The Seminary of Sanctity

As I thought, I also considered the Biblical concept of our "growing in grace," "sanctification," "going on to perfection."  All these phrases mean about the same thing – a steady progression from the time we surrender to Yahshua and are born again until the time we "see the light at the end of the tunnel" and are perfected and completed.  Perfection in this case doesn’t mean going to heaven; but getting there – achieving the sense of completing of our lives’ course of study. 

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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?

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Matthew 5:48 “You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Graduation Remembered 

   Let me recount the Emory University Graduation on Monday, May 9, 1994.  I remember it because I was there.  Graduating!  That year Emory consisted of 9 colleges with 2700 graduates in robes and gowns along with families and friends, many of whom were bussed in and let off as close to the graduating platform as possible.  Graduates were lining up in the streets almost like a Memorial Day parade. 

   Among those graduating with honorary doctoral degrees were James Laney, past president of the University, who had just become the ambassador to S. Korea under President Clinton and Van Cliburn, the boy prodigy who won the Tchaikovsky piano competition in Moscow in 1958.  Each college’s graduates stood in turn – the school of medicine, dentistry, theology and all the others.  Those receiving the highest degrees awarded, the Ph. D.s, were recognized individually.  The program listed the subjects that these new doctors were studying.  Among the dissertations were there titles: "The Three Dimensional Mechanics of the Cat Ankle Joint," "The Narrative Function of the Holy Spirit in Luke / Acts," many, many others. My favorite dissertation was titled: "Hindered Rotation Around the Amide Bond in Hydrocarbon Substituted Ureas and Carbamates: Chain Length and Solvent Viscosity Effects; Disubstituted Benzoic Acids and Phenols: Acidity, Complexation, and Aggregation Behavior"

The Theology of the First Christians
By Walter Schmithals / Westminster / John Knox

(PUBWestminster/John Knox)Translated from the German! Splendidly surveying two centuries of European scholarship, Schmithals relates current conclusions on apocalypticism, the messianic secret in Mark, the kingdom of God, worship, baptism, the Eucharist, canonicity, Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, and much more. 400 pages, softcover.

 

   As for the school of religion (Candler), the diploma ceremony was in the University chapel assembly, Glenn Memorial.  There were 136 Graduates with a variety of theology degrees.  I was among them finally graduating with honors after seven years of study.  O!  There was one person there to see me through – guess who?

   I remember what I was thinking about while waiting in line.  I started in 1985 with eight credits from business school; I would need only about 220 credits more.  Nobody paid my way, so I had to work hard the whole time.  Sometimes I went to school full time and worked two or three other jobs.  One year I cleaned restrooms and scrubbed floors to make ends meet.  With each passing semester and each passing year, more credits would be added. Little by little, I was getting closer and closer to the magic number. Finally, in 1994, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel – the completion of all that was required.

 

Seminary of Perfection

   As I thought, I also considered the Biblical concept of our "growing in grace," "sanctification," "going on to perfection."  All these phrases mean about the same thing – a steady progression from the time we surrender to Yahshua and are born again until the time we "see the light at the end of the tunnel" and are perfected and completed.  Perfection in this case doesn’t mean going to heaven; but getting there – achieving the sense of completing of our lives’ course of study.  You know, we are all receiving a seminary education.  The Bible says that we no longer need anyone to teach us but the Holy Spirit.  He is our own personal professor as we make our way toward sanctity and perfection.

   Paul compares our progress to a race.  (1 Corinthians 9:24) "Don't you know that all runners compete in a race, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it!"  There is a degree of holiness that we each are striving to obtain. Like the diploma I received, it’s a prize, or a reward, for aspiring to and succeeding in gaining the wisdom of Yahshua in this life, and using what we’ve gained to further the boundaries of his kingdom on earth.

