Saturday, August 27, 2011
An overview of Titos/Titus
Shabbat Shalom everyone! Greetings to you in the Mighty and Wonderful Name of יהוה; favour, compassion and peace from Elohim the Father and the Master יהושע Messiah our Saviour! Certainly a much welcomed greeting to Titos from Sha’ul! Titos - a man who was tasked with a great responsibility in ‘setting straight’ a crooked people on the island of Crete, and believe me when I tell you that this was no easy task at all! Tonight I would like us to look at the letter Sha’ul wrote to Titos – yes the whole letter as we can certainly glean many great nuggets of truth from it as it is clearly a letter that is just as relevant to us today as it was to Titos almost 2000 years ago. In a message tonight called, “Mission Possible” I would like us to be reminded once more as to whom it is who has delivered us and called us to set-apart living and just who it is we worship and serve! יהוה of hosts is His Name, aměn! Please turn with me to Titos as we read this short, yet powerful letter. (Read).
Titos, a Greek convert who had travelled with Sha’ul and also served faithfully in a troubled Corinth and around 63-64 C.E. after leaving Timotiyos behind in Ephesos, Sha’ul and Titos went on to Crete where Sha’ul left Titos there to help sort out the assemblies in Crete. Sha’ul later wrote this letter to Titos and the purpose of the letter to Titos was to instruct him about what he should do and teach in the Cretan assemblies. What we have to understand here is that this society was not an easy society to teach and instruct in the ways of righteousness and Titos had his work cut out for him. In verse 5 Sha’ul tells him why he left Titos in Crete – and that was to ‘straighten out’ what was left undone and then appoint elders who were worthy to assist in leading the assemblies on this large island. Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean and had very fertile valleys, skilled seamen and it also played a huge role in Greek Mythology being known as the ‘land of the gods’. In other words, here you have Titos in the heart of pagan territory having to set some things straight!
The Greek word used here for ‘straighten out’ is ἐπιδιορθόω (epidiorthóō) – (Strong’s G1930) – and means ‘to proceed in correcting or setting in order’ or ‘to straighten out’. It is clear right here that Titos had a role to play and that was to straighten out that which was not straight! We get our English words ‘orthopedist’ or ‘orthodontist’ from this Greek word and understanding that an orthopedic surgeon or orthodontist refers to ‘one who is in the practice of correcting or preventing skeletal deformities, disorders or injuries’, whether it be a surgeon setting broken bones straight or a dental surgeon fixing crooked teeth! So we can see the picture here – Titos had to set straight those whose walk was crooked or whose speech was perverse! Broken bones that are not set straight, in order to heal back as one, can end up growing crookedly and lead to weakness in that bone later in life. What Sha’ul was telling Titos is that the assemblies in Crete were liken broken bones that were not set right and were in need of some serious attention or else their faith would grow crooked and warped! Titos had to set straight what was broken in order that they would heal properly and be strong in Messiah! Whenever a bone has not been set straight, it often requires that a doctor breaks that bone again in order to re-set it to heal properly in order to regain full functionality! Now you may ask, ‘what has all this got to do with the price of eggs?’ Well not much really but it does have a lot to do with us understanding what is going on in our day! There is a setting straight that is required – and many bones have, due to erroneous teaching, been previously broken or dislocated and not set straight which has resulted in a wicked and crooked generation! Now it is time for many to have their bones broken in order for them to be set straight again – a painful process for most I know but needed! So many today are sadly so ‘stuck in their ways’ that they are unwilling and unyielding to be submissive to some spiritual bone surgery that they so desperately need in order that they may walk upright in Messiah and as a result of their stubbornness they are becoming more and more crippled.
In Crete there were some things that had aggravated that brokenness, and that was that the people in Crete were not the easiest to work with. In fact in Chapter 1:12 Sha’ul says that even one of their own prophets, Epimenides, a Cretan poet and philosopher from the sixth century B.C.E. who was widely believed to be a religious prophet, said that all Cretans are always liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons! Though the quotation may originally have referred to a particular lie (i.e., that Zeus was buried in Crete, which was especially offensive to those who believed Zeus was still alive), by Sha’ul’s day the saying had become a proverb which merely emphasized the low reputations of Cretans generally. So little did others think of the Cretans that the verb ‘krētizō’ was invented to mean “to lie” The Cretans needed healing and Titos had to realise that he was dealing with damaged goods. Lesson we can all do well to learn and realise – many out there are in need of some straightening out and are damaged property! Crete comes from the word meaning ‘carnal, fleshly’ and I find this very fitting as it truly speaks of those who walk after the flesh rather than in the Spirit! And in essence this could be phrased as, “the sons of the flesh are always liars, evil creatures and greedy and lazy”. For many this may seem to be a sad and misguided generalization; however what we see from Scripture is that if the Truth is not in you then you are a liar!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:4-5 “The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected1 in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
Those who walk in the flesh are never content and they are only seeking that which is for self gain, and are lazy in making any effort toward others!
What has all this got to do with me? You may ask – everything! What made Titos able to be the man for the job? In verse 4 Sha’ul reminds him who he is: Titos was a ‘genuine child according to the faith in Messiah’. That is what made him able to the task of straightening others out – he was the real deal and he walked the walk. Our ability to lead others in to the truth must be from the walk of walking in that Truth wholeheartedly otherwise we are only going to lead others astray and be unable to straighten out any crookedness in others. Titos was well skilled and well versed in the Word – a man who was man enough for the task – and let me remind you that Sha’ul had high standards – the very standards that are given to us in the Torah – nothing less, nothing more!
Titos had to be bold enough to rebuke those liars so that they become sound in their belief and we know that the Word is useful for rebuking:
Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.”
It is the Word that sets people straight and this is how Titos was to do it – by the teaching of the Word as he would have to set straight all the false and twisted teachings that had been corrupting so many. He goes on to remind him that all matters are clean to the clean, but those who are defiled and unbelieving, no matter is clean, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
Now we can clearly understand why so many are not even bothered in their conscience when they are clearly walking out of line – simply because in their crookedness they do not see the clean for clean. Those with crooked bones are unable to rightly divide the Truth and they do not even bother about it – isn’t that so true of so many professing believers today – especially those of the Christian group! For they profess to know Elohim, but in their works they deny Him – being abominable and disobedient and unfit for any good work!
