The Only Path
The New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh (NCAY) might well be called the "Assembly of Ultra-Committed Disciples". What we say sometimes shocks people, not because we enjoy shocking people, but because the emet (truth) is shocking...at least for our complacent, woolly, tepid, luke-warm liberal western civilisation. But if Messianic Evangelicals are shocking, the Saviour we serve is more so.
"Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33, NIV)
Yah'shua (Jesus said):
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life -- he cannot be My talmid (disciple)" (Luke 14:26).
Pretty shocking, isn't it? On the face of it, these words seem to run counter to the whole teaching of Yah'shua (Jesus), and go against the law of love towards one's neighbour which Yah'shua (Jesus) emphasised and radicalised. One commentator points out:
So what can Yah'shua (Jesus) mean, then, when He asks us to hate our families in the pursuit of discipleship?
"If the meaning of 'neighbour' must be extended so as to include one's enemy, it must not be restricted so as to exclude one's nearest and dearest."
To find the answer we must move carefully and step by step. First, our Master is concerned that His talmidim (disciples) allow nothing to come between Him and them -- particularly family ties. The interests of Elohim's (God's) kingdom must be paramount with the followers of Yah'shua (Jesus). Everything must take second place to them, even love of one's family.
I once shocked a woman when I said this to her and she refused to believe that the Saviour would ever place such demands on a person. She affirmed that her calling as a mother was to love her children and that to place Christ before them was in fact to hate her children. And that she couldn't accept. But then, as it turned out, she wasn't really a committed talmid (disciple) and was using the sayings of Yah'shua (Jesus) that she liked to support her own independent way of life.
Few of Christ's true followers would have difficulty in agreeing that things like wealth, property, and material possessions ought not to come between Christ and His kingdom, but a proper care and love for one's family is something that the Bible everywhere commends. However, Yah'shua (Jesus) is saying that to qualify as His talmidim (disciples) we must actually hate our parents, our spouses, our brothers and sisters, and our children.
A Scandalous Gospel
No wonder critics of Christianity see this statement and attitude of Yah'shua (Jesus) as scandalous. Does it shock you? Good. That's exactly what it is designed to do.
Let us pause to remind ourselves of one of the purposes of Yah'shua's (Jesus') seemingly shocking statements (it wasn't the only one -- He once said that His talmidim/disciples were required to eat His flesh drink His blood - John 6:53!). The Master calls all people not just to be adherents but to be fully committed talmidim (disciples). Hence, from time to time, He says things that seem to run contrary to His general teaching. But these sayings are designed to test the spiritual mettle of those who profess to be interested in Him and His cause.
Sometimes the Master's sayings are so sharp that they draw blood. Many draw back and involve themselves no further. These people don't make good talmidm (disciples). To be a disciple of Messiah means getting used to the sight of your own blood. Those who respond to our Master's hard sayings, as did Simon Peter, by saying: "To whom else can we go? You alone have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68) -- these are the ones who make the best disciples.
Not so long ago I was visiting a city in west Norway together with a new pastor and we met up with a former member who has remained aloof from all congregational affiliation and is instead pursuing his own career. He had some scathing statements to make about this ministry and echoed the criticisms made by another ex-member, which was that this community had 'shed much spiritual blood'. That is perfectly true. And all those who enter into discipleship with Messiah must expect to have their spiritual blood drawn because it is only by this means that their discipleship is tested and matured. It is when a follower recoils at having to 'shed his blood' that his true discipleship is weighed in the balance and his true self revealed.
How Strong is Your Loyalty?
NCAY is for committed talmidim (disciples) of the real Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and not the watered-down version of much of Christianity. We make no apology for that. Every single soul who enters this work will, at some stage, recoil at just what committed discipleship really means. From the highest leader to the lowliest member, all are tried and tested to see if they are willing to follow Yah'shua (Jesus) all the way. It is only by such testing that our ahavah (love) and loyalty to the Saviour can be fully revealed, and only then can we make our calling and election sure (2 Pet.1:10).
I have often asked myself -- and I expect you have too -- this question: Have I done all I can to express my gratitude for the work of Salvation that the Master has done for me? Am I really a Christian?
It's the way we react to those 'blood-letting' questions that shows us just where we stand with Elohim (God). Everyone -- without exception -- has an Abrahamic test to go through -- there may be many of them. Everyone has to face a shocking test to try his mettle. Whether it is Abraham being commanded to do the most repugnant and heart-rending thing any man could imagine, the blood sacrifice of his only son after years and years of anxious waiting, or whether it is something as seemingly trivial as giving up watching a favourite TV program to go and help mother do the shopping, these are the things -- small and great -- which establish our discipleship and determine the quality of our relationship with Messiah.
