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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God - What does it mean?

By John Foll, written on 3/12/2017 and 3/18/2017 – 3/19/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017 


“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV.

What did Jesus really mean when He said this? 

There is more to this text than is commonly understood. We want to go deeper into this statement by Jesus and give our own personal testimony regarding it, to help increase your faith in God!

Now back to what Jesus said before our central text here: 

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:25-32 NASB. 

Jesus is talking about two classes of people here: those of faith and the Gentiles. The Gentiles seek first after what they shall eat, drink and be clothed with, making this the most important thing – these are all those who don’t know Jesus or His Father. ‘The Gentiles’ that Jesus is referring to here includes those who are baptized as Christian, who are not of faith or do not fully believe that God loves them and will take care of them. If Jesus is your master, you will truly believe that God loves you and will take care of you, and you will seek first after His kingdom and His righteousness.

Jesus told us not to be like the Gentiles, who worry about how they are going to be clothed, or have food to eat, etc., because they don’t believe in the Mighty Helper for their daily needs.
 
Which class are you? Are you a Gentile or are you a child of faith? That depends on whether you know that God loves you or not, or whether you know that He will take care of you or not. Do you have faith that God loves you and will take care of you? Then seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the things that you need in this life will be added unto you. Doubt it not. Jesus tells us here that the birds, lilies, and grass are fed, arrayed in their “clothing” and taken care of by our Heavenly Father. Does He not love you more than them? Why then do you not believe that He will take care of you, you of little faith? Why do you worry about how you shall live? Why do you worry about having a job? Will you still be able to afford food? What will you do when something that you need and depend on breaks, if you cannot afford to fix or replace it? Do as Jesus commanded you: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” Matthew 6:25 KJV. Just take Him at His word!

But now we want to take this deeper: 

What does it really mean to seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness? This is the key to everything good in this life and the life to come. Simply put, this is to seek after God and all His righteousness as Jesus clearly stated here. God revealed this same truth to His servant Jeremiah: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 KJV. When you seek for God with all your heart, and then desire to obey Him in everything that He has commanded you in the Holy Bible, then you will be seeking after Him first and His righteousness! When you are tired of sinning and being unrighteous, you can pray to God that He will give you His righteousness, and He will give you the Holy Spirit to help you be righteous! Then you will be truly seeking the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness for yourself. Jesus also states this same truth in a different manner when He said:Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 KJV. Jesus’ yoke is much easier than that yoke of bondage to sin, suffering and death! It is easier, because He will make you happy! It is easier, because this yoke is based on your desire to love and serve Him, not by force or addiction or slavery like your life is before you give your heart totally to Him. Jesus will never force you, that is why His yoke is lighter, because it is based only on your choice of daily giving your heart to Him and willingly serving Him, and because He will take all of your burdens and slavery of sin away from you, if you let Him! This will make you very happy if you will just give your heart to Him all-the-way! This is another way of stating how you can seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness. Dear reader, lay all of your cares and burdens on Jesus, and take His yoke upon you, and then He will help you to seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness.

A passage with overlapping or similar meaning to what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-33 is this passage that Moses wrote of God to the Israelites: “And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3 NASB. Jesus used this quote when the devil tempted Him in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:1-4 KJV. If you will desire to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God in His Holy Bible, and ask for His help to do this, you will then be living by every word that proceeds from His mouth, and will then be seeking His Kingdom first and seeking after His righteousness.

But let’s take this even deeper:

What does it really mean to seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness? The clue was given earlier. When you yield yourself completely to God because you love Him, you will then be given the precious Holy Spirit. And since ‘God is love’, 1 John 4:8, a very strong desire will be placed in your heart to help others in whatever way you can, because you know that God loves them too, just like He loves you! And you will long, just ache to tell them how much He loves them!

Note: 1 John 4:8 does not say that God has love, but it says that ‘God is love’! I.e. God is the source of Love!

So again, what does it really mean to seek first the kingdom of God? It means that you will greatly desire to do everything in your power to build up God’s kingdom, by telling others how much He loves them or by showing it to them, by helping them, and by living a life that brings honor and glory to God! If you are truly seeking first the kingdom of God, you will lay everything on the altar to Him and give everything to Him, and beg Him to send you into His vineyard (Luke 10:2) and give you the gifts that you need to serve Him with. John 14:12-15. Then you will be Jesus’ disciple and will bear much fruit, and this will glorify God! John 15:8. Why is God glorified when you bear much fruit for Him? Because God is love, 1 John 4:8, and loves everyone, and greatly longs to save them! God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11; 18:23. Also “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 KJV. Never forget that God loves you and everyone else in the world, and wants all men and women to come to repentance, so that they perish not! If you really love Him, you will long to help build up His kingdom, which is the fuller deeper meaning of ‘seeking first the Kingdom of God’. You will feel your great need of His help and how inadequate you are without Him, and how much you need the spiritual gifts that you need to serve Him with, asking Him for these things in Jesus’ name, so that you can bring honor and glory to Him.

