Holy Spirit Convicts

(John 16:8-11)

holy spirit convicts
The Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement.

This scripture looks at how the Holy Spirit convicts or convinces the world of three important matters. When Jesus left the world He said that it was to our advantage for He would send the Holy Spirit to us and the Holy Spirit would convict and convince the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement.

These three factors are linked together. They were not random points that the Lord pulled out of a hat. They are connected in a special way that is important for us to understand. And it is the working of the Holy Spirit that draws these three together. Continue reading “Holy Spirit Convicts”

Martyred

(John 16:1-4)

martyr
Martyred

Over the centuries there have been many righteous people martyred for the sake of what they believe. In this section Jesus warns those of His followers that this would be the case. He says that some will be put to death for the sake of their faith and their service to God, just as many of the earlier prophets died for their service to God.

What is most disturbing about this piece of scripture, is that it is often those who claim to be followers of the Lord that will be the ones killing the prophets and righteous people of God. This should not be so, but it is clear from Jesus’ own mouth that this is what will happen. Why?

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Jesus Came to Save the World

(John 12:47-50)

life saver
Jesus came to save the world. He is our life saver.

Jesus is the Saviour of the world. So many times we hear these words and yet so many Christians still live in fear of judgement. They worry about “hellfire and damnation” and in years gone by this seemed to be one of the major topics from the pulpit. The focus seemed to be more on terrorising the flock into submission rather than recognising the salvation of the Lord.

However in this section of scripture we see an entirely different picture painted. Judgement, hellfire and brimstone is not what Jesus came for and is not what He preached. Instead we see a Saviour full of love and compassion who came to help and save His people. In this section we get a powerful insight into the Lord’s purpose and ministry.

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Prejudice, Bias and Judging by Appearances

(John 9:13-17)

In this world, judging by appearances is almost the norm. As humans we tend to make up our minds within seconds or minutes of meeting people for the first time and judge them according to our own set of biases or prejudices. But it is wrong to do so for often the basis of such judgement is flawed and does not rest upon the truth or reality.outcast of prejudice

Jesus was judged by appearances in this section of the scripture by the Pharisees and they were wrong. They failed to recognise who Jesus was based on their own set of rules and they were prejudiced against him. As such they missed the Christ and Messiah they were waiting for and failed to gain the gifts He offered.

Continue reading “Prejudice, Bias and Judging by Appearances”

Jesus Judges No One

(John 8:13-16)

judge
Mans judgement is not like Gods judgement
Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Lisa Ghaith

There are some people in this world who believe Jesus came to judge the world and that Christianity is about judgement. They feel this way I presume because many Christians talk about the laws of God, sin and condemnation.

However they are wrong for making such assumptions. And Christians who believe they are still under the law have missed the mark concerning the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ for he came to set man free from sin and from the law of sin and death.

The key scripture I am looking at in this section is in verses 15-16, which says,

15 You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one.
16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me.

There will be a time for judgement, but that time is not now and it was not when Jesus came. We see in this scripture what He had to say about judgement and contrasts between the judgement of God and the judgements of man.

Continue reading “Jesus Judges No One”

Judging by Appearances

(John 7:19-24)

old book
You can’t judge a book by it’s cover
Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Loleia

The Jews were seeking to put Jesus to death and He knew it. When confronted they would not admit it, but it was evident in their words, actions and opposition to Jesus.

But for those who followed him, as well as those who did not, he gave this wonderful piece of wisdom. It is a message that we need to remember all of the time, especially as we walk with the Lord.

Continue reading “Judging by Appearances”

The Woman Who Was A Sinner

(Luke 7:36-50)

Judgement is a harsh thing, especially when it comes from one who does not have the right to judge. Who in this world is not a sinner? Who in this world is perfect and has the right to judge another?

the woman who was a sinnerThese are the questions and issues that are posed in this event about the woman who was a sinner. Jesus shows here also that he had the authority to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” and that his approach was one of compassion, not judgement.

The Pharisees Invitation

Jesus was invited to dine with this Pharisee, and he went. While seated at the table the woman who was a sinner heard that Jesus was dining with the Pharisee and came to Jesus.

She wept at Jesus’ feet, washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. She brought a flask of expensive and fragrant ointment and anointed his feet and kissed his feet doing obeisance to the Lord.

