Sermons given at Restoration Messianic Fellowship during 2021
2020-12-25 Who's a Judaizer?
Media File A popular web site had an article accusing Messianics of being 'Judaizers' and heretics. The article asserted that one did not have to become a Jew to enter the Kingdom of God - which is absolutely true. It also said that the Torah had been abrogated by the Messiah - which is absolutely false. That assertion is based on a misreading of Colossians 2.
2021-12-18 Why He is the Messiah
Media File On the Road to Emmaus, Y'shua explained from Moses and the prophets why He is the Messiah and why the Crucifixion had to happen. How might that conversation have gone?
2021-12-11 Repentance and Forgiveness
Media File Joseph's meeting with his brothers in Genesis 44 is the first instance of forgiveness in Scripture and perhaps in all human history. To set the scene up, Judah completely repents of his behavior in selling Joseph into slavery. In doing this he sets up a watershed in human history and provides a wonderful example for us today.
2021-11-20 Chanukah, Passover and Thanksgiving
Media File Over time, human government grows beyond what is beneficial and begins to see God as a rival for power and influence over its own people. Passover celebrates God bringing His people out from such a government and bringing them into His kingdom. Chanukah and Thanksgiving celebrate much the same thing.
2021-11-27 God's Antidote for Greed
Media File The church has inverted Scripture, denouncing things that God calls blessings and elevating things that God calls sinful. This is the case with all of the hyphenated 'justice' movements which are simply covetousness dressed up to appear respectable. Since there is no limit to what one lacks, once covetousness gets loose it consumes everything. God has an antidote.
2021-12-04 The Last Parable
Media File At the end of His ministry, Y'shua taught mostly in parables. His final parable on the way to the cross was about the green and dry trees (Lu 23:31). As with most parables, this has both local and eternal implications.
2021-11-06 Brazen Sin
Media File In Scripture there are three responses to sin, guilt, shame and brazen defiance. Esau, Adam and Cain respectively are examples. The guilt that Esau feels for despising his birthright and marrying two Caananite women leads him to return to the family, marrying a daughter of Ishmael and forbearing to kill his brother. Sadly, our society is in the brazen defiance stage of sinfulness. Unless we repent, this will not end well.
2021-10-30 Teach Us to Pray
Media File Prayer is an important skill which can be taught and learned. In creating humanity God made beings that were separate from himself and with whom He could have a relationship. Prayer is a vital part of that relationship. In a sense, human prayer provides the earth with a voice. As much as God wants to hear about our lives, as God's 'gardeners' we have responsibilities beyond.
2021-10-23 Despair is a Sin
Media File For a believer, the states of the world and the nation are pretty grim right now. It would be natural to succumb to fear and despair. Scripture makes it very clear that such an attitude is sinful and displeasing to God. The victory is His, but the struggle is ours. We are to meet todays challenges with confidence and courage.
2021-10-02 Knowing the Truth
Media File Knowing what is true is both important and very difficult. Everyone claims to be telling the truth yet each tells a different story. How does one determine truth from lies? If the Bible is to be trusted, it claims to be of help in this, but Scripture itself is under attack. How do we know that the Bible is true and a reliable guide to sorting out conflicting information?
2021-10-09 The Mayfly
Media File In Luke 20 the Sadducees ask Y'shua a 'gotcha' question about resurrection and marriage. He replies that in the resurrection there is no marriage. Why? Perhaps because humans are a two stage life form like butterflies or mayflies. They live part of their lives in one form and environment and then transition to a different shape and environment. Just as the larval stage in a river is fundamental to a mayfly, so birth and life on this earth is fundamental to humans.
2021-10-16 Relationship With God
Media File When humanity gets too comfortable and far from God, He pulls them out of civilization and into tents. In this wilderness sojourning, God tries to develop a relationship. That relationship, if it is successful begins in following Him for the promise of blessing. As the relationship matures, He tests it. That is what happened to Abraham. It happens with all who follow God.
