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.

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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)

PREVIOUS CHAPTER: These Things Saith He — Overcoming Sardis

NEXT:  These Things Saith He – Philadelphia Overview

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 11:26

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

This proverb brings to mind a parable that Jesus taught. We call this parable the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12). In this parable, Jesus describes a rich man who had such an abundance that he had no place to store what he had, so he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger, then he would take his ease and enjoy all that he had. However, this man was a fool because he died that same night. All that he stored up for himself became worthless to him.

It’s not the same idea exactly but there are similarities, so it seems worth mentioning.

In times of trouble, people tend to hoard things. It’s a funny example, but this makes me think of the toilet paper shortage during the COVID pandemic. However, this wasn’t hoarding by those who produced toilet paper, so not that’s not exactly the same idea either.

I’m struggling to think of a good example. This might be a good proverb for those who want to discuss economic issues, of which I am no expert in any measure.

Why would someone produce a surplus of a needful product, like corn, then hoard it all and refuse to sell it? Maybe a person would do this if the price of corn is low and he’s holding out until he can get more for it. That makes sense. When prices are low, a greedy person might buy up as much as they can then withhold from others until they can sell for more.

I think the key idea has to do with the greed of man and the callousness of those who would neglect the needy. They aren’t even asked to give away the corn, but to sell it. People do despise those who withhold necessary goods in times of scarcity, and even more so when they are serving themselves or other special interests in the hopes of some future gain while people stand by them suffering. Surely God despises this also.

Jesus spoke about this too. I’m not sure where and I cannot find the exact reference, but He said something along these lines: He said that if a person comes to us in need, and we have the ability to meet those needs now, we should meet those needs immediately rather than send that person away.

Maybe there are present-day examples that we can look to, but again, I’m not an expert and I don’t keep up with all the events today as well as I sometimes would like.

Can we compare this to oil and gas shortages? What about the ultra-rich who are buying up farmland in the United States? If you have any examples that seem to fit this parable, please leave a comment. I’m coming up short here, so I’m going to move on.

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:25 – “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

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.

The Child of Bathsheba That Died

This morning I read in 2 Samuel 12 concerning the death of David’s son that was conceived in adultery with Bathsheba.

As many of us with the Holy Spirit experience, the Lord sometimes leads us to scripture then provides an interpretation that parallels a present-day event.

Here is the lesson that came to mind.

As Christians, we have the “sure mercies of David.” After David committed this act of adultery and murder, God said that David would not die. However, David suffered many things, one of which was the death of the child that was conceived in adultery.

When Nathan the prophet came to David, he told a story that was meant to communicate the deed that David had done:

“And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And
he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one
rich, and the other poor.

The rich man had exceeding many flocks
and herds:

But the poor man had nothing, save one
little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together
with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his
own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

And there came a traveller unto the rich man,
and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the
wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed
it for the man that was come to him.”

We Christians can do the same and we can expect the same fate as David.

When we as Christians take what belongs to God and use His things for our own glory, the child created will die.

Meaning, all things that mankind has done in the Name of Jesus–not for the glory of Jesus and for true edification of His people, but instead to make a name for men in this world, will die.

When we take that which belongs to God, given to us by the Lamb of God who is Jesus, then use these for our own vain glory or worldly gain, we are in effect slaying the poor of this world who need Jesus. We are also doing harm to His Name. We are also acting unfaithfully.

Therefore, anything we “birth” in such manner should and will die. However, the mercy of God will not depart from us.

I say “us” because I do not want to assume that this does not apply to me also. Do I rob God of His precious lamb? Do I rob others of Him? Do I do so that I can gain some measure of pleasure in this world, either for financial gain, social gain, or vain glory? If any of these “children” exist, I should expect them to die.

What are the “children?”

Each person can seek to his or her own conscience, and thanks to God that we are not punished for the sins of our forefathers in the faith. However, we must come out of their sins and not continue in them.

There have been many things birthed within Christianity that are corrupted by the wicked desires of man who rob God for their own gain and glory. We might say that every Christian denomination fits this to some degree, as do false teachings that come forth from them. This is also true for many unconventional ministries online and elsewhere.

Many times, these are created by people who want to be something great. They want to build up a name for themselves and gain a following as some great man or woman of God. Many times, these corruptions become dogma and many people are ensnared by them.

