Jesus wants OBEDIENCE not SACRIFICE. It is written, "Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering" 1 Samuel 15:22. The Pharisees were very good at sacrifice. They fasted and tithed carefully and were always careful to observe small details of the law and traditions of men surrounding the law. They did not partake in the open sins of the world such as adultery, murder, theft, drunkenness, unlawful behaviour, and other sins in the eyes of men. However often they did these things in secret and in their hearts.
We cannot fool God. He knows and sees all. When we hide our big sins in our hearts and do not openly commit wickedness, he stills sees the SMALL sins that we deem ok. Things such as little lies, white lies, an unloving heart, and pride in ourselves. On the other hand we have all these Christians who deem doing what the world deems as ok, as ok. The world says homosexuality is ok, looking in adultery is ok as long as none are hurt. The world says that watching evil on screen and living for pleasures and following self and attaining success for self if ok and honourable. Many Christians will abhor these things and look down on those who do these things. And many other Christians will accept these things and run with the flow of the world…
So we have the corrupt tax collector on one side going to hell, and we have the righteous Pharisee doing his little sins thinking he is ok with God on the other side going to hell. Drawing the parallel we have CHRISTIANS on one side of the church following the worlds standards going to hell on the path of destruction and we have the on the OTHER side, Christians who are religious and white-washed in secret sins going to hell…BUT THEY ALL ARE BEARING BAD FRUIT.
However dear friends, I want to talk about the HEART of the issue, because the confusion runs very deep. The very heart of the issue is THE HEART. It is from the HEART where all evil comes from, and also where a tree is known. It comes down to those whose HEARTS love Jesus and accept HIM and his ways, and those whose HEARTS accept the world only, and the ways of the world.
The gospel is an unacceptable quantity for those whose hearts are in the world. We all know that Jesus said, "If any wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and pick up his cross and follow me".
The rich man whose heart could not accept this, sadly walked away because he had much worldly wealth.
But the man who Jesus spoke of who found treasure, real treasure, in a field, he went and sold all he had and went and bought that field for where the treasure is so the heart is also.
Thus those whose treasure is in the world (the pursuit of pleasure, the pursuit of success and achievement, the pursuit of the cares of this life, and all it has to offer; the pride of life, the lusts of the flesh and the deceitfulness of wealth) this is where their HEARTS are. These cannot have their hearts also in the kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus said, "you cannot serve God and mammon, either you will love one master and despite the other but you cannot serve two masters".
But those whose hearts are in the Kingdom of God above, these have their hearts with JESUS and naturally where your heart is, there is where you will spend your time. Those whose hearts are with the world spend their time in the pursuit of the world and its entertainment and pleasure. Those whose hearts are with Jesus, will spend their time with him in prayer and dedication doing what he gives them to do daily.
Now we all know dear friends, that God is not mocked for the broad way will end in destruction and the narrow way will end in eternal life. However there persists these foolish Believers in Jesus whose hearts are IN THE WORLD not with Jesus. As mentioned before, they are those who are either righteous Pharisees doing lots of sacrifice but do not OBEY Jesus, (God wants obedience not sacrifice remember), or sinning tax collector Christians whose hearts are also in the world and following their desires in shameless licentiousness, (lawless living, dictated by the flesh).
Only the REMNANT will enter the Lords rest. That is, Jesus' small flock. These are they who hear the good news of the Kingdom, and they believe in Jesus for their sins and they go and get baptised into his way, the narrow way, and they FOLLOW HIM. These are they who are no longer self-righteous, nor lawless following the world. Jesus himself sets them free from those paths of chains and gives them a new heart and a new way free from the old way.
All things are made anew with them. The old has passed away. These are they who REALISE Jesus' love for mankind and they RESPOND to that love by obeying him and following him getting baptised into the new way of following him. These are they who TURN from their evil ways, and separate themselves from the worlds paths and instead follow HIM because they LOVE HIM WITH THEIR HEART.
As Jesus said, "19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” rev 3:19
We who LOVE Jesus and leave our sins and RESPOND TO HIS CALL, we repent and heed the Lords chastisements of us calling us into the paths of obedience. Though we may stumble into a false way and a sin, and nay even fall into the very darkness from which we were saved, we who love the Lord with all our hearts will surely repent and come back and learn from the chastisement from the Lord driving us to obedience so that we can enter the Kingdom of God unashamed washed by the blood of the Lamb.
As I mentioned earlier, the 2 kinds of false Christians did not obey Jesus nor follow him. Each in their own worldly ways, or self-righteous ways. But a child of God is not rebellious of heart like this. He heeds the true gospel of Jesus and he is baptised into the narrow way of obedience and faith. Child of God, why are you still in sins? Has the chastisement of God not been long enough for you? Must you continue to kick against the goads? The reason you do not find real pleasure in this world's sins and pursuits is because Jesus is calling you home. Jesus came to call the lost sheep home to the fold. He is calling YOU today. Jesus is not calling the rebellious, nor the hard of heart, no, he is calling you who love him to come back out of the world so that he may take you home.
The Holy Spirit sent this message out into the world some time ago for all who will heed; "My Children, come out of the world, the time is now. My children come out of the world, I love you. My children come out of the world be ready or you will be left behind"…says the Lord…. Jesus is calling his people out of the world. He is calling you to be separate from the ways, the pursuits and the sins and lusts of this life. He is calling you to be separate and dedicated unto him, that he may wash you clean from sin and give you entry into the kingdom of God.
"and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:36...