Jesus said, “I speak only what the Father has taught Me.” “The Father who sent Me has Himself commanded Me what to say and how to speak.” “I speak just as the Father has told Me.” “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own. It is the Father who dwells in Me and who carries out His work.” John 8:23; 12:49, 50; 14:10; 16:25.
Those of us who have been called by God to speak His words have no authority to add or subtract from His words. These newsletters, “Change Your Life Biblically” and this ministry only carry the words Jesus has dictated and directed. Jesus could not speak on His own. We are to follow the example of Jesus. We should learn how to live so close to Jesus that He will dwell in us as the Father dwelt in Him.
And yet, as often as we have been told and have read and claim to believe that Jesus is the Way and the Truth to the One and only Life, very few actually believe in Jesus. Very few actually obey His teachings. Most just go to church and believe they are saved by doing that which Jesus and the Bible never sanctioned for our eternal life. But when Jesus commands us to stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life, I have not found one church, denomination, religious organization or pastor who teaches the teachings of Jesus.
How exhausting it must have been for Jesus. His heart was aching for the people He called out of Egypt. They were the people who made the covenant in the wilderness to be His people. They committed themselves to living in obedience to His Ten Commandments. And here they were, His Sabbath-keeping, tithe-paying, church-going people looking for the Messiah, doing everything in their power to destroy Him in disobedience to the Ten Commandments. How challenging to His heart.
The same is true today. Those who claim to love Jesus, to believe in Jesus and to die for Him, refuse to live in obedience to Jesus. Soon He will leave them, as He did the crowds back then.
Mark 4:35 to Mark 6:29
That day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross to the other side.” So they left the crowd and took him away in a boat without making any special preparations. Other boats were with him.
The crowds are gathered in churches, but few are leaving “with Him”. Most are staying with the church. How sad. Those going with Jesus do not have to make any “special preparations”. We don’t have to hoard food for the “end times”. We don’t have to do anything but live as Jesus commands. He has promised to take care of us no matter what the storm that is coming. So few are developing their faith. The challenge is too great for most. It is much easier to just sit in church “believing”.
A violent windstorm came up, and the waves began breaking into the boat, so that the boat was rapidly becoming swamped.
There will be times as we walk with Jesus, away from the crowd, the church, the denominations and our past beliefs, that storms will come up. They may break into our lives and appear as if to swamp us, but never fear, as long as you are living in obedience to the words of Jesus, you are safe.
But Jesus was in the back of the boat, asleep on a cushion. So they woke him up and asked him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
It may appear you are going to die, but if you are working for Jesus, you won’t. He needs you. You may think Jesus is asleep and does not care about your swamped boat, however, He has it all under control. Many times in this ministry I have cried out to Jesus thinking we were about to be swamped. I felt that Jesus was in the back sleeping while I was working hard at the oars. Sometimes it does get frustrating. But as I look back over the years, I see I was not alone, nor left to work so hard at the oars. All I had to do was go to Jesus and give Him my troubles. Oar work can be very humbling. It is oar work that develops our faith in Jesus.
Then he got up, rebuked the wind, and told the sea, “Calm down! Be still!” Then the wind stopped blowing, and there was a great calm.
And as long as I am working for Jesus, living in obedience to His commands, everything becomes calm. I look around and wonder how it could have appeared so hopeless, and yet, in a matter of minutes, be so calm and peaceful. My faith in God has grown immensely over the years. Growing in faith is necessary if we ever plan on making it, through the seven months after the close of probation, to the coming of Christ. Those sitting in church are not preparing their characters for the coming storm. They are not getting experience at the oars that is needed to develop their characters or their faith.
“A daily, earnest striving to know God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, would bring power and efficiency to the soul. The knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures would be flashed into the memory at the right time. But if any had neglected to acquaint themselves with the words of Christ, if they had never tested the power of His grace in trial, they could not expect that the Holy Spirit would bring His words to their remembrance. They were to serve God daily with undivided affection, and then trust Him.” DA 355. The sad fact is, there is not one word there about going to church to “serve God”.
