Friday, Apr 28th

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Luke 9

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Jesus was no ordinary man. Even though He came to earth as a man, He was also God, and remained so. Every moment of His time was spent doing the will of the Father. Nothing in His day and life mirrored human desires or will. He came to this earth to die, and worked towards that goal doggedly. At every hour He was aware of the time passing and the coming-closer of His earthly end. In this chapter we see this urgent need to prepare for His death and the need for men who followed to understand just how urgent the Gospel is. It is about time we, today, understood this urgency and stopped living lives devoted only to pleasure and human will. There is nothing wrong with pleasurable pursuits, but not when they take the place of God’s work... and each one of us has such work to do.

Verses 1-6

  1. Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

  2. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

  3. And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

  4. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.

  5. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

  6. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Following the powerful events near Gadara, Jesus gathered His apostles together; the time had now come for them to multiply the work and preaching of Jesus by twelve-fold, before Satan’s evils encircled Him for the final assault. Jesus gave each one power and authority over all devils, and to heal all manner of diseases. They were also to preach the Gospel. Suddenly, these twelve men, who had been taught by the Lord in person, and who had seen and heard everything He said and did, were to act on His behalf!

No doubt they had great doubt in their abilities, but it did not matter, for their abilities were not the criteria! The success of their task was not in their own selves but in what God had given them. Their gifts came from God. Their new power came from God. Their authority came from God. Therefore, they were just the middle-men, with nothing to offer of themselves. It is how ALL of us today should think of ourselves. A preacher might have a ‘silver tongue’, but it has no effect if the Spirit has not sent him to speak only what God wants him to speak!

Note that Jesus gave the twelve these immense powers and authority. They were not like modern charismatics who ‘demand’ them! They were able to do whatever Jesus did. Cessationists claim all this has stopped. However, I do not see evidence of this in scripture! Rather, I see what is obvious – that each individual AFTER the apostles received specific gifts and roles according to the requirements of the Holy Spirit. That is, no-one since the apostles has been given total spiritual power in the same manner, and this is what we find in the New Testament. And, sadly today, though many claim gifts, few actually have them, but delude themselves.

Jesus also gave them the ability to preach the Gospel, and each apostle was able to speak as powerfully as Jesus. They could also heal everyone who sought healing. No person since has been given such all-embracing power.

It seems they were sent out on a substantial journey, leaving Jesus to carry on Himself, followed by other disciples and the crowds. Jesus told them to just go – and not to provide anything for their journey: walking sticks, a leather sack to carry things in, food, money; not even two coats. In other words, they were to start immediately, as they were.

Remember – this was the Lord God Who sent them this way! He would make sure they were kept safe and fed, etc. If they were invited into a home, they were to stay the night and go from there next day, no doubt after being fed well.

Verse 5 is important to us today: if they preached and a person or group did not receive them, they were to perform the symbolic act of shaking the dust from their sandals. This was a token of shame against the city or place. Elsewhere, Jesus also told them never to return to that place. This directly contradicts modern evangelistic activities, where Christians try time and again to ‘persuade’ (Arminianism!) those who reject the Gospel. We have no warrant to do so, but we DO have a command to leave them in their ignorance.

The apostles left promptly, and preached and healed everywhere they went.

Verses 7-9

  1. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;

  2. And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.

  3. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

A while ago, a person kindly asked why I “did not just shut up?” Another advised me to be “less controversial”. Both said what they said because my comments were attracting not just criticism but attacks on my person. But, it does not matter how or what you say as a true believer – Satan hates us and will raise up many wicked people to attack us... but even when we are silent they will attack! The more we witness the greater will be the attacks. Herod began to hear of this powerful man named Jesus... the coming attack upon Him was therefore inevitable.

Herod was puzzled. This was because some insisted that Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life. Others thought He must be Elijah, according to prophecy. Others thought he must be one of the old prophets come back from the dead. Herod decided it could not be John, for he had himself ordered his beheading. So, who was this man who was causing such a national stir? As with all powerful kings, he wanted to see Jesus for himself.

Verses 10-17

  1. And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

  2. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

  3. And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

  4. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.

  5. For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.

  6. And they did so, and made them all sit down.

  7. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.