God will not allow our corrupt “children” to stand forever, but despite the pain, we will not lose the mercy of God if we continue to put our faith in Him.

Eventually, all of our wicked “children” become the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon. They are “their mother’s daughter.” We who are sincere in the faith can “come out of her” and escape the deceptions and destruction that comes upon the “children of disobedience.” This does not mean we escape all suffering, but it is a different suffering. If we suffer for righteousness sake, then there is peace and strength. Certainly sorrow also. We do not say, “I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow.” Yet, we trust in Jesus and look to His agony at facing the cross, knowing that He endured all things so that we can endure in Him.

In the end, only Jesus is exalted.

“The lord alone shall be exalted in that day, for the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon everyone that is high and lofty and upon everyone that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low.” This is the passage that inspired the name of this website, The Lord Alone (Jesus Alone). This is not support of “oneness” doctrine, for the record.

It’s always good to consider ourselves. Do we rob God? Do we rob others of Jesus? Do we misuse the things of God to gain some glory or prosperity in this world? In so doing, have we “birthed” false teachings or Christian sects? Such as these are going to die and they must die, but a new child is born. Just as Solomon was born, new children are born out of the woman that was an adulterer. These who are “born in Babylon” will lead us in the wisdom of God as faithful servants of Jesus and our God, but they will not follow the ways of the children slain.

Praise God who always makes a way for us so that we can return to Him, repent as needed, and be strengthened! Thanks be to God who is patient for many centuries and whose ways are beyond our knowing! Praises to God whose mercy in Jesus endures forever and in His mercy He lays low the proud and destructive things and raises up sons in Christ who will do His work in truth and in righteousness!

Beware of False Prophets

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. –Matthew 7: 15-23

We are almost at the end of the sermon of Jesus that He references within the Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. This portion of His speech comes after His mentioning of the “straight gate and narrow way.”

Why did Jesus make this interjection? This is a warning.

Up until this point, we have been learning about His righteous standards—standards which are easily corrupted by false prophets.

What is a prophet?

A prophet is someone who claims to speak for their god. They might foretell events that their god has ordained or they might speak to the sins of their time and encourage repentance. Sometimes prophets serve as examples of enduring suffering with patience or live lives that act out a message from God in real time.

We know that many false prophets exist today, but do true prophets exist today?

This is worth considering because many teach that all prophets today are fake because this gift is no longer in effect. I do not believe this to be true. God always raises up prophets early before times of trouble for His people. We see a New Testament example of this in Revelation 11. Paul the Apostle also wrote about the gift of prophecy, and all might prophesy at times if they are filled with the Spirit of God. However, not all who prophesy at times hold the office of a prophet.

Though we all might prophesy and although true prophets can exist in any time as God deems necessary, many false prophets do exist and many will continue to come as Jesus stated.

What are the false prophets of today and how do we know that they are false? What should we look for in a true prophet?

Jesus says that we will know them by their fruit. This seems to have a double meaning based on the context given above.

Firstly, we can consider the “fruit” in terms of what the prophet produces.

For example, do they produce good things that are in alignment with what we have learned from Jesus thus far within this series, or do they bring forth fruit that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus?

Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh, so there is no greater prophet than Jesus and all prophecy should point to Him and all that He stands for. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Anyone who positions themselves as a moral authority that calls others to repentance according to their moral authority is a prophet—and if they do so in a manner that is at odds with Jesus, then they are a false prophet.

We have many false prophets today. There are false prophets of social justice, for example.

What about false prophets in the church?

These exist too. There are many who seem to encourage righteousness, call people out of sin, and claim to speak for God. However, they do not really stand by the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.

Many of them lay heavy burdens on Christians, banning and condemning people for matters of conscience. Many lay heavy burdens of sin by forgoing basic Christian teachings of the cross, of sin, and instead speak feel-good messages that inflate the listener with pride, self-love, and complacency. Some encourage Christians to participate in practices that are not appropriate for Christians. The “word of faith” movement is one example of many.

There are many false prophets, so much so that it is better to become familiar with Jesus than it is to study all the ways of the false. If we can identify what is true, then we can identify what is false by comparison. Therefore, we must get to know Jesus and His ways. We must also trust Him to help guide us away from false teachers and false prophets.

