(Delivered in essence at The Negev Conference in Beer Sheva)
Ja 4:4-8 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever desires to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, The spirit that dwells in us yearns to jealousy? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded ones.
Mt 6:31-34 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it.
The United States just had elections for its leaders, and in a couple more months, Israel will do the same. Each citizen in each country can choose who it is that they prefer to rule over them. Each citizen can choose whom they prefer to serve. At the end of the day, though, everyone – leaders and ruled alike – must choose if they will serve the Devil, the prince of this world (Jn 12:31) – or if they will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of this world, the Judge of this world, the Redeemer of this world, and King of kings and Lord of lords throughout the universe which He created and made – both in this world, and in the world to come.
Are we, who say we believe in Jesus (by the grace and mercies of God to forgive our sins), actively submitting to God and resisting the devil, who hates YEHOVAH (who alone is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and us? Are we seeking first GOD’s kingdom and HIS righteousness; or are we content with a ‘righteousness’ of the world or of our own, but which is nothing more than filthy rags to YHVH God? (Is 64:6 Eng)
Do we love our Lord above all else, above anyone else? Are we confident of God’s love for us? A ‘Yes’ answer to both of these questions is the key to our victory of the faith in our life.
Satan is running around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us, and, if possible, to deceive the elect. (1Pt 5:8; Mt 24:24)
The Holy Spirit is working to honor and to exalt the Name of God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Jn 16:14-15) The devil is doing all he can to dishonor the holy name of the Son of God, the King of Israel. He started in the Garden of Eden, and succeeded to get Adam and Eve to submit to him and to do his will, not God’s.
Today, both the Holy Spirit and the enemy of God are still working in the hearts and minds of each human being, and the question of eternal destiny is, Who will we listen to and obey?
Just as the devil tempted our Lord and Savior in the desert when Yeshua was hungry and weak in His body, so now does Satan come at us when we are weak, and when we think we are strong.
–The devil tempts us with instant gratification, whether of appetite or of some sinful momentary pleasure. Just as Esau gave up his birthright simply to eat some soup now, so can we lose much by giving in to carnal desire out of unbelief. And, surely, he cunningly implies, we can give food to all who are hungry in the world, as any son of a loving God would do.
–The devil tempts us to exercise our spiritual gifts and power to ‘prove’ we are children of God. And, of course, we can change the world through hidden agendas or force to submit to God, when in fact, it is serving the enemy of the one true God.
–The devil tempts us with wealth, possessions, and the power and fame it brings, if we will only serve under his authority in a desolate world under sin and judgment. The Lord Jesus Christ has taught us that we can gain the whole world. . . but lose our souls. (Mt 16:26)
The apostle John writes (1Jn 2:15-17), Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.
There is a battle for the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life. (Tit 1:1-2; Rom 2:7) The Word of God, which we have written to us in the Bible, is truth; Jesus Christ is the Truth, the Word of the Father made flesh. (Jn 17:17; 14:6; 1:14; Rev 19:11-16) The truth sets us free, and when we live in the Spirit of Truth we are sanctified – drawn near to God and conformed more to His image. This sanctification in the presence of the holy and everlasting God is an antidote to pride – the sin of the devil – for thinking that we know anything too well, or thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to. (1Cor 8:1-3; 2Cor 10:3-6; Rom 12:3)
The righteous lives according to what he believes. The Word of God tells us not to be hearers of the word only, but doers. Our works of the faith justify our faith in the sight of men. If we say that we believe in something, or in Someone, but do not live in a manner consistent with our profession, then we are not ‘righteous’, but are judged as being insincere or hypocrites. This certainly makes the adversary and deceiver glad, especially when Jews and Christians – the peoples upon whom God has put His name (Num 6:23-27; Mt 28:19; Jn 17: 6-12; Acts 11:26) – dishonor the name of YEHOVAH and of the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah in this way. It is leaven in our lives, rather than the righteousness of God, which is what we are to be seeking in our life. We will find God’s righteousness to be wisdom when we submit to God as a living sacrifice with our whole heart, and stop giving place to the devil to lie to us and deceive us. Jesus overcame by submitting to God His Father’s will: the way of the cross as a true Son of God in this world. The apostle Paul wrote that when our obedience is fulfilled, then all disobedience will be punished. (2Cor 10:6)
We began by reading from James 4:4-8. The metaphor here (from which is taken the conference theme to “submit to God. . . .”) is faithfulness in covenant relationship. Jesus was faithful in all things to His Father’s Name, to honor Him in all His character and will and purpose. Adultery is betrayal of faithfulness, of trust, in the most holy and personal relationship between a man and a woman, especially in the covenant relationship of marriage.
