Ruth, the Moabitess—is a story of posterity and inheritance as is the whole of the Bible. Ruth enters at the place where again the Seed of Judah must pass to another generation in order that the predestined lineage of Christ might forge through. So that she is met with the death of her husband and brother-in-law only to begin the work of righteousness that must accompany such a lineage and has brought on the despair of a mother-in-law who reckons herself dead because she lacks posterity. Ruth becomes God’s vessel of grace in providing the generation of the Seed to the Jews from the labors of yet another Gentile as was Tamar—a child of grace. The grace that is a work of the cross that through its propagation will always cut off the propagation of the flesh that is sin and the natural estate and country of birth. And so we see Naomi, a Jewess from Bethlehem, her husband, and two sons who sought refuge from death by famine by fleeing to Moab, a country known for its prevailing idolatry though they did not escape death itself. Inevitably, by divine will, Naomi was left a widow and the sole survivor of her family besides her two daughter-in-laws for which no children had been born to — of whom, one was called, Ruth. It was at Naomi farewell, calling to her daughter-in-laws to return to their homeland as would she return to hers that we recognize that the knowledge and virtue of faith had fallen upon Ruth. Because Ruth restrains Naomi from expelling her with the words of a vow of marriage: “Entreat me not to leave you…for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” [Ruth 1:16, 17 NKJV] And from it Ruth indeed supplants the strength of a son and husband returning with Naomi to her home carrying on her shoulders the cross of death that was passing them from death to life. In Bethlehem, Ruth provided food for Naomi and herself by gleaning in the fields as the poor did in Israel, since the inheritance of her dead husband she could not possess as a woman, but could only be redeemed by a male relative. But the favor of Boaz, the owner of the field where she gleaned, fell upon her, because he recognized the righteousness of Ruth that had come to be known to all of Bethlehem. Now Naomi learning this, instructed Ruth as to how she should sow such virtue in order to increase through it. Calling on her that she should seek a covering from Boaz, Naomi knowing that Boaz was a close relative of her’s, though he was much older than Ruth. Moreover, Ruth respected the words of Naomi and laid at the feet of Boaz while he slept and without his awareness demonstrating the meekness of faith in the face of Christ on the cross that does not exploit weakness but covers it. From this, Boaz reckoned himself as Christ did for all of mankind, to perform the duties of a redeemer kinsman, that in redeeming the inheritance of the dead as a close relative, he should also raise up posterity in his place as Boaz did to Naomi through Ruth. Boaz who was the son of Rahab, knew the grace and mercy of the cross that broke open the Seed in death to the work of righteousness and fruitfulness since he too had come forth in this manner. Rahab was the harlot in Jericho whom God called and quicken to faith in the Child (Israel) to aid the spies and whom He kept of all of those in that day when the walls of Jericho fell. Ruth in marriage to Boaz gave birth to a son—and to Naomi, the women of Bethlehem said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you without a close relative, may his name be famous in Israel”, and there was One—Christ Jesus. And of Ruth they said to Naomi, “for your daughter-in-law, whom loves you…is better than seven sons.” Christ arose in the heart and womb of Ruth to propagate to another generation, the Seed of righteousness—Obed, the grandfather of David.
