This chapter forms an inset. In it we will analyze 12 statements made by Jesus Christ, found in the Bible. Some are well-known; others are overlooked.
Hundreds of millions who claim to be Christian assume they understand and therefore accept—believe!—these statements. But the reality is that virtually no one does. The true Jesus Christ is unknown to Christianity—and so is the meaning of nearly all of His teachings!
Consider. Millions call Jesus “Lord,” which means “Master.” But how many truly view Him as their Master?
Millions worship Jesus according to what is commonly taught, without thoroughly proving it from their Bibles. But what did Christ say about “traditions of men”?
Millions observe Sunday, believing it to be “the Lord’s Day.” But what did Jesus say about the Sabbath?
Millions believe Christians are not to judge. Did Jesus say otherwise? If so, how are they to judge?
Millions believe they are “born again”—but are they? Or is one born again later, at another time?
Millions of professing Christians assume they are “saved” upon being “born again”—and that their salvation cannot be lost. Did Jesus teach otherwise?
Millions talk about the “love of God”—and believe they love Jesus. Sunday sermons are filled with the subject. How does Jesus define love?
Millions are aware of John 3:16, perhaps the most recited verse in the Bible. Is there a hidden element in this verse indicating that human beings do not have immortal souls?
Millions believe that tithing is no longer in effect. Ministers teach that Jesus never mentioned it in the New Testament. But is there a verse in which Jesus specifically addresses tithing?
Millions believe that when they die they will “go to heaven to be with the Lord.” Did Jesus teach that no one has gone to heaven? If so, what is the reward of the saved?
Millions believe Jesus came to bring peace. Is it possible that He came to actually divide families?
And millions believe they are disciples of Jesus—but are they? How can you know for sure? Did Christ clearly state how to identify His true disciples?
Be prepared to learn things very few ministers accurately teach and very few people truly understand!
Jesus asked this question near the conclusion of His well-known Sermon on the Mount. Have you ever considered it? Have you ever asked yourself whether Jesus is talking directly to you? Or do you assume He is talking to others?
More than two billion people refer to Jesus as Lord, and many more have done so throughout the past 2,000 years. By calling Jesus Lord, they are saying He is their Master, whether knowingly or not. Here are the implications: The Greek word translated Lord is kurios, and it means “supreme in authority, controller, master.” Jesus is to have complete control over Christians. He is to be the supreme authority in their lives. He is to be their Master! Just as a servant is subject to his master or a child to his parents, Christians are subject to Christ. As servants (John 13:16), they are not permitted to choose to obey commands that are convenient for them, and disregard the rest. They are to obey His commands—all of them!
Countless numbers profess Jesus to be their Master, yet the reality is that almost none treat Him as One actually having authority over their lives, meaning their conduct, their behavior. Few yield to His commands—few really obey Him. Though millions call Jesus their Lord, their actions demonstrate He is not. Most do little more than pay lip service to Christ. (More on this later.)
This is why Jesus asked, “Why call you Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). He is asking why individuals profess Him to be their Master, and as such accept His authority over their lives, but do not do—obey—believe—His words. They fail to properly acknowledge Him as their Master by doing what He says.
Parallel to theMatthew 7 account quoted earlier, in verses 47-48, Christ explains the wisdom in hearing His words and doing them. (Keep in mind that these verses immediately follow Jesus asking why people call Him Master but do not obey Him.) “Whosoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like: 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 [Jesus Christ].”
In verse 49, however, Jesus shows the folly of hearing His words and not doing them. “But he that hears, and does 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.”
Not believing—or obeying—Christ is likened to foolishly building a house on shifting sand: Eventually, the disobedient, like the house, will fall. When storms (trials and temptations) come, they will not stand.
Sadly, most people are building their houses upon sand. They neither believe nor obey Jesus Christ. What about you? Are you obedient to the words of Christ? Are you sure?
To learn more about why obedience is necessary, read The Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation?
Just prior to this statement, in verses 1-5, the Pharisees noticed Jesus’ disciples eating food with unwashed hands. They, seemingly innocently, asked, “Why walk not Your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” (Mark 7:5).
The Pharisees were extremely meticulous in regard to washing items used in consuming food, such as their hands, cups, bowls, pots, utensils, etc. Over the years, they added numerous regulations—traditions—to God’s commandments, statutes and precepts. These traditions sometimes even came to supersede the laws of God, though He never authorized such license.
Cutting to the heart of the matter, Jesus responded, “Well has Esaias [Isaiah] prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7).
