Hallelujah – Praise Yahweh, amen! Good to be here together in the presence of El Shaddai, amen! As we sit here and reflect this morning on what is going on in our time, we can be more sure today that the return of Yeshua is closer than ever before, and it is very interesting to see many of the signs that Yeshua speaking of taking place before our very eyes. We are living in a time where people are running this way and that, knowledge is on the increase at such an alarming rate – I mean you buy a computer today and next month or even next week it is almost old!!! What is very sobering for me is that while knowledge is on the increase, it seems harder and harder to find the knowledge of Yahweh our Elohim. Well, why is it easier to learn how to be a doctor, or to study to be a banker, or to learn more about what we would like in life, than it is to learn and study to live in Yahweh and to hear His word? It is hard to live for Yahwehen you have so much going on in your life. In other words, it is hard to live for Yahweh when you are living for yourself. We know the Word says that in the last days men will become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Yahweh! The desire to satisfy self increases as the desire to please Elohim decreases and I believe that as we see this happening, we need to take heed of these signs and certainly die to self and draw close to the Living Elohim – The Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! How many of you, at times, allow the desires and cares for the things of this world to become your forethought – they consume your thoughts and you become stressed out, overwhelmed and ineffective for Yahweh our Elohim?
I want to also ask you, how easy is it to run after Yahweh when you find yourself running after the cares of the world? You can’t do it!!! Yahweh said you can’t – you cannot serve two masters!!! You either run after things of the world or after Yahweh, or if you find yourself stressed out, overwhelmed and chasing after things that don’t satisfy you may just miss our Saviour and King Yeshua when He comes again!!! I would like for us this morning to hear the words of Yeshua when speaking to His disciples on the last days and His instructions to them then and to us today as how we are to conduct our lives in great anticipation and hope of His imminent return. I would like us to read this morning from Luke 21:5-38, with a message entitled, “WPS your way out of the DDA Trap!” The what? It will make sense – let us read! (Pray)
This is certainly a wonderful passage of instruction from Yeshua shortly before the Passover festival, and I believe very fitting for us today! If you are still confused about the title of the message – then let us clarify His encouraging instructions to us.
First off from our passage today we see how Yeshua gave us a threefold warning as well as a threefold admonition to equip us as we look for His coming. Let us look at the threefold warning:
1 – DO NOT BE DECEIVED (v8) – STUDY THE WORD!
1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
Deception wouldn’t be deception if you recognised it as deception, right! Well we are always to be o our guard and even when we think we are standing firm, be careful not to fall. Satan is the deceiver and he did it in the garden and he still does it today. Deception simply means the acts or practices of one who deliberately deceives. Well that is Satan alright – deliberately out to deceive. We are told not to be deceived – but how do you know when you are deceived? Well Satan uses primarily 3 progressive steps in deception and they are:
A – Dispute Yahweh’s Word – He disputes the Truth, He comes along and says, “Did Yahweh really say….” Remember the garden and his deceptive words to Eve. He comes and disputes that which has already been spoken. Yahweh had spoken, He had given instructions and commands – in fact already in the garden Elohim gave His Spoken Torah or spoken instructions to man. And Satan is there straight away to dispute it. What happens when the devil comes and disputes the Truth in your life? You get confused, you begin to doubt. We need to be a people who study the Word of Yahweh that we may be able to recognise deception straight away. Today sadly though, people have become so ‘busy’ after the cares of this life that they neglect the study of what matters most – Elohim’s very Word. So when you receive truth and do not act on it and live accordingly, you are open for deception – James tells us that we are not to just simply listen to the Word and deceive ourselves, we are to do what it says. When we do not live according to The Word of God, it is easy to doubt His Word which leads to the next step of deception:
B – Deny Yahweh’s Word – Let me tell you the road from doubt to denial is very short. When you doubt the Truth, through lack of knowledge and undisciplined devotion to the Word – it becomes very easy to deny the Truth. What happens when one begins to deny the truth?
C – Displace Yahweh’s Word – Let us face it, we even see within many churches today, Yahweh's Word has been displaced! There is a notion that ‘do what you think is acceptable’ is an accepted norm. So it has become for many no longer important what Yahweh thinks or what is Scriptures say, what His Torah or instructions say!!! Think about this for a moment, Leviticus 18 is an entire chapter with regard to unlawful sexual relations and even tells us that these, including homosexuality are detestable practices that we as His children are to have nothing to do with. Homosexuality is an abomination in Yahweh’s eyes and yet today we see mainstream churches displacing Yahweh’s Word by accepting these detestable practices as merely ‘alternative living’! Same sex marriage is not seen as improper, and only as different and so slowly this is just one example of how absolute truth has been eroded out of our lives, and it all sadly begins with us not knowing the Word, and just accepting what someone tells us without us putting in the effort to test the Word ourselves.
Yeshua was very clear that we must not be deceived and to watch out for those who come in His name claiming the Truth and telling you to follow them. This is a charge and wake up call for all of us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness – seek His ways with our all, forsaking all to follow in His ways and letting His commands, His yoke which is light, His Torah, His instruction to lead us, amen!
