What did Jesus mean when He commanded us to love one another? (Who is my Neighbor Part 2)

Who is My Neighbor? Part 1

God Gives Grace to the Humble

It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick!

How to Get Answers to Prayer?

By John Foll, written between 02/05/2018 to 02/11/2018, and finished on 03/3/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

This article is an answer to a question posed by one of the readers of our White Raiment Evangelism Blogs and some of our books:

What did Jesus mean when he said that we were to love one another?

If you have not read our previous article, “Who is My Neighbor? Part 1”, we recommend that you read it, because we don’t want to cover all of it again here, but to find the answer to this second question, and put it all together for you. https://whiteraimentevangelism.org/BlogLove/?p=15

“Jesus said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’” John 13:34-35 KJV.

Let’s explore what this means.

In Part 1 of this article, we discovered that whoever needs our help, who we have the ability of helping is our neighbor. We also learned that we have an obligation and responsibility to do what we can for others, whoever and whenever we can help. We are held accountable to God not only for the wrong things that we have thought, said or done in this life, but also for the neglect of others. Everyone in this world could literally be our neighbor, if we would think outside of the box and ask God for more ways to help them, not just the ones we have come in contact with in this life. God doesn’t compel anyone, but if His love is not in your heart you won’t see the need or have the ability of helping others. And those who have done nothing to help others, will eventually be shut out of the Kingdom of Heaven if they haven’t repented, and will be cast into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. This is what Jesus said, this is not our words. And those who have been helping others, even if they did not know they were doing it for Jesus, were doing it unto Him. And Jesus will invite them to go with Him to Heaven, with its everlasting love and endless delight, because what they did to help others, was done unto Him, as if He was the one they did it to. They may not even have known that they were doing it unto Him, because it was in their heart to do it, and they didn’t give it a second thought, but they were! Jesus takes all wrong acts of unkindness and neglect done to others as if they were done to Him personally, and all acts of kindness and love done to others, as if they were done to Him personally.

The question what did Christ mean when He said that we were to love one another, does it mean that we are to love only the brethren of our Church? Or does it mean something more? Does it mean the same thing as God’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves? We shall see.

As you can see the answer to this question and its sub-questions are more complex.

Whatever conclusion we come up with cannot contradict what we have already learned from our previous article, Part 1, where we learned that our neighbor is not just someone who is of our faith, or even of our same Christian denomination, because Jesus proved this idea to be wrong, as we conclude from the answer to His question given by the “doctor of the law,” the Jewish lawyer: The one who showed mercy toward him." Luke 10:36. “The one who showed mercy toward him” was a foreigner, a Samaritan, and thus not of the same faith as the Jews, who were much despised by them! From this we conclude that if we are to obey Jesus and His Father, we must love those outside of our faith, including those who are not even Christian. Because of what we know about Jesus and His Father, we conclude therefore that our neighbor is the whole world, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Pagan, or even an Atheist! Is anyone left out from this list? No, all are our neighbor. Our neighbor is whoever we have the ability of helping that needs our help, without reference to race, religion, creed, etc. because God is no respecter of persons. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.’” Acts 10:34-35 KJV.

There is evidence in the scriptures that there should be a special place in our heart for the brethren. Do a search for the word ‘brethren’ in a computer Bible or on an Internet Bible site and see what it comes up with, if you want to know more of this. They are too numerous to mention here. But here are a few references for you to check out if you wish: Greet the brethren: Romans 16:3, 5-6, 8, 11; 1 Corinthians 16:19-21; 2 Corinthians 13:12-13; Philippians 4:21-22; Collisions 4:14, 15, 18; 1 Timothy 5:26; 2 Timothy 3:17; 4:19-21; Philemon 1:23; Hebrews 13:24; James 1:1; 1 Peter 5:15; 2 John 1:13; 3 John 1:14. There is a work for us to do within the church, for the widows, the orphans, etc. 1 Timothy 5:3-20. James 1:27. We are not to take believers to a court of law before unbelievers, because it brings dishonor to God. 1 Corinthians 6:1-6.

To begin our discovery of what the answer to this question is, let us start here:

The apostle John declares that We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:14-18 NASB.

Again John says, “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:19-21 NASB.

So another question that can be asked is: Who is my brother? Is it someone from your faith or Christian denomination? Or is it someone who is a Christian? This seems to be indicated, but we believe it also has a deeper meaning, and includes all who might become a Christian at a later date, whether they are now or not. In the end your brother can be the same thing as your neighbor. Since we don’t know who will accept God’s invitation to be saved or not, we need to treat everyone as if they would eventually be saved. This is impossible to do without God’s help, so we must pray for His help to do it.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11 NASB.

Who are we to love? According to John, ‘the one who does not love does not know God.’ So we had better get to know God, so that we can love others. Even though the first part of this text is saying that we should love ‘one another’, verse 8 doesn’t seem to limit it to just ‘one another’ or just ‘the brethren.’ I.e. our love should not be limited just to those who go to our Church denomination. There is no doubt that we are to love the brethren of our Church, which is probably John’s main point. But what about all those who are not currently a part of God’s Church? If they can be brought into the fold of the true Shepherd and give themselves to God, they would become our brethren too, would they not? So is John really excluding all non-Church members here or all non-Christians, or those who are not members of your Church denomination here? We think not. John clearly states here that the one who does not love does not know God. And God does not love just those who are believers in Jesus, but the whole world, and desires all to accept His offer of eternal life – He is not willing that any should perish! 2 Peter 3:9. See also John 3:16-17.

We need to know the answer to this question, whether we should limit our love just to the brethren in our Church, or should our love be more than this? Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 KJV. The answer to this question is VERY important, because Jesus stated that this would be how people would know if we are His disciple or not! Those who don’t’ ‘love one another’ are not His disciple! We want to make sure that we are on the right side of this, because we want to be Jesus’ disciple.

Jesus clears up the answer to our question here with this statement:
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36 NASB.  See also Matthew 5:43-48.

We see from what Jesus’ said above, that those who we love should not be just those who love us back, or treat us kindly and fairly. Since we should be able to expect those who are Christian to treat us with kindness and love, based on Jesus’ command to love one another, His statement here in Luke 6 seems to indicate that if we love others who don’t love us, like He asked us to do, that this also includes non-Christians and people who are not of our faith. Did you catch that? Jesus statement here in Luke 6 seems to indicate that we should love those who are not even a Christian yet, or not of our faith.

From Jesus’ command that we are to ‘love our enemies’, we conclude that there must be a larger group of people than those who are of our Christian denomination, or even of those who are Christian, that we are to love. Because a Christian’s enemies can most certainly come from those whose beliefs are hostile against Christianity, which includes a large group of people in this world. So clearly the non-Christian is included in who we are supposed to love, by Jesus’ statement above.

So when Jesus said that we were to love one another, does this not also mean that we are to love those who are not a Christian or of our particular faith yet? Yes, we think this is clear.

Jesus’ statement above in Luke 6:32 also tells us that we are to love those who persecute us, and to be meek and humble with those who would make demands of us. And we are to do good to those who need our help, especially to those who can’t pay us back or help us back. Jesus also stated that persecution could come out of your own household or your Church when He said, “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” John 16:2 NASB. This indicates that persecution can arise out of your own faith! What could be clearer than this? Jesus further declared: “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53 NASB. What is Jesus talking about here? Not everyone loves Him and His Father supremely, some become embittered against the truth when their sins and defects are made plain, and will not bear patiently when someone, even in their own family, takes their stand for Jesus and wants to love and obey Him all the way, it makes them look bad! So this is the cause of some of the persecution that can happen. Who were the people that Jesus was talking to in John 16:2 above? They were all Jews. The first Christians were all Jews, but they learned new truths that were not accepted by all Jews, so this produced persecution. Probably the majority of the Jews didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, because He pointed out their sins. And the first Jewish Christians were forced out of meeting with the other Jews in the synagogues at one point. Jewish Christians were literally cast out of their Synagogues!

