Archive for March, 2017

Unsalty Salt in the Church: Worthless

Have you ever looked at the sodium content for a serving of jerky?  Wowza!!!  Makes your heart pump harder just thinking about it.  Yet without the salt, the meat would not be preserved for the length that it can be, and usable as food.  Just as salt is used, and has been used for thousands of years, to preserve the quality of meat so that it can be eaten days, weeks, even months after the kill, so salt is the preservative of the truth of God’s word in the Church.  Without salt in the jerky, the meat would spoil (never mind modern refrigerators and freezers).  Without salt in the church, it too spoils and becomes worthless.

In Luke 14:35-35 (NKJV) Yeshua says – “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

In Matthew 5:13 (NKJV) Yeshua says – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

This verse in Matthew 5 is actually near the beginning of Yeshua’s Sermon on the Mount, right after the Beatitudes.  Chapters 5-7 are Yeshua’s instruction manual for how to live as His followers in a world that doesn’t believe in Him.  The disciples understood that salt was a preserving agent.  In referring to His followers as the salt of the earth in the middle of this sermon, his disciples understood, as should we, that we are the preserving agent of all that is godly in this world.

What is godliness?  Living our lives according to the ways Yeshua taught.  Just skimming through the Sermon on the Mount, one can see all kinds of instructions.  Avoid hatred and do not murder, do not judge, do not worry, stand on faith in God, be charitable, be faithful in your marriage, love your enemies, go out of your way to serve others, hunger for righteousness, be pure in heart, be peacemakers, be merciful.  The list goes on.  The passage in Luke 14 is right on the heals of Yeshua’s instruction to give up everything (father, mother, brothers and sisters) to follow Him, not clinging to this world, or he cannot be His disciple.

We are here to preserve godliness in the world of sinners.  We are here to preserve the truth of who God is, and what His Word says, in our every thought, word, and deed.  When we do not act as salt, we have lost our flavor, and are worth nothing more than to be thrown out and trampled on the ground.  Notice in Luke, we are not even worth using in the dunghill.  I’m not sure what purpose there is for salt in a dunghill, but if we aren’t worthy of that, we are truly not worthy of anything.

Now here is where we come to brass tacks.  Has the Church today lost its saltiness?  Unequivocally YES!  Oh, to be sure, there is an element of the Church that continues to preach the truth of God’s Word, without distorting it to the moral-less standards of the world.  But that element is shrinking by the hour it seems.  Church body after church body, pastor after pastor, follower after follower are sliding down slippery slopes of twisted doctrine, distorted Scripture, and outright lies about who God is and what He demands of us.  Sin is no long sin, but personal choice.  Everything is okay if you feel it is okay.  Anyway is good to get to Heaven, even thought Yeshua said that He is the ONLY way.  The Church has become spineless, squishy, weak, false, lightless-not just living in darkness, but teaching it-…the Church has lost its salty flavor.  It is worthy only of being thrown out and trampled on.

If this does not cause big red flags, bells, and warning sirens to go off in your spirit, then you need to recheck your faith.  Do you believe in the God of the Bible?  YAHWEH?  Do you believe in Yeshua (Jesus) Messiah, His Son?  Do you truly believe that God’s Word is HIS Word?  If you don’t believe everything in the Bible is His truth, then you have changed who He is.  You do not worship or serve YAHWEH, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  You serve a god that you have made up according to what you want to believe.  It is time for you to make a decision.  Choose YAHWEH, or choose the world.  As Joshua said, “Choose today whom you will serve.  As for me and my house, we will serve YAHWEH.”

If the lack of salt concerns you, but you know you have lost your flavor, it is time to digest some sodium.  Dig into God’s Word, get on your knees and pray, and create a thirst for righteousness.  Then stand in this world as a pillar of salt, a preserver of godliness and of His truth.

It is time we quit cowering at the face of feel-good, mushy, politically correct godless teaching.  It is time to stand as a beacon of light, with the strength of salt, and the power of the Holy Spirit, and unashamedly speak God’s truth…in love, always in love.

 

Leviticus? Oye!!

How many of you have set out with the admirable goal of reading the entire Bible? Genesis is good. It has a great bunch of stories in it. Certainly can’t complain about Exodus with all the suspense. Both are not only pretty easy to read, but actually rather enjoyable. But then there is Leviticus. Not much else can derail a Bible-reading plan faster than…*snore*…huh? What was I saying? Oh yah, Leviticus, the book of the law.

Not meaning to pat myself on the back or anything, but I am pleased to say I have now finished reading it for the 2nd time. Don’t be too quick to congratulate me, though. It took me several months to read those 27 chapters. With Paul’s words to Timothy floating in the back of my mind, the reminder that all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable, I asked God many times why Leviticus is even in the Bible.

I have read and re-read, with great fascination, the chapters about the  7 God-assigned feasts of Israel. But I have to admit, my eyes were pretty glassy through the rest of the book. I did find that there were so many commands in chapter 19, that I needed to read that one 2 or 3 times to unpack it all.

