WHAT IS THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT?

JOSHUA 22:9-12: “So the children of Reuben, the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned and departed from Bnei-Yisrael at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, to the land of their inheritance that they had possessed, according to the mouth of ADONAI by Moses’ hand. Now when they came to the region near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan—a large, conspicuous altar. Then Bnei-Yisrael heard about it and said: “Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar opposite the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan, across from Bnei-Yisrael.” And when Bnei-Yisrael heard of it, the whole congregation of Bnei-Yisrael assembled at Shiloh to go up against them in war.” TLV

ACTS 15:28-31: “It seemed good to the Ruach ha-Kodesh and to us not to place on you any greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. By keeping away from these things, you will do well. Shalom!” So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and when they had gathered the whole group together, they delivered the letter. The people read it and rejoiced over its encouragement.” TLV

EPHESIANS 4:1-3: “Therefore I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you were called— with complete humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Ruach in the bond of shalom.” TLV

These three different sections of Scripture remind me of three things:

  1. How easy it is to misunderstand the motives of others.
  2. How fragile our Christian unity is.
  3. How it is only the Holy Spirit who both gives and sustains this precious unity.

The Children of Israel misunderstood the motives of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. They were prepared to rise up and go to war with them. They assumed that they had quickly left the faith and had built a false altar to begin sacrifices on the other side of the Jordan. However, this was not their motive at all. In fact, they built this replica to remind the other 10 tribes that they had an inheritance in Israel and the Tabernacle. In essence, they built it to sustain the unity of the Children of Israel.

How quickly we judge other’s motives and intentions without really knowing their heart.

The early church was in its infancy. It was vulnerable to a split at any moment. The enemy took full opportunity of this situation and stirred up a dissension between the Jewish and Gentile believers. The Jewish believers were wanting to place a yoke of legalism upon the Gentiles that even they could not keep. It threatened the work of the Gospel and the unity of the church. And this did not happen when the church was struggling. This happened when the Gospel message was making great impact and multitudes were being added to the saints.

Our spiritual unity is always at risk, and it is even more at risk when we are experiencing a wonderful move of the Holy Spirit. It is then that the enemy will always try to use one of his key tactics – divide and conquer.

Yet, in all of this we must remember an important truth. Our unity is not preserved or protected by our own wisdom and strength. The Holy Spirit intervened in the growing dissension of the Children of Israel, and again in the rising dispute of the early church. We cannot create unity, we can only maintain the unity that the Spirit of God gives us. And the only way we can do that is to,

  • Walk in a manner worthy of our calling,
  • Maintain an attitude of humility, gentleness, and patience,
  • And in all things choose to LOVE!

The Holy Spirit will always come along side those who are endeavoring to please the Lord, who are walking in humility, gentleness and patience, and who choose to put love for their brothers and sisters before their own needs and opinions. This is how we maintain the unity of the Spirit. This is how the Lord preserved the Children of Israel and the early church.

Ultimately their is only one thing that truly matters. And it is not our opinions, our desires, our our positions. It is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our unity is not based on our full agreement, it is based on our full participation in the family of God by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

  • “There is one body and one Ruach, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one immersion; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 TLV
  • “A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard —Aaron’s beard— coming down on the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, coming down upon the mountains of Zion. For there ADONAI commanded the blessing —life forevermore!” Psalms 133:1-3 TLV

Lord, help Your Church to walk in the unity of Your Spirit!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Acts, Joshua, Psalms | Leave a comment

THE HIGH UPWARD CALLING…

JOSHUA 18:3-6: “Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you? Pick out from among you three men for each tribe, and I will send them; they shall rise and go through the land, survey it according to their inheritance, and come back to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts. Judah shall remain in their territory on the south, and the house of Joseph shall remain in their territory on the north. You shall therefore survey the land in seven parts and bring the survey here to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.” TLV

OBSERVATION: There is a tension between what we have been called to become, and what we currently are. Sometimes we can grow weary in our pursuit of faith and opt for settling in our current state of life. This is what was happening to the Children of Israel when Joshua addressed them. They had experienced many victories, and five of the tribes had received their inheritance. Yet, there was still a vast amount of land to conquer. The destiny and future of seven tribes were hanging in the balance. What would they do?

Joshua had to give them a good old fashioned exhortation. In essence he said,

  • “Hey guys, break time is over. What are you doing? There is still a lot to accomplish. Get up and get ready. What are you waiting for!”

Yet, in this exhortation Joshua did something that is worth noting. He did not call them to assemble into a battle formation. Rather, he appointed men to survey the remaining land, record it in scrolls, and bring back the report. From this report, Joshua was going to divide the land – even before it was conquered!

