Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Shalom to you all in the name of Yahushua Messiah, our Beloved Saviour and King, our Blessed Hope, aměn! Many ‘promises’ that are so easily given today are often very hard to trust, I mean how many of you have been so easily taken for a ride where that which was promised was not delivered? We live in a time where it becomes very difficult to be totally sure of loose promises of many, yet what we are to be reminded of is the fact that we do have promises that we can rely on – those promises we have that are yes and aměn in Messiah!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 1:20 “For as many promises as are of Elohim, in Him they are Yea, and in Him Aměn, to the esteem of Elohim through us.”
As many promises as are of Elohim!!! The Scriptures are filled with His Promises for us His Bride, and tonight I want us to look briefly at the promises we have in store for us in the coming days with a message tonight called, “A sure and promised message of hope!”
In times where many have actually lost all hope, may we be strengthened and encouraged to hold on to the hope we do have in our Elohim and Saviour Yahushua Messiah as we look at a passage of hope given through Yirmeyahu the prophet. Please turn with me to Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 30 (Read).
As we know and have heard earlier, Sha’ul tells us that the Promises of Elohim are sure, and here in Yirmeyahu we find from chapters 30-33 an amplification of the wonderful promises of YHWH as given to Yirmeyahu in a dream. Chapter 30-33 actually make up one of the most critical prophetic section that we have in the Tanaḵ (‘Old’ Testament). These various visions were given during the last 18 months of the siege of Yerushalayim. And it is here through Yirmeyahu that YHWH reveals His plans for His people’s future, declaring a sure message and promise of hope in bringing His elect, chosen and royal Bride back, and showing that how after a time of trouble Yisra’ĕl will be freed from every oppressor and will be ruled by the Messiah! What is interesting about this chapter is that it similarly mirrors the message of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 40, as similar to what we see preceding Yeshayahu 40’s words of comfort and hope are strong words of judgement; and so too here it is the same pattern – prior to chapter 30 of Yirmeyahu the recurring theme running throughout is primarily judgement and here from this chapter through to 33 we see a clear message of hope and restoration. These 4 chapters (30-33) have been called by many scholars as ‘The Book of Consolation’, revealing the comfort call of the Creator to His people.
Yirmeyahu was told that he would be set over the nations to root out, pull down, destroy and overthrow, but also to build and plant. Many of the words he had to deliver did not go down too well and here in this passage we see both words of destruction and restoration and with it the assured hope of a secure end to the sojourning we find ourselves on at this present time!
This chapter is a chapter of redemption, a new beginning for Yaʽaqoḇ and this redemption of His called out ones is pictured in a number of ways which i would like us to briefly look at:
The message begins with the great assurance and promise – Yirmeyahu was to write down all that YHWH had spoken – just as He told Mosheh to do at Mount Sinai!!! Now that YHWH has spoken it and it is written – so shall it be, aměn!
YHWH gives the assurance of what lies ahead – the days are coming – yes they are coming soon – when He will turn back the captivity of Yisra’ĕl and Yehuḏah, and He will bring them back to the Promised Land. This is the Promise of the restoration of the two Houses – that which is still to come. This chapter collectively spoke of a dawning of a new day for the exiles that were in Babylon at the time as well as for us who are in a sense been in exile in the latter days. YHWH was revealing to Yirmeyahu His immediate as well as His distant plan. This celebration of redemption is pictured as a broken yoke, a healed wound and a rebuilt city. Let us look at each of these:
1 – A BROKEN YOKE (4-11)
The return of the two houses will preceded by a time of distress – cries of fear and terror will be heard instead of cries of peace and Yirmeyahu describes this by comparing it with the anguish of men clutching themselves in fear to a women in labour, and so this coming calamity will not be nice, in fact there is none like it in comparison. So how is this uplifting you may ask? Yet all is not lost because YHWH Himself guarantees that even through this time, of what is described as Yaʽaqoḇ’s distress, Yaʽaqoḇ will be saved out of it. “In that day” – speaking of the coming time of Tribulation – a future appointed time when YHWH will pour out His wrath upon the nations – will He also restore His people! It is in that day that YHWH will break the yoke off of Yaʽaqoḇ’s neck, tear off the bonds and no more will Yaʽaqoḇ be enslaved by foreigners but will as we see Promised in verse 9 be under the reign of Messiah Yahushua – here speaking of the coming Millennial reign after the Tribulation. It is here that we are to take great comfort and courage from – for it is Yahushua who saves and releases us from captivity. When Yahushua came the first time as a suffering Lamb, His own rejected Him and did not want Him to reign over them:
Luqas/Luke 19:14 “But his subjects were hating him, and sent a delegation after him, to say, ‘We do not wish this one to reign over us.’”
But in that Day when He comes again they will recognise Him – the One they pierced and they will welcome Him as described in Zeḵaryah (Zechariah) 12-14. But before this yoke is broken there will be a time of distress as has never been seen before – but what is this yoke? It is the world system and the bonds that are torn are those very things that have been holding many back from fully serving and worshipping the King. There are days ahead where the world system will place heavy yokes upon the necks of man, where persecution will come for keeping the Shabbat and calling on the name of YHWH. But it is at this point where we are told to not fear, for He will break that yoke; that very man-made false religious system designed to lead many astray – and as it says in Ḥazon/Revelation – this calls for faithful endurance on the part of the set-apart ones. Look this is not a popular message, but it is the Truth and what is encouraging for us is that we have the sure and promised message of hope in Messiah – for us who hold fast to His teachings and walk in His ways. Verse 11 explains to us the reality that some faithful will die for though he makes a complete end of the nations to where Yaʽaqoḇ was scattered, He will not make a complete end of Yaʽaqoḇ! YHWH disciplines those He loves – He disciplines and does not destroy those whom He loves. Some will face death by beheading, as it says in
Ḥazon/Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones – and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them – and the lives of those who had been beheaded because of the witness they bore to Yahushua and because of the Word of Elohim, and who did not worship the beast, nor his image, and did not receive his mark upon their foreheads or upon their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years.”
Now I know that this sounds all doom and gloom and in many ways is, yet what YHWH was showing Yirmeyahu here was that despite the trouble that lies ahead – we are to take heart and be of good courage for a new reign is dawning – where we will reign with Messiah in peace! This is a cleansing of YHWH for cleansing precedes restoration and the promised result of this cleansing is unbroken peace!
2 – THE HEALED WOUND (12-17)
Another picture of this coming redemption is through the image of a wound being healed. In Yeshayahu’s day Yehuḏah was a ‘sick’ nation – sick through its adulterous living and as a result of many false prophets that arose in Yirmeyahu’s day, speaking false hope to a sick and wounded nation, this nation got even more sick to the point of being incurable, and those allies and adulterous lovers that the leaders of Yehuḏah had trusted in, had very easily and quickly abandoned Yehuḏah to her fate. YHWH reminded them that their wound was incurable – no medicine was able to cure their sickness and wounds as a result of their sins. YHWH had struck them in discipline as an enemy would strike – with no pity. Yet here YHWH declares that all who had devoured His Bride, He would devour and send them into captivity. YHWH declares that He will heal and restore a sick and wounded Bride – for He alone is the Healer – YHWH Rapha! YHWH had used the other nations to wound them because of their disobedience – Assyria chastised Yisra’ĕl and Babylon – Yehuḏah, and so we see it the same today – how He has again used the pagan nations and pagan system of the world to punish and correct His Bride and prepare Her for the return of the Bridegroom Yahushua Messiah! But now in that day YHWH will heal the wound of captivity and punish the enemies of Yisra’ĕl for the way they have treated her, just as he has done in the past to Assyria and Babylon. Listen the church has wounded many and many became very sick by her sins and oppression, but be reminded and take heart tonight Babylon is coming down, aměn! It is by His wounds that we are healed! No medicine could heal us - only the Blood of Messiah restoring unto us a Marriage Covenant to which He is coming again to receive a pure Bride.
