Legalism. We SHOULD Strain out the Gnats

11/03/12 Video Broadcast

Legalistic Pharisees” we are sometimes called. Majoring on the minors while minoring on the majors. But did you ever notice that our Savior said, “These you ought to have done WITHOUT leaving the others undone.”?

Legalism. We SHOULD Strain out the Gnats - Study


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This is a direct transcript of a teaching that was presented via video. Due to the fact that we often speak differently than we write, the written text may not flow and/or sound strange in some places. There may also be grammatical errors and unintended mistakes. It is encouraged that you to watch the video to complement this written transcript.

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Praise Yahweh! I am ready to share our study today.

I have been accused of something, and I need to share what I have been accused of. Oh, don’t be afraid, because you have been accused of it, too. What I have often been accused of is that I, Tom Martincic, am a legalist. I’m a legalist.

How many of you have been called a legalist? Now, I have been called a legalist the last… 20 years… 22 years… that I have sought to be legal the way I live my life, according to Yahweh’s Law. The people have called me legalist, but I am sure probably a lot of you have been called legalists, too.

I shared a study, oh, maybe two years ago– I don’t know how long– about legalism, but I have come into some new thoughts on this and I wanted to share these, too. And so, we want to go into this topic. And really for me, too, not so much new thoughts– they are thoughts I figured would be good to write down. Scriptures are good to write down.

Some people, when they look at us, they might think, “Oh, you keep the Feast Days and the Sabbath and all the 613 laws out of the Old Testament? How could anyone possibly keep all those laws?” I love to say in response to that, “Have you ever read Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible? They list over 1000 laws and commands in the New Testament.”

Over 1000 laws and commandments. One of them is: “Don’t be entangled with law keeping.” In fact, when I heard that, I bought Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible just for the pleasure of confirming it and making sure. And it is true.

Actually, it is kind of interesting to read those. Maybe we could go over all those some day.

Anyway, people think that we are just straining at gnats. And so, I want to ask the question. I want to ask it, about legalism. What does it mean? And what I find is that we SHOULD strain out the gnats.

Some people think, “Oh, you are straining at gnats. Don’t do that.” But what I found is we are supposed to be straining out the gnats. Just don’t swallow a camel while you are at it!

And so, if a Christian believer hears two people talking about some finer point of the Law, “Oh, listen to them– they are just straining out the gnats,” you know, we have to look at what Messiah was saying about that. We have to look at it.

And the truth is, legalism is not law keeping. And law keeping isn’t necessarily legalism. I mean, anyone who attended our festival this year of the Feast of Tabernacles, if you attended our Feast of Tabernacles observance, you would not say, “Well, all those bunch of legalists, all following the rituals and the bondage of the Law.”

You wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Wow, look at those people over there. It looks like they are having a great old time.” Oh, yeah, there were a few trials. We had some rain. Some people had to move their tents to higher ground. That just gave us an opportunity for us to come together and work together.

But let’s look at these Scriptures. Yahushua said in Luke 11:42:

Luke 11:42 – But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of Elohim. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Do you get that? These what? What are “these”? These you ought to have done– tithing: tithing mint, rue and all manner of herbs. But– key issue– without leaving the others undone.

So, He is not criticizing them for tithing of their little mint growing in their yard or their pots, or whatever. He is not criticizing them for that. What He is concerned about is that they leave the others undone, which are justice and the love of Elohim.

And again, Matthew 23:23:

Matthew 23:23 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier [matters] of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

And so, they tithed their cumin and everything, but they neglected weightier matters, which were: justice, mercy and faith. What did He say about that? Did He say, “You awful, terrible Pharisees, you are tithing of mint; you are tithing of anise and cumin”? No. What did He say? “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

Then He goes on to say:

Matthew 23:24 – Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

Blind guides who do what? Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. So, they strain the gnats out of their salad, but then they swallow a camel.

Now, how many of you did a garden this year? Did you tithe of the produce of your garden? Did you give 10% of that to the poor? You know, very few people actually do that. So, imagine that. Imagine if everyone tithed of their garden.

What if those who were farmers tithed of their increase? Everyone in America would have everything they need food wise. Well, it is starting to get harder to do that now-a-days, isn’t it? But we would be blessed. We would be more blessed.

So, He is not saying that tithing of mint is a bad thing. But we understand what straining out the gnats… what does that really mean? Well, we know we are not to swallow and eat camels. It says here in Leviticus 11:4:

Leviticus 11:4 – `Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;

It has two toes it steps on, but they are not hooves. It is unclean to you. And then, we also learn, Leviticus 11:20:

Leviticus 11:20 – `All flying insects that creep on [all] fours [shall be] an abomination to you.

So, both the insects and the camels are unclean. Well, yeah, we have to look at what Messiah was saying here. He is talking about the less weighty and the weightier matters.

The less weighty things would be: tithing of mint, tithing of anise, tithing of cumin, tithing of rue/herbs (as we read in those two verses). The weightier matters would be: justice, mercy, faith, love of Elohim.

And so, metaphorically speaking, the tithing of these little things would be akin to straining gnats out of your salad, to get the unclean insects out so that you don’t eat them. And metaphorically speaking, eating an entire camel would be like passing by the love of Elohim or neglecting justice, mercy and faith.

So, both are unclean– one just happens to be a very large unclean animal, and one happens to be a very small unclean insect. And so, we should strain out the gnats. We should tithe of our herbs. You have some herbs growing in your kitchen window? We are supposed to tithe those. We are supposed to tithe them. We should obey the finer points.

So, what is our attitude toward the least of the commands? Do we just kind of have this lackadaisical approach? Are we kind of blase’ about obedience to the small points– “Oh, don’t sweat the small stuff”? You know, that is the pervasive attitude out there today, that if we put too much emphasis on the finer points of the Law, then we are legalists.

It would seem to me, though, brothers and sisters, that Yahweh’s commandments are not multiple choice. They are an essay. We are supposed to write those commands on our hearts and do them and let our life story be a life that is as much like Messiah as we possibly can.

