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Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ

In this world where most people want to keep to traditions and want to prefer to follow human doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines, the one wanting to believe what God says about Jesus often feels how difficult it is to follow in line with God’s Words.

Many of us have had to endure hardships because we chose to follow Jesus. For many who came to the Truth it took several years before they dared to take the steps in the right direction. Some do know the Biblical Truth and do follow the real Jesus, Jeshua the Nazarene teacher who is also called the son of man and son of God, but do not want to tell it to others. As such, for example, we had a friend who did not believe in the Trinity but kept working as a pastor in a trinitarian preaching company. He told us he could not say openly he did not believe any more in the Trinity because than he would loose his job as minister and would have no income any-more. That is often a very difficult factor, certainly for priests and ministers.

But also lay people have it difficult to make the right choice. Some of them have had to lose friends and family relationships, and on many occasions even had to endure verbal attacks. There are people all over the world who are being put in prison and literally risking their life to follow Jesus.

So the big question for most people is,

“Why?”

Yes

Why do we choose to risk it all to follow this person who we believe rose from the dead? What do we get out of it?

When they were fishermen Jesus had asked those simple men to follow him, what they did.  At that time they gave up their profession and their income. The thought of sacrifice very naturally suggests as its correlative that of compensation; so it is not at all to be wondered at that, before this conversation ended, Peter, the impulsive disciple, so much given to think aloud, should blurt out the honest question:

“Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?”

Peter asked Jesus what they would get, and that is perhaps the question which would be on most lips when wondering to follow Jesus or any other person. Certainly (for today) when it is all about a person who lived so many centuries ago and who seemed to have caused so many problems. Peter could not but remember that while the Master had insisted on his disciples denying self to follow him, he had spoken no less clearly of their finding life through losing it, and of their being rewarded according to their deeds. {see Matthew 16:24-27 } A more cautious man would have hesitated before he spoke; but it was no worse to speak it than to think it: and then, it was an honest and fair question; accordingly our Lord gives it a frank and generous answer, taking care, however, before leaving the subject, to add a supplementary caution, fitted to correct what was doubtful or wrong in the spirit it showed.

People should know that everybody is free to choose what or whom to follow. God has given man the free choice. His sent ones, the many prophets often asked people to follow their sayings. Every time they left the choice to the people themselves, never forcing them into doing something what they would not want to do of free choice. The same for the Nazarene master teacher. He never pushed people to come to listen to what he had to say. He never pushed people to come to see what he did. When he walked around in the area people came from their own to see and hear this special man. Not everybody could make up his mind about that special figure and many doubted his position or wondered who he really was and what he came to do.

The word recalls what is said in the book of Genesis as to

“the generation of the heaven and of the earth.”

Nobody can escape to this system and shall have to make the choice to be part of this world or to be part of God’s World. That is what it makes so difficult, man can not live in both worlds. Man can not keep to the human traditions with the many heathen festivals and at the same time claim he worships God. The Divine Creator demands complete submission to the Divine values and norms. One cannot eat from the two walls. God requires an honest surrender to Him. He also has given His son to bring salvation to the world and expects that the world shall come to recognise His only begotten son.

Coming closer to the end-times more adversaries of Gdo shall try to get people away from the Only One True God. They shall do their utmost best to confuse people and to make them to worship an other god than the God of Israel, Who is an Unseen Spirit.

People who come to see Who God is and who His son is and want to follow that son, with the knowledge that this son of God the way to god is, may find it difficult to persevere because the majority is against such an idea that a man would be able to do God’s Will and to offer himself for the sins of others. When you believe that you should be not ashamed and should not go hiding, but should dare to tell about your faith, that you believe that son of man is the son of God who gave his life as a ransom for the sins of many. The belief in the son of God should make you stronger than those who do not believe in that man of flesh and blood who gave his life, was killed, put in a grave but was also taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father. That resurrection of a man is for us the ultimate proof that a human being can stand up from the death. In case Jesus would be God, we naturally would not have any proof at all for the resurrection of man.

That resurrection may give us something to fight for. People may bully us, hurt us and even could kill us, but we do know there is much more behind the ‘curtain of this life’.

