Video ‘The Second Sermon on the Mount’

Did you know that the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 was actually the second that Jesus gave on a mount? The first sermon on the mount was back a ways, when Israel came out of Egypt. You’ll find that the two are very similar if you compare them with an open mind. Check out our video for more.

Shalom
Bruce

Deadly Affirmation

Six times greater chance of suicide.

Average life expectancy 8 to 20 years shorter.

Nearly 100% cheating ratio.

Eight times more likely to contract hepatitis.

Fourteen times more likely to contract syphilis.

5,000 times more likely to contract AIDS.

Above average alcoholism and drub abuse rates.

Almost 100% regression into steadily increasing violent actions including sadism, masochism, pedophilia and murder.

These are some of the statistics. They are the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the truth about the homosexual lifestyle. When we “affirm” this choice, either by remaining silent or openly supporting the choice of a friend or relative, we literally condemn the person to vastly increased torture, pain and suffering.

I know. I’m not supposed to say things like this in a blog post. I’m supposed to write stuff that makes you feel good. Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. God will make everything better. There’s nothing really wrong with you – it’s the environment or your parents or your pastor or that pork you ate in your burrito last night. I’m supposed to continue making comfortable, soothing, encouraging music like those guys did on the deck of the Titanic, playing my heart out like there is nothing wrong, all while people are hanging on railings by their fingernails or clawing at the deck to avoid plunging into the icy embrace of death. But hey, as long as you can hum a tune as you’re going down it’s okay, right?

While only 2% of the population, homosexuals have much greater incidences of pedophilia, abuse, and murder. About 30% have had over 1,000 partners, about half of which they are with only once. A little fewer than half have had over 500 partners. This induces much callousness and indifference to the treatment of others. It hardens the heart and makes repentance extremely difficult. It also makes a mockery of marriage.

The reason more people don’t condemn the homosexual lifestyle choice and would rather “affirm” it? Because generally the behavior is a result of sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, divorce and other sins coming from heterosexuals. We are the ones creating the homosexuals with our own hateful behavior. But we don’t want to renounce our sins, and we don’t want to be identified as the source of further evil. So we “affirm” the fruits of our own destructive lifestyle choices which in turn affirms our own sin.

The church has been the leader in backing away from God’s Word in order to “affirm” our own lifestyle choices. We have been giving ourselves permission to sin since sin entered the world. We don’t like the Law, and we call it “old” or “ceremonial” or at best for Israel only, so we can merrily indulge ourselves in whatever makes us feel better.

The gospel is not “God loves you” (though He does). It’s not primarily a message about you, it is about Him. The gospel is “God with us.” When God is with us so is His Word. We can’t have His love without also making the choice to affirm His lifestyle by living His Word. When we refuse to affirm the homosexual lifestyle, we affirm His lifestyle. We also affirm the fact that we are the ones responsible. We are the ones who divorce at the drop of a hat and will usually drop it ourselves. We are the ones abusing our children in hatred and thus encouraging them to turn to even more hateful lifestyle choices than our own. We are the ones who have abandoned His lifestyle. We have cut ourselves loose from the anchor of His Word in the bay of His love to drift out onto a sea of hate.

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 15, ESV)

We are the ones who have to examine our own choices, confess and repent of the wrong ones, and affirm His ways over ours. There is hope and restoration available, but only in repentance, not affirmation of death.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. (Micah 7:18, ESV)

Shalom
Bruce

New video A Whole Heart: What About the Temple?

So you think the temple was destroyed. We say it wasn’t. The people who say it was destroyed think the Law was destroyed with the Temple. We say that it’s not about the Temple, but if it was then since the Temple is still intact so is the Law. Who is right?

The Bible.

Our video discussing the fact that the Temple is still around, and so is the Law.

Shalom,
Bruce

Jeff Durbin on Street Level Apologetics

A pastor at Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona, Jeff Durbin gives a great presentation on some general apologetic approaches. I like his energy, his use of Scripture, and his willingness to be bold. He’s also got a lot of excellent points you could incorporate into your own conversations. Even if you are not as bold as he.

