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Faithlife

Erev Yom Kippur 2017/5778

Why In The World - Part 4  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  2:11:38
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Religion has a place, second place.

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Welcome to Beth Messiah for Yom Kippur 5778! We are in part 4 of a 7 part of series. The longest series so far at Beth Messiah extending over four years. I just teach one message per year on this series. Obviously, I am slow writer of sermons.
The theme of this whole series is basically this, that God became one of us. We believe and it's hard to believe, but we believe that God showed up on the planet in the form of Yeshua and he was born as a baby. He didn't show up as an angel. He grew up like a normal person except he was the son of God. And it's almost impossible for us to wrap our minds around that but that's what we believe.
And the reason we believe it isn't simply because we just ran out of normal things to believe. It I better than that. We believe it because Jewish eyewitnesses like Jacob, Matthew, Shimon Cepha, Mark, Miriam, Yochanan believed they encountered God in a bod.
There were eyewitness of these things actually said it this way. John said (, ) and "The word," talking about God in sort of a big Greek idea of content and cosmos said "That the word became flesh and dwelt" or camped out or tabernacle or moved in to the condo next door "among us." And that these people who actually spent time with Jesus believed that Jesus was God in a body and that God showed up and lived among them.
John 1:14 TLV
14 And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:17 TLV
17 Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.
So the question we've been asking is, "Why?" Why would God becomes on of us? Why did Yeshua, God in a body, why did Yeshua come us one of us to live us one of us among us? And we've said there's several reasons why.
Year 1:To bring us into the gravitational center of Israel’s hope.
Year 2: To usher in the beginning of a cosmic victory.
Year 3: To elevate the dignity of each one of us. Yeshua didn't simply come to give an explanation about God. Yeshua said, "I am the explanation of God. The closer you get to me, the closer you get to understanding God. Stop short of me and you'll miss something. Move past me and you're moving away from something." Yeshua actually claimed to be God in the flesh.
The week 1 of the series we said this. We said the first reason was that to communicate and demonstrate what God is like. And we discovered in those first two weeks that the closer you get to Yeshua, the closer you get to God. That Yeshua didn't simply come as an explan... Have it with an explanation of God. Yeshua said, "I am the explanation of God. The closer you get to me, the closer you get to understanding God. Stop short of me and you'll miss something. Move past me and you're moving away from something." Yeshua actually claimed to be God in the flesh.
Year 4: to put religion in its place. But tonight, perhaps the most challenging idea of all, why did Yeshua come in to the world?
But today, perhaps the most challenging idea of all, why did Yeshua come in to the world?
Yeshua came in to the world to put religion in its place, to put religion in its place. Now this is very important. Religion has a place and religion actually plays a very important role in our culture and in our society.
Yeshua came in to the world to put religion in its place, to put religion in its place. Now this is very important. Religion has a place and religion actually plays a very important role in our culture and in our society. And I'm not even talking about the The Messiahian religion, just all religion because all of us have questions we don't have answers for and religion gives us sort of a context for answering some of those questions. What happens when we die? Will I ever see my mother again? Will I see my mother-in-law again? How big is heaven? How do we... Am I gonna look the same? How old will I be? Religion gives us answers to questions like, how am I suppose to treat people? How am I suppose to conduct my marriage? How am I suppose to raise my kids? And religion is systematic. In fact we love many of the systematic theology. Systematic theology is basically a bunch of books where somebody tried to answer all the questions, reduce all the mystery to nothing and make it systematized. We all need principles to live by and religion gives us principles and laws and rules to live by. We have ethical questions, moral questions and religion provides as with some ethical and moral boundaries.
Religion is important because all of us have questions we don't have answers for and religion gives us sort of a context for answering some of those questions. What happens when we die? Will I ever see my mother again? Will I see my mother-in-law again? How big is heaven? How do we... Am I gonna look the same? How old will I be? Religion gives us answers to questions like, how am I suppose to treat people? How am I suppose to conduct my marriage? How am I suppose to raise my kids? And religion is systematic. Guys in seminary love systematic theology. Systematic theology is basically a bunch of books where somebody tried to answer all the questions, reduce all the mystery to nothing and make it systematized. We all need principles to live by and religion gives us principles and laws and rules to live by. We have ethical questions, moral questions and religion provides as with some ethical and moral boundaries.