3 – A REBUILT CITY (18-22)
A rebuilt city – another picture of redemption! You have heard I am sure of Tel Aviv – well listen Tel-Yerushalayim is coming! For a city shall be built on its own ‘mound’. The word used here in Hebrew for mound is ‘tel’ and means a ‘mound, heap of ruins, heap of rubble’ etc. What has been destroyed and lies as a heap of rubble will be rebuilt. Over time often the ruins of towns became the foundation for the next level of occupation and therefore over time creating an elevated area which grows higher with each level or period of occupation. Yerushalayim will be that city on a hill!!! You see for this coming reign it is more than just a restoration of a city – all that had been lost will be restored and there would be something new – of greater worth – A Prince would be among them – A Ruler – a King like none before – A King and Priest who is our Mediator – Yahushua will come and reign physically on the earth. This chapter describes a rebuilt city with a King and Priest from above – this chapter helps disarm the notion of the false message that says the church has replaced Yisra’ĕl and that we are in His reign at present as He builds the city or the church which calls itself spiritual Yisra’ĕl. Yirmeyahu could not have been clearer – this is a physical rebuilding of Yerushalayim on a mound of ruins and that Yahushua will physically come and rule and reign with His Covenanted Bride – the two houses of Ephraim and Yehuḏah! The rebuilt city that He will come to build is a clear picture of His redemption of His Bride!
4 – THE CALM AFTER THE STORM (18-24)
Yirmeyahu picks up the image here in the closing verse of this chapter of a storm that is coming – a rage – a whirling storm! Let me tell you this is a STORM! And it will burst on whom? The head of the wrong!!! Evil must be punished and destroyed and His punishment shall not cease until He has done and accomplished the purposes of His heart. Yirmeyahu says that in the latter days we shall understand it and so as it says in:
Ḥazon/Revelation 21:6 “And He said to me, “It is done! I am the ‘Aleph’ and the ‘Taw’, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts I shall give of the fountain of the water of life without payment.”
YHWH will break the yoke, heal the wound and bring everlasting peace to the storm.
In summary it is clear that both Yehuḏah and Yerushalayim would both experience terrible trials at the hands of the Babylonians and end up wearing the gentile yoke of oppression bearing the wounds caused by their sins and have to endure the storm of YHWH’s wrath through which YHWH would deliver them, break their oppressive and heavy yoke, heal their wounds and bring His shalom. This is a prophetic foreshadow of what is coming folks as we look forward to His coming reign!
Ok so wow is that what that chapter is about – yes! It speaks of the promises we have in Messiah – those that are Yea and aměn in Him. As we understand that this is speaking of a national redemption of His full Bride, we can take great courage individually from these verses for in it we see the confirmation of what we have in Messiah. For it is by His Blood that we are able to have His easy yoke – that is His Torah to be led by and by walking in Him, see the heavy yoke of slavery broken and shattered in the doing of His instructions daily. It is through His Blood that we are healed, sealed and delivered from the punishment of incurable sin for which he took upon Himself and conquered death, and it is with him that we will reign eternally in peace with no more sin, However the reality is that as we see the Day approaching – that is the Day of YHWH may we realise that there will be a storm before the calm. As you study what Scripture defines the Day of YHWH to be like it speaks of being a Day of anger, wrath, destruction, darkness, trouble, calamity, vengeance, slaughter and
Evil to name but a few brief descriptions for the Day of YHWH or the Day of distress, but the purpose of that Day is to break the yoke off our neck, and to tear off the bonds and destroy the foreign oppressive rulers, and knowing this we have the hope and assurance of sure and promised hope in Yahushua Messiah through His Spoken and Written Word.
This is a call for us to be oiled, yes oiled – in line with this week’s Torah portion speaking of the garments that are worn by the priesthood, we see in the first instruction of this week’s reading that we will go through in the morning in Shemoth (Exodus) 27:20 there is a command to bring clear oil of pressed olives for the light to cause the lamp to burn continually.
Our light is to burn continually as a set-apart nation, a chosen people, as a royal priesthood! This continual oil burning the light of the lamp is a picture of us as believers living in these last days, where we are to make sure that there is clear oil to burn continually His light in a dark world and dark times! It makes me think of the parable of the 10 virgins, which I am sure we are all familiar with – 5 had oil and 5 did not. The 5 who had were wise and the 5 who did not were foolish. The Word tells us that anyone who lacks wisdom must ask and the Father will give generously. This speaks of us truly seeking and hungering after Him, crying out for wisdom and understanding as we eat His Word and walk in His ways. The 5 wise can represent to us the very Torah – the first 5 books of Mosheh –for it is in His that we find His instructions for daily living. Yahushua who was crushed or pressed at the Garden of Gethsemane when He sweat blood as the weight of our sins began to press on Him. Gethsemane means ‘olive press’ and was a large heavy stone tool used to crush the olive pulp into secreting the clear oil. Yahushua is our clear oil and when we walk in Him, walking as He did fully in His commands, then our lamps burn bright declaring His Truth to a dark world. The 5 foolish virgins are those who lack oil by not appropriating Yahushua’s Words into their lives through obedient living.
As the day approaches – the Day of Yaʽaqoḇ’s trouble may we be ready and oiled daily shining the Light and knowledge of His Truth, knowing that He breaks the yoke, heals the wounds and builds His city to rule and reign with His oiled and faithful remnant Bride. This is a walking in Spirit and in Truth, walking in the Torah (Instructions of Elohim) being led by the Ruach HaQodesh (Set-Apart Spirit of YHWH).
What we know for sure is that our future in Messiah is secure – a sure promise and message of hope that ought to strengthen us and encourage us to be filled with His oil, ready to stand firm no matter what may come for we know the end from the beginning – because we know the Aleph and the Taw – Yahushua Messiah!
Maybe you have still been found to be under the oppressive yoke of the Babylon system of church today and have allowed foreigners to rule over you, leading you astray – it is time to take the Yoke of Yahushua - and I mean fully take it – for it is light and walk in the perfect Torah of Freedom, no longer enslaved to man-made regulations and religious trickery, but standing firm in the hope we have in our coming King and Redeemer Yahushua Messiah. As YHWH tells us – do not fear, nor be discouraged O Yisra’ĕl!
This, friends is a message of hope and may we once again be reminded that we have a loving Father who cares for us and will remove wickedness from our midst and restore unto us His shalom – what a hope we have – praise His Name – HalleluYah! For we need not fear nor be discouraged but rather strengthened and built up in faith and encouraged by his sure and promised message of hope as we see our Redemption drawing near – halleluYah – may we be continually oiled by the clear pressed oil of Yahushua – His perfect Torah, shalom!
EXCUSES, EXCUSES – JUST DROP THEM!
Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 15
Shalom to you all, may the mighty name of the יהוה be esteemed as we gather together as the body of our Saviour and Redeemer, יהושע Messiah! There was a mother helping her child with spelling and in the process they came across the words, ‘conscious’ and ‘conscience’, and the mother asked if the child knew the difference between the two. “Yes,” said the child, “’conscious’ is when you are aware of something and ‘conscience’ is when you wish you were not!”
Well today I am very sure that we are more often than not very conscious of our conscience that bears witness with or against us!
All too often when our conscience bears witness that we are not fully walking in humble obedience, we may very quickly and all to easily come up with a whole bunch of excuses thinking that we can excuse away that which is not right and try justify our actions, words and thoughts with, at times, lame excuses! My message tonight is called, “Excuses, excuses – just drop them!” Understanding then clearly the need for us to constantly walk in loving obedience, sadly what we do not see much of today is true Scriptural character that is only shaped through trials, integrity and responsibility for actions. Far too many people are excusing their way through life and it is time for the Bride to make herself ready and drop all the excuses that are so easily and readily used. Tonight I want us to look at Yisra’ĕl’s first king, King Sha’ul (Saul), and learn from Scripture how we are to quickly drop all or any excuses we may find ourselves having in walking in total obedience to the very Word of Elohim. King Sha’ul was given very clear and specific instructions from יהוה through Shemuʼĕl the prophet, to which he simply disobeyed and when he was reprimanded for his disobedience he used a number of excuses in trying to justify his actions – excuses that we still see very much being used today by far too many – and perhaps even us here tonight have even used these very same tactics of excuse in order to justify our actions. Let us learn from the Word as we look at King Sha’ul and be reminded once again to drop all excuses for living in obedience. Turn with me to Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1Samuel 15 (Read).