Leviticus is the third book of the Old Testament, and written by Moses.  It is the record of the law given by God to the Israelite people after leaving Egypt.  It is not the 10 commandments.  Rather, it is the very extensive list of what sacrifices should be performed for what purpose, and the pretty detailed list of how to go about doing that.  It’s not a book for the squeamish as it talks quite a bit about the particular parts of the sacrificial animals that are to be used, and where to pour the blood, etc.  It contains quite a list of sins and what their punishments should be.  Also an extensive list of what makes a person, or thing, unclean and what to do to be considered clean again.  One can even learn how to deal with mold in a dwelling.  It is a book that was obviously meant as an instruction manual for the Israelites.

Leviticus is for a people who had not yet been redeemed by the Messiah, thus the necessity of the sacrificial system.  So what possible purpose could it have for Christians today?  Why even bother making the effort to try to read it?  And yet, the Apostle Paul did say in 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  We must bear in mind that when Paul wrote these words, there was no New Testament.  The Scripture he is referring to was the Books of the Law (including Leviticus), the Prophets, and the Writings, aka the Old Testament.  With this in mind, I can concede that even today it is important to recognize the behaviors listed in Leviticus as ones that God declares sinful.  Still, there must be something more for Paul to declare that ALL Scripture is profitable.  All means all after all.

As I continued reading through this book, pondering its usefulness, and praying for God to reveal that to me, the answer came while reading an unlikely passage.  In chapter 21, verses 16-24 God declared that no descendant of Aaron (the priestly line) who had a physical defect of any kind could go past the curtain of the Tabernacle to the alter and offer the sacrifices because he would profane God’s holy place.  As the daughter of parents who are both totally blind, and as a teacher for students who are blind and/or have other, sometimes quite severe, disabilities, this passage caused me to stop short.  As I paused to pray, I heard the Holy Spirit speak the answer to my first prayer.  Then I understood, not just why this command about the priests with physical defects, but the purpose of the book as well.

The following is the understanding the Spirit gave to me:  The Bible is not just a collection of stories, books, and letters.  It is, in fact, The Incomplete Works of God.  It is a partial biography, or perhaps autobiography of God.  His memoirs.  A record of His works and interaction with mankind.  Of course it is incomplete because no one can know the mind of God…there is so much more about Him that is not recorded in the Bible, but this is what we have.

Each page, chapter, and book is a gradual revealing of who God is.  And each book, as a whole document, has a theme that reveals something to the reader about the characteristics of God.  Genesis shows us that God is the creator.  He created the world, and everything in it.  He created animals and humans.  He created the family that He would send the Messiah through.

Exodus shows us that God is not only God of the Israelites, but God over everything and everyone.  No matter whether a person believes in Him or not.  No matter that person’s status in this world, peasant or king.  There is no one who does not fall under God’s jurisdiction.

Leviticus points to the complete holiness and righteousness of God.  By detailing what is required of His people in order to be holy in His sight, we see that there is no way humanly possible for any man to stand holy and righteous before Him.  Not only that, we see that God cannot, and will not, tolerate any sin, nor the effects of sin, in His presence.  That is what the whole thing about forbidding a priest with physical defects from carrying out a sacrifice was all about.  It was not because the defect was a result of any particular sin on the part of that person, or his parents.  It was because the defect is a result of sin entering God’s perfect creation and distorting all of it.  It was a physical apparition of sin; a living, breathing example of the curse of sin in the world.  This did not say that God did not, and does not love anyone with a disability, by the way.  We can see that He does by looking how mercifully Yeshua (Jesus) healed the many blind, deaf, and lame in the New Testament.  He was the extension of God’s love and mercy, and became the mediator between God and all men.

I wonder what Numbers will reveal?  I have already started reading, and praying for God to show me more of who He is in this book.  I have also begun to keep a record of these revelations in the front of my Bible.  I want a place I can go at any time to be reminded of all God is whenever I need to.  I can’t wait to finish Numbers and see the whole picture!!

 

Intelligent Christian Faith

A Project of John D. Ferrer

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

hisimagenme

It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightest weapons. ~ William Gurnall

Grace Transforms

The abundant life is the abandoned life.

The Basket Foot

The latest news and opinions on football, basketball, and soccer!

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Tracking events and trends in Israel, the U.S., Russia and throughout the Epicenter (the Middle East & North Africa)

Limbiley's Blog

Life&Love Trials&Tribulations Faith&Fortitude Redemption&Restoration.

Messianic Sabbath

A daily break to celebrate our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus) and our abundant life through the Torah

Living in the Kingdom of God---Diana Symons

A Daily Devotional | Walking with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit

These Christian Times

Prophecy, bible, entertainment and current events from a Christian perspective

Aglow International North Central Region

Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Aglow

Local Meetings, Events, Bible Study and Prayer Groups

A DEVOTED LIFE

Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World

sarsrose

Sometimes faith. Sometimes life. Always whatever's in my head.

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

WANDERING IN HOPE

"all fear is but the notion that God's love ends" - ann voskamp

Jason B. Ladd

Comedy. Tragedy. You decide.

Faith Community Church

Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

%d bloggers like this: