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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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Thursday, April 19, 2018

 

In part 2 of the series "Got Questions?", Pastor Dave addresses an issue that is critical to understanding and accepting the Christian faith: How do we know the Bible is reliable?

What can you say to someone who believes in God, but doesn't necessarily believe the Bible since it was written by men, and therefore doesn't believe that Jesus is the only way?

The first thing to do is find out what exactly they believe -- what they think God is like, and why. Because "having faith" doesn't matter. It's the object of faith that matters.

Faith is not just believing Jesus lived, died, and rose; it's trusting him in our daily lives, following him, and allowing our faith in him to shape who we are.

The second thing to do is ask them, "How would you expect God to communicate?"

It seems reasonable to expect him to want to communicate and be understood, just like we do. And being God, you would expect him to be able to do so clearly, powerfully, truthfully, and in a way that indicates a perspective that is higher than our own.

The Bible matches all of those criteria, and far surpasses any other historical or religious document in terms of faithfulness to the original text.

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

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Sunday, April 08, 2018

 

Today Pastor Dave began a new series, "Got Questions?" For the past several weeks members of the congregation have been submitting questions about theology, the Bible, the End Times, and many other topics. There were almost 40 respondents, and their questions generally fell into seven categories that will be covered in the weeks ahead.

Today's category: Heaven and Hell.

The questions for today:

  1. What is heaven like?
  2. What do we do for eternity?
  3. Is paradise between heaven and hell?
  4. What happens after the Rapture?

These are very important topics. To hear the answers Pastor Dave came up with, click here!

 

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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

 

Today we completed our review of our vision as Grace Bible Church:

Our Action Statement is Inviting Your World to Experience God's Grace.

How to we do that?

Through Growth + Relationship + Authenticity + Community + Expression = GRACE.

 

The focus of today's sermon is on the final component of our vision: Expression.

Expression = To communicate the life-changing gospel through word and deed as individuals and as a church. 

This is demonstrated by believers expressing the transforming love of God by actively serving others and speaking truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

If you are a Christ-follower, your life-story has the power of God flowing through it!

 

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

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

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

 

Today we continued our review of our vision as Grace Bible Church:

Our Action Statement is Inviting Your World to Experience God's Grace.

How to we do that?

Through Growth + Relationship + Authenticity + Community + Expression = GRACE.

The focus of today's sermon is on the two more components of our vision: Authenticity & Community.

Authenticity = To seek a life where our actions match our words, free from pretense, hypocrisy or deceit. 

Living a life of Authenticity means being honest about our struggles... because we all have them.

 

Community = To extend ourselves eyond personal relationships into broader interactive community; the body of Christ, united by the gospel.

"True community is not something that is discovered, it's something that is built." Author James A. White

Community demands intentional commitment.

One of the main things God desires is that we learn to take our focus off of ourselves and turn it towards others.

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

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

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

 

Today we begin a 3-week review of our vision as Grace Bible Church:

Our Action Statement is Inviting Your World to Experience God's Grace.

How to we do that?

Through Growth + Relationship + Authenticity + Community + Expression = GRACE.

The focus of today's sermon is on the first two components of our vision: Growth & Relationship.

Growth = To live a life increasingly characterized by faith, hope, and love. 

In other words, living a life of Growth is the same as being called to become a disciple of Jesus.

A disciple is one who is committed to learning. Jesus' 12 disciples spent years with him, learning from the greatest example of love, wisdom, and godliness who ever walked the earth.

Relationship = To build genuine and meaningful relationships with God and others.

Godly love is not a feeling: it is based on action.

Loving God: There is one definition throughout the Bible of love for God, and that is obedience. Jesus said "If you love me you will obey my commands." (Jn. 14:15)

Loving your neighbor (friend, family member, co-worker, even your enemies): Spend time with them. Jesus didn't just serve as a mentor to his disciples; he shared life with them.

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

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