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?
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
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…