Commencing Toward One New Humanity
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Saturday, January 28, 2012

Avinu sheba-Shamayim-Our Father in Heaven-stands ready to welcome us into our eternal home.

Messiah Yeshua has been building many new wings and extensions onto Abba's mansion!

And it's built to last through any stormy blast-because it's built on solid rock. V'eemru? (And .)

I believe that our Lord is building Beit Simcha, our House of Joy, as a house within His house.

Our eternal home is not just on the other side, in the bye-and-bye; it's also here and now.

Eternal life begins as soon as you put your trust in Messiah Yeshua as your Lord. V'eemru?

And what we build here and now, on the rock of Messiah Yeshua the Word made flesh like us, is also our eternal home.  It's built of living stones-of our relationships of love in our Messiah & our Abba.?That's why I look forward to welcoming Mark and Ranj, Bobby and Conni, Lawrence and others into Beit Simcha, and will keep welcoming other friends-old and new-to celebrate with us in our house of joy today.

Beit Simcha is a house within His house because His vision & our vision is bigger than Beit Simcha.?The vision of Beit Simcha is connected to Messiah's vision for the "one new man."

Ephesians 2:21-22 envisions the one new humanity as a humungous building project:?"In Messiah Yeshua 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."?

Herod the Great started building the temple that the disciples of Yeshua thought was great and magnificent.  Yeshua wasn't so impressed, prophesying that the whole thing would be torn down. Herod's temple took about 70 years to complete-and the Romans demolished it a few years later.  But God has been building a bigger and much more magnificent temple for a few thousand years.

Only the eternal Beit Hamikdash is not built of Jerusalem limestone but 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."

Today we will celebrate the living stones, yet more than that, we'll celebrate the spiritual house, which Messiah Yeshua is building up, person by person, with the mortar of covenant faithfulness.

Maybe some of you wondered, why did sang the hymn, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past,"

As I was preparing for this Shabbat, Rebbitzin Pamela mentioned this hymn, stirring within her soul.?I'm sure Bennett knows it, since we sing it at Lehigh's commencement ceremony every year.

This year is a sort of commencement for me, since I have graduated from Lehigh to serve as your full-time Messianic Rabbi-Pamela says Bible translation is my all-consuming hobby, for now.

Let's think of our 20th anniversary as a commencement.  We'll do some looking back.

Many of you are not familiar with how Beit Simcha got started and kept going.

And we'll do some commencing forward. We've got more building to do! V'eemru?

From the beginning, the Lord has been building Beit Simcha to reflect His one new humanity.

Not to us, but to Your name be the glory, Adonai!

When we started, Pamela and I thought it we were just gathering a few like-minded people into our home for a monthly fellowship.  But the Lord immediately started connecting with something wider and broader, higher and deeper, something both Jewish and Gentile, becoming one new humanity.

On the Jewish side, within a couple of weeks after our first meeting-seven people showed up-Rabbi Jeffrey Forman of Beth Yeshua called me to invite me to attend a Messianic Rabbis conference at Beth Yeshua.  I was a bit surprised-I certainly didn't think of myself as a budding Rabbi!

But at the time, my parents lived quite near Beth Yeshua and were willing to watch baby Adam.

So we went and were deeply impressed by the depth of prayer and commitment of the people there.

They began to encourage me about the "work" I had started-I didn't even know what a "work" was, let alone had idea that I had started anything so ambitious. So others congratulated me for starting a new Messianic congregation in the Lehigh Valley-to which I responded, "Whoa, I didn't think I was starting a congregation-if the Lord wants to start one, I might want to support it."  Then another Rabbi else said to me, "You know, the one who starts a work, usually winds up leading the work."

To which I responded, "Oy gevolt! What I have gotten myself into?"

But ready or not, it was started.  And soon folks form Beth Yeshua began to support it-Rabbi Jeffrey Forman and John Rose and others came up to teach in our living room in Bethlehem.

I began to attend Rabbi's conferences and visit other congregations in the northeast (Eddie S..), ?to learn what other Messianic congregations look like, and the vision for Beit Simcha took shape.

On the Gentile side, the very same month that Beit Simcha started was the birth of Share the Power.

Last week, I gave the Aaronic benediction to close Share the Power's 20th anniversary celebration.

I mentioned that Beit Simcha was also celebrating our 20th anniversary.

Nor was it a coincidence-Pamela and I heard about Share the Power and got involved immediately with the Leighton Ford outreach.  I soon joined Joe Kricks and others in prayer in the Iacocca Tower overlooking the Lehigh Valley.

Also, we had the gracious support of Pastor Carl Kauffeldt of what was then Bethlehem Baptist Church, where we were attending. He strongly endorsed us, even encouraging us to take any of his congregants who wanted to join us.  We didn't want to be too greedy-we just took Barbara Sitler!

His church was one that hosted the Lehigh Valley Coalition of Prayer Warriors, which Nancy Hahn had formed around the same time that Beit Simcha started. I remember telling Nancy how thankful I was, because we needed and valued their intercessory prayer.?Nancy has always had a heart for the Jew and the one new man, and she started coming, and brought Sandy Zettlemoyer and other friends.  It's such a blessing that Nancy and Sandy have rejoined us!

From the beginning I saw, and it's important that you all see, that Beit Simcha is connected to things that are bigger than us- to Tikkun Ministries, which connects to Messianic congregations all over the country and in Israel-as well as to the One Voice Pastor's Network, which is where I met Pastor Tim Helms and others-are you all seeing?

