By John Foll, written between 2/23/2019 and 2/27/2019
© Copyright 2019 John Foll
Do you know the truth? Many people think or say that they know the truth, but do they really? We want to get to the bottom of this. What is the truth? And how do you know if you have found it? It’s important to know if you know the truth or not.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’” John 14:6 NASB.
If someone doesn’t know Jesus, really know Him, then they really don't know ‘the Truth.’ Someone may think that they know ‘all truth,’ but not know ‘the Truth.’ Knowing right from wrong is a good place to start, but in order to do what is right you need a power beyond yourself. Many make the mistake of thinking that a mere knowledge of the truth and the belief in it is enough, but it is not unless they know Jesus, because He is the only way and the truth and the life. Without the power to be good, knowing the truth is not enough. If you don't know Jesus, you will not have that new life that He wants to give you, or have life more abundantly. John 10:10; 1 John 5:12. You need to know Jesus in order to be born again. Jesus declared that only those who are born again will be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. John 3:3, 5. If you have the Son you have the life, if you do not have the Son you do not have the life! 1 John 5:12 NASB. If you want to know 'the truth,' you must get to know Jesus, because He is ‘the Truth.’ Otherwise you do not have it. This life from Him that He longs to give you is a vibrant relationship with Him, where He opens to you the way of the truth and gives you the power to do it! Do not be deceived, without knowing Him you cannot do or keep the truth and will stumble on the way.
What did Jesus mean when He said that ‘no one comes through the Father but through Me?’ Those who think that they are going to be saved because of their knowledge of the scriptures, or because of their knowledge of the truth as given by other inspired Christian authors, or because of their own good works, without having to go through Jesus to be saved will be in for a rude awakening at the second resurrection.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power ***” Revelation 20:6 KJV. But what is the second death? And why is it that we don’t want to be resurrected at the second resurrection? Because Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29 KJV. The two resurrections Jesus describes here are: 1) the resurrection of life, and 2) the resurrection of damnation. This is why Revelation 20:6 declares that ‘blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection,’ because the second death is the resurrection of damnation! The second death does not sound good, does it? We don’t want any part of that!
Many people think that a knowledge of the truth or their belief in it will save them, but it will not, unless they get salvation from Jesus. No one can be saved, except those who come through Jesus to get to the Father. Only Jesus’ blood forgives their sins and makes them acceptable to God.
There may be some people who are saved, who didn’t know Jesus or the basics of Christianity. God can choose to forgive them based on the blood of Jesus,’ this is His prerogative, since He is a God of love and justice and fairness. But doesn’t this contradict what we just stated? No. God doesn’t hold someone accountable for what they didn’t know and couldn’t learn in their lifetime. This is important to understand. People who don’t know about Jesus can still be saved by Jesus, not by anything that they have done or not done. We are all saved by the merits of Jesus’ blood alone. Are we saying that you don’t have to be a Christian at all to be saved? Not exactly. In the times of ignorance God winked, but He is now commanding men and women everywhere to repent and believe in Jesus. The apostle Paul declared: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:29-31 KJV. Jesus loves poor sinners who don’t know Him, and will plead His blood for them if they were honest and doing the best that they could with what they knew. But no one can be saved without Jesus’ blood. No! It is impossible! That is what Jesus meant. But as Paul plainly indicated, even though that in the times of ignorance God winked, there will come a day when people who don’t know Jesus will be held accountable for their ignorance (including those who believe that they are Christians but don’t really know Him), if they fail to avail themselves of the opportunity of learning about Him, and they resist the Holy Spirit. So once they learn about Jesus, they need to come to Him for forgiveness and life, and not try to be saved in any other way, or through their own merit or goodness. It must be remembered, that the unpardonable sin for a sinner is resisting the Holy Spirit or failing to obey His pleading in their heart. John 16:8-11; Acts 7:51; Mark 3:22-30. The unpardonable sin is the one sin that will keep someone out of Heaven - which is resisting the Holy Spirit.
It is possible to study the truth of the Bible your entire life and not know the most essential truth of them all - Jesus. This is the one thing you cannot do without! How does this happen? It is done by doing your own thing, or by rendering less than a full consecration to God, and resisting the pleas of the Holy Spirit. If you cooperate with God and listen to the Holy Spirit, He will testify to you of Jesus, so that you can know Him. John 15:26. It’s your choice what you will do and whether you will have the new life that Jesus is offering you or not. Someone who “knows” the truth, who doesn’t know Jesus and has not devoted themselves to Him cannot help but have deep spiritual problems. When someone tries to keep the truth without knowing Him, they will either sink into a legalistic quagmire, or into a careless state that some folks have who think they can do what they like, since they are ‘saved.’ (This is the way they have been taught by the lukewarm professors of ‘the truth’, where ‘the truth’ is picked out and made to contradict other portions of the Bible and against itself.) A lot of God’s people seem to fall in either one of these categories. Neither of these groups know Jesus, because He plainly declared that if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 NASB. Jesus stated this in response to what took place here: “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham's offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You shall become free?'” Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.’” John 8:31-35 NASB. Jesus’ response indicated that they needed to be made free. They believed that they were OK since they were descended from Abraham. But Jesus told them that since they had committed sin that they were slaves of sin, needing to be made free. Thus they were not really free like they thought they were. They were in as much need of being free as we are in our day! No human being is not in need of being made free; we all need this freedom which only Jesus can give. Those who have addictions to sin that they can't break out of are definitely not free indeed. Clearly these do not know Jesus yet, because He came to free the captives (Isaiah 61:1-8; Luke 4:18) and make them free indeed.
Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed! Just believe it. He cannot lie! If He has made you free, you will be free indeed! Has he made you free dear reader? This is the real gospel that Jesus and the disciples preached. Freedom! This freedom can be yours too if you greatly desire it! Jesus has promised this to you if you are tired of being a slave to sin! Why not claim this promise for yourself and finally be free? You owe it to yourself to do this! This is the best thing that will ever happen to you and will help you on your way to Heaven!
Those who do not know Jesus cannot be free indeed. Those who do not know Jesus cannot obey Him. Those who do not know Jesus cannot possibly please Him, regardless of how many Bible texts they try to stack up to indicate that there is no need to. They try to drown out God's requirements in the Bible that declare that the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23] and that we need to live holy lives for Him [1 Peter 1:15-16], confessing our sins to Him. 1 John 1:9. And unfortunately many today also teach that confession of sin to God is not needed for someone who gets 'saved,' because they say 'it was finished' at the cross or some other mumbo-jumbo nonsense. But someone who knows Jesus will want to please Him! It is automatic. They won’t be doing it to save themselves, but because they love Him, and because He gives them the power to obey. Those who don’t love Him, don’t please Him and don’t obey Him. Maybe this is the problem.
The Bible should never be read or studied in such a way as to make it contradict itself; we should seek out the closest harmony in it, because God is a God of order. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV. And: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV. Yes you are saved by grace alone, not by your works. But this does not negate the rest of the Bible. Yes God offers forgiveness for your sins and mistakes when you confess them, but He wants you to live a holy life, and He has provided a way for you to do so, if you will become a partaker of the divine nature through Jesus. “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:4 NASB.
Jesus declared: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 NASB. Many people live, teach and act as if Jesus didn't mean what He said, and said what He meant here! They seem to think that it is impossible for them to live a good life this side of Heaven. But what did Jesus say? He said be ye perfect therefore as your heavenly father is perfect. This is a command, not something you can do if you want to. If what Jesus said was not true, this would make Him a liar! God forbid! Now who is the liar? The liar is the one who says we don’t need to concern ourselves with what Jesus said here; they use other scriptures to try to negate it. The liar is the one who says that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh (living as we do, tried and tempted as we are in all points, yet without sin [Hebrews 4:15] – thus showing us how to live). John writes: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 John 1:7 KJV. And: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23 NASB. Anyone who teaches that we don’t need to obey all of what Jesus taught, or that we can be saved by any other way than through Jesus is the liar. (Including that they can be saved merely through their knowledge and belief in ‘the truth.’) How can anyone be right, regardless of their quotes or reasoning if they contradict Jesus? Who does John say this is? The antichrist! There, I have done it! I have invoked the title of the arch evil one for that lie, for he is the father of lies! The liar is the one who contradicts Jesus. The liar is the one who says that we do not need to crucify the flesh with its sinful passions and desires. Paul declares, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24 NASB. The liar is the one who teaches others to not believe Jesus or teaches unbelief. There can be no misunderstanding of what Jesus stated here in Matthew 5:48 with someone whose mind is open to ‘the way, the truth and the life’ - Jesus. You don't have to have a doctor's degree in theology to figure out what He meant. He said be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, and that is what He meant.
Jesus also stated that those who love Him keep His word, and that those who don't love Him do not hear Him or keep His word. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; …’” John 14:23 NASB. And: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.” John 14:24 NASB. And: “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. *** If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.’” John 8:42-47 NASB.
The problem here is that unbelief blocks the plain words of Jesus, making them seem obscure or something that is unimportant or something that cannot be right, without considering the ramifications of this view. Of course many people don't view this as making Jesus a liar, but it's true. Either what Jesus said is true or what they believe is true that contradicts Jesus. But they cannot both be right. Those who truly believe in righteousness by faith, learn true faith. When they learn that God is to be fully trusted, they start to take the word of God as it reads, and stop quibbling over what it says and simply believe it. All would do well to get to this point in their spiritual life, where they simply believe the word of God without any doubt. (Take the Bible as it reads, unless you are reading a passage which is clearly symbolic and needs interpreting, but then study other portions of the Bible to learn what it means. The Bible will explain itself if you let it and want to know ‘the Truth.’) But this language that Jesus used is so unmistakable, so unavoidable - a child should be able to understand it. So why is it that many adults cannot understand what He said? It is because of unbelief! People schooled in years of unbelief, stuck in addictions or trying to be good by themselves are those who come up with humanistic theories that contradict the plain word of God, such as the error that we do not need to be perfect or cannot be perfect. Jesus would not have commanded His followers to be perfect if it were not possible through His help to do so.
