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 03/11/2017 and 03/12/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
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
Please read this interview I wrote for our ministry, if you would like more on why and how our book and blog ministry got started, etc.?
© Copyright 2017 John Foll for all the answers to the questions.
Most Questions were from SmashWords.com.
When did you first start writing?
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Android Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone, using the @Voice Aloud Reader to play the text of the book to me while I am driving or doing work around our place, etc.
What is your main goal in your writing and what you are trying to accomplish?
Our main goal is to help as many people as possible get the assurance of their own salvation, and learn how wonderful God is and have the desire grow in them to give themselves to God all the way. Then they will have the peace, love, joy and happiness that they have been searching for their entire life, and now they have it! And it will last for all eternity, if they keep allowing God to take care of them.
What is your writing process?
God is the most important part of my life and writing process! I could do nothing of any value without Him. I owe my life and my love to Him for all that He has done for me, and the new life He freely gave me. I had a most wonderful experience with God, where I learned how much He loved me, and gave my heart to Him all the way.
I thought that I had done this many years ago before, when I was baptized as a boy, but now I know we need to give our heart to God all the way every day! And why would I not want to do so?
I love Him! Within a few days after this, I was so happy I said to myself, ‘This is too good to keep to myself, I must tell it to others’
(or something like that). So I asked God to help me write a book or books to tell of His love to the world
, and that He would make me an evangelist for Him to proclaim His love to as many people as I could, and then later to the world (I think I asked Him)! I believe that He heard my prayer, for He richly blessed me with these beautiful thoughts and wonderful promises in these books, particularly Parts 1
of The Love ofGod: God’s Plan to Save You!
But He also greatly blessed me on all of these books! I had also asked Him to do this for me, because I was moving to the country and needed a source of income, but I greatly desired and needed a ministry to serve Him with. Jesus said, ‘the labourer is worthy of his hire.’ Luke 10:7.
I had a good idea of the topics that should be in the first book, which eventually got split into multiple books, and so these became the chapters. The initial writing process of a lot of these books were almost automatic. Once an idea was impressed on my mind, it was just a matter of finding the texts that went with it, and rearranging, proofing, etc. Sometimes the initial idea would immediately suggest texts or like passages, and these passages, when commented on led to others. The editing process took a lot of the thought and time. I had to learn to take out things with wrong sentiments or passages that were too strong, that in my eagerness I had put into my writing, I had much to learn about writing. I had to make sure I could back up what I was saying from the Bible or take it out, and fix any incorrect ideas that I had placed there. (I was learning in this process too!) Then I had some places that were somewhat duplicated that needed to be combined and reworded. The Bible really does explain itself!
There were some books though that were harder to write, because they were dealing with some of the things that we don’t often want to talk about or hear, the harder truths in the Bible. I had to learn how to write things in such a way as to not overburden the reader with negative messages, and avoid using harsh tones or cutting words. It could have been my old ways trying to come back or it was my inexperience at being an evangelist, or writing the truths of the Bible in Love. But God helped me through these more difficult books to find the proper balance between the negative truths that the soul sometimes needs to hear, that are not pleasant for it, and love! If the soul feels no hope, it will despair or reject the truth! We should always preach love, whenever dealing with these harder topics in the Bible! Give people hope, not just tell them what they are doing wrong! In this process, I developed the main concept that I want in all of my future books as well, regardless of the topic. In their introduction, descriptions, brochures, and product information they should always say, “Discover the beautiful truth that God loves you and has a plan to save you!” If I can say that each book is about God’s love and plan to save you, and the book really contains this, then some of the harder truths of the Bible can be presented, and will fit with God’s love for the world! He doesn’t want anyone to perish! Therefore repent and live!
I have to use the aid of text-to-speech readers on my PC or Android phone to proof read to fix mistakes, because I don't see all of the errors. Dyslexia? Sometimes I don't always hear them either, so I listen and sometimes re-read things until I am satisfied. The editing and proof-reading processes are very important in order to get rid of mistakes, and to flesh out more fully the concepts that were expressed, in order to not miss anything important.
But I believe that God has been guiding me in this process, because I would be unable to write inspiring books like these without Him, that would be of any value spiritually, that would uplift people from the problems on this earth, to help them catch His Spirit and see a glimpse of Heaven. Praise His wonderful name! He gives gifts to those who love Him, to help them serve Him, and gives them the power and the strength to do it. What a privilege! What a joy!
