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Jesus said
Come Follow Me!
Christ wants a Relationship

Man wants a Religion

A Comprehensive Study

Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God of Gods - To Him


be all power, honor, glory, praise, majesty, rule and
dominion - Forever and ever. Amen

Christ’s humble servant,

July, 2003

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens:


let thy glory be above all the earth.

Foreword

The author lived most of his life as a religious man and as such has
nothing worthy of merit or praise to offer. This book is dedicated to the
Lord of my life, Jesus Christ. All focus and attention must be directed to
Him alone. The Lord through His mercy led me into the wilderness several
years ago. Having reached the end of my self and realizing my inabilities, I
truly repented and forsook my selfish life. During this time He fed me with
the bread of life (manna), which is the life and broken body of Jesus Christ,
and Him crucified. He gave drink of living waters, which is the Holy Spirit
who teaches of Christ, empowers and leads in the path of righteousness.
The wilderness is that place where we must put aside the things of man –

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those that the flesh desires – and wholly seek God’s will and purposes. In
this wilderness there was much self denial, personal sacrifice, persecution,
and loss of friends and family relations. The old man had to be put to
death. The old religious life had to be torn down and a new life rebuilt on a
sure foundation, which is Christ Jesus. Opinions had to be purged and truth
grasped. Throughout it all Christ was with me and I would not trade this for
anything the world has to offer. The old is gone and there is no turning
back (Gal 2:18).

The author is a sinner saved by grace. In keeping with the grace that
brings salvation, I endeavor to live soberly, godly and righteously during
this pilgrimage on the earth. Not living to the flesh or worldly lusts, but
allowing Christ to redeem and purify me from all sin. I have no inherent
capability to do this in my own strength, just a love and desire to seek God
and to perform His will. Jesus Christ gives me the ability and power to
follow, in keeping with His will. Jesus is my Lord and through love and
devotion I will zealously serve Him. The author is a fanatic for sure, and
extreme only in the eyes of those who do not know Christ. I use to be a
believer, but now I am a follower.

I will say in advance that you cannot speak the truth without offending the
flesh. The two are diametrically opposed to one another. Those whose
heart is on this world may not understand the things written herein. This
book will challenge the flesh, and as such the flesh will certainly rise up in
dispute. The self seeking religious man will surely take offense to this book
because it will surely undermine his authority, but will set Jesus in His
rightful place. Mark 11:28, “And say unto him, By what authority doest
thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
Jesus spoke the Father’s Words. We are commanded to do the same. John
7:16, “…My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” The authority for
this book is the Word of God and the necessity is a heartfelt belief that this
is in the Lord’s will to bring glory to Christ. The words are those of Christ’s
or a paraphrase of the same. All comments can be and are defended
through the scripture.

The author is not trying to throw stones at anybody’s past. If I did, I would
have to save the really big ones for myself. What I am trying to do is
positively affect your future by pointing you to Jesus Christ and the truth of
His gospel.

The author takes no personal glory for this book. I absolutely yield to the
Lord’s desire: Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise
man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let
not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which
exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in
these things I delight, saith the LORD.” The author’s desire is to

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understand, know, serve, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. May God’s will
reign supreme!

The use of scripture and references contained herein are from the
Authorized King James Version Bible

Introduction

This book is written from a heartfelt desire to help others by way of the
light the Lord has graciously shed in my life through intense study of His
Word, leading of the Holy Spirit, much prayer and a genuine desire to
absolutely obey God’s will in the course of a daily walk of faith in Christ. I
once lived as the religious described in this book until the Lord showed me
undeserved mercy by bringing me to the end of myself and revealing the
great need that I have for Him. Perhaps my failures and more importantly
God’s solutions will be of value to those seeking the truth by the Spirit as
they journey down the narrow path that leads to eternal life. The author
realizes that even if one holds all truth, without charity, he is nothing (1
Cor 13). Charity is love directed first toward God and then toward One’s
Neighbors. Let us love one another with the love of God.

The author realizes that we are all unique before God and each come to
Him from varied backgrounds and situations. The Spirit no doubt deals
with each of us in an appropriate and personal manner as He sees the
need based upon these circumstances. Although we may each interact
with the Lord in distinct ways, there is no doubt that ultimately the Spirit
is leading us all to the same place of conforming to the image of Christ in
holiness and righteousness. We must be obedient and faithful to yield to
God as we have knowledge and the ability to change wrongful areas of our
lives. In other words, as the light of Christ shines and reveals
inappropriate areas in our lives (darkness) that we have the immediate
ability to change, then we must be faithful and obedient with the
knowledge He has given us. Many will disagree with the conclusions in this
book. Those who truly seek the Lord and want to be faithful must discern
whether their contention is based upon the flesh or the Spirit. Fortunately
we have God’s Word and the Spirit will also teach those who are willing to
learn, and I encourage you to seek Him. The Lord does hear all those who
cry out to Him in repentance, genuinely desiring to serve Him. Ezekiel
33:11, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure
in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live:
turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die…?The beauty is
this, once you are truly converted, you will voluntarily follow the Lord and
adhere to His Word based upon the love you have for Him. No one will
have to tell you to do anything. There will be no need for rules to follow;
His Spirit will lead you and Christ’s Word will give you understanding. You
will be drawn to His wonderful light. Amen

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Many of the same truths are often stressed throughout this book in
different ways for emphasis. Although this may seem repetitive at times, a
purposeful and consistent life-changing message is being conveyed and
hopefully will emerge and be understood. Having once been religious, yet
hypocritical, the author understands how deception can blind the eyes to
gloss over fundamental truths or interpret them in wrongful ways.
Reaching out to God is not a difficult thing to do for those who will humble
themselves and yield to Him. Man has put many a stumbling block in the
path by seeking God his way and for his purposes.

This book is primarily written for the “professed believer” who is not a
whole-hearted follower. Those who are lukewarm and in great danger of
being spewed (vomited) out of Christ’s mouth due to their complacency
and disregard for their lack of the meaningful ongoing relationship that
the Lord desires to have with them (Rev 3:16). Those who think they are
rich (self-sufficient) and have need of nothing, but are actually poor
(spiritually lacking), miserable (far from God), naked (sinful) and blind
(deceived) - Rev 3:17. For those who have conceded to the doctrines of
Balaam, meaning that they have mixed their belief in Christ (less than
faith) with paganism, idolatry and the things of the world, yet believe that
all this is acceptable within the grace of God (Rev 2:14). For those who
have chosen to walk in their will over God’s as evidenced through their
daily thoughts, manners, deeds and actions. This is a message for those
who do not necessarily believe they are in need of one and do not
necessarily desire to listen. The hope is that a great light will be shed on
the dark deception that encapsulates many, and that hearts will change
and repentance be sought for the purpose of an enduring and eternal
relationship with Jesus Christ through living faith. Whether you as the
reader have strayed from this daily obedience, reliance and trust in God
that He desires, you alone will have to determine. I exhort you to: 2
Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove
your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in
you, except ye be reprobates?” Please ask the Holy Spirit to convict your
heart as you read, lift the blindness and reveal the truth of God’s Word to
you. 1 Corinthians 11:31, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not
be judged.” So I encourage you: Lamentations 3:40, “Let us search and
try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.”

The message of this book is not only to present the truth, but to “call-out”
the reader to start living (applying daily) the truth of God’s Word.
Undoubtedly most will think they are now living as such. I challenge you
to submit fully to God (see Chapter One – God’s Order) and start to see
(as He removes the blindness) just how incorrect this presumption may
be. We must “follow” in a tangible way - existing in reality (not imagined
or pretended, but rather – authentic, genuine and substantive).

For those actively following the Lord in their daily lives, the author’s
message is, Acts 14:22, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and

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exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much
tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” The church body is called to
encourage, advise, strengthen, and warn each other (exhort) as well as to
instruct one another in faith and holiness (edify). We live in wicked times
and persecution and tribulation abounds for those who truly follow Christ.
Sometimes one can feel all alone and it’s encouraging to know that others
are also enduring. The author acknowledges that the concepts detailed in
this book set a high standard. However these truths are no more than an
application of God’s eternal and unchanging Word to the modern era in
which we live. For this reason scripture is referenced and used
throughout. The Bible should be one’s only true source of information on
matters of faith, and you are highly encouraged to read and meditate on
God’s Word daily above all else. Rest assured that what seems impossible
to man is possible through Christ by His Spirit, which has been given to
us.

The author does not claim to be the purveyor of new and original ideas.
Many of the conclusions drawn from the scriptures referenced within this
book and human history have been understood for some time. While the
author cannot necessarily claim originality or uniqueness of
understanding, he can claim to have diligently sought the guidance,
teaching and leading of the Holy Spirit on all matters contained herein.
The Holy Spirit teaches and this is His work as written through this earthly
vessel (Jn 14:26). For the Spirit searches the deep things of God (1 Cor
2:10) and reveals them to us such that we have the mind of Christ (2 Cor
2:16). The author claims no wisdom of his own and quickly found that
endeavoring under his own strength and devices became a tedious and
frustrating process full of uncertainty and disorder leading to
unfruitfulness. It was only when the author prayed, yielded and listened to
the Holy Spirit that there was joy, peace, wisdom, and organization. At
times the author could hardly write the things fast enough that were given
of the Spirit. Therefore I say with all humility, To God be the glory! This
book is offered for your consideration, but is in no way intended to replace
your individual responsibility to study God’s Word and seek His Spirit to
see if these things be so (Acts 17:11).

The use of the terms religious, religious institutions and religious


organizations denote those people or groups who try to reach or please
God through man’s way (will) rather than God’s way. Since man’s way
always seems right to him there is much pride and deception involved (Pv
14:2 & 21:2). God is approached humbly through living faith whereby one
is motivated by love and led by the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s
Word. This is an enduring life of obedience and devotion empowered and
sustained by the filling of the Holy Spirit. There are many things in this
book that will shock the religious mindset. There is no attempt to cover all
the myriad of erroneous doctrines and traditions that have manifested in
man-centered religion(s). Those beliefs that do not accept Jesus Christ in
the flesh, Him crucified and His bodily resurrection need not even be

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mentioned. The examples used herein are for the intent of conveying to
the reader God’s purposes and not to correct all known error. The author
does not intend to judge anyone, for only Christ judges righteously as He
has the authority and knows the thoughts and intents of one’s heart (Jn
5:22, Heb 4:12). The reader must examine his own heart before God and
make necessary corrections.

When writing this book the author acknowledged and petitioned God that
this is a hard message and the people will never accept it. The Lord
impressed upon me that the message was not mine, and the truth was
not mine, but His. The author has endeavored to look at modern society
through scriptural eyes and has truly grieved over the sin that abounds –
much of which many do not even take notice. There have been days when
I was truly overwhelmed. The author petitioned the Lord that the things
written in this book are very hard to live up to. The Lord impressed upon
me that the strength must come from Him and will be given to those who
seek it. The author petitioned the Lord that the tone of this book may
seem self righteous. The Lord impressed upon me that He would have it
written sternly. The author acknowledges that he is least among men and
that, 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of
whom I am chief.” If the Lord can change my heart and my way of life,
then He can do it for anyone and I pray that readers will truly heed this
call. Time is so short and world events are coming to a conclusion. This is
absolutely the time to draw near to the Lord in love and cleave to Him. Lift
up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh (Lk 21:28).

The author does not consider himself to be a prophet or anyone special


with unique or exclusive revelations from God. The author does not seek
to garner followers or start a religious work or receive any personal glory.
The author does not have a product to sell or a religious movement to
endorse, nor is the author soliciting gifts or donations in any way. The
author’s only desire is to be a humble and obedient servant used of the
Lord to minister and bring life to others. Any fruit of this work will most
likely be known to God alone. This book is to be freely given and you are
at liberty to make copies and distribute them as the Lord leads. The
content of this book has undergone considerable prayer and personal
struggle (fear and trembling) before the Lord and I ask that it not be
changed in any way (Php 2:12). Freely ye have received, freely give (Mt
10:8).

This book contains those things the Lord has revealed to the author and is
supported by accompanying scripture. Due to the extensive use of
scripture, this book should not be construed/viewed as adding to the Word
of God or the author’s own version of the gospel. Each of us has an
individual responsibility to seek God through His Spirit to understand His
Word and then apply this understanding to our lives and live it. Only the
Spirit knows the things of God (1 Cor 2:11) and we must receive the Spirit

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to understand them (1 Cor 2:12). This book should be more appropriately
thought of as preaching put to print (1 Cor 1:21). The author’s desire is to
point you in the way and provide encouragement.

When discussing human achievement, it is not the author’s intent to give


a concise, chronological and detailed rendering of the development of
knowledge and technology over the ages, but rather to show how man has
used his knowledge to further his rebellion against the truly loving and
trustworthy God and creator of us all. Major grievances of man’s self-
seeking purposes are included as examples, but the real danger is the
extent and degree (often very subtle) that man’s exaltation of himself is
incorporated into daily life. We either exalt ourselves and follow man’s
ways or humble ourselves and follow God’s way.

This book may seem condemning, but the purpose is not to condemn. It is
the sin and rebellion that this book takes issue with and not individuals.
This book is for the purpose of teaching, encouraging, edifying, and
exhorting. This book will also be a reproof and rebuke for some. Isaiah
29:24, “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and
they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” If we are guilty of violating
God’s Word then we must seek repentance if we love the truth (light) and
hate the sin (darkness). The author also realizes that those who reprove
must also being willing to be reproved. We must forsake all sin and
rebellion. Only through Christ can forgiveness, deliverance and
sanctification be found. We are all equally guilty before God and when we
truly see our sin, none has any justification to throw stones. The purpose
is to open eyes and hearts through conviction and turn hearts to God (Ez
33:9). I pray that the Holy Ghost will convict the reader’s heart. Mark
1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at
hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Always remember, John 14:6,
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Look to Christ alone and not to man
or man’s institutions. Truly the Lord can transform the vilest and most
corrupted man if he will see his sin and turn to God. Amen.

When addressing the issue of salvation, most want a formula or


prescribed method of attaining eternal life – a recitation (i.e. sinner’s
prayer). They desire to know what steps are necessary or what must be
accomplished and what are the allowable limits. The central problem is
that most think of salvation with regards to being saved from something,
namely hell or eternal damnation. The only thing we must desire to be
saved from is SELF, that being our fallen sinful nature. Rather than
thinking in terms of being saved from something, it would be more
applicable to think of who we must be endeared to, namely Jesus Christ.
Salvation is not a formula, ritual, practice, method, mental
acknowledgement, repeated statement, outward reformation, religious
education or ceremony, but rather the result of a heart and life lived for
God. Salvation is the result of a life dedicated to God by abiding in Christ

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Jesus - the fruit of God working in us (Jn 15:2, 8, Js 5:7)! We must come
to understand Christ’s gospel with our heart (Mt 13:15). The clearest
evidence of such is the divine influence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life,
which will always be manifested in one’s actions (fruit). This book contains
a comprehensive and thorough study of the Word of God (scriptures)
regarding eternal life and right standing before God. The answer is clear,
but is not the one, two or three-step approach that man desires to follow.
This book addresses finding your life in Christ – How one is saved, who
does the saving and what are the evidences.

The author understands that most people read a book for entertainment
or for a benefit. A benefit is thought of in terms of gain and not loss.
Herein may lay the paradox – the mystery! For to gain spiritually and
eternally (reconciliation with God) one will certainly suffer loss in the flesh
and temporal (worldly, earthly) – Col 3:2-3. Most think in terms of the
here and now and are motivated by physical senses (see, hear, touch,
taste and smell) and comfort (acceptance, security). Many of the details of
this book will be summarily dismissed as extreme or minority views with
no further consideration because of the implications of accepting such
truth. This book will challenge your understanding and commitment. This
is the purpose of the Holy Spirit – to take the self-centered and fleshly
and transform it into a work fit for the Lord’s use. Will you be repelled or
will you surrender? There will be much shaking and those with hearts
toward God will fall out. Some may think it impossible to live up to the
truth contained within this book. The Lord would say: Isaiah 41:10, “Fear
thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will
strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the
right hand of my righteousness.” Please keep this in mind as you read
through this book.

This book establishes necessary foundations at the beginning and builds


upon these fundamentals such that one can understand the end. Precept
upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little (Is 28:10-13).
You are therefore encouraged to read consecutively from the start. The
Lord has stressed in His Word that the gospel is a mystery and those who
do not seek God’s will shall not see it or understand it (Rm 16:25-26, 1
Cor 2:7). Many who followed Jesus were in fact seeking selfish benefit and
never grasped His message (Jn 6:66). Please be willing to set aside your
purposes and seek His as you read through this book and pray that the
Lord will give you clarity of vision.

Chapter 1 - The Beginning

In order to understand the totality of our condition before God, it is


necessary to comprehend man’s original transgression. We must
recognize that nothing has changed with man’s nature since the initial sin.
We are naturally born into the world with a disposition toward evil and are
quickly corrupted (Gen 8:21). For the imagination of man’s heart is evil
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from his youth (Gen 8:21). Man originally chose his will above God’s and
the rebellion has continued through the succeeding generations since
Adam. There are two main issues. The first involves atonment for the
sinful nature which has been passed down to and partaken of by all men
(Rm 5:12). Sin takes many forms in the flesh, but the root is pride and
self. By the offense of one, judgment has come upon all men unto
condemnation (Rm 5:18). All have sinned and are equally guilty (Rm
3:23). The second issue involves God’s plan to reconcile man back to
Himself (Rm 5:10, Eph 2:16, Col 1:20). God has provided a way through
Jesus Christ for man to relinquish his self will and come back under His
authority (Rm 5:17, 19paid the penalty of the broken law. Christ first
fulfilled the law through His perfect obedience to the Father, and then
became the atonement for us.In keeping with His character (His way –
Heb 3:10, 12), God’s way requires that a man freely approach Him
through love, devotion and obedience – known as faith. A man must die
to self (his old sinful rebellious nature, Rm 6:6, Gal 2:20, Lk 5:36, 17:33)
and be born again as a new man with God’s nature (Jn 3:3, 5, Eph 4:22-
24, 2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:9-10, Ps 51:10). God gives you a new heart and
must be approached through living faith (Eph 3:17, 2 Cor 1:22, Heb 8:10,
16, 1 Thess 3:13). Reconciliation can never be complete in us until our
rebellion is broken and our hearts are changed to lovingly perform God’s
will and thereby bring glory to Him. Let us now consider the beginning.).
Jesus

Genesis 1:27, 2:8-9,16-17, “So God created man in his own image, in the
image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Now the
LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the
man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out
of the ground-trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In
the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. And the LORD God commanded the man, You
are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will
surely die.” Man was created in God’s image and for God’s pleasure (Gen
1:26-27, Rev 4:11). All things were created by H

God’s test for man in the garden was not difficult for man to accomplish.
Man had access to all the other fruit trees as well as the tree of life. Man
was only required to abstain from the one tree. Notice in the lead-in verse
that God stated that to disobey Him would bring death (if you sin you will
die) – physical and eternal! God’s penalty for disobedience was severe,
because to disobey would be to question and judge God’s very authority.
Whenever we place our will above God’s we have done just that and it is
very grievous. The penalty is death! Good and evil cannot co-exist
(light/darkness). Evil is corrupting. Whenever evil is present confusion
reigns (Dan 9:7). Light excelleth darkness and God has prevailed (Eccl
2:13).

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Evil in the Midst

There was another presence in the Garden of Eden. Lucifer (Light Bearer)
was once an anointed Cherub that walked in Eden the garden of God, and
provided a spiritual covering for God’s earthly creation (Ez 28:13-14).
Lucifer is a created being (spirit) who was perfect in all his ways until
iniquity was found in him (Ez 28:15). The iniquity found was self-
exaltation resulting in complete outright rebellion against God. Lucifer
attempted to exalt himself above God (Is 14:13-15, Ez 28:2). The seed of
iniquity was in Lucifer’s heart by reason of his wisdom and perfect beauty
(Ez 28:12, Ez 28:2, 31:8-10). Perhaps the timing was due to jealousy of
God’s new creation, man. His heart was lifted up because of the
brightness of his beauty and this corrupted his wisdom (Ez 28:17). The
scriptures define true wisdom as seeking to know and perform God’s will
(Job 28:28, Pv 9:10). This is a complete and perpetual dependence upon
God and a heartfelt desire to please Him. Lucifer’s wisdom was corrupted
because he now sought to live and perform his own will above God’s. He
was perfect as originally created, but was not content. Thus, God cast him
from his heavenly presence and he fell as lightning to the earth (Is 14:12,
Lk 10:18). God has already pronounced a judgment upon him of an
eternal separation into the lake of fire to be carried out at the end of the
Christ’s millennial reign upon the earth (Rev 20:10, Jn 16:11). The
everlasting fire was prepared for Lucifer, for there was no need for such a
place prior to his rebellion (Mt 25:41). Until such a time, God chooses to
use him to try the hearts of men. Lucifer is now known as Satan or the
devil. The name is characteristic of his nature; he is a murderer and a
deceiver, the Father of all lies (Rev 12:9, Jn 8:44). He is a murderer
because he brought death into the world through his deceit and because
he misrepresents the character of God. Satan is so deceptive and
convincing through his lies, half-truths, misrepresentations and
ambiguities that he convinced a third of God’s angels to join him in his
revolt against God (Jude 1:6, Rev 12:4). He now goes to and fro in all the
earth seeking whom he may devour (Job 1:6-7, 1 Pt 5:8). Satan is much
inferior to the Lord God Almighty and is limited in what he is allowed to do
(Job 1:10, 1 Cor 10:13). Man is always allowed to freely choose to serve
God. Satan tries to blind the hearts of men and take man’s focus off of
God such that man becomes self serving or in bondage to the devil (2 Cor
4:4). The devil does this through deception and appealing to the selfish
lusts of men (2 Cor 11:13-15, Rev 20:8). Satan has set up principalities,
powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places to
accomplish this (Eph 6:12). When man steps outside of God’s will he also
moves outside of God’s established protective hedge (1 Jn 5:18). Man
reaps what he sows because his actions have consequences (Gal 6:7, 1
Sam 2:3, Job 4:8, 34:11).

In keeping with his original intent and rebellious nature, the devil desires
to be worshipped. He wants the glory, honor and praise that go to God

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alone. God desires man to worship him freely out of love and devotion.
The devil solicits worship out of fear, deceit (trickery), and by force
(bondages). Those who are self-serving and follow their own will have
rejected God and His authority (dishonored Him) and have submitted
themselves to the devil and his rebellion. One day these rebellious ones
will be shocked to see their chosen master (Ez 28:17, 19, Rev 17:8):
Isaiah 14:16-17, “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and
consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble,
that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and
destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
When one professes to follow God (Christ), but does that which opposes
Him, the devil gets glory – the accuser flaunts it before God. Conversly,
when one worships/praises God in the midst of one’s adversity (hardships,
difficulties, hard times, trials, sufferings, tribulations) God gets the glory
(Consider Job, Chapters 1 and 2). When one stands for God’s truth (and
lives it) when all others are going with the worldly flow – God gets glory
from (due to) the one individual.

Temptation

Genesis 3:1-5, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the
field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea,
hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the
woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the
garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God
doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” The deceiver and
tempter entered the garden as a serpent. The deceiver always masks his
presence and cannot fully speak the truth (2 Cor 11:14). The first thing he
tried to do was place doubt in the heart of Eve as to God’s intentions.
Unbelief is rebellion against the will of God. Satan planted this seed
(thought) in Eve’s mind, hoping that it would grow. Eve lives in the midst
of paradise and knows of God’s love, but allows her attention to be
focused on the one restriction. The devil craftily takes man’s focus off of
God and places it upon man. What man wants and what is desirable to
man rather than what God wills. The temptation is for man to have
knowledge of good and evil resident within himself rather than depending
upon God for it. The objective would be to become just like God, meaning
that man could decide what he wants to do for himself apart from God.
Man would decide what is right and what is wrong. Man could seek his
own will above God’s will and determine his own actions. Knowledge
would be the key to make this happen. Man would become as God
because he would now independently decide what he wanted to do for
himself with no more reliance, obedience or true love for the one true
God. He would essentially attempt to make himself equal with God. Satan

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also says that God is lying and suggests He is unfair and trying to deceive
man, the very thing he is guilty of. The devil always plays opposites with
the things of God because he is the ultimate in rebellion. Note also that
Eve added a requirement of not touching the fruit, to what God had
originally said. Man always seeks to add to or improve upon God’s
commands. Lies and deception are also weapons of the devil that have
plagued man from the beginning. When man seeks his will apart from
God, spiritual blindness clouds man’s reasoning, confusion reigns and man
is easily overcome by the devil. This will be further explored within this
book.

Satan’s manipulation of Eve is the basis of witchcraft. The serpent


beguiled Eve through his slyness and cunning (2 Cor 11:3). One of the
main aspects of witchcraft is to manipulate others to do something that
they would not otherwise do for the purposes of a selfish benefit such as
control. The devil through his hierarchy places baited hooks before men to
determine how best to draw individuals from God through their own
selfish lusts (2 Cor 2:11). The great condemnation is that man chooses (is
not forced) to live in darkness through his own will (Jn 3:19-20). Man may
have a predisposition to sin (fallen nature, Rm 5:12), but God has
provided a way of reconciliation for those who will repent and turn to Him
with a whole heart (Ez 18:30-31, Lk 13:3, 15:7, 2 Pt 3:9,Jn 3:16, Ps
119:2, Heb 10:22). Man’s selfish lusts are where strong holds are
established (2 Pt 2:18-19). When one truly repents and submits himself to
God, the Spirit works to tear down these strong holds (2 Cor 10:3-4). This
tearing down does not appeal to one’s flesh because any stronghold is
based upon a fleshly lust or desire (2 Cor 10:3-5). The flesh defends
the strongholds. The flesh profits nothing (Jn 6:63)! The Spirit must
subdue the flesh (deny) and this is never an easy battle. Addictions to
cigarettes, drugs or alcohol would be good examples of strong holds and
the battle involved to overcome them. There may be a physical
component, but there is also a spiritual component involved. To clean up
the outside accomplishes nothing if the inside (heart) remains unchanged
(Lk 11:39). The key is that we do not fight these battles in our own
strength, but that which comes from God as one dies to self, is converted,
and submits to Him (Php 4:13). There is also no need for deliverance from
strongholds if one has no real intent to forsake them. When we are
serious toward God, He gives us the ability and deliverance we need.

Notice what the devil told Eve in verse 5, “ye shall not surely die.” This
has been “THE LIE” of the devil since the very beginning - you can sin and
not die. This is what Satan did, he transgressed God’s will and made
himself to be as God. Can you see how the devil appeals to man to join
his rebellion by doing the same? The devil says that you can rise above
God (disobey) and do your own will and not die. It is so important for us
to understand this lie of the devil. You cannot transgress and then live
apart (independent) from God. The truth is that if you are rebellious and
disobedient to God, ye shall surely die. Until man puts down his rebellion

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and submits to God, there will be no reconciliation and life. The devil came
in deception speaking the opposite of truth and then suggested that God
was the deceiver (Rev 3:5). That which is opposite of God is confusion and
rebellion. Man accepted the devil’s lie in the Garden of Eden and has
mostly held to it ever since, particularly in man’s religious endeavors. This
is clearly evident in doctrines that promote eternal security, meaning that
once saved (by man’s definition) man cannot lose salvation through any
effort of his own (sin and not die). Christ came to deliver from sin, but
many wish to retain it and stay in the darkness, yet seek reconciliation
with God on their terms (Jn 3:19). The tree of knowledge of good and evil
was known by its fruit, and so is the lie that man accepted in partaking of
it (Mt 7:17-20 & Mt 12:33). For the fruit of a lie is death and all liars go to
hell (Rev 21:8, Pv 12:22). By nature man loves a lie. The seriousness of
sin and the resulting death is another truth that will be explored within
this book. To seek the flesh (man’s will) there must be a disregard/loss of
God’s will (disobedience). So what will be the result? God says (Gen
2:17), “you will surely die” and the devil says (Gen 3:4), “ye shall not
surely die.” These are two completely opposite views (resultant ways of
life). God states, you will obey Him and the devil says, you do not have to
– one view is in rebellion to the other (as is the devil to God). Man will live
his life in conformance to one or the other of these statements and the
consequences will be eternal. Many transgress (violate) God’s will and
believe they shall “not surely die” – they have bought into the lie. Jesus
said simply calling Him Lord, Lord would not guarantee life, only
submitting to Christ as Lord and doing the will of the Father (Mt 7:21-23).

We must never get into conversation (dialog) with the devil (in thought)
or through his workers in questioning the Word of God. Satan is very
crafty and deceives greatly, and his influence will overcome us. His
arguments appeal to the flesh and the flesh will find agreement. God’s
wrath will be against those who hold the truth in unrighteousness and this
is the devil’s ploy (Rm 1:18). The Lord says: James 4:7, “Submit
yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
The devil cannot harm those who are truly submitted to God because God
will not allow it. The devil tries to make us an adversary of God (Is 63:10)
thereby giving him power over us (examples – 1 Chr 21:1, Job 1:9-11, 3-
5, Is 63:10). The devil has the power of death (Heb 2:14). To reject God
is to reject life and choose death (Pv 8:36). Our victory is in our
submission to God. Our weakness is actually our strength (realizing our
need for God, 2 Cor 12:9, 13:4). Notice that Eve discussed (gave ear) the
matter of God’s rule with Satan and was soon overcome. She should have
walked away and sought God. When the devil places temptations before
our eyes, we are helpless as long as we are fixated upon the lust or
enticement. We must turn our eyes from the temptation and put them on
Christ (Ps 16:8, Pv 4:27). When we reject God’s truth (love not) for our
own lusts and desires, then Satan overcomes us (2 Tm 2:25-26). When
we consider these desires and lusts, we are making agreement with the
devil and will be brought into bondage (servants of sin). Dying to our will

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gives the devil no foothold or place in our life. Jesus said of him: John
14:30, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this
world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” Jesus totally denied the flesh and
the devil had no place in Him. We are not to allow ourselves to be
overcome, but are rather to be overcomers (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12,
21). Revelation 21:7, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I
will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Christ’s perfect and sinless life,
which was acceptable to the Father, will also be discussed within this
book.

Lust of the Flesh

Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one
wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her
husband with her; and he did eat.” Notice that Eve was enticed by her
own lust. The fruit was suddenly appealing and desirable to her so she
began justifying it in her mind. James 1:13-15, “Let no man say when he
is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil,
neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is
drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived,
it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Notice the process: temptation, strong willful desire, capitulation resulting
in sin and then death. The devil will appeal to or foster a wrongful desire.
Satan could deceive, but had no power to make Eve eat of the fruit. The
devil could not force her free will. If there were no desire, then the
temptation would have had no power. The temptation was not greater
than Eve could endure, had she desired God’s will, then there would have
been a way of escape from it (1 Cor 10:13). Eve was enticed and drawn
away by selfish want. If allowed, temptations tend to grow in one’s mind
and eventually come forth (2 Cor 10:5). When she thought about and
justified the temptation, she eventually gave in to it and this disobedience
became sin. This was disobedience and rebellion against God and His
authority. When man dies to himself, meaning his will, then temptation
will have lost its desire, sin would not result and death would lose its
sting. Jesus said over and over, Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life
shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Those
who seek to retain self-will shall eventually lose all. Those who die to self
and live for Christ’s sake will actually find themselves in Him. Romans 6:7,
“For he that is dead is freed from sin.” This concept is so hard for man to
understand. The flesh wants to rule and in order for that to happen it
must have control (subdue the Spirit). When we seek the things of the
flesh we will never be fulfilled and actually become controlled by the
things we seek to control (Ps 10:3). If one seeks to gain ten thousand
dollars and realizes his goal, then he will immediately desire twenty
thousand dollars (new goals are set, Eccl 5:10, 1 Tm 6:9). If one has a
strong desire for a certain possession, almost as soon as it is obtained the

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fulfillment and satisfaction will be fleeting or gone and a new and different
possession will be sought. The one who desires to gain comfort and
security from his career will end up serving his job above all else and still
not have that which he seeks. If things do not go according to our plans
we become upset and seek to regain control. This is a never ending
process that serves the flesh (self) and not God – accumulate, gain,
conquer and control. The things that are accumulated must be maintained
and the fear is that they will be lost or damaged. There is a constant
competition, and drive for more and better. This is a heavy yoke,
tremendous burden and a great bondage. This is serving self and not God.
Proverb 27:20, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man
are never satisfied.” The man that seeks to gain his life loses it – now and
eternally. Most even pray to God (trying to control Him to serve their
desires) to help them continue in this rebellious self serving cycle. God
wants so much better for you, but you have to see your need and be
willing to forsake all and yield. You cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24).
Our desires, our wants, our lusts are rebellion against God and His
purposes. This makes self the priority and relegates God to a servant. The
paradox is that the one who dies to the flesh and loses all (for Christ)
actually finds contentment, security and life (1 Cor 1:27:28). You no
longer have to perform and please others. You no longer strive for things
nor do they rule over you. You love God with all your heart and serve Him
daily. You just “be” in Christ. You please God and not yourself and find
there is such a peace, contentment and freedom (2 Cor 3:17). His yoke is
truly easy and His burden is light (Mt 11:30). You praise and worship
Jesus in everything you do all the time. You have nothing and yet possess
all things (Pv 13:7, 2 Cor 6:10). When you seek God first, He provides for
your needs and this is great security (Mt 6:25-34). Your eyes are not on
the needs, but are on God and this is a big difference. This is coming back
under God’s authority (and renouncing your own). You find that there is
much to be enjoyed without seeking after the things of this world. When
things come back into order, yielded to God: coveting and unfulfillment
become contentment; competition, want and gain becomes sacrifice for
God and for others; bondage becomes freedom; control, conquering and
rebellion become yielded and humble; taking becomes giving; insecurity
becomes acceptance; and frustration becomes peace.

Man gave in to his flesh and his desires. 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the
world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.” These are the things the world is
seeking after. The more we yield to the flesh or darkness, the more power
it gains over us - it rules over us and the light becomes dimmer. Our
control is an illusion and we are quickly overcome. These are the things a
follower of Christ must overcome through a life of living faith as
demonstrated by love and obedience to God. Christ overcame and did not
give place to the devil because He died to the things of the flesh and
sought only the Father’s will (Jn 5:19, 30, 6:38, 8:29, 14:30, Rm 15:3).

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This is victory! We must seek Christ’s light and rid ourselves of darkness.
We follow Christ, for He leads “The Way.”

The Condemnation

This then is the condemnation: Man, rather than humbling himself and
choosing God’s will, exalted himself and chose his own will. Man chose
darkness rather than light. This is the basis of all sin. The chief
components are pride, and self (flesh). Man thought that he could be self-
sufficient. This is the exact same thing Satan had done! Man took on the
nature of Satan (his image) and refused the nature of God. Man chose to
obey the devil rather than God in seeking his own selfish desires. Man who
was created in the image of God, fell through his disobedience and
conformed to the image of the devil. Consider Satan’s rebellion: Isaiah
14:13-15, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I
will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount
of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the
heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be
brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Can you see the I, I, and the
Me, Me? Can you see how this negates the one true God of all? The devil
exalted himself and was cast down and greatly humbled (Ez 28:13-17,
31:16). When we exalt ourselves, we will be humbled (Job 41:9, Ps
147:6, Mt 23:12) for no flesh will glory in God’s presence (1 Cor 1:29).
The devil convinced man to take his focus off of God and place it upon
himself, just as he had done (Ez 31:7-10, Lk 10:18, 2 Pt 2:4, Rev 12:7-
8). Man now reflects the characterisitcs of Satan – to be self seeking and
rebellious. Man wants to do what is right in his own eyes (Pv 16:2, 21:2).
Because man chose himself (known as the flesh) over God, man is now
under the authority (control) of the flesh. The flesh wants to rule man’s
actions and man serves it. If you try and deny the flesh (rest, food, heat,
comfort, entertainment, praise, etc.), then you will begin to understand.
The flesh is a hindrance in serving God – it wants to be served! Man
sought the way of the flesh in opposing God. Now man MUST approach
God in faith (Heb 11:6, Rm 9:30), which “bypasses” the flesh. Faith
denies the flesh its security and its understanding. The next point to
consider is that man believes his knowledge will ultimately save him (in
the flesh). Man uses his knowledge to exalt himself and carry out his own
will. This concept shall be examined in a later chapter.

When man chose to believe Satan, man was judging God’s motives and
purposes. The devil misrepresented God as not being fair in denying man
the benefit of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man was
to love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength (Mk 12:30).
However, man judged God as hard and unjust and disobeyed Him in favor
of self rule. Whenever God is excluded there is darkness (for God is light)
and this is evil. We will explore within this book how man always judges
God and His Word through eyes turned in on self. Whenever God is
excluded, the devil gets some glory and worship – he wants to be like the

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most high. Isaiah 14:14, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I
will be like the most High.”

The devil seems to have gained some authority on earth due to his prior
position; man’s fall; and man having taken on Satan’s nature by following
his counsel in disobeying God. Although the devil’s powers are superior
compared to man, they are much inferior to God’s (Eph 1:20-21). The
devil has been referred to as the god of this world and the prince of the
power of the air (2 Cor 4:4, Eph 2:2). The devil is not a true god, only in
the sense of the leader of all rebellion against the one true God. Most men
will submit and serve Satan in some way (broad path). His temporal
authority is only what God allows him to have. There was an
acknowledgment of Satan’s authority when he tempted Jesus: Luke 4:5-6,
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all
the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto
him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is
delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” Jesus destroyed
the devil’s power through the cross (Gal 1:4). Our victory is found in
Christ – and only in Him!

God’s Order

What does it mean “ascend above the heights of the clouds” and “be like
the most high” and “ye shall be as gods?” God has a chain of authority of
which He is sovereign (supreme in power, possessing supreme dominion,
Is 42:5, 44:6, 43:10, 45:7, 12, 18, Dan 4:35). This chain of authority
extends to His dealings with man - His creation. 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I
would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head
of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Jesus is
submitted to God (the Father), man must be submitted to Christ (the
Son), and woman must be submitted to man (Eph 5:22-24). The child
must be submitted to his parents (Mt 15:4, Eph 6:2). Each layer of
authority has responsibilities. This is God’s divine order (Is 45:9)! What is
being submissive? To submit/yield to the authority of another without
objection or resistance. To be ruled by the decision, will or judgment of
another. This encompasses meekness, obedience, surrender, yielding, and
humbleness. In heaven, the angels are in submission to God’s authority
(Mt 6:10, Lk 11:2, Heb 1:5, 2:5, Jude 1:6). We just read how Satan
(Lucifer) tried to rise above God’s authority to determine his own course
and seat himself as god. Satan convinced man to do the same. Anyone
who rebels against God’s order (chain of authority) at any level is a
transgressor. To determine your own way is to place yourself above God.
If this seems strange to you in this rebellious age, then you are probably
not submitted. What you must strongly consider is what Christ said,
Matthew 18:4, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little
child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” A child is the last of
God’s order (submissive to all). God desires such submission in all of us

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and this is not a dishonor. To be anything else is to be prideful. To be first
you must be last and a servant to all (Mk 9:35). To be greatest/chiefest,
you must be servant of all (Mt 23:11, Mk 10:44). This confounds the
flesh! To be submissive is to be meek. Meekness is submission to the
divine will of God (Ps 22:26, 25:9) and these will inherit the earth (Ps
37:11). The Lord reveals truth to those who are submitted (Mt 11:25).
Jesus submitted to His earthly parents as a child (Lk 2:51) - living by
example. We will study Christ’s total submission to the will of the Father in
Chapter Two. In the end, all things will be restored through Jesus: 1
Corinthians 15:24, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered
up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all
rule and all authority and power.” Also see Chapter Seven, “Woman as
Head of Man?” And “Symbology of Marriage.”

Sin

Genesis 3:7, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew
that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made
themselves aprons.” Prior to his disobedience, man was innocent and pure
– there was no shame. (Gen 3:25). Man was innocent in his actions when
he was submitted to God. Once man’s eyes were opened, he understood
his sinfulness and this is what his sudden awareness of his nakedness
represented. Man tried to atone for his own sin in his way by making a
covering of fig leaves and by hiding from God (Gen 3:8, Job 31:33). This
is another important point that will be developed within this book. Man
mostly tries to reach God through man’s way rather than God’s way (Pv
16:25, Eph 2:8-9, Ti 3:5). Man’s pride does not want to yield to God. You
may be surprised to learn that what the sewed fig leaves represented has
developed into the many visible religious institutions of today.

Sin is basically any act by man that negates the will of God. Sin is an
affront to the very “being” of God. It challenges His authority on every
level. All manner of fleshly fruit results and is physically manifested such
as these examples: Foul language, adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings,
lying, homosexuality/perversions, covetousness, maliciousness, deceit,
insolence, rebellion, disobedience to parents, gambling, spite,
pride/arrogance, wickedness, gossip, boasting, blasphemy, false accusers,
incontinence, unthankfulness, gluttony, mischief, scheming, selfishness,
traitors, coarse jesting, unmerciful, lovers of selves, etc. In addition you
are equally guilty if you take pleasure in them who do these things or
pleasure in unrighteousness in general such as thoughts or wicked desires
which have yet to be acted upon (Rm 1:32, Mt 5:28, 2 Thess 2:12). Sin
could also be neglect of God’s will by not doing things you should have
done (Ps 19:12-13). A tree is known by the fruit it produces (Lk 6:43-44).
Matthew 7:20, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn

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down, and cast into the fire.” The fire is eternal damnation and separation
from God.

Satan’s aim is to compel us to sin, through our own lusts (choices), and
then accuse us before God (Rev 12:10). By making us an enemy of God,
we become defenseless, lost and quickly overcome. The devil is
determined to kill and destroy, but you allow him to do so when you
alienate yourself from God. Satan is a thief, but is not after money or
temporal possessions. The devil comes to steal the souls of men and send
them to damnation for eternity. John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but
for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (Jesus) am come that they might
have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Our strength
comes from our weakness. When we become broken and yielded to God,
He shows Himself strong for us. Pride and arrogance seek to usurp and
conquer and are characteristics of the devil. Taking pride in yourself and
your abilities is exalting self above God’s purposes.

Those that are Christ’s must walk as children of the light as led by the
Spirit in all godliness, righteousness and truth (Eph 5:8-9). Galatians
5:22-25, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (self control): against
such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the
Spirit.” Crucifying the flesh is dying to your will. Walking in the Spirit is
faithful loving obedience to God’s will.

Priorities

Genesis 3:6, “…she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also
unto her husband with her; and he did eat. God has established that His
authority supersedes all else and that obedience to Him takes priority. We
are often highly influenced by those around us, particularly close family
members. In this case Adam willfully disobeyed God to please Eve
(hearkened unto his wife, Gen 3:17). Family can be a great influence for
good or evil. Jesus said: Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Christ is
saying that nothing can take priority over Him – family or self. Jesus
further said, Matthew 10:35-37, “For I am come to set a man at variance
against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter
in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his
own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not
worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not
worthy of me.” Those who follow Jesus will have a spiritual outlook and
their desire will be to serve Him. Those who do not will have a fleshly
outlook and their desire will be to serve themselves. This will create
conflicts within families. Adam chose to follow his flesh in obeying Eve and

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disregarding God’s command. To be reconciled to God, we must come
back under His authority and our loyalties must be to Him foremost. There
will always be other influences to pull us from God and we must stand
firm. Often those close to us will be hurt when we reject their will in favor
of God’s purposes.

Our fellow man and friends can also be a great influence in leading us
away from God in seeking the things of this world. When you stand for
Christ, you may find that many will separate from your company (Lk
6:22). We must choose our friends based upon spiritual life and their
heart toward God. Those who seek the flesh will have no interest in
denying it to serve Christ. This would be a mixing of light and darkness
and a source of continual conflicts or damaging influence that would most
certainly lead opposite from God. 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally
yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness
with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

The devil will use our friends or family to hinder us in serving the Lord.
The devil does not play fair and is out to exalt himself, destroy man and
take glory from God anyway he can. Friends and family tend to exert the
most influence on us (Gen 3:17). Satan once used a close friend of Jesus
to try and hinder His purposes. Matthew 16:22-23, “Then Peter took him,
and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not
be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me,
Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that
be of God, but those that be of men (also Jn 14:28).” We must recognize
God’s will and be faithful in it regardless of any self-sacrifice and
persecution required of us.

Denial

Genesis 3:9-12, “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him,
Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was
afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee
that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded
thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom
thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Notice
that Adam’s innocence is now gone. What was once good has now been
corrupted by man’s disobedience and newly gained knowledge and self
will. Initially, man tries to hide or cover up his sin (Job 31:33). When
questioned of his transgression, man immediately blames others and even
God himself. Adam said “the woman whom thou gavest to be with me”
placing guilt on Eve, yet implying that it was ultimately God’s own fault.
Many will blame God for their own failures or circumstances. Adam
attempted to transfer his guilt, but he clearly knew God’s commandment
not to eat of the tree (Gen 2:17-18). Blaming God is judging God and woe
to him that striveth with his maker (Eccl 5:2, Is 45:9). Eve was deceived,

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but Adam was not (1 Tm 2:14). Adam’s sin was willful (deliberate) and he
did not reverence God’s command thereby judging Him unworthy of
obedience. Eve blamed the serpent (Gen 3:13), but she also knew God’s
commandment (Gen 3:2-3). Man errs greatly by trying to hide or justify
his sin rather than confessing and repenting of it (Is 55:7, 1 Jn 1:9). God
can work with a truly repentant heart, but no mercy can be given for the
one who will not acknowledge any wrong (Pv 28:13). Adam had
understanding of God’s will and similarly we also have God’s Word (Bible),
which is His revealed will for us. Jesus said: John 12:48, “He that
rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the
word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Even
though we have this precious Word, many will disregard it and be lacking
on the Day of Judgment. Romans 2:6, “Who will render to every man
according to his deeds.” No doubt these will attempt to shift blame or seek
justification on that day. Our deeds concern our thoughts, actions, and
attitude of the heart toward God - our faith (or lack). toward Him. These
manifest in our outward actions.

Notice that Adam and Eve suddenly realized their sin and are embarrased
of their nakedness. When we overcome sin in our lives there will be
nothing that we do that we would be embarrased for God or others to see
or know about. If you are embarrased about certain things in your life
(thoughts, activities, etc.) and would not want them displayed for God or
others to see, then these things are surely sinful and must be overcome.
If suddenly everyone could read each others minds, would you be
embarrased with the content of yours? These things are indicators of your
heart.

Sacrifice

Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make
coats of skins, and clothed them.” A sacrifice had to be made to obtain
those skins. Animals had to die to provide this temporary covering for
man. Sin always requires a sacrifice. God is holy, righteous and perfect;
he will not overlook or excuse sin. There must be an acceptable
atonement and the cost of it is very high. Atonement is reconciliation after
enmity whereby reparation is made by giving an equivalent for a wrong
committed. God always required the best for sacrifices whether
unblemished animals or the choice fruits of the harvest. Animal and grain
sacrifices could never provide a complete atonement and were only for a
temporary covering. Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of
bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Sin was such a grievous issue
with God that He sent His own Son to atone for man’s sin by suffering and
dying. Jesus became the unblemished final sacrifice for our sins, the lamb
that was slain (Rev 5:12). Jesus was unblemished by reason of the sinless
and well pleasing life he lived upon this earth. Hebrews 10:10, 12, “By the
which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins

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for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” Adam chose his will over
God’s and thus brought sin and death into the world. To restore things
back into right order and atone for man’s evil; Jesus had to totally choose
God’s will over His own. In doing so, Jesus was well pleasing to the Father
and reconciliation was made for all who would acknowledge Jesus and put
their faith in Him by following His example. Jesus always says, “Come,
follow me.” Colossians 1:19-20, “For it pleased the Father that in him
should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his
cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether
they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” How can we neglect so great
an offer of salvation (Heb 2:3)? We conform to Christ’s image (Jn 12:44-
45, who is the image of the Father – Jn 14:9) by abiding in Him and are
thus restored to being the image of God.

In the Garden of Eden, man sought to gain his will or freedom to choose
his own destiny. To gain his freedom for SELF, man had to revolt
(rebellion) against God’s authority which he was under. The whole concept
of sacrifice should tell us one thing. To be reconciled back to God, we
must now give up or “sacrifice” the things we want (the selfish freedom
we gained) in order to come back under God’s will and purposes. We now
deny SELF (that which we rebelled to obtain) to seek God’s will (that
which we revolted against and lost). We “sacrifice” the best of our wants
and desires to seek God’s will (Ps 50:5). We are to present ourselves as
living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God, not conforming to the world,
but being transformed by the renewing of the mind to demonstrate the
good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (Rm 12:1-2). This is why Jesus
said: Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that
loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Finding our life is seeking SELF.
Losing our life is denying SELF for God’s will – crucifying self (Gal 5:24). 2
Timothy 2:11, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall
also live with him.” This is also why Jesus said that if any man come after
Him he must deny himself daily and take up his cross and follow (Lk
9:23). Our love (sacrifice) must be without dissimulation (false motives,
hypocrisy, pretensions – Rm 12:9). The original revolt or disobedience
(transgression) had to be atoned for. Man could not do this. For a time
unblemished animal sacrifices provided a temporary covering (Heb 10:4-
12). Christ’s unblemished life and subsequent suffering and death
(sacrifice) provided the permanent atonement – forgiveness of past sins
(Rm 3:25). Just as in the beginning, God still requires man to perform his
will (1 Pt 4:2, Heb 10:36, Mk 3:35, 6:10, Rm 12:2, Eph 6:6). Man’s flesh
wants to seek its own in keeping with the rebellion (fallen nature). The
flesh must be overcome, subdued, and denied to perform God’s will and
this is the nature of the battle (Gal 5:15-16). God has established that
man will approach Him through faith (Heb 11:6). The just shall live by
faith (Rm 1:17). This is love and obedience with a whole heart toward God
to perform His will. This faith must be lived out daily and requires devotion
to God. This faith cannot be self seeking (would defeat the whole
purpose), but must desire to glorify God alone. Jesus has provided us with

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strength (power) to live a life of sustained faith and has sent the Holy
Ghost to equip, strengthen, teach, and guide us (Jn 1:16). 1 Peter 1:5,
“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to
be revealed in the last time.” Our life of faith reconciles us with God
eternally. 1 Peter 1:9, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation
of your souls.”

God initially desired Adam and Eve to serve Him out of love. This is why
there was a choice in the garden. God’s desire has not changed and we
must still approach Him freely in love. You cannot serve God for any other
motive. We live in a world full of choices. The Lord will determine who
freely and lovingly chooses to serve Him during this time. God is
longsuffering and you have a lifetime to decide whom you will serve
(however, God will not be mocked). When your life ends, so do your
choices. God is not looking for a death bed confession, but a heart of faith
toward Him and a relationship of love (Jn 10:3). To be truly reconciled to
God, our hearts must also be reconciled.

Restoration

Man having disobeyed and being soiled with sin could no longer partake of
the life that is found in God. Genesis 3:23-24, “Therefore the LORD God
sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he
was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the
garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life.” Sin is a bitter fruit and has brought
much toil, pain, hardship, disorder and suffering into the world. Most put
undue emphasis on things of this world, but God’s purposes are eternal (2
Cor 4:18). Those who are fleshly have a shortsighted temporal outlook –
the here and now, what can be seen and felt. Those who are spiritual live
for what is eternal – the substance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1). The
sufferings of this world are not worthy to compare with the glory to be
revealed in us for those following Jesus (Rm 8:18). Those who are
concerned with the things of this world and seek to gain place will one day
realize how misplaced their efforts were. 1 Timothy 6:7, “For we brought
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” The
only thing of value is seeking reconciliation back to God. How many rich
men have died only to have another acquire that which he lost (Eccl 2:18-
19, 5:15-16, Job 27:8, Lk 12:20)? How many have gained all that their
eyes beheld only to lose it all in a dying breath, including their very soul
(Mt 16:26, Eccl 2:18, Ps 49:10)? It doesn’t matter whether your rich, wise
or foolish, we all die the same (Eccl 2:16). The only thing one takes
beyond the grave is a record of a life lived (Ps 49:17).

Jesus provided a way back to the tree of life. Matthew 7:14, “Because
strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it.” Jesus Christ is the gate that one must enter and the

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path is the way of holiness (Is 35:8, Pv 16:17). Luke 13:23-24, “Then
said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto
them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will
seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” To strive means to endeavor with
earnestness, to labor hard, struggle and fight. Traveling this path requires
much endurance, perseverance, reproach, self denial, sacrifice, obedience,
forgiveness, devotion and love. This path has many trials and tribulations
along the way and there will be suffering in the flesh (Rm 8:17, Php 1:29,
2 Tm 2:12) – there will be obstacles. Many will find the ease of the broad
path to destruction much more to their liking, since one may enjoy the
pleasures of sin for a season, where there are no rules, just right - in your
own eyes (Mt 7:13, Heb 11:25, Pv 21:2). This way is whatever you (self)
want it to be and the devil will somewhat cater to you for the price of the
sinful bondages that are inflicted, the separation from God and the
resulting eternal damnation that is justified. Those who have put their
faith in Jesus and have been reconciled to God through newness of life are
heirs to the promise of eternal life (Rm 5:10, 6:4, 2 Cor 5:18). These
righteous ones who have freely chosen God’s will over their own, shall be
given access to the tree of life. Revelation 2:7, “He that hath an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of
God.” That which was lost will be found once again. Revelation 22:14,
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to
the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Recall
how Adam did not keep God’s commandment and was denied access to
the tree of life. Things have now come full circle. Blessed are those who
keep Christ’s commandments (Josh 22:5 = Mk 12:30-31 = Mt 22:40, also
Jn 14:15, 15:10) for they will be given access to the tree of life. The fruit
of the righteous is a tree of life (Pv 11:30).

It is also important to note that when Jesus spoke of the broad and
narrow ways (Mt 7:13-14) that He was speaking to professed believers. In
verse 21, Jesus states that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter into
the kingdom of heaven because many of these will continue to work
iniquity even though they had good works (v. 22-23). Those that do God’s
will shall enter into His kingdom (v. 21, 24). The unconverted seem to
think that once they acknowledge Christ that they can continue in their old
life as if they never had made a commitment. Jesus warned in verse 15 to
beware of false prophets that come as sheep, but are really ravenous
wolves. These will tell the sheep that God’s grace allows for continued
willful sinfulness and self-centeredness. In other words the devil’s lie to
Eve, you can sin and not die.

Summary

Choosing between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil was a time of testing (Deut 8:2-8, Ps 7:9, Pv 17:3). The time of

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testing has not concluded. Man still retains free will to choose whom he
will serve. Only God can draw man unto Christ because there is no
inherent desire in man to die to his will (Rm 3:11, Jn 1:12-13, 6:44, 65).
Mankind has fallen from God’s grace, but God’s purposes continue. The
Lord’s will is to reconcile all things unto Himself through His Son, Jesus
Christ for His glory (2 Pt 3:9). God’s will shall ultimately prevail and order
will be restored (Ps 103:19). Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am
God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
God has yet to deal with man as he deserves: Psalm 103:10, “He hath not
dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”
Man’s nature is sinful, but through Christ, a man’s nature can be
regenerated (by God) such that he becomes a new creature with God’s
nature (2 Cor 5:17-19, Php 2:13, Eph 4:24). Man is weak, but Jesus has
provided overcoming power through His Spirit (Jn 1:12, 2 Sam 22:33).
The corruptible shall put on incorruption and the mortal, immortality. 1
Corinthians 15:55-57, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy
victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ.” Man chose to have knowledge of good and evil, but due to
rebellion took on the nature of evil. God gave us the law through Moses.
The law is God’s requirements for good, yet man cannot fulfill them on his
own and thus the strength of sin is the law. Praise God that there is
victory through Jesus Christ. There is no other way for reconciliation to
God apart from faith in Christ. No one will be able to say they have earned
their place in eternity. Apart from God’s love (sacrifice), mercy
(undeserved/unmerited) and grace (ability to walk righteously) there is no
reconciliation or salvation.

This world is temporal and quickly passing (2 Cor 4:18, Is 65:17, Rev
21:1). Man’s carnal life is as a vapor or fading flower (Js 4:14, 1 Pt 1:24-
25, Job 8:9, 14:2, Ps 78:39, 103:15-16, 144:4, 1 Chr 29:15). Psalm
90:9-10, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our
years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and
ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their
strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Each
man has been allotted a space of time (some more than others) to freely
choose whom he will serve (Josh 24:15). That which is dust shall turn to
dust again (Eccl 3:20). Your spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl
12:7). God observes the ways of man (Ps 11:4, 14:2, 33:13-15,
53:2, 94:9, 102:19, 139:7, Pv 5:21 & 15:3, Job 11:11, 24:23, 34:21, Jer
16:17, 23:24, Heb 4:13). Man’s actions on this earth are recorded (Ps
56:8, 69:28, Ex 32:32-33, Job 16:19, Dan 12:1, Mal 3:16, Lk 10:20, Rev
17:18, 20:12, 15, 21:27, 22:19) – even your hairs are numbered,
meaning that God does not miss the smallest detail or thing done secretly
(Lk 12:20). All men will die and face judgment (Eccl 8:8, Heb 9:27). Man
can choose life in Jesus Christ or death by following his own knowledge in
pursuit of self. Those who freely and loving submit to God through their
faith in Him will be chosen to be with Him eternally. Those who reject

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Christ and freely choose their own desire will eat of the fruit of their own
way and thoughts (Pv 1:31 & 2:13, Jer 6:19). They will be eternally
separated from God and totally given over to their strong selfish desires,
never to be fulfilled, while enduring never ending enhanced torment of
body, soul and conscious in a darkness that can be felt in a lake of fire
(Job 10:22, 26:6, Ex 10:21, Mt 8:12, 18:8, 22:13, 25:41, 46, Mk 9:44,
46, 48, 2 Thess 1:9, Jude 1:13, Rev 14:11, 16:10, 19:20, 20:10-15).
Satan and those spiritual rebellious ones (angels, Rev 12:7) who followed
him were cast out from God’s presence. Rebellious man will also be cast
from His presence, for hell hath enlarged herself and is never full (Is 5:14,
Pv 27:20, Is 5:14). Rebellious man will be consigned to the place
prepared for his god, the devil (Mt 25:41).Take heed Oh man to walk in
the ways of the Lord (Ps 86:11).Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to
fall into the hands of the living God.”

Chapter 2 – What Did Jesus Do?

Much like the world, popular Christendom likes to come up with witty feel
good sayings and fads which can be mass marketed and sold as all sorts
of trinkets and paraphernalia. Perhaps you have heard of the phrase,
“What would Jesus do (WWJD)?” Supposedly when one finds oneself in an
unsure situation, they just evoke this spiritual test to determine the
correct course of action. The scriptures reveal that we should be taught
and led by the Holy Spirit. The difference being that the latter looks to
God and the former to one’s own mental reasoning and human strength.
Unfortunately, the WWJD remedy is only as good as the devotion of the
practitioner. In actuality, those who wear the necklaces and bracelets
would have to evoke the test to such a degree every time the television is
turned-on that they would have to stop watching it, and I do not think this
has been the case, but I pray it would be. For most, this will become
yesterday’s pet rock idea that will be considered a bit too restrictive to
one’s self-will. Many get caught up in speculative reasoning which no
doubt varies from one to another and is certainly highly influenced by the
whims of the flesh depending on how much one wants to do the thing in
question. Rather than wonder what Jesus would do, have we not missed
the obvious? Why not ask, “What did Jesus do?”

Did you know? Jesus was sent of another but eagerly came. Did not speak
His own words; did not perform His own works; submitted to another’s
will putting His will totally aside; forsook the things of the world, having
only the clothes on His back; was tempted, yet did not sin; became as a
servant; was persecuted by the religious; and traveled the “Way of the
Cross” resulting in His laying down His physical life for you. Jesus often
used the term, “follow me” and He certainly set the proper godly example.
It would be very wise of us to take note of how Jesus walked and apply
the same devotion in our lives. Jesus walked in God’s grace and His life
demonstrates the proper application of grace (the ability to perform God’s
will, Heb 2:9). We will examine in detail just how Jesus did walk during
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His time on this earth. Jesus said: John 6:38, “For I came down from
heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (also Jn
4:34). There is a message for each of us that choose to truly follow Jesus,
John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the
works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he
do; because I go unto my Father.”

It is so important to note God’s love for us. God did not tell us to go do
something and then leave us hanging. God came and demonstrated His
love by example and what His expectations are for us. John 10:4, “And
when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the
sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Jesus walked first and the
sheep followed after – in His footsteps. God walked the walk, just as a
man, and then said, “Come follow me.” Jesus knows the sheep and the
sheep know Him and this is a relationship (Jn 10:3-4, 14). When we follow
Christ, He will lift us up and empower us through His Spirit to complete
the course. No one will be able to tell God that He just doesn’t
understand. Jesus Christ will be able to judge absolutely righteously (Jn
8:15-16, Ps 96:13, 98:9). Even the best arguments of those who have
rejected Him will never hold. God is supreme and has considered all; none
will be able to say He has judged unfairly. He does not require that we do
something that He was unwilling or unable to do. Jesus walked the walk!
Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the
angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he
by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Jesus came and
bear witness and exhibited the truth – He demonstrated the nature of His
kingdom: John 18:37, “…for this cause came I into the world, that I
should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth
my voice.”We will either follow the truth or our opinion of the truth
(human reasoning) – this translates into following the Spirit or the flesh.
Jesus will lead us on the path of righteousness.

Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and chose his will over God’s
will. This resulted in sin and death for all mankind. Romans 5:12,
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” This brought
about a separation between man and God. Isaiah 59:2, “But your
iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have
hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” In order to correct the
grievous transgression that came about due to Adam and bring
reconciliation between man and God, an acceptable sacrifice had to be
offered for atonement. No acceptable sacrifice could be found in mankind
because man was tainted with sin. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and
come short of the glory of God.” Man could not in and of himself correct
his condition (Ps 14:3). Proverb 20:9, “Who can say, I have made my
heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” Notice the “I” in the verse as in
something you do. Therefore God in an overwhelming display of love sent
His only begotten Son to be the only truly acceptable sacrifice (Jn 3:16).

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Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ would be the
unblemished Lamb of God and His blood would be the atonement (1 Pt
1:19, Rev 1:5). The atonement would be offered as an equivalent to make
reparation and amend for man’s offense. Galatians 1:4, “Who gave
himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world,
according to the will of God and our Father.” In order for Christ to
accomplish the reconciliation, He had to live the life that Adam failed to
live. Jesus had to do the opposite of Adam by choosing God’s will over His
will. Adam disobeyed God; Jesus would have to absolutely obey the
Father. By totally submitting His will to the Father, Jesus lived a sinless
life that was acceptable to the Father (Mk 1:11). Romans 5:19, “For as by
one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of
one shall many be made righteous.” Through Christ, we are born again
with the nature of God. Jesus, as a man, had to be the image of God
(what man was created to be). Jesus was so successful that He could say:
If you have seen me, you have seen the Father (Jn 14:9). Man must also
be the image of God (that of Christ, Gen 1:27, Col 3:10). This was the
way things were to be from the beginning. Man was originally expected to
willingly and sincerely submit his will to God in a loving and obedient
relationship – to cleave to Him (Deut 11:22, Josh 23:8).

The life of Jesus Christ is our example to follow on this earth. 1 Peter
2:21-24, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered
for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no
sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed
himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in
his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto
righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (reconciled to God).”
Following in His steps is getting very specific and exacting and the wise
will heed this call. It should also be noted that we are to live unto
righteousness and not in a manner that suits our will (Pv 21:21). Many
will live to the flesh and use God’s grace as a covering for their ongoing
sinful lives (Pv 8:36, 14:2). They will never even see the hypocrisy (Mk
7:6). This is using God’s loving intent to draw man unto Himself as an evil
means to further distance man and push him away. Psalm 23:3, “He
restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his
name’s sake.” Jesus restores us from our fallen state for the intent to
follow the narrow path of righteousness for His glory that He is due and
fully deserves (Ps 96:8). Our role is to submit and obey! The Holy Spirit
gives us this ability. Proverb 8:20, “I lead in the way of righteousness, in
the midst of the paths of judgment.” The Lord loves righteousness (Ps
11:7, 15:1-2, Pv 15:9). Those not actively following righteousness are in
rebellion against God and have not been converted and are given to
blindness, which is deception. An “example” is defined as a pattern or
model for imitation. “Following” is conforming to, being the same as,
moving in the same direction, in harmony with, adhering, being led or

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guided by, and obeying. Let us now consider with an open, yielded, and
teachable heart, the great example Christ gave for us to follow. He that is
of God heareth God’s words and every one that is of the truth heareth
Christ’s voice (Jn 8:47, 18:37). 1 John 2:29, “If ye know that he is
righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of
him.” You are encouraged to search the scriptures and see if these things
be not so (Acts 17:11).

