Media File The spirit of antichrist teaches that the Messiah did not come in the flesh, that He was not fully human. The fact that Messiah is human and shared in our temptations and trials has profound emotional and theological implications. Our God alone has compassion for our hardships because He experienced the same things.
2023-12-16 The Way
Media File Christianity was originally called 'The Way.' This implies that God expects the believer's walk to change when he comes into the Kingdom. A discussion of the place and importance of works in the life of a believer.
2023-12-09 Joseph's Pride
Media File At the age of 17, Joseph was doted upon by his father and given dreams of dominion over his brothers. At that stage of his life, Joseph would not have been at all suitable to be viceroy of Egypt. God undertook a program to season the young man by a series of events which got his self worth into perspective. So too does God want us to get our natural, prideful hearts into subjection. In this, He will also bring us under His discipline.
Media File Biblically, God has been on a 6,000 year project to improve the human heart - Moses call it 'circumcision of the heart.' Like any program of character development, the methods God uses, trials, chastening and suffering, are unpleasant at the time. But Scripture says that their results are well worth it.
Media File The vitriolic divisions between left and right today can be abstracted to what each side means when it uses certain word. A case in point is 'insanity.' The left sees the right as 'nutjobs' where the right sees the left as 'unhinged.' While the specific issues are many, they all involve the definition of reality - what is real vs. what is wishful thinking.
Inspired by an article by Doug Wilson. 'The Bottom of the Empathy Hole' https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/a-pinch-of-incense-to-the-genius-of-democracy-2-2-2-2.html
2023-11-04 Not My Problem
Media File Up until Abraham, humanity's typical reaction to failure is to say, "It's not my fault" or "It's not my problem." Abraham was different. When presented with problems, he stepped up and took responsibility. (Suggested by Rabbi Sacks' article, "Answering the Call" on Aish.com)
20230-11-11 Chaos in Warfare
Media File Looking at the chaotic state of the world right now, it is tempting to throw one's hands up in despair. It is important to realize that in a war each side tries to create a chaotic situation for the enemy because an enemy overwhelmed by chaos cannot fight back successfully. God has provided us with the means of cutting through the chaos and remaining effective and useful to the Kingdom.
2023-11-18 Things Set Into Motion
Media File When Jacob stole Esau's blessing, he set events into motion, both physically and spiritually. The negative consequences of that act would follow him for the rest of his life. It is especially worthy of note that even though God had chosen Jacob to be one of Israel's patriarchs, He did not intervene to short circuit those consequences.
2023-10-28 Paul's Defense
Media File Defending himself before Felix and Agrippa in Acts 26, Paul describes the incident where he was knocked to the ground and spoken to by Y'shua Himself. It is important to note that Paul was already thoroughly schooled in the Scriptures and was convinced that The Way was an heretical cult. The Scriptures didn't change; Paul's perspective is what changed. This is a lesson when dealing with believers who see some point of doctrine differently.
2023-10-21 The Human Heart
Media File In Parsha Noah, God says, before the flood, that the human heart is only evil continually. After the flood, He says essentially the same thing. In other words, Noah and his family were not preserved during the flood because of the perfection of their hearts. So, what's going on with the heart?
2023-10-14 Naked and Ashamed
Media File When God created the first couple, scripture says that they were naked and unashamed. After eating of the forbidden fruit, they covered themselves and hid in their shame. Why shame? Why not guilt?
2023-10-07 Rejoicing at Succot
Media File We are commanded to rejoice during the Feast of Succot. Since the world is a difficult place, we must be reminded frequently to rejoice. Biblically, there is a straight path from a lack of joy to idolatry. The Feast reminds us to avoid that trap.
2023-09-30 Succot, a Reminder of Exile
Media File The feast of Succot where Israel is to live in tents for a week is to serve as a reminder that we are in exile, no matter how civilized we become. Exile began in the Garden, was repeated at the Exodus and at the Assyrian, Babylonian and Roman expulsions. The book of Hebrews also emphacizes that we are just passing through. So, how do we behave under these circumstances?
