11 / 05 / 11
(Revisited from 013010)
“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?”
I have felt some of the pain that our Messiah must have felt. Jeremiah felt it those who followed the Messiah felt this pain, as well. I am going to paint you a picture so that you may better understand:
Imagine two people standing before you. Each of them has a message :
Man #1: Is well-dressed and very handsome. He is successful in all that he does and seems to have the world under his control. Everything he touches seemingly turns to gold.
Man #2: Is quite the opposite. He is not wealthy, and as far as looks, well, he is far from handsome. He has a small group of friends who all seem to be down on their luck, too. People walking by seem to ridicule him. In short, by the standards of this world he would not be considered successful.
Both of these men are preaching a spiritual message about how to live here on earth and about salvation. These two men have differing opinions about it, though, which man would you tend to be drawn to? Both man #1 and #2 claim to love and praise God sincerely, and they both claim to be blessed by God. They both have a message which one would you tend to believe is truly being blessed? If you haven’t already guessed, man #2 represents Yeshua (Jesus) and those who followed Him. Scripture tells us in Isaiah 53:2-4:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not we considered him stricken by God.“
We also know from Scripture that He had no place to lay His head (He was homeless but he had a message). We also know from Scripture that Satan controls the worldly wealth and used it to tempt our Messiah in the desert. In our society, though, the multitudes continue to flock to man #1 in their search to know God. The fact is, our flesh wants what the world has to offer. Only when the riches of the world are combined with a spiritual message, people suddenly desire spiritual things.
LET US SEE WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT WORLDLY WEALTH:
First of all, I want all my readers to know that I consider myself wealthy. Why do I think so? Because I have more than today’s food and clothing. THAT is all that He promises us. Anything beyond today’s food and clothing makes us wealthy according to God’s standards. The promise of many churches, though, is that we will be wealthy according to the world’s standards if we have enough faith. My point is, if the proof-test of being blessed by God is wealth, then why weren’t the disciples and all the followers of Yeshua we read about in the New Testament all wealthy according to the world’s standards? Some may have been at first, but once they began to follow the Messiah, they walked away from their businesses or gave up all they had. They were willing to give up everything to follow Him.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) my Lord, for whose sake I have LOST all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ .” (Philippians 3:8)
In fact, when we think about focusing on gaining worldly wealth in this life, the words of our Messiah come to mind:
“and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39)
As well as what He told the rich man to do to inherit the government (kingdom) of God:
‘Yeshua (Jesus) said to him (the rich man), “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” ‘ (Matthew 19:21)
The truth is: when we focus on gaining spiritual wealth instead of earthly wealth, it is then that we lose THIS life so that we may gain Christ and find true life, eternally. Are you trying to hang on to both? Let us continue then
Here is a challenge for the wealthy (those with more than today’s food and clothing): Pray this prayer with me, “Father, if my wealth is keeping me from knowing you more, take away my abundance and leave me with only what you feel is necessary for me. I do not want to be rich if it is keeping me from truly knowing you more intimately. I trust in you to supply my daily food and clothing like your disciples did.”
Go ahead and try it. What did you say? Hey, I totally understand how hard it is to pray and think this way. We have an example of a prayer about finances in Proverbs which states:
“give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is YHVH?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)
Did you catch that? The writer of Proverbs considers having only today’s daily bread as being the middle ground between poverty and riches! What else does Scripture say about those who preach that faith will necessarily bring worldly wealth or that having riches is the proof that He is pleased with your faith?
