Behold Your Son….Behold Your Mother (John 19:25-27)

1.0 The Statement

Jesus’ Third Statement on the Cross: “Behold your Son….Behold your Mother” (John 19:25-27) – God’s Word teaches that “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Jesus, on the Cross died not only for His friends but also for His Enemies – “While we were yet Sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

“Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the Disciples standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, “Woman, behold thy Son! Then saith He to the Disciple (John), Behold your mother! And from that hour that Disciples took her unto his own home.” (John 19:25-27). Jesus’ Disciple was John, who wrote the Gospel of John and bears witness of these things.

The four Roman Soldiers were there, but they were there because of duty. The four women were there with the Apostle John; there were there out of devotion for Jesus; they loved Him. The four women were: (1) Mary, Jesus’ mother; (2) Mary Magdalene; (3) Salome (Jesus’ mother’s sister); (4) Mary, the wife of Cleophas; and John, the Apostle.

The Phrase: “Near the Cross,” has become an evangelical cliché; we prayed: “O Lord, keep me near the Cross;” and we sing about standing near the Cross. What does it mean to be near the Cross of Jesus? Obviously we are not speaking about literally in the place outside Jerusalem – the physical Cross of Jesus Christ was already gone; thus, we are speaking about the spiritual experience of Jesus’ Cross, the relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ – Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  The Revelation of what happened at the Cross helps us to understand what it means to be near the Cross of Jesus Christ.

1 Place of Redemption

The Cross of Jesus Christ is the Place of Redemption – Mary Magdalene was there as shown in John 19:25. Mary Magdalene has been delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the Mary Magdalene of Luke 7:36-50, the woman who anointed Jesus with the costly perfume. The Mary Magdalene at the Cross was the woman mentioned in Luke 8:2 (Mark 16:9) as the woman out of whom Jesus had cast out seven-Demons in her. Mary Magdalene was not only at the Cross, but also early in the morning of the resurrection she came to Christ’s tomb. Mary Magdalene had been in bondage to Satan. Redemption was costly, and Mary Magdalene witnessed the first hand – Christ’s Broken Body and Shed Blood, on the Cross was the Price of her Redemption

2 Place of Forgiveness

Salome was at the Cross, she was Mary’s sister, the mother of James and John, and the wife of Zebedee. She was remembered as the woman who came with her sons, James and John asking for her sons to be seated on the right and left hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, judging Israel (Matthew 20:20-28). James was the first Apostle to be martyred and John was the last of the Apostles to be martyred. Although Salome, had made an unsuccessful request to Jesus for her sons, nevertheless, the Lord Jesus did not hold that against her. She was at the Cross, a changed person, having a deep devotion for the Lord Jesus Christ.   

3 Place of Grief (Luke 2:35)

Mary the Mother of Jesus and John the Apostle were at the Cross – the Cross was a Place of Pain as well as the Place of Reward of for Mary, the mother of Jesus, seeing her Son died, a cruel death, on the Cross for her Redemption and the Redemption for the World (John 3:16) – Luke 2:35 “(Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  We find Mary in John 2 and in John 19, and the two incidents are contrasted:

  • In John 2, Mary was attending a wedding and was involved in the joys of the feast witnessing Jesus turning the water into wine, when the Host ran out of wine (John 2:11). In John 19, Mary was at the Cross of Jesus Christ, nursing her grief and pain of seeing her Son on the Cross, His (Christ’s) broken Body and shed Blood, dying for the sin of the world (John 3:16).
  • In John 2 (2:11), Jesus demonstrated His Power of turning of the water into wine. In John 19, our Lord Jesus died, for the sin of the world, in submission and obedience to His Father’s Plan and Will (Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 5:8), to complete the Plan of Salvation.
  • In John 2, Mary was Rejoicing & speaking; in John 19, Mary was in grief and silence. 
  • What piercing of Mary’s heart must have been hers when she saw her Son despised and rejected of men – the Crowds were mocking, the Thieves were taunting, the Priests were jeering, the Soldiers were heartless and indifferent, the Son (Jesus) was bleeding and dying – and there is His mother beholding the horrible mockery (Luke 23:35-39).
  • What grief must have wrung her heart as she beheld her Son (Jesus) hated and persecuted by His own Nation (Matthew 27:22, 23).
  • She has experienced the Prophecy of “heart-rending” – “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).  
  • The Bible exhorts us to honour our Parents (Ephesians 6:1, 2).
  • Proverbs 23:22 “Despise not your mother when she is old.”
NoAt the Wedding Feast (John 2)At the Cross (John 19:25-27)
1Mary was Joyful at the WeddingMary was nursing her grief at the Cross
2Power of Christ (water turned into wine)Submission & Obedience of Christ.
3Mary was rejoiced in speakingMary was in grief and in silence
4Mary saw Jesus was accepted & honouredMary saw Jesus was despised and mocked
5Mary saw Jesus was accepted by His NationMary saw Jesus was rejected by His Nation
6Mary experienced the Prophecy of “Signs & Wonders & Miracles” as affirmed of Christ the Messiah (Heb.2:4).Mary experienced the Prophecy of “heart-rending” at the Cross (Luke 2:34-35).
7Lesson: “Honour our Parents” (Eph.6:1-2)
8Lesson: “Despise not your mother when she is old” (Prov.23:22).

4 Place of Responsibility

John came back after “all forsook Him (Jesus) and fled,” when Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26:56, 31). Jesus committed His mother, Mary to John, and said: “Behold thy mother!” (John 19:27); honouring His (Jesus’) Mother (Ephesians 6:1, 2) by committing her, to him (John) to be taken care of – thus, John at the Place of the Cross, received the responsibility of caring for Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Today Thou Shalt be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:39-43 & John 19:18)

1.0 Statement

Jesus’ Second Statement on the Cross – “Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43).  Whenever an Individual acknowledged and received Jesus Christ, as his Lord & Saviour, he experienced an amazing experience:

  • It is amazing because a miracle takes place – being “born-again,” by God’s Word and Spirit (John 3:3-8; 1Peter 1:23; Titus 3:5).
  • The spiritually dead Sinner (Romans 5:12; 1Corinthians 15:22a) is raised to Eternal Life (John 3:16).
  • The Individual is brought from Darkness into Light (1Thessalonians 5:5).
  • The Individual received God’s Divine Nature (2Peter 1:4; 2Corinthians 3:18).

But the situation surrounding the “born-again-experience,” of some, is much more spectacular; when we considered the “born-again-experience,” of the Thief on the Cross, we must admit that it is really most amazingLuke 23:35-43 “And the people stood looking on. But even the Rulers with them sneered, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God. The soldiers also mocked Him. coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, ‘If You are the King of the Jews save Yourself.’ And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEW. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation.? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but his Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” This was Jesus’ Second Words from the Cross – “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The First Words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus first prayed for His Enemies. In His Second Words, He turned to the Repentant Thief (Sinner) and gave him (the Thief) the assurance that he (Thief) was going to Heaven (Paradise of God). We would consider the amazing aspect of the Thief’s Salvation.

1.1 Amazing Situation

First of all, we cannot help but see the Amazing Situation at Calvary – When Jesus was crucified, He was placed between the two Thieves, in fulfilment of the Prophecy in Isaiah 53:12b “He was numbered with the Transgressors.”  The Romans could have put the two Thieves together, and not in between Jesus; in fact, that would have been the natural thing to do. We get the impression that these two Thieves were Partners in crime, and certainly it would have been a good thing for the Soldiers to put these two friends together. Instead, the Soldiers put the Lord Jesus between the two Thieves – this is an Amazing Situation, prophesied in the Scripture: Acts 4:26 -28 “The Kings of the earth took their stand, and the Rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ. For truly against Your Holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. (Acts 2:23). For the unfolding of the event that would follow.  

1.11 Fulfillment

It was in fulfilment of the Prophecy given in Isaiah 53:12b that states: “He was numbered with the Transgressors.” And affirmed in historical fulfilment: “And with Him they crucify two thieves; the one on His right hand, and the other on His left. And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:27-28).  Thus, we see God’s Hand (Isaiah 53) and the hand of man at work (Mark 15:27-28); Jesus was numbered with the Transgressors (Thieves). So that Amazing Situation began with the fulfilment of the Prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. God’s Word is settled in Heaven – Psalm 119:89 “Forever, O LORD, Your Word is settled in Heaven.”

1.12 God’s Wisdom

God arranged that Jesus was crucified between the two Thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:27-28; Acts 4:26-28; Acts 2:23), so that the two thieves could hear Him Prayed: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

  • God’s Spirit took Jesus’ Prayer and touched the heart of both Thieves, but one Thief responded (Luke 23:39-43).
  • Both Thieves were on either side of Jesus, they could see the title, written in three common languages of that time (Greek, Latin and Hebrew), and the Thieves, probably knew at least two of those languages – “Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (Luke 23:38).
  • The title “Jesus, the King of the Jews” was perhaps the first Gospel track ever written, and it hung over the head of Jesus.
  • Those two Thieves, as they looked at each other, must look at Jesus! As they looked at Jesus, they must see that title – and that title told them who Jesus is. He is Jesus, which means “Saviour.” He is Jesus of Nazareth. He came from a despised and a rejected place, identified with the outcasts, called Nazareth – John 1:46b “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
  • Jesus is King of the Jews – Jesus is the Saviour who has a Kingdom. And so, in reading this title, they could get the message of the Gospel.  
  • God used the mockery of the Crowd (Luke 23:35), the Rulers (Luke 23:35), the Soldiers (Luke 23:36-37), and One of the Thieves (Luke 23:39), to win the Other Thief (Luke 23:40-43). How Amazing is the Working of God’s Gracious Providence? 

1.2 Amazing Supplication

The Prayer that the one Thief prayed is truly one of the Amazing Prayer: Luke 23:42 “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’” God’s Spirit must have touched his (Thief’s) heart as the Scripture declares: 1Corinthians 12:3b “And no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” The “substance,” of the Thief’s Prayer:  

  • Initially, both Thieves reviled Jesus – Matthew 27:41-44 “Likewise the Chief Priests also, mocking with the Scribes and Elders,……Even the thieves who were crucified with Him (Jesus) reviled Him (Jesus) with the same thing.”
  • Then, he (Thief) rebuked the other Thief who spoke evil against Jesus – Luke 23:39-40 “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him (Jesus), saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?’
  • He Confessed that he feared God – Luke 23:40b “‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?’”
  • He Confessed that he has committed crime and deserved the punishment – Luke 23:41a “And we justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds.”
  • He Confessed that Jesus is Sinless – Luke 23:41b “But this Man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong.”
  • He confessed and acknowledged the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus – Luke 23:42 “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. 
  • He Confessed that there was the life after death – Luke 23:42 “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”
  • He Asked with courage – asking Jesus to remember him, when He (Jesus) comes into His Kingdom (Luke 23:42).
  • He Received an affirmative assurance from Jesus – Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”

The Crowd, the Rulers, the Soldiers and one of the Thief mocked Jesus, yet this Repentant Thief dares to ask Jesus to remember him; he, believing that Jesus is the King with His Kingdom. It can be said that the Repentant Thief who received Jesus, his faith ranks very high; because Jesus, while hung on the Cross, looked hopelessly defeated, yet he (the Repentant Thief) believed in Jesus and experienced Salvation – Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’”

1.3 Amazing Salvation

There is the third aspect of this Amazement; – not only the Amazing Situation and the Amazing Supplication (Prayer) but also the Amazing Salvation. He (the Repentant Thief) turned to Jesus and asked Him (Jesus) to “Remember him when He (Jesus) comes into His Kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Jesus gave him an Amazing Salvation: “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The Sevenfold Aspects of this Amazing Salvation:

1.31 God’s Grace

What are the characteristics of the Salvation experienced by the Repentant Thief on the Cross, that is so amazing? To begin with, this Salvation was wholly by God’s Grace, as the Repentant Thief did not deserve to be saved and he admitted it; he said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And We indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds.” (Luke 23:40b-41a). He admitted that he deserved to be Punished and not Salvation; yet he (the Repentant Thief) experienced the Salvation from Jesus Himself – Luke 23:42-43 “Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Paradise is Third Heaven (2Corinthians 12:2-4) and is also the Throne-Room of God wherein laid the Tree of Life (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2).   

