Shabbat Shalom all,
Romiyim/Romans 13:10-14 “Love does no evil to a neighbour. Therefore, love is completion of the Torah. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for us to wake up from sleep, for now our deliverance is nearer than when we did believe. 12 The night is far advanced, the day has come near. So let us put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in wild parties and drunkenness, not in living together and indecencies, not in fighting and envy, 14 but put on the Master יהושע Messiah, and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.”
Sha’ul was making a great appeal back then in his letter to the believers in Rome; an appeal that is still being made very loud and clear today… especially as we consider that our deliverance is nearer than many would care to believe! The call is clear – WAKE UP! And the choice is clear – walk in life or sleep in death! As we consider these words of Sha’ul we need to make sure that we are awake to the Truth and be urgent in our need to be perfecting our set-apartness before Elohim.
In a message tonight called, ‘WAKE UP AND WALK IN LIFE!’, I would like us to carefully consider these words of Sha’ul, as well as the very similar words of the stern warning and call that our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, gives to us in His message to the assembly in Sardis. Please turn with me to Ḥazon/Revelation 3:1-6 (Read)
Sardis was a city in Asia Minor, which comprises most of what is now called Turkey, and was the chief city of Lydia and was situated about 48 km’s South East of Thyatira and about 80km’s East of Ephesus at the junction of 5 main roads. It was located on an important trade route that ran East to West in the kingdom of Lydia. Important industries included jewellery, dye, and textiles which had made the city wealthy.
Believers in Sardis had grown cold in their need to perfect set-apartness and as a result had, in a manner of speaking, fallen asleep to the need to be on guard against the influence of worldly ways. While they continued to claim to be living set-apart lives, the message given to them here clearly reveals that they had been blinded by their own compromise and needed a very stern wake up call, lest they die in their sleep! The Greek word translated here as ‘dead’ is νεκρός nekros- Strong’s G3498 which means, ‘dead, deceased, corpse’, and in the Greek it has the clear meaning of one who has breathed their last breath and is now lifeless! Metaphorically this also has the understanding of being ‘spiritually dead’, which clearly indicates a person who is destitute of a life that recognises, and is devoted to, Elohim, for they have neglected to walk in the life that His Torah leads us in. We see in the last words of Mosheh to Yisra’ĕl that he makes it very clear that the Torah is life to us:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:45-47 “And when Mosheh ended speaking all these words to all Yisra’ĕl, 46 he said to them, “Set your heart on all the words with which I warn you today, so that you command your children to guard to do all the Words of this Torah. 47 “For it is not a worthless Word for you, because it is your life, and by this Word you prolong your days on the soil which you pass over the Yardĕn to possess.”
One who is considered as being ‘νεκρός nekros’, in the Greek text, is one who has no life as they have given themselves over to lawlessness and sin, and are inactive in regards to doing what is right is the eyes of יהוה! This is a sobering wakeup call in itself for many today, as there are many who consider themselves to be very much alive in the word, yet they are simply dead, as their disregard for the Torah of Elohim makes this clear!
This word can also give the understanding of being inoperative and inactive, which makes clear sense of course, since a dead person or corpse cannot do anything, yet in light of these words being spoken what we must take heed of here is the sobering warning that is being given to people who assumed to be alive and doing great things, and were even well known!
Doing great things and gaining popularity will not keep one alive, for it is only the guarding of the Torah and commands of Elohim that will keep one alive!
The Greek word Σάρδεις Sardeis – Strong’s G4554 means, ‘red ones’, which I find very interesting as we can see that the message is given to all who are still ‘sleeping’ in the world! The Hebrew word for man or mankind is אָדָם aḏam – Strong’s H120 which means, ‘man, mankind, human, person’ and so this collectively refers to both men and women! The noun אָדָם aḏam – Strong’s H120 comes from the root verb אָדֹם aḏom – Strong’s H119 which means, ‘to be red, ruddy’, which according to Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew Lexicon, comes from the parent root דָּם dam – Strong’s H1818 which means, ‘blood, bloodguilt, bloodshed’.
In the Ancient Hebrew alphabet the word דָּם dam – Strong’s H1818 which means, ‘to be red, ruddy’, looks like this:
Dalet – דָּ:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as a ‘tent door’. It can also have the meaning of ‘a back and forth movement’, as one goes back and forth through a tent door, and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access.
Mem – ם:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. This also carries for us the picture of washing, as we understand the function of water being that which cleanses us and sustains us, showing us how we are washed and sustained by the Living Waters of the Word! This letter also can represent any liquid, especially blood!
When you combine these two pictures together we can see the meaning, ‘the moving back and forth of water” or the “flowing of blood“.
