Sunday, November 30, 2014

Knowing Jesus - and His Teachings

"Do you know Jesus?" This is the question many evangelists ask when proselytizing. Usually, it's the first one they ask.

Most of us do know OF Jesus, even if only from hearing about him in our childhood.

But it's actually a very dangerous question, because it implies that KNOWING about Jesus is enough.

Mere knowledge ABOUT a teacher isn't the same as knowing the teacher's lessons, nor does knowing them mean we have committed to following those lessons, just that we know about the teacher.

Knowing Jesus is the beginning of our faith. Coming to know the teachings and path Jesus lays out for us is our faith's completion.

It is in following the teachings of this teacher, Jesus, that we find peace, and our lives become spiritually abundant.

We cannot stop at simply "knowing" Jesus' name, or merely give verbal assent to the stories surrounding him, or believing that calling his name out loud carries a magical, mystical power of some sort. We must also learn that it is by hearing AND doing what Jesus teaches that we are saved from sin and grow within us a spiritually abundant life.

If we neither know nor do the teachings of Jesus, we're not "saved." For those who claim to know him but do not follow his teachings does not know him at all (John 13:17; Matt. 7:24; 1 John 2:4.)

Jesus says if we love him, we will obey his teachings; and Jesus teaches us to live completely for God and completely for others. In this, WE become complete.

Calling out "Lord, Lord" (that is: "Master, Master) and speaking vain words to God in Jesus' name do not save us either here or in the afterlife, says Jesus.

We gain eternal life - and an abundant Spiritual life - by knowing God's Moral Laws and doing them in Spirit and in Truth. Love of God and love of Others is the core of Jesus' teaching on Love, and summarized the teachings of the Jewish prophets and Law. (Matt. 19:17; 22:40; Luke 10:26-28.)

The example of Jesus shows us the life to which we can aspire, and his righteousness is the criterion by which we are judged by God (Matt. 16:27.)

Jesus arrived at perfect obedience by doing all things for which he was sent by his Father, and has shown by his example that we are all able to obey God. He calls us to do all that he has done - and MORE! (John 14:12)

If we call Jesus our Master and trust his words, then our deeds will reflect his example, bringing us an abundant Spiritual life.

We are called to serve others selflessly, seek God's forgiveness constantly, and give of ourselves to others endlessly. Jesus was chosen by God to be His prophetic spokesman; a perfect example for us in life and death of what God wishes us to be. He has called on us to follow him in all things.

This example of Jesus is a gift from God, assuring us that we, too may live the way God wishes us to live.

That is the message Jesus delivered to us as the Gospel (“Beneficial Message.”) There are no further mysteries, no creeds based on complicated Greek philosophies, no man-made dogma based on Lawyerly speculations or endless debates about others mens' imagined interpretations about his life.

Jesus calls us to put his teachings into practice, lest we build our houses of faith on the shifting sands of mere words and empty praise.

Let us go out into the world and serve Jesus and our fellow human beings, bringing in the Kingdom of God with each act of Righteousness!

Because by our acts, the world will learn that we do know Jesus!

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