Hard Talk

 

Part of the Emmaus Group mandate is to “Advocate God’s Truth“.  We recognise that part of this includes giving a message that we feel God has asked us to give, even though it may well be a tough message or a warning and may not be received well.  We must be obedient to God, and be faithful to do that which we feel led by Him to do, and not fear man’s response.  “Who do you fear most? Man or God?”  is the question we often ask ourselves.

“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.”  (Ezekiel 33:7-9)

The messages on this page are challenging, but important to read, consider and seek God on.  You will find “Hard Talk” articles here – we will share what God places on our hearts to share, you can decide your response.

Be blessed!

SERVE THE KING!

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Our Lord and King came not to be served, but to serve so; “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow…’   (Phil 2:5-10) The concept of a servant king is somewhat alien to our understanding, for ordinarily it is kings who are served by others.  Jesus demonstrated something remarkable, something that challenged contemporary thinking during His time on earth and still does today.  As God and King, He came to earth to represent His Father, teach about the kingdom of heaven and prove it by manifesting kingdom power and authority with signs and wonders.  He knew that “a servant is not greater than him who sent him”, words He shared with His disciples just before the last supper, after He’d washed their feet.  He was teaching them an important point – that they too were called to humble themselves and serve the kingdom and God as He was. However, in 21st century England, servitude carries negative connotations.  Perhaps the notion of servant-hood conflicts with our imperialist past?   Modern society places so much emphasis on...

THE GOD OF UNCONVENTION

(Download PDF Print-friendly version)   “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9 From beginning to end, the Bible is full of stories demonstrating God’s ways and thoughts frequently vary from our own, and even conflict with them. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, but God simply doesn’t do things our way, for He is the Potter who forms and shapes the clay, not the other way round: “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:6 He is the Lord and Father of mankind who created the heavens and flung the stars into space, He sees the beginning from the end. So dare we think we can put our expectations or sense of entitlement before His divine will and knowledge? “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has become His counsellor?”i Therefore as we begin 2017, let us purpose in our hearts and minds to stay close to Him; to seek first His ways, His heart and His mind in order to know what pleases Him. Such purpose may bring us into conflict with our secular world, our church and even our families, but as Isaiah wrote, God’s ways are not man’s ways. We must grasp this very important point and seek first the kingdom of heaven and His definition of righteousness, not our own man made interpretations, because...

TEST THE SPIRITS – Part 1 – ISLAM

(Download PDF Print-friendly version)   ‘Test the Spirits’ – Part 1 – Islam Confusion still exists in many parts of the church, including its leadership, as to the true nature of Islam.   So as part of our new season of tackling difficult issues, this letter will address what remains for many, an enigma. Understanding the true nature of Islam is actually very simple.  One only needs to recognise the ‘spirit’ behind it.    If we understand this, everything else makes sense, including the violence, pursuit of power and control, and deception committed in its name. The spiritual litmus test to discern the spirit of Islam is clearly explained in 1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you will know the Spirit of God.  Every Spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is not of God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world.” The Quran acknowledges Jesus existed and recognises Him as a prophet, one among many, but states clearly He was not the Son of God.  The texts below taken directly from the Quran are self-explanatory: “That they (the Jews) rejected faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge;  that they said (in boast): “we killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.”  But they killed him...

BE HOLY AS I AM HOLY

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come, Holy is His name. Amen. Disciples of Jesus Christ are called to be holy as the Lord they serve is holy. We are His people, a royal priesthood, chosen and set apart for Him. Therefore as His bondservants we are to remain unspotted by the ways of this world. The word holiness in Greek is hagios, and means different or otherness. The temple of God was to be holy, different to any other building. Set apart for special service to Him. This is holiness – to be set apart. It implies something is distinguished and distinct. For us, being holy means we to are to be distinguishable from the world, like our Master. The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament was qodesh and again means apartness, set apart or sacred. As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, be holy as I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:15 Jesus told us clearly to come out and be separate, not to do as the world does. This is being holy: setting ourselves apart and distinguishing ourselves from the world by not doing as the world does. It’s why Jesus teachings were so revolutionary in their day going against the current of contemporary culture at the time, including religious culture. It’s why He had such challenges from religious leaders who nullified the commands of God by replacing them with the traditions of men – just as today! As His word does...

PASSOVER AND THE EASTER TRADITIONS

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) The question of whether Christians should observe Passover, or continue with the well-established tradition of Easter, is one that provokes much reaction amongst believers. To answer this question we must always begin by examining the word of God.   For God’s ways are higher than man’s. Nowhere in the bible will you find the word Easter. The word Easter derives from Ishtar, the moon goddess from ancient Assyria, and is the root of the Germanic name Eostre, a pagan fertility goddess of the Saxon people of northern Europe. Eostre is also the root of the word estrogen, or oestrogen, the primary female sex hormone Ishtar/Eostre’s fertility symbols were eggs and rabbits. The ancient Assyrian new-year celebrations, called Akitu, culminated with the festival of Ishtar, which was the religious celebration of the fertility and pregnancy of the mother goddess as well as the resurrection of her son/husband, Tammuz, ‘the incarnated son of god’, who coincidentally was born on the 25th December! These pagan fertility symbols have become widely accepted in western culture, yet God makes it abundantly clear that we are not to do as the pagans do. Even the origins of the hot cross bun are found in a repeating form of worship, dating back to the days of Ishtar, who was known as the ‘queen of heaven,’ a name later given to Mary the mother of Jesus. Pagans would bake cakes to offer to ‘the queen of heaven’ (just as the idolatrous Israelites did – Jer 7:18) on the Friday before the Easter festival. Sound familiar? “Take heed to yourself you are not ensnared to...