When I think about this it reminds me of my life as a Christian. Through the work of the Cross of Jesus Christ, I have received everything I need that pertains to life and godliness. Yet, when I look over my life, there remains so much that I have not yet attained or experienced. And, I am not alone, this was also the experience of the Apostle Paul. In the book of Philippians Paul writes,

  • “My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or been perfected, but I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you. Nevertheless, let us live up to the same standard we have attained.” Philippians 3:10-16 TLV

Wow! Paul saw all that the Lord Jesus had done for him, called him to, and promised him. And, in seeing this, Paul also saw how short he fell from full attaining it or experiencing it. Paul was now faced with the same choice that the Children of Israel faced with Joshua. He could settle for what he had already attained and experienced, or he could press on to inherit ALL that the Lord had called him to. Thankfully for us, Paul chose the pathway that gives us an example to follow.

He pressed on toward the high upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, and so should we!

This is such a simple truth, but also one of the most profound truths we will ever embrace. How many believers have fallen short of all the Lord has promised them simply because they grew weary and gave up? This is the enemies strategy toward us all. Get us weary, convince us to settle, and rob us of the great reward of the high upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Yet, we have an advocate, who is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to us like Joshua came to the Children of Israel. He is continually calling us to greater things. The Holy Spirit continually calls us to press on toward the high upward call of God in Christ Jesus!

When we put the things of the past behind us, and when we reach out to the promises and callings of the Lord that lie before us, we are met with the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He pours out upon us grace and strength to survey our inheritance and resume our trek of faith in Christ Jesus. There is no outward enemy, peril, or struggle that can keep us from the high upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Not even death itself can keep us from attaining it. The only way we can fail to attain this high calling it is to forfeit our pursuit of it.

Lord, grant me the grace I need to follow the example of Joshua and Paul. Today I choose to put the past behind me, to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit calling me, to receive Your outpouring of grace and faith, and to press on to all that You have called me to be and become.

Today I choose to enter into my destiny of the high upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Joshua, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AM I READY FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT?

ACTS 10:44-48: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) fell on all those hearing the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were astonished, because the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone refuse water for these to be immersed, who have received the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) just as we did?” So he commanded them to be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.” TLV

OBSERVATION: How do I respond when I face a paradigm shift in my life? A paradigm is any kind of theological or philosophical framework that we hold toward life. It is how we expect things to happen. Yet, how do we deal with change when our patterns are turned upside down?

This is what happened to Peter when he proclaimed the Gospel message to the household of Cornelius. There were several steps that took place in Peter’s life before he was positioned to accept this paradigm shift. Peter was familiar with the voice of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when he had the dream of the clean and unclean foods, Peter did not simply dismiss it, he prayed over it. And when he was approached by Gentiles to come to their house, he listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit telling him to go.

Yet, going to a Gentile’s house was not the only paradigm shift that Peter faced. It was Peter who proclaimed the Gospel to the large gathering on the day of Pentecost. And Peter had given all who listened what he believed was God’s pattern for a person to become a believer and receive the Holy Spirit.

  • “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the emissaries, “Fellow brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away—as many as ADONAI our God calls to Himself.” Acts 2:37-39 TLV

This was the pattern that Peter expected. This was the pattern that Peter had proclaimed. This was how God worked in his life, and surely how God would work in the lives of others. And when Peter was in the midst of sharing the Gospel to Cornelius and his household something unexpected happened. God changed Peter’s paradigm!

While the Gentiles heard the Gospel the Holy Spirit fell upon all of them and they began to speak in other tongues and give glory to the Lord. Peter was faced with a choice. How would he respond? Many of us would have stopped and corrected the Gentiles. I can imagine saying – “Wait! This is not how things are supposed to happen!” And if this is how Peter would have responded he would have missed God’s sovereign move in the life of these new believers. Fortunately for them, and for us, Peter responded correctly.

  • “For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone refuse water for these to be immersed, who have received the Ruach ha-Kodesh just as we did?” So he commanded them to be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.” Acts 10:46-48 TLV

Just a couple of Sundays ago I had a paradigm shift. It was the Sunday after Easter. We were going to have a Baptism service for 4 individuals who had prepared and were desiring to follow Jesus in water Baptism. I had given the invitation for Baptism over the past 4 Sundays, and I was prepared for four candidates. When I had finished the brief orientation on Sunday morning, a new attendee, a father, came to me and indicated that his adult daughter wanted to be baptized too. I had not met with her, she was very new, and she had not responded to the call for baptism over the past weeks. What was I to do?

