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There Will Be Two Categories Of People In Hell

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
(Matthew 8:5-13 ESV)

Matthew records another of Jesus’ miracles in today’s passage. This one involves a centurion, who was a Roman (Gentile) soldier in charge of 100 men (hence the title “centurion”). The centurion came to Jesus and simply told Him that he had a servant who was suffering terribly from an unknown disease.

Interestingly the centurion never asks Jesus to come to his home or to even heal the servant. But Jesus offers to do so despite the fact that it was against the man-made Jewish law (but not God’s law) for a Jew, especially a teacher, to enter the home of a Gentile. The centurion apparently knew this and therefore dissuades Jesus from going to his home. Instead the centurion asks Jesus to only say the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus does and the servant was healed at that very moment.

Here we see a couple of things. First, Jesus’ actions were not magic or manipulation. They were miracles. It’s one thing to heal someone right in front of you. One could always be accused of faking it, as many modern-day healers are. It’s a completely different thing to heal someone who is miles away with nothing more than a thought.

Second, whereas human authority, such as the centurion’s, is only over other human beings, Jesus has authority over all of creation, even things not in His immediate presence. The centurion knew this, perhaps from hearing Jesus speak. We know that the people who heard Jesus speak recognized that He had an authority that their own teachers did not have [Matthew 7:28-29].

As noted by Jesus no one in Israel (no Jew) had such faith as the centurion. Jesus marveled at this. A Gentile, not to mention a suppressor of the Jewish people, understood more about Jesus than the sons of the kingdom (the Jews) who should have known who Jesus was because their scriptures (our Old Testament) foretold His coming. As a result, many Jews who thought they would go to heaven simply because they were Jewish would end up in outer darkness (hell).

This statement of Jesus would have been a shock and an insult to the Jews who heard it. The idea of a Gentile in heaven and a Jew in hell was 180° opposed to what they had been taught. But human understanding, especially about eternity, is more often than not incorrect. Of course, such misunderstanding exists today as many people think they will go to heaven because they are more “good” than “bad”. Jesus, who was God, sets the record straight.

In hell there will be two kinds of people. One group will understand the enormity of the mistake they made on earth in rejecting Jesus and will spend eternity weeping over their irrevocable decision. The other group will be forever mistakenly angry at God (gnashing of teeth) for rejecting them despite the fact that it was really they who rejected Him [Matthew 10:33].

Neither group had to end up this way. All they needed was the faith of the centurion, who believed what he saw and heard about Jesus. The centurion will be in heaven. Those who don’t believe won’t.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.



God Is Willing To Fix The Problems In Our Lives

And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
(Matthew 8:2-4 ESV)

After wrapping up His Sermon on the Mount and coming back down the mountain, a leper came to Jesus asking to be healed of his terrible disease.

Leprosy was (and is) a horrible disease. It causes extremities to shrivel up and eventually fall off. Since it was contagious, lepers were excluded from society. They were forced to live outside of city walls, away from the rest of the community. As such lepers had no life at all. They could get no job. They had to beg for sustenance. They were, essentially, dead already.

So it was a very bold move for this leper to break the law and approach Jesus. But it was also a sign of just how desperate he was. There was no cure for leprosy. The disease never improved. As such, lepers essentially spent the rest of their lives waiting to die as the disease continued to take over their bodies.

The leper came to Jesus in total humility. He knelt before Jesus and called Him “Lord“. Notice that the leper had no doubt about Jesus’ ability. He knew Jesus could make [him] clean. Yet he made no demands or presumptions – he left his fate entirely up to the will of Jesus.

Interestingly, in asking to be made clean the leper is expressing not only his deep desire to be freed from the disease but also from penalty of his disease. He wants to be accepted again and to be part of community. He does not want to be an outcast any longer. The emotional pain he felt must have been great – possibly worse than the disease itself.

Not coincidentally, those who are excluded from God’s kingdom because they didn’t allow Jesus to cure them of their disease – sin – will be great. Unfortunately, such despair will last for all eternity.

