See The Light

Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 8:16 (NASB)

kit: Scienstein by Kristmess Designs

We know that Jesus is not talking about a regular household fixture when He talks about lampstand, but that He speaks in “parables” (using symbolism, metaphors, etc.) Let’s look at the above passage with more of the context:

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:9-21

The Holy Spirit has inspired the writer to include context that differs somewhat, for the benefit of the reader’s learning, in each of the “synoptic” Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke, which generally have matching accounts of the events during Jesus’ ministry—whereas John relates information often not included in the other Gospels). In Mark 4:10-25 (as in Luke), the Parable of the Sower also precedes the reference to the lamp being put on a stand, whereas Matthew’s account makes the correlation between being the “salt of the earth” and being the “light of the world”:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

The reference in Luke to the salt is prefaced with the Parable of the Banquet (see below). Those who were invited to the banquet let the cares of the world keep them from accepting the invitation. But it’s not just that—they love the world more than they value the invitation. They don’t want to be bothered with something not in their original, personal plans. Jesus goes on to talk about the man who started building, but couldn’t finish. This connects again with the Parable of the Sower. Some do follow for a while, but they fall away (run out of “funds” to build with) once something like persecution or the lure of riches comes into the picture. They did ACCEPT the invitation, but the “cost” was too high for them. They’re not willing to die to self and relinquish control over their lives (which is like being their own “god”), so they trade the eternal kingdom of God for the temporary pleasures of this dying world. How sad! (1John 2:15-17, John 15:18-21, Matt. 10:37-39, Matt. 19:16-30, Rom. 6:5-14)

When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:15-35

Mark’s Gospel sheds more light on the function of the salt:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:47-50

I’m pretty sure that “everyone will be salted with fire” refers back to the salt that was required with the (leaven-free, partially burnt) grain offerings (Lev. 2:13-16, but read the whole chapter for context—remember, those were foreshadows, Col. 2:17). I think the phrase also looks forward to “buy gold refined by fire.” (Rev. 3:18) The salt represents truth and the fire represents trials and tests, which result in purity. (Num. 31:23, Isa. 48:10) Obviously we can’t “buy” the kingdom of God, so Jesus is telling those at Laodicea to invest in something lasting, and how to go about doing so—to be willing to suffer for His sake rather than putting their own comfort first. We must each pass the test as to whether we will put our trust in God or ourselves and in this lost world, including how we will come by everything we need as well as who we will believe when it comes to truth, values and priorities. Will we continue to speak the truth with love (Eph. 4:15) even when it’s not well-received, even when it’s tempting to just blend in so that life can be easier? The world doesn’t persecute its own. (1Pet. 1:6-9, 2Tim. 3:12-17, Jam. 1:2-4, Phil. 1:27-30, 1Pet. 3:13-17, 2Cor. 4:8-11) The pressure to conform to the fallen ways of the world has just begun to be exerted through financial means, but it will eventually reach a frightening climax. (Rev. 13:16-17, Rev. 14:9-13) Will we hide our lights under a bushel or bury our “talent” in the sand or “mina” in a kerchief? (Matt. 5:15, Matt. 25:24-30, Luke 19:20-27, Gal. 6:7-10) Cowardice is NOT a virtue, but faithfulness is. (Rev. 21:8, Rev. 12:11, Rev. 2:10)

