As a kid, I remember hearing mother talk about reading The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. They made the book into a movie narrated by Orson Welles. I watched the movie and felt terror at the idea that the world as we know it was going to end. The view presented by Lindsey was classic dispensationalism and historic pre-millennialism. Later Tim LaHaye continued this view writing his series Left Behind. Both works are fictional, but based upon theological viewpoints I would contend the culture at large assumes they represent the only Christian view of the end times.
Over the past two months, we have examined our beliefs and basic doctrines in preparation for approving an updated Statement of Faith. The last portion of doctrine to be included is our doctrine of Last Things, or end times. There are many doctrines we believe and hold dear which are clearly and easily defined or described in the Scriptures. What we believe about Jesus Christ from the virgin birth to His death and resurrection are unmistakably plain and evident to the reader. The doctrines of the Holy Spirit, God the Father, the Trinity, the Scriptures, the church, the ordinances, humanity, the atonement, salvation, and resurrection are plain and generally agreed upon among Bible-believing churches. The doctrine of Last Things offers the biggest challenge in understanding what truly is to come. Today we will examine our position, which includes the common truths accepted across a broad spectrum of Christian belief, and we will also look at the varying positions which have been predominant in the church.
My hope is our study of Last Things will not give you all the information you need to debate a position, but will stir the longing in your soul for Christ’s return. I hope that stirring will drive you to the Word and to prayer. I am not going to give you a specific timeline of events because no one truly knows. We will briefly mention various historically held views of end times, but this will certainly not be comprehensive.
Historically the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation view has been taught at Calvary. This view may in fact be completely accurate. However, as one digs deeply into the text of Scripture, a clear timeline of End Times events cannot be plainly established. We have reworded our doctrinal statement in a manner which does not exclude this particular view, but is also gracious to other views which have just as much Scriptural grounding and historical support. We have included only those ideas where the Scriptures leave no doubt.
Last Sunday we began our study with the Bible. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us. The big story of the Bible is Creation, the Fall, Redemption and Restoration. The entire story is written, superintended and sustained by a sovereign God.
As we continue This We Believe, we need to remember that just because we do not understand something does not make it untrue. The questions before us today are “Who is God?” and “How has He revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures?”
In an age where truth is continually assaulted, it is more important than ever for the church to know and embrace what she believes. Our doctrinal statement does not contain every detail of our beliefs, but it is intended to communicate the core truths which bind us together as the Body of Christ.
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in the original manuscripts, though written by human authors, were breathed out by God, and are therefore authoritative, inerrant, and sufficient, containing all things necessary to be known and believed for salvation, life, and godliness. 2 Peter 1:19–21 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Today we continue our Stewardship series talking about our testimony. A testimony is the story of our faith and life. When we talk about stewardship of our testimony, we are going to focus on three parts: the testimony of our salvation, the testimony of our sanctification, and the testimony of our reputation.
There are three questions we can ask, one with each of the three parts. We can ask, "How did I meet God?" regarding our testimony of salvation; "What is the Lord doing in my life today?" regarding our testimony of sanctification; and "What do people think of Christ when they look at my life?" regarding the testimony of our reputation.
Walk In The Hope Of Christ’s Return
Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Pastor Trent Broussard
We believe that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven is imminent. I hold firmly to this confessional statement. The church has been waiting some 2,000 years for Christ’s return. It easy to dismiss the return of Christ as an event which will not happen in my lifetime. It is easy to live like it may be another 2,000 years before Christ returns.
I remember as a kid reading about and seeing the Berlin Wall. I thought it would never come down. I remember President Reagan’s speech demanding Mr. Gorbachev tear down that wall. When it fell and revolution swept across eastern Europe, I was shocked. My paradigm of the world order changed dramatically. This paradigm shift has begun again as we watched on the news last week when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stepped over the border into South Korea calling for an end to over sixty years of hostilities. I thought it could never happen.
Fans of the Chicago Cubs waited 108 years between World Series titles. While there are certainly a lot of bandwagon believers, most Cubs’ fans didn’t think they would see a World Series title in their lifetime. In Boston, Red Sox fans endured the Curse of The Bambino for 86 years after they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Again, many fans believed they could never win until it happened in 2004. Those of you who are fans of the Detroit Lions likely live with this kind of mindset (and disappointment). You believe that winning the Super Bowl will never happen.
