JESUS CHRIST, THE FRIEND OF WOMEN – 27 Dec 2011

In recent days and weeks, certain sects within the ultra-orthodox Jewish religious community, especially in Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh, have openly displayed their utter contempt towards women.  This manifests a similar spirit seen in Islam, and is also the attitude of the antichrist. (Dan 11:37; 2Tim 3:3)  This contemptible behavior is in accord with the prayer in the Talmud (the sacred oral law and tradition of rabbinic Judaism), in which the men thank God for not making them women!

The Law of Moses, with all its seeming inequalities between males and females, nonetheless elevates women to a far higher status than in the laws and customs of the gentile nations of those times.  In the New Testament, brought in with the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, God further elevated the status and dignity of women, seen in numerous verses and passages throughout the gospels and epistles.  There are still differences in matters of priorities and service, but males and females are completely equal and loved in God’s estimation, and both are being converted into the image of the Son of God.  All are priests of God in Messiah; the Body of Christ is the Bride of the Lamb; husbands are admonished and commanded to love their wives as themselves.

The Gospel of Luke especially shows the Lord Jesus as a friend of downtrodden women, downcast women, widows, even of fallen and sinful women.  His whole manner and attitude towards women was one of utmost respect and mercy.  The Holy Spirit lifts the head of women to a station of honor, in which they do not need to feel less than men and put down, but can find their fulfillment in that for which God created and redeemed them to bring honor and glory to the LORD first of all, and to their husbands, if they are married. (Prov 31)  The contempt of darkened religious perversion of the love and truth of God toward women has no place in the heart and mind of men who also know the love and humility of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who comes as the Lamb of God.

May many Jewish and Muslim women begin to look to the true God of Heaven and Earth for their joy and hope of salvation from the oppression, subjugation, and hatred which they suffer under, and find their liberty and dignity in the Lover and Healer of their souls.

FIRE – 6 Dec 2010

The fires in the Carmel forests in western Galilee near the Haifa area have finally been brought under control, but at great human and natural loss.  Israel received help from a number of countries to help fight the fire, especially from the air.  Help even came from Turkey, whose relationships with Israel have taken a turn for the worse in the last year.  Government officials are under fire, and if nothing else, God has shown that no matter how much we may want to “make the world better” (which obviously means different things to different people), our version of a “better world” can go up in flames and smoke in an instant.  Mercifully, it began to rain today in Israel (including the Carmel region, and even in Beer Sheva), furthering helping to douse the burning embers of this devastating fire, which has been called the worst natural disaster in Israeli history.

Three prison guard trainees from Beer Sheva were among those killed in the blaze of those trapped in a busload to go into the danger zone to try to rescue prisoners from the area.  There were also others from Negev towns and cities who were among the killed, and a number of them worked at the Beer Sheva prison facility.  Our congregation, Nachalat Yeshua, took up a special collection to give to the Beer Sheva families as an expression of our sympathy at this time. 

The apostle Peter writes that just as the world was once destroyed by water, so will it be a second time, but by fire.  There may actually be something to global warming to set the stage for that.  Some of us may think that we will not be around for that; but what if some of us are?  What will we do?  How will we react, or respond?  Will our faith be found secure in the Lord and in His promises that all things are in HIS hands?  As it is written, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Our God is a consuming fire!  We dare not take Him for granted, but rather humbly place our whole-hearted trust in Yeshua, who died and rose again, and is coming again to renew His creation to make it a habitable place filled with the knowledge of His glory!  Hallelu-Yah!

With that in mind, here is a great breath of fresh air:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE  

Yeshua was born King of the Jews; He died on the cross as King of the Jews; and the day is coming that He will be the King of the Jews!  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Let us not be ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ or of His words in this generation, which is ours to be His witnesses and a praise unto Him.

ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY IS THE WORD OF GOD – 25 Oct 2010

Pope Benedict XVI convened a special Vatican Synod in Rome, composed of about 200 bishops mostly from Muslim countries.  These official representatives of the Roman Catholic Church have reiterated in its strongest terms its historic ‘replacement theology’ and distortion of Scripture, reverting to official Catholic positions prior to adjustments stated in Nostra Aetate, an  interfaith document drafted in October 1965 during the Second Vatican Council.  In this latest synod to decide on important issues, the Vatican issued a declaration: “Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable.”  This is a true statement. but their use of it here is not, for they are using it against the truth and integrity of YHVH, God of Abraham, of Issac, and of Jacob; the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. For they say,

“We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people … The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians… The justification of Israel’s occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures.”  The Pope has yet to speak out publicly repudiating this statement issued by the Bishops representing him and the RCC.

If this is so, then the Roman Catholic Church should no longer use the Word of God to speak of itself as the ‘Mother Church’; or to claim that Peter, the Israeli Jewish apostle to the [Jewish] circumcision, somehow became the first Pope; or to use their interpretation of Scriptures to justify or minimize many of the sexual sins among and by the priests which have recently come to light; or to forbid marriage for certain orders within their church; or to elevate Mary above what is true about her.  At least this would be true self-judgment of their own abuse of Holy Writ, but all Christians have assurance about God’s promises to believers in Jesus because His promises concerning Israel and the land of Israel are also still true.

God, in His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge of all things, had Paul, the Jewish Israeli apostle especially for the uncircumcised Gentiles, write a very clear theological ‘treatise’ to the church in Rome on some of these very things! “To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever!”

YESHUA/JESUS IS COMING AGAIN! – 14 Oct 2010

This news is not new!  It is also good news for those who love His appearing!  It is the same “old” news!  It remains current news!

There is a wave of deception entering from without and working within the “Church” connected with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven to judge the nations and to establish His righteous reign over Israel and the rest of the world.  Many professing believers/Christians — and some are truly so — are re-defining terms to interpret the Word of God to be saying what He isn’t, or else to not be saying what He is.  The spirit at work in this seeks to de-legitimize both Israel and the gospel in their uniqueness; to make what God calls “new” (as in New Covenant and new creation) only something re-newed or re-cycled; and to weaken doctrinal support not for these only, but also for the hope of the literal and personal return of the same Yeshua/Jesus who ascended in bodily form to sit at the right hand of the Father until the time appointed.

The gospel/good news goes out to “whosoever” from whatever nation and group of people.  God is working to save whosoever repents and believes His good news concerning repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and the free gift of eternal life to all who truly believe.  Any consequential transformation of a society or a culture is only in part and definitely temporary.  Only the return of the Lord to establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth is going to permanently change this situation at a universal level.  Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is working to bring as many as will to have part in the better resurrection, which is the first resurrection, which is far better than merely entering the Millennial Kingdom in the flesh for those of Israel and of other sheep nations who come through the great tribulation without giving themselves over to the antichrist, and upon whom Yeshua will show mercy and compassion at the end of the age.

To make this as simple as possible:  as long as Satan is the god of this world, then the world is not going to be transformed to a degree satisfactory to YHVH God and His Son; and as long as Israel — His chosen people and nation — remains an enemy of the gospel, then the God of Israel is not going to be satisfied with any lesser transformation.  Both of these conditions will prevail until the coming again of Yeshua, and thank God that the Father has set a time for this!

Therefore, it is for true believers not to lose sight of the blessed hope as we go about being light, salt, and a fragrance in the world in the faith, hope, and love that more individuals will have their own heart and minds transformed by that which is the power of God to save:  the gospel.  In God’s Kingdom, every part will be holy in order that all is holy.  It appears that the elect are going to be more and more “hid with Messiah in God”, and not be the most vocal and visible, or high profile, or most popular, or even most ‘influential’.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH!

No Confidence in the Flesh

Philp 3: 3-11 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in the Messiah Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so. . . .  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah.  Yet indeed I also reckon all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as dung, that I may gain Christ. . . .

