Tools For The Trial

An transcription of an Old sermon of mine. May it Bless you today:

Abide & Abound, or; Tools for the trial – 05/27/06

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

That is easy to read, but Hard to do, isn’t it.

Why? Because:

We have misunderstood the reality of our connection to the church. It is an internal connection not external, and because we fail to understand this, we become anchored to, and enslaved by, the buildings and organizations that we tether ourselves to. Instead of being attached, we become entrenched. Jesus made it plain that:

  • Worship is not tied to a locality, and the Church is not a building.
     – John 4:19-24.
    Paul echoed the sentiment, in that it is not about created things, and God is nigh thee

Acts 17:19-34

People going to church for feelings. Feel Good religion, non-confrontational Gospel.

You know, the all things work, etc. positive confessions, etc.. Focus on Praise. Corporate, modern, sophisticated, church

But the Spirit of the Lord let Paul that this would happen 2000 years ago

 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Recently I shared about the Barna Group website. George Barna has written one of the most startling books of the past five years: Revolution. Reading that book caused me to want to find out more about what he does, so I went to his website.  While on his site, I came across a page dealing with Statistics that his research group gathered re: the Faith of African Americans. I was intrigued, and a bit upset, to say the least, because according to the Barna group’s findings:

Although 75% of us believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator who rules the world today, and 83% of us say our religious faith is very important in their lives….

  • Only 10% of us believe moral truth is absolute.

This goes right back to what I keep screaming. Until we teach God’s people to WORSHIP, Until the People of God have an Isaiah 6 experience, Until we as ministers, worship leaders, and whatever else we call ourselves, model Worship in our day to day living, until we teach foundational Bible truth, and Stress the importance and NECESSITY for Worship and Holiness, Our churches will be full of people who believe that:

  1. A) Sin is relative B) Holiness is optional C) Righteousness is tentative

D) Holiness is conceptual at best E) Righteous Ethical living is situational

People MUST know, that charismatic preachers, slammin’ choirs and a Shout and dance DO NOT get you anywhere near the LORD! No matter how many tongues folk speak in.

You want the formula? The Lord says:

Humble yourself and pray, seek my face and turn from your wicked ways. Draw night unto me and I will draw night unto you, but you must clean your hands, and purify your hearts.

– 2 Chron 7:14 – , James 4:8)

Humble yourself in my sight, and I will lift you up, for a broken spirit and contrite heart I will not despise.,  – James 4:10, Psalm 51:17

Study to shew thyself approved, for I need knowledgable workmen that can go forth without fear, because they know me, and my Word. – 2 Timothy 2:15  

Because the hour comes, in fact, it now is, when the true worshippers will Worship me in Spirit and in truth, for I am a Spirit, and I seek these to Worship me.  – John 4:23-24

 

Everybody’s got drama, it is part of life, as Solomon so aptly put it in Ecclesiastes 9:11

 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

  • 3 Types of people, many types of Praise. There are only 3 types of people:
    1. Those facing a trial or valley,
    2. Those in the midst of a trial or valley,
    3. Those who are on the way to the next one.

Those of you who are facing or in the midst are probably finding it harder to Praise and Worship. Here’s some perspective for you:

Life is peaks and valleys, but we want to go mountain to mountain. Glory to glory

Why? Because Goliath is in the valley and the Philistines are on the other side.

 

Worship causes you to KNOW your God, and KNOW yourself. Knowing God allows you to have David’s perspective when facing your Goliath. As Daniel put it

Daniel 11:32b  – But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.1

But how do you get through the valley?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

But how can you do that?

Dr. Roy Blizzard in his book Let Judah Go Up First. Recounts the following story:

In the book of Judges, chapter 1, verses 1-12, Israel is preparing for battle and they inquire of the Lord, Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites? The Lord tells them …Judah is to go. Later, in Judges 20:18 we find, …who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites? The Lord replied, Judah shall go first.