And the other thing religion does, religion brings some certainty into an uncertain world. So religious systems are important. Religion has its place. But Yeshua showed up to put religion in its place. Let me explain why that's important. Here's why.
When religion takes first place, it begins flexing its muscles at the expense of mercy. Every religion when religion is on the top shelf, when religion is most important, when religion moves in to first place, mercy always, always, always suffers. Just think about some of the phrases that we've heard associated with religion. Child sacrifice, child sacrifice, honor killings, honor killings, holy wars, "crucify him, crucify him, crucify him", the religious people shouted related to Yeshua.
I love history like many of you love history. I'll get fascinated with a period of history and I just read everything I can find about it. So when I was living Chicago going to college I was all about crusader literature. Largely due to my Jewish studies program.
So I was fascinated with crusader literature and so you can find this, none of this is hard to find, so I read several versions of the speeches that Pope Urban II gave in the year 1095 that launched the crusades. And what happened is the pope and I'm not picking on Catholics because remember this time in history all there were were Catholics. The pope was it, that was all of the largest organized religious system in the world. And so they decided to launch the crusades and the pope was the one to do it so he created a speech and he gave the speech originally in France and then he moved around to different large cities and large populated areas of Europe primarily, and he gave different versions of the speech.
He said this, "On this account, I, or rather the Lord", speaking on behalf of God, "Beseech you as The Messiah's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever
Here is what He said:
He said this, "On this account, I, or rather the Lord", speaking on behalf of God, "Beseech you as The Messiah's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever
On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands ... All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested.
in other words "Take what I'm about to say and let's distribute it", "whatever rank, whether they be foot soldiers, or knights, the poor, the rich, to carry aid promptly to those The Messiahians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends." Basically we're gonna do sort of a ethnic cleansing. We're gonna go to the Holy Land, and we're gonna get rid of an entire race of people.
And look at this. "All who died by the way", that is on the way," you don't even have to get there, "All who died by the way, whether by land or by sea", you know, your ship sinks, you never even made it, "Or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins." Now I'm telling you they all perked up at this because the nobleman, the lords, and the merchants and the wealthy, they knew their lives were full of sin. And every time they went and heard sermons, the sermons were primarily about hell and punishment and fire and this is how they fund raised, 'cause you could buy your way out of hell and death and fire and purgatory. So there was this obsession with the afterlife.
rank", in other words "Take what I'm about to say and let's distribute it", "whatever rank, whether they be foot soldiers, or knights, the poor, the rich, to carry aid promptly to those The Messiahians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends." Basically we're gonna do sort of a ethnic cleansing. We're gonna go to the Holy Land, and we're gonna get rid of an entire race of people.
And the Pope says, "If you will go on Crusade, you have... ", check it out, not when you get there, not if you're successful, "If you just sign up and go on Crusade, you have immediate remission of sin". You can have your cake and eat it too! You can sin your way all the way up to your last day, and if you're on Crusade, you go to heaven and all your sins are erased. So, I'm tellin' you they signed up like crazy! And then, you read it for yourself, they sinned their way from France and Germany and other places we would consider in modern-day Europe, all the way to Constantinople, basically almost destroyed the city of Constantinople, murdered hundreds and thousands of Jews, all along the way till they finally got 'em across the river into the Holy Land, and then they murdered Muslims all the way to Jerusalem and finally took the City of Jerusalem, thinking, "Hey, we can do whatever we want. I'm on Crusade, and my sins have been absolved. I'm going to heaven no matter what I do." In the name of Yeshua! Whew!
Moreover, The Messiah commands it! In fact, if you know anything about the Crusader literature in the times of the Crusades, the marching orders or the banner on which they went on these Crusades was, "God wills it! God wills it! God wills it!" And it probably came, originated from statements such as this.
I know this is an extreme example but this is at the heart of one of the problems of putting religion in the wrong place: you will use rules to hurt instead of heal. Any religion when it becomes the priority, when religion becomes first place, mercy always suffers.
There's another problem with religion. Religion, you'll get this, collapses under the weight of the real world. Now, this is kind of personal for me, and what I mean by this, is this, that you hear me preach sermons, or you hear preachers preach sermons and we say things like this, "If you wanna have a successful family, number one, number two, number three, see, right on number one, two, three." Then you go home to your family, it's like, "Okay, this isn't working."... Now your first born, they go one, two, three, and the rest of your kids it's just chaos, okay? And it's like, "What's up?", because religious people and religious speakers and teachers and religion in general, they make it all systematized. They make it somewhat simple. If you do... This will happen. If you do this, God will do this. If you don't do this...