It was against the ceremonial law to touch a leper. But that is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus stretched out his and touched him. This would have shocked any and all onlookers. Jesus, being God, did not have to touch the leper to heal him. But as Jesus often did, He used remedies that went beyond what was necessary to not just heal but to also communicate love and compassion.

Jesus was willing to touch this man when no one else would. By touching him Jesus validated him and instilled in him a sense of humanity and worth – something this man had certainly been lacking for years. His life was forever changed for the better because of Jesus.

After healing this man Jesus instructs him to say nothing to anyone but to show himself to the priest and make the necessary offerings according to the law [Leviticus 14:1-32]. Jesus often told those He healed to say nothing because He didn’t want to cause any trouble with the authorities.

Israel was an occupied territory at this time – occupied by Rome at the height of its power. If the people got too excited about Jesus they may have tried to install Him as ruler in place of the Romans which would have created a dangerous situation. Jesus’ command, as everything He did, was given out of concern for others.

This leper was powerless to help himself. No doctor could help him. Society’s solution was to eliminate him and forget about him. But Jesus saw this man as someone who needed to be loved and cared for.

As such, He did not require anything of this leper. The man simply had to receive Jesus’ blessing. This is exactly how God works. God is a giver [John 3:16]. He wants to bless us. If we approach Him humbly and willingly, like the leper, we can experience His blessings too.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


The Truth Contained In The Bible Is Astonishing

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
(Matthew 7:28-29, 8:1 ESV)

Yesterday Jesus wrapped up His Sermon on the Mount. Today Matthew reveals to us the reaction of those who were listening to Him.

These people had heard sermons before. They were taught by scribes. We know a “scribe” as someone who takes notes. But in ancient Israel scribes were more than this. Because they were the most literate in society they were also teachers. In this case, Matthew is referring to those who taught God’s word to the people.

These scribes would be considered the equivalent of our pastors today. We learned about the scribes previously when King Herod questioned them about where the Christ would be born [Matthew 2:1-6]. The scribes knew their Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) well and were able to answer Herod accurately. But we also learned that the scribes only had head knowledge about God. The Scriptures did not affect their life.

As such their teachings were likely less than motivating. We’ve all had a teacher who knew her subject matter but who was unable to make any of the material relevant. They disseminated facts but didn’t influence lives.

But Jesus spoke differently. He spoke as one who had authority. It’s one thing to speak by authority as the scribes did. Their authority was derived from their position in society. But Jesus had authority and the people could see it. There was obviously something quite different about the way Jesus spoke because when He was finished the crowds were astonished at His teaching. They had never heard anyone teach like this before.

The topics Jesus taught on throughout the Sermon on the Mount are the same topics religious leaders have taught for centuries. Every religion or belief has teachings on anger, lust, pride, kindness, etc. The difference with Jesus wasn’t the topics He spoke about. It was how He spoke about them.

Jesus threw human understanding about these topics out the window and replaced it with His (aka God’s) point of view. This apparently resonated with the people as being the truth compared to what they previously thought was the truth.

In today’s society we face the same dilemma. We have our government which tells us that abortion, pornography, and same-sex marriage are all acceptable. We have our culture which tells us that selfishness, greed, and materialism have their place. And then we have the Bible which tells us that all these things we think are right are not.

Man sets a low bar for human behavior. We create all kinds of loopholes so that we don’t have to hold ourselves accountable. This is precisely the issue Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount.

God’s standard is much higher. It is much more than we could ever conceive on our own. When we read the Bible with an open mind the truths it contains are astonishing. This is why great crowds followed Him.

The things God tells us are so amazing that, even to this day, those who hear them leave all their old notions of truth behind and follow Jesus..

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


Human Beings Have No Ability To Create Truth

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
(Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

Jesus wraps up His Sermon on the Mount today by continuing the illustration of those who will go to heaven and those who will end up in hell. And once again, we see that our eternal destinies are the result of our own choices made in this life.

