Rabbi Schneider - The Next Level of Christianity
Last time I was in chapter number 3, verse 29 and what we have there is a unique statement from John, who said that he was the friend of the bridegroom. Let's look at John chapter 3, verse number 29. John says this, "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full," or made complete. John saw himself, listen, as the friend of the bridegroom. And what to me is really unique, beloved one, about this verse, is this terminology that John the Baptist used concerning Jesus, calling Yeshua the bridegroom. What a unique paradigm, what a unique way to look at Yeshua. You know many of us when we were introduced to Jesus, we were introduced to Him as the Savior.
If we were Jewish we were introduced to Him as the Messiah. Many people were introduced to Jesus as God. But many of us have never really contemplated the fact that Yeshua in addition to being the Messiah of the Jewish people and the Savior of the world, is identified in scripture as the bridegroom. I want us just to pause on this mystery and meditate on it a while. It's a hard thing to get our heads wrapped around. You see scripture over and over again speaks of our relationship with God through Yeshua, as somewhat being compared to the relationship between a man and his wife. For example, in the book of Ephesians, Paul is speaking about a marriage relationship and Paul says that a man and woman, he's speaking about an earthly man and woman now, a physical man and a physical woman. He says, "When they get married," he said, "the two shall become one". And then Paul goes on to say, "I'm speaking to you though about something more. I'm speaking to you about the mystery of the union that God has with His people through Messiah Jesus".
The people of God are also referred to in scripture as the bride of Christ. Now this is hard, especially for those of us that are men watching today, to get our mind wrapped around the fact that we're the bride of Christ or the Bride of Messiah; because we think of a bride as being feminine. I want to be very clear and I want to say plainly, that we're not talking about gender identity when we speak about the church being the bride of Christ. This is not about being a woman. This is about our relationship of receiving. You see the role of the male is the male is the initiator. The male sperm is the one that impregnates. The male sperm is the one that causes life to give forth.
That's why God is referred to as Father. Everything originates from Him. He's the source. And so when we speak about the church being the bride of Messiah, when we speak about Jesus being the bridegroom, as John called Him in John 3:29 and us being the bride, it has nothing to do once again with gender identity in terms of femaleness and that respect. It just has to do with the relationship that Yeshua is the source of our life and we as His people are the one that are receiving that life. You could compare it even to Yeshua's relationship with the Father. Yeshua said it was the Father in Him that was doing the works. Yeshua said that the Father had given Him life. So Yeshua's relationship to the Father was as one that was receiving and our relationship to Yeshua is as those, listen, that receive. And so He is the bridegroom. He is the one giving the life and we as His people are those that are receiving it. And we become one with Him in union, in a relationship that is so intimate that the closest natural relationship that it can be compared to is a marriage relationship; when a husband and wife in a great marriage know each other better than anybody else knows them on earth. And they love each other and care for each other.
I want to talk a little bit further now about this concept of Yeshua the bridegroom as the giver and you and I, beloved one, as the bride or the receivers. I think a lot of believers are not bearing much fruit, because they haven't understood the importance of depending on God for everything. Self confidence has not yet been broken in many of our lives. Self dependency has not yet been broken enough so that we can live by the life of God. You see Yeshua said that He did nothing by His own initiative. He stated flat out, "I do nothing by My own initiative". He said He only did what He saw the Father doing. So if Yeshua was doing nothing by His own initiative, if it was all simply the momentum of the Spirit of the Father that was moving Him and empowering Him and leading Him, how much more so should you and I be depending on Yeshua to be powerful and fruitful in this world?
This is why Jesus said, "He that abides in Me bears much fruit". But we can't abide in Him and we can't receive His life unless we're dependent on Him. The point is Yeshua is the bridegroom, we're the bride. It speaks of a relationship where the bridegroom is the giver, the bride is the receiver. But many of us are not living in a life of receiving fully, because we're not depending on Him fully. We're still in our own natural, fleshly, power. We haven't been broken enough. We're too self confident.
