Good morning everybody, praise the wonderful and glorious name of YAHWEH this morning – YAHWEH of Hosts is His name – He is the EL SHADDAI. You know it is such a great joy and a privilege to be here together, that we may bring to Him, Our Yahweh, from the fruit of our lips, an offering of praise – can you praise Yahweh this morning, HalleluYah! Come on are you awake this morning? Remember it is Yahweh who wakes you up – you are alive today by His grace – give Him praise!
Oh man, you know as we look at the world today we can see a whole bunch of horrible stuff going on and doesn’t it just get to you when lawlessness just increases and you kind of feel like society is just getting worse – biblical moral standards are by no means seen as acceptable – yet from heaven’s viewpoint the earth is full of the glory of Elohim! Can you see that? Let me remind you briefly that Elohimd is Sovereign and He is in control and we need to embrace this truth if we are to live out a wholehearted and devoted life of holy worship unto Yahweh. The battle is ultimately about worship – who are you going to worship – Yahweh or Satan? We want to worship Yahweh, amen! As disciples of Yeshua, we are called to follow Him, to walk as He walked, to be like Him and often I wonder how true that is for us as Christians today. I think that many are playing discipleship as a game, like a board game perhaps – it is fun at the beginning, but then it gets kind of boring and so we don’t finish the game and pack it away for a rainy day! Discipleship is not a game friends – it is life – the life that we have been given, the life that has been paid for in blood – the Blood of Messiah. Discipleship entails walking in our Lord, walking as our Rabbi Yeshua walked, walking in His steps – doing what He did. I wonder if we can truly say that we are constantly walking in His steps – I mean we want to, I know – but are we – that is the question! You know it is easy for us to get stirred up and have our faith stirred up if you will, be it by some sermon we hear or by a book we read, or a song we hear – come on be honest how many of you have been stirred up by a book, a song, a sermon or a movie even? How about the very word of Elohim – daily? Often you may hear the phrase, “wow that was life changing, so powerful, I’ll never be the same!” The kind of response you may get from an experience that touched you in a unique way. But what disturbs me at times is that we can so easily say that something was life changing, yet we don’t change! During my early hours of Thursday morning while spending time reading the Word and praying, this very subject came to my mind and Yahweh showed me something very simply yet so profound that I want to show you before we go into the Word this morning. I have here a glass of water – now let us say for sake of this demonstration that this represents an individual’s life – it is a plain glass of water. Can someone take a sip? Go on taste it – water right? Now let me stir this water up with a spoon. Now can you taste it again? Is it any different? No, it tastes the same – it is water. You see why am I doing this? Well simply this is what Yahweh showed me is happening to many of His children today – they are ‘getting stirred’ be it from a message they heard or whatever stirs them and they say it is life changing, yet all that has happened is that they have been stirred – and they are no better off – they still taste the same! Many today are enjoying the process of getting stirred but there lives aren’t changing and I asked Yahweh why this is and He showed me that we don’t change because we are not walking in His steps! Wow!!! We are transformed and changed (made salty) by the very Word of Elohim (as we hear and have our faith stirred to action and walk out His Word). Now let us take a look at this water again, and I am going to stir it again, but this time I am going to put some salt in it and then stir. Now taste it – how does it taste? Let’s put more salt in and stir again – how does it taste now – salty!!!
What Yahweh showed me was that we are to be the salt and light and we are made salty through His Word and we are not to lose our saltiness or else we are only useful to be thrown out and trampled upon. However the interesting thing to note is that the more salty we become the less likely will we taste nice, as in what the world expects! Many may reject you and persecute you and ridicule you, they may slander you – why – because we are walking in His steps that is why.
My sermon this morning is called, “In His steps”, and that is what I want to look at today – what it means to walk in His steps – becoming like Him! Please turn with me to 1 Peter 2:19-25 (Pray and read) May we be stirred and changed – salted by the very Word of Elohim today that we may taste differently – being salty.