I don’t agree with all his positions. He misses the point of the Law, and tends to question Christian orthodoxy while holding on to many of it’s tenets with “closed hand.” But he still seems to have a great deal good to say; worth listening.

Shalom,
Bruce

Passover 2014

We are getting ready for our lamb barbecue tomorrow night, looking forward to spending time showing love for God by doing as He commands His people to do. We touch God and touch each other in an intimate fellowship that goes way past the physical markers and deep into a spiritual connection. His love flows to us, and our love flows back and between. We remember what God has done for His people, is doing, and will do. Remember means to speak or act on behalf of someone, which is why we can “remember” the future promises of God.

Some are speaking of the “blood moons” that will appear on this Passover and the Tabernacles celebration this year, as well as the same two holidays next year. I’m not big into that stuff, but it probably has some significance. Coupled with the increase in earthquakes, volcanic activity, and cultural degradation, we can definitely see that labor pains for the world are increasing. Maintaining our love for God through His commands is coming under attack at a greater intensity, but He said a “falling away” would happen before the end. Therefore be encouraged and keep your faith strong, standing on the Rock of His Word and our Savior Jesus the Christ.

I feel sorry for those who do not participate in God’s holidays, either because they just don’t follow God or because they classify His living oracles as “old” or “outdated” or for another group besides believers. Paradise awaits a change from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh, sensitive and trembling at His Word. All it takes is humble obedience to find out the nature of real love and spiritual renewal and refreshment. I feel sorry for those who choose their own way, like Cain, substituting their own understanding for God’s Word and offering slovenly disobedience through physical symbols such as ham and bunnies. The symbols show the disobedience in the balance of their lives, corrupt and unclean and spurning the love that is waiting. Compromise shows its fruit in sexual immorality and unfruitfulness through acceptance of behavior God said would cause death. No wonder they are known for hypocrisy. One cannot practice hate for God in trashing His commands and expect God to accept the resulting uncleanness using the cosmic eraser of Jesus. If we harbor iniquity in our hearts, our offerings mean nothing. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

Rejoice, children of God. Look up for our redemption draweth nigh. Stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Pursue righteousness through humble submission to every word of His glorious instructions. Hold fast to the hope He has given, practicing as best we can every tiny utterance from our loving God and Savior Jesus our Messiah. Eat His body and drink His blood, taking in every breath from God through His Word and breathing it back to Him. Rejoice as our meager offerings of obedience gain His regard and we find acceptance in Him because of our love and practice of His Word.

Shalom
Bruce

New vid: Living in the New Testament Synagogue

Hot off the computer, a new video looking at the New Testament synagogue and what they used for a daily living guide. The New Testament wasn’t compiled and accepted until about 200 A.D., so in the meantime what did the New Testament synagogue use?

Just a little curve to help with the biblical thinking processes.

Shalom
Bruce

Can God Make a Rock Bigger (Heavier) Than He Can Lift?

The question, “Can God make a rock bigger (or heavier) than He can lift?” is asked by skeptics and the willfully ignorant of Christians on a regular basis. It is intended to mock the existence of God, and the supposed lack of knowledge and understanding of believers. On the surface, the question appears unanswerable. However, with a little thought and a smidgen of reasoning, the answer(s) are apparent. We just have to remember there is more to God than creating and lifting.

First answer: Of course He can. Jesus only had the strength of His human body. There were lots of rocks around that He made yet couldn’t lift. This answer focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, and the fact that He gave up some of His abilities in order to be as we are. He even submitted to death, a death that was necessary to atone for sin.

Second answer: Let me clarify. What is the reason for lifting? Is it just to show off muscles? Or is it to show off creating ability? He is not in the habit of doing things just to show off. He has a lot more intelligence and wisdom than that. It would not make any sense to make a rock bigger than He could lift, anymore than it would make sense for me to try and lift a rock when I could go around. His creation obviously was put together with much more practicality and purpose than that.