The atonement was for whosoever will (1 Tm 2:4). This is Christ dying for
us while we were yet sinners – for the ungodly (Rm 5:6, 8). This is the
Father’s love and his longsuffering that none should perish, but all repent
(2 Pt 3:9). The atonement is God’s love and great sacrifice given for
everyone and makes it “possible” for one to be saved and reconciled to
God. 1 John 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us,
because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that
we might live through him.” However, salvation (eternal life) is conditional
and not for everyone, it is only for those who believe (Jn 3:15-21).
Believe means an unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Christ as
evidenced through your faith and love toward God. Salvation will be
limited to those who enter through the strait gate (Christ) and journey
down the narrow path (Mt 7:13-14, Lk 13:24). Psalms 118:19-20, “Open
to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the
LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.” Jesus
is the gate/door (Jn 10:9). Many will profess, say they believe and claim
the atonement, yet never enter the gate (door) or travel the path. We
bow low in humbleness and repentance to enter the strait gate, and are
led of the Holy Spirit through Christ’s power along the narrow path (2 Cor
13:4). The journey is in the steps of Christ and it conforms us to His
image. Those who do not enter into Christ’s life are said to be in
“unbelief.” Unbelief is rebellion to God’s authority, usually in favor of your
own. What we sow (plant) in this life is what we shall reap (harvest). If
one sows sunflower seeds, one will reap sunflower seeds and should not
expect to reap watermelons. Similarly, if we sow to the flesh we will reap
of the flesh death. If we sow to the Spirit, then we will reap of the Spirit
everlasting life. Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to
his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Therefore, claiming or professing
the atonement, yet living to the flesh will only produce death. Beware and
be not deceived. A gospel of the flesh is opposed to Christ and all He
stood for; please consider Romans Chapter 8 carefully. Many will plow in
wickedness, reap in iniquity, eat the fruit of lies (they believe Satan’s lie
that you can sin and not die), because they trusted in their way (Hos
10:13). To trust in your own way is what the devil convinced Adam and
Eve to do.

We live in a very religious world. There has never been such a confusing
multitude of choices. Within the envelope of what is called Christianity one

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canfind a huge range of ideas and lifestyles. Most of these are foreign to
what Christ preached and lived. The term “Christian” has almost lost
meaning. When Christ’s true gospel is preached the self seeking religious
will quickly distance themselves from it. Many of those who will listen may
never apply it to their lives (Mk 4:17). This chapter will detail just how
Christ walked and how we are to follow. You may find yourself getting
uncomfortable in the light of Christ. Your tolerance will be relational to the
darkness in your life and your defense of it. You alone will have to
determine if you want to remain in the darkness. Jesus will never force
you into the light. Recall that within the scope of this book, the religious
are those who try and reach God through man’s way rather than God’s
way. Of course they assume that their way is God’s way and this is the
deception.

Who is Jesus?

John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of
the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have
the light of life.” Who is Jesus that we should follow and obey Him? God
has revealed Himself to mankind as triune or three in one (unity), namely
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18). Jesus is one with the
Godhead revealed to mankind as the Son and is the brightness of God’s
glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by
the word of his power and sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high
(Heb 1:3). As a man, Jesus was the perfect image of the Father (Jn
12:45, 14:9, Col 1:15, 2:9). Jesus said, I and my Father are one, and if
you have seen me then you have seen the Father (Jn 10:30, 12:44-45 &
14:9). 1 John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” The full
Godhead manifested itself to man at the baptism of Jesus. Luke 3:22,
“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him
(Jesus), and a voice (Father) came from heaven, which said, Thou art my
beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Colossians 2:9-10, “For in him
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in
him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Jesus exactly fulfilled
all existing prophecies concerning Himself such that the detailed record of
Christ would be accurate and true. God always honors His Word.

Jesus is the very Word of God, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus’ very name is
the Word, Revelation 19:13, “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in
blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Christ’s Word is eternal,
redeeming, and we will one day be judged by it (Ps 96:13, 1 Pt 1:25, Jn
8:31, 51, & 12:48, Is 40:8). Christ came to the earth in the form of a
man. John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.” Jesus is the beginning and the end, which is, and

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which was, and which is to come (Rev 1:8, Is 44:6)). Jesus is He that
liveth, and was dead, but is alive forever more (Rev 1:18).

Jesus is an eternal king after the lineage of David (Is 9:6-7) and a high
priest after the order of Melchisedec (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:10, 6:20, 7:1-4,
17). The Melchisedec priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood
(Heb 7:11). Hebrews 7:26-27, “For such an high priest became us, who is
holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than
the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up
sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did
once, when he offered up himself.” Jesus is the great “I AM” who revealed
Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:14). This revelation was later
personally confirmed, John 8:58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I
say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus was the spiritual rock
from which the children of Israel drank in the wilderness and that followed
them (1 Cor 10:4). Jesus is the bread from heaven (Jn 6:32-35). Jesus is
the only way by which men may be saved (Jn 14:6, 1 Jn 5:11). Acts 4:12,
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Christ is
the firstborn among many brethren and we are to conform to His image
(Rm 8:29, Col 3:10-Eph 3:9). Jesus is now greatly glorified in heaven.
Revelation 19:16, “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name
written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Colossians 1:13-20, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,


and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we
have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is
the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him
were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible
and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or
powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all
things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the
church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all
things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in
him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of
his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say,
whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Several things
should be noted in this scriptural text. Jesus’ earthly presence is the
image of God, and as such is our example (Col 3:10). Jesus has
preeminence in all things for and He has a kingdom (Jn 18:36). Jesus is
the head of the church, which is His body. Jesus is the door for
redemption, justification and reconciliation to God (1 Cor 1:30). Ephesians
1:21-23, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion,
and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that
which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to
be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of
him that filleth all in all.” Hebrews 1:8-9, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy
throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the

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sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated
iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of
gladness above thy fellows.” Make no mistake, Christ rules in
righteousness and holiness.

Jesus will come again as a righteous judge. Luke 3:17, “Whose fan is in
his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat
into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.” There
will come a day of separation and justice (Acts 10:42, 17:31, Rm 2:16, 2
Tm 4:1, Heb 10:30, 1 Pt 4:5, Dan 7:9-14).

It should also be noted that when God the Father speaks, the Holy Spirit
accomplishes His Word (Ps 104:30, Is 55:11). Genesis 1:1-2, “In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was
without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And
the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The Holy Ghost also
overshadowed Mary for the conception of Jesus (Mt 1:18, 20). Jesus sent
His Spirit to work in the hearts of His disciples (followers – past, present,
and future) to conform them to His image (which is the image of God) and
thereby lead them in paths of righteousness and holiness for His
namesake. Proverb 15:9, “The way of the wicked is an abomination unto
the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.”

Jesus was sent by the Father

God the Father sent Jesus the Son to reconcile man to Himself through
the Son (Rm 5:1). John 8:42, “Jesus said unto them, If God were your
Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God;
neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” Jesus came to seek that which
was lost by offering forgiveness and grace to whosoever would receive
Him (Lk 19:10). John 3:17, “For God sent not his Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Jesus eagerly left the glories of heaven to perform the Father’s will. Jesus
humbled Himself and put His very “glory” aside to fulfill the Father’s plan
for mankind. In doing so, Christ knew that He would be misrepresented,
falsely accused, belittled, questioned, blasphemed, spied upon and taken
advantage of and would face persecution, rejection, betrayal,
abandonment, hunger, temptation, torture, penalty of our sin, and death,
but came anyway! As stated earlier, Jesus took on the form of a man and
dwelt among us. John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received
him not.” When you consider that God in His infinite righteousness and
holiness does not even look upon sin, then you can begin to see what a
sacrifice it was for Jesus to become the filth of sin for us (Habakkuk 1:13,
Rm 8:3). The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Is 53:6). Jesus
never sinned once, yet was penalized as if He had done the most vile
things (Heb 4:15). Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we
have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the

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iniquity of us all.” Whereas we have all sought SELF and our own authority
(rebelled against God), Christ totally died to SELF in submiting the
Father’s authority, yet bore our iniquity (He had no iniquity). 2 Corinthians
5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Because God does not
look upon iniquity and is of purer eyes than to behold evil, He turned from
Christ when He became as sin on the cross. Matthew 27:46, “And about
the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama
sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
me?” During the time of darkness, Jesus was separated from God for us
(Is 54:7-8). The King of all who lived the only perfect life, died an
excruciating death as a condemned and despised criminal. Mark 15:27-28,
“And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the
other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was
numbered with the transgressors.” This is man’s justice. This is very
telling of what his executioners - religious man, can do when left to his
own will. Religious man is capable of all manner of evil (Jer 17:9).
Consider what those who claimed to represent Christ did in the
inquisitions and heresy hunts in Europe during the historical period known
as the Dark Ages. Men and women were hunted down, tortured and
slaughtered for not joining certain religious institutions that sought
absolute power and rule.

Praise God that events did not end at Jesus’ death. Jesus rose from the
dead three days later in great victory! We are now made righteous before
God, forgiven by Christ’s shed blood through faith as we conform to the
image of His Son (1 Jn 1:7, 1 Pt 1:2, Rm 8:29). We conform as we live
our faith daily through love in obedience to Christ through the leading of
His Holy Spirit. When Jesus completed the Father’s will in great victory, he
returned to the Father. John 16:28, “I came forth from the Father, and am
come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Jesus
had greatly humbled Himself and as a result, the Father then exalted Him.
Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and
given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and
things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” To be great in the kingdom
of God, you must become a servant (Mt 23:11-12).

Victory in Death?

Some might wonder how Jesus gained victory in death. This is part of the
wisdom of God’s plan. Death results from sin (Rm 5:12, 6:23). The sting
of death is sin (1 Cor 15:56). Man has a fallen nature and sin reigns unto
physical death (Rm 5:21). Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto
men once to die, but after this the judgment.” The devil operates under
bounds set by God and uses sin and death to destroy man by eternally

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separating him from God. The devil has the power of death (Heb
2:14). Satan’s devices are to take man’s attention off of God and
then corrupt him such that he will live selfishly and ultimately
worship Satan. The devil lures man (through his own lusts) into
corruption and then accuses man before God demanding the
penalty for his deeds (Rev 12:10). 1 John 3:8, “He that committeth
sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this
purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the
works of the devil.” Christ came to set the captives free (Jn 8:36).
Job is a good example of how Satan, the tempter and accuser,
maneuvers against man (Job 1:6-12 & 2:2-7). The devil tests man
with the purpose of causing him to willfully sin. Jesus was tested
and tried, but never sinned, and thus He could not legally be
required to die (Heb 4:15, 1 Pt 2:21-22). Jesus was innocent, yet
the devil instigated His death. Satan had tried to get Jesus to
worship him in the wilderness temptation and throughout His
walk. When he could not get a foothold in Christ’s life, he plotted
to destroy Him (Jn 14:30). The devil could not kill Christ, but could
entice men of their own free will (envy, greed, jealousy) to do this
for him. Luke 22:2-4, “And the chief priests and scribes sought
how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered
Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the
twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests
and captains, how he might betray him unto them.” Jesus had
once told the scribes, Pharisees and religious leaders they were of
their father the devil and that his will they would do (Mt 26:3-4,
Mk 15:11, Lk 22:53, 23:23-24, 24:20, Jn 8:44). Later, they did just
that as the chief priests and officers moved the people to demand
Jesus be crucified (Mt 27:20, Mk 15:11, Jn 19:6). Jesus actually
laid down His life to provide the atonement for man and also
legally triumphed over Satan regarding sin and death. The paradox
was that by Jesus’ death laid the victory. Hebrews 2:14-15,
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,
he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death
he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the
devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their
lifetime subject to bondage.” The devil and his principalities didn’t
understand God’s plan. 1 Corinthians 2:8, “Which none of the
princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not
have crucified the Lord of glory.” As a result, Colossians 2:15,
“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of
them openly, triumphing over them in it.” The prince of this world
is judged (Jn 16:11)! Death had no hold on Jesus. Romans 6:9,
“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over him.” Jesus conquered death
and could proclaim, Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was
dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the
keys of hell and of death.” Jesus brought life to those who were

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dead, our life is now found in Him (2 Cor 4:10-11). Colossians 3:4,
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also
appear with him in glory.” Has Christ become your very life, or is
He just a part of your (self) life?

Jesus came as a Servant

Jesus humbled Himself and became a servant. Philippians 2:7-8, “But


made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a
man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross.” Humbleness and obedience are the essence of faith
and this is how man will be saved in Christ. We are further told: 2
Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that,
though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through
his poverty might be rich.” This astounds the mind when you consider,
John 1:3, 10 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any
thing made that was made. He was in the world, and the world was made
by him, and the world knew him not.” By humbling Himself in obedience
to the Father and service to mankind, Jesus made a way for us to be with
Him eternally and partake of His divine riches. Mankind is undeserving and
mostly rebels against God even to this day! Jesus came with purpose,
Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,
but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus became a
servant in that He never sought His own, but always looked after the
needs of others. He healed, delivered, served, fed, gave, ministered,
taught, loved, prayed for, defended, suffered, forgave, and laid down His
life willingly. Jesus was totally giving and never selfish. Christ
demonstrated love (sacrifice) for God first and to His neighbor second by
the life He lived. Jesus’ service to God was not about synagogue
attendance, but rather lived out every day among everyone He came into
contact with (the good, bad and ugly). This is how it must be with us also.
Jesus did not set out to perform religious works for merit. Christ’s focus
was on performing the Father’s will and in so doing great works resulted.
The works were out of obedience to God’s will and not justification of self
– big difference! This is also how we are to be.

Just before His death, Jesus set an example for His followers: John 13:4-
5, 12-16, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a
towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and
began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel
wherewith he was girded. So after he had washed their feet, and had
taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye
what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for
so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also
ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that
ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The

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servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he
that sent him.” Jesus was telling them that those with greater
responsibilities are not superior to the others, but should be as a servant
to them rather than their master. Man has never understood this concept
in his religious systems and has always established Nicolaitan layers of
lordship and authority (rule). The most familiar to all is the clergy and
laity system of the Protest-ant religion and the Priesthood (Pope, Cardinal,
Bishop, and Priest) system of the Romanism (Roman Catholic) religion.
Mark 10:42-44, “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye
know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise
lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you,
shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be
servant of all.”

Jesus always lived by example, Luke 22:27, “For whether is greater, he


that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but
I am among you as he that serveth.” Now we are to serve each other, but
more important, follow Christ and serve Him. John 12:26, “If any man
serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant
be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” As servants, we
must always be conscious of how we perform. To serve Jesus is to deny
self, take up your cross, and follow Him daily (Lk 9:23). A servant always
looks to the needs of his master first. We also serve Jesus by abiding
(continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand firm, tarry, in the
same state, be one with) in Him, continuing in His Word, obeying His
commands and producing acceptable fruit (Jn 8:31, 14:15 & 15:4-5). 1
Thessalonians 2:12, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called
you unto his kingdom and glory (also Col 1:10, 2:6).” We must be Christ’s
witnesses on this earth (Lk 14:34)

We are now servants to Christ first and then each other (charity).
Servants seek always to please their Master and not themselves – for they
are not their own. 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Jesus sought always to please the Father, and we are to seek always to
please Christ. This means that our Lord is always on our mind throughout
the day and we are always conscious of our faith and service toward Him.
When we have done all, we have only done that which is required (Lk
17:10). As servants, everything we own belongs to our Lord and is to be
used for His purposes as directed. 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is
required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Let us be faithful!

Jesus was Tempted as we are

Jesus was tempted as we are and understands our struggles (Heb 2:18).
Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched

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with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we
are, yet without sin.” Even though Jesus was God, He came to the earth
as a man and had no advantage over us. Hebrews 2:16-18, “For verily he
took not on him the nature of angels (supernatural); but he took on him
the seed of Abraham (natural, as man). Wherefore in all things it behoved
him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and
faithful (trustworthy) high priest in things pertaining to God, to make
reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath
suffered being tempted, he is able to succour (help, aid, relieve) them
that are tempted.” Jesus is truly a trustworthy Lord who will judge
righteously. Jesus took his mind and attention off the world and self and
directed it to doing God’s will. To be self-centered is to oppose God’s rule
in your life in favor of your own. When tempted, we must take our
attention off the temptation (desire) and our flesh, and place it upon
Christ. The more we are fixated upon the temptation the stronger it
becomes because we are willingly yielding to it – and are soon overcome.
We must yield to Jesus.

Christ submitted Himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 4:1-4,
“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 hungered. 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 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.” Jesus had been
fasting for the purpose of denying the flesh to seek God’s will through the
Spirit. He was about to enter into His earthly ministry. The devil always
tempts at a point of weakness. Jesus must have been very hungry after
forty days without food; nevertheless He denied self to perform the will of
the Father. John 6:57, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by
the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” Christ’s life
was found in the Father (to do His will) and our lives must be found in
Christ. Why was Jesus led into a wilderness and why did He fast for forty
days and forty nights? Forty is symbolic for bearing iniquity (Num 14:34,
Ez 4:6, Deut 9:18-19, 25, 10:10, 25:3, Jonah 3:4, Gen 6:7:4, 12). Jesus
bore the iniquity of all men (Is 53:11-12 – “for he shall bear their
iniquities”). Recall that the children of Israel spent forty years in the
wilderness bearing their iniquity (Num 14:33-34, Ps 95:10). Deuteronomy
8:2-3, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led
thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove
thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his
commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to
hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy
fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by
bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the
LORD doth man live.” What this is saying is that God expects you to die to
your will (self) and live for His will – His every Word. To live by every
Word of God is to come totally under God’s authority (Lk 4:4) – this is

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what is demonstrated in Christ’s perfect life. We are not to be guided by
our flesh (i.e.hunger in this case), but by God’s purposes. Jesus said to
seek first (foremost) the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the
needful things of the flesh God will provide (Mt 6:32-33). Your will must
be to obey God with all your heart in humbleness (meekness). To live by
God’s Word may cause you to have to deny self. Jesus was refusing the
evil and choosing the good and bearing the sins of the people (just as
Moses had done – Deut 9:18-19, Ps 106:23) in the wilderness experience
(Is 7:14-15). Christ would later state: John 4:34, “Jesus saith unto them,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
Christ esteemed the Father’s Words more than necessary food (Job
23:12). Jesus was “proved” by the devil’s temptations (three times) in the
wilderness. He was tempted with carnal needs (flesh over the Spirit),
personal glory, and great power. Notice how the devil craftily tries to take
Jesus’ focus off of God and put it upon Himself (and His needs – hunger).
This is what Satan did to Eve in the Garden of Eden. If Jesus had
commanded the stones to be made bread it would have been totally for
selfish reasons no matter how justifiable it may seem (self-preservation).
He would have been exalting His will over God’s purposes (feeding the
flesh and denying the Spirit). Christ’s ability to perform signs and wonders
(turn rocks to bread) was to accomplish God’s will and not serve His (as a
man) selfish desires. Satan was also questioning Jesus’ divinity thereby
tempting Him to prove Himself. Jesus appropriately responded with the
Word of God (as we are to do) establishing His intention to live totally
within the Father’s will rather than His own. The sword of the Spirit is the
Word of God (Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12).This is our spiritual offensive weapon.
If we do not live the Word (doers) then our sword is dull and useless. The
author stated in the Introduction that he had a wilderness experience. The
Lord showed me my own inadequacies and absolute need for Christ. I saw
my sin and shame and how I had brought dishonor upon a truly righteous
God. During this time, as I yielded and died to my will and submitted
totally to God, He gave me a new heart (conversion). My yielding was not
mere words, but actions. I came out of this experience with a great
hunger (Ps 107:9-10) for God’s Word, which still burns within me today.
The Lord will try our hearts to know what is in them and see if we will
obey (Ps 7:9, Pv 17:3, 1 Thess 2:4). Let us all seek God for a wilderness
experience.

The devil again attempts to draw Christ’s attention off of God and onto
self. Matthew 4:5-7, “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and
setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be
the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his
angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up,
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It
is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Putting God to
the test in this situation would have been totally self-centered for
purposes of ego (self-worth, self-esteem) and personal glory (Deut 6:16).
God does not wait at our beckoned call to serve us and we are not to put

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God in the position as our servant (exalting self above God). This is
putting God under “our authority” – Woe! Perhaps Jesus could have
justified such a feat by saying this would launch His earthly ministry in a
spectacular fashion such that all would believe (jumping from the temple
– Mt 4:5). Men usually seek such justification and notoriety. Again the
devil appealed to any doubt that Jesus might have had as to who He was
and to His pride. Notice that the devil can quote scripture (Ps 91:11-12)
even though he misapplies it. Satan’s workers do the same (2 Corinthians
11:13-15) and we are to beware. Again, Jesus is humble and meek (does
not exalt self) and responds appropriately realizing the true intent
(application) of God’s Word. Notice the true intent of God’s Word in both
of these cases requires a denial of the flesh in favor of the Spirit. The devil
will also use God’s Word to try and persuade us to tempt or prove God.
The motivation for proving God is always due to a selfish want or desire
and is unacceptable (Ex 17:1-7).

Lastly, the devil tries one more appeal to Jesus to consider selfish desires.
Matthew 4:8-10, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high
mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory
of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt
fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence,
Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only
shalt thou serve.” Lastly, Jesus is tempted with great power, but puts all
self interest aside and proclaims that He will serve only the Father – Praise
God! Jesus came in humbleness, not self exaltation. We must always put
God’s interest above our own. To “only worship and serve God” is being
totally under His authority – as opposed to your own authority (Lk 4:8).
The devil tempts Christ to seek His glory through the flesh and have
immediate satisfaction. God’s way requires obedience through the Spirit
and a denial of the flesh (Lk 24:26, 46). God’s way requires humbleness.
Many who claim Christ want the kingdom (heaven) now – immediately;
and do not wish to follow Jesus in the path of the cross. The path of ease
(no sacrifice) that the devil offers is the broad way. The devil has never
given up on his aim to rise above God’s throne and is deluded that
somehow he will ultimately accomplish this. He is determined to keep as
many men as possible from inheriting the glory that he was once
participant in and is now denied. Satan has the audacity to suggest that
Jesus fall down and worship him (I will rise above the most high, Is
14:13-15). Jesus never intended to set up an earthly kingdom. Once He
had to seek solitude because the people were going to make Him a king
by force (Jn 6:15).

At the conclusion of this particular time of temptation: Luke 4:14-15, “And


Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a
fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their
synagogues, being glorified of all.” Notice that Jesus did not return under
the power of the flesh nor was He led by the flesh. Many allow the flesh to
rule their lives – its wants, needs and desires. We must put down the flesh

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and be led by the Spirit. Jesus came to seek the lost sheep (those who
would receive Him) starting in the synagogues (religious gatherings) in a
religious system gone awry (far from God’s purposes). This will be evident
in this chapter.

Temptations will come and go and we must always be dying to self and
seeking God’s purposes to overcome them. Luke 4:13, “And when the
devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.”
The wilderness temptation had ended, however Jesus would be tempted
many other times during His earthly walk (Lk 22:28). For instance when
Christ was apprehended in the Garden of Gethsemane, He could have
ended it in a second: Matthew 26:53-54, “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?” Notice that Jesus thoughts were not on His predicament, but
on fulfilling God’s purposes. Just minutes earlier Jesus had prayed that
God’s will be done concerning his forthcoming death (Mt 26:42). On the
cross many were saying: Mark 15:30-32, “Save thyself, and come down
from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among
themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let
Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and
believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.” Jesus could
have come down and showed them all who He was, but that would have
been exalting self rather than humbling Himself unto death to fulfill God’s
plan.

In all these cases, the temptations themselves were not sins. Incorrectly
responding to a temptation produces a sin. For those who seek to live
God’s will, God provides a way to overcome. One only falls prey as one
seeks his own will rather than God’s. In these cases, Jesus took His mind
off the temptations and placed it upon God’s will (His Word). We are
blessed when we endure temptations. James 1:12, “Blessed is the man
that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown
of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Correctly
responding to temptations as Christ did reveals our love and devotion to
God and rejection of self. Seeking God’s purposes through daily living faith
is His desire for us. Jesus is our life, and not just a religious devotion.

We must consider if we are seeking our own selfish will in this life. Do you
seek God’s will and purposes in your life while following Christ’s example?
Perhaps you are greatly tempted by selfish things such as career,
possessions, authority, entertainment, praise, carnal delights, etc? When
we put our will aside and truly seek God’s, then we are on the narrow
path. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It’s really not
about “I.”

Jesus didn’t Exalt Self

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Jesus was/is the Messiah (Christ). He walked humbly and went about
doing the Father’s will never publicly announcing who He was (Jn 8:50).
Christ did reveal Himself to select individuals who would receive His truth
(Mt 11:27, Lk 10:22, Jn 4:25-26). These individuals were most certainly
considered to be unworthy by the religious. Luke 10:22, “All things are
delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but
the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son
will reveal him.” For instance, Jesus revealed Himself to a Samaritan
woman (Jn 4:25-26) of questionable character (Jn 4:18), yet He did not
reveal Himself to the religious leaders. Christ told those He touched not to
make Him known (Mt 12:16). Jesus never sought personal selfish glory
(Jn 5:41). John 7:18, “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.” Notice that seeking your own glory is
unrighteousness. Many thought Jesus was a great prophet and some
thought He was the Christ, but no one was sure (Lk 7:16-17, 9:19-21).
When Jesus delivered many of devils, He didn’t want the devils to reveal
who He was (Lk 4:33-35). Luke 4:41, “And devils also came out of many,
crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking
them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ (Also
Mk 1:34).” AND Mark 3:11-12, “And unclean spirits, when they saw him,
fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he
straitly charged them that they should not make him known.” The
religious did inquire: John 10:24, “Then came the Jews round about him,
and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the
Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus said the Father’s works that I do bear witness
of me (v. 25). What Christ was saying is that if one is truly seeking God’s
will he shall know. Those who walked closest to Jesus didn’t know for sure
who He was until: Matthew 16:13-17, “When Jesus came into the coasts
of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say
that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the
Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He
saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered
and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus
answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh
and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in
heaven.” Jesus had not prior revealed His true earthly capacity to the
apostles. Jesus’ identity was spiritually discerned by those who received
His Words and sought God’s will. We seek God through the Spirit and not
the flesh. The flesh is spiritually blind (Jn 12:40, Acts 28:27). After
revealing Himself to His disciples, Jesus said: Luke 9:21, “And he straitly
charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing.”

We are about to learn that Jesus came absolutely performing the Father’s
will. He spoke the Father’s Words and did the Father’s work. Jesus spoke
the Word powerfully such that all were amazed. The Word was confirmed
by great miracles and wonders such as healings and deliverances. Jesus
lived His message by example and with no sin (and the Father was well

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pleased). Jesus was not to be accepted by a title (Messiah), but by God’s
message and power. Jesus said: John 14:11, “Believe me that I am in the
Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’
sake.” John 7:40-43, “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this
saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ.
But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture
said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of
Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people
because of him.” The Word of God cannot be totally understood apart
from the Spirit (Mt 13:15). This people had the Word, but not the Spirit.
The flesh cannot discern the things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.” Discernment belongs to the spiritually
mature (Heb5:14). They debated over fine points of which they did not
even have complete understanding. This is how many miss God today –
they are religious, but do not have His Spirit. John 8:25-27, “Then said
they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same
that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to
judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those
things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to
them of the Father.” They were looking through the flesh and could not
understand the Spirit.

Christ came into Jerusalem meekly sitting upon a colt the foal of an ass
(Mt 21:5). Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O
daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and
having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of
an ass.” Jesus is the King of Kings, but didn’t exalt Himself or make such
announcements. Christ was the most just man who ever lived, but was
decisively (thoroughly) rejected by the religious ones who claimed to
follow God. Jesus didn’t seek justice, but was coming to offer up Himself
to make provision for mercy (Acts 13:39).

Just before Jesus was killed, the High Priest asked Him a question that He
was obligated to answer. Matthew 26:63-64, “But Jesus held his peace.
And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the
living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you,
Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power,
and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Now there was no doubt that the
religious were about to kill God’s only Son and their Messiah. In the book
of Mark we are told the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Christ: Mark
14:62, “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on
the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” This is
significant because Jesus is “I AM.” On an earlier occasion the Pharisees
had questioned a man that Jesus had healed and said: John 9:28-29, “we
are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this

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fellow, we know not from whence he is.” When God had spoken to Moses,
He identified Himself as “I AM” (Ex 3:13-14). Jesus also had once said to
the Jews: John 5:45-47, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father:
there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye
believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye
believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” Jesus is worthy
of more glory than Moses (Heb3:3). Do you know that these very religious
men killed Jesus, who is “I AM?” – and they rejoiced in it (Jn 16:20).

Jesus did the Father’s Will

Jesus came to restore that which had been lost back to the Father. To
succeed Jesus had to live within the Father’s will at all times. Failure to do
so would result in the same failure as that of Adam. John 6:38, “For I
came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that
sent me.” If Christ were to live for self and/or try and serve God by His
own means, then He would be following His will and not the Father’s.
Hebrews 10:7, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is
written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (also v. 9). Jesus was focused on
doing the Father’s will whatever it may demand. This is a surrendering of
self totally to God. John 8:28-29, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye
have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I
do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these
things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone;
for I do always those things that please him.” Christ was faithful to God
(Heb 3:2)! Jesus never sinned, yet could do nothing of Himself. This
demonstrates a total faith and reliance upon God. Similarly, we can do
nothing of ourselves, John 15:5, “I (Jesus) am the vine, ye are the
branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth
much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Branches in the vine that
want to be self sufficient and do not abide soon wither and are cast into
the fire (Jn 15:6). Note that to be a non-abiding or withered branch, you
had to have once been in the vine. Let us take heed lest we fall and come
short (1 Cor 10:12, Heb 3:6, 14, 4:1, 2 Pt 3:17). Man often does try and
reach God through his own means and this is what much of man’s
religious endeavors represents. We are to have a living relationship with
Christ through faith. We must forsake our efforts and look solely to His.
Our life is found in Christ and must become indistinguishable as we die to
ourselves (Lk 6:40, Gal 2:20, Col 3:3). Relationship saves, religion
deceives. Consider the relationship: John 14:20, “At that day ye shall
know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”

Jesus never sought earthly things, not lands, houses, career, money,
possessions, entertainments, prestige, or power. In other words, Jesus did
not seek after the things of the world (1 Jn 2:15). Jesus never instructed
His disciples to seek worldly things either, not even to build big church
buildings or cathedrals. Jesus didn’t come to establish a physical kingdom

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but a spiritual one. Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo
there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” We carry the
kingdom of God with us wherever we go. Christ didn’t go down to the
synagogue to find God, but lived in relationship with Him everyday in all
things. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36). Romans 15:3, “For
even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of
them that reproached thee fell on me.” Jesus bore the transgressions of
man against the Father (Ps 109:25). This culminated upon the cross: Luke
23:34, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they do...”

Christ demonstrated being poor in spirit through total dependence upon


God the Father. John 5:19-20, “Then answered Jesus and said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what
he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth
the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all
things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these,
that ye may marvel.” God will reveal His purposes to those who truly seek
Him (Jn 7:17). John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I
judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but
the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Jesus has stated three
separate times that He can do nothing of Himself, but looks to the Father
as His example and follows Him. Christ’s life produced perfect results and
we certainly must pay close attention to this if we are seeking Him. We
are to do nothing of ourselves, but are to do those things Christ did, as led
by His Spirit – to follow Him! Notice that I didn’t say we are to do nothing,
just not our works (things of self). We must do those things Christ has
commanded us. There is an order (hierarchy) here, Man submits to Christ,
Christ submits to the Father (1 Cor 11:13). 1 Corinthians 3:23, “And ye
are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” Jesus proclamation reveals a life where
SELF has been completely put to death. Christ’s delight was found in
pleasing the Father by performing the Father’s will. This was so complete
that Jesus could make the following statement when facing death and
taking on the sin of the world: Luke 22:42, “Saying, Father, if thou be
willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be
done.” Jesus’ faith rested in God even to His own demise. John 8:54-55,
“Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father
that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not
known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall
be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.” Jesus had a
lovingly relationship and obeyed God. We must take note of this. Our
delight must be found in abiding in Christ and following Him by living our
faith daily – being joyful in the Lord (Ps 5:11). We must have a
relationship with Christ.

Jesus sought the Father’s will in all things. Followers of Jesus are not to
seek their own will for they are no longer to be self serving. For you are
dead to self and the life you live is unto Christ who lives in you (Gal 2:20,

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2 Cor 5:15). Colossians 3:1-4, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those
things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set
your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are
dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life,
shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Whatever is
done in word or deed is to be done for Christ with all thanksgiving (Col
3:17). Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that
loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Jesus is our life! This paradox is
understood as follows: If we live for self, we will die. If we die to self, we
will live (in serving Christ). His will must become our will. The devil
attempts to persuade us to do the opposite. To live for self and do what is
right in our own eyes. Proverb 16:2, “All the ways of a man are clean in
his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits (motives).” Do what
makes you feel good. This is what Satan did and his rebellion continues.
Those that join in this rebellion will suffer the consequences of separation
from God and damnation. Consider the very depth of man’s rebellion: Acts
4:26, “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered
together against the Lord, and against his Christ.” God sent His Son in
love (great sacrifice) to reconcile the world to Himself (Jn 3:16). Man has
by and large rejected God’s gift! Woe!

Jesus did the Father’s Works

Jesus’ love (sacrifice), peace, compassion, obedience, doctrine, mercy,


forgiveness, signs and wonders, and self control bore witness of Him.
Jesus also wrought many miracles such as healings, deliverances,
authority over nature, raising the dead, and miraculous provision (Mt
15:31, Lk 7:22). John 5:36, “But I have greater witness than that of John:
for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works
that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” Even at the
age of twelve, Jesus was in the temple about God’s will: Luke 2:49, “And
he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must
be about my Father's business?” Jesus always gave and never took. Christ
did not perform any of His own works, for that would fall short. He looked
to the Father and obeyed His every direction. John 14: 31, “But that the
world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me
commandment, even so I do…” The victory is in obeying the Father’s will
through Christ Jesus.

Christ placed the Father’s work above all things. John 9:4, “I must work
the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no
man can work.” Christ was focused, John 5:17, “But Jesus answered
them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” When the religious leaders
and people saw the miracles of healings and deliverances they marveled,
and said, for we never saw it on this fashion, and have seen strange
things to day (Mk 1:27 & 2:12, Lk 5:26). Even the winds and the sea
obeyed him (Mk 4:41). Mark 6:51, “And he went up unto them into the

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ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves
beyond measure, and wondered.” A blind man that Jesus had healed
spoke some words of wisdom to the religious leaders, John 9:31-33, “Now
we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of
God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not
heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this
man were not of God, he could do nothing.” Followers of Christ are told
that greater works than these shall ye do (Jn 14:12). This means that we
do not do our own works, but those of the Father – just like Jesus! To do
anything, our focus must be on Christ and not self.

Jesus completed all the work the Father gave Him to do: John 17:4-5, “I
have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou
gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self
with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” We are also to
bring glory to Christ in our abiding faith. John 15:8, “Herein is my Father
glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” We must
complete Christ’s work, John 20:21, “Then said Jesus to them again,
Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Do
you see the significance of this statement? Jesus sends us to do as He was
sent of the Father. Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world. Amen.” To “observe” is to conform to the things Christ would
have us do, namely to follow His example. The Father was “well
pleased” with Jesus’ example. Unfortunately many will try to enter
another way - theirs (Jn 10:1). The religious man tells us what we
must do through his institution; Jesus says, follow My example
and find your life in me.

Disciples of Christ are to abide in Him. When we do, the Father prunes us
(takes away unwanted parts) to conform us to Christ’s example (Jn Chap
15). Jesus said: John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in
God, believe also in me.” This is what the Father expects of us. John 6:29,
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye
believe on him whom he hath sent.” To believe means to have full faith
and confidence in Jesus - to commit and entrust your whole life to Him –
to see Him as worthy. This belief will be demonstrated in your daily life
through your thoughts and actions. Faith is much more than a mental
acknowledgment or verbal profession, but seeks to live God’s will with a
whole heart (Deut 4:29). By faith ye stand (2 Cor 1:24).

Jesus Spoke the Father’s Words

Jesus did not speak His own Words that would be relying on His own
earthly logic and intellect – the flesh. John 12:49-50, “For I have not

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spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a
commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know
that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore,
even as the Father said unto me, so I speak (also Jn 8:38).” Jesus came
with purpose. He did not desire His own knowledge of good and evil as
Adam had done. Jesus trusted in the Father for knowledge, as Adam
should have done. God’s knowledge brings life, Adam’s brought death.
John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for
God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” Jesus was full of God’s
Spirit as He sought to please God. He boldly proclaimed the Word of God
with power and authority such that all marveled (Mk 5:20). Mark 1:22,
“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that
had authority, and not as the scribes.” It was also testified of Jesus that
never a man spake like this man (Jn 7:46). The people were astonished at
his doctrine (Mk 11:18). The religious authorities questioned among
themselves, John 7:15, “And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth
this man letters, having never learned?” Jesus knew all things because He
was listening to the Father and was faithful to do what was required of
Him. The religious studied their whole lives and knew nothing of God
because they sought Him through the flesh (their will). Jesus did not seek
glory, but always gave glory to the Father. John 7:16-17, “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.” Even at the age of twelve, Jesus astonished
the learned religious men. Luke 2:46-47, “And it came to pass, that after
three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the
doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard
him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” Jesus fulfilled all
prophecy concerning Himself: Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise them up a
Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words
in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
Jesus did speak all the Words the Father commanded Him. Christ said we
would do the same: Matthew 10:20, “For it is not ye that speak, but the
Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

Christ’s Words came with demonstration: Luke 4:32, “And they were
astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” Jesus healed
sickness, gave sight to the blind (physical and spiritual), restored hearing
and speech, gave mobility to the lame. Jesus raised the dead and
delivered people from demon possession (Lk 7:12-15, 8:49-55, Jn Chap
11). All of these things Christ gave His followers the power to also do (Lk
9:1, Mk 6:7-13). When we livefor God and are filled with His Spirit, then
His Word is confirmed with power. Had Jesus come to these men in word
only, He would have been very quickly rejected and dealt with in an
unseemly manner. The miracles and power of God, the signs and wonders
that He operated in were undeniable. These religious men were forced to
tolerate Jesus for a time due to the power He operated in. These men did
constantly seek His demise and they plotted and sought opportunity

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against Him (Mt 12:14, 26:4, Mk 12:12-13, 14:1, Lk 4:28-29, 19:47).
Eventually they killed Him – only because it was in the Father’s will and
Jesus laid down His life (Jn 10:15, 17-18, 1 Jn 3:16). They hated Him
because He undermined their authority. Do you seek God’s authority or
your own?

Jesus’ life and the things that He did confirmed the words he spoke. He
lived by example! One’s confession (or profession of belief) is empty and
without merit if there is no demonstration and application of it in one’s
life. John 14:10-11, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the
Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but
the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am
in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’
sake.” When we die to ourselves as Jesus had done, then Christ can live
and produce works through us. 1 Peter 4:2, “That he (follower) no longer
should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the
will of God.” We are to live to the will of God; how many still live in the
flesh and lusts of men? Do the religious even address this? Jesus said,
John 8:26, “I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that
sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard
of him.” The message that Christ brought transformed the hearts of men
and has brought great hope to many. This message draws you to God and
was lived out by Christ’s example. Let us follow!

We have Christ’s Words (Bible) and are to live within His truth. Jesus said
if we continue in His Word, we would be His disciples and His Word would
set us free (Jn 8:31-32). To be set free you must realize your bondage
and desire freedom. We must live Jesus’ whole Word and not just those
portions we deem appropriate or are willing to follow (Deut 4:2). Many
may choose God’s justification (remission of sin and absolution from guilt
and punishment through the atonement of Christ) and redemption
(deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's
violated law by the atonement of Christ), but refuse His sanctification (the
act of making holy, the act of God's grace by which the affections of men
are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme
love to God). However, justification and redemption are given for the
purpose of sanctification. In other words, most want God’s forgiveness
and deliverance from hell, but have no real desire to conform to Christ’s
example in whole hearted love for Him. This is doing what is right in your
own eyes – tailoring God’s Word to suit your selfish purposes (Deut 12:8).
This judges Christ as unworthy. This is to remain in a state of rebellion
against God, choosing your will over His. Jesus said to the religious: John
8:38, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that
which ye have seen with your father (devil).” When we are filled with the
Holy Spirit, He will guide us and teach us Christ’s whole doctrine. We are
to speak and live this Word in love and faithful obedience. Those that seek
forgiveness and redemption, but reject sanctification will be lacking. The
gospel purifies, the flesh corrupts.

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Jesus Prayed

Jesus sought God fervently in prayer. We have learned how Christ only
spoke and performed those things the Father directed. Jesus stayed in
constant communication with the Father. Communication is a vital part of
any relationship. Luke 6:12, “And it came to pass in those days, that he
went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to
God.” After this particular prayer, Christ knew who to choose as His
apostles (v. 13). Communication and understanding are so foundational
for relationship. Elements of Jesus’ prayers were: giving glory to God,
seeking God’s will (knowledge, words, works, direction), thanking God,
submission to God, praise of God, God’s will for others including enemies,
in faith without doubting, and for needful provision. We must pray to God
without ceasing, to know Him and His will in our lives (1 Thess 5:17).
Jesus said of prayer: Matthew 6:6, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter
into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father
which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee
openly.” This is intimacy between you and God. Christ often sought quiet
places away from all distractions in which to pray and so must we (Mt
14:23). Mark 1:35, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before
day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
We must put away all worldly distractions and prioritize time to be before
the Lord.

Jesus sought strength in prayer: Luke 22:41-44, “And he was withdrawn


from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying,
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my
will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from
heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more
earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down
to the ground.” Jesus struggled with His impending death, nevertheless He
prayed that God’s will be done – and it was! Jesus carried an incredible
burden to that cross because of His love for you. Let us always be mindful
and never forget this. We must also struggle with fleshly desires and go
before God to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Php
2:12). Perhaps the contents of this book will lead you to go before God
with fear and trembling to work out inconsistencies in your life? We are
moving toward God or away?

Religious prayers are often said in public to be seen of men (Mat 6:5) –
perhaps at Sunday go to meeting. Relationship prayers are as follows: You
must turn off the television (or radio) and put down the newspaper (or
magazines) or any other of these common distractions and spend quality
(needed) time; very often; seeking God through prayer in quiet solitude.
When you seek first the kingdom of God, while putting worldliness aside,
you are dying to SELF and allowing Christ to increase in your life. Your life
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will begin to change! Hopefully the Lord will reveal to you how the
television, radio, newspapers and magazines are greatly impeding your
spiritual walk. Whatever the Lord reveals to us we must be faithful and
obedient to do what is required. This is how we become conformed to
Christ’s image. Your obedience will almost always require a
sacrifice on your part. Your willingness to sacrifice will reveal your
motives. Your motives will either be to live in the Spirit or the
flesh, God’s will or yours. The flesh does not die easily. Prayers
should not be self-centered. Your prayers should seek to know and
live God’s will. You should pray for others; praise and worship
God; and offer Him thanksgiving.

Jesus Forsook the Things of the World

Matthew 8:20, “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the
birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his
head (no house).” Jesus did not seek carnal things, He had eternal
purpose – so must we. Matthew 6:25,32-33, “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. Is not the life more than
meat, and the body than raiment? (For after all these things do the
Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all
these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you (food, clothing, needful
things, Mt 6:25-32).” This is how Jesus lived and this was demonstrated in
his walk. He sought only the will of God and was content and thankful for
whatever the Father’s provision might be. Sometimes Jesus slept in a boat
(Mt 8:24, Mk 4:38, Lk 8:23), in the mountains and fields (Mt 15:33, Mk
8:2-3) or not at all (Lk 6:12). Other times Jesus slept at a follower’s
home. Sometimes He ate well and other times not at all (Mt 4:2, Lk 4:2,
Jn 4:31-34). Jesus wore His only earthly possessions (raiment). Jesus
didn’t carry around money. Observe how He paid the tax collectors:
Matthew 17:27, “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to
the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and
when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that
take, and give unto them for me and thee.” When we truly seek God and
put Him first, He will provide for our needful things. Man does not dictate
nor direct God’s provision in any way and this is unsettling to the flesh.
What we are to do is thankfully receive God’s provision in whatever way it
is manifested. Man desires security, consistency and fulfillment. God
requires faith and will often provide in manners that confound the flesh -
not in a way we expect. The flesh is bypassed in order to develop the
spirit. This was demonstrated throughout Israel’s wanderings in the
wilderness (manna and water from rocks). Those living for the flesh will
murmer and complain from a rebellious nature. Those that seek God will
humble themselves, trust in Him and be thankful. Jesus was
acknowledged as a king, but his kingdom did not consist of castles, lands,

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possessions and wealth (Jn 6:15). Christ rules and reigns in hearts
through love. Let the religious institutions (denominations) of man take
note.

The Jewish people wanted to make Jesus a king by force, but He was not
seeking personal glory. John 6:15, “When Jesus therefore perceived that
they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed
again into a mountain himself alone.” On another occasion his brethren
wanted Him to go up to Jerusalem at the feast of tabernacles and do some
miracles and wonders and show everyone his glory (Jn 7:3-4). Jesus had
to go to this feast (could not violate Lv 23), but not in this way. Therefore,
He sent the brethren ahead of Himself (v. 8). Jesus came later, John 7:10,
“But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the
feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” Jesus was humble and never
sought such personal glory. When men were seeking after Him, He would
go to the next town or to the desert places (Mk 1:37-38, 45).

Seeking the things of this world is an exaltation of self. This is feeding


one’s flesh rather than seeking God’s purposes, and is enmity toward God
(1 Jn 2:15-17, Js 4:4, Rm 8:7). To live for the temporal things of this
world is to deny the Lord and those things eternal (2 Cor 4:18). We are
not to even get caught up in the needful things (cares) of this life (Mk
4:19). Mary who was a friend of Jesus, was cumbered (weighed down)
about the cares of life and found out that there is only one truly needful
thing, which is to hear the Word of God and take it to heart (Lk 10:38-
42). The world seeks its own will and not that of God, do not be entangled
in the pollutions thereof (2 Pt 2:20). Jesus said: John 6:27, “Labour not
for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto
everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath
God the Father sealed.” Let us seek after eternal things.

Jesus was Filled with the Holy Ghost

Jesus needed no repentance, but set the example for us in baptism.


Matthew 3:13-15, “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John,
to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be
baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto
him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all
righteousness. Then he suffered him.” John was the greatest prophet ever
to live, but immediately saw his filthiness (sin) compared to Christ’s
righteousness (Mt 11:11). Jesus had no sin, but was baptized for our
example to fulfill all righteousness. Mark 1:10, “And straightway coming
up out of the water, He (Jesus) saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit
like a dove descending upon him…” The Spirit descended on Jesus and
filled Him. Luke 4:1-2, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned
from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty
days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and

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when they were ended, he afterward hungered.” Jesus began His ministry
with the filling of the Holy Spirit and was led by the same Spirit in all
things during His time on the earth. The prophets of old had ministered by
the Holy Spirit and this is vital to accomplishing God’s purposes (2 Pt
1:21, Mic 3:8, Mk 12:36, Lk 1:15, 67, 2:25). Jesus denied the flesh by
fasting while seeking God as directed by the Spirit. The devil tempted
Jesus during a physically weak point; however, Christ was at a spiritual
high point. The temptations were repelled by the sword of the Spirit which
is the Word of God (Eph 6:17, Lk 4:3-13). We know that God’s Word is
quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword when used for
God’s purposes (Heb 4:12). Followers of Christ must also deny the flesh,
be led of the Spirit and submit to God – with our eyes upon Christ (Rm
8:1). In doing so we can also resist the devil and he will flee from us (Js
4:7). Jesus came to the earth as a man. He completely yielded His will to
the Father and was led of the Spirit in all things.

In God’s timing, Christ began His ministry: Luke 4:14-15, “And Jesus
returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame
of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their
synagogues, being glorified of all. Notice that Jesus has power through the
Spirit. God put His Spirit upon Jesus (Mt 12:18). He had been fasting forty
days and forty nights. This Holy Ghost power is the enabler for carrying
out God’s purposes. Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and stood
to read. Luke 4:17-21, “And there was delivered unto him the book of the
prophet Esaias (Isaiah 61:1-2). And when he had opened the book, he
found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath
sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are
bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the
book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of
all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began
to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” The
Spirit of the Lord was truly on Jesus whom He depended upon to
accomplish His work on earth: Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of
Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing
good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with
him.” The Spirit empowers and gives supernatural abilities. Jesus had
totally died to self on this earth and served God, thus the Spirit was given
to Him without measure (Jn 3:34). Recovering sight to the blind had a
physical and spiritual purpose to it. We are blind to the truth of the gospel
until Christ opens our eyes to see (cannot perceive, Jn 3:3). Those looking
for God through the flesh rather than the Spirit end up serving the flesh
(will of) rather than God.

Jesus was Persecuted by the Religious

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Christ was rejected by those who claimed to represent God (Mk 8:31).
John 1:10-11, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and
the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him
not.” Can you imagine? The Jews had built a tremendous religious system
that claimed to worship God. God sent His only Son to them and they
didn’t even recognize Him. Some had to have known Jesus was the Christ,
but were so protective of their religious system, and so full of jealousy and
envy that they refused to let themselves believe (Mt 27:18, Mk 15:10).
Others knew He was the Christ but feared man (Jn 12:42). In both cases,
man ultimately chose his will by rejecting the Messiah. Recall that Jesus
only spoke the Father’s words. They not only didn’t acknowledge Him or
receive His Words, but wanted to kill Him. Jesus said: John 8:37, “I know
that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath
no place in you.” Jesus violated some of their sacred doctrines and
traditions and they hated Him and persecuted Him. John 5:16, “And
therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because
he had done these things on the sabbath day.” They trusted in these
doctrines of man (their interpretations) more than God and had no heart
or compassion for those suffering (no love). Things are no different in the
religious systems today. They sought to kill Christ everywhere He went
(Lk 19:47, Mk 12:12, Jn 5:18, 7:1, 10:31, 11:8). They sent spies to be
among Jesus and His followers (moles/infiltrators) to find fault in His
Words (Lk 20:20). Jesus spoke the truth to them to bring them to
repentance (this is love), but how did they react: Luke 4:28-29, “And all
they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with
wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the
brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him
down headlong.” Jesus even went to the cross for such as these and
proclaimed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk
23:34). Jesus was meek, humble and full of love and dead (void) of self.
They hated Christ without a cause (Jn 15:25).

Jesus sacrificed in love, and He received rejection and ridicule from the
religious. Isaiah 53:3-5, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from
him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne
our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon
him; and with his stripes we are healed (restored to God).” The religious
reviled Jesus every way they could. They derided Him (Mt 13:55-57,
21:15, Mk 5:40, 15:29, 31, Lk 16:14, 20:2, 23:35, 39); they falsely
accused Him and called Him names (including the devil himself, Mt 9:34,
12:24, 26:60, Mk 3:22, 14:56, Jn 7:20, 8:48-49, 9:16, 24, 10:20,
18:30), they plotted against Him and tried to trick Him with questions and
situations (Mt 12:10, 38, 17:24, 19:3, 21:23, 22:15, Mk 3:2, 6, 10:2,
11:18, 12:13, Lk 11:53-54, 14:1, 20:20, Jn 8:6); they tried to seize Him
(Mk 12:12, 14:46, Lk 20:19, Jn 5:16, 7:32, 10:39, 11:57); and they tried

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to kill Him (Mt 12:14, 21:46, 26:4, 16, 27:20-22, Lk 22:2, Jn 7:25, 8:59,
11:50, 53-54). Through all of this, Jesus did not become bitter or have
unforgiveness toward them (1 Pt 3:18). The devil used the lusts of men
(envy, jealousy) to attempt to cause Jesus to lash out or develop a heart
of resentment (animosity) or dislike toward others – to quench His love.
Christ endured such contradiction of sinners against himself (Heb 12:3).
Had Jesus given in to these temptations, He would have submitted to the
devil (sinned). Can you see how difficult this was? Jesus did not hide out,
but was always about the Father’s will even to His own personal
detriment. He suffered reproach for the sake of the Father. Christ is truly
worthy and judgment will be harsh for those who reject Him.

One would expect to find solace and support with those who claimed to
represent God. Jesus’ message offered hope and life. His message was
authoritative and confirmed by great signs and wonders. Christ’s works
were compassionate, loving and caring. Psalm 35:12, “They rewarded me
evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.” How could God’s people reject so
great a visitation? They were focused on themselves (food, miracles,
kingdoms, doctines, traditions, positions of power, love of praise) and not
God. God actually became their enemy and they fought against His
purposes. They had form, but no substance. They had ceremony, but no
meaning. They spoke with their lips, but their hearts were misaligned.
This is a message for the religious man of today! Salvation and life are
found in God through Christ, apart from the religious institution.
God is looking at your life, not your religious devotion (Ps 50:23).
1 Corinthians 15:34, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for
some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”
The knowledge of God is to stop sinning and seek righteousness.
Repent!

Christ’s Actions were Constantly Judged

In scripture, we have two distinct relationships. The first and foremost is


to God, and the second is to each other (Lk 10:27, Mt 22:37-40). We are
told not to judge. Most of us think of this in terms of each other. However,
the most significant judgments are against God Himself. Jesus came
perfectly doing the Father’s will, speaking the Father’s Words and doing
the Father’s works, yet He was constantly being unfairly judged by
religious men. Everything Jesus did was questioned and judged by the
religious, His authority, motives, doctrine, healings deliverances,
observance of the law, friends, family and associations, education, sanity,
etc. These learned religious even came to the astounding conclusion that
God’s own Son was serving Beelzebub (devil) and was mad/crazy (Mt
12:24, Jn 10:20). John 8:49, “Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I
honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.” Jesus once healed a blind
man on the Sabbath day and the religious judged Christ to be a sinner
and excommunicated the man He healed out of the synagogue (Jn 9:24,

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34). The religious often get so caught up in their doctrine and presumed
authority that they loose sight of love and compassion (Mt 23:23, Lk
11:42).

Although qualified, Jesus judged no man. Christ always shined the light on
sinfulness and hypocrisy (as we are to do), but never personally
condemned individuals. Jesus told the religious, John 8:15-16, “Ye judge
after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true:
for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.” The religious
judged unfairly with selfish intent. Christ also said, John 7:24, “Judge not
according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Many a
religious man judges God today. They believe His actions are cruel or
unfair, so they recreate God in their own image. For instance, many will
say that a truly loving God would never send someone to hell for eternity,
so they just interpret God’s Word and re-write their doctrine to disallow it
(Jude 1:7). Others will be unable to disassociate the sin of homosexuality
from the individual and say that God loves and accepts us all and will open
their arms to include the unrepentant individual, but also justify the
offence and thereby re-write God’s Word to their liking. Some will dislike
God’s chain of authority with man as head of woman and will interpret
God’s Word to place woman over man. God’s will on these matters is clear
in scripture, but scripture will be ignored and craftily twisted. Remember
the devil twists the meaning of scripture and so do his workers. Man
judges God for his own selfish intent. John 12:47-50, “And if any man
hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge
the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not
my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the
same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but
the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should
say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life
everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto
me, so I speak.” When we misrepresent God’s Word, we reject it. When
we reject God’s Words we judge God. God will turn the tables one day and
we will be judged by the correct interpretation of the Words that were
rejected or twisted. Woe unto you O man, you best seek understanding of
God’s Word now by desiring to do God’s will (see understanding God’s
Word – Chapter 6). We must not reject Christ’s truth because it is what
sanctifies us (Jn 17:17). Jesus lived an example of sanctification through
the truth for us to follow (Jn 17:19). Jesus said that everyone that is of
the truth (desires to know and live within) hears His voice (Jn 18:37) – as
opposed to their own version that they consider truth. If we do not obey
the truth, there will be indignation and wrath and we will be destroyed
(Rm 2:8, Acts 3:22-23).

Job was one that God said was a perfect and an upright man, one that
feareth God, and escheweth evil (Job 1:8). The devil falsely accused him
and said Job only loved God because God blessed him. Satan said if God
removed those blessings that Job would curse God. The Lord allowed the

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devil to do just that. Job responded in his misery: Job 1:21-22, “And said,
Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither:
the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of
the LORD” (also Eccl 5:15). Job 1:22, “In all this Job sinned not, nor
charged God foolishly.” Notice that a perfect man seeks to do God’s will
(fears God) and turns away or withdraws from evil (escheweth). It is very
important to note that Job did not judge God’s actions or falsely accuse
Him. Many will lash out at God when things do not go their way (fleshly).
Do we praise Him in the good and the bad?

We are not to pass judgment upon others. We see their sin; we condemn
the sin, but not the sinner. When we condemn the person, we are passing
judgment. Only Christ has the authority to judge motives (Jn 5:27).
Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete,
it shall be measured to you again.” We shine the light of truth on the
darkness of sin, but none is qualified to throw stones. We are capable of
the same sins and only Jesus sustains us. If a brother in Christ continues
to knowingly sin, then we disassociate ourselves until repentance is made.
We also disassociate ourselves from those who desire to continue in error
and cause problems: Romans 16:17, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark
them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye
have learned; and avoid them.” Our desire is to be like Christ’s desire, to
see men delivered out of sin and not to condemn men in sin – to deliver
and save. Also in following our Lord’s example, we will not justify sin.

Followers of Christ will be known by love (1 Jn 3:11, 4:16). 1 John 4:8,


“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Love is not just
loving those who love you back (Mt 5:46-47). Love is sacrificial. 1 Peter
2:23, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he
threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”
Jesus did not revile those who reviled Him. This would have been
defending self and would not display God’s love. God is loving and
longsuffering toward us (1 Jn 4:9). We are to be the same toward others.
Romans 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Jesus had said, Matthew 5:44, 48, “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; Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We
love our enemies so that we may be the image of God who created us.
Jesus was the perfect example of God’s love and we are also to be perfect
and display God’s love. We are His witnesses on this earth and must not
dishonor Him. Matthew 5:38-41, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An
eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist
not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him
the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy
coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go

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a mile, go with him twain.” Jesus was about to be sentenced to death but
did not even defend Himself. Matthew 27:13-14, “Then said Pilate unto
him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he
answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled
greatly.” Sometimes we must bite our tongue, even when we are falsely
accused. Our justification is in God, not before men. If you are right
before God, then what does it matter what man will think?

Jesus didn’t come to Condemn

Jesus came in love as a true light in this dark world. John 1:4-5, “In him
was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in
darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Jesus came that we all
might be saved. John 3:17, “For God sent not his Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Jesus came as our example. His light exposed sin, and He reproved those
who were wrong, but He did not condemn anyone. Luke 19:10, “For the
Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Men will
choose their own commendation or condemnation by the way they
respond to God’s love. John 3:18-19, “He that believeth on him is not
condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he
hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is
the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved
darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” To believe on
Him is to live a life of faith that demonstrates it. When we choose the
darkness, we cut off the light – Jesus is the light. Darkness is that which is
not found in Christ (1 Jn 1:5).

Jesus claimed to keep the whole law (Mt 5:18) and He also said He
condemned no man (Jn 3:17). The religious set a trap for Him. John 8:3-
6, “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in
adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him,
Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in
the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest
thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as
though he heard them not.” Their plan was diabolical – If Jesus agreed to
stone her, they could accuse him of condemning others against His own
Word. If Jesus said to let her go, they could accuse Him of not keeping the
law. This seemed like a no-win situation. Initially Jesus writes with His
finger in the ground. This is significant because Jesus (as God – great I
AM) gave the law: Exodus 31:18, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had
made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of
testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” How did Jesus
respond to this no-win situation? John 8:7-8, “So when they continued
asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without
sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped

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down, and wrote on the ground.” Jesus shined the light into their own
hearts and they realized that they were equally guilty and equally
condemned under the law. Then just as significant He stooped down again
and wrote on the ground representing what He came to do – that is
amend the law to allow for mercy (not license)! God originally wrote the
law with His finger (Ex 31:18, 32:16). Jesus came to seek that which was
lost (mercy for sinners, Lk 5:32, 19:10,). Consider how Jesus amended
the law: Hebrews 9:15-17, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the
new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the
transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called
might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament
is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a
testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at
all while the testator liveth.” Christ payed with His own life (His blood)!
Jesus then told the women He did not condemn her and to sin no more.
Christ came to give mercy and to set us free from sin! Mercy can be
granted for those who acknowledge their wrong and turn from it. Those
who continue in their sin need no mercy, for they can see no wrong.

We are to be like our Lord and be His lights in this dark world. Matthew
5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We are also to expose
sin for the purpose of persuading those in error to repent and turn to God.
Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light,
and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness
of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in
me (Christ).” We must reprove sin: Ephesians 5:11, “And have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
We have no authority to condemn anyone. Our hope should be to see the
vilest sinner turn his heart to God rather than be condemned to an
eternity in hell. Judgment is in the hands of God and we must not forget
this. Jesus said: Luke 15:4-7, “What man of you, having an hundred
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the
wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he
hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh
home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them,
Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto
you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,
more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
This must also be our attitude.

Jesus was Betrayed and Forsaken by Friends and Followers

Jesus went about delivering, healing, feeding, teaching and ministering to


the people demonstrating God’s love (sacrifice) for man. He knew that
many followed Him for selfish reasons. John 6:2, “And a great multitude
followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that

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were diseased.” Christ was the hope of some and entertainment or a free
meal to others. John 6:26, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because
ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” Some were seeking gifts rather
than the giver. Some were seeking benefits (blessings) rather than Him
(Christ) from whom all blessings flow. John 12:37, “But though he had
done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him.” How
sad! Jesus tested their resolve (heart) with some hard sayings. The people
wanted a sign such as bread from heaven (Jn 6:30-31). Christ told them
the Father had sent the true bread from heaven that giveth life to the
world (v. 32-34). The people said give us a continuing supply of this bread
(v. 34). Jesus revealed His deeper purpose to man, by revealing that He
was the bread sent from the Father and that man should eat of Him for
life (v. 35-59). The meaning was that His broken body and His shed blood
would provide atonement and reconciliation to God (Lk 22:15-20, Rev
1:5). This was not well received, because man was only concerned about
self and meeting his carnal needs. Man could not grasp the spiritual
significance. John 6:60-61, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they
had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus
knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth
this offend you?” The harder teachings did produce a separation and the
results must have been disappointing. John 6:66-68, “From that time
many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said
Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered
him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” The
people had followed and listened to Jesus. Luke 19:48, “…for all the
people were very attentive to hear him.” The problem was that they were
hearers that never became doers. They wanted blessings, but not
sacrifice. They never took His Words to heart. How many religious today
do the same? Peter chose the spiritual because he understood that eternal
life cannot be found in the flesh through selfish want. Jesus gave full
devotion, but many fell back when their flesh was offended or not satisfied
(Mt 13:20-21). For those weak in faith, tribulation and persecution will
take an immediate toll. Let the reader beware! We must ask ourselves
why we follow Christ. Do we follow seeking to gain something
(blessings, eternal bliss, rewards, and escape from hell) or do we follow
because we love Him with all our hearts and want to see Him glorified and
His will performed in our lives even to the expense of our comfort or
personal detriment (sacrifices)? This is a question of eternal significance!

Jesus’ own family members did not believe in Him. John 7:5, “For neither
did his brethren (sibling brothers) believe in him.” These were his natural
brothers by the same earthly mother (Mk 6:3). They had grown up with
Jesus and had to have known how perfect He was. They had seen the
great miracles that He performed. Even his brothers did not fully
understand His purposes. They thought He was going to be an earthly
king and they would have great honor or office in His kingdom. Christ was
so humble that He had not even revealed God’s full purposes to His

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earthly family. They must be spiritually discerned. Jesus had once replied
to a comment about His earthly family: Matthew 12:48-50, “But he
answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who
are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples,
and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the
will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister,
and mother.” Those who do (obey, perform, keep, live, apply) God’s will
shall be in God’s eternal family. Doing God’s will must be a living
application and demonstration and not a shallow profession.

