Look, please, to the book of Proverbs chapter 24:13. We must always interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture. This is what we read: "My son, eat honey, for it is good. Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste." Honey is sweet.
Let us understand the Hebrew thought in the idea of honey: Honey in Hebrew is called devash, because it comes from the Hebrew word for 'bee', devorah. The girl's name 'Deborah' means 'bee' in Hebrew. But the Hebrew word for the Bible, the Word of God, is devar.The Word of God is sweet. Remember in the book of Revelation, or in Ezekiel chapter 3, that the scroll was sweet in the mouth yet bitter in the stomach. The Word of God is sweet to us; it tastes sweet. Yet the Word of God should always be sweet in our mouths, yet bitter in our gut. It can be very interesting and very encouraging; but we are also responsible for it. It is not given simply to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives. It is sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the gut. You see, we only like the honey bits. We don't like the bitter bits.
The Hebrews entered a land of milk and honey, and one day, so shall we. Heaven will be a land of milk and honey; the Promised Land. One is a picture of the other. In heaven, everything will be lovey-dovey. However, in the meantime we have come out of Egypt -- a picture of the world -- and we are sojourning in the wilderness. The desert is a difficult place. The manna fell for Israel, and it tasted like honey; now, the manna falls and it tastes like honey.
But there is a problem with honey. Not with the honey in itself, but in what we do with it. Look at Proverbs 25:16: "Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, lest you have it in excess and vomit it." Too much honey makes us sick. I myself am very moderately Pentecostal/Charismatic, though I am against all of the extremism. But I will tell you one of the things that has gone wrong with the Pentecostal movement, and why after almost 30 years it has brought no revival: too much honey. Everything was based on affection and feeling and being lovey-dovey. They wanted only the sweet in the mouth, not the bitter in the gut. They embraced experiential theology instead of Biblical theology. Their doctrine comes from what they make up as they go along because it feels good to them; it is the same as secular psychology. The feel-good factor: 'if it feels good, it must be right'.
"Eat what you need" -- you need a certain amount of honey. We all need affection; honey speaks of affection. The two kinds of parents who will most seriously damage their children spiritually and emotionally are the ones who are overly strict and the ones who are overly permissive. I had an uncle who was in the American military, and his position was in training soldiers for combat. He was a hero in Korea, and a good soldier; but he could not separate his professional life from his family life. As a result, he was overly strict with his children, and regimented them. This damaged them, and one after another they went wrong. Ultimately they were responsible for their own lives, but their upbringing was overly strict. Do you know that there are fathers who have never hugged their children? The Bible speaks more of a father's love than it does of a mother's love, because God is a father figure. If a child has never seen the love of a father, that lack is going to obscure his or her view of God. There are fathers who never show much-needed affection to their children.
Yet 'eat only what you need'; don't consume too much. "Oh, don't smack little Henry; Henry is a good boy"; until one day, the police knock on the door when little Henry is no longer so little -- nor so good.
Have you found honey? Eat what you need; we do need honey. But too much will make us sick. Be careful of people who are ruled by their emotions, who substitute emotion and feeling for spirituality. It is the teaching of the Word of God that determines what is spiritual; our feelings do not.
Let us look further: Proverbs 25:27: "It is not good to eat much honey; nor is it glory to search out one's own glory." When you see people eating too much honey -- who are ruled by their emotions -- these are people who are into spiritual pride. They are seeking their own glory, believing they are more spiritual than others around them, embracing the attitude of 'holier-than-thou', and for them, feeling and emotion wrongly become the barometer of spirituality. "Oh, we don't judge! We don't criticize!"
My own family is a combination of two backgrounds: Jewish and Catholic. We have Jewish family who are on their way to hell without their Messiah, yet there are Christians who claim to love the Jews while refusing to give them the Gospel. There are actual organizations, which call themselves 'Christian Embassies', composed of people who want to bring the Jews back to Israel; yet they will withhold the Gospel from them in the name of 'love'. What they are actually saying is, "We love you, Jew! Go to hell." No; if you love Jews, tell them about the Messiah.
