Overcoming #2 – Fear – In Smyrna

Rev 2:9-11 “I know your works, and pressure, and poverty – yet you are rich – and the blasphemy of those who say they are Yehudim and are not, but are a congregation of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. See, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, in order to try you, and you shall have pressure ten days. Be trustworthy until death, and I shall give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes shall by no means be harmed by the second death.”

We looked at “works” in the article entitled “Overcoming #1 – At Ephesus”…

We intend to consider the blasphemy of the false Yehudim in a later article…

In this article, it appears that the primary focus to those in Smyrna is “fear.” We will consider the origin of fear, fear’s impact, Who gives us victory over fear and what were a couple of specific fears that The Master is exhorting those in Smyrna and also us to overcome.

Where do we first encounter the concept of FEAR in the scriptures?

Gen 3:9-11 “And Yahwah Elohim called unto Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who made you know that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Fear originated in the garden as the result of disobedience to YAHWAH’S Commandment.

Adam’s disobedience resulted in:

Fear of punishment. Adam now fears The ONE Who he once walked with in the garden…

Fear of his nakedness. Adam now becomes self aware…

Fear of guilt. Instead of openness being guilt free, Adam now tries to hide…

Fear of death. Adam lived for 930 years passing his fears on to all thereafter!

But the Good News is that Messiah’s obedience to HIS Father’s Commands delivered HIM and those who believe IN HIM, from all of the fears that we inherited from Adam, including the fear of death!

Heb 2:14-15 “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, HE HIMSELF similarly shared in the same, so that by means of HIS death HE might destroy him having the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who throughout life were held in slavery by fear of death.”

To believers at Smyrna and throughout the world, Messiah’s exhortation is timeless for us to not have fear of persecution nor of death.

The Master exhorts HIS own to not have fear of persecution;

Mat 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the being. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both being and body in Gehenna.”

John 16:33 “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure,(persecution) but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear!

1Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear holds punishment, and he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

1Jn 2:3-6 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth(SPIRIT of Truth) is not in him. But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.”

To the believers in Smyrna (and to us), Messiah is saying that those who have guarded HIS Commands do not have to fear punishment from YAH, but may be persecuted by the lawless for HIS Name!

2Ti 3:12 And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah YAHUSHA shall be persecuted.

Through belief expressed in obedience to HIS Word, including HIS Commands, love is perfected in us and fear no longer has power over us! This can only take place through receiving and walking in obedience by the power of HIS SPIRIT as described of those who receive the New Covenant!

Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them.

John 14:16-17 “And I shall ask the Father, and He shall give you another Helper, to stay with you forever – the Spirit of the Truth, whom the world is unable to receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. But you know Him, for He stays with you and shall be in you.

Phil 2:12-13 So that, my beloved, as you always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much rather in my absence – work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling, for it is Elohim who is working in you both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

Having a love for HIS Word is evidence that HE (HIS SPIRIT) is at work IN you, leading you, guiding you, teaching you, correcting and causing you to accomplish HIS good pleasure. The more that you obey HIS Word in “denying yourself” (the self awareness of the Adamic nature), the more HIS Love (HIS SPIRIT) is being perfected in you!

You will know that love is being perfected in you when you no longer FEAR:

punishment (from YAH for disobedience to HIS Word),

persecution (from those disobedient to HIS Word) and

death (resting in the knowledge that HE has OVERCOME death) and so will you!

Heed the exhortations to neither “grieve” nor “quench” HIS Spirit! (Eph 4:30 & 1Thess 5:19)

As we follow the Master in belief and obedience, we are actually putting to death the Adamic nature (also called carnal, and / or natural man), being emptied of the one who fears, and in his place we are being filled with The Set-Apart Spirit of YAHWAH (also called the new man);

Eph 4:22-24 “…that you put off – with regard to your former way of life – the old man, being corrupted according to the desires of the deceit, and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to Elohim, in righteousness and set-apartness of the truth.”

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes shall by no means be harmed by the second death.”

Family Matters: IN Adam? OR IN Yahusha?

Though we did not have a choice regarding the (biological / Adamic) family that we were first birthed into, we do have a choice as to whether we become a member of the Family of YAH. To join HIS Family you must first be born from above. One cannot become a part of the Family of Yah any other way. Evidence of being born of His Spirit is the strong desire to “Do The Will / Desire of Yahwah.”

