FeelMyFaith.com

Creative Biblical content at the intersection of life and faith.

Perspective on Ebola

The Ebola outbreak is all over the news this morning.  In a matter of hours the first Ebola patient will cross the border of America, and actually be in the state where I live.  The media is reporting that 50 medical workers have been infected and died while working with patients in Africa.  One worker, they report, refused treatment sacrificing himself to save the lives of others.  

What the news is not reporting is that these are not merely "medical workers" dedicated to medicine.  These are missionaries dedicated to Christ.  They are giving up treatment for themselves not because they are dedicated to a cure, but because they know who they are and where they will be in Christ.

I received this message in an email this morning from one of our Kingdom servants in Senegal.  What a perspective!  What if we were so sacrificial in our own communities for the cause of Christ?

_____________

There have been people sending me messages asking if we’re in danger because of the Ebola virus that has hit Western Africa, because so many have been infected and died from this disease.  We are a good long distance away from these areas.  However, that doesn’t give any of us an excuse not to pray.  Our eternity is secure (all the members of our family).  Also, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV

We must pray, with a heart of compassionate urgency, for those affected by this epidemic, that they have an opportunity to hear the Truth.  I do pray for the American missionaries infected with this illness, but they know in whom they’ve put their trust.  I’m not saying that the loss of their lives is not a tragedy.  It is!  It is cause for grief when anyone dies, especially from such a horrible illness.  But, to die for them is not a lasting suffering.  It is just for a moment.  Then, they are in eternity without pain or grief, and in the presence of a great God that has loved them and chosen them since the foundation of the world.

For those that suffer with this incurable disease, death for them means unending terror and suffering as they’ve never experienced in this lifetime.  Worst of all, they spend an eternity separated from our loving Almighty God.  It breaks my heart to think about those that would suffer so terribly, then succumb to death (which Christ has overcome) and would not enter peaceful rest, but into an eternity of suffering exponentially more horrible than what they have endured in life.

Oh, precious brothers and sisters, we are getting ever nearer to the time when our Savior and Lord Jesus will return to take us to the Heavenly Home He’s created for us (Hallelujah!).  But, there are so many that are lost without Him.  My whole being aches with the grief of this sometimes overwhelming lostness. As we stop to consider all that have died just in just the past few weeks in Palestine, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ukraine, Mali and other places around the world (that have not been media-worthy), we must be pressed with an urgency like never before to prepare so many others for this Glorious Appearance.  Because when that trumpet sounds, it will be too late.
Continue reading
288 Hits
0 Comments

The Gay App

I just read a tweet from Baptist Press that says, "Sad but true:  Apple pulls 2 iPhone Christian apps but allows Playboy app, gay dating app, gay sex tips app."  The tweet links to the following story.  Here is an excerpt:

For the second time in four months, Apple has pulled a leading Christian app from its iPhone app store based on pressure from homosexual activists -- a decision critics are calling intolerant and discriminatory and one that could have a societal impact far beyond the realm of iPhone owners.

One of the nation's most powerful and popular companies, Apple pulled the Exodus International app March 22 after 150,000 people signed a petition at Change.org urging the company to remove what the petition called a "hateful and bigoted" app. The petition was started by Truth Wins Out, a homosexual group.  Read entire article here:



This article reflects a growing issue of religious freedom and intolerance in our culture.  A few months ago our church was directed by our insurance company to adopt an anti-discrimination and harassment clause that included language regarding tolerance for homosexuality.  By no means do we believe it is morally right for homosexual people to be harassed, yet as a Baptist religious institution that holds to a conservative interpretation of Scripture, we are naturally called to discriminate based on sexual orientation.  If an employee of our church announced that they were homosexual, we would have to regard them as Biblically unfit to lead.  Could they attend, yes.  Lead, no.  We regard homosexuality to be sexual sin because it is sex outside the covenant of heterosexual marriage.  We also hold that having a heterosexual affair with someone who is not your spouse is sin and we would also release that person from employment.  Our church has done so in the past and has Biblical warrant to do so in the future.  If I were to break the covenant of marriage with my wife I would not be fit to lead and the church would take necessary action.  We also discriminate based on religion.  We would not hire a Hindu or a Muslim to be an associate pastor.  Because of what we believe, we are called to judge, to differentiate and to discriminate.