Can you imagine how difficult and isolating it must have been to be
constantly rejected by those who should understand you? Matthew 13:54-
58, “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their
synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath
this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s
son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses,
and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence
then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But
Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own
country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there
because of their unbelief.” They could only see Jesus as the carpenter’s
son – how dare He. They lived by the flesh and were insulted (annoyed)
by Christ and thought Him unworthy for their regard so they outright
rejected Him. They presumed that God would send the Messiah in a
different way under other circumstances. John 7:27, “Howbeit we know
this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence
he is.” The problem with the religious is that they are not in tune with God
because often they are seeking their own purposes and through the flesh.
God turns their wisdom into foolishness (1 Cor 2:14). Perhaps that
familiar one down the street has the Word of God and a ministry that can
save your soul?

Jesus was rejected by His people, religious peers, disciples, friends, local
community and family members. Psalm 69:4, “They that hate me without
a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy
me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that
which I took not away.” Notice the last part of the verse: Jesus restored
that which He didn’t take away. Adam broke fellowship with God through
his disobedience and thereby separated man from God. Jesus reconciled
man back to God through His perfect obedience – He restored! How
precious! Another prophesy concerning Jesus stated: Psalm 69:20,
“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked
for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found
none.” Jesus endured this for you and me, but we didn’t deserve such love
(which is sacrifice). When we truly lift Christ up, deny ourselves and follow
Him, we will have a taste of such rejection. You will find the world, even
the religious world, will go just so far with you, but no further. Familiar
family or friends will not take you serious. To truly follow Jesus is to

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become a bright light in a dark world. The Lord will provide for our loss
both now (with persecutions) and eternally (Mk 10:28-30, Lk 18:28-30).
The important thing is not how others view you, but having your heart
right before God.

Christ had twelve disciples that he designated as apostles and these


closely followed Him. Jesus had love for them all. One was not as he
seemed. Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted,
which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” Judas
Iscariot followed Jesus but showed little regard for others and was mostly
concerned for himself. Judas was in charge of the money bag and was a
thief (Jn 12:6). Mark 14:10-11, “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve,
went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they
heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought
how he might conveniently betray him.” Judas waited for an opportunity
when Jesus was alone and came with a multitude. Judas came forth and
acknowledged Christ with a token kiss (Mk 14:44). Luke 22:48, “But Jesus
said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”
Betrayal is often preceded by flattery. So, Jesus was betrayed by a close
friend, one of whom He had revealed His heart and purpose to.

The followers of Christ had once expressed their love and devotion to
Him. Jesus said: John 16:32, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come,
that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me
alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Having
been apprehended by the religious authorities, Jesus’ remaining friends
left: Mark 14:50, “And they all forsook him, and fled.” Everyone feared for
their own life (Jn 16:32). Jesus was now left all alone to face those who
sought His life. Christ was humiliated, beaten, mocked, and falsely
accused (Ps 35:11), but there was one more disappointment to endure
before His torturous death. One of Jesus’ closest friends, Peter had
blended in with Christ’s accusers to see what would happen. He had been
confronted twice about having been a follower of Christ and on both
occasions denied it. Peter had to be a bit more forceful and convincing for
his last confrontation with the religious authorities. Matthew 26:74, “Then
began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And
immediately the cock crew.” Jesus must of heard: Luke 22:61-62, “And
the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word
of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt
deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

During His walk upon the earth, those religious ones who claimed to love
God had persecuted Christ often. All that would have been necessary to
end these persecutions was a little bit of compromise. Praise God that
Jesus never compromised the things of God to find personal comfort or
please man. Do you ever compromise a little to get along or do something
you desire? – maybe to fit in? Near the time of His death, Jesus had been
totally forsaken by man. Things often become darkest before the

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victory(always remember this).. Upon the cross, Jesus was for a time,
forsaken by God (Mt 27:46, Is 54:7-8). Mark 15:33-34, “And when
the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the
ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me?” While He was hanging there in agony, the
crowd and passers by railed upon Him, wagged their heads and continued
to mock (Ps 109:25, Mt 27:39, 41, 44). I don’t think we can comprehend
such isolation. Jesus endured it all for you and for me as the blood poured
from His many wounds. This blood was His very life (Lv 17:11). This is the
path that Jesus walked. This is the narrow path – a path of reproach.
Through all this, Jesus went to the cross and died for you anyway! How
can we neglect so great a salvation (Heb 2:3)? Being a follower of Christ
who stands for the truth by faith in an uncompromising way can be a
lonely walk at times. Sometimes you feel all alone as others mock on.
Many will not understand you and be offended; some may betray you and
others will forsake you (Php 1:29). Men will separate from your company
and you will be much maligned (Lk 6:22). Galatians 4:29, “But as then he
that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the
Spirit, even so it is now.” However, Christ promises that He will never
leave nor forsake you and that there will be blessings as a result of
standing for His namesake (Heb 13:5-6, Mt 5:10-12). All it would take is
some compromise on the believer’s part to fit in and find comfort or unity
(not just with the world but also with the religious). Those who profess
Christ, yet fit in well with the world should examine themselves carefully
(2 Cor 13:5). For the true follower, compromise can never be an option;
they are being obedient to the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 1:5, “For as the
sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by
Christ.” Our lives must be as our Lord: 1 Peter 4:13, “But rejoice,
inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory
shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” There is a
message here for the religious institutions who wish to be popular in the
world with the things of the world to attract the world. Justification of evil
numbs the conviction to sooth the conscious and leads to compromise
which is always served lukewarm (Rev 3:15-16). Compromise is a short
cut to the broad path that leads from God’s purposes to those of self.

Set Apart

When Jesus came He was not like everybody else. No one else even
understood Christ or His purposes. Jesus totally sought God and denied
self in perfect obedience. This simply cannot be said of the religious
people of that time or even of Jesus’ closest followers (while He was alive)
– Mk 16:14. Jesus was totally alone (without equal) with regards to His
obedience, self denial and dedication to God. No one else even
understood. No one else lived such perfection. Romans 3:11,“There is
none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Can you

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imagine having no one else on this earth to truly relate to? Of course
Jesus put his faith and trust in God and not man. We are now to follow
Christ and the example He lived/set. When we do, one finds that, as you
die to self and all the things of this world, you also become more isolated
from it (not physically, but relationally). People just will not understand
you. Why you do not do the things they do, celebrate the things they
celebrate, or speak the same language (foul)? You may go in a room full
of people and feel totally alone (Jer 15:17). Everyone will be talking about
the things of the world such as politics, sports, news events, television
programming, lewd language/jesting and movies. All you want to talk
about is Jesus Christ and Him crucified – but does anyone want to hear (1
Cor 2:2)? You will probably feel isolated even when you are around
religious people. The religious want to discuss these same worldly things
or big name preacher personalities, building programs or facilities,
religious entertainments or events – you know, religious things. They have
lots of buzz words and a certain lingo. A follower wants to talk about his
true love, Jesus Christ. A believer wants to talk about what the Lord has
been saying to his heart or doing in his life. He wants to talk about a very
real and on-going personal relationship. Do the religious talk all around
this because they do not have such a relationship? We must all examine
our hearts and motives. The author recently heard several people having
a religious conversation that lasted about an hour and not once was Jesus
Christ mentioned (only institutions, preachers, entertainments and
popular crowd pleasing places). One can be very religious and yet have no
relationship with Christ. What/who is the joy of your heart?

Speaking in Parables

Jesus often spoke in parables (Ps 78:2-3, Mt 13:13). Matthew 13:35,


“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will
open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept
secret from the foundation of the world.” The gospel is a mystery, hidden
wisdom, (Mt 13:11, Mk 4:11, Rm 16:25-26, 1 Cor 2:7, Col 2:2-3) and
those living in the flesh will not understand it (Mt 13:11-17, Mk 4:12, Jn
3:3, Acts 28:25-27, 1 Cor 2:14). Only the Spirit reveals this hidden
wisdom (1 Cor 2:10). Those who follow after the lusts of the flesh have
their minds blinded by Satan that they perceive not (Jn 12:40, 2 Cor 4:4,
Lk 8:12, Mk 4:15) – it has not been given to them to know (Mt 13:10-11).
Those who think of themselves as wise in the world and prudent will not
know or understand (Lk 10:21). Their heart is waxed gross, and their ears
are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed (Mt 13:15). Isaiah
44:18, “They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes,
that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.”
They have eyes and think they see, but perceive not the truth; they have
ears and think they hear, but do not understand (they reject truth and
believe error, Is 6:9, Mt 13:14, Pv 20:12). They will see and hear religious
things (through fleshly eyes), just not the truth of the gospel. The truth is

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circumvented (evaded, thwarted, eluded) by the flesh. God does not give
those things that are precious and holy to those who will not appreciate
them and will trample them under foot (Mt 7:6). The things of God are
spiritually discerned and are given to those who truly seek God’s will and
come under His authority (Mt 4:11-12). We must take heed how we hear
(Lk 8:18). Those who have, will be given more; those who have not, will
lose all to those who have (Mt 13:12). Jesus said: John 16:25, “These
things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I
shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of
the Father.” Jesus only spoke to the multitudes in parables (Mt 13:34).
Therefore those around Christ could not truly understand Him – even His
disciples had trouble (Mt 13:36, 15:17, 16:9, 11, Mk 4:10, 13, 7:17-18,
8:17, Lk 8:9, 24:45, Acts 1:6). Christ once told them: Mark 8:18, “Having
eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not
remember?” He said this because of their lack of perception about a
discernable matter (Mk 8:14-21). Jesus had also told His disciples that He
would be killed, but rise again the third day (Mt 26:2, Mk 8:31, 9:9-10,
31-32, 10:34, Lk 18:33, 24:7). Luke 9:44-45, “Let these sayings sink
down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands
of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them,
that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying (also
Lk 18:31-34).” After Christ had risen they still did not understand that He
would rise from the dead (Lk 24:11, Jn 20:9). Christ then appeared to the
disciples and upbraided (chastised, reprimanded) them with their unbelief
and hardness of heart concerning His resurrection (Mk 16:11-14). Jesus
then opened their understanding that they might understand the
scriptures (Lk 24:45-46, Jn 2:19-22). The same misunderstandings of
Christ’s Words are true today. Jesus’ disciples were given the benefit of
additional explanation from Christ concerning the parables (Lk 8:10, Mt
13:16-17, Mk 4:11-12, 34, Jn 10:6). Jesus spoke the Word as they were
able to hear it (Mk 4:33). The mystery of the gospel was revealed to Paul
through revelation of the Spirit and not through any of his extensive
religious training (Eph 3:3-5). We must take heed what we hear – for our
misunderstandings may be echoed back to us (Mk 4:24, also see Chapter
6, Knowing the Truth of God’s Word). When we truly have ears to receive
(the truth, and live within it), more will be given (Mk 4:24). If not, we lose
that which we think we have (Mk 4:25). By nature man follows the will of
the flesh through fleshly eyes and understanding. The flesh simply cannot
understand those things spiritual (1 Cor 2:14). This is why Jesus sent His
Holy Spirit (covered in Chapter Six). We can read or hear God’s Words,
but the Spirit makes alive through truth and understanding - unfolds
(guides/testifies – 1 Cor 2:9-13). The apostles had Jesus to guide them
initially and give understanding and were later filled with the Spirit at
Pentecost (Acts Chapter 2). We now have access to the Spirit by faith
since God has poured out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17). When we
are led by the Spirit (having subjected ourselves in obedience – faith),
then we are no longer led by the flesh – and are thus, sons of God (Rm
8:14). We must understand that all that comes before (higher priority)

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Christ in our life is a thief and a robber and will blind to the gospel truth
(Jn 10:8). All the things of man that we fill our hearts with will rob us of
Christ’s truth and this will become apparent in this book (example –
Chapter Three, A Tremendous Idol). The gospel is still a mystery to many
as they seek God through the flesh (see Chapter Seven, Church Growth).
Do we not see this manifested throughout religious history? Men can read
God’s Word in the flesh, but only through the Spirit will men understand
it. Reading the Word through the flesh results in all manner of error as is
easily seen in what might be termed Christian church history (that
recorded by fleshly man) resultant in the hundreds of denominations and
factions of today. This is not the unified “one body” of Christ spoken of in
scripture. The religious super-structure that exists today is a great
reproach and dishonor to the gospel Christ spoke. Jesus spoke of love, yet
religious man has a history of killing.

What is Love?

What is love? Jesus is the very embodiment of love. Most think of love as
purely emotional and maybe sensual. The real meaning of “love” is to
sacrifice “self” for the person you care for. 1 John 4:9-10, “In this was
manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is
love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be
the propitiation for our sins.” God sacrificed His only begotten Son for us!
Jesus left the glories of heaven to take the form of a mere man. Jesus
denied Himself totally for the benefit of others. All the time Jesus was
giving His all; those He loved were rejecting Him. Christ never gave up
and this is love! Jesus never condemned though it was in His authority.
Jesus demonstrated His love: John 14:31, “But that the world may know
that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so
I do...” Jesus was about to demonstrate His love of the Father (and you)
to the world by His sacrifice and obedience (faith) in laying down His life.
Notice how we are to love: Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ
also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a
sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Jesus sacrificed much for
you. John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me,
he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come
unto him, and make our abode with him.” Can you see how this is faith?
We are to love (sacrifice) and obey Jesus. We sacrifice our will and cherish
and obey God’s will. God reciprocates with a precious relationship. Jesus
demonstrated this: John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall
abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and
abide in his love.” We must be following our Lord’s example. John 13:24,
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I
have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Jesus loved through His
sacrifices and demonstrated His love with His own shed blood (Jn 15:13).
We are to also deny self and sacrifice for one another – this is love (1 Jn

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4:7-8). Love is sacrificial, longsuffering, humble, and giving. So: 1 John
4:11-12, 21, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one
another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God
dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. And this commandment
have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

Those who consider God’s love as unconditional and all things just
working out in the end, best think again. Love does not rejoice in iniquity
(sin), but rather in truth (1 Cor 13:6). Jesus said: Luke 5:32, “I came not
to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Jesus did not come to
excuse sinners to remain in darkness, but rather to forsake it. Love does
not justify wickedness. All men will not ultimately be reconciled to God.
Love is longsuffering, but there are limits for patience and acceptance.
God has stated throughout His Word that He will separate the rebellious
ones into eternal damnation. God will not violate His very Word; that
would make Him a transgressor. God has stated that 1) He does not lie
(Ti 1:2, Heb 6:18); 2) He hates lying, it is an abomination (Pv 12:22);
and 3) All liars will go to hell (Rev 21:8). God is making an open show of
the wrongs of the devil (father of all lies) and rebellious man before all of
creation - do not suppose that God will become like them by justifying the
wicked in the end. God upholds all of His Word, unlike man who picks and
chooses. God does not deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not,
yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” God is not going to
concede His authority to you or Satan. The rebellious will be separated for
eternity!

Away with this Man

Jesus came to His own and they received Him not (Jn 1:11). They had
built a great religious structure full of their doctrines and traditions which
they held in higher regard than the commandments of God (Mt 15:3, Mk
7:9). Jesus Words found no place in them for they had not the love of God
(Jn 5:42, 8:37). Jesus violated some of their sacred doctrines and
traditions and they hated him and sought to kill him (Jn 5:16). They
eventually apprehended Jesus and brought him before the authorities
(Pilate). Pilate knew the chief priests delivered Jesus up for envy (Mk
15:10) and offered to the people to release Jesus or a notorious criminal
(Mt 27:17). Luke 23:18-19, 25, “And they cried out all at once,
saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (Who for a
certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.).
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into
prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.” Jesus
was God’s own Son who did nothing but the will of God (Jn 6:38).
Barabbas represented man’s will and the works of the flesh. Psalm
35:12, ‘They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.” The
people clearly rejected God in favor of their own will. Acts 13:28, “And
though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that

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he should be slain.” Many read this and say, “How awful, I would never
have rejected Christ,” yet everyday their life says, “Away with this man”
as they choose their own will over God’s. Most are not even conscious that
they are doing this. This is why we must be led of the Holy Spirit and not
our own desires or instincts. So the choice is: man’s will or God’s will – It’s
been this way since Eden.

The Ultimate in Self-Denial

Christ walked not after the flesh but after the Spirit (Rm 8:1). Romans
5:6-8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for
the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet
peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God
commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us.” Would you give your very life for those who hate you, judge
you, reject you, belittle you, despitefully use you and have forsaken you?
For those who were just plain undeserving? Christ gave everything He
had, His very life for you! Is this not precious to you? John 10:17-18,
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I
might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This
commandment have I received of my Father.” Evil men plotted to kill
Jesus (under Satanic influence), but that’s not why He died. The only
reason Christ died was because He laid His life down to give you the
opportunity to be reconciled to God for eternity. John 10:11, “I am the
good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” You have
reached the ultimate in self denial when you can lay your life down for
another, especially one who does not deserve it. John 15:13, “Greater
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Christ endured the shame and torturous death on a Roman cross
(Heb12:2). He that is hanged on a tree is accursed of God (Deut 21:22-
23). Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,
being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that
hangeth on a tree (also Gal 4:4-5).” Christ’s death for us is a precious
thing and how we respond will be “the consideration” on judgment day.
Those who have chosen wisely have their names written in the Lamb’s
book of life. Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any
thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a
lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Is your name in
the Lamb’s book? Are you enduring daily (Mt 10:22, 24:13, Heb 3:6, 14)?

Consider that as Christ was upon the cross suffering, bleeding and slowly
dying, He could have stopped it all. We know in the garden of
Gethsemane that He struggled with the instinct that we are all born with,
to live and not die. Psalms 22:16-18, “For dogs have compassed me: the
assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my
feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my

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garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” Jesus was in
great pain and anguish, forsaken, as the gawkers mocked on. Psalms
71:11, “Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there
is none to deliver him.” Psalms 22:7-8, “All they that see me laugh me to
scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on
the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he
delighted in him.” Jesus endured the slow death due to His love first for
God and then for you. You were on His mind as He proclaimed, Father
forgive them for they know not what they do (Lk 23:34). Christ died that
we might now serve the living God (Heb 9:14-18). For those who will
follow, Christ sealed His testament and has purchased them with His own
blood (Acts 20:28, Heb 9:24). God said that the life of the flesh is in the
blood (Gen 9:4, Lv 17:14, Deut 12:23). As Christ hung on the cross, His
life (blood) slowly spilled out for you. Jesus’ perfect acceptable life
(blood), is the atonement for your sins (covers) if you will “follow.”
Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given
it (Christ’s) to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:
for it is the blood (of Christ) that maketh an atonement for the soul (His
acceptable sinless obedient well pleasing life).” This is why Jesus said:
John 6:53, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no
life in you.” Christ lived a life in the flesh totally subservient to the Father
in doing (obeying) His perfect will. We must partake of the life (atoning
blood) that He gives to us. Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ was once offered to
bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear
the second time without sin unto salvation.” Your life is found in Christ’s
blood. If you have not the blood then you have no life.

Just before Christ died, He did two noteable things. Luke 23:34, “Then
said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” Christ
forgave those who mocked and killed Him. He died for the undeserving
and did not hold their transgression against them and died with no
bitterness of heart. Secondly: Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried with
a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and
having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Christ had totally committed
Himself to the Father during His earthly walk. Jesus now trust His Spirit
into the care of the Father (Ps 31:5) knowing the Father would redeem
Him from the grave (Ps 49:15). Jesus resigned Himself totally to God’s
will. There was no reason to protest His unjust treatment at the hands of
these religious men. Isaiah 53:7-8, “He was oppressed, and he was
afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not
his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall
declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for
the transgression of my people was he stricken. Your sins (iniquity,
transgressions) are what sent Jesus to the cross and He did not even
protest going there for you. He was the most righteous man that ever
lived. Is this not precious to you? – does this not find place in your heart?

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Jesus was FAITHFUL in all that God (the Father) gave Him to do (Heb
3:2). We are also asked to be faithful to Christ and endure until the end.
Will you be found to be a good and faithful servant (Mt 25:21, 23)?

Conforming to Christ’s Image

In the garden, Adam thought the devil more trustworthy than God. Man,
who was created in the image of God (Gen 1:27, 5:1), disobeyed God and
took on Satan’s nature (fallen). Man obtained knowledge of good and evil
which was contrary to God’s will. We were innocent before God. Man
became evil and self seeking, rebellious – opposite and contrary to God.
Through Christ, we can be reconciled back to God: Colossians 3:10, “And
have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image
of him that created him (also Col 1:20).” Jesus, the good Shepherd,
restores us back to the image of God: Psalms 23:3, “He restoreth my
soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake
(also Rm 5:10, 2 Cor 5:18, 20).” Jesus made peace between man and
God through Him by faith (Rm 5:1, 10). He does this for His glory – we
are undeserving! We naturally are “born” with a fallen nature, but we can
be “born again” with the nature of Him that created us. Wow! We can be
restored back again. This new man is renewed after the image of the
creator (Col 3:10). God will restore all things through Christ (Acts 3:21,
Col 1:21)! When we follow the Holy Spirit in obedience: 2 Corinthians
4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish,
yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” In our heart we become more
like Christ day by day! This is done as we “follow” Him day by day – we
walk in His ways (Ps 119:3, 128:1, Col 2:6). We are transformed. 2
Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image (Christ’s) from glory
to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The life of Jesus is manifest in
our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:11). The Spirit leads us down the narrow path
(out of darkness into light, Ps 25:10). As we obey the Spirit and put aside
the flesh, we are changed into Christ’s image. This is the will of God –
Christ was well pleasing to God (Mt 3:17, 17:5, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22). God
works in us to do His will and make us well pleasing in His sight (Heb
13:21). The characteristics of the new man are righteousness and holiness
(Eph 4:24). Psalms 85:13, “Righteousness shall go before him; and shall
set us in the way of his steps.” When we follow Christ it is a path of
righteousness. Jesus guides our feet (Lk 1:79). To be reconciled to God,
we must lose that which we gained in the Garden – our will to decide our
own life. We lay down all weapons of rebellion and yield to God through
Christ. We live for Christ and come back under God’s authority by
submitting to Him – freely (2 Cor 5:15, 18-19). We are to be holy as He is
holy (1 Pt 1:15-16). We must come unto the measure of the stature
(figure/distinction) of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13). We grow up

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(mature) to be as Jesus (likeness, Eph 4:15) after having received Him as
a child (Mk 10:15, Lk 18:17).

Jesus is the express image of God (Jn 14:9, 15:19, Heb 1:3, 2 Cor 4:4,
Col 2:9): Colossians 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of every creature.” We are to be as Christ: Romans 8:28-29,
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love
God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he
did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his
Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” God’s
predetermined purpose for mankind was that each individual would freely
choose to conform to the image of His Son – to follow. Brethren are those
who resemble one another. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11, “Always bearing about
in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be
made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto
death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest
in our mortal flesh.” As we die to ourselves (our will and desires), we
conform to Christ’s image such that His life is manifested in us. Galatians
3:27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on
Christ.” We literally put on Christ in conforming to Him (Jn 3:30). The life
of Christ is seen in us when we walk as He walked (2 Cor 4:11, Col 2:6,
Hos 14:9). 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also
so to walk, even as he walked.” AND Psalm 119:3, “They also do no
iniquity: they walk in his ways.” AND Hosea 14:9, “Who is wise, and he
shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the
ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the
transgressors shall fall therein.” We have determined in this chapter that
this may seem an overwhelming task. What is impossible for man is
possible through God (Lk 18:27). Jesus has sent His Spirit to comfort,
guide, convict, teach and empower us just as the Spirit had done for
Christ. You cannot follow Christ in your own strength. Your eyes must be
constantly upon Jesus - abiding. Peter was walking on water as long as his
eyes were on Jesus. The moment he took his eyes off of Christ and looked
upon circumstances around him, he began to sink (Mt 14:28-31). We
must abide in Christ always (John Chapter 15). Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in
the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (also 2
Sam 22:33).” Our paths are directed, we just obey (example Num 9:16-
23). We do not know the way of the path by ourselves.” Many within the
religious world want to conform Christ to their image. This will always be
the result when man leads rather than the Spirit. This “other Jesus” or
“other gospel” presented by man will be the justification for satisfying
their will (and flesh) rather than submitting to God’s (Gal 1:6-11, 2 Cor
11:3-4). God requires that we seek Him with faith (Rm 5:1-2, Heb 11:6).
This faith is lived out daily (Rm 1:17-18). Some will “profess” but the
genuine will “follow.” Some identify (believe) with Christ’s image, but the
real will conform to His image. These will bear fruit, some thirty, some
sixty and some one hundred fold (Mk 4:8). Let us all desire to bear a one

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hundred fold increase. Luke 6:40, “The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Psalm 128:1,
“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.”

When you have the nature of God you will desire and seek His purposes.
Otherwise you have a different nature about you. Ephesians 4:24, “And
that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness
and true holiness.” Therefore it is only natural that you would want to
conform to Christ’s image. In other words, your expression of the nature
God has given you will manifest itself in similar fashion to that of Christ
when He walked as a man, because Jesus did everything that was well
pleasing to the Father (in His will) and He and the Father were one (Jn
10:30). Jesus had the nature of the Father (Jn 8:54-55). We yield and
obey God through our faith and become the image of God that we were
intended to be (Gen 1:26-27). Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which
worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God works on
us to meet that end (Heb 13:20-21). When you truly die to self and serve
God in seeking and performing His will, then you must be careful not to
fall back into the ways of the old man. Galatians 2:18, “For if I build again
the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” Luke 9:62,
“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and
looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just
shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no
pleasure in him.”

Many people ask God to transform them into what He would have them
be, but they are not willing to do their part. Relationships are giving and
require self sacrifice, self denial and effort on our part. God does not make
us do anything. God has given us a free will to choose to serve Him. God’s
desire is that we will repent and seek Him with a whole heart. We must
freely choose to serve God every day in our actions and thoughts. If we
choose to love the darkness or dwell therein, God will not make you serve
him by leaving your heart’s desire (Jn 3:19-21). Your approval or
condemnation will be revealed by your heart as evidenced through your
actions. God does not desire forced servitude from those who love
darkness (sin, self, and rebellion). Those who choose such things will be
separated from God rather than forced to serve Him. God gives the truly
repentant His nature and desire to perform His will and the grace (ability)
to do it. Conforming to Christ’s image will be the evidence of eternal life.
God has also sent His Holy Spirit to give us the ability to do His will. 2
Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” If we are being led of the Holy Spirit
then we will be conforming to Christ’s image daily as we die to our self.
Many just want to be translated from the start of the narrow path to the
end. The journey is following in the steps of Christ and this is what
conforms us to Christ’s image. The peaks and the valleys teach us
dependance upon God and show us our need. This is when God tries and

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tests our faith. We are put through the flame to burn away the impurities.
We learn through application in our daily lives. Think of it as training to be
with God eternally – that is learning to die to self and to absolutely obey
God. Learning to glorify God in the good and the bad.

When we are following Christ’s steps and conforming to His likeness we


will love God foremost in our lives and actions, and then love our
neighbors. Our love will be sacrificial in denying self for God and others.
We will lay down all resistance and rebellion toward God and seek His
purposes (will) with a whole heart. His desire will be our desire. We will
seek God to be filled with His Holy Spirit and be led and taught of the
Spirit with the Word. We must seek relationship with Christ through our
prayer, study of His Word and daily walk. We will abide in Christ and
speak His words and perform His works. We will live in humbleness and be
forgiving and longsuffering. How do you know if following Christ and
conforming to His image has been wrought personally in your life? You will
know if Christ has turned you from your iniquities (Acts 3:26, Job 11:14).
We must put aside all iniquity and stop seeking the things of the world
(Acts 3:26, 2 Tim 2:19). We will live our life of love and obedience (faith)
to God as we walk daily and shall endure until the end. Remember that
Christ suffered for us and we must be ready to suffer for Him – to be
partakers (1 Pt 4:1, 13, Rm 8:17, 2 Tm 2:12). Jesus said: John 17:18,
“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into
the world (also v. 20).” We have covered in this chapter how Christ lived
in the world. The world hated Jesus and so it also hates His followers.
When we suffer for Christ namesake then He is glorified (1 Pt 4:14).
Hebrews 10:36, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done
the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” We commit ourselves to
God who preserves us and judges righteously (1 Pt 2:23, 4:19). We are
kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Pt 1:5).

So, John 6:57, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the
Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” Christ was totally
submitted to the Father. We are to be totally submitted to Christ (refer to
Chapter One – God’s Order). Christ was the very image of the Father. We
are to be the image of Christ. John 4:34, “Jesus saith unto them, My meat
is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Our meat
(very life, Jn 6:33, 35, 51, 53) is to do the will of Christ and finish His
work. When we eat of Christ, we will live forever (Jn 6:58). John 6:56,
“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in
him.” We partake of Christ’s brokeness (flesh) and His life (blood). How do
we do this? John 6:57, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by
the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” We have
studied in this chapter how Christ lived by the Father’s will. We must live
according to Christ – to conform/follow. Jesus said, John 17:18, “As thou
hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world
(also Jn 20:21).” This message applies to ALL who will “follow” Him (Jn
17:20). To “follow” is to be in harmony – to keep Jesus’ commandments

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(Jn 14:15, 23). We have read how Jesus conducted Himself in this world -
as He was sent. We are to conduct ourselves likewise – common purpose.
Jesus was led of the Spirit to accomplish this. We have also been given
the Spirit and sent in like manner. Our obedience will conform us to the
image of Christ and our walk will be in His footsteps. This will not be
accomplished in our strength or abilities, but by our obedience to God
working in us. No man will boast in his own merit, our boasting (glorying)
will be in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:9, 1 Cor 1:31, Ps 34:2, 44:8).

Romans 5:18, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon


all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free
gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Through Adam’s offense,
all men (Adam’s descendants) became like him. Men are self seeking,
disobedient, fleshly and rebellious toward God, which leads to death
(through the offense of one, Rm 5:18). Through Jesus Christ’s obedience,
all men can be reconciled back to God and be well pleasing. This happens
through God’s grace which transforms us to Christ’s image (as opposed to
Adam’s). We become humble and obedient with a heart of love toward
God. This grace is sustained through righteousness (Rm 5:21). God works
in us through our faith (obedience) and transforms us. It’s a question of
natures – Adam’s or Christ’s. Only through Jesus will we be made
righteous (Rm 5:19) – just men made perfect (Heb 12:23).

He is Risen

Had Christ sought His will and not the Father’s, then He would have
remained in the grave under sin, and mankind would have suffered defeat
with no possible reconciliation with God. Praise God, Jesus did get the
victory. Matthew 28:5-8, “And the angel answered and said unto the
women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the
Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the
dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see
him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre
with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.” Mourning
and sadness were turned into joy! Jesus, as a man, accomplished that
which mankind (Adam and all subsequent) had failed to do. 1 Corinthians
15:20-22, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the
firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came
also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive.” Jesus obtained the victory! Now all men can be
reconciled to the Father through Christ Jesus – Great Joy! All of creation
will acknowledge that Jesus is truly worthy (Revelation Chapter 5). Christ
is unblemished, without sin or transgression, He has a name that is above
every name and an everlasting dominion over heaven and earth (Ps
145:13, Dan 4:3, 7:14, Eph 1:21, Php 2:10, Rev 5:13).

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We must be risen with Jesus. Colossians 3:1-11, “If ye then be risen with
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the
right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on
the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When
Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in
glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and
covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God
cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some
time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger,
wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie
not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge
after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor
Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:
but Christ is all, and in all.” That old sinful man must first die before we
can be risen with Christ. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I
now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” We now live by faith (love and obedience) to
Christ Jesus (Rm 1:17). The old man who loved the things of the world
and fleshly delights is now dead, crucified and gone. Our life is now
exclusively in Christ Jesus. Jesus is our hope, dream, aspiration, joy, etc.
God converts us and we become a new man who no longer lives in man’s
knowledge from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We now live
in the knowledge of God with His nature. Can you see how God has
reconciled His relationship with man (through Jesus) as is it was prior to
man’s fall? All men can partake, but this reconciliation will only apply to
those who freely and lovingly choose to obey Him in this life of faith
through Jesus Christ submitted to God.

Jesus is our all in all. Ephesians 1:19-23 “And what is the exceeding
greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working
of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from
the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far
above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every
name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to
come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head
over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that
filleth all in all.” Jesus is the head of the church. The body answers to
Christ, not to man or through his religious institutions. It’s all about Jesus!
Stop being religious and start “being” in Christ! – Jesus is your life,
everyday, all day, all the time (2 Cor 4:16). If our minds are on Christ,
then they are not on self or the world. Our outlook must become eternal
rather than temporal. 2 Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things
which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which
are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The
temporal wicked things will soon be gone: 2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we,

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according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein
dwelleth righteousness.”

Jesus Glorified the Father

Christ came so that God could be glorified in the purpose of His


creation. Jesus provided reconciliation between God and man. All things
may now be brought back together in perfect harmony, unity and purpose
for which they were created. God was glorified in Jesus’ faithfulness and
perfect obedience: John 12:28, “Father, glorify thy name. Then came
there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify
it again.” God was ultimately glorified by giving Christ the reward for His
humble obedience. Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly
exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at
the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things
in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” John
13:31-32, “Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son
of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him,
God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.”
When we live a life of loving faith toward God, then He is glorified by our
actions. When we choose the light and forsake the darkness, God is
glorified. When we walk in the steps of Christ in love, we honor the Father
through our obedience. The Father is glorified when we totally yield to Him
– we surrender our will. This is submitting to God’s will and purposes and
is glorious. This is what it’s all about. If you think you are earning heaven
then your motives are totally wrong and you’re on the wrong path. You
must understand that man’s sole purpose is to serve God for His glory
(John 17:6-10). It’s about God and not about you. Those living in the
flesh really have trouble comprehending this. If you are just seeking God’s
blessings, then you are just seeking self. Our lives are not to be focused
on this world, but on Jesus and eternity to come. This is the hope of one
who is following Christ. While many religious may agree, the emphasis
may change when it comes to the specifics of the “cares of the world” and
applying them.

We have covered in this chapter how Christ was totally humble and died
to self while living solely for God. Jesus has now been greatly exalted. We
are also to do the same. Luke 14:11, “For whosoever exalteth himself
shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Those
who live for self are exalted in their own will shall one day be abased (Pv
16:18). Those who humble themselves and live for God’s purposes
(denying their own) shall one day be exalted. Humility goes before honor
(Pv 15:33, 18:12, 22:4). James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of
the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” This exaltation is not in terms of fleshly
desires, but rather being eternally in the presence of our Lord and
returning under His authority and order. 1 Corinthians 15:53, “For this

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corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality.” We cannot imagine what God has prepared for us that love
Him (1 Cor 2:9, Is 64:4). Our God is magnificent and so is that which He
creates.

Conclusions

Many suppose that Jesus came and did it all, such that nothing is
expected of them. This is a half-truth and as such is a great deception.
The Jewish people loved Jesus when He healed them (Jn 6:2). The Jewish
people loved Jesus when He fed them (Jn 6:26). The Jewish people were
not as excited about putting their will and sin aside and submitting to Him.
Similarly today, the people love the Jesus who forgives and gives mercy
and grace. The religious are not so excited about a Jesus who tells them
to die to self, forsake their iniquity (sin) and follow – that is exercise the
grace given. This requires sacrifice and self denial. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11,
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live
are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus
might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” It is true that Jesus made
atonement for our sin and now provides forgiveness and reconciliation to
God (Col 1:21-22). However, Jesus will not be a cloak for continuance in
sin (Jn 15:22). Christ’s forgiveness and grace could never be
accomplished or merited due to our efforts. It is also true that no man will
come to the Father apart from Jesus (Jn 14:6). God came down to the
earth as a man and set an example for us to follow (1 Pt 2:21-22). Most
religious teach a partial and one-sided gospel. Jesus lived the life of
obedience and faith that Adam was intended to live. God demonstrated
His love for us and requires no more of us than He was willing to do. God
also gives us His Spirit and the strength (power/ability) that we lack (His
grace, Ti 2:11-13) as we live in faith. Therefore: 1 John 2:6, “He that
saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
AND Colossians 2:6-7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the
Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the
faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” We
must have a living relationship with Jesus through communication
(prayer), obedience, and understanding (knowing His Word) which is
made alive through His Spirit (correct attitudes and heart). Scriptures say
that we are to know Christ and that He is true (1 Jn 5:20). How do we
know Him? You know Jesus by walking as He walked – you take up your
cross and follow. You deny self, sacrifice, and suffer shame for His
namesake – then you start to understand and truly know Him. Walk as He
walked and you will know Him! You will never know Christ as long as you
walk as self wants to walk and then attempt to abstractly identify with
Him. We must be faithful in keeping our eyes and heart only on Him and
not having them wander upon others (self and the world). God’s desire for
man is this: Deuteronomy 6:5,“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with
all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” This was

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reiterated by Christ as the greatest of all commandments, Mark 12:29-30,
“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O
Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all
thy strength: this is the first commandment.” When we truly grasp the
totality of this commandment, then we will walk in God’s purposes. Our
heart will serve God with joy in total faith and obedience. Our outward
actions will match our inward nature. Many try (will of man) and force the
outside clean, through their strength (will of the flesh) or power (Jn 1:13).
Only God can change the inside which will manifest on the outside. Then
we will do that which is right in the sight of God with a perfect heart. This
is where God desires to take us. This is where the Holy Spirit is leading.
This is conforming to the image of Christ. What God told the children of
Israel holds so true today: Deuteronomy 10:12-13, “And now, Israel,
what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy
God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy
God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments
of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy
good?” We’ve got to cleave! The partial gospel says hear, receive and
accept Jesus. The full gospel says apply, sacrifice and conform to Jesus.
The partial gospel allows one to stay in the dark (Jn 3:19-20). The full
gospel requires one to come into the glorious light (Jn 3:21). The partial
gospel seeks a savior. The full gospel submits to a Lord. The partial gospel
says believe (merely acknowledge the facts) and attend religious services.
The full gospel says follow (living faith) twenty four hours a day. The
partial gospel adds a religious observance to your established life. The full
gospel will reveal your depravity and leave you humble and broken before
the Lord – and then becomes your only life. Only when you truly see your
need, can Christ be of value to you. New life in Christ is just that – the old
is dead and gone; behold, all things become new!.

David was told by Gad (prophet) to go up to the threshing floor of


Araunah and rear an altar and make a sacrifice to God (2 Sam 24:18).
Araunah offered to give David the threshing floor, oxen and wood for the
sacrifice, but David said he would not offer burnt offerings unto the Lord
that cost him nothing and that he would pay full price (2 Sam 24:21-25, 1
Chr 21:24). 1 Chronicles 21:26, “And David built there an altar unto the
LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon
the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of
burnt offering.” Solomon would later build the temple for God on this
threshing floor site (2 Chr 3:1). Many will seek to serve the Lord in a way
that cost them nothing. Others will give less than their best. In the time of
Malachi, Israel was offering sacrifices to God of blind, lame, torn and sick
animals and polluted bread (Mal 1:7-8, 13). These offerings had become a
clearinghouse for the unwanted rather than sacrifices of the best. Those
who offered them did not even see the problem – they were doing things
their way. How many today are oblivious to the sin in their lives rather
than grieved by it? We must be like Able who brought the firstlings of his

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flock – the best (Gen 4:4)! So, will we serve God as long as it cost us
nothing? Will we serve God with our less than best as we see fit? Will our
sacrifices be blind (deception, without understanding), lame (form
- without power or effort), torn (defeated), polluted (worldly), and sick
(unacceptable)? God desires us to serve Him with a whole heart of love
and total commitment His way and not our way (Ps 119:2).

Are you still self-seeking in your service to God? Are you looking for
blessings, or do you have an intense love for God such that you want to
see Him glorified starting with your own life with all necessary personal
sacrifice? When we truly die to our will and seek only His, then we will
know that we are on the correct path. God has always and consistently
looked for hearts that seek Him and His purposes and this is emphasized
throughout scripture. Jesus said, come follow me, and we now know how
He walked and where He went. The path of the cross was never meant for
the fleshly. It is rugged, uncomfortable and requires sacrifice. Man sought
the things of the flesh in his rebellion against God. Man often seeks God
through the flesh in his religions efforts. To be reconciled with God (only
through Jesus), man must lose his desire for the fleshly rebellion and
conform to God’s purposes. Can you see this in Christ’s earthly walk?
Jesus performed the Father’s will by speaking the Father’s Words, working
the Father’s works. In doing all this, Jesus turned the religious world
upside down – the same is true today. Jesus denied SELF by not pleasing
himself, overcoming fleshly temptations, not seeking personal glory, not
speaking His own words or relying on His knowledge. Jesus lived
humbleness, not seeking worldly things, and by not defending himself
(falsely accused, reviled, unfairly judged). Jesus loved God with a whole
heart and was devoted to Him. He loved others and placed them above
himself – even His enemies. Christ had a relationship with the Father
(prayer, fasting, demonstrated walk). In order to accomplish all of this,
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. Verily, Verily, I say, he that hath an
ear let him hear – Jesus Christ is our example to follow. Psalm 143:10,
“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me
into the land of uprightness.” Christ came and told of the Father (Mt
11:27, Lk 10:22, Jn 1:18, 3:35, 5:19-20, 23-24, 30, 37, 7:28-29, 8:19,
27-29, 10:15, 32, 37-38, 12:49-50, 14:9-13, 31, 16:25-28, 17:21, 25).
Jesus and the Father are one (Jn 10:30). Jesus’ message (gospel) was
observed by His example (His walk/life). How many received what He had
to say (Jn 5:43)? John 3:32, “And what he hath seen and heard (of the
Father), that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.” For
whom the Father hath sent ye believed not (Jn 5:37-38). How many do
today (religious or otherwise, Jn 5:39-40, 44)? John 5:25, “Verily, verily, I
say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear
the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” These dead are
those who have died to self (Mt 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 17:33), have been
born again (Jn 3:3) and now see and hear (Mt 11:15, 13:9, 43, Mk 4:9,
12, 18, 20, 23, 33, 7:16, 37, 9:7, Lk 7:22, 8:8, 9:35, 10:24, 11:28,

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14:35). Jesus said of His followers: Matthew 13:16, “But blessed are your
eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

Chapter 3 – Jesus said, Come Follow Me

God came down to earth as a man and led by example. Matthew 4:18-22,
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called
Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were
fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of
men. And they straightway left their nets (left livelihood), and followed
him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son
of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father,
mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the
ship and their father (left family), and followed him.” Matthew 9:9, “And
as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting
at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose,
and followed him. John 1:43, “The day following Jesus would go forth into
Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.” Their
responses in all cases: Yes Lord! These disciples immediately forsook their
livelihoods (fishing, tax collecting, etc.), and family and followed Christ
(Mk 1:18, 20). This is a very real demonstration of faith. Confession is
easy, but actions are convincing. We must be willing to leave all things at
Christ’s calling. You see, when you follow, Christ does not become a part
of your life, He becomes your life (Col 3:3-4, Lk 20:38, Heb 2:11). Many
desire to incorporate Christian aspects into their already established life
(Mt 9:16-17). Usually their priorities tend to be self motivated. To obey a
partial gospel is nothing more than doing what is right in your own eyes
and this is placing your will above God’s (Pv 16:2). However, we are to die
to our old lives (ways) and become a new creature, not a slightly modified
and improved old self. 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “It is a faithful saying: For if
we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall
also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe
not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Having died to self
we are “born again” to God with His nature to do His will (Eph 4:24).
Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my
heart.” If you’re still seeking your will (rebellion), then you’ve never died
to self. Your telling the Lord that you want to do the leading and for Him
to follow you. Your holding on to Adam’s nature and are unconverted.
Peter, Andrew, James, John, Matthew, and Philip demonstrated death to
self by forsaking their old lives and following Christ. This is not a one time
action, but a way of life - THE WAY (Jn 14:4-6)! This is faith in God! This
is the message: Romans 14:8, “For whether we live, we live unto the
Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live
therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Are You a Believer or a Follower?


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The use of the words “believe” and “follow” in the Bible have essentially
the same meaning. This is referring to a living faith in God, which is an
unreserved (unconditional) surrender of your will to God in full love and
obedience to Him, yielding to His purposes. This is seeing Christ as worthy
of your full trust and confidence and following in His example. This is
allowing God to rule in your heart (Col 3:15). We develop a very real and
personal relationship with Jesus. Questioning God or His purposes simply
reveals that you have not totally died to self and there is still some
rebellion within you – this is your judgment upon God’s purposes. You do
not have any authority to judge God. The only one who has presumed to
do such is Satan and this is the nature of his followers (he is their father –
Jn 8:44). To most the word “believe” is applied as a mere mental
acknowledgement, agreement and acceptance of Jesus Christ and what He
did, but not necessarily full commitment and submission to Him (Lk 6:46).
This may be evidenced in a desire for a Savior, but not necessarily a Lord
(Jn 13:13). However, anything short of full faith and commitment is
hollow, unacceptable and just plain lukewarm. These want to seize His
inheritance (Heaven/eternal life – Mt 21:38), but not from love. Christ
made a distinction between professing with your mouth and living with
your heart: Matthew 15:8, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their
mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
He said such worship was in vain (v. 9). Jesus said we must die to our old
lives and be “born again.” Until we die to our old way, there can be no
conversion (newness of life, new creature, Rm 6:4, 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15,
Col 3:10). Most just want to incorporate being a Christian into their
existing life. Sort of like a membership with a get out of hell free card
benefit. Jesus either becomes your life or you have no life in Him. To
mentally acknowledge Jesus is equivalent to what the devils do. James
2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils
also believe, and tremble.” If you have not totally surrendered to Him
then you are in rebellion just as the devils are. The devils believe, because
Christ’s existence is a fact (Mk 1:34). The devils do not follow because
they are in rebellion to Him and His purposes. You cannot live for self and
just have Christian aspects to your life. You are either a whole-hearted
follower or you are deceived. Self seeking (careers, possessions,
entertainments, money, etc.) is just that and is the opposite of seeking
God. This is a broad, yet temporal outlook that will never be satisfying or
fulfilling (2 Cor 4:18). Your either one or the other and you are what you
are – you decide. When you truly become converted, your desire will be
for your Lord and not yourself. If your belief does not fully manifest in
your actions, then for what purpose is it? Being a member at a religious
institution does not necessarily qualify you to be a follower. When you
follow, Christ is your life twenty-four hours a day (Col 3:4, Lk 20:38). He
is in your thoughts, prayers, motives, decisions, hopes and actions. Your
life is not separable from Christ, for they are one in the same – this is a
mystery (Eph 5:25-32). Your life revolves around Him and not you. Your
actions will be weighed based upon His light. Your life is found in Christ

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and that relationship and not in religious activities and works. Your heart
should always be to please Him and seek His will – for this you do
voluntarily out of love as you seek to glorify God. A believer’s faith will be
tested and tried (1 Thess 2:4). This process will draw us closer to God or
push us away. The heart will reveal itself under pressure and must be
purified. Impurities are identified and burnt away (removed) as the
purifying flame (trials and tribulations) is put to one’s life. This is a denial
of the flesh and is not necessarily pleasant, but is spiritually necessary. By
nature of the act, to “follow” is to submit, yield and obey.

Instead of “seizing the inheritance, God desires that we “bring forth fruits
in their seasons (Mt 21:41).” But what does this mean? Luke 8:15, “But
that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart,
having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” First
you must have a heart toward God, receive the truth of His Word (as
revealed by His Spirit, see Chapter Six), and apply the truth to your life
(live it, be doers). As the Spirit leads you and you obey, God performs a
work in you to conform you to the image of Christ (with whom God was
well pleased, Mt 3:17, 12:18, 17:5, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22, 2 Pt 1:17).
Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do
of his good pleasure.” AND Hebrews 13:21, “Make you perfect in every
good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his
sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
This means that you die to self and come under His authority. This is the
fruit that God desires to be manifested in your life and will be evidenced
by God’s nature in you (love, joy, peace, self control, patience, etc.).
When you abide in Christ, God purgeth you to bring forth more (much)
fruit and thus He is glorified (Jn 15:2, 5, 8). This fruit is the patient work
of God’s labors in you. Psalms 1:3, “And he shall be like a tree planted by
the rivers of water, thatbringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also
shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Those that are
in Christ will yield results and fruits will appear. If not, the unfruitful
branch is cut away and thrown into the fire (Jn 15:2, 6, Lk 13:6-9, Mt
7:19).

Mark 8:34, “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples
also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Jesus said, “Whosoever
will.” What hinders you? The narrow path is not crowded; the invitation is
open to all. What is the cost? - Trading your love of self for the love of
another (Jesus). John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
What about those who will not “come after” or “follow?” Mark 8:35-36,
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his
life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it
profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Job
27:8, “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when
God taketh away his soul?” To gain self will and supposed control is to
lose the life of Christ and ultimately your soul. After a life of doing what is

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right in your own eyes, what will you exchange for your soul (v. 37)? You
have nothing to offer God nor will you take anything with you beyond the
grave (Job 1:21). Will you shame Christ by rejecting Him? What goes
around comes around (v. 38).

Seeing the Value

Consider this parable: Matthew 13:44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is


like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he
hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth
that field.” The kingdom of heaven is an eternal treasure whose value
cannot be comprehended. When a man finds this treasure (has eyes to
see) and realizes its worth, he is willing to part with everything (sacrifice)
that he has to obtain it (repentance) – Ps 119:14, 162. In other words
everything of value in his life becomes meaningless in comparison with
what he seeks to gain (new life). This man immediately begins to part
with all (his old way of life) and makes necessary changes to obtain this
treasure (new life). Many come professing Christ, but never really see the
importance of denying themselves, taking up the cross and following Him.
Hence they simply add one more interest (being a Christian) to their
already established lifestyle. They want the treasure, just not the sacrifice.
Jesus likened this to putting new cloth on an old garment (Lk 9:16). You
are just putting a Jesus patch on your old Adamic life. God may never
take priority in their lives and thus competes with other interests (idols).
These folks do not sell out (all they have) and do not obtain the treasure.
Truly following will require one to forsake sinful entertainments,
incorrigible friends, fleshly desires, idols, etc. Matthew 13:45-46, “Again,
the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly
pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold
all that he had, and bought it.” Those that truly recognize the value of the
kingdom of heaven will do anything to obtain it. This usually results in
significant changes in one’s life to conform to God’s will – totally
abandoning sinful lifestyles and forsaking much of what the world thinks is
important. Most will look for an easier way. If this does not make sense to
you or it seems extreme or fanatical, then you haven’t recognized the
value. Until you truly recognize the value, nothing will change.

Mark 10:17-23, “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came
one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall
I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest
thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the
commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not
bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he
answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my
youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing
thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor,
and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and

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follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he
had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his
disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of
God!” This was a very religious man that seemed to have all the bases
covered. He did everything that seemed to be required of him. Jesus did
not dispute this. Jesus looked deeper, into the man’s heart and went right
to the source of his problem. This man did not love God with his full heart
because he retained self-sufficiency and control. There was a big idol, his
self and resources (money). He obviously trusted (loved) in his resources
more than God, but didn’t see the problem. Riches can exalt and separate
one above others. Jesus loved him and provided a solution. Sell
everything and give to the less fortunate – tear down the idol and be free
of its hold (bondage). Deny yourself and make sacrifices for others – show
love. Submit and be a servant (humbleness and meekness) – become
least. Then Jesus asked him to follow. Jesus was already setting the
example. Christ was saying, put aside your religious endeavors and come
to me with a whole heart and have a living relationship. This man was
willing to serve God just so far (and zealously), but no further. This man
was willing to follow legalistically and keep a list of do’s and don’ts, but his
heart was on his riches and the things of the world. He could not see his
need for Christ. Perhaps he viewed his needs as greater than the those of
the poor. Jesus was asking him to make God the center of his life and he
was unwilling. He didn’t see the value. He wanted to follow a formula that
allowed him to reserve a huge area of his life for self – that which he
controlled. We must serve God His way. This is a very sobering message
to those of who have eyes on retirement and bank accounts for daily or
future provision. What if Jesus said, give away all thou hast and come
follow me? Perhaps this man like most just sought out another teacher
that would affirm or justify his desires rather than confront his pet idol.
His original question was, “what must I do?” Many ask the question, but
how many follow the answer? We die to ourselves and serve God with a
full heart! Do you ask the question expecting a certain answer? So much
of man’s religion is built upon the answer SELF wants to hear.

Counting the Cost

Matthew 8:19-20, “And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master,
I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The
foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man
hath not where to lay his head.” By nature the flesh seeks shelter and
comfort, but Jesus was following the Spirit and this is not a path of ease
to the flesh. Many are expecting blessings and worldly prosperity, but
Christ never sought these things and followers should not expect any
different. Jesus did receive much rejection and reproach. Christ’s kingdom
is not of this world. John 14:2, “In my Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Many have used this verse to suggest that we will each have a big

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mansion in heaven and be catered to by God in eternal bliss. The word
“mansion” is referring to a place of dwelling or room. We become a part of
God’s family and dwell with Him (Rev 20:3, 21:2). New Jerusalem
(heaven) will be an indescribably beautiful place, but do not suppose there
will be the same fleshly lusts or desires there. On earth things like money,
gold, houses, lands, possessions, and titles are highly sought after things
of the flesh. Jesus never sought these types of things and God views the
desire for them as negative and temporal. In the City of God these things
many hold so dear on earth are just building materials – the streets are
paved with gold and the walls are bricked with precious stones (Rev 21).
The beauty is for all to behold, but will never be used for selfish gain or
control.

Luke 14:26-27, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his
own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his
cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” We cannot have
anything or anyone in our life more important than God. Family members
tend to influence our decision more than love for God and this cannot be.
The reference to our “own life” is not only referring to physical life but our
self-centeredness and self-sufficiency. Bearing your cross and coming
after Jesus undeniably means to follow in His steps. The cross is the
shame and reproach that we will all suffer – many are the afflictions of the
righteous (Ps 34:19). This will make no sense to those living in the flesh.
Taking up the cross means death to self, the point of no return. When one
took up the Roman cross that meant they were not coming back. We die
to our old life and follow Christ into His kingdom. There is a cost to be
considered: Luke 14:28-30, “For which of you, intending to build a tower,
sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to
finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to
finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to
build, and was not able to finish.” We are to consider the cost of following
Jesus. We read of Jesus’ example in the last chapter. Study Christ’s
example and determine if you willing to follow the path of the cross to
completion? Yes, you will need the Lord’s help! Yes, you will need the
Lord’s strength! But are you willing? If not, you will start a work and not
complete it. You will become a hypocrite for all to see or be deceived with
many of the religious. Many will not consider the foundation they are
building upon. Luke 14:31-33, “Or what king, going to make war against
another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able
with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty
thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an
ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he
be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
Following is not sitting on a church pew one or two days of the week (Mt
25:25-26)! Following is a daily living of your faith. Following involves
forsaking and self denial and is truly a narrow path. Christ forsook all for
you, and relationships are reciprocal.

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Urgency?

Luke 9:59-60, “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord,
suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the
dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” There
is no life apart from “following” Jesus. When we do not follow Christ we
are as the living dead. This may have seemed like a reasonable request,
but when Christ calls there is no time or place for delay. God must take
precedent in our lives. We cannot have other priorities in our lives no
matter how rational or justifiable they may seem. Life is found in Christ,
all else leads to death. This man lacked a real zeal toward Christ’s calling.
This man assumed that his priorities would also be God’s and that his
ways would be God’s ways. Rather than providing Christ with a submissive
answer, he turned the circumstance around such that God was waiting or
answerable to him.

Luke 9:61-62, “And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me
first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said
unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is
fit for the kingdom of God.” How many say, Lord I will follow “BUT.” One
must be focused and committed to continue a work begun (2 Pt 2:20, 22).
Once a decision is made there can be no looking back (drawing back) or
distractions. Do we rebuild that which we destroyed – died to (Gal 2:18)?
Have you made a commitment to God and allowed other distractions to
interfere or take precedence? When we look back, are we not regretting
some aspect of our decision? Perhaps one misses (longs for) selfish or
sinful facets of their old life (Pv 14:14, 24:19-20). Maybe we want to hold
onto something that was let go or sacrificed? Perhaps Christ is saying to
you that you’ve made a confession so when are you going to put your
hand to the plough? Some answer “I go” but “go not” (Mt 21:30).

The Path of the Cross

The path of the cross is the path that Christ followed as detailed in the
last chapter. This could also be thought of as the narrow way that leads to
eternal life. This is not a path of ease, and following will require sacrifice
and denial; trials and tribulations; suffering reproach; unpopularity; death
to self; simplicity of life; patience; self control; righteousness; holiness
and godliness. This path is narrow and there is no room for your views,
just God’s purposes. The path is arduous (tough, difficult, demanding,
much effort) and only your faith in God will see you through to the end
(Mt 10:22). You may find that once you have decided to truly give your
whole heart to God, others may not be willing to go along with you on this
path. Some of these may be those that now make a profession of Christ or
are very religious. Many will look at this path’s rough terrain and prefer
the well-beaten broad path of the world instead. There is no room on this
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narrow path for selfish or worldly things. Christ will provide the necessities
along the way and His Spirit will guide and direct, but only as one yields to
Him. Proverbs 4:25-27, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids
look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways
be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot
from evil.” Our eyes must be focused straight ahead on Christ. This path is
narrow and we cannot turn to the left or the right. We must constantly
examine where we are going and remove ourselves from evil.

Stephen Follows the Path of the Cross

Stephen followed the path of the cross (Acts, Chapters 6-7): There arose
some murmuring in the Early Church because certain widows’ needs were
being neglected. The apostles wanted to devote themselves to the study
of God’s Word (as we all should be doing). Acts 6:2, “Then the twelve
called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason
that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.” So the apostles
appointed men for the task of “serving tables.” Stephen who is described
as full of faith and of the Holy Ghost was appointed to this duty. Now this
is not a high profile position that most would desire and requires a
humbling of oneself. Jesus once said: Matthew 23:11, “But he that
is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Stephen was faithful in the
small things and the Lord blessed him and promoted him (Mt 25:21, 1 Cor
4:2). Acts 6:8, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders
and miracles among the people.” There soon arose certain of the
synagogue (the religious) that disputed with Stephen. Acts 6:10, “And
they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.”
Jesus had said: Matthew 10:19, “But when they deliver you up, take no
thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same
hour what ye shall speak.” Such was the case with Stephen: Acts 6:11-13,
“Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak
blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up
the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and
caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses,
which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against
this holy place, and the law.” Character assassination (misrepresentation)
was the mode of operation for the religious. They had done the same
thing to Jesus – even the accusations of blasphemy and false witnesses.
Christ had said they were of their father the devil and his will they would
do (Jn 8:44). How did Stephen respond to all of this? Acts 6:15, “And all
that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had
been the face of an angel.”

Stephen then proceeds to preach through the wisdom of the Holy Ghost
and brings great conviction upon his accusers. Acts 7:54, “When they
heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him
with their teeth.” Do you see how Stephen is following in the path of

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Jesus? Humble, faithful, obedient and led of the Spirit. Is the Lord
pleased? Acts 7:55-56, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up
stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on
the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and
the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” These religious folks
did not receive this at all: Acts 7:57, 59, “Then they cried out with a loud
voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And
they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive
my spirit.” How did Stephen react? Did he lash out and ask God to avenge
this wrongful deed? Acts 7:60, “And he kneeled down, and cried with a
loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said
this, he fell asleep.” Wow! He forgave them just like Jesus did. If we do
not forgive others, then we need not expect God to forgive us (Mt 6:15).
Scripture says he “fell asleep.” One must wonder if he even felt the stones
that crushed his body. Did not God receive the glory? He loved not his life
even unto death, literally dying to SELF to please God. Well done good
and faithful servant! During the stoning of Stephen: Acts 7:58, “…the
witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was
Saul (Paul).” This young man would later follow the path of the cross….

Paul Follows the Path of the Cross

Initially Paul started out as a persecutor of the Church (Acts 8:3, 9:1-2).
He was very religious and thought he was serving God. Jesus once said,
John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time
cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
Paul was spiritually blind (Acts 9:8-9) until the Lord opened his eyes that
he could see (Acts 9:17-18). Jesus confronted Paul in a mighty way when
he was traveling to persecute Christians in Damascus. There was an
immediate noticeable change in Paul’s nature (Acts 9:20-22, 27, 29). God
chose Saul; thus having mercy on whom He will have mercy (Acts 22:14-
15, Rm 9:15). Jesus said of Paul: Acts 9:15-16, “…for he is a chosen
vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the
children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for
my name's sake.” Paul’s future suffering was not Jesus’ way of getting
revenge on him. No! Suffering and tribulation are a natural part of every
disciple’s walk (who boldly professes Christ). 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all
that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” AND John
15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but
because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.” Everyone who truly follows Christ will
suffer at the hands of the world. Did Jesus Words come true for Paul (Acts
9:23)? 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as
a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in
prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I
forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned,
thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In

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journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine
own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in
the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In
weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in
fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are
without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
Paul taught the gospel of Christ: Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews,
and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord
Jesus Christ.” Paul went back to Jerusalem one last time to plead with the
religious. He had a good sense of what awaited him: Acts 20:22, “And
now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the
things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in
every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these
things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might
finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the
Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” From the moment
he entered into the temple the crowd grabbed him and thrust him out:
Acts 21:31, “And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the
chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.”

Paul was allowed audience before the people to present the gospel. Acts
22:22-23, “And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up
their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not
fit that he should live. And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes,
and threw dust into the air.” From that day forward Paul became
imprisoned, yet had the opportunity to testify before governors, kings,
and emperors. While in bonds (and suffering), many fellow believers were
ashamed of him and he exhorted Timothy not to follow suit (2 Tm 1:8,
15). Paul was sent to Rome where he was martyred for the cause of
Christ. Well done good and faithful servant! What did Paul say about all
this: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of
my departure is at hand. 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.” Paul was offered for God’s glory! He kept the faith with his
eyes upon Jesus! Are we not all instructed to do the same?

Paul was raised to be a very religious man. He was a pharisees pharisee


and blameless in the requirements of his religion (Acts 26:5, Php 3:5-6).
He was taught at the feet of a very respected teacher (doctor of the law,
Acts 5:34, 22:3) and was zealous for his religion (Acts 22:3). Paul said:
Galatians 1:14, “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals
in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of
my fathers.” Paul was greatly accepted by his religious peers when he
lived a religious life of man’s attempts to serve God through the flesh. He
was given great authority by the religious leaders (Acts 8:3-4, 9:1-2,
26:10, 12). Paul’s life and religion were intrinsically intertwined – this was

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his very life. On the road to Damascus, Paul had an encouter with God
Himself – Jesus Christ. Acts 9:15-16, “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy
way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the
Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how
great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” Jesus stated: Acts
26:16-18, “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto
thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these
things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear
unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto
whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may
receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are
sanctified by faith that is in me.” Paul didn’t choose Christ; Jesus through
His mercy chose Paul – for His purposes. Now Paul had to “come out” of
this religion that was his very life. He had to totally forsake the only life he
knew for Christ Jesus. Paul had a tremendous choice to make – to
continue to be religious and serve man or to serve God in His truth. He
later stated: Acts 26:19-20, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not
disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of
Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and
then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do
works meet for repentance.” Paul OBEYED God, forsook his religiosity (his
old life) and then taught the true gospel of repentance (Gal 1:13-17). Paul
brought forth fruits meet for repentance by forsaking this old dead religion
and totally losing his old life such that he could gain true life through
Christ (Lk 9:24). Paul counted all his religious efforts but dung compared
to the life in Christ: Philippians 3:7-11, “But what things were gain to me,
those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but
loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for
whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung,
that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain
unto the resurrection of the dead.” His righteousness was found in Christ
and not in religion (of which he was well trained) or the efforts and works
of man which he had once sought to perform. How many in the religious
world today would desire such things or even consider losing anything?
Paul conformed to Christ’s death by both dying to self (loss of position and
selfish life) and literally physically dying. The path of the cross is narrow,
but it leads home. The path you choose will lead to your eternal home.

