Understanding and Doing Are Not the Same, But We Can Have Faith

There is a danger in public ministry, even if we have a blog that only a handful of people read. If we have a good gift and if we grow in our ability to use that gift, this might create an outward appearance of being more righteous than we are.

I don’t like to write about myself anymore, because experience has taught me that people can read too much into the things you write—both in the negative and in the positive. I would rather seek Jesus to have my understanding sharpened so that I can write some things that offer a measure of value for my brethren in Christ.

However, in this one thing I think it is good to write about myself.

Understanding and doing are not the same thing.

Many of us realize this already, at least when it comes to the way we view ourselves. The Holy Spirit can provide us with a lot of understanding of the word of God but doing what we know to be good and true does not usually come as quickly as understanding what is good and true.

Yet, when we look at the outward understanding or public life of others, we compare ourselves and we feel lesser.

We should do our best to refrain ourselves from comparing our walk in Christ Jesus to any other Christian, at least in that sense. We are all aiming to be conformed to Christ, and in that we all fall short. The only comparisons that we should make in the flesh is with ourselves. We can only become better versions of ourselves, and if we continue in the faith then we will get better. “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.”

We can learn from one another and we can build one another up in humility and brotherly love, but as Peter wrote, “be subject one to another in humility.” Those with public personals, even small ones, are faulty sons of God in the making by the adoption of Jesus Christ just as we all are.

As for myself, some might look at the things I write, if they are of value (the Lord judge it. I do my best.), and begin to think that I am better than I am. I believe that the Lord has given me some good understanding, but from experience I know that the strength of doing comes with time.

This can be very frustrating. However, it is also faith-building.

As Christians, we war against our flesh in faith, knowing that we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus. We know that He is working all things out in His time and not our own.

As for my readers, who I love and appreciate enough to say this whether I have one or hundreds, I want some things to be known.

First, I write in terms of ideals that we are aiming for. I try to include caveats of faith that remind us of the fact that Christian living is a journey, and we are all growing it the righteous ways by faith as the Spirit of God works in us. However, I might not make that as clear as I should, and some might thing that because I understand something, I must also be great at doing it. Not so.

Secondly, understanding comes from failure to do what is right. Most of the things that I know to be good and true come from the Holy Spirit convicting me of my own sin. Many of the ideals I write about come from my own repentance and aspirations to do better. So, when I say that a Christian should or should not do something, I’m always speaking to myself first.

Do you want to know something funny?

Sometimes I like to read the articles that are getting more traffic, and it’s not uncommon for me to feel chastised by my own words, even months after I have written them. This is because any good thing that I am able to write comes from the Spirit of God. Not me. I am growing in these things also.

Lastly, I write all things in the moment. I have a few article series that I’m working on, and I try to write one article within each of them every week. That’s the only writing plan that I have. I work all day taking care of my kids and working Online. The last thing I do on the days that I write is openup biblegateway.com, look at where I left off in a previous article series, and pick up where I left off.

The articles I write are done off the cuff and to the best of my ability, hoping in the Holy Spirt to lead. This is the only way that I have time to write anything, and I don’t want to bury this talent in the earth. It’s a small attempt at being faithful, but it is all that I have right now.

Sometimes I feel led to write other things, like this post.

Understanding and doing are not the same thing. We look for ideals and we aim for them as we seek to know Jesus better and share what He gives with others in faith that He works on us all in His perfect time and according to His perfect will.

I also want to say that if anyone finds my work of value, feel free to use the understanding as you will. I can only hope that someone will because my time is so limited and I can’t do as much with it as I would like. Any good and true understanding that I get is of the Lord anyway. It is not mine, so I do not own it. I’ve taken from others in this regard with the same mindset. I have no problem if people take from me. All things are by Him and for Him.

My kids are waking up, so it’s time to go. Please forgive typos/errors. I try to amend articles as I have time.

God bless your day!