In the passage we have just read, may we be quickly reminded that excuses did not work for King Sha’ul back then and they will not work for us today, no matter how hard we try to make them to. יהוה has called us to be set-apart – to be people of integrity, and people who take responsibility for our actions. Even as we look at this week’s torah portion, which we will go through in the morning, we see that with the ‘guilt’ offering or in Hebrew ‘asham’, is that the regulations for the ‘asham’ of unintentional sins required this offering to be considered most set-apart. You see, even if we sin unintentionally we still incur the guilt and consequence of that sin. We can and must most certainly praise יהושע in that He has fulfilled our sin requirements and has taken away the penalty or punishment of our sin once and for all. Yet we are still accountable for the sin and guilt and take responsibility for it by repenting! יהוה is concerned about our character – the very character that He shapes in us as we go through trials of many kinds and rejoice in them too! He is more concerned about shaping His character in us than our seeming ‘comfort’! The character of Messiah shaped in us is the moral, ethical and spiritual undergirding that rests upon truth; it reinforces a life in stressful times and resists the temptations to compromise.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:1 tells us that a name or rather a good name is better than riches. Our reputation as children of the Most High El ought to be seen in our living daily obedient lives and is better than what any money can buy! We all need to learn to drop the excuses to living 100% in obedience, so let us look at 4 useless excuses of justification that King Sha’ul used, and recognise how the very same excuses are being used at large today – excuses we are to drop!
1 – RELATIVE OBEDIENCE
King Sha’ul was clearly told to strike Amalĕq and 'put under the ban’ all that he has, not sparing any – not any man, woman, child or animal. Very clear instructions as we see in verse 3 – and what does King Sha’ul go and do? Well he gathers the troops – 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Yehuḏah and goes off to strike the Amalěqites as instructed – in other words started out well – yet, he never completed the task faithfully – he spared Aḡaḡ the Amalěqite king, and spares also the best of the sheep, cattle, lambs and all that was good! King Sha’ul was supposed to ‘put under the ban’ everything! To ‘put under the ban’ in Hebrew is ‘ḥāram’ which means to ‘cut off, or have no part in, or destroy utterly, or exterminate’ etc.
He was, in other words, supposed to, at the commands of Elohim, exterminate the Amalěqites! Did he do that? No!!! Yes he did destroy all that was vile and garbage yet did not destroy the best! He was disobedient as he did not surrender completely to the command of יהוה. Half obedience is not obedience! Pretty much what we see happening a lot today! Sha’ul was obedient to a point, when it was easy for him and whenever there was no sacrifice or cost involved! Just think about it for a moment – he only kept that which was valuable and destroyed what he didn’t want or couldn’t use anyway! How easy it is to get rid of that which you do not want!!!
Today people are the same, as they try to satisfy the commands of יהוה with half-measures, ready and willing to give up that which they do not want or cannot use; yet they do not ‘ḥāram’ (that is totally destroy and exterminate and have nothing to do with) that which they feel is still too valuable to let go of or destroy. And so they will easily practice ‘relative obedience’ – that is being obedient relative to it fitting in with my likes and dislikes – relative to when it is easy and does not cost me anything! This kind of half-hearted or rather ‘relative obedience’ is nothing more than disobedience and a continual balancing act that requires constant attention and does not satisfy nor please Elohim. Relative obedience is simply being obedient in part, yet not fully and seeks only to do that which seems to be ‘relatively enough’. “I am doing enough to get by, so it is ok if I do something I shouldn’t once in a while” approach, which is not absolute in its worship unto יהוה but is simply relative to one's own inclination and desires and is unable to fully surrender all unto the perfect will of יהוה.
It may often be that there are times when we find ourselves trying to sell Elohim on the notion that He should be pleased that we have obeyed in some matters and at times expect יהוה to appreciate the fact that we have obeyed Him – when it was convenient for us, that is! One of the biggest obstacles to fully walking in obedience is our need to rationalise why we have to do whatever we are supposed to do! Sha’ul rationalised in his mind and when you begin to rationalise, all too often the flesh takes precedence and that is where the problems begin as we try to rather satisfy the hunger of the flesh over spirit! Sha’ul in looking from a fleshly point of view rationalised that it would be a tragic waste to destroy all of the best of what the enemy had. And sadly we see the very same rationalising and excuses going on today, as most people will make useless and vain concessions for why it isn’t necessary to be fully obedient. You got to understand what happened here – when Sha’ul saw the fat Amalěqite livestock and all their good plunder, he thought of himself and considered just how all of this could enhance his honour and prestige among his people, if he were to bring back the enemy king as prisoner as well as all the best of their land. Something he could not resist in a means of public display of his leadership and as we see in verse 12 he even set up a monument for himself! When there is only relative obedience pride has a way of gripping a man’s heart! Partial obedience is riddled with pride, and as we know in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 16:18 we are told that before destruction comes pride!
Sha’ul claimed to be obedient, by the fact that he had done most of what he was told too, and that is not obedience. This kind of relative obedience is an excuse used by many today – while there is no point in it – you are either obedient or not – no half-hearted efforts need apply!
2 – REHEARSED OBSTRUCTIONS (to the confronting of sin)
What do I mean by this? Well simply this, you know that when you have not been totally 100% faithful and obedient you will often tend to have many rehearsed reason as to why, just in case someone may confront you! Rehearsed and well-crafted speech and mannerisms – and in effect will end up ‘telling lies as if they were the truth’! Think about it – isn’t that just what the Church has done and is still doing? It has in a sense been relatively obedient, and certainly has well-crafted rehearsed obstructions that are keeping many away from the unadulterated truth of the Word. King Sha’ul used this very tactic in telling lies as if they were truth and felt good about it too – to the point he began to believe his own lies. יהוה came to Shemuʼĕl at night and told him of Sha’ul’s sin, to which Shemuʼĕl cried all night unto יהוה for Sha'ul, but יהוה had rejected Sha'ul as king. Shemuʼĕl’ goes to confront Sha’ul and when Sha’ul sees the prophet coming, what does he do? He tries to bluff his way out of trouble! He knew he was wrong and when he saw the prophet coming to tell him he was wrong he used rehearsed obstructions to dealing with the reality of his sin. He tries to steer the focus away from his error and declares a lie, ‘I have performed the word of יהוה'. That was a lie, he was only relatively obedient which we have seen is not obedience. He was trying to tell the prophet how he was such a faithful servant of Elohim. He knew he had not been faithful, but hey why not try and proclaim it – it might work he may have thought. Our false confession may fool many, but will never fool יהוה!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 20:6 “Most men proclaim each his own loving-commitment, But who finds a trustworthy man?”
Most people will be very quick to say how good they are and how faithful they have been, even when they have not been, and after a while they will even begin to believe their own lies and in the process even revise the very living Word of יהוה as they will twist the truth to their own self gain, but ultimately to their destruction. This is precisely what Satan and Ḥawwah did in Ěden! Many can tell loads of people just how faithful they are and that they are truly faithful followers of Messiah, but the confession alone does not make it so. As we know the old saying, ‘talk is cheap’ and as the word says, faith without works is dead’. Our daily lives must match up to our good confession of faith in Messiah. There are many who are able to craft a story that can often make them sound so much better than what we are, however crafted lies or twisted truth will never convince יהוה. We need to make sure that we rid ourselves of empty words and never try to replace the truth with lies in an attempt to justify our actions that may not line up with the Word! How about the time when someone calls to see how you are doing – do you use rehearsed obstructions to the confronting of possible sin. Like when Craig phones I better be ready with things to say like, ‘יהוה is good, I have been really faithful’ when you are not as you try to start the conversation off with a bang diverting any confrontation in dealing with sin. It is time to drop the excuses for rebellious living!
