"Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple!" Luke 14:33
deny yourself, bear your cross, and
"The House on the Rock!"
"Ye Must Be Born Again!"
"The Sermon on the Mount!"
"Running The Race!"
"The Cost of Discipleship!"
"The Rich Young Ruler!" p.2
"The L-U-S-T for Life!"
"The wages of Sin is Death!"
"What must I do to be saved?"
"The END of our Faith"
"But seek ye first..."
"True and False Christianity (4 differences)" p.3
"It will cost you... EVERYTHING!"
"The Negative and Positive aspects of Jesus' teaching"
"Beware of accepting a False Gospel!"
What does the Lord mean when He says: "COME UNTO ME"!?
"Reckon yourself dead!"
"It's time to Grow Up!"
"The sin of presumption!"
"IF you love Me..."
"What does it mean to be "Born Again"?!?
"God's Grace!" p.5
"The Pride Of Life"
"The Importance of Remaining in the Word"
"The word -- TEMPTATION -- as shown in Revelation 3:10"
"BUT --- Do You Really Know The Lord?"
"The POWER Of Faith"
THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK!
Whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
- Therefore -
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27)
"My sheep hear my voice!"
Thus the #1 condition or qualification to be met is to, "Become His Sheep who hears His voice!"
By the words, "My sheep", we see that there are TWO Kinds of sheep Jesus is refering to here: "SHEEP" that belong to Him (which He calls, "MY sheep") OR sheep that belong to someone else!
Likewise, by the words, "My voice" shows there are TWO types of Hearers in those Sheep", or TWO kinds of "Christians"....
There are the type of "sheep" who Hear and DO, and the type who do not hear (or Hear what 'they' want to hear) and DO NOT DO.
To help us keep in mind those "TWO" types of Hearers, we have...
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
The first son "Kept and Obeyed" thus he did the will of his father. The second son proved himself to be a hypocrit by saying "Yes", but never going.
(The Lord isn't interested in our "Part Time Obedience" through "Our Intermittent Love" whenever "WE" feel like it.) If nothing else, this story goes to prove how serious the Lord is about us Keeping His word!
Again we see that there are TWO Kinds of Sheep who start out as "Christians", but there is only ONE kind that ends up both Hearing and Doing what the Lord says! (and to them who have, even more will be given - Matt.13:12.)
Luke 6:46ff - And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
We see by these words of His that although two very different types of Christians both claim to be followers of Christ, only one does the things that He says: "HIS Sheep"!
There are many false professors out there who (of Luke 6:46) call Him "Lord" as well, but who don't DO as He asks!
According to the Lord, this makes them "Hypocrites" - and we all know what the fate of the hypocrite is (Mt.24:51).
So, although "THEY" believe themselves to be "His Sheep" and "Christians", and even if we believe them to be "His Sheep" and "Christians", this doesn't make it so!
What makes it so is their Obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ! And this they do through the hearing of faith, the same faith that will save them by bringing them to Him in the first place.
The Lord that I know is One who will have us "Hear and Obey Him" - but not obey Him out of force, nor fear, nor torment, nor coercion, nor manipulation, nor promises nor for rewards... but because we Love Him!
He will have us Obey Him by one thing only - and that one thing is... "FAITH THAT WORKS THROUGH LOVE" - the same Love that draws obedience out of us - the very same Love that He put into our hearts to begin with...
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Gal 5:6
Ever keep in mind those "TWO" types of Sheep: "Either Hearers/Understanders + Doers of the word", or those who are not His and therefore whom He doesn't know because they are only "Hearers" rather than "Understanding Doers or Keepers of His words"!
"If" they're "His" Sheep at all it's because they KNOW HIM - they "Hear/Understand/Obey" His voice!
"I know them!"
Next, "He knows who they are!"
He knows them because they are the ones Hearing and Doing His words! He knows them because He is abiding in them and they are abiding in His words! (John 14:23)
If you love Me, keep (obey) My words! John 14:23
...if any man love God, the same is known of him. 1 Cor 8:3
The ones He doesn't know are these...
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Matt 25:12
But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. Luke 13:27
He doesn't know them so much because they don't follow/obey Him. It's because they don't do the things He says.
And the reason why is simple... " ye have not the love of God in you". John 5:42
For if they did have the love of God in them then they would both Understand and DO the things He says!
"If" they had the Love of God in them then they would Hear Him and swiftly (or even eventually) DO what He says, PROVING they love Him, and He in turn would Know that they are His Sheep!
