There is no end to the amount of things we have been wrongly taught from the Scriptures. The more one seeks to know (perceive and understand) God, through His Son Jesus Christ, the more of our thoughts, ideas and traditional views we are going to be required to lay aside and let go of. This is very difficult for many people. We build our own little comfort zones with our thoughts, ideas and beliefs. Just because we call ourselves Christian, does not automatically make everything we believe correct or of God. That is why God has given us His Word... and sent us the Holy Spirit, that He might lead us into All the Truth.
Many times as newborn babes in Christ, we are greatly helped and encouraged by others we look up to. We are hungry to learn and tend to accept all that those we look up to tell us as being true. We have to continue to grow-up in Christ, or loose what we have received. We shouldn't therefore be surprised to find out that some of those things which we acquired early on were not quite as right on the mark as we thought. We had better be willing to let go of whatever the Lord might show us we need to let go of, because nothing of the old can go into the new. As God is dealing with His Body in these days, many are being confronted with changes in their thoughts and perceptions that they never could have imagined.
Jesus said in John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It is only as we spend time sitting at Jesus' feet, learning from Him, that He will be able to show us what is of Him and what is not. Most of us have been taught all about Jesus, without ever really being told we must seek to Know Him for ourselves. We must each one of us seek to know Him personally, intimately... in a relationship. If that sounds repetitious, then maybe it will sink in. We cannot have a relationship with God through anyone else. To keep His commandments requires that we feed on every word He spoke, asking the Holy Spirit to open our understanding.
Jesus went on to say in verses 16-17 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Vs 21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." Here our LORD promises that if we will keep His commandments, we will receive both His and the Father's love, and that He will manifest himself to us. Isn't that our hearts desire? This is freely offered to all, yet few there are who willingly seek it out and make it their own. The reason for this may be that many want only the blessings. Many want to receive God's blessing without having to make any changes on their part.
We see in the Old Testament the experiences of the children of Israel. When the Glory of the Lord descended on the Mountain, they were terrified. They begged Moses that he be the one to go before God and talk with Him, and then come back and tell them what God said. They did not want to be that up close and personal. It was too fearful. Most people today are just like the Israelites of old. They are quite content with just enough of God in their lives to get into heaven when they die. They are more than happy to let someone else tell them what God is saying.
Have we lost sight of why Jesus came down to earth and took on this corruptible body of flesh? Why the Lord of Glory bore our sins in His own body... and submitted to endure an agonizing death on the cross? It was to make a way for fallen man to be able to come into God's presence and not be consumed. It was because He loved us, while we were yet sinners, and desired to have intimate fellowship with us.
God is Holy. Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. Guess what, this does not just apply to the people of the Old Testament. 1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. It applies to us today as well.
Anytime, anywhere that God has revealed Himself to men, men have fallen down as though dead. You may say, "but this is the dispensation of grace." That it may be, but God's grace to us is not given so that we can abuse it... and fallen man cannot do otherwise. But as born-again believers, we would be prudent to give thanks for his Grace and seek to learn how to use it. There are so many great and generous gifts that God has given to us... that men, using 'reason,' have twisted and distorted to their own ends. Salvation is so much more than just our free pass to heaven. It is the beginning of a whole new life... with and in God. If we will submit to His chastening, correcting those things about which we are in error, we will grow in Christ, being conformed to His Image, changed into His likeness.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." How much better to ask the One Who loved us enough to give His life for us, knowing that He will indeed answer our hearts desire... than to run to and fro seeking answers from men? We are all members of Christ's body... and as such have need of one another. But most importantly, we need, no.. require, a personal relationship with our LORD.
We will have so much more to offer our brethren, having spent time at Jesus' feet learning from Him what He wants us to know. So who do we love? Who gets the majority of our attention? Who do we long for? What do we spend our time pursuing? These are just a few of the questions we all need to honestly ask ourselves.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus taught the people with parables;
Matthew 13:13-16 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
We need the Holy Spirit today, to open our spiritual eyes and ears that we might understand what those same parables mean. Not from the level of our carnal, reasoning mind, but from our spirit.
Why? We see in Titus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
We cannot get ourselves ready in our own strength. Only as we submit to God's personal dealings with us can we be redeemed and purified unto Him. How much do we love Jesus? More than our family? More than our life? We will only get out of this relationship as much as we are willing to put into it. Our relationship with God is very much like our relationship with our spouse. If we ignore and neglect the one we are supposed to love, honor and cherish, we will not have a happy marriage. It takes a love relationship. Years ago, I was in an unhappy marriage. My ex-husband was a poor communicator and very good at shutting me out. I remember one night I was preparing supper. He had come home without saying a word and was sitting in the next room behind the newspaper. As I stood at the stove, my thoughts were churning over how unhappy his conduct was making me. I was very hurt and feeling very unloved. At that instant, in the midst of my thoughts, the LORD spoke to me saying, "That's how I feel when you don't talk to me." I melted on the spot. I had never had quite such an eye-opening experience. I immediately forgot all about my husband, and began telling God how sorry I was. Honestly, it had never occurred to me that we could make God feel bad by our neglect. I had never realized that God was so aware of all of our thoughts and feelings... all the time. But He is. I guess some part of my carnal mind had assumed that God was so busy with the whole universe and all, that we only had His undivided attention when we were in prayer or something... like making an appointment or a putting in a direct call. If we are caught up in the cares of this world, and too busy going about living this temporal life to give Him any of our time, just what kind of relationship will we have? Should Jesus be content with the scraps and crumbs of our time and attention any more than I was? We need to wake up and know that God is not going to conform to our thoughts, ideas or interpretations. We must conform to His. He calls us, He woos us, He becomes our strength and sustenance, our very life itself. Without Him, we are dead to the things of the Spirit.
Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. The choice is ours... flesh or spirit? One of the first verses new Christians usually learn is John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus continue on....17-21, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
If you love the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, then follow HIM. Do not let anyone or anything keep you from reaching that place in Him to which He is drawing you. Remember the enemy of our souls never sleeps either, and is actively working to thwart and prevent us from becoming full stature Sons. He is the master of deception. He will appear as an angel of light if that is what you are looking for, bringing new truth and revelation, but with just enough of a twist in it to steer those who receive it off their appointed course. The only place we will receive true revelation of heavenly things is from Christ Jesus Himself. We must learn to diligently guard our hearts. We must allow the Holy Spirit to become so established within our entire being that His authority cannot be usurped by another... and we cannot be led astray. John 10:4-5 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. Sometimes, our own 'reasoning mind' is the greatest hindrance that we must overcome to reach our goal. We will never learn the mysteries of heavenly things by the way of 'reason.'
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Notice if you will, he did not say, "as many as are led by 'that sounds good to me' or 'this way makes more sense." No, he flat-out stated, if you are son of God, you are led by the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:10-12 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. It is up to us, as to whether or not we will allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit, or whether we will continue to be led by our flesh, (our natural, reasoning mind). Our spiritual growth and development is just like that of a child. God desires for us to come to Him of our own free will, out of love. He will not force us to believe. He will not force us to obey. We can come to the light now, ahead of the judgment, or we can come later. But we should know that we will be judged. We cannot claim to have received truth, and to hold a love for the truth, and still walk in disobedience to it. It seems ironic to "reason" that the act of Christ's coming into the world to save it, and not to condemn it, should have the result that condemnation came. Yet darkness has been present ever since mankind had his eyes opened to know the difference between good and evil. And from the time of Adam to the present, men have loved the darkness more than the light. The question needs to be asked, "Who do you love?" and "what do you want?" "Your way or God's way?" And once you find the answer, "what are you going to do about it?"
Galatians 6:1-7 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2 Peter 1:4-12 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
When Peter says "give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall," he is warning those his epistle was sent to ... as well as us today, that we can fall. Many today would be struck dumb if Peter and Paul were to stand amongst them and hear what they have accepted as truth. Those Apostles of old would rend their clothes and cry out at the apostasy of the world today. We need to wake up people! We need to seek the Lord and ask Him to cleanse us from the mixture we've been accepting. It matters not whether you are a staunch and faithful member of an established Church, or whether God has pulled you out of the mainstream religious systems of today. God is sending out a call to His body. It's time to wake up, it's time to clean up your act. We are fast approaching the hour when this mixture in Christ's body will no longer be tolerated. All who claim to love Jesus, and consider themselves to be the heirs of salvation, are going to be called to give an account. Christ's Gospel is the only Gospel. All the modern, new age, humanistic, 'blanket teachings' that have infiltrated the minds of men today are separating us from God. If we really love Jesus, we will want nothing that is not of Him in us. The Word tells us that "judgment beings at the house of God." Are we ready for that judgment?
We are the temple of God. If we do not conform to God, He will pass us by and find someone who will be obedient. That should be a pretty sobering thought. We are not going to help the lost and dying people we see all around us every day by watering down and diluting what Jesus taught. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, No man cometh to the Father but by me" John 14:6. If we really have a burden and desire to see others saved, we need to seek the fullness that can only be found in an intimate relationship with Jesus. In our strength we can do nothing. Our plans, our programs, our outreaches, all done with good intentions, will fall flat and won't make any lasting difference. We will never have an impact on the world, until we are operating under the total direction of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that pierces men's hearts and draws them to God. Without the Spirit, we are powerless. If we really love Jesus, we will be content to sit at His feet, and learn what He would have us to know. Today, we are facing the full manifestation of evil released in the world. To stand, we need to be clothed with the full armor of God, and following our Captain's orders to the letter. If any would tell you that God isn't moving or speaking today, it's because they are outside of God. He is moving mightily in those who are willing to lay aside all that they thought they knew.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
This reference applies... not only after we die and go to heaven... but is a vital and powerful promise of that which we can have and walk in NOW. It is while we are here on this earth that we need the Wisdom and Power of God in our lives. "Prepared for them that love Him." Lip service isn't going to cut it. God is not going to 'settle' for less than our ALL... our whole heart, mind and soul... with nothing held back... nothing 'our way.'