Thoroughly Investigate

Our God is a just God, and He expects His people to pursue justice too. But influence pedaling is a major past time. Pastors or rabbis are untouchable. Money is king with a lot of people. Real justice is scarce. Many want to commit the Law to the rubbish heap so they can pursue their agendas unburdened by accountability or humility.

And don’t try to sell me the lame concept that justice and love are separate. People try this all the time. You’ve heard it said (now where have I heard that statement before?) that we should exercise ‘justice in love.’ This is true, except that the two are not separate. Justice is love; love without justice isn’t love.

If we use the Word properly, we are doing both. The reason Jesus had to die is because justice and love both had to be satisfied. One could not be exercised by God without the other. It was a very difficult thing for God to justify sinners without merely ‘overlooking’ sin. The resolution was the death and resurrection of God in human form. There is such a thing as being too harsh. But that is generally connected with condemnation, not justice. We condemn when we try to practice justice outside of God’s Word, and fail to investigate according to the Word.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Thoroughly Investigate

Small Pieces

Speaking of small pieces, in the section of the Word below Jesus tells us in our eighth guideline to avoid neglecting any law, big or little.

23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23 NASB95)

While it is a good thing to measure out the spices, we should pay equal or even greater attention to weightier issues. The tithing of small things is good. We should do that. But we are not to neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness while we are measuring our spices. This is like a child with a laser sense of judgment when eyeing a sibling’s dessert, but steals money out of mom’s purse when she’s not looking. If I am nit-picky about tithing some spices, yet ignore more important issues that have a far greater effect on people, something is out of whack.

Feast days, diet, and laws of clean and unclean are important. But we must not forget that love, grace, patience, self-control and longsuffering are weightier. The fruit of the Spirit is just as much a law as avoiding pork and shellfish (except weightier). Don’t neglect the weightier commands while obeying the lighter commands. The lighter helps us learn the weightier, and the weightier reinforces that even the lighter words from God are important.

This is one of those teachings from Jesus skipped over by people who divide the Law into civil, ceremonial and moral sections. They tell us to ignore what they deem “small things” in His precious Word. But Jesus clearly says all the commands are important. Some are weightier than others, but none of them are neglected by the believer. As I said before, Jesus also tells us that if we are faithful in small things we will be faithful in larger things (Luke 16:10).

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Faithful in Little, Faithful in Much

Do What Jesus Did

Our Lord and Master gave us a number of rules for living the whole of the word. Some of them were indirect and stated in His parables. But some of them were direct. Technically, everything in the whole Book is from Jesus (all the words should be in red!) but here we are just speaking of what Jesus said directly during His incarnation at the temptation in the desert.

When confronted by evil, Jesus shows us practical defense. In Matthew chapter four, He made three statements to counter the Satan’s temptations, and all three statements came from “what is written” meaning Torah or the Law.

4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NASB95)

7Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Matthew 4:7 NASB95)

10Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ” (Matthew 4:10 NASB95)

Each response is saying essentially the same thing in three different ways. On the surface what looks like three different temptations have the same goal. The Satan tries to get Jesus to abandon God’s will and do His own thing (in reality the Satan’s own thing).

We still get hammered with the same sort of temptations on a regular basis, and the defense used by the Master works just as well now as it did then.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 Do What Jesus Did

The Believer’s Daily Bread

Some might’ve freaked out a little at our last post on reading the whole Bible. Jesus lost some disciples when He spoke of this concept too. So here’s a short explanation of what we think Jesus means by “eating His body and drinking His blood.”

Jesus describes the new covenant in the gospel of John in a different way. He calls it “eating (His) flesh and drinking (His) blood.”

53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:53-58 KJV)

Remember, this was said at a time when there was no New Testament. You might think Jesus is talking about a so-called sacrament here. But the Protestant crackers and grape juice ceremony hadn’t been created. Neither had the mystical wafer the Catholics favor. It isn’t the feast of Passover or Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 10:16), and He’s not saying we should nibble His fingers, or tap His main artery like Dracula. There is life in His flesh and blood, but He doesn’t mean the tissue and corpuscles (although we could argue that point).

63“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63 NASB95)

All Jesus is talking about is consuming God’s Words for our souls like we do food for our bodies. Not such an odd concept. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:16) Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3) and John (Revelation 10:9) did it. Our new hearts of flesh are fed by the Word and it’s pumped to our limbs for action. This ‘reading and doing’ (hear or see and obey) the whole of the Word is the basis of whole Bible Christianity. His Words – all of them – are His body and blood. It’s not just the words in red that we colored in later. The word ‘obey’ is pretty much the same as ‘abide’ or ‘remain’ and goes along with “hear and see,” and “eat and drink His blood.” Life comes with abiding in God’s Word (John 6:35).

