By John Foll
, finished writing 11/04/2017 and 11/05/2017
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” Luke 11:23 NASB.
This message is very important!
What does it mean to be ‘for Jesus?’
It means to be His disciple, to bear much fruit for Him and His Father; this is to tell the wonderful news of salvation to those who don’t know. If you are ‘for Jesus’ you will be unable to help yourself from doing something for Him, whom you love. Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8 NASB. To be for Jesus is to cast all on the altar to Him, to love and obey Him in all things. To be for Jesus is to be for Him all the way. But there are those who long for something better who haven’t discovered how good Jesus is yet, and do not know how much He and His Father love them. They try to be a better Christian, but sometimes struggle against Him, sometimes getting proud, and sometimes drifting away from Him. This was me before I had the change that I now have. I don’t want to go back to the old me, before I discovered how much God loved and loves me, and wanted me to have a better life with Him. But He knew that I was searching for a better life, and that I wasn’t satisfied with what I had and wanted something better. It is no real sacrifice to give all for Jesus and His Father when you know the value of what they offer you, and the sweet peace, love, joy and faith they will bring you when you yield fully to their love. It only seems like a sacrifice when you are unsure how good God is, or whether you want to completely surrender to Him or not. It only seems like a sacrifice before you have fallen completely in love with Him! Once you learn to love Him like this, then it will be an easy thing to surrender completely to Him, it will be no real sacrifice, because you get more than you lose - you get oh so much more! And you will lose your desire for the things of this world that you once thought you needed that God wants you to give up.
What does it mean to be ‘against Him?’
This is the status quo. All who are not fully His or those living their life for themselves, who look to have their own way will sometimes or always be against Him, whether they are in the Church or in the world. For those in the Church like this, this is a halfway conversion to Christianity: one foot in the Church and one foot in the world. The advantage to being in ‘the Church’ is to know the truth of the plan of salvation; to know how to be forgiven and to know how to be free from the slavery of sin. Unfortunately we believe that many people do not know how to become free, even though they are a Christian, to not be a servant to sin anymore. They are not being taught this, perhaps because their teachers do not know about how to be free themselves or do not care to know how to be free. But whether you are in the Church or not the real question is whether you are a servant of sin or not. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-36 KJV. Has the Son made you free yet? He wants to. If He has made you free, you will no longer be a servant or a slave to sin. Please let Jesus free you from being a servant of sin. Then you will be Jesus’ disciple and be ‘for Him.’ If Jesus has freed you from the bondage of sin, you will be ‘for him’, and not scatter from Him.
What does it mean to ‘scatter?’
You don’t have to try too hard to scatter; your human nature will take care of this for you. The unrenewed heart, when it manifests itself, turns others away from the kingdom of Heaven. The biggest threat to Christianity are Christians who are not fully on God’s side. If you are not for Him all the way you will be working against His plan in some way at some point, in His plan to help other sinners repent and want to be saved. If you have given your heart to God, and have the Holy Spirit in your heart, you can’t help but be with Jesus and work with Him to help Him gather souls for His kingdom in Heaven. But if your love for Him is not paramount, you will be scattering to some extent, depending on how far you are from Him.
To be ‘for Jesus’:
“Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:27-28 NASB. For those who have given up all to serve Jesus what will there be for them in Heaven? They will get the special honor in assisting God in Heaven and provided with thrones to sit on. They will be given the responsibility of assisting God in the judgement of ‘Israel’ like it says above. [The details on how this is part of the judgement is outside the scope of this article.] Jesus also says in Matthew 22:30 that the eternally saved will be like the angels in Heaven. Why? To serve God like the Angels do! What a joy! What an honor! Ransomed sinners allowed to act as messengers of God for the universe! That is what an angel is, a messenger of God. Do you want to be a messenger of God? Jesus then goes on to say in our Matthew 19 passage, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29 NASB. Whatever sacrifice you make for your Jesus, whom you love, will be more than amply repaid out of the eternal riches of Heaven! And whenever you help someone on their way to Heaven, you will accrue joy and happiness throughout eternity as they thank you over and over again for inviting them to Heaven or helping them get there, and you will be so happy as you see their peace, happiness and joy! And you will also have the most wonderful joy of knowing that your loving Heavenly Father is pleased with you, because He loves everyone so much! ‘For God so loved the world…’ John 3:16. You make Him happy when you help others know of His Love and help them to Heaven. What kind of price tag can you put on this? You can not. Whatever you give up for God or sacrifice for Him is small and paltry compared with your reward. But if you have God’s love in your heart, you will not be doing it for the reward of the pearly gates and your mansion and crown of Gold you will receive, because love and joy is the reward of those who serve Him, love is the true reward of the righteous. Your mansion and crown of gold is just icing on the cake, to use a common expression! And if you decide to yield all the way now to God and serve Him, you will start to get your reward now! Are you ready to get your reward?