But something similar to this also happened to true Christians during the Middle Ages, during the great persecution that occurred there, where they were persecuted for believing the truth, which went against what the established Church was teaching. And unfortunately this also happened here in the United States, before we were a nation from some Christian denominations towards others who didn’t believe exactly as they did, and it has happened after we were a nation too. We don’t want to go there in this article, but you probably get our point now, don’t you? The fact that someone is a member of your Christian denomination doesn’t mean that they love you, and will not try to persecute you if you stand up for your beliefs that God is teaching you, it may come to a point where they will cast you out of their ‘synagogues’ too. And we can most certainly be persecuted by those who are not Christian at all, who are antagonistic against Christianity, because they know not the love of Jesus and His Father for the human race. Yes, there is a cross that we all must bear if we wish to be Jesus’ disciple. But this is not the main point of our article. But Jesus said that we are to love one another, that we were to also love those who persecute us, who are trying to make our life miserable. We are to love even those who are trying to steal our sweet Christian peace, love and joy and our Crown of life that Jesus and His Father want to give us. Those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ will war against Him. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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. 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. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:12-19 KJV.

In Matthew 5 Jesus says that ‘if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?’ Matthew 5:47 NASB. Jesus makes it clear here that we are to love not just our brethren or the Christians who believe as we do, but He also enjoins us to love non-Christians as well.

Jesus gives the reason we are to love our enemies and pray for them: ‘so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45 NASB. Jesus makes it clear that God sends the rain and blessings on both the righteous and the wicked, and that we are to be like our Heavenly Father and love everyone, not just those who love us back, but even love those who persecute us. If we want to be sons of our Heavenly Father in Heaven, we must love others like He does. And not just love the ‘brothers’ of our own denominational faith and not just those who are Christians. Because Jesus said that we are to love our enemies, His command to love one another also means that we are to love those who are not even Christian yet. We need to let God’s sweet Spirit fill our heart with His love and not be partial to any, but do our best to help others, sharing His love with them whether they can help us back or repay us or not. Because God is kind to the unkind, unloving and undeserving, so should we.

We are not suggesting here that we can walk together with unbelievers in sweet accord, or to those who don’t believe exactly like we do, but that we are to still love everyone. The prophet Amos declared: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 KJV. The apostle Paul says, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 KJV.

Is there anyone that we should not love? No. We are to love those who love us of course, but we are also to love those who don’t love us, if we would be Jesus’ disciple. But there is a special love we should have for the brethren who believe like we do, all those who love Jesus like we do, who have the same kind of faith as ours. Peter makes this clear when he writes:Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4 NASB. Here Peter says that he is greeting all who have the same kind of faith as he had. What was that same kind of faith that Peter had? He declares that it is the faith in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And Peter blesses those who have the same kind of faith as he had with this special blessing: ‘grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord’. Dear reader, we hope that you have the same kind of faith that Peter had, in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is mighty to save, and His Father more so. For no one is able to snatch you out of His or His Father’s hands!

Jesus declared: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” John 10:27-29 NASB.

Do you believe this dear reader? Do you love Jesus and believe that no one can snatch you out of His hand, or out of His Father’s hand who is greater than He? It’s true! Just believe it! You are the only one who can take yourself out of God’s hand. If you believe that God can save you, and that no one can snatch you out of His hand, then you have the same kind of faith as Peter had! It’s a simple as that!

So yes, there is a special greeting that we can give only to those who have the same kind of faith that Peter and the apostles had. We can only share this kind of comradery with those who are of a like mind, who in a like manner love Jesus as we do.

But unfortunately not all of ‘the brethren’, who call themselves ‘Christian’, have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles of the New Testament had. This is, to use a cliché, a crying shame, literally! All who name themselves Christians should have the same kind of faith that Peter and the Apostles had! It is not God’s fault that they have this lack! He is not to be charged with this. It is their own fault for not taking advantage of the many precious promises that God has given us for a new life with Him. Or this could be due to ignorance or to false teachers and false professors of the Christian faith. Or this could be due to those who are well meaning, but are teaching a faulty or incomplete understanding of the truth, failing to explain the truth of God’s many precious promises that we may become partakers of His divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4.

There is a great lack of faith and unbelief in the promises of God, manifested today by many Christians, with the lack of the true knowledge of how to be saved, or of their great need to be born again (John 3:3, 5), or else there would be more born again Christians, and this world would be a better place. Yes we know that there are many who claim to be born again, and some of whom have stickers on their cars or signs outside of their houses or businesses saying, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ But if we go by the Bible standard of being born again, that we love one another and love our neighbor as ourselves, that we should have the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and in many other texts in the New Testament, their life comes up short of the mark. But the final chapter in their life hasn’t been written yet, and God will make the decision whether they merit His grace or not, or whether they are weighed in the balances and found wanting. Daniel 5:27.

Many Christians do not believe the plain reading of the Bible, where Jesus states that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which He infers is the same thing as the Law or the 10 Commandments, and is the main teaching of the Law and the Prophets, which is a term that refers literally to the whole Old Testament, and by extension to all of the New Testament as well. They think that His Law of Love or the Old Testament are done away with, superseded by the Gospel of Grace or the New Covenant, not realizing that Jesus’ command to love one another, and to love God are one and the same as the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20 of the Old Testament, and that God has always been about Grace and Love, even in the Old Testament! But Jesus breathed new life into these commands, and showed us more fully what they mean, and gives us the power through the Holy Spirit to keep them, if we are born again. John 3:3 5. Consider well Jesus’ statement here in regard to this: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:40 KJV. This is in reference to the command of God to love Him with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This proves to everyone who believes in Jesus, that the commandment to love our God with all our heart, and all our mind and all our soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, is the whole purpose and reason for the Old Testament, and even the whole New Testament as well! We don’t want to go into the proofs here regarding all of these assertions that we are making here – we have already covered them in other articles and in several of our books. We cite this here as an aid to the understanding of the question: ‘Who is my neighbor?’ and what Jesus meant when He said that we are ‘to love one another.’ It is not the hearers, but the doers of the Law of Love who will be right in God’s sight. Romans 2:13. But all those who love God will be wanting to keep His divine injunction and ask Him for the help to do it.

From all of this we conclude that not all who name themselves Christians have the same kind of faith as ours, or the same kind of faith that Peter and the Apostles had, i.e. the same kind of faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and His Father, and of their ability of making us righteous too. So when Jesus says that we are to love one another, this would have to be a broader scope than our own Christian denomination or faith, because more than likely not all of those of your Christian denomination, if you are a Christian, have the same kind of faith that Peter had, or believe the plain reading of the Bible or believe the plain words and commands of Jesus. Sad but true. We are saved as individuals, not as a group of people. Church membership is not a membership into the club of the saved. We are not saying here that we shouldn’t have brotherly love towards those who are of our same Christian denomination, who may not have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles had, because we are to ‘love one another’ as Jesus loved us. But the fact is that all don’t have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles had. So we cannot have the same comradery with those who don’t believe as we do. Draw your own conclusions. It takes more than a mere profession of faith to have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles had.

Conclusion of What did Jesus mean when He commanded us to love one another?

We conclude therefore, that even though there is a special comradery among those who have the same kind of faith that we have, Jesus’ command to love one another goes way beyond the membership of our particular Church faith, and even beyond to all people who are Christian. It should also include those who could be our brothers or sisters, but are not yet; we should do all that we can to help them love Jesus too. We also conclude that Jesus’ command to love one another, is the same thing as or similar to God’s command that we love our neighbor as ourselves. And to reiterate what we discovered in our previous lesson, part 1, our neighbor is whoever needs our help, and is literally anyone in the world that we have the power and the ability of helping. Those who go into the kingdom of Heaven with Jesus at His second coming, are those who have loved their neighbor as themselves, clothed the naked, fed the hungry, visited those who were sick and in prison and shared the gospel of Jesus and His Father’s love with them.