If you wish to be saved and please God, you must believe what is written in the Bible, because it is the word of God. You must believe in the promises of God to free you from sin and save you, otherwise you have no hope of being saved. John 3:16-17. Why waste your time with a religion that doesn't offer you hope? This is not the gospel of the Bible at all, but another gospel. 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-26. This is not the gospel that Jesus, Paul, David or John or the many cloud of witnesses in the Bible preached. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 12:1-2 KJV. But the devil's sophistry blinds people to the clear truth. If you want to be undeceived by his lies and deceptions, pray to God to be merciful to you a sinner and He will help you! Luke 18:13. This is something He will be happy to do! We promise you! And He will open your mind to ‘the Truth.’ Is that what you want? But what truth is that? That you would know the one and true God and Jesus His Son, who made the sacrifice for your sins, that you might be forgiven and be made free indeed! Jesus prayed to His Father for all of His disciples (which can be you too if you want to be His disciple): “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 NASB. This is the true gospel! Everything outside of this is another gospel and not the truth. Stop wasting your time on spiritual rubbish or half-truths that are of no value (Isaiah 55:1-3), and learn where real life comes from, and where the real power comes from – Jesus. There is no other name than Jesus, given among men, whereby you must be saved. Acts 4:12. If you just get to know Jesus, your life will be changed forever, as long as you abide in Him. John 15:4-6, 9-10. God guarantees it!
All your righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6 KJV. But this does not mean that God cannot provide you a robe that is pure and spotless! Oh no, this is not true! For this is the promise of the Gospel! The gospel is useless if it cannot make you a better, kinder and gentler person. The gospel is more than forgiveness, it takes away your shame and gives you hope - that you don't have to be or continue to be a miserable failure! The way many preach ‘the gospel’ today is no gospel at all. The real gospel doesn't give you a pass on your sins, or just heap upon you legal requirements that you can never meet. The real gospel forgives your sins when you confess them. The real gospel helps you to keep God’s requirements and makes you happy! The real gospel provides a way to lift you up out of the mud and set you on high, in Heavenly places! If the Son has made you free, you shall be free indeed! When will people start to believe what Jesus said, that if He has ‘made you free, you will be free indeed?’ Why is it that so many people don't see their need of being free, or how or why Jesus will do this? Why can't people believe the word of God as it is written? Why is it that they can't see that Jesus wants to make them free? Have they not heard that He loves them? Have they not heard that He died on the cross for their sins? Have they not heard that He promised to give them freedom and change them and save them? Do they not love Him? Do they not desire these wonderful gifts for themselves? Or do they think that these are beyond the ability of Jesus to give? Or do they think that they can do this on their own without Him? - as many believe, because pride doesn’t have to take the back seat when the person does it themselves, instead of humbling themselves before God. But pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18), and no one can be saved without humbling themselves before God and getting His forgiveness and help to live a good life for Him.
To summarize this lesson:
Jesus said, that He ‘is the way, the truth, and the life.’ Do you believe now? No one can enter into Heaven or get out of this world of sin, but through the blood He shed on the cross for their sins. No one can come to the Father except through Jesus. There is nothing you can do that will give you an entrance into Heaven, except through the atoning blood of Jesus for your sins. There is no way for you to know ‘the truth,’ unless you know Jesus. No one can know ‘the truth,’ if they first do not know Him, really know Him, and have given themselves to Him. No one can know ‘the way,’ unless they know Him. There is no universal salvation that everyone gets. There is no salvation that anyone gets without knowing ‘the Truth’ - Jesus. And no one can have ‘the life,’ if they do not know Him: It comes through Him alone. Salvation is given only to those who know the way, the truth and the life. Regardless of how many ‘truths’ someone learns from the Bible or by any other inspired writer, unless they know Jesus and are born again (John 3:3, 5) they will in no wise enter the kingdom of Heaven, regardless of which Bible texts they quote to show they can be saved in another way. The Bible doesn’t contradict itself, and nothing that contradicts Jesus is correct. Any interpretation of any Bible text which contradicts the plain words of Jesus cannot be the truth and is a lie, for He is ‘the Truth.’ Those who think that because they know and believe all of the truth in the Bible, who think that this makes them good and will save them, who haven’t been changed by Jesus and softened by His love and made into kinder gentler people filled with His Spirit, have deceived themselves. Jesus is coming back to save those whom He knows. Jesus declared, “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 [the judgement], 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. In the day of the judgment, those who do not know Jesus - will have to depart from Him, and will be cast out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Dear reader, if you have found that you have relied on your own knowledge of the truth to save you, and did not really know Jesus, there is still time to repent and get to know Him. Dear reader, if you didn’t know that you needed to obey Jesus’ commands, you can now seek for God’s help today. This will bring you much joy and power! None of your Bible knowledge or anything else, no matter how correct it is, will save you unless you know Jesus and are born again. Unless you love Him and His Father, and have allowed Them to fill you with the precious Holy Spirit, you cannot know the way, the truth and the life, regardless of how much you have studied the Bible or what any minister has told you. God loves you and wants to save you. Do not resist Him! Put your full trust in Him, and in the merits of Jesus’ blood to atone for your sins, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of sin, fill you, and help you to live a righteous life for God. Let Jesus make you free indeed, breaking your slavery to sin and bad habits that are destroying you or hurting others. This is our prayer for you. Amen.
May the grace of God be with you, as you get to know ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ - Jesus! Amen.
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By John Foll
, Finished 6/9/2018, 6/10/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘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 29:11-13 NASB.
No matter where you have been, or what you have done, or how much of a failure you have made of your life, don’t lose hope. God has a better plan for your life. He wants to give you a future and hope for a better life. Being able to be good and having eternal life are not beyond your reach, if you will grasp the Lord’s hands and allow Him to save you. If this is what you want, seek after God with all your heart, no holding back. Is that what you want? What do you have to gain by holding back yourself from this wonderful hope and peace that God wants to give you?
Do you feel like God doesn’t hear your prayers? Are you unsure of what your future holds, or whether you can be saved? Are you sure if you have what it takes to succeed and be the victor at last? Do you wonder if you are good enough, strong enough, smart enough, or wise enough, talented enough, and industrious enough to be able to provide for yourself and your family’s needs? Are you worried you will fail? Do you want to have the assurance of your own salvation? God declares here through His prophet Jeremiah that if you will search for Him with all your heart you will find Him. Much peace, hope, love and joy await you if you will just search for Him with all your heart. Then you will find Him. Are you tired of what your human nature and this world have to offer? Are you tired of its empty promises and lies? Are you tired of trying so hard and failing? Then it is time to try it God’s way, and search for Him with all your heart. When it is in your heart to do so, pray to Him and He will hear your prayer and answer it to the fullest! Oh so full! If you are not there yet, then come to Him as you are, sins, failures and all, and beg Him to help you. Don’t wait until you are ready all the way, or you never will be. But if you have been following Him and are ready to take your next step with Him, why not search for Him and seek to find Him with all your heart? What do you have to lose? If you are new to all of this, or a new Christian, or are not a Christian yet, why go through all the perplexity and trials of following God half-way and failing, when you can throw yourself on His side all the way and find Him and get all the power you need to succeed and to have a new life with Him? You will never regret it, we promise you. Cling to God, He is your only hope, Oh sinner! He is your path, your light and your life. Deuteronomy 10:20; 13:4 NASB. “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB.
“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.” Proverbs 8:32-35 KJV. What is Solomon talking about here? He is talking about wisdom. To be wise one must be willing to receive instruction. Wisdom is receiving instruction - learning what you need to know to get life and have it more abundantly, and then do it. Seek after it daily from God’s Holy word, the Bible, and through much prayer with Him. This is where you will obtain instruction from Him. This is how you will find life and obtain favor from the Lord, by receiving His instruction for your life. Note the counsel that king David gave his son Solomon: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NASB. There is no hiding from God. There is no hiding your words, your actions or your thoughts from Him, He knows them all.
Now put it all together: If you wish to have life and not die, receive the instruction that you need to seek after God with your whole heart and a willing mind. If you will seek Him, He will let you find Him. Is that what you want, dear reader? Then seek after God with all your heart, and He will be found by you, and your whole life will change for the better.
As God told Abraham, ‘I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward’ Genesis 15:1 KJV, He also tells you, if you will seek after Him, He will be your shield and exceedingly great reward. Abraham was called the friend of God. James 2:23. Many people cannot understand those who want to live a life of love and devotion to God, to give up the sins and pleasures of this world, and it’s wealth and ‘baubles’, with a willingness to give themselves to God all-the-way and serve Him, living an unselfish life to serve Him and others – it seems like there is nothing in it for them. Why would they want to do it? But they have vastly underestimated the great reward in finding and knowing the Lord, a great reward indeed! God and His precious Son Jesus are both great rewards to those who love and serve Them. This great joy can only be known by those who seek after God with their whole heart. Those who only seek Him half way are shortchanging themselves, and will never know this sweetest, full joy. And those who do not seek after Him, and those who do not find Him will know an eternal loss.
God tells the saved that He is their great and exceeding reward. In contrast to this Paul tells us that the real loss of the lost - is to be forever shut out from the presence of the Lamb: “*** when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed — for our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 NASB. Jesus and His Father are the source of life and of every blessing that you would ever need. They are your eternal security blanket, if you will just put your trust in Them. But those who will not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus, who do not accept His salvation, will be cast out from His presence, paying the penalty with eternal destruction, away from His loving presence that alone can bring peace, everlasting life, blessings, love and joy.
