Shabbat Shalom to you all, what a joy it is to come together in loving obedience and worship our Elohim and Saviour יהושע Messiah. One of the problems that we see in many people today is their inability to ‘see’ the Truth as many traditions and dogmas of man have sadly placed layer upon layer over the purity of the Truth of the Word and as a result so many people are spiritually blind, unable to see the truth from the lies as they have simply been made pray for the enemy through philosophy, empty deceit, traditions of man and elementary matters of the world and are following ways that are not according to Messiah as the enemy has put layers and layers of dogmas and doctrines over the eyes of many that they are unable to see – just like putting over our eyes layer after layer of onions that when you need to get rid of them it causes tears so that the majority prefer to keep them on and not go through the tears and pain of repenting and turning back to the Living Word. There is a battle on and it is for our worship and for us as children of the Most High El we need to make sure that we have our eyes open and are awake to the truth able to rightly divide the truth and expose the lies. That sounds all pretty nice and easy in speech but how does one guard against the prospect of walking in blindness – how does one stay true to the Truth? Tonight I would like us to look at great insight and instructions that we have in this regard, written by Kěpha in a message called, “Avoiding Spiritual Blindness” and may we be once again reminded just how to have a clean vision toward the Truth, walk in it and be guided by the Truth. Turn with me to Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 1:1-11 (Read).
This second letter in essence was addressing the danger of false teachers and a key concept herein is knowledge where we see knowledge or know at least 13 times in this short letter – knowledge of Messiah will keep you from falling to false teachers – those who claim the Truth and even at times sound so genuine yet are leading you away from Torah as opposed to leading back to Torah! The days we are living in call for us to be awake, alert and watchful and we do know for sure that Kěpha knew what this meant. He learnt the hard way of what happens when one is not alert. He had the tendency in his early years to feel over confident when danger was near and all too easily overlooked, at times, the Master’s warnings. He fell asleep when he should have been praying and he denied Messiah 3 times – a moment in his life that really caused him to suddenly realise that his eyes were perhaps not as open as he would have liked them to be. After the resurrection of יהושע Kěpha was ‘reinstated’ if you will as יהושע came to him while he was fishing and asked him 3 times, “Do you love ME?” Kěpha writes from experience in following Messiah with his all as he certainly knew then that there was no time to be found idle, or caught sleeping – he learnt first-hand how to avoid spiritual blindness and this is the essence of his teaching here – so firm and adamant in speaking this message he said that even though they had heard it before he would continue to remind them of this – growing in knowledge – not simply intellectual alone but also in intimacy of who our Creator and Saviour is – is of vital importance for us as we endeavour to please Elohim by faith.
Our life begins with faith – faith in יהושע Messiah – and so if we do not know the Name of the Creator – you have to ask just how unstable will our walk of faith be? In the hearing of the 10 Words, or 10 commandments The Almighty clearly stated first up, “I AM יהוה your Elohim” – sadly many leave this out when trying to quote the 10 commandments as they start only with ‘have no other mighty ones before Me’. יהוה declares His Name and tells us who He is and that we are to have no others – only Him “the Great I AM”, יהוה is His Name!!! What we must understand is that it begins with His Name. Perhaps this is the reason why so many so-called believers can never stand firm in the professing faith that you hear from their lips – simply because their faith is in manufactured names and titles – and they do not know the Name of the Almighty!
The faith we have obtained is by the righteousness of our Elohim and Saviour יהושע Messiah and this gift of faith must grow in order for us to avoid the dangers of becoming spiritually blind. Our knowledge of Him must grow and as this grows so does favour and peace grow. Just think about it for a moment – most of us here thought, I am sure, that we all understood what ‘grace’ was while buried deep within the very dogmatic system of ‘church’ – after all isn’t ‘grace’ one of the major topics that is taught and proclaimed in Christianity – “we are under grace”! They sadly have no understanding of true grace or rather favour of Elohim or do they? If so then why do so many use ‘grace’ then as a licence to ‘sin’ which is ‘lawlessness’. It is by the wonder of His grace that we are able to walk in His instructions – His Torah. Kěpha tells us in verse 2 that favour and peace be increased to us in knowledge. If we do not know Him – because we do not know His name and do not keep His commands then how can favour and peace be increased to us? Let me tell you, as I am sure that most of you would agree with me, that the more we actually walk in obedience to the wonderful Truth of His Torah the more we in fact begin to understand just how favourable His favour/grace is and the more we certainly find peace increase in us as His shalom fills us!
