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

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

The Light that Draws Men out of Darkness

Many of us are missing our importance in the economy of God. We are often complacent with the fact that we have found Jesus and that we are saved. We neglect the greater calling that we have to be a light in our world. Thousands of souls pass by us on their way to hell and what are we doing to make a difference. We could stand out on the street corner with our Bibles and cry out to people to repent and if that is what God has called you to do then you should do it. The majority of us live average lives, doing ordinary things that everyone else does. God has placed His lights all through the darkness, but if they never shine before men, how will people find their way?
I’ll never forget when I was in college and I went to a function at a church. As I was leaving I ran into a girl that I grew up with and used hang around with in the neighborhood. We spoke briefly and she had become a Christian, but she asked me a heartbreaking question, “Why didn’t you ever tell me about Jesus?” How many people on their way to hell today would ask us that question today, “Why didn’t you ever tell me about Jesus?”
On the other hand, I have seen people and friends with which we have shared Christ come to Him and have grown into wonderful Christian men and women. Our lives are here to make a difference in our world. God forgive me when I am so busy with me that I am willing to allow others to miss You because I didn’t represent you. What kind of ambassador doesn’t represent his country and his king? 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
We who are in Christ have the knowledge and understanding of salvation. We may not be experts or have all of the answers, but we do have “The Answer”, and the responsibility to share Him with as many as he would give us opportunity too. Sharing Christ doesn’t have to be hard. It starts by just sharing His love, His concern and meeting people where they are. It is not about trying to start out convincing them why their beliefs or their ways are wrong.
I once was going to start telling a young man I used to work with all of the faults of his theology and the Lord spoke in my heart, “Just speak the truth, the truth will set him free.” So many people that we come into contact with have needs and are hurting in one way or another, but they put on the veneer that everything is just fine like we all tend to do. Start breaking through that surface veneer in people and find out who they are. You and I are the Christ in the earth and that puts the awesome responsibility on us to allow His light, His love and His life to flow through us.
As you go through your day look for the opportunities that God places before you for ministry. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that He may use you and speak through you. Be that light that draws men out of darkness and into the kingdom of God.

Blessings,
kent

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