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Isaiah 59:12 NASB. This is one of the chief reasons why God does not answer everyone’s prayers, and why He doesn’t hear them. There is no room for halfway measures, half-hearted love and devotion to God. Your sins have separated you from God until you confess, repent and humble yourself before Him. He will save you regardless of how bad you are or what you have done, if you will just throw yourself on His mercy, and seek after Him with all your heart. Half-hearted seeking is for all who would fail. If you have only sought after God half-way or have not been consistent in seeking Him every day with all your heart, you can still seek after Him with all your heart and find Him, there is still time! But wait not another day or for a convenient season. Do not be like Felix who said to Paul, ‘when it is a convenient season I will call for you – a season which never came for him. Acts 24:25 KJV. Now is the day of salvation, while you hear God’s voice, His call to your heart. “For He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NASB. Harden not your heart against Him, He loves you! Listen to His counsel to you here: “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, to day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:7-12 KJV. Do not harden your heart against God, or have a heart of unbelief, not believing that He will save you or not wanting His salvation. Do not have a heart of unbelief, which is departing from the living God.
Consider Jesus’ message here:
“Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:5-13 NASB.
Consider the message that Jesus is trying to teach here: If you will be persistent with God, making your petitions known to Him for a new, better life with Him – wanting a change from the failure and the wreck that your life has been, He will hear your prayer. If you cling to God and persist in making your petitions known to Him for your desire to be saved and to be a better person, He will hear your prayer. God is not like your earthly parents, who sometimes made mistakes or sometimes forgot your needs or sometimes only thought of themselves, but God really cares. If your parents gave you good things in this life, how much more will your Heavenly Father give you the Holy Spirit when you ask Him? But you must ask Him, you must seek after Him, you must knock, and the door will be opened to you – the door to eternal life! You must be persistent and cling to God, not giving up, praying to Him and making all of your requests known to Him, of your desire to have a new life with Him, and for the spiritual blessings that He wants to give you, until you get these desired blessings. After God’s gift of His dear son Jesus for the world, His other most precious gift to those who belong to Him, is the gift of His precious Holy Spirit. He will give the Holy Spirit to all who ask, to all who seek after Him with all their heart. This is one of the gifts that all are required to have to enter Heaven and have eternal life. John 3:3, 5. All who wish to enter the Pearly Gates of Heaven will have to be born again of both the water (have the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, symbolized by baptism in the water) and by the Holy Spirit. These gifts from God allow you to become born again, Oh sinner, that Ye might be saved and be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven, like Jesus said in John 3:3, 5. The Holy Spirit is a most precious gift and reward for those who seek after God with all their heart, no holding back. (Why would anyone want to hold anything back, not getting this sweetest of rewards? This is a great mystery.) Dear reader, why would you want to hold anything back and not get this sweetest reward for yourself?
The Conclusion of the Matter:
Everyone who seeks after God with all their heart will receive the joy of their salvation, and have great peace, love and joy! Everyone who seeks after God, and knocks, the door will be opened to them, the door to eternal life! Especially when they persist in clinging to God, and keep humbling their heart before Him every day, every hour, and learning to commune with Him in prayer. Everyone who asks, and really wants it, can receive the best gift from God after forgiveness, the Holy Spirit. They will receive the Holy Spirit, the pledge of their redemption (Ephesians 4:30 NASB), and have the assurance of their salvation, because God will tell them He loves them, and His precious Spirit will dwell in their heart and help them on their way to Heaven. They will have the continued assurance of their salvation, if they continue to seek after Him with all their heart, every day. But the presence of the Holy Spirit gives them the strongest inducement to want to keep all this peace, love, joy and hope that He brings them. When they have all this peace, love and joy and really value it, why would they want to give it up? We do not know why anyone would give up God’s offer of mercy, forgiveness, peace, love, hope – much less the wonder and joy of having the Holy Spirit in their heart, and know that their life is pleasing to God, because they are letting Him save them, and He is giving them the power to live a righteous life. What more could you want? This is everything your heart has been searching for! Just give yourself to God now, and forevermore and enjoy your new life with Him!
The secret to having a better life, with peace and hope for tomorrow, is to seek after God with all your heart, and then you will find Him! You will be so glad you did! We promise you, that if this is what you are searching for, you will be so glad you did, and God’s love for you will be a well of water inside of you springing up into eternal life! John 4:13-143. God will be delighted to give this to you!
May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Songs For Today’s Message:
If you seek Me, You will Find Me: (Truth Songs)
If you seek Me, You will Find Me: (Hawaii Baptist Academy choirs)
#Lord #God #Plans #Hope #Seek #Me #Find #Search #All #Heart #Prayer #Love #Peace #Joy #Holy #Spirit #Half-way #Wisdom #Eternal #Life
By John Foll
, written between 4/13/2108 to 4/14/2018.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
“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.
This text is the watchword of our ministry, White Raiment Evangelism.
Do you love Jesus? Then discover what Jesus meant when He said, ‘If any man love Me, he will keep My word.’
What is the source of Jesus’ words that we are to keep?
Jesus declared, “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.
So what is the source of Jesus’ words according to what He said? They are the Father’s words. ‘The Father gave Jesus a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.’ God’s words are eternal life, therefore Jesus spoke just as His Father told Him. Think about that.
Did Jesus say anything that was His own word and not from the Father? Jesus declared, "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30 NASB. “Jesus therefore said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.’" John 8:28-29 NASB. So there you have it from Jesus’ own words: He spoke nothing on His own initiative, but the things that the Father taught Him and gave Him a commandment to speak. He always said and did the things that pleased His Father!
Why is the source of Jesus’ words so important? Because some people make a distinction between Jesus’ words and God’s words, between Jesus’ commandments and the Father’s commandments, between the Old Testament and the New Testament, between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. But this is incorrect, because all of Jesus’ words were not from Himself but from His Father, as John 12:49 clearly states. This is why Jesus is called the Word of God’ ‘made flesh,’ because He speaks for God. John 1:1-5, 10-14. It is important to understand this, because it will help save you from error, so that you can be happy in your love for God and not be confused about anything that He wants you to do. Jesus also declared: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.” John 14:24 NASB. Who sent Jesus to this world that we might be saved? Jesus declared: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17 NASB. So who sent Jesus to this world? God, the Father. So according to Jesus, whose words did Jesus really speak? God’s words.
Think we are wrong on this? “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:6 NASB. If our writings are not from God, they are of no value and please stop reading them. However, if they are from God, then they are the truth. If we are not from God, there is no value to our work – then stop reading our articles. But if our articles are the truth, they are from God, then please keep reading them. If you know God or want to know Him, you will listen to what we are writing, because the messages in our articles are from God, since they come from His Word, the Bible. By this you will know the spirit of truth from the spirit of error: if you know or want to know God, He will give you the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all truth. John 16:13. Then you will listen to what we are saying, if we indeed are from God. But if you do not listen to God, you will not listen to us. We are not trying to make something of our selves here, but we intend to be God’s messenger of love to the world, to do our duty because we love Him and don’t want anyone to be lost. God has made a wonderful change in our heart and life, and it is not a burden but a great joy to serve Him! We want you to know the truth of this and not be confused, because eternal life depends on listening to and knowing God’s will for your life; the essentials of salvation. And when you know the truth and love it, it will set you free. John 8:32.
We want you to get it, so we will deeply explore this concept that the words or commandments that Jesus spoke were from His Father, and that there is no difference or separation between them or their words or commandments, because ‘They are one.’ Jesus Himself declared: “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30 KJV. There are not two different gospels, the gospel of God and the gospel of Jesus. There are not two different truths on how to be saved, the truth for the Jews and Israelites of the Old Testament, and the truth for Christians in the New Testament. The conditions for Salvation have always been the same: We must believe that only God can save us, we must confess our sins, and love and obey Him, and let Him help and save us by His mighty power. Because no one can ever save themselves, it is only by faith in God that anyone is ever saved. This is what is taught in both the Old and New Testaments; it has ever been its theme, even though some people are confused on it, even in our day. (We are not talking about ‘the holy days,’ feast days, rites and ceremonies of either Israelites or Christians, or the order or format of your Church services here, but the essential, fundamental truths that God revealed to His people in both the Old and New Testaments; they are the same. They are all based on the word of God, when His people follow God’s word!)
Now let’s put our theme text with this meaning we have just learned:
‘If anyone loves Jesus, they will keep the word of God, and they will keep the commandments of God (as Jesus always kept His Father’s commandments and always did the things that pleased Him), and His Father will love them, and Jesus and His Father will come to them and will make Their abode with them.’ paraphrase John 14:23. We think this clearly refers to the 10 Commandments here, God’s Law of Love.
But wait, we also need to understand what Jesus meant when He said that He and His Father would come and make their abode in them.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” John 7:37-39 KJV.
From this passage we see that all who believe in Jesus - out of their belly shall flow rivers of living water. Do you believe this dear reader? This has been promised to you, if you believe in Jesus all the way. Then you will love Him and His Father, and out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. This is Jesus description of what it’s like to receive the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost. When this happens to you, you will be given life, and will be bubbling over with God’s love and spiritual blessings, more than enough for yourself, and you will just long to share it with others!
The importance of being born again:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’” John 3:3-6 NASB. If you are born fully of the flesh, and the Spirit of God is not working in your heart, you will be unable to understand what Jesus is saying here, because what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is Spirit.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’” Matthew 16:17 NASB. If you have received your testimony from the flesh, you will not understand this, but if flesh and blood did not reveal it to you but God, then you will understand it, because you will be born again or becoming born again. Jesus also declared, “’It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.” John 6:63-64 NASB. To be born of the flesh profits nothing, but to be born of the Spirit is life and peace! Romans 8:6. To be born of the Spirit leads to everlasting life and great joy! When this happens, you will be blessed beyond measure, and will have rivers of living water flowing through you!
