Workers of Iniquity & a Profession That Comes too Late

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament book. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

 

            “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest thy trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6).

 

            “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? OR if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know hot to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: For this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:7-12).

 

            “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

 

            “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).

 

            “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

 

            “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

 

            “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).

 

            When you come to the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the third of three chapters which were designated to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The more I consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that this sermon was indeed Jesus’ declaration of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredibly important it is for it calls and draws our attention to both the demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth I have previously written how in the final verses of the fourth chapter we find Jesus not only speaking concerning the kingdom of heaven but also demonstrating the reality and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the earth. If you take the time to read the words which are found in the fourth chapter you will find that after Jesus returned to Galilee from the wilderness where He was tempted of the devil He would dwell in Capernaum that the prophetic word spoken by Isaiah might be fulfilled. What’s more is that as you read the words which are found in the fourth chapter you will find the Lord Jesus emphatically declaring unto those who were alive during that generation that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also call men and women to repentance for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. In all reality that which Jesus did was directly link and connect repentance and the kingdom of heaven together for it would be repentance that would enable us to be able to truly experience the kingdom of heaven.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but see both the demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven. It is in the final verses of the fourth chapter we find the Lord Jesus ushering in and bringing about the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven by healing divers diseases and sicknesses. Moreover as the fame of Jesus spread throughout Syria and many taken with various illnesses and sicknesses were brought unto Jesus He healed them all. What’s more is that many who were taken with the palsy, or who were lunatic or even those who were taken with evil and unclean spirits experienced healing and deliverance by and from the Lord Jesus. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the kingdom of heaven and how when the Lord Jesus came to the earth and was manifested in the midst of that generation He came to bring about the demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven. The demonstration of the kingdom of heaven would indeed be found through His exercising authority over all manner of illness, all manner of disease, all manner of sickness and even unclean spirits. The more you read the words which are found in the four gospel narratives the more you will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in the earth and how the demonstration of the kingdom would be manifested with all authority, dominion and power.

 

            What I so absolutely love about the words which are found in the final verses of the fourth chapter as well as the final verses of the seventh chapter is that whether it was the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven or whether it was the declaration of the kingdom Jesus exercised an incredible and tremendous amount of authority and dominion upon the earth. You cannot read the words found in the fourth chapter of this gospel narrative and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus exercising all authority, dominion and power in the earth over all manner of sickness, illness, disease and even unclean spirits. The demonstration of the kingdom of heaven would be characterized by a tremendous amount of authority and dominion within and upon the earth as Jesus would walk in the authority that would be given unto Him by the eternal Father which is in heaven. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the earth and how the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven would be with all authority, dominion and power. There is something truly astonishing and remarkable about the words and language we find in the fourth chapter of this New Testament book for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ and the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven as He would exercise all authority, dominion and power over that which would torment and oppress men and women during those days. It wasn’t enough for Jesus to deliver His disciples and followers from religion, legalism and hypocrisy for He would also deliver them from their sicknesses, their diseases and their illnesses.

 

            The more you think about and consider this the more you will be brought face to face with the final verses of the seventh chapter and how all those who heard the words which the Lord Jesus spoke were astonished recognizing that He did not teach them as the scribes and their religious leaders did. The apostle Matthew writes and records within this passage of Scripture that all those who heard the words which Jesus spoke were entirely and altogether taken back and surprised by the words which the Lord Jesus spoke for He did not teach them as their scribes did but rather He taught them as one who had authority. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this incredible truth for when we read the words found in the seventh chapter we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ and His teaching and preaching with authority. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the authority of the Lord Jesus in the words which He spoke. Not only did Jesus exercise authority in His healing of the sick and His casting out of unclean and evil spirits but He would also exercise authority in and with the words He taught and spoke. All those who heard the words which the Lord Jesus spoke were entirely and altogether amazed and astonished at the doctrine He spoke for He did not teach them as their scribes and religious leaders did but rather He taught them as one who had authority. In other words there was a vast and fundamental difference between the words which their scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of the people, the chief priests, the Sadducees and the like taught and the words which the Lord Jesus Himself taught among them.

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found within this Sermon on the Mount for the words contained within it are essentially the declaration of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus did indeed come to make manifest the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth and He would do that through both teaching and action. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus teaching His disciples and the multitude who came to Him with authority. What’s more is it would be Jesus Himself who would declare that the words which He spoke were not His words and that He spoke only that which. He heard the Father in heaven speak. The doctrine which the Lord Jesus taught and preached during those days was such that originated from heaven and would be manifested in the midst of the earth during those days. This is something we must needs recognize and understand this absolutely incredible truth for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the words which the Lord Jesus spoke in this sermon. The words which the Lord spoke in this message would indeed be the beginning of the declaration of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth. As you continue reading the four gospel narratives you will find the Lord Jesus would use parables to speak of and reveal the kingdom of heaven to His audience and hearers and yet the words which are found in the Sermon on the Mount are such that were meant to introduce His disciples and followers to the kingdom of heaven and what it would require of them in the midst of the earth.

