MESSAGE THREE

Christ's Own MUST COME INTO UNITY



        I believe that the cry of Jesus' heart revealed in John
chapter 17 will be answered.  It is inconceivable to me that Jesus'
own prayer will not be granted in full.  I believe that if we read
scripture with the goal of being ever vigilant to recognize any
teachings and/or instructions that will lead to accomplishing the
UNITY of the body of Christ, we will see some familiar
scriptures in a very different light.
        The Holy Spirit has been showing me many scriptures that
seem to have some of that truth in truth meaning which is
sometimes 180 degrees opposite from the traditional
understanding.  I pray that you claim John 7:17 and have your
spiritual ears tuned in, and if you perhaps feel that I am way off
base, please find it in your hearts to come to me in love and let
the Lord lead you to reveal from his word where I goofed.
While I am confident that it is God who has shown me these
things, some are so far removed from traditional thinking I
almost refused to bring this message.  However, it is burning in
my spirit that the body of Christ must hear what has been shown
to me.  Believe me, I have struggled with this, and still can't
figure out why me Lord?...
        The Word of God not only gives us a history, it is also
relevant to our lives today.  I have heard many a person say that
we need to take the Word and "reshape" it to have meaning for
today, I say that we need to reprogram our lives to fit the Word
of God.  Jesus himself is to be our example as 1 Corinthians
4:16-17 says:
                “Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
                For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my
                beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind
                you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in
                every church."
    Paul not only knew that he was to imitate Christ,  he taught
that others should imitate him, as he was imitating Christ.
    Not only was the GOSPEL mentioned over 95 times in the
New Testament, Jesus himself said that His reason for coming
was to preach the gospel to the poor (Luke 4:18-21):
                "’The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me
                Because He has anointed Me
                To preach the gospel to the poor;
                He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
                To proclaim liberty to the captives
                And recovery of sight to the blind.
                To set at liberty those who are oppressed:
                To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’
                Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the
                attendant and sat down.  And the eyes of all who were
                in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began
                to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in
                your hearing.’"
        I also believe that Jesus not only proclaimed his purpose on
earth, but that He also lived it.  And that if we examine his
words and actions in almost any event recorded in the light of
this mission, we will see a consistency in His life that clearly
reveals God's plan for "drawing" men to Him.
        Looking at the recorded event of the woman of Cannan in
Matthew Chapter 15 we see in verse 24 that Jesus clearly stated
his mission:
                “But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to
                the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’
        My first reaction when I began to understand the
ramifications of this verse was that surely He was just giving a
"stock" answer, and that He would really tell why He was sent.
But realizing that He is Truth, I had to examine this answer in
the light of Truth.  As I said earlier, I believe that Jesus is our
example, and if His mission from His Father was to minister to
the lost sheep of Israel, then our (the Church - Jesus on earth
today) mission is to the extended house of Israel, in other words
to Christians (adopted children of Abraham).  After all doesn't it
say in Deuteronomy 32:21:
                “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not
                God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish
                idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by thos
                who are not a nation: I will move them to anger by a
                foolish nation.”
        This scripture is repeated in Romans 10:19, and in Romans
11:11 we see:
                “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall?
                Certainly not!  But through their fall, to provoke them
                 to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.”
        Clearly His plan is not in doubt.  Supporting this we read in
Matthew 7:6:
                “’Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your
                pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their
                feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.’"
        In Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 14-16 we see the model that
His followers are to be on the earth:
                “’You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a
                hill cannot be hidden.
                Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but
                on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the
                house.
                Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
                your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’”
        From the familiar scripture in Matthew 11:28-31:
                "’Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
                and I will give you rest.
                Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
                gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for
                your souls.
                For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’"
        We see that Jesus clearly said, come to Me, then your souls
will find rest, He did not say - here let Me provide your every
need, then later if you get around to it, come to Me..........
        I firmly believe that the Gospel He preached was that IF
people came to Him and obey His commands that the promises
made in His word would be theirs.  Don't get me wrong, I fully
realize that without His presence in our lives it would be
impossible for us to obey His word, but it is possible for us to
decide to let Him obey His word in our lives.  The decision is
ours and no one else's.  If this truly is the Gospel that He
preached, then it is vital in my mind for us to search out just
what the commandments are that we must obey, that is decide to
let Him obey in our lives, in order to receive the GOOD NEWS
of the GOSPEL, i.e. the promises of blessings on this earth, and
of Eternal Life.  How many of you want to live daily in the
blessings and favor of God?