He asked them, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?” Overcome with fear, they kept saying to one another, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
I wonder if Jesus looks at those sitting in church and asks the same question, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?” No, I don’t think so. Sitting in church does not produce faith. Cowards? I think Jesus was right. They refuse to go to work for Jesus because of the loss it may entail.
Those who call themselves “Christian” today have a very warped understanding of Christianity. The devil just loves it when we think of Christianity as an ooey-gooey, mushy, don’t offend, “God loves you” thing. Jesus was big on offending. Truth will do that. Truth is cutting. Jesus doesn’t care what your opinions or beliefs are, He cares about your eternal life. “Are you such cowards?” “Don’t you have any faith yet?” My, my, how offensive! Waking up yet? Christianity is not for cowards. It isn’t for church-going sissies. The devil has truly neutered Christianity. We need to stand up, get some manliness in our Christianity and face the storms as Jesus did, overcoming through His power. Challenges are what develop character and faith in our lives.
They arrived at the other side of the sea in the territory of the Gerasenes. Just as Jesus stepped out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him.
Of course, that is why Jesus landed there. He stepped out of the boat to meet the challenge of the man with the unclean spirit. He didn’t avoid it. He didn’t run from it. He stepped out to meet the storm of the unclean spirit no different than He stood up in the boat to meet the challenge of the storm on the lake. He can do the same in your life. Stand up and go to work for Jesus; do not go to church.
He lived among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, not even with a chain. He had often been restrained with shackles and chains but had snapped the chains apart and broken the shackles in pieces. No one could tame him.
Do you have untamed spirits in you? Are you feeling out of control? Are you breaking the restraints of family, friends and society? Do you want Jesus to tame your life? How little faith we have in God. We go to church and claim to have faith, yet, with all our bad feelings we go to doctors, counselors and psychologists but we don’t have faith to go to Jesus. He can cure you if you would get out of your church and go to Him. Have faith and live in obedience.
Night and day he kept screaming among the tombs and on the mountainsides and kept cutting himself with stones.
Many today are cutting themselves in a variety of ways. Inside they are screaming for help. Do we pass them by? Do we avoid them? Are you just a “church-going-Christian” or are you one who is stepping out to challenge the demons in the power of Jesus?
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell down in front of him, screaming in a loud voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you in the name of God never to torment me!”
Only the power of God is keeping the world “sane” today. But soon the power of God will be withdrawn. Why? The world doesn’t think it needs God in their lives. Every imaginable wickedness is being legalized: drugs, sinful sex, hate, coveting, stealing and the breaking of God’s Sabbath. On the other hand, laws are being enacted to keep the righteous from warning the wicked of their sins. When the Spirit of God is withdrawn, woe be to those who will be living in sin. The demons will be allowed up from the depths of the abyss and they will fill everyone who does not live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. Every day I pray for God to hold back the winds of strife. I plead with Him to fill the earth with His Spirit and the angels in order to give us time to get this information out. Will you join me in that prayer?
Interesting, the demons did not want to be driven out of the man. They got their joy in destroying the man’s life. Without lives to destroy they consider themselves to be “tormented”. I see a lot of that today. There are those who find pleasure only in annoying, hurting, tormenting and destroying others.
Jesus had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What’s your name?” He told him, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us.”
It is a popular misconception that only those who act like “demoniacs” have demons in them. Therefore, we watch the news and see the mass killers, the serial sex offenders, the child abusers and all the others and think they are the ones with demons. What few people realize is, there are more demons in people going to church than in prison. They are just different demons. They are the “fooling” demons. They are the “masquerading” demons. They are the “put-on-a-show” demons. They are the “wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing” demons. Of course we don’t mind them. We love sitting next to them. They make us feel so “Christian”.
He kept pleading with Jesus not to send them out of that region.
Demons are no different than you or me. They had a nice home in those men. They didn’t want to leave home or go very far from home. They were settled. Would you want to be kicked out from your home? Are the demons finding a wonderful home in your life? Who are you fooling? Are you masquerading?
Now a large herd of pigs was grazing on a hillside nearby. So the demons begged him, “Send us among the pigs, so that we can go into them!”
