Evangelism Jesus' Style
Jesus was the master soul winner. He told us to do the same and he ever showed us how to do it. If we listen to Jesus, we will know how to do and what to say.
What we call the great commission appears in three of the Gospels and the in the book of Acts. However, we know Jesus only gave us a one commission, it has been recorded and written down in different wording. So if we look what is usually referred to as the ‘great commissions’: Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:36-49, and Acts 1:8. However if we examine them, we can then focus on the one which is most clear, complete and most inclusive, and that would be Matthew 28:18-20.
Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been handed over to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In Matthew 28 Jesus tells us that we are to teach and preach all that he has commanded us. He didn’t tell us to teach and preach Paul’s words, the pope’s words, or anyone else’s, he told us to teach and preach his words. And that is our great commission. We are to tell others what Jesus said. Of, course, at the time that Jesus gave this message, the printing press was far in the future, Bible scrolls were rare and very expensive, so the Gospel message was went forward mouth to mouth. And it wasn’t so easy to remember everything Jesus said, so Jesus gave it to us in the form of stories, or parables, which are easy to remember.
What was Jesus’ message? Jesus told us to keep the Old Testament ‘law and prophets’ until heaven and earth passed away, in Matthew 5:17-20. Jesus told us to repent of our sins when we fail at doing that – then he told us what would happen to those who do repent and what will happen to those who don’t repent. He told us to worship Yahoveh our God only – which is one of the commandments of God. In sharing his gospel message he used lots of parables.
While today’s evangelism is focused on telling people about how Jesus loves them and died on the cross for them, so that they can get a free pass into heaven by ‘believing’ that message, that’s not the message that Jesus or the Scriptures command us to share.
Contrary to popular belief, and according to the Scriptures, salvation has to do with one’s own personal righteousness and our commitment to love, serve, worship and obey God. Jesus’ message didn’t focus on God’s love for us, it focused on how we live to demonstrate our love for God and others. And that’s the message Jesus shared with those he evangelized and that’s the message we need to share. While I know that there is a teaching that tells us that we can be saved by wearing Jesus’ robe of righteousness at judgment time, or by having the imputed righteousness of Christ, that is contrary to what Jesus taught in the Scriptures.
Consider Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” This verse tells us that it’s the ‘righteous’ that will eat from the Tree of Life. Isn’t that what Jesus said, (Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” So if the ‘righteous eat from the Tree of life’ (Proverbs 11:30) and those that ‘do the commandments of God’ (Rev 22:14) will eat from the ‘Tree of Life’, so we can conclude that being ‘righteous’ and ‘doing the commandments of God’ mean the same thing. And Proverbs 11:30 goes on to say that the ‘wise wins souls’, How do they win souls? By turning the lawless, or unrighteous people to righteousness. See the next verse.
Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.” Not only does the Bible call on us to ‘turn many to righteousness’ (keeping God’s commandments) it calls those that do ‘wise’, and says that they will shine ‘like stars forever and ever’.
Daniel of course is in the Old Testament, so many ‘Christian’ will discount it, saying that it doesn’t apply to them. But in Matthew 13, we see that Jesus was in total agreement with Daniel.
Matthew 13:41-43, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” According to Jesus it will be the lawless, the unrepentant sinner, the presumptuous sinner, that will be ‘cast into the furnace of fire’. And the ‘righteous’, who ‘do the commandments of God’, will ‘shine like the sun’ (a star) in God’s Kingdom. And that is in complete agreement with what Jesus taught in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus clearly called on us to keep the commandments of God (‘law and Prophets’), every ‘jot and tittle’, until ‘heaven and earth pass away’. Jesus said keeping the ‘law and the prophets’ is the righteousness that is needed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And that is in agreement with Revelation 22:14, where Jesus said that it’s those that ‘do the commandments of God’ that will enter the kingdom of God and eat from the ‘tree of life’. These two parallel verses show us that the ‘righteousness’ needed for heaven is ‘keeping the Commandments of God’. That’s Jesus’ clear teaching – and that’s what he wants us to tell to the nations. Matthew 28:19-20, “ Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, … teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Jesus didn’t tell us to teach what Paul, or anyone else taught, he told us to go to the nations and teach what he has “commanded” us. Not some cheap way of salvation, but to obey what he commanded.
Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke tell us the same message, in different words. Luke 24:47, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” A call to repentance is a call to keep God’s law.
It’s by that ‘repentance’ that our sins are ‘blotted out’ and we become right with God. (Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”)
Today’s lawless church is teaching a ‘lawless’ gospel to the world and it does nothing to bring people to the righteousness needed for salvation, and perhaps even hardens their hearts against Jesus’ true message of obedience and repentance. Having been told by missionaries that they don’t have to keep the law to be saved, they will resist anyone that tells them the truth found in Jesus’ teachings. So be ‘wise’ that you may shine like the sun forever and ever.
Again, ‘God loves those who love Him and keep His commandments’ (Exodus 20:6, John 14:15-23). And God will give His saving grace to those whom He loves. To those, He will give mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and everlasting life on Judgment Day – when we need it the most.
Jesus demonstrates that the world is made up of two types of people;
LOST GROUP SAVED GROUP
Presumptuous sinner unintentional sinner
Lost condition Saved condition
No love or fear of God Loves and fears God
Worship the Beast Worships God
Sick, need physician Doesn’t need physician
No eternal life Resurrection to Eternal life
Yet, Jesus’ good news is that by our free choice we can go from the ‘lost’ group to the ‘saved’ group, by our free wills, and process of doing that is called repentance. But to get the ‘lost’ to repent, they have to know that they we are not lost beyond the point of being saved, and God, like the prodigal’s father, is will and waiting for them (Luke 15). Then people seeking to be ‘saved’ have to know what God expects of them (Matthew 5:17-20, Exodus 20:6, John 14:21, Revelation 22:14), and who God is (Matthew 4:10, Mark 12:28, John 4:21-24, 17:3, Exodus 20:2-3). But rather than expecting people to remember list, Jesus used parables to give this truth.
JESUS’ EVANGELISTIC PARABLES
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus was an evangelist and one of the wonderful tools he employed was the ‘parable’. The Parable is a teaching message in story form that relays a truth to the people. The ‘story’ made it interesting to listen to and easy to remember and relate to. But I’m not writing this to share all the advantages of speaking in parables, my point in doing this is that we can grasp the main point of Jesus’ message within the parables. There is one common theme surfaces in almost all of Jesus’ parables which he used to evangelize the lost. Unfortunately, that common theme is rejected by the orthodox Christian Church. Follow along, and it won’t take long for you to see that main theme.
THE SPECK IN THE EYE – MATTHEW 7:3-5
Again the issue here is sin, violation of God’s law. Jesus said don’t look at the sin in other people lives when you have plenty of sin, even more, in your own life to deal with. ‘Remove the plank from your eye’ is a call to repentance. ‘Repentance’ is another way of saying ‘stop breaking God’s laws’, or saying it in positive words, ‘start keeping God’s law’. Then you can be a light to help your brother who perhaps can’t see well with a speck in his eye. When your brother sees your light, he too will be drawn to it.