2021-09-25 A Dying Beast
Media File Just like Passover Succot predates Moses. When human civilizations get too big and challenge God, He breaks them up and sends people to live in tents for a while. The concept is that we are sojourners in this world and it is not our permanent home. It appears right now as if God is shaking the world and preparing to send us into tents for a time. The nations sense this and are scrambling to prevent it.
2021-09-04 Minas and Talents, Two Parables
Media File The Parable of the Minas in Lu 19 and the Parable of the Talents in Mt 25 have the same surface level point. Christ is going to be gone for a long time and He expects His servants to invest His resources rather than hoarding them out of fear. At a deeper level the parables are very different and serve two different purposes. As an example the Luke parable is for the general public where the Matthew parable is for His disciples.
2021-08-28 A Hard Heart
Media File In Scripture there are two sorts of hard heart. In Pharaoh's case his hard heart led him to defy God. This was also the case with the wilderness generation who refused to enter the Land because of the spy's bad report. The disciple's hard hearts were if a different character. When faced with a storm on the sea, their life experiences and fear prevented them from realizing the power that Y'shua had given them. They tried to solve their problem by worldly means and failed.
2021-08-07 Prophetic Mysteries
Media File The prophetic books of the Bible serve several purposes; one of which is to provide 'clues' to God's mysteries. Some of those mysteries having to do with Christ's first appearance have been revealed. Some are still unfolding and have not yet been explained. In the meantime, prophecy provides us with context and encouragement.
2021-08-14 Elul - Yet 40 Days
Media File The month of Elul begins the 40 day count down to Yom Kippur. It is a time to take stock of ourselves and prepare for a meeting with the King. What have we accomplished during the past year? What are our hopes and plans for the coming year? Who do you need to forgive?
2021-08-21 Worse than Useless
Media File Over the decades we have been assured that the US was pursuing noble goals abroad and that our societal 'experts' had things well in hand both locally and globally. The mess in Afghanistan has exposed our prideful incompetence to the entire world. Our civic and government elites are far from being expert at anything. Our only option is personal and national repentance. We must dump our pride and call upon God's mercy if we are to have any hope.
2021-07-31 A Kingdom by Violence
Media File In Luke 16 there is a bridge passage between the parable of the dishonest manager and Lazarus and the rich man. This bridge explains the source of the violent conflict between Y'shua and the Pharisees over the nature of the Kingdom of God. The problem was that the religious authorities, through oral Torah, had turned Moses into an idol which had allowed them to enrich themselves unjustly.
2021-07-24 The Romance of Tithing
Media File God asks that we love Him with our whole heart, soul and might. A love that doesn't touch your wealth is no love at all. It is a 'love' with some things reserved out of the union. You would not accept that in a marriage, nor should you approach your relationship with God with reservations.
2021-07-17 Why Nations Fall
Media File On Tisha B'Av we remember the destruction of the first and second Temples and the exiles from the Land of Israel. In both cases the calamity was brought on by internal strife which weakened the nation. We are seeing much the same situation in the United States today.
2021-07-10 Guarding the Tongue
Media File The tongue is unique in that it is half hidden and half public. It is the organ by which the heart expresses itself. It has the ability either to cause great harm or to build healthy solid relationships. Learning to guard the tongue is of greatest importance, both for the individual and for the community.
2021-07-03 Revolution and Law
Media File Law is the only lasting basis for liberty. The American Revolution was a reaction to the British Parliament changing laws without the consent of the American colonies. Without the stable rule of law, tyranny quickly follows.
2021-06-26 Torah and Awokening
Media File The US is undergoing a 'Great Awokening' where secular culture is attacking Christian culture with religious fervor. The central fixture of this movement is a set of shifting standards of what is a 'sin'. This creates fear because one never knows what past or present behavior will be labeled a heresy and get one excommunicated. One point of the Torah being written in stone is that it does not change and is not subject to the whims of popular culture. What was sinful 3000 years ago is sinful today. On the flip side what was not sinful then is not so today either. Opposing 'cancel culture' requires a Christian revival - simple logic will not do it. The idea for this talk came from: https://bonifaceoption.substack.com/p/the-great-awokening.