Dear reader, we hope that you can see the necessity of loving your neighbor as yourself, and loving one another, including those who are not of your faith yet, or not even Christian yet. This is what Jesus wants you to do. If you want to be pleasing in His site, ask Him how you can best serve Him and help others. Pray for a fitness to serve Him with a pure, new heart, filled with love for Him and others, the ones whom Christ died for. Don’t hold yourself back from this precious joy of showing others His love or helping them in their needs. You will never regret it, we promise you! If you will allow God to help you to help others in their needs, be it physical or spiritual needs, then you will be greatly blessed. Then your life will be a pleasing aroma to God. God wants His children to reproduce His character of love. This is part of the reward of Heaven, it is love, pure and simple. If you have been given love, you cannot help but want to share it with others, or your springs of joy will dry up. Everyone who names the name of Christ should be happy they have been loved and forgiven by God - this should produce in them the strongest inducement for them to want to serve Him. Freely you have received from Him, freely give from your storehouse of resources, time and means to help others, for your God whom you love.

May the grace of God be with you, dear reader, as you ask for help from God to love your neighbor as yourself, and for His help to ‘love one another’ as Jesus loved you. Amen.

#Love #One #Another #Who #Neighbor #Needs #Help #Brother #Church #Denomination #Christian #non #Enemy #Hate #Persecution #New #Life #Grace #Faith #Peter

By John Foll, written between 02/05/2018 to 02/11/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

A reader of our White Raiment Evangelism Blogs and some of our books has posed two extremely important questions to us. 1) Who is my neighbor, and 2) What did Jesus mean when He told us to love one another? (Not his exact wording.) Implied in question 2 is: Who is the ‘one another’ from Jesus’ command to ‘love one another’? Is it the same thing as ‘who is my neighbor?’ or does it mean something else? We will deal with this one in another blog article as God permits, because it requires more study to nail it down thoroughly, and we don’t want to make this article you are reading now too long or too complex. We are withholding this person’s name to respect their privacy, but we want to personally thank them for posing this question! Thanks!

Why are we writing up these questions and answers in our blog? Because we believe these questions and their answers are vitally important to everyone’s soul! The answers to these questions would greatly bless those who read it, if they would accept it, maybe even saving them, not just blessing the person who posed these questions! There may be someone out there who just doesn’t get it yet. And we want everyone to get it. We believe that many people out there don’t know the importance of the answer to this question, ‘who is my neighbor?’, and how it’s answer should guide their life; to know what to do about it, or is it just a theory to them? We hope and pray that this article will help everyone who reads it to know and understand the answer to this question. We hope and pray that you, dear reader, will understand what the Bible is teaching you here, and that you will accept it, so that you can receive the blessings of God, for now and for all eternity. Amen. Let it be so!

The answer to this question is so important, we feel compelled out of love for our readers to tell them, so we must write this article! This question is SO fundamental to Christianity, but many people just don’t get it, or they don’t fully understand who their neighbor is, or what their responsibilities for their neighbor are, according to the Bible. Some of you may have an idea where we are going with this, but we want to lay it out in some detail here, so that everyone can understand.

This is such an important topic! The answer to this question separates the wheat from the chaff; it separates the wheat from the tares. It separates those who love God from those who love Him not, or but little. Prayerfully, carefully consider all the words in this article. You may have to get down on your knees often in prayer over this, that you may be where God wants you to be on this.

For many of the texts regarding the wheat and the tares and the chaff, read: Matthew 13:24-30; 3:11-12. Luke 3:16-17; Psalms 1:1-4; 83:13-18; Isaiah 5:1-30; 41:10:-20; Jeremiah 23:28-29; Zephaniah 2:1-3; Malachi 4:1-3. 

This question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ is one of the most important and fundamental questions in Christianity that you can ask! We can’t really think of a more important question than this except the questions: ‘How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?’, and ‘How do we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul?’ (But we will not deal with this later question here, only ‘Who is My Neighbor?’ And we think, as you go through this article with its texts from the Bible that we will show you, that you will also understand the answer to the question, ‘How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?’)

How do we know why this question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ is so important? Because God has revealed it in His word. We don’t want anyone to be ignorant of the answer to this question! We didn’t used to know this like we know it now, but the importance of this has been greatly impressed on us. We don’t wish to be labeled by God, as one Christian writer wrote it that we greatly admire, as a ‘cumberer of the ground’. We don’t want Jesus to say about us, ‘Cut it down! Why does it even take up the ground?’ “He [Jesus] spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Luke 13:6-9 KJV. Jesus also said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 7:19 NASB. What are the fruits that Jesus is expecting from His vineyard or His people? Hint: 1 John 4:7-8.

Apparently the Jews of Jesus day were discussing the answer to this question too, because one of them posed it to Jesus. We think that they already knew the answer, but didn’t like it, and were seeking for a way out, that they might evade the condemnation of God. Isn’t that at the heart of every false religion – seeking for a way out other than the one God has stated? They were under a heavy load of guilt, because the Spirit of God had revealed to them that they were transgressors of His Law of Love, in the answer to this question. But Jesus didn’t make it any easier on them. They probably thought that they had entrapped Jesus, in making Him say that one of the 10 commandments were more important than the others. Or who their neighbor was. If the legalist could figure out the answer to this question, they reasoned, they might have peace after all. But Jesus’ answer revealed to them that no one who is obeying God can ignore the needs of their neighbor!Jesus even tells them who their neighbor is! But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. We will get to this question by the Jews and Jesus’ answer to them shortly.

* Note the lesson to be learned from all of this is when God reveals something to you in His Holy Bible or through the Holy Spirit whispering to your heart, don’t ask what your family thinks about it, don’t ask what your co-workers think about it, and don’t ask what your pastor thinks about it. The only thing that matters to you in the end is what God thinks about it. Get your witness from God, not from men. Don’t be like those who were trying to argue with themselves and possibly with Jesus of who their neighbor was, or who they should help. In your heart you probably know who your neighbor is already, and whatever else God is telling you from His Holy Bible. Please don’t question it! Just ask God for help to do it and do it.

Now back to our article.

At the heart of this question is whether we really need to keep all of God’s commandments or not. A lawyer asked Jesus this question:

“But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 KJV.

The lawyer was asking Jesus what is the great commandment of the Law? Jesus answers His question with two commandments instead of one. Without going into detail here or trying to prove it, the first commandment of loving God supremely is number one in importance, but it leads to the second one, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. You can’t do one without doing the other, they are integrally tied together! And these are both a summary of the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20. If you keep both of these two great commandments you are keeping all of the 10 commandments! See Romans 13:9 for more on this. That is why John said that one who doesn’t love His brother does not know God; (or love God either, which John implies). “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” 1 John 3:14 NASB. “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18 NASB. John also declared: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NASB. What does this have to do with the text in Matthew 22? It has everything to do with it! Jesus summarized the 10 Commandments into two great commandments: 1) To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind and all your soul, and 2) To love your neighbor as yourself. If you don’t love God supremely or your neighbor as yourself, you are not keeping the 10 Commandments, regardless of your belief or your profession. Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 11:13, 22; 13:3 and Leviticus 19:3 here, thus showing His respect for the Law, and Moses’ writings. This Jewish lawyer could have nothing to say against Jesus, for if he did, he would have been going against the law he professed to believe in! It’s always best and safest to stick with the word of God, and not state human opinion on any matters regarding eternal life! You can never go wrong if you do this. This is what Jesus always did: ‘Thus saith the Lord’ or ‘It is written,’ even though He didn’t always prefix what He said with these two expressions. His entire teaching was rooted and grounded firmly in what God had already revealed in the Old Testament, but He breathed new life into what people thought it meant, and He explained the will of God more clearly then what had been revealed before, so that no one could fail in understanding. That is why He is called ‘the Word of God’ ‘made flesh.’ John 1:-5, 10-14. And ‘God with us.’ Matthew 1:23. It is important for you to understand here that the words that Jesus spoke here, were not His own but Him who sent Him, the Father. Jesus said, “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 [the Father’s commandment] is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me." John 12:49-50 NASB. Therefore there is no difference between God’s commandments (in the Old Testament) and Jesus’ commandments (in the New Testament of the Bible), they are the same, because Jesus and His Father are one! John 10:30.

