There's been quite a bit of flack from the previous blog "Chasing The Wind", I expected it. This is a reply to the critics, who feel what's put here is too tough. I'd have to go a lot further, to match how Jesus preached when he was here. But, I'll go into the word of God and answer the critics, with what scripture has to say about this.
Jesus taught about two kinds of people who served God, those the world applauds and praises, and those who follow Christ regardless of the consequences.
Jesus condemns the false teachers and prophets.
Luk 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
There's traits to be observed by them, let's take a look at what the word of God has to say about this.
Those who seek to be universally popular. Whoever does his duty will meet those who oppose him. Christ was reviled and slandered. These four woes are addressed to four classes:
(1) Those who worship wealth;
(2) those satisfied with their present life;
(3) those who live for present enjoyment;
(4) those whose aim is human praise and adulation.
Romans gives more understanding:
Rom 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.
Rom 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
See also: 1Sa_2:12-17, 1Sa_2:29; Isa_56:10-12; Eze_13:19; Hos_4:8-11; Mic_3:5; Mal_1:10; Mat_24:48-51; Php_3:19; 1Ti_6:5; 2Pe_2:10-15; Jud_1:12
By example they show us:
"They do not preach him, but themselves; they do not seek the things of Christ, his honour and glory, the spread of his Gospel, and the enlargement of his kingdom and interest; they seek their own things, worldly honour and applause, riches, wealth, and grandeur; they seek to please men, and so are not the servants of Christ: they introduced the observance of meats and drinks in to the kingdom of Christ, which it do not consist of, and neglected the doctrines of righteousness and peace, from whence springs joy in the Holy Ghost, and so in these spiritual things did not serve Christ; and therefore, as they were not acceptable to God, were not to be approved of by Christian men, but to be marked and avoided:
but their own belly; which they made a god of, and devoted themselves to the service of all their views were to gratify and indulge their sensual appetite. The false teachers among the Jews were particularly addicted to this vice: hence the apostle sometimes calls them dogs, Php_3:2, on account of their voraciousness, and who, in Isaiah's time, were greedy ones that could never have enough, Isa_56:11; and in our Lord's time devoured widows' houses, under a pretense of long prayers for them, Mat_23:14; and were like the Cretians, evil beasts, and slow bellies, Tit_1:12, unwilling to labour, and lived upon the spoil of others:
and by good words, and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple: they were deceivers; they lay in wait to deceive, made use of the hidden things of dishonesty, walked in craftiness, and handled the word of God deceitfully; and therefore to be marked and avoided: they deceived "the simple", harmless, and innocent, that think no evil, nor are aware of any; who have little understanding of things; persons of weak minds, easy to be imposed upon; very credulous, ready to believe every word, so the simple man does, as Solomon says, Pro_14:15; and such false teachers choose to tamper with, and make their attacks upon, being able to gain upon them the most easily, as their father the devil, the old serpent, did, when he first assailed human nature: the "hearts" of these they deceive; they work upon their affections, blind their understandings, impose on their judgments, and corrupt their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ: and this they do "by good words and fair speeches"; either by making use of the words of Scripture, and a show of arguments taken from thence; so Satan cited Scripture in his dispute with our Lord; and so heretics, in all ages, have pretended toil in favour of their principles, by which means they have gained on many to follow their pernicious ways; or by using words and phrases that faithful ministers of Christ use, such as the grace of God, the righteousness of Christ, the Spirit of Christ, but in a different sense; as some among us now frequently make mention of them, when they mean no more by them than the light of nature within them, and the dictates of a natural conscience; or by an elegant style, a set of fine words, a flow of rhetorical expressions, great swelling words of vanity, which such men generally affect, and so work themselves into the admiration of the common people; or by doctrines suited to the carnal minds and reasonings of men, which tickle human nature, and swell it with pride and vanity; as by preaching up the purity and power of it, asserting man's free will, and the strength of it to that which is good; the capacity of man to keep the law, and perform good works; justification by them before God, and acceptance with him, on account of them; atonement for sins committed, by repentance and reformation; that God does not regard trifling things, some sins are venial, and easily passed over; that concupiscence is no sin; God does not rigorously exact duty, he takes the will for the deed, and is merciful unto all, and if but sincere, there is no doubt of heaven; and such men, generally speaking, instead of correcting vice, and reproving men for their sins, connive at them, indulge them in them, soothe and flatter, commend and defend them, whereby they attach them to their persons and interest." John Gill comm.
Now, Jesus had much to say about the faithful servant, it could take a book to go into it, but we'll just look at a few verses in this blog.
Joh 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.