What we must understand here is that Titos was dealing with a people who were claiming to be upright and saved, yet their lives did not reflect any obedience to the Torah – it did not reflect the Good works that have been prepared for us in advance to do! These were a people who wanted the blessing but were following after the ways of the pagan moral and belief systems in their attempt at worshipping יהוה and were in need of setting things on order. יהוה is very clear in His word that we do not follow the ways of the nations and worship Him as they worship their false mighty ones. Look here at 3 portions from the Torah where יהוה makes it very clear:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 18:3-5 “Do not do as they do in the land of Mitsrayim, where you dwelt. And do not do as they do in the land of Kenaʽan, where I am bringing you, and do not walk in their laws. 4 ‘Do My right-rulings and guard My laws, to walk in them. I am יהוה your Elohim. 5 ‘And you shall guard My laws and My right-rulings, which a man does and lives by them. I am יהוה.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 12 :28-32 “Guard, and obey all these words which I command you, that it might be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of יהוה your Elohim. 29 “When יהוה your Elohim does cut off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? And let me do so too.’ 31 “Do not do so to יהוה your Elohim, for every abomination which יהוה hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones. 32 “All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:9-14 “When you come into the land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you, do not learn to do according to the abominations of those gentiles. 10 “Let no one be found among you who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices divination, or a user of magic, or one who interprets omens or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 “For whoever does these are an abomination to יהוה, and because of these abominations יהוה your Elohim drives them out from before you. 13 “Be perfect before יהוה your Elohim, 14 for these nations whom you are possessing do listen to those using magic and to diviners. But as for you, יהוה your Elohim has not appointed such for you.”
Some in Crete were also following after and paying attention to the Yehuḏi fables and commands of men who turn from the Truth. What is a fable? Well, pretty much anything that is sold as truth but is not!
This is a huge warning for us today too, as so many are leaning heavily toward the need to follow and pay attention to rabbinical teachings and insights that admittedly can come across as very ‘nice’ and appetising for us, yet we must be warned to not eat of their fruit as those teaching them are people who turn form the Truth and clearly are denying the Messiah – do not handle – do not touch – do not taste! Many today are coming out of the church (circus) system of perceived worship and going in the opposite direction or over to the other side of the road into another ditch falling prey to rabbinical sources and traditions in an attempt to have their bones set straight, or so they think so, and this will only cause them to be further deformed in the opposite direction.
Sha’ul goes on to tell Titos that he must simply speak truth; not what the fable speakers speak but that which is fitting for sound teaching – and that is the Word! Our lifestyle should be reflected by our obedience to the Word and this is what Titos was to teach – he was to teach what the older men were to be like, what the older women were to be like, urge the young men to be sensible of which Titos was to be an example of ‘good works’ – that is in leading a complete ‘torah observant’ life in all things, and in his teaching he was to show no corruptness whatsoever. You see when we stick to the Word and the word alone, then there will be little opportunity for any corruption to creep in! it is when we start to ‘add’ those seemingly harmless and ‘nice’ traditions that have no Scriptural instruction as its teaching that we can so easily lend ourselves to the danger of having our bones deformed further! Titos was to teach the believers how to live – why? Well because believers sadly have a way of forgetting how to live according to the commands and instructions of Elohim and easily forget just how important it is to live set-apart lives. But why is it that so many tend to forget so quickly?
Firstly, because we live in a ‘pagan’ world if you will – we are sojourners in a foreign land, and Titos, for example, was teaching in Crete – an island populated by… Cretans! A place populated by evil flesh hungering liars and gluttons. The believers living in Crete were surrounded by a people who were notorious for being pagans – those who did not acknowledge יהוה as Elohim, the Creator of the Heavens and the earth; and these people were well known for getting drunk, lacking self-control and the women were huge gossipers, who neglected their families, and the slaves too were liars and cheats and thieves, and as a nation they were known for people who disregarded any form of authority whatsoever. Pretty much sounds like where we all live today!
When you live within a pagan culture system it becomes easy to let obedience slip a little:
When you are surrounded by people telling crude jokes it can become hard not to laugh. When you spend time with people who constantly curse or use vulgar language it become hard not to pick up some of the sayings and mannerisms. When you are constantly surrounded by drunkards and swindlers it can be very difficult for many to refuse a glass or a challenge! When you spend time, be it at school or at work, where people cheat to get ahead – it becomes hard not to do the same just to get by and not lose out! Do you get the picture? I mean when almost everyone disobeys thee rules of the road, it becomes easier to do it too - and break the speed limit, jump robots and stop streets etc. – all because everyone does it – and the lawless approach within society can be very infectious! This is how the influence of a pagan society can grip, even the most sincere believers… and I could go on… and what Sha’ul is telling Titos in effect is that he must be teaching them that this must not be so! We heard this past week of a ‘Torah’ believer that had her bag stolen from her while she was shopping on the Sabbath!!! Need I say more!
Sadly it seems to be getting easier and easier for people to compromise when in essence the world’s ways are all about compromise to get ahead. It is called peer pressure and squeezes many a believer like you and me! What we are to be reminded of is that we are sojourners here and we need to heed the commands of יהוה that we may live as we wait for the blessed hope to come!
Tehillim/Psalm 119:19 “I am a sojourner in the earth; Do not hide Your commands from me.”
We must be careful not to get tied down to the world’s ways that we are unable to follow the ways of a called out people being cleansed for יהוה Himself as a treasured possession, always being ardent and full of zeal to do the ‘good works’ of the Torah in worship unto our Elohim and Saviour!
His saving gift has appeared to all – yes to all and teaches us to renounce all wickedness – the Torah teaches us set-apart living and it has appeared to all – but who will embrace it is the question – most will not – but we who are here have and we must therefore allow it to change us – break our bones if you will and set us straight in the Way, equipping us to live with reverence right here and now!
Titos was told to speak these matters and urge and convict with all authority and let no one despise him – and that is our call today. As a genuine child of the faith – speak these matters and be not despised!
