...to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power...

Revelation 5:11-13

Truth = Death … of Lies, Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

It’s no mistake that the Bible uses the image of a sword to represent God’s truth. When God speaks, it is true and it is a sword.

Truth is like a sword because it is dangerous. The truth is dangerous because everything outside truth, by definition, needs to be destroyed.  When you are learning an instrument, for example, you might have certain unhelpful habits. Those habits inhibit your learning and musical progress. What must be done? The habits must meet the business end of a sword, or the instrument will never be learned.

What is true for the musical beginner is true for us. If there is something untrue in our lives, we have to let it die. Otherwise, we make a partner of deceit and invite destruction. A dramatic example might be the person who has been dealing with an addiction. The addict is caught in a cycle of lies and deception. The lies come from them. They tell themselves that everything is fine…they are not an addict and they have everything under control. Parts of them are going to have to die if they are going to find life. You don’t have to be an addict to understand that accepting truth is accepting the pain of change.

Jesus says in Matthew 10, “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” Jesus makes this statement in the context of the fear we have of other people. This is intended to be an encouragement to those who might be afraid of what others will do if they proclaim they are followers of Jesus. This is an encouragement to us to seek truth in our own lives, because truth is the sum total of the work of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 19, we have this image of Jesus Christ with a sword coming out of his mouth. It’s an incredible picture. Through the words of Jesus, everything that is untrue will be destroyed. All that remains is the word of God. Jesus is true, everything apart from him is not. So we orient our lives around the truth of the word of Jesus Christ.

Are there lies in your life? What can be done?

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Your Lord – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

In Genesis 14, Abram (who will become Abraham) rescues his son Lot from a group of marauding kings.  Mustering a relatively small force, Abraham pursues the kidnappers and attacks them.   Not only did Abram defeat the larger force of multiple armies, he “routed” them.  As you might imagine, Abram and certainly Lot, could see the hand of God at work.

Then something very interesting happens, Abram is approached by 2 kings: the king of Salem and the king of Sodom.  The king of Salem is named Melchizedek, and we are not given the name of the king of Sodom.  Melchizedek is a priestly king and he proclaims a blessing over Abram.  In verse 20, Abram then gives Melchizedek a tenth of everything he owns.  And yet he does not have any dealings with the king of Sodom.

Why does Abram give so much to one king and nothing to the other?  Abram sees that Melchizedek is a representative of his God—the God who gave him victory and rescued Lot.  The king of Sodom is simply an earthly king.  While it might make sense for Abram to give to both kings, he only gives to one.  The reason?  Abram is giving to God, by giving to Melchizedek.  In other words, God protected Abram and Lot, and Abram thanked  God; therefore, Abram gave to an earthly lord so that he could give to his heavenly Lord.

Who is your lord?  For Abram, it is God.  What we learn from this ancient text is that we are all servants: we all have a lord.  The question is who?  When we give our finances to our local church we are saying a couple of things.  We are saying no to many things that might be our lord.  Abram said no to the king of Sodom.  We say no to things like greed, envy and security in money.  We also say yes to God.  Abram used his wealth to show that God is his Lord and nothing/no one else.  And that’s what we say when we give.

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