If Yahweh says to do or to not do something, why would it ever seem insignificant to honor that? Yahushua clearly taught that we should obey the finer points, but not leave the others undone. In others words, He wants us to pay the tithes. He also wants to make sure that we walk out our justice and that we have the love of Elohim.

So, we need to do both, and we need to have mercy. That is a part of the Law. In fact, that is a weightier matter of the Law, mercy.

Mercy is part of the Law. Faith is a part of the Law. Justice is part of righteousness, part of the Law.

So, we want to make sure that we don’t do the finer points at the expense of the majors. We want to make sure that we don’t minor on the majors and major on the minors. But what we want, ultimately, what Yahweh wants and what the Messiah said He wants, is that we would not leave the others undone.

Now, sometimes, obeying the finer points is very difficult. It can result in great sacrifice. You know, if I asked my son to do something small for me, and I saw that it would involve great sacrifice, I might just say, “Well, forget it. Don’t worry about it.”

But perhaps we assume Yahweh has the same attitude that we might have when it comes to the finer points of His Law. Perhaps we think we can ignore the minor points because we think, “Oh, Yahweh is up in heaven there saying, ‘Well, just forget it. I know it is too hard.'”

Uh-uh. That is not what Yahushua said.

In fact, Yahushua said:

Matthew 5:17 – Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

“Fulfill” means “to do.” If I said, “Son, will you please bring me a glass of water?” and he brought me a glass of water, he fulfilled my command.

Matthew 5:18 – For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

A “jot,” we believe, could be referring to the letter “yod” in the Hebrew (the smallest Hebrew letter). Not one jot nor one “tittle.” That’s the little calligraphy-type stroke of a letter (what is on a letter, the little finer letter.)

It says: “One jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” The Greek word for “fulfill” is different here. It is accomplished. It means “accomplished.” And so, Yahushua is saying that not even the slightest letter or even decorative portion of a letter will pass from the Law until everything is fulfilled.

You know, Yahushua has not yet fulfilled the Feast of Trumpets. He has not yet fulfilled that. We are still waiting for Messiah to come at the last trump.

And so, since there are things that He has yet to fulfill, not one jot, not one yod, not one decorative part of a letter has passed from the Law. And it won’t until heaven and earth pass away and there are new heavens and a new earth.

And so, Yahushua says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least (just the smallest parts) the least of these commands…” What commands? These commands. The commands in the Law and the Prophets. The commands that are written with jots and tittles.

Matthew 5:19 – Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches [them], he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

What is He talking about here? He is talking about the least of the commands. Not the weightier matters, but the less weighty matters.

If we teach men it’s okay– it’s okay, you don’t have to worry about all that stuff so much; just focus on the heavier stuff, and don’t sweat the small stuff– then we will be called least. But whoever does and teaches the least, will be called great.

Do we understand what He is saying here? Do we understand that He is putting emphasis on the least of the commands? And it is okay to put emphasis on the least of the commands because Messiah did that. He says these you ought to have done.

You see, our obedience to Yahweh often requires great personal sacrifice. And if it requires great personal sacrifice, that does not necessarily mean you are trying to earn salvation. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have fallen from grace because you are doing hard things.

When Paul wrote Timothy, he said:

1Timothy 4:7 – But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.

What it should read here is “reverence.” Exercise yourself toward reverence. Reverence is profitable for all things.

1Timothy 4:8 – For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

So, it’s okay to engage in discipline of your body, and it is even better to use bodily exercise or exercising ourselves in terms of becoming better and better and better believers.

You know, there was a man by the name of Emmitt Smith who was a football player. He was asked the question: “Emmitt, what does it take to be a champion?” And He said, “Everything you’ve got.”

This man devoted hours upon hours upon hours upon hours just to receive a perishable crown. I would say Yahweh is mighty jealous.

What do we labor for? Are we laboring for the things that don’t profit, for things that are perishable? Or are we laboring for the things which do not perish?

When someone sees you, when a person goes to a high degree of effort, an intense effort, to obey the words of our Father in heaven, all of a sudden they get criticized for being legalistic and putting too much emphasis on obedience. But we have not so learned Messiah. He obeyed every letter, and He is the One who lives in us.

You see, those who compete for prizes of the earth, they have to be temperate. They have to give up the flesh. They do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we, for an imperishable crown.

1Corinthians 9:25 – And everyone who competes [for the prize] is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a perishable crown, but we [for] an imperishable [crown].

And Paul says:

1Corinthians 9:26 – Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as [one who] beats the air.

27 – But I discipline my body and bring [it] into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Every day we see people disciplining their bodies for health reasons or for the glory of perishable crowns, but when it comes to disciplining our bodies and going through a high degree of effort to be obedient to our Father in heaven, all of a sudden we are accused of legalism.

A person could be criticized, “Oh, you are going too far. You are going to extremes. You are trying to earn your salvation through works.” Doesn’t Scripture say work out your salvation with fear and trembling?

If they see us failing then in some weightier matter: “Oh, look at them.”

They are making sure that they don’t eat anything unclean or checking ingredients to make sure there is no pork in the food, and yet, “Look at him. Look at the way he looked at his wife. Look at the way he got a little angry with his children. Look, he is passing by mercy and justice.” Oh, they hop on that. Why?

Why to they jump on it and say we are a Pharisee who is majoring on the minors? You know, Yahushua never did. He was concerned they were not majoring in the majors. He said you ought to have done that, but you left the others undone. Oh, yeah, strain out the gnat. What good is that when he has swallowed a camel?

He is not saying don’t do it. You see, there is something that happens in a person, and if we are doing these things, listen, we can become Pharisees. We can become men and women who put all the emphasis on the finer points, but then neglect the weightier things. We are as susceptible to that as anybody else might be.

But we need to understand that Yahushua was only saying you are swallowing the camel while you strain the gnat. And one of the reasons why certain people do the finer points is for pharisaical-like reasons, which is to make it look like you are a person that is really, really devoted to obedience.

And if that is the motive, if hypocrisy is really what is happening, if it is all for a show, then their criticism is just. But, you know, the real reason for most of the criticism is not that the criticizer is concerned for your salvation.