” who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:5-9)
- Read the physical description of His followers in 2 Corinthians: “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (vs 6:10)
‘Then Yeshua (Jesus) said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (He did NOT say it is impossible, just hard. But, how hard is it? ) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom (government) of God“. ‘ (Matthew 19:23)
Hmmmm that is hard. Do I want more money? Yes (I cannot lie), of course I do. But it is my flesh that desires it and does NOT want to have to trust God every time I get hungry (but that is my flesh and I am working on it). You can have a homeless man who is just as much of a sin as the most wealthy if he desires it more than God. The fact is, it is when we have nothing that we truly trust God for every meal and need. That could be why those He sent off to preach the truth were told to take NOTHING with them: ‘These were his (Yeshua’s) instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.” ‘ (Mark 6:8)
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who RICHLY provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be RICH in GOOD DEEDS, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is TRULY LIFE.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver has corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” (James 5:1-3 and 5)
Gulp so how rich do you want to be? Do you want tomorrow’s food too? Is that too much? I don’t know. But when we see the abject poverty in third world countries, nearly all of us as Americans would be considered rich and fall into the above descriptions. We truly must take this to heart and make some hard decisions about what the future holds and where our treasures should be. Many think their litmus test of true faith is: “I study the Word when I have time and I go to church. Obviously, God is pleased with me because I am wealthy and prosperous.” This message is the opposite of what He seems to actually say in Scripture. (Oh, I know, I know. Just like obedience, there are some Scriptures that we can twist to satisfy our flesh but many of those passages are referring to ’spiritual wealth’).
‘You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.’ (Revelation 3:17-18)
What do you think: in this passage, is wealth a sign of being blessed by God? It seems that wealth is often what Satan uses to deceive people from truly turning to and knowing the God of Israel. Can you see it? “Hey, I claimed Jesus as my Savior, I go to church, I pray, and praise Him and I have all that my flesh desires. Why would I want to change anything about my faith?” Many people do not grow spiritually or seek to be further sanctified by God (they continue to break His Laws) because they are lulled into complacency due to the belief that the material blessings prove they are ‘holy enough’ to gain salvation and please God the way they are. This is verified by the following verses:
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed ‘and MEN praise you when you prosper’ he will join the generation of his fathers, who will NEVER see the light of life.” (Psalm 49:16-19)
Did you catch that? The wealthy who were praising God considered themselves as being blessed, never realizing that their wealth was actually keeping them from knowing the truth and seeing the light. I have to be honest with you, it is when I am the neediest that I seem to grow the most in my faith; It is when I struggle to get paid from those I have worked for that I search the hardest for His face and truth and what pleases Him.
SO, WHAT ARE HIS CHILDREN TOLD TO DO WITH WEALTH (the amount we have after eating and dressing for the day)?
Let’s see how the early church handled wealth:
“At the present time your plenty will supply what THEY need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what YOU need. Then there will be equality.” (2 Corinthians 8:14)
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
“There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 4:34-35)
For all of us who have more than today’s food and clothing, we need to take a step back and examine how we are using the wealth that we have. In addition, we must also realize that wealth is not a litmus test to determine who has been given favor by God. I have seen many wealthy self-proclaimed ‘Christians’ whose children were disobedient, whose marriages were failing, and who had little sleep due to worry, fear, and depression. I have also seen the opposite-those low and middle income ‘Christians’ (still wealthy in God’s eyes) whose children were respectful, whose marriages were a joy and blessing, and who had peaceful sleep with lives of joy, spiritual growth, praise, and peace. The fact is, the less one has, the greater the faith seems to be. Me? I would go to man #2 for advice about life (only after examining His walk of obedience and faith).
Enjoy (i am only doing what my Master did … please realize that). for some of you, you enjoy confirming your walk with these studies, but for many, this is a pill that i pray will change your life to be like the Master. know that my love is deep - brother kyle
08 / 06 / 11
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis within Scriptures are mine.)
A common perception of life is: Ahhhh there is some money in the bank, my house is ample, I have a nice network of friends, and my family is healthy and beautiful therefore, God is happy with me and my spiritual life, and my salvation is secure.
