Negotiating the 'Great Divide'
June 8,1997, rev July 8, 2001

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PREVIEW DALLAS WILLARD The Divine Conspiracy and enter into serious discipleship

1 John 1:1-4 (NIV) {1} That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. {2} The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. {3} We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Yahshua Messiah. {4} We write this to make our joy complete.

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Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery

 

The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.

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The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

The Taming of the Cardinal

Mignon so admired the cardinal family as they came to the feeder for breakfast each morning. "Oh, how wonderful it is to watch the beautiful Red Bird Family; how much better to own one, to pet one, to make friends of one!" On Saturday, the cardinal father got into the house through an open window. Mignon found that the dear bird not such an endearing specimen in person as she endured several pricks from the sharp beast as she worked him back outside. After the sting and thrill of it subsided some, she thought to herself, "I captured him!"


John Touched Yahshua

To John, Yahshua was not as much a spiritual being as he was a flesh and blood human. John knew him, and could vouch for him. Like in the capture of the cardinal, you had to be there to receive the full impact of Yahshua' life. And it was because John knew Yahshua, heard Yahshua, touched him, handled him, laid upon his breast, and was convinced that Yahshua was eternal life in person, that John could proclaim him courageously to us, so that supernatural relationships might develop:

(1) You and I with one another in love;
(2) Then us with John and the other disciples in love;
(3) And finally that we all might be in unity with the Father and the Son -- that we all might be one in love.


Like Mignon captured of Mr. Red Bird, John 'captured' Yahshua personally, and found him worthy to devote to him his life, witness, and sufferings, so that we might know Yahshua as John knew him, and walk in the sinless Light. Nothing in the world could give John greater joy than our believing his message now! And the message is that:

Here is Yahshua' Message: Concerning Sin and Discipleship

1 John 1:5-10 {5} ... Elohim is light; in him there is no darkness at all. {6} If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. {7} But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yahshua, his Son, purifies us from all sin. {8} If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. {10} If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Yahshua' message to you through John is that 'Elohim is Light.' If we claim that we are 'good' people but walk in 'the absence of light' (for that is what darkness is), we try to make Father a liar, but we are the liars. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, we must reflect the light of Father, else we are not what we claim.
His light is his holiness and righteousness; for us, holiness means being in a right relationship with Him, righteousness means doing right for Him.

Iniquity

On the other hand, darkness means sin. What is sin? First, sin is iniquity, which means not being in a right relationship with Father. Iniquity is inner darkness -- the consequence of being born human: it is sin rooted in human nature. The Hebrew word for iniquity means bentness toward. The bentness of iniquity is illustrated in the life of St. Paul:

(Rom 7:15,18-19) I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. {18} I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. {19} For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.

Iniquity is a natural state of sin emanating from within; it is original, generational, hereditary. 'No one is righteous, no, not one.' The wage of iniquity is death. No one can escape the reward for iniquity unless she is both converted and regenerated. You must wholeheartedly ask Elohim for cleansing from all iniquity, and be washed in the blood of Yahshua Messiah. In this way, a sinner is made right with Elohim, and is justified, or found 'not guilty' before the throne of his judgment. Second, you must surrender to the power of Yahshua Messiah completely, and allow Elohim to rebirth you, so that you may become a new creature in Messiah. This is called regeneration or new birth. It is a supernatural work Elohim does with our participation.

John Wesley cites the evidence of our conversion and regeneration:

An immediate and constant fruit whereby we are born of Elohim is power over sin. ... For wheresoever the blood of Messiah is thus applied it 'purges the conscience from dead works.' And over inward sin, it 'purifies the heart' from every unholy desire and temper.

Disobedience

If our hearts are cleansed and our consciences are purged, then we have power to overcome the second evil of sin, which is: "Unloving acts" against Elohim and neighbor. Sin also means not doing Elohim's will, or disobedience. Disobedience comes from being brought up in a world of darkness: itís the consequence of our upbringing in this sinful world. The outcome of disobedience is judgment, condemnation and death. To clean up your unloving acts and become obedient, you need conversion first, then discipleship - training in the disciplines of love, compassion, and judgment.

Discipleship

Walter Henrichsen, who wrote the book on disciple-making (The Disciple-making Pastor) sets out an essential for the true disciple of Yahshua Messiah:

The disciple's goal in life is found in Matthew 6:33: "seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness." This is the call to discipleship. It's is impossible unless we first know Yahshua then put Yahshua first.

Professor R.C. Sproul describes the call to discipleship in these compelling words:

Yahshua knew the Father. His knowledge of Elohim was so deep, so profound that His entire earthly life reflected a single holy passion. Yahshua revealed the Father to us and called us -- to seek first the Kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness. This quest is not casual. The pursuit is not cavalier. We are to be driven by a holy passion.

You see, the disciple's life must reflect what Wesley called "scriptural holiness."

