Sermons recorded at Restoration Messianic Fellowship in Boulder, Colorado.
2020-03-28 A Time of Shaking
Today the entire world is focused on a virus that has emerged from China and is sweeping the world. The panic caused by this virus has crashed financial markets and disrupted daily life in unprecedented ways. In Hebrews, God has promised times of great shaking that will reveal that which cannot be shaken. This time presents great opportunity for the advancement of His Kingdom.
2020-02-29 Persecution Within the Church
In the Parable of the Weeds, Y'shua warns that false believers will enter the church and will persecute the faithful. He says that those 'weeds' will not be plucked up until the final harvest and that His people are called to endure in the face of that persecution - even to the point of death.
2020-02-22 A Farmer Went Out to Sow
The Parable of the Sower is the first of the Kingdom Parables. It correlates with Paul's letter to the Ephesians and the Revelation letter to the church at Ephesus. The parable describes the human heart's ability to accept the Word of God and be fruitful. The causes of an infertile heart are Satan, society and self. Each works differently, but the result is the same - a lack of fruit.
2020-02-15 The Ten Commandments
Some 3500 years ago, Israel encountered God at Mt Sinai. There He spoke to them, giving them a covenant and His laws. Are those laws still binding? If so, upon whom? What do they mean in the Christian context?
2020-01-25 Care of the Soul, Truth
Scripture is greatly concerned with helping us discern what is true. The world is concerned with tempting us to accept any number of lies. The soul knows, at some level, when it is being forced to participate in an untruth. Such participation damages and deadens the soul, preventing the closeness to God that we desire.
2019-12-28 Care of the Soul, Simplicity, Patience
The human soul is given by God and returns to Him at death. It may either be enhanced or harmed by the way we live our lives. It is tempting to involve ourselves with clutter and the press of the immediate; both of which may interfere with the care of the soul.
God has designed us with the capacity for violence. As with all things God has built into us, the capacity for violence can be misdirected which leads to murder. The tendency to murder is so prevalent that it is the second story in the Bible - Cain, jealous of the favor of God, killed his brother. Brother killing brother is woven throughout the Scriptures, culminating with the murder of the Messiah Himself.
2019-12-07 Care of the Soul, Generosity
Proverbs says, "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts." The soul or the spirit belongs both to us and to God. Our thoughts and actions can either build up the soul or damage it. How then should we care for this precious faculty?
Moses, Peter, Paul and James each tells us to be joyful in all of our circumstances. Further, Moses says that a lack of joy will cause Israel to go into exile. How is it possible for joy to be a commandment? Why does a lack of joy lead to curses and exile? What does that say for us today?
2019-11-16 Galatians, Law and Grace
The relationship between Torah (law) and grace goes clear back to the apostolic age. Denominations have been born and died over this question. In truth, there is no conflict at all. Both are attributes of God.
2019-11-09 Plastic Jesus
There is an old country song about misplaced trust. A driver takes foolish risks believing that the plastic Jesus on his dashboard will keep him safe. Everything needed to form an accurate understanding of the character and promises of God is in the Bible - the whole Bible, not just our favorite parts. Neglecting the difficult parts of Scripture can cause one to set up a 'plastic Jesus' and behave foolishly, trusting promises that He never made.
2019-10-26 Genesis - Context, Relationship, Place
People, in order to be healthy, need orientation. They need a context for their existence, they need relationships and they need to know their place within their society. God, having made us, understands these needs and has given us the means to fulfill them in the first three chapters of Genesis.
2019-09-28, By What Authority?
The Talmudic story of Yavneh and the broken oven helps us to understand Y'shua's giving us the keys of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 16. In the oven story, the rabbis reject supernatural interference in discussing whether a broken oven can confer uncleanness. In Matthew, Y'shua tells his disciples that their decisions about what is or is not permitted on earth will be binding. This is simply a restoration of the authority given to mankind at the creation; authority that we tried to give up when we ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
2019-09-21, Annual Review, The High Holy Days
The month leading up to the high holy days should be one of reflection and preparation. It is a time to take stock of your successes and failures during the past year and to formulate your goals for the next. If you need to forgive or repent, this is the time to take care of that. Failure to do so will weigh you down during the coming year. This is the first of a two part series.
2019-08-24 Dangerous Abundance
Moses in his final instructions to Israel before they enter the land, warns them about the perils inherent in material blessing. The heart's temptation is to forget God and get puffed up with the pride of wealth. Looking at the US today, we can see the pathologies of wealth everywhere.