Tomorrow is Pentecost, the 50th day of counting the sheaves of wheat, according to the Law of Moses, which Jesus came to fulfill.  The counting does not begin from the day after His death and burial – or even from the time He descended into the lower parts of the Earth to set free the captives – but rather from the day of His resurrection, from the day after the Sabbath.  We who believe in Jesus as Lord and Messiah are a new creation.  We begin with resurrection life in Messiah and then begin to learn what it is to suffer for His sake, to die with Him to ourselves, to live our lives unto God and His will.

The gospel is not something Jewish, since the Law makes no one righteous, and we can not be justified by the works of the Law.  Neither is the gospel something Greek or gentile, because non-Jews were outside of God’s covenant with Israel, and, according to the Bible, the gentiles worshipped demons and not the one true God.  So we see that the gospel is neither religion nor philosophy, not man’s wisdom or knowledge, not of demons or angels.

If our fellowship with God the Father and His Son Yeshua and with other believers is based upon any of these things esteemed by the world, then this is what Paul calls “having confidence in the flesh”.  Yet Paul claims that to be a true Jew and a true Christian is just the opposite:  “to have no confidence in the flesh”, concerning which he writes that he had more to boast in than others.  Let’s look at his credentials from our passage and consider how they apply to our identity and hope as God’s children.

circumcised on the eighth day

of the race of Israel

of the tribe of Benjamin

a Hebrew of Hebrews

in regard to the Law, a Pharisee

 

as for zeal, persecuting the church

as for legalistic righteousness, blameless

Notice that all of Paul’s “confidence in the flesh” have to do with those things of natural birth, supposed keys to citizenship in God’s Kingdom either through no choice of their own, or either through confidence in choosing the right party.  Everything here takes pride in one’s self, status, giftings, intellect, or else in one’s “team”.

Paul learned that these outward endowments and benefits are not ultimately those which count for eternity, for God is no respecter of persons.  He is after people, like David, who have a heart for Him, whose relationship with Jesus is worth more than whatever else he or she thinks important, who live now with a vision of the everlasting Kingdom of God.  All that is of now, Paul counts as rubbish, and he looks for the glory to come, which is all of God.

Have we learned. . .are we learning. . . to reckon all that makes us feel proud to be but refuse compared to the matchless beauty of the meek and lowly Holy One of Israel?

Let’s close with Paul from v. 12-21 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but one thing:  forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.   Let us therefore, as many as be perfect , be thus minded; and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.   Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.   Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk according to the pattern we gave you. . . . For our citizenship is in Heaven, from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of the humiliation, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself.

The Joy of Fellowship in the Truth of God’s Love – 1 Oct 2004

1Pet 1:3-9 we rejoice greatly in Him whom we love for saving our souls

On the Day of Atonements last Shabbat, the Jewish believers amongst us then did a very significant thing (Neh 9:2):  we accepted and confessed our sin and rebellion against YHVH our God (Lev 26:40) and against His Son, the Messiah Jesus (Mt 27:25).

As priests of God in Christ – and as sons of our fathers, whether in the time of Moses or whether in the days of Yeshua – we have a responsibility to accept our personal and collective guilt for our iniquity, transgressions, and sins against God and against our fellow man (Lev 16:11,15,17,21).  We are connected to our people both in promises and in judgment, according to God’s covenants with us.  God has an historic plan of redemption throughout the generations and history of man to bring about His purposes to live with all those who love His Son, Jesus Christ, and know Him as Savior and Lord.

All of the appointed times of YHVH – Sabbath, Passover, Shavuot, Succot – remind Jews (and Christians) that the Creator redeemed and delivered His people Israel from bondage in Egypt (Dt 16:6,12; Lev 23:43).  They are also based upon sacrifices of blood, the blood of covenant with God and His people.