 

            I continue to believe that at the very heart of this Sermon on the Mount are Jesus’ words in the fifth chapter when He declares that unless their righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees they would in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible that truly is when you take the think about it as the fundamental and core principle of the kingdom of heaven was a righteousness that was not earthly and natural. Jesus made it very clear to those who heard and listened to His words that their righteousness must needs exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees or else they would not see or experience the kingdom of heaven. Oh there is something truly remarkable about the words which are found within these three chapters for within them Jesus called and invited His disciples and followers to deliver themselves out from the burdens of the religious taskmasters who were present during those days. The Lord Jesus would indeed call and invite His disciples and followers into a place where they would be delivered from under the tremendous weight the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees, the chief priests and the like placed upon them. The words which the Lord Jesus spoke in this particular passage of Scripture would indeed call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the wonderful invitation Jesus gave to His disciples and followers to once and for all be delivered from the weight(s) and burden(s) the scribes and the Pharisees placed upon them. That which Jesus offered His disciples and followers was true righteousness in the sight of God rather than a righteousness of religion which was exercised by the scribes and Pharisees of those days.

 

            Within the fifth and sixth chapters of this New Testament book we find the Lord Jesus offering His disciples and followers a powerful invitation to be delivered from the religious oppression of that day. This religious oppression would indeed be mentioned in greater detail by the Lord Jesus when He spoke of the scribes and the Pharisees which the apostle Matthew wrote in the twenty-third chapter of this gospel. The Lord Jesus would speak of the tremendous weight and burdens the scribes and Pharisees placed upon all those who were present during those days and that which would oppress them. We must needs recognize and understand that during those days the inhabitants of Judaea, Jerusalem and Galilee not only struggled with the political oppression from Rome and even the tax collectors which were present among them but they would also struggle with the religious oppression of the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious system during those days. You cannot read the words which are found in the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus coming unto the earth to bring about a wonderful demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven. It would be through the demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven the Lord Jesus would offer to bring about a powerful deliverance for those who were present during those days. It would be through the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven the Lord Jesus would deliver men and women from the oppression of sickness, illness, disease, unclean spirits and in some cases even death while it would be through the declaration of the kingdom of heaven the Lord Jesus would deliver men and women from the oppression of religion which was so prevalent during those days.

 

            The more I read the words which are found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this New Testament gospel the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible reality of the declaration of the kingdom of heaven and how through it Jesus would not only set up and establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth but would also establish a different kind of citizen which would be present during those days. When the Lord Jesus came to the earth the Roman Empire would be the dominant superpower during those days and would rule with an iron fist. You cannot read the four gospel narratives without encountering and coming face to face with the expectation of many of the Jews during those days who thought Jesus had come to deliver them out from under the cruel and violent oppression of the Roman Empire. What we must needs understand is that Jesus would indeed deliver his disciples and followers from the cruel oppression of the Roman Empire, however, it would not be done through and by political means. The Lord Jesus Christ would indeed deliver His disciples and followers from the cruel and tyrannical oppression of the Roman Empire, however, the means and method whereby He would do it was not political or violent in nature. As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus calling and inviting His disciples and followers to deliver themselves out from the cruel oppression of the Roman Empire through recognizing that they were citizens of a different government and kingdom. That which the Lord Jesus called and invited His disciples and followers to through the Sermon on the Mount was to be completely and utterly transformed by the declaration of the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus called and invited His disciples and followers into a place where they would recognize and understand that they were indeed citizens of an entirely different kingdom and were under a totally different government than that of the Roman Empire.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I am brought face to face with Jesus’ invitation unto His disciples and followers to become citizens of a different government, a different kingdom and a different economy. Although they would indeed live in the world and although they would live during days of the Roman Empire there were means of being entirely and altogether transformed as citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Recognizing their being citizens of the kingdom of heaven would indeed call and invite them into allowing themselves to be transformed entirely by the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it was possible to live under the cruel and tyrannical oppression of the Roman Empire and yet be entirely and altogether immune from the actions of Rome. I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount for the words which we find here bring us face to face with the wonderful and powerful reality that the declaration of the kingdom of heaven was meant to bring the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus into the place where they would recognize their citizenship is not bound to this earth but rather their citizenship was bound in heaven itself. Jesus would indeed come to demonstrate and declare the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth and with that He would bring about the complete and utter transformation of all those who would choose to commit themselves to this kingdom of heaven which would be entirely and altogether different from the Roman Empire and even religion which was present during those days.