But under the weight of real life, the real world, religion collapses, because real life isn't like religion.
But under the weight of real life, the real world, religion collapses, because real life isn't like religion. Real life is unsystematic, it's inconsistent, it's random and it's messy. This explains why the rule-maker in your family is always upset about something. Then you grow up and one of your parents was the rule-maker, and one was the grace-giver, and the rule-maker was like, "Why can't these kids da da da... Why can't we just obey the rules, we got the rules?" And it's like they're
Real life is unsystematic, unpredictable, it's inconsistent, it's spontaneous and it's messy. This explains why the rule-maker in your family is always upset about something. Then you grow up and one of your parents was the rule-maker, and one was the grace-giver, and the rule-maker was like, "Why can't these kids da da da... Why can't we just obey the rules, we got the rules?" And it's like they're always upset about somethin'. Your dad was always mad, your mom was always mad, and your other parent was like, "Hey they'll be all right." Because they just wanted everything to be orderly, right?
always upset about somethin'. Your dad was always mad, your mom was always mad, and your other parent was like, "Hey they'll be all right." Because they just wanted everything to be orderly, right?
The other problem with religion, and this is one reason why some of you haven't been to church in a long time, and honestly, if this is your experience, I don't blame you. I get that, okay? When religion is in first place, the leaders become self-righteous, and the followers become hypocrites. Mm-hmm, can't believe I even said that, huh? Now how do I know this?
Because this is just the way religion works. When religion is number one, here's what happens. Leaders become self-righteous because leaders, and I'm a leader, you know, what leaders do, when they get this wrong, leaders dumb down the rules of religion, whether it's Islam, Judaism, or whatever, list all the rest. The leaders dumb-down the rules to where the leaders feel like they're making at least an A, maybe an A-, sometimes an A+, they dumb down the rules to where they're keepin' all the rules, because it's all about the rules. And so they become self-righteous, and they become angry. There's a correlation between self-righteous and angry. Let me tell you why self- righteous people are angry. Because they secretly wish they could commit the sins they are overtly and publicly mad about.
So they see people doing all this sin. It's like "God is against... " So they're just mad all the time because they can’t have it. That's self-righteous. I'm telling you, when religion takes first place, you're just gonna have mad, self-righteous leaders. And then all the followers have to pretend like they're following the rules and they're not. So everybody's a hypocrite. So, yeah, churches are full of hypocrites. All religious gatherings are full of hypocrites when religion takes first place.
Yeshua came to put religion in its place.
Ha-foke-ba
Please here me, religion does have a place. That place is a second place.
Mark 2:23–27 TLV
23 Now it happened on Shabbat that Yeshua was going through the grain fields; and His disciples began to make their way, plucking the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not permitted on Shabbat?” 25 And He said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he was in need, and he and those with him became hungry? 26 How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was kohen gadol and ate the showbread, which is permitted only for the kohanim to eat, and gave some even to those who were with him?” 27 Then He said to them, “Shabbat was made for man, and not man for Shabbat.
Now here's the deal. This is interesting, isn't it? Here's the deal. When you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, here's what you find: Yeshua was in a constant kind of a running gun battle.
Now here's the deal. This is interesting, isn't it? Here's the deal. When you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, here's what you find: Yeshua was in a constant kind of a running gun battle.
Yeshua is in constant conflict with the religious leaders over what we're talking about. Here's what happened. Yeshua and the religious leaders believed the law of Moses was important and Yeshua and the religious leaders also believed that people were important. These were values. What they argued over is, how do you prioritize these values? Now you do this all the time. Everybody prioritizes values all the times. I need to eat, I need to work. Eating's important. Working is important. Today I think I'll work instead of eat. Tomorrow I think I'll eat instead of work, then eat some more and just ignore work, right? Spending time with your friends, doing homework. Both are important. Okay, I gotta prioritize. Today, I gotta spend time with my friends. Nope. Today, I'm gonna study. I need to spend time with my family. I need to work. I need to spend time with my family. I need to work. Some days you prioritize one over the other. Some days you prioritize the other one over the other.
other. Some days you prioritize the other one over the other.