This was completely out of the normal pattern of the way we do things. I took a moment to think and pray. It was only a moment, but it seemed like time stood still. This had never happened to me before in all my years of ministry. I cried out to God – “What do I do?” Then I sensed what Peter sensed – the sovereign move of the Holy Spirit. She was responding to my Easter message and the call to commitment. It was a week late, she did not send me an email, she did not even ask, she sent her father to ask. Yet, when she came out of the baptismal waters with tears and an evidence of the Holy Spirit moving upon her life, I knew that I had made the right decision.

What wonderful opportunities in life and in the Lord do we miss when we refuse to allow our patterns to be turned upside down? I am not speaking of changing our Biblical convictions. I am talking about being willing to let go of our traditional patterns. God is God, and He moves sovereignly in the lives and hearts of those who are open to His call. How He does this is His business and not mine. Peter understood this. It did not fit his pattern, but it was evident that it was God’s hand at work in the Gentiles lives, as it was His hand at work in this young woman.

The older we get, the harder it is for us to deal with paradigm shifts in our lives. Yet, if we don’t, we will miss the move of the Holy Spirit and forfeit many wonderful opportunities to see His power manifest in our lives and in our ministries.

Lord, help me to position my heart in such a way that I never let go of the truth, but always am willing to let go of my traditional patterns, when You move sovereignly by Your Spirit in my life. Help me to never miss the still small voice and direction of the Ruach ha-Kodesh!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Acts | 1 Comment

WHAT DOES TRUE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE LOOK LIKE?

ACTS 5:29-32: “Peter and the emissaries replied, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom you seized and had crucified. This One God exalted at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and removal of sins. And we are witnesses of these events—as is the Ruach ha-Kodesh, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” TLV

OBSERVATION: When is it acceptable for the believer in Jesus Christ to exercise civil disobedience? There is a tension in the Scriptures between obeying those who rule over us, who are God’s ordained ministers (Romans 13), and obeying the call to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. In Acts 5 Peter and the Apostles were faced with this choice, and they chose civil disobedience.

What is civil disobedience?

  • “Civil disobedience, also called passive resistance, refusal to obey the demands or commands of a government or occupying power, without resorting to violence or active measures of opposition; its usual purpose is to force concessions from the government or occupying power.” (Britannica)

This exercise is not uncommon in our history. Yet, the disciples were not trying to obtain concessions from the High Priest. In fact, they were willing to go to their death in order to obey the higher command of Jesus Christ.

  • “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 TLV

Yet, it is important to note that in their acts of civil disobedience they were not breaking any laws, nor were they destroying any property. They were not gathering unlawfully, they were not causing any danger to those in their midst, and they were not showing disrespect to those in authority over them. They were doing what every Jew was lawfully allowed to do, gather at the Temple and talk about the wonderful works of God. The only difference was they were proclaiming the risen Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

When they refused to obey the commands of the High Priest they did not organize a protest of angry mobs to fight and injure others. Nor did they destroy any property in and around the Temple. They simply went back to the Temple and began proclaiming the risen Christ and the resurrection from the dead. It was for this they were imprisoned. They were not guilty of any other infraction. And when they were miraculously released by an angel, found preaching in the Temple again, interrogated and whipped by the Council, what did they do? They went forth rejoicing and continued proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

  • “…They took his (Gamaliel’s) advice, called in the emissaries, flogged them, ordered them not to continue speaking in the name of Yeshua, and let them go. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to be dishonored on account of His name. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah.” Acts 5:39-42 TLV

It is important to note that the disciples civil obedience did not look like much of the so called civil disobedience you see today. There were no clubs, no fires, no destruction of property, no injurious actions. They were simply doing what God called them to do in a peaceful way, willing to pay the penalty for their faithfulness, without resistance, even unto death.

I believe that Martin Luther King must have taken a page from the disciples playbook. He, like others throughout history, have shown the impact that non-violent proclamations of the truth can make in the life of an individual and an entire society.