Often, but not always, the criticisms are an attempt by the other person to resolve their own consciences, which are bothering about their own lack of spiritual discipline, their own lack of obedience, their own lack of effort to really please our heavenly Father– and in short, a lack of love.

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

How much of our heart does Yahweh want? All of it. He is not interested in part time believers. He isn’t interested in half-hearted obedience. He wants all our hearts. He wants it all. Not part of it. Not half of it. Not 99.9%. All. He wants it all.

How much of our soul does He want? All of it. How much of our strength is Yahweh interested in? All your strength. Every ounce of strength that we can possibly give.

Now, Yahweh is the One who can strengthen us and enable us to be obedient, to love Him, when He sees in our hearts that we are giving all we have.

I think of our Savior kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, giving all of His heart to the point of where He was sweating blood.

Luke 22:39 – Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.

40 – When He came to the place, He said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation.

41 – And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed,

Luke 22:42 – saying, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.

“Take it away if it is Your will.”

He was giving all His heart, all His strength.

It says:

Luke 22:43 – Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

How about that?

Luke 22:44 – And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

He didn’t want to have to go through this. He asked Yahweh to take the cup away from Him. It was so, so hard. And when He gave all He had, Yahweh strengthened Him.

See? He wants to do that for us. When we give all we have, He will strengthen us. He resolved to say, “Not My will, but Your will, be done.” He gave it all.

Obedience to Yahweh was so difficult, so hard to bear. Perhaps the enemy was there telling Yahushua, “Hey, You know, You are trying too hard, here.” Maybe the enemy was saying, “Oh, He is a compassionate Father. He will forgive you. He will understand.”

Perhaps the voice from the Garden of Eden was there saying, “Hath Elohim said You need to do this? If You don’t do what Yahweh said, You won’t die. You won’t die.”

Some might be saying here, “Well, that is Yahushua. I mean, yes, Yahweh required a lot of Him, but us, we have grace. You know, we don’t have to go to that level. He did that for us. We don’t have to try that hard.”

How about Abraham?

Genesis 22:1 – Now it came to pass after these things that Elohim tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Here I am.

2 – Then He said, Take now your son, your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.

Now, think of Abraham. Before Isaac was born, he lived his entire life bearing no children. His parents had named him Avram, meaning “father of many” or “exalted father.” And yet, he never had the joy of being a father.

And when he finally did get the joy of being a father, through an incredible miracle, Yahweh said to him, “Go up and offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

You know, Abraham could argue with Yahweh, and say, “Well, no way would Yahweh require this of me. To give me this, only just to take it away? To lose my joy? My only son?”

And look how Yahweh worded this statement here: “Your only son Isaac, whom you love. Take him.” “Son” shouldn’t be there… because he didn’t have his other son. “Your only Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him up to Me.”

“The one you love, Abraham. Your one and only Isaac.”

Abraham didn’t waste time.

Genesis 22:3 – So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which Elohim had told him.

You know, maybe some of us would have had the attitude, “Well, you know, He didn’t say when. He didn’t say when I needed to do this. So, maybe I will just kinda sit around and think about this for a minute. Let me get my composure here. I think I am definitely going to sleep in tomorrow.

“I mean, maybe I will wait another day, get to enjoy at least one last day with my son Isaac. I mean, maybe another week. One last week with Isaac. Maybe another year. You know, He didn’t say when. He just said, ‘Go!’ One more year with Isaac, and then I will do it.”

To delay is to disobey. Not Abraham. He wasted no time. He rose up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, took two young men and Isaac, and off he went. And we know the rest of the story. Yahweh did save Isaac.

And some are saying, “Oh, well. You know, Tom, EliYah, that is the Old Testament, you know. Yahweh demanded exact obedience. Perfect obedience. Today we live in the age of grace. Ah. Good. So glad I have grace now. Whew! Don’t have to worry about doing that hard stuff anymore. We’ve got grace.” Sorry.

Yahushua said in Luke 9:57, He said:

Luke 9:57 – Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, [that] someone said to Him, Master, I will follow You wherever You go.

58 – And Yahushua said to him, Foxes have holes and birds of the air [have] nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay [His] head.

59 – Then He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Master, let me first go and bury my father.

Yahushua is telling this man to follow Him. He is calling this man to a life of evangelism. The man agreed, but he just wanted to go back and do something else first. It seemed to be a reasonable excuse for delaying. I mean, his father just died.

Anybody here ever experience the loss of a parent? I am thankful to Yahweh I haven’t, yet. But, you know, the death of our parents, while we know one day it will happen, it is still a very sad and emotional time.

Yahushua, completely insensitive to that.

Luke 9:60 – Yahushua said to him, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of Elohim.

Such harsh words coming from their ever gracious Savior: “Let the dead bury their own dead.”

Another person He called to follow Him. Their response was:

Luke 9:61 – And another also said, Master, I will follow You, but let me first go [and] bid them farewell who are at my house.

Just wanted to say, “Good-bye.”

Luke 9:62 – But Yahushua said to him, No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of Elohim.

Brothers and sisters, Yahweh is still looking for plowmen. Yahushua wants plowmen who will follow Him wherever He goes. Are we plowmen who will follow the Lamb wherever He goes? Are we a people who say, “Uh… I’ll get around to it one of these days.”

We must all be a people who will put our hand to the plow and don’t look back lest we become like Lot’s wife and judgment will be poured upon us. We don’t want to use grace as an excuse to be lax in the area of obedience.

You see, when we refuse to subject ourselves to what we think maybe are less weighty things, sometimes what we think is not weighty, really is weighty in His mind. We may not even have that straight, yet. Maybe we are influenced by culture around us.

But, you know, when we refuse to subject ourselves to the less weighty things, the real issue is not that we are disobedient to the small thing. The real issue is, our hearts are not completely yielded to His will. That is the real issue. It is a heart issue.

I am convinced, brothers and sisters, the day will come when the world will demand that we disobey Yahweh and something that they think is just piddly. And maybe we will be tempted to think it is just some piddly thing, also, and that we really shouldn’t worry about it.

Maybe, “Just take that little mark on your hand. Pfft. Don’t worry about it.” Maybe it will just be, “Oh, that little mark on your forehead? Just compromise a little here. A little there. There is grace available. Don’t worry about it.”

