“Footsteps of the Messiah”- Segment 1

Welcome to the first of what I hope to be a weekly ongoing class on seeking to walk as our Savior walked.

I want to say first of all that I am one who believes that we are 100% saved by grace, and we can do nothing of ourselves to earn salvation or earn acceptance from heaven. Our own righteousness will not be enough for any of us to deserve anything other than damnation on that final day. But we have a Savior that bore our sin for us, so that we might be completely cleansed of all unrighteousness, as it says in 1st John 1:9

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He is so good to us! So very good to us! However, I am also quite aware that His goodness must lead me to repentance, as it says in Romans:

Romans 2:4 – Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of Elohim leads you to repentance?

For those who do not know, the term “Elohim” is the Hebrew word commonly translated “God.” Later I’ll explain why I use that term instead of God.

But anyway, to repent literally means to “turn.” Turn away from our own ways and begin walking as our Savior walked. He was a sinless and perfectly obedient man, meaning that He walked in perfect love. And because He lives in me, and because His love for me is inspiring, I want to know all there is to know about Him, so that I can live like Him.

Thus, the purpose of this class. As part of a repentant attitude, I want to know every nuance of how He lived… so that I might live like Him, and so that when others see me, they don’t see “me,” but Him who lives in me.

So, with that, I want to say, first and foremost that I have no expectations of anyone in this room. This is not a class where I compare anyone with anyone, nor do I look down on anyone who believes differently than me. We all stand, shoulder to shoulder, as equals…and the only one we should really be comparing our lives to is the life of our dear Savior that we love and want to emulate.

So I would just like to encourage everyone to take that same attitude. Our goal is to be discipled, not by man’s ideas, but by the teachings of the holy scriptures. Thus, we are calling this a discipleship class.

I will share some thoughts on each biblical concept and precept given, then we will open the floor for comments and discussions, questions, and hopefully through everyone comparing notes and sharing their points of view, we will all be more like our Savior at the end than we were when we started.

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

So, what is the goal of this class? To do just what 1John 2:6 says.

For everyone to learn more about how our Savior lived His life, so that we might be more like Him at the conclusion of this exercise than we were at the beginning.

And if that’s all that we accomplish here, we have met our goal.

So, let’s get started….

Start with the beginning

If we are going to learn how our Savior lived His life, I truly believe that there is no better place to start than at the very beginning.

One thing we do need to understand about our Savior is that He was not an American Christian. And the bible is not an American document. He was Jewish, and the bible is a middle eastern document. For this reason, if we are really going to understand how He lived His life, we are going to need to understand how our Heavenly Father told the Jewish people to live their lives.

The only place we are going to be able to find an accurate record of this is by examining the various commandments that was given to Israel in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

John 8:46 – “Which of you convicts Me of sin?”

They tried but they could not find a single fault in him. Pilate tried also but he also said:

John 19:4 – Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Hebrews 4:15b – …(He) was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

This means that He kept every commandment that was given to Israel… perfectly. He did not fail to keep a single one. If He ever did, He would be a sinner and in need of a Savior Himself. But He did not sin. He did not transgress a single law.

1 John 3:4 – Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Therefore, if we are going to know how He lived, we have to study the commandments, and I understand that some who are attending this class may believe that certain commandments He observed are no longer required of us.

But even so, what we are about to learn is how He lived His life. And I hope that because you love Him, you will still benefit because you are learning about Him.

Principles, not just Precepts

Now as we study the commandments in the Old Testament, we want to interpret them the way our Savior Himself interpreted them… by looking at the principles, not just the precepts. By looking at the spirit of the law, not just the written text.

For instance, He said:

Matthew 5:20-22 – “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says,`You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Matthew 5:27-28 – “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.”

These are classic and famous examples of the way we need to look at our Heavenly Father’s commandments. Our heavenly Father doesn’t just want the correct mechanical actions coming from our bodies, He wants our hearts. That’s how our Savior lived, and that’s how He taught us to live.

A lot of times we will find that very thing within the Old Testament scriptures themselves. He already said:

Leviticus 19:17 – `You shall not hate your brother in your heart…

Exodus 20:17 – “…you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…”

So, it was already about the heart, from the very beginning. The scribes and Pharisees didn’t care about their heart condition. They were only looking to put on a show. For this reason, He said that one’s righteousness needed to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Otherwise, we will not be pleasing to our Heavenly Father, who wants all of our hearts!

Another example:

Deut. 25:4 – “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.
1Tim 5:17-18 – Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Our Savior would often say, “To him who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Our Heavenly Father’s word is speaking to those who have the ears to hear it.

To hear it, we need to do what the Messiah said to do:

Mat 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

This means that we really want to be corrected, we really want to do our Father’s will, we really want to walk as our Savior walked and thereby show this world an example of who He truly is.

The author of Psalm 119 had it down:

Psa 119:19-20 – I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20 My soul breaks with longing For Your judgments at all times.