3 – THE BLAME GAME – REFUSING OWNERSHIP
Wow, the famous blame game or ‘pass the buck’ routine! We certainly see a lot of this being used in Scripture, almost to perfection by those disobedient ones and the same happens today. This blame-shifting is a common tactic used all too often by too many, I am sure we have all had experience with it! Now that Sha’ul was found out, he was, in verse 15, basically saying that it was not his fault – as it was the people who brought back the king and all the good stuff! Do you remember how Aharon also did the same in the golden calf event where he took the gold and made a calf, yet when confronted he quickly shifted the blame to supernatural events – he just threw the gold in the fire and ‘poof’ out popped a golden calf! I do not think that we may fully realise just how stupid we sound when we try to shift the blame and not take responsibility – stupid we sound and know it – but why do we still so very often do it? (Or has nobody here ever done that?) In verses 21 and 24 we see again this tactic being used by Sha’ul – he just would not take responsibility by making lame excuses every time! He claimed it was peer pressure – peer pressure – he was king!!! What in effect he was saying was, ‘I know that I have sinned but it really was not my fault!’ Have you ever heard that one before or even used that line before? Adam even said to יהוה, 'It was the woman You gave me!’ Listen we are to own up and take responsibility when we mess up:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
Confessing our sins is only ‘confession’ when we have admitted our sin (which is lawlessness) and recognise that our lawlessness violates the set-apartness of יהוה and His Word! We should never substitute excuses for confession, never let the pride of sin hold us back to being restored, renewed and cleansed from all unrighteousness! Drop the blame game excuses and take ownership for your walk in Messiah.
4 – RELIGIOUS OVERTONES
By this I simply mean that is when people try to sound very religious and spiritual in their attempt at excusing their blatant disobedience! Sha’ul tried very hard to ‘spiritualise’ his sin, basically saying, “I did wrong but it was for a valid reason!’ Listen there are no valid reasons for doing wrong!!! All too often we see that many try to think that if they attach some kind of spiritual significance to their wrong ways they somehow make it acceptable and right! I mean think about it – people will even go so far as to blame יהוה and throw off all their blame as to why they were wrong on Him! There are many examples of this today, even this one, "I have prayed about it and it is the Father’s will that I leave my family!” Hogwash, no it is not His will! The only way you are allowed to get out of marriage is through marital unfaithfulness, otherwise stick it out and win over the unbelieving spouse by your life of faith! Do not give יהוה the blame because you want out of your marriage!
Sha’ul in verse 15 is using the blame game and is also using religious or spiritual overtones in defence of his sin by saying that they did wrong in order to make sacrifices to יהוה – as if spiritual terminology whitewashes our sin! Whitewashed tombs perhaps – dead on the inside while trying to look all clean and justified through excuses! I mean just think about it for a moment as we look at Sha’ul’s excuses – how many times have you ever heard the phrase, or even found yourself using it once too often, “I know what the Word says, but…”?
I know what the Word says about tithing, but…
I know what the Word says about not eating pork and shellfish, but…
I know what the Word says about keeping Shabbat but…
I know what the Word says about throwing off the things of the flesh but…
I could go on…
The point I am making is this: good intentions do not offset sin – sin is sin and sin is… lawlessness (Torahlessness)! In fact in verse 23 Shemuʼĕl tells us that disobedience is as the sin of witchcraft!!! Witchcraft! Today many do not even consider witchcraft or divination as sin – it has simply become an accepted religion or belief system – yet we know that sin is lawlessness and witchcraft does not submit to the Torah of Elohim. We are to obey the Word no matter what and stop excusing our sin or lawless deeds with religious overtones trying to make them sound as if there was a valid reason to sin. Anyone who walks in יהושע Messiah is done with sin! Too many people make use of far too many religious overtones, trying to over spiritualise their lawless actions! They will use terminology that sounds like, “I couldn’t keep Shabbat because I had to take care of… and I am sure the Father understands!” This is excuses not valid reasons to not obey! When we make excuses we are in fact in a sense ‘denying’ Messiah! And Messiah Himself said that if we deny Him before men, or rather if we are ashamed of Him before men, that He would deny us before the father!!! We must learn to drop the lame excuses to obedient living thinking that if we make the excuse sound spiritual it is ok! Just drop them!!!
Anybody can go through the motions of trying to be spiritual, but what יהושע calls for is obedience. As we consider this passage and we look at our own lives today we must ask ourselves if character, integrity and personal responsibility can be found present in our daily walk. The excuses Sha’ul used were not acceptable back then and are certainly not acceptable today, no matter how over spiritualised they are. We are to take responsibility for our sin and lawlessness and confess it before יהושע so that His Blood washes and cleanses us from all unrighteousness and walk in His instruction.
How have you been at the excuse abuse? What excuses have you used in an attempt to whitewash your sin? It is time to drop the excuses and live 100% in obedience to His Word. Our obedience cannot simply be relative, nor can we have rehearsed obstructions to the confronting of sin in our lives, nor are we to play the blame game and refuse any responsibility for our actions and neither can we think that any form of trying to over spiritualise our disobedience will work. Excuses – Excuses – Just drop them! Excuses, are in fact, more work than simple obedience!!!
Perhaps as we have gone through this word tonight you have realised that there have been too many excuses to serving יהוה with your all, well drop them right now and confess to Him that he may cleanse you and that you can walk upright with integrity and great joyous faith in Him. Don’t have talk without actions, and do not have excuses but rather confession and do not substitute your will for the will of יהוה – let His good pleasing and perfect will be done as you are transformed by the renewing of your mind. May this be a day remembered for when we declared all excuses to be dropped, aměn!
יהוה HAS GIVEN US CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS IN HIS WORD – IN HIS TORAH – MAY WE NOT BE FOUND MAKING VAIN AND USELESS EXCUSES BUT RATHER BE FOUND TO BE DILIGENT IN OUR OBEDIENCE TO WALKING WHOLEHEARTEDLY IN HIS TORAH!
AM I BEING RENEWED? – EVIDENCES OF RENEWAL – CAN I SEE THEM?