2 – DO NOT BE FRIGHTENED – PREACH THE WORD
What Yeshua tells us here is that we are not immune to hardships – we will see some fearful events, we will be persecuted, hated – even by our own family and friends – but we are not to be afraid for He promises us that not even a hair on our head will perish. We are to stand firm and gain life!!!
He is always with us not matter what we face or what we may see or hear, and we are therefore to remain faithful and be His witness. We are to stand out – being the salt and the light – by standing firm in the truth, even when others are fleeing the truth in fear. The nearer we are to the End of the Age the more we are to share His very saving Word and so we must study the Word as a matter of extreme urgency and live it out diligently and fearfully that we too may not become deceived. You may see all negativity around you – don’t let these frighten you – hold on to His truth and be a witness!
The 3rd warning:
3 – DO NOT BE DISTRACTED (v34)
This is the heart of my message this morning – not to be distracted. Last week in looking at walking in His steps, we touched very briefly on not being sidetracked on your walk in Him, and so as we look at this passage today we see Yeshua telling us not to be distracted or rather not to let our hearts be weighed down because of what we see around us. This is where the DDA comes in – the things that distract us – Dissipation, Drunkenness and Anxieties – DDA!
Yeshua tells us to be careful or else our hearts will be weighed down or distracted. Be careful or else can also be translated as keep watch – be awake – have your eyes open – do not be deceived! Let us take a look at the DDA that can weigh us down:
A – Dissipation – dissipation can be described as wasteful expenditure or surfeiting which means overabundant supply or simply put excess. You see if we are not careful, we may easily find ourselves weighed down by excess, excess of stuff – be it materialism, the need for more, never being satisfied or content, always seeking more, of stuff that doesn’t matter. This word also carries with it the understanding of having a headache or becoming sick from overindulgence! Why do we chase after stuff that just gives us headaches? If we are not watchful, we can get caught in the trap of living without hope, trying to find the next fix now. This is a warning to pay attention that we do not make ourselves sick from an unhealthy lifestyle, a lifestyle without the Word being the primary source!
B – Drunkenness – This is self explanatory. The Word is clear that we are not to be drunk on wine which leads to debauchery but rather be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18), and Proverbs 20:1 tells us that wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler and whoever is led away by them is not wise! Be careful not to be deceived and enticed in the need to drink to have fun or be accepted. International stats reveal that in America 1 in 13 adults are alcoholics, and if you add drug abuse to these stats you may even get lower than 1 in every 10 people affected with substance addiction and abuse. The major factor causing these frightening numbers is due to the fact that people are trying to hide from their problems and think that hey can numb themselves from reality. It is very interesting to note that in the 12 step recovery programme of the AA, the process begins with a need for a spiritual awakening! It is so sad to see how relationships are lost through addictions, and primarily the relationship with Elohim is lost where people have no hope of a future – they find themselves barely living on a sliver of the past and present – and so it becomes a life without colour! Now let us not think that this picture limits it to alcohol and drugs, but for me this is a warning to us to be careful not to be weighed down in our hearts by anything that drains us from the loving relationship of our God. This could be any form of idols that have been set up – things that take preference to a devoted relationship with the Maker of the Universe – this could be getting so addicted to success, a career, a hobby, a sport, a relationship other than with the Lord etc. Yeshua is saying, I you are not careful you will be weighed down by other things that will cause you to become addicted to and not have the strength to live without! Drunkenness causes one to lose focus and capacity to think clearly – there are many things in this world that can cause us to lose focus and not think clearly about the ways of our Lord!
C – Anxieties of life – The worries of life. The Word tells us that the deceitfulness of wealth and the worries or anxieties of life come and choke the Word! Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we are not to lean on our own understanding, we are to trust the Lord with all our heart, in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight. It is that simple, well at least it ought to be!!! The sad reality is we allow anxieties to consume us and when this does, then the very Word that has been deposited gets choked out – now think about this choking in not a nice experience – worries choke out the good deposit. We are to be on guard and watch, be careful for this not to happen! How many of you have worries? Just think about it, we all have bills, we have bills, bills, bills – sometimes we even dread looking in the post box. People have credit card debt that look like car loans and boy you gonna work long top pay that off. You begin to panic and think about your job – “is it good enough? I need another job, more money, got to work harder, how can I get promoted? Will I even keep this job, what happens if I don’t make target, what if I lose my job – how am I going to…?” Sound familiar!!!
Concerns or anxieties may not be money related – they may be people related – “What do people think of me? Nobody takes me seriously? Nobody cares what I have to say? Nobody is interested in me?” We can get so consumed with anxiety over what people may or may not think of us and it is crazy. How about the cares of the world? You may get sucked in to seeing all the bad news or the propaganda on the news and get so caught up in fear about what is going on and how everything is a conspiracy! You see when these anxieties over money, relationships, cares of the world etc grip you, then you very quickly will lose sight of the hope we have in Yeshua the Messiah.
