7 Trouble Spots in the Body of Messiah

09/19/15 (07/05) Video Broadcast

In the spirit of Yom Kippur, we examine some common sins in the body of Messiah.

7 Trouble Spots in the Body of Messiah - Study


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“7 Trouble Spots in the Body of Messiah”

EliYah’s message:

The study portion for today’s broadcast is entitled: “Seven Trouble Spots in the Body of Messiah.” Seven trouble spots…

A trouble spot is an area that needs our attention, an area that needs to be corrected, an area that may be neglected and it is a trouble spot in the body of the Messiah.

And we, as the body of the Messiah, are not yet perfected, are we? We still have areas that each of us individually, and certainly corporately, need to overcome and we want to overcome as His people.

And so, this is one of the blessings of the Feasts, that we take the time to focus on what those areas are and seek to be overcomers. As we get together and talk about these things, the blessing of the Feast is we get to really do something about them. We can confess them and we can forsake.

So we have the Day of Atonement coming up. And so, that is what we are going to talk about today. What are the trouble spots?

I want to say, first of all, that my intent here is not to act like, “Okay, I am up on this high perch and I will scan the earth below and I notice all the problems,” and I am sitting back criticizing everybody. No, that is not really what I am doing. I am trying to say, “Here, guys,” put my arm around you, and say, “This is where we need to work on.”

These are just areas I have noticed sometimes in myself and sometimes in others, and just all of us as a whole, areas that we need to improve upon and change.

So what are the seven trouble spots? We are going to start with the first one here, and the first one is: Pride and Arrogance.

I don’t know, there may be someone out there who has no pride whatsoever in them. I don’t know who they are. I think about the time I get it kicked Yahweh kicks me in the pants and shows me something else that I need to overcome in the area of pride.

But I want to go over some scriptures on this because one of the areas that is a great danger in pride and arrogance, which is, actually, also the very thing that helps us, is knowledge. As we gain more understanding and more knowledge about the Messiah, there is a serious, serious danger to become puffed-up and arrogant and prideful about it.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 8, it says, in verses 1 through 3:

1Corinthians 8:1 – Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.

So the purpose of the knowledge is love. It isn’t to make you look smarter. It is so you can better walk in love.

1Corinthians 8:2 – And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.

3 – But if anyone loves Elohim, this one is known by Him.

So our goal is that we would be known by Him. That is more important than what we happen to know.

And if you think you know anything, that basically means, if you think you know something, you have more to learn, because part of what Yahweh is trying to instruct us in is that, “You don’t know anything, and I am far superior to you and you need to learn from Me.”

We need to humble ourselves, and say, “I don’t know anything. Yahweh’s knowledge is so inexhaustible, so infinite, that I am just barely scratching the surface of His understanding.” And so, we stay humble. And we don’t exalt ourselves. We don’t puff ourselves up when we receive new knowledge.

Proverbs 30:32 – If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, Or if you have devised evil, [put your] hand on [your] mouth.

Put your hand on your mouth. Uh-oh. Aaaah, you just exalted yourself? That is not what we are supposed to do.

Pride is very unusual, though, in its deceptiveness. It is actually a state of mind that we have more so than a specific sin that we are committing on occasion. Although we can have moments of humility and moment of pride, our goal is to reach an emptiness within ourselves so we might maximize Yahweh’s work in our life.

Pride can drive men to do all kinds of things– to be religious, to be artistic, powerful, famous. All kinds of things. But Yahweh despises pride. I mean, what do we have to be proud of when we have rebelled against our Creator? We did not make ourselves.

Yahweh sent His Son to die for us. We ought to be humble and not be prideful, because we have messed up and we need Him every day of our life. And so, Scripture says:

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of YAHWEH, and He will lift you up.

You don’t lift yourself up. Let Him lift you up. And along side of that, the right next verse:

James 4:11 – Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12 – There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

Yahushua the Messiah lives in your brother. And if you judge him, you are judging the Law. Because Yahushua is the Word made flesh who dwelled among us. It is no longer we who live, it is Messiah who lives in us, and we need to be humble and not judgmental and not even wise in our own eyes.

Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? [There is] more hope for a fool than for him.

Now think about all the proverbs that speak against foolishness. He contrasts the fool and he contrasts the wise man. And then he says if you are wise in your own eyes, though, there is more hope for a fool than for you. That is pretty serious. Pretty serious words.

So our goal here is:

Romans 12:16 – Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

So we want to associate with humble people, with people who understand the blessing of humility and people that are not going to be arrogant. And sometimes it is the company we keep that can impact, though, our attitudes.

And we see sometimes people setting their minds on high things, things you can’t really prove in Scripture one way or the other, and they form their opinions and everybody has their thing to say when we just need to set our mind on the important things in the Word.

We have to be out of the way for Yahweh’s glory to be manifested and to be used by Him the way He desires to use us.

You know, if we ever get prideful in any ministry that we do, and Yahweh help me if I ever am prideful in any way, shape or form: “Oh, this website that I have built!” or anything like that, or some ministry I have put together… look, that is not the way Yahushua’s disciples operated.

They got together and they discussed all the things that Yahweh had done among them. That is what they did in Acts 15. They talked about the things that Yahweh had done. And it is all Yahweh’s doing. It really is. It is all Yahweh’s doing. We can’t do anything apart from Him.

Scripture says:

Psalms 10:4 – The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek [Elohim]; Elohim [is] in none of his thoughts.

When pride comes in, Elohim is not in the head. He is somewhere else. He is down below us even, because He wants us to be humble.

Colossians 3:23 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to YAHWEH and not to men,

24 – knowing that from YAHWEH you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve YAHWEH Messiah.

And then…

Micah 6:8 – He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does YAHWEH require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your Elohim?

You know, sometimes people read the Word looking for things they can show others how right they are. We need to read the Word to let it correct us. That is why we read the Word, not to win a debate or win an argument. We are here to look to the Word for correction. We are here to love Elohim.

The purpose of knowledge, the purpose of the commandment is love with a pure heart from a sincere faith. But he who is of a proud heart is going to stir up strife and arguments. And we don’t want that among us.

Proverbs 28:25 – He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in YAHWEH will be prospered.

