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Promotion
  • Dec3

    “How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth–A woman shall encompass a man.”

    - Jeremiah 31:22 NKJV

    Long ago, the Preacher, in great wisdom concluded: ” … there is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9b NIV.  This is also the opinion of the modern intellectual establishment who will be saying in the last day: “…All things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” – 2 Peter 3:4b

    In Jeremiah 31 God reminds us, however, that He has indeed created one new thing on the earth. Since only God can “create” (wherever this verb occurs in the Bible, God is the subject), a really new thing (not just a new combination of existing things) would have to be produced directly by the LORD Himself. Of course, God had completed His original work of creating all things long ago (Genesis 2:1-3), including the marvelous mechanism of human reproduction. Nevertheless, because of man’s sin He very soon had to begin a work of reconciliation, and this included an ancient promise that the Seed of the woman would come one day to accomplish this great work (Genesis 3:15). Since all normal reproduction requires the male seed, such a miracle would mean God would have to create a new thing when the appropriate time would come. At that time, as Isaiah prophesied many years later, “the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,” and that Son would be “almighty God,” who would establish His kingdom “with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 9:7).

    In our passage above, Jeremiah reminds God’s forgetful people of this same great promise. God would create, by His mighty power, a new thing; a perfect human body without inherited sin or physical blemish, and with no contribution from either male nor female in the womb of a specially called virgin.  Notice how Doctor Luke calls Jesus “that holy thing” in Luke 1:35 (KJV). It is striking that the embryonic Jesus in Mary’s womb is called “that holy thing”; not the babe or the the child or anything else. There is no human word to fit. Actually the word “thing’ is not in the original—just “the holy” or perhaps “the holy One.”

    Are you amazed at the word of God like I am?

    Mary was the first to hear the words, “Son of God” as applied to the Holy One who entered her womb!

    Now that is a reason to “fall down and worship Him” this Christmas! (Matthew 2:11)

    In Christ,

    Dale

    dale@daleebel.org

     

     

     

     

     

  • Dec1

    The Promised Seed of the Woman

    “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” – Matthew 1:1 KJV

    In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul writes, “All Scripture is God breathed” Awhile back a young man in one of my groups commented about this verse.  He was struck by the word, “All.” This means that even the genealogies and the seemingly endless laws of Leviticus are God’s inspired revelation useful for “teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” NIV. For most Christians, genealogies feel irrelevant, don’t they? One of God’s glorious purposes in giving us these historical lists, however, is to root our faith in the accuracy of the Biblical text and the unshakable promises of God!

    As we will see, the verification of these genealogies can actually serve as practical inspiration for our lives as we find ourselves in this Christmas season. By the way, do you know what the word “holiday” means? It actually means “holy-day”! While the general public attempts to minimize the sacredness of Christmas by inserting the use of “holiday,” this replacement actually proves to be very spiritually accurate! I love talking with people I encounter throughout the day and clarifying that Christmas truly is a holiday (a Holy-Day)!

    Back to Matthew 1:1. These opening words of the New Testament, identify this “book of the generation (literally genesis) of Jesus Christ” as telling of the wonderful fulfillment of the promise to both Abraham and David of a very special son.

    To Abraham, God promised:

    16 Because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”” – Genesis 22:16&18 NKJV.  This prophecy was directed immediately through Abraham’s son Isaac, but focused finally on Jesus Christ, Abraham’s greater Son.

    16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ”

    – Galatians 3:16

    In a similar way, a unique promise was made to David concerning his own special Son:

    12 “I will set up your seed after you, 14 I will be His Father, and He shall be My Son 16 And your house and kingdom I will establish forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” – 2 Samuel 7:12,14, 16. Once again, this promise applied recursively (that is, to someone or something that goes before) to Solomon, but ultimately to the greater Son of David, Jesus Christ:

     “3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”  – Romans 1:3-4

    He was greater than Abraham, greater than David. He was the fulfillment of the very first prophecy of the coming “seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15).  He is the virgin’s Son (Isaiah 7:14), the Son given (Isaiah 9:6), “the last Adamthe Lord of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:45-47)!

    “The book of the generation of Adam” (Genesis 5:1) introduces the Old Testament, with its record of human failure laced with God’s promises. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ” (Matthew 1:1) introduces the New Testament and the fulfillment of the promises, culminating in eternal redemption through the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, who is the very Son of God!

    As you approach Christmas, a most “Holy Day,” let’s use the historical roots of our faith as a springboard, not only to celebrate with our family and friends, but to tactfully proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ. Perhaps our voice could be heard with the shepherds:

    17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” – Luke 2:17-18 NKJV

    Merry Christmas!

    Dale

    dale@daleebel.org

     

     

     

     

  • Sep1

    Dear Friends,

    As the Founders of this great country believed in dual citizenship (here on earth we are citizens of America but most importantly we are citizens in Heaven – Hebrews 11:16), so I also believe that God has placed us here in America for such a time as this.

