sermons about Hebrew Culture

My Father was a Wandering Aramean

My Father was a Wandering Aramean

First Fruits Sunday

The Bible

The Bible

Guest Speaker Shane Willard.



The first few words of Acts 2:1 reveals that there is more going on with Pentecost than just what was happening that day. 

seven: conversation

seven: conversation

conversation means that we bind and we loose together, we learn together, we serve together, and we grow together

We welcome each other’s perspectives, and we depend on each other’s accountability. 


Where is the Space?

series: Rachab

title: Where is the Space?

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: September 3, 2017

scriptures: Genesis 26:12-25, Psalm 31:15

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Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” 
So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” 
From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

Sometimes, we find ourselves lost in a sea of things that the world throws at us, and we get so distracted with all of the things that WE THINK THAT WE HAVE TO DO... that we never do the THINGS THAT WE ACTUALLY SHOULD DO. 

and time gets sucked away, leaving us feeling like there is no space for us to actually create the things that we believe we are supposed to make out of this life. 

But just like Isaac, I believe that the Lord has made room for you, here and now. He has made room for your dreams, he has made room for your gifts... 

But sometimes we can't see the things that are right in front of us... So lets ask ourselves a question... 

What is it for me? What is it for you?

What is it that is keeping you from your calling? What is keeping you living life as if you don’t actually have any.… What is keeping you living like you are already dead? 

What is taking up the space in your mind?

In your heart?

In your life? 

What is filling the space? 

What needs to be laid on the altar to create space in your life for what Jesus wants to do? 

What has you bound and maybe you don’t even know it?

Perhaps the best way to answer that, is to answer this question: 

What is taking your time? 

Psalm 31:15 says "my times are in your hand;" 

We need to be like David, and place our times into the hands of Jesus. Time is a most valuable asset, and we will waste it if we remain distracted and never create space for the spirit to move in our lives. 


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#2 Busyness

series: Thawing

title: Busyness

date: January 15, 2017

teacher: Jacob Bender

scriptures: Mark 4:2-20, Psalm 46:10 (mentioned), John 14:26 (mentioned), Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16 (mentioned), 1 Timothy 5:8, Proverbs 11:29, Matthew 27:50-51, Matthew 11:30

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#1 Yom Kippur

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series: Jonah

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? 

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#7 Oaths

series: Red Letter City

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title: Oaths

date: May 29, 2016

teacher: Jacob Bender

scriptures: Matthew 5:33-37, Numbers 30, Ecclesiastes 5:2, Luke 8:17, Matthew 12:36, Matthew 16:16-19, Matthew 18, James 4:7, Ephesians 6, Ephesians 4:27, 1 Peter 5:8, Luke 13:15

I don’t know Rick Warren. 

But I have met him. 

somewhere out there, there is a picture of me that I have, of Dawn and I with Rick Warren, but I couldn't find it this week. I only have a picture because when I met him, he said “lets take a picture for facebook!” and so we took one… but I guess I never posted it to facebook. and I now I can’t find it. But it exists somewhere. But I don’t know Rick Warren. I had emailed him a couple of times about our bands music because we wrote one particular song that I thought he would really like, and he was very encouraging and said that he did. 

The last time that I put out an album with my band was in 2011, and on release day, because of our previous conversations, Pastor Warren very graciously sent out one tweet on twitter encouraging people to go and check out our record. 

One tweet, and suddenly thousands and thousands of people were going and checking out our songs. For a few hours our page had more visits than it had had the whole month. Until he sent out another tweet, and the one about us got lost. 

His name brought me a temporary sense of popularity. 

Because he said it was good, people wanted to hear for themselves.

and I could scream from the rooftops how great I thought my own music was, but when someone who had already done something significant… 

like written the best selling book of all time other than the bible… when he puts his name on it, people listen. 

It is very easy to use other people’s names to elevate our purposes. 

There are certain name drops that become trump cards in conversations. and in Jesus’ time and in the generations leading up to Jesus it was no different. People made promises all of the time, it was not really a big deal. But if a person were to make a “vow” or an oath, it would almost automatically be believed… and that is what Jesus was addressing here. The concept of oaths. Of promising something with someone else’s name attached to it. 