When Paul left his religiosity behind, he became a very persecuted man.
The religious now turned upon him with a vengance (Acts 9:24, 23:14-15,
26:21, 1 Thess 2:15-16). Even so, Paul said: 2 Corinthians 12:10,
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am

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I strong.” Our weakness in SELF is our strength in depending upon God.
Paul was falsely accused by the religious just like Jesus had been. The
religious now sought Paul’s life just as they had done Christ’s. The Roman
governor had said of Jesus: John 18:38, “Pilate saith unto him, What is
truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and
saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. Later: John 19:4, “Pilate
therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth
to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him (also Acts 13:28).”
Now notice what the authorities said of Paul when the religious accused
him: Acts 26:30-32, “And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and
the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they
were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth
nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This
man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar
(also Acts 23:29).” Paul was imprisoned and ultimately martyred. Jesus
and Paul were both innocent, but the religious relentlessly persecuted
them until they had their way. We will either accept the light, run from it,
or seek to extinguish it. Those in rebellion to God either run from or
persecute the truth.

A Bold Statement

Jesus was reaching the end of His path. John 13:36-38, “Simon Peter said
unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go,
thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.” Peter
knew what he meant, John 13:37, “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot
I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered
him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” Later, the
Lord’s Words rang true, when Peter denied the Lord a third time in a rage
of cursing (Mt 26:74). Peter had followed Christ from the beginning and
loved Him dearly. Peter thought he could follow the path of the cross, but
found he was not ready. The reality of persecution and losing one’s life hit
a little to close to home when it actually occurred (Mk 4:17). When Peter
should have been seeking the Lord and praying for strength, he was
sleeping (Lk 22:40-46). Peter did not lose faith because Jesus himself had
intervened earlier, Luke 22:31-32, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon,
behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art
converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Peter thought he had strength in
himself, but our strength must come from God. Jesus had been praying
for strength in the Garden of Gethsemane, but Peter had fallen asleep (Mt
26:40). When Jesus found Peter and the others: Luke 22:46, “And said
unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” 1
Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take
heed lest he fall.” When we become confident in ourselves then watch out!
Our confidence must be in the Lord, not the flesh.

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Shortly after Christ’s resurrection, Jesus and Peter had a conversation.
Jesus asked Peter if he loved him (and told him to feed His sheep) once
for each time Peter had denied Him prior to the crucifixion. Christ then
prophesied: John 21:18-19, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou
wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest:
but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and
another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This
spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he
had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” This is so significant;
Jesus has just told Peter to follow in His foot steps, the path of the cross.
He has told Peter that he will physically die (be martyred) for Christ and
for God’s glory, but to follow anyway! Peter would have the opportunity to
follow through on his earlier claim. We must be prepared to obey Christ
unto death if required (Rev 12:11). Peter did follow Jesus and preached
the gospel of repentance (Acts 2:38). He performed many miracles
including raising the dead (Acts 9:37-41), suffered persecutions and
tribulations, and followed the path of the cross to his physical death for
Christ’s namesake. Peter once boldly announced to his religious
persecutors, “We ought to obey God rather than men,” afterwards, he was
beaten. His response was: Acts 5:41, “And they departed from the
presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame for his name.” We must all be prepared to suffer shame for Jesus’
namesake. However, we cannot suffer if we are not professing Christ’s
name boldly before men and following.

The Two Kingdoms

In previous chapters we covered how man chose to follow his own will,
disobeyed God, and fell from God’s grace. Man now lives in a fallen world,
corrupted with sin. God has interacted with man through various means
since the fall for the purpose of redeeming and reconciling fallen man back
to Himself (Heb 1:1-4). God does not excuse or overlook sin and rebellion,
so man could not be redeemed without an acceptable atonement. God
sent Jesus, His only Son to be that acceptable sacrifice to once and for all
atone for man’s sin. Jesus came and lived a life devoid of self and in total
obedience to God, and thus was without sin. Jesus laid His life down as
the unblemished sacrificial lamb for all of mankind (1 Pt 1:19-20). This
sacrifice was acceptable to God and thus all men may now be reconciled
to God through Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:18-19).

So there now exists two kingdoms, the kingdom of Christ (Light) and the
kingdom of darkness (Acts 26:18). These may also be thought of as two
paths, one narrow with few travelers that leads to eternal life and one
broad and well traveled that leads to eternal damnation (Mt 7:13-14). The
kingdom of darkness or the broad path is the fallen world that one is
naturally “born” into. The kingdom of Christ or the narrow path is that way

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which one is “born again” into (Jn 3:3, Col 1:12-13, 1 Pt 1:23, 1 Cor
15:46). We must seek the light such that there is no darkness within us.
The narrow path is one of faith. The broad path is one of unbelief. Faith
and unbelief are determined through actions (doer of the Word?).

Kingdom of Christ

When Jesus says, “come follow me,” His kingdom is where He is leading.
Christ rules and reigns in this kingdom and it is one of righteousness,
holiness, peace and truth. Jesus’ kingdom begins now (Lk 17:21). God
dwells with His people in this place and eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the wonderful things that
await for them that love Him (Rev 21:3, 1 Cor 2:9). God is light and in
Him is no darkness. Christ calls us out of the darkness into His light (1 Pt
2:9). Jesus’ desire is: Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, and to turn them
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they
may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are
sanctified by faith that is in me.” Jesus paid a heavy price for those who
will follow: Colossians 1:13-15, “Who hath delivered us from the power of
darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In
whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of
sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every
creature.” The path to this kingdom is not well traveled because it denies
the flesh (sanctification) and seeks only God’s will. 1 John 1:5,7, “This
then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you,
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. But if we walk in the
light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the
blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Let us rejoice:
Galatians 1:4-5, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us
from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” We have been instructed to
do that which is good and come to Christ’s light (Jn 3:19-21). 1
Thessalonians 5:5, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the
day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” We have found a great
treasure through God’s mercy. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7, “For God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts,
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of
the power may be of God, and not of us.” The power is of God and not of
ourselves.

Kingdom of Darkness

The kingdom of darkness represents the fallen world that we all know so
well. This is a world where man’s will is manifested, is mostly disobedient
and rebellious toward God, and is highly influenced by Satan and his
principalities and the power of darkness (Lk 22:53, Jn 7:7). These are the

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children of disobedience (Eph 2:2-3, 5:6, Col 3:6). Ephesians 2:2,
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh
in the children of disobedience.” This is a world that has rejected Christ
and thus has not been reconciled with the Father. Because they have not
been reconciled, they walk in the course of this world. This is a passing
world that will soon come to an end (Heb 1:10-11, 2 Pt 3:7, 12-13).
Followers of Christ are sojourners, pilgrims and wayfaring men in this
world – just passing through (1 Chr 29:15, Heb 11:13, 1 Pt 1:17 & 2:11,
Is 35:8). These pilgrims grieve over the sin that abounds and seek a
country (Heb 11:14). Hebrews 13:14, “For here have we no continuing
city, but we seek one to come.” Jesus’ disciples are also ambassadors to
represent Him to this world and be His witnesses (2 Cor 5:20, Php 2:15).
God is in control and maintains presence for the elect’s sake and for all
those who will repent, turn from their sins and receive Christ – for God’s
glory fills all the earth (Is 6:3). God maketh his sun to rise on the evil and
on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Mt 5:45).
For this reason there is some good in this fallen world. Those that proceed
on to hell are totally separated from God’s presence and blessings and this
is a nightmare that cannot be comprehended by the human mind. God
uses this world to try the hearts of men and reap an acceptable harvest
(Rev 2:23, 3:10, Lk 10:2, Js 5:7). Christ died for the just and the
unjust for the purpose that He might bring us to God (1 Pt 3:18).

God has and will judge wickedness on the face of the earth. There are
many examples of God’s judgments in the bible that are given for us to
take note. God judged the wickedness of the early world with a global
flood (Gen 6:5-7). God judged the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen
13:13 & 19:13). 2 Peter 2:6, “And turning the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them
an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” God judged seven
nations in the Promised Land because of their wickedness, namely the
Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and
the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites (Deut 7:1-2 & 9:4-5).
These nations had done lewd things with family members, homosexuality,
bestiality, child sacrifice, sorcery (familiar spirits, sorcery, wizards),
enchantments, astrology, skin markings, prostitution, idolatry, and all
manner of evil (Lv Chapters 18-19, 20:23). Israel was warned not to do
these same things, Leviticus 18:28, “That the land spue not you out also,
when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” God
has also judged many individuals on the face of the earth due to their
wickedness (1 Kg 14:10-11 & 21:21-24, Acts 12:21-23). Israel
represented those who follow God in the Spirit, by faith (led by the cloudy
pilliar, looked to God for manna and water, etc.). The evil wicked nations
that possessed/occupied the promised land represented those who live
in/follow the flesh (lusts, desires, etc.). Israel was to go in and utterly
destroy those nations. The flesh and the things of the flesh must die –
these oppose God. Those who live by faith in God will prevail – these

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submit and obey God. We live in a country that does these very same
things and such is becoming much more prevalent and flaunted in society.
The Lord said not to make covenant or marriages with them, because they
will turn your children from following God (Deut 7:2-4). Do people even
consider this in our day? Many barriers have been removed and access to
evil is more available through the television, internet, movie rental,
magazines and general acceptance in the culture. Inhibitions are lowered
and acceptance is gained, what was once unheard of and done only in
secret starts to become open and more common. We are not to
participate in any of these evils (Deut 7:5). When one takes pleasure in
unrighteousness and loves darkness, their journey down the broad path
only gets darker and more deviant. These things are a snare and an
abomination to God (Deut 7:25). Judgment Day looms on the horizon as
the world is again as the days of Noah and of Sodom (wicked) and the
sins have reached to heaven (Lk 17:26-29, Rev 18:5). Luke 17:30, “Even
thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

When one follows Jesus and has received His Spirit, the Holy Ghost works
to conform the individual to Christ’s image (Col 3:10). This process leads
one in paths of righteousness and holiness for Jesus’ namesake (Ps 23:3,
Pv 8:20). Jesus is the image of God (Col 1:15). When one rejects Christ
and continues to follow his own natural path (will) and desires (lusts), the
devil and his principalities work on that one to conform him to the devil’s
image. Proverb 4:19, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know
not at what they stumble.” This process leads to bondages, addictions,
lewdness and ever increasing darkness. Either individual will be
recognizable as to whom they serve through the fruit in their life. One
may show love, joy, peace, and self control, whereas the other may use
foul language, course jesting, bawdy behavior (course, vulgar, rude, lewd)
and have affection for the things of the world (Eph 4:29, Col 3:8). The sad
thing is that many who are lost do not see themselves as such because
their own darkness has blinded their eyes and minds such that they do not
understand or recognize their sin (2 Cor 4:4, Jn 12:40, 1 Jn 2:11). The
lukewarm are the religious who are living in darkness yet think they are in
the light by reason of a mere confession – deception. You cannot reason
with those who love the darkness. They will defend and justify their love
and relationship. Only those who seek the light will listen. This is the
challenge of this book, to reach those who will listen.

The Truth in Light

In the beginning God put a division between the light and the darkness
(Gen 1:4). The light is representative of God’s glory, righteousness,
holiness and purity. The darkness is representative of disobedience to God
and the resultant evil (sin, transgressions and iniquities). Due to the

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disobedience of man, the whole world lies in darkness (1 Jn 5:19). In the
midst of this darkness, God has provided His witnesses (lights). These
lights are represented in the creation account as stars which provide light
upon the earth (Gen 1:14-18). Jesus said: Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light
of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” We are to release
all darkness and come to the light and be God’s witnesses upon this earth.
Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the
firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever
and ever.” Jesus was the ultimate light come down to a rebellious
mankind. Consider Christ’s righteous light:

John 1:4-5, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the
light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Isaiah
9:2, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they
that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light
shined.” John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the
light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but
shall have the light of life.” John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than
light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth
the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made
manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 12:46, “I am come a light
into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in
darkness.” Luke 11:35-36, “Take heed therefore that the light which is in
thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having
no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of
a candle doth give thee light.” Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the
day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us
put on the armour of light.” Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is
in heaven.” Philippians 2:15, “That ye may be blameless and harmless,
the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse
nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” John 12:36, “While
ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light...”
Psalm 27:1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation…” Ephesians 5:8,
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk
as children of light.” Amen. Jesus is the light that leads us through the
darkness as we “follow.” Those whose eyes are not upon the light will
stumble and fall. In eternity there will be no sun nor moon, but the Lord
will literally be our light (in more ways than one, Is 60:19-20, Rev 21:23,
22:5).

When we live in darkness, choosing our will over God’s, choosing to seek
the things of the flesh rather than the things above, we become blinded to
the light (Col 3:1, 2 Cor 4:4). Bit by bit, day by day, thought by thought
the light diminishes by our own choice of darkness – you grope in the
darkness (Job 12:25). The darkness increases in power and rules your

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thoughts, actions and decisions, for you walk therein (Pv 2:13). Ephesians
4:18-19, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the
life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness
of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto
lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Consider those
who reject God’s Word: Romans 2:5-6, 8-9 “But after thy hardness and
impenitent (unrepentant) heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against
the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who
will render to every man according to his deeds. But unto them that are
contentious, and do not obey the truth (reject), but obey unrighteousness,
indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man
that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.” We must “follow”
Christ in righteousness (and thereby be saved from wrath – Rm 5:9):
Light is sown for the righteous (Ps 97:11). God gives light in the way we
should go (Neh 9:33). Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of
God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by
faith.” AND Romans 2:7, “To them who by patient continuance (steadfast,
day by day) in well doing (righteousness) seek for glory and honour and
immortality, eternal life.” We must walk by our faith (Spirit) and not by
our sight (flesh) - 2 Cor 5:7. Man is justified by faith (Rm 3:28)! Satan
will try and imitate God’s light to draw men unto himself (2 Cor 11:14).
We must let Jesus shine in our hearts by choosing the light instead of the
darkness. We are called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pt
2:9). Ephesians 5:14, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Consider this: 1
John 1:5, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and
declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
Psalm 104:2, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who
stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.” Christ is our example to follow
in His steps and in Him is no darkness. This means that in this life we
should be striving, through Christ (abiding), to eliminate the darkness out
of our life as being obedient and led of His Spirit. 1 John 1:7, “But if we
walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Notice the “if” we walk in the light. Some will “profess Christ,” yet stay in
the darkness and thereby not be cleansed from all sin. 2 Corinthians 4:6,
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined
in ourhearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ.” Guard your heart from darkness and seek Christ’s
light (Ps 36:9). Proverbs 4:18-20, “But the path of the just is as the
shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Psalm
119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Proverb 4:19, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at
what they stumble.” Proverb 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp; and
the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” The light
shines more and more in our lives as we conform to Christ’s image day by
day, until the perfect day when we see Him as He is (1 Jn 3:2). 2 Samuel
22:29, “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my

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darkness.” Job 29:3, “When his candle shined upon my head, and when
by his light I walked through darkness.” Followers walk through this dark
world on a narrow path led by the Spirit.

Those that love darkness want to hear all about God’s love in terms of
acceptance. They want a God of unconditional love – to sin and not die.
They want a God who will allow the love of darkness. Job 24:13, “They are
of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor
abide in the paths thereof.” They don’t necessarily want to come to the
light, they just want to be forgiven and have grace to remain in the
darkness. Often religious institutions will talk all about God’s love as they
choose to define it, yet rarely talk about the evil of sin or God’s righteous
judgment and a necessary life of righteousness and holiness. These are
known as smooth messages that will appease the flesh. Those who bring
these messages will be popular and praised. These are those that rebel
against the truth of the light and will not come to it. They reject God for
one of their own making.The truth is that God loves you so much that He
desires the best for you. He wants to remove you from the filth and
shame and bring you out of the darkness into the light. God gave His only
Son to accomplish this and this was a precious sacrifice. If you choose to
remain in the dark, you have rejected God’s true love –you condemn
yourself. The light of the wicked will be put out (Job 18:6-7).

What shall be said of those who love the darkness and will not come to
the light? Isaiah 59:6-7, “…their works are works of iniquity, and the act
of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to
shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and
destruction are in their paths.” They behold obscurity (shadows,
muriness); for brightness, but we walk in darkness (Is 59:9). They depart
from God speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from
the heart words of falsehood (Is 59:13).

Understanding Sin

Until we understand our condition, there can be no remedy. John 8:31-34,


“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. They answered him, We be Abraham's
seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall
be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Notice that Jesus is
talking to those who believe in Him – they “profess Christ.” Jesus was
telling them that His truth would set them free, but they didn’t see that
they had a problem to be set free of. When you realize your sin, then and
only then can you see your need of deliverance from it. If you do not
acknowledge your bondages, then you certainly can’t be freed from them.
If you cannot acknowledge truth and seek repentance then you cannot be

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recovered from self and the snare of the devil, who takes captive at will (2
Tm 2:25-26). Unregenerate man is helplessly under the dominion of Satan
and sin because he has his nature. Jesus came to set you free, but you
first must see the need and then desire the freedom (1 Jn 3:5, 8-9). Just
because we know something is sin doesn’t mean we have power over the
sin. We need to understand that we are not going to be able to deliver
ourselves. When you realize your sin (the filthiness), then and only then
can you see your need of deliverance from it. Many in the religious world
acknowledge the sin, but don’t see the need for deliverance – they’ve
accepted it! They see a profession of Christ as a means whereby God now
overlooks or excuses continuance in sin. This is not continuing in the truth
(Word) – its rejection of the truth! The love of sin must be dealt with. You
must be converted (take on God’s nature) and have the desire of sin
removed. The kingdom of God is not about just following rules for rules
sake. The kingdom ofGod is about righteousness and holiness – having
correct attitudes, motives and love in your heart. The greatest joy you can
know is to serve God because you love Him and WANT TO – you serve
with joyfulness and gladness of heart (Deut 28:47)! – you delight yourself
in the Lord (Is 58:14, Ps 40:8)! In God we boast all the day long (Ps
44:8)! You do not serve out of fear of hell, fear of men, or guilty
conscious. No. You serve Him because He is the joy of your heart and you
love Him. John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be
free indeed.” Luke 1:74-75, “That he would grant unto us, that we being
delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In
holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” We obey
God out of correct desire (not compulsion), because we understand the
merit and hate the darkness and love the light. There are multitudes of
people who profess a certain fear of God (fear of hell, obligation, guilt,
abstract agreement with His truth, etc.) who nevertheless serve their own
gods to which their hearts are devoted and in which they put their trust.
Although they find agreement with God’s truth (unconnected from their
person), they are not able to apply it to their lives due to their stronger
commitment to SELF.

When Israel entered the Promised Land, they were to destroy the
wickedness out of the land. They were not to learn of the wickedness of
the people of the land or unite with them in any way. Deuteronomy
12:30-31, “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following
them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou
enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their
gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy
God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done
unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt
in the fire to their gods.” They were not to seek after their own heart or
their own eyes which are used to go awhoring (away from God to the
things of the world, Num 15:39). Israel disobeyed God: Psalm 106:35,
“But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.” They
walked after the imaginations (willfulness – their way) of their own hearts

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and God said they would be cursed and He would blot their names from
under heaven (Deut 29:18-20). We live in a time when those who profess
Christ have mingled with the people and certainly learned their evil ways.
It is very important to note that even though we are to be a light in this
world, we have no justification to partake of the flesh or things of the
world. We do not become like the world to win the world because doing so
would only prove that the world has won us rather than vice versa. We
are to overcome and be separate (2 Cor 6:17, 1 Jn 5:4). The next thing
Israel did was: Psalm 106:36, “And they served their idols: which were a
snare unto them.” They became like the world around them and this
polluted them. Many who profess Christ today have done the same and
seem to think that grace allows them to do this. The next thing Israel did
was: Psalms 106:37-38, “Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their
daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their
sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of
Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” Some who profess Christ
have sacrificed their children to devils through abortion. Many others have
sacrificed their children to the world by allowing the world through its
knowledge and entertainment to teach their children to live in a manner
that opposes God. I dare say that with most this message is one sided
(worldly) and not even balanced with parental teaching of Christ. Lastly:
Psalm 106:39, “Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a
whoring with their own inventions (ideas).” When we seek our own ways
(flesh) and our ideas (opinions) apart from God, we are in great error.
Many will do this in a religious context and this becomes the nature of the
apostasy. So, how did God see this: Psalm 106:40, “Therefore was the
wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred
his own inheritance.” There is a message here for all of us who say we are
called by His name.

We are about to cover some material that the flesh will surely rebel
against. I say in advance, if you cannot acknowledge the sin, bondages
and the evil nature of your heart, then you cannot be free of them. You
then love the darkness and will not come to the light (Jn 3:19-20). Many
want to be saved from the consequences of sin and have no desire to be
saved from the wretched, evil nature of their heart. This is so predominant
in today’s form of Christianity. Please pray now that the Lord will open
your eyes.

Who is the Great I AM?

God referred to himself as “I AM” when inquired of by Moses. God IS


everything that we could image. He is our life, provision, health,
deliverance, wisdom, salvation, etc. Jesus further stated this when He
said: John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
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Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus is the manna that man must live by.
John 6:48, 51, “I AM that bread of life. I AM the living bread which came
down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:
and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of
the world.” This was further emphasized: John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto
him, I AM the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the
Father, but by me.”

The problem is that man likes to place himself in the position of “I AM.”
Man mostly seeks his will over God’s purposes in keeping with the original
sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Man says, I am self sufficient,
have self-knowledge and will seek self-gratification. I will determine my
own way and walk therein. The religious qualify this by saying God will
understand because we “profess” Christ and grace allows it. Isaiah 47:8,
10, “Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that
dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I AM, and none else beside
me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.
For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me.
Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast
said in thine heart, I AM, and none else beside me.” God is not mocked
and man continues to rebel and seat himself in the throne of God. Jesus
said: 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.” To believe is to
live daily in demonstrated faith. There is only one way to God: John 8:12,
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of
life.” We are either following self or Christ and our actions reveal our
choice. The condition is: “He that followeth.” Would you believe that after
Jesus revealed Himself as the great “I AM” to a religious audience that
they looked for stones to kill Him (Jn 8:59)? Do not allow your religiosity
to cause you to be blind to the very light of God.

God wants to be the great “I AM” in your life. He is your creator, who
loves you and wants the best for you. God wants to be your Lord, Savior,
Father, provider, healer, knowledge base, guide, friend, special interest,
etc. The question is: Is He? Perhaps you are the great “I AM” in your life.
Full of self-confidence and assurance, seeking after those things you
desire? Perhaps a loved one is the great “I AM” in your life such as a
parent, spouse, special romance, or best friend (Lk 14:26)? Perhaps the
great “I AM” in your life is a respected leader such as the President, a
pastor/theologian, doctor or professor? Perhaps your faith is in a celebrity
such as a movie star or sports hero? Perhaps the great “I AM” in your life
is a thing such as a religious denomination/church, university, job/career,
sports team, prized possession, television/music or hobby/special
interest? The fact is that there can only be one great “I AM” in your life –
and this is where your heart will be. If there were two, you would love the
one and hate the other (Mt 6:24, Lk 16:13).

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The Path of Least Resistance

Consider a stream of water meandering through a valley. Water always


takes the path of least resistance and thus flows downstream. The course
of the stream is defined by the surrounding topography. If an object such
as a rock is in the path, water will either go around it or over it but not
through it. Water never flows upstream or against the current. Most
people live their lives in a similar fashion. They take the path of least
resistance. Most chart their lives by the course of the world to fit in and
get along. To differ from the norm (majority, popular culture) will bring
about separation, confrontation, self-denial and reproach. The flesh
(physical self) seeks acceptance and comfort. This is why man would
never in and of himself choose to follow God. Following the Lord requires
that we go against the flow/current of this world – a very narrow path.
This is discomforting to the flesh because it must now be denied worldly
acceptance, pleasures, cares and the comfort it seeks. The will of the flesh
must submit to the will of God. Had God not drawn us to Himself and
provided His Spirit, this would be an impossible task for man to fulfill. The
danger and deception occurs when we identify ourselves with God, but
then compromise and justify our actions such that we are flowing along
the broad stream of the world and are actually traveling opposite of God’s
will. We are no longer noticeable, because we are no longer going against
the current – we then become a part of the current (Ps 119:2-3). We
must understand Christ’s statement: John 10:27, “My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The true sheep hear and
they will follow. Jesus Christ always went against the current (see Chapter
Two or read the Gospels) and so will His sheep. This is not a leisure
journey and will require a denial of the will of the flesh – a taking up of
the cross (Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, 10:21, Lk 9:23). The flesh will never seek
the path of the cross. There will be suffering, trials, testing, and reproach,
which will require trust and obedience (faith). Fortunately those who
follow are not alone – His rod and staff comfort through this valley of the
shadow of death (Ps 23:4). Notice in the verse, Jesus “knows” us – we will
not be forsaken (Heb 13:5).

Worldliness

Because the world is fallen and man’s will is mostly manifested, man’s
works or desires (things of the world) are tainted with sin and rebellion (1
Jn 5:17, Is 40:17). Ephesians 2:2-3, “Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power
of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation (life) in times past in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and
were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Fallen man lives to
fulfill the lusts and desires of the flesh and the carnal mind. This is
displeasing and sinful to God and challenges His will. To walk in the course
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of this world is to be opposed to Christ. Many seek worldly temporal
things. They want to establish their place in this world and partake of all
its offerings. This is the emphasis of their life and in doing so the
motivation is self. Beware: that which may seem important now in the
days to come will be forgotten and then you will face the judgment (Eccl
2:16, 5:15-16). Then there are those who have set their affections on
heavenly things, which are not visibly manifested in this world, but are
eternal (Col 3:1-11). To obtain the heavenly one must sacrifice the
earthly. We are not to walk in the spirit of the world (1 Cor 2:12). The
former are referred to as cold (broad path, darkness) regarding Christ and
the latter as hot (narrow way, light). Finally there is a group that seeks to
be a combination of the two. They seek the flesh and things of the world,
but also identify themselves with Christ – they are religious in seeking
God their way rather than His way. These are the lukewarm (double
minded, deceived). Christ actually preferred that we be cold or hot. The
lukewarm bring dishonor to God in that they claim to represent Him, but
live in a manner that opposes Him (Ez 20:39). They wrongfully represent
Him to the world. They want to be as the heathen (Ez 20:32). They are
adulterers with the world (Js 4:4). When we are endeared to Christ, then
we will not desire to do those things, which oppose Him. The things of the
world appeal to our flesh nature – those things that oppose Christ. The
world wants us to be as it is. This is why the narrow path is narrow and
less traveled. To be on this path, one must overcome the world or those
things that oppose Christ (1 Jn 5:4). Are you willing to suffer reproach for
Christ’s namesake?

Through his free-will man has established nations, cultures, governments,


education, religions, currencies, measures, entertainments, etc. in order
to fulfill the lusts and desires of his will. God does influence many things
and His glory fills the earth (and is in control), but much is also allowed to
be freely developed out of man’s rebellious knowledge and will (Is
6:3).The whole world lies in wickedness (1 Jn 5:19). God’s children are
not to live for the flesh or man’s will, but for God’s will (1 Jn 5:19-20). We
abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Pt 2:11). 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the
world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of
the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust
thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” These
scriptures are clear; to love worldly things is to oppose God and not even
know Him. Since we are pilgrims sojourning in this world, we do not seek
the things of the world. We have been reconciled to the Father through
Christ and now live for His will exclusively. In other words we have left the
broad path and are now on the narrow. We do not live in the flesh to the
lusts of men, but to the will of God – for we shall one day give account (1
Pt 4:2, 5). We must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust
and not live by the principles (rudiments) of the world (2 Pt 1:3-8, Col
2:20). This will not be accomplished through a list of thousands of do’s

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and don’ts, but through a changed heart and loving faith in God as led by
His Spirit. The Spirit will specifically lead (virtue, godliness, self control,
love), and in all cases it will be toward righteousness and holiness.
Romans 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not
provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” The will of the Father is
that we be delivered from this present evil world through Jesus Christ (Gal
1:4). Christ will do nothing for you as long as you love the world and it’s
pollutions and entanglements.

So believers must not love or take enjoyment in the things the world
seeks after. This is equated to following the ways of Balaam (mixing the
things of God with the world, 2 Pt 2:15) and is grievous (2 Pt 2:15-16).
Balaam advised that God’s people could not be conquered unless they
could be corrupted with evil such that God would turn against them (2 Pt
2:18). Examples are numerous such as money, jewelry, possessions,
entertainments, power, control, etc. This is being allured through the lusts
of the flesh – through much wantonness (depravity, debauchery,
immorality, unrestraint, shamelessness, 2 Pt 2:18). Proverb 27:20, “Hell
and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. We
may require some things in the world to live, but these are not to be our
desire, nor are we to put hope, trust, and undue attention in them. Our
hearts are to be on God and He is to rule and reign over every area of our
lives. We are told to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (Js 1:27).
We are in this world, but not of this world, so we must walk in a way that
pleases God and is an example to the ungodly (Jn 15:19, 17:16). Because
we are in this world, we have certain needs such as food, clothing, and
shelter. We also work to provide for these things. However much of what
the world has to offer, a follower should not be joined to. God knows what
we have need of and we are to live simply, in moderation, and be content
with those things that we have (Mt 6:8, Heb 13:5, Php 4:5). 1 Timothy
6:6-8, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And
having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Much of what the
world desires and man has developed such as television, movies, popular
music (rock, country, rap, etc.), magazines, newspapers, video games,
books, man’s knowledge, internet sites, alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.
are in great contradiction to the Word of God. Romans 8:8, “So then they
that are in the flesh cannot please God.” These things are what the
scriptures refer to as the “pollutions of the world” and followers are not to
become entangled in them (2 Pt 2:20, Pv 22:3). These things will become
bondages and men will be overcome by them (2 Pt 2:19). These things
are stumblingblocks. I’m sure the flesh is now becoming offended at many
of the things written here. When the flesh is threatened or denied it lashes
out. 1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” The
flesh (man’s will) does not want to be overcome, but if its not then there
will be no reconciliation with God. To live in one’s own will is rebellion
against God and subject to due penalties (Job 21:30). We live in a time

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when many are concerned (overcome) with the enjoyments of this world
and it’s cares and are overtaken in the evil thereof as caught suddenly in
a snare (Lk 21:34-35).

We live in a fast pace society where most feel they must be constantly
entertained. The world caters to this desire with all sorts of activities such
as television, music, books, newspapers, magazines, computers/internet,
video games, movie theaters, theme parks, events, careers, sports and
hobbies. These things are designed to draw your attention away from
God, impart a message and stay in your thoughts and conversation
throughout the day. In almost all cases the messages are worldly, man-
centered and contradictory to God’s Word. Consequently these are the
things people will think about and meditate on through the day. These are
the things that go into one’s heart and form the basis of who they are.
Since these things are contrary to God and His purposes, those who do
them will be also. We must zealously guard what goes into our hearts (Mt
15:18, 2 Pt 2:8) – we keep ourselves (1 Jn 5:18)! An example might be a
newspaper or television news story designed to get everybody’s attention.
These stories are always worldly with a humanistic message and will be a
topic of conversation for most throughout the day. When one story gets
old, it will quickly be replaced with another in a never ending fashion.
These are the things man thinks are important. Man is by and large self
seeking and rebellious toward God. When one truly becomes converted in
heart and purpose, one will see all these things of man for what they are
(unnecessary) and redeem the time for God since the days are evil (Eph
5:16, Col 4:5). We do not have time to dally (waste time): 2 Timothy 2:4,
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that
he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Rarely will one find quiet places in society with no distractions. A good
example would be what one encounters in a discount store these days.
There will be loud rock and roll music playing that is only interrupted by
hanging television sets all over the store. The atmosphere is busy with all
sorts of things to draw your thoughts and attention. Everything is
orchestrated to grab our attention and influence our minds. The point is
that for most, God will not be in their thoughts, just a desire to fulfill the
flesh (Ps 10:4). Perhaps there are some who like to enjoy a meal in a
restaurant without having loud rebellious rock and roll music playing or a
television suspended in the corner. We must guard what goes into our
hearts – do we even consider such? Does the sin which abounds grieve
us? For most, there is no time and maybe no desire, to sit down and read
God’s Word or pray quietly or without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). These
things should grieve our heart – do they? If this sounds extreme to you, it
may just show where your heart is.

Those who seek the things of the world should heed the advice and
conclusions of the wisest man who had the resources to seek all his fleshly
desires. Ecclesiastes 1:2, 13-14, 16-17, 2:10-11, “Vanity of vanities, saith

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the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. And I gave my heart to seek
and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under
heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be
exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the
sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. I communed with
mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten
more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea,
my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my
heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that
this also is vexation of spirit. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not
from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in
all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on
all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had
laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and
there was no profit under the sun.” Solomon did it all; he built works, had
bodily pleasures, planted vineyards, gardens and orchards, and had
servants, entertainment and great wealth. None of this satisfied. Our only
peace will be found in God when we submit to Him in love and are
restored to His purposes. Your joy will never be found in fleshly pleasures
or pursuits; this will only lead to dissatisfaction, unfulfillment and
continual never ending pursuit of fleeting contentment, eventually
resulting in physical and eternal death.

The seeds

In Jesus’ parable of the seeds, one of the groups of lost individuals were
those overtaken by the world. This particular group was described as:
Luke 8:14, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they
have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures
of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” Seeking pleasures and riches
is serving self and not God. Many will say, “You have to live in this world.”
Those who put undue emphasis on the “cares” (needful things) also
brought no fruit to perfection (Lk 21:34). Unfruitful branches are taken
away from the vine (Christ), wither and are gathered and thrown into the
fire (Jn 15:1-10). Luke 13:6-9, “He spake also this parable; A certain man
had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit
thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard,
Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find
none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said
unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung
it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it
down.” The Lord is patient, but does eventually expect results. What did
Jesus say about those who seek the riches of this life? Mark 10:23-24,
“And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly
shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the
disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and
saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to

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enter into the kingdom of God!” Notice that they “trust” in riches – this is
what the rich do. Twice repeated is emphasis and should be heeded.
Those that seek pleasure, seek self and not God (Mt 10:39, Jn 12:25).
Your fruit or lack thereof will betray your heart. Let us be careful that we
do not become enemies of the cross of Christ and mind earthly things
(Php 3:18-19).

A Friend of the World

Adulterers and adulteresses are those who make a commitment and


marry one (Christ), but lust and have eyes for others (old man, world,
flesh, self). James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that
the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will
be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” This is why self must die!
The flesh wants to do that which is contrary to the will of God. These are
spiritual paramours (one in an adulterous relationship). It wants to do
what is right in your own eyes – do what makes you feel good (Pv 12:15,
Deut 12:8). After an adulterer partakes of worldy pleasures, they feel they
have done no evil – they justify their actions. Proverbs 30:20, “Such is the
way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and
saith, I have done no wickedness.” This is the condemnation were their
can be no mercy: they do not acknowledge their evil or turn from it.
Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Jesus said it plainly:
Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the
one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the
other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” A double-minded man is
unstable in all his ways (Js 1:8). You cannot live for this world and serve
God also; you become an enemy of God aligned with a rebellious fallen
world. James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-
minded.” You will either yield to the world/self or Jesus, but not both.
Romans 6:16, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to
obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or
of obedience unto righteousness?”

Paradox?

There are what appear to be many paradoxes in scripture that are really
fine lines between God’s will and man’s interpretation or understanding
this truth. Often these paradoxes are twisted inaccurately. God has placed
followers to be lights/salt in this world to represent Him and be a witness
(Mt 5:13-16). Christ walked openly in the world and we are to follow His
example. Even though Christ walked publicly, He remained pure. We live
in a fallen world and are now in a particularly sinful time at the end of the
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age (as in the days of Noah). We are to live righteously in the midst, but
not become hermits in some wilderness cave. This can become a difficult
task (not to become tainted) and we must have discernment to know
good and evil (Heb 5:14). We must stay close to God through His Spirit
and Word. As we live righteously and do not seek or participate in the
things of the flesh, we actually isolate ourselves from most. When we do
not participate in worldly things many will interpret this as an affront
against themselves. We will at times be persecuted and men will separate
from our company due to our witness. Followers of Christ must be careful
not to become self righteous (Lk 18:11-12, Rm 12:3). Often you will be
asked why you do not do certain things. If you respond that it is because
you follow Christ, many of those asking the question will say, “I do to.”
Our actions will tell the real story. We will always seem this way (holier
than thou) to those who are convicted by our lives. We must constantly
examine our hearts before God and make sure that we have love (charity)
for others, placing them above ourselves, desiring only the best and never
looking down upon them (Php 2:3). You must not desire evil (witchcraft)
for any man. Christ came to deliver and save and we are to follow His
example.

Kiss the Calf - Everybody’s doing it!

Most will follow the world and all that is popular with the justification that,
“Everybody is doing it.” 2 Corinthians 10:12, “For we dare not make
ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend
themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and
comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Our only rule of
measure should be the Word of God. God’s Word is truth, its eternal and
we will be judged by it (Ps 96:13, Jn 12:48, Is 40:8). The world does not
seek the things of God, nor does it know or even understand them (Job
21:14-15). He who plots his course by majority actions will be sorely
disappointed. Beware of peer pressure. “Everybody’s doing it” is merely a
justification to compromise and a sure way to become distaseful and
lukewarm. Those who compromise will “kiss the calves” in sacrifice to the
world rather than standing for Christ (1 Kg 19:18, Hos 13:2). They bow
down the knee to the image just like everybody else (Dan 3:7). Many will
walk after their own devices (maybe secretly), and do the imaginations of
their evil hearts (Jer 18:12, 2 Kgs 17:9-18). The Lord says: Jeremiah
13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then
may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” We must seek the
Lord for new life in Him (1 Kgs 19:18). Majorities have always sought to
subjugate (conquer, overcome, subdue, defeat) minorities. Pressure will
always be brought to bear to conform minorities to the majority norm.
Truly following Jesus will make you a minority in this world. Many religious
people seek a compromise with the majority to maintain place without
suffering reproach or tribulation. Many of these were tested and are now
found to be lacking. When you follow Christ, you conform to His image by

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dying to yourself through self-denial and sacrifice - Psalm 4:5, “Offer the
sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” Israel
constantly rejected God for their idolatry, yet never departed from the
sins of Jeroboam (he instituted the worship of the golden calves), they
always had a kiss for the golden calf (2 Kgs 17:22, 34-41). Who should
we kiss? Psalm 2:12, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from
the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that
put their trust in him.” Israel rejected God and God removed them from
His sight (2 Kgs 17:23). So it will be with all who reject God. Who will
stand as a light (witness, example) in this “everybody’s doing it world?”
These are the very ones that God is seeking to be with Him eternally.

Well….I’m not a bad person! God is totally righteous and Holy and you
cannot even comprehend such (Ps 145:17). You may not think yourself
bad compared to those around you in this “relative” world that man has
devised, but rest assured you are filthy, soiled and detestable when
compared with the heavenly (Job 15:15-16). God says that one lie will
send you to hell for an eternity (Pv 6:16-17, Rev 21:8). We must fall upon
God’s mercy. However, until you see your sinfulness and wickedness and
repent, there can be no mercy – only judgment. Psalm 147:11, “The
LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him (want to know and perform
His will), in those that hope in his mercy.” Living (applying, doing) our
faith in God through Christ as led by the Spirit secures mercy. This is the
basic question: Jeremiah 23:18, “For who hath stood in the counsel of the
LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his
word, and heard it?” – Live the Word! Mercy leads to grace, which is the
God given ability to walk in His direction.

When considering the evil/wicked things people do/follow/conform-to that


seem so innocent - many will say: well I don’t really think of - the thing in
question - like that; or that’s not what I intend for it to mean; this is so
innocent, its fun, fun, fun and we all know its not real. Everybody has
one: opinions, sentiment, speculation, persuasion, belief, perspective, and
conjecture – just what is truth (Jn Jn 12:48, 18:38)? Perhaps sentiment
best describes the reasoning of many folks. Sentiment is your belief of
what seems true, valid or probable mixed with feelings and emotion.
Which is the greater reality (quality or state of being actual or true,
substantial and substanative): 1) What you say? or 2) what you think? or
3) what you do? Often these are not in agreement in a person’s life. They
are all important and form who you are. What takes precedence (in rank)?
God says the greater reality is one’s actions – what they do (Is 29:13, Mt
15:8, Mk 7:6). Many will say one thing and do another! God will judge all
according to their works (ways/doings, see Chapter Seven, “Conclusion,”
for a list of scriptures). However, wicked thoughts and words will not
escape notice either (Heb 4:12). Speech and thought (one or both) are an
ultimate part of actions. Actions are superior to words and thoughts.
Speech could be an action, but when in conflict with a deed, the deed will
outweigh (say and not do, Mt 21:28-31). Are your words

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confirmed/justified by your actions (i.e. living your profession daily, live
by example)? So! Everybodys doing it – best make sure of what you are
doing. One should carefully examine one’s heart to determine if their
sentiment overules the truth – sentiment exalted above the throne of
God.

Consider Gideon

The children of Israel had done evil and God had forsaken them to their
enemies the Midianites (Judges 6:1). God sent a prophet with a message
for Israel to forsake their idolatry and turn back to God, but the prophet
was ignored (Judges 6:7-10, Neh 9:30, 35). God sent an angel to speak
with Gideon. Gideon could not understand why God had forsaken Israel,
yet he was blind to his own idolatry (Judges 6:13, Neh 9:28). Gideon’s
father had an altar to Baal and a grove beside it. The men of the town
worshipped there. Gideon was ignorant of God’s Word or he would have
surely known how displeasing this idolatry was to God. Israel was living
under God’s curses (Deuteronomy chapters 28 & 30) due to their own
idolatry, yet they refused to accept they were doing anything wrong. God
could not use Gideon until he forsook his idolatry and became obedient to
the Lord. Gideon was required to throw down his father’s alter and cut
down his grove (Judges 6:25). Obeying God’s direction immediately made
Gideon very unpopular with the men of the town and they wanted to kill
him (Judges 6:28-30). Through Gideon’s humble obedience and forsaking
of his idolatry, God exalted him to deliver Israel from their enemies. Most
people today are blind to their own idolatry and much of this comes from
ignorance of God’s Word. These may attend religious services often, but
how many read, understand and apply God’s Word to their lives daily?
Until we truly seek God we will also be dumb and blind to our own
idolatry. Once you become aware of your idolatry, you must then decide
to willingly forsake it rather than justify it. Before you think that you have
no idolatry in your life, you may want to consider some of the examples in
this book. Consider now the tremendous idol of the modern generation…

A Tremendous Idol

When one examines the scripture, there is no doubt that God wants our
attention focused upon Him. It is also evident that the things of this world
are designed to take our attention off of God and place it upon the things
of man or self, as greatly influenced by the devil. This was the tactic used
by Satan in Eden. The things of the world are designed to appeal to lusts
and to constantly tempt. Most “professed Christians” will at least concede
that in scriptural theory, that we are not to live as the world depending on
how “world” is defined. The problem arises when one takes God’s

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command and actually applies it to one’s life. The flesh will immediately
rise up and justify itself and its actions. This is the nature that is in
rebellion against God’s purposes. This is the fallen nature that must be put
to death. A true believer will be guided by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word
and the two will be in agreement. With this in mind, let us examine a
worldly example that is commonly and frequently indulged in by most.
Those who love not the truth are the same ones that justify the darkness
and are oblivious to their actions (or complacent) and will probably be
offended by the light having exposed this darkness.

There is a much cherished and revered item in almost every home in this
country. Many will spend hours a day bowing down and worshipping it.
Some begin and end their day paying homage. This item has such a hold
on people that it may be one of the worst addictions possible. This idol will
captivate (enthrall, hypnotize, mesmerize, fascinate, and enchant),
entertain, pacify, and teach. Its message is always one-sided and no
dialog is permitted. Parents will allow it to teach and instruct their children
in ideas that are contrary to their own deep held beliefs. Many will
experience the whole range of human emotions while serving it. No one
has to have this item, yet most cannot (I dare say, will not), imagine life
without it. Some will build special temples (rooms) for it or purchase one
that is big enough to encompass the whole room. Most will defensively
say, “Everybody does it.” What is this idol you might inquire? It is the
television set.

Many will now rise up in protest and say that they are most certainly not
addicted to it (1 Jn 1:6). Well I challenge you. Unplug the television,
remove it from your home and stop paying for cable service and we shall
see. Words are easy, but actions are convincing. These will respond, I
could, but I just don’t want to, I enjoy watching it and see nothing wrong
with it (we have to live in this world). Oh really, read on.

There is no dispute that television programming is full of graphic violence,


sex (and now homosexuality), adult situations, bad language, glorified
drug and alcohol abuse, course jesting, witchcraft/occult, etc. Every sin
that one can imagine is portrayed in an entertaining way – AS SEEN ON
TV! Every temptation one could conceive of is paraded before your eyes
and you willingly subject yourself to this. Romans 13:14, “But put ye on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the
lusts thereof.” Recall from Chapter One that Satan places objects of lusts
before our eyes. The devil’s desire is that we think upon and chase after
such things. This is how he overcomes man. For every abomination to the
Lord, which He hateth, has been brought before your eyes for your
pleasure (Deut 12:31). So how do you suppose the television
programming fits into this? Be honest with yourself. Should we have a
television in our home? Deuteronomy 7:26, “Neither shalt thou bring an
abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou
shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed

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thing.” It’s hard to believe, but most “professed Christians” (so-called)
view as a source of entertainment (enjoyment), the very sins that nailed
Jesus Christ to the cross. These same ones claim to know Him! No wonder
Jesus said that many would call him “Lord” and yet not enter into heaven
(Matthew 7:21-23). None of these will be able to tell God they “struggle”
with lust and they try not to lust but cannot help it – Not when they sit in
front of the TV. How foolish to watch lustful things and then think you
struggle with sin in your life. Hebrews 12:4, “Ye have not yet resisted
unto blood, striving against sin.” The TV will fill your heart full of all
manner of evil and wickedness to the extent that victory over sin in your
life will be impossible. Worse it will be an indicator that you have no desire
for victory over sin in your life – your passions give your heart away. Is
this not a continual mocking of God and a denial of all that is sacred? We
will justify what we choose not to overcome! We must understand: 2
Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with
idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will
dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be
my people.” Is the temple being filled with filth and evil? Do you find
agreement with the television idol? When God looks at your heart, what
will He find therein (1 Kg 8:39)? How will this manifest in your outward
actions? God takes no pleasure in wickedness and neither should we -
Psalm 5:4, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:
neither shall evil dwell with thee.” We must be separate and come out
from such wickedness and not touch unclean things (v. 17). We must
cleanse our temples of filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor 7:1).

The television is a destroyer of souls. King David (Beloved of God) once


said, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes” (Ps 101:3). What about
those who do? Those who change the truth of God into a lie (as constantly
taught on TV), and worshipped and served the creature (things of man)
more than the Creator are given over to all manner of sins leading to
death (Rm 1:25-31) and love not the truth (2 Thess 2:10, Rm 1:18).
Romans 1:32, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which
commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have
pleasure in them that do them.” Followers of Christ do not partake of
other men’s sins nor take pleasure in them, but rather keep ourselves
pure (1 Tm 5:22). Those who believe God’s truth are purifying themselves
and being led of His Spirit in paths of righteousness and holiness (Ti 2:14,
1 Pt 1:22, Js 4:8, Rm 8:14, 1 Jn 3:3). Followers set the Lord before them
always (Ps 16:8). They are living their faith every day and this faith
purifies the heart. Acts 15:9, “…purifying their hearts by faith.” What
about those who are seeking the flesh? 2 Thessalonians 2:12, “That they
all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness.” There is no doubt that enjoying (being entertained by)
acts of sin AS SEEN ON TV (or anywhere else) is having “pleasure in
unrighteousness.” Those who absorb the constant stream of ungodly
programming are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Tm 3:4).
If we think about (desire) doing certain sinful things then we are equally

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as guilty as if we had actually done them (Mt 5:27-30). God is looking at
our hearts and He will try them (Ps 7:9, Jer 17:10, 20:12, 1 Thess 2:4).
We are to put aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and seek
God’s Word to the extent that we are doers and not hearers only (Js 1:21-
22). Thoughts become actions, hearts are darkened, imaginations become
vain (Rm 1:21)! The carnal mind serves the flesh (Rm 8:5-8). When
viewing television, your mind and your thoughts are constantly put upon
secular worldly (sinful) things of the flesh and not God. In addition to
taking pleasure in unrighteousness, many temptations will be implanted in
your mind and grow to produce additional sin, all of which leads to death.

Ezekiel 8:9-10, “And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked
abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every
form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the
house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.” The similar
message for today is: behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
So I turned on the television and saw every form of wickedness, violence
and idolatry portrayed upon the screen from the imagination (acting,
special effects, etc.) of rebellious man. I focused my attention and became
one with it.

To live in God’s truth (Word) is to abhor (avoid at all cost) any evil and
wickedness (Eph 5:11, Pv 3:7, 8:13, 16:17, 22:3). Psalm 119:101, “I
have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.”
One cannot possibly expect to keep God’s Word if one intentionally
exposes oneself to evil. Perhaps keeping God’s Word is not a foremost
conscious action with many who “profess,” but do not follow Christ. Those
that seek the Spirit apply the Word and those that seek the flesh don’t.
Psalm 141:4, “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked
works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.”
The world says “come,” partake of my pleasures – be entertained and
filled with laughter. Eat, drink and fill your heart with merriment – let your
flesh be at ease and cast the hours away. God says: “Come out” from
among them and be ye separate, touch not the evil thing (2 Cor 6:17).
One day you will wish you had the hours back! A choice must be made –
whom will you serve? Who will lead, guide and teach you? Who will hold
your thoughts and devotion? We must not be filled with the world’s
wickedness as continually spewed forth from the television. Warning: all
televised programming is not suitable for any age, any time. The wicked
do not abhor that which is evil (Ps 36:1-4) – this is an indicator.

The television must surely be the devil’s inspired invention. This one
device constantly takes man’s focus off of God and places it upon the
things of the world and man. Man’s attention is shifted to self and all
manner of things that exalt themselves to oppose God. Consider this: a
popular movie that reflects sinful and rebellious behavior/ideas could
literally be viewed by millions of people at one time. Millions of hearts
could be dwelling on the same sinful and fleshly thoughts at the same

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time. Many will later discuss their enjoyment of such things with others.
Oh how this must grieve God! Oh how this must be accomplishing the
devil’s purposes! The fact is that the television is being used for values
clarification (redefines). The whole world is becoming one in thought and
deed. Consider the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9): man intended to reach
God his way, man intended to exalt himself, and man was making a
statement to God concerning the recent flood judgment (he would rise
above). God said: “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one
language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained
from them, which they have imagined to do.” The television
(programming) is making this nation (and the world) one in thought and
purpose. Six is the biblical number of man because he was created on the
sixth day. Thrice six (666) is the ultimate in man exalting himself. We are
on the verge of this and the devil will send his son, the antichrist, to lead.

Take heed what was told an audience of “believers” in scripture (Similar


list in Rm 1:24-32): 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of
God.” This is our warning! We are further told in the same chapter that: 1
Corinthians 6:15-17, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of
Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the
members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is
joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But
he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” The harlot is worldliness and
all manner of idolatry and sinfulness. When you take pleasure in
unrighteousness you join yourself with the harlot and become one with it
in opposing all that is of Christ. This is the spirit of the antichrist. So, we
are one in Spirit with Christ or one in spirit with the Harlot. Choose whom
you will serve. A harlot speaking words of love is shallow because her
actions reveal the opposite. Many will have a form of godliness (maybe a
profession of Christ), but are lovers of their own selves (2 Tm 3:1-5).
Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in
unrighteousness.” When you have eyes full of adultery (eyes for other
than Christ), you cannot cease from sin; and follow doctrines of Balaam
desiring the lusts of the flesh (2 Pt 2:14-16, 18). What a perfect example
of spiritual adultery (idolatry) the television is (Habak 2:19). The idols of
old were wood, stone and metal. They couldn’t speak. The idol of today
speaks all manner of abomination to an attentive and eager audience –
what a hold it has! Do not presume this to be innocent before God!

Now many will say at this point that they do not watch the bad stuff, only
the wholesome entertainment. The problem is that there is no wholesome
secular entertainment on television. The whole premise of acting is to
present yourself to an audience as something you are not - to pretend and

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convince of an untruth (deception). The audience is made voyers into lives
or situations of others to be taught a humanistic message. Some will say,
“I only watch the discovery channel.” This channel teaches evolution and
vast geological ages in contradiction to God’s Word. It teaches the worship
of the creation rather than the creator. This will be discussed in a later
chapter. How about the man-centered History channel? This is what man
deems important as edited by man and popular opinion. Even the
commercials on TV are evil. They are advertising which is nothing more
than witchcraft. Advertisers spend millions of dollars to manipulate you
into buying a product that you wouldn’t necessarily buy. They also want to
bury the thought of their product in your mind (hypnotism) and to entice
you into lusts and covetousness (Heb 13:5, Ps 119:36). Covetousness is
idolatry (Col 3:5). Advertisers must fixate your attention on their product
in a short moment of time by appealing to your inner lusts such that the
enticement will remain long after the appeal and result in a later action.
This is serious manipulation! Recall from Chapter One, Satan’s process of
enticement: temptation, lust or desire, capitulation, and action. Due to the
amount of money that is spent on advertising, you can be sure they are
getting a return. They create factitious (needs created by advertising)
lusts! When you willfully watch such things you are exposing yourself to
seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tm 4:1). These commercials
are the sorceries of the merchant men of the earth (Rev 18:23). Some will
contend and say there are some good things on TV such as the preachers.
One only has to listen to their message in light of God’s Word to realize
that they are presenting damnable heresies, making merchandise of you
(2 Pt 2:1-3), and are lover’s of money (2 Tm 6:10, 1 Pt 5:2). Their
messages must be popular (sugar coated) to maintain audience and
receive the much coveted donations and offerings (Ti 1:11). False
prophets are always popular with the people and likeable. Their messages
appeal to your flesh and do not deny it.

Most people fit in with “Popular Culture.” This is defined as having values
that come from advertising, the media, and icons of style as targeted to
ordinary people in society. Where do your values come from? Those who
develop television programming, newsprint and movies want to shape you
(conform you) to their image. In many cases, they have succeeded. Who
will prevail in this battle – the flesh or the Spirit? Many who “profess
Christ” may find in an honest self-examination that their daily lives reflect
popular culture more than the Jesus described in the Bible (must read to
know). To live “popular culture” is to conform to the world. Popular culture
is defined on the television in a mass appeal to the lusts of an impatient
audience. In the American pop-culture driven society, you may find that
those who profess Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism,
Judaism, etc. have much more in common as far as how they live their
daily lives (thoughts, desires, entertainments, American dream – the
ideal, etc.) than you may realize (a melted pot of compromise and wrong
ideals – see Chapter Four, What Does Man Teach Us?). Much of this is
defined, portrayed and propagated by television. You may say that your

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core beliefs are different than these religions, but how are these lived out
or outwardly expressed in your life? What is your witness? The author
asks you, “professed” Christian – How is your hope and faith made
manifest in your daily actions? No doubt most could talk for hours about
television shows, movies, characters and actors. Could these same ones
discuss with any depth and detail eternal things of God’s Word?

Even if television programming was completely neutral or you just sat in


front of an empty box it would at a minimum be a tremendous waster of
time and as such an idol put before God. We are to redeem the time
because the days are evil (Eph 5:16). Would the Bible be read? Would the
prayers be offered? Can you imagine standing before God and realizing all
the time you sat in front of a little box – not to mention willingly filling
your mind with all that opposes Christ? This exposes your true heart! How
does your television time compare to your Bible reading time? Which one
is of eternal value? How much do you pray verses watch television? Which
truly receives more honor – God or TV?

Consider the following scriptures before you next view the television: 2
Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The television programming is
designed to keep our thoughts on things of man (take captive) and off of
Christ. Everything shown on TV exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
True knowledge of God seeks and performs His will (Ps 128:1). Some
have no knowledge because their hearts are elsewhere (Hos 4:6). Your
thoughts are captive to the obedience of the world, not Christ (Ps
119:97). Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things, are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on
these things.” Very few (most likely none) programs would meet the
qualifications of this verse. 1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves
from idols. Amen.”

Many have noted how evil television programming has become and have
made comments to suggest that if it gets any worse they will have to stop
watching it. Well it continually gets worse, inhibitions are lowered, evil
becomes more acceptable and the day to remove it never seems to come
for most. Has the programming ever become more moral or godly? If it
were, would God desire you to sit in front of a box all day? A religious man
once told me about how awful television programming had become. I told
him that he should turn the television off and take it out of his home. He
became quiet and quickly dropped the subject. He was willing to
acknowledge the darkness (evil), but that was the extent. This is why
some do not approach the light (Jn 3:20) and that’s the condemnation (Jn
3:19). Christ once told the Pharisees: John 9:41, “Jesus said unto them, If
ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore

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your sin remaineth.” In other words if you are ignorant about a sin,
perhaps you could plead innocence. If you have knowledge of God’s truth,
yet ignor it or if you see your sin (have knowledge of it) and ignore it (or
justify), then you are definitely guilty. You no longer have a cloak for your
sin (Jn 15:22). James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good,
and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

Many fill their lives with all sorts of distractions. These preoccupations
take away from the really eternally important things such as prayer, bible
study and family altars. The sad thing and an indictment is that many
families feel uncomfortable studying and discussing God’s Word together
or they just don’t know how. Perhaps it’s to convicting of their desired
actions. Many may also feel awkward praying for any length of time.
However, these same individuals could possibly talk for hours about a
sports event, news item or popular movie. Many need to relearn and
develop new ways of doing things. People naturally do not like change and
the flesh will fight this. Developing a new life is awkward at first, and
maybe uncomfortable, but then soon replaces the old life as the norm. We
must all rebuild on a sure foundation (1 Cor 3:11). In any case this will
not happen until your heart changes toward God. You must cry out in
repentance and allow God to convert you as only He can do.

Parents and grandparents who “profess Christ,” how can you allow your
precious little ones to be subjected to and taught by such evil? Even the
Disney tapes have been occultic since the early days with sorcerers,
fairies, witches, etc. Disney goes by the term, “Magic Kingdom.”
Scriptures have always revealed magicians and their enchantments as
opposing God and associated them with sorcerers, soothsayers, Chaldeans
and astrologers (Dan 2:2, 27, 4:7, 9, 5:11). Pharaoh’s Magicians
withstood Moses with their enchantments in the book of Exodus, chapters
seven and eight. Examples of occult in Disney would be Bedknobs and
Broomsticks, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,
Cinderella, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Fantasia. No matter how you
glamorize witchcraft, it is still an abomination to God and challengers His
purposes (Ex 22:18, Lev 19:31, 20:6, Deut 18:10-13). The symbol of
Disney – Mickey Mouse, is often depicted in a sorcerers outfit with a magic
wand. Scriptures reveal that sorcerers are a great abomination with God –
a serious evil. So why do most view this as so innocent? – where does
your heart align, with God or the world? God has some grave things to say
concerning sorcerers in the book of Revelation (21:8, 22:15). The movies
absolutely have messages that are rebellious to God’s truth and seek to
teach worldly values. You can take your children to religious services and
send them to religious schools all you want, but the television and your
actions will probably become the real teachers.

So, is television really a serious issue? Jesus said, Mark 9:47-48, “And if
thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the
kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell

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fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (fire that
shall never be quenched, Mk 9:43-46, the worm – Is 66:24).” What do
you suppose Jesus was talking about? Jesus was saying that this issue of
sin and worldliness is so serious that you should go to whatever extreme
you have to in order to stop it. Hell is unimaginably bad! Christ was not
kidding, but was strongly emphasizing the effects of exposing your heart
to evil. Jesus repeats this statement, concerning the eye offending, twice
in the book of Matthew (Mt 5:29 and 18:9) – this means “pay attention” -
he that hath ears to hear. Do you always set the Lord before you (Ps
16:8)? When considering your relationship with Christ and the love of the
things of the world, you should ponder the question Jesus asked: Luke
6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I
say?” Having read how Jesus walked when He was on the earth, surely
one cannot imagine Christ in a recliner in front of the television (WWJD?).
Jesus would never have taken pleasure in sin, loved the things of the
world, or entertained Himself. Why do you suppose that He would have
you do such? Those who would say Christ did what He did so we would not
have to, have basically turned the grace of God into lasciviousness and
made Christ the minister of sin (Jude 1:4, Gal 2:17). You are saying that
rather than deliver you from sin; Jesus came to allow you to do sin. This is
evil and blasphemous. This is saying that God, who would not overlook or
excuse sin, sent His only Son to justify sin. Where is the reconciliation in
that? This presumption would have God conceding to the will of man and
ultimately to that of Satan. The fact is that Jesus is the firstborn of many
brethren (Rm 8:29). Brethren are those who resemble each other. You
could never overcome on your own, but you sure can through Jesus
Christ. Jesus says that you must be an overcomer (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26,
3:5, 12, 21, 21:7, 1 Jn 5:4). Why would Christ have us overcome if He
had overcome for us?

Our eyes must be on Jesus. Luke 11:34-36,“The light of the body is the
eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light;
but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed
therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body
therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of
light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” Having
a single eye means that you are focused on Christ and not Christ and the
world. To look upon and enjoy darkness is to be filled with such. You
cannot claim to love Christ and then enjoy those things that oppose Him.
Your actions always become your choices – conscious or not.

Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose
you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers
served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the
Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will
serve the LORD.” The question is whom will you serve? The gods of this
land as paraded across the television screen every night. These are gods
of money, sensual pleasure, lusts, covetousness, violence, entertainment,

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self, and all manner of evil. One day you will stand before the one true
God. The countless hours of wasted time taking pleasure in evil will surely
be noted. How will you respond? Did you love God enough to seek Him
everyday? Was He the passion of your heart? Did you ever take the time
to read through His Word? Jesus said: Matthew 12:37, “For by thy words
thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” How
much more by the thoughts and intents of the heart? 1 Corinthians 10:14,
“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.”

Many a conservative (patriotic?) religious man has taken issue with the
liberal news media. These constantly talk about how the media is liberal or
anti-Christian. They tell of their secret agendas or political leanings. The
odd thing is that these same ones depend upon the liberal news media for
all their information. The entire world’s news media is talking about the
same things – worldly things. Conservative or liberal, makes no
difference, there is only one needful thing and that is the Word of God.
The wise will understand and remove themselves from the things of the
world. Your mind will either be on the things of the world or the things of
God. There will always be worldly stories and issues designed to captivate
you and put your mind upon them – a little for the conservative and a
little for the liberal. If you really want to know the truth, both conservative
and liberal are headed in the same direction (the wrong one) - not in
rhetoric, but in actions. The news programs and talk shows usually pit one
group against another (political, ideological or special interest). This
produces bitterness and hatred – even from the conservative religious
folk.

Most will take issue with what has been said in these paragraphs because
the Lord’s conviction will now force a decision – for the inhabitants of the
earth have been made drunk (have lost their inhibitions, senses have
dulled) with such fornication (Rev 17:2). Most will choose to continue in
the darkness, but justification will now need to be sought by those who
“profess Christ,” but love the darkness (Pv 1:7, 23-33). Can you honestly
stand before God and tell Him you are justified to do these things? If so,
what biblical text can you possibly base your opinion upon given the
Lord’s desire that we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of
darkness or pleasure in unrighteousness? Ultimately you will answer for
such things. Please consider this very carefully: Galatians 5:24, “And they
that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” The
author came to this point in realizing that although “religious,” I had loved
the darkness and not the light. A man once told me that he believed much
of the defeat in his life was due to the television. This shined light upon
my darkness. At first I considered the fact that the television had always
been there and was such a huge part of my life – how could it be
forsaken? It taught, comforted, pacified, informed, held my attention,
provided, and passed the hours away. In short, the television was seated
in the place of Christ; it was an idol, a god. Is it any different with you? I
may have been a bit reluctant at first, but the conviction remained (Ps

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119:59). When I look back, those were dark times in my life. The decision
was difficult because the darkness around me was great and the
stronghold was well established. Praise God for the freedom today – all
things are possible through Jesus Christ. My duty as a member of the
church (Ekklesia – body of Christ) is to exhort and admonish those who
profess Christ to walk therein. I therefore urge you to come to the light –
I plead with you. Please abstain (withdraw, go without, give up) from
fleshly lusts which war against your soul (1 Pt 2:11). Some will say that
they could not live without the television. What you are really saying is
that your life is found in television. Our lives are suppose to be found in
Christ (Col 3:4), not that which opposes Him. Woe! For those who will
profess love for Christ, but continue to have eyes for another (world)
courting/wooing it with their time, resources and devotion (idolatry) while
disregarding the evil and seeking its dainties (covet): Ephesians 5:5-7,
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor
covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of
Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of
these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Psalm 97:7, “Confounded be all
they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship
him, all ye gods.” There will be an accounting (Rm 14:12). Proverb 1:5, “A
wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of
understanding shall attain unto wise counsels (also Job 5:17, Pv 12:1,
17:10).” Proverb 9:9, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet
wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Removing
oneself from evil is very wise – he that has an ear! Proverbs 15:10,
“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that
hateth reproof shall die.”

