"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Tuesday, January 30, 2024


I’ve been thinking about what the LORD Jesus Christ expects of us as His disciples.

Many of the things our LORD says to us brings great encouragement, hope and comfort. Then there are those things He says that can make us feel rather uncomfortable. Certain challenging statements that can pinch us quite a bit.

Some have taken these statements and twisted them, explaining what the LORD really meant when He said them. But there really is no twisting these statements. He meant what He said, and He said what He meant.

So let’s go over ten of these declarations found in the Holy Revelation of GOD’s Word. Most of these quotes are from the Gospel of MATTHEW.


1) MATTHEW 5:43-48

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love [unconditionally] your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 "For if you love those who love you [conditionally], what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect

There are people who have made themselves your enemy because you stand for the truth of GOD and follow the LORD Jesus Christ (Whom the world hates because He testifies of its evil; (JOHN 7:7). You haven’t made yourself their enemy because you are an ambassador of Christ (2 COR 5:20-21).

The world, and those friendly to worldly ways are at enmity with GOD (JAMES 4:4), not the other way around. GOD offers unconditional, temporal blessings (as listed above) but also reconciliation: a means for the world to be reconciled to and obtain “peace with GOD” (ROM 5:1).

Catch this TTUF study in ROMANS 5!

The Holy Law of GOD is like a prosecuting attorney that can do nothing except condemn the guilty. In this sense, the Law is hostile towards the rebellious sinner who defies GOD as the rightful LORD over His creation and refuses to submit to Him.
The reconciliation offered would resolve this hostility and bring about peace between the Holy GOD and the repentant sinner. “Peace with GOD through our LORD Jesus Christ” and His atonement for our sins on the Cross.

He is not the enemy of sinners, but the righteous holy Judge of unrepentant sinners.
What does “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect mean? Certainly not sinless, for only GOD is sinless. Rather, it means “complete, of full age, growth into maturity”. As we grow in Christ-likeness we become spiritually mature and our conduct becomes increasingly similar to that of Christ’s.


2) MATTHEW 5:38-42

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Striking the right cheek – since most people are right handed, hitting someone on the right cheek would be a backhanded slap: a form of insult. Insults then, whether verbal or physical should not be returned by a disciple.

When we return hate for hate, violence for violence, we are perpetuating evil. Note, this doesn’t have anything to do with civil justice. GOD’s Word is clear that criminal conduct must be met with justice, most especially where murder is concerned (GEN 9:5).

This is a matter of people sinning against you personally and not criminal action that results in a debt to society.

It’s when we return evil with good that we break this cycle of evil.

ROMANS 12:17-21
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

What about those who want what we have? Do we give all that we have simply because someone else wants it? As a disciple what does it mean to “go the extra mile” with those in need?

Were we to give unreservedly to any who ask, one could ask us for our entire bank account, our car, our home, etc.

This is an admonition to be generous in our charitable giving, to help out others truly in need. You are not obligated as a Christian to give money to someone so that they can meet their Pay TV bill!


3) MATTHEW 6:19-21,24

19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon
. (Read MATT 13:22; 1 TIM 6:6-10).

We are pilgrims journeying through this world of sin (HEB 11:13); it’s a long journey, a lifelong journey, so it will go easier for us if we travel lightly through this foreign land I sometimes refer to as “Planet Rebyl”.

1 PETER 2:11
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

The more stuff we own, the more we risk that stuff owning us!
If we focus on the eternal kingdom and “lay up treasures in heaven” those are incorruptible and imperishable. It’s simple wisdom in making investments that will last (eternally) rather than waste time on investing in temporary things!

ROMANS 13:14
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts

ROMANS 12:1-2
 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God

This leads to the next challenge:


4) MATTHEW 6:25-34

25"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble

What governs your life? What is the greatest passion in your heart?
When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing on your mind (besides a cup of coffee)?

In meeting our immediate and temporal needs: food, clothing, shelter, etc. we could very easily overlook the higher priority of GOD’s Kingdom. The LORD is quite aware of our legitimate needs – even more than we are! And He promises that if we focus on His Kingdom – in its promotion and expansion, then He will meet our every need (and then some!).

In other words, it’s as though He says,

“You take care to work in my Kingdom, via the Gospel, making disciples, being my disciple by continuing in my Word and loving others, shining the Light of Truth and I’ll take care of you!”

Also: consider the act of worrying – we know that it’s a useless feeling, it only makes things worse, but what can we do to stop it? What about anxiety? Depression?

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Fervent, earnest worship of GOD gets our focus off of ourselves, our worries, our problems, and gets them on our loving LORD Whose presence inhabits our praises and brings us solace and comfort, peace and joy.

