|Luke 11 |
1 Now it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
2 [The Lord's Prayer has been repeated many, many times. But the real meaning has been hidden from most over the centuries. For that reason, a short explanation is added for each verse. Bracketed text is commentary or clarification.]
And he said to them, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.1 [The kingdom comes to those who seek the Kingdom as their first priority in life, which kingdom is within and around us and does not come with visible or outward signs. When translated into the Kingdom while still on earth, Your will may be done by us, (with Your thoughts, words, and deeds prompted by You to us), on the earth, just as Your will is done by those in heaven. For when we are in Your kingdom, we hear You tell us what to say, judge as You tell us to judge, and do what You show us to do — as Jesus did when He was on earth. With God ordering and controlling our thoughts, words, and deeds, everything we do and say is pure, virtuous, and perfect; then we are righteous, having been restored to the spiritual image of God: Christ. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but [only] he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Mat 7:21. To enter heaven, we must walk on the earth as He walked, 1 John 2:6, and as He is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17.]
3 Give us each day our daily bread. [Jesus said: Do not labor for food that perishes, but for the food that endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you. I am the bread of life, the bread from heaven. For it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63. Your daily bread is to quietly listen and hear the Lord speak words to you with encouragement, teachings, convictions, and commands. Blessed are those who hear the word of God [within your heart] and keep [obey] it. Luke 11:28. You must listen — hear and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21. All your holy ones are in your power. And they sit at your feet, each receiving your words. Deu 33:3]
4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." [Unless you give up anger, hate, and resentment, you will not be forgiven. If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Temptation: God will never allow a temptation to come on us, greater than what we are capable of withstanding; but he definitely allows temptations to come our way so that we either grow stronger in resisting them; or in falling to them, suffer the pain of sin to motivate our improvement. Evil: The evil this prayer references is the evil in every man's heart: his own selfishness, pride, covetousness, profane thoughts and words, lusts, sexual immorality, anger, greed, lying, cheating, drunkenness, stealing, etc. Jesus is the savior, the deliverer, the redeemer — who destroys the sin and evil in your heart, which has defiled you. Jesus, with your persistence to the end, will deliver you from the power of darkness, and will translate you into his kingdom while you are still on earth, Col 1:13, John 14:3,17:24 Eph 2:5-6.]
5 Then he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 For a friend of mine on his journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?'
7 And he will answer from within, 'Do not trouble me; the door is shut now, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give you anything.'
8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as much as he needs.
9 So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. [From the Word of the Lord within: "He told us it was not enough to seek God, we must seek with all our heart and soul. You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart."]
10 For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks [persistently] finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened.2 [The Lord told us above all else to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness; with a higher priority than seeking food or clothing. Mat 6:33. Then he told us the one thing that was needed: to sit at His feet and listen to His words that he speaks to you, Luke 10:39-42; we sit at his feet by waiting in silence, listening, and watching while thinking of the name of Jesus. John carefully states: "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15. Unless you have crucified your sinful nature, to receive his Spirit in sufficient measure to reveal His will, you have no idea what His will is. This is why the vast majority of prayers, made in the carnal minds of beginning believers, are never answered. When we can do His will, we hear what to pray from Him, and we know for sure such prayers are heard and will be granted. A true Christian is crucified and purified by the grace of God, able to do God's will on earth as it is done in heaven; that is a true Christian's sole purpose: to pray, to speak, and to act as God directs, thus to bring pleasure, honor, and glory to God. From the Word of the Lord within: "Pray only as you are told."]
11 If a son asks bread from any of you who is a father, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent instead of a fish?
12 Or if he asks for an egg, will offer him a scorpion?
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb. And when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke; and the people wondered.
15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons through Beelzebub, the chief of the demons."
16 And others, testing him, demanded of him a sign from heaven.
17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against itself will fall.
18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons through Beelzebub.
19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, no doubt the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his palace, his possessions are safe.
22 But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he will take from him all the armor on which he trusted and divide up his possessions.
23 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.3 [You may think you are helping to save people by witnessing to them, but if you haven't been authorized, sent under direct orders, and only speaking words heard from the Spirit immediately before speaking, you are seeking your own glory, (not God's), and you are scattering the true sheep; any converts you make, are twice as fit for hell as yourself.]