Psa 119:131 – I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.

And if this is our longing, our desire… it will be granted to us. For this longing isn’t a longing for legalism, it’s a longing to be what our Heavenly Father created us to be, from the heart. It’s a longing to live our lives in such a way that we manifest our Savior’s life in our community, in our homes, and in our personal thought life.

Our love for Him should be so very great, that we want to be just like him.

If we have this hunger, this thirst for righteousness within our souls, we will be filled. He will not hide His commandments from us, as we learn, and then apply the things we have learned.

For our growth in Messiah is a process. Sanctification is a process of hearing, learning, applying.. but it all starts with having ears to hear… and that all starts with hungering for the things of Elohim:

Jer 29:13 – And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Use of the true names

Now before I start, I want to say that in my desire to search for our Heavenly Father and His ways with all of my heart, I have come across some information that caused me to speak differently than some of you may speak.

I have come to understand that our Heavenly Father has a name, and that name is Yahweh.

Whenever “the LORD” is in the text, I restore this to “Yahweh”

Even some modern translations went ahead and put “Yahweh” in the translation in some places. For instance, the New Living Translation has:

Exodus 34:5 – Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh.

Exodus 6:2 – And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh– ‘the LORD.’

And whenever the term “God” is used in most translations, I go back to the original as well, preferring to call Him “Elohim” instead of “God.”

If you want, I can explain that to you. But for now, I hope it is not a distraction or cause anyone to be concerned. It’s just a personal conviction that I have. I don’t demand that anyone do what I do, it’s just a personal conviction that I have.

So, let’s start from the very beginning of Moses’ ministry to the Israelite people. He was out there tending his sheep, when one day he sees a burning bush. And our Heavenly Father introduces Himself to Moses:

Exodus 3:1-2 – Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of Elohim.
2 And the Angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

Exodus 3:3-4 – Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when Yahweh saw that he turned aside to look, Elohim called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

Exodus 3:5-6 – Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
6 Moreover He said, “I am the Mighty One of your father– the Mighty One of Abraham, the Mighty One of Isaac, and the Mighty One of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon Elohim.

Exo 3:9-11 – “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
10 “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to Elohim, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Exo 3:12-14 – So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve Elohim on this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to Elohim, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
14 And Elohim said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.'”
Exo 3:15 – Moreover Elohim said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel:Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

The first thing you want to know when you meet someone is to know their name.

“Yahweh” is the name that Yahweh chose to attach to Himself, and be the word chosen to bring remembrance to His character.

So since He said he wants me to remember it, and His name was removed from most of our English bibles, I put it back where it was before.

John 17:26 – And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it:

Simple as that, and again, this is just my own preference. What you do, is up to you.

So.. moving on, we are going to take a look at the Ten Commandments. We know for sure that our Savior lived by the Ten Commandments.

So we are going to start with the Ten Commandments.

The very first of the Ten Commandments, and we’re going to read from the New King James Version here.. says:

Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before Me.

On the surface, it sounds like He is saying that there are other gods, but as long as He we don’t put any other gods ahead of Him,

What does this mean, are there other gods other than Yahweh? The way it is worded here, He kind of speaks as if there are, but just to make sure that He is number one.

This is where I have found great benefit in looking into the Hebrew Language. It provides us with insights that we can’t see in our English text. I’ve heard it said that reading scripture in English is like reading it in black and white, while reading it in Hebrew is like reading it in color.

And if you have been to Israel and visited the places that scripture talks about… you might even get a chance to read it in 3D.

The Hebrew word translated “Gods” in this verse is that word I used earlier, “Elohim”

Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power (Hebrew #410 “EL”) of your hand to do so.

Psalm 68:35 – The God (Hebrew #430 “Elohim”) of Israel is He who gives strength and power (Hebrew #410 “EL”) to His people.

Job 36:22 – “Behold, God (Hebrew “EL”) is exalted by His power (Hebrew “EL”); Who teaches like Him?

Nehemiah 5:5b – our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power (Hebrew “EL”) to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

Exodus 22:8 – “If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges (Hebrew “Elohim”) to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor’s goods.

Exodus 21:6 – “then his master shall bring him to the judges (Hebrew “Elohim”).

The first commandment

So let’s bring this back to our text in Exodus 20

Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other mighty one before Me (Hebrew “al-panai” upon/against my face).

So what does this insight into the Hebrew text teach us?

Principle: No man, no earthly judge, no righteous or fallen angel, no one is to be compared to Him and/or placed in between us and Him. Yahweh always comes first! He IS first, and we must live as though He is

Probably the biggest problem man has is a failure to put Him first.

It is the reason why King David was chosen over King Saul:

1 Samuel 15:12 – So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.“

1 Samuel 15:24 – Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of Yahweh and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

And it’s the reason why the sometimes stumbling and spiritually immature apostles were chosen over the Scribes and Pharisees:

Matthew 23:5 – But all their works they do to be seen by men…

And so our Savior summed up the principle and spirit of the first commandment when He said:

Matthew 10:28-31 – “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:32-39 – “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 “and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

So don’t even put ourselves before Him. We can very easily think that we are doing all things by our own power. By our own might. We can fall into this delusion pretty easily.

