LET SISTERLY LOVE CONTINUE
by Pastor Jeromy John Visser
Dearest brethren in Christ Jesus, my most recent sermon dubbed Let Brotherly Love Continue certainly generated a majority of responses and to my surprise I even received several comments that were much less than enthusiastic. Today, I intend on producing the second part to that same sermon and I make no apologies for doing so because practically every time Jesus Christ brought forth a teaching to the general masses it would cause a division yet His flawless ministry continued to grow. This same theory certainly applies to the gradual growth of Covenant People’s Ministry as we also refuse to neither compromise outright Biblical teachings on love for man’s erroneous “new doctrines” nor promote current social trends to gain recruits.
It was Jesus Christ who placed such extreme significance on “brotherly love” and the apostle John further expanded this necessary teaching making it both required and essential for salvation under Bible Law. Nevertheless, one particular antinomian “separatist” group once again set its serpentile ‘targets’ towards CPM but ironically their antichrist devices have simply worked towards promoting our works much further than imagined. When speaking about attacks from the enemy, the apostle Paul tells Timothy; “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12)” and Jesus Christ straightforwardly teaches; “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11).” They both say that those who hate the name of Jesus Christ and the very Laws that He represents shall (meaning without a doubt) single-out and persecute true Christians. This is how it is supposed to be.
When speaking of those once “dead in trespasses and sins” Paul says in Ephesians 2:2 (amp); “You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].”
This means that those who are not under the direct leadership of the Holy Spirit are instead under Satan’s rule and do his bidding whether they’re aware of this fact or not. For example, those who follow “the prince of the power of the air” might speak out against baptism by immersion because Peter plainly taught; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).” If repentance and baptism are both essential steps for the gift of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ Himself was baptized in the river Jordan then naturally these snakes would teach contrary or have a weak rationalization for not doing so themselves, they really have no other choice in the matter.
Because of this, I intend on looking at several more examples of brotherly love as found in the Holy Scriptures including ‘the woman taken in adultery’ and her dealings with the Messiah. During Jesus’ own walk He recurrently battled against the scribes and Pharisees (meaning separatist) even saying; “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in (Matthew 23:13).” There are many false prophets out there who are not welcome in the kingdom of heaven so they in turn work very hard at keeping others from going in themselves, let’s all be on guard of those who openly teach against Jesus’ Words.
(Sin No More:)
Let’s begin by examining the first eleven verses of John 8 while concentrating on the tactics used against Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees; “Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning (at dawn), He came back into the temple [court], and the people came to Him in crowds. He sat down and was teaching them, When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him (John 8:1-3 amp).” We should notice that there was no man present as the Law commands (Leviticus 20:10) so this is considered an “illegal court” in the first place. Jesus was sitting down and teaching the masses from the Law and the sneaky scribes and Pharisees place a supposed whore down in the middle of the busy court shifting all focus towards her and the charges against her. They then come to Jesus in an attempt to trap Him somehow.
Let’s continue; “Teacher, they said, This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women--offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do You say [to do with her--what is Your sentence]? This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger (John 8:4-6 amp).”
First of all, if these snakes were telling the truth than this woman would’ve been betrothed to a husband and found guilty of not being a virgin because God’s Law only calls for such offenders to be directly “stoned” as we can read in Deuteronomy 22:23-24, this means that she wasn’t a common street prostitute. Yahweh did command that adulteresses should be ‘put to death’ but the manner of demise isn’t specifically stoning like these scribes and Pharisees are being so insistent about so “that they might have to accuse him.” It’s pretty embarrassing when clay men attempt to ‘trap’ God Himself and even Jesus ignores their attempts yet like most evil they continue to hound Him.
Let’s keep reading to discover how Christ answers them; “However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger (John 8:7-8 amp).” After their persistence Jesus gives His answer then continues to ignore His “oppressors.” Let’s examine His answer – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” He answers their question within the context of the eternal Law by saying “throw a stone at her” meaning the Law is still in effect and saying, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first” He was teaching on morality. Numerous times Jesus could be heard saying “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” because even though they maintained the appearance of being “religious” they were nothing more than faithless swine who liked to “play church” much like today’s age.
The effect of this powerful answer is amazing; “They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court. When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more (John 8:9-11 amp).”
Jesus said, “Go and sin no more” meaning don’t sin, period. He didn’t grant her a free license to be a harlot nor did He hold her completely faultless because Christ said “I don’t condemn you” meaning she was no worse then the two-faced scribes and Pharisees that so eagerly desired to see her casualty. There’s a lot of ‘meat’ in these verses as the Bible doesn’t say she was named “Mary” but instead was a rather insignificant matter that was used as a “straw-man” argument in order to trap an innocent man according to the very Law that the accusers refused to follow. Notice that Jesus ignored their constant attacks? The reason is because these jews were the literal seed of Satan and they weren’t worth His precious time. Later in this same chapter Jesus tells them; “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44).” Jesus didn’t say that these snakes were “spiritually wrong” nor “off-track Christians” rather He said that they were offspring of their earthly father Satan, who but deceiver would argue against the very words of Jesus?
