The True Meaning Of Easter

The True Meaning of Easter

Ah, yes! This is that day of the year when people dust off their Bibles and head to a local Church (usually Catholic in doctrine), looking forward to their annual reminder of the true Meaning of Easter. But that is not what they are taught. And, No!, Yeshua is not the True Meaning of Easter!

The word Easter appears only once in the KJV at Acts 12:4. It is used there as a translation (rather an anachronistic mistranslation) of the Greek word pascha (Pesach), which is translated correctly as “passover” in the 28 other places where it occurs in the NT. The passage in Acts 12 refers to the seven-day Passover festival (including the Feast of Unleavened Bread). It is reasonably certain that the NT contains no reference to a yearly celebration of the resurrection of the Messiah.

Newer revisions of the KJV consistently translate the word pascha as “passover” in all passages, including (Acts 12:4 (cf. ASV, RSV, NEB). So where does the word “Easter” come from?

The English word “Easter” is derived from the name of a Teutonic (Anglo-Saxon) goddess of spring, “Eostre,” and to have been adapted, by Christians, to its present usage. In her honor sacrifices were offered at the time of the vernal equinox. By the Eighth Century the term came to be applied to the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection.

It was not until the Seventh Century A.D. that the Church became uniform in its observance of the Resurrection. The time agreed upon was the first Sunday following the full moon that comes on or after the vernal equinox (March 21). This allows for a variation in “Easter” dates from March 22 to April 25. Only One Easter

It boggles the mind that church-goers stamped their collective feet and pitched a hissy-fit about Halloween, and collectively got most Churches to at least adopt a “Harvest Theme” as a basis for Christian celebration and participation. But even now, in the Twenty-first Century, we have Christian Churches across the globe allegedly celebrating the apex of Christianity (a.k.a., The Resurrection of Yeshua Messiah), under the banner of EASTER!

And just to show complete indifference to this most glorious of all days, many Churches offer Easter Egg Hunts for the kiddies. How thoughtful and loving (I trust that the sarcasm is obvious). Still, Yeshua is mentioned most reverently, and many eulogize him most eloquently on this, the greatest of days. That is a bit like passing out free cigarettes at a rally to fight lung cancer.

Easter, Colored Eggs, Bunnies (chocolate or otherwise), Chicks (Peeps if you prefer), and Baskets of Shredded Plastic Grass ARE the True Meaning of Easter! Throw in the sacrifice of a bull and Eostre is, indeed, glorified. And those Churches which defer to that culture are sending mixed signals to children...signals that are more strongly reinforced with candy and games than some crazy old wives tale about some guy who was allegedly raised from the dead.

Where is the Church’s moral outrage? Where is the stamping of the collective feet of the Church? How did the Church decide that it is OK to use the Satanic term “Easter,” not just as A means, but as the DEFINITIVE means of celebrating the Resurrection of the Risen Lord Of Glory? By what word magic do we make a Satanic observance pure and clean enough to be utilized in honoring and worshiping the Savior? How dare ANY Christian Church employ the name of Eostre (Easter) as a reference to the Savior of the world being Resurrected from the dead!

And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. —Leviticus 10:10-11 (AV)

Now, before you make any attempt at begging contextual error by noting that this particular passage is dealing with the Levitical priesthood, I would direct your attention to a couple of New Testament passages: 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:5-6). So, I invite you priests and priestesses to continue reading.

The passage in Leviticus teaches us that priests have a duty to put a difference between what is holy and what is unholy (profane, satanic), and between what is unclean and clean. By merging the Resurrection with “Eostre” (Easter) we are declaring that the Satanically inspired “Eostre” is perfectly holy and clean. Let me ask you this question...”Would you lay chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, and plastic grass at the foot of the cross?” Would you take those items into the empty tomb and place them on the grave clothes?

That passage from Leviticus also teaches us (v. 11) that those same priests and priestesses have a duty to properly teach the children! Children are growing up today as spiritually hollow as those Easter Bunnies, and for good reason, their parents are equally hollow.

Will you be to one to tell the leadership of your Church that we need to get Eostre out of the Church and allow only the Resurrected Lord of Glory a place in the assembly? Will you be the one to put a difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean? Will you be the one, or are you expecting someone else to do that?

If the Church of the Messiah is going to worship him in spirit and in truth, then we must divorce ourselves from Eostre. It is up to you because your neighbor is still out helping his children find the most Easter Eggs. §


False Teachers

False Teachers

A few years ago I was in a church during their Sunday School service. It was a rather relaxed gathering, like most other Sunday School services, where those attending could add their 2¢ during the “teaching.”

The topic this particular Sunday morning was “False Teachers.” The text under consideration was 2 Peter chapter 2. Emotions ran along the high end of the spectrum, and even more notably in one particular man. This one individual was obviously terrified by the mere thought of “false teachers” entering into the Church and dragging people away from the truth of God’s Word.

It is that particular topic, on that particular morning, which leads to, what stands out in my mind as being the quintessential paradox of our time. Not so much the notion of “false teachers,” but rather the “Fear of False Teachers.” It is this fear of false teachers that I perceive to be the living paradox of twenty-first century Christianity.

While the fearful gentleman mentioned above went on at length about having to guard against these false teachers, it became quite clear that he felt helpless and was at the mercy of his pastor’s ability to guard the flock. This is why I find myself at the keyboard today.

Now, admittedly, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer at all times. But it is easy to deduce that there are only three ways in which “false teachers” can get into the Church:

  • Your pastor invites them in,
  • You invite them in, or
  • They walk in on their own

While false teachers may use any one of these doorways to infiltrate the Church, each of those doorways shares a common weakness; ignorance of Bible doctrine. It can hardly be disputed that the only valid reason to fear false doctrine (false teaching) is a personal failure to grasp true biblical doctrine. To put it a little more bluntly, if you do not KNOW what the Bible says, you cannot reject what someone CLAIMS the Bible says. Therefore, if YOU do not know Bible doctrine, then YOU are susceptible to embracing ANY doctrine.

If what I have said so far has you squirming and fearful, then you may want to head for the TV and try to catch some I Love Lucy reruns because this article is to call people to accountability and maturity. I make no pretense at an apology for its sternness.

False doctrine and false teachers is a recurring theme in the epistles. It comes as no surprise, then, that Paul commands us to “test everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and John tells us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). Believers have a sacred duty to examine every doctrine we are exposed to and determine if that doctrine is true or false. But how can we know the difference between good teachers and bad teachers; between sound doctrine and heresy? How can we distinguish teachers of truth from teachers of error? Believers must test or judge all doctrine, and we have five (5) criteria by which to test or judge all doctrine.

It must be understood and agreed upon at the onset; What Is Declared To Us In The Bible Is Sound Doctrine. Therefore, our first “test” is—

Testing The Source of The Doctrine:
Healthy doctrine comes from God; false doctrine originates with someone or something created by God. Good doctrine comes from within God himself (Titus 1:2), false doctrine originates outside of God. Paul was a real stickler on the issue of doctrine and stressed to the Church in Galatia that the doctrine he preached was not of his own making, but he was given that doctrine by God.

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).

Yes, it really is that simple: Sound teaching originates with God and false teaching originates with men or demons. No need to make it complicated (a hint that it is false doctrine). False doctrine is scarred by its worldly origin. In his epistle to the Church in Colossae, Paul warned the Colossians not to accept or embrace any doctrine that is “according to man-made rules and teachings (Colossians 2:22).” Additionally, Paul’s warning to Timothy was that some would “
depart from the faith by paying attention to deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1).”

To employ the test we need only ask the question:

Does this doctrine originate with God or has it been fabricated by someone or something else?

