Shabbat Shalom! My message to you today came, as it so often does, at the 'last minute', a characteristic of our Heavenly Father many of you are coming to know. No message came yesterday when I sat to prepare words for this sabbath so I did what we can only do if we want to hear Him:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt.7:13-14, NKJV).
It therefore feels extraordinarily good to know that I have a concrete word for Him for you for this very hour.
"But those who wait on Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isa.40:31, NKJV).
I had a dream this morning and in the dream I saw this broad way - a giant street in a metropolis flanked on either side by majestic buildings, the kind of Victory Avenue you might expect to find in the centre of any one of a number of world capitals. Striding down the centre of this huge road - for there was nothing else on it but them - was a small crowd of people. I knew them because I had been with them in the earlier part of the dream.
This was a city of the world and therefore was the world - Babylon - and all that it stands for. Earlier in the dream I had been in what I suppose was a kind of museum though oddly there were few if any artefacts on exhibit. At any rate, I can remember none. It was an empty museum and as such it represented the memories of the lives of people who chose to follow the world. In short, there was nothing to remember them by, because the works of the ungodly are burned up and cannot abide the day of Yahweh. They leave nothing behind by which to remember them. Some of them may appear in state school text books but they are remembered by students with the same enthusiasm that they remember algebra and German grammar after they have left school.
Earlier in the dream I dreamed of a loved one who has turned away from Yahweh and her marriage and broken her home. She had reached the point in her life where she could no longer deny the existence of God and yet did not want to follow Him, and faced the question of how to raise her son in the light of her choices. She was in a large building with her son, very ornately decorated and from a bygone era. In it were state Lutheran ministers and doctors of theology. She handed her son over to them and left.
When I awoke I understood the mechanics of taking the broad way. It does not matter whether you believe in God or not as far as the Kingdom of Heaven is concerned for once you have chosen to believe that He exists you immediately face another choice: do you give yourself up to Him and follow Him or do you just 'add Him' on to your life as a sort of appendage? Those who choose the latter may give Him a little authority here or there but that authority will always be subtended to the higher or greater authority which is steering or governing the overall life.
Let me give you an illustration. You are visiting a land which has many orphans. You see these parentless children and your heart goes out to them and you desire to help so you adopt one. You are responding inside to the spirit of selfless compassion which does not, of course, come from the flesh but from Yahweh. You bring the child home, love him, and raise him....in your personal philosophy of life.
Do you see what I am getting at? Part of you has responded to the Divine but that part is nevertheless subject still to the presiding god in your life, whether it is yourself, some worldly cause, or whatever. Many a lost soul has convinced him- or herself that he is walking with Yahweh and is therefore a 'believer' in the saved sense of the world because they are responding to feelings of love which surface now and then.
Brethren and sisters, I need to warn you most emphatically that this is not a sign that you are saved because everyone who is born into the world - long before they have even made a choice for Christ - has these shared impulses. From whence do they come? They come from a portion of the Light of Messiah that we are all born with which we have called our 'conscience' which enables us to choose been right and wrong even without knowing Messiah by Name or in any other way. It's an inner compass:
This is not exactly the "Christ in you" (Col.1:27) of the talmid or disciple who is trusting Yah'shua with all his being and joyfully obeying his commandments. This 'Light of Christ' as I call it is no more than a moral compass which is given to every man and women who is born into the world to enable us to make important moral choices on a day-to-day basis but principally to enable us to find Yah'shua and so finally choose to obediently follow Him. However, it may not always function right because it can become defiled when ignored. It can be damaged and serve you ill if you do not take care of it by obeying it while it is yet working properly. This damaged compass then becomes the defiled heart we are warned in Scripture not to follow!
"There was a man sent from Elohim (God), whose name was John [the Baptist]. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light (Yah'shua the Messiah / Jesus Christ), that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (John 1:6-9, NKJV).
Unbelievers as well as those who subscribe to every religion under the heavens have this moral compass, this 'Light of Christ' even if they ascribe it to something or someone else. It is Yahweh's gift to every soul. It's like a lump of leaven that stands ready to leaven the whole soul once we say 'yes' to Yah'shua and 'yes' to Torah. And what is it that sets it off? The Ruach haQodesh or Holy Spirit entering your heart when you surrender your life to Messiah.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, Yahweh, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer.17:9-10, NKJV).
Acts of kindness and good deeds are not necessarily signs of salvation. So how do you know whether you are saved or not? You know that you are saved when you are walking in Messiah. And how do you know when you are walking in Messiah? You know because you love Yahweh with your might, mind and strength; you are trusting Yah'shua as your Redeemer, Saviour, Lord, Master and Deliverer, and you are joyfully striving to obey all the commandments of your Heavenly Father with all your being. And a fruit of this is how you treat other people.