He was to remind the believers to be subject to authorities and obey – you know what that means – you must adhere the road rules as an example – and all else, that is! There are some who are professing believers yet they will drive without license or drive an unlicensed car and excuse it away with petty reasons – this is not how a genuine child of the faith lives. What areas in your life are you not being genuine in your faith about – is there a bad habit that you just refuse to let go of – it may not be breaking any laws of the land, but it sure may be breaking your ability to be a genuine child of the faith able to teach and speak sound doctrine as your walk may be a little crooked! Chuck out – throw off - the habits that you know are not fitting for a genuine child of the faith ready to do good works; for if you do not, you are only crippling your walk and ability to be upright in Him – for what – a stupid little habit of the flesh that has you living like a Cretan?
Do not quarrel, but be gentle – this must have been tough for Titos – he needed the encouragement as many would be in his face when the Word would convict them. One thing we must not forget, and that is that we too were once as the Cretans were – all fleshly and hardly any spirit, serving lusts and pleasures etc.
But as we sit here we can all, I am sure, testify to the kindness and love of Elohim our Saviour and the more that we embrace and learn His Torah the more we understand it and the more we get to know our Elohim and Saviour. But what we must also be careful of is simply this – do not forget to apply that which you learn! There are far too many who are “knowledge hungry” and want to know all the facts and know all the verses in order to appear to be Set-apart before others yet what they are not hungry for is “righteousness” – as that is the ability to do what is commanded. Righteousness is a verb – it is an obedient response in living out the commands of Elohim! (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25!) There are so many who can recite many verses yet their life certainly does not reflect the standard of set-apart living which they so quickly and vainly confess with their lips. We are to get knowledge, yes, and get understanding and we are to study His Word, grow in His Word and meditate on His Word – day and night – so that we will be successful and prosperous in all that we do – not merely to hoard up knowledge so that we can win an argument –and let me tell you, there are many out there who are doing just that. I often get email requests for information on a Scripture, yet never to see the person engaging in torah observance or community living – they just want the knowledge to win some fights in order to look as though they know what the Word means, yet are never engaging in building torah fellowship and community – this is selfishness and is not fitting for a genuine child of the faith!
We must hear Sha’ul’s words here, especially chapter 3:8 “Trustworthy is the word, and in this regard I wish you to strongly affirm, that those who have believed in Elohim should keep their minds on maintaining good works. This is good and profitable to men.”
We have His trustworthy Word, and that is sufficient for us – we do not need fables, traditions or the commands of men – in order to maintain the Good Works of His Word. Let us keep our minds upon His word – that means that your mind is not to wander after the flesh like a gluttonous Cretan! And keep away from ‘foolish’ questions and genealogies and arguments and strife over the Torah – for quite frankly there is nothing to argue about – as Sha’ul says that it is unprofitable and useless! Get into questions of the Torah yes – for this is how we get to learn and grow –just stay away from foolish questions and you all know what I mean, and in the process of walking upright be prepared to reject a divisive man after the 1st and 2nd warnings! In other word there is always opportunity to reach one who is clearly divisive – but we reach him with the Word of truth which will itself be a warning to him. Iron sharpens iron is not having a fight or duel to the death with someone over matters of the Torah – in fact if you understand how iron is sharpened by iron then you would realise that it is done in a controlled manner with delicate precision. Iron is not ‘sharpened’ in a sword fight – in a fight it becomes blunt through use and therefore the sharpening needed is in the controlled environment of learning and growing as one yields to the teaching of Torah. Sadly so many today have the misconception that iron sharpens iron refers to those who rub you the wrong way and this is not true – that is battles – and for that your sword (that is His word in you) must be sharp and ready – in and out of season. The true sharpening comes when we engage weekly in immersing ourselves as a community in the Torah on the Shabbat!
The bottom line is this – if you do not live according to sound doctrine then quite frankly you do not believe sound doctrine – after all the word tells us that the righteous – that is those who are living righteous lives in keeping the Torah of Elohim – will live by faith – they will live by what they hear from the pure Word, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word and the faith of the righteous results in good works – that is His Torah commands for us here and now as a set-apart people!
Titos was confronted by a lot of issues that we are confronted with today – and some of you may still need a lot of straightening out to be done which may require a few bones to be broken in order to set you right on the path of righteousness, while others will have to be about setting straight many who you see each day. Be encouraged by the Word to know that we have His Truth and the mission He has given us to make disciples is not impossible for as Sha’ul wrote to the Pilipiyim/Philippians: 4:13 “I have strength to do all, through Messiah who empowers me.”
As we have gleaned through this short letter, my hope is that you are stirred unto good works and that your fervency to walk in righteousness grows immensely as you walk as a ‘genuine’ child according to the faith.
The word in the Greek for ‘genuine’ is γνήσιος (gnēsios) – Strong’s G1103 – and means ‘genuine, true, loyal and sincere’, but also carries the meaning of one who is ‘lawfully begotten or born’. We have been lawfully begotten through the Blood of Messiah –
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:11-13 “Therefore remember that you, once gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called ‘the circumcision’ made in the flesh by hands, 12 that at that time you were without Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Yisra’ĕl and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no expectation and without Elohim in the world. 13 But now in Messiah יהושע you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.”
We are His – legally begotten – the genuine children of the faith and now we who are now in Messiah must walk as He walked and seek out the lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl – we have a mission which is not impossible – we are no longer strangers to the covenants of promise but have been brought near by the Blood of Messiah and in Him we are straightened out and all our brokenness – our broken bones are made whole in Him – now we are to live like it – despite the Cretans that are around us.
This is “mission possible” – will you live it!!!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
SIGNS OF STUBBORNNESS
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 16
Shabbat Shalom, may the Name of יהוה be praised in this place, aměn! How many of you have struggled at times with stubbornness? What is stubbornness or rather what does it mean to be stubborn? Well according to various dictionary definitions it can be summed up as follows:
‘Having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, esp. in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so; Difficult to move, remove, or cure; Unreasonable, often perversely unyielding; bull-headed.’
Ever heard of the saying, ‘as stubborn as a donkey’? Stubbornness can also refer to one who has an ‘unrepentant heart’ – one who unwilling to yield to the Truth and change, one who is unwilling to learn and is set in their ways! Praise יהוה that there are no stubborn hearts here, aměn – or is there? Tonight, in a message called, “Signs of Stubbornness”, I would like us to look at the example of a king who had it all going for him and then lost it – due to a stubborn heart, and in the process may we recognise the need to heed any warning signs of stubbornness creeping in, as it can be detrimental to our health.
