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Dear Partner,

While watching the news coverage of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, I often hear the news commentators make the statement, "This part of the world is where three great religions meet." Of course, they are speaking of Judaism, Christianity, and the Moslem religion. I know what they mean when they say such things, but they are so very wrong. Christianity is not a religion. True Christianity is a family!

1 John 3:1-2  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Jesus emphasized this theme repeatedly in His teachings. For example, have you ever noticed that Jesus used the term "Father" while referring to God twelve times in a single chapter Matthew Chapter Six? What's even more exciting, He was not simply declaring that God was His Father. He was declaring that God was "our" Father. If you have received Jesus as your Savior and been born again, you have been born of God's Spirit. You are literally God's child. You are a member of God's family!

This concept is vitally important for each of us to understand. If we don't understand that we are in a family, not a religion, we will be subject to all kinds of false doctrine. I've been saying it like this lately in my teachings; "The New Testament only makes sense in the context of a family." Let me ask you about your family, your relationship with your relatives, wife/husband, and children. Is that relationship with your relatives a religion? No, of course not. It is a family!

You can't make a family function as a religion. It will not work because a family is not a religion. If you try to make a religion out of a family you are going to have problems because you will cause the vital forces of love and affection to dry up. Everything would be based upon each other's performance, not based upon love. Sadly, this is why many Christians find so little joy in Christianity. They think they are in a religion and spend their lives in futility trying to relate to their Father based upon their performance instead of enjoying the rich fellowship that is available to them as a member of God's family.

Think about what we see in the four gospels. Was the relationship between Jesus and the Father based upon religion or was it based on the fact that Jesus was God's Son? Obviously it was based upon the relationship and fellowship between a Father and His Son. Now look again at what the apostle John wrote about "us" in the verses quoted above: NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD! When? NOW! God is our Father! We are birthed from His spiritual loins. We are His own children, born of His own Spirit. We are the objects of our Father's love! "Behold what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us!"

There are many religions in the world such as Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, and so forth. Not one of them can cause a person to become a child of God. Notice what the bible says concerning how a person becomes a member of God's family:

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

There are only two kinds of humans on the face of the earth; those who are born of God's Spirit and those who are not. You cannot become a member of God's family by joining a religion. You cannot become a member of God's family by simply joining a church. You MUST be born again. You MUST be born of God's Spirit. The only way for that to happen is to have faith in Christ Jesus. No wonder Jesus said,

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We are not in a religion. We have been born again. We have been born of God's Spirit. We are the literal children of God upon the face of the earth NOW! God is our Father and our relationship with Him is based upon LOVE not PERFORMANCE! Let me encourage you today that when you get alone to spend some time in worship and prayer with your Father, have the mindset that you are having some quality "family time" with Him the One who loves you to the uttermost.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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