The Parables of Jesus: The Parable of the Sower

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. – Matthew 13:1-23

The testimony that Jesus gave during His ministry centers around the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus has the key to this kingdom, and He is the ruler thereof in truth and in righteousness, and the righteous will dwell with Him forever.

Here’s the problem.

The unrighteous have no place in the kingdom of God. Thanks be to God, that we serve One who considers His inheritance to be more than a throne in an uninhabited land; His inheritance is His people, and He provides all things necessary for His people to gain entrance to this kingdom.

His word is the way—all of His words—including the words that He spoke through the prophets of old, the teachings He gave during His life on this earth, the testimony of His apostles, and the continual word that comes to us by the Holy Spirit of God.

Without the word of God, we have no access to the kingdom of heaven, and Jesus IS the Word of God—He whose blood was shed for the remission of sins of all who place their trust in Him.  

The Parable of the Sower describes the manner in which mankind might receive the gospel of the kingdom of Heaven—the manner in which mankind might receive Jesus Christ Himself.

How have we received Him? Do we believe in His words? Do we trust them?

Do we fully understand the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, or has the fulfillment of this parable caused His word to be stollen, withered, and choked out of the hearts of many—at least in part?

What forces in this world hinder us from receiving Him as well as we should?

How can we get to know Jesus better, hold on to Him tighter, Honor Him more fully, and grow in the Kingdom of God that is “within you” so that we can live fruitful lives that manifest Jesus and His kingdom in this present world? How can we live more faithfully as we await the kingdom to come when Jesus returns to overthrow the kingdoms of this world and raises His chosen from the dead?

We will consider all of this as we go through the Parable of the Sower. This series will be divided into several articles, all of which are added as a link below as the articles are completed:

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at The Parable of the Sower.

PREVIOUS PARABLE SERIES: The Parables of Jesus: Building on Rock and Sand

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Sons of Amnon

There are many sons of Amnon in a spiritual sense in this world. They force evil onto others, motivated by their own lusts. Despite protests and warnings of their foolishness, they continue. Once the evil is done, they then hate those who they did evil unto, as represented by Tamar.

There are many daughters of Tamar in a spiritual sense in this world. Evil is forced upon them, leaving them desolate at the hands of those who once claimed to love them.

Some people would rather run from their mistakes than make them right, and in the process hate those who they did wrong. It is a shame, as Tamar stated. Such as these will not get away with what they do, but God will use all things for the good of those who serve Him in Jesus Christ.

And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair
sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his
sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do
anything to her.

But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son
of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.

And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s
son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I
love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed,
and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I
pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my
sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the
king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my
sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her
hand.

Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy
brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was
laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and
did bake the cakes.

And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but
he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out
every man from him.

10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the
chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had
made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.

11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took
hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.

12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force
me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as
for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray
thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.

14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but,
being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred
wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.
And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in
sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would
not hearken unto her.

17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him,
and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.

18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for
with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then
his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment
of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on
crying.

20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy
brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother;
regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s
house (2 Samuel 13:1-20).

These Things Saith He – Becoming Philadelphia

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

What are the defining characteristics of this church that we can learn from and how might we seek the Lord to have these traits built up in us more fully?

As with all things, the grace of God makes the difference. We need Jesus to set an open door before us that teaches us what it means to serve Him and His kingdom instead of serving ourselves and this world.

We also need His strength to help us overcome. Our own strength is “little.” We cannot muster up enough will to lay aside the comforts and pleasures of this world for His sake, but with the strength of the Holy Spirit within us, we can grow in this regard.

Knowing this, the most important thing that we can do is seek Jesus. “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” We can pray daily, learn the word of God to the best of our ability, and seek to have the Lord conform us to His perfect and pleasing will so that we can be fruitful in the knowledge of Him and His Kingdom as sons of God and servants of our Lord in this present world.

As we grow in the things of God, keeping “the word of His patience” is an ability that will be formed in us as we die to self and learn to trust in Him. This seems to be a multi-faceted idea.