Again, nearly all of Jesus’ parables are in regard to the keeping of the Torah law, repenting when you fail, and about the warnings about lawlessness. The church my use this parable to warn you from judging others, but how often do they use it to tell you to repent and keep God’s law. The message in this parable to repent and keep God’s law is rejected by the ‘Christian Church’.
THE NEW PATCH ON AN OLD GARMENT – MATTHEW 9:14-17
The issue here is the mixture of the old and the new. The ‘new’ in this case was the Pharisees’ ‘oral law’, which was relatively new compared to the ‘Old’ law which was God’s Torah law given at Mt. Sinai.
The Pharisees were fasting often and performed many other ‘religious’ practices, such as ritual washings that Jesus’ disciples did not do. Why? The Pharisees followed the “oral laws” which were manmade laws, or traditions, and the Pharisees used those ‘traditions’ to interpret and supplement God’s given Torah law. It was because of their ‘oral law’ that the Pharisees fasted often, did their washings and many other religious ritual acts and practices – that were not prescribed in the Scriptures. Jesus said that the ‘oral law’, a new patch, does not fit on the ‘old garment’ which is God’s law, the Torah. As Jesus said in Mark 7:6-8 these oral laws, or traditions, actually served to nullify some of God’s commandments and thus they were, in effect, negating, or destroying God’s Torah law.
So by keeping the ‘oral law’, the Pharisees, were giving it authority over the Scriptures – since they use the ‘oral law’ to interpret Scriptures and nullify God’s commandments. Thus, according to Jesus the ‘oral law’ must be rejected, at least when it is in conflict with God’s law, and we are to follow the Torah, God’s written law, alone. The ‘oral law’ and God’s given Torah law cannot function together without destroying each other, because of the conflict between them.
Jesus’ message here is that we are to follow and keep God’s Torah law, and not mix it with any manmade law, traditions or church doctrines, church teachings or creeds. This message was a rebuff of the Pharisees, by Jesus, with their manmade oral laws, and an encouragement to all listening to rely on God’s word alone. We are to follow and obey the Scriptures alone, and not mix in any corruption, i.e., manmade law, religious teachings, church doctrines, papal decrees, denominational teachings, creeds, rules, philosophies, decrees or writings. When we do that, we have corrupted the Scriptures, as leavening corrupts bread. Have you heard this in your church?
THE SOWER, OR THE SOILS, MATTHEW 13:1-23
In Matthew 13 we read Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, sometimes called the Parable of the soils. This parable is about different types of soils: hard packed soil, rocky soil, soil overgrown with weeds, and good soil. The seed, as Jesus explained, is the word of God. The parable is then about the effects of word of God on different types of people. On three types of soil, there was no production of fruit, for they were not willing to set aside their own agendas to love God and keep His commandments. But only on the good ground was there fruit produced. Matthew 13:8, “But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty”. No, this parable is not about evangelism, it’s about the fruit produced in a person’s life by the acceptance and obedience to God’s word.
In Jesus’ teachings ‘fruit’ is always righteousness. Matthew 3:8, “Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance”. Matthew 7:20, “So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.” Luke 3:8, “Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance…” Ephesians 5:9, “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth—“ Philippians 1:11, “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” Hebrews 12:11, “Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it.” Fruit always has to do with the behavior of a truly repentant heart, forsaking sin and living in righteousness, fruit is obedience to God’s word, or righteous acts. That’s why Jesus cursed the Barren Fig Tree. The Barren Fig Tree represented Israel, but it was not a righteous nation, it bore no righteous fruit – and that made it worthless in God’s eyes.
I suspect that we all know people that fit these four types of soil. The first one, where the ‘wicked one’ snatches the seed before it can sprout is common today. The seed is the word of God, the ‘law, prophets and writings’. How does the ‘wicked one’ snatch the seed. By telling the person who is represented by that soil that they don’t have to keep God’s law. God doesn’t expect it or want it. They are told that they can be saved by ‘just believing’. In this way, the people representing this soil, sets aside God’s word, ‘law, prophets and writings’, as not necessary to obey, or even to know. They don’t keep God’s law, thereby rejecting God’s authority, and so they product no righteous fruit.
The second soil is those who hear and rejoice, but fade back into sin again. They hear the word, practice it, but don’t endure the trials and persecutions because they are not fully committed, because they are not in a saving relationship with God. To them religion has it benefits, it’s a social club every Sunday morning, where they make friends and fellowship. They are religious but not righteous – with no real interested in God’s laws they produce no righteous fruit – because they see no eternal merit in being righteous – since that’s what they were told, so they have no commitment. They lack the fear of God.
The third soil is those who are more interested in the things of the world, and the cares of the world, they have not time and energy for the things of God – maybe they squeeze out one hour a week for their Sunday Church – but they are more concerned with what their friends will think, more interest in the things of this world, than about God. They neither know God’s law, or keep God’s laws, so they produce no fruit of righteousness – again they see no eternal benefit to being righteous, so they give it up for the temporal benefits and pleasures. They lack the love of God and the fear of God.
Where does this fruit of Righteousness come from? (Righteousness is also called the fruit of repentance – which produces obedience to God’s laws.). We produce the fruit of righteousness by believing, accepting and living out Jesus’ teachings (which were from God). What did Jesus teach? Jesus told us to keep the law of God, Matthew 19:16, John 14:21, Matthew 5:17-19, Matthew 7:23, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 14:12, Revelation 22:14, plus many more such verses and most of his parables were about keeping the law, repentance, and the condemnation of the lawless. Jesus told us to repent of our sins and to keep God’s law – in doing that we will produce the fruit of righteousness. Matthew 3:10, “Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees (approaching Judgment), and every tree that does not produce good fruit (Righteousness) will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” In Matthew 13;41-42 Jesus said that it was the ‘lawless’ that were bound and cast into the fire. So the ‘lawless’ and those that ‘do not produce good fruit’ are the same people. God expects us to keep His law, and Jesus told us that as well, very clear and succinctly in Matthew 5:17-20, and Revelation 22:14. And in this Parable, Jesus warned us about what could cause the soils of our hearts to not produce the ‘fruit’ of righteousness. A parallel parable to this one is the ‘Barren Fig Tree’.
Have you heard this understanding of this parable message preached in your church? Or have you ever heard an evangelist speak words that will cause the unrighteous to become righteous?
THE LEAVENING - MATTHEW 13:33, 16:6,11-12, LUKE 13:21, MARK 8:15
Luke 13:21, “It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Matthew 13:33 NKJV “Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Matthew 16:11-12, NKJV, “How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Mark 8:15 NKJV, “Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
Leavening always has to do with sin and corruption, in the New Testament and the Old Testament, unless it’s speaking of literal bread. The ‘woman’ in scripture represents a religious system or organization. “Three measures of meal”, is a reference to the ‘grain offering’ in Leviticus 2. The purpose of a grain offering was to worship God and acknowledge His provisions. The grain offering was to be given out of a person’s free will, just as our worship and service to God is given as a free will offering today. Leviticus specifically says that the grain offering was to be unleavened. Any leavening would corrupt the offering, violate God’s law, going against God’s requirements, and thus the grain offering would be rejected by God – the worship done with it would be done in vain – as to a golden calf.
