RSS feed

Download the pdf file

 

“A son honours His father, and a servant his master. If I am a Father, where is the honour due Me? If I am a Master, where is the respect due Me? It is you, O priests, who show contempt for My Name.”[1] God said to the Israelites after they came back from exile in Babylon.

If they did not honour the Father, that is, the majority of them, then there is little chance that 400 years later, they would honour the Son. However, amongst the Israelites of Malachi’s time, there was a small group about whom it is written: Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honoured His Name.[2]

You may fear the Lord, and many do because they realise that He is the Lord God Almighty, but few fear Him AND honour His Name. Many servants, or in our times, employees, fear their masters (or bosses) because they could lose their job, so they do the work assigned, but at the first opportunity, they will slander him, speaking ill of him behind his back. Another way a servant can dishonour his master is to do a lousy job. That is, the wicked, who take no pride in their employer, will produce inferior products that are just passable and they are only there because of their wages. They feel no shame when their product is mocked by their customers. So, likewise, there are many sons and servants of the Lord who fear the Lord but do not honour Him, and their work reveals it. It is a work that is close enough to what is really required, but rarely a work that exceeds what is required. Perfection for the honour of their Master is not their motivation. Rather, the pay at the end of the day is. As we all know, whether you do a good enough job or you do an excellent job, there is rarely any difference in the pay. In fact, many workers resent that their hard work goes to enrich their master, and sometimes, you might argue rightly so, because the master is greedy, miserly and hard.

Likewise, you can have sons who do not behave in a way that honours their father in all manners of delinquency, as well as all forms of disrespect. In the natural realm, you can also say there are parents who deserve no respect or honour, especially those who abandon their children, and worse still, those who molest their children.

Jesus was sent to save the world and to reveal God the Father to those whom God had chosen to reveal Himself to. As He did the work the Father had sent Him to do, even completing it on a cross, He did not once question the value of the people He was dying for and suffering for. Not once did He ever complain that He was being sent to lay down His life for people who were really not worth the time of day – sinners. Not once did He make the sinners feel that they were not worth His life. “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”[3] Indeed the manner in which Jesus did His work amongst the sinners was such that people called Him ‘a Friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’

Now herein lies the attitude with which Jesus did the work the Father sent Him to finish. We know He came to save the world and to call sinners to repentance, but look at the way He did it. He did it in such a way that He was called ‘a Friend of tax collectors and “sinners” as well as being a ‘glutton and a drunkard.’[4]

So, when He said, “Repent and believe the Good News!” whenever He preached, He must have preached or spoken to sinners as a friend speaks to a friend, and not as a Holy Man to an unholy person. And since He was only doing and saying what the Father showed Him, and He is exactly like the Father, then we have to learn to see that the Father is also a Friend of tax collectors and sinners.

This means, how we share the Gospel, not whether we share the Gospel, no, how we share the Gospel is what will bring honour to the Father who sent Jesus. If we are to continue to learn to do the things Jesus has been doing, then not only do we need to do what He did, but we need to learn to do it His way. It is only when we learn to do it His way that we are also honouring the Father. For Jesus said, “I honour My Father… I am not seeking glory for Myself.”[5]

It is commonly portrayed that God hates sinners and all manner of persons who do evil, when the truth is God hates evil. But the Father, that is God the Father, is a Father who is a Friend of sinners and tax collectors. He must be because He has a Son who is a Friend of tax collectors and sinners, and this is a Son who honours the Father. You see, in our moral view, a son who is a drunkard and a glutton, a friend of sinners and tax collectors, is a disgrace to the father who bore him. That is the common standard perception of the world. Yet, the behaviour of Jesus was such that He was called a glutton and a drunkard, a Friend of sinners and tax collectors, and that behaviour was part of His honouring His Father and bringing Him glory.

People could only say that about Jesus because they saw Him eat and eat well at the feasts, and probably He had a couple of glasses of His good wine that He made from the water at Cana, and was seen and heard to be celebrating boisterously with the bridegroom and toast master. Perhaps He was drinking with the freeloaders at the wedding who were responsible for them running out of wine in the first place. And He must have been seen in the company of ‘sinners’, that is, gamblers, prostitutes, thieves, criminals, or people who didn’t dress or talk or walk in the way religious people considered as essential to be holy to God.

Whatever Jesus’ behaviour was, it was not as a stiff ‘holier than thou’ religious person and calling down fire and brimstone from Heaven on sinners and tax collectors. Rather, the ‘woes’ that He declared were reserved for the top socio-economic echelon of society. “Woe to you who are rich… Woe to you who are well fed now… Woe to you who laugh now… Woe to you when all men speak well of you…”[6] as well as, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!”[7] So that anything you can say about Jesus is that He was not friendly to those who are rich and wealthy, who are famous and well-educated, and those who consider themselves religious and enlightened. Nor very friendly to those who seek to impose their view of right and wrong on others, like the teachers of the Law and Pharisees. If He is not friendly to such types, then neither is the Father friendly to such types.