Enduring suffering with patience as Jesus also endured on our behalf seems to be part of this idea. See 1 Peter 2.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 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.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (2 Peter 2:20-25).

We might also consider “the longsuffering of God that leads us to repentance” and the understanding that God is “no respecter of persons” and He will reward everyone “according to their works.” See Romans 2.

 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

But after thy hardness and impenitent 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:

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, 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;

10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11 For there is no respect of persons with God (Romans 2:3-11).

We can also consider that God’s timing is always right, and He endures the wicked with much patience until His will is accomplished.

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (2 Peter 3:20).

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved (Romans 9:21-25).

Enduring suffering with patience, as the righteous and not as evildoers, is one way to keep the Lord’s patience. As we strive to grow in this regard, we remember that it was the patience of Christ that led us to repentance.

We also remember that God is long patient with the wicked, and in His patience, He saves us just as He saved Noah. We also know that His patience ends with judgement, and He is not a judge that judges with partiality towards those of high status (respecter of persons). He judged everyone equally, and we are all judged according to our deeds in this earth.

Knowing all of this, we cannot allow ourselves to succumb to temptations that encourage us to forget the patience of God. If we are not mindful, we might find ourselves falling during the “hour or temptation” which God purposed to try the hearts of man.

We cannot give into vengeance and wrath, but instead we should seek Jesus to build us up as those who speak “no guile” and instead suffer wrongdoing with patience, knowing that God will reward us and He will also reward the wicked. The end of the righteous is everlasting life in His Kingdom and the reward of the wicked is everlasting condemnation and death.

In suffering things in this life, especially during the time of great trouble when the world worships a false savior, we will have to endure with patience.

Many will say that we are condemned, lost, and forsaken by God while they consider themselves to be the chosen of their false god. They will feel fully justified in killing many, even making war with the true saints of God who keep “the faith and patience of the saints” as those who understand that “he who leads into captivity shall go into captivity. He that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.”

Jesus said that it would be so. He said that “they will deliver you up to counsels and in their synagogues, you will be beaten, and you will be brought before rulers and kings for my sake for a testimony against them.” He also said that “many will kill you, thinking that they do God’s service, and this they will do because they have not known the Father nor me.”

This is a high calling, and not one that we have the strength to endure. However, if we recognize that we have “little strength” and if we keep His words and do not deny His Name and all that Jesus stands for, then He will provide us with an open door. He will give us the understanding we need. The Holy Spirit will speak through us and we don’t even need to think about what we will say. “Whatever shall be given to you, in that hour that speak ye. For it is not you who speaks, but the Holy Spirit.” He will give us strength and “peace that surpasses understanding.”

Though we might suffer much, as we also considered when learning about the other well-regarded church, Smyrna, we also know that “tribulation works patience” and when we share in the sufferings of Christ, we are made into a son of God and the end is unspeakable joy and salvation that no man can steal.

“Hold thou fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

May the grace of God keep all who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

PREVIOUS: These Things Saith He – Philadelphia Overview

NEXT: These Things Saith He — Scripture for Philadelphia

All Current “These Things Saith He” Drafts

The above is the draft version of a chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.

Considering Proverbs 11:28

He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch. – Proverbs 11:28

Inflation is a scary thing, and when we consider all the money that was paid out by our government in response to COVID, it’s no strange thing that inflation is what we face.

We can speculate as to why this is happening. Is our government collapsing our economy purposefully or are they simply incompetent and out of touch with reality as they trust in their own wealth to save them from the destruction they cause for political pull?

Whatever the reason man has in mind, we know that God is in control and His ways are always good and we can trust in Him.

What can money do for us when it’s no longer valuable? What can money do for us when there are shortages of daily necessities? What can money do to save our soul?

Money is an idol for many, including those who have it and those who don’t. Those who have it usually have money because they have worked hard for it. Obtaining wealth was their goal, so that’s what they put their time and energy into. For those who do not have money, or not much, coveting the wealth of others can become an idol. Social ideas that encourage envy and robbery of the wealthy can become an idol.