We don’t want strife. We don’t want arguments. We want to be humble– we realize sin is a problem we all face, not just the other person– and be forgiving and merciful.

Matthew 6:14 – “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 – “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If we are so prideful and we are not willing to forgive others for their wrongs, maybe you have sin in your own life, too, either now or at some point, and you may need grace from Yahweh. We all need grace from Yahweh. So we heed the warning because all the hidden things will come to light.

If we are harboring things, harboring unforgiveness, sometimes our own pride will cause us to forget the pit from which we were dug and we refuse to walk in humility.

It is sad to me that young men today, it is all about pride and arrogance. Who can look the best? Who can look the toughest? Who has the most stylish vehicle? Who has the fanciest clothes? or whatever. All these things that the youth are pursuing are not reflections of the attitude that we need to have today, which is humility.

Scripture says:

1Peter 5:5 – Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “Elohim resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Be clothed with humility, as our clothing representing humility, and I know it is talking about spiritual, like we are surrounded with humility. Well, sometimes the physical clothes we wear reflects whether we have a humble spirit or whether we are trying to exalt ourselves.

1Peter 5:6 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of Elohim, that He may exalt you in due time,

7 – casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

So we want to be clothed with humility. And young men, especially, he says, “Submit yourselves to your elders.” If you are humble, you recognize they have lived longer than you. They have experience to share.

Maybe the older folks and their generation may not be so learned in the latest technology and gadgets and smartphones, and maybe that is why the aged people are not honored as they should be, but they have lived long enough to have learned some wisdom.

They might not be able to fix the computer, but they have wisdom that they have gained over the years of dealing with people and we should honor and respect them.

You know, most of the world tends to mock the elderly and make fun of them and consider them stupid. Often they are ignored or shoved away in nursing homes.

Hollywood and the world, what do they do? They honor and they glorify the youth. You gotta be young. That is the goal. But Yahweh says honor the face and the presence of the old man.

Leviticus 19:32 – `You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your Elohim: I [am] YAHWEH.

We must honor their presence and by that you fear Yahweh Himself. You rise before the gray headed. If you are sitting in a seat and an older person comes into the room, give him your seat. Show him respect. It is part of fearing Elohim, to honor your elders.

Proverbs 16:31 – The silver-haired head [is] a crown of glory, [If] it is found in the way of righteousness.

Sometimes those who are older than us don’t act very honorably and that causes people to dishonor them. But it is their age, their office, their experience that we are honoring.

And if you are an older person and you want to receive honor– and we should, as a person who is older, receive honor either if it is a parent receiving honor from their children or an older man or an older woman receiving honor from those who are younger– then act honorably. Then act righteously.

And even if they are not acting righteously, we should respect the fact that they are older and we need to respond in humility considering ourselves as in a position of we lack experience and we have things to learn from the older generation.

That takes us to another issue I see in the body of Messiah. The second issue I see here is: The Home Life.

A significant reason our homes are in shambles is partly because of the culture we live in. There is no respect in our culture today. We live in a culture that places man in a higher position than Elohim. It is a man-centered culture. And men have actually lost what it means to be men and women have lost what it means to be a woman.

We live in a culture where sodomites are glorified, the gender lines are blended, and the traditional family is mocked and ridiculed. And much has been said about this among believers, but I think we need to take a real close look in the mirror.

Do you know fornication and adultery are sins just like sodomy is a sin? According to surveys, done by those who profess to be Christian, I saw where eighty percent of Christians have committed fornication. Eighty percent! While they were Christians. That doesn’t count the ones who have done so in their hearts.

And divorce and remarriage, even where a believer divorces a believer and then marries another believer, without any justification whatsoever. There is no justification for that, and yet it is more common than we realize.

Now just think about that. Do we really get the right to live how we want and then Yahweh just has to forgive us? Is that how it works? Yahweh has to forgive us? No! In fact, Scripture says:

Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

These are serious words. Serious, serious words.

Ephesians 5:5 – For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and Elohim.

No fornicator has any inheritance in the Kingdom.

1Corinthians 6:9 – Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,

10 – nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of Elohim.

He puts the fornicators right there alongside. And here eighty percent of those who claim to be Christian have committed fornication.

Now if fornication is our practice, if that is what we normally do, we have no inheritance in the Kingdom. We are not even a believer. That is what I am reading here. We are not even a believer if that is our practice.

We cannot be practicing fornication and expect His grace to still be there. We live in a culture where shacking up is so common– you know, live together before marriage– nobody blinks an eye, even when two believers do it. And this ought not be. And it is way too common among those who claim to be believers.

Those who claim to be believers and practice that, according to what I read in the scripture… I’m not trying to condemn anybody. I am just trying to warn people. This is what Yahweh’s Word says.

And then when a marriage finally does take place, men are failing to love and cherish their wives, while wives are failing to respect and revere their husbands. Now I am still a work in progress in this area, so I am not exalting myself.

But, you know, strife in households, even among believers, is at an all-time high. And yet, Scripture says:

Galatians 5:19 – Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

20 – idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Look at this one– “contentions.”

“Dissensions”– that is fighting, strife.

Galatians 5:21 – envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim.

Those who practice such things will not… WILL NOT… WILL NOT… inherit the Kingdom of Elohim, because strife and love are two opposites. We can’t practice hatred and practice contentions and dissensions, and claim, “Oh, well, I love. I love my brother.”

He who does not love his brother has no life in him. And this is not how we love each other, by practicing strife and anger and all these things. But if we are willing to practice these things, the same scripture that prohibits fornication and said fornicators will enter the lake of fire, those who practice strife also will not inherit the Kingdom.

Dissensions, contentions, all these things. Do we see this? This is very important. I am not trying to condemn anybody. I am just offering up a warning. We need to repent. The body of Messiah needs to repent of the dissension, the division, the contentions, the jealousies, of the things related to strife, the anger.

We are in great spiritual danger if these are our practices. And so, we want to build each other up. We don’t want to do things to provoke the strife with each other.

Us men, we need to learn to love our wives so that we are not putting a stumbling block in their way. And oftentimes their greatest need is just to be treated in such a way that they are valued and that they are important to us.

