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 Biblical Interpretation

THE DAY IS COMING

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on Malachi writes:
“The people of Judah began to be exiled from the Promised Land in 605 B.C. and returned from Babylon about seventy years later. By the time of Malachi, they had been back in the land for more than a hundred years and were looking for the blessings they expected to receive when they returned.
Though the temple had been rebuilt, the fervor of those early returning Israelites had given way to a thorough apathy for the things of God. This led to rampant corruption among the priesthood and spiritual lethargy among the people.
Malachi came along at a time when the people were struggling to believe that God loved them. The people were focused on their unfortunate circumstances and refused to account for their own sinful deeds.
So, God pointed the finger back at them, and through Malachi, told the people where they had fallen short of their covenant with Him. If they hoped to see change, they needed to take responsibility for their own actions and serve God faithfully according to the promise that their fathers had made to Him on Mount Sinai all those years before.”
In his book ‘DARK AGENDA’ – “The war to destroy Christian America”, author David Horowitz (published 2018) writes:
“Religion must die in order for mankind to live”, proclaims left-wing commentator and comedian Bill Maher in RELIGULOUS, the most watched commentary feature of 2008.
Both title and script were transparent attempts to stigmatize religious people as dangerous morons whose views could not be taken seriously. Through the film, Maher travels to Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, as well as other centers of religion, interviewing believers and making them appear foolish. How did he gain interviews with his victims? HE LIED TO THEM, SAYING HE WAS MAKING A FILM CALLED ‘A Spiritual Journey.”
According to Maher, “THE IRONY OF RELIGION IS THAT BECAUSE OF ITS POWER TO DIVERT MAN TO DESTRUCTIVE COURSES, THE WORLD COULD ACTUALLY COME TO AN END.” He predicts the destruction of the human race as a result of “religion-inspired nuclear terrorism.” Hence the need for religion to die if mankind is to live. Maher’s views accurately reflect the attitudes of a movement called THE NEW ATHEISM, whose leaders are prominent scientists and best-selling authors, far superior in intellect to Maher but equally contemptuous of religion and religious believers.
Like Maher’s film, the New Atheism movement seeks to discredit all religious belief by caricaturing its adherents as simpletons, and worse. The goal of the New Atheism is to delegitimize and extinguish the religious point of view.”
Most people don’t realize that if God is dead,
THEN EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GROUNDS FOR CALLING ANYTHING – AN ACT, A STATEMENT, AN EVENT, A CHOICE, EITHER GOOD OR BAD, RIGHT OR WRONG, VALUABLE OR WORTHLESS, IMPORTANT OR UNIMPORTANT.
Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” (2006)
“Do we know of any……examples where stupid ideas have been known to spread like an epidemic? Yes, by God! Religion. Religious ideas are irrational. Religious believes are dumb and dumber. Religion drives otherwise sensible people into celibate monasteries or crashing into New York skyscrapers. Religion motivates people to whip their own backs, to set fire to themselves or their daughters, to denounce their own grandmothers as witches, or, in less extreme cases, simply to stand or kneel, week after week, through ceremonies of stupefying boredom.”
C.S. Lewis in his book “The Abolition of Man” writes:
“The triumph of personal desire over objective validity as a standard of behavior creates what is tantamount to a moral vacuum into which will rush disordered passions bloated in their abnormal freedom from any constraint.
The three passions are: THE LUST FOR SENSATION, THE LUST FOR MANIPULATIVE KNOWLEDGE, AND THE WILL TO POWER, respectively.
The egotistical will to power and pleasure supersedes any less explicit idea or sentiment of obligation to some criterion or good outside of self.
It assumes that the pleasure of self is the highest good and that life is an aesthetic phenomenon; under such conditions, society becomes a jungle in which eventually a contest for the survival of the fittest can only favor the Nazi, the Hell’s Angel, the robber baron, and the gangsters.”