Please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 16 (Read).
Asa, which means ‘physician/healer’, was a king who started out in the right way in making much reforms and change in his 1st year as king of Yehuḏah. He was one of 22 sons and had 16 sisters – his father had 14 wives! He reigned for 41 years – that is a year longer than Dawiḏ and Shelomoh – perhaps due to his initial obedience in the 1st year that יהוה gave him another 40 – but be that as it may – he had peace for 35 years! It was here in his 36th year of his reign that Ba‘asha, the sovereign of Yisra’ĕl, came up against Asa and built up Ramah to prevent anyone from coming or going to Asa and this was bad for business for Asa. As a result what does Asa do? He certainly does not seek יהוה, and he remains stubborn in not doing so by following after his own ways and as a result his walk was crippled! Here was a guy who had started the race well, following the ways of Dawiḏ and after 35 years of peace at the first sign of trouble he no longer puts his trust in יהוה, but rather thinks he can manage the situation his own way. I wonder how many of us have found ourselves in a similar position – where we figure we can solve and overcome problems and battles on our own, forgetting to put our trust in יהוה after having become accustomed to a reasonably peace filled walk in Him as we walk in obedience? It kind of reminds me of a passage from the book of Yasher – in chapter 22: 47-49:
“47 And יהוה said unto Satan, Whence come you? And Satan answered יהוה and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 48 And יהוה said to Satan, What is your word to me concerning all the children of the earth? And Satan answered יהוה and said, I have seen all the children of the earth who serve you and remember you when they require anything from you. 49 And when you give them the thing which they require from you, they sit at their ease, and forsake you and they remember you no more.”
When you get what you want from יהוה, do you sit at ease and forsake walking in total obedience? From being a king who walked right and did what was right in the eyes of יהוה (Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 15:11) to one who became crippled and diseased in his feet – why? Because he became stubborn and relied on his own strength and refused to yield to the Truth any longer and no longer sought after יהוה. Before we get into the signs of stubbornness that we can see in this chapter, what I find very interesting in Scripture is the association used repeatedly of ‘stubbornness and one’s feet/walk going in the wrong dorection’. Here are a couple of examples:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 7:11 “She was boisterous and stubborn; her feet did not stay at her own house.”
Tehillim/Psalm 81:12 “So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 65:2 “I have held out My hands all day long to a stubborn people, who walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts”
There are many other Scriptures which give the same picture that we see being expressed here and that is simply this:
Stubbornness results in a diseased walk! Some minds are like finished concrete—thoroughly mixed and permanently set. A previous boss of mine had an expression which he would use when he changed his mind – which at times was very frustrating for us as we would follow His instructions despite us telling him it would not work only to find later that he would change the instructions after the job was completed and say, “A mind that does not change is not thinking, and if you are not thinking you are not growing!” Now there is some measure of truth in this as we are to continuously be transformed from the conformity to the world by the renewing of our minds and not have our minds set like finished concrete. Sadly though when it suited my old boss he would say that he will not change and we are wasting our time trying to change him. A picture of many today – will use the truth when it suites them and reject it when it does not! How about you?
The Hebrew words used for stubborn in the 3 verses I have just mentioned are:
Strong’s H5637 סָרַר (sārar) – which is a root word meaning ‘stubborn, rebellious or defiant to authority’ (Mishlĕ/Proverbs 7:11),
Strong’s H8307 שְׁרִירוּת (sheriruth) – which also means, ‘stubbornness or firmness’ and is also translated as ‘lust’ and comes from the word Strong’s H8324 שָׁרַר (sharar) – which translates as ‘enemy or adversary’.
What we are seeing here is very clear – being stubborn and rebellious to the Truth is the same as being an enemy of Elohim! Kěpha/Peter uses the same picture for us in describing the rebellious that will be judged:
Kěpha Bet/2 Peter 2:10 “and most of all those walking after the flesh in filthy lust and despising authority – bold, headstrong, speaking evil of esteemed ones”
Those whose walk are after the flesh in filthy lust and are rebellious are stubborn, headstrong and unwilling to change their behaviour in any regard. Our walk reveals our heart, and Asa became ‘diseased in his feet’, which in the Hebrew can also be an idiomatic expression for falling slack in his observance to the commands and Feasts of יהוה, for in
Shemoth/Exodus 23:14 “Three times in the year you are to observe a festival to Me.”
The Hebrew word used for ‘times’ is Strong’s H7272 רֶגֶל ‘regel’ – means ‘a foot/feet or to walk’. So as I said – one’s obedience and submission to the Truth is seen in one’s walk – the question is simply whether our walk is healthy and in loving obedience or is it diseased through stubbornness and pride?
Naḥum/Nahum 1:15 “See, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace! O Yehuḏah, observe your festivals, perform your vows. For Beliya‘al shall no more pass through you. He has been cut off completely.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 52:7 “How pleasant upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who proclaims deliverance, who says to Tsiyon, “Your Elohim reigns!”
Romiyim/Romans 10:15 “And how shall they proclaim if they are not sent? As it has been written, “How pleasant are the feet of those who bring the Good News of peace, who bring the Good News of the good!”
How we bring the Good News of the Good is in our walk of obedient faith – the danger we must heed as an obstacle to this is stubbornness and an unwillingness to learn and yield to the Truth daily!
Having said all of that – let us look briefly at 5 danger signs of stubbornness that we can see from the life of Asa in his last days – signs that we must watch out for – and if they are in any way evident must be dealt with immediately!
What are signs of being stubborn?
