As Christians, every one of us wants to be blessed by God. Then, how should we act to receive God’s blessings? Perhaps, we can gain inspiration from the deeds of Noah and Abraham.
How should we treat the Bible prophecies of the Lord’s second coming so that we can welcome Him? The lesson of the Pharisees’ failure in the Bible will inspire you.
Do you know how to build spiritual strength? Read to understand the meaning of the parable of the vine and branches in John 15:5–6, and you will get the answer.
When I was practicing spiritual devotions this morning, I saw the following verse in the Bible: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3), and I thought: Why did the Lord Jesus ask people to be the poor in spirit? And why shall the poor in spirit enter into the kingdom of heaven? As I was contemplating this, some thoughts came to my mind: When the Lord Jesus came to do work, much of His work vastly differed from the work of Jehovah God. For instance, Jehovah God did His work and guided people in the temple, and His requirements of them were complying with the laws and the commandments, making sacrifices, and worshiping Him in the temple; while when the Lord Jesus came, He did not do His work in the temple. Instead, He led His disciples to the towns and villages to spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, asking people to repent and confess their sins. And He told the people at that time: “the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. … when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:21-23). As for how to treat the evil, Jehovah God required “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” of people (Exodus 21:24), whereas the Lord Jesus said: “You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39). And so on. At that time people all held fast to Jehovah God’s laws. If they were not humble, did not seek the will of God, they would be much likely to deny and condemn the Lord Jesus, not to mention accepting the Lord Jesus’ work, which is impossible. People didn’t know that the Lord Jesus came to carry out new work and lead human to progress forward. Therefore, the Lord Jesus taught us to be a man with humility, hoping that we would not lightly jump to conclusions or judge the things we don’t understand, but seek more. Only in this way can we be protected rather than be punished and lose the opportunity to enter into the kingdom of heaven because of blindly condemning God and thus offending His disposition. Then I thought: When the Lord Jesus comes to work again in the last days, if His work is different from that He had done during the Age of Grace, can I humbly seek and accept His new work like those disciples who followed Him? If I fail to recognize the Lord when He comes again, will I not be much likely to set foot on the path of resisting God like the Pharisees? During these last days, the critical moment of welcoming the return of the Lord Jesus, what should I prepare? And how to be a seeker with humility? With this question, I searched many passages of the scriptures and some spiritual books. Thanks to the Lord’s guidance, I reaped some rewards … 1. Don’t Be Arrogant and Truth-hating Like the Pharisees As we all know, the Lord Jesus brought the work different from that in the Age of Law. Seeing that the Lord Jesus didn’t abide by the law, didn’t observe the Sabbath, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees didn’t seek or investigate but arrogantly draw a conclusion that the Lord Jesus’ work went beyond the Old Testament. They condemned the Lord Jesus, “This man is not of God, because he keeps not the sabbath day” (John 9:16). From the scripture we can know that the Pharisees confined God’s work within the law of the Old Testament, and thereby they recklessly judged and condemned Him and denied His work. In addition, what the Lord Jesus did at that time, healing and casting out demons, and performing miracles, shocked all of Judea. The Pharisees had ever heard of the Lord Jesus’ work, and what’s more, some of them had ever seen it with their own eyes. However, not only did they not seek or investigate it, but they also blasphemed and condemned the Lord Jesus without a trace of fear, saying that the Lord Jesus spoke blasphemous words (see Mark 14:61-64), saying that “He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts he out devils” (see Mark 3:21-22). More than that, as the Lord Jesus was preaching in the synagogues, they even attempted to stone Him. It is clear that these Pharisees were arrogant and truth-hating by nature, and that they had no place for God in their hearts, speaking and acting without any reverence of God. Faced with the Lord’s work, they stubbornly held onto their own conceptions and imaginations, defined and resisted God’s work at will. Never did they give up their thoughts to seek or accept the truth. It was their arrogant and truth-disobeying disposition, as well as their truth-hating and God-resisting nature that caused them to not investigate or seek the Lord’s work with humility but manically condemn and oppose it, so that they finally walked on the path of resisting God while believing in and serving God. 2. Give Up the Position It is recorded in the Bible, “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:47-48). At that time, the sermons the Lord Jesus preached and the miracles He performed shook up all of Judea, there were a lot of people spreading the Lord Jesus’ name and the facts of His work, and more and more people were following Him. The…
