Who is My Neighbor? Part 1

Victory Over Sin - Disqus

Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?

Is going to Heaven the highest reward?

We are a sweet fragrance or aroma among those who are perishing who are now being saved, if we are allowing God to lead us in the triumph of Christ!

How to Get Answers to Prayer?

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard

And He Also Told this Parable to Some People Who Trusted in Themselves that They Were Righteous, and Viewed Others with Contempt

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, 1/1/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

My post on this Disqus:  Monday 1/1/2018

https://disqus.com/home/channel/graceandtruth/discussion/channel-graceandtruth/victory_over_sin/#comment-3687492847

Paul tells us clearly that we can gain the victory through Christ. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24 KJV. Then 2 verse later here he also says this: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1 KJV. And at the end of this chapter he says: "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39 KJV. Paul himself also died a conqueror: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV.

Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and He is able to do what He says He will do for us. We need to believe that. None of us are good, not even one, but God is good all the time, as is Jesus His Son. God and His Son Jesus are more than able to deliver us and help us gain the victory, if we will seek after God with all our heart, and make Him our God, laying all on the altar to Him. Then, when He is our God, He will save us, just like He promised He would, and will help us to gain the victory. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 KJV.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB.

And contrary to the opinion of some Bible teachers, it is possible to gain the victory through Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelation affirms that there will be a group of people who gained the victory through the Lamb. I want to be in that group. How about you? After the seven last plagues fall on this earth Revelation tells us about this group:

"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." Revelation 15:2-4 KJV.

So we see here that Revelation predicts that there will be a group of people that get the victory, despite what this world and the Beast try to do to them. This is only by God's power, not by anything found in themselves. Let’s talk faith and live it, not acting like God is powerless to save His people from their sins. This promise of salvation runs throughout the entire Bible! Believe it! Receive it!

The prophet Isaiah also tells us there will be a group of people waiting for God to save them, and He does: (This is a representation of those who are alive when Jesus comes back in the clouds with great glory at the Second Coming): "And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Isaiah 25:9 KJV.

If you have this desire, dear reader to have this victory, God will give it to you, if you will humble yourself before Him and give your heart to Him all the way, He would be delighted to give you this victory! "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6 NASB. Jesus promised through this text the victory who would hunger and thirst after God's righteousness. Believe it!

#Victory #Over #Sin #Contrary #False #Teachers #Conqueror #Paul #Fought #Good #Fight #Jesus #Author #Finisher #Faith #Moses #Save #Salvation #Believe #Righteousness

By John Foll, finished writing 1/8/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

It takes more than having the correct theory of the truth to be saved.

* This blog is not for everyone, but some may especially need to hear this message. If you are looking for a nice easy-going article that tells you that you are OK and just makes you feel good, this article is not for you. We are sorry if it appears too strong. But there are problems with the way many people believe about how they are saved. Since Jesus gave this message or a similar one to it, it still needs to be heard! But if you are not ready for it, then don’t read this article. If you would like to find out what you may lack or need to do to be saved, read on.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Matthew 16:6 NASB. “Then they [Jesus’ disciples] understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:12 NASB.

Jesus’ statement here is still valid today! We need to beware of the leaven of the modern Pharisees and Sadducees!

Today there are two basic groups within Christianity: the left and the right.
(We are not talking about Christian denominations here.) We are not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or put down anyone, but today there is a “general” condition of lukewarmness in many Churches that seems very hard to wake people up to, or it’s a cold spiritual state or it’s a party like happy-go-lucky state – no worries. They just don’t get it. This is similar in some ways to when Jesus walked this earth warning His Disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. What can be done to wake people up to their peril? This is our desire and ministry objective: Help people lose their lukewarm Christian state.

In our day some have been taught to presume on God’s great mercy, that everything is taken care of by grace … they don’t need to choose to let God help them, renounce the world, or make the changes He wants them to make, or they are taught that once they are saved that they cannot be lost. Some don’t think their choice plays any role in their salvation once they have become ‘saved’: it is automatic after this. Some believe that they don’t need to give themselves to God daily or don’t think this needs to be their concern, since they are ‘saved’ or because of ‘grace’ or whatever. Or they don’t give it any thought at all, since they are falsely comforted by their teachers. And many of them are taught that they don’t have to obey God; that if they try to obey Him this is works and bad. There are multiple variations and layers of this teaching, depending on which Christian denomination they are from. But the end result of all of them will be the same, unless a miracle happens and they change. There is not as big a difference between the variations of these beliefs as many might think, the end result is the same: trick people into thinking that they are safe, when they are not, so that they will be lost. Trick people into thinking that since they have ‘the truth’ or the correct beliefs, that they are good and will be saved. Some of them won’t admit that the points we are making apply to them. They hide behind their belief that because they believe ‘the truth’ or because of something that they have done or are doing that they will be saved in the end. Some people seem to think church membership is a membership into a club of the saved.

And in our day there are others who claim that they ‘know the truth’, and probably think that they are keeping it. But they really aren’t and they are often harsh and critical with others, not knowing their true need of God. Some believe that they are right because they believe ‘the truth’ and take a firm stand for it, and think that this alone makes them goodgood enough to be saved. And they think that if you don’t agree with them and do as they do, that you don’t get it, implying that you are lost. They think that this is good behavior: talking about the sins and mistakes of others, but it is in fact, a terrible sin that will shut them out of Heaven, unless they repent of it. Others think that their salvation is secure because of grace, but if you don’t believe like they do, you are ‘under the law”, implying that you are lost. So this other side also believes that their belief saves them.

Many have a theory of the truth but do not have a vital connection with God, or their connection with Him is inconsistent. Many claim that the other side is in error without knowing that they are in error too. There is nothing you can learn that will save you by itself, even if it’s the truth, without the need to humble yourself before God, confess all your sins, yield to Him all the way moment by moment, and be fully converted and born again. What can be done to wake people up to these delusions? Many don’t realize that belief alone will not save them, weather it is the truth or not. Or they may think they are saved without having to yield to God, because they are saved or were saved at one time.

