Jesus Christ Is the Golden Thread

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the Golden Thread series (An Anthology of Jesus of Nazareth), we are tracing him through the separate Books of the Bible, to search out Jesus Christ who is the missing link to the heart of God. When we genuinely find Jesus within the Scriptures, he as our personal Savior literally becomes empowered and right away begins enabling us to understand the realities of not only himself but also of his Father, the God and Creator of the Heavens and Earth. The entire Bible is God’s Word. Contrary to how some of our modernistic views are implemented to disdain and/or distort biblical truths, and regardless of how man who is often imperfect interprets the Bible, the Scriptures are not only complete and entire but they are God’s divinely-given words for believers.

In I Corinthians 1:24 we read that “Christ {is} the wisdom of God.” Without Christ, a non-seeking individual will remain in a state of spiritual inertness without access to the God of heaven and His true wisdom. Conversely, the candidate who is seeking Christ in the Word of God will find it is with pleasure that Jesus will always give men and women unhindered access to his Father’s true wisdom, nature, and love. Through this doorway, we may delightfully approach God with open hearts to receive His love and guidance.

God is the Author of His Word, Jesus Christ is the inspiration and the contiguous subject through all of God’s Word, and the entire life of Jesus Christ from his birth to his ascension into heaven and his personal return fulfills the realities of God’s plan of Redemption for humanity. Through the Scriptures’ teaching we can learn about the Son of God who lived, died, and was raised at God’s behest to conquer temporal mortality, with the eternal results straightaway given to mortal beings who find Jesus of Nazareth.

Through Christ, the Scriptures show men and women how to become wise unto salvation; the Word of God via Christ reveals how to recognize the voice of God. The Bible teaches men and women who are in Christ how to enjoy God’s promises which are guaranteed and given because of the completed work of our Savior.

The Word of God, whether written, spoken, preached, or read (and mentally perceived), will always make known Christ who is the “mediator between God and men.”

I Timothy 2:5:
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

The Scriptures make known Christ Jesus, and as we come to know him from the Scriptures, he becomes empowered to fulfill his mission of revealing the spiritual realities of Him Who dwells atop heaven’s throne. Then as God becomes known, He will begin manifesting Himself in our lives and in our heart’s quest for spiritual fulfillment and heavenly understanding.

Proverbs 8:35:
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

From the Book of Genesis we have the story of Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob. Joseph’s very own brothers ended up selling him into slavery because they did not believe his God-given visions and prophecies he spoke regarding their future (Genesis 37:5-11), and because this story is written in the Bible, it must by its very nature relate to Jesus in some way. Perhaps on the surface the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors may first appear in a cursory reading to be only a story of one family in the Bible who became somewhat dysfunctional. Yet as the story continues we learn how Joseph ended up in Egypt, becoming Pharaoh’s right hand man, having the authority of being the second most prestigious man in all of Egypt. He was placed at Pharaoh’s right hand and received honor and accolade formerly reserved and due only to Egyptian royalty (Genesis 41:38-45).

In this Bible story we find a happy ending complete with Joseph’s God‑given dreams coming true. Joseph ended up saving not only Jacob, his father and brothers, but also the entire Nation of Israel from starvation and death, not to mention that Joseph ended up preserving the family line of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

On account of Joseph being in Egypt utilizing the wisdom of God, Joseph not only preserved his family line but also saved the lives of the people living in Egyptian provinces and surrounding areas by stockpiling the food supplies in readiness for the upcoming seven-year famine (Genesis 41:1ff). Joseph is personally credited for acquiring most of the wealth that bountifully flowed into the Egyptian coffers, causing Egypt to become one of the most prosperous nations this world has ever known (Genesis 41:53-57).

In Joseph’s life from the Book of Genesis, we can begin to notice startling traces and glimpses of Jesus, The Promised Seed who was foreordained before the world began to be the hope of the entire world. Through Joseph’s true story we can recognize the Redeemer in prophecy who was also rejected by the Nation of Israel, his brethren. As Joseph was, Jesus would become Israel’s only hope and their rescue from a spiritual drought and their only salvation and preservation for an endless life, as he is also our hope and our spiritual refreshing and salvation and preservation for an endless life.

There is no end to the correlations that are wonderfully sewn within the Scriptures as a multilayered, embossed masterpiece of delight as we begin looking for and seeing the Golden Thread, Jesus Christ, who holds the living Tapestry of God’s healing Word together.