In this day of civil and social unrest I think it is advantageous to once again dust off these pages and understand what true Biblical Civil Disobedience looks like!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Acts | Leave a comment

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND THE CALL TO COMPASSION…

DEUTERONOMY 24:17-22: “You are not to twist justice for an outsider or orphan, and you are not to take as collateral a widow’s clothing. But you are to remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and ADONAI your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I am commanding you to do this thing. “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you are not to turn back to get it. It is for the outsider, for the orphan and for the widow—in order that ADONAI your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you are not to search through the branches afterward. It is for the outsider, for the orphan and for the widow. When you harvest your vineyard, you are not to pick over it afterward. It is for the outsider, for the orphan and for the widow. You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.” TLV

OBSERVATION: How should a Christian view illegal immigration and the poor? This is a question that is not as easy to answer as it appears. On one hand there is the issue of the rule of law. On the other there is the call to have compassion for the outsider (foreigner) and the poor. As the law would view a man stealing a loaf of bread in order to survive differently from a man stealing a diamond bracelet, so the law needs to have a balance of justice and compassion when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration.

What was the basis for Israel’s call to compassion from the Lord? It was their experience of slavery in Egypt.

  • “You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.”

For over 400 years the Children of Israel were slaves. If anyone knew the plight of the outsider it was them. The United States is a nation of immigrants that came from other nations. We too should remember our roots when it comes to the issue of immigration and helping the outcast and the poor.

Yet, some will immediately object – “We need to be a nation of laws!” It is not lawful for people to simply pour over our borders while others waiting legally in line for years to be a citizen. How is a Christian to balance these two points? There are two principles at work in this issue. There is the governing of a nation, and there is the call of God’s people. Many times these two things seemed to be opposed, and yet they are not always in contradiction.

There is no contradiction for a Christian to support legal immigration and the securing of our national borders. In fact, God’s people built a wall around the city of Jerusalem, and guards were placed at its gates. It is neither unloving nor unlawful for a nation to secure its border for the security of its people. In fact, it is imperative to do so. Those who cry for open borders, simply under the guise of compassion, are really enabling lawlessness and also endangering their fellow man.

However, how we treat those who are outsiders, including the illegal immigrant and the poor in this country, is a completely different issue. The state has a responsibility to address all people who are criminals, including illegal immigrants. The believer has a responsibility to call and show compassion for those who are in need and are living among us. This does not simply include the Dreamers, this includes all “outsiders” whose only crime was trying to find a better life for their family.

As you can see, there is a tension between these two points. It is rare that one takes both positions at the same time. We always tend to swing to extremes in our position. Yet, I believe a Christian can confidently support the position of securing our borders, while also calling for compassion for those illegal immigrants and the poor who live among us. This is not simply an option for the believer, it is the heart of the Father!

All my adult life I have worked with Hispanics that have come to America to find a better life. I am not speaking of the criminal element. I am speaking of desperate families who yearned for a better life for their children. I know that some came across the border illegally. Yet, I have witnessed in this group a sincerity, work ethic, and spirit of gratitude that I have not found in most Americans. This does not excuse the fact that they broke the law in crossing the border illegally, it simply puts it in perspective. We must never govern simply by the rule of law and forget the spirit of the law, and the ultimate law of love.

The Children of Israel found themselves slaves in a foreign land for over 400 years. God calls them to remember this and to use it as a guiding principle for how they deal with the poor, the widow, and the outsider. I think we should do the same. I pray that our nation will have the ability of doing two things simultaneously, securing our borders and showing compassion to the outsider. May the church take the lead in how it lives its life in the world.

Lord, give us a heart of compassion to the poor, the outsiders, and the illegal immigrant who sought a better life for their families and children.

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Deuteronomy | Leave a comment

THE GREATEST PRINCIPLE OF LEADERSHIP…

JOHN 13:16-17: “Amen, amen I tell you, a servant isn’t greater than his master, and the one who is sent isn’t greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them!” TLV

OBSERVATION: What is the greatest principle of leadership? Is it having vision? Is it being able to influence others? Is it the ability to organize and implement strategies? So many times we look to the leadership principles of the world when we have the greatest leadership lesson of all times given to us in these verses of Scripture. The greatest principle of leadership is to serve!

The account of this event during the last Passover meal between Jesus and His disciples in John is a paradigm shift for all who are called to lead. The call to serve others is not a call to misunderstand our position as a leader. Rather, it is a call to fully embrace our God given identity and use that as a motivation to serve others. This is what is recorded about Jesus.

  • “Yeshua knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God. So He gets up from the meal and lays aside His outer garment; and taking a towel, He wrapped it around His waist. Then He pours water into a basin. He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel wrapped around Him.” John‬ ‭13:3-5‬ ‭TLV‬‬

This humble act of service did not flow from a position of weakness, but from a full understanding of Jesus’ position as the Son of God who was, and is, and is to come. Think about this – God Himself was washing the feet of the disciples! And when it came time for Jesus to wash Peter’s feet Peter exclaimed, “You shall never wash my feet!” Peter was rejecting this humble posture of leadership. Peter thought a leader is supposed to be served, not do something that is usually done by the lowest of servants.