IS BRITAIN STILL A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY? – PART 2

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) In part one of this paper[i] we examined statistics and trends that demonstrate it is no longer applicable to claim that Britain is a Christian country; especially not when only 3.5 – 5% are actually practicing believers. In this second part we will consider further that not only are we are not a Christian nation, but that the nation is actually taking a stand against Christianity. “All practicing Christians are now a “minority” in Britain like persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation, according to two of Britain’s most senior Anglican and Catholic clerics.”[ii] Bishop of London Richard Chatres & Cardinal Vincent Nichols – 9.2.16. We highlighted in part one that when a nation turns its back on God and becomes stiff-necked towards His ways, there are consequences: for our God is a God of justice.[iii] The reality we face today is that God’s laws conflict with man’s and with our state-defined ‘British values’. Man is on a collision course with God’s word – of which “every word is God breathed, profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God maybe adequate, equipped for every good work.”[iv] So let’s consider a few examples of how man’s laws now conflict with God’s, and the potential consequences for believers. The government’s new Counter Extremism Strategy (CES) states: “Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.[v]” At...

FOLLOWERS OF GOD & HALLOWEEN

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Followers of Jesus and the traditions of Halloween and Trick or Treat As the end of October approaches, shops and supermarkets are again filled with all manner of Halloween themed products; ahead of the night in which occultic practitioners and the powers of darkness reach a frenzy. We know this for a fact because of our ministry work with people whose lives have been severely damaged by such.   This time of year raises extra anxiety, fear and distress for them; it’s no fun for those who know the truth behind the colourful marketing campaigns. “I’m glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year” Anton LaVey, Founder, Church of Satan So, unafraid as Emmaus is to confront difficult subjects, we continue by addressing Halloween and the Trick or Treat traditions so widespread in our culture today; traditions which present challenges for many a Christian parent whose children are confronted by such at school or among peer groups. The Bible is filled with warnings, strict warnings in fact, not to do what pagans do. Witchcraft, sorcery, worshipping idols, lying, manipulation and all manner of evil practice are an abomination to the Lord, and His children are expressly forbidden from participating in anything remotely related to it. “There must never be anyone among you who consults ghosts or spirits, or calls up the dead.”[i] In the scriptures the Hebrew root word for do not carries a very strong emphasis implying; do not even dare to think about it. This is exactly what God our Father in heaven is saying...

JEWISH FOOD LAWS AND GENTILES

(Download PDF Print-friendly version)   A recent article we published: “Thus Jesus declared all food clean – or did He,” solicited quite a number of comments and queries so we’ve decided some further exposition might help. The original piece was written by a member of the Emmaus Group with Jewish heritage and sincere passion for God. There are two passages of scripture in the book of Acts that inform opinion about foods permissible for Gentiles, namely Acts 10 and 15: passages that speak of Peter’s vision in Joppa and the Council of Jerusalem.  However, before we expound further we want to be abundantly clear about what we are not saying. We are not saying that a Gentile who does not follow God’s counsel in Leviticus 11 risks their salvation.   Salvation comes by faith and faith alone, not by obeying laws or doing works – that would be heretical teaching! Nor are we saying that one is made righteous through obeying the Torah (teaching) of God, again we are made righteous by faith in the Messiah. Acts 10 – Peter’s Vision To understand scripture properly we must understand the context of what was written. Verses taken out of context can easily be misconstrued and made to say things they don’t. In Acts 10, Peter is staying with Simon the tanner by the sea in Jaffa, when he has a vision that perplexes him. He’s on the roof of Simon’s house and falls into a trance, in which he sees a strange vision; something like a sheet being lowered out of heaven, which contained all manner of animals, reptiles and birds...

“THUS JESUS DECLARED ALL FOODS CLEAN.” – OR DID HE?

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) The majority of Christians today believe that Jesus “did away with the Law”, and part of that includes the food laws. As a result, most Christians will eat whatever they like – including all of the things that did not even come under the category of food – like pork. In Leviticus, God explains to the Israelites all the animals, which are classed as food, and all those which are not. Often, Christians will claim that the “old Law” is now obsolete, and was only for the Jews anyway. One of the reasons God gave the Israelites the Law, was in order to keep them set apart, a holy people. Of course, it is impossible to keep the entire law to the letter – we are all fallen and we cannot be made righteous or justified by keeping the Law. However, the “Law”, which is better translated as teaching or instruction, is the standard of holy living that pleases God. Are we not, as followers of Jesus, expected – indeed commanded – to be a holy people? Are we not told to be set apart and to live a life of holiness? Are we not told in Romans chapter 11, that we have been grafted into the olive tree, thus becoming citizens of the commonwealth of Israel? If we are therefore part of Israel, should we not heed the expectations and requirements of being a holy people too? Is not the New Covenant, the writing of the Law on our hearts and minds? Mark 7:19 is used by the church to claim that we can...