And the ones who, maybe even believers among us, will persecute and say, “Oh, well, you are just being too legalistic, and you are being too uptight about these minor things. Just go along with it. We live in the age of grace.”

“Yahweh will forgive,” they may say. But in Yahweh’s eyes, it is all about allegiance.

To whom is our heart yielded? The little thing becomes a weighty thing because we are not loving Yahweh and putting Him first in what He tells us to do. Instead, we are ignoring what He tells us to do.

And I don’t care if Yahweh came down in a bolt of lightening today and said, “Stand on your head 10 minutes every day, son. We are tired of your little herbs,” or whatever He says.

No matter the sacrifice, no matter how much the loss, no matter what we might lose, no matter how much pain we may go through, no matter how many people will mock and scorn and abuse and accuse.

No matter what our circumstances might be, in the small things that require a huge sacrifice, or in the big things we find easier to do, the final conclusion in the matter is this: WE OBEY YAHWEH.

So, whether it is a small thing that Yahweh asks us to do or a big thing, I fail to see a distinction, because when I refuse to yield myself to the will of Elohim in anything, that becomes a weighty thing.

You know, we are slaves. I know these are hard words today, brothers. I am preaching to myself, too.

Paul asks:

Galatians 1:10 – For do I now persuade men, or Elohim? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Messiah.

A bondservant. That is a slave.

James introduced himself as a bondservant of Elohim.

James 1:1 – James, a bondservant of Elohim and of the Master Yahushua Messiah, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

Jude introduced himself as a bondservant of Yahushua.

And Paul introduced himself as a bondservant of Yahushua the Messiah.

Romans 1:1 – Paul, a bondservant of Yahushua Messiah, called [to be] an apostle, separated to the gospel of Elohim

What is a bondservant? A slave. It is from the word “doulos” {doo’-los}. A slave (literally or figuratively, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):– bond(-man), servant.

How many of us identify ourselves with that? “Hi, nice to meet you. I am Tom, slave of Messiah. I am the Messiah’s slave. And you?” How many of you identify yourself that way? That is the way the apostles identified themselves. “Hi, I’m Paul, a slave of Messiah.”

We need to understand. We are all Messiah’s slaves. We are all Messiah’s bondservants. Handmaiden if you are female. And we need to understand that in reality, every human being on this planet is a slave to something and someone. We are all enslaved.

Mary, the mother of Messiah, considered herself to be a maidservant. She said:

Luke 1:47 – And my spirit has rejoiced in Elohim my Savior.

48 – For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant. His slave. Before Messiah even came, she considered herself to be Yahweh’s slave. Maybe because she considered her own lowly state of being a slave, Yahweh was able to get the glory rather than her when she was chosen to be the one who carried the Messiah in her womb.

Same with Moshe. Moshe, the most meek man on the face of the earth. If we are meek and lowly, Yahweh can use us.

So, we are all enslaved to someone already. I mean, those who were not slaves to Yahweh… you are going to be a slave to something and someone.

And in the book of Romans chapter 6, verses 20-22, it says:

Romans 6:20 – For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

See, everyone is a slave to something. Before we were slaves to Messiah, we were slaves to sin.

Romans 6:21 – What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things [is] death.

22 – But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of Elohim, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

Would we rather be slaves of Elohim and receive the free gift of eternal life or would we rather be a slave to sin and receive its wages?

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of Elohim [is] eternal life in Messiah Yahushua our Master.

So, my point in all this, brothers and sisters, is that being slaves, we have to do our Master’s bidding. That is the mindset He wants us to have.

We don’t even really look at it as a choice because we made the choice already to be set free from being a slave of the devil, and we chose instead to become the Messiah’s slaves.

He is not the taskmaster that the devil is. But He does want all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength. He deserves nothing less, right?

Doesn’t the giver of life, our Father, the rescuer of men, our Savior deserve all we have? He saved our lives. Don’t we now owe Him our all?

Is it not written in the Torah, be very careful? Be very careful. “Take careful heed.”

Joshua 22:5 – But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of YAHWEH commanded you, to love YAHWEH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

See, taking careful heed to do the will of Yahweh– to keep the commandment and the Law which Moshe the servant of Yahweh commanded us– to take careful heed is to love Him and serve Him with all of our hearts and all of our souls. It is a demonstration of love to Him, and we trust and we know His ways are the right ways.

Oh, but we have our own aspirations, don’t we? We have our own plans. We have our own ways, our own thoughts, our own ideas on how we want to live our lives. But don’t you realize:

1Corinthians 6:19 – Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from Elohim, and you are not your own?

You do not belong to yourself. You are not even your own. You do not belong to you. You belong to Messiah now because you were purchased.

1Corinthians 6:20 – For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are Elohim’s.

You were purchased with a very, very costly thing– the blood of Yahushua.

Oh, we have our own aspirations, our own plans, our own ways, our own thoughts, our own ideas of how to live our lives. If we are not placing those aspirations, those plans and thoughts and ideas, before the feet of our Savior, seeking His will for our lives, maybe we really haven’t fully accepted Him yet. Maybe we are holding back.

Maybe we are being like Ananias and Sapphira, holding back a portion for ourselves, all the while going about as if we are giving our whole lives to Him. Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and acted like they were giving the whole portion to the apostles, but they were holding back.

Are we holding back? Are we a people who really deserve to just keel over and die right now because we are holding back for not giving Yahweh all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength?

On the outside we appear to be believers, as they did. We appear to be doing everything like the other believers, but inside we are holding back a portion for ourselves.

Yahweh help us all. Yahweh reveal our own hearts to us. Yahweh strengthen us that we might be completely sold out to Him.

Yahushua completely sold Himself to us. Didn’t He purchase us with His own blood? When Paul was talking to the Ephesian elders he said:

Acts 20:28 – Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of Elohim which He purchased with His own blood.

Yahushua gave everything of Himself to purchase us, to redeem us. He saw that we were headed toward destruction, headed toward death. We needed someone to save us. He came and redeemed us from a certain death. Can’t we give Him our all? Yahweh help us.