  • Third Heaven & Paradise – 2Corinthians 12:2b-4 “One was caught up to the Third Heaven…caught up into Paradise….”
  • Tree of Life & Paradise – Revelation 2:7 “From the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
  • Tree of Life & God’s Throne – Revelation 22:1-2 “And He showed me a Pure River of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the Throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the River, was the Tree of Life,….”

Salvation is wholly by God’s Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9); this Repentant Thief could not have earned his Salvation, he simply received Salvation by Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – Luke 23:42b “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” And 1Corinthians 12:3b “And no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” Wherever there is Faith, there is God’s Grace; wherever there is Law, there is Works. The Repentant Thief could not work for God’s Salvation; all he could do was receive God’s Salvation as God’s Grace and God’s Gift – “For by Grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

1.32 Certain and Secure

The Repentant Thief’s Salvation, in Christ, was certain and secured because Jesus Himself gave him the Assurance – Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me Paradise.”

  • The Repentant Thief was an underserving Sinner both condemned by the Romans Law “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And We indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds.” (Luke 23:40b-41a);
  • Condemned by the Adamic Sin – Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” And 1Corinthians 15:22a “In Adam, all die.”  

However, the Repentant Thief received Jesus as his Lord – Luke 23:42b “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” And 1Corinthians 12:3b “No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

1.33 Personal

There is a third characteristic to this Salvation. It was wholly of God’s Grace; the Salvation was certain and secure; and the Salvation was Personal – Luke 23:43 “Assuredly, I say to you.” You see God loves the Repentant Thief personally; Jesus’ Love was shown to him (the Repentant Thief) personally; and Christ saved him personally – Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me Paradise.”

1.34 Present

The Repentant Thief’s Salvation was Personal and the Salvation was Present Salvation: Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me Paradise.” The Repentant Thief had said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” (Luke 23:42); his thought was “sometime in the future, you are going to have a Kingdom. Please remember me when that happened.”  God’s Salvation is not a process; Salvation is instantaneous spiritual experience by God’s Power when he (Thief) put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” (Luke 23:42). A Personal Present Salvation!

1.35 Centered in Christ

The Repentant Thief’s Salvation is centred in the Lord Jesus Christ – “To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Jesus Christ was identified with this condemned Thief, and this Thief was identified with Jesus Christ, in Salvation. That is what the Cross is all about. Salvation is not centred in Moses or Keeping of the Law. It is not centred in John the Baptist. Salvation is centred in Jesus Christ. Salvation is wholly based on God’s Grace, Certain and Secure, Personal, Present and Centred in Jesus Christ.  

1.36 Glorious

Salvation is Glorious – “To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). All the Repentant Thief had hoped for was to share in a future Kingdom about which he has no knowledge – Jesus told him that “Today he shall be with Him in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Paradise is Third Heaven (2Corinthians 12:2-4); and the Throne Room of God (Revelation 22:1-2).

1.37 Amazing

It is also remarkable that the Thief’s Salvation took place before the supernatural phenomena of that day:

  • Before the 3 Hours of Darkness (12pm {Noon} to 3pm – Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Amos 8:9).
  • Before the Earthquake and the Rock-Splitting (Matthew 27:51b).
  • Before the Centurion’s Confession: “Truly this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:54).

God purposely set the Thief’s Salvation before these “happenings,” took place, so that God’s Sovereign Grace is magnified, and His Sovereign Power acknowledged.

  • God designedly chose to save this Thief under the most un-favourable circumstances that no flesh should glory in His Presence (1Corinthians 1:29).
  • God deliberately arranged this combination of unnatural conditions and surroundings to teach us that “Salvation is of the LORD,” to teach us not to magnify human instrumentality above Divine Grace – to teach us that Salvation is the direct result of the supernatural operation of God’s Spirit.

Father, Forgive Them (Luke 23:33-34)

1.0 The Statement

Jesus’ First Statement on the Cross – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34). The last words of a dying Person are very revealing, for example:

  • Karl Marx – On that day that Karl Marx died, March 14, 1883, his Housekeeper came to him and said, “Tell me your last words, and I will write them down.” Marx replied, “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who have not said enough!” – he could not reconcile within himself.
  • P.T. Barnum, said, as he was dying, “What were today’s receipts?” – Still thinking about worldly things.
  • Napoleon said, “Chief of the Army!” – Still occupied with Conquest.
  • Charles Spurgeon, said as his last words, “Jesus died for me.” – Gratefulness & Thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism said, “The best of all is, God is with us.” – Complete Assurance

In this and subsequent study we are considering the Seven-Statements of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ made on the Cross – His (Christ’s) Seven Last statements from the Cross. Christ’s Seven Statements are very revealing and very important to us, not only because of Christ who spoke but also because of the Place where these “Seven-Statements,” of Christ were spoken. When our Lord Jesus was doing His Greatest Work on Earth, He spoke forth some of His Greatest Statement. These Last “Seven-Statements,” from the Cross are windows that enable us to “see” Eternity and see and feel God the Father’s Heart.

The First of these “Seven-Statements” is found in Luke 23:33-34: “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him and the Malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Christ’s Statement: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) is a very profound and the wonders that are in Christ’s Statement asking, “God the Father to forgive,” those that crucified Him. If we grasp the wonders of Christ’s First Statement, we will not have the excuse not to forgive others who hurt us, thus, not harbouring against them.

1.1 Father Addressed

Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Our Lord Jesus addressed God the Father three times when He hung on the Cross:

  • Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” – Is the first statement, in fulfilment of the Prophecy in Isaiah 53:12“He (Christ) made intercession for His Transgressors.”
  • Matthew 27:46 “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?” – This was Christ’s fourth Statement, in fulfilment of the Prophecy of Psalm 22:1.
  • Luke 23:46, then Christ’s final Statement: “Father into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” This was in fulfilment of the Prophecy in Psalm 31:5a.

No situation/circumstance threatened Christ’s relationship with His Father, even when, (a) Jesus entered His Suffering (Luke 23:34; Isaiah 53:12b). (b) When Jesus was enduring His Suffering (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1). (c) When Jesus emerged victoriously from His Suffering (Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5a). God the Father turned His face from Christ because the sins of the whole Human Race were placed on Him, and Jesus cried out: “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1).

1.2 The Appeal

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34; Isaiah 53:12b). The Greek New Testament indicates that our Lord Jesus repeated this Prayer – He (Jesus) said several times “Father, forgive them.”

  • As they laid Him on the Cross on the Ground, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.”
  • As they nailed His hands and feet to that Cross, He prayed again, “Father, forgive them.”
  • As they lifted that Cross and placed it in the hole in the ground, Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them.”
  • As Jesus hung on the Cross between Heaven and Earth, He was repeatedly praying, “Father forgives them.” – “Jesus made Intercession for His Transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12b).

Jesus, in His Suffering could have asked the Father to judge His Enemies; He could have called for Legions of Angels to deliver Him, but Jesus did not do it – Matthew 26:53 “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve Legions of Angels?” Many times, when we are hurt or misunderstood, we pray for God’s judgement, on our behalf, on that Individual, this attitude is not scriptural. We need to follow Christ’s example, forgive those who have hurt us or caused disappointments. 

1.3 Fulfillment

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Why did Jesus pray this Prayer of Forgiveness? Jesus was fulfilling the Prophecy in Isaiah 53:12 (Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12 – the Great Calvary Chapter of the Old Testament): “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sins of many and made intercession for the Transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12). Our Lord Jesus was praying for those who were crucifying Him, as He was fulfilling the Prophecy in Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12 recorded 18 facts about the humiliation and suffering and the Work of Christ on the Cross:

  • Jesus’ Visage {Appearance} and Form (Physical) were marred beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14).
  • Jesus was despised of men (Isaiah 53:3a).
  • Jesus was rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3a).
  • Jesus was a Man of Sorrow (Pains – Isaiah 53:3b). Jesus carried our Sorrows (Pains- Isaiah 53:4b).
  • Jesus was acquainted with Grief (Isaiah 53:3b). Jesus borne our Griefs (Isaiah 53:4a).
  • Jesus was stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God (Isaiah 53:4c, 10a).
  • Jesus was wounded for our Transgressions (Sin against God’s Law -Isaiah 53:5a, 8b).
  • Jesus was bruised for our Iniquities (Lawlessness – Isaiah 53:5b,11b).
  • Jesus was chastised for our Peace (Isaiah 53:5b).
  • Jesus was beaten (wounded) for our sickness (Isaiah 53:5c; 1Peter 2:24).
  • Jesus carried all our iniquities, as God the Father laid on Him all our iniquity (Isaiah 53:6b).
  • Jesus was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not protest (Isaiah 53:7a).
  • Jesus was led unresistingly to the slaughter (crucifixion on the Cross – Isaiah 53:7b). 
  • Jesus was “cut-off-from-the land-of-the-living,” (experienced real-physical-death – Isaiah 53:8b, 12b).   
  • Jesus was buried on the “borrowed-tomb,” of the rich-man (Isaiah 53:9b).
  • Jesus became “God’s Sin-Offering” (Isaiah 53:10b).
  • Jesus was numbered with the Transgressors (2 thieves – Isaiah 53:12b; John 19:18).
  • Jesus made Intercessors for His Transgressors (Isaiah 53:12c – “Father, forgive them…..” {Luke 23:33-34})

1.4 Ignorant of Person of Christ

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) – What the High Priests and the People ignorant of His (Christ’s) Person:

  • Ignorant of Christ’s Person – they mocked Him as the Prophet – “Prophesy, tell us who struck You” (Luke 22:64).
  • Mock Jesus as the King – they put a robe on Him, gave Him as a sceptre and a crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29).
  • Laughed at Him (Christ’s) claim that He is the Son of God – “If you are the Christ, come down, from the Cross,” (Matthew 27:40).

But History and Believers have proven that Jesus, is the Christ, the Son of God – God’s Redemptive Atoning Work through Him (Christ – Matthew 16:16; 2Corinthians 5:21). 

1.5 Ignorant of their Own Actions

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34):

  • The High Priests and the People were ignorant of their own actions – they did not realise that what they were doing was the fulfilment of the Prophecy in God’s Word of Isaiah 52:13 to  Isaiah 53:12.
  • The Soldiers parted His (Christ’) Garment (Luke 23:34), in fulfilment of Psalm 22:18.
  • The Soldiers gave Jesus’ vinegar to drink (Luke 23:36), in fulfilment of Psalm 69:21.
  • The Soldiers crucified Him (Jesus) with the Transgressors (Luke 23:33), in fulfilment of Isaiah 53:12a “He was numbered with the Transgressors (2 thieves).”

