|Matthew 19 |
1 Now it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond the Jordan;
2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
3 The Pharisees also came to him, tempting him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any reason?"
4 And he answered them, "Have you not read, that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,
6 Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man divide."
7 And they said to him, "Then why did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce, and then send her away?"
8 He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say to you, whoever shall put away his wife, unless it is for fornication and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced, commits adultery."
10 Then his disciples said to him, "If this is the case of a man with his wife, it is good to never marry."
11 But he said to them, "All men cannot receive this saying, only those to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs who were born so from their mother's womb; and there are some eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."
13 Then little children were brought there to him so that he could put his hands on them and pray, and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, "Allow the little children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
15 And he laid his hands on them, and then departed from there.
16 And, behold, someone came and said to him, "Good Master, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?"
17 And he said to him, "Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, and that is God; but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments."1
18 And he asked him, 'Which ones?' Jesus said, "You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. [Notice! Jesus did not say that you must keep all the commandments; He listed only those that make up the moral core of the Law, which is included in the law that is written on every man's heart, by which all men shall be judged by God, and which has never been annulled or canceled. From the Word of the Lord within: "You must have a devotion to the law that is on every man's heart; you must listen; and you must obey."]
19 Honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
20 And the young man said to him, "I have kept all these things from my youth up, what do I yet lack?"
21 Then Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor,2 and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me." [Notice! Jesus has told us that perfection is necessary to enter into the eternal life of God; and if we would be perfect to have eternal life, (which is the life of God), we must follow the moral commandments, (included in the law on every man's heart), give to the poor, and then follow Him. We follow Him by exposing ourselves to hear his commands and then obey them; we deny our will and submit to His commands — that is the cross all men must bear to the death of self, to perfection, to attain salvation, to attain eternal life.]
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had many possessions.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I say to you that it will be hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.3
24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, "Who then can be saved?" [Notice! Four events in verses 16-25 that all occur together: 1) eternal life, 2) perfection, 3) the Kingdom of God, and 4) being saved, which is salvation. Salvation is to be freed from all sin, even the desire to sin; freedom from all sin is perfection; when you have been perfected and saved, you are translated into the Kingdom of God to enjoy eternal life, while on earth and forever.]
26 But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
27 Then Peter said to him, "Behold, we have forsaken all and followed you; therefore, what shall we have?"
28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit everlasting life.
30 But many who are first will be last; and the last first."
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1 What must I do to have eternal life? If you will enter into life, keep the commandments. Notice Jesus did not say to the man, you have eternal life, because you believe in me. Rather, Jesus said to enter into life, (the eternal life of God, directed and energized by his Spirit), you must keep the commandments. And then he lists those he must keep: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. He listed the moral core of the Mosaic law that is a part of the inner law on every man's heart. Then he told him he must sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow him. So where is instant salvation by saying a prayer, getting wet, and eating grape juice and bread? Not only must we keep the commandments, we must follow Jesus. How do we follow Jesus? We silently listen and obey him teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world..; so that he will redeem us from all iniquity [lawless deeds, sin], and purify for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works; good works as directed by him to his glory. These verses should stop the mouths of all who say, "just to believe in Jesus is enough." There is no arguing about this; Jesus has told us that to be saved, one must keep the moral core of the commandments, take up your cross, and follow him.
2 If you would be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor.
If you would be perfect. First, perfection is necessary to enter into the eternal life of God. In Mark and Luke, Jesus is quoted as saying: One thing you lack, go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor. Mark 10:21; he lacked something to enter into the eternal life of God, which requires perfection.
go and sell your possessions and give to the poor. Mark records: sell whatever you have. Luke records: Sell all you that you have. Does this mean you must sell everything you own and give the money away to the poor? Sell your house? Sell your car? Sell your tools? Sell your clothes? Sell your furniture? Sell your business? Sell your stocks in your 401-K? NO! Jesus was addressing a rich young man, who was very self-confident, full of pride and self-righteousness. He claimed he kept the commandments since his youth, including to love his neighbor as himself, which is impossible to completely obey without the changing power of God to rid yourself of your selfish human nature on the inward cross of self-denial, as the Spirit mortifies your selfish nature that serves your body. Had he truly loved his neighbor as himself, he would not have been sad about selling his possessions and giving to the poor. So Jesus knew exactly, and showed him, what still stood between himself and God — his possessions, which were many. As you seek the changing grace of God, you must come to God with no reservations in your life; we must forsake all to be his disciple, Luke 14:33. But to forsake or renounce does not mean sell them all. We must do two things in this regard:
a) We must be ready to give up anything that he asks. There must be nothing that we reserve as unable to part with. Those things that we must deny in order to progress, the Lord will tell us to get rid of them. But most things will just fade into lack of importance as we draw closer to God. From the Word of God within my heart: "Whatever God commands, whether it be dying on the cross, we obey; however financially strait, however it affects our reputation, however ruinous."
b) We must distribute liberally to the poor from our excess possessions and money. We still have to provide for our families and meet our obligations; the Lord wants us to continue to do that well. But what we have beyond our needs, we need to distribute to the poor, either directly or through charities that specifically assist the poor. We need to sell any possessions that we do not need and give the proceeds to the poor.
Finally, you must repeatedly be eager to know what stands in the way of your spiritual progress, eager for the Lord to show and tell you. He too is eager to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Tit 2:12
The records of the many purified, Kingdom-dwelling, Early Quaker men and women on this site, had houses, horses, carriages, farms, businesses, etc. They had clearly not sold everything they owned to become paupers; but they also liberally distributed to the poor and to those in need, particularly to fellow Christians, but to the general population too.
3 So what should a rich man do to enter the Kingdom? He must liberally give from his excess. He cannot hold on to his riches, without sharing with those who lack the necessities of life — the poor, which does not include giving to sects or tithing. The wrong is to have excess, over and above what you need to live, while being aware of people, wherever they are, in need of the necessities of life without contributing to their relief. Perhaps you have to look beyond the borders of you own country to find those people and/or charities with genuine needs. But there is need throughout the third world for life-sustaining contributions. (Note! People in need, does not include those who refuse to take available jobs and choose to beg instead, pretending they have needs.) When you close your ears and heart to the poor, you have closed your heart to God. When you give to the poor, you have given to God. What you do for the least of mankind, you have done for God. Mat 25:32-45
There is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. Pro 30:14
The righteous considers the needs of the poor; but the wicked decides not to recognize what condition they are in. Pro 29:7
He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker; but he who has mercy on the poor honors God. Pro 14:31
Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. Pro 21:13
His promise was: if you seek, as your FIRST priority, the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all your other needs will be met. We can testify to the truth of his promise, that while seeking the Lord as our first priority in life, He has met all our material needs far in excess of our hopes. Rather than accumulation, your focus should be on giving from your excess; for it is more blessed to give than receive. You must practice generous giving. When you see a need that you can fill from your excess, fill it. Just react to what comes in front of you, or you can give to deserving charities such as our favorite: Boys Town. By giving, you are practicing what you seek — love and death of self; but give in secret, receiving no recognition from man. Only your Father in heaven will know, and your treasure will become eternal. And remember, it is the love of money that is the root of all evil, not money. Rich or poor can love money. Rich or poor can have little regard for money. Remember, it is written, give to the poor, and I will repay you. And, God loves a cheerful giver. Ease of giving comes with practice. Start slow and build as you feel the joy of giving.
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