There were twelve tribes of Israel. Why should Judah be called upon to go up first? The Hebrew word translated as Judah is used many times in English as PRAISE. So the scripture could be translated as, LET PRAISE GO UP FIRST. This is good advice for us when facing struggles or battles. Let us first praise. This is both an act of faith and submission. Praise God before the battle is entered; anyone can praise when the battle is over and won. Only by faith can we praise at the start.

 

We want to praise and praise accurately. To help us understand what this is about, we will look into some of the Hebrew words translated as praise.

 

  • For us to let Judah go up first is to recognize that our battles are spiritual and must be fought in the spirit. When we let Judah go up first, we confess the attributes of God

2 Corinthians 10:4-5  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  • Here are some tools to use, straight from the Word…
  • At all times

GADAL (Gah Dahl) – Often translated “magnify,” it is used as a synonym of praise. In Psalms 34:4 and 69:31, it literally means “to cause to become great.” Gadal calls the worshipper to ascribe greatness to the Lord and His name.

  • As you face the valley

TOWDAH – (To-Daw) -To give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural. Agreeing with His Word – faith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. “Father, I thank YOU that YOUR WORD is TRUE. As we raise our hearts and hands in praise to the Lord, it involves a sacrifice, especially if one is very sick in body. The carnal mind would fight and ridicule this particular action, but there is great faith in TOWDAH as praise. The lifting of the hand symbolizes agreement. The right hand symbolizes my covenant with my

Father. As I go through the scriptures, God is seen extending His Right Hand to me. That’s the covenant. When He extends His right hand to me, He’s saying to me – ALL THAT I AM IS YOURS, and when I extend my right hand to Him, I am saying “All that I am is yours and I agree with what You’re saying. It is the sacrifice that God honors by His performing of miracles.

 

The ATTITUDE for TOWDAH is: I’m thanking God. I’m agreeing with God that it is as He says. I don’t care what it looks like. I’m agreeing with what His Word says. Example: Father, I thank You that I am healed. Scripture: Psalm 42:4, 50:23, Jer. 17:26

  • In the midst of the valley:

YADAH  (Yaw-Daw) – To worship with the extended hand. The giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absoulute surrender as a young child does to a parent – “pick me up, I’m all yours”.  Scriptures: Gen. 29:35, 2 Chron. 7:6, 20:21, Psalms 9:1, 28:7, Psalms 33:2, 42:5,11, 49:18,

Isaiah 12:1

Yadah in practice – Lift my hands to Him and say how I am surrendering myself to Him. List the ways that I am surrendering to Him. Be diligent. Be disciplined. Be specific. Take the discipline and SAY to the Lord how I am surrendering to Him. With my hands uplifted – surrender unto my God – spirit, soul & body. Totally commit myself to my father.

 

  • The victory cry!

SHABACH – (Shaw-Bakh) – to address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout! Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD. This word implies that testimony is praise. The phrase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH. It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited. Scripture: Psalm 117:1, 63:3-4

 

  • Elder Pointer ministered last week about testing and chastisement, how God sends or allows both, but they are different things for different purposes. I was thinking about that, and there it was, the reason for the valleys…

 

Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Could the trials, the valleys, could they be to remind us of the one on whom we rely

The one in whom we live and move and have our being? This is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

You see when you change your mind, you change yourself! That’s the experience Isaiah had, and the woman at the well had…

I dare you to step back and take a LONG look, a LONG look at your circumstances,

And figure out what you need to change. Then you know what you got to do…

Change Your MIND!

Now I see some of you sisters looking over at your husbands, and some of you brothers looking at your wives. That’s not what I’m talking about.. Amen? Amen!

You’re asking: “How am I supposed to renew my mind?”

Well here’s a simple start. Turn the TV off, and Open your Bible!

Call your cable company, and cancel that playboy channel, start watching the WORD network!

Put down the knife and fork, and pick up your Bible!

Turn off the 50cent, and turn on Fred Hammond!

