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Sunday, July 08, 2018

 

In the book of Acts (chapter 2) the Holy Spirit kickstarted the Christian church by enabling Jesus' disciples to speak in languages they had never known before, and as a result thousands of people from many countries heard the truth about Jesus and became Christians in a single day.

This God-given ability to speak in a language unknown to the speaker is also called "the gift of tongues." And one of the questions submitted for the "Got Questions" series was "Is it possible to speak in tongues (still)?" 

There are denominations that consider speaking in tongues to be a cornerstone of their theology, a litmus test as to whether a person is truly a Christian or not.

But then what are we to make of passages such as Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 12:13, etc?

To download to the audio of today's message, click here.

To download a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

 

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. (John 14:16a NLT)

Jesus sought to assure his disciples that even though they would face many hardships after he returned to the Father, that they would not go through them alone.

The same is true of those who have surrendered their lives to Christ through the ages, and it is still true today. The Advocate of whom he spoke, the Holy Spirit, will:

  • Be in you
  • Never leave you
  • Guide you into all truth
  • Be the representative of Jesus
  • Remind you about what Jesus taught

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

 

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2a NLT)

Have you ever noticed that no one has to teach kids to be defiant? The word "No!" is often one of the first words they master.

Humans are rebellious by nature. We have rebelled against God; that is the essence of sin.

But our understanding of sin is clouded by modern baggage. What the original Hebrew and Greek terms mean is "to miss the goal" or "to miss the target".

The new life in Christ is a process: we must allow God to transform us by submitting our thoughts and our entire lives to him.

Transformation of this level takes time, like the metamorphosis of a catepillar into a butterfly.

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

 

A best-selling book in the 1970s made the prediction that Jesus would return in 1988. Obviously he didn't.

But what are we to make of passages like Matthew 24:32, and the fact that modern Israel was established in 1948?

Before jumping to a conclusion, it's best to take a tip from the Berean Christians (Acts 17:11) and cross-reference a passage like that with others in the Bible that address the same issue, such as Luke 21:29.

Also covered in today's 9th installment of the "Got Questions?" series:

1. Is Replacement Theology biblical? (In layman's terms, has the Christian Church supplanted the Jews as God's chosen people?)

2. Will God be able to raise cremated Christians from the dead?

Pretty fascinating stuff. To download the audio for today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

 

Today Pastor Dave addressed three more of the questions that were submitted by members of the congregation earlier this year:

1. How did Jesus know he would rise from the dead?

2. How close are we to the return of Christ?

3. Why is the book of Revelation so difficult to understand?

These questions are actually closely related: the first leads into the others, and so on.

And an important part of the answer is found in 2 Peter 3:14 (NLT): "And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight."

In other words, be ready! That should be our focus, because only God knows what will happen in the future, and when.

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." (Corrie Ten Boom)

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

 

"I'm spiritual, but I'm not religious."

This statement seems quite popular these days. It's convenient, as it avoids having to deal with a Being who may have expectations.

But behind it is the unproven assumption that "truth cannot be known."

However, Christianity is uniquely a "thinking person's religion." The Bible emphasizes repeatedly that the truth can be known if you care to seek it out.

That is where the concept of Apologetics comes in, and it was the focus of the first half of today's message.

The second half of this seventh installment of the "Got Questions?" series dealt with a perplexing question: Can you lose your salvation?

If not, what about people who seem to have walked away from their formerly passionate relationships with Christ?

The answer to this question lies in the awareness that we always conceptualize things in terms of a timeline, but God sees things outside of time. He invented Time itself, and is not constrained by it.

To download the audio from today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

 

At least four of the questions submitted by the congregation touched on this most contentious of topics: Does God choose who will be saved (Calvinism), or do we choose to be saved by Him (Arminianism)?

Both sides agree on these critical points: we are broken, fallen, and need to be saved. But how exactly that happens, and how broadly it is applied, are opinions that are defended with great passion.

