Summary “What right do the Israelites have to kill the indigenous Canaanite population in order to occupy their land?” March 24, 2019

For perspective on this remember that God’s thoughts and ways are much higher than and beyond our thoughts and ways, Isaiah 55:8-9. God covenanted with Abraham to make him into a great nation and to give him the land of Canaan, Genesis 17:4-8.

  1. A fundamental Bible teaching is that God is the Creator of all things and therefore he owns all the land, Exodus 19:5-6. He can allocate the land as He desires.
  2. Furthermore, God is just and He judges all people sooner or later for their actions. For example, Egypt was judged by God, Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:3-4. The people of Canaan were also being judged by God, Numbers 33:51-52; Leviticus 18:21. They worshiped the false god Molek/Moloch that involved child sacrifice and prostitution! God used the Israelites as a means of bringing judgement on the Canaanites for their idol worship, sin and cruelty.
  3. This is a unique, one-time, situation of God setting the Israelites apart from all other nations. In setting them apart they were to worship no other God. If the Canaanites weren’t destroyed they would lead the Israelites away from worshiping the true God, Deuteronomy 7:3-6. This is in fact what happened, Numbers 25:1-3.
  4. The application of God’s command allowed for exceptions, particularly if they professed faith in Israel’s God. Rahab and her family are an example, Joshua 2:9, and the Gibeonites are another example, Joshua 9:1-27, 11:19. There was provision for even the Canaanites to turn to the true God!

How are we to face difficult circumstances and insurmountable odds? People commonly say, “God doesn’t give us more that we can handle.” This is simply not true. We often face challenges that are beyond us, like the Israelite’s faced the challenge of conquering the land of Canaan, Numbers 13:28-29, 31-33. It’s dangerous comparing your circumstances to human strength and ability alone. When God is factored into your circumstances everything can change, Numbers 13:30; 14:8-9. This doesn’t ignore the difficulties with casual optimism. The key is knowing minimize the dangers, but it looks beyond them to God. When fear knocks, answer it with faith.” Our Daily Bread. 8-20-16. Always factor God into every challenge that you face!

Summary “God, The Center of Life” March 17, 2019

God, The Center of Life

God is holy, set apart, one of a kind, perfect…nonesuch.  Nonesuch (nun-such) n. a person or thing that no other approaches in likeness; specifically, 1: an unequaled or unrivaled thing or person; a paragon.  2:rare; the greatest, most conspicuous, most eminent, matchless.

“It is deeply insulting to God for us to open the Bible, and seeing many things about Him that we do not like, decide to reshape God into a more pleasing image.  God is not whoever you want Him to be.  He is who He is!” 

                        Colin Smith, Unlocking the Bible Story (2002).

“My thoughts and feelings seem to be getting more and more like those of the Old Testament, and in recent months I have been reading the Old Testament much more than the New.  It is only when one knows the unutterability of the name of God that one can utter the name of Jesus Christ; it is only when one loves life and the earth so much that without them everything seems to be over that one may believe in the resurrection and a new world; it is only when one submits to God’s law that one may speak of grace; and it is only when God’s wrath and vengeance are hanging as grim realities over the heads of one’s enemies that something of what it means to love and forgive them can touch our hearts.  In my opinion it is not Christian to want to take our thoughts and feelings too quickly and too directly from the New Testament.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters & Papers from Prison (1971).

Blended Family of Jacob (Israel)

Leah (Wife 1) – Tricked into marriage, and not particularly loved by Jacob.  5 Tribes minus Levi. Sons #1 Reuben, #2 Simeon, #3 Levi – Caretakers of the Tabernacle, not fighting men.  Some of the Levites were Priests, and Aaron was the High Priest., #4 Judah – Leader of the other tribes.  Camped on the east side of the Tabernacle (the only side with an entrance).  Jesus was a descendant of Judah through the lineage of King David., #9 Issachar, #10, Zebulun.

Rachal’s Handmaiden Bilhah2 Tribes. Sons #5 Dan, #6 Naphtali.

Leah’s Handmaiden Zilpah2 Tribes. Sons #7 Gad, #8 Asher.