What will God give you if you truly seek His Kingdom first and all of His righteousness, and tell others how much He loves them? I.e. What will God give you if you seek to build up His kingdom? Jesus plainly stated that God would give you all of the things that the Gentiles and every human being seek after: food, clothing, shelter, in short all of the things you need to live, survive and thrive. If instead of seeking first after what the Gentiles seek after (who don’t know God or trust in Him), and seek after His kingdom and His righteousness, He will give you everything that you need. If you will stop living your life by just the way you earn your living, and if you stop putting your faith in your ability to take care of your needs and your family’s needs by your job, and fully live by all of the words in God’s Holy Bible, trusting in Him to supply all of your needs, then you will be putting His kingdom first and seeking after His righteousness! When you place all on the altar because of your love for Him, and seek to bring others to Him, telling and showing them how much He loves them, then you will be living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and will be truly seeking first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness. Then you can fully claim Jesus’ promise here, and believe that God will give you all the things you need in this life, that the Gentiles earnestly seek after! Because God knows that you need these things and cares for you!

* Note: We are not saying here that if you don't seek first after the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, or haven't fully yielded to Him that He will not still try to take care of you, because God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Jesus said, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:44-45 KJV. But it is much better to believe that God love's you and will take care of you, so that you can make your way safely to Heaven, and have the confidence you need when you pray to claim His rich promises for you! The purpose of this article is to increase your faith in God, and to help you learn fully how much He loves you, and have the wonderful peace and assurance of your own salvation!

My Testimony:
I know personally that what was stated in this article is true. I was telling this idea to a little group at Church that the fuller meaning of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God’ is really seeking first the kingdom of God, not just for yourself, but for others. I.e. you are seeking to build up God’s kingdom. I was saying that as a group that we could claim this promise for ourselves, since we were working towards and making plans on how to help others in our community get to know God and help them with their health, etc. I have been working towards this goal with this little group for a while now that I am a part of, and I also greatly desired to build up God’s Kingdom for my own writing and speaking ministry that I asked God to give me, that He is giving me. I am boasting in the Lord, which is permitted according to 1 Corinthians 1:31, because I would be nothing without Him – He is my strength and shield and mighty helper! (I got this idea that it is permitted to boast in the Lord from either A. T. Jones or E. J. Waggoner.) Now I had been looking for a job for many months, and was getting very discouraged from time-to-time, and believed that I needed to express my faith that since we were working to help others get to know God, that we met the qualifications for this promise of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-36. I believe I told them about my job interview and asked them to pray for me, and that I believed that the conditions for this promise were met; that they could claim this promise for their needs too. I had interviewed for a job on this same day by phone before this meeting, but I didn’t know the results of it then. The next day I was told by the recruiting company for this job, that I had interviewed strongly and that the company was thinking of extending an offer to me, but I was to wait until the following Tuesday (the next week). That next week I was given the offer of employment and accepted it. So I believe that God heard my prayer and granted my request, because I was willing to confess the promises of His love for us and promises to help us and the conditions, and that we had met them. “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. So we need to confess with our mouth that our Lord Jesus greatly loves us and wants to take care of us: we need to confess with our mouth the promises that God has given us and their conditions, so that others might have faith in God too! God will help you, if you will seek after His kingdom first and all of His righteousness, and seek to help others know how much He loves them.

So how can you stop worrying about how you will be clothed, have food to eat and how you will live? How can you believe that God will take care of you? How can you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness? 