I believe that we often approach the return of Christ with this kind of mindset. Intellectually, we know and agree with the doctrine, but practically we don’t live like it is real and only remind ourselves of it when there is tragedy and the loss of life.
Calvary, we need a paradigm shift. Christ is returning; it could be today.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (ESV)
Paul’s intent is to comfort believers with this word.
Paul wanted the church to encourage one another because of these words. This passage is not written to give us a detailed timeline of events. This is written so that we can comfort one another. Every one of has experienced the loss of a loved one. We each know other believers who have suffered the loss of a loved one. The hope, the encouragement we have with which to comfort one another is the resurrection. Christ is returning and He will resurrect all believers who have already died, and those believers who haven’t died will be raptured together with the dead in Christ. Here is our hope, joy and comfort.
Where is our hope and comfort?
Jesus died and rose again. He is returning to claim His church. Whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we will all be caught up to meet Him in the air. We will be with Him for eternity.
Everything that is wrong with the world will be undone. The curse we have lived under since Genesis 3 will finally be undone.
One of my favorite carols we sing during the Christmas season is Joy To The World. Isaac Watts wrote a beautiful and theologically rich text and I believe he intended it as a text looking toward Christ’s Second Coming. Listen to these words and let your mind think not of the first Advent, but of the second and soon coming Advent.
Joy To The World
Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room
And heav'n and nature sing
Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
Let Christ’s imminent return be a source of hope and comfort for you today. Let us respond to this wonderful truth with a life of worship and obedience.
From Death to Life
Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018
Pastor Trent Broussard
When death comes, the story is over. Death is the end and everyone knows it. Story after story, tale after tale down through the ages tell us again and again of the finality of death. We see as early as Genesis 4, with the first human death as Cain murdered Abel, that death is the end. Abel wasn’t coming back. Eventually, the first man and first woman, Adam and Eve, died as did in their own time every one of the descendants of Adam and Eve. Death was undefeated. Death eventually came for every person, and it still does today.
The writers of stories and the tellers of tales have often woven another narrative into their stories. This narrative tells us that death is powerful and death is the end, but there is a power greater than death. C.S. Lewis calls it a deeper, older magic in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. J.K. Rowling calls it love in Harry Potter. You see this clearly in Disney’s Beauty And The Beast as Belle weeps over the Beast whom she has come to love. As her tears of grief fall on the Beast, he magically returns to life and all of the things that are wrong in the world become right. All of these stories have their origin in one story. All of these stories find their origin in the true story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mankind is longing to believe there could be a power stronger than the grave.
This morning we want to establish two facts:
1. Jesus was dead (John 19:33-34, Luke 23:44-46, Mark 15:33–39, Matthew 27:45–54)
2. Jesus is alive (John 20:1-31)
We know Jesus is alive because of the testimony of others. Mary saw Jesus risen from the dead (John 20:11-16, 18a). The disciples saw Jesus risen from the dead (John 20:19-21). Thomas saw and believed (John 20:24-29). The whole purpose of the book of John is so we may believe (John 20:30-31).
John didn’t write every account of every witness to Jesus’ resurrection. He didn’t detail every sign or miracle that the risen Jesus performed before his disciples. He told us enough that we could believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He told us enough that we might have life in Christ.
The simple gospel message is that God created everything that has ever been created, and as our creator he has an absolute right to demand our worship and obedience. The problem comes when we sin. It started with Adam in the Garden and every one of us is born with the sin nature of Adam. Sin separates us from our Holy God and places us in danger of judgment and eternal separation. But God in his great mercy, love and perfect justice sent Christ to die in our place, to pay for our sin, to bear the wrath that is owed to you and me. Christ died and then Christ defeated the grave. He rose and he lives. He reigns. Receiving forgiveness is as simple as having faith in Christ.
Romans 10:9–13 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved…For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
But faith in Christ is not easy; following Jesus is often a messy journey.
