A SURE COVENANT

Chapter 2: The Family
Date: March 17th 2001

irst of all, in talking about Church Membership, we need to talk about Family. What it's all about is family, and when we talk about family we think of the heavenly family and we think of the earthly family. And there's so much that we could say about family, we could have a seminar just on that alone. But what we want to do today is open our Bibles I hope you brought your Bibles, and I hope you're fast at finding Scriptures, because I'm going to read them as fast as I find them, and if you can't find them as fast as I'm finding them, you may want to take notes, go back over this. There will be tapes available for any that want to review this program, if you want to go back over it again. So we'll call this Church Membership part 2, and this is about "The Family."

The spiritual family. Let's start with John 1:12,13: "But as many as received Him [that is, the Christ], to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." We're reading from the King James Version, as our tradition is here. This is speaking of the heavenly family that resides on earth. There is a heavenly family that resides in heaven, and there is a heavenly family that resides on earth.

We want to go further. Let's go to 2Corinthians 6:14-18, and perhaps into the first verse of chapter 7: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord [or agreement] hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [or unbeliever]? And what agreement hath the temple of Yah with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as Yah hath said, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their [Father], and they shall be my people [or my family]. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,' saith Yah, 'and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,' saith Yah the Almighty One." And continuing on to verse 7:1, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from [how much?] all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of Yah."

"Perfecting holiness in the fear of Yah."

Since we have the great blessing of being a part of the heavenly family residing on earth, let us perfect holiness in the fear of Yah. There are some conditions that He gives here in this passage, to being part of that heavenly family. He says, "I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters if " If what? "If you agree with me concerning the separation." You must be separate from the unholy family. You cannot stay in the unholy family and be part of the holy family.

There was a war in Heaven, and Lucifer and his angels fought, and Michael and His angels fought. There was no agreement between the two anymore. They could not reside together anymore. Holiness and rebellion, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, cannot live together. It won't even work on planet earth; much less will it work in the heavenly realm. But we're speaking here of the heavenly family, especially the heavenly family that is residing on earth.

Let's go to 1John 3:1: "Behold [or 'Take notice'], what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of Yah: therefore the world knoweth [or recognizes] us not, because it knew [or recognized] Him not." When Yahshua the Messiah, or Jesus the Christ, came to this planet, did everybody just run up to Him and say, "Oh, the Messiah! We're so glad you came!"? Did the religious leaders of that day say, "This is verily the Messiah, He has come to deliver us! Let us worship Him."? How many did that? They didn't recognize Him; they didn't know Him. He did wonderful works. He healed the sick; He raised the dead. He brought families back together, He worked miracles, He fed the multitudes, and the religious leaders of His own church called Him Satanic, called Him Ba'alzebub. They didn't recognize Him.

How much more will they fail to recognize us, who are the sons of God? They call us of Satan many times. I have been called a Ba'alzebub more than once. But we shall not allow that to bother us, because our elder Brother experienced this very thing before. So behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons and daughters of God. It thrills me. Sometimes my skin gets "Holy Ghost pimples" on it when I think of that blessing, to be referred to as sons and daughters of the Most High. A member of the family of Heaven, yet residing on the earth.

Let's go to Romans 8:14-16: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage [or slavery] again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, 'Abba, Father.' [or 'Daddy, Daddy'] The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

You see, the Heavenly Family is led by the Spirit of Yah. That leaves out the flesh, doesn't it? If you're led by the flesh, how can you be led by the Spirit? For the Spirit and the flesh war one with another. The sons and daughters of Yah are led by the Spirit, and the Spirit Itself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of Yah. And we cry, "Daddy, Daddy. Oh, my Papa." Our Heavenly Father is to be as our Daddy, that we might run to Him in time of need, that we might receive every good gift, for what daddy is there that would give his children anything but good gifts?

We've spoken about that heavenly family residing on earth. Let's go a little further in this understanding, but let's take it now a little deeper, speaking of the heavenly family residing on earth, but yet being an earthly family. There is an "earthly" aspect to this family as well. We have the earthly family that has been made partakers of the heavenly family, those of us that are born again (for you must be born again to be a part of the Heavenly Family); the Church family results from that. We're going to talk about the earthly Church family now, for a few minutes, and then you will see what I mean.

