Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
April 18, 2001
Last Updated :
November 28, 2013
A Friend Of Publicans Harlots And Sinners, Conservative Jews Were Offended And Shocked By Everything Jesus Said And Did, Jewish Religionists Conspired To Murder Jesus, Watch Out For Materialism And Spiritual Lethargy, Don't Ever Be Ashamed Of Your Faith, Contend For The Faith, Translation Of KJV Bible, Puritanical England, Offensive Word "Crap", God's Vessel Or Yours?, For Better Or For Worse But Let Me Change You A Bit, Quench Not The Spirit, Let Your Light So Shine, Compromise In The Church, 501(c)(3), Physically Alive But Spiritually Dead Christians, Don't Try To Mold Me, Walk Humbly Before The Lord, Rebuke Not An Elder, God Is A Shocker, Don't Be An Unreceptive Old Bottle, Suggested Reading Resources List
As we learned in part three, the Apostle Paul stated that Jesus willingly chose to make Himself "of no reputation". He purposely hung out with the dregs of Jewish society so that He could bring them Salvation. Consider the following verses which verify this point:
"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? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Matthew 9:10-13, KJV
"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."
Matthew 11:18-19, KJV
"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. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 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. 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."
Matthew 21:28-32, KJV
"And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Mark 2:16-17, KJV
"And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Luke 5:27-32, KJV
"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children."
Luke 7:33-35, KJV
"Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
Luke 15:1-10, KJV
The truth of the matter is that even though He was right, everything that Jesus said and did came as a shock and an offense to the conservative, law-bound, self-righteous, legalistic, proud, arrogant Jewish religionists. In fact, Jesus' entire life was a great offense to them. Consider just a few more of the facts which surround His life and ministry. He was conceived out of wedlock by questionable means. Whereas a normal Jewish king would be born in a palace, this eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough, which we today call a manger. When the wise men came from the East, it was not to see wicked King Herod -- who they in fact ignored -- it was to worship and bring gifts to a little baby who would one day change the world, and rule it as well.
When Jesus finally burst on the scene around thirty years of age, more shock rippled through Jewish religious circles. If Jesus was the Messiah, He certainly was not the messiah they were expecting. So many things that Jesus said and did were contrary to their religion beliefs and traditions. He and His Disciples didn't wash their hands before eating. He performed miracles of healing on the Sabbath day which the religionists claimed He wasn't supposed to do. He communed with the lowest riffraff of society, and forgave and healed prostitutes, and even accepted dishonest tax collectors as His followers. He and His band of ragtag followers plucked ears of corn on the Sabbath day which was contrary to the law. He ran merchants and moneychangers out of the Temple. He even went so far as to accuse the "respectable" Jewish religious authorities of being hypocrites, liars, thieves, oppressors, murderers and the children of the Devil.
But of all the things which Jesus said and did, the one which undoubtedly shocked and offended His Jewish enemies the most, was His claim to be the long awaited Messiah and Son of God. That is in fact what got Jesus killed by those Jewish thugs. If you personally doubt that the Jewish religionists were indeed responsible for His death, and accept the misguided opinion of those people who try to place the blame on the Romans, then carefully consider the following verses. These verses make it very clear that Pontius Pilate and the Romans merely served as the Jews' murderous proxies. The Jews were the real plotters of the murderous conspiracy against Jesus:
"Then assembled together the CHIEF PRIESTS, AND THE SCRIBES, and the ELDERS OF THE PEOPLE, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might TAKE JESUS BY SUBTILTY, AND KILL HIM. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Matthew 26:3-5, KJV
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES SOUGHT HOW THEY MIGHT KILL HIM; for they feared the people."
Luke 22:1,2, KJV
"And therefore did the JEWS PERSECUTE JESUS, AND SOUGHT TO SLAY HIM, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
John 5:16-18, KJV
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the JEWS SOUGHT TO KILL HIM . . . Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? WHY GO YE ABOUT TO KILL ME? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who GOETH ABOUT TO KILL THEE? . . . Then said some of them of Jerusalem, IS NOT THIS HE, WHOM THEY SEEK TO KILL?"
John 7:1, 19-20, 25, KJV
"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but YE SEEK TO KILL ME, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now YE SEEK TO KILL ME, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:37-44, KJV
"Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore HE THAT DELIVERED ME UNTO THEE HATH THE GREATER SIN. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
John 19:10-12, KJV
". . . My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be DELIVERED TO THE JEWS: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36b, KJV
"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, WHOM YE SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE."
