COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

Sermons on Ephesians

THIS TIME IS NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED

“Lacking the courage to face something difficult or dangerous” Webster’s Dictionary

“If you describe someone or their behavior as FAINT HEARTED, you mean that they are not very confident and do not take strong action because they are afraid of failing.” COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

James Madison, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention, author of the Federalist Papers, and 4th president of the United States, was born on a plantation in Virginia.
“It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by DENYING THE PRINCIPLE.” James Madison

Reuters reported:
“As the United States begins reopening its economy, some state officials are weighing whether house arrest monitoring technology – including ankle bracelets or location-tracking apps – could be used to police quarantines imposed on coronavirus carriers. But while the tech has been used sporadically for U.S. quarantine enforcement over the past few weeks, large scale rollouts have so far been held back by a big legal question: Can officials impose electronic monitoring without an offence or a court order?”
More to the point, as the head of one tech company asked,
“Can you actually constitutionally monitor someone who’s innocent? It’s uncharted territory.”

John Whitehead in his book titled: “Battlefield America” with the subtitle: “The war on the American People”, writes:
“The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain; all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands.
It does not even matter what the nature of the crisis might be – civil unrest, the nation emergencies, unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters – as long as it allows the government to justify all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security. It’s hard to know who to trust anymore.”
Later in this chapter, John Whitehead goes on to point out the danger James Madison was warning us about 250 years ago:
“in this post 9-11 world, we have been indoctrinated into fearing and mistrusting one another instead of fearing and mistrusting the government. As a result, we’ve been forced to travel this road many, many times with lamentably predictable results each time; without fail, when asked to choose between safety and liberty, Americans historically tend to choose safety.
Failing to read the fine print on such devil’s bargains, “we the people” find ourselves repeatedly on the losing end as the government uses each crisis as a means of expanding its powers at taxpayers’ expense.”

What are the schemes of the devil right now where we are?
Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf”
Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and the other way around to consider the most wretched sort of life.”

Bruce Levine in his book titled: “How TV Zombifies and Pacifies us and subverts Democracy” writes:
“Television is a “dream come true” for an authoritarian society. Those with the most money own most of what people see. Fear-based TV programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, which is good for an authoritarian society depending on a “divide and conquer” strategy. Television isolates people so they are not joining together to govern themselves.
Viewing Television put some in a brain state that makes it difficult to think critically, and it quiets and subdues a population. And spending one’s free time isolated and watching TV interferes with the connection to one’s own humanity, and thus makes it easier to accept an authority’s version of society and life.”

Aldous Huxley in his masterpiece: “Brave New World”
“describes a vision of an unequal, technologically advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order – all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls.”

Neil Postman in his book titled: “Amusing Ourselves to Death” explains what Huxley tried to communicate:
“What Huxley teaches is in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. WE WATCH HIM, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversations becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.”

In 1958, Journalist Edward Murrow warned in a speech:
“We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.”

Revelation 22:3-7
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
And he who was seated on the throne said: “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me; “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

YOU ARE HOLY

Diplomat and Philosopher Dag Hammarskjold wrote in the book titled MARKINGS:
“Respect for the word is the first commandment in the discipline by which a man can be educated to maturity – intellectual, emotional, and moral. Respect for the word – to employ it with scrupulous care and an incorruptible heartfelt LOVE OF TRUTH – is essential if there is to be any growth in a society or in the human race.
To misuse the word is to show contempt for man. It undermines the bridges and poisons the wells. It causes man to regress down the long path of his evolution.”

Easton’s Bible Dictionary
“Holiness in the highest sense belongs to God ( Isaiah 6:3 ; Revelation 15:4 ), and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God ( Romans 6:19 Romans 6:22 ; Ephesians 1:4 ; Titus 1:8 ; 1 Peter 1:15 ). Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance ( 1 Corinthians 1:30 ; 2 Corinthians 7:1 ; Ephesians 4:23-24).

קָדוֹשׁ “qadosh”
Qadosh literally means “to be set apart for a special purpose”.

The fundamental and core meaning, of the word “hagios”, is… “different, and unlike the rest”.
If you’re a Christian, then you are one of “the holy ones”. And do you know why you’re holy? It’s because you’re different. While we may not think of ourselves as “holy,” we are in fact set apart from the world to be Yahweh Elohim’s servants and his representatives. Yahweh set us apart for this very special purpose, to REPRESENT HIM ON THIS EARTH, not in the future only, BUT HERE A NOW. TODAY.

THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES…

There is more than one reason for this state of affairs. But mostly it comes down to not knowing how to participate with God in ways that allow truth to alter our very way of PERCEIVING AND UNDERSTANDING OUR OWN LIFE.

“It costs a man just as much or even more to go to hell than to come to heaven. Narrow, exceedingly narrow is the way to perdition!” Soren Kierkegaard

“To depart from righteousness is to choose a life of crushing burdens, failures, and disappointments, a life caught in the toils of endless problems that are never resolved. Here is the source of that unending soap opera, that sometimes horror show known as normal human life. The cost of discipleship, though it may take all we have, is small when compared to the lot of those who don’t accept Christ’s invitation to be a part of his company in the way of life.” Dallas Willard, “The Spirit of the Disciplines”

Transformation is about changing our very character – not our environment, not the people around us, not even our behavior – it is about changing who we are from the inside out.

