Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Acts 14: 1-3
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.

That Which Fills You, Spills Out of You

God hasn’t commissioned all of us to be apostles and prophets, be we all do have a mandate to share the Lord. While most of us will agree upon the commission that was given to the believers in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”, many of us don’t feel qualified or comfortable sharing the Lord with others. How is it God would have us to share Him when preaching and teaching may be so far from who we are? What does this word preach mean? The word “preach” in the Greek here is kēryssō. It means, “to be a herald, to officiate as a herald, to proclaim after the manner of a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority, which must be listened to and obeyed. To publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done.”
A herald is a messenger making a public proclamation. Some of us may say, I don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable about talking about the Lord. That is something we need to work on getting over. The best witness is the one who is filled with the Spirit of God. Why are they filled with the Spirit of God? Most likely they are filled because they spend a good deal of time in His presence. They feed upon the Word, they are worshippers who spend time in His presence and they are intercessors who stand in the gap for others.
Why is it we don’t have any trouble talking sports, TV programs or who has the best bargains? We easily talk and converse about the subjects that we are most saturated in. If we are to more easily converse and share the message of the Lord of glory with others what is going to give us the comfort, the gravity and the authority to share that message more than saturating ourselves in Him?
The Word says, ‘that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ What are we filling our mind and heart with? If it is the things of God, then it should be spiritual things that flow freely from our conversations. We should easily acknowledge God’s working in our lives even in normal conversation. Even when we are not speaking verbally we are communicating non-verbally with our actions and attitudes. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
Some have taken this commission to preach the gospel of the kingdom as being ‘in your face’, dogmatic, judgmental and often rude. That attitude probably drives more people away from Christ than it ever draws to Him. All we need do is look at our example Jesus, to see the kingdom of God operating out of Him with love and humility, and yet with authority and confidence.
If we would be the epistles of Christ, read of all men, then what are our life and our words communicating to the world around us? That, which fills you up, will spill over in all you do and say.

Blessings,
kent

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