It is worthwhile to note that this idol – known as television (that most


cannot do without) only came into being very recently in the history of
man. Television was not readily available to the public until the 1950’s. On
the timeline of man this is just a small blip at the end of the age,
characterized as in the time of Noah – when wickedness abounds. Those
who live in this last generation will be unique compared to those who
came before. When God looks at your life, how will this idol have
influenced it. Will you have been wise? The children of Israel had a very
difficult time parting with their idolatry (ex. worship of Baal and Ashtaroth
– the groves, Jdg 2:13, 3:7, 10:6, 1 Sam 12:10) and likewise the men of
today have a tremendously hard time parting with their idolatry (ex.
television). An honest question: The television and Bible disappear from
your home one day. Which will be first noticed as missing? Which one will
be missed (grieved or yearned for) the most? - be honest, consider
normal use.

A New Doctrine?

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The television topic was covered thoroughly because it is a perfect
modern day example of worldliness, idolatry and all manner of sinfulness
that most participate in with little thought that it may be wrong. Many will
attend religious services to worship God on one day and spend the rest of
the week in front of the television worshipping the world and never even
see the hypocrisy. 1 Corinthians 10:21, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the
Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table,
and of the table of devils.” So, am I trying to establish some new doctrine
that you must stop watching the television in order to be saved?
Absolutely not! This is just applying God’s Word to a modern day example.
Taking pleasure in unrighteousness is a huge indicator of an unconverted
heart. However, serving God out of fear or compulsion is no better and
does not correct the root problem. I will not establish a list of do’s and
don’ts because to change the outside, without having changed the inside
would be pointless and legalistic. Luke 11:39, “And the Lord said unto
him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the
platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.” Matthew
23:26, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and
platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” We must first be
converted and receive God’s nature whereby God writes His laws in our
hearts and minds (Heb 8:10-11 & 10:16). This is cleaning our inside. Our
attitude toward God must change. Then we serve and obey God due to
correct motives (attitudes), out of love and devotion. Having done this,
our outside will reflect our inside. Only God can truly change our hearts
and we must seek Him. Look at how the Holy Spirit changes us: Romans
12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The Spirit works on us to renew our
very nature (thoughts) to freely want to do what’s good and acceptable in
God’s will. We obey His laws (by the Spirit) because it is our desire to do
His will, but keeping the law is not our salvation – Jesus Christ is. We obey
out of love for Christ and due to our new nature in faith (Jn. 14:15). Our
obedience is demonstrated through our actions as convicted in our hearts.

If we just obey rules and laws with no change on the inside then we are
trusting in the rules and laws to save us and God will hold us accountable
to the letter. James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and
yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” We will also fail because it
would be in our own strength. The Word of God does not profit unless it is
mixed with faith in them that hear it (Heb 4:2). Galatians 3:11, “But that
no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The
just shall live by faith” (Also Heb 10:38). Abstaining from filth (what’s on
TV) will not save us (only faith in God), but our faith will lead us to abstain
from the filth - there is a difference (1 Pt 3:21-22). You cannot have a
heart for God and then desire to do what opposes Him. Amos 3:3, “Can
two walk together, except they be agreed?” Abstaining from TV or
anything else is to no avail if you do not understand the merit of why you
should and if you do not understand the wrongfulness and the bondage of

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sin you are under (1 Pt 3:21). Let us hold fast and not waiver in our faith
realizing that our faith will manifest itself in our deeds (Heb 10:23, Js
2:14, 17-26). This is one of the seeming paradoxes in scripture. So, if we
are truly converted in our hearts with a love for God, we will not desire
nor enjoy seeing all manner of sinfulness as depicted on television
because it opposes Him and we wish to bring glory and honor to our King.

When your heart (affections) is truly changed, you will serve God freely
and live righteously – you will delight in Him! There is peace and freedom
from all the imposed requirements and obligations of man (Mt 11:29-30).
You do not serve out of fear (hell), obligation, tradition, habit, peer
pressure, emotion or gain. When you have truly experienced God in your
life you do not seek to justify the minimum acceptable level of effort on
your part needed to receive or maintain salvation. You do not test the
envelope to see how far you can venture from the light into darkness and
yet still remain within the bounds of salvation. In other words you do not
use God’s provision of mercy and forgiveness (1 Jn 1:9) as a means of
compromise for living in the flesh. Many are wise to do evil, but to do
good they have no knowledge (Jer 4:22). The difference is that some will
look for loopholes while the true followers will live by the intent from the
heart. Things you once took no heed of now become unacceptable. As you
yield to the Holy Spirit, you become changed into Christ’s image. If you do
not yield you become stagnate or fall back. God allows us freewill;
otherwise love will not be the motivation or fruit. God operates within that
freewill. When we get out of line, God chastens us as a loving Father so
we will not be condemned with the world (1 Cor 11:32) and will be
partakers of His holiness and thus yielding the fruit of righteousness (Heb
12:5-11). Ultimately we will stand before God for acceptance or
condemnation (Mt 3:12, 12:36, 13:47-48 & 25:32-34, 41; Lk 3:17, Jude
1:15) – all judgment is given into the hand of the Son (Jn 5:22, Acts
10:42) who will judge righteously (Jn 5:30, 7:24 & 8:16, Rm 2:5, 2 Thess
1:5, Rv 16:7). Romans 14:12, “So then every one of us shall give account
of himself to God.” Jesus will make manifest the counsels of hearts (1 Cor
4:5). Beware: Luke 3:9, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the
trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn
down, and cast into the fire.”

Becoming a Hermit?

Having read thus far, many will assume that the author is proposing that
we all move into individual caves somewhere and live like monks. Nothing
could be farther from the truth. The author is proposing something more
difficult. We must consider what brings God glory. God placed each of us
in a world that is in rebellion to His will. God knows that we are in the
midst of such sin and revolt. Where is the glory in this? God receives glory
when we freely, lovingly and openly choose to serve Him in the midst of
those who do not. We become lights and witnesses (Mt 5:14-16).

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Consider how Job brought glory to God (Job, chapters 1 & 2). Also
consider Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Daniel, John the Baptist and
Jesus. There is no doubt that we will suffer reproach in standing up for
God and this reproach brings God glory. To suffer in the flesh, we must
deny the flesh (it’s glory and honor) and truly exercise our faith toward
God. We obey and live the truth of God’s Word for all to see. When we
choose God to our own demise, He receives glory. We are choosing Him
over the world and the things therein (including man’s opinions). You will
not fit in with the world because to do so you will have been overcome by
it. In other Words, your witness will cease as you become as that which
you should differ. Putting away the television idol will get you lots of
attention from those around you. This will be a bold and shocking
conviction to most and a testimony of your devotion to God and intention
to walk in His truth. Good or bad, this is a tremendous witness – your
life’s example. You will suffer reproach and hatred from a rebellious world
due to your stand for righteousness (Lk 6:22-23, 1 Jn 4:5). There are
other shocking (to most) examples to come in this book – it’s a narrow
path too rugged for the flesh.

Grieving Over Sinfulness

The world is full of evil, but many seem to have no discernment or worse,
have just become indifferent, participant or accepting of it? Ezekiel 9:2-
6, “And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which
lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand;
and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn
by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the
glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he
was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with
linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto
him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem,
and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for
all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others
he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let
not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both
maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the
ancient men which were before the house.” When you cease to grieve and
sigh over the evil that is done around you it is sure sign of tacit approval
and indifference – or participation (Jer 8:6, 12)! Are you ashamed? Do
you blush (Jer 8:12)? This is a heart that is far from God. Romans 3:18,
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Those that love the darkness
(or are indifferent to it – desensitized) will face an eternal death without
pity (Ez 7:4). The Lord hearkens to those who fear Him and think upon
Him (Mal 3:16). Notice that God said to begin with His sanctuary. How
many grieve over the sin that abounds (Ps 119:158)? Isaiah 5:18, “Woe

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unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a
cart rope.”

Let us consider Lot: 2 Peter 2:6-9, “And turning the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them
an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just
Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation (living) of the wicked: (For that
righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his
righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord
knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the
unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” Lot was greatly
disturbed by the evil around him. The others in the city were not disturbed
by the evil – and participated. Lot was delivered, the others were not –
even though they were given opportunity to repent. Much evil goes on
everyday all around us. Much of this is so common place that it is just
accepted. Have you become desensitized to all of it? Perhaps many are
apart of it when they should be grieving. The author has been referred to
as fanatical and extreme by “professed Christians” for pointing out much
of the subtil evil done all around. We must abstain, abhor, eschew,
refrain, depart, hate, cease, reprove and cleanse ourselves from all evil
(eph 5:11, 1 Pt 3:11, 1 Thess 5:22, Rm 12:9, Ps 37:27, 97:10, 119:101,
Pv 3:7, 8:13, 14:16, 16:17, Is 1:16, Amos 5:15, 2 Cor 7:1).

When you grieve and sigh over the sin, rebellion and self-seeking that are
manifested all around you, then you can begin to see the merit of Christ.
You run to Him because you realize how pure and undefiled He is –
blameless, totally righteous, holy and without fault – well pleasing (Rev
4:8-11, 5:12). You realize that Jesus is the ultimate fruition of the nature
that you now have. Jesus as a man was the perfect image of God and now
He is raised in absolute Majesty and power. He is just and marvelous and
totally worthy of all glory, power, authority and rule (1 Pt 5:11). Jesus has
a dominion that is totally encompassing and will never end (Eph 1:21, Col
1:16). Christ’s name is above all and deservedly so (Php 2:9). You run to
Him because you desire to be as He is and you seek deliverance from the
sin and evil around you – that which vexes you everyday. This world is
rebellious to God’s purposes and does not receive those who seek Him.
Jesus is where the peace and comfort are for those who will follow. For
those who take no pleasure in the darkness around them, Jesus is a bright
and shining light with an irresistible draw. For those who have been given
God’s nature (new creature, 2 Cor 5:17), Christ is the virtuous fellowship
we seek (1 Pt 1:15-16). Those that come to that light must leave the
darkness (Jn 3:20-21). To appreciate the light, one must first learn the
wrongfulness and despair (misery, desolation, hopelessness, anguish,
gloom, and despondency) of the darkness and repent of their unrighteous
participation (Ez 33:11).

So What is Following?

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Following Christ is not a once made decision. Choosing to follow Jesus is
made through a myriad of decisions you encounter everyday. You are
confronted with these choices daily and you must choose Christ every
time. The topics may be endless, but you must choose Jesus over self and
situation. Who will rule over your life, self or Christ? Whose purposes will
be fulfilled, yours or Christ’s? Most will not even give thought to the
majority of life’s situations or their choices because God is not in their
thoughts (Ps 10:4, Mal 3:16). Many just do not grieve, sigh and cry over
the sin around them. Some situations may be much more revealing
regarding right and wrong and a compromise may be sought to
soothe the flesh. When we truly follow Christ, His Spirit will work
in our hearts to conform us to Christ’s image daily. This is done by
seeking God’s will and purpose over our own. Day by day, thought
by thought, decision by decision, situation by situation, you are
conformed to Christ’s image if you are being led by His Spirit (Rm
8:14, 2 Cor 4:16). Cumulatively, you are transformed into His
likeness. Your decisions for Christ may not always make you
popular with those around you. Remember the narrow path is not
well traveled (few). That majority traveling the broad path will
never understand those on the narrow (Gal 4:29).A heart that
grieves over sin is a pliable one that can be shaped for God’s
purposes.

The condemnation that man will face before God is that man refuses to
admit his fault – to see his wrong – the transgressions and rebellion
against God. Man will mostly justify his wickedness or blame others for his
faults/wickedness. This is a situation that cannot be forgiven because no
fault is acknowledged. Forgiveness can only be sought by one who
recognizes and grieves over his wrong. Forgiveness can only be granted to
one who turns from the wrongs he has committed. Why forgive if there is
no intent to reconcile? God is more than merciful, the condemnation will
be that God’s mercy was not sought.

There is only one true way to follow Christ and that is with a whole heart.
When our hearts are right we will choose to freely obey God in all
situations because we love God – He is our desire. No one will make us or
tell us we have to. When we come to this place, we have true Christian
liberty. Many may attempt to follow through fear. Perhaps fear of hell or
fear of what family members (man) will say. Sheep will follow, but goats
must be driven. If serving God seems compulsory, restrictive or like a
burden, then you are being driven. Those who are driven will be quick to
compromise or find a less restrictive path. Those who are driven will only
want to do the minimum that seems to be required. Those who are driven
will always wonder, “what’s in it for me (Job 21:15, 35:3).” Those who are
driven may do things in secret. Those who are driven find comfort in
numbers. Those who are driven will at best grudgingly follow God. Those
who are driven will seek a multitude of counsels until they hear what they

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are looking for (Ps 5:10). Hosea 14:9, “Who is wise, and he shall
understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways
of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the
transgressors shall fall therein.”

Blindness?

Oftentimes Jesus uses blindness as an illustration of the lack of spiritual


understanding. Those who are spiritually blind have not a love for the
truth (2 Thess 2:10). Those who seek the truth with an intent to live
within it, have their eyes opened. Jesus healed many of physical
blindness, but His purpose was to bring light to spiritual blindness.
Matthew 20:30, 32-34, “30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way
side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have
mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called
them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him,
Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them,
and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and
they followed him.” These men cried to Jesus in faith recognizing their
great need for him. There is a dual message here. These men’s need may
have seemed physical, but it was also very much spiritual. After receiving
sight they “followed Jesus.” When we receive spiritual insight, we must be
faithful and follow Christ. When our eyes are spiritually opened, following
Christ will be the evidence.

We must seek and follow Christ regardless of what others may say. Mark
10:46-52, “And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with
his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of
Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was
Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David,
have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace:
but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on
me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call
the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus
answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?
The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And
Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And
immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” This
man understood his great need for Christ and cried out to God in faith. We
must come to this same place in our lives. Man tells us that we must hold
our peace and seek God man’s way – perhaps a little less dramatic. Men
(crowd) were between Bartimaeus and Christ and he realized that his
hope was not in following man (or heeding man’s way) so he cried out
even more intently. Had Bartimaeus listened to man, he would still be
blind and his faith would have been crushed. Man can be a great
stumblingstone in the path to God. When we truly see our need for God

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and cry out to Him, He responds. We must recognize that our hope is in
Him and not man. Bartimaeus came to Christ and cast away his garment
(old life). We must be willing to forsake the old sinful fallen way for the life
that is only found in Christ. This man’s faith in Jesus saved him and then
he “followed” Christ in “the way.” Notice that after one receives spiritual
sight, they follow. This is the fruit! We must look to God, disregard man,
forsake the old, and have great faith and follow daily.

Here’s a secret: Psalm 25:14, “The secret of the LORD is with them that
fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” When we desire to know
and perform God’s will, He will lift the blindness from our eyes and we will
understand. Matthew 11:25, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I
thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid
these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto
babes.” We must become humble and dependant to see the kingdom of
God. The wise and prudent are proud and self sufficient. These do not and
cannot see their need for repentance and a new heart (Is 6:9-10). Those
who are babes before Christ understand what the most learned cannot (Lk
10:21, 1 Cor 1:19, 27-28). Jesus once took a blind man out of the city of
Bethsaida to heal him (Mk 8:22-23). Why? Because that city was full of
unbelief. Luke 10:13, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee,
Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which
have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in
sackcloth and ashes (also Mt 11:21).” Once the man was healed Jesus
told him not to go into the town or tell anyone in the town (Mk 8:26). Woe
to Bethsaida!

Jesus had been teaching in the temple. The religious men did not receive
the things Christ was saying. John 8:59 – 9:1, “Then took they up stones
to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going
through the midst of them, and so passed by. And as Jesus passed by, he
saw a man which was blind from his birth.” Jesus came as a light into this
world that we would not walk in darkness (Jn 8:12). Jesus said regarding
the blind man: John 9:4-5, “I must work the works of him that sent me,
while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am
in the world, I am the light of the world.” The religious had rejected God’s
light, but here was a man who would receive it (Is 42:16). Notice that
Christ is not concerned about the many who were busy seeking stones,
but only the one. The modern religious tell us we (as if we can do
anything) must mass convince/convert the multitudes, but Christ is still
concerned about the one. The man being born blind is representative to
the spiritual blindness we are all born into (nature). John 9:6-7, “When he
had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and
he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him,
Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went
his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” Jesus required faith
(obedience) of the blind man. The religious had questioned everything
Jesus had done, this man just obeyed in faith and was made whole and

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came seeing. This great miracle was performed as a result of his
willingness to obey. This was far more than a physical healing, but a
conversion of the heart. When the religious heard of the blind man’s
healing, they were not so impressed. Seems Jesus had healed this man on
the sabbath and this was a big religious no, no (they didn’t understand
the intent of the sabbath). A big inquisition was held concerning the
matter and when the blind man acknowledged Jesus, he was
excommunicated out of the synagogue (Jn 8:34). The religious told the
blind man that he was a sinner (Jn 9:34) and it turns out they were
sinners also. He saw his great need for Christ, the religious men did not –
this was the big difference. The religious thought they were serving God,
but were blind and far from Him. The blind man ended up seeing and
serving God. John 9:35-39, “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and
when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of
God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that
talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which
see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” The
blind man received the light, humbled himself and worshipped the source.
Recall from Chapter Two (Jesus didn’t Exalt Self) that Jesus did not exalt
Himself by revealing who He was. Jesus did reveal Himself to this blind
man. Why? He was willing to suffer reproach for Christ’s sake, was
obedient to Christ’s commands (Jn 9:7) and had a heart to receive (his
parents were not – Jn 9:20-22). Christ has said: John 14:21, “He that
hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and
he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will
manifest myself to him. (Also Rev 3:20)” The self righteous religious men
rejected the light and compounded their darkness. The humble are
exalted and the proud are abased (Mt 23:12).

It’s a Heart Thing!

God is looking at our hearts (searcheth) and He desires (reaches out to)
those that truly want to serve Him (2 Chr 16:9, 1 Cor 4:5, 1 Kg 8:39, 2
Chr 6:30) – He understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts (1 Chr
28:9). Psalm 119:2, “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that
seek him with the whole heart.” That which is in our heart will manifest in
our outward actions. David was a man that truly loved God with his whole
heart. David had sinned and done some grievous things. He committed
adultery and then premeditated a murder to cover it up. However, David
truly recognized his sin, grieved, and repented before God and followed
Him with his whole heart. The key is that David grieved over his
transgression and changed direction. David was a King, yet still greatly
humbled himself before the King of Kings. Acts 13:22, “…he raised up
unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and
said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart,

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which shall fulfil all my will.” Notice that God was delighted because his
heart was to do God’s will. To fulfill God’s will is to accomplish it. This is
what it’s all about! This was not the end result with David’s son Solomon
(Deut 17:17). Solomon had followed the Lord, but: 1 Kings 11:4, “For it
came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his
heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his
God, as was the heart of David his father.” Solomon built the high places
that became a snare for the people and kings of Judah (1 Kgs 11:5-9, 2
Kgs 23:13). Solomon’s son, Rehoboam did not prepare his heart to seek
the Lord and this was evil (2 Chr 12:14). Let’s consider King Amaziah: 2
Chronicles 25:2, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the
LORD, but not with a perfect heart.” Notice that God acknowledged his
deeds, but was looking at his motives. Amaziah served God in a legalistic
sense (Pharisaical) and his service, however right it may have been, was
of no value. Now consider King Asa: 1 Kings 15:14, “But the high places
were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all
his days.” He didn’t walk perfectly (the high places had been built by
Soloman – 2 Kgs 23:13), but his heart was right before God and this was
what was ultimately important. However, we must not be fooled into
supposing that we can think one thing and do another. Our actions will
reveal our true nature. So following a list of do’s and don’ts does not profit
at all if done for any reason other than love and devotion to God. If one
has such love and devotion to God, one will not intentionally walk in a
manner contrary to God either. You could never plot to do things you
know are wrong, yet still maintain love and devotion to God – it’s not
possible. King David said: 1 Chronicles 29:17, “I know also, my God, that
thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the
uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and
now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer
willingly unto thee.” God will test your heart (1 Thess 2:4, Jer 11:20,
17:10)! God knows the secrets of the heart (Ps 44:21). Consider what
was said of King Hezekiah: 2 Chronicles 31:20-21, “And thus did Hezekiah
throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and
truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the
service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to
seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” He did that
which was in God’s will with all his heart and therefore, he did well.

The Lord is looking for the sincere and honest desire in our hearts to serve
Him (Lk 16:15). This will be manifested in our daily lives. If we confess
our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive. We must never use God’s mercy
and grace, as a means to live out our own will and selfish desire, our
actions will betray us. God sent His prophet: 1 Kings 14:7-8, “Go, tell
Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted
thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee:
and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my
commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only

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which was right in mine eyes.” King Jehu of Israel also took no heed to
follow God with all his heart (2 Kg 10:31). We must follow with a whole
heart to please God. King Hezekiah pleaded with God on his deathbed,
Isaiah 38:3, “And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I
have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done
that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” God agreed and
added fifteen years to his life (v. 5). We must continually examine our
own hearts and motives and ask God to do the same and we must repent
if necessary (2 Cor 13:5, Ps 139:23). We must serve in love and faith.
Psalm 32:11, “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout
for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” One day, God will make manifest
the counsels of the heart of each individual (1 Cor 4:5). If you seek God
with all your heart, you will find Him (Jer 29:13).

Jesus said: Matthew 15:18-19, “But those things which proceed out of the
mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the
heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false
witness, blasphemies.” These are the things that defile a man. God is
looking at our hearts and they will most assuredly reveal where our
devotion is. For with the heart a man believeth on Christ unto
righteousness (Rm 10:9-10). We must live unto righteousness! Simeon
prophesied of Jesus coming in saying that He would be spoken against
because the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed (Lk 2:34-35). Oh
man, rest assured that what you put into your heart will certainly proceed
out again. Jude 1:21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Some have impenitent
(unrepentant) hearts and are storing wrath against the day of wrath and
revelation of the righteous judgment of God who will render to every man
according to his deeds (Rm 2:5-6). We must remember: Proverb 15:11,
“Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the
hearts of the children of men?” Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest
there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the
living God.”

This is beautiful: 1 Corinthians 8:3, “But if any man love God, the same is
known of him.” When we truly love God, He knows who we are (Nahum
1:7). The Creator of all will know who you are if your heart is toward Him!
Will there be anything more precious on Judgment Day than to be in God’s
good favor? 1 John 4:17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may
have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this
world.” To love is to obey. 1 John 2:5, “But whoso keepeth his word, in
him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in
him.” 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his
commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

Yes Lord!

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Are you a Pilgrim just passing through, following the path of Jesus?
There’s good news for you my friend, the path of Christ did not end at the
cross, but continued to life everlasting… Weary pilgrims will find rest and
purpose: John 14:2, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were
not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” When we
follow Christ, we will be where He is (Jn 12:26). The Spirit is leading, who
will follow? The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to
lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He
restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his
name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will
dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Ps 23)” The Lord is still leading
(for He is true to His Word), are you following (Is 49:10)? Or worse, are
you trying to do the leading?

Luke 9:23, “And he (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after
me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” You
will follow someone or something, but who/what? 1 Peter 2:21, “For even
hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an
example, that ye should follow his steps:” The path is narrow, but the
guide is sure. Suppose you were in a deep dark forest. There were many
obstacles such as thorns/briars, wild animals, quick sand, thick brush,
jagged rocks, and high mountains with narrow ledges. Suppose it was
pitch black and you had no light. You were hopelessly lost and without
provisions. If an expert guide suddenly showed up with knowledge of how
to traverse the forest and mountain and had all the necessary provisions
you would need (without any cost to you). Would you not be thrilled?
Would you not explicitly obey the guide’s directions? Wouldn’t all your
faith and trust be in the guide as your Savior? You can attempt to go
through this life on your own. Perhaps you will become hopelessly
entangled in the cares of this world, or be devoured by your adversary
(devil) and his schemes or sink in your own desires. You walk blindly not
knowing what the future holds or the outcomes of your many decisions.
God knows everything! He wants the best for you. Won’t you put your
faith and trust in Him alone? Your efforts will fail – It’s a given. His way
will never fail.

Jesus said over and over, “come follow me.” The invitation is still open,
but time is drawing to a close. John 20:21, “Then said Jesus to them
again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I
you.” It’s time to get busy following! What hinders you?

Conclusion

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The author does not want to imply in any way that if you are not walking
a perfect life that you are totally lost and on your way to hell. You must
examine the nature of your heart to determine if your affections are own
things heavenly or things earthly – your eternal condition is
determined/known by God alone. There is dissimilarity between living for
self and living for God and we must understand the difference. The
clearest indicator is in the affections of the heart. Who is seated as the
authority in your life – Christ or self? To live for Christ is to be self-
sacrificing in a way that places Jesus first in all aspects of your life and
denies the flesh to achieve this. You gladly yield your will to accomplish
His. Decisions are made based upon the Spirit and the Word. Spiritual life
is a daily consciousness (awareness) of the corruption of your own heart
and a grieving over any personal sin or sin around you – you recognize
your need for Christ. Your mind is stayed upon Jesus and your desire is to
become Christ like. Your relationship is ongoing through a daily walk of
faith and seeking of the Lord through study and application of His Word
and prayer (communication). Are you being led by the Spirit? Do you obey
when convicted? Living for self tends to manifest itself in seeking
(dwelling on) the good things in life (or needful) and a need for constant
entertainment as driven by personal desire. One who lives for self is
oblivious (unmindful) or complacent to most of the little sins (thoughts,
deeds, actions) in daily life. Proverbs 14:9, “Fools make a mock at sin: but
among the righteous there is favour.” Decisions are based upon what you
want to do or your goals in life. Sacrifice and denial are things to be
avoided and upsetting to your needs. Morality and lifestyle may be judged
by the majority actions of those around you rather than the truth and
intent of God’s Word. 2 Peter 3:14, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye
look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace,
without spot, and blameless.” Peace is the reconciliation between God
(the Father) and man that Christ offers (through His great and accepted
sacrifice) – Rev 5:9. To be without spot and blameless is to hunger and
thirst after righteousness and conform to Christ’s image as led by the
Spirit (1 Jn 1:6, 2:4). Those in the flesh tend to put undue importance on
the here and now rather than having an eternal outlook that prepares for
the Lord’s return (2 Cor 4:18). Colossians 3:1-2, “If ye then be risen with
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the
right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on
the earth.” A believer’s life is in heaven (not in this world); so we look for
our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be with Him (Php 3:20).

Jesus’ message to the followers: John 12:24-26, “Verily, verily, I say unto
you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone:
but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it;
and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If
any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also
my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”

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Chapter 4 – How to Approach God

Perhaps you have begun to realize that the reality you have known, this
earth and all that is therein, is only a temporary anomaly in God’s grand
plan for things and is quickly passing (2 Cor 4:18)? Romans 9:28, “For he
will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short
work will the Lord make upon the earth.” This does not mean that God
doesn’t love us, just that this world is fallen and short of God’s ultimate
desire. All of us have had sincere moments of deep thought and
consideration about what is really important. Maybe reality surfaced for a
passing moment at the death of a loved one or during a devastating
illness or accident. You know, what’s it all about? The home, money, cars,
possessions, career, etc. are suddenly seen in a better light (due to your
humbled-ness) as to what they really are: eternally worthless - without
merit. Perhaps some reading this book are starting to realize that the
truth of the gospel is much more than what the religious institutions of
man have presented it as. Christ’s doctrine was never one of self or the
flesh. God’s truth cannot be franchised, regulated and institutionalized by
man nor is His Spirit answerable to man or directed by him. Faith in Christ
is much more than a mere mental acknowledgement and agreement of
who Jesus is through a quick repeated prayer. Much more than the
voluntary, yet implied mandatory, church (religious) attendance and
observances. James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou
doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The devils believe in
God, they know personally of His certainty (Mk 1:34). Even though they
believe, they are in rebellion to Him since they sought their own will by
following Satan. Oh man, it shall be no different with you. Do you
acknowledge God, but seek your own will? Do your opinions drive your
belief? If so, then you are in the same rebellion as the devils. Better to
face this reality now than when you stand before the throne of God. You
now have the ability to change course, but do not delay. Time is a fleeting
thing in a fallen rebellious world. Once dead there are no more chances,
you will stand on the merits of the life you lived. Faith in God is not a
religion, it’s a relationship. Consider the true path to salvation as
presented by Jesus Christ.

Consider

Identifying with Christ in His own words (see scriptures): You must Seek
Him (Mt 6:33, 7:7); Know Him (Jn 8:31-32, 11:25-26); Count the cost of
following (Lk 14:28-32); Be drawn of God (Jn 6:44); Repent (Mk 1:15);
Forsake (Lk 14:33, 18:22); Die to self (Lk 9:24-25, Jn 3:30); Be born
again (Jn 3:3); Receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26, 15:26-27, 16:7-14); Do
not sin (Jn 5:14, 8:11 & 34); Self denial (Mt 16:24); Obedience/Love to
God (Jn 14:15,21); Love others (Mk 12:31); God must be the priority (Mk
12:30); Love not the world (Lk 12:15); Know God’s Word (Mk 13:30);
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Control your thoughts (Mt 5:27-30); Follow Christ’s example (Lk 6:40);
Devotion (Lk 16:13); Produce fruit (works, Jn 15:5, 8); Forgive (Mt
18:21-22); Persecution (Lk 6:22); Faithful (Mt 25:21); Follow (Mt 16:24,
Mk 8:34, Jn 10:27, 12:26) and Endure, firm and steadfast in confidence
until the end (Mt 24:13, Heb 3:6, 14).

Sermon on the Mount

Jesus delivered what must be the perfect message, known as the Sermon
on the Mount. Jesus thoughtfully laid out the path to salvation for all who
will heed and apply the message. These are the beatitudes or the way God
would have us be, presented as nine “blessed” statements of character.
Jesus lived the Sermon on the Mount. The scriptures say that which is
highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God (Lk 16:15).
Therefore we find many opposites in scripture that conflict with and
confuse the will of man. God says to be great you must be least; to live,
you must die (to self); to gain you must lose and the last shall be first.
Man always desires to exalt himself, yet God says, Matthew 23:12, “And
whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble
himself shall be exalted” (Also 1 Pt 5:6). God hates the proud and
arrogant, but hears the humble (Ps 34:15-19). Man desires self-
sufficiency, God demands dependence upon Him (Ps 34:22, 37:5, 23-24,
39, 62:7-8, 119:114). Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all
the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven.” To approach Christ you must first see your need for Him. To be
poor in spirit would be to recognize your inabilities and limitations and
your great need for God. This is to be a beggar crying in need of help
displayed as brokenness before God, and pleading for His mercy. This is a
humbling of oneself before God and a perpetual dependence upon God. To
be poor in Spirit is a constant attitude of need and reliance upon God
rather than man (flesh). Realizing that you are nothing, have nothing and
can do nothing. This is an emptying the heart of self such that Christ may
fill it. You realize that you have nothing to offer God from self. Your best
works of righteousness far miss the mark of God’s expectations and they
are as filthy rags. You realize that nothing you could ever do on your own
merits could ever warrant God’s acceptance or justify you. This is a setting
aside of self, a self-loathing, a self rejection in all respects, a casting away
all hope in yourself, all self dependence, all trust in our own wisdom
(knowledge) or righteousness, or your efforts of being good, and every
thing else which is your own. The one who is poor in spirit recognizes their
absolute wickedness and just condemnation. Only at this point can you
acknowledge that Christ is the only possible hope for your helpless

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condition. You now begin to seek God. Being poor in spirit would be the
opposite of being prideful, arrogant and self-willed. There is no self-
confidence, sufficiency, interest or assertiveness regarding your own
efforts. To be poor in spirit is to be utterly helpless, humbled, broken (Ps
51:17), emptied and destitute before God. When you can come to this
place, God can use you and thus you can become a member of the
kingdom of heaven. The poor in heart’s plea is: Luke 18:13-14, “And the
publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto
heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a
sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than
the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Therefore: James 2:5, “Hearken, my
beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith,
and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

We must recognize our inabilities and great need for Jesus or we will trust
in self rather than God. We will seek our will rather than His purposes.
Consider Paul: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in
reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:
for when I am weak, then am I strong.” This is a paradox; we are strong
when we are weak (Heb 11:33-34)? We cannot depend on self. When we
recognize our weakness, then Christ can show Himself strong. Consider
the old song: Yes Jesus loves me – for I am weak (humbled, broken,
dependant) and He is strong. We are to depend upon God for all. This is
humbleness and brokenness before God. Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is nigh
unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite
spirit (also Ps 51:17).” Luke 6:20, “And he lifted up his eyes on his
disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Those who Mourn

Matthew 5:4, Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
To mourn is to realize the sinfulness in your life and to have deep regret
and godly sorrow for past thoughts and deeds (Ps 32:5). To mourn is to
see the shame of thy nakedness (sinfulness). This would include your own
iniquities (transgressions) and those sins you have committed against
others. You must realize your wickedness and your own inability to correct
the condition as evidenced by agony and contrition concerning how you
have transgressed God’s will and been displeasing. To acknowledge how
you have brought shame and dishonor upon God. Deep heartfelt sorrow
for past sins is not sufficient and must be accompanied with a desire to
forsake all sin in your life. Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD,
and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly

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pardon.” This is to mourn after the sin itself and state of your heart and
not just the consequence or penalty such as being caught or the ultimate
penalty of eternal hell and damnation. The primary concern is that you
have sinned against the loving God causing a separation. Isaiah 59:2,
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your
sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” You realize if
uncorrected that your separation from God will be eternal. You see that
sin was such displeasure with the Holy Righteous God that rather than
excuse it or overlook it, He sent His only begotten son to be the sacrifice
for your sins to make atonement. You must realize that your way has
been a failure and that your only hope is to turn to God – He is where the
comfort is. Psalms 126:5, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” You
realize that you must die to yourself and start living a life that conforms to
God’s will and that only Jesus Christ can make this happen. You’re no
longer self-centered, but God-centered. Those who mourn desire
reconciliation with God. You understand that forsaking your old life not
only means to abandon it, but also to not look back favorably on sinful
aspects of it (Ez 18:27-28, 33:19). Psalm 119:59, “I thought on my ways,
and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” This is true repentance which is
a hatred for your sin and an unconditional surrender to the sovereign will
of God. Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and
forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance?” This acknowledges your rebellion against
God and puts self aside while yielding to Him. Psalms 145:18-20, “The
LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in
truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their
cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but
all the wicked will he destroy.” Joel 2:12-13, “Therefore also now, saith
the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and
with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your
garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and
merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the
evil.”

True mourning is always accompanied by a change in one’s life. Mourning


is also a continuing attitude throughout life and a constant self
examination whereby one is grieved by any personal transgression against
God’s will in their life. You also sorrow and grieve for all the sin committed
by others around you and the wickedness in and of the world itself. To be
blessed in mourning seems like a paradox, but it brings one to the place
of seeing their need for Christ to realizing how precious His sacrifice really
is. At this point Jesus can provide the comfort that you now realize you
need. Proverb 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but
whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” God can do a
work in the one that confesses and repents. Psalm 86:5, “For thou, Lord,
art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that
call upon thee.” The more we see our wickedness the more distinct the
purity and righteousness of our Savior will become. Those who do not

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acknowledge their fault or shift blame to others show their continuing
rebellion and justify their just condemnation. These shame God and bring
disrepute on Christ’s great sacrifice, thus no mercy shall be shown. Luke
6:21, “…Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.”

The Meek

Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (also
Ps 37:11).” Palms 22:26, “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall
praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.” We must
strive day after day against the sin of pride and rebellion. By our fallen
nature we are quick to justify self. We tend to be self-centered, but
spiritual meekness must be God-centered. True meekness submits to
God's sovereignty (as righteous and just) and justifies the Lord even in
your own condemnation (Neh 9:33, Job 13:15, Dan Chap 9). God will
teach the meek His way (Ps 25:9, 116:6). Scriptures say that one day
every knee will bow and confess Christ as Lord – the good, the bad, and
the ugly (Rm 14:11). Meekness is to be yielded and submissive to God’s
divine will – a dying to self. Job was stripped of everything he owned, yet
he never defended himself, but said: Job 1:21, “Naked came I out of my
mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the
LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” The first full
demonstration of meekness is to be able to surrender everything to the
will of God and commit everything unto Him that judgeth righteously (1 Pt
2:23).

To be meek is to be able to take correction graciously, putting aside all


self-righteousness and not to complaining under God’s chastening. Psalms
139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know
my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in
the way everlasting.” The Lord’s honor is more important than your own.
When the honor of God is being destroyed, we must defend His honor and
His truth (Word). We must understand that meekness is not standing for
our own honor. It is standing for God's honor. Meekness is also
forbearance under injuries. We must be able to be reviled without reviling
again. We must be able to suffer without threatening. Spiritual meekness
is how we view ourselves with regards to others. Meekness prefers others
above oneself. Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or
vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
themselves.”

Jesus displayed meekness as prophesied. Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed,


and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a
lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he
openeth not his mouth.” Jesus was obeying God by laying down His life,
rather than justifying self or avoiding sacrifice. Christ was brought before
the Roman governor and falsely accused, yet He did not open His mouth

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in self defense. John 19:10, “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou
not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and
have power to release thee?” Jesus accepted His fate as God’s purposed it
and there was no reason to protest. Matthew 11:28-30, “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.” We must ask ourselves, can we put aside our flesh and our
thoughts without protest? Can we seek God’s will and follow it even if it
inconveniences us greatly? Notice that Jesus said, “come unto me.” Those
who do not come are excluded. Those that labor and are heavy laden see
their need and Christ gives them rest. Those who do not are self sufficient
and do not see their need. Those who live for the flesh will continue to toil
and labor seeking their will. Those who seek God’s will shall rest and be
content. God dwells with him that is of a contrite (remorseful, repentant,
penitant, regretful) and humble spirit and He will revive such (Is 57:15).
These tremble at His Word (Is 66:2).

Hungering and Thirsting After Righteousness

Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Righteousness is purity of heart
and correctness of life. Hunger and thirst are two distinct needs that every
human has and understands. The lack of either will soon weaken one and
eventually result in physical death. You cannot have just one and not the
other and require both to survive. The combined effect of the two
produces a tireless craving and extreme yearning. Hungering and thirsting
after righteousness is a continuing process that never ends and is a
matter of eternal life or spiritual death. This craving follows you
throughout your daily life (not just on one religious day of the week).
Psalm 107:9, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry
soul with goodness.”

Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,”
this must become the priority in your life (Mt 6:33). The truly repentant
are concerned that these spiritual needs will not be met. Thus Jesus said
you are blessed in this condition because you will be filled. Jesus is the
bread of life (broken body of Christ) that we must hunger after to be
made righteous. John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from
heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread
that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Jesus
redeemed us with His blood from a debt that we could not pay and gave
us justification before God the Father. John 10:9, “I (Jesus) am the door:
by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out
(justification), and find pasture (satisfy hunger).” Nothing short of Christ's
righteousness will satisfy your hungry soul – no good works on your part.

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The Holy Spirit is the living waters that you must thirst after for
purification. John 4:14, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall
give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in
him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” To thirst for
righteousness is the desire that all things offensive to God be removed
from your heart – to be cleansed from all sin and wickedness. Any sin in
your life should be a great source of grief to you. The Holy Spirit works
within to sanctify you and to lead you daily. As the Spirit leads, you must
yield to God’s will as convicted. This is not becoming righteous in your
own strength, but living within Christ’s strength, power and ability. 2
Samuel 22:33, “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way
perfect.” God is our only hope to be made perfect. Psalm 63:1, “O God,
thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my
flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” The
Spirit will lead in paths of righteousness to holiness. Hebrews 12:14,
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see
the Lord.” Those seeking righteousness apply the Word of God to their
lives and gladly live within it, and only the Holy Spirit gives you this
ability. That which is impossible to man becomes possible through God.
Isaiah 55:1-2, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and
he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and
milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for
that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?
hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your
soul delight itself infatness.” Our hope should be Christ: 1 John 3:3, “And
every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is
pure.” If we truly love and follow Christ, then our desire will be
conforming to His image. In doing so, we will soon realize that self has to
die for this to be possible. 1 John 2:29, “If ye know that he is righteous,
ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” Luke
6:21, “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled...”

Repenting and Regeneration

John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The first four beatitudes explain the work of regeneration whereby God
creates in you a new heart (Ps 51:10, Ez 36:26). 2 Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are
passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Water baptism is
symbolic of dying to ourselves, being washed and purified with the Word
and then living anew for God (Jn 15:3). The old sinful man is covered over
(with water) and dies. The new man in Christ Jesus emerges from the
water. The old man would be that self-willed, self-seeking, rebellious,
sinful person that does what is right in his own eyes. One determined to
live according to his own will in a manner based upon his own fleshly
desires. Romans 6:4-7, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into

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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.” The old man
cannot be salvaged or improved and must die; you must be “born again.”
Ephesians 4:22-24, “That ye put off concerning the former
conversation (life) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful
lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the
new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Regeneration is an act that God alone can perform, Philippians 2:13, “For
it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
You must yield to Him. The sinful man cannot understand repentance
because it goes against his interest of self. The unconverted is pursuing
the things of this world, not denying them. How can such a man grasp
that all the things he lives for must be crucified and put to death on the
cross? The unconverted will seek the flesh and thus be blind to the Spirit.
God says we must be broken, but the lost seek self-sufficiency. TAKE
NOTE: Psalms 147:11, “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him,
in those that hope in his mercy.” Its not about you or your efforts – God
wants your brokeness and faithfulness.

When we submit to God in faith, men become equal before God. There is
no advantage to being rich, influential, intellectual, strong, self-sufficient,
etc. These things are actually disadvantages that must be overcome in
submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord. We die to these things in yielding to
God’s will. We must cast self aside and all the things the flesh seeks and
elevates. Our sincere heart and brokenness before God to fulfill His
purposes is what is important. This equals us all and gives no advantage
to the flesh.

The next four beatitudes detail the fruits of conversion – evidences of


regeneration. Conversion is what comes out of a man. The evil thoughts,
hard attitudes, and unmerciful spirit must be converted. The work of
conversion is the work of grace as well as the work of regeneration. The
work of conversion is the evidence. It is the fruit. Jesus said: Matthew
7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” This new heart is
seen in one’s life through one’s actions. Conversion is continuous and
progressive. The conversion of the heart or the fruits of regeneration are
shown in the last four beatitudes. The Pharisees (religious) so missed
what God desired (Mat 5:20). They thought they had salvation due to
their forced outward righteousness (they kept the letter of the law). Their
hearts were unchanged. Jesus told them: Matthew 23:25-28, “Woe unto
you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of
the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter,
that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and

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Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed
appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of
all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men,
but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Their hearts were not
regenerated and they showed no fruit of conversion. Grace, which is the
circumcision of the heart, was never worked in their hearts. They had no
compassion and were indifferent to the suffering of others (1 Thess 2:15-
16). God puts a new spirit within you and creates a new heart (Ps 51:10).
God will work in us to do His good pleasure, but we must let Him. The
Spirit works on us to make us like Christ.

The Merciful

Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Mercy is undeserved love and is one-sided love. God has shown great
mercy toward us by extending forgiveness to us regarding our rebellion
and many transgressions. This redemption came at a great price – the
death of God’s only begotten son. Titus 3:5, “Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved
us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” We
are restored and transformed by His Spirit. We are expected to show
mercy toward others. Jesus best explained this mercy in the parable of the
king who took account of his servants (Mat 18:23-35). A servant was
unexpectedly and totally forgiven of a tremendous debt (after showing
remorse). The king had compassion on the servant. This same servant
then showed no compassion on a fellow servant who owed a small debt
and had him put in jail until the debt could be paid. When the king heard,
he asked the servant how he, who had been forgiven of his entire debt,
could do such a thing. Why he had no compassion or pity. He was then
handed over to the tormentors until he paid all. Jesus then said: Matthew
18:35, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from
your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” To be
merciful is to show love, tenderness, and kindness to those who have
come against you with bitterness and hatred – a heart that disposes to
overlook injuries or to treat an offender better than he deserves. 1 John
4:20-21, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for
he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God
whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That
he who loveth God love his brother also.” Matthew 5:44, 46, “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; For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?
do not even the publicans the same?” Romans 12:20, “Therefore if thine
enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou
shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Luke 6:35-36, “But love ye your
enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your
reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is

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kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your
Father also is merciful.”

The Lord requires us to show mercy to those who don't have the
necessities of life. Psalm 41:1, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor:
the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” 1 John 3:17, “But whoso
hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up
his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily
food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and
filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to
the body; what doth it profit?” Romans 11:31, “Even so have these also
now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.”
James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath
shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” When we show
love and mercy to others, then have just as same as done it for the Lord.
Matthew 25:34-40, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand,
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from
the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison,
and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord,
when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee
drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and
clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto
thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me.” All of our actions really do have consequences.

The Pure in Heart

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” A
wicked heart (Jer 17:9-10) is a mind in a state of devotion to self; a pure
heart is a mind in a state of devotion to God. Jesus is our example: 1 John
3:3, “And every man that hath this hope in him (Jesus) purifieth himself,
even as he is pure.” The purity of Christ will cause us to see our own
impurity – that which we have become blind to and comfortable in. When
we have a revelation of Christ, then the purity of Christ truly shines into
our soul, then we see the impurities of our hearts. All of the impurities
found in our heart must be purged out. Revelation 21:27, “And there shall
in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh
abomination, or maketh a lie: but they (the pure) which are written in the
Lamb's book of life.” Isaiah 35:8-9, “And an highway shall be there, and a
way (narrow path), and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean
shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though
fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast
shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall

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walk there.” These are those who choose to walk in righteousness and
who have been redeemed from their sins (Mat 1:21). Isaiah 52:1,
“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful
garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more
come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” The circumcised of
heart (also see Deut 30:6) are those who gladly hunger and thirst after
righteousness, those who understand spiritual poverty, those who have
learned to mourn over sin. These are those who yield to God. Those who
have been converted no longer walk in the ways of the world.

To be pure in heart is to serve God with correct motives. We must truly


love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mk 12:30). This love
is developed as we trust and obey God in all things – we yield to His
authority. We must never seek God with ulterior motives that are self
serving. We seek to glorify God in all things by doing His will.

When the emptiness of our heart is filled with the things of this world we
don't understand what it means to be purified. The ability to see God is
blinded by impurities of the heart. 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of
this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light
of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine
unto them.” The desires and motives of the heart must first become pure.
We must correct our attitude – Is it self serving? Pureness must come
from a heart of love. We may not stand before God with belligerence,
bitterness, false accusations, sharp tongue, and a wrong attitude. The
Spirit of the Lord dwells with those of a pure heart (1 Tim 5:22). They are
fully conscious of His presence. 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some
of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the
name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” We cannot be
justified in Christ without also being sanctified (set apart - cleansed,
purified and made holy). If we continue to follow the things or course of
the world, we cannot claim nearness to Christ. We need the washing of
the water of the Word (Ps 12:6, 51:7, Pv 30:5-6). We must desire a
purging of any impurity of the heart. Note: you can have a righteous
exterior, but be inwardly wicked. Satan’s strongholds are set-up in the
heart. After one’s heart is made pure, you have no need to argue with a
man to persuade him to give up worldly entertainments or
unrighteousness he takes pleasure in (i.e. television). However, before his
heart becomes pure, your best arguments avail nothing. He will only think
there is no harm in it and seek to justify it. The pure in heart become very
guarded as to what they will allow in their hearts and are keenly sensitive
against everything impure – for what goes into the heart determines ones
nature and also proceedeth out (external actions). We live in a wicked
world and must be watchful to the things which defile the mind. Even a
trip to the discount store can be a spiritual minefield. Things that most
find innocent will grieve the pure in heart. We are admonished to think on
pure things (Php 4:8) and keep ourselves pure (1 Tim 5:22). Our very
thoughts must be brought into obedience to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). Purifying

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the heart is a continuous process (1 Thes 4:4). The Lord is glorified only
with righteousness and true holiness, submission, obedience, and
reconciliation (1 Pt 1:22-23, 2 Cor 7:1). Christ has opened the gate of
heaven far enough that the foremost of sinners can enter in, but that way
is too straight and narrow to allow impurity. 1 Corinthians 6:9, “Know ye
not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?…”

The Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the
children of God.” In Paradise there was a perfect peace - between man
and God and between man and creation. Due to the horrible contention
and enmity which sin has brought into the world there was a great loss of
peace. James 3:17, “But 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.” Purity (as previously discussed)
must come before peace. Christ was the greatest peacemaker. Jesus
brought peace between God and man: Colossians 1:20, “And, having
made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things
unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in
heaven.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb
12:2), and He is the only Peacemaker to whom we can look for salvation.
Ephesians 2:14, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath
broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” The middle wall is
the separation between sinners and God, and also between each of us
(Gal 3:28). Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes
were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Through the blood of
the cross and the blessed sacrifice, peace was again restored for anyone
who repents and believes. Look how God reaches out to us: Isaiah 1:18,
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins
be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool.” Jesus stepped into the wrath of the Father
to appease His wrath against our sins. Psalm 85:10, “Mercy and truth are
met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” A just
and righteous God can now show mercy to an unworthy sinner through
the blood and righteousness of Christ. First we must make peace with God
by laying down all our rebellion and self-centeredness – holding on to
nothing. Secondly we must be peacemakers with our fellow man. No
person can be a true peacemaker until they have undergone the work of
regeneration and conversion - The heart must change to have charity
(love first directed toward God and then others) – to think the best of
everyone and desire the best for them (within God’s framework). Jesus
came: Luke 1:79, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the
shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

A peacemaker must guard against anger (Eph 4:26), and love their
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and

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pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matt 5:44).
The heart of a peacemaker is: Luke 6:31, “And as ye would that men
should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” When others do not treat
us this way, we must not lash out in vengeance, but look to our Lord’s
example and take tribulation and persecution patiently: 1 Peter 2:23,
“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he
threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”
Judgment is in God’s hands. Evil thoughts and words must be purged from
your heart - little sparks ignite such great fires (Jam 3:5). James 1:19-20,
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to
speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness
of God.” When someone has been taken in a fault, our heart should go out
to restore such a one (Gal 6:1). We must never become self-righteous or
look down upon others (Jam 2:2-4). Peacemakers acknowledge that there
can only be one authority (Eph 4:15 & Col 1:18) and constantly
encouraging people to walk under the Lordship of Christ (The Word) by
living His words (Bible). We desire God’s will to be done on earth as it is in
heaven. After all, this temporal existence is a test, if you are not walking
in God’s will now; God knows you will have not such interest later.
Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:” 2 Corinthians 13:11, “…be of one mind,
live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

Those Persecuted

Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for


righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye,
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of
evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for
great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which
were before you.” When you become a “follower” of Christ you can just
expect persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in
Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Jesus said quite plainly, Luke 21:17,
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.” We are further
told, Philippians 1:29, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not
only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” The truth is that if
you are not suffering in some way for Christ then this could be a negative
indicator concerning your relationship. Suffering and persecution can take
a toll, but we are told by Jesus, John 16:33,”These things I have spoken
unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have
tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” When you
are walking the narrow path, the flesh will be inconvenienced and there
will be a separation between light and darkness, spirit and flesh. You may
lose some friends and be unpopular. Luke 6:22-23, “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,

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your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers
unto the prophets.” Family members may not embrace or be
understanding of your new relationship with Christ. Matthew 10:34-37,
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send
peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law
against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own
household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of
me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of
me.” We cannot have anything more important than Jesus in our lives and
this will bring persecution. Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

What Does Man Teach Us?

We live in a culture that teaches, instructs, insinuates, and implies,


through television, radio, magazines, newspapers, etc. the very opposite
of what God desires us to be. We are told we should be proud,
independent and self-sufficient. Consider how most are being led: 1) Self
confidence - You can do anything that you set your mind to. Be all that
you can be! Dress for success. Have a positive mental attitude. Be in
charge (control). Trust in your own abilities and constantly seek to
improve yourself through education, skills, and ingenuity. Mind over
matter – there’s nothing you can’t do. Beat the next guy! Dreams will
come true! 2) Self sufficiency – Depend and rely on no one. Make your
own way – be your own man (boss). Invest in your future. Charter your
own course. Money is power. Golden rule - He who has the gold makes
the rules. Be independent. Set for life – retire early. Dog eat dog world.
Save for a rainy day. Believe in yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do. 3)
Self centered - You work hard and deserve the things you have. Big I, and
little you. Have it your way! I know the things I like! Speedy service – the
customer is always right. Get all you can and can all you get. He who has
the most toys wins. Deny yourself nothing. Never be satisfied with second
best. You deserve a break today! If it feels good – do it! Pay yourself first.
No rewards for second best. No rules, just right (in your own eyes). Take
no prisoners. Where’s the beef? 4) Be proud of yourself and all your
accomplishments. Proud to be an American! Self exaltation – thinking of
yourself more favorably than others. I’m special! I deserve better! We are
the champions. I win and you lose.

The world teaches us that we must get, get, get. The Lord teaches us that
we must decrease and die and come under His authority. We must not
trust in ourselves, but in God alone (2 Cor 1:9, 3:5). Jesus says, “My
grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”
(2 Cor 12:9). Our weakness is our dependance upon Him.

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The ME-attitudes

The other side of the beatitudes might be termed the “ME”attitudes or the
way ME would have you be. Rather than blessings, these are woes (grief).
This would be the way the flesh tries to reach God on it’s terms. By his
very nature, man wants to exalt his will above God’s. ME would have God
conform to its image and serve man.

The Rich

Luke 6:24, “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your
consolation.” To be rich is the opposite of poor in spirit (Pv 13:7). The rich
tend to depend upon themselves (self-sufficiency) for their needs (Ps
52:7). Their confidence is in their abilities, ingenuity or resources. Jesus
said, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into
the kingdom of God (Mk 10:24)!” Notice the words: “trust in riches” (Pv
11:28). Whereas the poor in spirit see their wickedness and need for God
and are very repentant, the rich are self-righteous. The rich are very
proud of their many accomplishments and are confident in their
resourcefulness (Pv 21:4). Luke 1:53, “He (Jesus) hath filled the hungry
(for righteousness) with good things; and the rich (SELF sufficient) he
hath sent empty away.” Recall the Pharisees: outwardly they appeared
very righteous; they kept the law; gave to the poor; made impressive
public prayers; dressed religious; fasted; and never missed worship
ceremonies. Yet we are told our righteousness must exceed theirs or we
will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mat 5:20). Until we die to self
and see the need for God and yield to His authority we will never have the
heart and motivation God desires. The rich have received their comfort;
this is as good as it will ever get for them. Luke 18:11-12, “The Pharisee
(rich) stood and prayed thus with himself (note: SELF), God, I thank thee,
that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even
as this publican (sinner). I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I
possess.” Notice the dependence upon self and not God. The lord said he
was not justified (v. 14). The rich (wealthy, resourceful, influencial,
powerful, intelligent) have the greatest need to humble themselves before
Christ, yet they are the least likely to acknowledge it.

Those who Laugh

Luke 6:25, “…Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and
weep.” To laugh is the opposite of mourning. Those that mourn see the
sin and wickedness in their life (and around them) and it is much grief to
them. They constantly seek Jesus, who came to save them from their sins
(1 Jn 3:5). They realize that only through Christ will victory be achieved.
Even very small sins (thoughts, attitudes, actions) will cause distress to
those who mourn. Those that laugh are oblivious to such things.
(Note: These may be religious people who are active in forms of religious

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service). Sin is not a serious concern to those who laugh and this will be
evidenced through their thoughts and deeds (fruits). They may take
pleasure in unrighteousness through various daily entertainments,
thoughts or conversations. They see no contradiction in seeking the things
of the world. They had much rather focus on perceived liberties than
sacrifices. Self-denial, obedience, forsaking, discernment, and separation
are just fanaticism to them. Those that laugh want to die a righteous
man’s death, but do not want to live a righteous man’s life. Those that
laugh are not so much concerned for the sin in their life as they are for
the consequences of it (eternal punishment). Those that laugh believe in
God, those that mourn follow God. Those that mourn seek God on His
terms; those that laugh seek God on their terms (have a form of
godliness) although they assume this (blind) is also God’s terms. Those
who laugh continue basically unchanged; those who mourn change
considerably and continue to. Those who Laugh will eternally mourn and
weep. Matthew 25:30, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer
darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This is the
message for those who laugh: James 4:9-10, “Be afflicted, and mourn,
and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to
heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you
up.” Pray to God that you will be able to see your sin and your need and
mourn and weep greatly. Only through your heaviness of heart over your
transgression will you be able to approach the Holy living God.

The Full

Luke 6:25, “Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger…” Those that
hunger constantly seek to know God and have a vibrant living relationship
with Jesus Christ – to be filled with His Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). To truly know
Christ, is to follow His example down the narrow path. Those who follow
will humble themselves; be obedient; be meek; will partake of Christ’s
sufferings (2 Thes 1:5); and will be peacemakers. In other words, they
will die to self and be led of the Spirit in paths of righteousness while
making necessary sacrifices along the way. To be full is just the opposite
(Lk 1:53). Many are content to have once made some “belief statement”
and are content to sit on a pew in a religious structure while others tell
them smooth messages. When discussing the Lord they will tell you, “I go
to church” rather than about a personal relationship with any depth. To be
full is to be unconcerned about the daily walk that one must take with
cross in hand (Lk 9:23). To be full is to deny the work of sanctification the
Lord wishes to do in you. Those that are full will hunger for that
relationship with God when they are eternally separated. Sanctification is
the act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God's grace by
which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the
world, and exalted to a supreme love to God. Luke 12:16-21, “And he
spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man
brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What
shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he

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said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there
will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul,
thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink,
and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall
be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast
provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich
toward God.” This man depended upon himself, was prideful and lived to
satisfy his own will. When we do not trust and depend upon God, the thing
that we think will save us shall surely fail. To be full is self reliance for
sure and is an exaltation of self. The full just do not realize their absolute
need for God. They do not appreciate how far they are missing the mark
and their lack of a true relationship. Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God
are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not
despise.”

The Popular

Luke 6:26, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so
did their fathers to the false prophets.” This is the opposite of suffering
persecution or tribulation for Christ’s sake. Historically, false prophets
have always been well received. Why? Because they tell men what they
want to hear. Isaiah 30:10-11, “Which say to the seers, See not; and to
the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth
things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the
path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” They cry
peace when destruction cometh. Their messages appeal to the flesh, are
feel good, and never require self-sacrifice or denial. Jeremiah 5:31, “The
prophets prophesy falsely (feel good messages), and the priests bear rule
by their means (Lord it over the people); and my people love to have it so
(fleshly, content, spiritual lazy): and what will ye do in the end thereof?” A
true prophet of God will always bring a message of self denial that the
flesh does not want to receive. These prophets are never well received
and are often mistreated, misrepresented, imprisoned or killed. A false
prophet will lead you away from God into the things of the flesh and
worldliness no matter how subtle. A true prophet of God will lead you to
God by way of righteousness and holiness. To meet that end you will
always have to deny the flesh and make self sacrifices. The Devil and his
workers will always work within in subterfuge. They will come as a sheep,
but inwardly be a wolf. Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening
wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” What this means is that the
most likely place you will encounter such deceivers would be in a religious
institution claiming to represent Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For
such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into
the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed
into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be
transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be
according to their works.” They gain your confidence and then lead you

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away from God. Many of these are just as deceived about their standing
before God as those they teach. Jesus said, Mark 13:6, “For many shall
come in my name, saying, I am Christ (saying they believe in Jesus –
using His name); and shall deceive many.” Be warned! When men speak
well of you, it suggests that your walk does not bring conviction upon
others and perhaps their influence has altered you. This could be because
you do not confess Christ before men or that you have compromised your
relationship to be friendly with the world. Matthew 10:32-33, “Whosoever
therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my
Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him
will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Silence can be
denial!

The Invitation

Luke 14:12-14, “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou
makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither
thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a
recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor,
the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they
cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the
resurrection of the just.” The meal is a gathering or celebration. The Bible
says that it is easy to love a friend, but we are to reach out to those who
hate us and mistreat us (Lk 6:27, 32). Brethren would represent those
who already have the gospel. Kinsmen represent those that have no
appreciation for what you are saying because you are familiar to them and
they do not necessarily respect your spiritual insights - (unbelief). Thus:
Matthew 13:55-57, “Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother
called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all
these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A
prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own
house.” A second meaning to friends, brethren, and kinsmen would be
that we (followers) tend to spend more time in prayer, teaching,
encouraging, admonishing and proselytizing those who are close to us
(that we love) and thereby neglect our neighbors who may be more needy
and receptive concerning what we are saying (but are more unlovely). The
rich neighbors are the self-righteous who do not see the need for Jesus in
their daily lives. After all, they are a religious member of a denomination
and attend services weekly. They think they are spiritually self-sufficient.
We are not to expect recompense for our actions – not look for a fleshly
benefit. Many follow Christ seeking blessings so they are blinded to
sacrifice, denial and death to self. Followers of Christ are not to obligate,
seek reward, self-gratification or honor from others – we do not build idols
to ourselves. Jesus said to take the gospel to those who would welcome
(receive) it. The poor are those who beg (in agony) for spiritual truth–
they mourn over their sinful condition. The maimed would be those who
have been spiritually hurt – maybe from the self-righteous. The lame

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would be those who cannot spiritually walk on their own and need help.
The blind are those who are deceived (yet not self-righteous) and will be
receptive to doctrinal correction. This group is misfits in the world’s view
and has nothing to offer in return, yet God will be pleased to provide
payment on their behalf. Jesus always cared for the lame, blind, dumb
and maimed (Mt 15:30-31).

Open to All

Consider the following parable: Luke 14:16-24, “Then said he unto him, A
certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant
at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are
now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first
said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and
see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five
yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And
another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that
servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the
house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and
lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the
halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast
commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant,
Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that
my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which
were bidden shall taste of my supper.” The certain man is God. The great
supper is God’s provision for salvation. The invitation is God’s
reconciliation (salvation) through Jesus. Those that were bidden all knew
the man (were religious), but were more concerned about temporal
possessions, livelihood, and relationships – things of the world, than with
what was truly important which is a heart for God (obedience) and
relationship (the great supper). The inference is similar to Esau who sold
his birthright for a bowl of soup. These folks are so busy living for SELF,
that they do not see the value/importance/significance of what is truly
meaningful. They made light of the invitation (Mt 22:5). They did not have
time (shunned) to please the Lord God and submit to His will. The things
they were doing seemed much more important to them (SELF), and
frankly they did not see (deceived) why these things would be offensive to
God. They assumed they could serve Him in their own way and time. God
was angry because this reconciliation came at a great price – the death of
His only Son. Those invited took more consolation in temporal things than
truly meaningful eternal things. God then offered the invitation that was
meant for them (professed believers) to those who would obey Him
(Similar to Saul and David). This group of grateful/receptive people (poor,
maimed, halt and blind) has been previously defined (Mt 15:30-31). The
highways and hedges represents salvation being open to all who will heed
(follow) the invitation with child like faith. Unfortunately those who had
been invited became eternally excluded because they did not see how
precious the invitation was. One came without a wedding garment and

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was thrown into outer darkness (Mt 22:11-13). The wedding garment is
the preparation that must be done in advance. Only through Christ can
our soiled garments be made spotless.

Additional Examples

We have examined the earthly life of Christ who is our example to follow.
We have studied Christ’s very Words concerning what it means to have
saving faith. There are many very noteworthy men in scripture and God
had a particular fondness for each of them. Some of these men are Enoch,
Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel. All of these men had one thing
in common that set them apart from all others. They each had a heart
toward God and obeyed His will – living faith. Three of them lived before
the law and three during the time of the law. Let us take a quick look at
their lives:

Enoch

The biblical account of Enoch’s life is quickly to the point: Genesis 5:21-
24, “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And
Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years,
and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three
hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was
not; for God took him.” Why would God just take Enoch? Hebrews 11:5,
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not
found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had
this testimony, that he pleased God.” Enoch sought God with a heart that
pleased Him. He did God’s will.