This is a strong indictment of the religious elite! Jesus stated that the Pharisees professed to worship God with their lips, but inside they were far from Him. He realized they were not looking for an explanation. Instead, they sought an opportunity to accuse Him and His disciples of breaking tradition—or “commandments of men.” Christ’s disciples were not breaking any laws of God, yet the Pharisees acted as if this were the case. As such, Jesus labeled their worship vain, which means “to no purpose, fruitless.”
Do you grasp this? Christ said that the Pharisees’ worship was pointless! They may have believed they were worshipping God, but Jesus revealed otherwise. Their worship was completely fruitless because they obeyed laws of men rather than laws of God. They were hypocrites because they appeared to be holy men who obeyed God. The “religious authorities” had an outward appearance of religious holiness. But inwardly, they were “full of dead men’s bones” (Matt. 23:27).
Jesus further elaborated, saying, “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:8-9).
The Pharisees made the laws of God of no effect by establishing and following man-made traditions. (While God does authorize the use of traditions Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. [II Thes. 2:15],
they are never to supplant, or contradict, God’s laws.) Even more so, they rejected God’s commandments. Take a moment to read
For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
7:11: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 7:12: And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Mark 7:10-13,
in which Jesus gives an example of the Pharisees nullifying the Law of God.
Like these of Christ’s time, today’s “religious elite” reject God’s laws and instead hold to and teach the traditions of men: the trinity, Easter, Christmas, Sunday-keeping, the fallacy that God’s Law has been “nailed to the cross,” tithing is “done away,” among a host of others too numerous to mention. In fact, most of the teachings of orthodox Christianity are man-made! The ministers of this world preach false doctrines and lead people away from God, just like the Pharisees did. If Jesus were on earth today, He would indict these ministers in the same manner as the Pharisees!
Ask yourself whether you are worshipping Christ in vain. Do not assume this statement applies to others. Start with the assumption that it applies to you! Investigate why you believe as you do—why you perhaps observe traditions of men, rather than laws of God.
(3)Mark 2:27-28 – “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”
Other than the trinity, no other doctrine is as widely accepted and staunchly defended in the world of traditional Christianity than Sunday-keeping. Though few who profess to be Christian can agree on biblical teachings, they almost always agree that the Saturday Sabbath has been superseded by Sunday worship. To be accepted as a “mainstream Christian,” one generally must keep Sunday, to one degree or another.
If asked which day is the Christian Sabbath, most will answer, “Sunday.” Perhaps they will add, “Sunday is the New Testament Sabbath because Jesus rose from the dead that day. By observing this day, we honor Jesus.” They might even say, “The New Testament speaks of Christians going to Church on Sunday
Revelation 1:10 speaks of the apostle John being in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, which is a reference to Sunday.”
Numerous clever arguments exist as to why Sunday is supposedly the day Christians are to assemble together and worship God. This unbiblical practice has been in effect so long—over 1,600 years—and is so common that few are able—or willing—to recognize clear scriptures that reveal the true Sabbath day, and its permanence. Most start with Sunday as the “Christian Sabbath” and then search for verses to support this idea—if they study at all—rather than beginning with an open mind and searching for clear passages on the subject, of which there are many. Even a quick study of the topic, with an open mind, will reveal the truth of the matter. Sadly, however, most are too steeped in this popular “tradition of men” to leave its powerful grip.
For those who read the Bible, how many times have you glossed over
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 2:28: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. Mark 2:27-28?
Or perhaps, with the Sunday fallacy as your basis, you have erroneously assumed this statement means that since He is Lord (or Master) of the Sabbath, Jesus must have changed it from Saturday to Sunday. Be honest with yourself.
Jesus’ statement that He is “Lord of the Sabbath” is simple to understand when one considers who created the Sabbath day. As the Creator of all things
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Col. 1:16),
Jesus sanctified the Sabbath after re-creating the earth, as seen in the book of Genesis:
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work” (Genesis 2:2-3).
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath because He created it, and set it aside as a day of rest! No scripture even hints that He set aside Sunday, which is why He did not say He is “Lord of Sunday”—or any other day.
Do not allow shallow arguments to persuade you that the Sabbath was “only for the Jews” or that Christ “did away with it”! It has been in effect—as holy time—since the foundation of the world. Man does not have the authority to establish or take away time that God has set aside as holy.
Many will argue that they keep the Sabbath “in their hearts” or “in Jesus.” Similar to other plain biblical realities, such as the kingdom of God, the Sabbath is spiritualized away.