In this passage Jesus refers to everyone who hears these words of mine. Some will hear them and [do] them. These people are considered wise. Others, the foolish ones, will hear and not do them.

Our lives on this earth have a purpose. They are a means to an end. Every day we are building something with our lives that will either count for eternity or will not count. Some people realize this. Others do not.

Jesus refers to that which we are building with our lives as a metaphorical house. A wise person builds his house on a rock. That is, the foundation of the house was built into something solid – something that endures when tested by rain and floods and wind.

On the other hand, a foolish person builds his house on the sand. Sand is not stable. It shifts. When the rain, floods, and winds come the foundation of the house will move and the house will fall.

Those who build their lives on the sand are those who follow the ever-shifting wisdom of the world that rejects God’s truth and replaces it with their own. Such a faith system will not stand against the judgment of God (i.e. the rain, floods, and wind), as we learned yesterday.

Notice that both the wise and the foolish heard the same message. Yet only some believed it. That belief was demonstrated by their actions. Jesus has told us exactly how to ensure our eternity is in heaven. Some believe Him. Some do not.

But note that it is not simply hearing or knowing what God says that saves us. It is believing that saves us. And when we believe we do what God says. If we don’t believe we won’t do what God says. Our actions reflect what we believe [James 1:22-24; 1 John 2:3-6], as modern psychology would attest.

Some have heard God’s word yet have altered it to fit their own definition of truth. This includes Mormons, Catholics, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Others, such as atheists, Muslims, and Hindus, have flat-out rejected God’s word. All have built an unstable house that will count for nothing in the end.

God’s truth is unshifting. What was true of God thousands of years ago remains true today [Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17 et. al]. When God says something is right it is right forever. When God says something is wrong it is wrong forever. Human beings have no ability to create truth. We can only acknowledge it or reject it.

The entire Sermon on the Mount was Jesus telling His listeners (and us) how we should live our lives – what we should be doing to “build” a secure eternity. Only those who believe Him will actually do it. Sadly, the others will spend eternity wishing they had.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


Getting Into Heaven Is Actually Quite Simple

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount Jesus expands on the topic of heaven and hell which He started a few days ago. In that passage He told us we choose our eternal destiny: heaven or hell. Yesterday He warned against people who, by their false teachings, lead others to hell.

Just because someone calls Jesus “Lord” doesn’t mean that person is a true follower of His. Not everyone who speaks this way will enter the kingdom of heaven. That is why Jesus told us to “beware” of false teachers [Matthew 7:15]. Words alone mean nothing.

What matters is if someone does the will of God. A person’s lifestyle is a more accurate barometer of their relationship with Jesus than their words [Matthew 7:16].

On the day of judgment, referred to by Jesus as “that day“, people will come face-to-face with Him as this passage implies. Many people will offer up a list of their good works as criteria for getting into heaven. Some people will point to the fact that they did many deeds in [Jesus’] name. While on earth they will have prophesied, cast out demons, and have done many mighty works.

Notice that Jesus does not deny that these people did these things. But He makes it clear in His response, ‘I never knew you‘, that even so, they count for nothing. Notice that Jesus will not be persuaded. He will simply evaluate. The time for us to have control over our destiny will have ended the moment our heart stopped beating.

Not many of us have prophesied or cast out demons. Our so-called good deeds aren’t quite so impressive. So how much of a chance do we have of getting into heaven compared to people who have done these impressive deeds? None. God doesn’t look at what we’ve done or not done and decide who gets into heaven. It’s not like putting together a high school football team where some who try out make the cut and others don’t.

Rather, it is entirely possible for everyone to get into heaven. That is God’s desire [1 Timothy 3:4; 2 Peter 3:9]. But there is only one way in. We must have our sins forgiven by Jesus [John 14:6].

Imagine a college course whose entire grade is based on a single, final exam. On this exam there is only one question and during the semester the teacher has already told you the right answer. Passing the course is simple if you were paying attention and believed him. Life works exactly in this way.