The life of all flesh is in its blood! Blood is not a dead thing… without blood we have no life! We recognise that without the Blood of Messiah being shed for us we have no life! And it is by the Blood of our Master and Elohim that we have been declared right, and as we stay in Him we shall be saved from wrath through Him (Romiyim/Romans 5:9).
The Hebrew word for man, אָדָם aḏam – Strong’s H120 which means, ‘man, mankind, human, person’, has the letter ‘aleph’ (אָ) before the letters ‘dalet’ (דָ) and ‘mem’ (ם). In the ancient script the Hebrew word אָדָם aḏam looks like this:
Aleph – אָ:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘the head of an ox’, and represents ‘strength’, meaning ‘muscle’ as the ox is the strongest of the livestock animals. This also carries the meaning of ‘yoke’, as an ox is placed in a yoke in order to plough or pull a heavy load in the right direction. This can also picture for us the ‘red heifer’ sacrifice that יהושע Messiah fulfilled!
Here we are able to see that the ‘strength’ of man is from the Aleph and Taw – the Beginning and the End, our Mighty Elohim, by whose Blood we have life, and life abundantly. The favourable gift of Elohim, through the Blood of Messiah has overflowed to many! Why I am mentioning this here is to highlight the clear call for sinful man to wake up and walk in the life that Messiah came to bring us by His own Blood. For the message to Sardis is clear – wake up and be strengthened or else! The call to this assembly at Σάρδεις Sardeis – Strong’s G4554 which means, ‘red ones’, is a very powerful and sobering picture that can represent both those who are awake and those who are not! Red ones can represent those who walk according to the flesh, and have no understanding of, nor even think on, the matters that are from above. This can represent those who have no oil and have no garments of righteousness. On the other hand, red ones can also symbolise those who have been washed in the Blood of Messiah and are dressed in white! Yeshayahu/Isaiah 1 speaks of the call to repent and be washed so that though our sins are like scarlet, so that they shall be as white as snow! Messiah’s Blood is the only thing that can wash us and make us white! Herein lies the clear call to wake up and live or remain asleep in lawlessness and die!
The first man sinned and through the sin of one man, sin entered into the world and death through sin, and therefore death spread to all, because all sinned. While all were made sinners through the disobedience of one, we know that through the obedience of the One – יהושע Messiah – many shall be made righteous, for the first man Aḏam became a living being, but the last Aḏam a life-giving Spirit. Through the life, death and resurrection of Messiah, we have been given the ability to be strengthened, enabling us to be upright and awake and walk in the life that His Blood brings us, as we stay in Him and walk in His Torah!
Any deviation from the Truth will cause one to grow tired and weary and in danger of being found to be asleep without oil!
To Sardis Messiah identifies Himself as the one who has the 7 Spirits of Elohim and the seven stars. When we recognise that He tells us in Ḥazon/Revelation 1 that the 7 stars are the 7 messengers to the assemblies, we also see how it is Messiah who is the Complete Word that He sends out by His Spirit, and it is at Yom Teruah that we begin to hear the Awakening Blast of the last seven Trumpets that would be blown over the 10 days and end on Yom Kippur. In the call to Sardis, they are clearly told to wake up, watch and repent! If they did not wake up then יהושע would come upon them like a thief. Herein lies the clear picture of Yom Teruah – a wakeup call.
In the Parable of the virgins all 10 were found sleeping, and only 5 had oil in their lamps! At Yom Teruah when the Awakening call goes out, we had better have oil in our lamps, and not be found to be without His Spirit, because we did not guard His Appointed Times and His Word! Yom Teruah teaches us to be awake and watchful for it is the only feast that takes place at the beginning of a month, which requires our ability to watch for the renewed moon! If we do not get Yom Teruah right, we will not know the proper time for Yom Kippur, which will cause יהושע to come as a thief, yet when we guard His Appointed Times and are awake and watchful, then we will understand His Appointed Times and be ready for His return! The warning to Sardis is clear – repent of dead works and wake up! So many today and working lawlessness and think that they are alive, yet they are dead in their sin!
Messiah was telling this assembly, “I know your works… and they have not been found to be complete before Elohim!”
The Greek word for ‘works’ is ἔργον ergon – Strong’s G2041 which means, ‘works, labour, business, employment, behaviour, deeds’.
In Mattithyahu/Matthew 5 יהושע Messiah tells us that we are the light of the world and that we must not hide the light, but that we should shine the light of His Truth in everything we do, and that our light should shine before all men, so that they see our good works and praise our Father who is in the heavens! Guess what the very next words of the Master are, after telling us to let our ‘good works’ be seen by all….:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete.”
The clarity of His words is made plain in telling us that we shall be unable to let our good works be seen by all if we destroy the Torah and the Prophets! In other words, works done without the perfection of the Torah are not deemed ‘good works’ by our Elohim, no matter how good they may seem in the eyes of the flesh!
