Over the last ten or fifteen years, I’ve known scads of people who want to join a Jewish synagogue. I thoroughly believe in gleaning as much as we can from our friends, the Jews. They have preserved the Word for us. But don’t go backward and become one. Jesus came, and they wanted to remain as they were. Growth is mandatory in this—the last, the only, the greatest—move the earth has ever known, this glorious Body we call Christianity. Our future demands risk taking, that is to say, Jesus requires something unheard of—profound love.
I mean, when the Bible speaks of loving your neighbor as yourself, how on earth am I going to be capable of doing that? For instance, I am buying myself a home, the first one I’ve owned in forty years. I recently met a pastor who is living in exile, kicked out of his country. Why? He actually changed the culture. He challenged his congregation to do something to love their neighbor as themselves. He told them that if they owned their own home, but they knew someone who had never been able to do that, then they should help them buy their own home.
“Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart,” (John 4:21 TPT).
Three verses later it says we will worship in Spirit and in truth. We Christians have camped on this scripture, but I think verse 21 is more important to us. True worship comes from our hearts.
The footnote for this scripture says, “The Aramaic word for worship, seged, means “to bow down,” or “to surrender.”
People today rapidly repeat what we call the “Sinner’s Prayer,” and when the people finish that prayer, they are assured they are born again. But are they? Have they surrendered? Where can we find more information about the word “surrender”? Maybe in our own hearts.
Nicodemus means “Conqueror.” A mighty man of valor came to visit Jesus in the dark of the night, wanting to know who He was. Jesus explains the new birth to him, to which Nicodemus is incredulous, naturally so as Nicodemus is a logical man of this world. Notice part of Jesus’ answer to him. I know I have glossed over this sentence for years.
“No one has risen into the heavenly realm except the Son of Man who also exists in heaven,” (John 3:13 TPT).
Here is the footnote for this verse: “Jesus shares a mystery with Nicodemus. While he was on the earth ministering, Jesus was also in heaven in the spirit realm. Being in two places at the same time is also the privilege given to every believer. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm and living our earthly life to please him. . . . Jesus is telling Nicodemus that only those who are seated in the heavenly realm will understand spiritual truths.”
Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to Him at a wedding feast and told Him the host had run out of wine. Mary spoke to Jesus in this way, “‘They have no wine, can’t you do something about it?’ Interpreting Mary’s words for today we could say, ‘Religion has failed, it has run out of wine.’ The traditions of religion cannot gladden the heart, but Jesus can. Moses (the Law) turned water into blood, but Jesus (grace) turned water into wine.” (Footnote p. 19 TPT)
I have watched hundreds, maybe thousands, go to church and do all the stand-ups-sit-downs- sing-this-say-that and equally watched them trudge home just as miserable as when they came in. That isn’t fire. Passion is fire. What does Jesus want to see? He wants His people to be full of joy, laughing out loud, singing, dancing, and the shocking one is shouting! Shouting in church? Can you imagine? He wants our hands in the air in a state of glad surrender. You may clap your hands to keep time with the music but clapping your hands to honor Jesus is a dishonor. He’s not a soccer star! He’s God! Go ahead! Love Him out loud!
I know I’ve written this story before, but it is pertinent now. As a young Christian, two angels swooped down on me, each taking an arm, and flew me across heaven at the speed of sound! They set me down, though I don’t know on what, and before me was a dais with four steps all layered with gold. A man dressed in fire sat on a throne; He held out His arms and said, “Come to Me.” I looked down to see what I would walk on and discovered I was dressed like a three -year-old girl, black patent leather shoes, a little cotton dress with a puffy skirt. That was appropriate as spiritually that’s about how old I was.
I assume you know that after we are born-again, we must grow up spiritually. To grow spiritually we apply ourselves to the Bible and obey what we read there. Reading the Bible is giving nourishment to our spirit and our soul. We need to put faith to our actions. But the best way to grow up spiritually is to be intimate with God.