Do you believe?
You do well, the demons also believe and tremble! James 2:19. The belief in the truth is a good place to start, but unless you are daily converted and born again it is not enough. But do you believe in all the truth, or just what has been “cherry picked” for you by your teachers? Have you studied out all that the Bible has to say, the whole thing, and tried to learn everything that it teaches, without trying to force it through what you have been taught to make it fit? Jesus says that we are to beware of the leaven or teaching, or the doctrines of the Pharisees (on the right) and the Sadducees (on the left). We believe that Jesus would still say in our day to beware of ‘the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees', if He were here walking and teaching on this earth. He would warn us that we are to beware of their teachings and attitudes that do not line up 100% with God’s word in the Bible. And all attitudes that do not line up 100% with God’s love or are not compatible with it, should be discarded. (We are not saying here that God will not eventually carry out justice here against the unrepentant sinner, or that rebuke to sinners is not necessary sometimes, but it is always to be given in love.)

Many think that they know the truth, but if they are not changed by it to be kinder, gentler, more forgiving, more compassionate to others, more devoted to God, and more obedient to Him, it is of little value. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven, regardless of whether you believe the truth or not. John 3:3, 5. These are not my words, but Jesus’ words.

Jesus also said to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy:
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them.’” Matthew 23:1-3 NASB. Jesus’ definition of hypocrisy is when people say things and do not do them. Notice Jesus didn’t say that everything that the Scribes and Pharisees were saying were wrong. He clearly indicated that the things that they taught from the Bible should still be done, but that we are not to do as they do, because they said things and did not do them. Why? Because they had no vital connection with God, and no one can live a righteous life apart from Him. All their righteousness was pretended. We think this adequately describes many of those on the left, as well as many on the right in our day too. Did you catch that? Yes you heard that right! All their righteousness is pretended.

Many on the left ‘claim’ that they believe that they are saved by grace, or that they believe in righteousness by faith, while they do not really know what saving faith is, or what it means to be born again, or they have forgotten or lost it. And they believe that since they are saved by grace, that this is all that is needed. They have a theory of part of the truth, but not the practice. (Yes, we are saved by grace!) But the way many of them live is really a form of self-righteousness (or no righteousness at all), just like those on the right who are not born again. Anyone who does not have Christ’s righteousness has either self-righteousness or no righteousness at all. No one can be good before God standing in the robe of their own righteousness or filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6. Only those who are confessing their sins and allowing God to cleanse them from all unrighteousness appear good in the eyes of God. 1 John 1:9. Because Christ will be their righteousness, He will give it to them. Philippians 1:11; 3:9; Romans 8:10. Only those who are yielding to God step-by-step, day-by-day are where God wants them to be.

Many on the right seem to think that because they believe ‘the truth’ and take a vigorous stand for it, and put down those who do not do what they say, and those who don’t agree with their views on everything, that this makes them good. What a joke. Many of them also say bad things about others behind their back, and try to assassinate their characters. (Many on the left do this too.) But this behavior is anything but good. Jesus declared:If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17 NASB. The King James Version for this passage says that we are to ‘tell him his fault between thee and him alone.’ But even though Jesus said this, it has fallen on deaf hears, for many do not seem to know that He said it, or they just ignore what He said. This is such a big problem! This can cause souls to be lost and can divide churches! (This could cause the soul of the person being talked about to be lost, as well as those who are talking about them, unless they repent.) Belief in the truth is never enough by itself, there must also be a change of heart and a love for lost sinners, not desiring to hurt any - that all would come to repentance. It takes more than a theory of the truth! The truth must take possession of the heart. The attitude must change. What truth especially? The truth of God’s love for humanity and desire to save everyone!! We believe that some on both sides have parts of the truth, but it is not complete or is just a theory to them.

‘Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers’ Philippians 3:2 NASB:
Beware of the false teachings and bad attitudes of the left and the right. To some, the left appear to be more correct, because they talk much of God’s grace and love, which is true and can be found easily in the Bible. But to others, the right appears to be more correct and in line with more Bible truths. (Some on the right believe that they are saved by grace too.) But many Christians are not born again or have lost it, and think that because they believe ‘the truth’ and try to keep it that that it is enough to be saved, or for others who do nothing at all, because they think that all works are bad and are careless of God’s requirements. Those who are not listening to God do not know their own true spiritual condition: that they are blind, miserable, and naked. Revelation 3:15-20. Those who don’t see their need to obey God’, or seek His help to obey Him are blind to their true condition. But God’s Holy Spirit is given to all that obey Him (Acts 5:32) and to those who want to obey Him. And those who don’t want to obey Him (or don’t think that He can help them obey) most certainly do not have the Holy Spirit and are not born again. If someone is not wanting to obey, or do not think that they can obey Him by His power, you can be sure there is a big problem in their life that they need to confess, repent and forsake. There is nothing too hard for God that He wants to do for His people, if they want His help. Jeremiah 32:17, 27. If you are born again you will have the love of God in your heart for others, and will have pity for those who are erring, and will not talk bad about them. And you will also love to obey God, and be sorry when you make a mistake or sin. You will not seek to excuse sin, but get forgiven, and receive God’s sweet Holy Spirit into your life again. When you are born again, sharing God’s love for others is a delight for you, and your life is oriented around unselfish service to God, and for the salvation of souls, or for doing whatever God has given you to do to help others. (God gives different gifts to each person who belong to Him.)

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees are the partial truths, the half-truths, and the falsehoods that they believe are the complete truth, without knowing they are missing something essential. For some of them, it is their attitude towards others that is wrong, more than their beliefs. These beliefs make them think that they are safe, OK, and right with God, when in fact they are not. They surround themselves with teachers who tell them they are OK as long as they have the correct beliefs. They both believe that they are right and that the other side is wrong. They say some things which are true, but do not do them. Both need to be born again, or re-born again. This is one of the ways the devil confuses people, he gets them into focusing on someone else as being in error, while they ignore their own errors. He holds up another group as being wrong, and gets them on a crusade against them. Unfortunately a lot of people in both of these groups are lacking the Holy Spirit dwelling in their heart, that all are required to have in order to be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. John 3:3, 5. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This is not a statement about someone’s beliefs, but a statement about what they are or are not – born again or not born again. Belief will not save anyone, being born again will. (We are not talking about faith here, just people’s beliefs.)

Beware of the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees!
Beware of those who say they believe the truth but do not do it!
Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees!
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers.

