22nd of the 9th month 2015/2016
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life, 12 having your behaviour among the gentiles good so that when they speak against you as evil-doers, let them, by observing your good works, esteem Elohim in a day of visitation.”
As we hear Kěpha’s appeal to abstain from fleshly lusts that battle against the life we recognise how alive and important this appeal is to us today, especially as we recognise how the pressures of a fleshly driven world are increasing daily at an alarming rate. Being steadfast in being faithful sojourners and ambassadors of the coming reign of our Master is something that we must hold fast to, ensuring that our behaviour, whether in word or deed, is always a good witness of our Master and Elohim!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘appeal’ is the word παρακαλέω parakaleō – Strong’s G3870 which means, ‘call near, invite, invoke, exhort, encourage, appeal, beg’. This word is used in a variety of forms, for example: a) when summonsing someone to an action that is required; b) to beseech others for an urgent response to help; c) to ‘exhort’, as in the context used to encourage soldiers headed for battle; as well as d) to ‘comfort and encourage’, especially in times of hardships and grief. Kěpha’s appeal here is certainly a call to action that calls for an urgent response on the part of the hearers of his appeal, as well as an exhortation of encouragement to the beloved faithful to keep standing firm in the belief amidst the raging pressures of life that are manifested in fleshly lusts that arise amidst a consumer driven world!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘abstain’ is ἀπέχομαι apechomai – Strong’s G567 which means, ‘abstain, hold oneself of, refrain, hold back, keep off, be away, keep distant’. The Greek word used here for ‘fleshly’ is σαρκικός sarkikos – Strong’s G4559 which means, ‘pertaining to the flesh, fleshly, carnal, material things’, and is used to describe that which is governed by the sinful human nature and not by the Spirit of Elohim. In other words it is used to describe those who walk according to the flesh and not the Spirit, which indicates those who walk according to whatever seems right in their own eyes as opposed to walking in humble submission and loving obedience to the Torah and commands of Elohim!
The Greek word translated as ‘lusts’ is ἐπιθυμία epithumia – Strong’s G1939 meaning, ‘lust, desire, lust after, desiring what is forbidden, deep desire and longing for, coveting’.
Titos/Titus 2:11-12 “For the saving Gift of Elohim has appeared to all men, 12 instructing us to renounce wickedness and worldly lusts, and to live sensibly, righteously, and reverently in the present age”
What I also want to make clear here is that the ‘lusts of the flesh’ can also be applied to that deep longing and desire to have things changed and different, or the coveting of a different circumstance and in so doing will cause one to do whatever it takes to achieve it, even if it means departing from the prescribed path of set-apartness! Lusting in the flesh is not only the longing for and desiring of the things you may tend to day dream about, but can also be the drive to make the change to one’s fleshly circumstances that causes one to set aside the commands of Elohim and conveniently neglect a proper obedience to His Torah in order to satisfy fleshly needs and demands!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘battle’ is the word στρατεύω strateuō – Strong’s G4754 which means, ‘to make war, to fight’. The Greek word translated as ‘life’ is ψυχή psuchē – Strong’s G5590 which means, ‘breath, soul, heart, mind, life, being’, which is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word נֶפֶשׁ ‘nephesh’ H5315 which is ‘a soul, a living being, the inner being of a man’. Sha’ul tells us that though we walk in the flesh we do not battle according to the flesh:
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not fight according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing strongholds, 5 overthrowing reasonings and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
Sha’ul is basically saying the same thing as Kěpha, and that is that we are to stand firm in making sure our obedience is made complete by having our behaviour among the nations good as we walk in the Torah of our Master and Elohim in a world that wages a fleshly war against a called for set-apartness that our Elohim desires!