2023-09-23 The Fear of God
Media File Proverbs says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The Hebrew word for fear in this and other passages actually has two meanings: 'fear' and 'awe'. Depending on context, it can be translated either way. One of the goals of life might be moving from fear of God toward awe of God. In this there is fullness of joy.
2023-09-16 Repentance, Yom Kippur
Media File During the High Holy Days, it is useful to review the process of repentance, both personal and corporate. The procedure to prepare the High Priest for entrance into the Most Holy Place is instructive.
Media File Human behavior, both good and bad, generates consequences. When our behavior is sinful, we wish to avert those consequences. While often unpleasant, such consequences are actually a manifestation of God's love. In them, He shows us that our decisions matter.
2023-09-02 Prayer - Becoming a Better Human
Media File God created people to be in relationship with Him. The primary vehicle to create and sustain that relationship is prayer. Prayer is a skill that can be taught.
2023-08-12 Overcoming Civilization
Media File In Deuteronomy Moses is explaining to Israel how to operate in the world. They had all grown up in the wilderness and had no practical experience with the temptations and pressures of the 'civilized' world. He is very clear that they will face strong pressure to adapt and fit in. He gives them tools to defeat that pressure. God's purpose for Israel is for her to change the world into the Kingdom of God, not to become just like everyone else. So too with Christians.
2023-08-19 Judges and Justice
Media File Moses, in Deuteronomy, explains the necessity of a functioning justice system to the wellbeing of the nation. There is a difference between 'legal' and 'just.' Courts with either corrupt judges or bad laws can apply a correct judicial process and arrive at a wicked result. The ultimate source of just laws is the Torah. Anything else is simply based on human reason and the application of force.
2023-08-26 Prepare for the Holy Days
Media File The forty days prior to the high holy days should be a time of reflection, analysis and preparation. Reflect over the past year's successes and failures, repent where necessary and form a plan for the upcoming year. Take that plan to God in prayer and expect His direction during the fall feasts.
2023-08-05 What Does God Require?
Media File In both Deuteronomy 10 and Micah 6 the prophet asks, what it is that God requires of us. The answers are different in the two passages. That does not mean that God has changed His mind. This talk was inspired by Rabbi Fohrman and Ari Levisohn at AlephBeta.org.
2023-07-29 Paul's Authority
Media File In Acts 19 Paul arrived in Ephesus where he positively dripped with the authority and power of the Spirit, teaching in the synagogue, healing people and casting out demons. When some Jewish exorcists tried to appropriate some of that authority, things did not go well with them. There are many lessons for the church today in these vignettes.
2023-07-15 Responsibility for Liberty
Media File People like the power that goes with responsibility, but they dislike the responsibility that goes with power. Scripture is full of examples where people try to evade responsibility for their actions. This evasion is generally the first step on the way to slavery.
Media File Both Pinchas and Elijah acted zealously when they were confronted by flagrant sinfulness and idolatry in Israel. The zealot is akin to a hammer in God's hand, sometimes necessary but not to be used routinely. In Elijah's encounter with God in the mountain cave, it appears that God was checking whether Elijah could tone things down in the future.
2023-07-01 Truth and Liberty
Media File Slavery can be very attractive and comfortable so long as it is not called 'slavery.' To get the security and reduced responsibility of slavery without the stigma, we (or Satan) invent lies that make our situation palatable. This is the context of Y'shua's statement that the truth would set His disciples free. The Pharisees had created a web of rules that placed a heavy yoke on the Jews, yet they stoutly maintained that they had never been slaves. So too modern Americans.
2023-06-24 Denying Reality
Media File In the wilderness, Korah bitterly angry after the report of the spies, attempted to rebel against Moses. His fantasy was that replacing the leadership that had gotten into their current predicament would provide a way out. In this, he was denying the reality that God had made the decision, not Moses. This lead to his death and the death of all of his followers.