His Mighty-like power has given us all we need for ‘life’ and ‘reverence’ – life and reverence – isn’t that just what the Torah teaches? Of course it does, listen to this:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:1-3 “And this is the command, the laws and right-rulings which יהוה your Elohim has commanded, to teach you to do in the land which you are passing over to possess, 2 so that you fear יהוה your Elohim, to guard all His laws and His commands which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days be prolonged. 3 “And you shall hear, O Yisra’ĕl, and shall guard to do, that it might be well with you, and that you increase greatly as יהוה Elohim of your fathers has spoken to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”
The Torah teaches us to fear יהוה – that is to have reverence for Him, so that we are equipped to do what… “guard His commands and instructions” – so that we can ‘live’ and ‘increase’ and that it might go well with us and our children!!!! Why would so many want to reject His Torah? I will tell you why – spiritual blindness!
Ok, so He has given us we need – He gave Himself – the Living Word – in order that He may dwell in and among us as He has called us to His esteem and uprightness – He has called us unto Himself! Do you hear this magnificent truth – In Him we have all we need – the Living Word – that is all we need – we do not need additional doctrines and dogmas and theologies of man – His Word completes us!
And it is for this very reason – the fact that He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light – that we are therefore to do our utmost to add to the faith/belief we have in Him. Kěpha lists an additional 7 characteristics to faith that ought to mark our lives as children of El Elyon – El Most High – these are not 7 stages of development or 7 steps to a better you – no these are all characteristics that we are to have in increasing measure continuously!
The word ‘add’ is the Greek word ‘epichoregeo’ (G2023) and carries with it the meaning to supply/furnish or present; in other words it simply means that we are to supply generously one to the other. As each quality or characteristic is exercised we are at the same time developing another, as they all relate closely to one another and grow out of truly living in the life and reverence of obediently walking in יהושע Messiah! This is not a mind-set of, “Ok I am saved now so the Father can do the rest” No! Kěpha writes that we are to ‘make every effort’ or ‘do your utmost’ to ‘supply generously’ one quality with another.
This requires great disciplined diligence – diligence is the attention and care legally expected or required of a person! A diligent person is one who is characterised by a steady, earnest and energetic effort! Let me ask you, “How diligent are you in your life and reverence unto יהוה? Do you pay close attention and take great care to do what is expected and required of you, not as dictated to by dogmas and traditions of men, but as spoken and written in His Word?
Yoḥanan/John 14:15 “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.”
How steady is your walk of faith? Are you earnestly seeking how you can add or supply to your faith these very qualities needed in order to truly walk in love – love for Elohim and love for one another?
Because in verse 8 Kěpha tells us that if these qualities are ‘in’ you – that to say that they are ‘yours’ – you have taken ownership and responsibility – that is that you are showing growth resulting in spiritual effectiveness and productivity then you will never – yes never be inactive or stumble!!!
Wow! How many of you have ever felt pretty useless at times? You feel inactive – because you are that is and you thought to yourself, “What have I got to give?” Well Kěpha simply tells us that in possessing these qualities in increasing measure you will be sure that you will never be found to be inactive – because love is obedience in action – love is not passive – love obeys!!!