The Pharisees Judgement of the Woman who was a Sinner

The Pharisee watched all of this unfold. He did not intervene or stop the woman but he judged both Jesus and the woman. His thoughts were, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Verse 39)

Can you perceive the judgement in this? This Pharisee judged the woman calling her a sinner. We do not know what she had done, but it was apparently known to the Pharisee and he was critical and judgemental of the woman. He did not recognise that regardless of what she had done in the past, she was doing a beautiful thing for the Lord, and he had essentially dismissed the woman as a lost cause because of her past. He could not see beyond the fact that she was a sinner and therefore unworthy, worthless and a lost cause.

The Pharisee Judges Jesus

This Pharisee also lacked faith. He judged Jesus saying to himself that if he were a prophet he would know this woman was a sinner. Presumably on that basis he possibly thought that Jesus should have rejected her.

It is evident that the Pharisee was justifying himself rather than seeking what was right in this situation. His opinion was clearly that you don’t have dealings with sinners and that they will somehow taint and stain the righteous.

Certainly if a person takes part in their sins they will be tainted, but how can a sinner be brought to God unless a righteous person deals with them? How could Jesus preach to the sinners without going amongst them?

The position of the Pharisee was that you should separate yourself from sinners and have little to do with them. This is both judgement and prejudice of the worst kind and Jesus showed the Pharisee the errors of his thinking.

Jesus Teaching on the Woman who was a Sinner

Jesus showed that when a person is forgiven much they love much and when they are forgiven little they love little. This is a natural human trait for a person will be much more inclined to favour and love someone who has done a great thing for them than one who does not.

Jesus put this question to the Pharisee and it is evident the Pharisee was no fool for he recognised that a person who was forgiven much would love much more than one who was forgiven little.

Jesus did not judge the woman because she was a sinner, but instead he said, “Your sins are forgiven,” and “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” (Verses 48-50) She had come to Jesus looking for what good she could find. She had faith and believed in the Lord and the words he was teaching the people. She probably did not come expecting to be forgiven of her sins, but she recognised the Lord for who he was and wanted to do something good for him.

She knew she was a sinner and did not need the Pharisee or anyone else to pass judgement on her for she knew herself. It was because she was a sinner and that she recognised the goodness of Jesus that when she was in his presence she wept. She knew that she was a failure because of her sin, but in her weeping she recognised that failure and came to the Lord repentant as her attitude showed.

The Lord saw this in her and that is why her sins were forgiven. He saw the repentance and the faith this woman had, despite her history and past, and in his righteousness Jesus did not judge her but forgave her.

What this means for us

How often do we see people and look at the surface and condemn them as sinners? It is too easy to dismiss someone as a sinner when instead we could and should look deeper than the surface. Who amongst us is perfect in our own right and therefore in a position to judge and condemn? As Jesus said to those who brought to him the woman caught in adultery, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

We have been called to learn how to be like Jesus. We have been called to learn the ways of righteousness and peace, not judgement and condemnation. The power of the Lord that has been given to us is the power to build up, not to destroy and tear down. We do not have the right to judge others but instead to help them to come to the Lord. Jesus came to call the sinners, not the righteous and if we are self-righteous like the Pharisee in this teaching, we cannot do the work of the Lord for the only true righteousness comes from God.

Judgement, prejudice and bias are not of God. When you are amongst people who are yet to see the light you need to conduct yourself as Christ would have done. And when you are not amongst them, pray for them for the Lord may see fit to have mercy on them and call them to himself. Like the woman who was a sinner, we do not know the heart of other people nor how the Lord is working in their lives.

(Picture sourced from oChristian.com http://clipart.ochristian.com/)

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Take the Log out of Your Own Eye First

(Luke 6:41-42)

Jesus raised an excellent point in this section of scripture. It is one of the great problems of mankind today and he showed up this flaw in human nature which is incredibly damaging.

It is the issue of criticism and condemnation.

What is the Log in Your Eye?

There are people in this world who have made a career out of criticism. We have film critics, fashion critics, music critics, food critics and so on. Peoples careers and livelihoods are often affected by the whims of these people, and so I ask, is criticism a good thing?

Now when we take this down to an individual level it can get quite personal. There are many people who criticise others indiscriminately and for hurtful reasons. It can be bitter and spiteful and wrongfully colour the opinions of other people.

The apostle Paul made this remark in his letter to Timothy, which highlights the danger of such talk. He said,

Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will eat its way like gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:16-17)

Godless chatter. That is exactly what criticism is all about. It is a means by which people undermine the position of others for less than honourable purposes.