1Corinthians 1:12. I'm going to start with verse 11: "For it hath been declared [or told] unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions [or quarrels] among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, 'I am of Paul;' and 'I of Apollos;' and 'I of Cephas [or Peter];' and 'I of Christ.'" Reading on, verse 13: "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"

The apostle Paul has received a report here of these contentions and quarrels among the family members of the Church about who has which father. Let's go a little further in this and you'll understand fully what I'm talking about. Let's go to 1Corinthians 3 and read verses 1 through 23, and this is a long read, bear with me; the whole chapter, chapter 3:

"And I, brethren, [Paul is speaking here] could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat [or the solid food]: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it [or understand it], neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, 'I am of Paul;' and another, 'I am of Apollos;' are ye not carnal?

"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?" You see, what Paul is saying is, "We were just ministers that brought you into the faith."

Verse 6: "I have planted, Apollos watered; but Yah gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but Yah that giveth the increase. [That's the important thing.] Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one:" Get this: "He that planteth and he that watereth are one." He is saying Paul and Apollos are one; that's unity.

"And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with Yah:" Get this unity, now. I want you to get a picture the picture of union here. "we are labourers together with Yah: ye are Yah's husbandry, ye are Yah's building.

"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation..."

Now, you're going to think you're going to be tempted to think that Paul's a little arrogant. But Paul is speaking under the unction, he's either writing or having his scribe write this letter, under the unction of the Holy Spirit. These are inspired words, now... It sounds like the apostle Paul is bragging by saying, "I am a masterbuilder. I have laid the foundation."

"...and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." That's the only foundation there can be. Any other foundation would not be a true foundation.

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest..." Or shown for what it really is. In other words, Paul is saying, "I have laid the foundation. If Apollos builds on that foundation with gold and silver and precious stones, it'll be proven. If he builds with wood, hay and stubble it will also be proven. Now get this: he's talking about the quality of the converts. There will be different qualities of converts, and Satan will sow seeds, won't he? He'll sow some tares among the wheat, Yahshua already warned us about that.

Let's go on:
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it [that is, Judgment day], because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." Will fire burn up gold? No, it purifies gold. Will fire burn up hay and stubble? Yes, it will. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God [by building with wood, hay or stubble] him shall Yah destroy..." With the fire; you see how it fits in context here? Many of us might want to use these Scriptures out of context, and we can take some prophetic license with the principles in some cases there are examples of that in Scripture. But taking this thing right in context here, he's talking about our work for the salvation of souls. If a man is not built in the temple of Yah in holiness, he will be destroyed. Remember what Yah said in Corinthians, 2Corinthians 6. What did He say? "If you will come to me, separate from that uncleanness, separate from that darkness; if you will come unto me I will be your Father and you will be my sons and daughters." But don't defile the temple by an insincere conversion, or you will be destroyed, "for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

Continuing: "Let no man deceive himself..." and this is where we have to be very, very careful. Lucifer deceived himself, remember? The fallen archangel... he deceived himself. "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with Yah. For it is written, 'He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.' And again, 'Yah knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain [or empty].'

Next verse: "Therefore let no man glory in men." Okay, there are two ways of looking at this sentence. Let no man glory in the man that brought you to the message. Don't say, "Well, pastor Chick brought me to the message," or "pastor X brought me to the message," or pastor Y or pastor Z brought me to the message. Don't glory in that. And, by the same token, pastor Chick does not glory in saying, "I brought a hundred to the message. I saved a hundred souls in that evangelistic series." We are not to glory in our fruits, nor are we to glory in those that bring us to Christ - those are the two ways to apply that sentence. We are to glory in Christ, and Christ alone!

And I think he says that here: "For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ [belongs to Yah]."

We are secure; we are secure in Yah. We don't have to argue about who is the better pastor. Or we don't have to argue about who brought the most souls in. You know, a lot of Christians think that evangelists that bring thousands in, you know they have a crusade and they bring thousands in, are "good" evangelists; and all of a sudden they almost get worshipped, because they brought thousands in through their crusade. Paul says don't glory in these things. He says every man's work shall be made manifest. We don't know if those thousands that came in were sincere or not... We don't know if that's gold or silver or precious stones, or wood, hay or stubble. It says, "In that day," it will be proven by fire. But Paul says we are the temple of Yah, and do not defile that temple.

