10TH OF THE 8TH MONTH 2015/2016
Shabbat Shalom all,
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6:12-14 “Fight the good fight of the belief, lay hold on everlasting life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession before many witnesses. 13 In the sight of Elohim who gives life to all, and of Messiah יהושע who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you: 14 that you guard the command spotlessly, blamelessly, until the appearing of our Master יהושע Messiah”
These were some very firm and clear instructions that Sha’ul gave to Timotiyos, and instructions that we all must take heed of too as we fight the good fight of the belief and make the good confession before many! What is interesting to take note of here is that Timotiyos was one who confessed the good confession, while the Master יהושע Messiah Himself witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate! The Greek word translated as ‘confessed’ is the verb ὁμολογέω homologeō – Strong’s G3670 which means, ‘confess, profess, promise, give thanks, praise, celebrate’, and also means, ‘to profess one’s self the worshipper of one’, from which we get the noun that is translated as ‘confession’, which is ὁμολογία homologia – Strong’s G3671 which means, ‘confession, an agreement’. This verb ὁμολογέω homologeō – Strong’s G3670 is translated as ‘giving thanks’ in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a slaughter offering of praise to Elohim, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.”
This ‘giving thanks’ to His Name is a clear picture of words that involve an intense action of acknowledging the True Name that saves, having confessed our sin and guilt and enabled to profess our worship of the One who saves us, as we show this through both our words and actions. The Greek word translated as ‘witnessed’ is μαρτυρέω martureō – Strong’s G3140 which means, ‘to bear witness, testify’.
What was the good confession that Messiah witnessed before Pontius Pilate? Let us take a look in:
Yoḥanan/John 18:36-37 “יהושע answered, “My reign is not of this world. If My reign were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Yehuḏim. But now My reign is not from here.” 37 Then Pilate said to Him, “You are a sovereign, then?” יהושע answered, “You say it, because I am a sovereign. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, testified before Pontius Pilate that He is the King who is from above, and was born into this world that those who hear His voice will respond to His Truth and live according to His Coming Reign! The Good Confession is that יהושע Messiah is the King; He is King of Kings and Master of Masters and His Reign, which is from above, He came to make known in the earth, in order to bear witness of His Reign that is coming! The good confession that we confess before many is that we serve a King who is coming soon and we submit to walking according to His Kingdom Rules as taught through His Word and revealed through His life, death and resurrection! The confession that we make is that our Mighty Master and Elohim, who is our King, came in the flesh, being brought forth as the Son of Elohim in order to bear witness of Himself by blood water and Spirit!
In the sight of Elohim and the witness of Messiah, Sha’ul charges Timotiyos to guard the command spotlessly and blameless until the appearing of our Master, יהושע Messiah! The Greek word 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.””
We are to be true servants of the Most High who properly make the good confession before many, as we Hear-Guard and Do our Master’s commands! While we may understand what it means to guard the commands of Elohim, what we must take note of here in Sha’ul’s words is that he places emphasis on how the commands are to be guarded! Sha’ul charges Timotiyos, or better put he gives him a clear message and command, to guard the command spotlessly and blamelessly!
In a message tonight called: ‘KEEPING UNSTAINED AND SPOTLESS IN A STAINED WORLD’, I want us to take heed to this very clear charge that is given to us all, and that is to guard the command spotlessly and blamelessly!
The Greek word translated as ‘blamelessly’ is ἀνεπίλημπτος anepilēmptos – Strong’s G423 which means, ‘without reproach, above reproach, blameless and unrebukeable’. We are to ensure that we guard the commands in such a way that we are blameless before our Master, despite the false accusations of many!
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.”
Our behaviour must be blameless as we guard the commands and do the good works of obedience before our Master and Elohim, whose Reign we are to be faithful ambassadors of! I think the charge to be blameless in the guarding of the commands is pretty clear! We should not profess to be guarding the commands while breaking them, for then we are not blameless! We cannot say we love Elohim and guard His commands yet break His commands when pressures of the world become a little rough! Blamelessly guarding His commands means just that, and many believers are not doing it as they may often find themselves breaking the proper guarding of the Sabbaths and Feasts of Elohim and treat that which is set-apart as common, doing whatever they need to do in the world to survive the battles that rage against them in a stain filled world, showing that they indeed fail to fight the good fight of the belief due to compromise and are not blamelessly guarding the command!
