Friday, March 5, 2021

THE RESPONSIBLE POSITION OF THE CALLED-0UT ASSEMBLY OF YEHOVAH

The lord Messiah Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall anything be salted? It is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men.” [Matthew 5:13]

In Palestine salt was the universal antidote to decay and putrefaction. It had to be used freely in everything, or the food for man and beast would quickly become unfit to eat. Thus salt became the word for sincerity, fidelity, and corruption. Hence to be that salt is to do everything in our power, by word, by persuasion, by influence, and by example to make those around us more like the Messiah than they would have been without us. Thus the believer must if he is the salt, exercise those qualities represented by the virtue of salt; and he may be a mild temper, courtesy, kindness, meekness show forth a loving spirit that will illuminate his life and the lives of those around him with perpetual love, sunshine, and joy. There is nothing that tends more to preserve faith in the called-out Assembly of God than humility, consistency, brotherly kindness, love, and honesty.

In Matthew 5:14, Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

In the English Scriptures “city” denotes a hamlet or village, as well as a town. When we consider that many of the houses were built of chalky limestone or whitewashed we realize they could be seen a long way off. Our Savior’s illustration is very expressive to those living in a hill country, where many summits were adorned with a village. Jesus had placed his apostles at the summit of the called-out Assembly of God and had given them vision so they could see their field of labor plainly. He had given them the light of the gospel and expected they would shed its effulgent brilliant rays, not only in and around Jerusalem but to the remotest bounds of the earth.

However, suppose they had put their light under a bushel, what would have been the result? The nations would have remained long in darkness and ignorance of the gospel. The Messiah Jesus commanded them to let their light shine. It is one thing to have a lamp and another to keep it burning. So also profession is the badge or outward sign of the called-out Assembly of God, but the practice is that which radiates from within and translates from a mere notion to real action, from an idea in the mind into practical life. One of the great aims of the called-out Assembly of God is to proclaim the sovereignty of Yehovah Elohim - God. When one lives a believing life every hour is one of reverence to our God and Father Yehovah, bringing glory to His holy name Yehovah.

The called-out Assembly of God is organically a light-bearing body, a city set on a hill. This was said of a little company of obscure men, fishermen, small farmers, here and there a publican, a few women in humble life, the poor and despised of a subjected race. Of them, it was not said they were a light to themselves or to their country, but the light to the world. How wondrously has that declaration been fulfilled in the labors of Matthew, Mark, John, Peter, and Janies, who have given to the world more of the light of truth and holiness than all the wisdom the ancient writers were able to produce! Even to-day the light of God’s knowledge, truth, and virtue shines brightly in the writings of those primitive disciples. They have become the transparencies through which shine the glory and image of the lord Messiah.

An Assembly that is made up of living, active disciples, true to the faith, true to the lord Messiah Jesus, true to their stewardship in their Father’s house, true to the commission to proclaim the gospel to the nations, an Assembly of renewed, praying, active men and women, is “a light to the world.” ” It is the light as it receives and manifests the life of Messiah, for the members of it ‘‘shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.” [Philippians 2:15, 16]

Jesus said: ‘‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16]

The Messiah and his apostles never failed to do good when an opportunity was given to them. They were known and read of all men by the good works which they did; they practiced what they preached; they taught both by precept and example. Good works arc a silent language that all men can read, whether illiterate or learned. May our God and Father Yehovah enable us to go forth as a light in this world bringing the message of salvation and deliverance to a sin-sick world.

THE LIFE OF A BELIEVER IN THE MESSIAH

Paul has represented the believer’s life with two comparisons: first, by a race, second by a fight.

The believer’s life is a race. The length is a man’s lifetime. He has a “high calling” to enter the race. The prize for which he runs is eternal life in the coming New Age. Yehovah is the one who set up the race and who starts all the runners by His Word. Every direction from His Word is an encouragement to the runner. Every action or word is a step in the race and must be taken with great care and energy.

Paul exhorts us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” [Hebrews 12:1].

He issued this exhortation after having enumerated a long list of holy ones from every age, who testified to the power of faith; that showed by their lives what this principle can achieve, especially since we have before us the faithful and true Witness, the only perfect man Jesus Messiah, the righteous One.

