Note: The Long Island meeting was held yesterday, and there was some wonderful fellowship in our small group of seven who attended.
Me on Long Island (Bayville, NY)
Patty and Cap did a wonderful job as hosts of this meeting, and we were blessed to meet George and Evelyn Jackson from Connecticut who drove over to attend.
The morning session laid a groundwork for understanding the day we live in, the tribulations which are coming upon the earth, and the purpose of these troublesome days as a means by which Yahweh might separate a people unto Himself and conform them to the image of Christ. A projection system and many images accompanied the presentation and if possible I will make a video out of the audio and images and post it to the Internet.
In the afternoon session I was led to speak without notes allowing the Spirit to reveal at that moment what He would have spoken. I will be posting the audio from this session as soon as I am able. I believe many will find strong encouragement, instruction and exhortation from the messages.
I am anticipating departing from Long Island toward the end of this week. I have received an invitation to visit with Brad Daugherty in Wyoming, and I sense the Lord directing me that way. It is a long trip, but I enjoy traveling and, having no deadline to meet, I will be able to take my time crossing the country.
From there I hope to travel to Arizona to the home of Randy and Kathy Furman before heading back to Georgia.
Should the Lord order other meetings along the way, I will make them known, but please understand that my current ability to access the Internet while traveling is limited, and I have fallen somewhat behind on answering my email.
The Called Out
I was led to study the things presented here as I was contemplating the resistance that is present among Christians to the message of the disciple’s cross. Yahweh has laid upon me a burden to proclaim the cross as a necessary part of the lives of all who would be disciples of Christ.
The church has developed mindsets and arguments that justify the rejection of the cross while denying that they have become those whom the apostle Paul described as “enemies of the cross.”
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
The heart of man is deceitful. Many Christians are convinced they are fully pleasing to the Father when He is in fact greatly dissatisfied with their lives. We see this disparity of opinion between heavenly and terrestrial perspective in the words of Christ to the Laodicean church. This materially prosperous church viewed themselves as being “in need of nothing” when Christ said, “you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
Today, many Christians “do not know” that they have received a mindset that is foreign to Christ. I want to share with you that which the Spirit has been testifying to me on this matter.
There are three very distinct world mindsets. All three of these mindsets are found among Christians today. They can be identified by the following groups:
• The Called Out (Ekklesia)
I did not arrive at these three distinctions arbitrarily. They are proclaimed in Scripture. These three divisions also maintain a pattern found throughout Yahweh’s creation. Three is a number denoting fulness, and we see this number marking very distinct divisions.
God is a tripartite being; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Man is a tripartite being; Body, Soul, and Spirit.
There are three parts of the Temple and Tabernacle; The Outer Court, The Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.
There are three divisions among Christ’s disciples; The Twelve, The Three, and The One.
There are three great feasts of God; Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
And there are three types of men; Greeks, Jews, and The Called Out (the Ekklesia, Christ).
116 times in the New Testament the English word “church,” has been translated from the Greek “ekklesia.” This Greek word is formed by a conjunction of the words “ek” (out) and “kaleo” (call). Following is an example of an occurrence of this word as it is commonly rendered in the popular
I Corinthians 10:32
Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God...
New American Standard
This verse is insightful, for in it we find that all men are summed up in three divisions: Jews, Greeks, and the church. However, the phrase “the church” obscures what is really being declared. The Greek word ekklesia is used here, and it is more accurately rendered as the “called out.”
I Corinthians 10:32
Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the called out of God...
For sake of clarity, and to promote understanding, I would also comment on the word translated as Greek in the verse above. This word is appropriately translated from the Greek word Hellen. Ancient Greece was called Hellas.
Greek language, beliefs and customs spread throughout the world during the period of the Greek Empire. The Romans disseminated this Greek influence even further during the period of their empire. The common language of the Roman Empire was Greek. Jews who had embraced Greek society, language and customs were referred to as Hellenistic Jews.
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews...
Throughout the Scriptures the terms Greeks and Jews, or the terms Gentiles and Jews, are used in contrast to one another. At times the word Gentiles is translated from the Greek word Hellen. At other times it is translated from the Greek word ethnikos. The word ethnikos is the root of the English word ethnic which means nationality. When the Scriptures speak of the Greeks and the Gentiles they are referring to “the nations.”
A pattern is observed in the divisions of mankind. In the beginning there was Adam. In Adam was contained all the seed for the nations who would one day populate the earth. After the flood, when mankind began to multiply, God separated the people into nations. The people of the earth had gathered together at Babel to build a city and a tower. Yahweh desired that mankind be separated throughout the earth, so he confused the language of man and caused them to divide.
And Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth...
These scattered groups became the nations of the earth. These nations of mankind are commonly referred to in the New Testament by the words Greeks (Hellens) and Gentiles (ethnikos). The nations (ethnikos) adopted the Greek language and customs and were therefore referred to as Greeks. It is important to understand that Greeks does NOT refer to the native people of Greece only, but to all the nations.
Natural man born of the first Adam populated the earth and became the nations. A day came when God chose to call a particular man out from the nations in order to establish a “called out” people unto Himself. Yahweh appeared to a man named Abram, who was an Aramean, a citizen of Aram. Yahweh called out Abram from his nation and family and father’s household in order that God might have a peculiar people reserved for Himself among the nations. Abram became Abraham, a father of many nations.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Yahweh appeared to Abram and said to him,"I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
Many Christians do not know that Abraham was the Father of other nations besides Israel. Abraham truly is a father of MANY NATIONS. Before Sarah gave birth to Isaac, Abraham had a son by Hagar the Egyptian. Ishmael was this son. Ishmael became a great nation and had 12 sons who became princes, or heads of peoples.
And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" But God said..., “And as for Ishmael , I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”
Years after Ishmael was born to Abraham, Isaac was born through Sarah. Yet this was not the end of Abraham’s offspring and the nations that came from him. After Sarah died, we read:
Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. And she bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah. And Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim. And the sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah . Now Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac; but to the sons of his concubines, Abraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the land of the east.
These sons also became nations, many of whom are mentioned later in Scripture. Many of these nations came into conflict with the nation of Israel in latter years, and continue to do so until this day.
Abraham truly was a father of many nations, and although the nation of Israel, also referred to as the Jews, came from the loins of Abraham, they did not come forth immediately. Abraham had a son named Isaac, and Isaac had two sons through Rebekah his wife. These sons were Esau and Jacob. Esau became the father of the Edomites, the nation of Edom. Thus, by extension, Abraham is also the father of the nation of Edom.
Jacob’s name was changed by God to Israel, and it is Jacob who is truly the titular head, or father, of the nation of Israel which is called the Jewish nation until this day. Jacob had 12 sons which became the heads of twelve tribes of Israel. God chose this one nation of Israel to be a peculiar people unto Him in the earth. In essence they were the first ekklesia - called out people unto God.
We see a pattern observed in many of the symbols God has given to us. There is a correspondence between the three parts of God’s dwelling place and the three divisions of man. This should be expected because man was created to be a temple of God.Both the Tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness, and the Temple of Solomon, consisted of three parts.
- The Outer Court (the nations)
- The Inner Court or Holy Place (Israel - the Jewish Nation)
- The Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place (the called out - the church - ekklesia)
From the nations God called out a natural people unto Himself and this nation is Israel, which we call the Jewish nation.
From the nations and Israel (Jews and Greeks) God called out a spiritual nation unto Himself, and this people are the church of Christ. More accurately, these people are the ekklesia - the called out, and they are Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12-13
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Upon examination of this Scripture we find that there are three groups identified to which all men belong. There are Jews, Greeks and Christ. Those who are called out from among the Jews and Greeks and are made partakers of the Spirit of Christ become a new nation of which Christ Yahshua is the head and Father.
I Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (ethnos), a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God...
We see then that the terms ekklesia, the called out, and Christ are all synonyms for those who are born of the seed of Yahshua the Christ. Let us revisit the three divisions among mankind.
• Greeks (Gentiles)
• The Called Out (Ekklesia - Christ)
I have labored to demonstrate to you these three divisions that you might be able to understand and receive that which follows. Many people who say they are Christ-ians (members of Christ), part of Yahshua’s body, are yet walking in the mindset of the Greeks (Gentiles, nations), or the mindset of the Jews.
The Scriptures readily identify for us the distinct mindset of each of these three groups. You can tell which one you have embraced by examining your life and beliefs. Many Christians are so by confession, but not by profession. They say they belong to Christ, but they are not living as those who are called out from among the Greeks and Jews.
Following are the three overriding characteristics by which we might identify each group.
- Greeks esteem Knowledge
- Jews esteem Signs
- Christ (both the Head and the body) esteem the Cross
Consider carefully the words of the apostle Paul:
I Corinthians 1:17-25
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Paul is here identifying the characteristics of the nations. The Greeks (Gentiles, nations) are identified with a quest for knowledge. The Jews (descendants of Israel) are associated with a search for signs. Christ (both the Head and the body) is associated with the cross.
Paul said he was sent to proclaim “the cross of Christ.” This phrase inseparably establishes a link between the cross and Christ. We must ever keep in mind that the cross of Christ is not a reference limited to the cross of Yahshua. It is a reference to the cross that belongs to all who are members of Christ.