An interesting aspect about demons, no matter what the “facade”, they love to destroy. Some more aggressively than others, but the end result is destruction. Sitting in church is just as destructive as shooting people sitting in church. The demons wanted to find something else they could destroy. A herd of pigs didn’t look too bad. Especially if people who claimed to obey God were the owners. The demons were sure they could cause so much economic pain, the citizens of that place would want Jesus to leave. “We win!” Of course, they wanted the “good” citizens to kill Jesus.
So he let them do this. The unclean spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs, and the herd of about 2,000 rushed down the cliff into the sea and drowned there.
Since the eating of pig is forbidden in the Bible - okay, you can go into them. Keep in mind, Jesus didn’t command the demons to drive the pigs over the cliff and into the sea. Many people confuse “allowing” with “commanding”. God allows the devil to do many things. The devil could use that time constructively to help and bring blessings. But he doesn’t. It is the devil’s choice. It was the same with Job. God allowed Lucifer to interfere with Job’s life. But Lucifer could have brought blessings to Job. He didn’t. Same with us. God allows us to do many things in our lives. Some choose to use the allotted time to do good, while others choose the allotted time to do evil. But God doesn’t command us to do either of them. He gives us choices. Then, He tells us that He will judge us by our words and actions: choices. Therefore, I suggest you use this allotted time God is giving you, not to sit in church, but to put the time into action for good. Clean up your character.
Now when those who had been taking care of the pigs ran away, they reported what had happened in the city and countryside. So the people went to see what had happened.
The devil is all about the show. Especially if it is something “bad”. The devil was hoping to discourage the people from listening to Jesus. He riled up their prejudices and it worked. The devil tries to do the same with this ministry. He uses anything “bad” about this ministry to rile up people’s prejudices against it. I praise God for His love and protection.
When they came to Jesus and saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there dressed and in his right mind, they were frightened.
How sad that something so wonderful was considered so frightening. Are we allowing the same response in our lives? The man was sitting there dressed and in his right mind. Many are sitting in church who are not in their right minds. Yet, we accept them because they sit in church. Church is destroying people.
A few months back I was having a conversation with a young man on the internet. He had just been released from prison. He was 24 years old. He had gotten involved with many terrible things in his life. After 5 years in prison he was now firmly established in the Messianic and Charismatic belief. I knew from past experiences that those involved in today’s “speaking in tongues” are under the control of demons. Yet, I listened and watched closely his behavior. He was all show. Talked about how he loved Jesus and studied Hebrew and Josephus and wanted to serve God. I explored his sincerity by inviting him to serve the Lord here in the ministry. I offered him a life here. He was all excited. He was ready to give up the world and everything in it to live and work here. Unfortunately, he was not willing to give up porn, fornication and Messianic customs and ordinances.
And so it goes with those who put on a show, act real religious and are involved in “church” organizations. As Jesus said, it is all a whitewashing to cover the dead bones on the inside. Let’s put on a show while we continue to live in rebellion against Jesus and His Ten Commandments.
“During the captivity, many of the people had received heathen ideas and customs, and these werebrought into their religious service. In many things they conformed to the practices of idolaters.
“As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy.” DA 29
“The priests and elders of Israel spent their lives in religious ceremonies, which they regarded as too sacred to be connected with secular business. Therefore their lives were supposed to be wholly religious. But they performed their ceremonies to be seen by men that they might be thought by the world to be pious and devoted. While professing to obey they refused to render obedience to God. They were not doers of the truth which they professed to teach.” COL 278.
Our churches are doing the exact same things today. The truth of Jesus is not being taught or lived. Ceremonies, services, ordinances, rites and traditions are put in place of obedience to Jesus.
“The Jews had always prided themselves upon their divinely appointed services, and many of those who had been converted to the faith of Christ still felt that since God had once clearly outlined the Hebrew manner of worship, it was improbable that He would ever authorize a change in any of its specifications. They insisted that the Jewish laws and ceremonies should be incorporated into the rites of the Christian religion. They were slow to discern that all the sacrificial offerings had but prefigured the death of the Son of God, in which type met antitype, and after which the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation were no longer binding.” AA 189.