1.6 Ignorant of their sin

Most of all, the High Priests, and the Jewish People were ignorant of the enormity of their own sin. In the Old Testament, the Jewish Law made provision the Offering of the “Sins of Ignorance” (Leviticus 4). Jesus was saying: “Father, My people do not understand; they are ignorant. I am dying for them. They know not what they do; I know what I am doing – I am dying in their behalf. Now, Father, forgive them.”

  • Peter – Acts 3:17, Apostle Peter said to the Jewish Leaders: “I know that through ignorance you did it.” 
  • Paul himself, in 1Timothy 1:13 states: “I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

1.7 Christ’s Message

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His Disciples: “Love your Enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and Pray (Intercede – Isaiah 53:12b) for them which despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).  Jesus was demonstrating the Message of Forgiveness that He Taught: “Now, if you do not forgive from your heart, God cannot forgive you,” in the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 6:14-15).

Jesus demonstrated “the spirit of forgiveness,” during the time of the Romans Era. The Romans worshipped god of revenge – Revenge was one of the gods of the Romans. Our Lord Jesus did not take revenge, so we must not. – Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34), in fulfilment of the Prophecy (Isaiah 53:12b – “He {Jesus} made intercession for the Transgressors”) and His (Jesus’) Teaching on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:44; 6:14-15).

1.8 Purpose of Christ’s Death

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34; Isaiah 53:12b). The Cross of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Hope because God forgives Sinners. We do not have to go round with the weight and the wage of sin – Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, and the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Forgiveness is what the Cross of Jesus Christ is all about; and of God’s forgiveness is not cheap, it costs the Life of His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ in His Broken Body and Shed-Blood in His Death, Burial, and Resurrection – 1Corinthians 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand. By which also you are saved, if we hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believe in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Thus, we will have no problem forgiving others if we are in right relationship with our Heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit; if we obey God’s Word, remembering that we have received God’s Forgiveness. The wonder of Christ’s address to the Father and the wonder of Christ’s appeal to the Father – “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34; Isaiah 53:12b).

1.9 Jesus’ Advocacy

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34; Isaiah 53:12b) – Jesus gave the reason for asking God the Father’s forgiveness to those that crucified Him – “For they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34b). Jesus not only prayed for His Enemies, but also presented the reason on their behalf!  Jesus is the Lawyer (Advocate – 1John 2:1b) – Giving the reason why His Father should forgive those who crucified Him – “For they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34b). The Declaration: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34), has been greatly misunderstood; this Declaration does not mean that everybody is automatically forgiven, nor does it mean that ignorance brings forgiveness. Christ’s Redemptive Work in the Cross has to be acknowledged, received and embraced – Acknowledging that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 16:16); Receiving Him (Jesus) as our Lord and Saviour (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13 – “Calling on the Name of the LORD”) – Romans 10:9-10, 13 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…..For ‘whoever calls on the Name of the LORD shall be saved.”  

1.10 God’s Answer

Jesus Sacrificial Redemptive Death on the Cross, His Broken Body and Shed Blood is God’s Answer for the Salvation of the Fallen Human Race – Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world and death through sin, and death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (1Corinthians 15:22a – “In Adam all die”). The First Adam sinned and introduce sin and death to the whole Human Race (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12; 1Corinthians 15:22a); the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we can be made righteous before God (2Corinthians 5:21).   

Practical Application

The High Priests of Israel condemned their Messiah (Christ – Matthew 27:22b, 23, 25). His own Disciples failed Him and fled (Mark 14:50). Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). God the Father was willing, for His Son, Christ, to be the Substitutionary Atoning Sacrifice for Humanity, in order that man’s sin can be forgiven, in Christ’s Sacrificial Redemptive Work. Thus, sometimes it is very difficult for us to forgive people who have hurt us and spoken against us; but we need to forgive as God, in Christ, forgive us – “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34a, Isaiah 53:12b).

Three Crosses at Calvary (Luke 23:39-43)

1.0 The Statement

John 19:18 “Where they crucified Him and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the centre” (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33)

  • On the crucifixion day only three Crosses, why??
  • Why, is Jesus placed in the centre, with the notorious Criminals, one on either side?
  • It was Prophesied in Isaiah 53:12b “He (Jesus) was numbered with the Transgressors.”

It was God’s Plan, to have two other thieves crucified with Jesus on Calvary on Christ’s crucifixion-day, in fulfilment of Isaiah 53:12b “He (Jesus) was numbered with the Transgressors.”

On Calvary, outside the City of Jerusalem, Jesus, the Sinless (2Corinthians 5:21), was placed in the midst of two notorious Criminals. God, in His Sovereignty, has in the placing of the two thieves, in order to represent the two great classes into which the whole of humanity is divided now and in Eternity – the Person who experienced Salvation (saved) and the other who does not experience Salvation (lost).

1.1 Christ in the Midst

On the centre Cross hung Jesus in fulfilment of the Prophecy in Isaiah 53:12b “He (Jesus) was numbered with the Transgressors.” This is affirmed in Mark 15:28 “He (Christ) was numbered with the Transgressors.” Because the three (Christ and the two thieves) are crucified together, showing forth three relative truths:

  • Christ dies for sin (2Corinthians 5:21).
  • One thief dies in sin (Luke 23:39).
  • One thief dies to sin (Luke 23:40-43).

The two thieves were dying for their own iniquities – Luke 23:41a “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds.”

  • Christ, the Dying SaviourLuke 23:41b “This Man (Christ) has done nothing wrong,” (2Corinthians 5:21),is dying for the two men and for all the two men represented (Saved and Lost)
  • One Thief is the “dying-Saint” (experienced Salvation) – Luke 23:42 “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom’” – No man can call Jesus Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12:3b). Jesus AssuranceLuke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
  • Other Thief is a “a dying Sinner” (lost) – Luke 23:39-41) “Then one of the Criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds but this Man (Christ) has done nothing wrong.”      

As we view these grim Crosses, we find ourselves hanging on one of the three Crosses, for such a scene presents the separation Christ and His Gospel brings about.

1.2 The Cross of Redemption

The centre Cross is the Greatest of the three Crosses on Calvary – in the centre Cross (Christ’s Cross) is the Truth, which is the Foundational and Central Revelation of Scripture (Bible), and the central point in all history.

The heart of Christianity is the Bible, and the heart of the Bible is the Cross of Jesus Christ – and the heart of the Cross of Jesus Christ is the heart of God the Father, who is in Christ reconciling the World unto Himself – 2Corinthians 5:18a “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” 

Crucifixion, the form of capital punishment conceived by the Romans and abolished as such by Emperor Constantine, as meted out to Jesus the Sinless One of God forms the darkest as well as the brightest blot on the pages of history – at the Cross of Jesus Christ, we see man at his worst – but God at His best.

What infinite condescension it was on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, to make Himself of no reputation, to be willing to be reckoned among Transgressors (Mark 15:28), and to be thought of as the Chief of the Three dying on the Crosses, that day! There Christ Jesus was in agony and fully forsaken by God the Father, because of the load of the sins of humanity upon Him (Psalm 22:3; Matthew 27:46) – “And about the nineth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli’ Eli, lama sabachthani?’ That is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” – Jesus dying like Sinners (reckoned among Transgressors – Mark 15:28 – the two thieves), dying among the Sinners (Mark 15:28), but dying for Sinners (2Corinthians 5:21).

No wonder Apostle Paul revered the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ – 1Corinthians 1:18 “The message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the Power of God.” At the Cross of Calvary, we see fourfold accomplishment:

God’s Love Manifested – At the Cross of Jesus Christ, at Calvary, we learned that God loves us without stint (period) and reserve – God, in the Substitutionary Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, on our behalf – 1John 4:8b “God is Love”John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

God’s Law Satisfied – Christ, came not to destroy “The Law,” but to fulfil “The Law” – by His death, He met and discharged the exacting demands of the Divine Law:

  • Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.”
  • Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Jesus took our condemnation and curse, Himself being made a curse – Galatians 3:13 “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10b), having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).” The middle Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the charter of our forgiveness, the guarantee of our acceptance as children of God with inheritance (Romans 8:14-17).

Our Liberty Secured – We are Redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”  And there is Power in the Shed Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:5 (RV) “Unto Him that loveth us and loosed us from our sins in His blood.” There is ever-continuing efficacy of Christ’s Finished Work on the Cross of Calvary – John 19:30 “It is Finished.”  And therefore, we are “to stand fast, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” (Galatians 5:1).   

Spirit-Filled Life – It is one thing to believe and receive the Crucified Christ, and different matter altogether to live a crucified life – Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Christ died that we may live, not to the carnal self (1Corinthians 3:1-4), but to God, through the Spirit:

  • Live in the SpiritGalatians 5:25a “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
  • Led by the SpiritGalatians 5:18 “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Romans 8:14)
  • Walk in the SpiritGalatians 5:16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

The Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ not only cancelled our past (Justification – 2Corinthians 5:21) but has provision for our future (Sanctification – Hebrews 10:10, 14); and the end (Glorification – 1John 3:2).

Paul’s teaching in his Epistles is drenched with the message and mission of the Cross – Paul is “determined to know nothing among men save Christ, and Him (Christ) crucified” (2Corinthians 2:2). In Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”  There are three triads to summarise his (Paul’s) teaching on the Cross in Galatians 6:14, for which he (Paul) suffered many persecutions:   

  • Christ on the Cross – Galatians 6:14b “The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – The Cross is the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ – The Cross of Christ has Life, Hope and Assurance of Eternity.
  • The World on the Cross – Galatians 6:14c “By whom the world has been crucified to me (Paul).” Christ’s Cross carries the Present World, with all its glitter, is now “a hollow thing” to Paul himself. – The world is crucified – dead, having no appeal to Paul himself.
  • The Believer on the Cross – Galatians 6:14d “And I to the world.” – The Believer’s Cross brings us to a realization of the mystic truth about being crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), walking in His (Christ’s) Sacrifice, sharing Christ’s Death; Paul could write to the Philippians about being made conformable to Christ’s Death. Is our, the crucified life (Galatians 2:20)? – Are we dead to the appeal to the world?

1.3 The Cross of Reception

The Thief who acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, experienced the Power of the Cross of Reception – Luke 23:42-43 “Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” As Jesus had declared earlier: “I, if I am lifted up, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). The dying thief on the Cross is the first fulfilment of that Prophecy. Here we find Christ illustrating His threefold Office of Prophet, Priest, and King:

  • Prophet (Acts 3:22), Jesus said to the daughters of Jerusalem, “Weep not for Me, but for yourselves, and for the days that are coming.” (Luke 23:28) – Prophetic Declaration.
  • Priest (Hebrews 4:15), Jesus prayed: “Father forgives them,” (Luke 23:34); and cried in triumph, “It is Finished” (John 19:30).
  • King (Revelation 19:16), Jesus opened the door of Glory of Heaven for a believing Individual to enter – “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43b).

It is a manifestation of Christ’s Saving Grace – the exchange for his (thief’s) sin for Christ Righteousness – Luke 23:42-43 “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  There are two truths emerging from this Divine Exchange between the believing thief and Jesus:

The Triumph of Faith – The Bible teaches: “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16a). The dying believing Thief could only believe (Luke 23:42) – his naked faith in Christ’s Promise saved him (Luke 23:43). Thus, he is saved by Grace through Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). When Jesus assured the dying believing Thief: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise,” it means immediate entrance into Christ’s Glory – He departed with Christ, and revelled in His (Christ’s) Presence.