Throughout history, there have been in each generation, people who hold to a similar such notion. However, God’s Word does NOT back up this perception. Take the following passage, for example. The nation had NOT been righteous or obedient to YHVH, yet they were seeking Him as if they had been. They were deceiving themselves, just as countless generations of people have been deceiving themselves:
“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.” (Isaiah 58:2)
People today say, “Yes, we are sinners, but God sees only Jesus and His righteousness when He sees me. Anyway, Jesus did away with those Old Testament Laws.” Now, read the above passage again, which is addressed to people who disobey Him, and yet call out to Him as if He were pleased with their disobedient lifestyles.
Go ahead, I will wait.
“Yet they seek Me day by day (well, at least for an hour a week) and delight to know My ways (They buy book after book about ‘how to’, yet they do not study the Laws and the Prophets as Yeshua taught us to do), As a nation that has done righteousness (”Look at me, I am righteous through the blood of the Messiah’” Note: then why are they still sinning by repeatedly breaking the same Laws?) And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God (”We obey God we love everyone-so we have obeyed all God wants us to”). They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God (”We have such a good time at church with all the functions and we feel so close to God”).” (Isaiah 58:2)
Yet, God is silent in their lives. Oh, they pray, but how does He answer them? “Sometimes what I ask comes to pass sometimes it does not” (What, is prayer like Russian roulette?) God is clear about those who ‘act’ like and ’say’ they love Him, but do not because they do not obey His Laws:
“16 But to the wicked God says, ‘What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth? 17 For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you. 21 These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. 22 Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.”" (Psalm 50:16-17, 21-22)
He is also clear about those who pray to Him while ignoring His Laws:
“He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
Many people claim that they are part of the New Covenant, but claim though they may, their lives do not show that they are part of it. They tell of the stories of old, yet ignore His wrath, “Oh, that is not for me” they assume, as they continue to ignore His Laws they have forgotten that YHVH said that “they are your life“. Instead, they say, “Oh, our loving Master simply would not tell me to ‘go away’ and send me to damnation for not practicing His Father’s Laws. He must be talking to someone else.” Then, they continue to disobey and ignore His Sabbath, feasts, and eat what HE says is detestable. They are wrong; it is VERY clear (they just need to desire to know the truth at all cost). The Son (who could say NOTHING on His own, but only what His Father told Him to say) is talking to those who are claiming His covenant promises, yet are living without His Laws (Law-LESS-ness):
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS (a life without the Law).‘” (Matthew 7:22-23)
Then the Master continues in vs 24 about those who hear His Words and practices them, thus are wise.
I WILL GIVE YOU JUST A FEW PASSAGES TO MEDIATE ON (Many people throughout history thought the same thing, “As long as we are worshiping and sacrificing to Him, our obedience to His laws doesn’t really matter”.)
“It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart’.” (Deuteronomy 29:19)
“But you have behaved more wickedly than your fathers. See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me.” (Jeremiah 16:12)
“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5)
Being repentant means to be sorry and to turn from that sin and set up your life to be in obedience, instead. Have you come to the place where you are truly repentant for transgressing His Laws?
“YHVH (The Lord) says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.‘ (Isaiah 29:13)
I write because I love each of you (NOT to boast, nor to mock, but to pull people from the raging fire who think their salvation is secure despite their lack of obedience). Unfortunately, many people honor YHVH by celebrating and worshiping Him on Sunday (a rule taught by man ; not in Scripture), yet disregard His command to honor the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath. They also worship Him on different man-made feast days (celebrations taught by man, but are not in Scripture) and they praise Him, yet do not celebrate and honor Him on the days He commands us to. They don’t even know His name OR the name of His Son (LORD and Jesus are NOT the names of the Father and Son; they are names given by man- NOT in the original Scriptures). All the while, they are also eating what HE calls detestable (but man teaches that it is clean and good to eat) yet they come near with their mouths to honor Him, HE says.
