The Fruit of Love!
By Dr. Howard Morgan
For many Christians the Jewish people and the Jewish roots of their faith are concepts that range from irrelevant and unimportant to dangerous and heretical. Centuries of non-biblical doctrines and actions have erected a barrier between the church and the Jewish people. This barrier can be thought of as a huge wall of thick semi-transparent glass that only permits dim light to pass through and results in distorted vision. This distortion is caused by those unbiblical doctrines and actions which effect the mental perceptions and heart attitude of those who seek to view the other side.
The barrier does however allow many negative ideas, thoughts and feelings to emerge in the hearts of both Christians and Jews, as they consider distorted views of each other and how they are to relate to each other. This "wall of distortion" causes Christians to see the Jewish people and/or the nation of Israel in ways that are contrary to Scripture. It has historically allowed the Church to maintain relationships with the Jewish people that can at best be described as "tolerant," (i.e. "Let's just leave them alone") and at worst as "persecutorial," (i.e. "Kill the Jews!")
This "wall of distortion" affects individuals by causing them to create negative ideas about how to relate to those being viewed.Historically the Christian view of the Jews was distorted by doctrines of demons that taught that the Jews were "Christ killers" and therefore "under the curse of God," and as a result were "cast away." If the distortion is removed by a proper understanding of the plan of God as revealed in the Scriptures, which always brings forth the Biblical fruit of Love, then all negative thoughts and feelings will be erased and replaced by the fruit that love bears. Seeing the Jewish people through the "clear glass" of the Scriptural plan of God will bring forth the fruits of love, support and authentic testimony of the Messiah to the Jewish people.
God is looking for believers who will allow the "wall of distortion" to be destroyed in their own life and be replaced with a "bridge of relationship." The church has a message, and a mandate to proclaim this message to all people, including the Jewish people (Matt. 28:19-20).
Historically however, it has been the church that has largely built the walls of distortion, even though they had the scriptural mandate to be "ministers of reconciliation" (2Cor.5:18). It is therefore incumbent upon the Church, and not the Jewish people, to start the process of bridge building. Christians must begin to actively tear down the "wall of distortion" and build this "bridge of relationship."
Because the Church has a mandate to proclaim the "Good News of the Messiah" to the Jewish people, we must be very careful to make sure that the message that we are proclaiming is in fact the "faith that was once committed to the saints" (Jude 1:3). We must make very sure that what we are proclaiming is the Truth of God and not religious or "Christian" tradition. If we are honest students of the bible and church history, we will see where much tradition has been added to the scriptures, and where church doctrines have supplanted the doctrines of "the faith." How can we testify to the Jewish people about their own messiah and the New Covenant Judaism that He instituted, if our message to them is "convert to gentile Christianity."
We must see where and how the Jewish message from the God of Israel about the Jewish messiah, originally proclaimed by Jewish apostles and prophets, became a "gentile Christianity" that lost it's inherent "Jewishness." As the church departed from this "faith that was once delivered to the saints," she lost her place as the "pillar and support of the truth" (1Tim. 3:15) because she began to proclaim a message that was no longer based on the revelation of the Hebrew Scriptures. In place of this true revelation, an amalgam of Biblical doctrines and human philosophies were proclaimed that created a new religion in the earth that has come to be known as "Christianity."
To many people, "Christianity" is a religion whose focus is upon services held in a "church" building, where there is an inherent separation between the "clergy" and the "laity." The congregation observes a service, listens to a sermon, places a donation in the offering, and returns again next week for more of the same. The fruit of this "religion" has often been hatred and bloodshed as any reading of "Church" history will clearly show.
As we turn our attention to the Jewish roots of the Christian Faith, or shall we more accurately say the "faith of the Messiah,"we are placing ourselves in a position where we can become open to discovering more and more about the true "faith that was once delivered to the saints." This is a challenging and exciting prospect because it places all of us in a position to re-evaluate our beliefs and the "realities" of our faith for our every day life. Learning about "our Jewish roots" will not spiritually profit us very much if the things we learn are merely academic concepts that adorn our doctrinal bookshelves.
The truths that we learn, and are challenged to apply, should deepen our personal walk and relationship with the Lord. This is a major reason for the publication of this newsletter, and I believe, for the Lord's emphasis on restoring an understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith. Another major reason for this emphasis is so that we, as representatives of the kingdom of god, would be fully equipped and enabled to testify of the realities of Messiah Jesus to the Jewish people.
Before we can discuss our Jewish roots, we must have an understanding about truth, in order to know why the Jewish roots of our faith are important. If the church is going to be the "pillar and support of the truth" that she is called to be, she must know the whole truth of her message. As we study the scriptures, we find some interesting diagnostic tests that the Lord has given us so that we can examine ourselves to make sure that we are really in "the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5).
I believe that the first and perhaps most important diagnostic test we have is the test of love. Do our personal beliefs, church doctrines, scriptural interpretations, traditions and practices bear the fruits of love? Do these cause us to be more and more conformed to the image presented to us in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8? "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
Love is the hallmark of the Spirit of God. You cannot say that you have the Spirit of God within you if you do not manifest the fruit of love. The Apostle John wrote, "Beloved let us love one another for love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is Love" (1 John 4:7-8). Romans 8: 29 teaches us that God is continually working with us to conform us more and more to the image of His son. The image of Jesus that we are being conformed to is defined by the attributes of love described in 1 Cor. 13.