24 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it walks through dry places, seeking rest. And finding none, it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'
25 And when it comes, it finds it swept and decorated.
26 Then it goes, and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last condition of that man is worse than the first."
27 Now it came to pass, that as he spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you have sucked."
28 But he said, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God [within your heart] and keep [practice, obey] it." [This is one of the critical verses to be understood. The Greek for word in this verse is logon <3056> which in English means: 1) of speech; 1a) a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea; 1b) what someone has said. Hearing someone read words from the Bible is not blessed; but when you hear the word of God within your heart speak to you, you are blessed with receiving a small measure of the life of God, (Jesus is the life); for the words Jesus speaks to you impart the life of God to you. John 6:63. From the Word of the Lord within: "Faith is to hear the Word of God and obey. Hear and live; the Spirit gives life with every word heard."]
29 And when the people were gathered together, he began to say, "This is an evil generation; they seek a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonas the prophet.
30 For as Jonas was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.
31 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
32 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonas, and behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
33 No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a bushel, but on a lamp stand, so that those who come in may see the light.4 [There is no such thing as a secret, true Christian, who has entered the Kingdom of Heaven, in union with God, to become a light. God does not hide his lights of the earth. A child of the light, walking in the light of God, hears all words to say and sees all deeds to done while being powered by God's Spirit — thus his words and works show the love of God to the world and bring honor, glory, and joy to God. When a person becomes a son of light, walking in the light, his light will shine brightly in the darkness of this world. From the word of the Lord within: " I have come as a light to the world so that whoever believes in me shall not abide in darkness. I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. Walking in the light is to be guided through life by God; walking in darkness is making your own decisions as to what to do and say. All sin is darkness. The whole world lies in wickedness; the wickedness knows no shame. Darkness mocks the earth; darkness covers the earth.]
34 The light of the body is the eye [spiritual eye, the eye of the heart]. Therefore when your eye is sound [clear without beams or specs], your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil, your body is full of darkness. [Jesus said he came to make blind those who said they could see, (who thought they understood righteousness), and to make the blind, (those who knew they were not righteous), to see. The Jews had great knowledge of the scriptures, but were spiritually blind because they had no light; they had not been listening to the Word of the Lord in their heart, and so they thought Jesus was evil. Their spiritual ears were stopped and their spiritual eyes were closed; they had not been taught and changed by the Spirit of God and so had no light to see by. Until taught by the Holy Spirit, like all men, the Jews were in darkness. No amount of scripture study can produce light to dispel darkness. From the word of the Lord within: "Light does not come from outside the heart. Light comes from faith in the voice."]
35 Be careful, therefore, that the light which is in you is not darkness.
36 If your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be completely illumined as when a lamp illumines you with its rays. " [To have your body full of light is to walk by the light of God, instead of the light of the sun and moon. Then your darkness will be like the sun at noon. The light is so bright, one is unable to see the world as he now sees it, ever again; the world as you have known and have seen it will have passed away.]
37 Now as he spoke, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him, and he went in and sat down to eat.
38 And the Pharisee saw and marveled that he had not first washed before dinner.
39 And the Lord said to him, "You Pharisees make the outside of the cup and the platter clean, but your inward part is full of greed and lusts [ravening] and wickedness. [Everyone's heart must be purged from sin by the grace of God that mortifies the sin within you, providing you seek to hear Him guide you and then obey Him. Jesus said, For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lack of restraint, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within a man and defile him. Mark 7:21-23. ]
40 You fools, did not he who made the outside make that which is within also?
41 But rather give from a cleansed heart, and behold, all things will be clean to you.5 [We all must go to Jesus, to sit in humble silence, hear his teachings, and then obey Him; if we do that, He will cleanse our hearts. If the Pharisees' hearts had been cleansed, they would not be concerned about ceremonial washing.]
42 But woe to you, Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you should have done and not left the other undone.
43 Woe to you, Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the markets.
44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like unmarked graves, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them."
45 Then one of the lawyers said to him, "Master, saying this, you reproach us also."
46 And he said, "Woe to you also, you lawyers! For you load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and you yourselves do not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
47 Woe to you! For you rebuild the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.
48 Truly you testify that you approve the deeds of your fathers. For they indeed killed them and you rebuild their tombs.6
49 Because of this, the wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute.'
50 So that the blood of all the prophets shed from the foundation of the world will be required of this generation,
51 From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the temple. Truly I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.
