Month 1:29 (Aviv), Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:029 AM|
SHABBAT 1:4, Omer Count Sabbath 2/7
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 2 May 2011
All as an Extension of Prayer Life
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el - Sabbath peace to all the House of Israel!
One of the best pieces of advice ever given by a street preacher, whose name we will probably never know, is, in my opinion this:
In our day and age of religion-by-rote, or Christianity-by-formulas, we need to go to Source before we go to the teachings of men. The great pastor A.W.Tozer once rightly observed:
"If you don't know how to be saved, just call on God".
These words he spoke 63 years ago. Today both new and the older formulas are in circulation, adorning the tracts of evangelical ministries. People have been led to believe that by simply repeating these formulas that they become mystically 'saved'. But was this the way of the New Testament messianic community? Is this how the first missionaries evangelised? As I read Scripture I am struck by a single formula throughout, namely:
"Christian literature, to be accepted and approved by the evangelical leaders of our time, must follow very closely the same train of thought, a kind of 'party line' from which it is scarecely safe to depart. A half-century of this in America has made us smug and content. We imitate each other with slavish devotion and our most strenuous efforts are put forth to try and say the same thing that everyone around us is saying".
In other words, go to Source! And if then He tells you, 'study scriptural passages' or 'go to this preacher', then you will know that in reading or asking you have received the divine imprimatur and the anointing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) so that you may be instructed with a mind and lev (heart) already opened by the Divine and prepared for the spiritual food you will be served. Receiving a Word from Scripture or from teachers can never be anointed in such a way that it will penetrate your spirit until you have first gone to Source! And that is why the Good News - the Gospel - is described as a secret and a mystery - not because of some Úlitist teaching by some ultra hush-hush school of knowledge but because it is of the Ruach (Spirit) and not of the flesh!
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of Elohim (God), who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5, NKJV).
The street preacher whom A.W.Tozer overheard who said that if a soul wanted to know how to be saved, to go to Yahweh, spoke the emet (truth). We are not supposed to be swept up in mindless devotion because of the persuasive, charismatic teaching of another human being but rather we are to swept up off our feet by the Living Elohim (God) who alone can 'prime' our innermost man to cleave to the emet (truth), tavnith (pattern) and authentic ahavah (love) which comes from above. Only when we have made this contact - and not just once, mind you, but daily - can we be assured that everything is properly ordered and our lives fully integrated in the same way as Yah'shua's (Jesus') was when he walked the earth. We are supposed to be imitating him, not as puppets attached to the strings of preachers, but connected to Source. Only then can they know - with a Bible in their hands - only then can they discern whether the preachers are telling the emet (truth) or not. We are not to be captivated by the persuasive words of the orator but by the living Ruach (Spirit) that fills both listener and preacher! And if a preacher is the genuine article, he will tell his listeners to do these things, warning them not to listen on the flesh's waveband.
"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting Elohim (God), for obedience to the faith -- to Elohim (God), alone wise, be glory through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ forever). Amen" (Rom.16:25-27, NKJV).
This counsel becomes all the more imperative in perilous times such as are arising now. One thing I like about Tozer - and I know many of you love his writings - is that he had no formal theological training, just as all the apostles (with the exception of Paul) didn't have before him - and even then, Paul had to unlearn a lot of his formal training. That is not to say that Tozer wasn't studious or that the first apostles weren't either for they were. But like Paul, we must retire to the 'desert' for our training direct from Yahweh Himself before we do our preaching.
The other day I recounted to my family the story of a little church in the American South at the end of the Civil War. It had no preacher, no pastor, no leader. As the congregation petitioned for a pastor, a rough and unlearned young man rose from the congregation and began to preach. His words were recorded by another in that assembly. I have read them. They were not very impressive words. Indeed, the grammar was terrible and there was barely a sentence strung together correctly. Even the message made little sense to me as I tried to decode it. But the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was so strong with that young man that he had the congregation in tears, in deep contrition and repentance, surrendering themselves to the Saviour. Yahweh used that man mightily and turned that congregation around. That's what I mean by going to Source.
Tozer's biographer, James L. Snyder, captures the essence of faith - and of preaching - with this singular observation:
And that should be true of every believer no matter what he or she does in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name, but certainly this must be true of evangelism of any sort, because then everything we do just becomes an extension of Source...as it should be.
"His preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life" (In Pursuit of God: The Life of A.W.Tozer).
Theology doesn't save - it prepares and smooths the track on which the saved must move. Get saved by asking Yahweh to save you in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and then continue being saved as you walk in The Faith!