And so, brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone take the spiritual edge off of your walk by words of persecution saying, “Oh, well, you are trying too hard. You are trying to earn your salvation. You are caught up in legalism,” simply because you are doing the hard things, the difficult things, the things they don’t think are that big of a deal.

The things that will get you in trouble with the world, the things that seem minor to everybody else, but you still see it as the will of Yahweh. And so, you suffer great loss as a result.

Don’t let the words of men take you away and harden that heart of obedience to where it is just no longer a heart of obedience. A heart that is completely sold out for Messiah will be pliable to His will, not pliable to the will of the world.

Their words, whether they know it or not, are nothing more than the echoes of “Hath Elohim said?” and “You will not surely die.”

Beware of the serpent’s subtleties, for it is not the Spirit of Yahweh that would seek to lead a person to less obedience. It is an unclean spirit that would try to do that. I am not judging others. It is just what they have been trained.

Now, having said these things, we do need to understand what the will of Yahweh really is. Sometimes we may think we are doing things that Scriptures say, when really the Scriptures do not command us to do.

I see people, you know, who are so, so zealous for tradition.

This time of year we have people going into debt and mortgaging their home so they can keep their Christmas traditions. They spend hundreds or thousands of dollars so they can buy their Christmas trees and Christmas lights and Christmas decorations and Christmas gifts because they are enslaved to a tradition of men.

It is actually a slavery to sin. But people often put more effort in their allegiance to themselves, to the words of men and to their own traditions, than they do to Yahweh.

And so, we need to make sure that our efforts for obedience are not in vain. We need to make sure our understanding of Scriptures is correct so that we don’t have some effort in obedience to something we think is there when it is not there.

I mean, consider Mark chapter 2, verse 23:

Mark 2:23 – Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.

24 – And the Pharisees said to Him, Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?

See, they thought He was Sabbath breaking.

Mark 2:25 – But He said to them, Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:

Mark 2:26 – how he went into the house of Elohim [in the days] of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?

27 – And He said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

28 – Therefore the Son of Man is also Master of the Sabbath.

So, His point being, we have to understand why Sabbath was made. It was made for man’s benefit. And if you are starving on the Sabbath, it’s okay to go out and grab a few… pull an apple off the tree. That is not harvesting. You are not harvesting for later to make money off of it. You are hungry. You want to go eat something.

He went on to say:

Mark 3:1 – And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.

2 – So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

3 – And He said to the man who had the withered hand, Step forward.

Mark 3:4 – Then He said to them, Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? But they kept silent.

5 – And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, Stretch out your hand. And he stretched [it] out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

He never even laid a hand on the man. He just said, “Stretch out your hand.”

You know, they had to be so hard of heart. Here is a creative miracle happening before their eyes. Their hand is withered, and there it is. All of a sudden, the hand becomes just as good as the other one.

And then they think, “Oh, You are breaking the Sabbath.” I mean, if they were breaking the Sabbath, obviously, Yahweh would not have healed the hand.

So, you know, some of those today who don’t understand the value and the importance of the Ten Commandments, they will accuse us, who want to follow those Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath Day, as being a legalist. And they don’t mean that in a good way.

Some will compare us to scribes and Pharisees because we do believe in keeping Sabbath. We believe it is important. Now, they will point this out and say we are being like that.

No! We understand the purpose of Shabbat. And so, it is not wrong for us to make our best efforts toward keeping it holy.

You know, in these Scriptures we see people going above and beyond what Scripture required. They added things to Yahweh’s Word that Yahweh never intended. They would go an extra step.

And that was one of the things that the “rabbis” tried to do– have the people follow the extra step, go the extra mile above and beyond what the Law requires. That way, if you violate something, you are violating the laws of men. No big deal. That way, if you go an extra step, you still don’t violate the Word of Yahweh.

It doesn’t sound like too bad of a thought on the surface. But what happens? They build this fence around the commandments.

But what happens is now everyone wants to know, “Well, what do the rabbis say? What should we do? What do the rabbis say? What do the leaders of Judaism say about this? You know they built this fence around the Law. We want to follow the fence.”

Now the focus is no longer on the words of Yahweh. Now the focus is on the words of men. Now it is not about Yahweh getting the glory for His teachings. It is about rabbis getting the glory for how they can add to His teachings.

What did Yahweh say?

Deuteronomy 12:32 – Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

And so, this idea led men to be drawn away from a relationship with Yahweh and drawn toward a relationship with religious leaders to whom they looked to for extra commands and interpretations. And so, the glory was taken away from Yahweh and was stolen by corruptible men.

And so, here they are:

Luke 13:14 – But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Yahushua had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.

Oh, boy! Yahushua did not like what the man said.

Luke 13:15 – The Master then answered him and said, Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead [it] away to water it?

Luke 13:16 – So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound — think of it — for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?

17 – And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

He was pointing out to them their interpretation, their additions of what Sabbath was all about, was wrong. He wasn’t telling them to stop observing the Sabbath. He wasn’t telling anyone to stop observing the Sabbath. He wasn’t saying to anybody who observed the Sabbath is a legalist.

He was explaining to them that their understanding of what Sabbath really was is not correct. And because the society of that day had gotten away from following Yahweh and instead looked to the “rabbis,” they focused on what man told them to do.

These men added many other things to the Scriptures. And these men and their words and their doctrines are preserved to this day in the Talmud.

And Yahushua showed them how wrong it was so that He generally ignored their commandments. Many times their commandments would actually violate the commandments of Yahweh.

Mark 7:6 – He answered and said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: `This people honors Me with [their] lips, But their heart is far from Me.

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

Useless worship. “You worship for no reason. Your doctrines are just commandments of men now. With these fences you have built, no longer is the focus on the commandments of Elohim.”

You know, men still seek to write their own laws. They are still doing that. Such was the case in Messiah’s day, and such is the case today, whether you call it oral law, Talmud, catechism, statements of doctrine. We need to beware of these trappings.

There are traditions such as Christmas and Sunday worship, Easter, which are not found in Scripture. They have their origins in paganism, and these are adding to Yahweh’s already perfect word and taking away from His already perfect word. All the while, people justify themselves.