Hmmm. It’s awful quiet in here… But that’s good. Work Holy Ghost, have your way…

For those that are thinking, None of that applied to me, I’m all right now, why would I wanna change my mind? Well brothers and sisters, the answer is in the next sentence of Romans 12:2

that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

“Prove it to who Pastor Cyril?”

Well Jesus answered that one in Matthew 5: 13-16

No need to turn to it, just write it down…

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

You see there is a responsibility in serving God. God has certain expectations of us.

They’ve got to see your good works, yes, WORKS!

You and me, we are employees, you see.

Of Jesus, Inc.  And the boss expects productivity!

Some of us are very productive, out in the vineyard, working. Doing the work, fighting the good fight, pressing on towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

Praise the Lord! Others of us got hired, worked for a while, then went on break! I ain’t callin you out, you know who you are. You’ve been in the break room so long that you forgot what your desk looks like! But I’m here to tell you today, I’ve got to pass this message on from the boss:

Break Time is Over! Look at somebody and say Break Time is Over!

Look around you! There is work to be done!

Look at your neighbor and say… “There is work to be done.”

Some of you are on vacation. That’s all right… For a time.

He understands that we get weary, and need to rest…

But some of you are thinking about not coming back to work. Things have gotten too hard. Situations have made you weary…

Like them that’s on leave, but I got a Word for you BENEFITS!

Say Benefits!

Psalms 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Psalms 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalms 116:12  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

 

David said this in Psalm 139
1 O LORD , you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD .
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

 

  • He knows, and he understands. You might be discouraged, you might be beat down, might not want to go on, but remember the benefits, brothers and sisters. Remember the benefits!

Psalm 91
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

You see, if you stay close, you will abide. You will Abide

Y’all didn’t hear me! You will abide!  Glory to God!

Ok, let me break it down… Help me Holy Ghost….

  • To abide means to:  Remain in a place. To continue to be sure or firm; To endure.

Think about it. If you dwell in the secret place of the Most high God,

You will remain under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s peace!

You will continue to be sure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s confidence!

You will continue to be firm, under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s security!

You will Endure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s power!

When you Abide, Surely he shall deliver thee!

He shall cover thee! under his wings shalt thou trust!

When you Abide, His truth shall be thy shield and buckler!

Thou shalt not be afraid of anything!

 

When you Abide,

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee!

When you Abide,

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee!

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways

You’re gonna abide! Oh somebody Praise Him!! Hallelujah


It’s in your mouth, let it out

For those of you who don’t think it takes all of this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  –  John 1:1-3,

If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.  – Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! – Psalm 81:1

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  – Psalm 95:1-3

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD.  Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say:”Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” – Isaiah12: 1-6

And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.  – Joshua 6:16  

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. – Psalms 5:11  

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. – Psalms 32:11  

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. – Psalms 35:27  

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. – Psalms 47:1

AMEN!

 

Why post about Eddie Long after his death?

A brother asked me this week, the following questions:

“… you have been posting a lot of stuff about Eddie Long. Why and what is the reason? The man is dead and buried now.”

I responded:

Sorry that it took me so long to respond bro. I was not ignoring your comment/query.

Though seemingly a simple question, it is a layered one. As such it requires a tiered response. My attempt follows:

  • We are required to walk in Truth, and there is a paucity of that in the modern ‘church’, especially when it comes to our ‘leaders’. The man may be dead and buried, but his legacy (positive and negative) live on. As such, I am resistant to the idea that because he is dead, we must ignore the carnage that the man left, and focus solely on the good that he did. It does a HUGE disservice to those who have been harmed, and to that which calls itself ‘church’.
  • I am a Pastor, and I am always painfully aware of my shortcomings and failures. It is clear always to me that I am a recipient of a great GRACE. That said, we tend to in the ‘church’, especially in the organizations that employ what is called ‘The Great man Model’, elevate our pastors to near sainthood if not outright deification. That is IDOLATRY plain and simple.
  • The Bible is clear that there is only ONE man who lived His entire life without sin. The rest, even the great ones, achieved despite or in the face of, their sin, and we are told about their sin as a reminder and an encouragement. How dare we discuss people today as though they have no sin?
  • I knew the man. We were a part of the same organization for several years, in fact we for a time, referred to the same man as spiritual father. The man that I knew was humble, self-effacing, and willing to be clear about the pain of his childhood, and the scars that he bore. But it was clear even then, that there was an underlying issue when it came to the question of sexual sin. The truth is that; issues which are not addressed, not resolved, though they may reside below the surface or in a closet, will erupt, or the door will open. When they do, especially in these type or organizational systems that focus on ‘The Great man’ as the engine, measures of deceit or cover up must be employed in order to keep the machine rolling. This involves other people in the sin.
  • For us who are, as the Bible says, Elders, Pastors, we are to be beyond reproach (1Tim 3:2) this does not mean without sin, but it does mean that repetitive, consistent, habitual sin is a disqualifier. The Bishop because of this behavior, and because of the errant doctrines that he was teaching (which we can discuss at another time) was disqualified.

I hope that this was not too long… God Bless you bro.

SDG

3 Questions from a seeking youth…

A young sister sent me three questions after spending time with family members who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here are her questions, and my responses…

1) If Jesus is God why did he call God his father when he was on the cross?

Let us be clear, Jesus (Yeshuah is his Jewish name, and this will be important in a few moments) consistently referred to YHWH (GOD) as his Father. Throughout the Gospels, we see this. What we have to seek to do first in order to properly understand any time we read the Bible, is to try to hear what the original hearers heard. This is important here, since to the Jews, Fathers and Sons had the same attributes. Here is an example: Read Matthew 13:54-56, and its parallel passage Mark 6:1-5. Note that in Matthew’s account, he (Jesus/Yeshuah) is referred to as ‘The Carpenter’s son’. That is his identity in the community, and that is why they could not hear him or receive from him. Carpenters were just that carpenters, and nothing else. Mark parallels this, referring to him in this same event as ‘the carpenter’. Two things to note here: 1) You are identified with your Father, and 2) You do what your Father does.

I hope you’re with me so far. Here’s why: Jesus identifies himself as being ‘one’ with God in John Chapter 10. Please read verses 22-39, focusing on verses 30-33 in particular. Did you notice WHY they are picking up stones to stone him? Then look at what he says to them in verses 37-38. Whose works is he doing?

Now thinking back on what we read earlier in Matthew, knowing that for the Jew, you did the works of , and had equality with, your Father, what is he then saying to them? He is identifying Himself by His Works, to the ONLY one who could do those works, YHWH (GOD). Better yet, what did they understand? That He was proclaiming Himself to be equal with God. Knowing that to the Jew, GOD has no equal , the implication here is clear. Jesus is calling Himself GOD.

There are many other times that this type of thing occurs, another good one is when He declares to them EGO EIMI (I AM)

Most Jews is Jesus’ time read their Bibles (The Old Testament, as at the time there was no New Testament) in Greek, the document was called ‘The Septuagint’

(… from the Latin word septuaginta (meaning seventy). It is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts into Koine Greek. The title and its Roman numeral acronym LXX refer to the legendary seventy Jewish scholars who completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century BCE. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the Greek Old Testament (Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα). This translation is quoted in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers.. – source Wikipedia)

In the Septuagint, when Moses asks God Who should he say is sending him, God responds ‘I Am’ – Exodus 3:14 –  “And God spoke to Moses, saying, I AM (ego eimi); and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM’(ego eimi) has sent me to you.”

Now turn to John Chapter 8, and read from verse 48 to 59. Note that he says, before Abraham was ‘I AM’, and can you guess what Greek phrase is used there? You got it, EGO EIME the same name that GOD/YHWH uses with Moses.