2021-06-19 What Does This Mean
Media File As much as we try to order the events in our lives, often things happen that are beyond our control. That happened to Joseph. He was jumped by his brothers, sold as a slave and then framed for attempted rape by his master's wife and thrown into prison. He had every opportunity to become bitter and lapse into helpless victimhood. He did neither of those things because he was able discern a meaning for his circumstances and develop a sense of purpose. We have the same opportunity in our lives.
Media File Fear has been used by every aspiring slave master from Satan on down to the present. Looking at the past year's events in the news from Covid to cancel culture it is evident that the goal is to keep people fearful, divided and uncertain. That is why God in Scripture tells us over and over not to be afraid - fear clouds your judgment and makes you easy to enslave.
Media File In the Bible humility is regarded as one of the central virtues. In the Jewish mussar tradition it is the foundation upon which character rests. Both Moses and Y'shua are described as humble, so humility is clearly a trait to be cultivated.
2021-05-29 The Book of Remembrance
Media File In the book of Malachi, God decried Israel's religious establishment for its cynicism and corruption. Their problem was that they did not see themselves and their behavior in the same way. There was, however, a remnant that feared God and spoke correctly about Him. These people are written in a book of remembrance that God will consult when He makes up His treasured possessions. Our nation today is every bit as corrupt as was Israel at the time of Malachi. The criteria for being entered into the book of remembrance is still the same.
2021-05-22 God's Feasts Show the Plan
Media File There are probably as many beliefs about the end times as there are denominations. That confusion serves as a method to keep us divided and arguing, making us much less effective than we should be. If we consider the seven appointed times on God's calendar, it is possible to clear away much of the clutter and attain clarity.
2021-05-15 Jospeh's Tears
Media File In Genesis Joseph weeps exactly seven times. His tears are never the result of the affliction that he suffers. Rather they are all in the context of his relationship with his family. In this we see a very powerful man who is ultimately alone. His power is unable to gain him the thing that is most important to him - acceptance. The idea for this talk came from an article by Rabbi Sacks.
2021-05-08 One to Rule Them All
Media File Idol worship, the desire to get what appears to be a 'better deal' than God offers, is a constant temptation. Whether the idol be some pagan god or a politician or a man in a white lab coat, the details may differ, but the impulse is the same. In all cases the master idol is covetousness.
2021-05-01 Idolatry Today
Media File The human impulse to seek a 'better deal' than they believe is available from God has not gone away. Idol worship today looks a bit different than in Biblical times, but all of its pathologies are still with us. This new look helps keep idolaters from realizing what they are doing - allowing them even to attend church with a clear conscience.
2021-04-25 The Lord's Prayer
Media File This is an extremely Jewish prayer reflecting a difference in focus between the synagogue and the church. The focus of both the synagogue and the early church was bringing Heaven down to earth or repairing the creation. About 300 years ago the church shifted focus to getting people into heaven and began neglecting earthly governance.
2021-04-17 Knowing God
Media File As different cultures encountered God as described in the Hebrew Bible, they tended to try and understand and relate to Him in terms they were familiar with. Calvin, for example, was a lawyer and tried to fit God into a legal structure. The Catholic Church within the last decade wrote the humans could not understand God and out only access was through Jesus. These are all distortions. In the Bible, God presents Himself to man in very understandable and relatable terms.
2021-04-10 Fifty Days to Liberty
Media File The fifty days from First Fruits to Shavuot (Pentecost) are symbolic of the transition from slavery to liberty in God's Kingdom. Those 50 days are echoed in the 50 years between Jubilees where liberty is proclaimed "throughout the land." This had special significance for Israel and for the founding fathers of the United States.
2021-03-27 History is Prophecy
Media File The events that happen in the Patriarch's lives echo through succeeding generations. This is also true for the Nation Israel. If one studies the events of the Passover, one may find the same events happening in the burial of Jacob hundreds of years earlier. One may also find them foretold in the prophets. This talk is based on ideas originally presented by Rabbi Fohrman.