Rachel (Wife 2) – Loved by Jacob.  Worked 14 years for her.  Sons #11 Joseph – Sold as a slave by his brothers. They covered up their lie for 15 years.  Given an Egyptian wife, Asenath.  The daughter of the Priest of On that worshipped the sun god, Ra.  Joseph’s two sons became 2 Tribes: Manasseh & Ephraim. #12 Benjamin1 Tribe through Rachel (Died in childbirth).

TRUE TABERNACLE: Notice the Twelve Tribes of Israel pitched their tents around the Tabernacle. Notice the Tribe of Levites pitched on three sides. Notice the households of Moses and Aaron pitched at the entrance. Notice the Entrance. Notice the Bronze Alter and the Laver in the courtyard. Notice inside the Holy Place: Table of Shewbread, Candlesticks and the Alter Incense. Notice the VEIL between the Holy and the Most Holy places. Notice inside the Holy of Holies: Ark of the Covenant.

Summary “Holy Times of the Year” March 10, 2019

Every Week have a Sabbath day of rest one day in seven.  This is time to rest, not work, and to assemble for community worship and celebration.

7 Festivals

  1.  Passover – Celebrates God’s deliverance (by lambs blood, Exodus 12:13) from slavery in Egypt.  Passover and Unleavened Bread commemorate the birth of Israel as a nation.  Note: Jesus died on Passover as the perfect lamb of God (John 1:29; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 9:22). Spring.
  2. Unleavened Bread – Immediately followed Passover [a required 7 day festival], recalling the hasty departure from Egypt – bread had no time to rise.  Leaven/yeast, also, is a symbol of sin (1 Corinthians 5:8).  Note:  Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:32-48).  Spring.
  3. Firstfruits – Offering the first ripe sheaves of Barley, and dedicating the harvest to God.  Note: Jesus Christ was raised on this day, the 3rd day of Passover, (1 Corinthians 15:20-24).  Spring.
  4. Weeks, Harvest, Pentecost – 50 days after Passover, the next day after 7 Sabbaths [a required festival], the first grain of the wheat harvest was dedicated to God.  Recognizes the Lord’s provision of all crops. Care for the less fortunate was commanded (Leviticus 23:22).   Jews also celebrate the giving of the 10 Commandments. Note:  The Holy Spirit was poured out on believers on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  Spring. 
  5. Trumpets/New Year – On the first day of the 7th month a trumpet/horn reminded people to prepare for the Day of Atonement in 10 days.  These are 10 days of     
    repentance.  This marked the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of another.  Fall (Sept.).
  6. Day of Atonement – Atonement is the reconciling of people to God.  This is the most holy day, a time for fasting, prayer and rest so the focus is completely on God.  The scapegoat was released on this day symbolizing the removal of sins!  Note:  When Jesus died the veil in the Temple separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn in two (Luke 23:44-46; Hebrews 9:11-28).  Fall.    
  7. Tabernacles, Booths – [A required festival].  Celebrates God’s provision during the 40 year wilderness wandering of the Israelites, as they lived in temporary shelters.  This festival was 5 days after the Day of Atonement. Fall. 

Question:  Will Christ return at a Festival time?  No one knows, not even the angels or Jesus (Matthew 24:36).  However, if He did, scholarly speculation would pick one of the Fall festivals, or sometime in the 7th month. (Sept./Oct.), the most sacred month.

  • Trumpet call – Matthew 24:31.
  • New heaven & earth – Revelation21:1.
  • Christ’s atonement – Hebrew 9:1-15; Zechariah 12:10
  • Sins removed (like the scapegoat) – Psalms 103:12;Micah 7:18-19; Romans 11:25-27.
  • God dwells with us – Revelation 21:3.
  • Be ready! Christ will come when you don’t expect Him – Matthew 24:44.

Summary “Sacrificial Offering” March 3, 2019

4 Offering Lessons

  1. Death is required to forgive sin.
  2. Offer your best.
  3. The innocent can substitute for the guilty.
  4. Guilt can be forgiven & the relationship restored.