Do you see what happened next? They picked up stones (to try to kill him) Why? Because of WHO he was saying that He was/is…

With the preceding point in mind now, (that for Jews, there was equality between Father and Son) let’s take a look specifically at Luke 23:33-3433 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” ] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Knowing what you now know about the context in which Jesus spoke, what is so unusual about this? Nothing. He was doing as He always had, declaring Himself one with/equal to, GOD

Please note that the disciples identified him as God as well. Here are a couple of examples:

2 Peter 1:1  – “Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

He is not, as some might claim, referring to two beings, He is referring to only ONE Jesus Christ (Yeshuah Ha Maschiach) who he calls ‘our God and Savior.’ As in one being both attributes… How do we know this? It is a reference to the doctrine of imputation. The righteousness of the Messiah, was imputed to men, and their sin was imputed to him.  Imputation means to replace missing data/information/elements with substituted values. It is what the Jews clearly understood from Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The sin of the family is imputed to the animal that is to be sacrificed, and that animal’s blood is then shed in atonement of sin. The animal in effect, becomes/takes on the sin of the person, and the animal pays the price for the sin, with its blood (its life). Sound familiar? It should, It is the point of the cross. As Paul said: ‘He who did not have any sin, became sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God.’  – 2 Corinthians 5:21

That is imputation.

Paul says of the Jews (his brothers ethnically), in his letter to the Roman church:

Romans 9:1  I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. 3 For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the  Messiah for the benefit of my  brothers , my own flesh and blood. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever.  Amen .

2) Was Jesus an Arch Angel?

No, Jesus is not a created being, He is the Creator. This is especially hard for people who are Unitarians (as Jehovah’s witnesses are). To grasp the idea that one being can exist in three persons is unfathomable, and yet the Bible clearly maintains this truth.

Here is what the Apostle Paul says to the church at Colossae (where a similar debate was going on as to whether or not Jesus was deity or a created being.)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.– Colossians 1:15-18

If he is the image of that which is invisible, he is that thing in representation. For example, if you look in the mirror, the reflection that you see is who? You. If everything was created by him, (that includes angels) He cannot have created himself, as such he is THE CREATOR, HE is GOD. All things have been created through and for Him. He is before ALL things, as such if he was a created being something/someone would have to have been before him, and by him all things (notice it says ALL THINGS) hold together. All clearly means ALL so there is nothing before Him, as such he MUST be GOD.

Compare this to: “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.“ – Isaiah 44:24

The Apostle John, at the beginning of his Gospel, declares:

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15  John (the Baptist)  testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’”) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son— the One who is at the Father’s side— He has revealed Him. – John 1:14-18

Notice that John the Baptist is quoted as saying that Yeshuah is pre-existent. Chronologically, John was older than his cousin Jesus/Yeshuah (see Luke 1:26-45) yet he says that Yeshuah existed before him… This comment from John lends weight to the contention made at the beginning of the Gospel of John which we will discuss later in this tome.

See also Revelation 3:14-22 written to the church at Laodicea, a city quite close to Colossae,  in fact mentioned 3 times in the letter to the Colossian church, and a place where clearly the same heresy concerning Yeshuah’s Deity was active,  wherein Yeshuah identifies Himself as: ““The  Amen , the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation” – Rev. 3:14

This is a very big issue, and here is one reason why I prefer that you not use the NWT.

Consider what EVERY OTHER BIBLE EVER TRANSLATED has to say re: John 1:1-3: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

Now this is what the NWT says: In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence (John 1:1–3 NWT).

Not only is this translation inaccurate, it is deceitful, and dishonest, because it seeks to intentionally change the writer’s statement re: the Deity of Christ (Yeshuah) by calling him a ‘god’ (note the small g’)

3) Is Jesus’ name Jehovah?

In a Word NO. But GOD’s name is not ‘Jehovah’ either. Why do I say that? First off, because there is no ‘J’ or j sound in Hebrew. So Jesus’ name isn’t Jesus either. So where did ‘Jehovah’ come from?

