HalleluYah, all you servants of יהוה praise His mighty Name… HalleluYah! Shabbat Shalom, we have come again together in obedience to His Word that we may fellowship in His Word and allow His Word to change us, shape us and transform us becoming like Him, walking sinless in a corrupt sinful world – that is to walk in total obedience, remaining in the True Vine.
But how do we do just that? Just what…? Well walk, sinless that is, in a sin-filled world? After all, much of the western paganised twisted teaching teaches that we are all useless and there is no way in which we can live without sin – just do your best! But is that what Scripture teaches? No! Scripture teaches us that we can live set-apart upright lives, in fact the Word commands us to live set-apart, upright lives. Listen to what Kěpha (Peter) tells us in his letters:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, set your expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to you at the revelation of יהושע Messiah, 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, 15 instead, as the One who called you is set-apart, so you also should become set-apart in all behaviour, 16 because it has been written, “Be set-apart, for I am set-apart.”
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:1-3 “Having put aside, then, all evil, and all deceit, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil words, 2 as newborn babes, desire the unadulterated milk of the Word, in order that you grow by it, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Master is good.”
It is clear – Just believing is not enough … the application of that faith is vital! I want us to look at the Words of יהושע our Messiah as He addressed those who believed in Him. My message tonight is called ‘Stay in My Word’, and we are going to look at Yoḥanan/John 8:30-37, so please turn there in your Scriptures. (Read)
What we see here is clear that as יהושע spoke, many believed in Him, at the hearing of His words, yet this faith would need to be tested and as we know that many fell away as they would not allow their faith to be tested through trials.
The context or setting of this passage we read is as follows: it was around the time of Sukkoth or Feast of Tabernacles, in fact in chapter 7 we see that on the last great day (Shemini Atzeret), that is the 8th day of the Feast, He stood up and cried out and invitation to the thirsty, perhaps after the traditional water pouring ceremony that was performed in taking water from the pool of Siloam up to the alter where it would be poured out. There arose some division among the masses as to who He was. In chapter 8 we see how the Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery in order to test Him, and we all know the outcome – He told them that he who was without sin cast the first stone and none could do that and all the accusers left, so He forgave and told her to go and sin no more! In other words he was telling her to now walk in the Torah and no longer walk in sin. He then spoke to the crowds who were following Him and told them that He is the light of the world, and whoever follows Him would by no means walk in darkness, but possess the light of life. Whoever follows Him and walks in Him, obeying Him will possess the knowledge of the Truth and not be ignorant or in the dark regarding the Truth. We are to ‘possess’ the light of life!
יהושע was declaring to them and showing them that walking in the Light – that is to walk in Him will cause you to no longer walk in sin; that is to walk in darkness or ignorance of the Truth!
At this many believed in Him – that is they believed the very words He was speaking, and this is where we come to our short passage tonight where He speaks to those who believed Him.
We see clearly that many believed – but was it true faith?
True or real talmidim (that is true disciples) of יהושע obey Him – in other words they do what He tells them, which is more than just a mental acknowledgment of who He is! The Truth setting you free is conditioned upon the obeying of what יהושע says!
In the text here we see that many of the Yehuḏim thought they were free and thought that they knew their father, and in a sense were very proud of their freedom and their father, but they were wrong – dead wrong that is!
It is here that יהושע explains true freedom. Some of the followers paid attention to יהושע ’s words without necessarily committing themselves to Him personally.
Yoḥanan/John 6:53 “ יהושע therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Aḏam and drink His blood, you possess no life in yourselves.”
This was a very hard teaching, especially for those who claimed to be His followers and were doing ‘great’ works – we just read in Kěpha that “if indeed you have tasted that the master is good”!
Many believed His words but were not willing to walk in them. Many who followed יהושע could not follow Him after hearing these words that unless you eat of His flesh and drink of His Blood you possess no life! His Word is our life, without which we die!!! So what we see here is clear, although very puzzling at times to understand, that many ‘believe’ in the message of repentance and the coming Kingdom, without becoming true Talmidim of יהושע . Many hear the word of truth yet will not die to self and continue in the Truth that gives life. For the ability to stay in His Word, that is to continue in the Truth, is the true sign of the true followers and learners (Talmidim) of יהושע .
יהושע tells them here that the prerequisite (that which is necessary) to freedom, is firstly faith in Him – for without faith it is impossible to please Elohim, and to continue in their faith evidenced by the works produced by the very living faith built up in them through the Life-Giving Word. Sadly many ‘churches’ today are not taking people the whole way so to speak, they are presenting them with a half-truth, and so many may believe in the words of יהושע yet there is no emphasis on the demands יהושע places upon those who follow after Him. In fact the entire Torah is being shunted aside as of no importance while a false message is being taught that all you have to do is ‘believe’.(full stop!)
But יהושע makes it clear here that the true ‘taught ones’ are those who stay in His Word, for then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free! Let me ask you tonight – “Are you ‘staying’ in His Word?”
True faith is abiding faith – that which remains in His Word!
