Posts Tagged ‘Disciple’

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Genesis 3:1 …No More Excuses

January 26, 2009

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”  Genesis 3:1

 

Our enemy loves it when we question the Living God at His Word.  In the Bible, we are given good instructions from The Holy One in everything from the holidays we should observe to the foods we should eat.  He has defined sexual immorality and shown us how to treat one another as we walk out our lives in plain view of the God of creation.  He gives instructions concerning the widow and the orphan along with how we are to worship Him. Everything it takes for us to live a holy and blessed life before Him has been shown to us in His Torah. Yet, it seems that our enemy continues to have success in convincing many Christians that God does not really mean what He says, that His Commandments have been changed, or somehow done away with.  How can this be? Is Ha Satan really that good at smooth talking Christianity into forsaking God’s Word?  Are we that slow to learn the lessons from the garden?  I for one am no longer willing to place all the blame at Ha Satan’s feet.  Neither will I label Christians as slow learners thus somehow justifying our disobedience to God’s Word.  I believe the truth hurts a bit more than that.

 

The truth is, we really have no excuse for sin, which is transgression of God’s Law. (1 John 3:4) Even deception cannot be called upon to justify disobedience to God’s instructions. Now, many might say “wait a minute Tim, Eve was deceived while Adam transgressed”.  And while this is true, I submit to you that it is not the whole truth. In 1 Timothy 2:14 Paul says “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression”.  Notice that yes, Eve was deceived.  But also notice that it led to transgression resulting in death for Eve as well as for Adam.  Both were guilty in the end.  Neither path was a good one. As Believers we are warned, if not commanded repeatedly, not to be deceived.  In Galatians 6:7 Paul admonishes us “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life”. Deuteronomy 11:16 gives further proof that being deceived will not let us off the hook. It says “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you…”  Need some more proof?  Paul says in Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

 

In the end, our success or failure to walk uprightly before the Lord comes down to a simple choice with no excuses for choosing wrongly.  Notice I did not say easy choice…I said simple choice. There is a big difference.  You and I have the simple choice of taking God at His Word or walking according to our own fleshly desires while trying to justify it with differing sorts of ear tickling cop-outs.  As we have seen, even deception fails to excuse us.  Each day we are given the simple choice of choosing the blessing or the curse…life or death.  The Master reminds us that we are not to just read every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, but that we are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Again, there is a big difference. Living by God’s Word means actual physical obedience to God’s Word with our very lives, even if it costs us something.  And it will cost you something.  As His Disciples however, we were to have already counted that cost and considered it worth the paying.

 

From this day forward, may each of us purpose in our hearts to walk according to the Spirit, in total obedience to His Word. Let us stop being deceived by articulate words spoken by those who value traditions of men over the Commandments of God and begin to obey God’s instructions, simply embracing them with every ounce of strength we have.  No more excuses.

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 says “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;  

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Numbers 16:21-26…Get Away!

April 11, 2008

So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’” Numbers 16:23-24…And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” Numbers 16:26 

As we have learned, the uprising of Korah and his followers was more than just a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. It was in actuality, a rebellion against the Holy One of Israel.  It was He who chose Aaron to be High Priest…it was He who chose Moses to be the prophet to whom which He spoke face to face… and it was He who had chosen Moses as the leader of Israel. Yet, Korah had somehow convinced 250 “leaders of the congregation…”men of renown”… to actually stand against God and His spoken Word.  How foolish you might say.  Couldn’t these “leaders” of the congregation see what was happening and speak out against Korah before it was too late?  Had they not promised to do “all that the Lord our God says” as spoken thru Moses? How could they be so deceived and turned around?

Again, Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that these events were written down as a warning for us in these last days, that we might avoid making the mistakes of our forefathers.  Question…Have we learned the lesson?  Could we ever be deceived into taking a stand with our words or our lives that is in complete opposition to God’s Holy Word? Are we able to recognize “Korah” and the need to “get away”? I believe these questions are relevant for today. 

