We welcome you to our Church Family
and invite you to actively participate
in worshipping our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

Sermons by Pastor Ernest Amstalden

THIS IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR

In his new book titled “The Basics of the Christian Life”, Sinclair B. Ferguson makes this comment:
“What a tragedy it is that our modern society is no longer interested in either character or characters. It’s interested in success. It’s interested in opinions, but it’s interested very little in character. Perhaps, it should not surprise us that, alas, the same has been true in the evangelical church. That we are so interested in people’s positions, or what they do, or what they have, or how well they speak, when in the New Testament the really big thing is THE CHARACTER.
……God is not going to ask me or be very interested in me in terms of, “So, how many books did you write, or how many conferences did you go to?” He is much more discerning than that. What He is really interested in is what kind of person you were. “What was produced in you by the Word of God and the Spirit of God? How well trained were you as My child?”

“Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” Woodrow Wilson

“The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes.
US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter (1939-1962)

The Apostle Paul would have said it this way:
“The real rulers in Jerusalem are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes.”
I love what Paul says in verse 5: “to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved FOR YOU.”
On January 20, 2017, our newly elected President of the Unites States, Donald J. Trump:
“Today’s ceremony has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.
For too long, a small group of our nations’ Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The Establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nations Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment; it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This your celebration. And this, The United States of America, is your country.”

2014, July 3, The Washington Times ran an article on their website, stating:
“The real government of the United States is not the Congress, not the president, not the courts, not the Constitution, but the federal bureaucracy.”

James Boice in his commentary on verses 4-5 says:
”false brethren” constitute a military metaphor, used to indicate the subversive and militant nature of the evil that Paul was fighting.”

AND THE BEST WAY TO DESTROY GRACE IS TO ENSLAVE BELIEVERS WITH A STRENUOUS RELIGIOUS SYSTEM.
• Prerequisite for meriting salvation
• Rituals to receive salvation
• Righteous works to maintain salvation

GENUINE SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

“Living by grace instead of by works means you are free from the performance treadmill. It means God has already given you an “A” when you deserved an “F.” He has already given you a full day’s pay even though you may have worked for only one hour. It means you don’t have to perform certain spiritual disciplines to earn God’s approval. Jesus Christ has already done that for you. You are loved and accepted by God through the merit of Jesus, and you are blessed by God through the merit of Jesus. Nothing you ever do will cause Him to love you any more or any less. He loves you strictly by His grace given to you through Jesus.” Jerry Bridges (Transforming Grace, 73)

Evangelist Morgan Campbell in his commentary on Galatians writes:
“One teaching that is totally absent from all the cults is the gospel of the grace of God. No one is taught in the cults that he can be saved from eternal damnation by simply placing his faith in Jesus Christ. It is always belief in Jesus Christ and “do this” or “follow that”. All cults attach something to the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith…..It is never taught that faith in Christ alone will save anyone.”

“Paul is concerned here to show that no one can be educated into the kingdom of God. Paul had not, he says, learned his gospel in the presumed Christian catechetical schools of Jerusalem. Where then had he learned it? It had come directly through a revelation, “unveiling”, of Jesus Christ, he says. On the road to Damascus, Paul had received a transforming revelation. The source of all revelation is God; and the content of this revelation was Christ.” Alan Cole, Commentary on Galatians

Carl Teichrib in his research book “GAME OF GODS” writes:
In California the Black Panthers waved guns and demanded “justice and peace. The US Supreme Court said “no” to public prayer in school. America’s fabric was torn by domestic assassinations, and the “political truth” of the JFK inquiry undermined public confidence. Paul Ehrlich was selling population control: “We can no longer afford merely to treat the symptoms of the cancer of population growth; the cancer itself must be cut out.” “Hip Marxism” – the New Left – promised can end to oppression; a bright future of social quality and cultural transformation. Radical student movements made the evening news.
As the Esalen Institute a “religion without religion” was being birthed, combining psychedelics, yoga, sex, psychology and liberal theology into a new humanistic spirituality – adjustable to one’s felt needs. In San Francisco, Anton LaVey formalized a pragmatic, anti-Christian religion – the Church of Satan – “a temple of glorious indulgence” that would “recapture man’s mind and carnal desires as objects of celebration.” To LaVey, his Church was the real counter-culture. It certainly embodied the spirit of the age.
Closer to Los Angeles, members of Elysium were shedding their clothes “for the well-being and advancement of the public.” In Laurel Canyon, a new music scene was churning out anthems for America’s Cultural Revolution; leaving a trail of personal wreckage. Colorado’s Drop City became an artistic vortex for “a new society in which the individual may fill both his spiritual and physical needs while doing just what he wants. On a farm in New York, 400,000 people danced and frolicked in the mud and rain. Woodstock, “An Aquarian Exposition,” celebrated “love and peace.”
Dreams for sexual freedom, social and political utopia, and a world imagining itself into a new reality flittered in the minds of millions…
America wandered in a maze of moral dilemmas…
Mistrust and anger marked the domestic spirit. Mass demonstrations tore at the nation’s fabric. Troops were not just being sent to the jungles of Asia, they were marching on the streets of Detroit, Chicago, and Washington D.C. At Kent State university, members of the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four students. America wandered in a daze of lost meaning.” Carl Teichrib “Game of Gods”