Do our beliefs, doctrines, practices and traditions cause our hearts to grow cold or even become closed? Does our "religion" cause us to love more, or less? Does it open our hearts or close them? Does it give us "justifications and spiritual rationalizations" for compromises to our love, so that we harden our hearts toward those who interpret the scriptures differently? Individual believers, local churches and even entire denominations will allow their love for each other to grow cold because of doctrinal differences. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13:2 that "if you have all knowledge so that you understand all mysteries but have not love you are nothing." The Greek word for nothing here isoudeis, and is the same word that Jesus used in Matthew 13 to describe someone who has lost his saltiness and is "good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."
We must stop and consider the profound implications of this verse. The issue of Love is central to "the faith once delivered to the saints." We cannot say that we are true believers or disciples of this "faith" if we are not moving and growing in love! Please dear reader consider these thoughts. Is your "doctrinal correctness" more important to you than your love? Do you have any kind of "spiritual smugness" because of your doctrinal positions that is causing your love for those who disagree to grow cold? If the answer to these, or similar questions that the Holy Spirit may be asking you right now is yes, then be zealous and repent! (Rev. 3:19).
The scriptures teach us to endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit (our love) until we come to the unity of the faith (Eph. 4:3&13). When Jesus returns and "opens up the Scriptures" (Luke 24:32) then, and only then, will we all have the same correct doctrines. Until then, the challenge is in allowing the Holy Spirit to enlarge our hearts to bring forth more and more fruits of love in our lives (John 15:1-2, Gal 5:22).
As we consider the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, we must continually remain keenly aware of the centrality of love to this"faith once delivered to the saints." When we move away from love, we are moving away from god, no matter how right we think our doctrines are. The testimony of the church is Love. when we do not have love we are no longer in "the faith." far too many Christians, churches and denominations have let their love grow cold as subtle demonic strategies have worked to cause "doctrinal correctness" and non-Biblical external codes of conduct to become more important than the Biblical standard of Love.
As the church returns to her biblical and therefore Hebraic or Jewish roots, and allows the truths of the Bible to be her standard, she will find herself facing the issue of the Jewish people and the fact that the church has failed to love them, even as she has failed to love her own. The issue of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith will force us to face this issue of love and many other issues. The way we respond to these issues will determine our faithfulness as servants of the Lord
God has placed this emphasis on Love because it is the realm in which he operates. Love is the atmosphere that allows God to manifest himself. Faith, which brings answers to prayer, works by love ( Gal. 5:6). Praise, which brings the presence of God (Psa. 22:3) is the fruit of our love for the Lord. Where Jesus is loved and where His love is allowed to flow, there He will manifest Himself. It is this manifestation of the Love and power of God that is at the heart of God's desire to restore the Church to her Jewish roots and to the Jewish people.
God longs for the Jewish people to see the Church as He has called her to be: a world-wide community of redeemed people who love God, each other, and all men; a people who "know their God and do exploits" (Dan.11:32); a community of faith and power where the demonstration of the Holy Spirit is common place.
Restoring the Church to her Jewish roots is but one step toward this glorious end. This is the step that takes us back to the Bible and "the faith once delivered to the saints." Discovering our Jewish roots takes us to a place where we can examine all of our "doctrines and traditions" and rid ourselves of those that have come from men (or Satan) and do not bear the fruit of Love. As the Church around the world becomes more and more conformed to her Biblical standard, and sees in the Scriptures God's strategy for her testimony to Israel, she can turn to the Jewish people and declare, " We are partaking in a Jewish faith, your Messiah has filled us with His love, His power is demonstrated in our lives. Oh Israel, your Messiah is wonderful, come to Him."
Discovering our Jewish roots and understanding the Hebraic heritage of the Church is the first step in re-orienting the Churchto her Biblical relationship with the Jewish people. If the Lord Jesus cannot return to reign until the Jewish people call Him back (Matt. 23:39), and the testimony to them of Jesus being the Messiah comes only from the Church, then the Church must have a proper Biblical orientation and relationship to the Jewish people. She must repent for her past hatred and persecution of the Jewish people and begin to demonstrate the true faith from which she was originally birthed.
As we understand this plan, we must also understand that the overriding reality that will demonstrate to the Jewish people thatJesus is the Messiah, is the LOVE that is demonstrated in the Church. I recently observed a small incident that confirmed this in my heart. At a Jewish believer's birthday celebration, an unsaved wealthy Jewish relative told her this, "My money has not brought me friends, but your faith has brought you people who love you." The love she observed caused an envy to rise up within her. She was provoked to Jealousy (Rom.11:11,14). May God so work in the whole church of the Lord Jesus that our love for each other and for the Jewish people would provoke them to Jealousy.
Dr. Howard Morgan is an internationally renowned prophetic teacher whose insightful, humorous and anointed ministry is inspiring, empowering and equipping believers around the world. A Jewish believer in the Messiah Jesus since 1971, he planted and pastored churches in New York City from 1976 to 1987. Since 1987 he has been traveling in a full time prophetic and teaching ministry, establishing and overseeing churches and ministries, and pastoring pastors. He is a gifted communicator who is able to present Scriptural truths clearly and precisely, so that the principles of the Kingdom of God are plainly understood and easily applied. His ministry is often accompanied by clear demonstrations of the revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit.
He is the founder and president of Howard Morgan Ministries (www.howardmorganministries.org), his own teaching and equipping ministry, Kingdom Ministries International, which gives apostolic and prophetic oversight to a network of Churches and Ministries, and CEASE an international ministry inspiring and training Christians to Eradicate Anti-Semitism in the Earth.
He has an intense passion to see the entire Body of Christ come to spiritual maturity and unity, as well as a vision to see the Church restored to her Hebraic roots, and to her Biblical relationship and responsibility to the Jewish people. Dr. Morgan has a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College, an M.A. in Counseling from New York University, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Logos Graduate School.