In addition to comparing the prophet with the teachings of Jesus and His apostles, we can also remember what He said above.

They “come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

All false prophets seem to stand up for good causes, but their true motivation is not to care for people, for the truth, or for God. Their true motivation is to devour people. They like to consider themselves as something great, powerful, and necessary. They also relish in the destruction of those who oppose themselves or their god. They are blood-thirsty and vicious.

True prophets might appear to be destructive, especially if given the task of casting plagues like Moses did and like we read about in Revelation 11. However, this is not done in the spirit of power-hungry pride and vengeance of man, nor is this done deceitfully. They will not devise plans to destroy people secretly, lay traps for people, or claim to be for the oppressed while stabbing them in the back. Most importantly, as mentioned above, they will not oppose the teachings of Jesus.

Some of the teachings of Jesus are stark. For example, the other “fruit” of a false prophet is the end that they will meet.

All “trees” that bring forth evil fruit are cut down and cast into the fire. This is a picture of the judgment of God.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In the end, Jesus will judge the false prophets. These tall and important trees will be cut down at their roots and destroyed by the Almighty Himself.

It’s ironic. I’ve seen several false prophets online use the above passage to deceive people into their brand of legalistic Christianity. They love to use this passage to make Christians who struggle with sin fearful, and they especially love to gain a following of people who have been hurt by traditional Christianity and turn them into resentful and loyal followers of high and mighty “real” Christians. Yet, unless they repent, they will find themselves judged by this judgment.

This scripture seems to be for false prophets specifically, so that is something we might keep in mind, especially when we encounter one of these wolves.

I wrote somewhat of this in Jesus is Near the Brokenhearted. So are the Wolves.

As someone who has had problems with mainstream Christianity and sought answers online, I have encountered this several times. Look for pride, false claims of being some great figure like Moses or Elijah, accusatory tones that abuse liberty, false love that abuses grace, and a desire to gain a following for themselves. Tones of this are also true for many pastors, but I cannot judge them. It seems to me that our Christian world is seeped in false teachers, false prophets, and corrupt pastors.

Having experienced this, I know that if we seek Jesus, He will keep us from the false. I also know that there is not much good in spending too much time trying to take them down. For one, there are simply too many. For two, many are true brethren that need space and time to repent.

This being said, there are some “trees” who are not false and their fruit is good. Though, I can only think of one. Maybe two. A few seemingly sincere pastors. I try to refrain from judging any man but I also try to rely on Jesus’s judgments because I’ve been fooled much in my youth. In any case, I’ve personally stopped looking for true prophets, teachers, and pastors, but I cannot say what anyone else should do. That’s between the individual and Jesus. I do want to drive home one idea for emphasis.

If we draw near to Jesus, He will not allow us to be deceived. If we have been deceived, He will reveal this to us and there is mercy. I believe there is also mercy for false prophets it they repent.

There are many false prophets in the secular world and in the Christian world and there will be many more. The false prophet and false god “beasts” will have theirs also (Revelation 9), but the true prophets and the true church will stand against them. These are “the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”

If we keep the ways of Jesus, we will be as buildings on a rock and not sand. We will not be overtaken by the flood of false prophets.

We are almost done with this series. Apologies for this long article and I know that it could be more organized and informative. I have a limited amount of time, so all writing is impromptu and mostly at the end of long days. I try to do the best I can with what I am given.

There is a lot that could be said on this topic, and as with many things, my experience brings up a lot for me and it’s difficult to condense it.

Thank God that the words of Jesus are condensed and to the point and thank God that the Holy Spirit can inspire understanding in us all according to our individual needs. The main thing to know is that false prophets are all around in some form, but Jesus will keep us if we put our trust in Him!

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: The Narrow Way

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These Things Saith He – Philadelphia Overview

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.

13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The Church of Philadelphia is one of the two who received no rebuke from the Spirit of the Lord. The other is the Church of Smyrna.

Despite having little strength, Philadelphia has not denied Jesus and all that His name represents. Perhaps they need this acknowledgement.

When we are surrounded by enemies of the faith, especially those who claim to be of the faith but are not fully committed or not committed at all, we might begin to question ourselves. When many claim that it is we who have denied the faith, we might wonder if this is true at times. Especially if we have little strength. Perhaps they are also hard on themselves, always feeling as if they are falling short and have become a disappointment to God.