From a strictly forensic point of view, the Scriptures are the bona fide declaration of Jesus. The Bible is the inscribed birth certificate of Jesus Christ (with centuries of noncontradictory writings and testimonials), and the stories within are linked documentations of his complete biography attesting to his authenticity which structures his entire life perfectly with the written Word of God.

The deeper one scrutinizes the Scriptures, the more dynamically Christ becomes recognized. His footprints are everywhere inside of the Scriptures blazing a trail that he painstakingly paved with his own life being clearly marked throughout the prophecies and leading directly up to the Creator.

Jesus’ fingerprints appear ubiquitously on every single page of Holy Writ. With Jesus as our guide, we will find passages that are easy to follow as they gently guide us up into all “the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

The more we look for Christ in the Scriptures, the greater we will notice how much he is woven within our own hearts, drawing us ever closer and closer to Him Who created all things. The greater we see Jesus in the Word of God, the more he reveals our heavenly Father Who draws us through Christ to Himself.

Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”

John 12:44-45:
-44: Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
-45: And he that seeth {perceives} me seeth {perceives} him that sent me.

So in the Golden Thread series, as we begin learning of Jesus of Nazareth, we can confidently read on with “trust” in the knowledge that the Father will be drawing us ever closer to Himself through Christ as promised.

II Corinthians 3:4 (The Amplified Bible):**
Such is the reliance and confidence that we have through Christ toward and with reference to God.

The Bible states, “The honour of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2). There is no greater matter under Heaven than to search out “Jesus Christ the Golden Thread” and find him to be not only alive and well but to finally see him at work revealing the truths that lead our hearts to God and the more abundant life.

Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Jesus Said, I Am . . . The Life

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

John 14:5-6 (Amplified*):
-5:  Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?
-6:  Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.

What is so very interesting to me is that verse 6 not only contains one of the greatest revelations ever given to man but that Jesus gave this wonderful understanding to one person: Thomas. Yet, God in His infinite wisdom had John write it down for us to see the love that Jesus has for the individual. Let’s see how this discourse continues:

John 14:7-11 (Amplified*):
-7:  If you had known Me [had learned to recognize Me], you would also have known My Father. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him.
-8:  Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father [cause us to see the Father ─ that is all we ask]; then we shall be satisfied.
-9:  Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? {Again, he is teaching only one person.} Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. {So the question to us reading arises: Have we seen and mentally perceived the Savior Jesus Christ in the Scriptures?} How can you say then, Show us the Father?
-10:  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).
-11:  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]

Jesus Christ is the way to the Father, so the more we learn about Jesus Christ (and believe) from the Scriptures, the greater our understanding and knowledge of God will grow, and our personal union with Him will continue to strengthen with heavenly inspired realities. You know the saying “living the good life,” well, being in Christ is enjoying the good life, for with him we have eternal life (I John 5:11-12). Jesus Christ is the way to the Father Who is the true fountain of life.

Psalms 36:9 – For with thee {God} is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Jeremiah 2:13 – For my people have committed two evils; {number one:} they have forsaken me {God} the fountain of living waters, and {number two:} hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

God’s Word is a fountain of living waters refreshing our souls and fulfilling our inner desires to walk within the grace of God. In Proverbs 13:14a we read “The law of the wise {i.e., God’s Word} is a fountain of life.” The two evils are forsaking God’s Word which is a living fountain, and hewing out cisterns (water barrels) that are cracked and leak, which is literally looking for the good life without God, looking everywhere except in the Word of light and life.

Jesus Christ is the Way to the fountain of living waters, he is the Truth showing us the path which takes us into the living room of God, and he is the Life, the eternal life that comes directly from God Himself.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.
Writing within these brackets { } are the author’s notes.

The Christian’s Future Hope

“Whenever we cannot believe for something that the Bible promises we shall receive, then the Bible tells us so by placing them in the category of HOPE, which is to be a future reality, a definite certainty, but we just cannot have them now. All of the hope that God reveals in the Bible is given to bring comfort to believers as we read in Jeremiah 29:11 from The Amplified Bible, *For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for {your} welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” ~LMJ~

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

Please – No Condemnation – OK? (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

It is unfortunate and ironic that after some Christians become saved they begin to condemn themselves for either a sin committed 20 years ago or the one they committed this morning before breakfast. This propensity towards self-condemnation is within our nature, hence the difficult time accepting continual forgiveness in Christ. In I John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, he {our loving Heavenly Father} is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Forgiveness is as close to us as simply asking our Heavenly Father for it and then accepting that we are cleansed from all unrighteousness.