But what if you are not immediately able to determine the source of the doctrine? Sometimes the source of a doctrine is easily identified, but if it is not, then you need to add another test.

Testing The Authority of The Doctrine:
Sound doctrine receives its authority from within the Bible; false doctrine receives its authority from outside the Bible. The Bible is God’s unerring, infallible, sufficient, complete, and authoritative revelation of himself to all of humanity. Doctrines that originate in God’s mind subsequently recorded in God’s Word. There is an unfailing and necessary symbiosis between source and authority; between God and his Word.

You may recall the noble Bereans who “
received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The Bereans knew, even then, that all doctrines must be compared to God’s Word, his source of truth. When I was the pastor of a Church, I frequently told the congregation that they should not blindly trust what I declared from the pulpit. I implored them to check my doctrine against the backdrop of Scripture to make absolutely certain they had heard the truth of God’s Word.

To employ the test we need only ask the question:

Does this doctrine rely solely upon the Bible for its authority, or does it appeal to another source or to another mind?

Still, we may yet be unable to discern between true and false because two teachers may both claim the authority of the Bible while teaching very different things. This ushers in the need for a third test.

Testing The Consistency of The Doctrine:
Sound doctrine is always consistent with the whole of Scripture; false doctrines are consistent only with some selected portions of Scripture. There is an organic unity to true doctrine; false doctrine has a hybrid, unnatural strangeness to it.

Paul warned Timothy about embracing “
a different doctrine,” while the author of the book of Hebrews warned about being carried away “by various strange teachings.” It is apparent that both writers were emphasizing that all doctrine must always be compared to the established, accepted body of truth. Those who are best acquainted with that body of truth are the most likely to immediately identify and refute all that is false.

This concept is bound to a primary theological principle, “the analogy of faith,” which is often explained with the phrase “Scripture interprets Scripture.”

Because the Bible originates in the infallible mind of God, it must be consistent throughout. Because there is no contradiction in the mind of God, there can be no contradiction in the revelation of God. What the Bible teaches in one place it cannot refute in another. Therefore, all true doctrine must be consistent with the whole message of Scripture. No doctrine should ever be treated in isolation. All doctrine must be tested or judged in light of a correct understanding of the entire Bible. A key tactic of false teachers is to isolate verses or ideas that cannot stand up to the scrutiny of the whole Book.
To employ the test we need only ask the question:

Is this doctrine established or refuted by the entirety of Scripture?

Once we have put a doctrine to the test and it proves to be true, according to the three criteria we have thus far considered, we may then observe its wholesome effects on us and those around us. That will require putting the doctrine through two more tests.

Testing The Spiritual Growth From of The Doctrine:
Sound doctrine is necessary and beneficial for spiritual health; false doctrine leads to spiritual weakness and even spiritual death. This is a basic premise that we live by even in the secular arena. Good food is necessary and beneficial for physical health; bad food leads to physical weakness and even physical death.

In his first epistle to Timothy, Paul stated, “
If you lay all these instructions before the brethren, you will be a worthy steward and a good minister of Christ Jesus, ever nourishing your own self on the truths of the faith and of the good [Christian] instruction which you have closely followed.” (1 Timothy 4:6). Timothy had been trained by his grandmother (Lois) and his mother (Eunice), and later by Paul himself, in the Bible and Christian doctrine. Timothy nurtured himself in the truths he had been exposed to since he was a child; he never stopped.

Sound doctrine produces spiritually healthy, mature, knowledgeable Christians. False doctrine makes spiritually unhealthy, immature, ignorant Christians who may not be Christians at all.

Testing Godly Living Derived From of The Doctrine:
The final test of a doctrine’s soundness (truthfulness) is its value for godly living; false doctrine leads to ungodly living. Truth is never found in isolation, standing on its own. Truth always has implications in life. Sound doctrine is always meant to lead us to praise God, to worship him, and to live meaningful lives in service to him.

One of the hallmarks of Paul’s theology is that false doctrine is closely related to moral deficiency (Romans 1:28; 1 Timothy 6:3-10; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 1:15-16). The apostle Peter, also, made the same connection between false doctrine and moral deficiency (2 Peter 2).

What Is Your Doctrine?
We heard the question all the time, “What religion are you,” or “What religion is he/she”? That is simply the wrong question. I am going to ask those of you reading this, “What is your doctrine?”

What doctrines do you hold dear enough to live by? Your doctrine is not true until you are living it. How much of the world have you had to let go of in order to embrace your doctrine? True doctrine requires a separation from the world. Where does your doctrine derive its authority? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). True doctrine is holy and comes from God. True doctrine is not for your head alone, but finds equal footing in your heart and your hands as well.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God,” says Paul, “and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Scripture is not to be known in an abstract sense, but intimately. Sound doctrine is to inform not only our minds, but our hearts and hands as well.

Going To Church is Not Studying
Paul’s command to Timothy is blunt, it is weighty, and leaves no wiggle room.

Do all you can to present yourself to God as someone worthy of his approval, as a worker with no need to be ashamed, because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of the Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

If you wish to rise above the flotsam and jetsam of childish and immature Christianity; if you will cease with fear of being deceived by every wind of doctrine that comes along; if you will stand against false doctrine and decry it as treasonous heresy against the holiness of Almighty God, then you are going to have to search the Scriptures. You are going to have to study those sacred and precious doctrines delivered to us by God own grace.

On the other hand, if you have already been deceived by false teachers serving rotted, poisonous doctrine, then you must first repent. Having repented, you must confess your fault, turn back to God’s wholesome truth, and search the Scriptures.

My work here is done. I leave you in the capable hands of the Holy Spirit (a.k.a. the Spirit of Truth).


Nothing Like A Good Spy Movie

Torn Curtain, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 13 Rue Madeleine! What do these films have in common beyond being excellent spy dramas? They are films depicting double agents. They only thing that makes a spy film a better spy film is for one or more of the spies to be double agents. As it turns out, though, I am not at my keyboard today to discuss the merits of good film plots. No, I want to discuss those double agents who have invaded the Christian community, the Body of Messiah.

It is nothing to be marveled at or pondered over. Christian “double agents” have been around since the birth of the Church. The apostle John wrote of them in 1 John chapter 2; the apostle Peter wrote of them in 2 Peter chapter 2; Jude wrote of them; the apostle Paul wrote of them in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and Philippians chapter 3; and Yeshua, himself, spoke of them in the gospel of Matthew chapters 7, 15, and 19.

But I am not talking about the “obvious” double agents of the Christian community; “false teachers.” We all recognize those guys, right? They are the ones who say things like, “Sure, faith is necessary for salvation, but you have to add works to faith in order to be saved.” Those people are like neon signs to all of us...right? Right! No, what I want to focus on today is that surreptitious “double agent” who sits beside you in Church every Sunday.

I am concerned about those Christians who live like the devil himself Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They are out there in the world cleverly disguised as “worldly people” so they will be more readily accepted by the people of the world. They party like non-Christians, they have casual sex like non-Christians, they download porn like non-Christians, they even cheat and steal like non-Christians. But on Sundays and Wednesday evening prayer meetings, they are there, in Church, with Bibles in hand, a clean shirt, and combed hair. These people look and act like model Christians, but they are “double agents.”

For five days of the week they live to please both themselves and the world. The other two days they appear to please God and the Church. But in the midst of their duplicity, they will claim to have allegiance only to God, the Bible, and Yeshua.

These “double agents” of the Christian community have forgotten that the Lord Yeshua Messiah has made them kings and priests (Revelation 1:5-6), a fact that Peter confirms in 1 Peter 2:5, 9. And a portion of the duties of priests is to make a difference between what is holy and what is unholy; between what is clean and what is unclean (Leviticus 10:10; 11:47; 20:25; Ezekiel 22:26; 44:23).

