Monthly Archives: November 2013


There is nothing we can do to make God love us anymore than he does. He is love. We know God loves all. That’s settled.

God loves us all but do we love him? He has been reconciled to us by the death of his son. But are we reconciled to him? If we are not reconciled to him, then we are truly in a lost state. It is all a matter of a love relationship.

The only way we know if we love God is if we obey him! Do what he says. Jesus said if you love me you will keep my words. If we don’t  keep his commands, we cannot say we love him. Unless we love him wholeheartedly, sincerely, (although imperfectly), we cannot say we love him. The proof for us, as we examine ourselves before Him, is to answer this question: am I committed to obeying Jesus?

He asks us to love him. He commands it. Yet he never forces our love. It is a surprise to many, that Jesus never once asked disciples to worship him. Never once! Instead he asked them to obey him! worship in Spirit, in truth.

If we are to be his disciples then there is no option but to obey his words, take up his yoke, follow him, his word, bear his reproach, suffer with him.

What then are Jesus’ commands?

Some are obvious, so well-known: Love God. Love one another, pray.

Others may not be so obvious or discussed much: follow me, make disciples, teach them to do what I have said,  proclaim the Kingdom of God, bear fruit that sticks, abide in me, feed on me and my word, learn from me, serve one another, don’t love the world.  Obviously this is not an exhaustive list.

We must not presume that what we have learned in the past, our traditions, our religious practices, is what God commands. We must not assume we know the way. Jesus is the way. We copy him.

Ask yourself: given what we do know of Jesus’ commands, do we have any time and energy to be doing silly religious things or playing church, sitting and watching and listening in the pews?

Is that what Jesus wants us to do? Is that what he started?
We must avoid obeying anyone else but Jesus. If we go on to obey our religious traditions, we are voiding the word of God and are disobedient and preferring another way to Jesus. We must forsake all to follow him.

We must seek his will. Your kingdom come, your will be done as in heaven. This is only possible in us if we obey him. This was his practice with the Father. As Father sent me so I send you. The servant is not above his master.

If we are going to obey Jesus, then a lot of things, religious stuff will have to be laid aside. Heaps of so-called Christianity will have to be abandoned.  Then we will have the time and the energy and the ears to carry out what he wants, especially in bearing witness to him and making disciples. We must jettison churchy stuff, trivial rules and dogmas, passive meetings where no repentance and action takes place, and so on.

Jesus only taught what his Father said – what he heard from God. His commands are the Father’s commands. So we also must teach only what we hear from God, from what Jesus has commanded us. There is no other viable, sustainable option.  Anything else is a waste of time. And Jesus’ yoke is actually easier. Easier!

This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome (1 Jn 5:3).


We are called to tell good news, not bad news, as Jesus our Lord directs us. He may direct us by his leadings from the Holy Spirit. And for his direction, we read the gospels, copy Jesus and understand what he wants. This is to proclaim the good news as he did (Luke 4:18 “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me ….”) and as he sent his disciples, ”to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons, proclaiming “the Kingdom of Heaven is upon you”(Mt 10:7). This kingdom is not of this world!

Jesus did not proclaim the law or judgment to the common folk but good news, to follow Jesus. To follow him is totally sufficient. It means a radical turning away from one way to another – his way.

This is to follow his example including the way he taught the good news. Often what people hear from us followers is bad news, all the things they must give up. How many of those are there? Myriads. Countless. So we become more known for being against the “freedom” which people want, than for the true freedom that the Jesus has come to give. “You (Joseph) shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins”. It is knowing him that that saves us from the slavery of sin. His people are saved daily and forever from the degradation, the horrible mess of society that has been and continues to be shaped by people in the hands of a malignant enemy. As Peter Hitchings said recently on ABC’s Q&A program, our world is fast becoming an unfit place to live in. But Jesus is Lord! He calls us follow him unto a whole new world, of new heavens and a new earth!

People must hear the good news, come to know Jesus and the dynamic gift of the Holy Spirit. It is critical that they hear the good news of Jesus’ life and grace and experience him and his kingdom. When we experience Jesus we become aware of God’s ways written on our hearts. Then will unfold the loving of Jesus in obedience, growth, transformation, the fruit of the Spirit. Then comes true freedom, solid hope.

