Christians assume that they “follow Christ,” yet if pressed, each must admit that they simply do not understand much of Christ's teachings needed to follow him. This includes the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus' manifesto for the masses that Martin Luther considered impossibly demanding. Find out why Christianity does not teach it, why it is so offensive (on purpose), and how Jesus is like Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid—only harsher. With the three insights below, you can finally understand and obey the teaching of Jesus to no longer refer to him as "my Lord" without making him a lord.
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In reference to the discussion about teaching your children. My mother always took us (her 6 children) to church every time any thing was going on there. But now at 80, I realize that I know so much less than I should. Our church was strictly ran for adults, yes people brought their children, but the order of the day was always “kids sit quietly”, no training or classes for the younger (under 21) set. May haps I am wrong in this, but I always felt I was so short of the knowledge I should have had many years earlier.
I am enjoying the articles and the book written by Tim , and started to get set up to read the other items, when my cancer doctor said I had to go for daily radiation for 3 months. That is over now but I am so far behind in reading Tims articles, and have even forgotten my password. In a day or 2 as I get more rested up I will start trying to restore that bit in my memory. Paul Plasters
I’ve read this article several times and gain more insight and understanding each time. I thank God for you and Katrina, Tim, and how He is using you to bless us. You’re on (spiritual) fire these past few months!Reply
All good advice. My family actually puts no pressure on me at all to earn more money – I mean not directly anyway. That pressure is all on me. It’s my way of fabricating a self worth for myself I suppose. Sure there’s the kids who want this, that and the next thing. But that’s just kids who don’t understand the value of money or the work it requires to obtain.
Long story, one that Tim and Katrina have been gracious enough to explore and help me with. Never thought I’d do a counseling session on my cell phone at 3:00 am in the morning but it’s a true story. And I didn’t even have to pay a deductible.
My story is not unique. It’s just mine and it’s just unresolved, like so many.
You’ve heard it be said you can’t run from your problems. I can vouch for that. Now it’s time to invest the hard work of looking in the mirror, evaluating who I see there and finding the self worth and value in me that Yeshua saw in me to the point that he died for me.
When I can do this, then all the rest will fall into place (in my most convincing voice possible). I’m so thankful that I have Tim and Katrina in my corner, not to mention the God of the universe. I just need to learn to trust him, which is our first order of business.
Thanks for taking the time to offer your insights. I’ve never said so but I’ve read much of your stuff on this site and enjoy your input a great deal.
Glad you’re here.Reply
Sam, you bet I can understand how you feel and where you are at. What comes to my mind is that it could be helpful to discern between what you personally want economically and what you want for your family, that is either to provide them with and/or what they expect to be provided with. If it is for you personally, I am pretty sure it would help to look for a more frugal yet satisfying spiritual mind place, knowing that tonight your soul could be called for as in Luke 12:20 “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” If it is the latter, family needs and expectations… well I don’t presume to be able to tell you what to do, other than pray for inspiration…
However if you were as I was, “past my prime years” after the 2008 crash, I think it would help to discuss this honestly with the family, making it clear that it may no longer be a matter of how you can sprint but how long you and they want you to be around and what plans there are for a natural decline in everything a man is after a certain age span… I know everything is possible with faith, I only mean to counsel a prudent approach, and that maybe the Lord will be more willing to give you the push you need, when He knows you will invest more wisely than just in vacations, new stuff and all that. Certainly the family should come around together to this if as I am sure, they love you! It took me years to reajust, and in my case it was my own expectations, not my family’s that were the stumbling block…
Your brother in Yeshua, ThomasReply
While feeling somewhat uplifted most of today, do to our interaction this morning, I suddenly find myself once again feeling extremely discouraged.
I have been waiting to hear on a new job that I really felt i was perfect for. Its more money and while were getting by on what I’m earning now, were just getting by.
I know that God doesn’t always give us what we want, when we want and sometimes God has a better perspective than we do. I have just been feeling so down, depressed and hopeless lately, begging God for him to encourage me, to let me feel his presence. He’s been so distant…I know its partly my fault.
Today your answer to my question was so encouraging and then I heard the news of not getting the job and I’m once again feeling the same way I have been feeling.
I know I need to trust in God and perhaps this is an example of the difficult and offensive words of Yeshua to test whether I’ll throw up my hands and walk away in disgust.
I don’t want to do that. Ive made so many mistakes in my life. I’ve given up so many times. I have failed myself and my family so many times (they don’t even realize)
Maybe its not too late for me to do something right. Maybe I can get myself on this narrow path and make my life count for something.
