4Jesus Outreach

Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.


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Sectarianism in the church

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“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. – Galatians 5:19-21

In the above passage, God’s Word calls sectarianism a sin. Sedition is listed as one of the works of the flesh. Anytime we call ourselves Baptist, Lutheran, Messianic, Methodist, Pentecostal, and so on, we are committing the sin of sedition (i.e. sectarianism).

Sectarianism leads to bigotry, discrimination, or even hatred among fellow Christians by attaching non-existent importance to differences between other members of the church of Jesus Christ – such as church denominations or factions.

The apostle Paul exhorts us to “grow up.”

Sectarianism is not only a sin, it is also a sign of immaturity. Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God we are still not mature (Ephesians 4:13-14). The ideological underpinnings of sectarian attitudes and behaviors today are extraordinarily varied. Oftentimes, members of a particular religious group believe that their theological or denominational emphasis is superior to others, or even necessary for salvation. Therefore, they will aggressively seek converts from other Christian groups in order to persuade them to believe as they do. Strife exists continually between churches. Also, theological wars will be declared against adherents of opposing factions because they believe that their opponents are dangerous and heretical, and must be purged from the church. History proves that even torture and murder have been committed in the name Christ. In the not-too-distant past, the Roman Catholic Church actually burned people alive for believing them to being “heretics,” (i.e. holding opinions different than what the Catholic church believed to be the truth).

John Calvin, an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, did likewise to Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician, because of his contradictory beliefs. “John Calvin had a prolonged, murderous hate in his heart for Servetus,” writes Dan Conner, “and was willing to violate Scripture to put another to death and in a most cruel way.” (1)

Should the various members of the Body of Christ be divided and operate independently of one another?

Not if we’re preaching the same Jesus and the same gospel message. For instance, in a real human body, what would happen if one foot said to the other, “I’m going in one direction while you go in another.” Or, the lungs would say to the heart, “I’m going to keep on breathing without your help.” What a mess that would be! Well, that’s what internal division has done to the Body of Christ among Protestants since the Reformation period. According to the latest statistics, there are over 200 Protestant denominations in the world today. Just about every town has a variety of Protestant churches dotting the landscaping. One church is for white Christians, another is for blacks, another is for those who believe in baptismal sprinkling, another for complete dunking. Some churches believe the King James Bible is the only true Bible to use, while others teach that any translation is the Word of God, and so on.

Is all this division over race, petty arguments, or trivial theological matters really necessary? Of course not. Why can’t we agree to disagree on the minor points and concentrate on promoting the major points of sound Christian doctrine?  Why can’t we simply call ourselves “Christians” or “Followers of Jesus Christ” and stop labeling ourselves according to denominational lines? Wouldn’t we be wiser to pool our evangelistic efforts and financial resources and just have one church for the entire city or town to worship in?

If all fundamental Christian churches would learn to work together in unity. just think of how much confusion and duplicated efforts we could eliminate, and how much more effective we could be in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and furthering the kingdom of God?

– Luis Josephus

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COMMENTS:

From Pierre Andre Ferguson: “Amen brother, my religious views state that I am a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). This phrase is mentioned more times in the New Covenant than the word, Christian. On top of that, the “disciples” were first called Christians in Acts 11:25-30 in Antioch by those who probably were not disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know how the world loves to label people and things according to their understanding. When you use the word, Christian, people tend to ask , What denomination are you?” And there is nothing wrong with saying that you are a Christian (1 Peter 4:16). But personally, from my experience people marvel when you specify by saying that “I am a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. “ Variance means the fact, quality, or state of being variable or variant: difference, deviation, the fact or state of being in disagreement, dissension, dispute, a disagreement between two parts of the same legal proceeding that must be consonant, a license to do some act contrary to the usual rule, the square of the standard deviation, discord – at variance, not in harmony or agreement (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).”

From Alex Ander: “1 Corinthians 3 whole chapter, I want to emphasize verse,16-17 and verses 21-23.”


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Rebuke a Wise Man

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“Do not correct a fool or he will hate you; correct a wise man and he will appreciate you.” – Proverbs 9:8

Do you love God? I’m sure you do.

Do you love your church pastor?
Ah, maybe you have to think about that question some more. You see, too many Christians do not fully recognize that their local church pastor  or elder is God’s representative and spiritual authority over your life. They have been given the responsibility to look after you…to teach you and disciple you and protect you from straying away from God’s flock or making mistakes that will hurt your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Your local church pastor is your overseer (1 Peter 5:12). His is the ruling shepherd in the church and is accountable to God for you under the “Chief Shepherd” Jesus Christ. Their job is to feed you the Word of God, guide you in your spiritual walk, and guard over your souls.

