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.

"Faith" Tagged Sermons

WHAT SHAPES OUR FUTURE?

Dr. Michael Heiser in his book: “The Unseen Realm” makes this statement:
“The seeds of that failure were sown in the events of the conquest. For whatever reasons – lack of faith or lack of effort, or both – Israel failed to drive out their enemies. They allowed vestiges of the targeted bloodlines to remain in the land in the Philistine cities. They chose to coexist (Judges 1:27-36). The visible Yahweh, the Angel, asks the rhetorical question, “Why would you do such a thing?” and he announces the consequences: “Now I say, I will not drive them out from before you; they will become as thorns for you, and their gods will be a trap for you” (Judges 2:2-3). The name of the place where he uttered these words was thereafter appropriately remembered as Bochim, a Hebrew word that means “weeping”.

John North wrote the foreword to Malcolm Muggeridge’s book titled: “The End of Christendom”
The book is based on Malcolm Muggeridge’s lecture series given in 1978 at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.
“Most of the great universities of the West were founded with the conviction that theology is the queen of the disciplines, and that the key to man’s wholeness is the pursuit of the truth of God through Jesus Christ. Apart from that truth, it was believed, all other expressions of truth are fragmentary and sterile. Now, in the latter part of the twentieth century, that tradition has almost disappeared. Where Jesus Christ and Christian doctrine are the subject of formal study, it is usually as a minor are of Comparative Religion or in a divinity school well segregated from the general student body. Religious enthusiasm among students is an embarrassment; belief in the authority of the Bible and the deity of Jesus Christ is treated as naivety to be enlightened rather than life to be nourished. Scholars in the arts, letters, and sciences who show signs of Christian devotion are likely to be shrugged off as simplistic and eccentric. Coincidentally, truth itself has become devalued, especially in the humanities and social sciences and increasingly in the pure sciences, its consequence and even existence of matter of doubt.
Universities seem to promote fragmentation, in part by undermining general studies in favor of specialized and practical studies, in part by ignoring the signs of decay in the spiritual, moral, and emotional health of the academic community.”

THE RISE OF SECULAR POWER

In 1933 a group of 34 liberal humanists in the United States defined the philosophical and religious principles that seemed to them FUNDAMENTAL. They drafted humanist manifesto I which for its time was a radical document. It was concerned with expressing a general religious and philosophical outlook that REJECTED ORTHODOX AND DOGMATIC POSITIONS and provided meaning and direction, unity and purpose to HUMAN LIFE. It was committed to REASON, SCIENCE, AND DEMOCRACY.
HUMANIST MANIFESTO I
“The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional attitudes. Science and economic change have disrupted the old beliefs. Religions around the world labor with the task of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience. In every field of human activity, the vital movement is now in the direction of a candid and explicit humanism. In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.”
“Today, man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and his deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfaction my appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today MUST BE SHAPED FOR THE NEEDS OF THIS AGE. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:”
“The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.”

Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson wrote the preface to the manifesto II:
“As we approach the twenty first century an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed. Faith, commensurate with advancing knowledge, is also necessary. In the choice between despair and hope, humanists respond in this Humanist Manifesto II with a positive declaration for times of uncertainty.
As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an UNPROVEN AND OUTMODED FAITH. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter; REASONABLE MINDS LOOK TO OTHER MEANS FOR SURVIVAL.”
Among the revised principles of Humanist Manifesto II, you find statements like this:
• “We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of the supernatural.”
• “Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful.
• “Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the ‘ghost in the machine’ and the ‘separable soul’.”
• Humane societies should evaluate economic systems not by rhetoric or ideology, but by whether or not they increase economic wellbeing for all individuals and groups, minimize poverty and hardship, increase the sum of human satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life.”

It even gets better: Principles 12-17 illustrate humanism’s missionary zeal. It is bent upon the creation of a global society.
“We deplore the division of humankind on nationalist grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate.
The problems with economic growth and development can no longer be resolved by one nation alone; they are worldwide in scope. It is the moral obligation of the developed nations to provide – through an international authority that safeguards human rights – massive technical, agricultural, medical, and economic assistance, including birth control techniques, to the developing portions of the globe.
World poverty must cease. Hence extreme disproportions in wealth, income, and economic growth should be reduced on a worldwide basis.”

