LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #10

  • Love Your Enemies

“v44  “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

v45  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

v46  “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same??” (Matthew 5:44–46).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Once again, Jesus brings a teaching which is counter-intuitive to the human mind.  It is a ‘radical’ departure from the long-standing practice of revenge and retribution.

However, Jesus is teaching from a “God perspective”.  This teaching, when put into practice, will transcend the natural and complete its task by the supernatural Work of God.

Just as Isaiah 55:8-11 says,

      8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
            Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

      9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
            So are My ways higher than your ways
            And My thoughts than your thoughts.

       10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
            And do not return there without watering the earth
            And making it bear and sprout,
            And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

      11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
            It will not return to Me empty,
            Without accomplishing what I desire,
            And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

 Practicing the act of love, as a disciple of Jesus, takes both faith and self-discipline.

Secondly, a closer look at the command to “love your enemy” you will learn that the word “love” used here is AGAPAO = Which is to love, to feel and exhibit esteem and goodwill to a person, to prize and delight in a thing.

From its supposed etymology AGAPAO, (ἀγαπάω) is commonly understood properly to denote love based on esteem ( diligo), as distinct from (amo), or a spontaneous natural affection of emotional and unreasoning.

TO ESTEEM someone is to respect them but does not refer to a feeling an emotional type of live such as “philos” which is a brotherly kind of love nor an “eros” which is an erotic kind of love.

Once applied, we are told that a prophetic and supernatural act is manifest:  “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven”

“May Be” – GINOMAI =  Means to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being; to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen; to be made, finished; of miracles, to be performed, wrought.

BY THIS, YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN IS GREAT

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? ____________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT?  ________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  Consider this your “refuge and fortress” your “shield and buckler” as you ‘hide in Him’ and wage this Spiritual war under the cover of our God!  IT IS THE ONLY WAY.

HAMMERS AND NAILS

Having Trouble…

 My wife likes to say, “To a hammer, everything is a nail”.  In other words, your perspective can determine, limit or cloud your perception and understanding.  So it is with the Bible.

A certain preacher of a small church I used to know, would explain his lack of understanding of the Bible by saying, “There are many interpretations of the Bible”.  You see, because he didn’t understand the Bible, he incorrectly assumed it was the same for everyone (ignorance is his “hammer”).

His excuse or explanation for his ignorance was “there are many interpretations” and who can know?  So, his understanding or lack therof is as good as anyone’s understanding.  In other words, just do what seems right to you.  (This is his “nail”, which he would bang at it with is “hammer of ignorance”).

While it is true that no one (except God) understands all the mystery’s of God, we can know and understand some things about God and His Word.  But, it still requires the correct perspective to get the right understanding.

The Christian Church today, for example, is very little like the Christian Church of the Apostles, primarily because our perspectives have changed.  Some will say that we are more enlightened now or that technologies have changed or that the times are different now.  THESE ARE HAMMERS!

The Bible says, God and His Word never change.

Let me cite an example of HOW and WHY our perspectives and understanding of Church and the Bible has changed.

Church buildings did not appear until about the year 300 AD.  For more than two centuries, Christians worshiped in small groups.  (See “Pagan Christianity” by Frank Viola and George Barna)

People began using church buildings around 300 AD because Emperor Constantine built one for convenience, organization, and control.  He built it because he became a Christian, so the story goes.  But, as an Emperor, he also built it as a public display and a monument and constructed it to maintain order, show grandeur and to intimidate the audience by these things

“In time, the church as an organized religion began the construction of sacred buildings with special physical (pulpit, pews, balconies) and cultural trappings (special priests, choirs, incense).

“Aside from the unchristian origins of these developments, there was the onset of the high cost of such religious overhead. It is estimated the value of church real estate as over $230 billion (that was before the financial crisis of 2008). Mortgages and maintenance requires a substantial portion of the $50 to $60 billion churches garner from tithes and offerings.

What makes the traditional Sunday morning worship sequence interesting is the origins of the familiar service outline.  Aside from the pagan origins, they note the missed opportunity for spiritual transformation that could occur in a more active and participative format.

The next pillar to fall is the holy sermon, which has its roots in Greek oratory. They note the limited examples of speeches in the Old Testament and New Testament before suggesting how the contemporary sermon hinders growth.  They also point to research on the ineffectiveness of sermons.

Where did the pastor come from?”.  Not surprisingly, the notion of a professional clergy caste does not come from scripture. The authors advocate the priesthood of all believers and demonstrate the problems inherent in a pastor-driven church. Not only do pastors and their families suffer from the stress created by the contemporary position but talented believers also suffer from inhibited spiritual growth.

But, the greatest damage inflicted by this HAMMER approach, is what it has done to the average Christian’s understanding of the Gospel and how to apply it to their own lives.  This new-found ignorance has created an expanding catastrophic failure within the Church.

 Here is an example:

 WOMEN, SUBJECT YOURSELVES TO YOUR HUSBANDS – In Everything

Now, be honest.  It’s just you and me here.  Well, actually, it’s just you.  But, tell me, does the title of this article get under your skin just a little, especially  if you are a woman and/or a wife?

And, does this title make you a little nervous if you are a man and/or a husband?

If you are irritated or skittish, the devil is smiling – and because I said the ‘devil is smiling’, you might even be a little bit more annoyed or a little bit more nervous, right?

Your perspective is determining your understanding.  It is the HAMMER and NAIL idom!

This title and what it represents is a big issue in marriages and relationships today. and, it is grossly misunderstood.  As the result, many marriages are struggling or falling apart.  And, many households with both parents are under constant emotional strain and single parent households are under even greater stress.

(This article is meant to give the reader a Biblical view of the stresses on the nuclear family and how to counter those stresses. https://whitestone2020.com/wives-submit-its-not-what-you-think/

If you want a detailed secular study of the causes and cures. you will have to go elsewhere.  This will be an unfiltered Biblical view.  Either way, the causes are complex and varied – and destructive. https://whitestone2020.com/wives-submit-its-not-what-you-think/)

IT’S UP TO YOU

It’s up to you to read, study, pray and apply the Biblical principals presented in this article.  But, properly done, the results can be like magic – no, scrub that: the results  are far more than magic – they are miraculous.

This whole mess of subverting God’s design for the family started early in creation.   TO WIT:

THE RULE:

Genesis 2:16  The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.”

 THE HAMMER:

1Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really<mh637, 3588=””> said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! 5For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will [a]become like God, knowing good and evil.”

 THE REBELLION (THE NAIL):

Genesis 3:6  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate

THE RESULTS:

Genesis 3:16  “To the woman God said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall deliver children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

17 “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; With hard labor you shall eat from it All the days of your life. 18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; Yet you shall eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

23 “therefore the LORD God sent him out of the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

You can spin this any way you want, but, the truth is (1) Eve listened to Satan and disobeyed God and suffered the curse of sin (2) Adam listened to Eve’s bad advice, and disobeyed God and suffered the curse of sin, (3) All of humankind suffers the curse of sin which is death, disease, poverty, wars and a plethora of evil because they defied God and followed this Satanic pattern for their lives.

THE REMEDY

GOD’S PATTERN FOR MARRIAGE (Relationships)

Genesis 2:15  “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it. 16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.”

18 “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “At last this is bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called ‘woman,’ Because she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.”

Over the many centuries man has defined and redefined relationships and particularly the relationship of marriage and family.  But, it was the Israelite Jew who, in an attempt to defined marriage according to God’s laws, defined marriage as a covenant relationship.  The most recent description can be found in

THE RULE RESTATED

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 o that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are parts of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 6:1  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY TURN OUT WELL FOR YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

There have been mountains of books written on these matters, most so confusing and convoluted, that they sit on shelves gathering the dust of neglect.  And, this article may be headed for the same dustbin, unless you read it and follow these same simple instructions AND RECEIVE THIS MIRACLE FROM GOD!