This is Christ's direct answer to the Greeks. His service is to be rendered, not by secret interviews, but by obeying him, for so the word "follow" is to be understood. B.W. Johnson
If any man serve, me,.... Or is willing to be a servant of Christ, and to be esteemed as such;
let him follow me; as in the exercise of the graces of love, humility, patience, self-denial, and resignation of will to the will of God, and in the discharge of every duty, walking as he walked, so in a way of suffering; for as the master, so the servants, as the head, so the members, through many tribulations, must enter the kingdom; to which he encourages by the following things:
and where I am; in heaven, as he now was, as the Son of God; or "where I shall be", as the Syriac and Persic versions render it, even as man, in the human nature, when raised from the dead:
there shall also my servant be; when he has done his work, and the place is prepared for him, and he for that, and where he shall ever abide; and as a further encouragement, he adds,
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour; by accepting his service, affording him his gracious presence here, and by giving him eternal glory hereafter, to which he has called him. John Gill comm.
Going further in this, in Mark 8:34 Jesus speaks to the people (and us)
Mar 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.
Here Jesus signifies that his followers must deny themselves of worldly advantages, monetary gain, and applause, and suffer many things, as well as he. As he faced the soon coming cross, suffering and death-he was telling the people, and all who follow Him, to expect the same thing.
The disciples knew what the cross meant- torture, agony, and sure death. The cross wasn't a religious ceremony-the cross executed people. People who carried their cross on their backs to their death were made to endure the crowds in the streets mocking, throwing rocks and objects at them, being hissed and laughed at-they were a spectacle to the world. They were soon to see Jesus abused and treated just this way.
And, twenty centuries later, after Jesus' death on the cross, the modern preachers, religious crowd, and the world have done a good job of sanitizing the cross. The modern world views just about everything through the lens and glitz of the movies. The disciples were listening to reality, not a movie script.
It is no wonder that so few decided to follow him-this worlds enticements lead the vast majority to follow what the world and the devil have to offer, blindly to their doom. Who wants to follow someone to their death? The prosperity preachers have done a good job of lying to you, and telling you the opposite. Their image of success is the same as the world tells you-if people are following you, giving you money, cars, vacations-you are doing what God wants. They count on the fact, that 90% of you-will never read the bible for yourself, especially these verses I'm giving you now.
John Gill breaks this verse down very well, giving a good picture of what Jesus meant, of what he desired in his followers:
And when he had called the people unto him,.... Who, it seems, followed him out of Galilee, from Bethsaida, and these parts; for it was in the way from thence to Caesarea Philippi, that Christ had this conversation with his disciples; who walked together alone, the multitude following at some distance; and the private conversation being ended, Christ called, or beckoned to the people, to come nearer to him: with his disciples also; for what he was about to say, concerned them both:
whosoever will come after me; in a spiritual sense, as this multitude did in a natural one, and which is the same as to be a disciple of his:
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me; signifying, that his followers must deny themselves of worldly advantages, and suffer many things, as well as he, which he had been but just before acquainting his disciples with; See Gill on Mat_16:24.
Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
let him deny sinful self, ungodliness, and worldly lusts; and part with them, and his former sinful companions, which were as a part of himself: let him deny righteous self, and renounce all his own works of righteousness, in the business of justification and salvation; let him deny himself the pleasures and profits of this world, when in competition with Christ; let him drop and banish all his notions and expectations of an earthly kingdom, and worldly grandeur, and think of nothing but reproach, persecution, and death, for the sake of his Lord and Master: and
take up his cross; cheerfully receive, and patiently bear, every affliction and evil, however shameful and painful it may be, which is appointed for him, and he is called unto; which is his peculiar cross, as every Christian has his own; to which he should quietly submit, and carry, with an entire resignation to the will of God, in imitation of his Lord:
and follow me; in the exercise of grace, as humility, zeal, patience, and self-denial; and in the discharge of every duty, moral, or evangelical; and through sufferings and death, to his kingdom and glory. The allusion is, to Christ's bearing his own cross, and Simeon's carrying it after him, which afterwards came to pass. John Gill comm.
See also: Num_14:24; 1Ki_14:8; Luk_14:26, Luk_18:22; Joh_10:27, Joh_13:36-37, Joh_21:19-20; Heb_13:13; 2Pe_1:14; 1Jn_3:16
Whether we be an everyday person, a pilgrim in the world, or a preacher/teacher of the gospel, we will find ourselves an outcast, in opposition to this world, swimming upstream against the tide of the wickedness, sin, and rebellion in people's hearts. Don't expect applause, and if it comes, don't pay any attention to it.
People are fickle. They'll praise you today, and reject you tomorrow-if you say something that goes against the sins, habits, and desires they enjoy in their life. Follow Jesus, wherever He leads. If your called to preach/teach; preach it in sincerity, not seeking the praise of men. Our rewards await us, when this life is done.
My hearts desire is to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant", when the door to this life is closed.
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No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me,
saith the LORD.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto
The Victory of Our Faith
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth
that Jesus is the
Son of God?
But they that wait
upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
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 Whole Armor
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all,
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Am I racist? Read the blog below from my other site-it will fully answer this question.
The Race Issue-posted 3/8/2019- https://www.twosparrowsministry.org/home/the-race-issue
The Prayer Room