The Holy Spirit tells us through the Scriptures that the husband-wife relationship and union is a picture of Messiah/Christ and the Church/Body of Christ. (Eph 5:25-33)
Yeshua has testified that His Kingdom is not of this world – not of this world system which is opposed to Him and the Kingdom of Heaven. Believers in Jesus are in a new blood-covenant relationship with Messiah and all that He is, all that His Name represents and symbolizes. That is why we pray in His name, saying ‘Amen’ to what is in accord withthe will of God based on the death and resurrection of the Lord. He has purchased us with a price, even the blood of the cross. Whenever we take the Lord’s Supper, it should sober us regarding our faithfulness to the God and Man who has so loved us: are we submitting to God, and resisting the devil? It is for each one to examine and judge himself.
We are engaged to Christ for marriage. If the world hates Him, as Yeshua says it does (Jn 15:18-25), then we can not be friends with the world, but rather cling to our Husband-to-be in devotion to Him for His honor. The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 always desired the honor of her husband.
Yeshua says that whoever is ashamed of Him and His word in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man will also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8:38) This should put the fear of God in us! If we really love the Lord as we profess, then we want His joy to be full in us, and ours in Him; that when we see Him there is nothing to fear in judgment because we have loved Him who first loved us. (1Jn 4:17-19)
Jesus speaks of our faithfulness to Him and to His word. (Jn 14:23-24; Rev 3:10) How many times do we say ourselves, or hear other believers say, “I believe in Jesus but I don’t think He really means this [. . .] for us, certainly not for today.”?
Lots of people who say they are Believers are sleeping with others without being married. There are more and more divorces within the Body of Christ, even in Israel, for all sorts of reasons besides the only one which Yeshua gives. More believers are accepting homosexuality as a choice to be made, or as a ‘choice’ made for them. For all these things, the devil is lying to you in deceitful ways that weakens the truth and authority of what God has really said! (Gen 3:1)
If we find ourselves doing any of these things, then we need to submit to God and repent, and turn away from doing the devil’s will. If we find ourselves being tempted to doing or approving of these things, again we need to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from us – especially when he sees that we are serious in our commitment to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in our life. God is for us, with us, and the Holy Spirit within us helps us to be obedient to what is good and right in the sight of God. The power of the blood of Jesus to strengthen us to love Him above anything or anyone else will overcome the dark powers of Satan, the world, and our own flesh.
The demonic spirits fled from Paul because they knew him as one who served God with his whole heart, mind, being. (Acts 19:15) When we put God’s kingdom first, we will know His joy and pleasure in a way of the love of a Bridegroom for His Bride-to-be! Our moral authority as a kingdom of priests is based upon our obedience with faith and thanksgiving to the Lord. We are engaged in a spiritual war concerning the one true God and His Word, which abides forever. We are to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2Cor 10:5)
The day of the Lord’s coming again is nearer today than yesterday. In His longsuffering and mercy, He desires more people to repent and be saved before He must carry out His righteous judgments. (2Pt 3:9-15) God wants to wake up the Church, and the Jewish people, to turn back to Jesus with genuine repentance and even tears, loving the truth of His death, His resurrection, and His coming again to reign and rule. (Zech 12:10-14; Rom 13:11-13; Rev 3:14-22)
“Turn to [Jesus], all the Earth, and be saved; for He is God, and there is no other!” (Is 45:22)
Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph 6:10-13)
Let us fight the good fight of faith until the end to show that we love God for the everlasting love He has shown us.