Let's move on, and catch a little bit more of the flavor of this, in chapter 4 just across the page. Chapter 4:14-17. Now, we could read chapter 4 up to this point, but what he's basically doing is giving some reproof a little bit. Of course, Paul is good to do this, but in verse 14 he takes it up and he says: "I write not these things to shame you..." He knew that they would probably feel like he was shaming them a little. "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you." Now wait a minute, here's family coming in. He's warning these Corinthians as his sons. Now they're sons of Yah, they're sons of God, let's don't get this mistaken. We have a heavenly connection but we have an "earthly" connection too in this family. Look at it, verse 15, reading through 17: "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Yahshua I have begotten you through the Gospel."

Wait a minute, now. Paul says we're not supposed to glory in this thing; now he's turned around and he says, "I'm your father. I begat you in the Gospel. You might have a thousand, you might have ten thousand instructors, or Sabbath school teachers, but you don't have but one father." Sounds like he's bragging a little bit again now, doesn't he? But there's a reason for this. He's trying to set up the proper respect in the family. "Wherefore I beseech [beg of] you, be ye followers of me." Whoa, Paul - we have to be careful with this. In another place he expands on the thought, saying, "Be ye followers of me as I follow Christ." Verse 17: "For this cause [or because of this] have I sent unto you Timotheus." Now that's little Timothy. Remember, Paul wrote 1 and 2nd Timothy to Brother Timothy. He says, "...have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in Yah, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church."

Do you think Paul had a little authority? Paul knew it, didn't he? Paul had authority and he knew it. And where was his authority coming from? His authority was coming right from the throne of Heaven. Paul is claiming to be their spiritual father. I wonder if that's where we got the notion of "godfather?" You know... someone's godfather or something. The "Godfather" concept would be a perversion of that, probably. Even in the Roman Catholic church, what do they call the priests? Father. There's another perversion of it.

What I'm setting up for you here is the understanding that in the Church it is a heavenly family on earth, and there is an earthly family whose members' hearts are as one. There is organization and familial authority. You don't see one going here, and one going there, and one saying, "I'm going to do this," and another saying, "I'm going to do that," without any respect for the family. There are going to be those that have authority in the family. Whoever brought you to Christ, whoever helped you to be begotten in Christ, that would be your spiritual father; and you should give them respect - honor your father. You should give them that respect, and they should respect you as a son or daughter, and give you good counsel and advice.

Let's just show how Paul refers to Timothy first, and then Titus. Let's go to 1Timothy 1:2 just real quickly. 1Timothy chapter 1 verse 2, Paul's writing to Timothy, he says: "Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith:," and then in 2Timothy he does a similar thing. In 2Timothy 1:2, he says, "To Timothy, my dearly beloved son..." Now get this, there was no blood connection here. It was his son in the faith. He brought him into the faith. He says, "I begat him by the Gospel." Titus 1:4: "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith."

In Philippians 2:19, 22: "But I trust in the Lord Yahshua to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. But ye know the proof of him [that is, Timotheus], that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel." He's describing his relationship to Timothy as a son working with his father. And that's how he served Paul in the Gospel work. So the Church family is literally a family. You have fathers, you have brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, spiritually speaking. And you are to have that same respect in this family, in the Church on earth, as you have in the Church in Heaven.

Philippians 2:25 is another example of brotherhood: "Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants." He calls his fellow worker his brother. Recently we've come to the light that it's respectful to call each other brother: brother Ed, brother Keith, brother Anthony... etc. etc.

It's a respectful endearment. 1Thessalonians 2:10... so we have a spiritual family. 1Thessalonians 2:10 (I know some of you are getting hungry already, and we're just barely getting started). 1Thessalonians 2:10 and 11 (We're getting fed here, though): "Ye are witnesses, and Yah also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted [or urged] and comforted and charged [or directed] every one of you, as a father doth his children." Here Paul is talking like a father to his children in Thessalonica. And he sounds a little arrogant again, doesn't he? He says, "You have witnessed how holy we were, how just we were, and how blameless we were in the way we behaved there." Can you imagine? Can you imagine me going on a trip, and writing you a letter saying, "Brother Ed, you were a witness of how holy I was, and how blameless I was in my in my behavior there at the Church!"

