Thursday, September 1, 2022

Personal From... 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice'

Leonard V Johnson    About

GOOD Morning Everyone! I’m coming to you again from our office here in Spring Hill, Florida, and I welcome all of our friends from around the world. Our friends in Burbank, California; Charleston, West Virginia; Manito, Illinois; Austin, Texas; over in Ireland, Surrey British Columbia; and Beijing China. Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries.

It's been a little while since I last wrote a Personal. In this Personal, I would like to talk about mercy. God will not extend mercy to those who have not extended mercy to others. If you cannot have compassion upon your fellow man, God will not have compassion upon you. This is a consistent theme of God’s living word – the Holy Bible. Over and over, the Words of Jesus Christ! The words of the Apostle Paul.

Now, an unconverted friend of mine has told me before – “I would read your articles, but they’re just too long.” Well, I apologize in advance this one will be a rather lengthy Personal.

In prayer to Father God and our Lord Jesus not long ago, I asked Them, “What should I do!?” A question in regard as to whether my wife and I should allow a very dear friend – a friend who is soon to need dialysis – to move in with us at our home for a few months while she gets back up on her feet after her landlord sold the house she was renting. And as I was there on my knees in reverence to the very Creator of all life – a single thought came to my mind. Love.

Let us recall our Lord Jesus’ words – “ … ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35) for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36) I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ – Matthew 25:34-36.

And today our Lord Jesus Christ’s words ring loud in my mind – ’ I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ – Matthew 9:13.

Do you know what He meant!?

It’s IMPORTANT to know!

A Record Of Each Person

Now, we’ve spoken quite a lot concerning the spirit in man – cf. Job 32:8. In our article “Do Animals Have A Spirit?” which I typed up just after the death of Mocha our tortoise-colored cat – a loving and devoted companion we had for roughly fifteen years – we devoted a whole subheading – There Is A Spirit Within Man.

This spirit in man is a spiritual record. And God placed this spirit within man for an awesome purpose. In fact, I was recently speaking about this very subject not long ago to our friend here. I spoke about the different unique characteristics that human beings have that animals do not –

● Humor – there is no other creature that is able to appreciate, create, and express humor.
● The appreciation of beauty.
● Self-consciousness – being aware of oneself. Beyond a simple recognition (as in the Mirror Test).
● The Awareness of death.
● Understanding time.
● The Complexity of language.
● Asking about the MEANING of life.
● The lack of harmony with nature.
● Free Moral Agency.
● Capacity for wisdom.
● A Desire to worship.

Truly this spirit within us provides some of the imagination and even some of the desires of God. It provides God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ with a record of our attitudes, our personality, our knowledge, and our very character – all that makes us who we are.

Now, we are very much aware of death and decay aren’t we – certainly from nothing more than the law of decay. Notice this in the Book of Romans chapter 8 –

“For the earnest expectation of the creation [meaning, ‘all created things’ including the whole universe] eagerly waits for the revealing of the [children] of God. 20) For the creation [the physical matter of the universe] was subjected to futility [meaning, vanity], not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption [its bondage to the law of decay] …” – Romans 8:19-26.

Why would God – the great Elohim, the family of God – want a record!?

Well, the answer is that God in His MASTER PLAN is going to resurrect us exactly according to the pattern of what we will have become in this life. Same personality, same attitudes, same character. The element which will survive our physical life is our very CHARACTER.

Just what is being recorded!? And just what is being recorded in your case!?

IMPORTANT questions aren’t they? Sadly, the greater majority of this present evil age so-called Christians will find themselves fulfilling a prophecy that our Lord Jesus Christ speaks of in Matthew 7:21-23 –

’ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom [from] heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23) And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

So, notice that there were to be two groups calling Jesus ‘Lord.’ One group does the will of God the Father in heaven and the other which practices lawlessness. Our Lord Jesus is speaking of those who are identifying with Him, calling Him ‘Lord’ and ‘Master’ just like we do. So, they know that He is the Messiah! Yet, He says that He doesn’t know them. He is looking for something within them that He cannot find.