As I have mentioned times before, the Passover was a sacrifice and a deliverance by grace and power, apart from the reckoning of sin.  But it did require faith and obedience on the part of the Israelis in Egypt to put the blood of the slaughtered lambs upon their door posts and remain inside their homes.  From Shavuot, with the giving of the Law, the people became aware of the holiness and righteousness of the great God and Savior who had saved them and promised to give them the land which He promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and to their descendants.  The people of Israel “became” sinners, who had to offer all kinds of sacrifices in acknowledgement of his or her sin and guilt and defilement.  The Day of Atonements was the national day of corporate cleansing by the Holy God through the sacrifice of the goat to YHVH and the sending away to live in the wilderness the other goat to Azazel, laden with all the sins of the children of Israel.  This, too, is all of grace, but requiring the personal application of the Israeli to him-/herself, lest he/she disqualify himself from inclusion as a member of the family of God.

Now we come to the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated with great rejoicing (Dt 16:13-15), because not only is the final harvest of fruit gathered, but God Himself will dwell in the midst of His people! (Ezek 37:21-28; Lev 26:11-13).  The sacrifice has been accepted, and the people rejoicing in the goodness and love of the Lord!

For us now as believers in Jesus, we have a better sacrifice and already enjoy the pledge of the fullness of God’s presence with us.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and there is great joy in the love of the Father when we live with thanksgiving by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross when He died for our sins.  There is great joy to know God’s power working on our behalf, and of His righteous ways.  The blood of the Son of God cleanses our conscience, which all the blood of animals could not and will not accomplish.

The booth (succa) reminds us of our temporary life here, both in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, and in our actual lives as we anticipate the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection.  Through it all, God keeps us and provides for us as we look up at His wondrous creation and consider the ultimate expression of love in giving us His Son for the propitiation of our sins.  The Kingdom of God is presently within us, yet there is joy.  How much more so when the Lord Yeshua returns to bring the Kingdom to Earth, and with it righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!  All the nations which survive along with the remnant of Israel will be blessed by the presence of the Lord in their midst.  And to demonstrate this – and their understanding that this is all of the one true God – all the nations will come up to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles to worship the King, YHVH of Hosts!

As we celebrate today Succot, we also celebrate with the Lord’s Supper, which is a prophetic reminder that the Lamb who was slain, and for doing so has received all power and authority and blessing and honor and a Name above every name. . . this same Yeshua who ascended up into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father will Himself return to establish God’s Kingdom in Israel and over the whole Earth and universe!

Come, Lord Jesus!

Yom HaKippurim – Day of Atonements – 18 Sept 2004

Day of Atonements and Understanding the Centrality of Our Faith

For us who believe in Jesus and the New Covenant, understanding the Messianic roots through the Old Testament given to Israel helps us to see some of the details that are supplied to grasp more fully the fulfillment which is in Jesus and His sacrificial atoning death on the cross and subsequent resurrection.

Simply stated, the King of Glory (Ps 24) – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Gen 49:8-12; Rev 5:4-7), the Ram whom God supplied as a burnt offering (Gen 22:9-19), the Lamb slain who sits on the Throne (Rev 5) – humbled Himself by clothing (identifying) Himself in the likeness of sinful flesh – as a Goat! (Lev 16; Rom 8:3-4; Mt 25:31-46) – and willingly offered (sacrificed) Himself in purity and without blemish unto God as a sin and guilt offering, shedding His own blood, to the glory of God the Father, and taking upon Himself all of our iniquities, transgressions, and sins in order to be the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe, that we might live with the Holy Father – indeed, that God may live with and in us.

Lev 16: 29-34; Heb 10: 11-23 N.T. in Messiah our everlasting reality of annual Day of Atonements

Lev 23: 28-30; Rom 11: 25-27 anyone not appropriating the God-provided sacrifice personally, and so  afflicting his own, is cut off from the people corporately.  Jesus died for the whole world, but especially for those who believe.  All Israel are those who, when they see Him whom they pierced, accept the covenant blood sacrifice.