GOD’S HAMMER (God’s Perspective):

For us to get our perspective correct so our understanding and application is right, we must first accept and know that the Word of God is True.  It is His very Breath and His Mind for you on all matters concerning life.  It is the only True Wisdom known to creation.  It is supremely Prophetic, after all, It (He) “created the heavens and the earth and all thy contain”.  Once you abide in this Word and this Word abides in you It will manifest the truth to you and through you!

Second, accept and know that the Word of God is causative and creative.  Know and accept that the Word of God accomplishes the very matters it is sent to accomplish.

GOD’S NAIL

You must drive this “nail” home in your own mind, soul and spirit.  The results will be “the blood of the Lamb over your life and the word of your testimony” in your life.

I cannot adequately explain nor can I adequately emphasize the importance of getting this right.  Neither, can I adequately explain how to solve this puzzle. But, I do know that unless you try, you will not attain God’s provision.  And, I do know that “once I was blind, but now I see”.  My vision isn’t 20/20, but, but that is to be expected and it is okay, because the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and w hat the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

Believe it!  Do it!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

LIES & LIARS

Have you ever told a lie?  Do you still lie?  What can that possibly mean for you?

OUTLINE:

  1. What is a lie / liar?
  2. Distinctives and definitions of lies / liar
  3. What the Bible says about lie and liars
  4. Biblical definitions
  5. Traits of a liar
  6. The Indictment of a liar
  7. The Sentence for lying
  8. The penalty of lying
  9. The Remedy for lying, being a liar
  10. The Correction for repenting of lying
  11. The Assurance of Forgiveness

 1.    WHAT IS A LIE / LIAR?

Leonard Saxe, Ph.D., a polygraph expert and professor of psychology at Brandeis University, says, “Lying has long been a part of everyday life. We couldn’t get through the day without being deceptive.” Yet until recently lying was almost entirely ignored by psychologists, leaving serious discussion of the topic in the hands of ethicists and theologians.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199705/the-truth-about-lying

Some of the seemingly nicest (and most convincing) people I have ever met turned out to be notorious liars.  They are nice, that is, until they are discovered or threatened with discovery.  Then, they can be as  mean as “the devil himself” –  literally.

They rarely show remorse of conscience when confronted with or caught in lies, unless it is false remorse to mask their previous lies.

To make it simple:  Liars lie.  And, liars will lie to the bitter end.  They will attempt to justify their every lie and most would rather die than admit their lies, because they cannot.  They simply cannot admit they are liars and deceivers.

“Good Liars” don’t even have to work at their art of deceit because “good liars” are pathological.  They are trapped in their own device, or put more accurately, trapped in the devil’s device of deception.  They are so completely deceived that they absolutely believe their lies to be the “justifiable truth”.

 2.    DISTINCTIONS* AND DEFINITIONS

*Pathological -We all tell white lies here and there, and sometimes for 
important reasons. But have you ever met a pathological liar? What makes a 
pathological liar different from any other liar? It's the term pathological, 
which means of or relating to pathology, in this case some sort of mentally 
disturbed condition.) 

*What Is Pathology? - Pathology can be defined in one of two ways. 
It's either the condition (the anatomical or functional manifestation) 
produced by a disease, or the scientific study of the origin, nature, and course 
of diseases.)

*Where does this word come from? Well, first there’s the prefix of ‘path/o,’ which means ‘disease’ or ‘suffering,’ and then there’s the suffix of ‘-logy,’ which means ‘the study thereof,’ like biology, geology, and so on.

  3.    THE BIBLE SPEAKS, THUS

James 3:14  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

 4.    DEFINED From Strong’s BIBLE Concordance pseustés:  LIAR.

Original Word: ψεύστης, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: pseustés from the same as NG5574
Phonetic Spelling: (psyoos-tace’)
Definition: liar
Usage: a liar, deceiver.

Cognate: 5583 pseústēs (from 5574 /pseúdomai, “to falsify, lie”) – properly, a lair; a person who falsifies, misrepresents (distorts, misleads).

pseudomai: to lie

Original Word: ψεύδομαι
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: pseudomai
Phonetic Spelling: (psyoo’-dom-ahee)
Definition: to lie
Usage: deceive, lie, speak falsely.

5574 pseúdomai (from pseudō, “to falsify, lie”) – properly, lie (falsify), willfully misrepresent (mislead).

Lies come from a person who is full of bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, arrogant, deceitful, natural-minded, demonic, disordered (in their beliefs, thinking), evil (intent)

  5.    TRAITS OF A LIAR

LIE – bitter jealousy

LIE – selfish ambition

LIE – arrogant

LIE – deceitful

LIE – natural-minded (vs Spiritual minded)

LIE – demonic

LIE – disordered (thinking – not to be confused with disorderly)

LIE – evil (intentions)

Sadly and tragically, a person who lies continually and over a long period of time, sears their conscience and can no longer see themselves as liars – they just cannot – the sin has become pathological, therefore, they have no conscience or remorse about the evil and harm they perpetuate and inflict on others.

 6.    THE INDICTMENT

John 8:44  “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I say the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 The one who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

 7.    THE SENTENCE

Romans 3:4  Far from it! Rather, God must prove to be true, though every person be found a liar, as it is written:

“SO THAT YOU ARE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS,

AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.” 5 But if our unrighteousness  demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking from a human viewpoint.) 6 Far from it! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say (just as we are slanderous as reported and as some claim that we say), “Let’s do evil that good may come of it”?  Their condemnation is deserved.

9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written:

“THERE IS NO RIGHTEOUS PERSON, NOT EVEN ONE;

11 THERE IS NO ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,

THERE IS NO ONE WHO SEEKS OUT GOD;

12 THEY HAVE ALL TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME CORRUPT;

THERE IS NO ONE WHO DOES GOOD,

THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,

WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,”

“THE VENOM OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;

14 “THEIR MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;

15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,

16DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,

17AND THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN THE WAY OF PEACE.”

18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

 8.    THE PENALTY

Acts 5:1  “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2and kept back some of the proceeds for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias collapsed and died; and great fear came over all who heard about it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

 9.    THE REMEDY AND HOPE

1 John 1:5  “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

 10.   THE CORRECTION

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old self with its evil practices,

 11.   THE ASSURANCE – NO CONDEMNATION

Romans 8:1  “Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are in accord with the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living in accord with the flesh, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons and daughters of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

“THE LETTER OF THE LAW KILLS, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE”

It is written, in Matthew 3:4  “Such is the confidence we have toward God through Christ. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves so as to consider anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter of the law but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:

It is not the lying or the ‘not lying’ which will save your or condemn you.  It is a much deeper issue.  It is an issue of which is carried deep within your heart.  It is an issue of rebelliousness against God and an absence of faith.

Jeremiah 17:9-11 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?  The Lord searches the heart and tests the mind in order to give to each person according to his ways, that is, according to the results of his deeds.”

Galatians 5:19-21 tells us that people who practice “deeds of the flesh”, such as lying and things like that, will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is the issue.  JESUS is the cure!

BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS.  CONFESS YOU SINS; REPENT FROM THEM; CONFESS HIS NAME AND TRUST HIM.

He heals all your physcial, psychological, moral and spiritual diseases.

Matthew 4:23Jesus was going about in all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease (nósos = physical diseases) and every sickness (malakia = softness, weakness, illness = from = malakos: soft, effeminate, of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness, moral sickness) among the people.

MISSION & MINISTRY

JESUS MISSION & MINISTRY TO HIS CHURCH

His Mission is our mission

Hebrews 13:8  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.”  And, He commands us to have this same mind and attitudes in our practices and faith.