52 Woe to you, religious lawyers! For you have taken away the key to knowledge. You do not enter in yourselves, and you are hindering those who were entering."7
53 Now as he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to oppose him vehemently and to provoke him to speak of many things,
54 Lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch him in something he might say, so that they might accuse him.
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1 Your kingdom come. When is His kingdom coming?
Now when he was questioned by the Pharisees, as to when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with outward signs to be observed. Nor will they say, 'Look here!' or, 'Look over there!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you and around you." Luke 17:20-21
The time has come, and the kingdom of God is at hand [near]; repent and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15
Notice, he said, the time has come, the Kingdom is near. He is not talking about a Kingdom thousands of years later. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying that some then standing with him, 2000 years ago, would see his glorious coming with the Kingdom before they died. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying all the end times prophesies would be fulfilled before the generation of 2000 years ago died, (click here to see all).
To avoid being banished from heaven when we die, we must enter the kingdom while we are still alive on the earth:
Giving thanks to the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated [past tense] us into the kingdom of his dear Son; [where you are raised up together to sit with Christ in heaven.]
And when we were dead in our sins, He brought us to life in union and fellowship with Christ...and has raised us up together [with Christ], and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:5-6
Jesus commanded us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness as our first priority in life.
take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or, 'What shall we drink?' or, 'With what shall we be clothed?'
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need these.
But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you . Mat 6:31-33
And how do we seek the kingdom and His righteousness? Jesus tells us how: it is not by reading the Bible, it is not by going to a building and listening to someone talk, it is not by asking God for what you want. You must go to him. You must wait on him — listen silently, with the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace. Wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. You must listen, hear, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21. You must endure to the end, when Christ brings salvation. Seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut 4:29.
Jesus said: "There is only one thing needed, and Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." —
to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear his word; the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving, Luke 10:39-42, John 6:63
Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. John 18:37,10:27
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Only a perfect man can do his will on earth as the angels do his will in heaven; God must specifically direct anything done or said for him, just like he did for Jesus when he walked the earth; Jesus did not judge, speak, or act without the Spirit's specific prompting. Quoting Jesus:
Of myself I can do nothing. I judge only as I hear. John 5:30
for I have not spoken of myself, but the Father, who sent me, himself commands me what I should say and what I should speak. John 12:49-50
The Son can do nothing of Himself (by his own will), but only does what he sees the Father do. John 5:19
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him,
that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. John 7:18
Any man who speaks of God or Christ without the Spirit's specifically supplied words is seeking his own glory, and he is estimating himself to be greater than Christ, for Christ said: The disciple is not above his master, but everyone who is perfect [purified, restored to the spiritual image of God, specifically authorized, and perfected] will be like his master. Luke 6:40
Think about it. Only a perfect man can properly do works for God. To do works for God, a man has to be able to hear and see precisely how God wants the works done; he has to be able to speak only words supplied by God. Otherwise the works would not be perfectly done; and if works were done imperfectly, they would reflect poorly on God, making God appear unrighteous and imperfect. And so, no imperfect works are acceptable by God: Wake up and be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I have not found your works perfect before God. Rev 3:2
But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God. John 3:21
Now the God of peace...Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, Heb 13:20-21
Even worldly corporations extensively train their representatives before letting them loose on the public to "represent" the company. And so God insists that he should teach and perfect his representatives, (disciple them himself to perfection ), that "represent" him before sending them. When we are discipled to perfection, authorized, and specifically sent by God, we can show the world the wisdom and love of God by works and words that are directed by him. When you have been delivered (freed) from the sins and evil in your heart, God's light will shine forth in your heart, to guide your thoughts, words, deeds.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, Eph 2:10
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity [lawless deeds, sin], and purify for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. Tit 2:14
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mat 5:16
To become a servant, one does not read about other servants, quoting their words. To be a servant, you must hear what your master orders you to do, and then you must obey; everything else is presumptive service. Think about it; would you want to employ someone who cannot hear your orders, and who only does what he assumes you want done? Even worse is many servants doing whatever they presume you want done — no one following directions — everyone following their own ideas. To follow Jesus is to hear and obey His spoken-to-you commands. Only when you hear Him tell you what to do, when to do it, and what words to speak, can you serve God.