    Did you know there is no biblical model whereby God explicitly demands His ministers to be silent or to separate themselves from civil leaders or issues?

    In fact, I would argue that God expected His people to be active in the political affairs of a given country. Below are just a few individuals in Scripture who participated in the political process.

    every_vote_counts

    Godly people speaking against bad policies:

    • Elijah confronted King Ahab and Queen Jezebel over issues, such as their unjust use of eminent domain and religious persecution (1 Kings 18:18; 21:1-24).

    Godly people partnered with civil leaders to provide sound guidance in constructing good policies:

    • Paul provided civil leaders with guidance during times of impending disaster and natural calamity (Acts 27:9-44).

    As Charles Finney, a famous minister in the Second Great Awakening, warned,
    “The Church must take ground in regard to politics…The time has come that Christians must vote… God cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God.” (Lectures on Revivals of Religion, New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1835)

    Because I believe God’s truth is applicable in every avenue of life, why would we not follow the example of the many other godly men and women throughout Scripture as it pertains to taking civic action?

    About six months ago, I heard a great thing about the difference between a Conservative and a Nationalist. What’s the difference? A Nationalist wakes up in the morning and asks, “What can I do today that is best for America?” A Conservative wakes up in the morning and asks, “What is the most important issue I will fight for today that supports our Constitution?”

    As a Christ follower we ought to vote for the person closest to Biblical truth. We ought to desire to defend and stand for what is morally and biblically true for both the public and private spheres.

    I am a Christ follower first and have also been a Conservative Nationalist for most of my adult life. I have always attempted to vote first for the most biblically based candidate, and secondly for one who considers what is best for this country. Granted, this is not easy and in some cases there is not a large selection, or even enough information to make an intelligent decision. Regardless, I do my best to find out where the candidates stand on various issues. We must remember that we are not voting to see who will be the next lead pastor of our local church. It would be great if we had outstanding Christians running for office who not only had strong biblical character, but also demonstrated the skill to lead effectively (Exodus 18:21).

    Sadly, Conservatives are traditionally one-issue voters. Take abortion for example. If a particular candidate did not share my exact views about abortion, it would not mean that I would never vote for him or her. I have always sought to vote for the best person whom I feel most closely aligns with biblical instruction. I personally hate abortion and fought against it during all of my 30+ years serving as Senior Pastor of our church. I encouraged people in our church to sign petitions during our Sunday services and to register to vote. One week 200 people registered. Unfortunately, across all of Oregon only a handful of pastors took this type of action. I also made sure we passed out the Christian Voters’ Guide to help our people be informed about the candidates and issues. Christians at times feel their vote doesn’t count, but if all Christians would vote we could change the direction of our country.

    Whatever we do as Americans and as Christians, we must vote! Some of my Christian friends do not agree and simply choose not to vote. As a result, progressives have won and the laws and legislation in the State of Oregon are currently demonstrating a very non-biblical persuasion. This is deeply grievous to me and I believe that, in large measure, we are getting what we deserve. Thousands upon thousands of conservative Christians in our state and nation have chosen not to vote in previous elections. Because of this refusal, well-qualified candidates have lost elections and judges have been elected that have done greater damage to our state and nation. In my opinion, to decide not to vote is a direct disregard for the great freedoms we possess both as Christians and Americans. People around the world are envious of our freedom.

    PLEASE VOTE AND DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR GREAT POWER TO RENDER YOUR OPINION!

    In Christ,

    Dale

    dale@daleebel.org

  • Nov2

    Are all sins equal? No. The biblical word sin, literally means “to fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In this sense all sin is sin, but when sins are carried out they are not equal in their degrees of severity. This is evident in the fact that the consequences of different sins differ quite greatly. If all sins were “equal” then the consequences for all sin would be the same, would they not?

    I always find it intriguing that Jesus reveals there will be greater punishment for Chorzin and Bethsaida than for Sodom and Gomorrah (see Matthew 10:15). Jesus spoke of different levels of punishment for those cities that saw His miracles yet still did not repent.

     

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    “Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the Day of Judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.’” – Matthew 11:20-24 ESV

    It is one thing to hate a person, but it is far worse to hate a person and then murder that individual.

    It is one thing to lust after a man or women, but it is far more serious to actually carry out the immoral act with that person.

    The internal motive might be the same as Jesus indicated (Matthew 5:22, 28), but by acting on it there are horrible consequences which can prove to be far more destructive. These consequences, which always affect our relationships with others and with the Lord, vary in degree depending on what sin is committed.

