Wherever You Lead

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 3:47 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 5:15-30 (ESV).

This Is Why

The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus had just healed a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. The day was the Sabbath. Jesus had told the man to get up, take up his mat and walk. This did not set well with the hypocritical and legalistic Jews who were more concerned over the letter of the law than they were with seeing someone healed. They were more concerned with externals than they were with internals, i.e. than they were with changed lives by the power of the Spirit of God. They didn’t care that the man who had been disabled for 38 years was now healed. All they saw was that he was carrying his mat, which was work, and he wasn’t supposed to work on that day. Yet, they were hypocritical because they would rescue a sheep who had fallen into a hole on the Sabbath, but they would not allow Jesus to rescue human beings. They were hypocritical, too, because they were more concerned with looking good on the outside (with appearance), but were not concerned over the evil which was in their hearts.

I see today that legalism still exists, but I believe it is now in the minority and it is nearly becoming extinct. Yet, that does not mean that man-made religion has also gone by the wayside or that human thinking or human traditions have taken a backseat to the working of the Spirit of God in human hearts and lives. It also does not mean that there has been a decline in persecution of Christians by the church and by church leaders, i.e. by institutional religion. In fact, I believe persecution of Christians is on the rise today, and particularly within the confines of the institutional church of today.

They are still concerned with externals and with how things look. The stage production called a worship service in many church fellowships has become the primary focus of the church, and the most costly, too. Those who still follow the teachings of Christ and of the apostles serve as a threat to many modern-day pastors and church leaders who are more interested in making people feel good than they are with telling them the truth of God’s word, which can change hearts and lives. So, some things have not changed at all.

Many are still more concerned with appearance than they are with changed lives, yet the pendulum has swung the other direction from legalism to liberalism and/or libertinism. The gospel has been diluted to be more acceptable to the people of this sinful world, and instead of the church being a place for believers in Jesus to be strengthened and encouraged in their faith so they can go out into the world to share the gospel, the world is being invited into the meetings of the church, and the meetings are largely centered around attracting the world by worldly means and methods so that the world will feel at home in the church - What is wrong with this picture? And, so those who are truly about the Father’s work will be persecuted because they tell the truth, and the truth makes people uncomfortable, and that does not fit in with most church leaders’ business plans for how to grow their churches.

Do Likewise

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, was always submissive to God the Father. He modeled for us what our relationship with God should look like. We should not be going around just doing whatever we want, our way, and in our timing. We should also not be growing or attempting to grow our churches via human means and methods, especially if this means disregarding God’s Word and his Ways for building his church. We should be following our Lord God in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives, and we should be seeking him and his word to learn about his will, his ways and his timing. Then, in the power and working of the Spirit within us, we should do what he teaches us. We should inquire of him in prayer concerning how he wants us to spend our time, and what kinds of activities he would have us involved in, rather than us making our own plans and hoping he will bless them, or not.

Not My Will

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

We are not to seek our own wills but the will of our Lord God. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that his sheep (his followers) listen to him and they follow (obey) him wherever he leads them (See Jn. 10). He said that if we want to come after him we must deny (reject) our self-life, die daily to sin and self, and follow (obey) him (See Lu. 9:23-25). Paul said similar words when he said that coming to Christ means we forsake (put off) our former lives of sin, we are made new (of the Spirit) in the attitude of our minds, and we put on the new self, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24). Jesus died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). In fact, his grace which brings salvation teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for his return (See Tit. 2:11-14).

Yet, this is not being taught much at all today in America. Instead we are being taught that God requires nothing of us at all but just to “believe,” although that is rarely explained. On top of that they teach that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, and to alleviate any kind of feelings of guilt over active sin in our lives we should just recite to ourselves who we are in Christ, which they teach includes that God smiles on us and is delighted with us even when we are willfully sinning against him. All one has to do to be a follower of Christ, according to them, is to pray a prayer of faith, and then they have their hope of heaven, and nothing can take it away from them, no matter how they live from that point on.

God’s word teaches the contrary, though. Jesus taught us to honor God with our lives, not take him and his grace for granted, seeing it as a “get out of jail free card,” and our freedom as the freedom to continue in sin without guilt or remorse. They accuse those of us who follow the teaching of Christ as being legalists and of teaching works-based salvation, because they want to discredit us and the gospel so that they can spread their false gospel and so people will accept it, which they are by the millions, it would appear. Yet, the Word teaches us that a Day of Judgment is coming when we will all have to give an account for what we did with Jesus. At this judgment, Jesus said, all who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

So, was Jesus teaching works-based salvation? No! He was teaching that true belief in him means we seek not to please ourselves but our Lord, and that our actions are evidence of what we truly believe. To do good does not mean to do “good works,” but to put our faith in Jesus Christ in the way scripture teaches us, which is to honor God with our lives. To do evil is to reject Christ and his will and purposes for our lives and to continue to live and to walk according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit. So, if you have bought into this teaching that says God requires nothing of you and that you don’t have to repent of your sin, and that you don’t have to obey Christ and his instructions to us, then think again, because your life may depend on it. Honor God with your lives. Follow him wherever he leads you and do what he says. And, seek not to please yourself, but seek to please God.

Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.