THE NAZARETH MANIFESTO

Christopher Wright in his book “The Mission of God”, writes:
“The reign of YHWH, when it would finally come, would mean justice for the oppressed and the overthrow of the wicked. It would bring true peace to the nations and the abolition of war, the means of war, and training for war. It would put an end to poverty, want and need, and provide everyone with economic viability (under the metaphor “under his own vine and fig tree”). It would mean satisfying and fulfilling life for human families, safety for children, and fulfillment for the elderly, without danger from enemies, and all of this within a renewed creation free from harm and threat. It would mean the inversion of the moral values that dominate the current world order, for in the kingdom of God the upside down priorities of the beatitudes operate and the Magnificat is not just wishful thinking.”
J.D. Green in his book “Christology in Cultural Perspective”
“As Jesus stood on trial before the highest political-religious authority in all Jewish society, he calmly took to himself the identity of the “Daniel’s Son of Man”, whose authority would ultimately overthrow the beast of oppressive and persecuting powers (Daniel 7).
No wonder the chief priest tore his robes and cried blasphemy. It just won’t do when the chief priest is cast in the role of chief beast. Jesus’ radical claims and teachings were not just bursting old wineskins; they were enough to burst some political blood vessels.”
Matthew 4:17
From that day Jesus began TO PREACH, saying: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
John McArthur in his commentary on this verse writes:
“Jesus preached His message with certainty. He did not come to dispute or to argue, but to proclaim, TO PREACH. Preaching is the proclamation of certainties, not the suggestion of possibilities.”
“Repent involves a change of opinion, or direction, of life itself. To repent is to have a radical change of heart and will – and, consequently, of behavior.”
Christopher Wright writes:
“A change of political or economic or geographical landscape, a change of government, a change of social status may all be beneficial in themselves, but they will be of no eternal benefit unless the spiritual goals of exodus are also met. So to change people’s social or economic status without leading them to saving faith and obedience to God in Christ leads no further than the wilderness or the exile, both places of death.”

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Michael Heiser in his book “The Unseen Realm” in a summary statement says:
“The kingdom of God is already a present reality but isn’t yet realized. John the Baptist announced it. He introduced its king. Jesus preached its arrival and demonstrated what life in God’s Edenic world could and would be like; no disease, no infirmity, no demonic opposition.
The New Testament makes the rebirth of a struggle thousands of years in the making. The people of God have been isolated and under foreign rule. The divine presence of the days of Moses, David, Salomon, and the prophets is nothing but memory. When angels visit Mary and Zechariah to announce the impending births of Jesus and John, centuries of divine silence are broken. Thirty years later, Judea will explode. The unseen spiritual conflict is even more volatile.
Every chapter of the New Testament provides a glimpse into this conflict. The cosmic geography of the Old Testament is evident in the New. Where Jesus goes and what he says and does when he gets there is framed by confrontation with unseen powers. The conflict pursues him unto death – as God had planned, and as Jesus provoked. THE KINGDOM OF GOD ESTABLISHES A PERMANENT BEACHHEAD AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS AND THE DOOR OF THE EMPTY TOMB.

GOD SEEKS OUR WORSHIP

Worship has its focus on what we do with our lives.
John R.W. Stott
“Christians believe that true worship is the highest and noblest activity of which man, by the grace of God, is capable.”
Chuck Swindoll in his study Bible writes:
“It is attributing supreme worth to God, who alone is worthy of it. When we worship, that’s what we’re doing.
The purpose of the church is to cultivate worshipers. It isn’t a place to make business contacts or to go to check something off the weekly list or to bring your kids so they get something out of it. No, it’s a place to learn about our God so that our worship and understanding of Him become increasingly deeper and more meaningful. It’s a place where we give Him our praise and our gratitude.
Why is worship so important? Because it turns our full attention to the only One worthy of it.”
Jesus was using the element of water as a metaphor to describe a spiritual reality, something that would meet not just a need of the moment but a need for all eternity.
Chuck Swindoll has a wonderful commentary on verses 19-20
“Oh, you’ve been to seminary. You must be extremely smart. Let me ask you something I’ve always wondered about. How do you reconcile the great existential problem of God’s sovereignty and the free will of man?”
Only in her culture, the great debate revolved around the most appropriate place to worship an omnipresent God.
John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