Media File Dealing with demons was a significant part of Y'shua's ministry. It also featured prominently in the instructions He gave His disciples when He sent them out on their own. Demons are still very much a factor in the world we must deal with, and His instructions are still pertinent.
2021-03-13 I Have Enough
Media File When Jacob and Esau meet after a twenty year separation, Jacob has sent his brother lavish gifts of livestock hoping to appease his anger. Esau tries to refuse the gifts saying that he has enough wealth already. Jacob responds that he also has enough wealth and presses the gifts his brother to take the gifts. That's how it reads in English translation. In Hebrew it is very different.
2021-03-06 The Church as Beachhead
Media File In the Gospels, Y'shua twice sent His disciples out ahead of himself to, "Heal the sick, cast our demons and announce that His Kingdom was at hand." In other words, they were to establish a beachhead in enemy territory. That was also the mission of the church after His resurrection. The church today has largely lost site of that mission. It has been expelled from politics and has ceased to be an authority on cultural issues. As the church has faded, Satan has advanced. How should we act to regain the ground we have lost?
2021-02-27 Missing God's Love
Media File Much Christian teaching is in terms of salvation, grace and law. While each of those subjects is important, they cause us to miss or neglect understanding that God, first of all, loves people. Grace, law and salvation all deal with punishment - or more accurately the avoidance of punishment. Such a focus misses the warmth of the relationship that is possible when we focus on love.
2021-02-20 Finding Your Purpose - Some Assembly Required
Media File Our society believes that the pursuit of happiness is the highest of goals. That is a dead end; leading to the spiritual cul-de-sac of appetite and consumption. Rather than happiness, we should be searching for meaning in our lives. This leads to purpose and the satisfaction of knowing that we are useful in God's hand.
2021-02-13 Sowing the Word
Media File In explaining the Parable of the Sower, Messiah concludes that the good soil is fruitful where the road, the rocks and the weeds are not. If we compare his to Genesis 1 where God tells us to be fruitful and multiply, it becomes clear that fruitfulness in God's eyes involves more than just children. We are also expected to reproduce spiritually.
2021-02-06 Self Righteousness
Media File Luke 6 and Luke 18 are complementary. One is narrative, the other parable, but both involve the contrast between a Pharisee and an ordinary person. In both cases the ordinary person behaves humbly in the presence of God while the Pharisee acts as if he is doing God a favor by showing up. Also in both cases Messiah justifies the humble.
2021-01-30 Dishonest Weights and Measures
Media File In the Torah and the Prophets, God warns Israel that He will not tolerate those who enrich themselves by fraud. The events of this past year have exposed the prevalence of double standards in the US. Law enforcement, financial markets, government agencies, elected bodies: all are seen to have been using dishonest weights and measures to gain power and wealth.
Media File There is a great deal of rampant evil in the world today; in truth there always has been. In the face of ascendant evil it is tempting to despair, walking about with a defeated expression. To give in to that spirit is to forget the promises of God and to become ineffective in advancing His kingdom. God's people have lived under oppressive regimes in the past and have prevailed. So too can we.
2021-01-16 Three Voices
Media File There are three voices in Scripture: the priest, the prophet and the King. The priest speaks of Torah, the King speaks of human wisdom and the prophet speaks for God into a specific situation. Since Y'shua functions in all three offices, he speaks with each of the three voices at different times. Recognizing which 'voice' He is using makes the Gospels much clearer.
2021-01-09 Food for Thought
Media File The rally against certification of the presidential election has caused a national uproar. In navigating these tumultuous times it is important to pay attention to what your thoughts dwell on. Thoughts trigger endocrine reactions that can have a long term effect on your well being. As always, Scripture has sound advice.
2021-01-02 What God Did in 2020
Media File Psalm 105 commands God's people to 'Talk of His Wonderous Works.' As we look back on 2020, an incomplete list of God's wonderous works is very impressive and encouraging. The speaker is Matthew Behrens.