Christ was dead and now he is alive. No matter how far away from the Lord you find yourself today, Jesus stands ready to forgive you and offer you eternal fellowship with him. You do not have to put your life back together or fix all of your mistakes so that Jesus will accept you. He accepts you just as you are. He loves you enough to not allow you to stay that way. Whatever you have done, wherever you are today, Jesus offers you forgiveness if you only believe. Today, if you are dead in your sin, Christ offers life and hope.
Paul's Method of Ministry
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
March 18, 2018
Pastor Trent Broussard
Paul describes a lot about his ministry with the Thessalonians, but it comes back to the example that he set with the conduct of his life.
Paul compares himself to a mother when he speaks of how he loves the Thessalonians. But, when he speaks of how he instructs the Thessalonians, it is like a father. He challenges them, ultimately, to walk in a manner worthy of God .
On this idea of walking worthy, John Piper writes, “A clue is found in Col 1:10 which says, "Walk worthy of the Lord, to please him." But Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please him." So the call to walk "worthy of the Lord" is at least a call to walk by faith.
But faith looks away from itself to the worth and ability and grace and strength of another. So walking "worthy of the Lord" would mean acting in a way that shows how worthy and able and gracious and strong the Lord is.”
When we lead and minister to others, we should remember these four things:
One, we lead and minister to others with the expectation that not everyone will love and respect us.
Two, we lead and minister to others with love, care, and compassion.
Three, we lead and minister to others with a desire to be holy and blameless.
Four, we lead and minister to others with an eye toward eternity.
Here are four practical steps you can take after this sermon today:
One, find a place to serve and learn how to lead
Two, give grace to one another and whenever possible, overlook the offense committed against you
Three, pursue holiness and discipleship (join an Equipping U class, get in a Bible study, find a person mature in their faith in Christ and ask them to disciple you)
Four, don't lose heart; Christ will return
Living as the Church: Grace and Peace
1 Thessalonians 1:1
Pastor Trent Broussard
The Church at Thessalonica was established by Paul on his second missionary journey, which is chronicled in Acts 16-18:22. Paul’s pattern was to go into a new area and preach Christ in the synagogue to the local Jews. In this city, there were converts of both Jews and Greeks, and Luke particularly mentions a number of influential women. As is also the pattern, the Jews, especially the synagogue leaders, were jealous of Paul’s success and sought to have him stopped. Paul was sent out of town branded a trouble-maker, but the seed of the church had been planted.
The recipient is the church of the Thessalonians. In other letters, the church isn’t always addressed directly.
Paul’s address here is to the church in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike his letters to the Corinthians, Paul refers to the church at Thessalonica as being in God and not of God. He not only calls them the church in God, but in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is uncommon for Paul as he uses the phrases “in God” or “in Christ” very specifically i.e. rejoicing in God (Rom. 5:11) or hidden in God (Eph 3:9). “In Christ,” when used by Paul, generally has an incorporative force, pointing to believers’ participation in Christ’s life or their membership in His body. This is a weighty reference that some scholars believe is intended to communicate that the church is brought into being by God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. It bears witness to the exalted place of Christ and communicates that the Father and the Son are active in the work of salvation and sanctification.
Peace was the normal Jewish greeting, while rejoice was the normal Greek greeting. Paul uses grace and peace as a standard greeting and these words point to both the power and activity of the gospel. Grace and peace only come through Christ. It is the power of the gospel that reconciles wicked man to God. Earlier we sang:
Grace and peace, oh how can this be
For lawbreakers and thieves, for the worthless, the least
You have said that our judgment is death
For all eternity, without hope, without rest
Oh, what an amazing mystery, what an amazing mystery
That your grace has come to me.
What’s so amazing about grace is that we do not deserve it. We deserve death, hell, and eternal separation from Christ. Instead we have been given life, peace, and eternity with Christ. How did we get grace and peace? Christ suffered and died in our place. He was condemned for us. He took our sins and our sorrows, as the hymn-writer tells us, and made them his very own. He bore the burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone.
