The Worthless Servant

Who is My Neighbor? Part 1

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more…

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

These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you.

By John Foll, finished 5/5/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

“Then another came, saying, `Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.' He said to him, `I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?' And he said to those who stood by, `Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.' (And they said to him, `Lord, he has ten pounds!') `I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'" Luke 19:20-27 RSV.

The NASB has this as, “you worthless slave”:
"He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?” Luke 19:22 NASB.

Jesus’ words here apply to all who make the claim of being one of God’s people and have been in the church or the synagogue for years, who are not doing enough or anything at all to help others or show them how much He or His Father love them. They are ‘worthless servants’, ‘worthless slaves’. They knew what their master required of them, but did nothing about it. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 KJV.

Did you know that everyone is a ‘slave’ or a ‘servant’ to someone or something? Paul declares: “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. So there are but two choices in this life, you can yield all the way to God and become His servant or you can become a slave or servant of sin and death. Which will you have? If you are a Christian that means that you are Jesus’ servant or disciple. Those who are not Jesus’ willing servant are not really a Christian at all. Jesus will especially judge all who ‘claim to be a Christian’ by higher standards than those who don’t. Out of their own mouth they will be judged. To know whose side you are on, you must know who you are yielding yourself a servant to obey. The Holy Spirit or ‘the flesh’. Once you know who you are yielding to, on a regular, daily basis, you will understand your life’s final destiny. That is why this parable of the worthless servant or worthless slave is so important! For God will hold all of His servants accountable in the day of Judgement as we shall see below.

This parable by Jesus in Luke 19:20-27 is an illustration of the coming judgement. The “worthless slave” and the “wicked servant” represent the people of God who do not let their light shine for His glory. Jesus called them a “worthless slave.” Also note what He said here: “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8 NASB. In another related parable Jesus said: “And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’ "” Luke 13:6-9 NASB. This parable represents the coming judgement. But it happens before the final judgement, because this was primarily a prophecy about the Jewish nation who were rejecting Him. We are not saying this to bash the Jews, for many Christians also are not bearing fruit for the Master. This prophecy applies to all ‘Christians’ as well who bear no fruit for Him. This parable is a warning to all of God’s people everywhere who are fruitless and lifeless. Eventually everyone’s life’s record comes up before God. He gives all a chance to repent and get to know Him and bear fruit for His glory. Of all who make the claim of being His people, He looks at them carefully, longing for His own to finally bear fruit for His glory. James says, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” James 5:7 KJV. Here ‘The husbandman’ is God the Father. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:1-2 KJV. Oh how our loving Heavenly Father waits for His ‘people’ to finally bear fruit for His glory! He has long patience for it. Every branch He prunes that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1-2) and every lifeless branch, gets cast into the fire to be burned. Jesus said, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6 NASB. And so all who do not abide in Jesus - they will not bear fruit for God’s glory, and sadly they eventually will be gathered up and cast into the fire to be burned.

James 5:7 is also making a reference to the coming judgement when he says, ‘Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. This message from James has a special application to all those who claim they are waiting for Christ’s Second Coming. Those who make the claim they are waiting for Jesus’ Second Coming, if they really believe it, will ask God to help them bear much fruit for His glory. Those who do not heed this message to bear much fruit for God will be in trouble. Jesus was repeating what the Father said when He said, ‘I have waited three years for it to bear fruit, cut it down.Jesus represents the gardener who said fertilize it and give it more time to bear fruit. Jesus represents the vineyard keeper in this parable in Luke 13:6-9, because he said, ‘I will fertilize it and dig around it – if it doesn’t bear fruit next year then cut it down.Jesus pleads with the Father to give His people more time to repent and bear fruit for His Father’s glory. Yes, the Father has long patience that His people would finally bear fruit for His glory, and if they would do all that He asks them to do, and seek Him with all of their heart. If they would seek after Him with all their heart, He would grant them the precious blessing of bearing fruit for His glory!And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NASB. But make no mistake! The vineyard keeper or the gardener in the parable of Luke 13:-6-9, said, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’ Luke 13:9. Jesus said, leave the tree alone a year, until it has been fertilized, and if it bears fruit next year fine, but if not, ‘cut it down.’ This is in answer to God’s command and question: Cut it down, why does it even take up the ground? All of the true subjects of God’s kingdom are not ‘cumberers of the ground.’ They just don’t take up the ground, soaking up all the blessings from God, and the rich root of the vine, Jesus, but they bear much fruit for the Master.

