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Archive for October, 2011

Mark, translation

http://goingtojesus.com/site/php/translations.php?tname=mark:1:1

 

Good morning, Pastor John:

I have been reading the Mark, translation. It really has been wonderful. One of the things that I have noticed was that almost every time that Jesus gave a commandment, it was obeyed. I believe there were two that were not. One was when he told people that he healed not to tell any one, but they had so much joy that they told whole cities about happened to them, And the other was when he told the rich young man that he was doing well to obey God’s commandments, but then, Jesus told him to sell all he had, give it to the poor, and then take up his cross and follow him. That young rich man did not obey because he had much possessions (probably worked very hard for them). Everywhere else, though, when Jesus gave a commandment, it was obeyed: telling disciples to come and follow him, commanding death and sicknesses to leave people, and commanding the demons to come out and hold their peace. His commandments were obeyed.

We know that Jesus said and did only what his Father told him to say and do. One minute he was healing people, and another time he had to leave a city because he could not do many works from their unbelief. One time, he spoke to Peter as if he was Satan, and shortly after that, he invited Peter to a mountain conference with Elijah, Moses, and Himself. In one scene, he was move with compassion and healed a woman who touched his garment, and in another, he was driving men out of God’s Temple and turning over tables. Jesus only did his Father’s will — nothing more and nothing less.

I loved the part when Jesus was in the garden praying that this cup (his death), would pass — but he prayed, “It’s not about me (Jesus), but it’s about you (God),” even though he was, “overwhelmed and in distress”. Then, he peaceably gave himself over to the mob that came for him, with Judas leading the way. It made me cry.

There was another part I read that in this translation that I did not see before, and that is when his disciples were in a boat on the sea and it was being tossed in a storm. They saw Jesus walking on the water, and he entered the boat. Jesus calmed the sea, and it reads, it was because they did not understand what he was doing when he was feeding the multitude. I thought, “Jesus, this whole world is in distress because they do not know who is the Bread of life.” Then joy filled my heart, “But we do!” What mercy!

It has been really good to read Mark. Brad’s email really goes well with the translation. It’s all about walking in the Spirit.

Hope to see you soon,
billy

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Worthless Flesh

Pastor John,
I was thinking today of a sermon you preached once. I think you said that if a person does any good deed, without the holy ghost, they can become proud of their accomplishment, and that doing “good” without being led to by the Spirit is a dangerous thing. Is that what you said?
Brad
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Hi Brother Brad:

Doing what the world considers is good is often what stops many people from truly repenting. They offer God some good deeds instead of confessing their sins and repenting. And if their ministers don’t know when a person is born again, those good deeds deceive the ministers, too.
Pastor John
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Ohhh, that’s it! That is another way of looking at it. I see. That is the ulterior motive, perhaps, in part, behind much of Christian “mission work” abroad. Thinking to be doing the work of Christ, they deceive themselves. And the public looking on….and the people who they’re helping. Doing ANYTHING without being led by the Spirit can be sin—right? Even if it seems to be a good deed.
Brad
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That’s what all sin is, Brad. Sin is simply life of any kind, whether it is the kind of life that men call good or what they call evil. Anything people can do without the leading of the Spirit is not holy.
Pastor John
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It’s mind boggling to think that carnally minded Christians do things to help impoverished people, and in some subtle way, it puffs them up, which they don’t even realize…if they have not the spirit. So God sees their deeds as “sin”?
Brad
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Everything outside of the kingdom of God is sin, Brad. When God destroys this universe, he is not going to salvage one iota if it. It is ALL filthy in His sight. Isaiah said as much. He said “all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags in His sight.” When Jesus came, in Daniel’s vision of the image, he completely destroyed everything of human origin. He used nothing in his kingdom that was of man. Paul told us that “the flesh wars against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.”

The Spirit, that is, the Lord, is impressed with nothing that humans do or say, in themselves. It is all worthless in his sight. As Jesus said, “The flesh profits nothing.” It’s easy to understand that the bad things in this world are worthless to God, but faith understands that the good things of this world are also worthless to Him. Paul warned us to consider this when he said, “As many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God.” I will add this: “As many as are not led by the Spirit, NO MATTER WHAT THEY THINK, SAY, OR DO, these are NOT the sons of God.” They are carnally minded, and as such, they cannot please God or do His will. As Paul said again, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Pastor John
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Thank you, brother John.

I appreciate this response. May I continue?

I want to explain why I texted you in the first place.