  8. And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

The apostles eventually returned from their journey and reported everything to Jesus. We can only imagine their excitement. We, too, can know the same excitement, when we live according to the demands of Christ and minister as He demands. Jesus took the apostles to a desert place near Bethsaida (‘house of fish’). There were two villages of the same name, but this is the fishing village where Andrew, Peter, Philip and John lived, on the west shore of the Galilee lake.

Jesus had tried to keep this gathering private, but as soon as the crowds discovered where He was, they followed. So, Jesus preached the Gospel and healed all who needed it. As dusk came, the apostles approached Jesus and asked Him to send the crowds away to find a place to stay and eat. But, as with other situations, Jesus had much to teach through a variety of incidents. On this day, He said: “Give ye them to eat”.

The apostles were puzzled (why?) and said they only had five loaves and two fishes, so would need to go and buy more food. Jesus’ reply further puzzled them – He told them to divide the crowd into groups of fifty. There were about 5,000 men, so the total number, including women and children, would have been much higher, perhaps about 10,000 - 15,000. The apostles walked amongst the crowd and got them all to sit down patiently.

Jesus then took the bread and fishes and blessed them. He broke each fish and loaf into pieces, giving them to the apostles to distribute amongst the crowd. The more they gave out, the more the baskets were filled! Every person had an abundance to eat! Furthermore, there were twelve baskets of food left over! This was a profound miracle, different from all the others. We should expect God to move in astounding ways, and should not restrict His actions to a few we already know.

Verses 18-20

  1. And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

  2. They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

  3. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

As was His usual way, Jesus prayed on His own. Soon after the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 men, His apostles were nearby as He prayed, and he asked them a question: “Whom say the people that I am?” Of course, He already knew the answers, but wanted the apostles to discuss it. They repeated the same rumours Herod had heard about... some say He was John the Baptist, some Elijah, and some one of the old prophets. Jesus then made the question personal, and asked the apostles who THEY thought He was. Typically, Peter answered first: “The Christ of God”. At last, they knew exactly Who Jesus was! He was the Messiah, God Himself!

Many today do not give the right answer. If we truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, God Himself, then we should obey His commands, as He demands. What a difference this would make to our everyday lives and to the nations we live in.

Verses 21-27

  1. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

  2. Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

  3. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

  4. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

  5. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

  6. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

  7. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

Jesus told His apostles not to tell the people Who He was, though it was true. He gave the reason: He still had something to do: to suffer, be rejected by the Sanhedrin and put to death, and to rise again on the third day. It is probable that with His popularity at that time the whole of Israel would have revolted against Rome and come behind Him as their Messiah... but their idea of His role was different from that of God. He did not come to free Israel physically.

The Lord added a command; that any man who wanted to follow Him must “take up his cross daily.” I have heard and read many ridiculous ways people interpret this! Jesus meant that a true follower would reject his own self in favour of Christ and what He commands, and would suffer as a result. How many who call themselves Christians actually reject their own interests? The cross is reference to suffering because of one’s belief in Christ.

(Historical note: The ‘T’ shaped cross was adopted by Rome – who else – but it was not the shape used for Christ, Who was fixed to a simple stake. The ‘T’ or ‘Tau’ shape was used in ancient Chaldea, a symbol for the false god, Tammuz; the ‘T’ shape was the mystic symbol for his name. The cross of Christ was a simple upright stake, like the pointed ones used to make fences).

Many Christians are cowards, and try to hide away from those who persecute them. By doing this they have ‘lost’ their closeness with Christ, showing that their faith is easily put aside. But, those who willingly declare their faith will gain God’s blessing. The gain and the loss may only apply to earthly life, for those who are truly saved but lack courage when assaulted for their faith.

Jesus asked what a mere claimant (as opposed to a true professor) gains by hiding faith and obtaining public or authority commendation, thereby losing his supposed faith to be cast into hell? Many who claim to be believers today are of this kind, easily pretending to love Christ while denying His commands.

Those who do so will be similarly rejected by the Christ they deny, when He comes again. To be ‘ashamed’ is to recoil from doing what is right and speaking out for the Lord, in order to seem rational and reasonable, but denying God in the process and not suffering.