What are you working on next?
We are working on the marketing of our Ministry for the Books, Website, and Blogs to help people get closer to God.
We have two books that are almost done except for the final editing. Some editing of these books has been done already, but more is needed: 1) "TheGifts of the Spirit in the Last Days: For Those Who Want To Know About theirNeed For the Gifts of The Spirit in the Last Days, Which We are Now Living in." 2) "TheFirst Commandment: Give Your Heart Completely To God Because You Love Him! WhatLack I Yet?" And some more excerpt books. I also want to make 2 other smaller books of "TheFirst Commandment", one with just the first (main chapter), and another with chapters 1 and 2. These two smaller books are intended for someone who may not be ready for the first book, but need to know the essentials of the First Commandment, etc. The "WhatLack I Yet" version gives the harder calls to give your heart to God, and shows the Holy Spirit outpouring for the latter days... Well you need to read it to find out. But it should help equip the reader so that they can be ready for the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world, and help them to see their need of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that they can have a ministry to serve God with and be ready for Jesus to come.
We want to make a book to be tentatively called: "The Meaning of Baptism", discussing the origin of Baptism, and its meaning in the Early Christian Church. This is book points out the necessity of every Christian to be baptized by the water and the Spirit as described by Jesus in John 3:3, 5, and in Jesus' own baptism, who is the example for all Christians to follow. This will be taken from my currently released book "The Ceremonial Law and Sacrificial System: What does it mean to the Gospel Message?" and will be a small book for those wanting a book just on Christian baptism.
And some more planned books: "The Love of God: God's Plan to Save You Part 3: How To Please God" This may end up being two books? We are not sure yet. This one is built on top of Part 1 and 2 and God's Law of Love and the First Commandment. It is desirable that these books be read first before Part 3 or 4.
Who are your favorite authors?
Our favorite Bible authors currently are John, Paul and Matthew, and Luke for the book of Acts. Where would we be without the book of Acts?
When we were younger our favorites were Jeremiah and Isaiah we believe, we still love Jeremiah and Isaiah. John the Apostle's books are the easiest to understand and should be completely mastered by all Christians first I believe. The books of John and 1st John are very good at leading someone to Jesus; to give their heart to Him and become His. We recommend that everyone keep reading and re-reading these two books with much prayer! John, Matthew, Acts should be read and mastered before reading Paul. The Bible should not be studied in such a way as to interpret passages to contradict other places in the Bible. It is especially important to never accept an interpretation for passages in the newer books of the Bible that contradicts the testimony of the earlier books. If you would first study the Gospels, then the book of Acts, and then the Book of 1st John (in this order), this will greatly help you understand the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament properly. This is because Christ is the center of the Bible, and I believe that the apostle John was especially close to Jesus, which you can easily see in the book of 1 John, which is why I recommend this book to be read after the Gospels and Acts.
The Gospels are perhaps the easiest books in the Bible to understand, and most important and the most powerful I believe. If people would just read the Bible with much prayer and devotion to God, instead of letting other people tell them what it means, there would be much less confusion and contradiction out there, and people would have the love, joy and peace we were all meant to have! And then we would have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit and our whole life would change! We would have new life from above! And have the ability of obeying God and serving Him with great joy! The entire Bible revolves around Jesus Christ, so the Gospels should be studied first by everyone wanting to be a Christian, or for Christians who haven’t read much of the Bible if any.But those who are not where they need to be spiritually – these especially need to read the Gospels again and again until they get it! These should be the most studied books of the Bible I believe, especially the Books of John and Matthew.
What do you do for fun?
Serving God, studying His word, writing these books, and telling others of God’s wonderful love bring me great joy! Nothing in my life has ever brought me joy like this!
How do you approach cover design?
My mom gave me a most beautiful gift of two different versions of my cover paintings, that I had asked her if she would do for me.I really appreciate her for these wonderful gifts! I use the CorelDraw Photo Paint application to fix or alter the original painting(s), and the manipulate colors, fixing the scanning glitches, etc. But I have used parts of these paintings in different ways and in different places for my ministry. The second painting she made is the one I am currently using. I have used it to create much of my cover art on my books, and social media, and it helped me to choose my "corporate colors" and color schemes. I had told my Mom that originally that I wanted a picture of a young woman, who represents the Bride of Christ, who is waiting for the Second Coming of Christ or something like that, but it could also represent the Bride of Christ receiving the Holy Spirit to help her prepare for the Second Coming of Christ; to give her the ability of preparing and serving Him - to bring others to Him too! (I had known about what I wanted based on my first book, which eventually got split into several books – this works better in the eBook world.)