Christ suffered the penalty for our sin so we don’t have to pay it. It doesn’t matter how vile a sinner you are, it doesn’t matter how wicked you have been, it doesn’t matter how long you have walked in your sin, Jesus’ death on the cross in your place is sufficient to pay for your sin. This is grace; this is the gospel. And what is peace? Peace is a return to the relationship between God and man in the Garden before the fall. The Garden was a kind of temple where God walked with man in beautiful fellowship. True peace is having beautiful fellowship with God.
Over the next few months, we are going to study this letter to the Thessalonians and observe what real Christianity looks like in a church. The Thessalonians were a model church. They got it right. Paul’s letter is full of commendation and not condemnation. We will see what they got right and how Paul encourages them to deepen their walk with Christ and grow in their fellowship. As we walk through a season of transition and search for a new pastor, it is my prayer that we will grow deeply in our walk with Christ and our love for both Christ and one another.
During this season of transition, we need to be praying for our church, for our new lead pastor, and for our team who has been tasked with discerning the Lord’s will for Calvary. I want to invite you to join me and any of our staff who are available, to gather every Thursday from 12:15-12:45 p.m. to pray. It will not be a long prayer meeting, but I believe the Lord would have us sacrifice time to pray and seek His will. If you cannot join us here, pray where you are.
Have you experienced the grace and peace of God? Have you heard His calling on your life? If the Lord is drawing you to Him, do not wait to respond. Come to Him in your brokenness, with your flaws and every imperfection, and allow Him to transform your life. If He is calling you, put your trust in Him today.
God Takes Sin Seriously, So Should We
Passage: Joshua 7
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Pastor Trent Broussard
Last week, we watched as Joshua led Israel to a most improbable victory. The walls of Jericho were built to withstand any army and would have most assuredly survived an assault from Israel had not the Lord been on their side. The story is well known. Israel did exactly as the Lord instructed and the walls came down. The instruction once the walls came down was simple: save Rahab and those in her household and save all the gold, silver, bronze and iron for the treasury of the Lord. Everything else was to be utterly destroyed. No prisoners were to be given quarter and no bounty was to be taken by any soldier. By and large, this happened exactly as the Lord commanded. Almost everyone obeyed the Lord.
Achan’s Sin Affects Others
Joshua 7:1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.
It is interesting that the Lord holds all of the people of Israel accountable for the sin of one man. Remember the command from Joshua 6:18: But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. One man stole the things devoted for destruction, not the nation. But God holds all Israel responsible. Romans 5:12 says Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. Just like in the Garden of Eden, when the sin of one man brought a curse upon all men, one man’s sin in Jericho brought the anger of the Lord upon the people of Israel. Achan’s sin brought the anger of the Lord upon all of Israel. Sin not only affects the sinner but everyone around them. Sin destroys community.
Sin Destroys Hope
Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
Joshua doesn’t know about Achan’s sin. Joshua doesn’t know the Lord is angry; he is simply making a strategic decision based on good intelligence from his men. Israel should have easily defeated Ai, just as Jericho should have easily defeated Israel. But instead, 36 men are killed as the 3,000 Israelites turn and run from the army of Ai. And look what the Scripture says in Joshua 7:5: And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. Just a couple of chapters earlier it was the Canaanites whose hearts were melting as Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground: Joshua 5:1 …Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted…
The sin of one man destroyed the spirit of an entire people. The people who crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, the people who marched around Jericho, played trumpets, gave a shout and watched the walls fall down, were now without hope and fearful. Jim Hamilton writes: This episode demonstrates that Yahweh’s righteousness is not limited by his commitment to Israel. His commitment to them does not cause him to show an unjust favoritism toward his chosen people. When they sin he punishes them, showing the glory of his justice. Sin destroyed hope for Israel. Even though they were God’s chosen people, the effects of sin brought them to despair.
Sin Causes Grief
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.  And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan!  O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!  For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
Remember that only Achan sinned, but the whole nation is suffering and grieving. A defeated Israel mourns the loss of 36 men. They grieve, and Joshua understands that the Lord has done this. Joshua’s appeal is not based on Israel’s goodness or deserved standing. Israel has no goodness. They do not deserve any standing with the Lord. Joshua appeals to the reputation of the Lord; he appeals to God’s name and his character.