Jesus declared, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36 KJV. If you want the promised great reward, you must also love and obey God and love your neighbor as yourself, and teach others to do so too.
Study more of the importance of loving and obeying God, and loving your neighbor as yourself in Matthew 5:19; 22:36-40; Psalms 19:7-11; 1 John 4:8; John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8-10; 1 John 2:7-10; John 14:15, 21, 23, 24. (We have also written much on this in other blogs and in some of our books which you can read as well. We recommend that you read all of our blogs.)
Why are we making such a big deal about being completely ‘for Jesus’ and doing what Jesus and His Father want you to do? Because being in the middle and not being for Him all the way is not the way of peace, joy, and happiness. If you want God to be pleased with you do what He asks willingly. Give up all of your problems and indecisiveness to Him, and let Him help you be for Him all the way. It is not hard to do what God asks you to do, if you will just learn to love Him and let yourself yield to Him. God will help you, if you desire a better life and you cooperate with Him. But it is impossible to make these changes by yourself. If you will yield to God all the way you will be at your happiest, and have all the peace, love and joy you were meant to have! And you will have the promised great reward! But if you do not yield to Him all the way, you will eventually incur His displeasure, because you will work to scatter Jesus’ flock. If you are not for Jesus all the way you will scatter from Him, or teach others that it is OK to not love Him with all their heart, mind and soul, or to not love their neighbor as themselves, or you will teach them that God is not powerful enough to save those who turn to Him for help. Or if you are not for Jesus, you will work in some way to prevent someone else from being saved. If you are not ‘for Jesus’ you will not go into Heaven yourself, and will try to prevent others from going in there. Note here what Jesus said to a class of ‘God’s people’ who were doing this very thing: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13 NASB.
Sadly, many who call themselves Christian are not really for Jesus; they are only part time followers of Him. When it requires bearing a cross or separating from the world or worldly practices, they are not there yet. Mark 8:34; 10:21; John 12:25-26; Luke 14:26-27, 33. Unfortunately there are many preachers who tell them they are OK the way they are, since they are under grace (the implication is that they don’t need to consecrate themselves fully to Jesus and His Father since they are under grace). But to those who truly love Him, half-way service to Him will never be enough. They are so happy for the grace that they have received they can’t wait to tell or show it to others. Or to help others who are not as fortunate as they, the poor, the sick or to visit those who are in prison.
If you have God’s love in your heart, you will be completely for Jesus and the Father. But if you haven’t yielded your heart completely to them, you will not be completely for them, which means as Jesus said that you are against Him. There is no middle ground. Whoever is not totally on Jesus’ side will work against Him in some way or scatter in some way at some point. You are either for Jesus or you are against Him. Let this sink in. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is none of His. Romans 8:9. This is very serious. Do you want to belong to Christ? Do you want His Spirit? He who doesn’t have His Spirit is against Him, scatters, and does not belong to Him.
Do you want to belong to Christ and to be ‘for Him’?
It is so sweet to belong to Him and to be ‘for Him!’ It has to be experienced to be understood. When you belong to Him like this, you will love Him with all of your heart, mind and soul, and long to serve Him, helping Him gather in the harvest for the end of the world. And you would do anything for Him! Then you are for Him all the way, and not scattering or leading souls astray. God can forgive you if you do not fully belong to Him yet, or if you have ever scattered from Him. There is still time to repent! But it is much better and much sweeter to belong to God all the way now, so you can enjoy the sweetness in life you were meant to have, and enjoy serving Him and loving others!
When you belong to Christ, you will be given ‘the Spirit of Christ’ and will be given all the help you need to serve Him with, and those unclean spirits of unkindness, ungratefulness, unforgiveness, no mercy, evil surmising, complaining, bitterness, and criticism of others will be gone and you will have sweet love in your heart for your brother or sister who has wronged you or gone against your beliefs, and not living right as some would say. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7 KJV. Then you will help the sick and dying in this world from sin, and thus you will prove to be Jesus’ disciple, and will bear much fruit for the kingdom of God, and God will be pleased with you. John 15:8.
Dear reader are you with Jesus or are you against Him? Do you gather with Him or scatter?
We hope and pray that the grace of God will be with you as you ponder this message. And He will be with you if you will listen to His voice. Please study and restudy this message, with much prayer and believe that God loves you and will help you, if you will seek after Him with all your heart. Amen. Jeremiah 29:11-13.