The Triumph of Grace – The dying believing Thief was “a dead-bed” conversion, that whenever and wherever a Sinner repents and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, he experienced God’s Grace in Salvation – Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Jesus assured: “Whoever cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). 

1.4 The Cross of Rejection

The Thief who rejected and blasphemed Christ on the Cross, suffered the consequence of separation from God and His (God’s) Redemptive Work and Presence –  Eternal Separation from God – Luke 23:39 “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him (Christ), saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’” This Thief died in his callousness (heartlessness) and in his sin – this unrepentant, unsaved Thief was so near to Christ as his now repentant Companion in crime was, and he could have received the same assurance of pardon from the Lord Jesus, if he cried out for the Lord Jesus’ mercy; but, instead, continued to blasphemed the Lord Jesus to the end.

From one side of the Cross of Christ, a Thief goes to Paradise (Luke 23:43); while the unrepentant Thief goes to Perdition (Hell – “Lake of Fire and Brimstone” {Revelation 20:15}). Here God’s Universal Law is enacted (ratified) – Christ is either the Saviour of Life or Death. The three Crosses on Calvary demonstrates how the Cross of Christ divides the world.

Wherever Christ is lifted up in testimony and offered, there are those who repented and received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Personal Lord and Saviour; and there are those who scorn in disbelieve on the other, like the unrepentant Thief who continued to blasphemed the Lord Jesus (Luke 43:39) – thus, the Preaching of the Cross of Christ is either the Power of God unto Salvation, or it is foolishness: – 1Corinthians 1:22-24 “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.”  The sad situation of the unrepentant Thief show-forth two thoughts:

Christ without the Cross – The unrepentant Thief wants Christ without the Cross – Luke 23:39 “Then one of the Criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him (Christ), saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’” – In the beginning, both Thieves cried, “If You be the Christ, save Yourself and us” – Matthew 27:44 “Even the robbers who were crucified with Him (Christ) reviled Him with the same thing.” (Mark 15:32b):

  • The Thief who believed, discovered that Christ could provide the way of Salvation and acknowledged Him and received Him – Luke 23:42-43 “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Even though he still has to pay the physical penalty for his crime (John 19:32).
  • The unrepentant Thief clung to his desire of the bloodless Gospel – Luke 23:39 “Then one of the Criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him (Christ), saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’” The Modern-Christianity is for a Christ without the blood-stained Cross – called the “ethical Christ,” “the Social-Christ,” “Christ the Teacher, the Exemplar.” But Christ and His Cross are eternally nailed together, Paul stated: “We preach Christ crucified,” – 1Corinthians 1:23-24 “But we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.”

Christ crucified on the Cross is the only Gospel that God’s Spirit acknowledges and works on – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Christ) we have the redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” The Preaching of the Cross is always the Power of God unto Salvation (1Corinthians 1:23-24).

The Thief Died in his Sin – The unrepentant Thief died in his sin, even though the Salvation was close at hand – Christ was in his midst – Mark 15:27-28 With Him (Christ) they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So, the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He (Christ) was numbered with the transgressors” It was impossible for Christ to be any nearer to either of the Thieves than He was. The one Thief took the opportunity and received Jesus as Lord and Saviour and was with Jesus in Paradise (Luke 23:42-43); whereas the other Thief was just as close to the Lord Jesus Christ, but he failed to take his opportunity to accept God’s proffered (extended) Mercy. The unrepentant Thief was in the perilous state without Christ, as he died in his sins (Romans 5:12; 1Corinthians 15:22a) – Revelation 20:16 “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

The Spirit of Truth & spirit of Error (1John 4:1-3, 6)

1.0 The Statement

We are living in the Last Day before Christ Return for the Church. Arising in our midst is “the spirit of Error”1John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: Because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  The “spirit of error” is the Antichrist’s spirit. As the Apostle John warns of false spirits and false prophets, more so does our Lord Jesus the same, yes, even false Christs “shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very Elect” (Matthew 24:24). Apostle Peter adds with “false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2Peter 2:1). Apostle Paul also forewarns with the list of false Apostles (2Corinthians 11:13), false brethren (2Corinthians 11:26) and false Witnesses (1Corinthians 15:15).

Furthermore, Jesus likens these Agents of falsehood in the Parable of the Good Shepherd to Thieves, Robbers and Strangers, Hirelings and Wolves (John 10:1, 5, 8, 10a, 12-13). Christ’s sheep with keen discernment between the Master’s (Christ’s) Voice and the Voice of the Stranger will keep out of harm’s way. Apostle John concludes: “We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1John 4:6).

Here is the critical point, – Church Leadership needs to teach God’s People God’s Word (the Bible) without adulteration – there must be clear biblical-teaching (feeding God’s people with His Truth – His Written Word – John 21:15-17). Jesus said that He is The Truth (John 14:6; 15:26). If any person attacks Christ’s Person, His Virgin Birth, His Deity and denying His Humanity, that person is under the “spirit of Antichrist” which is “the spirit of Error,” – 1John 4:1-3, 6 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world…..We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” The Docetists in John’s day denied Christ’s Humanity (1John 4:3), were Agents of the “spirit of Error,” the “Antichrist’s spirit.”

Throughout the long centuries, the “spirit of Error” has made the Salvation of the Individual not by God’s Grace of Ephesians 2:8-9, but of works (The Law). Of more recent history, there have arisen the Modernists and Liberals who rejects God’s Infallible, Inerrant Written Word (the Bible), with the latest so-called Neo-Evangelical that speaks of “a limited-Inerrancy.” It is the “spirit of Error” that counters the Inerrancy of the Bible, yes, even the Living Word who is Christ Himself (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1). The Christians believed God’s Written Word (the Bible) to be Infallible and Inerrant to the jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18), and the Christians reaffirmed their faith on God’s Written Word (the Bible).      

1.1 The Spirit of Truth

While Jesus is The Truth (God’s Word – Revelation 19:13; John 1:1; John 14:6); the Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit (John 14:17), whom Jesus, before His departure, promised to send to His Church (John 14:16). The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) proceeds from God the Father (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit manifested Himself in Power at Pentecost, at the birth of the Church, by giving utterance in multi-languages to the Apostles, and the 120 Disciples (Acts 2).

The Holy Spirit is sent to indwell born-again Believers and to teach and guide the Individual/Church (John 14:16, 17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; 1John 2:20, 27). The mark of the Spirit of Truth is that He (Holy Spirit) will not speak of Himself, but rather testifies of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) shall glorify the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He (Spirit of Truth) shall receive of the Son (Christ) and show it to us (John 16:13, 14).

The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) being Holy “will reprove the world of sin, and righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8). The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) makes “intercession for the Saints according to the Will of God” (Romans 8:27). As He (the Spirit of Truth) is sent from the Father by the Son, Christ (John 15:26), He is also called the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). He (Spirit of Truth) is “Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby” (John 14:16-17, Amp. Bible).

1.11 Love not Divorced from Doctrine

The current thinking of the Church is to eliminate doctrinal distinctives and to emphasise love among the brethren to bring forth Unity in the Church. Although Love among the brethren, is important, nevertheless, it should not replace doctrinal distinctives; as this position, however outwardly attractive and impressive to an Observer, is not biblical, viewed in the light of Scripture; as the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ contains the Command to bring the new Believers immediately into the teaching programme, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I (Christ) has commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). In other word, the entire Scripture is the basis of this instruction, and this must be the supreme position of the Church in terms of priorities. It is a lifelong responsibility of the Leaders of the Church, under God’s Spirit, to bring their Members into the whole Counsel of God’s revealed Truth, as advocated by Apostle Paul – Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” 

One of the basic ideas of some of today’s Churches is that love is more important than doctrine; they stated that doctrine divides, whereas love unifies. Is this position Scriptural? What does the Bible say about this? Is it really true that in the New Testament love is more important than doctrine, or Truth? In the “Love-Chapter” of 1Corinthians 13, we are reminded, “Now abides Faith, Hope and Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love (Agape)” (1Corinthians 13:13). Some said, “that settles it; love is supreme!” However, when we examine 1Corinthians chapter 13, carefully, we discovered that Truth is also mentioned in that chapter. In 1Corinthians 13:6 we are told that, “Love rejoices in the TRUTH.” In other words, “Faith, Hope and Love” are virtues but TRUTH has an altogether different status. TRUTH is the “the frame of reference, the foundation, the atmosphere,” without which virtues of “Faith, Hope & Love” have no anchor!

1.12 “Love rejoices in the TRUTH”

(1Corinthians 13:6). Why? Because without TRUTH to define Love, to interpret Love, to protect Love, to guide Love, to channel Love – Love can become a disaster. Virtues of: “Faith, Hope & Love” are not the same level as TRUTH. Virtues (Faith, Hope & Love) will shrivel up, misuse and abuse, if they were not for TRUTH.

1.13 God’s Definition of Love

God’s definition of Love is always in association with discipline, so that we can grow in Him and be Partakers of His Holiness (Hebrews 12:5-13) – “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives…..He for our profit, that we may be Partakers of His Holiness.” Love voids of discipline is sentimentalism and can be destructive; – observe what happens within a home when Parents exhibited love toward their children by refusing to discipline them, in the name of Love. The Book of Proverbs defines Love as doing for the Person that which is best for him in the light of eternity, no matter what the cost may be. That is how Love is defined in the Scripture.

1.14 Love Obeys Truth

The Scripture reveals to us that Love obeys Truth – John 8:31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, if you continue in My Words (Truth), then you are My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The Lord Jesus Christ said that ultimate freedom will only be achieved by submission, and unconditional surrender to Truth; in so doing, our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is implied.

Many Christians speak glowingly of their love for our Lord Jesus, failing to take heed of His (Christ’s) Words as in John 14:15, 21, 23, & 24, as He (Christ) stresses that obedience to Truth is our demonstration of our Love for Him (Christ) – “If you love Me, keep My commandments……He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me….If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings.” This is the “acid-test” of our Love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we obey the Lord Jesus’ Commandments? It really makes no difference how much we talk about our love for our Lord Jesus, and for one-another, if we are not obeying Jesus’ Word (Truth).

1.15 Love Teaches the Truth

John chapter 21 gives us an example of Peter who confessed his love for His Lord (Jesus); he (Peter) even insisted that he would never waiver in loyalty, saying, “Even though all the Disciples betray Him (Jesus), I (Peter) will not. You can count on me.” But when the pressure came, his (Peter’s) resolution collapsed, he denied the Lord Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62); and as Jesus looked at him (Peter) in that courtyard, he went out and wept (Luke 22:60b, 61, 62).

John 21:15-17 – After His (Christ’s) Resurrection, Jesus faced Peter, by the Sea of Galilee, and very lovingly, but in truth, said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He (Peter)saith unto Him (Jesus), Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee, Feed My lambs….Feed My sheep….Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17). The three confessions of Peter of his love for the Lord Jesus Christ, cancelled his (Peter’s) three denials, earlier. How do Jesus expected Peter to express his (Peter’s) love for Him (Christ)?

  • “Feed (Gk: “bosko”) My (Christ’s) lamb” (John 21:15) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “bosko”) speaks of nourishing Christ’s People (new Believers) with God’s Written Word.
  • “Feed (Gk: “bosko”) My (Christ’s) sheep (John 21:17) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “bosko”) speaks of nourishing Christ’s People (mature Believer) with God’s Written Word.
  • “Feed (Gk: “poimaino”) My (Christ’s) sheep (John 21:16) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “poimaino”) speaks of tending (shepherding/pastoring) His (Christ’s) People.  