        Before we proceed, I would like to make a
statement.....There are no contradictions in God's Word......I will
never forget, taking my first university course in religion, a
course called "Introduction to the Bible," the textbook plainly
stated that "some" believed the Bible to be totally true and
accurate, but that those with understanding realized that it is
only a collection of old tales, poems, songs, a little
history..etc....And this was only 8 pages into the text, then on
page 10 the text started listing "discrepancies" found in the
Bible.  Upon close examination, it turns out that they are
discrepancies only if you take the text's word for it, but if you
actually read the Bible itself, and take into account the context
and settings of the "discrepancies", every one is actually an
example of just exactly how harmonious the Bible is.  Here is
one example given in the textbook so that you will understand
what I am saying:  the text said "The regulation concerning the
cooking of the Passover lambin Exodus 12:8 requires that it be
roasted, whereas similar requirements in Deuteronomy 16:7
demand that it be boiled."  Examination of this "discrepancy"
revealed that every translation of the Bible I looked at, except
the one the author of the text used, used the word "roast" in
both of these passages, and though the Hebrew words used were
different, one meant "to roast" and the other meant to cook till
done, and indicated that the juices inside should boil up and
out..in other words, roast till well done.  So much for a learned
scholar's proof that the Bible cannot be taken literally.
        Having said all that, I say again that I believe there to be
NO discrepancies in the Bible, for if there were one, that would
mean that the Bible was not Truth through and through, thereby
casting doubt on any of it.  And the Bible has proved itself true
in too many instances in my life for me to doubt it.  "Lord I
believe, help my unbelief", as the father replied to Jesus in Mark
9:24.  I pray and determine daily to live my life with more and
more conviction in my heart that my life should and can be lined
up with God's word.
        Now I am going to reveal what appears at first to be a
glaring discrepancy in the New testament.  When the significance
of this supposed difference struck me, I immediately asked the
Holy Spirit to show me the Truth in the matter.  I trusted Him to
do just that, and to confirm what he revealed by abundantly
backing  it up.  Turn first if you would to Matthew 5:44:
                "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who
                curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray
                for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"
        We see another rendition of this statement in Luke 6:27-28:
                "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do
                good to those who hate you, bless those who curse
                you, and pray for those who spitefully use you."
        Then in 1 John. 2:15 we read:
                “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If
                anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not
                in him.”
        In this verse we see that a distinction is made between "the
world" and the "things in the world".  Taken at first glance the
statements made in Matthew and Luke would seem to be in total
opposition with the statement in 1 John.  If there are no
contradictions in God's Word there must be a biblical
explanation.  Before we examine the verses that support the one
in 1 John let's think about Jesus for a minute.  As I have already
said, I believe he told us what his mission was, and I believe that
He lived that mission in His life.  I also believe that Jesus knew
the future history of His church on this earth.  I believe that He
knew that the Catholics and Protestants would hate each other
so much they would kill each other in Northern Ireland, and I
believe He knew that differences in man made traditions within
the denominations that were to come would cause different
branches of the vine to struggle with each other, even to the
point of "curse you",  "hate you", "spitefully use" and
“persecute".  Taking into account that surely Jesus knew the sad
state His body on earth would degenerate into, I believe he was
giving instructions for His body to reverse the fragmentation and
bring about the reconciliation of the various parts of His body to
manifest the fulfillment of his prayer in John chapter 17.
        But before I drive a stake into this possibility, I want to
examine the other verses in the New Testament where we are
told to love others:
	1.    Matthew 19:19 -  "....You shall love
	your neighbor as yourself." &
	2.    Matthew 22:39 -  "....You shall love
	your neighbor as yourself."  &
	3.    Mark 12:31 -  "....You shall love your
	neighbor as yourself."  &
	4.    Mark 12:33 -  "....and to love one's neighbor
	as oneself,...." &
	5.    Romans 13:9 -  "....You shall love your
	neighbor as yourself." &
	6.    Galations 5:14 -  "....You shall love your
	neighbor as yourself." &
	7.    James 2:8 -  "....You shall love your
	neighbor as yourself....,"
        In these seven verses, the word for neighbor has a literal
meaning of close countryman.  And from the context of #5, #6
& #7 it is clearly speaking of loving "one another".
	8.    John 13:35 - "By this all will know that you are My
            disciples, if you have love for one another."
            9.  Romans 12:10 - "Be kindly affectionate to one
            another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference
            to one another;"
	10.  1 Thessalonians 4:9 - "But concerning brotherly love
            you have no need that I should write to you, for you
            yourselves are taught by God to love one another;"
	11.  Hebrews 13:1 - "Let brotherly love continue."
	12.  1 Peter 1:22 - "Since you have purified your souls in
            obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the
            brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,"
	13.  1 Peter 3:8 - "Finally, all of you be of one mind,
             having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be
             tenderhearted, be courteous;"
	14.  1 John 3:11 - "For this is the message that you heard
            from the beginning, that we should love one another,"
	15.  1 John 3:14 - "We know that we have passed
	from death to life, because we love the brethren.  He
            who does not love his brother abides in death."