“The word “Jehovah is a hybrid, arising from a misunderstanding. The word “Yahweh,” which more nearly corresponds to the original Hebrew name, is preferable;” –  Bade The Old Testament in the Light of Today (Boston, 1915), pp. 313 f.

And this from the 1911 – Encyclopedia Britannica: “JEHOVAH (YAHWEH 2), in the Bible, the God of Israel.

“Jehovah” is a modern mispronunciation of the Hebrew name, resulting from combining the consonants of that name, Jhvh, with the vowels of the word Adonay, ” Lord,” which the Jews substituted for the proper name in reading the scriptures. In such cases of substitution the vowels of the word which is to be read are written in the Hebrew text with the consonants of the word which is not to be read.”

BritannicaJehovah

 

As such the better question is: Is Jesus/Yeshuah YHWH (Yahweh)?

The answer is YES! Let’s look at Philippians 2:9-11— The Apostle Paul says: Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Once again, we have to, when reading the Bible try to understand what the original hearers/readers would have understood. Paul’s readers (remember there was no new testament at the time of this letter’s writing) would have immediately identified that Paul was calling Jesus GOD, specifically YHWH. Why? Because he is drawing directly from Isaiah 45:20-25 –

20 “Come, gather together, and draw near, you fugitives of the nations. Those who carry their wooden idols, and pray to a god who cannot save, have no knowledge. 21 Speak up and present your case— yes, let them take counsel together. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, Yahweh?* There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me. 22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 It will be said to Me: Righteousness and strength is only in the Lord.” All who are enraged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. 25 All the descendants of Israel will be justified and find glory through the Lord .

*If the translation that you are using says ‘The LORD’ or something close, here is why:

Whenever the name LORD is printed in small caps in some English translation, it means the NAME: YAHWEH. For ancient Jews (and conservative modern ones), YAHWEH was the Name of names; so sacred that they would not speak it nor would they write it in full (they left out the vowels: YHWH). YAHWEH was the Holy One of Israel. Here is what it looks like:

yhwh-in-english

 

So let’s consider this:

As a Pharisee, (one of the most learned and trained Jews) Paul knew this text very well. He knew exactly what he was saying: Jesus of Nazareth is YAHWEH.

In The Psalms, we find this: “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Yahweh, faithful God.” Psalm 31:5

The Apostle Stephen as he was being killed, said what? – Acts 7:59-60 “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.’”  What did Stephen believe abiout Jesus/Yeshuah, even to his death? That He is YAHWEH

The Prophet Joel says: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom Yahweh calls.” Joel 2:32

The Apostle Paul says:

8  On the contrary, what does it say? ‘The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (he is quoting Deuteronomy 30:14). This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:8-13

The Lord who? Who does Paul say is Lord? What scripture is he clearly referencing? So what is He saying about Jesus/Yeshuah? Right, that HE IS YAHWEH

I hope that at least gets you started.

God Bless You, sister.

Please let me know what other questions you have

Much Love to you,

Pastor J

A ‘lose lose’ situation…

Several years ago, I was in negotiations to become the ‘worship pastor’ of a local denominational church. I had served there previously in several capacities (choir director, worship leader, and more) in two previous spans.

The situation seemed really good; The church,suffering numerically and financially, was seeing dwindling numbers especially in the key 25-40, and 40-59 demographics, (Key of course since these are the two groups who normally bring both energy and steady income to the church)  and was looking for a way to turn the situation around…

Per the negotiations that I had with the pastor, I would work directly with him on worship planning, service structure, and have responsibility over the music and arts ministries. In that capacity, I was to:

1) Implement training (Biblical, Musical, Theological) for both the adults and children, re: Worship, the use of music, etc.

2) Create/develop a band and choir from among existing membership so that the church would not have to hire outside musicians, (especially those of a different faith as they were doing, which is another post in itself).