You need an anchor, to anchor your soul to your mighty helper, God! That anchor is your faith in Him, if you know that He loves you. Do you really know that He loves you? Have you experienced this personally for yourself? Has He revealed to you that He loves you? God will do all of this for you and more, if you will just get to know Him and learn to give your heart completely to Him! God will give you this anchor if you will just ask Him to! Be like Jesus’ disciples who said unto the Lord: ‘Increase our faith.’ Luke 17:5 KJV. How do you get this faith? By yielding your heart to God all the way and receiving the Holy Spirit, because it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23. What do you have to lose? Why not give your heart completely to God today? But you may say ‘I am a sinner, no good or evil.’ But what does Jesus say? “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Luke 11:13 KJV. Answer: Jesus says that God will give you the Holy Spirit, if you will but ask! Is it really just that simple to get faith? Yes it is! Why then is it that not every Christian has enough faith and why is it that they get caught up into doubt? Answer: Because they have not asked or continue to ask every day for the precious Holy Spirit or because they have not fully yielded themselves to God. Maybe they don’t really know how much God loves them or maybe they don’t really care yet? Yes, we believe that this must be the case! If they really knew how much He loved them, and what He did for them when He gave His only Son to die on the cross for their sins, John 3:16-17, and the wonderful gift He provided for them in the gift of the Holy Spirit, as stated in Acts 2:33 and in other places such as John 14:16, and returned their love and affection to Him, then they would have the assurance of their salvation, and have the Holy Spirit for themselves, and have all the faith that they need to believe God and appropriate all of His promises in the Bible and thus get the victory. So the key to having faith is getting to know God and yielding yourself to Him! He will then give you everything that you need to love, obey and serve Him with! And then you will be truly seeking first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness, and all of the things you need will be added unto you! Amen.

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What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?

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

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

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

Our Response: 

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

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

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

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The Tongue 2

By D. T. Bourdeau.


We should not indulge in foolish talking and jesting, which, as Paul says, are not convenient, but should rather give thanks. Eph. v, 4. Again he says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Chap. iv, 29; Col. iv, 6.

A good remedy for foolish talking and jesting is, giving thanks to the Lord. Foolish talking, jesting and joking are generally indulged in, when the mind is cheerful and feels well; and cheerfulness is good if it is rightly used. If any one has reason to be cheerful it is the Christian; and how appropriate it is to thank the Lord when we feel well. To do this, would keep our minds on the Lord and prevent us from talking foolishly. Says James, "Is any merry? let him sing psalms." James v, 13. Singing psalms and giving thanks unto the Lord, and speaking with grace, and in a manner to edify, would be more profitable and would leave a greater and more lasting satisfaction than to engage in a vain, empty, filthy and foolish conversation. Many have had to weep over foolish and trifling expressions; but no rational person was ever known to weep over a pure, elevating, graceful and instructive conversation.

The tongue should be employed in exalting and defending the truth, and in giving a reason of our hope.
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In doing this in a proper manner, we can be a blessing to ourselves and to others. "A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth." Prov. xii, 14. Again, "The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life." Chap. x, 11. It invigorates, refreshes and gladdens the hearts of many. "A wholesome tongue (or the healing of the tongue, margin) is a tree of life;" and "the lips of the wise disperse knowledge and feed many." Prov. xv, 4, 7; x, 21.

But the tongue should use knowledge aright. Prov. xv, 2. To use knowledge aright, we must speak right words at the right time, in the right manner, with the right spirit and actuated by right motives.
"The tongue of the just is as choice silver." Prov. x, 20. Its words are choice words. They are well chosen. Among the many things that could be said on different occasions, we must speak the proper things, -- the things that are needed and that can be understood and appreciated; the things that will glorify God and do others good. Those who speak promiscuously, and say all they know on every occasion, cannot be said to use knowledge aright, and must injure and be a disgrace to any honorable cause in which they may engage. In this way the cause of truth has often been brought into disrepute by its professed friend.

"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it till afterward." "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit (or a cool spirit, margin)." Prov. xxix, 11; xvii, 27. He is swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. James i, 19. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that
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refraineth his lips is wise." Prov. x, 19. See also chap. xxix, 20; Eccl. v, 1-7.

Said Christ on a certain occasion, "I have yet many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now." Jno. xvi, 12. We are so weak and our minds are so limited, that we cannot bear the whole truth at once. We must first learn and practice the alphabet of truth, and then we are prepared to understand and learn more truth and more difficult portions of truth. And we should learn from our own weakness and experience and from the dealings of the Lord with us, how we ought to deal out knowledge to others. To deal out difficult portions of truth at first, and present too many new ideas at once, would clog and confuse the minds of our hearers, and perhaps make them conclude that we have a confused mass of ideas, and give them an unfavorable opinion of the truths we advocate.

"A word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Prov. xxv, 11. It often operates like a good medicine administered at the right time and in a proper manner. A physician who would be successful in his line of business, must first consider the physical condition of his patients and the nature of their diseases, and then he is prepared to administer unto them the proper kind of medicine. So he who would be successful in doctoring sin-sick souls, should first consider the moral condition of his patients and the nature of their moral diseases, and then he can tell what portions of truths are adapted to their respective cases, and at what time and in what manner they should be presented. And wise and successful is the person that can give to each a portion of truth in due season.
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Some are not prepared to bear the same portions of truth that others can. Some can receive at one time and under certain circumstances, what they cannot receive at a different time and under different circumstances. Some need to be cheered and encouraged; others need to be checked. Some cases and circumstances call for sharp (yet meek) rebukes; others for moderate rebukes. Some cases call for open reproofs; others for secret reproofs. But every truth and every case should be handled with love.