POWER TO ENDURE

Journalist Kylee Zempel
“Christians have for months been separated from one another thanks to state lockdown orders. The overwhelming majority of congregations have honored the coronavirus regulations imposed by authorities who would sooner dispense with communion than lottery tickets. To love their neighbors, protect the vulnerable, and remain above reproach, Christians stayed home, resorting to virtual meetings, sermon archives, and other poor substitutes for fellowship. In the process, we sacrificed our spiritual vitality.
As anti-religious leaders and malicious media predictably shamed communities of faith, believers rolled over, our good intentions of meek compliance manifesting in cowardice. When the media employed scare tactics — “gathering will kill Grandma” — Christians fearfully relented. When detractors peddled bogus rhetoric masquerading as science — shopping is fine, but singing is way too “dangerous” — believers capitulated.
We were told groups of more than 10 people were simply not doable. Outdoor services were deemed unsafe. Even parking too closely in a lot or having too many people in a vehicle during drive-in services was prohibited. Police surveilled churchgoers, recording the license plate numbers of service attendees as “the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else.” The message from the media and oppressive leaders has been clear: Church gatherings are deadly.
But now the game has changed. As brutal anarchists take to the streets alongside masses of peaceful protesters, all the media’s cards are on the table. Progressive governors have shown their hand. The coronavirus scare tactics have largely ceased.
Believing fast food is essential while the Lord’s Supper is nonessential has always been ridiculous. But believing worshiping is lethal while looting is warranted is downright infuriating.
Of course, states have kicked off their reopening plans, including, at the behest of the president, allowing churches to reopen with largely arbitrary regulations. But these rules are stifling. We cancel our song services, worship in shifts, and fracture our bonds by congregating in coteries at six-foot intervals.
Religious leaders have bent over backward to ensure public safety and care for their congregations, taking full precautions, but to what end? When will we say enough is enough? Scripture commands submission to government authority, but at some point, believers “must obey God rather than men.”
When have Christians ever regarded physical health above spiritual health? When has enduring persecution ever entailed abandoning firmly held belief? How can Christians expect spiritual revival, racial harmony, and peace, while neglecting our assembly together?
It’s time for believers to sing from the tops of our lungs in one, full accord — not sit silently in countless rotational services that undermine the unified body of Christ. It’s time to gather around the table, contemplating with holy reverence Christ’s body broken and blood shed for us. It’s time to confess our sacred doctrine and call upon our great Redeemer in corporate praise. No longer can we afford to live in fear.”

G.K. Chesterton said:
“When men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing! THEY BELIEVE IN ANYTHING.”

Chuck Swindoll in his daily devotional writes:
“When trouble comes we have two options. We can view it as an intrusion, an outrage, or we can see it as an opportunity to respond in specific obedience to God’s will – that rugged virtue James calls “Endurance”. Endurance is not jaw-clenching resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It’s a long obedience in the same direction. It’s staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It’s a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It’s a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. As Oswald Chambers wrote: “To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to chose God’s will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world.”
These words are directly related to what James is telling us:
James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (endurance). And let your steadfastness (endurance) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Ravi Zacharias once commented
“When you start a train of thought, it’s important to check the ticket to see where it is going to let you off.”

George Mueller, who cared for 2,500 orphans a day by faith alone, said.
“The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.”

Greg Hinnant in his book “Spiritual Truths for overcoming Adversity” writes:
“The power to endure is the ability to bear stress with ease, to be in distress without distress being in you. It’s God’s supernatural grace manifested in us. Situations that wear out others don’t bother us. We go through the fire, but are not burned. We walk calmly and steadily through the midst of the most dreaded difficulties conceivable without mental, physical, or emotional damage. In fearful circumstances, we’re calm and unafraid; in offensive situations, we’re not offended; when faced with a deadline, we’re not at our wits’ end. Where does this grace come from, this power to endure? Not merely from Bible study, not merely from prayer, not merely from fellowship with other disciples, but from PERSONAL VICTORIES GAINED IN PERSONAL TESTS.”

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.

CURSED OF FREE?

In that little book you find Spurgeon explain the difference between a “gold leaf” Christians and a “SOLID GOLD” Christian. From the outside you cannot seen the difference.
“It is a lamentable fact that many who are called Christians, because they belong to a Christian nation, are a grievous dishonor to the name of Christ. The heathen, judging of Christianity by them, have often been heard to say, “We had better remain as we are than become as drunken, or swear as profanely, or act as viciously as these so-called Christian people do.”
I have nothing to do now with merely nominal Christianity. Do what you like with it.
Neither do I at all identify a man in Christ with one who is profoundly conversant with all the externals of the Christian religion, and who gives himself up devotedly to them, but never looks into the center – into the heart and kernel – of the matter.
I am also bound to confess that there are members of evangelical churches, not devotees of ceremonialism, but advocates for the bares simplicity of worship, who make a very high profession of being real Christians, and talk a great deal about vital godliness, who, nevertheless, are not men in Christ.
The church of Christ has been plagued by hypocrites from the first day even until now. There was a Judas among the apostles themselves. Are you surprised at this? I confess I am not.
Because Christianity is in itself so valuable, therefore there are many worthless imitations. Men counterfeit a sovereign because it is worth having; if it ever should become worthless the trade of the counterfeiter would be gone; and it is because the possession of true godliness is so valuable at thing that there are so many who pretend to have it who know nothing about it.
I distrust full often those who are so loud in their professions. I know that the cart which rings the loudest bell when it goes through the street only carries dust; but I never hear a bell rung when they are carrying diamonds or bullion through the city.
The best actions which are wrought in this world are for the most part done in secret by those who desire no eye to observe them except the eye of the Almighty God. But some, under the pretense of doing that, are rather standing up for themselves than for Christ, and are not quite so anxious to cry, “Behold the Lamb of God”, as to say, “Come, see my zeal for the Lord of hosts! Admire me; and see what a wonderful honor I am to the religion of Jesus Christ.”
Now I give up these religious pretenders to the world’s utmost scorn. I have nothing to say in their defense, but very much by way of disgust at their untruthfulness.” Charles H. Spurgeon

