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Weekly Word

Entries in Teaching (2)

Tuesday
Nov012016

Society under Siege: The Educational System

Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 22:6.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on October 30, 2016.

The first colleges of the colonies in America were started in order to train ministers, with Harvard being the oldest.  It was actually founded by the Massachusetts legislature in 1636.  Today its motto reads, “Veritas,” which is Latin for Truth.  However, originally it was, “Veritas Christo Ecclesiae,” which is Truth for Christ, for Church.  This simple truncation explains much of what has gone on in America when it comes to education.  We have been rejecting Christ and His Church.

Education is a critical area in the life of a young person.  It has a huge bearing upon where their life will go.  As our families disintegrate and fall apart, it becomes harder and harder for kids to get a good education.  Yet, at the same time our educational system is falling apart.  I do not mean that there aren’t enough schools, but that they have changed and become something that is often harmful to them.  Many of our college campuses have become the last place you would go to to find the truth.  Oh, yeah, I am not talking about mathematics and physics.  However, even the hard sciences find themselves bending under the weight of political correctness.  Let me give you a few examples of how Truth is lost on our campuses.

Martin Luther King Jr. promoted in speeches and sermons what we could call being color-blind.  Instead of judging one another by the color of our skin, we should make our judgments based upon the content of one’s character and the actions they take.  Yet, in our colleges, race and color are everything.  The true liberal promoted the idea that race is insignificant, but the leftists of today promote that it is racist to say, “All Lives Matter.”  This brings up the area of free speech.  The liberal idea that ideas must be freely debated without threat of well-being or jail is the foundation of our country.  However, on our campuses there is an iron-clad political correctness on what can or cannot be said.  If you cross these lines you will become the target of some of the most hate-filled language, all in the name of love.  These actions that happen on many campuses do not help us.  They only further hamstring our ability to deal with the issues of society.

So what does the bible say about education?  Let’s go to Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Education Begins with The Teacher

God understands that the education of the next generation is critical for any society.  So He engrained the duty of teaching children into the minds of the people of Israel.  However, in this passage, God is not addressing the “State of Israel.”  There was no government at this time, just a leader named Moses.  Rather, God is addressing to each and every parent as a part of the group called Israel.  His command is to them, not the state.  A pernicious idea has risen and grown over the years that parents are not equipped to teach their kids.  There is some truth in the idea that parents can’t teach their kids everything, especially if the kid is going to enter a profession different than their parent.  Yet, this is misleading.  Do you remember this statement?  “The best things in life are free.”  Similarly we could say that the most important things in life do not need a rocket scientist to teach them.  Our colleges often do a good job at teaching small things like how to build a better bridge or computer.  But they actually propagandize against the big things in life that those same young people need to know.  Historically parents were the primary teachers of their kids.  If there was a school, it was because parents got together and paid for a building and teacher.  Little by little education has been taken over by the state and parents have been more and more squeezed out of the process.  The manipulators of our society understand that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.  So they have inserted themselves between the cradle and parent in order to establish and secure their power.  Parents, beware that you do not pay for your kid to be brainwashed against everything you ever taught them.

This passage opens with the word, “Hear!”  Though Moses is speaking to Israel, he does this on behalf of God.  Moses is telling them that they need to hear or listen to what God is saying.  Thus parents need to teach, but they need to teach after having heard from the Lord.  When God and His revelation are separated from education, we end up with pure humanism.  Pure humanism will always fail because it cannot face the ramifications of wickedness found in the heart of mankind.  It continually seeks more and more sophisticated ways to get around the reality that men are sinners and cannot be fixed by other men.  Yes, humanism when coupled with science is very powerful.  But when it comes to ethics, it is powerless and impotent.  Many Christian teachers have left schools or been run out of colleges because they didn’t toe the line.  We must not surrender in this clash.  But continue to stand for truth.  Two counter movements have sprung up to help slow down the damage done through public (actually “state”) education (propaganda).  Many private Christian schools have been built and continue to thrive.  Also, the Home Schooling movement has been able to convince many Christian parents to teach their kids and band together in order to protect it from an antagonistic society.

