SERMON FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th — A Study of the Kingdom of God
Justin Martyr (c. 160) writes “I and every other completely orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, followed by a thousand years in the rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others” (Dialogue With Trypho).
Last Sunday we began a series of sermons titled, A Study of the Kingdom of God.
In the first sermon we learned that the Kingdom of God comes in three phases or stages:
1. Now and Not Yet.
2. The Messianic or Millennial Kingdom.
3. The Eternal Kingdom of God.
We studied the “Now and Not Yet” aspect of the Kingdom of God, and also looked at the three exegetical approaches to the Millennium: Amillennialism, Postmillennialism and Premillennialism.
This coming Sunday we will begin our study of the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom. This is a study that you will not want to miss! As Justin Martyr wrote around the year 160, “I and every other completely Orthodox Christian feel CERTAIN that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, followed by a thousand [millennium means “thousand”] years in the rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others.”
There is a fourteen page handout of sermon notes that accompany this series. If you attended last week I want to remind you to please bring your sermon notes with you this Sunday and throughout the series. If you did not attend last week, we still have a long way to go in our sermon series and the fourteen pages of sermon notes are available as long as supplies last.
Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. The Service begins at 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. We hope to see you there!
THE HARBINGER II — The Return
America is at a decisive moment in her history as rioting, political divisiveness and COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc across the land. What is the future of America?
More than a year ago my colleague Mike C. told me that he was reading a book called The Oracle, by Jonathan Cahn, and asked me what I thought of it. At the time I had not heard of the book or its author; however, as he read the book I could see that it was having a profound effect on his spiritual life.
I asked Mike where he heard about the book, and he told me that the author was interviewed about it on the radio program Focus On the Family. That was good enough for me!
Focus on the Family was founded was by Dr. James Dobson who is a senior statesman of American Christianity and has an impeccable reputation. He is up there in the same category as men such as Dr. Billy Graham. Dr. Dobson and his wife just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last month, and although he is retired from Focus On the Family he is still very much active in Christian service.
Born in New York State in 1959, Jonathan Cahn was raised in a Jewish home, the son of a Holocaust refugee, and was active in Judaism and attended synagogue frequently. At the age 20 of he became a Messianic Jew, believing that Yeshua, Jesus is the Messiah.
He is the rabbi/pastor of the Beth Israel worship center, a messianic Jewish congregation made up of both Jews and those who have been grafted in from among the nations. At Beth Israel "liturgy focuses on Jesus as savior."
Jonathan Cahn caused a worldwide stir in 2012 with the release of his explosive first book The Harbinger which became an instant New York Times best seller and brought him to national and international prominence. His next books were also New York Times bestsellers, The Mystery of the Shemitah, The Book of Mysteries, The Paradigm, and The Oracle. He was named, along with Billy Graham and Keith Greene, one of the top forty spiritual leaders of the last forty years to have radically impacted the world.
Called the prophetic voice of this generation, Cahn is a much-sought-after speaker and has been highlighted in the New York Times as well as in many national and international media. He has spoken on Capitol Hill, at the United Nations, and to millions of people around the world. Cahn is known for opening the deep mysteries of Scripture and bringing forth messages of prophetic import.
His latest book, The Harbinger II, was just released on September 1st. In The Harbinger II, he warns that America’s future is very dark in light of the teachings of Scripture and of Bible prophecy unless there is sincere and deep repentance and a return to God. However, even if the United States falls into darkness and judgement God will still have a remnant people who will be a light in the darkness.
I have not read any of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s books, and no book is perfect and infallible, but his books come highly recommended. In addition, since Mike introduced me to Rabbi Cahn, I have heard him speak, teach and be interviewed a number of times. He brings out a vast number of “coincidences” that link together Bible prophecy and happenings in Israel, the United States and around the world. As C. S. Lewis would say, “Aslan is on the move!”
I am attaching for you a three part radio interview of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn by Dr. James Dodson on Cahn’s new book The Harbinger II. Each part is 25 minutes long. The first part of the interview was broadcast on September 2nd, the second part on September 3rd, and the final part today. Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn warns that 2020 is a pivotal year and shares some of the major revelations brought to light in his newest book, The Harbinger II. You should hear this three part interview.