In Romans chapter 7, we have an interesting verse of Scripture that sheds light on this subject:

Romans 7:19:
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Wow, does this verse sound familiar to you at all? Often the state of affairs of many Christian men and women who desire to do good for the Lord is unsuccessful ― they try, they fail, and they try and fail to be good again and again. The average Christian panics and tries to find and then practice works of repentance to cover up for their sins and shortcomings in order to feel good enough to walk again with God. Nevertheless, he or she keeps on Romans 7:19-ing, and so a cycle begins that appears will never end with continual condemnation. Sometimes entire lifetimes can be consumed in this endless dilemma that all too often then becomes a way of life.

All this confusion and mental anguish over condemnation and sin comes about by not realizing that God not only forgives but that He also totally forgets; it is only we that choose to remember what God has forgiven, forgotten, and cleansed.

John 3:18a:
He that believeth on him {on Jesus Christ} is not condemned. . .

And, if we are not condemned, then, the truth is ― we are not condemned. By the way, this is why we have a Savior!

Jesus took our sins, our condemnations, our shortcomings, and our faults to his cross and buried them there at Calvary (John 1:20 and I Peter 2:24), yet man feels so inadequate at times, that he tries to dig them up and cloak himself with his old nature (see Romans 6:4 and Colossians 1:20–22). But by doing so, he denies to himself his new life and nature in Christ, which is given to shine forth from his inner heart (see Romans 8:1–18, II Corinthians 5:17, and Colossians 1:27; 3:1–2).

John 3:18a (The Amplified Bible):*
He who believes in Him {Jesus Christ} [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him {the believer} there is no rejection, no condemnation ― he incurs no damnation].” Well, praise the Lord!

Too many Christians do not believe what Jesus came to do for them (or have never seen this section of Scripture above) and imagine that God is angry or, at the very least, upset with them, and fear John 3:18b is written to them, though it is specifically addressed to unbelievers:

John 3:18b (The Amplified Bible):*
. . . But he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him {Christ}) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]

Many Christians become indoctrinated with relentless teachings of hellfire, brimstone, and condemnation and begin accepting the second half of John 3:18 as their lot in life, all the while refuting the freedom from condemnation received through Christ’s redeeming work. This relief from condemnation should reign supreme in the foundation of our soul, as we believe on the completed work of Jesus Christ.

Psalms 32:1:
BLESSED is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalms 103:12:
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Well since God has forgiven us and cast our sins far away, then this should be our outlook as well. So what can be done that will help us remember that we are in the graces of our loving Heavenly Father? Thank God, for the Epistle and doctrine of Romans, for Romans covers this inner conflict of utter, self-inflicted condemnation in detail, giving believers an out, a refreshing way to break this tedious and often endless cycle of life-draining condemnation.

Romans 8:1a:
THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. . .

This verse does not say, “There is therefore now condemnation,” but, “NO CONDEMNATION” and this is the will of God. Condemnation also means judgment, for there is therefore now NO judgment, and thus no fear of judgment to anticipate either now or in our future from our loving heavenly Father (see Romans 5:9, and I Thessalonians 1:9–10, 5:9). Believing this places us with them which are in Christ Jesus and permits Christ Jesus to genuinely be our Savior from condemnation and judgment. Knowing this and this alone can help make our lives free. By no means was God wasting His time having Romans 8:1 written to us because it cost Him everything, including enduring the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, to free our lives from condemnation and to redeem our lives back into the loving and forgiving arms of our Heavenly Father. Rather than thinking on condemnation, on the sin nature, and on our inadequacies, let us ponder on a wonderful section of Scripture that is spiritually awe-inspiring from the Amplified Bible:

Philippians 4:6–9 (The Amplified Bible):*
-6: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
-7: And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
-8: For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think and weigh and take account of these things [fix your mind on them].
-9: Practice what you have learned {from the above} and received and heard and seen in me {for the above is what the Apostle Paul thought on in his mind}, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.

In verse 6 above we read, continue to make your wants known to God and only someone who does not harbor condemnation in his heart will have the boldness and confidence to ask God with a believing mind in expectation of truly receiving.