"Oh, we love our Catholic brethren!" I have a mother who trusts in a statue of Mary for her salvation instead of in the Lord Jesus Christ; my mother is on her way to hell. If we love Catholics, we will tell them the true Gospel. Either the blood of Christ cleanses you from all sin, or you are going to atone in Purgatory for your own; which gospel are you going to believe? Paul said that if an angel of God came preaching another gospel, we are to reject him. There is no Purgatory; we do not atone for our own sin, because the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. Yet in the name of love, people will claim Catholics as brethren and leave them in bondage to the fear of death. This is not love; perfect love casts out all fear. Jesus took our sin; yet in the name of love, certain Christians will leave people in that bondage. "Oh, but we have to love the Catholics!" Certainly we do; so let us tell them the truth! In Philippians 1:9 we see that love and truth are not mutually exclusive, but rather are mutually dependent. Yet because the Charismatic movement runs on honey instead of on grain, they no longer know this.
"Eat what you need; not too much."
The functions of the soul are the mind, the intellect, and the emotions. Human intellect is a very good servant, but it is a bad master. Human emotion is also a very good servant, but it is a deadly, cruel, lethal master. When you find people who are thinking with their emotions, and substituting feeling for the Word of God, you are looking at people who are into spiritual pride and are on a suicide trip spiritually. They will also take others down with them if allowed to do so.
No, there was no honey on that grain. There was no emotion involved in the crucifixion of Jesus. The Father turned His back on His Son. No; I got the honey -- 'God so loved the world . . .' -- I got the honey. The girls I slept with, the cocaine I scooped up my nose -- Jesus paid the price for that. He got the nails; He was nailed to a tree for what I did, and I got the honey. He did not get any honey; there was no honey on that grain.
There could be no honey, and no leaven. Leviticus 2:12: "An offering of the firstfruits you shall bring to the Lord, but they shall not ascend for a soothing aroma on the altar." Why could the grain of the firstfruit not be used as a grain offering? Understand what the firstfruit meant: it was a Hebrew feast during Passover week, in April. Jesus was crucified at that time; but on the Sunday of that week, the high priest would go into the Kidron Valley, which lies directly between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. Exactly at sunrise, when he saw the first ray of light coming up from in back of the Mount of Olives illuminating the first shoot of grain, that would be called the firstfruit. The high priest would then ceremonially harvest it and bring it into the Temple; that would be the firstfruit. All four Gospels tell us that Jesus rose around dawn; in other words, at the very hour at which the high priest was bringing the firstfruit into the Temple, Jesus was rising from the dead as the Firstfruit of the resurrection. This is what Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:20: "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who are asleep." He is the Firstfruit.
So the grain of the firstfruit could not be put on the altar and sacrificed. Why? Because Jesus died once and for all. Once He had died for our sin and risen from the grave, He would never die again. This is why, when Moses struck the rock more than once, he could not enter the Promised Land. It was like crucifying Jesus repeatedly. He died once, and then the Living Water -- the Holy Spirit -- came.
There is a big problem today called ecumenism. Now, for saved Christians to unite with saved Christians is very good. I am all for born-again Baptists getting together with born-again Presbyterians and born-again Pentecostals (if they are not extreme). I am in favor of saved Christians uniting. But when saved Christians begin getting into bed with liberal Protestants, unbelievers; when saved Christians begin getting into bed with the Roman Catholic church; that is something quite different. Let's look at what it says in Hebrews 7:27: "We do not need daily a high priest like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices for his own sin and then for the sins of the people, because this Jesus did once and for all" He died one time. In Hebrews 9:12 we read the same thing: "And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood He entered the holy place once and for all." And in Hebrews 9:28: "So that Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many". Hebrews 10:10: "By this we will have been sanctified: the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all." Verse 14 of chapter 10: "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." One time; if something has been perfected, it cannot be improved upon. Jesus died once and only once.
Therefore, He is the Firstfruit, we are told in Corinthians. He died once, rose from the dead once, never to die again, because His sacrifice was perfect. The Roman Catholic doctrine of the mass denies this, claiming that the mass is the same sacrifice as Calvary, and that Jesus dies again and again and again. The Catholic doctrine of the mass is a fundamental denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Reformers were certainly not perfect men. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli -- they made a lot of mistakes, and they even persecuted Baptists. However, every one of them was a Roman Catholic priest who got saved when he read the Bible. Not only were they from the Roman Catholic clergy, but they were from the intelligentsia of the Roman Catholic clergy. When they went back and read the Scriptures in the original Greek languages, they understood what was wrong. Every one of the Reformers was a Roman Catholic priest who read the Scriptures in the original language and got saved. Those doctrines have not changed: Jesus died once and for all.