    I can covet something and not steal it. However, when I covet and follow through and steal something it is significantly worse than the internal sin of coveting. At a very minimum if I steal, I must pay back what I stole plus a fifth more (Exodus 22:1). If I covet something and do not steal I still need to confess my sin of covetousness to the Lord, but I don’t have to give anything back to that person.

    The severity of some sins is clearly different than others. For example the sin of theft is far less of a sin than murder.

    So to say that “sin is sin” and that all sins are equal is an incomplete evaluation of sin. In the book of Leviticus we see certain sins carry the punishment of death while others are judged far less severely.

    Have you, like me, wondered why some deserve death by the Mosaic Judicial Law and others are less punitive? The simple answer is: According to Yahweh God greater sins deserve greater punishment and lesser sins receive lesser punishment.

    Don’t we often hear, “Look, I know I sin and I’m not perfect so I’m not going to judge anyone else.” This is an understandable statement but we do not have to be without sin to make an honest evaluation of sin. If we are waiting to be perfect we will never judge anything or discern according to righteousness. If I am honest about my own sin, confess it and am repentant with sincere surrender, I can render a righteous judgment. I think the Apostle Paul gives us some clarity about this in Galatians.

    “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” – Galatians 6:1 NIV

    The next time you hear someone say: “All sins are the same”, try to enter into the dialogue with some instructive biblical clarity. I know you’ll find the experience rewarding!

    In Christ,

    Dale

    Dale@DaleEbel.Org

  • Oct15

    Over and over again I hear Christians and non-Christians alike make inaccurate and incomplete statements about judging. The misunderstanding  is usually framed as a question:  “Who has the right to judge?” Or statements like, “I’m far from perfect so who am I to judge.” Another popular one is, “I’m not here to judge anyone.”

    Some will say that we have no right to judge. This is incorrect. You and I are judging people, situations, decisions and directions every day of our lives. At least I hope so! However, we are not to judge to condemn another person. Only God can and will condemn people to hell.

    “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28 KJV

    The word judge means to render a discerning opinion by separating right from wrong regarding a particular person, behavior, ideology, doctrinal teaching or experience.

    Many people can quote Matthew 7:1 – in King James no less☺- “Judge not lest ye be judged…”  without even knowing where it’s found in the Bible nor the context or completeness of what it says.

    When you consider the context of Matthew 7:1-20 you will see that Jesus is not prohibiting all types of judging. From the two verses below it is clear we must be exercising judgment or rendering a righteous assessment.

    You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? … 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16; 20 NIV

    There is a righteous kind of judgment which we are to exercise with careful discernment.

    “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” – John 7:24 NASB

    We are actually wired to decide what is right and wrong, what is the good, better, best, worse or negative in any given situation. In this sense, each of us judges every single day. Understanding this is vital if we are going to navigate through life carrying out God’s will in God’s ways. Discernment ought to always lead to healthy judgment.

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” – Matthew 7:1-5 NIV

    Notice that judgment without introspection and confrontation of ones own sin is the type of hypocritical judgment Jesus is condemning here. Verse 5 makes it very clear that there is a place to “remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    Censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous, or other kinds of unfair judgments are forbidden. But in order to fulfill the commandments that follow, it is necessary to discern dogs and swine (v. 6) from one’s own brethren (v. 5), and to detect those who are false teachers from those who are in our midst.

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. … 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:15; 20 ESV

    The verses below give us further instruction about the role of judging and specifically, the role of Jesus Christ as the supreme Judge:

    “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” – John 12:47, 48 ESV

    What will be the basis for judgment on the final day? That is the issue at the conclusion of John 12, with its emphasis on faith. The answer centers not in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; He came into the world the first time to save it. That was Christ’s mission from the His Father. We know from John 5:22, that the Father has delegated His authority to the Son to carry out the ultimate final judgment of the world.

    As the Holman New Testament Commentary on John says about this passage:

    “From the passage in John 12:47-48 the focus of judgment will be the actual Word of God. God’s words through Jesus Christ as well as through the prophets and other biblical writers form the final authority for obedience. They are the message of faith. God through Christ will ultimately judge people by how they received and responded to what the Bible says. This is not a common invitation in John 12, but a command to turn from darkness to light and from death to life.”

    “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,” – John 5:22 NIV

    The Apostle Paul also clarifies that we are to judge (render a righteous opinion) about EVERYTHING from behavior to doctrine.

    “The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,” – 

    1 Corinthians 2:15 NIV

    Most would agree that one of the greatest problems in the Church at large is Hypocrisy.

    The antidote to Hypocrisy is judgment. Think about it. Healthy accountability with mutual permission to hold each other to live in conformity with the Scriptures actually promotes transformation.

    In our culture the  subject of Jugement Is probably the easiest topic to bring up in conversation with EVERYONE.  Try it in the next weeks and share the results with your frieinds.

    In Christ,

    Dale

    Dale@DaleEbel.Org