But do you even know the one whose name you have attached to your purposes? 

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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.” 

#5 They gave out of uncertainty

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, 

The Root

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. 

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#5 Culminating at Grace

Series: The Narrative of Grace

Title: Culminating at Grace

Teacher: Jacob Bender

Date: December 13, 2015

scriptures: Matthew 1:16-15, Matthew 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:27, Matthew 18:20, Leviticus 25:1-7, Leviticus 25:5, 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, 1 Peter 2:5, Galatians 6:2.

Q: is everyone’s sabbath year the same? So if I start working in 2003, and you start in 2005, is my sabbath year 2010, yours 2012 or both in 2010?

A: You can read about it in Leviticus 25, but essentially what Happened was God said to the Israelites “when you come into the land I have given you… The land shall keep a sabbath.” So the way I have always understood it (I am not 100 percent though) is that from the time they all arrived, together, the cycle began.

How that applies to you today may vary… For me the primary takeaway from the sabbath year is, “do you trust God, truly? With everything?”

Simple, but in the new covenant, that is how I personally apply it.

Q: Do you think that Luke’s genealogy pertains to Mary & not Joseph? It would resolve some apparent contradictions between Matthew and Luke’s genealogies, but wouldn’t that also mean that Jesus was physically of the line of David through Mary?

That’s a great question, one that I wish I had mentioned in the sermon, and one that we don’t know for certain the answer to. It would make sense that the genealogy would belong to Mary because they are the same until we get to King David, and then the genealogy in Matthew continues through David’s son Solomon (the King) and Luke’s genealogy continues through David’s son Nathan. However, it is hard to say for sure because even Luke’s genealogy begins by saying (Luke 3:23) Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son the Heli… Luke’s genealogy is listed in the more traditional way, only listing the Father and son, and actually takes it all the way back to Adam.

The other question that arises in Luke comes from Luke 2:4-5, when it says that Joseph goes to Galilee to register, because HE was of the house and lineage of David. It said that he went to be registered with Mary, who he was engaged to, who was pregnant, and it was during that trip that she gave birth to Jesus. The way this is written seems to emphasis that he needed to be registered, not her, and that she was marrying into the family.

Matthew in general follows the story of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of Joseph, while Luke takes it more from Mary’s perspective, also adding more weight to the possibility that the genealogy in Luke belongs to Mary. (ie – in Luke, we read about Mary’s encounter with her cousin, Elizabeth, about John the baptist leaping in Elizabeths womb when he is in the presence of the Christ living in a pregnant Mary. It also records Mary’s song the magnificat, and the angel of the Lord visits Mary in Lukes account, where Matthew records when the angel visited Joseph, and the battle that Joseph had internally to keep Mary as his wife after everything that had happened. Romans 1:3 also says that Jesus descended from David “according to the flesh” which many also use as evidence that Mary was also a descendant.

In this message, I should have made this more clear, because it is very possible that Mary was also of the line of David, but we know without a doubt that Joseph was, and because this study is on the genealogy in Matthew, we tried to look at it from the perspective of whom Matthew was writing to. Matthew was written to the Jews, to win the Jews to Jesus, and he knew that in that culture, if the Father, adopted or not, was not of the family line, they would never have accepted him as the savior.

So at the end of the day, Mary needed Joseph to not leave her alone on Christmas, and the Jews needed Joseph to accept Mary if they were going to accept Jesus. It can be said with certainty that Joseph was of the family line of David, and in the case that the genealogy in Luke does belong to Mary, it would reconcile some complicated issues between the two genealogies and would have fulfilled the prophecies with or without Joseph but it would not change the fact that to the Jewish culture whom Matthew was writing to win to Christ, Joseph was a key to this story.

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#2 a Family Narrative

series: The Narrative of Grace

title: a family narrative

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: November 22, 2015

scriptures: Luke 1:46-56, Matthew 1, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 18:1-8, Matthew 25, Hebrews 13:2, Galatians 3:28, Genesis 18:9-15, Deuteronomy 31:6, Revelation 3:20, Genesis 12, Genesis 20, Genesis 21:1, Genesis 21:6

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

“46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48  for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49  for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

50  And his mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

51  He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

52  he has brought down the mighty from their thrones

and exalted those of humble estate;

53  he has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

54  He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

55  as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.”

