Sermons 2024

  • 2024-06-15 Shavuot - Expression of God's Love

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    On Shavuot God has twice appeared in dramatic fashion to give His people tools by which to live and to expand His Kingdom. The first occasion at Sinai, He gave us the Torah. The second time in the Upper Room, He gave His Spirit to comfort and guide us. These are two tremendous gifts to people whom He loves.
  • 2024-06-06 Bamidbar - The Census

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    It is important that the census in the wilderness emphasizes that people are to be counted by name. This reinforces that God deals with people as individuals and not as interchangeable units. In addition to the theological implications, this has practical political implications. All of the various 'ism' theories of human governance treat people in mass, as interchangeable and expendable. (Technical note: in the first few seconds of the recording we had microphone problems. That smooths out quickly.)
  • 2024-06-01 Injustice

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    As God has been driven from the public square, people have lost an awareness of both His goodness and His justice. That void is filled with covetousness, bitterness, anger and resentment. We can see this played out in all of our institutions, but especially in the courts. To quote Jeremiah, "No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity."
  • 2024-05-25 Release

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    In The Torah, God tells Israel that both the land and the Israelite people belong to Him. He specifies that there are to be several economic resets over a 50 year period. Slaves must be freed and debts cancelled every seven years and land must revert to its original owner at 50 years. In this way God assures the maximum possible economic freedom while assuring that those who fall behind will periodically get a new start. Inspired by an article by Rabbi Sacks https://aish.com/481254991/
  • 2024-05-18 The Kingdom has Suffered Violence

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    In Matthew 11, John's disciples ask if Y'shua is actually the Messiah. This is a hinge point in the book. He explains that John could have been Elijah, but both he and Y'shua are being rejected by the ruling elites. This sets up the rest of the story telling how they are willing to corrupt every organ of society to get rid of a populist trouble maker. The parallels with our own day are striking.
  • 2024-05-11 Elastic not Plastic

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    Fashionable intellectual belief is that reality is plastic, that is it can be formed into whatever people desire it to be. That is the basis for all of the 'isms' from the 19th and 20th centuries. In contrast, God tells us that reality is elastic. That means that it can be pushed out of shape for a while, but it eventually snaps back. The farther it is stretched, the more violent the snap. In Leviticus 19-20 Moses tells Israel to keep separate from the nations and not to adopt their ways. There he gives a set of principles to insure that Israel's society stays within safe elastic limits.
  • 2024-05-04 Dominion

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    God designed humans to exercise dominion over the earth and all its creatures. That design feature also drives people to try and dominate each other, often in inappropriate or harmful ways. What does God have to say about the proper exercise and limits to power relationships between people? It turns out, quite a lot.
  • 2024-04-28 Resurrection

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    Christ rose from the grave on First Fruits and so became the first fruits from the dead. There are a number of other resurrections in Scripture. What makes that one special?
  • 2024-04-27 From Slavery to Liberty

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    When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He did not take them directly to the Promised Land. Instead He began a process of teaching the former slaves how to be free. The first stage of the process took 50 days (seven sabbaths plus one day). That pattern is repeated in the Land, but in years instead of days. Every fifty years, Israel was to do a reset, restoring everyone to his patrimony, freeing all slaves and forgiving all debts. This teaches us that liberty is not easy and must periodically be refreshed.
  • 2024-04-20 Hijacked By Evil

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    As we prepare to celebrate Passover, it is well to reflect on God's appointed times as, among other things, a mechanism to keep our history fresh in our minds. In the west today, our history is under systematic attack. The success of that attack has left our young people adrift, not sure who they are or what 'tribe' they belong to. That gap has been used to advance every form of evil.
  • 2024-04-06 Profane Fire

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    During the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests before God, Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire before the altar and were themselves consumed by fire from heaven. Most commentaries focus on speculation about the two men's motivation in doing what was not commanded. Such speculation is completely irrelevant. What matters is what they did, not what they believed.
  • 2024-03-30 Ordination

