Twelve Pilliars (3) Character and Unity
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today I will review two more core values, which Dan Juster has described in "The Twelve Pillars." You can find this paper on the web site, TikkunAmerica.org.
Dan and Patty will be visiting us in August, and you're also invited to a Tikkun Institute on "Effective Jewish Evangelism," which is the same weekend.
These twelve pillars are core principles about which the leaders in our Tikkun America network agree.
I hope you will, too.
Like columns in an ancient synagogue, these pillars hold up the structure of the building. 

As it says in Ephesians 2:20-22, "You have been built on the foundation made up of the shlichim and prophets, with Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone. In Him the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple for the Lord. In Him, you also are being built together into God's dwelling place in the Spirit."
Last month I covered five of the pillars: Kingdom, worship, community, power & apostolic order.
You can find those two teachings on our podcast, and on our website.
Today I will cover two more: character and unity.  If the building of the holy temple is be strong and endure, our character and unity must be steady and firm. V'eemru?  (And let us say?)
For the holy temple that Messiah Yeshua is constructing is not a physical edifice, but a Beit Mikdash or holy house made of living stones.  V'eemru?

As 1 Peter 2:5 says, "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house-a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua."
Dead stones will generally stay put once you lay them on top of one another.
But living stones are not another story-they won't fit together unless they get along, and they won't stay together unless they have mature character, and even then, they must have a high vision for unity.
The history of God's people is full of stories of people pursuing their own agendas dividing the body; and also well-meaning people who lacked a sufficient vision for unity to stay together.
But let us remember that it is Messiah Yeshua who prayed that we may be one, as He and the Father are One.  V'eemru?  If God's people would humble themselves, and pursue Yeshua's agenda rather than their own, and take on more and more of the strength of His character, then His will would be done, and His Kingdom would come, on earth as it is in heaven. V'eemru?

Pillar Five: The Kingdom is Expressed in a Life of Character
Understanding the Good News of the Kingdom leads to a way of life that we call kingdom life.
Though we are in the world, we are not to be "of the world"-we are to live in the Kingdom of God.
When we exhibit kingdom life in our character and our relationships, then others who of the world
will be able to see the Kingdom of Messiah Yeshua.  V'eemru?
When Yeshua proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God, He also came with commandments.

In Matthew 28:18-20 we read, "Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
If we are going to keep the Great Commission of Yeshua, and make disciples, then we must be His disciples, reflecting His character, by "teaching them to observe all I have commanded you." Veemru?
The commandments of Yeshua are the foundation for character training-we become more and more like Him, when we walk as He walked, keeping the commandments as He teaches us to keep them.
We are able to grow in obedience to His commandments by depending upon His transforming grace.  Yeshua calls us to identify with his crucifixion-through which the deeds of the flesh are put to death.

Romans 8:13 teaches us, "For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live."
Imaginative identification in prayer with Messiah's crucifixion is a key to transformation.
The cross is the place of the forgiveness of our sins.  There we can confess our sins, for there Yeshua said, "Father, forgive them," and there the suffering servant made his life a guilt offering (Isa. 53:10).
Yeshua calls us, not just to be onlookers of the cross, or petitioners at the feet of His cross, but to get up on the cross with Him.  There, on the cross, we can die to our old fleshly egos and selfish desires.
We're not talking about medieval self-flagellation here, but spiritual identification with Messiah.
Because God loves us so much, He allows us to become one with Him-on the cross of His Son.
V'eemru?  Is that making sense? Identification with the Lamb of God is something we can do often, every day, dying to our flesh and living the way Yeshua lives, in obedience to the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:5-6, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and shalom."
At Shulkhan Adonai-the Lord's Table-we participate in the broken body and shed blood of Yeshua.
Not only are we called to die with Him; we are also called to live with Him in resurrection power-constantly being filled with the Spirit to motivate us to obedience.
Self-effort will utterly fail; but the power of the resurrection will reproduce Messiah's life in us.

Yeshua made it clear that His commandments go to the heart and intent of all of the commandments of the Hebrew Scriptures. So we are to study and apply them in a way that fits the New Covenant order.

In Jeremiah 31:32, Hashem promises to "put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts."
Yeshua's teaching in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount gives us the pattern for such application.

Matthew 5:17-18 says, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fill full. Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass."
How can believers be anti-nomian (anti-law, anti-Torah) after reading these words of the Master?
Only by misunderstanding Paul, e.g., in Romans 6:14-15, "We are not under law but under grace."
What does this mean?  We are no longer under the old covenant of Moses, in which Israel received
the commandments of Torah, but not the ability to keep them, and so inevitably the came under
the curse of the Torah-destruction of the Temple, exile from the land, and terrible affliction.
Instead we are under the new covenant of Messiah, in which Israel (the disciples) received grace-forgiveness and atonement, as well as the grace to keep the commandments of Torah from the heart.

