Shabbat, July 22, 2017
HaShem gathers His people in—into the garden, into the holy place in His holy land, under His wings, into His sheep pen, where He nurtures and cares for them, and then sends them out—to the neighborhood, to Judea and Samaria, and then all the way to the ends of the earth—even to Minsk, Belarus, and to Allentown, Pennsylvania. That is His plan for us; that is His Great Commission, which He gave to our fathers in the faith and also to us, here and now. V’eemru? (And let us say?)
How many of you noticed that we’re running a streak here—for three straight weeks? Missionaries have come to Beit Simcha to tell us about missions in far off places? Three weeks ago we had Jonathon & Laura Storm who told us about the mission of the Pomegranate Library, using technology and teaching to equip & encouraging the Underground Church in places like Iran, especially with translations of Messianic Jewish materials such as many of Dan Juster’s books & David Harwood’s God True Love—because the love of God is foundational to the Good News of Messiah Yeshua. V’eemru? How many of you were encouraged to hear about this mission?
Last week we had David & Cherylann Reynolds—Bethany Landquist’s parents—who told us about their mission in the mountains of Lebanon, from which Solomon got cedars for the Temple. Thus they do what Yeshua the Good Shepherd said He’d do in John 10:16, gathering “other sheep” into His fold. He sends missionaries to gather others into his sheepfold, making disciples, through the Discovery Bible Study, then send those new disciples out, to gather others. V’eemru?
Today Yulia and Velodya have come to us all the way from Minsk, Belarus & Reach International. They came here because Stewart & Chantal Winograd were sent to Minsk from Syracuse, NY, along with a Hear O Israel music festival that Jonathan Bernis brought to Minsk in 1994.
The Lord sent Pamela and I to be part of a Hear O Israel Festival in Odessa in 1995—a mission that greatly equipped us around the time we were incorporating Beit Simcha Messianic Fellowship here.
Is anyone seeing a pattern here? The pattern goes back to Genesis. God first gathered Adam & Eve into the Garden where He planned to teach them how to be stewards of creation, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (1:28). When they sinned, HaShem “sent him away from the Garden of Eden” (3:23). That wasn’t optimal! Nevertheless, it had always been HaShem’s plan to send them out to fill and subdue the earth. People can either go out to sow the earth with thorns and tares or with the good seed of salvation. HaShem still intends to send people out to sow the good seed. Hineni, send me! V’eemru?
We see this pattern again in the history of Israel. HaShem gathered them in the Promised Land, where they would prosper, be fruitful and multiply, and they did really well, following HaShem’s instructions in Torah. People would say, “What a wise and understanding nation they are, with God so near whenever we call on Him.” How much the Lord yearns for people to walk so close to Him, in the garden, or in the land, reap a harvest of blessings that would provoke other people to jealousy!
Alas, it was not to be (as HaShem had foretold in the Torah). Instead of walking with the God who loved them, Israel worshiped the gods of the nations, who were cruel and worthless to them. As a result, HaShem expelled them from the land as He had expelled Adam from the garden. Yet even in exile, the prophet instructed them (in Jeremiah 29:5-6), they would plant gardens, be fruitful and multiply … until the time when HaShem would gather them back in the Holy Land. It’s something to remember, when you are longing for a better country… be fruitful where you are.
Too often, the nations have read the exile of Israel as only a curse, as if God had forgotten His promise and abandoned His people. As harsh as exile was, HaShem never forgot His promises to Israel nor would He ever abandon them, any more than He had forgotten His plans for all humanity. V’eemru? He has re-gathered Israel to the land and He will re-gather all humanity to His House. V’eemru?
In Luke 13:34, Yeshua cried, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets…! How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” Yeshua longs to gather the children under His wings. He still does. Then He will send them out.
For HaShem promised in Isaiah 2:3 (also Micah 4:2), Then many peoples will go and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the House of the God of Jacob!
Then He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths.”
For Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of Adonai from Jerusalem.”
The prophets also foretold a day when many peoples will gather at the House of the God of Jacob, where they the Lord will teach them His ways—just as He had begun to do in the Garden. Actually, the Hebrew says, “He will teach us from or out of His ways—when we walk with Him, HaShem will teach us from His ways how to walk in His paths. Then Torah will go forth from Zion —because He will send His people to teach others how to walk in His paths and how to study and live according to the word of Adonai from Jerusalem. That’s good news! V’eemru?