We are in a series called “The Narrative of Grace” and the entire series is a look through the genealogy of Jesus Christ as recorded in the gospel of Matthew.

The reason that we started a message in a series based on Matthew 1, by looking at Luke 1, with  Mary’s song, “The Magnificat,” is because it is an incredibly important, often overlooked part of the Christmas story. One of the first things that she says, essentially, and its so powerful, is that God is doing something, and it is going to bring injustice to its knees. I love how it says “He will fill those we are hungry with good things, but the rich he will send away empty.” This is not because it is bad to be wealthy… It is just like we talked about last week, Jesus has come for the ones who are hungry. They know that they need him and so he feeds them. It is the ones who think that they have everything figured out all on their own, because of what they have gained in their own lives, and in their own strength, that God is literally unable to work through. But Mary’s song is saying that no matter what you think you have or don’t have, God is going to level the playing field. If you hold what you have, you will lose it. Because He is God. and he hates injustice.

We will look at this song a little more in depth later in this series, but the part we are going to focus on today is the last part of the song.

what Mary was saying was this: The promise that was passed down from generation to generation is finally coming to pass.

and that promise was made to Abraham, for the first time in Genesis 12 and affirmed through the next several chapters in Genesis. That promise said that from Abraham’s seed, all of the families of the earth will be blessed. He promised a man with no children that he would be the Father of a great nation.

But Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew recorded 42 generations between that promise and Jesus birth. That is a lot of waiting. A lot of stories from Father’s being passed down to their sons for generation after generation. A lot of people thinking that the savior would come in their generation, only to watch their fathers who believed the same thing, pass away, and realize that their time was coming next.

It was 42 generations of disappointment.

It probably was beginning to feel more like a fairy tale than a reality.

But what Mary’s song says is essentially that grace is about to break through the broken genealogy, and the promise to Abraham will finally be fulfilled.

But at the beginning of the genealogy, God had another promise to fulfill.

Because Abraham could never be the Father of a great nation if he wasn’t a Father at all.

#5 Resting

Series: Realities

PLEASE NOTE: This book was written by a 20th century Jewish Rabbi and takes the Jewish perspective.

PLEASE NOTE: This book was written by a 20th century Jewish Rabbi and takes the Jewish perspective.

Title: Resting

Teacher: Jacob Bender

Date: October 18, 2015

scriptures: Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Exodus 20, Exodus 31:15-17, Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:2-3, 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, Exodus 16, Mark 2:27, Hebrews 4:1

The word sabbath is the Hebrew word “shabbath” (sha-baath) and it means “To cease.”

The Old Testament speaks of different kinds of Sabbaths. There is, of course the 7th day of the week. A day of rest. That is what we know as “The Sabbath Day” – then there is something called the Sabbath Year… and it was the same concept as the Sabbath Day, but it was the 7th year… and every 7th year, the Israelites were commanded to take an entire year off from labor. And then on the seventh year of the seventh set of years, so it would be “every 7th sabbath year” was something called “The Year of Jubilee” which we are going to talk about in the series we are doing in December so I won’t get into it today, but its absolutely incredible. But the point is that God laid out all of these incredible structures to make sure that his people were okay. Because nobody can go and go and go and still maintain sanity. So he said, every seventh day, rest. Every seventh year, really rest. Vacation. Stop everything, and let me show you that even when your world is paused, the world I created keeps producing. God commanded them (Leviticus 25) to not even work the land. Give the land a break, for a whole year.

Now, if you do a little research, even now, studies have shown that the even today, land will produce more if every seven years you allow it to rest. Over the course of the next seven years, you would get more out of your land by letting it rest the seventh, and then working it the next sixth, than you would by working it all seven. God knows what he is doing.

But this is how human minds think… We like to think we have faith, but we don’t like actually relinquishing control as if we truly have faith. So we hear, “take a day off…” or even, “take a year off…” and we think, “That sounds great, but too much would fall apart during that time. If we don’t work the land for an entire year, there will be no harvest, and there will be nothing new to grow.”

