There Is More than One Way of Offering Sacrifice to Fallen Angels

***Prolegomena

***Augustine

  • Augie’s namesake
  • Born 354
  • Christian mother, pagan father
  • Not a baptized believer until 387
  • Ordained “against his will” in 391
  • Became bishop of Hippo in 396 (Hippo Regius, now Annaba, Algeria)
  • Died on 28 August 430 during the Vandal siege of the city

Continue reading There Is More than One Way of Offering Sacrifice to Fallen Angels

Eternal

What does the word "eternity" mean to you?

In my brain unlimited words like "eternity" and "infinite" bring equations like 1/X to mind…

As X approaches infinity…

However X can never reach zero because…division by zero is undefined. Although it could readily become a lousy analogy, mentally God to me is being able to divide by zero.

But I do have a goofy brain. ☺

We are going to look at a different form of the word eternity — Eternal

[ Show, open, and discuss a concordance… ]

As a method of study, sometimes it can be valuable to study every occurrence of a word in the Bible

Although…we have to be cautious…words in the Bible aren't like chemistry equations where you can assume a symbol in one means exactly the same thing in another. Words can have multiple meanings depending on use (and the author using them)…and can change entirely over time. Take Genesis 43:19 in the KJV:

"And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there."

Your version probably says "for" instead of "against" — for example, the ESV says:

"they prepared e​the present for Joseph's coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there."

Translations should, as a whole, remedied any issues with "opposite" meanings…but not treating words like parts of a chemistry equation remains: if it didn't why would people continue to have so much time realizing that Paul and James aren't using the word "faith" in the exact same way?

Eternal

Eternal is a word that lends itself very well to studying using this method.

Continue reading Eternal

Washed in the Blood of the Lamb

When I was in England I got to…

  • Meet with a client at the Tower of London
  • See Big Ben
  • Ride in one of their funky taxis with the lead singer of the Toadies (a really nice guy)
  • Have a conversation on the Tube with a drunk Irishman (also a really nice guy, but more of a wild-card to talk to ☺)
  • And many other things…

I also learned the origin of a couple of common sayings…

One for the road came from people being given a beer before being beheaded

On the wagon came from when a prisoner had completed a pub-crawl of sorts, and now had to get on the wagon to be carted to his hanging

When meanings change

How many times have you heard those expressions? Did you ever connect them with someone being whacked?

Continue reading Washed in the Blood of the Lamb

Father’s Day (What Went Wrong?)

Happy Father’s Day to all you fellow fathers out there…

“Father’s Day is the day to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood. It was during a 1909 sermon about Mother’s Day when Sonora Smart Dodd became inspired to create Father’s Day. She wanted to show how thankful she was to her father for taking care of her and her siblings after the death of her mother. Thus, the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.” (http://www.history.com/content/fathersday, accessed on 6/20/2009).

Have you noticed…?

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the "extras" that come out in the audio (which, sadly, is not available). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Have you noticed that Mother’s Day sermons are always about how great mothers are, how they are all super-moms, how much we all owe them, etcetera, etcetera?

And that Father’s Day sermons are always about how fathers need to be more responsible, spend more time with their families, etcetera?

🙂

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Today I want to talk about the “original” Father…

Last week Larry’s sermon was titled, “It’s Not About You.” Who “is it” really about? (God.)

Sin’s beginning…

However, even with sin we make it about us. Where did sin really begin?

Ezekiel 28:11-19

11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: 12 ​“Son of man, ​raise a lamentation over b​the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God:

“You were the signet of perfection,

full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

13 You were in ​Eden, the garden of God;

f​every precious stone was your covering,

​sardius, topaz, and diamond,

beryl, onyx, and jasper,

sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;

and crafted in gold were your settings

and your engravings.

On the day that you were created

they were prepared.

14 You were an anointed guardian cherub.

I placed you;4 you were on ​the holy mountain of God;

in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.

