Month 1:19, Week 3:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year:Day 5941:19 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 15 April 2017
Chag haMatzah 2017
V. Consistency and Confession
Continued from Part 5
Today is the fifth day of the seven days of Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread). Scripture does not tell us what the ancients did to mark each of these seven days other than to observe two sabbaths on the first and last of these days and to observe Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits) on the second day.
Last night I was in so much pain that I was unable to lie down and so I thought to myself: if tomorrow were my very last opportunity to witness, for whatever reason, what would my last message to you all be? It was hard typing and it was hard to stay awake because I was so exhausted, but here noneless are some words that I would be content to make my last.
Learning to Be Consistently Righteous
We know that these seven days of Chag haMatzah are a depiction of the complete lifespan of a man and that therefore these days are given to us to remind us of the need to get the chametz or leaven of sin out of lives every day until, finally, we learn to be consistently righteous in our behaviour and lifestyle.
Being of Sound Character
To be consistent is to live in harmony with character, and specifially, with the that character of holiness (set-apartness) which is a life in Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus). To be consistent there must be a uniformity and trustworthiness about our actions and beliefs. Consistency has sequential faithfulness - what we do today must be in harmony with what we will do tomorrow. You can anticipate the actions of a consistent person because a consistent person's actions tomorrow may be anticipated by his actions today and yesterday. In the realm of morality and ethics, they are predictable and therefore reliable.
Pleasing to Yahweh, Helpful to Others
Our challenge as believers is to be consistently faithful - to live with consistent behaviour that is both pleasing to Yahweh and helpful to others. Scripture calls us to be consistent in our obedience to Elohim (God), our ahavah (love) and faithfulness toward others, and our discipline of maturing in the emunah (faith). Therefore consistency in the Christian life is closely tied to the discipline of developing an unwavering godly character.
You may be absolutely certain that Satan will rise up in your life to try and trip you up and prevent you from doing this. If there is one thing that is consistent about the Adversary is that he will attempt to cause you to be inconsistent. He will seek to trip you up and cause you to sin, and he will do so by any and all means. He will also home in on, and exploit, those areas where you are the weakest. That is virtually guaranteed.
The Faithful One Justifies the Confessor
The good news is we don't have to make this struggle for consistent purity something that occupies our every waking hour. There is no need to be so morbidly consumed in surgically removing a sin that we have no time to celebrate and enjoy Yahweh's goodness. Like scooping out a fly that has flown into our bowl of soup, we don't need to make a whole military operation out of it. Rather, as it is written:
Owning Up to the Problem
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, NIV).
Confession is, first of all, acknowledgement that there's a problem - and issue - with obedience and faithfulness. It's being honest with yourself and with Elohim (God). It is an admission of guilt or culpability. Confession takes the lid off, opens the window, opens the door, to reveal what is within - which is either sin or emunah (faith).
When we acknowledge the ugliness of sin, it is embarrassing and sometimes painful to take the lid off. Ironically - and perhaps you'll find this surprising - many find it almost equally embarrassing to reveal their deep-seated emunah (faith). The embarrassing part is letting others see deep into our lives. Maybe it is a reluctance to reveal something personal, whether good or bad.
But confession is a necessary part of knowing Elohim (God) and being freed from sin. It is also a necessary part of knowing others and having others know us. Thus it is written:
"Now make confession to Yahweh, the Elohim (God) of your fathers, and do His will" (Ezra 10:11, NIV).
Our first line of confession is always to Yahweh for He alone can forgive sin. However, we are also to confess our sins to one another:
Sickness and Sin
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" (Jas.5:16, NIV).
It can be healing to confess sin to one another, especially if the others are committed to praying for you, encouraging you, and supporting you as you seek restoration. It is also important to confess sin to those whom we have wronged. The connection between sickness and sin is important to understand too:
The Desire for Forgiveness
"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the local assembly (church) to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Master [Yah'shua/Jesus]. And the prayer offered in emunah (faith) will make the sick person well; the Master will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:14-16, NIV).
Also, as we saw earlier in 1 John 1:9, confession indicates our desire to have our sins forgiven. If we have no desire to have our sins forgiven, Yahweh will not forgive them. We have the testimony of David in this regard:
Making a Path for Yahweh
"Finally, I confessed all my sins to You and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to Yahweh'. And You forgave me. All my guilt is gone" (Ps.32:5, NLT).
Understanding that confession paves the way for Elohim (God) to work in us is very important. As it is written:
Wiping the Slate Clean
"People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy" (Prov.28:13, NLT).
So we see how confession wipes the slate clean so that we can be reconciled to Elohim (God) and have another chance to live for Him.
Asking Another to Confess
It is also appropriate to ask a person to confess his or her sin if that sin was directed against you:
Acknowledging Yah'shua as Master
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the congregation (church); and if he refuses to listen even to the congregation (church), treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector" (Matt.18:15-17, NIV).
Confession also includes godly acknowledgment of Yah'shua (Jesus) as Master (Lord) and publicly claiming allegiance to Him. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
"Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven" (Matt.10:32-33, NIV).
All Will Confess One Day But Not All Will Be Saved
"Praise Yahweh! I will thank Yahweh with all my heart as I meet with His godly people" (Ps.111:1, NLT).
Ultimately everyone will confess Yah'shua (Jesus) as Master but some day it will be too late to receive His forgiveness:
Don't Delay Your Confession of Faith
"Therefore Elohim (God) exalted [Yah'shua/Jesus] to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yah'shua (Jesus) every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yah'shuan the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is Master, to the glory of Elohim (God) the Father" (Phil.2:9-11, NIV).
"If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (Rev.20:15, NIV).
Some day every person will bow and confess that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is Master (Lord). But what sadness to make this confession only when we have finally recognised the inescapable fact that Yah'shua (Jesus) really is Master...and we have never accepted Him as such. So please don't delay your confession and receive your salvation for you do not know whether tomorrow you will be alive or not. And when you have died, it will be too late to choose Him.
Paul's and John's Admonition
The apostle Paul said::
and the apostle John said:
"If you confess that Yah'shua (Jesus) is Master (Lord) you will have eternal chayim (life)" (Rom.10:9, NLT)
"If you confess your sins Elohim (God) will forgive you" (1 Jn.1:9, NLT).
This, then, is my witness to this congregation and to all who may read this on this the fifh day of Chag haMatzah in the fateful year of 2016. And my personal admonition, which is that of Hosea, is like it:
"Come, let us return to Yahweh; for it is He who has torn, and He will heal us; He has struck down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; and on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know, let is press on to know Yahweh; His appearing is as sure as the dawn; He will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth" (Hos.6:1-3, NRSV).
Continued in Part 7