Verse 9 he warns us that if these qualities are not ‘in’ a person then that person is blind, short-sighted and has forgotten that they have been cleansed from old sins. This is a very interesting statement to me as it so clearly throws out the false and misguided lie of a ‘once saved always saved’ myth! What Kěpha is saying to us here is that he is speaking of one who was previously cleansed from his sin yet does not possess these qualities. In other words they have simply lost their way – they have lost sight of the Truth and are now blind!!! Why? Because they lack diligence and ability to pay careful attention to the Word and would much rather have their ears tickled by some false teachers and prophets which Kěpha is distinctly warning us about in this letter. Those who with fabricated words, titles, names and traditions and dogmas will use the masses for self gain! This is exactly what the mother harlot has done – this is exactly what Christianity has done – it has fabricated names, titles and traditions in order to win people and use them for self gain! It is time for us to be alert and awake and be diligent in possessing these very qualities Kěpha speaks of in order for us to ‘Avoid Spiritual Blindness’. You see it is very easy to become ‘blind’! I love the way our brother Reinier puts it – to have 20/20 vision – that is perfect eyesight then read Yeḥezqĕl/Ezekiel 20:20 “And set apart My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, to know that I am יהוה your Elohim.”
Remembering to keep and set-apart His Sabbaths is critical for our spiritual eyesight! Those who disregard His Sabbath are spiritually blind and do not know that יהוה is our Elohim!!! His Sabbaths, His Appointed Times (His Feasts which include His Sabbaths!) and more importantly His Name and then walking in total obedience to His Torah is what gives us eyesight – His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. If you do not walk in Him – and that is to walk in His Torah – then you cannot see where you are headed – you are walking in the dark (ignorance) and not in His light (Knowledge). Kěpha gives us some insight in how we are to avoid spiritual blindness.
Alright then, let us look briefly at each of these qualities Kěpha lists in verse 5-7 from faith to love:
1 – FAITH – It begins with our faith – putting our belief and trust in the ONE who has called you out of ignorance into His knowledge, the One who saved you, who has cleansed you and who has equipped you for life and reverence. Notice that I say and emphasise the ONE who has called you – because He is ONE, not three! The trinity doctrine is a pagan rooted belief system that has blinded the masses. יהושע even tells us that the demons believe that יהוה is ONE and shudder!!! They do not believe He is 3!!! Faith in the One True Elohim – יהוה is His Name! We know that Ya’aqoḇ tells us that faith without works is dead – what works you ask? The ‘good works’ prepared in advance for you to do – what are those? To walk in His Torah – to walk in Him the Living Word and guarding to do all He has commanded us to do! There is so much ‘dead faith’ around today – may our faith be alive and well through our loving obedience!
2 – UPRIGHTNESS – As I have already said – faith alone is dead – it is simply not enough for us to just believe and think that that is all you have to do. You need to, according to this Word in Kěpha Bět, supply generously to your faith ‘uprightness’. In the Greek this is the word, ‘arete’ (G703) and it carries the meaning of ‘moral excellence, virtue, purity etc.’ It is to be set-apart. One cannot be faithful without uprightness – it is impossible! So then with great zeal and earnestness add to or supply generously to your faith moral excellence! We are chosen, royal and set-apart – a people for a possession, now then live like it! Uprightness denotes an excellence – obedience with a spirit of excellence. You will guard to do His Torah – not because it is a huge schlep or a major hassle that we know we have to do – no – you guard to do with a great regard for excellence, meaning there must be no room for compromise. Uprightness is to simply be found doing what is right and that is to walk in His righteousness which is…
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 “And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before יהוה our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
Supply generously to your faith the Excellency of ‘doing’ His Word – no shortcuts – but rather giving your all for the highest standard for a set-apart, chosen and royal people. This is a vigorous exercising of your faith!!!