There is a time to speak and a time to keep silence. "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Prov. xvii, 28. There are many seasons when we ought to keep silence; and in many instances by speaking when we ought not to speak, we use knowledge wrong.

We use knowledge wrong when we say much about the truth, and yet obey not the truth. It would be wiser to talk less and live better. Those who have much to say about the truth, but whose lives do not agree with their profession, may be compared to a farmer who extols the qualities of a certain apple-tree in his orchard, and immediately presents a basket of miserable apples to those that hear him. If his hearers are not acquainted with him or with the tree he extols, they will say, The tree is bad and his taste is perverted; or he knows the tree is bad and wishes to deceive us. Many, not having an understanding of the truth because they have not examined it, will judge of the truth by the fruit that those bear who profess it; and if the fruit is bad, they will conclude that the profession or theory is also bad. True, this is not a logical conclusion. But we see how necessary
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it is for those who talk the truth to live out the truth.

Knowledge is used wrong when the truth is constantly urged upon others, as though all success depended on much urging. In this way, many are wearied and disgusted, and made to feel that too much of one thing is good for nothing. Let us remember that God has something to do in enforcing the truth, that we cannot do. We should give God a chance to work by his Spirit and good angels, and should not get in the way and retard the progress of truth by overacting and going beyond the limits assigned unto us. If a clear presentation of truth, backed up by a consistent life and the spirit of truth, will not convince the honest, and lead them to action, what will?

Knowledge is used wrong when the truth is used as a club, and to get the ascendancy over others. By this course, honest souls are driven away from the truth and oppose it, who would otherwise ponder and receive it. We must not feel like a certain class whom David represents as saying, "With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?" Ps. xii, 4. It is not those who whip and drive souls who are accounted wise. The wisest of mean says, "He that winneth souls is wise."

Knowledge is used wrong when the truth is spoken from selfish motives, to get wordly gain, or to receive the praise of men, etc. Those who speak the truth from such motives, and with such objects in view, may prosper with those who love smooth things, as long as they keep in a popular channel, and dwell upon truths that are generally acknowledged, and that have no special cross connected with them; but let them leave this popular channel, and speak the whole truth, with the
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glory of God and the good of souls in view, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear, and many will lose their worldly support and the praise and honor of men, to receive the salary of those who have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God; viz., persecution, reproach, want, privation, the honor and praise that come from God, with the promise of eternal life in the world to come. Doubtless if all who now profess to preach the truth were shut up to this salary, not a few would leave off preaching to adopt some other avocation.

Those who have an undue anxiety to fill the place of teachers while they overlook the necessary qualifications to teach the truth, would do well to consider the following injunction of James. "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation," or judgment, margin. James iii, 1. Mr. Whiting's translation reads as follows: "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that as such we must receive greater condemnation."

"The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth knowledge to his lips." Prov. xvi, 23. If we are careful to think before speaking, and with reference to speaking, we shall have more knowledge and know how to use it. We shall know when to keep silence, and when, what and how to speak, and will keep our souls from troubles. "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles." Prov. xxi, 23. "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile." 1 Pet. iii, 10.

Dear reader, if so much depends on the right use of the tongue, let us see to it that we weigh our words.
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Let us keep our mouths as with a bridle, and take heed to our ways that we sin not with our tongues.

By D. T. Bourdeau, from his book: “Sanctification - SANCTIFICATION OR, LIVING HOLINESS”, 1864, p. 67 - 73.

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. v, 23.

Blog Article edited by John Foll.

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Is going to Heaven the highest reward?

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

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

By John Foll, written 3/4/2017 and earlier.

© 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 lifebut 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.
Amen.

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Why are the Spiritual Gifts in the book of Acts not still with us today?