Acts 5:27-30, KJV
If Jesus was not ashamed to die for us, may God help us and give us the strength to not ever be ashamed of Him and our faith either. Lord help us all to not be ashamed to suffer a little persecution for His Name's sake, if and when we are called to do so. We folks in the West live such comfortable, materialistic lives. Even those of us who live on limited incomes have it much better than the poor people who live in other lands. But has our physical wealth and comfort caused us to become spiritually lethargic, and perhaps robbed us of our faith? Have we sold our souls for a pound of flesh? Are we actually more afraid of the opinions of others, than we are of disappointing our Lord? Have we unknowingly bowed to political correctness and become afraid to make ripples? As I have mentioned many times before, if we are ashamed of Jesus, He will most certainly be ashamed of us one of these days as well; for as He Himself warned us:
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
Following are some additional Bible verses which remind us that we should never be ashamed of our faith. We must all be willing to make a bold stand for Jesus Christ, regardless of what comes our way. If we are not ashamed of Him, then He will likewise not be ashamed of us:
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32-33, KJV
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Romans 1:16, KJV
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
"For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,"
Hebrews 2:11, KJV
"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:16, KJV
To reiterate, we must be willing to do as the Apostles Peter and Jude both admonished us to do. We must truly contend for -- that is, stand up for -- our faith, and be ready to give an answer to them that ask us concerning our faith. Lord help us not to cower in fear, or to be ashamed of the shocking and unorthodox methods which are sometimes used by our great God. Consider the following two verses:
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Jude 1:3, KJV
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
1 Peter 3:15, KJV
If you are not ashamed, offended or embarrassed by the many examples I have provided in this series, which reveal God's unorthodox nature, then neither should you object or take offense if I occasionally choose to use such a mild word as "crap" in order to emphasize my disapproval of something. I hope that you can agree by now, that this little word does not even come close to some of the shocking things which we find written in the pages of the Bible.
Taking into consideration the conservative political and spiritual environment which probably surrounded the court of King James during the early seventeenth century, I would not be surprised to learn that some of the words were purposely toned down during the translation process, by the dedicated translators of the King James Version of the Bible. One of the reasons why they might have done this, is because they were afraid of offending the king. Let's not forget that at that time in history, England was being strongly influenced by puritanical forces. As such, it must have been quite a challenge for them to translate some of those words in a way which would be acceptable to King James.
On the other hand, if you are offended by my occasional use of the word "crap", and if you really think that I am acting in an unChristian manner, then I ask you to please seek the Lord about it. As you do so, please ponder this question: Is the problem really my attitude, or is it possibly a result of your personal upbringing within organized religion? Is it even possible that your sensitivities are born of pride and self-righteousness, and a holier-than-thou image you have of yourself?
Now, in light of what the Scriptures teach us about bearing the infirmities of the weak, out of love, and because I do not want to offend anyone, I can immediately stop using the word "crap", if that is what some people really want me to do. However, if I were to do that, please consider the fact that by doing so, I am allowing you to make this vessel into something that it is not. I am allowing you to mold me into what you think I should be, in order to meet your personal standard of holiness, instead of what the Lord has already fashioned me to be. This is the very same thing that a lot of married couples do with each other. They supposedly accept each other, for better or for worse, exactly as they are at the altar; and then they spend the rest of their lives trying to change their spouse, in order to meet their personal expectations of what that person should be like. Women are particularly notorious for doing this. We've all heard of the hen-pecked husband.
As I was pondering this issue, the Lord reminded me of a verse which was written by the Apostle Paul in his first Epistle to the Thessalonians. He wrote as follows:
"Quench not the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 5:19, KJV
In the original Greek, the word translated here as "quench" is "sbennumi". It means to extinguish, stifle or suppress. In other words, people are not supposed to try to smother the flame of the Spirit which God is using to work through a certain person. Rather, we should allow the Spirit to burn freely in each individual, as God sees fit, and not as we see fit. After all, as Jesus stated in the Gospels:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16, KJV
How can we let our light shine, if we allow someone to place a bushel over it? The flame will soon start to sputter and smoke, and it will eventually die. Sadly, this is precisely what has happened to quite a few modern Christian churches. The leaders have bowed to political correctness. They have softened the message. They have compromised the truth of the Scriptures because they do not want to shock or offend their congregants. They want to not only keep their pews full, but they also do not want to lose their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by appearing to be too radical to the System which controls them. They have been shackled by the Devil and they don't even realize it.
