I Never Knew You

August 10, 2015

I Never Knew You

Matthew 7:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How do we know Jesus? Do we know Him in name only or do we know Him in intimate relationship? The Greek word for “knew” used here in our verse means to “have knowledge of, perceive and understand.” It is also the Jewish idiom for sexual relations. So it carries not the sense of a casual acquaintance, or just knowing about someone. It is about knowing someone intimately, relationally, up close and personal. There are many in this nation and world that would identify themselves as “Christians”. That qualification isn’t often really based on the quality of relationship with the person of Christ. It may be based on the culture they grew up in, a general belief in God or because they’ve gone to church.
There is a commercial where a man that has won a great sum of money is suddenly confronted by all of these strangers that are popping up in his life claiming to be related to him. It is obvious that there motive is based on what they hope to gain from this now rich individual rather than what they can add to his life. Many people are “Christians” for the same reason. What can God do for me? How can He bless me or answer my prayer in time of crisis or need? The people that really love you aren’t just there for what you can give them; they are there to share in relationship with you. Both parties are interested in how they might bless and meet the other’s needs. Obviously in regards to the Lord He has far greater resources than we do, but there are elements by which He identifies those that really love Him and are in relationship with Him. In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Listen as He goes on to explain how this plays into the relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:16-26).”
Jesus also brings out another primary element of relationship and discipleship in John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Through these scriptures and many others like them we gain an understanding that ” knowing” Christ is based on faith and obedience to Him and the Word He has given us. It is about abiding in relationship, communion and fellowship with Him as you would with a close friend or lover.
Jesus lets us know that there is a general “Christian crowd” out there that really doesn’t know Him. They may have experienced His power, or done things in His name, but they aren’t in relationship with Him. Let us summarize by expanding on our opening scripture, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:15-23).” Do we really know Him today? If not, He really wants to know you.

Blessings,
#kent

Love and Obedience

June 26, 2015

John 14:10, 21, 23-24, 31
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. ..

Love and Obedience

The Lord began to show how much love and obedience go hand in hand in this passage from John 14. Jesus is coming to His final hour and the words that He speaks are both weighty and meaningful. He is clearly communicating with us as He speaks to His disciples that truth, faith and love are demonstrated through our obedience to what He has been teaching us through His word.
Our greatest revelation of the Lord comes through obedience. That is when we develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we hear His voice. The more responsive and obedient we are to that voice the more clearly we discern and know it. The Holy Spirit is like our conscience in some ways. Often we have a feeling or a knowing when something isn’t right or when we are doing something wrong. We can either heed that knowing or we can ignore it, rationalize it, justify it or just disobey it. Eventually it becomes less and less as we desensitize ourselves to it. We do the same thing with the Holy Spirit within us. That is why we don’t hear the Lord the way we need and should be hearing Him. So often we have shut Him out rather than do things His way. Jesus is saying our love for Him and the Father should sensitize us to the Holy Spirit. We should be so aware of His presence and responsive to His voice and dealings in our lives. This is what our love for Him should produce in us. It is a love for God’s will and His way rather than our own mind and our own will. Just as the Father was manifested through the Son, because of the complete uncompromising obedience to all that the Father commanded Him, so Christ will be more fully manifested in us the more we walk in complete obedience and submission to His commandments to us. The commandments, the teachings or the Word of God is God’s mind for us. It is His direction, instruction, admonishment and teaching so that we might be fully equipped and come into the maturity of who He is.
If we want to see more of God in our lives, then we need to love Him the way He has instructed that we love Him, through obedience to His Word. When we truly love God through our complete obedience and surrender to Him, we will become aware of His personal leading and direction in every aspect of our lives. To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to obey Him. Jesus promises in John 14:21 that if we really love Him through our obedience then we are loved of the Father and Jesus says, “I too will love him and show myself to him.”
This is a key point to us in this hour that we become less focused on what our will and wants are and begin to focus on the will and purpose of the Lord for us at this time. We will find the key to that revelation in our obedience to Him. We must love Him as we never have before and with that love comes the complete surrender of our hearts and wills to His will. His commands are not burdensome, but they are life giving. There are times when God stretches us way out of our comfort zone, but if we are willing to obey and trust Him the reward can be tremendous. We will see, know and demonstrate God in ways that we didn’t even know were possible for us. Let us commit to love Him completely and fully through our obedience to His Spirit and His Word. In this place we will come to truly know Him.