Understanding Jesus’ Death

  1. Jesus’ death, once and for all, was required to forgive us.
  2. God the Father gave His very best!
  3. Perfect, innocent, Jesus can be our substitute.
  4. You can have a forgiven & restored relationship with God  through Jesus.

A Sin Offering involves confession & forgiveness of sin. It is always meant to be accompanied by repentance – turning away from sin.

A Guilt Offering (Trespass Offering) was given when you hurt someone else by your sin. It was followed by making restitution for your wrong.

A Burnt Offering was an expression of devotion, commitment, and complete surrender to God. The entire offering (except the skin) was burned up, representing complete forgiveness and dedication.

A Grain Offering (Cereal or Meal Offering) was offered as an expression of devotion to God, recognizing His goodness and provision. 

A Fellowship/Peace (Heave, Wave Offering) symbolized peace between God and people, and the inner peace that results. The offerer had fellowship with God. The offerer could eat part of the offering.

3 Kinds of Peace Offerings;

  1. Thanks for special blessing.
  2. Votive offering in connection to a vow.
  3. Freewill Offerings expressing love, worship & praise to God.

The Sequence of Offerings

First, sin had to be dealt with (Sin & Guilt Offerings).

Second, complete commitment to God was made (Burnt & Grain Offerings).

Third, people had peace with God. They celebrated (Fellowship/Peace Offerings).

Worshipping God (being in His presence) brings:

  1. Joy
  2. Reverent fear and awe of God.

Thoughts to Ponder:

The three most powerful words in any relationship are “I am Sorry.”

Wayne and Mary Sotile, Beat Stress Together (1998)

January 20, 2019 “Genesis 1 & 2” Summary

 Genesis 1 & 2

     How did the universe come to be?  One view says God spoke the world into existence, Hebrews 11:3.  The second major view, which leaves God out, says life evolved after a “Big Bang” explosion of largely hydrogen gas about 13.8 billion years ago.  Where did this big ball of hydrogen come from?  If you leave God out of the answer, did it just appear from nothing?  How can something come from nothing?  The only other option is that it always existed in some form.  Yet again, how is this possible given the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  The Second Law says the quality of matter/energy deteriorates over time.  As usable energy is lost, disorganization, randomness and chaos increase.  How could the universe always have existed?  Furthermore, how could an explosion of largely hydrogen gas (odorless, tasteless, and invisible), given enough time, create people and everything else?

     Moreover, the mechanism for biological evolutionary change is mutation.  But what is a mutation?  “A mutation occurs when a DNA gene is damaged or changed in such a way as to alter the genetic message carried y that gene.” Prof. John Blamire.  Note: almost all mutations are harmful.  Dr. Stephen Meyer evaluates this way:  “A mutation is a random mistake… The mechanism Darwinists have created…is actually a mechanism of destruction of information.”  How logical is it that mutations gave rise to more advanced forms of life?

     Furthermore, where did the genetic information come from?  A “Big Bang” explosion of all the matter and energy in the universe does not account for information.  “We are left, then, with a paradox:  the laws and forces of nature cannot produce information, but information is required for life to begin.”  Paul Davies.

     The alternative world view in Genesis 1 and 2 says:

  1.  God spoke the universe into existence, Hebrews 11:3.
  2. Creation took a week, Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11.
  3. Adam was real.  Genesis not a myth. Luke 3:38; Hoses 6:7; Romans 5:12-14.  Genesis is history!
  4. People are made in God’s Image, Genesis 1:26-27.
  5.  Given authority, Psalm 8:5-8
  6. Ability for relationship – God & others.
  7. Unique from animals in reasoning, language, morality & creativity.
  8. Treat people with value, dignity & respect!

If you have questions, look for answers, Jeremiah 29:13.

  • God’s Crime Scene, J. Warner Wallace, 2015.
  • Acts & Facts.  A free magazine from The Institute for Creation Research.
  • www.icr.org/icr-magazines
https://www.icr.org/icr-magazines

October 7, 2018 “Ephesians: Sit, Walk, Stand!”

Ephesians:  Sit, Walk, Stand!