Loving Reproof

It is also a pastor’s job to correct you when you’re doing something wrong. Some believers don’t like this part of a pastor’s function, but it is a biblical fact. Reproof and rebuke is often necessary for all of us. When your pastor reproves you, don’t get angry at him or falsely accuse him of being unloving. If he cares enough to correct you, he is demonstrating the same love that God has for you:

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son [or daughter] He receives.” – Hebrews 12:6

The Greek word used here for “chastening” is paideia. It not only carries the nuances of “discipline,” “rebuke,” and “correction,” but also the positive connotation of “training” and “guiding instruction” by a loving parent to bring their son or daughter to mature adulthood.

When a pastor chastens us for something that needs to be corrected in our lives, we should do the right and wise thing and accept his correction with humility. We should recognize that He loves us and desires to see us achieve our fullest potential in Christ.

“Reprove not a fool, lest he hate you.” The fool, on the other hand, does not respond well to reproof or discipline. He faints when being rebuked and becomes angry and resentful towards his pastor or God. The fool is destined to never learn from his mistakes or reach any spiritual maturity. Some are so prideful they will actually leave the church when reproved and fall away from God.

”… rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”

The wise Christian doesn’t get their feelings hurt when reproved by their pastor because he regards the Lord’s discipline as evidence of his pastor’s love and concern. He sees God’s grace and commitment to us as our Father in his actions.

” Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

When we receive correction from those in church authority – such as a pastor or elder, instead of getting mad, let us remember the admonition of Jesus who declared that whom He loves, He rebukes. Instead of sulking in self-pity, let us repent quickly and learn to love reproof.

” As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.“ – Revelation 3:19

– Luis Josephus

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The Birth of a Star

In the beginning God created the heavens and our planet earth. He is still creating other planets, suns and galaxies in the universe today. What a creative and awesome God we worship! Isn’t it amazing to know that one day, in our new glorified bodies which will transcend all space and time, we will be able to spend eternity co-managing the universe with Him?

Do you love God? If so, He has prepared a wonderful and eternal future for you – the kind you could never imagine.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

“O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.” – Psalm 8:1,2

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

– Luis Josephus

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PHOTO: Newly formed galaxy lights up its surrounding cosmic clouds. Its name is HD 97300 and it’s one of the youngest — but also the most massive and brightest—stars in the Chamaeleon Complex, 500 light-years away. Photo released on Feb. 10 by the European Southern Observatory and captured by the agency’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.


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God Remembers

double rainbowBeautiful photo of double rainbow over Ravello, Italy. The rainbow is God’s reminder to us of his covenant not to destroy the earth with water, ever again. What a faithful heavenly Father is our God. He is worthy of our trust!

“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”  – Genesis 9:12-13

Photo courtesy of National Geographic.


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Except You Abide in the Vine

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in Me.” – John 15:4

In the parable (allegory) of the vine tree, Jesus compares Himself to the “True Vine” because when we come to salvation, we are spiritually born again and given a special position as a branch on the Tree of life, which is Jesus the Messiah. He alone is the only Savior that can give us eternal life; all others are false prophets and false religions.

God the Father, on the other hand, is the “husbandman” (the farmer) that cultivates us as branches on the vine and tends to our care. He waters us every day, prunes our twigs, trims our leaves, and makes sure we are receiving the right amount of sunshine and nutrients from the ground.

But Jesus reminds us that unless we continue to abide in Him, we cannot bear good fruit or flourish as one of His branches, since a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless we abide in the source of nourishment – the tree.

To abide comes from the original Greek word, menō, which means: to remain, continue, abide or live in. If the branch is broken, snapped or disconnected in any way from the vine or tree, the life-giving support cannot continue to flow. Without the tree’s nourishment, the branch will eventually wither and die. Likewise, the life of Christ can only continue to flow in us as long as we abide in Him by:

  • Studying the Word of God daily, keeping it continually in our hearts and minds, and letting it guide our lives.
  • Maintaining the habit of prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit in order to draw new and fresh strength from Him.
  • Obeying God’s commandments and endeavoring to live pleasing to Him.
  • Attending church regularly and loving the fellowship of the brethren.
  • Witnessing for Jesus everywhere we go and helping to bring lost souls to salvation.

