Church & Culture
Studies on our role as God's people
The Foundations of Church
How God planned to reconnect with man • January 15, 2013 • Benham Brothers
* Covenant with Noah (8:20) * Covenant with Abe (Gen 12) * Description of Covenant (Gen 15) 15 years later he had Isaac 1000 years later Moses came 2000 years later Jesus came Gen 9 - Civil Govt Gen 9:20-24 - Covering Nakedness * Ham - cursed because he didn't cover Noah (father of Canaanites) * Shem - father of Israelites * Japheth - father of Gentiles Gen 12 - First thing's first * The first thing Abe did when he came into a land was build an altar to show honor to the maker of the Covenant * When Abe told Sarah to lie he had not yet built the altar - he failed to do it first!
The Church is meant to go "out" • January 10, 2014 • Benham Brothers
God's command was to multiply and fill the earth, but the people wanted to huddle up God's plan was for us to possess and take dominion, and we can't do that in a crowd They also wanted to build something that would make their names memorable They wanted to build something so tall they couldn't be flooded out again God confused their language, which was the opposite thing He did on Pentacost God waited until they spent a lot of time and money before He busted it up - He gave them time to repent Our natural tendency will be to huddle in a comfortable group and not go into all the world (our neighborhood)
The Cost of the Covenant
The Church was built on covenant • January 12, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* When God made a covenant with Abraham He required Abraham to honor it. * It was going to cost Abraham something in order to enter the covenant. * For him, he had to cut his junk. * He had to remove the needless skin from his unit. * Can you imagine this? He was 99 years old at this time. * The first blessing from God to man was procreation. * Now, the sign of the covenant required pain to enter it. * If Abe didn’t want the pain he didn’t get the covenant. * For us, to be in covenant with God it cost Jesus His life. * The price we have to pay is the same - to give up our lives. * But to remain in the covenant we have to endure the pain. * Are you willing to pay that price?
When leaders become gods • February 9, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* The people revolted when Moses left - this proves they held him in too high esteem. * They wanted someone / something to look at, so they made a golden calf. * God knew this was in their hearts so He removed their leader. * Moses had become their hero and their enemy. * When things were good he was the hero. When bad their enemy. * When you’re worshipping a person and that person fails to live up to your expectations you will find someone or something to replace them with. * Churches today have a tendency to elevate their leaders to be heroes. * vs 6 - Their hero manifested itself in their desire to party. * Two observations: * 1) In their minds the golden calf represented God. * This was breaking the second commandment to have no graven image. * 2) In the same place the law was given it was transgressed. * This showed the imperfection of the law. * This is why Jesus HAD to come to earth and leave us the Holy Spirit.
Religion vs Relationship
God wants so much more than simple religious routine • March 28, 2014 • Benham Brothers
Moses was giving the people final instructions from God before they entered the Promised Land. The reward for them if they 1) Believed, 2) Loved, 3) Obeyed God would be that they would be counted as "righteous." Righteous means "right relationship" with God. If you are in a right relationship with God then you have LIFE! Profit is anything that leads to LIFE, so righteousness is very profitable! It's a great reward. In the OT it was: Believe - Love - Obey (behave). This was the foundation for God to build a relationship with us. When Jesus came it was: Believe - Become - Behave. Religions go from Belief to Behavior. Christianity goes from Belief to Becomming and then to Behavior. Christianity is about RELATIONSHIP - a Father / Child relationship that can be experienced. When we "become" a child of God then we "behave" as one.
Which Old Testament laws should we still follow? • March 26, 2015 • Benham Brothers
How do we know which Old Testament laws are still in effect today? I asked a theologian to help me on this one and it was really insightful: 1) Did the OT law pertain to people universally or only to the Jews? God had certain laws that were for the Jews only - like what they could eat and wear - they were "customary" laws. He did this so that they would be "set apart." God wanted the Jews to be a "pattern" for the world to follow and not a "pet" for Him to stroke. As such God had to give them different commands from the surrounding nations. This would distinguish them from the others. God also had "moral laws" that applied to everyone, Jew and Gentile. 2) Is the law re-stated in the New Testament? Paul specifically told us that the dietary laws and sacrificial system were no longer in effect. But he as well as the other NT writers re-stated that the moral laws were still in effect for all people.
