Dis-Unity

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11, ESV)

Where is the evidence that we are ONE body in Christ? In main stream Christianity we have over 40,000 denominations that have some sort of disagreement on doctrine. Then in the last many years we have had a large growth in what is termed Messianic groups, which when you go skimming through the material they are producing also seem to differ wildly on what they believe. Many groups like to focus on pointing out why they are right on some point while some other group is wrong and therefore they must not be following Yeshua. I don’t want to point to one group or another and say they are wrong, since I feel I can gain positive ideas from many of these groups. The problem is the dis-unity many groups continue to feed.

Let’s take the concept of the Trinity as an example. I have seen so many different articles bash the early church and even churches today because they were trying to understand and know God, and came up with the term the Trinity. The critics will say that the church believes in 3 separate persons, which if you look at the actual definition is simply not true. I heard one group say the trinity is wrong, you need to think of it like one tree with 3 branches. The problem with that idea is that branches are still individual but part of the tree. That is what the trinity says. It says that God represents himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet they are one God. If you look at Yeshua’s high priestly prayer you notice that he asks the Father that we be ONE as they are ONE. Yet, I am an individual, but I am part of the body of Christ as are my brothers and sisters which makes us one with the body.  Yeshua is praying to the father, he is a person that the apostles can talk to and touch, yet they could not touch the Father, so at that moment, Yeshua and the Father appear as if they are separated individuals, yet they are ONE. Earlier in the Gospel of John Yeshua says this:

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.” (John 14:25–26, ESV)

The Father sends the Spirit in the Name of Yeshua, and it says that HE will teach you all things. So the Spirit is SENT by the Father in the NAME of the Son and has the ability to Teach? If I was wrestling with this, I might come to the conclusion that the Spirit (a manifestation of God) seems to act like an individual.In the end it seems that each group is describing the same coin in just a different way. Does that mean that they are both wrong or right, no, it just means that we in our flesh do not understand fully how to explain the many ways God has revealed him self to us. There are so many issues and positions like this, and most of the time we end up arguing over who is right.

So why do I bring all this up. Because or Lord and our God desire us to be in UNITY, one with one another just as He and the Father are one. But, what I see today is groups of unhappy people, who have been wounded, or feel that the people they are in fellowship with are not walking the way they should, so they find some problem they can latch hold of, take a righteous stand on it, then criticize the problems and then go form their own group that agrees with their position. To make themselves feel better they then attack all the things wrong with the other group. HOW IS THIS BEING ONE as the Father and Son are one.

Does that mean that I agree with what is being taught in many churches, NO. But, I do know that every church I have been too has believers that are seeking, but are not being grown in their faith, there is usually a CORE of believers that truly desire a deep relationship with Yeshua and the Father. Then there are those who are there to get their passport stamped and join a club and do the club things but never really desire to walk with the Lord. There are also people at many different points in their walk with the Lord and therefore do not fully understand things that someone who has been walking a longer time might. The unfortunate side of this is that many sermons are tailored to the least common denominator leaving many believers struggling to mature in their faith.

This is also why we still need to be good Bereans and search the scriptures to make sure what is being taught is true, but being a good Berean also means being a good student and understanding how to study and dig into the word. We also need to make greater efforts to disciple and teach younger believers how to walk a life of obedience.

None of the groups out there have all the right answers, even God has told us that every inclination of our hearts is evil. That includes me and you. So before we criticize, lets figure out how to lift each other up, encourage, equip, and edify the body. If someone does not agree with you, have productive discussions on the subject and pray for one another. Then maybe we can be ONE like the Father and Son Are One.

In the beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1–5, ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1–5, ESV)

The book of Genesis and the book of John start our with the most amazing statement…”In the beginning” What is even more amazing is that Yeshua (Jesus) is right there as well.

Is it not interesting that verse 3 in Genesis God says “Let there be light” and yet we do not see the creation of the sun, moon, or stars until the fourth day. The book of John gives us even more insight into Genesis. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.compared to the verse in Genesis…“God separated the light from the darkness.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1:9–10, ESV)

So many arguments are stirred up regarding the science of creation that sometimes we forget that this is not about science, it is about Yeshua. The word for light in Genesis 1 is from the root owr which means to be or to make luminous. Is it possible that the phrase “Let there be light” is the first revealing of Jesus our Messiah? Lets look at a few other verses that are just amazing when you really ponder them.