What is your favorite book?
Without a doubt the Bible! I was raised, when younger, reading the King James Version, but later studied in other versions of the Bible like the Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, the Amplified Bible (I don't remember how much of this I read), and then the New American Standard Bible. But when I was and adult, and more seasoned, I started using just the KJV again for a few years, because I missed reading it, and because I thought it to be the better version probably based on some people I was associating with (I still love this version). But I found that I preferred the NASB most of the time, except for times where the KJV says things better. So when doing my Bible studies, when researching for my books, I prefer to have WordSearch open in the parallel version mode with multiple versions, including mainly KJV and NASB77 and NASB95 versions. Lately I have also added the RSV and NRSV and occasionally NIV. (I don't generally like the way the NIV reads, but sometimes I use it.) I believe that the KJV and the NASB are all that I really need most of the time. But sometimes I use the advanced capabilities in WordSearch for word meanings, etc.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
My Blogs, and the SlideShare.net PDF's made from my blogs. I have my blogs duplicated on multiple social media sites: BlogSpot.com (Blogger), Tumblr, Google+ Collections, SlideShare.net and some other places. I made PDF's of my brochures for the books and my ministry that are also widely available. All of these PDF's have links to my Web Sites and some of My Social Media sites. I also share my blog articles and other things on FaceBook and Twitter.
Published 2017-02-20 on SmashWords.com.
#White #Raiment #Evangelism #Robe #Foll #Ministry #Interview #Love #God #Peace #Joy #Faith #Happiness #Salvation #Holy #Spirit #Gifts #Fruits #Books #Testimony
Peter said, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NASB.
So obedience to God is the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit! There is a true Holy Spirit, and there is a counterfeit. How do you know which Holy Spirit is the real Holy Spirit? If you are obeying God in what He has revealed in the Bible, or if you want to obey Him, He will give you the help you need and the continued desire to obey Him in everything He has said. If there is any resistance to what God has said, you can be sure that this soul does not have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts 7:51-53. If someone is disobeying any of God’s commandments willingly from the Bible, you can be sure that they don’t have the Holy Spirit. The fake outpouring of the Holy Spirit is ‘another Gospel’ (2 Corinthians 11:4), and can never satisfy the soul’s longing for peace, love and purity that God placed inside of everyone. God never compels any, but only those who want to love Him, and want to serve Him and obey Him, will be given the Holy Spirit in full. Sometimes the soul doesn’t want all of this when it first starts out, but just wants to be clean and pure before God, but the heart will be given the desire to love Him, and serve and obey Him, once the soul starts to cooperate with Him, and decides that they love Him more and more! This is the sign that the Holy Spirit is taking up residence in full in their heart! There is no compulsion, but there is a very sweet, strong desire to serve and obey God once you get the Holy Spirit in full! There is a sweet joy in communion with God that none but those who have experienced it can ever know or understand. This helps the heart to submit and completely surrender to God. Then what joy and love and peace will flood their soul! Then no trouble or perplexity will ever be able to dim their love for God!
Peter was brought back to the Council and the high priest at Jerusalem by the captain of the guard in Acts 5:26-28, after God had delivered him and the Apostles miraculously from prison (Acts 5:18). “When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's [Jesus’] blood upon us.’” Acts 5:27-28 NASB. But Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost when he told them: “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’” Acts 5:29 NASB and “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NASB.