And if we don’t treat them like they are important to us and care for them with tenderness and loving kindness, it creates a stumbling block and a temptation in their way to disrespect us.

And so, when we speak to one another, let’s bear the fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 – gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

We have to sow to the Spirit.

Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, Elohim is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

8 – For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

And that is the news for us right there. Elohim is not mocked. If you keep sowing that, something is going to reap somewhere.

And so, brothers, we need to understand the difference between leadership and control. Control involves various attempts to force our wives, force them to do the things that we want, either through anger, through threats, through whatever.

Leadership, though, inspires them to follow our lead. Control tries to force them to follow our lead.

I learned from being a shepherd if you stand behind a sheep and try to scare them into something, they just scatter everywhere. They are too focused on your anger or you being a threat to them than actually doing what you have to say.

But if you lead them into the pen using food or because they know that you are a good thing for them, because they know you are going to provide for them, you are going to protect them– then they will follow you anywhere. And that is what leadership is.

That is what Yahushua does for us. He doesn’t force us into anything. He inspires us to follow His lead and His example. And that is how we need to lead, to walk in such a way that commands respect. And that involves serving. That involves loving.

That involves loving people when they are not being loving, loving our wives when they are not being loving, living as Yahushua lived with compassion, with grace, with holiness, with purity.

You know, none of us are really worthy of being in a leadership position, but we have to lead. We are told to. And so, if we lead our wives, we need to lead the way Yahushua leads, a way that commands respect, that inspires others to follow.

Now, if our wives do not respect our headship, that is on them. We have done what we are supposed to do. We have lead. Whether they follow is their choice and Yahweh has to reach their hearts and convict their hearts. We can’t be the Holy Spirit. We can plant. We can water. Yahweh has to give the increase and they have to be the good soil.

And on the part of wives, they need to understand, first of all, their worth does not come from what their husbands may say about them or the amount of love they may receive from their husbands. Their worth is inherently there from Yahweh.

No matter how they are, no matter how a husband may treat them, no matter how much abuse they put up with, their worth is not defined by the way a husband treats them. Their worth is defined by Yahweh who sent His only begotten Son to die for you and to save you. That is where your worth comes from.

We need to understand that just being created by Him we automatically have worth. Just as the painter paints on the canvas and when he is done that painting doesn’t have to do anything to gain worth. It has value because the painter created it.

Likewise, ladies, you have worth simply because you exist. That is all you have to do. Just exist and you have worth. But so often wives are trying to get their husbands to “show me love so I’ll feel worth, so I’ll feel valued.” That is not where our value comes from.

So then they choose to: “Well, I need to get worth. I need to get value somehow. I need to get love somehow. And so, I will be disrespectful and unloving even myself so I can get it.”

That is a form of control. To shame and browbeat a husband into compliance is a form of control. It is rooted in the mindset: “Well, if my husband won’t lead properly, then I’ll take leadership position and I’ll make him lead. I’ll be the neck that turns the head.”

But that is not the way it is supposed to work. Yahushua is the head. And that is not only taking the lead, it is also leading in an unbiblical way. If a wife were to take the lead, she would share the Word and just let Yahweh be Yahweh.

Just as a husband should not control his wife by works of the flesh (like anger and fighting), likewise she should be gentle and loving as she wants him to be gentle and loving. And so, we are all together in this walk, but we have to recognize the husband is the head of the wife… scripture says so… just as Messiah is the head of the congregation.

Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is head of the wife, as also Messiah is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

That doesn’t mean he is more valuable. That doesn’t mean he is smarter and better than anybody else. That is just the position that Yahweh gave him.

That doesn’t mean she can’t appeal to him and ask him to do things. We desire that Yahweh and Messiah would do things for us even though Messiah is the head of the congregation. But we never demand Yahushua do things. We never disrespect Him and try to shame Him into doing what we want.

Now, some of you are saying, “Well, you know, my husband is not the Messiah.” Well, of course, he’s not. He is not the Messiah. But look at the context. Look at verse 22:

Ephesians 5:22 – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to Yahweh.

As to the Master, as if he was the Master… regardless of whether he is or not. It doesn’t say, “Well, if he is not acting like the Master, don’t submit.” If Yahweh put the husband in the position of headship, to disrespect him is to disrespect Yahweh Himself.

Yahweh never said to the husband, “If you are good enough, you will earn the grand prize of being head of the household.” That is not what He said. Yahweh gave the husband the role of the head of the household when he got married. And as soon as he got married, all the responsibilities and everything just kicked in automatically.

That position was given to him the moment he married. And so, he is accountable to Yahweh to take that role and function with wisdom, with grace, with integrity. And wives should fear Elohim and respect that, because men have a lot on their shoulders and one day they will have to give account for how they lead their households.

And wives need to do everything they can to support him in that role. To fail to do so is to disrespect Yahweh Himself who put him in that position.

So men need to be men. Women need to be women. We have a society that has blurred the gender lines where men act like women and women act like men. But both of us have an important role to fulfill. Both of us are equal in the eyes of Yahweh. We both have equal standing before the throne.

But we each have different roles and the enemy is hard at work in our culture to cause gender confusion in order to blur the lines so that we will not fulfill those roles that He has given us and we will act in rebellion toward things which are contrary to nature and contrary to the things of Elohim.

So the truth is we are not really going to be happy until we embrace how we are truly made and we embrace the roles Yahweh has given each of us as men and women. We need to be fathers to our children. Women need to be mothers to their children. Men, we don’t want our wives to be spiritual widows. We don’t want our children to be spiritually fatherless.

Do you know what it says about the Feasts in Isaiah chapter 1? He said:

Isaiah 1:14 – Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing [them].

15 – When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

16 – “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,

Isaiah 1:17 – Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

We need to care for the fatherless and the widow among us. Yahweh cares about you, ladies. He cares about you. Children, Yahweh cares about you. He wants you to be cared for. He wants you to be provided for. He will reject anyone keeping His Feasts who do not have this part in order.

And if He is concerned about the fatherless and the widow… that is the wife of a person that used to be married. The man died, right? And then the children were left without a father. If He is so concerned that we take care of other people’s children, how much more so your own children?

