churches today concentrate more on fund raisers, pledges of money, pass
the plate, building funds, etc., etc., than on teaching God's Word.
How is your church doing?
In our last study Jesus Christ instructed us concerning some very important things we need to know in this final generation of the fig tree, even things we need to allow the Word of God to expose, cast out, and whither in the eyes of our brethren, like religious scam artists and that bad fig tree who shoots forth leaves and covers up the truth while claiming to be God's chosen people.You see, that false tree stands in the way (blocks the minds) of many Christians by claiming to be a good tree. In other words, they claim their family tree goes back to Abraham and that they therefore are the children of God... but their father is not God (Jn. 8:44) and they bear no fruit for the kingdom of God.In understanding the Parable of the Fig Tree we know that they are the bad figs of Jeremiah 24 who are nothing but a bunch of liars and are of the synagogue of Satan. These things are spoken of in detail in Christ's instructions to the messengers of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 & 3, which represent all the Christian churches of today ("7" is the number of completeness, even spiritual completeness). For example, does your church permit the doctrine of Baalam as does the church of Pergamos?
Again, does your church "hast there them" that focus on money? Balaam was a priest of Israel, but if one takes the time to read the account in Numbers 22 he or she will find that Balaam preached to Balac, i.e. the Moabites, for MONEY. Many churches today concentrate more on fund raisers, pledges of money, pass the plate, building funds, etc., etc., than on teaching God's Word. What they do falsely teach and emphasize is that you will be "blessed by God" if you give or send money... as in the more you give the more He will bless you! Ah, Balaam lives on! You know at one point Balaam had his ass so loaded with "donations" that God intervened with an angel and had the ass speak to Balaam to bring him to his senses. So wake up to the reality of what is happening brothers and sisters! God has a problem, a few things against those who permit the doctrine of Balaam.Rev. 2:14
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Here is His advice and warning to them:
That "sword" He speaks of is the Word of God (Rev. 1:16) that is able to cut through the soul and spirit and is therefore much more powerful than a physical sword that is only capable of cutting flesh. Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." You "saw the picture" of what Christ did to the commercial enterprise and peddlers of profane sacrifices taking place in the temple, right? Then take heed and get with the program. The house of God is to be called a house of prayer!Rev. 2:16
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
And how about the "fig tree"? Have you learned the Parable of the Fig Tree (as per Christ's command in Mat. 24, Mark 13, & Luke 21) to know that there are both good and bad figs? The bad figs are the sons of Cain who are those tares we learned about back in chapter 13. There are only two churches out of the seven in Revelation 2 & 3 who teach our people who those bad figs are and have the faith and courage to whither that false lineage (tree) before the eyes of our brothers and sisters. They are the two churches of Philadelphia (Rev. 3:9) and Smyrna (Rev. 2:9). That means if your church is not teaching who the kenites are, i.e. the sons of Cain, then your church falls into the category of one of the other 5 churches ALL of whom Christ has a problem with. They are asleep to the truth and need to begin filling their lamps with the El-i-Yah (olive oil) we spoke of in our last study.
However, when one does according to the Word of God and begins to teach our brothers and sisters the truth concerning Jeremiah 7:11 in that the house of God is to be a house of prayer and not a cash cow for those who come in the name of the Lord and deceive our people with their unholy traditions, he or she may encounter some opposition from those who don't like that bold teaching of His Word, like showing and explaining those "pictures" of casting out and withering. They actually do not like and become "sore displeased" when members of their church turn to Christ, to the Word of God, and are healed and set free and thus no longer support their religious enterprise with either their prayers, their labor, or their money!
To that end, let us read and learn as Jesus Christ is now paid a visit by the chief priests of the temple and the elders of the people who have come to Him to question His authority! Who knows, you may be paid a visit or receive a phone call yourself for boldly teaching the truth of God's Word and setting a captive brother or sister free. So pay real close attention to how Christ handles the situation for as we shall see, it is "wisdom" that prevails!
