4Jesus Outreach

Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.


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Religious Persecution

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unto whitewashed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.“ – Matthew 23:27

Most believers in Jesus Christ are well aware of the fact that if we are truly living for God and pursuing a godly life, the unbelievers and the evil world system will persecute us. This type of persecution doesn’t usually take us by surprise. But when the persecution comes from within the Church and our own Christian brethren, it can be devastating. Oftentimes we stand in amazement and even shock. We reason to ourselves, “How can someone who professes to be a Christian be so cruel, judgmental or hateful towards another brother or sister in Christ?” Furthermore, this kind of attack is even more devastating when it comes from a pastor or other religious leader.

If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you.

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my teaching, they will keep yours also. “ – John 15:20

No matter how much it might hurt to be persecuted, misunderstood or even maligned by your own Christian brethren, we must remember that Jesus experienced the same. So many of the “religious types” were opposed to His teachings and godly example. Instead of praising Messiah Jesus for teaching the truth and exposing religious error, many of the Jews turned on Him. They went out of their way to oppose Him and discredit Him. They slandered His ministry and accused Him of serving the devil (Beelzebub).

The majority of the Jewish religionists that Jesus confronted with the truth of the gospel and His Messiahship didn’t want to hear Him because they were evil and religious hypocrites. Jesus described the religious leaders and the people who were following these blind leaders of the blind as “white-washed tombs.” They appeared righteous on the outside, but their hearts were full of deceit, hypocrisy, lust, and all manner of wickedness.

Modern Day Pharisees

Sadly, the Christian churches today are full of the same religious hypocrites and white-washed tombs (you know who you are). Many will write me hateful emails for speaking the truth. These modern-day Pharisee are always busy doing the work of their father the devil instead of the work of Christ. They love to criticize instead of encourage, to tear down instead of build up. They attend our Christian churches and prayer meetings right alongside of us, but they are not our true brethren. They are imposters that Satan has planted within the church – whited tombs which appear to be beautiful and attractive on the outside, yet filled with foulness and corruption inside. The “act” they put on in church is only a pretense; their religious appearance is only a mask that conceals their spiritual blindness. They are the “Tares” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 13:40-43. He said these Tares would grow among the Wheat. But in the end, they would be plucked-up and thrown into the fire to be burnt.

“As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew 13:40-43

The Lord Jesus shares the pain of the righteous.

When you’re persecuted for righteousness by religious hypocrites, remember that Satan and his followers (within the Church) delight to persecute those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ and follow His principles of truth and righteous living. Stand firm in your commitment to God; persecution is a sure indication that you’re on the right track and living a life that God is well pleased with. Commit your hurt, pain and suffering to Him who judges justly.

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” – 1 Peter 2:23

Finally, do not forget that the Lord Jesus loves and cares for you deeply, and shares your pain. We have a sympathetic High Priest who Himself experienced the same religious persecution, trials and tribulations (Hebrews 4:15). Go to Him in prayer and you will receive grace, mercy, strength and comfort to help you cope and remain victorious.

–         Pastor Luis Yosefus

REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
www.RealJesus.net
realjesusministries@gmail.com

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The Woman Caught in Adultery

John 8:4-11

John 8:4-11

“When I came to the Lord I was a stripper,” says the woman in the video below. But when she tried to learn more about God and started attending a local church, she was ostracized and condemned. Instead of receiving help, love and acceptance from Christian people, they gave her dirty looks and rejected her.

The religious scribes and Pharisees once brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. Apparently, she was having sexual intercourse with a married man, or perhaps she herself was married and cheating on her husband. When the religious people caught her, they immediately brought her to Jesus and asked Him what they should do with her. According to the Old Testament Law, she deserved to be killed by stoning. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear their question. When they asked Him again and pressed Him for an answer, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let Him cast the first stone.” (John 8:4-11)

Everyone thought about it, and realized that no one there was without sin. Therefore, they really had no business condemning the woman to death when they themselves were guilty of probably worse sins. So being convicted by their consciences and hypocritical attitudes, they slowly left the scene, one by one. Finally Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” Still feeling ashamed, she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

The gospel of grace saves.

In this incident, Jesus was demonstrating the love and grace of God in wanting to save sinners – not condemn them. He also stated elsewhere:

For God did not send His Son [Jesus Christ] into the world to condemn the world – to judge, reject, and pass judgment on; but that sinful, lost people through Him might find salvation and deliverance from sin.” – John 3:17 (JCV)

We Christians need to preach the same gospel that Jesus preached. The Good News gospel of Jesus Christ is, first and foremost, a message of hope; that God is willing to forgive us of our sins. He understands our weaknesses and faults, and wants to give us opportunity and supernatural power to change (grace).

In the above example, Jesus never approves of the woman’s sexual sins, but he doesn’t condemn her either. He told her, “Go and sin no more.” He forgave her and advised her to stop sinning. We Christians need to do likewise. Whether we are witnessing to a woman who makes a living dancing naked in front of men in a bar, or a man with homosexual tendencies, or a drug addict or alcoholic, our first priority is to preach  the love and forgiveness of God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for their sins. God might hate the sinful way they’re living, but He still loves the sinner. God’s purpose is always to have compassion on the sinner bound by sin, and is willing to deliver them from their sinful bondages. His message is one of restoration and liberty to live a new life.

For God so loved the world

I believe John 3:16 is the Good News gospel in a nutshell. God loves us sinners so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins, so that we could be forgiven, healed of our corrupt natures, and restored to fellowship with our Holy God.

For too long, the Christian church has been preaching the message of Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Instead, it should be preaching the true message of Jesus Christ, “Sinners in the arms of a loving, compassionate, and forgiving God.” This message makes the religious hypocrites fighting mad, that’s why they wanted to kill Jesus for preaching that He came to save sinners — not condemn them.

Let us pray and ask God to help us overcome our judgmental attitudes, and from being so critical of others. Let us learn to be more loving and accepting of people who may still be struggling with carnal sins, and be open and willing to forgive and help them. We must remember that, if God is patient and forgiving towards us, shouldn’t we also practice the same?

–         Pastor Luis Yosefus

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that You are, first and foremost, a God of love and compassion. Help me to avoid becoming like the judgmental, self-righteous Pharisees and scribes, and become more like Jesus – in my attitudes and treatment of others. Help me to be compassionate and forgiving, as You are with me. Help me to stop preaching the gospel of condemnation, and instead preach the Good News of Your grace and salvation that Jesus originally proclaimed. Amen.

REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
http://www.RealJesus.net

Click Here to: Learn more about Jesus | Submit Prayer Request | Support Our Ministry | Ask Pastor Luis a Question | Visit Our Bookstore

Thanks to brother Jeff Brown for sharing the following video:

See also: “Forgiving Eyes” by Michael Card
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laPFkFnHGlM