Shabbat Shalom Y'all :)
I recently had this comment for one of my lovely blog readers and I asked this commenter if I could respond in the way of a 'but...' series post to which they said yes. So that's what I thought I would do this morning.
You can read other posts in the 'but...' series about our faith over >>> there in the sidebar if you like :)
Please remember these are just my thoughts as I search out the Scriptures and desire to know more of the Truth in Yah's Word. I don't pretend to have all the answers (only God does!) but I do want to be like the Bereans who the Scriptures say (in Acts 17:11) "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true".
Ok so here is the comment:
Hi Lusi, I have read lots of your articles on the Torah and followed your blog for quite a while. I have six kids and one on the way and find your blog encouraging and interesting! I have watched the change you have made to following the Torah...and would like to ask you a question. As Christians the most important and central part of our lives is the Gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation...yeh? So if we are comissioned by Yeshua to share this good news...what is this gospel? What do you say it is Lusi? Blessings
Thank you for your question and comments. We have encountered many questions like this and so I thought I would share my heart on this matter of 'the Gospel' and go on a little journey through the Bible with you.
I believe the Bible to be one big book - one story with a central theme running through it.
It tells us of:
1. The living God, who from the very beginning, desired to be in a loving relationship with the people He created
2. people not wanting to walk in the ways that He outlined for them and the consequences for this
3. His desire that people repent and live and the blessings for this
4. His desire that His people live in a way that would be a light to the Gentile (unbelieving) nations around them
5. His gracious and merciful nature to rid us of our sins when we return to Him
6. His provision to send a perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world
7. His plan to reunify His people once again
8. His second coming as reigining King over all the earth
Firstly, the most important part of my life is my relationship with Yah (God); just like it was for Abraham, Moses, David, Hannah, Paul and many others of course along the way.
This is the central part of my life.
I have met many people over the years who love to 'preach the Gospel' but do not have a real living relationship with the God that they are preaching about! I honestly think that is truly sad and we need to have the right order first.
A living relationship with my living Maker is the most crucial aspect of my faith.
I do agree that the Word tells me that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16) and that by this Gospel a righteousness is revealed by God that is by faith. It is very curcial to us all!
So the question is....what is the Gospel and are we preaching the same one as Yeshua (Jesus) did and the believers after Him? And what about believers before Him? What Gospel did they believe in? Hang in here with me while we look at some of the examples and scriptures we have in the Bible.
The Gospel or 'message of Good News' from God Most High has been around from the beginning of time!
It is not a 'New Testament' concept.
Yah's heart has always been and remains that man walks in faithfulness with Him.
Adam and Eve failed at doing this when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and there were consequences for their disobedience. However, even after their betrayl, Yah still used Eve as the 'mother of all the living' (Genesis 1:20) and she still gave birth "with the help of Yehovah" (the LORD) (Genesis 4:2). Even though they disobeyed and their were consequences for their actions, Yah still walked with them and was gracious to allow them to live.
He had already set in motion a plan to redeem the sin of our ancestors Adam and Eve.
He would send One who would bear our sins and take on the punishment we deserved,
"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, and he will appear a sceond time not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:27-28)
He shared this plan with His people and gave them many prophecies and appointed times that foretold His coming. Passover is a great example of this. Paul confirms this for us in 1 Corinthians 5:7 when he calls Yeshua our Passover Lamb!
Yah didn't just want one people group on all the earth to be saved though; no! It was ALWAYS His desire that none perish but have everalsting life (John 3:16). In Ezekiel 18 He talks about the person who turns away from wickedness and walks in Yah's ways that the person who does such a thing will be forgiven.
He decleares, "Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one of you according to his ways. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit" (Ezekiel 18:30)
And He finishes off the message with this beautiful line,
"For I take NO PLEASURE in the death of ANYONE. REPENT AND LIVE!" (Ezekiel 18:32)
"For I take NO PLEASURE in the death of ANYONE. REPENT AND LIVE!" (Ezekiel 18:32)
See how He never wanted anyone to perish? His heart and plan has always been for man to forsake his own wicked way and walk in the ways of Yah that He set out for man's healthy living (the Torah) and that we would live if we would humble ourselves in this way!
Well, you might ask, (as has been asked of me) 'where is the witness-factor' in that?'
Check out Deuteronomy 4:5-9 (the whole chapt of deut 4 is a great read though!)
