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Soul Liberty

The doctrine of soul liberty is that no person, religious power, or civil authority can force, compel, or coerce belief. Each person has a conscience and is answerable only to God for his beliefs.

This message given on Reformation Sunday was preached by Pastor Dan Greenfield during Orwell Bible Church’s morning service, October 30, 2022.

The doctrine of soul liberty is that no person, religious power, or civil authority can force, compel, or coerce belief. Each person has a conscience and is answerable only to God for his beliefs.

You can follow along on a provided outline, available here.

Can—and Should—a Christian Enjoy Life?

This message, teaching through Ecclesiastes 2:22-26, was preached by Pastor Dan Greenfield during Orwell Bible Church’s morning service, October 23, 2022.

Christians can—and must!—sensibly enjoy life by submitting to Christ!

You can follow along with a sermon outline here.

Luke 9

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

Here Luke relates a transition in Jesus’ ministry toward his death, resurrection, and ascension, even looking ahead to his rule on earth in the kingdom of God.

Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim to Israel that he was their promised Messiah and King. Jesus also gave them power to do works reversing sin’s effects in creation, proving that what they said about Jesus was true. Jesus also taught and did the same (vv. 1-17, 37-42).

Jesus began telling his disciples of his coming betrayal, rejection by Israel, death, and resurrection, but they failed to grasp the significance of what he said (vv. 21-22, 43-45).

Three times Jesus taught what believe and following him means and involves (vv. 23-26, 46-48, 57-62). In two of those Jesus tied such to the coming kingdom when he would be seen in his full glory (vv. 27-36, 60-62).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Following Christ involves sacrificing and losing everything (vv. 23-26, 57-62), yet having the assurance of gaining all in the kingdom of God (vv. 26-36).
  2. No one is “fit for the kingdom of God” who loves anything in a sin-cursed world more than they love the King.

Luke 8

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

Jesus went through every city and village teaching that he was Israel’s promised Christ, their King. He taught that those who truly believe his message will show it by faithful, persevering obedience (vv. 1-21). The “mysteries of the Kingdom of God” (v. 10) are truths Jesus taught about the Kingdom. Jesus taught such truth in parables, which would be understood by those who believed him but completely missed by those who rejected him. Each parable makes one point and the parable’s details must be understood in relation to that one point.

As the God-man King of Israel, Jesus has the power and authority over every aspect of creation (vv. 22-25), all demons (vv. 26-39), and the effects of sin, whether sickness or death (vv. 40-56).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Genuine faith hears, obeys and keeps, transforms one’s life, rests, and wholly and entirely believes in Jesus.
  2. In this chapter we see how Jesus is the King and Teacher, the Lord of creation (controlling the seas), the Lord of spirits (controlled demons), and the Lord of life (reversing sickness and death).

Luke 7

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

A Roman centurion had a terminally ill servant (vv. 1-10). The centurion heard of Jesus and believed he could heal his servant without coming to his house. Jesus did so, marveling at such faith in contrast to Israel who should have had such.

Jesus, moved with compassion, caused a widow’s dead son to come back to life (vv. 11-17). Jesus as God has the power to give life to the dead.

John the Baptist had been imprisoned (Matt 11:2), perhaps making him wonder if Jesus was the Christ after all (Luke 7:18-19) so his disciples came to Jesus regarding this (vv. 18-19). Jesus “answered” by doing indisputable miracles that only the Christ could do (vv. 20-23).

Jesus’ commended John the Baptist’s character and ministry (vv. 24-28a) but pointed out that the lowest citizen in the coming kingdom had a greater position than John did under the law (v. 28b).

Though many “sinners” believed God’s truth from John the Baptist and Jesus (v. 29), the religious leaders—who should have believed them—refused to (vv. 30-35). This was illustrated by Jesus’ supper with a self-righteous Pharisee when the Lord forgave the sins of a repentant woman (vv. 36-50).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. True faith in Jesus hears what has been said about him in the Scriptures and simply and fully believes and rests in that truth. Is your response to God’s truth in the Scriptures like the centurion’s (vv. 6-8) or like the fickle generation of unbelieving Jews who wouldn’t believe no matter what (vv. 31-35)?
  2. Only Jesus can forgive sin’s guilt (vv. 41-50). The evidence that one’s sins have been forgiven is a devoted love for Jesus. have your sins been forgiven? If so, how great is your love for Christ seen in what you’re willing to do for him?
  3. It is a sad fact that the more self-righteous and religious a person is, the less he sees his need for forgiveness. He believes he has done and is doing enough for God to accept him. What—who—are you relying on to be accepted by God?