#Jesus #Not #With #Against #Scatters #For #Disciple #Fruit #Spirit #Sacrifice #Love #Joy #Please #Church #Free #Sin #Slave #Servant #Reward #Righteous
By John Foll, written between 8/3/2017 and 8/9/2017.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
“To whom would He teach knowledge, and to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? For He says, 'Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there.' Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary," And "Here is repose," but they would not listen.” Isaiah 28:9-12 NASB. [Or as it says in the KJV: “this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”].
Yes that is the question: To whom will God teach knowledge? Would He want to keep having to teach us over and over the basics of the truth when we should have already learned it long ago? God prefers that His people advance closer to His ideal for them, instead of being “stuck in neutral” or backsliding.
In this article, we want to discuss some important Bible study principles to help you to know how to properly study and understand the “saving truths” that you need to know, and not be deceived into the many errors that plague Christianity today and modern man. We want to help equip you to know the truth if you don’t already know it. But we believe there is ever more to learn. It’s time to get beyond the basics, but to get beyond the basics the errors must be unlearned and true faith learned by all who would want to be weaned from spiritual infancy.
God is a God of order and changes not; He is always a God of Order. He wants all to understand the order and precepts in the Bible and the beautiful harmony that exists between them without contradiction. Order upon order. There needs to be an order to the way the Bible is studied, and there needs to be an order to the way truths are put together to make up the doctrines we believe. Our beliefs should not be haphazardly put together, but there should be a beautiful order, harmony and symmetry to them. We need to have order in our lives, God’s order, and not be blown about by every “wind of doctrine”. Ephesians 4:14.
In our theme passage of Isaiah 28:9-10 we see that the key to a full understanding of the truth is order upon order, line upon line, precept upon precept. We should always study the Bible carefully and in context. The time has come to study the great themes and topics of the Bible together, not in a disconnected manner. The way to do this is to compare scripture with scripture, command with command, to come up with the correct understanding of what the Bible means, not discarding any of God’s precious light that He blessed us with; to remove apparent contradictions. The truth should not contradict itself. God is perfect and makes no mistakes. All of His works, including His teachings in the Bible are perfect. A greater and greater unfolding of the truth occurred as the books of the Bible were written and completed, by His design, as mankind was able to use what God had given them. God’s prophets and writers may have made revisions to their words when writing, because they were human and needed to think about what they were writing, when the words were not dictated to them by God. But the words and thoughts were given to them by God and were always perfect, and He was guiding His messengers with His Spirit. “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler [or a shield] to all them that trust in Him.” 2 Samuel 22:31 KJV. When the truths of the Bible are studied like this they really shine and a greater knowledge is gained, and faith is strengthened.
We believe that verse 12 of our theme text, a prophecy by Isaiah, is referring at least in part to when Jesus walked the earth and taught the people more about the love of God and how to be saved and died for the sins of all mankind. This ‘refreshing’ for His people was completed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, when His disciples and followers received power from on high, or a ‘spiritual refreshing.’ Is that what you want? A spiritual refreshing? May God bless you greatly if this is your desire! If you would be spiritually renewed and refreshed, learn the vital truths that are necessary for your soul, love and obey God. This is our prayer for you.
God’s desire is that all would grow up into spiritual adults, as Isaiah indicated above. This same truth was also stated by Paul when he said, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NASB. What Paul is saying is still true today unfortunately. Many in our day are still spiritual infants, and need to be taught the same basic truths over and over again. It is also time for everyone to make progress and shed the errors that they believe and become born again, born from above, a new creature in Christ.
The writer of Hebrews said, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14 NASB. It’s time to learn to discern good and evil, discard all error, trust God all the way, and receive all of the blessings that He wants to give you. Are you ready to receive these blessings yet? Are you ready to take the next step in your walk with God?
Now back to our theme of order upon order, line upon line, precept upon precept:
There are some Christians who believe that there are sections in the New Testament that should be discarded or reinterpreted. Why are we bringing this up in this article? Because if you want to make spiritual progress you need to learn the truth and discard fallacies and falsehoods when you are convicted by the Holy Spirit. If you already know and believe all truth this is good. But are you born again? Do you have God’s power in your life to be good? If you know that you are not where you should be with God, keep on the narrow road, and learn to yield yourself more and more to Him, and love and desire to obey Him, asking for His help until you gain His power in your life. May God be with you if this is your desire! This is our prayer for you.