Ideas and Individuals
How God differentiates between the two • June 5, 2014 • Benham Brothers
Humanists reject the traditional dualism of mind and body - to them, everything is one. They believe that there's no difference between and idea and an individual. God loves all people, but He doesn't love all ideas. Jesus supports this when He appears to call Peter satan. A humanist would say that Jesus believed Peter was actually satan, but in reality Jesus was addressing satan himself who was putting bad ideas in Peter's mind. Jesus spoke to the spirit behind the idea. Ahithophel believed the humanist way, so when Absalom rejected his idea he took it as a rejection of himself. His pride led him into this kind of thinking. Pride is the glue that sticks the idea and individual together so there is no distinction, and we all think like this at times - we have to fight against it. We tend to believe that we must respect all people and all their ideas, but the teaching of Jesus is the opposite. When we separate the two we can sharply disagree over a nice steak dinner.
The secret to getting along within the body of believers • June 15, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* David’s kingdom grew greater and greater because of the people God brought to David. * Much like the church - it’s strength is in the individual gifts of each person in it. * All of these people banded together to make and keep David as king. * He didn’t have to go and recruit them - they were magnetized to him. * 1 Chronicles 12:1-2 - relatives of Saul joined him. * 1 Chronicles 12:16-17 - if they came to join him in the fight, he would be “united” with them. * 1 Chronicles 12:22 - they slowly built into an army. * 1 Chronicles 12:38 - they were of single purpose to make David king. * These people didn’t join David for the sake of unity - they did it because of what he stood for. * They wanted to fight the same battles he was fighting - to honor God. * It’s called “functional unity” - unity that comes as a reward for uniting around the battle (function). * 3-R model of unity: * The Requirement for unity is engaging in the battle. * The Result of engaging in the battle is unity among believers. * The Reward for the church being unified in battle is victory.
A Picture of Christ and the Church
A lesson from Solomon • September 27, 2015 • Benham Brothers
(vs 4:16 - 6:3) David wrote his songs (Psalms), and Solomon wrote his (SoS). It's allegorical about his relationship with his wife, and is how Christ and His Church (bride) relate to each other. The setting is a marriage relationship riveted with physical affection. If you read with the wrong eyes it arouses the wrong thing in you. * INTIMACY - Physical and Spiritual (personal & corporate). The purpose of sex is intimacy (to be fully known and fully accepted) - the product is LIFE! SoS is broken up into several acts, like a play. Vs 5:1 - The end of the third act of SoS - Christ and His bride had experienced intimacy. * The beginning of the Fourth Act - going back to when their love was first born. She has a dream: Vs 5:2 - Her husband had come to the door and gently entreated her - He was pursuing her. Vs 5:3 - She 1) wasn't ready and 2) unwilling to surrender to Him. Vs 5:4 - He was longing for her. She was "moved" when she realized he was pursuing her. Vs 5:5 - She was finally ready to respond to His pursuit. Everything inside of her was now ready for Him - she put her perfume on. Vs 5:6 - Christ had departed. She waited too long. The words of Isaiah 55:6 are so true - "Seek Me while I may be found." * Christ doesn't accept half-hearted commitment. She then went looking for Him - she now was pursuing Him. Vs 5:7 - Well intentioned spiritual leaders with ill delivered methods. They misjudged her and left her exposed. Vs 5:8 - She couldn't trust the watchmen, so she makes an announcement to everyone - "I want Jesus!" Vs 5:9 - They respond - "How is He different than any other god?" Vs 5:10-16 - She responds - "Let me tell you about my Jesus!" * He was a TENDER WARRIOR, like the two-sides of King David - a lover and a fighter. He was both Truth & Love! Vs 6:1 - They respond - "If He's all that, then we want Him too!" Vs 6:2 - She finally found Him - He had gone down from His palace to His garden, in the 1) quiet and 2) secret place. * If she wanted to find Him, she had to be alone. Vs 6:3 - The two came back together again and were now in a position of intimacy once again. They were each other's - He was hers and she was His. ** UGLY - SoS 7 - she was a pot-bellied girl with a long neck, beady eyes, and a massive shnoz. She didn't walk places, she waddled. She was an ugly duckling, but He dug her in a crazy passionate way because she was His girl! This is where the church needs to be today, but it starts with each one of us going through these steps above personally with Jesus.
What's Plaguing the Church?