Friends, we remember and keep the weekly holy Sabbath. We keep God’s TEN COMMANDMENTS. We keep and proclaim annually the LORD God’s FEASTS. Yet, none of this proves that we are going to make it into His divine kingdom.

We are ordained servants of God, we give God-inspired Messages, we anoint the sick and witness them healed by God, and we even cast out demons! But even these things are not proof that we will make it into His divine kingdom.

Even Satan the devil’s ministers who transform themselves “into ministers of righteousness” ‘prophesy in His name, cast out demons in His name, and has done wonders in His name.’ They too have done all these things that most everyone would stamp as an approval as being – not only from God – but proof that they are going to make it into God’s kingdom.

Oh my! They have done great work – certainly! They’ve preached entertaining and inspiring sermons haven’t they!? Well, didn’t the apostles do the same – even before they officially received God’s Spirit!? – Acts 2:1-4. Didn’t Judas Iscariot!? Yes! And so did many others at that time, as they continue to do today – cf. Acts 19:13-16; Matthew 12:27.

Let’s understand something right here – your physical works are not what ensures you receive eternal life in the kingdom of God!

Recall what I addressed in our latest A Morning Bible Study

’ Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom [from] heaven. … Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the EARTH. … Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. … Blessed ARE THE MERCIFUL.’

Friends, these are all attitudes of mind – of character. And it is these qualities of character that are REQUIRED in an eternal BORN child of God the Father!

It’s IMPORTANT that we keep this in mind always.

What Must We Do!?

I’ve spoken of this story several times now - I was asked once by my sister-in-law why I didn’t believe in the “rapture.” And I began to slowly explain what God’s living word truly says and does not say concerning a “rapture” – along with the truth about death and what happens after death. She identifies herself as being a Baptist – she’s been baptized. But I proceeded to briefly explain what she needed to do to inherit eternal life. And I began with the very answer our Lord Jesus Christ gives us all – ’ You know the commandments.’ And even though she is being taught by her church that she is NOT required to keep God’s commandments – she certainly knows them. Nearly everyone here in the United States of America has heard of God’s Ten Commandments. I recall when I was in elementary school His commandments were on a bulletin pinned to a wall in my classroom.

’ You know the commandments.’ – Mark 10:19.

The LORD God says to us – “’ Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and ALWAYS keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children FOREVER!’” – Deuteronomy 5:29.

How did the original New Testament Church view and understand the Law of God?

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” – Romans 7:12.

The Apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” – 1 John 5:3.

And truly, our Lord Jesus Christ – which most will not quote – summed it up by saying, “ … ‘if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments’ – Matthew 19:17.

Jesus Christ and the apostles did not dismiss God’s Law. However, Counterfeit Christianity took this drastic step in the first century A.D. And the churches of this Counterfeit Christianity have blindly followed ever since!

Sadly, they blindly teach that the Old Covenant was the Ten Commandments. They maintain that Christ came to establish only grace and promises – liberty to do whatever one pleases. Law is not included in their doctrinal booklets. In their minds, these creative religionists have cleverly devised a way to “do whatever one desires” and have a clear conscience. They do not teach of Newton’s Third Law - 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction'. They blindly state, “Grace alone ‘saves’ men. And the “burden” of commandment-keeping is no longer necessary.’

Well, this satanic teaching leads one to believe that the Law of God is cruel and burdensome. They proclaim that the fault of the Old Covenant was with the Law. Read what Jesus Christ Himself says to those who follow these false understandings –

“ … ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7) And in vain they worship Me Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8) For LAYING ASIDE THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD, you hold the tradition of men …’ – Mark 7:6-8.

Notice the WARNING that God inspired in the Book of Jude –

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certainly men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness [even lasciviousness, feeling or revealing an overt and often offensive sexual desire] and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” – Jude 1:3-4.

Truly, even before the ink was dry on the New Testament, ungodly men had crept into the Church of God unnoticed in an attempt to corrupt her by turning grace into LASCIVIOUSNESS! Just as the temples of Rome were.