Here are the links:
The Harbinger II: The Return — Part 1 with Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, 9/2/2020
The Harbinger II: The Return - Part 2 with Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, 9/3/2020
The Harbinger II: The Return - Part 3 with Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, 9/4/2020
WHY CARE ABOUT ISRAEL?
I am attaching for you an article that just came out this week from the Messianic community in the State of Israel. It is titled, Why Care About Israel?
The author is a delightful young woman named Liat Nesher. She was born and raised in a Messianic home in Israel. Today she runs “Media with a Message” to inspire, encourage and educate the next generation in their faith. She is passionate about the power of worship and the importance of sharing the message of Yeshua the Messiah.
In the article she tells about life in Israel, along with colour photographs of what life is like there. There is also a short three (3) minute MUST SEE film that you can watch called, The Heartbeat of Israel produced by the Messianic community there. I found the video a real blessing!
In her article, Why Care About Israel?, Liat Nesher writes:
“‘I [the apostle Paul] say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.’ (Romans 11:1-2)
The truth is that God will never forsake His people Israel, despite our sin and flaws He will always choose Israel to be His special treasure above all the earth.
There is a theology circulating around some churches that states ‘Israel messed up too many times with their sin, rejected the Messiah (Jesus/Yeshua) therefore God abandoned them and has replaced Israel with us (Christians.)’
This could. not. be. further. from. the. truth!
We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all in desperate need of His forgiveness and mercy.
God has not, and never will replace Israel. What He has done however is open up the way so that whoever wants to follow Him has the opportunity to do so, regardless of their ethnic background.
So what about the nations? Where does that leave those who are not Jewish?
The original question was not ‘how can I be Jewish and believe in Jesus?’
The original question was ‘How can a non-Jewish person believe & follow a Jewish Messiah?!’
This was such a foreign thought in biblical times yet God clearly provides us with an answer.”
She goes on to say:
“We are one in the Messiah.
Through Yeshua we are one united people. There is no separate standard [there is “one Law”] or favouritism. The goal if you’re a Gentile is not to ‘become as Jewish as possible.’ Like-wise the goal for a Jewish believer is not to ‘abandon all Jewishness, traditions & culture to prove your salvation.’
I’ve seen both occur and it’s simply not the narrow way that leads to life that God instructed us to follow!”
So what is the Way of Life that this united people of Israel — both native born and grafted in — should follow? She shares her thoughts and those of the rest of the Messianic community in Israel in the rest of her article. It really is a Must Read. You can read it here:
THE EARLY CHRISTIANS IN THE BRITISH ISLES
I recently recommended a book to the members of our congregation, and in todays Update I want to recommend it to all of our readers. The book is:
THE CELTIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN, by Leslie Hardinge
This is a great book from a top notch scholar. It has been in my personal library for a long time, and is beyond doubt the best book on early British Christianity that I have ever read.
The author, Dr. Leslie Hardinge is a first rate scholar. He was educated in England and America. He received his undergraduate degree from La Sierra University, Riverside, California, and then went on to earn three advanced seminary degrees, and finally his Ph.D. degree from the University of London.
He began his ministerial service 1933. Coming to America in 1947, Hardinge taught at two colleges in the United States, followed by Newbold College in England, and then back to California as a college teacher. He went on to become a seminary president in the Philippines.
THE CELTIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN, by Leslie Hardinge is in its 95th edition! It is a wonderful, scholarly book. However, it is not an easy read. It is a book for those who want to dig deeper, and it will take real effort to get through it.
The book relies on primary sources and is for advanced students. One of the things that makes it hard to follow is that it does not just summarize the matters at hand. It begins with the beliefs and practices of the earliest British Christians, and then follows the evolution of those beliefs and practices first under Roman influence after the arrival of Augustine, and then under Roman pressure, and finally Roman persecution. Each chapter follows the same format.
It is indeed a book for advanced students, but for those who can take the time to work through it you will reap ample rewards and will better understand our Hebrew spiritual roots, how that spirituality was lived out in the British Isles, why our British Spiritual Tradition is so important and why it has such potential to aid in the restoration of the “faith once delivered” (Jude 3) in the first century.
