Jump to content

Friends Of Jesus (Revised And Updated)


Recommended Posts

The essential spiritual teachings of such luminaries as Jesus, the Buddha, Krishna, etc. have the same transformational core couched into language and terms that were appropriate for their time and culture. We can enter the gate of true spirituality through any one of these teachers.


The essence of the Good News of the Gospel as taught by Jesus is very simple and can be understood by even a child. The purpose of life is to have good and fulfilling relationships with other people and the larger community of life.


Real "salvation" is found in the practice of certain principles Jesus taught that still apply today, such as the Great Commandment, the Sermon on the Mount, and his parables. We need to focus on what Jesus said in the Gospels rather than the theological musings of early Church leaders who never met Jesus personally, such as Paul. Jesus told us that the kingdom of God is found within us. That means we don't have to die to go to heaven. We create heaven on earth by living out the teachings of Jesus. The core of his teaching is following the radical grace of his Great Commandment - "Love God and Love one another" rather than Pharisee-style legalism or having the "correct beliefs" (please refer to the Good Samaritan parable which discusses this principle).


Jesus saved us, not through his death, but by showing us how to live our lives. His entire life on earth was about overcoming evils and temptations, and his death was the conclusion of that struggle. Just as we are faced with evils and temptations in our lives, Jesus struggled against those same temptations as a human. In overcoming them, He taught us the way to live. It is only by so doing that we can be truly happy. Salvation is the product of developing a genuine love for other people and for God. We reject salvation if we choose not to love others like God loves us. Salvation is not dependent on the doctrinal specifics of the religion you have followed on earth. The choices that we make on a daily basis are what determine whether we end up in heaven or hell.


In one of the most defining moments of his ministry, Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest. Matthew 22:36-39 “[Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”


In the Gospel of John, he reclarified the Great Commandment. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). Or as I like to put it - Love God through loving service to others.


This teaching of the Great Commandment of Jesus fulfills the intent of the Golden Rule and surpasses it with the higher intent of love. By following the Great Commandment, we can order our Ruling Loves in a Heavenly manner - Love of God, Love of Others before Love of the World (Power, Money, Prestige, etc.) and Love of Self. Obviously Hellish Ruling Loves would be in an inverse order. Heaven and hell are often states of consciousness that we choose by what we love.


God does not judge us. We judge ourselves by what we love and how we live. Salvation is granted to all people who love God and try to live a good life according to what they believe is right. We play an active role in our salvation every day of our lives. When we look to the Divine and live according to what we believe is right, we move closer towards heaven. If we shun good, we move closer to hell. Thus, salvation and freedom of choice are inseparable from each other.


We need to get that change of heart so that we can connect and value something larger than simply our own egos so we can be "saved" from our self-centered hell of our own making when we elevate our Love of Self over Compassion towards Others. We can order our Ruling Loves in a Heavenly manner - Love of God (the interdependent web of all existence), Love of Others before Love of the World (Power, Money, Prestige, etc.) and Love of Self. Obviously Hellish Ruling Loves would be in an inverse order. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness that we choose by what we love. The essence of true spirituality, as opposed to the authoritarian dogmatic claims of organized religions, is demonstrating our reverence of through our love and compassion for others, both personally and collectively. The power of that selfless love is our salvation, and it is available to all people, everywhere. Through heeding the promptings of the still, small Voice Within, we can gradually change our hearts to help bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth.


God is Love and nothing but what is good can come from Him. By following the core teachings of Jesus, we can become the children of God by becoming that radical love. As we live, we choose what kind of love we will be. We may choose to be egocentric and regard ourselves as the only reality where our own needs, desires, and feelings are all important. Or we may choose to focus on others. In the former instance, we shrink in spirit, allowing a part of our potential as loving beings to atrophy. In the latter instance, we grow spiritually, heightening our awareness of the nature of love and thus also of the nature of ourselves and God.


God gives everyone the freedom to choose their beliefs and live their lives accordingly. Salvation is available for people of all religions. All religions have goodness in them. There are many paths to heaven. The requirements for salvation are simple: live well, believe rightly, and you will be saved. Truth is love in action. Actions performed out of love are genuine expressions in a physical form of what love means. All people who live good lives, no matter what their religion, have a place in heaven and the Kingdom of God here on earth.


Loving service to others is the way love works. True happiness is not possible unless it is in accordance with being of use to others. The spiritual life involves the active development of a useful and meaningful life in service to the betterment of the world as a whole. Whereas the religious life often connotes withdrawal from the world and life, active participation in the world is a commitment to actualizing faith and charity. The life of charity and faith parallel the union of love and truth which is the essence of God. As we increase compassion, integrity, understanding, and healing in our lives, we are helping God create a "new Heaven and a new Earth." It is the responsibility of all people to develop their own beliefs and live their lives accordingly. The result is a whole greater than the sum of its parts, a Zionic Way of Life where one developmentally evolves from a completely egocentric or self-centered view of life to a more unselfish and community-focused view of life.


