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A Living Faith

• Dan Kent

Many read Revelation as a predictor of the future. This turns God into a fixed, wooden object who does not actually relate to a living creation. But this book was never meant to be read this way. Instead, it points to a living God who relates to a living creation and calls us into a living faith.

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In this sermon, Dan focuses on the word “keep” found in our focus scripture. In the Greek, this word means something like “take to heart” or prioritize. When this is used in other passages of the New Testament, it usually refers to “keep” the command to love one another, serve one another, and forgive one another. In this book, we are told to keep the words of Revelation, and they are very weird to say the least. How then, do we keep such bizarre words?

First, we must recognize that this is apocalyptic literature with images that are not literal, but that are meant to shake people out of their slumber. These passages are portraying images that subvert the common ways of the dominant culture so that the people might embrace the ways of God. Revelation wants us to fixate on the Lamb who is victorious over the violence of the world by sacrificing himself for the world. Through this we are invited into relationship with a living God who invites us into a living faith.

Instead, many people fixate on the images in literal ways and do not focus on the Lamb. This results in a passive escapist theology where we think we don’t have to actually live out our faith because believers will supposedly be saved from the coming violence. This causes us to be wooden because our faith is not living. In addition, it turns God into a wooden idol. We see this played out in Jeremiah 10:2-15. If we read Revelation as a crystal ball that predicts the future and the end of the world, then everything is planned and there is nothing we can do to change what has been predicted—a form of fatalism.

This view means that we are powerless and lack free will because all that exists is a script that has been planned before time. In this case, all we can do is accommodate the script. But this also means that God is accommodating the script, too. If the script is fixed, so is God, and there is nothing for God to do because all will occur as it has been planned. God is wooden, not living.

This wooden understanding contradicts the narrative of the Scriptures which shows the path to the future is unpredictable and full of possibilities, where God relates to people who are making choices. God is living, relating to a living creation. Therefore, we are called to a living faith. This brings us to the word “keep.” We keep the words we hear in a way that is ongoing as we continue to prioritize them by doing what they teach us. This is not an intellectual faith that we merely decide is true at some point in time. We “keep” our faith by participating in it in every moment.

God is looking down for people who are keeping the faith by looking up. This is not just for spiritual superstars who have chosen to give themselves to vocational ministry. This is for average people who are living in average ways. God is a living God, who reigns over a living creation, who calls us into a living faith with him. All of us can join in.

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Topics: End Times, Faith, Free Will

Sermon Series: Do Not Be Afraid


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Focus Scripture:

  • Revelation 1:3

    Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it, because the time is near.

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3 thoughts on “A Living Faith

  1. Jerry says:

    Dan really enjoyed your sermon. Thanks!

    Your focus on the word [keep] over just hear is how Jesus ended the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said everyone heard but to keep [Greek tereo, guard, take to heart] was a narrow path few followed.

    I also liked your thought that the gates are always open but your choice continues to come and go.

    When you mentioned the name Damian from the movie The Omen something inside triggered a Wait a minute Damian/Domitian what’s up here?

    In Greg’s sermon last he used the ongoing ‘echo’, as you added an unsure chaotic journey, and I added some comments on a sermon Rob Bell did.

    The name Damian comes from the Greek Damianos. This form originates from the Greek-derived from the Greek word δαμάζω (damazō), “(I) conquer, master, overcome, [TAME]”, in the form of δαμάω/-ῶ (damaō), a form assumed as the first person of δαμᾷ (damāi)

    The name Domitian is primarily a male name of English origin that means [TAMED]. Of Roman origin, the name of an emperor.

    It appears in the movie The Omen Hollywood continues the ongoing echo with a twist towards the rapture left behind methodologies; I got a chuckle out of your ‘because heaven is up there I guess’ and I liked the wording escapist theologies.

    Your reading of Jeremiah 10: 2-15 was inspiring. I liked the ending ‘The images they make are fraud they have no breath in them’. I believe you can add that AI, is not living because is not able to collapse the wave function.

    Dan, we talked about, in a couple of comments a while ago, how we as intelligent spiritual energy beings, Romans 7:15, use flawed fleshly material bodies that process waves via ongoing stored procedures written in the soul to send results, via wave collapse, to the real us a spirit. No one has a clue how that works. You used an interesting word, can’t remember, how we can toggle doing more than one thing at a time.