YOU ARE BEING STUBBORN WHEN:
1 – YOU CHOOSE TO FIX PROBLEMS ON YOUR OWN RATHER THAN GO TO יהוה WITH THEM! (16:1-3)
As I mentioned earlier, for 35 years there had been peace and now in Asa’s 36th year Ba‘asha, king of Yisra’ĕl built a blockade so that no one could trade with Asa, and this was a great problem. What Asa should have done was go to יהוה, but no, instead he goes to a pagan king of Aram, Ben-Haḏaḏ and bribes him with temple treasure from the House of יהוה, so that Ben-Haḏaḏ would break covenant with Yisra’ĕl and join forces with Yehuḏah. What we see here is that Asa tried to figure out in his own way how to avoid defeat and he uses what is not his to use in trading with the enemy! He tried to buy his way out of trouble and would not ask יהוה for help! He was stubborn in his approach at trying to solve the imminent threat on his own. How many of you find that most of the time you try and handle problems that you face on your own, without bringing it before and consulting יהוה, thinking that you can ‘do it on your own’ so to speak? That is pride and outright stubbornness! We are to take everything to Him in prayer and wait upon Him, but sadly for most the waiting is just too much and pride and stubbornness often steps in and is destructive and will rob you of the joy of life. Do not try to handle problems on your own!
2 – YOU SETTLE FOR LESS THAN THE BEST JUST TO SAY “I’VE DONE IT!” (16:4-8)
Asa seemed to solve an immediate problem through his dodgy scheming tactics, all at the cost of a permanent solution – because the problem didn’t stay away for long! In other words his own stubbornness to yield to the Truth in essence cost him as he sacrificed long term security and relief for a short term reprieve. Ḥanani the seer/prophet came along and told Asa that because he had been stubborn and would not rely upon יהוה, but rather on pagan nations for help that he would no longer have victory over Aram who through his stubbornness had allowed them to escape from his hand or rule and was in essence telling Asa not to be so boastful in thinking that he has bought himself a solution through his own means – because he had not. Asa wanted a quick fix for the now without realising the repercussions for the long term. He could have had so much more yet he settled for less that the best – he settled for the ‘now’ in the flesh taking his eyes off of the future hope in יהוה – and so do so many of us today do the same thing more than we would care to realise! How often do you settle for less than the best just to say that you have done it and have the false sense of completion only to find out that the problem just came back? Stubbornness will cause you to make hasty decisions that will cost you greatly!
3 – YOU GET ANGRY RATHER THAN REPENT WHEN CONFRONTED BY THE TRUTH! (16:9-10)
Ḥanani had come and spoken to Asa – Asa had now heard the Truth of his poor decision making and there was still a chance of setting it right as he was now faced with two simple choices:
A – Repent – that is to turn around – turn back from his own stubbornness and embrace the truth and confess – remember what we said last week that to confess is to be in agreement with the Word of יהוה – in other words he could repent and acknowledge the Truth and ask יהוה to get him out of this tight spot.
B – Rebel – Get angry and attack the messenger and never be willing to admit that he was the problem.
We know what choice he made – Asa had heard the truth and didn’t like it – so what does he do? He chucks the seer into prison – thinking “out of sight – out of mind” and thought that he could get around the truth by eliminating the messenger of the Truth and he never saw his own sin or rather lawlessness! What happens when you are confronted with a choice to make like this – do you repent or rebel? We too have the same choices when confronted with the Truth! When the truth is too much to hear far too often too many people just imprison the Truth – that is they shut it out at all costs and will get angry when confronted with what they do not want to hear! Let me ask you – how many times have you been confronted by the hearing of the truth only to reject it as rubbish and rebel, calling the messengers crazy and shut them out! A sure sign of stubbornness is when you refuse to listen to the Truth – perhaps because it hurts! The last days will see more and more stubborn hearts developing as they will seek to have their ears tickled in agreement with the lawless living rather than be spoken to truthfully in order to set them free! How are you at handling the Truth – straight up? Do you get angry?
Verse 9 tells us that יהוה diligently searches the earth – to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect to Him! A perfect heart – what is that? I believe in this context it is speaking of those who are willing to ‘yield’ their hearts to Him and follow Him wholeheartedly – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know everything because we cannot – not yet anyway! But rather it is a heart that submits and is willing to change and allow the truth to lead them in paths of righteous living no matter the cost – and it is to those hearts that יהוה wants to reveal His strength to!!! Asa’s heart was no longer perfect:
Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 15:14 “But the high places were not removed. However, Asa’s heart was perfect with יהוה all his days.”
Now here in this account we read in verse 9 that יהוה is always looking for those whose heart is perfect, yet Asa had now acted foolishly in this – in what? In having a perfect heart – not turning to the right or to the left – walking in the ways of his ancestor Dawiḏ! And because he had acted foolishly he would have battles for the rest of his life! It doesn’t matter how long you think that you have been walking in obedience – stubbornness can come in at any time and we must guard ourselves from this! Do not rebel when the Truth hits you right between the eyes – listen and learn as you have a perfect submitting heart unto יהוה – Listen – if you will – then the promise is sure that He will show Himself to be strong on your behalf – And if He is for us what do we need to fear, aměn! You want His strength shown on your behalf – then do not be stubborn in hearing the Truth!
4 – YOU DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH יהוה’s PEOPLE! (16:10)
Asa was so stubborn that he began to oppress many of his own! Look at the difference of heart we see in his life:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 15: 8-9 “And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oḏĕḏ the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominations from all the land of Yehuḏah and Binyamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephrayim, and restored the altar of יהוה that was before the porch of יהוה, 9 and gathered all Yehuḏah and Binyamin, and those who sojourned with them from Ephrayim, and Menashsheh, and Shimʽon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Yisra’ĕl when they saw that יהוה his Elohim was with him.”
Here in the previous chapter we see Asa – a man with a perfect heart, making reforms and gathering great numbers from 5 of the tribes as they could see that יהוה was with him – for יהוה had revealed Himself strong on Asa’s behalf! Now look at the next chapter after stubbornness and pride had set in:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 16:10 “And Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.”
From walking with a perfect heart – that is a submission, yielding heart to the Torah of Elohim – to a stubborn and rebellious heart! From gathering people together and being in fellowship to oppressing the fellowship and slandering the fellowship! When things went well, Asa loved to fellowship but when the tests came and he buckled under pressure – he couldn’t handle the truth and stopped fellowship and turned nasty! Often a sign of stubbornness is the inability to engage in fellowship and so easily bad mouth or slander those whom you once walked in unity with – all as a result of stubborn disobedience! Neglecting fellowship is a sign of stubbornness and pride where blame shifting becomes the order of the day and getting mad at the messenger and others and isolating oneself away in self-pity and pride!
Wanting nothing to do with the fellowship of the set-apart ones is a sure sign of stubbornness that needs to be dealt with!