Jesus was warning his disciples about the teachings of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6). The teachings he was referring to were ‘traditions’, or ‘oral law’, the man-made laws of Judaism, which in Judaism today is called the Talmud. God’s Word is as unleavened bread, it was pure and free of any corruption. The adding man-made traditions to God’s Word, Jesus said it is like to adding leaven to bread, it corrupts the entire batch. (That was like the ‘new’ patch on an ‘old’ garment). By adding their traditions to the teachings of God’s Word, the Pharisees corrupted the Word of God even to the point of negating the law of God, according to Jesus. Matthew 15:6, NKJV, “then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.” This was one of the Ten Commandments, as is the Sabbath commandment, which is also nullified by today’s church teachings and doctrines. Do we have church traditions (creeds, doctrines or teachings) that negate any of God’s commandments? Yes. And because they do, Jesus said that they worship God in vain. But like most of Jesus’ teachings, this one is ignored as well – oddly enough by a church that calls itself ‘Christian’ yet it denies Christ by rejecting his teachings!
Deuteronomy 12:32(NASB),”Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” God said that we are to submit to His word and His word alone. Any time a church adds, a decree, doctrine, creed, traditions, rules, teachings, or writings to its theology, they are either adding to, or taking away from what God’s Scriptures command.
Does Christianity have its own ‘Talmud’? Does Christianity have ‘traditions’ in the form of religious creeds, doctrines, papal decrees, teachings, ancient writings, or reformer’s writings that corrupt our understanding of the Scriptures? Is our worship of God and service to God today corrupted by the adding to or subtracting from the pure unleavened Word of God? Do we have man-made creeds that are used to interpret God’s word – thus giving them authority over the Scriptures? (If your church subscribes to the Nicene Creed, or any other creed, as most Christian Churches do, then you are not allowed to interpret scripture in a way that doesn’t agree with your churches’ accepted creed(s), that is forbidden – thus the creeds have been given authority over the Scriptures). Do we use a misunderstanding of Paul’s writings to set aside God’s law when Jesus made it clear that the ‘law and the Prophets’ stand forever? Have we added leavening to the ‘grain offering’ (worship and service) and made it unacceptable to God, worshiping Him in vain? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘Yes’.
Matthew 15:6b-9, “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
We must set aside all religious teachings, creeds and doctrines (leaven) and go directly to the Scriptures. Only then will our worship and service (grain offering) be uncorrupted, and be acceptable to God. Those who worship on Sunday instead of God’s Sabbath (as the 4th Commandments commands us), those who worship the Trinity instead of YHVH alone (as the 1st Commandments commands us), those who keep Easter Sunday ham dinners instead of Passover (as the Torah commands us), and those who reject any of God’s laws (as Jesus commands us to keep) have had leaven add to their teachings and thus their grain offerings are polluted (worship and service) will not be acceptable to God. Having rejected God’s commandments, means that the ‘lawless’ have set aside God’s authority to rule over them and have accepted to some other authority – an authority that negates God’s commandments.
Proverbs 28:9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law (Torah), Even his prayer is an abomination.”
Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahoveh your God which I command you.”
Israel worshipped God in the desert in the form of a golden calf. They were worshiping the correct God, Yahoveh, but they did it in a way that God did not prescribe or want. There were many deaths that resulted because of that misguided worship which was rejected by God. Their intentions were good, but wrongly performed. They were put to death for that mistake or self-styled worship – it was contrary to what God wanted. Our intentions must not vary from God’s direction in His word, or there will be severe consequences. So set aside all manmade traditions, religious teachings, doctrines and creeds, and submit to God’s word alone.
THE BARREN FIG TREE – LUKE 13:6-9
Even though Jesus worked tirelessly for three years to get the barren fig tree (Israel) to produce fruit, acts of righteousness, it would not. It seems that there was a problem with its roots. It seems that it had a core (root) belief that was wrong, or corrupt. They felt that they were saved because of who they were (physical offspring of Abraham, (Matthew 3:9, “do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones”), instead of being saved because who they were, they were to be saved because of what they were. They were to be a righteous nation who loved God and keep His laws – producing the fruit of righteousness. They felt that their identity in God’s eyes was in being ‘physical children of Abraham’, but Jesus said, ‘no’, your only identity in God’s eyes, that separates you from the godless pagans, is you’re being ‘spiritual children of Abraham’– producing the fruit of righteousness by keep God’s law (Deuteronomy 6:25. Matthew 3:10, Luke 1:6). And those in the nation who were to promote the keeping of God’s laws, the Pharisees, corrupted God’s law by adding their layer upon layer of ‘oral traditions’. There are many in Israel today, that don’t keep the Sabbath. And it’s not because they the reject God’s law, they would keep that. The problem is that feel completely frustrated by the layer upon layer of man-made oral laws placed upon them by their religious leaders, just as they did in Jesus’ day. Matthew 23:4, “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
We have a problem today as it was in Jeremiah’s time. Their religious leaders we corrupt. Lamentations 2:14, “Your prophets have seen for you False and deceptive visions; They have not uncovered your iniquity, To bring back your captives, But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.” In the time of Jeremiah, the religious leaders were teaching people falsely and did ‘not uncover the people’s sins’. Some commentators say that in the Hebrew it is says that they ‘whitewashed’ peoples’ sins. Either way, the religious leaders were indifferent to the law of God and how people violated it, we could say that they were lawless and teaching people to be lawless. What has changed today? The religious leaders (Jeremiah 6:14) says, ‘peace, peace’, telling people that everything is fine, don’t worry – while the people are lawless and condemned. In most cases the religious leaders aren’t evil, they are just deceived themselves – and teaching what the ‘church’ requires them to teach.
I know that the ‘church’ tells us that we don’t need to be righteous because we will have Jesus’ righteousness imputed to us – or we will wear his robe of righteousness on Judgment Day. Don’t you believe it. That is a deadly misinterpretation of Paul – it’s a message of ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace. Jesus clearly said (Matthew 5:20) “unless YOUR righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”. In Revelation 19:7b-8, Jesus said, ‘His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints”. And in Revelation 22:14 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” You will be judged on your own righteousness, (keeping God’s commandments) not Jesus’ righteousness. Only those who had the wedding garment were allowed into the feast. And that wedding garment was made up of the “righteous acts of the saints.” I know your pastor will disagree with me, but remember these words are not mine, they are Jesus’ words. And Jesus said (John 12:47-48), ‘by his words you will be judged’ – so listen to Jesus.
What is righteousness? Luke 1:6, “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Psalm 119:172, “My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all your commandments are righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6:25, “Then it will be” righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded“. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus told us to keep the ‘law and the prophets’, ‘every jot and tittle’, and if we do our ‘righteousness’ will allow us into the ’kingdom of Heaven’. It’s only by your own personal righteousness that you will be allowed into heaven. Those without personal righteousness will end up on the ‘broad road’ leading to destruction.