Having heard from the Lord, it is even more important that parents love the Lord.  I am not talking about having fuzzy feelings for Jesus.  But, rather, a parent must love the decisions and plan of the Lord.  Too many Christians do not love how God has interacted with mankind.  So we focus only on what God has promised.  If our love for God is only based on what He has promised us and refuses to deal with what He has done throughout history, it is not based on reality.  Many people who are supposed to be believers do not believe what Jesus told us to believe.  Similarly they do not do what Jesus told us to do.  The problem is not that they struggle with faith and action.  Rather, it is that they do not exercise enough gumption to struggle with the Lord in prayer and searching of the Scriptures.  Thus they wear Christianity like a mask that covers an inner rejection of the Lord Himself.  We need a generation of Christians who have not just fallen in love with what God is offering, but also love who He is: the judgments He has made, and the grace that He has given.

Lastly Moses tells them to be “diligent” in verse 7.  Diligence often fails on the difficulty of the task.  A child doesn’t want to learn all the time and will vary in their degree of cooperation.  They often resist the principles that we are teaching.  It would be easy to throw up your hands and quit.  However, Christians, we must not do so.  The desire to give up must be extinguished by the reality of the duty that our Lord has given us.  Just as the Lord says to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go,” so He says to us.  It is not the perfection of the process, but the loving diligence to being a perfecting influence that makes a difference in the life of a child.  Now let’s look at the side of the child.

Children Need to be Taught

In Proverbs 22:6 we are told, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  It is easy to take this as a kind of guarantee.  The truth is that the proverbs are words of practical wisdom.  The point is that if you want your kid to go in a good direction then you better train them.  Kids are not born “pointed in the right direction.”  Training and education are critical to the future of a child.

Leftism within our society acts like education is extremely important.  But the truth is that leftists believe only certain education is important.  When a young person enters the average leftist-run college, they encounter many teachers who purposefully antagonize any faith and Christian belief they may have.  They use a kind of historical hypocrisy in doing this as well.  Notice how leftists judge the people of the past by the present context.  Thus our founding fathers were bad guys because they had slaves.  Yet, within the context of those societies, these men valiantly fought the demons of their day and laid the groundwork for what we have today.  Leftists also demonstrate a sort of arrogance, as if they will always be in power.  For they care not that people one hundred years from now will judge them based upon a future context.  In other words they will be judged in the same way that they have judged others.  As Jesus said, “make a right judgment.”  Leftists pretend to want to open kid’s minds.  But, in truth, they only want them open enough to take out what they don’t like and put in what they do.  Then they want those minds locked back up.  They only want your mind open to their ideas.  They pretend that they want open discussion, but in truth only certain things will be allowed to be discussed.  Children do not need such hypocrisy.  This kind of stuff is poison to the minds and souls of our children.

In Deuteronomy God reminds us that all of life is a schoolroom.  “Talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  Parents are the teachers that are always teaching.  In fact, parents, we should never stop learning.  As children our parents teach us what they believe we need to know.  But when we become adults, they cease to have the role of primary teacher in our life.  Why?  It is because by then we should have learned how to be taught by the Spirit of God.  On into our adult years to the day of our death, we walk arm in arm with the Spirit of God and learn the mind and heart of God.  If a child is ever to be able to do such a thing, they need parents who will teach them the wisdom of God’s love.

God help us to show this generation that there is a God who loves them, despite their sin.  He has made a way for them if they will only turn away from the propaganda of this world and hear the words of life.

The Educational System audio

Tuesday
Oct152013

The Power of Jesus

We have been looking at the True Jesus by walking through the gospel according to Luke.  Today we will specifically deal with Luke 4:31-44.  Now Luke has just finished sharing an event in the hometown of Jesus where he is received at first but then quickly it turns into a riot where they try to throw Him off of a cliff.  Tragically this incident becomes a metaphor for the rest of His life.  People often receive Him at first only to reject Him when they see they can’t manipulate Him.