Peter expresses his (Peter’s) love for the Lord Jesus, is by “Feeding” (Gk: “bosko”) – Nourishing His (Christ’s) People (New {lamb}Believers & Mature {sheep}Believers), as commanded by the Lord Jesus Himself (John 21:15, 17) and shepherding/pastoring (John 21:16) His People – Thus, Peter’s love for Christ is related with his (Peter’s) Nourishing Ministry (Truth – God’s Written Word); and by Peter’s Shepherding Ministry as “Feed” (Gk: “poimaino”) in John 21:16. 

Acts 20 provides another good example of how Apostle Paul ministered to the Christians at Ephesus. – Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD.” – Paul has preached for three months and when some has spoken against his teaching, he (Paul) separated the Disciples to meet in the hall of Tyrannus. There, for two years, Paul teaches that group of Disciples in the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD. Imagine the prolonged, in-depth, intensive teaching those Ephesians Elders (Acts 20:17) received. The result was “that all they which dwelt in Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the Word of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone in the Province heard the true message about Christ because Apostle Paul based his teaching on the clear, sound doctrinal instruction on that Pioneer Group (Elders – Acts 20:17).    

1.16 Love Leaves Nothing Out

Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I HAVE NOT SHUNNED TO DECLARE to you the whole counsel of God.” It was not easy for Apostle Paul to teach the doctrinal material to the people at Ephesus – he dealt with doctrines which were controversial, offensive, and divisive, which is why he said, I SHUNNED NOT to declare unto you…..” Also, in Galatians 1:6, Paul states: “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him (Christ) that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an Angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Why was Paul so hard on the Churches at Galatia, and perhaps jeopardise the loving relationship which he enjoyed with the Leadership of the Churches at Galatia? It was necessary to risk becoming their Enemy, as Paul tells us in Galatians chapter 4, in order to “tell them the Truth.”  – Galatians 4:16 “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”  

1.17 Ephesians 4:11,15

The Fivefold Ministers of Ephesians 4:11: “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Techers.” Every Person of the Fivefold Ministers of Ephesians 4:11 are “Doctrinal-Persons.” – All are involved in God’s Written Word (Truth). Ephesians 4:15 exhorts us “to speaking the Truth in love.” Love is the manner and method of speaking Truth. Love serves the Truth. It makes it easier to receive, absorb and digest Truth if spoken in love, and not in harshness. Love must never be allowed to eclipse or set aside Truth. God’s Written Word (Truth) never change; but God’s Written Word (Truth) could be misused and abused in the hands of the untrained/ill-disciplined Person. Truth cannot be perpetuated through compromise, and compromise cannot be avoided without separation. This basic Principle has been illustrated repeatedly in the History of the Church during the Ages. Thus, the whole question of success in the Christian Ministry needs to be constantly re-examined. How can the relative success of the Christian ministry be evaluated apart from God’s Infallible, Inerrant Word? Who is to determine what success means? Is the Cross of Christ’s  Preeminent in the life of the Church, the Leaders and the Message – Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Philippians 3:7-9; 1Corinthians 1:18). What we consider success in the ministry may turn out to be failure in God’s Sight.

1.20 What is Truth??

An increase in the understanding of Divine Truth helps to free the Church from the bondage of traditions of men that are “dead.” However, not all traditions of men are “dead” as some of those traditions are good and useful – 2Thessalonians 2:15 (NKJV) “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistles.” Truth is the continuing Revelation of God and is not “an end” but is like that pathway that gives direction that leads us into the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is “The Truth” (John 14:6a). Truth that becomes “an end” will eventually become a tradition.

Truth is not the accumulation of factual knowledge, as factual knowledge is true, but it is not itself the Truth. People can and do believe all kinds of true things without having Truth. Most in Christianity believe the Bible is the Word of God, which is true, but it does not necessarily give the Truth to the people who just believe the Bible, but not submitted to the Teachings.

Truth in its highest understanding, is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6a; Revelation 19:13; John 1:1) – Truth as “the Pathway” leads us to the Person and the Finished Work of Christ (“It is Finished” – John 19:30). Although we can believe true things, we will never have the Truth until we know the Person (Jesus) who is “The Truth” (John 14:6a; Revelation 19:13; John 1:1), thus, Truth is not an end but the continuing Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Eternal and Unfolding.

All things that reveal God are Truth, and all things that are meant to obscure or misrepresent Him (Christ) are not of Truth. Thus, it is not Truth but “THE TRUTH” (the Lord Jesus Christ) that brings liberty to our life – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). From the Christian’s viewpoint, without Jesus, whatever Truth we possess, we possessed in darkness only – those traditions that are “dead” tends to “war” against increased Revelation of the Truth, can turn the Light of Jesus into darkness –“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23b).

If the Truth the Church possesses is bounded by “dead” traditions, then the Truth could become distorted and ended up as Partial Truth. The purpose of Truth is the greater and greater manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Individual/Church; that is why it is difficult for many Christians to practice spiritual discernment, because circumstance can look so much like the real things but are really only in a natural form, which is true but not Truth.

Those traditions that are “dead” can block our growth in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Understandably, those bounded by “dead” traditions often used Scripture to support or justify what they believed and how they acted – “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Timothy 3:7).

The Jews in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) held that Salvation required the Person to be circumcised has good Scriptural support from Genesis 17:13-14, “the Covenant of Circumcision,” which is an Everlasting Covenant. However, the Jews of the Circumcision did not realise or were blinded by traditions that caused them to fail to understand the Restoration of the “Davidic Worship” (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:15-18) that was quoted by Apostle James of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:15-18), of God’s Progressive Restoration, that the Gentiles did not require circumcision for Salvation.

Traditions of the circumcised Jews caused them to fail to see God’s Eternal Purpose. Traditions have blinded the “spiritual eyes” of the Jews – thus, if the Individual/Church is not careful; he/Church may recognise God is or has been in his life/Church and still not really know the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Present, Restorative Outworking (Acts 3:21).

Things that God once said to do can become a stumbling block to us (the bronze serpent served its purpose – Numbers 21:9); but later became a stumbling block that ensnared the Nation of Israel (2Kings 18:4), that we vow never to let go of, and therefore, cause us to miss “the Present Truth” (2Peter 1:12), thus, causing us to miss God’s Present Move!

Furthermore, Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6a), an Individual and the Church is not able to know “the Way” and “the Truth” until Jesus becomes his Life. “The Way” is not just believe a few fundamental Truths about the Lord Jesus Christ – “the Way” is the Lord Jesus Christ – “The Truth” is not found by just agreeing with certain Doctrines, even all Christian Doctrines – “the Truth” is the Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who must be the Person’s/Church’s whole life.

Also, Truth will always manifest itself in Love because God is Love (1John 4:7-8) – If what is being spoken/ministered is not done in love, it is not truth – “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Many Christians quoted Scripture (all Scripture is True), but if the Scripture spoken is not spoken in love; it is not spoken in the “Spirit of Truth,” who is the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).

Good Understanding (Proverbs 13:15)

1.0 The Statement

Proverbs 13:15a “Good understanding giveth favour (grace).”  – The word “understanding” means “Good sense, good success, insight, and discretion.” It applies to the Person who acts prudently, and always behaves in a manner pleasing God, and give due consideration to others:

1.1 Benefits Self

The Person with good understanding has a well-informed mind, is impartial, and seeks to keep a balance view of life always. Charles Bridge calls this: “The glow of heavenly light and love in the disciplining of Christian habits.”

Good Understanding is the “Image of God stamped upon His Servants.” This Good Understanding gives favour (grace) in the sight of man and God – Proverbs 3:4 “So shalt thou find favour in the sight of God and man.”

Good Understanding is God’s Grace that gives the Good Understanding to the Person, and Grace is multiplied to him, through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord – 2Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus, our Lord.” God shows His favour to the Person of Good Understanding, by making others to favour him.

Good Understanding leads to the practical application of this Good Understanding to every decision of life. It reflects the healthy fear of the LORD – Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding has all those who do His commandments, His Praise endures forever.”  The Person without this knowledge of Good Understanding is deprived and dark indeed – “Unaided wisdom, with its strongest wings, can only flutter in the vale of vanity. No earth-born eye can catch a glimpse of God” (Law).  It is even worse for those with false knowledge or only half-truths. Solomon is saying that the mind cannot be sound that has no interest in Heaven, and no time for the things of the Spirit. This is needed reminder of our pleasure-crazed age.

1.2 Excellent People Skill

The Person of “Good Understanding” has a high degree of People-skill. This “People-skill” is highly regarded in Society and Workplace. There is a high need for communication and People-skill:

The Bureau of Vocational Guidance at Harvard found that at least two-thirds of the People who lose their jobs do not do so because they cannot do the work, but because of their inability to deal effectively with People.

The Centre for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, shows that most fired Executives are Poor Communicators.

The National Alliance of Business warns that “an uneducated work force is an unmotivated and unproductive one.”

Freelance Writer Joanne Selement, with Kate Ludman, asked top Executives from 25 Successful high-growth Silicon Valley Companies to account for the most abrupt leaps they made in their career:

  • One–third said moves to challenging new jobs supercharged their careers.
  • One–third cited formal training programs that improved their leadership behaviour.
  • One–third described the importance of the Mentor/Coach who gave them regular feedback and took an active role in their development.

When the Carnegie Institute of Technology analysed the records of 10,000 People, it concluded that 15% of Success comes from Technical Skill on the job and 85% from the ability to deal with People successfully.

A Study has shown that it is safe to assume that problems encountered at work are mostly communicative, not substantive. A study has shown that the most necessary skill needed, besides Computer Competence, may be listening and People-relating Skills.

A study of the White House Office of Consumer Affairs shows that 96% of unhappy Customers never complained to the Stores where they received Poor Service/Goods, but 91% won’t buy again from the same place and, on average, they will share their bad experience with nine other People.

Will Schutz San Francisco Psychologist and Business Consultant, says that if People in Companies told the truth 89% to 90% of their problems would disappear. When we act with honour, we discover that People are “relentlessly reasonable, cooperative, and capable of coming to sensible and productive agreements when they are dealt with directly.”

The Work Force of the 21st Century faces three obstacles to success in adopting and supporting ethics that align with integrity:

  • Substituting manipulation for real change.
  • Lacking discipline and dedication to your efforts.
  • Failing to deal with potential resentment.

In the management, Peter Drucker warns that controlling and manipulating or strategising without direct communication is a “Self-destructive abuse of knowledge and power.” Ultimately, we hurt ourselves as well as our Colleagues and Employees when we say the right words and use the right techniques without matching them to honest feelings and intentions.

Research by Management Consultant Harry Levinson, previously the Business Professor at Harvard University, shows successful CEOs can accurately assess their effectiveness as Leaders, but many Managers who fail to make it to the CEO level lack this ability; still, they are afraid to ask for advice. yet fear that the Confidante will interpret their request for help as an admission that they can’t fill the job, or worst yet, will pass their concerns on to top Management. The fear of not doing it right supersedes asking for help.