The Lord is my light (owr) and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, ESV)

The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah 60:19–20, ESV)

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 43:2–3, ESV)

He (Yeshua) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)

…“for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:30–32, ESV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, ESV)

Not only is Yeshua revealed as the light of the world, but it also says he is the light of life!  In scripture darkness is also a symbol of death and separation. So when John says “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4, ESV) He is showing us that Yeshua IS LIFE. He is the one who overcomes the darkness (death). Which is what happens on the cross!

Back in Genesis then, is not the separation of light and darkness a separation also of life and death? Is this possibly just a very subtle foreshadowing of the choices we would have before us in our walk of obedience before our God…“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…….(Deuteronomy 30:19–20, ESV)

Then once we have choose life, what are we to do with it?  We are obey his voice, and that voice says this about the light….““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 5:14–16, ESV)

The light of Yeshua, the radiance of the glory of God is reflected in us as we walk in obedience to Him, and that is not to be hidden or concealed but is to be shined before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father in Heaven….“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)

So what are the good works that God prepared beforehand? His instructions on how we should live…The Word of God! His Torah!

Lord, help me to live a life that is aligned with your Words and instructions, and may I humbly walk with my Lord and reflect HIS light to the world around me. AMEN.

 

 

 

 

The Gospel

...“testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21, ESV)

In Acts 20:21 I discussed in the previous post about repentance toward God. In this passage, Paul is addressing the elders at the church of Ephesus and expresses that he is testifying to both Jews and Greeks this 2 fold message of repentance and faith.

Is this not the good news that we also see Peter proclaim earlier in Acts 2? Should this not be the model that we follow today? I was listening to the radio the other day and heard a message that explained the gospel as a coupon that God has given to us that you can use to gain salvation. Does this not make the gospel of Jesus Christ a product that is being sold. In our american culture today how do we see products? Seems to me products can be purchased, used as needed, and then discarded if it is no longer meeting my needs. I have seen this mentality first hand. Jesus is not a product to be sold, there is no magic formula or coupon needed to obtain salvation. Salvation is accomplished by God, and God alone in the lives of those he is calling by His amazing Grace. God in His wonderful Grace also uses us to be a testimony to those people who he is calling and our job is simple, proclaim the gospel! The really great thing is that we have examples of this in scripture with Paul and Peter being great examples to us today.

The word above for testifying in Greek is diamartyromai which means to assert, or declare, or testify. Look closely at the word and you will notice that it contains the root for martyr which is one who is a witness. In the LXX this word is used in Is 43:10-12, and Is 44:6-8

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.” (Isaiah 43:10–12, ESV)

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:6–8, ESV)

We are God’s witness, and what are we to proclaim? “that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he…I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.”

Is not the testimony of Paul very similar? “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Repentance toward God – Paul is declaring a return to trusting in God’s instructions, instructions from the King of Israel for living a life that is pleasing to the King.

Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ – Paul tells us to have faith in Yeshua (which means salvation) the Messiah of God..”and besides me there is no savior.”

When I put this in light of John 14:11 and Heb 1:1-3, Is not the same message we see in Isaiah being proclaimed, just in a different light.

“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” (John 14:11, ESV)

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:1–3, ESV)  

What a amazing God we serve, the message has not changed, only what is revealed is more clear. The radiance of the glory of God has been revealed, light has shined into the darkness..

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1–3, ESV)

Lord, help me to have a heart to declare your salvation to the nations, to be a witness like the example we have in Paul and Peter your servants, to proclaim the message of repentance toward God and faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

To Know Him

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (John 17:3–4, ESV)

Each year I like to pick a Bible verse that will be my verse for the year, though this one may become my second life verse. My heart so yearns for this verse to be a reality in my life. To know the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah whom you have sent!! So I ask the question daily, how? The answer is so simple, yet in practice it seems so challenging at times. God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, so if I really want to know Him then I must study them. But not in a way that I just want to gain knowledge, when I study I am always asking the question of how can I know Him better in these verses, or even sometimes in just a single word. The word “know” in the above passage is a very interesting word to look at. In the general Greek sense of the word ginosko it can be just intelligent comprehension, but the word that corresponds to this word in the Septuagint is the Hebrew word yada which according to the TWOT can be used for the most intimate acquaintance. I like what the Little Kittle has to say about the OT usage of the word

A movement of will is involved which means that ignorance is guilty. Knowledge is acknowledgment of God’s acts (Dt. 11:20), recognition that Yahweh is God (Dt. 4:39), and the honoring of his name and doing of his will (1 Sam. 2:12; Is. 1:3, etc.). Hence knowledge of God is much the same as fear of God” (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. )

So in this blog I hope to share in my journey as I walk with my Lord and Savior Yeshua our Messiah.