On this Presidents’ Day, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew digs into God’s explanation of the word “authority” in His Word. In Romans 13 we are told that all authority comes from God. Authority given by God is to be used for the good, blessing and service of all involved. But it often doesn’t work out that way. Because of sin we often see abuse of authority in many areas of life. Proverbs 29:2 says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” The government is entrusted with authority over its citizens. In Romans 13:1-3 Paul writes: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”
God has given those in government authority to be used for the protection of society and the punishment of evil. When government leaders do not carry out that responsibility, or abuse their authority at the expense of others, they will be held accountable by God (Consider the account of Ahab and Jezebel in 1 Kings 21). At the same time, it is the responsibility of citizens to obey those who are in authority in government, even when we disagree with them! The only time we have a God given right to disobey our government is when our government forces us, by its laws or actions, to go against the command of God. In such a case Peter says, “We ought to obey God, rather than men” (Acts 5:39). When our government forms laws in areas where God has not spoken, even if we disagree for good reason, we are commanded by God to submit to those who are in authority. We are also called to pray for those who are in authority. He writes: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1). Paul doesn’t say that we should only pray for those leaders we like or agree with. He says we should pray for “all who are in authority” so that we might be able to lead a life that brings glory to God through our words and actions. Lord give us good and faithful leaders, and help us to be good and faithful citizens!
In a continuation of our introduction to the Book of Revelation last week Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Rob Sauers tackle the issues of Biblical Interpretation that are important to solid, Biblical understanding of Revelation (as well as all the rest of the Bible). The literary structure of Revelation varies. The book opens in a way similar to other New Testament books, but the majority of the book is described as being figurative or symbolic in the opening verses. The events are real events, but they are described with picture language. Revelation is not to be taken literally, but literarily or depending on the kind of writing that is being intended by the writer. Some important rules of Biblical Interpretation include 1) The Bible interprets the Bible (use clear passages of Scripture interpret the less clear, not the other way around). 2) Don’t take passages out of context (of Scripture or the individual book or section). One example of bad Biblical Interpretation is found in Revelation 20 and the 1,000 years or “the Millennium”. Numbers in Revelation are symbolic, not literal. The pictures of the angel, the dragon are not literal either. Rather the 1,000 years refer to the New Testament Era (amillennialism). The first resurrection of that chapter refers to a spiritual resurrection (conversion) as seen in John 5:24-29. This does not indicate multiple physical resurrections as many millenialists say. The purpose of Revelation is to point us to Jesus and the victory which He won for us over sin, death and the Devil through His life and death. If we keep that in mind, the Book of Revelation is very easy to understand!
As we approach Valentine’s Day, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew digs into the Biblical definition of the word “Love.” The word love is one of the most well known words in the English language. Even young children express their affection by saying, “I love you!” But in English, the word “love” is based on our feelings – on how we feel about someone else. Think of that same young child’s declaration when they are told something they don’t like: “I don’t love you anymore.” In the Bible love is not based on feelings, but is an attitude of service toward another, even those who are may be “unworthy” or our actions. Love finds its definition and source in what God has done for us as Paul says: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God didn’t wait until we were worthy of His love before He sent His Son to bear our sins. He did this while we were still the enemies of God (1 John 4:7-11). The love of God was not based on His feelings, but based on our need and His promise. Secondly, God’s love shown to us in Christ Jesus gives us an example of how we are to love others. Christians are to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5). Husbands are to love their wives (Col 3:19). Wives are to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:4). And even more, we are to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-28,32-33).
Finally, Paul’s familiar words about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is a description of true self-sacrificing love as demonstrated clearly by God to sinners through Jesus. Lord, help us to appreciate Your love for us in Jesus, and to show that same kind of love to You and everyone around us!
In this Bible Study episode, Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Rob Sauers dig into the complex and comforting book of Revelation. This last book of the New Testament was written by the Apostle John in the 90’s AD while he was exiled on an island called Patmos. Here he writes to seven churches of the early church describing for them the visions which the Lord Jesus gave him to assure and comfort His church, both then and now. Remember that that book of Revelation is a symbolic book as John describes in the very first verses, to these are not literal events, but symbolic descriptions of what would take place in the furture. See our next Revelation podcast on the interpratation of the book for more information on thist topic. The main message of the book is to show how God in Christ has defeated the death and the Devil and to comfort the troubled child of God with the hope of salvation int and through Christ. Christ calls us to take comfort and to endure knowing that He is our strength and our redeemer!