THE BROAD AND NARROW WAY - MATTHEW 7:13-27
As part Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we read in Matthew 7:13-27, the most amazing section of the Bible that firmly warns us about deception, regarding the keeping of the law of God. Even though the Bible translator has divided these verses into sections with titles, it is really one teaching. Follow along;
(Matthew 7:13-14) The Narrow Way (This shows the results of deception)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (In this section, Jesus said that there are two theological understandings, or two gospels, one is the narrow hard way that leads to life, the other is the broad easy way that leads to destruction. Almost everyone, the ‘many’ are on the broad easy way leading to eternal death, because they are deceived. We know that they are deceived because no one would intentionally travel on that way leading to destruction if they knew it would end in eternal death. Somebody deceived them and told them that the broad road was also a way to eternal life.
The narrow gate which allows people onto the narrow way is the gate of repentance – because until your past sins are forgiven and atoned for, and you humbly submit to God’s authority, you aren’t walking in God’s ways. Few walk in the Narrow way leading to life, because Jesus said only a few would ‘find’ the way that leads to eternal life. (‘Find’ means that they were searching – only those that are truly seeking will find the truth. And the Scriptural truth (Torah) led them to the narrow way that leads to life and avoids the deceptions – you will only find it by being a truth seeker, seeking the truth in God’s word.) This also answers a question, as to what will happen to the people who are deceived? We like to think of deceive people as innocent victims. But according to this parable, people that are deceived by the churches, deceived by preachers and teachers, are lost…and they are heading for destruction and don’t know it. They are not innocent, they are only deceived because they ignored Jesus’ many warnings and they didn’t seek the truth for themselves. And that makes it urgent to get this message out! That passage continues…
(Matthew 7:15-20) You Will Know Them by Their Fruits (Who deceives them?)
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (In the section we see who it was that deceived the people on the broad way headed for destruction. It was those that wear sheep’s clothing, that is, the shepherds. Today’s shepherds who are leading the flocks are the pastors, and religious leaders. (Or false prophets. Prophets speak God’s word, false prophets only claim to.) They themselves were deceived and traveling on that Broad way leading to eternal death, and they taught their students (their fruit) their theology, and so their students are following them.) You will know them by their bad ‘fruit’.
Matthew 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:11, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Religious leaders and pastors come to you in Jesus’ name, and they will claim that Jesus is the Christ, but then they deceive you by setting aside Jesus’ clear teachings. (Such as Matthew 5:17-20)
Jude also warns us, Jude 3-4, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness (teach lawlessness) and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (they don’t deny the existence of God or Jesus, but they deny them by denying their teachings about the ancient Biblical faith as it was delivered to saints (holy ones) of old (the Torah)and affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20.….continue…
(Matthew 7:21-23) I Never Knew You (So just what was that great deception?)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Here we see what that deception was (is). What was (is) it that caused them to travel the broad way leading to eternal death? The end of the broad way is Judgment Day, the Judge is Jesus. These are professing believing Christians who (“believed Jesus was lord and savior”), for they did good deeds, cast out demons and they called Jesus ‘Lord, Lord’ – a profession of faith. (So much for ‘Just believe in Jesus’) But Jesus rejected them at the gate of heaven because they didn’t do the Father’s will. Verse 23 tells us that they practiced ‘lawlessness’. Obviously, keeping God’s law was the will of the Father. The text isn’t just saying that they broke the law, we have all done that, it says that they were ‘lawless’, because they rejected all or parts of God’s law. The great deceiver told them that they didn’t need to keep God’s law (Torah) – they believed it and were deceived, they became presumptuous sinners and it cost them eternal life. If people are led to believe that they don’t have to keep God’s law, they will not keep it, and they will never consider the breaking of God’s law as sin, and therefore they will never pass through the ‘narrow gate’ of repentance, to get on the ‘narrow way’ that leads to life....continue…
(Matthew 7: 24-27) Build on the Rock (How do you prevent this type of deception?)
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Jesus tells us here that if we ‘hear’ his words and do them, we will not be destroyed but be like a solid house built on a rock. The foolish man will listen to Jesus but will not obey, or will listen to someone else, pastor or religious leader who tells them that they don’t have to keep God’s law, instead of Jesus and lose their eternal life.) On Judgment Day they will be destroyed because they didn’t build their lives on Jesus’ teachings.
Deuteronomy 18:17-19, “Then the LORD (Yahoveh) said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet (Jesus) like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to My words that he speaks in My name. “ God said that He was sending Jesus as a prophet, and we will be held accountable if we don’t listen to him and obey him. Yet the modern Christian church doesn’t listen to Jesus or obey him. According to Acts 3:22 and Acts 7:37 that Prophet was Jesus.
And according to Jesus, all his words are the words and the will of the Father. We must respect Jesus’ words with utmost respect for they come with God’s authority, and they are words of eternal life. John 12:49-50 , For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me, gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” To obey Jesus is to obey the Father and to reject Jesus’ words is to reject the Father.
So when Jesus told us to keep the Old Testament ‘Law and Prophets’ (Matthew 5:17-20) and to worship Yahoveh alone (Matthew 4:10, Mark 12:28) we must obey him, or be counted among the ‘lawless’. The ‘lawless’ were gathered at Judgment time and cast into a furnace of fire (Matthew 13:40-43).
How often have you heard the true meaning of the Broad and Narrow way in your church? Never?
THE SHEEP AND GOATS – MATTHEW 25:31-46
This is a judgment scene. At the end of time, God separates all people into one of two groups. There are those that fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave drink to the thirst, visit those in prison and the sick. To those people Jesus called them ‘the righteous’. Yet Jesus also spoke to those who did not feed the hungry, give no drink to the thirsty, did not clothe the naked and did not visit those sick or in prison, he said (verse 38) to them, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So one has to ask, why were these charities so important that eternal life, or eternal destruction, weighs in the balance?
These charitable deeds were commandments of God. Commands to do these charitable deeds are embedded within God’s Torah. The ones who did these charitable deeds showed their loved God by submitted to His authority, and thus obeying God. What God is doing here is separating people into two groups, those that kept His commandments and those that did not.
In Luke 15:25-27, we read, “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, ’and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
When Jesus said ‘loving your neighbor as yourself” he was quoting from Leviticus 19:18, and related this commandment as being required to ‘inherit eternal life’. To ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ we could say is the summation of the Torah laws for treating others. And it goes without saying that if you ‘love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind’ with the type of self-sacrificing love that God requires, you will obey Him by keeping His commandments.
Again, the parables by Jesus are calls on all who hear to keep God’s Torah, and warns us to repent when we fail to submit to Him.
Jesus’ ministry on earth was to ‘fulfill the law’ (Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”). To ‘fulfill the law’ according to scholars, means to ‘fill up with meaning’, that is, he came to explain the law, give it the correct purpose, understanding, meaning and application. The meaning and purpose of the law had become skewed over the centuries, and with adding of human tradition and the invention of the ‘oral law’. Here, in Matthew 25 Jesus tells us how to ‘love our neighbor as yourself’ as he also does in the parable of the Good Samaritan. And in both parables, Jesus defines who our ‘neighbor’ is, as anyone with needs that we can meet – and to love them is to meet their need, with a self-sacrificial love.
