Several weeks ago, I was having a conversation with another Messianic Jew as to why Jesus and the Father, as well as the Holy Spirit, are one entity – God.
He kept insisting that because they were separate “persons” – that they were somehow not God. Yeshua was Yeshua, YHVH was YHVH, and Ruach Kodesh (Hebrew for the Holy Spirit) , was Ruach Kodesh – period.
I then reminded him of the declarative that Jesus gave, that got Him into all kinds of hot water with the Pharisees – John 10:30:
“I and My Father are one.”
Jesus was declaring His deity here – more than just the “Son of Man” from Daniel, that got the Pharisee’s shorts tied in a knot – He declared Himself God.
It’s what landed Him on the cross!
While it’s true that the Romans technically crucified Jesus, the Jews led Him to slaughter. If they hadn’t advocated for the freedom of Barabbas so forcefully, Jesus would have been spared the Roman cross, and the Sanhedrin would be left to deal with Him.
If He was who He said He was, they didn’t want anything to do with this! So they got the Romans to do their dirty work, so their hands would appear clean.
Deception, it even abounded in Jesus’ day – even in the synagogue and the Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin looks a lot like governments around the world. I look at our US Government and see so many similarities.
There are those who talk a good game but have absolutely no real belief, there are those who could care nothing at all about religious liberties, and those on which this nation were founded, and there are those few, like Nicodemus, who have faith, but don’t show it on the floor of the House or Senate, because they are desperate to hold onto some semblance of power.
Anyway you slice it, there’s deception all around us. We don’t know who we can trust.
Getting back to my conversation…
Jesus made a declaration… “I and the Father are one.” It was a one sentence declaration. The godhead is the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, on even footing.
Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
Note the word “us” and “our” – rabbis try to explain this away that God had some counsel during creation, (I was born and raised as a conservative Jew so I know from where I speak here) – this explanation is absolute hogwash when met with John 1:1-18. Jesus spoke everything into existence – the Son. This would equate the Son and the Father, would it not?
To clarify Genesis 1:26, the Hebrew construct of tzelem (image) was a plural, בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ, whereas in 1:27 was a singular construct, בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ.
I and the Father are one. They are, there can be no argument with this.
In the end, there can be no argument. We end prayers, to the Father, “In Jesus’ Name” – why? Because as an equal, He is our advocate, the Father sees those saved through the lens of The Son, Christ. We are saved by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, also an equal, guides, comforts and when necessary, convicts His followers.
Those are the “us” in Genesis 1.
The gentleman had nothing further to say – Why? Because God is a triune God, three separate person which make up a single Godhead … not three separate Gods, as Jews view this.
In other words, this gentleman still had some semblance of Torah law – something the Apostle Paul spoke out about quite vehemently. He may believe in Jesus as his Mashiach – his Messiah- but the godhead was never explained properly.
For example, Jews will never teach or read Isaiah 53 as a Haftorah during Shabbat readings… for obvious reasons. The rabbis have Jews convinced that this chapter refers to the nation of Israel, and their persecution, not Jesus!
This is the primary reasons that Judaism will not teach the deity of the Messiah Jesus – because he claims to be God, God has no “son” and therefore, an entity of a Godhead is foreign to them.
Some Messianics still have a little of the old way ingrained in them.
When describing the Godhead to anyone not familiar, I like to use the analogy of an egg. The analogy isn’t perfect by any means, but it gets the point across.
An egg is a single unit.
There is the shell, the albumen – the white, and the yolk – the yellow part.
All play a part in this one unit, but it’s one unit.
The Godhead is one, single unit.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All have a part, but it’s one unit – the Godhead.
This entire thing is the reason why we need to teach the gospel correctly, and the reason why we need to rightly lead people to the Lord and disciple them correctly.
This entire exchange shows that whoever witnessed to this gentleman, and whoever was the catalyst for him to recognize Jesus as his savior, didn’t dig to see if he really knew his savior.
We’ve had pastors running around getting people to “pray this simple prayer” – without laying the proper foundation. Hey, I was just as guilty of this heresy. I can’t count the number of times I used the ABCs of salvation, not knowing that could be allowing this person to pray themselves right into Hell.
