© Copyright 2017 John Foll
Jesus said, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 NASB.
Are you Jesus’ student? Have you been trained by Him? Are you still in training by Him? Be patient, if He is your teacher, and if you are a diligent student, you will be fully trained and will become like Him.He will take care of that for you, if you continue to let Him be your Master!
What does it mean to be like Jesus? How was Jesus? He was always loving, patient and kind. But because of His love this also meant that He had to warn those who were in grave danger of being lost, of their peril! This was the reason for His stern rebukes to some. He always knew the right approach for each person. Study His methods, be filled with His Spirit, and then you will be able to know which approach you should use with those you come in contact with.
God will also use trials and circumstances to train you, if you will let Him. “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:9-13 NASB.
A lot of the problems that Christians have are brought on by themselves, until they yield fully to Him because they love Him. There are two ways to be saved, the easy way and the hard way. The hard way is to try to be your own master, and give in to God now-and-then, and then have to go through excruciating trials until you agree to let Him lead and you follow Him or give up totally being a Christian, and the easy way, which is to learn how much He loves you, throw yourself on His great mercy, and let Him help you, then yield to Him fully! It is much easier for God to work with a contrite, totally yielded heart, because those that do this invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in their heart, and He will make it very easy for them to be like Jesus! This only happens when someone stops struggling against God, and invites Him to rule their heart. Why struggle? Why not make it easy on yourself and yield fully to His loving power now? You have nothing to lose but your sins, lack of peace, lack of faith, lack of hope, lack of joy, lack of self-control, lack of assurance of your salvation, and the deeds of the flesh.‘Those that practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ Galatians 5:19-21. Why would you want to hold on to any of these things? If you will just yield to Him now, all-the-way, He will make it easy for you! Galatians 5:22-23.
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:6-8 NASB. Do you want to please God? Why would you want to be hostile toward Him?If you are living in the flesh, you are hostile against God and cannot please Him, but if you want life and peace, set your mind on the Spirit like Paul says. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9 KJV. Do you want to belong to Christ?Then you must have His Spirit, and walk in His Spirit, or you are ‘none of His’, as the King James Version of the Bible puts it, or you do not belong to Him, as the New American Standard Bible puts it.
What they did to Jesus, they will do to His true followers who continue to be trained by Him and want to serve Him. Jesus says, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they callthem of his household?” Matthew 10:24-25 KJV.
If they called Jesus the ‘prince of Demons’, what will they call His servants? Matthew 9:34; 12:24 KJV. Do not be afraid, Jesus and His Father love you and will take care of you! If you love Jesus, do not worry about those that can destroy the body but not the soul, but fear God in Heaven only! Matthew 10:28. Do not let what others might say or have said keep you from the joy of following in your Master’s footsteps and being His servant!
Now listen to this account of Peter and the apostles after they had been imprisoned (Acts 5:18), because they were following Jesus’ command (Matthew 28:18-20), and after they were released by the angel and ordered to preach again by God, as revealed to them by this angel (Acts 5:19-20): “And when they had brought them, they set thembefore the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” Acts 5:27-28 KJV. * * * “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, rejoicing that 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. Before the rulers let them go, they were beaten and told not to preach anymore in His name again! So we see here that despite being imprisoned, beaten and being warned by the leaders of Jerusalem from preaching of Jesus, Jesus’ disciples rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name! How and why were they able to rejoice because they had suffered for Jesus? Is this a normal human behavior? Certainly not! No one likes to be abused, but they were so happy, because they loved Jesus so much, that they were able to rejoice because of this suffering! Because they knew it made Jesus and His Father happy, since they were willing to save the lost at all costs to themselves, just like Jesus was willing to give up all and Heaven forever for us! This is the Great Power of the Love of Jesus and of God!
