And bring us not into temptation
Yahshua closed his model prayer with the words of the Seventh Nazarene Principle,
Matthew 6:13 13 ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’
What an excellent phrase to follow the theme of forgiveness. Having recognized our own need for Yahweh’s forgiveness, demonstrated in our willingness to forgive others, we are in a better mood to think about the subject of temptation. Only if we desire to do Yahweh’s will and walk in the footsteps of the Nazarene are we concerned about temptation.
In Greek this phrase is more literally, ‘You should not bring us into temptation, but rescue us from the Wicked One.’ Translators either render ponerou as “evil” or “the Evil One.” The word is used to mean what is hurtful or ethically bad and malicious. It is used as a substitute for the word “evildoer” and is often associated with wicked men or evil spirits. Though it may refer to that which is morally or lawfully evil, it is also used to refer to Satan. (Matthew 13:38; 1 John 2:12, 14; 5:18, 19)
The Nazarene was fully aware of such an Evil or Wicked One called Satan the Devil, for he himself was tempted in the wilderness at the end of his forty-day retreat. So, Yahshua knew something of efforts to tempt him. The record of this is found in Matthew and Luke and a paraphrase of this portion would demonstrate that Satan is a real person and also the method he often uses. The accounts read:
Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 ‘Then Yahshua, full of holy spirit, was led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. And after fasting forty days and night he felt hungry. The Tempter approached him and said: “If you are a son of יהוה tell these stones to become bread.” Yahshua replied: “It is written: ‘Not by bread alone will man live but by every word coming forth from the Mouth of יהוה.’ ‘The Devil transported Yahshua into the Holy City and stationed him upon the battlement of the Temple and then said to him: “If you are a son of יהוה, hurl yourself down from here, for it has been written: ‘He will give his angels a charge about you and upon their hands they will carry you so you never strike your foot against a stone.’”* Yahshua said to him: “Again, it is written: ‘You shall not put יהוה your Elohim to the test.’” ‘Again, the Devil transported Yahshua to an unusually high mountain where the Devil showed Yahshua all the glory of the kingdoms of the Cosmos in a time-puncture and then said to Yahshua: “All of this authority and its glory I will give you, because it has been given me. If you will fall down and do an act of worship to me, it will all be yours.” Then Yahshua said to the Devil: “Go away, Satan, for it has been written: ‘It is יהוה your Elohim you shall worship and to Him alone shall you render service.’” Then, the Devil, having concluded the temptation, let Yahshua go until another time. And angels came to minister to Yahshua.’ *AGAINST A STONE. The Devil quotes precisely the LXX of Psalm 91:11, 12. Luke changes the order of the three temptations. *LORD. Again, in the ancient LXX יהוה was used as it is in the Hebrew Text. *TEST. This is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:16 (LXX). *SERVICE. The Nazarene quotes Deuteronomy 6:13 from the LXX and again יהוה occurs. So three times the Nazarene used the Divine Name or a surrogate against the Devil.
It ought to be clear from this record that Yahshua considered Satan the Devil a real person just as the account in Job chapters one and two. The designations “Satan” and “Devil” are used nearly 30 times in the Gospels. The word “Satan” occurs as a name 72 times and most often (17x) in Job. The designation “Devil” never occurs in the Old Covenant but does occur 42 times in the New Covenant. The Nazarene calls the Devil “Beelzebub.”[Compare Matthew 12:24,27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18, 19]. Additionally, the word “demon(s)” was used over 60 times. So, whether in the Master’s Prayer the Nazarene limited the idea of ponerou to that attribute of evil or to an invisible person whom he knew to be Satan, the thrust of his petition remains the same: “guard and protect or rescue us from whatever evil influence which may allure us into error.” [The wording in the Spanish version of the Master’s Prayer translates as “…and do not allow us to fall into temptation…”]
It is not that the Father will “lead” us into temptation, for James puts it,
James 1:13-15 ‘For יהוה cannot be tempted by evil nor does He ever tempt anyone with evil. But each one of us is tempted by our own desire, drawn out, baited and seduced by those inner passions. And then this heightened desire, having been conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin when fully consummated, gives birth to death.’
Our inner self is the hidden beast, the real enemy, sometimes stimulated by immoral influences. Paul promises,
1 Corinthians 10:13 ‘יהוה will never let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. And, along with the temptation, He will provide the means of escape.’ TEMPTATION. Compare the dangers in riches. (1 Timothy 6.9) Pride can be a danger. (Matthew 16:1)
Like Messiah, we are all temptable. Our prayer not to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand assumes we will make our best effort not to put ourselves in a position to be tempted. The Nazarene instructed his disciples the night of his agony in the garden,
Luke 22:40 ‘Keep praying that you do not enter into temptation.’
