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.”
When people hear this verse they may recognise and even acknowledge the truth of these words, yet often struggle to actually see the “counting of the trials they fall into”, as something that should be seen as “all joy”. While it is certainly true that no trial may seem pleasant at the time of the trial, what we do recognise is that as we endure through the trials we can count them as all joy, knowing that we have a sure hope of being perfected in righteousness, as we endure and are steadfast until the return of our Master and King, יהושע Messiah, when our deliverance will be made complete. We are told in:
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:12-13 “So that, my beloved, as you always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much rather in my absence – work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling, 13 for it is Elohim who is working in you both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.”
We each have the individual responsibility of working out our own deliverance, as we walk in Messiah and obey His commands, and are not moved by trials, doubts or worries of this life! To be successfully fruitful in working out our deliverance, we need to understand how important endurance is! In a message tonight called, ‘POSSESS YOUR LIVES BY ENDURANCE!’, I want us to simply be encouraged to keep on standing firm in our complete obedience to Elohim, knowing that as we fight the good fight of our belief, that our labour in the Master shall not be in vain!
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Master, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Master.”
The title of this message came straight from a verse in Luqas/Luke 21, which simply says:
Luqas/Luke 21:19 “Possess your lives by your endurance!”
It is these words that I want to focus on in recognising how important it is for us to live in complete set-apartness with great joy, even amidst the most crippling circumstances we may find ourselves in, or even as we live set-apart lives being surrounded by the increasing wickedness and evil in the world!
It is here in this Chapter 21 of Luqas/Luke that יהושע Messiah was encouraging His Talmidim to not be alarmed at the increasing depravity and wickedness in the world, as well as not to be afraid of any persecution that might come against the faithful remnant who walk steadfast in righteousness. Let us read Luqas/Luke 21:5-36 (Read)
As we sit here and reflect on what is going on in our time, we can be more sure today that the return of יהושע is closer than ever before, and it is very interesting to see many of the signs that יהושע speaking of taking place before our very eyes. We are living in a time where people are running this way and that, and knowledge is on the increase at such an alarming rate – I mean you buy a computer today and next month or even next week it is almost old!!! What is very sobering for me is that while knowledge is on the increase, it seems harder and harder for most people to find the knowledge of יהוה our Elohim. What do I mean? Well, why is it easier to learn how to be a doctor, or to study to be a banker, or to learn more about what we would like in life, than it is to learn and study to live in Elohim and to hear His Word? It is hard for the majority to live for Elohim, when they have so much worldly stuff going on in their lives. In other words, it is hard to live for Elohim when you are living for yourself. We know the Word says that in the last days men will become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Elohim! The desire to satisfy self increases as the desire to please Elohim decreases and I believe that as we see this happening, we need to take heed of these signs and certainly die to self and draw close to יהוה the Living Elohim – The Elohim of Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq and Yisra’ĕl! How many of you, at times, allow the desires and cares for the things of this world to become your forethought? So much so that they consume your thoughts and you become stressed out, overwhelmed and ineffective for Elohim?
I want to also ask you, how easy is it to run after Elohim when you find yourself running after the cares of the world? You can’t do it!!! Elohim said you can’t – you cannot serve two masters!!! You either run after things of the world or after Elohim, or if you find yourself stressed out, overwhelmed and chasing after things that don’t satisfy you may just miss our Master יהושע Messiah when He comes again!!! I would like for us all to hear and take heed of the words of יהושע that He was speaking to His disciples on the last days, and His instructions to them then, and to us today, as to how we are to conduct our lives in great anticipation and hope of His imminent return.
In this message that יהושע was giving to His Talmidim (disciples) shortly before the Pěsaḥ, where He would be delivered up, He encouraged them to stand firm in the Truth of His Word, and made them realise that times will get really tough and this called for endurance. The warning to be awake and watchful is clear, as יהושע said that many would come in His Name and say ‘I AM’ – we know that there is only One ‘I AM’, and those who are not sober, alert and watchful may find themselves being deceived by falsehood! With the signs of wars and fightings and earthquakes and scarcity of food and deadly diseases, all reaching greater heights than ever before, we can certainly recognise the signs of the times.