Lev 16: 5-10; Jn 10: 17-18; 11: 49-50 Living scapegoat bearing all the iniquities, transgressions, sins of Israel, and Israel being atoned for on the basis of the accepted blood sacrifice of the first goat unto the LORD; two goats. . .one sin offering; atonement (reconciliation) and the effectual removal of guilt and uncleanness from the camp on the innocent goat — made sin for us – sent alive into the desert as a witness and testimony of the accepted sacrifice by God of the first goat slain.

We are to be with Jesus, outside the camp, willing to bear with Him His reproach, which falls on us who believe in Him.  He is worthy! (Heb 13:12-14)

Memorial of Shouts

Lev 23:24; Num 29:1 YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the one of the month, you shall have a sabbath rest, a Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets, a holy convocation.

Mt 24:29-31,36 Immediately after the tribulation (see v.21) of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in Heaven, and then all the tribes of the Earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. . . .But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, but My Father only.

1Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mysterywe shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1Thes 4:15-18 For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord:  that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Messiah will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Ps 50:3-6 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all all around Him.  He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His peopleGather My saints together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.  Let the Heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge.

Rev 10:6-7 But in the day of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God will be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

Rev 11:15-19 Then the seventh angel sounded [the trumpet], and there were loud voices in Heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world have become of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever.”  And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O YHVH God of Hosts, the One Who Is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.  The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants – the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your Name, small and great – and should destroy those who destroy the Earth.”  Then the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and the Ark of His Covenant was seen in His Temple.  And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

Next  week begins what the Jewish people call the New Year, but what the Bible calls the Memorial of Shouts, or of the Blowing [of Trumpets].  This is one of the appointed times of the LORD, and is the beginning of the final set of holy-days to bring Israel to confession of sin and repentance, unity as a people, to put away evil, bring in the harvest of the righteous, and to re-establish God’s Kingdom in Israel and over all the nations of the world (Ps 2).  These times of the LORD to Israel help us as believers in Jesus and the New Covenant to understand God’s plan of redemption and salvation, and His calendar for when these things will be.  The Mishna teaches the Jewish people that the time of the blowing of the trumpets through the Day of Atonements are the “days of awe”, days of judgment when all the inhabitants of the world pass before YHVH God, like flocks of sheep:  They either are chosen to live or to die, depending on their righteousness.

Many Bible teachers connect the “Feast of Trumpets” as marking the time of the rapture of the Church, that this is the next event as far as believers are concerned.  This is both right and wrong!  It is right in that there is a connection between the two; it is wrong to say it marks the time it will happen.  This can be said with certainty because of what is written in Lev 23:24—giving a specific day—and in Mt 24:36—saying that the day is unknown.  Num 10: 1-10 instructs Israel that the blowing of trumpets is for a purpose and also as a memorial for them before God.  They will remember their special covenantal relationship with the LORD, and He will remember them to deliver them from their enemies.

As Jesus has Himself, as the Savior, fulfilled the appointed times of Passover – Unleavened Bread – First Fruits – the beginning of Harvest in their sequence and times; if He is presently by the Holy Spirit fulfilling His work of grace and truth since Weeks/Pentecost; then we should expect that Trumpets – Atonements – the beginning of Booths/Tabernacles will be fulfilled by God in their sequence and times – a matter of days and weeks at the end of the age — as Yeshua is revealed to be the King of the Jews and of all the surviving nations.

As believers in Jesus we are not subject or bound to times and seasons (Acts 1:7; Gal 4:9-11; Col 2:16-17; 1Thes 5:1-10).  Think about it a moment:  if the Lord were to take up the believers to Himself at the time of the new moon of the seventh month, then satan would be waiting and watching on that day each year to guard his household, and believers would be waiting, too.  And if the Lord did not take us up this year, for example, then we would not be expecting Him for at least another year, along with the devil!  Yet we are plainly warned not to wait for a certain day or hour, because this is God’s secret, but rather to hope in faith and love and do His work until He comes, as a servant would His lord or as a bride would her groom.  We can “hasten” the day by wanting Him to come while living in obedience with faith until then! (Heb 9:28)

