2012 Tate Family Year in Review

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Who can resist writing a Christmas letter on the last repeated day of the century 12/12/12 -- the last duplicated date that will occur for the rest of our lifetime. Pretty neat - I could probably turn it into a mini-sermon, but I’ll leave that to the preacher.

Life in seminary marches steady onward with its papers, reading, and of course, “Dr. Pepper Hour.” David enjoys his studies and ended the school year this past May with excellent grades and was awarded a scholarship that will carry the cost of his tuition and books for the entire 2012-2013 year including summer school. We are blessed. In June, he accepted a position at Westwood Baptist Church and began his pastoral career. We have fallen in love with this sweet church of warm, loving people who give from their hearts and love Jesus abundantly. August saw two lifetime events - David’s ordination into the ministry was a memory to treasure and an honor to witness. And, the Tate family saw the homecoming of Harold, “Papa Tate” to us all, and SONlight’s Director Emeritus and beloved founder.

The fall has been a whirlwind after such an eventful summer. And we wouldn’t be “us” if we didn’t throw in one more huge life event this year. The Lord led us in a new direction shortly after David’s ordination - we began the search for a home near our new church. Our desire to live close in the community where we worship and minister has been a long-time imbedded desire going back ten years. This desire became reality the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when we closed on our new house. We love it here and we are thrilled at how God orchestrated every detail (and still is).
Lydia’s journey in home-schooling and involvement in the home-school community in Waco continues to be a blessed labor of love. Her duties as assistant with SONlight continue and we look forward to seeing how SONlight will continue to grow this coming year. She had a busy, fun-filled year from field-day to snowflake making to packing - never a dull moment.

Wow! What a year! (No wonder the parents are so tired.) We cannot wait to see what 2013 holds for us. May the Lord bless your 2013 abundantly. May you know the love, mercy, and delight of the Lord Jesus.

The Tate Family

Tearing the Curtain

It was a great privilege to preach at First Baptist Church of Martens.

I really enjoyed preaching on the curtain in front of the Holy of Holies, and it’s representation of the division between God and Man.

Tearing the Curtain
For this sermon I am preaching from Mark, Isaiah, and Exodus.

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Yom Kippur

I was given the opportunity to be the guest preacher at St. Paul’s in Gerald, TX.

The Sunday that I was preaching was the day after Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, and I felt that it was fitting to discuss what that day meant to the Jewish people and the sacrifice of Jesus that superseded that day.

Yom Kippur
For this sermon I am preaching from Leviticus and Numbers.

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Transition - Acts

I was given the opportunity to be the guest preacher at Trinity Memorial Baptist Church in Marlin, TX. There previous pastor, Terry Johnston, had accepted a call to another church, and I was preaching the first day that he was not there.

I felt led to preach on Transition (no fancy titles or anything), and preached from several passages from the first 2 chapters of Acts. It was quite helpful to have recently gone through a transition at our home church in Houston, Wilcrest Baptist Church. And then recently to have had such a transition from the suburbs of Houston to the rural area east of Elm Mott, TX.

It was a well received message and I got many affirming words from the congregation. I had the opportunity to share a bit about SONlight and hand out some CDs and literature.

I pray that the church will prayerfully follow the Lord and be led to their next pastor in the proper time.

Trinity Memorial Baptist

For this sermon I am preaching on several passages from Acts.

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7791 - Rest Not Possessed

We continue our study in chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Hebrews.

Let’s investigate verses 6 through 8 in chapter 4. It says:

It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.

In this short passage the word “rest” is applied to three different generations of people, and their particular relations to the word “rest”.

Historically, the first generation spoken about here is that generation which we have studied before. It refers to that former generation of Israel, which had the promise from God of the land of Canaan as their land of heritage. God had told these people that he was giving them the land of Canaan. This meant that he would direct their efforts and energies to accomplish the possession of this land as their very own. God had promised it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob many centuries in the past.

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7790 - Canaan Rest

In our last study we mentioned at least three applications of the term “rest” used several times in the third and fourth chapters of the book of Hebrews.

Today let’s look at Hebrews 4, verses 3 through 5.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, `They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."

On a time line, the first “rest” mentioned is the rest with which God distinguished the seventh day of creation. This seventh day is very different from day one through six. The opening passage of Genesis gives a summary account of what God brought forth on each day.

The word used for create was the word ‘bara’ which means to make from nothing. So each new act of creation brought forth something new, which was visible for the first time to the human eye.

The distinguishing verse for day seven (Gen. 2:1) tells us “...God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

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7789 - Faith Rest

In our study of the book of Hebrews we have noticed the word “rest” being repeated many times in the third and fourth chapters. Let’s give some attention to the meaning carried in that word.