The people who had seen it told them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. So they began to beg Jesus to leave their territory.
Without Jesus in the heart, our lives are fearful. We may think we have control over our lives and destinies, but that is a mirage. Demonic influences can easily disrupt your best laid plans. The world is becoming more and more fearful as people realize how little control they have over themselves. That is one reason why so many are reaching out for a “government” to be the controlling power. Most are unable to control themselves, let alone their futures. Alcohol, religion, drugs, sex, power, money, position, church and a million other things are possessing lives. Our only Savior is Jesus Christ. When we surrender our lives to Him, He will be the controlling power for our day-to-day living and future success. Trust Him and live in obedience to Him and all will be well. Unfortunately, the world and the churches are kicking Jesus out of their lives.
“The customs and traditions so highly valued by the rabbis were of this world, not from heaven. However great their authority with the people, they could not endure the testing of God. Every human invention that has been substituted for the commandments of God will be found worthless in that day when ‘God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ Ecclesiastes 12:14.
“The substitution of the precepts of men for the commandments of God has not ceased. Even among Christians are found institutions and usages that have no better foundation than the traditions of the fathers (Catholic and Protestant ‘churches’). Such institutions, resting upon mere human authority, have supplanted those of divine appointment. Men cling to their traditions, and revere their customs, and cherish hatred against those who seek to show them their error. In this day, when we are bidden to call attention to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, we see the same enmity as was manifested in the days of Christ. Of the remnant people of God it is written, ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 12:17.” DA 398. “Church” is a human invention. It was never sanctioned by God.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed kept begging him to let him go with him.
However, those of us who are possessed by Jesus don’t want the world or its demons to possess us. We have had enough of this world. We want to go with Jesus. As Paul said, I “would prefer to be away from this body and to live with the Lord”. 2 Corinthians 5:8. However, Jesus has a work for us to do for Him while we are living in this world.
But Jesus wouldn’t let him. Instead, he told him, “Go home to your family, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been to you.”
Are you sitting in church or telling those around you “how much the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been to you”? If you are still possessed by the demons of this world, let Jesus cast them out. Go to Him and find out how much the “Lord has done for you”.
So the man left and began proclaiming in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And everyone was utterly amazed.
Are the people around you amazed at “how much Jesus had done” for you? Why not? Are you living so close to Jesus that you have more to say other than, “come to church”? You will not find Jesus in church. Go share how much Jesus has done for you. It is in sharing that we walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
When Jesus again had crossed to the other side in a boat, a large crowd gathered around him by the seashore.
Today, large crowds do “gather around” the name of Jesus. They shout it, sing it, praise it and write about it, but few know Jesus. It is all a show. It is all about “what I get” from Jesus. The crowds want Jesus to be their Savior, but not their Lord. How sad.
Then a synagogue leader named Jairus arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him urgently, saying, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may get well and live.”
While the crowd did not recognize Jesus for who He was, but only saw a good show, Jairus recognized Him for who He was. While the crowd was dancing around Jesus praising His name and wanting to be part of this exciting new thing, Jairus fell at His feet in recognition and begged Him. Which one are you? The dancing around, or the one bowing in recognition?
So Jesus went with him. A huge crowd kept following him and jostling him.
Religions, churches, denominations are all “jostling Him”. They are not able to see Him for who He is. They do not want Him controlling their lives, they only want what they can get out of His Name.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years. Although she had endured a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all of her money, she had not been helped at all but rather grew worse.
I know many who are suffering, but instead of going to Jesus, they are going to doctors and spending money for nothing. We have the same example in king Asa. “Asa suffered from a foot disease. Even though he suffered greatly, he never sought the LORD, but instead looked to doctors.” 2 Chronicles 16:12. Isn’t it time to go to Jesus. Get out of your church and go touch His robe.
Since she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his robe, because she had been saying, “If I can just touch his robe, I will get well.”
She had faith. She put her faith into action. She didn’t sit in church wishing. She didn’t talk to her minister, priest or pastor. She went to Jesus in faith.
Her bleeding stopped at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed from her illness.