	16.  1 John 4:7 - "Beloved, let us love one another, for
             love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God
             and knows God.
	17. 1 John 4:11 - "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also
             ought to love one another."
             18.   1 John 4:12 - "No one has seen God at any time.
             If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love
             has been perfected in us."
        In the verses from #9 through #18 there is no doubt that
we are told to love "one another" and/or "brothers", I do not see
how this could be even slightly misunderstood.
	19.  John 13: 34 -  "A new commandment I give
	to you, that you love one another; as I
	have loved you, that you also love one
	another."
	20.  John 15:12 -  "This is My commandment,
	that you love one another as I have loved
	you."
	21.  John 15:17 - "These things I command you,
	that you love one another."
	22.  Romans 13:8 - "Owe no one anything except
	to love one another, for he who loves
	another has fulfilled the law."
	23.  1 John 3:23 - "And this is His commandment: that we
        should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and
        love one another, as He gave us commandment."
	24.  1 John 4:21 - "And this commandment we
	have from Him: that he who loves God
	must love his brother also."
	25.  2 John 5 - "And now I plead with you, lady,
	not as though I wrote a new
	commandment to you, but that which we have had from
        the beginning: that we love one another."
        In the verses from #1 through #5 it is clear from the context that
the command to love your neighbor is a commandment.  In the
verses from #19 to #25 it is not even necessary to read them in
context becuse they proclaim themselves to be a commandment
from God.
        There is one more verse from the New Testament that readily
belongs in the verses just listed, but before we look at it, lets
examine another portion of scripture:  the recorded exchange
between the religious leadership and Jesus when they were
testing Him and trying to catch Him in an error.  Turn to
Matthew 22:37 or Mark 12:30, you will be able to follow along
from either.
        The greatest commandment...to love the Lord thy God with all
your heart, soul, mind and, as recorded in Mark, strength...if all
really means all, then there would be no love left for anyone or
anything else, that is why Jesus says that the second is like the
first..like means the same as.  Thereby loving the Lord (Jesus on
earth today is the church) and loving your neighbor (close
countryman) is one and the same...ergo...like!!!  The greatest
commandment is clearly, to me at least, for us to love the body
of Christ (the church) with all our hearts, soul minds and
strength.  After all, doesn't  John 14:15 say "If you love Me,
keep My commandments."?
        From the account of Jesus seated on the throne of His glory as
recorded in Matthew chapter 25 verses 31 through 36 He clearly
says that as we administer aid to
"the least of these My brothers" that we have administered aid to
Him.  I do not see any way that we can escape from believing
that God's plan for drawing the world to Him is for the church
on earth to so love each other that it makes the world so jealous
they come begging, even storming to become a part of the
kingdom of heaven.  Let's not delude ourselves that fulfilling this
commandment will not bring adversity to ourselves, for why else
would God have so beautifully provided our armor for the
spiritual warfare to come.  And, yes there will be a great "falling
away" because many will not be willing to let go of tradition and
embrace the truth of these words.  They will insist on continuing
to try to do God's job for Him, and will hang on to their
animosity towards those who disagree with them.  I can only
pray that they read 1 John 3:14 and repent.  As for me, I choose
to love all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, even those who I
do not understand why they follow certain traditions etc.  After
all, they probably think I am weird in a few things too.  I just
hope they do not let that keep them from loving me.
        Now, just before I close, I want to bring the verse I mentioned
earlier to your attention. This verse may seem to be almost
insignificant, but then there are no words of God that are
insignificant, yet it not only puts all that I have said into
perspective, it even shows us the way to obey God's
commandment that we love one another.  Turn to 1 Peter 2:17:
                "Honor all people, Love the brotherhood. Fear
	        God. Honor the king."
        We are not to hold the world in disdain, nor hate it.  I do believe
that we can hate Satan and get by with it, but the lost we are to
honor, just as we honor God-ordained earthly political authority.
But our love is to be extended towards the brotherhood, and we
will rejoice with the angels as each new brother comes into the
brotherhood, that then we may show love towards those we
honored.
        There is no doubt in my mind and heart that this message is vital
for the body of Christ to begin to put aside our differences and
move into the unity that Jesus cried out for in His prayer of
John 17.
        There are seven other verses in the New Testament that speak of
loving others in one form or another, but they are all specifically
related to husband/wife/children relationships within a family.
        In closing let's remember to honor those in the world, and even
ferverently desire that they become one of us, but lets never
forget our first love, Jesus (the church).
        1 John 2:9-11 says:
                "He who says he is in the light, and hates his
	        brother, is in darkness until now.
	        He who loves his brother abides in the light, and
	        there is no cause for stumbling in him.
	        But He who hates his brother is in darkness and
	        walks in darkness, and does not know where he is
	        going, because the darkness has blinded his
                eyes."
        Bow your heads please.....
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This site was published on 12 June, 2000.