I John 3:21:
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

I John 5:14–15:
-14: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
-15: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Once our petitions are offered to God freely without condemnation then we will begin receiving whatsoever we ask! We are currently heaven-bound and have been freed from condemnation to enjoy the eternal graces of our Creator. These things we can relish in the heart of our hearts and don in our minds because this is the truth of the Scriptures and “thus saith the Lord!”

So, Please – No Condemnation – OK!

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

God’s Merciful Grace!

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

One day we received an e-mail from a woman wanting to know what our thoughts were regarding two religious denominations. I wrote her back and explained that as a Christian, I always endeavor to look at believers from God’s point of view, as God always looks at the heart, and He always loves us (John 3:16). I try to see the best in people and I am very happy to know that people love God, rather than worrying about where someone may fellowship around God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Romans 12:9 encourages us to “Let love be without dissimulation {or without discrimination}.” The next day she e-mailed back and stated that I was perfectly correct, then for about three pages she explained the evils of those two denominations, and warned me about how devilish and sinful they were (in her opinion). We have not been given the privilege from God to be dispensing condemnation or His wrath (Romans 12:19). She became a judge over other people and wanted to hold onto her anger about other churches and people simply because they did not go to her church or believe and practice her denominational doctrines.

We should be so blessed that God called us individually to His gracious Word, and be happy for all of God’s children. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” It is futile to worry about what other people may think or believe; as someone once said, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” In other words, it is next to impossible to change someone’s mind when they believe in a certain way ― right or wrong.

We would be much better off being concerned and content that we ourselves walk with God and that He has mercy and grace on our souls rather than worrying and being negative about what other people may or may not believe. We Christians could be much kinder, happier, and gentler, Christ-like people if we were more concerned about ourselves rather than worrying about what our Christian neighbors might practice or think (Galatians 6:10). Besides, what other people practice and think is honestly between them and God, and we really do not know for certain what people think in the heart of their hearts as stated in I Corinthians 2:11.

I Corinthians 2:11:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save {except} the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Only God knows for sure what is in the heart of man “for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee” (I Chronicles 28:9).

Romans 2:1 reads, “THEREFORE thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” This verse is quite expressive in reflecting that one’s judgments will always and ultimately return back to those who assume to sit as judges over other people (not in the laws of the land, but in spiritual issues of the heart).

Matthew 12:36-37:
-36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
-37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

God’s merciful grace can be discovered and enjoyed anywhere by anyone because wherever you are, so is God, and where other Christians are, so is God because He dwells in believers without discrimination. Recognizing this is acknowledging the immensity of God’s merciful grace upon our own lives because we have not always walked perfectly with God and followed His will completely. Yet God still loves us and He has loved and forgiven us for our faults just as His loving grace and forgiveness is upon others who love and walk with Him to the best of their abilities.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 “JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.” This is the instruction from our Savior, and he always spoke for God: “For I {Jesus} have given unto them the words which thou {God} gavest me; and they have received them” (John 17:8). So the question is: Have we received the words of God, have we believed them, are we judged or are we not judged? If we judge not, then the promise of God is that we are not judged. Let us follow Jesus’ teaching of God’s words about judgment in Matthew.

Matthew 7:1-5:
-1: JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
-2: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete {measure out}, it shall be measured to you again {“for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”― Galatians 6:7}.
-3: And why beholdest thou the mote {a tiny splinter of wood} that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
-4: Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
-5: Thou {would be a} hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The beam and the mote are literally the same things with this one huge exception: the beam is like having a figurative “telephone pole” stuck in one’s eye causing one to not have good vision (nor comprehension in terms of judging others), as opposed to a fragment, a small mote that may be in someone else’s eye.

Just to judge for judgment sake and being critical of others is as Jesus said, hypocritical, and the same judgments will always return back to the giver. Jesus is teaching us that it is quite easy to find fault with others, especially when other’s faults are the same as our own (Romans 2:21-22). One of the great lessons in this teaching by Jesus is that as we get healed in our lives from our own faults when we are not judgmental, then we become truly able to, first forgive, and then help another walk with God without judging each other.

Proverbs 26:20:
Where no wood is {such as the beam or the mote}, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer (to murmur, whisper, backbite, slander), the strife ceaseth.