Here's what this was about. Yeshua and the religious leaders were in a constant debate or a constant struggle not over is the law important. Not over should we keep the 10 commandments.
Everybody believed that was true. The conflict was over which one was most important, which one was first place.
Yeshua consistently prioritized people over his own religion and he's the son of God. He prioritized people over his own religion, his own customs and his own traditions. And the pharisees just couldn't get it. It's like, "Wait a minute. You claimed to be from God. You claim to be a Rabbi and yet you claim... " And Yeshua would say, "Don't anybody mess with the law of Moses. Don't you try to change the law of Moses. If you try to change the law of Moses, you are least in the kingdom of Heaven." And yet at the same time, Yeshua would come along and seem to disregard the law for the sake of some poor soul or somebody in need and they just couldn't get it.
So Yeshua would heal on the Sabbath and they would go, "See, you are breaking the Sabbath." Well, there's nothing in the Old Testament, "Thou shalt not heal on the Sabbath," because nobody could heal anyway. So... But they felt like this was work. So they were constantly butting heads with Yeshua because of what he did on the Sabbath. "Clearly you are breaking the law. Clearly you are disregarding the law of Moses. Clearly you are out of sync with God's will." And Yeshua would just shake his head. Finally he decided he had enough of that.
So one day, he and the disciples, they're walking along. They're going somewhere. There's a crowd following 'cause everywhere Yeshua went there was a crowd. And part of the crowd were the religious leaders kind of trying to catch him. And so his disciples they walk over to a wheat field they're walking by and the begin to break off the top of the wheat and eat the heads or the kernels that hadn't blossomed or hadn't... Before they could be harvested and planted. It's kind of a snack. It's like free food along the way. The pharisees are like, "Look... " And it's the Sabbath... "Your followers are harvesting on the Sabbath." Yeshua is like, "They're not harvesting." "They're harvest... "No!" "Well, symbolically they're doing work. It's like they're harvesting." It's like, "Really? So Yeshua does his Yeshua thing where he just turns the whole thing on its head and says so, “What about David?” He ate unlawful bread but the Priest did no condemn him? And don’t the rule apply to David?
It is the last sentence of what we read that is enormous. This is clarifying, it's disturbing. It makes this whole thing about following Yeshua messy and wonderful and will go to the heart maybe of what you struggled with most in terms of your relationship with the synagogue. Here's what he said.
Mark 2:27–28 TLV
27 Then He said to them, “Shabbat was made for man, and not man for Shabbat. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat.”
Mark 2:27-28
Yeshua said, "Look, the Sabbath was made for man. Not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man." It's not like God had all these rules and thought, "Man, I got all these great laws. I need to create some people to keep them."
Yeshua said, "Look, the Sabbath was made for man. Not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man." It's not like God had all these rules and thought, "Man, I got all these great laws. I need to create some people to keep them."
"Man, what am I gonna do with all these laws? Let's create some people to keep these laws." Yeshua says "Look, you got it backwards. The law is important. People are important, but look God didn't create the law, and then create some people. God created people and then created the law. The law is for people, not people for the law."
In other words he could have said this "For God so loved the nation of Israel, that he delivered them from Egypt, and then provided them with laws to live by."
Or how about a day like today. "For God so loved the nation of Israel, that he delivered them from Egypt, and then provided atonement for them from their sins”
Or to put it in our context, "Parents... ", check it out, "Parents don't have children so there will be someone to pick up the toys."
In other words he could have said this "For God so loved the nation of Israel, that he delivered them from Egypt, and then provided them with laws to live by." Or to put it in our context, "Parents... ", check it out, "Parents don't have children so there will be someone to pick up the toys."
Or to put it in our context, "Parents... ", check it out, "Parents don't have children so there will be someone to pick up the toys."
Right? Now let me say something about that, 'cause this is a big deal. We grew up in different kinds of families, but if you grow up in a home where your dad or your mom was all about the rules and never bend the rules and never break the rules and a rule is a rule is a rule, it was very orderly but you couldn't wait to leave, right? Let me tell you what great parents do. Great parents set rules and then when it is appropriate and they feel like it is in the best interest of their children, they break their own rules.