1.3 Contrast

Proverbs 13:15b (KJV) “But the way of the transgressors is hard.” Proverbs 13:15b (NIV) “But the way of the unfaithful is hard.” – The word “transgressors” in Hebrews literally means “take the shirt of the back of their fellows” – Exodus 22:26-27 “If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by the time that the sun goeth down. For that is his covering only; it is his raiment for his skin; wherein shall he sleep? And it shall come to pass, when he cried unto Me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.” Hence, they are treacherous Deceivers. The way of the Unfaithful (Transgressors), in contrast, to “the Man of Understanding,” is rough and barren. The “Transgressor {Deceiver} leads others only to the sadness and barrenness of life that is his daily lot. The way of the Unfaithful (Transgressors) is hard, rough and rugged leading to isolation, not to water of comfort.

Jesus’ Flesh and Blood (John 5:53-56)

Jesus’ Flesh & Blood

In John 6:53-56, Jesus told the Jews that if they do not partake of His “Flesh” and “Blood,” they cannot have Eternal Life – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats My Flesh and drink My Blood has Eternal Life; and I will raise him up at the Last Day. For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, dwells in Me, and I in him.” Though some teach that John 6:53-56 is a reference to “Elements” of The Lord’s Table (Communion), the context testifies to the “Perpetual Eating by Faith” of the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. A comparison of the two passages (John 6:40 and John 6:54) found in John 6:41-59 helps us to see how an Individual can “eat” Christ’s Flesh and “drink” Christ’s Blood.

John 6:40
aEveryone who sees the Sonband believes in Him
cmay have Everlasting Lifedand I will raise him up at the Last Day
John 6:54
a1Whoever eats My Fleshb1and drinks My Blood
c1has Eternal Lifed1and I will raise him up at the Last Day

The literary structure of the above John 6:40 & John 6:54 shows parallelism, and thus we can conclude that the Recipient of these Promises are the same: “Sees” (a) and “believes” (b) in John 6:40 are parallel to the “eats” (a1) and “drinks” (b1) in John 6:54. Jesus is therefore speaking about the importance of the Individual Believer’s Faith in His Shed-Blood and Broken-Body on the Cross of Calvary in order to receive Eternal Life.

Jesus speaks in John 6:56 that “He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood dwells in Me, and I in him.” The present participle form of the Greek terms for “eats” and “drinks” implies that the Individual Believer’s Faith in the Blood and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ, must be a continuing one. In other words, only the Individual Believer who continually feeds on the Atoning Redemptive Power of Christ’s Blood and His Death can enter into Union with Him. Christ’s Flesh and Blood offered on the Cross at Calvary is Life-Giving to every Individual Believer.  In John 6 passage, Jesus gives Eternal Life to an Individual who would place his/her trust on His (Christ’s) Atoning-Redemptive Work on the Cross at Calvary, where His (Christ’s) Body was broken, and His (Christ’s) Blood was shed, as God’s Lamb, in His Sacrificial Substitutional Death (John 1:29, 36).

Jesus’ teaching as recorded in John 6 emphasise the importance of Faith in His (Christ’s) Shed Blood and His Broken Body, to receive Eternal Life. In John 6:32-50, Jesus introduced Himself as the “Bread of Life,” and the necessity of believing in Him for Eternal Life. Then in John 6:51, He (Jesus) said: “…the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I (Jesus) will give for the life of the world.” Jesus is referring to His Sacrificial-Substitutionary-Death and His Shed Blood, that provides Eternal Life for All who believe. But the Jews are confused about Christ’s saying, and asked, “How can this Man (Jesus) gives us His Flesh?” (John 6:52). Then, Jesus answered them, “Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of God and drink His Blood, you have no Life (Eternal-Life).” (John 6:53).

By introducing His (Christ’s) “Blood” together with His (Christ’s) “Flesh,” Jesus is revealing to the Jews that His Own Atoning-Redemptive Sacrifice involved His Own Flesh and His Own Blood (John 1:29, 36 – The Lamb of God). As it is with the Jewish Sin-Offering, the “blood” is crucial; so also, is Christ’s Blood in His Atoning-Redemptive Work for the Salvation to All. It is Christ’s Shed Blood and His Death, that brings Eternal Life to Believers. The term “Christ’s Blood,” and “Christ’s Flesh,” are used literally and not figuratively. Jesus literally Shed His Precious Blood, and Sacrificed His Body; thus, it is both Christ’s Sacrifice (His Broken Body and Shed Blood), in His Death, and our receiving His Shed Blood and Death, in Faith, that gives us Eternal Life. 

The Parables (Basic Guideline)

1.0 The Statement

Our English word “parable” is a transliteration of the Greek “parabole” which simply means: “To place besides, to cast alongside:”

  • Parable is an illustration that places one thing beside another for the purpose of teaching.
  • Parable puts the known next to the unknown so that we may learn.
  • Parable is an earthly illustration with a heavenly message. This links the natural with the spiritual.

Matthew 13:45-46 (KJV) “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went, and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

  • Some parables are long and detailed, such as the “Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:3-23), while other are quite brief, such as the “Parable of the Household” (Matthew 13:52).
  • The term “Parable” is used 48 times in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The word translated “Parable” in the Authorised Version of John 10:6 is not “parabole” (Greek), but “paroimia” (Greek), which is better translated “figure of speech” or “proverb” – John 10:6 “This parable (figure of speech) spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them.”

1.1 Why Parables?

The Jewish Rabbi used “Parables” in their teaching however, Jesus is the Greatest Exponent of “Parabolic teaching.” The reasons for teaching in Parables:

First Reason – “Truth Hidden” – When Jesus’ Disciples asked Him the reason for His teaching in Parables (Matthew 13:10), Jesus replied by quoting a prophecy found in Isaiah 6:9-10 which was recorded in Matthew 13:13-15“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (KJV).

1. Jesus teaches that He had hidden spiritual truth in the Parables – Proverbs 25:2 (KJV) “It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of Kings is to search out a matter.”

  • The Individual who has the desire to “unearth” this truth will benefit from it.
  • The careless and indifferent, those with no spiritual hunger for truth, will not understand and benefit from it.

2. When an Individual hears God’s Word, he is not participating in a static event, but in a dynamic experience. He either become better or worse for having heard God’s Word, for there is accountability.

Second Reason – “Mysteries Revealed” – The use of Parables is given in Matthew 13:34-35 “All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in Parables; and without a Parable spoke He not unto them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in Parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” It was in fulfilment of the Prophecy of Psalm 78:2 “I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old.” In His (Jesus’) Parables, Jesus opens to us the “mysteries” (Hidden secrets understood only by Divine Revelation).

1.2 Why Study the Parables?

There are various reasons and benefits for studying Parables:

1 The most obvious reason for studying the Parables is that they are part of God’s Word and we have been commanded to live on “every word” (Matthew 4:4).

2 At least one-third of Christ’s recorded teaching is found in Parables. To ignore them is to rob ourselves of much of what Jesus wants us to learn.

3 Jesus took His Parables from primarily two major sources: (a) The Realm of Creation; (b) The Realm of Human Relationships. These Parables are “born out of life,” and therefore have a way of touching us in those areas where life is the most meaningful and significant.

4 Many Parables were given because of some opposition or problem for, example

  • The Pharisees criticised Jesus for eating with Sinners (Luke 15:1-2), so He (Jesus) talked about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son (Luke 15:3-32).
  • Jesus’ Disciples thought they were very successful because of the big Crowds (Matthew 13:1-2), so Jesus told the Parable of “the Sower” who saw three-fourth of his seed produce nothing (Matthew 13:3-23).
  • Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of being in league with the Devil because He had cast out “the blind and dumb spirit” (Matthew 12:22-24), so He (Jesus) told the Parable of the strong man guarding his castle (Matthew 12:25-29).

5 The Parables are both mirrors and “windows.” As mirrors, the Parables help us to see ourselves. The Parables reveal our lives as they really are. As “windows,” the Parables help us see life and God.

1.3 How to use the Parables?

Jesus asked His Disciples whether they have understood “all” that He had taught them, and they responded “yes”Matthew 13:51(KJV) “Jesus saith unto them, have ye understood all these things? They say unto Him, yea, Lord.” Understanding always brings responsibility. The Disciples were privileged to understand the explanation of the Parables (“Mysteries of the Kingdom”), and therefore they had a great responsibility to put these understandings into practice – “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). Immediately, Jesus spoke on the “Parable of the Householder” explains how to best use the Parables – Matthew 13:52 (NASB) “Therefore every Scribe who has become a Disciple of Heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.” In this Parable, Jesus points out three responsibilities that we have toward revealed truth:

1 Learning the Truth – Matthew 13:52a “Therefore every Scribe.” A Scribe’s work was to examine the Law and discover its teachings. It is important to remember that the Scribes began as a very noble Group. They devoted themselves to the Protection and Preservation of the Law. But at the time of Christ, the Scribes work degenerated into protecting dead traditions rather than teaching and living the truth of God’s Word. Jesus accused them of putting the people under spiritual bondage, not liberty (Luke 11:42-52):    

  • They are so caught up with their traditions that they ignored Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 23:1-7).
  • Instead of opening doors for Sinners to be saved, they closed them (Matthew 23:3).
  • They became blind Leaders of the Blind (Matthew 23:16-24). 

 2. Living the Truth – Matthew 13:52b “who has become a disciple of heaven.” Every Scribe who becomes Jesus’ Disciple is a Person who follows Jesus and puts Jesus’ teaching into practice – Matthew 28:20a “Teaching them (disciples) to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

  • A Disciple learns the truth to live the truth.
  • The truth becomes alive to the Disciple when he lives it, and in the process, he learns more truth.
  • There is a desperate need for a balance between theory and practice. Learning and living, the classroom and the marketplace.
  • Jesus teaches His Disciples by precept and by practice – Acts 1:1b “Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”
  • A Disciple must be taught objective truth and subjective experience.   

It is not enough to be Hearers of God’s Word – We must be Doers if we are going to grow in the Lord Jesus – James 1:22-24 “But be ye Doers of the Word, and not Hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a Hearer of the Word, and not a Doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

3. Sharing the Truth – Matthew 13:52c “Is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.” Every Disciple has “a treasury” within that contains the spiritual truth accumulated from his learning and living. He, as “the head of the household” has to bring forth this treasure of spiritual truth to share. He must share “the old and the new.” The “old” is what he has learned as a “Scribe,” and the “new” is what he learned as a Disciple, practicing the truth.  

It in the obedient to God’s Word that a Disciple benefited the most and he has the most to impart. We cannot do without “the old” for out of “the old” comes “the new” – Isaiah 28:9-10 “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts, for precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; her a little, and there a little.” There is always new application for existing (“old”) truths, new insights into existing (“old”) principles, and new understanding of existing (“old”) relationships.

1.4 Ezra

Ezra, the first Scribe, exemplified this kind of balanced life of the Disciple of Jesus Christ. It was said of this man of God: Ezra 7:10“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD (Scribe – Learning), and to do it (Disciple – Living), and to teach in Israel statutes and judgement (Householder – Sharing).”