Sit means to depend fully on Christ and rest in Him.  Your identity is wrapped up in being an adopted child of God.

Walk means to live out that identity. Walk worthy of your high calling.

Stand means to hold your ground against forces of evil.

Walk, Ephesians 4-6:9

After laying a solid theological foundation, the second half of Ephesians is all about how we live out these truths.  Paul’s opening challenge is to walk worthy of your calling – live out the implications of Ephesians 1-3.  Examine your life and live slowly and carefully enough to reflect on the big picture of life. Live intentionally!  How?  Humbly serve and patiently bear with, even put up with, each other in love.  The key to this is to get rid of self-centeredness.  Make every effort to stay united in challenging circumstances.  Nothing is stronger than the blood of Christ that unites you!  Furthermore, use your gifts and abilities to promote unity around Christ and maturity in Christ.  Build up His body.  Don’t be a spectator.

Don’t act like two different people.  Be the one person that you are in Christ.  Take off your old way of thinking (in darkened and distorted ways) and acting (particularly with less and less moral restraint) and put on a new mind with new behaviors.  Speak truthfully, be careful with your anger, and work hard so you can share with those in need.  Speak words that are helpful and encouraging, and act with kindness and compassion.  Put on behavior that reflects God and the sacrificial love of Jesus.  Expose deed done in darkness by living an attractive, welcoming life that invites people to come out of the dark.  Attract people by the light of your grace, graciousness and good deeds.

In our relationships with others, “submit to others out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21.  Have a lifestyle of humble, slave-like service to others, motivated by love and modeled by Christ.  Actually seek out opportunities to serve.  Serving means you are giving others God’s grace, undeserved kindness.  They don’t have to be worthy of your kindness, that’s why it’s grace!  A note to parents:  Don’t cut back on the church and the godly “training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.

The church is the bride of Christ.  Christians are the bride of Christ.  Christ loves His bride.  Christ loved a very flawed, imperfect church enough to die for her!  Christian, embrace Christ’s bride as well.  Nurture, build up and care for the church.

Using a different metaphor, Christians are slaves of their Master Jesus Christ.  Even if we face difficult circumstances, we live for Christ in the midst of them all.  Whatever work we do should be done with care and good enough to show God, not just to get by.  We should treat people with equal value and respect because they are all made in God’s image.  God doesn’t show favoritism and neither should we!  Live to please your Master.

 

July 29, 2018 “Ephesians: Sit, Walk, Stand!”

Ephesians: Sit, Walk, Stand!

Sit means to depend fully on Christ and rest in Him.  Your

identity is wrapped up in being an adopted child of God.

Walk means to live out that identity.  Walk worthy of your

high calling.

Stand means to hold your ground against forces of evil.

Sit, Ephesians 1-3

At one time you used to be dead.  Like a zombie, you were the walking dead, until God intervened.  In great love, rich mercy, and very generous grace (undeserved kindness) you were made alive.  You have Christ’s resurrected life in you right now.

In addition, you were an “outsider” in a very substantive way.  You didn’t have God’s revelation of Himself, and thus, you had no future and no hope.  But God brought the “outsiders” in, bridging the gap of separation by the blood of Christ.  Christ’s blood united you with God (vertically), and with all other Christians (horizontally).  Christ’s blood reconciled imperfect, still sinful, people to God and others. Hostility was put to death by the cross. No barrier is more significant than the blood of Christ that unites you, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.  We have peace and friendship with God and all believers in Christ.  You are united and connected more than you may know or feel. Furthermore, we are being built into a holy temple, a place where people meet God.  God lives in you by His Spirit.

In Christ, believers are blessed, chosen (wanted & valued), predestined, adopted in love, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, enlightened, given an inheritance, sealed with the Holy Spirit’s guarantee, and assured.  You have been freed (redeemed/ransomed) from sins bondage.  You have a restored (reconciled) relationship with God.  You can know God personally and intimately.  The Holy Spirit is at work in your life right now, Ephesians 3:20, and He can do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine.  In other words, you were adopted into God’s family, you’re His workmanship, and written into the story of God’s grand plan for our world and the cosmos.

