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Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Daniel 1:1-8; Train Up Your Children

05/09_Daniel 01:1-8; Train Up Your Children; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20210509_dan01_1-8.mp3

Today is mother’s day, and we are in Daniel chapter 1, where we are introduced to four teens who have been ripped from their homes and transplanted into a society where they will be re-programmed to live and think as citizens of a country who is opposed to God and his ways. We are not told who Daniel’s parents were. We don’t know what kind of upbringing he had. But we can look at what the Bible does say about the essential nature of parenting, and I think we can safely infer some things about the upbringing of these four that we are introduced to here in the first chapter of Daniel.

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. …

Preparing Your Children to Live as Exiles

How do you prepare your children for captivity and exile? How do you get them ready to live as strangers and aliens in a land full of false gods and deceptive temptations? Let’s say that we could predict the future and could see that America and its leadership will continue to decline, and in five years, a foreign military will march in our streets, destroy our infrastructure, take our children captive, haul them away to re-education camps where they will be taught that it is absurd and naive to believe in the existence of God. How would you parent in such a way as to prepare them to live in a society whose very moral and spiritual fiber is opposed to everything you believe and hold dear?

Or if that seems too far-fetched, lets say that in five years America continues on unchanged, and your child goes off to high school or college, where they will be taught that it is absurd and naive to believe in the existence of God. How are you preparing them to live as strangers and aliens in a land full of false gods and deceptive temptations?

Remind Them Of Their Identity

First, lets look at their identity. Verse 6 gives us their names; ‘Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah.’ If you are familiar with Hebrew names, you will hear the names of God; ‘El’ and ‘Yah’ in those names.

Daniel “God is my judge”

Hananiah “Yahweh is gracious”

Mishael “who is what God is?”

Azariah “Yahweh has helped” or “will help.”

We don’t put as much significance in a name, but these boys were given an identity. Every time they were called, they would be reminded of the nature and character of God. God is the ultimate and only judge, before whom we all will stand to give account. Yahweh is gracious; he is generous and gives good gifts to those who don’t deserve it. God is holy, unique, in a class by himself; who is what God is? There is no one like our God; he is most high over all. Yahweh will help; whenever we face difficulties or are in need, it is to him we must look. He is our only unfailing source of help.

Daily they were reminded of their identity, that they belong to God, that God is sovereign over all, that God is to be honored, that God is holy, unique, that Yahweh is gracious and that he will help all who call on him. Do you see how their parents were daily involved in reminding them of the character of God, and who they are in relation to this God?

In Babylon, their identity was stripped away. They were given new names, a new identity that replaced the names of the one true God of Israel with the gods of Babylon, Bel, Aku and Nebo. God is my Judge is renamed ‘Bel-belteshazzar’; Bel, protect his life! Yahweh is Gracious is renamed ‘Shadrach’; command of Aku the moon god. Who is what God Is is renamed ‘Meshach’; who is what Aku is? Yahweh will help is renamed ‘Abednego’; servant of Nebo or Nabu.

Parents Train Up Your Children

But these new names couldn’t erase the faithful training of faithful parents who faithfully taught them who God is, and their identity in relationship with that one true God.

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Parents, we are to know and love the Lord our God with heart and soul and mind and strength. We are to walk in his ways, and to non-stop train our children. Whenever you’re at home, talk about the Lord. Whenever you’re out and about, talk about the Lord. When you go to bed, when you get up in the morning, love him and keep his word in your heart and in front of your eyes.

The theological training of your children can’t wait until Bible college; that may be too late. And it can’t be handed over to the church; the church doesn’t tuck your kids into bed at night and drag them out of bed in the morning. The church isn’t often in your homes or on your vacations. The church simply cannot do in one hour on Sundays and maybe an hour midweek what it is your job as parents to do day in and day out.

Remember, training is not just passing on information. Your kids will learn from how you live, the choices they see you make, your attitude, the way you respond to circumstances. They will learn from what you do much more than from what you say.

Prepared for Sacrifice

Daniel 1:3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.

The requirement of the king was among other things, that these youths must be without blemish. This is a term that is most frequently used in the requirements that both priests and sacrificial animals must be without blemish to be acceptable to God (Lev.21-22). What we offer to God must be our first and our best. What Nebuchadnezzar demanded was young men without physical defect, but this language connects us back to the sacrificial system. A lamb without blemish or spot is fit for sacrifice.

Parents, think about this. Are you preparing your children for sacrifice? Romans 12 uses this kind of imagery.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Are you teaching your children that they should expect the best in this life, an easy life, that they are entitled to blessings? Or are you teaching them that it is often costly to follow Jesus, but that it is worth it?

