What are the warnings of Jesus Christ?
There are many times in the Gospels when Jesus is recorded as saying something like, "Watch out" or "Take heed" or "Beware."
What is Jesus warning us about? What does Jesus say to beware of?
"Jesus said to them, 'Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.'" (Matthew 16:6 WEB)
Jesus tells us to beware of the "yeast" or "leaven" of the pharisees. He later explains in Matthew 16:12 that the yeast/leaven of the Pharisees is their deceitful teachings. However, Luke clarifies what is wrong with the Pharisees' teachings – they are hypocritical.
"Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Luke 12:1 WEB)
Jesus is saying to beware of false teachers who live in hypocrisy. This is equivalent to those who do not "live what they teach" or who "teach one thing but do the opposite themselves."
Also, Jesus is speaking of hypocrisy when he says, "Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn't darkness." (Luke 11:35 WEB) As part of this comment, Jesus proceeds to say that the Pharisees have the appearance of holiness, yet are full of wickedness and extortion (Luke 11:39).
Jesus further elaborates on hypocrisy by talking about the teachers of the law, saying, "Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts: those who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation." (Mark 12:38-40 WEB; also in Luke 20:46-47)
The two primary sins of these false teachers were greed and pride, both of which Jesus warns us of elsewhere.
"Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses." (Luke 12:15 WEB)
Jesus tells this to a man who simply wanted to have his brother fairly split the inheritance. Yet Jesus warns of greed. Another translation puts this verse in a different perspective: "Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has." (Luke 12:15 NIRV)
Simply wanting to have more and more things, and never being satisfied with what you already have, is a form of greed.
However, it does depend on the heart. If someone makes a new purchase because they need to replace an old item, there may be no greed involved. But when someone is regularly buying things they do not "need," and they are never satisfied with what they have, then they may have some greed in their heart.
"Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1 WEB)
Doing anything right in order to receive honor and glory from people is for the sake of pride. Saying elaborate prayers to seem spiritual, or claiming to attend church every week, or claiming to always tithe 10% of your income to the church, are all ways people try to elevate themselves in the eyes of people.
Granted, all of these things are good to do, but it is the reasons why people are doing them that matters. Jesus says, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted [before God]." (Luke 18:14 WEB)
Jesus also says, "Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5 WEB)
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:15-16 WEB)
Along with false teachers, Jesus also says to beware of false prophets. Really, false prophets and false teachers are often the same in many cases. Jesus says, "Be careful that no one leads you astray." (Matthew 24:4 WEB)
He also says, "Watch out that you don't get led astray, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I AM,' and, 'The time is at hand.' Therefore don't follow them." (Luke 21:8 WEB)
Notice that Jesus says to not follow those who say "The time is at hand."
Why? "But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36 WEB)
Almost every generation has believed they were going to be the last generation, especially during war-time. They could not imagine the world continuing on much longer. However, for over 2000 years, the world has continued on, and it may do so for another few thousand years.
Jesus warns us of those who teach that the end has come, yet he also warns to always be ready, "Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come." (Matthew 24:44 WEB)
There are many Christian pastors who believe that Jesus is coming back soon, and just because they believe and teach this does not make them a false prophet.
However, there are some who teach only this: end times prophecy. Their entire message is built upon one concept – Jesus is coming back soon. And there are even some who claim that God has revealed to them when Jesus is coming back – which contradicts the very words of Jesus himself in Matthew 24:36.
Furthermore, these people also typically emphasize being physically ready (having food and shelter) rather than emphasizing being spiritually ready, as Jesus emphasizes.
Jesus says, "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." (Revelation 3:3 WEB)
Being asleep is an idiom for "sinning" in the Bible, and many times Jesus warns us to "Be awake" and "Be alert" by not sinning in preparation for Jesus' return. This is what repentance is, and even if we do not live to see Jesus' return, we will still see him soon enough when our own lives end.
He also makes similar statements about being ready in Matthew 24:42, Matthew 25:13, and Mark 13:33.
Jesus further instructs us to be ready for his return, by repenting and not sinning, by saying, "So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly." (Luke 21:34 WEB)
"Therefore be watchful all the time, asking that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36 WEB)
Jesus also warns us to be careful to learn the words and teachings of God. "Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has....My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it." (Luke 8:18-21 WEB)
Simply to hear and understand the word of God has no value. We must obey it and do it.
"On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28 WEB)
What is love? It's a call to action. Guest post by Ben Byrum.
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