It’s not ‘what you know’, but ‘Who you know’ that saves you:
Jesus says, ‘depart from Me, ye that work iniquity’ ‘for I never knew you’. “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” Matthew 7:21-23 NASB.

Do you know my Jesus? Do you know my friend? Have you heard He loves you? And that He will abide till the end?‘ Oh sinner, waste not a precious moment! Make the Savior your friend before your life is over. No one knows how much time they have left on this earth. Don’t believe for a moment that you are OK because you know the truth or that you are automatically saved by grace, and that you do not have to make a choice to humble yourself before Him, love, serve and obey Him.

* From the song ‘Do you know my Jesus?’ by Vep B. Ellis and William F. Lakey

‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ Acts 16:30 KJV.
If you know that you are not born again, or find that you have been in error on any of the points we discussed in this article, or any others, and God is convicting you on it, you can get a clean slate right now with God! * He is always willing to forgive! Just humble yourself before Him right now, and tell Him you are sorry that you didn’t love Him enough to yield to Him all the way before, and obey Him in everything He asked you to do, or for putting it off. Tell Him you are sorry that you haven’t given your heart completely to Him before. Ask Him to help you be born again and fill you with His sweet Spirit. Ask Him to help you to love and obey Him in all things. Ask Him to help you become meek, gentle, lowly, and kind. Always obey Him willingly whenever He asks you to do something; ask Him for the help to do it. If you want to do your own thing, God will not force you to change or stop you from doing it, but it will make Him sad, because He loves you! If you decide to go your own way you cannot have this wonderful peace, love and joy in your heart that He wants to give you, and you will lose your earthly and heavenly security. But there is no reason for you to do this when you can have all the eternal riches that God wants to give you! And you can start to gain some of them right now! Do you want these eternal riches dear reader? They are yours if you will claim them! Give your heart to God now and every day and they will be yours! You will be so glad that you did! There will be a sweetness in your life that you probably never had or noticed before. Your attitude will change towards others who used to get you upset before, and you will want to obey God. And there will be Son-shine in your heart! Amen!

May the grace of God be with you, as you decide if you want to give your heart to God all the way. We hope and pray that you do. We want to see you in Heaven, and know the joy of the eternally saved! Amen.

* From the Song ‘He’, music written by Jack Richards, with lyrics by Richard Mullan.

Final Note:
There is a way to tell from the Bible if you are born again or not, if you will study it out. You should, your eternal life depends on it. But it must be more than a theory to you, you need to allow God to change you and you must give yourself to Him all the way. It must be your desire and practice. I.e. what you do, not just what you say. Only God can do this for you, but you must submit to Him completely, every day, if you want to be born again and stay that way. Amen, let it be so!

#Beware #Leaven #Pharisees #Sadducees #Hypocrisy #Left #Right #Liberal #Conservative #Grace #Truth #Lukewarm #Saved #Good #Harsh #Critical #Backbiting #Choice #Humble #BornAgain

By John Foll, Finished Writing 3/25/2017 to 3/26/2017
© Copyright 2017 John Foll

Jesus said, “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20 KJV.

What is Jesus saying here? There can be no doubt that the scribes and Pharisees were zealous to keep God’s Law, the 10 Commandments. Jesus plainly declared here that our righteousness must exceed theirs! This statement by Jesus clearly shows the idea that the commandments mentioned in Matthew 5:17-20 are the 10 Commandments. How do we know this? Because the scribes and Pharisees believed that you should keep the Law and they endeavored to keep it. Did Jesus say that the scribes or Pharisees were wrong in trying to keep God’s Law or 10 Commandments? No. Why did Jesus say that our righteousness MUST exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees in order to be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven? Because it is true. Jesus said this because the scribes and Pharisees were trying to keep the 10 Commandments in their own strength, which is impossible. The scribes and Pharisees made a pretense of keeping the 10 Commandments, but were unable to do so since they did not have a vital connection with God (even though they probably thought they were keeping His commandments). You can never keep God’s commandments, unless you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:35-40. To outward appearance they might have appeared to keep them, but God looks not at the outside, He looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” Matthew 23:25-26 NASB. We must allow God to clean the inside of our heart, and help us not be hypocrites, if we want our righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees: if we ever wish to enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is not an easy thing to be a “scribe” or a Pharisee; a person has to work full time at it, and be very zealous to keep the Law, being weighed down with guilt and self-righteousness, resisting the Holy Spirit’s plea for them to make the changes that God wants them to make, never knowing or forgetting how sweet it is to be totally right with God and clean before Him, with the peace and joy of knowing that your life pleases Him. If this is your case, your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes or the Pharisees. These zealous efforts to be good are never good enough and never will be, because they fall infinitely short of God’s desire for us to have His PERFECT righteousness! No one can ever be saved, unless their righteousness exceeds that of the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees! No one can ever be saved, unless they have Christ’s righteousness. The best that we can do is useless to gain eternal life; we must have more than we can ever do in our own power and strength, and skill and will.


A corrupt, impure, or a self-righteous heart can never fulfill the requirements of the Law, or know the joy of having a heart full of love for God and their fellow man, unless they repent; for love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10. A self-righteous heart does not know peace, because it is not clean before God. The scribes and Pharisees tried their best to keep God’s Law, and prided themselves on keeping it, but Jesus said that their righteousness was not good enough to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

When Jesus says that your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, He is stating the truth. But how is this possible? You in your own desire and willpower cannot keep God’s Law of Love, though it might appear that you can to yourself and others. But only God is good. Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18. But (as Jesus said) if you want to be saved, your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. The only way your righteousness can exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, and to be good, is if you let God clean the inside of your cup first. If you want the inside of your cup to be clean, you must allow Him to not only forgive your sins, but to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. And you need to cooperate with Him and do everything He asks willingly. If you are not there yet, you can pray to God: ‘Have mercy on me a sinner, help me to be willing and help me to keep your Law.’ And He will hear your prayer and grant it if you mean it. The only way your righteousness can exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, is if you let God make you good! If you really know God, you cannot help but be good, because He will help you be good. This is because only God is good.