So, prayer is vital in resisting temptation and can never be under estimated. However, there are two other factors which can assist in this matter:
a) avoid situations, settings and circumstances which will make you a victim of temptation
b) be aware and on guard against the Tempter’s methods.
Regarding the first matter, it is obvious that if one is an alcoholic, or drug addict, and is struggling one day at a time with this temptation, it is necessary to avoid that environment which weakens resolve. If one is weak in any moral or ethical area, then it is best to fill the mind with upright, positive and virtuous thoughts, as well as flee (1 Timothy 6:10, 11) from those things which stimulate wrong desires. It is sometimes a simple matter of mentally saying, “No!” when wrong thoughts invade the Believer’s mind.
Note how Joseph flees from Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis 39:10-12) But, David does the opposite and compounds his desire with multiple sins of murder, lying and deceit with far-reaching complications. (2 Samuel 11:2, 3)
Paul tells the young man Timothy,
2 Timothy 2:22 ‘Take flight from youthful passions.’
In an exaggerated metaphor or hyperbole, the Nazarene warns,
Matthew 5:29, 30; Genesis 2:3-6 ‘Gouge out your eye that lusts if it makes you stumble. Cut off your hand if it stumbles you.’
Secondly, it is wise to “know your enemy,” Satan. Paul warns,
2 Corinthians 2:11 ‘So we are not over-reached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his methods.’
Ephesians 6:11 ‘Stand firm against the craftiness of the Devil.’
It is in the context of this warning that Paul outlines the proper armour to wear into battle against the Enemy. He writes,
Ephesians 6:12 [Smith and Goodspeed- 1925, Phillips Modern English- 1963] ‘Put on the armour of יהוה and so be able to hold your stance against the methods of the Devil. Because we wrestle, not against blood and flesh, but against governments and authorities, against the master-spirits of this dark world, against spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.’
ARMOUR OF YAHWEH
Paul continues to describe this “armour.” (Ephesians 6:10-18) We read these verses keeping in mind the Devil’s Key “Methods”:
Doubt (Matthew 14:31; 21:21; Mark 11:23)
Greed (Proverbs 20:21; Ephesians 4:19; 5:3)
Desire (Proverbs 6:25; Galatians 5:16, 17; Colossians 3:5; James 1:14, 15)
Pride (Proverbs 8:13; 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:6; 6:4; James 4:16)
Fear (Matthew 10:26, 28; Hebrews 2:15; 1 Peter 3:14; 1 John 4:18)
(1) THE BELT OF TRUTH (KNX)
The Wicked One flees from Truth as if his eyes cannot stand the illumination. We remember the Nazarene’s use of Truth when quoting the inspired Scriptures. Later he is to pray,
John 17:17 ‘Your Word is Truth.’
The Devil did not argue that these quotations were a false premise or ridicule them. He knew them to be the Truth and quotes them himself. However, the Devil “twists” these to his own use (2 Peter 3:16) just as false prophets are foretold to do later. (Ephesians 4:14; Luke 21:8)
As pointed out in John 17:17, the Nazarene understood the Truth to be Yahweh’s Word. This is in harmony with his statement to the Devil when he used Deuteronomy 8.3, To make you know that not by bread alone does man live but by every expression of Yahweh’s mouth does man live. These “expressions” are found in the inspired Scriptures, as Paul describes:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.
There is only one source of Truth and it is found in the Holy Scriptures.
In order to take advantage of this “belt of Truth” it seems clear the Nazarene Believer ought to become very familiar with the written Word of יהוה. He can do this by reading and hearing the Truth from the Scriptures. There is a danger, of course, because the Devil has his own instruments or agents. (John 8:44; 1 John 3:10; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15) For this reason, John cautions:
1 John 4:1 ‘Beloved, do not believe every “inspiration” but prove them whether they are from יהוה, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.’
Certain ones who did this were commended by the historian Luke, when he records Paul’s missionary work:
Acts 17:2, 3, 11 ‘Paul reasoned with (the Thessalonians), opening up thoroughly the Scriptures, that the Yahshua he preached was in fact the Messiah… (Now) the Bereans were of a nobler disposition than the Thessalonians for they receive the Word with a mental readiness, making a daily study of the Scriptures, to verify Paul’s interpretation.’
Only by such a study can the Nazarene Believer be on guard against false prophets and teachers who may present an erroneous doctrinal creed, a moral guide out of harmony with the Nazarene, and certain prophecies which may not originate with יהוה. Many ask where to begin or how to go about reading the Scriptures. Using Hebrews 1:1 as a guide,
Hebrews 1:1 ‘יהוה used to speak to our fathers by the prophets, but now He speaks to us by a Son,’
It seems wise to first become familiar with the words and teachings of the Nazarene. That is, the purpose of the Nazarene Principles.
