Thursday, February 10, 2011

Listen carefully to My words

I was sharing Jesus with someone when he pushed the question of whether Jesus is the son on God or just a prophet. I am not good at handling questions like these but I know it is not my place to convict a person into Christianity, that it is the holy spirit that does the conviction so i just listened more. God knows I get shaken at questions like these and Maria from Elpizo reminded me this morning to continue building my faith on the word of God. It is easy to get diluted from debates. 

It is wonderful that God is with me all the time because a day after the meet, He showed me this passage to show me how an unbeliever thinks despite hearing the truth.  The following snippet from the bible shows how Jesus himself answered the same questions asked today along the lines of "Who do you think you are?", "We only believe in God", "You are demon possessed". These are eye witnesses' account of Jesus' claims. The Pharisees who claimed that they follow Abraham rejected Jesus in the end.

John 8:41-47

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

John 8:49- 58

   49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

 52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

 54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

 57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

   58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

And more of what Jesus said...

John 8:12
“ When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:23
 23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

John 8:31-47
 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father."

 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

   “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

I thank God for showing me His words again for faith comes from hearing the word of God. His command to me of Proverbs 4:20-22 rings so true for me. I can almost hear God tell me over and over again, don't go far from my words because for me, the weakness is in the mind and it is easy for the devil to play with my mind. So, I must never, NEVER be far from His word. It is almost like life and death situation for me.

Proverbs 4:20-22

 20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
      Listen carefully to my words.
 21 Don’t lose sight of them.
      Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
 22 for they bring life to those who find them,
      and healing to their whole body.


  1. 2 important reasons for ground ourselves in the Word of God:

    (i) Faith comes from the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Of course, the Word represents God and is God. Jesus is personification of the Word, and of course, Jesus is God (John 1:1-2) {Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit}. The main way to know God is through His Word, and so, we must go deep into the Word.

    Generally, only with understanding can faith arise in men; in other words, we can only develop faith when we have understanding. Blind faith is never a strong faith, and the strong Christian faith is not a blind faith. Yes, we do start with a little faith, and we are to grow our faith through acquisition and understanding of the Word, and applying faith thereof, in an never ending cycle of acquisition, understanding and application. If we do not build up a strong foundation, when the torrent comes, we will collapse (Luke 6:48-49). In order not to collapse and give up, for we are to persevere and overcome to the end (read warnings in Rev 2 &3), we must know what and who we are believing. This is for oneself.

    (ii) As a testimony to our Lord; in 1 Pet 3:15, we read that we are to be always prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. This is different from point (i), where it is for our own sake, here, it is our "owing to the Lord", as we are not to stumble others, believers and non-believers alike. While it is true there is a part that the Holy Spirit plays, still as part of our effort for the Great Commission, we ourselves, must provide good models for others. Imagine, what it looks like, in the eyes of a non-believer if all we could say, is that we just believe and just hope, without able to explain our belief; if the non-believer thinks that you believe blindly, would he be encouraged to believe?

    There is a distinction between the Holy Spirit bringing understanding and a person's choosing to believe or have faith. In my belief, God did not promise the onus of salvation faith lies with the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit's role is to give understanding, for those not (yet) of God do not have understanding of the things of God (John 8:47). It is obliviously not that they are deaf, but that they hear, but hear without understanding. The Holy Spirit's job is to give understanding when the Word and truths of God are given out; it is NOT that the Holy Spirit MUST give the faith to the person to receive Jesus. So, if a non-believer does not come into salvation, it is NOT God’s fault.

    For salvation, there are 2 components, one, a non-believer needs to hear with understanding the Word, and two, with that understanding he has to make a decision on believing, a faith has to come, and that faith has to come from him, not from God. Now, God’s responsibility for salvation are also of 2 components, one, He has to give of His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for Man, and that has been accomplished, and two, He has to give understanding to those who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. To accomplish this, He works in many ways and through many ways, and He works with men, particularly believers. Jesus’ death was one act, and that had been accomplished, but the giving of understanding has been an on-going task that God did not stop, and God does that through the Holy Spirit. Jesus, in His own words, told specifically that when He has gone back to the Father, the Holy Spirit would be sent into the world. The Holy Spirit was to convict the world of sins, and to give understanding of the truths.

    While we should not condemn ourselves for a lousy job at converting another, we are to work with the Holy Spirit, and to start with, we are to gain understanding of His Word.

    Do continue to intercede and share the gospel. God is faithful, and to know Him is a life-long endeavor, and is one that must be engaged.

  2. Hi Liz,

    By the way, I have elaborated on your "tell me more" of the preceding article. Do take a look the comment section if you have not done so, yet.