For Paul also taught, in Romans 8:4, "the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." V'eemru?
Yeshua goes on to detail the greater righteousness that is not understood and practiced by the Scribes and Pharisees. The Sermon on the Mount details a wonderful life of character.
These commandments inform a way of life that is our witness to the character of the Kingdom.

First, in the Beatitudes, Yeshua teaches that we are no longer victims.
Because the Kingdom has come in Him, blessed are the poor, blessed are those who mourn, and blessed are those who are persecuted-especially those who are persecuted for Messiah's sake!
If you have been wounded or are persecuted, are no longer subject to their old circumstances.
You are blessed to identify with the Messiah of Israel! Your life is no longer to please yourself or men, but to do God's will, and you have been empowered to carry it out. V'eemru?
Martin Luther King, Jr. learned this lesson well: not only do "I have a dream," but it becomes a reality in the Kingdom, where we have been delivered from the prison of poverty, mourning and persecution. [s] "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)
Both Moshe and Paul called for the circumcision of the heart, so that we might keep Torah as God really intended.
Suppose you ask an unbeliever, have you kept the 10 commandments?
He might respond, "Well, I've never murdered anyone!"  Right!
A disciple is not only one who does not murder, but get rid of the anger and hatred in his heart.
After all, the origin of murder is anger and hatred.  Because Cain would not let go of the anger and hatred lurking at the door of his heart, he murdered his little brother.
Instead, the disciple is to love his enemies, pray for them, and even to do good to them.  V'eemru?

I think of the testimony of Rose Price.  Rose had been a victim of the holocaust.
But when she put her trust in Messiah Yeshua, she was no longer a victim-His truth set her free!
When Yeshua commanded her to forgive the Nazis, Rose admits that was hard.
But she obeyed, and obediently went to Germany, to proclaim forgiveness.
And many former Nazis came to her, seeking forgiveness-even a guard at the concentration camp where Rose had been-and they were all wonderfully saved and transformed.

Not only so, but many Jewish seekers have come to faith through Rose's testimony of forgiveness, including Jim Adler, aka Jim Jacobs, the author of A Lawyer's Case for God.
Such is the Kingdom transforming power-on Messiah's cross, we are no longer victims, but victors!
In Yeshua the very source of the sins is dealt a blow and victory is ours-victory over lust, over unfaithfulness, over dishonesty.  Matthew 5:37 says, "Just let your yes be yes, and your no, no." 
In the Kingdom, we no longer need oaths to prove that we are speaking truth. The disciple of Yeshua is fully honest and carries out his word! V'eemru?

The disciple of Yeshua is delivered of all religious pretension and pride, for the praise of men.
In prayer, fasting, and giving alms, our motive is please God and to express the love of God.

We pray according the model of Yeshua, for the Kingdom of our Father to come, and His will done,
on earth as it is in heaven. V'eemru? This prayer means that we seek Him first of all, then we seek to establish his order in every sphere of life, and lastly we seek to extend the Kingdom to the lost.
The Lord's Prayer is not just for the second coming! 
It's a prayer of establishing His Kingdom on earth now,
so that we may prepare for and even hasten His coming. V'eemru?

The disciple of Yeshua has been delivered from greed or worrying, for their treasure is in heaven. Those called to make money, multiply it for the Kingdom. Those called to modest lives live unto him. Yeshua commands us not to worry over our material conditions! If we seek his Kingdom first, He will provide.  This week, I was praying about my investments-now than I am retiring from Lehigh,
I have more decisions to make!  What I heard from the Lord is: It really doesn't matter that much how
I invest, since He has promised to provide for my needs and for my family.  So invest with happiness -there will be plenty enough in the Kingdom!  "For he owns the cattle on a thousand hills." V'eemru?

The disciple of Yeshua judges not to condemn others-for Messiah himself came not to judge,
but to forgive, and final judgment belongs to God.  Instead, we are to seek the best for all.
Disciples are to keep on praying and seeking and knocking, and extending the Kingdom of God.
We are to build our lives on His teaching-for His word alone is the solid rock of security. V'eemru?


Godly character strengthens our commitments to other people and to our responsibilities.
Yeshua's commandments begin with V'ahavta et Adonai Elohecha-you shall love your God.
Then He commands love for our neighbors, with sacrificial love for the brethren-willing to lay down our lives for our friends in Messiah-and even and love for our enemies.
Character enables one to maintain lifetime covenant relationships-like Ruth and Naomi and Boaz.
Character builds integrity in business and finance.
Character enables right relationships to authority in every sphere: family, congregation, apostolic stream and civil government. Character enables those in authority to handle it with godly fear and love, while those under authority are strong in conscience, without servility.
Character enables us to serve one another and to honor one another.
Character and the fruit of the Spirit grows out of a full commitment to do all that Yeshua commanded and teach others the same. When we do so, we can be confident, for He promises to be with us always.