These commandments to do acts of charity aren’t talked about too much in the churches. While the churches often promote charity work, the reason is never because it is commanded by God in the Torah – but rather it is a humanitarian thing – which makes it sound like an nice thing to do, optional, but nice. It’s not optional, and teaching it as God’s commandment would help people understand that.
While these commandments to do charity work are seemingly minor commandments compared to many of the others, like some of the major ones, “Ten Commandments”, and to “love God with all your heart, mind and soul”. But remember that Jesus said (Matthew 5:17-20) that we are to keep the ‘law and the prophets’, every ‘jot and tittle’, even the ‘least of them’, until ‘heaven and earth pass away’, and that is the source of our ‘righteousness’. And we to live by ‘every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. You might want to read this paragraph again, you will never hear it in your church.
The Jews hold that charity is a work that is of high importance and is necessary for salvation – as Jesus’ parables tell us also, i.e, ‘Sheep and Goats’ and the ‘Rich Man and Lazarus’. Jesus also commanded that we love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we do that without giving to those in need?
THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS – MATTHEW 25:1-13
“God is Light” (1John 1:5), therefore ‘light’ is godliness or righteousness – being like God. The Light is the character of those who follow God’s Word, they walk in God’s ways – walk in the light. (God’s word is often called light, but I believe it is more accurate to say it produces light, the character of godliness – Psalm 119:105, 130, Daniel 12:3, Matthew 4:16, 5:16, John 8:12, Philippians 2:15, 1John 1:5-9, others) and that is in contrast to those who walk in darkness, ignorance and sin leading to death.
Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Philippians 2:15, “ that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (“your light” is not God’s word but a godly character that God’s word produces in your life when you obey it.) In contrast to that is; Proverbs 2:13, “from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness”.
The lamp is symbolic of God’s word which produces the light (godliness or righteousness), but in order for the lamp to produce light it needs oil. In the Bible oil was used to anoint prophets, priest, kings, the sanctuary and sanctuary items that were dedicate to God with the use of oil. Anointing has to do with dedication and commitment, and in this parable oil is used as a symbol of dedication and commitment to God and His word. Oil is also a symbol of the holy spirit, which is synonymous with ‘God’s word’. Commitment to hearing and obeying God’s Word produces the character of light – or righteousness. Those who did not walk in the light, are in the darkness of sin, they are lawless (Matthew 7:23, 1John 2:3, 1John 5:7) and are referred to as ‘foolish’ (Matthew 7:26).
The parable says of the virgins, “they all slumbered and slept” that is the Bible’s way of say it was a very long wait. “Slept’ could mean that they all died and were sleeping in the dust until the Second Coming. Jesus often used the metaphor ‘sleep’ for death (John 11:11-14). At the time Second Coming the Ten Virgins were identified into one of two groups;
The first group was those Virgins who had a lifetime supply of oil, or commitment, and they were “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10, 14:12). They died as righteous saints or if still living, they were still righteous at the Second Coming. Revelation 14:12, “Here is the endurance of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 is telling us that it’s those that endure, or remain committed, to the end, keeping the commandments of God and practicing the faith of Jesus, they are the ones that will be considered by God be His saints – all others are lost.
The second group was those who ran out of oil, that is, they lacked commitment. Due to the lack of commitment, they slipped into lawlessness, or unrighteousness. Perhaps they were part of the ‘great falling away’ of the church (2 Thessalonians 2:3, which likely happened because their pastors told them that they didn’t need to keep God’s law). Ezekiel 18 tells us that if a man remains righteous his whole life, but falls away into unrighteousness in the end, his righteousness will not be remembered at the Judgment. (Ezekiel 18:24).
The Bridegroom came at the second coming. In this parable, the sleeping virgins all awoke at the second coming and they, along with those still alive, were to join Jesus in the air (I Thessalonians 4:13-18), but only the righteous virgins were accepted. So the unrighteous virgins, wanted to go to heaven based on another’s righteousness or commitment (borrowed oil) but it wasn’t allowed. They were not able to wear Jesus’ robe of righteous for the Judgment Day – they were judged on their own righteousness and they were lost. Jesus used the same phrase “I do not know you” that his said in Matthew 7:23 for those he described as ‘practiced lawlessness’. The only thing that would have saved them, or the lost virgins, is repentance before the Second Coming. But if the church convinced them that they don’t need to keep God’s law, they turned them into presumptuous sinners who will never repent.
Matthew 13:41, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom every cause of sin and all who practice lawlessness.” Why didn’t the 5 virgins get into the wedding feast? Because they were lawless – their church told them that they are saved by grace so they don’t need to keep God’s law. So don’t listen to people telling you that you don’t need to keep God’s law-instead study the issue for yourself. Don’t expect to wear Jesus’ robe of righteousness at the Judgment – it will not happen.
Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” The pure white wedding garment, is white because of the ‘righteous acts of the saints’. The foolish virgins had no bright clean wedding robe (robe of righteousness) to wear, so they were not allowed to attend the wedding.
Jesus said, (Matthew 5:20), “For I say to you that unless your righteousness (obedience to God’s word) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.
THE REPENTANT TAX COLLECTOR – LUKE 18:9-14
” Here the tax collector beat his breast, humbled himself, with a repentant heart and asked God to forgive him. Jesus said that the tax collector went home ‘Justified’, just as if he had never sinned. This is Good News, a Gospel message that the sinners need to hear – that God has not forsaken them, but calls on them to repent that their sins may be blotted out and their relationship to God restored.
Acts 3:19, “ Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
But there was no justification for the religious Pharisee who failed to see his presumptuous sins and the need of repentance. Again, repentance of sin and obedience to God’s commandments must come before salvation. There is no salvation apart from submissive obedience to the will of God. Has your pastor/priest told you that?
The Pharisee did not have God as his supreme authority, he was his own supreme authority. Repentance is a process of making, or recommitting to, God your supreme authority, and submitting to His authority. The publican was doing just that.
THE PERSISTENT WIDOW. LUKE 18:1-8
Immediately before the parable of the Pharisee and the repentant Tax Collector is the ‘Parable of the Persistent Widow' (Luke 18:1-8). This Parable is often used to show the need for persistent prayer. The characters in this parable consists of a widow who did not receive justice (treated unjustly) from an unjust judge. Yet through persistent asking and begging, the unjust judge finally repents and rules in her favor. The judge repents, turning from evil to good, unjust to just, turning from being unmerciful to being merciful – as God calls for in the Torah (Leviticus 19:15). Perhaps this story isn’t just about persistent prayer of a widow, but also about how the spirit of God, God’s word, continually calls us to repentance if we are willing to hear. As the unjust judge heard the widow’s pleas, so we too must hear the pleas of God through His spirit (word) for us to repent.
Then in verse 8, Jesus says something unexpected, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth.” Both the prayer of the persistent widow and the repentance by the judge were acts of faith. That faith is needed for persistent prayer is very obvious, only those with faith in God will pray. But faith is also needed for repentance. A person will only repent when they have faith that there is a God, believe that they have violated God’s moral standard, and have faith that they will be forgiven – without that faith, no one would repent. How is that the faith to repent undermined by the current church teachings? The Church teaches that we are not under the law, we need not keep the law, for we are saved by grace apart from the law. So if we are not under the law, we don’t have to worry about our violation of it, and there is then no need to repent of our sins.
