Difficult Inconvenient Truth #001

For those of us who have the passion to read our Bible every day …

From time to time we do read very difficult passage

Difficult because it demand firm decision making and sacrifices on our part to fully agree with what Jesus said and to do it!

Difficult because it address our relationship with God and people around us

Here is one example –

 

Luke 14:26  – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

 

This message is ..

Shocking …

Disturbing …

This message came from the same person who went to the cross and died for our sins

For us who accepted the grace and mercy of God to become Christian, we find this messaging itself very serious, especially spoken by Jesus Himself.

Jesus Himself taught us to love God and to love our neighbor, so why would Jesus say anything like that?!

 

A good way to gain better understanding of what Jesus said is to apply the following two principles

 

1) Most of Jesus’s teaching and message can be cross referenced to what was written or revealed in the Old Testament.

If we want to better understand Jesus’ teachings and commandments, what He did and why, a good option is to better understand what is written in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament does not just prophesied about the coming of Jesus, but also His ministry, His teachings and how this Jesus is the Messiah, the savior of the world, and what we need to do to follow Jesus.

Jesus came to fulfill what was written and revealed about Him in the Old Testament, therefore being a good student of the Old Testament will give us better understanding of what Jesus said and taught to us.

 

2) Jesus message centralizes in relationship between God and Man as priority.

Jesus message also teaches about people to people relationship but prioritize relationship between God and Man, and that does not mean Jesus marginalized human relationship.

Relationship from God towards Man is pure, in truth and righteousness as God is pure, true and righteous, and goes beyond human time to eternity.

Relationship between people and people can be complicated and limited by time.

*If you can believe and accept that Jesus is in fact helping us to establish better and more long lasting human relationship by teachings us to apply God’s way of relationship, we are better prepared to understand some of Jesus difficult teaching.

 

Now let’s look at

Luke 14:26  – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Take note Jesus mentioned “even his own life” – there is something bigger than the individual self being addressed here.

Jesus is addressing our action and behavior which are affecting community living.

This message can be directly crossed referenced to

Deuteronomy 13:6-8

6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

The context of Deuteronomy was given by God Himself, recorded by Moses and administered to a generation of people prepared to enter the Promised Land and to live together as a community of God-fearing people.

These commandments of God were meant to protect them, and keep them in unity and harmony with God and community and to teach them the way of righteousness and truth.

 

**Take note that God’s commandments have a lot of impact on community living.

 

A little bit of history lesson; the warning against going astray to serve other gods was not just about going to temple and shrines to ask for individual blessing and throw a few coins into the donation box using money from our own pocket.

There were ancient practices of children sacrifices, sorceries and mediums, dark magic which brought destruction upon the whole community, causing hurt towards innocent.

If you care about your family, you will not want to get involved in these and you want your family to stay safe.

 

You want to make sure you serve the true and living God who will reward you with eternal life, with goodness and honor, and teaches you the way of truth, justice and righteousness.

You want to make sure you and your family live in peace and goodness and righteousness.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is our best guarantee that His promises of eternal life is definite, sure and will be done!

 

In the message of Luke, Jesus was setting forth conditions to be His disciples.

We need to know what kind of disciples Jesus is making us to be.

Disciple of the love of God …

Disciple of truth and righteousness

Disciples of good deeds

And most important … disciples to receive eternal life from Jesus!

 

Jesus teaching and commandments is consistent with His character and mission to save us and give us the gift of eternal life.

If Jesus demanded repentance from sin, preached against evilness and wickedness, why do you think Jesus would preached such difficult message in Luke 14:26?

If you have a friend who asked you to join him to commit a crime, will you agree and go along with it? Even if you feel circumstances pushed you towards it?

If you have a family member who put you under pressure to do things that are morally wrong and against ethical values, would you do it? Especially with regards to actions and behaviors that will impact community living in a negative and destructive way – will you do it?

We should not be naïve and we should not be ignorant, that such things do happen in society and sometimes we feel caught in-between.

Sometimes we have friends and family who strayed to wrong motive. And we want to help them, show them the love of Jesus, and put them back on the right path.

 

** Jesus have provided us a better peaceful way to do it right –

 

1 Timothy 4:16 – Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

I cannot teach others the way to eternal life if I myself am not convinced Jesus can grant eternal life.

In the message of Luke 14:26, Jesus is challenging our own faith and conviction, first and foremost.

*Jesus is not teaching us to hate people, but is teaching us to stay on the path of righteousness, goodness and truth and to testify and bear witness of God’s truth by standing our ground.

When Jesus Himself was crucified on the cross, betrayed and mocked by false accusers, He was prepared to die for truth.

 

** Jesus allowed Himself to be killed for the truth of the Gospel.

 

After Jesus was resurrected, His disciple’s faiths were revived.