Luke 6

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

In verses 1-11 Jesus did not break God’s law to Israel regarding the Sabbath, though the Pharisees believed he did. The Pharisees added numerous details to God’s Word to “protect” the Law, but such were created by men. Jesus as God (v. 5) rightly interpreted and kept God’s Law.

In verses 20-49, Jesus taught Jews living in Israel under the jurisdiction of the Law about the character and conduct of those who are citizens of the coming Kingdom. Jesus taught as Israel’s Christ and King. Though the kingdom was not present (cf. 11:2), the King was present and he taught how his followers must live in a sin-cursed world.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week (Exod 20:1). God commanded the nation of Israel to rest and do no work on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a distinctly Israelite ordinance (Exod 31:13, 16). Disobeying this constitutional law was punishable by death (Exod 31:14; Num 15:32-36). Sadly, the entire nation’s disobedience of God’s law resulted in the destruction of the nation and their being removed from the land (Neh 13:18; Jer 17:19-27). Israel did not trust the Lord and so disobeyed him. we must learn from them (1 Cor 10:6-11)!!
  2. As the church is not Israel it is under the jurisdiction of Christ’s Law (1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2) not Moses’ Law to Israel (Rom 7:1-4). Nowhere in the NT did Jesus transfer the Sabbath to the first day of the week, Sunday (cf. Col 2:16-23).
  3. If you are a follower of and believer in Jesus Christ, does your lifestyle and response to Jesus’ teaching (Luke 6:43-49) support and demonstrate that? do you live for God’s approval (vv. 20-23) or man’s (vv. 24-26)? Love and be merciful (vv. 27-36). Forgive and be generous (vv. 37-38). Be holy and helpful (vv. 39-42).

Luke 5

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

One of Luke’s emphases is on following Christ. here in chapter five two instances of following Christ are given, first when Jesus called peter, James, and John to follow him (vv. 1-11) and then when he called Matthew (vv. 27-28). These followed Jesus to be his particular helpers and representatives in ministry; that is why they abandoned their occupations and devoted themselves full-time to following Christ.

Two miracles are included here—healing a leper (vv. 12-16) and a paralyzed man (vv. 17-26). These miracles substantiated Jesus’ teaching that he is God in the flesh, Israel’s promised King, the Savior.

Included in the events of this chapter are two times when Jesus was opposed by Pharisees (vv. 21-24, 30-32). While the Pharisees adhered to the Mosaic Law they added hundreds of additional man-made commands to it which blinded them to the truth of who Jesus was.

John the Baptist’s disciples fasted and prayed for the messiah to come and thus wondered why Jesus’ disciples didn’t (John the Baptist’s disciples asked this question in v. 33; see Matt 9:14). Fasting and praying for the Messiah to come when he was present is as foolish as not eating at a wedding feast when the bridegroom was present (v. 34) and in the two examples Jesus mentioned in verses 36-39.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Sin is not conforming to God’s  holy character (Rom 3:23) and disobeying his Word (1 John 3:4). The consequences of sin are separation from God (Eph 2:1), separation from physical life (Jam 2:26), and eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14-15). The effects of sin are seen throughout this chapter and mankind is unable to escape/save themselves from it.
  2. Jesus—the eternal Son made man, Israel’s Christ, the promised Savior—came to save sinners! Sinners must receive and rest on Christ alone for salvation (“faith”) and must turn from sin with sorrow for and hatred of it (“repentance,” cf. v. 32).

Your Gravestone

This message, teaching through Ecclesiastes 2:12-21, was preached by Pastor Dan Greenfield during Orwell Bible Church’s morning service, October 16, 2022.

Here in Ecclesiastes 2:12-21, Solomon demonstrates that regardless of who you are, you will die.