    AI doesn’t process waves. It just takes the processed results, words for example, and directs them towards a large database that tosses back like results.

    AI is not living so God’s not in on it. Jesus said I never speak my own words. I only speak what the father gives me. It’s not that He doesn’t process data results. He is just moment by moment being pinged by the Father with a Yea or a nay. I believe [keep] means to stay in tune [pinged].

    You and Greg did a recent blog on AI. Greg made an interesting point that AI can listen to your voice patterns and mimic your voice however saying things that may not be the real you. I agree that is something to worry about however that expresses the importance of [keep] take to heart keep being pinged.

  2. Dan says:

    Cool facts about Damien, Jerry.

    I am definitely not afraid of AI.

    Ping!

    1. Jerry says:

      Amen!

      This just came to me. I think you said this. “Don’t confuse the pledge of life to Christ with the life that you’ve pledged to Christ [1st day versus day to day [characterological]” and the word I could not remember was unity consciousness.

      Again something I quoted from John Ortberg: “All my worst moments … are when I’m in a hurry.” “Love, joy, and peace … are incompatible with hurry. The average iPhone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times a day. What would my life be like if God touched [PINGED} my mind, Filled with the Spirit, as frequently as I touch my phone?”

      On average, we get 60,000 thoughts a day. Of those thoughts 80% are negative and 95% of them are repetitive. We need to hold these thoughts captive and get some new ones.

      Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

      Jesus said I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. Testing and approving only can happen by following Jesus, John 14:6, so that we can rewrite the negative repetitive malware-stored procedures we have written in our souls.

      From Greg and Al’s course Theo-synergistic Neuro-Transformation

      Our internal representation, intrapersonal reality, is a [sensory VAKOG loaded map] determined by the beliefs so far installed. It is NOT absolute reality, the territory, but a soul-driven map perception thereof.

      The brain is bombarded by 100 million bits of information per second.

      The reticular activating system deletes 98% of this information determined unnecessary or unimportant at the moment. What determines what’s important at any given moment is the state of your soul. Ooch!

      Two million bits of information get into the nervous system and the mind acts on them. This information is deleted, distorted, generalized, and organized into 5-9 chunks of meaning.

      Meaning is determined by the beliefs that are installed. The subconscious mind, what the Bible calls the heart, acts on data up to 1/3000th of a second. The conscious mind operates, acts on data, at 1/30th of a second. The subconscious mind is 100 times faster than the conscious mind.

      The subconscious mind acts on this vast amount of info automatically, robopathically, like a machine Proverbs 23:7. This is the reason the bible says to watch your, Proverbs 4:23, innermost thoughts, pictures, and words.

      From the book: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World – John Mark Comer

      Parkinson’s Law says work will expand to the allotted time given for its completion.

      The same is true of God and our spiritual life. God will fill [transform] whatever space we make for him in our lives – the very day mundane [now] moments of our lives. In order to do that we need to develop spiritual disciplines – activities I can do that will enable me to eventually do what I cannot currently do.

      A great book by James Clear is Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. The key point is that life is not linear but about overtime based on repetition [habit].

      The true indicator of your spiritual well-being is growth in the ability to love God and people Matthew 22:36-40. – John Ortberg.

      Dan for me personally my flesh is a problem. I’m not good at naturally loving people, showing compassion, being kind or patient, being selfless, surrendering and trusting when I don’t have control, or living with peace and joy. I’m naturally good at being selfish, prideful, controlling, worrying, and stressing when not in control boiling down to I’m naturally good at being myself not being like Jesus.

      1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

      Dan this emphasizes your point that life is not about some preordained script just unfolding. The life to come leaves open the option, as you said, for you to continue to come in and out of the 24-7 open gates.

      Disciplines of Engagement: studying scripture, prayer, giving

      Disciplines of Abstinence: Silence & solitude, Sabbath, fasting

      On Prayer – Not so much a backpack Jesus we pull on when there is a problem – as simply talking to God, listening to God, being honest with God. Creating [keep] space for him to speak [ping] to our hearts.

      I love the song lyrics “He walks with me and talks we me along life’s narrow paths -you ask me how I know he lives he lives within my heart.

      Ping!

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