Do You Love Me? (part 1)

This question automatically brings Peter to mind, for it was to him that this question was directed after the ordeal our Lord YAHSHUA had to go through. Peter became part of it when he fell into the temptation of denying his Savior in time when He needed him most. Peter, as a fisherman, was strong and gruff, shabbily dressed, with vulgar language; He was born in the year 1 B.C in the city of Bethsaida and died in 67 A.D. He was one of the first disciples of Christ led by his brother, Andrew. Simon was his original name, but YAHSHUA changed to Petra or Rock.

Peter’s first experience with the Lord was on one of his fishing experiences. He had caught nothing that night, and frustrated he responded to YAHSHUA when He told him to lower his nets into the deep, Master, we toiled all night and caught nothing, but on the ground of Your word I will lower the nets (Luke 5:5). Peter had no idea that by submitting to the Lord’s command, he would be so blessed. When he saw the result, he then realized that before him stood not an ordinary man. And falling down at His knees he said, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. After they had run their boats on the shore, he, James and John left everything to follow YAHSHUA as His disciples (Luke 5). Peter was one of the three disciples who witnessed YAHSHUA’S transfiguration at mount Hermon; he also experienced the miracle of walking on water during a storm, which happened when they were alone on the boat after the multiplication of fish and loaves of bread when YAHSHUA sent them ahead of Him. When he saw the Lord walking on the water, coming toward them, he said, “If it is you Lord, command me to come to you on the water,” but failing to believe, he started to drown. He cried to the Lord, Lord, save me! YAHSHUA lifted Peter from the water, saying, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matt. 14:31) Peter also witnessed the anguish of the Lord at the Garden of Gethsemane, but could not pray for and with Him. Three times he was warned to “watch and pray.” But he failed and three times he fell into the temptation of denying the Lord.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter rightly answered YAHSHUA’S question, Who do you say I am? But the same Peter went against God’s plan of salvation when he rebuked the Lord at His announcement of His death. The Lord YAHSHUA vehemently rejected Peter’s advice by saying, Get behind Me Satan! Peter, in his plan did not want his Lord to die. Perhaps he thought that He was going to establish the kingdom at that time. He fought the arrest of YAHSHUA by cutting the ear of the high priest, who came to arrest Him. But when the time had come for him to show his love for his Master, he could not do it; he run away instead, because Peter did not sincerely love the Lord. He walked with the Lord YAHSHUA three years, witnessing the miracles He performed, but Peter’s heart was hard.

The Sending Out of the Twelve Apostles

(Luke 9)

Luke chapter nine reports a beautiful picture of what YAHSHUA’S church should have been: powerful with authority over all demons and sickness. It took only a word from YAHSHUA, for demons to submit to Him. In His presence, they did not have a chance. And that’s the way it should have been for YAHSHUA’S church. Equipping the apostles with His power, they were sent out to preach the kingdom of God, a very important mission- the establishing of YAHSHUA’ S church. The time had come when He saw fit to send His apostles out with the important message of salvation. He gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and to announce and preach the kingdom of God and to bring healing. (Luke 9:1-2). He didn’t send them empty of power and authority to face a spiritual battle. Power and authority are two things we must have to battle against the spiritual forces. Human power is not sufficient to overcome the “present darkness, and the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly sphere.”

YAHSHUA sent His apostles out with important instructions to follow, besides equipping them with power and authority over demons and diseases. He told them, Do not take anything for your journey- neither walking stick, nor wallet, nor food of any kind, nor money and do not have two undergarments; and whatever house you enter, stay until you go away; and wherever they do not receive and accept and welcome you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet, as a testimony against them (Luke 9:3-5). The apostles were to be in complete dependence on God. No, they did not have to go from place to place raising support before their journey, as we do before going to a mission field. Under YAHSHUA’S instructions, they departed; they went from village to village, preaching the Gospel and restoring the afflicted to health everywhere (Luke 9:6). They accomplished the task before them beautifully, and blessed all who opened their doors to them. Upon their return, they reported to YAHSHUA all that they had done; YAHSHUA, hearing the report, He took them and withdrew into privacy near a town called Bethsaida (Luke 9: 10-11). What does this tell us?  It is in the strength and in the power of God that His ministers are to serve Him. Self-sufficiency is the work of the flesh and that does not compete with God’s sufficiency in us. There is a need for us to return to Him in order to be restored, away from the noise of the world; away from technologies’ noises. They for sure distract us from hearing God’s voice. Only being in the presence of our Lord, will we be restored spiritually and mentally and physically.  At His departure from earth, He commissioned the apostles to Go into all the world and preach the good news; Go and make disciples of all the nations, (He said) baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days, to the very end (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20). That was the beginning of a new era. He laid down the foundation of His church and entrusted it to His apostles to carry on the task of spreading the Gospel, and to teach the nations to obey His word. Out of that, His church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Messiah YAHSHUA Himself the chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).

The Faithlessness of Today’s Church

Will not God defend and protect and avenge His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf? I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18: 7-80)

The faithlessness of today’s church is perceived everywhere. The Lord YAHSHUA rightly asked the question: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? What possibly caused the church to lose her faith? From one extreme to another, the church has lost her faith through the multiplied wickedness and through the pursuit of worldly things. The prosperity teaching has caused the church to lose focus on YAHSHUA’S teachings concerning the pursuit of heavenly treasures. They instead are running after the worldly treasures and losing faith. Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, He said, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:19-21).  The church’s heart is sunk in the wealth of the world, not in heaven. In their faithless acts they pursue the world, not YAHSHUA. So they have become faithless.

The church’s faithlessness happens also when wickedness abounds and super abounds without correction. The acceptance of wickedness is easily received and adopted, as one example, the case of moral issues. Faithfulness to the teachings of the Word of God has faded and many has followed the wide road, in the attitude of co-existence, instead of taking a stand for the teachings of the Lord. They spare their lives but will lose it in the end.  YAHSHUA said, Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven; many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?  And then I will say to them openly, I never knew you; depart from Me you who act wickedly (Matt. 7:21-23).