Whatever that may look like in our lives… Take a day off…

“yeah, but if I am mid-project, I have to finish this, and then I will rest.”

Take a day off… “Yeah, but its “4 days” this week, so I will make sure to take a day off next week.”

And so we go and we go, until what happens? We start getting sick. We start not functioning at the capacity that we know we are capable of… our work sort of starts to fall apart, our bodies begin to deteriorate, and before long we are FORCED to take a significant period of time off.

Have you ever seen that happen to someone?

Has that ever happened to you?

I obviously, being a pastor, am most familiar with that church world, but i see this happen to pastors ALL THE TIME. A lot of people have no idea that they are going through it, but they have moments when they feel like they are literally dying.

and they end up in the hospital, and nobody can figure out what is wrong with them. And suddenly they are forced to take extended periods of time off, and I can’t help but wonder, in the back of my mind, if those moments are God just getting his days back.

God saying, “if you won’t break, I will make you break. You haven’t taken a day off in 14 weeks, so now you won’t work for 14 days.”

You may say to me, “God wouldn’t do that.” But remember, this day is Holy. This day is set apart. There is more to this day than we think. This is one of the most significant issues in the whole bible. Let me tell you about what God allowed to happen to Israel.

You see, God gave them this command. A day off… and every 7th year, a year off.

They heard the command, take a sabbath. Give the land a sabbath.

But nobody actually does that, right? We don’t rest.

Now, this is incredible.

They plowed the land anyway. On that seventh year, they relied on their own strength, just like we do so well today. And instead of trusting God, they plowed. They worked the land. They gave the land no rest and they took non themselves.

And they did this for 490 years. 490 years went by, and Israel never, once took a Sabbath year as the Lord had commanded. And perhaps after 490 years they thought, “Ok, we are doing just fine.”

But then something happened. Something that the bible makes very clear that God allowed to happen, and we have talked about it a couple of times before briefly, and we won’t get into to much today either… but The Israelites are attacked, and they are captured and put into exile in a place called Babylon.

A place different than all they had ever known.

And do you know how long they were in Exile for? Does anyone know?

70 years.

70 years they were removed from the land that they refused to let rest, and became slaves to a godless ruler.

They become slaves. While the land enjoyed her sabbath.

For 490 years they did not honor the command to let the land rest every seventh year, but God said “the Sabbath is Holy. It is set apart. Its unavoidable.

The Israelites owed God 70 Sabbath years, and he got them all at once.

Look at what 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, this is talking about the Israelites and how they were attacked, captured and taken into exile.

All the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 

The word “enjoyed” is the Hebrew word “ratsah” (rawt saw) and it actually means “to satisfy a debt.”

Do you see this?

You can’t cheat God out of what is his. You can’t. This is not about grace. This is about Holiness. Can you skip a sabbath day and still be saved? Yes. Of course. But you won’t live a Holy life, and you will live a shorter life than you should. God told us that this covenant will last forever. This must be kept forever, it will go on and on and on forever, because this is Holy. If you want to be Holy, you must keep the Sabbath.

#1 The Decalogue

Series: Realities
Title: The Decalogue
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: September 13, 2015

scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 1:1-3, Exodus 11, Exodus 19:17, Deuteronomy 5:7, Exodus 34:28, Hebrews 1:1-2, Hosea, John 1:1, John 1:14

The word we translate as “commandments” is the Hebrew word dabar, and it really has a much simpler meaning than you would think. It means “words.” So the Hebrews said it this way, “The Ten Words” – or like we talk about in this teaching, they called it a ten word Ketubah. It was the terms of their marriage.

In the Greek, the Ten Commandments are “deka logos” – again, on the surface, it means, “the ten words” – many of you who grew up in a Catholic tradition or Lutheran or any more traditional denominations, you have probably heard of the ten commandments referred to as “The Decalogue.” And this is where get this term from. From “deka logos.”

So “the Decalogue” is a pretty famous name for the Ten Commandments, and it is the way the Greeks translated it.

Well, deca, as we said means ten, and logos which we just said means word, comes from the word… “Logue” means logic… and in the Greek it is the principle behind reality. You know the phrase “it’s only logical….” Well that may be a better way to look at the commandments… It’s really pure logic. It’s more of a reality than it is a law.