Even though the Law of Moses has been rendered inoperative with the death of Messiah (Hebrews 7:12, 18; Romans 7:5-6; 10:4; Galatians 3:19), Paul makes a point of our need to be separate from the world by quoting two of the major prophets:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, —2 Corinthians 6:17. This verse combines a verse from Isaiah and one from Ezekiel.

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. —Isaiah 52:11

I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. —Ezekiel 20:41

The risen Lord of Glory, our High Priest, Yeshua, himself, told the apostle Paul that he was separated FROM the people.

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.—Acts 25:16-18

Paul was not to infiltrate the ranks of the unbelievers and appear as one of them, as so many of our fellow Christians are doing today. Rather Paul was to set an example of holiness and righteousness for those who have not yet believed. Paul was to be an example of cleanliness and uprightness, he was not to wallow in the filth of the world. Paul was not called to be a double agent.

By now you may be wondering what my point is in writing this. It is simply this: you, brother or sister, you have a minimum duty to speak to these double agents concerning their current way of life. If you believe you can just “love them” back into a clean walk, or “love them” to repentance, then you are adopting a cowardly, unscriptural approach to the problem. Why?

If “just loving them” was sufficient to bring them to repentance, then Scriptures like John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 would suffice to bring all of humanity to kneel before the Cross of Messiah. Merely “loving” people and having a strong affection for them does not feed hungry people; does not clothe naked people; does not make believers out of unbelievers, and it certainly does not bring repentance to those “double agents” currently under consideration. There is no greater love than God’s love, and people are going to hell while standing in the glorious light of that perfect love.

Good people, we are not here to please the world, and we are not here to please ourselves. Our singular aim is supposed to be pleasing God. This aim is both our personal goal and our collective goal as the Christian community. These “double agents” are in mortal danger of defecting back to the world’s domain. We (you) must let them know they are in trouble. We (you) must warn them that their lives are in peril.

If a man’s house was on fire, would you not help to put it out? Would you not grab your hose and work fervently to help extinguish those flames? Or would you simply love them with all the compassion available in your heart as you watched his house burn to the ground? Likewise, when a man’s soul is ablaze with the fires of sin and wantonness, are you going to at least mention to him that his immortal soul is being burned, or are you just going to love him from a distance and “trust” that God will “work all things together for his good”?

What does Scripture say we should do? Well, the first thing you should do is pray. There is no substitute for prayer. But once you have prayed, you have a duty to act, in faith, on God’s word.

Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. —2 Timothy 4:2 AMP

In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. —2 Timothy 2:25-26 KJV

But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person. What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church]. —1 Corinthians 5:11-13 AMP

The expulsion from the Church does not happen until the “double agent” has been given an opportunity to repent. And do not chew on that dirty old rag about “we are not supposed to judge.” Paul made it abundantly clear that we are absolutely responsible to judge those CLAIMING to be in the Body of Messiah.

The good news is that you, even you, dear Christian, can help prevent a “double agent” from defecting. You are not required to convince him, nor are you required to get him to take action. You are only required to speak the truth of God’s Word to him (Ephesians 4:25).

Working together, believing and speaking the same things, is the only way we will help eliminate “double agents;” by bringing them to a place where the Holy Spirit can minister to them and bring them to repentance. §



The first mention of “worshiptainment” I am aware of was almost a decade ago. Worshiptainment is the co-mingling of worship and entertainment. With the rock concert atmosphere, lights, and enthusiastic approval, Worshiptainment is a self-centered and industrious undertaking that fails to safeguard that which is holy from that which is profane.

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. —Ezekiel 22:26 (KJV)

The atmosphere in these places is so akin to that of a rock concert that the only thing missing is a sea of lit cigarette lighters. But, throw in a couple of Hallelujahs, the name of Yeshua and, POOF, it is now a worship service.

Where did the Church ever get the idea that the Scriptures allow the Church to downgrade what is supposed to be God-focused worship into mere entertainment?

God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth —John 4:24.

In both the tabernacle and later the temple, the “holy things” of God were not to be treated as unholy. “Holy things” were never to be used for personal pleasure or entertainment. Not even the incense was to be duplicated for personal use or enjoyment under penalty of death (Exodus 30:37,38). Even the incense was sacred.

The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, died because they burned incense using “strange fire” (Leviticus 10:1ff). The “strange fire” which Nadab and Abihu used was fire not taken from the brazen altar where God had commanded (Leviticus 16:12). The brazen altar was the place of sacrifice for sin. Only our thankfulness for being cleansed from our sin can be the fire which ignites our prayers, our worship, and our praise. It was, therefore, mandatory to follow God’s instructions. To deviate from God’s specific instructions was to dishonor God. After God killed Aaron’s sons, Moses reminded him with these words:

It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.’ (Leviticus 10:3)

God also killed Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli the High Priest, because of their irreverence in worship. Their irreverence in worshiping and ministering before God displeased him (1 Samuel 2:12ff). Because of the manner in which they treated the sacrifice and worship, God said they despised them. They were irreverent by not following God’s instructions and taking unto themselves what was exclusively God’s.

In similar fashion today, people are showing that same spirit of irreverence by ignoring God’s instructions. Apparently people today believe that worship in the New Testament is boring. Because unless the worship satisfies their own senses, they are simply not interested. Many times I have people make a statement like, “Worship was not very good today; I did not get much out of it.” If worship is ever “bad” it is always the fault of the one doing the worshiping. If you did not get anything out of a worship service, then maybe, just maybe you did it right. Worship is something you GIVE to God. You are not SUPPOSED to get anything, you are supposed to GIVE everything you have in your heart to God.

It is like going to someone’s birthday party and complaining that the party was not very good because YOU did not get something. At the worship service it is God who is ENTITLED to receive, not those doing the worshiping.

Worship, in the sense of our response to God’s “worth-ship,” is strictly and wholly for God. Worship is not entered into so that we may RECEIVE something. God alone is to be the sole recipient. Our position in true worship, “in spirit and in truth,” must be one of to the one whose worth-ship we recognize and dote upon. If we receive anything from our “service” demonstrating God’s worth-ship, it must be only in a derived sense, and not as our singular goal.

All that comes into the presence of God has to be holy. Every sacrifice, every prayer, everything has to be holy. Before the Old Testament priests could minister before God, they could not even approach him until they had been cleansed, and then clothed with holy garments. And every sacrifice that came before God was explicitly prescribed by God, and could only be offered in the way God commanded.

Too many churches today offer entertainment and call it holy music. They offer infotainment, psycho-babble, and self-help lessons and call it the Gospel. What was supposed to be holy is no longer holy. More on this later.

According to the Bible, it is possible to worship God in vain (Matthew 15:7-9; Mark 7:6,7). Our worship is made vain when we elevate man-made doctrines to the level of God’s will. Entertainment based “worship” is aimed directly at the less spiritual part of man.

Because worship to God is a personal exercise, there is no way to ensure that everyone is worshiping in the right spirit. However, that does not relieve the Church of its responsibility to provide the only environment where that can happen. The Church today must do what the Church of the New Testament is supposed to do, and the New Testament Church should follow the examples and principles laid down for us by Yeshua and the New Testament writers.

To drag true “worship” even further into the realm of entertainment, today’s churches no longer place a premium on the Bible. Once the pompoms and instruments are set aside after that robust and energetic worshiptainment session, then begins the “cool down” period where the audio/visual ministry will put up a verse of Scripture on the screen for you, eliminating the need for people to carry that pesky, heavy, cumbersome, controversial BIBLE around.

Even worse, those verses are often in some Milquetoast version such as the
Good News or The Way. Gone are the days of learning where the books of the Bible are by actually turning to them. Apparently learning the books of the Bible and how to find them puts too much pressure on people.