The Greek word used for ‘command’ is ἐντολή entolē – Strong’s G1785 which means, ‘an injunction, order, command, commandment’, and speaks of ‘a prescribed rule in accordance with which a thing is done’, and is ethically used in Greek to relate to the commands of Elohim as given in the Torah. This word is used 187 times in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak – O.T.), and is used to translate the Hebrew words מִצְוָה mitzvah – Strong’s H4687 which means, ‘commandment, command, obligation, precept’, פִּקּוּד piqquḏ – Strong’s H6490 which means, ‘precepts, commandments, statutes, regulations’, and חֻקָּה ḥuqqah – Strong’s H2708 which means, ‘ordinances, custom, manner, something prescribed, an enactment, statute, fixed order’, which simply reaffirms for us the clear order given here by Sha’ul to Timotiyos, even in the Greek text; and that is that he was to guard to commands, precepts, instructions and ordinances of Elohim, blamelessly and spotless!
The Greek word translated as ‘spotlessly’ is ἄσπιλος aspilos – Strong’s G783 which means, ‘spotless, unstained, without blemish’, and metaphorically means, ‘free from censure, free from vice’, which means to be free from moral depravity or corruption! This word is constructed from two Greek words: 1) α alpha – Strong’s G1 used as a negative prefix, and 2) σπιλόω spiloō – Strong’s G4695 which means, ‘to stain, defile, pollute’, and comes from the root word σπίλος spilos – Strong’s G4696 which means, ‘a spot, stain, fault, moral blemish’.
It is this Greek word ἄσπιλος aspilos – Strong’s G783 that gripped me greatly this week, as I took some time to ponder on the idea of guarding the commands spotlessly or without stain! This word is used 4 times in the Renewed Writings. Firstly here in the text I read from Sha’ul’s first letter to Timotiyos, and then we see this word being used once to describe the spotless blood of Messiah that we have been redeemed by, in:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:19 “but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless”
We were bought with the spotless blood of Messiah!!!
Kěpha then further encourages us in his second letter, telling us:
Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:14 “So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”
Doing our utmost to be found spotless and blameless is the kind of people we ought to be in set-apart behaviour and reverence! The question is… are you doing this, or do you often allow the world to stain you?
The 4th time we see this word being used is in:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:27 “Clean and undefiled religion before the Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Keep oneself unstained from the world!!! The Greek word translated as ‘unstained’ is ἄσπιλος aspilos – Strong’s G783!
Keep oneself without spot – this is a clear charge given by Sha’ul to Timotiyos; while Kěpha calls us to do our utmost to be found without spot; and Ya’aqoḇ defines for us what clean and pure worship involves! The Greek word used here for ‘religion’ is θρησκεία thrēskeia – Strong’s G2356 which means, ‘reverent worship’, and along with the clear need for action to be accompanied with words we take note that one of the primary themes in Ya’aqoḇ’s letter is one of being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only! Taking care of widows and orphans who are in need is a matter that is clearly addressed repeatedly throughout Scripture and severe warnings and rebuke is given to those who neglect such a duty.
The Greek word used here for ‘clean’ is καθαρός katharos – Strong’s G2513 which means, ‘clean, innocent, pure’ and it is the same word used in the LXX (Septuagint) for the word translated as ‘clean’ in this Tehillim/Psalm 24:4 for ‘clean’ heart, when given an answer to the question of who may ascend the mountain of יהוה and who does stand in His set-apart place.
Having been redeemed by the pure and spotless blood of Messiah we were made clean, and are now expected to keep clean!
Yoḥanan/John 15:3 “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.”
We take note how Messiah our Husband gave Himself for us in order to wash us and set us apart:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, as Messiah also did love the assembly and gave Himself for it, 26 in order to set it apart and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, 27 in order to present it to Himself a splendid assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any of this sort, but that it might be set-apart and blameless.”