Peter talks about the necessity of "Adding Love" to ones faith in order not to fall (2 Peter 1). And when one does wise up and not only "Hears" but "Obeys" Him as well by adding Love to their faith, (the kind of Love that is found Keeping and Abiding in His words), they have heard and obeyed.
Just like Grace or any of His other wonderful attributes, the Love of God is an "Unconditional Love"!
We love Him because He FIRST Loved us, and showed us what kind of Love He has and is! We don't Love Him because we have to or else, but because we cannot but help loving Him!!! That is why "Love Never Fails"!
"They follow me!"
And finally, "They follow Him!" They will NOT follow the voice of another! (John 10:4-5)
That means one thing: "They Know Him! They Know His Voice! They will NOT follow the voice of a stranger: i.e. of another Christ!!!
This can only mean that they have "Blessed Discernment"! From out of all of the other voices out there, these sheep alone are able to distinguish that one tiny voice which is of God out of all those other loud voices out there vying for their affections that aren't His, and in this way are able to find their way through the darkness by following Him through the Light heard in His word to their new heart!
This proves they are "mature"! This proves they have added "Love" to their faith... the Love of God above all the others! (1st commandment Love) Not only are they mature enough to be able to hear/understand Him and keep His teachings but Know Him and follow His leadings - the leading of the Spirit - as well!
That is why Jesus says of them...
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
THAT is a promise given only to those who are His Sheep - who Hear His Voice - Whom He personally knows - and who follow Him! (None other need apply, because none other than these are going to meet the conditions as are set forth by Christ Himself.)
The ones who don't follow Him don't because they have yet to lay it all down to do so! That is exactly why they don't follow Him and do the things He says. "Impossible" without all out commitment.
And until these or any other "SHEEP" do MORE than just HEAR Him they are in grave danger of falling away!
Ever keep in mind those "TWO" types of Hearers, what each represent and why!
Because once one gets serious with what one has heard Christ saying, it leads us all to ONE Place: "THE NARROW GATE"! And once you've gone through the Narrow Gate, it's ALL OVER... and you ain't ever coming back... the way you were. :)
Our once for all decision, in His presence, to abide in Him by coming to Him all the way (with no holds barred, no loopholes and no regrets) by way of the Narrow Gate and being stripped of everything we ever held of value and dear to us, is the ONLY WAY a Sheep (if they truly do love and obey Him) can Follow Him into the love and joy of the Lord!
That is why it is written that these things must first be thoroughly weighed and thought out in order to see where our True heart motives lay. That is why it is necessary to first sit down and weigh the costs of being"His disciple" and all that it means, in order to see one simple thing... "IF HE IS WORTH IT ALL or not"! (Matt.10:37-39)
And ALL of this is determined by and based on whether or not one has truly found the Hidden Treasure and Pearl of Great Price: Matt 13. For this is EXACTLY what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about! And blessed are they that find it. (Matt.7:14)
Because "IF" they have indeed "Found Him", then they will joyously sell ALL they own as "dung", ("Note: This is NOT a 'Condition', but it is an influence of the heart, an influence that is based on LOVE through faith") in order to possess/lay hold of Him... FOREVERMORE!!! (2 Peter 1:10)
It will be on that well thought out (life and death) decision of ours, after sitting down and weighing all the facts, that will determine for us whether or not in us is the "Love of God" - That special fully yielded kind of Love that can, will and does willingly go ALL THE WAY to the cross with Christ (Gal.2:20)...
or else it will only be a "Half-hearted Love" with a "Half-hearted Life" to it that will go only part of the way (until a conflict of interest shows up with ones self-loves) and they will stop short! (Rev.3:16)
For it is ONLY by our chosing to go in through the Narrow Gate itself (fighting our own struggle of wills with God for ourselves - Gen.32) at the cross which Breaks us, Humbles us and Blesses us, and that then allows the Lord to put His yoke around us to lead us where He will.
The Only Way one can produce the kind of lasting fruit required of us by God is to "Hear and Obey Him" by going through that Narrow Gate once and for all...
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
The promise is given to All those who enter into the Kingdom through the Narrow Gate. This is that promise He made to the Father of "Getting Results" - Luke 13:6-9 - The kind of results that will see to it that the fruit He is looking for, for the glory of God, will keep on coming and will not be snuffed out... (John 4:14 and 7:38)
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
All going to Prove that...
"FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD!" (James 2:20, 26)
"FAITH WITHOUT LOVE IS DEAD!" (1 Corinthians 13)
"FAITH WITHOUT OBEDIENCE IS DEAD!" (Luke 6:46-49)
"IS HE WORTHY OF ALL?" - yes or no!?
YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!
What specifically happens the moment one becomes a bonafide "born-again Christian"???...
1. They have an immediate CHANGE of heart towards God!
The persons "Perception" has completely changed! They no longer see things the way they once did. They no longer see things through the light (i.e. darkness) that was in them (Matthew 6:23) but in a whole new light (John 8:12; 12:46), in a whole new way of understanding things, in "the Light of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).
This means that they no longer fear the loss of some imaginary heaven invented in their own mind nor dread the pains of a very real hell after their life here is over. They no longer "see" God as some figament of their imagination existing "out there somewhere" and very aloof, as invented by their religious fantasies and myths.
In an instant they have come to see Him as real and alive in the most personal and intimate of ways, full of love for them, thanks to their reception of the Holy Spirit who has revealed God to them!
They have SEEN and TOUCHED Him high and lifted up... and live to tell about it. They now know beyond a fact that He loves them and loves them so much - as they realize how He chose to suffer and go to the cross "for them" - that they cannot comprehend such love as this. It is beyond them!
They are UTTERLY STUNNED by this revelation... a revelation so powerful as to not only save them who were beyond saving but love them and make them part of His family as well. It's all too much! Let the tears and the breakdowns and the uncontained joy begin!
In just one day - in one hour - in an instant - in the twinkling of an eye - the person has gone from darkness to light... from death to life... from pretending to real... from the most fearing to the most loving... from cursing his name in hatred to praising Him with joy. He has now become the sole source, center and love of their life!
They now must share and witness Him to others so that they too may know Him and the joy it is to have and to hold Him for themselves, forever.
2. They have an immediate CHANGE of heart towards others, especially towards others who have caused them grief in the past!
Again, all of this goes to prove and mean that they are no longer the same as they once were. They no longer think the same - nor act the same - nor retaliate the same as they once did (Luke 6:46).
Those old, hateful (i.e. "evil") thoughts they once held towards others to wish them harm will instead (ever with God's help) turn into thoughts of good. Where hate and/or vengeful type thoughts entered in and were entertained before, these are now replaced by thoughts of love and good will towards ALL the persons, including and especially to those whom they once hated and/or wished were dead (for whatever excuse or reason).
This all begins through our Hearing Him speak the Gospel/word of God to us personally. This is the resurrection POWER and LIFE that is actually contained in His word that the Spirit of God takes and sows directly into our hearts!
For this to happen one must first be made "ALIVE" inside. Until then, until we hear God speaking to us, we are all DEAD! Upon ones "New Spiritual Birth" there is an actual, inward "Change" that takes place - a "Repentance" - a "Complete Turnaround" that occurs the moment one becomes "born again"!
Where as they were once addicted to talking about people behind their backs, or stealing a few dollars here and there, etc., we see that the addiction (that led them to sin continuosly) has now been lifted off them, cold turkey, which in turn causes them to no longer want to talk about people and/or no longer want to steal, etc.
There is a new "Power" in them now; a new "LIFE" in them now, able to live the Christian life the way that God intended it to be. This "Power" is who Scriptures call: "Christ" - "Christ in You", who goes to prove that they have been saved TO God, as well as saved From their sins.
3. They have an immediate CHANGE of heart towards themselves!
That part of themselves that they had always deemed somewhat worthy and tried to clean up and polish for "God's sake" (thus for theirs as well) is now... DEAD!!! (Galatians 2:20)
They now know and believe that God (through His Son) not only paid a sin-debt for them that they could never pay, BUT He also saved them "TO" God (i.e. He sanctified them to the Truth) as well.
This means that not only has He forgiven their sins, but that He has also empowered them (by the revelation of Him that they received) to live unto Him, and... "IF" they in turn Love Him: To DO as He says and "KEEP" His words.
What God has done is to take and Crucify them, and bury them with Christ.
What this does is do away with the OLD man: the Adamic sin-nature we were born with that got us into all this trouble with God in the first place, and our trying to shine it up all the time through our "good works, etc.", in defiance, rather than hear, believe, come and obey Him... letting the real and unselfish "Good Works" flow from such a fellowship and relationship.
The new birth in Christ brings with it the Peace that surpasses all human (i.e. born once: sin-natured: darkened) understanding, and is Completely at Rest in Him through the saving/changing knowledge of His resurrection and His work on the cross.