They just say, “Well, He doesn’t mind. He doesn’t mind. Oh, you are majoring on the minors. You don’t have to do exactly what He says. I mean, He doesn’t care. As long as you get a day of rest, that is all that matters. You just rest one day.”

Is that what Yahweh said? He said, “Remember the Sabbath.” There is a specific day He called the Sabbath. He made it holy at creation, and He wants us to keep it that way.

He handed us a beautiful white garment. “Keep it clean!” He says. And then you take the garment and throw it away and grab your own garment and make it clean instead. That is not love.

See, we have to get back to what Yahweh says. Now, I am not suggesting that our strict obedience, that our strict law keeping, our strict following of commands, our strict straining of gnats, and so on, is our salvation or that we would be maintaining our salvation through wooden adherence to legal codes.

But what I am saying is, unlike what is commonly thought today, just because you do follow the minor points does not mean you are steeped in legalism.

These things are in many ways confusion today. This particular area is a very pervasive area of confusion. When did we get to the point where following these laws we are no longer trusting in Messiah for our salvation?

In Romans chapter 2, verse 12, it says:

Romans 2:12 – For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law

13 – (for not the hearers of the law [are] just in the sight of Elohim, but the doers of the law will be justified;

Now, wait a minute. It says the doers of the Law will be justified. Are we doing the Law? If we do the Law, we will be declared righteous. We will be justified. No doubt about it. However, not one of us has done the Law.

In fact, we see here, Galatians 5:4. Paul says:

Galatians 5:4 – You have become estranged from Messiah, you who [attempt to] be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

So, in one place he is saying doers of the Law are justified. In another place he says, if you are trying to be justified by the Law, you have fallen from grace. What is he talking about here?

You see, what he is talking about is, we need to understand we haven’t done the Law. Therefore, we can’t be justified by the Law. If we had done the Law, we would be justified by the Law. But since we have not done the Law, we cannot be justified or declared righteous by the Law.

That would be like a little child coming to his parents. Say he had done something wrong, such as write on the wall or something, and then he told his parents, “Well, I have kept your laws. I am justified.” No.

So, we can’t be justified by the Law. We can’t be declared righteous by the Law. So, does that mean we don’t follow it?

No point in following it. You can’t be justified by it. Why follow it at all? Why obey anything?

And they say to us, “Well, you people who are keeping Sabbath and doing these finer points, oh, you are just trying to be justified by it.” Wrong.

Am I seeking to be justified by the Law if I choose to honor my parents? Am I seeking to be justified by the Law if I decide that I want to worship Yahweh and Him alone and not worship false gods? Am I seeking to be justified by the Law if I want to be truthful in every word I speak and never tell a lie? No.

Then why are we accused of trying to be justified by the Law if we want to keep Yahweh’s Sabbath day holy and being careful with that? See, they are not consistent in their logic.

So, what is Paul talking about? He says:

Galatians 3:11 – But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of Elohim [is] evident, for the just shall live by faith.

12 – Yet the law is not of faith, but the man who does them shall live by them.

We can’t say, “Well, my faith is in the Law.” We haven’t done them. Therefore, we can’t live by them. We can’t have eternal life by them.

So, the only way we could possibly be justified is that by faith we believe in the mercies of Elohim, by faith that He will save us, through Yahushua our Master and our Savior.

And so, if we had kept Yahweh’s Law from the time we were born until we die, yes, we could be justified by the Law. But if we haven’t done that, no one ever has except for Messiah, then you are not going to be justified by the Law.

You have to be justified by faith in the Son of Elohim, who loved you and gave Himself for you and purchased you to be His slave, His bondservant, His maidservant, so that you will do His will now. But if you fail, and you get back up again– yes, there is grace available.

Yes, there is grace available, but all have sinned. All have fallen short of His glory. We can only be justified by His grace.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Elohim,

24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yahushua,

He is willing to place His righteousness on us. He is willing to say, “I cleanse you,” if we turn away from the wrong things that we have been doing and we receive Yahushua ha Mashiach.

If we were to say, “Well, because I’ve turned away from the wrong things I used to do, therefore I deserve to be saved,” it is not good enough. You need Messiah, also– the One who will cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

He gave Himself for you, and therefore, our attitude is: I have been crucified with Him (or impaled with Him); it is no longer I who live, but Messiah who lives in me.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

He doesn’t give Himself to just anybody. We need to repent. Repent.

Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Yahushua Messiah for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:4 – Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

What is the newness of life? Sin? Is sin a part of the newness of life? No. Life is righteousness.

Once we have a change of heart to turn away from sin, we need to seek to live our lives as Yahushua’s maidservants and man servants. We need to seek to live our lives in obedience to His will, just as Messiah did, because it is not we who live. It is Messiah who lives in us.

Now, if we do sin:

1John 2:1 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Yahushua Messiah the righteous.

2 – And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

So, we have an Advocate with the Father if we were to fail. We get back on our knees again and ask for forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

1John 2:3 – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

Now, wait a minute. Earlier he said if we sin we have an Advocate. We have this Advocate here who is ready to stand in the gap, to intercede for us and make propitiation for our sins, but here he says: “Now by this we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

Well, which is true? Do we know Him? Do we know Him because we sinned? Where does He draw the line? Here he says, “He who says ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar. The truth is not in him.”

1John 2:4 – He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

And back here (1 John 2:1) he says, “If you sin, you have an Advocate.” Here (1 John 2:4) he says, “If you sin, if you break the commandments and you claim to know Him, you are just a liar.”

Well, which is it? Is he speaking doublespeak here? He says:

1John 2:5 – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of Elohim is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

By what? By those who keep His Word.

1John 2:6 – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Part of keeping His Word, brothers and sister, is that if we sin, we go before Him seeking forgiveness for that. That is part of keeping His Word, too. That is a commandment, also.

Repentance: He calls us to repentance. Repentance: when we obey the command to repent when we do wrong, then we are keeping His Word. Okay?

Now, we have an Advocate for the time that we didn’t keep His Word– Yahushua the Messiah, the righteous. And He will forgive us if we go to Him and confess it and forsake it and in our hearts we commit ourselves to not doing it again.