One thing we do realise more and more as we do our utmost in presenting ourselves approved to Elohim, as a worker who does not need to be ashamed and rightly handles the Word of Truth, is that… in case you were not aware… let me remind you… we are in a warzone!!! Our task is to stand armed in the Truth and keep standing, dressed in the complete armour of Elohim and guard to do all He has commanded us to and abstain from the battles of the flesh that try to compromise a set-apart walk in our Master. While we all face various battles on a daily basis we must encourage one another on a daily basis and make sure that we do not neglect the gathering of the set-apart ones as is the habit of some, for some who have neglected the gathering have fallen away to the desires of the flesh and have been overcome by compromise and sin and have fallen from a steadfast position in the Master. As I said, we are in a warzone and in war there are casualties, yet we who hold firm to the Truth and stand firm in our Master have an assurance of victory, that we can and are enabled to praise Him in, here and now! In a brief message tonight called, “FLEE, FOLLOW, FIGHT AND BE FAITHFUL!” I want us all to be encouraged and strengthened in the Word of Truth and be strengthened to withstand the raging battles of the flesh that war against our beings! To do that I want us to look at some of the words that Sha’ul gave in his first letter to Timotiyos. Please turn with me to Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6:11-16 (Read)
In a continuation of the words we have already read from Kěpha and Sha’ul I want us to look at these words written to Timotiyos and be strengthened to recognise the dangers of the battles that rage against us and be firmly equipped in the Word to withstand them with great strength and joy in our Master and Elohim! In these few verses from this letter we are able to see a clear instruction that is given to the man of Elohim. Instructions that teach effective measures against the daily battles we face as we walk in the flesh yet do not fight according to the flesh!
As the title of my message states, I find 4 key elements or actions that are collectively required for the true man of Elohim, and by man of Elohim I mean both male and female believers who stay in our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah.
These 4 actions are: FLEE – FOLLOW – FIGHT – AND BE FAITHFUL! These actions can also describe 4 key characteristics of a true ambassador of our King and His reign as they display these actions amidst a very sinful world that is primarily driven by the lusts of the flesh! Let us look at each of these individually:
1 – FLEE
In verse 11 Sha’ul tells Timotiyos to ‘flee’ from all this…! What is the ‘all this’ that Sha’ul is referring to? As one reads the entire letter it becomes clear that Timotiyos must flee from all corruption and falsehood as well as the lust of the flesh. From verse 6 he teaches us that reverence with contentment is great gain and that we did not bring anything into the world and cannot take anything out of it, yet when we have food and covering we are to be satisfied. Messiah teaches us that we are not to worry about what we eat, where we sleep or what we wear for the nations seek after these, yet the Father knows what we need and He is our provider who gives us our daily bread and covering! Sha’ul then tells Timotiyos about those who wish to be rich fall into various trials and many foolish lusts that cause ruin and destruction and how the love of silver is a root of all kind of evil, for some who have longed for it have strayed from the truth and pierced themselves with many pains! This is what he is telling us to flee from! Flee from the injurious lusts and love of money that plunge may into ruin as they leave the set-apart way in order to chase fleshly things that cannot save them!
The Greek word translated as ‘flee’ is φεύγω pheugō – Strong’s G5343 which means, ‘flee, run away from, escape’, and is used metaphorically to mean, ‘to flee (that is to shun or avoid by flight) that which is abhorrent’. We must shun or avoid by flight that which is contrary to the Truth! The idea of this strong verb implies an urgent action that does not hesitate or delay in escaping the danger of corruption and compromise. We are to flee from the love of money and from things that draw us out of our Master’s covering and favour. So many people get pierced with many pains and injure themselves when they do not flee as they should. The lusts of the flesh, if one does not flee from them, can cause serious harm and destruction. Fightings and strivings come from people not having what they want, according to the flesh!
Many people will spend hours looking at pictures of what they would like to have or what they wish their life was like, and in doing so plunge themselves into a pit of destruction and self-pity that is never content or satisfied with what we have in the Master, and you will find that when this happens they can never be a true witness and ambassador for our Master but rather become the opposite as they present a profaned image that blasphemes rather than esteems our King, which severely sets them at risk of facing death!
We must be on guard against those things that attract the eyes and end up consuming one’s thoughts and emotions to the point where they think that they cannot be content until they have it, as covetousness sets in and steals away true reverence and contentment!
To flee one must be fit, and by that I mean that one must be fit in the Word of Truth so that you can recognise that which must be fled from. Proper fitness can only come as one meditates on the Torah day and night, guarding to do all that is commanded therein. Proper fitness takes discipline and commitment! Those who neglect the Word and get slack in guarding to do what our Master commands us to will find themselves being enslaved by injurious lusts that hinder their set-apartness and cause them to stray from the belief as they begin the pursuit of fleshliness and materialism, believing that they will be satisfied when they get what their being lusts after. This is when the love for Elohim grows cold and the love for money takes over. Sha’ul was warning Timotiyos against this and this is a still a very big warning that we must take heed of today by making sure that we are fit in the Word and flee all these. Sha’ul tells this again to Timotiyos in his second letter to him:
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 2:22 “And flee from the lusts of youth, but pursue righteousness, belief, love, peace with those calling on the Master out of a clean heart.”