What was Peter referring to when he said that the Holy Spirit is given to all that obey Him?Obeying God in every way. In this instance Peter was referring to the command by Jesus to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:4-5, 8-9), but more specifically in this circumstance it was: “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, ‘Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.’” Acts 5:19-20 NASB. Now ‘the angel of the Lord’ can refer to God or Jesus Himself (one example of many is Genesis 22:15), but it can also refer to an angel, but the command by the angel of the Lord for Peter to preach to the people in the temple the words of life was a command from God none the less. The rulers and high priest of Israel didn’t want the Apostles to preach the news of Jesus dying on the cross, because it put them in the spotlight as murdering Jesus, the Prince of Life! Obeying God is not just the command to preach the Gospel to the whole world of God’s love, but is also for every word contained in the Bible, for all of it is love for the human race, because God is love, and all of His words are love! 1 John 4:8. Jesus Himself said, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4, which was a quote from one of the books of Moses (i.e. the Law), Deuteronomy 8:3. Thus to obey Jesus or God, means to obey every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God in the Bible. But this is the Law of love, as Jesus stated in Matthew 22:36-40! Jesus came not to do away with the Law, which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself, but to fulfill it. He came to provide a way for us to keep the Law! “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17 NASB. And in Acts 1:4-5, 8-9, Jesus tells His disciples to wait in Jerusalem, until they receive the promise of the Father for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Once they received this power from God, the Holy Spirit, they then had the power from God not only to preach the gospel of Jesus and His Father’s love for the world and salvation (words of life, Acts 5:20), but to live a holy life for God and to keep His law. This ability to keep God’s Law of love was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34, where God promised to write His Law of love in the hearts of His people, so that all of them from the least to the greatest of them would all know Him; and He would forgive their iniquity, and He would remember their sin no more! Thus we see that obedience to God and the desire to obey Him in everything He has commanded, is the requirement for the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
The idea that we can have the Holy Spirit, but not obey God in all that He has commanded in the Bible is another gospel than what Jesus, Peter, John and Paul preached, and another spirit! This another gospel is a lie from the spirit of the Father of lies, not the right spirit! The right Spirit brings obedience and peace, but the wrong spirit tries to get you to disobey God and bring you no peace.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 KJV.
Those that love God will not get deceived by ‘another gospel’ from ‘another spirit’, and will want the real outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not the counterfeit.
In the same way as the Apostles were to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father for the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so we too in our day are to wait before the Lord for this full refreshing of the Holy Spirit, by making our heart right with God and with others by confession of all sin. Yes God has promised the Holy Spirit to all Christians who would repent and receive Him! Acts 2:38-39. Then we will receive this wonderful power too, and we will have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit to help us keep His Law, and to proclaim His love to the world! Pray for it, seek for it, yield your heart to God for it, and you will be richly blessed with peace, love and joy, and the desire and the power to obey Him!
#Holy #Spirit #Obey #Peter #Witness #Witnesses #Apostles #God #Counterfeit #Know #deceived #Law #true #Love #commandments #conditions #eternal #life #another #gospel
By John Foll
, Written between 10/12/2016 to 10/13/2016.© Copyright 2016 John Foll
Do you worry for your future? Are you weary from worrying whether you are good enough to be saved or not? Are you fearful? Maybe you are worried because of your past mistakes. But fear not! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV. These are the conditions for salvation and eternal life! No matter how bad you are, or what you have done, eternal life with its love, joy, and happiness are within your reach! If you will just realize that Jesus and His Father love you and want to save you, and believe in their love, this promised eternal life will be yours! Is your eternal happiness and eternal life really that simple? Yes! But that sounds too easy, how can it be true? Surely there must be something else you must do besides believe in Jesus to be saved, isn’t there? But there is no mistake in this scripture, for it was told by Jesus Himself! He explicitly stated that the Father loves you and wants to save you, and that if you will just believe in Him, then salvation is yours! Let’s not make salvation any more complicated than this! Your salvation really is just this simple and easy to understand: whoever believes in Jesus the Son of God, will have eternal life!
But what does it mean to believe in Jesus? Here is where many make a mistake or are in error. Some think that they believe in Jesus, when they haven’t yielded their heart completely to Him. Brother Paul tells us that of the three: faith, hope and love, ‘that the greatest of these is love.’ 1 Corinthians 13:13. Paul also tells us: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 KJV. Now the Apostle John says about God that “We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 KJV. So our faith comes when we hear and learn that God loves us. John also says, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:15-16 KJV. So here we see the link between faith or belief in Jesus, God’s only begotten Son and God’s love. The belief that John 3:16 is talking about is the belief that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that those who believe in His Son and Him, should not perish but have everlasting life! There can be no belief in Jesus, where there is no love for Him and what His Father did for us. Therefore to believe in Jesus is to love Him, because love is greater than belief or faith, and because God so loved the world. God’s love for us is the first cause. Thus you cannot love Him, until you realize that He first loved you. When a child learns that its parents love them, then the child also learns to trust them, and believe in them. So faith is born when one learns that Jesus and the Father loves them, and can be trusted to take care of them, and looks out for their good.