Without Faith, Man Cannot Please God
The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the LORD, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the LORD takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the LORD takes shall come near by households. And the household that the LORD takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”
God does not allow Joshua to continue his mourning and questioning of God. Instead God gets right to the point: Israel has sinned. Note God does not say Achan has sinned, but Israel has sinned. For the sin of one man, the entire community was held accountable.
What was Achan’s sin? Yes, Achan took what God had forbidden, but the heart of Achan’s sin was unbelief. He did not believe that God would hold him accountable. He did not believe that God would even know that he had taken the items. He did not believe. This was the root of his sin. Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Achan did not have faith, he did not believe, so the Scripture says it was impossible for Achan to please God.
God Is Not Mocked
So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. God did see Achan sin. God did know what Achan had done. God does what he says he will do.
God created perfection in the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned, and death was the penalty. Adam and Eve deserved immediate death, but God was merciful and promised redemption through their seed. God destroyed all the population of the earth save Noah and his family due to the wickedness of the people. When Noah left the ark, it was like a new opportunity in Eden, yet Noah sinned and man's downward spiral continued. Here in Canaan, God has brought his people victory and given them the land. This is a new opportunity, a fresh start for the people of God. The faithless generation was gone, yet the pattern of sin continues, this time through Achan. The truth is, man has failed at every opportunity he has been given to follow God, and the truth is that all are deserving of destruction.
Notice the progression of sin in 7:21: I saw…I coveted…I took…I hid. We see the same progression with David and his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11: He saw her that she was beautiful, he inquired about her (coveted), he took, and then he murdered her husband to conceal his sin. In case you may be thinking this is an Old Testament issue and does not matter today, consider James 1:14–15: But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Sin Is Costly And Cannot Be Ignored
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the LORD. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.
Jim Hamilton writes:
We must not too easily pass over this. A man received the death penalty, and his family died with him, because he plundered a cloak from Shinar along with some silver and gold (Josh. 7:21). It is only the majesty of Yahweh that makes this just. For this to be just, the greatness of Yahweh must be such that trusting in what one can see, rather than what Yahweh has said, is a crime that warrants the forfeiture of life. The ancient Israelites were not a barbaric, bloodthirsty people, but Yahweh is a God whose holiness is a consuming fire. Achan himself gives “glory to God” and “praise to him” and confesses his sin against Yahweh (7:19–20). Israel is saved from Yahweh’s wrath through the judgment that falls on Achan. Yahweh is shown to be just and merciful, and the awful demands of holiness thunder transcendent greatness.
Consider the story of Uzzah the priest who was helping transport the Ark of the Covenant in an ox cart for David. The ark slipped and was falling. Uzzah reflexively put his hand onto the Ark to steady it and was immediately struck dead by the Lord for his disobedience. God had strict rules for the holy things of the Tabernacle. Not only was Uzzah forbidden to touch the Ark, he was forbidden to even look at it. RC Sproul writes:
He touched it anyway. He stretched out his hand and placed it on the ark, steadying it in place lest it fall to the ground. An act of holy heroism? No! It was an act of arrogance, a sin of presumption. Uzzah assumed that his hand was less polluted than the earth. But it wasn’t the ground or the mud that woiuld desecrate the ark; it was the touch of man. The earth is an obedient creature. It does what God tells it to do. It brings forth its yield in its season. It obeys the laws of nature that God established. When the temperature falls to a certain point, the ground freezes. When water is added to the dust, it becomes mud, just as God designed it. The ground doesn’t commit treason. There is nothing polluted about the ground.
God gave specific rules about the ark, and as a priest, Uzzah knew the rules but ignored them anyway, arrogantly assuming the ground was more defiling than he would be. God gave specific rules for the destruction of Jericho. Achan knew the rules, but ignored them, believing that either God was not serious, or that he could actually hide his sin from God. Either way, his sin ultimately was a sin of disbelief. He did not believe that God would do what God said he would do. This is not simply the way God worked in the Old Testament. Consider Acts 5:1–11, the story of Ananias and Sapphira:
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Sin is big deal. It was big deal for Achan and the nation of Israel and it is a big deal for you and me.
Truths for the passage:
1. Sin always destroys communion
- Between God and man
- Between peopl
2. God sees it all
- There is no secret sin.
