How to be an overcomer

5 February 2020

Series: Shabbat sermons

How to be an overcomer

Do you tend to worry a lot? Have you ever wondered why you, as a Christian, justified by faith in Christ, seem to have no victory over fear and stress? The Bible has an answer for this, and as we are going to see today, it all has to do with your justification and righteousness. 

How did you become a Christian? 

If you are a mainstream protestant Christian, you believed Jesus died for your sins, and your faith in what He did for you justifies you and makes you righteous in the sight of God. You would also hold to the belief that from now on, you are under grace and not law. Being under grace and not law affects how you read and understand the Bible but also how you live your life as a Christian. 

You know, by now, a Christian is not exempt from the many challenges of life. Becoming a child of God is not a cure-all, fix every problem in your life repellent against everything that would give you good reason to worry. You will still have good reason to worry, and there will always be challenges you will face. 

How do you handle life as a Christian when everything goes wrong?

The short answer, you pray and ask for help believing your faith in the cross is going to help you and guarantee an answer to that prayer. Just because you believe Jesus died for your sins, you are convinced God will help you there and then. Why should He help you and answer your prayer? What have you done that makes Him listen to your prayer? 

How you answer the two last questions will show you who you follow. Do you, as a protestant Christian, follow and obey Martin Luther, or do you follow and obey Yehovah, the God of the Bible? 

Martin Luther was the German Catholic monk who “rediscovered” the doctrine of justification by faith. The doctrine of justification by faith says we can not offer anything to God because we are sinners. So God, in His love for us, gives us His Son Jesus to die for our sins. All we have to do is to believe in what Jesus did for us, and we will be justified and have the imputed righteousness of Christ. 

When Luther read his Bible, he saw what he believed was the scriptural foundation for this doctrine in Rom 1:17. The books of Hebrews Jude, Jakob, and Revelation did not agree with his justification by faith doctrine, so he tried to have them removed from the Bible. As a compromise, seeing how his followers did not agree, they were instead put into an appendix in the Bible. 

Martin Luther was an antisemite who hated the Jews. In his mind, the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, so the Bible had to be cleansed of everything that was to Jewish. His hatred for the Jews formed the way he viewed the Old Testament. In his mind, the Old Testament was not relevant for a New Testament Christian, so when reading Rom 1:17, he ignored the fact that Paul was quoting Hab 2:4 and Ezekiel 18:9

If we want to understand Rom 1:17, we have to understand Hab 2:4 and Ezekiel 18:9. In these two verses in the Old Testament, it clearly shows us how faith has to visible in how we live our lives. So what Paul was saying in Rom 1:17 is this, those who have faith in Jesus will show they have faith by obeying Moses. Obeying Moses makes them righteous, and they will live. 

The question then gives itself, are you justified by faith, according to Martin Luther, or according to the Bible? Only justification, according to the Bible, saves you and makes you righteous in the eyes of God. 

Why should God help you and answer your prayers? What have you done that makes Him listen to what you have to say?

Martin Luther would have answered these two question with faith; passive faith in the cross is the key to answered prayer. The Bible gives us a different answer; faith in the cross shown in obedience to Moses is the key to answered prayer. The question then presents itself, who do you follow? Do you follow Martin Luther, or do you follow Yehovah, the God of the Bible?

Most Christians would say they follow Yehovah, the God of the Bible, when in fact, they follow Martin Luther. This affects how they live their lives here on earth and determines if they will ever have victory over stress and fear. 

Matthew 5 is best known as the Sermon on the Mount and the beatitudes. In the Sermon on the Mount, Yehoshua (Jesus/Yeshua) shows us Yehovahs standard for righteous living. He reminds us that if we hate someone, Yehovah sees it as if we have murdered. If we consider adultery in our minds but never go through with it, Yehovah sees it as if we have committed adultery. He shows us how Yehovah forbids divorce and remarriage, but allows us to break an engagement but only if our fiancee has been unfaithful to us. Then he goes on to say we have to love our enemies, make sure we dont do what Ananias and Saphira did later on in the book of Acts, and be fair to those we hurt. 

Because most Christian pastors and preachers follow Martin Luther, and not Yehovah, you will hear them say things like “in the sermon on the mount Jesus showed us God’s impossible standard for righteousness and why we need to have faith in Him.” Or they will say things like “Jesus never meant for us to obey the sermon on the mount, that is impossible for us to do, he only showed us why we need Him and His righteousness.”

If you are a follower of Yehovah, you will see how the Sermon on the Mount is a repeat of the Torah (the Torah is the written law of Moses). In the Sermon, Yehoshua is repeating Torah telling His listeners and readers this is what Moses wrote, and this is what you are to obey. We see this again later on in Matt 23:2 and Yehoshuas encounter with the rich young ruler when He tells His disciples to follow Moses and says to the rich young man eternal life is found in obedience to Moses. 

Nowhere in the Bible does it say we can not obey Moses, or we are unable to follow Moses. Instead, we see both in the Old and the New Testament how Yehovah says it is easy to obey the written law of Moses, and we find life in doing so. (1. John 5:3, Deut 30:4)

In Matt 5:48, Yehoshua says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” 

If your pastor or preacher obeys Luther and not Yehovah, they will tell you something like, “Jesus did not mean to say we should be perfect, that is impossible for us too. He meant to say was that we could not be perfect, only He is perfect, and by believing passively in Him, we will become perfect”. 

