Unconditional Obedience

Bearing the standard of Scripture means far more than simply recognizing Scripture as the objective, authoritative, written Word of God. It’s even more than knowing what the Scriptures say—more than faithfully turning to the Word for comfort, counsel and inspiration. If it is our true intention to renounce the voices we have allowed to influence us—to no longer live only for ourselves, but to follow Yeshua completely and without compromise—then it’s time to wake up, and totally commit our lives to God’s Word in absolute, unconditional obedience. As disciples of Messiah, there is no higher calling than to serve and obey the One and Only Master, whom we love.

As faithful disciples of Messiah, and humble servants of the God of Israel, our “grand business” before Him is simply to obey. We have neither the prerogative nor the responsibility to determine our own beliefs, establish our own values, or prescribe our own boundaries for behavior. On the contrary, even though the mere thought of being ordered around makes us squirm in our rebellious skin, our job is no more and no less than to just do what we’re told.

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You Are Not Your Own

Do you remember when you first came to Yeshua? Perhaps you were a child at the time, and you were taught to trust God and love Him as a father—a love and trust that followed you into adulthood; a love and trust that you continue to rely upon as a son or daughter of God.

Or perhaps when you first came to Yeshua, you were a teenager or an adult, and you came to Him as your savior and friend. You began to learn over time to increasingly trust Him as your protector and constant companion—a mighty defender, and an approachable, compassionate and caring God.

And certainly, for as long as we follow Him, God is and always will be all these things: our father, our savior, our friend.

But as disciples of Messiah, we must also not forget the price of our discipleship, which means that we are more than just God’s friend, more than just His children, and more than just the goal of His salvation.Indeed, as Messiah’s disciples, He is also our Master, and we, therefore, His slaves. We show our gratitude, then, for God’s fatherhood, friendship and salvation by devoting our lives—and enslaving ourselves—to the Messiah.

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Deny Yourself: The Atoning Command of Yom Kippur

Excerpts from Kevin’s book of the same name.

In Jewish tradition, the phrase “deny yourself” is essentially an instruction to fast—to not eat or drink for the duration of Yom Kippur—such that one denies himself of that which sustains life. This is clearly a vivid and valid interpretation for how one might conduct himself on this most holy day.

However, we also deny ourselves when we abstain from feeding our appetites and refuse to indulge in the lusts of the flesh. For the disciple of Messiah, this is the very heart of the Spirit-led life, as encapsulated in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Ruach, and the desire of the flesh you will not bring to its goal” (mjlt). Read more

4 Reasons Why You Need God’s Word

If you’ve been a reader of mine for any length of time, then you know just how extremely high I hold and regard the Scriptures—the written Word of God. After all, with a name like Perfect Word Ministries, it is our explicit purpose to maintain that the Scriptures are God’s perfect Word, written down by divinely-inspired hands for mankind’s benefit and direction, and that the Scriptures alone are wholly sufficient and supreme in their guidance and wisdom. Indeed, how could I ever not cling to and champion the singular belief that only by bearing the standard of Scripture may we find, fix upon, and follow our Master—the Messiah Yeshua?

So with that in mind, here are four reasons why, above all else, you need God’s Word. Read more

Kick Your Theology in the “But”

“Wow, Kevin! Your teaching on [insert topic here] is spot on! I couldn’t agree more. I had previously been taught to believe something different than what you’re saying; however, your analysis of what the Scriptures actually say is exactly right. There can be no argument from the Word. You are 100% correct that this passage does not say what I have always thought it says—on the contrary, it says something completely different…. Nevertheless—and I’m definitely not saying that you’re wrong—I still believe what I previously believed, and your teaching has not persuaded me otherwise.”

I’m not kidding. In response to a recent teaching of mine, to my surprise, I received multiple replies along these lines. My reader would affirm that while my teaching was accurate in its correction of a long-held and firmly ingrained belief among believers, it didn’t change their mind. Even though I demonstrated the truth from the Scriptures themselves—and my reader recognized that truth—they remained unswayed. In so many words, the response was, “I now see the truth of the Scriptures, but… I will continue to hold on to a false teaching, because I still believe it.” Read more

Does the Devil Really Come to Steal, Kill and Destroy?