Jesus said that salt that has lost its saltiness is worthless. A lamp that is hidden doesn’t give light to see by—which is the PURPOSE of the lamp (just like the purpose of the Church, which is constructed of believers – 1Pet. 2:4-12, Eph. 2:19-22, Acts 13:47, Acts 26:22-23). (John 15:8-10, John 13:35, Matt. 5:14-16, Rev. 2:4-5) We know that the five foolish virgins had lamps that ran out of oil. (Matt. 25:1-13) They couldn’t see where they were going. Their lights weren’t just hidden—they went OUT. Jesus also said to “have salt in yourselves.” We have probably all heard of a term referring to “seasoned” sailors: “old salt.” They know what they’re doing, and they don’t play games with matters of life and death (as could easily be the case while out on the ocean). The world probably LOVED the foolish virgins, having no “salt” whatsoever to offend anyone with (Luke 7:23 – nor any “harsh light” to “hurt the eyes” of those accustomed to “living in the darkness,” John 3:19-21), but they were NOT allowed into the KINGDOM like the five wise virgins who were ready. (Matt. 25:10-13, Rev. 2:5, Rom. 13:11-14, 2Cor. 6:14-18, 1Cor. 15:33-34, Eph. 5:5-21) Don’t forget that John the Baptist was killed because he had made an enemy of Herodias, Herod’s wife, for speaking the truth. (Matt. 14:3-12) (Note, there are only two references to birthdays in the Bible, and both of them involve executions – Gen. 40:20-22, Matt. 14:6, 10)

Being truthful actually is a matter of eternal life or death, and truth and LOVE go together. Lies are not loving, even when people like hearing them. (2Tim. 4:3-4) How could anyone in good conscience, if they actually BELIEVE what God has said, stand by while others are deceived, and even take part in that deception? (Rom. 1:32, Matt. 18:6-7) The genuine motive of love demands that the truth be spoken, but not in such a way as to intentionally cast a stumbling block—not in such a way as to hate the sin AND the sinner. (1Cor. 13, 2Cor. 13:11, Gal. 6:1, Jam. 5:19-20, 2Tim. 2:22-26) Fear only inspires obedience so long as it’s enforced, but love inspires obedience out of willing devotion, even in the absence of the Lord and Master. (Phil. 2:12, 2Cor. 13:1-2, Matt. 25:14, Mark 13:34, Luke 19:12, Matt. 25:5, John 14:3) (We are NOT talking about an “ascended master” here. See John 17:24. Beware of new age deception. Darkness is being confused with light these days. 2Cor. 11:13-15)

Back to sailors (and others who make their living from the sea, such as fishermen), Jesus told the disciples He would make them fishers of men. (Matt. 4:18-22) Do you remember what He said later? He said ALL are invited, but that the bad fish will be thrown out. (Matt. 13:47-50) He said the door is narrow and the way hard. (Matt. 7:13-20, Luke 13:22-30) Those who accept the invitation on their OWN terms (easy—no need to make any changes to one’s life afterwards, i.e. “repent”) will be turned away. (Matt. 22:11-14, Rev. 16:15, Matt. 7:21-29, Luke 6:43-49, 2Tim. 2:19-26, Gal. 5:19-24, 1Cor. 6:9-10, Eph. 4:17-24, Jude 1:17-22, 2Pet. 2:18-22, Rev. 21:7-8, Rev. 22:11-15) Branches that do not bear fruit (again, see the Parable of the Sower) will be cut off. (John 15:1-10, Matt. 13:18-23, Titus 2:11-15, Rom. 12:1-2) Note that this is different from being snatched out of Jesus’ hand, which is an EXTERNAL force. We have free will, which we know that Judas exercised for the love of MONEY despite having been one of the twelve. (John 10:29, John 17:12, Rom. 8:31-39, Luke 12:13-48, Eph. 5:5-6, Col. 3:5-10)

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:10-13 (Also see John 12:4-7.)

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:19-34

Notice how Paul has linked salt and truth in this brief passage below, as well as being wise and doing God’s will in the one following it:

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Our society has become so rushed—most professed believers are so wrapped up in the world that we don’t “have time” to study the word of God in depth. Too many feed on little snippets of Scripture made into feel-good messages that center on us and our desires instead of God and His. Our culture finds truth offensive. In the following passage, Paul starts by talking about sound doctrine, links truth to LOVE, and goes on to discuss practical applications to our behavior (which is the appropriate response to the truth). He ends with reminders not to grieve the Holy Spirit, and to forgive one another as we have been forgiven. This doesn’t mean ignoring everything else that was said about the behavior expected of the children of God. (1John 2:1-6, 1John 3:1-10) It means not holding grudges against one another. It means not being hypocritical by expecting more from others than we do ourselves (both in terms of holiness and of service to God – Matt. 7:5, Rom. 2:1-3, Matt. 23, Rom. 14, 1Cor. 12:14-26). It means being self-controlled and helping others to grow in the knowledge of God (which includes respect for Him and for His ways – Isa. 55:8-9, Isa. 29:16) out of LOVE for their souls and LOVE of God. (2Cor. 5:14-15, 1John 5:3, 1Thess. 4:3-8, 2Cor. 12:19-13:3, 1Pet. 4:1-5, Rom. 2:6-11)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:11-32