Truly, in essence, this meant license to do what seems right in one’s own eyes, according to one’s own conscience.

The universal message from nearly every pulpit falsely tells people that Jesus Christ abolished, or “fulfilled,” His Father’s law – but your Bible says otherwise!

The Apostle Paul – under the inspiration of God’s Spirit writes – over in 1st Corinthians the 10th chapter –

Verse 1 – “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers [in other words, the children of Israel] … 3) all ate the same spiritual food, 4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” – showing us that Jesus Christ was indeed there!

In the Book of Matthew the 5th chapter –

Our Lord and Savior made a statement which even to this day the greater majority of our peoples do not understand!

Verse 17 – ’ Do not think …’ – in other words, ‘DO NOT THINK THIS!’ “ … ‘that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets [meaning, the first five Books of the Bible, including the Books of the prophets]. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.’

And, sadly, I have personally heard many a minister say that the word ‘fulfill’ means that He did it all for us and that we don’t have to do it at all. That word ‘fulfill’ actually is plēroō in Greek, meaning “to do them.” Because someone had to completely do Almighty God’s Law perfectly. And He certainly did. They had to be obeyed perfectly.

Verse 18 – ’ For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away [a reference to Matthew 24:35 and Revelation 21:1], one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.’ - Jesus elevated God’s Law to A SPIRITUAL PLANE.

So, by all but our Lord Jesus, there was a spiritual inability – a spiritual lack, – that prevented God’s holy commandments to be kept perfectly. But brethren, we shouldn’t have that lack; we should have the Spirit of God in our minds and in connection with our spirit. God’s Law is spiritual. And CHRIST IN US we can truly keep and OBEY His Law in their spiritual intent.

The Attitude to Grow

Notice this question asked –

“With WHAT shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? 7) Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul [life]?” – Micah 6:6-7.

Is the LORD God going to be pleased with “burnt offerings” – meaning physical works!? Shall we find the approval of Him by our tithes and offerings!?

Here is the answer from God Himself! –

Verse 8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”

Friends, He is talking about “…’ the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.’ – Matthew 23:23-33.

He said, ‘You know, we’ve got these people that ‘strain out a gnat and swallow a camel’ - their tithing of all these little seeds. He said, ‘Yeah, you do that, but you forget the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith.’ I think about the fact that even today there are individuals who get hung up on weird little doctrines, and they forget the weightier matters of the law – judgment, mercy, and faith, to walk humbly with God.

Mercy is an essential component of our spiritual life and of our spiritual health. Deeply appreciate and respect the mercy that God has bestowed upon you! And in turn, when the opportunity opens itself, bestow mercy upon others!

Prophet Moses Understood

Moses will be in the kingdom of God – not because of anything physical he might have done, but because he “was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. … ‘He is faithful in all My house’” – Numbers 12:3, 7.

And, as we teach – one of the great meanings of the Day of Atonement is humility – “to walk humbly with your God.”

The humble are going to ‘inherit the earth.’ – Matthew 5:5.

Now, if you would turn to 1st Peter, chapter 5 –

This is a Scripture that had a huge and profound influence on my life. And understanding these concepts has truly helped me to mature in my thinking and to gain much understanding.

Verse 5 – “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with HUMILITY, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’” – the apostle Peter is saying, ‘all of you be submissive to one another.’ It’s a cooperative enterprise. Everyone should be able to sit down at a table and – if their hearts and spirits are right – be able to offer information or suggest a change.

That’s the meaning of the Day of Atonement - internally speaking! To “be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, …”

Verse 6 – “Therefore HUMBLE yourselves under the mighty hand of God, …”– Humility.

What does that mean!? Does it mean joining a monastery and taking a vow of silence, walking around in a robe, and looking all pious!? Is this what God is talking about!?

No, humility is not what people can see – humility is what God sees. Truly becoming submissive to God, and His will, and the will of Jesus Christ.