People don't like to hear those kinds of words today, do they? Because... why? Most everybody thinks everybody's just a bunch of losers. It's almost impossible for them to get the concept that we CAN behave in a holy and blameless manner. We really can, and that's a shock to many people. And what's an even greater shock is that a person can know they're doing it! People tell me, "Well, if they're holy they wouldn't know it." I tell you what, I can see and I can hear, and I can pretty well conceive how I'm moving my body generally speaking; and if I come into your house and act a fool, or if I come into your house and act like a mature, 55 year old man, I can know the difference. I still have that much brain left. I can tell the difference.

Now, if I can't, please let me know! See, be a good family member and help me. If I am acting a fool, please straighten me out. See, that's where that is. Family does that for each other. Family loves each other enough to say, "Sister, there's a little... just a little dirt right there on your cheek." We don't condemn anybody, we just help them clean the dirt off, and they're fine again. A spiritual family - we love each other.

Matthew 12. We're going to find out the Savior's attitude about this because, after all, the Savior's attitude is the one that really counts in the big picture. Matthew 12:46-50: "While [Yahshua] yet talked to the people, behold [or take notice], His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him. Then one said unto Him, 'Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.'" Now here's a very, very unusual response: "But [Yahshua] answered and said unto him that told Him, 'Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?' And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, 'Behold [take notice of] my mother and my brethren!'" Do you see what He's doing here, do you get the picture? He's pointing out His family. No, He's not disgracing His blood mother, He's not disgracing His blood brothers, but He's exalting His spiritual family. "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

You see, Yahshua's attitude is, "You are my relative, you are my family, as long as you're doing the will of my Father in Heaven." There's a "but" to that, there's a flip side to that coin: "But if you're not doing the will of my Father in Heaven, you're not my true relative." And we're going to prove that in another Scripture. He's going to say it outright in another place, in Matthew 7; we'll come to it near the end of the study.

Now, I don't know if any of this is new to you; some of you might be thinking, "Oh, this is old hat. We've been through this ever since I've been in the Church." But if it's new, let it be a blessing; if it's old let it be a blessing because, we can't hear these things too much. Unity in the family of God is something we need in this generation. Amen.

Hebrews 2:11 sort of puts a capstone on that. Hebrews 2:11: "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." There's the unity, now the Sanctifier and the sanctified are one, "for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." In other words, Christ calls us His brethren. We are His brothers, He is our elder Brother.

Now let's move on. We have finished part 1 of the Spiritual Family; now we have to go a little further and look at spiritual Israel. And this one may challenge your thinking a little bit. Get on your spiritual eyeglasses, and stay awake for this part of it because it's going to finish here in a little while. I want you to get this right now: spiritual Israel.

Who is Israel? The Bible tells us. Galatians 3:26-29: "For ye are all the children of Yah by faith in the Messiah Yahshua. For as many of you as have been baptized into the Messiah have put on the Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Yahshua. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Who is that? If you're in Christ, you are spiritual Israel. You are heirs of the promise to Abraham. Yah said to Abraham, "You're going to be the father of many nations." {Genesis 17:4}

We are brought right in and grafted right into that promise as Israel, spiritual Israel. We used to be Gentiles, but in Christ we are heirs according to the promise. Now, we have to go a step further, in Romans 9. Now, we're not going to go through this with a fine-toothed comb. A lot of our brethren who are going to be listening and reading may wish that I would do so, but we'll let some of our other theologians and pastors do that, if they wish. I just wanted to give you sort of a nutshell, a thumbnail sketch.

Romans 9:4-8, let's read it. Paul here is speaking of literal Hebrews, his "kinsmen according to the flesh": "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, Yah blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Oh, what about that statement? They are not all Israel that are of Israel. That's a tongue-twister. What that means is this: those of blood Israel, those that are Abraham's seed by blood, are not all Israel in the faith, you see. It is Israel in the faith that really counts, because in Christ ye are Abraham's seed. So let's continue: "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Yah." See, the children of the flesh are not the children of Yah, "but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."

So that's who Israel is today. We call it Spiritual Israel it has the Holy Spirit. Now let's go further, Romans 11:1-5: "I say then, Hath Yah cast away His people?" Are you saying, preacher, that the nation of Israel has just "had it?" That they're finished, that they have no hope? They're all going to hell or something like that? No: "God forbid," Paul says, "For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." Now Paul goes back to the bloodline again. He's coming back to the bloodline, he says the bloodline can still be a part of this, but it's not just because of the bloodline, or the genealogy after the flesh, {see 1Timothy 1:4} it's the faith-line.