Likewise, Jesus’ MISSION is the same today as when He began.  It has not changed.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  His primary mission is all about Salvation.  Jesus, Himself, said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  (John 3:16-19)

Our Mission

Jesus’ Misson gives us our mission:  To lift up the name of Jesus, and He will draw all men to Himself.  Our mission is to do His works because He has prepared those works ahead of time that we should walk in them. (John 12:32, Ephesians 2:10)

JESUS’ MINISTRY is our ministry

Jesus’ Church is alternately known as His followers, His disciples, Christians or The Church.  In other words, we – you and I – are His Church.

Jesus’ ministry to His Church – to you and me – is “Three Fold”*:

(1) To our physcial Body (soma),

(2) To our Soul (psuche) mind, will and emotions,

(3) to our Spirit, (pneuma) i.e., the entire person.

Here are just a few of many examples from the Bible:

(1)  1 Thessalonians 5:23 – And the very God of peace will sanctify you wholly; and I pray to God that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2)  Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.

(3)  Matthew 22:37 “And Jesus said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

(4)  Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

The world “SAVE” = Strong’s Bible concordance #4982 sṓzō  (comes from sōs, “safe, rescued”) – sózó: to save

Original Word: σῴζω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: sózó
Phonetic Spelling: (sode’-zo)
Definition: to save
Usage: I save, heal, preserve, rescue.  Properly, deliver out of danger and into safety; heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

Interestingly, this word has it roots from

(Renewing the) SPIRIT – God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety). cured, ensure salvation;

(Saving the) BODY – universally, save, one from injury or peril; to save a suffering one from perishing, e. g. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health.  get well, made well, preserved, recover, restore, save. saved, saves, saving.

(Saving the) SOUL – make healthy in the mind, will and emotions.

  1. PNEUMA = SPIRIT (The heart or the core of one’s being)
  2. PSUCHE = SOUL (The mind, will and emotions)
  3. SOMA = BODY (The physical and observable)

(*Jesus’ ministry to each person is three-fold.  Do not be confused by an invention known as the “five fold ministry”, which is actually a misnomer and is used inaccurately describe and to misapply the function of the Offices of Spiritual gifts;  (1) apostles, (2) prophets, (3) evangelists (4) pastors and (5) teachers, found in Ephesians 4:11 )

THE CHURCH

(1)  THE CHURCH – Ecclesia (Ekklesia) in Christian theology means both: (a) a particular body of faithful people, and (b) the whole body of the faithful.

THE CHURCH is YOU and ME.

“The hope of the church yet lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other.” – A.W. Tozier

The hope of the church – YOU and ME – lies in the purity of OUR theology, that is, OUR beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other.

LET’S GET THIS RIGHT

  • Ecclesia is not a building and our relationship to a building.
  • Ecclesia is not a legal entity and our relationship to that entity.
  • Ecclesia is not a owned our managed primarily by a man or woman and our relationship to any man or any woman.
  • Ecclesia is not a 501(c)(3) government approved organization and our relationship is not with the government and its rules.

THE CHURCH is YOU and ME and is about our relationship with Him.

And we better get our thinking right about this, because the time of His Return is upon us – He is not coming for the Church Board, or the Denominational Headquarters, or the Church “leadership” – JESUS IS COMING FOR HIS BRIDE – THE CHURCH – YOU AND ME.

And He expects us to have this right because He is going to ask us.

“The hope of the church yet lies in the purity of our theology, that is, our beliefs about God and man and our relation to each other.”

John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

THE ROCK

(2)  Mathew 16:13  “Now when Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said,

  • “Some say John the Baptist; and others,
  • Elijah; and stillothers,
  • Jeremiah,or
  • one of the otherprophets.” 15He *said to them, “But who do you yourselves say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the
  • Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

It is important to understand the nuance of the language Jesus uses here.  He calls Peter by name, Pétros in the Greek language, which is an isolated rock or a stone as one would throw.  But, the ROCK upon which Jesus will build His Church is the word “pétra”, which is a huge mass of interconnected rock, a “solid or native rock, rising up through the earth”.

This is important because Jesus is telling you, and all of His followers, about your position, your ability, your responsibility and your authority in His Church:

  • I will build My Church, you and others like you; and
  • the gates of Hades will not overpower you and others like you.
  • v19I will give you and others like you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;
    • and whatever you and others like youbind on earth shall have been bound in heaven,
    • and whatever youand others like you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Finally, Jesus says He will give you and others like you, that is, His Church, the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  We can pursue this as a metaphor, but, there are specific references to these KEYS in the scriptures.

The most significant is The Key of David is a term found in Revelation 3:7 and Isaiah 22:22.

A key indicates control or authority; therefore, having the Key of David would give one control of David’s domain, i.e., Jerusalem, the City of David, and the kingdom of Israel.

The fact that, in Revelation 3:7 Jesus holds this key shows that He is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, the ruler of the New Jerusalem, and the Lord of the kingdom of heaven.

And, you, coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by people, which is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone,
And the one who believes in Him will not be ]put to shame.”

This precious value, then, is for you who believe;   (1 Peter 2:4-7)

 You and I must take up our appointed positions.  We must shake of the lethargy of the 21st century postmodern religion we call ‘church’ and take the Gospel of Jesus to the streets, the byways, the hedges and towns, into our neighborhoods, and as scriptures tell us, BECOME THE LIVING STONES, A LIVING SACRIFICE.

I.    THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

Go into the World and Make Disciples

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

II.  THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH

Equip the Saints, Build up the Body of Christ

Ephesians 4:1  “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE THE CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO PEOPLE.” 9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and called to serve.  We are God’s church.

Here is a list of the Gifts which God gives His Body.  See if you can find which gift(s) is/are yours?  Can you imagine how different things would be in The Church and the world around us if we engaged and used these Gifts, daily?

Romans 12             1 Corinthians              Corinthians 12       Ephesians 4

Prophecy               Word of wisdom            Apostle                   Apostle
Serving                  Word of knowledge       Prophet                  Prophet
Teaching               Faith                                 Teacher                   Evangelist
Exhortation          Gifts of healing              Miracles                 Pastor
Giving                    Miracles                           Kinds of healing  Teacher
Overseer                Prophecy                         Helps
Mercy                    Distinguishing spirits  Administration
Tongues                Tongues
Interpretation of tongues

Sometimes, Spiritual Gifts are mistakenly considered to be a natural talent or a person’s proclivity, a natural inclination.  Natural talents can mimic Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but, they will never accomplish God’s purposes effectively.  Please remember, these are not natural talents.  These are supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Here is a more detailed description and function of the Gifts.  https://whitestone2020.com/spiritual-gifts/

III.  “THE CYCLE OF DISCIPLESHIP”

(Click for Detail)

The pastor is not called to be the sole disciple-maker of the Body of Christ.  The Church, you and I, are the “called out ones”, the disciple-makers.

Pastor:   This term derives from a Greek word for “shepherd”.  Pastoral Gifts include integrity and compassion.

By way of examples, the tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep to defend the sheep from attackers to heal the wounded and sick sheep to find and save lost or trapped sheep to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust. This is the role and task of a pastor.

​During World War II, a shepherd was a pilot who guided another pilot whose plane was partially disabled back to the base or carrier by flying alongside him to maintain visual contact. This, too, is the role of a pastor.