It was the Holy Spirit that enabled the disciples to rejoice when they were persecuted, imprisoned and beaten! But why was it necessary that they should rejoice? Because it helped them to deal with the pain and shame of persecution. The joy that God gives all of Jesus’ disciples is part of the reward that He gives to those who love Him and belong to Him! Nothing brings greater joy to Jesus’ disciples than to bring others to the kingdom! This is because they have the Spirit of God, who is not willing that any should perish(2 Peter 3:9 KJV). Even though the devil doesn’t take it kindly when souls are won to God, and tries to destroy those who are helping God to free his prisoners, God enables them to press on and to do His work of love and mercy for the world!There is nothing that any human being or devil can do to take the joy of those who are serving God away! Yes, they might suffer cruel torture and death, and sometimes their suffering may not always appear to be joyful, but they will have joy many times on this earth, and they will have endless joy in Heaven throughout eternity, in helping others become as happy as they are and becoming saved! It makes all their suffering worthwhile! And like Jesus, they will see the travail of their soul and be satisfied, Isaiah 53:11, and count it all joy! (Of course not to the same degree as the infinite love of Jesus! But within their own human, finite limitations.)
We have cited Jesus’ declaration in this message that the servant is not above His master, therefore consider this: As the soldiers crucified Jesus, He said: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ Luke 23:34 KJV. And listen to what Isaiah proclaimed about our Lord: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 KJV. Jesus did not say anything to save Himself, or say anything against His accusers, or to those crucifying Him or causing Him pain, but prayed to His Father to forgive them! Jesus never did anything to deserve the treatment He received from sinful men, but He did this to pay the price for our sins and was willing to forgive those who did this to Him! Therefore all of His servants must be willing to forgive those who are abusing them and spitefully treating them too!This is proof that Jesus is their Master and that they have the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:44-51 KJV.
And we will repeat this same text in the New American Standard, in case you have difficulty understanding the old King’s English:
“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. But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:44-51 NASB.
The faithful servants of Jesus will spend their time doing the work that God has given them to do, giving the lost their ‘meat in due season’ or ‘their food at the proper time’(i.e. they will help the lost receive the bread of life), and will not say that their Master delays His coming and will not tear into God’s other servants and people and will not live their life in drunkenness. This tells us that Jesus will not come as a thief in the night to those who are His faithful servants! We pray that you will so prove faithful to Jesus and keep doing His work until He returns! We pray that you will not eat and drink with the drunken, and not continually find fault with others, or repeat their sins to others behind their back, and will protect their reputations, so that Jesus will not come as a thief in the night for you.
So if Jesus is your Master, and you are His servant, then you will willingly follow in His footsteps, and forgive those who have wronged and hurt you, and maligned you in His name, even calling you evil, and do as He did - seek and save the lost.
Thus when a student of Jesus is fully trained, they will be like Him and will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness, and count it all joy when they suffer for His name. They will be like their teacher, have love and give forgiveness to their accusers and the ones who cause them pain, and count it all joy to suffer for His sake. And they will not stop, even when commanded by those in authority, from preaching in His name! Amen!
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“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And He said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He saith unto him, ‘Which?’ Jesus said, ‘Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The young man saith unto Him, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come andfollow me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:16-22 KJV.
This rich young man did not have the love for others that he should have had. He claimed that he was keeping all of God’s commandments, but Jesus plainly stated that we need to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves,’ in Matthew 22:39, and in Mark 12:31, which includes helping the poor. And Moses revealed this truth that we are to help the poor too: “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORDyour God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NKJV. If this young man had been willing to give to the poor, and to follow Jesus, this would have proved to be the remedy of his soul! If he would have had God’s Spirit in his heart or wanted to have God’s Spirit in his heart, he would have willingly done this. After thinking about it, he went away sorrowful, because it wasn’t worth it to him to give up all of his possessions to love his neighbor as himself. Jesus didn’t indicate that the young man had a problem with all of the commandments, because he didn’t state all of them to this young man. But in reality, the young man was breaking the first commandment too, because he wasn’t loving his neighbor as himself, because everyone belongs to our loving Heavenly Father in Heaven. If we love God, then we will love our neighbor too. Paul states this same truth when he says: “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 NASB. This young man had made the claim of keeping God’s law, but Paul’s statement here declares that this young man was in fact breaking God’s Law, because he did not love his neighbor as himself.