But wait a minute! There is another version of these two great commandments recorded by Dr. Luke that reads like this:

“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."” Luke 10:25-37 NASB.

Who does Jesus say was the neighbor here? Was it the priest? No. Was it the Levite? No. It was the unclean foreigner, a Samaritan, a sinner who helped the fallen man left for dead by the robbers! Notice that the Jewish Lawyer didn’t even say the race of the one who helped the wounded man, ‘a Samaritan!’ It has been said that there was much religious bigotry between these two races, and it was likely we think, that the wounded man was a Jew, because Jesus’ said, ‘a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.’ Why did the Priest and the Levite pass the wounded man by? Because it would have been greatly inconvenient for them! In the law of Moses, if one came in contact with the dead or the unclean in any way or any uncleanness, especially for a Priest or a Levite, they became ritually impure and could not take part in their religious obligations, until their uncleanness period had passed and they washed themselves (probably in most cases). They may have felt embarrassed if this were to happen, so they sought to avoid becoming ritually impure, rather than having compassion on the man left for dead by the robbers. And in some cases, it required a purification ritual to cleanse them! See Leviticus 5:2-3 and other places in the law of Moses. So it was a lot of trouble, and greatly inconvenient to them to help their own countryman. Sound familiar? How many times have we driven by someone who had a car that was stopped along the road that we might have helped? We could have at least asked them if they needed help, but because we were in a hurry going to work, to church or somewhere else important, we didn’t take the time to help them. The wounded man may have appeared to be dead or almost dead, Jesus didn’t say for sure on this. These men probably thought that their jobs were too important for them to stoop and help one of their own countrymen, and become ritually impure! Or they were just in a hurry? … Or maybe they were afraid the robbers were still around? Who knows? But they refused to help and sought to evade their responsibility to help, in what in all probability, was one of their own countryman. But notice the lawyer’s response to Jesus before Jesus gave him the story of the good Samaritan: “But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus: ‘And who is my neighbor?’” This was something this lawyer probably greatly wanted to know. Perhaps he did not have peace on this subject himself. It seems like his conscience was bothering him about it. He was probably hoping that Jesus would clear things up, so he would not end up being a transgressor of God’s Law, like his conscience may have been telling him he was.

We could stop right here with this text and the analysis above, for nothing else really needs to be said after this. What is there to say after Jesus gave the answer to this question? There is really nothing else that needs to be said. But we will still explore this further so that everyone reading this blog can understand it better, and hopefully fully get what Jesus was saying. We want to pair this up with other Bible passages to flesh it out, give it life, and break it down, so that all may understand this teaching fully.

Your neighbor is whoever needs your help!

The answer to that question, which the lawyer asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbor?” is - your neighbor is whoever needs your help, that you have the opportunity, the ability and the resources to help. It also includes all you don’t even know yet, that you haven’t even met! Paul said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Romans 1:14-15 KJV. Who was Paul’s neighbor here? Paul states it: the Greeks, the Barbarians and the Romans! I.e. Paul’s neighbor was the world – all the people he could preach God’s love too! There was a cost to Paul to love his neighbor as himself, but he didn’t mind we think, because of his great love for God. He was raised up by God as a messenger of His love to the Gentiles! You and I probably have much to thank God for in sending Paul, his trainees and other workers to the Gentiles. I know that I do! Acts 13:44-48; Galatians 2:-2, 7-10. What would have happened to us if Paul hadn’t loved his neighbor as himself, people he hadn’t even met, among the Gentiles (that’s us)? Think about that.

We all have been given talents, skills and gifts and a way of some kind that we can provide a livelihood for ourselves. Matthew 25:14-30. But we need to think not only of ourselves and our family, but we must also think of those in need, who are not as fortunate as ourselves. To some who have knowledge of the truth and the way of Salvation, they owe others who do not know how to be saved or know how to have a better life with God, or how they might make their peace with Him. Romans 1:14-15. To others who have much means, they can use this to help the poor or to help finance God’s work of saving souls, or something…. Those who have strong backs and a willing heart can use their strength to help people in need. But everyone can do something, if they would! There are many things to do for the Master! There is no shortage of things to do! In fact, there are not nearly enough people to do the work that needs to be done! (Unless God vastly strengthens them, because the Lord can save by few or many. 1 Samuel 14:6.) “Seeing the people, He [Jesus] felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Matthew 9:36-38 NASB. If you feel this way then yes, pray to the Father and ask Him to send out laborers into the harvest, ask Him to send you! But only say this sweet thing to God if you mean it! Deuteronomy 23:21-23. We promise you, that if your heart is right before God when you pray this to Him, that you will be blessed beyond measure!

Jesus promised: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measurepressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 NASB. It has been said by some that people used to try to make it look like the cup that they were giving was fuller with the coins in it than what it actually had. But Jesus said that it will be pressed down, shaken together and running over. In other words you will be getting a cup that is fuller than normal, more than you deserve with the blessings of God. You can’t out give God! What God will give in return for what you give is not a stingy blessing, but more than you actually deserve! I.e. running over! Is that what you want? To be blessed beyond measure? Then give, and it will be given to you, like Jesus said above. What blessings do you want from God? If you want to be blessed by God, give to others to help them - for God’s cause, because what you measure out, will be measured out to you again. If you measure out bad deeds, criticism and terrible things, or say terrible things about others behind their back, it will be measured back to you again. But if you give out blessings to others, then blessings will be given back to you. Some of these blessings or curses will not take place in this life for you, but at the judgement for the curses, or in Heaven for the blessings. If you live your life just for yourself or just for your family, then you may find the blessings of God stingy for yourself. What you measure out will be measured out to you in return.

Solomon declares: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” Proverbs 3:27 KJV. Let’s read this also from the New American Standard Bible: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27 NASB. God doesn’t ask any more than this! Jesus said, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” Matthew 26:11 KJV. You cannot help everybody in the world - there are far too many people in this world who need far too many things! The poor will always be there, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help them. But do what you can do that is within your power (and in your heart) to do, if your heart has received of the richness of God. You cannot do any more than that. You cannot give what you haven’t received. If it is not in your heart to help others, you haven’t yet received the richness of God, or you haven’t acknowledged it yet, which is worse. All should have something that they can give or share with others who are in need, or else they have nothing themselves.

Whatever God has given you the ability or the resources to do which is good, do it with all your might: Solomon councils us: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 NASB. What is Sheol? It is a Hebrew word for the grave. Whatever God has put in your heart that you have the ability of doing, do it with all your might while you still can – before it’s too late. When you die, there is no further good you can do. If you feel that you need more help from God to help others or do more for Him, then by all means come to Him in prayer, in the quietness of your own room, away from the cares of this world, and make your petition known to Him, of your desire to help Him or to help someone for Him, or to ask Him for the gifts and resources to do it. – Or to make you more willing. We promise you that if your heart is clean before God through confession to Him, and if you are listening to the Holy Spirit and wanting to obey Him, that God will richly bless you more than you can imagine! -- If you are wanting to be Jesus’ disciple and to use the gifts that God gives you to bless others. Paul tells us that we can become a partaker with them [the Jews] ‘of the rich root of the olive tree, * * * remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.’ Romans 11:17-18 NASB. This richness is provided by God, through His Son Jesus Christ, to all who would want it.