Prophet Moses – under the instruction of Almighty God – began a theocracy - Exodus 18:13-27. To be factual – the government of ancient Israel had church and state combined – though it was physical, the administration of civil and religious statutes and ordinances was combined. The promises under the Old Covenant were material – cf. Leviticus 26:3-12. They were not converted, nor did they have God’s Holy Spirit, hence they could not understand spiritual things. They were like the majority of people today.

Moses was certainly merciful – cf. Numbers 12.

American journalist and attorney Shannon Bream writes, “In my head. I can hear – just like the ‘Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!’ complaint Jan lodges against her sister on The Brady Bunch – the two siblings sulking around: “Moses! Moses! Moses!” 1

Moses’ older sister, Prophetess Miriam, was struck with leprosy for criticizing his decision to marry an Ethiopian woman. Note: “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses BECAUSE OF THE ETHIOPIAN WOMAN WHOM HE HAD MARRIED.” – vs. 1. Most people don’t or won’t even mention this part – including Shannon Bream in her book The Women of the Bible Speak.

“’ Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’” –Miriam asks.

Would this have been your attitude!?

King David Understood

What did King David do – and he is deserving of that great title! – when he was cursed and had stones thrown at him!? Was there revenge!? Notice this –

“When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family #4940 of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing #7043 continually as he came. 6) And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. … 10) But the king said, ‘What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done #6213 so?’” 11) Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, ‘Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; #5315 how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told #559 him. 12) Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good #2896 to me instead of his cursing this day.’” – 2 Samuel 16:5-6, 10-12, NASB.

Would this have been your attitude!?

The Spirit of the Law

Just what is the Spirit of the Law!? Certainly, the Pharisees were strict keepers of the Law. Yet, our Lord Jesus Christ called them hypocrites because they completely missed the MOST IMPORTANT parts of God’s holy Law.

Our Lord Jesus says,’ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin [Anise and cummin were used as spices for the flavoring of foods. This practice is still common today], and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law: JUSTICE AND MERCY AND FAITH. …’ – Matthew 23:23.

So, indeed notice that the ‘weightier matters of the Law’ is good judgment, mercy, and faith!? All spiritual things!

This is why the Law – which is summed up in the TEN COMMANDMENTS is spiritual – “For we know that the Law [the Ten Commandments] is spiritual, …” – Romans 7:14.

In verse 1, the Apostle Paul begins by speaking of the Ten Commandments –

“Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the Law [the Ten Commandments]), that the Law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?” – Romans 7:1.

But, as true Christians “my brethren, you also have become dead to the Law [meaning, we are no longer under the death penalty] through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to HIM WHO WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, … But now we have been delivered from the law [the Old Covenant], having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT [meaning, the New Covenant] and not in the oldness of the letter [the Old Covenant].” – Romans 7:4, 6.

Friends, one of the greatest things to God is mercy. Our Lord and Savior – the very Son of God – was willing to die for and at the hands of those deserving of death. Yet, in His most horrible moment, forsaken, mocked, scourged beyond recognition, spat upon, and called most vulgar names, He called out to Father God, ’Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ – Luke 23:34.

Our LORD God – the very One who became Jesus Christ – was quoting His Prophet Hosea – “’ For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ ... For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’ – Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13.

The following is from my personal notes regarding this subject of forgiveness:
“Well, in prayer to Jesus Christ and God Almighty, the Spirit brought to mind, His words – “’ Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” And I indeed agree that it is important to note that Jesus’ prayer, “Father, forgive them,” does not mean that everyone was forgiven, unilaterally, without repentance and faith. It does mean that Jesus was willing to forgive them—forgiveness was, in fact, the reason He was on the cross. The words “Father, forgive them” show the merciful heart of God.

God’s Spirit has allowed me to see His words clearly – “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, even as God in Christ FORGAVE YOU” – Ephesians 4:31-32.

… forgiveness – on a human level – is an act of the will. Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. No one deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a deliberate act of love, mercy, and grace. Forgiveness is a decision to not hold something against another person, despite what he or she has done to you.”
Have we learned what it means to have mercy!? □

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be sure to leave a comment and tell us what you think.