To properly flee the lusts of youth and be equipped to pursue righteousness, belief and love for Elohim out of a clean heart, growth must be taking place. Growth in the Word is vital and those who are not growing in the Word remain hindered by youthful lusts and never grow up so to speak, as they continually find themselves giving in to fleshly battles while blaming others for their lack of growth! Too many who are slack in their discipline of set-apartness tend to flee from the Truth rather than fleeing from the lusts of the world! Many years ago I was told by an old pastor friend of someone who came to him after a strong word on repentance was given and said that it was time for him to move on from the fellowship as he was not growing! The pastor looked at him and said, “Why are you not growing? It is not my responsibility to grow you – I plant and water, Elohim grows. For you to be growing you must be completely surrendered to Elohim”. He turned to point to a recent convert and said, “Do you see that man? He has only been saved for 3 years and he owns 4 Bibles, 3 lexicons, 5 dictionaries and studies daily – he is growing – so why are you not growing? If you don’t want to grow, then by all means go!”
Too many believers, or should I say claiming believers as they lack works, want to blame others when they are not growing, especially when they are not willing to spend time learning the Word. To make sure that we are growing as we should, we must flee from the injurious lusts that can severely damage those who give in to the things of the flesh!
2 – FOLLOW
The second instruction we see being given to Timotiyos here is to ‘pursue’, which is the Greek word διώκω diōkō – Strong’s G1377 which means, ‘to put to flight, pursue, persecute’, and also carries the meaning, ‘to follow after or to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing’, or, ‘earnestly endeavour to acquire’ and can also mean, ‘to suffer persecution’! This therefore gives us much insight in understanding that when we properly pursue what we should then we may suffer persecution for it. In other words, pursuing set-apartness will bring on persecution:
Timotiyos Bět /2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah יהושע, shall be persecuted.”
This verb for ‘pursue/follow’ is a continuous verb, which teaches us that it is not just simply about what you flee to avoid but also what you are pursuing in an active and positive response to fleeing from the things you should.
Sha’ul gives Timotiyos gives 6 things here that are to be pursued, so let us look at each one:
A – Righteousness: We all know what righteousness is, right? Let me remind you:
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.”
The Hebrew word used here for ‘righteousness’ is צְדָקָה tseḏaqah – Strong’s H6666 meaning, ‘righteousness, righteous acts, merits, righteous deeds’ and is the feminine form of צֶדֶק tseḏeq – Strong’s H6664.
To follow righteousness alone is to follow our Master and Elohim, and King of Righteousness, יהושע Messiah.
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they shall be filled.”
We know that the Torah teaches us that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of יהוה. With a proper fleeing of that which is false we must be engaged in an active pursuit of that which is True and life to us.
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:20 “Follow righteousness, righteousness alone, so that you live and inherit the land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you.”
Follow righteousness, righteousness alone! The Hebrew wording of the first part of this verse is as follows:
צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף – ‘tseḏeq tseḏeq tirdoph’ which can be literally translated as, “righteousness, righteousness you shall follow”.
The Hebrew word for righteousness – צֶדֶק tseḏeq – Strong’s H6664 is used twice in a row for clear emphasis on what must be followed, and the Hebrew root word that is used for ‘follow’ is רָדַף radaph – Strong’s H7291 and carries the meaning, ‘to pursue, chase, follow closely after, aim to secure, run after, hunt, persecute’ and in the context of pursuing and running after, we note that it is after righteousness and not anything else. If one is truly pursuing something then the focus of the pursuit is so intense on that which is being pursued that there can be no effort spared for anything else!
This word is used in:
Hoshěa/Hosea 6:3 “So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.”
This word gives us the picture of running, and in Scripture we are clearly told how we shall know that we know Elohim:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3-5 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. 4 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 perfected in him.”
To know Him is to guard His commands, and guarding is a continual action that must be done each and every day through a proper pursuit as pictured by running, as Dawiḏ makes it clear how he runs, in:
Tehillah/Psalm 119:32 “I run the way of Your commands, for You enlarge my heart.”