In saying that God will grant salvation to those who ‘believe’ but don’t obey, is foolish. It’s saying that God will allow unrepentant sinners, who are in open rebellion against God, despising His word, and spurn His authority into heaven. I doubt that. Any sane person would doubt that.
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS - LUKE 16:19-31
In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man was self-indulgent and showed no mercy to the poor man Lazarus who was starving on his door step. This parable tells us that the Rich Man died and then ended up in “Torment”. Now the Rich Man had five brothers that, according to him, needed to repent so that they didn't end up ‘Torment’ as he did. The Rich Man requested to Abraham (God) that he sent Lazarus from the dead to them to warn them. But Abraham said, ‘no’. There was no question as to whether or not they needed repentance; but Abraham said, if they don’t believe ‘Moses and the prophets’ they wouldn’t believe even if ‘one rise from the dead’.
When Jesus said ‘‘one rise from the dead’. I believe this could be a thinly veiled message referring to himself. He was the one that was to rise from the dead. But regardless of who the one that would rise from the dead was, the issue here is ‘repentance’ and Jesus’ point is there is no repentance until we believe ‘Moses and the prophets’. Until we accept ‘Moses and the prophets’ (the Old Testament) as binding and authoritative we will never see a need to repent, because we, like the rich man, will never see ourselves as sinners, in violation of God’s moral standard as defined in ‘Moses and the prophets’. The New Testament does not give us that moral standards, it points us back to, and quotes from, the Old Testament, the ‘Scriptures’, and tells us to obey them. Jesus himself pointed us back to the ‘Law and the prophets’ and told us to obey all that they say (Matthew 5:17-20, 7:21-23, 19:16-22, 23:1-4, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 22:14, plus others). We must believe and obey ‘Moses and the Prophets’, or else Jesus will says to you what he said to the rich man, “depart from me you who practice lawlessness’ (Matthew 7:23).
“Moses and the Prophets” are God’s words. Evidence that we have accepted Yahoveh God as our supreme authority is that we keep His word, “Moses and the Prophets’. If we don’t keep ‘Moses and the Prophets’ we are in rebellion against God’s authority. We are our own supreme authority. To reject “Moses and the prophets” as binding is to be a presumptuous sinner.
There is no repentance, and therefore no salvation, apart from believing (and obeying) ‘Moses and the prophets’ – that is Jesus’ message to us in this parable. Do not forsake ‘Moses and the prophets’, if you do, not even Jesus being raised from the dead will save you apart from repentance (stop breaking God’s law (sinning) and start keeping it (obeying)).
God closes out the Old Testament with a stern warning, in the last book, an 3rd from the last verse. Malachi 4:4, “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.” It’s almost like God knows that the New Testament will immediately follow, and people will use that New Testament to reject ‘the Law of Moses, with its statutes and judgments’. The verse before and the verse after Malachi 4:4 both speak about the end of time, so in effect God is saying that we need to keep the ‘law of Moses with the statutes and Judgments’ until the end of time, God law is not to be set aside. Why hasn’t your church ever told you that?
I really didn’t think that I would have an argument with Christians about whether or not they are sinners, most people will admit that they are sinners, my argument with them would be about how to deal with that sin. While I was taught as a Protestant, to just ‘believe in Jesus’, ‘trust in Jesus’, ‘plead the blood’, say the ‘sinners prayer’, be baptized, receive communion, as common Protestant responses as how to address sin in our lives. And the Catholic response to sin is to confess it to the priest, and do your penance. But clearly the message of Jesus here was the same as it was in Matthew 5:17-20, keep the ‘law and the prophets’ every ‘jot and tittle’ until ‘heaven and earth pass away’ and that will be the ‘righteousness’ which you will need to enter the ‘kingdom of Heaven’ – and we must repent when we fail. If the rich man and his five brother knew this passage (Matthew 5:17-20) and followed it, they would all be in paradise at Abraham’s bosom – instead of being in torment.
THE TWO SONS – MATTHEW 21:28-32
In this parable, Jesus compares two sons. The first son was openly rebellious, but later repented and did the will of the Father. The second son was also rebellious, but hid his rebellious attitude from the Father and did not do the will of the father, and did not repent. Thus Jesus said, the blatant sinners (tax collectors and the prostitutes) will enter the Kingdom of God, since they acknowledged their sin and repented as John the Baptizer preached, but those who would not acknowledge themselves as sinners saw no need for repentance (presumptuous sinners). (Like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, or the Prodigal’s son older brother in Luke 15.)
What was the message of John the Baptizer? Matthew 3:1-2, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
This parable, along with the parables of the ‘Prodigal Son’ and the ‘Pharisee and the Publican (tax collector)’ perhaps best illustrate the good news that Jesus came to bring the religiously disenfranchised masses. With the good news that their ‘lostness’ could be complete restored by their humble repentance and keeping the Law of Moses, the Torah. For like the Prodigal’s father, God is waiting with open arms, and heaven rejoices at the repentance of sinners. These are the messages that lost and hopeless needed to hear, for they thought there was no hope for them. But God said there is hope, and it’s not too late, just ‘love God and keep His commandments’ and God will love you. (Exodus 20:6 and John 14:21).
THE TARES – MATTHEW 13:37-42
Matthew 13:37-42, Jesus replied, “The one who plants the good seed is the Son of Man 38 The field is the world. And the good seeds are the followers of the kingdom. But the weeds are the followers of the evil one. 39 The enemy who planted them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the present age. The harvesters are the angels. 40 Just as people gather weeds and burn them in the fire, so it will be at the end of the present age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause people to fall away and all people who sin. 42 He will throw them into a burning furnace. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth”. Jesus told this parable about one that would come and plant ‘weeds’, or ‘tares’, in the field, or in the church. “Weeds”, or “tares”, are those who oppose Jesus’ teachings, Jesus planted the ‘good seed’, telling his disciples to keep the law and repent when they fail. Then one come along who planted “weed” or “tare” seeds (false teachings, manmade traditions and laws) that are contrary to Jesus’ teachings – telling people that they don’t need to keep God’s law. Those false teachings produced “people who sin” (vs 42), lawless and unrepentant people. The Christian church today is full of those (weeds or tares) who follow a lawless teaching and live lives of lawlessness saying that they don’t have to keep God’s law because they just have to ‘trust in Jesus’ and take on his robe of righteousness. Lawless teachings produces “people who sin”, because the disregard God’s law. So if those who rejected the law of God are the ‘tares’, who planted that seed? Who said that the ‘law is dead’ and ‘nailed to a cross’, ‘Old Covenant’, and ‘done away with’? Paul’s teachings, or the church’s interpretations of Paul’s writings, were used to produce ‘lawlessness’. But if we would adhere to Jesus’ teachings, as he told us to (Matthew 23:8-10), no one would be lawless.
