Gospel for Today Matthew 13:20–21

Gospel for Today – Reflection on Matthew 13:20–21

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: • As Christians, How Can We Face Trials From God Audaciously and Calmly? • What to Do When You Lose Faith in God in Setbacks • What Should We Do When We Face Trials? » Most people also watch: Christian Movie “Baptism by Fire” – The True Story of a Christian

Matthew 13:12 "Whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance, ..."

To Whoever Has More Will Be Given – Reflection on Matthew 13:12

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

A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit, Matthew 12:33

A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit – Reflection on Matthew 12:33

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

eternal sin, Matthew 12:31-32

The Sin of Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit Shall Never Be Forgiven – Reflection on Matthew 12:31-32

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

Matthew 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.", treasures

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven – Reflection on Matthew 6:20

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."

Worship God – Reflection on Matthew 12:6

Today’s Gospel But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. – Matthew 12:6 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: • Are You a True Believer in God? • How Can You Make Your Belief in God Be Approved by Him? • Do You Know the Reason of Jesus Not Keeping the Sabbath?

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."

The Kingdom of Heaven Suffers Violence – Reflection on Matthew 11:12

Today’s Gospel And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. – Matthew 11:12 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: What and Where Is the Kingdom of God? • Do You Know the Requirements to Enter the Kingdom of God? • 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"

Jesus Warned Them Not to Tell Anyone – Reflection on Matthew 9:30

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 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

Beware of False Prophets – Reflection on Matthew 7:15

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

Matthew 7:12 "Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

Treat Other As You Want to be Treated – Reflection on Matthew 7:12

Matthew 7:12 “Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Reflection While pray-reading this verse, I remember what happened to me recently. One of my colleagues was my church sister. We had a good relationship. We often studied together at work and helped each other. There was a period of time when I often made mistakes. She would remind me of my deficiencies and inadequacies. I thought what she said was all correct and was my real problems. Afterward, we were separated to work in different departments. She then never came to see me again. Gradually, I had some opinions on her. I thought we were so close to each other before, why didn’t she send me even a message when I most needed comfort and encouragement? Could it be that her care to me was all fake? The more I thought this way, the darker I felt in my spirit. Amid suffering, I came before God in prayer: May God show me how to treat it. Not long after I prayed that prayer, I came across a very good article “The Principle of Sharing From the Heart”, which showed me God’s will and many paths of practice. One of the passage said, “If the brothers and sisters are to be able to confide in each other, help each other out, and provide for one another when they are together, then each person must speak of their own true experiences. … If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide to each other or help one another. Do you have such a feeling? If your friend says everything to you, saying all of what they’re thinking in their heart, and what suffering or happiness they have in their heart, then do you not feel particularly intimate with them? That they are willing to tell these things to you is because you have also spoken of the words in your heart to them—you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along with them and help each other out. Without this among the brothers and sisters in the church, there would never be harmony among the brothers and sisters, which is one of the requisites of being honest.” From this passage, I understood that true friends can confide with each other. We can take the initiative and share with brothers and sisters who truly believe in God what we’re thinking in our heart, and what suffering or happiness we have in our heart, then we will become intimate friends with others. This is also the manifestation of being honest. Just as the verse said, “Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them.” I complained that the sister did not care about me. In fact, I did not take an initiative to see her afterward but made demands of her. Why didn’t I make demands of myself? I finally saw my sense was too inferior and I needed to change myself. After understanding God’s will, I took the initiative and chatted with the sister and asked her how everything was going on with her. The sister told me what she was thinking in her heart. Until then did I know that she was too busy recently. She had thought about chatting with me but didn’t know what to say, then she prayed to seek the Lord’s will. Thank the Lord that He has prepared us this chance. After we opened up to each other, I was extremely free and relaxed in my heart and even felt it easy to solve my problems at work.   » You may be interested in reading more: • 4 Principles to Have Normal Interpersonal Relationships • A Christian’s Testimony: How to Mend a Friendship Broken by Interests • How I Let Go of My Resentment Against My Close Friend

Matthew 7:3-5 "And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? ..."