Jesus gave us the model for the Cycle of Discipleship:

  1. CONFESS JESUS:  Romans 10:9  If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
  2. FOLLOW JESUS:  Matthew 4:19  And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
  3. DO HIS WORKS:  Matthew 10:5  Jesus sent These twelve out after instructing them: 7“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is athand.’8“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9“Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
  4. GO INTO THE WORLD:  Mark 16:15  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
  5. MAKE DISCIPLES:  Matthew 28:19  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, evento the end of the age.”
  6. BE ONE BODY:  1 Corinthians 12:25  “So that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
  7. LOVE ONE ANOTHER:  Ephesians 4:22  “Indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

We must return to the FOUNDATION, the CORNERSTONE of JESUS’ CHURCH.  Technology has changed, but the methods and ways of Jesus are eternal.  We must return to the model of Jesus for our Mission and our Ministry.  It will be an adventure with eternal benefits like you have never imagined!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Resources:

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH:  https://whitestone2020.com/2021/03/31/i-will-build-my-church/

BE MY DISCIPLES – a guide:  https://whitestone2014908134937.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/and-you-shall-be-my-disciples-10-31-2020.pdf

THE CHURCH:  https://whitestone2020.com/the-church/

THE CHURCH:  https://whitestone2020.com/ekklesia/

SPIRITUAL GIFTS:  https://whitestone2020.com/spiritual-gifts/

THE CYCLE OF DISCHIPLESHIP:  https://www.whitestone2014.com/copy-of-the-cycle-of-ministry-jesus

THE WORKS OF JESUS:  https://whitestone2020.com/2021/04/07/these-works/

 

THESE WORKS

What would you think, if in passing, you were to ask me, “What are you up to now-a-days?”, and I were to answer, saying…

“Oh, just testifying to the Truth,

“bringing a sword to the world and

“turning sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers.

“I am working at fulfilling the Hebrew and Judaic law and that of their prophets, and

“calling sinners to righteousness.  

“I am bringing fire upon the earth and to creating a lot of division.  

“I guess you might say I have been busy working at saving the world”.  

 WHICH WORKS?

It is interesting that Jesus commanded His disciples (Christians) to do the works that He has done and even greater works than these.  We are to continue in His mission, using His methods and His ways. (John 14:12, Matthew 10:1)

It can be a bit confusing, but He promised us that He will be with us, in His authority, giving us direction and even giving us the words we should use.  (Matthew 28:16-19, Luke 21:15, Luke 12:12)

WHY DID JESUS COME INTO THE WORLD?

“For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”  This, too, is our calling!

 TO TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”  This, too, is our calling!

TO BRING A SWORD

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to TURN A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A PERSON’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.”  This, too, is our calling!

 TO FULFILL THE LAW

17 Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.”  This, too, is our calling!

TO CALL SINNERS

17 And hearing this, Jesus *said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  This, too, is our calling!

TO SAVE THE WORLD

47 If anyone hears My teachings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”   In a very real sense, This, too, is our calling, by lifting the Name of Jesus, telling others and leading them to Him

TO CAST FIRE & BRING DIVISION UPON THE EARTH

49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I came to provide peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather to create division;  This, too, is our calling!

 

WHAT HE REALLY MEANT, WAS…

John 14:12 Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

I have heard so many preachers and bible teachers try to justify or explain away these Words of Jesus because they just cannot fathom the gentle and sweet ‘dashboard Jesus’ saying such things as we find in the verses cited.  These same confused preachers really get tied in a knot over John 14:12.  They will begin their commenary of teaching it with, “what this really means is…”.

Jesus said what He meant and meant exactly what He said.  We need to get over it and get on with it.

CONTEXT

The year is now 2021.  A recent president of the United States has declared that America is no longer a Christian nation.  Postmodernism is a term used to describe this new paradigm.  Our churches are practicing a new version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ often described by a “3-line motto” which can be seen across the spectrum of churches in America:  “Gather, Grow, Give” or “Love each other, Enjoy Jesus, Share Him with others”, etc.

These mottoes are an attempt to describe the church and its ministry to the watching world or to the ‘church shopping Christian’.  But, if these mottoes or labels are supposed to describe Jesus and His Church, they fail.

Jesus’  purpose in coming to earth was not to teach a social gospel, create a ‘family life center’, to make you a better you or to shake up the existing religious institutions.  Jesus was on a specific Mission from God the Father as is reflected in the foregoing Bible verses.  Jesus confirms that He is on His Father’s mission,, in John 5:19,  “Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way.”

With this in mind, can you, in your most vivid imagination, see Jesus announcing “mother’s morning out”, “cookies and campfires for kids”, “fishing with fathers and sons”, “financial workshops”, etc?  You might say “what’s wrong with that?”.  I would respond that there is nothing wrong with these activities, but, they have nothing to do with Jesus Mission and our calling to that mission.

THE BOTTOM LINE

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.”

FACING REALITY

Everything Jesus has done is IN THE CONTEXT of what God the Father said. But, the world, both Christian and secular worlds seem to have decided that Jesus is exclusively a gentle little lamb.  But, if you make a closer inspection and take an honest look a what the Bible says, you see a different picture:  Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Sacrificial Lamb.  He is both careful with His words and brutally honest.  He is both gentle and forceful.

THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE

If you came home and saw your house on fire, knowing your family was inside, what would you do?  Would you politely suggest everyone might want to step outside or would you take immediate action, sparing no effort or words to alert everyone to the immediate danger and move them to safety at any cost?

Likewise, God’s creation is perishing because of lack of knowledge of Him and Jesus is doing what is necessary to save the world.  We may not always understand His words, His methods or His ways, but it would be prudent to observe, listen, think and obey Him.

The world has long held a misconception, a distorted view of God.  We have made Him into a “kinder and gentler” image which we would prefer.

Jesus is setting that record straight in order to save the world from itself.

SO, WHAT ABOUT JESUS BEHAVIORS?

Most who have read this far, should have been shocked by the opening paragraphs of this article, but, that is EXACTLY what Jesus said and did.  These are EXACTLY the behaviors of our Savior.  Jesus’ words and behaviors are the perfect balance of love for this world coupled with rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness  This, too, is our calling!  

His words and actions must be kept in context, lest we misuse them, ourselves.  Read John 3:16 again, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.”

Jesus’ words and behaviors are the perfect balance of love for this world coupled with rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness.  This, too, is our calling!

WE ARE IN AN END DAYS WAR

We are locked in the eternal Spiritual struggle.  Millions upon millions of souls are at risk.  We cannot fight and win this battle using our own means, methods and ways.  It is urgent that we return to Jesus, to His methods and His ways.  It is urgent that we have the mind of Christ at all times and in all matters.  Anything less ends in defeat.

If you dispute or dismiss the idea that God’s ways may seem strict harsh or unfair, remember, God sacrificed His own Son for you.  That seems strict, harsh and unfair.

Jesus willingly gave up His own life for this Cause which also seems strict, harsh and unfair.

And, if God did not spare the natural branches (His own Jewish / Hebrew people), how will you stay secure in this Cause without following Him?  Does this also seems strict, harsh and unfair?  Perhaps.  But it is the only way!

WE MUST GET THIS RIGHT

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  We cannot fight this war with conventional earthly method, means or way.  WE MUST GET THIS RIGHT in our minds and do this in real-time!

This is the only way, for it is written.  This will shake the very foundations of your life, your church and the world!

  • TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH
  • BRING A SWORD
  • FULFILL THE LAW
  • CALL SINNERS TO REPENTANCE
  • SAVE THISWORLD
  • CAST FIRE & BRING DIVISION UPON THE EARTH
  • WHAT HE REALLY MEANT, WAS (John 14:12 )Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

From one Christian to another:  Time is short.  His return is near.  It is time each of us, individually and collectively, to really pick up our cross and really follow Him.  Now!  Today!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

(Contact me and let’s get to work, together!)

whitestonefellowship1@protonmail.com

 

PS:  Just in case you were wondering.  The Bible is clear:  I am not talking about us saving ourselves.  No one can earn their way into the Kingdom of Heaven by what they say or do apart from Jesus.  Our salvation and place in heaven is secured solely by God’s Grace and through our faith in Jesus.

How we act, that is, our words and our behaviors are a reflection of our attitude.  And our attitude, our mind set, must be the same as Christ.  Philippians 2:5  exhorts us to “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

Your attitudes and resultant words and behaviors are what will free you or will limit you.

You will overcome because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of your testimony, and that you do not love this life even when faced with death.

“EASTER” – INSULT ON TOP OF INJURY?

There He hung.  Suspended between heaven and earth.  Then, heaven and earth converged, and the veil was torn, the earth shook, rocks were split, tombs were opened and the dead were raised. Heaven and earth touched.