   Illustrations from sports and education are appropriate when we speak of attaining perfection.  Former UCLA coach John Wooden used four simple laws of learning to teach his students basketball: explanation, demonstration, correction and repetition. For 16 years there was talk of a new gym, and when UCLA finally opened Pauley Pavilion in 1965, Coach Wooden made sure he didn't get just an arena for sports, but a classroom with bleachers that would roll out to allow for teaching.  Our race is to also be our classroom; we are expected to grow in grace continually unto eventual maturity and completion.  Yahshua used these same 4 laws of learning as he educated his students in the sport of perfection.

 

Explanation

Mat 5:43-45a,48: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; {45} That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven....{48} Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Yahshua
 explained that to be perfect meant to be completed in charity, even toward an enemy when appropriate, displaying the same charity that the Father in heaven extends to all children of humankind, be they saved or lost.  He explained, "Bless them... Do good to them..." even when they persecute you.

   This love is "more than a feeling," it is active and radical.  That’s why I continue to use the old word for it, charity.  And as one saint has said, “Charity does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.”  Why?  Because, "Those who deserve love the least need it the most."

   The charity in which we are to be perfected reaches out to the one in our common sight who is hurting or needy.  Someone once asked Susanna Wesley which one of her eleven children she loved the most.  She wisely replied, "I love the one who's sick until he's well, and the one who's away until he comes home."  What people are even now testing us in the classroom of perfecting charity?

   Do you have enemies?  Evidently I do.  After assembly this morning I went over to another assembly’s homecoming.  I sat down with some food and one of my enemies sat right across from me.  I knew he was my enemy because almost the entire time I was sitting there, he tried to punish me with words for a stand I had taken for righteousness.  Words and food were both flying out of his mouth in my direction.  I told him to save his words; I’d never back down.  Then I got up, patted him on the back and invited him to assembly the next Sunday.  Yahweh put a hot coal on his head.

 Who has Yahweh dredged up for you for you today?  How did you react?  Did you pass the test or fail?  The second law of learning is demonstration.

 

Demonstration

Luke 6:39b-41,46 "...Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? {40} The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. {41} And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? {46} And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"

Yahshua was not the teacher who proclaims, "Do what I say, but not what I do."  His life demonstrated his teaching and his life should be our example today as we grow in sanctity toward perfection.

   This lesson in charity is very clear: If you desire perfection, then judge with perfect justice! Clean up your own house before judging the actions and intentions of others.   Yahshua is our example when he says, "I judge with righteous judgment."

 

Correction

Mat 19:16-22 {16} And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? {17} And he said unto him, ...If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. {18} He saith unto him, Which? Yahshua said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, {19} Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. {20} The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? {21} Yahshua
 said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. {22} But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

This young man thought he was a "good person" and he was good, but not good enough.  He wasn’t willing to give up the source of his pleasure for the Perfect Kingdom.  Still Yahshua loved him enough to tell him the truth!  “All those whom I love I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, and repent,” he said.

The modern belief is that anyone can be a Christian / Messianic.  Just get thee to the altar and get saved!   But the Christian / Messianic way is a life of service, sacrifice, misunderstanding, persecution, and victory; not just an altar call.  Although the war has already been won, the battle yet rages; though we know who wins, the race is still to be run with zeal.  The only way a Christian / Messianic can onward and upward is to have nothing more to rely upon or fall back on except faith in the risen Savior.”  “All things work together for good,” says Paul.  But this is only for those “who love Yah and are called according to his purpose."

   If our hearts are right, if we have sung, "All to Yahshua I surrender" and really do surrender all, then Yahshua’s correction is pleasant and not punishment.  If we truly are striving toward perfection, Yahshua eases us back onto the narrow path.  Sometimes he uses a goad, sometimes a whip!  Personally, I prefer the goad to the whip.