If you believe what some people teach or say, everything in the Bible is to be judged by whether it is “New Covenant” or can be labeled “Old Covenant”. Once something is labeled as “Old Covenant” by anyone whosoever, it can be discarded they think as a useless ‘relic’ of religion and cast on the trash heap. They don’t realize this is a big dishonor to God! Do they really think that God is pleased with them putting down His word and thinking that He couldn’t get it right the first time and had to change it for the better later? Or do they think that there is no need to be concerned if they are doing what God says anymore, since we are now under grace? Those who put down any of the words of Jesus, that He spoke prior to His death on the cross, are greatly dishonoring Him and are acting as His judge. Some people like to “cherry pick” the teachings that Jesus spoke as being for new covenant Christians or not. But this is not good. We are disturbed by what some are saying or doing with His words.
God said that all who honor Him He will honor, as the prophet Samuel declared. 1 Samuel 2:30. And in the Psalms it admonishes us that we should hide God’s word in our heart, treasuring it greatly, that we might not sin against Him: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11 KJV. We believe that Jesus lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, as He told Satan. “But He [Jesus] answered and said [to Satan], "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" Matthew 4:4 NASB. And we believe that Jesus especially hid His Father’s words in His heart that He might not sin against Him. Jesus said, ‘if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.’ John 15:10 KJV. We are to keep Jesus’ commandments as He kept His Father’s commandments. And the commandments that God gave to His people in Exodus 20 are the same thing as Jesus’ commandments or God’s law of love (Matthew 22:36-40), because Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38 NASB. Be it known that it was God, the Father, who sent Jesus. And: “So Jesus said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:28-29 NASB. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:49-50 NASB. And: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” John 14:10 NASB. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.” John 14:24 NASB. And Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples saying: “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” John 17:8 NASB. And John the Baptist said, which he most likely meant about Jesus, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” John 3:34 NASB. Can there be any doubt that Jesus’ words and commandments are God’s words and commandments? Can there be any doubt that God’s words and commandments are Jesus’ words and commandments? Hebrews 1:1-3 NASB tells us that Jesus is the radiance of His Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature. Can there be any doubt among those who truly love Jesus and His Father that they are truly one and teach the same truth? John 10:30; 17:11. Listening to and believing in Jesus [John 3:16] and everything that He said is the secret to getting the victory, the power of God in your life, and eternal life! [*Also God gave special commandments or directions to Jesus, as He directed Him.]
You should study everything that Jesus said in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and commit His words to your memory (at least the ideas), and ask God for the strength and power to do all of them. If this is your desire, our prayer for you is that you will be richly blessed by God! Amen. Blessed are you if you do all the words that Jesus commanded or advised His people to do, and avoid the things He said we should not do. Jesus said at the last supper, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 NASB. You are blessed if you do what things? Everything He told them to do at the last supper, but also everything else He had spoken to them that they should do or abstain from. How blessed are you if you do them! Jesus was and is the word of God (John 1:1-5; 10-17), and everything He spoke is to be treasured by His people, not to be discarded as being ‘old covenant’ because He spoke them prior to His death on the cross, or because some think they don’t apply in our day since we are now living under grace. What Jesus spoke, He spoke for all people until they end of time, it was not just for the Jews! John the Baptist and the Apostle John both bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God and was sent from God, the Word of God. Can there be any doubt among those who love Jesus that He was and is the Word of God? If you want all the blessings from God that He wants to give you, that you will not be able to contain them all, then ask Him to help you keep His word and obey His precepts in the Bible, and not discard anything He or His Son told you to do. Don’t ignore anything that some label as ‘old covenant’, unless you can clearly prove that it no longer applies to Gentile Christians after Jesus’ death.
[We wrote about this in our book: “The Ceremonial Law & Sacrificial System: What does it mean to the Gospel Message? For Those Who Want To Know How the Law of Love and the Mosaic Law Relate to Christians Today.” Also check out our book, “God’s Law of Love: For Those Who Want To Know Why God’s Law of Love Is Important.”]
So what did we learn in this article? God is a God of order. We should study His word with order, and have an orderly way of putting the doctrines of truth together from the Bible, always being careful to take things in context, and seeking for harmony between all of the scriptures, not contradictions. And to not put down any of God’s words. And that Jesus’ words are God’s words, and God’s words are Jesus’ words. And we should study out the four gospels in the New Testament, believing and desiring to obey everything that Jesus said, trying to commit them or their ideas to our memory. God will honor all those who honor Him, and not those who dishonor Him.
And to add to this in closing, Jesus said: “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8-9 KJV. And as Matthew puts it: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 NASB.
It is our prayer, dear reader, that you will learn to truly love Jesus and His Father, and desire to do everything that they want you to do, and get help from them to do it, not seeking to deny them or to deny their words as being valid for you today. May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!
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