Pillar Seven: The Kingdom is Expressed in a Quest for Unity

In John 17:21, Yeshua makes the remarkable request in prayer, "That they may be one as you Father and I are one, that the World might believe that You have sent me."
Here we see that the unity of Yeshua's followers is a key to the redemption of the whole world.
Moreover, this unity brings blessing and fruit at every level.
A family in true unity has tremendous power as a force for the Kingdom.
An eldership in unity also has great power as does a an apostolic stream of leaders and congregations.
Through our unity in Tikkun, the Kingdom is expanding across America, in Israel, in Eastern Europe, and even in Africa-as we heard from Ron Cantor.

Psalm 133 says that when, "brothers dwell together in unity, there God has commanded a blessing." This unity is love that flows supernaturally from our relationship with God in Messiah Yeshua. Yeshua's prayer ultimately will link true disciples in unity throughout the whole world.
His prayer for unity must be fulfilled before His second coming-for it is both His will and the will of the Father-and His will must be done, on earth as it is heaven. V'eemru?
Isn't it cool that we get to participate in hastening His return?

Connected to Kingdom unity is five-fold ministry, especially authority and leadership.
For under five-fold equipping ministries, we will all come to the unity of the faith and grow into a mature man, fully equipped.
Such unity may seem outlandishly impossible, but when Yeshua prays, He calls upon God's power.
Our part is to believe that it will happen, agree with it in prayer, and actively seek to bring it about.
So how do we work for unity? First in our own congregations, we are to pray for unity and to come against the attacking spirits of evil that bring division, gossip and disloyalty.  V'eemru?
We seek to support the vision and direction of leaders where it is not out of line with Scripture.
Second, beyond the local congregation, unity will be expressed in praying for the unity of the congregations in our cities and regions. Congregational leaders will be drawn together for prayer and cooperative ministry. So I pray together with pastors in One Voice and Share the Power.
The testimony of Pastor Jack Groblewski of New Covenant in Bethlehem and Pastor Jay Maldenado of Resurrection Worship Center in Allentown is that we have reached a phase of unity where pastors no longer see each other as the competition, but as partners.  Now we must press into a place of revival, which comes with boldness for the Kingdom. 

With such boldness, we offer the ministry of Becoming One, based on Jack Jacobs' book, which seeks to restore and strengthen unity between Christians and Messianic Jews.  If you would like to join in prayer or serving in the Becoming One ministry, please let me or Pericles know.
Unity is not easy when we have so many denominations and winds of doctrine.
Nevertheless, in the Spirit of Messiah's love and grace, we can reach out to others with times of joint prayer and cooperative effort.
The idea of a sloppy unity where there is a watering down of convictions is not what we have in mind. Rather, the Spirit God can bring us closer and closer in our convictions and can help us to cooperate in mutually beneficial efforts for the Kingdom. 
As Messianic believers, we need to show our unity with the larger community of believers and reject sectarian attitudes.  V'eemru?  Last summer, Nancy Hahn gave a strong prophetic word about how
Beit Simcha can have a key role in unstopping the wells of revival in our region. 
Anyone excited about that?  Then it will take some commitment.
Ephesians 4:3 urges us: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
This quest for unity should characterize our whole lives.
It is our quest in our families, in our elderships, in our congregations, in the congregations of our cities and beyond. We will pray and talk until we are in unity.
As Asher Intrater said, we must pray-talk, pray-talk and pray-talk until we have unity.
Godly character includes perseverance! We must be focused and unwilling to be denied.
It is a key for the salvation of the Jewish people in our area.
In this unity great power is released for salvation for all in the region.

Ed Silvoso has shown in his book That None Might Perish, that strong, sacrificial and prayerful unity has always been the precursor of great success in evangelism.
That's the record of Acts, as well as the Moravians who brought their witness to the Lehigh Valley.
When the congregations in an area are in unity, they have the power to bind the princes of darkness over a territory.
Colossians 2:15 says, "After disarming the principalities and powers, Messiah made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross."
When we come together in unity at the Lord's Table, together with Messiah, we disarm the principalities and powers over our region, and release the power of God to revive the people.
Let's have conviction to be in the quest for unity.  V'eemru?

In all of these matters of pillars and convictions, together with Dan, I am seeking and praying
that you all would be knowledgeable and experience the Kingdom power of God.
V'eemru?