Additionally, the pastor told me that he was looking to build what amounted to a ‘two-winged’ system (aka the cell-celebration model) where leaders were trained and empowered, and the cells met and sought to experience/manifest their faith in a much more intimate way, and that he needed my help to do it. I was hooked…

I even agreed to commit to the work for less than one half of what I knew the work was worth in terms of time, effort and value.

Keep in mind that I was going to take this on in addition to my other duties, including pastoring/teaching the Repairer’s Fellowship. (What was I thinking? In retrospect, I’m not sure)

As we went into the process however, things began to change subtly. After a while it became clear that the pastor’s aims/goals and mine were not in alignment.

He wanted Immediate results, performance and pomp, (especially since he was aware of my prior work with a very large ministry of which he is enamored), while I was looking for steady growth, community development, and long-term success.

Additionally, I began to see during meetings that what we had discussed privately was clearly not being communicated to the board members of the church, in particular those whose support would be key, if the endeavor would be successful.

Most importantly  however, I began to see (in these same meetings) that the Theological positions which we seemed to share on key issues must have been figments of my imagination. In short, we were at an impasse.

The last straw was a meeting which I was invited to, which took place a mere 3 days before my scheduled ‘official’ start date. I had been attending events, getting familiar with the people with whom I’d be working closely, some of whom were new to me, some were not. Several things took place at the meeting which did nothing to assuage my growing discomfort with the formerly idyllic enterprise, in fact it was looking more and more like an elaborate gimmick-filled program designed to bolster/rally support for the pastor, at the expense of the people… Then, the coup de grace. I was asked to stay behind after the meeting, and I was told by the pastor and a key board member, that they then wanted me to come in and work for the first couple of months gratis, and then at the beginning of the third month, they would ‘by faith’ be able to pay me…

I told them that I would pray and think about it, and what emerged was the following (edited for names etc.)

Date: —-

To: Rev. ——, and committee

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing to you because there is much that needs to be said, and it is my desire to be thorough and concise, neither do I wish to be misunderstood, therefore, I ask that you read completely what follows, and then if you’d like to discuss any part of it, I will be happy to at a time that is mutually convenient.

I came out of the meeting that I attended on March xxth, conflicted and concerned for several reasons which I will, if you will indulge me, make clear below. I will first lay out the various situations as I see them, followed by a conclusion…

The liturgical situation:

Clearly we are on different trajectories in terms or our understanding of what it means to be, and function as the church.  As we are all aware, I am not (denomination), and there are many reasons for that. I thought however,  that we could surmount those differences and try to come to a middle ground, but I am now no longer so sure that this can happen successfully.

By nature, due to experience and years of study, I am antagonistic towards doctrines and practices foisted on the church (the people of God) that I do not see Biblical support for. Things that are in my view, destructive to the simple clarity of the Gospel and what it means to be the Ekklesia. Things like Paedo-Baptism, tithing, and consubstantiation to name a few.

I realize also that we have very different ideas about, and definitions of, words like ‘Worship’,’ church’, and ‘service’. I was in error because I thought that we could find a place of agreement, especially when in conversation with Rev. —, I was told that he envisioned eventually the (cell groups) functioning almost like individual house churches. As a house church Pastor, trainer and planter, this appealed to me greatly. But this, like a few other things that we have discussed during this process, I heard (I realize now) through the filter of my definitions and therefore did not hear what was really being said. Again, this is my error.  

That said, I am very concerned about the shape that the (leadership training unit) is taking. I see now that I did not understand the purpose as it has been defined. I thought, (better yet, I assumed) from our discussions that you (church name) were seeking to develop a group of servant leaders, who would, as the Aposle Peter commanded, shepherd the flock which is ‘among them’ (1 Peter 5:2). What I saw the other night instead, was the institution of another level of religious bureaucracy and separation. Another level set in place between the congregation and God, and I am not in agreement with this at all.