And maybe our wives are not widows in the flesh. We are physically there, but somehow we are absent in the spiritual realm. We are not leading properly.

And our children, are we teaching them as the Scriptures tell us to do?

Deuteronomy 6:7 – “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Are our children spiritually fatherless? We neglect that and then they go off into the world. No wonder He says, “Your hands are full of blood.” Because we are neglecting these areas.

Our children need to hear the Word of Yahweh from us on a daily basis. They need spiritual food just like you and I. Every one of us needs spiritual food. A lot more can be said about this, but we are going to look at some other trouble spots in the body of Messiah.

The next one I see is: Worldliness.

Scripture says:

1John 2:15 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 – For all that [is] in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.

17 – And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of Elohim abides forever.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. They are not of the Father. They are of the world.

There is much worldliness in the body of Messiah today. It can be difficult to describe sometimes, but it is a spirt. It is a spirit of the world that permeates off of a person.

Scripture says:

1Corinthians 2:12 – Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from Elohim, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by Elohim.

We are not even going to be paying attention to things that Yahweh has given us if we are so caught up in the worldly things. We are not even going to recognize the superiority of the things that Yahweh has freely given to us. And so, we are going to chase these other things that the world chases.

The spirit of the world is an unclean spirit. Instead of love, it brings hatred. Instead of peace, it brings confusion. Instead of hope, it brings hopelessness. Instead of righteousness, this unclean spirit leads us to wickedness.

Instead of a pure and undefiled love for Yahweh, it is at war with Him. It is a subtle spirit, every bit as subtle and crafty as the serpent in the garden of Eden. You may not even know you are listening to it and heeding its voice because the whole culture is flowing down this river.

And we the people of Yahweh are on this raft, and in order to avoid going over the waterfall at the end, we have to be willing to turn the raft around and paddle against the current, fighting upstream. And the world is trying to take us downstream. But Yahweh is empowering us to fight against the current.

And all you have to do in order to be going the wrong direction is to do nothing, just don’t fight. Do nothing and the world will take you just where it is going. And it is so easy just to rest and let the raft flow gently down the stream. But that is not what Yahweh desires of us.

Matthew 7:14 – “Because narrow [is] the gate and difficult [is] the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

The spirit that is in the world is trying to take us on a journey down the stream, wanting us to give up the fight and take us down a path that does not bring life. And many succumb to its way.

It is all over the TV and mass media. Sometimes we don’t even realize what it is doing to us because it is so often we see it and so often it just seems normal. But Yahweh is calling us to live a set apart life, a life that is different than the life of the average person and the world.

If we are redeemed, we are going to be different. We are going to be peculiar. We are not going to be like the world. We are not going to enjoy the things the world enjoys.

All is vanity, the vain things the world pursues. And we are not going to enjoy the revelry within them because the Spirit of Yahweh that is in us is going to groan at the vanity of it all.

And if we are redeemed, our focus is toward the spiritual things. We look for spiritually-minded friends, humble people, people who are not focused on the flesh. People who think different, behave different, look different, act different. Because I assure you, Yahweh Himself is holy.

And the word “holy” means “apartness,” “separateness,” “set-apartness.” That is what it means.

Hebrew Lexicon: 06944 qodesh {ko’-desh} Meaning: 1) apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness 1a) apartness, sacredness, holiness 1a1) of [Elohim] 1a2) of places 1a3) of things 1b) set-apartness, separateness.

Yahweh is holy. And so, if we are following the Holy Spirit, we will be set-apart. We will not be involved in the worldly things led by the worldly spirit.

Scripture says:

1Peter 1:15 – but as He who called you [is] holy, you also be holy in all [your] conduct,

16 – because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Our conduct, our speech, our dress, our attitudes, the things we treasure, the things that give us pleasure– these will all be different than the things that the world seeks, because Yahweh is holy. He is set-apart. And the things we love will be the things He loves. And we are called to be holy as He is holy.

That means we are going to be different. I am not saying being different just for the sake of being different, but because we are putting Yahweh first in our lives, our conduct, therefore, is going to be different than the world.

The way we dress is not going to reflect a focus on flesh, glorifying our own bodies. We glorify Yahweh with our bodies. The way we dress is not going to reflect riches and temporal things. We are not going to fear the things the world fears. We are not going to value the things the world values.

We are not going to love the carnal things the world loves. We are different. We love the things that Yahweh loves and we despise the things that He despises.

We don’t see ourselves as a friend to the world. We see them as people needing to be won for Messiah. We see them as Yahweh sees, people who need to be redeemed and reconciled with their Creator.

Otherwise, we are guilty, we are guilty of adultery.

James 4:4 – Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim.

5 – Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

So our minds are not focused on worldly pursuits. Yahweh is jealous. He wants our attention. He deserves our attention.

Colossians 3:1 – If then you were raised with Messiah, seek those things which are above, where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of Elohim.

2 – Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Set your mind on things above… NOT… NOT… NOT… on things of the earth.

So we are actively working to store up treasures in heaven rather than focusing on the treasures of this age.

Scripture says:

Matthew 6:19 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

20 – “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Where are our hearts? Yahweh wants our hearts.

Matthew 6:22 – “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

Where are you looking? Where is your eye? Where is your eye gazing?

Matthew 6:23 – “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

24 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve Elohim and mammon.

You cannot serve Elohim and mammon (or money). You cannot do both. So, I ask you: How is your spiritual retirement program looking? How is the retirement account looking? How many of you are serving other people today?

Every one of us is called into ministry. Do not be among the goats who are on Messiah’s left hand, who do not care about the needs of others, who have turned a blind eye to them, didn’t bother to notice or look for ways to help and to bless them. We have to be sheep.

Sheep are those who love their fellow man. Their time is spent in blessing others. And that leads me to another trouble spot: A Lack of Zeal.

Scripture says:

Deuteronomy 6:5 – “You shall love YAHWEH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Three things He wants: our heart, our soul, and then the word for “strength” is the Hebrew word “meod.” It means: exceedingly… might, force, abundance… muchness, force, abundance, exceedingly… force.