Considering that the Sabbath is a day of rest, ask yourself, how is it possible to keep the Sabbath, even “in the heart,” while performing daily duties? Can you keep the Sabbath while running a marathon? While building a home? Or while performing any other activity? Of course not. Read
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 20:9: Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 20:10: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 20:11: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11.
This human reasoning allows a person to obey the Sabbath as he or she sees fit—rather than as God commands! What He desires is not part of their thinking. They make the Law of God of no effect—just like the Pharisees!
Some might cite the account in Matthew 12 (a parallel account of
And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
3:23: And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
3:24: And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
3:25: And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
3:26: And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
3:27: No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
3:28: Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
as proof that Jesus did away with the Sabbath. Yet Christ was trying to make clear that it is lawful for a person to satisfy immediate hunger on the Sabbath, as David did, even though it was not lawful for anyone other than the Levites to eat the showbread
And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 2:24: Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD's people to transgress. 2:25: If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them. 2:26: And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men. 2:27: And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? (I Sam. 21:1-6).
The Pharisees concocted numerous man-made regulations governing the Sabbath that made it a burden on people rather than a blessing. This is what Christ condemned, not the day itself. How do we know? Because “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” In other words, Christ created the Sabbath day for man to enjoy. He did not create man for the Sabbath to enjoy. The Sabbath is to serve man, not the other way around! However, the Pharisees—who were not authorized to amend God’s laws—made the Sabbath into a day for man to serve; thus it became a burden.
This is yet another example of
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 7:8: For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 7:9: And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.Mark 7:7-9.
The only difference today is that, rather than making the Sabbath a burden, misguided ministers have made the Sabbath of no effect! They have jumped to the other extreme.
(4)John 7:24 – “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
Some will quote
Matthew 7:1—“Judge not, that you be not judged”
—to claim that it is “unchristian” to identify people’s sins or those that plague a society. How many times have you heard someone say, “Don’t judge me” or “Christians are not to judge others”?
Ask yourself, how can a Christian be expected to stay away from people of bad character, as the Bible commands
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 5:2: And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.5:3: For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 5:4: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:5: To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.(I Cor. 5:1-5;
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 6:4: He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 6:5: Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6:6: But godliness with contentment is great gain.I Tim. 6:3-6)
if he is not allowed to judge their actions—in other words, identify their inappropriate behavior? Also, how could Paul instruct Christians to “mark” and “avoid” divisive people:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them(Rom. 16:17)
unless the conduct of such people be examined—unless judgments were made?
The word “judge” in:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1
comes from the Greek word krino, which can mean “to try, condemn, punish” or “to distinguish, decide.” The context depends upon how the word is used.
The apostle John wrote,
“God sent not His Son into the world to condemn [krino] the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
Yet, Paul used this same Greek word to teach that true Christians are in training to judge the whole world—including angels:
“Do you not know that the saints shall judge [krinos] the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge [krinos] angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?” (I Cor. 6:2-3).
Four chapters later, he added, “I speak as to wise men; judge [krinos] you what I say” (I Cor. 10:15).
Obviously, Paul did not intend for the Corinthians to condemn his words, but rather to judge—“decide”—whether he was teaching sound doctrine.
When Jesus said, “Judge not, lest you be judged,” He meant that you can sometimes avoid judgment coming upon yourself by avoiding judging others. This does not mean that Christians are never to judge. Rather, in certain situations, it is better to avoid rendering a judgment—a decision about, an evaluation of conduct or behavior—lest you bring judgment upon yourself. If you decide to judge, be careful, as whatever standard you use to render a decision will be used on yourself:
“For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2).
Consider. If Jesus had meant Christians should never judge, period, then He would have contradicted Himself when He said:
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge [krinos] righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
Christ clearly stated that Christians are to judge others. However, we are to use righteous judgment. If a person judges righteously, he will avoid judgment coming upon himself.
Most overlook John 7:24 and focus only on Matthew 7:1. They fail to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, thus they stumble and are snared:
But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isa. 28:13).
The key to understanding John 7:24 is found beginning three verses earlier. Referring to His healing a man on the Sabbath day, to which the Pharisees vehemently objected, “Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and you all marvel.” According to the Pharisees, healing on the Sabbath was considered work, so they accused Him of breaking the Sabbath.
Inverses 22-23, Jesus continues His discourse: “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision…and you on the Sabbath day circumcise a man. [According to the Law of Moses, a male child was to be circumcised eight days after being born, which would sometimes fall on the Sabbath.] If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are you angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?”