The Law is part of His body and blood. Real communion is to hear and follow. Salvation is faith in action – to hear, obey, abide, and exchange our ways of death for God’s Way of Life. To abide in His love through His Word. Jesus isn’t talking about a picnic, or mystic wafers and wine. He is talking about obedience.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 1 section on The Believer’s Daily Bread

Third Time’s a Charm

The third time eating and drinking the whole of His body and blood from cover to cover will be even better. You will add depth to your realization that God is always in control, and you are His child not because of what you believe but because you love Him and can’t imagine leaving. You will know He loves you too, and will continue to guide you and bring forth fruit from within you, sometimes even when you don’t realize it. Connections between all of the previously misunderstood sections will become clearer. As His Word works its way through your heart, mind and literally your muscles and body parts, filling and changing you, you will wonder how you were making it in life before when you were so deaf, dumb, and blind.

Reading, and re-reading, doing and adding to our doing, over and over again, is all part of the salvation process. The more you read, the more you will understand. The more you act, the more you will understand. This is called being filled with the Word or “knowledge of His will” (Colossians 1:9-12). As your understanding grows, then teach it to others. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) the Law (a.k.a. all of the Word) will be written on your heart, and you will know it and do it without having to be told. But keep reading and doing and teaching. This is love in action – love for God, and love for each other.

4“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB95. See also Deuteronomy 11:19)

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 The Stages of Whole Bible Reading

Second Time Through

The second time through the Bible you will have a changed perspective. Many of the sections you struggled with before will start to become clearer. This is because the larger cubbyholes can handle more of what He’s trying to get across to you. The cubbyholes will also be arranged better, in more God-centered ways. You will remember a little better, and you will see connections between sections of the Word that you didn’t see before. This second time through the Bible might scare you a little, because you are getting better at taking God at His Word. You may doubt your salvation a little, because His standard will seem so much higher than you can reach. The fear of God at some point will become sharper and more defined. You will wince when some unbeliever uses His name in vain or an alleged believer speaks things that aren’t in the Word. Stay calm, focus on the Word, and brace yourself for the third time through.

First Time Jitters

The first time reading through the whole book, there will be sections you do not understand. They won’t seem to have a place in your daily living. Trust me (better yet, trust God) they will eventually make sense. What is happening is that as you read and do, your frame of reference, your worldview and the cubbyholes in your brain that you’ve been using to store information are getting enlarged and rearranged. The first time through (remember, with the determination to do what you read) is the toughest. You will stop and start and retrace your steps a lot. You will ask a lot of questions. Just be patient and give yourself time to absorb it.
‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on The Stages of Whole Bible Reading

Cosmic Ventriloquist

We need a frame of reference when God wants to speak through us. Jesus tells us that when we are brought before governors and kings for His sake we will be given what to say by the Holy Spirit.

19“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20“For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:19-20 NASB95. See also Mark 13:11 and Luke 12:11)

How will we know what to say unless we have His Words filling our hearts? I suppose He could do it like a supernatural ventriloquist, but that’s not the way He usually does things. Except maybe with donkeys (Numbers 22).

26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26 NASB95)

We aren’t dummies (I’ll refrain from the puns) so it’s much more likely that He will bring to our remembrance what has been laid up inside of us for just that occasion. If we read His Words and do them on a regular basis, the Spirit has a full storehouse of living oracles from which to draw.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Read and Strive to do

Read and Strive

Some people say lots of reading is too hard. They can’t grasp it all. There is a preference for only doing a few verses at a time and “covering them in depth.” Based on tons of experience, my opinion is this attitude is smoke and mirrors. The real reason we don’t want to do a lot of reading is we don’t want to hear His voice. Then we’d have to do something about it – either move towards Him or away.

What does examining a few verses in-depth really mean? How many times have you read a section over and over, only to find out after years of “in-depth” study there was something you missed? How many centuries have been devoted to “in-depth” analysis and commentary, and we ignore Him still? If we really want to understand the Word, we have to read a lot of it. We also have to respond. Sitting like a bump on a log and listening to a pastor or rabbi drone on and on with opinions or stories about a bicycle trip through Ireland is not going to produce what God wants. It certainly doesn’t make fruit. All we’ve got to do is look at the church honestly and we can see that. Eating His body and drinking His blood is the ticket to life.

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 Read and Strive to Do

Right Standing

God never intends for His people to stand in one place once we gain right standing with Him. He wants us to move. The beginning of our movement should be in taking on all of His ways as spelled out in His Law. It is the best discipleship system ever designed, and is guaranteed to produce fruit that is pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit uses it to tutor us in the way we should go, and when we get ‘all grown up,’ it still functions to guard and protect. His Word is the foundation on which we can build a house that honors Him in every area. His Law is love in action, and through it we learn how to love Him and how to love others as well.