Discern What You Hear

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, “He shall not die;” but, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”  John 21:23

On this eve of a brand new year may we who are Bible reading, Bible believing, blood bought, redeemed believers in Jesus Christ be sure we hear Jesus, and all of Scripture rightly. Let us ask God to enable us to let the Bible say what the Bible means, and not what we think or feel that it means.

The above verse is the conclusion of Jesus’s conversation with the apostle Peter in verses fifteen through twenty two; which began with Jesus asking Peter “Do you love Me” and finishing up by telling Peter “Follow Me.”

O how we often miss what Jesus is saying. I am praying that I am a better listener to the words of all of Scripture, Genesis through Malachi, and Matthew through the Revelation. That I might rightly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

They said That He was Making Himself God

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them,
“Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?”
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.”       John 10:31-33

There are religious cults who say that Jesus Christ was not God. One even goes so far as to change what they call their version of the scriptures to read that He was “a god,” they would be saying that He was making a false claim about Himself.

One way to properly interpret what the Bible says, and what Jesus says is to study the culture of the time we are studying and the teaching, in this case of the religious leaders.

The Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day knew what Jesus was saying when He said, “I and My Father are One” (John 10:30); and there are many other references in John 8 through 10; as well as other verses in other chapters of the gospels; where Jesus clearly calls Himself Deity.

Jesus tells us in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”  The words Jesus spoke in this verse are clearly of deity. For Him to say that they would die in their sins if the did not believe that He is who He says He is will be their death in their sins; their damnation eternally.

Dear friends, will You receive Jesus Christ for who He says He is? He is the Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God, and the Incarnation of God, God the Son who came to die on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He came out of the grave with a flesh and bone body (Luke 24:39), and is eternal.

He Was, He Is, and Forever Shall Be

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  John 1:1-5

It is the week of Christmas. The day set aside for the remembrance of the birth of our Lord and Savior. How many of us really realize and know who He is. He is often spoken of in the past tense in ways like, “He was a good man” or “He was a good teacher”, and even some who profess Jesus and faith in Him say, “He was the Christ of God.” He was all those things, and He is all those things, and He forever shall be those things.

That Incarnation of God; God becoming Man; throws some people into a hissy theological fit, because they cannot grasp God becoming Man. That is exactly who Jesus is. When Jesus came as the God-Man it was as a Babe in the stable, laid in a manger for a crib. He cried like all babies, yet this baby grew and never sinned. At the age of 12 He was found in the temple teaching the Bible scholars, and growing in the wisdom and knowledge of God.

It is that same Boy who grew to be a Man, called disciples to follow Him and He taught them, and many others for three years. He performed many miracles, including raising dead people to life, touching and healing lepers and giving sight to a man born blind.

He came from His position in Glory with the Father to go to the cross to die, and in His death take all the sins of the world upon Himself, taking the wrath of God Himself for our sins. He died, was buried, and He rose from the grave and to never die again. He was our Lord and Savior, and He is our Lord and Savior, and He will forever be our God, Lord and Savior.

Do you know this One who was, who is, and forever shall be? You can make this Christmas a very Merry Christmas by calling on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God who is God the Son.

Jesus Taught Out of a Boat

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.  And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.                    Luke 5:1-3

O, how I would have loved to have been there that day. Seeing Jesus, hearing Him teach, listening to every word He was speaking. Jesus was sitting in a fishing boat, with many people on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (“Lake of Gennesaret”), and He had their attention. Some of them would hear Him on this day, believe His word, and would follow Him.

There is the key. To hear Him, believe Him, and follow Him. To follow Him is not merely with our words, “I will follow Jesus”, but it is leaving all, forsaking all other things for His sake, and doing His will at all cost.

I must ask myself this question, “Am I following Jesus as it really means to follow Him?” I believe I have. He is my Lord and Savior. Everything under my feet to the very computer that I am writing at today is His. He is my portion; and I am His.  I know and practice that I am only a steward of all in my hand. I pray that I am always faithful to this, but I know that sometimes I fail, and sin against Him.

He is always faithful to renew and restore me and get me back to where He wants me to be.

Do you know the One who went to the cross and paid the price for our sins? He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again for our justification. He is teaching us today through His word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Hear Him and believe.

The Curse

And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it,
“No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”
And His disciples heard it.                                    Mark 11:12-14

Jesus has not cursed anything up to this point, except, though not particularly mentioned as a curse, the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23).

We are told in the verses that “He was hungry”, and He thought He could get a fig from a frig tree for a bite to eat. The tree was boasting of having fruit, due to its having leaves; yet it had no fruit.