Begin this study by reading “the red letters” or those words specifically of the Messiah. A large portion of these are found in Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7, 13, 16, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25; Mark chapters 4, 13; Luke chapters 6, 12-21; John chapters 3-17. While reading make a list of the Nazarene’s “commandments” (John 14:15; 15:12-14) and note certain “doctrine” (John 7:16, 17; Hebrews 6:1; 2 John 9,10 KJV) such as “kingdom,” “judgment,” and “coming.” A concordance can help study these words as a harmonious body.
By this study of the Truth the serious Believer can be protected from temptations and untruths and not become the victim of “false prophets.” (Matthew 24:5, 11, 24; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8; 1 John 2:26; 3:7) Group studies or discussions can incorporate the prayerful meditations of others as well as provide encouragement. Sharing what you learn with others will guide you in walking in the Lamb’s footprints. (1 Peter 2:21; Revelation 14:5) When speaking to others, imitate the Nazarene and do so with “mildness and respect” along with “graciousness.” (1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:6)
(2) BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The breastplate protects the heart and other vitals. The Nazarene Believer must walk righteously. When John the Baptist resisted the notion of baptizing the Messiah, Yahshua responded,
Matthew 3:15 ‘Let it be for in this way we may fulfil all that is righteous.’
Righteousness means obedience to law. The Hebrew tsedheq and tsedhaqah as well as the Greek dikaiosyne have the thought of “rectitude,” “uprightness,” indicating a standard or norm determining what is upright. “Righteousness” is frequently used in connection with a judge, or with judgment, giving the term a some what legal flavour.
No Nazarene Believer should ever succumb to the Satanic idea that righteousness is not important because a Believer “is saved by Grace not works.” John, the Beloved, makes it clear this is not true in the third chapter of First John. Read this chapter and ask yourself if righteousness is important. The word group (righteous[ness]) occurs 869 times in the Bible. The four books which emphasize it most are Psalms (155x), Proverbs (97x), Isaiah (82x), and most often in the New Covenant in Romans (63x). There can be no doubt that anyone who claims, “I have no sin,” is a liar. This is the judgment of John. (1 John 1:6, 8)
Since righteousness is related to observing law or commandments then those “commandments” of the Nazarene ought to be right at the top of the list of anyone striving to please יהוה. (John 14:15, 21; 15:10, 12; 1 John 2:3, 4, 7, 8; 3:22-24; 4:21; 5:2, 3; 2 John 4-6) These “commandments” for the “righteous” have one major theme: love (John 13:34).
1 John 5:3 “...his commandments are not burdensome.”
With this Paul agrees,
Galatians 5:1,13, 14, 16 ‘Because of her freedom Messiah liberated us; so stand firm and do not become yoked again as slaves (to the Law of Moses) … You have nullified Messiah if you seek to be righteous by (the Law of Moses). You have fallen from Grace. Your calling liberated you… Do not use this liberty as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but by love serve one another. For the whole body of the (Mosaic) Law stands fulfilled and complete in one precept: "You must love your neighbor as yourself." But, I tell you, conduct yourselves spiritually then you will never satisfy fleshly passion.’
Paul then goes on to list fifteen characteristics of the flesh’s fruitage:
GOOD AND BAD FRUITAGE
The Greek is porneia, B. F. Westcott, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians (1906, p. 76) says:
This is a general term for all unlawful intercourse,
(I) adultery: Hosea 2:24; Matthew 5: 32; 19: 9
(2) unlawful marriage: 1 Corinthians 5:1
(3) fornication: Ephesians 5:3
Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (revised by F. W. Gingrich and F. Danker, 1979, p. 693) defines por·nei’a as
“prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.”
The word “fornication occurs about 75 times in the Scriptures. It occurs most often in Hosea (17x),
1 Corinthians (11x), and Revelation (11x).
(Compare Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
“Filthiness; depravity; lewdness.” Greek- akatharsia; See Ezekiel 22:15.
Compare Romans 1:24; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19; 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 4:7
“Licentiousness; wantonness; shameless conduct.” Greek- aselgeia; See Proverbs 10:23.
Compare Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3; 2 Peter 2:2, 7; Jude 4.
The word occurs most often in Ezekiel (14x)
The word occurs most often in Ezekiel (41x). 1 Corinthians 10:14; Colossians 3:5; 1 John 5:21. See a concordance on “images.”
Spiritism, witchcraft. The Greek word for “spiritism” is pharmakia. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1981, Vol. 4, pp. 51, 52) says of the word:
“(Eng., pharmacy etc.) primarily signified the use of medicine, drugs, spells; then, poisoning; then, sorcery, Galatians. 5:20, R.V.,‘sorcery’ (A.V., ‘witchcraft’), mentioned as one of ‘’the works of the flesh.’
See also Revelaion 9:21; 18:23. In the Septuagint, Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18; Isa. 47:9, 12.