Blessings,
#kent

My Friend, Billy

June 4, 2015

John 14:15-20
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

My Friend, Billy

John was a middle-aged man of medium height. He lived on a street called Marigold Drive in a small house that his mother had left to him after she died. John was a reclusive man, with few friends and outside interests. John was an auto mechanic by trade and he worked on cars in his garage accessed by the alley behind his house. His work came from word of mouth and he kept relatively busy as he was conscientious about his work and his prices were quite reasonable.
John had never married or had kids. He had been a loner all of his life. Some thought John a bit eccentric and strange, but most saw a gentle and quite man who had just never really engaged with the society that surrounded him.
John had some customers come in one day that had a young boy, about eight, named William. His friends all called him Billy. Billy was very engaging and outgoing. He seemed to take to John right off when they came in. He was fascinated with the mechanics and workings of a car, so he had a barrage of questions for John as John was assessing the problem with their vehicle. For a lot of people, Billy would have been a bit of a nuisance and agitation, but the boy’s curious nature and vivacious personality really impressed John. He patiently answered and explained question after question that Billy had for him. The folks lived relatively close to John, so John invited the boy to come over and help him if he would like. Billy was very excited about the prospect of being an auto mechanic and launched a massive plea for his parent’s approval and permission. They agreed that after Billy had gotten his chores done around that house he could ride his bike over to John’s and help him out. John and Billy seemed to just hit it off from the start and Billy became to John that close friend that he had never really had. Billy respected and accepted John for just who he was and John appreciated in Billy all the things that he wasn’t.
As John and Billy’s friendship grew, Billy was over John’s at every opportunity, hanging out with his new best friend. John was teaching him what he knew and Billy was helping John better grasp the world around him. They were good friends that met needs in one another.
Now Billy’s parents were strong Christians who had raised Billy up in the Lord and Billy had a strong faith and personal relationship of his own with Jesus Christ. Every Sunday morning he was gone to church, but in the afternoon he loved to go over and just hang out with John. John had never been around religious people or grown up with a knowledge of the Lord. He was a good, honest, hard working individual, but he didn’t know the Lord in a personal relationship. When Billy would come over on Sunday afternoon, he would excitedly share with John all that he had learned that day at church. John saw in little Billy qualities and attributes that he desired and wished were in himself. He admired his faith and Billy would always want to say the blessing whenever they shared a meal together. Billy began to ask John if he would come to church with him. John was reluctant and negative about going at first, but Billy could be quite persistent in his own eager way, so John finally agreed to go. This was a totally new and strange environment for John. He felt totally uncomfortable and out of place. He didn’t understand all that was taking place and much of what was said was like a foreign language to him. The only real comfort he had was his friend Billy sitting next to him, smiling at him whenever he looked over. As he listened to the sermon, his heart was touched that there could be this One called Jesus that could love him so much that he would be willing to die for his wrong-doing. After several Sundays of going to church with Billy, John walked up that aisle and gave his heart to Jesus. With the love of Christ welling up in John’s heart, now it was John that became like a sponge soaking up all that Billy could tell him about this Jesus.
Meanwhile, next door to John lived an older widow woman who liked to always have her nose in someone else’s business. When she observed Billy always over at John’s and the close friendship they had, she began to gossip with her neighbors and make accusation and suggestions about what must be going on between them. After all, that John had never gotten married, so he was probably some sort of pervert or pedophile. John’s neighbors stopped speaking with him and began to look on him as some sort of criminal. John began to notice his business was dropping off and fewer people were coming to him.
Then, one day the worst thing of all happened. Billy came over in the car with his parents. They came in and talked to John about the accusations and rumors that were circulating around town. When John looked over at Billy, he had obviously been crying and was very upset. Billy’s parents felt it wasn’t a good idea for Billy to come around John anymore as people were apparently getting a wrong impression about what was going on. They said they were sorry, but the friendship had to end. When they left, John just sat there for hours with a blank stare on his face. He had never felt such hurt and pain in all of his life. His heart was broken and he didn’t know what to do. Finally as he looked over he saw his Bible setting on the table next to him. He picked it up, looked up to heaven and said, “Why God, did you take my best friend away?” He opened his Bible at random and it fell open to John 14:15-20 and he read, ““If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John heard the Lord speaking to him that He had not left him alone. Billy had brought him into a friendship that no one could take away from him. Even if Billy could not be there, the Lord would be there with him and would reveal Himself to him. John began to break down and cry as he realized that the Lord had brought Billy into his life to reveal Himself to him. John was never the same after that. He refused to allow the accusations and rumor destroy him. He chose to forgive his neighbor who had created them. He became active in his church, eventually teaching Sunday school and growing in favor with God and man. He in turn began to share the love and truth of Jesus Christ with all that came around him all because one little boy was willing to share that great love with Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Draw Near to Me!

April 17, 2015

James 4:7-9
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Draw Near to Me!