If your pastor or preacher obeys Yehovah, they will know that Matt 5:48 is a quote from Lev 19:2 and Deut 18:13. In Lev 19:2 and Deut 18:13, Yehovah says we are to be holy by obedience to Moses because Yehovah (our Father in heaven) is holy. We see this again later on in 1. John 2:6, 1.Cor 11, Eph 5:1, where the Bible says we are to imitate Yehoshua, who in turn imitated Yehovah in everything He did and said. We know, as Christians, Yehoshua kept the law of Moses at all times. He had to do this to be the sinless lamb of Yehovah. So it goes without saying, imitating Him means that we to should at all times be obedient to Moses. 

This goes back to how we are justified and made righteous in Ez 18:9, Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17. Only faith in the cross shown in obedience to righteousness (righteousness is obedience to Moses) can and will save us/justify us/make us righteous. 

So what about the cross? Where does the cross fit into all of this? 

Lev 17:11 and almost the entire book of Exodus tells us how to atone for our sins. The law of Moses never says we are to be sinless, but as we can see in the book of 1.John, there is a difference between intentional and unintentional sin. The law of Moses clearly says we will sin unintentionally, and when we do, we have to atone for it. This is why it is correct to say that making atonement for your sins is obedience to Moses. The law of Moses also says that if you are a gentile who wants to join Israel, you can atone for all your intentional sins at the temple. But when you have joined, you are expected never to sin intentionally again. 

The temple in Jerusalem is destroyed, so we cant travel to Jerusalem to atone for our sins. So that leaves us with just one option, the cross of Christ. When Yehoshua died on that cross, He met all the requirements in the Torah to be our sin sacrifice AND our high priest at the same time. 

So this is why you can not obey Moses and reject the cross. But this is also why you can not believe in the cross and, at the same time, reject Moses. If you do, you are a follower of Martin Luther and his disciples. Martin Luther, the pope, your pastor, your priest, your preacher, your evangelist, your church, your denomination never died for your sins; they can not save you or tell you how to live for Yehovah. 

What has all this got to do with worrying?

In Matt 6, Yehoshua continues teaching us the Torah, and when He comes to Matt 6:19-24, He emphasizes the importance of obeying only Torah instead of human traditions and doctrines. We see this repeated later on in Matt 23:2, where He tells His disciples only to follow Moses, but never obey the oral Torah and mans-traditions and human-made doctrines. 

Matt 6:25-34 is a well-known verse in the Bible where Yehoshua gives us this wonderful promise about provision from our Father. Most Christians ignore the fact that Matt 6:25 begins with the little word, “Therefore,” telling us what is coming connects to what has just been said. 

Up until then, Yehoshua has been teaching us to obey Moses. He has just told us the importance of following only Moses and not traditions, doctrines, and opinions of men that has the potential to give us wealth and fortune here on earth but not eternal life in heaven. 

Then He says in verse 25 if you obey Moses, you will have no reason to worry about anything. According to Yehoshua, obedience to Moses guarantees Yehovahs provision, Yehovah’s healing, Yehovah’s protection. So now we understand that what Yehoshua is saying here in Matt 6:25-34 is a quote from Deut 28:1-13. He is repeating His Father’s promises, and the terms of the Mosaic covenant, to His listeners and to us who consider ourselves as Christians today. 

So what gives you victory over stress and fear? What makes it possible for you to endure even the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23) and come out of the oven, not even smelling of smoke? 

The Bible says faith in the cross shown in obedience to Moses. 

This is what will guarantee us even victory over the devil (Rev 12:11, 14), and this is what assures us a carefree life. Not a life without storms and trouble, but a carefree life and the peace of Yehovah amid the storms of life. 

So what does this look like? Do we have to memorize 613 commandments and remember them all?

Acts 15 says we have to make an effort to learn how to obey Moses, so we have to take responsibility for our faith walk and study the Old Testament, so we know which of the 613 commandments apply to us and our gender living outside Israel without access to a temple. 

When we have studied, and we are in the process of doing so, we have to see ourselves as Yehovah sees us. The Bible says in Isaiah 56:3 when we join Israel by faith in the cross and repentance back to Moses, we become true Israel and real Jews. We do not replace Israel; those who are gentile born do not become Jews genetically. On a spiritual level, we make the transition from being a gentile to become a spiritual Jew. So if you have made this transition, Isaiah 56:3 says you have every right to see yourself as a Jew even though your genes might still be gentile genes and gentile DNA. 

When we see ourselves as a Jew, it helps to keep in mind we have become holy, righteous, and justified by faith in the cross and repentance back to Moses. When life gets hard, it helps us to handle life by remembering, “we are Jews, so we can trust Yehovah to save us from this situation in one way or the other because of we Jews.” When you need healing, provision, or guidance, it helps to be able to remind yourself, “I am healed because I am a Jew. I am provided for and able to pay my bills because I am a Jew”. 

By reminding yourself of who you are, it helps to build your faith and your trust in Yehovah. And the Bible does say we have to believe and have confidence in Yehovah to receive anything from Him. He will not give us the confidence we need; we need to make an effort to build that trust by reminding ourselves who we are and living out our true identity as Jews in obedience to Moses believing in the Messiah Yehoshua and His cross.