- God is aware of everything that you have ever done.
3. Death is necessary to pay for sin
- Achan’s life and the lives of his immediate family members was the required payment for sin.
- Christ has died for our sins.
1. Since God is serious about sin, we should be too.
Just because we are forgiven in Christ does not mean we now have a license for sin. Romans 6:1-4
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
If we are walking in sin, we are not walking in newness of life. Why do you think Paul wrote this to the church at Corinth? 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! Sin is serious. We cannot take it lightly or simply make excuses. God expects us to change. He has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. We need to take inventory of our lives and confess our sin and repent. Christ died for our sin. It is that serious. If it wasn’t serious, Christ didn’t need to die.
2. Forgiveness restores relationships.
We will see in the passage next week that after Israel dealt with the sin of Achan, God’s blessing returned. We confess our sin and repent, and our relationship with God is restored. Likewise, when we confess our sins to one another and repent, our relationships with one another can be restored. This is why we are given this command in Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is from the English Standard Version (Crossway, 2008).
Hamilton Jr., James M. God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. (Crossway, 2010).
Sproul, RC. The Holiness of God. (Tyndale, 1985).
Taste and See That the Lord is Good
1 Samuel 21:10-22:1; Psalm 34
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Pastor Trent Broussard
David was on the run from Saul. He feared for his life as Saul intended to kill him. As he is hiding, David goes into the camp of Achish and is identified by the servants of Achish. Rather than be taken prisoner, held hostage, or worse, David feigns insanity and secures his escape. Psalm 34 is what flowed from David after these events.
What can we learn from David in Psalm 34? Here are five applications that we should consider as we begin a new-normal phase known as transition:
1. Pray - The Lord hears our prayers and answers them. Praying for our staff, for our leadership, for our search team and for our brothers and sisters in the congregation is not an optional, good idea. It is a necessity. We must cast our cares upon the Lord. We must ask for His grace and His provision.
2. Look to Jesus - Our mission is to passionately pursue Christ. We should passionately pursue Christ in His word, in prayer and in worship. Don’t be half-hearted or reserved. Go all in for Christ. We are not to sample Him and see if He works. We must taste and see that the Lord is good.
3. Share your faith - The second part of our mission is passionately pursuing others for Christ. We need to actively share what Christ has done for us. We don’t need to wait for a new lead pastor before we tell others how we have been redeemed.
4. Live for Christ - Pursuing personal holiness and righteousness is not an optional add-on to your faith. It is the expectation of your life of faith. We cannot pick and choose when and where to be righteous. We must be righteous today, knowing that eternity is in the balance.
5. Serve - Do you want to know how to encourage your church leaders? When the phone call, text or email comes asking you to serve, say YES. We are making changes in our Sunday morning routines that will cause us to need some new volunteers or cause our volunteers to serve in a different way. To quote the famous NIKE ad, JUST DO IT. We will have needs in our Children’s Ministry. Say yes. You may be asked to usher or teach or sing or pray or give. Say yes.
I do not know what the future holds for Calvary, but I know who holds the future, and we can trust Him.
Persevering Through Exile
Passage: Daniel 9
Calvary Baptist Church of Holland
The Church @ Hamilton
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Pastor Trent Broussard
Human trafficking, kidnapping, and forced slavery are items that frequently fill the news. We know the seriousness of human trafficking, and not only is it an issue for law enforcement, we even have missionaries and agencies that are devoted to rescuing people across the globe who have been trapped. But this isn’t just a problem in Laos or Thailand, or some other faraway place.
A recent FBI operation working with local law enforcement agencies across the country has rescued 82 exploited juveniles and arrested 239 people involved in the trafficking ring. One of the juveniles and 8 of the traffickers were right here in West Michigan.
Slavery has been illegal in the United States since 1863. In fact, there is now no country where slavery is considered legal yet researchers estimate that there are 21 million people enslaved worldwide—78% work in forced labor situations and 22% are trapped into forced prostitution. Modern slaves are cheap and disposable.
In 1850 in the American south, the average cost of a slave was $40,000 in today’s dollars. Today the average cost of a slave is $90.
