This is Eternal Life

He said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, so the Son may glorify You.  Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so may He give eternal life to all those You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent.                                                                                      John 17:1-3.

How do we come to know God and obtain this eternal life? The ones we know; we recognize their voice. When someone who knows me well calls on the telephone, they say “Hey, it’s me”, and I don’t have to ask “Who dat”?

The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  John 10:4.

Whether we are listening to the spoken Word or studying devotionals, praising God or meditating in His presence, the one goal remains constant: to know His voice. One of the earliest ways that the priesthood referred to the Lord was “The Voice.”

And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking unto him from above the ark-cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and He spoke unto him.                         Numbers 7:89, JPS Tanakh.

The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, the voice of the Spirit. The world will tell you that you are suffering from auditory hallucinations if you claim to hear this voice. However, scientists that study brain wave activity in people during these episodes find that the voices are processed in a different area of the brain from normal auditory stimuli. The point of this is that we can listen to the Word of God being read aloud, and hear the voice of the Spirit as a living commentary on what is being read if we abide in the Spirit. Haven’t you had the Lord drop something into your spirit while listening to preaching?

He has made manifest His Word through preaching. Titus 1:3.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.               1  Corinthians 1:21.

How then shall they call on the One in whom they have not trusted? And how shall they trust in the One they have not heard of? And how shall they hear without someone proclaiming? And how shall they proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim good news of good things!”                  Romans 10:14&15.

This is why the message must not deviate from what was presented by the first apostles.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no benefit. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life. John 6:63.

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 16:7&8.

It is always the work of the Holy Spirit to convict someone to repentance. This is why Paul said:

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with excellence of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the mystery of God. For I decided not to know about anything among you except Yeshua the Messiah and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.  My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  so that your faith would not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.                        1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

The public reading of scripture is a true tradition of the Witnesses of Israel.

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to encouragement, and to teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13.

The Message of the Messiah must register to the listener through the Voice of the Spirit, not our own. In this knowledge of God is the continual blessing.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Rev. 1:3.

Is the Law Sin?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  Romans 7:7.

What is the dynamic here, that we know something is wrong and do it anyway?  The answer is direct, but not at all simple.

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. Ro 7:14.

Here is where we must answer a very direct question: are we willing to die to our selves so that the life of Christ can manifest?

Who is running The House?

You may be familiar with a Greek yogurt in most supermarkets called Oikos. The word means house/home in Greek and at some level may suggest “homemade” goodness. On the other hand, I have never seen Oikos milk, cottage cheese or sour cream. They are dedicated to making good yogurt, therefore, they are “building their house” on yogurt, the way the Hersey family built their house on chocolate and the Busch family built their house on beer.

Oikos is the root of many important words found in the New Testament, none more important than Romans chapters 7 and 8. Three times in chapter seven Paul uses the word oikeo in regards to sin which is translated dwells in, or living in me. He describes  our struggle with a carnal nature, and the ineffectiveness of the Law to overcome the “law of sin and death.”

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  Romans 7:15.

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:17.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Romans 7:18.
Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Romans 7:20.

And so we see Paul repeat this word three times to emphasize the nature of sin as a “resident” in my house, who is a home wrecker. The will of sin is contrary to our own and leads us  to self-destructive behavior that man was unable to overcome without a Savior. This he purposely presents to serve as a contrast to the point he intends to make in chapter 8. He closes the chapter and builds a bridge to the next with this proclamation:

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man,
but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.  Romans 7:22-25.
Only now, with a thorough understanding of chapter 7 can a disciple grasp the victory described in Chapter 8. Many times I have heard preaching directly from Romans 8 that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in you by faith. This is not the point that Paul was trying to make at all. This is not,”the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” theology.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Romans 8:9.
We now see Paul using the same word that he used three times in Romans 7, to say that if the Spirit of God directs your will the way the sin nature did before, then you will walk in victory.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.  Romans 8:11.
When he says “by his Spirit that dwells in you”,  he uses enoikeo, a strengthened form of the word oikeo used five times previously that implies dwelling in harmony and cooperation. This is what the Lord and the apostle John referred to as “abiding in” the Spirit.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  Romans 8:13&14.
This is working out your salvation with “fear and trembling.” Ph 2:12.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Ga 5:24.

