The fourth instament of SPIRITUAL JUNK FOOD
Junk Food: Every Christian must go back to his Jewish roots and begin keeping the holy days, feasts and festivals.
I have seen this one divide churches – both denominational churches with a group called the British Israelites; as well as non-denominational churches where one leader began to place an emphasis on studying and following the Jewish feasts and festivals.
It seems for some believers that the simplicity of the Gospel is not enough. They need to add to and thus complicate what the Lord set out for His Church and His people.
First, we are not Jewish – we are Christians. Yes, we recognize that the Christian faith owes a great deal to the Jewish religion; however, we do not need to celebrate the feasts and festivals to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was settled early in the history of the Christian Church when the issue of circumcision and obeying other Jewish Laws came up within the life of the early Church. The issue was settled by the Holy Spirit at the first Church Council held in Jerusalem in Acts, chapter 15.
(verses 28-29) “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
This issue is wider than just those who think we need to celebrate Jewish feasts. We have complicated the Gospel, not just with this current move – but with much that we teach. Here is my belief – anything we teach here in North America that would not work in a desperate third-world nation is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people in all nations – rich and poor, educated and illiterate, tall, short, thin, fat, young and old. So, if what the local church pastor preaches on Sunday in his pulpit just would not work in rural India or Bangaldesh then it is not the Bible Gospel – it is, most likely, a cultural adaptation of the Gospel which tickles ears and flys only because it is being preached in North America.
In this “cultural Gospel” category we can include a great deal of the current prosperity messages, health and healing teachings, as well as the so-called ‘revivals’ and a lot of the self-help Gospel messages. Read the ads on Saturday regarding what is being preached on Sunday and see if you agree that much being proclaimed is not the basic Gospel as set forth in the New Testament.
So, a few standards we can go by.
1> Did the early Church preach what you are preaching / hearing?
2> Would that message work if applied in a poor third-world nation?
3> Does the message being preached point people to the Lord Jesus? Man-centered or God-focused?
4> Is the message dealing with what God can do for the believer or what the believer is mandated to do with God?
5> Is it enabling and equipping the people to reach out and save the lost?
Much of what we hear today in pulpits around the world is spiritual entertainment and is not leading to more people hearing the Gospel. Rather, it takes the believer’s focus off The Great Commmision as they focus on the prophetic, angels and demons, visions and dreams, manifestations … none of which I am against. But, let us not forget the only marching orders we received as the Church of Jesus Christ – to seek and save the lost as our Founder came to do (Luke 19:10).
But back to the celebration of the Jewish feasts and festivals as born again Christians. We would do well to remember what the writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote under inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
The first covenant (Jewish – Old Testament) is done. We are living under the New Covenant (Christian – New Testament) without the Temple, the ceremonial laws and other trapping of a religion we have not and do not belong to. We recognize our heritage and our roots – but we live as born again believers delivered from all forms of religion who walk in relationship with the living God.