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2003-2013 Change Spirit of Excellence©. All Right Reserved®
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P.O. Box 753104, Bronx New York 10475
Pastor Anthony Davis

Harvest Restorations Ministries Inc. 177 Dreiser Loop Community Center Room 9

Bronx NY 10475

This is a question that I have been asked on several occasions, whether in the church world or in the secular world. The confusion often comes from the fact that the text used to answer the question, found in Leviticus 19:28, which states, “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD”, is often taken out of context.

In order to understand what is being said, we must read the entire chapter to grasp the overarching theme which is found in verses 1 & 2 – “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’”. What is being expressed is the fact that God expects His people to be a “cut above” the surrounding nations or peoples. There are certain things associated with pagans that God does not want His people to be associated with or engaged in. What God expects, is for His people to care for the poor (verses 9-10), not to steal or lie to one another (verses 11-12), not to cheat or treat their neighbor’s unjustly (verses 13-14) and to not hate their brother’s and neighbor’s (verses 17-18).

There needs to be a distinction between the people of God and the way they handle themselves in relation to the pagan world. This principle is described SYMBOLICALLY in verse 19, “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material”. It is important to note that God is not LITERALLY concerned about cattle, sowing seeds or clothing but that we understand the overarching principle of being separate from the world (If that is not the case then we are all in sin due to the clothes that we wear today).

During this time in history there were certain things associated with pagans that were anti-God such as, interpreting omens and fortune telling (verse 26), turning daughters into prostitutes (verse 29) and turning to mediums and necromancer’s (verse 31), which meant seeking guidance from evil spirits. In verse 28, it mentions not making cuts on the body, which was a common practice of pagans to try and get the sympathy of their pagan god’s.

An example of this is found in 1st Kings 18:20-29, when the prophets of Baal began to cut themselves in order to get the sympathy of Baal. When we take another look at Leviticus 19:28, we see that it also mentions not having tattoos. That is because tattoos were used to show allegiance to a certain god and was thought to be a magic symbol which would bring their god’s favor.

When we understand the context, we find that God is commanding the people not to engage in the religious practices of the pagans. The tattoo in and of itself is not the problem, but the fact that it was used to connect the pagans with their pagan god’s is. In studying Scripture, we must apply Scripture CONTEXTUALLY.

As an example, when we examine 1st Corinthians chapter 11:14; it discusses that it is a shame for a man to have long hair. However, in the Old Testament, Samson and the prophet Samuel were commanded to not have a razor come to their head. Is this a contradiction, or are we to examine the text contextually? What we are to understand is that in Corinthian culture it was perhaps “un-manly” for a man to wear long hair. Therefore in that culture perhaps such a hairstyle would be offensive. The equivalent today in our culture is when we see a man wear make-up akin to a woman, which today would suggest femininity or homosexuality.

What we are to carry over in each generation is not always the LITERALNESS of the text, but the spiritual PRINCIPLE of the text. The principle is to not do what pagans do, since what they do is diametrically opposed to the Lord as the only true God. If our motivation in getting a tattoo is not in opposition to God for Who He Is, then the tattoo is not sinful. There are many people with tattoos that are the truest saints, and there are those that have no tattoos that are the biggest hypocrites. As Jesus said, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge in righteousness”, this is the way the church should deal with such issues. Amen.

1 Samuel 16:6-11, 18-22 - The book of Samuel was designed to give a historical account of the Israelite monarchy under Saul and David. David and Saul were both loved by God. David like Saul was also chosen by God. The difference between the two was that God promised David that he would never reject or depart from him. He would punish him, but he will also preserve him.

In the story you are dealing with a situation were Saul has been rejected by God because of his disobedience and God decided that because of his disobedience a new King was need. The prophet Samuel was instructed by God to find this new King. However, he also understood how dangerous it would be for him, if Saul was to find out. But God had all that in mind. He gave him specific orders in which he followed and led him to the house of Jesse.  Samuel’s purpose was to anoint the man that God felt was king. In verses 6 and 7 shows how weak minded we really are.  Thank God for Jesus looking beyond my looks. 

During this time David had to be about 17 y/o. David was responsible for tending sheep. He was a shepherd. Whenever you see pictures of David or hear the stories of David when fighting Goliath, you get the sense that David was some scrawny little punkish kid with some stones. But in fact David was not. In verse 18 one of Saul’s servants described David as being a man of war, a skillful musician, a brave man, someone with presence (handsome you will notice him) and who can speak well and most of all God was with him.