This "New Creation In Christ" is totally unlike the rest of the world, and being "In Christ" he is kept hidden from view!
Athough "Outwardly"; to the human eye, these "Born again Christians", at first glance, seem to be no different than the rest of the world, yet the "Inward" person has been completely renewed and is no longer of this world, even though they may be walking through it a while longer yet.
Now what's on their heart and lips is their wish that everyone (family, friends and enemies as well) would come to know Him and the great miracle and wonder making power it is, and to know how indescribably wonderful He really is to those who know him now.
For this testimony of theirs they are more than willing to be laughed at, misunderstood and scorned, for such is the POWER that has changed them! They know what it's like to be in darkness as they once were! They know what it's like to be shunned and ignored for being... "Different". But... they also know that people need to know Him NOW BEFORE they die and BEFORE it's too late. They know - they remember - they speak the Truth in Love!".***
"THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"
"BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT":
5 - I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
6 - Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Isaiah 6:5 - Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King...
Ezekial 20:43 - And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.
1 Timothy 1:15 - This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
"FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"
Matthew 11:25 - At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, God of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
James 1:9 - Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
James 2:5 - Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Luke 6:24 - But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Matthew 18:3 - And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
13 - And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 - I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
23 - For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 - For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
"BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN":
5 - They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6 - He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
John 16:22 - And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
"FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED"
6 - The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
7 - Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
8 - For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
1 Corinthians 15:
54 - So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 - O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Revelation 21:4 - And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Luke 6:25 - Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
2 Corinthians 1:
3 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 - Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 7:10 - For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
16 - Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
17 - For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
"BLESSED ARE THE MEEK":
Psalm 22:26 - The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
Psalm 25:9 - The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
Isaiah 66:2 - For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
1 Peter 3:4 - But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
"FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH"
1 - Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
2 - The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth:
9 - For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
10 - For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 - But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Romans 4:13 - For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Psalm 147:6 - The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
Isaiah 11:4 - But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
29 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 - For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
21 - Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 - But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 4:6 - But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
"BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH DO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS":
1 - As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 - My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Psalm 51:10 - Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
"FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED"
Psalm 17:15 - As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Psalm 107:9 - For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
Revelation 7:16 - They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Luke 1:53 - He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
John 4:14 - But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 6:35 - And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Proverbs 14:2 - He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
Luke 6:25 - Woe unto you that are full now! for ye shall hunger.
John 6:27 - Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
"BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL":
Hosea 6:6 - For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Luke 6:36 - Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
"FOR THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY"
Hosea 2:23 - And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
29 - For the calling and gifts of God are without repentance.
30 - For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 - Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 - For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
Hebrews 8:12 - For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Psalm 18:25 - With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; (cf 2 Sam.22:26)
14 - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 - But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
"BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART":
Psalm 15:2 - He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
Luke 7:38 - And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Matthew 22:37 - Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
1 Peter 1:22 - Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
"FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD"
Genesis 32:30 - And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
1 Corinthians 13:
10 - But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 - When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 - For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
2 Corinthians 3:18 - But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
I John 3:
2 - 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.
3 - And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Psalm 18:26 - With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. (cf 2 Sam.22:27)
Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Ephesians 5:5 - For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Titus 1:15 - Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Hebrews 12:14 - Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
"BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS":
Psalm 34:14 - Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
6 - My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.
7 - I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.
Matthew 5:44 - But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Romans 12:18 - If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
James 3:18 - And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
"FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GOD"
Matthew 5:45 - That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
15 - For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 - The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
14 - Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 - That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
5 - For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 - For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 - Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
1 Peter 3:
11 - Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 - For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
I John 3:
9 - Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 - In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
"BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE":
Psalm 34:19 - Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
19 - If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 - Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
2 Corinthians 4:17 - For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
1 Peter 3:14 - But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
2 - My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 - Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
"FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"
31 - When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
34 - Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
1 Corinthians 2:
9 - But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 - But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Hebrews 12:2 - Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
34 - Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
41 - Then shall he say also unto the others, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
28 - And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 - For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
2 Timothy 2:12 - If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
"BLESSED ARE YE, WHEN MEN SHALL REVILE YOU, AND PERSECUTE YOU, AND SHALL SAY ALL MANNER OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY, FOR MY SAKE."
Psalm 37:12 - The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
Luke 6:22 - Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
24 - The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 - It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Acts 25:7 - And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
I John 3:
12 - Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
13 - Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
"REJOICE, AND BE EXCEEDINGLY GLAD: FOR GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN: FOR SO PERSECUTED THEY THE PROPHETS WHICH WERE BEFORE YOU."