You can find the same healing in your life. If you go to Jesus in faith, believing He can heal you, you will find the bleeding of your physical and spiritual life stopped. Your sins will be removed, your life healed. Go now, don’t wait.
Immediately Jesus became aware that power had gone out of him. So he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples asked him, “You see the crowd jostling you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “But he kept looking around to see the woman who had done this.
When we go to Jesus for healing, He does expect you to give Him the glory. The healing Jesus offers is not “magic”. It is not “superstition”. It is not an “accident”. Jesus offers us full and complete healing. In return, He wants us to share with others that it was Jesus who healed us and not a doctor, a medical institution or some health diet. Jesus and Jesus only.
So the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came forward fearfully, fell down trembling in front of him, and told him the whole truth.
Are you telling the whole truth? Are you giving Jesus the glory? Or are you allocating some of His glory to your church, medical institution, doctor or diet?
He told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed from your illness.”
The only thing that healed her was her faith. If you go to Jesus in faith, you also will be able to “go in peace and be healed from your illness”.
While he was still speaking, some people came from the synagogue leader’s home and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher anymore?”
The world is working hard to get us discouraged. They don’t want you going to Jesus. They would feel better if you went to church, to your pastor, listened to your denomination or consulted a certified professional. But to go to Jesus, no!
But when Jesus heard what they said, he told the synagogue leader, “Stop being afraid! Just keep on believing.”
“Keep on believing”. What a marvelous concept. From the time the woman began to believe, who knows how long it took before she reached Jesus. It could have been days. Maybe even weeks. Possibly months. But she kept on believing until she found Jesus. The synagogue leader also believed and found Jesus. However, there were those trying to get him to lose his faith. Don’t give up my dear friends, “just keep on believing” and go with Jesus. In time, all will be well.
Jesus allowed no one to go further with him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
I have often wondered why Jesus did not allow the other disciples to follow. Why only Peter, James and John? Was there prejudice involved? Did Jesus not like the other disciples as much? I was bothered by this. Then one day while in worship, the Spirit of God revealed the answer. Jesus was on his way to a home where a little girl had just died. The parents would be in mourning. If the crowed of gawkers had followed Jesus to the home, that would have been very disrespectful on the part of Jesus. Therefore, Jesus left the other disciples to act as crowd control. They were to barricade the crowd away from following Jesus in order to give Jesus an opportunity to apply His love and quiet healing powers to the family.
When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw mass confusion. People were crying and sobbing loudly.
Without the hope of eternal life, there is “mass confusion” with people “crying and sobbing loudly”. Our only hope is in Jesus. If we are living as He lived, we also will rise from our dead sinful lives into a new life.
He entered the house and asked them, “Why all this confusion and crying? The child isn’t dead. She’s sleeping.”
That is a truth very few want to hear. The world is so full of demonic spiritism they either believe you are in heaven or in hell when you die. But Jesus gave the truth, “she’s sleeping”. That’s it, death is just a sleep. For the wicked it will be an eternal sleep. For the righteous it will be a little sleep, then, when Jesus comes He will wake us up and take us home to live with Him forever.
They laughed and laughed at him. But when he had driven all of them outside, he took the child’s father and mother, along with the men who were with him, and went into the room where the child was.
When we share the good news with the world, most laugh at us. They do not want to believe the truth. To believe the truth would mean they would have to change their lives. But in the end Jesus will “drive all of them outside” into a fiery final destruction. They didn’t believe.
He took her by the hand and told her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young lady, I tell you, get up!” The young lady got up at once and started to walk. She was twelve years old. Instantly they were overcome with astonishment.
There will come a day when Jesus will call the righteous to eternal life. He will come and say, “I tell you, get up”. We will get up at once and start walking to Jesus. The rest of the world will be “overcome with astonishment”. They will have lost out because of their lack of faith and obedience to Jesus.
But Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about this. He also told them to give her something to eat.