Jesus provides affirmation, letting this church know that they are more faithful to Him than they might feel at times, and because of their faithfulness despite weakness, He has set before them an open door.

What is this open door?

Jesus identifies Himself as He who has the Key of David. He opens and no man shuts and shuts and no man opens. What door does He open using the Key of David?

It was foretold that David would have an heir who would reign forever. This heir is Jesus, and His Kingdom is His to give as He wills.

Perhaps Jesus is blessing this church in the things of the Kingdom in gracious measure. Perhaps He is reminding them that He is the One who gets to decide who will reside with Him in His kingdom to come, not those who oppose this church or ostracize this church for not following suit with the ways of the unfaithful. Perhaps it is both.

Jesus acknowledges that He is aware of the unfaithful churches, which He refers to as the “Synagogue of Satan.” He then declares that He will cause the Synagogue of Satan to worship before the feet of Philadelphia. They will be made to know that Jesus loves this church. There are a few things to consider here.

For one, there is a kind of vindication promised. It’s likely that the Synagogue of Satan—which likely includes the other 5 churches who did not repent—are not going to be welcoming of Philadelphia. They might directly oppose them. Despite this opposition, Philadelphia has “kept the word of His patience,” which we will consider in a moment.

Next, we might notice that Jesus does not seem to destroy the Synagogue of Satan. Does He allow them to inherit eternal life? Or is their submission more like what the scriptures say, “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess the Lord, Jesus?”

Lastly, we might wonder why Jesus would have any worshipped besides Himself. If We continue reading the letters to the churches, we will learn that Jesus promises that those who overcome will sit with Him in His throne. This church is not being worshipped in a manner that exalts them above measure. Instead, it might be that as all are made to bow and confess Jesus, they vicariously bow to those who are with Jesus. This could also paint a picture of authority that is given to this church in the Kingdom to come when Jesus reigns on the earth.

Next, Jesus states, “because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation that will come upon all the world to try them that dwell on the earth.”

What is the word of His patience?

Despite being an outsider among many, and despite being aware of the Synagogue of Satan, Philadelphia does not condemn their fellow servants. Instead, this church holds to the teachings of Jesus, such as the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. They understand that many might seem to be false Christians but they are merely immature Christians. They understand that judgment will come at a time when the Lord deems, so they refrain from judging others before their time.

They might also recall what Jesus said about those who are found “drunken and smiting their fellow servants” at His return. He stated that these are counted among the unbelievers.

They might also consider the story of David and Saul. David remained faithful to Saul, even when Saul despised him and wanted him killed. David did not retaliate. In-fact, he even tried to make peace with Saul because David knew that Saul was God’s servant, and David loved Saul.

Perhaps Philadelphia is the same. They love their brethren, even if they are not as faithful as they should be. They also know that the blood of Jesus covers the sins of those who are called by His name, so to condemn any who claim to be Christian would not be wise or righteous. Instead, they try to make peace with all brethren, even those who hate them for their faithfulness to Jesus in sincerity.

Another scripture they might hold close is, “he that leads into captivity will go into captivity. He that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”

In addition to remaining patient with their fellow servants among Christianity, Philadelphia shows patience with the world at large. They do not fight as man fights or for the same goals. Man fights with weapons of this world to gain the kingdoms of this world. Philadelphia fights with the weapons of the Spirit to gain the Kingdom of Heaven.

How does keeping the patience of the Lord keep Philadelphia from the “hour of temptation?” What is the hour of temptation?

Jesus states that the hour of temptation will try all who dwell on the earth. It seems likely that this hour of temptation coincides with the coming of the false prophet and false god. When he comes, we will also see the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon at her full—who includes all the false churches. These churches will actively persecute the true saints of God and all who fail to “worship the beast and his image or receive the mark of his name.”

There are a few ways this church might be kept, and both are probably true. The first way that they are kept is in spirit. They are kept from the deception of a false, blood-thirsty god and his drunken whore-bride.

The second way that they are kept is in death with the promise of resurrection. The ultimate hour of temptation comes when those who are faithful to Jesus are overcome and killed by the beast and his armies. The world will think that they have won and that their god has overcome all descent, leading to great celebration and whole-hearted allegiance to the false god.