Let’s begin by reading Hebrews 4, verses 1 and 2:

Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.

The word “rest” implies at least three ideas in these two chapters.

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7788 - Unbelief

With this program we complete our study of the third chapter of Hebrews. Listen to Hebrews 3, verses 17 through 19:

And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

This study continues discussion about the Israelite men who came out of slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses.

In the third month after the Israelites had left Egypt, God gave this message to Moses to pass on to the people.

(Exod. 19:4-6) `You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole world is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation...'

God’s relationship with these people extended back through history to the man called Abram, who was later named Abraham. God had promised Canaan to the descendants of Abraham. This had been reaffirmed to his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob.

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7787 - Lost Generation

Our Bible study is now focused in Hebrews, chapter 3. Today we talk about a lost generation.

First, listen to Hebrews 3:15-17:

As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert?

These verses are talking about the Israelite men who were twenty years old and older who came out of slavery in Egypt. They were led by Moses. They were a stubborn group who resisted Moses many times as they journeyed to the land God had promised them in Cannan.

We have recently reviewed how as they were camped in the Desert of Paran, the Lord instructed Moses to send men to explore the land of Canaan which He was giving to the Israelites. A man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel was chosen, and instructed to go and see what the land was like. They were also to take notice of the people in the land, and the towns in which they lived, the crops and the fruits of the land.

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7786 - Assurance

We are now studying in Hebrews, chapter 3. In this chapter we find against accepting an attitude of unbelief in our inner being — this is an attitude of resistance or scoffing at God’s work, particularly toward the truth and reliability of His promises.

In the midst of these verses is one verse, which relates to assurance in the life of a believer about his faith being relative and reliable.

Listen to Hebrews 3:14:

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Many people wonder in their heart where they stand in regard to their final destiny. This is unnecessary agony. The Word of God, the Bible, is intended to chart the course of righteousness so clearly that every child of God may be certain that they have eternal life.

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7785 - Encourage Others

In Hebrews, chapter 3, is the second warning which the Lord’s Word passes to those who attend the Christian church. That second warning is: (Heb. 3:12) “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”

Then linked to this warning is an exhortation which applies to all who are a part of the body of Christ –– which is the Church. Listen to what the Lord’s Word encourages us to do in Hebrews 3, verse 13:

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “today”, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Notice that such words of encouragement minister to at least two people –– the one to whom encouragement is given, but also a blessing to the one the Lord chooses to voice the message of inspiration and hope to a brother or sister. Both parties end up receiving a blessing from God when this act of encouraging a brother takes place.

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7784 - Unbelieving Heart

Today we will discuss the second of five warnings for people in the church –– the body of Christ. This warning is found in Hebrews 3, verse 12. Listen:

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

The first warning to the believers found in the book of Hebrews is in chapter 2, and warns against apathy or indifference –– just drifting away. Both of these warnings are directed to people who have hearts, which are unresponsive to God’s plan and purpose for life.

This second warning regards unbelief about God. The original Greek speaks of a heart which is evil and which is evidenced in unbelief. The word translated by the English word ‘evil’ in the original speaks about an active apposition to the good of God. This same word is used to refer to Satan. He is in active opposition to God’s plan for good, and is seeking to destroy the good things of God.

The person to whom reference is made in this verse is not a passive individual who is willing to quietly perish in his own evil. That would be a terrible termination for an opponent of God, but this evil person is one who is not content unless he is actively corrupting as many others as possible. He is eager to drag others into the same pit of destruction to which he himself is heading.

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7783 - God's Anger

In Hebrews, chapter 3 is a review of how the people of Israel provoked God by their stubborn refusal to believe that God would in fact overcome the strong people who lived within walled cities in the land of Canaan.

Listen to Hebrews 3, verses 10 and 11:

That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, “Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.” So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”

Let’s review some history to prepare for today’s study.

Abraham had been directed by God to come to Canaan from Ur where he had grown up. In Canaan Abraham entered family life and was blessed by God. God promised Abraham, his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, that he would give this land of Canaan to their descendants. Later Jacob and his family took refuge in Egypt because of a famine in Canaan.

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7782 - Warning Against Hardness

Today we check out the second warning for believers in the book of Hebrews. Listen to Hebrews 3:7-9:

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.

The book of Hebrews has many backward glances about events which affected Israel in their early years. Today’s passage refers back to an experience which the Israelites faced after they ended 430 years of slavery in Egypt, and were on their trip to Canaan.