The Pharisees constantly accused Christ of deviating from the Law of Moses. They claimed to uphold this law down to the last jot and tittle. Jesus used this to His advantage and asked them why they considered it lawful to circumcise a child on the Sabbath, but unlawful to make “a man every whit whole”? Christ pointed out the hypocrisy of such “logic.” (Recall the example we examined earlier concerning Mark 2:27-28.)
This brings us to verse 24: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Jesus said this to the Pharisees in this context because they were judging his actions according to sight, and not by God’s Law. In other words, they used human reasoning rather than God’s standard of righteousness, defined by His Law! Thus, they brought judgment upon themselves!
While Jesus was in the flesh, He too had to rely on God to judge righteously:
“I can of My own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me” (John 5:30).
Since the Pharisees were not seeking the will of God and were not obeying His commandments, they could not judge correctly.
Finally, consider Christ’s statement in
John 8: “You judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, My judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me” (vs. 15-16).
These verses reveal that Jesus did not judge after the flesh or according to sight. Instead, He judged righteously, because He relied on the Father, just as Christians are to do. The Father did the judging through Jesus. But this occurred only because Jesus sought the Father’s will and obeyed Him, as Christians are to do.
Like so many of the Bible’s teachings, the subject of judging is widely misunderstood. This is because the majority focuses only on Matthew 7:1 and does not take into account the numerous other verses on the subject. Again, most fail to put all of the pieces of the large biblical puzzle together
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
It is widely taught and believed that, to be a true Christian, one must be “born again” by the Holy Spirit. Millions of professing Christians define themselves as having experienced this “spiritual rebirth,” claiming it occurs when an individual accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. Being born again is reduced to a spiritual feeling that supposedly occurs at conversion, rather than an actual “real life” birth. A series of statements spoken by Jesus in the book of John is used to support this popular teaching.
In an exchange with Nicodemus, a Pharisee, Jesus said:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
It is clear that for a person to see God’s kingdom, he must be born again. There is no other way.
This idea of being born again confused Nicodemus. He could not understand how a human being could experience a second birth, as verse 4 indicates:
“Nicodemus said unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4).
This is certainly a fair question, one that would naturally come to mind when learning that a person must be born a second time.
In John 3:5, Jesus responded, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Here, Jesus begins to expound upon His statement in verse 3. Rather than merely saying that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God, He explains that a person must be born of water and of the Spirit.
The mention of water in this statement applies to baptism—being fully immersed in water. Baptism symbolizes a person’s old self being buried in a “watery grave.” The person is then raised from the water a new individual and is to live the remainder of his life in obedience to the Father and Jesus Christ. In effect, such a person is “born of water.”
“Born of water” also refers to the physical birth that every human being experiences. While in the mother’s womb, a baby is surrounded and protected by a sac of water-like liquid called amniotic fluid. This fluid cushions the baby to keep him safe and protects from infection. Just before birth, this water “breaks,” signaling that delivery is about to occur. Thus, everyone can say that he has experienced this birth. But the next type of birth is different.
The mention of the Spirit references the moment of being born again, or born of the Spirit. Most people believe this occurs when one supposedly accepts Jesus into his heart. They believe it is possible to be born again and remain a flesh and blood human being.
But notice Jesus’ statement in verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
How clear! This means it is impossible for anyone who is a human being—flesh and blood—to have been born again. Those who are born of the flesh, or of a woman, are flesh—period! But those who are born of the Holy Spirit are Spirit. It is that simple.
To remove all doubt, in verses 7 and 8, Jesus elaborates, “Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
You need not marvel at these words. Jesus compared those who are born again to wind. We can see and feel the effects of wind—trees swaying, debris being tossed through the air, etc.—but cannot see wind itself. Likewise, when an individual is born of the Spirit, other human beings will not be able to see him, because he will be composed of spirit—not flesh and blood. God is a Spirit and cannot be seen; the same will be true of Christians at the resurrection.
We must ask: Of those who claim to be born again, do you see anyone who is a spirit being? No. They are still flesh! Yet they erroneously assume they are born again, despite Jesus’ plain teaching.
When is one truly born again? At the resurrection of the dead, when Christ returns in full power and glory!
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (I Cor. 15:22-23).
Christians are born again “at His coming”—not before!
Now here is what happens at the resurrection:
“Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump [the moment of Christ’s Return]: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [body from human birth] must put on immortality [divine body at spirit birth]” (I Cor. 15:51-53).
