In Chattanooga in 1975, the First Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue closed its doors with a sign stating, “Closed for the Super Bowl.” This was “Super Bowl Sunday” evening service (called vespers). When we were turned away by that sign, it was the last time we went to church. We started having our own meetings, which we would never close for the love of the world and the things of the world.
It would seem that Romans 5:5 and 1 John 2:15 go together and show conclusively whether Romans 5:5 has ever happened. The whole church was watching the Super Bowl. Is watching sports on TV one of the “things of the world” in 1 John 2:15-16? Could the Super Bowl qualify as one of these three disorders for the disciples of Messiah?
Everything that belongs to the world — what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of — none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world. (1 John 2:16)
Are Christians disciples? That is the question! In Luke 14:26-33, the Master qualified who is and who is not a disciple of His.
John 17:14-16 speaks of disciples. Disciples are in the world, but not of it. Gentiles are in the world and also of it. They may go to church on Sunday, or may even be successful preachers, but they are still those who love the world and the things of the world,1 like football, baseball, basketball, TV, movies, Internet pornography, etc.
Gentiles refers to all who are not saved from self-life by the Blood of the Lamb.2 The term gentiles today includes both Jews and Gentiles, since no one can technically call himself a Jew today except those who are true Jews.3
How then does Luke 12:22 apply to you? What does He mean by “life”? Do not worry about your life. Matthew 6:31-32 concerns the non-believer who is in the world and of the world, considered a gentile, which is not necessarily condemning since everyone in the world must make a living, or else starve to death.
What, then, does He mean by Matthew 6:33? Who is He speaking to? Is He speaking to you, or are you then a gentile? Since He said in Matthew 6:32, “For after all these things the gentiles seek,” and, “For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things,” but then He adds verse 33. Are you one of the “you” in verse 33, or are you a gentile? These two verses in Matthew 6:32-33 distinguish His disciples from gentiles who are still in and of the world, though as 1 John 5:13 (KJV) suggests, some who “believe” don’t know they are yet gentiles. They only believe in Him as did the “believers” in John 2:23-25, but He doesn’t believe in them. But as 1 John 5:13 says in the King James Version, you can come to believe if you admit that you really don’t.
To seek first for His kingdom is not just to recite the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,”4 but to actualize it in daily living in the Body of Messiah,5 as was done in the first church, serving Him where He is:6
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. (John 12:25-26)
He meant to hate whatever would stand in the way of having eternal life, which was the very thing the rich young ruler wouldn’t do:
17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
28 Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left everything and followed You.”
29 “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:17,21-22,28-30; see also Matthew 19:16-30 and Luke 18:18-30)
This is included in what all disciples must be taught,7 as well as what it means to be included in His family.8 Whoever was willing to do the Father’s will would know the truth from a lie,9 and who is and who is not a true sent one.10
And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32; see also 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 and John 3:36 in the NASB)
All others will be left behind,11 since they did not obey the gospel.12 If mothers, brothers, sisters, etc.,13 and all one’s own possessions are not left behind, the supposed disciple will himself be left behind when the Master comes, if he does not leave everything behind to follow Him now.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:34-38)
I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:49-53)
The arrival of the Kingdom forever changes human relationships. It supersedes everything else — family, friends, possessions, military service, or employment contracts — anything that opposes one’s having eternal life and being a disciple of Messiah must be left, forsaken, and renounced for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In some cases, this means having nothing more to do with one’s parents or family members, if it is the only way one can obey Messiah, rather than being left behind.14 Those in this Kingdom relationship (family, as the Master defined it15) become the disciple’s dearest and closest friends,16 nearer and dearer than all others.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death… By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers… And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (1 John 3:14,16,23)
What did the rich young ruler ask?17 Did he obey Christ?18 Did Peter?19 All who would obey this gospel will have eternal life — with persecution from the family forsaken in obedience to the gospel.20 So the Master said that only those who are not of this world21 will have eternal life, and will be persecuted by those who hate them, such as their parents and relatives who show the utmost hatred to them for forsaking them for the Kingdom of God. (Of course, they could have followed also, and not been forsaken, if they had believed and obeyed the gospel.)
Being saved from this evil world system22 by receiving the apostle’s word meant obedience to what He spoke to them.23 Matthew 10:24-39 is very revealing, and specifically verses 37-39 — if you want to receive it.