3 – KNOWLEDGE – This here in the Greek is ‘gnosis’ (G1108) which signifies intelligence and understanding. This is the active hunger of digging deeper into the perfect knowledge of Messiah – The Bread of Life. Knowledge is to be added to you uprightness – in fact it becomes increasingly difficult to walk in uprightness if your knowledge is not growing and being added. But how does knowledge come? It comes in the doing!!!! Faith must result in action – that is obedient living, and in diligently seeking the word and doing it comes the understanding and the knowledge. Let me encourage you here – just because you may not fully know or understand all of His instructions and Torah – does not mean that you must not or cannot do them. Add knowledge!!! Cry out for wisdom and understanding – he who lacks must ask and it will be given in great measure – but you must not doubt and become unstable but rather believe and grow in uprightness.
When you dig, hungering and thirsting for righteousness – you will be filled! This is what I believe is what ‘supplying’ to your uprightness is – the hungering and thirsting for the Word. Now listen, you will be filled according to your hunger and thirst – if you only come for a ‘snack’ once in a while that is as much as you will get, yet come for the whole buffet and boy will you begin to taste and see that יהוה is good !!! So let me ask you, “Just how hungry and thirsty are you – to walk in His Torah?” or are you just happy to just believe any old tradition that has been taught to you without having tested the validity of it against the Truth?
If you are to supply the high standard of uprightness – that pure set-apart living – with knowledge then guess what? You must be found to be digging daily – the digging is not just for the elect few who want to rule over you – that is the practice of the Nicolaitans which יהושע hates! Yes there are some called to be apostles, pastors and teachers, prophets evangelists etc. and the rest of the body support those He has called to serve Him in these areas, but each and every person is called to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling – it is a work out!!! Are you prepared to work it out or simply believe others to work it out for you through dogmas and vain traditions? Watch out for those! Do you just accept what you have been told and do whatever you are told when it comes to your faith or do you test it and seek out knowledge daily in order to continually supply generously your upright walk of faith in Messiah.
4 – SELF-CONTROL – Here the Greek word is ‘egkrateia’ (G1466) and speaks of the virtue of one who ‘masters his desires and passions’, especially their sensual appetites. Let me ask, “Have you mastered your sensual appetites?” Or does the flesh get the better of you more often than you would care to mention? Self –control is critical and we are called to walk according to the Spirit and Sha’ul clearly tells us in Romiyim (Romans) that the Torah is Spiritual and therefore we are to exercise great restraint and self-control to not give in to the lusts of the flesh that only hinder a set-apart walk. Supply generously to knowledge self-control. As you grow in knowledge will you actually be diligent in applying that knowledge – or does it just become more knowledge that you store up for no other use than to simply just ‘know’. Some people will hoard loads and loads of knowledge just so that they can be ‘in the know’ so to speak. They have all the information yet their lives do not change. They research the truth, find the truth – yet refuse to walk in the truth – why? Lack of self-control – they just becomes a knowledge store of information that has no impact on their lives as they refuse to exercise self-control – lacking the ability to apply the truth and Kěpha says clearly that just knowing is not enough!
Self-control must be added to knowledge – that means exercising some discipline. For instance – you may know that you are to keep Sabbath set-apart and gather as commanded unto יהוה, do no work – then why is it that so many who know this lack the self-control to stick to doing what they know is the right thing to do? Growing in knowledge will help you walk out in uprightness but you must add self-control – do not let circumstances, situations, and relationships control you – exercise self-control in the application of knowledge. Many know that His Name is not just some manufactured title or man-made name – then use self-control and do not speak what His Name is not! You know that ‘lord’ or ‘god’ is neither His name nor any form of title that refers to Him – so then exercise self-control and do not use pagan titles! Add self-control generously without fear of persecution to that which you learn.
5 – ENDURANCE – Greek word, ‘hupomone’ (G5281) – speaks of a steadfastness, patience and continuance. Let me remind you that self-control is not a one-time event – you have to supply generously to it ‘endurance’ – and that is the ability to be steadfast in your walk – not being rocked as it were by petty attacks or harsh words that are spoken toward and against you for His Name’s sake; it is not being flustered and taken out by trials of many kinds – endurance added to self-control added to knowledge will enable you to walk it all out with joy – His joy that strengthens you.
