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A LOOK AT THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH

Part 6

Review

Heb 4:12

12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.      AMP

So if the emphasis of God is on His Word then it would stand to reason that words are extremely important. Thus a study of specific words and their origins is essential to understanding the importance of not only their meaning but the implications that they have on our lives and how we respond to what we believe to be true.

The purpose of the appointed times or Moeds are to establish several truths.

Righteousness - The appointed times of God established His requirements for righteousness, showing us who He is and revealing the knowledge of how He expects us to behave. On a deeper level, our attitudes are shaped by the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

This is made known by our Godly behavior before others and is not earned, but is a gift. This gift is imparted into us when we are born again and is a "spiritual" truth in that it cannot be obtained through works of the flesh. We have to train our flesh to do "right" things by following our example in the flesh, Jesus of Nazareth and following His commandments. Love God, Love your fellow man. Our Christianity is hallmarked by our love for one another.

            Occurs 306 times in the Bible and the most common usage is as follows:

            OT:6666 tsedaqah (tsed-aw-kaw'); from OT:6663; rightness (abstractly),subjectively (rectitude), objectively(justice), morally (virtue) or figuratively (prosperity):

            KJV - justice, moderately, right (-eous) (act, -ly, -ness).

            (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The very first time this word is used in the Bible, is in God's dealing with Abraham.

            Ge 15:5-6 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.             KJV

Think of the magnitude of creation and the fact that to the naked eye, only about 6000 stars are visible. That is barely enough to populate a small city, much less comparable to the sand of the sea. The visible stars in the sky can be counted. What Abraham experienced was a supernatural encounter with God taking him into the second heaven and showing him all the created universe. This extraordinary "vision" was given to Abraham and that is what made him believe God. When you experience the presence of the Living God, your life changes forever. I am not talking just supernatural experiences because the occult and various other religions have these experiences, but rather an encounter with the Creator of everything. A head on collision with manifest love will cause a train wreck in your normal course of life and alter your reality forever.

Covenant - This establishes the foundation of our walk with God and it's requirements. The classic example is marriage.4 It is used as an allegory for our walk with Christ.

Since the covenants were made between God and men, God did not have anyone to back Him up, so He backed His part of the covenant with Himself since there was no one greater than He to rely on. The integrity of His Word had to be sufficient. Covenant is a huge subject, but one that can be grasped to our benefit. The key point is that God made the covenant with us.

Covenant follows directly on the heels of Righteousness. Let's continue reading the account in Genesis 15.

Ge 15:7  And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.     KJV

So because we are made righteous in God's eyes and by His might and His Spirit, we can walk in the next level of sanctification, that being Covenant. Jesus shed blood has been taught and covenant is one of the subjects covered in one degree or another in virtually all seminaries. It is not taught in depth, but rather as a walk through the scriptures and some discussion. It is given place, but I think lacks the depth of teaching that makes it effective.

Holiness - Not much is taught regarding Holiness. Holiness has had some pretty strange behavior attached to it and it needs a little clarification so we are going to spend a little more time on this subject. "The opposite of Holy is not sinful or evil. (Selah) The opposite of Holy is ordinary." 4

            A simple example of Holy is to exchange the word for what it really means, "special". The very first time the word Holy shows up is with God's dealings with Moses and the burning bush.

                        Ex 3:4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy (special)* ground.           KJV

*Added by Bob

The ground under Moses feet was no different than it was the day before, except that now, God showed up and declared it "special" ground. It was no longer ordinary! So how do we treat Holiness?

Take for example china verses everyday dishes. They are special, only used for special occasions and extraordinary care is taken in storage, use and cleaning. Ordinary dishes used every day, are usually used several times a day, have no special purpose except for ordinary use and are not cared for in the same way china would be. Another example would be flatware. Silver would be polished, stored in a special container and brought out only on special occasions. Great care would be taken to make sure it didn't tarnish. Everyday flatware would be washed, stored in a drawer and be available for whatever use was needed. I have used butter knives as a pry bar, screwdriver and other such things. You would never do that with your best silver!

So, let's take a look at some "Holy" items in the scriptures:

The Sabbath: declared Holy by God to Moses and placed in the 10 commandments.