(The following is spoken in love. For many years I myself was caught up in the rebellion of Korah.  I was able to get away in time only because of God’s grace in my life, only because someone had the guts to challenge me with Scripture and I had the guts to check them out.  I would like to do for you what someone once did for me. I encourage you to praise God for his grace poured out thru His Son Jesus, (Yeshua). He is our Salvation.  I also encourage you ask yourself the hard question…Is it possible that I and some of those around me have strayed from God’s Word?  Are we really living as we should be as “sons of Abraham”? It’s an important question)

In the book of Jude we are warned about men who in our time would “turn the grace of our God into lewdness” and “perish in the rebellion of Korah”. Despite this clear warning, very few who call themselves bible believing Christians even know who Korah was. This does not bode well when you consider that the Master Himself, quoting from the Torah said in Matthew 4:4 that Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  Take heed, for out here in this final wilderness, Korah is both alive and well in the camp. In the spirit of Korah, many “leaders” of the congregation, “men of renown” are once again standing against God and His Word. Contrary to the words of Jesus (Yeshua) (Matthew 5:17-19) Paul (2 Timothy 3:16) and John (1John 5:3) there are actually some pastors and leaders today, who declare boldly that the Word of God as given thru Moses is no longer valid for instruction in righteousness.  Instead, they teach that Torah has been “done away with” or “nailed to the cross”, and that God’s people are now “free in Christ” to live contrary to some of the very Scriptures our Master lived out and taught from.  Eating the detestable and ignoring God’s Sabbath’s and Appointed Times are now fully permissible according to those taking part in this rebellion.  Using things of pagan origins to worship God is acceptable as well (christmas trees and easter eggs) as long as it’s done in the name of Jesus. Instead of relying on Scripture to define sin, (1John 3:4) they teach people to “follow their hearts” and to repent only upon “feeling convicted”.  Friends, anyone teaching you that sin can be defined by something less than the “transgression of Torah” as given thru Moses, stands contrary to God’s Word just as Korah did.

As you must know, the Lord God has always called His people to be separate and distinct…to be holy as He is holy.  (Leviticus 11:44-47, 1 Peter 1:13-15)  From Genesis to Revelation, He makes it clear that we must line our definition of sin up with His Word and repent if needed.  The rebellion of Korah continues to this day…as does the warning from God to separate ourselves from this sin before it is too late… 

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4

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From “Among the Gentiles…”

April 11, 2008

In teachings past (see “Check Your Filter…) I have shown from Scripture how that a person becomes part of Israel thru faith in Messiah Yeshua…period. Physical bloodline has nothing to do with it.  In short we have been “grafted in” according to Paul in Romans chapter eleven. He tells us in Ephesians chapter two that by the blood of Christ we lose our identity as “Gentiles” and become part of the “commonwealth of Israel”.  In Galatians 3:29 we learn that in Messiah, we ARE Abraham’s seed and “heirs according to the promise.”  Quite simply, the belief that the “church” in Scripture is something new, or something separate and distinct from the Israel of God is just not so.  In fact, the new covenant that Christianity claims as it’s own is made only with the two houses of Israel. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:7-12)  In direct reference to Psalm 22:3, I have heard pastors and worship leaders say that God inhabits the praises of His people.  This is true…but the next time you are giving praise to the Lord consider that what Psalm 22:3 actually says is that God is “Enthroned in the praises of ISRAEL.”  Let me be clear, or rather listen to Paul as he makes it clear… “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:28-29  For an interesting Bible study sometime, take a quick glance at a King James Version of Acts 7:38, compare it to other translations and follow up with a word study of the term church.” You will soon discover that the church in it’s proper historical and Hebraic context… is the congregation of Israel.   Never does the bible switch gears by creating something “new” called the “Christian Church”.  Peter was not the first pope….He was instead…like Paul…a Torah obedient follower of Messiah…but more on that later… 