2023-06-17 The End of a Generation
Media File When the generation that left Egypt send spies into Canaan, they probably thought they were being prudent. When the spies returned and discouraged all of the Israelites from proceeding, their report spelled the end of that generation. God decided that His project to make free men from former slaves had gone as far as possible with that generation. That project would continue with the next. Scripture and history have many such examples where one group reaches the end of its capacity and God continues with another. God's purposes will eventually be fulfilled even though it takes centuries.
2023-06-10 Street Without Joy
Media File Parsha Be'halot'cha marks a turning point for the generation that left Egypt and stood at Sinai. The portion starts well. The Tabernacle is inaugurated and the nation sets out for what should be a short walk to the Land. Then the people began to complain about the food and the rest of the Book of Numbers chronicles the decline and death of an entire generation. They had complained before; what was different this time?
2023-06-03 The Old Gods
Media File During the first forty days that Moses was up on the mountain, all that people needed to do was wait patiently for his return. Patient waiting is not a human strong suit. They quit waiting and fashioned a golden calf to lead them in place of Moses. In this they mixed the worship of God with the liturgy of the pagans. God was not pleased. Today we are also in a time of waiting the return of Messiah. The old gods have similarly resurrected their liturgy and brought it into society and the church.
2023-05-27 The Restoration of all Things
Media File It is God's intention to restore the creation to what He originally intended it to be. His servants are to be agents in that restoration. In his parables Y'shua gives instructions as to what His servants are to be doing in while He is away. To do this the servants need access to the Master's power and authority. He has given that to us in the Torah and the Holy Spirit.
2023-05-20 The Gospel in Context
Media File In much of the contemporary church the Gospel is primarily seen as the way to get to heaven. That is not how those listening to the Apostles heard it; nor is it how God meant it to be understood. By spiritualizing the Gospel, the church has been robbed of the power it was intended to have.
2023-05-13 Power of the Tongue
Media File In Genesis we read that "God said...and it was so.' Speech both defines everything and provides a window into a persons character. Kind, encouraging words reveal a kind person. The converse is also true. Words can build up or tear down a community which is why Scripture repeatedly tells us to watch what we say.
Media File In Scripture God defines justice. He speaks of it repeatedly and when Israel corrupts its justice system, He sends them into exile. Both English Common Law and American law are based upon the Biblical standards. As America has become a post-biblical nation, our sense of justice has been thoroughly corrupted. God's indictment of Israel in Isaiah 56 could equally apply to us today.
2023-04-29 Be Holy
Media File In Parsha Kedoshim we are instructed to be holy as God is holy and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are also instructed not to sow our fields with different grains and not wear mixed linen and wool. How do these seemingly unrelated ideas tie together?
Media File God spoke His words to a nomadic people. Scripture recounts that as His people became prosperous and settled into cities they were pulled by the world and quickly drifted away from God. The church has undergone the same process. What was born in enthusiastic revival has gradually drifted back to the world. As an example a professor at a Christian college was recently fired for a tweet that simply spoke Biblical truth.
2023-04-15 Death of Aaron's Sons
Media File There are many theories as to why Nadav and Abihu died when they brought strange fire into the Tabernacle. Most of those theories have to do with their attitude. In reality their attitude or heart condition had nothing to do with why God responded as He did. The reason is far more fundamental and important.
2023-04-08 Why the Lamb of God?
Media File When John first encounters Y'shua, he says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." Consulting only the Torah, it is possible to explain why that statement was true, what it means to be "the Lamb of God" and why His sacrifice is able to redeem us.
2023-04-01 Repentance and Sacrifice
Media File In the first six chapters of Leviticus, all of the sin or guilt sacrifices are voluntary. In other words, the sinner realizes his wrong, does his best to make it right and only then will the sacrifice be accepted. In this we have a model for what it takes to truly repent and then come before God and ask for forgiveness. In the entire Bible, repentance precedes forgiveness, not the reverse.
Media File Leviticus begins with a table of sacrifice. Most Christians skip over this part as being repetitive, out of date and boring. This is a mistake. Leviticus is arguably the most important book in the Torah in that it teaches us how we are to approach and relate to God. The many prophetic passages where God reacts angrily to Israel's sacrifices might lead one to think that they are forever done away with. This is not so. The prophets look to a future time when the sacrifices will resume, both for Israel and the nations. At that time, they will be pleasing to God.
