Today’s Gospel But he said, No; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. – Matthew 13:29 Reflection This parable speaks of that God will separate all according to their own kind during the last days: pick out the tares and “gather the wheat into my barn.” When I read this verse, I think of the parable of the net that the Lord Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Mat 13:47-50). It is said that when the net was full, they cast the bad away and “gathered the good into vessels”; From these verses we can see that God is righteous, and when His work is done, He will bring people to an appropriate destination according to what each person does. As God’s words say, “Those who truly follow God are able to withstand the test of their work, whereas those who do not truly follow God are incapable of withstanding any of God’s trials. Sooner or later they will be expelled, while the overcomers will remain in the kingdom. Whether or not man truly seeks God is determined by the test of his work, that is, by God’s trials, and has nothing to do with the decision by man himself. God does not reject any person at whim; all that He does is so that man may be utterly convinced. He does not do anything that is invisible to man, or any work that cannot convince man. Whether man’s belief is true or not is proved by the facts, and cannot be decided by man. That “wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat” is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him.” From this we can see that God chooses or eliminates a person according to one’s substance. If we are true believers in God, we will surely stay in the kingdom of God! » You may be interested in reading more: • A New Understanding of “God Wants All Men to Be Saved” • Inspiration From the Parable of the Sower in the Bible • Knowing Meaning of God’s Work in His Incarnation From Parables
Today’s Gospel But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended. –Matthew 13:20-21 Reflection If we don’t have a foundation in our belief in God, we will achieve nothing like a seed lands on a rock and doesn’t grow roots and sprouts. For the one who believes in God but does not take root in his hearts, he will abandon his belief because of the families’ obstruction, betray God under the worldly temptations, and even more he will stray from God on account of Satan’s rumors and fallacies.… It proves that it is crucially important for us believers to lay the foundation. Then how should we have a foundation on the path of believing in God? God’s word says, “All men use the word of God as a foundation and their reality and have hearts of reverence for God; and that, through the practice of the word of God, man can then rule together with God. It is this work that God will achieve.” From these words we can see that we must read God’s word in our belief in God, because God’s word is the truth, and can show us the path of practice and bring life to us. Through pondering over God’s word and putting it into practice, we will strengthen our faith in God and have a foundation in our belief. » You may be interested in reading more: • What Does Faith Refer to? • What to Do When You Lose Faith in God in Setbacks
Today’s Gospel For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. – Matthew 13:12 Reflection God’s attitude toward man depends on man’s attitude toward God. If you put more efforts into the truth, God will give you more so that you can gain more; if you don’t pursue the truth, then God won’t work within you, gradually, you won’t even understand the truth you knew before. Just as God’s word says: “The Holy Spirit works by this principle: Through people’s cooperation, through them actively praying, searching and coming closer to God, results can be achieved and they can be enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. It is not the case that the Holy Spirit acts unilaterally, or that man acts unilaterally. Both are indispensable, and the more that people cooperate, and the more they pursue the attainment of the standards of God’s requirements, the greater the work of the Holy Spirit.” God is a practical God, and the effects of the Holy Spirit’s work come from man’s cooperation. The more you pray to God, the more God will guide and enlighten you; the closer you come to God, the more God will move you; the more you seek to understand God’s will, the more grace God will bestow you to allow you to grasp God’s will. » You may be interested in reading more: • 4 Keys to Help Our Prayers Be Accepted by God • How to Make Effective Prayers
Today’s Gospel Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. — Matthew12：33 Reflection A good tree bears good fruits, and a bad tree bears bad fruits, so we can know the tree by its fruits. Similarly, we can also know a person by his words, behaviors and outward deeds. Some people believe in God and believe in His word. They revere God in their hearts. When they encounter something, they are able to seek God’s will and practice according to His word. They don’t speak or do anything carelessly. Some people believe in God but pursue Satan’s philosophy and rules. They speak and do things completely according to their natural personality. For example, some people are arrogant, and always look down upon others. They are unable to treat others with patience or forbearance, but hurt others. So we Christians should accept God’s observation, and follow God’s words and requirements in all things to live out the likeness of a true person, so that we can use our practical actions to manifest and glorify God. Amen! » You may be interested in reading more: • What Is Truly Doing God’s Will? • What Is Following God’s Will? • How to Welcome the Lord’s Return to Be After God’s Will