Does inflation cause us to think about where we put our trust? For many of us, I’m sure that it does. I’m sure that many of us are turning to God with more thanks for what we have and with a desire to built up our faith in Him during difficult times.

However, many still trust in riches. For example, some say that we should buy gold and silver. The scriptures say that in the last days, “man shall cast his idols of silver and his idols of gold to the moles and the bats.” This might have referred to literal statues made of silver and gold, but that doesn’t leave out the possibility of a dual meaning.

It’s probably a good idea to prepare in whatever measure we are able. If we can grow food, we probably should. If we can store food, we probably should. If we can think ahead about the needs of our children, such as clothing and supplies for babies and toddlers, we probably should. We don’t want to “throw ourselves off the pinnacle of the temple.”

However, in whatever ways we decide to prepare for difficult times, the best thing that we can do is remember to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”

We certainly do not want to rely on wealth or on those who control wealth and manipulate it for their own purposes at the expense of many. Those who control the wealth seem to have all the power, but those who trust in the Lord will receive His power as a testimony against them. We cannot trust in man and in man’s riches, but in God through the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Do not fear inflation and famines. Fear is a form of glory and worship. Instead, we can turn to God. We can fear Him and trust in Him also, giving Him all glory because He is in control. Man only thinks he is in control, and all things that man purposes for evil will eventually be used for the good of those whose hope is in the Lord.

For information on what the scriptures teach about building ourselves up for times of trouble, take a look at this series: The Parables of Jesus: Building on Rock and Sand

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:27 – “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.”

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.

Looking at Luke 6

For the series, The Parables of Jesus: A House Built on Rock and Sand, we focused on the Sermon on the Mount as described in Matthew 5-7. There are some variations in the account given in Luke 6. I included these within the first few articles in this series, then I decided to focus on the account in Matthew to keep it simple.

Therefore, I want to conclude this series by looking at the skipped verses within Luke 6 (not discussed in previous articles), just to make sure we don’t leave anything out. These are in bold:

  • Luke 6:32-35
  • Luke 6:38
  • Luke 6:39-40
  • Luke 6:45-46

Here is the full context. Below, we will look at each section of verses in particular.  

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

22 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.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 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 kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Luke 6:32-25

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 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 kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

God is kind to the unthankful and to the evil, and as His children, we should do the same. This means we love and do good to all, as much as is possible. Not just the people who love us and do good to us.

We discussed somewhat the idea of what it means to “love” as a Christian should love in the article, “Love Your Enemies.”

What about doing good to all without strings attached? We should not do good to someone in hopes of having them do some good for us in the future. The good that we do should be for a love of doing good and for a love of our fellow man, not because we think that we will get something out of it. If our motivations are self-centered, God knows. He knows if we are doing good for the sake of others or if we are merely serving our selves.

Luke 6:38

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

In the articles on judgement within this series, I mainly focused on judgement in the negative sense. When considering “with what measure you mete, it shall be measured unto you,” I looked at this in the negative also. Meaning, if we weigh the sins of others heavily, then God will weigh our sins heavily. I compared this idea to a statement in Revelation that describes the judgment of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon. This states, “Reward Her Even as She Rewarded You.”

Here in Luke 6, the “measure you mete” is given a positive connotation. If we do good to others, then they will do good to us. This should not be our reason for doing good, as discussed above. However, it is generally true that people appreciate those who are there for them in times of trouble or need. If we are supporting of others, then we might find support ourselves when we face difficult times. This isn’t always the case, especially in a self-centered and fearful society.

However, the more good we do, the greater our chances of building up a community of people around us who will naturally care for us and us for them. In the process, we might lead some to Christ—especially if we are doing good to those who did not love us at first, including strangers or those who we might have considered enemies.