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    There are ritual elements in the ordination of the High Priest that are repeated only in the procedure to cleanse a leper. That leads to some profound insights into God's plan for the redemption of His creation. (Inspired by Rabbi David Block at AlpehBeta.org)
  • 2024-03-23 Demons

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    Demons are a Biblical fact of life. How do they operate? How do people encounter them? What do we do about them?
  • 2024-03-16 Obedience Changes You

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    On the surface God's laws might appear simply to be organizing principles for a decent society. They certainly are that, but they are also His means for changing His children into the image of Christ. The principle here is, 'As you behave, so you become.' If one simply reads Scripture out of fear of punishment, he misses a great wealth of character changing information.
  • 2024-03-09 Law and Love - The Importance of Emphasis

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    The United States was founded and built by Christians. While the scaffolding of our society (consent of the governed, freedom of conscience, etc.) is Biblical, secularists increasingly reject Biblical morals. This stems from a Christian emphasis on rules and doctrine at the expense of love. In a sense that was Christ's criticism of the Ephesian church.
  • 2024-03-02 What is it About Idols?

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    Idols are a perennial human problem, warned against both in the Old and New Testaments. To understand the impulse and recognize the manifestations, it may be helpful to look at idols from three perspectives: as intermediaries to God, as connections to false gods and as blindfolds to truth. All are forbidden, but for different reasons.
  • 2024-02-24 Hidden Beauty

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    The High Priests' garments described in Ex 28 are made for glory and for beauty. Clothing can do many things. It can define a person's function or status. It can also either reveal or hide the truth about the one wearing it. That ambiguity is inherent in the Hebrew word for clothing. Inspired by the article, "Splendor in the Quest" by Rabbi Noson Weisz at Aish.com.
  • 2024-02-17 God's Mercy - The Tabernacle

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    The design of the Tabernacle speaks of God's mercy and forgiveness. It also speaks of His hopes for each of us. This is contrasted to the current religion of 'Woke' with its purification rituals - the destruction of the past. The gods of that religion have no concept of mercy or forgiveness.
  • 2024-02-10 Human Power Relationships

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    After the Ten Commandments, Exodus goes into a long list of laws. Philosophically, laws represent someone's vision of what a good society should look like. What do these laws say about God's expectation about Israel? It is significant that He leads with laws about slavery. In this He is speaking more broadly about human power relationships.
  • 2024-02-03 Sinai - The Birth of Liberty

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    God desires a freely chosen relationship between himself and people. The codification of that concept occurred at Sinai when He first asked Israel if they wanted to enter into a special relationship with Him. Israel answered in the affirmative and so began a relationship that has lasted for thousands of years.
  • 2024-01-27 The Terrible Beast

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    Daniel had a vision of four beasts, the fourth being different from the other three. That beast is exceedingly terrible. What does that beast represent and what makes it different from the other three? What does the answer to those questions mean for believers today?
  • 2024-01-20 Language Drift

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    In the Sermon on the Mount, why does Y'shua find it necessary to assure a crowd of Jews that He will not change the Torah or the Prophets. The answer to that is in two parts, one concerns with language drift over time and the other concerns Pharisaic expectations.
  • 2024-01-13 The Beatitudes in Matthew 5

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    In His first major speech in Matthew, Y'shua lays out His ministry. The first section, the Beatitudes, are a restatement of Torah principles of good character updated for a first century audience. With the drift of the English language over time, some of the terms need to be updated again so that modern readers can appreciate what He said.
  • 2024-01-06 Gratitude

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    The world is a difficult and dangerous place. In going through difficulties and trials, it is easy to lose track of the fact that God is with us and wants very much to have us overcome and thrive. In this realization, we should have a sense of gratitude for all that He has done for us - both the pleasant and the difficult. This attitude serves as a counter to envy, self-pity, malice and covetousness.

Sermons given at Restoration Messianic Fellowship during 2024