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on Galatians writes:
Paul’s point, then, is that all people who fail to keep the Law in its entirety live under the shadow of God’s impending judgment. How different this is from the Judaizers’ deceptive “pick and choose” approach to the Law! They thought their pursuit of certain aspects of the Law would earn God’s favor. That teaching, however, is an affront to His grace and mercy, only provoking His judgment.”

Dr. Michael Heiser in his book “What does God want?” writes:
…The sad truth is that many genuine Christians live tormented defeated lives, not because of the Gospel, but because of the way THEIR GUILT has distorted the clarity of the Gospel.
.Working hard to make someone else think you have value requires you to focus on yourself. You can’t be focused on someone else when the goal is to make another person think you are worthy of their attention or love.
We want to feel good about ourselves (i.e., we legitimately deserved something, so we aren’t taking what doesn’t belong to us). We also want others to feel that way about us, too (i.e., we want others to give us something because of the way we make them feel about us).
The Gospel strips this away and casts it aside. It exposes us, demanding naked humility. It insists the focus be entirely on God and Jesus. That’s why it’s a hard pill to swallow for so many. It doesn’t let us take any credit.
What it comes down to is that the gospel cares NOTHING about what you do, but cares EVERYTHING about who you already are.”

Dr. Michael Heiser gives us a summary on page 63 of his book
“Salvation is NOT about performance. It never was, never will be, and never can be. We can do nothing to put ourselves at the level of God, to make ourselves fit for his presence. We lack God’s perfect nature. We are like God, created to image him, but be definition we are LESS THAN GOD, and God knows it. That’s why his solution was Jesus, NOT YOU.

ONLY TWO SURVIVED

“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is required. The stars neither require it nor demand it.” Annie Dillard
“Imagine a world designed so that we experience a mild jolt of pain with every sin and a tickle of pleasure with every act of virtue. Imagine a world in which every errant doctrine attracts a lightning bolt, while every repetition of the Apostle’s Creed stimulates our brains to produce an endorphin of pleasure.” Philip Yancey
In fact, for the Israelites it nearly eliminated the need for faith at all; clear guidance sucked away FREEDOM, making every choice a matter of OBEDIENCE RATHER THAN FAITH.
Power can do everything but the most important thing; it cannot control love. Love does not operate according to the rules of power.
In other words, just as God found it nearly impossible to live among sinful people, the Israelites found it nearly impossible to live WITH A HOLY GOD IN THEIR MIDST.
“In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Oscar Wilde

ABRAHAM, YOU NEED TO MOVE

Salvation is not based on behavior. Abraham believed and was accepted by God BEFORE he obeyed any rules.
Belief and Loyalty are related but not interchangeable.
“God’s laws were about showing God they weren’t going to be disloyal and align themselves with some other god. Being loyal believers would allow God to use the Israelites to minister to all the other nations like “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5-6).
God wanted humanity in his family. He was starting with one group – Israel. If they were loyal believers, they would be a blessing to all the other nations (Genesis 12:3)” Dr. Michael Heiser

THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 1. Why do people MISINTERPRET THE PROPHETIC WORD? Daniel 7:9-14 Isaiah 53:1-12 Genesis 3:14-15 Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1-7 John 5:30-47 John 19:14-16 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 2. Why do people MISINTERPRET THE PROPHETIC DETAILS? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 Matthew 24:36-42 Mark 13:32-33 Acts 1:6-7 1 Thessalonians 1:10 3. Why do people MISINTERPRET THE PROPHETIC…

WHAT ARE YOU AIMING AT?

The church speaks a lot about Faith, Love, and Hope, but what does it look like?
• Faith is anchored in the past, in actual history events, as we look back to the Lord’s saving work on the cross.
• Love is anchored in the present, as we practice Christlike love toward the people around us.
• Hope is anchored in the future, in the trustworthy promises God gave us in His Word.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.