Life cannot be lived without some level of discrimination.  In its mildest sense, to discriminate means to make judgments, to see the differences.  People do this with Coke and Pepsi everyday.  In its harshest sense to discriminate means to make a judgment about a person based on their association with a group rather than on merit.  Yet, in a religious institution, a person may be a great communicator, they may be very kind and pastoral, but if they are homosexual, adulterous, or participating in sexual fornication the Bible calls for discrimination, an ethical judgment.  The foul here is that homosexuality has been accepted as being no different than race.  This is a fallacious conclusion that has hijacked the rights and voices of those who have legitimate claims that they are being discriminated against because of ethnicity.  If the civil rights movement does not clarify its voice on this issue, the movement will soon become something else completely dominated by the homosexual agenda.  Case in point:  our insurance case.  Our civil rights are being violated because an insurance company is refusing to protect our property even though we are faithful customers.  Will we have an advocate?

In response to this issue we consulted with legal council and were told that since we are a religious institution that we were exempt from adopting such policies.  The advice we were given was to no avail as we were dropped by our insurance company.  The company agreed to insure us until the end of the month, and we have a company that has already agreed to accept us, but the matter is none the less disturbing.  Obviously, we are being discriminated against.

American, liberal, politically correct culture has taken the word discriminate to another level and refuses to allow anyone, except homosexuals (in the case of Apple and insurance companies) to say something is wrong.  These ideas are taking away the freedoms of groups, whether they be religious or otherwise to say that certain actions are immoral and we will not tolerate them in our group.  There are a myriad of issues here.  Must a Christian college consider atheists who apply to teach?  Several institutions have decided that they will not consider well qualified candidates who hold to Creationism - is this not discriminatory?  Will the Boy Scouts one day be forced to accept females?  Will state funded Universities who use tax dollars to provide scholarships be forced one day to accept all athletes, even the slow ones?  Is it discriminatory to say that a student is not smart enough to be accepted into an academic institution?  Yet, is it not discrimination to say that a group cannot discriminate?  Is it possible to have any group that is not in some sense discriminatory?  Is that not harassment on some level to say that a group cannot discriminate in any sense of the term?  It is verifiable intolerance.  Apple has made an obvious choice to discriminate.  How loudly will we cry foul?  Will it matter?  Is there an app for that?
Continue reading
272 Hits
0 Comments

Praying for North Africa

As we watch the news unfold in Egypt and Libya most of us are not quite sure what to do with it.  Who are these people?  What’s at stake?  Why is there so much unrest?  Why do our nation’s leaders seem to hold it at arms length?  I am sure there are a myriad of political responses to these questions, but I think there is one question that seems silent in the midst of the chaos.  What does this mean for the church and the gospel?

North Africa holds deep historical significance not only for the narrative of the gospel, but also for the early church.  An angel told Joseph in a dream to flee from Herod and take Jesus and Mary to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).  In church history Augustine of Hippo was from modern day Algeria.  Augustine was an influential theologian who shaped much of we believe about election, predestination, sin, and justification.  And it was from North Africa, either Egypt or Libya, that Arius developed a Christology that said that Jesus was of a different essence than the Father and as such could not be equal.  In reaction to Arius Constantine called for the council of Nicaea in 325.  There the council formed a powerful statement that accurately expressed the early church’s orthodoxy that indeed Christ was of the same essence as the Father and as such was equal with Him.  Heresy is great for orthodoxy!  And it was Origen, who taught in Alexandria, Egypt, whose extensive writings and commentaries helped give evidence of early church acceptance or rejection of certain books.  His work was instrumental in the canonization of the New Testament. 