Sadly there are many who do not believe, truly believe who name themselves a Christian, even though they have the testimony of Jesus in the Bible, and the testimony of His disciples and apostles. Truly the Spirit gives life, the flesh profits nothing. They allow other preachers and teachers to snatch away whatever testimony God has spoken to their heart or mind, and doubt the plain words of God. They reinterpret or ignore some of the plainest statements by Jesus, and instead accept what some theologian or preacher’s ‘interpretation’ of what the Bible teaches, based on a few verses in the New Testament. These “supposed” teachings of these few verses in the New Testament are usually taken out of context, or not properly understood by those who are untaught or unstable, who also distort the rest of the scriptures. Unfortunately many of these faulty interpretations of the scriptures are fairly mainstream or common in our day. This should not be. Please consider the testimony of Peter regarding this: “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:14-16 NASB. Our recommendation: Do not interpret Paul in any way that contradicts Jesus. Do not take any lone statement by Jesus as a means of contradicting any of His other clear statements. Seek for the greatest harmony in the Bible. If you don’t understand something, at least give the majority of the scriptures the credence and authority, until you thoroughly understand any apparent discrepancies to it from the remaining portions. Don’t just latch on to any statement or word of any verse, and ignore the others. When in doubt, always stick with the clear words of Jesus, because God does not contradict Himself. Whatever any apostle taught always has to agree with Jesus, because Jesus is the Word of God, and because God is a God of order, and doesn’t make any mistakes or change His mind later. No human being has the authority to change any of Jesus’ words. God will never send a prophet, preacher or teacher who contradicts His word or tries to change it. This is the work of the adversary of our soul, not God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20 KJV. According to the prophet Isaiah, how much light is in those who contradict anything that is in God’s Law or 10 Commandments (also known as the testimony in the Old Testament)? None. If a preacher, teacher or theologian says or writes anything contrary to the Law or Testimony, there is no light in them!
Now back to our main point: When Jesus and His Father abide in you, this is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; this is how you become born again.
Now let’s update our theme text with this new understanding, to bring out its fullest meaning:
‘If anyone loves Jesus, they will keep the word of God, they will keep the commandments of God, and His Father will love them, and Jesus and His Father will fill them with the Holy Spirit!’ paraphrase John 14:23.
Why is this understanding so important? Because this is how you become born again! When Jesus and His Father come and make their abode in you, and fill you with the Precious Holy Spirit, you become born again! Peter tells us quite clearly that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God, in Acts 5:32. This agrees perfectly with what Jesus said, when He said: ‘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. You may not know the exact date or time when you start to become born again, but when this sweet influence manifests itself in your life and heart it becomes apparent! You become a new creature, your life and desires change for the better. We are not saying here that you must first keep God’s commandments, then you will get the Holy Spirit, because no one can obey God without His help. Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 19:17; Romans 13:12. Only God is good. God gives the power to obey, you supply your choice to obey Him. But when you get the Holy Spirit in full, God makes it very easy for you to obey Him, because your love for Him will outweigh every other consideration in this life. It’s only natural, if you love Him, to want to obey Him; it will be your sweetest desire! There can be no doubt that those who have learned to love God want to obey Him. And that they would never know this sweetest of joys, if they didn’t want to obey Him first. This is the point of Acts 5:32. The Holy Spirit is only given to those who want to obey God. Jesus also said regarding the Holy Spirit, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” John 16:7-11 NASB. The work of even wanting to obey God comes from the Holy Spirit! You cannot want to obey God or love Him, without the aid of the Holy Spirit! So the work of reforming your life, obeying God, is all God’s doing, you can just accept His work in your life and allow it to happen, and choose to do what He asks, or you cannot have all this peace, love and joy that He wants to give you. And you must also choose to spend time with Him in prayer and in much Bible study, learning His will for your life. When you delight in studying His word, and pouring out your heart to Him in prayer, this is how you get to know Him. This is how you get the power to obey Him, because faith comes through hearing or reading the word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 KJV.
If you love Jesus, keep His word, which is to keep His Father’s commandments, including the Law of Love, the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20. If you love Jesus, the Father will love you, and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit! Amen! Then you will be loving your neighbor as yourself, and will be loving God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul! Then your life will be sweet with the dew of Heaven, because you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and will delight in loving God and serving Him.
May the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
#Love #Jesus #Keep #Word #Obey #God #Holy #Spirit #Commandment #Born #Again #Truth #New #Rivers #Living #Water #Flesh #Life #Peace #Joy
By John Foll
, finished 3/31/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll
“Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 NASB.
A well of water springing up into eternal life!
Is this not as true today as when Jesus first spoke it to the woman at the well? How many really know the gift that Jesus wants to give them? How many really know Jesus Christ, who has offered His life as a ransom for all? How many really know how much God and Jesus His son love them? Jesus is the gift that God gave to the world! John 3:16. And Jesus promised everyone that they could have this gift of living water, which is none other than the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit, if they desire it! The Holy Spirit is God’s 2nd gift that He gave to the world! Together they are God’s two most precious gifts to mankind! With these two gifts, everything you could ever want or need will be supplied.
Dear reader, do you know my Jesus? Do you know who He is? Do you know how much He loves you? Have you asked Him to give you that drink of living water?
He wants so much to give you this drink, if you would have it. If you are thirsty and hungry for a better life, and want to have peace, love and joy, than ask Him to give you this drink. If you know who He is and what He wants to give you, ask Him to give you this drink, that you will never thirst again!
If you know the gift of God, and Jesus His Son, the one who will give it to you, you will ask Him and He will give you living water to drink, springing up unto eternal life! "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1 NASB. Yes, all who are thirsty, come to the fountain of living water and drink from the well that will never run dry! Everyone who drinks from this well will be forever satisfied with Jesus and His Father’s love. Is that what you want? Then ask Jesus to give you this drink, that you will never be thirsty again! You will never regret it, we promise you!
Yes, Jesus, the precious Lamb of God who takes away your sin, and the precious Holy Spirit both make up the pearl of great price, that Jesus described in Matthew 13:45-46.
God supplies everything we need in this life and in the life to come! He gave us life when we were born, He gave us talents, food, clothing, shelter and resources. Then He gave us new life when we confessed our sins, turned our life over to Him, and received the precious Holy Spirit. Yes, we have much to thank God for in all the rich gifts He has bestowed on us, that we do not deserve. Let us thank and praise Him forever, for His abundant kindness and mercy.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And he said unto me, ‘Write: for these words are true and faithful.’ And he said unto me, ‘it is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.’” Revelation 21:5-7 KJV.
If you continue to drink the water of life that Jesus offers you, you will overcome and inherit all the beautiful things that God has promised to those who overcome! The water of life will be in you a well of water springing up unto eternal life, and you will be filled with joy forever! Yes, Jesus and the Father will both make all things new. They will make you a new person, fit for Heaven, if you keep drinking this water of life they have offered to you freely. If you are thirsty, take this drink that they want to give you; it is offered to you without money and without cost.
Ho! Everyone who is thirsty! Come and buy the bread of heaven and the water of life, without money, and without cost. It is freely offered to all who would have it!
May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all! Amen.
#Jesus #Living #Water #Gift #Holy #Spirit #Drink #Well #Never #Run #Dry #Fountain #Eternal #Life #Bread #Heaven #Peace #Love #Joy #New
By John Foll
, written between 02/05/2018 to 02/11/2018, and finished on 03/3/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll
This article is an answer to a question posed by one of the readers of our White Raiment Evangelism Blogs and some of our books:
What did Jesus mean when he said that we were to love one another?
If you have not read our previous article, “Who is My Neighbor? Part 1”, we recommend that you read it, because we don’t want to cover all of it again here, but to find the answer to this second question, and put it all together for you. https://whiteraimentevangelism.org/BlogLove/?p=15
“Jesus said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’” John 13:34-35 KJV.
Let’s explore what this means.
In Part 1 of this article, we discovered that whoever needs our help, who we have the ability of helping is our neighbor. We also learned that we have an obligation and responsibility to do what we can for others, whoever and whenever we can help. We are held accountable to God not only for the wrong things that we have thought, said or done in this life, but also for the neglect of others. Everyone in this world could literally be our neighbor, if we would think outside of the box and ask God for more ways to help them, not just the ones we have come in contact with in this life. God doesn’t compel anyone, but if His love is not in your heart you won’t see the need or have the ability of helping others. And those who have done nothing to help others, will eventually be shut out of the Kingdom of Heaven if they haven’t repented, and will be cast into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. This is what Jesus said, this is not our words. And those who have been helping others, even if they did not know they were doing it for Jesus, were doing it unto Him. And Jesus will invite them to go with Him to Heaven, with its everlasting love and endless delight, because what they did to help others, was done unto Him, as if He was the one they did it to. They may not even have known that they were doing it unto Him, because it was in their heart to do it, and they didn’t give it a second thought, but they were! Jesus takes all wrong acts of unkindness and neglect done to others as if they were done to Him personally, and all acts of kindness and love done to others, as if they were done to Him personally.
The question what did Christ mean when He said that we were to love one another, does it mean that we are to love only the brethren of our Church? Or does it mean something more? Does it mean the same thing as God’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves? We shall see.
As you can see the answer to this question and its sub-questions are more complex.