THE COVENANT-KEEPING GOD

A few important questions:
• Who initiated the Covenant Idea? (6:18)
• Why did God pick Noah as a covenant partner? (6:8-9)
• What did Noah do after the promise of God? (6:22-7:1-5)
• Who made sure Noah was safe? (7:16)
• What was Noah’s response to God? (8:20)
• What was God’s response to Noah? (8:21-22)
• Was Noah fully convinced? (9:8-17)
Chuck Swindoll has this to say about Genesis 11:1-9
“One of the greatest enemies of the Christian life is the religious life. Religion is the broad way that most people take, thinking that somehow, they can do something to please God. Christianity is the narrow way that helps us understand what God has done for us.
Religion is what I do for God. Christianity is what God has already done for me. Religion is an EFFORT. Christianity is a GIFT.
The reason religion is so appealing to us is that we like feeling as if we are giving God a boost. We enjoy talking about all we’re doing for God rather than emphasizing what He has done for us. It makes us feel important. At first, religion might sound like it’s focused on God. But in the end, it’s all about us – our achievements, our glory, and our pride.”

THE POWER OF SALVATION

The Meaning of the Word Salvation:
The Greek word is “soteria” meaning to provide recovery, to rescue, to effect one’s welfare.
The Hebrew root word is “yesha” (the basis for the name Joshua and Jesus) signifies freedom from what binds or restricts and thus effects deliverance.
Salvation for many Christians has to do with something that happened to them in the past, or something they hope happened in the past.
For those people salvation has primarily to do with getting OUT OF HELL and getting in to HEAVEN.
I have no idea where this originally came from, but what I do know is that no matter how intense we search the entire Bible, NOT ONCE ARE WE BEING TOLD THAT WE ARE SAVED FROM HELL. It’s just not there.
What the Bible does say is THAT WE ARE SAVED FROM SIN. And Sin in its essence is A BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Sin separated us from having a relationship with God.
Salvation is the gracious work of God whereby He delivers undeserving, gospel-believing sinners from sin and its results; brings them into a right, vital relationship with Himself; and bestows on them the riches of His grace.
Dallas Willard in his book: LIVING IN CHRIST’S PRESENCE says:
“It’s not by accident that he (Jesus) says this, because that oneness, that community, is God’s signature. He doesn’t say, “May they be given ability to out-argue all their foes.” He doesn’t say, “May they be given the power to change the culture.” He doesn’t say, “May they be given really cool worship services.” Trinitarian fellowship is the foundation of the existence of that which is real.”
But eternal life is not AN EVENT. SALVATION IS NOT AN EVENT. SALVATION IS A PERSON. There is only ONE SAVIOR.

THE GLORY OF GOD

we have four texts taken out of the Word of God, all dealing with God’s Glory, and yet they all seem to say something different.
• Is God’s Glory the shining clouds
• Is it something the clouds point to
• Is it God’s honor or reputation connected with what we eat or drink
• Is it some standard to which you and I did not live up to
What is it?
What is the Glory of God?
כָּבוֹד kavod (Hebrew)
Literal meaning of this word is HEAVINESS, WEIGHT
In English we use the word heavy also as a metaphor.
• My heart is heavy when I heard your story
• This is a heavy message
We use this metaphor to describe that this message was intense and difficult to absorb or understand. And
• Literal: heaviness, weight
• Metaphorical: importance, reputation, honor
• Physical manifestation of one’s importance
• A Personal KAVOD = wealth & possessions
Why is this all important to understand? Because what the Biblical writer wants you to know is that KAVOD describes the reality of the physical weight, the wealth, the possessions, the importance, the reputation, the honor of people on this earth and then go OUTSIDE OF THOSE MANMADE ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND LOOK UP TO HEAVEN at night, look at the towering mountains, the beauty and splendor of God’s creation. It’s all real, things you can see and experience, we see and experience. The entire creation IS A REFLECTION OF GOD’S GLORY.
The entire realty of God’s Creation is God’s KAVOD.