Today’s Gospel Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. — Matthew 12:31–32 Reflection The Lord Jesus’ words tell us that mankind’s all manner of sin shall be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven in neither this world nor the next. From this we can see God’s unoffendable disposition as well as His attitude toward people, matters and things and principles for handling them. Just as God’s words say, “God’s treatment of people who blaspheme or resist Him, or even those who malign Him—people who intentionally attack, malign, and curse Him—He does not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. He has a clear attitude toward them. He despises these people, and in His heart He condemns them. He even openly declares the outcome for them, so that people know that He has a clear attitude toward those who blaspheme Him, and so that they know how He will determine their outcome.” From God’s words we recognized that though God is merciful and loving, He also has dignity. If we deliberately oppose and blaspheme God, we can only be punished by Him at last. Just as the Pharisees, they merely blindly opposed and blasphemed the Lord Jesus’ work, and even nailed Him to the cross. In the end, they were punished by God and suffered the loss of their nation. » You may be interested in reading more: • Beware of the Pharisees’ Leaven on the Path to the Heavenly Kingdom • God’s Wrath Is a Safeguard for All Just Forces and All Positive Things • Although God’s Wrath Is Hidden and Unknown to Man, It Tolerates No Offense
Today’s Gospel For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. — Matthew 12:8 Reflection When I read Jesus’ these words, I only knew that observing the Sabbath was God’s requirement of man during the Old Testament age, but when Jesus came, He brought the Age of Grace and made new requirement of man. As long as we follow Him, we don’t need to keep the Sabbath because the Lord Jesus has freed mankind from the constraints of the law. As we all know, God’s word is the truth, and is not as simple as its literal meaning. What else has the Lord Jesus conveyed to us in His these words? God says, “The sentence ‘the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day’ tells people that God’s everything is immaterial, and although God can provide all of your material needs, once all of your material needs have been met, can the satisfaction from these things replace your pursuit of truth? That is clearly not possible! God’s disposition and what He has and is that we have fellowshiped about are both the truth. It cannot be measured with the heavy price of material objects nor can its value be quantified with money, because it is not a material object, and it supplies the needs of each and every person’s heart. For every person, the value of these intangible truths should be greater than the value of any material things you think are nice, right? This statement is something you need to linger over. The key point of what I’ve said is that what God has and is and God’s everything are the most important things for every single person and they cannot be replaced by any material object. I’ll give you an example: When you’re hungry, you need food. This food can be relatively good or relatively lacking, but as long as you have your fill, that unpleasant feeling of being hungry will no longer be there—it will be gone. You can sit there in peace, and your body will be at rest. People’s hunger can be resolved with food, but when you’re following God and feel that you have no understanding of Him, how can you resolve the emptiness in your heart? Can it be resolved with food? Or when you’re following God and don’t understand His will, what can you use to make up for that hunger in your heart? In the process of your experience of salvation through God, while pursuing a change in your disposition, if you don’t understand His will or don’t know what the truth is, if you don’t understand God’s disposition, don’t you feel very uneasy? Don’t you feel a strong hunger and thirst in your heart? Don’t these feelings prevent you from feeling peace in your heart? So how can you make up for that hunger in your heart—is there a way to resolve it? Some people go shopping, some find their friends to confide in, some people sleep their fill, others read more of God’s words, or they work harder and expend more effort to fulfill their duties. Can these things resolve your actual difficulties? All of you fully understand these kinds of practices. When you feel powerless, when you feel a strong desire to gain enlightenment from God to allow you to know the reality of truth and His will, what do you need most? What you need isn’t a full meal, and it’s not a few kind words. More than that, it’s not the transient comfort and satisfaction of the flesh—what you need is for God to directly, clearly tell you what you should do and how you should do it, to clearly tell you what the truth is. After you’ve understood this, even if it’s just a tiny bit, don’t you feel more satisfied in your heart than if you had eaten a good meal? When your heart is satisfied, doesn’t your heart, your whole person, gain true peace?” God’s words tell us the practical meaning of the sentence “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” No matter how much of the material things we have, including money, fame and fortune, and status, they cannot satisfy our spiritual needs. Only if we understand God’s will and requirements, know the value of the truth, invite God into our heart, submit to His orchestrations and arrangements in all things without individual choice, no longer strive or scheme for ourselves, and can entrust everything to Him, obey, fear, and love God, can we have true peace in our spirits. » You may be interested in reading more: • Why Was the Lord Jesus’ Work Met With So Much Hindrance? • How Can You Make Your Belief in God Be Approved by Him? • The Lord Jesus Is Standing at the Door and How Can We Welcome Him?