In this case, they did not have to let anyone know. The whole synagogue already knew. Anything else would just be boasting. And yes, Jesus did care about the little girl’s needs. He told them to “give her something to eat”. When Jesus wakes us up from our little “sleep” at the end of time, He also will have prepared “something to eat” for us. I understand it will be a wonderful banquet. I want to be there, don’t you? To be there, all we have to do is live the perfect, sinless and commandment keep life.
Another interesting observation, there is no record of the little girl having seen a “light” or going to heaven, etc. She was asleep in death. She was not alive in another state of being. Jesus didn’t tell the parents to rejoice since their daughter was in heaven. He woke her up from death and gave her back to her parents.
Jesus left that place and went back to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were utterly amazed. “Where did this man get all these things?” they asked. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What great miracles are being done by his hands!
When you accept Jesus into your life, you also will follow Him. You also will begin to teach to all around you. And yes, many will be utterly amazed at the wisdom you will receive from Jesus. Sitting in church amazes no one. What are you doing for Jesus?
This is the builder, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon, isn’t it? His sisters are here with us, aren’t they?” And they were offended by him.
Oh yes, if you work for Jesus, many will bring up your earthly past with all its offensive sins. Yes, we have all sinned. But we no longer have to remain there. We can amaze people by living as Jesus commands: perfect. A perfect life will offend those around you, but that is their problem. You just follow the example of Jesus.
He was called, “the son of Mary” because by this time Joseph had died. The brothers and sisters of Jesus were those of Joseph’s previous marriage. They were His older siblings. That is why they took offense at this “young up-start” and tried to take control of Him.
Jesus was telling them, “A prophet is without honor only in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own home.” He couldn’t perform a miracle there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went around to the villages and continued teaching.
How true that is. Not one of my family supports this ministry. They think I’m crazy. They think this is a cult. Like Jesus, there does not seem to be anything I can do to bring healing to their sin-sick souls. I am amazed at their unbelief. Therefore, I send material to inmates in prisons all over the country teaching them to live as Jesus commands.
He called the Twelve and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick—no bread, no traveling bag, nothing in their moneybag. They could wear sandals but not take along an extra shirt.
Interesting, Jesus did not send them out to build churches, set up churches or to get memberships. He sent them out two by two, not to begin a church or denomination, but to teach people how to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.
“It was beneath the sheltering trees of the mountainside, but a little distance from the Sea of Galilee, that the twelve were called to the apostolate, and the Sermon on the Mount was given. The fields and hills were the favorite resorts of Jesus, and much of His teaching was given under the open sky, rather than in the temple orthe synagogues. No synagogue could have received the throngs that followed Him; but not for this reason only did He choose to teach in the fields and groves. Jesus loved the scenes of nature. To Him each quiet retreat was a sacred temple.” DA 290.
He told them repeatedly, “Whenever you go into a home, stay there until you leave that place.
Our churches today are not listening at all to the Bible. They are listening to and adhering to the Catholic Church and its system of religion. All churches today are “antichrist”. They are all standing in the place of Jesus. In actuality, they are all fighting against Christ by refusing to live in obedience to Him. We go to church, but who is going to Jesus? Who is actually listening to and obeying the teachings of Jesus?
“It was under the trees of Eden that the first dwellers on earth had chosen their sanctuary. There Christ had communed with the father of mankind. When banished from Paradise, our first parents still worshiped in the fields and groves, and there Christ met them with the gospel of His grace. It was Christ who spoke with Abraham under the oaks at Mamre; with Isaac as he went out to pray in the fields at the eventide; with Jacob on the hillside at Bethel; with Moses among the mountains of Midian; and with the boy David as he watched his flocks. It was at Christ’s direction that for fifteen centuries the Hebrew people had left their homes for one week every year, and had dwelt in booths formed from the green branches ‘of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook.’ Leviticus 23:40.
“In training His disciples, Jesus chose to withdraw from the confusion of the city to the quiet of the fields and hills, as more in harmony with the lessons of self-abnegation He desired to teach them. And during His ministry He loved to gather the people about Him under the blue heavens, on some grassy hillside, or on the beach beside the lake. Here, surrounded by the works of His own creation, He could turn the thoughts of His hearers from the artificial to the natural. In the growth and development of nature were revealed the principles of His kingdom. As men should lift up their eyes to the hills of God, and behold the wonderful works of His hands, they could learn precious lessons of divine truth. Christ’s teaching would be repeated to them in the things of nature. So it is with all who go into the fields with Christ in their hearts. They will feel themselves surrounded with a holy influence. The things of nature take up the parables of our Lord, and repeat His counsels. By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.” DA 290-291. Not one mention of going to “church”.