2 So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks [persistently] finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened. This scripture, taken by itself, illustrates the common error of Christendom, which takes a few scriptures out of context, creating false doctrines such as: to believe that all you have to do is knock, and it is opened; or just ask, and it is granted; or seek and you will find; or anyone who believes is saved; or anyone who calls on the name of the Lord is saved, or anyone who says "Jesus is Lord" is saved.
Regarding asking to receive: John carefully states, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him," 1 John 5:14-15; but unless you have crucified your sinful nature, to receive his Spirit in sufficient measure to reveal His will, you have no idea what His will is. This is why the vast majority of prayers, made in the carnal minds of beginning believers, are never answered. Until you are able to pray always in the Spirit, (hearing what the Lord desires you to pray immediately before praying), sit and wait in humble silence, hopeful of eventually becoming righteous: able to pray, praise, worship, speak, and act perfectly according to the will of God. From the Word of the Lord within: "Pray only as told. If told what to pray for, they can be extremely effective; to pray as heard — righteous expectation. Master following. Follow precisely; do not deviate. Everyone hear what the Spirit says; this you do. You do as God has directed and only that; we do as He tells us." There is an exception heard from the Lord by a reader of this site, as loud as someone standing next to him, and there is scripture to prove it: "I only hear a prayer of a righteous man and a prayer of a sinner who comes to repent." God does not hear sinners, John 9:31; God does not hear sinners complacent in their sins, who are not striving to repent and turn from their evil ways. But if a sinner goes to God in humility, and asks for his help to become free from evil, or even asks God to show him if there is anything standing between them, then God will certainly hear and answer. For he would have us all to be free from sin to enter his kingdom.
Regarding knocking or calling him Lord: Afterwards the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us to enter.' But he answered and said, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Mat 25:11-12. Obviously their knocking at the door did no good.
Regarding seeking: seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you. Mat 6:33
Seek the LORD your God, and you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deu 4:29
he rewards those who diligently seek him. Heb 11:6. Yes, you will find God if you seek him as the highest priority in your life, if you seek him with all your heart and all your soul, and if you diligently (continually attending to and striving to achieve a goal; laborious; persevering) seek him. How do you seek Him? Not by going to sect meetings; not by reading about him; not by talking to Him; but by waiting on Him: The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. Lam 3:25. You must wait, watch, and listen for His words to be spoken to you.
Further in regard of calling him Lord: Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but [only] he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven... I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who work iniquity' [sin, lawlessness, or wickedness]. Mat 7:21-23
Jesus said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Mark 7:6
Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46-49. Obviously, calling Jesus Lord did these believers no good, who in His name had cast out demons and performed many wonderful miracles; they lost everything and were banished from his presence — sent to darkness, sent to Hell.
When you read a contract, don't you look for the qualifying conditions and then the exclusions? Do the same with the promises of God. Don't let the fast talking salesmen (preachers) take your money for something they cannot make good on their promise; you are paying money for bread that is not bread and you labor without satisfaction. Isa 55:2
3 He who does not gather with me scatters. When you don't work according to the Lord's direct specific instructions heard and addressed to you, you do him harm; you scatter the true sheep. You cannot be working for the Lord unless you hear him tell you exactly what to do, when to do it, and exactly what to say. Otherwise you are like Nimrod, hunting in front of the Lord. You may think you are "saving" people by preaching to them, but if you haven't been authorized, sent under direct orders, only speaking words heard from the Spirit immediately before speaking, you are seeking your own glory, (not God's), and the converts you make, are twice as fit for hell as yourself.
So-called Christians, with evil still in their hearts, are told by their sects to witness to others. In some African countries, churches go beyond simple witnessing and stress that their members must win souls, teaching that: 1) they are responsible for saving their neighbors and friends, 2) their heavenly reward is dependent on the number of people they have saved, and 3) if they don't at least preach to their neighbors, they will go to Hell with them. Yet the converts such people make are twice as much as child of Hell as themselves; and they are scattering the true sheep because they are evangelizing without the specific instructions and words of the Lord, so that they are gathering with Him. To gather with Him, you must be specifically sent by His specific orders to you, and you must then only speak words heard from the Spirit immediately before speaking; if you are deciding with your brain what to say, you are speaking from yourself and seeking your own glory, not God's glory. To be seeking God's glory and not your own, you must first be sent and then only speak words heard from the Spirit immediately before speaking. Even simple witnessing is seeking your own glory and your words scatter the true sheep.