Many people justify their disregard for His laws by saying, “Oh, He knows my heart and that I love Him“. This is half right He DOES know each of our hearts, but as far as loving Him, He has been clear in the Torah, as well as the Apostolic writings about what loving Him looks like:
In the Torah:
“I command you today to love YHVH your God, (’what does loving YHVH look like?‘) to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that YHVH your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish (Never enter the Kingdom that is coming).” (Deuteronomy 30:16-18)
I would list more, but many feel that the Old Testament is done away with and not for us Gentiles. This is sad and could not be farther away from the truth. So, let us look at the New Testament and what it says loving God looks like (Remember: the NT must line up with the OT, or else it would be a false teaching)!
In the New Testament:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
We know that Yeshua (Jesus) NEVER taught that the Law was done away with or not to be obeyed (Many use Paul’s misunderstood and hard to understand writings OVER those of the Master). We know that Yeshua could ONLY speak what the Father told Him to speak. We know that whatever is the Father’s is the Son’s It is obvious that the Son commanded obedience to the Father.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6)
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” (1 John 5:2-3)
This was not something new “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you,” (Deuteronomy 30:11)
IS YOUR DESIRE TO BE A PRIEST IN THE KINGDOM (GOVERNMENT) OF GOD?
(Then which priest do YOU think He will be coming for?):
“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” (Ezekiel 22:26)
This is referring to Israel’s priests of old, yet many of the pastors and priests of today would fit this description very easily.
“Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My sabbaths.” (Ezekiel 44:23-24)
This is referring to those who have the Spirit of Truth and are rising up and acknowledging the Laws and practicing them getting ready for His return! These devotions are teaching the difference between the holy and the profane.
It all has to do with our flesh. I am doing nothing more than what my Savior did, “Repent, less you perish in your sins” (Yeshua: “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5))
Not many listened to His warning, either (back then, or even today). Satan convinced Adam to sin, he convinced Israel to sin, he convinced the priests of Israel to sin, he did the same to the multitudes today did he convince YOU too? Oh, they all were still worshiping YHVH, yet it is all in vain.
It is always good to go back and re-visit what we believe. this week, i visited baptism (and yes, i changed a bit more with the Scriptures I read) … enjoy as i did! brother kyle
“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.
He got up and was baptized.”
07 / 30 / 11
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis within Scriptures are mine.)
Baptism. It is an act of submission and obedience. It is a picture of death and life, of being washed and cleansed. It is a choice. Just like any other command of God, we can either choose to obey or disobey
we can either be sons of obedience (Romans 6:16, 6:26), or sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6, and Colossians 3:6).
I would like to address a common tradition on this subject, first. I was raised with the traditional teaching that we must baptize our infants (in order to ‘impute’ the Holy Spirit, as if a human can apply water and the word to secure eternal salvation for that baby). It is a common belief that when we baptize an infant, they then received the Holy Spirit and became a member of God’s family (saved). This view, however, does not line up with Scripture and cannot be found ANYWHERE in His Holy Word (I challenge anyone to find ‘infant baptism’ in the Bible).
Baptism does not save, neither does obedience, but we do both out of a submitting heart that believes WHO He is and WHO we are in comparison to Him. Let us take a look at God’s teachings on this subject.
We are saved by faith alone in YHVHs Salvation (Yeshua).
Once we repent and our lives turn toward the One who Saves (Yeshua YHVHs salvation), our outward response is to be baptized in Him. So, baptism is an act of obedience which is an outward sign of an inward reality. Even our Master, whom we are to imitate, did so:
“Then Yeshua (Jesus) came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.” (Matthew 3:13)
Why did Yeshua (Jesus) find it necessary to be baptized? His own words tell us in Matthew 3:15:
“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness ”
Notice He did not simply say, “it is proper for ME“, but He said “US“. We will now take a look at many passages about baptism. Please note that it was always done in response to a decision made by the person, himself. Being baptized is a choice a person makes upon repentance and a desire to obey God. They repent of their sins and then are baptized, as our Master says, “to fulfill all righteousness.”
“Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” (Matthew 3:6)
This is NOT a ‘one time’ sin, but a lifestyle of sin. In other words, when someone realizes that the whole Torah (Law) is for their lives today and they turn toward it and look to the Messiah and how He obeyed it one should be baptized. It is when we leave our sinful lifestyle and begin living for Him, we consider this a washing away of the old sinful lifestyle and the rising up to a new lifestyle of obedience and service to God. When someone realizes that God’s entire Word (including His Laws and Commandments) is the manual for their life, and that they must live according to it, they realize just how bad their former way of life has pained their Creator. Baptism is simply an act of cleansing.
“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3)
Can you see that baptism of the flesh is an outward sign of submission to God? By seeing our sins as utterly wicked before God, we are to die to our flesh (symbolized by submersing ourselves in the water that washes our flesh) and be raised as new creatures (being baptized with the Spirit that washes us INSIDE, by teaching us God’s ways).
“having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Yeshua (Jesus) were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ” (Romans 6:3-4)
Baptism, just like any other act of obedience to God does NOT save anyone. Our obedience is an act of faith. We believe God is God and we are His servants. If a child dies before accepting Christ, and thus could not make this choice to be baptized, it is YHVH Who decides the fate of all creation. That child simply may not have been created to rise up in the first resurrection as a priest, but in the second resurrection.
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.‘” (Mark 16:15-16)
I love this one. Can you see that we are saved by faith (justified), and then obedience such as baptism follows (which is sanctification). However, he who does not believe is condemned? He is condemned because of his disbelief in God (That person’s disobedience is the PROOF they do not believe in God) they are NOT condemned because he or she did not get baptized.
Can an infant repent and accept Yeshua (Jesus) as His Savior? NO! We men cannot perform a ritual of baptism on an infant to impute the Holy Spirit or salvation into that baby. If you believe this traditional teaching, I urge you to go to the Bible and try to find Scripture to support this belief. You will not be able to. Notice, it says, “Whoever BELIEVES and is baptized,” or many times, “REPENT and be baptized,” in both cases, it is a decision that one who has understanding makes (babies cannot make this choice, but that doctrine came out of a misunderstanding about two resurrections one for the priests and the other for the rest of Israel.)!
“After this, Yeshua (Jesus) and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (John 3:22-23)
This was not a line of baby carriages but people who were repenting of their sins.
“Before the coming of Yeshua (Jesus), John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.” (Acts 13:24)
Notice, again: Repentance comes before practicing obedience. We die to self (symbolized in baptism) and are to rise up a new person (by the washing of God’s Spirit within!), then we live a lifestyle of obedience to His Laws (by the work of the Spirit writing them on our heart and teaching us). Can you see the combination? We put our flesh under HIS authority through the outward sign of baptism (cleaning the outside), and then we show the fruit of our salvation by our obedience to God through the work of His Spirit (cleaning the inside where sin starts).
“And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4)
We must realize that our lives are ‘under the bondage of sin’ and repent before we can be forgiven. Just like our forefathers in the desert, the act of faith was putting the blood on their doorposts it was only subsequent to that faith that they were then baptized in the Red Sea then there was the giving of the Law!
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
Notice, again, the flesh first, then the Spirit. In order to allow the Spirit full control, we must submit our flesh!
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?” (Notice that they heard the message about the Messiah, first. Then, upon realizing their errors and sinful lives before God they cried out, “What shall we do?”) “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom YHVH (the Lord) our God will call.” (Acts 2:37-39)
(This passage shows that baptism is available to our children once they understand and are able to repent. However, a parent can NOT decide for their children or babies), as John 1:12-13 explains: “ to those who believed in His name, HE gave the right to become children of God; children born NOT of natural descent (being born Jewish or even of Christian parents), nor of human decision (A parent baptizing their child) or a husband’s will, BUT born of God.” It is only upon hearing the message and subsequent repentance that one is to be baptized: “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:40-41)
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Yeshua (Jesus) Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
Again, no babies, but all adults.