First off, their salvation needs to be of a right heart. After a sermon of hellfire and brimstone – and these sermons are good in their proper setting – the person is ready to accept anything to live. Do you love Jesus? “Of course I do,” they say, not knowing the first thing of what Jesus actually did on that cross two thousand years ago – they just want that fire insurance without paying the premium – full repentance and total surrender to Jesus.
This is the part that’s totally avoided by many preachers – full repentance and total surrender. They think that this would be a deal breaker. “Asking” Jesus into your heart is a whole lot more palatable, since it gives the person control – not the Holy Spirit.
I defy anyone to show me in scripture where it says that a person is saved by praying the simple prayer of asking Jesus into your heart – you won’t find it.
What Jesus did say was to repent.
Just writing your name and date on the first page of your Bible after you prayed that simple prayer, doesn’t cut it, unless there was total surrender and true repentance that went with it.
When asked about their salvation, rarely will you hear a testimony, you’ll hear that were at church when they were young, the pastor gave some sermon that Heaven is full of streets of gold, and you won’t go to hell, then he asked if anyone wanted to be saved – they raised their hands, prayed a prayer, and voila, they’re saved. They won’t tell you about any changes in their lives – the fruit as referenced by Jesus in Matthew 7:15-20:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Here, false prophets are mentioned, but every true believer, every true born again Christian, must bear fruit, to be different and set apart from the world.
Immediately following this passage, Jesus talks about those people who call themselves Christians, but never repented and totally surrendered to Jesus – verses 21-23:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
If you look earlier, just before verse 15, in verses 13-14, we get right back to the narrow gate and the broad gate:
“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.”
Imagine an expressway (or freeway, if you will) – in Los Angeles, there’s the 405 that runs 6-lanes in each direction. Then imagine a small country road. The truly saved are on that small country road, and the ones who call themselves “saved” but truly aren’t, are with the heathen on the large expressway – the “Highway to Hell” if you will.
I can hear one of the arguments now… but what about the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18? Jesus said in verse 14, that “even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” How could God allow such a thing as the broad road in Matthew 7?
Good question – it’s true, Jesus did go after the one that went astray, however, God will not force Himself on anyone. Everyone must come to salvation willingly.
That doesn’t mean that He won’t try to get your attention.
Have you ever noticed that those who really, and I mean really find salvation in Christ, are at their lowest point? I mean they’ve really been going through some stuff, and the only way to look is up. There are a multitude of testimonies just like that.
Do the tests and trials go away – nope. They are easier to deal with however, when one is truly surrendered to Jesus.
Another thing is that someone may be so steeped in sin, that to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit anymore is futile. They truly repent and surrender their lives to Jesus. Testimonies abound here too.
The prayer these people pray aren’t the words of someone else – they are prayers from the heart, prayers of anguish, prayers of repentance. They have nowhere else to turn. They tried to run and hide from God, but the Holy Spirit convicted them, and they could no longer ignore His prompting.
What do you think Jesus and rest of Heaven does when these people repent and surrender? The preceding verse – verse 13 gives that very answer from Jesus Himself, “… he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.”
God doesn’t want even one of His creations to eternally perish, but man does have free will – they can repent and surrender, or not. If that person rejects Jesus and doesn’t, one day, that person will bow their knee, but it will be too late.
So, to wrap this up, because I could go for hours here – when evangelizing, make very sure that you’re giving an accurate gospel, and that if the Holy Spirit has worked through you to bring this person to Jesus – let them pray their own prayer, let them get on their knees and repent, and above all, let them come to Jesus with their own words, not yours.
It’s the Holy Spirit working on them, convicting them – they’ll know what to ask for.
6 Replies to “Bringing the True Gospel”
I agree that the “salvation prayer” following one’s instructions to pray after them, does not bring true Holy Spirit Salvation, I know I experienced that in my childhood as a Baptist, I was baptized, sang in the choir, enjoyed Sunday School, however many, many years later, the Lord came through by gifting me with the Holy Spirit to open my ears, to hear, and the eyes to see, that I was a sinner, He revealed to me that my gay lifestyle was not acceptable, and that I was not born that way, that it was in fact a sin! He the Holy Spirit caused me to see the truth, because I always had thought I was a Christian, and that was not true.