I could use some more encouragement.Reply
Wow, been there so many times myself I’ m not sure what to say… it does help when Tim says to confess to Yeshua a spiritual dowfalling, like how I spoke harshly to my wife and oldest daughter today (both Believers, 61 and 38) just because I was right about something, got irritated like you say got my buttons pushed, and was wrong about how I responded… but not to get on a guilt trip and ask for help to do it better next time (lucky me they are very forgiving too!) Yeah, but put that together with financial duress when as father you want so much to provide well for a family you love and depends on you, Tim’s been there more often than not too… and me too. For sure this world goes against a person who tries to follow the narrow path, but take Tim and Katrina whom I met in CR “in their wilderness”, they learned to live almost ultra frugal and base their income on what they know how to do best – study, pray, teach, sleep, and repeat – (it helped to eat a mostly vegan diet I believe), or myself who learned to live like a humble class tico (nickname for CR citizen) employee, bee keeper, self employed translator bootstrapping thru law school, and that is just the good part… and will spare you some of the tear jerking stories, but we both on our very different paths prayed our way through to working for ourselves (I take Tim’s leave to include him and say this). We each learned what we would need from our jobs, and appreciated our employers (some more than others!) but treasured more the time we could devote to our own life goals … and still be close to our families! The physical struggles become every bit as hard as the spiritual ones and meld with each other … and were it not for the numerous small and greater words and “miracles”along the path we (at least I) would despair beyound a doubt. Fundamentally important it is to have an imperfect as you are but believing and loving wife to hold hands and pray with through thick and thin… who commits to going the stretch with you. If you think what I am suggesting could be a solution (no, not moving to CR!), your start is to pray for guidance as you search your soul looking for what you can put together out of all the gifts and talents and experience you have to see if and when and how you can find an independent (God-dependent) income producing occupation that has the prospect of providing at least as well as your job for your family. My experience is that it is so exhilirating, exhausting, scaaarrry, and deeply rewarding that there is less time to be bummed out about how the world treats you… although to be honest that still happens sometimes, but with a whole lot less of despair and feelings of impotence, as you get up again to fight, fight, fight on until you are spent …. and the Lord reaches down to pick you up and put you back on your feet again! I know this will take your mind off problems for a moment and set you to thinking, dreaming and praying with hope for an answer, for a way forward… Your Bro in the one and only One!Reply
Wow Thomas. Thank you so much for you heartfelt response. So sorry for taking so long go reply. I’ve been busy today and work and couldn’t break free to reply.
I appreciate all of your gems of wisdom. I used to make a lot more money than I do now. I was devastated by the market crash and I’ve been trying to recover.
For the last few years I have been satisfied on my lower salary instead exchanging it for less responsibility and more time with my family. Its taught me to have more of a servant mentality but i have a long way to go.
I think I have been spending to much time on facebook lately I guess. Watching everyone on vacation, buying new homes, boats, cars, getting mega inheritances and so on. Meanwhile were still scraping by. I know its all a lie. I know God has an immeasurably larger inheritance for those who focus on His kingdom.
I need to get through this set back in my life, stay the course, seek first Gods kingdom and ill have the victory I seek.
Its harder than it sounds, as I’m sure you know. Some days, several times a day, I just want to give up. But I’m hopeful or at least beginning to be, that God is bringing through my tribulation now so that perhaps I can avoid the real one later. One day ill be able look back at this time and recognize it as a turning point, while you, me and Tim, perhaps gather around a fire in the place of safety.Reply
I will be anxiously awaiting your new study coming later in April.
Another question I have been thinking about a lot lately is how to communicate with my children about all of this.
I have to admit, I have been very lax about spending time with my children and teaching them about what I have been learning. I think part of it is that I have been bitter toward God and Christians. Part of it is also that my wife and I are not on the same page. She doesn’t want to hear about end time events. She feels like it is being negative and she might even think I’m a little bit off my rocker for spending so much time on this. Tim, you and I have talked about this before.
That bitterness is gone now and I’ve been focusing my attention on the reality that the end time events could begin in as little as 7 years from now (or 14 or… …Not date setting). …Referring to the reality that we could be asked to migrate out of the US that soon.
I have an 11 year old and 15 year old. A lot of this stuff is really scary even for adults. It doesn’t seem to me that kids this age would be mature enough to hear the truth about the things that are coming, yet I want to make sure they’re prepared.
Any suggestions? Is this a possibility for another article maybe?Reply
Sam, the answer to whether to teach children about what we are learning about what’s coming is much the same as for other people in relationships with us like friends, family, co-workers, church brethren. They don’t need to know this or to prepare right now. Worse, telling them may scare or bother them and also hurt your relationship. You have no responsibility to teach your children about end times events. They have their whole adult lives ahead they hope to experience like their parents did, so it’s an even harder buzzkill for the youth to understand prophecy. So in the end, just as for anyone else, don’t say anything unless they ask or otherwise you get indication from God to do so. Elijah will come with a very convincing presentation with plenty of time for all the prophecy-clueless out there to digest it and prepare…or God does not have a very good end time escape plan for real world deceived, sleeping people.Reply
I’m glad for this. I’m in no shape to teach them anything at this point. But I’ll definitely be praying for them.Reply
Hi Tim, referring to your comment above “So in the end, just as for anyone else, don’t say anything unless they ask or otherwise you get indication from God to do so. “, do you consider this applies to everyone in our circle, including our spouse?Reply
Geoff, especially your spouse. The sharing of crazy-sounding views or beliefs has the potential to be detrimental to how someone you have a relationship with views you, even leading them to end the relationship.Reply
Wow. What a great explanation. Exactly what I needed. So it’s NOT my fault! There is indeed a war going on in my members over this. I feel like what I would expect a drug addict might feel when making the decision to quit drugs. It’s like Satan is pressing buttons all day long that he knows will get me irritated and I know his motivation is to discourage me and get me off course and boy is he good at it.
I have been praying a lot, more than ever and doing exactly what you suggest. I have been feeling like God has been very far away and not coming to my aid, Until NOW! Through you Tim, he has provided the much needed encouragement I have been seeking from Him.
Well here’s a question. Is it normal, as you begin to realize that you need to love people more, that you in fact end up loving people less??. Lol. Seriously. I’m more irritable and touchy with the people in my life that I find difficult to love than ever before. Is this normal.Reply
Sam, yes it’s normal! You’ve been told to do a very hard thing against the pull of our flesh, selfish nature, biases, prejudices, and hurts. Knowing beyond any doubt that this is our job from Yeshua for once (including no required worship meetings, evangelism, unclean meat avoidance or constant feel good sermons to hide behind or distract us) amounts to a lot of pressure and irritation! Mostly it means also you just got set up to fail. We all need guidance on how to do this new hard thing.