Hebrew Lexicon for “Might”: 03966 meod {meh-ode’} Meaning: adv 1) exceedingly, much subst 2) might, force, abundance n m 3) muchness, force, abundance, exceedingly 3a) force, might 3b) exceedingly, greatly, very (idioms showing magnitude or degree) 3b1) exceedingly 3b2) up to abundance, to a great degree, exceedingly 3b3) with muchness, muchness.

Origin: from the same as 0181; TWOT – 1134 Usage: AV – very 137, greatly 49, sore 23, exceeding 18, great 12, exceedingly 11, much 10, exceeding + 03966 6, exceedingly + 03966 5, diligently 4, good 3, might 2, mightily 2, misc 17.

Another lexicon says: TWOT: “exceedingly, much, force abundance… denotes the intention or will of the whole man; nephesh [that is the soul] means the whole self, a unity of flesh, will, and vitality; and meod accents the superlative (highest) degree of total commitment to Yahweh.”

That is what He wants. That is the kind of love He is looking for. The Holladay Lexicon says “in the highest degree.”

So part of loving Yahweh, therefore, with all of our heart, soul and strength is to make an all-out effort to be an overcomer in every aspect of our lives, to pursue righteousness– and to not ever stop pursuing righteousness– putting Yahweh first every day.

But some of us have inherited this churchgoer mindset. Almost every congregation has these people in the group. They are the ones who, you know, they are in attendance. They are paying their dues. They are applauding the message.

But inside they can’t wait for the service to be over so they can go on about their business, much of which involves chasing things that don’t profit.

There are some who feel like, “Oh, if I keep the Sabbath day, I avoid unclean foods, I do the festivals, do the right names, I have picked the right religion… basically, I have done what I need to do to be saved.”

Scriptures never teach a believer is saved because of what church or congregation they go to, by what broadcast they listen to, by what Bible teachers they listen to. We have to put it into practice with all of our heart, soul and “muchness.”

Yahweh is not a part-time Elohim. He is not on the throne part of the time. He is always on the throne. He is a 24/7 Elohim. He does not stop being Elohim when Sabbath ends or when the Bible teaching ends. He does not stop being Elohim while you go out and do what you want.

If we are a part-time believer trying to serve a full-time Elohim, you are in big trouble. Yahushua had a word for that. He called it hypocrisy.

Matthew 23:27 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead [men’s] bones and all uncleanness.

28 – “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Romans 12:9 – [Let] love [be] without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

1Peter 2:1 – Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

2 – as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

3 – if indeed you have tasted that YAHWEH [is] gracious.

So Yahweh is looking for full-time believers in the midst of a part-time type mentality. He is looking for those who have a sincere faith, who are willing to put Him first. Because He is already first. Whether you want to live your lives in recognition of that is up to you.

That means He has to be first in every decision, every expression of our will, every thought, every action– everything. So I am going to ask you the question, even as I ask myself: Is Yahweh really first in your life, or really are you first?

Do you have a passion for things He has a passion for? Or do you have a passion for things that have no eternal value at all? Some of us don’t love Yahweh that much because we are not really forgiven that much. We lack the “muchness” part of loving Yahweh with all that we are, the zeal, the passion.

And some of us who don’t think we have done very much wrong in our life, and for that reason they don’t think it is all that much for Yahweh to forgive when we turn our life to Him– think about this for just a moment. Maybe by society’s standards you were not that bad of a person. Maybe you did not rob banks and commit rape and murder and violence.

And, maybe, you were generally an honest person for the most part and treated your parents with respect and treated others with respect. And so, you feel, even as an unbeliever, you are not really all that bad as an unbeliever. And so, when you come to Yahushua, you just think, “Okay, I’ll start doing Bible now.”

But listen, you are only measuring yourself by the standards that our culture says is important, which is that you love and respect your fellow man. But where you and I and all of us have really messed up is in our relationship with the Creator, Yahweh. That is where we have really messed up.

Think about this. It says:

Matthew 22:36 – “Teacher, which [is] the great commandment in the law?”

37 – Yahushua said to him, “`You shall love YAHWEH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

38 – “This is [the] first and great commandment.

Matthew 22:39 – “And [the] second [is] like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 – “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

What is the great commandment? Love Yahweh with all your heart, soul and mind (or “muchness”), right? That is the most important commandment, that we love Yahweh. And that is the one we have failed in the most.

Is there anybody more deserving? All men will fail you in their love. All people. Your wife, your husband, your children. Everybody will fail you, but Yahweh never will. His love is constant and unwavering.

And He is the One that made us. He is the One that provides for us. He is the One that has watched over us and protected us from our own wayward ways. He is the One who created everything you see. There isn’t anything that exists apart from His will and His power.

It is He who holds your breath in the palm of His hand and He can withdraw it anytime He wants to. You know, even though He has loved us with a perfect love, before we gave our lives to Yahweh, we could have died at any time. We could have entered into judgment and the lake of fire.

There was nothing that kept you and me at any moment in our life from slipping into the lake of fire but the mercies of Almighty Yahweh.

And unbelievers, they don’t realize it, but they are walking along the slippery slope, and at any given moment their feet could slip out from underneath them and they fall into the lake of fire below, dying an unbeliever.

And while we were unbelievers, Yahweh was restrained by no obligation whatsoever except His abundant mercy on our soul, and you and I would have had no defense whatsoever. Divine justice would have declared us guilty.

And just as easily as you trample on an ant crawling along a sidewalk, you and I could have died just as quickly and easily were it not for Yahweh’s decision to preserve our lives, to save us, because we deserved nothing.

And while we were ignoring Him and chasing our own pursuits, involved in our own ways, hurting each other, He chose to love us anyway and send His beloved, precious, amazing Son Yahushua, the most loving Person who ever lived, knowing the world would not receive Him…

… knowing they would torture Him and mercilessly nail His body to a tree where He died a slow, painful, suffocating death.

Now some of you think you were not all that bad before you gave your life to Him, but listen, you didn’t deserve anything. Yahweh in His mercy opened up your eyes in spite of the fact you didn’t think you were all that bad.