You can follow along with a sermon outline here.

Luke 4

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

After Jesus’ baptism, which signaled the beginning of his public ministry, he was tempted by the devil (vv. 1-13).  Jesus rebuffed each temptation by quoting God’s written Word.

Jesus’ ministry involved going to synagogues and teaching (vv. 14ff). An example is given in verses 16-20 when Jesus taught in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth. He read Isaiah 61:1-2, stopped in the middle of a sentence, and proclaimed that what he read was fulfilled—he was the promised Messiah and he came to save the lost. The rest of Isaiah 61:2 (that Jesus did not read) would be fulfilled at his Second Coming (Rev 19:11ff). The Nazarene Jews did not believe Jesus was the Messiah (v. 22) and Jesus pronounced judgment on their unbelief (vv. 23-27). Though the Jews sought to kill him it was not yet his time and so he simply left them (vv. 28-30).

Jesus continued proving he was Israel’s promised Messiah and King through his teaching and miracles (vv. 31-44).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Temptation is a solicitation to live contrary to God’s revealed character and will. Satan’s first temptation began by questioning God’s authority (Gen 3:1). Temptation is thus an invitation to rebel against God for immediate gratification. Christian, you must respond like Jesus did to every temptation to rebel against God, by resisting the Devil and obeying God (Jam 4:7; 1 Pet 5:9).
  2. Miracles are supernatural acts of God that infrequently occurred in biblical history. Miracles served as supporting signs of God’s messengers and their message, verifying such were truly from him (1 Kings 17:24; Matt 11:2-6; Acts 2:22; 4:29-30; Heb 2:4). Jesus’ miracles proved he was the Savior of sinners by effectively dealing with the effects of sin.
  3. The Kingdom Jesus preached (v. 43) was not different in any way from what God said about it in the OT. Jesus picked up right where the OT prophets had left off. The basic character of God’s promised, coming Kingdom is that God in the flesh will enter a rule of loving sovereignty and fellowship with His people and dwell with them forever (Isa 2:4; 11:6-10; 12:1-6; 32:1-4; 56:6-8; 61:1-9). All the physical, political, moral, ethical, and social blessings that will be present in the Kingdom are based on and flow from God’s spiritual blessings of salvation. Jesus came declaring he was Israel’s promised King, and that Jews must believe him to be that in order to enter the Kingdom.

Luke 3

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

John the Baptist’s ministry was to call Israelites to repent of their sins, believing that the promised Christ was coming (vv. 1-4). Only then would they be ready to receive him. They publicly testified of their repentance and readiness to receive the Messiah by being baptized (v. 3). True repentance was to be concretely seen in a changed, everyday life (vv. 7-15). They were not to rely on their being Jews (v. 8). God will judge with fire those who do not rightly respond to his Word (vv. 9, 17).

Jesus was baptized, not to show he repented of sin (he had none) but because he was committed to doing what was right (vv. 21-22; cf. Matt 3:15). The Holy Spirit’s coming upon Jesus was God’s public endorsement that Jesus was Israel’s King (cf. Acts 10:38). The Father commended Jesus as the Messiah (v. 22), Israel’s King and sinner’s Savior.

Genealogies in the Bible do not always detail every ancestor; sometimes, as with Luke’s here (vv. 23-38), key representatives are listed. The names here not only show Jesus’ humanity but also that he is David and Abraham’s descendant, and thus able to fulfill the promises God gave to those men (Abraham—Gen 12:1-3; David—2 Sam 7:12-14). As Adam’s descendant he is related to humanity. As the Son of God he is the God-man who would perfectly obey him and bring salvation through his life, death, and resurrection.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The necessity, character, and results of repentance. Repentance is turning from sin with sorrow and hatred of it and turning to God with humble love and obedience. One who has truly turned from sin to God/Jesus Christ continually demonstrates that throughout his entire life in personal, practical ways. Who do you love more, yourself, or the Lord Jesus? How is that seen in your thoughts, affections, decisions, priorities, responses, etc.?
  2. John the Baptist’s baptism was a Jew’s public testimony that he repented of his sins and was ready to welcome the coming Messiah. Christian baptism is a new believer’s public testimony that he repented of his sins and believed that Jesus is the Lord God, the Savior, the Christ, Israel’s Messiah (cf. Acts 19:1-5).
  3. Baptism does not result in the forgiveness of sins but is the outward testimony that one’s sins have been forgiven. Have your sins been forgiven? Have you obeyed Jesus by publicly testifying that your sins have been forgiven by being baptized/immersed in water (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:41)?