Back to our original text in Luke 19:20-27: Jesus called that man a “wicked servant” in the King James Version. The NASB version calls the man a “worthless slave.” Both are right. Those who make the claim of following and believing in Jesus, yet do not bear fruit for the Father’s glory are not only a “worthless servant,” but a “wicked slave.” God has provided everything we need to love and serve Him with: He gave us Jesus His Son for the sins of the world (John 3:16-17), and He gave us the promise of the Comforter or the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 NASB. But those who will not take the time to get to know God, love and obey Him, will not have this blessing, and will not be able to live a righteous life, which makes them “wicked” and “worthless.” Those that are trying to work out their own righteousness by their own skill or will, or those who make the claim of being God’s people who are not too concerned about the sin in their life, alike will not receive the blessing of righteousness that God wants to give them through the Holy Spirit, and will be that “wicked servant” whom God will take away even what they don’t have. Both of these examples are self-righteousness, because real righteousness only comes from God. Those who will not bear fruit for God, who make the claim of being one of His children will eventually be judged for this. God will eventually say, “Why does it take up the ground! Cut it down!”

Unfortunately, someday soon these sad words will be uttered against all who refuse to let Jesus dig around the soil of their heart and receive the spiritual ‘fertilizer’ from Him, the dew of Heaven or the gift of the Holy Spirit. This would have given them the spiritual growth they needed in order to please the Master of the vineyard. This is what God will say someday to those wicked, worthless and lazy servants, unless they repent and allow Him to make a change in them that they cannot make themselves. Bearing fruit for God is not salvation by works, but the lack of good works in these “wicked servants” shows that they had no vital connection with God, did not know Him, and had not availed themselves of His many precious promises.Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4 KJV.

All are promised salvation if they would only believe in Jesus, God’s only Son. And if they truly believe, they would get to know God, keep His word, and the Holy Spirit would be abiding in them, and then they would bear much fruit for Him. No! The wicked, worthless and lazy servants of God have not claimed His rich promises, nor believed in them, and have not been born again of the water and of the Spirit (John 3:3, 5), and will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. Then it will be a sad day for their soul, because at the end of their probation at the judgment they will be accounted with the enemies of God, as Jesus said: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.’” Luke 19: 27 KJV. Those who will not avail themselves of the wonderful salvation that God has provided them through Jesus, and allow Him to fill them with the Holy Spirit, unless they repent, will become His enemies, and will be that “wicked”, lazy and “worthless” servant who doesn’t want Jesus or His Father to rein over them; they will not have God rule over their heart, because they do not love Him. Jesus reiterated this 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. 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 14:23-24 NASB. So only those who truly love Jesus and His Father will keep Jesus’ word and have Him and His Father making their abode in their heart, through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

From the words of their mouth will God judge those wicked servants. They knew that their Heavenly Father wanted them to bear much fruit for Him, so at the very least they should have put His talents that He gave them out to “the exchangers” and traded with it to increase it in some way. They could have at least given money to God’s servants who were preaching the Gospel to the poor, and to His missionaries in foreign lands, instead of doing nothing. But instead, they hid their talents that God gave them, showing their disdain for Heaven’s blessings. While it is true that God is love, many people forget that they have a responsibility to others in this world to help them, and follow all of His commandments, which are to love Him more than anyone or anything else, and to love their neighbor as themselves. Matthew 22:36-40. If you do not want to be that “worthless” or “wicked slave,” ‘trade your talents’ in such a way as to enrich God’s kingdom and help it grow. This is to teach your neighbor of God’s love or help them in some way, so that God’s kingdom can grow. Those that do not love God enough to help Him grow His kingdom, do not really love Him or Jesus, and will eventually become that “wicked” “worthless” slave who is God’s enemy.

Be not like that “wicked,” lazy, and “worthless” servant of God who did not avail themselves of God’s many promised blessings, and allow Him to make them all that He wanted them to be. Let Jesus dig around the soil of your heart, allow the trials that He sends you to mold you and shape you. Allow Jesus to fertilize the soil of your heart, and give you the water of life, that you may become born again. When you become truly born again, and get the Holy Spirit for yourself, it will be the most natural thing in the world for you to bear much fruit for God, it will be your greatest desire! This will be proof that the Holy Spirit is in your heart and that you know God.

Conclusion:
Let’s finish out that parable by going back to the beginning of it, which takes place in Heaven, as those who love God are ushered into the Pearly gates:

When he [Jesus] returned, having received the kingdom, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. The first came before him, saying, `Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.' And he said to him, `Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, `Lord, your pound has made five pounds.' And he said to him, `And you are to be over five cities.' Luke 19:15-19 RSV.

And the Parallel passage from Matthew:

And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:20-23 KJV.

So whether you have received 10 talents from the Lord, or 5 or 2 or even 1, invest them all for the glory of God, so that when Jesus comes back to take His people home He will say, ‘well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.’ Enter into the joy of Heaven, that Jesus has prepared for all those who love Him. And there will be much joy throughout the endless ages of eternity – for those who have invested the Master’s talents for His service that He gave them! Amen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you, and give you the refreshing dew of Heaven, and grant you many precious fruits to bear for the Master. That you may enter into the joy of your Lord. Amen.