If there is one theme I hear in what God is speaking in this hour it is, “Draw near to Me!” The greatest asset that any of us can have in their lives is a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we know Him intimately and are in communication with Him consistently then we know that we are in touch with the resources to meet every need and challenge that life might bring. Many of us for so long have become intoxicated and drunk in the well being that we have had all around us. We, especially Americans, enjoy and have so much. We, as a whole, don’t wake up every morning wondering what we are going to eat, where we are going to find shelter, how we are going to provide for our families, how we are going to get to our job and how we are going to survive. We may not be rich in the sense of having great amounts of money, but by and large our needs are met and we enjoy many luxuries in addition to our basic needs. As whole, we probably have and enjoy more than about 80 or 90 per cent of the world’s population. We have been very blessed. There is nothing wrong with being blessed, but one of the snares that follows blessings is that we can become complacent in our faith and trust in God. We begin to look at all that we have and possess as the results of our own talents and resources. Because we have need of little, we often have little need for God.
The Lord is sounding a trumpet in Zion and He is sounding an alarm to awaken us out of our complacency and calling us to return to Him. The first order of returning to God is in the area of submission. “Submit yourselves then to God”.
Jesus tells it to us this way in John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The presence of the Godhead abides upon the one who is willing to submit in obedience to God and His Word. Develop an ear that hears the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and then be quick to obey it.
Secondly, He says resist the devil and he will flee from you. Many of us exercise very little resistance. We willing take in whatever is put in front of us. We exercise very little discipline of our flesh rather it is what we take in mentally, visually, audibly or physically. There is very little difference between most of us and the world at large. God is awakening us to our state of being, not to condemn us but to prepare us. If we men were suddenly taken out of our present lifestyle and placed on the front lines of battle, how do you think we would fair? The enemy would cut through us like butter and in effect that is what he is doing now, because we have become fat and lazy through our life styles. What we are not seeing is the spiritual battle that is raging before us like an ominous thundercloud.
God is saying to us, ‘take stock of your condition and where you are physically, mentally and spiritually.’ He is saying, if you will begin right now coming near to me, I will meet you and come near to you. Start by washing your hands of the sin and filth of this world that you have allowed to come into you. Cease from being double-minded, spiritually minded one time and fleshly minded the next. We are like a Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde. Depending upon the place and the company we are in we are either spiritual or fleshly. We must be of a single mind at all times and that mind has to coincide with the mind of Christ. We all need to come to a true state of repentance where we honestly recognize and acknowledge the spiritual state we are in and then truly repent of it with true weeping and mourning. If we humble ourselves before the Lord and fear Him, He will lift us up. He will ready us for the days to come and preserve us in the darkest hour. Only hear His exhortation, “Draw near to me!”
There is only One that can preserve us when the world is overtaken in calamity. Your wealth, your reputation and position, your influence and all of your possessions can be gone tomorrow. They are temporal. You only have one sure foundation and cornerstone that cannot be moved and His name is Jesus Christ. Draw near to Him with all of your heart, your soul, your mind and strength. “

Blessings,
#kent

The Seed of Heavenly Life

Matthew 13:37-38
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];

This parable of Jesus concerning seed is a principle that runs through the Word of God. Here, He plainly says what the good seed is, that it is the children of the kingdom. In John 12:23-26 Jesus teaches His disciples this principle about seed as He is preparing for the cross. “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour” The principle of seed is that it lives to die to bring forth life more abundantly and in an increase that it could never see if it only lives to it’s self. Jesus tells us we are the good seed and that when good seed loses its natural life it gains life eternal.
1 Corinthians 15 teaches us some more along these lines. It deals a great deal with the principles of life, death and resurrection. In this limited commentary we would glean just a point or two from it. The first point is this; death isn’t often a pleasant process. We can see throughout the New Testament and throughout the Word of God that men and women of God often suffered hardships, persecutions and trials as they walked out their faith. Many even gave their natural lives for their faith. Paul makes the statement in 1Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Why did Paul make this statement? He was a seed planted in the ground who was dying, literally pouring out His life, for the lives of others. He makes another statement in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” The reason for dying and the reason for resurrection are so that death gives place to life, weakness gives place to God’s strength and corruptible gives way to that which is incorruptible.
1Corinthians 15:42-49 goes on to make this point, “So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” We are God’s seed that He is planting in the field of this world. The end is that it works the life of Christ in others as we are poured out unto Him. In the process of our dying or being poured out, there is a transformation that is taking place from the earthly to the heavenly. While we see only now in part, Christ shall complete that process when corruption puts on incorruption, when death is swallowed up in life and when we fully bear the image of the heavenly, the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are experiencing the death today, be of good courage, it is giving place to His life.

Blessings,
#kent

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