Jesus taught that the fruit bears witness of the tree that bore it, thus an individuals true belief is revealed by the developing, self-evident behaviors of each person. The same principle applies to a church, government or other organization; and by this key you may often be saved from deception and servitude.
Matthew 7:12 "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
Here Jesus declares the one principle of behavior that underlies his entire system of religion, and serves as an unfailing litmus test of the authenticity of discipleship to Jesus, saving us all from falling into the clutches of pretenders, who would deceive, use and abuse us.
Of these false teachers Jesus continues, declaring in all plainness in Matthew 15
Again from Matthew 7
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: (more properly perhaps “you never knew me”) depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
7 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias (Isaiah) prophesy of you, saying,Jesus said there was but one rule of conduct or Law of God. How many rules of conduct and conformity are found in organized religions who claim to represent Jesus today? The prime operating function of that Law, claimed to be written in stone by the finger of God himself was LOVE.
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.
How many religions who claim to honor Moses or Jesus focus on fear, hate, envy, greed and intolerance instead? Are those religions practiced in vain? Do they honor Jesus with their lips while their hearts are truly far from him? Indeed, they neither know or believe Jesus, Moses or even that entity they claim to worship as God!
As said by Jesus in Luke 6Yet these religions and governments garner to themselves millions upon millions of eager followers who literally become their minions and slaves – all the while spouting words of a freedom that they will never for themselves attain.
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Often individuals are so far deluded as to consider their own slavery to actually be that freedom they think they seek – hard to believe – yet it's truth is all around us to be easily observed, and cannot be denied.
10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:Every particle put into motion continues in motion. Every thought, photon, microwave or radio wave ever generated still vibrates through space and passes through our mind at a rate of hundreds (or more) of foreign waves per second. We often cannot control what actually goes in to us, but we can control what comes out and it is what comes out of a person that shows what kind of person he or she is.
11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
What comes out of you?
Out of all the ingredients mixed inside you, what kind of person have you become?
What You have you made You to be?
The Pharisees were one of two major conventions or divisions of Church Leaders in the Hebrew religion. Recall that Jews are descendents of just one of the so called 12 tribes of Israel – the tribe of Judah. Jesus himself was not even a Jew – he was of the Hebrew tribe of Benjamin. (Read a brief though fascinating treatment of this topic here)
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.The plants he refers to are the false churches (then and more importantly now) who depart from the 1st and great commandment – teaching instead as in vs. 9 above.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.Even the immediate disciples of Jesus were not immune from letting their personal interests and emotions cause them to deviate from his teachings, in this case to mistake their emotional attachment to him a greater thing than obedience to the 1st and great commandment as found in
Matthew 16When Jesus says to "take up his cross", he means for each individual to take responsibility for their own life experience and show their relationships and committments the sanctity the care over the creations of God deserve. For man to “lose his life for my sake”, does not suggest that we die for him - rather we should be learning to truly live for the truths he shared - or that we could ever do anything to improve on, or detract from his life – that would be ridiculous. He can only mean that we would give up our “natural” selfish desires, aspiring to and practicing the principles of the higher order that he taught – that we would put love of and service to God – through service to our fellow-man - ahead of our animal instincts to sacrifice the welfare of others simply to enhance our own.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?The first part of vs. 27 may seem somewhat obscure, and it does no good to argue about different speculations on what something might mean to God as no man is up to the task of knowing what it is to be God or to comprehend His Thoughts. All that aside, this verse certainly makes clear that all the powers of creation will at some point measure out to every person their just deserts according to pure justice.
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Justice, is not an unworthy aspiration and is a necessary personal practice.
It is more important though, that we not be consumed by an overwhelming demand for it. Rather if we find ourselves consumed or overwhelmed, let it be by mercy, tolerance, compassion and love, entrusting all-consuming battles for justice to a more powerful, cosmic power.
If we do believe Jesus then we must believe that as a man sows, so shall he reap.
We express our belief by behaving as one who believes such.
Back to Matthew 7So, if it is not the casting out of devils, prophesying and doing “wonderful works” that constitutes hearing and doing his sayings, what is it? A slightly fuller exposition of Matthew 7:12 is found in
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 22As in the 10 Commandments (really about 15), in Exodus chapter 20, to which Jesus here refers, interprets and concisely defines, the 1st commandment IS the Law, while the following commandments are expositions of the first.
35 Then one of them, [which was] a lawyer, asked (Jesus)...
36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Amazingly, it takes God about 11 verses to get the first idea across while Jesus nicely tidies it up into a single idea and sucks the remainder of the 10 commandments into another single concept - the 2nd commandment - On these two hang ALL THE LAW and ALL THE PROPHETS.
So according to Jesus, everything that is maintained by the LAW of Moses which would be the books of Law (Genesis through Deuteronomy) in the Old Testament and the teachings of all the Spiritual Guides, the major and minor prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc. would, in order to be considered true and of value, have to conform to this rule of order - the 1st and 2nd commandment.
If any rule, or teaching or law does not conform, it fails the test and is not in harmony with the most basic teaching of Jesus, on which He claims rest all other legitimate teaching; spiritual and social order. Teachings that fail this test cannot be authentic teachings of Jesus and must be dismissed or Jesus deduced unreliable.
All who would claim to represent Jesus must be judged similarly.
Also instructive is Luke 6The further teachings of Jesus' brother James are critically revealing:
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
And James 1
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion [is] vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 2The proof as it were – is in the proverbial pudding.
14 What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Can a person show love for God by hating and abusing God's creations?
Can the creature question the motives of the Creator?
Perhaps our duty to God is to evolve into creatures who can use their minds and hearts to rise above senseless fear, selfishness and greed who have learned to obtain positive interactions with cosmic law.
Introduction to a series.
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