If there is an afterlife, it is likely that we continues to live in a heavenly life or a hellish one, based on the quality of life choices made here. Heaven and hell are not rewards or punishments distributed on judgment day but the present inner experience we freely choose. We may choose to enjoy peace and openness, or to close ourselves in fear. We can discover the highest joy of a loving life by giving to others, or the loneliness of self-centeredness. We may choose to enjoy peace and openness, or to close ourselves in fear. Life is an opportunity for learning and spiritual growth. As we choose between giving and taking, loving and hating, right and wrong, we participate in the creation of our own spiritual character. To become an angel, reject self-centered longings, do what is good, and love God.


Heaven is for everyone who wants to live there. The only reason someone would go to hell is because they have chosen to go there of their own volition. Those who choose hell are people who put themselves above all else, repeatedly indulging in things which are hurtful to others. The only reason hell exists is to preserve the freedom of choice which God grants to all His people.


The Gospel is a powerful vehicle for inner and societal transformation. Inner transformation results from connecting to something larger than the ego. By settling down and heeding the promptings of the Spirit, we can connect to God as that interconnectedness or ground of being underlying all things, especially living beings, in the Universe. This divine connection through Christ then transforms how we behave when we are mindful of this interconnectedness by helping us to see Christ in others and prompting us to live out the values within the Sermon on the Mount. Our changed behaviors cause different responses from others which can lead to communal and societal transformation through the power of the Gospel. When we view this interdependence as love then we tend to get the same back from it. From this foundation, we should try as much as possible to extend loving-kindness to all other living beings which is the primary point of the Great Commandment of Jesus.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a Friend of Jesus. "I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father" (John 15:14).


1. A Friend of Jesus affirms that the central and sole essential teaching of Jesus is the Law of Love – Love of God and Love of neighbor. The Holy Spirit helps us live out the Way of the Cross - to die to our Old Selves (egos) to be born again as a new creation through Christ. (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:34).


2. Having the "correct beliefs" is not necessary for "salvation". We experience and bring heaven into our lives when we follow the Law of Love and can create hellish conditions in our lives when we elevate love of self and love of power over compassion for others. Therefore, "salvation" is the product of developing a genuine love for other people and for God. We temporarily reject salvation if we choose not to love others like God loves us. Jesus clearly taught that it is our actions which are important and not what one claims to believe. Jesus taught us how to live, not what to believe. He did not exclude people because of their beliefs. (Matthew chaps. 5-7, Luke 6:17-49, Matthew 25:35-40, Luke 10:25-37).


3. A Friend of Jesus affirms the primacy of the current guidance of the Holy Spirit as the most important spiritual guide to our lives, rather than limiting it to the Bible. The Word of God is Jesus and not the Bible itself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Bible contains the history of the development of the church and its traditions and developed creeds as well as the cultural context from which they evolved filtered through the bias and opinions of the human authors. Therefore, Friends of Jesus read the Bible as a historical human response to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the past and as a secondary source of guidance. Even in the Bible, Jesus told us to rely on the inspiration of the Spirit rather than books written and compiled by fallible human beings. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).


4. A Friend of Jesus affirms that every person is loved and continue to be guided by God through the Inward Light or Holy Spirit which we can learn to hear and allow it to guide us both in our daily lives. Contemplative practices such as Christian meditation, lectio divina, centering prayer, the rosary, etc. as well as the sacraments and sacramentals can help open us to the Spirit. We can know the guidance is true if it does not conflict with the Law of Love. If we are sincerely open to the Divine Will, we will be guided by a Wisdom that is more compelling than our own more superficial thoughts and feelings. This can mean that we will find ourselves led in directions or receiving understandings that we may not have chosen just from personal preference.


5. As a Friend of Jesus, I define myself as a seeker. It is readily apparent that there is wisdom in all the world’s living faiths and salvation through the Way of Love is not limited to those in the Christian tradition. All religions have goodness in them and are guided by the same Spirit, even if they have another label for it. Salvation is available for people of all religions and spiritual paths who develop love for others rather than only oneself. (John 10:16)


6. As God is Love itself and as a Friend of Jesus, I do not believe in the doctrine of eternal damnation as God will continue to seek to ultimately reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). In His love, I believe that God will continue to love those who die without salvation and seek to bring them to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).


7. There are three steps to become a Friend of Jesus: First, to seriously confront his teaching. We are called to love God and love our neighbor. Second, to decide that Jesus was right-- this love of God and neighbor is the most important thing. Then, third, we have to decide that we will try to live that way -- with Jesus as our focus, our compass. This is what makes one a Friend of Jesus -- the decision to follow him, to make him function as the Christ in our lives. Then we should acknowledge and declare this decision to follow Jesus.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dave,


I’d say you captured the spirit, or “Zen” of Jesus’ teaching pretty well. I also agree that our religious traditions and spiritual lives are generally determined by the culture into which we are born.


Christian doctrine, as determined by the early Church fathers, was designed as a religion for the Greeks (at least in my opinion). So, you have a healthy dose of Plato, Aristotle, and even Stoic philosophy embedded in Christianity.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave I like your avatar too, and I so agree with your post. I reread it, and its very deep, I like ". I am a Friend of Jesus. "I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father" (John 15:14).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service