We know there are some saying that we don’t have to keep God’s 10 Commandments, that Jesus did everything for us on the cross, but the Bible says otherwise. We are not saying that our efforts to keep the 10 Commandments will save us, no not at all! We are saying that if we have God’s saving love dwelling in our heart, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we would always want to keep the 10 Commandments or be sorry when we break them. The tempter has far too long kept this argument to two sides that are both wrong! Did you catch that? Both of the sides, on the left and on the right, are wrong. In general, liberals and conservative Christians are wrong on this subject. We say this, because liberal Christians tend to say that we cannot keep God’s Law, and thus should not concern ourselves with it at all since we are ‘saved by grace’, some of them even going as far as implying or saying that you are doing something wrong to even try to keep God’s Law. I.e. it is a sin to be good and it is good to sin. (They will probably deny this belief if you discuss the end result of their belief with them.) “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 NASB. And there are many conservative Christians who are very zealous for keeping the Law, yet are not keeping it perfectly, although they will probably deny this. Their failed efforts to keep God’s Law does not please Him. But if they have confessed their sins to Him and asked for His help to keep His Law, this will please Him. But they have no room for pride over their erring brothers and sisters, if they themselves are also breaking His Law in thought, word or deed in any way! In the end, anyone who has not confessed all of their sins and yielded themselves completely to God, can never possibly keep all of God’s Law, for they are breaking the first commandment to have no other God’s before Him at the very least, and do not love the Lord their God with all of their heart, and all of their mind, and all of their soul. Exodus 20:2; Matthew 22:37-38. God requires His Laws and commandments to be kept perfectly in thought, word and in action at all times, something that is humanly impossible! We are not saying here that God cannot forgive sinners who have broken His Law. We must always keep in mind that God’s thoughts and ways are way above man’s ideas and ability. Listen to what God revealed through the prophet Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV. Man’s ideas on whether he is keeping God’s Law or not, and his ability of keeping it are completely inadequate, unless he knows the whole truth of it and has God’s divine aid. Whenever someone is making the claim of keeping God’s Law, if they lose their temper, say bad things about others behind their back, or say hurtful things to them, or do not love God supremely or do not love their neighbor as themselves, then they most certainly do not have the right spirit and are breaking God’s Law, regardless of their claim, because ‘love is the fulfillment of the Law.’ Romans 13:10.

Some conservatives appear to think that if they believe the truth and endeavor to keep it and promote it to others, or if they point out the sins and defects of others that this makes them good, but it does not! Many conservatives believe and teach the majority of the truth, but omit the weightier matters of the Law like love and mercy, and have no ability of keeping God’s Law, because they do not have a vital connection with God. Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23 KJV.

And many liberals think that there is no reason to even try to be good, or worry whether they are good or not, because they believe that they are only saved by grace and are not actually required by God to obey Him. But unless the liberal’s righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, i.e. unless their righteousness exceeds that of the conservatives, they cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven either. Did you catch that? There are no liberals or conservatives that are excused from obeying all of God’s Law or 10 Commandments. There are no liberals or conservatives who are excused from loving the Lord their God with all their heart, and with all of their mind and with all of their soul, or from loving their neighbor as themselves. Any who do not allow God to help them be good will eventually be weighed in the balance and found wanting. Daniel 5:27.

If you have a problem with what we are saying here in this article, these are not our words but Jesus’ words that were stated in Matthew 5:20.
 
Nothing but God’s perfect righteousness is ever acceptable to Him. So you find the truth that whether you are a religious conservative or a liberal, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Do you doubt the main premise of this article? Then consider well what Jesus said here:“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 KJV. If Jesus told you to do something, then it must be true. God cannot lie. Hebrews 6:18. Jesus the Son of God cannot lie either. (Jesus came to reveal the will of the Father to mankind.) Since Jesus said that you were to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, there must be a way for you to do it. To get perfection, you must get Christ's righteousness, which you can only gain by faith. Romans 3:22. We find that this statement by Jesus in Matthew 5:48 is in perfect harmony with His other statement in Matthew 5:20, in fact, they are in the same chapter! God has made provision for you, so you do not have to live in the flesh, and can have His righteousness! See Romans 8:5-17.

How did these lies or half-truths on the left and on the right ever become acceptable to ‘God’s people’? Because they allowed this to be, and because they haven’t challenged the idea enough that it doesn’t matter what you do, or the idea that it only matters what you believe, or you are OK if it looks like you are keeping God’s Law, and that you don’t have to actually live a righteous life or have love and kindness for others, that your intention to keep His Law is enough, even though the Bible plainly states otherwise. But Jesus said that you must be born again by the water and by the Spirit to be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven, John 3:3, 5. And that no good tree can bear bad fruit, and no bad tree can bear good fruit. Jesus said: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16-20 KJV. So just believe what Jesus said. We are not trying to make you feel bad or to wound any; our desire is that regardless of what your problems are that you would turn to God for help and live, so that you get the help you need to be happy and be at peace. If you are unaware of the problems on the left or on the right (if any of these are your problems) you will be unable to get the peace, love, joy, faith and hope that you need to thrive spiritually and to withstand the trials that are ahead as this world’s history draws to a close.

So what do you do if you know you are not where you should be spiritually? Regardless of whether you fall on the left or on the right, the solution in both cases is the same. If you have been in either one of these groups (many of us have been in one or both of these groups in at least one point in our life) if you confess your sins, yield yourself completely to God, and learn to fully love Him, you will find it an easy thing to make the changes that He wants you to make. Did you hear that right: it is an ‘easy thing to make the changes that He wants you to make’? Yes you did hear that right! While it is an impossible thing to be good by yourself, if you know God and really love Him, it will be the most easy and natural thing in the world for you to be good, providing you keep abiding in His love for you. But wait not for tomorrow or for a convenient season to approach His throne of grace to obtain this help and mercy in time of need. Acts 24:5; Hebrews 4:16. God is even now waiting for you to completely return to Him and seek after Him with all your heart, then you will be found by Him. Deuteronomy 4:29; Jeremiah 29:11-13.

We wish someone had taught us the wonderful truth many years ago that God would give us the power to live a righteous life, if we would yield our heart completely to Him and let Him help us, then we wouldn’t have had to waste so much of our life; that He wants to fill us with His precious Holy Spirit to help us obey Him, and that we don’t have to go it alone. He will indeed supply all of our needs. Philippians 4:19. This is how our righteousness can exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Why is this a wonderful truth? Because God has placed in everyone’s heart the desire to be good, and they can never be truly happy until they allow God to help them be good. Whenever God asks you to do something, He always provides a way for you to do it! This message is the righteousness by faith doctrine of the Bible. See Genesis 15:6; Romans 1:17; 3:22,25; 4:1-23; Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 11. It is a joy to love and serve God and keep His commandments, which only He can give us the ability of doing. God is even now longing to help everyone have His righteousness and bear good fruit for Him, if only they would accept His help and yield fully to Him.