I visited a friend. A Christian. In the past, she has not responded to the truth I have shared with her; a bit stubborn (and blind): clings to her beliefs in Christianity and her church activities. (Nothing new.)

She returned last month from a mission trip to Zambia, and as she expressed her emotional experience to me, it was very touching…. to hear how the native Africans have been helped by this particular group, by the money and the intervention, to decrease their deaths from malaria, and also to build irrigation systems for their agricultural supply, and other commendable things.

All the while, as she was telling me this, I kept discerning a subtle sense of “pride and accomplishment for God” in her delivery. That’s the typical Christian thing… “Doing something for Jesus”: reaching out to impoverished people and dying children and “being the hands of Jesus,” as she put it.

Now, having reflected on what you wrote. . .
It’s easy to understand that the bad things in this world are worthless to God, but faith understands that the good things of this world are also worthless to Him.
. . . my first impulse was that I am having a hard time summoning up enough faith to believe what you say. Help me. (“Lord I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!”)

I don’t think I could look my friend in the eye and tell her that she is doing worthless deeds in the sight of God. I do understand what you are saying, Pastor John, but it is almost too huge to take it in. In Africa, she looked into the eyes of many an orphaned child, heartbreaking scenes of sick human beings, and observed bizarre pagan religious traditions combined with what little they know of Christianity. But she touched people with her love and affection —- and gave them hope. That is a meaningful thing isn’t it? Loving people compassionately—person-to-person?

Okay. . . let me work through this. . . True, she is not guided by the Spirit into such situations, for she has not the evidence of holy Spirit—and neither does anyone in her Christian group, most likely. What spiritual influence is she operating under, then? I know the answer. Satan and his religion are getting the credit for their “good” deeds. Right? Instead of telling these poor people the truth, and bringing them the real gospel of the baptism of the holy Ghost, they are inadvertently indoctrinating them into Christianity and helping them to survive so they consequently give the glory to Satan and his ministers. They can say “Praise Jesus!” all they want, but their praise is going past Jesus. He isn’t listening to them because they are none of His. (Is this correct? ). You also wrote this:

“As many as are not led by the Spirit, NO MATTER WHAT THEY THINK, SAY, OR DO, these are NOT the sons of God. They are carnally minded, and as such, they cannot please God or do His will.”

This is a hard saying. It’s deep. I understand it, but man, it’s heavy. Because as she was telling me her story, I started to feel guilty and thought, “Whew, I’m not doing anything to help poor people. I must not be Christlike.” That Christian spirit of “obligation” caught me for a moment. I pondered it… and then I texted you after I left her home.

Then I reflected on Matt 25:35…where Jesus told his disciples that “whatever ye have done for the least of my brethren, ye have done it to me.” If Jesus was speaking spiritually, he was talking about His “brethren” (God’s children) and not just anybody in the world. Correct?

Therefore, John, the work that God has given to your father and you is work for Jesus’ brethren. We do not labor for the starving masses, for Jesus Himself said, “The poor you will always have with you.” Your work is FOR the body of Christ; Christian work is not. Unless the Spirit of God touches someone and sends them on a “mission trip,” they are all in vain. Correct?

No wonder the carnal mind cannot comprehend the things of God. The flesh resists the spirit and prefers to do things its own way.

Reminds me again, of another appropriate scripture. . . when people have no King (no Jesus), they do whatever they think is “right in their own eyes.” and that is always the wrong thing (paraphrased Judges 21:25).

I hope this wasn’t too long. Thanks for helping me think this through.

Love,
Brad
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Hi again, Brad.

It was interesting to read this. I watched as you explained much to yourself, and then I realized that I was watching an internal struggle of faith work itself out. You already have all of the information; it’s just a matter of having the faith to live by it. That is what we want, not only to know what is true but to let the truth consume us, to become how we think and become who we are. I, and I think you, saw as you wrote that you really didn’t need to write at all, as far as knowing what is right is concerned. You just needed encouragement to believe what the Lord has already shown you. But let me say a few things about some things you mentioned before I conclude.

RE: the Christian phrase, “Doing something for Jesus”, or the other one like it, “Doing something for God.”
There is no such thing found in the Bible. Whoever first came up with it did not know the truth about either God or man. It is not possible for any human to do anything for Jesus or for God. God needs nothing, and He has given Jesus all the glory and majesty that can be given to anybody. Those religious phrases are used as tools of manipulation by Satan, to make people feel guilty about how little they participate in Christianity and get them to agree to practice his religion more zealously in an effort to escape the guilt. As far as caring for the poor, it is one of the five basics of the Islamic religion to care for the poor of this world. A person can do such things if Jesus had never lived or died.