Walk the walk, walk in Yeshua’s steps, Peter tells us we should follow in our Lord’s steps. Whose steps are you following in?
Yeshua didn’t just tell us how to live – He showed us how to live! He left us an example that we should follow. The word used here for example in the Greek is ‘hupagrammon’ and is used only here in the whole N.T. It simply means “a writing copy’ as in an outline or sketch for a painter to fill in, and it also carries the meaning, ‘a pattern for imitation’, like a stencil of sort. The idea illustrated here gives the picture of the way many of us learned to write as children. The teacher would provide a lined paper with a pre-printed example of a character to follow. The closer we matched the example the more accurate were our letters. Here, Peter in the same way is saying that we as disciples of Messiah, talmidim of the Rabbi Yeshua become like our Rabbi as we stay close to and follow His example, and in effect we are to follow in His steps.
In 1896, Charles M. Sheldon wrote a novel called, “In His steps”, and in a nutshell the story is of a preacher who challenged his congregation to commit to a year of total submission of walking in Yeshua’s steps. The challenge was, “to pause before making any decisions and ask, ‘what would Jesus do’, in that situation” and the book goes on to tell of drastic changes that took place in the lives of those who submitted to the challenge. I would like to read a couple of excerpts from the book, In His steps, which you can find on line and read for free. (Read from chapter 1 and chapter 2)
Chapter 1: Tramp speaking to congregation
Chapter 2: Challenge – WWJD
Very inspiring story, very challenging! It was from this book that a group of students took up this challenge and designed the bracelet WWJD which has become a worldwide slogan seen on anything from t-shirts, bumper stickers, books, mugs etc. Now as inspiring as this challenge is, however your life only changed as you walk in His steps and follow Him, if not you may just get stirred and just stay the same!
So what does it really mean to walk in His steps? Let us briefly take a look at a couple of points for us to follow from the example of our Lord:
Well Messiah was the perfect example of patient submission to unjust suffering! He did no retaliate nor did He make any threats! Remember we learnt what patience means – “the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate”! Well Yahweh was the greatest example of patience for us to follow and walk in and He showed us this that we may be able to walk in His steps and do as He did! Just think about it, I mean humanly speaking, what Yeshua went through surely enticed and provoked the need to retaliate – yet He suffered in silence, committing Himself to Elohim!!! We would do well to do the same, amen! No deceit was found in His mouth! He was not dishonest, not misleading, did not trick anybody – He did not fail to fulfil all He was to do – He fulfilled the law and the prophets – He interpreted them that we may walk in His steps being obedient to the Word! He was not false and never cheated. The Scriptures say that whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Yeshua did – how about you? You are hear today and I take it that you claim to live in Him – well are you walking as He did? What deceit comes from your mouth? Hear what the Spirit is saying to us this morning, amen!
Well what were some of the things that Yeshua was committed to? There are many characteristics that marked the life and walk of our Lord, let us look today at 7 of them – and learn what characteristics should mark us as we walk in His steps:
1 – PRAYER
Yahweh prayed and set us great instruction and example of how and what to pray. Yeshua would get up early in the morning and spend time in prayer. He demonstrated intimacy with Elohim the Father by seeking Him continually in prayer. 45 times in the gospels we are told that Yeshua went alone to pray. Listen, every single aspect of His earthly life and ministry was saturated and immersed in prayer with the Father.
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Yeshua got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Yeshua’s life was surrounded by hordes of people and their needs and ministered around the clock – even on the Sabbath which caused a great stir and still He made time to commune with the Father and concentrate on the Father’s purposes. He always found time and made time to pray. He tells us that He only does what the Father tells Him to!!! How powerful is that – that is representative of the life of a person who is in constant communication with the Father – He did nothing on His own! He spoke to, listened carefully to and faithfully obeyed the Father! How sad it is today that so many have lame excuses why they are not praying, and they rationalise and justify their excuses as well. Guys, we must pray, prayer must top the priority list in our lives – we cannot make it in this world on our own – we need the direction and leading of Elohim. It begins with prayer – Matthew 6:33 – Seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness - Walking in His steps involves a vibrant, active and fulfilled prayer life – are you walking in His steps? Take the step of prayer and don’t stop!
