To My Jewish Friends

7 12 2016

Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place. And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.

In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.

I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:  To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house.

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

(Sermon to the Jewish Sanhedrin by Stephen as recorded in Acts 7:2-53)





Why Missions

21 11 2016

This message was preached by Dwight Tomlinson of barnabas1040.com. This ministry focuses on helping national Pastors working in the 1040 window as they establish churches in their home countries. This message was preached at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana in March of 2016.

 





The Suffering Servant

14 07 2016

In the book of Isaiah the prophet tells of a man who will come and will suffer, be rejected and ultimately die for the sins of others. Hear the Word of the Lord.

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53)

This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. He was the suffering servant who came to this world, lived a perfect, sinless life and gave His life as a payment for sin. Won’t you turn to Him today confessing your sin and accepting His offering of eternal salvation?





The Gospel and Opposition

28 01 2016

Last week while evangelizing in Downtown Bakersfield we experienced a first, a Black Hebrew Israelite.He opposed our preaching and became loud. It seemed to draw a few more people around to hear the preaching and thus furthered our goal. Security for the bus station stepped in and moved him away from us. He stood just down the street for the remainder of our time but I noticed he was still listening to the Word as it was preached.

Often times those who oppose the preaching of the Gospel will without realizing it draw more people around to hear it. I have also seen people share Gospel tracts online for the purpose of mocking them without giving thought to the fact that they are spreading the message they claim to hate. God seems to use even those who oppose Him for the purpose of spreading His fame to all people.

Don’t fret when people oppose your method or message. Jesus was opposed, the apostles were opposed, in fact Jesus promised we would be opposed but remember God is sovereign even over sinners. When the Jews opposed Jesus they actually were God’s instrument to sacrifice His Son and thus bring salvation. When they opposed the apostles in the early chapters of Acts it only served to spread them throughout the Roman Empire and it says they went everywhere preaching the Gospel.

When opposition arises take heart! God may be spreading His message farther than you or I could take it ourselves. It was the opposition to Stephen (his stoning) that greatly impacted Saul of Tarsus thus leading to his conversion. God is sovereign and even in opposition He is triumphing.





The Border Crisis and Our Opportunity

25 08 2014

I have been spending a great deal of time pondering the crisis at the border. I was once a die hard Republican, a card carrying tea party member. Much to my shame at one time I would have just said to blow their heads off. I would have argued that they have no right to be here, they are a drain on our system and they are going to collapse the United States. I pretty much would have used all of the arguments I hear on talk radio today. The difference is that as I have matured in the Lord my Christianity has driven out my Republicanism.

Those who are hyper political see this through purely secular eyes. I have even heard it brought up in sermons where the preacher simply mentions the illegals as being dangerous to our nation. Let’s settle first thing first if we can. These are not your everyday illegal immigrants and they are not coming to America for welfare and a lazy life at least not the majority. So what are they? They are fleeing nations in South America that are plagued by tyranny, war, violence, drug gangs as well as poverty and disease.

They are being sent by parents who undoubtedly want a better life for their children. Can you blame them? Would you do things differently if you were in their shoes facing war, oppression, the constant threat of violence, lack of food and clean water and all the other things that can be found in South America? We welcome refugees from Cuba and grant them citizenship upon reaching our land and yet these who are fleeing the oppression and poverty of their own nations are used as a political tool.

Second of all is the compassion that we should feel for those in need. These who are coming are in need. They are coming from war torn, drug torn, nations and are seeking compassion. I don’t believe for a second the majority of these youths have ulterior motives. I believe they truly seek a better life. What are they met with? Howling mobs of protesters, and political commentators portraying them as leaches. I have even heard a few commentators refer to them as an invasion of locusts. That would make them pests and what do we do with pests? We destroy them is what we do. I have heard of so called militia’s taking to the border with guns. Is this the compassion of the Savior?

At some point we need to stop looking through political glasses and look through the eyes of the Bible. These are people fleeing war, poverty, violence, and want. They have no hope in their homelands. We live in a land of plenty that has all the resources these people lack and we who believe in the God of the Bible should share these resources with others. The Bible says of the sins of Sodom:

“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)

The Bible speaks of helping the stranger and sojourner:

“Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3)

“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9)

We need to show compassion on these in the name of the Lord. Those who give to the poor lend to the Lord according to Proverbs 19:17. We need to shake off this mindset that what we have is ours, we earned it, go get your own. We need to see all that we have as coming from God in order to share with those in need. The only hope for these young people is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to see them and be moved with the Savior’s compassion.

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

We have before us the single greatest opportunity. One that past generations of believers would have given their wealth, freedom, and left arm to have. We have thousands of lost people from hard to reach countries coming to us. We could take up the task of sharing the Gospel and winning some of these youths then send them back to their own lands bearing the news of the Gospel. If we did that we could in a few short years impact millions of unreached or barely reached villages and souls with the Gospel.