Circumstances for these families went as bad as could have been imagined. They lived under the reign of kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord. Jerusalem was given into the hand of the enemy. The temple was plundered. Their children were carried off into captivity; although we don’t know for sure, they may have been castrated in literal fulfillment of Isaiah 39:5-7. The hope of any grandchildren was lost. We aren’t told what happened to the parents, but it is likely they never saw one another again. Would this fiery trial come to them as a complete shock and surprise, as if something strange were happening to them (1Pet.4:12)? Would it cause them to doubt their faith and question the reality, the goodness, the power of their God?

Jesus promised us who follow him that ‘In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world’ (Jn.16:33), and he promises us his peace in the midst of adverse circumstances.

What are your expectations for your children? Is your heart set on the American dream, or are you preparing them to present themselves to God as living sacrifices? To endure suffering for the sake of his name?

Show Them Where True Joy Is Found

Sacrifice is difficult, so we must prepare them for suffering, but pleasures often prove more lethal than persecution. Don’t neglect to teach your children where true joy is found.

Daniel and his friends would face great temptations where it was expected they would indulge their flesh. ‘The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank.’ This was the best available. They were far away from home, out of reach of all accountability. This would appeal to all their senses. And it seems no one else was resisting. How could they possibly stand up to this kind of temptation?

The best way to inoculate our children against temptation is to expose them to greater pleasures. Psalm 16:11 says

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore are found in the presence of God. Moses, in similar circumstances,

Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

The pleasures of sin are real, but they are fleeting. Worldly treasures are real, but they pale in comparison to the eternal reward, against which ‘all the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom.8:18).

The king of Babylon showed them what they had to gain by allegiance to him. He invited them to feast on the abundance of his house and to drink of his own wine. But listen to Psalm 36

Psalm 36:7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

Is the Lord’s steadfast love precious to you? Savor the preciousness of God’s grace to you in the gospel daily, and it will put your mouth out of taste for the sweets of this world.

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! …

You have got to taste for yourself the sweetness of God. Our kids must see us drinking deeply of the river of his delights. And we must give them the opportunity to taste and see for themselves.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Teach them not to trust their deceitful desires (Eph.4:22); teach them where every truly good gift comes from.

The Wisdom of Humility and a Biblical Worldview

It seems that Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Daniel were equipped with a comprehensive view of God’s sovereignty over all things, even the worst imaginable circumstances, and they trusted that he is judge, he is gracious, he is above all other gods, and he is the source of their help. They must have had a taste of something better, so they were able to resist the temptations that appealed to their deceitful desires.

But they had been selected because they were ‘skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace.’ This was greatly flattering. They were to be taught ‘the literature and language of the Chaldeans.’

… They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king.

This was a huge boost to the ego, and an incentive to forget their pain and plunge themselves into learning and literature.

But all literature, every story, every song is leading somewhere, engaging the emotions, teaching something. Stories shape our world view. Can these four be immersed in the world view of the Babylonians without losing their own?

In verse 17 we read ‘God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom.’ God gave them the wisdom to learn what was taught, to discern what is true, and to hold fast to him.

They had been given the humility to know that what they knew was a gift from God.

Know, Love and Serve Jesus

Parents, teach your kids humility. Show them where true joy is found. Prepare them for suffering and sacrifice. Remind them of their true identity. Remind them whose they are. Prepare your children to live as sojourners, as exiles. This world is not their home. Entrust them to a faithful God who loves them more than you do and who is able to keep them.

More than anything else, here’s what I want for my kids. I want you to know and love and serve Jesus.

Know him, get to know him, enjoy being with him, be in constant communion, in communication, in relationship with him.

Love him; affections inflamed, not motivated by duty but by delight. Look! Look at the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ for you (Eph.3:18). We love because he first loved us (1Jn.4:19).

Serve him; spend your life to bring him glory and praise, to bring others into the joy of knowing him.

The order matters. I want your life and service to flow out of relationship and love, not out of obligation and duty. You have to know him and love him before you can offer any acceptable service to him.

***

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

May 10, 2021 Posted by | Daniel, occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

worldviews

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20100103_worldview.mp3

01/03/10 – Worldviews

At the start of a new year I like to take some time to think about the big picture overarching most important things. I like to spend some time evaluating and ask questions like ‘Why do we do what we do?’ or ‘Why do I believe what I believe?’ or ‘What are the most important things that I believe?’ and ‘Do I feel and act consistently with what I say I believe?’

Today I’d like to think through our worldview together. A worldview is how we make sense of reality. It gives us the big picture and answers questions like ‘Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? How do we know truth, and right from wrong? What happens when we die?’