O the fruitlessness of a religion that will not trust the truth of the whole of the word or God, the One whom God has sent, and the One who sent Him. There are many religious institutions today who den the truth of Scripture by trying to make Scripture fit with the times, the people, the culture. The institutions which do circles around the truth of God’s word trying to fit it with culture, appease and please people have the curse of the  Almighty on them.

Our task as Christians and Christian pastors and teachers is to bring the people in line with Scripture.

We are all cursed by sin and death due to sin. Jesus came and bore the curse for us, and paid our debt with His own life’s blood. Now, by the power of the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) in us we live by His faith.

 

Remember the Words of the Apostles

“Remember the words…by the apostles… How they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Jude 18-19 (NKJV).

A continual warning, and caveat’ to stand your ground, be faithful, follow the teachings of the apostles, etc.; is much needed, but too many of our minds can become redundant. We need to be encouraged by the words of Jude and the words of any preacher who is teaching us to stand guard over our heart, and against the teachings and teachers which would lead us away from the truth.

These apostates are actually haters of God; yet use the name of God to have their way in Christian circles. Jude in no way is saying to us that all true teachers of God’s Word are infallible, but that they will be faithful to proclaiming the truth of God. We can all make mistakes. It seems that we, in our humanity are almost prone to make one now and then, just to remind us that we are still, in fact, fallen creatures; who have been redeemed by the perfect Savior.

However, these apostate heretics, are those who purposely teach doctrines contrary to God and His Word to draw a following for themselves, put their fleeced flocks money in their own pockets, and live in lavish homes, and estates. Now, before any one flies off the proverbial handle, let me add that there is nothing wrong with having or gaining wealth; as long as it has been done by hard work and labor; without taking advantage of the weak; and God is given all the glory for it. God gives wealth to enable those with it to be stewards and help the weak; and that includes the widow, the orphan, the poor, and downtrodden. These take no thought of others, however. The lavish homes and estates are almost their personal trademarks.

They are “sensual”, and that can be greedy, filled with lusts; and lusts can be for anything including power, position, popularity, and pomp. When the truth is not proclaimed, the one proclaiming that which is contrary to the truth are the dividers. That is something we always need to remember.

One of the teachings which is popular among many churches and pastors is the teaching about sex, using Scripture, but using the most lewd, crude, and shocking forms of “language” that can be heard today. “It’s part of our culture” those using it say. “They will not listen unless we speak that way”, they continue. We are always to speak the language which will glorify our Lord, and His language is not lewd, crude, or “shock jock” style. The Bible deals with sexual matters many times, but always treating it with respect, and even mystery; and so should those who are supposedly trying to teach people. In many cases using sensual language which inspires lust, rather than genuine love; they destroy the purity of God’s Word and its teaching. These are sensual dividers.

These types of talks draw the crowds; just as motor crosses, NASCAR, boxing, wrestling and the Olympics. Little for the glory of God is done in any of the these events. They are for some to make money, and others to spend and or lose it. It may be popular, but popular does not make it holy or right.

Many times, when the one who comes in exposing the lies for what they are, they are always the one who is accused of causing division. It is the one’s who are teaching and preaching the lies who are the dividers. The division-makers do not have the Spirit of God, and if not dealt with by the truth, and with firmness, will themselves be inhabitants of hell. They must be confronted, and given the opportunity of repentance, and finding genuine peace with God.

Be strong in the faith. Grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Confront and hate the evil, and expose it. Love the good, and the godly. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Without Honor

But Jesus said unto them,
“A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief. And He went round about the villages, teaching.                      Mark 6:4-6

There are preachers and pastors who do not deserve any honor. That is a sad thing to see and to say. Why would one not deserve honor?  Because they demand it.

I do not see myself as worthy of honor from the people God has given me to shepherd, to feed the word of God, and to lead them to still water, and green pastures. There are many men of God who do, simply because they are being faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lead by example in a holy, and sanctified life which gives honor and glory to Christ.

God has given me the opportunity to pastor seven different churches in the past 37 years. The Church I am endeavoring to be the pastor of I have been there twice and is the Church I grew up in, was saved in, where I surrendered to preach and they licensed and ordained me to preach the gospel. I only pray that God bless this ministry with souls coming to faith in Jesus, and that will see the need in the Jenkins community for many to come to Jesus Christ.