No matter what you have had to endure or give up to follow Jesus, the reward in the end is so much greater than what you ever would be able to gather here on earth. We should not be afraid to face those who are against us because we do not want to go for that false teaching of a three-headed god. We should believe in what the Bible tells us and should not be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies and by those who want to push us in the world of human doctrines. You should know such people may harm you in this life but there shall be nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Therefore are not afraid for such human beings who ignore the Words of God and Who, as a God Who tells no lies, declared Jesus to be His only begotten son. Save your fear for that God of Israel Who is a Spirit and not a man of flesh and blood who could be killed. That God of Abraham is an eternal Spirit Being, Who holds your entire life — body and soul — in His hands.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28 NIV)

Our reward for following Jesus is that we shall be able to find the way to God. Jesus is the right way to go. By listening to his words and by doing what he requires from us we shall be able to grow in his teachings and shall find enough strength to continue on the right path.

We may be sure there shall come a moment that the Son of man shall come to sit on the throne of his glory and at the end of times no one shall be able to escape his judgement. therefore let us not worry but look for Jehovah and do what God wants and not so much what the people want from us.

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zep 2:3 NIV)

When doing what God wants and step in the footsteps of His only begotten son, then we shall be able to go on the right path to the small gate leading to immortal, perfect life where there shall be no more sickness or sorrow any more. Following Jesus worshipping his God we shall come to see the heavenly gates and shall come to see that those who do not believe the Biblical Truth like us may also find death, but shall not be able like us to see their loved ones again who have died.

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, {Or his only begotten Son } that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Re 21:3-4 NIV)

“13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.” (1Th 4:13-17 NIV)

What more could we possibly ask for?

Jesus has promised us everything we can dream of if we choose to suffer now, just like he did. So be encouraged today that you have a tremendous, indescribable reward waiting for you when our king returns!

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

The Scriptures makes it clear what choice man has to make to receive a non-ending life after this life on earth which can be full of temptations, problems, difficulties and suffering.

In the 19th chapter of Matthew we can see that after some time going with the master teacher the disciples still did not know him. Jesus looked at the small children who wanted to come to him and saw how their soul (their inner being) was still pure and without personal interest. Jesus not only blessed the babes, but rebuked the disciples, who had misrepresented him; and says

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

For us that should be a message to become or to be like “such as these”. In our life we should get a state of purity and innocence. It is very possible that those children could have done some faults, but often having been not aware of it. It is only when one knows what is good and what is bad and when knows the rule s and regulations that one can go against such rules or laws.

The Kingdom of heaven will not be literally composed of little children, but those who want to enter the Kingdom should be like little children, innocent and pure of mind, simple-hearted, true, teachable, obedient, honest and trustful of their heavenly Father.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Lu 18:17 NIV)

says Jesus. At other places in the New Testament we also do find

“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3 NIV)

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”” (Mt 19:14 NIV)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Mr 10:15 NIV)

Instead of the children being regarded as intruders, they were most welcome to the master teacher; and, instead of being interlopers, they had full right of access, for of children and of childlike persons God His kingdom was composed and Jesus is the way to that Kingdom. Jesus spoke with certainty, using his own expressive “verily,” and he spoke with the weight of his own personal authority,

“I say unto you.”

These prefatory expressions are intended to secure our reverent attention to the fact that so far from the admission of children into the kingdom being unusual or strange none can find entrance there except they receive the gospel as a little child receives it. It is this statement of the Master which affords us a subject for this morning, which may the divine Spirit open up to us and impress upon our hearts.

As adults we have gone through a parcour of life and have made several choices to continue on our path of life. Not always did we take the right path. When we look back at the past we shall be able to notice we made many mistakes and more than once we took the wrong decision.

Making the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, we should remember that we too should try to get a childes attitude of innocence. Childlessness is an ‘Essential Element’ in the Christian Life.

“The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.” (Ps 116:6 NIV)

“But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Ps 131:2 NIV)

“Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” (1Co 14:20 NIV)

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (1Pe 2:2 NIV)

The phrase, kingdom of heaven (lit. of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the earth. It is also for that kingdom Jesus prayed and taught us also to pray for.

“your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:10 NIV)

The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system.

“34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing-floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.” (Da 2:34-36 NIV)

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

“23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. {Or for a year, two years and half a year }26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed for ever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” (Da 7:23-27 NIV)

Already in the Garden of Eden God spoke about some one who would come to save the world but also who would reign. God also spoke about a kingdom covenanted to David’s seed which was described in the prophets.