From Jesus and throughout the first several centuries of the development of Christianity North Africa holds an important place in the spread of the gospel.  Currently North Africa has little to no gospel witness.  Living under the tyranny of oppressive regimes and strong Islamic influence, the flame of the gospel in North Africa has almost been extinguished.  Yet, as always, there is a remnant.  The American media is not interested in the story, but the church is suffering heavy persecution during the current unrest.  We need to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to survive.  Yet when the chaos subsides, what sort of regimes will gain control in North Africa?  Will they welcome free speech and religion?  Will they allow the people to investigate faiths outside of Islam?  Will the gospel be welcomed back?  Will the church re-emerge?  These are the issues that Christians in the state need to focus their prayers upon.  We need to pray for peace, the safety of the people, and the power of the gospel.  While we watch the news coverage let us not simply stand a world away and watch, but may we bow our knees to the sovereign God of nations and history that He will once again open up a door for the gospel in North Africa that no one is able to shut.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Continue reading
326 Hits
0 Comments

Judgement (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

One day we will all stand before God and give an account of our lives here on earth. We will find ourselves in one of two courts, the judgement of the redeemed or the judgement of the lost. At this point, there will be no going back, there will be no changing sides. You will either spend an eternity with Jesus as a new creation in his perfect heaven or in everlasting conscious punishment in the lake of fire. Today is the day of salvation; today could change everything.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
281 Hits
0 Comments

The Christian Vote in the Mid-Term Election (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Politics and religion- do they mix? This message answers that question with a definitive yes. God has made it clear how we should relate to our government, how government should relate to us, and what our priorities should be in that relationship. In 1 Samuel 8, God connects a political decision, a vote of the people with a commentary of what is happening with them spiritually. What will your ballot on November 2nd say about you?

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
262 Hits
0 Comments

Friends of God Clip

Tomorrow morning I am going to preach on "The Christian Vote in the Mid-Term Election."  The last time I preached on Christian involvement in politics some of the audio was used in Alexandra Pelosi's "Friends of God" documentary which aired on HBO.  Hopefully over the last 6 years I have cleaned up a little of my Georgia brogue.  I turned "ballot" into a 17 syllable word!  What's left of the accent may just be genetic.

Continue reading
254 Hits
0 Comments

Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?

Should Christians be involved in the political process?  There is a Biblical answer to this question that brings balance between two common extremes.  At one extreme is the idea that politics and Christianity should not mix.  There may be several reasons why one would hold to this viewpoint.  One may hold that the gospel demands the followers of Christ to withdraw from human government.  One may hold that since the end is predetermined that human politics is pointless.  In the end, who one votes for really doesn’t matter.  Or, one may hold that the political forum is so corrupt, and the kingdoms of the world under such influence of Satan, that politics could not possibly be a proper place to spread the gospel.  Similar to this view would be those who hold that the nature of politics compromises the gospel message, thus making the political forum an invalid means of evangelism.  Finally one may hold an anti-Christian position, that since many people in America are not Christian, Christian values should not influence the way people are governed. 

My response to this line of reasoning, that Christians should not be involved in politics, is simple.  Christianity is a valid worldview.  As such, if one is a follower of Christ he or she cannot possibly evaluate candidates, political journalism, or political movements without doing so through the lens of Scripture.  As a worldview, the Christian faith calls for believers to bring the world into subjection to Jesus Christ.  Christians should desire government to reflect its God ordained purposes and influence it to do so.(1)  God does not separate Himself from influencing government.(2)  If God has not withdrawn His hand from politics, why should His people do so?  Biblically, Christians have no warrant to withdraw.  To the idea that many people are not Christians and therefore Christians should not influence government, it is imperative to realize that politics is not ideologically or theologically neutral.  I am not a socialist, but socialism influences government.  I am not a homosexual; and percentage wise, homosexuals represent a very small minority of America, yet homosexuals strongly influence government.  To say that Christianity should not influence government because many people are not Christian is dishonest, misleading, or at the very least extremely naïve.

