Monday, February 22, 2010


Sermon preached on 21 February 2010
1Timothy 6:11-21

YHWH bless all of you here today, may YHWH bless our time together in His presence, amen! It is so awesome to be together as children of the Living Elohim, we are children of the Living Elohim, can you say amen to that? Praise YHWH. We are children of the Living Elohim, but I want to ask you today, “Are you a man or a woman of Elohim?” Now in our super spiritual saturated world we would most probably all say, “Yeah, I am a man of Elohim!” or “Yeah, I am a woman of Elohim!”
I remember one day when I went to Cape Gate and I greeted one of the car guards and asked his name and said God bless and can’t remember what else. He responded in a surprised tone, “Oh are you a man of God? You don’t look like one!” Well I was quite amused and said, “I am a man of God, what am I supposed to ‘look like’?” and we laughed together and this week I came once again across this phrase in the Scriptures and it reminded me of that day and how easily many people say they are men of God, yet their lives do not necessarily match up to their confession. So I often find myself asking that if I say I am a man of Elohim – “Am I living according to my confession?”
But as you look at the SCriptures at the phrase ‘man of Elohim’ it is clear to see that it meant something very significant. In the Hebrew Bible, the phrase ‘man of Elohim’, is used over 70 times in over 70 verses and is a title of respect that was applied to prophets and beloved leaders. It was a phrase used to describe Moses, the only one called a man of Elohim in the Torah (first 5 books), a man who was a spokesman for Elohim, a man who wrote the first five books of the Scriptures. This reference or phrase was applied to prophets who spoke for YHWH and warned against sin; guys like Samuel, Elijah, Elisha. The O.T. phrase “man of ELohim” referred to someone that YHWH used to speak prophecy or pen the Holy Scriptures – It wasn’t used for just anybody! There were many of YHWH’s people, but few identified as ‘Men of YHWH’! In the N.T. we see this phrase used 3 times. So when Paul calls Timothy a ‘man of Elohim’ we must understand that he is saying a lot. He is identifying Timothy as a messenger of the Gospel and a spokesman for Yehsua Messiah. My prayer is that every single one of us would walk worthy of the calling we have received and that is to be men and women of YHWH, amen! To be a man or woman of YHWH takes commitment and calling. This morning we are going to look at what it takes to be a man or woman of Elohim in a message called “Paul’s charge to Timothy – a charge to believers today!” so please turn with me to 1 Timothy 6:11-21 (pray and read)

This is such a wonderful piece of Scripture. Paul is writing from prison, facing death and instructs and encourages Timothy in the faith to stand strong. Paul began this concluding section of the letter by turning directly to Timothy and the words, “But you”, were an emphatic contrast to the “some people” of verse 10, who chase after riches. Timothy, a man of Elohim, was to do the opposite – to flee from all of this and chase after that which matters. A man of ELohim is marked by what he flees from, what he follows after, what he fights for and what he is faithful to. So today we are going to look at these four admonitions Paul gave to Timothy, that if he heeded these would be certain of success in his calling and in his continued testimony as a ‘man of Elohim’. As we are told in 1 Peter, we are to be holy. That literally means we are to be different – not odd, but different. A holy person’s life has a quality about it that is different. Their present lifestyle is not only different from their past way of life, but it is also different form the lifestyles of unbelievers around them. Walking holy may appear strange to the lost, but it is not strange to Elohim and to other believers. We are called to be the light and salt, in other words we will stand out. Sadly many Believers today are not standing out, they are simply blending in. Now a man or woman of YHWH is a man or woman who stands out as different, holy and set apart, on a journey as strangers here, laying up treasures in our eternal home.
Let us look at these four characteristics of what Timothy, a man of YHWH, a spokesman for Messiah and messenger of the gospel, was to display in His walk.

A man or woman of YHWH is to flee from evil. The classic example in the Scriptures of how to flee is way back in Genesis with the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife! Potiphar was an Egyptian official and Joseph was his servant who was made second in command and had great authority. Potiphar’s wife had the hots for Joseph and kept trying to get seduce him and Jospeh kept turning her down. One day she set a trap and when it was just the two of them she made a pass at him and he fled the scene leaving his cloak. This evil woman wanted Joseph to betray the trust of his friend and master and he fled the evil situation and what was his reward? Thrown into prison – it is not fair – he did the right thing and still got nailed! You see it is not your reward that identifies you as a man or woman of YHWH, but your actions. What do you do when you should flee? Do you flee?
In the context of our text today Paul is telling Timothy to flee the love of money, legalistic living and the teaching of false doctrines. Fleeing form evil means avoiding evil places – and you know what that means in your own personal life. Those places might be bars, night clubs or even your computer room or any other place you may associate with sin! Be honest with yourself this morning – if you know of a place or setting that gets you into trouble – stay away from it! Don’t hang out with evil people – reach out to them, don’t hang out with them. Flee from evil teaching – there is no shortage of wrong teachings today about YHWH. Paul continually warned Timothy against people who are false teachers and those who warp the Word into a works religion. He was to flee any teaching contrary to the clear message of Scripture, which Timothy knew well! Timothy could flee false teaching because He knew the Word. To be a man or woman of YHWH that can flee falsehood must know the Truth. Many call themselves men of YHWH today yet they do not read the Scriptures and study it! I heard an account from a pastor friend of someone who came to him after a strong service on repentance and said that it was time for them to move on from the fellowship as they were not growing! The pastor looked at him and said, “Why are you not growing? It is not my responsibility to grow you – I plant and water, YHWH grows. For you to be growing you must be surrendered to YHWH”. He turned to point to a recent convert and said, “Do you see that man? He has only been saved for 3 years and he owns 4 Bibles, 3 lexicons, 5 dictionaries – he is growing – so why are you not growing? If you don’t want to grow then by all means go!”
Too many Believers want to blame others when they are not growing, when they are not willing to spend time learning the Word.
Ignorance can lead to one inventing teachings that are not Scriptural, which in turn leads to strife, controversies and quarrels – and boy do some people just love to argue! Malicious talk, envy, strife, evil suspicions are all things a man and woman of YHWH must flee! Paul also tells Timothy in his second letter to flee the evil desires of youth. Young people want to get rich and have as much sex and immoral fun as they can and from these we are to flee.
To flee is the Greek Word, pheugo, which means fugitive and carries with it the understanding of running from a wild animal, a poisonous snake, a deadly plague or an attacking enemy. It is written in the present imperative which means a continuous action and can be translated as “keep on fleeing”! A man or woman of YHWH is a lifelong fugitive, fleeing the things that would destroy them and their ministry.

