The world is watching how the church will continue to respond to the issue of racism that is so evident in our world today.
series: Red Letter City
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: May 1, 2016
scriptures: Matthew 5:21-26, Psalm 145:8-9, 1 John 4:8, Ephesians 4:25-27, Ecclesiastes 7:9, Hebrews 12:14-15, Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5, Ephesians 2, 1 John 4:19-21
This is an issue that a lot of people deal with… and for most of us, the way we deal with it is to stuff it. The problem is that the things you stuff tend to grow roots in the grounds of your heart… Hebrew calls it a “root of bitterness,” - what happens is, if you never process your feelings, you will get so used to having them that you will begin to justify them. Because they will feel natural to you. And what Jesus is saying here is that when that happens, things can get very ugly very very quickly.
and then there is this:
A lot of people have what I call an “Angry God syndrome.”
They have this idea in their head that God is mad at everybody all the time… and they paint this picture of a God who is upstairs waiting, rubbing his hands together in excitement, licking his lips in anticipation of the moment when he gets to finally bring judgment on our nation, and on this group of people, and on this type of person. and the bible does talk about God being angry with wickedness, and there is plenty of talk in the bible about God’s judgment…
But here is the issue.
and this is why the sermon on the mount is so incredibly crucial to our lives... Because people believed all sorts of things about God back then… things that were not right.
Things that were not love.
AND people today believe all sorts of things about God that are not right. Things that are not love.
and whatever you think that God is like, if you truly believe you are a follower of him then you are going to try and be that… Isn’t that what Jesus says in Luke? A disciple is not better than his teacher, but he will be like him.
So we have this nation of “Christians” who want to be like God…
but they think God is angry all the time!
and this leads to all sorts of problems. Because if God hates this type of person, then you can hate this type of person.
Because we are just trying to be like God.
So… as people who have Jesus in our lives… who are disciples of Jesus and who want to be more like the God that we serve… I think that it is incredibly important that we understand what God is like.
Does God ever get angry? Yes.
Is God living in a constant disposition of anger toward the world? No.
the rest is in the sermon.
series: Cultivate the Romance
title: They gave our of uncertainty
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: January 31, 2016
scriptures: Luke 24:13-32, Nehemiah 10:35, Acts 20, James 4:17, Romans 11:16, Numbers 15:17-20, 1 Kings 17, Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Leviticus 23:11, 1 Corinthians 15:20-21, John 12:32, Luke 23:46, Psalm 31:5, Matthew 27:28,
Paul says, “if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
The principle of the first fruit originated with the Hebrew wordBikkurim. When you read in Nehemiah when he says “we obligate ourselves to bring the first fruit…” or anywhere in the old testament when it says “bring the first fruit,” the word is bikkirum.
Bring the bikkirum.
The bikkurim is the part of the harvest that ripened and came forth before the rest of the harvest did.
The part that ripened and came forth first… God said, that part is mine! and this is an absolutely fascinating fact about Jewish history.
What they would do in those days, is the farmer would notice that a branch would have the bikkurim on it, and he already knew the principle of the first fruit, he already knew “this part is for God” so what would happen is he would take a little scarlet ribbon and he would walk up to the branch that had the fruit on it, and he would tie this scarlet ribbon on the branch as to say “THIS IS FOR THE LORD.”
He was marking it. He was setting it apart. He was saying, “God we give you the first.” He was asking the Lord to bless it. That is why we gave you the little red ribbons this week when you walked in… You can keep it as a token to remember, or you can take it and wrap your offering or offering envelope in it if you are giving a physical offering.
But the bikkirum was the first. It wasn’t just any piece of fruit… a good batch or a bad batch. It was was came first.
it had to be the first! It was the part that came before the harvest…
The farmer didn’t know whether the harvest was going to be large or if much of the fruit would not survive. All he knew for sure was that he the bikkurim. The only certainty was the bikkurim.
He didn’t give out of poverty or out of lack, he gave out of not knowing what it would be,
he gave it out of uncertainty.
He gave the only thing that was certain, out of uncertainty.
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)