Just one verse prior, Paul stated,
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50).
Paul clearly revealed that those who believe they are born again and in the kingdom of God now, while in the flesh, are in error. Human beings cannot inherit the kingdom of God before they have been changed—born again!—into spirit beings.
Will you believe your Bible? Or will you cling to traditions of men?
(6)John 14:15 – “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
If you are one of the roughly two billion people who profess to be Christian, and someone asked whether you love Jesus Christ, you would no doubt answer yes. But what would you do if asked to prove it? What solid evidence would you provide?
To most, love is little more than a feeling, a vague idea that cannot be properly defined. Ask 100 people to define love and you will receive 100 different responses—everything from a feeling in the heart to just “doing good” to others. Diversified ideas occur because few consult the only source that provides an absolute definition.
Notice how the Bible defines love:
“Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
What law? The Law of God—as expressed overall in the Ten Commandments! The Bible defines love as obedience to God’s laws. It is that simple. There is no ambiguity or confusion whatsoever! Yet those who profess to be Christian are confused about, or ignorant of, the true definition of love.
Also read I John:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).
Many who claim to have love believe that God’s Commandments are grievous. But God clearly states they are not! Paul called the Law of God:
“holy, and just, and good…spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14).
The first four commandments—not serving false gods, not making or worshipping images (idols) of God, not taking God’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath—reveal how to love God; the remaining six—honoring one’s father and mother, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not bearing false witness, and not coveting—reveal how to love other human beings. When one obeys the Law of God, he automatically shows love—toward God and toward others. And it is easily verifiable that one is showing love either toward God or others because action is required in obeying God.
When one obeys any of the last six commandments, he—whether knowingly or not—is outwardly indicating love toward his fellow human beings. Consider the Seventh Commandment for a moment. Though an ever-increasing number of people are breaking it, most would agree that committing adultery is not showing love toward one’s spouse. Few, if any, would suggest otherwise. Think of the devastation that results: broken trust, broken marriages, broken homes, broken relationships with children, etc. By not committing adultery, a man or woman shows love toward their spouse.
Similarly, when a person obeys any of the first four commandments, he is showing love toward God. Sadly, however, most do not live according to these commandments—and thus do not truly love God, despite what they may proclaim.
Jesus knew full well that most only profess with their mouths that they love Him—but their hearts are far from obeying Him:
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (Matt. 15:18).
This is why He said:
“If you love Me, keep [obey] My commandments” (John 14:15).
Six verses later, He added:
“He that has My commandments, and keeps them, He it is that loves Me” (John 14:21).
Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say, “He who professes He loves Me—yet breaks My commandments—is He who loves Me.”
What about you? Do you believe Jesus’ plain words that, to truly love Him, you must be obedient—you must keep His commandments—which requires action? Or will you believe the smooth, cunning words of false ministers who teach that it is not necessary to obey God—despite Jesus’ plain statements to the contrary?
One could make a case that this is the most popular verse in Scripture. Seemingly, everyone is able to quote it verbatim, even those who are not familiar with the Bible. This verse is usually mentioned in the context of explaining the love that God has for mankind. He sacrificed His Son so billions of human beings would have an opportunity to receive eternal life.
But most fail to notice a subtle point in this verse: Human beings do not possess immortal souls!
The vast majority of professing Christians believe that within every individual is an immortal soul that goes either to heaven or hell upon death. Most ministers, evangelists and religionists speak of “when we all get to heaven” or the “reality of an ever-burning hell” waiting to eternally roast those who do not “give their hearts to the Lord.”
What most fail to recognize is that if human beings possess immortal souls, then it means they already have eternal life! But Jesus said that:
“whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
There is a definitive contrast in this statement between perishing and eternal life.
How is it possible that human beings could perish if they have immortal souls? The answer: impossible! Otherwise, Jesus’ statement in John 3:16 is not sensible. Why state that His death and resurrection opens the door to eternal life if everyone already has it within them?
Those who do not believe in Jesus—which means those who fail to submit to His authority over their lives, who reject the Law of God—will perish for eternity! They will not be given eternal life. See:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8.
Notice that Romans also contrasts death from eternal life:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
This is in perfect harmony with John 3:16.
The Greek word translated from “perish” is apollumi, which means “to destroy fully, to die, lose, perish.” There is no doubt what these words mean. “Perishable” items, such as fruits and vegetables, are those that rot—until they are “fully destroyed” or “lost.” This is not hard to understand when one is talking about anything other than a human being. Those who receive salvation are promised that they “should not perish” but “have everlasting life”!