The truth is, there is only one source of power and might. All things are coming from the Father, the one who is the source of all things. He is #1, and in this first commandment He is expecting us to live as though He is.

That means we cannot put anything else in that #1 spot. Not men, not even ourselves. So to sum up what He asks from us:

Loyalty!

To put man in that #1 spot is for us to be disloyal to the only one who deserves to be there.

To put our carnal pleasures, or worldly possessions in that spot is to be disloyal to the only one who deserves to be there. And many fall into that trap:

Colossians 3:5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Anything that takes the place of HIM and what He wants to be in our lives can be idolatry. Anything.

1 Corinthians 10:14 – Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Anything that has a hold on us can be dangerous spiritually. We don’t want to be brought under the power of any. I think there is a Scripture about that.

1Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

In other words we don’t want to be brought under the power of anything. We don’t want to have hold of us. I don’t care if it is drug addictions, or cigarette addictions, if something has a hold of us, and we can’t let it go, even Internet addictions or computer addictions, or game addictions.

Whatever addictions may have hold of us, we have to set it aside and say, ‘No, only my Heavenly Father is the One that has a hold of me.

I’m only going to be brought the power of anything else, ‘ The verse after this one even talks about food. So it can be an addiction. We don’t want to be powerless to any element of the world.

If anything has us in a position where we really feel like we can’t make it very well without it, then I think we are in a place of danger there, of putting other things in the place of our our Father in Heaven. Only He should have a hold of us.

Nothing should have us in its grip, to anything we should be able to say, “If I want to let it go. I can let it go easily.”
Thankfully, I’ve never been addicted to cigarettes, but those I know who are, whenever they are upset, when they’re angry, when they can’t seem to manage things, they go light one up. I think Yahweh our Father is jealous of that. He is jealous. He wants to be the One that we turn to when we are having a rough way to go.

Ezekiel 14:7-8 – “For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I Yahweh will answer him by Myself.
8 “I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am Yahweh.

Then you shall know I am He who causes to exist, the Hebrew reads. So a person can have this idol in their heart, while at the same time they want to hear the Word of Yahweh. They want to inquire of Him. They want to hear what He has to say, but they’ve got these little idols in their hearts, and they end up separating themselves from Elohim because of these idols.

In this case, in the modern version, we seek the Scriptures, we want to know His will, we study it out, but then we have these other things that are keeping us from progressing spiritually. They are stumbling blocks as the Scripture says, setting up these things that cause us stumble into iniquity.

Then we try to inquire of Yahweh, and we have these idols in our hearts.

Are there things in our life that are taking the place of what Yahweh wants to be?

Probably the biggest idol really is man. It all comes down to man. Whether it be the “self-man” or some other man.

John 12:42-43 – Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of Elohim.

They had an idol in their hearts. The honor and praise that comes from men.

The world is selling us things on the basis of comfort, of ease, of convenience.

We buy cell phones to make it easier to talk to anyone anywhere we want to pretty much. We buy these plush chairs to make our lives comfy, and luxury cars and luxury houses. We are conditioned by the enemy to look for ease, for comfort, for convenience. For stroking the needs of our flesh. And it’s real easy to carry that over into our faith if we’re not careful.

It is not fun going against the grain. It is often uncomfortable. It is often uneasy.

It is often inconvenient and sometimes downright painful, but I think of this:

Our Savior put us before Himself!

If He loved us enough to leave the ease and comfort of the heavenlies and bear our diseases, bear our sin, bear our wickedness. and bear the weight of the entire world on His shoulders so that we could be delivered from the pit which we dug ourselves.

If He could bear the weight of the world, bear a crown of thorns on His head, and put us ahead of Himself….just to show us how much we are loved….

Is it too much to ask, that we suffer a little bit, in order to love Him in return?

Are we willing to endure a light affliction as the Scripture calls it? Are we willing to lay down our lives for Him, as He did for us?

Are we willing to, as one man put it:

Give up what we cannot keep, to obtain that which we cannot lose?

Are we willing to regard the praises that come from our Heavenly Father to be more important than the opinions of men, the opinions of our neighbors, the opinions of our relatives, the opinions of our spouse, or even the opinions of the church members that we value?

Are we willing to suffer at the hands of men in order to put Yahweh first and do the will of our Father in Heaven? In other words, are we willing to walk as our Savior walked?

Are we willing to come to Him as a little child and say to Him, I will follow you. I will walk as You walked, I will live as You lived, because I love You Dearest Savior. There isn’t anyone more worthy of following, no one more worthy to praise, no one I want to spend eternity with more… than Him.

Therefore, as the scripture says:

1 John 5:21 – Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amein.