By John Foll, written 3/4/2017
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
This was written as a response to a question in Disqus.com: Did the Spiritual Gifts Die with the Apostles?
https://disqus.com/home/discussion/channel-callingallchristians/did_the_spiritual_gifts_die_with_the_apostles/
The Gifts of the Spirit are not gone from among those who have given themselves completely to God.
For over 100 years, God’s church as a whole, not as individuals, has been in a lukewarm state as Jesus predicted it would be in Revelation 3:14-22, before the Judgement. Revelation chapter 2 and 3 reveal to us that there are seven church “periods”, beginning with the Church in the book of Acts to the Seventh Church, just before the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world. There have been more than one scholar and more than one denomination that taught this. We believe that God has given a measure of the Spirit to each of the Seven Churches in each of the seven ages, but not everyone has accepted the Spirit or met the conditions to receive the Spirit.See Joel 2 for the conditions: complete repentance.
* Proof that God’s church has been for over 100 years in a lukewarm state is outside the scope of this article.
* We believe that in each of the periods of God’s church there have been people who have had not only the Fruits of the Spirit, but the Gifts of the Spirit as well.
But to answer the question proposed on Disqus.com: ‘Did the gifts die with the Apostles?’ No! But it should be clear to all that there is something wrong with a lot of God’s church today, since they are not bearing the Christian fruits of the Spirit of peace, love, joy, faith, hope, self-control, etc. How do we know this? By their fruits shall you know them. Matthew 7:16-20. There is unkindness, lack of love, lack of peace, addictions, falsehoods, worldliness, strife, and wickedness, yes, even among those professing to know God and His Son Jesus.But many seek to excuse themselves and there are many false teachers that teach people to excuse their lack of love and godliness in their life, but the Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life – but only given to the humble and the penitent. Romans 6:23; Luke 18:13-14. Jesus clearly promised the Gift of the Holy Spirit to all of His disciples, which should be all Christians, since all Christians should want to be Jesus’ disciple, and they should all be filled with the Holy Spirit. If they really loved Jesus, they would be His disciple! Acts 1:4-5; John 14:16-17; Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16, Acts 2:3-4, Luke 13:26-33.
Jesus’ answer to the First Church of Ephesus gives us the reason why the Gifts of the Spirit are not apparently seen here in our day, to the same extent as in the book of Acts:Because God’s people have lost their first love for Him! Revelation 2:4-5. This passage also tells us how God’s church can get the Holy Spirit back … if they repent and do their first works. What works? By becoming truly converted and loving Jesus all the way, and He will give us the power to do His works. We cannot do this ourselves, we must submit fully to God, and receive this power from Him if we want it. Then we will preach the gospel to the world with great love, joy and power, and love our neighbor as ourselves! This was the church that started out strong in the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, but by the time Paul died and for sure after John the beloved died, the church had lost their first love for Jesus and His Father! And they also lost the full power of the Holy Spirit as well. The Church has yet to recover this full strength yet in our day. The book of Hebrews also gives us a clue too as to why many don’t have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their life, because of unbelief! (It doesn’t mention this specifically, but this is an application of what it says.) See Hebrews 3:19; 4:6, 22.
Those who have no desire to live by the gospel or to preach it to the world, or who have lost their first love for Jesus or never had it, cannot have the wonderful sweet promise of the Holy Spirit, nor the Fruits nor the Gifts of the Spirit either, unless they have a great change made in them willingly! But if they have a change in their mind and give themselves to Jesus all the way, they should receive the Holy Spirit in full. Note what Peter here says, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NASB. So we see here that the Holy Spirit is given by God only to those who obey Him (or want to obey Him), this implies that they have submitted themselves completely to Him. There is no middle ground here.
The Gifts of the Spirit cannot be the gifts of the Spirit, without the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I. e. if someone wants to have the Gifts of the Spirit, they MUST first have the Fruits of the Spirit. Their heart must be converted and completely devoted to God, if this is not the case, they do not have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Or they do not want to obey God, Acts 5:32, or do not want to be Jesus’ friend and do all that He commanded, especially that we would love one another, and everyone in the world. John 15:14, 12-13. The full outpouring of the Holy Spirit is given on the condition of complete repentance and yielding to God. See Joel 2 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. There are popular teachings nowadays that say we don’t need to be concerned too much, if at all, about obeying God or wanting to live a righteous life, or even to make a full confession, and some imply that it is a sin to do so.Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21 KJV.
Unless a person has a desire to come clean with God, and make a complete repentance, they will never get the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, nor the Fruits of the Spirit, nor the Gifts of the Spirit. God’s best gifts are only for those who love Him all the way, and more than anything and everything else. But there is a false Holy Spirit out there, from ‘the father of lies’, and you can get this one quite easily without doing anything that Jesus or the Bible says that we should do, because it requires no cross to bear, and no confession to make, and no obedience to render. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11. But we would rather have the true outpouring of the Holy Spirit and keep it, because as the song says, ‘‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word.’ By Louisa M. R. Stead. If any will repent, and get their first love for Jesus, and give their heart completely to Him, and want to obey Him and love to obey Him, they too can get this ‘promise of the Father’ that Jesus promised to all Christians! Jesus’ sheep will all hear His voice, and follow Him wherever He goes, want to obey Him, and they will have His Spirit and belong to Him and have life abundantly. John 10:27-29; Romans 8:9,14; Revelation 14:4. Jesus says, “'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.'”Revelation 3:20-21 NASB. Amen.  
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The Tongue 1

