensnare vulnerable Christians

For several years Rich Vermillion has researched the Hebrew and Greek history of the Bible utilizing a library of authentic references and resources. The information gleaned from such intensive study is accurately relayed in this series to enable the listener to gain a fuller meaning of the original scriptures while in their proper historical setting. The cultural background of this time period has been thoroughly investigated and examined as well as the historical premise of the many English Bible translations that are available today. Though this series is “chock full” of meaty scriptural teaching and historical facts, many of them are relayed in such a simple way that even a child could comprehend them.

The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel explains the Gospel that Jesus gave to His apostles and exposes the heretics who are on the prowl to steal this vital truth from Christians. It teaches how Christians can discern the truth from the lies of the false teaching. Consequently, this series offers a refreshing alternative to an allegedly Christian market of “Bible teachings” that focus merely on what people can gain materially from God; on how Christians can improve their self-worth; and how Christians can gain power and fame in this world. It brings diversity to the Christian MP3 market with a complete series on The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel of Jesus.

As this series circulates you can expect the Internet to be flooded with these MP3′s because people are tired of being “sold” religious fables by people who only want their money. They are now searching for the truth and this series is like none other before it. Therefore, the people who enjoy it are likely to listen to it again and again because they will want to get a better understanding of this FREE and REAL Gospel. And it’s not only taught with enthusiasm and excitement, but also with a touch of humor.

BACKGROUND

Rich Vermillion was joined by an international team of volunteers who assisted him with assembling this MP3 series for your benefit. Freely we have received knowledge of the REAL Gospel from the Lord Jesus through His Word. Please allow us to freely give it to you. (Matthew 10:8)

Though it cost Jesus Christ everything, the REAL Gospel has been given to the world for free. Therefore, the cost of The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel is free. These MP3′s are available without charge to anyone and everyone who wants to have them. Simply download them, listen to them, and then share this series with your family and friends. You can even make CD’s of this series and pass the message around.

It is the real Gospel, simple and true. And it is FREE! So The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel is a message you simply cannot afford to miss.

BIOGRAPHY

Rev. Vermillion has been an ordained Christian minister for over two decades and is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author. He has been featured on multiple television and radio broadcasts around the world. Nevertheless, his eternity-focused goal is simply to please his Lord Jesus Christ by winning souls and serving God’s people, through accurate ministry of God’s Word.

(Note from Rich: If you wish to learn more about us, you will find biographical description of both Donna and me on the “About/Biography” page here on this website. You can also view the ten minute video that is found in the right column of this website for a third-party description of my ministry.)

LICENSE

The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel MP3 series is ©2012 by Rich Vermillion; and this series has been officially filed with the Library of Congress for protection under U.S. Copyright Law and international treaty. However, you may freely redistribute this series worldwide for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons 3.0 license, but only without charge. Also, this series cannot be edited or altered in any way. All other rights are reserved as well.

Creative Commons 3.0 Graphic

(Click the graphic above to view the license summary in a new browser window.)

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** DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS **

The Archive.org website offers the following BASIC directions here regarding how to download content from their website (where these MP3s are stored):

How do I download files?

To download the files on a PC, right click the link to the file, and select “Save Target As” or “Save Link As” (or something similar depending on which browser you’re using).

On the Macintosh, hold the button down while the mouse is over the link, and when the menu comes up, select “Save Target As”.

If you are using a laptop and do not have a “right” button to “click,” then most computers substitute a keyboard-click combination. Hold down the “control” or “Ctrl” key on your computer keyboard while clicking on a link, and you should then see the same menu appear that was just mentioned above.

Additional types of Archive.org instructions (e.g. FTP downloads, Torrent, etc.) can also be found by clicking here.

To download this series onto your own computer or portable MP3 player, please visit the Archive.org download page by clicking here, or by clicking on the following graphic.

The EASIEST way to download the entire series at one time is to look in the left menu bar on the download page for the link marked “VBR ZIP” under the category “Play/Download.” Either right-click or control-click that link, and then save it to your computer. (It will take a while to download, depending on your connection speed.)

Once the file is fully downloaded, simply “double-click” the file (i.e. click on the link twice, and very quickly). Your computer may then warn you that this is a file from the Internet, and ask you if you really want to open it. This file is VERY safe to open. So affirm that you want to open it by clicking whatever button your computer provides for you to do so, and then your computer will “unzip” that file into a brand new folder within the same location as the original “zip” file.

Inside that new folder you will be able to see all the individual MP3 session files (eight in total, numbered from 1 to 7B). Simply double-click on session 1, and it should begin playing within your default media player on your computer. As you finish each session, simply close them out, and then “double-click” on the next session file in the numerical sequence in order to continue through the entire series one session at a time.

If you would prefer to download each file one at a time, then you must scroll down the download page to see all the individual files. For most users, we recommend that you ONLY download the files in the column marked “VBR MP3,” and that you simply ignore the other versions (unless you know what they are and how to utilize them.)

(Click the graphic to view the MP3 DOWNLOAD page within a new browser window.)

You can also copy/paste the following link into your web browser:

http://archive.org/details/TheFundamentalsOfTheRealGospel

Once you are on that page, you will see the download links BOTH in the left column of that page, and listed as individual file links toward the bottom of that page. Again, these latter links can be viewed by simply scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Enjoy! :)

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