Diḇre haYamim Bet/ 2 Chronicles 29:16-36
Shalom to you all, I do so love being able to be together and it is such a joy to be able to worship together offering up a praise offering of thanksgiving unto יהוה our Elohim. In Romiyim/Romans 12 we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – something we all hear often as we continue to pursue a life set-apart unto יהוה, and we also know that this renewing or renewal is also a matter of the innermost parts or rather a matter of the heart. It is out of the overflow of the heart that a man speaks says יהושע in Luqas/Luke 6:45. Mishlĕ/Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man reckons in his life so he is, or as the KJV translates, as he thinks in his heart so he is. Dawiḏ cried out unto יהוה in Tehillim/Psalm 51:10 for Elohim to create in him a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him. And being spiritually renewed is not something that lends itself to secrecy that no one will know about it – there is generally, in fact there is always evidences that surface from within revealing that renewal is in fact taking place. Tonight I want us to look at a few pieces of evidence, if you will, of a renewed heart and mind and spirit in a message called, “Am I being renewed? – Evidences of renewal – can I see them?” For the evidence that does come through in our lives is a great aspect of the joy of יהוה coming through. We are going to look at the evidences we see of true renewal that takes place in individuals and within a community of a Covenant people from which we can learn some great insight that will teach us, reproof us, correct us and train us in righteousness by the word of יהוה. In order to do that, please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 29 (Read)
The passage in focus is from verses 16-36 but I wanted to read the whole chapter to get the picture of what is really going on here! The outline of this chapter as well as the following 2 chapters is about Ḥizqiyahu/Hezekiah succeeds Aḥaz as king and reopens the Temple, the priests and the Lĕwites purify themselves and the Temple, Passover is celebrated. Ḥizqiyahu reorganises the priesthood and requires the people to obey the Torah of יהוה by supporting the priesthood – that in a nutshell is chapters 29-31. However as we look at chapter 29 tonight and more specifically verses 16-36, I want us to see evidences of change. That is evidences that a renewal is taking place within the hearts of the people. And so with that in mind let us look briefly at 5 pieces of evidence or rather 5 evidences of renewal – evidences that I should be able to see in my life and the life of the assembly – showing that in fact we are being renewed by the Truth of walking in obedience to His Torah! 5 evidences of a spiritual renewal:
1 – SPIRIT OF REPENTANCE
Repentance is a word we all know and a concept that we all hopefully understand. However, there is at times very little evidence in the body of Messiah of true repentance – why is that? Well, humanly speaking, the majority of mankind tends to simply not turn away from or turn their backs on something that is wrong yet they like doing or actually even love it – a walking in the flesh and chasing its desires – which many of us have been found out to be guilty of I am sure! When walking in the flesh there will always be a strong pull toward sin, which may I remind you is ‘lawlessness’ or better put, ‘Torahlessness’. When walking in the flesh we are in fact unable to submit to the Torah, and this is where the need for repentance is critical in changing our walk from the flesh to walking in the spirit. Now generally in all of us there is a pull from the heart, which according to Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) is deceitful above all things, toward sin – some obviously more than others! Most people think that the ‘fun’ of life is in the ‘sin’ due to the strong worldly influence and pull on the heart. To repent is to simply turn away from sin, which again I remind you is lawlessness, and turn away from those things that we may even have liked and choose to forsake them in turning to obedience in walking in Messiah – for most this is not a nice message and they simply choose to ignore it and therefore can never find renewal – why? Because they do not want to stop that which they like, even though they know what they are doing is wrong or perhaps do not think that it is wrong yet know that it is not in line with the Word or simply do not take the time to see if what they do is actually in line with the Word and would rather plead ignorance for the pleasure of self! It is kind of like little children and sweets – we know that sugar is not good for them, yet they love it – big children too may I remind you! And if one persists in consuming large quantities in increasing measure they will end up overweight, have bad teeth and even develop some serious heart and health issues that can be detrimental. It may taste good to the mouth yet is bad for the body – it may taste good for now yet have long term effects. Now hear me out here, I am not cancelling out sweets, just simply using an example to press home the point that sin is detrimental to us and some may think that a little sin in harmless at the time, yet sin is not sweets!!! Sin is not something you can burn off; it must be repented of, turned away from!!! The spirit of repentance is like going on a strict fixed diet from sin – turning away from and refusing those very things that we thought were sweet little treats and for a season felt good yet realising that they actually kill and destroy the soul – the wages of sin is death!
In verses 16-19 we see that the temple needed to be cleansed – it had been defiled and was no longer in use for that which it was built for. All the detestable and uncleanness that was found was brought out and everything had to be cleansed and set-apart for use in the Temple of יהוה. This was a mark of a spiritual renewal that was sweeping through the Covenant people of Elohim, where there was a common desire to clean up their lives and return to obedience and turn away from the defilements of their fathers; this was a deep cleansing that begun right in the Temple of Elohim with the earnest desire to walk set-apart lives unto יהוה.
The picture we see here is that it begins in the heart – in the inner most chambers of our soul. Yes we must repent to be renewed, but when we are renewed we will willingly repent. Repentance is and on-going daily process as we clean up all the junk that has been deposited in our lives through generations of doctrines and vain traditions of men!
The daily renewing of our minds will transform us and cause us to turn away from sin, which is… lawlessness and be renewed, cleansed and set-apart once again for good use, fit for service in the body of Messiah as we were designed to.
Repentance is the door to renewal and repentance takes humility, prayer and a seeking of the truth… This concept sounds familiar doesn’t it? Yes, is Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 7:14, a verse we all know we are told by יהוה that “If MY people, who are called by MY Name”… oh how I love your Name יהוה – it is all about His Name! “… will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn form their evil ways, then…”. We know the rest, what I am trying to show you is that repentance will never happen until a person humbles themselves, that is loses the pride of their sin, and will truly pray and seek the face of יהוה! When the mirror of the Word reveals sin or lawlessness in our lives, do we see the evidence of renewal by a spirit of repentance and are transformed? Repentance is evidence of renewal!
2 – SPIRT OF GIVING
In verses 20-24 we see the leaders and people giving huge sacrificial sin offerings unto יהוה, and in fact a little further on in verses 32-33 we are given the amounts of the ascending offerings given by those whose hearts were moved to. A renewed heart is evidenced in giving – just think about it 70 bulls, 100 rams, 200 lambs – all for ascending offerings unto יהוה. Verse 33 tells us that the set-apart gifts were 600 bulls and 3000 sheep!!! Listen this was so much that there was not enough priests to do the slaughtering that the Lĕwites came and helped!!! This people were a generous people – why? Because their hearts had been renewed!!! Perhaps it is better to look at it in this way as they gave with the right heart – they gave what was required, desired and inspired! What certainly matters is what is required – obedience reveals the heart and expresses love toward Elohim and others – the Torah has requirements that must be met and this is where it begins – with obedience – and do not forget that He writes His Torah upon our hearts! יהוה makes it very clear what is required – tithing is a requirement, yet we find too many today debating themselves out of it through lame excuses, and are actually revealing what is really in or rather what is not in their heart! Listen, He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness and set us apart for service, and chosen us – we can then as His chosen beloved show that by doing what is required!
The desired is simply to give above and beyond the required, in fact we may even say that in a renewed heart the required is a desired required – for we desire to do what pleases Him, and that is to walk by faith in loving obedience! But the desire to give grows increasingly in a renewed heart as it seeks to satisfy any need where required that goes beyond the required – specific needs in the body – desiring in the hearts of all that there is no lack at all within the body. If there is a need then it should be distributed as the desired giving begins to take place in increasing measure. This is certainly evidence of a renewal taking place within a community of believers and so as the need arises so too the desire to meet that need at all costs – this is what the Acts assembly we so often speak about was like!!!
The inspired giving paints a picture of consistency, faithfulness and steadfast commitment to obedience in doing what is required and desired. A renewed inspired heart says this – “I will do the required and the desired.” For some this is very evident in their lives revealing truly that there is evidence of renewal, while others battle somewhat in this area. Let us be honest, whenever speaking about giving there are always at least two diverse opinions that are voiced and reactions that are seen. Some will say yes, I agree and understand it – the Word has truly renewed my heart and mind, while others may grumble and groan about it saying that that is all the focus is and all that is ever spoken about, which is so far from the truth it is ridiculous, while the majority will simply remain silent – why is that?
The topic of giving really cuts deep into the heart and some allow the renewal to take place while others simply do not and as a result harbour resentment and jealousy, defiling a heart that is to be cleansed and renewed and filled with overflowing joy! When יהוה cleanses and renews the heart, it becomes His, and so too becomes a giving heart and a consistent one too.
He has given us our life, His Word, Elohim gave His only Son – He keeps on giving. And what does He ask of us? To give – to give unto Him our all, all that we are and all that we do and all that we hope to be – this is sacrificial giving. Your life is not your own! We give Him our heart, we surrender all to Him and then become good stewards of that which is His! Remember it is He who gives and takes away, and if our hearts have no evidence of renewal in giving He may just take that which He has freely given! To be truly renewed carries the evidence of giving that is inspired to give the required and greatly desired. That is why Sha’ul says give not under compulsion by according to you heart – is your heart renewed and inspired? For when it is it gives above and beyond with great joy and pleasure and demonstrates your complete trust in Him. Give Him your all! Let the evidence of renewal be clearly seen in you!
