|Luke 18 |
1 Then he spoke a parable to them, that men should always pray and not lose heart or give up,
2 Saying, "There was a judge in a city who neither feared God nor respected man.
3 And there was a widow in that city who came to him, saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.'
4 And for a while he would not; but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor respect man,
5 Because this widow troubles me, I will defend her, lest by her continual coming she wears me out.'"
6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge said.
7 And shall God not bring justice to his own elect, who cry day and night to him; will he delay help on their behalf?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
9 Then he spoke this parable to those who trusted in themselves and were sure that they were righteous and disdained others:
10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus within himself, 'God, I thank you, that I am not like other men: robbers, swindlers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'
13 But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."2
15 Now they also brought infants to him that he might touch them, but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them to him and said, "Allow little children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God. [We must go to him like little children trust their parents for He is kind, gentle, pure, easily understood, easily accepted, peaceable, complete, morally correct, encouraging — never with even a hint of sarcasm, bitterness, or condemnation — never upbraiding — never incomplete, leaving you guessing what he wants; instead His words are full of love itself — his spirit of Love — for he is Love. He will tell you things about Himself. He will encourage you. He is kindness. He will tell or show you things about yourself; some will be things that are ugly. But since he is your friend, you know that he is showing them to you for your own good. So you listen and watch. And you don't run; you stand before the Son of Man; and you repent of what he shows you.]
17 Truly I say to you, whoever will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."2
18 Then a certain ruler asked him, saying, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call you me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.3
20 You know the commandments:4 'Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother.'" [Notice! Jesus did not say that you must keep all the commandments; He listed only those that make up the moral core of the Law, which is included in the law that is written on every man's heart, by which all men shall be judged by God, and which has never been annulled or canceled.]
21 And he said, "I have kept all these from my youth up."
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said to him, "You still lack one thing: sell all that you have and give to the poor,5 and you will have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me." [To have eternal life, (which is the life of God), we must follow the moral commandments, (which are a part of the law on every man's heart), give to the poor, and then follow Him. We follow Him by exposing ourselves to hear his commands and then obey them; we deny our will and submit to His commands — that is the cross all men must bear to the death of self, to attain salvation, to attain eternal life. From the Word of the Lord within: "You must have a devotion to the law that is on every man's heart; you must listen; and you must obey."]
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!6
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
26 And those who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?" [Notice! Jesus has just linked three events in verses 18-26 that all occur together: 1) eternal life, 2) the Kingdom of God, and 3) being saved, which is salvation. Salvation is to be freed from all sin, even the desire to sin; when you have been saved, you are translated into the Kingdom of God to enjoy eternal life, while on earth and forever.]
27 And he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
28 Then Peter said, "Lo, we have left all and followed you."
29 And he said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children for the kingdom of God's sake,
30 Who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting."
31 Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be fulfilled.
32 For he will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit on.
33 And they will flog him and put him to death; and the third day he will rise again."
34 And they did not understand any of these things. The meaning was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.
35 And it came to pass, as he came near Jericho that a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging.
36 And hearing the crowd pass by, he asked what was happening.
37 And they told him, "Jesus of Nazareth passes by."
38 And he cried, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me."
39 And those who led the way rebuked him, telling him to be quite; but he cried even more, "Son of David, have mercy on me."
40 And Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him,
41 "What do you want me to do for you?" And he said, "Lord, let me receive my sight."
42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight! Your faith has saved you."
43 And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, glorifying God; and when they saw it, all the people praised God.
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1 Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus within himself, 'God, I thank you, that I am not like other men: robbers, swindlers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'
But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
When entering prayers to listen for God, you cannot go thinking you are saved and there to claim a gift or demand a prayer to be answered based on your supposed righteousness. You have to go to him, knowing you are burdened with a selfish, sinful nature, which you hope the Lord will fully reveal and remove, making you fit to be a part of him. You must approach God in humility.
The Pharisee was not just lacking humility, he was very judgmental. From the word of the Lord within: "Be blind to the faults of others." In addition, his claim of righteousness was to fast and tithe, (sacrifices and dead works), but nothing about love, pity, or mercy; his heart had not been changed by listening to and following the Lord's voice. The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13.
God does not hear sinners, John 9:31, who are 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, and for that purpose Jesus stands ready to redeem us from all iniquity and purify us, to produce the fruit of the spirit, thus to bring glory to the father; for by your producing much fruit, my Father is honored and glorified, and you show that you are truly my disciples [true followers]. John 15:8. Heard from the Lord by a reader of this site, as loud as someone standing next to him, "I only hear a prayer of a righteous man and a prayer of a sinner who comes to repent."
A righteous man has been freed from sin; all sin is unrighteousness, 1 John 5:17. To be righteous, one must practice righteousness as did Jesus practice righteousness: Little children, let no man deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7. From the Word of the Lord within: "there is a righteousness imputed at death;" death of your selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial, when you receive the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law, to then walk in love, obeying the continuous commands of Christ. When we possess the fullness of Christ, that ends imputation, and we will be righteous as He is righteous.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16. An effectual prayer is one in which the Spirit of God supplies the words to pray; from the Word of the Lord within: "If told what to pray for, they can be extremely effective."
2 Whoever will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Mark! You cannot please God unless you have crucified your lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial. You must be restored to the innocence of a little child. You must be purified, to become as innocent as the day you were born. Otherwise, you will be banned from heaven. And, this can only be done by the grace of God's changing power, to purge the desires and pride from your heart by faith, making you fit for the company of heaven.