You know it is interesting to realise that on average, for the first 5-8 minutes when a person comes in to church their mind is elsewhere. That is why I encourage you always to come early that you can come with focus into the presence of God together as His temple – no more late coming guys!!! It has been shown that it often takes 5-8 minutes to disconnect mentally from the fight you had yesterday, or the breakfast you ate this morning or even the lunch you have to prepare this afternoon! So on average 5-8 minutes of prayer and worship may in fact be fruitless and that is not what our Lord requires! Now here is another scary though – by me mentioning this, for some of you – your minds have now wandered off on to the cares and anxieties of life. We are told to be careful or else our hearts will be weighed down by these things – the DDA – Dissipation, Drunkenness and Anxieties.
Ok so now we know that Yeshua warned us about as we look for His coming again – Do not be deceived, do not be frightened and do not be distracted. You see it is a process – from deception through lack of knowledge to being distracted.
And then find yourself falling into the DDA trap. Some of you may have at many times found yourself in the DDA trap, you may even be in it right now in your life, well Yeshua gives us a threefold solution to avoiding this trap and getting out of this trap. Let us briefly look at the WPS of our message title: Watch – Pray – Stand!!!
That is it guys – watch pray stand. Let us take a look at each one:
1 – WATCH – Be alert - and this always – always alert – for some this is a wake up call. Wake up oh sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you, Paul writes in Ephesians and goes on to tell them how they ought to live. God’s Word brings light to everything and we must realise that – it is the light and lamp for our walk – hobbies, jobs, worldly interests are not! In light of us living with a secure hope of our Lord’s return we are to live prepared. We have a secure I.D. that is always with us – we are disciples of Yeshua – that is our Identity – not our career, our talent or our social status. We are His disciple and we are to live according to our established identity, amen! We are to watch for His coming, we know that the Kingdom of God is near and so we are to be prepared, ready, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and not get caught up in the weighing down of our hearts – come on we have an eternity with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – what we face now is light and momentary troubles – we fix our eyes on Him who is enthroned, amen! This does not mean we ignore our responsibilities, for we are to be diligent stewards and realise that He rewards those who diligently seek Him – he will lead us in victory as we look to Him. We are to watch ourselves from falling to temptations as the spirit is willing but the body is weak and we need to keep a close watch on how we live. We are to be watchful of the schemes of the devil, He is like a roaring lion who just wants to devour you – he is a destroyer, a deceiver, a distracter - but let me remind you – he is defeated, amen! So we are to watch, wake up from slumber, too many are sleeping their way through life in a sense being drawn further and further from the Truth – it is time for an awakening in the body the Lord, amen! Are you watchful – over His coming, over His bride and over the enemies attacks?
2 – PRAY – We spoke on prayer last week as one of the key characteristics that marks a disciple who walks in the steps of Yeshua. Prayer – what more can I say – you cannot have a life without prayer. This word prayer here is this passage is actually plural and not singular, and so it is referring here to the body – the bride. We are to be praying for each other and with each other unto Him. Recovery from addictions is never an individual act – yes it is done by individuals but they need the whole group’s encouragement and participation in helping them press through to victory. This kind of prayer shows our need fro others, how we are to pray for each other – pray through the storms and the battles, strengthening each other in prayer – it is vital for the body to pray. I want to encourage you to come and pray on a Saturday morning, for one hour as we come together, but it doesn’t stop there – everyday I charge you today in the name of Yeshua to pray for one another!
We are to pray everyday; through the parable of the persistent widow, Yeshua showed His disciples that they were to always pray and not give up. 1 Thess 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing and Philippians 4:16 tells us to pray about everything. Pray – Pray – Pray!!!
3 – STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN – That is stand before Yeshua! Everything we have is from the Lord – He has purchased for us life, abundant life, amen! Whatever money we have – is from Him – and so we are to stand before Him as a good steward – being obedient with our finances according to His Torah or instructions. Our job or career is from Him – it is a gift from Him as we faithfully utilise the talents and abilities He has given us – and we are to stand before Him as being diligent workers unto Him. Every relationship we have is from Him – be it family, friends – church – they are all from God – we are to stand before Him in serving every relationship He has given us with our all.
In light of the times in which we live, we are to watch we are not deceived – this means we have to spend more time getting to know the Word – we are not to be frightened – for when we know the truth it shall set us free – and not be enslaved to fear and we are to not get distracted which can cause our hearts to be so heavily weighed down by the DDA and so hear the Word of the Lord today as His Word clearly shows us that in these days you can WPS your way out of the DDA trap!
You know Yeshua tells us that at the coming of the Son of Man it will be as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24: 37) where people were drinking and eating, basically they were all having a good old time clueless to what was to come, and they did not listen to Noah. Will you listen to the Word of God today or will you too be found eating and drinking, having a good old time being clueless of what is coming, not understanding God’s plan – or will you be like Noah – who preached righteousness fearlessly or 120 years, will you too be like Him – not for 120 years but for as long as it takes, working with your all to complete what God has entrusted you with?
Watch, pray and stand – will you? Isaiah 7:9 tells us that if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. The KJV says that if you do not believe, surely you will not be established. The Message translates it as follows. If you do not take your stand of faith, you won’t have a leg to stand on!
Perhaps you have been trapped in the DDA – Wake up today as the sound of this Word penetrates your soul, stand up pray and stand firm and He will make your paths straight.
Watch Pray Stand