Christ says, “Who is My mother and My brother? For whoever does the will of God is My brother, and My sister. And mother.” [Mark 3: NKJV] The children, “who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”. [John 1:12,13 NKJV]
Deitrich Bonhoeffer—pastor, teacher, theologian, and national activist was the writer of the most extensive work on discipleship, grace, suffering, and the cross than any other in the 20th century. “The Cost of Discipleship” became one of the most revealing works regarding the operation of grace toward salvation and the outworking of discipleship. A grace, which called upon him to demonstrate his knowledge and commitment to discipleship in Jesus Christ through trial, suffering, and eventually martyrdom. Bonhoeffer spent a period in prison prior to his death for participating in a coup to assassinate Hitler. It was there that he wrote works such as “Ethics”, and “Papers and Letters”. Prior to this, Bonhoeffer had openly spoken out against Hitler, the German Nazi regime, and the persecution of the Jews. He called upon the Christian leaders of Germany to actively resist German fascism becoming the founding member of the “Confessing Church”, a small group of individuals who withstood Nazism. Bonhoeffer’s path of discipleship would open the revelation of the role of nationalism and world order as a medium for spiritual evil that does and will ultimately act in rejection to God and the persecution of His elect; a mass illusion which brings on tyranny in the form of nationalist government and religion. Bonhoeffer’s release came not in the form of “The Big Three”, that penetrated Berlin in World War II just weeks before his death, but he suffered martyrdom by hanging for which he declared:”For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
John, the Baptist—“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in king’s houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say…more that a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You. Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” [Matthew 11:7-15 NKJV]
Job—“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” [Job 19:23-27 NKJV]
Paul, the Apostle—a devout Jew and of the ranks of the Pharisees became a reformer and eloquent teacher of the Gospel which led to at least 13 books of the bible written by him. He received the gift of knowledge and the revelation of the mysteries of the Gospel for which throughout his missionary journeys were conveyed through his epistles to the local churches and its leaders. It was God who called him said this regarding Paul to the disciple, Ananias: “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Paul took the message of the Gospel from Arabia to Rome and prepared many men and women for ministry. Paul underwent a great trial of testing and suffering which also gave way to the mysteries of the Gospel regarding the work of suffering. God fulfilled his call to Paul to receive the Holy Spirit, through which he gave witness of the Gospel before the Jews, Gentiles, kings, and finally Rome. Paul suffered great violence for the sake of the Gospel, but took the kingdom by force. He was known for his resilience in his persecution of the church prior to his conversion, but even a greater resilience for the cross of Christ for which he suffered and died, having this to say: “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Mary of Magdala (Magdalene)—So it is not those who will, nor those who run, but of those who God shows mercy. [paraphrased Romans 9:16 NKJV] Sometimes due to the oversimplification in which we read the Gospels, we miss the revelation of this passage. Mary Magdalene is one of them, and for this reason, let me give some substance to the message of her portrait. We learn through the books of the Gospels that Mary became a follower, and disciple of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Whether these works hold other consequences, we do not know, but what is notable is what we are to see from the Gospels themselves…that is Mary as Christ’s redeemed beginning her ascent to becoming the first witness of Christ’s resurrection. There is something that goes lacking in the teaching of the Gospel, because not many Christians are aware of this: Mary Magdalene is the first witness of Christ resurrection. And it is hardly that it was omitted inadvertently. Mary’s portrait is not a very celebrated one as there are many questions surrounding her disreputable condition that cast her away as only a support figure to other major figures in the earthly ministry of Christ, however Christ, Himself seems to assign her a greater importance than is acceptable to many preachers, theologians, and the like...maybe because the lack of true insight makes this implausible to them.
Her portrait is told to us from the Gospels giving quite a hard and repulsive image of one whose human debaseness is brought nil under the power of Christ call and deliverance so that no more are we allowed to look into the one who was once defiled, but only the one who is made well. An image we can only characterize by the acts of her discipleship. So we peer into Mary’s character through the lens of grace to see not one characterized as having a reasonableness of propriety, but one who is unwavering and steadfast by her witness and the perseverance to hide or deny nothing when integrity demands it. We see a woman of disciplined faith who shows consistency to hold to her path. So that it is Mary, we find at every turn of Christ’s story, often mentioned among those who remain pass all the rest…held to His Lordship not by conscious effort, but by inherent passion that is unyielding to human or spiritual dithering. This immovable passion she maintains throughout her mission with Christ is not the willy nilly morose often perceived in spiritual bondage. Mary is the fruit of Christ righteousness, the “born again” which by any human summation of a righteous life could not have been attainable against the spiritual oppression once described of her.