And there are seven billion people in this world. How many of them have their eyes opened to the things that Yahweh has shown us and revealed to us? It was He who came up with the idea of an earth and trees and creatures and life and love. And yet, people treat Him as if He doesn’t exist.

And you and I, we acted like He didn’t exist, and we didn’t care to have a real relationship with Him. But listen, whatever evil you have seen in the world is a result of men ignoring Him, setting Him aside, treating Him as if He doesn’t exist.

To ignore the One who created all things and has your breath in the palm of His hand is a serious matter. Indifference is a serious matter.

Have you ever loved someone who didn’t really care about you at all, just ignored you most of the time? Have you ever done something for someone because you loved them and they acted like they really didn’t care that you took the time and effort to do that for them? That rejection can be painful.

Well, that is how people are treating Yahweh. There isn’t anything we own, anything in our position, anything we value where He wasn’t ultimately the provider of it. He created our life, the earth, everything that is in it, and yet we ignore Him like we don’t really care? Whether you realize it or not, we have much that needs forgiving.

The woman who kissed Yahushua’s feet… Yahushua said about her:

Luke 7:47 – “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loves little.”

48 – Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

We don’t realize how much we have been forgiven. It is not that we are any better than the lady who was a prostitute. It is just that we don’t recognize it and we don’t come to Yahushua’s feet in total brokenness and humility. We need to come to Him in brokenness and humility and recognize we have failed Him. We have wronged Him.

Imagine if you were drowning in a riptide or whirlpool and someone risked their own life and died trying to save you or nearly died trying to save you. What would you do to that person? Anything?

I bet as soon as you are pulled out of that riptide, you just go, “Wow! Thank you for risking your life for me. I tell you what, if there is anything I can ever do for you, let me know. I’ll be there for you.”

Well, there is someone who actually did die trying to save you. His name is Yahushua. Now, what are you going to do for Him? Because the truth is, we have spent enough of our past lifetime doing the will of the Gentiles.

1Peter 4:3 – For we [have spent] enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

Ephesians 5:15 – See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

16 – redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

We spend enough time doing the other stuff. Now we need to redeem the time. What are we doing to redeem the time? That is a question that each of us need to answer.

We need to love Him with a zealous love, with all our hearts, all of our soul, all of our muchness– as the lexicon pointed out. Are we doing that?

I see a lack of zeal among Yahweh’s people, among the body of Messiah today. I see a zeal for other things, but I don’t see a zeal in love for Yahweh the way He wants it to be. We all need more zeal and more effort in our love for Him.

This leads us to another trouble spot: Sectarianism and Denominationalism (sometimes cloaked in religious zeal). We have people who really aren’t zealous in their love for Yahweh, but they look like they are. What they are really zealous for is their particular brand of faith.

What I mean is there are hundreds of denominations out there and each one believes they are right. Which one is the right one?

It almost looks like sports teams out there. You know, they all have their cheerleaders and promoters of various denominations, and they are all vying for the attention of the people and they are trying to make their team victorious. And when they bring in people, oh, they are just so happy.

There is nothing wrong with promoting what we believe to be correct and true, but there is a real problem when we begin to develop into a sect or a denomination and suggest that those who are outside that particular sect or denomination are either second class citizens in the body of Messiah or they really don’t have any eternal life abiding in them.

But look, sectarianism and denominationalism is just as old as the first century. Actually, much older than that. But look at what Scripture says when it comes to sectarianism and denominationalism.

Acts 24:1 – Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator [named] Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

2 – And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight,

3 – “we accept [it] always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

What a flatterer!

Acts 24:4 – “Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.

5 – “For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

Talking about Paul. So Paul is being accused of being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. The unbelieving Jews considered believers in Messiah to be a sect of first century Judaism.

Now we know Paul was accused of all kinds of things. I want you to notice what Paul’s response is.

Paul’s response, down a little bit further… he says:

Acts 24:12 – “And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.

13 – “Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.

14 – “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

So he said they called this a sect, but he defined it as “the Way.” We find this phrase “the Way” in many different places.

Acts 9:1 – Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Master, went to the high priest

2 – and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Acts chapter 19, verses 8 through 9, it says:

Acts 19:8 – And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of Elohim.

9 – But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

Acts 19:23 – And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.

Acts 24:22 – But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of [the] Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.”

So rather than Paul identifying himself as a member of some Nazarene sect, he simply said he is of “the Way,” which “they” call a sect. “That is not what I call it. That is what they call it.”

Now suppose we take that into consideration that we did not divide up the body of Messiah into little compartments like this. “Oh, I’m of Apollos.” “I’m of so and so.” Well, we have the same thing. “I’m of Luther.” “I’m of John Wesley.” “I’m of Calvin.” “I’m of this.” We have the same thing.

We are supposed to all be of Messiah, right? That is who we are supposed to be of. I would not label myself with these names and these denominations. We need freedom, freedom to seek after and pursue after righteousness. And people make division where there is not supposed to be a division.

Peter said in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized.” Repentance and faith in Messiah is the key to salvation. Repentance and faith in Messiah. Those are the only two things required.

Suppose there was an unbeliever. He is living a very sinful lifestyle. This unbeliever was in a motel room one night and opened up a drawer. In the drawer was a Gideon Bible. He began to read it, became very interested, and he began to realize he wanted a new life.

He realized he was a sinner and needed redemption. He gets on his face in tears of repentance and expresses he believes in the Messiah spoken of in the Bible and that he desires to inherit eternal life through Him and he repents.

Now this person could be almost completely Bible illiterate knowing very little about Yahweh’s will for his life, but his heart is in the right place and he gives his life to Messiah.

Now how many among us believe Yahweh is up in heaven looking at the person going, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, sorry, bud. You haven’t pronounced My name properly, yet. I can’t save you.”

How many of you believe Yahweh is saying, “Sorry, you have not kept your first Sabbath yet, and so I reject your cries for salvation because the Sabbath is a sign between Me and My people. So, I am sorry. You are a goner. You have to call on My name for salvation. You are a goner.”

How many people actually believe that? I hope you are not one of them.

That is not the way Yahweh works at all. He does not wait until you pronounce His name correctly to save you, although I think it is important to use His name. I use it. He doesn’t want you to keep your first Sabbath and then He saves you, although I believe we should keep the Sabbath.