In this continuation of the Got Questions series, Pastor Dave gives even-handed coverage to both views. He lists some of the Bible passages used by each side in support of their positions, and then offers his own opinion, which is...

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

 

Today's "Got Questions" message may be the most difficult topic in the series so far.

To start it off, Pastor Dave shared a question asked by a member of the congregation: "Why does God seem so different in the Old Testament? How can they (the "Gods" of the OT and NT) have the same character?"

A prime example was drawn from Deuteronomy 20:16-17, where God tells the Israelites this:

"In those towns that the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing. You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you." (Deut. 20:16-17 NLT)

In other words, God was commanding an act of genocide. This sort of thing has fueled the claims of skeptics throughout the centuries that God is a "moral monster." Is there any other way to think about it? Seems pretty cut and dried.

In cases like this it is important to keep the full context in mind: the context of the Scripture being quoted, and the historical context in which the verses were written.

As to the biblical context, the next verse reads: "This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God." (Deut. 20:18 NLT)

The historical context is confirmed by the prominent secular historians Siculus, Kelitarchus, and Plutarch: The people of that area were in the regular practice of sacrificing their children by fire to the pagan god Molech (a.k.a. Ba'al).

Actually, this practice has been widespread throughout the history of the world: the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayan; the Chinese; the Celts; even some Native American tribes; all practiced human sacrifice, often using children to placate their gods or their kings.

And it was the people of the biblical God who communicated his response: This is an abomination in my sight and it needs to stop. That is what the Bible records, and when understood in their full context, the commands of God take on a larger perspective.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

 

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

 

The series "Got Questions?" continues, with Pastor Dave providing answers for more tough questions. Three main questions are listed below, along with a brief summary of the answers. But lots of other questions were included in the message as well.  

1. Why did God bother to create humans? Was he lonely?

A: The Bible is consistent from cover to cover in its message that creation exists to glorify God, and for no other reason (Is. 43:6-7, 48:11, Jer. 33:9, John 21:18-19, etc.). It is not about us, although we play a very important role (Eph. 1:4, 3:10-11, Psalm 8:3-6, 1 Cor. 6:2-3).

2. How can we know the whole Bible is true?

A: This was covered in great detail in last week's sermon, but Pastor Dave offered two verses for additional perspective (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21). In short, Scripture was written by men but the content is from God, through the Holy Spirit. It is as true as God himself is.

See also these two sermons: Can We Trust the Bible? (part 1 and part 2).

3. Why do bad things happen to good people? And why do good things happen to bad people?

A: God temporarily allows evil in this world because he has something greater in mind. (See also Matthew 5:44-45.)

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

 

If God is real, then he is who he is, not who we want him to be, or who we think he should be.

In part 3 of the series "Got Questions?", Pastor Dave tackles some of the toughest questions he was asked: Who is God? What is He like? Can you explain the Trinity? Here's a summary of the two main points.

Question 1: Everything has a beginning, so where did God come from?

The Bible never tries to explain the existence of God. God identifies himself as "I AM WHO I AM." He just exists. More accurately, he subsists: he is the self-existent one, the prime mover, the foundation of existence itself.

Question 2: Can you explain the Trinity?

The New Testament describes God as God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.

But a foundational tenet of Judaism is contained in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4): "Hear O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one."

This appears to be a contradiction until you dig deeper.

For example, why does God use "our" in Gen. 1:26, and "us" in Gen. 3:22, to refer to himself?

This is partly explained by the fact that Elohim is a plural word, but it always used in a singular sense.

"Hear O Israel:

- the LORD = Yahweh (singular)

- our God = Elohim (plural)

- the LORD = Yahweh (singular)

- is oneechad (compound unity)"

Each member of the Trinity is always fully God, consisting of the same nature and the same essence, indivisible, in complete unity, yet with the characteristics of three individuals. The full concept of the Trinity is beyond complete human understanding. It is an issue of faith.

To download the audio from today's sermon, click here.

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