True believers will be hated because of the Name of יהושע Messiah – and this we are also seeing happening more and more! His Name declares who the true Saviour and Deliverer of Yisra’ĕl is – יהוה is our Deliverance – and because of His Name the true remnant will be hated!!! In fact there is even a hatred toward us who call upon the Name of יהוה, by the religious Pharisees of our day, who have denied that Messiah has come in the flesh, and refuse to acknowledge this fact that יהוה is the מוֹשִׁיעַ ‘Moshiyah’. For more on this please see the article I wrote called, “YHWH our Saviour!” at:
While it is true that some of the faithful remnant shall be put to death and delivered up to authorities, even by their own families, we see the clear promise in verse 18 that not even a hair on our head shall be lost at all. This is a clear promise of the assurance we have in our Head, our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah; and therefore we do not need to be afraid of those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the being, for our covering in Messiah gives us the promise of everlasting life where the second death has no power over those who are in Him and are raised at the first resurrection, when He comes again!
This is where we come to verse 19: POSSESS YOUR LIVES BY ENDURANCE!
The Greek word translated as ‘possess’ is κτάομαι ktaomai – Strong’s G2932 which means, ‘to possess, acquire, gain, obtain, purchase’. The Greek word translated as ‘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 who are here, and have ‘remained behind’, need to endure and be steadfast in staying in Him as we walk in subjection to His clear Torah. The Greek word translated as ‘lives’ 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’.
A more literal rendering of this verse 19 from Luqas/Luke 21 could be expressed in English as,
“In your patience/endurance you shall win your life/soul!”
Tehillim/Psalm 27:14 “Wait on יהוה, be strong, and let Him strengthen your heart! Wait, I say, on יהוה!”
The Hebrew word translated here as ‘wait’ is קָוָה qavah – Strong’s H6960 meaning, ‘to wait for, eagerly wait, expect, hopefully waiting’ and carries the intensity of being commanded to look eagerly for the soon return of our Light, Saviour and Refuge in who we continually trust and praise and are taught by; for when we wait on יהוה our strength is renewed – and waiting on יהוה requires our active response to who He is, with great intensity.
In the LXX (Septuagint – Greek Translation of Tanak) the Greek word used here for ‘wait’ is the word we have already discussed – ὑπομένω hupomenō – Strong’s G5278 – which reflects an active endurance of running with fervency the race set before us, in complete obedience to our soon coming King!
Tehillim/Psalm 37:7-9 “Rest in יהוה, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man doing wicked devices. 8 Abstain from displeasure, and forsake wrath; do not fret, also to do evil. 9 For evil-doers are cut off; but those who wait on יהוה, they shall inherit the earth.”
יהושע continues to teach His talmidim how wicked and corrupt the world will continue to become, telling them that these are birth pains of His return, and the nearness of His reign to come. In making this very clear, He instructs us to take heed against falling for worldly matters! To take heed implies being watchful and awake, and guarding obedience so as to not fall from one’s steadfast position in the truth! Many fall from steadfastness because of compromise, as they do not take heed to themselves and watch their thoughts, words and actions, when distractions come at them from all angles! In other words – they get distracted, and as a result lose sight of living completely set-apart lives unto our Master! We must be on guard that we do not, for even a fleeting moment, get distracted from our set-apartness!
Distractions occur when we allow our hearts to become weighed down by gluttony, and drunkenness, and worries of this life! The warning against falling for these distractions are clear – the Day of יהוה will come suddenly upon those who did not take heed against such distractions!
Be awake, sober and alert, with your eyes wide open and fixed on the Truth, to ensure that you are not deceived!
The Greek word translated here as ‘gluttony’ is κραιπάλη kraipalē – Strong’s G2897 which means, ‘drunken nausea, over abundant supply, disgust caused by excess, wasteful expenditure’.
The problem that so many battle with today is the sickening need for an over abundant supply of materialistic stuff, that does not satisfy at all. This actually makes people sick, yet they are driven by the gluttonous need to have in excess, which is a clear danger for those who are not watchful and awake to the times!