Sadly, when the light goes out -- as so many have already done -- everyone walks in spiritual darkness; and that is exactly what we see in a lot of churches in America today. A lot of people go through the motions of being Christians, but inwardly they are really already spiritually dead; just as we see in the following verses that are found in the Book of Revelation:
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
Revelation 3:1-3, KJV
Taking into consideration the verses I have been sharing with you, I do not believe that it is anyone's place, or right, to judge my degree of holiness. Neither is it their place to try to mold my character, so that it conforms to their personal standard, which may be influenced by their religious background, or even by their cultural background. Their idea of what is Christian behavior, and what is not, could be totally wrong.
As we have seen by the various Scriptural examples which I have shared in this series, God sometimes does things which are totally contrary to what we think or expect. Sometimes He tells His servants to do or say things which simply will not be acceptable to the common herd of men; not even to other Christians. When a well-meaning person writes to me, and begins to tell me how I should act, how I should speak, how I should write, how I should wear my hair, how I should cut my beard, etc., while they may not understand it, they are in fact making a small attempt to usurp the influence of God's Spirit working in my life, in my mind and in my heart. My friends, this simply is not good. I must be allowed to burn free.
Since I first began this ministry, I have often emphasized the importance of walking humbly before the Lord, and before each other. After all, none of us are any better than anyone else. What makes the difference is the Spirit of Christ that works in us. While I have never claimed to be a great man of God -- even though a few well-meaning people have attempted to convince me of that very fact on occasion -- God has put me in a position where I am viewed by some folks as being an older brother or spiritual elder. It is not something which I have personally sought after. Some people just view me in that fashion; and sometimes when they go a little overboard, it actually makes me nervous. At any rate, what does the New Testament plan reveal to us concerning elders in regards to the flock? In his first Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote as follows:
"Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;"
1 Timothy 5:1, KJV
In that verse, the word "rebuke" is derived from the Greek word "epiplesso". This word means to chastise with words, to chide, to upbraid, or to rebuke. So when a person writes to me and says "You shouldn't use that word. You should not say that. It isn't very Christian", that is basically what they are doing. They are chiding me. They are rebuking me. Am I perfect? Am I sinless? Of course not; but I do believe that I possess enough of the Spirit of God to know how He expects me to act before the flock He has given me. I am sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion then, God is radical. God is a shocker. God is totally unorthodox. He likes to say and do things which wake people up out of their spiritual lethargy and sin. Not only that, but His definition of holiness and righteousness is a lot different from the menpleasing, political correct version which is pushed by holier-than-thou organized religion. They base holiness on outward appearances and hypocritical false images, just like the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees of old. In contrast, God bases it on obedience to and submission to His Will and Spirit. He asked His servants in the Bible to do some very unorthodox things in order to make a point; yet they did them because they had a greater fear of God, than they did a fear of the opinions of men. Sometimes I too will choose to use a strong word in order to emphasize a point. I hope that you are spiritually mature enough to take the milk of the Word, as well as the stronger meat.
Having said that, please remain pliable and flexible. Do not become a rigid, old bottle which can no longer handle the radical nature of God's Spirit. As Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke:
"And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better."
Luke 5:37-39, KJV
Which one are you; an old bottle or a new one? The choice is really up to you. With these thoughts I will bring this series to its conclusion. It is my hope that you have found it informative and enlightening, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life as well. And, of course, I hope that you were not offended. If you happen to have an account with either Facebook, Twitter or Google+, I would appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, or which are related to this series, and which are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website.
Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?
Are You Just a Baby Huey?
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution
Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Have You Sold Your Soul for a Pound of Flesh?
Longhairs and Weirdy Beardies vs. the Legalists
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
Speak the Pure Language of Truth
Stop Cussing: Be Not Conformed to This World!
Striving For Perfection: Are You a Sinless Saint?
The Fruits of Disobedience
The Only Credentials You Need!
The Wisdom of God vs the Philosophy of Men
This Little Light, Glory of the Lord and Our Bright Future