The grain had to be salted. Again we come back to this idea of the Word. John chapter 1, "In the beginning was the Word". Jesus is the Word, and the Bible is the Word. His Word is Him; it is salty. Salt was the only preservative they had in the ancient Near East. The Word of God -- the salt -- preserves. The power of Jesus preserves. If a church stops being evangelistic, it will eventually stop being evangelical. If you abandon Christ, you will eventually abandon His Word; and that is where liberal Protestantism has gone. They 'hold a form of religion, but deny the power therein'. They want to keep only the moral teachings of the Bible, forgetting the personal relationship with the Lord. The Word is the Word; once the Word goes, the Word also goes. In other words, once Jesus goes, the Bible goes after.
I live in England. On the outside of the English parliament in Westminster, London, it says pater nostra cuis en coeleas, 'Our Father who art in Heaven', because the British parliament was founded by Puritans who believed the Bible. Inside, it is filled with atheists, freemasons, Moslems, and God knows what else. They certainly don't believe the Bible.
Why is this society falling to bits? Why is there so much crime? Why are there saved Christians, even so-called Christian ministers, getting divorced and remarried? The salt is losing its taste. They are going away from the teachings of the Bible because they have gone away from Jesus. They have gone away from the Word, so they go away from the Word. He is the Word; if you go away from the Bible, you have gone away from Christ. It's that simple.
Salt preserves. Even in the so-called Bible belts, the immorality, crime, and divorce among so-called Christians is staggering; even more so because it is accepted. When I was first saved, you would never have heard of a Christian getting divorced and remarried. If that happened, it either happened before they were saved, or they had an unbelieving partner who left. That was it; otherwise, it never would have happened. But now it means nothing. The biggest names are doing it! It's in the newspapers! Hal Lindsay is on his third divorce and remarriage; Amy Grant is getting divorced, etc. It doesn't mean anything any more, because the salt has lost its flavor.
Let us look even further: The grain came in two ways. You had the whole grain, and then you had the crushed grain, or grits. What is the difference between the whole grain and the crushed grain? It is all the Word of God, but it comes in two forms: When the Word of God is taught under the true anointing of the Holy Spirit, that is crushed grain. It is somebody taking the Word, crushing it up, and giving it to the people in a digestible form; that is good. But the whole grain comes first. No Bible teacher, no Christian book, will ever replace your reading of the Word of God for yourself. There is good crushed grain; there are books such as The Pilgrim's Progress, The Screwtape Letters, books by A. W. Tozer, and many others. There is a lot of good crushed grain; however, the whole grain comes first. No teaching, no teacher, no tape, no video, no book, and no broadcast will ever replace your prayerfully reading and studying the Scriptures for yourself.
The Word is the Word; the Word of the Lord, and the Lord of the Word. He is the Word; He is the grain, which was offered in three ways: He suffered in body, in soul, and in spirit when He took our sins. That grain was consumed on a griddle, in a skillet, and in an oven.
He was anointed for burial before He was anointed for Kingdom dominion. There was no Benny Hinn hairstyle, no Mercedes limousine or mansion; there was a crucified life as proof of the anointing. He brought the acceptable sacrifice to the Lord.
No honey; there was no affection at the cross. The Father turned His back on His Son for my sin. I deserved nothing but hell, yet I received the affection. Jesus took my sin so that I do not have to go to hell.
No leaven; there was no false doctrine, there was no pride, there was no sin; but there was a salt; a salt that preserves. This salty grain would preserve a society, a nation, a denomination, a church, a family, and your life and mine; salt preserves.
The whole grain and the crushed grain; that is what God has for us, and that is what God wants for us. It is here waiting, and in some cases for people, the Gospel has been here their entire lives, yet it has never been accepted. However, it can be accepted even today.
Christians -- watch out for too much honey. Do not withhold affection, but also do not be governed by it.
This is everything. It is wonderful to be in the countries in which we live; yet something is happening in those countries -- America, Britain, etc. The Biblical heritage bequeathed to us by our forefathers is diminishing rapidly. We have what is increasingly becoming no more than a cultural Christianity. People who are not truly saved yet claim to be are talking the talk without walking the walk. I have no solution, but God does. That solution is the grain. We have the problem, God has the solution.