  • The disciple will pay any price to have the will of Elohim fulfilled in his / her life. The Bible doesn't go half-way: It says that people who are ambitious for worldly things are enemies of the cross of Messiah. That's a harsh judgment, but you can't serve Father and mammon; you can't eat at the table of the Messiah one day and the table of demons another.
  • The disciple develops compassion for people. In a cartoon, Charlie Brown said, "I love the world. It's the people I can't stand." Yet, when scripture tells us Yahshua came because his Father so loved the world, it means that Father loves people first. If you don't care for people, Father can give you compassion and joy in service, if you will ask and be diligent to expect the gift -- and try hard.
  • The disciple is learning discipline. It is easy to slide down the slippery slope of sin and slothfulness when it comes to the spiritual disciplines. Wouldn't you rather read a juicy novel than study the Word of Elohim? Wouldn't you rather watch television than pray for your neighbors? Wouldn't it be easier just to go along with the rest instead of taking Elohim's way? But, praise his name, even the most leisurely individual can learn discipline with Elohim's help.
     

In regards to obedience and discipleship, Reformed theologian J. I. Packer wrote years ago about his struggle to pray. His spirit desired constant prayer, but his soul wouldn't pray -- there were too many other, 'more pressing' things to do. So Packer tells us his spirit commanded his soul:

"You will pray. You will get down on your knees and you will submit to my authority." His soul said to his spirit: "No, I will not submit. It hurts my body to kneel, and beside, I'm hungry right now. I'll kneel later." Packer had already slid down that slippery slope to the bottom. He no longer prayed at all. Through shear force of will, his spirit commands his soul, "You will kneel, and you will pray, and you will do it right now, or you will not eat or drink until you do." Packer writes that it was finally through spiritual force that he returned to the habit of prayer. "If you can't pray, force yourself to pray, until prayer becomes your joy."

Indeed, discipleship has an awful lot to do with willfully making a decision and sticking with it!

It is a fearful thing to make a decision to be a converted disciple for Messiah, leave the darkness of sin and walk in the light of His holiness. It calls for risk, and it calls for radical change. For some, like the martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the decision calls for one's life. Bonhoeffer called such a decision 'the Great Divide':

The first step which follows Messiah's call cuts the disciple off from his previous existence. The call to follow at once produces a new situation. To stay in the old situation makes discipleship impossible.

Yes, it is frightening indeed to consider leaving everything we are and know behind to become new creations. But we must 'negotiate the great divide.' And, Hallelujah, "Elohim as light will overcome fear because He alone pushes back every form of darkness." Walking in the light of Father is the only way you as a believer soldier can possibly 'be all you can be' in this lifetime and in the next. Walk in the Light!

Do You Know Him?

{2:1} My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Yahshua Messiah, the Righteous One. {2} He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. {3} We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. {4} The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. {5} But if anyone obeys his word, Elohim's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: {6} Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Yahshua did.

"Whoever claims to know Yahshua must live Yahshua." This is a hard saying!
So many are claiming today to know Yahshua; yet it is evident that so few really do, because they're not living Yahshua - they're not producing the fruits of repentance. Perhaps now, as we have exposed sin and expounded discipleship and self-sacrifice Messiah demands of us, it's time to minutely examine our own lives to see where we stand. Do we walk in the light or trip in the darkness?
Chuck Colson, the ex-Marine captain and Watergate conspirator, was once described as "tough, wily, nasty, and tenaciously loyal to Richard Nixon" by Time Magazine. Colson, a believer, once stood at the crossroads of self-examination -- the crossroads between sin and discipleship. Colson was innocent of some of the charges brought against him. The omission was that he was still guilty of others. He talked about his dilemma at a prayer breakfast one morning:

I told them I was innocent of many of the charges. No one seemed to have noticed my slip. But the words 'many of the charges' throbbed with the pulse of the jet engines flying me back to Washington. Was it a Freudian slip? Or was it Elohim using my voice? 'You are innocent of many, but not of all the charges, Chuck.' My own words had clinched it. My conversion would remain incomplete so long as I was a criminal defendant, tangled in the Watergate quagmire. I had to put the past behind me completely. If it meant going to prison, so be it! Discipleship had all looked so simple once, just getting in tune with Elohim, finding out who Messiah was and believing in Him. But whether I was ready for real discipleship or not, here I was and there was no turning back.

We might be innocent of many of the charges against us, but are we yet guilty of claiming to belong to Yahshua, but still walking in darkness? Do you know Yahshua? Have you seen him, touched him, handled him, spoken with him? Have you given your heart and life to him? Have you been converted -- born anew -- regenerated in his likeness -- justified before his judgment seat?

Invitation

Like Colson, is there no turning back for you? Are you living for him first and foremost? Are your priorities straight? Are the fruits of your life in accordance with his Word? Are you walking and living in the light? And is your life a witness to others? To your family? To your acquaintances? To your co-workers? Are you a true disciple of Yahshua Messiah, following his calling and commandments in love and expectation? Are you driven by a holy passion?
Examine yourselves now. Little children, if you are walking in the darkness of iniquity, you have someone to plead your case -- Yahshua Messiah -- who has paid the price for the forgiveness of your iniquity and for the iniquity of the whole world. He's knocking at your heart's dark door with a flashlight. Won't you turn on your light for him? Won't you open the door, let him fully into your heart and life, touch him, handle him, speak with him, know him, capture him?

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