2009-02-28 - “ONE NEW MAN”
Early this morning (2009-02-24) I received 3 Hebrew verses in a dream, one of them the key. It seemed so clear at the time; yet I was unable to recall it when awake. Then I sensed the Spirit saying, “As Daniel in answer to prayer recalled Nebuchadnezzar's dream plus the interpretation, ask for the same for yourself.” I did so, and God answered.
In 1955 while pastoring the Kostner Avenue Baptist Church of Chicago, Psalm 127 became very clear to me. I used it to introduce many of our board meetings of some 14 members. See verses 1-2 of this Psalm - “Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it; Except Jehovah keep the city, The watchman wakes but in vain. 2It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; Forso he gives unto his beloved insleep.”
But the deacons and trustees of the church desired success in numbers like other churches. God spoke to Samuel in his day when Israel desired a king so they could be like other nations. They weren't rejecting Samuel, but God! He told Samuel to give them their way, and chose Saul as king to satisfy them, in spite of warnings what this would mean (1 Samuel 8-12).
So God said to me - “Give them the success they want.” Within a short time in 1953 we grew from 16 to 200 members, and then right on to 800. But the spiritual members said - “The Little Church isn't what it used to be!” God then encouraged me -“I will never ask you to let down the bars again for church standards. But you can use the parallel between what Israel wanted, and what certain of your board members wanted.”
In 1999 Marie and I were leading a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Tacoma WA of some 40 members. Just before I left for a missionary trip to Romania, one of 10 board members called a meeting of the board without notifying me. He then presented to 2 of us his plan for the future growth of Congregation Beth Chesed. I rebuked him for being out of order, and on my return from Romania, found the board and myself polarized. At my suggestion and their approval, we called in Pastor Tom Isenhart of Puget Sound Christian Center as a mediator. To the board's dismay, he stood with Marie and myself in not lowering the bars of God's standards so that worldly success might be achieved. 10 board members and their families left. This dropped our attendance from 40 to 20.
Later 2 ladies, one a PhD and former leader of a Veteran Hospital, linked up with another family, and again presented a plan for human success. This was done in the 80thbirthday year for Marie and myself in 2003 while we were in California. Again I challenged the unscriptural methods employed by this group of 4, who subsequently left.
All during this time we had a strong missionary giving project to Israel, and well over $100,000 went to worthy missionaries and national missions, both Jewish and Arab. And again, God enabled us to refrain from lowering the bars of His standards, even as He promised nearly 50 years previously.
I see a somewhat parallel danger to the above - in the Messianic Jewish Congregations. Increasingly the safeguards of Acts 15 for Gentile believers in these congregations receive legalistic pressures for Jewish conformity. Circumcision is not required as demanded by Judaizers of old - but details of Jewish law-keeping in connection with the Feasts and general daily living according to the law of Moses keeps cropping up (Acts 15:5).
Peter in Acts 15:8-10 clearly points out the yokeof the law of Moses that not even Jews could keep - how much less for Gentiles! “And God, who knows theheart, bore witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as to us; 9and he made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their :hearts by :faith. 10Now therefore why do you make trial of :God by putting a yokeupon the neck of the disciples which neither our :fathers nor WE were able to bear?” (15:6-21). The yoke of the New Covenant for Gentiles apart from the law of Moses is outlined by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 - “Come unto me, all youthat labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my :yokeupon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in :heart: and you shall find rest to your :souls. 30For my :yokeis easy, and my :burden light” (11:25-30).
The conclusion of this confrontation with the Judaizers is resolved by James in Acts 15:19-21- “Wherefore MY judgment is, that we trouble not them that from among the nations (Gentiles) turn to :God; 20but that we enjoin them, to abstain from the pollutions of the idols and :fornication and whatis strangled and :blood. 21For Moses from generations of old has in every city them that preach him being read in the synagogues every sabbath” (15:6-21).
Now the “Interpretation of the above dream” comes through the “One New Man” in Ephesians 2:14-16 - “For HE is our :peace, who made :both one, andbroke down the middle wall of the partition, 15having abolished in his :flesh the enmity, the law of the commandments containedin ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, making peace; 16and might reconcile :both in one body to :God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (2:11-22). This revelation of the One New ManPaul calls a “mystery” which was revealed to him, God's choice as apostle to the Gentiles. 22 times the word “mystery” appears in the NT, but this reference is perhaps the key one of all. Under a separate study I will prepare a paper on these 22 NT references.