By D. T. Bourdeau
"The tongue," says James, "is a little member, and boasteth great things.Behold, how great a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell." James iii, 5, 6.
This is said of an unsanctified tongue, and shows that though the tongue is a small member yet it exerts a mighty influence. It sustains a relation to and exerts an influence over the whole body. It is compared to bits that we put in the horses' mouths and by which we turn about the whole body; and to a helm by which the mighty ships are turned whithersoever the governor listeth. Verses 3, 4. Such is the importance that James attaches to governing the tongue that he declares, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body." "If any among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." Verse 2: Chap. i, 26. And Solomon must have been forcibly struck with the necessity of governing the tongue when he wrote, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue." Prov. xviii, 21.
The tongue, as an instrument of speech, is one of
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those prerogatives which exalt man above the beast, and was designed by the Creator to express holy and virtuous thoughts. It is an index to the heart; "for out of the abundance of the heart," says our Saviour, "the mouth speaketh." Matt. xii, 35. The use that is made of the tongue indicates the moral condition of the heart, and consequently the character of the whole man; and there are as many ways in which men sin with their tongues as there are in which they sin with their thoughts, tempers and actions.
It is readily seen that the sanctification of the tongue is a vast subject. But we will confine ourselves to some leading principles and thoughts, and to some of the many Bible instructions on the subject.
And first, the tongue is rightly used in speaking of and addressing the Creator with reverence, according to his holy and exalted perfections and our dependence upon him. If we do this from the heart we shall not be guilty of taking God's holy name in vain. We shall realize his goodness and love, and will not be inclined to murmur against him, but will be grateful to him for his dealings with us, and for the least blessing we receive at his hand.
But while the tongue is properly used in speaking of, and addressing, God in a manner compatible with his holy perfections and our dependence upon him, it should speak of, and address, others with respect, according to the relations they sustain to us and the Creator. In speaking of the wrong use of the tongue, James says, "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing My brethren, these things ought not so to be." James iii, 9, 10.
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It is not a small matter to curse others with the tongue. If we curse our fellow creatures who are made in the image of God and have God for their Father, we offend God, and are not in a condition to bless or exalt him, and he cannot accept a blessing from us, Indeed, he cannot look on any thing that we can say to exalt him as a blessing. What we say of him proceeds from the same heart that leads us to curse those whom he has created, and over whom his care, love and mercy are extended. This is clearly illustrated in the following verses: "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." Verses 11, 12.
Cursing is the opposite of blessing, and we can curse others in various ways. And the ungodly are not the only ones that are guilty here.James is here admonishing and correcting his "brethren."
We curse others with the tongue in slandering and backbiting.The unsanctified tongue is said to be full of deadly poison, and its deadly and poisonous influence is felt by others. It would be considered a heinous crime to put a portion of strychnine or arsenic into food prepared for others; but many consider it a light thing to poison the character of others, and injure their feelings by slandering, backbiting or talebearing. By these, thousands of innocent characters have been shamefully and maliciously martyred.
Many professed Christians are not guarded enough, and fail on this point. If they are tried with a brother or sister, and see or hear any thing unfavorable about them, they are sure to tell it to others, and perhaps in their tried condition they will put a wrong construction
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on what they have learned; and if their remarks take and they are not checked, they will tell it to others, and then to others, and so on; and some are not satisfied till they have spread their slanderous reports among the enemies of truth. And then the poor, blinded, deceived souls may think they have done a noble work. But what have they done? They have got the sympathy of some, who will perish with them unless they repent. They have blown on and fed the fire of hatred which they in weakness suffered Satan to kindle in their breasts, till it has grown and kindled a great matter, and others have been set on fire of hell. They perhaps have discouraged weak and well-meaning brethren, who have not sufficient experience to meet their influence, and some of whom may never recover from the shock they have received. They have caused the good way to be evil spoken of, and some may have been shut out of the kingdom. The Spirit and lovers of peace have been grieved, and Satan and his contentious host rejoice.
It is not strange that those who know not God, and the power of his truth, should indulge in slandering and backbiting; but for those who profess to know God and his truth, for professed followers of Jesus Christ, to backbite and slander, is shameful and criminal in the extreme.
But thank God, those sins need not exist in the church of God, if gospel order and discipline are carried out. Says Christ, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone," etc. Matt. xviii, 15-17. Here is the proper course marked out by the Saviour. First go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. He does not say, go and tell his fault to everybody
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in the church and to everybody in the world. Those who do this err, and need to be immediately labored with themselves. If those who are tried with their brethren, would go directly to them with their grievances, they would not have so much to say, and much trouble might be saved.