It’s like telling someone to go be a paramedic and care for the injured they encounter without sending them for paramedic training first. As they watch people constantly die on their calls because they don’t know how to do their job they will get frustrated, yes?
That’s what Yeshua spent his ministry explaining to his apostles who followed him around. Before-the-job training on how to do this new hard thing. No doubt they asked him “why weren’t you offended when those jerks said/did that to you?” or “How did you not call down fire from heaven back there on them??” and got great answers back. I doubt he answered each time “because I’m perfect” right? No, he answered with explanations and strategies he used that they could learn and adopt to react the same loving way themselves. What wisdom he had so I’m sure they were amazing gems of strategies!
So now you know exactly why we’re writing this next book! While it’s a necessary and revolutionary thing to finally teach people Yeshua your lord requires you to adopt his law of love to be saved (not just be a hypocrite “Jesus name dropper”), you also have to give people battle-proven strategies in repentance/personal growth. Without that, people just are set up to be frustrated or irritated like you bravely admitted to.
The study coming later in April on overcoming to act like Jesus is the first step in helping in that department. It is based on the coaching Katrina and I have done with brave people like you over the years who were able to confess that they were failing to live up to the job Yeshua gave them and ask for help.
For now, my first strategy tip to you is to confess to God in prayer daily what you did to me in recognition that this is NOT something you can do on your own. Ask him to show you how to do it and encourage you in your failures. Also, when I fail to act in love, my conscience bothers me so I’ve made it a habit to not go into guilt or shame but to immediately confess it to God and ask for help handling this better next time. The inspirations from him to help do come usually fast. And so I get better and better all the time at not reacting badly but instead responding with love.Reply
I’ve read this 3 or 4 times. Still trying to wrap my brain around this but I know it’s a life changing message. I will continue studying this and the gospels. I finally know what Gods will is. After being a “Christian” for 30 years I could never really put my finger on what that meant. Now I know and now I know what my focus will be for the next several years. Thank you Tim.Reply
Sam, I appreciate the comment. It is paradigm-shifting information which explains why you are still struggling with it after 3 reads. But if you have any doubts or questions on any points let me know and I will use the feedback to clarify the article.Reply
Where is the article? All I have on the page is the introduction and then comments?Reply
Diana, the article is for supporters and requires you log in here.Reply
Comment on Tim’s Comment: Tim McHyde – February 18, 2017
“…Paul says the same thing in Romans 2:13-16 that people who do what the law says (love God, neighbor) even without hearing it are saved by their acts because it’s not about hearing, it’s about doing. But there has to be faith involved somehow. This is hard to describe how it works, such as in the case of an ancient person who never heard Scripture. What do they have to know or think about God in doing mercy towards other. I can’t answer that yet….
From Tomburkecr: Hello Tim, Since you asked for feedback further above, I will share these thoughts that come to me, not knowing whether they are at all original:
Take for instance the emphasis of true Buddhists on “Practicing Compassion” as preached by the Dalai Lama which sounds a lot like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” of the Sermon on the Mount. Many make a good case that most sincere and time tested religions preach a something similar, this is easy to check out on Google.
Let’s take for granted that many seek to follow this Second Commandment, yet not the First Commandment unto which it is like, which means similar but not “equal to”. True Buddhists for instance do not believe in a God with a personality like we do, at all. So they could fulfill the second Commandment but not the First which refers how one should love God.
As to the relationship of “faith and works” in our spiritual like, Tim states “This is hard to describe how it works,…”. I think this is not necessarily a problem to be solved, but rather a mystery to accept as such, somewhat like the relationship of “predestination and free will” in which both exist and yet do not annul the other. These are spiritual concepts that we can only for a fleeting moment “see as through a glass darkly” when we are conscious in our spiritual minds, whereas mysterious to our limited physical logical minds and difficult to put in words that are also limited symbols. John Bevere came close to explaining the “faith and works” mystery in his wonderful teaching videos, that Tim so graciously shared with us in this article, in that he made plain that “believing” as in “believing on the Lord” must be understood as including “obeying” as in “obeying the Lord”, bringing faith and works together as concepts that are actually related. Hate to say it this way, but we are familiar with the riddle “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”, that refers to a mystery not answerable with the two concepts involved. One way to accept that we are not called to understand all mysteries, but to accept them as highly useful and comforting once accepted, is to understand that they refer to a creation or an attribute of our all knowing, all mighty, always present God, whom we accept as such but do not fully comprehend.
Just as faith without works is dead, so are works without faith, thus requiring belief with obedience in such a mysterious and powerful “symbiosis” that Yeshua proclaimed: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. … I never knew you: depart from me, …” Implying the that our faith/works must penetrate the spiritual dimension and put us in close personal contact with Him to enter the kingdom of God. (I haven’t read Tim’s article on this verse yet.)
Another categorical proclamation by Yeshua that I want to bring forward to this comment, before landing with a question for Tim, is: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Which is my answer as to whether a person can be saved without the express written Word of God, that is, a person not hearing the Gospel must nonetheless be born of the Spirit, which in my opinion involves the mystery of free will/predestination. In other words a person not hearing the Word of God would nonetheless have to reach out to God and He would have to accept his faith as righteousness and birth him in the Spirit.