Luke:23 - Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
Acts 5:41 - And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Romans 8:18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 Peter 4:
13 - But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 - If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
THE THRUST OF THE LORD'S TEACHING ON THIS IS:
Psalm 27:14 - Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Proverbs 13:13 - Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
3 - Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 - Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
Luke 6:26 - Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Mark 13:13 - And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
II Thessalonians 1:
6 - Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 - And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 - In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Running the race
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:6-7
On this note we have some questions...
#1. "Is your old man crucified with Him?"
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
If you know that your old man has been crucified with Christ then you also know that the reason for all of this is so that the body of sin ("the old man") might be destroyed! If it is "destroyed" (cruciified with Christ) then there no longer remains any excuse for serving sin. And, according to the word of God, It Is! Therefore, I take it that you also know that it is "sin" which gives its life and power to the old man, and it is the "righteousness of Christ" which gives life and power to the new man?
#2. "Are you dead to sin?"
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:2
The man who isn't dead to sin has to be alive to it, and under its power. That means that his "old man" is in operation... still alive... still sinning... and still in control.
Let me repeat what I said earlier: If we have been crucified with Christ, then: "There no longer remains any reason for serving sin!" NONE!!! In other words, "IF" we are DEAD to sin then that means that we are ALIVE unto righteousness... but if we are ALIVE to sin then we are DEAD unto righteousness. One or the other, it can't be both! We live by the power that rules over us: either life (in the new man) or death (in the old one)!
Remember that we Christians were once fallen creatures with no saving knowledge of God! The "gods" we once made, patterned our life after and worshipped were nothing more than religious, man made idols, the invention of the fallen human spirit. We all know that now! Our thought processes invented a god that we could live with and somehow still sin against with little or no fear to our souls.
Whatever made us think we could sin indiscriminately (whenever we wanted to) yet somehow think that we were still "born-again Christians"??? -- "while abiding in the Religions of this world!"
Because of who we were (in our old sin-nature) and the way we were (sinners), we had no hope of ever saving ourselves. That's why God sent Jesus! When Jesus went to the cross we (who confess Him) went with Him! When He rose again we (who believe on Him) rose in Him!
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
The greatest single thing that a Christian sees and must see is, "Christ, both risen and crucified"!
I am telling every person right now that it is not enough just to believe that Christ was crucified for your sins, unless you also believe in your heart that He was raised for our righteousness, so that we would no longer sin! This is a DUEL Salvation dealing with both the sinner (the man) and with his sins.
In one sweep Christ died for sin when He became sin for us (i.e. became what we are), and did away with sin by destroying the body of sin itself: "the old, unregenerated man". So, not only did he deal with the sinners "sins", paying for them by His shed blood and death on the cross, but he also dealt with the "sinner" (the old man = "us") as well in sending the Holy Spirit and through Him receiving a new and spiritual birth through the revelation of Christ.
That is why justification and sanctification go hand-in-hand. We need BOTH! Not only has He wiped our slate clean with God (i.e. not only did He pay for our sins), but He also put a new heart and spirit (i.e. a new man) in us in order to make a Spirit-filled man who would gladly and rightly worship God and stop sinning!
Listen carefully to what Paul is saying...
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14
Christ has been crucified for our sins, IT IS FINISHED! But if after the 3rd day Christ never rose again (or in us who believe) in order to make us holy and righteous before God, then His death is worthless! Was His death worthless? Well, if He never rose from the dead and in our hearts, YES!!!
We need One in BOTH! We need someone to deal with both the man and the man's sins! We need a Savior over our sins, and a Lord over our person. -- Therefore God made Him to be BOTH our Lord AND Savior... or else He is nothing!
We have no way of paying for our own sins, but we do have power over our old man. This power over the old man is "Christ in you!" Before Christ all we had was sin in us, but since becoming born again we have control over our old man thus power over the sins that the old man commits.
With this in mind we can clearly see how most "religious people" respond to Christ. They have no trouble accepting His crucifixion as payment for their sins (because it didn't cost them anything), but they go no farther. In trying to live for Him they live under their own, old-unchanged power - the power and strength of "the old man" under his religious beliefs.