Faithful to God’s House

Hebrews 3:1-6 compares the Lord Jesus Christ as the High Priest of our profession to the faithfulness of Moses in shepherding Israel through the wilderness. Quoting the Lord in Numbers 12 Moses is said to have been “faithful in all My House”.

And Moses was truly faithful in all His house as a servant for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:5 & 6.

Statements with the word “if” are not the most popular among many believers but Jesus himself said that the ones who endure unto the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:13. The admonition is then repeated:  for we are made partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:14. While it is said; today if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts as in the provocation. Hebrews 3:15 is now quoting from Psalm 95 and again comparing the body of Christ to the “church in the wilderness.”

When Hebrews 3:5 says that Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, a unique Greek word is used, and translating as “a servant” clouds the importance of this statement. The word doulos is used over 100 times in the New Testament to convey the idea of being a bond-servant or purchased slave of Christ. This one time the word therapon is used which means an attendant. This is the word from which is derived therapeia and the English word therapy. As the therapon to the church in the wilderness Moses attended to the needs of the people, particularly to maintaining a right relationship with the Spirit of the Lord.

To have a zeal for the church and body of Christ, we are being called like Moses to be faithful in all his house. The significance of this statement is only understood from the visitation of the Lord in Numbers 12. The Lord tells Aaron and Miriam “hear now, my words: if there be a prophet among you, I make myself known unto him in a vision and speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so who is faithful in all my house. With him I speak directly.” Hebrews goes on to say that we all can come boldly before throne of grace. We have the same access, the same opportunity to come into the Lord’s presence. After spending time in the sanctuary of the Lord we can speak without presumptuous error and offence. We can be faithful in all his house. Consider now the application of this word study to a correct understanding of this teaching of Christ Jesus.

Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord will make ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? Mt 24:45; Luke 12:42. We find the word servant translating the familiar Greek word doulos, but then we find an extremely poor and misleading use of the word ruler.  To properly understand Jesus when he teaches on stewardship we must always remember his statement “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life” and “the flesh profits nothing”. The concern here is not flesh, Jesus said “I have meat to eat that you know not of, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me.” John 4:32-34. Jesus is seeking elect stewards like Moses who can be faithful in all his house, to see to the spiritual health of the congregation. To be a therapon to provide therapeia (healing) for the body of Christ. Also see the two other uses of the word therapeia in Luke 9:11 and Revelations 22:2, where the word is translated healing. Does the Lord want us to heal people or rule people?

We can serve the congregation like Moses only in the spirit of meekness. Paul wrote that if anyone is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore them in the spirit of meekness…bearing one another’s burdens fulfilling the Law of Christ. Galatians 6 . I entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. 2 Co 10. This creates a hedge against judgment, for mercy exults over judgment. James 2:13.

Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth which have wrought His judgment. Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger. Zephaniah 2:3.

The servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all, apt to teach, patient in meekness to instruct those that oppose themselves so that God perhaps will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. 2 Tim 2:24-26.

These teachings of Paul are essentially a mission statement for the church.

  1. Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called.
  2. Serve with all lowliness and meekness with longsuffering.
  3. Forbear one another in love.
  4. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3. This chapter is a constitutional document for the law of Christ. In chapter 3 Paul invoked the law of togetherness for the church:

  1. Christ has given us life together.
  2. He has raised us up together.
  3. He has made us to sit together in heavenly places.

This is why David wrote concerning Christ: Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. Psalms 34:3. The letter to the Ephesians also provides an opportunity to investigate another of Paul’s dissertations on the mysteries of God revealed in the body of Christ. God has made known to us the mystery of his will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ. Ephesians.1:10.

This continues thematically in chapter 3 of the letter. We might come to understand through the mystery of Christ that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs (with the Jews) and of the same body and partakers of the promise…the fellowship of the mystery which had been hidden in God from the beginning of the world…according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. (Highlights).

Interesting that when Paul speaks of God’s eternal purpose, the same word is used for show bread in the Gospels. when Jesus speaks of David and his men eating hallowed bread against the law. God’s purpose is our life, lived before Him. In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.  Luke 1:75. 

Even as Barnabas exhorted the church at Antioch:

Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart (hearts laid open before Him like the show bread in the Temple) they would cleave unto the Lord.  Acts 11:23.