If hell were a place of eternal torture, then the people suffering there have eternal life. But John 3:16 says, “should not perish,” which does not mean “should not suffer eternal life in torment.” If it did, then the rest of the verse—“but have everlasting life”—would not make sense.
Have you ever thought about John 3:16 in this light?
Of course, some will say that the words “perish” and “death” do not mean we cease from being alive. Rather, they contend we are simply alive somewhere else, either in heaven or hell, despite plain biblical teaching to the contrary. See:
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
146:4: His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Psalm 146:3-4
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. Psalm 115:17
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5
(8)Matthew 23:23 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Most professing Christian churches teach that, among other laws of God, Jesus abolished tithing. The thinking is that tithing was an Old Covenant law, and Jesus’ death supposedly freed His followers from such “harsh, legalistic rules and regulations.” Many will cite a lack of a clear tithing command in the New Testament as proof it is no longer in effect.
In, Matthew Jesus does give a clear command to tithe! But most overlook it. In Matthew 23:23 when Jesus said, “and not to leave the other undone,” He meant the Pharisees were correct in tithing—and should continue to do so! In other words, tithing is still in effect! Notice Jesus did not say, “These [judgment, mercy and faith] ought you to have done, and not concern yourselves with the other [tithing].”
The argument is often raised that this verse teaches tithing is not important—that it is least among God’s laws. But verse 23 does not state this. It merely states that the Pharisees neglected weightier aspects of God’s Law. Jesus was pointing out to the Pharisees that they should have been as meticulous in areas of faith, mercy and rendering proper judgments as they were in tithing. A careful reading of the verse and context reveals Jesus was not saying that tithing is “unimportant,” as many claim.
Within God’s Law, there are small and large points. Some commands carry more “weight” than others. Jesus clearly acknowledges this. If one were to assign importance to tithing compared to judgment, mercy and faith, the latter are indeed more important in building God’s holy, righteous character, which is necessary for entering the kingdom of God. But this does not mean tithing and all other “lesser” laws are of no value or no longer binding!
Jesus explained that tithing is something that people must not “leave undone”!
InMatthew 24, Jesus gave an extraordinary prophecy of what His Church would be doing at the end of the age. Notice:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).
Taking the true gospel to the world (doing “the Work,” as it is often called) requires significant funding. God’s Church must continually hire more staff to perform the many functions of running a growing worldwide organization. It publishes a vast number of books, booklets, magazines and other types of literature, teaching God’s truth. Also, the true Church has members around the world who need to be fed the spiritual truth of God by faithful ministers and elders
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
21:16: He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-16;
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; I Pet. 5:2
The number of those whom God is calling is expanding and will continue to expand as the age draws to a close.
Yet both preaching the gospel and feeding the flock require money!
It is through the biblical principle of tithing that God finances His Work and feeds His flock. This is how He finances all that He does. Doing His Work is how He chooses to spend His tithe. Without tithes, there would be no Work—no good news of the soon-coming kingdom of God being announced to all nations!
(9)Matthew 24:13 – “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Have you ever heard the phrase “Once saved always saved”? It is a common saying in the realm of traditional Christianity. The belief is that once a person acknowledges Jesus as their Lord and Savior and “accepts Him into his heart,” he is “saved”—his salvation sealed, and he is on his way to heaven upon death. No matter what a person may do from that point forward, religionists claim his salvation cannot be lost.
Yet Jesus said:
“He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).
The end of what? A person’s life! In other words, only those who endure—persevere!—the many tests and trials associated with being a true Christian either until the end of their lives or the Return of Christ will be saved—and no one else! According to Jesus, salvation does not occur at the moment of conversion, but culminates at the end of one’s life.
Contrary to popular belief, a Christian can lose salvation. He can be truly converted—receive the Holy Spirit—and then spiritually “abort.” This is because salvation is a process, not a moment.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
This explains that the wages of sin is death. At repentance, baptism and conversion, a Christian is forgiven by the blood of Christ and is immediately saved from the penalty of past sins. In one sense, it can be said that the person has been “saved,” at that precise moment, from death.
But this is not the end of the story. There are two more applications of when and how a person is saved.
The second way is the most obvious—receiving eternal life—the pinnacle of salvation. This occurs at the resurrection of the dead in Jesus:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
15:51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
15:53: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
15:54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.I Cor. 15:50-55
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
4:14: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
4:15: For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
4:16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
4:17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
4:18: Wherefore comfort one another with these words. I Thes. 4:13-18),
upon His Return. This is to occur in the future!