The question is, if David was all of that then why was he not the first one brought to Samuel? 
There are a lot of times when you are clearly the right candidate for the job or you have the best paper or the best look and yet in still you are pushed aside and looked over.  David clearly out shinned his brothers to the point they kept him outside tending sheep and the fields. God already had it planned what the new king of Israel would look like. Who would’ve of thought that the next king would be a shepherd? We need to honor and be grateful for our humble beginnings. Humble beginnings are not trials but more as preparation for greatness. 

God called David to greatness even before he knew his worth. Roman 8:30 says “And those whom he predestined he also called and those whom he called he also justified and those whom he justified he also glorified.”  When others didn’t think about David GOD did. When others don’t see you GOD does.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “ For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.”

God is so on point that those same people that don’t know you or look over you who are in powerful position. God will use to bless you. WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT SAUL INVITED INTO HIS HOME THE SAME MAN WHO IS REPLACING HIM. BEGIN TO LOOK AT THAT THING IN YOUR LIFE AND STEP OVER IT AND SAY I AM ONE STEP CLOSER TO MY GREATNESS. See we tend to forget who we are.  We are called for greatness it is in our blood line, in our history our genealogy because we are connected to JESUS CHRIST. When you are connected to Jesus you are connect to everything royal and on the high end of things. YOU WILL HAVE SUCCESS. Success is favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.

After David was anointed and he defeated Goliath in chapter 18 verse 14 it says that David had this success, this favor and God was with him.  When God starts to take you closer to your greatness, all sorts of things begin to happen. As you rise so does your haters. In chapter 19:20 you see how Saul sent people after David. And every person sent there mission was turned all around. God is not going to elevate you and you not have protection. See God’s mission was greater than Saul’s God chose David for the position. God chose David for greatness. 

Sunday after Sunday we walk around defeated, can’t go crazy for the Lord because we are going through. But if we would know where we came from then you wouldn’t have to worry about the outcome. The outcome is success the outcome is greatness the outcome is prosperity. 

The outcome is the glory of the Lord.  In conclusion, look toward your greatness, speak things into existence. Touch things as if they belong to you and it’s a part of your journey to greatness. Let’s embrace of trials, our humble beginnings. And look to that road of success and greatness. We are all kings and queens unto the Lord. We are all royalty. We are all great. There is a song that God’s Grace is dancing to. And it says” Oh don’t you know that you are called for greatness, chosen to reign to lead with holy boldness, I see your failures and I know you need answers. But those with great failures are blessed to be great winners. See yourself in the future you are royalty”. You are an heir, you are royalty destined to possess the land, you are an heir embrace your legacy. See yourself in the future you are royalty.”

I encourage you to see yourself as a great man/woman of valor, with presence, with talent, and with something to say. Then you can boldly say with authority to your haters and your doubters, to “Be careful you are in the presence of greatness”
God bless you.

Turn in your Bible to John 18:33-38. This is a significant portion of Scripture because in it Jesus reveals that His Kingdom is NOT of this world. He says that He was born for the purpose of being a King. But the TRUTH is that He is a King of a Kingdom NOT of this world.  That is a hard truth to endure, that Jesus came NOT to establish an earthly Kingdom. Why is it difficult to endure? Because the Church today is preaching a here and now kingdom.....a kingdom of prosperity, health and well being, of no struggle or heartache, your best life now, a Social Gospel if you will. Jesus NEVER preached a "Social Gospel". He preached THE GOSPEL.

The truth is that there are "two kingdoms" or "two cities". There is the City of God and the City of man. Man has sought to establish his own city, a city WITHOUT God. In Genesis 11:1-9 we have the story of the tower of Babel. This is the first instance where man has tried to establish his own kingdom, dominated by his own anti-God worldview. The goal was to establish a monument (a tower) to represent the greatness of man without God. Man wanted the tower to reach into Heaven, that they may rub it in God's nose that they had no need for God. God however confounded their language and as a result the people were dispersed into various nations.

This however did not stop man from conceptualizing the "City of Man" which is personified in the book of Revelation chapter 17 as the Great Prostitute. On the forehead of this Great Prostitute was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of the earth's abominations." A prostitute is someone people "whore" after. The Bible declares that God's people on earth have spent their existence "whoring" after other god's. She is depicted in Revelation 17:18 as "...the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth."