"You go to bed at eight o'clock every night, hey what, you know what tonight I'm gonna let you stay up to nine." "But it's a rule." "I know, but because of what's because of what's going on, you get to stay up till nine. Hey tomorrow you don't need to go to school. You go to school, it's a rule, but tomorrow because of what's going on you don't have to got to school." Do you know what great parents do? Great parents decide that their children are more important than the laws that the parents set, and the parent that doesn't do that creates an orderly home that everyone can't wait to leave. And God is a perfect heavenly father. He did not create people for the law. He created the law for people, and it cuts both ways. I've had this conversation so many times with my kids. "All right kids, I got to tell you something. I'm about to tell you something that you're going to be really mad at me."
"What?" "In fact, I'm going to go ahead and give you permission to be mad at me." I've said this. "And you can talk bad about me behind my back. It won't be disrespectful, because I've changed my mind about something. I said you could go, but now you can't go". "What, you promised, you're breaking your promise". "I am breaking my promise". "What, Abba, you can't, you told us never break a promise. It's a rule. Never break a promise. You're breaking your promise". "I'm breaking my promise". "Why?" "Because I checked out where you were going, and now that I've checked it out, you aren't going". "But you said, you said, you said, you said," every parent, "you said, you said".
And this makes all of us religious people very nervous. As it should. But Yeshua said "I've come to put religion in its place, and it's not first place. It's second place." Now, when Yeshua taught this about the law, this was not a new idea. When you read the Hebrew Bible, one of the common themes, or pretty common themes is that every once in a while the nation of Israel would kind of get all wound up where they would start using the law of God against the people of God. They would leverage the law of God to hurt the people of God, which put them on the wrong side of God. So, they would mistreat people, and then they would go to the temple, or they would go somewhere and they would make a sacrifice, because God said, "If you do this and you disobey my law, this is what you got to do." So they just got into the habit of breaking the laws, treating people terribly and then just making a sacrifice like, "Ha, ha, ha". It's like Catholics go to confession, and Baptists quote first . It's like, "We have a loophole, we can do whatever we want and have peace with God, and we're kind of using God's word against him." And every once in a while a Prophet would show up in Israel and say
Isaiah 1:11–15 TLV
11 “For what is it to Me— the multitude of your sacrifices?” says Adonai. “I am full of burnt offerings of rams and fat of fed animals. I have no delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or he-goats. 12 When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand— trampling My courts? 13 Bring no more worthless offerings! Incense is an abomination to Me. New Moon and Shabbat, the calling of convocations —I cannot endure it— iniquity with solemn assembly. 14 Your New Moons and your Festivals My soul hates! They are a burden to Me. I am weary to bear them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. When you multiply prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood!”
Prophet would show up in Israel and say "Okay, enough of that, enough of that. You think you can just keep making sacrifices and make God happy. God is sick of your stupid sacrifices."
"But wait a minute, God told us to make the sacrifices." "No, God told you to treat people well and to make a sacrifice when there's an exception. You've made the sacrifice a rule. You mistreat people, then just throw another burger on the grill." And it's like, "Hey whatever, we had this other sacrifice and God's happy with it", and the prophets would say, "No he's not". In fact, here's just a snapshot from Isaiah. Here's what he said about that kind of scenario: "The multitude of your sacrifices, what are they to me, says the Lord. I have more than a enough of burnt offerings of rams, the fat of fattened animals. I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls, and lambs, and goats." To which they say, "Wait a minute, you're the one that set the rules and told us to kill all these animals when we sinned".
"Yeah, but sin was supposed to be the exception to the rule, not the rule. You think you have found some big cosmic divine loophole. Do you think I'm just stupid? I'm God. Stop... " look at this, "stop bringing me meaningless offerings. Your incense is detestable to me." Ooh!
You know what that means for some of you? You're going to hate me for this, but did I mention I've told my kids its okay to hate me and talk bad about me behind my back, and you have the same permission. You do anyway.
Some of you are here tonight at Yom Kippur, because of what you did this past week, past month, past year. And you've told yourself, "You know what? That was a bad week, month, year. But, Woo-Woo, I came to Yom Kippur services and I get a pass. Yeah. Isaiah is speaking to you.
The prophets never thought these things were bad in and of themselves they just thought that when you elevated religion, ritual above the love of God and used God’s precious laws to hurt people you were the worst kind of person.