“7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people shall not oppress them any more, as they did at the beginning” (2Sa 7:7-10 NIV)

Under an heir of king David would an other kingdom being established which would be greater and stronger. That heir would be born of a virgin, therefore truly man, but also “Immanuel,” the one coming from (or sent by) God. That person was
confirmed to be Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel.

“32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end.”” (Lu 1:32-33 NIV)

It is that never ending kingdom where at first that man shall be the king, we have to look for. A kingdom heavenly in origin, principle, and authority.

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

When hoping to be a partaker of that kingdom one has to obey the commandments so that life can come to this one who is willing to love God and to be His child. Many think they do not have to do any works any more, because they are saved. But Jesus warns them and us, that they may not be mistaken and that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for man to enter the small gate to the Kingdom.

He clearly indicates we have to keep to the commandments of god, even when that would not always so easy.

“17 …. Jesus replied.

“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man enquired. Jesus replied,

“23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Mt 19:23-24 NIV)

Jesus gives also those commandments we have to fulfil or keep to.

18 … “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honour your father and mother,’ {Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20 }
and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’” {Lev. 19:18 } (Mt 19:17-19 NIV)

Jesus also gives a hope for those who are willing to follow him.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother {Some manuscripts mother or wife } or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29 NIV)

But first we have to seek God His kingdom, and His righteousness before all these good things the bible talks about, shall be added unto us. (Matthew 6:33) First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, this should be our greatest care and not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom).

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Ro 14:17 NIV)

When we want to enter the kingdom of God we should prepare ourselves and work at our character, making sure that we do our best to keep to God’s commandements.

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

 

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Find also to read

  1. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  2. The Mountain: Radical Obedience
  3. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  4. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  5. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  6. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit

A heart full of love is a fundamental requirement

We stay for the moment looking at some writing by

We can not deny that forgiving is a very difficult thing for many. But we should know that unforgiveness hinders prayers and give access to tormentors. Uforgiveness also gives room to hatred and vengeance, retaliation, revenge and vendetta.

Christians should be followers of the role model Jesus Christ who had so much love for mankind he was even willing to give his life for us all. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Highest, never complained to serve. He did it with humility and without placing himself above others. That humility is something we need also to grow in us. It is something which shall make us humble enough to face others who have done wrong to us and to forgive them.

Throughout the New Testament we can see how the Nazarene master teacher mingled with sinners which must have certainly caused a stir back then, but Jesus never judged appearances. (Matthew 7:1-6) In this present world how many times do we not stare at others with some “idea” in our heart? Many of us can see the mote or the speck that is in some ones eye, but do not consider the plank or the beam of timber that is in their own eye.(Matthew 7:3) Often we come to demand others not being cross with us or to forgive us for what we did wrong, but to forgive others our selves does not always seem to be so easy.

Forgiving requires an attitude of understanding and of love.

A heart full of love, both towards God and your fellow man, is a fundamental requirement, if your prayer must get through to the throne room of heaven.

Forgiveness is an expression of love. {Forgive}

Not only the Messianic writings show us how the Most High must have been hurt by man and how He showed His love and came to forgive them or was always there to help them. God has forgiven man many times. We as lovers of God should also try to become like God, a forgiving person.

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, one of the things He told them to say was, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”

That is to say, “Lord, forgive us, just the way we forgive others. Don’t forgive us what we don’t forgive others. {Forgive}

When looking at others we often use other measurements than we would for our own. Often we also want others not to be cross for something we did to them, but we ourself are not always so fast not to be angry any more at some one who did wrong to us.

If we document other people’s sins against us, then the Lord will document ours also; if we desire their hurt, He will desire our hurt also.

So, when you don’t forgive those who have offended you, your sins also remain unforgiven. Until your sins are forgiven, you don’t have a prayer access to God. {Forgive}

How many of us do not keep track of iniquities of others? Many people also love to show the record they keep of the wrongdoings of others.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 130:3:

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Many have been crying in all manner of prayers, fastings and vigils, yet God hasn’t heard them, because they are holding back the sins of others in their hearts. {Forgive}

In this world we also see many who are not honest, and do as if nothing is at hand or nothing happened. They just do nice to get something else.

You probably have told your neighbour,

“It is over, I have forgiven you.”

But it is not over yet in your heart.

And because the Bible says in Psalm 66:18,

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”, your prayers go unheard.

It is spiritual foolishness to live with unforgiveness; the cost is too high. It is one of the traps of the devil to make you lose favour with God. {Forgive}

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ.