Using Exodus 28, Rev. — set up the premise of a level of priests among priests. While this is clearly the way that Israel functioned, it is clear that we are not Israel, we are the body of Christ, a body fitly joined together, where everyone is equally important, with differing gifts which edify the whole. As I say to our group consistently, Pastor is my gift, not my rank.

The spiritual situation:

The essential message of Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees was that they had put so many things (practices, systems, dogmas, doctrines) in between the people and the Lord that the people’s vision of the true God was obscured, and they were being destroyed because of it.

The ultimate end of what I teach regarding Worship is paradoxical:

  1. The truth that the blood bought believer is a slave. Completely captive to Christ, His will and desire. This understanding shapes everything else in life.
  2. That there is freedom in Christ of the individual, who having come to a place of true liberty can function freely, fully and passionately in the community of believers.

In short, in Christ we are both slave and free simultaneously.

That is what I see in the New Testament, people being set free, as they come into the knowledge of the truth. Simply and sincerely. And those same people becoming willing slaves to the will and purpose of their Master. Utterly and completely…

Instead, in churches all over, we add pomp and circumstance, extra-biblical rituals and forms, and the clever plans of men, which now as then, obscure God from the people, this is why members that I have spoken to recently, identify themselves as (denomination) before they are Christian, if they identify in a meaningful way as Christian at all.

The solution to most all of the issues in the body of Christ (including factionalism, church growth struggles, marital issues, the so-called ‘worship wars’, etc) is quite simple. “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus”.  Not on our terms but on His. It is not about professional presentation, more complexity in our rituals, new levels of hierarchical structure or worship planning that focuses on entertainment or experience. Rather it is about education and edification.

In John 4, Jesus makes clear that true worship is accomplished not in location, ritual, or tradition, but rather in spirit and truth. Teaching before practice, and holiness unto the Lord which comes from within…

Regarding my ‘rigidity’: I have been at various and sundry times been called that and much worse, because I regard the Worship and things of God as holy, and His people as precious. It is clear that the holiness of God is the primary focus of our Worship, it is clear that worship is for God’s glory and for our benefit. I regard Worship (and its associated events) the same why that you, brother (Rev—) , guard the pulpit.Why? Because God does.

This is the same God who killed his own priests, denied his own chosen man the promised land, killed people in the church gathering, and will deny many who profess belief, access to heaven and his throne. Why? Because He is Holy.

This is the same God who admonishes the shepherds to follow His example and lay down their lives for the sheep, the same one who says that a fate worse than death awaits those who Abuse his children, and promises a harsher judgment for those who claim this gift of Pastor/Teacher. Why? Because His people are precious.. His Bride is precious.

As Paul Washer says, ‘If I knew that someone had assaulted my wife, and that people had seen it but did not help, I would first hunt down and destroy the ones who had assaulted my Bride, but then I would hunt down the ones who saw and did nothing. How do you think that Jesus will deal with those who abuse His bride, and those who see and do nothing?’

I refuse to be on either list…

You see brothers and sisters, for us to think that it is ok to bring people in, or put people up to minister who are at best unregenerate, have doctrinal positions which are not Biblically supported, or at worse, do not follow Christ at all, is dangerously errant, and is ‘strange fire’ (see Leviticus 10) .  For us to have ecumenical services with those who follow different gods or hold heretical beliefs about Christ, claiming that they are ‘brothers’ is ‘strange fire’.

This seems not to be an issue for the folks at (church name), and though I am concerned, I understand why. They have not been taught, and many do not have a clear understanding of the depth of it. Clear Biblical teaching will easily fix that, and those who are given grace to hear, will. That is your task, brother (Rev—), and I pray that you will be up to the challenge by God’s grace.

(discussion of the financial situation redacted)

As such, I hereby remove my name from consideration for the position or Worship Pastor/Director of Worship Arts at (Church name) . It is my prayer that in the coming months,  the Lord will guide you towards the best candidate, even as He prepares you in every way to accommodate he or she at that time

In His Service, by His Grace,

Pastor CT. Jermin