Compare Proverbs 10:12, 18; 14:20; 15:17; 26:26.
Variance, contentious temper. It is sometimes associated with quarrelling or jealousy. (Jeremiah 15:10; Habbakuk 1:3; Romans 1:29; 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Timothy 6:4; Titus 3:9) Some mss add: moikheia (adultery); phonoi (murder). See Majority Text.
Compare Matthew 5:21-30.
The Hebrew noun qinah and Greek zelos mean “insistence on exclusive devotion; toleration of no rivalry; zeal; ardor; jealousy [righteous or sinful]; envying.”
Compare Proverbs 6:34; 14:30; 27:4; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; James 3:14, 16.
The word occurs about 266x with the first at Ge 4.5 in the case of Cain.
Compare 2 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8.
Intrigues, selfish ambition.
Sarah’s original name Sarai meant “Contentious.”
Compare Proverbs 15:18; 16:28; 17:14; 22:10; 26:20; 28:25; 29:22.
Compare Romans 16:.17; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 11:18.
Sects, sectarian parties, party intrigues.
Compare 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Peter 2:1
Compare Matthew 27:18; Romans 1:29; Philippians 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:4; Titus 3:3.
The first case is Noah. (Genesis 9:21)
Compare Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:20-35; 31:4-7; Matthew 11:19; Romans 14:21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Timothy 3:8; 5:23; Titus 2:3; 1 Peter 4:3
Compare Romans 13:13; 1 Peter 4:3
AND THING LIKE THESE
For example gluttony. (Luke 21:3, Proverbs 28:7, Titus 1:12, 13
Paul next lists
THE NINE SPIRITUAL FRUITS
Of the noun agape and the verb agapao, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says:
“Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, I John 4:9, 10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Romans 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, cp. Deuteronomy 7:7, 8.”
-1981, Vol. 3, p. 21.
The word “love” occurs over 400 times.
Compare 1 Corinthians 13:5-8; Philippians 2:1-3.
The English comes from the Latin for “smooth” meaning an unfurrowed brow or forehead. “Happy” is derived from the market place. The two may be compared with the momentary elation of finding a good buy as opposed to the gladness of being able to go to the market. The word group occurs about 250 times and is first associated with worship. (Deuteronomy 28:47)
Compare Romans 14:17; 15:13; Philippians 2:29; 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
The first occurrence of “peace” is Genesis 15:15 with regard to the grave. The word occurs over 300 times.
Compare Proverbs 3:2, 17; 12:20; Matthew 5:9; John 14:27; 16:33; 20:19, 21; Philippians 4:7, 9; Colossians 3:15.
Compare 1 Corinthans 13:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11; 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Timothy 3:10; 4:2.
Gentleness, goodwill, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care.
Compare Matthew 5:7; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 2 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:32.
Benevolence, virtue, virtuousness, , righteousness, morality
Compare Proverbs 11:10; Matthew 5:8; Romans 15:14; Ephesians 5:9; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:8.
The first occurrence is Genesis 15:6 with regard to Abraham. The word group occurs over 500 times, mainly in the NT, with most in Romans (60 x). The Greek pistis is either the Latin bias “faith” or the OE bias “belief” or “trust.”
Paul defines it at Hebrews 11:1, 6. The importance is stressed by Yahshua (John 3:16, 35) and Paul (Romans 5:1, 2; 14:23; Ephesians 2:8)
Meekness, mildness, tolerance.
Compare Proverbs 3:34; 16:19; Matthew 5:5; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 6:11; Titus 3:2; James 3:13
Compare 1 Corinthians 7:9; 9:25; 2 Timothy 3:3; 2 Peter 1:6.
Many Friends of the Nazarene make these a special study in their search for righteousness. By this absorption of “spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:13) the “heart” of the Believer experiences that promise of the New Covenant:
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12; Romans 2:14, 15 ‘Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall make a new covenant with (Israel) … but not like the covenant I made with their ancestors (at Sinai), a covenant they broke… No, this is the covenant I shall make with (Israel) when those days come, Yahweh declares. I shall plant my Law inside them, writing it on their hearts. Then I shall be their God and they will be my People.’
Thus, this “law” is not that written on “stones” but one inscribed on the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:7-17) There is an inner “seed” which produces a bent toward righteousness and habitual sins ceases.
(1 John 3:9)
Dressed in the Breastplate of righteousness there is less room for the Wicked One in a pure and clean environment. Satan hates the light of righteousness preferring a dark atmosphere to do his work.