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness but also humble enough to put the own “self” away. Calling yourself a Christian, means not only that you want to be a follower of Christ, but goes much further, showing others that you even want to imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you

“He is with Jesus.”

A Christian should imitate Jesus in his holiness. Like Jesus submitted himself to his heavenly Father a Christian also should submit himself to God and become like Him a forgiving person. As the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master,

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,”

always ring in your ears.

Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Think of the Highest King, Jehovah God and think of the highest King on earth Jesus Christ, who shall come to judge the living and the dead. When you want to be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God, remember all those things which would be a hindrance to be pure enough to enter that Kingdom. Remind the King from Jesus  parable.

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 18:23-35:

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

When God forgives you your sins but later sees the way you are tormenting somebody who has offended you, He will bring your records out again and deal with you.

Forgiveness brings you into eternal friendship with Jesus which gives you access to heaven’s hotline.

Until you free that man or woman, God will not hear your cry of affliction.

That man might have really cheated you, and that woman insulted you terribly, but let him go! Let her go!

Until the love foundation is in place, effectual prayer is impossible.

Watch any man who walks in hatred, malice and unforgiveness, his life keeps drying up.

And because he has no access to God’s favour, he is a cheap prey of the devil.

Your expression of love for your fellowmen is the authentic proof of your salvation.

The Bible says,

“Whosoever claims to love God, and hates his brother, is a liar” (1 John 4:20 paraphrased).

You may pray as long as you like, remain on your knees all the days of your life and fast for as many days as possible,

if you have imprisoned somebody in your heart through unforgiveness, you will never have a breakthrough, because the Scriptures cannot be broken.

Love is your vital link with God, and the foundation stones of the altar of your heart.

There is a future in forgiveness. Let love flow from your heart to everyone and you will see God step into the affairs of your life.

Examine yourself, to see if there is anywhere your altar has been broken down, and plead the mercy of God for restoration.

Rededicate your life to God and be determined never to be found doing what displeases Him.

That long-awaited answer to your prayers will be delivered to you now, in Jesus’ name!

Amen! {Forgive}

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

No one ever said forgiveness would be easy.

We should be well aware of the warning the Nazarene master teacher Jesus gives us. With several of his parables he gives an indication that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25). God will not forgive us? The stakes could not be higher! The parable of the unmerciful servant elegantly demonstrates that the debt we owe each other is far smaller than the one we owe God.

In His sermon on mountain-moving faith, Jesus made a connection between faith and forgiveness.

He said,

“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:24-25).

As far as God is concerned, unforgiveness is no small issue. It is wickedness.

We see this in Jesus’ story of a servant who was forgiven a huge debt by his master. After the servant received his own forgiveness, he decided to deal with a fellow servant who owed him a small debt. But instead of forgiving this servant like he’d been forgiven, he had the servant thrown into jail for failing to pay.

Upon hearing what he had done, his master became furious, called him a wicked servant and delivered him to the tormentors (jailers) until he paid all that was due (Matthew 18:23-35). {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

Then the pastor goes back into history looking at what happened to Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own jealous brothers. He had not only to face that atrocious act of his brothers but was also unjustly accused of a crime and thrown into prison. In the Old Testament we can read how Joseph after miraculously being delivered from prison, was raised to the highest ruling position in Egypt next to the Pharaoh.

When he faced his brothers years later, instead of expressing bitterness, Joseph forgave them completely.

His brothers thought that Joseph would treat them harshly but Joseph said,

“No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” (Genesis 50:21). {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

In our own life we more than once shall encounter matters which can bring hate feelings to others who have done us wrong.

Whether we’ve been abused, deserted, falsely accused or mistreated, we must always choose to forgive.

We always should place everything we underwent into perspective. We may have had something terrible happened to us. Even when it would bring up so many hate feelings, we should question ourself if we not better learn something from it and use that experience to help others. Would it sometimes not be better to pray for those who did such an awful thing to us or to our beloved ones? We know it may be very difficult to forgive those that abused us or did terrible things to us. Though ….

We can’t wait for our feelings to change first, because forgiveness must be an act of the will, based on faith rather than feeling. We are to forgive others

“just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

If ever there comes a time when old feelings of unforgiveness rise up within you, say by faith,

“No, I’ve already forgiven that person. I refuse to focus on those old feelings.” {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

It can very well be we ourself have not the full strength to come to the point where we can face the one who did wrong to us and openly forgive him or her. It shall also be necessary to forgive more than once in our lifetime. Always, as Christians, followers of Christ, we should be willing to forgive.