Luke 6:39-40

39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

In doing good to all, we might lead some to Jesus. As they are led to Jesus, their eyes are opened to the truth. The more people we have around us whose eyes are open to the truth of Jesus Christ, the better our fellowship. We do not want to be led about by blind people. The best way to cure their blindness is to do good to them and preach the gospel, which is what Jesus’s life was all about.

If we are to be perfect as our master, who is Jesus Christ, then we do good to all. We love all. We open their blind eyes to the true way to live, and most importantly, to Jesus and His gospel.

This is supposed to have a cumulative effect.

When we know of Jesus, He opens our blind eyes to what it means to love God and love others. As the “beams” are removed out of our eyes, we can lead others in the things of God and in the gospel of Jesus. The blind cannot do so. As we lead others by example and by preaching the teachings of Jesus, more blind eyes are opened. Community grows, and we all receive abundance in the things of God as we bless one another.

This is how it should go in theory, but I haven’t experienced much of this in our world, unfortunately. Not in this self-serving and wicked generation. However, we should continue to love all and do good to all, trusting that all good that we do is seen by God and He is working in ways that we do not always perceive.

Luke 6:45-46

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

In the article entitled, “Beware of False Prophets,” we considered what it means to be a prophet and how we might spot a false prophet. The idea here is similar. Jesus said, “you will know them by their fruit.”

Here, we can consider this idea in a broader context that does not relate to prophets, teachers, pastors, and so forth—but to all believers and all people in general. Most importantly, we can consider ourselves.

We have all had moments when our heart was revealed by the words we speak. This happens when we carry sin in our hearts as well as when we carry righteousness. What is inside will eventually come out and influence ourselves and others.

Therefore, it is always good to seek Jesus to search out our hearts so that we can repent of sin and find healing that helps us do better—not just outwardly through law or some other regulation—but out of a sincere heart that is transformed by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Even though our mouths betray a wicked heart or reveal a sincere heart, all of us Christians call Jesus Lord.

If we call Jesus Lord, then we should do what He says.

If only it were that simple. It isn’t that simple because our hearts are not naturally good. We are corrupt, and even if we love that which is good, sin can cling to us. However, if we are faithful to confess our sins to Jesus, there is mercy for us. If we continue to strive in the lessons we learn from Him, pray to Him, acknowledge when we go astray, and ask for Jesus so strengthen us in Spirit so that our hearts are transformed, then we will bring forth real “fruit.”

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

We want to see Jesus formed in us at or very being, making us more like Him in this present world. If we keep His sayings, then we are as a House Built on a Rock. Not sand. Each individual Christian is a house, even a temple of the Holy Spirit.

We want our temples to be built up strong, founded on the rock of Jesus Christ and not the shifting sands of man’s futile attempts at establishing the kingdoms of this world—even when the kingdoms of this world and the princes thereof tread us down.

They can destroy much, but they cannot destroy the things that Jesus gives. They cannot steal our peace, joy, love, faith, and life everlasting! They can steal everything in the flesh from us but we can still sacrifice to God our righteousness, praise, and thankfulness. What He gives, no man can take!

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.

PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: A House Built on a Rock

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That’s it for this parable! The next parable that we will consider is The Sower.

Envy is a Hell of a Thing

Envy is a hell of a thing.

Would you be surprised to know…

The Red Dragon’s heart is not red, but green?

Sick. Sick. Sick with envy.

Envy is a hell of a thing.

For envy, Cain slew Abel.

Abel’s blood ran red and cried out to God.

Envy is a hell of a thing.

For envy, Jesus Christ was killed.

Jesus’s blood ran red, and He makes many white as snow.

Envy is a hell of a thing.

Through Jesus, we can escape the death that awaits us all.

Do we not all deserve it?

Envy is a hell of a thing.

Through Jesus, light came into the world and it proved us.

It proved that many love darkness. They hate light. They envy it.

Envy is a hell of a thing.

The Dragon and his angels mimic the light.

They can only steal and kill what they do not have.