Acts 2:36-41 — Not many of the multitude that day chose to follow Him — only 3000 out of perhaps a million Jews in Jerusalem. The cost was too high after the multitude heard those “many other words” in Acts 2:40-41. But those who believed chose to follow and obey Him, to be His disciples, and gave up all, as Acts 2:44-45 gives clear evidence,24 and as a result received eternal life. But persecution came from the ones who hung on to their own rotten, stinking lives.25
The gospel includes the command to deny oneself.26 The call to discipleship demands that one completely abandon the natural desire to seek for one’s own comfort, home, fortune, power, etc., etc., etc. The good news of the gospel entails Matthew
10:38 as well as John 3:36, and 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, and Matthew 10:21-22,34-39. This is essential to the obedience to the gospel. Just as Luke 14:26-33 and Mark 10:17,28-30 are required, so also Matthew 10:34 and Luke 12:49-53 is essential for eternal life, and is to be obeyed. For God knows the heart27 in baptism, whether one will or will not obey His gospel.28 The first disciples obeyed as in Acts 2:44-45, without hesitation, because the gospel was preached to them,29 and they sat at the apostles’ feet if they needed additional clarification.
So we can see where much of the persecution comes from30 — from one’s own household, which he had to forsake to be saved, to receive the Holy Spirit in baptism. That is, Matthew 10:36 is true because the gospel includes verses 37-39. So who can argue against the truth of the gospel?
This is how the first community was formed, without an orientation session. They received a brand new life and formed a brand new culture,31 composed of the hundred houses, farms, and new family members who would dwell in those houses, work on those farms — yes, with persecution as Mark 10:30 promises, but eternal life is worth it all. What can be compared with the value of eternal life?
Persecutions mostly come from the family they had to leave behind to follow Messiah32 (since they would not follow Him also33), but those who endure to the end as Matthew 24:13 bear the witness of verse 14. The witness prophesied in Malachi 1:11 bears the fruit of Matthew 21:43, which is the testimony before all, borne at the proper (due) time.34 That love and oneness could only come from this new kind of people in John 13:34-35 and 17:20-23, in a new family life and new culture, being the royal priesthood of 1 Peter 2:9-10, which is all God ever wanted from natural Israel as a twelve-tribed nation.35 But the spiritual nation of Matthew 21:43 had to be the ones who gave it to Him.36
Who then is worthy of Messiah, to have eternal life, to be His very own disciple, to possess the sonship of His Father? No one can come to Messiah except the Father draw him to Messiah, to where He is.37 Now the Father uses His many sons to work through, to be the mediators between the world and His only begotten Son, being co-workers with Messiah and the Father.38 There is one mediator, Messiah, between man and the Father. He is the way to the Father, but He has given us, His newborn sons, the royal priesthood, the “mediator-ship” between the world and His Son, Yahshua the Messiah. No one can come to Messiah except through us, who are “the Way”39 — the way to the Son, and the Son is the way to the Father. There is no other way.40
But who are those in 2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15, and on whose behalf do they mediate? Who forms the denominations of people who call themselves Christians? They are in no way following the Judean pattern.41 If the same Messiah and the same Spirit empowers the same gospel, you come up with the same Yahshua. But, on the other hand, if someone comes and is not sent from where Messiah is,42 you end up with another form of church. You end up with an organized religion and someone called “Jesus Christ,” and the church no longer resembles the one in Acts 2 and 4, which John 13:35 and 17:20-23 is the witness of.43
Matthew 21:43 and 24:14, and Acts 4:32, for example, are the testimony of John 17:21, as inspired by the apostles,44 of whom it is true that to receive them is to receive Yahshua Himself. He has a Body on earth, who represent Him to the world as a living testimony of the coming Kingdom45 in those days.46 “Those days” are the latter days of this age — the end times.47
Daniel 2:35 is the purpose of our lives —to bring about what God promised Abraham in Genesis 15:17-18.48 It was He who made the oath, which has never been fulfilled, and Matthew 19:28 is the promise of that hope, which Paul said our twelve tribes hope to see fulfilled for them in the next age.49 Hebrews 10:13 brings in His return.50
Revelation 17:12 goes back to Daniel 7:24 and 2:44. The faithful are those with Him in Revelation 17:14 and 19:14, who are still following Him.51 We come up to be with Him as those who are still with Him,52 not ashamed of Him,53 accompanying Him on white horses,54 and then after Revelation 20:3, the 1000-year reign begins.55 Those who were faithful in Revelation 17:14 will rule with Him on earth for 1000 years.56 Those who were faithful overcame His enemies,57 showing that they were worthy of Him.58 What does worthy mean in Revelation 3:4 and Matthew 10:37? Worthy means comparable, suitable, deserving of our Master, and suitable to be His reward in Revelation 3:5.
Suitable means appropriate to reign with Him over the earth. The one who was not worthy of Him — who did not live for Him, overcome for Him, did not love Him or obey Him — would be very inappropriate to reign with Him. It would be inappropriate for him to hear the words from our Master, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”
Comparable means admitting of comparison; equivalent to Him in purpose and faithfulness to His cause and purpose.
