Character means that We live publicly like we do in private. We write the Word of God on our hearts, practice generosity, and prioritize integrity.
series: Red Letter City
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: June 5, 2016
scriptures: Matthew 5:38-42, Matthew 7:11, Exodus 21:23-25, Galatian 2:9, Matthew 7:12, Joshua
On Friday Dawn and I drove down to Ann Arbor to visit Matt and Chavonne in the hospital... Their daughter, baby Charlotte was born, and she is just the sweetest thing. She was born, I think a whole two months early, so she is just absolutely tiny and so so precious. And I just need to say this about Matt and Chavonne. I have never in my life seen two believe glow the way that they were glowing that day. The peace. The excitement, and the love in their eyes toward this absolutely precious child was just amazing.
And I can’t explain it. I know that, their pregnancy was very difficult. They went through some really hard circumstances, things that I could not even begin to imagine… and I know that the whole pregnancy was to a degree plagued with some fear and so to at the end of it all be holding this amazing child obviously was such a sign of the grace of God and an amazing hope for the future.
Jesus says something a little later in the sermon on the mount, and we will get to it in a couple of months, but he says this:
“if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.”
and I thought about that when I saw the way that Matt held his daughter. and the look on his face, and the way everything toward Charlie was unconditional love… and as strange as this sounds… it made me realize something about violence. and the way that we treat each other. The same way that Matt looks at his daughter, God looks at all of his children. and I think that for most of us, we want to always know that we can come to God knowing that no matter what we have done, he still looks at us with that same twinkle in his eye. That same unconditional love.
and not only that… but there are millions of other Matt’s in the world. People who think the world of their children. Who would do anything for them. And in every situation that you find yourself in, in which you are paired AGAINST another person… that person is someone’s child. That person has a world of people that he has touched merely by being born….
and that person is a child of the living God.
and if we approach every situation and every confrontation that we are faced with from that perspective, perhaps it would be easier than you think to do what Jesus asks of us here in this revolutionary sermon.
Title: False Witnesses
Date: November 1, 2015
Teacher: Jacob Bender
scriptures: Matthew 12:33-37, Proverbs 18:21, James 3:1-12, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 26:17-26, Romans 10:13-14, Matthew 27:46, James 4:6, John 3:16
“The things said in confidence, spread in confidence.”
False witness is the Hebrew word שָֽׁקֶר׃ šā·qěr (shek air) – and it means “a lie, or a breach of faith.”
It is so much more than just a lie. It is so much more than making something up. It is also an abuse of information. It is not being trustworthy. It is not controlling your tongue. It is lying, and it is gossip. And it destroys communities and it destroys churches, and it destroys trust faster than anything else I have ever seen.
It is the 9th commandment, and the Hebrew letter that represents nine is the letter “Tet” and the word picture for “Tet” is a picture of a snake. Now think about this. What does a snake represent? You can take this one all the way back to the fall of man… How does the serpent manage to get man to fall?
He bears false witness against God.
He convinces Eve, “yes, God said that, but that is not true. That is God’s paranoia that you are only one step behind him and if you eat of the fruit your eyes will be opened. If you eat of it, you will level the playing field.”
He lied about God. He made Eve think that God has an insecurity issue. He painted a picture that was not true, and she bought into that picture.
From the beginning of time entire worlds were being destroyed by the stupid words that are said. It is the devils only weapon, but unfortunately, for a lot of us, it is the only weapon he needs. So that is why we are taking an entire message to talk about it. Because words shape people.