Envy is a hell of a thing.

What does man esteem as good? For what will man kill?

Fame? Fortune? Adoration?

Envy is a hell of a thing.

What does Jesus esteem as good? For what will His live forever?

Judgment. Mercy. Faith.

Righteousness is a heavenly thing.

The righteousness of God strikes at the heart of the beast.

And those whose heart is green.

Righteousness is a heavenly thing.

The righteousness of God tells us that greed cannot fix envy.

Their attempts make everything even through famine.

The righteous shine all the more.

Thankfulness. Praises to God. Joy. No man can take it.

Righteousness is a heavenly thing.

The dead in Christ will rise again!

The dead in the Dragon will meet their end.

Envy is a hell of a thing.

Righteousness—that only comes through the blood of Christ—is a heavenly thing.

His righteousness, not ours.

Not Fame. Not Fortune. Not Adoration of man.

His judgments. His Mercy. His faith that He graciously gives.

Those Who God Has Loved from the Foundation of the World.

Preordained. Destined. Saved.

Called. Chosen. Faithful.

Redeemed. Sanctified. Resurrected.

His Righteousness is a heavenly thing.

Considering Proverbs 11:27

He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him. – Proverbs 11:27

I looked up this proverb in an online Strong’s KJV concordance because I thought something might be missing or difficult to understand from this translation, and I did get a slightly different impression.

I read this to say, “He that diligently pursues agreeableness obtains goodwill, but he who takes an adversarial stance will receive an adversary.”

In simpler terms, if we try to be agreeable, people will get along with us more readily. If we look for things to fight over, then we will have a fight.

This seems like an obvious statement, but it is worth considering because sometimes we need to have obvious things pointed out to us. I know that I often do.

So, let’s consider.

It seems like agreeableness is in short supply in our culture today, and in its place, we see a strange thing that sounds like agreeableness, but it isn’t. This strange thing that I refer to is tolerance.

Tolerance is probably the least tolerable moral standard that is trending in our society today, because “tolerance” really means, “you must accept my sinful desires as righteous and praise-worthy or else I will not tolerate your existence.”

Tolerance should convey a live-and-let-live mentality, which is good. This is agreeable, and when we are agreeable, people will generally be agreeable with us.

However, when tolerance becomes the opposite of this proverb, which is not tolerance but contentious, then a fight is what’s coming, and we can see this happening.

Those who want to be tolerated for their sins are facing more vehement opposition than ever in some regards. In some ways, they seem to be gaining ground, so it’s unclear how far this will go. Will the tolerant-so-called carry us away into a time that is like Sodom? Or will those who fight against them prevail?

I think it depends on how they are fought.

The hard truth is that many who would naturally take a stand against these “tolerant” do not have a good track record of making effective stands because the matter is not dealt with at the heart level, but instead attempted to put under control through law, bullying, and through casting some out as “abominable” sinners above all other sinners.

The result?

We got a fight. Maybe we deserve it.

Can we reverse it? Can we learn from our mistakes?

If we keep ramping up our adversarial stance against sinners, then we will just keep making adversaries.

The adversary becomes angrier and more emboldened, we become angrier and more emboldened, then before long no one treats the other as human beings but as some beast that needs to be destroyed—and then we become beast-like in our nature. Beasts fighting and devouring other beasts. Never ending. Never satisfied. Like a bottomless pit.

We need to take a stand against the “tolerant-so-called” who want to infiltrate out society with all manner of sexual sin and destruction of children and traditional families. We need to because when a society overthrows the natural order of God for man, which is largely centered around the nuclear family, then that society cannot sustain itself. We need to make a stand because we know that sin that is not repented of and covered by the blood of Jesus will be judged worthy of death.

Therefore, we should never back down from calling sin out for what it is, but we should not do so in a manner that encourages the formation of adversaries. This is going to be difficult, and maybe impossible at this point. Only God knows. However, we should do what is right because it is right, even if it does not seem to make sense to us.