Whatever conclusion we come up with cannot contradict what we have already learned from our previous article, Part 1, where we learned that our neighbor is not just someone who is of our faith, or even of our same Christian denomination, because Jesus proved this idea to be wrong, as we conclude from the answer to His question given by the “doctor of the law,” the Jewish lawyer: “The one who showed mercy toward him." Luke 10:36. “The one who showed mercy toward him” was a foreigner, a Samaritan, and thus not of the same faith as the Jews, who were much despised by them! From this we conclude that if we are to obey Jesus and His Father, we must love those outside of our faith, including those who are not even Christian. Because of what we know about Jesus and His Father, we conclude therefore that our neighbor is the whole world, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Pagan, or even an Atheist! Is anyone left out from this list? No, all are our neighbor. Our neighbor is whoever we have the ability of helping that needs our help, without reference to race, religion, creed, etc. because God is no respecter of persons. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.’” Acts 10:34-35 KJV.
There is evidence in the scriptures that there should be a special place in our heart for the brethren. Do a search for the word ‘brethren’ in a computer Bible or on an Internet Bible site and see what it comes up with, if you want to know more of this. They are too numerous to mention here. But here are a few references for you to check out if you wish: Greet the brethren: Romans 16:3, 5-6, 8, 11; 1 Corinthians 16:19-21; 2 Corinthians 13:12-13; Philippians 4:21-22; Collisions 4:14, 15, 18; 1 Timothy 5:26; 2 Timothy 3:17; 4:19-21; Philemon 1:23; Hebrews 13:24; James 1:1; 1 Peter 5:15; 2 John 1:13; 3 John 1:14. There is a work for us to do within the church, for the widows, the orphans, etc. 1 Timothy 5:3-20. James 1:27. We are not to take believers to a court of law before unbelievers, because it brings dishonor to God. 1 Corinthians 6:1-6.
To begin our discovery of what the answer to this question is, let us start here:
The apostle John declares that “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:14-18 NASB.
Again John says, “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:19-21 NASB.
So another question that can be asked is: Who is my brother? Is it someone from your faith or Christian denomination? Or is it someone who is a Christian? This seems to be indicated, but we believe it also has a deeper meaning, and includes all who might become a Christian at a later date, whether they are now or not. In the end your brother can be the same thing as your neighbor. Since we don’t know who will accept God’s invitation to be saved or not, we need to treat everyone as if they would eventually be saved. This is impossible to do without God’s help, so we must pray for His help to do it.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11 NASB.
Who are we to love? According to John, ‘the one who does not love does not know God.’ So we had better get to know God, so that we can love others. Even though the first part of this text is saying that we should love ‘one another’, verse 8 doesn’t seem to limit it to just ‘one another’ or just ‘the brethren.’ I.e. our love should not be limited just to those who go to our Church denomination. There is no doubt that we are to love the brethren of our Church, which is probably John’s main point. But what about all those who are not currently a part of God’s Church? If they can be brought into the fold of the true Shepherd and give themselves to God, they would become our brethren too, would they not? So is John really excluding all non-Church members here or all non-Christians, or those who are not members of your Church denomination here? We think not. John clearly states here that the one who does not love does not know God. And God does not love just those who are believers in Jesus, but the whole world, and desires all to accept His offer of eternal life – He is not willing that any should perish! 2 Peter 3:9. See also John 3:16-17.
We need to know the answer to this question, whether we should limit our love just to the brethren in our Church, or should our love be more than this? Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 KJV. The answer to this question is VERY important, because Jesus stated that this would be how people would know if we are His disciple or not! Those who don’t’ ‘love one another’ are not His disciple! We want to make sure that we are on the right side of this, because we want to be Jesus’ disciple.
Jesus clears up the answer to our question here with this statement:
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36 NASB. See also Matthew 5:43-48.
We see from what Jesus’ said above, that those who we love should not be just those who love us back, or treat us kindly and fairly. Since we should be able to expect those who are Christian to treat us with kindness and love, based on Jesus’ command to love one another, His statement here in Luke 6 seems to indicate that if we love others who don’t love us, like He asked us to do, that this also includes non-Christians and people who are not of our faith. Did you catch that? Jesus statement here in Luke 6 seems to indicate that we should love those who are not even a Christian yet, or not of our faith.
From Jesus’ command that we are to ‘love our enemies’, we conclude that there must be a larger group of people than those who are of our Christian denomination, or even of those who are Christian, that we are to love. Because a Christian’s enemies can most certainly come from those whose beliefs are hostile against Christianity, which includes a large group of people in this world. So clearly the non-Christian is included in who we are supposed to love, by Jesus’ statement above.
So when Jesus said that we were to love one another, does this not also mean that we are to love those who are not a Christian or of our particular faith yet? Yes, we think this is clear.
Jesus’ statement above in Luke 6:32 also tells us that we are to love those who persecute us, and to be meek and humble with those who would make demands of us. And we are to do good to those who need our help, especially to those who can’t pay us back or help us back. Jesus also stated that persecution could come out of your own household or your Church when He said, “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” John 16:2 NASB. This indicates that persecution can arise out of your own faith! What could be clearer than this? Jesus further declared: “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53 NASB. What is Jesus talking about here? Not everyone loves Him and His Father supremely, some become embittered against the truth when their sins and defects are made plain, and will not bear patiently when someone, even in their own family, takes their stand for Jesus and wants to love and obey Him all the way, it makes them look bad! So this is the cause of some of the persecution that can happen. Who were the people that Jesus was talking to in John 16:2 above? They were all Jews. The first Christians were all Jews, but they learned new truths that were not accepted by all Jews, so this produced persecution. Probably the majority of the Jews didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, because He pointed out their sins. And the first Jewish Christians were forced out of meeting with the other Jews in the synagogues at one point. Jewish Christians were literally cast out of their Synagogues!
But something similar to this also happened to true Christians during the Middle Ages, during the great persecution that occurred there, where they were persecuted for believing the truth, which went against what the established Church was teaching. And unfortunately this also happened here in the United States, before we were a nation from some Christian denominations towards others who didn’t believe exactly as they did, and it has happened after we were a nation too. We don’t want to go there in this article, but you probably get our point now, don’t you? The fact that someone is a member of your Christian denomination doesn’t mean that they love you, and will not try to persecute you if you stand up for your beliefs that God is teaching you, it may come to a point where they will cast you out of their ‘synagogues’ too. And we can most certainly be persecuted by those who are not Christian at all, who are antagonistic against Christianity, because they know not the love of Jesus and His Father for the human race. Yes, there is a cross that we all must bear if we wish to be Jesus’ disciple. But this is not the main point of our article. But Jesus said that we are to love one another, that we were to also love those who persecute us, who are trying to make our life miserable. We are to love even those who are trying to steal our sweet Christian peace, love and joy and our Crown of life that Jesus and His Father want to give us. Those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ will war against Him. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:12-19 KJV.
In Matthew 5 Jesus says that ‘if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?’ Matthew 5:47 NASB. Jesus makes it clear here that we are to love not just our brethren or the Christians who believe as we do, but He also enjoins us to love non-Christians as well.
Jesus gives the reason we are to love our enemies and pray for them: ‘so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45 NASB. Jesus makes it clear that God sends the rain and blessings on both the righteous and the wicked, and that we are to be like our Heavenly Father and love everyone, not just those who love us back, but even love those who persecute us. If we want to be sons of our Heavenly Father in Heaven, we must love others like He does. And not just love the ‘brothers’ of our own denominational faith and not just those who are Christians. Because Jesus said that we are to love our enemies, His command to love one another also means that we are to love those who are not even Christian yet. We need to let God’s sweet Spirit fill our heart with His love and not be partial to any, but do our best to help others, sharing His love with them whether they can help us back or repay us or not. Because God is kind to the unkind, unloving and undeserving, so should we.
We are not suggesting here that we can walk together with unbelievers in sweet accord, or to those who don’t believe exactly like we do, but that we are to still love everyone. The prophet Amos declared: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 KJV. The apostle Paul says, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 KJV.
Is there anyone that we should not love? No. We are to love those who love us of course, but we are also to love those who don’t love us, if we would be Jesus’ disciple. But there is a special love we should have for the brethren who believe like we do, all those who love Jesus like we do, who have the same kind of faith as ours. Peter makes this clear when he writes: “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4 NASB. Here Peter says that he is greeting all who have the same kind of faith as he had. What was that same kind of faith that Peter had? He declares that it is the faith in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And Peter blesses those who have the same kind of faith as he had with this special blessing: ‘grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord’. Dear reader, we hope that you have the same kind of faith that Peter had, in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is mighty to save, and His Father more so. For no one is able to snatch you out of His or His Father’s hands!
Jesus declared: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” John 10:27-29 NASB.
Do you believe this dear reader? Do you love Jesus and believe that no one can snatch you out of His hand, or out of His Father’s hand who is greater than He? It’s true! Just believe it! You are the only one who can take yourself out of God’s hand. If you believe that God can save you, and that no one can snatch you out of His hand, then you have the same kind of faith as Peter had! It’s a simple as that!
So yes, there is a special greeting that we can give only to those who have the same kind of faith that Peter and the apostles had. We can only share this kind of comradery with those who are of a like mind, who in a like manner love Jesus as we do.
But unfortunately not all of ‘the brethren’, who call themselves ‘Christian’, have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles of the New Testament had. This is, to use a cliché, a crying shame, literally! All who name themselves Christians should have the same kind of faith that Peter and the Apostles had! It is not God’s fault that they have this lack! He is not to be charged with this. It is their own fault for not taking advantage of the many precious promises that God has given us for a new life with Him. Or this could be due to ignorance or to false teachers and false professors of the Christian faith. Or this could be due to those who are well meaning, but are teaching a faulty or incomplete understanding of the truth, failing to explain the truth of God’s many precious promises that we may become partakers of His divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4.
There is a great lack of faith and unbelief in the promises of God, manifested today by many Christians, with the lack of the true knowledge of how to be saved, or of their great need to be born again (John 3:3, 5), or else there would be more born again Christians, and this world would be a better place. Yes we know that there are many who claim to be born again, and some of whom have stickers on their cars or signs outside of their houses or businesses saying, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ But if we go by the Bible standard of being born again, that we love one another and love our neighbor as ourselves, that we should have the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and in many other texts in the New Testament, their life comes up short of the mark. But the final chapter in their life hasn’t been written yet, and God will make the decision whether they merit His grace or not, or whether they are weighed in the balances and found wanting. Daniel 5:27.
