—Treasure Beyond Measure

The Words of Christ

Over the years there have been several occasions where I have pointed out a person's error by citing the words of Jesus Christ, and have been told by them that that was for those under the old covenant. These people contended that the New Testament era did not begin until after the Lord was crucified and then resurrected. And that the words that he spoke were spoken before he was risen, and so therefore they applied to the Old Testament peoples only.

Jesus' Words Are Truth

Such thinking is ridiculous. When did the truth stop being the truth? Jesus came and revealed to us the bottom line.

Matthew 19:3-99

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female,' 5 and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. (NIV84)

In this passage we see that Jesus is telling the people that what was permitted under the Law, that is, under the Old Covenant, was wrong, and so he told the people what was right in accordance with the truth. If Jesus spoke "Old Covenant" teachings, then why did he say this about Moses permitting something in the law that was not in accordance with the truth?

Jesus' Words Are Eternal

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (NIV84)

At first I thought those people that responded to me with this argument were just isolated cases of people that did not want to obey the Lord. I have since discovered that many people believe this. I cannot think of anything more dangerous for a person to think than the thought that we do not have to listen to the Lord. Why do you suppose he came and spoke these words to us? Do you really believe that he came after thousands of years to speak words that would only have meaning for three and a half years at most ? Who could think such a thought and truly love the Lord?

Listen to Jesus or Pay the Consequences

I will tell you what I think. I think that Jesus' words do not fit well with the prevalent teaching of this day, and so people have made up this ridiculous notion. Jesus came and spoke his words to us as a mercy. The world did not know the truth and was on the path to total destruction. Jesus came and told us the truth, and we must heed his words or suffer the consequences.

Jesus did not come and lay down a bunch of rules so as to be a hard person to us. He came to save us from our folly. He came and showed us the life that pleases God, so that we could take his example and follow him.

1 John 2:3-6

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (NIV84)

My friends, which commands are we to obey if not the words that he spoke?

This passage says, and it speaks truly, that if you claim to be a Christian then you must live as Jesus did. Well does it say that or not? You be the judge.

What Are Your Looking For?

You know, my friends, I wonder at people's motivations. Do we come to the Lord to be justified in our actions, or do we want to be pleasing to our God? Am I coming  to him to get in line with what he wants, or do I just want him to say that I am okay? Are people searching for the truth, or do they just want a clear conscience? Is a person seeking the Lord if they are not looking for him, or looking for the truth, that is, looking for what pleases God?

Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (NIV84)

Is it possible, my dear reader, to truly love the Lord God and not care that what we are doing and thinking is detestable to him? Jesus demonstrated his love for God by always doing only what was right in God's sight. His life is the proof of his love for God. God testified that he loved Jesus and was well pleased with him, not just because he was his Son, but because of his obedience. Who can claim that they truly love someone, and yet not care what that someone thinks of them? Is it really possible to truly love God and not care what he thinks of you?

Jesus Always Did What Pleased the Father

John 8:29

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him. (NIV84)

Please God Too

The reason, it says here, that the Father remains with Jesus is because Jesus always did what pleases him. If it was true for him, then it is true for you too, my friend. If you truly love the Father, then you too will always do what pleases him, and then God will truly love you.

This notion that if you pray the 'sinner's prayer,' get baptized, and go to church, then God sees the righteousness of Christ when he looks at you is not in accordance with the Scriptures. God will see the righteousness of Christ in you only if you are living a holy and righteous life of obedience to his words.

Faith; Not Works

But Mark; "It is by faith that we are saved and not by works so that no one can boast."

People have told me that many times. Let us look at the passage that this comes from.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV84)

Faith to Walk in Holiness

It is because of God's grace that he is willing to accept your truly repentant turn from the ways of the world. My friend, before you came to the Lord you did whatever you thought was right, but you turned from the world and repented of going your own way, and have taken upon yourself Christ's burden. You now live to do the good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do.

The One Who Does is the One Who Loves God

John 14:21-24

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"

23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (NIV84)

Notice that Judas asked Jesus why he intended to show himself to them and not the world, and notice Jesus' reply. Jesus answered Judas' question by saying that he would reveal himself to those that would obey him. The world will not obey Jesus' commands, but those that really and truly love him will gladly obey him. We are so fortunate that our Lord and King is so very good.

Jesus said that the person that loves him has both knowledge of his commands, and that he obeys the commands. In other words, the person that truly loves God is not the person that says he does, but the person that urgently seeks to know his commands so that he can do them. That person loves God and God loves that person.

Talkers Die--Doers Live

God does not love the person that says the magic words, "Jesus is my Lord" and then goes their own way. In fact, God hates that person, so beware.

Deuteronomy 29:18-21

Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.

19 When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way." This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 The LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. (NIV84)

You might be thinking that I have pulled this Scripture out of context when I apply it to those that claim to be Christian but do not live in obedience to the Lord's commands, but I am not. When a person invokes the blessings of Christ on himself, and then persists in worldly ways, such a person is guilty of worshipping false gods, whether or not they think so, or are aware of it.