You can hear it throughout the church production, but, it is most pronounced at the end of the service, during the crescendo of the music. You know the song, “UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE”.  The message is clear, “WE WIN”!

Is there a hidden within the minds and hearts of those singing these praises is the sublime messages? Is it “Us against Them”, and we win!

Actually, the song says, Up from the grave he arose; with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; he arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever, with his saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!  His foes are not people, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 Is this inadvertent misconception causing us to rejoice in the wrong way and for some wrong reasons?  Are we secretly happy that “all those bad people” who don’t believe in, or who hate Jesus are going to get what they have coming?

Jesus Mission on earth was not to condemn or defeat people, but He came to save them.  That is our mission, also.

Secondly, are we just observers now?  We “observe” Easter?  If this holiday is meant to be a commemoration of Jesus’ victory over death and triumph in life, then we should be going, doing and telling everyone, right?  But, alas, many watch the service in agreement, perhaps shout an occasional “amen” then go to lunch, satisfied that “we will win in the end”.  But, He has called us to action!

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the holiday we call “Easter” and I love to celebrate Jesus.  This season reminds me that Jesus lived and died on my behalf and on the behalf of all people.  I am reminded that death could not stop Him and the grave could not contain Him.  He is victorious over evil, sin, disease and death, and because He lives, we can live forever, victoriously,  in His presence.

This is why we should praise Him and tell everyone this Good News!

It is not “Us against Them”.  It is “Jesus and US” for them.  Pulling for those who do not know Jesus as their Savior, to come to Him and find eternal life!  This message is for all people to have victory over evil, sin, disease and death.

As much as I love Resurrection Sunday (aka, “Easter”), I also dread the way we celebrate the holiday we call Easter.  I dread it because of the confused and mixed message we send.  EGGS and BUNNIES.  US versus THEM.  Dressed in our “Sunday Best”.

THE CRUCIFIXION

The trial was a mockery.  The conviction was a predetermined fraud.  The sentencing was death by crucifixion, preceded by humiliation and a brutal and bloody beating.  Then He was hung on a cross with nails in His hands and feet.  His side was pierced with a spear.  You could hear jeering, taunting, sorrowful crying.  There were no bunnies.  No decorated eggs.  No Sunday brunch.

THE RESURRECTION

Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found it was empty except for the burial clothes and “two men in dazzling clothing.”  There was no sunrise service.  No one dressed in their “Sunday Best”.

THE ASCENSION

Acts 1:6   “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

V9  “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

There were no orchestras.  No crescendo of music. But, make no mistake.  Everything had changed for the BEST, and the world would never forget, and it would never be the same.

“DEATH HAS BEEN SWALLOWED UP in victory. WHERE, O DEATH, IS YOUR VICTORY? WHERE, O DEATH, IS YOUR STING?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law; Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

 EASTER?  Really?

Old English Easterdæg, from Eastre (Northumbrian Eostre), from Proto-Germanic *austron-, “dawn,” also the name of a goddess of fertility and spring, perhaps originally of sunrise, whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox, from *aust- “east, toward the sunrise” (compare east), from PIE root *aus- (1) “to shine,” especially of the dawn.

Bede says Anglo-Saxon Christians adopted her name and many of the celebratory practices for their Mass of Christ’s resurrection. Almost all neighboring languages use a variant of Latin Pascha to name this holiday (see paschal).

Easter egg is attested by 1825, earlier pace egg (1610s). Easter bunny is attested by 1904 in children’s lessons; Easter rabbit is by 1888; the paganish customs of Easter seem to have grown popular c. 1900; before that they were limited to German immigrants.

So, who has been influencing whom?  I can’t help hearing these words, Matthew 7:14 “for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. v14 But, narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

RESURRECTION SUNDAY

It’s not too late.  Celebrate this Resurrection Sunday by remembering Jesus, what He has done, and what it means to you and others.

Now, let’s Go and Tell about Him and what He has done!  Let’s be reminded to Go and Do as Jesus has done.

And, oh yes, have a Blessed Resurrection Sunday!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PRIVILEGE

I am an Army veteran, a businessman, I have been a youth soccer coach and worked in ministry.  Here are some instances of the privileges I have experienced.

#1 – While in the Army, I learned that it could be deadly to put an unqualified person in some positions.  But, once a person became qualified and showed themselves capable and dependable, you gave them the positions of responsibility and the privilege of holding those positions.  They have earned the privilege and everyone around them will receive the benefits.

One day, a fellow who had previously been disqualified from field duty was given the opportunity to try some training because of his incessant complaining to a certain staff member.  He complained that he was being treated unfairly because of his physical stature.  He said “he was born that way and couldn’t help it”.  Furthermore, he accused the rest of us of having an unfair advantage and privilege.  During one training exercise, he threw a hand grenade like a “little boy”.  It barely cleared the safety wall, and exploded just feet from the rest of us.  Thankfully, no one was injured.  Just ringing ears for a couple of hours. He was reassigned to kitchen duty.  Privilege is earned through hard work and sometimes by way of your abilities.

#2 – I owned and ran a multi-million dollar insurance business.  I learned from experience that it was risky and usually financially fatal to put irresponsible, unqualified people in positions of responsibility.  But, once a person showed themselves as capable, dependable and responsible, it was smart business to give them positions of responsibility.  The have earned the privilege.

A man in my insurance business, who barely met the minimum requirements to keep his position as an area manager, called me one day to say I was greedy and unfair because I wouldn’t promote him to Regional Vice President status.  His work ethic was mediocre, his efforts were lacking, and he spent more time in recreation that at work.  So, l refused his request.  He left our Agency and went elsewhere.  Someone had promised him the privilege of becoming an area VP.  Within a year’s time, he had bankrupted both that agency’s area assignment and himself.  He still complains that had I given him the privilege of becoming a VP he would have succeeded.  Privilege is earned.

#3 – I coached many youth soccer teams, and they usually had winning records.  I would watch the player’s skills, dedication, capabilities, attitude and work ethics.  If a player showed themselves as teachable, capable and dependable, I always gave them the privilege of playing time and for those who excelled, I gave them the position for which they were best suited, for their efforts and for the good of the entire team.  They had earned the privilege.

One particular school soccer team I was coaching had an 8 – 0 winning record to date.  We were playing another undefeated team in our league on this particular day.  One of the parents came to me to complain that his son was not getting enough playing time and wanted his son to play in the upcoming game.  I explained that I gave his son playing time each week and that he could get more time if (1) he would lose some weight, practice more at home and listen during school practice, or (2) I could place him on the second squad where he would get more playing time.  The parent complained that I was showing preference to certain players and giving them unfair privileges.

We were leading in this soccer match against the other undefeated team, 2-1 and I offered this boy to enter the game.  He looked terrified and declined.  We won the match.  After the game this parent came to me and said I was unfair and a terrible coach, showing preference to other players.  To which I replied, “This is a TEAM sport.  I do what is best for all the players, including your son.  These boys want to win, fairly and with honor.  The privilege to play is earned.”

#4 – I was asked to start a Sunday school class in a particular church.  I was nervous about the task, but grateful.  I had never done such a thing.  I was assigned a small office for class space.  I began to pray and invite others.  I invited both church members and those outside the church.  We started with three people.  I studied for each lesson carefully and diligently, not wanting to mislead anyone.  My goal was to find my way through the Bible and to help others do the same.  God identified other capable and willing men who could teach better than I, and soon we had a rotation of about six qualified and capable teachers. The class soon outgrew the small space and needed a larger classroom.  Other capable and dependable men and women pitched in to help.  They worked hard and were committed to our cause.  I asked those who were willing and capable to start a once-a-month home fellowship for fun activities and as a means to grow closer together.  We soon had six homes brimming with happy new relationships.  I felt privileged to be part of such a capable and vibrant group of people.