To the assembly in Sardis Messiah says that their works have not been found complete before Elohim! The Greek word translated as ‘complete’ is πληρόω plēroō – Strong’s G4137 which means, ‘to make full, complete, accomplish’. This is the same word used in Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:17, and this means, in essence, to fully meet what is required, and not to finish and be done with! We cannot change His Word to suite ourselves and try to fashion and shape it to fit into our comfort zones – His Word is the same yesterday, today and forever and He does not change and so we should not attempt in any way to change that which He has given us through His written Word!
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so complete the Torah of Messiah.”
The word complete here is the same word used when Messiah declares to us that He did not come to destroy the Torah but ‘fulfil’ or ‘complete’ it! In other words He came to fully meet its requirements and provide for us the Way to walk in His Torah as we remain in Him in order that we too may ‘complete/fulfil’ the Torah. Just think about it – if He fulfilled’ it in the erroneous way that is taught by many that declares it is now null and void – then how would Sha’ul tell us to fulfil something already fulfilled!!! Yes I know it sounds crazy – and guess what – it is! Because the Torah has not been made null and void – it is there for us to hear, guard and do and we have the ability in Messiah to walk in it!
The assembly at Sardis were found to be incomplete – that is to say that they were found to have neglected the need to walk fully in the Torah of Elohim, despite their many works that were seen by many, and herein lies the reminder of the words of the Master to those who do not guard His Torah!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’”
This warning and wake-up call that was given to Sardis was a much needed one, and shows the patience of our Master! Notice how He tells the assembly that He knows all the works that they have been doing and how popular they have become, for they had a name, yet He is warning them to wake up and start doing what they should so that He does not say to them that He never knew them!
This warning is something we all must take heed to, as there is always the danger of becoming complacent in one’s life, thinking that you have it all together and that you do not need to be told what you have already heard! Here Messiah makes it clear – Remember how you have received and heard! This is a warning to people who should have known better, They had heard and received the Truth, yet had been severely influenced by the world around them! So much so that, as we can see form the archaeological findings, that they had simply blended in with this pagan ridden capital, instead of being set-apart and being a clear light of the Truth to the lost!
The call to be watchful is still the call today, and the 2 Greek words translated as ‘wake up’ are: 1) γίνομαι ginomai – Strong’s G1096 and means, ‘to come into being, to happen, to cause to become’, and 2) γρηγορέω grēgoreō – Strong’s G1127 which means, ‘keep awake, be vigilant’, and is formed from the word ἐγείρω egeirō – Strong’s G1453 which means, ‘to waken, raise up, arise’.
The Greek word for ‘strengthen’ is στηρίζω stērizō – Strong’s G4741 which means, ‘to make fast, establish, support, fixed, strengthen’, and has the understanding to ‘set fast (your face)’. This can only happen when one is awake, as it denotes one who has their eyes wide open and is focused on that which strengthens him. We know that our strength comes from Elohim and His Word; and here this warning clearly presupposes that the believer, who is to be strengthened, is under assault and in extreme danger of becoming uncertain and slothful in their faith and walk of Truth!
The effect or aim of strengthening is the impregnability of our belief, in spite of the troubles we have endured or are currently facing or will face in the future! Walk in life or sleep in death! Sleep is a metaphor for death, and a very clear picture of many who may be alive in the flesh today, yet are dead in the spirit and unless they wake up they will never see life!
Watching is what we are to be doing as we guard ourselves and take heed not to fall asleep; and in light of what we are discussing here let us look further at some very critical words of warning that we are to take heed of from our Master in:
Marqos/Mark 13:33-37 “Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is – 34 as a man going abroad, having left his house and given authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening or at midnight, or at the crowing of the cock, or in the morning, 36 lest, coming suddenly, he should find you sleeping. 37 “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
The word for ‘watch’ in the above verses 34,35 & 37 is γρηγορέω grēgoreō – Strong’s G1127 which we have already discussed, and in verse 33 the word translated as ‘watch’ is the Greek word ἀγρυπνέω agrupneō – Strong’s G69 which means, ‘to be sleepless, wakeful, alert, keep watch’. It comes from the two Greek words: 1) α alpha – Strong’s G1 – which is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, used as a negative participle and 2) ὕπνος hupnos – Strong’s G5258 which is the Greek word used for ‘sleep’, and while meaning sleep it also carries the understanding of ‘being under, put under’.
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!
So what we clearly understand in the command to ‘watch’ is that we are to ‘keep awake, be vigilant’ and DO NOT SLEEP or get hypnotised under the spell of the false doctrines of man!