2023-03-18 An Unstable World
Media File The world lately has become a very unstable place. This past week 3 major banks have failed; government and major institutions are no longer able to recognize the difference between men and women; there are 'wars and rumors of wars' throughout the world. In the face of this shaking, God represents Himself as a rock; the ultimate earthly symbol of stability, He wrote His commandments in stone. He is our strong fortress. In Him we can stand fast even on quivering ground.
2023-03-11 Crisis of Confidence
Media File In the wilderness, the sin of the golden calf was spawned by a crisis of confidence. Moses had been gone for 40 days and the people began to worry that they were stranded in the desert without a guide and without a connection to God. This only one of several such crises and it provides lessons for us today.
Media File The movie, The Jesus Revolution, is about the hippie revival between 1967 and 1973. This revival which bore long lasting fruit was sparked by the Vietnam war. Lots of comfortable, middle class young adults were jolted out of their pleasant prosperity and sent looking for truth, love, enlightenment, etc. Conditions in today's America are analogous in many ways. Physically, we are prosperous, but the massive social disruptions are setting many young people adrift. Some of them will choose God if given the chance.
2023-02-25 The Tabernacle, Symbol of God's Love
Media File After the sin of the Golden Calf, God informed Moses that, for Israel's safety and survival, He would not accompany them to the Promised Land. Moses protested and the Mishkan was God's solution that He could both be with them and safely separated. In this we see the Father's desire to be with His family tempered by His sense of justice. As with raising human children, both love and justice are necessary for the child's good. The Mishkan represents the balance between them.
2023-02-18 Biblical Slavery
Media File For the past several weeks, we have been talking about God's provision for freeing Israel and eventually all of humanity. In this week's Torah portion we get are told how to manage our slaves. How does this square with God's emphasis on liberty? How does this match with the freedom we have in Christ?
2023-02-11 Law and Liberty
Media File Laws, almost by definition, represent curbs on someone's freedom of action. Laws may be negative, "You shall not do this," or positive, "You shall do that.' Laws are also designed to bring about someone's vision of a better world. In that spirit, look at the laws given by God through Moses at Sinai. God only needed 613 laws, the majority of which are negative. It turns out that they are designed to maximize both human freedom and wellbeing.
2023-02-40 Learning Trust
Media File After crossing the Red Sea, God took Israel deep into the wilderness. Taking them away from any outside source of sustenance gave Israel no choice but to depend on God for water, food and victory in battle. In this, He showed them in practical ways that He could be trusted. That establishment of trust was a part of their integration into the family of God as His firstborn.
2023-01-28 Learning Liberty
Media File At the exit from Egypt the Hebrews were slaves both physically and mentally. Removing them from Egypt solved the physical part, but was just the start of God's process of making them free people. Understanding that process provides important insights about what is happening in our society today.
2023-01-21 Free Will, Use it or Lose it
Media File In Exodus there is a perennial question of whether God violated Pharaoh's free will. This brings up the question of whether free will even exists. Secularists say 'no', Calvinists say 'somewhat' and everyone else says 'yes'. Part of the idea for this talk came from an article by Rabbi Sacks of the same title.
2023-01-14 Who Am I?
Media File At the beginning of Exodus, Moses has his first recorded encounter with God. The exchange revolves around two questions; 'Who am I?' and 'Who are You?" At this point in his life, Moses is 80 years old and has really never lived as a Hebrew and has had no direct experience with God. So a great deal of his reluctance to accept the task of freeing Israel revolves around the answers to these questions.
2023-01-07 The Limits of Power
Media File In Joseph's dealings with his family at the end of Genesis he weeps seven times. In spite of having all of the might of Egypt available to him, he is unable to use that power to resolve the conflicts with and within his family. In the Gospels, Y'shua also weeps for much the same reasons. Even having all of the power of the Holy Spirit He is unable to get Israel to accept Him or to spare Mary and Martha the pain of losing their brother.
Sermons given at Restoration Messianic Fellowship during 2023