 

            The more you read the words which are found within Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount the more you will be brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding His declaration of what the kingdom of heaven looks like. The kingdom of heaven would indeed to against everything that was found within the Roman Empire—and not only the Roman Empire but also religion itself. The demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven during those days would indeed present the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ as an entirely different citizen within and throughout the Roman Empire. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth that we must needs be those who are transformed by the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus would indeed heal all manner of sickness, all manner of disease and all manner of illness and yet that would only be the beginning for those who would come unto Him. The Lord Jesus would heal the physical bodies of men and women during those days and yet the physical healing within their bodies would itself serve as the beginning of a powerful transition into the kingdom of heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us into the place where we recognize and understand that the demonstration and declaration of the kingdom of heaven invites us into the place where we can truly live and dwell as citizens of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth—despite the political and religious oppression that is taking place all around us. The Lord Jesus Christ would indeed invite men and women during those days to be completely and entirely transformed by the kingdom of heaven that they might truly be such who are able to live their lives governed by the kingdom of heaven. Although they would indeed live under the rule and reign of the Roman Empire they would be entirely governed by the kingdom of heaven within their lives.

 

            As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Sermon on the Mount beginning with what has commonly become known as “The Beatitudes,” which I would like to speak of as “The Be-attitudes” or the attitude of being. We must needs recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to how we ought to live our lives in the midst of the generation in which we are living. The words and language found in the opening verses of the fifth chapter stand as a powerful declaration concerning those who would indeed be citizens of the kingdom of heaven and what it would be like for them in the midst of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to what type of individual(s) we are willing and desire to be in the earth. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding how we ought to live in the generation in which we are living—those who are poor in spirit, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who mourn and even those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. There is something truly awesome and powerful about the words which are found in the Sermon on the Mount for within it we are brought face to face with the truly wonderful truth concerning what type of men and women we ought to be in this world and generation. The declaration of the kingdom of heaven is such that calls and draws men and women into the place where they recognize and understand the need for transformation within their hearts and minds. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was a clarion call and invitation given unto His disciples and followers to deliver themselves out from under the oppression of Rome and religion by living their lives as citizens of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth.

 

            Upon coming to the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel you will find Jesus transitioning within the Sermon on the Mount to something that is absolutely critical and vital for anyone who would be a disciple and follower of His. The seventh chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew begins with the Lord Jesus emphatically declaring and instructing those within the sound of His voice to judge not that they be not judged. Moreover Jesus would go on to declare that with what judgment one judges they would be judged after the same manner. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also declare unto His disciples and followers that with what measure they meted it would be measured unto them again. The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture are absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about and consider them for they not only bring us face to face with judgment within our own hearts and lives but they also bring us face to face with hypocrisy. You cannot read the words presented in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the need to be those who refuse to be taken captive by judgment, accusation, criticism and condemnation. The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture calls and invites us into the place where we examine our own hearts and whether or not we are willing to allow ourselves to be those who walk in judgment toward and against others. The Lord Jesus emphatically declared unto His disciples and followers that they ought not to judge lest they themselves be judged. Furthermore the Lord Jesus would also declare unto his disciples and followers that with whatever judgment they judge they would themselves be judged.

 

            The more I think about and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome. What’s more is I am also reminded of the words which James the brother of Jude wrote in the second chapter of the epistle which he wrote unto the twelve tribes of Israel which were scattered throughout the known world during that time. I am also reminded of the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John concerning a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and not only brought unto the Temple but was also brought unto the presence of the Lord Jesus as He sat within the Temple. It is with this in mind I invite you consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture beginning to read with and from the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:

 

            “Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that hou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, and honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the Law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearest of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing another;) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:1-16).

 

            “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approves the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confidence that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one outwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:17-29).

 

            Consider  now if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James the brother of Jude beginning with the first verse:

 

            “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scriptures, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy: and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).

 

            “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).

 

            Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John beginning to read with and from the first verse:

 

            “Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: Go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).

 

            And here is the rendition of the words which the Lord Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of the gospel narrative written by Luke beginning to read with and from the twenty-seventh verse:

 

            “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that askseth of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:27-38).

            “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceives not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:39-45).

 

            In the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find Jesus instructing His disciples and followers not to judge lest they themselves be judged in the same manner. Moreover the Lord Jesus also declared unto His audience that with whatever measure they themselves judge they would also be judged and with what measure they mete out it would be measured unto them again. This would immediately be followed by the Lord Jesus speaking of the hypocrisy of pointing out the speck that is in someone else’s eye without taking any thought for the beam that is in our own eye. Jesus made it very clear that those who seek to point out the flaws in other people without being willing to address the issues within their own heart and life are hypocrites and blind. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding our being aware of the condition of our own hearts while refusing to be those who judge and criticize others. We would like to think that we can point out the faults and flaws within someone else while at the same time ignoring that which is present within our own hearts and souls and yet Jesus indicts those who would dare give themselves to such drastic measures within their hearts and lives. Jesus called His disciples and followers to be those who recognized and understood the tremendous danger of judging others—and not only judging others but also being those who would judge others without taking any consideration or paying any mind to the condition and nature of their own heart.