The Beam in Your Own Eye—Reflection on Matthew 7:3-5

Today’s Gospel And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:3–5 Reflection When encountering something in our daily lives, we incline to grumble to others, instead of knowing ourselves. Even if among one family, we are still full of blame and complaints, unable to get on with each other. For example: A husband is always grumbling that his wife shows little empathy and consideration for him, while his wife often blames him for he doesn’t give enough kindness, consideration, and care to her; a mother-in-law is always railing against her daughter-in-law about her unthrifty housekeeping and lacking in filial duty, while the daughter-in-law constantly complains, saying that her mother-in-law is too captious, not regarding her as a member of the family; the parents continually reproach their children for being so disobedient that they are worried sick about them, while the children are always grumbling at their parents about controlling everything of them and depriving of their freedoms; friends, fellows, and brothers and sisters also always blame and grumble to each other for giving too much while gaining too little. When there are some conflicts in our contact with others, we merely blindly blame others … Each of us sees ourselves as an innocent victim and has sufficient reasons to blame and complain to others. Because of such complaints, the interpersonal tension is growing. There is no longer any understanding and tolerance between people, and human relations have become full of hostility and enmity. We are also eager to live in amity with the relatives and friends around us and to love each other. However, without exception, we are all hurting one another. Facing these problems, what should we do to save the day? God says, “Everyone has small faults and foibles and they all have some things that are characteristic to them; they can all be self-righteous, weak and lacking. You should therefore help others with a loving heart, be tolerant, be forbearing and don’t be too harsh or make a fuss over every tiny detail.” These words show us the path of practice. If we want to get on well with others, we should view others’ shortcomings correctly and learn to tolerate and forbear with others. Especially when we have disagreements with others, we should first reflect on ourselves and solve our own problems, and should not fixate our eyes on others. When we practice in this way, we will gradually discover we are not better than others and that the problems are more serious in us than in others. Thus we will naturally understand and forbear with others. Then we will be freed from complaints, and the relationship with the people around us will become more and more proper. God also says, “The truth is related to the life of normal humanity. It can correct all kinds of your bad tendencies and habits, bad and negative thoughts. It can change your satanic disposition and all sorts of things in you that belong to Satan, become your life, and allow you to become proper and have humanity. It will change you so that your thinking and your heart are proper, you possess reason, and you are proper in every aspect.” We have been deeply corrupted by Satan. If we want to get along well with others and live out the likeness of a normal man, the most important thing is to allow the truth to be our life and use the truth to correct our thinking and point of view, so that our arrogant and conceited corrupt disposition can be taken away. Only in this way can our conscience and reason gradually return to normal, and can we learn to forgive, forbear, and understand others. At that time, we will become more and more harmonious in the dealings with others, thus we will get rid of the complaints.   » Read more on our Stories About Faith & Life page, or in some of the selected articles below: • Getting on With My Roommate Is No Longer a Problem for Me Who Is Fastidious • Building a Good Relationship Is Not a Problem Anymore

Matthew 7:3 "And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?"

How to Remove the Beam Out of Our Eyes – Reflection on Matthew 7:3

Matthew 7:3 “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?” Reflection When we have friction with others, we should not fix our eyes on others, finding fault with them whenever possible, but should find the problem in ourselves. When we have some understanding of ourselves, our prejudices toward others will naturally disappear. I remember that there was a period of time when a sister who ministered with me always pointed out that I carried no burden for the church. However, I didn’t reflect on myself but instead looked for fault in her, and developed prejudices toward her and did not want to minister with her. Afterward, I reflected on myself and realized the reason that I didn’t accept her suggestions was, on the one hand, my satanic nature of arrogance, and on the other hand, she always gave me suggestions, this made me have no face and I felt uncomfortable, so I developed prejudices against her. Later I understood: The people, events, and things that we encounter on a daily basis are God’s arrangements for changing us. It’s not the sister who is hard on me. I should learn to put aside myself and accept the sister’s correct suggestions, which is not only beneficial for the work of the church, but also matches Jesus’ requirements. When I did things in this way, our relationship became much closer.   » Read more on our Stories About Faith & Life page, or in some of the selected articles below: • A Christian’s Testimony: How to Mend a Friendship Broken by Interests • How to Live in Harmony With a Stroppy Roommate

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