The man who got on his face, he didn’t join a denomination. He didn’t join a sect. He didn’t sign on the dotted line. He didn’t get baptized into a church. He repented. He accepted the Messiah. At that moment he entered into a relationship. And Yahweh can accept him.

And if he died five minutes later, and someone who knew everything about the Bible and practiced it for fifty years, if they both died, they are both going to the same place. They are both going to get their denarius. They are all going to get it. And that is the key.

At one time he was an enemy of Yahweh, but now he has turned his heart toward following the holy Scriptures.

I mean, what does it take for a person to become a believer? How much knowledge does he have to attain before he is a believer? That is my question.

What percentage of knowledge do we have to attain before we are actually a believer? Forty percent? What does it take? Ten percent? Five percent? Forty percent? Eighty percent? When do you become a believer? How far along this path do you need to be before Yahweh will accept you? That is my question.

So we have to be very, very careful. If someone has very little knowledge of Yahweh’s Word, it may not be because they haven’t pursued it. It just means they have not come across that yet. And how many of you would punish your child for doing something he did not know was wrong? If that is how you are like, I feel sorry for your child.

Well, that is not how Yahweh is either. If you don’t know something– you want to know, you are looking for the right way to live, but you just don’t know, yet– He is not going to look down on you, and say, “I’m going to send you to hell.” That is just not how He operates.

So be careful with the knowledge that you have gained that you do not look down upon others who have not yet received that knowledge and judge them, because…

Matthew 7:2 – “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

3 – “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

You know, someone may be going to a Christian church every Sunday and they don’t know anything that you know about certain things, and you look bad at them. And yet, they might be a whole lot better father than you are.

They might be a whole lot better husband than you are. Or they might just be a more loving person than you are, but they just don’t have the knowledge that you have. And you judge that person to be an unbeliever or an outsider or a second class citizen, and maybe in Yahweh’s eyes they are further ahead than you are.

They just haven’t received the particular nugget of truth that you happen to value. And because we are so busy looking at the other people, we don’t see the two-by-four in our own eye. That is the danger of a sectarian mindset.

We get comfy in our little cushy place where we are different than the other person and we hold up our little piece of steak thinking we have the whole cow. That is the problem, and we stop growing.

We are comforted in the areas that we are different than the world and we are ready to stop right there and set up shop, get our denomination going, and that is where we are going to stay: “We found it. We found the truth. Here we are.”

No, it is an ongoing work of discipleship that we are supposed to be seeking where every day we are looking for things that we need to change– in our attitudes, in the way we treat other people, in our relationship with Yahweh. It needs to be a continued thing where every year, every day, every month we are growing.

And this leads us to another trouble spot in the body of Messiah where tradition is valued at a higher place than the commandments: Tradition over Commandments.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t point this out because to me it is a glaring problem among the body of the Messiah: man-centered religion. One of the problems with denominationalism is that when people find that truth, they think they have the whole thing.

You know, Martin Luther, when he rose up and he said, “Well, this is wrong. The Catholics are doing this wrong, that wrong,” some of the things he was correct about. But then those who joined with Luther, they are there, you know. And then someone goes, “Well, wait a minute. The Scripture says this over here and this over here.”

And then other people say, “Well, Luther never taught that.” Big mistake. Luther is not the end all. He is not the Messiah. But people, they get in these little clubs and they think, “That is where we need to go. We have all the truth we need.”

And so, the few who rise up in that group will go, “Well, we are going to go do this. We are going to practice this.” So they start their own group. And then some people rise up in that group and go, “Oh, wait a minute. What is this over here? This says different.”

“Well, that is not what so and so taught.”

Do you get my drift? And so, all these mushrooms of denominations have formed and they all have the little nuggets somewhere, or maybe some error somewhere.

But today when you find new truth and you try to share it with your congregation, there are fewer people who are open minded to hearing anything new or different because they are comfortable with their brand of Christianity and they like the way things are done.

Pastors, if they were to embrace new things, they would find themselves out of a job, could lose their pension, could lose their respect in the community, their parsonage house, their friends. Maybe even their wife and their children.

And so, there is not much motivation for pastors to do something different or new and shake the boat too much. And so, anything significantly different than what they are doing, they are afraid to implement.

And then there are the people in the pews. If you were to share something with them about the blessing of, say, the Sabbath day, one of the first things a lot of them will say, “My job. My job. I work on that day” or “What about my business? I would have to close. I would lose money.”

In the deepest recesses of the heart, that’s what is really going on, and so they won’t listen to you. They are not ready to hear it. They don’t want to really, truly consider it, because the consequences of actually following it are just too great.

But it is in these little heart issues that reveal whether Yahweh is really first in our life. Who are we really following? Are we following historical Christianity or are we willing just to follow the Scriptures? Who are we really following?

Are we just impressed with Christianity and like Christianity? Or are we impressed with the Messiah and want to live like He did?

Now the Law doesn’t save us, but it does instruct us on right living. Honoring your parents won’t save you. Refraining from adultery won’t save you. Refraining from lying and stealing won’t save you. But it is still the right thing to do.

Honoring Yahweh’s name, which the third commandment teaches us to do, won’t save you, but it is the right thing to do. Keeping the day Yahweh made holy, which is the fourth commandment– the day He made holy in Genesis chapter 2– that is not going to save you, but it is the right thing to do.

It is not really the commandment you keep that determines whether you are trying to earn your salvation. It is your attitude toward what you are doing.

Are you doing it thinking that you will be good enough and righteous enough that He will accept you or because you know this is the right way to live and you want to express love back toward Him and keep these commandments?

But, you know, really, it is not even the lack of Sabbath keeping or Feast keeping or these other things that concerns me the most about the churches today. It is the hard heartedness toward considering and embracing truth while hanging on tightly to tradition.

That is what concerns me, where tradition is placed over commandments. That is what concerns me.

Yahushua said:

Mark 7:7 – And in vain they worship Me, Teaching [as] doctrines the commandments of men.’

8 – “For laying aside the commandment of Elohim, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

9 – He said to them, “[All too] well you reject the commandment of Elohim, that you may keep your tradition.

