Rom. 3:20&22 “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are… We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”
“You look tired” should be on a list of things never to say to people, right up there with “Are you pregnant?”
A student said this to me last week, and I was not feeling very complimented by it. However, to his credit, he was being observant and trying to be compassionate, and I WAS tired.
Last week there was a revival happening across the street from our house. As a result, people geared up their loudspeakers to start off the preaching before 5am each morning. Now, as obnoxious as this was, what was more difficult was knowing that they probably weren’t teaching the true gospel, that we can be saved through faith in Jesus alone. This kind of event is common in PNG, and there are actually many churches here, especially in urban areas. However, the message that is taught the majority of the time is some variation of, “Do good works and you will get into heaven.”
This message is not only common in PNG, but in many churches in America as well. I actually even had to have a long discussion with the students in my Bible class about the fact that following the law cannot save us. It didn’t save people in the Old Testament, and it doesn’t save us now. This message is something that many authors of the New Testament had to address as well, even long ago. Why is this false gospel so prevalent?
I think that one reason is that we want to feel like we’ve earned it. We want to be able to do something to get into heaven. The idea that we cannot measure up is offensive, but it is also incredible. No, we can’t do it, but Jesus did it. He lived the perfect life that we could not, and died to pay the penalty for our sins, so that all we have to do is believe that He died for us.
So yes, I am tired, but mostly I’m tired of people teaching lies about Jesus and the way of salvation. It breaks my heart that many people in PNG went from believing, “I need to do all the right things to appease the spirits,” to “I need to do all the right things to be saved by God.” This is why we are here in PNG, to support tribal missionaries who will communicate the gospel clearly in people’s heart languages, so that they will know the truth that can set them free. This is also why I am so excited to be teaching Bible at our school this year, so that I can reinforce the truths of God’s Word to my students.
So whether people are believing in animism, or in a works-based salvation, the need is the same, and we will continue to work to spread the gospel.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
Matt speaking in chapel
Karissa’s students doing a skit about the tower of Babel
-God has been answering Karissa’s prayers for joy in teaching this year
-Matt’s role as personnel director is going well
-The school year has started off well for Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
-We have enough teachers this year to teach all the classes, even specials like art and PE
-Karissa is going to be doing some training about how to help people process after going through a traumatic event
-for Matt as he helps some people work through some conflict
-for Matt as he is very busy now that his online classes have started again
-for Karissa as she hurt her back playing floor hockey. We don’t think it’s serious, but it is sore and making it hard to sleep (again!)
What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus: Pray for the Lembena work. The missionaries here are currently in language and culture study, but they are already seeing the need that these people have to hear God’s truth. In the Lembena area, there actually are some “Christian” churches. One of the missionaries there showed us a video of some people in church singing and praising God. That seemed great, until he told us what they were singing. “We used to have grass roofs, but now we have tin roofs. We used to wear grass skirts, but now we wear trousers.” This was their idea of what Jesus had done for them- given them new stuff. Their only idea of the gospel is a prosperity gospel. There is a man who sometimes visits their village, claiming to be a prophet. He preaches to them a false gospel, and they pay him all their money for doing it. Pray for the missionaries here, that they will learn the language and culture quickly. Pray for the people here, that God will be preparing their hearts to hear and understand the true gospel- that Jesus has something much better for them than tin roofs and trousers— He offers them eternal life.