Then one day the pastor called me to his office and announced that he was breaking the class into smaller classes and assigning other teachers.  He also announced that he was calling an end to the home fellowships as others in the church felt left out of the privilege to lead a group.  I explained they were always welcome to attend and after a while perhaps they could lead a group.  But, his mind was made up.  The existing teachers were retired from the Sunday school class and the home groups were abandoned.

Sadly, after one year, only one class remained, and it had shrunk in size and relocated to the original small classroom.  It seems the unqualified and incapable had gotten their wish.  You see, privilege is earned not conferred or assigned.

Self-esteem and ego are closely tied.  Being able to appreciate the former while controlling the latter can be difficult.  But, just wanting something won’t make it so.  Sometimes it takes extreme dedication, sacrifice, hard work and even some “luck”.  And, even then, you might not ‘measure up’.  And, yes, sometimes life just isn’t fair and some people aren’t fair.  If your self-esteem can’t handle that then you should change your desires or go make your way!  But, that’s the way life is and always has been.

Complaining about it, cheating, bullying or becoming jealous, angry or violent might get you the position you crave, but, it usually won’t change the outcome.  If you aren’t qualified or capable for a particular task or goal you might just fail.  If you are not dependable, you will probably fail and you and all those around you will suffer.  Like it or not.

You see, I know what I am talking about because, I have ‘been there and done that’.  I have had my share of failures.  But, I am grateful for the experiences, thankful for the chances to have tried.  I appreciate the successes I have had,  and I admire and respect those who made the grade above me.

Privilege is earned, and sometimes it just takes a little “luck”.  Please stop complaining and work at your goals.  Work hard, be diligent, pray a lot, make yourself qualified, become capable, be dependable.  Then, maybe, just maybe, you’ll get the privilege and all of us will benefit from your hard work and “luck”.

Mike Young

privilege = sometimes it’s unfair; sometimes it’s luck; but somehow, it is always earned.

 

RESIST NOT EVIL

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #9

  • Resist Not Evil – Go the Second Mile

You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38–42).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Again, a teaching of Jesus seems counterintuitive and can test the soul of even the most dedicate man or woman.  It is difficult to understand – unless you are willing.

At first glance, this teaching sounds as if a disciple of Jesus is to stand idly by while an evil person slaps you about and perpetrates all kinds of evil to you and in your presence.

Some have even dubbed this teaching as “the law of non-resistance”.  It from this teaching that some call themselves “conscientious objectors”.

There are other examples and times when it seems Jesus teaches the contrary, such as, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6  

Or, Jesus’ own example, at times, contradicts the “law of non-resistance”, such as when He turned over tables and whipped the money changers in the Temple.

But, again, context is everything.

FIRST, Jesus is telling us not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of evil men, even when they cast their evil upon us.  Instead, stay focused on Jesus’ Mission while actively responding to evil, by overcoming evil with good.

SECONDLY, God’s Word and methods are an intricate balance of mercy and justice, something we rarely see anymore.  Once you have “paid the debt” of forgiveness and kindness, do not linger.  If an evil person continues in his or her evil ways, “Shake the dust off your sandals”, so to speak, and move on.

James teaches this principal and its practice when he says, 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  

A simple example of the law of “spiritual physics” is helpful.  Do this exercise with a friend:

  1.  Stand face-to-face, within an arm’s length from one another.
  2.  Each person should extend their arm until your hands meet halfway between one another.  (AN IMAGINARY LINE IS NOW DRAWN BETWEEN THE TWO PEOPLE.  THE PLACE WHERE YOUR HANDS MEET IS THE “LINE OF AGREEMENT”)
  3.  Each person needs to slowly, at first, apply a forward pressure pushing on the other’s hand palm, as if you are trying to push your opponent away.  We will call this meeting of the palm of your hands the “LINE OF AGREEMENT” and you are metaphorically imposing your will on your opponent.
  4.  Increase the pushing pressure as your opponent pushes back, trying to PUSH THEIR WAY into your space, imposing their will on you.
  5.  One person, suddenly jerk your hand back toward yourself.  This will cause your “opponent” to fall forward and suddenly find themselves ON YOUR SIDE of the “ARGUMENT”

Thus, the principal of “Spiritual Physics:  RESIST NOT EVIL.  

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? _________________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? _____________________________________

This takes effort on the Believer’s part, both of spiritual disciplines and the effort of practical application.  But in the end, you have become a peacemaker and demonstrated

that you are a Child of God, a disciple of the King.

 Your Brother and Friend,

 Mike Young

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

The pastor, at a recent church service, congratulated the congregation for ranking high among church organizations within their denomination in mission giving.  He also praised them for meeting the financial needs of their local church budget.  “Go ahead and congratulate yourself”.  There was self-applause.  Bragging, of sorts.

Now this pastor says his church would embark on a building program to increase their size, exposure and influence in the community – all for Jesus and the Kingdom, of course.  (I cannot help but suspect it is also for his competitive stature and ranking within this denomination.  I have seen pastors ‘glean out’ those who do not ‘support their vision, methods and ways’ and ‘humbly brag’ about their church’s accomplishments.)

An internet search will quickly show you this is nothing out of the ordinary, though. 179,000,000 hits on Google search show the undying popularity of building more and more church buildings:

AD 1 The Church of Jesus Christ, The Body of Christ, had no buildings, little money and no wealth. The Church was a Movement.

Matthew 16:18  “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth [p] shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He gave the disciples strict orders that they were to tell no one that He was the Christ. 

Jesus said to make disciples; collect no money except to make your journey.

Although the penalty for becoming a Christian was often death. The Church grew exponentially.

AD 49 The Church expanded into Greece. The Church became a philosophy to many. The Church grew and size and influence.

AD 313 The Church expanded into Rome and it gained recognition. It grew in power and popularity. It obtained wealth, buildings, property and influence. It became an institution.

AD 380 The Church expanded into Europe. It was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It grew in wealth, stature, power and influence. It had become a culture.

AD 1607 The Church reaches America.

AD 1681 The Church became corporate. It had became a business and incorporated. It became regulated by the government.

The Corporate Church grew. It needed money to support growth and expansion, which meant the Corporate Church needed more people.

AD 1777 The state of Virginia granted tax exemption to houses of worship.

AD 1894 The corporate church was granted tax exemptions by the Federal Government.

AD 1954 The Federal Government regulated what a church could and could not say in order to retain tax exempt status.

The church continued to grow, and in order to attract more people the Corporate Church lowered its membership and doctrinal standards. More people became ‘members’ and gave more money to support more growth.

The Church corporation is complete with leaders, boards and membership and a business model.

Local churches compete against one another for members (customers). The church is selling itself in “three line slogans”.

The Church members now have choices and have become religious consumers. Church people can shop around for the religious brand and standards that best suits them. (2 Timothy 3)

The Leadership (pastors and preachers) have become CEOs, disciples have become church leaders, growing their 501(c)(3) business models.

Record numbers of pastors quitting because of stress, burnout or are being fired by their congregations (some stats say 1500 – 1700 leave “the ministry” each month).

Church debt in America soars; church foreclosures soar.

AD 1968 The church ordains homosexuals as clergy.

AD 1972 The United church of christ ordains homosexual clergy

AD 2010 The Lutheran church ordains homosexual clergy

AD 2012 The Presbyterian church ordains homosexual clergy

The Episcopal Church in the United States and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have also allowed ordination of openly gay and lesbian candidates for ministry for some years.

Internationally, churches that have ordained openly lesbian or gay clergy include the Church of Scotland, the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Church of Sweden, the Church of Norway, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Iceland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Methodist Church in Britain, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the United Protestant Church in Belgium, the Swiss Reformed Church, the United Protestant Church of France, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Anglican Church in Canada, the Old Catholic Church, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church and the United Church of Christ in Japan.

Millions of people (approximately 52 million) “attend church” in one of the 300,000+ churches in America, at least once a week each month. However, when people were asked the topic of the “sermon” they heard after 24 hours, only about 10 percent could tell you. When asked to cite the most important lesson they received, most just shrugged.