In keeping with the character of the Father, look at the disciples the Father chose for Jesus—fishermen, tax collectors and, as the Sanhedrin observed, they were unschooled, ordinary men.[8] These were the ones whom God chose for Jesus, not the ones who were attracted to Jesus like the woman of sin,[9] who anointed Jesus in a Pharisee’s house. In the context of behaviour at dinner parties, this woman was rude. Uninvited, she stood behind Jesus and started to weep as she wiped His feet, not in the market place, but in a Pharisee’s house, like a prostitute barging in uninvited to a dinner party thrown by the Cardinal in his house where Jesus is the guest of honour… well… guest.

Thus, we Christians, if you still want to call yourself that, or rather, we children of God who have taken up their rights as children of God, our behaviour, not only our message, and our actions must be seen in the Light of the Knowledge of the Father, who Jesus revealed to us. We are not to present God Almighty to the world. Let those who are servants do that, but we are to present to the world God the Father, whom Jesus has shown us, and our Father whom we have come to know as well, as we grow up in the Lord. And we have a Father, our Father, who is a Friend of sinners and tax collectors. So then, we should learn to see that every sinner is a friend of the Father. The sinner may not be God’s friend, but God is their Friend.

The tax collectors may not be God’s friends, but God is their Friend, that is God the Father. Whereas the rich, the teachers of the Law and the religious people, Pharisees and Sadducees, as well as the politicians, the Herodians, may see themselves and consider themselves God’s friends, but God is not their Friend. Those who are righteous in their own eyes may consider themselves God’s friends, but God did not send His Son for them.

One reason why many sinners and tax collectors are not friends of God is because the religious and the righteous, that is, self righteous, have only presented God Almighty to them, and as a sinner, you will not find God Almighty all that friendly. But then, the religious and the self righteous forget that no one is righteous before God for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That’s right, no one is righteous before God for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.[10] But, who is righteous before the Father and who has not fallen short of the glory of the Father? Jesus Christ—the glutton and drunkard, who is a Friend of the sinners and tax collectors.

When James the Younger dragged the church back to observing the Law of Moses with his recommendations, the revelation of God through the part of the church that accepted the teachings of the men from James was God Almighty, not God the Father. For James the Younger had no revelation of God the Father, unless it was through Jesus Christ. Moses had no revelation of God the Father, “Abba”, only of Yahweh, Eloihim and El Shaddai. It is no wonder then that the men from Nicholas preached that unless you are circumcised, you cannot be saved, and the men from James considered that eating with the Gentiles was unacceptable. For Nicholas was a convert to Judaism and Judaism reveals God Almighty, but not God the Father.

“For the Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”[11] “For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”[12] The knowledge of the Lord is to know who God is – God Almighty, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth – and that knowledge does fill the Earth, for many are the religions that claim and preach their knowledge of God Almighty. It is interesting that without exception, all religions except for Christianity, deny that God is a Father, and that He has a Son.

The principles of Christ are unique in their revelation of God Almighty, for their declaration is this by Peter: God… raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.[13] And from Paul: But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man…[14] And from John: No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.[15] He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.[16]

The declaration that God has a Son, and He is Jesus Christ, is the common theme of the three main apostles of the Epistles, Paul, Peter and John. It is also interesting to see that James the Younger never mentioned the Son of God in his letter, but mentioned Isaac, the son of Abraham,[17] but then, James’ letter is a letter to the Jews, not to the church.

So then, as children of God, let us begin as children before we lay claim to the title ‘sons of God’. So then, as children of God, how do we best honour our Father, and as servants, how do we best honour our Master? By obedience and good works, you say, which is true. However, honour is not a private issue. It is not something that occurs within the four walls of a family home, but rather, it is something that also occurs outside the four walls of a family home, and as such, honour is a perception of observers. Thus, the child who is an angel at home, but displays tantrums in public has dishonoured the parents. The child who is an angel in public has brought honour to the parents, even though at home, the child may be a brat. You see, what you are in private with your parents brings them joy; but what you are in public brings your parents honour.

Jesus did not come to honour the Father in secret or in private, but rather, it was in His most public life that He sought to bring honour and glory to the Father. Joy is that which you feel within, honour is that which you display in public. Thus, if we are to honour the Master and the Father, then we must learn to behave properly in public. Take the example from the cross of Jesus who said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”[18] Rather than, “My Father, My Father, why have You forsaken Me?” God may forsake Me, but My Father… never! That is why many who believe in God and know about God Almighty through their observance of the Law of Moses as Christians, can come to a place where they can feel that God has forsaken them. Those who know the Father through Jesus Christ will never be forsaken, nor will they ever feel forsaken. For as a child of God, the rod of His discipline and the conviction of His Spirit is always with you when you sin, and the love and joy is ever available when you repent. For God disciplines as a Father disciplines His son whom He loves,[19] and He enjoys forgiving sins. If He enjoys forgiving the sins of those who do not know Him as a Father, how much more He enjoys forgiving those who are His children.