Many Christians do not believe the plain reading of the Bible, where Jesus states that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which He infers is the same thing as the Law or the 10 Commandments, and is the main teaching of the Law and the Prophets, which is a term that refers literally to the whole Old Testament, and by extension to all of the New Testament as well. They think that His Law of Love or the Old Testament are done away with, superseded by the Gospel of Grace or the New Covenant, not realizing that Jesus’ command to love one another, and to love God are one and the same as the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20 of the Old Testament, and that God has always been about Grace and Love, even in the Old Testament! But Jesus breathed new life into these commands, and showed us more fully what they mean, and gives us the power through the Holy Spirit to keep them, if we are born again. John 3:3 5. Consider well Jesus’ statement here in regard to this: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:40 KJV. This is in reference to the command of God to love Him with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This proves to everyone who believes in Jesus, that the commandment to love our God with all our heart, and all our mind and all our soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, is the whole purpose and reason for the Old Testament, and even the whole New Testament as well! We don’t want to go into the proofs here regarding all of these assertions that we are making here – we have already covered them in other articles and in several of our books. We cite this here as an aid to the understanding of the question: ‘Who is my neighbor?’ and what Jesus meant when He said that we are ‘to love one another.’ It is not the hearers, but the doers of the Law of Love who will be right in God’s sight. Romans 2:13. But all those who love God will be wanting to keep His divine injunction and ask Him for the help to do it.
From all of this we conclude that not all who name themselves Christians have the same kind of faith as ours, or the same kind of faith that Peter and the Apostles had, i.e. the same kind of faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and His Father, and of their ability of making us righteous too. So when Jesus says that we are to love one another, this would have to be a broader scope than our own Christian denomination or faith, because more than likely not all of those of your Christian denomination, if you are a Christian, have the same kind of faith that Peter had, or believe the plain reading of the Bible or believe the plain words and commands of Jesus. Sad but true. We are saved as individuals, not as a group of people. Church membership is not a membership into the club of the saved. We are not saying here that we shouldn’t have brotherly love towards those who are of our same Christian denomination, who may not have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles had, because we are to ‘love one another’ as Jesus loved us. But the fact is that all don’t have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles had. So we cannot have the same comradery with those who don’t believe as we do. Draw your own conclusions. It takes more than a mere profession of faith to have the same kind of faith that Peter and the other Apostles had.
Conclusion of What did Jesus mean when He commanded us to love one another?
We conclude therefore, that even though there is a special comradery among those who have the same kind of faith that we have, Jesus’ command to love one another goes way beyond the membership of our particular Church faith, and even beyond to all people who are Christian. It should also include those who could be our brothers or sisters, but are not yet; we should do all that we can to help them love Jesus too. We also conclude that Jesus’ command to love one another, is the same thing as or similar to God’s command that we love our neighbor as ourselves. And to reiterate what we discovered in our previous lesson, part 1, our neighbor is whoever needs our help, and is literally anyone in the world that we have the power and the ability of helping. Those who go into the kingdom of Heaven with Jesus at His second coming, are those who have loved their neighbor as themselves, clothed the naked, fed the hungry, visited those who were sick and in prison and shared the gospel of Jesus and His Father’s love with them.
Dear reader, we hope that you can see the necessity of loving your neighbor as yourself, and loving one another, including those who are not of your faith yet, or not even Christian yet. This is what Jesus wants you to do. If you want to be pleasing in His site, ask Him how you can best serve Him and help others. Pray for a fitness to serve Him with a pure, new heart, filled with love for Him and others, the ones whom Christ died for. Don’t hold yourself back from this precious joy of showing others His love or helping them in their needs. You will never regret it, we promise you! If you will allow God to help you to help others in their needs, be it physical or spiritual needs, then you will be greatly blessed. Then your life will be a pleasing aroma to God. God wants His children to reproduce His character of love. This is part of the reward of Heaven, it is love, pure and simple. If you have been given love, you cannot help but want to share it with others, or your springs of joy will dry up. Everyone who names the name of Christ should be happy they have been loved and forgiven by God - this should produce in them the strongest inducement for them to want to serve Him. Freely you have received from Him, freely give from your storehouse of resources, time and means to help others, for your God whom you love.
May the grace of God be with you, dear reader, as you ask for help from God to love your neighbor as yourself, and for His help to ‘love one another’ as Jesus loved you. Amen.
#Love #One #Another #Who #Neighbor #Needs #Help #Brother #Church #Denomination #Christian #non #Enemy #Hate #Persecution #New #Life #Grace #Faith #Peter
By John Foll, written between 7/25/2017 and 7/27/2017.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
The Joy of a Fool or the Joy of the Wise? Which will you have? How can both the wise and the fool have joy?
“Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.” Proverbs 15:21 KJV. Now from the NASB: “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.” Proverbs 15:21 NASB.
Solomon declared that foolishness or folly is joy to the man who lacks understanding. The fool is compared with a man of understanding who walks uprightly, the wise man or the righteous man. Is there also joy for the righteous? Yes true joy! There are two paths to joy. Which one will you choose?
There are two paths: folly and wisdom, everyone must choose between them. We want to compare the supposed joy of folly with the true joy of wisdom, to see how the joy from wisdom leads to righteousness and infinitely exceeds folly. Study the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes for the folly of wickedness and why righteousness is the only wise course to choose. This idea of two paths can be found throughout the Bible, including the Psalms.
The path of true wisdom is to study everything the God has to say in the Bible, not just taking a few verses, a single verse or words here or there to base your beliefs on. Some confine themselves to just a portion of the New Testament of the Bible from a single apostle to build their beliefs, but this is not wise. But Solomon says that the wise study matters and want to get understanding in order to make the right decision. In chapter two of Proverbs, which can be viewed as an introduction to Proverbs, written to his son he sums up that we should treasure his commandments and listen to wisdom and want to get understanding: “My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course.” Proverbs 2:1-9 NASB.
The Joy of the Fool:
Some try to live their life without the joy of the Lord in their life fully, and get grouchy and easily irritated with things that happen and with the mistakes and sins of others, and many times do not look to their own greatest need. Some of these are focused too much on the folly of others, while giving themselves a pass on their own folly. They don’t understand the strong desire that some have who have given themselves completely to God and are strongly motivated to serve Him and others. This desire and joy to serve God like this cannot be supplied by anything we can do, it is a gift only from God, given to those who desire to love and obey Him in all things. But since they don’t have that joy from the Lord for themselves or fully, they don’t have the same sweet motivation to serve and obey God that the soul who has given and devoted themselves to God has. They can only feel a sense of duty, and know that they should be doing something better or different, and know fear and guilt. But to have the joy that God wants everyone to have, it can only be had by yielding completely to God and obeying Him.
Many are not concerned too much about sin because the Bible teaches that we are ‘saved by grace alone’, and they have been taught to believe that this is the sum of what they need to know. But many of them are missing another essential part of what they need to know to be saved. They don’t know that those who are saved by grace should be so happy for this salvation that they would want to obey everything that God has commanded, so not much attention is given to trying to get victory over sin in their life by His power, because they have been blinded against this and other essential Bible truths. They think that living their life this way makes them happy and gives them joy, because they think they are freed from the need of living right, ‘no worries’. Have you heard this? But this is the path of folly because Solomon admonished us that we should consider the path we are traveling on and seek to do what is right. According to Solomon those who do not seek the path of wisdom and righteousness are on the path of folly. Most of those who are not too concerned will not listen to anything that is said regarding this. But this is as Solomon has already declared. What has been will be again. Those that love folly or those who are falsely comforted by the folly of error, will not hear anything else, because their heart is set on it. But the wise will see and hear the truth and understand when it is presented to them or study it in the Bible. Solomon has dealt extensively with the idea that there is a path of wisdom and a path of folly in his writings, which is the opposite of what many believe in our day! The teachings of folly in our day are widespread, from the pulpits to the theatre and many popular entertainments. Satan has been busy spreading the idea to some that it doesn’t matter what they do, because God will save them regardless, and to others he tells them not to worry about sin since they are ‘saved’: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ as A. Crowley wrote, the self-proclaimed ‘wickedest man’ in the world. A. Crowley had a great impact on the development of the wicked entertainments in the music world and Hollywood too through his many followers and devotees. But what he wrote is not all that different than what is taught from many pulpits! [Please don’t read his writings, or you might be deceived too.]
What is folly?
It is doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, or thinking the wrong thing, or believing something that is not right and living your life and basing your decisions in life on these falsehoods. It is anything that hurts or destroys you, others, or hurts God. It is hasty speech, not thinking things through, being too proud or too lazy to correct problems after they become known. It is also unkind words, hurtful things, addictions, unconfessed or unrepented sins, these will shut out the soul from eternal life and from peace, love, faith, joy and happiness forever that God wants everyone to have, unless they finally repent. It is folly to not humble your heart and repent and give your heart completely to God, since this leads to your salvation and all the peace, love, joy, faith, hope and happiness that God wants you to have, now and forever. Why would anyone not want what God has to offer? Yet God lets everyone decide what they will have; weather they will have life and peace and joy from Him and eternal life, or a nagging conscience, death, and be forever lost.
Now why would doing foolishness appeal to anyone? And why would being a fool and doing foolish things or saying or doing or thinking foolish things be a joy to anyone? Because the fool doesn’t want to think too much, but just to have a good time and always be in mirth and in laughter. I.e. ‘no worries.’ The foolish person does what feels good, and they don’t usually think very much about the consequences if at all; they just don’t care, even though some might think that they do.