RE: Your comment concerning “bizarre pagan religious traditions combined with what little they know of Christianity.”
Christians have very little trouble combining their religion with “bizarre pagans traditions” because Christianity itself is a bizarre pagan religion. Have you never noticed how the father of Christianity, the Pope, dresses, or his underlings? Or how about their uses of “holy water”, and their bizarre “communion suppers”? Or their weird baptisms using earthly water? etc., etc. And how about their wacky doctrines!! “The Holy Trinity”, and “Repeat these scriptures and get saved!” Or “Join the Church of your choice.” etc., etc. And the Church’s persecution and slaughter of countless thousands of God’s children over the centuries who saw through it all?
What does any of that have to do with Jesus or God? Answer: nothing whatsoever. But it has everything to do with Satan and the fleshly nature of fallen men.

RE: You added, “But she touched people with her love and affection —- and gave them hope.”
The apostle Paul said that there is only one hope of the gospel; that is, eternal life. And if your lady friend did not bring those Africans to the knowledge of life in the Spirit of God, if she taught them only about the Jesus of Christianity, she gave them no hope of eternal life at all. “Christ in you is the hope of glory,” Paul wrote. And if your friend does not have the holy Spirit within her, she does not have Christ within her, and if she does not have Christ, she is hopeless herself.

There is more that we could say, but the point is that all of God’s love is in His Son, which means there is no access to God except through His Son. His Son sent the holy Spirit back to us as his means of access to the Father, and without that holy Spirit, we are strangers to God, no matter how religious we act, and regardless of our titles or reputations.
Without the love of God, we can give everything we have to the poor, we can even give our bodies to be burned, and it is absolutely worthless in God’s eyes, according to Paul. And no one has the love of God who does not have His Spirit, for “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost which He has given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

I do pray that at some point, your friend really will become a servant of our Master, the Lord Jesus. Until then, nothing she does impresses him, his Father, or me, or anyone else who truly knows and loves Jesus and his Father.

Pastor John
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Pastor John’s note:
Please read these emails on “Worthless flesh” carefully. The importance of this conversation, which began with Brother Brad, is growing with each new comment. It touches on the most critical element of faith: How important is Jesus?
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Pastor John,
Reading this reminds me of the time the Lord showed me the truth about this type of Christian work. Several people I knew were “feeding the shut-ins” around our area. Some of them were suffering physically for the work they were doing. On two different occasions, the Lord told me, “I have no respect for that”, while the people were telling me of their work. I just thought, “Okay, I have no respect for that”, as though it was my own thought.

Later when I closed my eyes to rest, the Lord said, “No, I’M telling YOU. I have NO respect for that.” Then he started showing me that when people do those things, it’s much like the people in the Old Testament who tried to build the tower of Babel. They were trying to get to God some other way than what He said to do.

He also showed me something else, that has helped me keep a right attitude toward people who are doing that. He reminded me of Bess, when she was in Christianity. She would carry around crackers and juice with her all the time, so she could have communion with Jesus at any time. He saw her heart and that she really wanted to please him and be close to him. And he got her out! I love that part of that lesson. Anyone who is stuck in Christianity, doing all of that stuff with a sincere heart will not be missed by Jesus. And anyone who is doing all of that stuff for the praise of men or any other reason will stay there.
Cris
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Yes, Cris. Double yes! It isn’t easy to communicating how much God abhors Christianity, and, at the same time, get it across how much He loves and wants to bless Christians. But you are helping!

After Brad and I began writing last night, it became very clear to me that Brother Brad was dealing with the essential challenge to our faith of Christ; to wit, how things appear to be, as opposed to how things really are, in God’s sight. When I was talking with Brother Gary this morning about these things, another scripture came to mind that I wished I had thought of when I replied to Brad. It was what Jesus told the Pharisees, from Matthew 23:

15. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You go about land and sea to make one convert, and when it is done, you make him twice the son of Gehenna as yourselves.”