But some will here say, if ever wisdom is needed it is in doing this duty. This is true. But James says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him;" chap. i, 5; and he describes heavenly wisdom as follows: "The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Chap. iii, 17. If every trait of this wisdom were fully examined, and strictly followed, this would be an easy duty to perform.
The following scriptures show how God looks upon slandering, backbiting and talebearing: "He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is fool." "Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." "Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off." "For I fear, lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults." "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer
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among thy people. . . I am the Lord thy God." "He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth (or enticeth, margin) with his lips." "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Prov. x, 18; Ps. 1, 20; ci, 5; 2 Cor. xii, 20; Lev. xix, 16; Prov. xx, 19; xxvi, 20.
One of those sins of backslidden Israel over which Jeremiah was grieved, and which ripened Israel to receive the lingering wrath of Jehovah, was slandering. Jer. ix, 1-4. And when David undertakes to describe the man who will abide in the tabernacle of the Lord, and dwell in his holy hill, among other things he says, "He that backbiteth not with his tongue." Ps. xv, 1-3.
We should never use the tongue in speaking of others in any way to injure them. We should guard against bearing false witness. This is often done unintentionally by exaggerating. It is better to say nothing about the faults of others, than to speak of them in a manner to defame the character. When it becomes necessary to speak of the sins of our fellow creatures, we should show that while we hate sin, we love and pity the sinner. When we are about to speak concerning the faults of others, we should ask ourselves questions like these:Will what I am about to say benefit any one? Will it be rightly handled? Will it benefit the cause? Am I going to speak as I would like to have others speak of me if I were in the same condition?
Evil-speaking is strictly and repeatedly prohibited by the Scriptures; and under the head of evil-speaking, is speaking evil of dignities. Jude 8. The
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evil of this sin is not realized by all. Some are liable to overlook the sacred position of those whom God calls to help in leading out his people toward the rest that remains for the children of God. Like ancient Israel, they look upon these agents as though the work with which they are connected was merely a human work, and speak accordingly. Some, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and a host of others, not realizing the weight and responsibilities of this work, will envy the position of those who are called to it. Num. xvi. They think they are of consequence and that the servants of God take too much upon themselves. They despise dominion, attribute the cause of their trials to dignities, and murmur when they are corrected for their sins. By pursuing this course they despise God, and murmur against him."He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me." Luke x, 16.
The fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and the punishment of others spoken of in the Scriptures, are sufficient to teach us how God regards this sin. But besides this, we have in the backsliding and fall of many within our own recollection, a clear demonstration of God's disapprobation for this sin, and of the necessity of guarding against it.
We curse others with the tongue in speaking angry words, in freting and scolding. No good has ever resulted from so doing. Angry words, fretting and scolding, have never benefited any one. They have often proved a curse and a source of much evil. They may overpower and intimidate the fearful for the time being; but they will never reform them. They are destructive of peace, affection, and
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happiness. Peace and angry words do not exist together, and who can love habitual fretters and scolders with a love of approbation? Such are more dreaded than loved.Even the meek will feel an uneasiness while in the society of such. Though they may bear with, and pity them, they will feel as if among nettles and thistles.
[Editor removed: ‘On the’ preceding ‘they have often’]
Thousands of families are made miserable and unhappy by irritating words. In many instances, parents fail here. Instead of speaking kind and cheerful words; they complain and fret and scold. As they do this, they are shut up to each others' faults. The husband sees no virtue in his wife, and the wife sees no virtue in her husband. Separation often follows. Many a husband has been driven to the tavern by a fretful and peevish wife, and many a wife has been discouraged / and made miserable by a fretful and complaining husband.
But the evil is not confined to the heads of families: the children generally imitate their parents. They do not obey them through love, but through fear and dread, and perhaps to not be annoyed by their fretting and scolding. Some children will conceal from their parents important matters, and tell falsehoods to avoid a scolding.Home has no attractions to such children; and many in discouragement will leave their parents.
Prov. xii, 18: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." While the unsanctified tongue causes discord, sorrow, gloom, discouragement and death, the sanctified tongue brings peace, joy, light, courage, health and life to those who use it, and to those who eat of its fruit.
It is quite an easy matter to speak pleasant and
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cheerful words to the meek, to those who always bless us; but it is more difficult to speak words of pleasantness to those who address us with angry words, to such as curse and revile us. But we are expressly commanded to bless them that curse us, to bless and curse not, to not render railing for railing. Luke vi, 28; Rom. xii, 14; 1 Pet. iii, 9. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow in his steps. . . . Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." 1 Pet. ii, 21-23.