In the athletic games of Paul’s day men in training for the race fastened weights on their lower limbs below the knee. When the day of the contest arrived they cast them aside, also their robes. The figure is plain. We have two distinct things to discard, “every weight’’ and “every transgression.’’ The laying aside of both is very needful for ultimate success in the race. We, as runners, must lay aside every sin that besets us, and everything that tends to weigh us down, or that tends to hold us back. That is to say, the former bad habits and evil tendencies within us must be cast aside, overcome. Being thus equipped and having entered the race, we are to run with patience, looking unto Jesus. He is standing at the end of the racecourse and holds in his hands a prize of immense value and resplendent beauty. With words of joyous welcome, he is ready to bestow “a crown of righteousness” upon everyone who wins or overcomes, “A crown of glory that fades not away.” [1 Peter 5:4].

In 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul presents Timothy as a soldier, and exhorts him to “fight the good fight of faith lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

The believer’s warfare is a righteous one, because it is both lawful and holy. The Captain of a host of warriors has gone before us; has resisted the foe unto blood; has overcome all opposing forces, and stands pledged for our victory if we follow in his footsteps. We are fighting along with our brothers and sister, the children of God, the redeemed, called out from the nations.

When Paul exhorted Timothy to fight the good fight, and to hold fast by sound doctrine, he reminds him of the confession which Jesus Messiah, witnessed before Pilate. He desired Timothy to comfort himself with that confession and to feel sure of victory in every conflict.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church, he was chained to a Roman soldier and therefore in close touch with military sights and sounds. The appearance of the Praetorian Guard was familiar to him, and his chains on the other hand became well known throughout their quarters. These conditions with which he was surrounded led him to apply military terms to the believer with a double emphasis in his description of a soldier’s equipment.

He described the belt of sincerity and truth with which the loins are girded for spiritual warfare, the breastplate of righteousness, composed of faith and love, and the sandals with which the feet of Messiah’s soldiers are shod for the universal message of the gospel of peace, the large shield of confident trust, which protects the whole body against which the fiery darts of the enemy fall harmless, and the close fitting helmet for the protection of the head, the hope of salvation to every believer, and finally the most useful and effective weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

“Your loins girt about with truth,” this was to the Roman soldier exactly what truth is to the soldier of the Messiah.

Of the Messiah the prophet Isaiah wrote: “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.’’ [Isaiah 11:5] Take the shield of faith wherewith you shall be able to ward off Satan’s fiery and burning arrows intended to inflict pain and to cause sorrow. As an open enemy may ruin a town with fire, so Satan plagues the heart with evil thoughts. As a poisoned arrow may cause painful wounds and days of unbearable suffering, so the fiery darts of the devil will cause pain which no man can express, in comparison with which all bodily sufferings are as nothing. When Satan attacks the saints with his missiles of warfare, instead of killing them he renders them more expert in defending themselves.

The more one practices with a shield or sword the more efficient one becomes in warding off the enemy. So with the sword of the Spirit, the more we use it the more proficient we become in defending the truth of God’s Word. For this reason, Paul exhorted Timothy to “study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15]

What was a duty for Timothy is no less binding upon any other believer. It requires study to rightly divide and interpret and explain the Scriptures. Divine truth is the instrument with which the Spirit enlightens one’s intellect and the light by which one can see and know Yehovah and things eternal. He who best divides the truth is the ablest and best-instructed teacher and should be the means of bringing many to the Messiah Jesus.

In 2 Timothy 2:3, 4 we read: “You, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Messiah. No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.”

That is to say, he is to suffer hardship with Jesus Messiah; to take his share of suffering, thus intimating that a servant must not be above his master. If we would do his work faithfully we must not turn away from passing through any degree of suffering if called upon to do so. The Messiah wants disciples who have counted the cost and who have decided to forsake everything in order to serve him..

The believer’s service is based upon the same principle as a strict military discipline to which it is often compared in the Scriptures, and which is so necessary to maintain order among soldiers. It may appear harsh and severe at times, but it leads to order, ease, security, and victory. The believing soldier must take his part under the Messiah.

Five traits of character go to make up a valiant soldier: patience, endurance, courage, fidelity and devotion.