God is mending and putting everything back in its right place.  He is reconciling and uniting estranged people and all things under Christ so that all things praise God.  We live for something and Someone far greater than ourselves!  And, we have the resources of Christ’s incomparably great power to battle evil that would side track us from our purpose.

Spiritual beings (God – Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, Satan, good angels, and bad, fallen angels) inhabit the heavenly realm.  And, because we are in Christ and Christ is seated at His Father’s right hand, in some way we are also seated with Christ “up there” in the heavenlies.  The church, gathered Christians, makes God’s wisdom and glory known to these spiritual beings in the heavenly realms. And, the church will be revealing God’s glory throughout all generations and into eternity.  The church has unparalleled importance.

All of these things come from a God whose core character is love, 1 John 4:16.  As we come to know God deeply and intimately, we will experience His self-giving, serving love!

Sit, rest, soak in these truths that speak of who you are because of what Christ has done.  Come freely and confidently into God’s presence.  Try to grasp the scope of Christ’s love for you!

March 25, 2018 “10 Commandment Summary”

Engraved On Your Heart, Exodus 20:1-17

Love God, Matthew 22:37

  1. Love the one true God with all your heart, soul, and mind, Deuteronomy 6:5!  God is personal, relational, unlike any other, and God is for you, Romans 8:31-32.
  1. Don’t settle for a counterfeit, a worthless substitute, of God.  God’s best for us is Himself, Isaiah 6:1-5! Anything, or anyone, more important than God is an idol, Exodus 34:13-14.
  1. Honor and reverence, in words and actions, God’s name – all that He stands for, Philippians 2:9-11.  If you’re a Christian you bear the same family name,  2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 8:16-17.
  1. Every week, have a day of God-centered rest.  Rest does not exclude acts of kindness, Mark 3:3-5.  God has a reasonable claim on your time.

Love Others, Matthew 22:39

  1. Loving others starts at home with children honoring and obeying parents, and parents loving and respecting their children, and teaching the next generation to love God, Ephesians 6:1- 4.  Honor authority – it’s God given, Romans 13:1.
  1. Value life. Life is a gift from God, Acts 17:24-25, and  all people are made in God’s image, Genesis 9:6.  Don’t murder with a weapon, with slander, with anger in your  heart, or by withholding the basics for life, Matthew 5:22-24; 25:42-43; Psalm 139:13-16.  Value people!
  1.     Protect what’s beautiful and guard what you care about.  Keep the joy of sexual intimacy in marriage, between a man and a woman,       1 Corinthians 7:2-5. Marriage is the context for the full expression of our sexuality, Ephesians 5:3; Matthew 5:28
  1. Three principles help us understand the 8th command to not steal.  One, God owns all property and people, Psalm 24:1. Two, gain property by honest means, Exodus 20:15. Three, be a good steward of all you have been entrusted with, Malachi 3:8.  Be honest and unselfish in all            your dealings with others…including God.
  1. Be truthful in all of life, because God is all about truth, Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18.  Avoid lies, respect private matters, speak well of others, and speak out against evil.   
  1. Coveting is an inordinate desire, a passion, for something you do not have.  The alternative to coveting is contentment.  Contentment is being satisfied with what we have and grateful to God for His provision, Philippians 4:12-13.

To listen to sermons on these commandments go to:  www.TustinCPC.com and click on the “Sermons–Tools” tab.