The very best such a person can do; at all times, is... "SIN"! Their "old-man" is still there, still growing strong in the darkness, still in charge of their physical as well as spiritual well-being, yet they think that they're safe because they mentally accepted Christ's crucifixion. Without receiving a "new nature" their chances of becoming "perfect in Christ" are absolute zero. They are still sinners through and through, regardless of what or who they say they believe.
So, their main problem isn't so much their "sins" as it is their "sin-nature". In other words it is their "Nature" to sin. They can do no other! This "Sin-Nature" is what Christ came to destroy! A sinner has NO CHOICE but to sin! They sin because that is what they are born with by nature. They only do what they are, therefore they sin! They are "powerless" to stop their sinning as long as their old man lives.
It must be repeated that Christ did not come just to "forgive us of our sins", but He also came to cause us to become "sinless, Spirit-filled, new creations in Christ" as well.
If it were true that Jesus ONLY came in order to forgive us our sins but not deal with our old-man (i.e. our "sin-nature"), then we both would know full well that we "forgiven" creatures have no choice but to ever remain unchanged, powerless slaves to our "sin-nature".
If the above statement were in any way true (i.e. if we should die in this sinful condition and find upon our deaths that we have incured the wrath of God anyway for our inability to stop and escape our sinning habits - though we try, try as "we" might), then we could play the Devil's advocate and call God a liar and hold "Jesus" accountable before God for our continuation in sin "for as long as we lived". We would say: "Hey God! It's not our fault we sinned, but His! We couldn't help it!"
[However, to believe that Jesus came to merely forgive us our sins and set up some sort of religious ceremony that we can follow whereby we can go and be continuosly forgiven of our sins; without Him also soundly, once-for-all dealing with our sin-nature (as the kind of "faith" that most Roman Catholics practice and believe in, for instance), is Great heresy and hypocrisy!]
"GO AND SIN NO MORE", Jesus says.
He also came to put HIS LAW (i.e. "His Living Word") and SPIRIT in us - and it is through HIS SPIRIT that teaches us how to obey and love God, and to Go and sin no more!
It is through His crucifixion that our sins are forgiven, BUT it is by Him sending forth His Spirit that we are joined to Him and made holy.
Again - The first deals with our sins (with what we do), the second with our old man (with who we are).
Before we were Christians we were like that old man and his mule going around collecting junk in all sizes and shapes. Some people call these "treasures", or collections or interests or hobbies, but we call them like it is... "garbage". Some of you here as well have collected and are collecting other types of junk in your life. These are not just material things but things of the heart that will hinder and even destroy your walk with God.
The scripture says that we are to, "lay aside every weight and sin that doth so easily beset us (or slow us down and stop us), and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..." (Hebrews 12:1)
So, what are some of these things in your life that are making it so difficult for you to follow hard after God the way you know you should?
Need some help? Here are a few scriptures...
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while:
for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matthew 13:20-21
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13:22
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ... Philippians 3:8
So what are some of the "things" that stop us from going on? Is it...
"The Fear of our being persecuted for being associated with Jesus, for our Faith?!"
"Clinging to the cares and worries of this life, afraid to let them all go?!"
"Wanting to have riches or be popular in this life?!"
"Continual lusting after the things of this world?!"
So... not only do we need to count "All Things" that we once deemed important, valuable and knowledgeable as complete "dung" when compared to the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord personally... we also need to suffer with Him as well and count these "losses" as "bonuses" instead. Then we can really rejoice in Christ (Matthew 5:11-12).
With this in mind let us see what some of the hinderances are to running the race and finishing it...
#1. Open sin. Sin that is not disguised in any way. The person knows what they are doing and they know full well that it is contrary to the will of God in their life, yet they allow satan to build these strongholds in their life and time and time again they fall to sinful activity because they have not "cut off their access to sin": Their Old Man!
#2. Striving to be happy. In the pursuit of happiness they look to anything and everything but to God to make and keep them happy. They continuosly fill their hearts with this world and always seek after what they think they need (when what they need is "quiet intimacy with God"). They will pursue many things and try and be fulfilled in many things until they nearly drop. They will try everything and anything that offers to enhance, pleasure or enlighten their senses, like: "taking drugs, alcohol, buying more than they'll ever need, pornography, masturbation, the occult, striving to fill their lives with what's pleasing to their eye, or striving to gain what's deemed important to other men, etc.". But all of it only leaves them empty and alone inside!
#3. Striving to have a beautiful body. These will spend all their time, energy and resources to become a picture of what they want to be. Sadly, their business of becoming or remaining beautiful through laser surgery or body-building leaves the spiritual-man completely out of the picture. Little do they realize that the "spiritual-man" is actually fatter and more fit and beautiful on the inside (in the spirit) than he will ever be on the outside (in the decaying body).