Is this possible? Yeshua alluded to this as quite possible when He proclaimed: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” It would seem from this translation that Yeshua accepts the existence of “righteous” independently of His mission.
The difference to hearing the Gospel, as in knowing Yeshua by it, is that if you have seen Yeshua, you have seen the Father. In other words, there is no easier, more direct way to know God and his personality than by knowing the life and words of the Messiah, although granted, that does not exclude others from being drawn to the Spirit of God and obeying Him in faith to righteousness as Tim well expounds. So to William Trinh, do not despair, but rather rejoice in the years you have been able to walk in His knowledge by virtue of the Gospel. Remember the Centurion whose faith impressed Yeshua beyond any he found in Israel, who beseeched for healing not for himself, but rather for his servant, an act of love to another in faith in God. Yeshua remarked how rare this faith was. without the express Word of God. So, no, it is not the same to hear and by hearing to receive faith, as to dimly assume by works of creation and calls of conscience that our Lord is merciful to all who call upon Him.
So now to my theological question for Tim who has my deepest respect for his decades of formal and personal Bible study with the most sincere dedication I am aware of: “Is there a biblical difference between “entering into the kingdom of heaven” and “salvation as in eternal life”? In other words can one miss out on the bliss of living eternally in the kingdom of God and yet live eternally outside of the gates of the New Jerusalem and not be condemned to destruction?
(Again, I haven’t read Tim’s “I never knew you: depart from me” article. If I am jumping ahead then all the better, as it shows that this article by Tim has stirred up thoughts and provoked feedback as he intended. Ahh! I see from William Trinh last comment that I am on the trail to the answer to my question and must read this article next!Reply
William Trinh and Thomas Burke, I so enjoyed your posts above! I have also been wondering about the same questions; and now you 2 have addressed it. Cant wait for Tim to answer those questions!
Thomas, Entering the kingdom and receiving eternal life are the same thing as you can see by how the terms used interchangeably by Jesus (Lk 18:18 = Lk 18:25).
As for whether Buddhists are saved, it’s clear to me that if you are good (love neighbor) of yourself without fear/submission to God (which requires saving FAITH because you have never seen him) then you’re not saved. God needs to everyone to not just by chance adopt his law but also submit to his authority for there to be peace throughout eternity among all he lets into the kingdom. If you just love because Buddhism taught you, you have not done it for God yet and get no credit to submitting to God in things you may not agree with yet, things that take faith. “For Without faith it’s impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6) is a key verse in this regard.Reply
Took me a couple times reading this to fully grasp it. Makes perfect sense once you see it broken down and explained. Thanks for doing this Tim and sharing so I can benefit too!Reply
Thanks for the teaching. It’s going to take some time for it all to sink in. There are some very radical elements in there:
“And that’s “therefore” how God judges who gets into the kingdom and who doesn’t. It’s not about knowing Yeshua or “accepting Yeshua as Savior” because, again, I remind you that not all of humanity can meet that requirement.”
So just to clarify, are you saying that everyone who “treats others as they would like to be treated” will gain access to eternal life in God’s Kingdom regardless of whether they believe in Yeshua or not? And belief in and acceptance of Yeshua as the Son of God, as well as our savior is no longer the criteria for salvation? Rather, belief in and obedience to Yeshua will guarantee that our good works will maximize our rewards in the Kingdom of God.
I think that is what you are saying, which is a radical departure from what I’ve believed all of this time.
I completely follow your logic, but will have to unlearn all of the stuff I learned in church before I can truly internalize what you say the Word of God is saying to us.
I’m not challenging or disagreeing with you, just wanted to make sure that I understand you correctly before I set about overhauling my belief system.Reply
William, yes radical teachings like this take time to assimilate.
What I’m saying is actually what a Biblical scholar would confirm (or a good commentary) as the teaching of the Bible, and different from what lay Christians think. That, yes, salvation does not depend on hearing about or receiving Jesus.
Paul says the same thing in Romans 2:13-16 that people who do what the law says (love God, neighbor) even without hearing it are saved by their acts because it’s not about hearing, it’s about doing. But there has to be faith involved somehow. This is hard to describe how it works, such as in the case of an ancient person who never heard Scripture. What do they have to know or think about God in doing mercy towards other. I can’t answer that yet.
But I’m sure a Jew without the NT who accepts God and obeys his Word is indeed saved without accepting Yeshua. One day they will find out that Yeshua paid the price for their sins so that their righteousness and faith could get their sins covered.Reply
Thanks for your very frank and honest response. You are right, it will take some time to assimilate, but I must say that for the last 14 years of my Christianity, I have suspected that something in the traditional salvation equation didn’t add up. There’s too much personal entitlement in the doctrine and lack of accountability which is contradicted in so many places in the Scripture.
It certainly makes more sense that God wants us to do good things for others, especially wicked people who despise us, without their knowledge – because that way we can understand how God Himself has done the ultimate good for all of mankind, most of whom despise Him and will never know what He did. This gives me a much better picture of God’s selfless, radically generous heart in a way the traditional salvation doctrine derived from John 3:16-36 never fully could.
It always bothered me how the traditional salvation doctrine sets up Yeshua as a stumbling block for all except the select few who go through the motions of professing to believe. I saw how teachings like this led to much elitism, entitlement, condemnation, and even laziness in the church.
All of that said, I still find myself uncomfortable with your teaching because if John 3:16-18, 36 is no longer the foundation of Christian faith, then every other belief built upon it falls apart. “Salvation” IS the central doctrine of at least modern Christianity if I understood it correctly – so if it suddenly isn’t as you suggest, what is?