The induction that Christ gave to Mary as His disciple is especially celebrated, because even as Christians we still remain captive to the boundaries that sin, propriety, culture, or plain old ignorance hold over us regarding the character which the Gospel must be conveyed in…a Spirit which will never be sufficiently cast by reasonableness, diplomacy, or servility though they are useful, they pale in comparison to the character needed in matters of standing as a witness of the Truth. While it may seem less of a consequence to be prejudice by impropriety over the debaseness that Mary once knew, it is no less one of the most crippling and degenerative consequences known to man against the hearing of the truth. Christ rebuked his disciples for their resistance and disbelief because it is the message of the Gospel and His Lordship that grants our authority to proclaim it and He governs our obedience… not the Law or nature. Neither can the Gospel be believed or understood under the constraints of such, because where there is law, there is bondage of sin. And it is because of the Law of bondage and the sinfulness of man…boundaries such as these have become costly for the disciple who will not yield him or herself to for the sake of the Gospel, but rather endure the humiliation and suffering that comes by offending them …since man under the Law cannot recognize God or His righteousness when it is present (See the portrait of Tamar, the Caananite). How does the Christian become blind to God’s will and presence? We’ll have to study it in another teaching.
There is one other passage that needs mentioning which becomes this portrait all the more and that is at the center of Mary’s witness of Christ resurrection. Christ when revealing Himself and calling to Mary, He responses to Mary’s sorrow and weeping: “Mary! [He says] do not cling to Me for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and [tell] them I am ascending to My Father and your Father and to My God and your God.” Christ is making known a reality that all of us and not just Mary will have to confront…Christ has left us for a time that we might receive the necessary measure of faith…walking in what is not naturally seen, but in what we know by the Spirit…the Truth. It does not leave Christ unknown to us, but known…not from things unseen, but from things that can only be spiritually discerned which is a much more far-reaching endeavor that will empower us as children to God, who is Spirit and victors against spiritual evil and the world. Christ has declared this truth to us that God is Spirit and must be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. And God has declared it, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “The just shall live by faith.”
Though without any written incident we can know this of Mary… that her finish of faith could be no less than what she endured throughout her race…still standing even at the very last.
Oh, isn’t the grace of perseverance awesome!
A Teaching Portrait by Teresa Berry-Moss, Minister
Deborah—was a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, [who] was judging Israel at the time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” [Judges 4:4,5 NKJV] It is from here that the bible tells us that Deborah sends for Barak, the commander of Israel’s army and commands him to ‘Go and deploy troops ‘ that God may in turn deploy Sisera , commander of Jabin’s army against them intending that He deliver them into Barak’s hand. But though Barak regarded the power of God, he did not regard the Word of God so that he counters that only if Deborah would go with him, would he go, but if she would not go, nor would he. And Deborah knowing this, replied, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in this journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” [Judges 4:9]
A Zimbabwe Pastor's soliloquy later martyred for his faith: Found among his papers in Zimbabwe after his death were these words: I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power. My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!