We can begin by agreeing on what we can agree on, and it is the fact that all people should be treated like people and not beasts. If we cannot agree on this, then there is no hope. Only destruction.

We are all sinners who need Jesus, so He should be our focus. We cannot let ourselves be consumed by resentment, hatred, fear, despair, and a desire for vengeance. We are not better than anyone else. If we dissolve our own pride as those who have taken up their cross, then we might be able to address the pain behind the “pride” of some and turn them to Jesus.

They have no other hope.

Imagine that you had a debilitating and deadly disease, and your media, schools, friends, family, and government celebrated it. Imagine that they outlawed calling your disease a disease because this was “hate speech.” Imagine that any who tried to cure you were considered outlaws. Where is the help for you?

Do not abandon them.

Jesus will repay all that needs to be repaid. Fight with the truth, but with as much kindness and gentleness as you can muster, knowing that many believe that they are doing what is good. Sure, there are “groomers” and the like too, but this is not as common as some right-wing commentators want to make it out to be. They profit from all of this too. Remember that. Most individuals are moderate, even if those in power take drastic, adversarial measures.

Choose your battles wisely, knowing that adversaries are everywhere, and some fights are not worth having because if you are silenced then those who you could have reached will never hear from you. “Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.”

Jesus, I thank you that when we call on you, we are saved. You save us from death. You save us from deception of the wicked. You save us from our pride and selfish desires for self-preservation, ease, and vengeance. Not as we will, but as you will!

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:26 – “He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.

A House Built Upon a Rock

24 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:

25 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.

26 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:

27 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.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The Sermon on the Mount is packed with understanding of what it means to live out our Christianity faithfully, and surely much more could be written and discussed about what Jesus taught.

To wrap up this discussion, I want to revisit some questions posed within the introduction article to this series: The Parables of Jesus: Building on Rock and Sand.

“How do these saying of Jesus keep us grounded in the faith so that we are not carried away into the spiritual captivity and service of false christs?”

I compare what Jesus mentions as a flood in this parable to the flood in Revelation 12. It states that the dragon cast “water as a flood out of his mouth” after the woman in Revelation 12, which I believe to be a representation of those faithful to Jesus Christ. I also believe that this flood is symbolic of anti-Christian ideas and movements, false prophets, and false christs throughout all history of Christendom. In the final days, I believe this to be related to the army of the false christ and all who follow him in persecuting the saints of God.

I believe that all who are insincerely following Jesus (or not all all) will be swept away by these floods because they do not keep the words of Jesus. The ways of Jesus and the ways of false christs and anti-Christian ideas are in direct opposition. Therefore, if we keep His ways, then we will refuse the wicked ways by default.

That being said, it is the grace of God towards us that makes this possible. It is His grace that opens our hearts to understanding the teachings of Jesus and provides us with a sincere desire to live according to His ways. The grace of God also provides us with the Holy Spirit who will work on us, conforming us to the ways of Jesus over time.

“How do these teachings provide us with a rock foundation?” 

We can consider each of the key points that Jesus made then look to the opposite, anti-Christian idea and perhaps understand how His teachings keep us in the righteous way. Here are some examples for quick consideration:

  • Jesus declares blessing over the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers (to name a few). Anti-Christian ideas declare blessing over the proud and puffed up in spirit, those who seek their own happiness, the self-serving, the vengeful, and those who do violence against opposition.
  • The righteousness of Jesus goes deep, even to the issues of the heart. Jesus encourages us not to do good to be seen, but to do all things for the glory of God out of a sincere heart. Anti-Christian ideas of righteousness look to the outer things, like appearances, wealth, social status, and personal identity in the realms of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Anti-Christian ideas encourage virtue signaling and seeking glory for the self at the expense of others and out of hatred for the natural order and true things of God.
  • Jesus teaches us to turn the other cheek, think of others before ourselves, and to love our enemies. Anti-Christian ideas teach us to avenge ourselves, put our needs first, and destroy our enemies.