The other extreme of Christian political involvement is to equate a certain political party, or a certain ideological value, such as conservatism, with the gospel.  The Republican Party, in being more socially conservative, may better represent some Biblical values, but the Republican Party is not purposed to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  A more conservative America is not necessarily a version of America that fully pleases God.  Christians should not substitute political involvement for the full call of the gospel.  Christians should also avoid making the mistake of wholly endorsing a candidate who claims to be a Christian over one who does not.  Not every candidate is a Christian.  Some candidates claim to be Christians but represent none of the Biblical values.  If a candidate attends church, reads the Bible, and claims Christian faith, but proposes to uphold Roe v. Wade or homosexual marriage, I would not vote for that candidate.(3)  If a candidate runs in opposition, claims to be Mormon, and upholds Biblical values, I would vote for that candidate.(4)
  
What is the balance and where does it leave the Christian voter next Tuesday?  We cannot separate ourselves from the Bible when we vote.  Many things that are shaping our laws are antagonistic to Scripture.  Homosexual marriage should not be endorsed or encouraged.  Children in the womb are people and should not be killed.  People who have no mind to work should not be financially rewarded.  Evolution should not be taught in public education as scientific fact.  Freedom should not be compromised.  These sorts of issues are non-negotiable.  They are Biblical no-brainers.  Christians are called to stand against these ideas.  Involvement in the political process through campaigning, running for office, activism, or voting are legal, valid, and effective ways of opposing anti-Biblical ideas.
 
There are other issues, that when evaluated scripturally, may lead one to believe certain ideological directions are poor choices for our country.  Scripture teaches that humans are intrinsically flawed and evil.  The consolidation of power that we are witnessing in our country is extremely dangerous.  The governmental takeover of banking, health care, education, free trade, small business, and the abolition of state’s rights has historical precedent that serves to warn us.  In every historical example this type of tyranny has led to violations of human rights, free speech, and freedom of religion.  For example, health care is a critical issue in this mid-term election.  If the health care system is left to be controlled by people who hold to evolutionary science, economic socialism, and a non-Biblical view of the value of human life, every family in our country will suffer, with the exception of an elite few who control the system.  Again, there is plenty of historical precedent that bears this out.(5)
 
This mid-term election is critical to the future of our country.  Christians cannot neglect to vote.  At the same time, going forward, Christians cannot step away from influencing the political process.  As salt and light we are called to engage the culture.  Politics is a critical forum through which we should exercise our God given rights and exemplify the gospel mandate of bringing society under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.     
_____________________


1 In his article, “Evangelistic Politics” (Global Journal of Christian Theology, Jul 2008) Bob Lockhart writes that Christian involvement in politics helps it evangelistic enterprise by helping “law and government fulfill their role for which God designed them.”  He goes on to say, “If the laws of the United States, or of any nation, were to be based clearly and unambiguously on principles contained in Scripture, then the people would be more likely to see themselves as violating, not just the laws of the land, but also the laws of God. When people see themselves as violating the laws of God, they will be more likely to see their need for salvation, and the law will have fulfilled one of its primary purposes.”  It could certainly be said that American’s once made this intrinsic connection between God, morality, and law.  Yet as America becomes increasingly secular this connection is lost. 


2 The Bible teaches that God influences the hearts of kings, causes nations to rise and fall, and is replete with examples of God’s judgment of the nations. 

 3 Both the Democratic and Republican parties house numerous examples of this type of candidate who appeals to the “Christian” vote simply be claiming to be Christian while demonstrating no Biblical values in their voting record.  If a person claims to be a follower of Christ they should be expected to govern in a way that demonstrates Biblical values, doctrines, and convictions.  Those that are Christians who are governed by them should hold elected officials accountable to their faith.


4 I should distinguish here that I do not believe Mormonism is a Christian denomination or a Christian expression of faith (hence my use of a Mormon candidate as an illustration).  Mormonism holds to a view of God and the deity of Christ that is heretical to Scriptural teaching.  