God's like, "That's detestable. You are detestable. You think I'm stupid? You think you can come up with some loophole thing where if you do this then I... Come on, come on, come on. I'm God. And besides that, I don't give you rules and laws and I don't ping your conscience, just so you can show up.
He is saying, “I love you.” And you're screwing up your life. And you're trying to use synagogue attendance, or, 'I read my Bible' to somehow make God think your a good person because you showed up.
Quit trying to impress God with your attendance, your Bible knowledge, your familiarity with our tradition. He wants you to be in love with him. He says, "Stop bringing me meaningless offerings, your incense is detestable to me." Then it gets worse, "When you... " Look at this, look at this, "When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you. I'm not looking, I'm not looking, I'm not looking. Even when you offer many prayers, I'm not listening."
Yeah, your here for Yom Kippur and you think your a big deal because your putting in an extra night and your all patting yourself on the back. You are mouthing all the prayers, singing all the songs, amening at all the right parts of the message but you think this is an excuse to keep sinning and not turn from sin. You think God is impressed...
Guess what, Yeshua does not change one part of this message. Yeshua came along and he really got all over this consistently. One day the Sadducees were trying to trick Yeshua, the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection, that's why there were? Sad you see, yeah, some of you are learning, yeah.
They didn't believe in the resurrection, they thought when you died that's it. You're here for the pleasure of God and when your life's over, God's had all the pleasure he's gonna get you're gone, no resurrection.
So, the Sadducees tried to trick Yeshua, it doesn't work, duh. He's got God, he knew the question before they ask it and then the Pharisees were like, "Ah, we got one." So, one of the Pharisees comes up to Yeshua like he's sincere, he says, "Yeshua tell us, of all the laws of Moses, which is the most important one?" 'Cause they had an answer, they wanted to see if his answer matched their answer, 'cause they were gonna do a gotcha. "Which is the most important commandment?"
Matthew 22:37–38 TLV
37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
Matthew 22:37 TLV
37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
And Yeshua replied, you remember this, "Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment." To which all the religious people said, "That's awesome, because nobody can see my heart, nobody can see my soul and nobody can see my mind. And I can convince myself that I am in sync with God. I can convince myself that I am keeping the greatest commandment, I am a commandment keeper."
Matthew 22:37
And Yeshua replied, you remember this, "Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment." To which all the religious people said, "That's awesome, because nobody can see my heart, nobody can see my soul and nobody can see my mind. And I can convince myself that I am in sync with God. I can convince myself that I am keeping the greatest commandment, I am a commandment keeper."
Matthew 22:39–40 TLV
39 And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:
And Yeshua replied, you remember this, "Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment." To which all the religious people said, "That's awesome, because nobody can see my heart, nobody can see my soul and nobody can see my mind. And I can convince myself that I am in sync with God. I can convince myself that I am keeping the greatest commandment, I am a commandment keeper."
But before they could finish that thought, remember this, Yeshua said, "And the second is like it." "Wait, there's a second?" "Yeah, there's a second." "No, no, I asked him which is the first, which is the greatest?" Yeshua said, "I'm telling you the greatest, the greatest has two parts. Love the Lord your God with your heart and soul and mind, and the second is like it. And 'like it' means equal to, defines, comments on, clarifies, makes the first one measurable. Allows you, or keeps you from coming up with loopholes. Keeps you from simply becoming a religious person that does religious things while ignoring what's most important to me. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself." Ah, see, I know whether or not I'm actually doing that. But what Yeshua says next, I'm telling you, it's huge, you ready? "All." Which means all, "all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandants." Guys, he's saying if you ever wonder what the Old Testament and what the law of Moses, if you've ever wondered what that whole thing is about, it's all about, it's all commentary on, it's all defining how, it's all pointing to these two things: Love God and love your neighbor.
The entire Hebrew Bible hangs on these two things. So, that story of Jonah, what's the story of Jonah about? Well, ultimately it's about loving God and loving your neighbor. Oh. Genesis, is it six days, is it literal days? Were they're dinosaurs? Was it two? Is the movie correct at all? That story of Noah, what's that about? Well, it all hinges on, hangs on, depends on these two ideas. In other words, if you read any of this and come up with a different conclusion, you read it wrong. If you read any of this and interpret it to mean anything other than that, you've interpreted it wrong. If you give you yourself credit for being a religious person because of what you read here and you don't do these two things? You're living wrong.