Jesus’ sought out the lost, He didn’t wait for the lost to seek Him out first. Matthew 18:11-14. To Jesus and His Father this whole world was their neighbor! We are God’s neighbor because we need His help! Those who love God will want to do their best, and will ask Him for His will regarding how they can serve Him best: how they can help their neighbors and love them as themselves; they will not seek to excuse themselves from doing what He wants them to do. Those who don’t care, do not know God, and He doesn’t know them either.

We have personally witnessed people who were careless of the divine injunction concerning this. We believe that way too many in the Christian world are breaking this divine injunction. There is way too much selfishness in this world! We used to have a real problem with this too, and would still have it but for the grace of God, and He is still working on us; we still feel we are not doing enough! Only God can change the heart! If you watch or read the news you can see that this world is in very serious trouble: if you look at all the crime, wars, strife, and selfishness, while some in the world just need something to eat or drink, and have to go to bed hungry! And many are dying every day, when many are well clothed and well fed. And of these many people who are starving to death or dying from other things, how many of them know about God’s love for them, or how they might be saved and have a conscience free from guilt? How many of them gave their heart to the Lord? Do you see the problem?

Those who don’t love their neighbor as themselves – don’t know God or Jesus His Son. This is very serious! Please don’t write this off, dear reader. Those who hurt in any way, injure with their words or actions, any person on this earth will have to answer to God for it. But we are also held accountable for neglect! Matthew 18:6-7, 10; Psalms 145:19; Exodus 22:21-23; Job 34:28. If anyone has neglected to help someone on this earth, which was within their power to do, God will hold them accountable for it. We are all the property of God, our creator, and He loves us all so very much! The world and all it contains belongs to Him. Psalms 50:7, 10-12; 1 John 4:8; John 3:16. It is because of His great love for us, that He bears with us when we are unkind to others, to ourselves or to Him. 2 Peter 3:9. God has made provision for our sins, with forgiveness and the ability to change to love our neighbor as ourselves. He alone can bring about this change!

In the Judgement Day, it will not be well with those who have broken God’s divine injunction to love their neighbor as themselves, unless they have confessed these sins and repented of them! Being born a sinner is no excuse! God has provided a way that everyone can become more like Him and be a partaker of His Divine Nature.For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:4 NASB. At the end of everyone’s life, of those who haven’t loved their neighbor as themselves, they will come up weighed in the balances and found wanting. “TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Daniel 5:27 KJV. Right now there is still mercy, thankfully, to all who want it. But wait not until your life is over or nearly over to make amends. Ask God to help you to love your neighbor as yourself, then you will be able to reap the rewards that Jesus promised to all who would give their best for Him, to help others know God and be as happy as you are!

Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 KJV.

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46 NASB.  

How can we face Jesus in the Judgement Day, if we knew that it was in our power to help those in need and did not do it? We will be speechless on that day, unless we make a full repentance now. Jesus will really hold all accountable who do not love their neighbor as themselves, even if they think they are keeping all of God’s commandments! All who do not love their neighbor as themselves, who claim to be a Christian and know God are liars, and the truth is not in them, unless they have confessed this sin and repented of it with God’s help. At the judgement day, all the blessings of God that He wanted to give to those who are lost, of the wonderful joy of serving Him and helping others, they might have had, but they stubbornly refused to listen to the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit. Now they must go into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels, like Jesus said above! But thankfully, there is still hope and the judgement day hasn’t happened yet! There is still hope for you, dear reader, if you find that you are not where God wants you to be on this issue, or you don’t have a clean record on this. If you are still alive you can make amends and ask God to help you to love your neighbor as yourself, that you enter not into the judgement as a goat, on Jesus’ left, and go not into the flames prepared for the devil and his angels. There is no reason for this to happen to anyone! God has made provision for all who want it! Just humble your heart before God today, accept His help, and let Him help and bless you! You will be so thankful that you did! Amen. Let it be so!

If someone needs your help, do not refuse them if you have the ability of helping them. Matthew 5:39-48. But you should pray about it too. Work while it is day, before the night cometh and no man can work. John 9:4. Do what you can to relieve the suffering of those in need while you still can, whether it be food, clothing, spiritual food or spiritual water to satisfy their hunger and thirst, or to help someone do something that they need help with. How can you turn your back on someone whom Jesus died for and loves, if it is within your power and means to be able to help them? You cannot, if you have tasted of the goodness of God and the good things to come. Hebrews 6:4-8. This is the reason why so many do not help others like they should, or they may feel guilt for not doing more (if they haven’t gone too far) - because they haven’t tasted of the good things of God or haven’t drank deeply enough from this cup. But all who are thirsty will drink from it. But there is no reason for this lack of doing more for God or others or for this guilt, when all who name the name of Christ on their lips, who make the profession that they know Him, who are not doing enough could have the richness of God in their life! It’s because they haven’t yet tasted or fully tasted of the goodness of God, so they do not see the need or they are unable to do so or do not want to do so. So sad for them. We are sad that they are ignorant of the richness and blessings of God! We are so sad, because they are missing out on the best, most joyous experience that anyone could ever have! The selfish heart can never know real peace or the true joy of loving God and serving Him and helping others, unless there is a complete change made in them. Only God can provide this experience that brings the joy of serving Him to the soul who loves Him or is learning to love Him!

It is humanly impossible for you to make this change in yourself.Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23 KJV. If you are accustomed to doing evil, even though your heart may be the blackest of the black, and stained with much sin, there is still hope for you, if you would receive God into your heart and want to confess your sins to Him, change, and want to obey Him.

Let selfishness be banished from the hearts of all of God’s people! Oh that all would crave the richness of what God longs so much to give them! Just to be in God’s lovely presence, so Holy, pure, kind and true, is an experience that outweighs all of the treasure in this world! And out of this experience, the soul becomes born from above:Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NASB.

When you become born of God, you will not find it hard to help the needy, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or to help those who are starving spiritually, for it will be your greatest and sweetest desire! You will not ask who your neighbor is, or try to excuse yourself. If you see someone in need, and you have the power or the means to help them, you won’t give it as second thought and just do it. You can’t hold someone back from helping others who has tasted of the good things of God! No you just can’t do it! No can do! There is a sweetness in their life, a song in their steps that spills over into their daily life – they just can’t help it, any more than a flower can help being a flower. They don’t make excuses, they pitch in and do what they can, whenever there is a need or something that needs to be done that is within their power to do! And they are not quick to complain when things aren’t to their liking. That joy that God brings makes life’s burdens and travails seem light and easy or easier to bear. Don’t let that crushing weight of guilt and doubt and selfishness weigh you down and take you down to the pit! God longs to free you from this that you might experience the true joy of giving!

Let selfishness be banished from the hearts of God’s people! Amen. Let them know the joy of knowing the Lord and putting their trust in Him, then their salvation will spring forth as the dew of the morning!

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.” Isaiah 45:8 KJV. 

May the grace of God be with you as you decide if you want to love your neighbor as yourself. We hope and pray that you will not withhold from yourself this wonderful blessing that will keep on giving to you, from now until eternity! If you do this, you will know that Jesus and His Father will be happy with you, and their love will sustain you, because you will be developing a character like Them, who love you so much!

“Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” John 14:23 NASB.

Devotional Song: There’s a new song in my heart:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwfkEgbf2So

#Neighbor #Love #Another #Wheat #Tares #Chaff #Fruit #Fire #Needs #Help #Poor #Needy #Good #Samaritan #Talents #Harvest #Laborers #Few #Know #God

By John Foll, written between 1/26/2018 to 01/27/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

But He [God] gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’” James 4:6 NASB.

What does it mean when James says God ‘gives grace to the humble? Let us look at what it means.