#Worthless #Servant #Slave #Wicked #Talents #Invest #Yield #Obey #Holy #Spirit #Flesh #Bear #Fruit #Burned #Jesus #Judgment #Vineyard #Husbandman #Helper #Comforter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now back to our article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your neighbor is whoever needs your help!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Foll, edited 02/25/2017
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11 NASB.
My prayer is that your love would abound more and more and that your love for God would grow stronger and stronger. God's love for you is the key on how you can have a happy life, full of love, joy and peace and hope for the future and have the faith to please Him. His love for you is the key on how you can give up destructive sinful habits, and treat others with love and kindness, and to love and forgive yourself. God will help you to gain the knowledge of the important matters in this life and to gain wisdom and discernment, in order to make the right decisions and choices in this life of perplexity and trouble.
This knowledge and wisdom that God will give you, if you love Him and seek after Him with all your heart, will help you to approve the things that are excellent, so that you will be sincere and blameless before Him, as Paul declares above, His peculiar treasure. God wants to fill you with the fruit of righteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ.
How can you be filled with the fruit of righteousness? It’s when you have confessed your sins, given your heart to God, and invited or allowed Him to fill you with His precious Holy Spirit! When this happens, your greatest desire will be to give the praise and glory to God in everything, not only from your lips, but by the way you live and by proclaiming His love to others - to as many as possible. God's great love for you will enable you to have the fruit of righteousness in your life, and helps you to please Him! - He will thus preserve and help you so that when Jesus Christ comes back in the clouds with great glory and power, to take His people home, that you will say, 'This is my God, whom I have waited for! He has come back to save me, just like He said He would.' Then you will not shrink back in fear, because you have been forgiven and washed white as snow, and you have devoted your life to Him, because you love Him!
God's love for you is the key to how you can have these blessings of love, joy, peace, faith, hope, and eternal life forever with Him, in the endless joy and delight that God has promised to all who love Him and all those who would desire His sweet salvation! So humble yourself before God, confess all of your sins, give your heart completely to Him, and receive the joy of your salvation, by receiving His love into your heart, which He has always longed to give you! Then He will put heaven into your heart!This will give you great joy and keep you safe in His love; to help prepare you to receive eternal life, when Jesus returns to take His own to Heaven!
So I pray that your love may abound still more and more, that God would be your all-in-all, and that your joy would be made full! Oh so full! Amen, let it be so!


#Pray #Love #Abound #Discernment #Knowledge #Fruit #Righteousness #Jesus #Joy #Peace #Hope #Choice #Decision #Sincere #Blameless #Holy #Spirit #Devotion #Wisdom #Salvation



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

© Copyright 2017 John Foll

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

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

By John Foll, 12/3/2016

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:11 NASB.

Jesus spoke the word to His disciples in John chapters 14 to 17, but they still apply to us today, if we are His disciple! The words that Jesus has spoken to us, not only are they life to our soul, but they will bring us much joy! He loves us so much and longs for our joy to be full! We can only have this fullness of joy if we are His disciple and listen to His words of love to us. Our joy is made full when we are His disciple! This is where not only true peace is, but true joy! It is found only in the love for Jesus and following all of His words.But since He came to magnify His Father and His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), it is found in the pages of the entire Bible, not just the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!
What were the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples before our passage, John 15:11?
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruitof itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified,that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. John 15:3-10 NASB.
If you want to have that full joy that Jesus wants all of His people to have, then ask God to help you become Jesus’ disciple. What does it mean to be Jesus’ disciple?It means to listen to and keep all of His words, and to bear much fruit for God and thus prove to be His disciple!If you abide in Him, as He was in His Father and His Father was in Him, you will bear much fruit, and become His disciple. Then when you are Jesus’ disciple, you will be able to pray to Godand ask whatever you wish, and it will be done unto you. This promise of Jesus was not given to the crowds that were following Him around, but to His disciples only. It was not given for selfish gratification or for anything outside of God’s will. But if you are Jesus’ disciple, you will only want God’s will, and selfishness and sin will be banished from your heart. If you want to be Jesus’ disciple, and abide in Him, you will become His disciple and then these words of Jesus will be for you, but only as you abide in Him, as He was in His Father and His Father in Him.  
Final thought on the love of God and the joy He wants to give us:
But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12 NASB.


#Joy #Wonderful #Peace #Full #Believe #Happy #Saved #Truth #New #Life #God #Holy #Spirit #Jesus #Disciple #Clean #Abide #Fruit #Obey #Pray