As you know, the Gospel came to the British Isles in the year 37 CE when Joseph of Arimathea and his eleven Jewish companions arrived there from Jerusalem. The Faith was in the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) for 560 years before Augustine and his Roman Mission arrived in Canterbury in the year 597 CE.
Augustine was surprised to find a thriving Christian community when he arrived, and was shocked that it was so different from his Roman State Church.
The Celtic Christians had received their faith directly from the Holy Land and by the hands of Jewish Christians. In their faith and practice they maintained the original Judaeo-Christianity of the Messianic Jesus’ Movement for centuries, with the last remnants serving until after the Norman Conquest in 1066. This book will tell you all about it and help you to understand our authentic British spiritual heritage and Jewish roots.
I would like to share with you some snippets from THE CELTIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN so you can get a taste of what you would learn from reading the book. Hardinge writes:
“By far the most influential book in the development of the Celtic Church was the Bible. It moulded its theology and guided the worship of the early Christians. It suggested rules of conduct and transformed the ancient laws of Irish and Welsh pagans [remember, the Angles and Saxons did not arrive in Britain until later] into Christian statutes. It lay at the foundation of the education of children and youth, and sparked the genius of poetry and song writers. It provided inspiration for the scribes of history and hagiography and affected the language of the common people, becoming the dynamic for the production of the most beautiful hand-written books ever made” (p. 29).
“But while the Celtic theologian was keenly interested in the whole of the Scriptures, his preoccupation with the Ten Commandments was even deeper. The earliest Christian service included a recitation of the Decalogue. It might well be that Pliny’s statement that Christians bound themselves by an oath not to kill or steal reflected his understanding of the meaning of the repetition of the Ten Commandments in the Christian Liturgy. If this be granted, then this will explain both the sudden decision of the Jewish authorities to omit the Decalogue from their daily service and the great prominence accorded to it in early Christian literature. The Christianity practiced by Patrick’s parents and introduced by him into Ireland was characterized by a profound respect for the Ten Commandments. Antinomianism and anti-semitism had not succeeded in banishing the Decalogue from Britain” (p. 48).
“Wherever Patrick established a church he was believed to have left a copy of ‘the Books of the Law and the Books of the Gospel.’ The Liber ex Lege Moisi [Book of the Law of Moses]…commences with the Decalogue and contains selections from the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy…”
“Brigit was also ‘a keeper of God’s commandments’, and Columba was likewise credited with teaching ‘’the books of the Law completely’…. The legislation of Moses pervaded social, economic, and legal relationships to an extent seldom seen in the history… Unlike the theologians of Roman Christianity who appealed more and more to the teachings of the Church and councils, Celtic teachers stressed the Bible. The role of the Scriptures in Celtic Christianity was indeed a vital one, so much so that no thorough study of the beliefs and practices of the Christians of Celtic lands is not possible without bearing this fact in mind” (pp. 50-51).
“Celtic theology is biblical theology with no patristic emphasis…. The reader in the sources of Celtic Christian theology finds only a simple devotional study of the Holy Scriptures, which taken in their most literal sense, form the basis of Celtic beliefs. There is no involvement in theological argumentation or in any attempt to reach definitions and theoretical terms. Aloof from the religious stresses of Mediterranean countries the teachers of the Celtic west went their own ways, seeking to understand the will of God for them as revealed in the Scriptures” (p. 71-72).
“Christ was a Jew and lived according to Hebrew ceremonial regulations. He died during the Hebrew Passover. The earliest Christian converts…also followed Hebrew customs. They early recognized that Christ had fulfilled the Paschal types by his death. His resurrection they believed, was typified by the wave sheaf of barley [on the Feast of Firstfruits]. These Christians looked upon the fourteenth of Nisan as the anniversary of the crucifixion and carefully kept it in remembrance of Christ’s death. With the spread of Christianity among the Gentile peoples and the rise of anti-Semitism the Paschal season lost much of its flavour….. Those Christians who continued to observe Easter at the same time as the Passover were stigmatized as ‘Quartodecimans’” (p. 92).