We will continue to abide in Christ if we follow the above guidelines. As we do, we will also continue to bear the kind of good fruit He desires from us as His disciples and remain eternally secure in our salvation.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him,” Jesus said, “the same brings forth much fruit [not some fruit, but much fruit]. For with Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

– Luis Josephus

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Comment from Donna: “This morning I was thinking about being grafted into the vine and what it means. I was thinking of the fact that the power that flows from the vine to us is LOVE. It is his love that gives us life. That is what the two great commandments were all about: LOVE. It’s not about what we do, per say, it is about how we LOVE God first and then others. All the instructions that you gave for abiding in the vine can be summed up in: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS. May the Lord truly bless you for your service to Christ!”

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Free Booklet, “Grace For Today.”

Grace For TodayOrder your free devotional booklet “Grace For Today” by Pastor Luis Yosefus which contains many more inspirational messages written to encourage your life and enhance your understanding of God’s Word. Simply email us your postal address and we will mail it to you free of charge at no obligation.


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Doing the first works

Bible_man_reading_1“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works…” – Revelation 2:4-5.

Jesus is speaking to many of us through this letter to the Church of Ephesus who had “lost their first love.” These Ephesians church members were still blood-washed, born-again believers, but they had lost the excitement and devotion they once had for Jesus. Remember when you first got saved; how excited you were about God?

Spiritual backsliding is a common problem in the church. After years of walking with God, many of us may slowly begin to neglect spending quality time with God or even going to church. Our faith becomes lukewarm and we might also backslide morally. The solution for correcting this problem, Jesus said, is to remember therefore from where we have fallen; repent, and do the first works again.

Since the first step is to repent, we need to acknowledge our sins to God and ask Him to forgive us. He is always merciful and faithful to forgive us, and to cleanse us, once again, from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Secondly, we must start from scratch in our faith and “do the first works” we once did in the beginning. What are the first works?

  • Studying the Bible daily.
  • Spending quality time in prayer and hearing God’s voice.
  • Going to church regularly and saturating your spirit with sound biblical teaching, and collective praise and worship.
  • Fellowship regularly with other believers.

If you have lost your first love, or drifted away from God, or fallen into immoral sins, don’t give up on Jesus, because He hasn’t given up on you. He still loves you dearly and desires to restore you back to Himself. All He asks is that you Repent, Confess, and “Do the first works” again. He will restore your life with His abundance of peace and joy.

– Luis JosephusRealJesus Logo+75x75

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comment_smComment from Pastor Emeka: “Dear Pastor Luis Yosefus, thanks for your newsletter. I am inspired and encouraged by your messages and revelations of the word of God. I am a pastor of a small fellowship in Corby, United kingdom (People for Christ Ministries).


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Are you phubbing Jesus?

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Phubbing (or phone snubbing) is a modern-day problem affecting many people today. Perhaps you may be guilty of phubbing others, and never realized it.

When your friend or loved one is constantly distracted by looking at their cell phone, talking on the phone, texting, or reading their social media feed while you are trying to keep a conversation going, this can be very frustrating! Here are some common complaints:

  • My friend or partner continually glances at his/her cell phone while talking to me
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  • If there is a lull in our conversation, my friend or partner will rudely check his/her cell phone for text messages
     
  • I feel that I am being ignored when my friend or partner gives more importance to his/her cell phone than to paying attention to me.

The new cell phone technology has provided many benefits for users, but it has also created social problems too. New studies on human behavior show that it is having detrimental effects on our relationships, and is monopolizing our attention spans. Respondents to a recent survey said that being “phubbed” by their friends or partners inevitably causes conflicts, lowers the level of our relational satisfaction, and leads to higher levels of depression from being neglected.

When Jesus gets phubbed.

I can imagine how Jesus feels when we ignore Him. Whether we are too busy or distracted to pray, study His word, or spend quality time with Him, our relationship with Jesus suffers too. We start losing our peace and joy, and experience decreasing satisfaction with our Christian faith. When this occurs in our lives, we’ve got to take drastic steps to remedy the problem. Since Jesus requires being the number one priority in our lives, we may have to ditch whatever has come between Jesus and us. Our Master and King must reign in first place in our hearts and lives – or He is not truly Lord at all.

Think about it: Have you been “phubbing” Jesus by neglecting His fellowship, personal prayer time, missing church services, or allowing other priorities in your life to come between your relationship with Him? If so, it’s time you stopped ignoring Jesus and make things right.

– Luis Josephus

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