The second characteristic of a man of YHWH is to follow virtue and a godly moral excellence. This Greek word, diako, is also a continuous verb. So you see it is not just simply about what you flee or avoid, but also what you pursue, what you follow after. What kinds of things do you strive for? To be a man or woman of YHWH there are certain things we are to pursue and Paul gives us a list of 6 of them. So as you flee from things you are to pursue other things. Separation from the things of the world must cause us to run to and grow in the things of YHWH. Separation without growth becomes isolation, and we do not want to find ourselves in a place of isolation – that is dangerous ground. We must cultivate in our lives these graces of the Spirit that Paul mentions here, or else we may simply become known for what we oppose rather than what we propose! We are to be messengers of the Good News!
So what are these graces?
A – RIGHTEOUSNESS – We are to pursue or follow passionately that which is right and good and live the righteous life YHWH approves of. This is a right behaviour before YHWH and man and the righteousness spoken of here does not refer to imputed righteousness received at salvation, but rather is a practical righteousness that is to be exhibited in our lives. This speaks of personal integrity – walking in the truth – no grey areas!!!
B – GODLINESS – This is the Greek word, eusebeia, and simply means reverence for YHWH. This pursuit of godliness is a practical reverence of YHWH. Righteousness speaks of outward conduct or character displayed outwardly, whereas godliness is an inward attitude of the heart which leads to reverent conduct before YHWH. Right behaviour flows from a right attitude. This godliness or reverence speaks of one with a worshipping heart. To walk in godliness is to know what it means to be zealous for the fear of YHWH (Proverbs 23:17). A man or woman of YHWH not only does right, but also thinks right – their thoughts are pure, noble, praiseworthy, just. A Godly man or woman not only behaves properly but is also properly motivated – by reverence for YHWH – serving YHWH with reverence and awe. It is not simply enough to be righteous – for the Pharisees in Jesus’ time were righteous but not godly. Doing good has to flow from a love for YHWH and not from guilt or pressure from others. If we strive for godliness it will show in our righteous actions! Reverence for YHWH – I wonder how much people today, and perhaps some of you here actually realise just how big YHWH is!!! Too many children of YHWH take Him too lightly – YHWH is not our ‘buddy’ – yes He is friend, but He is Master!!! Do not neglect His power and authority and sovereignty!!!
C – FAITH – This can be translated faithfulness. To live a life of faith is to live free from frustrations, free from a compulsion to force things to happen or manipulate people to get things done. Come on how many of you have tried to force a thing to happen and it just leads to greater frustration. This faith is steadfastness and a high opinion for YHWH’s Word. This is a state of ‘relaxed desperation’! What do you mean, ‘relaxed desperation’? Well a faithful man or woman of YHWH is desperate because of the tremendous weight of responsibility their ministry entails, yet they are relaxed because of their confidence in YHWH. Faith is directed toward YHWH and has that vertical relationship – our faith is not directed toward others but YHWH! It is a strong confidence in YHWH’s sovereignty and it means trusting Him in all things. Faith believes YHWH in every situation, no matter what the circumstances are, it is a total commitment to YHWH – because we believe and understand who He is!
D – LOVE – As we spoke last week about agape love, I won’t go too much into detail here. But it is that love that sacrifices for the sake of others and seeks to give and not to gain. Love involves both a vertical and horizontal relationship. It is directed toward YHWH and toward others (Matthew 22:37-39)
Love is and action and a choice. Men and women of YHWH pursue agape love!
E – ENDURANCE (PERSEVERANCE) – Endurance or perseverance is the ability to hold up under any trial. It is patience (ability to be wronged and not retaliate – remember that one!), confidence and steadiness. These are the qualities that would characterise the man or woman of YHWH. This endurance means to ‘remain under’ and not a passive resignation (oh well that’s how it is so I’ll just give in), no, it is victorious, triumphant endurance, an unswerving loyalty to YHWH in the midst of trials. “I can hold up under this trial – I am not buckling under the pressure!”
As a man or woman of YHWH you may under severe trials, severe hardships and anguish and severe difficulties yet will not waver or compromise their faith and trust in YHWH in any way. You continually trust YHWH no matter what the circumstances are.
This is a ‘keep on keeping on’ attitude – let me remind you that there is no reward for not finishing or giving up! We need endurance through trials.
F – GENTLENESS – This is very important – how do come across to people? Are you harsh and mean or do you belittle and are seen as critical? Or are you kind and patient? Gentleness can be described as meekness, which is not a weakness, it is power under control – it is being courteous, and humble, not over bearing or self centred. Sadly the prosperity gospel has led many to be self centred seeking out only their own gain! You know often people will give purely with the motive to get back, and so when it doesn’t show the returns expected they withdraw or are often very critical about how their ‘donations’ or giving is used. This shows a lack of gentleness! Pursue these things and flee from that which seeks to only satisfy self!

If we truly treasure these qualities and pursue them then we will be safe from the temptations that drag others down and even plunge them into ruin.
How are you at pursuing these things? Are you growing in these areas? What areas could you increase in your pursuit of living as a man or woman of YHWH?

This Greek word, aginozomai, is also a present imperative meaning that it is a continuous fight. We are to keep on fighting. This language Paul used here applied to athletes and soldiers in his day. We get our English word agonise from this word, and describes a person straining and giving their best to win the prize or the battle. We must realise that our fight is not against believers, although the enemy has been very clever to cause fights and quarrels amoung believers.
We must realise that our fight is not against flesh and blood. We are fighting continuously, agonising continuously to defend the faith, to defend the gospel of Truth. We are in a constant struggle for our faith, for our enemy, the devil, is constantly seeking to destroy us, and we must fight the good fight of faith! Now this can take its toll on us, so how are we encouraged in this battle? Firstly, eternal life – Paul tells Timothy to take hold of the eternal life to which he was called when he confessed Yahshua as Adonai. As men and women of YHWH, as children of the Living ELohim we have been called by YHWH and have assurance of victory and we are to hold on to knowledge that we have a secure eternity with the maker of the universe. Secondly, our YHWH Yeshua Himself too made the good confession before Pilate and did not relent before the enemy. Yeshua stood and fought the fight and showed us how, this encourages us to stand and fight, amen! We may face fierce battles and trials, but we should remember Messiah’s confession that encourages us!!! “My Messiah did it! I want to be like my Rabbi, like Yeshua!!!”
8 times in the N.T. the Greek word, agonizomai, is used – the word for fight. Let us look briefly at a couple of those to help us understand ‘fight’.
1 - Luke 13:24 “Make every effort to enter through the door…” Make every effort or strive is the word agonizomai, meaning fight or struggle. It is a fight to enter the kingdom! It is a narrow gate that leads to life! No room for compromise!
2 – 1 Corinthians 9:25 “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training…” Competes (NIV) or strives for the mastery (KJV) is the word, agonizomai, – its is a fight that requires discipline and self control!
3 – Colossians 4:12 “….wrestling in prayer for you…” Wrestling or labouring fervently is the word, agonizomai, It is a fight that is often fought in prayer, prayer for each other!!!
Paul at the end of his 2nd letter to Timothy says that he fought the good fight and that should be our goal – to fight, to struggle on and even in agony knowing it is a good fight! We agonise – we press on straining ahead toward the goal of our faith – the salvation of our souls!
What do you fight for? If you look back a year, what kinds of things got you fired up and got you in a fighting mood? Were they things that mattered? Things that was noble and virtuous? Did those fights have to do with helping others or getting your own way? We are all fighters and Paul wanted Timothy to fight for something that was truly important. Not to be selfish or greedy, but fight for YHWH, fight for the faith.
In order to fight the good fight we are to hold fast to our calling, we have been called out of sin and slavery into something new, we have been called into His marvellous light and we are to be as children of light. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us hold fast to our calling and stay out of sin. We have all been called to serve, Timothy was a pastor, you each have a calling too (it may not be pastor) and to fight the good fight you must stand up for the gospel and hold fast to your calling – don’t let the world steal it away! Fighting the good fight also entails holding fast to the commands of YHWH. Standing for truth and walking in it, and we are to hold fast to Messiah Yeshua. A man or woman of YHWH will never forget what YHWH has done for them and will continually be amazed at YHWH’s creation, at their own salvation and at the ways Messiah guides them and calls them! Yeshua Messiah will never cease to be the source of joy and praise to the man and woman of YHWH.
The only way to keep the orders and commands of our commander in chief, Yeshua Messiah, is without spot or blame! And we need not fear life because YHWH is the ruler of all and we need not fear death because He shares immortality with us. Timothy lived in the godless city of Ephesus, but YHWH dwells in glorious light. Light is a symbol of holiness – YHWH dwells apart from sin and is Glorious in Holiness! We can fight because of a Holy and Mighty Elohim! In the fight Timothy was charged to command those who are rich to not put their hope in their wealth, but rather in YHWH and command them to be generous and be willing to share so that they may lay up treasures in heaven and have a blessed life here now.
We do not know when Messiah will come, but we are to keep fighting, amen!