There are several examples of whole households being baptized. This, however, does not mean that one person believed and then that person decided that his or her whole household was to be baptized. Instead, these passages show the excitement of a single person realizing the errors of the teachings of their day, then proclaiming it to those he or she loves the most the members of his or her own household. Thus, by hearing and believing, they too decide to be baptized, as well.
“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house,’ And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:14-15)
“At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:33)
“Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8)
There is no greater honor for a parent than to have your child come to you and say, “Daddy, I am a sinner and I am giving my life to God. I want to be baptized.”
Baptism is an act of obedience that points to the greater baptism that done by the Spirit:
“who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:20-22)
Repent from your sins and be baptized and sin no more. Obedience is the fruit of the Spirit within a child of God baptism is part of that obedience.
One last thought: Many people realize that infant baptism is not Biblical, but may still be in error regarding baptism in one respect. If you notice, I always put back the names of the Father (NOT ‘the LORD’) and the son (NOT ‘Jesus’). Consider what Yeshua commanded .
“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, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Many baptisms go something like this, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” based upon the above Scripture. But what did Yeshua actually say? The word Name is singular. The common Name they all share is YHVH. YHVH the Father, YHVH’s Salvation (Yeshua), and YHVH’s Spirit all share the Name YHVH! Also, notice that after you baptize them in the name of YHVH, you are also commanded to teach them God’s Laws (observe everything that is commanded us). Hmmmm Just something to think about.
My thought? We must believe in YHVH (and His plan of Salvation) and be baptized and practice His Laws to be saved but, we will perish because we do not believe in Him (which our lack of obedience actually reveals). Let me know if you see it any other way (and use Scriptures, not teachings of men).
So, are we saved by baptism? No, but by not doing it we prove that we do not believe in Him.
Are we saved by obeying His Laws? No, but by not practicing them we prove that we do not believe in His Word.
STUDY ON TASSELS
Yep … we all hate sticking out like a sore thumb … “You want me to do what? Wear white and blue strings around my waist?” Talk about standing out! BUT, if it’s a command of God … there is no question, “Yes sir”.
(I am using NIV below)
The command: Numbers 15:38-40 … “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”
The command … again: Deuteronomy 22:11-13 … “Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together. Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear. If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her …”
• The passage found in Numbers 15:38-40 is right after the recording of the Sabbath-breaker being stoned. As if, DO THIS (wear these tassels) so that this does not happen again (as verse 40 states … “By wearing them … THEN you will remember to obey”. Remember the “tying a string around your finger to remember what you are to remember?” God uses tassels!)
• Also found are the words “throughout the generations” and the verb “TO MAKE”.
• Let me ask you, are these following commands still valid today?:
- Putting a parapet around your roof so that no one gets injured by falling?
- Not planting two kinds of seed in your vineyard?
- Not plowing with and ox and donkey yoked together?
- Leaving part of your field (the corners) for the poor and hungry?
- Rising up when the “gray-haired” enters a room (the elderly)?
- If we find our neighbor’s ox (animal) we are to take it in and care for it until they return?
- Not wearing clothes of wool and linen woven together?
• If yes … then the verse on the tassels is the very next statement of some of the above … not skipping a beat … “Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.” … (It then continues on marriage violations) as well as mixed in with the others above.
People may use excuses for not obeying certain commands, such as:
1.) It doesn’t say “forever” or “for all generations”, so it’s not for us today (Can’t use this excuse, it does say throughout the generations!) Did you know that the Ten Commandments do not say “forever” yet we know that it is to be. Hmmm …
2.) They (the Jews) had the tassels to remind them of God’s Law … we have the Spirit now (We are never to negate a command because we know the spiritual meaning … “You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23) and “Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.” (1 John 2:7) This is how we KNOW that the Spirit is within a child of God … their flesh obeys the Law (For it is through the Spirit that it is done)!