This is the lesson that the Lord had to teach Paul in the book of Corinthians. Remember Paul had the thorn in the flesh. It was weakening him. It was tormenting him. It was causing him to cry out to the Father, "Take it away". And finally the Father responded to Paul's prayer and said, "No Paul, I'm not gonna take this thorn in your flesh away, this thing that's making you weak, this thing that is causing you to cry out to Me". God said to him and said, "Paul, rather then taking it away, what's gonna happen is as you cry out to Me, My power will be perfected in your weakness". Paul went on to say, "When I learn that lesson from the Father that this was actually His way of empowering me, that through depending on Father through this weakness I was gonna be made strong". Paul's conclusion to it was, therefore Paul said, "I'm gonna glory and boast in my weakness, rather than in my strength".
You see, he had learned the mystery of the importance of living in dependency. Sometimes if we don't humble ourselves to become dependent on God, rather than self willed, what the Father will sometimes do in the life of His child, because He disciplines everyone of us that He receives, is He'll bring something into our life that will break us in order to make us dependent on Him; so we can live by His life rather than our own. This is what Paul eluded to in the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 1. Paul said there, "I would have you know brethren that I am burdened excessively beyond strength, so that I despair," Paul said, "even of life. But this happened to me," he continues, "so that I would learn to trust in God that raises the dead".
Let's think about that, 2 Corinthians first chapter. Paul is saying to the church, he said, "I want you to know this". It's interesting Paul said, "I will have you know". He wanted us to understand what he was going through for a reason. He said, "I am burdened excessively," there is such weight on my life. I am suffering such grief. I am in such a painful place. He said, "I am burdened excessively beyond strength, that I despair," he continued, "even of life". In other words, he didn't want to wake up tomorrow. He didn't want to get out of bed. It was so much weight that he was carrying. He didn't even want to continue to live in the natural. But there was a reason for it and he understood the reason. He said, "But this has happened to me, this thing in my life that's so heavy, that's causing me such grief". He said, "This happened to me for a purpose". He said, "The reason that it's happening to me, is that I would learn to trust in God that raises the dead".
In other words, God had to bring such a weight of burden on Paul's life, that Paul was out of natural strength to deal with the issues. And there was only one place left for Paul to go and that was to turn his heart over to God, to stop depending on himself, to stop living in self will and to instead depend on Hashem, on God Himself, because we can only live in the power of the Spirit when we're dependent on the Spirit, when we're depending, beloved, on the bridegroom for life. You see the Father is the source of our life, but He ministers His life to us through His Son, through the bridegroom Yeshua. And so in order, once again, to live in the power of the Spirit, we have to be dependent.
A lot of times people hear the phrase that if you receive Jesus you'll be saved, but receiving is not something we do one time and it's over. Receiving is a lifestyle. We realize, listen, that every breath we take is a gift to us. Let me ask you a question right now. Who is causing your heart to beat? Are you causing your heart to beat? No. You can take no responsibility for your life. Your life is a gift to you from Hashem. You are entirely dependent on Hashem, on God. You can't keep yourself alive. You can't keep yourself alive when you're sleeping in your bed tonight. It's Father God through Yeshua that's keeping your heart beating. God wants us to understand that we're dependent on Him for our every breath. And when we begin to get to that level of humility and dependency, Yeshua, Jesus is gonna do remarkable works through our life and you and I will be brought in to great peace.
You see some people, they carry the world on their shoulders. They think that every problem they hear about, you know that they're supposed to solve. They have a God complex, rather than depending on God they kind of play the role of God. But the reality is we should do what we should do in the Lord to be a blessing in the world and to other people as the Lord is leading, but we have to understand all of life is in God's hands. He rules the world, not you and not I. So let's come out of self dependency and let's come out of pride. We're gonna continue on here. Let's go to the next verse. "He must increase," John says, "but I must decrease". "He must increase," John said, "but I must decrease".