What did worship look like in the New Testament? Only the inspired Word of God was read and studied as authoritative. Prayers are directed to God through Yeshua Messiah and no one else. Communion (the Lord’s Supper) is a time of reverent reflection on the meaning of Yeshua’s death. We should take a closer look at our model.

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins,( he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. —Luke 5:17-26

Now here is an amazing passage of scripture. Let me begin by citing the highlights of the passage:

  • Yeshua was teaching
  • Religious leaders were present
  • The power (dumanis, spiritual ability) was present to heal them

Now here we must make an assumption based upon other passages of scripture. We must assume that since the POWER of God was present to heal, that Yeshua was not teaching a class on carpentry or fishing.

Since God's POWER to heal was present, we may look to Romans 1:16 where we are told:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Additional verses which marry the power of God with the gospel, either directly or indirectly are:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. —1 Corinthians 1:18

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. —1 Corinthians 2:5

By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, —2 Corinthians 6:7

For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. —2 Corinthians 13:4

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; —2 Timothy 1:8

From these passages of Scripture we may accurately conclude that Yeshua was teaching God’s Word, the gospel. Thus, owing to that teaching, the POWER of God was present to heal, because the gospel was being proclaimed.

None of the religious leaders were healed, even though God’s POWER to heal was present. Only one man, acting in faith, received healing. Before the man was physically healed, his sins were forgiven. After the man had received physical healing, THEY WERE ALL AMAZED, AND THEY GLORIFIED GOD, AND WERE FILLED WITH REVERENCE.

Yeshua is teaching, God’s power is present, a man is healed of the palsy, sins are forgiven, God is glorified and reverenced. All of this spiritual bounty and not one song has been sung. The same sort of pattern is repeated over and over again in the New Testament.

It must be duly noted at this point that, as wonderful and even as needful as worship is, it is nowhere in Scripture declared to be, “the power of God.” And there is a very good reason for that. Worship is not FOR salvation, it is the natural result OF salvation. The unsaved do not worship God, and they certainly do not worship him in spirit and in truth. If worship resulted in our salvation, then salvation would be by works rather than by grace and appropriated through faith.

Worship is NOT for man to enjoy (though man is perfectly free to enjoy it). Worship is for God to enjoy. The purpose of worship, as previously stated, is to make known in thought, word, and deed, the infinite worthiness of God to receive such adoration. It must be understood, therefore, that worship is not simply a few campfire songs; it is not just a sermon or the reading of some scriptures; it is not exclusively prayer, nor praise either.

The life of Yeshua was a life of worship and devotion to the Father. Even though Scripture does not officially declare his worship, we may rightly view ALL that he did and ALL that he said as being a part of his LIFE OF WORSHIP.

We should no longer offer to God the profane by mingling worship with entertainment. Offer the worship that God has prescribed. Worshiptainment is not pleasing to God. We should make every effort to detach ourselves from churches entrenched in worshiptainment and get back to basics.


Something To Say?

Something To Say?

The ancient philosopher, Plato stated,

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

Having been a Bible teacher for nearly four decades, I can readily admit that there is a certain arrogance associated with teaching the Bible. Webster defines arrogance as:
an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

All teachers, whether secular or religious, share some common beliefs that the material they are teaching:

is being presented to someone who wishes to know the material
is currently unknown or misunderstood by most
has some innate value to the audience

Going by Webster’s definition, it can easily be seen that the teacher believes he or she has material that is currently superior to what is possessed by the audience. To state that another way, there is little to be gained by offering inferior materials to any audience. If you do not believe that the material you are wishing to present is superior in some way to what your audience already possesses, then you should be a student, not a teacher. Thus, the writer/speaker/teacher believes he or she knows something that others do not, or at the very least, has a better understanding of that material. Additionally, the teacher expects the material to be both learned and applied. These thoughts are what bring me to the keyboard today.

Do You Have To Say Something?

You do not have to travel far on the Internet to find some folks who feel they have to say something...anything. The spectrum is a vast ocean of plutonic utterances that may possibly be entertaining, but fall woefully short of being of any real, lasting value to people who partake of those compositions. These types of communications, regardless of the medium in which they are discovered; Internet, Facebook, texting, books, magazine articles, etc., all share a common source of origin; recognition.

Some people want recognition, others need recognition, and still others crave it. Regardless of the degree of recognition sought, those who “have to say something” do so to gain that element of recognition. I am not saying that these are bad people, nor are they necessarily egocentrics. But what is said by them is to boost, or magnify, or bring focus upon themselves. They are not teachers.

Do You Have Something To Say?

For the pendulum to swing the other way, you really need to be able to take yourself our of the equation. If you have something to say, then your material is not going to cause people to focus on you, but rather on the material you are presenting. I will admit that there is no way to completely disassociate yourself from your message, after all, it is your hand or your voice that is doing the communicating. Therefore, in the final analysis, you will be associated with your message, that is inescapable.

But when your audience comes to the end of your message, will they be thinking more about you; what a clever fellow you are, or will they be thinking more about your message? Will the words of your message shine more light on you as the author/speaker, or on the truth(s) that you want people to embrace?

Five Minutes
Before you even begin to write or speak, you should honestly pass judgment on your own knowledge and understanding of your topic. You should carefully consider what you are trying to get across to others. I try to judge myself by the five-minute test. Am I capable of speaking on this topic for five minutes with the world’s leading authority on the subject (whatever that subject may be)? If I can honestly answer, “Yes,” then I may have something worth passing along to others as a benefit to them. If I am struggling to make a meaningful presentation from a plethora of mere words, I take that as a sure sign I need to research or study my topic a little more. At the very least more prayer is definitely required.

How Will It Help
Even passing the five-minute test is no guarantee that what is intended to be offered is going to be helpful. How do you anticipate the material being helpful? Will the material encourage, inspire, educate, train, correct, or admonish those who read it or hear it? Do you expect the material to be as beneficial in a year, or five years, or twenty years?

Offer people something that they can use for a lifetime. If you want people to learn it, then make it worth their while to learn it. Make everything you communicate as timelessly meaningful as possible. While people might like the latest fads for keeping milk fresh longer, or how to get whiter whites, when the topic turns to things that affect people as they really live, the desire for the flashy and innovative is obscured by a need for that which has been proven effective over long periods of time. A verbal or written parade of the latest buzz words is a waste of everyone’s time.

Teach The Entire Crowd
School teachers, college professors, and even some business settings deal with respective audiences of roughly the same genre. But get a group of churchgoers together and the teacher’s job increases dramatically. You only find third graders in a third grade classroom, but there are all ages and all levels of Christianity represented in most church services.

Assuming you truly have something to say, you should be able to reach the entire audience. You must stimulate the thoughts and desires of every reader or listener to be better; from the least to the greatest. For that reason, you must have something worthwhile to say, or it will either never be received, or it will be abandoned all too quickly for something that is worth holding onto.

Practice The 3 T’s

The three T’s are very simple:
Tell them what you are going to teach,
Teach them what you said you would, then
Tell them what you have just taught them.

Do not try to set an ambush for your audience with a blockbuster revelation that completely catches them off guard. Antics like that serve more to generate questions than to minister answers. Let the audience know from the very beginning what your teaching plan is so they can prepare themselves to receive that well prepared lesson/sermon.

Do Not Be Lukewarm

If you come across as lukewarm in your lesson/sermon you will most likely be perceived as someone who “has to say something” rather than someone who “has something to say.” If you are not excited or enthusiastic about what you are teaching, then why should your audience be excited or enthusiastic? Where are they going to get that excitement? Certainly not from you. Why should they bother to learn it?


