How Should the Followers of
Jesus Live our Lives?
Is it possible for those who obey Jesus' teachings to live lives that are essentially not significantly different than their kind and agnostic neighbors?
Can the real followers of Jesus of Nazareth spread a half-true 'gospel' (not derived from Jesus himself) and at the same time ignore and disobey the basic teachings of the Real Jesus on how to live their lives?
Does the kingdom of God that Jesus teaches involve attending a religious organization people call 'the church', have more bible knowledge and trying to be more moral than the next fellow, and giving a bit of one's money so that their religious leaders can be paid to 'spread the gospel'?
The Real Jesus of Nazareth gives clear answers to these questions IF one is willing to receive his Word. Let us take a look at some of his Words which have a bearing on this most important issue.
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) & "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24)
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through me". (John 14:6)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
"Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear." & "Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." (Matthew 13:3-9,18-23)
"'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God'. Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'" (John 3:3-7)
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal." (John 12:25)
"He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)
"...AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." (John 14:21)
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple ... So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26-27, 33)
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me." (John 15:19-21)
"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:14)
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 'For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:34-39)
And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." (Matthew 13:57)
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)
"Someone said to Him, 'Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.' But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, 'Who is My mother and who are My brothers?' And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, 'Behold My mother and My brothers!'" (Matthew 12:47-49)
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:19-24)
"Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:33-34)
"If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also." (Matthew 5:40)
"Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." (John 6:27)
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
"...you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19:29) & "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29-30)
How should the followers of Jesus be living our lives?
Does Jesus give us specific instructions on how to live our lives? Yes.
How do the teachings of Jesus above address this most important question of how the followers of Jesus ought to be living our lives while on this earth? Quite plainly if we have ears to hear and a willing heart.
Sadly, christians and other biblians spend a great deal of time trying to "find the will of God for their lives". The number of sermons and books on this subject is very large. They do this because they are not listening to the Light of the world. If they would listen to the good Shepherd, they would receive him giving them the will of God for their lives and they would have more than enough to do in DOING the basic commands of Jesus. They would be too busy doing the work of the Master - the will of the Father - to spend time reading all the books on finding God's will! But since the christians are involved in building the counterfeit kingdom of God, they have plenty of disposable time, since they have a professional clergy doing their work for them. Instead of doing what Jesus says, they build religious organizations which in every significant way mimics the world they say is 'lost'. The christians choose to hang onto the world and thus reject the very one whom they claim to follow who says, "lose your life and hate your life in this world".
The good news is that the teachings of Jesus do give us great and specific guidance on how we ought to be living our lives. The bad news is that very few are willing to receive these truths - that is that most are not even willing to consider these teachings of Jesus as a little child, let alone try living them out. Each person who hears these Words of Jesus has a choice to make, including this author and you, dear reader. In fact, the Words and teachings of Jesus above will have a dramatic effect on how we live our lives IF we don't try to explain them away and nullify them (using bible religion) due to our love for this world.
So, let us look at the teachings of Jesus above to see if we can find how we ought to be living our lives, or said another way, how our days, weeks, months and years ought to look while on this earth. As the Master says, "He who has ear, let him hear!"
The New Life Begins as Does the Need to Turn Away from the Old:
1. Upon hearing the Words of Life, we repent from ignoring the Father and his Messenger, and receive the seed. We should be VERY grateful to be forgiven and start on the Way of salvation. At the same time, our Leader tells us to count the cost of following him. If we are to follow Jesus (and thus please his Father) we must repent of loving our lives in this world (John 12:25; Matt. 4:17, 10:39), and this means to stop valuing and living for the things the world says are important...things like our natural or legal relatives, our religious organizations and their bible teachings apart from the Way, our 'careers' or jobs, our houses and material things, our educations, our recreations, our hobbies and self indulgences and even our efforts to help other people when not doing it Jesus' Way...this is what Jesus means when he says that we must forsake all, and hate our lives in this world, in order to be his follower (Luke 14:26, 33; John 12:25, 6:27, 14:6; Matt. 19:29) .
2. The new purpose of our life will then change to living for our Father and his Son and to please them (Mark 12:30-31) instead of living for ourselves and the things this world says are important, especially the religious world. We cannot please our Father or our Leader by living for the world or the things of the world for the Light says we must hate our lives in this world and forsake all the world considers valuable and worth pursuing with our lives (Luke 14:33, John 12:25). We can love them back by obeying the Son (John 14:15, 21) and we can please them by bringing other people to them in order for the Father to have more children and the King to have more subjects (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20). We only have so much time in a day/week/month/year/lifetime, and we ought not to deceive ourselves by thinking we are not working for mammon when that is exactly what we are doing. If the majority of our time has nothing to do with bringing people to Messiah, helping others to do the same, or loving the follower's we are sharing our life with, but rather has everything to do with earning money and accumulating material wealth or retaining physical security even while we do not speak/acknowledge our alleged King with our words (Matt. 6:19-24, John 6:27) - then we are deceived. We must each ask ourselves how much time we spend each day and week trying to bring others to our Father and his Son.