An estimated 1.2 million hours each week (1) are spent in sermon preparations; it takes about another 300,000 hours in delivery of these sermons (2) at a staggering potential cost of over $750 millions dollars nationally, each week (3). Yet, only 5% of those hearing these sermons, remember anything about them after 72 hours.

BUILDING MORE

AD 2021 The church is losing and has lost influence. The church in 2021 is losing members and adherents. (George Barna research; Pew Research)

AD 2021 The church is teaching and living a different Gospel than that of the Apostles.

THE ROCK

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He gave the disciples strict orders that they were to tell no one that He was the Christ.

Look back a few verses and we can see “THIS ROCK” that Jesus speaks of:

Mathew 16:13  “Now when Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said,

  • “Some say John the Baptist; and others,
  • Elijah; and stillothers,
  • Jeremiah,or
  • one of the otherprophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you yourselves say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the
  • Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon [l] Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth [p] shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

It is important to understand the nuance of the language Jesus uses here.  He calls Peter by name, Pétros in the Greek language, which is an isolated rock or a stone as one would throw.  But, the ROCK upon which Jesus will build His Church is the word “pétra”, which is a huge mass of interconnected rock, a “solid or native rock, rising up through the earth”.

This is important because Jesus is telling you, and all of His followers, about your position, your ability, your responsibility and your authority in His Church:

  • I will build My Church, you and others like you; and
  • the gates of Hades will not overpower you and others like you.
  • v19 I will give you and others like you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;
    • and whatever you and others like youbind on earth shall have been bound in heaven,
    • and whatever youand others like you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Finally, Jesus says He will give you and others like you, that is, His Church, the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  We can pursue this as a metaphor, but, there are specific references to these KEYS in the scriptures.

The most significant is The Key of David is a term found in Revelation 3:7 and Isaiah 22:22.

A key indicates control or authority; therefore, having the Key of David would give one control of David’s domain, i.e., Jerusalem, the City of David, and the kingdom of Israel.

The fact that, in Revelation 3:7 Jesus holds this key shows that He is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, the ruler of the New Jerusalem, and the Lord of the kingdom of heaven.

And (you) coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by people, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:

Behold, I am laying in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone,
And the one who believes in Him will not be ]put to shame.”

This precious value, then, is for you who believe;   (1 Peter 2:4-7)

 You and I must take up our appointed positions.  We must shake of the lethargy of the 21st century postmodern religion we call ‘church’ and take the Gospel of Jesus to the streets, the byways, the hedges and towns, into our neighborhoods, and as scriptures tell us, BECOME THE LIVING STONES, A LIVING SACRIFICE.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

https://www.gotquestions.org/living-sacrifice.html

https://whitestone2020.com/the-false-church-emerges/

https://whitestone2020.com/2021/01/14/what-are-you-getting-for-what-you-are-doing/

https://whitestone2020.com/the-one-world-church/

FOOT & STUDY NOTES:

I “SAY” to you:  3004 légō (originally, “lay down to sleep,” used later of “laying an argument to rest,” i.e. bringing a message to closure; see Curtius, Thayer) – properly, to say (speak), moving to a conclusion (bringing it to closure, “laying it to rest”). Aorist active

You “ARE”:  1510 eimí (the basic Greek verb which expresses being, i.e. “to be“) – am, is. 1510 (eimí), and its counterparts, (properly) convey “straight-forward” being (existence, i.e. without explicit limits).

”PETER”:  “4074 (Pétros) is an isolated rock and 4073 (pétra) is a cliff” (TDNT, 3, 100). “4074 (Pétros) always means a stone . . . such as a man may throw, . . . versus 4073 (pétra), a projecting rock, cliff” (S. Zodhiates, Dict).

Upon this “ROCK”:  4073 pétra (a feminine noun) – “a mass of connected rock,” which is distinct from 4074 (Pétros) which is “a detached stone or boulder” (A-S). 4073 (pétra) is a “solid or native rock, rising up through the earth” (Souter) – a huge mass of rock (a boulder), such as a projecting cliff.

I will build my “CHURCH”:  1577 ekklēsía (from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.

KEEP YOUR WORD

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #8

  • Keep Your Word

“Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  

In order to get a grasp on the meaning of this teaching, we must get the context of what Jesus is saying.  

  1. First of all, Jesus told us in verse Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Jesus is teaching “the fulfillment of the law” by comparing what the “ancients were told” and what He now says to us.

This time, Jesus is referring to making of vows, all of which He calls “FALSE VOWS”, which in truth is any vow or prediction you make since you cannot predict or direct your own future.  

Matthew5:33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ 34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. 36“Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”

2. Secondly, Jesus is saying “let your actions do your talking” so you do not fail in your vows, which God considers as sin.  

Besides, when you brag about what you can or will do and fail to do it, you look like a fool and a liar.  This is not the representation a Christian can make as a follower of Jesus.

Read  Deuteronomy23:21 to understand the gravity of an unfulfilled pledge or vow:  “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. 22However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. 23“You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.

James 4:13 picks up on Jesus teaching and reiterates, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15  Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

I have read many of the myriad commentaries on this matter and the great majority either lightly regard the context of this teaching or ignore the context all together and delve in to history, culture or the linguistics of the verse.  We should take this teaching at its face value.

If you are required to take an OATH, then make your oath truthful and fulfill that oath.  But, as for vows, just do what you need to do and let the results be your vow.  In other words, if you are a Christian, do what you said you would do, otherwise you are compromised by sin.  Keeping our word is what we do. Period.

Remembering that foul water and fresh water cannot come from the same spring, (James 3:11), neither should you expect the Living Water of God to flow from you if you harbor sin un-repented sin.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? __________________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? _______________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

DO NOT LUST

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #7

  • Do Not Lust

“ 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27–30).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

This is a very difficult saying and an even more difficult circumstance to find yourself. It should be approached with humility, submission to God through prayer.

First, God considers lust an offense worthy of death. Leviticus 20:10 says “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

1. Lust is destructive. Proverbs 6:32 says “The one who commits adultery with a woman is
lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it.”

2. Lust is a sin that spreads like a virus. Matthew 5:32 says “but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of un-chastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

3. Lust is powerfully seductive and fatally addictive.

James 1:14-15 says, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (v15) Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

4. Lust leads to corruption of the soul, debauchery and a reprobate mind.

James 4:2 says, “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.”

Jesus uses an extreme figure of speech when He says to pluck out your eye or to cut off your hand in order to illustrate the serious consequence of lust, “your whole body will go to hell”.

A true disciple, a true Christian, must avoid lust at all costs. But, when we find ourselves caught in the vortex of strong delusion and web of sin, we must start by admitting it and begin the long and difficult journey back to freedom.

1 John 1:8-9 says , “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Please click these links for a more complete explanation and an escape from this danger:

SEPARATED FROM GOD?

KNOWING GOD’S WILL

EXPERIENCE GOD’S WILL

HOW MUST YOU DO IT?___________________________

HOW MUST YOU TEACH IT?_______________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young


BE RECONCILED

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #6

  •   Be Reconciled

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”   (Matthew 5:23–25).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The Truth is presented on several levels in this teaching.  Jesus, using the practice of giving a gift or an offering to God, takes us from a practical spiritual duty to a profound Spiritual application.

We are reminded, here, that sin separates the Christian from God, and it must be dealt with quickly.  Otherwise, anything you have to offer God is tainted by your recognized sin, in this case separation from a brother due to some offense.

Jesus then uses a metaphor of the law to explain what happens in the Spirit and in your soul when sin is unconfessed, and you are unrepentant toward God.  You are handed over to the judge, and you are thrown into prison.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, in Romans 8:6  “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

The Greek language used here for a “mind set” is, once again, is a picture of being “swept away, fenced in and locked up”, put into a prison within one’s own mind, soul and spirit, separated from God.