3 – SPIRIT OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Verses 25-30 carry such great illustration of a renewed heart, evidenced in their praise and worship. Just picture the scene for a moment – they cleansed, they gave and now they praised. It is a little of a reminder of the picture we see back in chapter 5 of this book when Shelomoh (Solomon) dedicated the Temple and there were 120 priests blowing trumpets – can you imagine the sound… let us go there and read of it:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 5:12-14 “and the Lĕwite singers, all those of Asaph and Hĕman and Yeduthun, with their sons and their brothers, stood at the east end of the altar, dressed in white linen, having cymbals and harps and lyres, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets. 13 Then it came to be, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking יהוה, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets, and with cymbals, and with instruments of song, and giving praise to יהוה, “For He is good, for His kindness is everlasting,” that the house, the House of יהוה, was filled with a cloud, 14 and the priests were unable to stand and perform the service because of the cloud, for the esteem of יהוה filled the House of Elohim.”
Wow!!! Now back to our passage for tonight we see here again this awesome sound of praise being offered up in overflowing joy! Whoever believes that יהוה should be praised in silence – well these two pictures and many more I might add, may just be a little surprising or even frightening for them! Let it be known that יהוה is to be praised!!!!!
And let me also remind you that the focus is not on the music or the instruments or the style or how long we stand or even how many songs we may sing – these things are all secondary, important yes but secondary, to the ONE whom we are worshipping!!! A renewed heart is ready to praise I want to tell you – a renewed heart is not fussed about whether they can keep the tune or even know all the words – a renewed heart is ready to praise!!! Evidence of this in the body is that when we come together to worship and praise the Almighty, the position of our bodies, what we may sing or what instruments are played will not be the sole focus of our hearts – the spirit of praise and worship is to come and offer up to Him our total and complete attention and focus. We may find ourselves sitting, kneeling or standing, clapping, dancing or with hands raised high, or even on our face in humility and repentance – that is ok for the evidence of a renewal taking place is the uninhibited and devoted worship and praise unto Him in a direct response to our faith and the very renewal thereof! True evidence of renewal is our corporate worship and praise that is directed completely toward יהוה. Oh how I love to praise Your Name יהוה!
4 – SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
In verse 31 Ḥizqiyahu says to the people – “Now that you have ordained yourselves to יהוה, come near and bring slaughterings and thank offering into the house of יהוה." Other translations write, “Now that you have consecrated yourself…”, and in the Hebrew it in essence gives the meaning of saying, listen now that you have filled your hand to יהוה, that is given yourself fully to the service of יהוה, come near with thanksgiving offerings. This is such a powerful statement here by Ḥizqiyahu. If I was to ask a large group of believers or even we here as a small group tonight, “Who of you are truly thankful?” I am sure that the majority would quickly put up there hand and respond very positively, but yet sometimes there is that temptation to look around at other people’s reactions and in your mind say something like, “they are not thankful”, in a very judgemental way thinking to yourself, “If they, or he or she, were thankful they wouldn’t grumble and moan and groan and complain and criticise everything!”
People will know when you are thankful and when you are not and you do not care who knows it or not, you will be bitter and negative. We must realise that we cannot hide whether we are thankful or not – spending enough time with someone and they will know whether you are or not and vice versa. Thankfulness from the heart is seen and permeates into every area of your life – thankfulness removes that smug look on your face - you all know what I am talking about! Thankfulness takes away the sharp bite in your comments from the side-lines and will remove the harshness of your attitude!
You know it is truly a joy and a whole lot of fun to be around a thankful person as it is very contagious – in a good way! This world we live in and the society we are in daily has a very ungrateful and thankless attitude and it is rare to hear words like, ‘good job, thank you for what you have done.’ A thankful heart is evidence of renewal and shines a very bright light in a dark world! Let your light shine in thanksgiving unto יהוה for we are told “in everything give thanks” – and so let your light shine. Is there evidence of a renewed heart in your life or is it hard to be thankful always?
5 – SPIRIT OF AWARENESS
By this I mean that we begin to be aware of His indwelling presence and the work that He is doing in our lives. When we come together as an assembly in worship – we are the body of Messiah that comes together and I ask you, ‘are you aware of His presence?’ He says that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name there He is – His presence makes this place of gathering a set-apart place – are you aware of it? Or do you bring in all your stinky laundry and attitudes that you have picked up on your journey. Before entering in to His presence the priests would wash their hands and feet, signifying that they are washing of the dirt they may have picked up in their walk and in their actions. Before you come here, are your hands and feet cleansed and ready aware of His magnificent presence? Verse 36 tells us that the people rejoiced that Elohim had prepared them, because it came about suddenly. They knew by what had happened and what was going on that they were in His presence – these events could not have been manufactured – this was Him and His presence and they were very aware of it. Evidence of renewal will bring about in you awareness, not only of His presence here with us right now and whenever we gather together, but the awareness of His indwelling Ruach HaQodesh (Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim) in your everyday walk. It is when you are aware of His presence, aware that He is with you wherever you go, with you walking and talking and guiding you in every area of your life. Think about it – His still small yet very powerful voice that guides you, especially when you are off trying to do your own thing in satisfying the flesh!
To put it plainly – If I do not want to hear His voice and do things my own way then I am walking in the flesh and do not want to walk in the spirit. When I walk in the spirit I put to death the misdeeds of the flesh because of my awareness of His ever indwelling presence and I therefore freely submit to his leading me according to the pattern of His word for it is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path directing my every step. Obedience to His Word is evidenced by my awareness of His presence – recognising that my body is a temple of His Spirit and that I walk according to the Spirit and do not take lightly His magnificent presence in my life!!!
Spiritual renewal is not something that can be programmed. It is when we submit to יהוה and are transformed daily by the renewing of our minds, allowing His Word to wash us and cleanse us and renew a right spirit within us that the evidence of this renewal will become more apparent and visible. It begins with repentance that leads to giving that leads to praise and worship that leads to thanksgiving, equipping us with the awareness of His presence in our lives. These are 5 pieces of evidence of a renewal – evidence that I am being renewed and that this spiritual renewal is pure and true. I ask you tonight, ‘do you have evidence of renewal?’
In answering the message tonight “Am I being renewed – is there evidence of renewal – can I see them?” What do you see? Is the spirit of repentance, giving, praise and worship, thanksgiving and awareness of His presence evident in your life or are the evidences lacking? As HE is rebuilding us as a people may we too rejoice that it is He who prepares us and that it comes about suddenly! It is time to fully restore the ruins – cleanse out the defilement in our hearts left by generations gone by and once again walk truly set-apart as a people unto יהוה, walking in repentance and giving everything that is required and beyond – after all we are His and He is a jealous EL who will not share us with any other false mighty ones. May repentance and giving begin to stir in us a true spirit of praise and thanksgiving in our hearts being ever aware of His very presence in which those of old could not dwell, yet by the Blood of יהושע, we may dwell in Him.
Oh may my life have evidence of a renewed heart and mind and spirit in You יהושע our Saviour and King.
Let us praise Him – and go out and lived daily renewed lives bringing esteem to Him. This passage is such a wonderful passage, clearly showing us just what the renewal of His Word, His Love and His presence will bring about in our lives – may it truly be seen, aměn!
יהוה bless you and guard you, יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour, יהוה lift up His face toward you and give you peace!
IMITATORS OF ELOHIM
Shalom to you all as we continue to be faithful in coming together as the Ruach HaQodesh knits us together and builds us up in the faith as a strengthened family in Messiah, aměn! You have all heard I am sure of the saying, ‘like father like son’, which has been around for centuries. It presupposes that a son will become like his father, an apple does not fall far from the tree! Now this as real and proved as it sounds and can be very positive as well as negative depending upon the outcome. It can be encouraging or rather very embarrassing for either or both child and parent. It can be a pleasant or a scary experience when you realise that you are turning into your parents or your child is becoming like you! There will always be family resemblance in looks and mannerisms etc. And have you ever seen a little child trying to imitate his father, perhaps behind the steering wheel of a stationary car or with a play lawn mower, or even on a sad note, smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol or even taking drugs. It is a known fact that children learn more by observance and enactment, in other words by watching and imitating than any other way; and so we see this reality in the world today as there is a greater success rate at a child becoming like their parents than not. Again this can be a positive or negative outcome. How many of you here would like to be just like your parents? A few hesitations at that I am sure! Again parents, how many of you want your children to become just like you? A little more positive responses from the parents – perhaps not from the children!!!! Children, at a very early age, will often try to impersonate their parents and peers and so too then are we, as children of Elohim, to do our best to become like and impersonate Elohim our Father. That is what I want to briefly discuss tonight in a message, ‘Imitators of Elohim’. Please turn with me to Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:1-17 (read).