Brandon Ryan—served as a graduate student/professor in what was then called, the Dallas Lays Institute of Dallas Theological Seminary. He had previously served in a branch of the U.S. Military as a career officer. However, if I can recall the story correctly he believed very strongly that God had prepared him for a much more important task for which he was following when I met him. I was one of three students he had during a semester long course in Christian Suffering at Dallas Theological. I too felt the necessity to take the course since that year seemed to pose a great deal of difficult and unusual trials for me as I embarked on a not too clear path of ministry. Our class seemed quite pathetic a group, being a young and fledgling short-term missionary and my fellow classmates, one a quiet but serious girl from China and an older gentleman who worked for the Mrs. Baird’s Bread company (he wore his uniform to class). But each week we gathered huddled together in a usually cold and mostly empty room while Brandon brought one more lesson on the subject of Christian suffering. It did not occur to us at first that our lesson would not be found on a dusty chalkboard but in the life of a young 30-something graduate student. It did not take long that semester to discover that Brandon was wrestling with a very difficult issue in his life—which usually came open to us when he would pause just finding something in his lesson that reminded him of the cancer he was struggling with. Brandon would say very frustratingly…I do not understand, I have children (I believe the oldest was only around 7 years old, the youngest maybe 4 years old) and a young wife. The pause might last nearly 10 minutes and sometimes longer as he explained his dilemma…then he’d say again on another occasion recalling James 5: angry that the elders of his church had not offered themselves to keep prayer vigil over his illness. But Brandon was not just struggling with his illness; he struggled with the will of God and the work of suffering. I still can hear myself as a student then asking God, in secret if I might know the answer Brandon needed to hear and strangely each time, I would be given just enough to bring a smile to him and a small sigh of what seemed like joy. Nevertheless, that fall quickly turned to winter, the course was just near ending, and Brandon’s appearance was waning. I saw what was once a healthy military-trained body turn frail right before my eyes. The cancer seemed like a thief stealing away his body and his hope. But it never failed; Brandon would always be in class just moments before we arrived to open his classroom door and invite us in to look into the mystery of God regarding suffering. We did not learn until way into class time that he had discharged himself from the hospital to be there. No one had to tell me that I would never miss a class time with him no matter what the excuse, nor did any of the other two—it was understood, it was God’s will. But I couldn’t help sitting there wondering in my mind how Brandon being in that class should hold such a great importance to God—shouldn’t his time be for his family he agonized over so many times? The course had now come to an end and Brandon was given a release from it for a while to maybe make himself ready for the next semester. I promised myself, I would be his student again for his next semester course he had invited us to. I’d come to love his demonstration of God so much it seemed there could be no other decision than to follow him. The other girl student was taking her learning back to China, so we said our farewells. And the gentleman from Mrs. Baird Bread company would stick around for the next semester as I had planned. Next semester came and I prepared myself with joy to be returning to Brandon, but when I called that January to arrange my classes, I was told that Brandon would not be teaching that semester. He had been hospitalized and was not expected to recuperate. I prayed for him with hope that there was still something God desired from him when partly it was the holding on I really was asking for. Not very long after that day, on a Sunday, I was guest singer at a fairly large church and naturally I was full of excitement and yet some nervousness—but nonetheless ready. One of the ministers had arranged my appearance and before introducing me, he made an announcement regarding one of the graduate professors whom everyone knew—at least it seemed that way. I could hear just barely the name—but God had planned it—it was Brandon. He introduced me and I gathered myself and stood up. I could not apologize for what I was feeling that moment, so I invited all of them to know what my reaction was from. I began, “Brandon Ryan was my teacher. And since I am here, let me tell you who he is.”…before it was over I knew there were tears in my eyes and some of those who listened. That day I sung with him in my heart, “Lord I pray today, for the rest of my life, live inside my heart, please stay, for always, till that timeless place when we’re face to face, and we embrace for always.” God allowed me to meet Brandon's wife and children at the celebration of his home going. Maybe now after 15 years, it is known why he kept his appointment. I know without a doubt that Brandon’s life is deeply set in mine and the message of the Gospel I speak today. How Great is the Grace and Love of God to spend such worth!
A Witness account by Teresa Berry-Moss, Minister of Call to Christ Ministry
John, the Apostle—the son of Zebedee and brother of James the Apostle, who by the call of John the Baptist was led to follow Christ, that no longer should he stand in wait of a promise but that the promise should over take him in the way that he should follow it. This is the grace and abundant mercy of God and the act of one who is loved: to be found in the way, compelled by the Spirit to leave all behind in search of the knowledge of true things, and to be found by a teacher not yet known to him. This grew to faith and zeal in John, that he should receive the tremendous grace to see the glorious things yet to come. John was a close companion of Jesus being one of the three who often accompanied Him in his solitude and given the gift to see Him in His glory. John, as did all of the twelve apostles underwent a great trial following the period of Christ’s ascension, which was later interpreted as the scattering of the First Church. It is recorded in the Tertullian (the prescription of Heretics) that during the time of great persecution of the early Christian by Nero, the emperor of Rome which begun about the time of 64 A.D., blamed the Christians for the Great Roman Fires he contrived. It was held that during this time that John defied death being plunged into boiling oil suffering no harm. It was said that after this miracle was seen by the whole coliseum that many were converted. Exile followed this incident and John was carried to the Island of Patmos. It is believed that it was there that John wrote the book of Revelations besides 4 other books of the bible.