2019-08-17 Idolatry Today
The mechanics of idol worship have changed, the impulse has not. A covetous heart still seeks external justification to satisfy its desires. Whatever it finds, or invents, that provides that justification, the heart will worship.
2019-07-20, Why Worship Idols?
From the early books of the Bible to the later ones, the concept of idolatry changes. Early, it involves graven images and statues. later idolatry becomes more subtle but is still clearly identified by Y'shua in the Gospels. What does that mean for us today? How do we recognize idolatry in our society and how do we avoid it?
2019-07-06, Weeding the Garden
Weeds are used in Scripture as a metaphor for sin. While pulling the weeds out of a garden gives a sense of satisfaction, there is no permanent victory. A new crop of weeds will appear within a week and the process must be done all over again. So it is with sin.
Matthew Behrens is the speaker.
2019-06-22 The Gospel in Context
Hebrews 4 says that the generation that perished in the wilderness heard the same Gospel as was given to believers by the Apostles. Since the sin of the spies in the wilderness was over a thousand years prior to the Crucifixion, just what is that Gospel? What should that understanding mean to the church today?
2019-06-14 Holy Spirit, Supernatural Guidance
On Shavuot, God gave his people instructions on how to live. At Sinai, it was a book, the Torah. At Pentecost it was a person, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit and the Scriptures are intended to work together yet large numbers of God's people neglect one or the other. The Jews neglect the Spirit and the Sunday Church neglects the Torah. This causes God's people to be less effective than they could be.
Messianic believers are often suspected of being Judaizers or legalists by their Sunday Church brethren. This comes from a misunderstanding of the NT passages where Y'shua calls out the Pharisees for their strict observance of parts of the Torah while neglecting others. It is more useful to describe legalism as twisting the words of Scripture to justify following the evil desires of the heart.
2019-04-27 Two Goats
In Genesis the Bible uses contrasting pairs to make a number of subtle points about humanity. Beginning with Adam and Eve and ending with Jacob and Esau, each vignette tells us something different about the spirit, the flesh and responsibility. In the Leviticus 16 Yom Kippur instructions the two goats represent the summation of those lessons and provide insight into today's victim culture.
Inspired by Rabbi Sacks https://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/149807985.html
2019-03-30 Law and Grace
The movie 'Unplanned' tells the story of how a Planed Parenthood clinic director became pro-life. In so doing, the movie opens a window into contemporary American Christianity. The view through that window is quite disturbing and provides insight into why Planned Parenthood and other such organizations enjoy so much success.
2019-03-16 The Narrow Gate
In the Sermon on the Mount Y'shua defines doing the right things for the right reasons as entering by the narrow gate. In Romans 8 Paul calls it walking in the spirit. The point of both Scriptures is that the world presents us with choices that are superficially attractive but ultimately lead to destruction. In God's economy 'almost right' is not good enough.
2019-02-23 Socialism Never Fails
Socialism is surging in the US, with politicians promising that this time they'll do it right. Sadly, socialism always works exactly as designed leading to poverty, misery and death. That is because it is a demonic counterfeit of God's instructions for a thriving society.
2019-02-16 A Place for the Beloved
Before the Beginning, all that was was God. When He made the world as a place for people, He had to provide a space that was not Himself. When He decided to dwell with Israel, they made the Tabernacle as a place that was not 'human space.' The Cherubim in the Mishkan show how this was done.
2019-01-26 Confidence, Knowing Who You Are
The world is intent on marginalizing and silencing believers using every technique from intimidation to legal action. Simply put, those who are perishing do not want to be told that there is a better way. Knowing who you are and who you serve allows you to face the world with confidence and do the things you are called to do.
2018-12-29 Idolatry Today
Classical idol worship, falling down in front of a graven image, is out of fashion today, but the underlying impulse has not gone away. How does the basic human impulse to get things God does not want you to have show up today?
The concept of forgiveness is not universal among cultures. It was 'invented' in the Torah at the end of Genesis during the reconciliation of Joseph and his brothers. Popular culture today is rapidly losing the concept; having replaced forgiveness with public shaming. This is not healthy.
2018-12-15 The Failure of Reason
Over the past couple of millennia in western thought, reason has ascended at the expense of contemplation and revelation. This has resulted in a gradual abandonment of God in favor of humanism. John Locke posited that reason, human equality and choice as the basis for obligation were the best way to organize society. This project has run its course and is starting to collapse. How should we respond?
2018-11-24 Thanksgiving as a Weapon for Good
Our culture is awash in autonomy, each being a law unto himself. Since this is contrary to God's design, we see our land spinning into thousands of hostile camps. Thanksgiving - both the holiday and the attitude - is a way to combat this sorry state of affairs. Thankfulness reminds us that there is a higher authority to whom we owe all that we have.
