#6 Divorce

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series: Red Letter City

title: Divorce

date: May 22, 2016

teacher: Jacob Bender

scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Matthew 5:27-32, Matthew 19:1-9, Genesis 2:24, Genesis 2:18, Genesis 1:31, Isaiah 1:8, 1 Corinthians 7, Malachi, Jeremiah 3:8, Hebrew 4:15, Isaiah 61, Leviticus 16

In that day, there were two schools of thought that dominated their culture… Two Rabbi’s who lived just before Jesus’ ministry, and they each had two very different yokes. Two very different interpretations of the scriptures, and a lot of the debates in that day, which Jesus was essentially throwing himself into the middle of, in the sermon on the mount… basically were asking this question…

which yoke is it?

Is it Hillel?

Or is it Shammai?

Hillel was always the more liberal one… the burden was extremely light, his yoke was incredibly easy, and normally erred on the side of peoples welfare. He was immensely popular, and was at one point the president of the Sanhedrin (which was like the Jewish Supreme Court). 

The other well known Rabbi was Shammai, who tended to be much more conservative… more strict in his interpretation.

So the people would read this verse in Deuteronomy… and they would consider the Ketubahs that they signed their name on…

And what people wanted to know is: what gets me out? Because only a rabbi had the authority to get you out of your marriage, so the question is, “on what grounds will you give me a certificate of divorce?”

And Hillel’s yoke essentially said: indecency is indecency. If she spoils a dish that she is preparing, you can leave. If she burns your toast, and you want out, I will sign your certificate of divorce. Basically his interpretation says, “if you want out, just get out. I will give you a certificate of divorce.” 

it was very lax.

But Shammai held a much more strict interpretation. He said, essentially, “no, we can’t do that to women, you can’t throw them out because of burnt toast or because of a bad day… you can only divorce your wife if there is marital unfaithfulness.” 

So the people in that day knew what these two rabbi’s thought, and they wanted to know, what does Jesus say? 


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#3 The Law

series: Red Letter City

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title: The Law

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: April 24, 2016

scriptures: Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 24, John 16, Matthew 11:29, Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13, Galatians 5:4, Matthew 23, Acts 15, John 1:14, John 19

One of the key questions to understanding the sermon on the mount, is the order of the sermon.

Is it coincidence that Jesus first gave us the beatitudes, speaking a blessing over the broken people who were there with him, before telling them that they were salt and light? 

was it laid out in advance?

I am not sure, but I don’t really get an image of Jesus going into his sermons with an outline. I think its probable that everything he said was incredibly timely and that he discerned what it was the the people needed to hear next, and I think that its very likely that he said what he said here about the law, because he realized that these people were beginning to go somewhere in their minds. 

again, you have to consider the crowd. Just take the disciples… the bible says that they were often slow to understand. they were uneducated fishermen… beyond the uneducated fishermen were a group of outcasts who had just been told that they are blessed… that they are salt and that they are light.

Could it be that these things were already getting to their heads? 

He says “do not think…

did he get the impression that they had begun to think this?

Jesus has brought a brand new, upside down Kingdom, and with it he has promised the marginalized crowd on the outskirts of the mountain and his ragamuffin group of disciples, that they were ultimately going to be the image bearers of hope. 

Could it be that these people began to think in their minds, that everything he was teaching meant he was replacing the law with himself… and that in the new role he had just given them, of being salt and light, meant that they no longer needed to follow the law, but instead needed follow this new teaching.

So right away he brings them back to reality. He says “I didn’t come to do away with the law. Heaven and earth will pass away before the law does… I came to fulfill the law!’

I am sure they were thinking, okay, awesome, glad we got that out of the way. Now lets go back to our beards that we can’t cut, our side burns we can’t trim, the foods we can’t mix together, and the 613 laws that we have spent our whole lives trying to keep even though we know that it is impossible for anybody to ever keep them all perfectly… Why would we have thought that he came to do away with those laws? Silly us.

He only is claiming that he will fulfill them.

"oh... much better... and to think I actually thought he was saying........"

and then its likely they had another moment… one of those “Wait a second!” moments. 

Fulfill the law? Is this guy crazy?!!!????!?!!?!?!?!!!!?

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The law was not something that the Hebrew people thought needed to be fulfilled. They thought the law was a book of rules that they were bound too. They didn’t understand that they all pointed, as did the rest of the bible, to the coming Messiah. and so for him to come here and say, “I am going to fulfill the law” they would have been totally, utterly, shocked. 

but not only the law… but the prophets as well! For those of you who have been joining us at Equip as we have been studying each beatitude in depth, we have been talking a lot about Luke chapter 4, when Jesus said that he had fulfilled the first half of what the Prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 61… and how the crowd was shocked by that statement.

But here, Jesus is making, without a doubt, the boldest statement anybody could ever had made in that culture.

He is saying in this moment… “I am going to fulfill the entire thing.” 

#10 Self Control

Date: September 6, 2015
Series: The Fruit of the Spirit
Title: Self Control
Teacher: Jacob Bender

scriptures: Proverbs 25:28, 1 Corinthians 9:25, Joshua 6, Nehemiah 1:4, John 14:26, Hebrew 4:14, Romans 7:19, 1 Peter 5:8, Nehemiah 2:17, Proverbs 16:32, Luke 4:1-15, 1 Kings 3:1-15, John 1:1, John 1:4, Luke 23:34, Luke 23:37, Psalm 91:11-12, Luke 3:21-22, John 14:16, 2 Corinthians 3:17

Self Control, or as the King James version calls it, temperance, is the Greek word egkrateia and it means “The Virtue of One who masters his desires and passions” – It is the word “krat” which means lordship, combined with the word “ego,” meaning “self.” It essentially means that you have “Lordship over your self”

Perhaps a better, more applicable way to say it is like this, that your “self” does not have lordship over you.

You are not controlled by the quick impulses, the fleshly desires, or even the first instincts.

Jesus had to demonstrate incredible self control when he was being tempted by the Devil, and he is our ultimate example of “Self Control” as well as every other fruit.

#1 The Sinful Heart

DATE May 17, 2015
TEACHER: Jacob Bender
SERIES: Intentions
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)