 

            As you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus going on to speak that which is and has become known as “The Golden Rule.” In the twelfth verse of this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus declaring that whatsoever we would that men would do unto us that are we to do even unto them. Not only this but Jesus would also go on to declare that this was the law and the prophets which can indeed be summarized by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus would emphatically declare unto His audience that whatever they would that men do unto them that are they to do unto them. What makes this all the more important for us to recognize that Jesus didn’t speak unto His disciples and followers and declare unto them how they were to do unto those based on what they had already done unto them but rather that which they would want done unto them. In all reality that which Jesus spoke unto His disciples and followers can best be summarized in the words of Gandhi when he spoke of being the change we want to see in the world. If we wish to experience change in the midst of the earth we as the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs be those who are willing to be the change we want to see. We dare not, we cannot and must not expect change to take place in the midst of the world if we ourselves are not willing to be the change we wish to see. Oh there are far too many men and women who want change to take place within culture and society and yet the truth of the matter is that they are being called into the place of being the change they want to see in the world.

 

            The more you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more you will be brought to practical instruction spoken by the Lord Jesus unto His disciples and followers. The Lord Jesus would indeed instruct His disciples and followers not to judge lest they be judged and he would condemn the hypocrisy of pointing out the sin, the flaws and the fault within someone else without paying any attention or mind to what is found within our own heart and life. Moreover the Lord Jesus would also instruct His disciples and followers to do unto others what they would have others do unto them—something which is more often than not difficult for us to recognize and understand. There are countless men and women who treat others based on how they have treated them and care absolutely nothing about the words which the Lord Jesus spoke. There are those who can and will only treat others according to the measure in which they treated them and thus refuse to fulfill the Law and the prophets. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that such a way of thinking is contrary to the Law and the prophets—and not only against the Law and the prophets but also against the royal law which is to love our neighbor as ourselves. There is a great need for us to be men and women who can and will love others as we love ourselves—and not only as we love ourselves but also as we have been loved by the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the Lord Jesus who would emphatically declare unto His disciples and followers in this passage of Scripture that it is by our fruits we can and will be known.

 

            As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus warning and cautioning His disciples and followers to beware of false prophets which come to them in sheep’s clothing and yet inwardly are ravening wolves. Jesus would go on to declare unto His disciples and followers that we can and will be known by our fruits and that our fruits and the fruit we bear and bring forth in this life can and will speak to what type of person we are in the sight and presence of the living God. Jesus would go on to declare that every good tree brings forth good fruit and yet how every bad tree brings forth evil fruit for a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Moreover every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for some of the most sobering words found in Scripture are found within this chapter. It is in verses twenty-one through twenty-three we find some of the most sobering and challenging words ever spoken in the history of mankind. It is within these verses we find the Lord Jesus declaring that not every one that says unto Him, “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but only those who do the will of the Father which is in heaven. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also go on to declare how many will say to him in that day, Lord, Lord, and then speak of their prophesying in His name, and casting out devils in His name and in His name doing many wonderful works. Despite all of this, however, the Lord Jesus will profess unto them how He never knew them and will then command and instruct them to depart from Him for they were workers of iniquity.

 

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the seventh chapter for within it we find sobering words concerning judging others, concerning doing unto others what we would have them do unto us, concerning being aware of false prophets, concerning the need to bear fruit, and concerning many in the last day professing unto the Lord Jesus, saying, “Lord, Lord” and yet hearing Him not only profess unto them how He never knew them but also declaring of them how they were workers of iniquity. Oh I am reminded of the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke for the words which we find here call and draw our attention to the seventy who were sent out and appointed by the Lord Jesus. Jesus would send the seventy others out and would give them authority to cast out demons, to heal the sick and to preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth of how these seventy returned unto Jesus rejoicing that the demons were subject to them in His name. When Jesus heard the words which they spoke unto Him he urged them to not rejoice that the demons were subject unto them in His name but that their names were written in the book of life of the Lamb. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding men and women who rejoice of the great signs, wonders and miracles they might perform and yet their names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb. Jesus emphatically declared how there would be those who would have cast out demons, and those who would prophesy and those who would do many wonderful and good works and yet would in fact hear the words “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Perhaps the greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether we are those whose names are indeed written in the book of life of the Lamb. If our names aren’t written in the book of life of the Lamb and/or if we aren’t sure of it we must needs diligently commit ourselves to the place where we do everything we can to ensure that our names are indeed written in that book and that we would hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” in that last day and hour.

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