They came unto Christ as He was teaching demanding to see His credentials and to show where He obtained the authority to be so bold and to teach in such a manner. Make no mistake about it, Christ taught boldly and with authority as we learned back in Matthew 7:29 "For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." His disciples, those disciplined in His Word, also tell it like it is. They are not men pleasers but rather God pleasers teaching not their owns words nor the traditions of men for money or vainglory, but His Words after the manner of "It is written" and "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel"!Matthew 21:23
And when He was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Now remember that these chief priests were those who were "sore displeased (vs. 15)" with the things Christ did in the temple, in the house of God. Jesus had cast out all "them that sold and bought in the temple" and turned over their ATM (Automated Tithe Machine) and now these guys want to know "Who gave thee this authority?" The question itself shows that these are unbelievers and do not serve God, for they have not the Spirit of God. They are not filled the oil of the olive and yet it is they who are the chief priests and the elders of the people, the religious leaders of the community.The truth of the matter is though, God did not send them.
Now Jesus is going to use wisdom to cause them to both "expose themselves" as the religious hypocrites that they are and even "pass judgment upon themselves"!
Christ is going to ask a simple question that cuts right to the heart of their hypocrisy and exposes their unbelief. And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Here is the question:
You've got it fellows! John was a man of God, a man "sent from God", and he educated (fully immersed) people in the Word of God and foretold them of the One who would come after Him, even Jesus Christ, the Light from above! The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; He will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Mark also documents how that John spoke of Messiah.John 1:6
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
For the chief priests and elders of the people to admit that John's baptism was of God meant they would have to accept the One John bear witness of!Mark 1:7
And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.  I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
This also demonstrates the utter hypocrisy and disingenuousness of these religious leaders. They certainly do not have the faith and fortitude of true men and women of God who will stand-up and hold fast to the truth and serve God regardless of the consequences, whether it be stoning (Luke 20:6) or casting into a den of lions! What a bunch of people-pleasing wimps these cowards have shown themselves to be!Matthew 21:26
But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
They prove themselves to be liars with the statement "We cannot tell!" It is not that they cannot tell, for not only did they see the works of John but remember back in Matthew 21:15 they even saw the wonderful works Christ did in the temple. It is a matter that they refuse to acknowledge and admit the truth thereby showing they care not about the truth and that they willingly and knowingly reject Him as Messiah while claiming to be true servants of God. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And He said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Now Wisdom is going to give them a simple analogy, as in paint an earthly picture for them that they can easily see and relate to in their mind's eye on the flesh level, and cause them to judge themselvesout of their own mouths and declare that they do NOT the will of God.
This is an incredible display of wisdom indeed!
Do not miss the fact that this son at first disobeyed his Father and refused to do His will. "No way, man! Don't tell me what to do or how to live my life!" (God's gives some of us teenagers to remind us and help us understand rebellion, lest we forget how we were as teenagers!) Nevertheless, later on (afterward) he repented and turned his life around and did as his Father willed for him for do... which was to go labor for Him in His vineyard.Matthew 21:28
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
This son claimed he would go work in the vineyard but never did. Now for the simple question that even Balaam's ass could answer: And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Uh oh! They just figured out Christ was speaking of them as the disobedient ones who tried to pull the wool (as in sheepskin) over the eyes of their Father. Christ made it clear by saying "before you" that they are the ones represented in the analogy by the son who said he would go labor in the vineyard but all his life never did a thing to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. And to make matters worse, they just learned that they are going to take a back seat to the publicans and sinners who they consider way beneath them! These self-righteous, self-exalted hypocrites would not be seen dead associating with such "lowlifes". Remember Matthew 9:10-11 where the Pharisees accused Christ of eating with publicans and sinners, something they would never do? "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?"Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Now here is the point Christ is making with the parable.
First of all, they did not believe John even though he was man of God who "came unto them in the way of righteousness"... and they knew it! Even Herod could tell John was a just man of God and consequently he had great respect for John. Mark 6:20 "For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly." But then, even after these religious leaders saw the fruit of his labor and the marvelous conversion of the publicans and harlots whose lives were completely turned around whereby they began to serve their Father, they still refused to repent and believe him. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
As so it is that "wisdom" from the Word of God has convicted the guilty who out their own mouths have not only declared themselves to be so, but in our next study will actually sentence themselves by determining and uttering the very punishment they should receive for their own deeds and for the deeds of their forefathers down through the ages! How precious indeed is the wisdom and righteousness of the Word of God. What a witness and testimony Jesus Christ is giving as an ensample for us to "see".
In our next study, Jesus Christ, the wisest one of all, is going to continue showing us "wisdom" by giving another parable to and concerning the history and ultimate fate of these wicked ones. In fact, it even has to do with the wisdom spoken of in Rev. 13:18!
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We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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