Why am I emphasising this point! Well the word is clear – Yaʽaqoḇ (James) tells us that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only and deceive ourselves (1:22). Sha’ul in Romans tells us that that not the hearers of the Torah are righteous in the sight of Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be declared right (2:13)!
There are multitudes today that are hearers only, even though they profess to be doers, yet the evidence of the good works of the Word are not seen in their daily lives – they break the commands of Elohim under a misguided banner of ‘grace’ totally twisting the true favour (grace) of our Elohim! For True favour (grace) teaches us to say no to sin and yes to the Torah of Elohim!
Perhaps there are times, even in our own lives where we are hearing the Word and believing it, yet not doing it!
The result of staying in His Word is knowledge of the Truth, the result of this freedom is not only a knowledge of the Truth but also a freedom from the bondage of sin through the application of the Truth.
יהושע in His words ‘if you stay in My Word’, speaking in the present tense, was at the same time revealing that our future loyalty to His teaching will prove the reality of our present profession, so the conclusion of this future condition is put here in to the present tense.
In verse 33 the response of those who ‘believed’ showed clearly that they had not grasped יהושע ’s message. It was like this – they were ‘under’ Roman rule and living according to it, yet they insisted that they were Aḇraham’s descendants and were free men! They had no sense of their bondage to sin, and so how then could יהושע save them and make them free they arrogantly argued! This same mind-set we see still today. There are many who claim to be believers yet they are ‘under’ Roman rule, serving a Roman devised system of syncretised pagan worship which makes people think that they are of Aḇraham, yet are in bondage to a pagan system and are enslaved by it to serve it and do not recognise or have a sense of their bondage to sin and their desperate need for freedom!
Think about it – these Yehuḏim had claimed to be children of Aḇraham and that they have never been slaves. They had quickly forgotten about their slavery in Mitsrayim (Egypt), Assyria, Babylon, Greece and now the Roman Empire.
This was nothing other than pride, and a development of self-righteousness that assumes a position of righteousness without the necessity of the walking in adherence and obedience to the Righteous standards of the Word of Elohim! Today masses are claiming to be ‘fine’, as their ‘Jesus’ has done it all for them – let me remind you that this ‘Jesus’ that is being presented by the “Roman rule” is a false portrayal of our True Saviour – יהושע , as the ‘Jesus’ that us being preached today in much of our western culture is being presented as one who is seemingly leading people away from the Torah, saying it is ok to not keep the instructions and commands of Elohim and the “Old Testament” is not for today! According to the Torah, if a prophet comes and performs signs and wonders and leads one away from the Torah then he is a false profit sent by יהוה to test the hearts! Believing alone is simply not enough! There is a term used today that has been misunderstood, twisted and used loosely and preached by many, called faith-righteousness, which we see is not new as it was what these Yehuḏim thought – as long as they just ‘believed’, then I am free! The Word is clear, abiding or staying in His Word will give you knowledge of the truth and the truth will set you free!
In verse 34 יהושע answers them with a bold repetition of the Word truly… “Truly, Truly I tell you…” He was making a clear point and getting their attention declaring the truth of the matter – the very fact that there is the act of committing sin reveals that the one doing the act is under the power and authority of sin and sin is a cruel master!
Listen, the Words here of יהושע are very clear and need to be made loud even today!
Truly truly!!! Hear the urgency in His voice! – Everyone doing sin, which is living in the commission of it, following after its desires and leading, is a servant of sin!
Mattithyahu 7:23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!”
You can be doing as much works of the flesh as you want, even performing some of the miraculous deeds of casting out demons, healing the sick… If you are not walking in and staying in His Word – His Torah – He says very clearly He will say He ‘NEVER’ knew you and will command you to depart you who work lawlessness (Torahlessness) .
Many today are claiming to be free yet they are being controlled by a lawless system, they are in subjection to a system that teaches and commands the breaking of Torah, and so find themselves serving the sin, serving the system in bondage to traditions and customs that are far removed from the Truth of the Torah of יהוה.
We who are ‘under’ favour (grace) or ‘upo’ in the Greek, meaning ‘in subjection to’ means that we have accepted the yoke of יהושע , which is easy and light to be ‘under’ and so we live within the framework of the Torah.
Listen to Sha’ul’s words from Romiyim/Romans 6:
14 “For sin shall not rule over you, for you are not under the law but under favour.” We are not in subjection to legalism and traditions and customs of men, but in Messiah we are in subjection to His favour (grace) that leads us in His Word.
16-18 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.”
20 “For when you were servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.”
22-23 “But now, having been set free from sin, and having become servants of Elohim, you have your fruit resulting in set-apartness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the favourable gift of Elohim is everlasting life in Messiah יהושע our Master.” We see here again the term ‘set-apartness’, a repeated call for followers of Yah – to be ‘set-apart’ – the result of fully obeying His Word is the fruit of being set-apart from the world – we are not called to become ‘socially acceptable’ – we are called to ‘set-apartness’ – serving Elohim, walking in the fullness of His Word – serving righteousness – and we know that Bemiḏbar (Deuteronomy) 6:25 tells us that this will be our righteousness: when we guard to do the commands of יהוה!!! – Hear, guard and do!!!