Noah

Noah lived in a time when there was no law. Most did what was right in
their own eyes living for their own desires and becoming totally wicked
and corrupted (Gen 6:5). Noah was truly unique and must have suffered
tremendous persecution for his righteousness. Genesis 6:9, “…Noah was a
just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”
Being perfect and walking with God are descriptive of one who has died to
their will and seeks to obey God’s will. Noah was given a tremendous task.
He was to build a huge boat, fill it with provisions, and receive and lodge
animals from all over the earth. Genesis 6:22, “Thus did Noah; according
to all that God commanded him, so did he.” What a wonderful statement.
Noah did what God required of him. 2 Peter 2:5, “And (God) spared not
the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of
righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.”
Noah’s righteousness and faith in God saved him physically and spiritually.
Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as
yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the
which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness

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which is by faith.” This earthly judgment was a foreshadowing of the final
judgment. The righteous faithful will be saved and the ungodly will be
removed and condemned. Noah’s preaching only secured his own family.
God was obviously looking for quality and not quantity. Man always seeks
quantity and forgoes quality – opposites equal rebellion. The earth is
again approaching this point of wickedness as most will not yield to God –
they are much to busy pleasing themselves. We are required to present
the gospel. God is sovereign and will move upon hearts and save souls.

Abraham

God called Abram out of the country in which he dwelt to a strange land.
Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a
place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he
went out, not knowing whither he went.” He didn’t question God, but just
obeyed believing in Him. The Lord made a covenant with Abraham to
make him a mighty nation and bless all nations through his seed (Gen
15:18, Gal 3:8). Sarai was barren. Abram and Sarai were advanced in
years and God promised them an heir (a son). Romans 4:3, “For what
saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him
for righteousness.” Abraham’s righteousness was an obedient love for God
(Gal 3:6). Hebrews 11:11, “Through faith also Sara herself received
strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past
age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 6:15,
“And so, after he (Abram) had patiently endured, he obtained the
promise.” The promise began with their son and his name was Isaac.
Through Issac, God’s promises would be kept: Hebrews 11:12, “Therefore
sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars
of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore
innumerable.” After Abraham and Sara had waited for some time and a
son was born, God asked Abraham to do a hard thing – sacrifice his only
son. Hebrews 11:17-19, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up
Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten
son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from
whence also he received him in a figure.” Abraham did not question God,
and prepared to offer up his only begotten Son for God. At the last
moment God did not require it. However, God did offer up His only
begotten Son for man as a sacrifice (Jn 3:16). As a man, Jesus’ faith
rested on the Father that He would raise Him up the third day (Lk
24:46, Acts 10:40, 1 Cor 15:4). James 2:21-23, “Was not Abraham our
father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the
altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was
faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham
believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was
called the Friend of God.” Abraham’s willingness to serve God
unconditionally regardless of what he may have to suffer to do His will is
the mark of a true believer. This is true faith! Today’s espoused believer

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wants God to serve him unconditionally as he supposes that God is
eternally obligated due to his one time acceptance of Christ.

Moses

Moses was a Hebrew child who was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Ex
2:5-10). Hebrews 11:24-25, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years,
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to
suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin
for a season.” Moses was a man of priviledge in Pharaoh’s house, but gave
it all up (forsook the world) for his people and God’s purposes. Moses
allowed himself to be inconvenienced (denied self) for God. Jesus spoke to
Moses through a burning bush as “I AM” and told Moses to represent God
before Pharaoh (Jn 8:58). Moses obeyed God and was used in a mighty
and miraculous deliverance (by God) of the children of Israel from the
hold (bondage) of Pharaoh and led out of Egypt. Moses was as a father to
the multitudes of Israelis and he put up with their continual whining,
always defending them before God. Moses fasted forty days and forty
nights for the children of Israel in bearing their iniquities before God in
sacrificial love (dying to self, Deut 9:24-26, 10:10). Moses was a true
shepherd to God’s sheep – seeking that which was lost. Deuteronomy
9:18-19, “And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and
forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your
sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to
provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure,
wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD
hearkened unto me at that time also.” Later, Jesus (I AM) would also fast
forty days and forty nights in bearing the iniquity of mankind (Christ had
no iniquity) in great sacrificial love (Mt 4:2). God tested Moses with an
offer: Exodus 32:10, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax
hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee
a great nation.(also Num 14:12, Deut 9:13-14)” Moses put all self interest
aside and pleaded for the people as a true shepard (v. 11-14, also Ex
34:9, Num 11:1-2, 13-21, Num 16:20-22, 42-49, 17:10-13, 21:4-9).
Moses even put his eternal security on the line (Pastors take note):
Exodus 32:32-33, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot
me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD
said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of
my book.” Notice how Moses is a true shepard: Deuteronomy 9:25-26,
“Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell
down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you. I
prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy
people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy
greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand
(also Deut 9:18-20).” God gave the law to Moses. Christ would later fulfill
the law. Numbers 12:3, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all
the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Moses was very humble
and obedient to the Lord. The Lord said of Him: Numbers 12:6-8, “And he

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said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD
will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a
dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With
him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark
speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then
were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Moses once
became angry with the whining of the children of Israel and did not
exactly follow the Lord’s direction (Num 20:2-13, 27:13-14, Deut 1:37,
3:25-26). The Lord did not allow him to enter into the Promised Land for
that transgression. Moses did however demonstrate his love and
obedience to the Lord through enduring living faith for much of his life.
Deuteronomy 34:5-6, “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the
land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a
valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of
his sepulchre unto this day.” God Himself buried Moses in a secret place.
The devil even contended over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9).

David

God chose David to be king over Israel in the place of a disobedient Saul.
The Lord sent Samuel to annoint David. Samuel thought surely the Lord
would rather have his older brother: 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said
unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his
stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man
seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh
on the heart.” God looks for hearts that will follow and obey His will. This
applies to all of us. David walked before God with integrety of heart
(perfect), and in uprightness obeyed the will of God with a whole heart
and was the measuring rod for all subsequent kings of Judah (1 Kg 9:4,
11:4, 15:3, Ps 119:34). Acts 13:22, “…I have found David the son of
Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” The Lord
desires those who will perform His purposes. This is how David sought the
Lord his God: Psalms 119:34-35, “Give me understanding, and I shall
keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go
in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” David wrote
many Psalms describing his love, trust and whole hearted faith toward
God. All of David’s actions were not perfect, but is heart (love) and faith
toward God were. 1 Kings 15:5, “Because David did that which was right
in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he
commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah
the Hittite.” David was quick to recognize and repent of his transgressions
before the Lord. We must all be poor in spirit, repentant and have a love
and desire to perform God’s will. David also had outward righteousness
manifested from the inward work that the Lord had worked in his life. He
was able to say: Psalms 119:10-11, “With my whole heart have I sought
thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid
in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” AND Psalm 18:24,
“Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my

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righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.”
We cannot come to God proposing that we have a good heart when our
lives are absent of the application (demonstration) of the faith we
espouse.

Daniel

Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God (Dan 10:11, 19). From a young
age he chose to serve God and reject the things of the world. He refused
to eat meat sacrificed to idols or the King’s wine in favor of pulse in order
to stay pure before God (vegetables and water – Dan 1:5-8, 12). In
choosing correctly, God blessed Daniel with knowledge, skill in all
learning, wisdom and interpretation of dreams and visions (Dan 1:17).
Daniel made supplications for he and his people per Solomon’s prayer (1
Kgs 8:46-52) even when it was against the law to pray. He was thrown
into a den full of lions due to his obeying God rather than man (Dan Chap
6). God miraculously protected him in the midst and delivered him to
safety. Daniel often mourned, chasened himself, fasted, repented and
prayed for his sin and the sin of the people because of their transgressions
and resulting captivity (Dan 9:3, 20, 10:2-3). His heart was continually
seeking the Lord. He prayed to the Lord saying: Daniel 9:5, “We have
sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have
rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.”
This was a true mourning over the sins of the people. Daniel 9:7-9, “O
Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces,
as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the
countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that
they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of
face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have
sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and
forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.” Daniel justified God
even to the detriment of himself and the people and this was true
meekness. He confesses to God that Israel has not obeyed him and
justifies God’s judgment (Dan 9:10-12). Daniel 9:13-14, “As it is written
in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our
prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities,
and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the
evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his
works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.” Daniel is offering true
repentance to the Lord. He has recognized and confessed the guilt in all
humbleness and has justified God’s actions. He petitions God that His
anger might be turned away (Dan 9:15-16). Daniel 9:18, “O my God,
incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations,
and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our
supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great
mercies.” Notice that Daniel is poor in spirit and admits they have no
righteousness and are undeserving. He falls upon God’s mercy as we must

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also do. Daniel 9:19, “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and
do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people
are called by thy name.” Daniel is truly hungering and thirsting after
righteousness and has just displayed the beattitudes that Jesus would
later preach about. This is how we must approach God. Daniel stood up
for God against an unjust law forbidding prayer (Dan 6:1-9). The penalty
of disobeying the law was being thrown to the lions. Daniel chose to obey
God rather than man even if it required the ultimate sacrifice from
himself. It would have been very easy for Daniel to have compromised a
bit and prayed in secret, but that is not an option for those who seek God
through righteousness. Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel knew that the
writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in
his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a
day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
Daniel was thrown to the lions in a demonstration of his faith (Heb 11:33).
God honored Daniel’s faith and preserved his life (Dan 6:22).

Hebrews 11:13-16, “These all died in faith, not having received the
promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them,
and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims
on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a
country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence
they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But
now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is
not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
Followers of Christ are strangers and pilgrims on this present temporal
earth – just passing through. Our hearts have an eternal outlook of living
faith for our Lord and a desire to be with Him – for all live unto Him (Lk
20:38). What can we learn from these men of old? They all had a heart for
God and submitted to Him in obedience. They were meek (in God’s order)
– consider Moses (Num 12:3) and Jesus (God incarnate, as a man – Mt
21:5). They put God first and sought His will.

How do we know we are Christ’s? We hear the Word of God and do it (Lk
8:21, 11:28)! So basic, yet so misunderstood. Hebrews 10:36, “For ye
have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might
receive the promise.” So much religious energy is spent attempting to
justify how one should really be able to remain in darkness, yet still be
Christ’s. Wake up and repent!
Chapter 5 – What is the Church?

Generally, when a person is engaged in conversation concerning their


relationship with Jesus Christ, one of several responses is voiced, as
follows: “I go to church,” “I need to start going to church.” or “Where do
you go to church?” To most people the term “church” as commonly
defined or understood is synonymous with relationship with God. Is this a
valid assumption? Those who say, “I go to church” need to understand
that it’s not something you go to, but it is what you are if you are

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following Jesus Christ! Individually you are not the total body of Christ,
but you are a unique and necessary part of the corporate whole (Rm
12:5, 1 Cor 12:27). Throughout the remainder of this book, a biblical
distinction will be revealed: Religion verses Relationship with God. The
relationship God desires might be better termed “Living Faith” or abiding
in Christ daily. The difference between religion and relationship is the
dissimilarity between man’s ways verses God’s way (Is 55:8-9). God’s
way being righteous and holy and man’s ways being self seeking and are
generally rebellious to God’s purposes (Rm 10:3).

Often the religious will become offended by a conversation that convicts


their heart. They will want to know where you go to church, meaning:
what is your authority? Jesus came doing the Father’s will (work) and
speaking the Father’s Words. This threatened the religious: Luke 20:1-2,
“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?” Perhaps they wanted to know what synagogue He attended or
where He received religious training or what His lineage was. Those
religious judged Jesus as unworthy to follow and they rejected Him and
ultimately killed Him. Christ’s Words undermined their authority and quite
frankly He did not have the credentials (qualifications, diploma, certificate,
background, etc.) they were looking for. Man exalted his will to Judge
God. We are God’s representatives on earth (Christ’s body) and our
authority will also be questioned by those who are self seeking and
religious – where do you go to church? Well my pastor says… These
religious ones do not consider your merit to be “life in Christ,” but rather
desire to associate you with institutions of man, such that they may judge
your words by familiar standards. Most cannot separate life in Christ apart
from the religious institutions of man. This is because these institutions
have seated themselves as the head for many. They serve the institutions
and this is “another gospel” altogether with “another authority.” A true
believer’s life is found soley in Christ (Col 3:4, Gal 2:20, 2 Tm 1:1). 1
John 5:12, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son
of God hath not life.”

Some terms in our language have taken on new and different meanings
over time and through practice. Sometimes the derived and accepted
understanding of a word is far different from the original intended
meaning. Such is the case with the term, “church.” For this reason it is
necessary that I define the words “religion” and “church” for the
understanding of their use within this book. Whenever the term, “religion”
is used, I am referring to man’s attempts to please God apart from a Spirit
led, filled, taught, and guided life of living faith from the heart, through
love, with Jesus Christ as absolute Lord. Religion is man’s attempts to
reach God his way which always seems right in his eyes (Pv 21:2) and
always leads to blindness and deception (2 Cor 4:4). It is very difficult to

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adequately describe the vast religious systems man has built apart from
the Spirit, which most people accept and reverence as the church. These
will be referred to as what they are, namely: religious institutions,
religious organizations and religious associations. The scriptures also
reveal such as the harlot or whore (Rev 17:5 & 19:2). This is an adequate
description when one considers that much of what calls herself the bride
of Christ actually has her eyes on another, namely self, the flesh and the
world. Those members of the religious system who are not whole hearted
followers of Jesus Christ will be referred to as “the religious” or “professed
believers.” The scriptures refer to light (righteous) and darkness (evil).
Many professed believers think there are many acceptable shades of gray
and that the degree of one’s dedication to the Lord is somewhat optional.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus equated his followers as hot and those
who are lost as cold. The lukewarm would be those shades of gray (Rev
3:15-16). Jesus said He desired that we be hot or cold, but the lukewarm
He would vomit out of His mouth. These were especially displeasing to
Him. Some would call them fence sitters. The lukewarm are noncommittal,
lack zeal, and are generally deceived and hard to reach because they have
a powerless form of godliness that keeps them content (2 Tm 3:5). The
lukewarm may be very hard to distinguish from the world due to a life of
compromise or hypocrisy (Mt 23:28). The lukewarm mostly believe that
they are hot and certainly superior to the cold.

The Accepted Meaning of “the Church”

What is the church? The popular notion of “the church” is that it is a


facility, building, meeting place or religious organization/institution where
one goes to find, worship and serve God. Preachers/pastors are looked
upon as a sort of priestly order having lordship and authority over their
members (Mt 10:42). These are mostly viewed as God’s authority on
earth to teach, administer or facilitate salvation and perform religious
ceremonies or rites such as baptisms, weddings, funerals and the Lord’s
Supper. If pressed most would acknowledge the church is a body of
individuals, but it is mostly referred to from the standpoint of a facility,
building or denomination – i.e. “at my Church.” Another popular notion is
that membership, attendance, support, devotion and faithful service in
one of these institutions is the primary gauge to reveal right standing
before God (Acts 17:24-25). This is why most people’s thoughts
immediately conjure up their images of “religious organizations” when
engaged in any discussion of Jesus. Most have difficulty separating a
personal relationship with Jesus Christ from a religious institution,
denomination or doctrine. Often it is because the religious organization
has become their form of relationship with Jesus Christ as it has exalted
itself as the head of the body. This is a poor substitute for the real thing!

Often men and religious things are placed between the believer and God.
There is only one way to approach God. Ephesians 2:18, “For through him
(Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Notice that

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through Christ we have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit (Heb
4:14, 8:1, 9:24, 1 Jn 2:1). Man and the things of man have been totally
left out of the equation. Jesus brought reconciliation and has given us His
Spirit, let us walk therein (Eph 2:13-17). Ephesians 3:11-12, “According
to the eternal purpose which he (God) purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of
him.” Our faith must be in Christ and He must be head of the body (Eph
1:22, 5:23, Col 1:18). Anything that exalts itself in the place of Christ is
not of God. 1 John 5:11, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us
eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” We are complete in Him: Colossians
2:10, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality
and power.”

The True Body of Christ

The Greek word for our term, church, is Ekklesia (ek-klay-see-ah)


meaning: “Called out ones.” The true church is the body of believers who
are disciples and followers of Christ, consisting of individuals past, present
and future. There is one body, one Spirit and one Lord (Eph 4:4-6). Jesus
said it like this: John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,
and they follow me (also Ps 95:7).” The sheep would represent the
church, not the pasture, pen or stable. Hearing Christ’s voice & Christ
knowing them, represents relationship. Following is much more than a
profession, mere mental belief or acknowledgment, but seeks and lives
God’s will over your own. Following is obedience and is best described as
walking in the footsteps of Christ (1 Pt 2:21-22, 1 Jn 2:6). How did Christ
walk? Jesus walked the way of the cross, meaning: He came to the earth
when directed by the Father; He totally denied SELF to do/perform the
Father’s will to the point of giving His physical life; spoke and taught His
Father’s Words; did the Father’s Work; prayed often; forsook the things of
the world; became a servant; was tempted yet did not sin; was reviled
and rejected; and always obeyed the Father. In order to do these things,
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. The example that Jesus left for us to
follow has been discussed in much more depth in previous chapters. It is
also important to note that wherever the word “church” is used in
scripture, such as in the King James Bible, it was translated into English
from this Greek word “Ekklesia” meaning “called out ones.” On occasion
the term may mean an assembly or gathering of called out ones. The
body of Christ is not something you join, but is something you are born
into and only God can do this (Jn 1:12-13, 3:3, 6:44, 6:65, 1 Cor 3:7) -
not by the will of man or the flesh (Jn 1:12-13). Ephesians 5:30,32, “For
we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. This is a great
mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

What have the Ekklesia (called out ones) been called out of? We have
been called out of darkness which is all sin, evil, and unrighteousness (Mt
4:6, Lk 11:35, Jn 3:19-21, 8:35, Col 1:13, 1 Jn 3:8). We have been called
out of worldliness which is the cares/pleasures of this life, deceitfulness of

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riches, pollutions of the world, and lusts of the eyes and pride of life (Mk
4:18-19, Lk 8:14 & 21:34, 1 Jn 2:15-17, 2 Pt 2:20, Js 1:27, Gal 6:14 ).
We have been called out of Mystery Babylon which is confusion, a mixture
of government, paganism/idolatry & religion - Doctrines of Balaam (2 Pt
2:14-16, Jude 1:11, Rev 2:14). This is man’s attempts to reach God
through man’s will while retaining the things of the world (Rev 18:4, 2 Cor
6:17, 1 Cor 6:15-16). We have been called out of SELF which is self-
sufficiency, self-love, selfishness, self-seeking, self-gratification, self-
righteousness, self-preservation, self-centeredness, and self-knowledge,
known as the flesh (Mt 10:39 & 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:24 & 17:33, Jn
12:25, Romans chapter 8). All sin results from a pursuit of self-will rather
than God’s will. Self is prideful and arrogant. God would have us humble
and meek. Self wants to be sovereign. God would have us to be
dependant upon Him. In short, we have been called out of all rebellion to
God and must lay down all resistance and come back under His authority -
freely and lovingly.

Jesus is the Head of the Body

Jesus is the head of the church, for it is His body and He has purchased it
with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Ephesians 1:20-23, “Which he wrought
in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right
hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this
world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his
feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is
his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. The church represents
Christ on the earth. The power that drives the church is the Holy Ghost
and is manifested as love (Rm 5:5). Jesus must be the sole focus of all
activities within the church (His body). Colossians 1:18, “And he is the
head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the
dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (also Eph 5:23).
The religious institutes of man have actually set themselves in the place of
Christ. Men are looking to these organizations to save them, rather than
Jesus Christ. There is a distinction here that most are blinded to and do
not see. Christ scolded the church at Ephesus because: Revelation 2:4,
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy
first love.” Jesus must be the love of our life and our sole motivation must
be to please and bring Him glory in all things. The Jews had trusted in the
law to save them rather than God. They had a heartless observance and
this was not God’s desire. Some have a heartless “religious observance”
because their heart is on the world. Woe to you because God is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12). We are not
to serve buildings, personalities, or institutions. We are to serve Jesus
Christ with a whole heart of devotion.

Many will say, I am of the Baptist; or I am of the Methodist; or perhaps I


am of the Pentecostals (institutions – of man). Perhaps they will say, I am

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of Billy Graham, Charles Stanley or Benny Hinn (personalities – men); or I
am of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (entities – of man). These will
associate themselves with man or the institutions of man. 1 Corinthians
1:12-13, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I
of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul
crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” The Baptist,
Methodist or whatever did not die for you, neither are they the head of the
body (these are institutions of man, the Spirit brings unity, man divides).
Salvation will not be found in a man (other than Christ) or a television
network. We are to look to Jesus alone for our salvation. Not to doctrines,
traditions, personalities, institutions, etc. Jesus Christ must be our first
love and our heart must be for Him alone (Rev 2:4). Secondly we need to
start putting denominational loyalties aside and look for individuals that
have spiritual life and fellowship with them as members of Christ’s body.
Spiritual life is found in one who has yielded totally to God and seeks His
will through the Holy Spirit. This one will be living a life of demonstrated
faith. If we are being led of the Spirit, then we will come to understand
Christ’s gospel (not man’s doctrines). Those who are following men such
as John Calvin, Jacobus Arminius, John Wesley, Martin Luther, or whoever
need to repent. You are being led by doctrines and not by the Holy Spirit.
Many of the religious institutions of today are based upon what men (such
as the above) believed, taught and wrote about rather than Christ – and
they will argue endlessly about it (strife between denominations). God’s
truth is revealed through His Spirit and His Word. You may have truth, but
if you do not have the Spirit, your in error. Open God’s Word and seek the
Spirit’s guidance. All these competing doctrines and confusion could be
cleared up if you will put your eyes upon Jesus and submit to His Holy
Spirit.

All these groups who have named themselves and set up distinctions (of
man) only prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are being led of
man and not the Holy Spirit. Where is the unity in Christ’s body that these
religious denominations/factions presume to be (Eph 4:3)? Where is the
one-mindedness (Rm 15:6, 2 Cor 13:11, Php 1:27, 2:2)? Where is the
love? Man separates; the Spirit brings us to unity of purpose and
understanding when we will humble ourselves and be led (obedience).
This cannot and will not be accomplished through the flesh. This will only
happen through obedience to the Spirit. Thus man cannot convert, direct
nor control. Man can humble himself and obey and this is what God
requires. In other words, God will do the leading and man will do the
following (in love through faith). It is through Christ that we have access
by one Spirit to the Father (Eph 2:18, 3:12) and not through man’s
religiosity. Man presumes much!

What about Religion?

What shall we say of religion? Matthew 16:21-23, “From that time forth
began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto

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Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and
scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took
him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall
not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me,
Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that
be of God, but those that be of men.” Jesus had put His will aside and was
traveling the “Way of the Cross” in perfect loving obedience to the
Father’s will. He was going to be killed by very religious men who claimed
to represent God, although their hearts were far from Him. Peter believed
he was aiding Christ by his comment, but finds himself equally opposed to
God’s will. The elders, chief priest and scribes thought they were serving
God by killing Christ; whereas Peter thought he was serving Christ by
trying to save Him. In both cases, the individuals believed they were
serving God, but were actually conflicting and resisting with His purposes
and were mostly self serving. Jesus’ response to Peter describes man’s
religion very well. It is a stumbling block or offense to God, and does not
delight in, take pleasure, relish, enjoy, love, appreciate, or value the
things of God, but does relish the things of man. So what is to be done
with man’s religious system? Matthew 15:13, “But he (Jesus) answered
and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall
be rooted up.” Man will never please God his way. We must come to God
on His terms. No flesh will glory in God’s presence (1 Cor 1:29). God says
that we must die to what we are (sinful and self-seeking) and be born
again (desiring God’s will be done). We must approach God humbly with a
heart’s desire to yield to Him and perform His will in faithful obedience.
Man only wants to put on a religious exterior, yet retain self will. God is
going to do some shaking and rooting up during the tribulation period and
this is discussed in Chapter Ten – many will be purged, or tried and
purified.

Our God is a jealous God and we are to follow Him alone and not set up
any other image or entity in our lives (Ex 34:14). John 10:3-5, “To him
the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own
sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own
sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his
voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they
know not the voice of strangers.” The sheep know the Shepherd and He
communicates with them. This is relationship. The Shepherd intimately
knows the sheep, by name! This is the close personal relationship that
Christ wants to have with you. The Lord once said of Moses, “I know thee
by name” (Ex 33:17). Notice: the Shepherd leads and the true sheep
follow because they are listening and focused on the Shepherd and they
obey Him (Is 40:11, 1 John 2:3)! The Shepherd goes before them and
provides for them. The sheep walk in His path. Sheep are humble and
obedient. God desires that we look to Him alone for all our needs, not
ourselves or other men (Ez 34:31). The true sheep will not follow after
someone (man – no matter how likeable) other than the Shepherd
because they are focused on the Shepherd. There are many other sheep

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in the religious world blinded and following after strangers or institutions,
which have set themselves in the place of the Shepherd. Strangers want
to tell you what the Shepherd really said or meant as they beckon you to
themselves in their own fenced pen or pasture which may become a
spiritual prison. They may tell you that they alone represent the Shepherd
and their pen is the only correct sheep place. These leaders tread down
the pastures and foul the waters (Ez 34:18-19) and consume the sheep
(Ez 34:10). Perhaps if these sheep read their bibles and sought God in
prayer and daily life, this would not be the case. These sheep also seek to
go about independent of the Shepherd and provide for themselves (self-
sufficient), their way (self will), and in their timing (impatient). The
Shepherd is going down a narrow trail and the sheep must pay close
attention and listen for a still small voice (1 Kg 19:12). Many sheep have
had their eyes on the surroundings and worldly delights that are off the
narrow path. These have wandered off the Shepherd’s path, but are
absolutely convinced they are still following Him, yet they are in the midst
of wolves.

Personal Relationship

We must be careful not to elevate any method or mechanism of our


worship to be the emphasis or substitute for our relationship with God. In
the wilderness, the children of Israel were constantly complaining,
whining, and rebelling against God (Ex 17:2-3, 7, Num 11:4-6). They
tempted Christ (1 Cor 10:9). Numbers 21:6, “And the LORD sent fiery
serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of
Israel died.” When the people repented of their evil, God sent deliverance.
Numbers 21:8, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery
serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one
that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” This solution was to be
a foreshadowing or symbolic object lesson to represent what Christ would
later do on the cross. John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in
the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The symbolism
was that we are all dying in sin, and only when we look to God’s provision
(Christ) for salvation can we have life. Satan overcomes man by injecting
his venom in man’s blood (which is the life of the flesh) and thus
corrupting it. Christ is the only cure. Jesus being lifted on the cross being
God’s great sacrifice of love for us. Those who did not obey and look to
God’s provision, died in their rejection and rebellion. The people of Israel
later corrupted what God had done by worshipping the means of
deliverance rather than the deliverer. 2 Kings 18:4, “He (King Hezekiah)
removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves,
and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto
those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it
Nehushtan.” Israel had made a false god of the brazen image thereby
greatly dishonoring God. Likewise, many today have made their own God
and deliverer out of the religious organizations, ceremonies and rites

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(sacrements), charismatic leaders, religious works, baptisms, doctrines
and traditions, etc. They rejoice in the works of their own hands (Acts
7:41). When we place our faith in these things rather than Jesus Christ,
we have missed God’s will and exalted man’s. God knew that man would
improve upon the method of worship, evolve it, and eventually exalt it in
the place of God. This is why God forbid Israel to carve an altar.
Deuteronomy 27:5, “And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy
God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.”
God desired to be the focus of man’s worship rather than have man
improve, beautify and exalt the means.

King Ahaz saw a pagan altar that he liked while visiting Syria and sent the
pattern of it to Urijah the priest to have a similar one built (2 Kg 16:10-
18). This altar violated God’s Word (Moses was told not to deviate from
God’s pattern, Ex 25:9, Heb 8:5 and subsequently David and Soloman)
and the one in Damascus certainly didn’t save the Syrians who offered
upon it from Tiglathpileser’s (Assyria) invasion which was orchestrated by
Ahaz. Rather than follow God’s pattern, Ahaz chose man’s – and that of
the heathen. King Ahaz incorporated a similar pagan altar into his worship
of God at the temple. He offered worship unto Syria’s gods because they
seemed stronger (2 Chr 28:23). The truth is that Ahaz’s demise was due
to his own evil (2 Chr 28:19, 22). We are told of the people: 2 Kings
17:33, “They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the
manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.” King Ahaz
had a form of religion, but was wicked in God’s eyes as he did that which
opposed God (2 Kgs 16:2-4, 2 Chr 28:24-25). King Ahaz would not see
his own wickedness and repent, but sought other solutions. Nothing has
changed in our “modern day.” Many will “profess Christ” and then take the
things of the world and Christianize them. Many will desire to fear God
and also serve the world and their own idols after the manner of
the culture/society around them. God will not share His majesty with
man’s idolatry. We cannot incorporate our own will or idolatry into our
relationship with Jesus Christ. Idolatry is mostly incorporated within a
religious context (observance). Israel constantly provoked God with their
idolatry (2 Kgs 17:8-18). We must decide - ritual or relationship? Which
do you think God’s emphasis will be on during Judgment Day? Heart or
formula.

How did Jesus define eternal life? John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that
they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou
hast sent.” Christ defined eternal life as knowing the Father and Jesus.
This is a relationship! We know God as we follow and live in abiding faith.
In following, we obey: John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said unto
him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love
him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that
loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not
mine, but the Father's which sent me.” So if we love Jesus, we will make

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sure we keep His commandments, it will be our desire. Do you know
Christ? To know is to follow (see Chapter Two for details).

Putting us under Bondage

When you come to Christ and understand that we are to have a very real,
vibrant ongoing relationship there is such a freedom. Our acceptance with
God is not based upon religious merits or works, but by loving faith lived
daily for our Lord. Suddenly you realize that it’s not about pleasing man or
his systems. Christ yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mt 11:30). Men
will try and load us down with all sorts of religious requirements and keep
us under heavy loads. Galatians 2:4, “And that because of false brethren
unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we
have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.” The early
church came out of the Jewish religious system. Most were raised under
strict doctrines and traditions. Initially, this break was not totally clean.
The body of Christ was working out through the scriptures, being led of
the Holy Spirit (unfolding the scriptures - teaching), and discerning
Christ’s Words as to how the body was to function. Many could not part
with their old religious ideas (instilled in them). They tried to impose
circumcision and observances of the law upon the new believers
(converts) and bring them back under the bondage that Christ had freed
them from (Gal 4:5). Acts 15:5, “But there rose up certain of the sect of
the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise
them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Even Peter had
problems with holding on to the old traditions and doctrines (Gal 2:11-
16). Things are no different in the modern religious institutions. Men will
try and bring us into bondage by telling us we must attend their
denomination, believe their doctrine, and support their organization
through attendance, volunteerism, finances, good works, evangelism,
missions, etc. What we really must do is be led by the Spirit of God
through daily life which will undoubtedly produce fruit that is acceptable to
the Father and liberty to those who follow (Ps 119:45). The law does not
justify, but faith in Christ does (Acts 13:39). Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast
therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not
entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Those who love God use their
liberty as His servants and not for evil – meaning those things which
oppose God (1 Pt 2:16). Many have great difficulty parting with the
institution and this in itself reveals the bondage. They have been instilled
to think of relationship with God and man’s religious institutions as one in
the same. To separate from one is to separate from both in their minds.
This is bondage! I’m not talking about becoming an independent agent,
but joining the true body of Christ and seeking out those who have
spiritual life. Come out, come out and let Christ be your authority.

Do not allow men to put you back into bondage because Christ will then
become of none effect to you (Gal 5:4). Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast
therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not

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entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” This is the nature of our
liberty: Galatians 5:5, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of
righteousness by faith.” When we live daily in obedience to Christ with a
whole heart, then God is pleased. For this reason: Galatians 5:18, “But if
ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” You will be performing
the intent of the law with your correct attitude and obedience toward God
as led by His Spirit. Since we are doing this, we have liberty and this
liberty can never be allowed as occasion to the flesh (Gal 5:13). To seek
after fleshly things would not be following the Spirit and thus nullify the
liberty due to the wrong motives. So: Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the
Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” We will walk by the Spirit (narrow) or
the flesh (broad) and you must decide which path you are on and where
you choose to travel.

Trinkets and Paraphernalia

We read earlier how God doesn’t desire an ornate artistically sculpted altar
and doing such disqualifies it. All glory is to go to God alone and not to
implements of worship as man’s eyes tend to be drawn to fleshly things.
Exodus 20:4, 23, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or
any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Ye shall not make with
me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. John 4:24,
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and
in truth.” We worship God in Spirit and not through physical
representations (Rm 1:23) – recall the brasen fiery serpent discussion.
Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not
give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” God’s glory will not
be given to an inanimate object (Is 44:9, Ps 78:58). Acts 17:29-30,
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think
that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and
man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men every where to repent.” Religious man has made all
sorts of unauthorized Christian trinkets (images). Most ignorantly assume
that their religious images are not the same, but all images have religious
context. Examples would be gold and silver crosses (Ex 20:23) in every
conceivable size and variety, with and without an image of Christ hanging
on it; sculptures of praying hands; angels; nativity scenes; paintings; and
fish/cross symbol jewelry, etc. (Deut 4:16-18, 23, 25 & 5:8). These things
are man’s ideas and not God’s direction. Scripture never directs us to use
the sign of the cross as a Christian identifier. Christ died a horrible death
for you on a torturous Roman cross to provide followers with forgiveness
and reconciliation to the Father. We must never forget this act of love. The
cross was the shame Jesus suffered for us (Gal 3:13). We remember
Jesus through communion (Lord’s Supper), which is Christ’s broken body
and shed blood. The cross was never designated to be a religious icon.
Many will be upset with this and that just proves the point that these are
images because of the defensive attachment (possessive) placed on them.

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These same ones will have a form of worship regarding their crosses (or
sculptures/paintings). If you cannot separate the cross image (icon) from
Christ in your defense, then you really have a problem (attachment) – we
do not worship a cross. Many worship the work of their own hands (Is
2:8). We are to seek our Lord directly through prayer and relationship, not
inanimate objects. Women (applies to men) are told to dress in modest
apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety without gold, pearls or costly
array (2 Tm 2:9, 1 Pt 3:3-4). Fashioning jewelry into religious symbols
does not give license to violate scripture. Many people have a religious
nature (outlook), but that does not mean that they have God’s nature. We
are to have a heart for God and a love for His Word and not to serve Him
based upon what we think He would like (see Chapter Seven, Christ
(Mass), A Worldly Celebration). Religious man thinks surely God would be
honored by religious objects (images) because they draw attention to
religious things (such as God). However, do these religious ones read and
obey His Word? (read on)

Many have paintings or movies that depict Jesus (or depictions of Jesus
hanging on a cross). This is a direct violation of the Word of God and thus
is against God’s will. Please consider this verse: Exodus 20:4, “Thou shalt
not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is
in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth (also Deut 5:8).” This verse cannot be more clear. Jesus
was in heaven, came to earth and now is in heaven. God never revealed
His simlitude (form) to Israel because He did not want them to make
images of Him. Deuteronomy 4:15-16, “Take ye therefore good heed unto
yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD
spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt
yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure,
the likeness of male or female (also Deut 4:12).” AND Isaiah 40:18, “To
whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?”
We do not know what Jesus looked like and these have portrayed false
images. Most portray Jesus with long hair yet the scriptures say, 1
Corinthians 11:14, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man
have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” Jesus is always depicted as
having very desirable features. Isaiah 53:2, “For he shall grow up before
him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form
nor comeliness (beauty, attractiveness); and when we shall see him, there
is no beauty that we should desire him.” Comeliness is that which is
becoming, fit or suitable, in form or manner - less forcible than beauty,
less elegant than grace, and less light than prettiness. We are not to
worship the image of a man, for God is so much greater. One day we shall
see Him as He is, in all His glory (1 Jn 3:2, 1 Pt 4:13). Most will think this
to be innocent, but most will also have these portrayed images in their
mind when they think of Christ. God has forbidden this (Deut 4:23,
28:47)! The point is that our worship of Christ is not found in objects of
adornment. God never wanted it to be this way and was very clear about
it. Isaiah 46:5, “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and

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compare me, that we may be like?” Religious man seeks to worship God
his way and never sees fault in anything he does. Some will say that they
have had visions of Christ, but do we trust man’s visions or God’s Word?
Do not visions agree with the Word? Why is Christ depicted as a man of
which we have no description and not as John described Him in Revelation
(vs. 1:13-17, 2:18, 5:6)? John said, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet
as dead (Rev 1:17).” Christ’s righteousness was once seen by Peter,
James and John (mount of transfiguration) as Jesus was transfigured
before them: Mark 9:3, “And his raiment became shining, exceeding white
as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.” Jesus’ shining white
clothing represented His total righteousness. This is the understanding we
should have of Him. We are to “follow” and conform to His image as the
Spirit leads us and God works in us (Php 2:13, Heb 13:21). God does not
allow physical representations of Himself no matter how man feels about
the results (winning people to the Lord?) of the artistic license
he presumes. To presume is to venture without positive permission (to
suppose entitlement). This is a form of arrogance (pride – stiffnecked,
rebellious).

Many will be thinking that they absolutely do not agree about the crosses
because it has been so instilled in them to accept them and they are
attached to their worship of them. Images could never portray the
awesomeness and totality of God. Israel greatly feared God when He
spoke to them through the midst of the fire in the burning mountain (Deut
5:23-27). However, they didn’t fear the images that they made and
controlled – big difference! They made THEIR god and offered sacrifices to
THEIR god and rejoiced in the works of THEIR hands (Acts 7:40-41, Ps
106:19-20, Is 2:8). They chose their way over God’s way just as so many
religious do today. Do we obey God and His Word or do we rebelliously
worship a God of our own making in the image we wish to construct? Men
love images and always have. They want something physical and tangible
that they can see and worship. God says that we must approach Him
through faith (Heb 11:6). Man tries to compromise by making his images
of a religious nature. If you find comfort in your images you’re an idolator
(maybe a prayer garden/grove, cross, prayer beads). God is a Spirit and
we must worship Him in Spirit and by His Word (Jn 4:24). We are not
worshipping an idol that we can see with our physical eyes. Instead, we
are to serve God with love in faith – the evidence of things not seen (Heb
11:1). 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though
now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full
of glory.”

God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt by His strong hand (Ex
6:1). When Moses was meeting with God on Mount Sinai (Ex 24:16-18),
the children of Israel were making a golden calf and worshiping it (Ex
32:1-6). The people wanted something tangible that they could see and
touch. They said the calf was their god (representative) that brought them
up out of Egypt (Ex 32:4). After all, they had grown up in Egypt and this

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is what the Egyptians did – they made images of their gods and
worshipped them. Hey – everybody’s doing it! Israel was not guiltless and
this was not innocent fun because God had just prior told them: Exodus
20:3-6, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the
earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the
LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
commandments.” Perhaps they just wanted to relegate God into an image
of their creation? – They were afraid of God as He had presented Himself
to them (Ex 20:19, Deut 5:23-27). God had come to prove them (Ex
20:20) and the results were disappointing. God told Moses the people had
corrupted themselves and had turned aside quickly from following His
commandments (Ex 32:7-8). God also said they were stiffnecked
(rebellious, Ex 32:9) and He was prepared to consume them (Ex 32:10).
Had Moses not intervened (Ex 32:11-14) they would have been
destroyed. The people later mourned and “put off their ornaments” - they
stripped themselves of the ornaments (things displeasing – jewelry items,
religious images, Ex 33:4-6). Woe to those who look to images!

Many movies have been made concerning Jesus. The gospel was never
intented to be entertainment to the flesh, yet these dramas are made to
be just that. As mentioned, we do not know what Jesus looked like, nor do
we know His actual personality, His body language, His thoughts, how He
interacted with others and His emotional expressions. If Jesus the man
could be portrayed, the deity certainly could not. These movies are man’s
opinions and speculations based upon what appeals to the flesh. Men
conform Christ to their image of Him (opposites – demonic). To make an
entertaining movie, men must take many liberties in filling in unknown
details. The whole thing becomes a huge fraud with some semblance to
the biblical account. These movies could never be truly accurate and are
thusdeceptive. The truth is not accurately represented and therefore
becomes a lie. False impressions are burned into the minds of the
audience. These surface during prayer, worship and devotion and thus
become idolic. This is not the way God intended to be worshipped or
represented. Woe to man! Good intentions are not license to do evil.
People will not be drawn to God by man’s disobedience to God (God draws
men unto Himself, Jn 6:44, 65). A lie will not draw hearts to the truth. We
may not worship any other god, including man’s assumed likenesses of
the real God (Ex 34:14).

Do you have paintings of Jesus or statues (Jesus, virgin Mary, angels,


nativity scene, saints, etc. – Deut 27:15)? If you do, then you have put up
images and this is forbidden (Deut 16:22). This is not innocent – you have
rejected God’s Word in favor of your own thoughts or ideas – doing what
is right in your own eyes (Deut 12:8). Israel did this over and over and

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always thought it was innocent – everybody was doing it. Jesus said that if
you do not keep His sayings (Word) that you do not love Him (Jn 14:24) –
this is rejection! Jesus also said: John 15:23, “He that hateth me hateth
my Father also.” There is not a pick and choose option for serving God.
Many worship an image of Christ – few “follow” the living Christ – there is
a tremendous difference that the blind will never see. Many will put
religious symbols or bumper stickers on their cars. Jesus would have
others see Him through us by the faithful lives we live – do and not say.

Many have made images of angels (paintings, sculptures, jewelry, etc.)


and have a form of worship thereof (Deut 16:22, Col 2:18). We are told
more than once in the Word of God not to worship angels (usually by the
angels themselves, Jdg 13:16-18, Heb Chap 1&2, Rev 19:10, 22:8-9).
Many also depict angels inaccurately as winged and feminine or as young
children. Angels are always referred to in the masculine and as mature, in
God’s Word.

Compromise

What an evil word compromise is. We have to understand that the nature
of man is fallen and as such is in rebellion against God. Man always seeks
to please his flesh. The best situation for the unconverted is if he can
please his flesh and soothe the guilty conscious at the same time. If God
says you are not to have graven statues, then man will immediately
respond, “what if.” What if they were molded rather than engraved with
tools? What if they are metal rather than clay or wood? What if we had a
painting rather than a statue? What if they were of Christian symbols? In
other words religious man will overlook the intent and major on the fine
points of the law. Men will strain at a gnat, but swallow a camel (Mt
23:24). The best possible justification for the religious man would be a
verse from God’s Word even if it has to be taken out of context or is an
obscure and less understood verse that may even contradict a multitude
of other verses. Those that have a heart toward God will uphold the intent
of what God desires. Those who are seeking God, but want to live in the
flesh will look for loopholes. Those who serve through the flesh will at best
grudgingly follow God and in their way. Another word that some will hide
behind is “tolerance.” This is going along with something that you know to
be wrong for the sake of unity. Most likely this will be associated with the
golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We are
to seek peace with all men if possible, but never, ever compromise the
Word of God in so doing (Heb 12:14).

Assembling

When asked the question, “Where do you go to church?” If you do not


respond with the appropriate answer you are immediately viewed with
much suspicion and basically considered a heretic or apostate until
possibly proven innocent. The desired answer being a membership with an

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established (known) and generally accepted form of man’s organized and
incorporated religion (one of the thousands of denominations). The
religious institutions have been tremendously successful in furthering this
concept. You may find that the most biblically illiterate person may be
able to conjure up some form of this verse of scripture: Hebrews 10:25,
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of
some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the
day approaching.” It is so important to understand that this does not
necessarily mean perfect attendance at a religious institution. That is a
doctrine and tradition of men which is mostly fear based – not in love. The
scripture is saying that true followers assemble wherever and whenever
appropriate to exhort one another in the faith. The early church
assembled in private homes, courtyards, upper chambers, synagogues, or
wherever. The importance was why they were assembling. Exhorting
means to give spirit, strength, comfort, courage and to entreat (pray
against an evil) and pray. Jesus said: Matthew 18:20, “For where two or
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of
them.” If we include the full text of Hebrews Chapter 10, we find that God
has written His law in our hearts and minds and we have a new life of love
and faith to draw near to Him with correct motives. We are to come with a
pure heart or whole heartedly due to our love for Him in unwavering
confidence. We look to Him alone. We assemble ourselves to provoke each
other unto love and good works, the forsaking of sin and having conduct
that is pure and holy always seeking righteousness in following our Lord.
We encourage one another to forsake the things of the world and wholly
seek God’s righteousness. This is generally not what the religious are
doing and this will be more thoroughly covered in Chapter Seven. Two
people form an assembly. There is no rule about meeting in religious
buildings with pomp and ceremony. Those that think there must be some
sort of religious structure to legitimize the gathering only show their
ignorance of the truth.

The truly sad thing is that although many have taken religious attendance
to heart, they have not taken true faith to heart. True faith is loving
obedience and service to Christ as Lord, everyday and in every way. This
is a denying of self and a forsaking of sin and the world. Faith will save,
religious attendance will not. The priorities are all out of order and this is
the confusion that God allows for those who love not the truth (live,
apply, do). Those who do not love the truth, have no use for it and will not
be given it – this you can be assured of. This is the spiritual blindness that
Christ talked about so often. This was also always associated with the
religious. The religious will interpret God’s Word through the flesh and
mostly wrongfully apply it. The truth of the gospel such as coming to the
light (living righteously), self-denial, and sacrifice becomes a reproach to
them as it does not soothe the flesh, and they have no delight in it (Jer
6:10). The spiritual will have the Word of God unfolded to them as taught
by the Holy Spirit as they live it and travel the narrow path conforming to
Christ’s image more and more along the way. To conform to one, you

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must die to the other. To become spiritual and Christ like, you must die to
self and the flesh.

If we are not assembling to truly serve God whole heartedly (fanatically)


and encourage, exhort, and edify others in their walk, then we have
missed the whole point of assembly. We are to have relationship with God
(through Christ) first and with others second. Assembling is not about
building facilities and serving them, shallow relationships, religious form,
ceremony, rites, etc. It’s all about Jesus Christ, the head of the body. It’s
about helping each other live daily in a world that undermines and
opposes all that Christ stood for. This should be a time when a believer
finds refuge and support – does he?

Who will Lead the Body?

Whenever there is a true move of the Spirit of God, men’s hearts will be
truly changed and cry out to Him. This will be evidenced and
demonstrated in their daily walk. They will essentially follow in the steps
of Christ in self denial (dying to self) and devotion to Him. Such a group of
men will form a powerful body and the gifts of the Spirit as identified in 1
Corinthians, Chapter 12 will be clearly manifested as the Spirit of God
leads the body. Inevitably man will rise up and attempt to franchise the
move of God and institutionalize it. The gathering will be named, facilities
will be sought and soon the Spirit will absent as man takes over and
improves, develops creeds or doctrinal statements and otherwise
legislates the move. The Spirit of God must be free to move and direct the
body. Man must be obedient through faith always looking outward to God
rather than inward to himself. Although there will be much similarity from
group to group this may vary somewhat as the Spirit determines the
need. The Spirit of God cannot and will not be boxed in by man as man
determines what truths of God’s Word will be emphasized and what will be
reduce in importance (relegated).

A Brief Historical Perspective

Just after the church was first established at Pentecost (book of Acts), it
came under heavy persecution from the religious Jews. This persecution
actually caused the church (body of Christ) to grow and be disbursed
throughout the region (Acts 8:1, 4, 11:19-21). The church was divinely
designed to endure, overcome and triumph in such persecution because
Christ is their Head and it is directed by His Spirit. The church was not
dependent upon human leadership to function. New groups (individuals,
not buildings) were established all over the area with no more than one
assembly in any given city. Almost immediately false prophets and
teachers and those seeking personal glory began to arise (2 Pt 2:1-3, 3 Jn
1:9-10, 1 Tm 1:20). This was a constant aggravation to the apostle Paul.
The apostles were busy establishing (maturing) the body with teaching,
encouragement, and exhortation. Some brethren laboring in this effort

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forsook the Lord for the things of the world (2 Tm 1:15, 4:10).Some
realized that religion could be “profitable” as a means to obtaintheir
fleshly desires (money, power, control, influence, etc.). At times, Paul
must have felt all alone. Philippians 2:20-21, “For I have no man
likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own,
not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” So men seeking their will and
purposes entered in from the very inception. Nevertheless, Christ has
always been faithful to His “little flock” who truly seek Him and His Spirit.
Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.” There will always be a counterfeit (and it will
outnumber the true), but those who truly and intently seek Christ will find
Him and His truth. Acts 17:27, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply
they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every
one of us.” AND Jeremiah 23:23, “Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD,
and not a God afar off?” Beware of the counterfeits that seem right, but
the Spirit is absent. Cunning men can craftily expound upon and interpret
the Word of God their way. The Spirit unfolds (reveals) the Word and
brings life to the hearer.

Almost as soon as the Jewish persecution subsided, persecution began


from the Roman Empire. This persecution was severe and lasted through
ten successive Caesars over a period of two hundred and fifty years. Most
have heard of the horrible stories of Christians being thrown to lions and
set ablaze on crosses. Throughout all this the church spread and grew
tremendously, which seemingly defied logic. The Holy Spirit led the body
and no persecution on earth could contain it. The church is spiritually
designed to overcome when functioning properly. The church actually
triumphed over Rome’s efforts to stop it, resulting in the Emperor
Constantine proposing a deal to church leaders who were eager to end the
persecutions (If you cannot conquer from without, then you must conquer
from within).

During this same time period many leaders were arising within the church.
These were men who sought power, influence and control. They began to
accumulate such power incrementally over time. They also established
mindsets and methodologies, such as they could be the only ones to
administer communion (Lord’s Supper) and sacraments that were later
added. They began laying the widespread foundation of what Jesus
termed “Nicolaitans” (Rev 2:15) which means to “Lord over the people.”
These religious set-up seats of authority over the people contrary to
Christ’s command that to be great in the kingdom of heaven, you must be
servant to all (and not to establish titles or positions of supremacy). This
became as the Levitical priesthood that Jesus had abolished on the cross
(Mk 15:38). Today we know this system as the clergy-laity. The truth is
that all disciples have direct access to God through Christ (Eph 2:18) and
are to be led of the Spirit who instructs in God’s Word (2 Tim 3:16, 1 Cor
Chap 2). Over time sacraments were developed and actually became the
religious (man’s way) means of salvation rather than faith in Christ. If you

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were not a member of their religious institution, then you were considered
lost. The spiritual life seen in individuals should be the evidence of
relationship with Christ through faith.

Under Constantine there was a sort of combining of church and state


(Mystery Babylon) and the persecution of the visible church ended. Church
leaders, who had been enduring the reproach of the cross and suffering
persecution, tired and sought the relief that the state was offering. Rather
than try and defeat the church from without, the devil changed tactics to
defeat it from within. A little compromise here and there and the
persecution ended. Christianity suddenly became very popular. The
conversion of the masses soon led to pagan temples becoming church
buildings as people changed religion. Later, cathedrals (monuments to the
flesh) were built. Many of these new converts brought their pagan
traditions into the church body. A little Christianizing here and there and
these pagan observances were added right in. Ambitious leaders were
happy to accommodate this mixing in order to consolidate power and
influence. For some time, God’s Word was suppressed and not available to
the common man and they were told what authorities wanted them to
hear. Doctrinal arguments were settled by Church Councils, beginning
with the Council of Nicea in 325 (which formulated the Nicean Creed).
Religious man forms councils rather than seeking the Holy Spirit. Man
wants to formulate, consolidate and control. Those who truly followed the
Spirit were probably not part of these councils. The church literally
became two separate entities. The true church was humble in spirit, less
noticeable, and Christ-seeking. The false church (harlot) exalted the flesh,
was highly visible, state approved, and was self-seeking. Those whose
beliefs or practices deviated sufficiently from the orthodoxy of the councils
now became the objects of efforts (persecution) to bring them into the
fold. Resistance often led to persecution. This soon plunged the church
into the Dark Ages whereby the resulting Roman Catholic and the
Orthodox Church Systems became the persecutors of all those who did
not yield to their absolute rule (within their realms of influence). Believers
were told that only by being a member of the now institutionalized
religious system could one be saved (sounds familiar for today). These
institutions assumed they held all truth and apart from them there was
none other. They even claimed to speak for God. Even so, there were still
many smaller groups of true believers who did not yield to this beast
system. It’s amazing, but the worst and probably longest sustained
persecutions of true believers were actually carried out by those who
claimed to represent Christ, just as Christ was killed by those who claimed
to represent God and who were looking for His coming. Torture, murder
and destruction of written materials became the mode of control.
Throughout a history of man exerting his will, God has preserved His Word
for “whosoever will” and this is miraculous (Rev 22:17). We must seek
Christ alone and understand this Word as guided and taught by His Holy
Spirit. There is no justification in God’s Word to persecute or kill in His
name. This activity showed without doubt that these institutions were

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following man and not the Spirit. The religious system totally
misrepresented Christ through such authoritarianism and rule of terror.

The Church of Rome known as the Roman Catholic Church had many
reformers. These were men who saw error in the church and sought to
correct the error. In most cases these were Roman Catholics who never
renounced their membership within the Roman Catholic Church. From
these attempted reforms came additional protestors. These men were
eventually forced to split from the Roman Catholic Church and became
know as the Protestants (Protest-ants). Although the Protestants steered
their memberships back to the truth of faith in Christ, they carried over
much of the error of the Roman Catholics (lust for buildings/temples,
holidays, ceremonies, Lordship authority/ control). Although these
reformers had the truth of God’s Word, many were still deeply entrenched
in doctrines and traditions of these systems of man (very hard to break
free from, see Chapter Seven, Christ (Mass), A Worldly Celebration).

The nation of America was born out of rebellion (Rm 13:1-2) – it broke
away from the English empire by force of will. America has always been
known for rebellion (independence), pursuit of self, and pride (see
Chapter 7, Rock and Roll). Most of us were taught in school how the
United States was founded by people escaping religious persecution in
Europe. Escaping persecution is seeking relief, but in what? This has been
called a Christian nation. The church in scripture has always been a
remnant called out of the world into relationship with Christ. The true
church would never be synonymous with an entire community or nation –
there is no scriptural authority or historical precedent for such.
Throughout the history of the church, Christ has always had a remnant
that would carry the torch of His testimony. Inevitably these groups would
eventually tire of the persecution and seek relief. In relief they found
complacency and what was once alive would eventually die as they
institutionalized to preserve what they had (Rev 2:4, 3:1-2). Fortunately
there have always been others who would step-up and carry this precious
testimony forward. What happens when believers seek relief from
governments/religious authorities from persecution? Fleshly comfort and
security are gained, but what has been lost? What has been
compromised? Perhaps an examination of the United States of America
might provide an answer. Throughout the history of this nation, the
religious and government have had an arrangement. The church has lived
in security, protected by law, and has even enjoyed special tax status. The
state has been the Defender of the Faith. Churches have multiplied across
the land and assemblies (franchises) are literally located on every block.
There is a type of Christian culture flourishing with television, magazines,
schools, entertainment, retail stores, sports, associations, etc. This
country has exported religious denominations (missionaries) across the
globe. The new trend is super mega-churches operating under church
growth doctrines. So what is the problem? What has been lost – it seems
so wonderful? The problem is that the culture/society of United States of

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America is the most decadent, self-indulgent, depraved, degenerate,
morally corrupt nation on the face of the earth. Does this upset you?
Examine the facts, not your emotions. America is prideful, America is
arrogant, yet America is the world’s ideal of man’s accomplishments. The
USA is condidered the greatest country on the face of the earth. It reigns
supreme militarily, economically, culturally, religiously, socially,
scientifically, etc. Everyone wants to immigrate to America. Some would
consider the USA to be the world’s moral compass (and this is very telling
of the great deception). The US proudly boast, “I Am, there is none else
beside me” (Is 47:8-10). HOWEVER: The U.S. aborts its babies (murder
of innocents) by the millions; glorifies every sin imaginable through its
television programming and movie industry; promotes illicit sex,
homosexuality & perversion and creates & distributes the world’s
pornography; is consumed with a love of violence, alcohol, and drug use;
wars with an occupies other nations or controls economically; enslaves
(debt) its citizens through a system of banking and credit (Federal
Reserve) combined with enticements of covetousness and greed; is very
proud; promotes gambling (Lotteries, casinos, etc. – whole states are
consumed) and rebellious music styles which lower inhibitions; uses the
majority of the world’s resources and consumes its products (therefore:
what America wants the world produces and also buys) – America’s great
“merchant men” (corporations) and financial institutions enslave the world
(the souls of men – Rev 18:13, 23, consider the increasing multitude of
third world sweat shops) – seeking the fruits that her soul lusts after (Rev
18:14); The greed and self-indulgence are unrivaled in world history; and
worse – it exports immoral culture around the world. American culture is
just a continuance of that of Rome (violence, sensuality, slavery,
regulations, military superiority, roads, right to face accusers {Acts
25:16}, etc.). What all this is saying is that the American religious
institutes are totally ineffective (even from a worldly perspective, given its
size, resources, influence, etc.). The country that sends out so many
missionaries is in desperate need of missionaries. The most popular toys,
children’s books and movies in the U.S. all concern witchcraft and the
occult. Video games (played by most youth) are saturated with themes of
graphic violence, sex and the occult. Many Christian families justify
participation in these things by saying its just fun make-believe. In order
for the organized churches to maintain popularity and draw crowds, the
message of Christ becomes weaker and less offensive to such a point that
now God has just become an unconditional “Love God” with no
expectations. The banner on a local church proclaims: “God loves you no
matter what.” This may sound good to the flesh, but scripture does not
support this - (Ps 7:11, 11:5, 119:155). Relationships are reciprocal:
John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will
keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him.” John 15:10, “If ye keep my
commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my
Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” Most religious institutions
are worldly and very representative of the culture. A typical religious

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assembly will be very representative of the culture at large. America is the
economic/religious Babylon described in the Bible! America undoubtedly
corrupts the world with her fornication (Rev 19:2). She is wholly given to
pleasures and living carelessly and deliciously (Is 47:8, Rev 18:7).

Americans like things quick and convenient so getting saved has been
reduced down to a one line repeated prayer formula. Most are blinded,
having itching ears and will not endure sound doctrine, but are satisfied
with fables (2 Tim 4:3-4). America is the modern seat of Mystery Babylon
and the book of Revelation addresses its coming fate (Pv 16:18). If you
cannot discern that there is something dreadfully wrong in much of
America’s denominational churches, then you need only to open your Bible
and start reading it. Where is the church that Jesus described? It’s in
following Him and not man. The last reprobate act of Sodom was open
homosexuality. The modern church is now opening it’s arms to
unrepentant homosexuals – judgment is near (Jude 1:7). We are now at a
point in God’s timetable (look at the signs in Matthew 24, Daniel,
Revelation) when the world and the church is headed into the Great
Tribulation. Much of the U.S. religious institutions propagate fables of pre-
tribulation raptures (those less worthy than themselves as being “Left
Behind” to face tribulation) - meanwhile the Churches in China, Sudan,
Indonesia, etc. suffer heavy persecution now, for standing up for Christ.
The people say: Isaiah 30:10, “Which say to the seers, See not; and to
the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth
things, prophesy deceits.” The false prophets cry peace, peace, but
sudden destruction is coming (1 Thess 5:3, Ez 7:25).

The harlot church wants to live for the flesh, she partakes of the things of
the world committing spiritual adultery. Rev 2:20-22, “Notwithstanding I
have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman
Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my
servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And
I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her
into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” This is referring
to the doctrine of Balaam (Rev 2:14). This is a harlot church that mixes
her worship of God with the things of the world. This church is an
adulterer and will go into the great tribulation. Jesus does give those who
will seek Him the ability to repent. The harlot wants to save her flesh
(pre-tribulation raptures), but will be thoroughly purged. This will be
addressed in Chapter Ten.
Chapter 6 – Christ’s Holy Spirit Led Body

When Jesus walked upon the earth in the flesh, He was limited in what He
could do. He could only minister to so many people at a time or be at so
many places. Jesus said it was to our advantage that He go away (Jn 16:7
& Jn 14:28). Not only did He give Himself as the unblemished Lamb to be
sacrificed for our sins and bring opportunity for reconciliation to the

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Father, but He also brought about a more perfect way in which those who
would follow Him could walk therein. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to give us
more perfect access (Eph 2:18). The Spirit is not limited in time and
space. This chapter will consider the vital role the Spirit has in conforming
us to Christ’s image. Through the Spirit we have access to God’s wisdom
and Christ’s direction all the time (1 Cor 2:10, 16). The Spirit’s role is so
vital that we cannot walk in Christ apart from the Spirit. Galatians 5:5,
“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

John1:6-8, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The
same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men
through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to
bear witness of that Light.” John the Baptist was a prophet sent to prepare
the way for Christ and did accomplish his purpose (Jn 10:41). Luke 1:15,
“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine
nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his
mother's womb.” John operated in the Spirit of Elijah and was filled with
the Holy Spirit from the womb (Lk 1:17, 41, Mal 4:5). The Holy Spirit
provided the authority, boldness and words for John to speak to be the
witness God ordained. Luke 3:2-3, “Annas and Caiaphas being the high
priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the
wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” The Word came from
God and not from the religious leaders or their system (religious
schooling) and that word was to “repent.” Ezekiel also specifically spoke
God’s Words (2 Chr 36:12, Ez 3:1-4, 11:5, 16:17) as did all the prophets
(Deut 18:18-19, Moses – Num 11:24-29, Is 63:11, Jonah – Jo 3:2). A
true prophet always speaks God’s Words as per the Holy Spirit (2 Pt
1:21).

We read in Chapter Two that Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost (Lk 4:1).
Christ was justified in the Spirit (1 Tm 3:16). Christ’s wisdom,
understanding, knowledge and counsel were of the Spirit (Is 11:2, Jn
7:38-39). The Spirit leads us to obey God. Acts 10:38, “How God anointed
Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about
doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was
with him.” Jesus’ desire is for His body (the church) to also be filled with
this same Spirit. Christ said, John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I
say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and
that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” To be born of water is referring
to the baptism of repentance and this is what water baptism is symbolic
of. This is the process discussed in Chapter Four whereby one is broken
before God, forgiven, born again or converted and given God’s nature
(Eph 4:24). Water is representative of God’s Word – we are to be washed
in it (Jn 15:3, Eph 5:26). The Word is from God and is profitable for
doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tm 3:16)
– it stands for ever (Is 40:8). The Word of God purifies us. 1 Peter 1:22-

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23, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the
Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but
of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
The Word will make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus
Christ (2 Tm 3:15). We obey the truth, which is the Word, through the
Spirit (water and Spirit). The Spirit unfolds God’s Word so that we can
understand and apply it in the right manner. This water of the Word
purifies us: Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I
might not sin against thee.” Purifying is taking away all our wrong
attitudes and giving us a heart to serve God. Jesus said: John 15:3, “Now
ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” The miracle
of the new birth takes place only in obeying the truth (Word) not just
hearing. The Word must be accompanied by the Spirit to bring life – to
change our hearts and attitudes. Those who have the Word but not the
Spirit will not manifest this change of heart and attitude toward God. This
was demonstrated by the religious men of Christ’s time. They had the
Word, but their hearts were far from God. 1 John 5:8, “And there are
three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood:
and these three agree in one.” These witnesses are the Holy Ghost, The
Word, and Christ’s sacrifice - the giving of His very life (God’s plan:
forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God through Jesus). 2
Thessalonians 2:13-14, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for
you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning
chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of
the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the
glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our salvation is through faith and
sanctification (becoming like Christ) through the Spirit by belief in the
Word (loving, accepting and applying the truth).

We are forgiven and our sins are covered by Christ’s shed blood (Col
1:14, Eph 1:7). The life is in the blood and Jesus’ was poured out for you
(1 Jn 5:11-12). Being born of the Spirit is that empowerment to live holy
and righteous before God (Lk 24:49, Jn 1:12, 1 Pt 1:2, 5). This is referred
to as “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” John the Baptist, who was sent to
prepare the way for Christ, said: Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with
water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost, and with fire.” We are to be led by the Spirit daily, having died to
self (repented) and having been forgiven by Christ’s shed blood.