Was this young man wanting to come and follow Jesus? No, perhaps because it required giving up all of his wealth, or maybe it was because he didn’t want to forsake all and come and follow Jesus? This was an even bigger problem! But praise the Lord there were some who wanted to follow Jesus, who left everything to follow Him, who preached to those who came before us the gospel message, Jesus’ Disciples! After this rich young man left, in response to Jesus’ statement ‘with men it is impossible to be saved, but with God all things are possible’ [including salvation] Peter questioned Jesus: “Then answered Peter and said unto Him, ‘Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”Matthew 19:27-28 KJV.
So what was this young man really lacking? He was lacking love for God and love for His neighbor! If he was willing to love his neighbor, by helping the poor out of his worldly goods, to relieve their needs and suffering, this would have shown his love for God.
So likewise, if you don’t love your neighbor as yourself, or are not willing to leave everything and come and follow Jesus, you will be in the same boat as this young man!Anyone who speaks unkind words about someone behind their back, or harsh critical words to them, certainly does not love their neighbor as themself, and are not keeping the first commandment to have no other gods before God, Exodus 20:3. It does not matter if someone says that they know the truth, all of the truth, and claim that they follow it or not. If they do not love their neighbor, they are a transgressor of the law, and are lacking the knowledge of the truth of God’s love. If you love your neighbor as yourself, that means that you are Jesus’ disciple, for the only way you can love your neighbor as yourself, is if you love Jesus and are willing to forsake all and follow Him. God will provide everything you need if you are willing to come and follow Jesus.
When God’s love is dwelling in your heart, it changes the way you speak to others and what you say about them, and it will help you to not want to damage their reputation; kindness will be in your words and thoughts about them. You will seek for their good, and not seek to expose their sins and weaknesses to others. “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3 NASB. When God’s love is dwelling in your heart, it will change the way you view the needs of your neighbors, and you will seek to help them. Yes, you are not only your ‘brother’s keeper’ (Genesis 4:9), but you are your ‘neighbor’s keeper’ too!
Do not be like this rich young man, who thought he had it all, but was missing something big! When he found that he needed to give everything he had to help the poor and come and follow Jesus, he went away sorrowful, for he had many possessions. If any do not love their neighbor as themselves, this is what they lack! If this is the case, then they most certainly do not love their Heavenly Father as well, as the first commandment requires. And they do not know Him, because our Heavenly Father most certainly loves everyone on this earth, and is doing everything to help and save them, and so should all who truly love Him. Any who are not thinking enough of the needs of their neighbors should now confess this sin to God, to receive pardon, and grace for help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16), and allow God’s sweet Spirit to animate their heart and life, then they will come and follow Jesus, and have no lack of any good thing that they need! No one who loves God, can turn away from the needs of others, when it is in their power to help them! “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”Proverbs 3:27 NASB. This will be a blessing to you if you always help others, when it is in your power to do so!
If you know you fall short in this area, and what you lack is love for your neighbor, there is good news for you!
If you will confess your sins to God, and ask Him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), and willingly yield yourself to Him, then He will forgive you and bless you with new life from Him. No one need stay in this state of lacking the most important thing in their life, love, if they will allow God into their heart, to mold them and shape them. If you are having trouble believing or yielding your heart to God, you can pray, ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner’ (Luke 18:13), and He will hear your prayer and smile from Heaven on you! And be sure to tell Him you are sorry for not putting Him first, and breaking the first commandment, and make Him the Lord of your life! All this and more your Heavenly Father wants to do for you now!
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