If any place will not welcome you and the people refuse to listen to you, when you leave, shake its dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
From many a church I have had to “shake its dust off” my feet. They refuse to listen to the teachings of Jesus. If you begin teaching and living in obedience to Jesus, you too will not be welcomed in your church. You will have to leave. Open your home and begin true Bible studies. Forget church, forget denomination, forget those fancy ministries out there with their fancy brochures and expensive staff. Leave them and go to humble Jesus and learn from Him.
So they went and preached that people should repent.
When was the last time you heard your preacher tell you to repent from your sins and live in obedience to the teachings of Jesus? When was the last time you heard your pastor, church or denomination tell you to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life? When was the last time your church pointed out your sins to help you overcome? “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:21. Are you overcoming sin in your life as Jesus overcame?
They also kept driving out many demons and anointing with oil many who were sick, and healing them.
My sick sister went to the church for healing. They were not interested in her salvation, only her money. The show was important, so they put oil on her head and said a prayer over her. But she wasn’t taught how to repent, turn away from her sins and live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. She was only taught to “go to church” each Sabbath. Therefore, she is not healed.
King Herod heard about this, because Jesus’ name had become well-known. He was saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead! That’s why he is able to do these miracles.”
I am sure King Herod was not too pleased with the work of Jesus. He knew John the Baptist was a righteous man. He knew he would be held accountable for his death. Was this John the Baptist coming back to take revenge?
Others were saying, “He is Elijah.” Still others were saying, “He is a prophet like one of the other prophets.”
People love to put a “title” on things. It is much easier to put something you don’t understand into a box and close the lid on it if it has a “title”. What they were not willing to do was repent and change their lives. If he was “Elijah”, so what? If he was a “prophet”, so what? Nobody listened to them either. But to accept Jesus as the Messiah, sent to bring salvation to Israel? No! They did not want the “salvation” Jesus had to offer.
But when Herod heard about it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised,” because Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him with chains, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom Herod had married. John had been telling Herod, “It’s not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Jesus sent John the Baptist to prepare the people for His coming. To do that, John was teaching the people how to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. Today, Jesus is looking around to see whom He can send to teach people how to live in order to prepare for His coming. Will you accept the challenge?
So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she couldn’t do it because Herod was afraid of John.
Yes, the wicked will hold grudges against the righteous. They can’t stand having their sins pointed out. Instead of changing their wicked lives, they just go to church and pretend that all is well. They will also work at destroying those who point out their sins.
He knew that John was a righteous and holy man, and so he protected him. Whenever he listened to John, he did much of what he said. In fact, he liked listening to him. An opportunity came during Herod’s birthday celebration, when he gave a banquet for his top officials, military officers, and the most important people of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. So the king told the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” He swore with an oath to her, “I’ll give you anything you ask for, up to half of my kingdom.”
Alcohol, drugs, music, church, entertainment and many other things have all been the excuse for the destruction of righteous people. We want to be pleased, while forgetting there will come a day when God will ask, “What did you do to please Me?”
So she went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” Immediately the girl hurried back to the king with her request, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply saddened, yet because of his oaths and his guests he was reluctant to refuse her. So without delay the king sent a soldier and ordered him to bring John’s head. The soldier went and beheaded him in prison. Then he brought John’s head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.
In our lives, how often we “behead” those whom we do not like. We “cut them off” no differently than Herodias had the head of John the Baptist cut off. We cut off all association, cut off our conversations, cut off our love, cut off our support and cut off our sympathies. In the end, we will have cut off our right to eternal life. Let us listen to those God has called to point out our sins. No matter how difficult or how humbling, it is the only way we will get into Heaven.
When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and carried off his body and laid it in a tomb.