Now notice in Psalm 127 again, that it is Jehovah, not man, who will build His house. And it is Hewho keeps the city through an Eldership in the Gate, not the watchman himself. It is God who wanted to build Israel, not Saul, and the same for Kostner Avenue Baptist Church and Congregation Beth Chesed.
Now turn to Matthew 16:18 (13-20), and Jesus' answer to Peter concerning Hischurch. “And I also say unto you, that you are Peter (PEtros - a little rock), and upon this :rock (PEtra - a bigrock, Himself), I will build my:church and thegates of Hades shall notprevail against it.”See how parallel this is to Psalm 127.His Houseis the mystery One New Mancomposed of Jew and Gentile. Dr. Daniel Juster of Tikkun Ministries is very clear on the relationship of Jew and Gentile in the One New Man. They have “Table Fellowship” together, though the Gentiles are notobligated to keep the law of Moses, and Jews must be like Peter in Acts 10 & 11, and eat with Gentiles, according to the 3-fold vision he received in Joppa.
In Romans, Paul as apostle to Gentiles lays out the Foundation Truths and obligations for them. In “Hebrews” he spells out for Jewish believers their role and the Foundation Truths. In “Acts” Luke harmonizes the two, and clearly outlines the City Church founded and taught by the Apostle Paul.
So - it is notman that keeps the Gates of the City, but God through HisWatchmen on the walls. Ezekiel speaks much of this. We need the Issachar spirit (1 Chronicles 12:21 (23-37) “And of the children of Issachar, men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” The First Nations People of today have much the same potential as the tribe of Issachar. Just as Israel needed the special gifts of the tribe of Issachar, we today need to draw upon the innate wisdom that is the potential with the present people of this spirit.
Now we must note that all the words of the NT are notthe words of the writers, but of the Lord Jesus throughthese writers by the Holy Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 14:37 (37-40) - “If any thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledgeof what thingsI write you, that it is theLord's commandment.”And also 2 Peter 1:20-21 (12-21) - “knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of itsown interpretation. 21For no prophecy was everborne by man's will; but men spoke from God, being borne onby theHoly Spirit.”There is a tendency today in many circles to downplay the words of Jesus through the writers of the epistles thinking they are but the words of Paul or man. Bewareand realize that such wrongful thinking will be confronted by our Lord at His Judgment Seat when He returns again.
The Gospels focus on Jesus as “Son of Man” by His choice. But following His resurrection, God made this Jesus both Lord (Jehovah) and Christ (Messiah), and He sits at the right hand of the Father. The Gospels also focus not on the birth of Jesus (but 4 chapters) but on His great Redemptive Act through His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and gift of the Holy Spirit. One quarter to one third of all 4 gospels focus on this in the last week of Jesus. This makes the Gospels like Elementary school for us.
Then Acts outline how the Epistles fit together as Jesus builds His church. This is like Junior High. James through Jude are like Senior High, and lift especially Jewish believers - into a higher notch. The 14 epistles of Paul are like University, clarifying the nature of the Church as the “One New Man” and the role of Gentiles and Jews in God's thinking here. The Book of Revelation is for those looking for a Post Graduate Doctorate.
Now in February of this year, 2009, Marie and I held seminars on “Prayer Multiplication” for churches in Abbotsford and Courtney, BC. We experienced a break-through in each area, but much land yet needs to be possessed. One key God led us to major on was “Vocal Meditation”as set forth by George Muller in Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2-3. Studies on this appear under “Hebrew” on the top-bar of our Website, www.2rbetter.org.
Under “Archives” on our Top-Bar there is a recent article on our “Prayer Language” the tongues of angels of 1 Corinthians 13:1. These 2 emphases are but the “milk of the word” of Hebrews 5:11-6:2.
Under “UGWS” - Greek Word Studies on the Top-Bar - 3 of 14 Natural Greek Study Outlines already appear, and all 14 will soon be present: ( Romans 9:3-4; Hebrews 6:1-2; Lord's Prayer, Beatitudes, etc.)
My teaching in the future in city churches will cover much of the above studies, and should also help to clarify our understanding of the “One New Man.” - Jim Watt