This is another interesting phenomenon that relates to what I was just sharing. Remember Yeshua is the bridegroom, He is our source of life. And then John says concerning his relationship with Yeshua, "He must increase, but I must decrease". Now in the initial historical context, what was going on here was that John was saying, "I got to kind of step back, so that all the spotlight can beam down on Yeshua so people will follow Him". He's the Messiah. That was the initial historical context. But with all of scripture there are deeper and deeper meanings and the deeper meaning, the prophetic meaning for you and I today is that as we move forward in our life in the Lord He must increase in our life, it must become more of Him, Yeshua the hope of glory living through us and less of our own self will, less of our own personality that just is coming from the flesh; Less of us and more of him.
A lot of the transformation that takes place in one's life, where Yeshua becomes bigger and the energy of the soul becomes lesser, has to do with us becoming aware, beloved ones, of our own energy. Let me explain what I mean. I myself am a very energetic person. I mean I'm just wired that way. A lot of Jewish people are wired that way. You know we're really intense people. We're hardwired that way. Bam! We feel something. It's so strong. We get a thought. It's so strong. As I became a believer, because I knew that God was real and because I knew that He was with me, I made the mistake of thinking that every thought I had and every feeling I had was the result of what God was doing in me. But as I matured I began to realize that every thought I had and every feeling I had was not necessarily the Spirit of the Lord. A lot of it was coming from my flesh. It was natural rather than supernatural.
I recognized that I couldn't live by my impulses. I needed to decrease. I needed to tame my energy. I needed to pull myself back. I needed to refrain from speaking out when it wasn't the Holy Spirit's leading for me to speak out. I needed to restrain from moving and acting and running, even when I felt like it, when it wasn't the Holy Spirit's leading for me to run all over the place or to act. I needed to decrease and just learn how to abide in the Spirit, so that He could increase. And so I want to encourage you just to spend time with the Lord, just to spend time sitting before Him. Don't do anything, just wait. Just sit. Be still and know that He is God.
You'll probably be tempted as you're sitting before Him, beloved ones, to get up and do something, because we're so used to being human doings, rather than being human beings. But when you spend time just being a human being, just sitting before the Lord without running to do something. And often times without realizing it, the reason that we're running here and running there and talking, the reason we do that often times is to escape our own inner anxiety. We're running from ourselves and our busyness. We're running from ourselves; workaholism, shopaholism, being on the phone all the time, being on the internet all the time. And if we sit and do nothing we feel anxious. We feel, you know we're shaking. We got to go do something. What are we running from? Beloved, we're running from the same thing that Adam and Eve were running from in the garden. We're running from ourselves.
Why were Adam and Eve running? Because when they got separated from God due to sin, suddenly they felt insecure, they felt afraid, they felt anxious inside. And they tried to escape that anxiety they were feeling by running. The only problem is where ever they ran there they were. They couldn't escape it. They could try to cover it up just like they did, but they couldn't escape it. Only when they finally turned back to God and He covered them, could healing begin to take place. And the same is true with you and I. We need to pull back from running in our flesh energy, energy of the soul, the energy of the flesh, the energy that's human, rather than the energy of the Holy Spirit. We need to instead sit before the Lord every day; spend a minimum of 15 minutes, do a half hour, do an hour if you can.
Make it a discipline. Just sit before Him in silence every day. Maybe mix it with some beautiful, soft worship music. And as you do that, you know what's gonna happen? The Father through the Son, by the power of the Ruach Hakodesh, He's gonna ground you in His stillness. And everything comes out of first peace. The power of God moves through peace. Peace brings authority. And as you learn how to still yourself before the Lord, you're gonna learn the difference between your own fleshly energy and the energy of the Ruach Hakodesh. You're gonna learn how to abide in the power of the Spirit. You're gonna be trained how to abide in Jesus. You will decrease in the natural, but Yeshua in you will be able to arise and more of His Spirit and presence will become manifest through your life. Because the mystery of the Gospel, the scripture says, is Christ the anointed one, Messiah in you the hope of glory.