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2-4 “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the proving of your belief works endurance. 4 And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught.”
Ḥazon/Revelation also repeatedly reminds us that in what is to come in the days ahead calls for faithful endurance on the part of the set-apart ones. Endurance is the ability to stay true to the Truth – keeping your eyes fixed on the Prince and Perfecter of our faith and running with great perseverance the race set before you – have endurance in increasing measure, adding it to self-control and do not give up at the first speed bump or hurdle you face. Be focused in fighting the good fight of faith all the way to the end. With this kind of endurance added to self-control you will grow immensely.
6 – REVERENCE – It is through the very endurance of trials and the ability to remain steadfast in His Truth that one needs and must add generously reverence – that is the honour, esteem, respect and piety that is rightly due to Him – this is a fear of יהוה!
Iyoḇ/Job 28:28 “And He said to man, ‘See, the fear of יהוה, that is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding.’ ” Tehillim/Psalms 111:10 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, All those doing them have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Set-apart One is understanding.”
To put it plainly – if we want to be able to endure under pressure and grow in our walk of faith – we must have reverence for יהוה! We do not take Him lightly – He is Mighty – He is a Jealous El – He is not our buddy – He is our Saviour, Redeemer and King whom we serve in reverence for who He is. He is יהוה our Elohim!
7 – BROTHERLY KINDNESS – This is the Greek word “Philadelphia” which is brotherly love:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands.”
Add this to reverence! This brotherly love is a fervent practical caring for others – do not put on a show when ‘trying to love others’ – be real and true to the Word.
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 4:20-21 “If someone says, “I love Elohim,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one not loving his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love Elohim whom he has not seen? 21 And we have this command from Him, that the one loving Elohim should love his brother too.”
Brotherly kindness shows a deep concern for others and their needs and puts others first – a quality that we all can certainly increase in, aměn! If you are carrying any offense or if you know your brother is – don’t wait for them to come to you – go to them and deal with it and resolve it and show the Master’s love!
8 – LOVE – Corinthians 13 speaks of what love is and walking in love is the most excellent way – it is not just a feeling or emotion – loves is active and the goal of the commands is love – love for Elohim and love for our neighbours are what the Torah and prophets hang upon – that is not that it has “hung” them and put them to death – Elohim forbid – No – they hang on them – so we carry out and uphold His Torah walking in the love for Elohim and love for one another through total obedience. I have spoken before on this and perhaps will again soon but tonight I will not, for the sake of time, go into the reality of what true love entails, however Yoḥanan sums it up nicely for us in:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:3 “For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy”
The goal is love – this symphony of characteristics that we are to ensure we add or supply generously given by Kěpha begins with faith and ends with love. As we build on our faith in Messiah, we get to exhibit Him in our daily living being the salt and light of the earth by generously supplying these qualities that climax in love – an active love!
The characteristics of one not growing is simply this – they are a) Barren/idle – will simply not do anything; b) Unfruitful and c) Blind – having no insight due to a refusal to receive a love for the truth!
Supplying the right qualities in one’s life will keep one from becoming spiritually blind. Avoid spiritual blindness by doing your utmost to make firm your calling – and that is to the esteem and uprightness in Messiah. And remember it is ‘DOING’ these that will cause you to never be idle and never lose your sight and never stumble – this is an awesome promise!
AVOID SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS and get busy supplying to all that He has freely given you – doing all this does not save you but it keeps you from stumbling! Perhaps you have still layer upon layer of traditions and dogmas and teachings of men that have blinded you to the fullness of the Truth – get stripping (Repent) – shed some tears and allow His Word to heal you, cleanse you and set you free from the bondage of slavery to man-made dogmas and doctrines that appear in disguise as freedom yet are simply falsehood and run with perseverance the race set before you in Messiah. Go and read the rest of Kěpha Bět and be alert, watch out for false teachers and prophets – avoid the blindness – because now you know how!!!
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!