Dear reader, there is no reason to try to live with the righteousness of your own filthy rags, because you are trying so hard to keep God’s Law, or the righteousness of your own filthy rags when you are not right with God, because you don’t think that you need to concern yourself with keeping God’s Law of Love (the 10 Commandments) or living a Holy life for Him. Isaiah 64:6. There is no reason to not have the assurance of your salvation right now, and no reason to not have the strength or the will to obey God, or to not have the forgiveness of all of your sins. Wait not a precious moment. There is no reason to wait, you can have this peace right now! There is nothing to be gained by trying to save yourself, because you cannot. There is nothing to be gained by the constant round of sinning and confessing with no way out, addictions, and thinking that you are clear with God without having to yield to Him all-the-way; nothing to be gained, and everything to lose. Jesus bore all of your sins on the cross for you, oh sinner, there is no reason to try to do it yourself. He will help you to be righteous for your Heavenly Father, to remove the shame of your sins and free you from your addictions (John 8:36), if you will have His help and yield to His loving heart. This is our prayer for you, dear reader. Amen.

#Except #Righteousness #Exceeds #Pharisees #Cannot #Enter #Heaven #Hypocrites #Liberal #Conservative #Left #Right #Wrong #Good #EternalLife #Love #Neighbor #Perfect #Self-Righteous #Blind 

By John Foll, written between 3/12/2017 and 3/14/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
 
This is our response to Evolution is a Hoax user in Disqus.com in the discussion: What does it mean to walk in the spirit?

https://disqus.com/home/channel/graceandtruth/discussion/channel-graceandtruth/what_does_it_mean_to_walk_in_the_spirit/

We would like to thank him again for an excellent Disqus discussion question. He wanted proof, so we are also giving it, but this is what we want to do always anyway, because our beliefs should be founded solely on the word of God, not opinion, wishes, or the teachings of men.

Our Response: 

Being in the Spirit means belonging to Christ all the way. When this happens, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in your heart 24 by 7 and you are fully born again. And then you are kinder and gentler and patient with others. This is not to say that you cannot sin or are beyond sinning, but that you have a mighty helper to help you, as long as you want this help. But it must remain your choice. This text, probably more than any other sums this up: "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." Romans 8:9 NASB. Paul indicates that we can judge whether we have the Spirit of Christ or not: If we truly belong to Christ we will have the Holy Spirit in full. But if we have the Holy Spirit, we will also possess the fruits of the Holy Spirit and will not practice the deeds or the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5. Jesus also says that we are to know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:16, 20.

If we belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us to be good and more like Christ, and our life will bear the Christian fruit at all times, or we will be sorry when we fall short and pray for more strength to overcome. If this is not true, we are not fully born again and have not yielded our heart completely to God yet, if at all. Being good is a work completely beyond our human nature; only God can provide this for us. Without God's help we are simply unable to be good. But if we truly have God's Spirit, we can't help but be good, as long as we abide in Christ and stay connected to Him, the true vine. This is how we can have the Spiritual life that God requires all Christians to have if they want to enter the kingdom of Heaven. John 15:4,6; 3:3,5. This is what is meant to be 'walking in the Spirit'. But we must always compare our life to the life of Christ and to the standards in the Bible, to make sure that we are living a life of obedience, because we have a wily foe, that old serpent the devil, who is trying to steal our crown of righteousness away from us. Then if we have proved faithful to God, we can also say with Paul: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV.

We can also know that if we, or someone else, is 'in the Spirit' here by what Paul has said here: 'those who are in the flesh cannot please God.' Romans 8:8 NASB. To quote A. T. Jones, a godly writer from the late 1800's: "And of course sin doesn't please God." (This is quite profound when viewed by today's lax standards of right and wrong held by many in total contradiction to the Bible.) If someone makes the claim of being 'in the Spirit', but are not living a loving, Godly life, or are living in sin with no confession or repentance, or if they don't want to keep God's commandments, then they are a liar and the truth is not in them. 1 John 2:9, 11; 3:15; 4:20; 2:4. This test must always be brought to bear by all who love God, to make sure they are not being deceived into thinking that they are good, when they are not. The only way we can be good, is if the Holy Spirit is dwelling in our heart at all times, and we must always want to obey God. Acts 5:32.

Extra Labels: Walk, Connected, Jesus, Fought

#Christ #Holy #Spirit #Born #Again #Fruits #Flesh #Lust #Pray #Confess #Abide #Life #Vine #Sin #Please #Test #Deceived #Truth #Good #Fight

By John Foll, written between 03/11/2017 and 03/12/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
We would like to thank the Disqus.com userEvolution is a Hoax for this idea that he presented in his discussion:Extra rewards on top of getting to live eternally?” in the “Grace and Truth” channel:
Are there “extra rewards on top of getting to live eternally?After thinking more on this, we now think that this is a good question! We had seen this article on Disqus.com for several days before responding to it, probably because it seemed extraneous or something like that. (We don’t remember exactly.)  Maybe we thought that those who get to Heaven won’t care how they got there after the fact. But after thinking on this some more, a statement made by Jesus was presented to our mind, which we posted in this Disqus discussion:

To answer this discus main question, Jesus said that those who teach others to keep even the least of God's commandments shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:19. Those who have been moved with love and compassion to help erring ones to know and keep God's commandments, which are all love, will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Do you want this blessing? Then let God make a change to your heart and life, so you can bring honor and glory to His wonderful name, and teach others to love and obey God too! And you will get that promised great reward.
Are there any of God’s commandments that are too small for us to concern ourselves with? Are there any of God’s commandments that are too small for us to worry about keeping or too small for us to teach others to keep? No. Jesus says that those who keep even the least of these commandments and teach others to keep them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. What about those who keep God’s greatest commandments and teach others to keep them?Will they not have even a greater reward?
Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses thatof the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20 NASB.  
We don’t want to focus on this text in its typical manner, but focus today on ‘keeping these commandments and teaching others to do so’:those that do this ‘shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.
What commandments does Jesus mean when He says “these commandments?”Jesus here plainly declares which commandments we are to keep and teach others in the preceding passage: Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 NASB. The ‘commandments’ that Jesus is talking about here in Matthew 5:19-20 is “the Law and the Prophets”. This means not only the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20,but it also clearly means the entire Old Testament, because they were the only Scriptures when Jesus spoke this. But since the words that Jesus spoke are also the Word of God, and since He commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world, we also include the entire New Testament as well to be the Word of God.
Jesus declared here that those who keep ‘these commandments’, contained in the Bible, and teach others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Yes it’s true, there is great reward in keeping God’s Law, the commandments, and in teaching others to do so, even though many in our day think that you shouldn’t keep them or can’t keep them, or shouldn’t teach others to do so! They try to say that this is works, and that we are under grace and thus should not keep God’s holy Law. Some of them even imply that you are sinning if you want to keep God’s Holy Law, since they say we are under grace, and equate all attempts to keep God’s commandments as self-righteousness. But the Bible clearly teaches that God can give us the power to keep His Law when He writes His Law in our Heart. Jeremiah 31:31-34. But what does the Bible say regarding God’s holy Law?The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORDis sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD aretrue and righteous altogether. More to be desired are theythan gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.Moreover by them is thy servant warned: andin keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11 KJV. In keeping God’s 10 Commandments and other commandments in the Bible there is great reward! Do you want this great reward? Do you want to be warned so that you are not lost? Do you want to be truly converted so that you can go to Heaven? Do you want to be pure? Do you want to be clean? Do you want to be good and live a righteous life? Do you want your eyes to be enlightened? Do you want to rejoice? Are you simple but want to be wise? Do you want to taste of the good things to come from God, with all of the sweetness of the rich experience of the blessing of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32. Then study God’s Law of Love, or the two Tables of the Testimonies or the 10 Commandments and all of His righteous judgements and commandments in the Bible, and ask Him to help you to keep them. In keeping them and teaching them to others there is great reward!
Now back to the question to be discussed: Is going to Heaven the highest reward? No.While many people will be happy just to get there, those who have fallen in love with God, will have great joy in teachingothers to love God too! They get a reward of joy in this life, from the ones that they know of whom they have helped, but in Heaven they will get a much greater reward of eternal joy, that lasts forever! This is because those whom they helped to get there will remind them of how thankful they were that someone showed them how to be saved, but more importantly Jesus and His Father will be happy with them! But the ones who get these higher rewards are not doing it just for the reward, but because they love Jesus and His Father!These rewards are above and beyond that of just going to Heaven. These rewards are something a selfish heart can never know or understand, unless it has a great change made in it.
We wish we could make everyone understand the great reward that God wants to give them, if they would only want to keep His Law, because they love Him and teach others to do so too! But alas, this great reward can only be known by those who want what God has to give them, before they have fully learned how precious it is.This reward of love can only be known by those who want to obey Him, because they have learned to love Him, and received His help to obey. There is no way to fully understand what God wants to give you until you experience it for yourself, because it has to be experienced to be understood! But we have tried and will keep trying our best to try to inspire you with the joy and wonder of loving and serving God all-the-way, as long as He gives us breath to praise His name and helps keep us on track with His love. God never fails!
Jesus also said: For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. Matthew 24:44-47 NASB. Here again,Jesus is promising that there will be a great reward in serving Him faithfully in giving His household their food (the word of God) at the proper time and season, which is the same thing as teaching others to keep God’s commandments: the reward for them will be to be put in charge of all of His possessions. This is not just talking about the eternal life that Jesus has promised to all who believe in Him, but the special blessings that come from serving Him willingly, and teaching others to love Him and His Father’s Law too: there will be blessings for this in this life and forever in the life to come!
And again, here is another place where Jesus declares that there is a great reward to be gained:Butlove 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.” Luke 6:35 NASB. Why? Because God is also kind to ungrateful and evil men, so you will have a great reward if you love your enemies. If you do this, your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High! Just think about the honor that God is willing to bestow on you!Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1 KJV.
And what is another great reward that Jesus promised?Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23 KJV. If you suffer for His sake and are persecuted, you will have a rich reward in Heaven, becauseyou will have shown others that He has the power to help all to obey Him! This same reward is spoken of in Revelation:Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:13-17 NASB. So the ones who made it through the great tribulation and have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb will have the great reward of serving Him day and night in His temple, and they will hunger and thirst no more, because He will satisfy their hunger for Him, and satisfy their need of His love and His righteousness! And He will shield and protect them!
At the Second Coming, Jesus speaks of the reward to be given to those who have done His work in helping others for Him: 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 somethingto 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.'” Matthew 25:31-40 NASB. So Jesus will reward all those who helped others with their needs, or visited those who were sick, alone, or in prison, clothed and fed those who were hungry and in need, and preached the gospel to others; this reward will last for all eternity. All who are saved alike will share in this reward, but those who have given more or all for Jesus and served Him gladly, helping and teaching others to love and obey Him will have a greater reward.Notice that Jesus is addressing all of those who are on His right, which are all of those who are saved: that they have served Him by helping others. Thus it appears that no one who enters Heaven will do so without serving Him and helping others. So is there really an extra reward above being saved? Not if everyone is sharing in at least part of the reward of serving Him and helping others. But there still appears to be a choice of how much someone ones to do in loving and serving God and in helping others!Those who really love Him, will give all to serve Him, and will see no great sacrifice in doing this for Him, it will be their greatest desire! And it will be no great sacrifice for them to do everything they can to help others get to know Him, and to help them with all of their needs that are in their power to help. We believe that God sees this and will reward every man according to his works. Notice what Jesus says here in Revelation:And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12 KJV. Thus every faithful man or woman’s reward is according to their works or according to their love and devotion and service to God! Each is rewarded according to their works; this is above and beyond just being saved and going to Heaven! Here is another place in Revelation that declares that there is a reward that the righteous in Christ will get, because their works follow them: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13 KJV. We are not saying that their works saved them, only the blood of Jesus can save anyone, it is an act of Grace from God, but of all who love God, their works will follow them in the resurrection! And they will be rewarded according to their works.So some may have a greater reward than others, depending on their works, done by His power, as an act of love and devotion to Him!  
Conclusion:  Jesus says about this great reward that He promised to His faithful in Heaven:His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’” Matthew 25:21 KJV. Thus all may share in this great reward, if they will be willing to do all that they can to serve Him and help others. Then they will enter into the joy of their Lord, they will enter into Heaven and live forever with Him in eternal peace, love, joy and happiness! Amen!