If you think that you are saved and are going to heaven because of what Christ did on the cross you are wrong. Jesus Christ did in fact make possible your salvation, but he himself said that you are only his disciple if you obey all of his commands.

Jesus Made it Possible For Us to Obey Him

John 12:23-26

Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (NIV84)

Jesus is saying here that if you are willing to give up your life and become his servant, that is, live to serve his will only, then the Father will honor you and you will attain salvation. For Jesus this meant that he had to give up his life, literally, because it was the Father's will for him to do so.

John 10:17-18

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life -- only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. (NIV84)

God Loved Jesus BECAUSE of His Obedience

The reason that God loves Jesus is because Jesus obeyed God's command that he should suffer death by crucifixion for the salvation of man. The reason God loves you is because you too obey his commands.

Hebrews 5:7-10

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV84)

This is an incredible passage. Jesus had to be made perfect through suffering. Jesus had to learn obedience. Jesus did not want to go to the cross. He literally begged the Father not to go, but it was God's will, so in obedience Jesus went.

I get really angry when I see people treat the sacrifice that Jesus made as a charge card for sin, that is, they continue to live as they choose and say, "My sins are covered by the blood of the lamb. Nobody is perfect."

Jesus gave up his life for you, you must give up yours for him.

Is He Talking To Me?

My friend, please read through the Gospels and take note of every place that Jesus says what you are to do, and ask yourself, "Is he talking to me? Does he mean what he says?"

The "Gospel message" that I see today doesn't match up to what Jesus said. People have taken things that Paul said and have distorted them.

People Have Distorted the Gospel Message

2 Peter 3:15-16

Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (NIV84)

You Can't Play the Lawyer With God and Win

I tell you my friends that nothing that Paul said in his letters in the New Testament are in any way in disagreement with what the Lord said during his earthly walk. Please don't think that you can play the lawyer with God and win. Don't think that you can point to something that Paul wrote and say "See Mark it says this here," when it clearly is not in agreement with what the Lord said.

I can't tell you how many times that I have heard the following passage quoted.

Romans 10:9-10

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV84)

People quote this passage and they say that Jesus is their Lord and that they believe it, and so they are going to heaven. Well, maybe the Bible lawyers can stand up in a modern court and win their case, but before God they will be cast out into the fiery furnace, because there will be no hypocrites at the wedding banquet of the Lord.

But, you say, it really does say that, and I really do believe it. Well God's word is never wrong. It really does say something, but does it say what you think? Jesus said that the person that says that Jesus is his Lord, and does in fact believe it in their heart, will live a holy and righteous life in obedience to his commands. You who wave this passage like a legal loophole, do you really know what it means to believe in your HEART?

Do You Really Believe?

If you really and truly believe that the Holy and Righteous Father is watching your every move and listening to your every thought and word, then why do you do the things that you do?

I know people that when they are around me they act good, but I know that when I am not around they revert to their normal way of things. Now, I am no one at all. I am not at all sure why these people do this, but it seems to me that they do not believe that God is really watching them all the time, or they would act good all the time. Right? These people say that they believe in God and all, but do they really? Are they believing in their hearts, or in their minds?

Does Satan Believe in God?

Satan believes in God, but does he believe in him in the way that the Scriptures are talking about?

You must be very careful about being a Bible Lawyer, my friend. The Bible verses mean what God says they mean and not necessarily what you think that they mean.

Those That Truly Obey Jesus Believe in Him

It is those people that obey Jesus that really belong to him, and only those that obey him.

Luke 6:46-49

Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. (NIV84)

You see? there are many people that talk the talk, but only those that walk the walk will not be swept away when the flood comes.

Many True Seekers Are Lead Away From God

I have written this paper because of my very great concern for the welfare of the many people that have believed the nonsense of the modern gospel message. I know that many people are truly searching for the truth. That they really want to please God, but they are taught away from pleasing God.

Matthew 23:15

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. (NIV84)

This is what is happening today. People truly want to know God, but the teachers of the law are preaching nonsense. They are leading the people away from a life that pleases God and have made themselves a Happy Little Club. They do not believe in God and they are leading people away from God.

Well, my friend, I will tell you what you should be doing. You should set aside thereabouts thirty minutes a day to read the Scriptures. I don't mean reading books about the Scriptures, but the Scriptures themselves. You should determine that if you see anything in the Scriptures you will do it. Whatever you see you do. You should pray and ask the Father to open the Scriptures to you, so that you can see the truth. If you truly and reverently submit to God the Father I can assure you that God will receive you, and he will make the truth known to you.

The world is at the door to the fiery furnace and very soon all those people that have not reverently submitted to God will be cast in to it. There are a great many people that think that they are safe, because they have believed liars. They have believed those that claim to know God, and they themselves have never come to know him either. It is my passionate hope that some will listen to this warning and will repent and seek out the truth for themselves and be saved from wrath.

Oh Lord, may I fully walk in accordance with the truth,
May you open the Scriptures so that I can see the truth,
May I live in holiness and righteousness all of my days.
Oh Lord, may it be so, in Jesus' name I pray.

Love Mark


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