The Lord then told the apostles (and probably a few disciples) that some standing by Him at that very time would not die until the “kingdom of God”. This kingdom refers to the spiritual rule of the Messiah, so could apply to the death and resurrection, or to the second coming. However, for us this statement remains a mystery.

Verses 28-31

  1. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

  2. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

  3. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

  4. Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

Eight days later, Jesus went up a mountain to pray, taking Peter, John and James with Him. We may readily assume that the men stayed back while Jesus prayed alone, as was His custom. The apostles fell asleep and did not initially see Jesus’ face change. His “countenance altered” and glowed and His clothing shone pure white. Two men stood by Jesus, talking to Him – Moses and Elijah. At that precise moment earth and Heaven met, as the divine and the human joined. The two men’s appearance was glorious, because they were speaking as those glorified by God, and they spoke to Jesus of His coming death in Jerusalem. The time was now close.

Verses 32&33

  1. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

  2. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.

As Jesus was talking with Moses and Elijah, the three apostles were asleep. For some reason they awoke while the two men were still with Jesus and saw how Jesus’ person had changed, glowing with a bright light. They also saw the two men standing with Jesus, but could not hear what they were talking about. The apostles must have watched in awe, because when Moses and Elijah had gone, they eagerly wanted to build three tabernacles, one for each of the persons and one for Jesus, because they recognised it was “good for us to be here”. To build ‘tabernacles’ was a typical Hebrew response to experiencing a momentous occasion. In this text Peter wanted to build a small room of green sticks or other materials, as a remembrance of what they had just seen.

This kind of response still occurs today. It is why local people are driven to build churches where God has acted upon a population. It is why Christians hold memorial services, and services to God for many reasons. It is why Christians feel that certain days are special to them. There is nothing wrong with that, IF it is a spontaneous action, but it can take on a more humanly-dutiful significance if carried on for long, making it a mere human observance rather than a glory to God. This is because the human activity overtakes the glory of God. And, God is about ‘today’ and not yesterday. Too many live according to past Christian lives and not their own.

Verses 34-36

  1. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.

  2. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

  3. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

As if to emphasise this, God brought a cloud upon the apostles and Jesus. It was obviously not a normal cloud that can naturally cover a mountain, and this is why the apostles were afraid. Then, just as Moses heard the voice of God in a cloud, so the apostles heard God speaking to them clearly: “This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

In this way God firmly warned the apostles that external observances were not the point. They must listen to Jesus, because He is God’s beloved Son, and not detract from His glory with human-made services and contrivances. These three apostles heard for themselves the voice of God the Father, telling them Who Jesus was. There could be no mistake!

The apostles now heard from Heaven that Jesus was God! And yet, they still experienced fear and confusion. Many today might scoff at them, but we are just as weak as they were. It seems unbelievable that they could be so weak when Jesus Himself was with them, and they could see and hear for themselves what He said and did. But, that is what sinful humans are like! It is why we can be filled with both gratitude and comfort, that if the apostles could be like this, and Jesus still used and accepted them, that the same can be for us today, in God’s mercy. So, if you fail, time and again, remember the apostles, repent, and carry on, with even more love and devotion.

After the Father had spoken, the cloud lifted and Jesus was seen to be alone. The apostles were filled with both fear and amazement, but did not speak to anyone about what they had just experienced. Did they tell the other apostles? We do not know, for we are not told.

Verses 37-40

  1. And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.

  2. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.

  3. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.

  4. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.

Possibly, after God spoke to them, the apostles were further taught by Jesus, for the time was by now very short. Later, they walked down the hill and a huge crowd again met Jesus. A man called out to Jesus to gain His attention. Calling Jesus ‘Master’, he pleaded with Him to look at his only child, a son. The man told Jesus that every so often, because he had an evil spirit, the boy would cry out and thrash about like an epileptic, foaming at the mouth. He would be thrown to the ground by the demon and hurt himself, and so had many bruises. The man said he had asked the disciples to cast out the demon, but they could not.

This is another example of a text that applied to a particular moment in time. It is not an example to follow, but an historical report. It is not, then, a pattern for everyone. It does NOT mean every case of epilepsy is demonic. But, in this case, epileptiform fits were caused by an inhabiting demon, whose malevolence was made obvious by throwing the boy about.