A splendid assembly not having spot or wrinkle!!! The Greek word used here for ‘spot’ is σπιλόω spiloō – Strong’s G4695, in other words spotless – ἄσπιλος aspilos – Strong’s G783 – without spot!
I do hope you are still with me here as I am giving you a lot of Greek words, yet with good reason I assure you!
Being cleansed by the blood of the spotless Lamb, and called to set-apartness, we are to keep our reverent worship clean and undefiled as we guard His commands without spot, and keep ourselves unstained from the world!
We are in the world but not of the world and we are to live as such, especially if we are to be faithful ambassadors of the reign of our Master! The clear reality is that the world stains, and if we are not careful we may find ourselves stained by the world, whether in word or deed! In fact what is worth taking note of is that this word used for ‘spot, stain’ – σπιλόω spiloō – Strong’s G4695 is translated as ‘defiling’, in:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness. Among our members the tongue is set, the one defiling the entire body, and setting on fire the wheel of life, and it is set on fire by Gehenna.”
Can you see what Ya’aqoḇ is telling us here? The tongue can defile the entire body! The tongue can stain the entire body! The words we speak can stain us!!!
What is a stain? A stain is a soiled or discoloured spot, and from a Scriptural perspective it is used metaphorically to describe that which affects or directs you toward one or more unclean and immoral behaviours.
One who is stained by the world carries something of the world, and carries something of the fleshly nature that affects how one behaves. Hence the clear instruction in the Word is given to us to not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit! One’s desires can also become stained and cause people’s focus and goals to become tainted with selfishness and pride, with little or no regard for others, causing some who are stained with the world to do whatever it takes to get what they want, even if it means neglecting proper set-apartness! We have been given all we need for life and reverence, yet we find that while there may be some who will recite this fact in word, their deeds prove otherwise, as they are found to be stained with the seeking of earthly matters that do not profit or satisfy, which further causes many to become stained with worldly passions and the luring lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of Elohim!
Keeping unstained from the world makes it very clear that the world stains!!! The world is a stain-filled environment, stained by sin and lawlessness, and when one does not guard to keep oneself unstained the risk of them becoming stained, defiled and dirty is high. We are called to live in this stain filled world and live stain free! But how, you may ask? The answer is obvious and clear – Set-Apartness is a stain free way of living! We do this by following in the command of our Master and Elohim, making the good confession before many who are stained! We must beware of not letting our words stain us or the body, and we are to be on guard against the deadly stains of vain traditions and dogmas of man! Traditions that are not according to the pure plumb line of the Truth can and does stain! Many are stained by traditions that they refuse to let go of, while easily forsaking to guard spotlessly that which keeps us clean – the Word of Elohim!
Sha’ul also warns us in:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be led astray, “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
Let me make this very clear – bad company will stain you!!! The company you keep can either stain you or keep you from becoming stained! What kind of company do you keep?
What is becoming abundantly obvious in these days of a wicked and adulterous generation that is fast becoming as the days of Noaḥ is that proper fellowship in the body is of vital importance and it needs to grow on a daily basis! In the book of Ma’asei/Acts we read of how the early believers met together in each other’s homes on a daily basis, as they were continuing steadfastly in the teaching of the emissaries, and in the fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers; and this needs to be happening in increasing measure today, as many are in severe danger of being stained and becoming defiled by default due to them falling prey to the staining effects of wicked and corrupt surroundings that taint their garments of set-apartness! If no proper fellowship of the set-apart ones is kept then one’s ability to keep unstained from the world decreases drastically as many become stained through compromise and the influence of negative and corrupt speech and behaviour!!
Compromise stains in a big way! Sha’ul’s charge given to Timotiyos is to guard the command spotlessly, which means no compromise allowed! Many compromise because the flesh is weak, and herein lays the urgent call to uncompromised set-apartness, lest the world and its ways stain you! Bitterness, slander and unforgiveness stain too!
To keep oneself unstained from the world implies an urgent responsibility on the part of a true faithful ambassador, and is only able to be done through a proper guarding of the commands without spot!
