Our family joined the United Brethren Church in Michigan. Their motto, or phrase that encapsulated their beliefs and supposedly guided their behavior was:
Keeping Christ and the Cross at the Center of All We Do!
To make sure that we all “towed the line”, a group of new members was periodically herded into the pastor’s office and given a 12-13 week indoctrination of what we were supposed to believe and how we were to participant in the church. Floyd and I went through the process with about 10-12 other members. We were squeezed into the pastor’s office, nearly on top of one another, while he sat at a spacious executive looking desk with wall to wall books denoting his superiority and learnedness. We were given take-home booklets with the typewritten lessons and were orally quizzed on the topics each week.
No matter what debatable topics were brought up, the pastor was always right. We were even highly encouraged to take a Spiritual Gifts Inventory so we could be placed in the right areas of church work. I am still amazed at how ignorant I was of the truth and so willing to follow the pastor.
We walked lockset with the rules and what we were told UNTIL I was watching television and the presentation opened my eyes that Sunday was not the Sabbath. I was excited about my new found truth and I wanted to share with my pastor. He told me in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that he was not going to change to Saturday services. He was going to keep Sunday just like his Daddy, who was a Baptist minister. And on top of that, he was going to keep the tradition of his favorite Bible Commentator, Matthew Henry.
We were then faced with a decision, ignore the truth and follow our pastor, or follow our Messiah.
Like Arthur said in this teaching, we have to be the masters over our own lives and not blindly follow any pastor!
Summary of the Teaching
Arthur’s motivation for teaching the books of the Bible is to present a Hebraic perspective. Because most commentaries are from a Christian perspective, there is a lot of information, particularly on the internet, that detours people from the truth. Ignorance of the truth and disobedience separates us from Yehovah and His blessings for us. Arthur reiterates that we can fully expect Yehovah’s peace, power, promises, and prosperity in our lives when we are obedient to His Torah. Arthur reinforces this message when he asked the Father to help us take on the mind of Messiah that “we might comprehend Your truth, Your way, Your life, and that we might live in accordance to Your word.”
In this letter, Peter describes himself as an Apostle, elder, witness of Messiah and a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. We are partakers of this glory also! However, earlier in his letter, Peter tells us to rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings. I think Paul had a good summary of our situation.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (King James Version)
Peter faithfully carries out the instruction he received from Yeshua when Peter writes to the scattered believers in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia to “feed the flock.” Peter further instructs them in how to be in right relationship with the flock because the under-shepherd will have to give an account when the Chief Shepherd returns. The sheep belong to Messiah, not the under-shepherd/pastor. The flock should look to the Messiah as their example, not the pastor nor the denomination.
Arthur goes into detail on the right relationship between the under-shepherd and the flock. The flock should be acceptable to the Chief Shepherd when He returns. Peter warns the overseers that they will be held accountable for their actions. However, Arthur also warns the flock to:
- Think for yourselves.
- Do not give the authority over your life to another person.
- Do not blindly follow a leader.
- Ask questions and do your own research.
Our instructions from Yeshua are to make disciples as He made disciples. The denominations have tweaked this by changing the commands and making denominational disciples. As students of the word, we have to know how to rightly divide the word and erase the ideas and pictures placed in our minds by the denominational doctrines we have learned.
One of the primary attributes of an overseer/pastor/leader is humility. According to Biblical Leadership, the leader is a servant first. According to the world, the foremost characteristic of a leader is that they have people serving them. Listen as Arthur talks about humility and pride; they are both learned behaviors.
Peter, without excuse, tells us to cast ALL our cares on the Father. We need to recognize that at some point, we have done all that we can do.
When I listen to Arthur teach, I personalize the message. I even write down things he says in the “first person.” Here are some of my notes to myself that I hope you can benefit from too.
- The only way the enemy can get access to me is for me to give him access.
- The only way to out think the enemy is for me to have the mind of Messiah.
- The Father may put things in my life so that I will learn that He can move things out of my life also. This is a test of my faith.
- When I decide to take on a worldly cause, I expend my energy trying to change the world with worldly ways that do not line up with scripture.
- I need to disconnect my emotions from worldly affairs in order not to be vexed by them.
- No one can take advantage of me, unless I allow them.
This teaching concludes the first letter of Peter.
Buzz on the Teaching
This is what echoed through my head when Arthur made known that Jesus and Yeshua are not the same!
Several years ago, I was out in the garden pulling weeds and tending to some young pepper plants. The garden was roughly 30 feet by 80 feet; so there was always work to be done in the hot Alabama sun. This particular morning, I had gotten up early because we had relatives staying with us and I wanted to spend time with them. I was hot, sweaty, kneeling on the ground and had dirt on my face when one of my relatives approached me.
She said, “Sharon, we won’t be praying with your family anymore in the evenings because we serve different gods.” My countenance dropped as I paused and looked at the ground. I was really hoping that her family would see the truth. I also silently moaned because I was too tired to deal with this right now. Then the Holy Spirit said to me, “She is right!” So, I slowly stood up and said, “You are right. My God tells me to keep His Laws. Your god tells you that you don’t have to keep any laws.”
That was a defining moment for both of us. We both knew where the other stood and we have agreed to disagree. I am praying for them to awaken to the truth.
Tell me about a defining moment in your walk of faith.
Until next time… Blessings to You and Yours,