Instead we are taking a political stand and using this God given opportunity as a weapon against the current Administration. We see them as “illegal aliens” not souls in bondage and darkness. We see them as a threat to our liberty. I have said before I would sooner see our Constitution torn to shreds and all of our freedoms taken away if only to reach these young people and the nations they come from. Here is our opportunity but what will we do with it?





Is Tithing Commanded in the New Testament?

15 07 2014

Question: Is tithing commanded in the New Testament?

Answer: No

Now this answer will make a lot of tradition bound people angry so let me turn to the Bible to explain it. First of all there is no command in the New Testament to tithe. The tithe was a command of the Jews in the Old Testament and there were many tithes. This was how they paid for their nation. In fact if Christians today tithed like their Old Testament counterparts then they would tithe off more then their pay. They would tithe off their spices, furniture, vegetable gardens and so on. Let’s ask a few questions about the tithe shall we and answer them from the Bible.

Question 1: What is a tithe and where did it come from?

The word tithe means a tenth. We see it first practiced by Abraham. He did it not out of obligation but the overflow of a thankful heart. God did not give any command from the beginning for man to bring an offering. Looking now to father Abraham.

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18-20)

We see a tithe again from his grandson Jacob.

“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” (Genesis 28:20-22)

This is all we see of tithing until the law of Moses. Notice that Jacob was not saying 10 percent was God’s and 90 percent was his to do with as he pleased. He recognized that all was God’s and gave back a tenth as a thank offering thus showing where it came from. Too many times I have heared hopefully well meaning preachers say that all God wants is 10 percent and the rest is yours. This is blatantly false.

In the law of Moses the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple. The Old Testament law required multiple tithes. There was one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land. This would have pushed the total to around 23 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

Is tithing mentioned in the New Testament?

Some would say that tithing is mentioned in the New Testament. The only references to the tithe in the New Testament are in the Gospels during a time before Christ died when worship was still done through Old Testament means and in Hebrews when referencing the Old Testament. There is no command given concerning it at all. In all of the writings of the apostles, and all the instructions given to the church wouldn’t tithing take at least an honorable mention? One would think but alas it isn’t so. What does the New Testament say about giving?

1. We are to give as God prospers us.

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)

There were no overhead expenses in the Bible times since they all met in homes so offerings were given for the relief of the poor. The same principles apply in our modern day I believe. We are still to give as unto the Lord.

2. We are to give of what we have not of what we don’t have.

“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” (2 Corinthians 8:12)

So we are to give of what we have, not of what we don’t have. I always find it interesting that when people ask pastors if they should give off their gross or net income the answer is always gross. This maximizes the amount given. The problem is that Scripture says that we give from what we have and what we have been prospered. I don’t have that money nor have I prospered from it. When tax returns come in and the money is given back from the government people ask if they should give from that money since it has already been tithed off of and the answer is always yes because after all, “you don’t want to short change the Lord.” It is often given both ways without a solid Biblical argument. Now When I get my tax return I give from that prospering.

3. We are first to give of ourselves.

“And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:5)

The purpose of giving is not that God wants or needs our money but that He wants us. If we don’t give of ourselves first then our offerings bear no fruit. I have heard the joke that God wants cheerful givers but if your not cheerful He will take it anyway He can get it. This is one of the most unBiblical jokes I have heard. That concept is not found in the Bible. God wants us above all and we demonstrate outwardly that He has us inwardly by giving back to Him recognizing 100 percent is His.

4. We are to give sacrificially.

“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)

These believers gave so much away that they were trusting the Lord to meet their needs. It wasn’t a giving where they saw themselves as owners of 90 percent. They gave in such a way that if the Lord didn’t take care of them then they would die. They begged Paul to let them give. It wasn’t a burden because they had already given themselves to the Lord. Letting go of the money He had given them was no problem at all. They considered themselves as stewards and not owners of all that God had given. To some people 10 percent hurts but others who have much can write a check for 10 percent and never miss it. This was not God’s plan. His plan was for all of us to give in such a way that we relied on Him to provide for us.

This was the greatness of the widow that Jesus spoke of. The others cast in of their abundance and didn’t miss it. They were greedy even though they gave God 10 percent. This widow cast in all of her living and cast herself onto the care of Almighty God. Jesus should have condemned her as irresponsible and said to her: “Woman don’t you know I only want 10 percent and the rest is yours?” He didn’t say that because her giving reflected what true giving should, a recognition of her position as a steward. This is New Testament giving.

5. We are to give as we purpose.

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

I believe this verse repeals the required tithe of the law of Moses. We are to give as we purpose in our hearts. It says to give “not of necessity.” This is important because if there was a required percent then there would be a necessity. Some may only have the faith to give 5 percent then so let them give and as their faith increases so should their giving. We are even given a warning that the more we sow the more we will reap.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Tithing is nothing more then a middle class way of robbing God. We give a 10 percent check and feel good about ourselves while hoarding the rest and putting it into savings, and retirement accounts that demonstrate our lack of faith in God. We sink it into houses, cars, clothes, hobbies and trinkets that have no eternal value but believe we are doing God a favor. I know a man whose heart is not turned towards God but believes that as long as he goes to church every now and then and gives God His 10 percent then God will bless him. God has become his paid helper at that point.

