"I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one" (Jesus) John 17:20-21
Cactuses in Jerusalem - not the most prickly, perhaps.
Notes from a message given by Rev Malcolm Hedding, Executive Director of International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, at the Feast of Tabernacles 2006.
Malcolm laid several challenging scriptures before us.
Acts 2 :43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
The purposes of God are very clear to us.
A Demonstration of His presence - not a new programme - a new power.
We need to experience the "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." of Acts 2.
These things will happen where God finds a church that pleases His heart. Then society gains a new respect ( not love ) for the Church of God, and Israel will be impressed by our love and our declaration.
Question When will be the timing for all this to happen? (a simple question, but difficult for the church to attain to )
Answer It will happen in the timing of God when we decide to find each other in unity and reconciliation.
John 17:20-21 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
This is a subject neglected by the church. The Evangelical church is prone to schism.
Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore
Ephesians 2:14-18 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
This is the foundation of revealing the purposes of God. The message is reconciliation and unity; to one another as well as to God.
The character of sin is to cause division, schism etc. We need peace with God, with those far off and those near. When we fail to reflect this because of schism, we discredit our message and undermine our testimony.
This is not what Jesus meant on John 17,
"May they also be in us so that the world may believe.."Failure in this matter will stay the hand of God’s blessing on our endeavours. If we do not walk and demonstrate reconciled lives, we stop the clock on God’s purposes.
Remember the warnings in the communion service. God promises to mightily bless those who walk in reconciliation and unity. But we are as yet too carnal – we are always right.
In Jerusalem, the major Christian Zionist organisations are now working together where once there had been deep divisions.
Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Phillipians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.
Paul O’Higgins said, "There is a tension between the narrow road of truth and the broad road of loving all peoples. Most Christians can not hold these two together. They allow truth to dictate acceptance of people, which results in broken relationships and division. To love those who do not think or believe as we do is not to compromise or backslide."
Beware of the "not one of us" syndrome of Mark 9. Avoid competitiveness in the work of God. Consider the values required to bring forth the purposes of God
Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Unity of spirit is a non negotiable basic essential of evangelical faith. Too often we make fellowship revolve around non essentials. How many of us know that belief in Israel is not essential? There are many men of God who are doing wonderful work but just don’t see it about Israel. God calls us to work with them. We must speak to ourselves if we make issues of non-essentials.
Because of our message on Israel we need to be more careful to serve the body of Christ to demonstrate values of reconciliation have taken root in our lives – then they might believe our message.
Unity in diversity ( not sameness – God delights in diversity )
We are not threatened, because no-one can take from me what God has given to me. "People ask, ‘Is it a bad thing that there are so many Feasts?’ No. They are my friends and no-one can take away what ICEJ is there for"
Unity of the faith
About our wonderful saviour Jesus. Work at unity and the challenge we embrace to bring forth the purposes of God.
Phillipians 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Take the life and ministry of Jesus as our example of the mind that should be in us; not concerned with status, dignity etc. Therefore if Christianity means anything it is caring for the interests of others. Christians with this radical commitment will find God’s clock moving in their favour; our message will be credible and empowered, and the world will believe it.
We long to (and so does God) make an impact on Israel, but it can not be fulfilled until we become radically committed to unity….. In your city, in your churches and with fellow believers!
Sadly, too often Christians who understand the biblical significance of Israel are given to being divisive and causing schisms in the church. "I often meet ministers who say, ‘don’t bring me this (Israel) message. I’ve been burned by the Israel people.’"
Even if they are wrong – go and find them and be reconciled. Remember the circumstances in which Jesus said, "Father forgive" As I (Malcolm) have said (not trying to justify himself) "look it may be that I’ve hurt you or you’ve hurt me but I’ve come to ask your forgiveness for the very fact that we are divided is sin. Please brother forgive me."
For the sake of Israel, my dear family, please go and do it with joy" This message shows one of the great strengths of Malcolm Hedding. As the unofficial leader of thousands of Christian Zionists, he is willing to challenge us all to contain our enthusiasm and passion within the constraints of the word of God. This word was a particular challenge to the author in his efforts to spread the Israel message through this web site and challenge the wrong teachings which are prevalent. Is wildolive furthering the Kingdom? Is your stance building up the Church? Or are we causing division?
This message, and all the others from the Feasts, is available for 20 shekels from Resources at www.icej.org.
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