Friendship or Religion
Ever hear of those stories of people missing a few weeks of attending their congregation and never get a phone call from anyone to see how they’ve been doing? I heard one brother, who operated the sound board at his church, tell of how he had to rush his wife to emergency during the wee hours of the morning and didn’t make it to church. After they got out of the hospital they went straight home, there were no messages on the phone, he thought it was rather odd. A few days passed and still no calls, a week passed, then another week, no one cared enough to call, the rest of the story gets far worse, an unbearable story about the lack of love and care and friendship in religious circles. Religious “friendship” can be hell for a lot of people and that’s why a lot of people have “friendship” outside the church but attend to hear the Bible being preached and to be around others who are interested in the Gospel.
The irony of all that is the Gospel is all about Love, Justice, Mercy, Compassion and forgiveness. But let’s be honest, in religious circles “the gospel” is all about “religion” certainly not the things that Y’shua and the Apostles lived by.
Even the minute someone questions their “religion” they become the proverbial “outcasts,” and they soon make contact with the left foot of fellowship… of then get the boot, or they are simply made to feel unwelcome. A lot of people keep going to Church because they feel the Almighty wants them to be in “regular fellowship” and they must never “forsake the gathering together…
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.”
How often have you heard that verse preached? Probably quite a bit, and I’m guilty as the next guy for preaching this one too, but, did you ever stop and give the verse before it a good long hard look?
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
The Aramaic English New Testament translates this more accurately as;
“And let us look on each other for the excitement of love and good works.”
We really can’t fake the “excitement of love and good works” like we can religion can we? This is probably why people church hop all their lives and then hop out of the church into something else because people get tired of their own hypocrisy, our own “stuff”. The reality is that wherever we go… that’s where we are. We take ourselves with us and we experience congregations by the way we are, but if we’re blessed, one day we’ll also see the reality of how much we are loved by our dear “brothers and sisters” that are “excited about love and good works.”
After we get over that religious guilt about not showing up for “meetings” we soon realize that there needs to be a work done within our own souls to be able to disciple and bring the True “Gospel” to those who have never or have rarely seen it. But then of course what happens is when you really get excited about love and the Kingdom and the Torah based elements of LOVE, there’s a really good chance your new found excitement will go over like a lead balloon. For a while, you might be “inspired” to keep on going to your church, after you get the cold shoulder a few times, thinking that these “church people” need some new excitement of love and good works!
But then after a while, you ask yourself… why do I keep going back for another beating?
Many people fear being introspective about their spirituality and friendship within their “church family” because religious people fear that if they were to open up that door, it might need a lot of housecleaning. If you’ve ever felt that you wanted or needed closer relationship with Heaven, the only road that will take you there is when you seek the Father and desire to hear His Voice for yourself. Yes it’s true, others who have a beautiful relationship with the Father are able to help sow all sorts of blessings into our lives, they challenge us and inspire us, but let’s be true, when we feel the Ruach haKodesh tugging on our hearts we are the only ones who can open ourselves to be closer to the Father. We need to look at ourselves through the Father’s eyes and we must do this according to His Word, Y’shua says,
“if you have love one to another”…
but a lot of times religion translates this into… “if one another have the same doctrine“, or “if you wear the same religious label or have the same identity”.
Loving one another is the focal point of the Kingdom of Heaven, yet there is a moral plague upon humanity that has devastated the “body of Mashiyach” called “religion”, more specifically religious bigotry. How many times have you been separated from other “believers” because of “doctrine” and how many times have you been separated because of moral character issues? In the religious world the vast majority of people are divided against others because of “theology” and this is the normative, it’s expected, it’s commonplace and it’s mandatory in many churches.
But the fact of the matter is that a person’s theology or lack thereof doesn’t determine their moral character. What determines our moral character is our desire to live honourable and noble lives as unto our Creator and fight to protect the Word of YHWH according to His Righteousness.
