A few weeks ago, while I was praying for some of our family and friends to come to know Jesus as their Savior, I found myself repeating the same phrase over and over again. I kept praying, "Help them to stop believing the lies their religions or churches are teaching and help them come to the truth."
I was genuinely sad because, in each situation, the people I was praying for were good people. They attended church regularly. They gave. They served. Yet, because their churches weren't teaching Biblical truth, their parishioners missed the most crucial aspect of Christianity: salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
While these churches provide a sense of community, religious rituals, and even some teaching on kindness and good behavior, without the truth of the Gospel of salvation, they aren't doing their congregations any good. Instead, their lies lead their people away from salvation and into an eternity separated from God in Hell.
It absolutely breaks my heart that well-meaning, good people who believe they are going to Heaven will be shocked when they enter eternity and God says, "I never knew you." (Matthew 7:21-23) A large portion of the blame will lie on pastors and churches who lied to their people about God, the Bible, salvation, and eternity. Whether it be for money, for power, a general lack of Biblical knowledge or the cultural desire to avoid offending someone, too many churches are lying to their people.
Because I am tired of these wolves-in-sheep's-clothing deceiving people, and because I want to see people go to Heaven, here are some truths you need to know, no matter what your church or religion tells you.
1. No matter what your church says, all religions are not the same.
Today's popular teaching is that it doesn't matter who or what you believe in as long as you have "faith" in a "higher power." This is not true.
In John 14:6, Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Acts 4:12 says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
This is truth…anything else is a lie.
2. No matter what your church says, Jesus is not just a good teacher. He is the Son of God.
Along with the lie that all religions are equal is the lie that Jesus was just a good teacher like Gandhi or Mohammad. This is not true. Jesus is the Son of God. He is 100% divine and worthy of our worship and obedience. His words are the words of the one, true God.
Matthew 16:13-16 says, "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."
Hebrews 1:1-4 says, "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in Heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs."
Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is not just a good man. He is the Divine Son of God.
3. No matter what your church says, sin is a big deal.
One of the biggest ways churches lie to people is by ignoring the seriousness of sin. They say, "It's no big deal…. don't worry about it."
However, the truth is that sin separates us from God.
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Sin is a big deal for everyone. Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Because we are sinners, we need a Savior, a mediator, and redemption. No matter what your church says, sin is a big deal.
4. No matter what your church says, repentance and faith in Christ are the only way to experience salvation.
John 3:36 says, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them."
1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Romans 10:9, "Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Confessing our sins and asking God to forgive our sins because of Christ's work on the cross are the only roads to salvation. Salvation is the only road to a personal relationship with God and eternity in Heaven.
5. No matter what your church says, being good isn't good enough.
One of the biggest lies circulating today is that all good people go to Heaven when they die. Not true!!! Only those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior and are living their lives for Him are guaranteed the reward of Heaven. Good works are not enough.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Titus 3:4-7, "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
This verse makes it clear: the hope of eternal life doesn't come from works, but from salvation through Jesus Christ. It isn’t your works good or bad that determine your destiny, it’s whether or not you accept or reject Christ’s offer of salvation.
6. No matter what your church says, you can’t do whatever you want.
While some churches lie and teach that salvation comes from good works, other churches swing the pendulum to the other end of the spectrum and teach the lie that because of God's grace, it doesn't matter how you live. Lately, it's become worse than ever as churches teach that the Bible doesn't apply to today's culture, and it's alright for people to participate in lifestyles the Bible clearly says are wrong.
This is a BIG. FAT. LIE.
As Paul says in Romans 6:1, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"
Yes, because of God's grace, all of the sins of our past can be forgiven, and we can experience salvation. That's step #1. Then begins the process of sanctification: learning to live by God's ways. This is God's will for the rest of our lives.
“It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
No matter what your church has told you: you can't just live the way you want and still get to Heaven. God expects His people to live by Biblical standards. This brings us to #7:
7. No matter what your church tells you, the Bible, God's Word, still applies today.
Perhaps the biggest lie churches are preaching today is that the Bible is not relevant today.
They say it isn't really God's Word—it is just man's ideas of God. This allows them to say that it is full of errors and man-made prejudices; hence it doesn't apply to today's culture.
Again, it’s a HUGE LIE being told today by people who do not want to obey God's Word.
The truth is that the Bible is the Word of God. It is inerrant, and it is infallible. It is God's revelation of Himself and His character to man. It is how human beings can learn about Who God is, how He thinks, what He desires, and how He wants us to live.
Every single word of it applies to all times.
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
The Bible is the final authority for a Christian. It leads us to salvation and tells us how to live our lives for Christ. It is useful in every area of our lives. If you want to know if your church is lying to you, the Bible is the best place to begin looking.
Because here is the truth: any teaching from a pastor, a church, or any religious institution that disagrees with the Bible is a lie.
If your church is lying to you by not teaching Biblical truth, then attending that church is a waste of your time. Even worse, it damages your soul and jeopardizes where you will spend eternity.
If your church is preaching any of these lies, then you need to find another church preaching Biblical truth.
Because God's truth doesn't change to accommodate culture.
Truth is truth.
-All religions are not the same.
-Jesus is the one and only the Son of God.
-He came to earth, lived without sin, died on the cross, and then rose again to pay the price for our sins.
-We are all sinners in need of salvation.
-Salvation only comes through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
-You can't earn your way to Heaven, and it isn't automatic for good people.
-The only way to get to Heaven is to accept Jesus as your personal Savior and live your life to please Him.
-The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
-God expects those who experience His salvation to know what the Word of God says and to obey it.
That's the truth—-no matter what your church tells you.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."