God has already told us how to be with Him forever in heaven. At the end of our life Jesus will “grade” each person on this sole criterion: did he/she believe they were a sinner who is in need of forgiveness and did they accept the forgiveness God offers only through Jesus.

Anyone who has will enter heaven. All others, still considered lawless (i.e. a sinner), will be told by Jesus to depart from Him. I can’t imagine the horror one will feel when they realize what a terrible and irreversible mistake they’ve made as in that moment they realize what their future – their unending future – holds.

Getting into heaven is simple if you were paying attention to God. And believed Him.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


Beware Of False Teachers Whose Message Leads To Hell

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
(Matthew 7:15-20 ESV)

Yesterday Jesus warned us to choose wisely when it comes to the path that will lead us into eternity. Oftentimes, though, the path we choose is influenced by what we hear and learn from others, especially those who claim to speak for God. Jesus addresses such people in today’s passage.

Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets. The word “beware” means “pay attention to”. We must discern (e.g. judge) people based on what they say and what they do. Some will mislead others through the wide eternal gate [Matthew 7:13-14].

There are those who are really wolves in sheep’s clothing. Shepherds often wore clothing that was made from the wool of their sheep. So this comment by Jesus is telling us that there are people who pretend to be shepherds of the people but who actually feed (ravenous) on the people for personal gain.

Notice that Jesus’ doesn’t deny that these people will exist. They have and will continue to. But we can recognize them by their fruits. First, we can look at the content of their message. If a preacher teaches the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, then he is probably valid. But any deviation from the Bible or any omission of Biblical truth is a big red flag.

Some belief systems such as Islam and Hinduism are clearly false teachings. But others such as Catholicism and Mormonism are more subtle. They have their basis in the Bible and, therefore, seem accurate. But they rely on human tradition and/or additional writings that are false.

Sadly there are Christian preachers who dilute God’s word. Some are easily found on TV. Their message is one that promotes God’s blessing without addressing His holiness or our sinfulness and need for forgiveness.

Second, we can look at a someone’s lifestyle and character. Following Jesus is tough [Luke 9:23 et. al] It is hard work. Any teacher who is creating an easy life for himself is probably not following Jesus. Grapes don’t grown on thornbushes. Nor do figs grow on thistles. Likewise, the lifestyle of someone who claims to be a child of God must align with the life that God calls a child of His to.

People prefer to be told good things about ourselves. That is why the message of post-modernism is so appealing. There is no mention of sin. But such teaching is dangerous like a wolf. It only devours people by leading them through the wide gate which leads to hell.

There is no shortage of people, such as Oprah, who promote such a misleading message. Sadly, way too many people will follow them because the message is so appealing.

But God’s message never appeals to our ego. It offends our innate sense of pride. The truth hurts. Those who do speak the truth are unpopular and ridiculed. In fact, it was Jesus’ very stance against the false teachings of the Pharisees that got Him crucified. Certainly today Christians who stand for God’s truth are also treated harshly by a world that would rather believe lies.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


What Seems Like The Better Choice Isn’t

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
(Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)

If you had 100 apples and you were going to give me a “few” of them, how many would you give me? Think about that before reading on.

Today we come to one of the passages in the Bible that I quote a lot on this blog. It is a real eye-opener and contradicts the understanding many people have of eternity.

In this passage Jesus refers to two metaphorical gates. Both lead to eternity.

One gate is wide. It is easy to find. The path on the other side is easy to walk on. It seems like the better choice because it’s easier. And people tend to take the easier way in life. However, this gate leads to destruction (aka hell). Sadly, many will enter by it.

The other gate is narrow. It is not easy to find. The path on the other side is hard. But it leads to life (aka heaven). Only a few people will find it.

Now, what was your answer to my question? Far and away, the most popular answer I receive when I ask this question to people is “7”. In other words, people define “few” as 7%.