(3) FEET EQUIPPED WITH THE GOSPEL
Various renderings are:
“in readiness to publish the gospel” [R A Knox New Testament Translation- 1943]
“put on your feet the preparation the good news of peace supplies” [C B Wiliams Translation- 1937]
“with the readiness to serve the Good News”[20th Century New Testament- 1898]
“shod as ready messengers”[Confraternity Catholic- 1952]
Our feet carry us on our path in life: to work, to school, to market, to friends, and home. When leaving the home most often we put on our shoes or sandals. So, Paul encourages us to carry the Gospel wherever we go. The spirit of this is echoed in the Apocalypse
Revelation 14:5 ‘They follow the Lamb no matter where he goes.’
Or, Peter’s encouragement
1 Peter 2:21 ‘Messiah left you an example to follow in his footsteps.’
Where the Nazarene walked, the Friends of the Nazarene follow. Clearly, many of the thousands of miles Yahshua walked involved his preaching of the Kingdom gospel. His Apostles followed him. Later the Seventy followed him. The Gospels record this activity:
Matthew 9:35-38 ‘And Yahshua made a tour, traveling into the cities and villages preaching the good news of the Kingdom… And the Twelve were with him… By the sight of the crowd Yahshua was deeply moved with pity because they were distressed and thrown down, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he spoke to his disciples: “Indeed, the Harvest is great but the workers few. So, beg the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into His harvest.”’
Shortly after this observation by the Nazarene the group of Twelve was formed. (Matthew 10:1-11.1; Mark 3:14-16; Luke 8:1; 9:1-6) This chapter outlines the “instructions” of Yahshua to his Apostles. He tells them specifically the theme of their message:
Matthew 10:7 ‘The Kingdom of heaven has drawn near.’
A modern Nazarene Believer may do well in reading these “instructions,” not that they directly apply to each Christian, but to gain some insight into the methods of the Nazarene. To what extent all of these “instructions” apply, successive generations of disciples are left for each one to determine.
Next, the Nazarene sent out Seventy disciples in groups of twos. He gave them similar instruction. However, he cautioned them,
Luke 10:7 ‘Do not go from house to house.’
This sounds similar to what some translations record the Apostles actually doing later in Acts 5:42 and Acts 20:20, “from house to house.” Is there a contradiction? The Greek phrase in Luke 10:7 is, ex oikias eis oikian, or literally “from house into house.” The Greek in Acts is kat oikon, or “according to house.” The later is more like, “in private homes.” It is more likely the Apostles and later disciples obeyed the Nazarene’s “instructions” not to go “from house to house.” However, they did preach in private homes as well as in a variety of public places.
What responsibility falls on each Nazarene Believers as disciples of Yahshua the Messiah? Often certain texts are expanded from their original meaning to be applied to modern Believers. For example, Matthew 28:19, ‘Go your way and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe everything I commanded you.’ That this applies specifically to the Apostles is shown by Acts 1:2, ‘Until that day, having giving a commandment to the Apostles he chose, he was received up.’ This would seem to limit the application of Matthew 28:19 to the Apostles. However, we note that these Apostles were to “teach all nations to observe my commandments.” Thus, whatever Yahshua taught might have a fine application to new disciples in all nations of the earth.
When the heart swells up with an exciting idea it cannot but be enthusiastic about it, with the result of telling others. This is reflected by what Paul says
2 Corinthians 4:13, ‘But, having the same spirit of the Faith of which it was written: “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE, I SPOKE.” (Psalm 116:10) We also believe, and therefore, we speak.’
How could one not “speak” about what is dearest to the heart? A “public confession” is what comes from the heart’s conviction:
Romans 10:9, 10 [C B Wiliams Translation 1937; Phillips Modern English 1963] ‘For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. For in their hearts people exercise the faith that leads to a right standing with God; and it is stating his belief by his own mouth that confirms this salvation.’
How does the Nazarene Believer go about this? The natural thing is to do what is called “networking”; that is, begin with those closest in the family, among relatives and friends. (John 1:40, 41, 45) Then work-mates and fellow school students. Paul preached wherever people gathered: schools, markets, synagogues, and in private homes. A reading of the Book of Acts will reveal the various methods used by history’s greatest missionary. In the Electronic Age there are other avenues: radio, television, and the computer Internet. The Nazarene Saint is free to “speak” in any manner which shows due regard for the spirit of Colossians 4:5, 6 and 1 Peter 3:15. This is how the “shod feet” of the Nazarene Saint are “equipped” with the “gospel of peace.” Thus, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those declaring the good news.’ (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7)
The Nazarene assured his disciples,
Matthew 18:20 ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them.’
