Jesus gave us the parable of Wise and Foolish Builders in Matthew 7:24-27 in which he said the following:
“Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell;and great was the fall of it.”
Jesus in the above parable wants us to understand the importance of both hearing his words and also acting on them. There are people who only hear the words of Jesus but do not act on it. Then we have people who both hear and act on the Word of God. Now, both of these types of people will keep building their life and achievements.
And they will face challenges and tough times as well. Only those who have acted on the words of the Lord Jesus will prevail and those who do not act, will suffer great losses. The most dangerous of such losses is when a person loses his or her soul to the Evil One at the time of death because of not abiding by the Word of God in their thoughts, words and actions.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem
And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Beth′phage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 If any one asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt they set Jesus upon it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road. 37 As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:28-40)
- But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29: 7-9)
- And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:4-5,24-25)
- Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:1-6)
- See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
- Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 )
A secret is like money, it can be used wisely or misused wickedly. There are secrets which (ironically) should not be kept as secrets while there are secrets which can and must be kept secret. The people of God need to know how to discern between both such types of secrets. This will be covered in detail in series of ‘Keeping Secrets’ posts which I’m writing up. However for now I share a few good reasons for keeping secrets. This basically comes from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6. So here we go:
1) Keep secret your good deeds of charity so that you don’t seek pride nor fame in your acts which causes you to lose your reward from the Lord God.
“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
2) Keep secret your prayer life in a such a way that you pray like how the Lord God wants you to pray without being a self seeking hypocrite but rather exalt the name of God alone. This will ensure your reward from the Lord God.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread;
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
13 And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:5-14)
3) Keep secret your fasting so that you don’t get undue praise by people and so miss out on your reward from your Heavenly Father the Lord God.
16 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The three reasons above are good enough to consider keeping secrets that are meant not to be paraded before people so that you indulge in self glory and so lose your reward from your Father in heaven who is none but the Lord God. I hope this make you realize the importance of keeping secrets. Keep yourself open to the will and counsel of the Lord God manifest in the Bible so that you learn to keep secrets wisely.
Christ be with you!
- Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
- So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. (Psalm 61:8)
- I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. (Psalm 119:60)
- As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him. (Matthew 9:9)
- And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him (Mark 1:20)
- And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. (Luke 19:5)
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-29)
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.. (Hebrews 7:23-25)
When I saw him (Jesus), I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)
Be ashamed when you sin, don’t be ashamed when you repent [To repent means to have a change of heart and mind. It is not simply a feeling of sorrow ,but a psycho/spiritual growth away from evil/death and a turning to God/life]. Sin is the wound, repentance is the medicine. Sin is followed by shame; repentance is followed by boldness [ Boldness means to beg God for undeserved mercy]. Satan has overturned this order and given boldness to sin and shame to repentance. (Saint John Chrysostom)
Never get fooled that tolerance is the only thing to have when dealing with others, especially those who hate you and your faith in Christ. You also need prudence. One also needs to be alert. Most of all, your tolerance must be as per God’s will which includes prudence and vigilance and not as per man’s opinions. Blind tolerance is nothing less than foolishness. To be wise in your tolerance, you need to read the Bible for this and not just a few verses, you need to take the whole Bible into perspective.
Some people are overzealous about; Judge not, that you be not judged (Matthew 7:1). These behave that this is the only verse they ought to follow. I’ve already written an article about this (click here to view it) in order to let such people get the right idea of ‘judge not’, so I won’t elaborate too much on this.
The Bible tells us to be vigilant:
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:9).
It also reminds us to be prudent:
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. (Matthew 12:14-16)
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)
We also need to discern:
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.(Proverbs 14:7)
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.(Proverbs 17:15)
There are things we are not to tolerate:
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
Our tolerance towards others must not mean that we compromise on vigilance, prudence nor discernment. We are not called to tolerate each and everything. One needs to have a balanced view of the Bible in all things.
Some might say, ‘we are to turn the other cheek’ and to them I say ‘do not put the Lord your God to the test’. If you are to choose between life and Christ, its best to take Christ for yourself. But don’t deliberately put yourself or your loved ones in a situation where doesn’t know how to deal with danger. Not every time this is case of getting tempted to leave Christ. And not everyone out in the world is a criminal. But some are indeed evil! So we must go by the facts and not ignore them. If a leopard has attacked many cattle, don’t assume it’ll be tame towards you because it never killed a human before. You don’t give it to act first to make a decision but instead you first make sure you keep a safe distance from the wild cat or be out of sight.