The modern day Church taught me that grace, mercy, and eternal life were extended only to those who professed a belief in Yeshua. Now you are saying that grace, mercy, and eternal life were extended to all of mankind as a result of Yeshua’s death and resurrection regardless of what they believe. Plausible. I can see where Scripture supports this doctrine, but what a radical departure from the widely accepted norm in the Church!
My question then, what benefit is there in knowing Christ now if many (if not most) people in the world today are capable of living according to the “golden rule” without any help from the Judeo-Christian Scriptures?
Is there any purpose in sharing the knowledge of Christ with others if they are doing perfectly fine on their own, and would be entirely satisfied to discover that THERE IS a life after death and that their good deeds in this life did matter? With these people (which is most people I believe), would the promise of rewards, position, and authority in the Kingdom be enough of an incentive to become a follower of Christ?
If the answer is, there is no benefit, no purpose in knowing Christ if all one cares about is living a good enough life here on earth to live again in eternity with their family and friends who too have passed – I’m ok with that.
If the answer is, knowing or not knowing Christ does make a difference now and in the afterlife, I would like to know if that benefit goes beyond what you mentioned in your blog – i.e. divine provision now, position, and authority in the Kingdom.
Please forgive me if my questions sound ignorant. I haven’t read enough of your blogs to get a full understanding of your theological foundation. Most of the stuff I consume of yours deals with eschatological topics which I enjoy very much.
If you’ve already addressed these questions in your writings, please kindly point me to the article. Otherwise I look forward to your response.Reply
I just read your blog entitled, “Why Jesus Will Tell Christians, “Depart From Me! I Never Knew You.”.
I think I get it now. As a matter of fact, I believe it was my struggle with this scripture verse that led me to find out about your teachings five years ago.
Wow! Alot to digest. Liberating, challenging, and frightening truth you conveyed.
Not sure how I would have reacted to that information had I come across it during my early, zealous, born-again Christian years. I probably would have labeled you a heretic or a false teacher. But now that I have separated myself from mainstream church life your article is somewhat of a confirmation. A confirmation of what I suspected long ago, that mainstream Christianity’s doctrine of salvation is an unwitting deception spread by mostly well-intentioned, but nonetheless deceived people.
I always knew deep down that Yeshua’s words in Matt 7:21-23 were aimed at most if not all modern Christians but was too fearful of the spiritual dilemma I would be in if I accepted that to be true – because I would be a part of that “but Lord, Lord” group.
But arriving at this conclusion about Christians and this verse made it very difficult for me to continue on in in the mainstream church. What was I supposed to do now that I realized that everything being preached in church was probably based on fundamentally false doctrines?
Knowing what I know about church people, if I tried to have honest conversations about the problems I found with many of the core doctrines Christians hold dear, I would have been ostracized. So, instead of sticking around, I drifted away from mainstream Christianity and for a long time felt rudderless, jaded, and even resentful over the entire experience
The sum of your teaching on this topic has confirmed and clarified what I believed all along. I can finally without remorse reject all forms of modern Christianity and instead put my faith in the Word of God that led me to discover the same truth you discovered before me.
I really liked the “Christian vs Servant of God” chart you made. The part you said about “reputation” was particularly powerful in explaining why this mainstream, politicized, right-wing, Evangelical Christianity cannot be what Yeshua intended. Those people are certainly NOT recognized by the world to be followers of Yeshua because of their love for one another.
So much to consider and set about changing in my life. Daunting and exhilarating.
Thanks again for faithfully fighting the good fight. People are still seeking God out there and you just connected with one more.Reply
On a different but similar topic – what are your thoughts on the Didache?
I came across it a couple of years ago and found it to be a fascinating document with an even more fascinating history.
It seems that your conclusion on the Sermon on the Mount is summarized in the first few paragraphs of this ancient document that allegedly was in circulation among the believers of Acts 2.
Did you ever do a blog on this?Reply
William, I have not studied the Didache, but I remember it was very similar to what the Sermon on the Mount says. Seems worthy of study. I’ll keep it in mind, thanks.Reply
I look forward to your thoughts on this topic in the future. I hope it blesses you as much as it’s blessing me.Reply
Well, Tim, that was an interesting article!
I haven’t studied Jesus’ sermon – just read it a couple of times.
When faced with a difficult or unpleasant situation, I have often silently wondered “What would Jesus do in this instance?”
Now I know: take the opportunity to demonstrate radical love!
What a habit that is to start cultivating!
Increasingly, as I read your articles, I find myself looking for the literal meaning in scripture (as long as it’s not obviously symbolic).
“Audience” trips me up though.
Determining what scripture is directed at we “future” folk as opposed to those around at the time.
Just finished reading the new parts Tim. I love your writing, thank you.Reply
Tim, thanks, I appreciate the love. But did this article teach you anything new or change the way you view Yeshua’s words? I’d appreciate more feedback if you can.Reply
Yes, definitely. To summarise the whole Bible in one clear sentence is very helpful, as otherwise there is a lot to try and juggle in your mind! In times of confusion I can now simply recall the single most important sentence in the Bible, and it’s certain to help give peace and improve my decision making.
I don’t have a religious background, but I too was uncertain about the grace/faith/works debate, as it seemed the Bible was saying different things at different times. But your ability to hone in on that word ‘reward’ and discover its true meaning makes things much clearer.