2 - ACCEPTANCE
Yeshua accepted the so called castaways of society, which caused a huge disturbance amoung the religious hypocrites. Our Yahweh accepted all and reached out to all. He did not come for the healthy but the sick, he said that he did not come for the righteous but for the sinner – He came to those who need the acceptance and love of a Loving Saviour. By His acceptance He could show the lost the way to life. Each and every person is valuable and we would do well to remember that before we just right people off because they don’t look like us, or live like we do. We need to learn as we walk in His steps to treat those that are different from us the same kind of love and acceptance that Yeshua gave to those around Him – the same kind of love and acceptance He has shown us.
3 – COMPASSION
Yeshua is the healer of broken lives – amen! He provided for people’s physical and spiritual needs. He cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead back to life and forgave the sins of the guilty. He showed that Elohim’s power is sufficient to meet every need – and that very same power lives in and through us today! Yeshua had compassion for them, and as we can clearly see from His example compassion leads to action. The definition of compassion is as follows, “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate”. This means that we must be willing enough to get close enough to others in order to understand and be aware of what they are experiencing and be willing to walk with them with the desire to alleviate their distress. Do you show compassion or do you rather ignore the distresses of others because you couldn’t be bothered? When one part suffers the whole body suffers – this is what lacks greatly today – the ability for Christians to walk in His steps – walking in compassion.
4 – TRUTH (He confronted hypocrisy)
Yeshua stood against lifeless religion and He openly confronted the religious hypocrisy that was going on – and this led to huge opposition – I mean somebody standing up for the truth! This ultimately led to His execution! He rebuked those who buried the true heart of Elohim by following in their man made traditions disguised as the truth. He went and cleansed the temple because people were using the Father’s house for their own gain – He turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple which was to be a house of prayer. We are the temple of the Living Elohim – is it a house of prayer or is it being used for personal gain – sometimes I wonder today!!!
Mark 7:4-8 “So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Yeshua, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’8 You have let go of the commands of Elohim and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
He boldly stood against those who claimed to be holy but who were rather selfish in all they did. What would our Lord do today if He came today and listened to some of the things that were being taught in His name – traditions that men have brought in? How about the prosperity gospel that has gripped the world over the last 50 or so years, or the name it and claim it slogans? Well so you know what? He is here today – living in and through us by His Holy Spirit – so the question I ask today is are we walking in His steps and confronting hypocrisy – taking a stand for what is right? The problem I think why many struggle with this is simply because they do not know the Word!
To walk in His steps and to take a stand for what is right, requires that we know Him – know the Word.
Yeshua took advantage of every teachable moment – be it to a curious crowd of thousands or to a committed core or even to one on one encounter like Zacchaeus or the woman at the well. He was always helping people discover the Father. And you know even though He was the incarnate Word – that is the Word in the flesh – He often directed people back to the written Word, quoting frequently from the Scriptures, which was the O.T. as we know it today. He was right when He said He came to fulfil the law, for this doesn’t mean finish it or do away with it, but rather interpret it in order that we may understand it fully and be able to walk in it – in other words He came to interpret the Word that we may walk in the Word – he is the Word – He taught how to walk in Him, amen! Now as we walk in His steps this means we too are to teach others. Just because you may not stand in front and speak from a pulpit doesn’t mean you do not have to or cannot teach. He has given us all the commission to make disciples and teach them to obey all he commands. He taught one on one and to thousands. Teaching doesn’t necessarily require an outline and 3 major points – what it requires is being so filled with Elohim’s Word that it naturally overflows from our lives into the lives of others around us!!! James meant this when He said in:
James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Listening only – deceives you into only being stirred and not changed – listening and doing leads to change!