Now, for the most part I meet very little resistance to this teaching until it comes to the issue of obedience to Torah. We love to grab hold of the promises made…the covenants given…the glory…the hope and blessings bestowed upon those of Israel…(Rom 9:4) But… some of us would rather not consider the fact that if indeed we are part of Israel, it only makes sense that we would obey the God of Israel and the instructions He gave to His people Israel in His Torah.  Instead, we are taught that the 4th commandment (7th day Sabbath)…the food laws, (Leviticus 11) tassels on garments (Numbers 15:37-41) and many other instructions… are either for a different “Israel”… (which as we have seen is not possible) or that they were simply done away with or changed contrary to the very words of Jesus. (Matthew 5:17-19)  Either way…many who believe themselves to be of  the Gentiles” but at the same time “grafted into Israel” have chosen it would seem for varying reasons, to follow a different set of rules than those which were given to Israel at Mt. Sinai thru Moses. I believe this to be a serious breach of the basic foundational theological understandings and principles found in Scripture, seemingly justified only by flawed hermeneutics. In other words…it’s messed up. Now, if we as Christians are indeed following a different set of commandments than those intended by God, or if we are ignoring some of them mistakenly thinking they do not apply to us, we obviously need to repent.  So, in this teaching I ask you to examine the Scriptural evidence and decide for yourselves whether or not “non-Israelites” referred to as the “Gentiles” or “nations” were ever expected to obey the “Law of Moses”…the instructions of Torah.  And if so…did these expectations ever change.   To begin, let’s go back to the time when Torah was given thru the prophet Moses … 

MOSES 

When the children of Israel were redeemed in the great exodus and brought up and out of Egypt…there came with them a “mixed multitude” (Exodus 12:38) who had chosen to join or attach themselves to Israel.  It may come as a surprise to many Christians that although they were not physical descendants of Abraham, these “Gentiles” or “non–Israelites” from the nations were still expected to obey the God of Abraham, the Holy One of Israel, and to keep His Commandments, His Torah.  Scripture teaches plainly “One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you” in Exodus 12:49. Following are a few clear examples where we see specific instructions in the Torah that were to apply not only to physical Israel…but also to the “sojourner” or “stranger”…those who have decided to follow the God of Israel.

Concerning the 7th day Sabbath we hear God say But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.  In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.” Exodus 20:10

Concerning the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread: And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee and will keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. Exodus 12:48  For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.”  Exodus 12:19

Concerning Sacrifices: Also, you shall say to them: ‘Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people.  Leviticus 17:8-9  And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD, just as you do, so shall he do. Numbers 15:14

Concerning the Feast of Tabernacles: “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.  And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless  and the widow, who are within your gates. Deuteronomy 16:13-14

Concerning the Feast of Weeks: Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your and, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you.  You shall rejoice before the Lord your God, your and your son and your daughter, your male servant an your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make his name abide. Deuteronomy 16:10-11

Concerning the Cities of Refuge:  These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there.  Numbers 35:15

Concerning Eating of Blood: And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood’.  Leviticus 17:10-12

Concerning Unintentional Sin:  So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the Lord, to make atonement for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them. Numbers 15:28-29

Concerning Intentional Sin:  But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. Numbers 15:30

Concerning Blasphemy:  And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.  All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land.  When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death. Leviticus 24:16

Concerning Justice:  Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.  Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, animal for animal.  If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him—fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, as he has caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him.  And whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall be put to death.  You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 24:17-22 

In summary:  Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your god and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.  Deuteronomy 31:12-13

As you can see, the common teaching that the law of Moses was only given to the physical descendants of Abraham is certainly not based upon Scripture.  “But Tim…” you might say…“you are only looking at the first five books of the Bible…what about the rest of Scripture?”  Good point.  Let’s continue… 

The Book of Ruth 

Let us consider the book of Ruth.  In this beautiful true story we witness the Torah instructions regarding a “kinsmen redeemer” lived out thru the lives of Boaz and Ruth.  Now Ruth of course was a Moabite… her people were not exactly friendly with Israel.  She was definitely what you would call “non-Jewish”. As you know, Boaz will pay the price for Ruth… redeeming her and taking as her as His own.  What a awesome picture of Messiah. All who consider themselves to be of the “nations” obviously love this story. Christian bible teachers use this story to make the point that in the same way Boaz redeems this Moabite, so Messiah redeems us.  This is true. But I have a question that pertains to our main question…Did Ruth continue to live as a Moabite… worshipping as a Moabite…or did she turn from the ways of the nations and worship the God of Israel as part of Israel?  Curiously, the Torah actually forbids a Moabite from joining up with Israel! (Deuteronomy 23:3) So what’s up? I think we find the answers in the words of Ruth herself.  She says “Your people (Israel) shall be my people, and Your God ( The God of Abraham) shall be my God.” Ruth 1:16  Ruth will no longer be a Moabite! What a beautiful example for those of us who love the Messiah of Israel. Our Master has paid the price to redeem us…to bring us into His family as one of His own…so that we might live as part of Israel…walking in Torah…thus proclaiming with our very lives…”Your people shall be my people, and Your God shall be my God.”