But, brothers, there are too many out there today who will profess to have this personal relationship with the Savior of men and will claim to hear His voice and will claim to know Him. And they are very focused on what they think is living by faith, yet when it comes to commandment keeping, they don’t want to hear anything about that.

They are following really their own spirit. They are not really following Yahweh’s Spirit. They are not really following the Messiah of the Bible. They are following a Messiah they invented for themselves. One they wouldn’t have to be slaves to, mind you. One that would not care one way or the other whether or not they sinned.

Brothers, that is not the Messiah of the Scriptures. The Bible does not teach such a Messiah anywhere. The truth is, Yahweh wants a relationship with each one of us, but it is going to be on His terms, not one that we invent for ourselves and cause ourselves to be deluded in because of the hardness of our hearts.

You know, Yahweh loves us so much– probably beyond our comprehension. The very hairs of our head are numbered. He counts our steps. But drawing near to Him with this belief that He is going to mold Himself into what we want is delusional. We need to truly seek to know Him, to love Him, because we know how much He loves us already.

We need to allow Him to define Himself. We need to accept what He says He is. Maybe you don’t like His “serpents/brood of vipers” comment. Maybe you don’t like His “woe to you” comment. Maybe you don’t like His “let the dead bury their own dead” comments. But that is Messiah in the Bible.

Maybe you won’t like it when He comes and rules with a rod of iron. But that is the Messiah of the Bible. He is not this sweet, syrupy, feminine-type Messiah that just, you know, “longs for you” and “just needs you” and “He can’t make it without you.”

No, He will break you. He will break you to a point where you get on your face, and every knee will bow– every knee– in submission to Him. And that is the Messiah of the Scriptures. I hate to break it to you. Actually, I kind of like breaking it to you.

Now, I am not saying He is harsh. I am saying He doesn’t put up with excuses. He doesn’t like them. He doesn’t put up with half-hearted, partial obedience. He is not just sitting there winking at everything that you do wrong. “Oh, don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.”

No, He wants all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength. We are not ignorant anymore.

You know, it is actually better that you don’t know the way of righteousness than to have known it, to walk away from it.

Now, I am not saying, “Oh, we are under the Law. He has that Law hanging over you. He is ready to strike you down any minute.” I am not saying that.

But you know what? If we turn away from the commandment delivered to us, if we are like dogs returning to the vomit that we were washed from, it would have been better if we never knew it than to turn away from it after having known it already.

2Peter 2:21 – For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

22 – But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.

So, what shall we say?

Romans 6:15 – What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

16 – Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin [leading] to death, or of obedience [leading] to righteousness?

Just because we are not under the Law does not mean we walk around like we are above the Law, either. It is at this point that many will stumble. Many will stumble.

They are not looking at that “old law.” They do not want that “old law.” They want some kind of “new law” that is more socially acceptable. They are looking for some kind of law, some kind of Messiah, that wouldn’t look too Jewish for their comfort. But what we really need to realize is that Messiah was Jewish, and His identity is now your identity.

And actually, He is not your Messiah, either. Did you know that Yahushua is not your Messiah? He is not our Messiah. He is Yahweh’s Messiah. The word “messiah” (mashiach) means “anointed.” Yahweh is the one who anointed Him. We did not anoint Him. (Just a side note there.)

But He is our Master. He is our King. He is our Savior. But He is Yahweh’s Anointed.

Remember the Old Testament Scriptures: “Don’t touch Yahweh’s Anointed”? He never says, “I better not touch My Anointed.” They didn’t want to touch Yahweh’s Anointed.

So, my point is, brothers, sometimes we have this Messiah figure that is in our minds that is not according to the one who is in the Bible.

Sin is still transgression of the Law. If we commit sin, we are transgressing the Law. Sin is the transgression of the Law.

1John 3:4 – Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

5 – And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

He came to take away our transgressions of the Law. In Him there is no transgression of the Law.

1John 3:6 – Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Whoever abides in Him does not transgress the Law. Whoever transgresses the Law has neither seen Him nor known Him.

See, sin is the transgression of the Law.

1John 3:7 – Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

He that commits transgression of the Law is of the devil.

1John 3:8 – He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.


Whoever is born of Elohim does not commit transgression of the Law.

1John 3:9 – Whoever has been born of Elohim does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of Elohim.

Some people use this and say, “Well, even if I sin, I am not going to be accounted as if I sinned.”

What he is talking about here is being born of Elohim. You know, when the corruptible has put on incorruptible that is when the rebirth really occurs. When the Messiah returns and our corruptible has put on incorruption, that is when no longer will it be possible for us to commit sin.

But we accept this now as something in our minds that has already happened. And so, since our eternal destiny is perfection, and we accept that by faith, we, therefore, seek to walk in that eternal perfection.

1John 3:10 – In this the children of Elohim and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of Elohim, nor [is] he who does not love his brother.

Serious words here. So, we are called to perfection. That is our calling. That is our destiny.

Yahushua says:

Matthew 5:48 – Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Now, just because you are not perfect does not mean Yahweh is mad at you, He doesn’t accept you. If He was mad at all the imperfect people in the world, and refused to accept them, there wouldn’t be anybody saved. He is patient. He is willing to help us. The issue is our attitude.

It is not a bad thing to desire perfection. It is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. It is expected. Yet, some would say if you get too involved in trying to keep those laws, then you are a legalist.

Yahushua said:

Matthew 5:27 – You have heard that it was said to those of old, `You shall not commit adultery.’

28 – But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Whoa! People even say here, “He made it even harder to keep. Yahushua made the Law harder to keep. We have to keep this now.” And then, when we seek to do not just what the Law says, but what the Law means, they call us legalists.

See, Yahushua is after the heart of the commandments, and so should we, without adding to Yahweh’s Law.

So, the commandments are just and holy and right, and they teach us how to be just and holy and right. We should beware of reasons of men that try to excuse away what Yahweh has said.

In fact, the command about lust was already mentioned in the Commandment Number Ten: Do not covet your neighbor’s wife. He wasn’t giving some new law that they never heard of before.