If we really believe what God said, then we will want to heed His words and warn others who think that it’s fine if there is no visible difference between the way that the children of God behave compared to the way unsaved people behave (which is saying it’s “okay” there is no fruit of the Spirit. Gal. 5:16-25, Rom. 8:9) “Hearing” means “listening,” which means OBEYING. This is NOT about earning salvation or “working to keep it,” it’s about whether our faith is genuine to begin with. If we don’t really believe in our hearts, then there’s no need to act upon our alleged faith, which we may have ONLY confessed with our mouths, without having first counted the cost. (Rom. 10:8-10) We don’t “clean ourselves up” or pass a test on biblical doctrine in order to impress God so that He’ll find us worthy of saving, but we DO seek to know our great God (through His word) so that we can obey Him out of gratitude, love and respect AFTER He has given us the gift of salvation through faith by His amazing grace. (Rom. 6:15-23, 2Pet. 3:17-18)

For some reason, many people feel that they need to pick one or the other, but Galatians 3:1-9 is not at odds with James 2:14-26 and Hebrews 11. We know that circumcision and other rituals do not save (John 6:63, Col. 2:16-23, Gal. 6:15, Rom. 2:28-29), yet no “giant of faith” would ever have been commended for merely making an empty promise they had no intention of keeping. Their actions were evidence of their true faith. The Bible doesn’t contain “multiple choice” passages! Galatians 5:1-12 is not at odds with Galatians 5:13-26. We don’t submit to the letter of the law, but we DO obey IF we love Jesus and are controlled by His Spirit. (Rom. 7:6, Rom. 6:1-4, Rom. 8:4-17, Acts 15:1-11, 19-20) He is returning for those He has prepared a place for, which are those who are His. What God has prepared is for those who love Him. (John 14:1-3, John 14:23-24, 1Cor. 2:9, 1Cor. 15:23, Rom. 7:4, Titus 2:14, 1Pet. 2:9-10, Rev. 5:9-10, Jam. 1:12, Jam. 2:5)

Luther called the Book of James “an epistle of straw” because he didn’t like it when James said faith without works is dead. I guess he probably didn’t like what Jesus said either, then, since it’s the SAME thing. This isn’t going against the rest of Scripture. It’s saying that we can’t fool God. (Heb. 4:12-13, 1Cor. 4:5) If we believe, then His Spirit will be within us, producing FRUIT. If NOT, then we are NOT His and our “faith” is NOT alive and cannot save us. If we have no oil in our lamps, or never even had a “lamp,” which is the WORD OF TRUTH implanted into our hearts, then we don’t need reassurance we are “saved” – we need a wake-up call! (2Tim. 3:13-15, Jam. 1:21, don’t leave off v. 10 of Eph. 2:8-10) With God’s grace comes the power to desire, know and DO His will. (Titus 2:11-14, Phil. 2:12-16, 1John 3:24, 1John 4:13) Salt that has lost its saltiness is thrown out and trampled, and dead branches are cut off and burned. We can’t abide in Jesus unless we are first IN Him. If we yield to the Holy Spirit, He will yield good and abundant fruit, and there will be no cause for worry. (1John 4:13-21, 1John 3:19-24)