On the way to the land of Canaan, Moses sent the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel to spy out the land of Canaan. Seeing the people living there were burly, strong, big, and strapping, except Joshua and Caleb, the other ten were very scared…
Editor’s Notes: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The Lord Jesus taught us to be people who are pure of heart, because only such people can recognize God’s voice and follow God’s work. From the examples of a blind man and the Pharisees recorded in the Bible, Jack, a Christian, has deeply felt that being pure of heart is more important than being sighted! Jack, who had just returned from evangelizing London, arrived at the door of a coffee shop around the corner at 2 p.m. as usual. Perhaps because the owner of this coffee shop was a Christian, there were free copies of the Bible there for every Christian friend to read. For Jack, this place was of course his first choice, because the quiet environment there enabled him to have more closeness with the Lord. As soon as Jack walked in, a skillful barista saw him. This barista had known Jack for a long time, therefore he knew Jack’s habits—an espresso and a Bible would be quite enough. Jack walked to his usual table next to shelves of copies of the Bible. He gently took one from a shelf, then opened it, and began to read in earnest. He saw these verses, “And it came to pass, that as He was come near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, You Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, You Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought to Him: and when he was come near, He asked him, Saying, What will you that I shall do to you? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said to him, Receive your sight: your faith has saved you. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God” (Luke 18:35–43). Jack carefully pray-read these verses, and thought to himself, “In order to make people confess and repent, the Lord Jesus did many miracles, such as curing the blind man who begged Him to do so. Before performing this miracle, the Lord said, ‘Your faith has saved you.’ The Lord Jesus observed the depths of people’s hearts, and could look upon anyone’s deeds and thoughts. Because of the blind man’s faith in the Lord Jesus and also because of the Lord’s great power, the blind man could see.” “Sir, it’s your espresso. Please enjoy it.” A waiter’s words interrupted Jack’s thoughts. Jack politely nodded his thanks. Then, lifting his coffee cup, he once again fell into deep thought: The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Yes! Only people who are pure of heart are able to recognize God’s voice, follow God, and gain God’s salvation. Though the blind man couldn’t see, his heart was not blind. Instead, he had a clear heart and believed in the Lord Jesus, so he gained the Lord’s mercy and grace. Jack took a sip of his coffee, tasting its bitter flavor. Then, he read another verse, “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils” (Mark 3:22). After reading it, he remembered that when the Lord Jesus came to work, He healed lepers, made the crippled walk, used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people, and even raised the dead; moreover, His preaching had authority and power, and many people followed Him. However, though the religious leaders, Pharisees, chief priests, scribes of the time saw all of this, they didn’t accept the fact that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah; they simply did not seek or investigate whether what the Lord Jesus expressed was the truth, the way and the life, whether His expression was beneficial to them, or whether the Lord Jesus came from God. On the contrary, they stubbornly clung to their own conceptions, condemned the Lord Jesus, blasphemed against Him and said that He relied on Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, to cast out demons. They tempted the Lord Jesus whenever they could, and even incited the Jewish people to reject Him. In the end, they conspired with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus, committing the most heinous of sins. Jack realized this, “Though these people’s eyes could see, their hearts were blind. They didn’t recognize that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah or that the Lord Jesus’ authority to perform miracles came from God. Their eyes were worse than the blind man’s eyes, because they resisted God though being sighted. No wonder the Lord Jesus said, ‘And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive’ (Matthew 13:14).” After understanding this, Jack sighed with emotion, and thought, “Being pure of heart is really more important than being sighted! A blind man can be cured by the Lord, but if one’s heart is blind, then he can’t be cured. Seeking the true way does not depend on eyes, but rather hearts. Only when the eyes of our hearts are open and we have a sober and clear mind can we recognize God’s voice and know God’s work.” At the thought of this, Jack remembered what it says in the Bible, “Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). The Pharisees were blind and ignorant, and their…
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