Another thing we might consider is a promise that Jesus made elsewhere in the scripture. Concerning the last days, Jesus said, “except the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would be saved, but for the sake of the ones He has chosen, He has shortened the days.”

“Behold, I come quickly: hold thou fast what thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

Philadelphia is encouraged to “let no man take thy crown.” In other scripture, Jesus says that those who overcome will be given a “crown of life.” Philadelphia has gained the crown of life, and they are encouraged to let no one take it from them. They should not let the Synagogue of Satan discourage them or falsely accuse their faith. They also should not let the warring of man cause them to deny the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus will come speedily and He will avenge.

“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.”

Living as a faithful Christian in a time of faithlessness and hedonism is sure to be a lonesome and difficult time in which to live. All who are faithful to Jesus experience times of feeling cast out, and Jesus said it would be so. We are not of the world, so the world does not love us. We might not ever find a real home or place in this earth, but we do have a place. We will be part of the Kingdom of Heaven forever.

New Jerusalem is described in Revelation 19 and 22. All who are faithful to Jesus are part of this Holy City, and they will inherit with Jesus. They are also given the new name of Jesus, signifying that they are one with Him and claimed by Him. Philadelphia might have had a name of shame before, meaning they were of no reputation and honor among man or among their brethren, but in Christ they have honor in Him because they glorify Him and not this world.

PREVIOUS: These Things Saith He — Overcoming Sardis

Note: I did not mean to forget Scriptures for Sardis. I will draft that chapter next.

NEXT: These Things Saith He — Becoming 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 11:25

The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

What is a liberal soul? Based on the context, it seems to mean a soul that has a giving nature. Water might indicate blessing, so we could also say that a person who generously blesses others will be blessed themselves.

This is a similar idea to what we read in the previous proverb. The more we give, the more we gain. It’s generally true that what we invest in others will return to us.

However, my personal experience has jaded me quite a bit. It seems that there are many people in this world who only want to take and it also seems that most people do not value the right things.

People will “bless” you if you “bless” them in the things of this world. If you add to their social appearances, finances, their egos, or if you’re generally entertaining because you spend your time in the same worldly pursuits, then there is no end to your usefulness and people generally will give back the same.

What about things that seem mundane, like righteousness and what it means to live a Christian life? What about understanding the teachings of Jesus? What about knowing how we can endure suffering with patience? What about knowing how we can maintain ourselves despite living in a corrupt world? Does anyone care for that?

People don’t seem to want to be watered. They want to be intoxicated.

They want to be around people who will make them feel proud and better than others. They want to gossip and tear down. They want to pursue riches and popularity. They want to have a good time and not be bothered by the standards that Christ has put on our lives.

Sometimes we give things that are truly good and of God, even if no one wants them. Sometimes we give things that are truly good and of God knowing that people are going to take advantage and use the good for their own purposes. Sometimes we give things that are truly good and of God in faith, knowing that the Lord will reward us and the work we do is not in vain.

The thing is, without the grace of God teaching us to deny worldly lusts and seek the things of the Kingdom of God instead, we would all prefer intoxication over watering. Though I know this to be true, it’s still difficult at times.

Even so, there are always some who value good things. There are some who value knowing what is good and true, what Jesus is about, and how He would have us live our lives in Him. There are some who want a safe place to self-reflect, find encouragement, and a friend who understands how difficult it can be to live as a faithful, God-fearing Christian in this world today.

If we continue to water people in the right things, then God will water us. He will keep making us strong in His Spirit who is as a “fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:24There is that scatterth, and yet increaseth: and there is that whitholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

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.

The Narrow Way

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

There are many gates that lead to various paths of destruction.

Jesus is the only way out. There is no other. He is the gate. He is the only way that we can embark on a journey of life that leads us to the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s also important to know that Jesus has a strict and narrow way that He wants us to live.

So, there seem to be two core issues here.

First, we accept that this world is full of destruction and the only escape is Jesus.

Secondly, we understand that Jesus has standards that we are supposed to live by as we walk with Him in faith.

My personal experience make this difficult to write about because there is just so much to consider. This is my Christian walk in a nutshell, as is the case for many of us. There are many ways in which we can go astray from putting Jesus first as the only way to salvation. Then, once we accept Jesus as our savior, there are many who come in His name who would lead us astray. Many lead us astray with false teachings that mischaracterize God, the gospel, and the Christian experience.