What Sha’ul (Paul) is describing here in this passage, in his teaching, is in fact saying that children are to be like their parents. We are to imitate our Heavenly Father, יהוה our Elohim, and so this is the basis for Sha’ul’s instructions to us as children of the Most High EL!
The word used here in the Greek for imitators is ‘mimetes’ which means to impersonate or mimic. Now a mimic is one who impersonates and copies or is a replica of someone else. The word ‘imitate’ simply means to follow as a pattern, a model or an example; to be or appear like – in other words resemble and to produce a copy of or reproduce.
Sha’ul starts off this section with great clarity – we are to be imitators of Elohim and he gives us here 3 admonitions in this section we have just read on how we are to be imitators of Elohim in our daily walk.
1 - Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 4:8 “The one who does not love does not know Elohim, for Elohim is love.”
Elohim is Love – Therefore – Walk in Love!
2 - Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 1:5 “And this is the message which we have heard from Him and announce to you, that Elohim is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
Elohim is light – therefore - Walk as children of light!
3 – Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:6 “This is the One that came by water and blood: יהושע Messiah, not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the Truth.”
Elohim is the Truth – therefore – Walk in wisdom!
It is these three ‘walks’ that I want us to look at in hearing Sha’ul’s exhortation to us to walk in purity as we as children of Elohim seek to imitate Him:
1 – WALK IN LOVE! (1-2)
This admonition first up here in verse 2 to walk in love ties in with the last two verses of chapter 4 where Sha’ul warns against bitterness and anger – the very things we discussed on this past 5th day evening here. We cannot hold on to grudges and hurts and bitterness, which sadly is very tragic when these very attitudes surface in the family of Elohim. It takes real love in the heart for love covers a multitude of sins:
Kepha Aleph/1 Peter 4:8 “And above all have fervent love for one another, because love covers a great number of sins.”
Fervent love we are to have for one another and the reasons to walk in love, Sha’ul makes very clear for us here:
1 – We belong to Elohim! – He gave Himself for us, for He loved us first and now we get to walk in that love – how – through obedience – just as Yahushua was totally obedient to the Father’s instructions, and learnt obedience. He bought us at a price and we are His – we belong to the Mighty Elohim, יהוה of Hosts is His Name and this is why we are to walk in Love!
2 – We are His beloved children! – יהוה our Father speaks of us in the same way He spoke of יהושע Messiah when in Mattithyahu/Matthew 3:17 He said, “This is My Son, the Beloved”, and here we see Sha’ul referring to us to as Beloved children of Elohim. The Father loves us as He loves His Son –
Yoḥanan/John 17:23 “I in them, and You in Me, so that they might be perfected into one, so that the world knows that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
We are born into a relationship with Elohim through the Blood of Messiah that must result in our showing our love to Him by how we live in our daily walk unto Him:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1John 5:3 “For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy”
3 – We were purchased at a price! – Our Love for Elohim is a response to His love for us. Sha’ul compares the sacrifice of Messiah as a sweet smelling fragrance, and as we know all of the offerings that carried the sweet swelling aroma that was presented at the altar was a foreshadow of the pleasing aroma of the sacrifice of Messiah unto Elohim, and the very idea of it being a sweet smelling fragrance is that it is pleasing to Elohim. In Wayyiqra/Leviticus 1-3 we see the burnt offering, meal offering and peace offering all being sweet smelling offerings. The burnt offering represents the Messiah’s total devotion to the will of the Father; the meal offering represented His perfection of character and the peace offering represented His making peace between Elohim and sinners. The sin and trespass offerings in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 4-5 picture for us the Messiah taking the place of the sinner, which were never described as sweet smelling offerings – as there is certainly nothing sweet smelling about sin!!!
As we walk in Love we are to realise that this is fundamental to our daily living walk as the children of Elohim; and so too are we to be a sweet aroma in our walk of love, showing complete devotion, being perfected daily in our character as we go through trials of many kinds for which we rejoice, aměn, walking in the knowledge that we have peace with Elohim enabling us to show that to others. The truth of the matter is simply this – if we walk in love we will not disobey Elohim!!!
It is so sad to see today just how many people think that they are walking in love yet have a total disregard for His Torah – they are in fact not walking in love or in the spirit but rather walking in the flesh satisfying their own theologies and traditions that are in contradiction to the very living Torah of Elohim! Walking in His Torah is walking in His Love and by this – by guarding His commands we in turn are faithfully and well equipped in loving others:
Romiyim/Romans 13:8 “Owe no one any matter except to love one another, for he who loves another has filled the Torah.”
And we know that His love – His very Torah has been poured out into our hearts by the Ruach of Elohim:
Romiyim/Romans 5:5 “And expectation does not disappoint, because the love of Elohim has been poured out in our hearts by the Set-apart Spirit which was given to us.”
So as Elohim is Love – may we be imitators of Elohim and walk in Love!
2 – WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT (3-14)
Since Elohim is light as we read earlier, and in Him there is no darkness – then we who are desperate to imitate our Father should too walk in light and have absolutely nothing to do with darkness. In Hebrew the understanding of light and darkness in likened to knowledge and ignorance – we have the knowledge (the light) and walk in that knowledge (light) and not in ignorance (darkness). Too many are wilfully ignorant not wanting the knowledge and therefore the Truth is not in them and they cannot walk as children of light! We must have nothing to do with darkness and sin, which is lawlessness:
1 – Because we are set-apart ones! (3-4) – We are His and no longer belong to the world of darkness that is around us:
Kepha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”
In this passage in Eph’siyim Sha’ul warns us against any form of immorality and sexual sin which was very prevalent in his day and so too it is today – perhaps even worse today than then for we see more and more the attack on youth and even young children through subliminal messaging in cartoons that is programming them to engage in sexual immorality and feed the flesh! We know that sexual sin is a major cause for many family breakups and this is a real ploy by the enemy to destroy the very picture of the marriage between Messiah, the Lamb and His Bride. Sha’ul also warns us to not let covetousness or greed even be named among us! How inviting it is in the world to want what others have – the power of advertising catches many and leads them into greed and covetousness – wanting what others have – just to have it! Now placing greed and whorring in the same breath almost sounds out of place, yet it is not as they are simply two different expressions of the wickedness of the flesh – an uncontrolled appetite! The one who whores and the one who is greedy or covets both seek to satisfy their appetites by taking what does not belong to them! The lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh is what best describes these and Sha’ul says let these not be named among you – in other words do not even let there be a hint of it – no uncleanness!!! In verse 4 he goes on to warn us about the sins of the tongue – oh boy that is difficult for most of us at times – and it shouldn’t be!!! Sins of the tongue reveal sin in the heart. What is supposed to be upon our heart is His Torah, not lawlessness! Out of the overflow of the heart so a man speaks – we speak what is in our heart – our talk can reveal much of what is going on inside – and what should be going on is Light and Love, not darkness and lawlessness! For children of the light it is not fitting to use the tongue for nonsense but rather for thanksgiving! As we walk in the light, our hearts will always or rather should always season our speech with salt – favour in the heart means favour on the lips! This is a huge one for many – come on how many of you have let your tongue loose only to regret every word when lined up in accordance to the Word of Elohim! How is your speech in other words? We are told in Colossians that whatever we do whether in word or deed, do in in the Name of Yahushua – can your words be linked to Yahushua – the Living Word – if not then do not say it and have your heart cleansed by His Word!
2 – We are a Royal Priesthood (5-6) – Once we were darkness but now in the light. Being now a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a set-apart nation we are to have no part with those who partake in darkness. The word in verse 5 used for whores is the Greek word ‘pornos’ form which we get the word pornographic – which simply means the practice of illicit sex! The morally unclean and the greedy will join the fornicator in judgement. However we, as children of light, have an inheritance in the reign of Messiah and Elohim and for this reason we are to have nothing to do with darkness!
