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More to the Great Commission Than Just One Step

    We are in a spiritual battle, and it must be recognized.  When we think of the Great Commission, we think of Matthew 28, right?  Yes, that is the whole purpose of the Great Commission; however; does the book of Mark paint a further picture of what it looks like to be that faithful witness of Messiah on the earth?  “He who has believed and has been immersed, shall be saved, but he who has not believed shall be condemned.  And these signs shall accompany the ones who believe: in My name they shall cast out demons, they shall speak with renewed tongues, they shall take up snakes, and if they drink any deadly [drink] it shall by no means hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall get well” (Mark 16:16-18).  If this describes what we should be doing and what we should look like to the world; then, do you not think the enemy is going to try to make you think you can’t do these things?  Yes, of course.  So, as soldiers in the army of YAH, we need to go through spiritual training in order to be well equipped to head out into the fight for our neighbor’s soul.  Let’s focus on three key elements: repentance, obedience, and prayer.
    First, repentance is key to even enter into the fight for YAH’s kingdom.  “…Repent, for the reign of the heavens has come near!” (Matthew 3:2).  These are some of the first things that John the Immerser was known for proclaiming.  Why?  YAH wants to know who is on His side, and who is not.  He begs for us to choose a side; even if it means being against Him: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I would that you were cold or hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).  He wants to know that He has a faithful soldier that will obey His commands to win the victory.  Has Messiah already won the war?  Yes; “So when יהושע took the sour wine He said, “It has been accomplished!”  And bowing His head, He gave up His Ruach”(Spirit) (John 19:30).  But, the battle still wages on; “Be sober, watch, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  We need to declare that we are no longer on the enemy’s side and show that we are for the kingdom of Heaven daily.
Obedience; this one can be difficult, but it is so rewarding.  The number one thing that will save your life in a battle is a leader you know you can trust.  He will be able to steer you out of the worst situations because he is always mindful of his company.  He will also have the strategies and tactics to follow in order to win the fight.  YAH is our leader, and we need to obey His voice in order to come out alive and in tact in the end.  Deuteronomy 28 lays out for us perfectly what happens when we obey His commands, and what happens when we fail to do so.  He desires us to do it out of a heart of love towards Him: “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands” (John 14:15).  When Messiah is telling all the Talmidim (Disciples) that He has given them “…power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19), He did not give it to them because they just asked to receive it.  No; they received this new authority because they left everything to follow after Messiah and proved to be faithful to Him.  “But יהושע (Yeshua) said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim” (Luke 9:62).  They were willing to lay it all on the line go Him, and He rewarded their obedience with more authority over the power of the enemy.  The same goes for us.  If we are not obedient to His commands, the enemy will see right through that and say, “…יהושע I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15).  We have been given the authority to bind up and/or loose the power of the enemy (Matthew 16:19; Job 38:31).  We need to know the tactics our leader has given us and learn how to use them.
Prayer; it is our number one line of communication between us and the throne of YAH.  He desires us to have so much communication back and forth with Him that we should  become one with Him; His thoughts, actions, feelings; etc. (John 17:11).  Paul knew this, and he developed a strategy.  Ephesians 6 speaks of putting on, “…the whole armor of YAH, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).  Paul was so adamant about this that he even wrote, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Now, why does Paul write about this spiritual armor?  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Ephesians 6:12).  We are not to fight against man because man is either a part of the kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of Darkness.  Regardless of what the person acts like, they are walking in obedience to a spiritual kingdom, and it shows.  Within this spiritual battle we fight against “…principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]” (Ephesians 6:12).  Since we are not to worry about preserving this life (Luke 9:24); but rather, we are to hope for our yeshu’ah (salvation) to come (Romans 13:11), we need to know how to protect our souls.  “…that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…” (Ephesians 6:13).
The armor is essential for our combat and defense in the spiritual realm. And, when we put on the armor, we are fully putting on Messiah: “…having your loins gird about with truth…” (Ephesians 6:14), is the same as Psalm 119:142, “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your Torah is the Truth.” John 17:17, “Sanctify them through your Truth: your word is Truth”, John 14:6, “…I am the way, the Truth, and the life…”, and John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.”  The exact same verses apply to the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14).  “And your feet shod with the preparation of the Besorah (Gospel) of Peace;” (Ephesians 6:15).  “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the Besorah’s (Gospel), the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).  “Above all, taking the shield of belief, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).  “You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in your word” (Psalm 119:114).  “And take the helmet of yeshu’ah (salvation)…” (Ephesians 6:17).  “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of belief and love; and for a helmet, the hope of yeshu’ah”(salvation) (1 Thessalonians 5:8).  “…and the sword of the ruach (Spirit), which is the Word of Elohim” (Ephesians 6:17).  Enough said about who the Word is, right?  We need to keep sober in Him constantly, always bringing our sin unto submission to Him; this is so we can keep our armor in tact and not damaged (2 Corinthians 10:6).
Now that we know the task ahead of us, let us run after it with all our might.  The last thing a person talks about with a friend will usually be the first thing he or she brings up the next time they see each other.  Do you not think He will ask us one day, “How did you do with the work I have given you?” (Matthew 25:21; Mark 16:15-18).
Erik Hedman

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