And we really do have the same thing going on today. There is no scripture that says to rest on the first day of the week and go to church. That is a church tradition. There is no foundation in Scripture. It never says it anywhere in the New Testament or Old.

And so, you can cross this out (the washing of pitchers and cups) and put anything in there. Whatever you do, if you reject the commandment of Elohim, that you may keep your tradition, it is a serious matter.

And where did the whole idea of meeting once a week even come from? It came from Leviticus.

Leviticus 23:3 – `Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day [is] a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work [on it]; it [is] the Sabbath of YAHWEH in all your dwellings.

A “holy convocation.” That is where the whole idea “let’s get together one time a week” came from. But there is no such thing in the New Testament saying “get together every week on Sunday” or first day. It doesn’t even specify.

It says, yes, don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together, but it doesn’t tell you when. Really, what he is talking about is Sabbath. That is what he is talking about. But it never says, “Get together the first day of the week.”

And this is one of many traditions, in my understanding of the Scripture, that has set aside the commandment of Elohim so a tradition may be observed. And that is what concerns me the most, the heart issues.

I can fellowship with someone who has a zeal for Yahweh and His ways even if we disagree on what His will is for us.

But if a truth is shared with someone and they say in their heart (and most of the time only Yahweh knows), “Well, I know he is probably right about that, but I don’t want to change. It is too much for me to change,” that is man-centered religion. And there are many other ways man-centered religion can manifest itself.

For instance, our prayer lives. If our prayer lives are nonexistent, if we don’t really have any commune with Yahweh in our prayers, what is actually driving us to do what we do? Is it man, afraid of what man may say?

And this brings us to the other matter I see lacking in the body of Messiah, and that is: PRAYER.

I once read a quote from Leonard Ravenhill. He said: “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing. The people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers. Many players and payers, but few prayers.

“Many singers, few clingers. Lots of pastors, few wrestlers. Many fears, few tears. Much fashion, little passion. Many interferers, few intercessors. Many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

Believe it or not, he wrote that in the 1950s. Listen, unless we are hearing from and speaking to Yahweh on a regular basis, we are just playing. We are just playing religion. We found something we like and we are just going along with it.

But it is not religion we need, brothers and sisters. We need a relationship with Yahweh. We need a living, vibrant relationship with Yahweh… a prayer life, a zeal for righteousness. We need to pray for others. We need to pray for leaders. We need to pray often and with fervor. Yahweh wants to hear from us.

Scripture says:

1Thessalonians 5:16 – Rejoice always,

17 – pray without ceasing,

18 – in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Elohim in Messiah Yahushua for you.

In every little thing give thanks.

Thank Him for the things He does in your life. Thank Him for the things you normally take for granted. Pray for those who are not loving you. Talk to Yahweh in prayer. Let Him personally instruct you by His Spirit and personally lead you as you open up His Word. Let Him be your personal teacher to show you the things that you need to learn.

If the only Bible you get is from hearing Bible teachers proclaiming the Word of Yahweh, you are missing it. You are missing it because Yahweh wants to reach down and show you His will for your life personally.

There is a general will that we all need to do, but there is a personal calling on your life and my life, and He wants to show us that by His Spirit. Are you willing to talk to Him and hear His voice? We all must be willing corporately and personally. That is how the early disciples functioned.

Acts 6:1 – Now in those days, when [the number of] the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

2 – Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of Elohim and serve tables.

3 – “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of [good] reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

Acts 6:4 – “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

We see a lot of the ministry of the Word. We need more prayer. Prayer is our communication with Yahweh and His word is His communication with us and with the whole world.

A relationship consists of communication. If there is no communication happening, there is not really any relationship. We need a relationship and I think we need more prayer meetings. And that is one of the things that we are going to be doing twice a day at the festival this year– prayer meetings twice a day.

Another thing Leonard Ravenhill said was: “Can any deny in the modern church setup the main cause of anxiety is money? Yet, that which tries the modern churches the most troubled the [first century congregation] the least.” Or (he said) “New Testament Church.”

The thing that troubles churches the most, money– troubled the early disciples the least. “Our accent, in today’s generation, is on paying. Theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken. When they prayed, the place was shaken!”

Acts 4:31 – And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of Elohim with boldness.

32 – Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

33 – And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Master Yahushua. And great grace was upon them all.

We need Yahweh’s grace. We need to be men of prayer and women of prayer.

Speaking of prayer, this week, September 23, 2015, we are going to be gathered for the Yom Kippur broadcast, 9:30 PM Eastern Time.

And these are seven areas I see as trouble spots in the body of Messiah. And there is a whole lot more, but just seven that I have taken note of. And I would like us to get together and talk about these things. What are the areas that we are lacking? Where are the areas we have trouble? Unity, whatever… whatever it might be we have trouble in.

We are going to talk about it. We are going to take notes and make notes of these things. And then we will get together, we will be on a conference call, and we will all pray together.

And as each one feels led to pray, we are going to go ahead and pray. And this will be part of a broadcast that we will do. And so, that we can really in the spirit of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) come boldly to the throne of grace.

And so, this is our plan. Yom Kippur Broadcast: September 23rd at 9:30 ET (Gregorian Calendar). The conference call will join the live broadcast. They will be together, and we are going to identify these weaknesses and corporately confess these in prayers of repentance.

And, hopefully, as we do these things, we will receive power from on high, as Scripture tells us, and we will find grace and help in our time of need. And Yahweh will help us, as the body of Messiah, to be overcomers.

We don’t want there to be trouble spots and weaknesses in the body of Messiah. We want to be strong and glorify Him when we overcome.

And so, my brothers and sisters, as we seek to be overcomers, I encourage you to be in prayer about the things that Yahweh is showing you, the areas where, corporately, as the body of Messiah, we need to make changes. We need to be overcomers.

And we will gather for that evening. And if you can’t gather, pray for these matters anyway, either way.

And then, we will gather for prayer, and I know Yahweh will hear the humble prayer of His people. HalleluYah!

May Yahweh bless you, and may Yahweh truly have mercy on us all.

"Not to us, O Yahweh, not to us, but to Thy Name give glory..." -Psalms 115:1