By this means you can know whether you are saved or not. You don't have to be perfect or complete to be saved because that is the goal you are aiming for - you are saved when you are obediently submitted in trust and are moving along the Way that leads to eternal life...and that Way, as we have read this morning, is extremely narrow. Moreover, it isn't in the City of Destruction but in the countryside heading for a city - the New Jerusalem.
There was something else that Yahweh showed me in my dream this morning. The woman who gave her son to the ministers and theologians was handing him to the state religion! The fact that the religion acknowledges 'Christ' is immaterial for if the ministers are in the pay of the state, then it is the state that is the authority over that church. The state is its god because it must first answer to the state.
The Lutheran Church is the state religion of Scandinavian countries, two of the three Baltic States, and parts of Germany and Holland. It is the state religion of parts of South Africa, Namibia and elsewhere. This remains true even if there is an official separation between state and church as occurred here in Sweden in 2000 to mark the millennial shift. In England the Church of England is the state religion. In the northern American states it is the Episcopalian Church (American Lutherans) and in the southern American states it is the Baptist Church.
Now I know you will protest that this is not so because in the USA as well as in most other countries there is a clear separation between state and religion. But I am not talking about that. Poland, France and Italy are Catholic states. Serbia, Greece and Russia are Eastern Orthodox states. It matters not what laws are passed in a land separating state and church, making it a secular state, a state is still what it is. Turkey is a secular state but it is a Muslim state. Iran is a Muslim state both by secular law and in fact. Every country has ruling spirits that are linked together in an unholy alliance. Whereever the majority practice or believe in a religion whether nationwise or in regions, there that spirit rules. And if those people are not born again, are not fully submitted to Christ and not obeying the commandments, then Christ is not ruling but a religious spirit whether 'Christian', 'Muslim', 'Hindu' or anything else.
Sweden is not officially a Luthern state any more - it is a secular one and very irreligious. Hwoever, the majority still believe in God and Lutheranism is still the choice of the majority. It is therefore spiritually the 'state religion'. Its holidays and festivals are a part of the secular calendar and control the pattern of life. It's values are integrated with the secular values of the state, however mutually exclusive and contradictory. It is a secular religion based on some of the Ten Commandments watered down and twisted.
The state should be religiously neutral and indeed not involve itself in religious matters at all though we know it is not. Religions like Lutheranism which have enjoyed state patronage, protection and financing through taxes over the centuries endebt the state to its people even after the state has officially disowned it. The alliance still continues even if it is behind closed doors or merely in the subconscious, unrecognised in thought or world but nevertheless acknowledged in the secret recesses of the soul. Indeed I have noticed that many who abandon Yahweh and the Bible often revert back to the state religion at least nominally because that's what others are doing nominally to. That nominal recognition becomes visible when the church's service of providing for funerals and weddings is needed.
Such nominal allegiance, connected as it is to the territorial spirits of nations and regions (which are of course demonic), comforts the soul lost in sin so long as it is not facing death. Religion is, however, a dangerous narcotic - it puts the spirit to sleep and acknowledges primacy of the psyche - the carnal or Adamic nature, the flesh. Being religious does not save you. Having feelings of compassion and following them up with good works does not save you. Only by dying to self, surrendering to the Saviour of the World, and obediently following Him saves you! Then your good works become evidence of your salvation but only then. Everything else is vanity.
Carnal man admires those who manage to survive without Yahweh and are prosperous. A while back there was an American named Arthur Reed who died with he was 123 years old. Actually, his story is astounding. He married his third wife (surviving the first two) when he was 92, took 5-mile walks when he was 100, and rode a bicycle until he was 110. He worked until he was 116. But when he was asked the secret of his long life, he could only reply: 'They made me of good dirt'.
The human body is indeed capable of incredible feats. However, it must go the way of the flowers in a summer garden. Even the longest life becomes a quick passing yesterday before the everlasting Elohim:
I do not know anything more about Arthur Reed. I do not know whether he was a believer or not. Judging by the response he gave - glorifying physical matter - I doubt he shared the same faith that we preach. And that, if it is true, is a tragedy, for no matter how long we may manage to live (for most it's only about 70 years), no matter how successful we may have been in life, no matter what good works we may have done, if we have not yielded our lives to the Saviour of the World and put Him and His Kingdom first, everything else will have been useless. There is no credit account in heaven for those who refused to trust and obey the Creator.
"For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. You carry them away like a flood; they are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: in the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it is cut down and withers" (Ps.90:4-6, NKJV).