When you think of laws, you probably think of things like these:

Things like “No skateboarding” – but if you are a skateboarder, most likely, that sign is not going to stop you. Unless there is a police officer right there or someone of authority who can enforce the regulation that the sign is placing on you, then it is just a sign. Its more like a request that should you choose to not obey, may be met with a consequence of some sort.

A speed limit sign represents a law.

A “Do not Liter” sign represents a law.

But these, these are realities:

When you look at it this way, rules seem nice, don’t they? Rules you can break. Most rules you can screw up some times, and even if you do get caught, you will pay a price, in most cases do your time, and move on.

But with these, there is no slipping through the cracks… There is no “NOT getting caught”… and in fact you may not walk away at all. And if you do walk away, there is permanent damage.

And that is the Ten Commandments. Each and every one of these, if you do not follow them… You are going to crash. You are going to get burned.

You are going to hurt yourself. You are going to hurt your community. It is going to destroy you. Not because God is mad at you because you did something he said not to do so now you are getting punished… No, it’s not like that.

These things in and of them themselves are toxic.

Dr. Frank Seekins was the first one that I heard use an example like this, he gave the example of a speed limit sign vs. a low clearance sign and the differing consequences of ignoring the two… and in fact it was that description that inspired this entire series on the Ten Commandments that we are calling “Realities.”

So we hope that you will join us over these next 8 weeks as we look at an ancient text, hopefully through fresh eyes.



Here is more information about the Hebrew letter “yod”.


This ebook is a transcript of a multi-part teaching by Shane Willard. In it, he makes an amazing correlation between the five parts of a Jewish wedding, and the process that God brought the people of Israel through leading up to giving them the Ten Commandments. Pastor Shane is a friend of my Pastor in New York, and has been a guest in our church there. This low-priced ebook will be an amazing resource to you.

Dr. Frank Seekins is one of the leading authorities on Hebrew word pictures alive today. He did an amazing teaching about the Ten Commandments in word pictures, and this message “The Ten Realities” is in part the inspiration behind the series we are doing and the perspective which we are coming at this classic passage of scripture. “The Ten Realities” is the second teaching in this video, so to watch it you would either need to skip ahead, or first watch his teaching on honor.

An Introduction to Discipleship

Title: An Introduction to Discipleship
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Key Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 6:40, Luke 9:57-62, Luke 9:23

The last thing that Jesus said to his disciples before his ascension was:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20.

And as overwhelmed as I feel like I would have been, had I been there, and suddenly realized that I was being entrusted with taking the steps to carry on the legacy of Jesus, who had just changed the world… I often overlook the fact that Jesus had spent the last three years teaching his disciples how to do this. Showing them what it tangibly looks like. Training them. He gave them a commission that he fully believed that they were capable of carrying out!

In the first century, students who would want to become the disciple of a Rabbi would have to go through a grueling process. Even after memorizing word for word all of the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament), many would still be sent home to learn the family business after applying to study under a Rabbi, if that Rabbi did not think that they could do what the Rabbi did. The Rabbi’s, they looked for the best of the best, the ones that the Rabbi believed had what to takes to actually be LIKE them… and everyone else would be sent home.

But then comes Jesus, and he starts building his ministry with a bunch of outcast and misfit disciples… 12 guys who didn’t make the cut. 12 guys who had already stepped into the family business and other marketplace jobs because they realized that the reality of actually becoming the disciple of a Rabbi was virtually non-existent…

And so Rabbi Jesus looks at these guys, and he says “Come, Follow Me!” Essentially saying “I believe that you have what it takes to do what I do…” and his band of misfits are the ones who went on to change the world. Who went on to have a greater impact than any other Rabbi’s best disciples…

Because Jesus was never looking for the best.

Jesus was looking for followers who were all in.

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#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)

The Mothers, The Midwives, and the Man with no name

Date: May 10, 2015

Teacher: Jacob Bender

Title: The Mothers, the Midwives, and the Man with no name

scriptures: Exodus 1, Exodus 2, James 1:2-4, Leviticus 18:12, Hebrews 11:24, Luke 9:28-36

“Mom’s, you are like Jesus”