“Theodore [of Canterbury, the Roman Archbishop] inveighed against the heretic, who was obviously a Celtic Christian, who ‘flouts the Council of Nicea and keeps Easter with the Jews on the fourteenth of the moon, he shall be driven out of every church unless he does penance before his death’. These Christians he also called Quartodecimans [English: “Fourteeners” because they kept the Passover on the fourteenth of the first Biblical month as commanded in the Scriptures and after the example of Jesus]…. It was not merely a blind adherence to tradition which indeed induced the Celts to adhere to their views; they believed that their Easter calculations were more accurate and authoritative than those of Rome…. When they eventually relinquished their adherence to this point in favor of Rome, they surrendered their independence on all points and soon became fused with Rome” (pp., 95-96).
“Any belief or practice which was thought to be at variance with the Scriptures was rejected. Hence patristic or papal notions and judgements held little weight with Celtic theologians….The rules of the Old Testament which shaped the theocracy of Israel were followed by the Celts as a natural consequence of their view of Biblical authority. The role of the Liber ex Lege Moisi [Book of the Law of Moses] was paramount (p.202).
“While grace was held to be vital to salvation, man also had his part to play in obeying God’s commandments, so that the atonement provided by Christ might become effective in the Christian’s personal experience” (p. 202).
“Clergy were permitted to marry — in fact, during the early Celtic period, marriage prior to ordination was mandatory as it was in New Testament days, but unmarried members of the ministry were tolerated” (p. 204).
“Theologically Celtic Christians held ideas which were a natural outgrowth of their view of the Scriptures. Theirs might be called a biblical theology. It was essentially practical and is characterized by a complete absence of discussion and definition and speculation. The supreme authority was the Bible, as the revealed word of God. This revelation must be accepted and obeyed in all its parts” (p. 205).
There were no dioceses or diocesan bishops in the British Isles for centuries, and no top down organization whatsoever. This should surprise no one as the Gospel was brought to Britain directly from the Holy Land by Joseph of Arimathea (a Pharisee) and his Jewish companions without being influenced by the post-Constantine Roman/Byzantine State Church. The diocese has nothing to do with Christianity, but was instead a Roman civil governance district that was copied by the Roman/Byzantine Church after it was absorbed by the State under Constantine and his successors. Hardinge writes:
“There appears to have been no attempt to formulate any sort of doctrine of the Church. There was a concept of Christianity as forming God’s tribes on earth…. God’s clans were regulated according to Old Testament theocratic ordinances adapted to the tribal organization of the Celtic peoples generally…. The record notes that that representatives of various sections met, under the aegis of some venerable saint, to discuss points of controversy…. But in all these discussions democratic freedom seems to have prevailed. No church leader among the Celts was held to be a spokesman of all. Even Adamnan [a universally respected Celtic minister] could not persuade those who were directly under his jurisdiction to do what they considered was not according to Scripture” (p. 207).
The Appendix alone is worth the price of the book. The ancient Liber ex Lege Moisi [Book of the Law of Moses] survives in four ancient manuscript copies. The Appendix gives an English translation of its thirty-five sections. This is the Book that St. Patrick left, along with the Book of the Gospels, with every congregation he established in Ireland. This ancient book regulated the Way of Life of the ancient British Christians. What a treasure it is! What a guide for us today as we seek to live the faith once delivered (Jude 3) in the first century!
This is a great book from a top notch scholar. It is the best book on early British Christianity that I have ever read.
This book is a fascinating and authoritative account of the ancient British Christians, their beliefs and practices, and their remarkable theocracy based on the Decalogue and the laws of the Pentateuch or Torah. The book is illustrated with line drawings taken from the crosses which were a notable feature of Celtic church architecture, and with examples of documents of the period.
Unfortunately, when Augustine arrived from Rome in 597 CE the Roman mission began to encourage conformity to the beliefs and practice of the Roman State Church. That encouragement eventually became pressure and then persecution. But the remnants of the British Christians who kept the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus persisted until the 11th century when the Normans finally stamped out the last remnants with fire and sword.
The Judaeo-Christianity that we are teaching on the radio and from the pulpit is in our English spiritual DNA, and was lived out by British Christians for a millennium. Many Christians from various Christian traditions are finding their way back to the primitive Christianity of the first century (Jude 3). What we bring to the table are our ancient roots, a lived spiritual tradition, and ancient Judaeo-Christian worship in our liturgical practice of Morning and Evening Prayer in the historic Book of Common Prayer.