The book of Psalms declares: “The humble have seen it and are glad; you who seek God, let your heart revive. For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise His who are prisoners.” Psalm 69:32-33 NASB. Evidently it must be important, because it says here that God hears the prayers of the needy, and of the prisoners who are His who cry for His help. Those who are saved cry to God for help, this is their secret!In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.” Psalm 18:6 NASB. Do you want God to hear your prayers dear reader? This is so important! Then cry to Him for help. Many come to God in prayer with a list of things they want from God, but have they asked Him for help or confessed all of their sins to Him? Those who want God’s grace and mercy must first cry to Him for help; those who don’t cry to Him for help will probably not get helped, whether they prayed or not. What would you cry to Him about for help? If your problems are overwhelming you, if you have an addiction or something you do over and over that you know that you should stop doing. Or if you don’t feel like you are saved or good enough to be saved, or your sins keep coming up in your mind over and over again and you are weary of it all? Do you want that sweet peace, wonderful peace, and want the assurance of your salvation? Do you know that you are bad and have done wrong; where can you get relief? Then call upon the name of the Lord, cry out to Him for help and He will always hear you! Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 KJV. If you will just come to Jesus and tell Him all of your troubles, He will give you rest. Is that what you want, rest? Then cry out to the Father in Jesus’ name, and He will hear your prayer! Just confess your sins to Him. If you find that you are in need, tarry there awhile with Jesus in the quite of your own ‘prayer closet’, which is any quiet private place free from the noise and clamor of this world, perhaps in nature or in a quiet room by yourself, wherever you can find some quiet time with Jesus, He loves you! Matthew 6:6. And He will give you rest. For His burden is light, and His yoke is easy, it is much easier than that yoke of guilt and sins and addictions that keep dragging you down! His yoke is easy, because it is a yoke based on love. It is something you shouldn’t mind, because it will give you peace and bring you much love and joy, if you will continue to tarry with Jesus awhile in prayer and Bible study, meditating on God’s rich promises to save and bless you.

Listen now to Moses’ account of God leading the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years, after leading them out of Egypt where they were slaves: "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” Deuteronomy 8:2-5 NASB. In the same way as God disciplined the children of Israel as they made their way to the Promised Land, Canaan, God will also discipline you on your way to the Heavenly Canaan, the Promised Land, if you will just let Him do it for you, and not chafe under His kind hand. God will help you to be humble if you will just let Him. You may be proud now, and not know how you can get His grace for yourself for all of your past sins and failures, but if you will just let Him help you, and allow the discipline He gives you to work His will in your life through the trials you go through, He will help you to humble yourself before Him, so that you may receive His grace. Because God gives grace to the humble, which is for those who allow Him to humble them.

When does God give grace to the humble? When they cry out to Him for help, and only then. If you are satisfied with your life the way it is, or want to handle your burdens and problems by yourself, or in your own way, or just want to do your own thing, you will not find any rest or peace. It is not within any man’s or woman’s ability to be able to direct their own paths, or solve their own problems without the aid of God and have it turn out good. Whenever anyone attempts this, it is self-righteousness. Self-righteousness always leads to death, but crying out to God for help and confessing your sins to Him leads to life – eternal life. When the Lord sends the needed help, the humble will see it and be glad. The humble cry to Him for help. If you will humble yourself before God and cry out to Him in prayer, your heart will see His salvation and be glad! Is that what you want? Then read on!

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:26 KJV. “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:7-8 KJV.

So what are you waiting for? Cry out to Him for help now, so you can start to get your salvation! When you see your need of Him and what He wants to do for you, and decide to yield your pride to Him and confess your sins and cry out to Him for help, He will surely save you and give you His grace!

Being humble is the same thing or similar to being meek or gentle. Jesus said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 NASB. The King James has this as: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 KJV. This reminds us of a psalm David wrote: “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Psalm 37:8-11 NASB. What is David talking about here? Those who humble their pride and allow God to take care of them, will inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Has this fully happened yet here on this Earth? No. For the most part the world looks up to those who are the strong, the wealthy, the powerful, the famous, the infamous, the most beautiful, the smartest, the greediest, the wickedest, etc. While some of these are not necessarily wrong in themselves the others are, but they are often accompanied with great pride and wrongdoing, while the needs of the poor in this world’s goods or the poor in spirit are looked down on or trampled on. The ruler of this world, the prince of the air, has given the things the world values to those whom he controls. John 12:30-31; 14:30; 16:11. Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-8; Ephesians 2:2. So if the meek haven’t inherited the earth yet, when will it happen that the gentle, the meek, and the humble will inherit the land? Jesus is quite clear here that the meek will eventually inherit the earth as He promised!

Jesus declared: ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 18:3-4 KJV. This is just as true today as when Jesus spoke this 2000+ years ago. Jesus said that you must be converted and become as a little child, if you would enter the kingdom of Heaven, which means to love and obey your Father in Heaven, as little children are to love and obey their earthly fathers. But you cannot do this, unless you first humble yourself before God in prayer.

So when will the meek and humble inherit the earth? The prophet Isaiah gives us a clue when he writes: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 KJV. You can equate this child leading the wolf, the lamb, the leopard and the kid (goat or sheep lamb) with what Jesus said, when He said that unless you become as little children you shall never enter the kingdom of Heaven, as He stated in our text above in Matthew 18. It is only someone who has humbled themselves as a little child who will make it there and lead the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid in Heaven. Read this whole prophecy in Isaiah 11:1-9, especially verse 9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9 KJV. Isaiah declares here that this will take place when their will be no more death and no more hurt on God’s holy mountain, when the knowledge of God will cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea. Has the knowledge of God yet covered the earth as the waters cover the sea, with no disagreement among all mankind, and has all hurt, killing and death stopped? No. Clearly this will take place only in Heaven. It says in Psalms, talking about this day in Heaven, after all the wicked are destroyed, “The LORD is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land. O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.” Psalm 10:16-18 NASB. This is when the humble shall inherit the Earth, after all of the wicked have been destroyed by Him. This is all done by the grace of God, no one will deserve to be there. Therefore let us praise His wonderful name and pray that we all will be there, with as many of our loved ones as possible, inviting as many as we can to also go there with us.

Note the message that John gives us from God in Revelation talking about that great day in the future in Heaven, when the meek shall inherit the earth:And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, ‘What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?’ And I said unto him, ‘Sir, thou knowest.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:13-17 KJV. Talk about the perfect security blanket! How can anyone go wrong, if they will just follow the Lamb where ever He goes? Revelation 14:4. He will dwell with them forever, and feed them and quench their thirst from the river of life that flows endlessly from the throne of God! And nothing shall hurt or destroy them on God’s holy mountain, for the former things of this world are passed away, when all wickedness is gone forever.

Let us now sing God’s praises as we contemplate that great day in Heaven, when the meek will inherit the earth: He [God] has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; and sent away the rich empty-handed.” Luke 1:51-53 NASB. Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Then you shall be filled! Matthew 5:6. It says here in our passage in Luke 1 that God will fill the hungry with good things, but will send those who are rich away empty handed. Those who think that they are rich, who don’t see their need of God, will be sent away into the outer darkness where there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:36-43, 49-50.

Have you been on a journey too with God like the children of Israel were in their wanderings on their way towards the Promised Land? Have you had ups and downs in your struggles? Have you ever found it hard to say you were wrong to someone, or to give up something you wanted to get or to do that you know that God was asking you to stop doing or to give up? Did you have bad feelings towards someone, or feel bad for something you said or did and struggle with it? Did you get peace? Don’t give up, there is still hope! Has God been shaping your life, putting you through trials? Take courage! If you will allow God to mold and shape you, if you will cry out to Him for help, and will allow Him to humble you, all of these blessings He has promised will be yours! You can yet gain the blessings of eternal life, when the meek shall inherit the earth, because God will give you a greater grace, if you will allow Him to help you! Amen. Just allow Him to mold you and shape you.