But no one receives eternal salvation now. All must first undergo a life of trial, testing, learning, growing and overcoming, thus building the very character of God!
The third way one is saved is that he is “being saved”—a process that occurs throughout his lifetime. Many verses reveal that spiritual begettal of the Holy Spirit does not mean one will automatically receive salvation. Only a careless reading of the Bible would indicate this. To believe that salvation is complete upon conversion is to ignore all of the scriptures clearly indicating that salvation can be lost, such as:
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
10:27: But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
9:25: And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
9:26: I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
9:27: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:24-27,
among many others.
Consider. If human beings are saved at the moment of conversion, then what would be the point of continuing to live? Why would God not immediately take them directly to whatever is the afterlife after they “accept the blood of Jesus”? Furthermore, why would God inspire a book—the Bible—that is thousands of words? The Bible would only need to be a sentence or two. And why all the scriptures about striving against sin?
Will you believe Jesus’ plain statement that you must endure to the end to be saved?
Be sure to read Just What Is Salvation? to gain the complete picture on salvation, and learn why most are deceived.
Newspaper obituaries often speak of people who “passed away” and “went home to be with the Lord.” Others write that their departed loved one is “looking down on us right now” from heaven.
Many speak of being “bound for glory in heaven,” but are unsure of what this really means. The most common ideas are that everyone will “ride clouds, play harps, walk the streets of gold in front of the pearly gates, sit in rocking chairs” and just “roll around heaven all day.”
No matter what one may believe will occur in heaven, nearly everyone believes they will go there upon death.
Yet, in “No man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”John 3:13,
Jesus clearly states that no one has ascended to heaven! This statement is most plain. No one means no one! There should be no room for confusion.
You might be wondering, “If no one is in heaven, then what is a Christian’s reward?”
Several verses later, Jesus begins to reveal the answer:
“I go [to heaven] to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Most assume Jesus is referring to preparing a place in heaven. Yet in the very next verse, Jesus said:
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again [to the earth], and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).
Where is this?
Many are familiar with Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” A clear statement on a Christian’s reward is found in this series of scriptures. However, it does not contain the word “heaven.” While most know of this sermon, few know of this important verse:
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11
This verse states the same thing. It would not have been strange for Jesus to reference Psalms, since all His listeners would have been familiar with this scripture. But to have said that “the meek shall inherit heaven” would have been strange to their ears. Amazingly, the opposite is true today! Most think it is strange to believe that Christians will inherit the earth!
Consider what the apostle John recorded in the book of Revelation:
“And has made them [true Christians] unto our God kings and priests: and they shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).
The reward of God’s saints is future rulership “on the earth”—as “kings and priests.”
In Matthew Jesus describes His Return to:
“sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations” (Matthew 24:31-32).
Jesus is pictured in this parable as ruling all the nations of the earth—on the earth, not in or from heaven! At that point, He says to the saints:
“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you” (Matthew 24:34).
Right now, Jesus is in heaven preparing a kingdom for His people to inherit on earth! Christians will not join Jesus in heaven. He will “come again” to earth, where true Christians will join Him!
Very few people understand this fundamental biblical teaching.
Will you believe the plain words of Jesus Christ? Will you believe His statements that “no man has ascended up to heaven”—and that the meek “shall inherit the earth”?
(11) Matthew 10:34-35 – “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
The majority believes that Jesus came to bring peace to earth. Many feel it is their Christian duty to similarly spread “peace,” because, trying to parallel Him, “that’s what Jesus did.” Yet, in these verses, Jesus Christ states something entirely different: He reveals He came to bring “a sword” and set “at variance” (Greek: make apart, sunder, alienate) family members. In verse 36, Jesus adds:
“A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:36
In other words, Christ divides families! How is this possible?
To come to a proper understanding of this statement, we must first recognize that God is calling only a small number of people into His Church at this time. Yet most believe that God is trying to save everyone now, in this age; the thinking is that God and the devil are at war over the fate of mankind. There is supposedly a desperate struggle between good and evil—God and Satan.
IF God were calling everyone now, then He is failing miserably in His battle with the devil for control over the fate of all men. Of the estimated 6.7 billion people today, only about one-third believe, to one degree or another, in the name of Jesus Christ. This represents a total that includes every conceivable brand of the more than 2,000 different forms of professing Christianity. If the war to “win souls” is as most professing Christian ministers depict it, then the devil is much stronger and much more effective in his effort than is God.