Let's go to verse 2, we're reading through verse 5: "Yah hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not [do you not know] what the scripture saith of Elias [or Eli-Yah]? How he maketh intercession to Yah against Israel, saying, 'Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.' But what saith the answer of Yah unto him? 'I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Ba'al.' Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant [or last part] according to the election of grace." Hallelu-Yah.

For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Yah. Not of bloodline, not of works lest any man should boast. Hallelu-Yah. Let's skip over to verse 13: "For I speak to you Gentiles [now, he's going to speak to the Gentiles], inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office [or I glorify my ministry]: If by any means I may provoke to emulation [jealousy] them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them [the rejection of blood Israel] be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?"

Can you not understand this? You see, if blood Israel was cast off because of their lack of faith, how much more glorious will it be if they come back to the faith and get raised from the dead? "For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy..."Who's the firstfruit? Christ. Christ is the Firstfruit, so if He is holy, everybody else that comes into Him will be holy: "and if the root be holy, so are the branches." Now he's going to talk about the tree here. We're in verse 17, we're headed for 27.

"And if some of the branches be broken off [that is, some of the bloodline Israel], and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." In other words, how can the branch of a tree boast? The branch of the tree gets its nourishment from where? The root. Christ is the Root; what have we got to boast about? Anything? If I do one thing holy, can I boast? No. I can't boast about a thing, because whatever comes out of me that's holy is coming from Christ. He's the Holy One of Israel. And if I'm grafted into Christ as a branch, then I'm going to be holy because it says if the root is holy the branch will be holy. It all makes sense there's nothing about this that's confusing except maybe the Old English for some people.

Verse 19: "Thou wilt say then, 'The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.'" Oh, the Gentiles can't say that; we can't say that Israel got rejected so that we could be accepted. No, that's not true. 20: "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear." Have respect. Are you following me? "For if God spared not the natural branches [now that's Israel, the bloodline of Israel], take heed lest He also spare not thee." In other words, take heed of your own selves, don't be boastful, don't be bragging. Be sure you're grafted in; be sure you're getting that holy sap from the root because every tree is known by the fruit. And if you've got lousy fruit on your branch you're not connected to the true vine, you're not connected to the true root. You're deceiving yourself, and Paul warned you about that, he said, "Let no man deceive himself." I'll start preaching here in a minute!

Verse 22: "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Yah..." There's a spectrum here, here's a spectrum: there's a goodness and severity. Be not deceived, our Father is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. If he reaps of the flesh he reaps destruction and corruption, if He reaps of the Spirit he reaps life everlasting. "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Yah: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee [the Gentiles], goodness, if thou continue in His goodness " There's a condition, now. Don't overlook the conditions, are you with me? Don't overlook the conditions: If you continue in the goodness: "otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for Yah is able to graff them in again." Hallelu-Yah. God is able to bring those Israelites back to the olive tree, and put the branches back into the root again! Hallelu-Yah, He can do it. He can save the vilest sinner.

Verse 24: "For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits [or proud ideas]; that blindness [or hardness] in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so..." Listen to this conclusion in verse 26: "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, 'There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [who is the Deliverer but Yahshua the Messiah?], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall [do what?] take away their sins.'"

They shall call His name Yahshua. Why? Why did the angel tell Mary to call His name Yahshua? Because He will do what? He will take away His peoples' sins. What does Yahshua mean? The word "Yahshua?" His name on earth was Yah-shua. That means Yah: the name of our Father, and Shua: Savior. Yah-is-our-Savior. He will save us from our sins. Is that good news? Is that not good news? We don't have to be wrapped up in our guilt; we don't have to be wrapped up in our sins anymore! Because we've been freed at the Cross of Calvary. Hallelu-Yah! Can I stand up and preach? I'll just sit down. There ought to be somebody raising holy hands in this room, because Christ paid the debt that we could not pay. And if He could graft us in, who are unnatural branches, He can graft the bloodline back in too by faith. As individuals, not as a nation, but as individuals one at a time one at a time, saving souls.

None are any better than the other, because Paul says the Root is what's holy. And when the Root is holy, and you're grafted into that Tree, you must be holy! It's just common sense.