The last attribute we are looking at today for a man or woman of YHWH is to be faithful, or rather will foster growth. True men and women of YHWH are not content to keep it all to themselves! They have a hunger for YHWH’s Word and a hunger to share it with others, and are focused on other people. You cannot simply be content to feed yourself – at some point YHWH is going to expect you to get out there and do something! Do something with your talents and gifts YHWH has blessed you with!!! You are expected to use your spiritual gifts and multiply the investment in your life! You are expected to encourage and build others up. At some point in a Disciple of Yeshua's walk, one needs to move from simply learning lessons to teaching lessons. Move form being fed to feeding others. Yes we all need to be fed and I am not saying that should stop, it must continue, daily – eat your daily bread – we all need to be fed daily in the Word, but what I am saying is that there will come a time, many times in fact where you will need to share all that good stuff you have been eating, amen! Being faithful with the little and YHWH will make you ruler over much!
The writer of Hebrews mourned over the fact that people simply would not grow up and give out what they have been getting. He says that they should have been teachers by now yet they still needed someone to teach them all over again. They needed milk and not solid food. And you know so many Believers are happy today to simply just get milk and never move on to meat and be strengthened to feed others! They are happy to be a pew warmer amoung hundreds and thousands not risking the challenge to grow up and be faithful with what they have been given and become fat as opposed to fit Disciples of the Messiah.
We grow by teaching others contentment, being content no matter what – instructing others to not be conceited and let them know that what they have is a gift from YHWH and not to fix our hope on earthly things. Riches and stuff will come and go, but we are to fix our eyes and our hope on YHWH who gives us all. We are to teach people to remain committed to things that matter most – teach them to do good and to be rich in good works, teach them to share, storing up those treasures in heaven. This we can only teach as we are faithful in these matters, amen!
It takes a high degree of commitment to be a man or woman of YHWH; it is not something that happens by accident. As we grow in maturity in these things we are to encourage others to too keep running that they may also finish the race and stay on course. One of the ways to grow is through consistency – guard the good that has been entrusted to you – don’t get sucked in to godless chatter and stuff that opposes the truth. Being faithful in running the race and fighting, being content, committed and consistent is taught through our own example. Yeshua came and showed us The Way and we are to show others The Way as we follow Messiah! We must model this and show how it is done as men and women of YHWH. We are stewards of the doctrine of faith and YHWH expects us to be faithful in sharing His Good News with others. Paul was entrusted with the gospel and he passed it on to Timothy who was to be faithful in guarding this truth and too pass it on!

So let me ask you again – are you a man or woman of YHWH? Do you want to be a man or woman of YHWH? What is it going to take to get there? What, if anything, in your life needs to change? Are you a person that flees from evil? Do you avoid sin and anything that would bring dishonour to the name of our Lord? Are you pursuing the graces of the Spirit – righteousness, goodness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness? Do you fight daily to good fight of faith? Not just believe it but live it, protect it, guard it, stand up for it? And are you one who is faithful in sharing with others? Do people blossom around you or do they shy away from you? Are you mature enough to teach others or are you still needing milk, even though you ought to be teachers by now! God doesn’t call us to avoid hell, He calls us to be men and women of YHWH, ambassadors in chains for YHWH – a messenger of the gospel, a spokesman for Messiah Yeshua – let us strive together to make that the goal of our lives – let us go out and be men and women of YHWH, amen! Flee, Follow, Fight and be Faithful – I charge you with these instructions today!
Yes it is possible, I suspect, to simply go through life as a ‘child of YHWH’ – yet come on there is just so much more – to become and be a man or woman of YHWH – how hungry are you to be a man or woman of YHWH?
Let us pray…

Monday, February 15, 2010


Sermon preached on February 14th 2010
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

Praise YHWH and our Saviour Yeshua on this the day He has made amen! The world calls today what? Valentine’s Day – let me ask you what do you think of when you hear Valentine’s Day? Do you think of nice little red hearts, fluffy teddy bears and chocolates, flowers and various expressions of love? Before joining in on all the worldly fun it would be wise for us to know where this tradition comes from, right? Well firstly Valentine’s Day began when the early Roman Catholic Church tried to ‘Christianise’ an already pagan Roman holiday held in mid February called Lupercallia – a festival that honoured Lupercus – a hero-hunter for wolves and fertility god. This festival became so popular that the church included this day in their calendar, hoping that they might retain their new members and turn them from the sexual licentiousness of the festival to true morality by linking this day to a saint. They chose Valentine, believed to have been a Roman priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius and who was beheaded on February 14 around 270AD for not denying Messiah and marrying young Christian couples in secret which was forbidden under Claudius’ reign. The Roman church tried to Christianise a pagan day of worship by naming it after a martyred saint. Part of the pagan ceremony was to put girl’s names in a hat and have boys each draw out a name and the two would be paired off until the following year. Eventually this custom led to the sending of cards or messages to those one admired and became the acceptable way of celebrating Valentine’s Day – this once pagan holiday. This festival originated in ancient pagan Rome and was a festival based on fertility and sexual licentiousness, and in an attempt to break this, the church tried to get the people to rather follow after the example of a saint and no longer engage in the ancient practice of honouring a pagan god through free sex. Despite some success the holiday today still attributes to immorality amoung many and promotes the wrong view of love. YHWH said that you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. YHWH wants us to be free and not held captive by false beliefs and pagan ideas, and YHWH is opposed to any form of religious or secular holiday that keeps people blinded from the truth of His love. We have, in the Scriptures, a clear outline of YHWH’s holy days and festivals, each one illustrating a significant part of His ultimate love for us – a love that led Yeshua Messiah to the cross to die for us while we were still sinners. The celebration of Valentine’s Day has no part in the salvation of mankind, having its origin in pagan worship. In Deuteronomy YHWH warns His children to avoid the customs and practices of the pagan nations and that they were not to worship like they did – they were to eradicate all elements of pagan worship amoung them. Valentine’s Day has its root in pagan worship and the world’s ways according to the cravings of sinful man.
1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of Elohim lives forever.”