In the context of Jesus’ teaching, the lesson shows us that judging others is having a beam in our own eyes, but when one stops judging, then he or she will become healed from that temptation to judge. Ultimately, then one can begin to help others out of this same temptation of nitpicking away at people they may love or acquaintances or even others they may not even know personally, whether they are living in or out of their spheres of influence. Judging is always detrimental, for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Psalms 15:1-3:
-1: LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
-2: He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in {or from out of} his heart.
-3: He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

As we become conquerors over our own shortcomings, such as being judgmental, then with God’s help we may show fellow believers the true graces that God has bestowed upon us can also become theirs. This is when we “clearly see” God’s merciful grace upon our own lives when our focus is to bless and help our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 12:18, and 14:19:
-18: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
-14: Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify {build up} another.

God sees the motive behind thoughts and actions and He looks at His children with unconditional love and not on the underlying doctrines of establishments to judge one group more chosen or special or holier than He would another. No one group can stake claim to having a corner on all the truth; I do not know it all and neither does anyone else. It is when people think they know it all that they end up shutting all the doors of true outreach and forgiveness, for they will begin to imagine that everybody else is wrong except for themselves. The same thing happened to the Apostles back in the Gospels: “And John answered and said {to Jesus}, Master, we {the Apostles} saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us” (Luke 9:49).

The Apostles shunned someone who was not following their religious practices, so Jesus further instructs them to “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:50). Sure, not every place teaches everything accurately and more than likely, some will teach things that you or I do not agree with. If someone loves God and is fellowshipping with other likeminded Christian believers, then praise the LORD, because He is blessed and so are they.

I have no doubt that most Christian people are motivated and inspired by God’s Word, love, and grace, and to think evil or less of others is a waste of time. If they are teaching God’s Word and the people are blessed to receive it; then praise God for their efforts (Philippians 1:15-18); Paul wrote, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (II Corinthians 13:8). In other words, “the Word of God is not bound” (II Timothy 2:9) because God’s Word is always liberating and will always build up the believers with grace when it is planted in the fertile ground of the human heart.

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). God is all love and His Word encourages us to be followers of Him with and in His love, and not allow the temptation in our minds of judging others who also love God and who are, according to Jesus, “for us.”

Ephesians 5:1-2:
-1: BE ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
-2: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

If we are blessed in our place of worship, then praise God for our ministers, teachers, and fellow believers. However, if we are being beaten down over and again with condemnation and hell fire, and if they are teaching us to dislike other believers from other places, then perhaps we should look for a better place to fellowship.

I do believe that there are wonderful ministers, teachers, and preachers living in almost every community who would love nothing better than to teach you the Scriptures, who are inspired by God to encourage, strengthen, and build up their congregation in love. If we need to move on for spiritual nourishment, we can be thankful that our former place of worship helped to propel us into searching for a better way, especially when we find it and our lives become ever more blessed for God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

Philippians 1:15-18:
-15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
-16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: {Paul was in jail for preaching ― no freedom of speech for a man of God back then!}
-17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.
-18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

I enjoy reading verse 18 above, from the Amplified Bible:

Philippians 1:18 (The Amplified Bible**):
But what does it matter, so long as either way, whether in pretense [for personal ends] or in all honesty [for the furtherance of the Truth], Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I [now] rejoice, yes, and I shall rejoice [hereafter] also.”

Paul’s teaching is that regardless of who preaches Christ there is cause to rejoice, yea to rejoice repeatedly, for he will rejoice as we also can rejoice. When Christ is preached, then people receive the Word of God, and the Word can make people free. God’s graceful Word will bless and strengthen people regardless of people’s motivations for preaching (though most preachers and teachers have only godly intentions). God’s Word will always profit (II Timothy 3:16) and give blessings to the recipient, for this is how God designed His gracious Word!

Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word {God’s Word} be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void {useless}, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God’s gracious Word encourages us to always look to Jesus rather than to look on man because the more we look at people, the more we will see error, the sin nature, and imperfection. However, the more we look to Jesus, the more perfect we will become and as we gain his perspective and incentive, we can learn to love believers to a much greater dimension. I Peter 4:8 encourages, “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Hebrews 12:2a (The Amplified Bible**):
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection] . . .

An honest concern and question for some people is: Which Church, or which group of people are truly the ones that God blesses? For some people the answer is obviously clear, the one they belong to! This is true; however, all believers have received an unconditional and eternal salvation in the sense that God Himself always looks at the heart rather than at the denomination or group we might belong to, “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).

God is love (I John 4:8, 16), and according to His Word anyone who is saved belongs to Him for eternity because God is no respecter of persons or groups. Anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstance can become saved and become a member of His household. We are members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27), and we may fellowship around God’s healing Word with whomever we desire.