So, from the beginning, the Lord has been building Beit Simcha to reflect His one new humanity.

Let's look at the one new man in Ephesians 2:13-16: "But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility- the law code of ordinances contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two, making shalom."

There's so much to say about this passage-I may say more in future sermons-but today I will just focus on the three words, "one new man."

First, one.  Like the Hebrew word echad, the Greek word hena expresses a composite unity or whole.

The whole does not obliterate the parts. The one new humanity is not a carton of homogenized milk.

The glory of our unity is in the dynamic tension of our diversity.

You could really see this unity in diversity on display at the Praise and Power Concert that Share the Power and One Voice leaders co-sponsored: African-American, Hispanic and Anglo pastors and worship teams-Pastor Jack Groblewski good-naturedly called himself the Polish delegation.

And the climax of the evening-the planners really honored us by giving us this segment-was when Rabbi Mark and yours truly and our worship team came up on the stage, and as soon as I said, ?"And now for the Jewish piece!" A roar went up from the sanctuary to heaven. A huge anointing of the Ruach fell upon us.  They said they'd never seen Art Miekowski sing and dance like that before, and what joy there was as when Mark and I joined shoulders-or rather, his shoulder joined my hip, or something like that..

The point is: the "one new man" celebrates how the many, unique parts become one, without losing their unique identities. Indeed, the theme for Share the Power for the year,is "Becoming One," and the first Pastors, Pepsi and Pizza gathering of the year was held at Beth El Gibor, where pastors and other ministry leaders to participate in a special Becoming One study. Cool!

Another Becoming One study has started at Grace Deliverance Church-Pastor Mel Tatum came to our joint coffeehouse at Macungie Christian Community and then came out for a morning service.

I hear at least 65 people are coming out for the Becoming One study on Wednesday evenings! Cool!

When Messiah Yeshua made the two-Jew and Gentile-He removed the middle wall of separation that was set up to keep the Gentiles out of the inner court of the Temple.

In the new spiritual Temple that he is building out of living stones, everyone who puts his trust in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, is welcome. V'eemru?

Yet when Yeshua made the two one, He did not erase the Jewish side!

He does not agree with Christian who have demanded that Jews prove that they are now Christian-here, eat a ham sandwich!

When the Spirit of God showed Peter a vision of animals-unclean according to Torah-Peter did not conclude that the vision meant that he should violate the commandments of God.

As he was pondering the vision, the Spirit showed him the interpretation by telling him to go to the house of a Roman centurion in Caesarea. In those days, Jews considered most Gentiles to be pagan, hence unclean.  But this Roman centurion and the friends gathered in his home were God-fearers, revering the God of Israel.  So the Holy Spirit was teaching Peter not to call these people unclean.

?So Peter went into their house, proclaimed the Good News of Messiah Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit fell on all of them, so supernaturally, that it was obvious to Peter that God had accepted the Gentiles, without their first getting circumcised and becoming Jews!

That was the beginning of the "one new humanity." But note that Peter was still a Jew, he still kept kosher, and so were the other Jewish disciples of Yeshua-in fact, Acts 21 records that there were tens of thousands of Torah-observant Jews in Jerusalem when Paul came with his offering.

So can we agree, the "one new man" does not obliterate Jewish expression, it honors it! V'eemru?

Second, new. It's new, because Yeshua is continually making it new, building it out of livings stones.

It was new when Paul wrote the Ephesians in the first century, and it's still new today, because we're barely getting a glimpse of the glorious new unity of the one new humanity in Messiah. V'eemru?

We've spent two thousand years mostly fighting and killing each other-the Jew first, and also the Gentile. We live in wonderful times, when Gentiles can welcome Jews, as Jews.  V'eemru?

It's new, and yet it's also ancient.

The one new humanity is what God had in mind when he first called Abram, and promised him this blessing in Genesis 12:3, "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

And God repeated the same promise to Abram's on Isaac and his grandson Jacob/Israel.

God's promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was two-fold: 1) a nation Israel in a land of Israel ?and 2) "In you all the families of he earth will be blessed."

It's an ancient promise.  Fulfilling this promise is always and continually new.

We see this newness with each new person who joins us-the Jew and also the Gentile.

Thirdly, man, or humanity. The one new humanity is what God had in mind when He first created us in His image-male and female He created us.  Only now are we beginning to a glimpse of the glorious unity of male and female-truly cherishing and honoring each other. V'eemru?

We fulfill the vision of the one new humanity when we love one another as Messiah loves us, indeed, when prefer one another above ourselves.?We fulfill the vision of the one new humanity when Jews welcome Gentiles into Beit Simcha, without partiality or favoritism.

We fulfill the vision of the one new humanity when Gentiles affirm Jews as Jews, joining with us in singing our ancient prayers from the Siddur, which Yeshua and his disciples also sang in the Temple and in the synagogues.  When Paul went first to the synagogues in every city, he met a remnant of Jews ready to receive the Good News of Messiah Yeshua, and he also met many God-fearers-Gentiles who revered the God of Israel, and who joined Jews in chanting these ancient prayers.?If they couldn't follow the Hebrew, they joined in as much as possible, in Greek.

We fulfill the vision of the one new humanity when we affirm our vision:?"We are a community welcoming Jews and Gentiles, rejoicing, worshiping the God of Israel, and loving one another!"