Wow, ok so where does that leave us today? Well today I want us to look at the truth – at what true love is and we are going to look at the love chapter of the Scriptures – yes 1 Corinthians 13 in a message called, “The most excellent way”.
I want us to look at YHWH’s love and the love we are to walk in, so please turn with me to 1 Cor 13. I pray that YHWHwill truly help us understand what love is, not by what the world tells us, but by what His Word tells us, amen!

In order to fully understand this passage we need to understand and know the context of which Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. The chapter before this Paul speaks of the Spiritual gifts and the importance of them in the body and how the body is made up together to be in unity, each part having its unique role. We must understand that the Corinthian believers had made two mistakes. Firstly they had taken a spectacular gift (all gifts of the Holy Spirit are spectacular!), but less significant gift and given it priority in their meetings which you can read about in chapter 14. Secondly, they had carried over the pagan notion that such ecstatic utterances were a mark of spirituality – a mark of special closeness to YHWH. They primarily thought or taught that if you could speak in tongues and make a ecstatic utterance then you were really close to YHWH and set this as a standard to measure one’s walk with YHWH! This is where chapter 13 comes in, for Paul deals with this issue in answering a question that is often asked or thought of, “How do we recognise special closeness to YHWH in ourselves and in others?” We all yearn for a closer walk with YHWH, and if we do not understand the “closer walk” we are likely to grasp at an ‘unusual experience’ such as having to speak in tongues as being the key mark of closeness to YHWH! If we do not understand what it means and what it looks like to walk closely to the Lord then we may be likely to look and listen to the person with the unusual experience, and then taking their gift as the mark of divine favour. Paul wanted the Corinthians to recognise the priority of the more important gift in the ministry of the church and show them true spirituality is completely unrelated to the gifts a person may have from the Spirit. You must also understand that in 1 Cor 3:3 Paul tells this church that they were ‘still worldly, even though he acknowledges in 1 Cor 1:7 that they did not lack any spiritual gift, which means they were exercising the gifts and were still classed as ‘worldly’. Quite a rebuke if you ask me!!! And so in the process of explaining the gifts, he describes to them the most excellent way – Paul was now introducing to them the way to a deeper and closer walk with YHWH – Love. Love is the key to growth and maturity and is the practical indication of the spirituality in others. You know we often take spiritual gift tests, which are very good and help us understand our gifts and helps us get an understanding as to how to use our gifts effectively in the body. But how often do we, in a sense, take a ‘love test’? The test to see how close we are truly walking with YHWH as expressed in our actions toward others. They way we treat and engage with others is a great litmus test of our walk with YHWH!!! This chapter describes the love walk – the most excellent way – and in essence can be a love test for us.

This chapter, being a practical definition of love in the daily routines of life related to the problems the Corinthians were experiencing: Jealousy (3:3); Bragging (4:7); arrogance (4:6); seeking their own good (10:24); taking wrong into account (6:7-8); rejoicing in unrighteousness (5:1-2). This ecclesia was failing the love test and needed to listen to the direction of Paul in showing them the most excellent way. Paul put a high premium on Believer’s love for one another as he followed Yeshua who placed loving others as the second greatest and most important law of Scripture – and without love for others all Spiritual gifts are practically worthless.

Here you have an ecclesia of Believers that was excelling in operating in the gifts but was failing in love – I am sure this could sum up many churches today as well as many individual Christians today!
You know the world tries to put love into a category of having a warm fussy feeling or a fluttering in the heart, especially on days like today, Valentine’s Day. The definition of love that Paul gives is not just a very romantic – he speaks of it in two ways – in actions and in choices. Love is an action and a choice – it is not a feeling!
He introduces in the first three verses what seemingly is negative statements yet explains YHWH’s language of Love:
Verse 1 Paul speaks of having the ability to speak in all kinds of tongues, even the tongues of angels. To speak in many languages is a great ability and certainly comes in handy, especially if you are a missionary to a foreign country. Speaking in tongues edifies oneself into YHWH’s presence – it is for self and not for others unless there is interpretation which will edify the body. Paul says, hey you can speak in all the tongues you want - if there is no love – you are just making a big noise!!! YHWH is more concerned about our attitude of heart than our ability. He is more concerned about our availability than our ability! Ability comes from YHWH but if the attitude and availability is not right then we are just another noise maker rather than a love carrier!! This must have ticked some of the Corinthians off – those who had exalted themselves above others because of tongues must have looked like fools! Attitude over ability!!!
Paul is describing that even if you have great intellectual knowledge and can fathom all mysteries – and you can explain the text of the Bible – all which is important for the body in building it up in to maturity – but if there is no love, I am nothing. I can have all the faith (not salvation faith) but faith for miracles – I can believe YHWH for the impossible, but if I have no love I am nothing. I can be knowledgeable and believe, yet without love I am nothing!!! Knowledge puffs up, loves builds up. Now when we possess love with the knowledge and faith Paul describes well that is another story – a strong asset for the body!!!
Here Paul describes a person willing to give their all – something the rich young ruler in Yeshua's day could not do. I mean someone willing to give their life for Messiah – shows great loyalty to YHWH, yet Paul says that if this is all done without being motivated by YHWH's love then there is no eternal value that can be attributed to their sacrifice! Listen this is real stuff. All the above mentioned acts are great and required in the body, but if done without love being the driving force then it is all a waste of time. The way we show YHWH that we love Him is not by what we are willing to give up in His name that the world would think is significant. They way we show YHWH we love Him is by being obedient - to say, do and be what He tells us to say, do and be, amen! Obedience not sacrifice is YHWH’s primary love language!

The pursuit and exercise of spiritual gifts must be bathed in love – the most excellent way!
So what is this love Paul is writing about?
Well let’s understand firstly love as viewed from 6 different styles or expressions as described by John Lee who researched this in 1979
There are various descriptions or styles that describe love in varying ways of action:
1 – EROS - This is a very passionate or erotic love, a romantic love that carries tremendous passion and physical longing – it has a deep intensity and intimacy and a desire – very sexual – seeks to be satisfied through physical intimacy
2 – LUDUS – This can be described a game-playing love, a conquest – like the love of a knight for a princess. It fantasises and engages in playful interactions but carries little or no intimacy and no deep intensity. People with ludus love jeep their passions in check – avoid trouble and intensity in relationships. They are uncomfortable about commitment. They easily keep secrets from their significant other and are more likely to have affairs. For them it is ‘all part of the game”, part of the conquest, will run form partner to partner.
3 – STORGE – This is a friendship based love – it takes a long time to build. There is strong companionship and shared values, yet little intimacy. It is an affectionate love based on similarity – a ‘family love’.
4 – PRAGMA – This is classed as logical love. It is a combination of storge and ludus love. It refers to practical and logical love in which someone actively searches for a partner with certain characteristics.
5 – MANIA – This is what could be classed as ‘possessive love’, and is really a combination of eros and ludus love. It is also known as the troubled love. This love is shaped by jealousy and dependence (often called co-dependency) – it is dependant upon the possessing of another’s love. There is great intensity and little intimacy. It is highly volatile, is obsession based and fuelled by a low self esteem. So people who express love in this way are often very critical of every move their partner makes, always accusing and assuming things that are not there and is the result of having a past of rejection and neglect.
6 – AGAPE – The highest form of love – the love of unselfish regard and has a devotion to the welfare of others. This love gives without asking anything in return, whereas all of the above expressions of love have an expectation of a return. Agape is a sacrificial love – giving of oneself – it is the purest form of love – this is Godly love. It is an unconditional love for others in spite of their character flaws and weaknesses and this is the love that Paul is writing about as the most excellent way.