We're almost finished (I don't know if that's good news or bad news). Israel means "Overcomer." You will remember Jacob had a name change when he was truly converted. Jacob meant "Supplanter," but Israel means "Overcomer." Now let's look at it. What does Overcomer mean, by the way? Overcomer means "Victorious over sin." Look at Matthew 7:21, we'll read some of the Savior's words here: "Not every one that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord...'" Now some of you may want to substitute Yah, or Yahweh; some might want to say Master, some might want to say Yahshua, some might want to say Jesus, it doesn't matter what you say what you call Him, not everyone that says unto Him "'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Does that remind you of something we read a while ago in Matthew 12, 46 through 50? Where Yahshua said, "My family are those who do the will of my Father?" He says, "Those who don't do the will of my Father will not go to heaven." Did I read it wrong? He says, "Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? [verse 22] And in thy name done many wonderful works?'" Oh, works that was the problem. "And then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you [you are not part of my family, I never knew you]: depart from me, ye that work [what?] iniquity.'" What is iniquity? Sin. If you remain a sinner, you're not saved.

When you're saved, you get saved from sin. Shall we sin because of grace? Paul says, "God forbid!" {Romans 6:1,2} How can you sin, when you're saved by grace? Hallelu-Yah.

Let's go, now just a little bit more. 1John 3:9, 10. This one causes more preachers problems than probably any other Scripture in all of the Bible. And you know, it used to cause me a big problem too, until I came to understand what the family of Christ was all about, when I found the power of His might, when I found the power of His Holy Spirit. It doesn't cause me trouble anymore. 1John 3:9,10: "Whosoever is born of Yah doth not commit sin." I'm going to stop there just a moment; some of your newer translations will say, "Whosoever is born of Yah does not practice committing sin." Do you know why they changed that, weakening the original and accurate statement? Because they can't quit sinning. The theologians, that wrote these new translations, don't know what it is to cease from sin. But in the King James look it up in your Strong's Concordance if you don't believe me the word for "commit" there is one act {Gk: hamartia ou poieo - "performs no sin"}. One act, a single act. Now you say, "Oh, preacher, you're legalistic." No, I'm not; do you know that if your heart is changed... let me give an example.

Can you take a sledgehammer and go up to the maternity ward there in Lawrenceburg and start crushing little babies' heads? Can you do that? Can you take a sledgehammer up to the maternity ward and start whaling on those newborn babies? How many in this room can go do that? I don't see any hands. You cannot do it! Oh, it's possible. It's physically possible. You can lift the sledgehammer, you can go to the maternity room, and you can drop the hammer on their heads that's perfectly possible. But your heart is not in it; you cannot bear to do it. That's the attitude of the family of Yah; we cannot bear to commit sin, because we've been saved from the corruption, and the darkness, of sin. We've been burnt; we have been burnt, we have been burnt by the terrible poison of sin. We've been burnt like on a stove; like if you touch the iron of a stove, you've been burnt and you don't want to touch it again.

That's the way our experience has been with sin. We don't want it anymore, and we would rather die than get involved in it again. So, continuing on: "Whosoever is born of Yah doth not commit sin; for His Seed [Christ] remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of Yah. In this [in this concept] the children of Yah are manifest [or made known], and the children of the devil [are made known]: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of Yah, neither he that loveth not his brother." There's family. Love is the key to all of this. You cannot be saved without falling in love with Yah our Father and His Son Yahshua. You cannot be saved unless you have love in your heart. And if you are saved, you have the love of God in your heart. And you will love God, you will love your fellow man, you will love your enemy.

Because God is love.

Okay. Revelation; let's look at a few promises, now. Christ gives us some promises for the overcomer, for Israel, for spiritual Israel. The Messiah gave us some last-day promises, and I want to read them to you. Revelation 2:7, I'm going to go through these very quickly, because I perceive that we're getting short on time. Any time a preacher goes over one hour, he starts to lose somebody. I notice the young people are still wide-awake, so it must have been interesting at least to a point, huh?

Okay, Revelation 2:7: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of Yah." Okay, Israel will eat of the Tree of Life. Verse 11, same chapter: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." He shall not be hurt of the second death; so Israel shall eat of the tree of life, and not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:17: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the [white] stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." And we will go more into this Scripture next week as we study more about the stone. But this is a promise to Israel, to them that overcome. And then we go to verses 26-28 of the same chapter: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end [see, unto the end continue to the end], to him will I give power over the nations: And he [that one who overcomes] shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to [small pieces]: even as I received of my Father. And [verse 28] I will give him the morning star." Interesting study - we need to do a study on the "Morning Star" sometime.