Our Rejection from the World:
3. As we speak our Master's Words, we will be hated by the world (people who do not want to follow the Light), and we will be rejected and persecuted (John 15:19-21, 17:14). This will not only be true if we are working at a job with others, but it will especially be true of the people who once knew us in the religious organizations (christians or bible people) and our natural relatives (Matt. 10:34-39, 13:57). If we are faithfully following Jesus, we will be at best rejected by those who refuse to follow Jesus as HE HIMSELF defines it, and at worst, persecuted (John 15:19-21).
4. We will find ourselves very much alone as we are unable to easily find others who are also willing to try to forsake their lives in the world in order to faithfully follow Jesus (Matt. 7:13-14, Luke 13:24). We will find ourselves unable to hold jobs where we can freely acknowledge our Master and speak his Words openly and consistently (John 15:19-21, 17:14; Matt. 10:32-33). Since we are rejected by the world (especially the most deceitful religious kingdom of the world, bible-anity), we will find ourselves needing a new Family to be a part of, to help us do our Master's work as well as help support our physical lives while on this earth.
Our Need to Love and Be Loved by other Followers:
5. Jesus plainly says that the way the world will know that we are his disciples, is because of the love we will have for one another (John 13:34-35). While our words (as we repeat his) are important, Jesus doesn't say that his followers will be known for their bible knowledge or correct doctrine or beliefs. He says that his follower's witness to the world will be primarily the world seeing his love lived out among his followers accompanied by the Word of Truth of Jesus (John 13:34-35). This necessitates the followers of Jesus being together in order to represent a physical witness and manifestation of the love of God to back up the Words we speak about God's forgiveness, love and the Master's Life (John 13:34-35; Matt. 5:14-16). God's Family must manifest itself visibly on the earth for the world to see our Father's love, and that Family will live according to the selfless-ness of the Master and his teachings.
6. The teaching of Jesus on our love for one another being the primary witness to the world, along with this love working itself out will lead us to seek out other followers to love and be loved by in order to be the manifestation of God's Family on the earth (John 13:34-35; Mark 10:29-30). Since we have forsaken all the world hold's dear, we have no problem leaving our former houses, families, jobs, careers, educations and such in order to find other disciples to share the Life with (Mark 10:29-30). If we can find none locally, we would have no problem getting mobile in order to find other followers to love and serve our Master together. If we are not looking to share our lives with others who have the Life, then we are falling short of perhaps the most important command of the Master in terms of our work on this earth, which command is recorded in John 13:34-35.
The Little Flock's Work:
7. When we do find other's who are sincerely trying to live their life according to the Words of Jesus, we will try and love them as a manifestation of God's love for them (John 13:34-35). This love is selfless and we will share all the material things we have in order to try and stop depending on the world so that we can learn to depend on our Father and the provision of His Family (Mark 10:29-30). If our Master commands us to give a thief our shirt if he steals our jacket, how much easier should it be to share the material things our Father has given us with other members of His Family? (Matt. 5:40-42) Isn't that what Family does...care for one another? Isn't real love about selfless sharing and commitment born out of a heart of compassion? If we can't love our new Family, how can we love our enemies?
8. As we stop living for material security, and start living for our Father and His Son, we will see others who are doing the same as our new mothers, and brothers and sisters, and we will treat them as such (Matthew 12:47-49). "Brother" will no longer be just a label given to others who only share our beliefs but don't share our lives. Rather, it will be worked out in life just like REAL BROTHERS working for their father. While we forsake depending on the world and it's ways for material security, our gracious Father will add all these things to those who follow His Son and to those in His Family as they seek the kingdom of God (Mark 10:29-30).
9. As the new Family grows in any particular location, it's purpose will not be to be materially secure and comfortable in the world, or to focus inward in self-love or religious entertainment. Rather, it will be to work together to advance the King's kingdom and bring our Master to others. Because we are sharing all things, the need to work to provide for food, shelter and clothing will decrease, and the time available to go and bring our Master to others will increase. We will work together for food, clothing and shelter, but the purpose of our work will be to support others who are truly serving our Master, and thus we will truly not be working for the food which perishes. Any material things gained over our daily needs we could sell and use to help others find the Life we have found and to spread his Words in truth.
10. Each little flock (God's Family) will not be isolated away from the lost sheep on the earth. We will live in or near areas where we can go and try and bring others to the Way and Life just as our Master did. And our witness will not be merely words...for when we find a person who repents and is willing to try and hate their life in this world in order to live for the new Life, we will be able to bring them back to a real Family which is living according to the Master's teachings, and thus TRULY love and support them in the new Life!
11. By the Way, the Families will not be immune from the hatred of the world, and we will be persecuted, just as we were when we were alone. We will be labeled with all the fear words the world can offer (cult, heretics, dangerous sect, etc.), and we may have to flee to other areas if the persecution gets too difficult. But take heart, little flock, for it is the Master's Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom!
There will be much opposition to Jesus' truths in this article. But if you, dear reader, would submit to these teachings of Jesus...
"I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. (Matthew 11:25)
"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
...then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!
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