9 times the word ‘love’ or ‘agape’ is used in these 13 verses – this unconditional love – the purest form of love is the most excellent way for us. This is YHWH’s love for us and He is they way, amen!
So let us look briefly at what this love is by looking at each of the 14 characteristics of what this agape love is:
1 – PATIENT – the Greek word here, makrothymia, means simply this – “the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate”!!! Wow, and we thought patience was just having to wait for something – the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. When someone wrongs you – are you patient? Or do you retaliate, be it in word, deed or thought? Corinth had many who were wronged – there was lawsuits amoung the brothers – they left the poor our when having communal meals.
This patience carries with it endurance and is actively good – it endures evil while conferring blessing. Patience is a quality of love frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. It signifies forbearance and slowness to repay for offences. YHWH is repeatedly described as patient, because He does not immediately punish those who offend Him. We are told to remember how YHWH was patient with us and so too be patient with one another. When an offence takes place, a loving Disciple is slow to strike back, in fact the patience or longsuffering becomes the opportunity for reconciliation and forgiveness. The Corinthian church had many disagreements and had to practice patience to stop them from disintegrating. How are you at patience – one most of us all too often are found to be failing at!!! Patience is not ignorance. Paul loved the Corinthians and was patient with them although he did not ignore their offences. He worked with them carefully and slowly to bring about the desired end of edification and honour to Messiah.
2 – KIND – Kindness is a demonstration of love and is connected with patience again in Galatians 5 with the fruit of the Spirit for these concepts are similar. While patience may be the ‘negative’ side of love, kindness is the ‘positive’ side – as it extends good to others. Kindness speaks of being useful and gentle in behaviour.
3 – DOES NOT ENVY – Is not jealous – for jealousy is admiration and desire gone astray. Jealousy and envy begin when admiration and desire turn to resentment of others for the good they have. They are the attitudinal root of many terrible actions in the world. James, in particular, wrote, Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James. 3:16). Do you often find yourself being envious of another, be it what they have or their gifts and talents, their attributes – if you do as James says you will find disorder and every evil practice.
James 4:2 “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask Elohim.”
When you don’t get what you want and others do – how do you react? Love does not envy!!!
4 – DOES NOT BOAST – Love does not parade itself in a pompous show! The meaning of this Greek word for boast can be ‘bragging without foundation’. The Church at Corinth was bragging about their tolerance of sin (read 1 Cor 5:1-2) which was like an ancient series of ‘Days of our lives!’ and this kind of behaviour shows no regard for others, nor regard for the glory of YHWH. Loving other people does not mean failing to acknowledge the good YHWH has done in oneself and in others, and at the same time love does not mean lying about human accomplishments. Paul said he boasts in YHWH, it is a sure foundation. Commend each other and build each other up, boasting about oneself only seeks to position oneself higher than another and we are to rather humble ourselves and become as a servant to others. When things go well, don’t boast about your accomplishments – praise YHWH and give all the honour and glory to Him.
5 – NOT PROUD – Pride is a killer. Before a fall comes pride. Pride thinks only of self and leaves others out, pride is consumed with ones own agenda and life and cares nothing for others. To be proud is to be overly self-confident and inappropriately insubordinate to YHWH and others. YHWH resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. I am not going to go too much into pride for you all know what I am talking about. Pride stops you from receiving correction. Love is not proud!
6 – NOT RUDE – When one is rude toward another you show disrespect for them and have no regard for their likes or dislikes. Let me ask you do you care about your brothers likes and dislikes, or could you not care less? Proper regard shows love for others. Come on how many of you are rude at times, be it with a cashier, or a waiter who is not up to scratch, or even one who is? When others are talking do you cut them off and chip in as if what they have to say doesn’t matter? Love is not rude!
7 – NOT SELF SEEKING – love is unselfish –
Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
How many of you put the interests of others before yourself? And I mean always? This is a hard one in today’s world – we are taught to look out for self and even if it means at the expense of others! Yeshua says no – put your brother first!
8 – NOT EASILY ANGERED - this could also mean not easily provoked or not easily irritated. Let’s be real, who of you here gets irritated quickly, especially when you are in a place you don’t want to be, be it your work place, visiting your family or even coming to 'church'. Those who love others do not normally become irritated and angry whenever others do wrong, but rather are slow to anger and are patient with each other. James tells us we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. I think we often find ourselves slow to listen, quick to speak and far to quick in becoming angry because we don’t get our way! There are times we may be angered; Yeshua, in anger, turned the tables of the money changers in the temple. If you get angry don’t let it cause you to sin, sort it out quickly and resolve the issue peacefully and lovingly so as to not give the devil a foothold. Do you get ticked off too easily – listen to Paul’s most excellent way.
9 – KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS – Boy is this hard for most – I mean how can you walk in YHWH’s love and hold on to the wrong that people have done to you! Forgive as YHWH forgave you! If you do not forgive, how can YHWH forgive you! If YHWH remembers your sins no more, what gives us the right to keep any record or score sheet against others? This means we are not to be resentful or think evil of another because of what they may have done. If you love others you will not meticulously keep a record of every offence. This again is not ignoring an offence, for Paul had to have been told what they were doing, but He sought to lead them in truth, not holding their sin against them for loves covers a multitude of sin. Can you keep loving someone who keeps wronging you and not be vengeful but rather seek to restore?
10 – DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES IN THE TRUTH – The Corinthians had delighted in the immorality that was taking place in the church and so revealed that such enjoyment demonstrated a lack of love for the man and woman living in sin. Sin destroys people’s lives, so to rejoice in their sin is to rejoice in their destruction. Do you laugh at and take joy in the things that people do wrong or that you do wrong? How often you see people laughing about how they lied or ripped someone off, and 'Christians' at that too! Don’t delight in evil – walk in the truth and rejoice!
11 – ALWAYS PROTECTS – this also means ‘bears all things’ – this means that it endures all things without divulging to the world personal distress!!! This means holding fast so as to contain oneself in silence from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship. This means that no matter how tough the hardships you face you endure without seeking to expose the sins of others and put them down. How we often like to ‘bad mouth’ others for what they are doing, be it with people at work, fellow family or fellow brother in YHWH. Keep quiet, keep it to yourself, love protects always. How often are you not protecting others by mouthing off all the bad they are doing and so poisoning their appearance to others who do not even know them?
12 – ALWAYS TRUSTS – Listen this means love gives the benefit of the doubt. Suspicion and doubt toward others do not usually indicate much affection or love. On the contrary, when someone loves with Messiah like love, he entrusts himself to the one he loves time and again. Again this refers to your ability to trust YHWH – do you always trust Him?
13 – ALWAYS HOPES - Hope is an attitude that good will eventually come to those who may now be failing. Who have you lost hope for in coming to YHWH? Love always hopes and hope stirs faith to believe and pray and intercede. Believers, who love, continue to hope for the best. Even when others let you down, do you give up on them and walk out of a relationship with them or do you always hope for the best – that things will work out in time? All too often Believers walk out of fellowship as they do not walk in love – they give up hope!
14 – ALWAYS PERSEVERES – love does not stop when things get difficult – although for many this is true. What happens when the going gets tough – do you keep going or do you throw in the towel? Loving someone is easy when they are not challenging your affections by offending you or failing you. The quality of our love becomes evident when we must endure trials. We are to persevere in our love to others.

