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 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.

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.

“IN THE BEGINNING”

Christianity Today Magazine published an article titled:
“The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches”
“Christians claim to believe the Bible is God’s Word. We claim it’s God’s divinely inspired, inerrant message to us. Yet despite this, we aren’t reading it. A recent LifeWay Research study found only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day.”
……Our lack of biblical literacy has led to a lack of biblical doctrine. LifeWay Research found that while 67 percent of Americans believe heaven is a real place, 45 percent believe there are many ways to get there—including 1 in 5 evangelical Christians. More than half of evangelicals (59 percent) believe the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal being—in contrast to the orthodox biblical teaching of the Trinity being three Persons in one God. As a whole, Americans, including many Christians, hold unbiblical views on hell, sin, salvation, Jesus, humanity, and the Bible itself.

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on this subject writes:
“When Moses told the story of creation, he drew upon the literary symbol of light to communicate an important truth. After the formation of space and matter, the Lord filled the void and formless earth with light – literal light, yes, but not merely illumination. Before He fashioned physical sources of light on the fourth day – the son, moon, and stars – He filled the universe with the light of His presence, with truth, the foundation upon which everything else would be built. Before giving the world order (dividing day from night, sky from earth, dry land from ocean), the Lord suffused every atom with His truth so that everything would reflect His character.”