FREEDOM IN DEPENDENCY

Alan Cole (1965) “The Epistle to the Galatians is SPIRITUAL DYNAMITE, and it is therefore almost impossible to handle it WITHOUT EXPLOSION.
At every point it challenges our present-day shallow, easy acceptances and provokes our opposition. It was a controversial letter, and it is vain to expect any commentator, however humble, to avoid controversy when expounding it – especially when the issues are just as alive today.”
In true faith, God is always the initiator, and man is always the responder. This means that God says something is true, and man responds by acting on it, DEPENDING ON GOD FOR THE RESULTS.
The problem Paul is addressing here with the Galatians is that they had abandoned a personal, loving God, who has manifested that love by calling them IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST.
In his scholarly research book titled “Game of Gods”, Carl Teichrib is addressing this problem and many more by stating:
Humanity has three great desires:
TO BE AS GOD
TO BE MASTER OF MEANING AND DESTINY
TO BUILD HEAVEN ON EARTH
“Tolerance without definition becomes the new norm. Inclusion and broad interpretations represent the progressive path, and personal transformation means conforming to ever changing cultural cues….
Truth and falsehood are no longer discernible, and what is known to be factual becomes blurred and distorted – including biology, identity, and sexuality.
In such a milieu there is an almost irresistible pull to elevate SELF. Our personal reality is fashioned in the IMAGE OF OUR FELT NEEDS. The psychological cult of SELFISM, a “form of secular humanism based on worship of the self, attempts to fill the vacuum of lost value.
Yes, mankind has always struggled with pride and hubris, but Selfism elevates vice to virtue and packages it as illumined personal discovery. Selfism, a product of the human potential movement, feeds our desire for meaning while stoking our ego. The self rises as a divine spark. We are each divine selves, masters of destiny and voices of self-authority.
The cult of Selfism is a horizontal heresy, with its emphasis only on the present, and on self-centered ethics.”
Carl Teichrib goes on to ask the question:
“How could this not be? For decades, public education and mental health services have washed our brains in the “holy waters” of the human potential movement; the theories of Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow. Following Sigmund Freud’s guilt-based theory of human development and B.F. Skinner’s behavioral models, Maslow’s teachings on self-actualization – the “third-force” in psychology – saturated Western thinking. From the experiential encounters at the Esalen Institute to your neighborhood clinic, from daytime television to church pulpits, the feel-good mantra of Selfism rang across the land.”

“A life of faith is our LOVE FOR GOD,
resulting in DEPENDENCY UPON GOD,
resulting in OBEDIENCE TO GOD.”
Ian Thomas
Listen,
• Apart from having a heart that is truly learning to love God, we will have no motivation for obedience other than abject fear of punishment.
• On the other hand, apart from an understanding of what it means to live dependently, we will have no ability to live obediently.
• What’s the result when we change our mind about these truths?
We will return to the law, trying to work to get approval from man.