My worldview is the lens through which I view reality. I wear eyeglasses (or contacts). I spend a lot of time looking through my glasses, but not much time looking at my glasses. But it is helpful at times to look at my glasses. Often when I do, they are so dirty that I wonder how I was ever able to see through them. Or, if I put on the wrong glasses, reality will look very distorted and I will have a very difficult time navigating through life. It is helpful to step back periodically and evaluate the lens through which we view the world, make sure it is the right lens, that it is free of clutter, and that I am living consistently with it.

To better understand my own worldview, it will be helpful to compare and contrast some of the major divergent worldviews. My belief is that there are right and wrong ways to view the world, true and false, correct and incorrect. And I believe the right, the true, the correct way to make sense of the universe is that the creator of the universe has communicated to us the truth about himself and the true meaning of events and the purpose of existence. I believe the right worldview is the biblical worldview, and that we will do well to continually test our own conceptions of reality against what is revealed to us in the bible, and continue to adjust our worldview so that it is more in line with God’s words.

But we will start with some other non-biblical worldviews and work our way back to the biblical world view. We’ll be painting with a broad brush and looking at some of the major concepts of major world views.

We’ll start with Naturalism. Naturalism is an understanding that the physical or material universe is all that exists. Matter is eternal. There is no spirit and there is no god. The universe is a closed system of cause and effect. Man is the chance product of a biological process of evolution. Human beings are merely complex machines. Personality is an interrelation of chemical and physical properties. There is no such thing as right and wrong. Truth or reality is defined as that which can be observed with the five senses. Death is the extinction of personality and individuality. Naturalism is an atheistic worldview.

Monism or Pantheism is the belief that only the spiritual dimension exists. All else is illusion. Life is god. Everything is a part of god, and god is in everything and everyone. God is eternal, impersonal, and unknowable. Man, as part of ultimate reality. Man is spiritual, eternal and impersonal. Individuality is an illusion. There is no objective standard for right and wrong. Truth is an experience of unity with the oneness of the universe. We must get in touch with the divine that is within us. The ultimate goal is to escape from the material and realize one’s oneness with the cosmos. Through multiple attempts or trials all life is progressing toward perfect harmony with the universal force. Time is not real and history is cyclical. Examples of the pantheistic world view are Hinduism, Buddhism and the New Age

Polytheism is the belief that many spirit beings govern the world. Material things are real but have spirits associated with them. Man is a creation of the gods. Life goes well when we avoid irritating the spirits or when we appease them with sacrifices. A specific tribe or race may have a special relationship with specific gods who protect them and can punish them.

Cosmic Dualism is the belief that there are two independent divine beings or eternal principles, one good and the other evil that create constant tension and balance in the world. Mankind is ultimately good and must use free will to choose the good over the evil so that good ultimately triumphs.

Postmodernism is more of an anti-worldview. We all create our own reality. There is no absolute truth. Tolerance of other views is the highest good. The feeling of the individual is all-important. You can pick and choose what you like from all the different worldviews.

Monotheism or Christian Theism is the belief that an infinite personal God exists. The infinite personal God created a finite material and spiritual world. Mankind was created to be a reflection of the infinite God, to display the glory to God. We can know truth because God has chosen to communicate true things about himself and reality with us. He has given us the five senses and the ability for rational thought. The basis for right and wrong is in God himself, who is the ultimate standard of right and whose character we are to reflect. Man was created good, but chose to rebel against his good Creator and the reflection of God became distorted. God himself came as a man to accurately display the character of the infinite God and give himself to rescue and restore fallen mankind.

When we ask: ‘What is the ultimate reality?‘ Naturalism responds that the material universe is the only reality. Pantheism responds that the spiritual reality or life force is all that exists. Polytheism sees many spirit beings behind the real material world. Christian Theism sees God as the ultimate reality and he created a real world with both material and physical aspects.

When we ask: ‘Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here?‘ Naturalism responds that we are a highly complex combination of molecules that came into being through an infinite combination of time and chance. We are a meaningless accident. We have no ultimate purpose. Pantheism responds that we are part of the life force of the universe that is constantly being recycled. We are moving toward perfect harmony with the universal force and our individuality is an illusion that will be absorbed back into the life force. Polytheism answers that we are a creation of the gods and are here to pay homage and meet the needs of the gods that are competing for our allegiance. Christian Theism answers that we are the special creation of a loving personal God who created us to reflect his glory and enjoy his presence. Even though we rebelled, he sacrificed himself to rescue us and restore us to a right relationship with him.