5 The health care for the parliament in England is much better than that of the common citizen.  Fidel Castro gets better health care than the common worker.  Without the Biblical teaching that every life is valuable, an elite few are left to decide whose life is more valuable and worth saving.  It is a slippery slope.  I agree that the health care system should be changed.  The gospel would not have us neglect those who are suffering.  I do not have all the answers, but I do not believe the present course of change is the answer. 
Continue reading
209 Hits
0 Comments

Evangelistic Politics

Yesterday I wrote that for Christians, the agendas of the current political parties, news organizations, and political movements do not go far enough.  If we merely vote for the country to become more conservative we have fallen short of the gospel.  The gospel demands that we call men and women to repent of sin and trust Christ for salvation.  The gospel means that we not only vote, but that we become activists in the culture around us.  We are to be evangelists. 
Is involvement in the political process a viable part of the evangelism?  There are many throughout the centuries that advise the church step to away from politics completely and concentrate on influencing the culture by simply living out the gospel.  Should we completely divorce the church from the state?  Bob Lockhart writes a thought provoking article, citing four ways political involvement helps the church fulfill its evangelistic mission: [1]  1)  By changing the laws of the culture a moral climate is created that may make it easier for people to remain faithful to the gospel.[2]  2)  Christian political activity can serve to enhance the credibility of Christians with people to whom the political realm is an important area of life.  3)  Christian political activity can help to create laws and structures that are more in line with God’s purpose for law, part of which is to prepare a person for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  4)  Christian political activity can serve to create apologetic and evangelistic opportunities with people that otherwise might not ever participate in such dialogue.
The political forum is a verbal debate that validates viewpoints through results.  The gospel is a message that is spread orally and challenges people to new ways of living.  If Christians are not involved in politics the church loses a critical forum in which it can spread the gospel, not only to politicians, but to news agencies, political action groups, and to the culture at large.  The gospel is not simply telling someone how to go to avoid Hell and go to Heaven; the gospel is demonstrating that the Lordship of Christ is best for individuals, families, schools, the economy, etc.  Jesus brings new life to every social structure.  What about other religions?  If we allow Christianity to influence society, does this open the floodgate for other faiths to do the same?  This is a fallacious line of reasoning on two counts.  1)  The assumption is that other faiths do not already influence society or politics.  The recent Pier 51 Islamic mosque debate should put this idea to rest.  2)  This line of reasoning also assumes that Christians are not called to show other faith groups that Christ is a better way.[3]  Bible believing Christians should welcome the open dialogue and validate their message by living out the gospel.  Allow the culture to view the results.  If we retreat from the political process, many people will not hear the gospel.  Dr. Lockhart points out, “Responsible political activity can help the church with the evangelistic task by providing apologetic and evangelistic opportunities with a group of people that otherwise might never hear the message.”  The world needs to hear the message of the gospel.  The political forum is a critical conduit of evangelism.


[1] Bob Lockhart, “Evangelistic Politics”, Global Journal of Classical Theology (Jul 2008)
[2] Lockhart’s point here is that by passing laws that restrict social evils such as the display of pornography in public places people would have less access, experience a lesser degree of temptation, and as a result not be so prone to become unfaithful in their Christian walk.
[3] The entire Book of Hebrews fleshes this thought out.  The theme of the book is that Jesus is superior to all other messages about God and ways to God.
Continue reading
246 Hits
0 Comments

The Kingdom Comes (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

There is a climax to the story of the Bible. All prophecies and promises come true and everything is set right once and for all when God’s kingdom comes. The healthcare and economy will be great, there will be justice against evil, and security and rest from our enemies. Will you be a part of that kingdom? More importantly, are you a part of His kingdom now?

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
244 Hits
0 Comments

Vote Jesus

I have been preaching a series of sermons entitled, “What in the World is Going On?”  Our CLG’s have been using David Jeremiah’s book of the same name.  The study focuses on current events and prophetic clues as we try to lend a Biblical answer to what we see happening in our world today.  “What will be going on” in America next Tuesday is a very important mid-term election.  Throughout this sermon series I have been making statements to the effect that as Christians we cannot put our faith and trust in Fox News or CNN, the Republicans or the Democrats, Obamas or Bushs, Tea Parties or town halls as a means to restore America.  America needs to turn to Biblical faith in Jesus. 

