Month 8:6, Week 1:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year 5935:206 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 1 November 2011
The Gospel According to You
There are five besorah (gospel) accounts in the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament): the Gospel According to Matthew, the Gospel According to Mark, the Gospel According to Luke, the Gospel According to John, and the Gospel According to You. The first four are accounts of the life of Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) and the last is the account of Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) in your own life.
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your levim (hearts), do not boast and lie against the emet (truth). This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in shalom (peace) by those who make shalom (peace)" (James 3:13-18, NKJV).
The Besorah (Gospel) has its greatest impact and therefore witnessing power when it is incarnated in human life. Each believer is supposed to be a living besorah (gospel) which unbelievers can see and either love or hate - either be attracted to or be repulsed by. The believer who makes the greatest impact on a watching world, and who furthers the cause of Messiah, is one whose actions harmonise with the written Davar (Word) of Scripture. In other words, the full revelation of the Besorah (Gospel) only occurs when we become living Bibles ourselves, no matter what our circumstances. In yah'shua (Jesus), the environment does not shape us - we shape the environment by bringing the Kingdom of Yahweh into it.
When the apostle Ya'akov (James) spoke of the "wisdom that is from above", he described it as "first pure (clean, kosher, according to divine tavnith), then peaceable (full of shalom), gentle (not loud, coarse, vulgar, sarcastic, complaining), willing to yield (surrender, submission), full of mercy (forgiveness) and good fruits (works, acts, deeds), without partiality (fleshy favouritism) and without hypocrisy (double-standards)".
Notice that purity is the first order of business. Like a tuning fork struck by the choirmaster to tune the choir into the correct key, so purity sets the tone of everything else that follows. Indeed, what follows is impossible without purity, so if we don't understand what this word means, we will not be the kind of witness or living Besorah (Gospel) that Messiah expects of us.
Purity, in the biblical sense, is obtained only from Heaven but always leads to a response in the form of ethical, moral and spiritual actions. Purity is a state of lev (heart) where there is complete devotion and surrender to Yahweh. As unadulterated mayim (water) is said to be pure, and gold without alloy is pure gold, so the pure lev (heart) is the undivided lev (heart) where there is no conflict of loyalties, no cleavage of interests, no mixture of motives, no hypocrisy, and no insincerity. It is whole-heartedness Elohim-wards. This was the sense in which Yah'shua (Jesus) spoke in the Beattitudes:
King David likewise testified:
"Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous [that is, with chayim-simcha (life-joy) and satisfaction in Elohim's (God's) favour and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace (undeserved loving-kindness, unmerited favour), regardless of their outward conditions) are the lev tahor (pure in heart), for they shall see Elohim (God)" (Matt.5:8, NKJV, Amp.V & OJB).
The reward of the undivided lev (heart) is the vision of Elohim (God). No vision of the true Elohim (God) can come to the lev (heart) that is unclean, that does not walk in Torah-Tavnith (pattern), because it is out of harmony with the nature and character of Yahweh. In the further teaching of Yah'shua (Jesus), He emphasises that the state of defilement, and also of purity, begins with the inner man.
"Who may ascend into the hill of Yahweh? Or who may stand in His set-apart (holy) place? He who has clean hands and a pure lev (heart), who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully" (Ps.24:3-4, NKJV).
Purity in this sense may be said to be a state of lev (heart) reserved completely for Yahweh-Elohim, His Torah and His tavnith and is freed from all worldly distractions.
"When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, 'Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!' When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, 'Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his lev (heart) but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?' And He said, 'What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the lev (heart) of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man'" (Mark 7:14-23, NKJV).
In the specialised sense, purity came to mean freedom from sensual pollution, particularly in the sexual life, though the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) do not teach that sexual activity is polluting in itself. Sexual activity in tavnith (pattern), that is, within the marriage covenant and according to the proper toqefim (authorities) and rôles assigned by the Creator in Torah, may be said to be rightly ordered sexual behaviour and therefore pure, sanctified (blessed) and kosher:
Thus a lev (heart) properly submitted to Yahweh, whether in the sexual sphere or any other, also requires that the physical body be treated as the temple (mishkan, tabernacle) of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (1 Cor.6:19ff.). The body is sacred, a place of worship, not a place to indulge the fleshy or carnal nature which, being demonic, always seeks to break tavnith (pattern) and turn the body into an instrument of immorality. To thus treat the body in this set-apart (holy) manner demands self-restraint and self-denial even to the extent of personal loss. Purity is thus also the spirit of renunciation of sin and unkosher pleasures. Purity then becomes the kind of Torah-obedience that brings every thought, feeling and action into subjection to Messiah. It begins within and extends outwards, just as the Kingdom does, cleansing all the centres of living and controlling all the movements of body and spirit.
"Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers Elohim (God) will judge" (Heb.13:3-4, NKJV).
All those things we recognise as being tov (good) flow naturally out of purity so that no pretense ever need be made, no mask of false piety ever worn. From purity flow, unhindered, and without need of natural effort, peaceableness, gentleness, surrenderedness, mercy, and good fruits without partiality or hypocrisy. Then the Besorah (Gospel) is incarnated us, then it is alive, then it is truly witnessing of Messiah.
"You're writing a 'gospel', a chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do, by the words that you say;
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true -
Say, what is the 'gospel' according to you?" (Gilbert)
 Richard de Haan, Speak and Do in Our Daily Bread (RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI: Sept-Nov 2005), Nov 16