Walking in agape love, walking in the most excellent way, Paul declares that this way never fails – it is a sure and secure way – it is the only way!!! Love enables us to endure everything; it enables us to keep on believing in every circumstance; to keep our confidence in YHWH and to remain patient no matter what happens to us. We are to grow up in these things and put away childish attitudes!
Faith saves us, hope cheers us and love send us out after others. Faith is the root of love; our hope makes us helpful, but love is directly concerned with the welfare of others around us – love makes us like YHWH – YHWH is Love and as Love grows in us YHWH grows in us, amen! We are shaped into His image and likeness, that image and likeness being restored from Genesis when YHWH said “let us make man in our image, in our likeness”. Sin distorted that image and the most excellent way restores it again!!!
If we truly desire to show YHWH that we love Him, we have to be more than willing to simply say “I love You YHWH”. We must commit ourselves to YHWH’s language of love – the love that pays more attention to heart matters like attitude, compassion and obedience. Let us read verse 4-7 together, but instead of love say your name in the place of love.. (read)
How have you passed the love test? You know there is the power of life and death in the tongue – did you just hear what you read, what you confessed over yourself? Now walk in the most excellent way!

This is a call to obedience of love – obedience to YHWH. Are there any areas of love where you have been disobedient? Are you obeying His Commands out of a reverant love for YHWH? You may have been using your gifts, just like the Corinthians but without love? Have you or are you holding a grudge, are you envious, have you been boastful? Have you rejoiced in evil and called it light fun? Perhaps you have not forgiven someone and have kept score on those who have wronged you. Perhaps you have retaliated, whether it be in thought or action and not exercised patience in affliction.
Make a commitment today, just as you have by your own admission declared with your very own lips, to walk in the most excellent way – to walk in the agape love of YHWH – to walk as Yeshua Messiah commands us to – "If you love me you will obey my commands", Yeshua said.
Love is a choice and an action – choose to act according to YHWH’s most excellent way. It may be Valentine’s Day in the world’s eyes – but we are here to celebrate YHWH and His perfect love – as we come to embrace His love and choose to walk in it – we choose the most excellent way. Say it with me “I choose the most excellent way!” Wow, powerful stuff – now walk in it and yes you will be tested, but by His grace you can pass the love test, amen!

Let’s pray…

Monday, February 08, 2010


1 Kings 18:30-32

Praise YHWH this morning; He is most worthy of all our praise, Amen! I am so excited to be going to the House of Grace orphanage after the service and praise YHWH for the opportunity for us as a family to go and show the love of Messiah Yeshua to these children. This morning I want to talk to you about passionately living for YHWH. In Bible School this week we learnt some great faith lessons on the passion of Elijah – a man who, to the Jewish mind, was a prototype of a rabbi with passion, one who gave his all, one who gave everything he had and with this in mind it is so easy then to understand why some in Yeshua's day thought He was Elijah, for Yeshua certainly displayed for us true passion for the Father and His will, becoming completely submitted and surrendered even unto death – the kind of passion that forsakes all for YHWH of Hosts. When we consider this kind of devotion and dedication it is I feel safe to say that we don’t see enough of this kind of surrendered life being lived out today in the lives of many Believers – those who claim to follow our Saviour Yeshua Messiah. This morning I want to look at an event within an event that took place when YHWH’s people, Israel, had certainly forsaken their passionate devotion to YHWH, and had fallen away to idol worship and wanted the best of both. I am talking about the showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah and the Baal prophets where Elijah called the Israelites to choose that day who they would serve and no longer waver. During this event Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord, and it is this specific act that I want to talk to you about, with my message today called, “Repairing the Altar of the Lord”. So please turn with me to
1 Kings 18:30-32 and let’s read.
Short but yet so powerful, amen!
There is much we can learn form this passage today in coming back to total and devotion and passionate love for YHWH
As we look around today and see the things people do, doesn’t it just make you sick? How about some of the stuff you do, is it any better? Many today and perhaps even at times we too have replaced our altar of worship unto YHWH with the worship of anything and everything imaginable – be it career, sport, movies, music, fashion. Even the environment is worshipped by many more than YHWH is worshipped! Today I am talking about repairing broken altars, that we may restore true and pure worship, and what that means to each of us individually and corporately. If you could categorise most people that go to church today, you could basically identify 3 types of people who actually attend the average church service, let’s briefly look at these 3 categories and then look at altars.
3 types of people attending church today:
1 – CHILLED – The chilled category – these are the ones who see a church service as a cold, sterile ritual – in other words they just go through the motions. They come to church but nothing really happens for them – they simply just come and go whenever they feel like it to complete a ‘duty’ in their eyes, go through the seemingly ritual motions and then leave, not even sure why they are really doing all of this – but just do it because you are ‘supposed to’. They often leave a service or gathering of YHWH’s people and wonder why they are still empty – they are ‘chilled’ – for that is the response some get when coming to worship and fellowship in YHWH’s presence with YHWH’s people. Their worship to YHWH in the week is very scarce or non existent – why would it be – they have fulfilled their duty now they can get on with their empty lives.
2 – THRILLED – The thrilled category – these are the ones who see the service as a ‘great show’ – very entertaining – and they leave thinking, “Wow, that was really great!” And that is where it stops, sadly! The ‘thrilled’ category are simply coming for the great show, and will often be those who hop form church to church just seeking the ‘thrill’, seeking the performance and show being able to walk out and say, “That was an incredible experience.” Perhaps because the pastor was very funny and the music matched their taste – I mean, “If the music doesn’t meet my requirements then I am out of here – got to go where it rocks!” The thrill is where it stays – they do not carry that satisfaction into their daily life and their witness is ineffective as it merely carries with it the wow of the thrill or the event, rather than the love of a Saviour. And sadly many Christians today fall in to this category. They get hyped but it doesn’t progress into disciple making and witnessing of Messiah for they have not died to their need for a thrill!
3 – FILLED – The ‘chilled’, the ‘thrilled’ and now the ‘filled’, our third category. This category speaks of those who are changed through the service. Every time they come into YHWH’s presence they are changed, continually being sanctified. The very Word and presence of YHWH changes them and they worship YHWH daily, and then coming together for church becomes a time of truly celebrating what YHWH is doing in theirs and others lives. They can daily experience the filling of the Love of YHWH as they fellowship with YHWH through intimate worship and yielded devotion to His Word and Will. This is the kind of church we long to be, amen! People who are continually filled with the full measure of the love of Messiah Yeshua able to continually declare His praises, walking in His love and loving others unconditionally and serving YHWH and His kingdom with their all, amen! We want to be an ecclesia that is filled with the ‘filled’, amen!! Filled with YHWH’s awesome power, experiencing His ‘shekinah’ glory, His very manifest presence in our midst! My prayer is that as we come together each week and every time we meet, be it cell, Bible school, prayer or outreaches, that by His grace and through the power of His Word we may be filled and equipped to run with great zeal and passion for Him, amen! When we come here to meet together for Sabbath, I so desire that each of you come and ‘run’ if you will (figure of speech – don’t run and knock each other over!), but in the spirit ‘run’ straight into YHWH’s arms. Is your heart open this morning to be filled in His presence with His love?
I must tell you that some weeks this experience of His filling presence may cause you to encounter His glorious peace that you never thought would be possible because of the battles you have been facing. Other weeks His presence may almost bother you and challenge you – and that is good. Yeshua is the Word and we know that the Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness! Our heart is that every time we come together we will all encounter YHWH and be filled, amen!