The reason I am emphasising the pursuit of righteousness is to make it clear that without proper righteousness and the pursuit thereof a proper pursuit of the other 5 things that are mentioned cannot be done. The pursuit of reverence, belief, love, endurance and meekness cannot be properly pursued if the guarding of the commands of Elohim is neglected or cast aside! Think about it… how can one show a proper reverence when they disregard the need to guard the commands of Elohim? Love for Elohim is to guard His commands! Belief without works of righteousness is dead! Endurance without righteousness will not last and will die out. True meekness cannot be pursued if one is not properly bowed down in humility and paying close attention to the Word! Proper righteousness can also not be pursued if not done in meekness or with endurance or belief in, and proper reverence and love for, our Master and Elohim!
Let us take a look at the Greek words for these other 5 actions Sha’ul tells us that needs to be pursued along with righteousness!
B – Reverence: The Greek word translated here as ‘reverence’ is the noun εὐσέβεια eusebeia – Strong’s G2150 and carries the meaning of, ‘well-directed reverence’, and at its root it carries the meaning, ‘to be true and to adore’ speaking of one’s devout worship and being dutiful in one’s obedience’.
This word, applied to a believer, denotes a life that is truly acceptable unto Messiah, indicating a proper attitude toward יהושע Messiah, who saves him. It comes from the adjective εὐσεβής eusebēs – Strong’s G2152 which describes a ‘pious, devout, reverent man’. These words are a construct of two words: 1 – εὖ eu – Strong’s G2095 which is an adverb meaning, ‘good, well done’ and 2 – σέβω sebō – Strong’s G4576 which is a verb that means, ‘to worship, revere, Elohim-fearing’. So true reverence, even in the Greek understanding is a ‘good and well done, Elohim-fearing worship’!!!
εὐσέβεια eusebeia reflects both an attitude and a way of life, that is well pleasing to our Master, through the continued display of complete set-apartness without compromise!
C – BELIEF: The Greek word translated here as ‘belief’ is πίστις pistis – Strong’s G4102 which means, ‘faith, faithfulness, pledge, conviction of the Truth’ which comes from the primary root verb πείθω peithō – Strong’s G3982 which means, ‘to persuade, to put confidence in, to follow, have confidence and rely upon’. When looking at these root terms it is very clear, even in the Greek mind-set, that ‘to believe’ involves action and a confident response to the one you put your trust in and follow. Belief without works (of righteousness) is dead!
D – LOVE: This Greek word for love is ἀγάπη agape – Strong’s G26 which means, ‘brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence, love feasts’, and comes from the verb ἀγαπάω agapaō – Strong’s G25 which means, ‘to love, welcome and entertain, be fond of, to be contented at or with a thing’. While many may think that they know what love means, Scripture makes it very clear to us what ‘the love for Elohim’ is:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands. 3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy”
To pursue love for Elohim is to run in the way of His commands, and flee all lawlessness and sin!
E – ENDURANCE: Greek word for ‘endurance’ is ὑπομονή hupomonē – Strong’s G5281 which means, ‘a patient enduring, steadfastness, perseverance, a remaining behind’, and this word comes from the Greek word ὑπομένω hupomenō – Strong’s G5278 which means, ‘to stay behind, to await, endure’, which comes from the two words: 1) ὑπό hupo – Strong’s G5259 which means ‘under, in subjection to’, and 2) μένω menō – Strong’s G3306 and means, ‘to stay, abide, remain, stand’ – this word is the word used in Yoḥanan/John 15 where we are told to ‘stay in, remain in’ Messiah!
As faithful talmidim (disciples) of Messiah, we recognise that while He ascended to the Most Set-Apart Place, where He continually intercedes for us as our High Priest, we need to endure and be steadfast in staying in Him, as we walk in subjection to His clear Torah, bearing the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Ḥazon/Revelation also repeatedly reminds us, in relation to what is to come in the days ahead, the clear call for the faithful endurance of 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.
F – MEEKNESS: The Greek word for ‘meekness’ is πραότης praotēs – Strong’s G4236 which means, ‘gentleness, consideration, humility, meekness’, which is a form of the adjective πραΰς praus – Strong’s G4239 which means, ‘gentle’.
The Hebrew word translated as ‘meekness’ is עֲנָוָה anavah – Strong’s H6038 and means, ‘humility, gentleness’ and comes from the root word עָנָה anah – Strong’s H6031 and means, ‘to be bowed down, afflicted, humbled’. This carries the understanding of being ‘grounded’ as well as the ability to ‘pay close attention’ and open one’s ears to hear! It carries the concept of denying oneself and submitting to Elohim as you understand and are aware of one’s status before an Almighty Elohim! True meekness involves being occupied with the things of יהוה, having died to self and living unto יהושע Messiah!