Jesus referred to the one who planted bad seeds (lawless teachings) as an enemy, the devil. So everyone who teaches it is teaching the doctrines of the devil. Those who follow his lawless teachings are deceived and will be cast into a burning furnace (Matthew 13:40-43). But those that follow Jesus’ teachings, doing the Father’s will (Matthew 7:21) by obeying the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 5:17-20) will receive eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN - LUKE 10:25-37.
Again, Jesus points to the law of God, and tells all who are listening, and us, that ‘eternal life’ has to do with keeping God’s law. But it is an obedience that is based on love, and love is self-sacrificial giving. So at this point Jesus goes on to share a parable, story, about a three people who came across as man badly beaten and robbed. But only the Samaritan demonstrated “love” to the beaten man, and ‘gave’ him what he could to met the man’s needs. Before the Samaritan came along, two Jews, a priest and a Levite, passed by the beaten man, but didn’t stop to help. They seemingly didn’t want to defile themselves by touching a man that may be dead or could die. Their religion meant more to them than the life of a fellow Israelite. And in not helping the injured man in need they violated God’s commands to help those in need – love others as we love ourselves.
In response to what is the Greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets. What the good Samaritan did was to illustrate the keeping of the second half of the greatest commandment, ‘to love your neighbor as yourself’. Not only are we commanded to obey this great commandment, from the torah, but to ‘inherit eternal life’ weighs in the balance.
The Good Samaritan did what was commanded in God’s Torah law. The priest and the Levite set aside the greatest of God’s torah law, to keep their religious duty. Jesus said that they acted wrong and we should do as the good Samaritan did.
Again the common theme of the parables is to show the need to keep God’s Torah law, which commands that we love God and keep His commandments, and help our neighbor when in need. This is how Jesus ‘fulfilled’ the law, by giving us the proper understanding of its requirements.
THE PRODIGAL SON – LUKE 15:11-32
The prodigal son is a parable of two brothers and a forgiving father. The younger brother was rebellious and no longer wanted to submit to the father’s authority. He wanted his freedom, so the wise father, sadly, had no choice but to let him go his way. That prodigal spent his time and money on sinful pleasures and became destitute. But as time passed, the prodigal son repented of his rebellion. He returned to the Father and was willing to submit again to his father’s authority – even as a slave. And the father readily accepted him back and through him a great feast. The father, of course represents our Heavenly Father, and the son is representative of a rebellious person, a ‘sinner’. Luke 17:7, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Repentance restored his relationship with the father, just as repentance will restore our relationship with the Heavenly Father.
The older brother in the story worked to do the father’s will and never left the farm, but become angry when the younger brother returned and was warmly received. He didn’t understand the Father’s ways. But as the father explained, they had to celebrate because the younger son was ‘dead’ and is ‘alive’ again. God is willing to forgive and forget the sins of any that truly repent (Acts 19:3).
Sinful rebellion is spurning God’s supreme authority, and deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong, or good and evil, (Eating off the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil). To repent, however, is to submit, or re-submit ourselves under God’s supreme authority, in obedience.
Again the Parable is about keeping God’s law, doing God’s will and repenting when we fail and knowing that God is willing to forgive and will welcome us back into the fold. Repentance also says that you ‘turn’ from your rebellion, or sin, and will keep the law that you earlier violated.
Also note, that in this parable we see that the Prodigal Son was ‘dead’ but then became ‘alive’ again. That’s what it means to be ‘born again’. It’s a true repentance of one who was previously a presumptuous sinner, who was lost – but with God’s help, found his way back to God, and now keeps God’s law as he submits to God’s authority as supreme. Most Christians need to be born again.
THE GREAT WEDDING BANQUET - MATTHEW 22:1-14
Some of those originally called to the wedding feast, were found not fit to attend. We can’t say this was the ‘Jewish nation’, because we know there were also righteous people within the Jewish nation, and all ‘believers’ at this time were Jews. We have to wonder, what made those that were not fit to attend the wedding? I think we can answer that question by looking at others who do come to wedding feast, and see what made them fit to attend.
We see the same wedding feast in the Book of the Revelation, and here we see what was required to attend. Revelation 19:7-9, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” A wedding garment was required, and what was the nature of the wedding garment? Was it the ‘Righteous robe of Christ’? No, it was not. The robe was a robe that bride had made for herself, and it consisted of the ‘righteous acts of the saints’. What characterized the ‘saints’? Revelation 14:12 tells us what makes up the character of the ‘saints’. It says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” So we can conclude from these two verses that the ‘righteous acts of the saints’ is to ‘keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus’. So enduring in the keeping the ‘commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus’ is the ‘righteous’ wedding garment.
Again, back to our Parable (Matthew 22:1-14). In verse 13, note what happens to the one that does not have the wedding garment, God’s servants were ordered to “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ That should be a familiar phrase for you. We heard it in Matthew 13:41b-42 it says “those who practice lawlessness, will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”. It’s the same judgment, the same fire and the same ‘lawless’ people. The ‘lawless’ will not be allowed into God’s kingdom but will be cast in a lake of fire because they do not have a robe of their own righteousness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:20 (NIV), “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”, Your own righteous is the wedding garment, or robe of righteousness.
Who are the lawless? Just to repeat this very important point, the lawless are not simply those who sin, we all sin. The lawless are those who do not believe that God’s law is for them. They reject all of God’s law, or parts of God’s law, and since they have rejected it, they don’t consider it a sin when the violate it. And thus they will never repent (we call those presumptuous sinners who commit by presumptuous sins). And in rejecting any of God’s law, they are rejecting His supreme authority.
In contrast to the presumptuous sinners, even those who accept God’s law and His authority to rule over them, they may from time to time fall to temptation, but they will feel remorse and repent of their sin (those are called unintentional sin, by unintentional sinners). Sins truly repented of will always be forgiven, God promises that. Proverbs 24:16 says, “Though a righteous man (unintentional sinner) falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked (presumptuous sinner, or lawless) will stumble into ruin.” According to this verse, ‘righteous’ person is not one who never sins, a ‘righteous’ person may fall to temptation, but they repent and they are still considered ‘righteous’. That a beautiful verse which gives us sinners hope of being righteous on Judgment Day. True repentance is the key. What is true repentance?
To repent literally means to ‘turn around’. So to repent from sin literally means to turn from sin. If sin is the transgression of God’s law (1John 3:4) then to repent from sin means to stop breaking, or transgressing, God’s law. Another way to say that is to ‘start keeping God’s law’. To outright reject any of God’s law(s) is to be ‘lawless’. Or we could say, to sin is to reject God’s authority as supreme, but to repent is to commit, or re-commit ourselves to God’s authority as supreme, by obedience.
