He that has ears to hear…

Posted: May 3, 2015 in Shared Thoughts, Wake Up!
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A couple of years ago I had written an article about the unfaithful steward who wasted his master’s goods, I discussed the attitudes of the Pharisees that were there listening. Amazingly, instead of agreeing with Jesus that the steward’s behavior was sinful, they instead began to deride Jesus to publicly mock Him. The more I ponder this reactive attitude towards Christ the more I am amazed at just how hard an arrogant and religious heart can be. Not only were they failing miserably at being faithful stewards of the oracles of God which they openly boasted to be the keepers and teachers of, they failed miserably in their living by them. Such is why all who will live godly for Jesus will not only be rejected, but likewise persecuted by today’s arrogant religious leaders.

Jesus said such men were “those who justified yourselves before men,” but warned all that God knows the hearts of all men. But what was it the Pharisees had been “justifying” themselves about? They were the prominent religious leaders of the day . . . that is up until the Light of the world appeared unto men exposing them for what they really were. They were covetous not only of worldly things, but also of the praise and admiration of men. No wonder Jesus spoke such sharp condemning words to them that what they “highly esteemed” was an abomination in the sight of God.

If you are an America Christian who is faring well and yet yearn for, or look for the praise and approval of men, then I strongly urge you to listen to Jesus words against these religious men  –

Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 In the Gospel of John it was recorded how many of the chief rulers actually believed on Jesus, but only two of which are mentioned in scripture and eventually came forward and stood for Jesus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. However, many of them would not openly confess Jesus because they feared the Jews, i.e., the Pharisees –

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:  43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Please take notice that Jesus did not state they were indifferent concerning “the praise of God” for their life and ministry, but rather how “they loved the praise of men more.”  Nowadays, the churches are being “led” by ministers out there who are guilty of serving men more than they serve God. Many ministers are simply more concerned with their own position and career as a pastor and therefore their “godly service” is tainted by their trying to keep the deacons that hired them happy with their performance. Other ministers are motivated in “their calling” by an eagerness to hear praise from the members of their congregation on just how wonderful their message was. They love hearing how the message was precisely the encouragement and comfort their congregants “needed to hear,” as once more they were told how much God loves them just as they are, unconditionally. Meanwhile, they continue living in sin and would be almost impossible to differentiate from non-believers if they were not going to a church on Sunday.

These are only a couple of reasons why most ministers are hesitant to give their whole counsel of God, because they know if preach on the “hard texts” the church would rapidly clear out for many are there with self-serving motives and have no intentions of ever picking up their crosses to follow Jesus Christ. So these ministers excused themselves as being “servants of men,” having blindly compromised the Gospel, and have chosen instead to likewise make themselves comfortable in the religious social centers they dare to call Church.

Doubtless these church leaders were convicted by the Holy Spirit with similar admonitions as those that were giving to the Seven Churches, yet they were too weak and carnal and therefore intimidated by the board of deacons in their churches to obediently stand up and boldly preach the whole counsel of God. Or perhaps even now many people in their church feel the Holy Spirit convicting them through their personal study of God’s holy Word and are too intimidated by their authoritarian pastors to even ask or share what the Lord has been impressing on their own hearts?  The verses below show how this intimidation existed and affected the parents of the one born blind which Jesus had healed –

John 9:19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then does he now see? 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:  21 But by what means he now sees, we know not, or who hath opened his eyes, we know not. He is of age ask him, he shall speak for himself.  22 These words spoke his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

The religious leaders in Jesus’ day (like many nowadays) had made quite a living for themselves by taking wages of the people who had little to spare while they themselves fared sumptuously. Because of their riches they could not be convinced of their sin unto repentance since they believed they were obviously blessed while others were poor, supposing their prosperity was a sure sign of their godliness. Foolishly they perpetuated this lie deeper into their darkened hearts by exchanging honor among themselves as being the most venerable and praiseworthy leaders of the poor and ignorant. All too often we hear the same foolish clamor in lengthy introduction of certain preachers at public assemblies. Yet listen to Jesus explanation to them as to why such would not be saved –

John 5:44 How can you believe which receive honor one of another and seek not the honor that comes from God only?

What a powerfully strong and indicting question. Hear also the sharp judgment from Enoch recorded Jude against them, yet not only against those in Jesus’ days, but still loudly echoing in ours as well. Razor-sharp words to be applied against all the hypocritical leaders of religion everywhere who “appear to be somewhat” and trust in of their illusion of position, authority and knowledge; yet don’t walk according to the truth of the Gospel.

Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speak great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember you the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

These apostate covetous leaders unwittingly separated themselves from God because of their carnality and refusal to walk  by the leading of Spirit of God. These are they who have run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward. Such leaders nowadays are now governing mega-church-empires all over the globe making merchandise of another gospel to carnal believers convinced they too are heaven bond. Dare to examine these men’s ministry and your own pastors in the light of Paul’s words to the Church –

 I Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

I Thessalonians 2:7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children: 8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

Beloved, Jesus once warned a man who came wanting Jesus to settle a dispute about an inheritance, beware of covetousness. It is a lie from hell that “He with the most toys when he dies, wins.” Riches cannot save a man’s soul, rather they tend to be the very weight that pulls them down into the depths of hell. Some may protest and say, “But wait,  with Jesus it is possible for the rich to be saved.” True, but Jesus was the one who warned it is still easier for a camel to pass through the eye of needle. Why then make it harder when even with the poor, the righteous are still scarcely saved. Are those things that perish with the using worthy of risking one’s eternal soul?

Luke 12:15 And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.

Nevertheless, after Jesus’ reference to the unjust steward who wasted his lord’s good the Pharisees began to openly mock Jesus.

Lu 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him.  15 And He said unto them, “You are they which justify your selves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

Because the Pharisees openly ridiculed Christ and His sermon against worldliness, He proceeded to tell everyone about “certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously … and a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores.” Now nowhere is it implied by Luke that this rich man and Lazarus were mere fictitious characters created for a parabolic lesson and to assume these were not two actual people lacks any support of scriptural implication. It can be seen in 16 other places in his Gospel account how Luke clearly records “Jesus spoke a parable” unto the people, but not here.

It is therefore more than reasonable to believe that the Pharisees and all those around wholly understood who Jesus was speaking about . . . and were therefore immediately brought back to a sober temperament as the fate of this once highly esteemed and respected individual was declared unto them. Nothing takes the wind out of the prideful mockery out of hypocrites faster than exposing the fate of one of their own, and such seems to be the intention of Jesus so addressing the rich man and Lazarus after the Pharisees deriding Him.

The modern church would do well to listen to the Jesus’ words above, as well as these other words  He said later to the disciples once again in front of those who came trying Him with clever questions.

Luke 20:45 Then in the audience of all the people He said unto His disciples, 46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes and love the greetings in the markets and take the highest seats in the synagogues and chief rooms at feasts.  47 These are they who devour widows’ houses and for a show make their long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

These religious leaders had all the outward appearance of being teachers and authorities on matters of religion, but they were nothing more than “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” They publicly paraded themselves as spiritual leaders from God to the world while they really lived only for themselves neglecting the weightier matters of the Law; judgment, mercy and faith.

So what exactly is the difference from those pharisaical hypocrites then and so many of the chief leaders in modern churches today? Once again too many have neglected the warning that the covetous would again confuse gain with godliness and begin to preach prosperity over holiness, that Christians should be healthy, popular, happy and prosperous as a witness to God blessing us. But how does message that convict a dying world of sin, righteousness and judgment?

Where in this day and age is that lowly servant mentality that our Lord and Savior showed us among all those now confidently claiming to be King’s kids? Is it because we don’t remember when Jesus returns He is going to separate the sheep from the goats? Dividing those who served God and those who didn’t? Just as surely as the rich man pleaded with Abraham to “have mercy on me,” so will many of these confident believers one day beg for mercy and not find any because they too are guilty of neglecting the weightier matters of the Law.

Lu 16:25 But Abraham said, “Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, which would come from thence.”

I cannot help but consider Abraham’s words, “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot.” It seems that the torment of those on the other side is so great and extreme, that some like Lazarus might be compassionately compelled to try to pass over even at their own peril to try to offer some relief to the tormented, even though they were neglected and suffered greatly in this life. But the wisdom and righteous judgment of God has made this impossible. They had their opportunity to choose life and live, to repent and draw nigh to God and He would have drawn nigh unto them, but the opportunity is now forever gone.

Jesus concludes His accounting of the rich man and Lazarus fates with Abraham’s clear response to the rich man’s desperate pleading for him to send Lazarus back to warn his five brothers lest they too come to the same end, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Like a sharp sword thrusted skillfully into the very heart of the matter, since that was the confidence of these Pharisees who believed their knowledge of the scriptures would save them.

Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.  And you will not come to Me, that you might have life.  I receive not honor from men.  But I know you, that you have not the love of God in you.  I am come in my Father’s name, and you receive Me not, yet if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.

How can you believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me.  But if you believe not his writings, how can you believe My words? (John 5:39-47)

There are five articles I wrote all dealing with the apostasy that is now in the churches today. I wrote about “Why judgment must begin in the Lord’s house, with those who are called by His name,” because so many seem believers truly think heaven is going to be so much better off and lucky to have them once they get there. They are proud and arrogant thinking they have been God’s gift to the church. Meanwhile their hypocrisy has been the cause for the Lord’s name to be blasphemed among the unbelievers. We are to walk worthy of the Name of Jesus Christ if we call ourselves a Christian.

Next,  “Faith, faithfulness and forgiveness,” in which I reasoned how it seems many are so-called believers are not truly pressing into the Kingdom of God, nor does it appear that they even understand the concept thereof. Maybe because they have been taught they are “king’s kids” and it’s their entitlement. Perhaps because they think that just because it is the Father’s good pleasure to give them the Kingdom all they have to do is wait for it to come to them. Foolishly they are strolling down the broad way that leads to hell itself.

Thirdly, “The rights of man,” and how since the fall of Adam this illusion of “rights” has been repackaged and resold over and over again only to keep men in conflict with each other and their Creator. God has indeed given rights to men, but they are His to give and not a man’s to claim. They are the blessings He bestows upon those who have embraced their responsibilities and so labored and walked accordingly.

Then, “The unfaithful steward who wasted his master’s goods,” and how our good stewardship requires our keeping God’s word with what it defines as defines as unambiguous righteousness, and likewise not allowing sin to creep into our lives disguising itself as something acceptable.

Lastly, “Faith as a grain of mustard seed,” the last in the series on faith, such faith which if truly obtain, Jesus said we could “say unto this sycamine tree, “Be you plucked up by the root and planted in the sea and it will obey you.” Oh how I pray always for this gift of faith that I might effectually minister the gospel in power to the needs of the afflicted and those tormented in this life. Oh, that all God’s children possessed and lived by such faith.

Now, before we finish, I want to share a conversation I had with one believer many years ago. After one of our house meetings, this individual came up to me and told me he wanted to do something great for God. I told him that was great, to be patient and God may so use him. However, he repeated himself as almost correcting me as if I did not correctly hear him, “Listen, I mean I want to do something really great for God.” To which I again said to him “Good. Be patient.”

At my reply he seemed almost agitated as if I wasn’t quite getting it, so he said again to me, “No, I am saying I want to do something really great for God, something that other believers aren’t doing for Him.” At that I then told him, “Good, I know just the thing.”

“What? What is it?” he eagerly replied, “I’ll do anything!”

I told him “This is something God looking for and really wants done but hardly anyone will do it because it costs too much.”

“I don’t care what it costs, I’ll do it. I want to do something great for God,” he insisted again.

“This is the greatest thing you can do for Him,” I told him,  “But you have to be willing to give up everything if you want to successfully do it.”

“I don’t care, it’s OK no matter what it costs! I am the one that will do it!” he insisted “I just want to do something great for God.”

“OK,” I said, “Love Him with all your heart, mind and strength. That’s what God wants, but many can’t or simply won’t do it because it cost them too much.”

“Aaaaaaw man!” he said, “I said I want to do something really great for God.”

Sigh  . . . most believers just don’t get it. Why is it so many fail to see the greatest commandment is also the greatest thing we can do? Why is it so many want to do the “really great” thing . . . do they really think that will make them a great person or man of God? If so, then their service is all about them and not God.

Why can’t believers just humble themselves and let God be God, and love and serve Him as He is worthy? Have they forgotten that he who willingly becomes the least, the same shall be great?

Lord Jesus, increase our faith, we desperately need real living faith . . .

Remember that true faith works by love. If we are ever to do great things for God, we must first give Him all our heart and mind and serve Him with all our being. Anything less is not loving Him with pure hearts; anything less is a falling short.

Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question tempting him and saying,  36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  38 This is the first and great commandment.  39 And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Luke 16:31 And He said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

I Timothy 1:5  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

Lord, we entreat You again, give us open hearts and ears that hear, for Your name’s sake Lord Jesus.

Comments
  1. tsth says:

    It is about true faith, brother. Excellent post.

    Luke 18:8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” 9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

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