The Road to Heaven is Hard
I would not wish to lie to anyone and say that the road to heaven is easy. It isn't. So hard is our discipleship that Yah'shua (Jesus) even said that only a few people find it (Matt.7:14). He also said that the call to become Christians is made to many, but only a few actually make it (Matt.22:14).
I am shocked sometimes when I hear many evangelical Christians speak as though everyone who believes in Yah'shua (Jesus) is going to be saved -- 'eternal security', as they call it. It's an attractive gospel. Some even say: 'Once saved, always saved!' What a lie!
Once an enquirer asked Yah'shua (Jesus):
Yah'shua (Jesus) did not reply directly to this man's question so as not to discourage him too greatly, but said:
"'Master, are only a few people going to be saved?'" (Luke 13:23, NIV)
I repeat again, salvation is not just a matter of assent or even consent, vitally important though these are. That is merely the first stage -- of finding and going through the gate -- there is yet a long and difficult walk to make too.
"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to" (v.24).
Just a Few
We cannot be complacent. We can't afford to. Only a few will be saved. What does the word "few" mean to you? Several million? a billion? a few thousand? Thank goodness Yah'shua (Jesus) does not tell us. The word "few" means 'not many' so the chances are that the number you think are going to be saved is probably too conservative. Yah'shua (Jesus) doesn't want to discourage us so that we give up but He certainly intends to scare us! I don't know how many people are going to be saved but if He told me that only 100,000 thousand would be saved out of the human race, I'd be sacred! If He told me that 10 billion would be saved, do you think I would be as scared? Would that encourage me to pursue the Derech (Way) more earnestly?
I fear that there are far too many Christians and Messianics, nominal Christians and Messianics, and unbelievers who believe that all they have to be is 'a little good' and that they will make then it to heaven. Many have been fooled into believing that because the Bible says that there is a great multitude in heaven that no-one could count (Rev.7:9-10) that billions will be saved and that since the vast majority of people aren't doing much in terms of their religion (or lack of it) that they've nothing to worry about if they imitate them in a similar life-sytle.
The Saved Come Out of Tribulation
But a careful reading of the text shows that these people are "they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb" (v.14). These multitudes are those who have gone through great afflictions, trials or oppressions. The saved are those who must be refined and purged through great difficulties, whose discipleship is tested to the full.
The only other group found in heaven are the 144,000, those "who did not defile themselves with 'women', for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to Elohim (God) and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless" (Rev.14:4-5, NIV).
No Candy-Floss Christianity
It is clear from these readings that Christian/Messianic discipleship is not the candy-floss Christianity or Messianism that became so popular in the late twentieth century. It is, as Messianic Evangelicals have been maintaining all along, Christianity-on-fire -- the Christianity of the first believers, the Christianity of strictness, discipline, suffering, energy and a burning, passionate love for Elohim (God) and for His Kingdom. This is the all-or-nothing Christianity of the apostles, and the all-or-nothing Christianity of the modern apostles too.
Messianic Evangelicals know the path they are called to walk on. Do you? Is it possible that you have been setting an erroneous, short-cut course to salvation? Is it possible that most of the present leaders of the Christian churches and Messianic assemblies are like the ancient king of Assyria, of whom the navi (prophet) Nahum wrote:
We must have ahavah (love) awakened in our bosoms, in order to:
"Your shepherds slumber; your nobles lie down and rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them" (Nahum 3:18, NIV)?
A Dangerous Time to Live In
"...understand... the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed" (Rom.13:11, NIV).
"Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids" (Prov.6:4, NIV).
This is a dangerous time. Prophecy has been given by this ministry indicating that the period of freedom presently enjoyed by the former Soviet nations will not last long. For very soon the scripture will be fulfilled which says:
Are you prepared for the sweeping political and socio-economic changes that are soon to hit the world, changes that will mark the beginning of the reign of the Antichrist? Will you be ready for the time when all your savings will become worthless and you are forced to adopt the mark of the beast...or flee to the Cities of Refuge? Churches and messianic assemblies will collapse so fast that the Christian/Messianic world will hold its breath in horror. A revolution is soon to begin that will sweep away the old order and usher in a new and terrifying one so quickly that only the elect will be prepared. Only those who are true talmidim (disciples) will survive with their faith in tact.
"One of the heads of the beast seemed to have a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast" (Rev.13:3, NIV).
Now is the time to prepare -- do not delay!
Repent, receive Yah'shua (Jesus), and prepare to gather!
This page was created on 1 June 1998
Last updated on 24 January 2017
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