OUR GUILT OFFERING

Recently I was walking down the street and singing the chorus to the song, “Peace Like A River” – ‘it is well with my soul’ – and the Lord by His Spirit had me rejoicing in my spirit and giving thanks to God that it is true:  it is well with my soul!  And yet, I considered how annoyed and impatient I can be; how I am not considered by others for good works particularly; how I have to fight so many unclean thoughts.  So what is it then that I can be singing in truth that it is well with my soul?!  It is because Jesus is my guilt (trespass) offering, and I have peace and security in my relationship to God as my Father through Messiah.  And if I know that I have acceptance with my Creator and Redeemer, then I can also relate to my brothers and sisters in the Lord, as well as to people still of this world, on the basis of that reality.  When my heart condemns me – which it does at times for those very things mentioned above – God is greater than my heart.

The sin offering is primarily for what I am:  a sinner by nature, and the Lamb of God has come to take away the sin of the world.  The guilt offering is primarily for what I do:  I sin and trespass; and the Son of God’s name is Yeshua, who will save His people from their sins.

The Son of God has set us free:  free to acknowledge our sins and confess them to God, and at times to one another, because He forgives us – and we are to do likewise to others.  There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1,33)  We are free to love others, to do unto them what we would like them to do unto us, even if they do not demonstrate that they love us!  If I know in my own spirit that I desire to love God and to be faithful to the New Covenant in Jesus, then my conscience is clear before both God and man, even though Satan accuses me, my wife and friends misunderstand me, and I myself wonder at the grace of God to die for someone as useless as me! (1Jn 3:18-24) 

Is there guilt then in the believer’s life?  Of course! – whenever we sin knowingly, or whenever the Holy Spirit shows us or reminds us of something we had done unknowingly or unintentionally which was, in fact, a sin – either against our relationship with the Lord directly, or indirectly through another person.  If we do not address the matter and either ask forgiveness, or perhaps grant forgiveness to another, then we honestly do our part to accept our responsibility as those who would be in Christ and walking by the Spirit, and not in the flesh.

Last week Lisa was baptized, which is the answer of a good conscience towards God (1Pet 3:21), in that it testifies to the personal belief that Jesus Christ died, and rose from the dead, and ascended to Heaven, where He is both Lord over all and makes intercession for us as our great High Priest.  When we truly believe this and walk in this truth, we know that God has justified us through faith and by His Spirit.  Guilt and the bondage to fear of judgment are removed, and instead love is perfected. (1Jn 4:17-19)

At the Lord’s Supper we are each to examine and to judge ourselves.  If our participation depended on satisfying the demands of someone else’s conscience, or of keeping the commandments of Jesus as if we ourselves were Jesus, then no one could eat God’s own covenant meal that He has Himself invited us to!  But when our communion is in the holy and righteous and blessed truth that Jesus is Himself my guilt offering – and when I maintain my relationship with God and my brethren on that basis – then I can rejoice in His joy over someone like me, or like you.  Did you know that bread in Hebrew (lechem) has to do with warfare – a conflict and battle for survival, for justification in the eyes of others, for victory over our enemies – real or imagined?  In Greek the word for bread (artos) contains the thought of expiation — to lift off and to remove.  Is not this the truth of the New Testament fulfilling the hope and promise and struggle of the Old Testament?  Jesus has come to give peace  to all who put their trust in Him as having been sent from God the Father.  He removes the heavy load of our guilt before God and before our fellow man.  The victory is His on the cross; it is ours as we, too, deny ourselves each day, take up our cross which He has given to each of us, and follow Him.  Allow Him to righteously take away your guilt, and believe God when He says He has!

In Jesus we are NOT GUILTY, but FREE to live for Him!

Make Jesus your guilt offering (Is 53:10-12), and rejoice in the goodness of the LORD!  Amen.

REPENTANCE LEADS TO CONVERSION: LIFE-CHANGING/CHARACTER-CHANGING

(Eve of formal appointment as Elder)

Does anyone here tonight want to be changed from what you are and the way you now are – even as a believer – because of hearing the Word of God to you?

