12 September 2010 (Rishon/Pesach)|
Day #180, 5934 AM
Teshuvah #35 Fruits V
Obedience is the Secret of Abiding
Continued from Part 4
We continue today in our study on fruitfulness and the abundant life. Last time we looked at the evidences for abiding in Messiah Yah'shua and today we want to look at the secret of this abiding or living in Him. We have thus far understood that the secret to living is bearing fruit, for in this very act we express the experience of simcha (joy), ashere (happiness), betach (assurance) and shalom (peace) which consititues the 'abundant life'. We also learned that the secret of bearing fruit is abiding, for as we "abide in [Messiah]" (Jn.15:5, NKJV), He provides the strength which enables us to bear fruit (Phil.4:13). But what is the secret to abiding in Yah'shua (Jesus)? How can we be sure that we will have access to the strength that Yah'shua provides? To know that, we must once again return to the discourse on the Vine and the Branches.
Can there be any ambiguity or confusion? Not if we follow Scripture. Ambiguity and confusion only come when we follow the traditions of men and try to make Scripture conform to them instead of the other way round. You cannot read much of the Tanakk (Old Testament) or B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) without quickly realising that obedience to Yahweh's mitzvot (His Torah or commandments) if essential is we are going to enjoy Yahweh's blessings. One verse really summarises it all - a verse that should be memorised:
- 1. The Secret of Abiding is Obeying (Shamea) the Commandments (Mitzvot). Yah'shua stated that He obeyed everything His Father Yahweh told Him, including His mitzvot or commandments, and also said that by obeying Him in turn we abide in His ahavah or love: "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments (the mitzvot of Torah) and abide in His love" (John 15:10, NKJV). By keeping these mitzvot of Yah'shua we are elevated from the position of being servants to being friends: "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14, NKJV). In the same way, as we follow tavnith (pattern), we see that an obedient wife rapidly becomes her husband's friend! Much of the resentment in marriage comes from a disobedient wife who resents being his servant instead of his friend but fails to realise that she has put herself in that position, rejecting her servanthood as demeaning. The same is true of a husband - if he disobeys Yahweh, he soons becomes resentful of being a servant for wont of an intimate relationship with Christ. This is no different from a talmid or disciple (metaphorical wife of Yah'shua - us) wondering why he cannot be intimate with Yah'shua when he is disobedient. "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him" (1 John 3:24, NKJV).
The principle of abiding through obeying governed Yah'shua's relationship with His Father Yahweh while on earth and is the tavnith or pattern we are to imitate. By abiding in Yahweh's Torah Yah'shua abided in Yahweh's ahavah (love) too: "If you keep My (Yah'shua's) commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10, NKJV). The desire to be obedient is the evidence that we love the Law-Giver: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34, NKJV). "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father (Yahweh) who sent Me" (John 5:30, NKJV). "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38, NKJV). In the same way, a wife abides in her husband's love by obeying his commandments, just as He obeys Yah'shua, and just as Yah'shua obeys the Father, Yahweh. And in the same way, this should govern our conduct as believers generally - we abide in Messiah by keeping His mitzvot (commandments): "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (mitzvot). He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments (mitzvot), is a liar, and the truth (emet) is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love (ahavah) of Elohim (God) is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:3-6, NKJV). Obedience is not very popular in a liberal society but it is stressed, highlighted and underlined throughout the Scriptures, and to deny it is spiritual folly.
- 2. The Importance of Obedience (Shamea). Obedience has always been critical to a relationship with Yahweh in both Old Covenant and New Covenant Israel. "And now, Israel, what does the Yahweh your Elohim require of you, but to fear Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh and His chuqqim (statutes) which I command you today for your good?" (Deut.10:12-13, NKJV) Failure to be obedient led to national apostacy and required the efforts of prophets calling the people to make teshuvah or repentance: "'Come now, and let us reason together,' says Yahweh. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword'; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken" (Isa.1:18-20, NKJV). King Saul is an object lesson in the consequences of disobedience: "Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of Yahweh, He also has rejected you from being king" (1 Sam.15:22-23, NKJV). King Solomon testified: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Elohim (God) and keep His mitzvot (commandments), for this is man's all (kol, whole duty)" (Eccl.12:13, NKJV).
It often shocks Christians (falsely taught that the Law and commandments have been done away with) to learn (if they are serious Bible students) that the New Testament says exactly the same thing, and by Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself on numerous occasions. Instead of Yah'shua replacing the Old Testament commandments with a set of completely new ones, we discover that while He has indeed fulfilled some of the ritual law (like animal sacrifice) that He has added to what the Father gave before: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Master, Master,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice Torahlessness (lawlessness, antinomianism)!' Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall" (Matt.7:21-27, NKJV). The Old Testament Rock was the written Torah and the New Testament Rock is the heart of that Torah, Yah'shua, alive in us, causing us to obey the written Torah in the Ruach (Spirit) rather than in the flesh. Such behaviour describes His true Family: "Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, 'Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.' But He answered them, saying, 'Who is My mother, or My brothers?' And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, 'Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of Elohim (God) is My brother and My sister and mother'" (Mark 3:31-35, NKJV). Who, then, by this token, is a true wife? She who obeys her husband's commandments and does not appeal to a marriage certificate as a man might appeal to a birth certificate to claim sonship. Our Great Commission is unambiguous: "All authority has been given to Me (Yah'shua) in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make talmidim disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Ruavh haQodesh (Holy Spirit), teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt.28:18-20, NKJV). The apostles did exactly the same: "Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him...And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Master [Yah'shua]" (Acts 10:34-35,38, NKJV). "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day (Yom Kippur) on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man (Yah'shua) whom He has ordained...But Elohim (God) be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine (teaching, Torah) to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Acts.17:30-31, Rom 6:17-18, NKJV).
Have you obeyed the commandments of Yahweh, of Yah'shua and of the apostles? I cannot possibly list them all here but you can search through the Scriptures and carefully study this website which has carefully assembled them all. Do you believe on the Name of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)? (1 Jn.3.23) Have you repented of your sins? (Acts 17:30) Have you been baptised by full immersion? (Mt.28:18-18) Are you growing in the knowldge of Messiah? (2 Pet.3:18) Are you assembling together with other believers on the Sabbath and on Yahweh's festivals? (Heb.10:24-25) Is the Word of Messiah dwelling in you richly? (Col.3:16) Are you devoting yourself to prayer? (Col.4:2) Do you want access to the Tree of Life? Do you want to enter the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem? If so, reject the lies of the antinomians and do as you are bidden by the Word. If you do, you have fantastic promises:
"[Yah'shua/Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation TO ALL WHO OBEY HIM" (Heb.5:9, NKJV).
In an age of disobedience and carelessness in the churches it is both right and necessary to stress obedience, especially as we now know what the secret to living and life really is. And what is it?
"Blessed are those who do His mitzvot (commandments, Torah), that they may have the right to the Tree of Chayyim (Life), and may enter through the gates into the city" (Rev.22:14, NKJV).
So do it - now!
- 1. The secret to living is bearing fruit;
- 2. The secret to bearing fruit is abiding in Yah'shua; and
- 3. The secret to abiding is obeying Torah.
Continued in Part 6