Jesus, Himself warns us, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.   “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”  Matthew 6:14-15

The penalty is harsh, but the remedy is simple:  “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way…”

Forgive and be reconciled.  This is what a disciple of Jesus does.  This is what a Christian does.  We cannot deliberately and defiantly harbor ill feelings between a brother or a sister – for the jailer awaits.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT?  ________________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT?  ____________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

HONOR GOD’S LAW

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #5

  •  Honor God’s Law

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

These Laws and the Prophets were meant to teach and guide the Jewish people in all their thought and conduct to live a life pleasing to God to have success in their affairs.

Then, In one bold and sweeping statement Jesus announces that He is the fulfillment, the revealing and the completion of all the Law and the Prophets spanning their four thousand years of history.

Jesus is saying that His life, ministry and teachings not only explain the Law and the Prophets but completes their meanings and requirements.

The significance of this announcement is that it relegates the Torah and the Prophets as subject to Jesus and His teachings.

“The Torah” – The “Jewish Law” or the “Torah” is the 5 books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). The Jewish tradition is that there are 613 commandments, or mitzvot, in the Torah (also known as the Law of Moses).  Also known as the “Pentateuch“, which is Greek and means “Five Books”, refers to the Torah i.e. the 5 Books of Moses.  These Laws and the Prophets teach and guide the Jewish people in all their thought and conduct how to live a life which is pleasing to God and leads to success in their affairs.

Secondly, the “Prophets“, or The Twelve, also called The Twelve Prophets, or The Minor Prophets, the book of the Hebrew Bible which contains the books of 12 minor prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

These books contain an account God crating the world and the emergence of human civilization.

The first six books narrate not only the history but the genealogy of the people of Israel to the conquest and settlement of the Promised Land under the terms of God’s covenant with Abraham, whom God promised to make the progenitor of a great nation.

The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, the establishment and development of the monarchy and the warnings by the prophets both of impending divine punishment and exile and of Israel’s need to repent.

The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional history.

Again, in one bold and sweeping statement Jesus announces that His life, ministry and teachings not only explain the Law and the Prophets but completes their meanings and requirements.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets spanning their, now, four thousand years of history.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT?  _______________________________________

HOW MUST YOU TEACH IT?  ___________________________________

Jesus is our One True way to life and life more abundantly

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #4

  • Let Your Light Shine

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

PHOS = To shine or to make manifest one’s thoughts; God is light because light has the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it that which is exposed to the view of all, openly, publicly; reason, mind; the power of understanding esp. moral and spiritual truth.

Faith is a vital ingredient in our walk with God.  Our obedience demonstrates that faith.  But James gives us a great reminder when he says, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

But are we willing to recognize, that faith without works is useless?

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  Ephesians2:10

 Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST I DO IT?  _____________________________

HOW MUST I TEACH IT?  _________________________

We must remember that it is not our light that shines, but His Light within us, bringing Him glory through our submission and obedience to Him and His Will.

Your Brother and Friend,

 Mike Young

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

2021 – The Message from one church near you:  “We offer Great Bible Teaching.  Great preaching.  Great programs for families, for mothers, for dads, and for kids!  Come and help us grow!”

(DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS MISSING?)

AD 25 – The Message from Jesus to all His Disciples:  Matthew 11:1 “When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

2 Now while in prison, John heard about the works of Christ, and he sent word by his disciples, 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 those who are BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and those who limp walk, those with leprosy are cleansed and those who are deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

2021 – The Message from another church near you:  “Make disciples of Jesus Christ.  A church that makes disciples of Jesus Christ by (1) living out the GOSPEL, (2) living in COMMUNITY, and (3) living on MISSION.  A disciple of Jesus Christ is one who GATHERS, GROWS, GIVES, and GOES.”

Scheduled activities:

Tues. RefresHer Bible Study: Truthfilled, Student Ministry MidWeek Study, Wednesday Family Meal, Hispanic Ministry Estudio Bíblico, Awana 2020-21.MSM MDWK Worship, Wed. RefresHer Bible Study: Truthfilled, Celebrate Recovery,FBA At A Glance, Bible and Life Groups, Helps Outreach Food Drive Bag Distribution, Preschool Worship , Saturday 6:00PM Service, Divorce Care, Kidztown Bible & Life Groups (BLG), Preschool Bible & Life Groups (BLG), Hispanic Ministry BLG (estudio bíblico), High School Ministry Bible & Life Groups – Saturday, Middle School Ministry Bible & Life Groups, Bible and Life Groups, Helps Outreach Food Drive Bag Distribution, Sunday 9:30AM Service, Hispanic Ministry Worship Service (Culto de Adoración), Preschool Worship , Sunday 11:00AM Service, Veritas Concert, Ministerio Hispano Ensayo de Musica, Tues. RefresHer Bible Study: Truthfilled, Student Ministry MidWeek Study, Wednesday Family Meal, Hispanic Ministry Estudio Bíblico

(DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS MISSING?)

AD 25 – The Message from Jesus to all His Disciples:

7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven [h] has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a [i]bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is deserving of his support.

 The Bible describes itself as the Breathe of God or “God Breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).  It is the Breathe of God, breathed through men and women and written into our languages.  It has occurred over many centuries and by way of great effort through prayer, trials, tribulation and persecution.  Many gave their lives in this effort.

Why?  Why would so many give so much so you and I would have a written account of what God has said and done through humankind?  It is because it is our destiny to know God, to do His bidding (works) and to be reunited with Him – or to perish.

These men and women of old knew the way to connect with God and to walk in His Spirit (they were indwelt by Him) and they accomplished great things.  God worked through these men and women to accomplish Him Purpose.  (He is the potter, we are the clay, so to speak – Romans 9:19)

But, humankind has drifted.  More specifically, those Chosen by God, have drifted from Him and have forgotten how to “dwell in the secret place of the Most High and to abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.   Even the most sincere have become self-reliant, rebellious, and proud.

We say we are working for God and sincerely believe it to be so.  And, therein, lies the problem.  We think we can do anything for God.  But, we have forgotten that it is God Who does His Work in and through us.  The connection has been diminished or lost.  We have forgotten how to “be in Him and have His Spirit dwell within us”.   

 John 14:20 “On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you

John 15:7  If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

We have forgotten.  The results are tragic.

Jesus hung on a cross between the heavens and the earth and yielded up His spirit.

Matthew 27:51  “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

52  “The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

53  “and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”

THE CONVERGENCE OF GOD AND MAN

Heaven and earth converged, the veil was torn, the earth shook, rocks were split, tombs were opened and the dead were raised. Heaven and earth touched. The Spirit of God indwells the children of God on earth.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

FREED FROM SIN – What God has done

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for the one who has died is freed from sin. 11 So you too, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 SIN NO MORE – What has happened for you

 6 No one who remains in Him sins continually; no one who sins continually has seen Him or knows Him. 9 No one who has been born of God practices sin, because His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin continually, because he has been born of God.

PRESENT YOURSELF TO GOD – What you must do

 Romans 6:12  “Therefore sin is not to reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your body’s parts as instruments of righteousness for God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the Law but under grace.”

This “convergence” is the action of God upon man, and, it will not have its effect without man responding and humbly submitting to God.”

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.  ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

The contemporary, postmodernists, and postmodern religions say that supernatural healing of the sick is done by medical professionals, the office of the Apostle is closed, raising the dead had ended, cleansing those with leprosy is done medically and casting out demons is the work of the psychiatrist.  They largely believe that clothing the naked and feeding the hungry is to be done by government or non-government agencies and the Gospel message must be approved and sanctioned through tax code section 501-c-(3).  And you have forgotten.

Remember, God says, And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”  Matthew 17:20

If this bothers you or you dismiss this then remember, the way to destruction is broad, but the way to life is narrow and few will find it.  It is those who DO His will who are His followers and He has prepared a place for them.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young