God is our Father and He is blessed when we are blessed; He is never upset simply because we go somewhere to learn more about Him Who counsels and comforts us in our deepest spiritual thoughts. God loves us unconditionally right where we are, and He never thinks ill of us for fellowshipping with His children and wanting to know more about Him: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). When believers are receiving spiritual nourishment at their place of worship, then who am I to say that they are wrong, devilish, or whatever? Nobody, that’s who!

I John 2:9-11:
-9: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth {disdains, dislikes} his brother {in Christ}, is in darkness even until now.
-10: He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
-11: But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

God has given to His children tremendous light and understanding through knowing His gracious Word and the only thing that will turn the light off (spiritually speaking) is to dislike fellow believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we will spend eternity. The Bible records that we are to, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), and Jesus always loved people, he is all love, and he is our daily example.

Acts 2:47:
{The believers were} Praising God, and having favour with all the people {How many? All the people!}, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Who adds to the Church of God? God! God brings people to Himself; He draws us to Him through Christ who is the mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5). God is the searcher of all hearts (I Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 139:1; and Romans 8:27), and God never makes mistakes; His calling us to Himself is by His grace, and this alone should humble our hearts just to know that we were allowed into His household (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Romans 11:29:
For the gifts {of God’s graces} and calling of God are without repentance.

The gifts we receive from God are always by His grace (including our eternal life, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8) and our calling by God is without repentance, meaning that He never takes it back. Our God will never be sorry for calling you nor confess or even imagine for one second that He has made a mistake in calling you because He is perfect and His calling to you is by, with, and through His grace and mercy.

John 10:28-29:
-28: And I {Jesus} give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
-29: My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

We have a wonderful section of Scripture from the Gospel of Luke expressing a vivid mind picture of how to look on others, showing us Jesus’ perspective for perceiving other people who walk with God.

Luke 18:9-14:
-9: And he {Jesus} spake this parable unto certain {people} which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
-10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican {a tax collector}.
-11: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
-12: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
-13: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven {a custom to show humility and reverence for God}, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
-14: I {Jesus} tell you, this man {the publican} went down to his house justified rather than the other {the Pharisee}: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee practiced “good works” of tithing, giving, and fasting ― believing that by his own works he was saved, that his works made him a great believer; however, let us notice what he did not do. He refused to humble himself before God; he believed that his way of religion made him a better man than the humble tax collector. He literally separated himself out from the entire human race, believing in his heart that he was better than other men. He never recognized that he himself was a sinner, unlike the publican who knew it was only by God’s grace and mercy that he could be justified.

The word merciful in the publican’s prayer in Luke 18:13 in the Greek Text is the word for “reconciliation” as in Hebrews 2:17. The tax collector was earnestly praying to be reconciled back to God (he obviously knew that he was a sinner and that he needed God in his life), while the Pharisee believed in himself that he was already reconciled above and more than other men.

The Pharisee was more concerned about the condition of others than of his true condition; he was convinced that he was saving himself by all of his works, yet Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” However, only the publican went home justified, and the word justified literally means, “just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” By being humble before our God, our God-given justification can be thankfully received and enjoyed within our hearts. Jesus, in the verses from Luke above, sums up a wonderful Proverb for us:

Proverbs 28:14 (The Amplified Bible*):
Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who reverently and worshipfully fears {respects} [the Lord] at all times [regardless of circumstances], but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

The publican fits into the first category of a blessed man, while the Pharisee will inevitably run into trouble for hardening his heart against other people. Sure, there will be times in life when we are down, when we do not walk in the light, when we have fear and condemnation because of the sin nature. Yet when we do come back to God, back to the throne of God’s wonderful grace like the publican did, then we can enjoy blessed verses of healing Scripture demonstrating God’s loving comfort to us that will always build us back up and strengthen our lives so that we may continue walking for God.

Psalms 34:18 (The Amplified Bible*):
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent {sorry}.

James 4:10:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Our loving heavenly Father always sees our heart, and when our heart condemns us because we are out of fellowship, and we then realize it and become thoroughly penitent, God will forgive ― ALWAYS! The greatest blessings in life come to the believer when he can control his thoughts and actions (see James chapter 3) to be a blessing to his fellow man ― especially those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10 (The Amplified Bible**):
So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers].

Enjoy your message because today is The Season for God’s Merciful Grace.

I John 1:5-9:
-5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
-6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
-7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
-8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
-9: If we confess our sins {to God}, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.