#4. Striving for educational achievement. Like some of these other things, the pursuit of education is not wrong in and of itself, HOWEVER (like the others) if what is driving you does not have any other goal than self-fulfillment or self-pleasure and self-desire then you will have an empty and unfulfilled life.
#5. Striving for money and what it can buy. The desire to accumulate worldly possessions. Money becomes your "security blanket"! You just can't get enough of this god, "money", and work towards that goal. You will end up working long hours in order to make more and more money, to acquire more and more things, but in time they will lose their once precious luster and in the end they will belong to someone else. And in the process of all the striving and worrying about money, then God and what's really worth striving for and possessing is left out of the picture!
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
(Remember the story that Jesus told in Luke 12:1-21 of the rich farmer? Did you read how the guy was intent on building bigger and better barns for himself? And afterwards, what did Jesus tell Him on God's behalf?: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee then whose shall those things be, which thou has provided?")
These are the things that hinder us every step of the way, because it is these very "Pursuits" that "the world" deems worthy of pursuing. and they are all fashioned towards the "old-man" (our Adamic or sinful nature).
However, as "Christians" we are commanded to...
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
- The Cost of Discipleship -
1. The true follower of Jesus must Leave Everything Behind to follow Him, meaning that Jesus must have first priority in our lives over anything or anyone else. (He instills everything that we need to make such a committment to Him based on our Love to Him alone. He instills in us by a brief flash of Himself to our heart and our seeing Him as the revelation of, "True Beauty", and what this all means.)
Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. (Mark 10:28)
2. Another cost is to Deny Yourself. To do the will of Jesus is to be more important than our own selfish ambitions and desires. We should pray, not my will, but yours be done.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)
3. The true follower must Carry The Cross. This means that we must endure pain, suffering, persecution (Philippians 1:29), and to even be willing to die for Him. The Apostle Paul exhorted the young man Timothy,
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).
4. We are to Follow Him Unconditionally and not let the concerns of this world prevent us from doing so. A total separation from worldliness and a total commitment to Jesus is required. In Luke 9:57 to 62, we read of three people who desired to be disciples of Jesus, but their priorities were not right. Jesus required their undivided attention and loyalty, but they were more concerned with possessions, personal gain, their livelihood and families. The person who does not put Jesus first cannot be a true follower.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 )
5. Another cost of following Jesus is that we must Love Him Supremely (Matthew 22:37), from our whole heart, even more than we love ourselves, and more than those closest to us. In comparison to the love we have for Jesus, it is like hating those who in the natural sense are closest to us (Luke 14:26). This does not mean we do not love our family members, rather, Jesus used this expression as a means of comparison.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:37).
6. Be Ready And Willing To Sacrifice All for the sake of following Jesus. There may be a heavy price we must pay to follow Jesus with utmost commitment. For some, it may mean giving up extra income, or giving up comforts, even giving up position , honour or reputation. Let us have the attitude of the Apostle Paul who said,
But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).
7. As followers we are to Count The Costs And Consider The Hardships (Luke 14:28) that will arise for the sake of Jesus. It could cause much division in the home, if one or two are believers in Jesus and the others are not. With this scenario in mind, Jesus said, If you stand firm on the truth to family members and speak the word of God on Jesus' behalf when led to, then chances are you will be cast out by your own family (Matthew 24:9).
For those who counted the costs and considered the hardships, there is no longer any place for them to lay their heads, they are no longer welcome in this world, yet they have found rest and peace in their hearts in the next, and having made peace with God through Christ, they will have peace in eternity with God.
Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother . . . (Luke 12:51-53).
8. Another cost of following Jesus, is An Undying Allegiance And A Total surrender (Luke 14:33). We are to follow Him always, go wherever He leads, and obey His every command. He commands that we repent of sin; submit our wills, renew our minds, be baptised with the Spirit, consecrate our hearts, worship Him and have full and complete obedience to Him.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4)
9. This brings us to the ninth item in our list of what it costs to follow Jesus... we must be willing to submit to Him, Keep His commandments and live a life worthy of bearing His name, that of being a "Christian." Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Every aspect of our life, must be God-honouring.
...But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. (Matthew 19:17)
- Being Deceived -
Who are these people trying to deceive if possible, even the elect? Who are the ones who seek to “deceive the few?” Let's look at some scriptures to see it we can find this evidence in them....