Two things that cause great turmoil among believers • September 25, 2014 • Benham Brothers
1) We've fallen asleep (Isaiah 29:10) ** The Jews were asleep spiritually so God let them sleep on. ** Remember when the 3 disciples slept in the Garden of Gethsemane - Jesus came the second time and let them sleep. ** Because of this they were startled awake by the enemy and grabbed the wrong weapon. ** In this story and in Isaiah God was bringing an enemy - it would be the thunder-clap to wake them up. ** When you're asleep you're alive but oblivious to what's going on around you. ** When you're asleep you're not concerned with what's going on around you. ** When you're asleep you can't do anything about what's going on around you. ** When you're asleep you don't want to do anything about what's going on around you. ** How do you fall asleep? ** Prov 23:21 - when you indulge the appetite you fall asleep, and the fact you indulged it is proof that you aren't relating with God. ** How do we know we're asleep? 2) When relationship has turned into religion (Galatians 4:16) ** Routine has replaced vibrancy. ** We don't long for God like a child longs for his daddy (Abba). ** How do we know our relationship is just religion? By what we desire (indulging the appetite)
Candle or Coal?
Which light are you? • October 13, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• Our problem today is not the presence of darkness, but the absence of light. • When we go to bed at night we don’t turn the darkness on, we turn the light off. • We have the wrong image of “light” today - we think of a candle. • The wind can blow a candle out. • We need to replace the image of a candle with that of a coal - like a burning ember in a fire pit. • The same wind that extinguishes the candle’s light actually ignites the coal’s light. • The devil wants to extinguish our light, but if we hide God’s Word in our hearts like Jeremiah, it will become like coals inside of us. • The very act of the devil trying to blow it out will actually ignite it! • God’s fire is either going to eat us up or heat us up - it all depends on our dedication to reading His Word and our surrender to obeying it. • How do we know if we’re a coal? • By how we respond when we’re persecuted. • Candles can shine quickly, but coals take time. • Candles shine on the outside, but coals shine from the inside out and get brighter the harder the wind blows. • Let’s be coals!
A pastor's role in protecting the flock • October 12, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* Shepherds typically did not own the sheep they cared for. * The principle of stewardship is the context of shepherds throughout Scripture. * The flock belongs to someone else and shepherds are accountable to how they take care of the sheep. * If the shepherd seeks his own well-being and prosperity over that of his sheep he will be disqualified by the owner of the sheep. * This is what happened is Jeremiah’s day and is the same thing happening today. * I call it “blasphemy leading to idolatry.” * 1 Timothy 1:20 - Blasphemy definition: “to ruin the reputation of.” * If a spiritual shepherd refuses to confront a blasphemous theology because he wants to protect his own reputation, what sin is he in danger of committing? * Idolatry - concerning himself above God.
Challenging the Culture
How Daniel make an impact in his day • November 25, 2015 • Benham Brothers
• Daniel refused to compromise his convictions by not eating the king's meat. • They were like chocolate chips in cookie dough, they mix in but don't blend. • Daniel changed the culture for everyone because he challenged it. • He threw out a challenge - watch me and then compare. • This is the same mindset as Paul. • vs 20 - the world is constantly comparing, so are we up for the challenge? • Dr. Falwell - "if it's Christian it ought to be better." • They received God's favor because they resolved to honor Him whatever the cost. • We don't need to focus on being better, we need to focus on being faithful and God will handle the better. • Changing the culture is a three-step process: 1) Throw out the challenge - let people know that God's ways are best. 2) Live faithfully - like chocolate chips in a batch of cookie dough, staying true to our form whatever the cost, even when the heat turns up. We mix in but don't blend in. This is the part that takes time. For Daniel it lasted 10 days but for us it will last much longer. 3) Allow for comparison - recognize that the world is watching and they need to see that what you're doing is better than what they're doing.
When Your Brand is Your Boss
Why certain issues are easier to stand against than others • December 21, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* I’ve noticed certain “Christian celebrities” will speak out on certain things but not others. * They’ll come out boldly on sexual harassment but say nothing about sexual perversion. * They’ll speak out on income inequality but say nothing about the devastation of welfare. * They spoke out against Trump’s foul and perverted mouth but say nothing about Hillary Clinton’s belief that babies can be ripped apart in the womb or Bill’s predatory behavior. * Why can’t they speak out on “all” issues, not just some? * Because their brand is their boss. * They will speak out on what the boss tells them they can. * If they spoke out on the latter they would be labeled certain things, which would tarnish their brand - and nothing could be worse than that. * It’s time for Christians to suck it up and speak out on the things that truly break God’s heart.
The Greatest Question
What doesn't break your heart? • November 5, 2015 • Benham Brothers
• Ezekiel is still in his vision from God about the slaughter coming to Israel. • God shows him the people He's going to save - those whose hearts were broken over the sins of their nation. • What doesn’t break your heart that should? • God spared those who had the mark on their head - those who mourned over the sin of the people. • We need to be concerned for personal sin, but also sin in the church and nation. • God is a God of nations. • Ezekiel 14:12-23 - "When a land sins against Me...."