Six of the churches I have endeavored to be the pastor of were and are in the State of Missouri. I said “were” because the first Church I was at closed its doors about one year after I resigned, and is no longer a church. That was one of the saddest things I heard; when they closed their doors.

One of the blessings I have received is to be the pastor of a Church in the State of California; a small town in the Cuyama Valley, about 150 or so miles north of Los Angeles. We were only there for 16 months, but I think I visited every one in town, and the people of the New Cuyama Valley Baptist Church showed my wife and I great love, honor and respect, and showed much respect for the preaching of God’s word.

I realize these words do not have much to do with the text above, but I tell it only to say, Show honor to whom honor is due, and that is your pastor. Many pastors labor in ministry from sunrise to sunset and even sometimes into the very early hours of the morning. One of the best ways to honor your pastor is to pray for him; he is praying for you.

It is much encouragement to a pastor to hear words of encouragement for his work in the study of God’s word, his preparation of sermons, and the step by step foot work of ministry to you and to others in your community. Honor those who preach God’s word being faithful to the text, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Authority

And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon Him with the elders, and spake unto Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority doest Thou these things? Or who is he that gave Thee this authority?” And He answered and said unto them,
“I will also ask you one thing; and answer Me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?”
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we shall say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why then believed ye him not?’ But and if we say, ‘Of men;’ all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.” And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them,
“Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”   Luke 20:1-8

He Taught Them As One Who Had Authority

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.” And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
“Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.  Mark 1:21-28

To Fulfill The Scriptures

In looking at the life of Jesus Christ one cannot help but notice that the life of Jesus is completely submitted to the will of His Father.  He is about fulfilling God’s will for His life as a human being on earth.  Now, if we want a good example then, Jesus is the one to follow.  He is however, much more than an example to follow.  He is, in fact, the very only begotten Son of God (John 1:1-5, 14; 3:16).  Part of His submission to the Father as man is His heart and will to fulfill Scriptures and we see that in the following verses,

“Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him,
‘Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?’
In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes,
‘Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.’
But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.”  Matthew 26:50-56

In this short passage we see the statement twice, “But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled…?” and then, “But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”, and all this was at the time of His betrayal and arrest.

Though the name of the sword wielder is not given, we know from the testimony of the apostle John (John 18:10-11) that it is Peter who was overly protective of His Lord.  If we think Peter only meant to cut off that man’s ear, we would be gravely mistaken.  Peter was not a highly trained soldier in handling a sword; but his intent was to divide that man’s head.

The intent and purpose of Jesus was to fulfill Scripture and glorify His Father.  In that act He would also make a way for those who will believe to have fellowship with God the Father.  By way of the cross Scripture, all of Scripture would be fulfilled, the sin debt would be paid, God would be honored, and glorified; and there is a way of salvation from the condemnation of sin.

The event of the above Scriptures follow a time of great trial in our Lord’s life.  It was a time of the “press”.  In a place where the olives were pressed for the oil, the very fragrance of Heaven was being pressed in doing the will of Heaven.  Jesus was about doing the will of God.  His mind, His heart, His soul, and His strength was going to see that all Scripture would be fulfilled.

In the press, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, we can be about fulfilling the will and word of God in our lives.  Be strong in faith, believe God, trust every word He has said; that He will fulfill every word that, even now, has yet to be fulfilled.  Believe it will be; and live accordingly.  No matter what trial or tribulation may come; economic failure, employment fails, health fails, earthquake or flood, or fire.  God’s Word – all of Scripture will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

Teaching and Yeast

The Pharisees and Sadducees were a constant heartache to our Lord. As they were supposed to be the religious leaders of Israel during this time they were filled with doubts, unbelief, jealousy, and condemnation of any and all; including our Lord; who were not “letter for letter” correct to their own understanding. Many of these men hated Jesus, very few loved Him.

After dealing with the Pharisees concerning signs (vv. 1-4) Jesus will deal with the disciples concerning their faith, give them warning concerning evil doctrine, and hypocrisy.

“And when His disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them,
‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.’
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have taken no bread.’ Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them,
‘O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:5-12

The disciples must have had their attention diverted by physical need concerning Jesus’s caveat concerning the “leaven of the Pharisees”. It had not been so long ago that they had witnessed the power of the Lord when He took 5 loaves of bread and two small fish, and fed a multitude of 5000 men, plus women and children (14:13-21), then later fed 4000 men, plus women and children with seven loaves a “a few little fishes” (15:32-38). They had forgotten to bring food with them, except for one loaf (Mark 8:14), and they assume that Jesus is speaking of bread.