To convince people to give we retreat to the Old Testament and tell them they have robbed God and God will break their car or refrigerator to get what’s coming to Him. God is now reduced to a thug who breaks knee caps to get His pay out. Is this our view of the God of Scripture? How then should we encourage people to give? The way Paul did by letting them know that God will always provide for them if they give.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:8-10)

We should give and I don’t believe anyone should give less then the Old Testament minimum of 10 percent but shame on us if we are saved 10, 20, or 30 years and we are giving 10 percent while stocking our bank accounts and garages. Shame on us for letting people believe this is okay. Give yourself first, then give bountifully of what God has given you looking to Him to supply more seed so that you can give yet more again. This is New Testament giving.





The Whiskey Rebellion: History in Context

4 06 2014

In our hyper political world everyone is kind of pushed into one of two camps. Your either Republican or Democrat and by virtue conservative or liberal. The rules are that you are to oppose all of the actions of the opposing party, never give them credit even if they do good, and twist history to prove your points. The problem is that I as a Christian don’t feel such rules can apply to me. I answer to a higher authority which is the Word of God.

I believe Christians must be very careful when speaking of politics because we are judged by the Word of God. We must never compromise our spiritual principles for the political agenda of a specific political party. We must give honor to whom is honor is due Romans 13:7, we must honor the King (or President) 1 Peter 2:17. It behooves us to be honest and Biblical in our dealings especially where politics is concerned.

The sudden wave of anti-government libertarianism that is sweeping across Christian circles worries me. This idea that we can speak against our leaders because we disagree with them yet excuse our leaders when they do wrong simply because they belong to our party is blatantly false. While libertarians often quote our founding fathers I wonder how many of them would march against and condemn them if they were alive today. We need to take an honest look at history and the Bible in order to act as becometh Christians and patriotic Americans.

I was caught up for a time in the libertarian movement before I began to see that many of my stands and attitudes were simply wrong. My views of history were even slanted to fit with my philosophies. Take for instance the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791. This incident stabs at the heart of libertarian philosophy and really backs up the Biblical call to submit to government. I am going to use excerpts from Wikipedia and then comment on them as we go along.

“Farmers who used their leftover grain and corn in the form of whiskey as a medium of exchange were forced to pay a new tax. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton’s program to increase central government power, in particular to fund his policy of assuming the war debt of those states which had failed to pay. The farmers who resisted, many war veterans, contended that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation, while the Federal government maintained the taxes were the legal expression of the taxation powers of Congress.”

This was the first national tax levied by the national government of the United States and it was extremely unpopular. If put in the modern day under President Obama I’m sure Facebook, blogs and Baptist pulpits would be ablaze with criticism. Pictures of the President with a Hitler type mustache would be flooding the social media waves. The problem is that all of these libertarians who would be doing and saying such things would be holding President Washington in esteem and as an example of Constitutionalism and conservatism.

We don’t often associate him with such things as unpopular tax laws that people rebelled against. In reality most people in the libertarian and republican camps would probably have joined in the rebellion. They only hold Washington in high esteem because they didn’t live in that time.

These people were resisting an actual law that they felt unconstitutional. In our day we fear that laws may be passed and we put on fake days of resistance. Most of the concern over gun rights isn’t caused by laws being passed but by rumors started by gun makers to spur sales. They even put on a day of resistance where people went out in “defiance” and bought guns. I’m not sure what they were defiant of since buying guns is legal. All it was I suppose was an attempt to be an oppressed people.

So if Washington was this libertarian President everyone paints him to be surely he repealed the law and supported the right of the people not to pay taxes and supported their brave resistance right?

“Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to enforce the tax. With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation.”

Whether or not the tax was good it was the law and President Washington was willing at the point of a gun to enforce the law among citizens. If President Obama were to bring the military to a town to enforce laws he would be painted as a tyrant or dictator. Many of these were veterans and boy I can’t imagine what would be said about the President if he threatened military action against veterans. We take it lightly to defy our laws or ignore them if it pleases us and yet men like Washington who risked life and limb for this nation knew what it meant to submit to the laws whether you agreed or not.

We judge our modern President in unfair ways and hold up those who probably would have done the same things in their own time. We speak against our President as if he were our worst enemy or worse we accuse him of trying to destroy our country. These are the same actions that people who lived in the days of the founding father’s took. True patriotism is to obey and respect any law given by our leaders as long as they don’t violate God’s laws. even if you don’t personally like the laws. If you don’t like them then change them the correct way. True Christianity obeys civil government, respects authority, and submits to government.








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