15 You were blameless in your ways

from the day you were created,

till unrighteousness was found in you.

16 In the abundance of your trade

you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;

so I cast you as a profane thing from ​the mountain of God,

and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,

from the midst of the stones of fire.

17 Your heart was proud because of ​your beauty;

you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;

I exposed you before kings,

to feast their eyes on you.

18 By the multitude of your iniquities,

in the unrighteousness of your trade

you profaned your sanctuaries;

so I brought fire out from your midst;

it consumed you,

and I turned you to ashes on the earth

​in the sight of all who saw you.

19 All who know you among the peoples

are appalled at you;

you have come to a dreadful end

and shall be no more forever.”

Revelation 12:7-9

7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And t​the great dragon was thrown down, u​that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, v​the deceiver of the whole world–w​he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Revelation 12:3-4

3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great ​red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.

Where did sin begin?

“You were in Eden…”

“You were an anointed guardian Cherub…”

“You were on the holy mountain of God…”

Revelation 12:9 “And t​the great dragon was thrown down, ​that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, ​the deceiver of the whole world–w​he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

Revelation 20:2 “…And he seized ​the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan…”

Sin began in Heaven with Satan

Now, we don’t know exactly what was said, done, etcetera in heaven…but we may be able to get a significant clue looking at when sin first afflicted humanity…

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Humanity’s fall

Genesis 3:1-13

Now ​the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You​ shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, ​and he ate. 7 ​Then the eyes of both were opened, a​and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool​ of the day, and the man and his wife ​hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, ​because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, ​“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

What what Satan implicitly calling God?

A liar.

What was Satan implicitly saying about God’s rules? His government of our original parents?

That they were arbitrary–that God made them up for no reason…and even worse…made rules that were not in Adam and Eve’s best interest.

Do you think that when Satan convinced one third of the angels to rebel that he took a similar approach and made similar accusations?

John 8:44

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. ​He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

As a quick aside…

Was the tree in the Garden a test? God seeing if Adam and Eve were trustworthy? (Discuss the suggestion that the tree was protection instead of a test…Job would be a good example of why…)

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What went wrong?

Looking back at verse 8, what were Adam and Eve’s reactions to hearing God after they ate of the tree?

They hid themselves…they were afraid…they no longer trusted our Father.

Did God change? (No.)

Who changed? (We did.)

At the fall humanity learned to trust themselves…trust Satan…trust just about anything except God.

What went wrong? We changed. We stopped trusting our Father…

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What is the solution?

What are we saved through?

Ephesians 2:8-10

8 For by grace you have been saved ​through faith. And this is not your own doing; ​it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

We are saved through faith. Throughout all history, Old and New Testament, this has been true.

John 20:30

30 Now Jesus did many other signs ​in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may ​believe that Jesus is the Christ, ​the Son of God, and that by believing ​you may have life ​in his name.

Acts 16:30-31

30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be ​saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

But this says we are saved by belief? Is that a contradiction?

No…

Faith, belief, trust…all basically the same thing…

G4102 is “through faith” in Ephesians 2:8, G4100 is “believe” and “believing” in John 20:30, and G100 is also “believe” in Acts 16:31.

New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries

4100. πιστεύω pisteuō; from 4102; to believe, entrust:– believe(118), believed(73), believers(3), believes(29), believing(10), do(1), entrust(1), entrusted(6), entrusting(1), has faith(1).

4101. πιστικός pistikos; from 4102; trustworthy:– pure(2).

4102. πίστις pistis; from 3982; faith, faithfulness:– faith(238), faithfulness(3), pledge(1), proof(1).

4103. πιστός pistos; from 3982; faithful, reliable:– believe(2), believer(4), believers(5), believing(1), faithful(44), faithful one(1), faithfully(1), sure(1), trustworthy(7), who believe(1).

4104. πιστόω pistoō; from 4103; to make trustworthy, hence to establish:– convinced(1).

Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon

4100 πιστεύω [pisteuo /pist·yoo·o/] v. From 4102; TDNT 6:174; TDNTA 849; GK 4409; 248 occurrences; AV translates as “believe” 239 times, “commit unto” four times, “commit to (one’s) trust” once, “be committed unto” once, “be put in trust with” once, “be commit to one’s trust” once, and “believer” once. 1 to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in. 1a of the thing believed. 1a1 to credit, have confidence. 1b in a moral or religious reference. 1b1 used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul. 1b2 to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith. 1bc mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith. 2 to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity. 2a to be intrusted with a thing.

4101 πιστικός [pistikos /pis·tik·os/] adj. From 4102; GK 4410; Two occurrences; AV translates as “spikenard + 3487” twice. 1 pertaining to belief. 1a having the power of persuading, skilful in producing belief. 1b trusty, faithful, that can be relied on.

4102 πίστις [pistis /pis·tis/] n f. From 3982; TDNT 6:174; TDNTA 849; GK 4411; 244 occurrences; AV translates as “faith” 239 times, “assurance” once, “believe + 1537” once, “belief” once, “them that believe” once, and “fidelity” once. 1 conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it. 1a relating to God. 1a1 the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. 1b relating to Christ. 1b1 a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God. 1c the religious beliefs of Christians. 1d belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same. 2 fidelity, faithfulness. 2a the character of one who can be relied on.

4103 πιστός [pistos /pis·tos/] adj. From 3982; TDNT 6:174; TDNTA 849; GK 4412; 67 occurrences; AV translates as “faithful” 53 times, “believe” six times, “believing” twice, “true” twice, “faithfully” once, “believer” once, and not translated once. 1 trusty, faithful. 1a of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties. 1b one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust. 1c that can be relied on. 2 easily persuaded. 2a believing, confiding, trusting. 2b in the NT one who trusts in God’s promises. 2b1 one who is convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead. 2b2 one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and author of salvation.

4104 πιστόω [pistoo /pis·to·o/] v. From 4103; TDNT 6:174; TDNTA 849; GK 4413; AV translates as “be assured of” once. 1 to make faithful, render trustworthy. 1a to make firm, establish. 2 to be firmly persuaded of. 2a to be assured of.

What is the solution?

Restoring the trust that once was.

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How dow we restore that trust?

There isn’t enough time to go over this portion completely…but a some important scriptures…

Hebrews 1:1-3

1 Long ago, at many times and ​in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but ​in these last days he has spoken to us by ​his Son, whom he appointed ​the heir of all things, ​through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and ​the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Matthew 13:17

17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

John 14:8-11

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that ​I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else w​believe on account of the works themselves.

John 12:32 (KJV)

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

The trust is restored by looking at Jesus…Jesus came to show us the Father…so once again we could trust Him…

In case you think that Jesus cares more about you than the Father does…

John 15:26

26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 ​for the Father himself loves you…

And lest you think that it’s all come back to being all about us…

John 12:32, in the King James Version has “men” in “And I, if I be lifted up from earth, will draw all men unto me” in italics. Why? (Because the word “men” doesn’t exist in the Greek.)

Jesus draws “all”…not just “all men”…He restores trust in God throughout the universe.

To wrap up…

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (GNB)

All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19​Our message is that God was making the whole human race his friends through Christ…

Will you willingly take this task and lift up Jesus so He can draw all unto him?

Will you help restore trust in the original Father this Father’s Day?

Providence In the Form of a Woman

Providence In the Form of a Woman

Introduction

What is your favorite book of the Bible? The one that you most connect with? Are most inspired by? Gives you the most comfort?

For me it is John, although Acts is also high up on my list…and Romans is pretty impressive.

You?

Anybody choose Esther? Anybody know anyone who would choose Esther?

As a quick aside…if you heard someone was named Esther…how old would assume the person would be? Today the name is probably no more popular than the book.