Why are people lawless? There are probably a number of reasons, but perhaps the main reason is that they are deceived by the ‘church’. The ‘church’ tells people. ‘since Jesus died on the cross, they don’t need to keep the law of God’. They are even told that if they keep the law, they are turning their back on God’s grace. Others just have a divided heart, not fully committed to God, but perhaps committed to the cares of life. Then there are Jews that keep the Jewish traditions, or the ‘oral’ law and there are Christian who keep church doctrines – both of which nullify some or all of God’s law. (These are the reasons that the three soils didn’t produce fruit, in the Parable of the Soils). And it seems that at least some of the Jews at Jesus’ time, perhaps many, were lawless because they felt that they were entitled to the Kingdom base on their being a descendant of Abraham (Matthew 3:9) just as many people believe that they are saved because they are baptized ‘Christians’, or receive the sacraments, or attend church, or go to confession. When we believe that we are saved because we are ‘Jews’ or ‘Christians’ or ‘whatever’ then we are no longer have a need to do the will of God or keep His law – we believe that we are simply saved because of who we are – not what we are. All lost and deceive people need proper evangelism – they way Jesus did it – with parables that call for obedience to God’s laws and repentance when we fail.
THE VINEYARD LABORERS (MATTHEW 20:1-15)
In the parable of the laborers in the vineyard there is one wage. There is one wage in God’s kingdom, is salvation by God’s grace. Who gets salvation by God’s grace. It’s those whom He loves. And this parable is good news for mankind. It’s great news. We learn from this parable, what we learned from Ezekiel 18. Ezekiel 18 says that if a wicked man repents and does what is right, he will be judged as a ‘righteous’ person. In other words, any time before death, true repentance will make. even a wicked person, righteous. The righteous person receives salvation by God’s grace. Acts 3:19 (NKJV), “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”. Acts 5:31, “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Luke 3:3, “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
This parable teaches us that the ‘wage’ we receive for submitting to God’s authority is salvation, no more and no less. It doesn’t matter when you get saved (repent of your sins), early in life or late in life, that gift is salvation for all saved people. As in this parable we tend to think that the longer you do something (as work in a vineyard), the greater the pay. But Jesus is making a point there, salvation is a gift, not wages earned, and the late comers are given the same gift as those that submit to God’s authority early in life. We also see that God is actively calling, and seeking, all people to come to the ‘vineyard’ throughout their lives. Some come early and some come late, some never come. Coming to the ‘vineyard’ and submitting to owner’s (God) authority is an act of repentance, and those that are not in the ‘vineyard’ are not currently submitting to God’s authority. So coming to the ‘vineyard’ is analogous to receiving salvation through true repentance.
What is true repentance? In order to define repentance from sin we have to define ‘sin’. According to 1John 3:4 (NIV), “ Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”
Psalm 78:17, “But they sinned even more against Him By rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.”
Sin is rebelling against God’s authority and not keeping His law(s). Sin is simply breaking God’s law, or commandments. When we rebel against God’s authority, we have chosen another authority, or another god. So to repent of sin has to be to ‘stop breaking God’s law’. Or we could say to ‘start keeping God’s law’. A call to repentance is a call to start keeping God’s law(s). And that is the bottom line of this parable and many other parables.
What was Jesus’ evangelistic message to mankind?
The first and main message, in the New Testament is one of repentance because only repentance can put a sinner back in favor with God. Repentance is to stop rebelling against God’s authority, and to commit or recommit ourselves to His authority as supreme. Our supreme authority is our greatest of all our authorities. The New Testament message on repentance is a major theme, perhaps the major theme;
Repent was the first word of John the Baptist's gospel (Matthew 3:1-2).
Repent was the first word of Jesus' gospel (Matthew 4:14 and Mark 1:14-15).
Repent was the first word in the preaching ministry of the twelve disciples (Mark 6:12).
Repent was the first word in the preaching instructions Jesus gave to His disciples after His resurrection (Luke 24:46-47).
Repent was the first word of exhortation in the first Christian sermon (Acts 2:38).
Repent was the first word in the mouth of the Apostle Paul through his ministry (Acts 26:19-20).
Repentance is the major theme, because we are all by nature sinners, and only repentance can restore our relationship with God. God sent Jesus with the sole purpose to seek and save the lost. The only way that can happen is through repentance.
Jesus came as the Messiah to redeem God’s people, what was his message to them? His Gospel message could be summed up in his first words, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." (Matthew 4:17) and he also said, “I have not come to call righteous people, but sinners, to repentance.” And in Luke 5:32 he tells us, “ there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:7).
Jesus’ message from first to last was one of repentance, turning from law breaking to law keeping. That was the message given to him by the Father to give to mankind, calling them all to God’s vineyard. And then he told his apostles and disciples to take that message into all the world. Repentance was the message he gave his disciples to share with all people, Luke 24:47, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Oops, something went wrong, that’s not the message I hear preached in the churches. That’s not the message I hear from evangelist. Today’s message is the opposite, telling people that because of Jesus’ death, they can be lawless, and still be saved as long as they believe. That has to grieve the heart of God, and Jesus.
Jesus was an evangelist, and spoke much of what he said using parables. That message embedded in most, nearly all, of the parables is simply that we are to keep God’s law, the Torah, as Jesus said, (Matthew 5:17-20). Jesus said that we are to keep the ‘law and the prophets’ (all the Old Testament), every ‘jot and tittle’ until’ heaven and earth pass away’, and that is ‘our righteousness’ which we will need to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That was Jesus’ first message in the Sermon on the Mount, and that message did not change, nor did he compromise it throughout his stay on earth. Even 60 years after his ascension into heaven, and after Paul had come and gone, Jesus’ message did not change. We know that because that’s when he gave his last message to mankind, in the ‘Revelation’ to John, and he said, Revelation 12:17, “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” And in his last few sentences to mankind, Jesus said, (Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” Those who use Paul’s writings to nullify what Jesus said and promote lawlessness are dead wrong. How the ‘church’ rejects and denies Jesus’ message is baffling and astonishing.
And I know that some translation translate Revelation 22:14 different, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” But that makes no difference, for according to Revelation 19:7-8, one washes their robe by doing ‘righteous acts’. Righteousness is defined in the Scriptures as ‘doing God’s commandments’. So both translations mean the same. ‘Doing the commandments of God’ is ‘washing your robe’. The need for ‘washing your robe’ means it was dirty with sin. Washing is done by repentance, which is turning from breaking God’s law to keeping God’s law. Repent and your sins will be blotted out and your robe will be made clean, Acts 3:19, “ Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, …” White as snow.
From the start of Jesus’ ministry (Jesus’ first sermon, Matthew 5-7) until his last words to mankind, after the resurrection and ascension (Revelation 22) Jesus never compromised his message; to inherit eternal life you must keep the commandments of God. Yet the Christian Church has failed to take that message to the world. The message the ‘church’ takes to the world is in opposition and contrary to Jesus’ message. By the church’s message it allows, and even promotes, lawlessness by telling the people that the greater their sin the greater God’s grace to forgive. But the church fails to tell people that there is no saving grace and no forgiveness, apart from true repentance. And then telling people what true repentance is.
John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
I know that I have printed here doesn’t all agree with what your ‘Christian’ church teaches. So if you think that I’m confused, then that’s OK, because then Jesus is confused too. I’m in good company,
How did Jesus use his parables? Jesus’ idea of evangelism is to turn the lost sinner into a saved saint through teaching them that God requires them to keep the ‘law and prophets’ and to humbly repent when we fail. And to know, God is will and waiting to take you back.