(Women in Parables:)
Throughout Jesus’ own ministry He frequently used woman as ‘examples of faith’ in His teachings generating various responses from the masses like it still does today. While in today’s lesson we certainly won’t have enough time to fully examine the deeds of such righteous women as Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Anna, Joanna, Susanna nor the numerous other women found throughout the New Testament like the Samaritan at the well, the “daughter” of Abraham, Mary Magdalene nor ‘the woman with bleeding’ I’d still like to briefly look at a few examples of where Jesus used women in His own parables.
For example, when speaking of the last days, Christ says; “Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken and one will be left (Matthew 24:41 amp)” and when teaching on the topic of perception, Jesus says; “The queen of the South will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, Someone more and greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12:42 amp).” These are just two illustrations of parables where “God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16)” used women in His analogies.
When illustrating the specific ‘order’ of God’s Kingdom, Jesus teaches; “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven (sour dough) which a woman took and covered over in three measures of meal or flour till all of it was leavened (Matthew 13:33 amp).” In this teaching, the Messiah is teaching on heavenly order comparing the way that the Kingdom works to that of a woman kneading dough with leaven. Still, many false teachers like to put forth the teaching that God somehow treats His created women as inferior to men but this is simply not the case. Both man and woman have a role to play in Yahweh's perfect Kingdom and must work together as one in order to achieve this goal.
Still, who could forget the parable of the five wise virgins? Jesus plainly teaches; “The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent). For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps. While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep. But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him! Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise replied, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves. But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us! But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]. Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come (Matthew 25:1-13 amp).”
We should take notice that Jesus Christ as the bridegroom shuts the doors upon the "foolish" virgins because they never served Him in life. In Psalm 53:1 it says; “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good” meaning that those considered to be fools in the eyes of our ever-living Yahweh are those who say there is no God, period. Like all things in the Bible there is no gray area so we must do all we can to serve Him now by having the oil of our people so we can attend the marriage supper of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)." As you can see, Jesus used women in His teachings quite often because He loves them.
(Widows in Parables:)
Let's look at several more examples of women in Jesus' teachings before I give my intention with this morning's sermon. In one parable Jesus seemingly places a woman in the role of God; “What woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day's wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost. Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins) (Luke 15:8-10 amp).”
Like Jesus Christ who came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24), He compares this very act to a woman who attentively looks for a lost ‘coin’ and when she finds it she rejoices with her friends and fellow kinsfolk. The teaching here is that “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” or when one lost sheep is found. We must never stop working for Yahweh's Kingdom on earth nor allow social statuses to dictate who we share Gospel Truth with.
Also, when teaching on the determination of prayer, Jesus Christ used “the persistent widow” as His example; “[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary. And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, Yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or at the last she come and rail on me or assault me or strangle me. Then the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says! And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf? I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth (Luke 18:1-8 amp)?”
That's a question -- do you pray ‘without ceasing’ as commanded (I Thessalonians 5:17)? This determined woman sure did and in essence she changed the course of her destiny by doing so. The old saying of “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” works well here because the unjust judge eventually grants her request for protection from ‘the adversary’ or Satan himself for being so consistent with her requests. When Jesus Christ returns to establish His government on earth will you be found wanting? Let's all be sure to use this wise woman's example and pray for Yahweh's Will and Law “as in heaven, so in earth (Luke 11:2).”
Finally, who could forget the widow who gave “all she had” that Jesus commended for being such a faithful follower? Here’s the passage; “Looking up, [Jesus] saw the rich people putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a poor widow putting in two mites (copper coins). And He said, Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; For they all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but she has contributed out of her lack and her want, putting in all that she had on which to live (Luke 21:1-4 amp).”
This righteous widow gave all she had for the advancement of God's Kingdom and we should all do the same. This merely touches the tip of the iceberg in dealing with Jesus' own teachings on women but I hope that I have given you several examples of His doing so and also His finding them to be great servants for Christianity. Let's give all we have and 'go for broke' because man's wicked and contrary kingdom will fall into oblivion as promised in our Holy Bible.
My intention with this morning's study is to prove that the only ‘equality’ with God is between the sexes. He does not play favorites nor should we when dealing with women. I am not teaching that there should be women preachers nor am I saying that females don't have a different role to play in the continual movement of Christianity -- I am saying that Yahweh loves those things considered as ‘good’ in His eyes so we should be leery of those who teach opposite of the Messiah.
Once in Jesus own walk He was told; “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked (Luke 11:27)” to which Jesus retorts; “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” It was a virtuous and chosen woman named Mary that was selected of God to bring forth Salvation to mankind and in essence she brought deliverance to the world through God's Will. Let's all be like Mary willing to do as commanded no matter what the world thinks.
I hope through this study I can disprove the many “anti-women” doctrines out there. Paul plainly said; “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (I Timothy 2:12)” meaning within the church. When it comes to the household I can think of nobody better to teach the children about Yahweh and His Laws in the man's absence than the mother of those same offspring. I pray this sermon glorifies Jesus Christ and touches those who need it. War for Christ! Amen.
[ Let Brotherly Love Continue ]
Sunday, September 25th, 2005 ]
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