From this we can draw encouragement that if we meet with only one or two others, we have the support of Yahshua the Messiah. It is usually not too hard to find one or two others who would enjoy a weekly Bible reading and discussion. From this may grow a group of ten or twenty, meeting regularly in homes to read and study the words of Yahshua the Messiah. The first goal ought to be to learn and understand a reasonable portion of Yahshua’s teachings and from these the “elementary doctrine” found in his disciples’ writings. (Hebrews 1:1; 6:1)
Following in the footsteps of the Lamb is a daily process. In Matthew 16 we find these words:
Matthew 16:24-25 ‘Then Yahshua said to his disciples: “If anyone wishes to walk in my footsteps, let him *deny himself, take up his own cross and keep on following me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost but if a man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self.’ renounce self- [20th Century New Testament , “leave self behind” [New English Bible 1961], “he must disregard himself” [Smith and Goodspeed , “he must say ‘No’ to self” [C B Wiliams A Translation 1937] Compare Philippians 2:7
Walking with “feet shod with the good news” will not always be easy. There will be some difficult times. There will be periods of the greatest joy.
(4) THE GREAT SHIELD OF FAITH
One of the Devil’s greatest tools is doubt. He is powerless in the face of strong conviction for he no longer understands it. Paul describes the large Roman shield which covered the whole body. It was constructed in such a way the soldier could lay under it when scores of flaming arrows arched toward him. Note Paul’s description:
Ephesians 6:16 [20th Century New Testament- 1898] ‘for with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming darts of the Evil One.’
The Wicked One, Satan, will not hesitate to shower a barrage of flaming arrows in the form of doubts. These may take the form described by Paul:
Ephesians 4:14 ‘Then we shall no longer be like infants, nor resemble mariners tossed on the waves and carried about with every changing wind of doctrine, through the trickery and the craftiness of men, experts in the craft of the presentation of lies.’
Colossians 2:8 ‘Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. He may set forth some human tradition, or some theory about the nature of the universe, but not the teachings of Christ.’
One of the best ways to strengthen faith is through study of the Scriptures, for the more one learns about it, the more it rings of truth as God-breathed Scripture. (2 Timothy 3:15-17) The Scriptures are unique in that they never begin an account, “once upon a time in a land for away.” No, they provides locations and often contemporary rulers in order to prove the chronology. (Luke 3:1-4) It is a historical record which depends on its accuracy of ancient events in its presentation. Those matters which touch on science prove to be uncannily accurate. Archaeology confirms much of what the Scriptures describe. There are numerous books and writings on these subjects.
A final matter on “faith.” The Nazarene spent three and a half years teaching and healing among “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Thousands observed his miracles: healing, expelling demons, feeding multitudes, and raising the dead. After full three years, there were only 120 gathered in Jerusalem at Pentecost. Paul states that Yahshua appeared to about 500 disciples after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6), so there were substantial eye-witnesses that a man had been raised from the dead. Specifically that Yahshua the Messiah had been raised from the dead, a man crowds had seen hung on the execution stake.
Though only 120 were gathered in response to the Nazarene’s command, within a few days thousands of visiting men from all nations were baptized as new disciples of the Nazarene. Most of these had never seen Yahshua’s miracles, but they reacted to the eye-witness reports of others. This was enormous proof, convincing testimonial evidence, that Yahshua the Messiah had been raised from the dead and thereafter ascended to heaven in fulfillment of Daniel 7:13. This sudden and astounding growth found its source in this Gospel, the resurrection of Messiah, and not the healings and miracles of Yahshua or his Apostles. This was indeed Faith. And, this Faith swept the Roman Empire and then the world, all based on the original eyewitnesses. (Luke 1:2; Acts 1:8; 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39, 41; 1 Timothy 2:2)
Regarding this faith which would result from the testimony of these eyewitnesses, it is written about the glorified Nazarene:
John 20:24-29 24 But T’oma, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when יהושע came, 25 so the other taught ones said to him, “We have seen the Master.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and put my finger into the imprint of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I shall by no means believe.” 26 And after eight days His taught ones were again inside, and T’oma with them. יהושע came, the doors having been shut, and He stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to T’oma, “Bring your finger here, and see My hands. And bring your hand and put it into My side – and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And T’oma answered and said to Him, “My Master and my Elohim!”1 Footnote: 1See Heb. 1:8-9. 29 יהושע said to him, “T’oma, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
We are among those millions throughout the last nineteen centuries who have come to believe because of the eyewitness report of these men. The Nazarene prayed regarding this group of millions, if not billions, ‘I make this prayerful request, not for the Apostles only, but also regarding those who believe in me by their word.’ (John 17:20) This belief or faith is like a great shield which protects us against the temptations from the Evil One.