As such, the proper honour of our Father in public must begin with family harmony. “Love each other as I have loved you.”[20] In public, we do not lay our dirty laundry for strangers to see. We do not gossip about one another to those who are not family. We do not sell one another’s secrets, even selling not for money but for favours to outsiders. Thus if there is a rebuke, if there is a disagreement, it must always be one person confronting the other in private, then with two or three others. By the time it is made public, it means that all private means have been exhausted, and even then, we treat them as—‘tax collectors’.[21]

The other way of honouring the Father that any child or servant can learn is to make welcome those who are the friends of your Father. God said, “If I am your Father, where is the honour due Me? If I am your Master, where is the respect due Me?” So that, as children who work for the Father, we can honour the Father by showing Him respect as a servant shows the master respect, by respecting those who are friends of the master. As such, we must likewise respect sinners and tax collectors and even show friendship to them. Now this is not the same as being friends with the world. The friendship with the world that includes friendship with the rich, the well fed, the educated, the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees, and the self righteous, is unacceptable. Friendship with sinners and tax collectors is acceptable, for Jesus and His Father, our Father, are Friends of sinners and tax collectors.

So, who are the sinners? They are those who acknowledge and call themselves sinners in the same way tax collectors call themselves tax collectors and acknowledge they are sinners. All are sinners in truth, but only those who confess that they are sinners, have accepted the truth and know the truth about themselves. Many of those who are rich, well fed, well spoken of by people, and teachers of the Law and the religious, are not sinners, because they have not confessed to be sinners, and as such, they are not the Father’s friends. For we do not judge people and we do not accuse, but like Jesus, we must learn to judge by what we hear.[22] Anyone who confesses to be a sinner is a friend of Jesus, that is, one whom Jesus considers to be His friend, and one whom He came for. Those who do not confess they are sinners are not friends of Jesus, and Jesus did not come for them.[23] And neither are they friends of our Father.

Since it is we who know that all are sinners, then our general behaviour must be first to approach all people in friendship, offering them the truth in friendship. It is only after they reject the truth that has been offered in friendship, that we are no longer obligated to treat them as the Father’s friends, and if they are not the Father’s friends, they may be His enemies. In this way, the proper division of those who are friends and enemies of the Father is done. Those who profess to be servants of God, but deny the Son, are exactly what they are—servants. And they are subject to the treatment of servants, they will be rewarded by what they have done as servants. And about those who fear God and honour His Name, God said, “They will be Mine, in the day when I make up My treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.”[24] It is when we learn to honour and respect our Master and our Father’s friends, that we honour our Master and our Father, for when we do that, we are honouring the Master’s choice and our Father’s choice.

Learning to respect and honour those your Father has chosen, regardless of your personal opinion, is the beginning of honouring your Father. Jesus never complained about the twelve the Father gave Him, for though He said this, “Have I not chosen you, the twelve?”[25] He also said, “I have revealed You to those who You gave Me out of the world.”[26] Jesus revealed the Father first to the disciples, but in the turning away from listening to Jesus when we began to listen to James the Younger as well, meant that we failed to reveal the Father as Jesus revealed Him. And so the world got an extra religion that claimed to reveal God Almighty, but not a family of sons and daughters who revealed the Father.

Thus, as elect of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of your election, not the sign, the fruit, is when you realise that Jesus revealed the Father, and the Holy Spirit will give you that same knowledge to reveal the Father to all He draws. For the knowledge of the glory of God is not just about knowing that God has given Jesus His glory, and what the power of His glory does, but that the glory of God is that He is God Almighty who is the Father of Jesus Christ. For Father is the glory of God Almighty, for it was the Father who sent the Son to save and not to condemn.

The Father does not condemn, indeed He condemns no one, but it is men who condemn themselves when they refuse to believe that God is a Father and His Son is Jesus Christ. “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s One and Only Son.”[27] So then, we honour our Father, but men condemn themselves. Amen


 

[1] Malachi 1:6

[2] Malachi 3:16

[3] Matthew 9:13

[4] Luke 7:34

[5] John 8:49-50

[6] Luke 6:24-26

[7] Matthew 23:13

[8] Acts 4:13

[9] Luke 7:36

[10] Romans 3:23

[11] Isaiah 11:9

[12] Habakkuk 2:14

[13] Acts 2:33

[14] Galatians 1:15-16

[15] 1 John 2:23

[16] 1 John 5:12

[17] James 2:21

[18] Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34

[19] Hebrews 12

[20] John 15:12

[21] Matthew 18:17

[22] John 5:30

[23] Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32

[24] Malachi 3:17

[25] John 6:70

[26] John 17:6

[27] John 3:18

|


Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524