Today Pastor Nathanael Mayhew defines the word Enmity as described in Scripture. Enmity or hatred is obvious in the world around us as seen in human interactions like political rallies or racial riots. There are many differences between human beings, but Christians have been called out of the world and are to be different than the world. They are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and to love their enemies (Mattew 5:44). Christians have been called out of the world, because the world is enmity against God (James 4:4 and Romans 8:7). Christ came to bring unity, not just between those who believe in Him, no matter who they are or what they have done, but more importantly to bring peace between God and man (Ephesians 2:15-16). This was the purpose for Jesus coming to earth as a man and living and dying for sinners. He came to remove the enmity which stood between sinners and a just and holy God. May that truth bring you peace and comfort in the assurance of your sins forgiven in Christ Jesus!
In this episode, Pastors Neal Radichel and Nathanael Mayhew discuss the topic of Baptism. They cover many topics related to the form and function of baptism from Scripture. First, God reveals clearly that Baptism is not a work of human beings, but rather the work of God (Titus 3:5-8). God is at work through water and His Word to wash away our sins. They talk about “Believer’s Baptism” the “Age of Accountability” and “Infant Baptism.” Children are sinful and have Original or Inherited Sin and are in need of the cleansing which God offers through baptism (Psalm 51:5; Acts 2:39). Scripture also reveals that children can believe (Matthew 18:6). God’s work of faith is a miracle of His Grace, and it is no less a miracle in a child than in an adult. Baptism, because it is an act of God and not depending on us, is a one-time act. There is no need to be rebaptized again and again because you have fallen into sin. There is also a connection between Circumcision in the Old Testament and Baptism in the New Testament (Colossians 2:11-12) which point to the foundation for infant baptism. Regarding the form of baptism they show that the idea of immersion in baptism is forced on the Biblical accounts of Matthew 3 and Acts 8 in particular. The Greed word “Baptizo” means to “wash” and does not neccesitate washing by immersion. What a blessing God has given to sinners through Baptism!
As we contine in the Epiphany season, Pastor Mark Tiefel defines the word Gospel in the Scriptures. The word Gospel is used so often in our society that it looses its meaning in the true Biblical meaning. Literally the word means “Good News” or “Evangelism.” Isaiah says that the Good News of Salvation is what the Gospel is. Jesus is the fulfillment of this Gospel. Jesus preached the Gospel and healed people from sickenesses. There is a distinction between these two. Paul says that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel why we have the hope of heaven (Colossians 1:5,23). The real Gospel message is not about prosperity here on earth or political or social causes, but simply about the forgiveness of sins through Christ. Thanks be to God!
In this episode, Pastors Mark Tiefel and Neal Radichel discuss everything from Abortion rights and Abortion “exceptions”, as well as Bible quotations that shed light on life before and after birth and conception. What kind of impact has Abortion had on our society? How has Abortion affected relationships and a mother’s responsibility? What can a Christian or non-Christian recognize about the growing scientific evidense since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the early 1970’s? What can an individual do in the wake of the political protests recently on Abortion throughout our nation? Explore the depths of these questions in light of God’s Word and the staggering effects we see of the choices on either side that are made today!
In this Bible Study episode, Pastors Mark Tiefel and Nathanael Mayhew take us into the Old Testament book of Daniel. While the book of Daniel has many familiar sections which descibe the life of Daniel while in captivity by the Babylonians, there are many unfamiliar sections as well. Daniel is set at the time of the Babylonian Captivity around 600B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation of Judah and took many of its people captive, including Daniel. The first part of the book underscrores the importance of faith in the words and promises of the LORD, confidence in His power and protection, and prayer. This is seen through the life of Daniel and his three friends. But it also presents the believer in Jesus with the assuranace that the LORD God is in control, will bring about His promised salvation for sinners through the coming Christ, and will defeat the ungodly forces prevalent in this fallen world. The LORD would even work in and through heathen kingdoms like the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans to prepare the way for His coming salvation. The LORD’s love for sinners and His salvation would be come to pass in the life and the death of Jesus, the Christ.
As we contine in the Epiphany season, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew takes a look at the word Gentile in the Scriptures. The word Gentile is used in both the Old and New Testaments to distinguish between God’s Old Testament people Israel and the other nations of the world. While Christianity is often veiwed by people in the world as an exclusive religion, just the opposite is actually true. From the very beginning of His choosing Abraham as the father of His people, God’s plan was to bring about a Savior for all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:3). This continued to be revealed througout the Old Testament as God reached out through His Old Testament people to save Gentiles like Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, and even the people of Nineveh. In the same way God reaches out through His New Testament people to save those who are lost today. Peter writes: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Christianity proclaims a salvation through Jesus Christ that has been won for all sinners, whether Jew or Gentile. Paul writes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). Thanks be to God for the inclusive nature of His salvation for all sinners through faith in Jesus!