To speak of Jesus is sufficient. To invite people to follow him is sufficient.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

Some think that that before sharing the good news you have to preach law in order to make people feel their need of a Saviour. That’s not the New Covenant. When people meet Jesus they are given a heart of flesh – the stony heart is taken away.

To follow Jesus was sufficient for Matthew and Zaccheus to leave behind lucrative tax collecting. It was sufficient good news for the disciples to follow him and as they walked with him they discovered more of what it meant to be in the Kingdom of God just by being with him and hearing him. They learned as they walked with him.

Jesus said it is the Holy Spirit’s work to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Not us. We must trust that the Holy Spirit is going before us and stay in touch with him as we bear witness. The first disciples were told when the Holy Spirit has come they would be “witnesses unto me” – to the abundance of life in Jesus, not to law (Acts 1:8), not to religion. Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth!

We are to call people to repent. This means to turn, to change one’s mind, one’s world view. But it is turning to Jesus as Lord! It is not merely turning from something or from many things, but to someone. To Jesus. To follow him. Merely turning away from your lifestyle, to reform, to do better, to turn over a new leaf, or to religion, to dogma, will lead to despair and a worse situation.

Turning to Jesus, knowing him — is such good news. We must communicate that.


When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”   Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:1-3

When asked, on this unique occasion whether it was his will to heal the man with leprosy, Jesus had no hesitation in declaring “I am willing.” And then he doesn’t even pray for the guy, and the man is healed!

Isn’t it striking that the Son of Man never prayed with the words if it be your will and he never taught his disciples to end their petitions with any such phrase! Believers sometimes pray, tacking on these words in resignation, asking with a sigh of doubt: Lord, if it’s your will … We seem to do this often when praying for someone’s healing.

Sure, he taught them (and us) that their praying must always be undergirded by three most important petitions:

Your name be hallowed

Your kingdom come

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

And then he suggests a series of petitions and undoubtedly these are the will of God for us.

The first believers did not appear to ask the Father in any sheepish manner. Look at their approach in their recorded prayers in Acts. The author of The Letter to the Hebrews frequently tells his readers to ask boldly, persistently. The will of the Father must be done – absolutely!

It’s a fact that we believers do not ask the Father, like tentatively, for things such as

Lord, if it’s your will, give me love for others

Lord, if it’s your will, I will give thanks

Lord, if it’s your will, I will follow your ways

In fact these are things we do not ever need to ask for! Rather we give thanks. Again, it is absurd to sincerely pray …

Lord, if it’s your will, make me a disciple of Jesus

Lord, if it’s your will, let me serve you to your glory

Lord, if it’s your will, let me share my wealth with others

Lord, if it’s your will, teach me to bear witness about Jesus

There are things we do not even need to pray about. Just do them! And there are things we do need to pray for. We are promised wisdom from the Lord. The apostle Paul declares that we (note the plural) have the mind of Christ. When we do not know how to pray, Paul instructs us to pray in the spirit with the Helper’s help (Romans 8:26): the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. So in the spirit we are enabled to pray “Your will be done, for sure!”

But if Jesus has instructed his disciples, taught them what he expects, what he commands, is it not unbelief or procrastination or maybe disobedience, when we trot out that little formula, if it be your will?  Are we wanting to have two dollars each way?

What are the commands of Jesus? Receive the Holy Spirit.  Make disciples. Teach the things I have commanded you. Be in the world but not of it. Preach the good news. Heal the sick. Drive out demons. Be my witnesses. Do the works that I have done.

He gave his followers a commission and he expects us, his disciples, to carry it out. Do we really have to pray about whether to get involved with these? To do these things?

We look around us and we grieve that his will is not being done. Ought not this observation charge us with a holy indignation, a desire to confront the powers that pretend to rule the world, the minds of men?  And declare firmly “Your will be done! And we will do it!”

Then perhaps we can act with renewed minds and with sure confidence as the disciples did, as recorded in the gospel accounts and later in the Acts of the Apostles.

Think of a little child asking her father for good things, things that parents are expected to do for their children. What child asks a parent with if it is your will? Then we may ask with confidence and expect to receive, knowing the things of the Kingdom are the will of God. For sure.

“Your will be done! Here! Today!”