Exactly what does a statement like this mean given that Jesus is not running for office?  Some may have mistakenly understood me to mean that Christians do not need to be involved in the political process; whether that process be running for office, voting, or involvement in political agendas such as the Tea Party movement.  This is not what I mean.  What I do mean is that it is a mistake for Christians to equate Biblical faith with the platform of a political party, a political news channel, or a political movement.  The most common mistake is to equate conservative politics with the gospel.  Fox News may be far more conservative than CNN, but they are not necessarily propagating the gospel.  If we wake up post-election and there are more Republicans in the Senate than Democrats this does not mean that suddenly our country is once again pleasing to God.

The gospel does not call us to less political involvement, instead it calls us to go further than politics.  While I may feel that the Tea Party is good for America, Biblically it does not go far enough.  We need to get Americans back to work, but we also need to call our country to repent of sin and turn our hearts to Jesus Christ for salvation.  We need to vote our conscience on health care, but we should also be agents of healing.  It is not enough to vote against candidates who are pro-choice, we must also open up our homes for adoption.  We must do more than vote, more than rally, more than watch.  The gospel does not call for us to vote like Jesus.  The gospel calls for us to be like Jesus. 

This Sunday I will be preaching on Biblical answers for next Tuesday’s vote.  As we walk towards the weekend I will certainly write more on the topic.  I welcome your questions and comments as we go along.
Continue reading
241 Hits
0 Comments

The Return of Christ (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

The Bible teaches that Christ is going to return. Discerning people will recognize that it could be soon and will prepare themselves. Until that moment, we should purify our lives, keep doctrinally sound, and be obedient to the will of God.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
222 Hits
0 Comments

Seven Years (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

When is the end of the world? Mankind has tried to answer this question throughout time. The National Enquirer, Nostradamus, and even the Mayans have had their theories. However, what is most important is to know that the world is going to end. God has a plan to fulfill His redemption story once and for all. Therefore, the ultimate question is - am I ready for His return? The End.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
222 Hits
0 Comments

Seven Churches (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

The church is losing its voice in the world today, and we cannot blame it on anyone but ourselves. The line between the sacred and the sinful has become blurred by the lifestyles of those who claim to carry the name of Christ. Consequently, John delivers letters from the mouth of God to seven churches revealing that they have lost their impact on the world around them. Through the warnings left to these churches, we can equip ourselves to be effective and faithful to the very end. We must become a people of influence in these final days. We must share His gospel while there is still time.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
225 Hits
0 Comments

Living on Gentile Time (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

As Gentiles, we exist outside the covenants of God with His people the Jews. However, through grace we have been given a time to enter into the promise brought about by salvation. God made a way for us to be included while His own still reject Him. This is our time, our opportunity, to repent, cleanse, share, and worship. God will redeem His own, as promised; but for now we are to follow Him and be ready for His return.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
257 Hits
0 Comments