The Prophets 

Now let’s take a look at just a couple of the prophets and see if they have anything to say about those from “among the Gentiles” and how they should live.

 First we hear from the Lord thru Jeremiah…now listen closely and you just may hear echoes from the book of Ruth.  Jeremiah says “And it shall be, if they (speaking of the nations) will learn carefully the ways of My people, (Israel) to swear by My name, “as the LORD lives’, as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall  established in the midst of My people. But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation” says the LORD.  Jeremiah 12:16-17

Listen to Isaiah concerning the Sabbath…”Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him and to love the name of the Lord to be his servants—Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, an holds fast My covenant—Even them I will bring to My holy mountains and make them joyful in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house (The Temple) shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.Isaiah 56:6-7

 

Finally, in the closing verses of Zechariah we hear something very interesting concerning the future.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”  Question…whose “feasts’ are Christians keeping today? Where did they originate? (Easter,Christ-mass,Lent, Sunday Sabbath, etc) What Feasts did Jesus keep?

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  But you have not so learned Messiah, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Yeshua: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17-24 

 

Yeshua (Jesus) 

If you consider what it truly means to be a disciple…one who patterns their life after that of the Master…and if you consider the Torah observant life our Master lived as the sinless Lamb of God…the “great commission” will suddenly take on a new meaning for many of us. Listen closely to what Jesus said…“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (gentiles)…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded youMatthew 28:19-20  What did Jesus teach and observe perfectly?  Torah.  He said in Matthew 4:4 (quoting from Torah) It is written ‘Man shall not live by bread alone buy by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Thus anyone desiring to be a disciple of Jesus has been given direct maching orders from the Master to teach all peoples to observe God’s Commandments…to walk in Torah just as He did.

The Apostle Paul  

Finally, we come to Paul. Too many Christians today believe that Paul taught people it was wrong to obey the Torah, or that it was perhaps optional. Especially, when it came to those from “among the Gentiles.” It is not true however.  What did Paul teach?  Paul taught that the Torah, was “holy and just and good.”  He taught that salvation came thru faith in Messiah…the same faith that Job professed when he said “For I know my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth” Paul taught that we are saved by grace thru faith in our Messiah…Jesus Christ…that we are cleansed only by His blood…the blood of the Lamb…PERIOD.  But Paul also taught that salvation was only the beginning for those who had truly counted the cost. He taught that we should learn and grow in Messiah.  He taught that one should “not be conformed to this world, but should “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformed to what you might ask?  Into the image of Messiah! Paul lived out a life of Torah observance just as his Master did.  And, Paul took the “great commission” to heart as he proclaimed to all in both word and deed imitate me as I imitate Messiah

As I conclude this teaching I want to leave you with the very words of Paul which did inspire me to share these things with you. I would ask that you open up your Bible and read the following for yourself and let me know…honestly… if you still believe Paul would put his stamp of approval on those who come from “among the Gentiles” continuing to live as Gentiles.  Or do you see how Paul may have actually been in line with the whole of Scripture after all!  Play the Berean and let me know…

 

May God bless you as you follow Him,

Tim     

“And it shall be, if they (the nations) will learn carefully the ways of My people, (Israel) to swear by My name, “As the LORD lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people.  But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation” says the LORD. Jeremiah 12:16-17

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The Great Commission

April 11, 2008
If we consider what it truly means to be a disciple…one who patterns their life after that of the Master…and if we consider the Torah observant life that our Master lived as the spotless Lamb of God…the “great commission” should suddenly take on a new meaning for many of us. Listen closely to what Jesus said…“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (gentiles)…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded youMatthew 28:19-20  What did Jesus teach and observe perfectly?  The Torah.  He said in Matthew 4:4 (quoting from Torah) It is written ‘Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Thus anyone desiring to be a Disciple of Jesus has been given direct marching orders from the Master to teach all people to observe God’s Commandments…to walk in Torah just as He did.  Newcolors