So don’t be proud, humble yourself before God now in prayer:

Prayer is a song we all can sing,
A light that the blind can see,
Prayer is a gift the poor can bring,
However poor they'd be.

Prayer is a star that lights the way
For those who are in despair,
And when your heart kneels down to pray,
God will hear your prayer.
* From the song Prayer, by Alfred Bryan and Edward Lisbona.

Do you want God to hear your prayer? Then kneel your heart before Him in prayer, then He will hear your prayer. This means give your heart to Him in prayer as my wife said, when I read the lyrics of this song to her and pointed out those last two lines of it to her. I didn’t catch the meaning of those last two lines when I first heard this song, or when I first read these lyrics, but I eventually saw that it was not saying that we should bow our knees in prayer, but our hearts. But it is true when you give your heart to God, that you can be sure He has heard your prayer! For God gives a greater grace to the humble, i.e. those who will humble themselves before Him. He will show them His rich mercy! But those who will not give their heart to Him at all will not be helped.

Yes God gives a greater grace and mercy to the humble and they shall inherit the Heavenly Canaan, the Land which is fairer than day, the kingdom of Heaven!

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’” Revelation 21:2-7 NASB.  

May the grace of God be with you, may you follow the Lamb of God wherever He goes, as He leads you to Heaven’s peaceful shore! So cry out to Him now for help that this may be your story. Amen.

Final Meditation, from a Psalm of David:

Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD,
Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in justice,

And He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth
to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name's sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity, and
his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalms 25:4-15 NASB.
See also Psalms 34:1-8.

The song Prayer that we quoted part of above lyrics can be found at:
https://genius.com/Eddy-arnold-prayer-lyrics
http://hebronum.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/May-June-2017.pdf . This pdf file contains both verses, search for ‘Prayer is a song we all can sing’. If you can ever get hear this wonderful song as sung by George Beverly Shae, listen to it over and over until the songs sticks in your head and you get what the song is saying.
https://www.discogs.com/George-Beverly-Shea-An-Evening-Prayer-Favorite-Hymns-For-The-Days-End/release/1853967 . This link has the album with this song on it track B1.
https://www.bear-family.com/shea-george-beverly-i-d-rather-have-jesus-2-cd.html . This cd has it I think.

An Evening of prayer: (Sung by George Beverly Shae):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjJny81DzGs&index=12&list=PL2849A9BCA49E7150
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbfFoxGtNm0

Did you think to pray? (Sung by George Beverly Shae):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiHIfqhGfc8&index=14&list=PL2849A9BCA49E7150

The Prayer Perfect (Sung by George Beverly Shae):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTAz9dSXR_w

#God #Gives #Grace #Humble #Trials #Needy #Cry #Help #Burden #Easy #Light #Rest #Confess #Sins #Prayer #Love #Peace #Salvation #Heaven #Meek

By John Foll, written 10/28/2017
© Copyright 2017 John Foll

Are you tired of hurting yourself and others? It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.

“And it happened that as He [Jesus] was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?’ But when He heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE, 'for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Matthew 9:10-13 NASB77.

There are two groups of people referred to by Jesus in this statement, ‘the righteous’ and ‘sinners’. What does the Bible have to say about the righteousness of man? “The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:2-3 NASB. ‘The best of them is like a briar, the most upright like a thorn hedge.’ Micah 7:4 NASB. This is the way many are who say they are a Christian, but don’t have a true conversion and God in their life. But those who see their need will turn to Him for help.

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah 8:22 KJV. Why are all of God’s people today not seeking healing from Him? This is God’s message to His people in our day too! There needs to be a balm in Gilead and help from the Great Physician, because many of His people in our day are in as much need of healing from the sickness of sin as they were in Jeremiah’s day and in the day when Jesus was dining with the tax collectors and sinners. Unfortunately because many of His people do not know or care that they are sick and in need of the Great Physician’s help, in need of the balm of Gilead, they have not been healed. If anyone needs healing they must first see that they are sick and in need of help; otherwise there will be no help or healing for them. The tax collectors and sinners in our passage in Matthew 9 received their opportunity of healing from sin from Jesus, and one of them was Matthew the disciple and apostle! See the verse before in Matthew 9:9. These were the sinners who the Pharisees were accusing Jesus of eating with. And at least one of them became Jesus’ loyal disciple, Matthew! How many people have been blessed by the book of Matthew? Aren’t you glad that Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners at Matthew’s house? We know that we are. There is hope for you too dear reader!

If someone see’s their need and allows Jesus to heal them from their sickness of sin, He will help them be good. When they have this change wrought in their heart they will have mercy and compassion on others who are still sick and in sin. If you consider yourself to be ‘the righteous’, go and learn what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE’, if you do not already know it. Hear now what God says here through Hosea the prophet, whom Jesus was quoting from In Mathew 9:13: “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.” Hosea 6:4-7 KJV. God is saying here that He wants His people to have mercy and compassion on others, to desire a true knowledge of Him and His ways of love, and to keep their covenant with Him.

No one can be good or righteous if they are not kind and merciful to others; this is the way God is with mankind! It doesn’t matter what someone says they believe, if they are not kind and merciful to others they are unrighteous! To be a Christian and a disciple of Jesus, all must be kind and merciful to others. When Moses asked God to show him His glory, God said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ Exodus 33:19 NASB. The King James Version renders this as: “And He [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Exodus 33:19 KJV. So we see here that God’s glory is His grace, mercy and compassion! But all those who have been shown mercy and compassion by God, because they asked for it from Him, should be grateful for the kindness that He has shown them. This should awaken His love in their heart and sympathy for others who are still trapped in the bondage of sin and addictions. Those who are grateful for the help they have received from Him will have mercy on sinners and will want to help them, instead of tearing them down. This is what Jesus meant when He said ‘Go and learn what this means.’ Those who say that they know Him and are not kind and merciful to others do not really know Him yet, and if they don’t repent they will find themselves shut out from the kingdom of Heaven. See Matthew 5:7, 6:12; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; 1 John 4:20; 2:4; Matthew 25:21-40; 7:21-23.

We first heard someone using this text as a promise that God would help them ‘if they were sick’ by a dear brother in Christ. He said that before he met Christ he did a lot of bad things. We believe he was looking for hope that life could be better for him, he was listening to the voice of God. After he started studying the Bible, when he read this text, he knew there was hope for him! He prayed something like this, ‘Dear Lord I am sick, so I need a physician. Jesus came to heal those who are sick. Please heal me!” In his heart he knew that God heard is prayer, because he was sick! And God helped him to become a better person and to stop doing bad things! All who see their sickness can pray to God, and receive forgiveness and healing from sin; and get help to stop doing bad things, just like our dear brother did!

Yes, all those who are ‘sick’ can receive help from the Great Physician if they will plead for His help! Jesus came to help those who are sick, not those who are sick but don’t think that they are! God will not provide healing for someone like this until they see their need and freely ask for His help. He compels none. Those who do not see their great need will not be helped. But there is love and mercy for all those who know that they are sick and are desperate for the help that only the Great Physician can supply.

So there is a balm in Gilead and the Great Physician there to provide healing for all who are sick. Are you sick? Then there is hope for you! If you pray the prayer that my brother prayed above, you will be healed, no matter how bad you are and no matter what you’ve done. Jesus came to call you, Oh sinner, if you would be healed!

May the grace of God be with you all! May you see your need of Jesus and receive healing from all sin!

P. S. Thank you our dear brother for your testimony on this text and your testimony that you knew that God would hear your prayer to Him and help you when you prayed this prayer! How it gave you hope that God would save you because you were sick! We hope that your testimony and this article will be a blessing to others, giving hope to all who are sick and trapped in sin and want to be free! We want all to be delivered from the bondage to sin, all who want it.

Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV. So there is hope for all who want it! There is the Physician and the balm of Gilead for all who see their need and want it. No reason anymore to be trapped in sin and guilt, when Jesus came to make all free! Amen.

#Sick #Well #Physician #Mercy #Compassion #Sacrifice #Ear #Tax #Collectors #Sinners #Righteous #Help #Healing #Hurt #Stop #Yourself #Others #Testimony #Forgiveness #Free

By John Foll, 2/4/2017
© Copyright 2017 John Foll

Some may not be aware that in order to get answers to prayer, that there are conditions for many prayers that must be met. We want to give some texts and ideas that everyone might not know or may have forgotten. This is not intended to list everything that could be a problem as to why you are not getting an answer to your prayers, but to give the most common problems that may prevent you from getting answers to your prayers, and to give you the prayers that God will always answer. We are giving the general conditions whereby you can know the will of God, when you can expect to get your answer or not from Him. We want everyone to be able to get what they need from God: life, peace, joy, love and happiness, now and forever! So we are sharing with you the principles that will lead to your salvation and happiness! We want to share with you how you can get the blessings from God that your heart craves. You want this, don’t you?

Let us start with ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ that Jesus told the people in the beatitudes:

“Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.']” Matthew 6:9-13 NASB.
Notice that this is not a prayer of selfishness or a prayer of want, but a prayer for your greatest needs and for God’s kingdom to come. This prayer starts out with praise for our Heavenly Father which is in Heaven. He deserves our praise doesn’t He? Let’s thank Him for everything that He’s done for us and for Jesus His Son, and for the blessed Holy Spirit! You can never praise them enough for what they have done for you and have given to you. You should be grateful for all that they have done and are doing for you now. Pray for God’s kingdom to come, which is to pray that as many people as possible on this earth would know His peace, and would give their heart to Him. Pray that God’s will on earth and in your life will be done, as it is in Heaven. If you want your prayers to be heard, you should always want God’s will to be done on this earth and in your life. This prayer is giving God permission to work in your life to help you! And it is also a prayer where you agree to cooperate with Him to help others and love Him with all your heart. And then Jesus said that you should pray for your food and needs.
Note that in ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, Jesus lays out a very important condition: if you want to be forgiven you must forgive others their sins against you, even if they don’t ask for it or want it. And you are to pray to God to forgive you your sins.And you should pray that God would keep you from temptation, i.e. help you to overcome sin. And then you close the prayer by acknowledging that God is the ruler of the Kingdom (the Universe), and has all the power and the glory forever; everything you need for your temporal needs, and eternal life. You can depend on Him forever, if you make Him your trust! When you pray like this and mean it, you know that you are praying according to His will and He will hear you. We are not saying that you must use these exact words every time you pray to God, but that you should have this attitude and you should pray for these kinds of things. You can also give specific needs for yourself or others to be prayed for.
Jesus also said, When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5 NASB. If you have any pride in your heart, full of yourself, and are saying that you love God, and are not living according to your beliefs in what God has revealed to you, the Lord will not hear your prayers, until you first humble yourself before Him, and want Him to remove the hypocrisy from your life, and then you can make your other requests known to Him.
You should be persistent if you believe your prayer to be God’s will, and keep praying for it:
Now He [Jesus] was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. "There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' "For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8 NASB.
Now for a very serious problem: David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” Psalm 66:18 KJV. Many times when prayers are not answered, it’s because of sin that is regarded in the heart of the individual, or of sins that have been known and have not been confessed or have not been repented of. If we want God to hear our prayers, we must confess all of our known sins, and ask Him for help to overcome them. Or maybe we have agreed to do what God has asked us to do, but have been putting off doing it? God’s grace cannot cover rebellion against His desire for our life or rebellion against His Law of Love or any of His words in the Bible. And we should not keep putting off what God has asked us to do! If we want God to hear our prayers, we cannot regard sin or iniquity in our life! This is so important!
Now Solomon says, He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Proverbs 28:9 NASB. If we want God to hear our prayers, we must want to study His Law of Love, and listen to and follow all of His counsel for us in the Bible. We know that there are some who love to put down God’s Law of Love, the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, and other of His requirements in the Bible, but God will have the final say in this. If we don’t want to study God’s word to find out what He wants from us, or if we don’t want to love Him with all of our heart, and mind and soul or do not want to love any of our neighbors as our self, and refuse to hear His word in the Bible, God will not hear our prayers! Read Matthew 22:25-40.
What prayer will God always hear? If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NASB. He will always hear our prayer when we confess our sins, or pray for help to be saved! Note what Jesus said here: “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. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other [the proud Pharisee]: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:13-14 KJV. So if you will humble your heart before God, and ask for mercy and help, He will always here this prayer!
What is another reason why some prayers are not heard? You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 NASB. You need to have good motives, and not pray to spend God’s blessings on sinful pleasure. God wants you to have a good life, and there are some simple pleasures that God approves of, if they are good for you at the time that He may allow. But there are many pleasures which God doesn’t approve of: you should not pray for anything that is wrong.There may be some things that you want that you do not need that God may want you to wait for, and other things that He may let you have right away.
Be careful, sometimes God will give you what you ask for, so that you may learn that it is not for your best. An example of this was when the children of Israel wanted to eat meat again, instead of the manna from Heaven that God had provided for them, and were complaining to Moses about it (Numbers 11:13), then God said, “Say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, "Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat and you shall eat. 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"'"” Numbers 11:18-20 NASB. In Numbers 11:31-35 it outlines what happened to these people: “The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORDstruck the people with a very severe plague.” Numbers 11:32-33 NASB. So they had cried out to Moses because they were tired of the manna that God had rained down from Heaven for them, thinking that they were better off when they were in Egypt and slaves and could eat what they wanted. And so God gave them their wish, and some of them were struck with a plague from God. Don’t be persistent in asking for something that is not for your best or right. So be careful of what you ask for!
Now David concludes our passage from Psalms 66:18 with:But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” Psalm 66:19-20 KJV. So there you have it, David’s prayer was heard by God, because he didn’t regard iniquity in his heart, because God’s mercy found him and forgave him. 

Is there no room for grace you may ask? Yes, if you are a sinner take courage, if you don’t say everything exactly right or do not pray for the right things but mean well, the Holy Spirit will translate it to God for you, He knows what you really need!In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to Hispurpose.” Romans 8:26-28 NASB. If you have accepted God in your life, and are cooperating with Him, and are called according to His purpose, He will cause all things to work for your good, even if you make a mistake and pray for something that may not be the best for you, as long as you are not regarding iniquity in your heart! The Holy Spirit will translate your prayer into the language of love, “clean it up”, and make it presentable before the Father. This is God’s grace for you! Oh wonderful love of God! He has provided for all of your needs! He is mindful that you are but dust and are prone to wander from Him! If you will just throw yourself on His great mercy, He will forgive your sins, mistakes and will answer your true prayer, even if you don’t know what that is: your greatest need, not just what you asked for! When you pray to God, even if you didn’t ask for it, the Holy Spirit will intercede for you with something like this to the Father: ‘Father, even though they didn’t pray for all of your help that they need, please give them more time, please grant them more mercy! Please give them their true needs.’ Amen! Yes, God provides us poor sinners with His rich grace! We are not rewarded according to what we deserve, but according to His mercy and grace! But do not take His grace for granted, confess your sins and allow Him to work in your life, while His mercy may still be found!

To conclude: Before you make any of your other requests known to God, always confess your sins to Him first, and allow Him to change you, to help you repent. If you pray like this and do not regard iniquity and do not turn away your ear from hearing God’s Law, and are not praying for things out of selfish motives or for sinful pleasure, then you will have confidence before God that He has heard your prayers! Let God bring your life in harmony with Him, and let Him guide and protect you all the way, and then you will not have to worry if your prayers are heard! Amen.

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