Posts tagged ‘the Church’

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.

 

False Teachers and Tickling Ears

Recently I read an article that deeply saddened me, scared me, and gave me hope all in one.  It detailed how churches across our country are opening their doors to people of all faiths, including witchcraft, Hindu, Buddism and even Atheism.  Reading of “pastors” who openly state that they don’t believe in God, yet run a church where anyone can come to worship anyone or anyway that they please.  They say is it BYOG…Bring Your Own God.

How this must break God’s heart!  My mind goes back to the many stories in the Old Testament of the Temple being desecrated and used to worship false gods.  Now the Church is being desecrated in the same way.  The Body that was supposed to carry the torch that Israel dropped, spread the good news of Christ, His death and resurrection, and the hope of His return.  How many of us who are faithful are aware that this is even going on?

Scarier is the fact that young people who have been raised in the Church are leaving the solid foundations of Truth to join these secularized, no…more blatantly un-Godly congregations, denying the existence of the One, True God.  Where are your children?  Are you giving them a solid foundation in the Word of God so that they will recognize the lies and deceptions of false teachings?  Teach them now, while they are young, and they will not depart from it! (paraphrased Proverbs 22:6).  Get on your knees and pray for their protection, and yours, from Satan’s perverse ways and lies!

2 Timothy 4:3-4 is coming true before our eyes.  It says:  “For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear. Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths.”

2 Peter 2:1 “But among the people there were also false prophets, just as there will be false teachers among you. Under false pretenses they will introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and thus bring on themselves swift destruction.”

Matthew 24:24 “For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles — amazing things! — so as to fool even the chosen, if possible.”

1 John 2:20-26 “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.  I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.  Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.  Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.  Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.  These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.”

Where is the hope in this?  Simply this, that it is yet another sign that the return of Christ is near.  But what urgency that brings to share God’s love with others, and especially to to be preparing my own heart, and be teaching and praying for my children and loved ones, that we may all go to Christ together!!!

I am including the link to the article I mentioned so that you may read for yourselves what I have spoken of.

http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2015/April01/014.html

Are You A Replacement?

There is a common belief among Christians today that the Church has replaced the Jewish people as God’s chosen people.  Another equally confused belief is that the New Testament Covenant was meant only for the Church, and not the Jews.  Whereas the Old Testament Covenant was meant only for the Jews, and not the Church.  Both of these beliefs are misguided and wrong.

For some time now I have felt God’s leading as He has pulled me closer to the Jewish people.  Funny thing is that I don’t believe I know a single person of Jewish descent.  It really began when I was studying the book of Romans.  Paul states fervently in chapter 11 that it is the duty of the Gentile believer to materially support the Jewish people because it is through them that we are spiritually blessed.  It is in this discussion that Paul points out that the Gentile believers are grafted into the Olive Tree which is Israel.  He never states that the Olive Tree was uprooted and a new tree was planted in its place.  Once a person becomes a believer and receives salvation through Jesus Christ, Yeshua, he is grafted into the base tree, Israel.  In essence, the spiritual roots of the believer, Gentile or Jew, are Jewish.  God grafts us together and we become one spiritual family.  I have come to consider myself a spiritual Jew or Israelite; a spiritual descendant of Abraham.

I have been studying the Torah (1st 5 books of the Old Testament, often called the Books of Moses, or the Books of the Law), from the perspective of Messianic (Christian) Jews.  There is such a rich understanding of the Torah through the eyes of their culture!  It is an understanding I can’t possibly come to with my own genealogical background and culture in which I grew up.  I have learned so much, and look forward to learning much, much more as I continue the study.  I wish I could sit for hours each day to pour over it, but unfortunately I don’t have that kind of time.  To be sure, there is a lot of legalism within the Orthodox Jewish religion.  But that is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about Jews who have come to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who was promised to them as their Savior.  When they study the Old Testament with their background in the culture it was written in, and in light of the New Testament (and the New Testament in light of the Old)…WOW!!!

Oh, and yes, I absolutely believe that the Old Testament Covenant is every bit as much for me as a Gentile as it is for the Jew.  And vise verse.  The  New Testament Covenant is not just for the Church, but for the Jews as well…those who believe in Jesus as Messiah.  This goes to the earlier comment about the Dual Covenant.  The belief that the Old Testament is for the Jews.  The New Testament is for the Church.  If we are indeed grafted into the Jewish people, their spiritual roots, then the Old Testament Covenant is just as much for us as it is for them.  That includes the laws and the festivals.  There are very specific meanings behind the festivals…and direct connections to the fulfillment of prophesy.  There is meaning there that we can never know without rejoining to our spiritual roots in the Messianic Jewish community.

The Old Testament Covenant did not end with Jesus.  He said, “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”  (Matthew 5:17-18).  Jesus did not abolish the Old Testament Law or Covenant.  It is still in effect today, and prophecies connected to the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham are being fulfilled even now.

As for the New Testament or New Covenant, let me ask you this.  Who was Jesus speaking to when He said the following:  “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”  (Luke 22:20).  He was speaking to His disciples…Jews.  Jesus made the new covenant with Jews first.  Not the Gentile church.  Is it for the Church?  Absolutely!  But it does not exclude the Jewish believer.  So, the new covenant is for the Church, Gentile and Jew alike.  And the Old Testament Covenant is for the Jew and the Church alike, as people who share the same spiritual roots.

Finally, I go all the way back to Genesis 12:3 when God made His covenant with Abraham.  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  And I tie this verse in with Romans 11:16-18 –

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

How can we bless Israel if we boast against her?  If we view ourselves as her replacement, and look down our noses on the people from whom our Messiah, and theirs, came?  And how can we be blessed with the insight and knowledge they offer as the people and culture through which God gave His Word, the Bible?  Do not curse Israel.  They remain God’s chosen people, and as a believer, you are a spiritual member with them.  Bless them.  Come alongside them.  Support them.  Learn from them.  And be blessed.

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

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