Whether you are delivering your message to a secular audience, to your home church, or something in the middle, prayer can make all the difference between a good message and a fiery crash and burn. This should be a given for any Christian, but too many try and tough through it on their own without inviting (or expecting) input and direction from the Holy Ghost.


I ended with prayer above so that I could make it the first thing in my concluding remarks. I will invite you to start recognizing that prayer is asking for and expecting a miracle. If you do not need a miracle, then you can do it yourself. If you can do it yourself, then stop being lazy and go do it. But if you cannot do it yourself, then you need outside help, and God is still in the miracle-working business. And if you think for one minute that you can capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of an auditorium full of people on your own, I want to be there for that event. Pray! Pray fervently! Expect God to work that miracle for you. Only then will you be ready to share the truth and the revelation of your message.

Decide right now never to be just “someone who has to say something.” Decide that you will always present relevant, meaningful, timely material to your audience, knowing that your message/lesson will better the lives of people who take it to heart.

Never forget to tell them what you are going to teach, then go ahead and teach them what you told them you would, and finally tell them what you taught them.

Be excited about your material. I do not mean the sidelines cheerleader sort of excited either. I am talking about the sort of excitement you would have if you had just discovered the cure for cancer. You would be excited about that, I know. You would want others to take your message seriously and apply it to their lives. You know if you discovered the cure for cancer that your material would be superior to all other material, because you have the CURE for cancer, not merely a treatment. That kind of excitement!

We all like listening to and reading people who have something meaningful to say. Be wise.


Sloppy Pulpit

Sloppy Pulpit

Some time ago, perhaps a decade, I coined the phrase, “Sloppy Pulpit,” in reference to those pastors and teachers who seemed to have a difficult time adhering to the tenets and doctrines of the Bible. These people seem to have a different doctrine week after week, and rarely is that doctrine in harmony with the clear teachings of the Bible. The weak and beggarly doctrines being touted by these “Sloppy Pulpiteers” is what brings me to the keyboard today.

Erwin Lutzer wrote a book entitled,
The Cross In The Shadow Of The Crescent. In this book, Lutzer states that an attempt is being made in our day to make Christianity appeal to unbelievers by speaking of the Gospel as love and not mentioning sin. But without the requirement of repentance, Christians believe themselves to be freed from suffering and hardship. This type of message is very appealing to the general public, because most do not want to go to church and hear about their sinful acts.

Preaching is God’s Strategy

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. —1 Corinthians 1:21

Preaching is the method God has ordained to deliver his Word to sinful humanity and to build his Church. Consequently, preaching is the primary responsibility of every pastor, and the primary need of every congregation. No pastor should ever fail in this responsibility, and every pastor is required to preach, and to preach well. But many pastors are failing in this responsibility, and the Church is becoming weaker and weaker because of those failures. My purpose today is not to provide an exhaustive list of errors that contribute to the disease of “Sloppy Pulpit,” but rather to help people become aware of the growing epidemic.

Not Under The Law

On the one hand, pastors teach that we are not under the Law of Moses, that we in the Church Age are under God’s grace. And that is reenforced with the declaration that Gentiles were never given the Law and are therefore not required to follow it. But on the other hand, Christians are required to pay tithes (the Law of Moses), and to observe the Sabbath (also the Law of Moses). And these two particular hold-overs from the Law of Moses serve very well to keep the intake of dollars high, and to help keep people in church on that all-important Sabbath Day. This is simply bad preaching; “Sloppy Pulpit.” It serves to confuse the hearers and also damage their faith. After all, how can we be free from the law and yet have to abide by it at the same time.

Love, Only Love

It is an indisputable fact that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). As Christians we trust in, cling to, and rely upon that truth. But our God is also:

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. —Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29

(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. —Deuteronomy 6:15

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. —Deuteronomy 32:4

Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. —1 Samuel 2:3

And God abandons those who will not hear and obey the truth of God’s gospel. —Romans 1:24, 26, 28

To focus solely on God’s love to the utter neglect of his wrath, jealousy, and judgment is to reduce the Almighty to nothing more than a “good ole boy.” It completely disregards that fact that the God of the Bible became a man in order to pay the penalty for man’s sin and rebellion by punishing himself. The wrath and judgment of the God of the Bible are just as perfect as his love, and they are just as ever-present.

Because of an over-emphasis of God’s love, we now have Christians who believe it is wrong to correct people, to rebuke them, to admonish them, or to call them to accountability. Indeed, I have had people tell me flatly that all we need to do is just love them and people will turn around. These are Christian people, people who profess to read the Bible and to love God. These same Christians believe that God will ultimately forgive everyone and let “bygones be bygones.” What utter nonsense! That is false doctrine; the result of “Sloppy Pulpit.” It is the antithesis of the guy on the street corner holding the sign, “TURN OR BURN!” Both extremes fail to embrace the Bible’s true message to sinful humanity from a loving God who has no tolerance for sin (being the one who, himself, paid sin’s penalty for us).

We should never be angered by the sins of unbelievers, they are doing only what they are capable of doing. But those who claim to be true believers and followers of Messiah, when those people enter into a lifestyle and a habitual practice of sin, then we have a duty to be angry with such ungodly

Ephesians 4:26 tells us to “...
be angry and sin not.” We are to show our sore displeasure in the choices they have made and continue to make. This is exactly what God did. This is exactly what Yeshua did. One of the faces of love is confrontation, not condemnation. We have no standing to “condemn” sin, being practitioners of it ourselves. But we have an obligation, a duty, yes, even a responsibility to confront a believer with his or her sin. See the following Scriptures:

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. —Galatians 6:1-5

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. —2 Thessalonians 3:14

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. —1 Timothy 5:20

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. —James 5:19-20

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, FORGIVE HIM. —Luke 17:3

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, —Matthew 21:12 (Look it up) —Joshua 7:10-22

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. —Galatians 2:11-13

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. —Matthew 16:4

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. —Acts 17:23

It is selfish, as well as cowardly, to withhold the gospel from unbelievers, or correction from believers under the pretense of “not offending, or not provoking.” We are God’s watchmen (Ezekiel 33:1-20...yes you REALLY need to read it).

Those victims of “Sloppy Pulpit” who have heard only the “love” side of the God of the Bible; who have been taught from those “Sloppy Pulpits” that we have no right to correct or censure a brother or sister should carefully consider the words of the apostle Paul:

Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I charge you, in the name of his appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, give encouragement—but do all with patience and with care to instruct. The time is sure to come when people will not accept sound teaching, but their ears will be itching for anything new and they will collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then they will shut their ears to the truth and will turn to myths. But you must keep steady all the time; put up with suffering; do the work of preaching the gospel; fulfil the service asked of you. —2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NJB)

No More Repentance

“Sloppy Pulpit” has produced another popular heresy in that repentance is no longer necessary. If our preaching is going to be effective, if we want that preaching to be applicable to those who hear it, we must preach the cross of Messiah, the blood of Messiah, and repentance. In short, we must preach Yeshua Messiah, and him crucified.

Today, people seek teaching that will satisfy their itching ears and allow them to gratify their carnal desires. They want pastors to deal gently with their evil ways. They want tolerance, and that tolerance is all too often accomplished by simply removing the power from the gospel.

Today’s “Sloppy Pulpits,” all claiming authority in the name of Yeshua, can hardly fail to call to mind the same trouble experienced by Isaiah’s when the people said,

Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us (Isaiah 30:10-11).

When did Yeshua ever allow the people to decide what he would teach them? When did Paul let his audience determine his doctrine? These pastors who are supposed to be purveyors of a spiritual feast based on the glorious and powerful doctrines of the Bible are found to be more like fast food servers. They know the people have itching ears and they are all too happy to scratch those ears to keep the people happy, the chairs filled, and that bank balance in the black.