In the same way, if you know that there are people with a history of violence, you don’t try to play ‘nice’. Instead you keep a safe distance from them. I’m not talking about only terrorists. This is about thugs and murderers too. Also, warn your children and loved ones to know whom to get near and whom to keep away from.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22: 6)
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. (Proverbs 24: 8-9)
Never get too happy when you see evil doers go down in life. Such rejoicing must be avoided. Be sober because it’s the Lord God fighting them. And the Lord can use angels, animals and even humans to do his work of justice.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. (Proverbs 24: 17-18)
You might find my opinion a bit odd, but at times when I came know of so and so sinners, even terrorists who died when being confronted by workers of justice, I felt bad that such souls have not accepted the Gospel and not repented and so are not going to heaven. For a few seconds I tried to imagine that if they accepted the Lord Jesus much earlier in life, how much damage and death to others could have been avoided in the first place.
Then reality set in, I viewed the new reports again and I realized there were innocent people, even innocent kids who got killed by these evil doers. So Divine justice already had to tackle the murderers on earth itself before giving them their due punishment in hell. So if even if you hear of such workers of iniquity getting harmed or killed, do not rejoice but rather pray for the victims of their crimes and also for the victims families. Don’t pray for the wicked who have died in battle, since there is no hope for them.
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 24: 19-20)
Verses for reflection:
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ (Revelation 2: 1-7)
Sometimes marriage, deliverance, healing and counseling ministries have elements of snatch and grab. Be willing to do it all for the glory of God.
For instance, you get a woman crying to you about her husband going to divorce her due to her fault of sexual immorality. You then pray with her and strongly correct her behavior patterns by preaching the word of God to her. With much prayer and courage you can then approach her husband in presence of elders of the church and see if its possible for him to forgive her and for her to never break his trust again. And God willing they’d both reconcile with each other and live a happy married life. However in the midst of getting back with each other, they don’t thank you! Don’t worry, you’ve just done a snatch and grab operation. Though they didn’t thank you, Jesus takes note of what you’ve done in his honor and will surely reward you for this.
You might deliver a man plagued with evil spirits but since he’s a man of repute he won’t even acknowledge you as the servant of God as he feels his image must be maintained. Never feel bad about that. Simply give thanks that you in the name of Jesus could deliver him from trouble and pray that such a man someday understands the value of his deliverance. There’s no need to be resentful. Just go on to the next person who need rescuing from demons.
Sometimes you might have prayed for a person who is in a dying condition and she got well. Today if she walks by you in church she doesn’t say a little hello to you. Again you snatched her out of the fire. She’s not yet truly thankful but that doesn’t mean you get bitter. Thank the Lord you could work with such a forgetful person and yet God healed her when you called on to his name.
I sometimes have counseled people who were in trouble. They used my advice to make themselves better but never bother to contact me again. I’d still come to know that they were blessed. I felt what is the use of me helping them. Then I realized this goes beyond people. This is my service to the Lord God that I help his people and that’s what matters. This is what made to make a choice that I won’t stop giving counsel to people who come to me for counsel that is consistent with the Scriptures.
In terms of snatch and grab, it’s not about your glory nor your fame, it’s about the Lord God and how you serve him. Receiving thanks and compliments shouldn’t be on your mind. Your desire instead must be that God works through you and in you for the person whom you are rescuing from sin and death.
We are greatly encouraged to snatch people of the fire and of course we are to keep due diligence in the process. Please read the below verses:
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:20-23)
Though the following verses are not a command, I’d still like to mention it as the Lord takes a lot of interest in those he plucks out of the fire and how he wishes that they are sanctified. Please read the following:
3 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. (Zechariah 3:1-5)
Christ be with you as you snatch people out of the fire!
The prophecy about Jesus coming to Jerusalem on a donkey:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
The above prophecy about Jesus fulfilled:
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, he didn’t come as a rich man. He came upon a donkey as prophesied for he was the descendant of King David. Even the way his disciples got the donkey is a miracle in itself. At this point even though the religious elders hated him, the people still gave him a grand welcome. They even said, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Hosanna is a word used to express adoration, praise, or joy (mostly in Jewish and Christian liturgies or worship). And truly Christ was worthy to receive this praise. Being the Son of God that he is, Jesus entered Jerusalem rather humbly in obedience to the will of God. Even today Christ is meek and humble of heart and his burden light.
Here are a few questions for your own reflection keeping in mind the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem:
- Do you still believe God to be faithful to his promises and his word? Yes, you will if you have read that Bible and understood that God’s been fulfilling them all through the ages and continues to do so.
- Are you enamored by mere physical appearances or do you look for the truth in the midst of it all? Indeed, you will when you decide to discern things in a way consistent with the principles of the Lord God.
- When celebrating Christ in your life, will you fear others and not praise him? Surely not when you care more for the desires of God than the desires of men.
- Will you only welcome him but forget and abandon him later in the days to come? Certainly never if you hold close the fact that salvation comes from Christ alone.
- Do you adore Christ just because of the crowd or because you know who he is? You’d worship him more personally when you read about him in the Scriptures and fall in love with him.