John Wycliffe—a reformer, theologian, and contributor/translator of the first English bible came to be known as the “Morning Star of the Reformation” refuting the wealth and secularization of the church. He was an advocate for the Gospel encouraging individual learning of the bible without Church mediation. He opposed imposing indulgences (money paid to the church/priest) on the people through manipulation and fear in exchange for false promises of salvation. In response to this, he prepared a group of poor priest known as the “Lollards” who without vows or formal consecration by any church order preached the Gospel throughout England. In 1381, a Peasant Revolt broke out against the spiritual aristocracy and though Wycliffe opposed the revolt, he was blamed. Wycliffe was tried by the Roman Catholic Church and was inevitably charged with heresy. On more than two occasions, he was rescued from the hands of the Church where on one occasion, an earthquake occurred. Wycliffe died at the age of 64 in his bed from apoplexy (presumed to be a neurological impairment). After about 30 years from his death, the Roman Catholic Pope ordered that his bones be exhumed, burned, and cast in the river.
Watchman Nee—was born in 1903 and came to faith at the age of 17 when attending a meeting where evangelist, Dora Yu was preaching. He became founder and pastor of what became known as the “Church Assembly Hall” in China known as the “little flocks”, an itinerant of small local churches formed from his missions and travels. Nee asserted that geographical boundaries was the only legitimate reason for having more than one church while maintaining that there was only one Church and Body of Christ. His family was brought to the knowledge of faith, where his mother, Peace Lin emerged as a preacher as inevitably, he did. Nee received the beginning of his grace in learning of the Gospel from the knowledge and demonstration of a British missionary named, Margaret E. Barber who taught and lived among many of the young men of China. Nee continued his ministry and writings though he was imprisoned for his faith in 1949 for which he spent 20 years until his death. Nee in the first chapter of his book titled, “A Normal Christian Life” answers a very fundamental question for which has received more abstraction than any other aspect of Christian life and that is “What is the normal Christian life?” Nee answers it by this: “The apostle Paul gave us his own definition of the Christian life in Galatians 2:20. It is “no longer I, but Christ.” Here he is not stating something special or peculiar—a high level of Christianity. He is, we believe, presenting God’s normal for a Christian, which can be summarized in the words: I live no longer, but Christ lives his life in me.”
Martin Luther— is referred to as the Reformer and inspiration of the Protestant Church from what then was the Roman Catholic Church. He opposed superstitious teachings and payment of indulgences, which were paid to the Church and priest as an exchange for pardon of individual’s and their families from purgatory. Luther, although a German monk assailed the Church for its apostasy. Luther argued that grace, faith, and repentance were the only means of salvation, a faith that was unmediated by the church. Luther believed that the bible was the only infallible authority in respects to Christianity and that divine revelation was the only means in which it could be learned. He asserted that the baptized Christian was its priesthood, challenging the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was eventually severed from the monastery, for which followed a period of isolation, where he wrote the first German translated bible. It was at an assembly for which he was called upon to recant 41 assertions he’d made regarding the Church and the Pope that Luther spoke these word after asking that he might have time to answer in regards to his willingness to recant, he said: "Unless I shall be convinced by the testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear reason ... I neither can nor will make any retraction, since it is neither safe nor honourable to act against conscience”. He added, "Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen" which means, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." Days later, the Emperor declared Luther an outlaw and sought after his arrest. Consequently, Luther on his return from the assembly was secretly intercepted by Frederick III, the prince of Saxony for which he spent a time of isolation at the castle of Wartburg. During his period of isolation, a peasant war broke out over all of Germany killing about 100,000 people primarily motivated by rebels who used distorted interpretations of Luther’s works to provoke the people. Still, controversy arose again regarding statements made by Luther in respects to the Jews, statements that weredistorted and used as propaganda by the Nazis in 1933-45.
