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“I’m basically a good person, so I’ll go to heaven.” “OK, so I do some bad things, but I do more good things, so I’ll go to heaven.” “God won’t send me to hell just because I don’t acknowledge Jesus. Times have changed!” “Only really bad people like child molesters and murderers go to hell.”

These are all common rationalizations, but the truth is that they are all lies.

Getting into heaven is not based on whether our good outweighs our bad; we will all lose out if that is the case. “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:6). We can do nothing good to earn our way to heaven (Titus 3:5).

When God created the world, it was perfect and good. Then he made Adam and Eve and gave them their own free will, so they would have a choice whether to follow and obey God. But they were tempted by Satan to disobey God, and they sinned. This separated them (and everyone that came after them, including us) from being able to have a close relationship with God. He is perfect and holy and must judge sin.

As sinners, we couldn’t reconcile ourselves to God on our own.

So God made a way that we could be united with Him in heaven. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus was born to die for our sins so that we would not have to. Three days after His death, He rose from the grave (Romans 4:25), proving Himself victorious over death. He bridged the gap between God and man so that we may have a personal relationship with Him if we only believe.

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

Most people believe in God, even Satan does. But to receive salvation, we must turn to God, form a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, turn away from our sins, and follow Him.

We must trust in Jesus with everything we have and everything we do. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference” (Romans 3:22). The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Christ. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the only way of salvation because He is the only One who can pay our sin penalty (Romans 6:23).

No other religion teaches the depth or seriousness of sin and its consequences.

No other religion offers the infinite payment of sin that only Jesus Christ could provide. No other “religious founder” was God become man (John 1:1,14) – the only way an infinite debt could be paid. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die.

Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Read more about it at  www.gotquestions.org

 

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

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Will You Stand in the Line of Paul, Jude, Peter and John?

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

 

 

Not everyone is “TALKING” about the Same Jesus.

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Ashamed of Jesus.  Christ Followers are not  narrow or  intolerant when it comes to proclaiming truth about Jesus.  He is the Only Way for eveyone.  That’s not narrow.   Don’t be afraid to speak.

 

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Please Discover for yourself the True Jesus.

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

The one thing I find that people most often stumble over is the fact that Jesus actually did rise from the dead.

 It did happen, it isn’t a myth. It isn’t merely a nice idea that Christians have, Rather, it is something which occurred in history.

 The truth is everyone in the world is affected by the resurrection of Jesus.

 Nobody can live unchanged by this  great historically accurate event!

  Keep this resurrection truth in mind:

 Resurrection skeptics provide unverified

Alternative theories; Christ followers provide First-century resurrection evidence.

  What does the evidence reveal regarding the resurrection of Jesus? 

 * The New Testament story is not a legend:

 New Testament documents were written within two generations of the events by eyewitnesses or their contempories.

 The New Testament storyline is corroborated by non-Christian writers.

 * The New Testament story is not an embellishment:

 New Testament writers were meticulously accurate as the well over 140 historically details demonstrate.

 * The New Testament writers were not deceived:

 The New Testament writers were not wrong about what they saw!

 If all their other historical details has proven to be Accurate, why do you think they would be deceived about the resurrection?

  Regarding the resurrection of Jesus, how do skeptics explain away the resurrection?

  There will always be people who say that Jesus did not really rise from the dead!

 Don’t be discouraged by doubters who deny the resurrection.

           Instead,

 Be filled with hope because the knowledge that one day you will see the living proof when Jesus Christ returns.

 Alternative theories of resurrection skeptics.

  The hallucination theory:

 Response:  Jesus appeared to men and women in various  settings over a 40 day period.  Why did the roman authorities not just parade around the dead body of Jesus?

  The wrong tomb theory:

 Response:  The Jews knew where the tomb was. The roman authorities knew where the tomb was.  The wrong tomb theory doesn’t explain away the sightings of a resurrected Jesus, or the empty tomb.

 The swoon theory:  (appeared dead)

 Response:  Non-Christians sources affirm that a spear was thrust into the heart of Jesus. In addition, Jesus was wrapped in spices and 75 lbs. of bandages

 The stolen body;

 Response:  This would makes the disciples deceivers, not deceived!  So…..the disciples stole the body of Jesus so they could be beaten and tortured?

What does the resurrection mean to every one who accepts it?

Because of the resurrection I have confidence that the apostles early teaching was true.

Because of the resurrection I am forgiven for my sins.

Because Christ is raised those who have died in Christ have not perished.

One final word about “who is Jesus”? 

C.S. Lewis who clearly shows that we must do something with Jesus: either accept his love and forgiveness, or totally reject all of his claims.

He writes:

I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him:

 “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say.

 A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said… Would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic… or else he would be the devil of hell.

 You must make you choice.

 Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.

 You can shut him up for a fool,

You can spit at him and kill him as a demon;

You can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.

 But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

Very few people question whether Jesus Christ existed. It is generally accepted that Jesus was truly a man who walked on the earth in Israel 2000 years ago. The debate begins when the subject of Jesus’ full identity is discussed. Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a prophet or a good teacher or a godly man.

 

Christianity, however, teaches that Jesus was infinitely more than a prophet, a good teacher, or a godly man—Jesus is God in the Flesh.   While on this earth Jesus was 100% God, 100% man, 100% of the time!