The disciples could not deal with it, but we do not know exactly why (though Jesus pinpoints the reason later). It could be that they needed to fast, or that they doubted their gift from God, or they thought the epilepsy was a physical illness and so did not recognise the demonic activity. But, we may not speculate as to their inability on this occasion, for, once more, we do not have information to go by. On the other hand, some epilepsies may indeed be demonic today. Only the Spirit talking to our own spirit can advise us if this is so.

Verses 41-45

  1. And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.

  2. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

  3. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

  4. Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

  5. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

Jesus’ response seems very strange. But, Jesus cannot make an unguarded response. So, what does his statement mean – “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.”? It appears that Jesus was referring to the unsuccessful disciples and not to the father. Jesus had only recently sent the disciples out with full spiritual powers and authority, yet they failed to cast out a demon, whose own power, even if backed by Satan’s power, was no match for the power of Christ! Therefore, Jesus rebuked them, reminding them that He would not be with them long, so they needed to put things right. After the rebuke, Jesus called on the father to bring his son to Him.

It is the same for us today. We fear and hide from great evils, even though Christ is greater than any evil power against us. We anxiously seek God’s power, when He has already dispensed it amongst us. He is with us always, so why do we fear?

It seems the demon in the boy knew what was coming, and so threw the boy to the ground one last time, in defiance of the Lord, ‘taring’ the lad violently (caused him to convulse). Jesus rebuked the demon, casting him out, and the boy was healed immediately, able to return to his father. Those standing about were amazed at the miracle (why? Jesus had been doing the same things for the past two years or so!). The people knew the power was God’s, and as they talked about it, Jesus turned to the disciples.

He told them something they simply did not understand: “Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.” The disciples understood what that meant – enemies would capture Jesus and take him prisoner. Yet, they did not understand why, or by whom. Like so many modern men, they felt too foolish to ask Jesus to explain what He meant, so pretended to understand, as if they were timid schoolchildren before an human teacher! Do you pretend to understand spiritual things? Then I suggest you stop the pretence and ask! Learn and do not stay in ignorance. This is what teachers are called for, by God. This is what scripture is for.

Verses 46-48

  1. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

  2. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

  3. And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

I believe we see two main ‘styles’ in Luke’s record. One that is detailed, and the other, a chain of shorter narratives, not necessarily joined in immediate time. These next sections appear to be the latter, with several different statements, not showing any link between them. All this means is that Luke gave summaries and did not give the words and discussions in between.

The apostles argued amongst themselves about who was the greatest in terms of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus must have sighed to Himself, and knew what was in their hearts. He took hold of a small child, saying that if anyone accepted the child in Jesus’ name, also received Him, and whoever accepted Jesus also accepted the One Who sent Him – the Father.

In other words, the child was merely a representative of One far greater, with no inherent greatness of his own. Thus, the person who was the least in the eyes of others, was the greatest. Jesus is a leveller of persons, for the greatness resides not in a fellow man, but only in God. It is a pity that modern preachers and teachers do not understand this truth! Instead, they prance before the people as if they were something, when Jesus has already said they are as nothing. Even so, they divide the people, and think much of themselves, which makes them lowly in God’s eyes. Those who think much of themselves will be the least in God’s eyes (because of their arrogance), and those who think they are the least will be elevated to greatness by God, Who sees their humility.

Verses 49&50

  1. And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.

  2. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

We then have another misunderstood statement, this time by John. He said they saw a man casting out demons in Jesus’ name, But, the apostles stopped him, because the man was not one of their party. Jesus made a remarkable reply – do not stop the man, for if he is for us he cannot be against us. This is often taken to mean that people with no spiritual relationship to God can be accepted as equal. This is not so. Jesus is just saying that so long as a man is of Christ, he can work as any other disciple. This is a definite warning not to be schismatic with fellow believers; they might not be in our local church, but if they are saved, it makes no difference! The text does not suggest the man was an unbeliever, only that he did not follow as the apostles did. Indeed, this applies to every single one of us born after the death of the apostles!