So there you have the ‘chilled’, the ‘thrilled’ and the ‘filled’. Which category do you fit in, you may not even know, but YHWH knows and He wants us all to be filled in Him, amen!
Let us look at that filling, that anointing and how we may walk and experience that very filling presence daily:
Our Scripture today spoke about Elijah repairing the altar of the Lord. Well as you know, Elijah means “Yahweh is my God” and so the starting place for us all is to accept and declare Messiah Yeshua as YHWH and Saviour. Elijah repaired the altar – the altar was in ruins – what does that mean? Well in Chapter 19 Elijah tells YHWH that the people had rejected His covenant and broken down YHWH’s altars. The people didn’t want the altar of YHWH around – they didn’t want to walk surrendered, set apart for YHWH – they wanted to live for themselves and so the broken altar symbolises for us that the people were far from YHWH. How is your life right now? Are you far from YHWH – is the altar of YHWH in your life broken? Well first before we go there let us answer what this means, and what the altar of YHWH stands for.
Noah built the first altar to YHWH after having been saved through the flood, and ever since then people have built altars. Altars were places of prayer, places of the assembly of the people of YHWH; a place of refuge and safety from enemies. Altars were built out of thankfulness and were often built to commemorate special events in the lives of YHWH’s people. The main and most important reason for the altars was for sacrifice. An altar was meant to be a place set apart for YHWH to spill the blood of an innocent animal and it was through blood that the people were made right with YHWH.
Hebrews 9:22 (b) “…and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Praise YHWH this morning for the Blood of Yeshua Messiah, our sacrificial Lamb – there is forgiveness in the Blood of Yeshua!
So an altar represented being in a right relationship with YHWH, and Elijah rebuilding a broken altar symbolised a coming back to YHWH. Being right with Him again – a commitment or even a recommitment after wandering from YHWH – it was a symbol of maintaining a right relationship with YHWH.
In Romans 12 we are told to be living sacrifices and so the altar of YHWH today in our lives is about dying to self daily – giving ourselves over to Him cleansed by His Blood through His one time sacrifice. The essence of the altar was also to remind them of their backsliding and remind them of broken relationships with YHWH and others. The 12 stones Elijah used each represented the different tribes of Israel who were at that time a divided nation – Using the 12 Elijah was prophetically speaking of their unity as one with YHWH – one body – one YHWH. In the same sense the altar of YHWH in our lives then represents not only a place where we get right with YHWH but also get right with others too, which at times is often harder!
Yeshua, in the Sermon on the Mount, tells us that if we bring our gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your gift there, go be reconciled and then come and offer your gift. A broken altar is a picture of how one has drifted out of love toward YHWH, drifted out of devotion and wholehearted surrender.
What does a broken altar look like? What does a broken relationship look like? Here are 12 pictures:
1. When my delight in YHWH is no longer as great as my delight in someone else, I have lost my first love.
2. When my soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in YHWH’s Word or in prayer, I have lost my first love.
3. When my thoughts during leisure moments do not reflect upon YHWH, I have lost my first love.
4. When I claim to be “only human” and easily give in to those things I know displease YHWH, I have lost my first love.
5. When I do not willingly and cheerfully give to YHWH’s work or to the needs of others, I have lost my first love.
6. When I cease to treat every brother as I would YHWH, I have lost my first love.
7. When I view the commands of YHWH as restrictions to my happiness rather than expressions of His love, I have lost my first love.
8. When I inwardly strive for the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of YHWH, I have lost my first love.
9. When I fail to make YHWH or His words known because I fear rejection, I have lost my first love.
10. When I refuse to give up an activity which I know is offending a weaker brother, I have lost my first love.
11. When I become complacent to sinful conditions around me, I have lost my first love.
12. When I am unable to forgive another for offending me, I have lost my first love.
A broken altar is a picture of one having lost their first love, which is a loving relationship with YHWH.

We can learn from Elijah’s actions that the fire of YHWH, which represented His very manifest presence or His anointing, His power, will not come down on a broken altar! The altar of YHWH in our lives needs to be repaired if broken in order to have His manifest power and anointing operating in our lives by faith through His grace. The fire of YHWH represents His shekinah glory – that very blue flame that burned on the Ark of the Covenant that all could see when David set up the tabernacle where there was constant worship 24 hours a day every day around the very presence of YHWH for 36 years. In Acts YHWH tells us that He will rebuild the very tabernacle of David. A tabernacle that did not match the design of Moses’ tabernacle or Solomon’s temple, yet was a tabernacle without a veil where YHWH’s presence dwelt amoung the people who worshipped Him. We want to be a people who bring glory to YHWH and show His glory in and through our lives, and for that we need the fire of His presence – and for that our altars cannot be broken.
A repaired altar speaks of the following key elements in the devoted life of worship:
1 – Prayer – This is a constant communion with YHWH through our Messiah Yeshua
2 – Fellowship with YHWH
3 – Fellowship with the family of YHWH
4 – Dying to self – as I said at the altar there was always a sacrifice – were called to be living sacrifices in view of His mercy
5 – Yielding to the will of YHWH – His will not our own. This is a surrender to His ways – not seeking Him to approve our decisions we have made but making decisions according to His will and direction even when it goes against our selfish wants and needs.
6 – Giving – This is a giving of myself and of my resources – after all I am not my own, all I am and all I have is His. If you struggle with the whole giving thing – then just get over yourself this morning and hear the truth – It’s all His! Now give!!!
7 – Devotion to His Word in study – Growing in knowledge through His Word – eating our daily bread. Yeshua said He is the bread of life, and the bread is His flesh which he gave for the life of the world and unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we will have no life in us.

A functional altar of YHWH in our lives will have these key areas we have just mentioned operating daily with devotion and passion. Another thing to note is that Elijah did not use stones from the Baal altars – he took 12 uncut stones – the service and worship to YHWH must be pure and not contaminated in any way with idolatrous abominations. There is to be nothing in common with the unbelieving or any agreement with YHWH’s temple and idols. You are YHWH’s temple. The altar of YHWH in your life cannot have anything in common with any form of idolatry. Repairing the altar was very significant in that Elijah was not introducing a new religion; he was reviving the faith and worship of the Elohim of their fathers and bringing them back to their first love. In Revelation 2 in the letter to the church in Ephesus, Yeshua writes that he knows their deeds, their hard work and perseverance and that they did not tolerate evil and wicked men; they tested those who claimed to be apostles, they endured hardships and not grown weary – sound like many today – but listen to this – Yeshua says he has this against them – they lost their first love – in context of today’s message we could say that their altar of YHWH was not pure and complete. You cannot just have some stones on and others off! His fire will not come – You can be so busy – yet if there is no love – His fire won’t come!