3.) I have even heard that it was used as a similie … you know, describing something else. Let us examine that one for a moment:
Two similes come to mind … Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and another similar one in Exodus 13:7-9. A Simile is comparing two items using the words like or as. Below, in blue, are descriptive words or action words. The underlined are the similes. Note: wearing tassels is not used as NEVER used as a descriptive word for an action. Simply, by wearing them, you are reminded.
(I am using NASB below)
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 … “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you get up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Exodus 13:7-9 … “Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders. You shall tell your son on that day, saying, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt. And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt.” (BY observing this feast, and by doing so, it will be “as if” it were written on our hands and displayed on our foreheads.)
Can you see in the above passages that there is a difference between actually being asked to do something (in blue) VERSUS being told that doing something was “as if” it was like doing something else (a simile … see the underlined items)
1.) You just finished a beautiful vacation that was absolutely breathtaking. You come back to explain it to your friends … “It was as if I was in paradise” (Were you actually in paradise, or was it like you were?).
2.) Again, many people living out in the farm lands of the country often say, “Living in the country is as if you are living in heaven.” (Are you actually living in heaven, or is it “LIKE” living in heaven, “as if” you were?)
The same with the above passages … by doing one thing, it is “as if” you were doing another. As you can see, wearing tassels is never mentioned as a similie. It even explains what they will do when worn.
Let me ask you:
How do you exactly live out “Keeping the Sabbath”? I often look and see what my forefathers have done … I often institute my own precautions, as well. What if our Master (Yeshua / Jesus Himself) did or did not do something on the Sabbath … would that be a good enough test on what to do? Well … He wore His tassels! Matthew 9:20 … “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak.” (Edge is strong’s # G2899 … specifically a fringe or tassel) Are we not to be imitating what HE does? (1 John 2:6).
Matthew 23:5 … “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;” (We often say that the Master had many opportunities to address an issue such as nullifying the Sabbath, but He never did (He simply corrected the interpretation of how to obey it). Same with this passage, He had the opportunity to let us know that wearing the tassels is NOT a command. Instead, He corrects the way they were being worn. The leaders were making their tassels and prayer shawls longer and wider to show others that they were superior to the “common folk”)
4.) (Regarding excuses for not wearing tassels) “I don’t have a 4 corner garment, so I don’t have to wear them.” OR “you are not wearing them right, since you are not wearing a 4 corner garment” (some attach them on their belt loops around themselves).
Here’s a thought regarding how to wear tassels:
• I have been criticized about wearing them on the belt loops of my pants. (Yet, I do not hear criticism of those who hide them by tucking them in?). What is the proper way to wear them? Let me ask you, what if someone was wearing his tassels on the bottom of His pant-legs? To him I would say, “Ah, Great!” (I would then ask him how he came up with that, but great!) What are the four corners of your garments? If you use other Scriptural references to four corners which simply refers to being “around the entire object” … the object, in this case, is me. I have nothing against those who actually wear them on a 4 corner garment (that happened to be what they were wearing at that time in history).
“Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel: The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.” (Ezekiel 7:2) (Since Israel’s land is not a square … the combined meaning in Strong’s means “border”, “end”, or “uttermost part” … in word search it also describes it as “It took on the sense of the outer edges, corners, or extremities of something.”
“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.” (Revelation 7:1) (Maybe this is where they got that whole “the world is flat” idea? Instead, I think that the writer meant that there was no escaping the four angels … they covered the earth, they had it surrounded!!))
“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – ” (Revelation 20:7-8a) (Maybe this is why they believed the earth was flat?)
(I enjoyed this next one … most heads are not square, nor do they have edges / corners … except mine … it has a flat top! Get it? (Wow, tough crowd!))