And keep on forgiving. By the power of the Holy Spirit you will find that forgiveness becomes the “normal” lifestyle of an overcoming Christian!

If you’ve ever allowed yourself to be bound by anger and bitterness, forgiveness may sound like an impossibility, but it’s not!

As a Christian, you have the love of God inside you. Yield to that love. Press into God and you will see His Anointing in, on and through you multiplied as never before! {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

 

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

When looking at Matthew 18:23-35 we can compare the human way and the godly way of forgiving and reactions about debts and attitudes towards others.

Once again we can find the master teacher using a story or parable to give a lesson. Jesus illustrates his view of unending mercy with a parable demonstrating how real lovers of God should think about the way God treats people. They also could look at the examples Jesus gave them and therefore could find enough reasons to extend unlimited forgiveness to others.

It can well be that the Nazarene rabbi had in mind a corrupt Herodian bureaucrat who has used his position to make himself wealthy, but has instead lost the Herod’s court a massive amount of money. Slaves could be in important roles in the Empires, so that they could accumulate wealth and power, even if they were in a master-slave relationship with the Emperor.

How often do we not encounter situations where we are confronted with matters that trouble us and with people who own something to us or should still have something to arrange for us? How often does it not happen that we are hurt by some one and that we have to arrange something to restore the relationship again?

John Nolland points out the annual income of Herod’s kingdom when he died in 4 B.C.E. was about 900 talents, to be divided between his sons (Nolland, Matthew, 756). This servant’s debt is more than ten times the value of Herod’s kingdom. In fact, the word translated as ten-thousand is often translated, “myriad,” an uncountable number.

When confronted with a person who did us wrong, him asking to have mercy with him, how much mercy do we want to give?

In Jesus’ parable we find a servant who has experienced an audacious act of mercy and has been released from the bondage of his debt. Though his reaction to others who had debts to him is not in comparison. In this story the man goes looking for the debtor to threaten him. He laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying,

‘Pay me what you owe.’ (Matthew 18:28b)

This time we also find the fellow servant asking for forgiveness, using the exact same words as the unmerciful servant. He also asks for more time to raise the cash to pay the debt. This time the unmerciful servant is not willing to extend him additional time to pay. The debt may also been large, but not unmanageable as the debt of the one who asks to be paid back. As a reaction for not being paid back straight away the debtor is being put in the same prison in which the unmerciful servant was going to go if he had not been shown mercy by his master.

Have you thought about it how Jesus came to pay our debts? And can you imagine how his heavenly Father was willing to accept Jesus his ransom offering, so that we could be liberated of our debt to God?

You may perhaps not go around seeking to plot your revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but how would you react to those who have debts (in all sorts of ways) to you? For people who did wrong to you would you like to erase them from your memory, as if they never existed, and as such would think you do not have to forgive that person or that all matters would be set?

We should know that it is no healthy situation if we want to save ourselves trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, not having to carry around the pain of what a person did to hurt you.

The ones who want to call themselves Christian should be followers of Christ and try to have the same attitude as Christ. The way we act against people who did wrong against us is very important in the eyes of the Lord. Vengeance is a word and an act which should not be in our way of life. we should be careful not to let the ego and pride provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Today it seem a fashion to offend people or to point a finger at some one. We should know that nobody is perfect and as such people could do things to us we do not like. It also can well be that people will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time.

This parable should get us thinking about the attitude we want to take to others, who we think have wronged us.
It might not be easy but we we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, and should be humble enough to approach the other with love to forgive.

We live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Danger of Stumbling-blocks

|| Mark 9:37, 42; Luke 9:48; Luke 17:1, 2

MT18:7 “Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks![1] But, woe to the person who causes the stumbling![2] MT18:8 So, if your hand or foot[3] scandalizes[4] you – cut it off and hurl it away[5] from you. Better to enter Life maimed[6] rather than be thrown into everlasting fire[7] with two hands and two feet! MT18:9 Also, if your eye[8] causes you scandal, remove it and hurl it away from you. Better to enter Life with only one eye rather than be hurled into Gehenna’s[9] fire with two eyes! MT18:10 Watch[10] that you never despise[11] one of these ‘little ones’. For I tell you that their angels in heaven[12] always look upon the face[13] of my heavenly Father.” MT18:11 [[“For the Son of Humankind came to save what was lost.”]][14]

*

[1] Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks: The Greek for “stumbling-blocks” is SCANDALON. Or, KJV: woe unto the world because of offenses; ASV: occasions of stumbling; RSV: temptations to sin; KNX: hurt done to consciences; WMS: influences to do wrong. Research the words world or KOSMOS for notes.