When we ask ‘How do we know truth, and right from wrong?‘ ‘What happens when we die?’ Naturalism responds that everything that is can be known through the five senses and scientific inquiry. When we die we cease to exist. Pantheism says that we pass beyond rational truth and morals as we realize our oneness with the cosmos. At death we come back to continue our progress toward unity with the universal force until that unity is reached. Polytheism teaches that we learn the will of the gods through a visionary that the gods communicate through. It is most important to please or appease the gods with whom we have to do whether those gods be good or evil. Our future rests with the whim of the gods and is based on our performance. Christian Theism teaches that the personal God has left his fingerprint on all of creation, and has verbally communicated to us in the Bible. Morals are based on his own perfectly holy character and nature.

Christian Theism is taught from the very first words of God’s revelation:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

God existed independent from the physical universe, and brought the universe into existence by his word. God is personal and moral (it was good). God created all reality both spiritual and physical.

Paul catalogs the degeneration of worldviews in Romans 1. The gospel or good news is wrapped in its own worldview. Paul is not ashamed and eager to preach for several reasons: it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe; in it the righteousness of God is revealed to those who believe; and in it the wrath of God is revealed to those who suppress the truth.

Romans 1:15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

There is one God. He is a moral God who loves the right and hates the evil. He will punish those who reject his authority, and yet he is merciful to save all rebels who believe in him.

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

There is one God, and he has revealed himself to his creation. He has displayed his eternal power and divine nature through the things he has made. But foolish rebellious mankind exchanged the glory of the real immortal God for a worship of his creation. This could take the form of polytheism or pantheism or naturalism. And these philosophies dishonored God, neglected to thank him, exchanged his glory, exchanged the truth about him for a lie, refused to acknowledge him and ceased worshiping him. This shift in worldview was not inconsequential. This shift had immediate radical moral consequences, and eternal consequences as they are judged to be ‘without excuse’.

Look over at Acts 17, where Paul confronts some of the worldviews of his day head on.

Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”––because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

Let’s understand the audience that Paul is addressing. It seems the city was almost postmodern in that it included a smörgåsbord of worldviews. Everyone was after something new.

The city was full of idols, which indicates a polytheistic culture. The people thought he was a preacher of foreign divinities – that he brought his own territorial or ethnic god with him. He also conversed with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers.

Epicureans – followers of Epicurius; an atheistic philosophy devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure; especially the enjoyment of good food and comfort. There are no morals or absolutes – whatever feels good, do it!

Stoics – followers of Zeno; believed that everything is determined, they taught that logical thought reflects the cosmic reason; happiness and wisdom is attained by restraining all emotions. Deny all feelings!

And it says that he reasoned with the Jews in the synagogues. Jews were militantly monotheistic – they believed in only one personal and infinite God. But Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection. Paul was also strictly monotheistic, but his monotheism was a Christian or Trinitarian monotheism. There is only one God, but he exists in the three distinct persons of the Father, his Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Paul’s approach is very interesting. He starts with their polytheism and seems to embrace it. They have altars for every conceivable god. But Paul moves beyond and above their polytheism and seeks to restore a vision of the one true God. He says that there is a God who is over all their gods. He is Lord of heaven and earth, creator of all things, he is self-existent and self-sufficient, the life-giver. He is over not just one race or one location but over every nation of mankind. He is spirit, everywhere present; far superior to all the images they have made. He is a just judge, who in the past has overlooked your ignorance, but he will judge in righteousness. And his focus is on Jesus and the resurrection, Jesus the man God has appointed to stand in our place and take our punishment on the cross. Jesus, the man God has appointed to judge the unrepentant Christ rejecting world in righteous fury. Jesus, the man who claimed to be God, one with the Father, equal to the Father. The Father confirmed the truth of his testimony by raising him from the dead.

Paul is confronting the naturalistic live for the pleasures of the moment atheism of the Epicureans. He is confronting the pantheistic notions of the Stoics. He confronts the polytheistic idolatry with a God who is superior to and over all their idols, and he confronts the Christ rejecting monotheism of the Jews with the message of a crucified Messiah who claimed to be God and was raised from the dead. And Paul was not unclear on what he expected of those who held to a different worldview. He did not leave them the postmodern option of relative truth that respects the beliefs of others and denies any possibility of hard factual absolute objective truth. He says ‘in the past God has overlooked your ignorance.’ That’s not a very loving thing to say! Or is it? The exchanging of the glory of God and the darkening of foolish hearts in ignorance is without excuse and will be judged. So he brings a message of absolute truth into a relative society and says that God ‘commands all people everywhere to repent.’ If you are in the God dishonoring futile thinking mind darkening state of a different worldview, God demands that you repent. Change your mind. Turn from darkness to light and from lies to the truth. Your worldview had moral and eternal implications and God demands that you conform your perception of reality to his reality that he declares in his word.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

January 3, 2010 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , | Leave a comment