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What Could Be Easier?

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Jesus said, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11.30] How true… for what is easier – to work for eight months and earn the wages to buy some food to feed 5,000, or to give thanks and see the loaves multiply to feed 5,000?  The answer is obvious.

So what was James the Younger thinking when he said, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the gentiles who are turning to God.  Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood”? [Acts 15.19-20] If James really believed Jesus, he would have realised that Jesus had already made it so easy for the gentiles that they did not have to go anywhere near the Mosaic Law or even Jerusalem.

To the Samaritan woman He said, “Woman, believe Me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” [John 4.21, 23] He removed from that woman the need to climb a mountain or take a journey to Jerusalem to worship God.  All she had to do was to have the spirit – the attitude, the mind, the intention, the desire – to worship God and to do it in truth – in honesty – with what she had.

Just as He had asked the disciples at the feeding of the 5,000, “How many loaves do you have?  Go and see,” [Mark 6.38] so likewise, He made it easy for gentiles to worship God.  No great cumbersome and expensive pilgrimages needed to mountains or cities… but just to be able to do it where you are with what you have and as who you are – that is truth and that is the spirit.

If Jesus could make one of the greatest burdens that religions everywhere lay on men easy and light, then how much more in all other aspects of life with God?  For the religions started by men place great emphasise on their adherents’ life and acceptability to God based on pilgrimages they make and the efforts they make to bribe God with their offerings… using the completions of their pilgrimages as the high watermark of their lives in their religion.  However, Jesus removed this burden and the expense of these pilgrimages, and turned them into an internal unseen pilgrimage – a pilgrimage of the spirit in truth… a fact known only to the pilgrim, and therefore removes the need for external displays of piety to convince any audience.  So that a man wearing fur and a leather belt was more acceptable to the Holy Spirit than a bunch of pharisees with wide phylacteries and flowing gowns.  He removed from us the burden of religiosity completely without the need of composing long and loud prayers in public and fasting in public when He told us, “…when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” [Matthew 6.6]

As He continued to simplify life for all men who sought to worship God, He brought in the greatest simplification of all, the lightest and easiest burden of all – by baptising us with the Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit would be in us and with us.  David asked this question:  Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? [Psalm 24.3] Jesus removed that need by sending the Holy Spirit to us instead of us to the Holy Spirit.  When He said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth,” [John 14.16-17] the Holy Spirit would come as a gift, not as a reward, to His disciples.  There would be no need of achievements of piety or tasks of worthiness for any believer to undergo.  You need not have studied, spent a prerequisite time in the church, or donated a prerequisite amount of money to the church before the Lord would send the Holy Spirit to you.  This He proved and showed to Peter at Cornelius’ house, for While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. [Acts 10.44] Before Cornelius had done anything except to have heard, the Holy Spirit was given.  He was not even water baptised first before he was baptised with the Holy Spirit by Jesus.

Now consider all the ritualised rules of rites of passage established in the denominationals before a person is deemed worthy for membership and so on.  Yet for all their pomp and ceremonies, their people cannot do a single miracle… but the worst of sinners, whose spirits and hearts are turned to Jesus in truth, in the simplest truth that they are sinners in need of God’s mercy, can do what Jesus has been doing because the Holy Spirit now lives in them.

The easiness of Jesus’ yoke and the lightness of His burden have rarely been appreciated because the simplicity of following Him, listening to Him, and practising His words has been overlaid by the complex web of men’s rules, judgments and recommendations… the innovations as we call them so as not to offend them.  Innovations that have never caused the blind to see better, the lame to run faster, or the food to multiply to an abundance.  But innovations that become heavier and heavier until the world watched in fear and loathing at the religion that is supposed to belong to Christ, and wanted no part of it.

If being Satan is to have in mind the things of men and not of God… then the innovations that do not have in mind the things of God are surely Satan, and those who brought them are just like Peter when he was rebuked by Jesus for speaking against His death in Jerusalem.  So then, consider the Matthian innovation, was that what God had in mind?  The Jamesonian innovation, was that what God had in mind?  The Nicolaitan, the Balaamite, the Jezebelian and the Constantinian innovations… were they what God had in mind?  Consider the modern churches with all these innovations and the fruit of these innovations – cathedrals with great halls of worship to which pilgrimages can be made, where stories can be bought and sold but where the blind remain blind – is that what God has in mind?  The answer – no.

Then what… what did God have in mind?  The simplicity made known by His Son – to worship Him in spirit and in truth in a place where no one can see, without need of external showcasing or clothing… in the heart.  And with the sending of the Holy Spirit to those who would believe and follow Him as disciples… there was no longer the need to trust God whom they could not see, but rather, they only needed to conduct themselves so that God would trust them.  No longer did those who seek and worship God need to attain His favour by careful observations… but rather, God would be in them, watching them not from Heaven but from within them.  There would be no need to be found trusting God, but rather, to be found trusted by God.  So that by the gift of the Holy Spirit through whom would come the power to be witnesses of Jesus, disciples no longer needed to prove to the world that they trusted God… but rather, in their ability to do miracles, signs and wonders just like Jesus did, they would show themselves as one and ones trusted by God.

And if they were using this ability of doing signs and wonders to deceive… the only persons they would really be deceiving in the end are themselves.  For the power of signs, wonders and miracles is to help convince those who hear that your words are from God… and so their faith is placed ultimately in God.  And even though a deception may have them listening to you for a moment, the revelation of Jesus Christ would mean that those you have deceived will still be credited for righteousness by their faith… but you, the deceiver, will pay not only for your sins but also for the sins of those you have deceived.  As James found out for himself, and by the mercy of God, he was able to confess to this truth in his letter addressed to the twelve tribes scattered amongst the nations:  Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. [James 3.1]

So likewise, if you have found yourselves to be an avid teacher and supporter of innovations that have detracted from the easy and simple traditions established personally by Jesus Christ, repent before He appears to you.  For in these remaining days, the Holy Spirit is bringing about the final testing of all the innovations that men and women have brought to the traditions of the church of Jesus Christ to see if those innovations are of any value in establishing the Kingdom of God by bringing about situations in this world that only citizens of the Kingdom of God can overcome.  Days of distress where there is no water to drink even if you had money to buy, where there is no food to buy even if you had money, where there are natural disasters that you cannot save yourself from even if you are able to predict them as you watch your predictions engulf you.  Distress to test the works of men that have detracted from the simple and true words of Jesus Christ whose simple answer to every problem a man could face in this world was this:  “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.” John 14.12] So it will be the witness and the testimony of the Holy Spirit that indeed the yoke of Jesus is easy and His burden light as He gives His power without limit to those who not only trust God, but who can be trusted by God, as He unleashes the fury of the distress He has kept stored for these times to test the worthiness of the innovations that men have made to the true and simple words of Jesus.

So test not only your faith, but test what you have put your faith in and whom you have put your faith in.  And if you realise that men can only make things more difficult, not less difficult, for you by their recommendations and judgments, their rules and traditions, which are really no traditions… run… run out of those daughters of the prostitutes so that you will not share in their plagues that even now are coming upon them to test their works.

What could be easier – to worship God in spirit and in truth, or to worship Him at this mountain or that city?  You decide for yourself.

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