We have Yehovah’s word to stimulate us, and the Captain of our salvation who has gone before us leading the way. That being so what more do we need? If prosperity or adversity comes, pain or pleasure, wealth or penury, bereavement or joy, health or sickness, temptation or labor, if Yehovah and the Messiah Jesus are with us all be well and we shall triumph over every foe. We shall live spiritually victorious!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

DO WE HAVE THE FAITH THAT WILL BRING US SALVATION?

Just before our Lord ascended to heaven he told his apostles, “Go you into the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be condemned.” [Mark 16:15, 16]. These words are as much God’s words as if He had spoken them Himself to the apostles, for Jesus said in John 12:49, 50: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, He gave me a commandment, what 1 should say, and what 1 should speak. And 1 know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”

From this, we discover that whatsoever Jesus said were the words of the Father. We may also state that all that the apostles preached were also the words of God, as shown in Messiah’s prayer recorded in John 17:6: “They (the apostles) have kept your word.” In the 8th v., he said, “I have given unto them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you sent me.” The words which he gave his apostles were the same as were contained in his command for them to go into the world and preach the gospel.

Do we believe and have faith that Yehovah’s words are true

We read in Hebrews 6:18, that it is impossible for God to lie. That statement alone should give those who seek after God’s truth the fullest confidence that whatever God has promised will be done without fail. Any confidence we place upon His word can be relied upon implicitly. We need no demonstration of its truthfulness to cause us to pin our faith to His promises. It should inspire in our minds a confidence that can not be shaken or overthrown.

What are the most important words of Yehovah we are to grasp hold of?

In Mark 1:14, 15 we read: “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel [good news].’’

Notice: After Steven was martyred the members of the church were scattered, and everywhere they went they preached the word. Philip went down to Samaria and preached the Messiah unto them. Acts 8:12: "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Messiah, they were baptized, both men and women.”

This was also the subject of Paul’s gospel preaching. In Romans 1:16 we read, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of the Messiah for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” By this, we learn that the power which God exercises to save [deliver] people is the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom.

Note: When Philip preached about the name of Jesus that would include everything that prophecy had proclaimed about Jesus returning to establish the kingdom [Kingship] of Yehovah on this earth when he takes his place on the throne of David at Zion.

By faith we submit meekly to the authority of Yehovah; we are united to the Messiah by faith; our conduct becomes acceptable to God through the Messiah by faith. When we look up to Yehovah through the Messiah, our faith says, “Yehovah is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.” [Psalm 48:14]

In .the eleventh of Hebrews Paul recites a long list of the elect ones who, because of their faith, endured all kinds of persecutions; many of them were put to death in the most horrifying manner rather than surrender their faith in Yehovah because they were fully assured of life and glory beyond the resurrection. Their faith in God was so firm, so strong, that nothing that evil men might inflict upon them could separate them from their total commitment to love Yehovah and walk-in covenant faithfulness before Him. They had that quality of faith that enabled them to produce good works by their living, active faith.

Living faith is always active and will make itself seen in active service, doing good works. It is that element of our lives that animates and inspires our whole being to walk in faith obedience before Yehovah. It may not always be as active or lively as it should be, but it is always alive to fulfill our duty, both to Yehovah and to our neighbors.

True faith changes a person’s entire mindset and unites him with the Messiah Jesus. It causes him to put aside the things of the world that get in the way of a total commitment to loving Yehovah; and gives him a vision and glorious hope of the world to come. Faith causes a believer to always be subject to and obey the Messiah’s words. Faith leads us to own him as a Prophet, Priest, and King, and submit to be taught of Him, and be wholly governed by Him.

Note: Jesus says in Luke 6:46: … why do you call me,, lord, lord, and do not the things which I say?

Matthew 7:21: Not every one that says unto me, lord, lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Faith works by love and puts love to work

Faith is the mainspring of a follower of the Messiah Jesus. It is to a believer what the spring is to a watch. Unless the spring works the watch is dead, so he whose faith does not move him to action is also dead [spiritually]. They both need winding: the clock by a key, the believer by the life-giving spirit of Yehovah’s word. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

THE TEST OF FAITH

There comes a time in the life of every believer in the called-out Assembly; when Yehovah puts us to tests of faith. Similar to the test Israel faced on the wilderness side of the Red Sea. What was this test?