5 – YOU REFUSE TO CALL UPON יהוה EVEN WHEN THERE ARE NO OPTIONS AVAILABLE OR LEFT (16:12)
Asa got a serious disease in his feet, and yet he still refused to seek יהוה and live!
Amos 5:4 “For thus said יהוה to the house of Yisra’ĕl, “Seek Me and live.””
Amos 5:6 “Seek יהוה and live, lest He break out like fire upon the house of Yosĕph, and shall consume it, with no one to quench it in Bĕyth Ěl.”
Amos 5:14 “Seek good and not evil, so that you live. And let יהוה Elohim of hosts be with you, as you have spoken.”
Listen to not seek יהוה is not an option for a believer and called out one! We see as recorded in Ḥazon/Revelation the repeated stubbornness of the rebellious – “they did not repent” (9:20; 16:9; 16:11). This is exactly what Asa refused to do – repent and so he rebelled. He rather sought the physicians when he was all sick and crippled.
What we see here is an interesting picture for us- remember I said earlier that his name meant ‘healer/physician’ – well he was not going to the Great Physician yet sought out his own solutions, no matter how bad his situation and circumstances became! I am sure it got to a stage when the physicians must have come to him and said that there was nothing that they could do for him – and yet still he would not turn to יהוה! As a result of his illness he died. More often than not those who are stubborn will tend to say things like, “Well if יהוה hasn’t helped me by now then I am not going to start asking Him now!” – Stubborn to the grave do so many go and we must be careful to never let this happen – bearing in mind that this was a man whose heart was ‘perfect’ with יהוה!
Danger signs of stubbornness – do you have any or have you ever noticed these in operation in your life? If the answer is yes – what are you going to do about it? If your heart is perfect with יהוה in that you are totally submitting a and heed his voice, walking fully in His commands then good – but be warned to not give up in perfecting set-apartness continually and may יהוה come and show Himself strong on our behalf as a growing committed fellowship and family in יהושע Messiah!
Stubbornness is a dangerous thing that can cause a perfect walk to become diseased – let this be a warning to be watchful against this very danger. These were the words that stirred Asa in the beginning of his walk:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 15:1-2 “And the Spirit of Elohim came upon Azaryahu son of Oḏĕḏ. 2 And he went out to face Asa, and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Yehuḏah and Binyamin. יהוה is with you while you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He is found by you, but if you forsake Him, He forsakes you.”
Let us take heed of this very Word tonight and not be stubborn in our walk and find ourselves having departed from “righteousness’ path”!
For stubbornness and righteousness are far apart!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 46:12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness.”
Stubbornness and lawlessness are closely attached and the end of the lawless in being thrown out!
Signs of stubbornness – do you have any in your life? Do not be bull-headed or as stubborn as a donkey for stubbornness can be terminal to your walk – but rather yield to the King of Kings and our Master Redeemer - יהושע Messiah – for if you love Him you will obey Him and walk upright in Him!
יהוה bless you and guard you;
יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you
יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you peace!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
DANGERS OF DRIFTING!
Shabbat Shalom all, praise be unto Elohim, יהוה of Hosts is His Name!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 4:20-22 “My son, listen to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from your eyes; Guard them in the midst of your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 7:1-2 “My son, guard my words, And treasure up my commands with you. 2 Guard my commands and live, and my Torah as the apple of your eye.”
Listen, guard, and incline your ear…. All through Scripture we clearly see that the ‘ear’ is a vital organ and many who do not use it lose out! How are you at remembering what you have heard? Do you easily forget things; which cause you to land up in some hot water at times? Or do you have selective hearing – only hearing what you want to hear while shutting out the rest that you need to hear? Tonight I want us to look at and ‘hear’ some of the warnings or danger signs given to believers in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews in a message called, “Dangers of Drifting!” Please turn with me to Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 2 as we read verses 1-4 as the base for this message! (Read)
This chapter starts off with, “because of this’ in referring to what the writer has just spoken of in chapter 1 regarding who Messiah is and what he is in essence saying here is that יהושע Messiah is not just another messenger/angel – He is the Son of Elohim, the exact representation of His substance and therefore we must pay close attention to what we have heard. In a nutshell if that which was spoken through messengers was firm and those who disobeyed got what was due, then how do we think that we will escape the punishment due for neglecting the deliverance He brought and spoke of. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us in order to overcome the flesh and defeat sin and therefore we need to listen up!
There are 5 warnings or admonitions given in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews that I would like to look at briefly tonight and the first one is right here in what we have just read, and that is to not drift away for if we do, the danger of ultimately denying Messiah may be a reality to some.
1 – DANGER OF DRIFTING (2:1-4)
This is a stern warning against drifting – what is drifting you might ask?
In motorsport, drifting refers to a driving technique where the driver intentionally over steers the car, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels through turns while maintain control of the vehicle at a high exit speed through the turn. In simpler terms – a car is drifting when the car is turning left while the wheels are pointed right or vice versa! Not something you should try at home so to speak. Now as much as this seems thrilling and adventurous – it is also dangerous and life threatening, yet it is not the drifting that I am referring to.
The word used for ‘drift away’ is the Greek Word: παραρρέω ‘pararreō’ (Strong’s G3901) and means ‘To float by or drift past as a ship, or to flow past as a river. Figuratively to slip away, suggesting a gradual and almost unnoticed movement past a certain point. It is used figuratively of persons meaning to glide away, to swerve or deviate from something, such as the truth, law, precepts.’
To drift can also mean ‘to move aimlessly from place to place or from one activity to another; to wander or move gradually away from a fixed course or point; stray’.
The admonition here is clear – pay very close attention to the Truth so that you do not drift away! To simply assume that we do not need to know the Word of Elohim and disregard the importance of the Torah would be disastrous neglect! And neglect for the Truth will cause you to miss deliverance! This is actually a stern command – do not drift from the Truth, and do not disobey the Truth for the Truth has been clearly communicated through the life death and resurrection of Messiah and confirmed by His disciples who had heard and witnessed all. What we must realise upfront here is that this letter is written to believers – that is “Torah professing believers” who were in danger of drifting away from the Truth, a warning we must constantly take heed of in our daily lives. You see drifting is a mark of death, whereas heeding/paying attention is a mark of life. Torah is life - יהושע is the Torah made flesh and drifting away from adhering to the instructions (Torah) of Elohim is a broad road to destruction and death. The problem with many of the recipients of this letter was the inclination to go with the flow of the world around them as it may have seemed easier to adopt the world’s ways in order to not come under heavy fire and persecution – and this was a stern warning for them and still is for us today!