(5) THE HELMET OF SALVATION
At 1 Thessalonians 5:8 Paul uses a similar phrase, but adds a word: ‘as a helmet the hope of salvation.’ The head, and thus the mind, is where hope resides. When one looses hope then all life begins to fail. For the Nazarene Believer there is only “one hope”. (Ephesians 4:4) This is the “heavenly calling.” (Hebrews 3:1) To the Believerthere is only one kind of “salvation.” One belonging to heaven. The word “salvation” may occur over 250 times in the Bible with the word group “save(d)” another 500.The first occurrence is in the context of a prophecy at Genesis 49:18. The Psalms contain the theme most with 80 occurrences. (Isaiah 30x) The Nazarene only used the word “salvation” twice: regarding the house of little Zacchaeus (Luke 19:9) and to the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4:22)
Yahshua the Messiah is the agent or captain of salvation. (Acts 5:37; Hebrews 2:10) His name means: “Yahweh is Salvation.” Peter declares regarding his Master:
Acts 4:12 ‘And Salvation comes through no one else, for there is no other Name in the whole world, given to men, by which we must look for our Salvation.’
The power in this “name” is seen in the Book of Acts where the “name” of Yahshua the Nazarene is the center of focus over four dozen times. Just the name “Yahshua” occurs 732 times in the Nazarene Scriptures (New Covenant) making it the premier “name” in the Scriptures’ last 29 books.
What is required to gain this salvation? First, note there is a difference between being “saved” and “salvation.” In order to be “saved” or enter the Realm of Profession (the Son’s Kingdom) faith or belief is the main criteria. This is shown throughout Paul’s epistles. However, note this experience recorded in the Book of Acts :
Acts 16:25-33 25 And at midnight Sha’ul and Sila were praying and singing songs to Elohim, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 And suddenly a great earthquake took place, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened and all the chains came loose. 27 And the jailer, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, thinking the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Sha’ul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do no harm to yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And asking for a light, he ran in, and fell down trembling before Sha’ul and Sila. 30 And having led them outside he said, “Masters, what do I have to do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe on the Master יהושע Messiah, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the Word of יהוה to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And taking them in that hour of the night, he washed their wounds, and immediately he was immersed, he and all that were his.
We note Paul’s answer is… “Believe on the Master Yahshua.” Two things followed this “belief”: the Roman jailer’s family were instructed within a few hours in “the word of the Master” which must have acquainted them with “the word of salvation” (Act 13:26, 47) and the primary teachings of the Nazarene. Possibly this instruction included, ‘talk about righteousness and self-control and the judgment to come.’ (Acts 24:25) Or, something similar to Paul’s speech to the Greeks. (Acts 17:22-31) And, then, baptism. This put the family on the road to salvation though they could have been called “saved”. (Acts 2:40, 47; Romans 8:24; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 15:2; 2 Corinthians 2:15; Ephesians 2:5, 8; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5)
However, “salvation” is a future experience. This is shown in a half dozen texts. (Romans 13:11; Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 7:10; 12:10; 19:1) Peter, for one, shows this when he writes:
1 Peter 1:4, 5 ‘Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for by His great mercy he gave us a New Birth* by a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead into an incorruptible, undefiled, unfading inheritance**, reserved for you in the heavenly realms, you who are safeguarded by God’s power through faith in a salvation ready to be revealed*** in the Last Time****.’ *NEW BIRTH- Compare John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:23. The Greek here is anagennesas and is rendered: begotten again, born anew, new life. **INHERITANCE- Note Matthew 25:34 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-52. ***REVEALED-The Greek is apocalyphthenai and is rendered: unveiled, disclosed. Compare Luke 17:30 and Romans 8:19 ****LAST TIME. Or, “last appointed time.” The Greek is kairo eskhato. This is similar to the kairos of the Nazarene at Mark 13.33. It is that kairous the Apostles cannot know; and, the kairos false prophets will predict and who disciples should not follow. (Luke 21:8)
This “salvation” follows the Return of Messiah. (Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 7:10; Matthew 24:31)
This hope of future salvation will realize its fulfillment at that moment of the Parousia when the dead hear the Voice (John 5.28, 29) and the living hear the “commanding call.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) The Believers who are dead will experience no passage of time while they rest in unconscious sleep and in that future moment the first sensation they will have is hearing his “voice.” The living will undergo that foretold experience following the celestial darkness and Appearing of the Son of Man: they will hear, “Come on up here!” and then they will ascend, even as their Master did, toward a celestial gathering. What a glorious hope! This hope has sustained the whole body of Believers throughout centuries. (1 Thessalonians 4:18) Truly, it is a “helmet of salvation.”
What matters are necessary to make this “saved” state permanent? Scripture lists several:
1) It requires “work” (Philippians 2:12)
2) Familiarity of Scripture is involved (2 Timothy 3:15)
3) Obedience to the King by observing his commandments. (Hebrews 5:9; John 3:16, 21, 36)
Those who do will experience that ultimate “salvation” when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:30, 34-37) They will then join that celestial chorus which sings: ‘Deliverance belongs to our Elohim who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ (Revelation 7:10)
(6) THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
Paul continues listing the parts to “the complete suit of armor”:
Ephesians 6:17 [The Scriptures] 17 Take also the helmet of deliverance, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim,’
Paul compares “the word of Elohim” to a sword
Hebrews 4:12 [The Scriptures] 12 For the Word of Elohim is living, and working, and sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through even to the dividing of being and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Elsewhere, Paul speaks of ‘weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.’ (Or, “for offense and defense.” (2 Corinthians 6:7 NW) This “sword” may be used defensively or offensively in defending the Faith after the manner of 1 Peter 3:15.