You see if we are not careful, we may easily find ourselves weighed down by excess, excess of stuff – be it materialism, the need for more, never being satisfied or content, always seeking more, of stuff that doesn’t matter. This word also carries with it the understanding of having a headache or becoming sick from overindulgence! Why do we chase after stuff that just gives us headaches? If we are not watchful, we can get caught in the trap of living without hope, trying to find the next fix now. This is a warning to pay attention that we do not make ourselves sick from an unhealthy lifestyle, a lifestyle without the Word being the primary source!
The Greek word translated as ‘drunkenness’ is μέθη methē – Strong’s G3178 which means, ‘drunkenness, intoxication’, and is pretty much self-explanatory, yet the drunkenness that is also being clearly warned against here, is the maddening adulteries of the whore and here lawless teachings, for the Greek word derived from this root is the word μεθύω methuō – Strong’s G3184 which means, ‘to be drunk, get drunk’ and this word is used metaphorically in describing those who are made drunk with the wine of the great whore:
Ḥazon/Revelation 17:2 “with whom the sovereigns of the earth committed whoring, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her whoring.”
Drunkenness can lead to addiction, and addiction can become a problematic enslavement to the one caught in any such addictions, be it to the drinking of alcohol, or taking drugs, or even being addicted to materialism and hobbies that cause your focus to be shifted away from our Master, as they get weighed down with the need for more, thinking they cannot live without that which satisfies the flesh!
יהושע is saying, if you are not careful you could be weighed down by other things that will cause you to become addicted to and not have the strength to live without! Drunkenness causes one to lose focus and the capacity to think clearly – there are many things in this world that can cause us to lose focus and not think clearly about the ways of our Master and Elohim!
The Greek word translated as ‘worries’ is μέριμνα merimna – Strong’s G3308 which means, ‘cares, worries, anxieties’.
יהושע tells us in the Parable of the sower and the seed, that the worries/cares of this life choke out the word. This happens to the seed sown among thorns, which pictures those who hear the Word, but the worries of life choke it out!
The sad reality is that most of us allow anxieties to consume us and when this does, then the very Word that has been deposited gets choked out – now think about this choking – it is not a nice experience!!! Worries choke out the good deposit. We are to be on guard and watch, and be careful for this not to happen! How many of you have worries? Just think about it, we all have bills, we have bills, bills, bills – sometimes we even dread looking in the post box. People have credit card debt that look like car loans and boy you going to work long to pay that off! You begin to panic and think about your job/work, and think:
“is it good enough? I need another job, more money, got to work harder, how can I get promoted? Will I even keep this job, what happens if I don’t make target, what if I lose my job – how am I going to…?” Sound familiar!!!
Concerns or anxieties may not be money related, and they may even be people related, which can often cause some to think things like,
“What do people think of me? Nobody takes me seriously? Nobody cares what I have to say? Nobody is interested in me?” Does that sound familiar!!!
We can often find ourselves getting so consumed with anxiety over what people may or may not think of us, and it is crazy. How about the cares of the world? You may get sucked in to seeing all the bad news or the propaganda on the news and get so caught up in fear about what is going on and how everything is a conspiracy! You see when these anxieties over money, relationships, and cares of the world etc. grip you, then you very quickly will lose sight of the hope we have in יהושע Messiah.
We are cautioned against the things that can weigh our hearts down as a result of not taking heed to be a watchful and sober remnant! In telling us this, יהושע was encouraging us to not be deceived, distracted or frightened, which comes to those who are asleep and are not growing in the Knowledge of our Master and Elohim!
Some of us may have found ourselves having been weighed down by these things in times past, and some may even be weighed down right now! Well, here יהושע gives us the clear solution to not getting trapped and weighed down by the things of the world and the hunger for that which does not last!
He tells us in verse 36 that we are to WATCH – PRAY – STAND!
The Greek word translated as ‘watch’ is ἀγρυπνέω agrupneō – Strong’s G69 and means, ‘to be sleepless, wakeful, alert, keep watch’ as it comes from the two Greek words: 1) ἀγρεύω agreuō – Strong’s G64 which means, ‘to catch, take by hunting’ and ὕπνος hupnos – Strong’s G5258 meaning ‘sleep, deep sleep’ it also carries the understanding of ‘being under, put under, in a hypnotic state’. In fact we get our English word ‘hypnosis’ from this word. Hypnosis is a trance-like state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject!
In Greek mythology ‘Hypnos’ was the personification of sleep and was the Greek mighty one of sleep whose palace was in a dark cave there the sun never shines and at the entrance there were poppies and other hypnotic plants. The Roman equivalent to this pagan mighty one was ‘Somnus’ from which the English word ‘insomnia’ is derived – ‘in..’ meaning ‘no or to not’ and ‘somnus’ meaning sleep!
What יהושע is telling us here is to not be caught being put under a hypnotic spell of lawlessness – and we must watch out and be on guard against this at all times – do not for a moment let your mind be caught by the distractions of the worries of this age, and the deceit of riches, and the desires for other matters, which will choke out the breath of life in you and cause you to be under the hypnotic spell of lawlessness!
Prayer – what more can I say – you cannot have a life without prayer. This word prayer here is this passage is actually plural and not singular, and so it is referring here to the body – the bride. We are to be praying for each other and with each other unto Him. Recovery from addictions is never an individual act – yes it is done by individuals but they need the whole group’s encouragement and participation in helping them press through to victory. This kind of prayer shows our need for others, and how we are to pray for each other – as we are obedient to pray through the storms and the battles, strengthening each other in prayer – for this it is vital for the body – to pray. We are to pray every day; and through the parable of the persistent widow, יהושע showed His disciples that they were to always pray and not give up! In Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:17 Sha’ul tells us to pray without ceasing and in Pilipiyim/Philippians 4:16 he tells us to pray about everything. Pray – Pray – Pray!!! Prayer and supplications are always to be done with thanksgiving, as we hold steadfast in our hope and trust we have in Messiah! True fervent prayer is birthed out of a true lovingly committed relationship with our Master, as we continually are engaged in speaking to Him constantly over every matter, in our own lives and the lives of our fellow believers! A strong prayer life, builds our complete trust in our Master and Elohim, and we are further equipped with His joy that strengthens us! In the battles of life we are to continually be engaged in fervent discussion with our Master, giving heed to His clear instructions for living reverently in this age, as we His sheep hear His voice and follow Him!
The Greek word used here for ‘stand’ is ἵστημι histēmi – Strong’s G2476 which means, ‘to make to stand, to stand firm, be established, stand upright, stand ready and prepared, be of a steadfast mind, to uphold and sustain the authority of something’, and is also the word used in Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6 where we are told to ‘stand’ firm in the armour of Elohim, and so we can clearly see that this ‘standing’ is an equipped standing in that the required dress code (that of righteousness – which is to guard to do all the commands) is adhered to and is functional in being a faithful set-apart priesthood that is able, as good stewards with that which He has given us, to stand before our High Priest and King – יהושע Messiah!
In light of the times in which we live, we are to take heed that we are not deceived – this means we need to spend more time getting to know the Word, and by doing this we are not to be frightened, for we know that if we stay in the Word, by guarding to do His Word, then we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free from being weighed down by worldly distractions that only enslave those who are not awake and watchful!
In Yeshayahu/Isaiah 7 when Retsin, the sovereign of Aram, came up against Yerushalayim and could not prevail against it, he set up camp in Ephrayim and when this was reported to the House of Dawiḏ, Aḥaz and the rest of the people were moved like the shaking of trees in a strong wind. Yeshayahu was sent, with his son, to go and tell Aḥaz to be calm and not fear, for that which the foreign kings had spoken against them would not stand; and in verse 9 the word of יהוה was very clear – If you do not believe you are not steadfast!!! This is a very powerful word for us today, as the same root word is used twice in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 7:9 for ‘believe’ and ‘steadfast’ – and this is the root word אָמַן aman – Strong’s H539 which means, ‘confirm, support, be established, be faithful,, stand firm, trust, be certain, believe’.
In fact when you look closer at the tense of each, then we see the simple truth of what is being expressed here in this play on words! The word is used in the causative tense when translated as ‘believe’ which can render the meaning as, ‘to stand firm, to trust, be certain, believe in’, and the second time it is written in the passive reflexive action rendering the meaning as, ‘to be established, made firm, verified’. What we see here is that those who do not actively “possess their lives by endurance”, will not be found to be standing firm at the end!
As we carefully consider these clear words of our Master, my encouragement to you today is simply this, POSSESS YOUR LIVES BY ENDURANCE!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!