So, what do we do as people? What if we were a people that try to go around after bringing people to the Messiah, make a lot of effort and a lot of energies going into trying to teach the people to keep commandments? What if we put a tremendous amount of emphasis on commandment keeping after someone has kept and believed in Messiah?

Is that wrong? Do we somehow depart from grace when we seek to lead people toward obedience to the commandments and put lots of emphasis on that? No!

Matthew 28:18 – And Yahushua came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 – 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. Amen.

Okay, once you baptize them– great! You baptize them. Wonderful! Now, make them disciples. “Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always.”

Part of what we are supposed to be doing as part of the Great Commission is teaching others to observe commandments. So, what commands did Yahushua teach? Were they any different than what they had back in what is called the Old Testament?

That is an important question because that is what is commonly taught today– He came with a Torah 2.0. He came with a whole new set of commands for us to follow. But that is not what the Bible says.

The Bible says sin is the transgression of… Yahushua’s words? Of the Law. So, sin is still, in New Testament time period, transgression of the Law.

In fact, Yahushua taught us:

Matthew 7:21 – 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.

We must do the will of His Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 – 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?’

None of those had to do necessarily with obedience to commandments. It had to do with miracles. “Look how many miracles we did?”

Matthew 7:23 – And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Torahlessness! Lawlessness, which means transgression.

Strong’s Lexicon: “Lawlessness” 458. anomia an-om-ee’-ah from 459; illegality. Oh, what’s this? Look at that word. Illegality, i.e. violation of the Law. Violating the Law of Elohim.

So, it seems to me, my brothers and my sisters, the real concern is not that we are legalists, although, yes, that is something to think about.

But we definitely want to be concerned that we are not, on the final day, illegalists, because He is going to say, “Depart from Me, you illegalists, you transgressors of My Father’s Word. You are not doing the will of My Father.”

It is not the gifts of the Spirit that manifest who are His. It is the fruits. By their fruits you shall know them.

They had the gift of prophecy, of faith, of casting out demons, and many wonders and miracles were done, but they did not have the fruit– doing the will of Yahushua’s Father in heaven. So, illegality.

Let’s hear the words of Messiah.

Luke 6:46 – But why do you call Me `Master, Master,’ and do not do the things which I say?

47 – Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:

48 – He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

Luke 6:49 – But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.

The companion Gospel says they built their house upon the sand.

And we had this hurricane come through, appropriately named “Sandy.” You know, houses were destroyed by the hurricane called Sandy. And spiritually speaking, if we build our houses upon the sand, then when the stream comes and when the flood comes, we will find ourselves in trouble.

So, how do we build our house upon the Rock? By doing the Father’s will. Upon which have we built our foundation?

No foundation can anyone lay but Yahushua being the Messiah. But Yahushua doesn’t just hand out and shed His blood for anyone. He doesn’t want His grace to be trampled upon.

He doesn’t want us to count the blood of the covenant by which He seeks to sanctify us to be a common thing and abuse it. He has called us to repentance and confession.

And so, we need to walk out Torah keeping. We need to walk out keeping His commands, whether it is big or whether it is small.

And so, when we have finally done the things that we are called to do, when we have finally walked out His will, when all is said and done, we still have no reason to get puffed-up, even if we obey the small things. No reason to get puffed-up. We need to stay humble.

And likewise, when we have done all the things which are commanded, we say, “We are still unprofitable servants. We have done which is our duty to do.”

Luke 17:10 – So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, `We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’

We don’t deserve anything, but we do know, Yahweh promises awesome things, as long as our attitude is still:

Psalms 115:1 – Not unto us, O YAHWEH, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.

Because of Yahweh’s mercy, we found salvation through Yahushua. Because of Yahweh’s truth, we know how we ought to walk.

So, our righteousness comes through Messiah, and yet, we still do not allow that to influence our attitudes toward obedience.

So, do not listen to the excuses and insults and ramblings of those who are not inspired by Yahweh’s Spirit, which leads us to righteousness, because where does it ever say in the Bible, “Depart from Me, you commandment keepers; into the lake of fire you go, you who keep My commandments”? It doesn’t say that anywhere.

And so, let’s not sleep as the disciples did when Yahushua prayed and chose Yahweh’s will over His own. Let’s arise and keep the commandments of Yahweh, as He intended us to keep them, with a true attitude of love.

1John 5:2 – By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and keep His commandments.

3 – For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

They’re not. They are not burdensome. You know, if His commandments are burdensome, then maybe there is something with our heart that we need to change. His commandments are not going to change. I will promise you that. It is our hearts that need to change.

Yahushua said:

John 14:15 – If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Anyone claiming to love Him– keep His commandments.

He says:

John 14:16 – And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever —

17 – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:21 – He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

Brothers and sisters, this is not legalism. This is love. And we love Him because He first loved us. There is no one else who is worthy of our time, our devotion, our energies, our life, our focus. No one else is more worthy than Him.

Yahweh is worthy. Let’s live our lives as though that is really true. Let’s love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength, all of our might– in the bigger and weightier things, and in the little things, too.

It is our devotion and attention to detail that sometimes most demonstrates how much we do love Yahweh. And the Pharisees knew that, yet their heart was far from Him. It was all for a show. It was all to make it look like their attention to detail was out of a love for Elohim, but what if our attention to detail really is based on a love of Elohim?

What if our attention to detail is because we are seeking to love Him with all of our heart, soul and strength? What if our devotion to the little things is just another manifestation of our love for Him, knowing how much He loves us and pays attention to detail and how He serves us? We even ask Him to look for our shoes, don’t we?

Can’t find my shoes anywhere. “Yahweh, where are my shoes?” He serves us in the little details. I don’t know how many times I have prayed that and there it is.

But we don’t get puffed-up in our spiritual zeal. We stay humble. We walk in mercy. And we seek to love Him because no one else is worthy of it. He is Number One.

And we want to live our lives in recognition that He alone is Number One, and He alone is worthy.

And brothers and sister, as we seek to walk in that kind of love toward Him, may Yahweh bless you and may Yahweh truly have mercy on us all.