The news often carries the story of a child who has disappeared or was kidnapped. This past January, an 18-year-old girl living in Walterboro, South Carolina was positively identified as a child who was kidnapped from a Jacksonville, Florida hospital just hours after she was born in 1998. These are dark and ugly events that plague the world today.
What do these stories have to do with Daniel? When we read about Daniel’s faithfulness and God’s protection of and favor upon him, we also need to remember that Daniel was a slave. He was taken as a prisoner of war, along with many other young Hebrew boys, to serve in whatever task his Babylonian captors would desire.
It is easy to read stories like Daniel’s or even Joseph’s from the book of Genesis and forget that these men were cruelly enslaved and had no hope of escape. We need to read Daniel’s story with an understanding of the culture of slavery in which he lived.
We have seen Daniel remain faithful to his God through his dietary restrictions, continuing to pray and worship God even in the face of death, precisely reveal and accurately interpret dreams for his Babylonian captors, grow to be an old man, and rise to a position of leadership even in his captivity. He has been a counselor to kings even in the midst of a complete change of sovereignty from Babylonian to Medo-Persian.
When Belshazzar was killed and his government completely overthrown, Daniel stayed on as an advisor to Darius or, as some historians believe, Cyrus with Darius being a title rather than a specific name. Daniel was an influential leader even though he was enslaved; Daniel remained faithful to the Lord and God’s favor was upon him.
Daniel Studied the Scriptures and Knew the Times
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. (Daniel 9:1-2)
By this time, Daniel was close to 90 years old. He had been a slave for almost 70 years, and at his age you would think that he would have given up all hope of ever seeing Jerusalem and the Temple restored. But Daniel had been reading Jeremiah.
8 “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9 behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.” Jeremiah 25:8-14
It is very possible that as a young man in Jerusalem, Daniel knew Jeremiah. At the very least, he certainly knew of Jeremiah. He had probably read that passage many times in his life but never imagined that he would survive 70 years as a slave to see the end of the appointed time for God’s judgment. He also must have read Jeremiah 29.
10 For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:10-13
Jeremiah 29:11 was not a “good vibe” verse for Daniel to write on a wall or put on a graduation card. It was a promise of the end of Babylonian exile. It was the promise that even though Judah had been made to endure severe punishment for their sin, God was still not done with them.
Ultimately, it was a promise that points us to Christ as we see the entire Old Testament narrative as being the story of God redeeming man from the fall with Christ. By preserving Judah, God was preserving the promised line of the Messiah, the seed of the woman that would eventually crush the head of Satan.
Daniel read the scriptures and he knew that 70 years now passed in captivity. What Daniel does next clearly indicates that he not only knew the scriptures, but he believed them.
When Daniel recognizes that God’s appointed time for Judah’s captivity had passed, he goes to prayer.
3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.
12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. 14 Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” Daniel 9:3-19
Daniel Prays Selflessly
Daniel is not praying for himself here. In fact, Daniel barely asks for anything from God. In the first 2/3 of this prayer, Daniel is defending God’s character. He defends God’s action and judgment against Judah. He confesses their corporate sin and does not offer any excuse or attempt to blame someone else. Daniel’s prayer looks like it could come right out of 2 Corinthians 7:10-11
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
Daniel does not defend himself or his people; he defends his God. He confesses the sin of his nation and validates Leviticus 26:14-45 and Deuteronomy 28:15-58 where the Lord specifically pronounces judgment for future disobedience. He makes no demands upon God, nor does he claim any rights against God.
When Daniel finally asks something of God, it is not for himself. Daniel asks God to turn his anger away from Jerusalem and to shine his face upon the Temple. Daniel has been longing to see his homeland restored. He has been longing for the people called out by God to be able once again to worship God in his tabernacle. He does not ask for freedom. He does not pray for harm to his enemies or to the enemies of God. He is concerned about the glory of God and worship in his prayer.
He closes his prayer offering God a good reason to answer this prayer: for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name (Dan 9:19). It is about God and God’s glory. It is about God and God’s reputation. It is about God and God’s promise, specifically in Jeremiah. Daniel calls upon God to be true to his own nature and character by fulfilling his promise and answering the prayer of Daniel.