Tamar, the Canaanite—wife of Judah’s first son, Er came to be known to us from the book of Genesis and would hardly be believed or associated to the discipleship that came to be known in the Gospel unless one came to learn the same. But of everything that discipleship is this is what it is the most of: because what would ever tell us how violent a thing righteousness is, and particularly to bring forth a child. Judah not knowing that the Seed of Righteousness awaited His entrance through him, learned not to despise the wickedness of his sons imposing Tamar to impossible hopes and insufficient means for which neither man nor the Law was able to provide. So that God despised and expelled the evil of Judah’s son, Er and angered at the despicable example of his brother, Onan who discharged himself in order to avoid raising up a child that was not his heir. God judging that no son born to Judah, Tamar’s father-in-law was sufficient for bringing forth His posterity. And in fear, Judah hesitated to fulfill the Law of God by offering his youngest and last son to Tamar lest evil be found in him, motivating his judgment and death as God had judged and killed the others. Tamar thus concluded after testing all else that neither sitting down in complacency, docility, nor the patronizing manner that her station as a woman and wife delivered to her could achieve against the Law, this righteous goal. Tamar was persuaded by a conviction and knowledge (which is now known as faith) that could not be found among her natural things as by marriage, family, people, or nation, nor by the Law which governs carnal things. But like Rahab, she was quickened in mind and spirit to hurdle over the imposing wall of servitude and restraint to reach the liberty of faith. So that she got up and put off the garment of mourning laying aside the bonds which are a constant reminder of sin; and put on the garment of passion that could not be resisted by any other bond making her captive to God and sat down in a vulnerable place that few women, particularly or even men would regard as a place of nobility. She sat down under the guise of a harlot to induce Judah’s passion to satisfy his flesh for the sake of God’s posterity. God knowing it is where kings are born, and even royalty where contrary to appearances and the subjection of the Law in the grungy confines of worthless things is where the Gospel was born. The uncanny works of Faith that have stooped to such levels more than once to gain God’s will—hidden from the natural eye, His righteousness that what appears lawless in the eyes of the unlawful is indeed righteous and in return judging that anything of high esteem to man is abomination. Taking the low road as so many of Christ’s disciples do and have done, rejecting the most predictable and natural response to righteousness for the demeaning and mortifying, accepting the shame of it for the joy that is before them. Learning to run the impossible race that like Christ, they should not receive the promise of life without having shared with Him in its sufferings—this is Tamar. She knew that if in keeping the Law under the subjection of men, she was held captive to sin—then transgressing it made her no less. But if in breaking the Law in the face of a higher Law, the Gospel being the will of God, then righteousness would be her captivity and her freedom, and much more gratifying, the pleasure of God. Tamar became the answer to men and women alike of the confines that exist about us by sin under the name of the Law, religion, and propriety that cannot achieve virtue or the righteousness of God because it offers to God from the flesh that it might obtain in the flesh. But the discipleship of Christ for the sake of the Gospel recognizes that a greater Law compels them and is unable to be reached unless they are loosen from the Law of sin that they might serve God rather than men. Knowing that the first Law did not commit them to God, but to sin, and thus to judgment which is in subjection to men and to God. But the second Law does not speak to sin and cannot be heard by it, so that it does not begin with “Do not”, but it is the righteousness (will) of God carried forth and by it, there is no Law against it. And it speaks like this: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…Blessed are you when you mourn…Blessed are you, the meek…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…Blessed are you, the merciful…Blessed are you who make peace with God [rather than men] for you will be called the sons of God…Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
This revelation goes even further to speak to all of mankind in the face of the woman and the slave if by what is read it is not yet understood. Because it is especially certain that in religion, where the liberty of faith is not possessed or lived, and in the Christian community where sin is present or in the calling of the sinner that this first Law is still in force, both in what is taught and what is learned. So that God’s first Law subjects mankind and more acutely women to the authority of men saying, ”Your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you“, and in another place, saying “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission…For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing…” Both of these being the same, the Law were an answer to sin and an operation of restraint. However, the righteousness of God’s second Law, the Gospel says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus“, as answer to those who are righteous and know the will of God. But just as was found in Judah, righteousness is not always at first seen or at last, understood and as a result leads to the persecution and suffering of the righteous not as a consequence of sin, but against sin. This is not just true of women of faith, but of the great cloud of witnesses who have gone ahead of us—where righteousness cannot be perceived in a woman, it cannot be perceived in a man either. Then we know that the first Law reckons us to sin because where there is Law, there is also sin, and Christ commands that the first is taught, not as an exercise of liberty, but for the conviction of sin. But the second reckons us to Christ because where there is righteousness of the Spirit, there is liberty, against such there is no Law. [Genesis 3:16 ; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; Galatians 3:27, 28; 5:18:24; 2 Corinthians 3:5-18 NKJV]
The Discipleship of Jesus Christ—what a wonderful thing!