Today’s Gospel But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. — Matthew 6:20 Reflection The Lord Jesus teaches us not to rack our brains to lay up treasures on earth, but to equip ourselves with the words of God, pursue the truth, obey and love God, show consideration for God’s will and satisfy His demands. This is to lay up treasures in heaven, and also to prepare good deeds for our outcome and final destination. When the great disaster comes, no matter how much treasures on earth we have, they cannot save us from the disaster. Only if we prepare enough good deeds can we receive God’s protection during the disaster and be led by God into a beautiful destination. Then how should we prepare a sufficiency of good deeds—laying up treasures in heaven? For example, guiding brothers and sisters to read God’s word and understand the truth, spreading the gospel and bearing testimony for God, helping brothers and sisters who dedicate themselves to working for the Lord Jesus, hosting those who are homeless because of the CCP’s persecution. These are all good deeds that are after God’s heart. Just as God says, “I hope that you prepare a sufficiency of good deeds for your own destination. Then will I be satisfied; otherwise, none of you shall escape the disaster that befalls you. The disaster originates with Me and is of course orchestrated by Me. If you cannot appear as good in My eyes, then you will not escape suffering the disaster.” » You may be interested in reading more: • When Disasters Befall, Will Believers in God Really Be Spared From Death? • Since God Loves Mankind, Why Does He Destroy All Evil People? » Most people also watch Christian Movie: “God Bless – How to Get God’s Protection in the Disasters of the Last Days”
Matthew 12:6 “But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” Reflection When Jesus and His disciples passed the wheat field on the Sabbath day, some disciples were hungry and then plucked the ears of grain to eat. Then the Pharisees questioned Jesus that why His disciples did so. Jesus said many things and that “in this place is one greater than the temple.” At that time, many people didn’t understand the true meaning of Jesus’ these words. In Jesus’ eyes, most people in the Age of Law were incapable of keeping the law and no longer worshiped Jehovah God. They just went through the motions even when they offered sacrifices to God. They didn’t fear God but worshiped the temple. Through these words, God not only revealed mankind but also admonished mankind against seeing the temple as something greater than God. God says, “When the Lord Jesus said ‘in this place is one greater than the temple,’ who did ‘one’ refer to? Clearly, ‘one’ is the Lord Jesus in the flesh, because only He was greater than the temple. What did those words tell people? They told people to come out of the temple—God had already come out and was no longer working in it, so people should seek God’s footsteps outside of the temple and follow His steps in His new work. The background of the Lord Jesus saying this was that under the law, people had come to see the temple as something greater than God Himself. That is, people worshiped the temple rather than worshiping God, so the Lord Jesus warned them not to worship idols, but to worship God because He is supreme.” God’s words made us understand that the Israelites worshiped the temple at that time, however, the temple had become a place of trade, and Jesus had carried out His new work outside of the temple. By saying these words, God wants people not to worship idols anymore, and also tells people to find His new work outside of the temple. God is so wise! » You may be interested in reading more: • How Can You Make Your Belief in God Be Approved by Him? • Do You Know the Reason of Jesus Not Keeping the Sabbath? • Hearing God’s Voice: How to Be a Wise Virgin to Welcome the Lord’s Coming
Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Reflection From this verse, we can see the Lord Jesus pointed out the condition to enter into the heavenly kingdom to us: Only by striving hard can we enter into the heavenly kingdom. As Christians, our greatest hope is to be raptured into the heavenly kingdom. How should we strive hard? And toward what direction should we devote our efforts? The Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). And the Bible recorded: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). It is obvious that only by following God’s will, His way, being cleansed and breaking free from corruption can we enter into the kingdom of heaven. But many people don’t focus on following God’s way or practicing God’s words. They believe that as long as they labor for the Lord, abandon other things and spend for the Lord, and spread the gospel, we can enter into the kingdom of heaven. This reminds me of the Pharisees. They wholeheartedly strived to labor for the Lord, compassed land and sea