Answer this to yourself right now—don’t think too hard about it, just give the first answer that pops into your head: True, or false? The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.

If you said, “true,” it’s probably because you know by heart what the Master says in John 10:10, and what you’ve heard (or taught) a thousand times from the pulpit, “the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Unfortunately, there’s just one tiny, little problem…

That’s not what it says. At all.

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Will You Turn and Walk Away… Or Seek Him with All Your Heart?

Walking in forest

Yeshua, therefore, said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and do not drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves…. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.” …Then many of His disciples, having heard, said, “This word is hard. Who is able to listen to it?” …And from this time, many of His disciples went away backward, and were walking with Him no more. (John 6:53, mjlt)

How well-attended would our congregations be if we eliminated the experience? Or the ritual? What would happen if we took away the “energetic worship,” or the multi-media presentations, or the “relevant” messages that guarantee our encouragement and comfort? This is what my generation—and younger—craves (whether we know it, or admit it, or not), and it is according to these elements that many decide where and with whom we will “worship.” But while older generations may pursue a bit more subdued set of criteria—more traditions, less volume, less technology—where (and whether) we attend services is still about the religious experience. Take that away, and we have no idea what to do with the leftovers—we don’t know how to relate to one another in Messiah, and we don’t know how to make disciples. Read more

For Our Passover Was Sacrificed

nails

This month, all over the world, most Jewish families will be recounting their ancestors’ ancient Exodus from Egypt through the annual tradition of the Passover seder. Sadly, many of them will also fail to hear of the true meaning of God’s salvation and sacrifice.

According to the Torah, it is not only Israel’s responsibility to perform the Passover sacrifice each year, but also parents’ responsibility to explain the purpose of the sacrifice to their children, as captured in the following father/son exchange from Perfect Word Ministries’ Messianic Passover Haggadah, Behold the Lamb.

son: Abba, “what is this ‘avodah [ceremony, rite] you have?” (Exodus 12:26)

abba: It is “a sacrifice of Pesach [Passover] to Adonai, who passed over the houses of the sons of Yis’rael [Israel] in Egypt when He struck down the Egyptians, and our houses He delivered” (Exodus 12:27).

son: Abba, why are we to “take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel over the houses in which we eat it?” (Exodus 12:27)

abba: It is to remember that “the blood has become as a sign for” us—that when Adonai saw “the blood, He passed over” us, “and a plague for destruction was not on us when He struck the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

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Sharing the Messiah in You

forest

forest

And this is the message that we have heard from Him, and announce to you: that God is light, and darkness in Him is not at all. If we say, “We have sharing with Him,” but walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not do the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have sharing one with another, and the blood of Yeshua, His Son, cleanses us from every sin. (1 John 1:5-7, mjlt)

The entire message and purpose of the Good News of Yeshua is predicated on the idea of sharing. God shares Himself with His Son, they share themselves with us (see John 17), and we in turn share the Messiah in us with our fellow man—both believers and unbelievers. But the most important thing we need to take away from John’s exhortation about the sharing is that we as Messiah’s disciples have the power and ability to short-circuit this critical process; “if we walk in the darkness, we lie,” and we block God’s light from ourselves, making us unable to share that light with anyone else.

Our ability to share the light of Messiah, then, is an exact reflection of the quality and character of our daily walk with Yeshua. Read more

Does the Bible Say God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle?

way out escape

compass

Your loved one is lying there, helpless, struggling in pain. In the sterility of the hospital room, you sit by the bedside—praying, seeking God, wanting desperately to offer an encouragement of assurance or a glimmer of hope. As you agonizingly watch the face of your loved one, you suddenly notice the sluggishly opening eyes; and as they fall on you, you sense the inner urging to speak that word of comfort, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is a loving word—a compassionate word—and it is spoken with the best of intentions. But sadly, the endurance of life’s trials are not quite that simple… and unfortunately, that’s not what the Scriptures say. Read more