In Matthew 28:16-20, we see a partial fulfillment of this promise, when Yeshua gathers His disciples on a mountain in Galilee. It wasn’t the mountain where many people would say, Come, let us go up! Yet it was a mountain where the eleven disciples met their Master, and they worshiped Him. For three years and forty days, Yeshua had gathered His disciples, taught them and walked with them throughout the Promised Land, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now He gathered them again and taught them their mission—to go out & make disciples of all nations. He gathered them in to teach them and then to send them out. Today, no one knows exactly where that mountain in Galilee is.
But we do know that disciples have been made in nearly all nations. V’eemru?
Velodya and Yulia have come to us from Belarus—isn’t it amazing? And here we are, in our corner of the ends of the earth. Now you may not think of the Lehigh Valley as the end of the earth, but from Mount Zion, is pretty far—further even then Minsk!
Last week, the Lord gathered us for a groundbreaking ceremony. Amid tall oaks, our shamashim (servant-leaders), intercessors and z’keinim (elders) planted Scriptures in the ground, in a quiet, enclosed space where we hope soon to build a Sanctuary. There we broke up the earth with shovels. When we do build this house for God, let’s remember that is will a place where the Lord gathers us to worship Him, where He will teach us from His ways, and from which He will send us out, to make disciples. V’eemru?
Next month, Jeffrey Bernstein is coming. JB is a Messianic Jewish evangelist. In the 70’s and 80’s, he co-labored with Dan Juster, Andrew (now known by his Hebrew name Eitan) Shishkoff and Keith (aka Asher) Intrater at Beth Messiah in Rockville, MD. In the 90’s, JB also joined Jonathan Bernis (another JB!) at the Hear O Israel Festival in Moscow and later went to Kazakhstan, which is nearly 2200 miles east of Minsk—how many of you think Kazakhstan might be the end of the earth? JB has won a treasury of souls for the Lord.
Recently, JB has learned that His calling is to be a five-fold evangelist—that is, his mission is to equip others to do the work of evangelism and thus fulfill the Great Commission. The Ruach Kodesh worked through him with great impact at Rabbi Judah Hungerman’s congregation, Beth Messiah, in Sarasota, FL, so that the people there won scores of souls. You can ask Heidi Buck, who just came to us from Beth Messiah in Sarasota. Everybody say, “Welcome, Heidi!” So Heidi, is it true that Jeffrey Bernstein did some major equipping in evangelism down there, and a harvest has come in? How many of you want some of that here, on our end of the earth?
Dan Juster (our shaliach, which means sent one, sent to us and all over the world from Jerusalem) urged that we bring JB to our Tikkun congregations (and also urged that JB come under the covering of Tikkun, which he has). So Roeh Todd Westphal brought JB to El Shaddai in Frederick, MD, and JB did some major equipping in evangelism there, and they won many souls. So the other elders and I thought we’d give it a try here. JB will be meeting with our leadership team on Wednesday, August 2nd for prayer and brainstorming? (So, leadership team, can you all come to my house on August 2nd?) JB will come to a One Voice pastors meeting the following morning, seeking to impart to the pastors a hunger to Jewish souls, as Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, desired them to provoke Jews to jealousy
I urge you all to pray for your leadership team and the One Voice pastors. I also urge you all to check out JB’s web site, gatesofzion.net, where he has installing many equipping videos. We have some flyers from JB. Then JB will come to Beit Simcha on Shabbat, August 19th and 26th to impart his passion for the lost and make disciple and stay with us a while, in order to equip us to do so. He’ll take us out to the Allentown Fair and other places where we can practice. How many of you are ready to say to the Lord, “Hineni, send me!”
Rabbi Hungerman hungered for a harvest—I know because I met Judah before JB went down there. Rabbi Hungerman even made this video on gatesofzion.net, because he wants others to hunger. Are we hungering for a harvest, too? Is it time for us to hunger for souls—to fast and pray for the lost? Or are we content to stay in our garden? If so, why has the Lord sent us missionaries from the ends of the earth for 3 straight weeks,
and then a Messianic Jewish evangelist next month? Brothers and sisters, the Lord of the harvest wants to send us out, win souls and make disciples. V’eemru?
Does anyone have a testimony about sharing the Good News with someone else? Let’s pray…
This sermon and questions may not to be reprinted in whole or in part without the express written consent of Messianic Rabbi Glenn D. Blank of Beit Simcha. Your generous support for our ministry and building project is appreciated!
Scripture references are mostly from The Tree of Life Version (TLV) though occasionally other versions. Verse citations provide Jewish numbering, with Christian numbering in parentheses.