The victims of “Sloppy Pulpit” are never confronted, never challenged, and absolutely never held accountable. These people are content with a vapid, empty message filled with the latest Christian buzz words giving guidelines on how to endure rather than how to overcome. The sin in their lives is never addressed.

Some pastors may avoid using the word “repent” because it sounds too harsh and “unloving,” too confrontational, or too judgmental. However, a call for repentance is really a gracious, loving act. Repentance is the doorway to God’s grace. Repentance is not just a one-time act at the new birth; it is a way of life for the Christian. “Repent” was a common word in the book of Acts, and it should be in today’s preaching as well.

The Altar Call

Can anything be more shameful and more damaging to the gospel of grace than after having stripped all the teeth from a sermon, to then offer an “altar call” under the conditions of, “Every head bowed, and every eye closed; no one looking around. We do not want to embarrass anyone.”
How despicably contemptible; how faithless and cowardly! Even a cursory examination of the Bible accounts of Yeshua’s earthly ministry will quickly and effortlessly show that never once in his dealing with apostles, disciples, or even the common man, did he petition for “...every head bowed and every eyed closed; no one looking around.” How little faith in the preaching of the gospel the pastor must exhibit who utilizes this shameful practice.

Small wonder that the Church is being filled to capacity with weak and ineffectual “Christians.” They were allowed to sneak into the Church while no one was watching. Small wonder that at the first sign of persecution or the first mention of being intolerant these victims of “Sloppy Pulpit” abandon the Father’s Messiah and take up arms against the gospel of the God of the Bible along with the other humanists. Small wonder that the Church of the Lord Yeshua Messiah is overflowing with effeminate, homosexual men; backbiters, slanderers, gossipers, rebellious children, and haters of the God of the Bible...the pastors do not want to embarrass them.

Not a New problem

This problem of “Sloppy Pulpit” has been around since the inception of the Church. It was an issue dealt with by the apostle Paul throughout his ministry, and the fight continues to this very day. And even to this present time, the words of the great apostle cannot be silenced:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. ­—Romans 5:1-11

Take Heed

In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul warns us to be careful how we build upon the foundation of grace and truth that he has laid down. And in 2 Corinthians 13 Paul exhorts to, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;”

Those of you pastors who have “played to the crowd,” need to repent. You Christians who have been feasting on “ear candy,” need to repent. Those of you who have been ashamed of the unyielding stand of the gospel of God, ashamed of the intolerance of sin of the God of the Bible, ashamed to come out from among the blasphemous, ungodly people of the world, you need to repent.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. —Romans 1:16-17

Take heed...


Complete In The Messiah

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: —Colossians 2:8-10

One thing the Greek language of Paul’s day had going for it was versatility, and Paul maximized on the power of the Greek language in his writings. There is one clause in the passage above that cries out for your attention. It was there in verse 10, “You are complete in him.” That is a very serious statement.

It is difficult to imagine a more concrete word...a more definitive word! Nothing lacking, no shortage, no emptiness, no inadequacy, and no assembly required. COMPLETE! Even reading those words in our English language we get a sense of finality, after all, when something is complete it is finished otherwise it would not be “complete.” Even so, the Greek here reaches new heights in giving us an understanding both of the Messiah and of those who have demonstrated saving faith in him.


The Greek noun that Paul uses is "pleroma," (play-RO-mah) and Paul uses it with an unexpected boldness by applying it first to Messiah, and then, in the very next sentence, he applies it to us.

“For in Messiah dwelleth all the pleroma of the Godhead bodily.”

“And ye are pleroma in him...”

Since the fullness of God truly dwells in Messiah, and WE are filled up in Messiah, then the fullness of God dwells in US.

If A=B, and B=C, then A=C.


Possibly the best literal translation of “pleroma” would be “crammed full.” The Greek word has been adopted into our English language, and at least one dictionary defines it as, “A state of overflowing abundance.”
When no ordinary English word can be found to describe a condition of extraordinary richness and fullness, “pleroma” is used. The ongoing idea of fullness is conveyed by the use of pleroma in the New Testament.

But I have all, and abound: I am full (pleroma), having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply (pleroma) all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:18-19

It is difficult to miss the hominess of the “I am full” in verse 18. The expression is that of a man who has eaten too much! It describes an over sufficient satisfaction, deep contentment, a state of having more than enough; having no further need of anything else.

Just as the Philippians had so richly and bountifully provided for Paul (vs. 14-18) so, in turn, Paul promises that God will provide for them in even greater measure.

We also find other, parallel passages:

Which, when it was full (crammed with abundance), they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. —Matthew 13:48

Every valley shall be filled (pleroma), and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; —Luke 3:5


The phrase, “filled full” is not an overstatement or redundancy. Something can be full, yet not full.
If you FILL a bucket with tennis balls, it is full, yet it is not full.
If you then pour rocks into the same bucket, it is more full, yet not FULL.
Take that same bucket and then pour in sand, and it is full, yet it is still not FULL.
But pour water into that same bucket, and now it may be said to be “filled full,” crammed, replete, with room for nothing else. It is in this sense that Paul spoke to us in Colossians 2:9-10.

For in him dwelleth all the pleroma of the Godhead bodily. And ye are pleroma in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Messiah is "crammed full" of the power, nature, and holiness of Almighty God! And as good as that is, the apostle goes on to declare that we are crammed full "in" the one who is "crammed full" of the power, nature, and holiness of Almighty God! Can anyone make a more powerful or a more direct statement about you as a believer?

But, if it is true that all blessing, authority, provision, fullness, victory, healing, freedom, and so on, are already the full expression of every believer, how is it that so many apparently suffer from an almost total lack of these things?


This “completeness,” like every other aspect of the gospel, becomes real in a man’s life only in conjunction with three other things:
01. It is available in Yeshua alone
02. It must be accepted by faith

There is, indeed, a good reason why I have #3 in all caps!
You will not actually live in that state of being “crammed full” until you deeply believe that "in" Messiah you are, in fact, already “crammed full”; and when you believe it, you will irresistibly, unequivocally, and unashamedly speak it — Matthew 12:34b:

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Hear it...
Believe it...
Speak it...

THAT is the three-fold REQUIREMENT to ACTIVATE the promises of God. While most Christians have little or no trouble with Hearing and Believing, the problem arises in that pesky CONFESSION part.


One problem, it would seem, is that we tend to measure ourselves by ourselves. But the challenge of Scripture is to measure ourselves by Messiah because you are complete ONLY in Messiah. Thus IN HIM, you ARE complete.

It is ONLY through your CONFESSION of these things that they become a reality in your life. A believer’s identification with Yeshua Messiah by faith is both the foundation and the goal of sanctification. The process of translating that identification into the daily experience of ongoing sanctification, however, demands three attitudes of mind and action on a believer’s part (Reckoning, Yielding, and Service). These Paul discussed in Romans 6:5–23.

There is no surer way to increase your bondage to some habit or personal failure than to make it the subject of most of your thinking, talking, and praying.

But once you have confessed your failure (in whatever area(s)) and received forgiveness and cleansing from God, you MUST begin again (or perhaps for the first time) to joyfully, continually, and AGGRESSIVELY confess yourself to be COMPLETE in him. Only then will you bring more and more of HIS righteousness into your life.

You cannot maintain righteousness by focusing on sin or failure.
If you want to remain Christ-like, then you must focus your attention on his excellencies. The more you rejoice in the victory of Messiah, and the more you praise God for making you a participant in that victory, the more that victory will be enacted in your own experience.