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:22-27

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:13-29

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:43-49

This is serious, eternal wisdom from God. (Jam. 1:17-21, Jam. 2:14-26, 1John 3:13-24) For those who say that this can’t be right, because how will we know “how many ‘works’ are ‘enough'” and “look at the thief on the cross!” – you’re missing the point. The works are produced by the Spirit within us. Some are given more gifts to work with (as well as time and opportunity) than others, and from them more will be expected. (Phil. 2:12-16, Rom. 12:3-8, 1Cor. 12:4-11, Matt. 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27, Phil. 3:14-19, Gal. 6:4-5, Luke 16:10-12) But if people looking for biblical support to keep sinning the same as they did before they were “saved” were actually filled with the Spirit, they would understand, wouldn’t they? (2Cor. 13:5, Jude 1:18-19, 2Tim. 3:1-9, 1Cor. 2:14, Rom. 1:24-32, Eph. 5:5-12, John 8:34-36, Titus 3:3, 8-11, Rom. 6:15-23, 2Pet. 2:19-20, 2Cor. 6:14-18) If they truly loved God, they wouldn’t be looking for “loopholes.”

We have been told in the Bible so many times not to be deceived, even by ourselves. (1Cor. 6:9-10, 1Cor. 15:33-34, Gal. 6:7-9, Jam. 1:14-16, 1Cor. 3:16-18, Eph. 5:6, 1John 3:7-10, 2Tim. 3:13, Jam. 1:22) We should be asking ourselves throughout every day whether what we are thinking, saying or doing will honor God and bring Him glory. If not, then we need to ask ourselves whether we actually do love God or not? Enough to stop, exercise self-control and change directions? Hopefully! It’s not complicated—it’s common sense. (John 14:24, John 15:10, Rom. 13:8-14, 1John 1:5-2:6) This is our PURPOSE of being. (Ecc. 12:13-14) We are all works in progress, with the key word being “progress” (by the Bible’s definition, not this lost world’s). (2Pet. 1:3-15, 1Thess. 4:1) It’s a very high calling, but we are NOT left on our own to try to live up to it. (John 14:15-26)

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:4-6

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 John 2:26-29

Once we start disregarding any part of the Bible, then we have thrown out priceless “traffic markers” that would have kept us on the narrow road if only we had paid attention to them (and God NEVER gave us permission to do any such thing). Another book Luther disliked was Revelation, which Jesus gave to John to tell His servants what was to come. (Rev. 1:1-3) It may not be easy to understand, but it’s certainly better than driving in the dark with the headlights off, isn’t it? Remember, the Holy Spirit is our guide and teacher. He won’t steer us wrong if we truly abide in Jesus and trust Him alone for everything in this life and in the next, including wisdom. (Jam. 1:5-8)

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:15-27

The time of the greatest deception that EVER has been or ever will be is coming. The faithful, persecuted church at Philadelphia was promised to be kept out of the “hour of trial.”  (Rev. 3:7-13, Rev. 17:12) Since all of the letters to the churches in Rev. 2-3 were to be read by each church, then it follows that each promise for overcoming, and also each warning of the consequences of continuing to displease Jesus with behavior unbefitting of His disciples instead of heeding His words, applies to every believer. (Rev. 1:3, 11 – Smyrna receives no reprimand OR promise to be kept from the hour of trial, as they have apparently died as martyrs/overcomers before it begins. Rev. 2:10-11, Rev. 20:4-6) However, believers who are alive and “dwelling on the earth” during the reign of the beast must faithfully endure, while everyone whose name is not in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be deceived by convincing signs and wonders into worshiping the beast and taking its mark. (Matt. 24:21-27, 1Thess. 5:1-11, Rev. 13, Rev. 17:12-14, Rev. 12:10-12, Rev. 14:9-13, Rev. 20:15) Anyone who discards or disparages the parts of the Bible containing details about Jesus’ warnings about these things, and encourages others to do the same, is doing a very unloving thing, in my humble opinion. (Rev. 22:18-19)

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:11-14 (Also Gal. 5:24)

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:32-37

Please see my article “Buy Wisdom” for more on the comparison of light with wisdom in the Bible. I much prefer the layout at the top than the one below, don’t you?

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