spreading the gospel. They believed that they could be approved by the Lord and enter the heavenly kingdom by doing so. This was the direction they were working toward. In the end, however, their actions were hypocritical in the Lord’s eyes. It was because they didn’t practice the words of the Lord but wanted to enter into the holy kingdom of God by laboring. This was impossible. Whereas Peter, in the course of following the Lord Jesus, took heed to practice according to the Lord’s requests in all things, sought to love and satisfy God. At last, he achieved the ultimate love of God, obeyed unto death, and was nailed upside down on the cross for God’s sake, thereby becoming a person after God’s heart. Such kind of person would surely live in the heavenly kingdom. Through comparing those two directions, it is not difficult for us to get the answer: Among believers in God following Him, only those who practice the words of the Lord, follow the Lord’s way and His will can enter into the heavenly kingdom. This is the only condition to enter the heavenly kingdom. Just as God’s words say, “You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” From God’s words, we know that God is righteous and holy, and so is God’s kingdom. How can He allow filthy and corrupt people to enter His kingdom? Meanwhile, we see that God’s will is to bring those who are saved by Him, who are cleansed and changed, into His kingdom. Having understood God’s will, we should seek to follow His will and His way to be cleansed and perfected, thus being able to possess a supreme love of God and obey unto death like Peter. Only then can we become someone after God’s heart, and have a place in the heavenly kingdom. » You may be interested in reading more: • Sermon on the Kingdom of God – 3 Standards You Should Know • Grasping the 4 Key Elements, You Will Serve God’s Will » Most people also watch Church Skits: “Wishful Thinking”: Can We Enter the Kingdom of Heaven by Following Paul?
Matthew 9:30 “And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straightly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.” Reflection Why the Lord warned man not to tell anyone after performing miracles? As is known to us, the wisdom of God surpasses man’s imagination. Every stage of God’s work is done by the result to achieve instead of by man’s notions and conceptions. God will do whatever is beneficial to His work and to His salvation for man. Through studying the Bible, it’s not difficult to find that when the Lord Jesus was born, He underwent the hunting of King Herod. (See Mat 2:12–21.) Think about that carefully, even though the Lord Jesus was only known to a few people at that time, He was hunted by King Herod. If He were known openly, would He be able to survive in this world or grow up enough to take on God’s redemptive work? From this passage, we can see that wherever God did His work, He would be persecuted by the ruler. Thus, in order to carry out God’s work smoothly, it was necessary for the Lord Jesus to exhort those who got cured and received revelations not to leak out His identity as God. Otherwise, it would interrupt and disturb God’s work. Furthermore, when the Lord Jesus came to work, the chief priest, scribes and Pharisees were full of hate toward Him. Although they read the Bible, served God in the temple, and were longing for the coming of Messiah for generations, yet when they heard the sermons preached by the Lord Jesus, witnessed the miracles performed by Him, and appreciated from the work and words of the Lord that His words had authority and power, is the truth and can’t be expressed by man, they still deliberately resisted and wildly condemned Him. The Bible says: The Lord Jesus cured the blind men and advised them not to tell anyone else. But they told others once they departed for they thought the Lord did a good thing; they wanted to proclaim the Lord Jesus’ name, rather than to frame Him. However, their good intention disturbed God’s work. The Pharisees condemned the Lord Jesus by using this chance, saying, “He casts out devils through the prince of the devils” (Mat 9:34). According to this record, we can see that the reason why the Lord not want the miracles He performed to be told was because man’s good intentions and zealousness would leave those Pharisees a chance and give them a handle. At that time, the Pharisees wanted to find fault with the Lord Jesus very much. From the fact that they tempted the Lord Jesus many times, it can be seen that once they got a handle, they would put Him to death. Since the Lord Jesus came on earth to complete the redemptive work, before its completion, He would certainly do his work in a secret way. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “My time is not yet come” (John 7:6). It means that the time for His crucifixion had not yet come. So, His identity shouldn’t be known too early by man. To protect His work from being disturbed, interrupted and blocked, He used His wisdom of working in a hidden way. And it was the hidden work that allowed the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to spread, and made a few people know God’s new work. » You may be interested in reading more: • Two Kinds of Prophecies of Lord Jesus’ Second Coming • 3 Keys to Watching and Waiting to Welcome the Coming of the Lord • How to Be Wise Virgins to Welcome Second Coming of Jesus
Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Reflection To enter the kingdom of heaven is every Christian’s wish, but what conditions must be fulfilled in order to enter the kingdom of heaven? Many people think that as long as they hold on to the name of the Lord, labor and sacrifice for the Lord, they can be brought into the kingdom of heaven. I thought so, but later I read a passage online: “Many believers in the Lord believe the same thing that you do: ‘As long as I work hard and bear the cross for the Lord, exhibit some good behaviors and bear witness well, I will be qualified to wait for the Lord’s return and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.’ Humans see this as perfectly reasonable, but is that what God’s will is? Do His words bear that out? If not, then this thinking on the part of man certainly comes out of human notions and imagination. Thinking back to when the Pharisees would frequently explain the scriptures to people in the synagogues, they appeared to strictly adhere to the laws, the rules, and the commandments, and in others’ eyes they were very pious and were upstanding in their behavior. But why did they madly resist and condemn the Lord Jesus and even nail Him to the cross? This proves that people may work hard for the Lord and be well-behaved on the outside but it does not mean that they obey and love God in their hearts. Outward piety does not represent a heart that magnifies and reveres God. People may frequently explain the Bible to others, but that doesn’t mean that they are able to put the Lord’s words into practice or to follow God’s way.” Until then did I realize that my opinion was based on Paul’s words rather than Jesus Christ’s. Jesus Christ never said that one could enter the kingdom of heaven by working hard. Instead, He said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Implementing the heavenly father’s will is implementing God’s words, God’s commandments and God’s instructions. God says, “You can devote your heart and body and all of your genuine love to God, place them before Him, be completely obedient toward Him, and be absolutely considerate to His will. Not for the flesh, not for family, and not for your personal desires, but for the interests of God’s household. In everything you can take God’s word as the principle, as the foundation. That way, your intentions and your perspectives will all be in the right place, and you will be someone who gains God’s praise before Him. Those who God likes are people who are absolute toward Him, people who are devoted to Him and none other.” » You may be interested in reading more: • Can Believers Absolved of Sins Enter the Kingdom of Heaven • What Kinds of People Can Enter Heavenly Kingdom? » Most people also watch Christian Movie: “Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit” Clip: Can the Saved Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Reflection In this verse, the Lord Jesus taught us to learn to discern people, not from their exterior, but from their substance. Some people externally serve the Lord and preach the Bible to others all day, but they never act according to the word of God, but deliberately oppose God. Such people do not genuinely believe in God. This makes me think of hypocritical Pharisees: They purposely prayed in the synagogue and on the street corners; when they fasted, they’d purposely have a sad expression on their faces to let people know they were fasting; they purposely donated on the street, making sure that other people saw them do it; they even followed many of the traditional rules such as, “Do not eat unless you’ve washed your hands thoroughly,” etc. From the outside, they were very devout. However, when the Lord Jesus came to work, in order to save their own positions, they flagrantly made up lies and bore false witness to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus. In the end, they even colluded with the prefect to crucify the Lord Jesus. This shows that they were ravening wolves and had the essence of hating the truth. Therefore, we must diecern people according to the word of God, and observe whether this person accepts and loves the truth, instead of just looking at his appearance. » You may be interested in reading more: • How Can We Discern False Christs? 3 Keys You Need to Know • Having Learned to Discern False Christs, I Welcomed the Lord • I Knew How to Distinguish Between the True Christ and False Ones From a Meeting on Facebook