 

Repetition

   "Practice makes perfect."  The great Van Cliburn, who received his doctorate the same day I graduated from Emory, was asked why, after nearly 40 years as a concert pianist, he still felt the need to practice every single day. He said, "It is true that if I miss one day's practice, only I know it. But if I miss two, my critics know it, and if I miss three, my public knows it."  (This quote has also been attributed to Horowitz and probably a vast number of other pianists.)  This is why we repeat “The Lord's Prayer” over and over again.  It’s often the only prayer we know!

Ya'aqov, Yahshua's brother, contends that those who say they have faith but show no fruit of it from practicing it have no way to prove that they have any faith at all. Ya'ak said, show me your faith, and I'll show you my practice!"

 

Perfection in This Life?

   It is one of the supreme handicaps of the body of believers that there are so many distant followers of Yahshua and so few real students of his holiness.

   Once someone was telling a great scholar about one of his friends.  He said, “Bill tells me that he was one of your students back in ‘93.”  The scholar answered vehemently, "He may have attended my lectures but he was NOT one of my students."  There is a world of difference between attending lectures and being a student.  One has to do with making the grade.  There is a world of difference between attending assembly once in awhile and being a committed student of the life and words of Yahshua!  A student sufficiently impressed with his teacher will not only learn his lesson but will also emulate his teacher’s life and thus become himself a professor of the faith.

   Wesley taught us that the diligent could be perfected in charity while yet in this life.  He might have been wrong – a lot of people think what he proposed is impossible.  Yet Wesley claimed to have "arrived" late in life.  In reviewing his life, it’s really hard to prove that he didn’t.  I know I’ll never be able to make that boast; I’m one of the most flawed persons I know.  But I also know I’ll never give up, and neither will you.

   We are proud to be striving toward perfection through our study of the Word, our deeds done in charity and our public devotional life.  We become the salt and light to a decaying and dark world: salt, because we convict the world of sin by our sinlessness; light, because our lives point the way to the great light of heaven.  As Yahshua was the image of an invisible Elohim, let us become images of a perfect Savior, so that we may fulfill unhindered that which Yahweh is doing in the world through us.

   A well-known pro golfer was playing in a senior’s tournament with Gerald Ford and Billy Graham.  After a round was over, one of the other pros on the tour asked, "Hey, what was it like playing with the President and Billy Graham?"  The pro said with disgust, "I don't need Billy Graham stuffing religion down my throat!"  With that he headed for the practice tee.  His friend followed, and after the golfer had pounded out his fury on a bucket of balls, he asked, "Was Billy a little rough on you out there?"  The pro just said, "Nah, he didn't mention religion."

   Billy said nothing about Yahshua or faith, yet this golfer stomped away, accusing the evangelist of trying to cram religion down his throat.  What had happened?  The evangelist had reflected Yahweh
ly perfection.  His very presence made the pro feel convicted and in need of a Savior.  The golfer’s annoyance was a good thing.  It made him consider his own fallen nature.  Wouldn’t you like to be just such an example?  Salt and light don’t need to do a lot of talking to expose corruption.  How much salt and light have we?  How many credits have we earned toward the diploma we strive for?  How many furlongs have we logged in the race toward the perfect prize?  Amein 

Have you ever felt so worried and blue that you thought Yahweh
 had given up on you?

Have you ever felt this was the end of your way? That you just couldn't face another day?

Have you ever wept and beaten the wall? And said, " oh, what is the use of it all?

Have you ever tried to pray but couldn't utter a prayer? And wondered if Yahweh would hear or care?

Then somewhere in the depths of your soul was a word, It was a voice that you felt, rather than heard

Yahweh  said, " Have courage for all is not lost, For living is learning, sometimes at great cost.

Your trials and troubles are stepping-stones To greater victories than you have known.

As with Joseph, David and Daniel of old, Whatever happens, I am still in control.

I do not destroy; I only refine. And I never cease loving those who are mine.

You can be assured that I understand, And wherever you are, I will hold your hand.

There will be other trials along life's way But you will be stronger because of today."

--Nancy Miller Brown 1983

Jackson Snyder, May 15, 1994 

Now your children can learn Hebrew