The time to begin this exercise of faith is WHILE YOU ARE STILL OUTWARDLY DEFEATED. Remember, you are praising God for what you are IN MESSIAH (Colossians 2:9-10), and that has nothing to do with what you are IN YOURSELF. But such a confession will irresistibly change what you are in yourself to what you are in Messiah.
When scripture declares that:
You are blessed with all spiritual blessings
You are more than a conqueror
You are healed
You have authority over Satan
You are holy, unblameable, unreprovable

Grace and Peace to all.

The Re-emergence Of The House Church

The Re-emergence Of The House Church

I am not given to making wild predictions or fanciful proclamations. Those things are best left to those who know that they Know that they KNOW they have heard from God. Still I have an ever-present, non-abating sense of urgency regarding the House Church. Therefore, without any claim as having directly heard from God on the matter, I feel compelled to share some thoughts with you concerning the House Church.

A Little History

House Churches have existed from the very beginning of Christianity; the apostle Paul frequently wrote letters to “the church in your house” (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 2). Beginning in the second century a.d., and forward to this very day, House Churches were gradually replaced by specialized structures built specifically for Christian worship. These structures always required financial resources, and were, indeed still are governed by local regulations. This was especially true for nearly all religious groups during the colonization and settlement of North America.

On the American frontier, devout husbands or wives would conduct some form of simple worship service in the family home on a regular basis. Generally these house church gatherings involved singing, Scripture reading, prayer, and a brief devotional thought or reading from a religious text.

When there were a sufficient number of believers in the area to invite a traveling preacher to conduct services, the members would begin to make plans to build a special structure for public worship (and often education as well). Frequently the same structure would function as the town hall, the local school and the place for Sunday services. They were more along the lines of a civic center/religious center.

The Long Dark Road

Unless you just landed in America from another planet, far, far away, you are aware of the waning acceptance of Christianity in America, and the ever increasing acceptance of Humanism (yes, it is a religion). There is an ever increasing intolerance of traditional Christian values, and those who cling to those values are labeled as snobbish, arrogant, intolerant, bigots, racist, primitive, and unteachable; Christian fanatics. Little by little, believers have allowed politicians, unbelievers, and aliens to this country to dictate both the means and the extent to which we may openly practice our Christian faith.

However, we have now begun to enter more deeply into the shadows, but there is still enough ambient light to see the path ahead of us. Our faith is strong, our pastors are still in place, and our church building serves us well enough. Today we still have enough light to see ahead, but the farther we travel down this road, the darker it is going to get and soon we may not be able to see ahead of us at all. One day we may be stopped dead in our tracks; the pastor will be gone (or replaced by a Federal Appointee), the building will be more of a military headquarters, and doctrine will be a matter of public policy and no longer a matter of Scripture.

If you are thinking that this is just the ramblings of a delusionist, think about these things for a moment:

Where was your outrage when prayer was removed from schools by an atheist?
Where was your outrage when nativity scenes were made taboo by atheists?
Where was your outrage when homosexual marriages were legalized in your state?
Where was your outrage when the sacrifice of children was declared lawful?
Where was your outrage when Barack Obama declared that the United States is NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION?

It is time to wake up, Church, and smell the brimstone. It is safe to assume that there will be no outrage from this point forward, because the Church has become quite comfortable with being told what to do by those who should have had no voice at all. We have traded in our outrage for “peace” at any price; but there is no peace.

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. 16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. —Jeremiah 6:14-17 AV

Now that I have your attention and (ironically) possibly your outrage, allow me to continue with the original premise — The Re-emergence Of the House Church.

Another Move Of God

Americans have always valued religious freedom, and the twentieth century gave rise to a number of new independent groups and House Churches. Today’s House Churches are not beholden to any particular theological tradition—they may be liberals or conservatives, Holiness, Pentecostal, or charismatic, Calvinists or Arminians. In some instances these House Churches are temporary arrangements to fill in while waiting on a new church building; in other cases they are an answer to prayer for intimacy and community that members have not found in a larger church. Additionally, some groups, like the Old Order River Brethren, regard the House Church as the only biblical model for Christian community and worship. They refuse to use church buildings.

Today, your taste may very well run in the direction of the (now) traditional church building in which a large congregation meets regularly. And to that I must respond, “Glory to Yahweh!” I am most definitely in favor of believers who worship God in spirit and in truth, regardless of where that may take place. My only concern is that you do not get too complacent, too comfortable, with your current mode (and place) of worship; “…for the times they are a changing.”

What is surprising is that a number of people who enjoy Worship Services in a dedicated "Church Building" look askance at those who prefer the more intimate atmosphere of a House Church. It is as if House Church worship of God is somehow inferior or lacking in acceptability.

Pooh, pooh, you say, “There is no way I would ever be so ingrained in my religious observance that I could ever possibly miss a move of God.” Strangely enough, THAT was the precise thinking of the Jews while they were busy not only REJECTING the Messiah, but also CRUCIFYING him.

Seriously, A New Thing

Read your Bible…it is replete with accounts of those who were so complacent that they missed the new thing God was doing or about to do.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. —Isaiah 43:19-21 AV

There are a good many pastors today who are far more intere$ted in number$ and offering$ than they are in perfecting the $aint$ for the work of ministry. (
I already know YOUR pastor is not like that so no need to send me a plethora of emails to set me straight.) The issue, ultimately, has nothing to do with your current pastor; the issue is with you. Are you flexible enough to follow God in a new work? Can you abandon your cherished spot in the second row on the right side of the congregation? Can you take the pressure of not being able to hide in a church of 500; 1500; 5000? Will you be able to survive the close scrutiny of 8-20 believers in a House Church? I am suggesting you think about these things now, before the collapse of your current house of worship becomes a reality.

It May Look Like This

Since you have come this far, why not go all the way and picture what the House Church of tomorrow might look like. Many people participate in an offshoot of their current church; the Home Fellowship.

Many enjoy the Home Fellowship much more than the regular Sunday Worship Service because it is far more intimate; a greater sense of unity. I am going to use this familiar scenario as a basis for what the House Church of tomorrow might look like.

A Loose Format

A song or two, with or without music as the case may be; Bible reading, perhaps a formal teaching (if a teacher is present); prayers and prayer requests; discussions.

While there is certain to be some degree of structure to the assembly in the House Church, it is not likely that it will be of the same nature as that of your current worship service.

Mutual Participation

In a church of 100+, it is simply not possible (or feasible) for everyone to take an active roll in the service. But when the maximum capacity is 8-20 people, 100% participation is easily accomplished.

Furthermore, while timid saints are less likely to participate in larger groups, much of that fear is removed by being in a smaller group, which is generally filled with friends and family.

An Itinerate Pastor/Teacher

It is highly likely that after the collapse (or dismantling) of the typical church building these House Churches will be frequented by an itinerate pastor/teacher (possible even the same pastor you have now). This man (or woman) will bring a more formal message during his/her visitation, answer questions, judge disputes, make suggestions, give encouragement, etc. This will be done on a cyclical, revolving basis; each week visiting a different House Church, rinse, repeat.

Yes, I Mean Underground

If you are wondering if I am suggesting that these House Churches will be of an “underground” nature, the answer is an unqualified, “Possibly!” I have read the Bible from cover to cover several times, and as bad as things are, they are going to get worse. Never forget that! Things ARE going to get WORSE! No amount of prayer, intercession, fasting, pleading, whimpering, or spiritual warfare is going to prevent things from getting worse. Those endeavors may POSTPONE it, but they will not prevent things from getting much, much worse than they are now.

Graciously, that time is not now. But take an honest look around you…it is not as socially acceptable to be a Christian today as it was 50 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago. Yet those whose hearts are filled with love for God and his Messiah cannot abandon gathering with those of like precious faith and worshiping the God of our Salvation.