Ya’aqoḇ teaches us how we are to remain unstained from the world! He tells us in:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:21-22 “Therefore put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your lives. 22 And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Simple isn’t it! Put away all filthiness and overflow of evil and be doers of the Word! He then tells us how we can do this, in:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:7-8 “So then subject yourselves to Elohim. Resist the devil and he shall flee from you. 8 Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded!”
Subject yourself to Elohim, which implies a proper submission to hearing, guarding and doing His Word. This will enable you to put away all filthiness and resist the devil and his staining ways! Keep your hands clean and hearts focused as you renew your minds through the Word!
As we see this thread of teaching in Ya’aqoḇ’s letter we are able to see that his message is no different to that which we see being given in Yeshayahu:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 1:16-18 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Stop doing evil! 17 “Learn to do good! Seek right-ruling, reprove the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together,” says יהוה. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
I love being able to see the same message being given throughout the Word as it clearly shows us that the Word of Elohim does not change! His message is the same and the warnings against being stained by sin and lawlessness is the same!
By ‘world’ Ya’aqoḇ is referring to the corrupt values system that is adhered to in a sin-filled world!
Dawiḏ cries out to יהוה in Tehillah/Psalm 51 and confesses his transgression and sins before Elohim, and states that in sin his mother bore him! What he is saying here is that we are born into a sin-filled world that will stain even the most innocent of babies, and we recognise that we need to be cleansed from sin and the stain of sin, which only the Blood of Messiah can do, as we see in the promise given through the prophet Yeshayahu where יהוה tells us that though our sins are like scarlet, they will be cleansed! Messiah’s blood makes us clean – but it takes an acknowledgement of sin and a confession before Him:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
While we recognise the gift of cleansing that our Master brings to us, we take note how vitally important it is for us to remain unstained, as we take heed of the words found in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:26-31 “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. 28 Anyone who has disregarded the Torah of Mosheh dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour? 30 For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, says יהוה.” And again, “יהוה shall judge His people.” 31 It is fearsome to fall into the hands of the living Elohim.”
Once cleansed, if you keep on getting stained and do not do your utmost to keep yourself unstained from the world then there is no more cleansing for you! The understanding of ‘keep yourselves’ involves individual responsibility as each one must work out their deliverance with fear and trembling! How many things of the flesh or the things that stain do many ‘keep’ while easily and quickly forsaking the commands of Elohim? People may ‘keep’ many materialistic things in such a high regard that they will do whatever it takes to preserve them, keeping their memorabilia spotless while ignoring the spotless Word of Elohim. Many will do whatever it takes to ‘keep’ their jobs, even if it means not keeping the commands of Elohim, as they will either break the Sabbath in order to not lose their income or will even cut corners in their dealings with others and do as the world does instead of showing no partiality and have right scales in all their ways!
Many will ‘keep’ up to date with the latest news and various conspiracies yet neglect the need to meditate on the Torah day and night! We are clearly warned against the staining effect of the world and the evil-doers in it:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 4:14-16 “Do not enter the path of the wrong, and do not walk in the way of evil-doers. 15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil. And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.”
To keep oneself unstained from the world means that one must avoid the paths of the wrong and the ways of evil-doers!
In the world but remain unstained from the world – this is what we are called to do! While many may acknowledge this obvious truth that is being called for, how many are actually doing it?
Titos/Titus 1:15-16 “Indeed, all matters are clean to the clean, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving no matter is clean, but both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know Elohim, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unfit for any good work.”
The call is clear – let not your works deny the Master, but rather let your good works of obedience be without stain and confess the Good confession of our Master and Elohim, whose coming reign we proclaim and live according to, here and now! Are you being stained or are you diligently keeping unstained from the world? What is clear is that the effects of a stain filled world are dangerous and need to be guarded against, so that our actions, words or thoughts do not become stained in any way!
As we consider the charge given to Timotiyos to guard the command spotlessly; Kěpha’s instruction to do our utmost to be found spotless by our Master and Ya’aqoḇ’s clear description of what it means to be spotless and unstained, let us have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the body of Messiah and make sure that we are:
KEEPING UNSTAINED AND SPOTLESS IN A STAINED WORLD
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.