I have been a bi-vocational pastor all my life. I have learned the principle of serving both in my role in the church, and in my role in business. In both arenas I have been a leader with responsibility for the welfare of others. And in both arenas I have learned that a good leader must be willing to serve those that he or she leads. Serving is the first and most important principle of leadership.

In 1991 I was involved in leading the restart of a candle manufacturing plant. My company had purchased the plant to manufacture religious candles in glass. I knew nothing about candles, yet I was in charge. I knew that if I was going to lead this restart I needed to learn every aspect of the business. I swept the floors, cleaned the toilets, drove the fork lifts, and straightened the wicks as the candles were coming down the line. There was no job I was not willing to do to learn this operation. And in serving I found that I was truly leading. Many of the original employees still work in this division. Each time I visit our candle plant I am met with warm smiles and hugs. Serving others endeared myself to those I was called to lead.

What would happen in the church if we truly learned to serve one another as Jesus has served us? I believe there would be a revolution of love that the world would see. It would be attractive and contagious. We would not have to attract people with our programs, we would draw people with our love. This is what Jesus has commanded us, and how He closed this teaching time with His disciples.

  • “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭TLV‬‬

Lord, as I think about your last week of life, as I prepare my heart to celebrate Your death and resurrection, may I not forget Your greatest lesson. You loved us so much that You came to serve and to give Your life as a ransom for many. Grant me the grace to love as You loved, to serve as You served, to give as You gave.

In Jesus Name!

Posted in John | Leave a comment

IT IS TIME FOR THE CHURCH TO LEAD!

DEUTERONOMY 12:30-31: “Be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ You are not to act like this toward ADONAI your God!…” TLV

OBSERVATION: It’s time for the Church to lead! When I read these verses in Deuteronomy I realize how upside down things are in the culture of the Church. The Church does not lead our culture, it follows it. When you look and listen to the church you see a mirror image of what is happening in the world. Is this the way things should be?

Many think the Church does not have what it takes to appeal to the lost unless they become more relevant. I agree that we must be relevant in communicating to our culture, but this does not mean we must become our culture in order to be relevant. In fact, the Church should always stand counter-culture to the world. When we begin to look, act, and sound like the world, what has happened?

This is not the rant of someone who is getting older and is simply out of touch with the times. This is the heart’s cry of one who hears the voice of the Holy Spirit calling the church and is echoing that call. The Church of Laodecia in Revelation was a church that reflected the culture of their day. Here is what Jesus had to say about them:

  • “For you say, ‘I am rich, I have made myself wealthy, and I need nothing.’ But you do not know that you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.” The Revelation 3:17 TLV

No doubt they looked like the world, were acting like the world, and were totally unaware of their true spiritual condition. There are consequences to this type of behavior!

  • “So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew you out of My mouth.” The Revelation 3:16 TLV

Some may say, “Hey, wait a minute! Paul says he became all things to all men so that he could reach some with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!” So, did Paul become a sinner in order to win sinners? Did Jesus get drunk when he sat with Tax Collectors and sinners at a feast? Do we need to go undercover so that we look and act exactly like the world in order to reach them for Jesus Christ? The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO!

There was a time in history when the Church led the culture and the arts. It is called the Renaissance, and we still look back at the art and music from this time period with great respect. The expression of this culture has endured the test of time and still holds influence today. Can the Church of today bring this type of influence to today’s culture? The answer is a resounding YES!

A recent movie at the box office shows that there is hope. “I Can Only Imagine” was released and made the number two spot on the box office results for its opening weekend. It was made with a budget of 7 million, which is a fraction of what the world spends to make a movie. After only two weekends this movie has already grossed over 38 million. The message of Jesus Christ is appealing when the Church takes the lead!

It is time to realize that the power we hold is not in our presentation, but in our message. Our use of modern technology does not add power to the message. There is only one thing that adds power to our message and our lives – the Cross of Jesus Christ. As we go through this Holy Week of remembrance we must remember that Jesus was crucified because He was counter-culture. Jesus did not come to be hip, He came to die for our sins. And when He rose from the dead, He became relevant to all men and women in every culture throughout the past two thousand years. It is time once again to be counter-culture and glory in only one thing – the Cross of Jesus Christ!

  • “But may I never boast—except in the cross of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Through Him the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything—but only a new creation. Now as many as live by this rule— shalom and mercy on them and on the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:14-16 TLV

It is time for the Church once again to lead!

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Deuteronomy | Leave a comment