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Prov. xv, 1. In our intercourse with our fellow-creatures, a spoonful of oil is better than a quart of vinegar. By taking revenge of an injury we are only even to our enemy; but by passing it over we are superior. And a more glorious victory cannot be obtained over another than to return injury with kindness. Those who give away to anger and speak angry words, manifest real weakness of soul. They may at times think they gain victories over their enemies; but they are overcome by Satan and their own corrupt propensity. They are apt to say things that they would be ashamed of if they were in their right mind. For instance how liable some are to call others fools, devils, etc., when they are angry with them. But Christ shows in what light he views these rash and irritating expressions when he says, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (or vain fellow, margin), shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall
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say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matt. v, 22.
Christ pronounces a blessing upon peace-makers. He says, "They shall be called the children of God." Matt. v, 9. In striving to make peace they imitate their Creator, who has done so much to bring peace into this revolted province, and to reconcile us unto himself. God sacrificed his dearly beloved Son for this object, and can we not deny ourselves a little, by not indulging in angry expressions? Can we not encourage and enforce the principles of peace by a meek and godly conversation?
The tongue is wrongly used in lying, and should be employed in telling the truth. The Lord has spoken clearly and repeatedly on this point, both in the Old and New Testaments, showing the evil that is caused by lying, and setting forth the awful consequences that await liars, and the advantages and blessings that result from telling the truth.
Lying originated with the Devil, who is the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning. He lied to Eve and beguiled her, and since then, lying has been practiced in many ways, and for various purposes.
But the lying tongue cannot be relied upon. It is ever looked upon with suspicion by the prudent. But it is considered safe to confide in those who are always known to tell the truth. He that sets out to tell a lie is not sensible of the task he undertakes; for he may be forced to invent many more to support it.
Lying is often practiced to get gain. This is seen in buying and selling.It has almost become a universal custom for those who sell to speak too highly of the articles they hold out for sale, and to say little or nothing about their defects, thus making an impression
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that these articles are worth more than they really are; and for those who buy to undervalue the articles they wish to buy, and to say little or nothing about their qualities, thus conveying the idea that they are worth less than they are in reality.
And just here we would notice the case of Ananias and Sapphira.They sold their possession, and kept back part of the price, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. They lied in trying to convey the idea that they had brought the whole price. But what language was used to convey this false idea? Peter said to Sapphira, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea for so much." Acts. v. And the fate of Ananias and Sapphira is known to all Bible students.
Doubtless if many at the present time were in the condition of Ananias and Sapphira, and were permitted to live and speak for themselves, they would justify themselves somewhat as follows: Why, I did not lie: I said I sold it for so much. I did sell it for that and something else. But would such be more justified than were Ananias and Sapphira?And will not the punishment of such be as certain as was theirs?
One common way of lying is to attempt to uphold error by the word of the Lord. Those who do this knowingly, or ignorantly when they might have known but refused to know, may be classed among liars. In order to give force to what they say, and make their remarks appear truthful, they must intimate or affirm that the Lord has spoken when he has not spoken; that the Bible says thus and so when it does not.
Cases of lying spoken of in the Bible are sometimes referred to, to prove that guile may be used on certain
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occasions to bring about a good end; and falsehoods are often told to cover sin. But the Bible nowhere justifies lying. It teaches that we should not do evil, that good may come. None of those who used guile in Bible times were blessed of God for lying; but such as were blessed of God, were blessed for good traits that they possessed; and their lives would shine brighter in the heavenly records if they had not spoken guile.
No consideration should lead us to practice deceit. It is better to frankly confess our sins than to tell falsehoods to cover them, and to lose by telling the truth, than to gain by using guile. Of the holy Pattern we read, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." 1 Pet. ii, 22. And of the last church it is written, "The remnant of Israel shall do no iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth." Zeph. iii, 13. "And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. xiv, 5.
The tongue is wrongly used in speaking vain and idle words. "But I say unto you, That for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matt. xii, 36, 37. If all were duly impressed with the truthfulness of this solemn declaration of the Saviour, vain and idle words would be fewer than they now are. But men will have to give account for their idle words in the day of judgment, whether they realize it or not. By our words we will either be justified or condemned in that day.
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"How careful then ought we to live,
With what religious fear,
Who such a strict account must give
Of our behavior here."
By D. T. Bourdeau, from his book: “Sanctification - SANCTIFICATION OR, LIVING HOLINESS”, 1864, p. 55 - 67.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. v, 23.


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