We need a Comforter

Jesus said, John 16:7-8, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient
for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come
unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
The Holy Spirit’s manifestation was so necessary that Jesus said it was

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better for Him to leave such that this could be accomplished. The Spirit
will convict us of sin and wrongfulness, lead us to righteousness, and will
convince the world of its fault (make manifest) before God. For any of this
to be meaningful, we must freely choose to obey. Jesus (in the flesh)
could not physically give everyone such personal attention. John 15:26,
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the
Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he
shall testify of me:” Jesus sends the Spirit to us so that we can have the
ability to follow in His steps and be conformed to His image. Christ’s
image (in the flesh) represented the image of God that man was created
to be. We must be reconciled through Jesus to the image of God under His
authority. John 16:13-15, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,
he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but
whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things
to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew
it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that
he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” The Spirit will guide us
to the truth, meaning the correct knowledge, attitude and application of
God’s Word. Without the Spirit the Word is as a sealed book – we do not
rightly understand it, for there is blindness. We must pray that the Lord
will open our understanding of the scriptures (Lk 24:45). As we travel “the
way” of Christ (Jn 14:6), the Spirit unfolds God’s Word in knowledge and
application in our lives. The Spirit will write the epistle of Christ in our
heart (2 Cor 3:3). God’s Word is truth and it is eternal (Ps 12:6, 119:160,
1 Pt 1:25). The Spirit’s direction will always agree with God’s Word
because He testifies of Jesus who is the Word (Jn 17:17, Js 1:18, 1 Pt
1:25). God has given the Spirit to us through our faith (Gal 3:2). The
Spirit cannot be earned or merited through our good works or keeping of
the law (must have love and devotion). Man does not control the Spirit in
anyway. Religious error quickly manifests itself when the Spirit is absent.
Man cannot know God or serve Him apart from the Spirit. God has sealed
us with the Spirit in our hearts: 2 Corinthians 1:20-22, “For all the
promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God
by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed
us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in
our hearts.” Notice that these verses bear witness of the full Godhead
(Father, Son and Holy Ghost). The Spirit will lead and instruct us, if we
follow and obey (Acts 5:32). Psalm 86:11, “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I
will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” Understanding of
the mystery of Christ (the inspired written Word of God) was revealed to
the Apostles and prophets by the Spirit (Mk 12:36, Lk 1:67, Eph 3:4-5, 2
Pt 1:21). To understand and apply God’s Word is to live within His will
freely (purposes). Jesus must receive the glory and the Spirit will direct us
to Christ.

Knowing the Truth of God’s Word

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John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the
Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” If we
truly want to know God’s will and desire to perform it, then the Holy Spirit
will ensure that we understand it. The Holy Spirit searches and reveals the
deep things of God and we thereby have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:10-
16). Conversely, if we seek our own will in any way then we will not
understand God’s will. God’s truth is a mystery – hidden wisdom to those
who are prideful or fleshly (1 Cor 2:7), yet will be understood by those
who are humble and childlike (Mk 10:15, Lk 18:17). The kingdom will only
be revealed through the Holy Spirit and never through man’s wisdom (1
Cor 2:13). The Holy Spirit gives truth of understanding – He is the Spirit
of truth (Jn 15:26, 16:13)! Seeking of your will is seeking the flesh. Dying
to your desires and will to seek God is seeking the Spirit. These things are
as foolishness to the fleshly (1 Cor 2:14). When the flesh is active it will
always seek its own and exalt itself above all else. God will not serve our
flesh.

Have you ever noticed how different people can look at the same verse of
scripture and come up with very different interpretations of the meaning?
A person’s perspective may be biased based upon various reasons such as
denominational/religious doctrine (doctrines of men), the way they were
brought up or taught (traditions of men), pre-conceived notions, or
perhaps a cherished lifestyle. In other words, scripture tends to be
examined in light of the individual’s desired outcome or prior knowledge
(2 Cor 2:17, 4:2). These things interfere with God’s will and are idols in
your heart. If the desired meaning is not clearly apparent or is in doubt,
then justification is sought. Offensive scriptures are downplayed and
desired ones are emphasized. The Word becomes tailored to meet an end.
These look at God’s Word through the eyes of the flesh. We must examine
God’s Word through the Spirit. The flesh desires that which is contrary to
the Spirit (Gal 5:17, Rm 8:4-5). The flesh will not desire to deny itself or
make sacrifices. If the truth is not approached with a pure heart and right
motives then it is of no use to know it. If the truth says to deny yourself
and take up the cross, yet you are not willing, then the truth is of no value
to you. Many handle God’s Word as a buffet of suggestions to be picked
and choosed from, given a changing appetite. They do what is right in
their own eyes (Deut 12:8) - but never see it that way (blindness).

Men find all sorts of ways to justify their errors or desired beliefs. They will
take God’s Word and say this doesn’t apply because it is in the Old
Testament (Mt 14:52); or this does not apply because it was only meant
for the Jews; or this was only for the early church or during apostolic
times; or this is only symbolic; and on and on. Jesus brought the truth,
but man prefers his opinions. The truth will deny the flesh and this is the
issue! Rather than accept and live within the truth, man will alter the truth
to fit his opinions and assume that God is in agreement or will see things
his way. We must understand that our “opinions” will always equate to

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“doing what is right in our own eyes” and will strengthen (feed) our flesh
(Deut 12:8, Jud 17:6, 21:25, Pv 12:15, 21:2). Our opinions will be judged
by God’s Truth – and they better be in agreement (Jn 12:48). God’s Word
is eternal and never changing (Js 1:17). Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the
same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” What God said in the Old
Testament absolutely continues to apply within the context it was said (Mt
13:52). God has been very clear and consistent throughout the Bible that
man is to love, obey and serve Him with a whole heart – to cleave to Him
(Deut 11:22). Anything short of total surrender to the will of God and a
life of abiding faith (in Jesus) is rebellion and sin. Nothing has changed
including the fact that man manipulates to have his will prevail in keeping
with his fallen nature (2 Cor 2:17). Those who love not the truth of God’s
Word and use it for selfish ends have judged God’s Word as unworthy in
favor of their own or another’s. What will happen to those who reject
God’s truth? Acts 3:23, “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which
will not hear that prophet (Jesus, as per v. 22 and Acts 7:37), shall be
destroyed from among the people.” These despise God’s Word (Pv 13:13,
2 Cor 4:2). Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice and “follow” me (Jn
10:27). Consider: Psalm 95:7, “For he is our God; and we are the people
of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice.”
We must hear Jesus and not what we want to hear.

What is the correct way to examine God’s Word to accurately understand


Christ’s doctrine (teaching)? How can we know the correct context and
application of the scriptures? John 7:16-17, “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 (understand) of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or
whether I speak of myself.” The fundamental condition for obtaining
spiritual knowledge (truth) is a genuine heart-desire to carry out the
revealed will of God (Ps 25:14). Proverb 28:5, “Evil men understand not
judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.” God will
give understanding (Pv 1:23, Lk 24:45, Mt 13:11) to those who will do His
will (desire to know and perform His will), they will understand and thus
know His doctrine – This God promises! These will be taught of God (Jn
6:45). Knowing means intimate knowledge that leaves no doubt
(consider: Jn 17:21, 23, 26). In order to know and apply God’s will, we
must totally put our will aside, you cannot have both (who will be Lord?).
When we put our will (or idols) aside (doctrines, traditions, likes, dislikes,
etc.), then our heart is ready to receive His will (Dan 9:13). If we truly
want to know God’s will, then we will DO IT (this is a must, Js 1:22) when
given the truth, because our heart genuinely seeks to please Him (Ps
25:5, 27:11, 119:12, 33, 143:10). Psalm 86:11, “Teach me thy way, O
LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” To be
taught of God we must be meek and fear Him (Ps 25:9, 12, 14). As we
do/perform God’s will, our eyes will be opened to the understanding of His
Word. Christ said, “to those who hear more will be given (Mk 4:24).”
Jesus also said: John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Scriptures reveal that when Christ came the people would not receive

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Him, meaning that they did not take to heart the things which He said. His
will must become our will. This always results in self-sacrifice on your part
(denying the flesh). Christ’s love was sacrificial and we must reciprocate
(it’s a relationship). If you love not the truth and will not die to self to
conform to God’s will (Christ’s image, Rm 8:29) then: 2 Thessalonians
2:10-12, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that
perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be
saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they
should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the
truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Many claim salvation through
the blood of Christ, but they received not the love of the truth. So they
have blindness of heart (Eph 4:18-19). To see the truth, we must first
turn from our iniquities (Dan 9:13). To be self-serving and holding onto
the things of men is to reject God’s truth in favor of your own or another
man’s, usually to satisfy the flesh (carnal nature). Notice the verse (Jn
7:16-17) said doctrine (singular) and not doctrines (plural). There are not
many teachings or many paths as some might have you believe. Many
want to see God as their own image of the way they think He should be.
God is not the image of man (those who rebel see things opposite – as
the devil)! They create their own golden calf and make sacrifices to it! The
Holy Spirit will bear witness and teach those who will embrace truth (John
14:26). God sends those who love not the truth a strong delusion such
that they believe their own error (strongly consider this).

God will confirm our own idols back to us if we love not the truth. Ezekiel
14:3-5, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and
put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be
enquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto
them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that
setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his
iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will
answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; That I
may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are
all estrangedfrom me through their idols.” Do you see the magnitude of
these verses? When we approach God with idols in our hearts (favorite
doctrines, beliefs, notions, traditions, justifications, self-centered wants)
or for any reason other than to know the truth (even if it disagrees with
our entire understanding, doctrines and traditions) and to live within that
truth, then God just confirms our own error back to us according to the
multitude of our idols (2 Thess 2:11). God Himself deceives those self
seeking prophets (Ez 14:9). God validates what we want to hear because
we reject His truth (Ez 14:9-10). Our own error becomes a huge
stumblingblock (of iniquity, Ez 14:7) that we now suppose God endorses.
This becomes the strong delusion that is believed and accepted as truth.
We have no real use for the truth, only validation of our opinions. God
doesn’t force us to hear the truth, and if we’re not seeking to follow it
there is no benefit anyway. God says of these: Psalms 50:17, “Seeing
thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” We know that

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those seeking God’s will are being led in the path of righteousness unto
holiness (Ps 23:3, Pv 8:20, Lk 1:74-75, Rm 6:19, 22, Eph 4:24, 1 Thess
4:7, Heb 12:14) – we are blessed in doing so (Ps 128:1). Where are those
who seek SELF being led? Psalms 125:5, “As for such as turn aside unto
their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of
iniquity…” Do not enter the path of the wicked or go the way of evil men –
they stumble all the way and are an abomination to God (Pv 3:32, 4:14,
19, 15:9) – they’ll be cast down (Ps 147:6). There is no peace for the
wicked (Is 48:22). You will be supernaturally led down the path you
choose (most likely supposing whichever to be in God’s will). This
happened to Ahab and Jehoshaphat in 1 Kings Chapter 22 (also 2 Chr
18:19-22). These men wanted an affirmative answer for their way, so: 1
Kings 22:23, “Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in
the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil
concerning thee.” The kings received the answer they wanted to hear (2
Chr 18:11), but it was to the undoing of Ahab (wrong path). God doesn’t
tear down the idols that are in your heart, they are there because you
want them to be. You have set them up of your own free will and you
defend them. The result is: John 12:40, “He hath blinded their eyes, and
hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor
understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
God will not force you against your will. God’s truth is eternal and will
remain whether you choose to believe it or not (Ps 119:160, 1 Pt 1:25). If
you seek God’s truth to perform it, then you will receive it as you obey. If
you seek confirmation of your own idolatry, you will receive such
confirmation to your own demise – Perhaps God will not even be inquired
of by you at all (no answer, Ez 20:3). The religious, who seek God
through the flesh, have never understood this. These sought God not
through faith. Faith being love, obedience and denial of the flesh – such as
was demonstrated by Abraham. God responds to us in like manner:
Psalms 18:25-27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with
an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt
shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.” Do
you reject God’s truth? By mercy and truth iniquity (sin) is purged (Pv
6:16-17).

There is only one solution (continuing from the verses above): Ezekiel
14:6, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces
from all your abominations.” We have to repent and then start seeking the
truth – we must love the truth, it sanctifies (Jn 17:19). Psalm 119:167,
“My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly” AND
Psalm 119:174, “I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is
my delight.” We must apply the truth and live within it. Psalm 119:133 ,
“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over
me.” Many religious men seek God to confirm their own idolatry (doctrines
and traditions) and God answers them with what they want to hear

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according to the multitude of their idolatry. Do we not see this
demonstrated in the multitudes of religious denominations today? They all
differ, yet they are all sure they are hearing from God. Many just suppose
there are many paths to God, but this is in total biblical error and these
religions/factions contradict (oppose) each other. Failure to embrace truth
becomes a mighty stumblingblock. Many religious institutions have a
mixture of truth and error and this is confusion. Israel mixed their worship
of God with Paganism and idolatry – so do the religious of today (Jer 7:7-
10, 18). Jeremiah 7:19, “Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD:
do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?”
Anything apart from the truth is confusion. Confusion is instability and not
a firm foundation. Many religious factions seek to unite, but this is only
accomplished through tolerance and not truth.

When we embrace God’s will, He reciprocates: John 14:21, “He that hath
my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he
that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will
manifest myself to him.” AND 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we
receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things
that are pleasing in his sight.” As with any relationship, love is mutual
(two sided) and there is union and communion with each other. 1 John
4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” As we sincerely love and
obey Christ, God gives us intimacy with Himself within proportion to our
effort. Prayers get answered and because we are doing His will they are
asked with right intent (not asked amiss, Js 4:3).Oh man, do you see God
as your own image of Him? God will not be boxed in by your own religious
interpretation of Him. God will not be confined by doctrines of men. God is
not answerable to men nor does He serve man. He is the great “I AM” and
you cannot even comprehend such. Submit, have fellowship and be led.

To correctly obey God we must serve in Spirit and in truth. God defines
His very Word as truth. Psalm 119:160, “Thy word is true from the
beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever
(also 1 Pt 1:25).” We read this Word and apply it to our lives as led by the
Spirit. The Bible says that we are to be “doers” of the Word and not
hearers only (Js 1:22). Hearers are not justified before God; doers are
justified before God (Rm 2:13). When we become doers of God’s Word in
seeking His will and not ours, then God will make sure we are
“understanders” of His Word and purposes (Ps 119:12, 169, 28:5). They
that seek the Lord understand all things (Pv 28:5). That means that you
cannot just sit in religious services and hear the Word and agree with it.
You must be actively applying the Word to your life daily – living it! This
becomes a “Living Faith.” However, the elders, chief priest and scribes
knew the Word of God and also applied it to their lives but fell short. They
did not mix the Word with faith (Heb 4:2). This is why we must also live in
the Spirit. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who
also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter,
but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Simply

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following a list of do’s and don’ts will fall short of God’s desire. God will
hold you to your list and you’ll be lacking (Gal 3:12). We must be taught
and led of the Spirit how to correctly live out God’s Word with correct
motives (attitudes) from the heart out of love. Romans 7:6, “But now we
are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that
we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Does this mean that God is more lax in our obedience to Him? No! It
means that: we cannot fulfill the law on our own (with our abilities and
motives); and we must have the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us too
voluntarily (out of love) uphold the intent of the law – our heart must
change! To simply follow the law with no real love and devotion to God
misses the point. Many become servants to the law rather than servants
to Christ (He is Lord). The law points out our sin, failings and inabilities
(Rm 3:20 & 7:7). Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our
schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
When we see our great need and submit to Jesus, He gives us the ability
through our faith to live correctly for Him. Romans 8:4, “That the
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the
flesh, but after the Spirit.” We are definitely being led in paths of
righteousness for His namesake. Galatians 5:18, “But if ye be led of the
Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The law is not made for the righteous,
for they are a law unto themselves with hearts toward God and pure
motives, the law is for the disobedient and rebellious (1 Tm 1:9, Rm
2:14-15). Those who love God are willing to follow God’s commands
because of their love for Him. They do not have to be forced to do such.

John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” If we
attempt to understand God’s Word apart from the Spirit we will fail to
understand the truth. The flesh profits nothing (Jn 6:57). The flesh wants
its dominance and will interpret God’s Word in that disposition. The flesh
wants to live in darkness yet profess to be in the light. The Spirit works on
us to completely change us - our attitudes and desires. The flesh does not
want to be changed it’s a hindrance, a stumbling block and will keep us
from truly coming to Christ. The flesh will see God’s love, forgiveness,
blessings and grace, but will not see self denial, sacrifice, obedience,
forsaking worldliness and crucifixion of self. The flesh does not want to
forsake anything, it wants to accumulate. Since the beginning, men living
in the flesh have interpreted God’s Word into all manner of erroneous
doctrines. Men can be led to follow many a doctrine when the flesh is
soothed and pacified and emotions are enticed. We may profess, but will
we follow? Jesus said: Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and
follow me.” Jesus also said whosoever does not bear his cross and forsake
all that he hath and come after cannot be Christ’s disciple (Lk 14:27 &
14:33). This is not a message for the flesh and is rarely preached in
context. Only when we allow the Spirit to quicken will we see the truth
and have life. The Holy Spirit regenerates! When we die to ourselves and

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seek God’s will, we change into something beautiful like a seed planted in
the ground or a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.

The Key

When we are given truth we must respond appropriately. Many people


might agree with or accept a truth of God’s Word, but this is not sufficient.
We must take the truth we are given and apply and demonstrate it in our
lives. We can agree with righteousness and understand righteousness, but
that does not make us righteous. When first approaching/coming to the
Lord, some may initially offer a blanket statement (cover all) of
repentance for past sinfulness. This may be sufficient for that moment,
depending on whether or not you truly understand the nature of your
transgressions. However, sooner or later (depends upon you), the Holy
Spirit will bring up representative sins (for your past transgressions) or
the actual sins (instances) themselves for you to individually grieve and
repent over. Once the sin is properly dealt with, there is deliverance
(assuming you forsake it). You see, we often are blinded to sinful aspects
of our lives and these things must be dealt with as the blindness is lifted.
We must be cleansed from all sin (1 Jn 1:7). When we realize a present or
past sin, we must grieve, repent and forsake. The fruit of our repentance
will be manifested in our actions (Lk 3:8-9). Obedience requires a sacrifice
and a self denial on our part. Obedience itself is superior to sacrifice (1
Sam 15:22), but is often implemented through sacrifice. We submit, yield
and place our trust in God and obey. Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God
are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not
despise.” We must be willing to obey even when it requires personal
surrender or great inconvenience (Job 13:15). Is this not following in the
steps of our Lord and Savior who constantly sacrificed for us? Put all your
cares upon God and have faith. 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon
him; for he careth for you.”

When we apply God’s truth to our life and live it, our eyes are opened to
ever increasing knowledge and truth. If we are faithful in little, we are
faithful in much and are trusted with greater riches (Lk 16:10-12, Mt
13:12). We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Our action or
obedience proves our faith (Js 2:17-18, 20, 22, 26). 2 Corinthians 3:18,
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the
Spirit of the Lord.” As we live out God’s Word in obedience to the direction
of His Spirit, and sacrifice, we are bit by bit, faith to faith, glory to glory,
changed into Christ’s likeness. Romans 1:17, “For therein is the
righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just
shall live by faith.” Each time we obey God (regardless of personal cost)
and forsake our rebellion, we become more like the image of Jesus. We
are then traveling the narrow path. We are leaving the darkness and
coming into His glorious light. To remain in the darkness is most assuredly
rejecting the light. To be unfaithful in the things of God is to lose even

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that which you have and not to be trusted in true riches (Lk 16:10-12, Mt
13:12, 25:29).

If we reject God’s truth then He will hide Himself from us (blindness of


understanding) – this is shown in John 8:30 through John 9:41. Jesus was
speaking to a group who believed on Him (Jn 8:30-31). When Christ
shined light on their darkness (iniquity, evil nature), they rejected His
Words (Jn 8:37, 43-47), and lashed out at Him with demeaning slurs
(defended their corrupt nature, Jn 8:48). These men even took up stones
to kill Jesus (Jn 8:59). During the midst of this confusion, Jesus hid
Himself from them, yet stopped and ministered to a man who was born
blind (Jn 9:1). The Father decided whom He would reveal Himself to (Mt
11:27). This man received Christ’s instruction and obeyed (Jn 9:7). As a
result his eyes were both physically and spiritually opened (Jn 9:11, 38).
The religious were seeking God, yet did not see their own iniquity and
could not humble themselves (fleshly, proud) and accept Jesus’ graceous
Words. The blind man was not seeking God, yet had a humble heart and a
willingness to submit and obey. God will have mercy on whom He will
have mercy, and will have compassion on whom He will have compassion
– it is God who shows mercy (Rm 9:15-16). Many who seek God, will seek
Him in a way of their own choosing and for their own purposes and will
come away lacking. Some will make great boasts until their flesh is
inconvenieced. The men Jesus was talking to said Abraham was their
authority (Jn 8:33-40). They also said they were Moses disciples (Jn 9:28-
29). They were rejecting Christ’s precious Word’s for their doctrines and
traditions developed from their incorrect interpretations (Jn 8:39-40) of
Abraham and Moses. Jesus said: John 10:8, “All (people, places, things,
etc.) that ever came before (put ahead of, higher in priority) me are
thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.” Whenever we
elevate anything above Christ, we are robbed of the truth of His Words.
John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it
more abundantly.” Those things placed in importance above Jesus (even
your religious endeavors) rob you of the life of Christ – the light of His
Word. You will never understand it. Jesus stated: John 10:9, “I am the
door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and
out, and find pasture.” Our life is found in Christ!

We will Obey!

Many will be glad to obey God assuming He tells them what they want to
hear (fleshly doctrines). Such was the case with the Israelis that remained
in the Land after Babylon had devastated the country and killed or carried
most away captive. Jeremiah 42:1-3, “Then all the captains of the forces,
and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all
the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, And said
unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be
accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all

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this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold
us:) That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk,
and the thing that we may do.” Jeremiah told them that he would seek the
Lord and hold nothing back that the Lord required of them. Jeremiah
42:5, “Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful
witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which
the LORD thy God shall send thee to us.” Jeremiah came back to these
men and spoke the words of the Lord. God wanted them to remain in the
land, but they wanted to flee to Egypt. These men feared the Babylonians
would come back and kill them. They wanted to seek security and
provision in man (Pharaoh) rather than God. Jeremiah 43:1-2, 4, “And it
came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all
the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their
God had sent him to them, even all these words, Then spake Azariah the
son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men,
saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not
sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there. So Johanan the son
of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed
not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah.” God didn’t speak
what they wanted to hear so they blamed Jeremiah for speaking lies. The
“proud” will never find the Lord for He hears the “humble.” They went to
Egypt and God brought their fears upon them and they were destroyed (Is
66:4). Many religious people today will do the same. They will love not the
truth, but rather the darkness and will seek out those who tell them what
they want to hear as “thus saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 6:10, “To whom shall
I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is
uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is
unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.” The truth will require
trust and faith in God (and sacrifice) and will not appease the flesh. Most
will trust and seek security in the flesh. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will
come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they
shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

The Holy Spirit is Vital

We have read that the Holy Spirit is to be our (follower’s) comforter sent
from God who guides, teaches, glorifies Jesus, and convicts of sin,
righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer (2
Tm 1:14, Jn 14:17, 1 Cor 6:19). The Holy Ghost also helps us pray:
Romans 8:26-27, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we
know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself
maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And
he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of
God.” The Spirit edits those selfish portions of our prayers to conform
them and us to God’s will. We must understand that everything eternal
revolves around God’s will. We must stop looking at the temporal. If you

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are strong willed then you should start praying for God to break your will
in whatever way necessary and make you humble. The Holy Ghost
empowers or strengthens us to do God’s will, but we must desire it (Lk
24:49, Acts 4:31, Rm 15:13, 1 Thess 1:5, 1 Pt 1:2, 5). Ephesians 3:16-
17, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may
dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.”
Our own strength will quickly fail us. Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that
is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us.” The Spirit fills us with love,
joy, peace, and hope (Rm 5:5, 15:13). Jesus dwells within our hearts
through our daily walk of faith which is our demonstrated love and
obedience to Him.

It’s just not possible to live on earth as we should without being filled with
the Holy Ghost. Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent
forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” The
Bible contains many accounts of those that were filled with the Holy Ghost
(including Jesus) – Isaiah 63:11, Mark 12:26, Luke 1:41, 67, 4:1, Acts
2:1, 4, 4:8, 31, 6:3, 5, 7:55, 9:17, 10:44-45, 11:15, 11:24, 13:9, 52,
19:6, and Eph 5:18. We are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Ephesians
4:30, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto
the day of redemption.” Giving into the will of the flesh and living a life of
self grieves the Spirit. Seeking temporal worldly things grieves the Spirit.
The Spirit leads us to die to self and become like Christ. Are you being
led?

Yielding to the Spirit

By nature most people are complacent and do not like change. When we
yield to God, he wants to conform us to the image of His Son (Rm 8:29 &
14:17). The Holy Spirit works on us to meet that end – to grow and
mature us. The process is often very uncomfortable to the flesh (flesh is
denied). There are peaks and valleys, trials and tribulations and much
SELF denial. The flesh must become subservient to the Spirit. The flesh
does not want to deny itself; the flesh does not want to love its enemies;
the flesh does not want to forgive; the flesh does not want to yield to
God’s will – it prefers it’s own. So if one is not following the Spirit, one
does not grow, is in rebellion and falls back. The flesh becomes dominant
and rises up in rebellion to God’s will. The flesh (carnal) wants to live in a
way that satisfies self and not God. The main point is: If you are not being
led of the Spirit then you are living apart from God’s will in rebellion
(opposed) to Him. Then your purposes involve satisfying the flesh no
matter how subtle it may seem. To reject the Spirit is to reject Christ. 2
Corinthians 1:22, “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the
Spirit in our hearts.” 1 John 4:13, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him,
and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

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Flesh or Spirit

Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through
the spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
We are to deny the flesh and feed the Spirit. Living in the flesh is doing
those things that are contrary to God’s will, such as worldliness, and
putting self above God and others. So what do you suppose happens when
one constantly feeds the flesh and neglects the Spirit? This could be as
simple as eating more than you require to seeking selfish carnal
entertainment rather than God through His Word and prayer. The
possibilities are endless. The flesh wants what it wants when it wants it;
the Spirit is sacrificing and patient. The flesh wants to do what is right in
its own eyes irregardless of others; the Spirit denies itself for the benefit
of others (love). The flesh takes; the Spirit gives. The flesh exalts itself;
the Spirit is humble. The flesh wants to control; the Spirit wants to set
free. Galatians 6:8, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the spirit reap life
everlasting.” We must examine ourselves and determine what our
interests are, where we spend our time, which direction are we heading?
Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are
in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Notice
you must be “in Christ Jesus” and you must “walk after the Spirit”, for
such there is no condemnation. If you are sowing to the flesh, then do not
assume God’s grace allows it. Christ’s death was a precious thing and God
will not be mocked (Gal 6:7). Those who “profess” Christ yet live in the
flesh, and possibly do not even give thought to the fact that they are
fleshly, are greatly deceived. Galatians 5:16-18, “This I say then, Walk in
the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary
the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if
ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The law kills because it
forces us to obey. This type of obedience is out of fear or compulsion –
love is absent. The Spirit brings life because it compels us to willingly and
lovingly obey through the heart (2 Cor 3:6). The Spirit is leading to
holiness, and conforms us to Christ’s image.

Not Just in Word, but in Signs, Wonders, and Miracles

Hebrews 2:3-4, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;


which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto
us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with
signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost,
according to his own will?” The gospel is powerful and is confirmed by God
through His means when we are serving His purposes (Acts 14:3). This is
what separates the truth of God from just another philosophy of man or
doctrine of demons. This chapter opened with the revelation that Jesus
was filled with the Spirit and power and thereby performed wonders (Acts
10:38). Consider what was said of Jesus: Luke 4:32, “And they were

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astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” Christ is our
example and He told us that we will do greater things (Jn 14:12). Notice
what the apostle Paul says, 1 Thessalonians 1:5, “For our gospel came not
unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in
much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for
your sake.” When we are speaking God’s Word in His will, He bears
witness with signs and wonders (Heb 2:4) - It’s powerful! 1 Corinthians
4:20, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” What have
followers of Christ done through the ages? Mark 16:20, “And they went
forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and
confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Jesus gives the authority
(Lk 10:17-20): Luke 9:1-2, “Then he called his twelve disciples together,
and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”
John the Baptist (while enduring a low point in prison) sent disciples to
Jesus to confirm He was the Christ (Lk 7:19-20). While they were in
Christ’s midst, He cured many people of infirmities and plagues, and of
evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight (Lk 7:21). Jesus
told them, go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and
heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the
deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached (Lk
7:22). The signs and wonders confirmed (authenticated) Christ’s ministry.

Paul once said: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “And I, brethren, when I came to


you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you
the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and
in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not
with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but
in the power of God. Paul didn’t try and use witty persuasive arguments or
rely on all his pharisaical (religious) learning (Rm 15:19). Paul was not a
motivational speaker. Like Jesus, he spoke God’s Words as he was
directed by the Spirit. If our faith stood in man’s wisdom (doctrines), then
it would be subject to change every time someone more intellectual or
cleverer came along. Man’s wisdom is opposed to God’s. God’s Word is
life, powerful and it does not change. Our Words are death and void of
power.

We look to God’s Word through His Spirit for what we are to say. 1
Corinthians 2:11-13, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save
the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no
man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the
world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that
are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the
words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Jesus has given us His Spirit to
teach us. Many in the religious world have rejected the teaching of the

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Holy Ghost in favor of man’s wisdom or their own. Many attend seminaries
or religious schools to earn degrees and philosophize about the things of
God. They then presume to become our teachers and error is advanced.
They are ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the
truth (2 Tm 3:7). This is because God said, you will do it His way. To
truly understand God’s wisdom, we must reject our own. The things of
God are spiritually discerned and are otherwise unknown (1 Cor 2:14).
God will reveal Himself to one that is humble, broken and childlike, but
these things that God reveals, the learned man will never see (Mk 10:15,
Lk 10:21) – making wise the simple (Ps 19:7). Man’s teaching is not
necessary (even detrimental) for one who is yielded to God and seeks to
know Him. This is not to say that the Spirit does not speak through men
that are yielded to Him to others. God’s Spirit will be this one’s teacher
and much of the teaching will be lived out and reinforced daily as applied
to one’s life. God has established the process whereby we may know of
Him. All teaching will come from His Holy Spirit. Is it any wonder that the
religious schools of man have strayed so far from the truth of God’s Word?
Heresies, apostasies and all manner of erroneous doctrines abound. When
we try to reach God our way (man’s), then our eyes are blinded and our
ears are dull of hearing and confusion reigns. The Lord looks for the
humble with a heart yielded to Him. Oh man, when will you humble
yourself and seek and obey God as He has prescribed. The apostle Paul
counted all his extensive religious teaching as loss (dung), and depended
on God’s Spirit to teach Him (Php 3:7-8). Jesus never had any formal
religious training (Jn 7:15), but depended on the Spirit for knowledge
(Father’s Words). Jesus is our example and we must follow in His steps.
The wise will consider Christ’s flawless perfect life and take note!

Pentecost – Establishing the Body of Christ (Church)

What event inaugurated the church? The answer is Pentecost. At the time
of Jesus’ crucifixion, His disciples were still not ready for the ministry.
They were unable to follow through on their own claims not to deny Christ
to the point of death (Mk 14:31), and they forsook Him (Mk 14:50). Just
after Jesus’ death, they were hiding away scared for their own lives (Jn
20:19), when Jesus appeared in their midst, encouraged them and
provided needed strength: John 20:22, “And when he had said this, he
breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” This
was a needed measure to endure until the fullness came. Jesus also told
them: Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon
you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power
from on high.” The promise was the Holy Ghost (Baptism of - immersion)
– the same power that Jesus walked in. This is why a believer and hence,
the Church MUST have the Holy Ghost: Acts 1:4-5, 8-9, “And, being
assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not
depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which,
saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye
shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall

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receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall
be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had
spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud
received him out of their sight.” Jesus spoke of the need for the Holy
Spirit just before His bodily Ascension to heaven. We must take note of
the importance.

The revelation of the coming of the Holy Ghost was Christ’s last
earthly words to His disciples who were to form the core of His church
(Ekklesia). When Pentecost fully came, they were all gathered together in
one place: Acts 2:4, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of
a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat
upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and
began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The Spirit turns timid men into bold witnesses for Christ: Acts 4:31, “And
when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled
together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the
word of God with boldness” (Also Acts 9:29, 13:46, 14:23, 18:26, 19:8).
What a difference! Peter and John who had been hiding from the religious,
are filled with the Holy Ghost and speak boldly. Soon they are brought
before the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees: Acts
4:13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived
that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they
took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” This was God’s
doing and not man’s. Our own strength would quickly fail us under
persecution. God is the difference!

Jesus had given His followers the complete gospel. After His death, for
fifty days, there were no recorded conversions. Immediately after the Holy
Spirit fell upon the disciples at Pentecost (on the very same day), three
thousand souls were added unto them (Acts 2:41). This was certainly
confirmation of Christ’s Words concerning the Holy Ghost. This was the
establishing of the body (Acts 9:31). The Spirit is life; the flesh is death.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for all believers and is very necessary.
Evil religious men try and rob disciples of this precious gift by telling them
it is not for today and was only for the apostles and early church or they
point out the many abuses done by others that are attributed to the Holy
Spirit. Jesus said of the religious of His time: Luke 11:52, “Woe unto you,
lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in
yourselves, and them that were entering in yehindered.” If you do not
have the Spirit, then you are not Christ’s. Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in
the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now
if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” These religious
men desperately need the Holy Spirit to bring life to their dead institutions
that are full of the works of men. These men need to be renewed by the

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Spirit to see God’s truth. This is a vital topic and is the primary reason the
religious institutions have erred in so many ways. The life of the church is
the Spirit. There are two needs we all have. The first relates to the past,
which is the forgiveness of our sins. The second relates to the future,
which is ability to live a life that pleases God. Man through his own
abilities or inabilities cannot meet either need. Our first need is taken care
of by Christ’s sacrifice. The second need is taken care of by the power of
God’s Holy Spirit working in our lives. The New Testament opens with two
promises: “He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21) –AND- “He
will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mt 3:11). Is your new born again
birthright important to you? Then lay hold and don’t be as Esau who
despised his (Gen 25:34, Heb 12:16-17). God gives us “gifts of power”
through the Spirit so that we can serve Him effectively in building up the
church as the body of Christ. He is the One however who determines
which gift each of us should have (1 Cor 12:11).

Realizing the Importance

Genesis 25:29-24, “And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field,
and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that
same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I
am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And
Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his
birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles;
and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau
despised his birthright.” Clearly, Esau being the firstborn, had no regard
for the importance of the birthright to the promises God made to Abraham
(and Isaac). Jacob saw the importance and sought God’s promises. Esau
traded the blessings of God for a momentary carnal fleshly desire. He
rejected God’s purposes for his own will just as Adam had done. This was
total disregard for God. He chose the way of the flesh over the Spirit.
However, Jacob was willing to deny his flesh for the Spirit through his
sacrifice. He gave up the things of the world for the blessings of God.
Romans 9:13, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I
hated.” God was not pleased with Esau: Hebrews 12:16-17, “Lest there be
any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat
sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have
inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of
repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” Let us not despise
the things of God and His rule in our lives. We have the promise of the
Holy Spirit sent from Christ (Jn 15:26 & 16:7). The Holy Ghost will lead us
to die to the flesh and conform to the image of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is
given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32). Christ says: John 14:15-16 “If
ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he
shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”
Notice the word “and.” If we obey Jesus, He will give the Holy Spirit. God
is obeyed through our faith. Galatians 3:14, “That the blessing of

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Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might
receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Therefore the Spirit is
given through our obedience which is our faith. Will you reject God’s
promise for the desires of the flesh? Many will seek the things of the flesh
to satisfy self and love not the truth of God. The world says eat, drink and
be merry for tomorrow we die (Lk 12:19). Those who seek God, die today,
for they live in Christ (Mk 8:35, Col 2:20, 3:3).

Gentile Believers

The church at Jerusalem had been established with Jewish believers (after
Pentecost). The Jews had always looked down upon the gentiles (non-
Jews, uncircumcised) as unclean and therefore had no relations with
them. The Lord was about to change all this. The Spirit brought two men
together, Peter and Cornelius; each had a separate vision from God (Acts
10:1-3, 9-10). Cornelius was a gentile with a heart toward God who
sought to do His will (Acts 10:2). Peter’s vision was repeated thrice for
certainty and through the course of events was interpreted to be the
opening of the kingdom of God to the gentiles. Peter was directed of the
Spirit to go to Cornelius’s house (Acts 10:19-20). Cornelius had called
together all his kinsmen and friends and were awaiting Peter’s arrival.
Acts 10:34-35, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I
perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that
feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” This was a
significant event and was orchestrated by the Spirit and not man! Peter
presented the gospel to the gathered gentiles. Acts 10:44-45, “While
Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard
the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as
many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured
out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Peter’s vision was convincing, but the
event which declared the truth of God’s purpose was when Peter was bade
of the Holy Spirit to preach to this gentile gathering during which time
they were spontaneously filled with the Holy Spirit. This was undeniable!

The point here is that this event would never have happened if men were
leading the church rather than God. Man’s prejudices would have
maintained separation rather than the purposes and unity the Spirit was
establishing. This was not an easy thing for the flesh to accept. Peter said,
Acts 10:47, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized,
which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Baptism in water and
the baptism of the Holy Ghost are two separate events (Acts 4:31, 19:1-
6). We are told in scripture how many had believed and were baptized and
later Peter and John came to them and laid hands upon them that they
might receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:12-18). In the previous account the
people were first baptized with the Holy Ghost and then later with water.
The point is that there are two distinct events here. There is no doubt that
one receives a measure of the Holy Ghost upon water baptism, but the
fullness is separate and distinct event. John the Baptist had earlier

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proclaimed, Luke 3:16, “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed
baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of
whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the
Holy Ghost and with fire.” It is important to note that baptism with the
Holy Ghost is stated as a necessary thing. Any true follower of Christ will
quickly tell you that the Spirit is vital to His walk. We must pray for the
filling of the Holy Ghost (Lk 11:13).

Peter now had to explain to the Jewish believers that the Holy Ghost had
been poured out upon the gentiles. Given the Jewish doctrines and
traditions, and a history a prejudice, this would not be an easy task. Peter
explained about the vision and the Spirit’s leading: Acts 11:15-18, “And
as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the
beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said,
John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy
Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us,
who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand
God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified
God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto
life.” This was a hard thing for a man to accept, but the Spirit’s
involvement and God’s will was undeniable. Fortunately these men in the
early church were focused upon God’s will and not their own. This was a
major event in the forming of Christ’s church (body) and was directed by
His Spirit. The Jews and gentiles did have to work through many issues
involving faith verses religious observances and customs, but the Spirit
was leading (Acts 9:31). Had this happened today there would probably
be one more new religious denomination. Notice the verse says
repentance unto life. Until will see our great need for Christ, humble
ourselves and seek His will, there can be no life.

Ye are the Temple of the Holy Ghost

God once dwelt among Israel in a tabernacle (tent) in the wilderness. God
then dwelt in a temple in Jerusalem until Israel rebelled against God
through idolatry (unfaithful). God now dwells in a new temple; do you
know where it is? 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Wow! Its not about a
brick and mortar building or religious institution, God dwells within each
member and the corporate body: Ephesians 2:20-22, “And are built upon
the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being
the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded
together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” It doesn’t matter
where the body meets as long as there are two or three present: Matthew
18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there
am I in the midst of them.” It doesn’t have to be a religious building!
Buildings and structures are the things of man. Changed hearts are the

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things of the Lord. We are to serve Christ everyday through the temple of
our body as led by His Spirit. When do you have services? – Everyday!

Jesus was in the temple and had chased out those who bought, sold and
changed money. John 2:18-21, “Then answered the Jews and said unto
him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these
things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in
three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was
this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he
spake of the temple of his body.” Jesus revealed something very
profound; The Spirit of God dwelt in His body (temple). If we are Christ’s,
then the Spirit dwells in us. What modern religious institution can top
that? He that hath an ear to hear!

Consider this: 1 Corinthians 3:17, “If any man defile the temple of God,
him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are.” Defiling the temple (smoking, drinking, drugs, foul language,
pornography, etc., Eph 5:18) will stop your being “filled with the Spirit.” 1
Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the
Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
own?” As previously stated, you must die to self. The above defilements
and bondages result from self. Jesus Christ came to set us free from such
bondages, not to have us live in them. John 8:34, 36, “Jesus answered
them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the
servant of sin. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
indeed.” Followers of Christ are not to be entangled or in bondage to
darkness and not desiring freedom is an indication of one’s true nature.
Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of
darkness, but rather reprove them.” We are to abhor that which is evil
and cleave to that which is good (Rm 12:9). We are told throughout
scripture to cleave to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement
hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God;
as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be
their God, and they shall be my people.” The temple is you, idols could be
television, money, self, possessions, personalities, etc. If you want to be
filled with the Spirit, these things must become non-important and
released.

Purpose of the True Church

The true church is the Ekklesia or “called out ones” and are those who
have been called out of this world’s systems to be Christ’s witnesses on
earth. We are pilgrims and sojourners in this world waiting for eternal
reconciliation and habitation with God (Rev 21:3). We have died to our old
sinful lives and desires, and now serve God in love and newness of life
(faith) to perform His will (Rm 6:4, Col 3:10). God rules and reigns in our
hearts (Col 3:15). We have laid down all weapons of resistance and
rebellion toward God and have humbly submitted ourselves to His

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purposes - for thy will must be done on earth (and in our lives) as it is in
heaven (Mt 6:10, Lk 11:2). We realize that God’s will is supreme in
heaven and that it must also be in our lives if we hope to be with Him
eternally. We recognize that God is our hope and provision. We love God
with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength (Mk 12:30). We receive at
the end of our walk of faith, the salvation of our souls (1 Pt 1:9, 1 Thess
3:8).

The church is not a building or an organized institution of man. The


Ekklesia are those individual followers of Christ that form a corporate body
with Jesus as the head. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14, 20, 27, “For as the body
is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body,
being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For the body is not one
member, but many. But now are they many members, yet but one body.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Ephesians
5:29-30, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and
cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his
body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Each of us is important and known of
Christ as we continue in a very personal relationship with Him (Jn 10:3). 1
Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus
Christ.” The Ekklesia is to be one just as Jesus and the Father are one (Jn
17:11). John 17:21-23, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in
me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may
believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I
have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them,
and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world
may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast
loved me.” We will be one with God and fellow believers OR one with the
world, but not one with the world and God.

We follow Christ on a narrow path and become bonded to Him through the
likeness of our sufferings (we are made partakers, 2 Cor 1:5-7, Php 3:10,
1 Pt 4:13). As we follow our faith is tested, tried, refined and purified such
that we become as our Lord. We learn patience and mature through this
process.

Followers of Christ are to be likeminded in Christ Jesus and as such are to


be united with no divisions (1 Cor 1:10, 2 Cor 13:11, Rm 12:16, Php
1:27, 2:2, 1 Pt 3:8). We must strive for unity in the Spirit (Eph 4:3). This
can only be accomplished through submission to the Holy Spirit and being
guided and taught truth by Him. The Word of God is to dwell in us richly
(Col 3:16). Believers are to edify, exhort, encourage admonish, and teach
one another, each having been filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Thess
5:11, Heb 3:13, Rm 15:6-7, 13-14, Col 3:16). Edifying is to teach and
persuade each other in faith (truth) and holiness. Exhort is to embolden,
cheer and advise. Encouraging is to inspire and give confidence in
strength of mind. Admonishing is to instruct and direct; warn or notify of a

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fault; to reprove with mildness; and counsel against wrong practices. Each
member of the body of Christ is given gifts as determined by the Holy
Ghost to support all other members (1 Cor 12:4-7, 11). Romans 12:4-5,
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not
the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every
one members one of another.” We provoke each other unto love and to
good works and are good stewards of all Christ has entrusted us (Heb
10:24, 1 Cor 4:2). We Confess our faults one to another, and pray one for
another, that we may be healed (Js 5:16). We are to have fervent charity
among ourselves and use hospitality one to another without grudging (1
Pt 4:8-9). We are not to use our liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but
as the servants of God (1 Pt 2:16). We exhort each other to fight the good
fight of faith, profess Christ boldly before men, and lay hold on eternal life
(2 Tm 6:12). The body is to warn them that are unruly, comfort the
feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men (1 Thess
5:14). We are to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3). We are to be merciful,
kind, humble in mind, meek, and longsuffering; Forbearing one another
and forgiving one another as Christ forgave us (Col 3:12-13, Eph 4:32).
The basis of our fellowship is life in Christ as demonstrated by our heart to
serve Him and follow in His steps. The Holy Spirit will be leading us in this
regard and some may have less understanding (maturity) than others.
Therefore we must not look too hard at understanding, but more
thoroughly for a changed life and heart for God. Understanding will come
if the heart is right and one is being led and taught of the Spirit (Rm 14:4,
Eph 4:15).

Believers should find refuge from the world in the body of Christ. The body
should be encouraging one another to live holy and righteous. I’m not
talking about church trips to the beach, ski vacations or covered dish
suppers. I’m talking about dying to the things of the world – the world’s
knowledge, methodologies, pleasures, etc. We must be seeking the Lord
and His perfect will with all the ability we have and praying likewise for
others (Col 4:12). We must be conforming to Christ in a world that is
antichrist – we all need such encouragement. We should strengthen the
weak. All should be discipled to maturity in the faith to be able to stand on
one’s own and instruct others. We must be separate from the world, yet
united in the truth of Christ (2 Cor 6:17). The church will tell each other to
die to the flesh and live for the Spirit. Colossians 1:10, “That ye might
walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good
work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Correction

Believers have a duty to correct one another in love according to God’s


Word (Ez 33:8-9). 2 Timothy 4:1-2, “I charge thee therefore before God,
and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his
appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of
season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

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There is a time to reprove and rebuke. Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to
yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he
repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day,
and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt
forgive him.” If a brother is in sin then we must tell him, not for the
purpose of condemnation, but so that he may seek repentance. We must
forgive our brother’s trespasses. If one cannot take reproof or rebuke
from God’s Word, then they love not the truth and wish to live in
darkness. Generally when one is corrected, their first reaction is to lash
out at the corrector in self defense. Our attitude toward correction should
be humble and meek. If we truly love the truth and seek the light, then
we will listen to the concerns and search the scriptures to see if they are
true. We will also fall on our knees and pray to God while examining our
own hearts. If we are violating God’s Word then we must repent and turn
from our sin. If we are violating someone’s opinion or the will of man,
then the basis of rebuke or reproof may have no merit. We should seek
peace with all men if possible as long as we do not violate God’s Word and
purposes. Keep in mind that those who give correction must be able to
take correction. If we are truly dead to self, then feelings and emotions
should not be the issue (BIG issue for those in the flesh). The issue is
walking righteously before God and not offending or causing others to fall
as a result of our fault. Some will reject the truth and choose the darkness
(Jn 3:19-20). 2 Thessalonians 2:10, “And with all deceivableness of
unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love
of the truth, that they might be saved.” We must love God’s truth and live
within it, for it is our salvation. Jesus is the Word which is the truth (Jn
14:6). We must come to the light that our deeds may be reproved. John
3:20-21, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to
the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are
wrought in God.” Perhaps those who will not accept righteous correction
will justify their evil: 2 Timothy 4:4, “And they shall turn away their ears
from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

There is a biblical process for correcting a brother with a fault when he


falls into sin/ worldliness/idolatry and his fruit is visibly rotten (Lk 6:43-
44). We must correct each other in love because we do not always see our
own sin. We must admonish the brother (notify of a fault; to reprove with
mildness) privately at an appropriate opportunity (Mt 18:15). If one
flagrantly (openly, deliberately, unashamedly, brazenly) sins then we are
to rebuke them before all as an example to others that they may fear (1
Tm 5:20). We must do so with the Word of God and not speculation or our
own opinion. To judge of our own knowledge of good and evil would be in
error and exalting our will over God’s. God’s Word (will) must be the only
basis for judgment and is the extent of our authority. If the brother in
error will not listen, we should take others to establish truth and if he will
not hear, bring it before the church (Mt 18:15-17). Then what? Titus
3:10-11, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition

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reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being
condemned of himself.” Jesus said, “Let him be as a heathen” (Mt 18:17).
1 Corinthians 5:11, “But now I have written unto you not to keep
company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous,
or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an
one no not to eat (have social relations/fellowship).” We do not socialize
with those who knowingly live in error. Ephesians 5:11, “And have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Religious institutes have many such people and they go uncorrected.
These will infect the body and spread evil. Everyone has a “judge not lest
ye be judged” attitude. Many rightfully do not judge because they are
equally guilty (Rm 2:3). We are not judging the person’s eternal condition
before the Lord, just the sin. If we identify another’s sin, then we best not
be guilty of the same (Mt 7:2). We may not pass judgment upon what is
in a person’s heart or on their eternal state. We may not pass judgment
upon anyone’s relationship with God. We have not been given such
authority and do not have the capability to render righteous judgment in
this area. We can judge sin by God’s Word and reprove individuals to seek
repentance. To see a brother in fault and not say something could have
eternal consequences for him and affect those he influences.

There was evil in the church at Corinth and Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 5:2-
3, “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath
done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as
absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I
were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.” 1 Corinthians
6:3, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that
pertain to this life?” (also 1 Cor 5:12-13). We must put away evil from
among ourselves. You’ve heard the saying one bad apple spoils the whole
barrel. Sin cannot go unchecked. Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leaveneth
the whole lump.” Showing love is also correcting (just as a parent with a
child). True love informs of a fault, false love ignors it.

Self Righteousness

When one endeavors to live righteously and holy before God, one must
guard against the tendency to look down upon those who are less than
enthusiastic in their walk. This is unacceptable to the Lord. Consider this
example: Luke 18:10-14, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the
one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed
thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in
the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing
afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote
upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this
man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one
that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall
be exalted.” Notice that the Pharisee prayed to himself and the prayer was

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“I” centered. All of these religious works that he named were of no value
because his heart was not right before God. This man looked down upon
others and this does not display God’s love. The sinner had no religious
works, but his heart was broken and honest before God. He was truly
repentant and this is what God desires. The works will follow a changed
heart – if not, the heart was not changed. No matter how righteous we
think we are, it is but a filthy soiled garment compared to the glory of
Christ. Our hope is in a heart toward God and intense desire to do His will
– to have relationship and identify with Him.

This is further illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32).
A father (representative of God) has two sons. The younger asks for his
inheritance, goes far from his father (out of his will, rebellion) and spends
all on riotous living (worldliness, sin, self). He is out of the father’s will
and lost (dead – Lk 15:24). This son suffers the fruit of his way (hits rock
bottom) and becomes destitute (without hope) and starving (spiritually).
The son repents (changes direction) and returns to his father and pleads
for forgiveness and to serve under His authority (submission, yielded).
The father runs to the returning son in great love (God has great mercy
on those who confess their wickedness and repent – Ps 86:5). The father
rejoices that this son who was lost (spiritually dead) is now found
(salvation). The older brother is not so happy. He wants justice rather
than forgiveness. He thinks of himself rather than being joyful in the
salvation of his brother and would not share in his father’s happiness. The
father tells him that his place is secure and he must also long for the lost.
We must always remember the great mercy that God has had on us when
we look upon others. Our joy is in the reconciliation of another – goodwill
toward men.

How Should I Worship God?

Jesus best explained God’s expectations of us in His explanation of His


parable of the seeds: Luke 8:15, “But that on the good ground are they,
which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and
bring forth fruit with patience.” This verse ties together being “Born Again”
(converted – Jn 3:3, Eph 4:22-24) whereas God puts His laws in your
heart and mind (Heb 10:16); obedience to God (Heb 5:9, 1 Jn 2:3-5, Lk
11:28); love (Mk 12:30, Jn 15:9, 1 Cor 13:2, 1 Pt 4:8); and abiding in
Christ and thereby producing fruit (Jn Chap 15) namely: John 15:5,8, “I
am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the
same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Herein
is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my
disciples.” So let us remember: Lamentations 3:25-26, “The LORD is good
unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a
man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”

John 4:23-24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true
worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father

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seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him
must worship him in spirit and in truth. What is in Spirit? John 14:26, “But
the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my
name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” AND Romans 8:14, “For
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” For
this purpose: 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as
in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same
image (Christ’s) from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
What is in Truth? John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Recall
that Jesus is The Very Word (Jn 1:1-4), John 17:17, “Sanctify them (set
apart) through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 8:31-32, “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 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a
man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”

Therefore: We must read God’s Word and be taught and led of His Spirit,
and Live-It! The Holy Ghost will unfold God’s Word to us such that we
understand it. This is accomplished as we apply that which we have
learned. This is everyday and is your new life in Christ Jesus.
Unfortunately, many are instilled to believe that worship of God is just
attending religious ceremonies and being told what to think. This isn’t a
doctrinal list of do’s and don’ts; this is a loving obedient daily relationship
with your Lord – an actual walk up the narrow path.

Right Motives

When you are truly converted and become a new creature, all things
become new (2 Cor 5:17). Your heart changes and you take on the nature
of God (His outlook). You are delivered from the kingdom of darkness
(and its bondages) into the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13). You start seeing
things from God’s perspective rather than that of fallen man and your
whole world view changes. The Lord fills you with joy and your desire is to
serve and please Him from the love in your heart (Eph 5:2). You want to
give Him your all. There is peace and freedom from all the imposed
requirements/obligations of man (Mt 11:29-30, 1 Pt 2:16). You do not
serve out of fear (hell), obligation, tradition, habit, peer pressure, emotion
or gain. When you have truly experienced God in your life you do not seek
to justify the least amount of effort on your part needed to secure and
sustain salvation – No, No, No! You do not avoid sacrifice. You do not
examine the limits of God’s mercy and grace. In other words you do not
use God’s longsuffering, mercy and grace (1 Jn 1:9) as a means of give
and take for living your will. 1 Peter 4:2, “That he no longer should live
the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
Things you once took no heed of now become unacceptable. As you yield
to the Holy Spirit, you become changed into Christ’s image. You do not

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live according to men in the flesh, but you live according to God in the
Spirit (1 Pt 4:6). If you do not yield you become stagnate or fall back. God
allows us freewill; otherwise love will not be the motivation or fruit. God
operates within that freewill. When we get out of line, God chastens us as
a loving Father so we will not be condemned with the world (1 Cor 11:32)
and will be partakers of His holiness and thus yielding the fruit of
righteousness (Heb 12:5-11, Eph 4:24). Ultimately we will stand before
God for acceptance or condemnation (Mt 3:12, 12:36, 13:47-48 & 25:32-
34, 41; Lk 3:17, Jude 1:15) – all judgment is given into the hand of the
Son (Jn 5:22) who will judge righteously (Jn 5:30, 7:24 & 8:16, Rm 2:5,
2 Thess 1:5, Rv 16:7). Romans 14:12, “So then every one of us shall give
account of himself to God.” This account will be heart-centered. Always
remember, Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and
drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The Holy
Ghost is leading and we must obediently follow.

Being a Witness

There was a power shortage at my home one night. At first everything


seemed totally dark. As my eyes became accustomed to the dark,
something became quite obvious. In total darkness even the tiniest
smallest bit of light shines brightly (a little glow in the dark object). The
light overcomes the darkness. Followers of Christ have been
commissioned to be that light in this otherwise dark world. Matthew 5:14-
16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be
hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light
so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your
Father which is in heaven.” We are to represent Christ’s gospel. Our light
shines brightly through our demonstrated faith - our daily walk. Be aware
that the darkness does not want to receive the light because it diminishes
its presence. Those who walk in the light must desire to eliminate the
darkness from themselves and others.

Every one of us is called to live our life as unto God before men. Our
mission field is our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We are to
be found faithful in our daily lives. We may be a witness at school or on a
trip to the grocery store. We need to open our eyes to the needs around
us and perhaps pray or fast for individuals and situations we encounter or
are told about. If we see a need, the Lord may direct us to discretely give
of ourselves or resources. We show love as our Lord has done to us – for
we are like Him. Above all we are to live our lives in such a way as to
please the Lord God as if for Him alone. May God open our eyes and
grants us this ability.

The world loves to talk about things worldly. News, television, events,
course jesting and jokes. These are not to be our desire. We must yearn
to talk about our Lord and hope with the same passion that those in the

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world talk about their joys and dreams (Lk 12:8). Matthew 10:32,
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also
before my Father which is in heaven.” Should this prove embarrassing,
then you must consider: Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny me
before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Our silence is denial. If you are embarrassed to talk about the Lord, this
may be an indicator that you do not know Him or have His Spirit. Pray
that the Lord will fill you with His Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes
before men. The Holy Spirit gives boldness and endues with power (Acts
4:31, Lk 10:19, 24:49).
Chapter 7 – Except the Lord Build the House

Psalm 127:1, Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that
build it…” Let us examine some of the facts concerning those things Jesus
had to say about the religious of his day and consider if these things just
might have application to our lives and circumstances today. The wise and
humble will consider and make necessary corrections on bended knees
before God. The religious are those who try to reach and serve God man’s
way through Man’s devices. There may be similarities in form and
function, but there are distinct definable differences. The true body will be
led individually and corporately by the Spirit with Christ as the head.

Religious Similarities

The Jewish people had a well established religious system in place at the
time of Christ. This system can best be described as follows: There was
one Temple (headquarters) and numerous synagogues (church buildings)
with at least one in every city (Acts 15:21). The synagogues were meeting
places where the scriptures were read and expounded upon. Each
synagogue had a chief ruler(s) (pastor, Acts 18:8, 17, Mk 5:22), elders,
and scribes. The scribes interpreted the Law of Moses and occupied the
chief seats (Mt 23:6). There were many religious parties
(denominations/divisions) such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians,
Zealots and Scribes.

The Jews evangelized and made proselytes. Proselytes were gentile


converts to Judaism. The proselytes either observed the whole law with
full rights or just the moral and perhaps dietary codes. The Jews and their
converts made long prayers, tithed & gave gifts, read the scriptures,
fasted, had well defined doctrines, had synagogue traditions, evangelized,
held titles (including PhDs, Acts 5:34) and positions of authority, sang
hymns (Mk 14:26), wore religious garments, performed ceremonies,
celebrated Holy Days (holidays) & feasts, had religious schools
(Seminaries, Acts 22:3), appeared very righteous on the outside, had
rules of membership (Jn 9:22), contended for their faith (Acts 22:3), had
hours of prayer (Acts 3:1) and believed the Torah (Law of Moses) was
God’s infallible law – the scripture cannot be broken (Jn 10:35 is true
forever). These religious Jews were also political and were seeking a

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return to self government (Acts 1:6) so they could have a religious state
and enforce their own religious doctrines and traditions on everyone
(legislate morality). Some reading this may be rightly thinking that this
sounds just like the religious institution they are a member of.

What did Jesus say about all this? Matthew 5:20, “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.”
Jesus also said of these highly esteemed religious men, Matthew 23:33,
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation
of hell?” Understanding why Christ said this will be the key to our
comprehension of what God truly expects from us. The religious
superstructure does not save and those who put faith and trust in it to
save them will be lacking! Jesus alone is the door we must enter (Jn 10:9,
not organizations, religious attendance, ceremonies, rituals, personable
leaders, etc.). What about the religious institutions of man? Matthew
15:13, “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father
hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” If the religious organization is not
being led of the Holy Spirit then it is being led of men and will be rooted
up. What about all their good works? Matthew 15:14, “Let them alone:
they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both
shall fall into the ditch.” These men were blind guides (Mt 23:24, Lk
6:39)! Unless we are truly seeking God and His purposes then we are
given to spiritual blindness and total misdirection (Is 9:16). Man’s way
seems so right to man (Pv 14:12) and God will answer man according to
the multitude of his idolatry. The religious thought they were seeing God
clearly, but those who think they see are often blind (Jn 9:39-41). Jesus
said they were children of the devil (Jn 8:44).

Jesus further said to these religious men: John 5:42, “But I know you,
that ye have not the love of God in you.” Wow! It is possible to be very
religious, even a religious leader, and yet totally miss God. These men had
a tremendous religious system, but not the love of God (Lk 11:42). The
implication here is that all the religious things are not what saves.
Stephen, through the Holy Ghost added: Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and
uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as
your fathers did, so do ye.” This is what it all boils down to. Man seeks his
own will through the flesh, rather than God’s will through the Spirit (Php
3:3). We must look beyond the flesh and find ourselves in Christ and
develop the relationship that He desires to have. Until we can see the
depravity of our own sin and our tremendous need for Christ, then we
cannot perceive the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3). We approach Jesus
unconditionally and fall upon His grace and He creates a heart in us with
correct attitude toward God. Man twists things and has God accepting him
unconditionally, yet we know there are conditions because hell hath
enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure (Is 5:14). Hell
will come to meet those who are rebellious (in actions, not profession) to
God (Is 14:9). The devil said that you could sin and not die (Gen 3:3-4).

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This equates to “unconditional.” This is the lie man’s flesh accepted in
Eden. This is the lie that man accepted to pursue the flesh. The religious
of today mostly follow an “unconditional love god” (of the flesh).

Jesus also stated: John 17:25, “O righteous Father, the world hath not
known thee: but I have known thee…” This statement was directed at the
Jewish religious system, but applied to all of man’s religions. The Jews
were the only ones who corporately sought the one true God (the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), yet never knew Him. Jesus came to tell them
of the Father and spoke only the Father’s Words, but was totally rejected
in doing so (Jn 8:26, 28, 38, 12:49, 50, 14:10, 16:25). We must realize
that the religious system in place when Jesus walked the earth is very
representative of all of man’s religious attempts to reach and serve God
apart from the Spirit. Man tries to serve God through the flesh, yet the
flesh is opposed to God (Gal 5:17). God is a Spirit and must be
worshipped in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24). Jesus said: John 6:63, “It is
the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

Chapter 8 – Being a True Follower

Acts 13:27, “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because
they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read
every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him (also 1
Thess 2:15).”

Something was very wrong within the Jewish leadership. They read the
scriptures every Sabbath day and studied them extensively, yet did not
recognize the actual promised/foretold appearance of God’s own Son.
Many refused to recognize Jesus and received Him not, and ultimately
killed Him. They knew what the prophets had said, yet lacked
understanding or comprehension (awareness/discernment) of the
fulfillment of these God given prophesies. They could not see them being
lived out in front of their very eyes in the persons of John the Baptist and
Jesus Christ. They knew Jesus was extraordinary (special, astonishing,
notable, remarkable, amazing, unique, Jn 1:14), but refused to believe.
Some suppressed the reality of who Christ was because they had no use
for Him. Not only did they refuse to recognize Jesus, but they didn’t
KNOW (understand, grasp, appreciate, comprehend, relate to) God (Jer
4:22, Mt 11:27, Lk 10:22, 1 Jn 3:1). These men approached God through
human reasoning which was man-centered rather than truly seeking Him
through the Holy Spirit and submission (Ps 34:18, 51:17, Is 57:15, 66:2).
How could men who memorized whole books of the Old Testament; who
meticulously studied to the letter each scripture; who earned doctorate
degrees in religious learning; who heard Christ’s gracious Words
(teachings/doctrines) and witnessed His incredible miracles (Jn 12:37),
have been so naïve and so completely wrong? Clearly, they sought God
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through their own reasoning which was corrupted by man’s very nature.
They expected Christ to arise from within their accepted group and
endorse their ideals, but he came in a way unexpected, yielded to the
Father’s will – He was an outsider. Because they did not KNOW God, they
did not know what to look for in Christ (Jn 1:10, 15:21, 16:3). Because
they were not submitted to God, they could not yield to Christ (Jn 5:40,
Rm 10:3). Rather than give place to Jesus, they sought their own place in
self exaltation – the way of the flesh, not faith (Rm 9:32). They should
have been looking for the love, compassion, and submission to God’s
purposes. Man’s purposes did not line up with God’s will. Rather than
repent and turn to God (Christ’s message, the gospel), religious man
chose to continue the rebellion (see Chapter One, Is 65:2, Jer 6:16). They
always erred – in the heart (Ps 95:10, Is 29:13, Mt 15:8, Mk 7:6, Heb
3:10).