1.5 Doing Precedes Teaching

The Principle laid down by Jesus is “doing” precedes “teaching” – Acts 1:1b (KJV) “Of all that Jesus began to both to do and teach.” This Principle (“Do & Teach”) is also followed by the Apostles and Prophets, and Kingdom’s Manifesto (Matthew chapters 5 to 7):

  • Apostles – Mark 6:30 “And the Apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.”
  • Prophets – Ezra 7:10“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgement.”
  • Kingdom of HeavenMatthew 5:19 (NKJV) “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these Commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called Least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called Great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

1.6 How to study the Parables

Because the Bible consists of different types of Writings; it is important to us to know how to approach with each type. We do not approach the Poetry of the Psalms in the same way that we approach the Narratives of Bible History or the Doctrinal discussions of the Epistles. It is a basic rule of Bible Study that we examine each passage of Scripture in the light of its literary classification. Consider these Principles for Interpreting the Parables:

1. Contextual – Study each Parable in its Context – This is true of any Portion of Scripture; but it is especially true of the Parables. Ignore the Context and we can make a Parable teach almost anything. For example, the Parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37) has suffered at the hand of “Spiritualisers” who have forgotten the Context – The Context is the Scribe (Lawyer’s) evasive question: “And who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29b). While there is certainly a Salvation Message in the Parable, the fundamental lesson is that of being a Neighbor to the Person in need – Luke 10:36-37 “Which now of these three thinkest thou (Lawyer), was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he (Lawyer) said, he that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him (Lawyer), go, and do thou likewise.”

2. Main Truth – Look for the main truth the Parable teaches – This does not mean there are no secondary lessons, but even these must be related to the main truth of the Parable. The main truth of the Parable of the Prodigal son is that God receives, forgives, and restores us. We can discover in this rich Parable many spiritual truths, but all of them relate in some way to that primary lesson of God’s Love, for God is Love (1John 4:7-8).

3. Not to Spiritualize – Do not try to attach “meaning” to every detail – Some of the Parables are quite detailed, such as “the Sower” (Matthew 13:3-23) and “the Wheat and the Tares” (Matthew 13:24-30); while other Parables have very little detail. It is not necessary to make everything mean something unless the context warrants it. Jesus explained “the Parable of the Sower” in detail, and likewise “the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.” In connection with this Principle, the symbols used in different Parables do not always represent the same thing. In the “Parable of the Sower,” “the Seed” represents God’s Word (Matthew 13:19a – “the Word of the Kingdom.”) and “Soil” (Matthew 13:19b “that which was sown in his heart”) represents the human heart. But in the “Parable of the Wheat and Tares,” the “Seed” represents the children of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:24), the “Tares,” the children of this World (Matthew 13:25); while the field is the World (Matthew 13:30).

4. Not Doctrinal – The Parables are given to illustrate Doctrine, not to declare Doctrine – In other words, try not to build a case for some Doctrine on the basis of a Parable. The Parables are the “Windows” in the house and not the foundation stones. It is dangerous to build a Doctrine (teaching) of Salvation by Good Works on the “Parable of the sheep and goats” (Matthew 25:31-46). To do so would be to ignore the Prophetic Context of the Parable, and the resulting “Doctrine” would contradict the Clear Teaching of other portions of the Scriptures.

5. Spiritual Perception – Ask God for Spiritual Perception (1John 2:20, 27) – This is necessary for all Bible Study; but it is especially important in dealing with the Parables. The Disciples came to Jesus and asked Him for understanding, and we must do likewise (Matthew 13:10). God Promises us Wisdom if we ask Him (James 1:5).

Love and Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 13)

1.0 Love & Spiritual Gifts

The Church of Jesus Christ needs both the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) and the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:8-10). It is not either or, but both. Arguably, the Church at Corinth was the most Anointed Church in the New Testament – the Church flowed in God’s Power – with “Spiritual-Gifts” (1Corinthians chapters 12 to 14); but the Church was also “loaded” with issues – Carnality (1Corinthians 3:1-4); Exalting one Person above the others (1Corinthians 1:12); etc., Apostle Paul advocated that “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians chapters 12 & 14) should be balanced by God’s Love (1Corinthians chapter 13) – 1Corinthians 12:8-10 lists the “Spiritual Gifts;” 1Corinthians 13 teaches on God’s Love (16 Characteristics); 1Corinthians 14 teaches on the Operation of the “Spiritual Gifts.” – The understanding of the relationship is summed up in 1Corinthians 13:2“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove the mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  Operating “Spiritual Gifts” without God’s Love opens it to misuse and abuse – it will not edify or have their full effect. God’s Love gives “Spiritual Gifts” the proper “foundation” to minister God’s Grace to others. To avoid misuse and abuse of “Spiritual Gifts,” the Person/Church must learn to submit to God’s Written Word (Logos) and operates out of God’s Love.

On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the Covenantal Relationship of the Members of the Body of Christ was established in the Apostolic Teaching (Acts 2:42-47). The “bed-rock” of God’s Habitation is Covenantal Relationship in “the Bond of Love” (Psalm 133); without which Revival will not last.

The Church has been seeking Revival but lost the “spirit of repentance;” and without repentance, the Individual/Church will not be able to grow into Christlikeness (2Corinthians 3:18). 1Corinthians 12:7 states that the Operation of “Spiritual Gifts” is for the common good1Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV) “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all (“common-good” – NIV).” – God gives “Spiritual Gifts” to an Individual/Church as “tools” to manifest forth His Love (1Corinthians 13) – the Individual/Church flows in God’s Nature and Character, strengthening Christ’s Body, the Local Church.

The Local Church is always in God’s Plan – “I will build My Church” (Matthew 16:18); and every Member of the Body of Christ is to be connected (Ephesians 4:16); for God’s Plan and Purpose to be effective in the Local Church, there need to be the Operation of “Spiritual Gifts” – 1Corinthians 12:7, 11 (NKJV) “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all……But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

However, the Individual/Church needs to be “soaked” in God’s Love (1Corinthians 13), to receive God’s Presence and Power in the Operation of the “Spiritual-Gifts” (1Corinthians chapter 12 & 14); – and using “Spiritual Gifts” with God’s Love (1Corinthians 13) to minister God’s Power to the World – revealing the Father’s Heart!  God’s Love (1Corinthians 13) gives true value to “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians Chapters 12 & 14). In any discussion on “Spiritual Gifts,” due consideration should be given to the teaching of God’s Love of 1Corinthians 13.

1.1 The Placing

The “Teaching on Love” in 1Corinthians 13 is sandwiched between the most extensive teaching on “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians Chapter 12) and the Operation of “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians Chapter 14). The “Love-Chapter” of 1Corinthians 13 is frequently spoken at Wedding, which is acceptable, but is not the intention of Apostle Paul – In the original text, there was no “chapters-separation,” but a continuous flow of thoughts and teaching of Paul on “Spiritual-Gifts” and their Operations. 1Corinthians 13:4-8 gives one of the best definitions of Love in God’s Word, involving16 Characteristics:

  • Love suffers long (endures long, is patient).
  • Love is kind.
  • Love does not envy (is not jealous).
  • Love does not parade itself (does not brag; does not boast).
  • Love is not puffed up (not proud, vainglorious, arrogant, prideful)
  • Love does not behave rudely (not rude, unbecomingly, indecently, unmannerly).
  • Love does not seek its own (is not selfish, or self-seeking; foes not insist on one’s own right and way).
  • Love is not provoked (not touchy, angry, fretful, and resentful).
  • Love thinks no evil (harbors and plan no evil thought; takes no account of a wrong done it).
  • Love does not rejoice in iniquity (lawlessness, wrong, sin, evil, injustice),
  • Love rejoices in the truth (justice and righteousness).
  • Love bears all things (Love protects).
  • Love believes in all things (exercises faith in everything; is ready to believe the best in everyone).
  • Love hopes for all things (keep up hope in everything under all circumstances).
  • Love endures all things (without weakening; it gives power to endure).
  • Love never fails.

1.2 Love

In 1Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul teaches that the “Spiritual Gifts” (Tongues, Prophecy and Knowledge) and character traits (Faith to move mountains, the sacrificial spirit that would prompt the Person to give his goods to the poor, the courage that enables the Person to be a Martyr to endure the flames) are not insignificant or commonplace; yet, Apostle Paul does not say once but three times that it is love that gives value to “Spiritual Gifts (Tongues, Prophecy, and Knowledge), spirit of sacrifice (Faith, Zeal and Courage). If not, all are nothing and we have accomplished nothing – 1Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flame, but have not love, I am nothing.”

1.3 Relationship

1Corinthians 13:4-8, each description of God’s Love is in the Arena of interpersonal relationship. We would have expected from the larger context that Paul would want to instruct us on how to Prophesy in Love; how to Exercise Faith in Love; and how to give sacrificially in Love; how to lay down our life in Love; but he does not do that. Instead, he teaches about exercising Patience and being Kind to one another; he teaches about Love, elimination of envy, boasting, rudeness and selfishness; he teaches that Love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs; Paul has thus passed from the teaching of “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians 12) to the Arena of Relationship.

1.4 Love Lived Out

What is Paul teaching us through this subtle change from “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians 12) to God’s Love in 1Corinthians 13? Just this: “Love must permeate and govern every aspect of our lives.” Love is not to be exercised only in the use of “Spiritual Gifts,” but God’s Love gives value to “Spiritual Gifts:”

  • Love enables us to share together our life in Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 13).
  • Love is the cement that binds us, the “Living Stones,” together that is being built into God’s Spiritual House (1Peter 2:5).
  • Love is the ligament that binds the Members into one Body (Ephesians 4:16).
  • Love gives Unity to the Body and makes the functioning of “Spiritual Gifts” effective (Ephesians 4:16).

1.5 The Balance

The “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) is Eternal (“abides” – 1Corinthians 13:13); whereas the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians 12 & 14) is temporal (“vanished away” – 1Corinthians 13:8). “Spiritual Gifts” is Ministry-Oriented, whereas “Fruit of the Spirit” is God-Oriented. Also, the “Fruit of the Spirit” accompanies all the four passages on “Spiritual-Gifts:” 

  • 1Corinthians 13- “The Love Chapter” – is sandwiched between the “Gifts of the Spirit” in 1Corinthians 12:8-10 and the Operations of the “Gifts of the Spirit” in 1Corinthians chapter 14.
  • The “Gifts of the Spirit” in Romans 12:6-8 is followed by the exhortation on Love – “Let love be without hypocrisy” and “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:9-10). The passage on “Fruit of Love” continues for another 11 verses (Romans 12:11-21).
  • The teaching of the “Gifts of Christ” in Ephesians 4:11-16 is followed by the “Fruit of Love” Ephesians 4:17 and continued to Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
  • The “Fruit of Love” in 1Peter 4:8 precedes the “Spiritual Gifts” of 1Peter 4:10-11 – “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’”

The Church at Corinth, although is, “a messy-Church,” but yet has an ideal Spiritual Gift-Mix“You come short in no gift” (1Corinthians 1:7) and the “Nine-Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:8-10), with the Operation of the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians chapter 14); sandwiched is the teaching of “God’s Love” (1Corinthians chapter 13) –  Thus, the “Fruit of the Spirit” is the Indispensable Foundation for the effective use of the “Gifts of the Spirit” in any Church, even the messy ones! Therefore, any teaching of “Gifts of the Spirit” (Romans 12:3-8; 1Corinthians 12 to 14; 1Peter 4:10-11) and the “Gifts of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7-16), must include the teaching of God’s Love of 1Corinthians chapter 13. Most people agreed on the need of balance between “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians chapters 12 & 14) and “God’s Love” (1Corinthians chapter 13); however, few practice it. Most of the Discipleship Training, whether in the Local Churches or Para-Organizations, emphasizes on ministry skills without much consideration of the development of “Fruit of the Spirit” (God’s Love – our Character).