So how do I repair a broken altar? Well first it takes a change of habit – stop doing that which is altar breaking and do those things that are altar building or repairing and secondly it takes a change of mind – you must make a decision to step over the line and follow YHWH wholeheartedly – no more wavering between the two. When Elijah dug a trench around the altar to catch the water, this could be symbolically seen as drawing a line in the sand – saying no more to altar breaking life and stepping over into an altar building life where YHWH’s fire – His very presence can live in and through you powerfully and effectively. The trench in other words represents a commitment or a recommitment to YHWH and the family of YHWH. Crossing the line to what matters most - loving YHWH and unity in the body.

Where are you today in your life of worship to YHWH? How is your ‘altar’ experience with YHWH in your life? Is there some repairing needed, let us look at 12 areas of repairing the altar of the Lord. 12 stones if you will of a repaired altar through passionate and devoted hardcore commitment to YHWH.

Repairing the altar of the Lord – 12 stones
1 – Stone of attendanceHebrews 10:25 tells us not to give up meeting together, but to encourage each other as we see the Day of coming of YHWH approaching. Attend all services and bring the family – now yes there are times when we are away or working etc, but don’t make excuses not to fellowship – repair the altar of the Lord through attendance.
2 – Stone of paying attention to YHWH’s WordProverbs 4:20-23 “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
In other words take the Word seriously and obey it!
3 – Stone of right attitude – Ephesians 4:30-32 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of Elohim, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Messiah Elohim forgave you.”
Get right with God and stay right with YHWH – have the attitude of Messiah Yeshua – humble yourself and serve.
4 – Stone of praying with fervency – James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective pray with passion and fervency, pray with intensity – give it your all!
5 – Stone of praying with frequency – 1 Thess 5:17 tells us to pray always – and always means always that means a frequent pattern of continual prayer life in all things. Yes this is the second stone of prayer, and I have a third or pray is critical in the life of a believer.
6 – Stone of praying with faith – Matthew 21:22 – says that if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer! Without faith we cannot please YHWH – so we cannot pray without faith!!!
7 – Stone of serving - Acts 1:8 says that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power to witness. You have the very resurrection power that raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead living in you – that power equips you to get up and serve. If it can raise Messiah from the dead, it can raise you from your couch and serve effectively witnessing of YHWH’s love and grace to all.
8 – Stone of soul winning – Matthew 28: 18-20 you all know – the Great Commission – make disciples of all, baptising them and teaching them the Word and to obey everything Yeshua commanded. When last did you do some soul winning – or has that stone been left off of the altar of YHWH in your life – it’s not my job!!! Newsflash – it is!
9 – Stone of sacrifice – 2 Samuel 24:24 David says that he will not sacrifice anything to YHWH that costs him nothing. Sacrifice costs you – we are to be living sacrifices – and that is a daily lifestyle – Paul says he dies daily – count the cost and give YHWH your everything – He gave you His all – HUGE SACRIFICE – no go ahead and die to self will you and live for Messiah. Living for YHWH costs you your life!
10 – Stone of the steadfast spirit – Psalm 51:10 “Create a pure heart in me, O, YHWH, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” This is a renewal of the attitude of the heart. Upon salvation, we are reborn with a new heart and we must keep it clean, YHWH alone can clean the heart and so we should always keep our hearts open before Him, not being defiled by any form of idolatry or profane worship.
11 – Stone of the sound speech – We must keep watch over the door of our lips – for out of the overflow of the heart so a man speaks – if our heart is right our speech will be right. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Watch what you speak, put to death that which must be put to death and keep alive that which must be alive in YHWH. Don’t kill that which must be alive through gossip, slander, backbiting etc. Let your speech be seasoned with grace.
12 – Stone of surrender/ submission – When you submit yourselves to YHWH, you can resist the Devil and he will flee. The surrendered life leads to the blessed life. Surrender speaks of giving ones self up to the power of another. Give yourself up to His power its way better! It speaks of handing over your life to YHWH, complete surrender – Have Your way Oh YHWH!

I used the analogy of 12 stones simply for this sermon – the altar of YHWH in our lives carries with it so much more. So let me ask you today how is the altar of YHWH in your life? Does it need repairs? Do you lack the ‘fire’ of YHWH in your life? That all consuming fire of His presence? I am sure we all could repair the altar of worship and sacrificial living unto YHWH. The good news is we can, we can come and receive His all sufficient grace to repair the altar of YHWH. Repairing the altar YHWH’s way – the 12 stones were not fashioned by mans hands, they were uncut – this speaks of living worship YHWH’s way and not our way! Worship and obedience to YHWH is not by your design but by YHWH’s! If you are one of the chilled or thrilled we spoke of earlier then certainly there are repairs needed, but lets not be fooled, even when we think we are filled we may just discover that the altar needs repairs. Dig that trench that draws the line in your life saying no to the things of the world and the flesh and come to the altar of YHWH and say yes to Him completely this morning. As you take this Word today, be encouraged and strengthened to take up the courage and passion Elijah had, where he did not care what others thought – he sought the presence of YHWH at all costs and challenged those of his day. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you this morning – be real and allow Him to show you where repairs are needed and repair. Why don’t you spend the next few moments in prayer before YHWH this morning – before we celebrate the work of Yeshua Messiah by eating of His flesh and drinking His blood with the elements of YHWH's Supper. We do not take this lightly, so take a few moments and then let us remember together the great price our Rabbi Messiah Yeshua paid for us that we may come and worship at the altar of YHWH in each of our lives personally and corporately as a family here today. Before you can take of the bread and of the cup, come and open your heart before YHWH and allow Him to heal you, forgive you, equip you by His grace. If you need to repent and turn away form sin that has destroyed the altar of YHWH in your life – do it now – He is hear and He wants to send His fire down on your life. You may come broken to Him, let me tell you He is the only One who can mend what is broken – receive this mending this morning and as we partake of the elements of YHWH’s supper – celebrate Him and remember what He has done for you. Now it is up to you to repair what needs to be repaired – He will guide you and comfort and strengthen you, but you got to do the repairing of certain stones – be bold and brave and engage in repairing the altar of YHWH in your life with the passion of Elijah! Amen! See by faith those very stones, stones that may have 'rolled off' or 'fallen away'. Pick up these stones by faith and repair the altar of YHWH.

Heavenly Father, in your name YHWH through Messiah Yeshua we bless you our Elohim and  I ask that You will stir hearts with this message and that You will cause many to turn to You and draw that line in the sand saying no to the things that break down altar worship and saying yes to a life that is sacrificial every day in worship to You. I pray that all who read these sermon notes will truly catch Your love and call to repair and return to pure altar worship in every area of their lives, and in doing so they may experience Your Shekinah glory, Your very manifest presence in all power and wisdom and understanding and be equipped to declare and witness of You to all they meet, in Yeshua's name, amen. May Your altar in Your Bride today be repaired and restored that the world may see and know You are YHWH, amen!