Revelation 3:5: "He that overcometh [to Israel, He says], the same shall be clothed in white raiment [the wedding garment]; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life..." Did you know that some names will be blotted out of the Book of Life? Some names will be blotted out of the Book of Life because they did not continue to the end. He says, He that overcomes will I not blot out of the Book of Life, "but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels."

Verse 12 of the same chapter, one of my favorite verses of all the Scripture: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God [which is YAH], and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." Three things will be written on Israel: the name of the Father, the name of the Son, and the name of their new city, the New Jerusalem. See, our citizenship is not on earth, our citizenship is in Heaven. The Bible tells us that, and we will get to physically go there, and be there, and they that overcome will have that written on them - it will be their passport. In fact, let me give you just a preview of next week's lesson:

Church Membership is the "passport" into the city. And I will prove it to you next week. Now, Church membership doesn't save you you must be connected to Christ, that's the only salvation - to be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ is your only salvation; but when you are saved, there is required Church membership. And that Church membership we will go into more next week. We're setting the stage for it this week, talking about family. Verse 21, Revelation 3:21: "To him that overcometh [to Israel] will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne."

Did you know that we are to replace the angels that fell from Heaven? Lucifer took with him a third of the heavenly Host, and Yah will replace the ones that fell with redeemed saints from this earth. Hallelu-Yah, they will rule with Christ on the Throne.

So, to finish up let's go to 1Corinthians 12... this has been a long one, but it's been an exciting one. And next week, you don't want to miss it (unless there's more to share before we can share that I'll find out this week), but please don't miss next week! 1Corinthians 12:12-14: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."

And in Romans 12 we continue. Romans 12, we continue with verses 4 and 5: "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Get that one? Members one of another. You cannot say, "I'm in Christ, but I'm not a part of you." Be careful, you will sever yourself from the true Vine. Paul says we are members one of another. No man is an island. When the finger hurts, the toe hurts. Have you ever stubbed your toe? I've stubbed mine many times, and you know it nauseates me. Makes my stomach sick, makes my head hurt... if the body is hurting, it hurts the whole body. We're members, one of another. Think of it in terms of unity. Christ is our unity. We are one in Christ, one Body. And this is the final verse, we close with this one... well, no we don't we go to one before this one.

John... I just thought of this one, we can't leave it out. John 17, I call it the true Lord's prayer. Read this chapter very carefully some time and you will gain a great knowledge. John 17:22,23... well actually let's start with verse 17: "Sanctify them through thy truth [He's praying to His Father]: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them [my disciples] into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;" in other words, through their children, through their offspring, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." It's an important thing; our unity proves to the world that the Father sent His only begotten Son. Verse 22: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

Oh, what a beautiful passage. Now we finish up with John 13. John chapter 13 verses 34 and 35. This is the test right here. If you weren't paying attention to any other part of this message, wake up for this line. This is the bottom line; Christ here in John 13:34,35 our Savior says this, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you." How much did He love you? How much did Yahshua love you? He left the glories of Heaven, He left the easy life, He left being commander-in-chief of the Heavenly Host. He left being the only begotten Son of the Father... for you, and me. He says, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; [like] I have loved you... that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know..." Oh, what a wonderful promise! What a wonderful blessing all men are going to know: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if [condition] ye have love one to another."

Church Membership is it important? Is it Biblical? We should know by now; next week you'll know for sure. I hope you'll come back.

Let us pray.

Our Father in Heaven, we thank you that we have a perfect record before us. We thank you that we have your Word upon which we can rely. You sent your only begotten Son into this world to show us what the family in heaven is like. And He sacrificed His life to save the human family on earth, that we might have an opportunity to live with you forever in Heaven, with all of our brothers and sisters that do the will of our Father.

Oh, Father, you have given us the commandment to love one another. Thank you that we can do that now, because we have been grafted into the olive tree; the root is holy and so are the branches. Thank you for the gift of love. You have told us that you have shed your love abroad in our hearts; we thank you for that gift.

We ask you to dismiss us from this holy place with that love until next Sabbath. We praise your holy name in the name of Yahshua your Son. Amen.

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