I’d like to take a guess at Matthew 6:22-23 as well. Assuming the word light refers to spiritual (and/or physical) goodness, and the word dark refers to spiritual/physical indecency, then perhaps he is suggesting the health of a person (spiritual and/or physical) can be seen when you look into their eyes? I believe you can sense a lot about a person by looking in their eyes. A person with shifty eyes often has a shifty personality, one with bright eyes a bright personality, etc… its a guide you can use to get a sense of character. Just a guess…Reply
I am enjoying this 3 part article Tim, with responses to comments from you and Katrina.
Looking forward to the 3rd part.
It’s uplifting to discover a new perspective.
This has given me some things to work on that perhaps my previous readings rendered too hard.
Sue, glad to hear you’re enjoying it. I’m very excited about these insights on the SOTM.
Part 3 is coming soon and then part 4 will be a new article in Feb.Reply
Hi Linda, I think what you have brought up about confrontation is important and many of us struggle with when to confront and even what kind of confrontation if of God and not of God. I will try and give the simplest, most clear answer of what I know so far on this topic.
In the churches and societal circles I have been in, most of what is taught is really learning how to tolerate and hold in when someone does something offensive to us. That is taught as being patient and forgiving. But what happens is we hold it in and it becomes stressful (pulling down our health) and then sometimes explode it out, many times on other people who were not the ones who originally offended us.
Toleration seems to be trying to hold a belief that you, or the people you care for are being unrightfully mistreated, but the socially acceptable thing to do is ‘tolerate’ it because Christ ‘tolerated’ so much more. Toleration might be the focus on the offense and its consequences.
Patience, on the other hand, may be more like a pause, to take inventory of what is happening and what to do about it, and there is always something(s) to do about it. I think the patience of God may be more on focusing on how God would like you to share His love in this situation, and how you can hold on to His love and let it heal you even if others choose not to be healed from the situation. As you can see, tolerance and patience might have different motives.
If you get stuck on looking at the offense, then you get stuck in tolerance. If you focus on the love of God and wanting to accept it for yourself so much that only then you act out IN LOVE as your motivation to deal with the situation appropriately, I believe you have patience. You may or may not be called to confront. But, you will not be held back by fear of hurting someone or yourself from offense and toleration, and instead be empowered with Love as your motivation to make the choice of what to do.
Love given with patience verses tolerance of an offense may be two of the major choices we have of dealing with inappropriate behaviors.
Does this help?Reply
Hi Katrina and Tim,
Thanks so much for your responses. It seems that I was stuck in tolerance, rather than patience. I think what was happening is this: As I was sexually abused for over 2 years as a child, and I tolerated it because of fear, I did not speak up for myself or did anything to end it; until at the end of that period. I was so edgy and nervous by them, that when the man approached me again – he was the family hero at that time – (in front of my mother!) I pushed him away and finally spoke up to his and my mother’s shock and surprise! I ran away and was trembling and in tears, but also relieved.
With this current situation where I broke it off so finally with my job and my boss, I subconsciously knew I had to speak up for myself and end the abuse, otherwise I would be stuck in that “puppet” situation! So I did, and I felt relieved on the one hand, but also now I am paying the consequences with sacrifices and a very uncomfortable work situation for a few months 🙁
I want to refer to this:
For example, when someone slights you, offends you or outright hurts you, do you do what you have always done, let them know, and demand they make it right, as justice and common sense dictates? Or do you “go the extra mile” not only restraining your impulse to retaliate, but also not complaining and not informing them about your thoughts on their inconsideration. Each slight is an opportunity to shine a different light in this way. Even if this person is your spouse or best friend who cares about you and normally receives feedback from you, you can choose differently. If you want the most credit with God, you can resist the urge to tell your spouse you felt forgotten the other day.
So I have not done this! I could not restrain the impulse to retaliate as I felt “victim” again, as 45 years ago. I must admit that I did not pray about the issue fervently over time; just a few times I prayed for her and about the situation. I reacted in anger which has built up of tolerance over time.
I think the patience of God may be more on focusing on how God would like you to share His love in this situation, and how you can hold on to His love and let it heal you even if others choose not to be healed from the situation. As you can see, tolerance and patience might have different motives.
I have never thought about tolerance and patience before (in this regard) but I clearly see now that I had to proof to myself that I can end abuse and be courageous (not that it brought me a better situation though ….) I will learn from this to focus on patience more in future.
Dearest Linda, first I would just like to send you a smile and a breath for a moment at how beautiful you are in trying to figure out how God wants you to deal with very difficult experiences in your life. Your willingness to stay engaged and learn from tough atrocities is such a great example to us all. You are not running away from God, or yourself, or what value you can get out of what you cannot change- which is past events. This world ‘touches’ us in very uncomfortable ways whether we are Believers or not. Maybe there exists someone on this planet where it hasn’t, but I have never met one. Elijah sure could relate to being ‘touched’ in an uncomfortable way: All his prophet friends had been killed by Jezebel while he was away. He came back to find them all dead. Elijah was led to stand up to Jezebel’s prophets and the people of Israel under the evil government control of Ahab, Jezebel’s husband (I am making Ahab intentionally Jezebel’s husband because even though Ahab was the king, he let his wife lead him and the people in whatever evil she wanted). Elijah challenged them with seeing if they could get fire to come down from heaven and consume a sacrifice. King Ahab and the people thought Elijah was the one who was going to be put to shame and put in his place. Instead, Elijah’s direct challenge of those prophets of Jezebel (their god, Baal) showed the power of the One True God. Then Elijah told the people to go kill all the prophets of Baal. It must have felt good to have Ahab and the people of Israel on his side for a small moment and be so surprised by God consuming the sacrifice where their prophets failed, and then Elijah feels the retaliation of telling them to kill the Baal prophets just like the true prophets of God had been killed by Jezebel. This feeling lasted for a very short time. Yes, those prophets were killed on the spot, but when Jezebel was told, she said that one day would not pass before Elijah was dead. Now, Elijah had the power of God him and yet he was afraid of Jezebel and ran into the wilderness to hide from her and seek God! That tells you how powerful Jezebel was, that witch.