Being a fool leads to wickedness.
Solomon said, “I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:” Ecclesiastes 7:25 KJV. Solomon said here that wickedness is folly, even foolishness. We are not sure why Solomon wanted to apply himself to folly, foolishness and madness like he said. He greatly sinned and had to repent of this once he came back to his senses, but it had a bad effect on the children of Israel that they never totally recovered from. What a different course the children of Israel might have had if Solomon hadn’t experimented with wickedness, folly, foolishness and madness! Solomon also warns us that: “Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.” Proverbs 16:22 KJV. Fools teach folly to all who will listen, teaching them to be a fool too. “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” Proverbs 17:12 KJV.
Note: In these Proverbs below Solomon tells what happens to the scoffer, which sounds similar to ‘the fool’ described in other places by Solomon and the Bible: “He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, reprove a wise man and he will love you.” Proverbs 9:7-8 NASB. Or ‘scorner’ as it says in the King James. And the psalmist Asaph compares the foolish with the wicked, and the proud: “I said unto the fools, deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, lift not up the horn: Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.” Psalm 75:4-5 KJV.
The Joy of the Wise:
True joy comes only from salvation that Jesus brings you: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12 NASB.
True joy is a fruit of being Jesus’ disciple like He said before He died on the cross to His disciples: “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:20-24 NASB. Paul also tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is Joy: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NASB. Therefore to get true joy you must be born again (John 3:3, 5), which is also a requirement to be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven, which is how you get the Holy Spirit, who will also give you ‘the Fruits of the Spirit’.
It is important to know what true joy is and get it for yourself, because there is a counterfeit!
And to have true joy is an antidote against sin, because with it God helps you to want to be more like Him, serve Him, and if you continue cooperating with Him - you will get even more joy! Your cup will run over! Psalms 23:5. And the Holy Spirit, which brings true joy, is the antidote against being deceived by the counterfeit, or ‘another gospel’ or ‘another spirit.’ Some who think that they are born again and have the Holy Spirit may not in fact, have the Holy Spirit at all, but ’another spirit’ and believe in another gospel than what Jesus and Paul preached. “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” 2 Corinthians 11:4 NASB. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9 KJV. This ‘another spirit’ preaches ‘another gospel’ which teaches you to stay in sin and get your joy from foolishness, this is ‘the spirit of error’, instead of having the true joy from the Holy Spirit. So there is a true spirit and a false spirit.
Why are we writing this article?
Because we don’t want you to miss out on the best thing in life that could ever happen to you, and lead to your salvation and eternal life! There are many today that think that because they are saved by grace that they cannot be lost, since they were baptized into the Christian faith and at one time took a public stand and gave their life to God. And also there are many people who think that because they believe ‘the truth’ and take a firm stand against the world and sin that this makes them good, when they are missing out on the very joy that all Christians are supposed to have. There is nothing wrong with wanting to take a firm stand against the world and sin by itself, but if someone is lacking the true born again experience that Jesus said that all are required to have to enter the kingdom of Heaven, John 3:3, 5, then it can be a detriment and turn others away from God. Many of them are also lacking true peace, love and true faith, etc. but are very zealous to keep God’s Law or His requirements (they think). Why are we picking on these two groups? Because we are hoping that if you have a problem in either of these areas that you will wake up. All of us have probably been in one of these two groups or the other in our life at one time, maybe both. We hope someone will be rescued from the pit of sin, and as many as possible by this article. We used to have problems in this area too and would still have them, but for the grace of God. In our past we were lacking the real peace, love, joy, faith, hope, and happiness that God wants all Christians to have. See also 1 John 1:4:20-21; 1 John 2:3-6 how to know if you know Jesus. We do not want to go back to that way of living that we used to live, there is no peace, hope, joy or power or assurance of salvation in either of those paths; the end of these paths are always death, unless the soul humbles itself before God and allows Him to help them. All need to know that Jesus came to give us life and more abundantly, and they need to know and have the hope that Jesus wants to give them. John 10:10. And to let Him make them free indeed from all addictions and sin. John 8:36.
We are also writing this article because there are some who think that they are born again and there are some who think that they have received the Holy Spirit, but their life is lacking the change that all who are born again should have. In any case, it is folly to try to live your life without yielding to God all the way and being fully born again. Some think that they have the Holy Spirit because there is a lot of excessive joy, fun and excitement in their life. And dare we say babbling? Those who think that excited babbling in languages unintelligible to others is proof that they have the Holy Spirit, need to think carefully about whether they really have the Holy Spirit or not. Those who think that they are born again should also think carefully about whether they are still born again, and all the way. And there are those who think that when they get a special feeling that this is God’s leading, without checking to know for sure. All who believe that they have received the Holy Spirit in full need to be especially on guard to make sure that they don’t have ‘the spirit’ that is contrary to sound reason or the Scriptures. Sometimes there is a problem with sin in the life that gets excused, because they believe that they can’t be lost since they are saved or because they have the Holy Spirit. Or they don’t think too much about their problems of sin or do not admit it to others, and are focused on ‘rooting out’ sin in other people or in other institutions, etc., in anyone but themselves. Is this really true? You bet.
Is there a false joy?
Yes, Solomon declared above in Proverbs 15:21 that a fool gets joy from his folly and foolishness.
This also leads to the question is there a false Spirit too?
Yes. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 KJV. Are we to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us? Yes. Paul says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB. Therefore we are all temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in, if we would have Him; that means that the Holy Spirit should be there fully in everyone’s heart, this is the way God intended it to be. Should you test the spirit that is in you to see if it is the Holy Spirit or another spirit of the antichrist? Yes. 1 John 4:1-3. John also says, “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:6 NASB. Those who listen not to the apostles in the New Testament, or Jesus or the prophets in the Old Testament do not have the Spirit of truth.
Could a “wrong spirit” seduce any Christian who thinks they are saved or any who think that because they believe the truth they are saved?
Yes. Just because someone has seen miracles or had miracles happen to them does not mean that they have the Holy Spirit or still have the Holy Spirit. Also when someone gets the Holy Spirit, that does not mean that the devil stops harassing them or trying to trick them into sinning; the tempter never gives up while life lasts. If you think everything is going fine, then watch out! “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NASB. If you ‘have the Holy Spirit’, if you think you have had the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit be doubly on your guard! Joy and miracles are not proof of the Holy Spirit, but the proof is in peace and love in the heart for God and others, in addition to joy, and in having more and more victory over sin as time progresses. Are we trying to caution you against receiving the Holy Spirit? No way! We are advising you to be on your guard and pray diligently. If you have received the Holy Spirit this is the most wonderful thing you could ever experience this side of Heaven, and the Holy Spirit will help you to live a righteous life for God! There is no safety in your life, unless you have humbled yourself to God, and devoted yourself completely to Him and have received the Holy Spirit, and have had great changes in your life to help you to be an overcomer.
Now let us talk about the joy of the righteous that God wants to give everyone:
The joy that the righteous can experience on this earth, and later for all eternity with the Lamb, far exceeds anything that can be experienced on this earth. True joy is found in the path of wisdom; in knowing, loving and obeying God. “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11 NASB. The righteous’ prayer to their Heavenly Father is: “I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” Psalms 119:16 KJV. And “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” Psalm 119:35 KJV. Yes the righteous delight or receive joy from keeping God’s commandments; this is something that those that don’t think they need to or can’t keep God’s commandments will never know, unless they repent.
True joy is found in the things that the fool detests, and those with true joy detest folly. “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.” Proverbs 13:19 KJV.
Those who have found the path of wisdom, peace and joy, know that they can count on God to take care of them and save them. “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” Psalm 5:11 KJV. This is the only basis for real joy.
Those who have found the path of wisdom, peace and joy are not afraid to give or serve God and help others, this is what they live for. They know that giving to God and to others will only increase their joy and eternal riches in Heaven, where the most blessed are the most unselfish, and the most giving. And they have great joy! “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Luke 6:38 NASB.
God’s best gifts are given to those who love Him and are devoted completely to Him; His willing servants. This joy cannot be known except by those who know it, or only partially by those learning to yield to God. We can describe it, but it can’t be understood until you get it for yourself (if you don’t already have it). It is what makes life worth living, living for all eternity! But if you have given your heart to God at one time, you probably knew at least part of this joy if not more. Whenever this fully happens, it will change your life forever! It is very hard indeed to go back to your old ways without this peace, love and joy!
Now for the conclusion of the matter:
The joy of wisdom exceeds that of folly and sinful pleasures and indulgences. It is as far is the east is from the west, and as far as righteousness exceeds wickedness and as the day exceeds the night. Ecclesiastes 2:13.
My desire for all is that they would cease to find joy in folly, and want to be wise, seeking after the wisdom from God, and become born again, filled with the Spirit and with much joy!
May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you! And may your heart be filled with God’s inexpressible love and joy! Amen.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalms 1:1-3 NASB.
#Joy #Fool #Wise #Wisdom #Folly #Path #Think #Consider #Study #Foolishness #Life #Peace #Riches #Happiness #Sin #Wickedness #Road #HolySpirit #Night #Day
By John Foll, written between 5/6/2017 to 5/8/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16 KJV.
Paul states the most essential question here: Whose servant are you? How do you know whose servant you are? Answer: Who are you yielding to? This last question answers whose servant you are. If you are yielding to your lower nature, you will reap a harvest of corruption. If you are yielding to God, you will yield a rich harvest for the Master. There is no in between: if you are yielding some to God, and then some to yourself or to our ancient foe, you are on the wrong side still. Trying to keep one foot in heaven and one foot on this earth will still cause you to reap a harvest of sin and corruption until you repent. God loves you and will take you just as you are, and give you a chance to repent and get to know Him and be saved. But if you want to have the assurance of your own salvation and have peace, love, joy, faith and hope, all the things that make life worth living, living for all eternity, you must yield yourself completely to Him. If you are yielding to the flesh, you cannot walk by the Spirit. If you are walking in the flesh, you ‘cannot please God.’ Romans 8:7 NASB. If you are not walking by the Spirit day-by-day, you cannot have life and peace. Peace comes by confessing your sins and yielding completely to God and continuing to walk with His Spirit. He will give you love, faith, hope, and much joy, if you would walk, and continue to walk by His Spirit!