The Church, Not Judgment

I am not one of those doom and gloom people; honestly I am not. Those people talk about how God is sending judgment on America and the world at large. Doom and gloom, fire and flood, shake and bake, get right or get left; that is simply not me. But I am also not one to sugar-coat the truth either. God is not sending judgment upon America or the world…God sent his Church, the body of Messiah. In the church we find both judgment and blessing. The question now becomes, “Will you minister God’s word when there is nothing but ridicule around you?”

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? —1 Peter 4:17 AV

God is taking a very close look at his church right now. Some adjustments, modifications if you will, must be made. You can resist, rebel, complain, and murmur as Israel did in the wilderness, or you can embrace the changes on the horizon and be a part of the New Thing God is preparing to do. Only one of those options has God’s blessing on it.

All Completely Hypothetical

All of this is, however, completely hypothetical. I mean, after all, your pastor has never told you anything like this before. If something like this were even remotely possible, surely he would have said something to prepare us for it…right?

Think of me as a friendly watchman (this is the time for you to re-read Jeremiah 6:14-17 AV). Or think of me as a poor, misguided delusionist, who has lost his way. In all honesty, it matters nothing what or how you think of me. What does matter is how willing you are to embrace the change that may be (is?) coming, and your willingness to move out of your comfort zone and walk in a new work of God.


The book of Proverbs speaks of calamity coming upon us “suddenly.” It also speaks of those who harden themselves against God’s movement being destroyed suddenly.

Get ready, saints. I say in all earnestness, get ready, be ready, stay ready. I may be completely misguided in my thinking, but even now your heart is understanding what your head is trying desperately to dispel. You owe it to yourself to prepare for a dramatic change in your life as a Believer on the Lord Yeshua of Nazareth. Do not suppose the world knows what is best for you. Do not be caught unprepared. Do not allow God to pass by undetected. §

What Is Wrong With Me

It often happens that our very best intentions sometimes lose their strength and fail to achieve the victory we had initially hoped for. This is a shortcoming that besets all people, including Christians. And because this is such a universally experienced issue the apostle Paul gives us his personal testimony in the matter in chapter 7 of the Book of Romans.

It is significant that, beginning with verse 7 and continuing through to the end of this chapter, Paul used the first person singular (I, me, my), presenting
his personal experience. Up to this point he had used the third person, the second person, and even the first person plural. But now he described his own experience, allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to his readers.

In Paul's testimony of his own struggles, beginning with verse 14, he reveals that the sin nature is not eradicated at the new birth. In relating his personal experience in 7:14–25, Paul consistently used the present tense whereas he had previously used the past tense. Obviously he was describing his present, personal conflict as a Christian with indwelling sin and its continuing efforts to control his daily life. As a result, indwelling sin (Sin Nature) continues to seek to exert mastery over what it considers its property even after one has become a Christian.

Paul confessed…

I do not understand what I do (literally, “what I am producing I do not know”).

He was like a little child whose honest answer to the question why he did something wrong is, “I don’t know.”

Paul continued to present the predicament he faced:
For what I want to do I do not do
(literally, “For what I am wishing, is not what I am doing,”) and conversely,
What I hate I do

Paul was a man who learned from his experiences, so now he concluded…

I find this law at work.

This law or principle is the reality of ever-present evil in an individual whenever he wants to do good. Paul held fast to the fact that, as he said,

In my inner being I delight in God’s Law (cf. 7:25).

Delight in God’s Law was the very response of the psalmist stated repeatedly in Psalm 119 (e.g., vs. 16, 24, 47; cf. Psalms 1:2).

Because of regeneration (New Birth), every believer has a new nature or capacity for loving spiritual truths. Yet, recognizing the facts of experience, Paul said he saw another law or principle at work within him. This is the principle of sin.

Paul called it “sin living in me” (Romans 7:17, 20), “evil” right there with me (v. 21), and “the sinful nature” (vs. 5, 18, 25).

This principle is continually doing two things:

  1. Waging war against the law of the believer’s mind, and
  2. Making him a prisoner of the law of sin (Sin Nature) at work within his members.

The indwelling principle of sin (sin nature) is constantly executing a military campaign against the new nature, ever attempting to achieve mastery and control (cf. “slave” in vs. 14, 25 and “slaves” in 6:17, 19–20), of a believer and of his actions.

Thus, despite a believer’s identification with Yeshua Messiah’s death and resurrection, and his efforts to have God-honoring attitudes and actions, he cannot use his own power to resist his indwelling sin nature.
In and of himself he repeatedly experiences defeat and frustration (Galatians 5:17).

Paul expressed that frustration in his exclamation…

What a wretched man I am!

Now we come full circle, "What Is Wrong With Me?" Nothing! That is to say not in the sense that you are any different from other believers. You know what is good and right, and you want to do exactly that. But rather than being patient, you erupt with frustration; rather than showing compassion you deliver condemnation; instead of acting spiritually you act in a carnal, fleshly manner.

What you and I are experiencing is our ongoing need of sanctification; that ongoing work of the Holy Ghost in our lives that more and more separates us not just FROM the worldly elements, but TO our heavenly Father.

Paul's question is something of a rephrasing of our initial question:

Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Paul’s answer to these questions (yours and his) was both triumphant and immediate:

Thanks be to God—through Yeshua Messiah our Lord!

In this answer, Paul shows that he was looking to the final triumph of Yeshua Messiah for his people. Just as believers are identified with him in his death and resurrection by faith here and now, on that future day they will join their resurrected and exalted Lord for all eternity in new bodies, free forever from the presence of sin (8:23; Philippians 3:20–21).

Romans 7 does not describe the totality of Paul’s spiritual life and experiences. In fact, chapter 7 is the springboard for what follows, setting the stage for the triumph of chapter 8.

It probably is true that in the lives of most sincere Christians, the two conditions Paul described exist in a sort of cyclical exchange. Recognition of our inability to live up to our deepest spiritual longings (chapter 7) leads us to cast ourselves upon God’s Spirit for power and victory (chapter 8).

Sanctification is a gradual process that repeatedly takes the believer through this recurring sequence of failure through dependency upon self, to triumph through the indwelling Spirit.

So, in the ultimate sense, the answer to the question, "What is wrong with me," is simply that we are a work in progress. Our sanctification will never be complete while we are in this body of flesh. In much the same way that a pearl continues to be formed while it remains in the oyster, so, too, the Holy Ghost will continue to form and shape us into the image of the Savior (Romans 8:29).

The Fiery Trial

What have I Been Doing For Two Years?

I can only guess at what people must think about my extended hiatus and total lack of visibility over the past two years. Though my response will probably be less that adequate, it is the truth and will have to suffice.

I have, for the past two years, been under a severe spiritual attack. My motives have been questioned, by integrity challenged, my veracity put to the test, and my faith has been tried in on a daily basis. It has been a season of not only testing, but the end result has been spiritual growth. I find the irony to be almost comical in that the title of my last posting here in
Lessons For The Heart was Growth In Grace!

Over the past two years I have been ministered to by angels; Lilian, Samantha, Kurt, Maria, David, Kevin, and others. I have been told by others that my unshakeable stand for the absolute authority of God's Word is wrong and that I should be willing to compromise on that in order to maintain peace and unity. It was proclaimed that my insistence on obedience to the clear commands of Scripture was unloving.

My faith has been tried, refined. And I am all the better and all the stronger for it. Though it was not pleasant at the time, the results are beyond words.

I will, once again, be posting here and sharing what the Lord has put upon my heart. My immediate prayer is that you will forgive me for so long and absence and return here again if perhaps I may impart some truth, or blessing, or strength, or hope for your time(s) of Fiery Trial.

Grace and Peace