As Christians, if we truly believe the prophecies of the Old Testament ... if we truly believe that God became incarnate in Jesus, the Christ ... if we truly believe that God spoke to us in a new Covenant so that we might be guided in our conduct and know the infinite, eternal bliss that can be ours ... then we must realize that the message that God has for us is contained in the words spoken by Jesus are the Ultimate Words. Likewise, we must realize that any universal paraphrasing or interpretation of those words can, at best, only be an individual attempt to call attention to what is recorded as the words of Jesus in the four gospels. Nothing else matters. If anything were important for our spiritual growth and eventual union with God, Jesus would certainly have had something to say about it!
    Therefore, we should pay close attention to what Jesus said and avoid any inclination to "put words in the mouth of Jesus" by proclaiming: "Jesus said ....." when the Scripture does not record Jesus as having said any such thing. This is not only a matter of heresy, which is a worldly condition, but far more seriously it is a matter of usury of God's Word by misquoting God, a spiritual condition, to satisfy one's personal material objectives.
    Jesus had a great deal to say about hypocrites [Matt 23:13-33.] Jesus also spoke of the simplicity of Truth and warned against misleading [offending; placing a stumbling block before] a child. [Matt 18:1-6.] Read and re-read the four Gospels and you will be refreshed. Concentrate on human philosophies and counter-philosophies and you will be confounded, confused and possibly misled.
    Every new generation likes to announce that "things are different today." Some go so far as to proclaim that the old ways of worship and application of faith need to be altered to serve the times. I have news for you ... God is eternal, unchanging and as True as it was in the beginning and will be forever. To deny that is to deny the very reality of God
    In ancient times the worship process involved blood sacrifice ... the burnt offering of a freshly killed unblemished lamb ... even, in primitive cultures, the slaughter of the most pure and beautiful of human species. Jesus foretold a great gift that would be given which would replace blood sacrifice with a bloodless sacrifice of sacramental proportions [John 6:51-59.] At his last Passover meal, just before he was betrayed, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion ... the only sacrament directly instituted by Jesus as the foundation of the new Covenant that fulfills [and replaces] the old Covenant. The process by which Jesus made unleavened bread and fruit of the vine that sacrament is revealed in implicit terms in the gospels [Matt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:14-20.] Notice that, in all versions, Jesus indicated that the bread IS his body and the fruit of the vine IS his blood ... not simply that it represented his body and blood. Individuals are provided, according to their own needs, with elements that have somehow taken on vast spiritual significance upon the words of consecration used by Jesus. From that moment forward they, at least, become a holy sacramental of the church and should be treated as such ... once consecrated, always consecrated ... either consume it or reserve it in a special place.
    I firmly believe that the gifts of God are for all people ... with no strings attached! Personal bias, prior training or lack of awareness in humankind have no place in administering the gifts of God to God's children ... everyone. Any person authorized by the church to give the sacraments should be well trained on the scriptural message that produced the sacrament ... the individual must know what they are truly doing because their intentions in serving are just as necessary as the intentions of the receiver.]
GOD'S  WORDS
by Nathan [March 1996]