What Should We Do About It?

Paul’s advice to Timothy pretty much sums it up. Avoid such godless chatter. Avoid the temptation to enter into criticism for it is not of God.

Criticism is a form of condemnation and judgement. When we criticise another person we are judging and condemning them and most criticism is of a negative nature. This is not the behaviour of a Christian and is to be avoided.

Now you may be thinking that Christ and the apostles criticised people. They did after all say things like “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,” and, “You brood of vipers.” Pretty strong words! But they were not criticising the scribes and Pharisees personally, they were critical of what they were teaching. Their hypocrisy was in what the were saying and doing, or not doing.

The maxim that you should judge the deed not the person is a good analogy of the position to take on this matter. But when Jesus gave this message about taking the log out of your own eye before attempting to take the speck out of your brother’s eye, his concern was about personal criticism and judgement. It is not our position to judge another nor our right to do so. As James wrote, “There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor?” (James 4 12)

The approach we are to take is to first take care of our own issues and problems. If the Lord leads us we can help others, but it is not for us to judge them for we do not have that right.

The Measure You Give Will Be The Measure You Get Back

(Luke 6:37-38)

The ways of the Lord are a complete reversal of the ways of the world. Here in this scripture we see that the he said, “The measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Verse 38)

Look at what this whole section says and you will see what I mean.measure you give

The Measure You Give

The most interesting thing about this section of scripture is that it’s your move first.

What you receive in terms of judgement, mercy, condemnation and anything else is determined by what you do first.

Judge not and you will not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Both these statements say that it is what you do first that will determine what is meted out to you. Do you not want to be judged or condemned? Then don’t judge and condemn others.

The Golden Rule

This scripture is talking about the application of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There are checks and balances in the universe and more importantly in God’s kingdom. What you get is based upon what you give. Give nothing and you will get nothing. Do evil and you will receive evil in return. Do good and you will receive what is good.

Yes there are times as Christians when we may do good and reap evil. That is our lot in life. But if we do good in spite of receiving evil, we are blessed by the Lord and regarded by God.

The Measure You Get Back

Do you want to receive all that is good? Then do good to others. Give when you are able and when you have the opportunity and you will be blessed.

The Lord gave us a good description of this attitude in Psalms 37:21. It says, “The wicked borrows, and cannot pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.”

Be righteous and be a giver, not a taker. Then you will receive the blessing of the Lord as he describes in verse 22 of this same Psalm. “…for those blessed by the Lord shall possess the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.”

The measure you get back will far outweigh the measure you give when you give in accordance with God’s way. As Jesus said in verse 38 of this section in Luke 6, “…give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.”

The Lord’s hand is not short when he gives good things.

(Picture sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu/ taken by Sergio Roberto Bichara)

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Jesus Before Pilate

(Matthew 27:11-14)

After his betrayal, the chief priests sent Jesus to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. In this section we see Jesus before Pilate as his accusers testified against him. But throughout these proceedings Jesus stood silent, not answering a word to a single accusation made. This section of scripture is more a recounting of historical events, but there are some things we can take from it and learn.

The brining of Jesus before Pilate was done to fulfil prophecy. Isaiah spoke of these things saying, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) Jesus gave no defence against the accusations made. The accusations were lies and he knew it. He had also previously said that had he wanted he could have called upon the Father to send great armies of angels to fight on his behalf, but then how would the prophecies be fulfilled? How would the New Covenant have been brought into effect and how would we have received redemption and salvation?

It was necessary that these things occur and as I have said in prior posts, these things were done to fulfil prophecy, which did two things. First it proved the accuracy, validity and performance of the prophecies thus showing that the words of God can be trusted. Second it showed proof that Jesus was the Son of God and the Christ or Messiah sent to save mankind from sin.

We can trust in Jesus and in God to bring about all of the prophecies in due course. The plan of God and the words of the Father stand firm and will not be changed. Many other things may change, but the course that God has set is steadfast and sure and all of the things prophesied in the Bible will come to pass.

And this provides us with comfort. For knowing this to be true we can watch the events of the world around us and understand these things in the light of the truth. We can look at things like climate change, earthquakes and tsunamis, wars and all the things the people of the world fear, knowing that these things must take place. The Bible tells us of all these things and many more that will occur. So rather than fear these things as the people of the world do, let us instead recognise that this is part of the predefined plan of God and know that the time of Jesus return is drawing near.