1.6 Love and Discernment

1Corinthians 14:1 (NIV) “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire Spiritual Gifts, especially the Gift of Prophecy” – I believe that the Prophetic Person effectiveness in discernment and accuracy in the Prophetic Word (“Rhema”) is directly proportion to the way he “follows the Way of Love” (1Corinthians 14:1; 1Corinthians 13:4-8a) – the Prophetic Person may be able to see some effectiveness in his discernment and Prophetic Word (“Rhema”); but ultimately he is limited in the Anointing, if he does not “Follow the way of Agape-Love” (1Corinthians 14:1; 1Corinthians 13:4-8a) and grows into it – he will level off and missed God’s Heart-beats.   

1.7 Book of Galatians

God’s Love (Agape) is also taught in the Book of Galatians in the form of “the Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), of which most teaches on Character Traits, which is not wrong but incomplete. The passage starts with Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love…….;” it is “the Fruit” (singular) as affirmed in the original text; Love is “the Fruit” of the Spirit; the “Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control,” are the description and expansion of the “the Fruit” (singular) of the Spirit, which is Love; in other words, “Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control” are the outworking of the “God’s (Agape) Love” of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), in the Life-of-the-Believer.

1.8 Lifestyle

“God’s Love (Agape)” is not a weak notion of feeling; God’s Love (Agape) is the choice God made on our behalf (John 3:16); Believer is to Walk in the Life-style of Love:    

  • 1Thessalonians 5:8 (NKJV) “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
  • 1Timothy 6:11 (NKJV) “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”
  • 2Timothy 2:22 (NKJV) “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

The demonstration of God’s Love (Agape) is expected of us; not as a single act, but as a life-style; it is seen in our words, attitudes, and actions as shown in the following Scripture:

  • 2John 1:6b (NIV) “As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.”
  • Ephesians 5:2 (NIV) “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” 
  • Jude 21b (NIV) “Keep yourselves in God’s love.”
  • 1Corinthians 16:14 (NKJV) “Let all that you do be done with love.”

As in 1Corinthians 13:6b, “Love keeps no record of wrongs” because “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1Peter 4:8b, NIV); we are called to love each other deeply (1Peter 4:8a, NIV). Confrontation, in the “midst-of-wrongs,” must be “spoken in love” (Ephesians 4:15a); Truth, must not be spoken as validation, but out of the Heart of Love – Ephesians 4:15a “Speaking the truth in love.” God’s Love (Agape), in Scripture, is put in the chief place above all other Virtues – Colossians 3:12, 14 “Therefore, as the Elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;…….But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (NKJV). God’s Love (Agape) is of the utmost importance; it is sandwiched between the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians chapter 12) and the Operation of the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians chapter 14). Love is “the glue” that holds the balance of the “Spiritual-Gifts” and the Operation of the “Spiritual Gifts.” We already have “a measure of God’s Love (Agape)” sheds in our heart by God’s Spirit (Romans 5:5); and as we continue this exercise of God’s Love (Agape),” for God and for others and for ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40), we will progressively grow into it, how?

1.9 Greater than Fear & Death

– Love is greater than fear and death – Song of Solomon 8:6 states that “Love is as strong as death” and 1John 4:18 states: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment; but he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (NKJV). God’s Love (Agape) is literally “the Force” in the spiritual realm and it is as strong as death and perfect love casts out fear.

1.10 Love & Faith

does not function effectively without love – “Faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6b, NKJV); further, God’s Love is greater than Faith – 1Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) “And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love;” an amazing statement. Love has a greater Power (Force), in the spiritual realm, than Faith; but most Christians pursue Faith to an ultimate end. I believe, that as the release of the Prophetic Understanding and Anointing increases; there is a corresponding release of the Revelation and the Experience of “God’s Love (Agape)” in the Church of Jesus Christ of 1Corinthians 13. Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV) “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Only the Individual/Church, being firmly rooted in “God’s Love (Agape),” be able to be filled with all “the Fullness of God;” Ephesians 3, affirms: “The love of Christ…….surpasses knowledge”“being filled with the fullness of God” is to receive the “Fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ” because “God was pleased to have all His Fullness dwell in Him (Jesus)” (Colossians 1:19, NIV). 

The Theology of God’s Calling (Romans 11:29) – The Theology of Self

We are created “in the image and likeness” of God – Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, let Us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (KJV).


Adam & Eve were not the product of some galactic accident nor is he the result of evolution. God created Adam to be totally dependent on Him – “For in Him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Luke 3:38 calls Adam “the son of God.”


Adam & Eve were God’s masterpiece and the focal point of His (God’s) Creation. All of God’s purposes were to centre on them (Genesis 1:26-28) – Genesis 1:31a “He (God) had made, and indeed it was very good….”


Adam & Eve were created in God’s Image and Likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). Unlike Angels and the animals, Adam & Eve have very special relationship with God. God not only gave Adam & Eve Personality – Mind to think, emotion to feel, and will for making decisions – but God also gave Adam & Eve a spirit that enabled them to know Him (God) and worship Him (God).


God’s Image is spiritual, mental, and volitional (power). It involves the Character (Image) and Nature (Likeness) of God – Likeness (intellect, emotion, will) and Image (Moral Attributes: Holy, righteous, love, faithful). Not God’s Essential Attributes (Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Immutable (unchanging as to His Nature, Being and Character) and Self-existent) of God.


Fruitful, Multiply and FillGenesis 1:28a “And God blessed them, and God said unto them (Adam & Eve), be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (KJV). The three Commands: “Be Fruitful, and Multiply and Filled the Earth” involves Procreation, the union of man (Adam) and woman (Eve) to populate the Earth (Genesis 9:1; Isaiah 45:18). Adam and Eve were to reproduce “after their kind”Genesis 5:1-3 “This is the Book of the Generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them and called their Name Adam (Mr & Mrs Adam), in the day when they were created. And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and called his name Seth” (KJV).


Subdue the EarthGenesis 1:28b “And subdue it” (KJV). The word “subdue” denotes warfare and means “to tread down, to conquer and to subjugate.” This implied the existence of Enemy (Satan – The Fall of Lucifer – Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9) that Adam and Eve must overcome. Satan and one third of the Angelic Host rebelled against God (Revelation 12:4a) and became God’s Enemies and Adam’s & Eve’s Enemies. Satan (Lucifer) and the Fallen Angels were the Enemies that Adam & Eve must overcome. Furthermore, Adam & Eve were to make the whole Earth as the Garden of Eden. This implies a degree of sovereignty, control and direction over Nature (Psalm 8:6).


Have DominionGenesis 1:28c “And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth” (KJV). Adam and Eve were the first Rulers over God’s Creation – “The Heaven, even the Heavens are the LORD’s but the Earth He has given to the Children of men” (Psalm 115:16, NKJV). From the moment of their (Adam & Eve) Creation Man & Woman were given the Authority to have Dominion – This Dominion involves the Rulership over the Earthly Creation and would include the spiritual authority.

Adam & Eve were King & Queen under God, Adam named the animals – Genesis 1:19-20a “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field; and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call every living Creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (KJV).

  • Adam & Eve demonstrated their God’s given authority over the Creation (Genesis 1:28), when Adam gave Names to the animals and fowls.
  • Adam & Eve demonstrated their God’s given mental capacity when Adam named the animals and fowls.

It did not take millions of years for Man (Adam) and Woman (Eve) to evolve in their search of self-identity and self-consciousness, for Adam’s & Eve’s Dominion (Genesis 1:28) were the direct result of being created in God’s Image and Likeness. Man (Adam) and Woman (Eve) were created to have dominion over all living Creatures (Genesis 1:28).


When Adam & Eve Fell (sinned – Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-6), not only physical death and spiritual death (cut-off from God’s Life) came upon them (Adam & Eve) but the Image of God in them were marred (Ephesians 4:18-19). But at the same time, they still retain God’s Likeness of: Intellect, Emotion, and Will. Through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Work of the Holy Spirit, the Image of God is presently being formed in every born-again Believer who allows God’s Spirit to conform him/her to God’s Image, of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit:

  • Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers” (KJV).
  • 2Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (NIV).
  • Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (NIV).


At the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, all of God’s Children will share in the Glorious Image of Christ – 1John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the Children of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure” (KJV)


Thus, we have worth and significance in God’s Sight, despite our weaknesses, failures, and faults. Every Person long for meaning of life and deep relationship, which could only be satisfied in God in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The field of Psychology tries to create an understanding and appreciation of this worth and significance, for example:

  • Erik Erikson helps his Readers appreciate more fully what it means to become an Adult – to be mature in one’s personal identity.
  • Victor Frankle effectively argues that deep within the psyche of each Person is a longing for meaning that needs to be expressed in hopeful work and purposeful activity.
  • Rollo May recognises the essential worth of each Person and appreciates the power of crisis and stress to undermine personal identity. He contends that the resulting emptiness and anxiety can only be overcome through the power of love, love that enables us to live with freedom and courage.
  • Abraham Maslow gives us the language of self-actualisation, the ideal or goal toward which each Person strives – to realise our potential in our work and relationships, and to be able to do so even in environments and contexts that threaten our capacity for inner strength, authenticity and courage.”

It was estimated by one author (Gordon T Smith) that over 80 percent of the books published in any given year are about the self. We are consumed with our “selves.”  In order to resist being absorbed with ourselves, we must find, in response to God’s Grace, Mercy and Moral grounding, a clear sense of Authentic Identity in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, in our life and calling (vocation). Only then can we turn from self-absorption and self-centredness and know God’s Grace & Mercy in the Service to Others.  


God’ Glory – Man/Woman reflects God’s Glory – 1Corinthians 11:7b “Man… the Image and Glory of God” (KJV) and thus, it is erroneous for Christians and the Church to consider the Person to be nothing but God’s channel only. Scripture speaks of us as Partners with God – even Ambassadors for God (2Corinthians 5:20). Our lives and works matter greatly to God; our choices and decisions make a difference. Apostle Paul urges Timothy to “fan into flame the Gift of God” (2Timothy 1:6, NIV). If he/she does not, the Gift of God will not flourish in him/her! Timothy is urged to be proactive, to take responsibility for his life and his work (Ministry = Service), which will impact both the Church and the World.

Christians and Church, who argued that the best option is for the Person to decrease, often quoted the words of John the Baptist: “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). We miss the point if we extrapolate from this declaration of John the Baptist that the Person has little if any significance.

  • John the Baptist was speaking of his calling (vocation), and of the joy at Christ’s Coming.
  • John’s work is that of a friend of the Bridegroom (Jesus – John 3:29), not that of the Bridegroom.

Naturally, when the Bridegroom appears, it is appropriate for the friend (John) to step aside – and this is his joy (and also Jesus’ joy). We see this Principle repeated in the affirmation that we are called to lose our lives if we are to gain them; that if we are to be great, then we must be Servants of all:

  • Mark 10:43-44 “But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever would be great among you, shall be your minister (Servant); And whosoever of you would be the chiefest shall be Servant of all” (KJV).
  • Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your Servant” (KJV).

Implicit in these teaching of Jesus is the recognition that we have life to give, and we achieve greatness by giving our life, thus, it can be assumed that the Individual life before God has the potential of greatness. When Christ’s Disciples wondered who would be great in the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ response was not to rebuke them for desiring greatness but rather to point them to the way of Service. Furthermore, Jesus made the remarkable statement that His Disciples were not only His Servants; they were His friends (John 15:15). Thus, we are more than “Channels” or “Instruments” but Partners with Him in the Work of the Kingdom! So do not run yourself down but Praise the Lord Jesus!