It’s rather common practice in churches and synagogues for people to launch character assassinations against those of others religions, based on theology and religious identity. However, the Kingdom of Elohim isn’t about doctrine, it’s about righteousness of character, friendship, love, honesty and trust, but oftentimes when a person tries to raise the bar, the religious element comes against the messenger. This is so very telling of those in religious hierarchies who rule according to doctrinal purity, rather than moral and honourable character values.
Y’shua Mashiyach came to earth to lead his people to The Father and to teach of His Kingdom and establish His Government, he didn’t start a new religion.
It’s time to take an inventory of our spiritual lives. Do we love people in our congregation because we “have to”? Because that’s what is expected of us according to our religious ideology? We see people and we call them “brother’s and sisters” but is that simply a religious show or, do we in fact have all things in common with them? Do they know the depths of our struggles? Our strengths and weaknesses, do they invest into our lives and we into theirs. The fact of the matter is we can’t have “fellowship” with 500 people at a time, that’s not “fellowship” that’s going to a big organized religious meeting.
I think it’s interesting that the word “fellowship” only appears twice in the KJV Old Testament, here’s one,
Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with you, which frames misery by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
Pardon moi, but that verse sums up a lot of my personal “church experiences”. Whenever I’ve preached Mashiyach as a government rather than a religion, the “church folk” get really upset and go on the warpath and lay down the condemnation because I didn’t stroke their religious pride. The irony is that some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met are the most religious, they’ve made themselves a law of misery… oh how they suffer because of their religion. And they you have those religious conspiracy folk, chemtrails, 9-11 thermite, CFR, Trilateral Commission, Bohemian Grove, HAARP, One World Government “believers” who disseminate their conspiracy “gospel” but wouldn’t be able to lead another soul to The Saviour if their lives depended upon it. Miserable bunch of folks who spend most of their brain power on how haSatan works rather than setting their minds on the Kingdom of Heaven… anyways I digress.
The one other place that “fellowship” is found in the OT KJV is,
If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against YHWH, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in pledge (fellowship), or in a thing taken away by violence, or has deceived his neighbour;
The word in Hebrew here is t’sumeth which means security or pledge, but the KJV renders it as “fellowship” which gives us a bit of insight into the thinking of 17th Century Christian scholars… but let’s not go their either.
However, the KJV “New Testament” sports 14 times where the word “fellowship” is mentioned because it’s more of an issue now that Jews and Gentiles are both accepting Y’shua as their Savior and dealing with lifestyle issues when belonging together in the family of Y’shua. You can imagine that Jews are leaving Pharisaic traditions, or the other “Judaism’s” of the day and Gentiles are leaving sun worship and paganism and both are conforming their lives to the Jewish Messiah. What was happening is Y’shua was redefining everything religious people knew about religion and life and friendship. Y’shua is the living Torah made flesh and through his life he defined fellowship and friendship, and of course, what he lived and taught is quite a bit different that what religious of today think it is.
Friendship in Mashiyach is all about the miqra hakodesh, the gathering of the Set Apart. This is friendship versus religion, a really big difference. What we discover is that the gathering together of the kedoshim (Set Apart People) is all about entering into the divine Friendship of YHWH, from which all other friendship between us, on the horizontal level flows. Ok, I know that you already knew this, so then let’s consider this. It is Torah, the Covenant of Love, that YHWH gave to His people that defines what friendship is and what it isn’t. On that basis alone we can say bye, bye to “religious friends” who are simply friends based on “religious identity” and we can take up friendship with YHWH, through His Mashiyach and into the Body of Mashiyach with those who are also learning to love the Father according to His Word, the way He asks and the way His Ruach haKodesh is leading us.
This is the difference between a religious gathering, a religious fellowship and,
looking “on each other for the excitement of love and good works”
If you’ve never tried this, you gotta give it a try at least once in your life… imagine walking with Y’shua and His Apostles and having friendship and fellowship together. This is how you will enter into that fellowship, when you open your heart and have Torah written upon your heart. This will be Mashiyach in you. You will have circumcised heart that has surrendered to YHWH and His Mashiyach and the character of Messiah will be forming inside of you. And, you will experience the “excitement of love and good works”.
YHWH be with you,
Baruch ben Daniel