Then Yahshua said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
There is a cross appointed to ALL who are Christ, both the Head and the body of Christ. Those who are truly disciples of Christ will be linked to, and identified by, the cross. The cross is the instrument of victory and transformation for all who belong to Christ.
Consider what Paul was saying. Greeks seek wisdom, and Jews seek for signs. In other words, wisdom and power are those things all men seek after who are not part of Christ. Those who are part of Christ have discovered that the cross is both the wisdom and the power of God.
I Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The word foolishness describes how the world, and worldly believers, view the cross. Yet to those who are disciples of Christ, the cross is viewed as great wisdom. To the world and a worldly church the disciple’s cross appears as something weak and detestable, but to those who are a part of Christ the cross is the power of God to transform a fleshly creature into a spiritual being.
• Christians with a Greek mindset today seek wisdom and view the disciple’s cross as foolishness.
• Christians with a Jewish mindset esteem power and view the cross as an offense.
• Disciples of Christ who have been called out (ekklessia) from the Greek and Jewish nations see the cross as the wisdom and the power of God.
All Christians fall into one of these three groups. It is the smallest number of the people of God who have embraced the cross, seeing the necessity and the wisdom of it. Most Christians are pursuing knowledge or signs, or both APART FROM THE CROSS. This is folly, and must be corrected in this last hour.
Let me state plainly that I am NOT denying the importance and relevance of wisdom and power. THE CROSS is THE WISDOM and THE POWER of God.
There is much wisdom, understanding and knowledge for the saints to partake of, but they will never apprehend any of it aright APART FROM THE CROSS. Christians who esteem wisdom and knowledge while rejecting the disciple’s cross fail to attain to the form of Christ. Christ LEARNED from SUFFERING and so to must all who are part of Christ.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
These parallel phrases should never be disconnected.
Many Christians today are pursuing learning while doing everything they can to avoid suffering. Their knowledge is therefore distorted, corrupted, and full of error. The wisdom that comes from those trained by the cross has a different character.
The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
The wisdom described above by James comes only by way of the cross. Those who despise the cross will attain a wisdom that lacks these characteristics of the Son of God.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
There is much evidence of jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder, arrogance and every evil thing among those Christians who esteem wisdom while rejecting the disciple’s cross. These things are also evident among those who seek after signs, who esteem the power and anointing of God, while rejecting the cross.
Everywhere throughout the gospel of Christ we are met with the cross. The church today accepts the cross of Yahshua, for to them it is knowledge, and the resurrection is a sign. These same Christians reject taking up the cross for in their minds it is folly, or an offense. The church accepts that Christ had a cross to bear, but they reject that they too are called to take up the cross daily and follow Him.
This rejection of the cross has led to many imbalances. God is not opposed to wisdom or signs. Christ walked in both of them, and so will those who belong to Christ. But the wisdom of God and the power of God must not be separated from the cross in the believer’s life. When it is, gross imbalances occur.
Consider the example of the recent Lakeland, Florida affair that Todd Bentley led. I do not call it the Lakeland revival, as many do who have rejected the disciple’s cross, having maintained a Greek or Jewish mind. Some saw that there were signs present, and immediately concluded that it was a great manifestation of the presence and power of God. These ones have continued in the Jewish mindset. They seek for signs. These ones were mesmerized by talk of angels and impartations, gold dust, healing and financial miracles.
As Todd Bentley was conducting these meetings he was involved in public drunkenness, and he was having an adulterous affair with a member of his staff. Daily, entreaties were made for money, and carnal gimmicks and spiritual deception were employed to extract as much money from those drawn to the carnival atmosphere as possible. Todd Bentley’s action and image is one of gross uncleanness, yet a church that has adopted the erroneous mindset of the Jews, seeking ever after signs, has overlooked the very obvious lack of conformity to Christ that comes only by embracing the cross.
At times God allows His people to observe a mature manifestation of their error that they might consider their ways. Todd Bentley presents the mature, fully formed image, of those who seek for signs apart from the cross. There is no evidence of a spiritual creation, for the flesh remains fully alive having avoided crucifixion. Myriads of other Christians are manifesting imbalances in
their lives that arise from esteeming wisdom and signs while rejecting the cross.
In this hour Yahweh must bring forth mature sons after the image of Christ. To accomplish this, the cross must be restored to its central place in the lives of all those who have been called out from the nations to be part of Christ.
Do you esteem wisdom while rejecting the cross?
Do you seek for signs while rejecting the cross?
Or have you embraced the cross, which is the wisdom and the power of God to transform fleshly creatures into spiritual beings?
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
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