This is a huge wake-up call that should warn us against complacency and the vain assumption that many often have, thinking that they are standing strong while there are subtle compromises in their lives! In speaking of the examples of those who whored away from the Truth, Sha’ul tells us in:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:11-12 “And all these came upon them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come, 12 so that he who thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall.”
Twice in its long history
This teaches us a vital lesson in being on guard against thinking that we are immune to complacency and compromise.
It is clear from these words, and the historical evidence we have from this city, that the believers were not aggressive in their witness to the city. There was no evidence of persecution, and this would be because there was no invasion of the ‘enemies’ territory – and no advancement of the Besorah of the Kingdom! No friction often means that there is no motion. The unsaved in
Sardis did have a remnant of dedicated people! This we see as a repeated thread or pattern through Scripture – there is always a remnant few who will not give in to the ways of the world! The Greek word for ‘few’ is ὀλίγος oligos – Strong’s G3641 which means, ‘few, little, small’, and is the same word used in the Master’s words in:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:14 “Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
He again says in:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 9:37 “Then He said to His taught ones, “The harvest truly is great, but the workers are few.”
Mattithyahu/Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
What is made clear here in these words given to Sardis is still the same today – this walk is a narrow walk, and there are few on it – and by few I mean really a little. There may have been one of the biggest and most popular synagogues in Sardis, yet the masses who were in it were dead, and there was only a remnant few in Sardis. A few that will walk with the Master in white, because they are worthy! The Greek word for ‘worthy’ is ἄξιος axios – Strong’s G514 which means, ‘worthy, due reward, befitting, deserving’, and this can have both a positive and a negative meaning, as we know that each will get what they deserve and will be rewarded according to the works of the hands! These few were worthy to walk with the Master – a few who had forsaken all to walk in life and not fall asleep!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:37-38 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take up his stake and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
The promise to be clothed in white would have been especially meaningful to the people who lived in a city where woollen garments were manufactured. And the statement about the names being blotted out would also be significant to the people in the
Where are you? From this passage we are able to see that names can be blotted out, or they can be kept secure in the Master!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having, then, these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting set-apartness in the fear of Elohim.”
The Greek word used here for ‘defilement’ is μολυσμός molusmos – Strong’s G3436 meaning, ‘defilement, filthiness, an action by which anything is defiled and rendered unclean and unfit’ and comes from the word μολύνω molunō – Strong’s G3435 meaning, ‘to stain, defile, soiled’, which is used in Ḥazon/Revelation 3:4. We are to keep our garments from being stained or soiled by sin and compromise and cleanse ourselves in the Blood of Messiah and obey His Word!
Perhaps you have been relying on your past success of standing in faith to keep you going today and grown so accustomed to being comfortable on past victories that you find yourself actually in a place where you discover that you are dying, for you have become complacent in your walk with Elohim. This assembly who had the appearance of life on the outside, is seen by the Master יהושע, who sees what is on the inside, and He can clearly see that there is no life in them, even though they themselves claimed to be alive and kicking. What man often sees is not the reality of what Elohim sees.
Have you like the city at Sardis, who through lack of watchfulness, allowed the enemy to capture you because of your falling asleep to the Word, and have found that you have become defiled with the things of the world? Then hear this call to wake up and strengthen what remains!
Perhaps your works of obedience have not been complete in the sight of Elohim; then remember what you have received – for you have received the favourable gift of life! Remember what you have heard – you have heard His word – obey it completely! Perfecting set-apartness is a daily expectation of a true believer who is consistently steadfast in strengthening themselves in the Master, being enabled to overcome the compromises of the flesh. How are you doing? Are you awake, or are these sobering words of the Master like a dream to you? Now is the time to wake up and walk in life! How old is your testimony is often a valid question we should ask ourselves. We need to be a people who are always ready to give a reason of the sure hope we have in Him, in and out of season. That is to say that our testimony and witness of Him must be a daily living one, not plagued by compromise and the threat of falling asleep under the weight of sin and lawlessness, nor being put to sleep by the worries of this life and the deceit of wealth that chokes out the life of the Word, putting many to sleep!
In order to clothe ourselves with Messiah we first need to wake up, and then clean up – rid ourselves of the dirt of the world and keep our garments clean, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the set-apart ones!
In a world that has been hypnotised by falsehood and the vanities of the flesh, let us be watchful and strengthened in the life giving Word of our Master, as we walk in Him and guard His commands, for His Blood cleanses and strengthens us to stay in Him and not be lacking in anything!
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 9:8 “Let your garments be white at all times, and let your head lack no oil.”
The hour has already come for us to wake up from sleep! Hear the clear call to wake up and walk in life, and be urgent in calling those who are asleep to wake up to, as they see your good works of obedience – stay clean, stay oiled and overcome you “red ones” of Messiah!
He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies!
יהוה bless your 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