Of course, God is stronger than Satan, and He is not in a war to “save souls.” He simply is not calling a large number of people in this age. Rather, He is calling a tiny few to qualify to rule in the kingdom of God during the Millennium, when He will begin to call all human beings
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
31:32: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
31:33: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
31:34: And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.Jer. 31:31-34
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Dan. 7:14
In the book of John, Jesus stated,
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him” John 6:44
However, billions believe they can come to Jesus on their own volition. They assume the choice is theirs to make. But Jesus says it is not!
Twenty-one verses later, Jesus repeated to His audience:
“Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” John 6:65
In the next verse, John records,
“From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” John 6:66
The many thousands who heard Jesus simply could not understand that the Father has to “draw” people and that a calling is something “given” to them. Otherwise, they cannot come to Jesus and understand His words. It is simply impossible! It is not natural for human beings to seek God and obey Him:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
3:11: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
3:12: They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Rom. 3:10-12)
because, as we have seen:
“the carnal mind is enmity [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).
In other words, the carnal mind is God’s enemy! Only when one is called can he truly seek God.
With this briefest of backdrops, we can now examine Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10.
Since God is calling only a small number into His Church today, it can be expected that He would not, in most cases, call an entire family. In fact, history has shown that God very rarely calls the majority in a family. He may call a son, and not the parents—or the parents, but not the son and/or daughter. Sometimes, God chooses to call one spouse and not the other. This often leads to disagreements within marriages and families, depending upon whether those not yet called are willing to accept changes in the individual who is called. Some are willing, and some are not.
When learning the truths of God, a person begins to see that he must change certain areas of his life. He learns that a Christian is one who repents of his former conduct and disobedience to God. He changes his ways. He learns to refrain from eating unclean meats; to observe the Sabbath and not work from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday; observe God’s seven annual Holy Days, which reflect His overarching plan for mankind; obey God’s financial laws; not celebrate holidays of pagan origin, such as Christmas, Easter and New Year’s; among numerous other changes.
These sweeping, and sometimes sudden, alterations to one’s life can cause family members to become resentful—even fiercely angry!—with the person God is calling. They find that they cannot accept his refusing to celebrate Christmas with them, as may have been done for decades. Or they are unable to tolerate his not being available for family outings on Saturday. They may grow to despise the new person that he is becoming.
It is the natural result of applying His teachings through which Jesus brings a “sword” to families. Such situations can bring division, resentment, hostility—sometimes even separation—when one person is called to obey God, while others are not.
Understand, however, that Jesus does not intentionally divide families. Rather, division is a byproduct of a person being called into God’s Church.
As we saw earlier, more than two billion people profess to be followers of Jesus. They believe they are His disciples, or students. A student is one who learns from his teacher and applies what he has learned. Yet most who claim to be Christ’s disciples fail to learn and apply what He teaches. Are they then His disciples?
Jesus clearly states that only those who continue in His word are His disciples. The Greek word for “continue” means “to stay, abide, continue, dwell, endure, remain, stand.” In other words, one must obey Jesus’ words to be considered His disciple! Students of Jesus apply what they learn. This requires action and obedience—not merely a profession of belief!
I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. John 8:37,
those who professed to “believe on Jesus”:
As he spake these words, many believed on him John 8:30.
Some actually sought to kill Him! Jesus said:
“You seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you” John 8:37
He further added, “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man that has told you the truth” John 8:40
Many say they want to hear the truth—but not if it means being told they are wrong, particularly about cherished ideas, and must amend their conduct.
This biblical account comes to a remarkable conclusion. Jesus asked:
“Why do you not understand My speech?” He then answered, “…because you cannot hear My word” John 8:43
How could people standing right beside Christ “not hear His word”? Because:
“He that is of God hears God’s words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God” John 8:47
Those who are of God hear His words and do them!:
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.Matthew 7:21,
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
3:20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
3:21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:19-21,
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.Romans 2:13
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22
Most today who profess to “believe on Jesus” are no different from those described in John 8. They proclaim to believe Him—they claim to be His disciples—yet fail to abide in His teachings.
According to Jesus, His true disciples are identified by their obedience to Him!
Now we must ask: Will you believe the teachings of the true Jesus Christ? Or will you believe the soothing words of false ministers who preach the teachings of “another Jesus”:
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Cor. 11:4)?
Which Jesus will you obey?…