At the end of the day, the question as to whose servant you are will decide your destiny. That is why this question is of the utmost importance to you and your life, to know what the final outcome of your life will be, if it continues on as it did today. Whose servant are you?
But you may say, ‘I am a Christian and have been one for some time’. Well that is all fine and good if you have yielded yourself completely to Jesus and His Father, but if you are not yielding to them on a day-by-day basis and are yielding to the flesh, your carnal nature, you are not truly God’s servant yet, but are still serving the flesh. To be everything a Christian is meant to be and to have that wonderful peace, love and joy you must yield fully to God, and then you cannot help but be His servant; it will be the most natural thing in the world for you. If you are thinking of yourself and what you want, or are yielding to bitterness or anger or unforgiveness, you cannot be His servant too. If you haven’t yielded totally to God, you are placing yourself or someone or something else above God. ‘Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.’ Exodus 20:3 KJV. We believe that this is the most broken of God’s commandments in the entire Bible! To be free from breaking this most broken commandment, humble your heart, and willingly yield fully to God. But you can only yield fully to Him if you love Him more than anyone or anything else. Matthew 12:29-30.
You cannot of your own yield to God. We are all born with the desire to yield to the flesh, but as God’s Spirit beckons you to want to be forgiven, have peace, and have a better life with Him, if you listen to His sweet voice, and want this more than anything else, wanting to be free from the guilt of your sins, and are tired of sinning and hurting God and others, then yield to the precious Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can enable you to yield to God. Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [or the Comforter or the Holy Spirit] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; John 16:7-8 NASB. So God sent the Holy Spirit into this world to convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and judgment. No one on this earth is qualified to take over the functions of the Holy Spirit as enumerated here! You cannot decide that you will do your own thing today, and that on the morrow you will finally yield your heart to God all the way, to do the right thing and be His servant. It is only the Holy Spirit that can do this for you. Now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2. Do not put off for tomorrow what you know you should do today. Do not plan to have your own way today, and say that you will repent tomorrow. Only the Holy Spirit can convict you of sin, and not yourself. So if you are planning on doing your own thing today, and making a change tomorrow, there is no guarantee that you will feel convicted tomorrow to want to change. Do not play games with God. Do not tell Him that you are a Christian and belong to Him, if you are not giving Him your whole heart. You cannot lie to God. All things are open and bare before Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:13. He reads your life like a book, but He loves you and is offering you a chance to repent and give up your half-way Christian lukewarm state, and exchange it for His life and peace. Is that what you want? Then yield yourself to Him and obey Him. He will listen to your prayer if you pray, ‘Be merciful to me God a sinner.’ Luke 18:13.
But you may say again, ‘I am a Christian and have been one for many years’. You have no claim to righteousness, therefore how long you have been a Christian and how many good things you have done for God or others do not matter, if you have not yielded your heart fully to Him. If you have not humbled and continued to humble your heart before God, yielding to Him fully, to obey Him in all things, you are in need of being born again, if you want life and peace, and ever want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 1 John 3:3, 5.
How do you yield to God? First and foremost, by confessing your sins. Secondly by humbling your heart before God, acknowledging that He is God and the only one who can save you, and praying to Him, asking for His help to be a better person. If you continue to do this, God will draw you closer and closer to Himself, and will bless you beyond measure! ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.’ Matthew 6:24 KJV. Do you love God more than anything else, and despise sin? Then you have found life, and more abundantly! If you are trying to serve both God and self, you are living a half-way Christian life that God is not pleased with, unless you desire a better life. But if you are yielding to God, and continue to yield to Him, staying contrite and penitent before Him, you will have life and peace. This is what is meant by walking by the Spirit. When this happens to you all the way, you will be blessed with God’s sweet Spirit and much blessed, pressed down, shaken together, and running over! “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38 KJV. If you give sparingly of yourself to God, then your blessings from Him will also be sparse.
If you want to be good, you must yield yourself to God completely, and then you will be His servant! If you are not sure how to yield to Him completely, just give in to your desire to have this wonderful peace that He placed in your heart, and humble yourself before Him, confess, and study the many precious promises and faith and love building stories in the Bible, especially the stories about Jesus, and allow God to bless your heart! The thing that you have searched for so long, if indeed you have, is now within your reach! God is calling out to your heart now to accept the terms of His peace, love, joy and happiness, now and forever! Amen.
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,” Romans 8:5-6 NASB.
#Whose #Servant #Fully #Yield #Obey #Confess #Life #Peace #Holy Spirit #God #Reap #Harvest #Destiny #Master #Death #Righteousness #Convict #Sin #Mercy #Love
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?
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.
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
© Copyright 2017 John Foll and earlier.
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40 NASB. “And He was saying, ‘For this reason I havesaid to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.’” John 6:65 NASB.
Wow! It’s the Father’s will, if you will give your heart to Him, that He will give you to Jesus, and Jesus will raise you up on the last day! Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life! How do you know that the Father has given or will give you to Jesus? If you behold Jesus and believe in Him, you will be given to Jesus as the text says, and He will raise you up on the last day. You cannot lose if you do this. How do we know this? Because Jesus said here that He will lose none of those who have been given to Him. The condition again? To behold Jesus, God’s Son, and believe in Him.
Stop thinking about your past failures and problems. Just believe that the Father and Jesus the Son love you. Just believe that the Father will give you to His precious Son Jesus, who will raise you up to eternal life. He will give you a wonderful spiritual life now and when you die, He will raise you up on the last day! No one can come to Jesus, unless the Father draws him (by the power of the Holy Spirit). This is what is meant by ‘all that the Father gave me’.
In the New Testament of the Bible there are many comparisons between baptism, death, the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of our heart to walk in the newness of life – but these are often an allusion to the literal resurrection of the dead, that is promised to all who believe. Jesus also said this in our passage above in John 6:39-40 that He will raise up all who are given to Him by the Father on the last day! Is that what you want? To be raised up by Jesus on the last day? Then behold Jesus and believe in Him, and let Him create a clean heart in you (Psalms 51:10), and ask God to help you to become born again, so that you can enter the kingdom of God. John 3:3, 5.
God promised through the prophet Jeremiah that He would make a New Covenant with His people (the house of Israel and Judah, which also includes all Christians who give themselves to God, see Galatians 3:29), which was to be fulfilled starting at Pentecost in Acts 2 and continue to our day: “"Behold, days are coming, " declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."” Jeremiah 31:31-34 NASB. In this promise, not only does God want to write His Law in our heart, He wants all to know Him from the least to the greatest – this is also a prophecy of Heaven, which is when this prophecy will have its sweetest, complete fulfillment! But we can all have the first part fulfilled now, where God will write His Law in our heart.
So there is a link between being baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection and the New Birth of John 3:3, 5 and God promising to create a new heart in His people of Jeremiah 31:31-34, and when Jesus finally takes His people to Heaven, at the Second Coming.Baptism/death, raised from the water/raised into the Newness of Jesus’ resurrection through baptism, and to the resurrection of the dead on the last day. If we love Jesus and want to be saved we will want to die with Him, through baptism (and each day die to sin), and be raised to newness of life, and to be resurrected on the last day. “It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13 NASB. Paul indicates that if we want eternal life, we should die with Jesus in baptism, and not deny Jesus. And in 1 Corinthians 15:31, he also adds ‘die to self’. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9 KJV. We should ask God for His Holy Spirit to help us to be faithful to Him, and not deny Him or His Son Jesus by our words, deeds, thoughts, or by the way we live, so that He will not deny us. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 KJV. God does not want to appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through Jesus, as Paul says above, and that waking or sleeping we should live together with Him. It is the will of the Father, as Jesus said above in John 6:40, that all believe in Jesus and obtain eternal life. Therefore believe.
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:3-11 KJV. If you are not walking in newness of life with God’s love in your heart, or do not love God more than anything and everything else, or do not love your neighbor as yourself, then you have not fully, truly been baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection, or you have not truly beheld the Son Jesus or believed in Him, or you have not continued like this. But if you are walking in newness of life, life is good and sweet, even if you are going through great difficulties and trials, and your heart will long to serve God and tell others how much He loves them, and help them in whatever way you have in your power to do. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”Proverbs 3:27 NASB. And to whom is good do? To every child of God; every human being on this earth, good or bad, because God loves them all! If you are born from above, this will be your sweetest desire, to help all when it is in your power to do so.
If you know you are not yet where you should be, or are not walking in newness of life, and you have not truly beheld the Son nor believed in Him, or are not born again, there is still hope! The door of mercy is still open! Get on your knees and plead with God to have mercy on you a sinner, and ask Him to help you to become born again. Ask God to help you to be more willing, and yield yourself completely to Him. God will always hear your prayer when you beg Him for mercy and cling to Him for help like this!Deuteronomy 10:20, 13:4; Joshua 23:8; Psalms 63:8. And you can yet be born from above! Amen!
This is what we want and continue to want, to be raised in newness of life, and to be raised on the last day to be with Jesus and His Father in Heaven forever.There is a great joy and a great reward in loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself, because love is the fulfillment of the Law! Romans 13:10, and Psalms 19:7-11. This is God’s promise to all who behold Jesus and believe in Him.
Finally, to end this article, we want to bring this final statement from Paul regarding our blessed hope:
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NASB.
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© 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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