The Holy mountain: where God came down and met with Moses

Holiness opens the door to the supernatural.

o    Walking in Holiness requires that you know that God has made you Holy.4

§ You are a saint (Holy one)                                          Romans 1:7

§ You are not a mere human                                          1 Cor. 3:3

§ You are indwelt by God's Spirit                                 Romans 8:9

§ You are a partaker of God's nature                             2 Peter 1:4

§ The Power (Dunamis) of resurrection is in you          Romans 8:11

§ You have a purpose and a destiny                              Jeremiah 29:11

§ You've been given supernatural abilites and are called to live as a supernatural being!                                                         1 Cor. 12:All

Walking in Holiness requires walking in "honor", honoring God and others. Showing honor where honor is due. Some examples of honor

            Honor God, His name, His Word, His Spirit

            Honor Parents

            Honor Spouse, Marriage

            Honor Leaders

            Honor The Sabbath

            Honor Your own body as God's Temple

            Honor Other Christians just because they know Jesus

            Honor the Jews as God's elect and chosen people

That means that there are a few questions that need to be answered;

"Who changed the holiness of these things?" I believe that question was answered in the first three sessions of this series.

Why then do we not "honor" the things that God Himself has deemed Holy? Oh, so we don't need to celebrate Passover, but we should have communion at least once a month. Well where did communion come from anyway? Maybe the one thing that changed at Passover was Jesus showed up. According to the Passover Jesus celebrated, nothing was changed except to revere His memory as the Passover Lamb. This is exciting stuff as our Passover Lamb has been revealed and we don't have to slaughter a lamb, but we can celebrate with a feast at that time and really try to avoid pork. I am not against an Easter ham since Easter is what you are celebrating anyway, a tradition of man that makes the Word of God of no effect. Meat offered to idols.

Ha, I am having fun with you, don't get serious on me, yet on the other hand Paul confronts this in his letter to the Romans of which I am going to include in its entirety from the Amplified Bible.

Ro 14:1-23

14:1 AS FOR the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions. 2 one [man's faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another's household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand. 5 one man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for] 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise]. [Isa 45:23.] 12 And so each of us shall give an account of himself [give an answer in reference to judgment] to God. 13 Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean. 15 But if your brother is being pained or his feelings hurt or if he is being injured by what you eat, [then] you are no longer walking in love. [You have ceased to be living and conducting yourself by the standard of love toward him.] Do not let what you eat hurt or cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died! 16 Do not therefore let what seems good to you be considered an evil thing [by someone else]. [In other words, do not give occasion for others to criticize that which is justifiable for you.] 17[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 He who serves Christ in this way is acceptable and pleasing to God and is approved by men. 19 So let us then definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding (edification and development) of one another. 20 You must not, for the sake of food, undo and break down and destroy the work of God! Everything is indeed [ceremonially] clean and pure, but it is wrong for anyone to hurt the conscience of others or to make them fall by what he eats. 21 The right thing is to eat no meat or drink no wine [at all], or [do anything else] if it makes your brother stumble or hurts his conscience or offends or weakens him. 22 Your personal convictions [on such matters]--exercise [them] as in God's presence, keeping them to yourself [striving only to know the truth and obey His will]. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves [who does not convict himself by what he chooses to do]. 23 But the man who has doubts (misgivings, an uneasy conscience) about eating, and then eats [perhaps because of you], stands condemned [before God], because he is not true to his convictions and he does not act from faith. For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful]. AMP

As you walk in Holiness showing honor, God's presence invades your life, the covenant blessings are activated and the Blessing of God is released in your life. It is not about legalism, being different or being good, but simply showing honor.4

Read from page 128 "The Messianic Church Arising!" Robert D. Heidler

 

This is only the beginning of this journey with our living God.

                DO NOT TELL ANYONE "Bob Berning said to leave your church." That is not what this is about!

o  Am I telling you to convert to Judaism?                                Absolutely not!

o  Am I suggesting leaving your current fellowship?                Absolutely not!

o  Am I suggesting maybe looking into the scriptures to learn for yourself and seek the fellowship of like minded believers?                                                YES

"As Christians, we read what we believe, but do we believe what we read?" 6