In Matthew 7:22: Jesus says that “MANY will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord, Was it not in Your name that we prophesy, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many wonderful works? Then I will say to them, I never knew you. Depart from Me, workers of iniquity."
Think about Jesus' words to the MANY!! The ones who really believed they were prophesying, casting out demons and doing other wonderful works IN JESUS' NAME. To these I'll say Depart from Me, workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.
Matthew 24:4-5 "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no MAN deceive you. For MANY shall be coming in My name, saying, I am the Christ and shall be deceiving MANY. "
So again, who are the "MANY" today who preach sermons about Jesus; teach about Him in the Bible; rule over His people, all done of course, through and in His name? Who else can do such a thing but those MEN who go around professing themselves to be "Christians". No other "Man" can do it. Can you not see the importance of Jesus' teaching here? He says, "Forget men, and only believe what the word of God says as given by the Holy Spirit. We need none other to teach us. What we do, our "Works" mean nothing, God's "Holy Spirit" means everything. Only what "He" does.
According to Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:22 let's lay down a few ground rules....
#1. They can only be those who have not fully comitted themselves to Him, so they don't really know Him or have the Holy Spirit within them. (Matthew 16:15-16; Romans 8:9) These are the people who want to believe error, in whatever form it takes. And so they lean back on the teaching of others, and pretty soon they shut their eyes to the Truth. They don't bother checking the Truth out for themselves.
It takes a committment as big as life, right then and there, in His Presence, not only grateful for what Jesus did for them by His death, but have come to the cross and were crucified by it. There can be no greater committment as the one that Christ did for you, and you in turn do something for Him out of such love = You Believe = i.e. You Trust + Obey.
#2. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
So no matter what you believe, if you haven't the Holy Spirit living inside of you then you have delusion instead. What does the Holy Spirit do?
A. Convince one of sin (i.e. he is proven to have a sin nature).
B. Convince one that they are unrighteous (i.e. he is shown that in himself is no good thing).
C. Convince one they're already judged (i.e. he is found guilty).
What does all of this mean?: He is a sinner - that is too unrighteous to save himself - therefore he must die. Then He sees Christ, high and lifted up, and is made to realize that IN HIM are all the ingredients of salvation, and in order to Come to Him he must cross the divide; a place of death, a place of the cross, and GO to Him.
Many Christians today teach and preach that Jesus is in fact, the Christ. They even proudly proclaim to be His mouthpiece and representative! It is not only those who preach sermons and teach the Bible, who drive out devils, who do MANY wonderful works in His name who are deceiving and being deceived but also the MANY who teach in His Name, claiming to be authorized by Him, that Jesus is actually the Christ, the Son of God!
Yet, many Christians convince themselves that this nicely ordered religious routine equals "spirituality" and now, this makes them feel righteous before God. In this state, they are easily pacified, distracted from biblical reality, controlled by their leaders and easily manipulated by deceptive teachings.
Today, those calling themselves “Christians” hardly know true men of God from deceivers coming in the Name of Jesus Christ. This is because many of them do not have the Spirit of God to discern. They are lost and without a shepherd. They remain mere followers of men and will always be so, unless the Lord Himself intervenes on their behalf. In other words, they don't study the Bible for or by themselves, or they are taught by someone else and trained to take their slant on it.
Both Peter and Paul had much to say on this subject....
2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 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; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
They are: "Ministers of righteousness"!
I want to say again: unless you Know Christ intimately as your Sovereign Lord, Have been crucified with Him on His cross, and have the Holy Spirit inside of you affectionately, then you shall be deceived. Deceived by who? By "Ministers of Righteousness". They will steer you wrong and teach your thoughts to miss the mark. This is exactly what happens to those who are laid back, and think their ministers or teachers wouldn't dare think of harming them in any way. Remember these Scriptures?? -
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Acts 20:29-30 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
There is only One Way that I know to Overcome them, and that is to - "Remain solidly into the word of God". Stop listening to men and what they say God is saying. Listen instead to the word of God and His Spirit. Those who preach to you "good" things, are probably "good", but even so check it out with God's word and make sure that what they're saying is the Truth.
I am speaking the Truth: Even if you believe that what they are saying is the Truth (especially concerning the last days), then these true Christians won't feel bad, in fact they will agree with me that this is indeed the only way to keep from being deceived. The secret is SIMPLE: "Remain in God's word and have His word remain in you!" (John 15:7)
"Study, to show thyself approved!"
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