The entire Old Testament hangs on these two things. So, that story of Jonah, what's the story of Jonah about? Well, ultimately it's about loving God and loving your neighbor. Oh. Genesis, is it six days, is it literal days? Were they're dinosaurs? Was it two? Is the movie correct at all? That story of Noah, what's that about? Well, it all hinges on, hangs on, depends on these two ideas. In other words, if you read any of this and come up with a different conclusion, you read it wrong. If you read any of this and interpret it to mean anything other than that, you've interpreted it wrong. If you give you yourself credit for being a religious person because of what you read here and you don't do these two things? You're living wrong.
"Oh, but I kind of like invisible religion." Yeshua said, "I know you do." That's why there's not just one, there's two commands. Do you know what this means for us? This is so important for us. If that's what Yeshua believed and that's what Yeshua taught then it means that everything Yeshua taught and everything that everybody taught after Yeshua taught, the whole of Scriptures hangs on these two things as well. I wonder what Rabbi Paul meant when he said... He meant this. I wonder what Cepha meant when he said... He meant this. What about that whole thing about "Wives submit to your husbands"?
Why are you here for Yom Kippur? Love God. Love neighbor. It is not one or the other it is but together. If being here at Yom Kippur has not changed how you treat your closest neighbor then I hate to tell you this but you have religion in the wrong place. You need to get it in second place. Right where Yeshua put it.
I need you to learn this Beth Messiah. Yeshua’s conscious was informed by compassion rather than consistency. If you try to find a consistent pattern in Yeshua you will only find that he is consistently inconsistent. This is challenging for me because I crave consistency and control.
Yeshua comes along and tells one Rich Man to give away everything and then follow him and then he tells another Rich Man he will come to dinner at his house but he does not have to give away everything. He will warn his followers to not lust in their heart after the opposite sex but he will not stone a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Which is it? Yeshua would say, “The answer to the question is what would love require of me in this particular situation with this particular person.”
Now this is very important. Love demands inconsistency. Every parent knows this. Love requires inconsistency. Every parent knows this. But somehow when we put on our religious hat, we just... It's so uncomfortable and I understand that. It's makes me uncomfortable. But I'm telling you, the moment we put religion over people, the moment somebody places their religious beliefs and values ahead of you, we go backwards.
I remember right after Rabbi Ron retired there was this situation where I knew what was going on this person’s life was wrong. It was dead wrong. I called wrong to get counsel from him on how he would handle the issue. He said something like:
Don’t make being right more important than being merciful.
Now, that's uncomfortable. Where will that lead? How far do you go? To what extreme does this take us? I don't know. But when I read the Gospels, it's absolutely crystal clear that this is how Yeshua thought. And I also know that because I took this path and have continually taken this path: God has transformed lives because of it.
Now I'm gonna say it about five different ways to get it in your thinking and then I'm gonna dismiss you to go fast, hopefully for the right reasons for Yom Kippur.
Here's why I know this is true because Yeshua didn't die for precepts and principles. Yeshua died for people.
Yeshua didn't die for the law. Yeshua died for law breakers. How many law breakers are here today? Just in the room, not online.
Yeshua... Listen to this, Yeshua didn't die for a set of rules. Yeshua died for rule breakers.
Yeshua didn't even die for sin. Yeshua died for sinners.
Yeshua didn't die for religion. He died for you.
Yeshua came to put religion in its place, second place behind you, behind me, behind Lauren, behind the person to your left, and the person to your right.
Behind the person to your left and right physically, politically, ideologically, religiously. And the reason I believe this even though I don't want you to ask me to apply it is because here's the thing, Gods' view of you... God's view... If you want to talk about what's God's view, how does God view? God's view of you was define and has been determined by his son's view of you from a cross.
Do you realize God does not view you through His Law, through my people’s traditions, He views you through the death of His Son. That means He views you through the greatest act of love ever done in history. If this does not melt your heart and cause you to want to, want to fast in repentance, for real change well nothing will.
Why in the world did Yeshua come as one of us? Why in the world did God show up as one of us? One reason, to put religion, all religion in its place right behind you. Let me pray for you.
Why in the world did Yeshua come as one of us? Why in the world did God show up as one of us? One reason, to put religion, all religion in its place right behind you. Let me pray for you.
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