He speaks of “Leaven”. Of course, leaven is used in bread. It is, however, used to puff up, fluff up, and stuff up. It gives baked goods a fuller appearance than they would have without it. It is my belief that every time there is mention of “leaven” in Scripture, it is as a symbol of hindrance, sin, or evil. Hindrance because when the children of Israel were leaving Egypt they were commanded to prepare bread without leaven (Exodus 12:15-20). They were going to be leaving Egypt very quickly, therefore no time could be taken to allow bread to rise, thus they would have been in rebellion to even have it in their homes. Leaven also represents false doctrine, and hypocrisy (clouds without rain in a time of drought).

There are many professing Christians in our day who do not believe we need to be concerned about doctrine; whether it be right or wrong; just believe something. Anything is okay as long as you sincerely believe something; even if it is that your dog is the reincarnation of Geronimo. Jesus, however, gives an earnest warning to His disciples to “Take heed and beware of the leaven [doctrine] of the Pharisees. It is also a warning of hypocrisy. There is glaring hypocrisy in the Pharisees; requiring things of the people they lead, and give themselves loopholes around their own laws. False doctrine, and hypocrisy seem to go together.

Jesus’s warning is for all Christians of all ages, because we fall into a gross pit of oozing manure when we fall into false teaching and hypocrisy. Very often a pit that is very hard to get out of, or be rescued from.

It is not all about bread. It is not all about physical needs; Jesus meets those needs daily. It is a warning of being sure the doctrine is right and they life is right with God. This means much of the responsibility for remaining correct in what we believe and how we live lays on our own shoulders, and the Spirit of God within us. We can do this by staying true to the Lord in the reading, study, and meditation upon His Word; spending time with Him in prayer – walking with Him daily; faithful attendance to our local church as often as the door is open; and to faithfully serve the Lord by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves by giving of ourselves in serving others when possible, and sometimes when it gets in our way.

When They All Ran

“And they laid their hands on Him, and took Him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them,
‘Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took Me not: but the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’
And they all forsook Him, and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”  Mark 14:46-52

Knowing The Doctrine of God

“Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, ‘How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?’ Jesus answered them, and said,
‘My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.
Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill Me?’
”  John 7:14-19

Established Churches in the Faith

“The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind!”  Proverbs 21:27

“And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”  Acts 16:4-5

Seeing that God’s word tells us that the mind of Adam’s race is wicked continually and a sacrifice with wicked intent can only be further abomination, then let us pray that we come to God only through the sacrifice on God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Let those who profess His name believe His word, proclaim His word, and live His word by the power of the Holy Spirit within and glorify His name. No sacrifice we offer can ever bring glory to God.

Let us pray for the continuing establishment of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Scriptures, teaching them, living out our lives for the glory of His name.

Come today to the One, the only One who can redeem You. He died on the cross for our sins (your sins and mine), He was buried taking away all our sins, shame and condemnation, and three days later He came out of that grave alive forever more. Call on His name today.

Knowing What to Speak

“The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”  Proverbs 16:23
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ ”  Acts 5:29-31

Pray for a wise heart that teaches the mouth to speak with grace and love and show forth through our lips the word of God to those who are perishing.

Pray also that we know when to speak; and that we be knowledgeable in the word of God and know when to stand against those who would try to thwart the preaching of the word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 18:19-24

“The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him,
‘I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.’
And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, ‘Answerest Thou the high priest so?’ Jesus answered him,
‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?’
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.”  John 18:19-24  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091229

“And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon Him with the elders, and spake unto Him, saying, ‘Tell us, by what authority doest Thou these things? Or who is he that gave Thee this authority?’ And He answered and said unto them,
‘I will also ask you one thing; and answer Me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?’
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, ‘If we shall say, ‘From heaven;’ He will say, ‘Why then believed ye him not?’ But and if we say, ‘Of men;’ all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.’ And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them,
‘Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.’ ”  Luke 20:1-8

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 081720

“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know. For He taught His disciples, and said unto them,
‘The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day.’
But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him.”  Mark 9:30-32  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 081220

“And He began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto Him a great multitude, so that He entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And He taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in His doctrine,
‘Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.’
 And He said unto them,
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.’ ” Mark 4:1-9  (KJB)

Show Me Your Ways, O LORD

“Unto You, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You: let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on You be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth, and teach me: for You are the God of my salvation; on You do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to Your mercy You remember me for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.” Psalm 25:1-7 (KJB)

Hearing and Doing

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (KJB)

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

Verses 31 and 32 were spoken to seems to have believed in Him, but they could not see themselves as being in bondage; even while they as a people were enslaved to the Roman empire.