God Answers Prayer
20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. Daniel 9:20-24
The truth and application of this passage is very simple: God answers prayer.
God did not wait for Daniel to finish and then consider his supplication. God answered immediately. Scripture gives example after example of God answering prayer.
The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29). The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16b).
God hears prayer and he answers immediately. He may not send the answer we want or desire. We may not understand the plan of God. We may not see the full picture clearly. But we can know with certainty that God answers when his people pray.
Look at the answer to Daniel’s prayer. Gabriel, in verse 22, says he has come with insight and understanding. Daniel didn’t ask for insight and understanding, yet the Lord is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). We also learn that Daniel is greatly loved by the Lord.
You might be thinking that this man, Daniel, lived his entire adult life in slavery—how could God love him? If God loved him, why wouldn’t he deliver Daniel from slavery? God used Daniel for his glory, and that is not a selfish act. The most loving act God can do is to reveal himself and his glory to his creation.
God chose Daniel, and even though the circumstances of Daniel’s life were not as Daniel would have chosen, God still blessed him and protected him. Scripture does not tell us if Daniel ever prayed for his own freedom or release during those 70 years. But scripture does tell us that Daniel was faithful to his God regardless of the circumstance or the potential consequences for that obedience.
Spiritual Disciplines Were A Habit For Daniel
There is one little phrase that would be easy to miss from this passage, but I think it is important that we not overlook it.
Daniel wrote, While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice (Daniel 9:22). This was at the time of evening prayer, when the second sacrifice had been traditionally made. Daniel, when he was living in Jerusalem as a boy before the captivity, would have remembered. He may have remembered seeing the smoke rising from the Temple ground because a lamb had been slain.
The lamb was slain for sin and offered up to God. Sins were confessed. The one who brought the lamb would lay his hands upon the lamb, signifying identification, and confess his sin with his hands on the lamb. Then the lamb would be offered as a sacrifice. Daniel would have remembered that. For 70 years, there had been no Temple and no Temple sacrifice, but Daniel still prayed toward Jerusalem every day at that time. Daniel was still faithful to observe the evening sacrifice even though there had not been one in 70 years.
This is faithful consistency in prayer.
Time will not allow us to dig into the prophecy contained in verses 24 through 27. I would encourage you to study it in depth as God is revealing the coming Messiah. Sir Isaac Newton was known to have said, "We could stake the truth of Christianity on this prophecy alone, made five centuries before Christ." That is a powerful quote coming from one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known.
Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. Daniel 9:24-17
1. Study the Bible
Are you reading the Bible? Do you have a plan for regular reading of God’s word? If not, start today. I started many “read through the Bible” plans and failed to finish numerous times before I finally made it through. I remember getting bogged down in books like Jeremiah, the very book that brought hope to Daniel. It is God’s word and you and I need to be in it.
2. Pray and Pray Selflessly
Daniel prayed and spent most of his time in prayer recounting who God is and what he has done. First let me ask, do you pray? If so, how much? Whatever your answer, I would tell you it is not enough. I have never met anyone who could honestly say that they spent too much time in prayer.
The God who spoke all things into being and sustains everything that is, desires a relationship with you. He has revealed himself to you through his word. He has given his son to pay the penalty for your sin. You have time to talk to him.
And when you do pray, do you spend all your time asking God to do things for you as if he were your personal genie? Imagine what kind of relationship I would have with my wife if all or even most of my communication to her was asking her to do something for me. That would not work out well.
Spend time praying the scriptures back to the Lord. Spend time recalling all the blessings of the Lord in your life. Pray for God’s glory and for his renown. Pray for his will to be done.
Dare to be a Daniel.
MLive, “8 Pimps Busted in West Michigan In Nationwide Sex-trafficking Crackdown, FBI Says,” October 20, 2016.
Free The Slaves, “Slavery Is Everywhere,” http://www.freetheslaves.net/about-slavery/slavery-today/, accessed June 21, 2017.
USA Today, “Newborn Kidnapped From Hospital In 1998 Found Alive,” January 14, 2017.
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Study Bible, Nashville: Word, 1997, 1242.
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is from the English Standard Version (ESV).
MacArthur, John, “Israel’s Future: Part 1,” September 21, 1980.