“How does failing to keep these teachings provide us with a sand foundation?”

If we do not have a strong foundation of moral authority, then we will fall for the moral authorities of man, which are anti-Christian in nature. The morality of man is ever-changing and consuming of all who oppose because failure to adhere to the morality of man is considered a punishable offense.

In reality, failure to adhere to the morality of Jesus is punishable, even worthy of death. Therefore, we need the gospel of Jesus Christ that promises forgiveness of sins for all who put their faith in Him. This is why we need the grace of God to teach us, send us the Holy Spirit, and make us strong in the righteousness of God that is so contrary to the righteousness of man.

We want to be as the woman in Revelation 12 who “brought forth the man child who would rule all nations with a rod of iron.” We want to have Christ formed in us fully enough that our lives are as those who are bringing the ways of Jesus out and into this world—and not in a weak, “reed shaken in the wind” manner, but in a manner that is as a “rod of iron” that will not be moved. His ways are righteous. Period. Whether we like it or not and whether the world likes it or not.

There will come a day when Jesus returns to avenge those who were slain by the moral authorities of man. We can rest on His sure teachings in peace, knowing that vengeance is His and He will repay. We can also know that we are rewarded if we are faithful to these teachings of Jesus.

His sacrifice provides the atonement, but out of due respect for His sacrifice, we who sincerely love Jesus and have received the grace of God and forgiveness of sins will naturally grow in fruitful faith that is faithful to His ways as the Holy Spirit works in us. We will not be moved by the floods of false morality, anti-Christian ideas, or any form that the Adversary and his false prophets might take.

Instead, we will stand strong on the Rock of our Salvation, who is Jesus Christ only, and we will build one another up in Him.

For the final article within this series, I want to take another look at the Sermon on the Mount as described in Luke 6. There are some variations from what we read and considered in Matthew 5-7, and I want to take the time to look at those ideas as well.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.

PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Beware of False Prophets

Subscribe by entering your email address and clicking on the red button at the bottom of this page to get future posts by email or follow in WordPress.

These Things Saith He – Scripture for Sardis

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

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. – John 15:4-5

Jesus provides us with all things necessary for salvation and righteousness. His sacrifice is sufficient to atone for our sins and the cleansing of His Spirit teaches us how to walk in His ways and not our own. As we continue in this faith, we are “fruitful” in the knowledge of the Lord and in good works that glorify God as we build one another up in the things of the Kingdom of God and we will live with Jesus forever.

This is the gospel. We need forgiveness for sins because we are sinners and there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves from the just reward for our sin, which is death. We also have no ability to truly know, understand, or perform righteousness that is pleasing to God without the Holy Spirit working in us.

With these fundamentals of the Christian faith in mind, we might consider ways in which we might “defile our garments” as those who “have a name that they live and are dead.”

First, we do disrespect to the sacrifice of Jesus. We can disrespect His sacrifice by considering it to be insufficient to atone for our sins, so we add our own works and consider these to be counted towards our salvation. We can disrespect His sacrifice by taking His blood upon us without sincere commitment to living a Christian life as one who seeks Jesus to teach us, change our hearts, gift us in the Spirit, and use us for His purposes.

In more simplified terms, there is legalism on one hand and lasciviousness on the other, both of which disrespect the sacrifice of Jesus and neglect the Spirit that Jesus promised to give those who keep His commandments. If we are not walking in the Spirit as those who abide in Christ and learn of the Holy Spirit, then we are walking in the flesh and death. The Spirit makes alive. The law and the flesh kill.

Here are some scriptures that might help us consider the ways of Sardis and help us to overcome. This list might be updated as These Things Saith He is completed. Feel free to leave suggested scripture for reading in the comments.

  • John 14
  • Galatians
  • Jude
  • John 3
  • Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22 and Luke 14)

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All Current “These Things Saith He” Drafts

The above is the draft version of a chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.