For many who have heard and received the unadulterated truth it often becomes extremely hard to have to constantly ‘fight’ and struggle against everyone around them – even close family and friends – who continuously persecute them for righteousness sake and what we must heed here is that we must in fact pay even more attention to what we have heard – less attention to the lies and persecution and more attention to the Truth – or else we may find ourselves drifting away!
CHARACTERISTICS OF DRIFTING:
A – Drifting requires no effort! It requires no effort at all – it is a letting go and going wherever the current takes you!
B – It is an unconscious process – and happens more often than not without one even realising it!
C – You can never drift upstream or against the tide! Drifting is to go with the flow of the mainstream! True faithfulness is like rowing upstream as one constantly adds to your faith and goes against the flow. When you stop growing you end up drifting and go backwards!
D – The speed going downstream only increases, and so too the danger increases with the speed of the drift – what many do not realise is that when you can hear the sound of the waterfall it is often too late!
E – Drifting is dangerous to others too as you can end up dragging along others who are weakened in their ability to row, causing the undercurrent of your drift to pull them with you!
COMMON SIGNS OF DRIFTING:
A – A diminishing desire to study Scripture and pray – a sign that drifting is occurring is when you find yourself less and less in the Word and in the process the desire to read the Word becomes less and less!
B – A diminishing desire to be in fellowship – this is a big warning sign!
Tehillim/Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of יהוה.”
Are you glad to come together in fellowship – “let us go” Dawiḍ is saying and he says he was glad when ‘they’ said. Fellowship is key and when you start neglecting fellowship and have a diminishing desire to be in fellowship you may just be drifting and in need of some rowing back to fellowship!
C – Diminishing desire to share the Truth and be the salt and light! – When you start losing the ability to faithfully witness with boldness and great joy – you may be drifting. Just because others are not rowing upstream – that doesn’t mean you must stop – this is an endurance call!
Are you guilty of drifting or neglect in your faith walk? Many are guilty of neglect when:
1 – They continue to hear the Truth without allowing it to have any impact on their lives! In other words they are hearing but nor hearing! Drifting in this passage is given in terms of the language of the sea – suggesting an image of a ship whose anchor is broken (possibly due to rust) and is loosened from the ocean floor and is drifting away from its position which is not a sudden or dramatic change but rather is slow, quiet and progressive – all because of a lack of maintenance and watchfulness! Drifting is the result of surrounding sin and undercurrents in and around our lives that cause ‘rust’ so to speak and so often the result of sin is not so much as the intention to sin but rather the carelessness and inattention to the Truth that guards us from sin and the problem is not the lack of knowledge or access to hearing – but rather a paying attention to what we hear.
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, shall be like a wise man who built his house on the rock, 25 and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not do them, shall be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, 27 and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell, and great was its fall.”
Is there any rust forming slowly in your life due to neglecting what you hear in the Word?
2 – They reckon that their sin is no big deal! Too many today are too soft on sin – which is lawlessness, and as a result so many do not even see the need to confess anymore!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What does it mean to confess? It is not a twisted meaning of going to a catholic priest and spilling your beans! The word ‘confess’ is the Greek word ὁμολογέω “homologeō” (Strong’s G3670) and means ‘to acknowledge, admit, to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of’ and also means ‘to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with’. Therefore “confess” in essence means that it is more than just admitting you were wrong – to confess means that you say what יהוה says! When His word says that the thing you are doing or did is sin, then you say the same thing – you declare that יהוה is right and that what you were doing is wrong and you allow the Word to wash you and cleanse you from unrighteousness (which is lawless living) and then walk in righteousness (that is to guard to do all He commands us to). You tell יהוה about it and acknowledge His Truth and walk in agreement with it, admitting you were wrong and that you say the same thing about your sin as what He does! If you do not say the same thing about your sin as the Word says then you will not stop sinning!
Do not reckon that your sin is not a big deal – sin is lawlessness and the lawless will be thrown out! Sin not dealt with leads to rust and will cause you to lose anchor in Messiah and drift away from the Truth!
3 – They forget that finishing well and strong is as important as starting well! Many start out with great strength and vigour only to let down their guard and let go of their grip – for many reasons – be it pride, sin, lack of boldness – all as a result of drifting and letting go of the oars thinking that they have arrived. We have a race to run or row in the context of what we are saying here – and yes the current will get strong to row against but we must not neglect that we need to finish well! Are there are areas in your walk set-apart walk that have become weakened and are not as strong or important to you when you first began? Endurance is the call – you got to keep on rowing, staying anchored in the Truth so that the currents of deception will not drag you away!
I have been mentioning the danger of or warning against drifting – something that doesn’t always happen overnight, but rather is subtle and most of the time is unnoticeable. The remedy for drifting is:
1 – Confess sin/lawlessness – in other words know the Word and agree with it – let your life be saying what the Word says as you submit and acknowledge and declare the Truth in every thought, action and speech!
2 – Remove all that hinders your growth – rowing makes you strong and your muscles grow from good exercise and diet and rest – feeding on the Word and rowing accordingly and having the right rest will make your faith muscle grow. What hinders muscle growth are worries/stress/bad foods etc. that only break down your muscle tissue and so we are to remove all that hinders growth. His Word is our daily bread – walking according to His rules is His exercise programme that will strengthen us and make us fit to endure; and entering His rest – that is His Sabbath that will refresh us. Neglecting Sabbath will hinder your growth and will cause you to drift – and when I say neglecting Sabbath – that is to neglect it His way – He tells us that we are to gather and proclaim a set-apart gathering – home alone doesn’t cut it according to the Word!
3 – Return to your first love – In Ḥazon/Revelation 2, the rebuke against the assembly at Ephesos was that they had left their first love – they had drifted from obedience – for יהוה is our first love and love for Him is to obey Him! If you have found that you have drifted – return to obedient love, acknowledge the Truth and get rid of all the rust! We must have a strong anchor – Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 6:18-19 tells us that we are to lay hold of the expectation set before us, which we have as an anchor of the life which is both safe and firm!