Those missionaries from Israel surely told the heathen about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and about Moses, David, and the prophets, just as Christian missionaries now tell them about Jesus and the apostles. Those missionaries doubtless suffered hardships to evangelize the heathen, just as many Christian missionaries must do now. And if those Jewish missionaries had the opportunity to do a good deed for the heathen, they would surely have done it, just as Christian missionaries do.
And Jesus’ conclusion was that when those Jewish missionaries made a convert of a heathen, he was twice as devoted to the devil as those Jewish missionaries were! Amazing! The struggle that Brad felt in his spirit with this issue was, without any doubt, felt just as strongly by Jews who heard Jesus tell Jewish missionaries that they were converting the heathen to the devil, not to God. But Jesus was telling them that because he loved them, not because he hated them.
The whole issue is, How important is the holy Spirit?, which is another way of saying, “How important is Jesus?”, which is another way of saying, “How important is God?” And the eternal answer is, If the holy Spirit is not leading someone to do what he is doing, then Jesus is not leading him to do it, which means that God is not leading him. And in that case, EVERY GOOD THING which that person does is as filthy rags in God’s sight.
May God help us speak the truth in love, so that if people are provoked by the truth we speak, and rejects it, it is because of the condition of their hearts, not the condition of ours.

Pastor John
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Amen!!!

John,
It’s all about appearance. We do not judge according to the flesh. Your response is so clear and good! I love it. We, the children of God who walk in the truth, will never measure up to what this world does for its own. I am so thankful that we have someone today who cares for his children and that is working to help them understand their Father and His Son.

(that someone is you 🙂 )
Stuart
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Stuart, you reminded me of what Jesus told his disciples when he warned them that they would be hated for loving him. From John 15:

19. If you were of the world, the world would care for its own; but because you’re not of the world – on the contrary, I’ve chosen you out of the world – the world hates you.
20. Remember the statement I made to you: ‘A servant isn’t greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they’ll also persecute you. If they have obeyed my word, they’ll also obey yours.’
21. But all these things they’ll do to you because of my name.”

When Jesus said, “they’ll persecute you”, he was talking about those whom the world calls good. He was talking about the missionaries whose converts became twice as devoted to the devil as the “good” people who converted them. We all just need to “awake to righteousness”, and confess Jesus Christ as Lord of all, and stop being impressed and intimidated by what looks and sounds good in this world. Without him, there is nothing but sin, and without him, there will be nothing but damnation in the end.
Pastor John
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Thanks for sharing this John. When I read it, I thought of that scripture: “The zeal of thy house has eaten me up.”

Jesus was not impressed with men’s religious efforts, not at all. He was eaten up and zealous for truth, and he had no trouble saying so. When he came face to face with men’s vain religious effort, no matter how good it looked, it didn’t move him, as if it WAS true because it had compassion or was trying to help people. It took strength – he knew the consequences of that reproof. He was being the light.

Loving truth is not being confused and to call it like it is, no matter how sweet it looks. If the holy Ghost baptism is not in it, it amounts to garbage (Paul said so, calling it “dung”). I want to be eaten up with THAT.

It was good to read these things this morning. I’m glad Brad asks these questions.

Gary
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John, this exchange of letters has really blessed me. It truly made my day.

PRAISE GOD!!!!!

I am so elated by your encouraging and enlightening response!!!!!

AND—as I shared with Vince this morning, I am thankful that the measure of discernment that God has given me was enough to send up a red flag on this topic, and provoke me to analyze the situation, in my heart. I appreciate the way you’ve broken it down into understandable details… it is so wonderful! So revealing. And thus—so VALUABLE—to be able to understand how my FEELINGS and my intuition was on target, … it just took some time to think it through and trust God to explain it.

Thanks, Cris , for your input . Bess’ story is a great example!!

It’s so nice to have a family who can talk about these things, and dig deep into the truth of God that saves us from believing lies.

Wishing you all a beautiful day!

Brad
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Hey

This is very good. Quite a few years ago Kay and I were talking about how it was for Paul, preaching Christ to heathen Gentiles. I was comparing that to the situation now, where the predominant religion in our western cultures is Christianity. As I spoke to Kay there was, in my mind, a difference between Paul’s situation and that which we live in now. Later on, the spirit corrected me and I had to go back and tell Kay that I was wrong. Christianity IS a heathen religion and there is really no difference (except that God’s people are in it.)

What that experience showed me that was that I had kind of a “default” setting in my heart about Christianity. By then, I understood that it was wrong, but there was still something in me that gave it a special place or credibility. If it deserves a special place, it is because it is the abomination on the Earth that uses Jesus’ name. To believe, from the heart, that Christianity is a “bizarre, pagan religion”, and for it to have no place in our hearts, is a big part of being truly free.

Damien
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Wow, that is interesting what Damien said about Xty having a “default setting” in his heart. I have noticed that I have that, too. Christianity is a bizarre, pagan religion dressed to look like it belongs to Jesus. I am praying that the Lord takes that away from me, and all of us. I only want truth in my heart.