Here are the points I am trying to make by sharing this story:
1) It is impossible to not get ‘touched’ inappropriately in one way or another when you are a true Believer because we live in a fallen, evil world and they hate us who are their enemies. Hey, they touched our Lord inappropriately in so many ways and even killed him. Expect the same treatment.
2) Even with the power of God with us to fight, it is still a war down here that we fight in (although the war is rigged because God already proclaimed we win the war before the war is even finished- We fight with faith that God always gets what He says). In the battles, we are gonna get hurt every once in a while as we learn to use the war tools God has given us and get better at using them. This does not mean God has left you or forsaken you. It means God is there with you to help you learn to fight with Him and His power, and never leave you or forsake you. And it is okay to be learning and not get it right all the time. Actually, whether you get it right or not, suffering will come. That is just what a war brings with it-suffering.
3) There is a time to fight and a time to run in a war. I would suggest deciding to do either of these things while holding on to the belief that God is either holding ground with you, or running with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Each technique has its own benefits and necessities in the middle of the war. They both can be misused and they both can be used advantageously. The huge question we all have as we are fighting is (and I see it in your questions), “When is it time to hold ’em and when is it time to fold ’em”, as the old Kenny Rogers song goes? Well, I think we each personally have to learn how to fight this spiritual war by just taking each battle at a time, practicing, making mistakes, learning lessons, and not giving up. YOU ARE GOING TO SOMETIMES NOT GET IT RIGHT. That is OKAY. Just have a heart to keep wanting to try and fight with God.
What a warrior you are, Linda! You are growing so much and you don’t give up. Your fight to continue to go forward in faith is an inspiration to the rest of us soldiers. For the moment, I still see tolerance as trying to handle a terrible situation by yourself, which leads to emotional turmoil and fatigue. It seems to me that tolerance grows in to patience when the ingredient of knowing God is helping you at all times is injected into the circumstances you face, whether you are fighting or running. Our faith in God helping is our invisible shield that helps us win the wars. The thing about invisible shields is that we might think they don’t exist because we cannot see them or feel them. We get to learn that we believe in them whether we can see them or feel them- that makes it FAITH (Eph 6).
Hope this helps dear Sister Linda,
As always, your reply has given me much to think about …. I am so grateful for Gods grace in leading me by His spirit, to learn, to grow. And for people like you and Tim who has opened my spiritual eyes 8 years ago, to see the truth of the Bible!
You are amazing as a life coach and I have learnt so much from you.
Love and prayers, Linda
Thanks Tim. Yes, it all makes perfectly clear sense! I guess I still have to go a long way and grow more patience… I often tried to get through to my boss, but maybe I was too diplomatic, too vague, so she never knew the depth and all the frustration I went through daily. But I did give her a polite letter explaining my hurt and frustration and why I felt offended so often. She chose not to even acknowledge the letter or to at least discuss my concerns. My nature is to be totally conflict avoiding. But it also create (in the long run) a lot of supressed anger building up which one day explodes; which is then so intense (like what happened) that I did not even want to go back. With the result that I now have to work in another town, stay over with people, and drive a lot more with a lot more expenses till I can find another suitable job in my home town …. that’s why I know I have to work harder at this problem of not addressing things as they happen, but instead I wait till they become out of hand 🙁Reply
Linda, I think we can all relate to putting off dealing with our issues until it becomes too painful or miserable not to, such as your fear of confrontation causing you more misery and pain and time. Or we just don’t know we have a problem that or if we do that the problem has a solution (“that’s the way I am, I guess”). So we just ignore it. But I’m learning as God brings my own long-time inner-child fear issues up for healing, there is a way to reverse even decades long held dysfunctional belief systems.Reply
Wow Tim … I have never thought about these statements of Jesus to be offensive in the light that you explained it! Now they are starting to fall into place at last. The video is excellent and I so enjoyed listening to it. I want to share it on fb (what is the link please?) Not that I think there will be more than 1 or 2 people who would want to watch anyway, but still.
Something stood out for me: When we are obedient, God will take care of our families. Great comfort to me; as you know, I have great sadness because my only child and her family does not believe in God anymore 🙁 What is this obedience? Love to God and to others?
When can we get secret # 3? Or have I overlooked it? Cant wait to read more of this article.
Gods blessings to you and your family
Love, Linda NZ
Linda, it changes everything doesn’t it? When you realize Yeshua was using offense on purpose, as a loving tool.
Yes like my other article teaches, that’s the actual Gospel or “Good News” of the Kingdom: when you seek God’s kingdom he will take care of your needs (Mt 6:33=Mt 7:12). Yes by deciding to treat others as you would like to be treated (Mt 7:12) because God said so you are seeking the Kingdom and loving God by your obedience. It’s that simple, but, of course, not easy to overcome years of habits, ingrained biases and prejudices, hurts and inertia.
Yes, the video is great by John Bevere, but unfortunately it’s a private upload not to be shared. People have to buy it. I’ll put the link up.