The Love of God is our motivation.
The Life of God is our power.
The Freedom is found in Dependency

PAUL’S CHALLENGE TO ALL OF US

“The Martyrdom of Man” by Winwood Reade (1872)
“Thus Man has taken into his service, and modified to his use, the animals and plants, the earth and stones, the waters and the winds…..By means of his inventions and discoveries, by means of his arts and trades, by means of the industry resulting from them, he has raised himself from the condition of a serf to the conditions of a lord. His triumph, indeed, is incomplete; his kingdom is not yet come…
Earth, which is now a purgatory, will be made a paradise, not by idle prayers and supplications, but by the efforts of man himself….When we have ascertained, by means of Science, the method of nature’s operations, we shall be able to take her place and perform them for ourselves. When we understand the laws which regulate the complex phenomena of life, we shall be able to predict the future.
Hunger and starvation will then be unknown….Population will mightily increase, and the earth will be a garden. Governments will be conducted with the quietude and regularity of club committees. The interest which is now felt in politics will be transferred to science….
Not only will Man subdue the forces of evil that are without; he will also subdue those that are within….he will obey the laws that are written in his heart; he will worship the divinity within him….
Man then will be perfect; he will then be a creator; he will therefore be what the vulgar worship as a god.” (pages 512-515)
“Supernatural Christianity is false. God-worship is idolatry. Prayer is useless. The soul is not immortal.”Page 522
In 1941, Julian Huxley wrote a book titled: “Religion without Revelation”
“It is obvious that any religion which lays primary emphasis on salvation in the next world will be something of an obstacle towards getting the best out of this world as speedily as possible……
Once we have rid ourselves of this doctrine of a Divine Power external to ourselves, we can get busy with the real task of dealing with our inner forces.”
That was written almost 80 years ago.

In 1917, Samuel Butler, a Victorian-era novelist published ‘THE NOTE-BOOK OF SAMUEL BUTLER:
“Science is being daily more and more personified and anthropomorphized into a god. By and by they will say that science took our nature upon him, and sent down his only begotten son, Charles Darwin, or Huxley, into the world so that those who believe in him, etc.”

In 1880 The sophisticated German thinker Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a philosophical novel “THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA”
Let me give you two paragraphs from his book:
“Man is something that shall be overcome….What is ape to man? A laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. And just the same shall man be to the Uebermensch…
The Uebermensch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Uebermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
Remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! They are poison-mixers.” (Pages 9-10)
Nietzsche in his book “The Gay Science” wrote:
“God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How can we console ourselves, the murderer of all murderers! The holiest and the mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What festivals of atonement what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become gods merely to appear worthy of it? There was never a greater deed – and whoever is born after us will on account of this deed belong to a higher history than all history up to now.” (Page 120)
German philosopher Martin Heidegger proclaimed:
“The spirit of community as found in National Socialism is a new configuration of the people, an inner reeducation of the entire people toward the goal of wanting its own unity and oneness.”

JESUS BROUGHT A SWORD

The sword of which He spoke is the sharpest of all implements of conflict: THE TRUTH. And those who hold it will find themselves hunted by evil. Chuck Swindoll

“Much of our Christian life is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.” Lewis Sperry Chafer (founder of Dallas Th. Seminary)

“May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridor of the kingdom like children in the marketplace, always chattering about everything, but learning the true value of nothing.” A.W. Tozer

John MacArthur in his New Testament Commentary on Matthew is quoting Mel White, the author of the book Deceived:
“Walter Mondale wrote that the pastor was an “inspiration to us all.” The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare cited the pastor’s outstanding contribution. We are told “he knew how to inspire hope.” He was committed to people in need, he counseled prisoners and juvenile delinquents. He stared a job placement center; he opened rest homes and homes for the retarded; he had a health clinic, he organized a vocational training center; he provided free legal aid; he founded a community center; he preached about God. He even claimed to cast out demons, do miracles, and heal.”

British pastor Andrew Murray in his book: Abide in Christ: Thoughts on the Blessed Life of Fellowship with the Son of God (1864):
“It is to be feared that there are many earnest followers of Jesus from whom the meaning of (abiding) is very much hidden. While trusting in their Savior for pardon and for help and seeking to some extent to obey Him, they have hardly realized to what closeness of union, to what intimacy of fellowship He invited them when He said, “Abide in Me.” This is not only an unspeakable loss to themselves, but the church and the world suffer in what they lose.”

“The focus of a Christian’s activity is not to work hard enough to make fruit, but to keep his connection to Jesus Christ clean and strong. One way to do that is to absorb the teaching of God’s Word, the 66 books of the Bible. Read God’s Word…..think about it, apply it, talk about it with others, ask questions, commit sections of it to memory. Strength and productivity come from staying connected. However, according to Jesus, failing to remain connected to the vine leads to tragic consequences. Someone who fails to abide is someone trying to transform his or her own character in order to produce Christlike qualities without maintaining a connection to Christ. And that’s futile; it never works. In fact, it’s a perfect plan for drying up and withering away.” Chuck Swindoll

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.