Third answer: God could make a rock that would fill everything. Then what? Who would care if He could lift it? There wouldn’t be anyone left to care!

Fourth answer: God could make a big rock, but why lift it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply reduce the rock to gravel with a word? And if that was the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to make the gravel in the first place, if indeed gravel were needed? This puts the spotlight on His forethought and planning. His omniscience includes what we might call “common sense.” Indeed, He is the author of common sense.

Fifth answer: God made everything, including physical laws such as gravity. I have no doubt that He has many other laws we know nothing about. So would He make the rock without mass? Could it be physical yet not weigh anything? (As we think of weight with our current knowledge of physical laws.) So if the rock was large, yet had no mass, then He obviously could lift it. If it was heavy, how big would it have to be before He couldn’t lift it? Doesn’t He hold planets in the palm of His hand, or are held up by the word of His power? The rock would have to be really, really huge, and I don’t think we can even conceive of just how huge. This puts the spotlight on the ignorance of the questioner, especially since the average atheist (and it is mostly atheists who ask this question) worships science yet has very little understanding.

I’m sure there are other answers to this question too. In fact, it is a fun exercise for believers to use our wider and deeper understanding of God to see just how many ways this foolishness can easily be answered. I would also add this warning to the answers: “God is not mocked. Whatever one sows, that he shall also reap. Was I you I would be extremely careful about my questions. Because God might decide to answer you Himself.”

Shalom
Bruce

I Stand At The Door And Knock

“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ” (Revelation 3:15–22, ESV)

The “I stand at the door and knock” phrase is frequently directed at the unsaved as an invitation to be saved. But notice that the door Jesus is standing outside of is the door of the church. Why is He outside?

Will we argue that this is just the church of Laodicea, and doesn’t relate to today’s church? It relates if we do the same things. If we act like Laodicea, then we ARE Laodicea. Can anyone deny that our works are lukewarm? Can anyone deny that the huge buildings, the expensive cars and designer clothing, and the lush interiors of our homes and meeting places fairly scream “I am rich, I have prospered, I need nothing?” Compare the modern church to the church right after Peter unleashes the Word of God in his first powerful public sermon.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47, ESV)

It is the church that needs to answer the door and invite Jesus back in. It is the church that is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. It is the church that has locked out His Word, His Law, His ways and statutes and commands. We reject the hot and yet are not fully cold. The words of Jesus are rejected, and as His words go so goes He.

The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:48–50, ESV)

Therefore be zealous and repent. Buy gold from Him refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

Shalom
Bruce

Why Do We Follow The Law?

Easy answer. We follow the Law because we love God. Love and Law go together like mountains and valleys. Jesus says it this way.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12, ESV)

Interesting how Jesus equates Law and love, isn’t it? As people move away from the Law, they move away from love. So if we want to get closer to God, we get closer to His Laws. Every tiny little command we follow is loving Him that much more. He loved us first, and we love Him in a small way by doing everything He says.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12, ESV)

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)

Some people insist on questioning the Law. They liken it to “slavery,” or “legalism,” or stuff we cannot do. They view God as a sadist because He gives us “laws” that we cannot follow. They don’t see the Law as love, because they do not understand love. Their hard hearts prompt them to resent the Law as burdensome requirements imposed from the outside on the unwilling. They see God as a harsh taskmaster who doesn’t deserve the smallest return on His investment (Matthew 25:24).

But our hearts are flesh, and have the Law written on them by the Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-34). We delight in every word God speaks, and work at whatever He suggests. We love others in the Body with a similar love, because He first loved us. After all, Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness. He paid the penalty for disobedience to God’s Laws, so we don’t have to worry that if we make a mistake we will be separated from Him again. He is not waiting to hammer us for the smallest misstep. He longs for us to respond to His Words of Life and have life more abundantly. His Word trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives, zealous for good works.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11–14, ESV)

Shalom
Bruce