Is the Movement just a dim memory? Has the passing of time and the pressure to decide what you’re going to do with yourself for the rest of your life dulled you little by little? Have you been forced into compromising until, at last, you’re like all the rest? Or are you someone who can’t stand to think about what you lost when the Movement failed, because at one time the dream seemed so close at hand?
So now it’s too painful to remember and there is no opiate strong enough to drive away the pain. Many others are burned out, tired of trying, suspicious, cynical, hopeless. Where did the Movement go? Why did it slip away? Is there a true hope that will be realized in a life that will never disappoint and never end?
So where are you today and what are you going to do with yourself for the rest of your life? Where is the same basic unfulfilled desire in you, suppressed behind the pile of bureaucracy on your desk, while you now try to make it in the system you detested a few short years before? "Idealistic," you say. But you say that only because you did not find what was basic in you, what was real and genuine, what life was really supposed to be. No, you didn’t find it, but there is still hope!
If the good news spoken about in the New Testament of the Bible were true, if we human beings really could be washed and cleansed of all the guilty stains buried deep in the recesses of our souls, then we could be one! This hope is the only genuine and living hope we have. All other hope has proven to be false. Paul the Apostle said that if we truly came into the real Messiah, we would find that hope. He sums up the life you always wanted but never found in Ephesians 2:12. He speaks of a tribal people with a hope that does not disappoint.
What if it were possible to become an entirely new man, a new personality, a new you. At some point your utopia busted up because through the superficial ground of good vibes and acid highs the old man in you and his ways surfaced and the real you came out.
In order to make any commune function the way the original did, first there has to be a way to get rid of that old man in you and put in the new man. You know what the old man is. It’s your corrupted human nature which is overwhelmingly bent on satisfying itself, satisfying your old sensual desires and fulfilling your own pleasure. Human nature is filled with lusts which are fantasies that you constantly try to fulfill. Lust is the sway toward the falseness in you. You will even deceive others in order to fulfill those fantasies. From this corruption in each of us comes the things that divide us and destroy our lives — greed, envy, jealousy, hatred, strife, ill will toward others and ourselves, treachery, slander, arrogance, and unbridled sensuality. This corrupted old man represents all mankind, the entire human race, including the whole of Christianity today.
The new man, on the other hand, is the life or character of Yahshua Himself, created in justice and peace. This life of the spirit is what makes us one with our Creator and with one another. It is what enables us to regard others more highly than ourselves and to lay down our life daily for others, being gentle and patient and kind and forbearing with one another.
The spirit of Yahshua is the source of our passion. Through Him, we guard and keep our harmony and oneness in the binding power of peace. The life of this new man is a communal or common life which includes all who have totally died by giving up their old life and coming into Messiah. Together we are becoming a commonwealth, a holy nation.
Just think! Here is the secret of living in a commune with success, without ever busting up! It gives us the power to lay aside falsehood and speak the truth to one another, knowing that we truly belong to one another. In order for you to be a part of this, you have to experience a new beginning. It starts when you listen to a true, real preacher like the one in Ephesians 1:13 (not like those on TV or in church, but one sent to you from a community of people bonded together forever in love and unity). Such a preacher could bring you to the point where you could be sealed in your spirit with the very Spirit of God who bonds you together in unity and peace with all those in every Community of Messiah. This Spirit gives you the power to overcome the forces of deceit and falsehood that once ruled your life.
Messiah Himself said that whoever believes and is immersed into His life will be saved. This is the meaning of baptism, through which you die and are raised again into Messiah’s life. It does not mean to merely listen to the truth spoken by one who is sent to you. It means combining what you hear with obedience. Not only must you receive the message of the one sent to you, but you must also share a death like Messiah’s. Through baptism you must give up your old life completely with all its desires and ambitions. You must put an end to your old life. Then, if you do this, you can be rescued from this wicked self you detest that made this world so wicked in the first place. The wages of your old life in this corrupt world is death.
This is the only way it can happen. It must be life for life. The life you’ve always hoped for, the one that will not disappoint you, cannot be found any other way. It’s as simple as this: Messiah died for all of us so that all of us who are alive will have the opportunity to live no longer for ourselves, but to fulfill the purpose of him who died for our sake and rose again from the dead. Therefore, if anyone is immersed into the life of Messiah, he is a new creation; he has become a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. The old ways have passed away. The fresh, new life has begun.
After all your travels and all your trips and all your illusions and disappointments, you must now see the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. His blood covers our sin and causes us to know that we are forgiven. We must all come to know we are forgiven, so that we can forgive others, so that we can come together. But you can’t get forgiven by trying to forgive yourself through some therapy or psychology. You can never analyze yourself into forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift that is based on a great price that was paid for it. It’s not cheap. That’s why it’s eternal. True forgiveness lasts forever.
It’s not justice that one would do wrong to his neighbor. But this injustice fills the earth; it fills every neighborhood; it touches every life. There is a penalty for this injustice and that penalty is death. Everyone who ever did harm to his neighbor is guilty enough to die and must taste the horrible separation and confinement of death to pay for his sins.
In old Israel, God provided a way for his people to be forgiven. Whenever a man sinned, he could sacrifice a lamb, a choice lamb, the best lamb from his flock, to atone for his sin. When the man laid his hands on the lamb as it was being slain, his guilt was transferred to the lamb, and the lamb’s blood was then poured out as an offering — a life for a life. The lamb died so the man could be forgiven and go free.
This always pierced the heart of the sincere, because they tenderly loved their flocks, especially their choicest lambs. So, to kill the best lamb was a most painful experience. Even though this sacrifice could never fully cleanse their conscience, the God of Israel wanted his people to know the terrible cost to undo the effect of sin on the earth. It would take something more to finally set creation free from its curse.
At just the right time in history there was born an even more costly and perfect Lamb than the very best of their flocks. It was the human Lamb of God, our Creator’s own Son. He was the very best of the flock of humanity. In fact, He was the firstborn of a whole new race of unstained, guilt-free human beings who could love one another from a pure heart. He never did harm to his neighbor, but instead was the ultimate example of how we should live. So this Lamb, this perfect Lamb, was slain for all of us, for all of our guilt. The faith that causes us to believe in him also causes us to give up all we have, even our own sovereignty, in baptism and receive his life. This is what transfers forgiveness to us. It is life for life — His life for our life. We can be forgiven! This is how you can be free. This is the good news and it’s meant for you.