Worthy means having the worth, merit, or value to reign with Him. It means honorable to the extent of being found worthy to rule over five or ten cities.59 It means being admirable, deserving, and worthy of such acclaim as, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”60
To not be found worthy in 2 Corinthians 5:10 means that one is not worthy to reign with Him, not able to be entrusted with the responsibilities and honor of being a ruler. The unworthy were not worthy, because they did not take advantage of every opportunity they had to be faithful to Him.61
In Luke 6:24, “But woe to you…” the you addresses those who do not listen to the good news in order to be among those who are blessed.62 All who are rich, full, laugh, and those whom all men speak well of — this is applied to them. It is clear that He was speaking to the Jews, as verse 26 speaks of the prophets who were spoken well of by all, which had to be false prophets.63 No true prophet was spoken well of by all.64 Prophets inspired by Satan are false prophets who are spoken well of by the world and its leaders.65 Those who do not deceive multitudes are not Satan’s ministers, such as certain doomsday prophets who only deceive the few who follow them. They do not deceive the world at large, but instead the world does not receive them as true prophets. But our Master66 and Paul67 are speaking about such ministers as have deceived two billion people today, and millions more down through history.
Of whom does the world speak well today?68 For sure, Billy Graham and all the great evangelists of Christianity, the world’s most popular and elevated religion. No other man who has ever lived is lifted to a higher position of popularity and goodness than Billy Graham, especially as a man of God. Even Hollywood elevated him to the highest position among Christian counterparts by his star on Hollywood Boulevard, “to be remembered by the gospel he preached.”
Paul spoke of such men.69 Amidst praise70 and adoration71 they pervert the gospel of Messiah, so as to be accursed — anathema.72 They are those who claim to love our Master Yahshua, and call Him their Master or Lord, but actually love the praise of men and are motivated to preach for this cause.73
As for the Christian seminaries, according to their essential nature, no one today gains acceptance if not trained in a school comparable to Revelation 2:9 and 3:9. One must earn a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in one of these dens of demons. When fully trained, he will be like his teacher. To be fully successful, one must excel in his training school or seminary to be a “Doctor of Divinity,” so as to be addressed as the Reverend Dr. Billy Graham, etc.
The word Reverend, as when one addresses a man of God, of “the collar,” means one deserving of reverence. It is a title of dignity and respect for the Christian cleric. A Reverend of the Christian religion is one who deserves profound awe and respect — a cleric whom one is to regard with deference and devotion.
Deference means that since he has earned this title, one must give him the due respect of submission or courteousness, yielding to his awesome learning, as being schooled to represent God Himself, being a Reverend or a Doctor of Divine-ity (the doctor’s degree of being divine).
Courteous means graciously considerate to his awesome knowledge and understanding, wisdom, and kindness.74
Divinity means the state or quality of being divine or God.
Doctor is one licensed to practice his learned specialty; one holding the highest, most elevated position of respect and honor among men, holding an academic degree awarded by a recognized university of higher learning. A doctor is qualified to practice medical treatment or, if a doctor in religion, qualified to practice bamboozlement — to bamboozle75 the masses of people into believing that they have eternal life and that they are going to heaven when they die. The greater their degree, the better they can hoodwink.76 Their end will be according to how many they brought into bondage of Revelation 18:2 and 2 Corinthians 11:20 by the falsehood and deception in them.77 The more unrighteous they are, the more they can deceive the masses into believing in Jesus — a false gospel and a false Messiah — whose end will be according to how much they deceived the masses.
There can be a true sent one and a false sent one.78 The sent one, in order to be received,79 must be one who is seeking the glory of the One who sent him. The one who sent him must be the true God and Father of our Master Yahshua. The One who hears80 must be willing to do God’s will. The one who is sent must be righteous.81 There can be no falsehood or deceit in him.82 To reject this sent one is to reject Messiah.83 A true sent one84 is the only mediator between man and Messiah, and Messiah is the only mediator between man and God. We are co-workers.85
Beware of those who desire the position of Bishop86 — a position, being put in position, a place of high honor.87 Is it by decree or by one’s own personal strife for recognition and prestige?88 From this word Bishop, this position, in later years, when organized religion took over, the monarchical episcopate developed as the overseers. The Nicolaitan system89 came out of this spirit in 3 John 1:9, which the Christian church is steeped in today.
Nicolaitan means having dominion over the people by decree, not by right of the will of the people. It is the opposite of one who would have a humble opinion of himself,90 who is not covetous, and who rules his own family well,91 and who takes care of the Community of Yahweh.92 To take care of93 is to look after, to oversee by the gift and grace of the Spirit. No grace can be added to his gift if he is not humble, for God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.94 Can you imagine a leader or elder ruling without grace from God?95 A tyrant he must be to rule the saints!