It is to look at all the dangers ahead; the giant issues facing us, the high walls of affliction, the principalities and powers that seek to destroy us; and to cast ourselves totally on Yehovah. The test is to commit ourselves to a lifetime of trust and confidence in His word. It is going forward in covenant faithfulness to believe that Yehovah will enable us by His indwelling Spirit to overcome and be victorious over all our problems and enemies.

Our heavenly Father isn’t only looking for a faith that deals with one problem at a time. He’s looking for a lifetime of faith, a lifelong commitment to believe Him for the impossible. This kind of faith brings calm and rest to our soul, no matter what our situation. And we have this calm because we’ve settled once and for all, “My God is the most powerful being in the Universe. He is able to bring me out of any and all afflictions.”

Yehovah is our loving God and Father who doesn't want His people to dwell in unbelief. You will be tested from time to time and those are the times when you have to make a decision to trust Yehovah to carry you through the test. Yehovah wants a faith that endures, a faith that won’t allow anything to shake you from trust and confidence in His faithfulness. The faith of Jesus Messiah for example.

As Israel faced the Red Sea, the people were told to go forward and they did so in faith. They were focused on one thing God asked of them: to obey His word and go forward. That is faith!

It means setting your heart to obey all that is written in Yehovah’s word, to obey all the words He gave to Jesus to give to us, without questioning it or taking it lightly.

We know that if our hearts are determined to obey, Yehovah will make sure His word to us is clear, without confusion. Moreover, if He commands us to do something, He will supply us with the enabling power and strength to obey: “Let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10). “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR LABOR FOR YEHOVAH AS JESUS DID?

Would it shock you to know that the Messiah Jesus experienced the feeling of having accomplished little?

In Isaiah 49:4 we read these words: “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain….”

Note that these are not the words of Isaiah, who was called by Yehovah at a mature age. No, they are the Messiah's own words, spoken by one “called…from the womb; from the bowels of my mother… now says Yehovah that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, so that Israel is gathered to Him” (Isaiah 49:1, 5).

When I come upon this passage, I am incredulous. I can hardly believe what I am reading. Jesus’ words here about “laboring in vain” were a response to the Father who had just declared, “You are my servant … in whom I will be glorified” (Isaiah 49:3). We read Jesus’ surprising response in the next verse: “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity - empty, worthless” (Isaiah 49:4).

Reading those words has made me love Jesus all the more. I realize Hebrews 4:15 is not just a cliché: we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that has been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Our savior is truly touched with the feelings of our infirmities and was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. He’d known this very temptation from Satan, hearing the same accusing voice: “Your mission has not been accomplished. Your life has been a failure. You’ve got nothing to show for all your labors.”

The Messiah Jesus came into the world to fulfill the will of God by reviving Israel, and he did just as he was commanded. But Israel rejected him: “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).

Why would Jesus, or any man or woman of God, speak such despairing words as these: “I have labored in vain”? How could the son of God make such a statement? And why have generations of faithful believers been reduced to such despondent words? It is all the result of measuring little results against high expectations.

The truth is, we’re all called to one grand, common purpose, and to one ministry. Our ministry as members of the Israel of Yehovah is to bear witness and testimony to the coming Kingdom of God that Jesus preached continuously. We are called to live out our lives walking as Jesus walked and doing as he did on this earth. He said he was the way, the truth, the life, the light, and the wisdom of Yehovah. By the power of his indwelling presence in us, we can be the same to all those we come in contact with. In this way, we can progressively grow into his likeness and be changed into his express image.

Jesus was the outshining of Yehovah in his life and we are to strive to be the same in our lives. How? by keeping the creed of Jesus [Mark 12:28-34] which is to love Yehovah will all our being and love our neighbors as ourselves. In doing this we glorify the name of Yehovah and pull the people who accept our testimony out of the fire of the second death! What an awesome privilege and responsibility our God and Father Yehovah has given to each of us. He gives us the power to do what He desires and then rewards us for doing so. Truly, it is all of Him and nothing of us.

At the end of our lives, we may not think we have done much as a witness to others, but Yehovah knows how many lives we have touched as we have walked according to His will in our lives! In the same way, we don't know how many times Yehovah has intervened in our lives to protect us, guide us, and bring us to where we are today. He reached out to us in love as we can do with all those we come in contact with in our lives. Let us hold fast to what we have and share it with others!