Secrets 2 and 3 are almost rough-written and I need to go back and finish it up. Hope to do it this week. Stay tuned and thanks for your support!Reply
I have been badly treated by my manager (female) for the past 5 months at work; could not take it any longer (I am conflict avoiding) but spoke up for once (she swept important matters under the carpet and did not even acknowledge the efforts I made to work in peace with her!) Now I have made a complaint through Head Office, spilling the beans of all her wrong-doings.
I refer to this: “Yes by deciding to treat others as you would like to be treated” …. how do I now justify my actions because I feel so wronged and not valued, she treated me wrong and I reacted in anger and hurt. Is it wrong to have lodged the complaints? I am surely not turning the other cheek any more ….
So hard! Please help as I am confused.Reply
Linda, you did nothing wrong. You were in your right to report abuse especially at work. It sounds like you were exercising patience for a long time, too. We all have a breaking point. You did well!
Now this is not about perfection or performance but learning from our experiences to do better in the future. That attitude leads us to ask, could this have been handled even better? Sure, since you’re not perfect yet…
For example, maybe in the future you can deal with the negative emotions before you come to a decision. Like Dr. Phil says, don’t get a divorce until you’re no longer angry with your spouse. Settle the emotions first rather than make an emotional decision. It’s wise.
As far as the Sermon on the Mount teaching of Yeshua, it goes way beyond what love as defined staying within your rights or justifiable actions to a love where you get the biggest reward for the kingdom. Usually this means not exercising your right or making sure people get what they deserve like your boss. In that scenario, you would put up with your boss’ abuse without complaining and use it to learn to control your emotions when your mistreated, praying for your enemies, etc. God can use this to refine you. Think of David under Saul and how abused he was because he could not life a finger against God’s anointed king, even if he goes rogue. God refined David through this.
But as he once said about another difficult route for the most righteousness, “not everyone can receive this saying” (Mt 19:11). You can grow into it and until you do, you’re not wrong. It’s all about what’s going to give you the most overcoming and most reward in the kingdom and how much reward you are willing to sacrifice comfort and control in this life now for.
Sarah, We can all say that, because it was in love, but didn’t his hard statements confound or trouble you?Reply
thanks for the links great videos, so I’m still working on the pronunciation
Yeshua …. does it sound like Joshua only with the y sound?
Tina, Good to hear it. Yes, close but the accent is on the second syllable (YeSHUa) not on the first like in JOshua.Reply
I havent gotten past the name: Jesus, Yeshua, also heard it was pronounced Eashoa?Reply
Tina, Yes, lots of misinformation on the divine names. Best to listen to a ancient languages scholar who is young and up to date like Nehemia Gordon who I have met personally:
Karaite Files #2: https://youtu.be/TJjKsmZpsgQ?t=1886
Karaite Files #7: https://youtu.be/OINxigbPEBY?t=1817
Great start to the article, Tim, and thanks for your testimony of having difficulty with Jesus’ hard words.
I have done quite a bit of skimming over difficult scripture. Your perspective is helping me to stop, take a breath and consider all things literally, in context, especially with regard to audience.
I have no doubt that part 2 will help open my eyes and develop techniques for greater understanding. God bless you both with a great measure of His spirit.
Nice work Tim. Reminds me of all the little tests women put us blokes through before they choose to accept us as their partner. It’s a challenge, but best not to give up!
On the matter of adultery which you briefly touched on, there used to be an interesting website which suggested the modern definition is based on mis-translations from the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament), and that cheating, as opposed to sex outside of marriage, is the sin. http://counterfeitsin.tumblr.com/ Very unfortunately that website has been taken down, so you can’t view the research on it, but I’ll be interested to read your findings. It could be tricky research given ingrained modern beliefs, and that many different English terms are used for various sexual acts (‘knew’ ‘came in unto’, ‘adultery’, ‘fornication’, ‘covetousness’ ‘uncleanness’ ‘lasciviousness’ etc…), but if that article was correct and some translations are false, than no wonder Yeshua’s Sermon can be difficult to grasp!Reply
Tim, Yes, Yeshua said if you “lust after a woman then you have already committed adultery [not fornication] in your heart.” Adultery requires that either she or you are married. It’s not about sex outside marriage or so-called “fornication” but someone violating the marriage bond which is the defintion of adultery. The realm of errors of Christianity also includes its extra-biblical definition of sexual sin. They paint with too broad of a brush.Reply
Thanks for the reply Tim. Pleased to hear you agree, as it is not a stance you hear followers of Christ take often. In fact, that website and your reply now are the only two instances I have ever come across it. Mistranslations (or misinterpretations) of the original text certainly spread many incorrect teachings.Reply
You might be interested to find that John Piper (desiring god.org) agrees with you both on the Biblical distinction between fornication and adultery. Indeed that’s precisely why he teaches (very carefully and considerately and lovingly in my view) that fornication (porneia) is not grounds for the modern concept of divorce, at least not in light of Jesus’ entire body of teaching.Reply
I have asked my Pastor about the same thing, and I get references to Paul said—–. When I ask to reference in the Law (very specific on who you cannot), or red letters it becomes more difficult. I asked someone who claims to understand the Greek , he claims Fornication implies intent.Reply
Jim, I think fornication implies not just intent, but action, yes? Thanks for commenting.Reply
If you lust as a fornicator, you are likely to do it as an adulterer !Reply
Dear Tim, Just read your post & was very blessed. I never understood the difficult verses but once pointed out it’s about rewards, it is clear and obvious. I did get the golden rule and considered it a “tentpole in scripture” because it fulfilled all the law and the prophets. Even so I learned from your post that it is a salvation issue. I hadn’t picked up on that before.
Thank you,sir, EdReply