[2] Causes the stumbling: Research the word scandal for notes. What may cause “stumbling”? See Matthew 16:23 for an example. Compare 1 Samuel 25:31; Ezekiel 7:19, 20; 14:3, 4; Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9; Revelation 2:14. Many will quote Psalm 119:165 here but it is wise to discern the meaning.

[3] Hand or foot: Eve’s foot took her to the Tree and her hand reached out for its Fruit (Genesis 3:5, 6). Touch must be avoided if the object is desirable (1 Corinthians 7:1; James 1:14, 15). The feet must avoid those places that can cause scandal (Psalm 119:59, 101; Proverbs 1:16; Proverbs 4:26, 27; Proverbs 5:5; Proverbs 19:2; Romans 3:15). The word “your” is in the singular and so the Nazarene speaks to one person in the group.

[4] Scandalizes: This is closest to the Greek word. The English “scandal” is from a Greek root to “snare” and may mean: offends, shocks, disgraces; and, that slanderous gossip caused by such an offense. Research scandal for more notes.

[5] Cut it off and hurl it away: The absurdum is famous. The very imagery of people cutting off limbs and gouging out eyes is powerful and yet almost humorous for it is clearly not to be taken literally. The lesson is to remove the movement in the direction of the desire, by foot or touch. Avoid those situations and circumstances that will create scandal. See notes on Matthew 5:29. Compare and meditate upon Colossians 3:5.

[6] Better to enter Life maimed: The idea is not to be taken literally but is a contrast so simple anyone can grasp the point: any sacrifice is worth attaining “Life.” Mark 9:47 adds, “… into the kingdom of God.” “Life” here is existence in the Father’s Kingdom (see notes on Matthew 13:43).

[7] Into everlasting fire: Or, KJV: everlasting fire; ASV: eternal fire; RHM: age-abiding fire. We believe the metaphors continue as Gehenna is a symbol of destruction without end. Research the words HADES or GEHENNA for notes elsewhere. See notes on Matthew 25:41, 46.

[8] Your eye: It is the eye that desires. To Eve the Tree was “desirable to look upon.” The Proverbs counsels the young and inexperienced to be careful at what the eyes behold (Proverbs 4:25). Read and meditate upon 1 John 2:15-17. It is not called “a wandering eye” for nothing. The eye is the engine of coveting.

[9] Gehenna’s: Research the word GEHENNA and HADES for notes on the subject.

[10] Watch: The Greek is OPATE from the root for “eye.” There is a good way to use the eyes. Or, KJV: take heed; KNX: see to it; WMS: be careful not to look.

[11] Never despise: Or, KJV: despise not; KNX: treat one… with contempt; WMS: look with scorn. Our attitude toward others in the spiritual association bears on our own everlasting welfare.

[12] Their angels in heaven: At once frightening, and again comforting, to know powerful angelic creatures are aware of the treatment (or even attitude) on the part of the politically ambitious toward the humblest member of the Christian faith. Compare Psalm 34:7 and Hebrews 1:14. Note: it is the “little ones” who have angels in heaven.

[13] Always look upon the face: Or, KJV: always behold the face; RHM: continually behold; WMS: have uninterrupted access to. Consider the visions in Daniel 7 and Revelation 4 (Luke 1:19).

[14] [[…]]: Now recognized as not adequately supported by some manuscripts (D, W, Vg, Syc,p, Arm add; א, B, Sys omit).

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Paying vows to Jehovah God

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Additional reading

  1. It´s not how you fall, but how you standup
  2. Temptation in matrimony

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Further reading

  1. Stumbling
  2. Doubtful disputations – spiritual wickedness

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

It is not easy to be humble. We all like to be some one and to accomplish something worthwhile in life.

When leaving our childhood behind the innocence goes with it as well. Most little children are guided from the family and their surroundings and learn the facts of life when passing from one year into an other. Every year people also come up with new good intentions. Every year anew we want to do it better and have it better than the previous year.