#Heaven #Greatest #Highest #Reward #Eternal #Life #God #Jesus #Works #Good #Commandments #Kingdom #Least #Teach #Keep #Obey #Love #Serve #Second #Coming


Written by John Foll on 2/11/2017, concept developed earlier.

© Copyright 2017 John Foll

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NASB.
If we have given our heart completely to God and have been born from above, we are following Jesus every step of the way, and God is leading us in triumph! This will manifest itself by others seeing our love for God in the way we treat them and others, and the way we speak of our God whom we love! Our face will glow like an angel, when we are animated with God’s love! He gives us the sweetness in life that attracts others to Him. We cannot help but do this, if we love God all the way and are born from above! “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:8-11 NASB.
To those who are drowning in this world of sin, and are wanting the way out, they will grasp the hope that we offer them, and our life will be a sweet aroma to them and to God.God is more than willing that all who name themselves His people should have this sweetness in their life, and He will grant this petition, if they would only pray for this and desire to be a sweet aroma to Him! “Who is adequate for these things?” No one but God. God will grant this to all who want it and are willing to obey Him! Those who do this, are not ‘peddling the word of God’ like many do, but are preaching the love of God from sincerity. This is what the world needs, sincere followers of Jesus and His Father, who have the sweetness from God that only those who have tasted and seen that God is good can know! Psalms 34:8. 
Yes, the love of God and His salvation that He has offered to mankind because of what His Son Jesus did for us, when He died on the cross for our sins, is a sweet aroma to those who are perishing and among those who are being saved! And when God’s children reproduce His character of love and help others to know and love Him, this is a sweet aroma to Him too! Yes, God is glorified by this, when all of His children bear much fruit for Him! Why? Because He loves everyone, and is not willing that any should perish! 2 Peter 3:9.  Amen!

#aroma #sweetness #goodness #God #taste  #Heaven #witness #serving #bear #fruit #love #joy #peace #Holy #Spirit #born #again #rescue #perishing #triumph

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.

#How #Hear #Prayer #Answers #Help #grace #mercy #God #hypocrites #Lord #ask #good #confess #Holy #Spirit #Kingdom #will #done #forgive #deliver

By John Foll, 12-9-2016

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, ‘Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’” Acts 4:19-20 KJV. Their answer to the rulers at Jerusalem indicates that they were determined to keep the command of Jesus to tell of God’s love to the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 5:19-21), regardless of what their religious leaders told them. They didn’t mind the obstacles that were placed in their way to hinder them, or the mistreatment they received, but counted it all joy to suffer for Jesus’ sake. “And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicingthat they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:40-42 KJV. They didn’t stop preaching Jesus, even after they were beaten and warned to stop. The prophet Jeremiah states the desire to speak of what he had seen and heard of God like this: “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,’ then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it. Jeremiah 20:9 NASB. Thus when you love Jesus, you cannot help but speak of what He did for others and for you, like the Apostles and the prophets of old did!
If you have heard and seen that Jesus and His Father love you, and that Jesus died to save you, and believe, you cannot help but tell it to others what God has done for you!If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalms 34:8), and ‘have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come’ Hebrews 6:4-5 NASB, you cannot help but speak of these things that you have seen and heard to as many who will listen, or you will greatly long to show them His love or help them in whatever way God has given you the ability to do. Failure to do this will cause your wells of water and springs to run dry.
If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, it will be just as natural for you as it was for Peter, James, John and the other Apostles to speak of God’s love and the gospel to the world, as they did in the book of Acts. Or to do your part to help in whatever way the Spirit has given you the ability and the gifts to do. It will be your greatest desire! If you have not really seen, heard, or believed, then you will be unable to tell this truth effectively to others, unless you pray for God’s special blessing until you get it. God can still bless you before you have completely consecrated yourself to Him, but it is much better to taste the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit that God wants to give you! Once you have tasted of this wonderful gift of God, you cannot help but testify of Jesus and the Father’s love. And you will never thirst again, for Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 KJV. “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 NASB. So we see here that the gift to satisfy our thirst that Jesus promised, is the promise of the Holy Spirit, and it was to be given to all willing Christians, starting at Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5, 8) to the end of time, to all who are thirsty and believe in Jesus. These are the conditions. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.Matthew 5:6 KJV. These words are still true for us today, if we will hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness, we will be filled! Thus this promise of the Holy Spirit is for all who are thirsty for Jesus’ love, and hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled, if they believe in Him.
Now let’s recap and finish our passage in Hebrews 6: “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” Hebrews 6:4-8 NASB. Jesus says something similar to this when He said, “If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.John 15:6 KJV. Again this reiterates that those who have tasted of the Heavenly gift of the Holy Spirit, and have not continued to abide in Christ, will become withered and they will eventually be gathered and cast into the fire at the judgement, unless they repent.
It is beyond our belief how someone could experience the wonder of the gift of being born again, receiving the Holy Spirit, and ever want to go back to their life without the Holy Spirit again, but Hebrews 6:4-8 says that it can happen. And in fact there were a few examples in the Bible where it did happen. Read about Balaam the prophet (Numbers 22, 24; 31:8, 16; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11), and the prophet who was slain by the lion. 1 Kings 13:11-30.
We also note that Samson, who had the Holy Spirit, lost Him through disobedience, but at the end of his life he prayed to God, and God heard His prayer and avenged His enemies, by allowing Samson to slay more in his death, of God’s enemies, than in his life.*We believe by faith that God forgave Samson, because he is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32, and because God heard is prayer at the end of his life and gave him his miraculous strength back, because we know that God heareth not sinners. John 9:31. See Judges 14:5-6; 19, 15:14; 16:20-21 for information proving that Samson had the Holy Spirit. Samson probably didn’t really appreciate the wonderful gift of strength that was given to him before he lost it and his eyes were put out. But we believe that he wanted the Lord’s help again just before he died, to serve God’s command for his life one last time. Judges 16:22-31. And God worked a miracle, so Samson’s life was not in vain, and used him to help His people out of their desperate situation with their enemies. Samson’s enemies had mocked his God by thinking that their gods were more powerful, because they had given him into their hands. But this wasn’t so, and God avenged his name among the heathen by Samson’s sacrifice of his life, when he enabled Samson to bring down the house on the lords of the Philistines and the people gathered there with them. So Samson hadn’t fully appreciated the gift of God he had been given, but later regretted it and God forgave him, when he turned back to Him in prayer.
                *We want to thank our stepdad, David Jenkins, for reminding us of this wonderful fact about Samson in Hebrews 11.
So there is hope for you, if you used to have a born again experience with God, and you have let it slip away, if you will repent now. Maybe you didn’t fully know what you had? Maybe you have been in a lukewarm state for a long time, without the love of God fully in your life, or the joy that knowing Him brings? Do you long for the experience that you once had with God? How long has it been? God will take you back, if you will return to Him with all your heart! “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13 NASB. But we believe that if you have lost it, that you probably hadn’t experienced it in its fullness, because Hebrews 6:4-8 says that it is hard to walk away, if you have ever fully tasted the fruits of God’s precious Holy Spirit in your heart in full force. It is the most precious thing you can ever experience in this life!
It is hard to walk away from this experience of knowing Jesus and His Father. Why would you want to? But it is also a most dangerous thing to live in a lukewarm Christian state, neither for God nor against Him, but in the middle. Revelation 3:14-17. That is why this passage in Hebrews 6:4-8 is given, for our instruction.
Jesus says to His Church today:'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:20-21 NASB. Amen! Let it be so. When you hear Jesus knocking on the door of your heart, open it up and let Him come in. You will never regret it, we promise you! “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. Jesus promise to you is: if you will open the door of your heart, let Him come in and dine with you and you with Him, and if you will keep His Word, He and His Father will love you and come and make their abode with you! Oh precious promise! Amen! 