November 19, 2017 The Limit of Forgiveness Summary

The Limit of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is essential to all healthy relationships, and is the ultimate expression of love.  Forgiveness means to erase an offense and no longer hold that offense/hurt against the offender.  Forgive from your heart (Matthew 18:35), mean it.  When you forgive you:  1. Resist revenge and returning evil for evil, (Romans 12:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:15), 2. Desire good for them and are willing to help them, (Luke 6:28; Proverbs 24:17; Matthew 5:44; Exodus 23:4), and 3. Seek to restore the relationship, if possible, (Romans 12:18).  Forgiveness is Not:   1. The absence of anger at sin, (1 Peter 2:23; Psalms 30:5), 2. The removal of the consequences, necessarily, (2 Samuel 12:9-13; Psalms 99:8), and 3. The same for a repentant person versus an unrepentant person, (Luke 17:3-4; Matthew 18:17).  A restored relationship can happen only when the offender is repentant.  An unrepentant person will sabotage trust and intimacy.  The word limit means the “point where something ends.” Where does forgiveness come to an end?  Whatever you think the limit is, Jesus pushes the envelope and stretches us.  We  are challenged to love, in a meaningful way, difficult, hateful, cruel, greedy, selfish, unkind, and even wicked people (Luke 6:27-36).  Jesus’ logic is anyone can be nice to nice people, but He expects much more from His followers.  If you have received and experienced God’s forgiveness, you will forgive others (Matthew 6:12, 14-15; Mark 11:25-26).

How can we forgive and love difficult/hurtful people?

#1  Look Inward  at how much Christ has forgiven you. Connecting forgiveness and love together, Jesus said, “…he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47b).  The more you have been forgiven, the greater your capacity to love will be.

#2 Look Upward to God’s example.  He is kind to ungrateful, wicked people.  “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36).  We’re challenged to be like God!

#3  Let gratitude in your heart motivate you to more easily forgive others.  #4  If you cannot forget the hurt done to you, also remember your decision to forgive.  God modeled forgiveness when, in love, He sent Jesus to earth (John 3:16-17).  Jesus gave His life in order to forgive us (Matthew 26:28; Romans 10:13).  Jesus’ forgiveness is so radical He even asked His Father to forgive those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34)!  Forgiveness isn’t justice, it’s mercy.  The people who crucified Jesus didn’t deserve it, but He gave it just the same.  Relationships thrive when the person that was hurt extends mercy, grace and forgiveness (Romans 5:20).  Christians are not challenged to only be nice to nice people, they are called to be like God.  Healthy relationships thrive amid mercy, grace and forgiveness!

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2017 – James Chapter 5

James chapter 5, Summary

What does it take for you and me to live with contentment? How much is enough?  For the Apostle Paul, food and clothing was enough (1 Timothy 6:6-10).  Being a Christian with money is a huge responsibility.  Just living a respectable life is not enough. God wants more from us.  He wants us to use our money for good, for others, and for God.  Paul said God gave him the strength to live contentedly (Philippians 4:12-13) regardless of the circumstances.  Pastor David Roper said, “Our task today is just to accept things as they are and to be content, knowing that in the love, wisdom, and providence of God this moment is as good as it can possibly be.”

When you’ve been mistreated, James says, be patient, wait in calm, show self-restraint instead of getting even.  Be patient because the Lord’s return is near (James 5:8).  While we wait we can develop the “quieter virtues” of submission, humility, patience, joyful endurance, and persistence in well-doing.  Your struggle and suffering is not meaningless, every millisecond is shaping you (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Wait persistently for your compassionate and merciful God to act.  His coming is near.  Endure until He comes. Christians should maintain a high standard for truthfulness in all their speech.  The face-value of their words should be trustworthy. If a Christian is sick or weak (in body, mind or spirit), they can ask church Elders and leaders for prayer and anointing with oil for healing, forgiveness and wholeness.  God, in His sovereignty, decides how He will respond, but spiritual wholeness should be our highest desire. Anointing and prayer for healing isn’t magic, it’s an act of obedience and faith in God.

Are we our brothers’ (and sisters’) keeper?  Are we to keep track of each other?  Yes!  If someone wanders from the Christian faith, and is not actively living for Christ, seek them out.  Help them come back to the truth.  The stakes are high because you are saving them from eternal spiritual death.  With an attitude of love (1 Peter 4:8), gentleness, andhumility (Galatians 6:1), ask them some probing questions.

  1.   What do you mean by that?  Seek to understand them and get their perspective.
  1. Where do you get your information?Is it fact or opinion?
  2. How do they know that’s true?In a kind way you’re asking them why you should believe them.
  1. What if you’re wrong?Some issues and beliefs have lasting impact, especially our beliefs about God.

Use these questions to spark meaningful conversations!