It’s truly remarkable that any of us find the straight gate and narrow way. It is the grace of God.

The best thing I can think to say about this is to humbly seek Jesus in faith. If we recognize that we are lost and confused and if we truly want to know what is true, He will show us. At times, we might not like what we see, but if we wrestle with the truth in faith and continue seeking Jesus then He will make us strong as the Spirit of Truth works in us.

The manner in which He teaches us can vary for each individual, but the lessons we learn are the same in the end. We are learning how to be a son of God as we follow the life of the Son of God in faith, trusting in His forgiveness and relying on His Spirit to guide us and equip us along the way.

It’s important that we value the truth. Read 2 Thessalonians 2. If we do not love the truth, then this means we take pleasure in unrighteousness and God will allow us to be under strong delusions.

Many in this world are under strong delusions because they do not love truth.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.”

Yet, even in seeking Jesus many things come against us as I experienced and as the Parable of the Sower describes (Matthew 13).

Despite it all, nothing can come between those who are chosen by the Father to be raised as sons of God through the adoption of Jesus Christ.

It is truly remarkable and although the process can be difficult, painful, and confusing at times, we will get to a place of being more established in the faith as we see Jesus working in our lives, showing us what His narrow way means, and changing us so that we can walk in Spirit with Him better overtime.

I apologize if I’m being too generic. Like I said, it gets complicated for me and I know that we all have our own experiences. It’s easy to point to the gate. It’s Jesus. Period. As for His narrow way, it can seem broad at times because He has a lot to say. Though, it isn’t really. The gospel is simple and as Jesus said, “my burden is easy and my yoke is light.” It’s this world that complicates things and our walk can get messy because we are flawed, but if we follow Him in faith, He will lead the way.

If we follow Him, we can expect to live like He did in some measure.

We should testify to the truth, even when the world hates the truth. We should use the gifts Jesus gives us by His Spirit to reach those who are spiritually blind, maimed, and enslaved to the destructive and deceitful ways of this world. We should submit our will to the will of Jesus, just as He submitted Himself to the Father. We should expect to be hated, maybe even killed. We can also expect to live forever despite it all, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God. If His grace is for us, nothing can come against us.

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: Do to Others as You Would Have Them Do to You

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A Look at Postmodernism and How to Fight It

What is postmodernism?

If you’re like I was before today, you might not be able to answer that question outright. Or, maybe you can. I’m falling way behind here, I know.

Whether you can or cannot, we all recognize the ideas contained within postmodernism because they heavily influence our culture today.

I have experienced it in many ways. It was postmodern thinking that led me to a place of complete confusion and despair about 8 years ago, particularly my involvement with New Age religion thinking that states all religions are acceptable to God and Jesus is just one way of many.

It’s total confusion and chaos, because there is no truth. They themselves say that there is no truth. For them, truth becomes whatever you say it is. So, it’s no wonder that Jesus, who is The Truth, is considered to be just one path to God of many.

The corruption of truth is the cornerstone of Postmodernism, or so it seems to me. In their view:

There is no absolute truth. To claim to know the truth makes you an oppressor, because each person has the right to define what truth means for themselves personally.

Logic is rejected. Objective facts and logic cannot exist because truth does not exist. Rather than argue based on reason and facts, emotions and personal opinions dominate discussion.

Morality is personal. Moral standards are not set, but rather subject to change based on a person’s personal interpretation of morality.

The morals of the oppressed are law. Anyone can have their own set of morals so long as they do not conflict with the morals of those who are “oppressed” by traditional codes of morality, including women and those with various sexual or gender identities.

The voice of oppressors should be silenced. They do not believe in an exchange of ideas and facts in order to come to rational decisions, because this places limitations on people’s ability to define truth for themselves. So, if you claim to speak for an absolute truth, then you are an oppressor and your voice is not worthy to be heard. In-fact, you must be silenced.

All authority is false and corrupt. All religious and secular modes of authority are abhorred and intertwined with oppression.

Collectives are favored over individuals. Collective property ownership and a shared, baseline wealth is favored while individual enterprise is rejected. People are also categorized into groups rather than viewed as individuals. Individuals who belong to an oppressor group are oppressors at the core and cannot be otherwise unless they become “woke” to their inherently oppressive nature and make necessary restitutions.