OUR WILL WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO BE ABLE TO FORCE OUR HEART TO CHANGE.

AUTHORIZED

Charles R. Taber, in his book “Missiology and the Bible” states:
“The very existence of the Bible is incontrovertible evidence of the God who refused to forsake his rebellious creation, who refused to give up, who was and is determined to redeem and restore fallen creation to his original design for it…
The very existence of such a collection of writings testifies to a God who breaks through to human beings, who disclosed himself to them, who will not leave them unilluminated in their darkness…..who takes the initiative in re-establishing broken relationships with us.”

As Charles Van Engen in his book: “THE RELATION OF BIBLE AND MISSION IN MISSION THEOLOGY” writes: “The whole Bible renders to us the story of God’s mission through God’s people in their engagement with God’s world for the sake of the whole of God’s creation.”

Authority authorizes; it grants freedom to act within boundaries.
Authority is the source and boundary of freedom.
Authority must be connected to reality.

“The authority of the Bible is that it brings us into contact with reality – primarily the reality of God himself whose authority stands behind even that of creation. Reading and knowing the Scriptures causes us to engage with reality. That in turn functions to authorize and to set boundaries around our freedom to act in the world.
The authority for our mission flows from the Bible because the Bible reveals the reality on which our mission is based.” Christopher Wright

This God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Holy One of Israel, is the very AUTHORITY that those Scriptures mediate, because we have no other access to YHWH’s reality than through these Scriptures. Only in the Bible can we find God’s identity and God’s character.
The entire Old Testament is telling a story about the reality of God, the reality of the story (real live) and the reality of God’s people, all pointing to an anticipated future in the purposes of God.

What does that mean?
If it is true that the Bible reveals the reality of this Only True God, the reality of this story that answers the four fundamental questions
Where are we?
Who are we?
What’s gone wrong?
What’s the solution?
And also reveals the reality of this people called Israel, what should be the impact of the way Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament SHOULD LIVE NOW?
In Jesus we meet this God who shares the identity and character of YHWH and ultimately accomplishes what only YHWH could. So, to know Jesus as savior and lord is to know the reality of the living God. It is to know the way, the truth, and the life, the Word, the Creator, Sustainer and heir of the universe.
God’s mission is our mission and it flows from the AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE.
This is the God we worship, this is the story we are part of, this is the people we belong to.

Mothers Are Made By God

The Apostle Paul is telling the church at Ephesus that as followers of Christ, we must HONOR OUR FATHER AND MOTHER, which is the first commandment with promise.
What is the promise? That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. That does not mean that everything in life will go according to our plans. NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE, Jesus prayed to His father. And yet, Jesus Himself HONORED HIS MOTHER ON THIS EARTH.
Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was truly blessed among women, yet God made this women the faithful mother she was. So does He with every women who is willing to respond to God as Mary did: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Mother’s you are specially made by God with a very specific purpose.
When God brought you through it all, your job is not yet done. There is one more thing God will bless you with, and that is to become a TEACHER, AN EXAMPLE, TO THE YOUNGER MOTHERS WHO SO DESPERATELY WANT TO PLEASE THE LORD AND FULFILL THEIR CALLING

In The Crosshair of The Enemy

This sermon is not going to be on the book of Revelation. Instead, we will focus on another battle that is raging since the dawn of time; and the ultimate target in this battle is the women. We have come a long way since God gave Adam a wife, the future mother of all human beings. The spiritual battle transferred from heaven to this earth in an instance and never ceased since. As a matter of fact, the battle intensified each time period since. This spiritual war has culminated in a total destruction of the family unit as God has ordained it since its creation. We are witnessing right now in our own country the destruction of the family and in the process deliberately distort the meaning of motherhood. Satan forgot to tell them what the true consequences would be. Like always, Satan forgets to tell his targets the whole truth. It is God who speaks the truth and warns his creation in advance of the schemes of the Devil.
Who was the target of Satan this time? The women! They would have to kill their own sons because the government demanded it to be so. Listen, any law that is contrary to God’s Word, no matter what government is writing it, MUST BE DISOBEYED BY THE CHILD OF GOD. The consequences must be left in God’s hands. The old song says: “God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see, he will make a way for me.”
No mother knows in advance what God has in store for her and her children. It is not important after all. What is more important is the fact that God has gifted every mother to be the best mother to her children.

Blessed Are the Balanced Ones

Worship has become the playground or the battleground. However, the Bible teaches us that true worship should be done on HOLY GROUND. The fundamental challenge we all face regarding worship is to find the right balance; a balance that makes worship a blessing instead of a curse. Lucifer exalted himself and was humiliated, while Jesus humbled himself and was highly exalted.
The problem we face regarding balanced worship is not a generational problem, young vs. old, IT IS A THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM. God is love, yet he also is holy. In other words, God wants us to delight in Him and express our love to Him, but He also wants us to remember that He alone is the Lord. Thomas Merton said: “The professed Christian who uses God’s love as an excuse to sin and violate God’s holiness is living on the doorstep of hell.”