In this section Jesus goes down to Capernaum and because this isn’t His hometown they are more open to receive His teaching.  This opens the door for amazing demonstrations of the power that Jesus has.  This section begins with Jesus teaching in the Synagogue of Capernaum on the Sabbath.  The fact that He is teaching is important but I am going to come back to that at the end of this sermon.

Jesus Has Power Over Demons

In verses 33-36, a man who is in the synagogue that day begins to manifest that a demon possesses him.  Jesus is in the middle of teaching and at some point the demon cannot continue to hide its presence.  The Bible does not explain the origin of demons, but several things are made clear about them.  First of all they are spirits that can afflict or possess people.  They need some form of permission to do this and so feed upon false religions and occult practices to act as “honey pots,” as it were.  We do not know how this man came to be possessed by a demon, but there are two adjectives that are used of demons.  They are evil and unclean spirits.  By this is revealed that their moral intentions are not for good.  Demons are bad no matter what power or knowledge they promise or give.  They cannot be trusted.  Also, demons are unclean.  This metaphor means that those who enter into business with demons risk themselves being “stained” by their moral filth.  The demonic spirits are as unclean as the Holy Spirit is pure.

However, these spirits obviously fear Jesus.  As Jesus teaches the spirit breaks out and speaks through the man.  “Did you come to destroy us?  We know you are the Holy One of God.”  Later Jesus runs into some other demon possessed people in verse 41 who declare that they know he is the Christ the Son of God.  These evil spirits know who Jesus is and because they know who he is they fear him.  Why?  Jesus has the power to remove them from this earth and put them in the spirit prison called The Abyss or Bottomless Pit.

Now Luke points out that once these evil spirits manifested, Jesus would not let them speak and told them to leave the person.  These demons had to obey and would leave.  However, they don’t want to leave.  Thus it says that the demon through the man down in the middle of the group but didn’t hurt him.  Clearly its intention was to hurt him, but the power of Jesus held it in check and made it leave.  Jesus didn’t let them speak because nothing a demon says can be trusted.  And, even if they do say something true, they are manipulating it to their own ends.  Do not become enamored with any secret information you think you can get from speaking to spirits.  If you are using occult practices to contact spirits you are being manipulated by evil spirits and will quickly come under their evil control.

Now Jesus has both Power and Authority over demons.  Though the words are related they have two very different emphases.  First Power is a reference to ability.  Jesus was able to make the demons leave.  “Greater is He [Jesus] who is in us than he [devil] who is in the world.  These demons are in league with the devil, but Jesus is more powerful than them.  He can force them to obey him.  Yet, Jesus also has authority.  This is a reference not to brute power, but rather to the power of position.  In other words, He has a place of authority that is over all of creation, visible and invisible.  Thus all things must obey him by right of position and by power of His strength.  Now God is not tyrannical with such position and power.  In fact most people wish He were.

For us as Christians, it is important to learn that Jesus delegated His authority to His disciples in order to carry out the commission that he gave us.  He gave them the authority to cast out demons and He has supplied the Holy Spirit in order to give us the power to back that position up.  The disciples of Jesus learned a lesson later when they tried to exercise that authority and the demon wouldn’t leave.  Why not?  It was because they were not walking fully in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to learn from the temptations of Jesus how to resist temptation through times of prayer and fasting.  In this we make agreement with the Holy Spirit and He operates more powerfully in our life.  Now we want to be careful with that because God is able to do what He wants without cooperation from us.  However, there are some things that He has determined to do only as men and women believe on Him, and ask Him to do them.  This is the testimony of the church that as men and women of God moved into dark, demonically-controlled countries, the demons fled from them.  In some cases the demons came back later, but that is a different sermon.  Let’s move on.