A few of the largest hurdles that I have seen for one who has chosen to follow The Messiah Yahusha begins with what Luke records in his account of The Master’s Words;

Luke 8:19-21 And His (biological / Adamic) mother and brothers came to Him, and were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, saying, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” And He answering, said to them, “My mother and My brothers are those who are hearing the Word of Elohim and doing it.”

These same statements are also recorded in Matthew12:46-50 and Mark 3:31-35. However, Luke gives further clarity of what is meant by doing the desire of Yahwah when he says “those who are hearing the Word of Elohim and doing it.” James, the half-brother of The Master echoes that sentiment later in his life after becoming a follower of Yahusha!

James 1:21-22 Therefore put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your lives. And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Merely attending a Word teaching / preaching church only supplies evidence against you UNLESS you DO what you hear!

But John (one of the 12) says it best in 1John 2:15-17;

Do not love the world nor that which is 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, 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 the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever.”

Again, The Master makes it very clear that to follow HIM means forsaking all!

Matthew 19:29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”

Mark 10:28-30 And Kepha (Peter) began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and we have followed You.” Yahusha said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for the sake of Me and the Good News, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, everlasting life.”

John 12:25-26 “He who loves his life shall lose it, and he who hates his life in this world shall preserve it for everlasting life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me. And where I am, there My servant also shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father shall value him.”

Hating one’s own life is not a commandment to inflict sadistic punishment upon one’s own flesh. It’s simply the mindset of self-denial. Just as The Master walked…

Every relationship must be measured by our relationship with The Master.

The Marriage relationship;

1Corinthians 7:29-31 “And this I say, brothers, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, and those who weep as though they did not weep, and those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, and those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the scene of this world is passing away.”

All Yoking relationships;

2Corinthians 6:14 Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness?”

Relationships with the World;

James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore intends to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim.”

Adamic (biological) Family Relationships

I have witnessed these to be the most difficult. Most often our biological family members cannot understand nor embrace how true believers live. Even the Adamic family of Yahusha had a tough time with HIM doing the desire of HIS Father in heaven;

Mark 3:21 And when His relatives heard about this, they went out to seize Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” They called Him literally; insane, bewitched!? Can you relate?

John 7:3-5 So His (Adamic) brothers said to Him, ‘Get away from here and go into Yehudah so that Your taught ones also see the works that You are doing. For no one acts in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these works, show Yourself to the world.” For even His (Adamic) brothers did not believe in Him.

The prophet, Micah even spoke about how intense Adamic relationships can be;

Micah 7:5-6 “Trust no friend, rely on no companion, guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom. For son is despising father, daughter rises up against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, the enemies of a man are the men of his own house.”

Words later echoed by The Master to those who were unable to discern HIS true mission;

Matthew 10:34-37 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword, for I have come to bring division, a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – and a man’s enemies are those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Luke 12:49-53 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have an immersion to be immersed with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you think that I came to give peace on earth? I say to you, no, but rather division. For from now on five in one house shall be divided, three against two, and two against three – father shall be divided against son, and son against father, mother against daughter, and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Luke 14:26-28 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate (or to have less love for) his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, he is unable to be My taught one. And whoever does not bear his stake and come after Me is unable to be My taught one. “For who of you, wishing to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

The application of “hate” is pertaining to how much influence our earthly, biological, Adamic family should have on us as we follow The Master. The concept of bearing our “stake”, or reckoning ourselves dead (to the world and to Adamic pursuits) comes with the exhortation to “count the cost”, or consider the seriousness of what it will take to follow HIM, doing the desire of our Father in Heaven, even as Yahusha did and does…

So, what’s it going to be, dear believer? Are you born from above? Do you have the inner drive to do The Father’s desire in and through your life now? Are you willing to cease pursuit of that which is worldly and temporal? Will you limit the influences of your Adamic family and friends when they oppose the desire of your Father in heaven? Have you counted the cost of following The Master on HIS terms?

These are valid questions when pondering who’s desire is more important… Yours? Or HIS?

My prayer is that you are empowered and led by HIS Spirit to accomplish the desire of your Father in Heaven!