This is what Yah told ALL His people:
(both those who were native-born of Israel and those who were grafted in - see Numbers 15:15 for more on that)
"See, I have taught you decrees and laws as Yehovah my El (the LORD my God) commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will SHOW your wisdom and understanding to THE NATIONS (those around them that did not believe in nor follow Yah), who will HEAR about all the decrees and SAY, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people". What other nation is so great as to have their gods with them the way Yehovah our Elohim (the LORD your God) is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?"
See here He is saying, If you walk in my ways that I am giving you today, the nations around you will be moved by the way you live! They will see what kind of God I am and what kind of people you are. They will HEAR about me and they will TALK about me! Living according to His way was meant to provoke the nations around us to WANT to KNOW this living God and be in RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!
Israel, the collective name that God uses to describe His people, were supposed to be a "light to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6) and Isaiah 49:6 says, "l will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth".
Did Israel, as a people, do this faithfully? No! They didn't. They forsook Him and His ways and did their own thing. They collectively did not witness to those nations around them by living in a way that Yah had lovingly set out for them.
So God foretold a time when He would "call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one.." (Hosea 2:23)
He says in Romans chapter 9 that Israel did not pursue Him with faith but tried to attain righteousness by their own works. Any works without that central faith in Yah is pointless and does not build faith.
When Yeshua came to earth, He correctly interpreted the law and challenged those whom he called 'blind guides' (Matthew 15:14, Matthew 23:16 + 24) who were teaching people about man's traditions and leading them AWAY from the instructions the Father had given. Yeshua said, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mark 7:8) He was trying to point us all back to walking once again IN FAITH with Yah in a way that produced the fruit of right-living by keeping the commands set out by God.
We also know that Yeshua was not teaching against the law, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have NOT COME TO ABOLISH them but to fulfill them (fulfill here means to fill up to the correct measure). I tell you the truth, until heaven and earh disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will be any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven but whoever practices and teaches these will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19)
Yeshua taught us about the same things that were always taught about in the Scriptures - the same Gospel or Good News preached from the beginning; that God desires to be in fellowship with us and that we can live with Him in a relationship of faith and trust (John 14:1), that we need to repent and return back to the ways of God by loving Him and keeping His commandments (John 14:15 + 20) He told us He would send us the Counselor to help us which is the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26). He once again affirmed that we need to be a light to the nations and "shine your light before men that they would see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
After Yeshua had risen from the dead, what did He say to the believers? "And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself" (Luke 24:27)
This was the Gospel He preached!
He also told them, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46-48)
So we see Yeshua preaching the same Gospel that has been preached for all time.
What about Paul and the believers after Him though?
What Gospel did they preach?
Check out Paul IN ACTION preaching the Gospel in Acts 28:23-24:
"They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day aand came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he EXPLAINED and DECLARED to them THE KINGDOM OF GOD and tried to CONVINCE THEM ABOUT YESHUA from THE LAW OF MOSES and from the PROPHETS".
You see, even after his death, the believers were STILL preaching the message of good news and hope about the Messiah from the same places; the law and the prophets!
What about when Paul is asked to share of his faith before the Governor Felix? How does he speak about his faith and the message he is preaching?
"I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I BELIEVE EVERYTHING that agrees with THE LAW and that is written IN THE PROPHETS, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked"
Stephen, the Martyr that we read about in Acts 7 preaches a mighty version of the Gospel and history of Israel. He is stoned to death because he says of the teachers that they had "recieved LIVING WORDS" (Acts 7:38) which Moses passed on to us from God but that "you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have NOT OBEYED it!" (Acts 7:53).
Stephen wasn't stoned for preaching about Yeshua, he was stoned to death because he challenged the leaders of the day to stop leading people astray from God's ways when they should have been obeying Him and His ways!
What does all this mean for us today?
Well we believe in preaching the same Good News Gospel that Yah has designed from the beginning...we walk in a loving relationship with Him, we live according to His way and when we do that, we are standing out from the crowd which makes people ask, "Why do you do that?" And then we get to share with them about the loving God that we walk with. This has happened to us time and time again since learning about Yah's set apart ways. We haven't needed a programme or a roster to be a part of to do this; it has happened with MANY people from our local video store clerk, to family members from physicians and clinicians to strangers on the street. When we are set-apart for Him and live in a way that He designed, He brings about relationships with others who ask why do you believe that? It's been the most exciting (and challenging!) time of our lives!
So to answer the original question, I hope you can see that we are preaching the same Gospel of Good News that Yah had planned out from the beginning of time, that continued through the ages from Moses to the Prophets and to Yeshua and Paul and beyond.
This is the Gospel we also preach.
This is shared with love and I hope it encourages someone out there.
More to come another time,