3 Why do you call you me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. Jesus is not denying he is good, he is chastising the rich ruler who he heard him insincerely call him Good Teacher or Good Master, as a flattering, insincere, address, as was the custom of the day. He was addressing Jesus' as a good man, not as the divine son of God. The man also called him Teacher, which violated Christ's teachings of call no man Master or Teacher, since only God is your master and your teacher is the anointing, Christ. Since Jesus said, My Father and I are one; obviously Jesus knew he was good!
4 What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus replied: keep the commandments. Notice Jesus did not say to the man, you have eternal life, because you believe in me. Rather, Jesus said to enter into life, (the eternal life of God, directed and energized by his Spirit), you must keep the commandments. And then he lists those he must keep: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. He listed the moral core of the Mosaic law that is a part of the inner law on every man's heart. Then he told him he must sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow him. So where is instant salvation by saying a prayer, getting wet, and eating grape juice and bread? Not only must we keep the commandments, we must follow Jesus. How do we follow Jesus? We silently listen and obey him teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; so he will redeem us from all iniquity and purify us to become his special people, zealous for good works; good works as directed by him to his glory. These verses should stop the mouths of all who say, "just to believe in Jesus is enough." There is no arguing around this; Jesus has told us that to be saved, one must keep the moral core of the commandments, take up your cross, and follow him.
5 sell all that you have and give to the poor. Does this mean you must sell everything you own and give the money away to the poor? Sell your house? Sell your car? Sell your tools? Sell your clothes? Sell your furniture? Sell your business? Sell your stocks in your 401-K? NO! Jesus was addressing a rich young man, who was very self-confident, full of pride and self-righteousness. He claimed he kept the commandments since his youth, including to love his neighbor as himself, which is impossible to completely obey without the changing power of God to rid yourself of your selfish human nature on the inward cross of self-denial, as the Spirit mortifies your selfish nature that serves your body. So Jesus showed him what still stood between himself and God — his possessions, which were many. As you seek the changing grace of God, you must come to God with no reservations in your life; we must forsake all to be his disciple, Luke 14:33. But to forsake or renounce does not mean sell them all. We must do two things in this regard:
a) We must be ready to give up anything that he asks. There must be nothing that we reserve as unable to part with. Those things that we must deny in order to progress, the Lord will tell us to get rid of them. But most things will just fade into lack of importance as we draw closer to God. From the Word of God within: "Whatever God commands, whether it be dying on the cross, we obey; however financially strait, however it affects our reputation, however ruinous."
b) We must distribute liberally to the poor, from our excess possessions and money. We still have to provide for our families and meet our obligations; the Lord wants us to continue to do that well. But what we have beyond our needs, we need to distribute to the poor, either directly or through charities that specifically assist the poor. We need to sell any possessions that we do not need and give the proceeds to the poor.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Practice random acts of kindness." Acts of kindness can be to our spouses, children, fellow workers in our occupation, neighbors, strangers — anyone in need of a little assistance. Notice the word random in the previous message. Random is the opposite of systematic, scheduled, continuous, periodic, etc. Why? So that you will not become so occupied with your efforts that you lose the necessary focus of seeking God with all you heart; and to sit, wait, watch, listen, and obey. Acts of kindness include giving to the poor; so with our excess we respond in secret with kindness to those in need that come in front of our face, and/or we can financially support charities; but we don't take up a cause that absorbs our time. Until you have seen Jesus appear in your heart to guide you and bring your salvation, ignore any messages you hear that order or encourage you to spend significant time away from waiting on Him.
We satisfy those randomly encountered needs only if we have excess funds to satisfy them; and if possible, we should restrain our own expenditures, so that we have excess funds available — in other words, we should always maintain savings so that we can respond randomly to those needs that we encounter randomly. Aside from being able to respond to randomly encountered needs of kindness, financial common sense is to also maintain savings to respond to to periods of unemployment and unanticipated expenses necessary for our own lives; so we don't give away any of that necessary cushion of savings. Further, if we are a business owner, we also maintain significant savings so that our business can survive and/or adjust if there is a downturn in demand or some crisis that reduces our revenue; neither do we give away any of that necessary cushion of savings.
Finally, you must repeatedly be eager to know what stands in the way of your spiritual progress, eager for the Lord to show and tell you. He too is eager to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, Tit 2:12.
The records of the many purified, Kingdom-dwelling, Early Quaker men and women on this site, had houses, horses, carriages, farms, businesses, etc. They had clearly not sold everything they owned to become paupers; but they also liberally distributed to the poor and to those in need, particularly to fellow Christians, but to the general population too.
6 How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! So what should a rich man do to enter the Kingdom? He must liberally give from his excess. He cannot hold on to his riches, without sharing with those who lack the necessities of life — the poor, which does not include giving to sects or tithing. The wrong is to have excess, over and above what you need to live, while being aware of people, wherever they are, in need of the necessities of life without contributing to their relief. Perhaps you have to look beyond the borders of you own country to find those people and/or charities with genuine needs. But there is need throughout the third world for life-sustaining contributions. (Note! People in need, does not include those who refuse to take available jobs and chose to beg instead, pretending they have needs.) When you close your ears and heart to the poor, you have closed your heart to God. When you give to the poor, you have given to God. What you do for the least of mankind, you have done for God, Mat 25:32-45.
There is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from the earth, and the needy from among men. Pro 30:14.
The righteous considers the needs of the poor; but the wicked decides not to recognize what condition they are in. Pro 29:7.
He that oppresses the poor, reproaches his Maker; but he that honors Him, (his Maker), has mercy on the needy. Pro 14:31.
Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself; but shall not be heard. Pro 21:13 .
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