However, in the matter of temptation and protection from the Wicked One, the “sword of the spirit” is most useful in reaching the inner recesses of our mind and heart, “soul and spirit.” What our thoughts and motives are we can learn from a study of the spirit’s “sword” This becomes a matter of humble willingness to disregard self-centered motives and justification of our opinions regarding ourselves and others. By daily meditation on Scripture, particularly the words of the Nazarene (Hebrews 1:1), we can search the depths of our “soul” and “spirit.” We can identify our inclinations and motives which might be out of harmony with Yahweh’s will. (John 3:19-21)
It is unfortunate so few “Believers” are only mildly acquainted with the Bible, most unable to find even simple Scriptural truths. This is so even among some of the more vocal “Christian” groups and organizations who, though encouraging: “Read the Bible, God’s Word, daily,” are ill equipped to actually “defend” their “hope.” (1 Peter 3:15) Therefore, the Nazarene Saint must make Scripture a daily friend which is read, meditated on, memorized, shared with others, and used respectfully in the defense of the Nazarene Principles.
Ephesians 6:18 [The Scriptures] 18 praying at all times, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watching in all perseverance and supplication for all the set-apart ones
Paul lists prayer as part of the “armour.” It is true it is vitally important for a soldier to remain in contact or communication with his commander. Prayer is the way the Nazarene Believer battles temptation. Yahshua the Messiah is an example of this.
We have an example of this in the Garden of Agony
Luke 22:40-46 [The Scriptures] 40 And coming to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you do not enter into trial.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and falling on His knees He was praying, 42 saying, “Father, if it be Your counsel, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My desire, but let Yours be done.” 43 And there appeared a messenger from heaven to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He was praying more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And rising up from prayer, and coming to His taught ones, He found them sleeping from grief. 46 And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into trial.”
Two times the Nazarene encourages his disciples to pray so they do not become tempted. Possibly he has in mind the coming “night in which no man can work” during his suffering and death. The temptation to scatter, as all the apostles did; or compromise, as Peter did, is on the Master’s mind. Three times he counseled them to pray. They all “scattered” and at least one denied his Master. Did they fail to pray? (Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27; John 16:32)
The Nazarene’s example in the Master’s Prayer, as well as Paul’s, is to pray for others. Such prayers for others make it difficult to become judgmental and critical. Yahshua encouraged praying for enemies. This action has a profound influence on attitudes toward others, even those who hate. Hate is a breeding ground for Satan. The Wicked One cannot invade that home where Elohim’s resides. Do not give up in prayer not to be tempted.
Two things defeat the Wicked One: prayer and meditation on spiritual words which cause us to draw close to God. (James 4:7, 8) We have the promise,
1 John 5:18-20 18 We know that everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin,1 but the one having been born of Elohim guards himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.2 Footnotes: 1See 3:6-9. 2See 4:4. 19 We know that we are of Elohim, and all the world lies in the wicked one. 20 And we know that the Son of Elohim has come and has given us an understanding, so that we might know the true One. And we are in the true One, in His Son יהושע Messiah. This is the true Elohim and everlasting life.
Doubt is created by ignorance. Faith is made strong by study and experience. Greed is created by a selfish longing for more. Contentment is brought about by spirituality and learning to lead a simple life. Pride is created by natural beauty, ability, intelligence, social standing and riches. Humility triumphs where modesty resides in a deep relationship with Messiah and his Father. Fear is created when one honours the glory of men above the glory of Elohim. Fear is defeated in the triumph of faith in Elohim’s promises. Where fear of Elohim exists, fear of man and what he can do vanishes even in the face of the worse threats.
Though temptations abound in this modern world under the control of the Wicked One it is not hopeless as long as these final words of the Seventh Principle are kept close to the heart:
Matthew 6:13 ‘Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’
You can be victorious in your faith because of the Seven Nazarene Principles:
Your relationship with the Father
Your effort to sanctify the Name of Elohim
Your place in the Kingdom
Your part in fulfilling the Divine Will for the Earth
Your satisfaction with Daily Bread
Your forgiveness of your Neighbour
Your prayers to be rescued from the Wicked One
Mark Herber Miller, Nazarene Commentary 2000© (Used by permission from Shawn Miller)
|God||was changed to||Most High, Elohim or יהוה|
|Jesus||was changed to||Yahshua|
|Christ||was changed to||Messiah|
|Bible||was changed to||Scripture|
|Christian||was changed to||Believer|