The Israelites had evidenced stubbornness and unbelief many times as they journeyed toward Canaan. Often Moses fell on his face before God pleading for forgiveness for the people.

When they reached the Desert of Paran, the Lord instructed Moses to send men to explore the land of Canaan. A man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel was chosen, and instructed to go and see what the land was like. They were also to take notice of the people, and the towns in which they lived, the land, crops and fruit of the land

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7781 - Over God's House

Today we continue in the early verses of Hebrews 3 so we again see the name of Moses as it relates to the house of Israel, and the name of Jesus as it relates to the house of God, or literally to the family of God throughout eternity.

Listen to Hebrews 3, verses 5 and 6:

Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and hope of which we boast.

These verses are speaking about Moses and Christ giving service in some part of the house of God. In context Moses is commended as being a faithful servant in the house of God as relating to the Israelite people here on earth, particularly during the last forty years of his life, during which he was God’s chosen instrument to shepherd Israel from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan.

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7780 - Greater Than Moses

Today we consider Hebrews 3, verses 3 and 4. Listen as I read:

Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

God had a purpose in bringing the book of Hebrews to be written. It seeks to convince all seekers that the sacrifices under the Law were only the type of sacrifice which was required by God, and which became a fulfilled reality through Jesus. Thus a new covenant of Grace was introduced through the crucifixion of Jesus, which is superior to and supplants the first covenant of animal blood under Law.

These verses point out that Jesus is worthy of greater honor than Moses.

Let’s note that Moses was perhaps the most respected person to any and all of the Jewish readers of this letter.

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7779 - Faithful In Appointment

One of the strong testimonies of inner character in a person is faithfulness in completion of a task, which has been assigned to you.

Let’s talk about the faithfulness of Jesus as the Son of Man on earth. Listen to Hebrews 3:2:

He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.

Some points deserve attention in this passage, which is talking about Jesus as the Son of Man: about his faithfulness in completing the assignment for which he came to earth.

We notice the comparison between Jesus and Moses. Why are they mentioned in comparison? We will look more closely at this in our next discussion; however, we will point out that they were both assigned a task by God, which was to be completed on earth.

Moses lived about 1500 years before Christ. His life’s story is recorded in Exodus through Deuteronomy in the Bible. Moses was called upon to be God’s man in leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt and into the land, which God promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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7778 - Think On Jesus

We continue in our study of the book of Hebrews. At the end of chapter 2 is a full explanation of how Jesus went through suffering as a human being in order to qualify to sacrifice his body for sin on the cross. By completing this mission he became the faithful high priest in service to God in behalf of sinful humanity. The sacrifice of the body of Jesus on the cross was the only means to reconcile holy God with sin stained people. The death and resurrection of Jesus brought hope, and a single means by which a sinner could be reconciled with holy, pure God.

Now any individual who in faith relies upon the works and person of Jesus Christ, is born again. Trinity God enters their human spirit and takes up Lordship residence. This means they have new life — eternal spiritual life. And because of the resurrection of Jesus they have confidence of glorification in heaven with God and all his family.

In chapter 3, verse 1 of Hebrews, we find one provision which is made for every believer to be growing in preparation for future glorification.

Listen as I read:

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

Notice that every holy brother, that includes every human being who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ, is exhorted to fix their thoughts on Jesus.

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7777 - He Was Tempted

Today let’s talk about how Jesus suffered because of temptations while here on earth.

Let me read Hebrews 2: verse 18:

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Some people shrug their shoulders in unconcern when they think about the temptations of Jesus. After all, if he was the perfect Son of God, would he not be impervious to temptations? Would he not be able to just shrug them off?

True, if Jesus were operating in the power of his heavenly might, then temptation would not even scratch the surface. They would bounce right off.

The truth is that Jesus had laid aside the use of his mighty power before he came to earth as a baby boy. The Holy Spirit tells us through the apostle Paul in the book of Philippians, that Christ, “emptied himself” as one feature of taking on human flesh. During His life here on earth, as the Son of Man, Jesus was committed to rely totally upon Father God for anything that was required beyond human effort. He said, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me;” and he told his disciples that it was the Father, living in Him, who was doing his miraculous work.

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7776 - High Priest

We have come to the first of several references to Jesus as the high priest. Let’s explore what that means.

Listen to Hebrews 2:17:

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

We again call attention that the book of Hebrews exalts Jesus Christ as the author and founder of the New Covenant of grace, and pronounces Him superior to all of the previous figures who have stood before God in behalf of the people of earth.

The priesthood to which usual reference points, is the Levitical priesthood instituted as a part of the Law. The high priest was the chief figure in the order of priests. He has special duties in standing between God and the people.

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