Verses 51-56

  1. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

  2. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

  3. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

  4. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

  5. But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

  6. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

It was very close to the time for Jesus to make His sacrifice, to die. So, His every thought was to go to Jerusalem. He sent disciples to organise a place to stay in a Samaritan village. But, the village refused to have Jesus or His disciples... He was not to stay for long on this earth, but would need to get to Jerusalem. Also, Samaritans were cultural and religious enemies of the Jews, which probably had something to do with it. James and John were furious, and asked if Jesus wanted them to command fire from Heaven to obliterate the village, just as Elijah had done.

Jesus, however, rebuked them both, saying “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” Does this mean we may not ask God to destroy our enemies? I see in this text that Jesus was rebuking a spirit of vengeance, not a pure spirit of dealing with those who hate us. In this case destruction of a village was more a sign of personal anger, than of imprecatory necessity. Jesus said He had not come to destroy people but to save them. The Samaritan’s were a minor part of the Jewish race, though they rebelled against Jewish law, and Jesus came to save the Jews! Jesus, then, did not wish to be embroiled in vengeance, but decided instead to find accommodation in another village. (The village was probably in Samaria, a colony consisting of mixed-race Jews – hence why stricter Jews did not wish to associate with them).

Verses 57-62

  1. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

  2. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

  3. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

  4. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

  5. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

  6. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

A little later, as Jesus and the disciples continued on their travels, a man approached Jesus saying that he would follow Him wherever He went. There is nothing wrong with saying that kind of thing, but Jesus knew better. He warned that while animals and birds have a place to live, the Son of God had nowhere on earth to stay. The answers Jesus gave to any man were always suited to their spirit or inner thoughts. If the man went away, it proved that though his emotional desire was strong his actual will was weaker.

Even on the human level I have seen this before... initially excited by things I have said or written, some have expressed their utter devotion, but I have always warned them of what will come, and that they should not be devoted to me anyway, but to Christ. Sure enough, they always, to a man, start to falter, and eventually go away! Some even do so with anger or a wicked expletive! Whenever a man or woman thus expresses this kind of ‘I will follow you whatever’, I immediately stop it in its tracks, warning them to follow Christ instead. And even though I know my intentions are honourable and I try to make very sure I do not teach error, I always advise people to check what I say against God’s word. No man may take the glory from God, nor encourage a personal following!

Another, with the same emotional intention, asked Christ if he could go home to bury his father. But, knowing His time was very short, Jesus said the dead must bury the dead – if he was truly serious about his commitment, the man should therefore leave the burial to those who were spiritually dead, so that he could preach the Gospel. This does not mean Christ is oblivious to these human needs. He was making a serious point – that he comes first, not anything in the human realm.

A similar request was made by another man, who wanted to return home to bid his family farewell. Jesus’ reply was stern – if he did so, he would be like a man who started to plough and then stopped. Ploughing must be done at a precise moment in the calendar of farming events, just as reaping corn has to be done on a specific day, or it will be ruined. Jesus was thus saying that once a man takes up God’s work, nothing can stand in the way, whether business, recreation, family or anything else.

Few understand this. Jesus had an urgency about His work, and this is how we should treat any calling we have, for everything in this world will cease; only God’s eternal plan continues. Many a man has started God’s work with enthusiasm, but ‘fizzled out’; many have taken on far too much, because of the expectations of others, only to ‘burn out’. God does not start us on a road to burn us out! He expects us to obey His commands and to live for Him – but He does not push us to kill us off! So, when I see that this or that preacher or pastor has come to grief, I have to ask why, for God does not do it to him – he does it to himself. Sadly, this is very common amongst men paid a stipend (salary) by a local church... they feel obliged to work every hour given to them and to obey the men who pay him.

It is the preacher and pastor who gives the terms, not other men! A man truly called of God will KNOW what he has to do, in the time God decides. He is not a nine-to-five worker who must work unpaid overtime at the will of a ruthless employer! With a man called by God it is usually 90% spiritual heart work, followed by 10% visible ‘work’. Without the inner peace and knowledge, no man can do work for God, but is a mere puppet, slogging away without real purpose, and becoming more superficial all the time. This is why he eventually leaves the pastorate or preaching. In other words, he sins against the God Who called him. And this is what Jesus alluded to.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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