Is anyone here tonight a changed/different (hopefully better!) person since believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior than what you were before believing the gospel of God?

These two questions – with their positive answers – give a basis for continual hope and growth in the life of any person and Christian – old or young, male or female, wise or simple, Jew or Gentile, . . . .

Ps 19:8 (7 Eng)   The Law of YHVH is perfect, converting/returning/restoring the soul.
Acts 3:19   Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of 
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
Rev 3:19-22   Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous, therefore, and repent!

God as Creator, Judge, Lawgiver, Savior:  It is the commandment of YHVH God throughout the whole of the Bible that all persons everywhere should repent (turn back) from evil and to do good, to repent and believe the good news of God that His Son Yeshua the Messiah is the Savior from sin and uncleanness and evil.  It is the promise of God that all who do so will be changed and walk in newness of life by the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit.  In the goodness and longsuffering of God towards us, He brings us to act with our own will to return (turn back; repent) to Him (Hos 12:7 [6 Eng]; Mt 3:2-3), and in continuing to walk in His way, He works with us to sanctify us, changing us into the likeness of His Son, who is the exact image of the invisible God.

In other words, true repentance leads to genuine Godliness.  We are converted!  True repentance is directed unto God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)  It includes a sorrow and a regret over our own sin first, and, afterwards, over the sins of our family or of our people. (Gen 6:7; 2Cor 7:10)  The Holy Spirit will bring us to see that sin of whatsoever kind is first of all against God Himself (Ps 51:5 [4 Eng]), and that in His love for us He sent Yeshua to die on the cross for our atonement and reconciliation (1Jn 4:9-10)There is brokenness of heart and contrition of spirit; then we are comforted by the Spirit of God. (Zec 12:10)  As we continue in faith that, in Messiah, God completely forgives us and justifies us and accepts into fellowship with Himself, we are free to love Him and to obey Him – even to confess our sins – with all our heart and soul.  We will become different persons(1Sam 10:6)our attitudes towards life and people will change; our motives will switch from self-interest and –honor to God’s interests and honor.

If the heart and the will are sincere, then there will be fruits of repentance (Mt 3:8): –conviction of our own sinfulness, and hence humility before God and man –the fear of YHVH, recognizing that it is God who forgives and who has power and authority to both kill our bodies and to cast our souls into hell (Mt 10:28) –repentance from dead works, i.e., works apart from faith in, and fear of, God (Acts 26:30; Heb 6:1; 1Thes 1:9) –a heart, and passionate love, for Jesus, and for all who do the will of God His Father (SS 1:2-4; Mt 10:37-38; 12:50)

For us living in Israel among Jews and Moslems, it is a reproach to be considered as converting to another religion —  meaning to believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized in His Name.  They want us to feel guilty or ashamed for changing our faith and religion.  But, brothers and sisters, anyone who has previously not personally believed that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah/Christ and the Son of the Living God the Father has changed his faith and, necessarily, his religion, too – that is, his way and conduct of life now based upon his/her personal faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross for our redemption and salvation!  We have turned back to the one true God in His way, and not to simply another faith or religion of this world.

It is also true that God loves us and accepts us as we are when we come to Him in faith, and trust in His mercy towards us; yet He continually calls us to repentance and to change our ways of thinking and doing, even when we think our intentions have been good. (Rev 2:3; Is 55:7-9; Mt 7:21)  Ought not each husband and wife, father and mother want to let God, by His word and Spirit, work with us through living faith to make us more like His own pattern to us in these tremendous positions of responsibility and privilege? (1Jn 3:2)  Ought not children want to know God the Father in such a way that they would want to truly and righteously honor their fathers and mothers, and all others in authority over them in the Lord?  Ought not every believer want to become worshippers of God in Spirit and truth, freed from all forms of idolatry and offenses?  Ought not our own congregation – which properly belongs to Yeshua – repent in all areas not in accord with the Spirit and the Word and the blood, that together we can indeed both give and leave a testimony of the Presence of God in our midst, and of much good fruit unto Him in His name?

