Read Bible, Bible Study

5 Key Elements of being the Poor in Spirit

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…

As Christians, How Can We Face Trials From God Audaciously and Calmly?

Brothers and sisters of Testify God: Glad to write to you! I have met some problems and calamities in my life recently. Although I know from theory that they are trials and refinements from God, which are good environments for me, I’m still afraid of them a lot. What should I do to dare to face them? Jia Yin Sister Jia Yin: Hello! Regarding the question you asked, I know many Christians have faced it and been confused about it. It is normal that we have this confused and contradictory state. It’s chiefly because we don’t understand the purpose and meaning of God’s work of trials and refinements, and what desired effects should be achieved. The Desired Effects of Trials and Refinements God said: “Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:9-10). “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried” (Zechariah 13:9). It can be seen through God’s words that the purpose of God’s trials and refinements is to change and purify man, so that man can be gained and become the people of God’s kingdom. Just like our belief in God, when we’ve enjoyed abundant mercy, love and grace from God, we have profuse “faith” and resolve to fulfill God and repay His love. But if one day, trials come, for example, we are persecuted by our unbelieving families, have frustrations at work, problems in life or pains from disease, or are slandered and ejected by others, then we will have misunderstandings and complaints to God. Because we think that, we’ve paid and expended a lot for God but why do we still need to suffer these calamities? Only at this time can we find out that there are so many impurities in our belief in God, such as personal extravagant desires, transactions, extortions and other motivations, and that our viewpoint of belief in God is incorrect. God sees into the depths of mankind’s hearts and He arranges trials and refinements in order to purify our improper motivations and desires. Thus we can stand in the place of a created being and worship God. The Meaning and Significance of Trials and Refinements From appearances, trials and refinements bring us pains but it achieves the effect of saving us and purifying us. The more trials we meet and pains we suffer, the better we can be able to see that the corruption of us runs too deep, that we lack too much, and that our stature is so small. So we will keep praying, get closer to God and dare not leave Him even for a second. Meanwhile, we will feel that we are unable to overcome the many problems we encounter if we go away from God. Then we will always read His words, fellowship about His truth, get close to Him, rely on Him and practice His words often. The more God’s words we practice in this way, the more corrupt dispositions we can change. Hence we’ll get purified unwittingly and live by God’s word, and then get saved. As such, hardship is our best protection which urges us to come closer to God and pray more often. Through these hardships and trials, we can see God’s holy and righteous disposition, and feel His love and earnest intention in saving man. Meanwhile, we can also recognize the corrupt essence and the truth of our disobedient and God-resisting nature. Only by experiencing trials and refinements can our sins be cleansed. So, the way how we experience trials and refinements directly correlates with whether we can be saved by God! There is an admonition in the Proverbs: “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:32). It’s true that when we have a leisurely environment and don’t have any troubles, we will have enjoyment of flesh, covet the comforts of it, have no place for God in our hearts, are unrestrainedly dissolute in speaking or doing things, and even offend God and dishonor His name without knowing it. It’s just as what God says: “When people’s lives are easy, and there is no suffering in their environment, they are incapable of experiencing. In comfortable environments, it is easy for people to become depraved—but adverse environments make you pray with greater urgency, and make you dare not leave God. The more easy and dull their lives, the more people feel there is no point in living, and they even feel that they’re better off dead. This is how corrupt people’s flesh is; they can only receive benefits if they experience trials” (Practice 8). So they’re all good for us no matter what persecution or adversity, trials or refinements we meet. And this environment can prompt us to pray more often, get closer to God, read His word and seek His will, which lets us know how to rely on God and not go away from Him. Such hardship is a blessing, can only benefit and does no harm to us. This point can also be seen from the fact of God’s work—People who gain the approval of God are the ones who have experienced trials and refinements, such as Abraham. God told Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac, and he did so willingly, not talking conditions with God or making his own choices, so that he gained God’s approval. As for Job, no matter whether God gave things to or took away from him, blessed or gave him disasters, he still insisted on worshipping God and praising His name. Job didn’t have even a little complaint but followed God’s way: Fear God and shun evil. Finally, he said, “But he knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall…

Bible study, word of God

Being Pure of Heart Is More Important Than Being Sighted – Reflection on Matthew 5:8

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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