My testimony gives the full explanation of my experience with the Lord, and it reveals, that I did not seek Him out but He sought me out, and I am to this day ever grateful that He lead me to and granted me the gift of repentance and cleansing me of my sin……
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Now regarding your statement ” God will not force Himself on anyone. Everyone must come to salvation willingly.” I need to ask you did Saul come to the Lord willingly on his way to Damascus, or did the Lord stop him in his tracks before he could persecute anymore disciples? Saul’s will and purpose was to destroy the lives of the follower’s of the Lord, so Saul hated the Gospel of Christ, so his will was to destroy, he was not willingly seeking out the Lord for salvation.
The Lord bless you….
I agree with my statement in that God is a gentleman, He will not force Himself on anyone. People do have to come willingly.
What to say about Paul? What to say anyone who has come to Christ after a life of sin?
More than likely, the Apostle Paul was nudged by the Holy Spirit, causing him to lash out following his Jewish faith.
Most people, including Paul, come to Christ after they come to their lowest point, where the only place they can look is… UP.
Did Jesus arrange the blinding light on the road to Damascus? Sure. Did Paul still have a choice? Yep. He could have walked away – blinded, but he could have. Paul although, was at his lowest point. He couldn’t understand or explain through his teachings in the Torah and the oral teachings – he looked up.
Anyone coming to Christ today, has been nudged by the Holy Spirit to a point where they need to look up. It may be finances, it may be something in their lives, but they got to “that point” – where to resist was pointless.
As Christians, we don’t bring anyone to Christ. We evangelize and plant the seeds. It’s the Holy Spirit that convicts unto salvation.
I hope that this answers your question.
Thank you for giving an answer.
However you have not supported your “opinion” based upon scripture…..so I can not accept your “opinion” on the subject re: Paul. You have used much “assumption” and “presumption” noting based upon facts.
Acts 9 tells of the account of Saul and the road to Damascus. From the NKJV…
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Let me stop here… Tell me of one Jew who could figure out from their teachings what was going on here. I went to Hebrew school – conservative, bar mitzvahed – if this happened to me, as a conservative Jew, let alone an Orthodox Jew like Paul, I’d be trying to think of an answer while going a little nuts as to what is going on…
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Now here, Jesus is quite explicit, He uses the term “kick against the goads” – at his lowest point, the Holy Spirit has him…
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
You’re darned right, he was “trembling and astonished” … but, he still had a choice – however he relents and asks…
Continuing in verse 6
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
He made the right choice – the guys traveling with him didn’t hear anything but Paul’s cries, they too had to wonder what’s going on.
So yes, Jesus moved, the Holy Spirit moved, Paul STILL had a choice, not much of one as he was trembling in fear about what he just experienced, the correct choice was made – the Holy Spirit convicted Him.
To say that this is my assumption or presumption might well be thought of as such, but reading Acts 9, one can put the pieces together if one knows how evangelism and the Holy Spirit work.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Interesting, however there is nothing in the Word that states that Paul had decided to choose correctly, matter fact in Acts The Lord speaks to Ananias stating that Paul was chosen by Him personally to serve; Act 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Paul states in a number or his Epistles, Romans 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1, 2 Cor 1:1, Gal !:1, Eph 1:1, Col !:1 are many proclamations that he was chosen and saved by the Will of God, not any man, nor of his own will……But of God’s Will for His calling and purposes to serve Him, and matter of fact he states from his mother’s womb he was separated; Gal 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
Gal 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
So Paul has made it very clear, that he was chosen and separated from his mother’s womb to serve the One and Only Living God.
The Lord bless you……
Oh and yes I do know and realize how “evangelism and the Moving Power of the Holy Spirit works”, my life is a testament to that reality, very much and has been for the past 44 years…….also I do have Jewish ancestry in my family, on my mother’s side, and I’ve had the pleasure to know and have a few Jewish friends and work personally with a number of wealthy Jewish households……..I’ve been blessed by that connection through the years……..once was involved with a “Messianic group”. I have also had the blessed experience on a number of occasions to be present at “Passover celebrations” I once served at a “Passover family gathering”.
Truly a blessing for me for I understood the “Passover” very well, it all spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Salvation towards the Jewish people. Unfortunately they had no understanding of it’s “Spiritual relevance” for eternal Salvation.
The Lord bless you……
LikeLiked by 1 person