So according to this definition only 7% of all human beings who ever live will end up in heaven. Now, I don’t claim to know exactly what percentage of people end up there. It’s not for me to know or decide. But we can all certainly agree that “few” does not mean 90%. Or 50%. Or even 30% and probably not 20%.

The point being – a very small percentage of people will go to heaven because a very small percentage of people believe in Jesus – and only Jesus – for the forgiveness of their sins. Considering the vast majority of people on this planet are following Buddha, or Mohammed, or are relying on their own alleged goodness to get them into heaven, it’s likely that 7% is not far off.

The sad part is that Jesus proved Himself to be God. And He had told all of us exactly how to get to heaven. But man wants to invent our own standards. We don’t want to humble ourselves and repent (i.e. change our minds). Our pride gets in the way. But pride leads to destruction [Proverbs 16:18].

God wants everyone to be in heaven [1 Timothy 3:4; 2 Peter 3:9]. That is why He created each of us. But He allows us to choose which “gate” we’ll go through. Notice that in this passage Jesus is clearly telling us that our eternal destiny is under our own control. We get to choose. Also notice that we can likewise conclude that everyone on earth is not following the same God just in different ways, as some will claim. Otherwise, more than a “few” would find the right gate.

We can choose the way of the world – the wide gate. While that might seem like a good idea, it isn’t. Or we can choose the narrow gate and enter through Jesus Christ. He is the way. No one enters God’s presence (heaven) through any other means [John 14:6].

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


How To Make The World A Better Place

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 ESV)

Today we study the command by Jesus known as The Golden Rule. But before we dive into it, it’s important to note the very first word: So.

This word implies that all that was said before it should result in what Jesus is about to say next. Up to this point in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has explained what the life of one of His true disciples looks like. This included the eight beatitudes, the proper way to give, pray, and fast. He has pointed out many of our flaws including our way of thinking about others and God.

Therefore, since we are far from perfect we should not treat others as if we were. A better approach to life is to treat others the way we want to be treated.

Notice that Jesus’ words imply action. He tells us to “do” – to live in a certain way; to be proactive. We are not to wait for others to do good things to and for us. We are to do whatever we wish others would do to [us]. We are to make the first move.

Interestingly, an axiom similar to this one from Jesus had existed long before Jesus walked the earth. For example, Confucius, who lived approximately 500 years before Christ, made the famous quote “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”. Isocrates (436–338 BC), the Greek orator, said “Don’t do to others what angers you when you experience it from others”. An ancient Jewish saying dating back 200+ years before Jesus says “See that you never do to another what you’d hate to have done to yourself”. Many other religions and cultures have a similar saying.

Many Bible critics will claim that Jesus simply stole the concept of the Golden Rule from these previous philosophers. But a careful study shows this is not true.

Notice how all the other “Golden Rule”s are phrased in the negative and are focused on self. Jesus’ is phrased in the positive and is focused on others. This is very significant. Man’s best ideas to make life better come through the elimination of our own bad behavior. God’s way of making life better comes by intentionally acting in a way that improves the lives of others. We are to be sacrificially selfless.

Jesus (who was God in a human body), as He has done throughout the Sermon on the Mount, turns human thinking on its head and exposes it for the fruitlessness that it is. Jesus’ golden rule is nothing like the golden rules created by man. Not by a long shot.

There are many in our world today who think that we can make the planet a better place through the suppression of actions, either by legislation or public pressure (e.g. through social media). A better life does not happen by restricting our behavior. A better life can only happen through proactive, intentional behavior that is beneficial towards others.

This is exactly what God did. He came to earth to pay the penalty for our sins even though we didn’t ask Him to and even though we didn’t realize we needed Him to [John 3:16; Romans 5:8]. God went first. He took unilateral action to make our lives better.

Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone simply tried to live this way too.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


The Correct Approach To Prayer

“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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:7-11 ESV)

In today’s passage, part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus returns to the subject of prayer. He had previously addressed prayer earlier in this message. Since He again addresses the issue we can be sure that He considers it to be an important topic.

