"I am the vine, you are the branches"
Where Did the Blood Go?
Ask any believer and he will tell you that he is saved by grace through faith; and that not of himself, it is a free gift of God; and not as a result of works, that he should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Though this may be true, I ask, what happened to the blood and the cross and sin? Should this not be our first response? Is it not time to put the words of Yeshua before the words of Paul? We are saved by the precious blood of the pure, innocent Lamb of God who died on the cross of Calvary for our sins. Our Savior, the only begotten, precious Son of God the Father, holy, set apart, pure and innocent, without sin, without blemish, took my sins, my burdens, my shame, my guilt and placed it upon Himself. He dirtied Himself with the filth of my sin. He became guilty who was innocent. He became a reproach who knew no reproach, and most of all He took on Himself the pain: not just of the scourging and the cross, but the pain of being separated from His Father, which was the greatest pain of all. It caused him to cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” The precious Lamb of God, He who was with God from the beginning and who was God, was separated from the Father and found guilty, paying the price of damnation, and yet we do not respond with an eternal gratitude that we have been saved by His shed blood. Without the shedding of the blood there can be no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). But we have not been taught this because we have no need of the knowledge of the sacrifices, nor do we usually quote from the Hebrew scriptures, but Isaiah tells us, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). He was oppressed and He was afflicted, cut off from the land of the living, and Isaiah tells us that, “His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14). It is for this reason that we want to take a closer look at this, but first we want to see were we went wrong.
Two Roads and the One Not Taken
With the turn of the twentieth century and two World Wars, man had taken a turn away from God. This was the beginning of all things. We won two wars and prosperity and renewal filled our hearts. We entered into the global age. The gospel message changed. There was no longer turn-or-burn messages from mighty preachers of the day, like Moody, Spurgeon and Scofield. Holiness and godliness faded like a painting left to the sun, despite a mighty revival of the Holy Spirit that took place at Azusa Street, which lasted from 1906-1915, dawning a new day of hope. That new day gave birth to the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ. Pentecostalism was on the rise with great signs and wonders and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. But that day of hope did not last. No, the new gospel message was a road that many took. Instead of Azusa Street, many took easy street, even with such a powerful move of the Holy Spirit. After WWII we entered into the golden age of capitalism, which gave almost every nation a time of growth and prosperity well into the 1970s, in which time God once again gave a spiritual renewal, this time in the Catholic church with the Charismatic movement. Despite these two Spiritual movements, more and more people fell away. The church was lulled to sleep and this, that you read today, we hope will awaken your soul to truth and light. The church must be awakened and strengthened before the days called “Jacob’s trouble.” We want to look at the reasons behind this falling away.
The Message of Messiah
Yeshua/Jesus began His message by saying, “Repent” (Matthew 4:17). Mark 1:14-15 tells us, “And after John had been taken into custody, Yeshua came into Galilee, preaching the gospel (the good news) of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel (the good news).” The Jewish people knew exactly what Yeshua was saying, for the gospel (the good news) that Yeshua preached was that the Messiah had come. He was telling them that He was the Messiah. The prophets spoke of the Messiah: that He would bring salvation to His people (His name, Yeshua, in fact means “salvation”), give them victory over their enemies, and restore the Torah and its teachings. Now, this is something that we were never taught. We believe in the Jewish Messiah, and yet we do not even know the role of Messiah in Scripture. Yet the Jewish people knew. The role of the Messiah must be taught to us in order to completely understand who Messiah is. We are not going to look into the ministry of Messiah in this brochure. (A more extensive teaching on this subject can be found at JudeoChristianClarion.com/good-news.) What I will say is that we get the gospel message confused with the salvation message. They are two different messages. We see that John preached the same message: “Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 3:1-2). I just want to note that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven is the same kingdom. We see that Yeshua tells His disciples to preach the same message. Luke 9:2 says, “And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God.” Peter, on the day of Pentecost, says to the crowd, “Repent.” All through the ages preachers have preached the same message.
But the kingdom was not Yeshua’s only message to His disciples: He taught the Torah. Yeshua never taught the salvation message, but He did tell His disciples at the Passover Seder, what we have come to call the Last Supper, to “Remember.” Most people do not keep the Passover, nor do they attend a Seder. Yeshua was telling His disciples that when they keep the Passover, the Seder in particular, that they remember Him in the breaking of the matzah, called the Afikoman, which represents His body; and when drinking the third cup, the Cup of Redemption, to remember the shedding of His blood. It was not about Communion, but it was Passover, on which the Israelites were saved from the death angel by the blood of an innocent, unblemished lamb. Paul tells us to keep the Passover, because Yeshua our Passover lamb has shed His blood for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
The Lost Message
We have lost the message of repentance. Repentance is a humbling of one’s self. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). The very act of repentance says, “I am a sinner lost in my sins and I need a savior.” James 4:8-10 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” We have lost the message of the Passover to remember, and we have lost the message of the cross, which represents the altar of sacrifice. The cross was an instrument of death. Messiah tells us to crucify our flesh (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23). We must deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him, or else we are not worthy of the kingdom. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:24, “Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
We have lost the message of sin and the message that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In fact, the whole chapter is about sin. We are to examine ourselves. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Yeshua the Messiah is in you—unless indeed you fail the test.” If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9), but if we do not examine ourselves we will not know if we have fallen. The whole Bible is the full counsel of God. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” “But if we examine ourselves rightly, we should not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31). We have lost all of this because we have been taught only this: “We are now under grace.” With grace comes no fear of God, no need for anything else. It is like one size fits all. It all fits into one nice, easy package. This is not the message preached by great preachers of the past; this is not the message taught by the disciples. We must have depth to our relationship with our Savior. We must live by Yeshua’s words, and He says, “If you love Me then keep My commandments.” What commandments was He speaking of? He gave no insinuation of grace in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). When asked which was the greatest commandment He did not answer, “To live by grace.” No, He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This sums up the first three commandments. He went on to say, “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (verse 39). This sums up the rest of the Ten Commandments. We are taught that we are now under grace and therefore do not need to keep the Ten Commandments. Yet Yeshua tells us that if we love Him we must keep His commandments (John 14:15). This message of “saved by grace only” is not the full counsel of God. This has been the dumbing down of the believers. This has made us lax and weak. We no longer see a need for holiness and godliness. We seem to think that we do not need the fear of God, and yet the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). Believers today do not read their Bibles. They do not pray and seek God out by coming into His presence. We have become like the world. We look like the world and we sound like the world.
The Road Back
Paul tells us in Galatians 1:8, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” We have been taught another gospel and another salvation message since Paul wrote this. We have lost our way. Paul never meant for us to hang our hat on one line of Scripture and forsake the rest of God’s Word.
Jeremiah 6:16 tells us this, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.” We are to be living sacrifices, holy unto the Lord. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” How we need to come back to living by the whole counsel of God! We must see our sins and repent. The righteousness of our Messiah does not mean that we can go on sinning. Paul tells us this: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). If we overemphasize grace, then we feel that there is no need to repent because Yeshua died for our sins. There is no humbling, no contrition, no change. Isaiah writes in chapter 66:2, “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Refusal to repent and be humble causes us to become prideful and presumptuous, and God hates both. James 4:6 tells us, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Saved by grace? Yes, if it were not for His great love for us and His great sacrifice on our behalf, if it weren’t for the shed blood of the Son of God who gave His life for us, we would never have been saved. It was surely more than grace that took our place on the altar of sacrifice that day. It was the precious innocent Lamb of God, and we should always acknowledge that, “By His blood I am saved!”