Let’s consider briefly together several changes both required of us and also promised to us by the Lord, and which are impossible for man to do naturally or by his own efforts only, but which, in cooperation with God, are possible and worthy of our attention:
Jn 3:3  We all must be born again by the Holy Spirit form Heaven!

Mt 18:3-4; 11:25-30  We all must humble ourselves and become like a child  – “a lamb of the first year” —  
in order to hear and receive from God, and also to know Him.
Mt 5:3-12; Gal 5:22-23; Rom 8:29; 2Cor 3:18; 1Jn 3:2  the character and the fruit of God formed in us, and being expressed outwardly: 
from glory to glory Ezek 36:26  God gives us a new heart and a new Spirit.
Lev 16:16,30; Is 1:18; Ezek 36:25; Jn 3:11  God makes us clean from all our defilement from sin and sins, and baptizes us in holiness and purifying fire
.
2Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Col 3:9-10  We become a new creation in Messiah, who makes all things new, and must put off the old man and put on the new man created in the image of God
.
Mt 7:17; 12:33  We must become a good tree which will produce good fruit
.
2Cor 11:2; Lev 21:13  We must become a chaste virgin
to marry our great High Priest and King of Glory.
Gal 2:20  Not I, but Christ lives in me
!
Mt 13:11-17; Ps 32:2-6a (Heb)  Jesus will heal
us – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually.
–He forgives.
–He does not condemn.
–The love of God draws out our loving obedience and trust.

Let each of us individually, and all of us together, allow God to be glorified in Himself through us His people and children.  May the Holy Spirit help us to know that repentance is a good thing – not bitter for long – and that we would learn to rejoice in repentance, for it transforms us and sanctifies us, bringing us closer to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and to one another:  joy is fulfilled!  Amen.

BETROTHED TO YESHUA – 2 Mar 1991

2Cor 11:2   Engaged to the Lord
2Pt 1:4       Promises of God to escape worldly corruption and to partake of divine nature
Gen 24:50-58   Rebecca’s betrothal (engagement) to Isaac

When any person – whether Jew or Gentile – is born-again through repentance and faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he enters into a new, covenantal relationship with God as Father, who gives him/her the Holy Spirit, and the believer knows that he is joined to the Lord.

God gives us His great and precious promises not only to realize them in the world to come, but also to affect our lives here today:  that we would set them before us and allow the living hope of them to work in us to transform and cleanse our souls and our lives.  These promises are not for any particular individual alone, but rather to all members of the Church, the Body of Christ.

One of these wonderful promises God gives to those in Messiah is to become His Bride!  We become engaged to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, when we believe on Him as Savior and Lord.  This is a profound mystery:  the union of Messiah and the Church (all Christians collectively), of which Adam and Eve – the first man and wife (woman) – are a type.

I am convinced that one reason in God’s wisdom for leaving us in this world after we have believed the gospel and been saved is in order that our love for our Man, the Lord Jesus, becomes ‘hot’, so that on the wedding day we are truly prepared to be His holy bride and wife.  The Holy Spirit works in our lives that we would love Him whole-heartedly – He who is love and who is perfect.

Let’s consider briefly some pre-marital counseling.  (This same counsel will help also in our present relationships of husband and wife.):

As I already said, the Holy Spirit works with us so that we will be a suitable helpmate for our husband-to-be, the King, the Lord Jesus; in other words, He teaches us to be a good wife and worthy Queen!  Before our conversion, we did not appreciate nor love Jesus – nor, for that matter, God and His people.  Even afterwards, we may think and say and do things which indicate still a lack of proper honor or love towards Him.  But the Spirit works to increase our knowledge of Him so that we will be willing – no, yearning – to be with Him!  We must, therefore. . .