Luke 2

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

Luke’s aim—providing a solid basis for Christianity centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ—included an orderly account not only of his miraculous conception (1:31) but his birth in Bethlehem (2:1-7) as prophesied (Mic 5:2). The Lord announced the birth of Israel’s promised Messiah through angels to shepherds who worshipped him and spread the news they had heard (vv. 8-20).

As a Jewish child born into a Jewish home when the Mosaic Law was in force, his earthly parents obeyed God’s commands that applied to a first-born son (vv. 21-24). While in the temple, two aged saints, Simeon and Anna, praised the Lord for the privilege of seeing the promised Christ and spoke of him to others (vv. 25-38).

Of the four gospels, only Luke gives the account in verses 41-52. This shows the genuine humanity of the Messiah—his human body and mental capacity grew, he was part of a family, and he obeyed his earthly parents. This account also shows the genuine deity of the Messiah, that he was fully God—he knew his relationship with God the Father.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. This chapter gives great detail to the full humanity of the Messiah. Read Hebrews 2:14-18 for the importance of this!
  2. Saints such as Simeon and Anna believed God’s promises in the OT regarding the Messiah and were waiting and looking for the fulfillment of such. What are some promises God made elsewhere in the Bible that are awaiting fulfillment? Are you like Simeon and Anna?
  3. Jesus was subject to his earthly parents (v. 51; cf. Phil 2:5-7). Think about all that Jesus was, both before and after his incarnation. And he was subject to his earthly parents! He as a child obeyed God’s commands for children to honor parents (Deut 5:16). Jesus was perfect, but his parents were not. What lessons we must learn from this!

Luke 1

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

Luke’s two-part account of Christianity provides a solid basis for the faith, centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Luke’s gospel details the foundation of Christianity, and his second part, Acts, describes the growth of Christianity.

Verses 5-25 give the background and announcement of John the Baptist’s birth (note what would be John’s character and ministry, vv. 15-17).

Verses 26-38 detail the background and announcement of the birth of Jesus, the Son of the Highest, Israel’s promised King and Messiah (note what would be Jesus’ character and ministry, vv. 31-33).

Verses 39-56 relate Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and Zacharias, and how she praised the Lord for who He is and what He has done and will do.

Verses 57-80 describe the birth of John the Baptist and Zacharias’ praise and prophecy.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The virgin conception of the Messiah, Israel’s King and Savior. Mary was legally married to Joseph (“betrothed,” v. 27) but by Jewish custom was not yet living with him. God promised that Israel’s promised Messiah and King would be a descendant of David yet rule forever (2 Sam 7:13; Isa 9:6-7). This required a human being descended from Abraham and David who was also God. Mary believed God’s message (unlike Zacharias, v. 18), but was puzzled about the mechanics of becoming pregnant without a man. Verse 35 (and Matt 1:18, 20) teach that the life-giving Spirit enabled Mary to miraculously conceive a child that was the permanent union of the eternal Son of God with a human nature.
  2. Note the different names, titles, and descriptions of Jesus: Son of the Highest (v. 32); descendant of King David (v. 32); eternal ruler and king of Israel (v. 32); holy (v. 35); Son of God (v. 35); the anticipated Deliverer of Israel (from their enemies, v. 71, and their sins, vv. 77-79); fulfilling God’s promises to Abraham (vv. 73ff).
  3. We see different responses to God’s Word here from Zacharias (vv. 18-20, 64-65, 68-79), Mary (vv. 38, 46-55), and Elizabeth (vv. 42-45). Faith is a right response to revelation—truth—God gave. Faith believes, welcomes, accepts, depends on, and submits to. God gave his Word so his people will have certainty, have a sure hope, praise him, pray, and obey and serve him. 
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