Jesus once sent out His disciples, instructing them to preach the gospel
and to heal, cleanse, deliver, and raise the dead - and without charge (Mt
10:8). These were the things Christ had been doing and His disciples were
now “following” after Jesus’ example. Jesus told them that they would be
as sheep in the midst ofwolves (Mt 10:16, Lk 10:2-3, 12). Who were
these wolves? Perhaps people who hated God? No, they were the
“religious” groups who would deliver Christ’s disciples up to their councils
(committees) and scourge them in their synagogues/religious buildings
(Mt 10:17, 24:9, Mk 13:9, Lk 12:11-12, 21:12). Matthew 23:34,
“Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes:
and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye
scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.” Jesus
also said they would cast true followers out of their religious
buildings/groups (Jn 16:2). How could those who claimed to love God do
such things? Religious man often misrepresents God to the world (Is
48:1). Which would you consider the greatest affront, someone who
disagrees with you and tells others or someone who says they agree with
you and then totally misrepresents and mischaracterizes you to others?

This chapter will consider how individuals act in a group and the errors
that often result. A group could be defined as a set (small or very large) of
individuals with common beliefs/ideas/interest that meet or assemble
regularly for a common purpose. A modern day group could be a bible
study group at a particular religious organization (building, popularly
called a church); or all the persons (members) that meet at the religious
building (i.e. church); or the whole denomination/organization that
governs the religious building and many others (whom they are
associated with or a part of).

Group Loyalty

The author has defined “the religious” as those who seek God man’s way
(Pv 14:12, 16:25, 21:2). Of course they consider their way to be God’s

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way – how could it not be? Romans 10:3, “For they being ignorant of
God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of
God.” The religious Jews certainly considered themselves to be in God’s
will even as they were persecuting and killing His Son. Ephesians 5:17,
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord
is.” You will KNOW God’s will when you concede (give up) your own will to
Him! It is possible to be very religious and not know God at all. It is
possible to labor in the name of Christ, but not KNOW Him (Rev 2:3-4).
Jesus had once told a group of religious men: John 5:42, “But I know you,
that ye have not the love of God in you.” They certainly thought they did.
It is possible to confess Christ, yet live a daily life opposed to Him. It is
possible to cling to the darkness (Is 5:18), yet confess to be in the light
(Jn 3:19). For this reason, the popular Christian messages of today are
very Laodicean. The Laodicean church (assembly) is one that is worldly
and materially wealthy and they actually equate this to godliness. Christ
said they are poor (have nothing of value), sinful (naked), deceived
(blind) – and were thus wretched and miserable – they can’t truly see
their need for Him (Rev 3:17) – they have re-defined Christ (to their
liking). They certainly do not see themselves this way – with humbleness
comes submission. When one truly sees the things they do that oppose
God, one will forsake such things in repentance and seek forgiveness.
Jesus further said they are lukewarm and will be vomited out of His mouth
(Rev 3:15-16). This is a strong rebuke. Lukewarm to God’s will? – they do
not see it this way and that’s the blindness. Consider what Paul said about
associating with God (religious observances), yet living in rebellion as
described in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12; also Jude 1:5. Let us examine the
Jewish religious system that was in place at the time of Christ and then
compare similarities with the popular Christian messages and actions of
today.

Whenever there are groups of religious people who are seeking (perhaps
a misnomer) God through the devices of man (man-centered, fleshly,
prideful) there is bound to be blindness and confusion (Eph 2:3, Jer 7:19,
Hos 10:13). Those who walk through human reasoning with fleshly intent,
apart from the Spirit, are opposed to God (Rm 8:5-8, Is 55:8-9). All
human effort apart from the divine influence of God, is basically for selfish
reasons – perhaps mixed with good works for appearance sake. The Holy
Spirit is not subject to the fallacies of human reasoning and we must
submit and be led (1 Jn 5:9). That’s our role, to “surrender all” and
“follow.” There is a very real destructive (damaging, hurtful) phenomenon
associated with groups of people, which might be termed “group loyalty.”
These are negative group behaviors that manifests in the leaders as well
as the participants of a group and manifest in common group thought or
mannerisms. The nine main symptoms of religious “group loyalty” are
defined as follows:

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1) Illusions of Invulnerability – Members ignore obvious error in their
positions and are overly optimistic of their ideals/opinions. Perhaps they
cling to their traditions; the way they were always taught; what their
denominational religious leadership says; what everbody else does; or
what their ancestors did. God referred to such as stiffnecked (Ex 32:9,
33:3, 5, Deut 9:6, 13, 10:16) or obstinate/tenacious (stubbornly adhering
to an opinion or course of action - persistantly) and Moses agreed with
God’s assessment (Ex 34:9, Deut 9:7, 24, 31:27). Believe me, Moses was
an authority on leading a large group of pertinacious people (Read Exodus
and Deuteronomy). They continue in their error despite God’s warnings;
they are imputent (Acts 7:51, i.e. 2 Kgs 17:14). The prophets understood
this oh so well (consider Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha and John the
Baptist).
2) Collective Rationalization – Members discredit and explain away
warnings (truth) contrary to group thinking. This is a defensive reaction
that ignors potential truth. Correction is shunned and not given due
consideration or merit. Majority views outweigh minority truths. They
justify their own fallacy (mistaken beliefs, misapprehensions,
misunderstandings, error) and uphold their will.
3) Illusion of Morality – Members believe their traditions, doctrines, ideals
and decisions are morally correct (in God’s will), ignoring any
contradictions and consequences and their own hypocrisies and
convictions of wrongfulness (Jn 16:8). They believe God is own their side
– to disagree is to deny God. To go against or question their teachings is
heresy/sacrilege to God. These are taught by the precept of men (Is
29:13). The leadership equates themselves as God’s instruments –
annointed (Micah 3:11).
4) Excessive Stereotyping – The group constructs negative stereotypes of
rivals outside the group. Name calling, ridiculing, belittling,
misrepresenting, ostracizing, etc. This could be individuals or ideals. They
slur/mischaracterize to neutralize the threat. The end (objective) always
justifies the means.
5) Pressure for Conformity – Members pressure others within the group
who express arguments against the groups traditions, doctrines,
decisions, stereotypes, illusions or commitments to conform to group
thinking – viewing such opposition as disloyalty. Within a religious
context, one may feel their very salvation is at stake for questioning
majority leadership/opinion – equated to questioning God (unfaithfulness).
Touch not God’s annointed – but are they?
6) Self Censorship – Members withold their dissenting views and counter-
arguments. This is compromise to conform. To speak up or differ will
surely bring reproach, unpopularity, censure, rebuke, separation,
defensive reactions, etc.
7) Illusion of Unanimity – Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees
with the groups traditions, doctrines, decisions, stereotypes, illusions,
ideas, etc. Silence is also seen as consent. Members fear to express their
true beliefs (Jn 11:48).

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8) Mindguards – Some members appoint themselves to the role of
protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group
complacency (satisfaction, contentment, gradification, smugness). These
may also be protecting their own self interest (control, popularity,
position, etc.)
9) Pre-eminence – Often one or more individuals in the group seek
dominance and control (Nicolaitanes). These “Lord over” the others and
steer the group’s direction. These want to do the leading and often seek
the loyalty of the others. They form (facilitate) and champion the group’s
ideals. Members may be intimidated by force of personality, superior
thought/logic, persuasiveness delegated authority, or threat of loss.

All of these group traits/characteristics have been proven over and over
throughout the history of man. Within a group there is almost always a
charismatic individual, team core or authority that tends to dominate the
group and steer its direction. Small groups may be part of larger groups
which in turn may be part of even larger groups. Religious groups always
assume they have divine purpose/commission thereby justifying their
means. The problem with these groups is that there never seems to be
honest and sincere individual or group self examinations given God’s Word
(Ps 139:23-24, 2 Cor 13:5) and true submission to God (Mt 5:5). Those
within a group rarely see their errors or shortcomings that those without
the group see clearly (i.e. Pilate saw – Mk 15:10-11, Js 3:16). Errors tend
to go uncorrected and thus become future truth within the group.
Correction is viewed as negative and only brings defensive reactions (Pv
15:10). Groups rarely admit wrong/fault because it is humbling and goes
against the fallen nature of the flesh. Sin and transgression are not viewed
as such (a mockery, Pv 14:9). The group led by man will always seek to
further it’s will and conform that which is outside the group to the group’s
position/view. In other words, the organizations of man will do the leading
and not the following. This is exaltation and not humbleness.

Other Influences

When the group is fleshly and operating in the will of man it is being led of
the devil (Rm 8:8). The group will always reflect the nature of it’s
master/Lord (Rev 2:9). Recall that the devil persuaded man to disobey
God (ye shall not surely die) to become like God (ye shall be as gods, Ez
28:2, 6-9) – to have his own will. When man seeks his will, he rejects
God’s will – the flesh and the Spirit will not agree and you cannot serve
two masters (Rm 8:1, 4, 13, 9:8, Gal 5:17, 6:8, Mt 6:24). Romans 8:5,
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh….” When
man seeks his will, he is easily overcome by Satan because he has
submitted to him (1 Pt 5:8). Satan is very convincing to those who seek
self (that’s what he did – his rebellion). The works of the flesh are
doorways for the devil (Gal 5:19-21) – neither give place to the devil (Eph
4:27). If a group seems very worldly, then it has been overcome by the
world (1 Jn 5:4). He that loves the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of

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the eyes and pride of life is not of the Father (1 Jn 2:15-17). To befriend
the world is to be an enemy of God (Js 4:4). You cannot love the world in
an expectation to further God’s purposes (draw men to Him). Galatians
5:16, 25, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the
lust of the flesh. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

We must submit to God and resist the devil (Js 4:7). We can only be led
to perform God’s will when we submit fully to Him. We have no ability in
and of ourselves to correctly perform God’s will – this is why Jesus sent
the Holy Spirit. When we are not submitted to God, then we are exalted in
self. Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are
the sons of God.” Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after
the Spirit.” For they that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the
Spirit (Rm 8:5). The group led by the Spirit will be conforming to Christ’s
image (obedience to the Father) and will reflect God’s nature. These
produce the fruits of righteousness (Php 1:11, Gal 5:22-23, Eph 5:9). This
group is seeking righteousness and holiness through Christ and not the
religious things of man (buildings, programs, entertainments,
multiplication, icons, ceremonies, etc.).

The Will of Man

We are told in scripture that God so loved the world that He sent His only
begotten Son (Jn 3:16) that through Christ, God might reconcile man to
Himself (Rm 5:10, 2 Cor 5:18, Eph 1:10, 2:15-18). How did rebellious
mankind receive such a gift? Matthew 2:1-3, “Now when Jesus was born
in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came
wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born
King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to
worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he
was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” The wise men (non-Jews)
rejoiced with exceedingly great joy (Mt 2:10) about Christ’s arrival and
came to worship. The Jews were troubled and sought to kill (Mt 2:14).
Herod would later slaughter all the male children two years old and under
in the region in an attempt to kill Jesus (Mt 2:16). Psalms 2:2-3, “The
kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their
bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Such arrogance and
exaltation of man’s will to further man’s purposes (rebellion)! John 1:11,
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” This verse
summarizes the rebellious religious group(s) dealings with Christ
throughout His earthly walk. The religious Jews sought to kill Jesus from
the onset. Jesus was destined to rule (Mt 2:6), but rebellious man said,
“we will not have this man reign over us (Lk 19:14).” In the midst of such
rebellion, there will always be a minority of individuals who truly seek
God’s purposes and are led of His Spirit - read Lk 2:22-38. In the end, the
rebellious will be dealt with: Luke 19:27, “But those mine enemies, which

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would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them
before me.”

The Jewish religious mindset (customs, traditions, doctrines, etc.) was


clearly established by the time John the Baptist came upon the scene
(some years later) preparing the way for Christ (Mk 1:2, Jn 1:7, 15). This
religious group considered themselves very godly, but were deceived/blind
(See Chapter Seven). John lived in the wilderness (Lk 1:80) and was
unconnected (outside) to this religious group (unknown). No doubt, God
intentionally kept John from the majority view, such that God’s truth
would come forth unaltered (not tainted) by man’s teachings. John was
sent of God (Jn 1:6) and his message was from God (Lk 3:2), but was an
untaught truth and minority doctrine (voice crying in the wilderness, Mt
3:3, Mk 1:3, Lk 3:4, Jn 1:23). John was totally independent of the
religious group and was sustained by God (Mt 3:4, Mk 1:6) and his
forums/baptisms were conducted in the wilderness – outside the group
(Mt 3:1, 13, Mk 1:4-5, 9, Jn 3:3). The religious leaders had no use for
John or his message (they rejected it), but had to tread carefully because
the people saw John as a prophet sent from God (Mt 21:25, Mk 11:30-33,
Lk 7:29-30). In His earthly state (as a man), Jesus was also sent to the
wilderness to seek the Father and learn reliance upon Him (Is 7:14-15,
Heb 5:8-9). Mark 1:12-13, “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into
the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of
Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto
him.” When Jesus came upon the scene, His Words and works (fruit)
revealed that He was the Christ – but had to be spiritually discerned. John
10:41, “And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but
all things that John spake of this man were true.” Jesus chastened the
religious leaders concerning their rejection of John: Matthew 21:32, “For
John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not:
but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen
it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” The religious men
just continued in their error refusing to humble themselves – obstinate
(Ps 78:8, Rm 2:5, 8). They didn’t KNOW God’s ways (Jer 5:3-4). This is a
very negative and common group behavior. To be obstinate is to be “set
in your ways.” This is a hardening of the heart. Often the elderly are
referred to as “set in their ways.” Perhaps after a lifetime of self, the heart
hardens such that there is no more yielding (Pv 3:5-7). Jesus once
corrected the Sadducees of their doctrinal error (Mt 22:23-33), yet they
still adhered to it in the time of the Apostle Paul (Acts 23:6-9). They didn’t
receive the correction or change, but continued in the error. They
stubbornly clinged to it. Groups rarely yield on pet doctrines – they are
stiffnecked. God counsels: Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise therefore the
foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked (also Col 2:11).”
Consider your ways and turn to Him. The group may never change, but
individuals certainly can – think about it.

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Jesus came to offer life and hope – the light (Is 9:2, Lk 1:79, Jn 1:4). The
religious Jews did not desire any change (Jn 3:19, Jer 6:10). John 8:31-
34, “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. They answered him, We be Abraham's
seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall
be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” They didn’t see their
need for any deliverance or freedom (Jer 2:35). Jesus tried to explain
their corrupt nature to them, but was not well received (Jn 8:37-47).
Later, under conviction of their wrongs they lashed out at Jesus: John
8:48, “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that
thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” Christ had revealed their very
natures and then they opened their mouths and confirmed it – yet would
not see their wrong nor turn – obstinately tenacious. The truth hurts,
especially when one is not willing to change.

For those religious ones who stubbornly (pertinaciously, obstinately,


tenaciously, stiffneckedly, persistantly) cling to their belief in exoneration
(pardon, clemency, absolution, amnesty) from such righteous rebuke by
nature of their religiosity (less than true faith), consider this example from
the Jews prior to their exile (captivity) in Babylon. Most of these imputent
and heardhearted people were killed by the sword, pestilence and famine
by God’s decree (Jer 27:6-8, 34:17, Ez 6:11-12, 7:15). Jeremiah 26:2-3,
“Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak
unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house,
all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a
word: If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way,
that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them
because of the evil of their doings (also Jer 36:6-7).” Notice, all these
people worshipped in the Lord’s house – they were very religious! Notice,
that God’s truth had not been told in the Lord’s house, and Jeremiah was
to tell God’s Word plainly no matter how unpopular it would be received!
Notice, the people, although religious, walked in an evil way! God sent a
man with God’s message to tell these religious ones to repent of their evil
doings such that God may repent of the evil which He was going to bring
upon these religious folks. They didn’t listen or repent and God brought
the evil (Jer 29:17-19! They were judged according to their ways without
pity (Ez 7:3-4, 8-9, 27). You can be very religious and still have a heart
far from God – we must have eyes to see this. Will you repent? One day
wrath and lamentations may find you (See Chapter Ten).

We discussed in Chapter Two how Jesus came full of love, grace and
compassion. He spoke truth, healed, nurtured, fed and delivered. Jesus
totally obeyed God and did all things well. What was man’s response to all
this? Christ was mocked, belittled, derided, wrongfully accused, spied
upon, demeaned, taken advantage of, constantly under threat of bodily
harm, misrepresented, beaten, falsely accused, betrayed, forsaken, and

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killed (Ps 35:15-16, 20-21, Mk 10:34). Please do not think that man’s
rebellion against God’s purposes has ceased in this religious world in
which we live today. Remember, you can profess Christ, yet not KNOW
Him (Mt 7:22-23). The Jews professed God and were very religious, but
did not follow. Many today profess God and are very religious, but do not
follow. Oh, such a religious world! I dare say if Christ came again with His
same message (in a modern context), he would be crucified again by
religious man. Man’s rebellious attitude toward God has not changed one
bit - if only you had eyes to see. It is possible to construct a god of your
own making (your opinion, conformed to your image of what he should
be) and yet be totally different from the true Lord described in scripture.
You may never know you have done this until you take His Word to heart
and seek Him.

Pressure of Conformity

There will always be peer pressure within the group to uphold the group’s
position even when your heart says differently. We are to conform to the
image of Christ, yet the group would conform us to it’s image. We must
stop fearing man (Col 3:23-24, 1 Thess 1:4) and put our trust in Christ
(Nah 1:7, Gal 1:10). Psalm 118:6, “The LORD is on my side; I will not
fear: what can man do unto me? (also Ps 56:4, 11, 118:6, 8, Heb 13:6)”
AND Proverb 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth
his trust in the LORD shall be safe (also Ps 27:1).” Perhaps you have
heard the term, “peer pressure.” The group will surely bring pressure to
bear on the individual – pressure to conform to the group.

John 3:1-2, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus,


a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him,
Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can
do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Nicodemus
clearly recognized that Jesus was sent of God. However, he feared more
what the others might think of his dissension (disagreement - disloyalty)
of the group’s position regarding Christ. Therefore he came to Jesus by
night – in secret. Men such as Nicodemus were summed up later in this
gospel: John 12:42-43, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many
believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him,
lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of
men more than the praise of God.” The chief rulers “self censored”
themselves for fear of the denomination (Pharisees). They erred
exceedingly by not confessing Christ –Read Matthew 10:33 and Luke
12:9. Nicodemas would later defend Jesus before the chief Priests and
Pharisees by stating: John 7:50-52, “Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that
came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man,
before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said
unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee
ariseth no prophet.” Nicodemas had rose above his self imposed
censorship and the position of the religious group, thus revealing

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his changing heart. Whenever one speaks against the group, one takes
great risk of being ostracized and demonized by it. This fear keeps many
suppressed by the group, and is to their own condemnation. These
religious leaders would not even consider that Jesus was correct – they
stood to lose too much. They rationalized their position with little evidence
(few facts). Apparently Jesus’ gracious Words ultimately had a positive
(longsuffering) affect on Nicodemus - Read John 19:39-40 concerning
Nicodemus’s additional new found boldness. Does your loyalty or fear of
the group keep you self censored with perhaps the perception of
unanimity within the group? Are you more concerned with living the truth
or group acceptance (popularity, peer pressure)? Isn’t it so much easier to
compromise a bit? There is no reproach in compromise – nor is there a
witness (of Jesus). Christ never compromised, but He suffered much
reproach. No doubt, that many a person has been asked (required) to
leave a religious gathering because of a bold stand on the truth of Christ’s
gospel (Php 1:29). Most may seem troubled by some aspects of the
group, but go along anyway – like the current of the stream. When one
truly catches a glimpse of Jesus, one will fight against the current of this
worldly stream as one strives for the light. One quickly realizes that the
ability is in God’s mercy and grace and not in one’s own strength – we are
weak, but He is strong (Ex 20:6). When there is a will (to seek God with
all your heart), God will provide a way – “the way.” For the ways of the
Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them (Hos 14:9).

Jesus once healed a blind man – a tremendous miracle of love. The


religious Jews were not so excited, because this event occurred on the
Sabbath – a violation of their derived doctrines concerning the Sabbath
(Illusion of morality). They could not look beyond their perception of the
Sabbath (doctrines) to see the true Christ incarnate. A religious inquiry
was held concerning the matter. The religious clearly considered Jesus an
outsider to their group – a rival. John 9:16, “Therefore said some of the
Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath
day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And
there was a division among them.” God intentionally confounds the
religious mind. Jesus was separating the wheat from the tares. Those who
would hear and believe and those who would not. Psalms 35:4, “Let them
be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be
turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.” These
religious men were always looking for fault in Christ. They rationalized
that Jesus could not be of God because He violated one of the religious
group’s rules. After all, they represented God (illusion of morality). They
never even considered the fact that their rules left no room for love,
compassion or thankfulness – or that they could be wrong (Jn 7:22-24).
Some tried to stereotype Jesus as evil, however due to this notable
miracle of kindness others were not so sure (needed convincing).
Therefore an attempt was made to discredit Jesus by questioning the
previously-blind man’s parents. John 9:20-23, “His parents answered
them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:

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But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his
eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the
Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ,
he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is
of age; ask him.” How sad that such a wonderful miracle was performed
on their son, yet their fear of nonconformity to the group (synagogue)
was greater than their joy for their son (or thankfulness to Jesus?). Once
again these leaders discredited Jesus: John 9:24, “Then again called they
the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know
that this man is a sinner.” They attempted to transform this loving miracle
of God into a grievious violation toward God – a twisting of intent. Psalms
35:12, “They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul (also Ps
109:5).” They mischaracterized Jesus, but still considered themselves to
represent God (illusion of morality). They wanted the man who was healed
to condemn the healer. The man then boldly defended Christ (Jn 9:25,
30-33) only to be stereotyped and ostracized himself (Jn 9:28). John
9:34, “They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in
sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out (of the synagogue).”
Touched by God, yet rejected by man – a familiar event. Jesus said we
would suffer reproach for “following” Him (Mt 10:22, Lk 6:22). Are you
willing to suffer such reproach? Will you rise above the crowd? Jesus said
that they called Him Beelzabub and His followers would be called worse
(Mt 10:25). The blind man was kicked out of the religious organization,
yet found a true Lord and Savior – kind of a paradox isn’t it? He lost his
religiosity, but found a true touch of God – all for Christ’s namesake. Don’t
discount the fact that the same happens today. Blessed are those who
follow!

Collective Rationalization

When the group’s practices are brought into doubt, rationalization is often
sought to confirm the group and relegate (downgrade, reduce, lessen) or
eliminate the threat. How could so many people in the religious institution
(group) be wrong and this one individual be right? - have you ever heard
that one before (majority rule)? John 7:25-27, “Then said some of them
of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh
boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this
is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when
Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.” The people considered
strongly that Jesus might be the Christ due to His gracious Words (Mt
7:28, 13:54, 22:33, Mk 1:22, 6:2, 9:15, 10:24, 11:18, Lk 2:47, 4:15, 32,
Jn 7:46) and mighty miracles (Mk 1:27, 2:12, 5:42, 7:37, 16:8, Lk 4:36,
5:26, 7:16, 8:56, 9:43). Yet many also rationalized their rejection of
Jesus through their own opinions. Does anybody really know for sure (a
fact) that this Jesus is the Christ? After all: Matthew 13:55-57, “Is not this
the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren,
James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all

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with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were
offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without
honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” The people would
later state: John 6:42, “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of
Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I
came down from heaven?” Often people (groups) will overlook obvious
truth to justify their complacency or positions of how they think things
should be done/fulfilled. Who would dare question the institution? Jesus
did mighty miracles, but did not come in a way (manner) that the group
thought He should have. How could the very Christ actually have come
from a family and be known and yet come from heaven also? The human
mind does have its limitations. How dare this man be anything more than
a carpenter’s son – the group’s expectation. God always confounds the
wise in heart (1 Cor 1:27). Psalms 35:26, “Let them be ashamed and
brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be
clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.”
Does the message line up with God’s Word and draw you to Him? We
must discern through the Spirit and the Word. Just who is doing the
leading in your group? Where are you going? Man is leading to religiosity
(buildings, programs, membership growth, religious works, hearing, etc.);
the Holy Spirit is leading to God (righteousness, holiness, faith, love,
doing). Man builds “ME” up; the Spirit tears “ME” down. Man seeks God’s
blessings; the Spirit leads us to God’s will. Many will serve God feignedly
(insincere, act as if, in a false manner); We must serve with a whole heart
(Jer 3:10).

John 7:37-44, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood
and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He
that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow
rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that
believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given;
because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore,
when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others
said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and
out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division
among the people because of him. And some of them would have taken
him; but no man laid hands on him.” Christ gracious Words proved His
divinity (spoke God’s Words, was God’s Son). The group continued to
rationalize, yet with incomplete information. They considered Him to be
from Nazareth (Galilee) with no notable ancestry (Mt 2:22-23). Out of
Galilee? God will never make things “cut and dry (logical and easy)” for
the flesh. He will always be approached through faith (Rm 1:17, Heb
11:6), which “bypasses” the flesh and human reasoning. Christ was
actually born in Bethlehem and was of the lineage of David, but they
presumed they had the complete facts (Mt 2:1). Jesus didn’t come to
defensively prove who He is. Jesus came to “BE” who He is - as submitted
to the Father. Jesus lived the example and if you couldn’t ascertain who

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He was through the example then you would not know. Christ sought to
glorify the Father, not Himself. Jesus submits to the Father; man submits
to Christ; woman submits to man – God’s divine order (1 Cor 11:3). Our
strength is our submission. The flesh will never understand this – it makes
no sense (1 Cor 2:14). The lack of submission is rebellion – an exaltation.
Do you find yourself justifying your opinions (rebellion) or do you submit
to God’s order? Do you question or obey? Arrogance/conceit (self
exaltation) gains place/position on earth; humbleness gains greatness in
heaven (Mt 18:1-4). Consequently, the world’s values are opposed
(disparate, dissimilar) to God’s will. We must die to the ways of the world
and be reborn with God’s nature – otherwise we will not see/enter the
kingdom of God (Jn 3:3, 5).

Self Censorship

John 7:12-13, “And there was much murmuring among the people
concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but
he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of
the Jews.” Jesus was the talk of the town, but no one dared talk openly in
town. One might risk receiving rebuke (reproach) or be isolated from the
group. Continuing error within a group is often due to self censorship
resulting from fear of the group. Those who said Jesus was a good man
did not feel firm enough in their belief to confess Him and thus they
remained blind. When our faith is resolute, then our actions will follow.
Doubt (unbelief) will keep us quite. Unbelief is a condemning sin (Heb
3:19). The group is usually firm in its resolve because they find security in
their numbers. Standing against such a group requires boldness from
above and the Holy Spirit provides such boldness for those who will stand
(Acts 1:87, 4:31) – in faith. Rather than change the group, you are more
likely to find yourself put out of the group. Either way you are a witness.
Consider that Jesus, His Apostles and all the prophets faced such
opposition from religious groups. We now build upon such a foundation
with Jesus as the chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20).

Illusion of Morality

Religious groups always consider themselves as representing God. When


one comes who does not support their prized doctrines and traditions, it
can only be assumed that he is not in God’s will. Matthew 12:9-14, “And
when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold,
there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him,
saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse
him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that
shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he
not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a
sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith
he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it
was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and

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held a council against him, how they might destroy him.” This group had
no concern about the man with the withered hand. They only sought to
accuse Christ of violating their flawed perception of God’s will (man
seeking God through man’s will). They were filled with madness (Lk 6:11).
Jesus shamed them greatly with righteous rebuke. Christ revealed their
uncaring (heartless, indifferent, callous) natures and wrong perceptions of
God’s true will. These men did not respond well to correction and thus
revealed their true hearts. The entrappers became the entrapees. This
group had hearts full of bitterness, hatred and pride. Jesus came to heal,
but these sought to kill (Ex 20:13, Deut 5:17, Mt 5:21-22). You be the
judge – oh religious man. They defended their doctrines of the Sabbath
religiously, but didn’t apply the same zeal concerning the law of not killing
(Mt 5:21-22). Jesus once said: John 7:19, “Did not Moses give you the
law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?”
Jesus had also said: John 8:40, “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that
hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.”
These religious men were hypocrites (Mt 22:18, 23:13, 15, 25, 27, 29, Lk
11:44)! Seeking the will of the flesh blinds. Seeking the Spirit through the
Word will open our eyes to God’s truth (See Chapter Six).

Jesus went about the villages and taught in the synagogues (meeting
places, Mt 9:35). Jesus had compassion and saw the people as sheep
without a shepherd (Mt 9:36). How can this be? The religious Jews had
built a tremendous bureaucracy. They considered themselves to firmly
represent God and to be His authority and teachers. The scribes,
Pharisees and Sadducees definitely considered themselves to be the
leaders (shepherds). Jesus said pray to the Lord of the harvest that He
would send laborers (Mt 9:37-38). How can this be? The religious Jews
were laboring tirelessly in their (man’s) endeavors. The religious group
always presumes they are representing God’s will. Apparently this is not
necessarily the reality and there is much blindness. Often men labor in
their will and opinions for their purposes. We must be sent of God for His
purposes. Jesus said these men were not placed by God (Mt 15:13). God’s
truth is found in our submission and obedience (eyes that can see). We
must learn that our way is not God’s way. We are not just considering
Jesus’ opinion of the matter, but rather God’s assessment that His sheep
were not being led or taught in accordance with His purposes. Obviously
religious man would have disagreed and pointed to all their religious
works and good, yet misperceived intentions. Is it really any different
today? Religious men will rarely admit fault (their systems, ways,
doctrines,methods, attitudes, etc.) and if they do they will qualify/justify
their wrongs by saying that God understands based upon whatever
reasoning they put forth. Often these religious will say, but not do (Mt
21:30, 23:3). We must acknowledge (see, admit, realize, take
responsibility for, confess) our error and not continue in it, but rather
repent (forsake) and conform to God’s Word – to have a contrite heart!
This seems easy enough, but pride, envy, tenacity (clinging too,
stubbornly/obstinacy), ulterior motives and tradition will make it

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impossible for some. Acts 13:41, “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and
perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise
believe, though a man declare it unto you.”

John 7:43-49, “So there was a division among the people because of him.
And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said
unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never
man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also
deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But
this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Clearly Christ’s gracious
Words are starting to break up the collective rationalization and pressure
for conformity. The leadership immediately questions the group’s
conformity (compliance and obedience). Notice that they clung to their
interpretations of the law as being supremely representative of God. They
equated follow Christ as disobeying God. Many a religious man will
intimidate others with threat of sacrilege for not following their (man’s)
religious ways. A follower must read and know God’s Word. The Spirit will
unfold the truth and you must walk therein. This may not always sit well
with the practices of the religious group.

Mind Guards

The religious leaders feared Jesus (Mk 11:18) and were greatly concerned
that Jesus would take away their place (Jn 11:48) and threaten the
complacency of the religious group. They said that Jesus deceived, stirred
up, and perverted the people (Lk 7:12, 23:5, 14). John 7:31-32, “And
many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will
he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees
heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the
Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.” These religious
leaders were determined to stop Jesus from influencing the group and
thus threatening their positions and control (Is 9:2).

Different groups such as the Pharisees and Sadducees disagreed on


various doctrines such as the resurrection of the dead (much the same as
denominations today). Even though these groups disagreed and
constantly bickered (disputed, quarreled, debated, squabbled, Acts 23:6-
8), they still were part of the overall religious system (mindset) that was
in place and they tolerated each other (Mt 16:1, 22:15-16, 34). Jesus
came from outside their system and they all had no tolerance for Him (Mt
21:45-46, 22:15-16, 34, 26:3-4, 15, 27:1, Mk 3:6, 12:13, Lk 11:54,
19:47, 22:2, Jn 8:6). Jesus spoke the truth (which they claimed to
believe) and this shed light on their darkness. John 15:25, “But this
cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their
law, They hated me without a cause (also Acts 13:28).” Truly they had no
justifiable reason to hate Jesus – He was the embodiment
(personification, quintessence, perfect example, ideal) of truth, love and

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righteousness. Psalms 35:7, “For without cause have they hid for me their
net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul (also Ps
35:19).” When the light shines on your darkness, you can repent (grieve
and forsake); continue therein (with whatever justifications); or put out
the light (eliminate the conviction, Ps 37:2). One requires humbleness
which goes against the will of the flesh. The other two rise up in pride and
aide the cause of self.

Jesus often exposed the error of the religious leaders. Mark 11:15-18,
“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began
to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the
tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And
would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the
temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall
be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of
thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they
might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was
astonished at his doctrine.” Christ message was positively affecting the
people, and the religious leaders were losing their hold. They sought to kill
Him to preserve their group and remove the pressure on themselves to
explain the unexplainable. Christ did not come to conform to the group
and tell it what it wanted to hear – no smooth non-offensive messages. He
served God fully with a great zeal (Ps 69:9, Jn 2:17). Standing for God’s
truth in this fallen world will not gain you popularity, but will certainly
bring reproach. Perhaps we should consider much more closely the
messages of those popular ones who preach to big crowds in huge
churches and are on television and write best selling books (Col 2:8). How
does one find such mass appeal if they truly preach the way of the cross
(death to the self - Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23, Rm 6:6, 12, Eph 4:22,
Col 3:8-9)?

Jesus performed an unbelievable (incredible) miracle in raising Lazarus to


life who had been dead four days – proving absolutely that He is the
resurrection, and the life (Jn 11:25); the way, the truth, and the life (Jn
14:6). The religious Jews could only see Jesus as a rival due to their
jealousy, envy, self interest and insecurity. John 11:47-50, “Then
gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do
we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men
will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our
place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest
that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that
it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the
whole nation perish not.” Notice that these men want to destroy Jesus to
protect their interest (loss of position) and reputations (having the
answers, leadership ability, control); and the complacency (content as is)
of the group. They feared the miracles would lead men unto Him (which
was the intent). The miracles testified that Jesus is the Son of God, but
the religious discredited undeniable proofs (collective rationalization,

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illusion of invulnerability). Is it any wonder God gives such men over to
blindness? John 11:53-54, “Then from that day forth they took counsel
together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly
among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness,
into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.”
Emmanuel, “God with us,” was no longer safe around the religious who
claimed to worship Him (Jn 7:1, 11:7-8). Groups that follow the flesh can
be very irrational, yet finding no fault with themselves

John 12:9-11, “Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was
there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see
Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests
consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by
reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” This
miracle bore witness of the Words Christ spoke. Rather than consider the
merit and source of the miracle, these men could only think of their selfish
interest. Men were starting to leave the darkness and come to the light.
Jesus was drawing people to God, but these religious men were pulling
them away and they were willing to violate the very law of God to do
it. They had often accused Jesus of violating the Sabbath, yet what does
the law say: “Thou shalt not kill (Ex 20:13)” – a double standard. John
5:16, “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay
him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” John 12:17-
19, “The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of
his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the
people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.
The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye
prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.” The “light” was
shining brightly, but the religious wanted to put the light out. Jesus had
suffered much at the hands of the religious, but His witness was
undeniable. A true witness of Christ (follower) will always be upsetting to
a religious man because their light will reveal hypocrisy and love of
darkness. This is very uncomfortable to those living in the flesh (yet in
denial).

Mark 14:1-2, “After two days was the feast of the passover, and of
unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they
might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the
feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.” The religious leaders
sought to kill by trickery and false accusation. Christ’s message was
turning the hearts of the people (group). As the religious were preparing
to celebrate the passover, they were scheming (devious, underhanded,
conniving) to kill the very embodiment of all the symbology of the
passover. Such a great disconnect between religious man and God! Jesus
said, “the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Mk 14:41) –
These men thought themselves righteous - something worth pondering.

Stereotyping

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When Jesus came, He was immediately considered a rival and a threat by
the religious leaders and thus their group (Ps 69:4). This envy, jealousy
and self-seeking drove their blindness to God’s truth (Rm 11:7-10). Christ
did not have their religious training or attend their schools (Mt 13:54, Mk
6:2, Jn 7:15); Jesus did not rise through their ranks; He did not have the
pedigree that they desired; nor did Jesus follow their traditions (Mt 12:1-
14, 15:1-14) or endorse their behavior and doctrines (Mt 16:11-12).
Jesus pointed out their errors (Mt 6:1-18, 21:12-13 & Chap 23, Mk 11:15-
18, 12:38-40, Lk 12:1, 20:46-47). Jesus put these learned men to shame
and this did not set well (Mt 22:15-34, Mk 12:13-27, 35-37, Lk 13:11-17,
20:20-40, Jn 8:3-11). Rather than receive correction, these religious men
set about to discredit Jesus (Lk 11:53-54, 20:20). If one can negatively
portray (smear, slur, character assassination) the messenger then the
message will have less impact. Jesus had once said “woe unto you scribes
and Pharisees” and then listed their hypocrisies/failings (Mt 23:13-15, 23,
25, 27, 29, Lk 11:44, also Mt 6:2, 5, 7, 16). Were they all guilty? -
Perhaps to some degree or another. Jesus was pointing out that their
behaviors were a group trait (mannerisms, characteristics, ideals, ways)
which was commonly practiced. They saw no fault or wrong, yet Jesus
said (speaking the Father’s Words, Jn 12:49), Woe!

Matthew 12:22-24, “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a
devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and
dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is
not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This
fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
This compassionate miracle revealed Christ’s identity to the people and
they were undoubtedly amazed. The leaders of the religious group ignored
clear evidence of Christ’s unique works (of the Father) and refused to see
their own error in opposing Him. The people’s hearts were turning to
Christ, so the leaders demonized Him – literally (Mk 3:22). They cast
down His good name – and also blasphemed the Holy Spirit (equating the
Spirit to the devil, Mt 12:31). They saw Jesus as a adversary (challenger,
opponent) and a threat to their group and were thus blinded to His light.
Rather than come to the light, they chose to remain in darkness (Jn 3:19-
20). John 10:20-21, “And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad;
why hear ye him (also Jn 7:20)? Others said, These are not the words of
him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” Can you
see how God is shaking up this religious group such that the true
“believers” will fall out? There is a remnant, the lost sheep, that Christ is
come to recover – those who believe. We can also conclude from this
discussion that Jesus was speaking God’s truth with no desire to fit-in and
be popular with the group. Not many religious speakers today would like
to be referred to as being the devil or as being “crazy.” Thus they seek
popularity and crowds. The truth was working its results – separating
those who sought the light from those who loved the darkness (Is 5:18).
Christ Words were convicting and not the smooth messages of today.

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Consider how difficult it must have been for Christ to stand virtually alone
(He did have the Father, Jn 8:29) against a religious nation with a
rebellious mindset. Jesus was the peacemaker (Ps 85:8, Rm 5:1, Eph
2:14-15, Col 1:20).

Jesus once asked these religious men: John 10:32, “Jesus answered them,
Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those
works do ye stone me?” Jesus gave them some good advice: John 14:11,
“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe
me for the very works’ sake.” Why should one so worthy be so despised?
It should also be noted that these scholarly (learned, intellectual,
educated, studious) religious men had also accused John the Baptist of
having a devil (Mt 11:18). How could the religious group have been so
wrong (Is 9:16)? On other occasions they accused Jesus of blasphemy (Mt
26:65, Lk 5:21, Jn 10:33, 36). They condemned themselves by their very
words (Mt 12:37). In “the Judgment,” Christ’s righteousness will be
undeniable and without question; conversly, these religions men’s words
and thoughts will reveal their darkness with no need of justification.

After Christ’s death, the religious leaders said: Matthew 27:63, “Saying,
Sir (to Pilate), we remember that that deceiver (imposter) said, while he
was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.” These learned prideful
religious men never acknowledged their error and came to the startling
conclusion that Jesus Christ, God’s own son, Savior of the world, was a
fake/phony. The purposes (deliverance from sin; reconciliation through
submission; leading to conformity and righteousness; daily practice and
application of faith; obedience to the Spirit; etc.) of the true Christ of the
Bible may shock many religious today if they would only read this Word.
Some religious leaders have made out the true Jesus to be a fake/phony
through their explaining away of His Word and redefining of His gospel
(i.e. this isn’t suppose to be literal, Its only symbolic, that was only for the
Jews, I believe…, this really means…, we all sin, etc.).

Illusions of Invulnerability

John 5:16, “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to
slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” Christ
tried to show these religious men their hypocrisy. They persecuted Jesus
over a perceived violation of the law regarding the Sabbath, yet they
thought to kill in their hearts – a violation of the law regarding “shalt not
kill.” They hated in their hearts (Lv 19:17, Mt 5:21-22). John 7:22-24,
“Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses,
but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man
on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not
be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit
whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but
judge righteous judgment.” These men’s reasoning was selectively
applied. They rose above the law to keep their ideals, yet could not

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perceive their own error in such. These religious men were willing to kill
(Ex 20:13), blaspheme (Ex 20:7) and bear false witness (Ex 20:16, 23:1,
Ps 35:11, Mt 26:60) to get their way and considered their cause more
important than the means.

The religious had negated the will of God through their many traditions.
Matthew 15:1-6, “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were
of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the
elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he
answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the
commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying,
Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let
him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his
mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And
honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made
the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” The traditions
of the elders were nothing more than the commandments of men – which
they equated as necessary in serving God (Illusion of Morality). This
religious group said that one could make an offering (gift – dedicated to
the service of God) to the religious institution and be free of obligation to
their parents (providing for needs when old or distressed) – an offset. So
those who deprived parents of needed resources by stating they are a gift
(religious vow) were free from their obligation to their parents – thus
voiding God’s intent through the appearance of serving God. We are not
bound to the commandments (traditions) of men, but rather to those of
God. Man’s traditions often violate God’s will (example – see Chapter
Seven, Christ (Mass), A Worldly Holiday). Do you change the intent of
God’s Word through your opinions or cherished doctrines (Is 5:21)? Have
your traditions been elevated to requirements? Does your outward
appearance mask your true heart?

Pre-Eminence

Diotrephes was the leader of a Christian assembly (3 John). The Holy


Spirit was not leading this group because Diotrephes loved to have the
preeminence (dominance, supremacy, 3 Jn 1:9). He was lording over
(control) the group with selfish intent (Mt 20:25-28, Mk 10:42-45). He
would not even receive the Apostle John, whom Jesus loved (Jn 13:23).
John said: 3 Jn 1:10, “Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds
which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content
therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth
them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” Diotrephes was the
mindguard who stereotyped all perceived rivals and exerted great
pressure on the group members to conform (will be cast out). John further
said concerning him: 3 Jn 1:11, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but
that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil
hath not seen God.” Any group or leader that will surpress the truth of
God’s Word and will Lord over others is that which is evil – beware. True

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leaders will always live by example – please consider. 1 Peter 5:3,
“Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the
flock.” When man is leading, the Spirit isn’t! Your actions are superior to
your words!

Popular With the Group?

When Jesus came, He strickly set about to do the will of the Father. Christ
never sought popularity within the established religious groups. He often
taught in their synagogues (religious buildings) seeking the lost sheep
(those who would receive Him, Mt 15:24). John 18:20, “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.” How was Christ’s message and works received in these various
synagogues? Jesus once entered a synagogue and taught, revealing the
fulfillment of a prophecy concerning Himself – He came to do God’s will in
the volume of the book written concerning Himself (Ps 40:7-8, Heb 10:7).
The religious group then proceeded to lead Him to the brow of a hill in
order to cast Him down headlong (Lk 4:16-30). On another occasion,
Jesus taught and healed a man with a withered hand (and on the
Sabbath). The Jews then plotted to kill Him (Mt 12:9-14, Mk 3:1-6, Lk
6:6-11). Jesus also taught in a synagogue and healed a woman and was
strongly rebuked by the ruler of the synagogue (Lk 13:10-17). Jesus
frequently taught in the synagogues and the people were truly amazed
and astonished, but were full of unbelief (Mt 13:54-58, Mk 1:21-28, 6:2-
6, Lk 4:31-37). Christ also taught in the temple. On one occasion: John
8:59, “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and
went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed
by.” At another time: John 10:31, “Then the Jews took up stones again to
stone him.” God guarded Christ until the time of His purposes (Ps 40:14).
Jesus revealed great truths of God’s Word in a synagogue which
challenged the flesh (secular understanding). Afterward, many of His
disciples followed Him no more (Jn 6:59-69). Jesus only spoke the Words
of the Father and did the Father’s works, yet this gained Him no popularity
or place in the religious group – He became a great reproach to them (Ps
109:25). Will a true man of God find popularity within the very religious
world of today? Will a message that denies the flesh be received? Will
such a message sell religious books or gain television audience
(contributions)? The flesh wants to be exalted, but the Word of God tears
the flesh down and places it into subjection. Many religious men today
preach popular messages which exalt themselves to gain fame (renown,
reputation, distinction, eminance, prominance, notoriety). How could they
preach a message that will destroy the thing they seek (Jn 5:44)? To
“follow” Christ is to die to such things. We must seek the glory of Him who
sent us (Jn 7:18) in conforming to Christ. Jesus deserves to receive glory,
does He?

Paul

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We discussed in Chapter Three (Paul Follows the Path of the Cross) how
Paul was raised in the strictest sect of the religious group (Acts 22:3,
26:5). He was zealous for the ideals of his group and defended them
vigorously (Gal 1:14). He was a self appointed mindguard (defender) of
the group and persecuted those who threatened the group with a
vengance (Acts 8:3, 9:1-2, 22:4, 19-20, 26:10-11). Acts 26:9, “I verily
thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name
of Jesus of Nazareth.” On his way to Damascus to continue his supposed
defense of God (illusion of morality), Paul had a very real and spectacular
encounter with Jesus, whom he persecuted – Paul saw the light (Acts 9:3-
4, 22:6). Paul was physically blinded for a time after this encounter. He
was blind, yet he began to see (Jn 9:39). Paul was confronted with truth
that he could no longer rationalize away (Acts 9:4-6, 22:6-16, 26:13-18).
He had to do the unthinkable – leave the group, which had been his life.
Paul became a “follower of Christ.” – he forsook all and found new life in
Christ. It was later said of Paul: Galatians 1:23 “But they had heard only,
That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which
once he destroyed.” Once Paul left the group, he became a target of the
group and was stereotyped and persecuted just as he had done. Paul tried
to reason with those within the group, but they just were not receiving
what he had to say (illusions of Invulnerability, collective rationalization,
pressure of conformity - blindness). As with Jesus, so it was with Paul – in
both cases a remnant was gleaned along “The Way.” Christ said we would
be hated of all men (Lk 21:17). Why the hatred? Because “followers
testify of it and its evil works – they are lights (Jn 7:7). Paul was hated,
persecuted, whipped, stoned, imprisoned, and killed (Acts 9:16). Paul
fought the good fight and God was glorified in it (2 Tm 4:7).

Example

The author was once associated with several different religious


organizations (some belonging to denominations) where there was a
routine ritual practiced that was termed “being slain in/by the spirit.” This
is a very common practice in “charismatic/pentecostal” type groups. For
those unfamiliar with this practice, the author will attempt to explain it.
During every religious service, at some point, usually toward the end, an
altar call would be extended to the gathering from the preacher. People
would come forward for prayer. The preacher would then “lay hands” on
each individual and pray (1 Tm 5:22). Usually some sort of annointing oil
would be used. During this time, many who were being prayed for would
fall backward, when touched, in a sort of semi-conscious state and lie
prostrate (powerless) on the floor. Some fell softly, but others rather
violently. This was said to be the power of the God and these were said to
be “getting ministered to by the Lord.” There were men standing behind
them who were called “catchers” who would catch these folks as they fell
backward so they would not slam into the floor – similar to being ushers.
Fabric sheets were placed over ladies who wore dresses to avoid

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embarrassing/revealing situations. This was a regular and very
coordinated event. If the desired results were not accomplished on the
one being prayed for, then other members would be called to gather
around the individual and pray. The more (quantity) people who were
slain (supposedly under the power of the Lord), the more God was said to
be moving. The preacher might announce, “I can feel God’s presence.”
Now the author always felt somewhat uncomfortable with this practice,
but assumed it was of the Lord (illusion of morality). This was happening
in front of his eyes (collective rationalization). Everyone was doing it
(unanimity) and it was endorsed by so many religious organizations and
leaders and TV networks (illusions of invulnerability, collective
rationalization). To question the practice would be to question God. These
religious organizations would often criticize other religious organizations or
individuals who did not do such things or believe as they did (excessive
stereotyping). On rare occasions the author would go forward for such
prayer, but only after praying that God would not let anything happen if it
was not of Him. He was never “slain in the spirit,” but was pushed on very
hard by a couple of seemingly irritated preachers. The author began to
really doubt this whole thing, but said nothing - not even to family (self
censorship). Many were kept in-line by having their faith questioned if
they were not touched by God in some special way (Pressure for
Conformity). The author eventually talked to others who had similar
experiences of being pushed and some said they fell backward because
they thought they were suppose to and others also questioned the
practice (illusion of Unanimity). Light started to shine on the author’s
understanding as he read God’s Word, and found himself becoming a critic
of this practice. Most just conformed to the group position. Its so hard to
see clearly when you are in the midst of such error – there is a blindness.
Nowhere is this practice found in the Bible. There just are no examples – a
couple of verses were once sighted, but were taken way out of context. It
had also been apparent for some time that the same individuals were
always going forward for prayer and being “slain in the spirit.” These
always seemed to have never ending problems in their lives – real defeat.
Some would be laid out immoveable with no control of themselves for
whole services. These were considered by the group to be very spiritual –
in tune with God. Some took to dancing in the isles. The author started
seeing this as possibly demonic and began wondering what spirit was at
play. 1 Corinthians 14:32, “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to
the prophets.” This practice also put God in the place of being a constant
servant. The author questioned the preacher and was told by him to read
several books (written by men and their reasoning) which were basically
unscriptural endorsements of the practice. The author was not shown
anything out of the Bible – only told of experiences others had or of great
past revivals. Religious organizational members were dispatched to talk to
the author (pressure for conformity, mindguards). The author and his
family then walked away from all this. It does take great courage to defy
the majority and break with the group. However, when you seek God’s
truth, there is great deliverance. This global group was always seeking a

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special touch from God (in the flesh). They wanted signs and wonders and
were always looking for a big revival (Mt 12:38-39, Lk 11:29-30, 32, Jn
4:48). They just don’t understand that our life is found in God as we live
for Him daily in faith. We walk as Christ walked and ever day is exciting as
His Spirit leads. We must take great joy in Christ’s Word and this gives
life. Our life is not found in such fleshly experiences. They miss out on just
dying to self and being led daily. God is sovereign and can touch us in
special ways, but is not controlled by the will of man – and certainly not
routinely.

How could small to very large groups of people routinely (regularly,


habitually, common place) practice a ritual that is not even found
(described) in the Bible and treat it as if it were the biblical norm? How
could such an unrecorded practice be equated with God’s very presence?
It happens all the time and concerning so many things. People find
comfort in numbers. People do not question group practices. The vast
acceptance of the practice within the group makes it difficult for an
individual to see clearly. Being “slain in the spirit” is a fleshly experience.
Where did it originate? This is difficult to say, but in modern times it has
been propogated by the television healing evangelistic type preachers and
their books. These type men once roamed the country with their healing
services and traveling gospel shows and this was a part of it. The author
will state that many of the individuals that he knew who practiced these
things later encountered great difficulties in their lives. Some were
divorced having families torn apart, some developed bad medical
conditions, some lost faith, and some experienced failed businesses.

Modern Practices

No doubt, these same types of group reasoning (errors) discussed


throughout this chapter are being committed in religious institutions
today. One may be asked to sign a doctrinal statement in order to join
(become a member of) a religious gathering in today’s religious
organization. This is stating that you agree with the groups
positions/opinions and that you will support and uphold them. Does this
not tie the Holy Spirit’s hands? – grieve Him not (Eph 4:30, 1 Thess
5:19)! God does not want a signed paper, He desires a commitment of the
heart – a giving of one’s life as evidenced through one’s actions (faith) – A
CHANGE - a yielding to His direction daily (Mt 6:34). We have discussed
within this book how modern day religious groups (organizations,
denominations or individuals) often ignor clear violations of God’s Word
through worldly celebrations (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.); fleshly
attractions (rock and roll bands, plays, programs, activities); use of
images (crosses, physical representations of God, Is 42:8); and
participation (with priority) in daily ungodly conversations or
entertainments (television, movies, sports). These things (idols,
worldliness – Eph 5:5) that oppose God’s will are often rationalized away
and never seen in the true light of God’s Word – ignorance is bliss! These

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are the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19) and focus one’s attention off of God
and onto the world. The devil told Christ that he would give Him the whole
world if He would worship him (Mt 4:8-9). The devil tells man that he will
give him the world (things of the flesh, self-gratification) if man will
worship him (take on his nature, focus on self and the world). How did
Christ respond? Matthew 4:10, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee
hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and
him only shalt thou serve.” How will you respond? All one has to do is
read the Old Testament to completely/fully understand God’s great
displeasure in those who do idolatry or practice the evil ways of the
surrounding culture (Lv 18:3-5, 27-28, 20:22-23). Most seem to think
God’s view of such has changed through Christ. Most live as though Jesus
brought license/freedom to do the very things that are abominable to
God. Worse, the religious group becomes as the world (Rm 12:2) and
seeks acceptance within the world and rationalizes all this as bringing
people to Christ. For example, during the writing of this chapter, the
author read several signs advertising easter egg hunts at local religious
institutions. This would be the Old Testament equivalent of Israel
practicing elements of Baal worship (mixing with their worship of God) so
that they could bring Baal worshippers to the Lord – we cannot reach
them any other way. Would God honor such? Is not the opposite effect the
reality? These practices become burned in the hearts of the children and
thus later become a normal ritual within the group – a mindset and deep
seated tradition (of the elders). Suddenly, to oppose the ritual (even
though you have clear biblical authority or mandate) is to question the
ideals of the group and this will be a great offense to the group. For a
follower – the world is crucified unto us, and we to the world (Gal 6:14).
To a worldling there are other considerations (commitments of the heart).

We opened up this chapter by mentioning the ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah)


in Laodicea. An ekklesia is a group (assembly, gathering). The modern
word “church” was used for the translation of this Greek word, ekklesia.
This was not the best translation since “church” actually means “Lord’s
House” (i.e. place of worship) and tends to denote a building or facility,
which is how most people view it today. The true body of Christ has
always been people and never facilities. Christ didn’t die for the buildings!
Therefore, the ekklesia of Laodicea was a group of individuals who
professed Christ and displayed a certain group ideal (principle, belief)
which was expressed in their actions. The author firmly believes that the
ekklesia of the Laodiceans had characteristics that best represents the
majority popular form of Christianity practiced today – with definite facets
of the other six churches mentioned in Revelation (i.e. lost first love,
worldliness, etc.). This Laodicean mindset transcends religious
denominational boundaries and fits well with American popular culture –
too well! Seven representative groups (assemblies) are mentioned by
Christ in the book of Revelation and these are discussed in Chapter Ten.
This discussion will be limited to that of the Laodiceans. Jesus tells us this
group believes they are rich, since they are increased with goods, and

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have need of nothing (Rev 3:17). Today’s Christianity builds huge
buildings (temples) complete with all the amenities and goods that money
can buy. The bigger the building, the greater their faith (Is this really
faith?). These are built for the comfort and desirements of their members
– the good things in life. After all, God’s people deserve the best, and God
is there to serve them. The buildings are in fact worshipped. The religious
build buildings, but should build (disciple) individuals as temples for the
Holy Ghost. The parking lots are full of up-scale cars and late model sport
utility vehicles (SUVs). Huge crowds are drawn in through many of the
worldly, yet very entertaining programs. Programs abound for the
community’s needs. The speakers are the best money can “hire” – ten
shekels and a suit of clothes (Jdg 17:10, 2 Sam 18:11). Inspiring “positive
thinking” motivational, non-offensive type self-help messages come forth
(based on the good book and some human psychology, Col 2:8) – 1 Cor
2:5, Ps 12:2-3! These religious leaders make a very comfortable living
telling people what they want to hear (2 Tm 4:3). Perhaps if they were a
bit more honest about their heart’s desires, they might be upper level
corporate managers or CEOs (this is what some compare with to justify
their hire – worldly worth). These gatherings Rock-and-Roll (they prefer
the term contempory) for Jesus – yeah! Most members are materially very
well off (but don’t necessarily see themselves as such). There may be
television broadcasts and radio spots to spread their group’s version of
“the good news” and solicit new members. They are always looking for
new schemes to draw bigger crowds or expand the facilities. Good works
are practiced, but make your check out to the church – for tax purposes of
course (Lk 6:35). They will “sound the trumpet” concerning their good
works, for they have no secrets (Mt 6:1-4). Many in the group will shop
special Christian stores which are filled with books on any topic (amazing
diversity of conflicting ideals and doctrines) the itching ear wants to hear
(2 Tm 4:3) – all the latest fads. Most of these books are very appealing to
the flesh and what it wants to hear – bless me for “I Am” special. These
best-seller books probably get more attention and consideration than the
Bible – particularly the movies. You can also buy all your worldly music in
Christian flavors. This group attributes their material success and huge
crowds to right standing before God – in His good graces, blessed –
absolutely in His will (illusion of morality). They identify with Christ, but
walk according to the course of this world (Eph 2:2-3) – very odd! The
things that are highly esteemed among men are often an abomination to
God (Lk 16:15). Jesus said they are poor (Rev 3:17)! How can this be? All
the things that this group values and seeks after are eternally worthless.
They have been overcome by the world and don’t even see it (1 Jn 5:4-5).
They refuse to see it! Jesus said they are blind! They do not understand
the true gospel. They should have a heart toward God and live their faith
in obedience to Him everyday. It’s not about facilities, entertainments, self
help and material goods. They should be the reproach of this fallen world,
not the envy! This group is totally deceived and living for SELF. Jesus said
they are naked! They are full of sin, iniquity, transgressions, and rebellion.
Thus they are wretched and miserable – if only they knew – such

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deception they are under. They are lukewarm (Rev 3:16-17) with their
powerless form of godliness (2 Tm 3:5) – they are very religious though,
and it keeps them content. Anyone who tries to correct this group meets
stiff opposition from the group – their eyes hypnotize, but their tongue is
full of venom. They cannot see their wrong – do numbers lie? Jesus has
not given up on them and many will come to see (eyes opened) after a bit
of shaking and sorting through “great tribulation (Is 29:24, Dan 11:35).”
Judah required tribulation and Babylonian exile to see their wrongs (see
their need and fully repent, Dan 12:10) – and this was God’s mercy. The
tribulation will be a great time of trial and testing for those who have not
faithfully kept Christ’s commands (Dan 11:35, Rev 3:10, 22:7, 12, 14).
This will be a time to decide whom you will serve, God or the world (Rev
14:7). This is detailed in Chapter Ten.

Recall that the Laodicean church sees themselves as rich, but Jesus sees
them as poor (Rev 3:17). Conversely, the Smyrna church sees themselves
as poor, yet Jesus sees them as rich. Revelation 2:9, “I know thy works,
and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy
of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of
Satan.” Their tribulation (suffering for Christ) and poverty (not seeking
the things of the world) makes them rich! The modern Laodicean church
could never willingly accept such a thought of suffering or sacrifice (Rev
12:11). They view suffering as God’s wrath, which they are not subject to.
They have re-defined God (conformed) to their image – an unconditional
love god who only blesses and serves. Revelation 2:26, “And he that
overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power
over the nations.” Are we truly overcoming and keeping Christ’s works? If
you try and talk to one from this group they are likely to put their fingers
in their ears and run about saying, “not appointed unto God’s wrath.” The
wrath of God is for those who have taken the mark of the beast (Rev
16:1-2) as opposed to God’s seal (keeping His commands, Rev 20:4-5) –
this is the method of separation between men (the good and the bad), not
a pre-tribulation rapture. The false prophets have spoken/appealed to
their flesh and ignorance is bliss!

Throughout history religious men have been persecuted and killed others
for not conforming to a religious group’s practices. Examples might be
issues such as infant baptism, worship of religious icons (statues, images)
or denominational authority (nonconformity to an exalted man, supposed
religious monopoly on truth). The ends seem to always justify the means.

Being a Follower

The problem with many is that they do not accept Jesus for who He is and
submit to His will accordingly (obey Christ’s commandments, 1 Jn 5:2).
Jesus came to the Jews in a way that was unexpected and with a purpose
that was not understood (Acts 1:6) - and Christ was summarily rejected
by them. Religious groups often have their perceptions on what they think

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Jesus should be rather than comforming to His Word and who He is (Jn
12:48). Often this is a Jesus conformed to their ideals and opinions (the
group’s or denominations) rather than the Christ of the Bible. Jesus came
to lead us back to God – to reconcile - bring repentance, deliver from sin,
recover that which was lost (Mt 9:13, 18:11, Mk 2:17, Lk 5:32, 15:4, Eph
2:14-17). In order for Jesus to lead, we must follow. To be a follower of
Christ, we must yield our will to Him. Please take a moment and consider
the fullness of that statement. Following is submitting to, yielding,
obeying, being directed, an emptying of self, and trusting.Jesus said we
are to build our lives upon the foundation of His Word – for Christ is our
foundation (1 Cor 3:11). Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore
whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him
unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that
house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. (also Lk 6:47-48,
Rm 2:13)” These hear and then do (Js 1:22). The problem is that many
(religious) will be attentive to hear Christ’s sayings, and may agree with
them, but they do not do them (Ez 33:32, Rm 2:8-9). Matthew 7:26-27,
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and
beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (also Lk
6:49).” This group that “does not” is destined for sure failure (Mt 21:30).
John 14:24, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word
which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” In order to
truly follow Christ’s Words (Jn 14:15, 15:10) we must put them before our
eyes always (in our hearts). Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine
heart, that I might not sin against thee” (also Ps 18:30, 119:89, 105).
God’s will is that we live within His Word. To give us the ability to live
within His Word and to understand it, Jesus sent the Comforter, which is
the Holy Ghost (Jn 1:33, 14:16, 26, Rm 5:5). The Spirit will always lead
us to obey the Word – He bears witness (Jn 15:26, 16:8) and teaches (1
Cor 2:12-13, 1 Jn 2:27). Only through the Spirit do we understand the
deep things of God (1 Cor 2:10) and have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).
The Spirit gives us power to overcome (Lk 24:49, Jn 1:12, Acts 1:8).
Psalms 15:1-2, “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell
in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and
speaketh the truth in his heart.” How do we find ourselves in God’s will?
By offering Him our will!

Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And


walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an
offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Chapter Five
of the book of Ephesians has some very wise words concerning what
following is and isn’t. We were once children of darkness (flesh), but now
are called to the light. Let us walk (actually do or practice) in the light
(Eph 5:8).

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Conclusion

Perhaps you are in a “religious” group a couple of days of the week and
maybe you somewhat alter/adjust your regular behavior to conform to
their standards – you know become religious – the religious shuffle. Then
maybe you are in the “popular culture” group the rest of the week and are
almost a different person altogether. Maybe these two groups are
becoming more similar all the time with little need for major behavioral
adjustments. Perhaps there is some pretense (hypocrisy) in your life that
you have given little conscious thought to. Possibly you are a bit
obstinate/unyielding in your ways? Maybe God just gets His time and you
get yours? A compromise of the dual wills. Are you a “follower” of Christ
or of the world? Your conversation (way of life) conforms to one or the
other – you are assuredly being led, but by who? Maybe you are just
religious – you know, don’t want to go to hell. Can you honestly examine
your heart to see whom/what prevails – Jesus or the world (Ps 26:2). In
this religious world, we need to decide through the Spirit, what is truly
worthwhile (meaningful, commendable, and praiseworthy) – not from
man’s perspective, but from God’s. Everyone has an opinion, let’s seek for
the truth. The time has come to stop being religious/worldly and start
being real for Jesus! The time has come to step out of the groups and into
the true body of Christ. We are placed in the body by the Holy Spirit as He
determines the need (1 Cor 12). Jesus is the Head (Eph 1:20-23, 4:15,
Col 1:18, 2:10), so you must put aside all your aspirations and be led.
Perhaps you think you must approach God through man (religious
buildings. organizations, preachers, ceremony, ritual, etc.)? Please note:
When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was split from top to bottom (Mt
27:51). The barrier between God and man was removed (Eph 2:14) for
those who truly seek Him. We no longer approach God through imperfect
man (human High Priest, Levitical priesthood). We now have direct access
to Christ (Rm 5:1-2, Eph 2:18, 3:12, 1 Tm 2:5, Heb 4:14-16). With one
quick rip, all the religiosity of man was done away with. Man did not
KNOW God nor understand His will and turned God’s way into man’s way.
The scribes (religious authorities, denominatio