2018-10-20 The Logic of Justification
In Romans 4 Paul presents a logical argument that, since Abram was justified by faith before he was circumcised, that path of justification is available to everyone today. Implicit in that discourse is the idea that our God is consistent, logical and can be trusted. This was a major departure from the spirituality of the pagan world where gods are capricious and to be feared rather than trusted.
2018-09-29 God Commands Joy
The theme of Succot is joy. We are to rejoice for all the good that God has done for us. Indeed, Moses says that a lack of joy would be a cause of Israel's exile. The reason joy can be a commandment is because Joy, unlike happiness, is not an emotion.
2018-09-15 Days of Awe
The period between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur is known as the Days of Awe. We remember at Sinai that God's coming was announced with the blast of a shofar. So too will the coming of the Messiah. This period of repentance prepares us to enter the presence of God.
2018-08-18 Ye Shall Be As Gods
To a believer the world seems to be going quite mad. In fact, it is quite understandable and logical. The citizens of the secular world are taking the words of the Serpent quite literally and are behaving like gods, believing they can create their own reality.
2018-07-28 Under Authority
Although moderns often resist it, people are designed to respond to authority. With the exception of God's ultimate authority, authority is often situation dependent rather than absolute. Thus, it is important to recognize who either has or is trying to gain authority over oneself. Speaker is Matthew Behrens.
2018-07-21 Givers and Takers
People are divided between those who give in much the same spirit that God does and those who's drive is to take as much as they can. This understanding from a mussar rabbi sheds light on one of the difficult sayings of Y'shua.
2018-06-30 Practical Sanctification
Scripture exhorts us to become more like Messiah. How does that work? How do we go about correcting the character flaws that draw us away from God and cause such trouble in our lives? The Jews have been studying this for over a thousand years and have developed some solid, practical techniques to address the problem.
2018-06-23 The Gospel for Our Times
In the Western world, people are resistant to the traditional Gospel message of repentance, forgiveness and salvation. They have no awareness of sin and don't see resurrection as desirable. For them, the Gospel answers questions they are not asking. How then can we reach these people in an effective way?
2018-05-26 Living Water
Biblically there are two sorts of water, natural water and living water. Natural water represents chaos out of which God brings order. He also uses natural water to destroy things. Living water represents the Spirit and order. It is significant that Y'shua twice tested his disciples on a sea of natural water.
2018-04-28 Spiritual Warfare
The people of God and the Adversary are in a constant spiritual and physical contest. When one retreats, the other advances to fill the vacated space. In the West today the church is in retreat and darkness is advancing. How can we prevail in these times?
2018-04-08 Resurrection - Why Y'shua is Special
Being raised from death is not unique to Y'shua; there are at least nine other resurrections in Scripture. Why then do we worship Him but not Lazarus or the Shunamite's son? What makes that resurrection different?
2018-03-31 Passover - The Compassion of God
Life in this world is difficult and often painful. It is tempting to feel alone and afraid. In the Passover, God shows that He understands the trials we suffer and that He is with us in affliction. That compassion is there whether we suffer under Egyptian slavery, a Roman cross or anything else. This is the message we must pass on to our children.
The idea of compassion suggested by Rabbi David Fohrman at AlephBeta.org
2018-03-24 Misuse of Emotion
The United States today is awash in emotion. Every bad idea or nefarious cause comes packaged with a strong emotional appeal. The Bible describes the untrained heart, the seat of emotion, as 'desperately wicked' and unreliable as a guide to life. Recognizing our tendencies, the Bible also provides a program of training the heart so that we are not manipulated by the wicked.
Searching for God, The Holy Spirit
In earlier parts of the Bible, God is seeking people and He initiates the conversation. Later in the Bible, this reverses with many passages showing men crying out to God. In many cases the petitioner feels alone and helpless in the face of heavenly silence. How do we interpret this in today's spiritual regime and how does the Holy Spirit react to our seeking?
2018-01-06 Precision in Prayer
When praying, there are two, possibly three parties involved: God, yourself and anyone else who is listening. Knowing who is involved and what you want to accomplish are the two basics of effective prayer. In this talk, we explore how prayer has changed over time and how to tailor your prayers so they achieve your purpose.
2017-12-23 Joseph's Sanity
Joseph finally had the power to avenge himself on the brothers who had sold him into Egyptian slavery; yet he was able freely to forgive them. How did he maintain this sanity and mental stability during 13 years of slavery? What can we learn from his story to help us thrive in an increasingly insane world?