Qolasim/Colossians 2:6-8 “Therefore, as you accepted Messiah יהושע the Master, walk in Him, 7 having been rooted and built up in Him, and established in the belief, as you were taught, overflowing in it with thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one makes a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary matters of the world, and not according to Messiah.”
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:14-15 “so that we should no longer be children, tossed and borne about by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, in cleverness, unto the craftiness of leading astray,15 but, maintaining the truth in love, we grow up in all respects into Him who is the head, Messiah”
יהושע Messiah must be our one and only anchor!
4 – Watch out for those undercurrents – keep rowing and be on your guard against temptations that try to take you out from under your feet, and expect to always be going against the mainstream or tide!
5 – Realise we are in this together – Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:22-25 we see the term ‘let us’ used three times and declares that because we have a High Priest ‘let us’:
“let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy. 24 And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works”
Together we are to draw near with a true heart; hold fast to our confession, not giving up and be concerned for each other – this is how we will prevent drifting. Fellowship and Community living is vital for us as we go against the stream!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews is a great letter which spells out very clearly who Messiah is and how we have a High Priest forever and contains great encouragement for us just as it did for those early believers who faced great discouragement, and at the same time it gives us stern warnings of which we have just dealt with the first of 5 such warnings. The reason I have expanded this first is that if we drift then the danger of not heeding the others is almost certain. So the danger of drifting is real – pay close attention to what you have heard – the Truth that is, and allow the faith that comes by hearing be active!
What are the other 4 dangers or warnings? Let us briefly look at each one:
2 – DANGER OF DOUBTING (3:7-4:2)
Drifting will cause doubt and unbelief chapter 3:12 makes it clear that the writer is writing to ‘believers’ as he says, “Look out, brothers,” and this was not to those outside. Some of the brothers were drifting and were doubting the Truth – so in essence you had ‘unbelieving believers’ if that can make much sense! Failure to have an active faith – that is a faith with works – the good works prepared in advance for us to do – that is His Torah (Instructions) – will result in a hardened heart and one that doubts and is unstable. We are commissioned to encourage each other daily so that we are not hardened by sins deceivableness because we have become partakers of Messiah and must hold fast till the end! In 3:7 and 4:7 we are told that if we hear His voice we must not harden our hearts. We must not doubt His Word – the danger is that we will not enter His rest.
3 – DANGER OF DULLNESS (5:11-6:20)
5:11 the writer tells them that they had become dull of hearing. The word dull is νωθρός “nōthros” (Strong’s G3576) and means ‘slow, sluggish, slothful, and lazy’. The had become lazy in their hearing of the Truth and as a result they could not receive the meat/solid food of the Word as they needed milk all over – they were inexperienced and immature – the danger of this is that they could never go on to perfection, and sadly many who have tasted the Good News yet grow sluggish in their hearing and become lazy often fall away – and here in chapter 6 the danger of this dullness is that it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, tasted the Good Word, and been partakers of the set-apart spirit – it is impossible for them to be renewed to repentance! We must not become sluggish in hearing! Hear what the Spirit is saying to the assembly! When you grow lazy in hearing the Word you become malnourished and lose your senses and become deaf, unable to hear the Truth any longer – let us not become deaf but rather go on to perfection!
4 – DANGER OF DESPISING (10:26-39)
The Word here is clear – anyone who disregarded the Torah of Mosheh died on the witness of two or three witnesses – so how much more, then, those who despise the Son of Elohim and treat His blood as common. We are to live by faith to the preservation of life and not draw back to destruction. Having received the Truth we are to walk in it and not despise it by wilfully sinning for which there is no forgiveness!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, 27 but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents.”
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 15: 30-31 “‘But the being who does whatever defiantly, whether he is native or a stranger, he reviles יהוה, and that being shall be cut off from among his people. 31 ‘Because he has despised the word of יהוה, and has broken His command, that being shall certainly be cut off, his crookedness is upon him.’ ”
Wilful sinning as a lifestyle and the refusal to change is regarded as sinning with a high hand and that is not good – the result is being cut off! Drifting, doubting, dullness, despising – if not heeded will lead ultimately to the 5th warning:
5 – DANGER OF DEFYING/DENYING (12:15-29)
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:25 “Take heed not to refuse the One speaking. For if those did not escape who refused the warning on earth, much less we who turn away from Him from heaven”
This is a warning against a refusal to hear the Truth – and may I just once again remind us all that these warnings were not to unbelievers!!! These are to believers – just like us sitting here – for let me tell you that there are many who hear, yet refuse to hear or rather deny/defy the Truth. We must see to it that none of us fall short of the favour of Elohim and end up becoming defiled through bitterness. So many are bitter and end up selling their birth right just like Ěsaw – all for a single meal. Let me warn you – all it takes is a meal of twisted truth that is riddled with lies and deceit to cause you to fall short. All it takes is that one ear tickling message you went to seek out because you didn’t like the Truth and what it revealed in your life. Many have sold their birth right and will too one day seek to inherit the blessing with tears and will sadly be rejected. Just as He shook the earth back then; not only will He shake earth again but also the heaven!
Do not become defiled through denying the Truth. So many start out strong yet drift slowly away and end up denying the Truth.
Guys these are serious warnings and dangers we need to heed very carefully. And so my appeal to you is simply this – beware of the dangers of drifting! If you have drifted a little, start rowing back – get rid of the rusty lifestyle and get back on board with both hands on the oars giving it your all unto Him – and I also appeal to you that even through stormy weather do not jump ship! Just as Sha’ul told the sailors not to leave the ship so that no one would be harmed – we have a Mighty Captain in whom we place all our trust – instead of trying to bail in a storm rather encourage each other and help each other get rid of unnecessary burdens and let us keep rowing together upstream – the more hands on deck rowing full steam the better we will gain ground against the mainstream and tides of life!
If you have been a drifter in many ways and think like the motorsport drivers that you are in control with wheels in one direction and car in another – realise that that is not the way – let Messiah take the lead and stop being a drifter to becoming a strong rower as you clearly heed the dangers of drifting!Shalom!