“This is He who came through water and blood”
title: Yom Kippur
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: October 16, 2016
scriptures: Jonah (entire book), Leviticus 16, Leviticus 16:22, Hebrews 10:8-14
This last week, those who practice Jewish culture celebrated Yom Kippur. This year it was Tuesday, October 11th at sundown, and ended Wednesday October 12th at the same time. And there is a Jewish tradition… that in their afternoon services on Yom Kippur every year, they read, in its entirety, the book on Jonah. And its a tradition that dates back thousands of years… where families would all gather around together on Yom Kippur, and they would read it together.
Which for someone who is not Jewish, the first question that I have, is why?
Because to most people, the book of Jonah is the story of a guy who got eaten by a whale. Who was in his belly for three days, and then he got spit out. Thats the gist of what most of us know about the book.
So, today we are going to start our series on the book of Jonah, exploring some of those questions…
questions like: Why is this book so significant?
Why is it considered to be one of the books known as “the prophets” when Jonah doesn't give a single prophecy the entire time… Why do the Jews, on their holiest day of the year, take the time to sit down and read the book in its entirety?
series: Red Letter City
date: July 24, 2016
teacher: Jacob Bender
scriptures: Matthew 7:1-6, Acts 5, 1 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 1 Samuel 24:5, Numbers 15:37-41, Matthew 9, Luke 8, Matthew 13:45-46, 1 John 4:16-17
series: Red Letter City
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: May 15, 2016
scriptures: Matthew 5:27-30, Matthew 23:3, Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:27, Luke 8:17, Luke 12:3, Romans 2:16, Genesis 39, Jeremiah 7:30-31, Ephesians 2:10, Luke 22:15, Psalm 51:10, James 1:17.
I remember picking up my kids from school on Spring afternoon... it was just a beautiful day outside and we were driving home. and on the way home, there is this stop sign at Gratiot that we have to stop at and sometimes its really easy to turn onto Gratiot and other times its a total zoo… so much traffic just flying by and the only way to merge onto the street is to turn into the left turn lane and then make your way over… it was one of those days… and even after I had merged into the lane, it only took a little while before the side of traffic I was on came to almost a stop, just tons of cars, and on the other side cars were just FLYING by.
and I looked over, and standing in the middle lane, the left turn lane, was a man just standing there on his phone, laughing. Just standing there in the middle of traffic. He wasn’t really even trying to cross the street, he looked like he was just enjoying a conversation in the middle of traffic, hanging out between the yellow lines. People were trying to get into the left lane from both directions and he was preventing them. It was almost like he didn’t even notice what it was that he was surrounded by… like he didn’t hear the horns or understand the frustration he was causing actual drivers whom that part of the road is supposed to belong to.
He was so engaged in the world of his seemingly happy conversation, that he paid no attention to the potentially deadly environment that he was literally standing in the center of himself, or the way it messed up other people just trying to get through their commute. and I merged onto the highway and moved on, uncertain of what happened to that guy. But I know this. What he was doing was causing grief and frustration to others… probably unbeknownst to him. and if someone who needed to turn got over and didn’t see him…
he wouldn’t be laughing on the phone anymore.
It had the potential to fall apart very quickly.
It was a fine line he was walking on, one that he willingly gave up a certain level of control over his own safety for, to engage in this moment privately on the phone, yet surrounded by hundreds of cars who could take him out at any moment whether on purpose or on accident. I think that sometimes we find ourselves in trouble, and we don’t even realize it. We don’t realize that we are hurting others. We don’t realize the danger that we are in. We are think things like, “Oh, it is only in my mind… it will never go beyond this… and its not hurting anyone.” and we forget that devastating reality behind iniquity…
“whatever your eye hooks to, multiplies.”
and you can think that you have your own little private life in your head and think that its not affecting anyone but I assure you, that as whatever your eye hooks to, begins to multiple your life will begin to change. And you may not notice it right away, but it will wear on those around you. It will cause grief to people and they may not even be able to figure out why. But the truth is… that the reason that Jesus deals so dramatically with the Spirit of the law is because he knows that where your thoughts go… and what you dwell on, is a window into what you are becoming.
So Jesus says “lets cut this off at the source.”
DATE May 17, 2015
TEACHER: Jacob Bender
TITLE: The Sinful Heart
SCRIPTURES: Proverbs 20:6, Matthew 6, Romans 2:16, Psalm 103, 2 Corinthians 5, Matthew 5:27-30, Matthew 5:17, Luke 13:10-17, Philippians 4:8, James 1:14-15, Matthew 5:21-22, Ephesians 4:26-27, Hebrews 12:15, Isaiah 53:5, Hebrews 12:2, Isaiah 42:3, 1 John 1:9, James 5:16,
The Hebrew word picture for the word iniquity is: an eye. a hook. and fish multiplying.
Its the word Avon. A-V-N.
And what it means is “whatever your eye hooks to, multiples.”
Most people believe that when Jesus came to earth, he made things easier for us. He came and died for us and saved us by grace, and now we don’t have to worry about the letter of law or anything like that. He came that we may be free. and he did.
But a closer examination of the sermon on the mount will reveal to you that in a lot of ways he actually made it harder, before making it easier. He made it easier because he took the weight for us… because he knows that there is no way to live up to the law… but he did not come to abolish the law, but to sustain by properly interpreting the law (Matt. 5:17)
And then he goes on to start saying things like, “you have heard it be said not to murder… BUT I SAY…” and suddenly he takes it further beyond the letter of the law and addresses the Spirit of the law… what is going on in your heart?
Matt: 5:21-2 – you have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder… but I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…
Matt: 5:27-28 – You have heard it said, “you shall not commit adultery… but I SAY that everyone who even looks at a woman with lustful INTENT has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The key word is intent. What is going on inside your heart? Do you have secrets? Do you have a part of your life that you don’t want anybody else to see? Jesus understood that transgression (outward actions) ALWAYS begins with iniquity (inward motivations)
And with this thought, we are embarking on our intentions series. Looking deep into the depths of our hearts, to work out the things that we know are in there… the things that we don’t even realize are in there… the things that we know are in there but don’t want anybody else to know are in there, and even the things that we know are not in there but want other people to think are in there.
I want to invite you to join us over these fives weeks that we really begin to work out ourselves, before we look at what is next for our church.
Because “you have to have intent, before you can have content.” (Ravi Zacharius)