#rejoice #suffer #joy #speak #heard #love #taste #God #good #abide #Born #Again #Holy #Spirit #disciple #believe #hunger #thirst #righteousness #gift

And He [Jesus] also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:” Luke 18:9 NASB. Have you met individuals who think that they are good and view others with contempt? Have you heard individuals who are quick to talk about others behind their back and hurt their reputation? Then you know those whom Jesus is addressing. Do you think that you are good? Do you have trouble protecting the feelings and reputations of others? Do people who break God’s Law or do not believe “the Truth” get you all fired up? We hope that you will keep reading this message, if any of these points hit home. Jesus’ message wasn’t just to rebuke the self-righteous, He loved these people and wanted to help them before it was too late! Can you see the love in His message here? The problem that Jesus is addressing is a very common problem in humanity. Many people have had this problem in their life at one time or another. Jesus was telling some people here that they needed to make a change if they wanted to be saved.
We took a pause from finishing this passage in Luke to contemplate Jesus’ message here. People read that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, then think that this message doesn’t apply to them, and say ‘I am glad I am not a sinner like that Pharisee’. Many people are OK with hearing a message, if they think that it applies to someone else. So think about this message, and not just jump to the conclusion that it doesn’t apply to you. Often people just read a passage, and run with what they think it means, and skip over some of what has been said. So it is beneficial to read the whole passage, and read every word of it, not skipping over parts of it, to get the whole truth, especially for parts that are often ignored. It is good to hear a startling message to help you wake up, or to hear a message stated from a different perspective, so you can be at peace. 
Jesus continues:
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."” Luke 18:10-14 NASB. 
Why was the tax collector justified before God, and not the Pharisee in this account? Because he humbled himself before God and begged for His mercy! The Pharisee didn’t.There is no one who does good, not even one.’ Psalm 14:3 NASB. So why wasn’t this Pharisee justified before God? Because he humbled not his heart before God, and confessed not his sin of pride and of praying unkind words towards this poor tax collector - sinner.If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV. God declares through His prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 KJV. Dear reader, are you held captive by sins or bad habits? Do you want to be free? God says that if you will seek after Him with all of your heart, then you will find Him, and He will take away your captivity, and place you where you were always meant to be, with Him in Heaven as one of His sons or daughters. Jesus says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36 KJV. He has provided the way, Oh sinner, if you will accept it, He will make you free indeed! What a promise!
This text shows the connection between God’s people and the humble who will inherit the earth: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 37:9-11 NASB. We have all been evildoers at one point in our life, but if we will humble ourselves before God and wait on Him, He will help us to become one of the righteous. And remember what Jesus our Savior said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”Matthew 5:5 KJV. God told Moses to tell the people before the Day of Atonement: “If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.” Leviticus 23:29 NASB. Why was that? Because the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur, represents the Day of Judgment, when the judgement takes place. All who wish to be clean before God, will humble themselves before Him, and will confess all of their sins. Those who will not humble themselves before Him, will be cut off from among His people, and will not go to Heaven to live throughout the endless ages with the peace, love, happiness and the delight of the saved. Those who refuse to humble themselves before God will be cut off from His people, and will then realize that they have made a terrible mistake! Many people have no idea what they will be missing if they fail to humble themselves before God and stay that way! Peter admonishes us: “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 NASB. The Psalmist, David says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NASB. Only those who have humbled themselves before God, and have tasted of the goodness to come, have a clue to the priceless treasures of peace, love, joy and delight that God wants to give His people in Heaven forever! 
Consider those who have tasted of the heavenly gift: those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come’ Hebrews 6:4-5 NASB: it is very hard for these to fall away and become lost.How could you walk away from the best thing that you have ever known or could know? Dear reader, have you tasted of this heavenly gift of the age to come? Do not stop humbling your heart, and seeking after God until you get it! You will never regret it, we promise you! So humble yourself before your God, whom you love, confess all of your sins, asking Him to be merciful to you a sinner, and you will go home justified before Him, and He will fill your heart with His love. And you will indeed taste and see that the Lord is good, and will get the taste of the Heavenly gift and of the good things in the age to come. This is our prayer for you! Amen.

#self-righteous #contempt #justified #justify #humble #parable #taste #God #good #Yom #Kippur #Judgement #Atonement #heavenly #gift #hypocrite #clean #kindness #love #blessed

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