To be sure, many such people are not counting on there being an afterlife so they have invested everything in this one. They have invested in worthy causes, in their children, in their countries even. They hope only to live on in the memories of their children and descendants and in that way hope of achieve some sort of 'immortality'. It is a total illusion. How many of you remember your great grandparents? Do you know anything about them? And even if you do know some facts about them, what do these memories actually give to you?
My father died 17 years ago. I remember him. I still dream about him. However, without Yahweh, such memories would be of little more value than pages of facts in an encyclopedia. I happen to know he is still alive, and that makes a huge difference. More important to me is what is now than what was, and when we look at the eternities, we know that there will always be an eternal 'now' to look forward to.
The secret of true life is life in the presence of God - Yahweh. That is where all life comes from. Yesterday my tiger lilies bloomed and I rejoiced in their beauty - living works of art! In a week or two they will have shrivveled away and died. Last year they bloomed and I enjoyed them too but I don't remember last year's lilies - my thoughts are alive with the ones that are here and now. We quite naturally tend to deal with and enjoy the here-and-now. However, there are always two here-and-now's: one lives on forever and the other dies and is lost forever. Only that which is in Yah'shua the Messiah lives on forever because He is one eternal round.
Life is to live each day in and for Yah'shua because all life comes from Him. That which is not returned to Him in worship, praise, adoration, honour and love disappears forever. Only that which we direct back at Him is returned to us multiplied and overflowing.
Don't miss everlasting life by assuming that even the longest life gives you plenty of time to prepare for eternity. Today is the day of salvation- Today's life in Messiah is the life that endures. How foolish to squander a whole life and only enjoy one day of true life on your deathbed! It is better to confess on your deathbed than never at all but foolish to think that you can leave it to the last and receive the same as those who chose to invest their lives in Him when they were young. Don't believe the lie that there is only one heaven and one reward which is the same for everyone no matter what they do or now matter how much of their life they squandered. Your life is Yahweh's investment and He wants you to multiply it in Him. Every day, every hour, every moment is a part of your investment for eternity. Don't confuse the entrance ticket to Heaven with the reward of the faithful in Heaven - they're not the same. Serve Him now, serve Him energetically and enthusiastically, no matter what your circumstances, even if it is only to give loving smiles to people to express your love for them, and thus bear witness of the love of Yah'shua that is in your heart.
There was more to this morning's dream but the main message was simple:
A last word - and a shameful one at that - and a warning. I was there - briefly - on that broad road in the dream. The people I knew and loved were on it walking up the main thoroughfare of that city of the world when I suddenly appeared on the scene in the air. As I floated down, they turned and looked up to see me. For a moment I was pleased because they were seeing me and acknowledged me. But once I had landed, they turned around again and walked on. I had wanted to be seen and appreciated by them but all they had wanted was for me to be there with them to vindicate their sinning. And when I woke up I was ashamed, renounced that desire for approval by the world, and hopefully put that part of me back into the Kingdom. Yah'shus reminded His talmidim or disciples - as I must remind you and myself today:
- (1) You cannot add religion onto a life that is dead and expect to become alive in Christ;
- (2) Good works, kindness, warm-heartedness and generosity are not necessarily evidence of salvation but may only be that spiritual compass you were born with which was designed to lead you to Christ so you could choose death and rebirth in Him which you have used to glorify yourself with; and
- (3) That which the secular state approves is almost certainly poisoned and will absolutely not put you on the Narrow Road that leads to Eternal Life.
If you are looking for the approval of the world then, my friend, I have to tell you in all soberness and candour that you have chosen the Broad Way that leads to destruction! And remember, it does not matter if the approval you seek is from religious or irreligious people or not because religious people usually aren't saved - they have simply 'added' God onto their lives to give them some respectability (so that other religious people will approve) or to make them feel better. This is all the "pride of life" and it is deadly. Why do we think that we can water down the Word when the Word absolutely gives no space for us to do so? It is because we refuse to obey the Word - we want to invent our own Word and our own God, and all in our own puny, fallible, weak and pitiful image. So let us be clear, for this is something we need to be constantly reminded of:
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19, NKJV).
So what 'love' is actually in those who feel love but who walk the Broad Way? If it is not "the love of the Father", whose love is it? It is the love of the one who loves the things of the world (and who offered them to Yah'shua if He would bow down and worship him); it is the love of the one whose heart is guided by the lust of the eyes and the pride of life rather than the eager desiring of the Ruach to please Yahweh and who be proud of the Saviour, boasting of Him to the world! That false love is "passing away" along with "the lust of it" - get that, it's not permanent! Understand this, that if you are driven by that 'love' now, it will be gone after you have died, and then what will you be left with? You cannot abide forever in it! Only the one who does the will of Yahweh abides forever! Everything else is vanity and death.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of Elohim (God) abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17, NKJV).