There is a feast, a love feast we must keep before God and man. Everything we do as Christians must be done in love not a soft, spongy love, but a strong developing love that forces change in our lives. Now please let me stop here and say from the start I do not always keep the feast, but am trying to ever allow God to work in my life through His dealings and judgments and bring me to a place where I can with “sincerity and truth” say I am keeping the feast. Even truth must be projected towards those in the world with love if not the truth will kill and not make one alive. This is why Paul instructs, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:14-15) The word “sleight” (Strong’s #2490, dice playing from the deception of men because dice players sometimes cheated and defrauded their fellow players) here really captures the heart of this verse. Unless we speak the truth in love (from a heart of sincerity, concern, and love to see someone push forward in God even if they get their feelings hurt) then those who need to hear will hear the truth and not be, “tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” It is no small wonder we have so many denominations and doctrines in the world today, they know not the truth and are deceiving many. Oh I know I am not suppose to speak against main stream denominations, how dare I call someone or some denomination deceitful or how dare I judge other Christians, who do I think I am to be so bold. Oh no we are told we are suppose to love everyone, look past everyone’s faults, and allow them to make mistakes, just love them in a spirit of meekness, well that is not the example of Paul, Peter, or even Jesus. If you prayerfully (and want to know the truth) and honestly study the Scriptures you will see the glorious message of the Gospel was delivered in aggressive confrontations, much contending for the faith, and even in much conflict, why even Paul had to withstand Peter to the face to correct some things in Peter’s message. Paul speaking in Galatians, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face (Strong’s #436, to set one’s self against, to withstand, resist, oppose or in today’s language had a fight), because he was to be blamed.” (Galatians 2:11) When was the last time you heard a message on this verse? Oh no we hear sermons on forgiving everyone and how we are to ignore character flaws, well how are they going to know of their need for change? You know we are our brother’s keepers. How can we “keep” (guard, tend, support, cause to grow) them if we cannot speak a word of encouragement or correction? Now the problem Paul and Peter had was quite different than what we deal with today, but notice as the deception continued Godly people were being picked off and getting off track. “For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. (Galatians 2:12-13) Barnabas, one who walked and ministered with Paul (from the start see Acts 13:2) was “carried away with dissimulation.” Because of the confrontation between Paul and Peter, Paul had the opportunity to speak the truth in love whereby people were set back on course and saved from the rocks of error. This is the heart of the issue, unless we speak the truth in love and tell our brothers and sisters they are off track and will fall out of the way and become a ship wreck on the rocks driven by the winds of false doctrines and character flaws (not sin mind you) that prevent the word of God to come through us and out to the world unfettered. We must love our brothers and sisters (keeping the love feast with sincerity) enough to be willing to suffer the loss of their relationship for the sake of sharing the truth with them. It is our responsibility before God to hear and honestly judge our hearts against the words spoken to us by our brothers and sisters. Their attitudes, tones, or even anger does not matter, this is a thing of the Spirit, we are to have enough of God in us to be able to remove our selfishness and self pride to hear what the Spirit is saying to us. How can we say we love someone and not tell them the truth? Our love for each other must not be in word (vain lip and eye service), but we must back up our words with a genuine concern and dedication (the meaning of Agape love) to want to see our brothers and sisters grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must desire, out of a genuine concern and dedication, to want to see our brothers and sisters, “grow up into him in all things.” And this my friend can only happen when we speak the truth in love not wanting to defraud, gain power, or influence over someone. Our motive must always be from a position whereby we desire to see our brothers and sisters grow in the Lord, even beyond where we are.

Not only Peter and Paul (and the other disciples), but many Christians (just like Christians of today) in the New Testament Churches never kept the feast. Paul time and time again had to encourage them, “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity (Strong’s #1506, pure, sincere, unsullied found pure when unfolded and examined by the sun’s light) and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8) There is a feast of “malice and wickedness” we can keep, but Paul encouraged the Church at Corinth to keep the love feast of “sincerity and truth.” Not just “sincerity” or just “truth,” but “sincerity and truth.” One will not work without the other as one cannot walk with someone unless they agree in these two divine spiritual principles. Paul said of the Church at Corinth, they gathered together for the worse and not the better or they were worse off spiritually after coming together as a local body of Christ and why? They were not walking in “sincerity and truth” they were walking as carnal babes, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) This description really says it all they were, “puffed up . . .” (1 Corinthians 5:2). As bad as this all was worse yet was there was no one present to be able (until Paul wrote his letter to them) to speak the truth in love and bring correction (God does this if we do our part) allowing spiritual growth and development to the Local Body.

In closing, I have a very good close friend (I still consider him to be a close friend) I have known for many many years who asked me a question and when I replied he did not like my response and got offended (even though he refuses to admit this) at me. We all have character flaws, but when they are introduced to us in good faith and sincerity they must never be allowed to take root in our heart and diminish a friendship. I think he thought I was trying to correct him, but this was the further thing from my mind. All I was doing was answering a question he asked as God was working in my heart the last few days. Now I know I am not perfect (Karen keeps reminding me of this) but, all communication between him and I (his choice not mine) has been cut off in spite of me not once but three (even at the funeral of my father) times telling him I am not upset with him and I love him. I do not know what else I could do to convince him, I guess all of the many years of looking up to him as a mentor and all of the stepping and fetching for him means nothing now, while in all of the years we have know each other he has never once returned the sentiment. You see there is a feeling of superiority (he has admitted the Word he delivers is superior then mine) over me about him. You see his offence was not in what I told him, but that I would dare think or say something negative about him. How could David Stahl say such a thing to me, who does he think he is to say such a thing. Now that I am writing about our tiff (maybe like Peter and Paul) he probably will be even more offended, but never forget truth will offend us. The preaching of the Word of God will offend people and they will get angry with you. They hated Jesus because of what he said and is the servant greater than the Master? Karen and I have friends we have challenged their approach in ministry and they have walked away from us and we have separated our selves from some acquaintances, some friends, and even family because they have refused to walk in the truth of the Bible. We do not like this and feel the loss of relationship, but truth is truth, the Bible is the Bible and if we are going to walk with the Lord we must always stand and speak the truth (so many will grow in the Lord) in love. If not, we lie and the truth is not in us. Expectance by all is not worth the price we will pay for our disobedience to God’s word. It seems we all (Christians) are more concerned about making peace with our friends and families than making peace with God and doing what He wants us to do. It seems we do not want to offend anyone, well how will the lost know they are lost if our words, by the Spirit, does not prick their heart? Be careful what you ask for my friend you may hear something that will really test your heart condition before God and man. Now it is true he is older than I and it is true God has opened up to him more things from the Word of God than I, but that does not make him better than I. The message one receives from the Lord is never an indication of someone’s spiritual growth and maturity. When I think I am some body special I remind myself God opened the mouth of an ass to speak through. It is not our Word it is God’s Word, He gives it to us as we are obedient to His leading and submission. Revelation from God is always seen by how we treat people not by what we say. Authority from God is seen in not reducing men to service, but in serving men. You know words are cheap. Revelation from God is to bring us down into a humble low place before God and man. And the more revelation we have from God the further and further it is to bring us down. It is our character, our motives, and our attitudes we carry in our heart for people that is the true measure of our ability to be discipled by God and the measure of our able to be used by God not what we have been taught in Bible School or how well we can speak. Well, enough . . . I look to God for reconciliation and the time we can once again eat of the unleavened bread of sincerity and keep the feast, but until then I will allow God to work in my life and keep the door open wide.