(NIV) Leviticus 19:7 … “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shall thou mar the corners of thy beards.” (I don’t know if anyone told Moses, but God already rounded off the corners of my head … it’s now a ball-shape)
(NASB) Leviticus 19:17 … “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”
(KJV) Leviticus 19:7 … “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard.” (Question: Where would the side end and the top begin? That would be the next controversy, eh?)
Makes you think again … “Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.” (Deuteronomy 22:12) (How do I see it? You should be surrounded by God’s Word … these tassels shall be all around you. They are on the edge of my garment (the top of my pants) and my brothers can see them and remember to obey God’s Laws. What does “all around” mean to you? As long as we are practicing … that is what pleases God, I believe.
But what about woman? Are they to wear them too?
Deuteronomy 22:12 simply states to do “this”: “Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.” To answer the question about who this command is to, let me ask you, who is Deuteronomy 22:11 to? (“Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.”). Obviously, this is for the woman to do, as much as for the men. I think about Adam and Eve. Adam (the man of the house) was given the command and HE was to pass it on to Eve. That is the job of the men or husband, to be spiritual heads of their household. ALL the commands were to the “Israelites” or “sons of Israel” (unless a certain command was for the woman or man, it then said “a man is not to …..” or “a woman is to do ….”) Below is the Strong’s definition of “Israelites” or “sons of Israel”:
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H1, H251, etc.):
Numbers 15:38-41 … “Speak to the Israelites (many translations have “sons of Israel”) and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of YHVH, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am YHVH your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am YHVH your God.’” Could this be to the men, like Adam, the builders of the family name, to tell the woman? Oh … you thought that I would have an answer? I don’t know. My wife has put them on her prayer shawl she covers herself with during her intimate prayer times. We are saved by faith as we try to figure out how to obey God.
06 / 24 / 06
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
We have all seen them before: Children who act like they love their parents only when they want something. (Some of us may even have a child like this). We all know what they look like. The parent’s first thought is, “Okay, what do you want, now.”
I don’t know about you, but I would simply hate to have this kind of a relationship that is based upon what the child receives. But we see it all over!! Many think that they are actually building a relationship when they give and give to their children … they are not. Just like our pets, our children know who “feeds” them. They know which parent is the “Daddy Warbucks”. These children know how much they can get away with and they know who has the money and how to get it! This is NOT true love. Actually, many of us may even have friends like this, as well!! The only reason they may be a friend is for THEIR own gain (what they can get out of the relationship)?
Can you imagine how God feels? Many say, “I love you”, but in actuality they believe that they are gaining eternal life by saying so. Some say, “I love you, Lord”, but actually they are being taught that they will gain wealth in saying such words or by a certain style of worship.
Yes, these people cannot hide behind their curtain of fake godliness. Can you talk about God with them? If it’s not during their scheduled weekly hour (at church) … forget it. That kind of stuff takes up way too much time. Do they want to learn something new about God? That, too, is impossible for they are content with where they are at and what their pastor is preaching. They may even feel that their relationship with God is perfect, for their life is going great … in their eyes. (You know … why “rock the boat” … Why spoil a “good thing”)
VERSES THAT TOUCH ON THE THOUGHT:
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by me.” (Matthew 15:8-9)
(Mark expands on it, in Mark 7:8-9) “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And He said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”
When they are in trouble is the only time many will call upon God. That seems to be their emergency number. Until then, this number is kept in the phone book. Just like those children who give lip service … there is no real relationship. They just keep their parents close enough for support.
God knows the heart of these “want-a-be” children. He is not being fooled, in the least. When His righteous judgment is reveled is when they will find out that “that number has been disconnected!
Yep, spoiled is what they are.
God cannot be mocked. Many think that they are fooling God with their traditions and man-made days … but they are not fooling God. This is where Satan’s deception comes in: Since life is good and problems are few and money is flowing … “God must be pleased” (Funny, it is when all these things are taken away and they are in need, that they finally truly search for God’s face)
Just something to think about