In our pulpit and radio ministry we are not trying to restore the beliefs and practices of the early Christians in the British Isles. We are simply trying to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and teach the Bible in its first century historical and cultural context. Yet, the reason that what you are hearing from the pulpit and the radio will sound so much like what you will read about in this book is that our spiritual forebears did the same thing. Our roots do indeed run very deep!
We have much to learn and some things to unlearn, and THE CELTIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN, by Leslie Hardinge will be a very helpful resource. I highly recommend it.
You can order THE CELTIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN, by Leslie Hardinge from Teach Services. Here is the link:
Or, at Amazon. Here is the link:
SATURDAY MORNING RADIO BROADCAST — Sunday In the New Testament
Be sure to tune in tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 9:30 AM CDT to The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast on KCRO Radio, 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln.
The topic of tomorrow’s broadcast is, Sunday in the New Testament. We are going to study each and every verse in the New Testament that references the first day of the week, Sunday, and one verse that many people think refers to the first day of the week, but does not. You will not want to miss this broadcast!
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED RADIO BROADCAST — Saturdays at 9:30 AM CDT Worldwide!
The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast can be heard on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 AM in Lincoln, Nebraska, or anywhere in the world via the Internet.
Each broadcast is an in-depth Bible study. We let the Scriptures speak for themselves rather than reading them through the lens of human tradition. A lot of important information is packed into every 30 minute broadcast. These broadcasts are solid spiritual food, not milk.
NOT IN EASTERN NEBRASKA OR WESTERN IOWA? NO PROBLEM! — Listen Via the Internet
You can listen to The faith Once Delivered radio broadcast over the Internet from anywhere in the United States and around world. Just go to the KCRO Radio website and click Listen Live:
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — PODCASTS
In addition to the radio broadcast every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, each episode of The Faith Once Delivered is archived and can be heard anytime as a Podcast. You can access the podcasts here:
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
New posts are made on the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page regularly. We hope that you will visit our Facebook page and check back with it often. Better yet, visit our Facebook page and become a Follower. That way you will not miss a single post.
You can access the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page here:
I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS — NO TURNING BACK, NO TURNING BACK
The two and a half minute video of Bill Gaither singing, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus will touch your heart, lift your spirit and strengthen your resolve. Enjoy, and be blessed!
Here is the link:
SUNDAY SERVICE — 9:00 AM
Everyone is invited to join us on Sunday morning at 9:00 AM for Morning Prayer (Shacharit/Matins). Visitors are always welcome.
Haven’t attended Services in a while? Come and join us on Sunday. You will be glad you did!
It is important that we all work together in following the CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe while at Services during the pandemic so please maintain at least six (6) feet of social distancing and wear a mask.
We have closed a number of pews so every pew open for use will be separated by a closed pew or an isle. The back pew is open and may be used. We will need to do our very best to maintain social distancing so worshippers will need to spread out. Each pew is approximately ten feet long, so it may be possible for people to sit on opposite ends while maintaining social distancing.
Services will be said rather than sung because we would need more social distancing for singing.
Please plan to arrive just in time for Services. This will aid in social distancing and limit personal interaction. You will also want to leave immediately at the conclusion of Services. There will be no fellowship and refreshments after Services at this time.
If you are not feeling well or may have been exposed to Covid-19 please stay home. No one should enter the building who has a fever, cough, is sneezing, has body aches, may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, or is just not feeling well. Thank you!
EVERYONE IS INVITED AND VISITORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!
Holy Cross is a unique congregation. We take Bible study seriously and are a congregation of intentional disciples. Where else can you find such constant, and in-depth teaching from the pulpit, over the airwaves, on social media, in print, and by email? Believe me, it is very rare. Holy Cross is a teaching congregation!
If you want to be fed with spiritual food rather than milk, and want to grow in grace, in your understanding of the Holy Scriptures, in your Faith in God, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Messiah — then Holy Cross is the congregation you have been looking for.
Please accept my personal invitation to worship with us this Sunday morning at 9:00 AM. You will be blessed by the worship as God inhabits the praise of His people and the proclamation of His Word. Our Services last around an hour.
Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, teach “the faith which was once delivered” (Jude 3) in the first century, and prepare a people for the Coming of the Lord. Come and join us.
We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you. I hope to see you on Sunday morning!