Jesus death and resurrection is our best testimony that God is true and faithful.

Only Jesus can give us the gift of eternal life and we want to share that with our family and friends. But we cannot do it if we ourselves are not convinced about the promises of God.

 

In-His-Service

David Z

“Do you know Jesus?”

Ways of evangelism as according to Jesus’ commandment

What we need to do and say when we witness for Jesus

 

(1). Keep focus on the most important thing

(John 14:6)Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  

(John 17:3) – And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

 

The most important message we need to talk and preach about is Jesus

Especially the death and resurrection of Jesus which testify to God’s guarantee of eternal life and salvation, and God’s victory over sin and death

People live in ignorance of “sin and death” not knowing the world we live in is subjected to judgement due to sin.

When we sin against God we deserve to be judged and die.

 

Our only way to be saved from judgement is through Jesus.

Because Jesus is our atonement for sin and death

 

Jesus is God’s salvation plan for us and we need to response to His call.

From the days of old, God have showed it through the prophets, even way back from Noah to Moses, that our God who is a God of justice, righteousness and truth, will execute judgement against sin.

But our God is also a God of love and mercy, in that He will provide a way for our redemption, which He already did through Jesus.

 

When there is no atonement there will be no forgiveness.

 

We can receive forgiveness because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross for us.

Jesus sacrifice was accepted because Jesus is the only sinless and perfect atonement approved and received by God.

This forgiveness and redemption is made available for anyone who will act in faith and obedient.

 

(Matthew 4:17) – From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

 

This is Jesus way of evangelism and we need to follow because to do otherwise is misleading.

We are called to response in repentance.

Repent from what?

 

Repent from our un-believe in the sovereignty of God and our accountability to answer to God.

Repent from our disagreement against the teachings of Jesus, the word of God.

Repent from our disobedience against the teachings of Jesus, the commandment of God.

 

We were never alone to live and to survive on our own!

We were created by God to serve Him and to worship God.

In our world today, people all over want to be independent. But end of the day we know, we are slave to ourselves, slave to the world economy, salve to the system of the world and eventually death awaits us.

But through Jesus Christ we can be born-again to be sons and daughters of God and not be slave anymore to sins and death.

 

(John 1:12-13) –  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

 

(2). Avoid passing responsibility and other in-direct ways

If we look around us today, what are the most common methods people do in evangelism?

 

A).bring friends to evangelism crusade and get the preacher to preach? But do you know the friends you bring wants to know if you yourself actually agree or understand everything that’s preached?

 

B).bring friends to Christian fellowship in hope they feel comfortable and want to get involve and be Christian? How many just come and go? Again the friends you bring wants to know if you yourself fully understand and know what is going on in your faith and fellowship.

 

C).invite your pastor to preach to your friends? Again your friends have doubts “what do you think” and if you fully understand and agree what is being preached?

 

By all means we need evangelistic crusades, Christian fellowships that do evangelism, and pastors who will preach the Gospel faithfully. But a very important point a lot of churches are missing out on effective evangelism is this

 

Personal Witness and Faith …

The person who brings a friend to church and fellowship, if this person himself is not convinced of his own faith in Christ, then it will not be effective!

 

You can bring one person to church or bring a thousand, but are you yourself sure and convinced of what you are doing for Jesus?

We should and we need to.

 

Jesus is already resurrected from the dead.

In Christ we have the victory over sin and death.

We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus!

 

When church members are mobilized to evangelism, we don’t just send people out to hand out fliers and bulletin. We are sending out “witness” of Jesus, amen.

We ourselves need to be sure and convinced of our faith in Christ, and when we talk to people, invite people to fellowship then people are sure and convinced of what they are being invited to.

And the best way of evangelism is to “GO” rather than “invite

 

(Matthew 28:18-20)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

Jesus used the commandment “GO

Jesus sends forth workers into the harvest field.

The most effective ways of evangelism is to “GO” and testify to the people

 

Every Christian a minister

Every believer a witness

Every disciple a preacher

Every leader a trainer

 

 

(3). be wise steward of our monies, time and resources

We already know a lot of churches getting involved in big events and conferences.

Problem is these methods cost a lot of monies, time to organize and man-power resources.

This is something not every church can do!

This is something only few churches with deep pockets can do!

In facts and figures this may not be economical!

The monies spend on events can be better spent to train evangelist and church-planters, or people who will have direct impact on witnessing.

 

(Luke 10:2) – And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

(Matthew 9:37) – Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;

 

For those of you who know this thing called “10-40 windows

You know there remains a lot more work to be done.

From the first time this “10-40 windows” was mentioned, the world population was not stagnant, but catching up to today 7.6 billion, and most of these are inside the “10-40 windows”.

What are we waiting for!

 

In-His-Service

David Z