The words of verse 47 seems to show that they were not hearing God’s word to the point that Jesus was teaching. To “Continue” in His word is to live, to abide in it; making it every bit a part of one’s life.  Many of these leaders of religion could quote the whole law, but did not rest in neither trust their God and only Savior.

They were in fact still bound by the law which condemns them, and shows them their is only one hope.  That hope is found by means of a single sacrifice for sin.

That single sacrifice for sin was given when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world.

Do you want to be free, truly free?  Then, the only way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man Christ Jesus.  He forever lives.  This is God’s grace.  Grace is not free.  It was paid for with the life of God’s own Son.

Now, what are you going to do with that information?

The Teaching of Jesus

“And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” Luke 19:47-48 (KJB)

During the final week of the life of Jesus as the God-Man walking among men He spent His days teaching in the temple, going out at night to the Mount of Olives to rest and pray (Luke 21:37).

In reading Luke 19 – 21 today I noticed many things about His teaching.  He taught some new parables of the kingdom, some warning the religious rulers of their impending loss of the kingdom.

He also took note of the generous heart of a widow who gave more than all, because she gave all she had.  People listened.  They were attentive; you might even say they hung onto every word He said.

No man taught like this Man; neither do any of 2019 in any part of the world; though some probably think they do.

I tend to believe that those who were seeking to destroy Him were jealous of His power of conviction, passion for God and His word, and love for the people.

Do you love the teachings of Jesus?  There might be some who will say, “But how can I hear the teachings of Jesus?”  There is only one answer to that question.  Pick up the Scriptures called the Holy Bible, and start reading, then you will hear the teachings  of Jesus.  If you are new to reading the Bible, then begin with the Gospels – Matthew through John.  You will be drawn to Him if you have a sincere heart to know Him.

Jesus came to die for you and me.  He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  Hear Him, believe Him, trust Him.

Take It By Force

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (KJB)

I am going to let the exposition of John Gill give you an explanation of the above verse.

From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…
And from the days of John the Baptist until now,…. From the time that he began to preach, to the then present time,
the kingdom of heaven, the Gospel, and the ministry of it, first by John, then by Christ and his apostles,
suffereth violence; or “comes with force”, and power upon the souls of men: it was attended with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; as appeared by its being the means of quickening persons that were dead in trespasses and sins; enlightening the blind; causing the deaf to hear; melting and softening hearts of stone; making, of enemies, friends to God and Christ; turning men from the power of Satan unto God; setting at liberty such as were slaves and vassals to their own corruptions; and, in a word, in being the power of God unto salvation, to many souls: and which was further seen, in the manner it did all this; suddenly, secretly, powerfully, and effectually, and yet not against the wills of men; and by such instruments as the apostles were, poor, sinful, mortal men; despised by the world, and attended with opposition and persecution: or “suffers violence”; which may be understood, either of the vast numbers, that pressed and crowded to hear the Gospel preached: great numbers followed John, when he first began to preach, and baptize: still a greater number followed Christ, some to hear his doctrine, others to see his miracles, others to behold his person, others out of selfish ends; and some behaved rudely and indecently: or of the ardour and fervency of spirit, which appeared in some, to the ministry of John and Christ, and in their desires and expectations of the kingdom of the Messiah: or of the Gospel’s suffering violence by the persecutions of its enemies opposing and contradicting it, reproaching it, intimidating the professors of it, and seeking to take away the life of Christ, the great subject of it:
and the violent take it by force; meaning either publicans, and harlots, and Gentile sinners; who might be thought to be a sort of intruders: or rather the same persons, as being powerfully wrought upon under the ministry of the Gospel; who were under violent apprehensions of wrath and vengeance, of their lost and undone state and condition by nature; were violently in love with Christ, and eagerly desirous of salvation by him, and communion with him; and had their affections set upon the things of another world: these having the Gospel preached to them, which is a declaration of God’s love to sinners, a proclamation of peace and pardon, and a publication of righteousness and life by Christ, they greedily catched at it, and embraced it.

Saved by grace, through faith, that works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Teaching a Young Pastor

“But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discretion, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  Servants to be obedient unto their own masters, to please well in all; not answering again; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.”  Titus 2:1-15

REFERENCES: 1 Timothy 2:9; 4:12; 1 Peter 3:3; 5:3; Ephesians 5:24; 6:24; Nehemiah 5:9; Matthew 5:16; Luke 3:6; Romans 5:15; Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28