C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity writes the following: 

“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”

 

So, who did Jesus claim to be? Who does the Bible say He is? First, let’s look at Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” At first glance, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:33). The Jews understood Jesus’ statement as a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John 8:58 is another example: “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” Again, in response, the Jews took up stones in an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59). Jesus’ announcing His identity as “I am” is a direct application of the Old Testament name for God (Exodus 3:14). Why would the Jews again want to stone Jesus if He had not said something they believed to be blasphemous, namely, a claim to be God?John 1:1 says “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Thomas the disciple declared to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. The apostle Paul describes Him as, “…our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The apostle Peter says the same, “…our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). God the Father is witness of Jesus’ full identity as well, “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” Old Testament prophecies of Christ announce His deity, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).John 14:26)?

 So, as C.S. Lewis argued, believing Jesus to be only a good teacher is not an option. Jesus clearly and undeniably claimed to be God. If He is not God, then He is a liar, and therefore not a prophet, good teacher, or godly man. In attempts to explain away the words of Jesus, modern “scholars” claim the “true historical Jesus” did not say many of the things the Bible attributes to Him. Who are we to argue with God’s Word concerning what Jesus did or did not say? How can a “scholar” two thousand years removed from Jesus have better insight into what Jesus did or did not say than those who lived with, served with, and were taught by Jesus Himself.

Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important? Why does it matter whether or Not Jesus is God? 

The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

 

Only God could pay such an infinite penalty (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die.

 

Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

 

Will you accept Jesus today?

 

 

 

Dr. Tom Smiley, is Senior of Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 All prayer should be directed to our triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that we can pray to one or all three, because all three are one.

To the Father we pray with the psalmist, “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray” (Psalm 5:2). To the Lord Jesus, we pray as to the Father because they are equal. Prayer to one member of the Trinity is prayer to all. Stephen, as he was being martyred, prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

We are also to pray in the name of Christ. Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to always give “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Jesus assured His disciples that whatever they asked in His name—meaning in His will—would be granted (John 15:16; 16:23).

Similarly, we are told to pray to the Holy Spirit and in His power. The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we do not know how or what to ask for (Romans 8:26; Jude 20).

Perhaps the best way to understand the role of the Trinity in prayer is that we pray to the Father, through (or in the name of) the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three are active participants in the believer’s prayer.

Dr. Tom Smiley is Senior Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”.  His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, faith, current events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/.   His books: “Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org.

Dear ________

 I received your note and attached article which you dropped by my office last week.  Integrity and Honesty require that I say to you, Yes, Mormonism is a “cult” and Mormons are not Christians… they are Mormons. 

 Christians are Christ-Followers.  I assume you know, given your position of leadership in the Latter Day Saint Church, that the Jesus Christ of Mormonism is NOT the same Jesus Christ that the New Testament Proclaims.

 I write out of no emotion except that of desiring to be completely honest with you.  I am unaware of your faith background.  However, I would not want you to go into eternity having never heard the Truth regarding Jesus.

 The Bible teaches that the only way to know God and spend eternity with Him is to personally accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.  The Jesus that the Bible proclaims is, God in the Flesh. He is not the brother of Lucifer.  He is God in the Flesh.

 I would cherish the opportunity to speak with you more about Jesus if you would like to know more about HIM from the New Testament truth.

 The Mormons I know are kind people and good people. However, regardless of these good traits it is imperative that people understand Who Jesus is and How to enter into a personal relationship with Him, thus enjoying the promise of eternal life.

 As a former inter-faith witness associate with the Home Mission Board, I’ve had fairly in- depth interaction with the Mormon faith.

 A couple observations I would like for folks like you in leadership to consider:

 *be completely honest with those with whom you share. Don’t speak of the Jesus found in Mormon theology as being the same Jesus taught in the New Testament.  You know they are different.  Tell people straight up that you believe that “Jesus and Lucifer were spirit brothers.”  A teaching not found in the Bible. (Lucifer was a created being while;  Jesus, God in the Flesh is from the begining)

  *speak honestly about the way a person in the Mormon faith has the assurance of eternity life.  At this point, I’m assuming you know the difference between  the Mormon teaching and the teaching of Christianity with regards to how a person is Born Again. While works are good and indicate a relationship, works do not provide salvation.  Only the work that Jesus did on the Cross can secure Salvation.

 *be open with folks about your teaching that Mormon’s believe that it is possible for men today to “become a god like God is God.  Explain how you believe that

with enough good efforts a man maybe become a “god” in the cosmos.

  I think my biggest disappointment in the Mormon teaching regards the teaching of  WHO JESUS IS.  This is a very serious error on the part of your teaching.

 Two scriptures that I trust will bring conviction to your heart from the Holy Spirit:

 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:8-9

 It does matter what you believe and teach about Jesus.  Please give this some careful and prayerful consideration.

 I do value your fine acquaintance over the past 20 years and your community service. However, I am compelled to speak truth to you and can never “back up on who Jesus is” regardless of friendships.

 The things I’ve spoken of in this letter are exactly the things that Jude, Peter, John and Paul spoke and wrote about regarding Jesus and the promise of eternity with the one True God.

 If you have genuine interest in discovering the Truth about Jesus,  I would be most honored to speak with you.

 Most sincerely and with respect

 Tom smiley

 

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is Senior Pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”.  His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, faith, current events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/.   His books: “Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org.