2017-12-08 Channukah, Thanksgiving and Encouragement
Reflecting on the Jewish holiday of Channukah and the American one of Thanksgiving, it becomes obvious that both are the same celebration. In both cases a large and powerful government had begun to treat God's people as chattel. In both cases the people threw off the government and established one more in line with God's word. The subsequent holidays were to remind their descendants of God's grace and aid in the struggle.
2017-11-25 Who is Israel?
Within Christianity there is often confusion about who is who within God's economy. This leads to such things as dispensationalism, replacement theology, etc. This talk explores the Biblical covenants and discusses which ones apply to whom and what the conditions are for each.
2017-10-28 The Confidence of Knowing
While every generation is tested in its faith, the tests are different depending on time and circumstance. The Bible records that even the generations to whom God spoke directly and audibly lost confidence in critical situations. How then are we to act with confidence in today's world?
2017-09-30 Truth and Simplicity of Soul
A child starts out as the uncorrupted image of God. The world tries over a lifetime to move him away from that image. How are people of faith to maintain their initial simplicity over their lives?
2017-09-23 Why Does the Truth Set Us Free?
In John 8 Y'shua declares that His disciples will obtain freedom through knowing the truth. What are the consequences of believing a lie either nationally or individually? How does one discern that he has bought a lie? What should he do about it?
2017-08-26 Elul - Forty Days of Preparation
At the beginning of Elul, we are 40 days out from Yom Kippur. This should be a time of reconciliation, repentance and preparation if we are to get the most out of the fall feasts. Deciding what is possible and how to go about it requires a prayerful plan. Happily, there are tools to help with that.
2017-07-29 The Gospel - Good News for Whom?
For something to be good news, it must meet some need or expectation of the hearer. The Jews were looking for something very different than were the pagans. As such, Y'shua gave each what he was looking for. Today many Jews do not accept the Gospel because they have come to believe that it simply tacks pagan myth onto the Tanak. This is not true.
2017-07-22 The Voice of the Prophet
Biblical books of prophecy have four elements: a diagnosis of the societal problems that moved God to send the prophet, God's remedy for those problems, a list of consequences should that remedy not be applied, and hope for eventual restoration. Revelation, which is addressed to the church, follows that pattern. That leads to the conclusion that we should take the diagnosis to heart and apply the remedy so we can avoid the consequences.
2017-06-24 The Tithe - Training the Soul
In the Torah there are both mandatory and voluntary sacrifices. So too with giving. Tithes are mandatory; offerings are voluntary. In the mandatory, God is training our souls to be generous just as He is generous.
2017-06-17 Accuser of the Brethren
Twitter and other social media have become the vehicles of choice for those wanting to silence or destroy religious conservatives. Their technique is relentless accusation and libel. In this the accusers represent the seed of the serpent. Or as Y'shua said, "...your father, the Devil." How does one counter such tactics?
2017-05-27 Wherever you go, there you are
In God's economy it is only possible to be in one state at a time. Thus, in Numbers 3, God explains that He is trading the Levites for the firstborn of Israel because it is not possible to have two firstborns. Similarly in John 3 Y'shua explains the Nicodemus that he is either born again or he is not. He cannot be in two states at once. Understanding how state works opens up understanding of quite a few biblical concepts.
2017-04-29 Roles and Goals Part 2
In a world where the landmarks God designed for our guidance are being destroyed, our roles in life have become confused. John says that Y'shua has given us the right to become children of God. What does that mean? How should that role shape our goals in life?
2017-04-22 Roles and Goals
Many today are lost, confused and angry because the landmarks that God designed to orient our lives have been destroyed. These landmarks are the roles that each of us is designed to fulfill in life. Without them, the goals that we hope to achieve become confused, frustrating and ultimately impossible to achieve.
2017-04-16 Firstfruits, the Promise of Resurrection
Human life has five great events: birth, life in the body, physical death, resurrection and life eternal. Messiah is the Firstfruits of the resurrection from physical death. Today we celebrate the promise of our resurrection that the harvest to follow will be great.
Forgiveness is perhaps the most difficult lesson to learn; yet its fruits are among the sweetest. Practical advice on how to get there.
Laws to Train the Heart
The Bible presents a grim picture of the human heart. From Genesis through the New Testament it is described as evil. That means that popular advice to, 'Follow your heart,' is not wisdom. God has devised a program to train the heart into something pleasing to Himself. He does this with the laws in the Torah.
