Prophecies and the Gospel.
The most important thing in sharing our faith with others is the unadulterated Gospel.
What I mean by this is a Gospel that is bases on scripture alone. Not traditions of any church organization, or a Gospel based on man’s idea’s but a Gospel that is only found in the pages of the Old and New Testaments. A Gospel, that preaches faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to God.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Me”.
We are warned by the Apostle Paul, that we should be very aware of anyone coming to us with another Gospel, a different Gospel. Preaching a different Jesus. Galatians 1:8-9
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
2 Cor 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
So, it is obvious that there are other Gospels and different Jesus’s out there that are not the truth.
We are told at the beginning of Mark's Gospel which Jesus we believe in:
Mar 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
He is Emmanuel, He is God with us. He is the Saviour, the Redeemer. He is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. He died at Calvary and was raised from the dead and is now seated at God's right hand. One day He will come again to judge the quick and the dead.
However, there are different Jesus's being preached today.
Below are false teachings.
The Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus is a different Jesus. ( Jesus is a created being)
This is what they say: Unlike any other human, Jesus lived in heaven as a spirit person before he was born on earth. He was God’s first creation, and he helped in the creation of all other things. He is the only one created directly by Jehovah and is therefore appropriately called God’s “only-begotten” Son. (Heresy)
The Mormon Jesus is a different Jesus. (Jesus is the brother of Lucifer)
On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day saints revelations. But the Mormons declare that the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. (Heresy)
The Islamic Jesus is a different Jesus. (There is only one God and He has no son)
The Jesus of Islam (Isa), is just a prophet, he is not the son of God (Allah). He did not die on the cross and he did not rise again. (Heresy).
In fact, all false religions attempt to reach God by their own efforts. Whether by good works, keeping laws, or obeying sacraments.
Christianity alone is unique in preaching that man cannot reach God but it is God that reaches down to man.
Jesus Himself warned us of false teachers, false prophets and false Christ’s that are come into the world and that there will be more during the last days.
In Matthew 24, Jesus warns of this very fact.
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mat 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Notice, that Jesus warns of wars, once, nations rising against nations, once, famines, once, pestilence, once, earthquakes, once, hatred and betrayal, once.
But: Of false Christ’s, prophets and teachers, He warns 5 times.
This is how important this is in the last days.
The sad thing is that the evangelical church is being led into error by certain teachers (Apostates) who have in the words of Jude 1: crept in unawares.
Jude 1:3. Beloved, although I made every effort to write you about the salvation we share, I felt it necessary to write and urge you to contend earnestly for the faith entrusted once for all to the saints.
4 For certain men have crept in among you unnoticed— ungodly ones who were designated for condemnation. They turn the grace of God into a license for immorality, and they deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ.
We are warned in scripture to be awake and be aware of false teachers.
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
There are many today that have itching ears and are so eager to listen to false doctrine and will be so easily taken in by charismatic men and women who teach a false Gospel and a false Christ.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
So the most important thing to us, when sharing our faith, is making sure our Gospel is correct.
Now, when sharing the Gospel we may accompany it with our personal testimony. Or, share with them the story of someone else that responded to the Gospel.
We may show them how the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled. We may point out that there are still prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. We may point out that scripture reveals that Jesus Christ will one day return to this earth to judge the ungodly.
However, we must realise that just convincing someone that the prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ were fulfilled. Or that the Bible prophecy’s the return of Jesus Christ, may not necessarily bring them to faith in Christ.
We must realise that as the scripture says, it is the Gospel that is the power of God to bring salvation: Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 10:17 So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This is the preordained way that all the elect of God are drawn to Him.
However, you might be surprised to learn that consistently when the gospel went out in the book of Acts, Messianic prophecies were shared alongside it. The apostles felt it so important to mention, that they were constantly used.
Some calculate there to be over 300 messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament). They are of different sorts. Some are clearly predictive. Some have dual meanings: one historical and another typological (a parallel, pattern, or metaphor of what Jesus would do, but not overtly predictive).
Prophecies can help to persuade people to believe the Gospel.
Acts 28:23-25 Paul “explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken”.
The prophecies can offer supernatural evidence that Jesus is the promised Saviour of the world who can forgive sins.
We can see the effects of how sharing prophecies and stories from scripture. In the case of the Berean’s in Acts 17:11,12 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.”
So, by sharing prophecy, it can lead to people searching the scriptures, where God by the Holy Spirit can convict of sin, righteousness and judgement.
In Luke 24:32 Whilst Jesus walked with the two on the Emmaus road. The disciples said: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
Acts 17:2-4 says Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead…And some of them were persuaded.”
The Gospels are interwoven with fulfilled prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.
There are many references to fulfilled messianic prophecy. Yet it is not the prophecies themselves that bring someone to saving faith but the belief in the subject of those prophecies. Jesus Christ.
Lk. 5:39, 46 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me…For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me”.
Many people think that it is only the New Testament that speaks of Jesus but Jesus can be found all through the Old Testament as well.
There are many organizations that show that the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments are true but they do not preach the true Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone apart from works.
Roman Catholics, Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are a typical examples of these.
They teach the prophecies as correct but their Gospel is a false Gospel for they preach salvation by works. By keeping the law, or through sacraments.
We know that that the true Gospel teaches that “salvation is by grace through faith alone, apart from works”, Eph 2: 8,9.
So, whilst we can show that prophecy is true according to the scriptures, it is important that we also show that the prophecies reveal the true Christ.
Paul “vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” Acts 18:28.
Prophecy is a useful aid to the Gospel message but we must always remember the subject of the Gospel is Christ and Him crucified.
1 Cor 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”