Israel, though, does have a set time in her calendar given by YHVH Himself to remember a shout (תרועה) at the beginning of the seventh month and preceding the Day of Atonements.  What shout is Israel to remember?  It is here that I want to suggest that God is waking up Israel with this memorial,

  1. to acknowledge and recognize that YHVH God of Hosts has indeed entered the battle to deliver His saints – Jewish and gentile believers who hold faith in Yeshua without seeing — out of the hands of the enemy and of the great tribulation – at the sounding of the 7th trumpet;
  1. to prepare herself for coming judgment and wrath – and the hope of mercy – through repentance and fear for rejecting the truth of God spoken through Moses and the prophets, and especially by Jesus Himself (Jn 15:22), regarding the Messiah, who is none other than Jesus. (Zech 12:10; Lev 23:29; 26:40-42); and
  1. to call upon the name of YJVH, Yeshua the Messiah the Nazarene, for salvation and deliverance out of Jacob’s Trouble, the great tribulation. (Jer 30:7; Mt 24:21-22; Num 10:9; Mt 23:39)

As in the days of bondage in Egypt, the LORD will hear the heart cry of His people in their affliction, and will send the One greater than Moses – Messiah Yeshua – to save His people from their oppressors (Num 10:9) and from their sin and uncleanness on the Day of YHVH, the Day of Atonements.

As believers, we can continue to pray for God to reveal the truth about Yeshua now to the Jews (and Arabs and other gentiles), so that as many as possible can have their part in the first resurrection.

As believers, we do not wait for holidays to direct our lives but rather by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us each and every day, that we, too, will be ready and not ashamed when the Son of Man comes.

Unity Through Love – 26 May 2004

Jn 17: 11-26

The Scroll of Ruth is read in the synagogues this holiday.  It is a story of love and mercy:  of someone “outside” – even poor and a stranger (זר) – who was brought “inside”.  She was chosen, but she also chose:  to belong to the treasured people of YHVH God, and to place all her future and hopes in their God.  About 1970 years ago, more than 3000 persons who were separated from God because of their unbelief and sins were brought into His Kingdom of light and love.

Our being here today from around the Negev, and even including Jerusalem and Ashkelon, is no mere circumstance.  As believers in Yeshua we were born again when we repented and believed in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven, now seated at the right hand of the Father.  We come into the faith of Messiah who has already come, and who will come again at the time God has set to fix and restore all things (Acts 3:21).  We are joined with those from nearly 2000 years ago – and even before – to God through Messiah.

Just as Jesus had to die, like a grain of wheat must in order not to be alone but to bear much fruit to bless many,  so too are we who believe and been baptized, baptized into His death so that we can walk in newness of life, being a blessing to many for the sake of the name of our Lord and Savior.  For this God has given us the Holy Spirit, who dwells within the church – the Body of Messiah:  you, me, all from out of every nation, tribe, language who have received the same precious faith by the righteousness of God.  Just as Yeshua rose from the dead, so we have this living hope, and it is the Spirit of Christ in us that is a baptism unto life eternal!  We join ourselves to all who are called by the name of Messiah and all our hopes are in Him who is Head over the church in all things and lives amongst us through His Spirit.

There is no Pentecost – and no Holy Spirit – no life in Messiah Jesus apart from faith in His death on the cross for our sins and in His resurrection.  By grace the Father has given us the Spirit to sanctify for His Son a beautiful, spotless, blameless Bride…full of love and peace and joy for our Lord and Husband. . .and full of love and peace and joy for each one whom Jesus chooses to be part of His body, His bride.

So we are here today, brothers and sisters in Messiah, to demonstrate our unity by our love.  Let Israelis know; let Palestinians know; let anyone/everyone else know that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God sent to us as Savior, He is Lord of lords and King of kings!

Let us pray for a fresh and double outpouring of the Holy Spirit now near the end of the age, as we humble ourselves and repent for all our sins which bring reproach to the Name of our Father in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ.  As He Himself prayed, let us show our unity by love for each other, and so fulfill His joy and ours.