Yet…

Yet it is a tremendous read–a short book that has all the makings of a great story…intrigue, courtyard intrigue, surprise twists, beautiful women (good and bad), and a happy ending…

Continue reading Providence In the Form of a Woman

WDJD: Neighbors

Definition

Dictionary

Concise Oxford English Dictionary

neighbour (US neighbor)

n. a person living next door to or very near to another.

† a person or place in relation to others next to it.

Merriam-Webmster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition)

1neigh•bor \r\ n

[ME, fr. OE nr dweller — more at nigh, boor] bef. 12c

1 : one living or located near another

2 : fellow man

From My Mac's dictionary (Leopard 10.5.7)

neighbor |ˈnābər| ( Brit. neighbour)

noun

a person living near or next door to the speaker or person referred to : our garden was the envy of the neighbors.

a person or place in relation to others near or next to it : I chatted with my neighbor on the flight to New York | matching our investment levels with those of our North American neighbors.

any person in need of one's help or kindness (after biblical use) : love thy neighbor as thyself.

Quotes

You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor. —Walter Bagehot, in National Review

Love your neighbor, yet pull not down your hedge. —George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor. —Eric Hoffer, in New York Times Magazine

Merriam-Webster, I. (1992). The Merriam-Webster dictionary of quotations. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster.

Jewish Definition (in Jesus' day)

Continue reading WDJD: Neighbors

Inclusivism

In 1492…

Do you remember the poem that starts off, “In Fourteen hundred nine-two” or “In fourteen nine-two”? How does it continue?

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Although Columbus has fallen out of favor in the modern world, there is no question he had a tremendous impact on the future of North, Central, and South America. Since I’m standing here in church, you might guess my focus are on the religious implications of his arrival on the shores of the New World.

Continue reading Inclusivism

WDJD: The Gospel

Quick excursion: Stephen Colbert the Christian apologist

I’ve previously mentioned Bart Ehrman, probably the most famous modern agnostic (the “happy agnostic”)–he is chair of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill…a biblical scholar who now appears to have the main goal of debunking the Bible and Christian faith.

Recently he was a guest on Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report. He probably expected it to be a mostly friendly visit–I don’t know Stephen Colbert’s religious leanings, but I don’t think anyone would mistake his humor for that of a Christian fundamentalist.

Colbert, however, ate him alive…and although I don’t think Colbert was fair to Ehrman, we could learn a few things from his approach. (If you are interested in seeing it yourselves, please visit check out our Facebook page at http://facebook.antrimcoc.org. I’ve got a link there for it. I wouldn’t wait…Colbert seems to have taken down the original page and I’m not sure how long my direct pointer to the video will work.)

Continue reading WDJD: The Gospel

WDJD: Prolegomena

Introduction

In my first sermon, “WDJD: Scripture,” I mentioned that I really would have started with, “WDJD: Prolegomena.”

Definition

My poor man’s definition of “prolegomena” is “the things you need to say beforehand.”

Focus on two things

This talk will focus on two things we need to establish prior to a series on “What did Jesus do?”

  • Ground-rules for a viable discussion
  • Why should we care what Jesus did?

Continue reading WDJD: Prolegomena

WDJD: Scripture

Introduction of the WDJD series

“WDJD” stands for “What did Jesus do?” WDJD is an acronym that is a close cousin to “WWJD” (“What would Jesus do?”)

Today’s talk is the first in a WDJD series—a series without a definitive end. As I consider all the subjects that I could easily speak on, for instance “WDJD: The Gospel,” “WDJD: Neighbors” (for you Linda per your Facebook question), etcetera—I can’t help but think of how John ended his Gospel:

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

Even limited to just what is recorded of Jesus’ example and words I suspect I could preach every week for the rest of my life and never run out of material. Luckily you are to be tortured by me at most once a month.

Continue reading WDJD: Scripture