Jesus Has Power Over Sickness

In verses 38-39 Jesus goes to the house of Peter.  These very specific accounts of certain times, places and people are recorded so that people of Luke’s day can fact check his story.  Here Peter’s mother-in-law is sick with high fever.  Clearly she had a virus of some sort that threatened her life.  Notice that the family request Jesus to help her.  Jesus had healed others at different times and so the plea is only normal.  How important is it for us to be quick to ask and pray for our Lord’s help?  Sometimes we hold back because we think it to unimportant or we doubt it will be done.  But remember that it is the asking who receive.  Those who do not ask will definitely not receive.  But those who ask from a good God at least have the hope that he might answer in the affirmative.

Jesus then rebukes the fever, which may sound odd.  But just as he rebuked the storm on the Sea of Galilee, “Peace be still!”  So, here he rebukes a storm of a different kind.  A fiery storm raging through her body, is told, “Peace, be still!”  The fever not only subsides, but as a double miracle, she feels strong enough to get up and serve them.  Jesus not only stops the virus, but also strengthens her.  It is ludicrous to try and turn this into a self-serving miracle that Jesus does just to get her to serve him.  The more natural aspect of the story is that she is not just grateful to be feeling better, but feels well enough that she does what she enjoys doing, serving others.  After this, the town brings the sick and demon possessed to Jesus and he heals everyone that is brought to him.  On the next day Jesus began to leave.

Jesus Had Power To Teach

Although this passage seems to focus on the miracles of Jesus, notice that it begins and ends with the teaching of Jesus.  In verse 32, the people were astonished at His teaching and in verse 43 He reminds them that He needs to go to other cities and preach the Kingdom of God to them.  Notice that Jesus emphasizes that he needs to go there to teach, rather than do miracles.  The miracles of Jesus were to help people to receive His teaching.  In the end it is His powerful and truthful teaching that is of primary importance.

Now the people were first astonished at the authoritative tone that Jesus used when he taught.  But they were also astonished at the authority in which He challenged the accepted teachings of that day.  Jesus often employed a method of teaching that pointed out an accepted teaching of the day followed with a corrective statement by Jesus.  Here is an example, “You have heard it said love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say unto you love your enemy, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”  False teachings can arise and then become entrenched within the ranks of God's people.  Jesus powerfully pointed these out and corrected them.

Jesus wasn't just explaining how to better keep the Law of Moses.  He was pointing them to the Kingdom of God and how they needed to live to be a part of it.  Don't be mistaken.  God's Kingdom is a real kingdom with real laws and ways of doing things.  Are you a citizen of that Kingdom?  Are you listening to the words of Jesus and incorporating them?  The powerful teaching of Jesus goes beyond the Israelites of the first century A.D.  It powerfully speaks to all those who desire to be a part of God's Kingdom and instructs them in how to be like their Father in Heaven.  Those who do not follow Jesus, by default, cooperate with the world system and serve the purposes of the god of this world.

This is important because many who seem to be good and purport to care often misuse the words of Jesus or minimize it.  A case in point is the modern teaching that God is the Father of all people and we are all brothers.  They may use Jesus to back this up through cherry-picked verses and explaining away those that contradict it.  Or, they may simply state that the specifics of what Jesus taught are not important.  The importance is that He understood the Universal Fatherhood of God.  This latter method does not come to Jesus for specifics but only for "big picture" principles.  But even these end up contradicting His own words.  Jesus did not teach the universal fatherhood of God.  He specifically taught that some even in the leadership of God's people are children of the devil and have sold out to his worldly system.  Jesus taught that only those who believed in Him enough to take up their cross and follow Him would be given the right to become the children of God.  Yes, we are all here because of the creative power of God, but that doesn't make us his children.  If you want to be a child of God then you need to have a spiritual birth, to be born from above, to be born again.  The teaching of Jesus is of primary importance even down to its specifics because it is the very light of God given to dispel our darkness.

Power of Jesus Audio