Walking in humility is expressed clearly as one fixes their eyes on the Truth and walks in it, not looking to one’s own ways, nor leaning on one’s own understanding!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:4 “The reward of humility is the fear of יהוה, riches, and esteem and life.”
From this parable of Shelomoh we are able to see the resulting action of true humility – and that is a proper fear of יהוה, along with the assurance of life, and life in abundance, which is what Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, came to bring us!
With our call to pursue all of these, there is a clear need to be properly grounded in the Truth and be urgent in meditating on the Word day and night, making it our study in order that we pursue to know our Master and Elohim.
We must FLEE, FOLLOW…. And…
3 – FIGHT
The third instruction we see being given here to Timotiyos is to ‘fight’ which is the Greek word ἀγωνίζομαι agōnizomai – Strong’s G75 and means, ‘to contend for a prize, struggle, compete, labouring earnestly’.
Our sojourning is certainly not an easy road yet we must labour intensely in the Word as we seek to take our stand of righteousness.
This language Sha’ul used here applied to athletes and soldiers in his day. We get our English word ‘agonise’ from this word, which describes a person straining and giving their best to win the prize or the battle. It is used metaphorically to mean, ‘to contend or struggle, with difficulties and dangers’, or, ‘to endeavour with strenuous zeal’.
This word is translated as ‘strive’ in the following verse:
Luqas/Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.”
When we consider the word for ‘fight/strive’ we must realise that this war is not an easy one, yet our Master’s yoke is easy and light, making our ability to stand firm in Him a rock solid one and after having done all to still stand, we have full assurance of His complete protection and provision. Fighting the good fight is to fight according to the rules! That is to say that we can only stand properly armed in the Truth when we guard to do the Truth and not let our foot slip at all by giving in to compromise when the battles of the flesh get hard to endure! We cannot and must not ever give up the fight by compromising the Sabbath and the proper guarding of all the Feasts and Torah of Elohim for the wicked demands of the fleshly battles, be it from the battles that rage within oneself or from the outside influence and demands of others who walk according to the flesh!
FLEE, FOLLOW, FIGHT – three critical actions that must be applied in a believer’s life as they live reverently in the Master and be faithful ambassadors of His coming reign. Sha’ul then continues to instruct Timotiyos to remain FAITHFUL, which is what I see as being the 4th continuous action being explained here in this letter as Sha’ul encourages Timotiyos, as well as you and me, to lay hold of everlasting life to which we have been called and not let go!!!
He then charges us with the following:
GUARD THE COMMAND SPOTLESSLY AND BLAMELESSLY!
The Greek word used here for ‘guard’ is τηρέω tēreō – Strong’s G5083 which means, ‘to attend to carefully, to take care of, to guard, metaphorically – to keep one in the state in which he is, to observe, to hold fast’, and this is a verb which clearly implies an action that is required rather than a passive nullification of the need to observe. It comes from the word τηρός tēros which is a ‘guard’, and we know that a guard cannot guard correctly if they are not alert and watchful!
Figuratively this word τηρέω tēreō means, ‘obey, fulfil a duty, precept, law or custom, and to perform watchfully’. To guard the instructions of the One we know implies an active obedience to what we hear Him speak and instruct and therefore be diligent to be watchful over His clear Words!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3-7 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. 4 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 perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. 7 Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning.””
A few months back I spoke on these very words concerning the guarding of the command spotlessly and blamelessly and will therefore not repeat myself for sake of time, and encourage you to go and read the notes of the message I gave called, “KEEPING UNSTAINED AND SPOTLESS IN A STAINED WORLD” from our site (https://atfotc.com) under the sermons 2015 menu, or by clicking on the following link:
The message I am giving you tonight is to remind and encourage you all to be urgent in hearing the appeal of Kěpha and Sha’ul so that you are properly equipped in the Truth to:
FLEE, FOLLOW, FIGHT AND BE FAITHFUL
I charge you in the sight of Elohim to live the right way, that is “His Way” and “His Way” alone; and fight the good fight of belief by holding on to the confession of your faith in Messiah as you walk the walk, making sure you flee from the injurious lusts of the flesh and follow righteousness, guarding to do all that our Master has commanded us to do; putting your firm, steadfast and faithful trust in the Living Elohim, as a faithful and wise servant and soldier of our King!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!!!