God wants us to bring our requests and questions to Him (ask). Notice the promise from God. If we simply ask, it will be given. God answers prayer. And while we might not get everything we want when we want, God is willing to give good things to those who ask Him.

But more than just asking, we are to seek. The Greek word here is ζετεο (pronounced: dzay-teh’-o) which means “to crave”. We are to have a deep desire to find information from God. Seeking requires action and inconvenience. If we don’t get an answer by simply asking, we are to pursue our request with increasing passion (knock implies every more action and more passion).

Whether we do this or not reveals how truly we want what we are asking for. God is willing to give to everyone who asks, seeks, and knocks. The “everyone” in this passage is only applicable to those who are God’s children by faith in Jesus [John 1:12]. The promises made by Jesus in these passages do not belong to those who do not have God as their father.

God wants to give good things to those who ask Him. We don’t have to twist God’s arm. We can conclude that being persistent in prayer does not, therefore, break down God’s will. Persistence in prayer reveals how deep our desire is. If we stop after a one-time request we probably didn’t care too much about what we were asking for. We only expend energy on that which we really want.

When we ask but do not receive it is possible that we are asking with the wrong motive [James 4:3]. God never promises to fulfill our selfish desires. God will also not answer a prayer for anything that is not within His will for us [1 John 5:14]. God knows what is best for us. We do not. We are like little children who if left to themselves would eat candy and soda for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But a parent knows this is not best for their child.

In a similar way, God knows what is best for us and He wants us to learn to seek such things. When we don’t get an answer to prayer we need to consider that what we are asking for is not good for us. Sometimes God’s silence is a lesson in itself.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


Not Everyone Is Ready To Hear The Good News Of Jesus

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
(Matthew 7:6 ESV)

Yesterday Jesus told us not to be too judgmental towards sin. But that does not mean that we are not to be discerning. Today’s verse proves that.

Back in Jesus’ day dogs were rarely kept as pets. They may have been used as working animals (e.g. to herd sheep) but for the most part they were wild animals who scavenged for food. They were dirty and carried diseases. For this reason they were considered dangerous and unwelcome.

Neither were pigs domesticated. They were considered unclean according to Old Testament law and therefore Jews would have nothing to do with them. Therefore, like dogs, they were wild, filthy animals who scavenged for food.

In this comment spoken by Jesus the dogs and pigs represent those who are on the outside of God’s kingdom – specifically those who are hostile to God. Just like wild dogs and pigs would not appreciate being given something they cannot eat, people who are antagonistic to God will not appreciate hearing something they cannot accept – the good news of the gospel.

Jesus commands His followers to not give what is holy and to not throw [our] pearls before them. Doing so will only make them angry causing them to turn on us and attack us.

Anyone who has tried to share the gospel with non-believers has probably experienced this. While some people politely turn down the offer to discuss it, others will launch into a hateful, foul-mouthed tirade against you and God. When this happens the best course of action is to not respond [Proverbs 26:4].

It’s no coincidence that Jesus made these comments immediately after His comments about judging others. Knowing if someone is ready to discuss the gospel requires discernment. It requires us to “judge” someone’s attitude.

Those who don’t yet believe are blinded to the truth by Satan [2 Corinthians 4:4]. And while we are to preach the gospel to everyone [Mark 16:15] there are times when we just need to leave people alone because discussing it will only create more hate and resentment in them. This is exactly what the first disciples did when they encountered resistance [Acts 19:9].

Not everyone is ready to hear the good news of Jesus. Sometimes pushing the gospel pushes people away from God. When it does we should be filled with sorrow for them and should pray for them. After all, we were all once far away from God ourselves.

For many years I was a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth atheist who would pick arguments with anyone who tried to talk to me about Jesus. But it was God who changed my heart and it is God (and only God) who can change the heart of anyone who does not believe [Ephesians 2:1-7].

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.


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