3 – We are Light (7-14) – Sha’ul says, if you notice correctly, that we were once darkness, not once in darkness but once darkness – we were darkness – ignorant –in sin – but now we are light – we have knowledge in Messiah What communion does light have to do with darkness? Light produces fruit and darkness is fruitless! A knowledgeable farmer will produce great fruit and harvest much when he uses that which he has been given wisely, yet an ignorant farmer who knows nothing will yield nothing and that which he was given will be taken from him! The works of darkness Sha’ul says is fruitless. The light produces goodness – which is love in action – for we walk in the good works prepared in advance for us – that is to walk in His Torah, the light produces also righteousness which speaks of our right character before Elohim – how we live daily in obedience obeying and guarding to do all He commands, and what we see clearly is that both of these qualities – goodness and righteousness are based upon Truth – which is a conformity to his Word eager to do His good pleasing will!
We know that Yahushua had much to say about Light and Darkness:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens.”
Yoḥanan/John 3:20-21 “For everyone who is practising evil matters hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But the one doing the truth comes to the light, so that his works are clearly seen, that they have been wrought in Elohim.”
To walk as children of light is to walk before the eyes of Elohim not hiding anything! It is often very easy to hide things form others as we cannot see their hearts and minds – but we are to remember that all is laid bare before Elohim, our Maker and our Husband:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:13 “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom is our account.”
Walking in the light simply means to reveal that very light daily in our lives through our character, conduct and speech as we make every opportunity to bring the light of Elohim in to a dark world, helping others to see the light of truth in יהוה.
His Light, His knowledge in us reveals יהוה and produces fruit and at the same times exposes the darkness. When you walk as children of light – imitating our Father – know that darkness will be revealed around you and this perhaps may be a major reason why His Bride is but a remnant – simply because too many in their ignorance of the Truth do not want their darkness to be exposed! We as children of light are to have no business with darkness for we are set-apart and royal and are qualified to share in the inheritance of the set-apart ones:
Qolasim/Colossians 1:12 “giving thanks to the Father who has made us fit to share in the inheritance of the set-apart ones in the light” Come on this ought to make us give Him praise and thanks!!!
Imitating the Father will cause us to walk in Love, Walk as children of Light and …
3 – WALK IN WISDOM (15-17)
Sha’ul tells us to see that we walk exactly – ‘akribos’ in the Greek which means ‘perfectly, accurately, diligently, and exactly’!!! This is a strong instruction as it leaves little room for error – we have the Torah and we are to walk perfectly as wise children of the Most High El! This is totally opposite to the notion of living a carefree or careless walk that has no guidance and direction. We are to always be seeking wisdom for which the Father promises to those who ask. In verse 14 it appears that Sha’ul is kind of saying, “do not walk in your sleep”, and rightly so for we see masses of people today walking around as though asleep or dead to the Torah – they are like zombies – the walking dead – totally blind and oblivious to the Word and Torah of יהוה.
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:48 “Therefore, be perfect, as your Father in the heavens is perfect.”
Luqas/Luke 6:36 “Therefore be compassionate, as your Father also is compassionate.”
Be perfect, be compassionate – just like our Father, and this we can do only as we walk in wisdom which is cultivated through knowledge and understanding which comes in the doing of the knowledge you find in His Torah! We are to be accurate and careful and diligent in our walk… why?
1 – It is a sign of wisdom – Fools will drift with the wind and tides of the pressure of life, while the wise will set his course, set his sights and guide his rudder on toward his destination. We as wise Master builders – that is building the Master’s way – set our course, fixing our eyes on Yahushua the author and Perfector or Prince of our faith, and if He is the Author of our faith then we will joyfully look intently in to what He has written in His Word and allow our rudder, that is our tongue to guide us as we continue to make the good confession of faith through our wilderness journey, making ourselves ready and looking for our Husband who is coming to fetch us – and the only way to do this is to walk in the wisdom of His instructions – for His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path – without His word we will be lost – without His Torah we would be lost – may we as we imitate our Father, walk as wise children.
2 – Life is short and the days are wicked (16) – We must redeem the time we have wisely and take every advantage and opportunity to witness to others as we walk in love, light and wisdom. In Sha’ul’s time the wicked days meant Roman persecution was on the way and as we know the days ahead of us are wicked days – such as none has ever been seen before, and so may we not be found foolishly wasting our time but be wise in being accurate and careful in our walk. My daughter, Catherine, had a dream 2 nights back which I feel is very fitting for what we are saying here tonight. She dreamt that we were here on earth and there was a great commotion as the crowds were streaming off together proclaiming, ‘Jesus is here’, and what was even more interesting was that even those who never attended a church service or believed in a Creator were running with all of the crowd. She then said that they were suddenly all gone – and we, who follow יהושע were left and there was total peace. What she said she felt was a deep regret that she never got to tell her friends the Truth. I believe that this dream is very powerful, how the Father can teach her and show her with great insight as to what is coming, and also believe it is a warning for us to not waste our time! We are to be telling everyone we know about the True Living Elohim and Messiah, יהושע. May we be found to accurately be walking in the Truth with great wisdom, imitating our Father that the world may see and know that יהוה is Elohim!
3 – Elohim has given us a mind – use it wisely (17) – Understanding what His desire is and not being foolish suggests to us that we are to use that which He has given us – our minds in order to discover the good and pleasing will of Elohim. Let me remind you that discovering His will is not some mystical experience to be pursued and pursuing any avenue toward any mystical teachings – even Rabbinical Judaism through Talmudic teachings or kabbalist practices and magic arts is very dangerous. We discover His will simply as our minds are renewed and we are transformed through this renewing of our minds as a diligent and accurate discipline of daily reading and meditating on His Torah, prayer, worship and fellowship, living as wise builders who build upon the Rock – יהושע Messiah!
יהוה not only wants us to know His will (that is to have knowledge) but to also understand His will as we do His will by faith applying the very pure knowledge of His Torah.
What Sha’ul was emphasising here in this section is on the contrast between our new life in Messiah, for which we imitate Him by walking in Love, Light and Wisdom as contrasted to the old life of selfishness, darkness and foolishness.
May we be found to be gladly, as children of the Light, imitators of Elohim by walking in Love that is His Truth, walking as children of Light – that is walking in His Knowledge and walking in Wisdom – that is the result of love and light faithfully combined.
Impersonating יהוה takes intentional living as we make the right choices daily to walk in Him and it takes an intimacy with יהוה which will never happen if we do not invest our time wisely with Him for we can never be like somebody we do not know.
Now as I said earlier most children do not often agree with great enthusiasm that they are to be like their parents, and for some we could well agree, but for us as children of יהוה our Elohim, there is great delight and joy in seeking every single moment we have to be like our Father. So then may we heed to admonitions of Sha’ul and follow Messiah in Love, avoid immorality, refrain from obscene language, do not allow others to deceive us as we test everything back to His Word as wise children, walking in the light, seeking His will and actually doing it and at every opportunity let us do good, aměn!
This teaching may simply be a wonderful reminder of who our Father is and what a joy it is to imitate Him, for others it may be a sober reminder that perhaps impersonating יהוה has been the least concern on your mind as you have perhaps found yourself in some dark places where there seems to be no light – may this admonition and instruction of equipping that Sha’ul gives us hear by the breathe of Elohim teach us, reproof us, set us straight and train us in righteousness that we can be great imitators of Elohim!
Tehillim/Psalm 1 “Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, and shall not stand in the path of sinners, and shall not sit in the seat of scoffers, 2 But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, and he meditates in His Torah day and night. 3 For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers. 4 The wrong are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wrong shall not rise in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For יהוה knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wrong comes to naught.”
Let us delight in His Torah and imitate Him – there is no other way – oh how I love to imitate my Father that it too can be said of me like Father, like Son!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you peace!Shalom