PSALM 42:1-5
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, "Where is your God?" 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance


5) MATTHEW 7:13-14

13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
(Read LUKE 13:24)


6) JOHN 14:6

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me
. (Read ACTS 4:12)

When quoting the two Scriptures cited above to people, a common response from the non-believer is, “So, of course YOUR religion is the correct one, all the others are wrong!” and “Don’t you think that’s rather narrow-minded?”
How do you respond to them?

This isn’t “our religion” as though we invented it! This is the Word of GOD that tells us that if we want salvation from Judgment and its subsequent punishment in perdition, we have a way of escape: only one?
Only one is necessary!

A drowning man needs only one life preserver!
The All-Knowing GOD would be keenly aware of substitute plans if any were viable for the salvation of souls. And yet even our LORD Jesus, when He prayed that “if there be any other way [to save humanity] …” then let’s go that route!

But the LORD Jesus Christ had to go to the Cross, because it was indeed THE only way. Praying for an alternative was the ONE prayer Jesus prayed that the Father didn’t answer!


7) MATTHEW 16:24-26

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Read GAL 2:20; 1 JOHN 2:15)

We don’t see capital punishment being carried out today by crucifixion. Lethal injection, gas chambers and electric chairs are the common methods. But when the LORD Jesus commanded His disciples to take up their crosses, that would be the same as if in our modern times He told us to take up our electric chairs. Incidentally, the hymn “At The Cross, At The Cross” would be changed to “At the Electric Chair, at the Electric Chair - - where I first saw the light” … ZZzzzzzt!!

But was the LORD speaking metaphorically? He wasn’t speaking physically (though many of His disciples did die by crucifixion), but really and spiritually it’s a call to die to self. As with the electric chair, it’s a scary prospect, dying to self. It’s a long, agonizing process (no one ever died quickly on the cross, nor were any of them comfortable to the body!).

Nevertheless, on the other side of the cross, in dying to self, there is resurrection power!

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you

No one gets out of this world alive, and “you can’t take it with you” – so it’s reasonable, rational and right to make the Kingdom of GOD a priority rather than our own kingdom (not our own goals, plans, ambitions, desires that won’t even last long but GOD’s eternal Kingdom).
Dying to self means letting Christ have His way with us; this enables Him to build His Kingdom through us and prevents any sinful obstructions on our part.


8) LUKE 14:26-28

26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it
… (Read 2 TIM 4:10)

Some professing Christians when faced with persecution or troubles (when perhaps they were promised sunshine and rainbows if they came to Christ) they quit, saying “I didn’t sign up for this!” And because they are offended at such troubles, they bail (MATT 13:21)! Demas was such a one!

If Christ is not priority number one, then your profession of faith is in danger by whatever you do hold as priority number one and you’re risking losing it if you continue living as a disciple of Christ!

“…hate…” in this instance means that Christ is the highest priority over your parents, wife, family and your own life. Your love for Christ is so extreme that your love for everyone else by comparison looks like hate (though of course it isn’t. We as disciples of Christ aren’t called to hate anyone (including our worst enemies)!).


9) MATTHEW 5:10-12

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for GREAT is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you

How can we maintain the perspective that persecution, being reviled, spoken of as evil is something we can rejoice in? Where is the blessedness of this?

Let’s look at what Paul endured and how he felt about suffering for Christ:

2 CORINTHIANS 11:23-28
23 Are they ministers of Christ? --I speak as a fool--I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness-- 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches

That’s a whole lot of suffering and tribulations, wouldn’t you say? How would you hold up under all that? I don’t think I’d fare very well myself! Yet what was Paul’s point of view on these sufferings?

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal

The apostle was certain in his conviction that what rewards await the faithful far exceeds what we suffer now to an incalculable degree!! Whatever hassles and hardships we may suffer now, LET’s KEEP THE ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE!


10) JOHN 15:18-25

18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 "He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 "But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a [just] cause
.' (Read LUKE 6:40; note: “perfectly trained” (NKJV). Remember MATT 5:48? “perfect as your Father in heaven.”?)

What should be out attitude towards haters?

What should be our prayer for them?
No one enjoys being hated; we all naturally want to be liked, accepted, have a sense of belonging.

How does it feel to know you are promised persecution, to be excluded and mocked, hated, to experience hardships, tribulation in light of the fact that you are chosen by GOD?

Knowing that GOD chose YOU to be His own is the highest privilege, second to none!! And since our LORD suffered terrible things at the hands of sinners, how can we expect anything less if we claim to be His disciples?

What the LORD said to Israel, He says to His bride, the church that He purchased with His own blood:

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's

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