4 No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a bushel, but on a lamp stand, so that those who come in may see the light. There is no such thing as a secret, true Christian, who has entered the Kingdom of Heaven, in union with God, to become a light. God does not hide his lights of the earth. In 17th Century England, when tens of thousands early Quakers entered the kingdom, the Lord said to George Fox: "If only one man or woman were raised by his power, to stand and live in the same spirit that the prophets and apostles were in who gave forth the scriptures, that man or woman should shake all the country in their profession for ten miles round." For people had the scriptures, but were not in the same light, power, and spirit, in which were those who gave forth the scriptures: so they neither knew God, Christ, nor the scriptures aright; nor had they unity one with another, being out of the power and spirit of God. And the Lord certainly did not hide George Fox under a bushel; he was the most famous man in England for his time. Even Oliver Cromwell, the revolutionary "Lord Protector," who deposed King Charles I, was awed by George Fox.
5 And the Lord said to him, "You Pharisees make the outside of the cup and the platter clean, but your inward part is full of greed and lusts [ravening] and wickedness. You fools, did not he who made the outside make that which is within also? But rather give from a cleansed heart, and behold, all things will be clean to you. Do not read this and assume it only applies to the Jewish Pharisees. Jesus is telling us all that we must have a cleansed heart; our inward parts are full of greed and lusts and wickedness, until he cleanses us, until he purifies us, until he washes us, until he frees us from all sin, until he perfects us — until then we are nothing but selfish beasts, completely unfit to be in the company of God. Outside appearances count for nothing with God. He looks to our hearts to see what it is that we harbor and treasure: be it Him; or be it sexual immorality, money, power, prestige, envy, anger, hate, pride, etc. In Matthew 23, Jesus said it even stronger:
You clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. First cleanse what is within the cup and platter, so that the outside of them may be clean also. For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness...you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity [sin]. Mat 23:25-28
Jesus tells us what defiles our hearts and must be destroyed:
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.
These are the things that defile a man; Mat 15:19-20
Whatever comes out of the man is what defiles the man.
For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lack of restraint, an evil eye [envy], blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
All these evil things come from within a man, and defile him. Mark 7:20-23
Paul clearly states what is sin and the consequences of sin:
But to those who are selfishly ambitious [selfish], and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; those receive indignation and wrath,
Affliction and distress; upon every soul of man who does evil [sins], of the Jew first and also of the Gentile;
For all [the non-Jews] who [continue to] sin without the law will also perish without the law; and all [the Jews] who [continue to] sin under the law will be judged by the law;
For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do [obey] by instinct the things contained in the law, these men who do not have the law, are a law to themselves.
Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, and their conscience also bears witness; while their thoughts accuse or else excuse them.
All this occurs in the day when God will judge the secrets of men's hearts by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. Rom 2:8-9,12,16
The acts of the sinful nature include sexual immorality (including adultery and fornication), impurity, lust, idolatry (including covetousness), sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousy, anger, ambition, divisiveness, factions, envy, drunkenness, revelry (partying), etc.
...those do practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21
You can be sure: No sexually immoral, or impure, or covetous person, who is an is idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with vain words. For because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Eph 5:5-6
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor passive male homosexual partners, nor dominant male homosexual partners,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor oppressive cheaters; these will not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor 6:9-10
Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 1 Cor 15:50
The flesh and blood he is referencing, means that if you are still walking according to your fleshly lusts and desires, not walking according to the promptings of the Spirit, then you cannot inherit the Kingdom of God:
For those who live according to the flesh, aim in satisfying things of the flesh; but those who live after the Spirit, aim to satisfy the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.
So then those who are in the flesh [live in their sinful nature] cannot please God. Rom 8:5-8
Jesus is eager to free us from sin, to cleanse us, to make us fit for his fellowship while on the earth, and fit to be in union with Him in the kingdom of Heaven forever, but we must go to him, we must sit in humble silence, we must wait, we must listen, we must watch, we must hear, and we must obey. The words we hear him speak to us impart the life of God to us. John 6:63. By waiting on God, we receive the teachings of grace, the convictions of grace, and the removal of sin by grace, ending in our salvation by grace; this is the way of the cross — the only way — any other way you have been told is a blatant lie.