A Teaching by Teresa Berry-Moss, Minister of Call to Christ Ministry
Peter, the Apostle—Son of Jonah and brother to Andrew the Apostle, was by the grace of God strengthened to withstand the hardship of persecution that followed the offense of the Gospel, as a rock stands still and strong against overwhelming assault. A strength and faith that was rewarded one hundredfold by his witness and confession of things hidden and undiscerned by learned men yet given to children, things held by the world as offensive to man… God in the flesh, which Peter declared regarding our Lord. It was at his proclamation of Jesus being the Son of God that he rgbeceived the Fire of Faith, which Christ passed unto him as seasoning that through his obedience and sacrifice His life and the lives of many others would be sustained not in body, but in communion with Him and the Father( in Spirit). This is the Faith that carried a young fisherman from Bethsaida to the feet of his Teacher and inevitably toward maturity. It was this maturity that the man who was once called Simon received the branch of Peter, the rock whom Christ said He would give authority to bind and to loose on earth that it may be done likewise in heaven. Thus, Peter took up the cross of Christ (a sign of obedience and submission to God), that he should become a sacrifice of faith in the name of Christ Jesus. This grace was passed to him by the Lord not but a short time after being tested. Naturally, the cross of Jesus Christ will always be the test of ultimate sacrifice and discipleship and Peter was no exception. Christ called him to follow him in life and death for which he underwent even with the personal struggle of submission and whole obedience. Peter was made to stand as a leader before his brother apostles having no formal learning of any kind though he was given the promise of the Holy Spirit as his teacher from Whom he delivered the message of Gospel.
Corrie Ten Boom—a daughter of God. Corrie and her family participated in the hiding away of Jews from annihilation during World War II in Holland. They were imprisoned not shortly after their involvement where her father, sister, and nephew died, and later her brother shortly after his release. She underwent great trial and testing before embarking on a ministry that would call her to tell of the Gospel of suffering and the release from sin the world round that she had personally witnessed and experienced that “no pit is too deep, that God is not deeper still”. She continued preaching and writing from her release for over 30 years the Word of the cross.
CALL TO CHRIST MINISTRY
Martin Luther King—though having spent but only a period of 15 years in the civil rights movement, his memory has lasted more than 39 years since his assassination. Strangely enough, the rewards of his message and legacy have been left to fewer and fewer as each generation passes and the worth of his memory stained by deceived minds who attempt to portray a different message fostering distinction, rather than worth, and form, rather than substance. Yet as the value of gold appreciates with endurance, so does the discipleship and message in the hearts of those who know it and endure with it also appreciate. Martin Luther King was given a light to cry against the injustice of separation that oppressed both the perpetrators and their victims. He led marches and brought the message of the freedom of the Gospel as an example of human tolerance to a world void of the true virtue of worth, refuting those who reject God by their hatred of others. His martyrdom marked the end of the movement’s exemplary work of faith and the beginning of its promise, which could only be realized in the Gospel.