Pulled Up By The Roots

Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 6:30 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

Follow Him / An Original Work / February 21, 2013

Based off Luke 9:22-25

Jesus, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross.

Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself and follow.
He must take up his cross daily;
Die to sin and self each day.

Father, God above,
Loved us so: gave His Son.

If you want to save your old life;
Keep on sinning, follow your ways,
You will lose your life forever;
Hope of heaven gone away.

Spirit of our God
Gives us life in God’s Son.

Nonetheless, if you die to self;
Forsake your sin; follow Jesus,
You will live with God in heaven,
And forever praise His name!


Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Matthew 15:1-20 (NIV 1984):

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”

Tradition vs. Commands

The Pharisees and teachers of the law were more concerned with the people of Israel following religious traditions instituted by the elders than they were concerned with people following the commands of God. I find this still to be true in the church (Israel) of today.

The Israel (God’s people) of today is the church, the body of Christ. Yet, just as the Israel of old was a mixture of true followers of God and those who followed in form only, so the gatherings of the church today and/or the institutions of church contain a mixture of true followers and those who follow in appearance only. They also include those who do not claim to follow our Lord at all, but attend gatherings of the church to please others, or because of some sense of religious duty based upon family tradition, or a need to be a part of a social organization, or perhaps to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus.

John 10 speaks of those who enter the sheep pen by a way other than through the gate (Jesus Christ). They are strangers to the true sheep who listen to their Shepherd’s (Jesus’) voice, and who obey him. These strangers are thieves and robbers who come into the sheep pen (church assemblies) only to kill and to destroy the church. They are the leaders of the people who teach a false gospel of men, and who teach their people to be followers of men and followers of tradition rather than followers of God/Jesus Christ. This is happening not only in our traditional churches, but in today’s modern church movements, too.

False vs. True

Many are teaching a false grace and are giving their adherents a false picture of Jesus Christ, as well. They are teaching, whether by commission or omission, that we don’t have to repent of (turn away from) our sins and we don’t have to obey our Lord Jesus, as required for genuine believing faith for salvation (see Eph. 4:17-24). And, they are teaching that God is pleased with us no matter what we do. They also give people a false assurance of eternity with God in heaven just for reciting a prayer, or for intellectual acknowledgment of Christ, or for an emotional experience at an altar based upon a lie (a half-truth).

Yet, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny (disallow) himself (his self-life), and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said that we must die to our old way of living for self and sin if we want to gain life with God in heaven for eternity (see Luke 9:23-25). As well, we read in Ephesians 4:17-24 that the way in which we come to know Christ is by dying to (forsaking; putting off) our old lives of sin and self, by being transformed in heart and mind (the working of the Spirit of God), and by putting on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Jesus’ first sermon was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” And we learn in scripture that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

External vs. Internal

The Pharisees were more concerned with the external rites and rituals of religious practice than they were concerned with circumcision of the heart. They gave preference to the teachings and traditions of men over the teachings of God and his word. This still exists within today’s church, and in greater numbers in our more modern “untraditional” church settings, too. So much of today’s modern church movement is based upon appearance, attracting large crowds of people, appealing to the flesh and preferences of mankind, and following the model of big business for marketing the church. Thus, the gospel is diluted to make it more palatable to its listeners, and to gain more members into the “church.”

Many are more concerned with whether or not we offend men and women than they are concerned with whether or not we offend God, and so they shy away from talking about death to sin and self and the essential requirement of obedience to Christ and his commands for salvation (see 1 John). They would rather allow sin to go unchecked within the church than to hurt anyone’s feelings. They would rather put up with what they even know to be false teaching and a watered-down gospel rather than to expose the false teaching and to have people not like them, or for them to be ostracized from the local fellowship (see 2 Co. 11:3-4). They will even deny the teachings of scripture, in many cases, in order to continue following after the ways and teachings of mankind, in order to continue building their man-made kingdoms here on this earth.

By the Roots

Jesus said that every plant that his heavenly Father did not plant will be pulled up by the roots. This is speaking of divine judgment of God against his people (cf. Is. 5:1-7). Even Jesus’ quote from Isaiah 29 concerning these people who honor him with their lips, but their hearts are far from him, is in the context of God’s divine judgment against his people. As well, the song (below), “Broken Hearts,” is based off Jeremiah 31, which is also a prophecy of judgment against God’s people. Yet, in all of these judgments of God against his people he always promised that a remnant would return to him, he would restore them, and he would renew them in their relationship with him. Their eyes would then be opened, their ears unstopped, and they would understand God’s purposes in it all.

If you read the book of Isaiah, I believe you will learn that most of it is a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the messianic age (church age, primarily), and his judgments at the end of time on the earth and on the people on the earth, including or most especially upon his own people (the church – cf. Rev. 2-3). Yet, all through the book of Isaiah we have the promise that through these judgments will come revival of God’s people and, as a result, the people of the nations of the world will flock to Jesus Christ and to his eternal kingdom. I believe this is coming, based upon the teachings of scripture, and that it is coming to the church that honors God with their lips only but their hearts are far from him, because they worship God in vain; “their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

Broken Hearts / An Original Work / December 14, 2012

Based off Jeremiah 31:15 (cf. Matt. 2:18)

Weeping in Ramah;
Her children no more.
Rachel is weeping;
Her comfort forlorn.
Jesus is waiting;
Her comforter be,
When she calls on Him,
Down on bended knee.
He has provided our
Sins’ sacrifice,
When He died for our sin,
Paying the price.

Our hearts are broken;
We’re feeling her pain;
Looking for answers
And someone to blame.
Jesus is calling us;
Him to believe;
Turning from our sins,
So we can be free.
Trust in His promises.
Lean on His grace;
Living for Jesus,
Eternal life gain.

Days of confusion,
Distress, pain and grief;
Looking for someone
To give us relief.
Our God and Father
In heaven above
Is looking down to us;
Providing love.
Call upon Him in your
Sadness and pain.
Trust your life with His Son;
Live life again.