Jenny

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Why Laying on of Hands?

Dear Pastor John,

There are many examples in the NT that a person received Holy Spirit baptism when the apostle laid hand on that person. I also saw it in some occasions on your online video. What is the necessity that somebody laid hand for somebody to receive Holy Spirit baptisms? Is not repentance the sole requirement for Spirit baptism?

nice greetings…

Surya
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Dear Surya,

Yes, that are correct. The only requirement to receive the baptism of Christ is repentance. However, God has his own reasons for doing things the way He does. For example, why did Jesus spit in one man’s eyes in order to heal him (Mk. 8)?

22. And he came to Bethsaida. Then they brought him a blind man, and they begged him to touch him.
23. And taking the blind man’s hand, he led him out of the village. And he spat into his eyes, and when he had laid his hands on him, he asked him if he could see anything.”

Jesus could have just spoken to the man’s eyes, but God wanted him to do this miracle in that particular way, for some unknown reason. It is good to want to understand the ways of God, and it is good to ask for answers. Be know that it is also the nature of our to want to “nail God down”, to figure Him out, and to turn His “new and living way” into a formula. Man had always tried to do that with God, and man has always failed. God is just God, and He does whatever He pleases to do, however He pleases to do it.

I do not presume to know why God does anything the way He chooses to do it, but I can see how, in some cases, God will send one of His ministers to lay hands on a person in order to show that person who His servant is. But, as I said, God has His own reasons in each case, and unless He reveals what His reasons are, we cannot know them.

What we can know, however, is that whoever desires God’s eternal Spirit of life is required to obey Him and that nobody ever receives the holy ghost baptism without obeying God (Acts 5:32). For sinners, to obey God means to repent of their sins. God requires repentance of everybody, everywhere (Acts 17:30) because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.

Thank you for sending in your question. May God richly bless you and yours.

Pastor John

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Dear Pastor John,

thank you very much for the response. It is correct that human mind tend to
put His “new and living way” into a formula. I realize that as a scientist, I tend to formulate everything into a systematic theorem, which of course does not work for God cases.
Thank you for reminding…..

nice greetings from Indonesia

surya

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Silenced by a Lie

Pastor John:

Concerning the correct translation of Hosea 6:4 “My people are silenced because of a lack of knowledge”:

They are silenced by a lie. I now see clearly for the first time this trick which satan has used from the beginning, getting people to talk, therefore believe anything, but the truth and his true nature remains hidden. As long as a lie is being repeated in the place of truth, he can remain hidden in this world. (For a time it worked in Heaven)

Satan has been successful in the main to be transformed in the eyes of most into an angel of light, although he is not referred to by that name. To really see clearly how this has been accomplished is to me astounding.

That the lie being the norm in this world, Jesus and his ambassadors are the target of whatever slander can be believed by unstable souls, or this foolish world.

This sure makes it seem so just for God to destroy this tainted world. It is not fit place for his Son to rule for eternity. For a while, so that his enemies will know they are being put under his feet, he will rule here. The truth is, though, that Jesus deserves a better place than this world to rule forever.

Poor satan offered to give this world to Jesus, and little did he know that Jesus’ father was going to give him a world much better.

Wendell

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Yes, Brother Wendell. With false doctrine, Satan inspires sincere people of God to talk a lot religious activity and ideas, but what of it is the truth? If a child of God is not speaking the truth, he is silent, as far as Jesus is concerned, even if he talks all day and all night long because without the truth, a person has really said nothing at all.

Pastor John

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Saturday night

Hi, Pastor John:

I loved Saturday night! When we started throwing things on the floor, it put everything we are and do in its right perspective: at Jesus’ feet. All things are going to end up there sooner or later; sooner is better. While I was rolling on the floor, the Spirit was speaking to my soul and telling me, “There is no value in anything unless Jesus is in it”, and that especially includes us. But, with Jesus in us and operating in us with his Spirit, we are very valuable. Songs, testimonies, books, etc.; all is vain and empty without Jesus. As you have said, “It is form”!

While standing there, afterwards, the Spirit keep repeating in me, “all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, all your mind”, over and over. The more I said it, the better I was feeling. I was praying, “God, please show me what all my heart, mind, soul, and strength is”, because that is what is going to make me keep feeling the goodness of God.

When God reveals anything or does anything, though it may be little-by-little, as He wants us to know or experience, it is still with all His heart towards us.

billy m

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