Hardness of Heart 2017
Hardness of heart is a major theme of the Bible. In the Torah, Pharaoh is the poster boy for the condition, but it is also a major theme of Y'shua in the New Testament. A hard heart prevents one from seeing the hand of God working in the world. In Luke Y'shua indicates that a hard heart could cause one to miss the signs of His second coming and so be taken by surprise.
Rivers of Living Water - 2017
Much of the world seems deranged today; what should be our response? The Scriptures say that, 'Rivers of living water will flow from our hearts,' and that this river is for the healing of the nations. How do we apply this while wearing the full armor of God?
The Great Commission - Making Disciples
There are two versions of the Great Commission. In Matthew, Y'shua speaks as the king, commanding his followers to make disciples of the nations. If we are to recover what has been lost over the past 100 years, believers must take discipleship seriously.
The Gospel and the Garden
In the Garden, the two trees present each of us with the choice of who is to decide good and evil. Deciding to make those choices ourselves leads to evil and death, both individually and societally. Giving the choice to God leads to blessing and life.
Joy at Succot - 2016
The world is designed to be difficult. As we go through life it is tempting to focus on all that is wrong or stressful. God commands us instead to be joyful. How is this possible?
Yom Kippur 2016
On Yom Kippur, the emphasis in most people's minds is on atonement, the covering of sins. While that does happen, from a Scriptural perspective, it does not seem to be the central idea. Rather, the day represents a recreation of the events at Sinai when Israel was in the presence of God.
Prepare for the King - the Fall Feasts
The month of Elul is a time of spiritual preparation for the Fall Feasts. It is a time to reflect over the past year, plan for the next and repair broken relationships. The time is short, the King is coming.
Ekev - Hear and Remember 16
Hearing and remembering are dominant themes in Deuteronomy. These two form the basis for faith, obedience and gratitude - all characteristics which will allow Israel to thrive in the Land.
How to Determine the Truth
The world today is a fairy-land of wishful thinking, illusion and deception. Figuring out what is actually true is difficult. Both Y'shua and Jeremiah give practical, Biblical advice on how to find the truth in the midst of all the lies.
Politics and the Bible 2016
The Bible is an intensely practical political manual. It covers all aspects of how people are to organize and behave so that they will thrive. The American church has been cut out of politics by the tax authorities and so has neglected its heritage of political activism and become irrelevant in many areas of public life. Context is Luke 11:37-52
The Good Samaritan - 2016
The parables in Luke form a structured whole. Each has both an homiletic and an eschatological application. The Good Samaritan is told in the context of eternal life and describes Messiah's care for the wounded as well as his promise to repay kindness upon his return.
Rejoice - We are Winning - 2016
Seeing all of the cultural chaos around us, it would be easy to despair. Such an attitude is neither Biblical nor is it warranted. That we are actually winning is obvious from the behavior of our enemies.
Counting the Omer - 2016
The fifty days from First Fruits to Shavuot represent the spiritual progression from slavery to freedom. Comparing this time with Yovel (Jubilee) yields some very important insights into God's plan for how we should progress as His children. This is a continuation of the sermon on the Age of Endarkenment.
Passover in the Age of Endarkenment - 2016
We are living through an age when the dominant ethos is perpetual adolescence. This has roots going back several hundred years but has really accelerated since WWII. The upshot of this is the accelerating destruction of history and tradition. It has gotten to the point where people don't even know what bathroom to use. What is an adult to do during such evil times?
Holy Spirit - God with Us - 2016
Throughout history, God has always been with His people. In the wilderness, He was in the Tabernacle. During the time of the Gospels, He was here in the person of His Son. Now His Spirit is with us. The Spirit's ministry and mission are laid out clearly in the Book of John.
Generosity - Training the Heart - 2016
In the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6, Y'shua comforts the poor and excoriates the rich. Wealth is a training and testing vehicle for the poor and the rich alike. God's heart is open and flowing with love and sustenance for us. Since we are creatures in the image of God, it should be our goal to train our hearts to be open and generous. How does one do that?
Watch What You Say - the Laws of Proper Speech
Speech is our most powerful faculty, either for good or evil, thus it is important that one study the laws of proper speech. This talk discusses evil speech, hurtful speech and courageous speech. Evil speech - lashon hara - is speech that damages a third party. Hurtful Speech - ona'as devarim - is speech that damages the one spoken to. Courageous speech expresses joy and hope in the face of a society that encourages cynicism and negativity.
The Church is Culturally Ineffective
Christian churches in the United States and Europe have lost their effectiveness in shaping the culture. Why is this so, and what should believers do about it?