Gentiles, Jews, Israelites, and Hebrews

Lord willing, the next two Sundays will deal with prophecy as it relates to current events.  What is God doing now?  A primary text for these sermons will be Romans 9 – 11.  This passage speaks repeatedly of Israel and Gentiles.  This morning I received a great list of questions seeking clarification on the terms Jew (Israelite) and Gentile.  Given the topics for the next couple of weeks here is some simple information that may help.
Q:  What is the difference between Jews and Gentiles?
A:  Technically the Bible only distinguishes two ethnic races, Jews and Gentiles.  Jews are descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.  Everyone else, regardless of nationality, skin color, or modern ethnicity is Gentile. 
Q:  What is the origination of the name “Israel?”
A:  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel in Genesis 35:10
Q:  What is the difference in the terms Jew, Israelite, and Hebrew? 
A:  The answer is yes and no.  Most commonly, people do not make a distinction.  Yet, strictly speaking there is a difference which would explain the existence of the three.  From an Old Testament sense the term Hebrew refers to the ethnic race of people (Jews) that were involved in the Exodus from Egypt.  It is the most proper sense of referring to the ethnic nation of Israel.  Because of the divided kingdom the tribes in the Southern nation (Judah) were known as Jews, while the tribes of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) became known as Israelites.  Yet there are many texts in which the term Israel (ie. Rom 9-11) is used to refer to the entire ethnic nation.
Q:  What are the tribes of Israel?
A:  The tribes of Israel are derived from the lineage of every Hebrew (Jewish) person as it is traced through the 12 sons of Jacob (Gen. 29:31ff).  Each tribe carries the name of a brother.  However, there is no tribe of Joseph.  In Genesis 48 Jacob (Israel) passed on the family blessing to Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh. 
Q:  Can one be “Jewish” without being born “a Jew?”
A:  Yes and no.  Some people mistake ethnic “Jewishness” with the religion known as Judaism.  Judaism is a religion that worships the Creator God (the same God referred to in what Christians call the Old Testament).  This God chose and redeemed the nation of Israel.  The Christian Old Testament is derived from the Hebrew Scriptures which are commonly called “Torah” but are technically known by Jews as the “Torah – Law”, “Prophets”, and “Writings.”  Many ethnically born Jews do not subscribe to Judaism.  Some people who are not ethnically born Jews convert to Judaism and become in a sense “Jewish.” 
Q:  Do Jews go to church?
A:  It can be very offensive to a worshipping Jew to refer to their attendance of “church.”  The term “church” is most commonly used to refer to Christians who gather to worship Jesus.  Religious Jews (Judaism) do not worship Jesus. Those who hold to Judaism gather together for worship in synagogues.  However, some ethnically Jewish people do recognize Jesus as Messiah. They believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of The Law, Prophets, and Writings.  In this sense, Christianity is technically an expression of Judaism. 
Because of the deep roots of the New Testament Christianity in Judaism and the nation of Israel, it is sinful for people who claim to follow Christ to despise or discriminate against Jews.  The gospel would forbid this of any people, but especially the Jews.  Romans 9-11 condemns Gentile Christians who would despise Jews.  Romans 9 – 11 would encourage Gentile Christians to marvel at how God relates to Israel and respond to these truths with humility toward the Jew and worship of the sovereign God through Jesus Christ.      
Continue reading
341 Hits
0 Comments

Promises that Rock the World part 2 (sermon audio: Sun. am.)

God takes His covenant with Abraham and brings it into greater focus with David. He reveals that there will be a son who will sit on the throne forever. We know this Son to be Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of covenant and prophecy. However, what does this mean for us today? We did not vote for this king, nor does he vie for our approval and affections. Yet, we try to approach our holy God as a political process. Jesus has been established as Lord over all things and our response should be surrender. God’s plan for the ages and His people will be accomplished regardless of our opinions, but always for the ultimate good of those who love Him.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
251 Hits
0 Comments

Promises that Rock the World part 1 (sermon audio: Sun. am.)

God promised Abraham a blessing that we benefit from even today. Whether we are Abraham’s seed by lineage or by faith, we take part in this blessing. However, in this promise there are conditions. We must have a direction and path of obedience, a community of people who encourage us as we journey through this life surrounded by temptation, and a distinct purpose of being a conduit of the blessing by sharing the gospel.

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
223 Hits
0 Comments

Sin and the Son (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Two things are shaping our existence, sin and the Son. Everyday our bodies and minds are influenced because of these forces. From the very beginning, man and woman experienced temptation and sin in the garden and the curse it brought with it. Since that time, we have been thoroughly ruined and blinded by the same. However, through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, redemption from the curse of sin was made available and is changing lives still today. From this we know we have all been impacted by sin, but what will we do with the Son?

Listen to Audio
Continue reading
252 Hits
0 Comments