God will destroy this city (Revelation 18) and will bring down from Heaven His new city (Revelation 21:1-2). This new city is the New Jerusalem, also referred to as God's Bride. The concept of the Bride is in stark contrast to the Prostitute. God will establish a NEW KINGDOM...NOT OF THIS WORLD.  Revelation 21:22-27 we see that in the Kingdom of Heaven, there will be society with nations and kings. The difference is that "nothing unclean will ever enter it" (v.27). God HATES the worldview found in the City of man and will ultimately destroy it to establish a city founded in righteousness.

The Gospel message therefore is not about us...but about God's Son. God the Father has promised His Son a Kingdom, in spite of the rejection of the kings of the earth (Psalm 2:1-6). In verse 8 of Psalm 2 God solidifies that promise to His Son. Verses 9-12 serve as a warning to the Kingdom of man. God's promise to the Son is reiterated in Psalm 110: 1-2. Another warning is given to the City of man in verses 5-7.

The point of the matter is that in the promise that God the Father has made to the Son, He also promised Him subjects for His Kingdom. Therefore the Father has elected those that the Son would redeem for His own possession as royal subjects. Therefore, with this realization, we are to live this life as those whose citizenship is NOT of this world...but in Heaven. We are in the world but NOT of the world. Let us remember that this message of the cross is about God's Son....NOT about our personal gain or success. We may have to suffer for His sake, but at the end our reward is in the City of God!! Amen!

When it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is important to realize what the Gospel is. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the “good news” that the war with God is finally over. Yes my brothers and sister’s we were at war with God. Mankind has a natural anti-God disposition that causes mankind to “suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness”.  Mankind has a disposition that causes him to view God and religion in one of four ways, atheistic, agnostic, pantheistic or deistic. In other words man either believes that there is no God, or that He is uncertain that there is a God, or that God is the universe, which includes mankind being a part of God, or finally that God made the world but has no interest in it. In this view point God has left men to their own devices.

In any of the cases, the reason that mankind chooses one of the four philosophical view points of religion is because none of them require that man be made accountable for his actions. However the truth of the matter is that we live in a theistic universe in which there is a God. Science and deductive reasoning leads to this conclusion. The Bible is not the only source of revelation, because God is revealed in creation and in the conscience of men.

There is the cosmological argument for the existence of God that is that even science concludes that the universe had to have had a beginning. An example of this is the fact that the universe is expanding from a single point. If we were to take a video camera and film the universe and then rewind the footage you would see that the universe would be growing smaller and smaller into nothingness. Secondly there is the teleological argument for God that is that there is a divine design that is evident in the earth. An example of this “divine design” in science is that if the rotation of the earth took longer or shorter than 24 hours temperature differences between night and day would be too great to sustain life. What the teleological argument proves is that this world is specifically and intentionally designed to sustain the life of human beings.

Lastly, the fact that mankind has the capacity to know truth, shows that the ultimate “Truth”, God exists. For example for one to say that “truth is relative” is a self-defeating statement, because the one that makes it is speaking as if what they are saying is absolutely the truth. It is a contradiction. You cannot make an absolute statement about the fact that truth is relative; it violates a major philosophical law, the law of non-contradiction. Therefore God has to be in fact who He says He is, which means that man has no excuse for his sinful disposition and that God is justified to pour out His wrath on him.

However, Jesus Christ has paid the price for us by giving His life a ransom for many. He has reconciled alienated man to God through His suffering and death. However, the most important fact of the Gospel is the resurrection. For without the resurrection we have no hope. Jesus is the “only begotten” Son of God, which means that He is the “one of a kind” Son of God. This simply means that ontologically speaking Jesus is of the same essence or divine nature as the Father.

Through Christ’s suffering and death it released this essence “the Holy Spirit” which has mystically grafted us into the Body of Christ, and “made us partakers of His nature”. This is important, because as the Father rose up Jesus, He raised us up with Christ and has seated us with Christ in “heavenly places”.  The resurrection of Jesus is essential to the fact that the “war” with God is over, because it is through Jesus that we finally have peace with God. This is because our lives are “hid” in Christ, now that we are a part of His body. Let us celebrate the resurrection of our King.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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