Environmentalism is supported at all costs. Western culture is responsible for the destruction of the planet. “Mother Earth” must be protected at all costs, even at the expense of human life (especially the oppressors).

How do we fight Postmodernism?

We speak the truth.

Postmodernism is a conglomeration of many lies, with a few truths mixed in. There are some causes worth considering that should not be ignored, but they should be weighed with the proper weight, placed in their proper place, and the lies that are mixed in must be eradicated.

There is a standard of truth, and it all begins with Jesus who is the Truth. So, it’s no wonder that they hate Him. We stand by Him and all that He teaches, and in so doing we will stand firmly against postmodernism and in the right spirit. We will not hate them or deny their basic human rights, even though they deny ours.

We will show them the love of Christ and His iron-clad Truth that makes free, because we know that lies only destroy and those who follow Postmodernism are destroying themselves and others–as anyone who has had personal experience with this will fully know and understand.

Having lived through it, I suggest that we should approach people who are possessed with the ideas of postmodernism with a generous dose of compassion and unyielding loyalty to the Truth as we “fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness in high places.” Don your Armor of God (Ephesians 6) and let’s get to work!

Do you have any information to share about postmodernism? What have your personal experiences been?

Considering Proverbs 11:24

There is that scatterth, and yet increaseth: and there is that whitholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

The more we give, the greater the increase. The more we withhold for ourselves, the greater the poverty.

It might seem like keeping good things to ourselves will make us rich because giving away what we have will make us poor. This might be true for riches in this world, but it is not true when we are considering the things of God.

Any good thing that we receive from God should be shared with others, and when shared, there is increase. There is increase in those who receive what we share, and we are also increased now and in the Kingdom of Heaven to come.

This is a positive attribute of something Jesus said, “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again.”

We must “let your light shine before man, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” We must invest our talent and not “bury it in the earth.”

Jesus shares everything with us, and both we and He are increased.  We all grow together in Christ and Jesus is glorified in us and the Father in Jesus. As God is glorified in us, we are blessed even more.

The blessings of God take many forms, and we each must use what we receive in Christ to build others up in Him. We cannot simply keep it to ourselves. In-fact, Jesus expressly instructs us not to on multiple occasions, as cited above.

Based on my personal experience, I don’t understand how we could keep the gifts we receive from God to ourselves if they are truly given by Him, because He causes us to increase and He stirs our hearts up to do the work He created us to do. We cannot resist because there is a persistent nagging in our conscience to give what we have received to others.  

It does not matter how simple or small the thing might seem to us or how much lack we perceive in ourselves as we seek to have our gifts perfected, we must do what we can in faith, knowing that it is the Spirit in us who does the work truly.

It’s hard to imagine someone burying their talent or hiding their light without repenting and doing as God would have them to do. God always makes His servants do what He created them to do, even when they don’t want to or are afraid. Like Jonah, for example. We cannot run from the calling we have if we truly have one.

Yet, these teachings are given so we should listen. His word goes out to stir our hearts up so that we can and will do His work. So, if we need to hear then He will cause us to. We will give and increase, and He will be glorified in us.

Those who are of this world and not of the Kingdom of God tend to spend their efforts investing in themselves and not others. Such a life is void of meaning and it leads to spiritual poverty. We see a lot of this in our culture. That’s the basic attitude my previous article addressed: “Its Hard Not to Let Them Consume You.”

People who are extremely self-absorbed not only destroy themselves, but they also destroy others. I wonder if this has something to do with the “bottomless pit.” Some people and some ideologies are never satisfied. They consume and consume. Destroy and destroy. Sucking all life out of others in attempts to live themselves, but they cannot truly live unless they repent of sin and turn to Jesus.

 Many do not, and “the beast” certainly will not. They cannot turn to God because they consider themselves to be gods. They consider their ways to be above His ways. They are “above all that is called God and all that is worshipped.” They judge and condemn the ways of God and those who keep them and Him. It’s Satanic.

If we remain in the faith of Jesus, He will provide us with everything we need to stand fast despite living among those who only use others up because He has more than enough to supply our needs. At least in Spirit. They might kill us bodily eventually, but He keeps us and He will breathe the Spirit of Life into us again. We will increase. They will see the greatest poverty: everlasting destruction.

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:23 – “The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

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.