spend time together with Him who would be our husband during the period of engagement.
   –by reading the Scriptures, which all speak of Him and of His Kingdom, and by meditating on His word
   –through prayer, being in communion (fellowship) and communication with God for the glory of His Son Jesus
   —fellowship with others who know Him and love Him – with other family members and friends – this Man who takes common sinners and brings us into His royal house (Ps 45)

growing in personal knowledge of one another’s character traitsWe learn more of what God is like as we walk with Jesus, and we learn more about ourselves.  We learn what He likes and what He does not.  By taking hold of this great promise, we allow ourselves to become more and more the ‘woman’ He wants – even though He took us ‘as we were’.  The Man and His woman identify more with one another and become more compatible.  He has eyes for you only, and His bride has eyes and heart only for Him.

–the third aspect is that we recognize that there are mutual responsibilities in becoming the wife of the King of Glory.  He is the Head of the house, yet He gives us to manage many of His affairs – in accord with His will and pleasure (Pr 31).  He has so loved us and gives us so much about which to feel good and secure that we want to do only what pleases Him and what becomes Him (is worthy of Him).  It is in Him, my Husband, that I find my true and whole identity:  my whole self (1Cor 11:3).

God has created male and female together in His image and after His likeness, and it is in the marriage relationship – of the woman being [re]-joined to the man – that we become one flesh, and, in Christ, one spirit also.

When we agree to receive Christ as He is presented in the gospel, there are three results from these three aspects (spending time together; personal knowledge of one another; mutual responsibilities) of building and developing our personal relationship in preparation for a happy and enduring marriage:

  1. We must send away all other lovers who have any claims on us.  Our husband will have no other competitors or partners.  He is jealous for His holy name and for His bride.  The names of the “baalim” must be taken out of Israel’s mouth and then YHVH marries her (Hos 2:16-20 Eng; 18-22Heb).

Some will love father or mother or sons or daughters more than they will love their spouse; some love their work or their       ministry more than they love their spouse; some love their books or their sport or their food and drink more; some love themselves more than they love their spouse.  Yeshua loves His bride as He loves Himself.

The Holy Spirit works to bring us to where the first and great commandment will be true in us:  to love the Lord our God with  all our heart, soul, mind, and strength – and to where our heart’s desire is that our Lord, our Husband, should come for us quickly.

2.  We must like His law as well as His love.  Messiah will not be Husband where He will not also be Master or Lord.  We are to be as daughters of Sarah and know our husband as having authority over us in the Lord.  He (Jesus) is the perfect one, and as we give Him His place to rule over us, then our desire grows for Him, even as YHVH God spoke to Eve concerning her relationship with her    husband Adam.

3.  We must take our Christ/our husband for better and for worse – with His cross      and with His crown to suffer for Him as well as to reign with Him – to identify with Him in His shame as well as in His glory.

To summarize:  there are three aspects to building a marital relationship:
1.  shared time together
2.  personal knowledge of one another’s character traits
3.  mutual responsibilities.

From these will be three results to assure a good marriage and household peace:

      1.  We will allow no one and no thing to interfere with or separate us from or trouble us in our love and faithfulness towards our  spouse;
2.  We will accept his authority as well as His love;
3.  We accept and stand with him in good times and in bad, in prosperity and in hardship.

What response do we find in our own souls towards Messiah Yeshua when we hear of Him from God’s servants?  Is it ‘hot’ enough that we will do whatever He asks or requires of us?  Would we rather die for Him than live without Him?  Are we exhorting and encouraging one another in His claims upon us and and upon our lives?  Are we telling others of the glad tidings – of our Savior and Beloved Jesus who desires us with His whole heart?!

What is your reply to the telling of God’s Word concerning Christ by Hi servants to the question put to Rebecca, when she was asked concerning taking Isaac for a husband?:

Will you go with this man?” (Gen 24:58)

Blessed is the soul who believes the promise of God to take Messiah’s hand in marriage! (Ps 33:12):
   “Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance!”