We teach others through our witness, which involves both our words and our actions or works! Are you walking in His steps, teaching as He taught, using every teachable moment. Parents teach you children, disciples of Messiah Yeshua – make disciples and teach them the way! Stand up for truth by knowing the Truth – Knowing Yahweh – Knowing the Word!
6 – SERVANTHOOD
Boy serving seems to be hard for many, but let me tell you that service marked the life of Yeshua – He put the needs of others before His own. At the last supper – He didn’t seek to be served – he washed His disciple’s feet!!! His earthly life of service culminated at the cross where He paid for our sins by becoming a sacrifice for us that we may have fellowship with Elohim. He still serves us as He intercedes on our behalf before the Father and will serve us at the great banquet of Yahweh!!! Walking in His steps in the area of servanthood is something all of us must truly embrace with our all – we all must embrace a servant heart. Too many today have simply become accustomed to being served and react like spoilt brats when they don’t get their way – servanthood is a must – He showed us how and now we can walk in His steps and serve, amen! Let me ask you are you serving, if so keep serving, if not start today!
7 – EQUIPPING OTHERS
Yeshua always trained and equipped others to carry on His work – He passed the baton on to us. Elohim has given His body apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the body, yes but what I am talking about here is what I believe is required from every believer. We all have the ability to equip another as we are equipped. Too many Christians today are sadly more interested in just listening to the message than they are in living out the mission of Yahweh Yeshua – to make disciples! Many are not equipping because they simply have not allowed themselves to be equipped. Yeshua took time to equip others and today many need to move from just learning about Yeshua, to learning and living for Yeshua daily. Who are you equipping, are you walking in His steps?
Walking in His steps involves obedience, faith, love and imitation. Yeshua didn’t just simply show us the way to the Father – he became the way to the Father – He didn’t just tell us how to truly live the abundant and full life – He came that we may have it and showed us how to live it Himself. He is our example and so we must strap on the truth to our feet, pick up our cross and walk “In His Steps”. When you say, “I’ll follow Him”, do you mean that you are suffering as the body suffers, rejoicing as the body in honoured, denying yourself, reaching the lost as Yeshua did.
As we draw to a close I want to look at a couple of Scriptures for you to give careful thought to. The first one is Luke 14, turn with me there from verse 25. Look at this verse it says large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and then He goes on to tell them what the cost of being a disciple is. What Yahweh showed me here is that crowds were travelling with Him, but few were following. The same is true today, don’t we see many and I mean many large crowds coming around the Word – how many of those are following Him – walking in His steps? Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Him cannot be His disciple it says in verse 27, which speaks of supreme commitment. Today many do not want to pick up their cross(or stake)and walk in His steps – how about you? In Luke 13 Yeshua tells us that we are to make every effort to enter through the narrow door, as many will try and will not be able to – walking in His steps is a narrow path – no room for compromise! In Luke 9 a man said to the Lord, “I’ll follow you wherever you go”. He told another to follow Him and the man asked if he could first bury his father and the Lord said let the dead bury the dead, but he must rather go and proclaim the kingdom of Elohim. Yeshua said that “no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of Elohim”. This is Yeshua's words and it carries with it great power – walking in His steps there is no room for compromise or turning back! When Yeshua sent out the 72 He warned them of the wolves out there and that they were not to take purse or bag or sandal; and were not to greet anyone on the road.
To me this speaks of our trust and reliance upon Elohim, not to worry what to eat, what to wear or where to sleep for He knows what we need, but more importantly from this I see something else – as you walk in His steps do not get sidetracked – do not stray from His path and stop along the way.
Are you walking in His steps? Maybe you are, good keep walking, perhaps you used to and got sidetracked, start walking again. I don’t want to challenge you for a year to WWJD, I want to challenge you to a life of DWYD – do what Yeshua did!
Be stirred salty this day and go out there and taste different because you choose to walk in His steps!!!
Let us pray