To believe in Jesus, is to love Him and His Father with all of your heart, and all of your mind, and all of your soul, and give yourself to them because you love them. Matthew 22:37. It is impossible to fully believe in Jesus, until you love Him, and have yielded yourself to Him. God’s love for you takes care of the rest of your salvation! If you love and believe in Jesus, you will naturally believe in His sacrifice for your sins, and His desire to save and help you, and that God will send you just the help you need. And you will naturally confess your sins, and believe that God has forgiven you. 1 John 1:9. Then you will have great peace with God, and be filled with great joy when you believe in Jesus. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18 NASB. Here Jesus promises all of His disciples, which will be you if you love Him, that He will ask the Father and the Father will give you another Helper, who will abide with you forever, if you want Him to! Jesus also said, that He will not leave you as an orphan, but He will come to you! Jesus also said, ‘And Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.’ Matthew 28:20. But how do you know that the promise Jesus made to His disciples here applies to you? You are Jesus’ disciple if you love Him, which you show if you want to keep His commandments, which are to love one another. John 13:34. Jesus said, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.’ John 14:23 NASB. If you want to keep Jesus’ word, then you are His Disciple! You are His disciple if you do what He says. Jesus said, “And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NASB. Thus if you do what Jesus’ says, He is your Lord, and you are His disciple. See also John 13:34; 14:21; 15:10. Notice that all of this traces back to love for Jesus and His Father. You could have none of this if God did not first love you! But what has this to do with believing in Jesus? It has everything to do with it! Because if you do not believe in Jesus, that means that you do not love Him, and probably do not really know how much He loves you, for if you believed that He loved you, this would awaken love in your heart, and would make all of the difference to you. If you do not believe in Jesus, that means that you don’t really believe that He loves you, or you don’t want the salvation He is offering you. So believing in Jesus is based on knowing His love personally.
So how are we saved? We are saved when we see how much we are in need of help, then learn that Jesus loves us; this awakens faith in our heart! This takes away despair and gives us hope for a better life that He has promised us. Therefore, if you will just learn how much Jesus and His Father love you, this will give you all the faith you need, so that you can believe in Jesus, the Son of God, and thus have eternal life!
But you may say that all of what we have said here is more than just believing in Jesus. But all of the things that the soul needs, develops from believing in Jesus, when the soul learns that He loves them and died to save them. Therefore the one who truly believes in Jesus has eternal life, because everything else that they need will be supplied by God, if they will just believe! And what is believing in Jesus? Again, it is learning that He loves you! Everything you need is supplied, if you will just learn how much Jesus and the Father love you! The soul that is lost, has never truly learned that Jesus or the Father loved them, or didn’t care, it is not because of their sins or mistakes, which can all be forgiven, if the soul will only believe in Jesus! The soul is lost because of unbelief in Jesus and the Father’s love for them, or because it doesn’t want this love or salvation. But how could anyone turn their back on such love? We believe that most people who turn their back on God, never really learned or wanted to learn how much He loves them, thus they didn’t believe!
Therefore John 3:16 is a promise that all who believe in Jesus will be saved, because the Father will forgive their sins, and send them the Holy Spirit, who will help them to be saved, and not leave them as orphans! And Jesus also promised that He would be with His people, until the end of the age! Matthew 28:20. Thus it is really true, that all who truly believe in Jesus will be saved! Do you believe in Jesus the Son of God? Do you believe that He and His Father greatly love you? Then salvation is yours! Go forth with peace, love and joy! May ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.’ 2 Corinthians 13:14 NASB.
Bible Texts For Reflection:
John 3:1-21; John 14:15, John 14:23-24; John 13:35; John 13:34-35; Luke 6:46; 1 John 4:19; 1 Corinthians 13:13; John 14:21; John 15:8-11.
White Raiment Evangelism Purpose:
It is our desire to help as many people as possible learn how to be happy, and have the assurance of their salvation. There is no reason for people to not be happy, have guilt, or not have the assurance of their salvation, if they want it, and are willing to learn what God wants from them and desire to please Him. It is our desire that everyone who wants it, would find ‘the Pearl of Great price’, and that they would have a well of water springing up in them, unto eternal life!
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