Look at Jesus, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Heb 7:26. If Jesus is separate from sinners, where do sinners-saved-by-grace go? They don't go to heaven with Jesus because he is separate from sinners! Jesus expelled Satan and his angels from heaven because they sinned. Jesus expelled Adam and Eve from paradise because they sinned. Now sinning Christians have been told they will go to heaven, but Jesus is separate from sinners. Sinning Christians have been told they are the bride of Christ, to be married to Jesus; but Jesus is separate from sinners. The ministers tell sinning Christians that they are part of the body of Christ, but Jesus is separate from sinners. How could a sinner become a part of Jesus, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, without defiling himself and everyone with him? The ministers of Christendom are telling their followers fables, just like Paul predicted: For the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap [accumulate in piles] to themselves teachers after their own lusts, who will say what their itching ears want to hear; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and will be turned to fables. 2 Tim 4:3-4. But we can become the bride of Christ, and we can become part of Christ's body, and we can be in heaven with Jesus, IF we go to him to be cleansed and purified. This cleansing and purification is necessary and is the result of denying yourself and taking up the cross of obedience. There are no sinners-saved-by-grace; there are only former-sinners-saved-by-grace. To be saved is to be delivered from sins; so a sinner-saved-by-grace is an oxymoron. If you're still a little unsure as to whether you are a sinner or not, read What is Sin and Its Consequences?
If you die still sinning, you would be absolutely miserable in heaven; all your pleasures and desires, having not been crucified while on earth, are not available in heaven, and you would be miserable without them. You would be yearning for the old wine, which you think is better than the new wine because you have not been prepared, crucified, purified, (the new wineskin), and freed from lusts, anger, sexual desires, resentment, envy, greed, lying, jealousy, foolishness, revelry, drunkenness, pleasures, etc. Even your thoughts would be heard by everyone around you; you would be terrified and wanting to run to darkness where you hope your thoughts would not be heard by everyone. A man must crucify his lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial before he can enjoy fellowship in the heavens.
6 Truly you testify that you approve the deeds of your fathers. For they indeed killed them and you rebuild their tombs. This verse is confusing and appears to be slightly mistranslated. Matthew 23:29-32 is the parallel to this, but makes much more sense:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous,
And say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have been partakers with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the children of those who killed the prophets.
Fill up then, the measure of the sins of your forefathers. Mat 23:29-32
For Jesus to be killed by the Jews who thought they were doing God a favor, is not without precedent. Many of the Jewish prophets were killed by the ruling class of Israel, who considered themselves to be very religious; a those murdered by the Jewish authorities include:
Just as Jesus and many of the true prophets were killed, so were Stephen, James, and many other early Christians. Jesus said: the time is coming when whoever kills you will think that he is doing a service to God. John 16:2. Jesus is talking about religious people: those who believe they are doing God a service by killing his disciples, whom they consider to be heretics. The people of the world, particularly the religious people of the world, will hate and persecute anyone truly born of the Spirit of Christ. Why? Because those born of the Spirit will tell the religious people of the world that their religion is in vain. Just like Jesus told the Jews, and they killed him. Just like the early Quakers told the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Puritans, and Baptists, who killed over 800 of the early Quakers, hanging four in Boston. But as it was then, he who was born after the flesh persecuted him who was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal 4:29. All who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Tim 3:12. And so when those disciples of Jesus appear again, who have truly been purified, crucified, and perfected, they too will be massively persecuted by Christendom once more.
7 Beware! The people to whom Christ spoke the harshest words, were the money changers in the temple and to the religious teachers of the day, the Pharisees. His severe criticisms included: (click to see them all)
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces; for you neither enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are about to go in to do so. Mat 23:13. Woe to you, religious lawyers, for you have taken away the key to knowledge. You do not enter in yourselves, and you are hindered those who were entering." Luke 11:52
If your preacher is not not leading others into the Kingdom of God within (while alive on earth — not having to die first), he also is blocking the way just like the Pharisees whom Jesus severely criticized. If his teachings are not focused as a first priority of seeking the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, which is within you and does not come with visible signs, he is just like the Pharisees whom Christ severely criticized. If he is preaching that you must die to go to heaven, he is blocking the way into the Kingdom; and you are being led by a blind guide who leads his followers into the ditch and into captivity.
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