It is clear – slaves to sin earn their wages – that is death, and slaves to righteousness receive their favourable gift – everlasting life in Messiah!
יהושע was making it clear that they were in bondage to sin – for they were not obediently following His Word and whoever you present yourselves for obedience to, you are servants of the one you obey. Today many so called believers are obeying the Roman rule of worship! And here יהושע makes it clear – just as Ishmael, Aḇraham’s slave son was ‘cast out’, so then too those in sin are also in danger of being cast out of the house of יהוה. Yitsḥaq, the son of the promise, the son of faith, belonged and remained in the house!
He who serves sin has no place in the House of Elohim, but he who serves יהוה is done with sin and has a secure place in His house.
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:6 “Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him.”
Let me ask right now – “Are you sinning?” “Are you only hearers and not doers of the Word?”
This is very clear – we see the term giving reference to staying in the Word – the result is simple – no sin! So then it is safe to say that sin is a result of not staying in His Word!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1John 5:18 “We know that everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin, but the one having been born of Elohim guards himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:4 “because everyone having been born of Elohim overcomes the world. And this is the overcoming that has overcome the world: our belief.”
Faith in יהושע applied causes us to overcome and walk free from sin!
The Yehuḏim here in Yoḥanan 8 did not have true faith but rather tentative faith – in other words it had not yet been fully worked out or developed, they would not make room in their hearts for יהושע ’s words! And יהושע identifies this in them saying that His Word has no place in them. In effect what He was telling them was that His teaching makes no headway in them; nothing He said penetrated into them – sounds pretty familiar today as we see with so many – they will nod their head in agreement yet fail to walk out in obedience.
There is a call today to come out of slavery and bondage to sin and the enslavement of a wicked and twisted and perverted system of worship. Many are hearing the very Word of our Messiah, yet they are arrogantly refusing to see their enslavement, blinded by pride in their self-righteousness. The condition and promise of walking free is rooted in our choice in whom we follow and serve – hence the word – ‘if’. If we do not stay in His Word then the net result will be enslavement to another which will lead to death, for יהושע is the only way.
As I was pondering upon these words, it struck me that we must heed these words very carefully. Many tend to think that following the truth is dull and boring, as they have to seemingly give up much of their social preferences, which many are reluctant to do due to the hardening of their hearts.
I wonder at times how many times we have been found to sound just like the Yehuḏim יהושע was speaking to?
We will nod our head in acceptance yet continue in the futility of the corrupted customs and traditions, not realising our need to remain in the Vine, stay solid in the Word that we may have abundant life and be directed accordingly.
The question we must ask ourselves is ‘are we truly done with sin’! All of us would certainly like to think so and claim it, but is it so? Or has the ability to stay in His Word been hard and very tough due to the shackles of lawlessness that has been handed down and taught to us through lies pulled us away from complete surrender?
We all desire to be true talmidim – talmidim who walk in Him and are done with sin – well now is that call – are you done with sin? Many ask the question how? The answer is plain and simple – stay in His Word, and do not become hardened by deceit and corrupted traditions that draw you away from His Word!
May we heed these words spoken by our Master and walk in Triumphant faith – that is a conquering faith, a victorious faith as we devote our lives to stay in His Word and possess the true freedom He gives us – to walk shackle free from sin and worry, stress and despair and be able to lift our hands in worship of the One who has set us free, abiding in total obedience.
I firmly believe that we are confronted daily with this very choice – to simply agree alone is not sufficient – we must walk out His Word by faith. This means cutting many things away that need to be cut away – let the Truth of His Word enable you to walk out of bondage to submission to worldly lusts and ungodliness that only kills and walk free in Him.
You see we can debate and ask why can’t I do this or that… but the real question we must ask is who will I serve – for the one I serve I will obey – and if it be יהושע then I must obey and stay in His Word, no matter the cost! Let me ask you… Are you free? Or is there some sin that has you trapped and in bondage, and you find yourself in agreement with the Word you hear yet unable to live it out fully? Then hear these words – do not be like those Yehuḏim who were ignorant of their enslavement. If you belong to Messiah, then you are Aḇraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise and those who are led by the Ruach (Spirit) of Elohim are sons of Elohim and sons stay forever.
Hear the voice of יהושע today – “STAY IN MY WORD – FOR IN IT THERE IS FREEDOM”
Staying in His Word will present many challenges, we know this for sure – much persecution will come, even from within our own families – yet let us not be deferred from remaining in His Truth – staying in His Word – for the True Freedom comes from staying in His Word. If you have been struggling with breaking free from sin or the obstacles that you have allowed to hinder your walk of righteousness – then hear יהושע ’s Words afresh – don’t simply just get in His Word, which is a good start – but ‘Stay in His Word’.
When I truly choose daily to ‘STAY’ in His Word I am wilfully choosing to:
S – Surrender
T – Totally to
A – Almighty
Y – יהושע
And obediently allow His Word to lead me in Truth, being free from the bondage of sin and corruption.
STAY IN HIS WORD!!!!