From the teachings of Jesus we learn that the Realm of heaven is among those people that are humble. We must know that those people who follow the teachings of the Nazarene master teacher are willing to change their paths. They are feeling to proud not to show their weaknesses and not telling what they did wrong. They are aware of their weaknesses and of their wrong doings or sinful ways. But they are prepared to learn and to follow God’s will.

We should know that humility is the gateway to the heaven realm. When wanting to become a member of that Body of Christ, we should not mind becoming like a child again. Our baptism is not an end point, but just a starting point in our becoming a Christian. It shall take time and we do have to give it time. Patience shall be very important to our growth, to make it a successful growth.

Having been baptised the “newborn” Christian shall have to be willing to learn everything like a child has to learn everything. He or she shall need to read God’s Words, the Bible, and have their faith being strengthened. Luckily they do not have to be alone. Because there is the congregation of brethren and sisters, who should be there to help. We are also not alone, for God has sent the Comforter to lead us to know the truth. That Holy Spirit should be our guide. We may never forget that incredible Power of God, Which is there for every person who wants to have that Power entering his or her spirit.

Being ‘Born again’ means having received an other or new “I”. It is about a “Turning Point” a new and other direction to be taken. When you commit yourself to your baptism and becoming a member of a ‘church’ or ‘ecclesia’ you are indicating your willingness to change your own direction and starting fresh as though you are being born all over again. At that point you want to start a new voyage, being fresh, receptive, and pliable. The metaphor Jesus is using is indicating we have to become like a malleable, receptive child for aligning with the kingdom of God.

When we keep our pride we shall not be enough pliable to adapt to our new community where we shall have to take a place like anybody else, offering to do whatever is needed in the community. We shall have to accept our ageing and sometimes not being able to do certain things, but also the other way round having respect for elder people or for those (young and old) who have more experience in the religious and ecclesial matters.

As newborn one it is important to become feeling like a brother or sister of the others. There also has to be a willingness to be submissive to the religious group as a whole and to be a bringer of peace, unity, and sweet accord. Naturally there must be a willingness to follow the Scriptural process of settling offences and an impartiality in the exercise of discipline.

There is no place in the group for inequality. Everybody should be regarded as equal and having the same rights, but also the same duties. as such one day a person can be the speaker, the next time the listener. By the baptism a person is brought into membership which confers the right to join in taking the emblems, but also to serve in the community. Taking part of the emblems is reserved only for those who are baptised and member of the world-wide community. Our community may be small, because we require that a person who want to be part of the brotherhood has real knowledge of the biblical truth and is willing to be a faithful partaker of the body of Christ. As followers of the early church we too ask the same effort and responsibility as the first Christians. Being part of a church demands willingness for “making church”, spreading the love of Christ, with giving, serving, witnessing and seeking to be a blessing to other.

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Preceding

Man enticed to long for more

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 8: Matthew 7:6-11 Giving and neighbor love

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

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Additional reading

  1. Looking at things, distinctions resolutions and expressions
  2. Counting sands and stars
  3. A New Year and a New Person
  4. Not missing your appointment in 2017
  5. Helping each other with prayer to start the new academic year
  6. Today’s thought “A New Year” (January 01)
  7. Today’s thought “A Perfect World” (January 02)
  8. More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit – Abide in Me, and I in you
  9. Unless I wash you, you have no part with me
  10. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  11. Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ
  12. Consecration of the priests
  13. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  14. Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’
  15. Don’t Harden Your Heart
  16. It’s not that I’m so smart
  17. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  18. Humility
  19. Willing to be little
  20. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  21. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  24. There is no true and constant gentleness without humility
  25. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  26. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  27. Be kinder than necessary
  28. Heed of the Saviour
  29. A Ransom for all 3 Seeing Him as He is
  30. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  31. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  32. Praise the New Born
  33. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  34. Victory in rebirth
  35. Get Your Wonderful Disease-proof Human Body
  36. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  39. The works we have to do according to James

 

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Related

  1. Be Humble Like A Little Child
  2. How Do We Become Part of the Kingdom of God?
  3. Make your membership count for something
  4. Duties of the Church Member
  5. A Vision for our Future
  6. Who am I?
  7. Jesus Born Anywhere
  8. Bethlehem In Us
  9. What If Jesus Were Your Dad: You Must Be Raised Again
  10. Die First, Then be Church
  11. Born of Him: 1st John 2:29
  12. Receiving the True Light
  13. Life in the spirit realm 2

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