Ron Dart 1996 Sermons

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9602 A Church is Born
“There is no received form of church government in the New Testament.” Casting lots, selecting deacons. Is the ministry the sole channel by which God’s will is revealed? Is it up to the ministry to direct and control all of the church’s actions and decisions? Who makes decisions? Why? Who learns from them? Casting lots, selecting deacons, appointing elders, house churches, the importance of everyone’s role, general principles on government. The importance of a professional ministry, yet why it is important for the people to learn to operate without one (as the ant in Proverbs 6). Organizing creates power, but diminishes individual freedom.
9604 The Word Was Precious
God’s words are, historically, rare and precious. Do we highly value it? A big danger is neglect. It requires work to put God’s law into our hearts and minds. A tribute to the tremendous value of God’s word. Love for God’s law. What is righteousness? A riveting re-telling of the history of the English Bible, its role in the British Empire and in today’s Christianity. Herbert Armstrong caused Ron Dart to hear the word of God, and when Dart heard it, it changed his life. Dramatic story of Stalin’s attempt to destroy the Lutheran Church and how putting the Bible in their mind preserved the church. Now, while times are good, is when we need to write God’s word in our heart and mind.
9605 The Experimental Church
A common-sense look at the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12, their application in the church, especially the diversity of the gifts among the members, distributed as God sees fit. They all work together to make up the body. Also, an excellent discussion on the tongues of 1 Corinthians 14. Are tongues ever of Satan? What is the purpose of tongues and prophesying in turning non-believers into believers, making disciples. “The purpose of the church service is worship, edification, and evangelism, and it should be structured accordingly.”
9608 The Lamb That Was Slain
A somber-toned sermon on the significance of the slain lamb that goes beyond Jesus the Messiah. Why it is important to look upon our savior as a violently-slain lamb.
9609 Sing the Lord's Song
Dart discusses faith in the environment of the church falling apart and compares it to the despair of the Jews in Babylon. The importance of moving ahead to serve God, the work involved, the faith involved, and Biblical examples thereof. Positive mentions of Rod Meredith and the leaders of the United Church of God. Comparison of the WCG breakup to the Acts 8 dispersion of the saints and how those saints went and did the work themselves. To look upon troubles as chastisement gives an opportunity for growth leading to righteousness. God will “shake once more” all things so that only the unshakable faith remains.
9610 Love the Stranger
Personal ministry goes beyond personal evangelism and leads to love for God and love for others. Remember that to minister means to serve. We are to be a living sacrifice to minister to others, where it makes a difference. Humility is very important and must be genuine. Dart shows excellent Biblical instruction on how to serve others in need, especially emotional needs, and how to prepare yourself for such service. He draws on his own 35 years in the ministry. Our job often is just to listen, to understand with humility, to love, and to absorb their pain. God loves the stranger, so should we.
9611 Working For Unity
Dart discusses several issues that are contentious in the church and how to keep them from dividing us. “Don’t split your church over matters of doubtful judgment.” Also addressed: disfellowshipment, and avoiding those who cause division. The important thing is to prepare yourself and the church with consistent and persistent teaching of the right things.
9612 The High Road to Unity
Religious persecution over time has been done by religious people in the name of trying to preserve the unity of the faith. Unity vs uniformity. Unity is not where the church leaders determine doctrine and enforce it upon the church. Rather, growth and unity derive from what every joint supplies. Ephesians 4 as a guide to unity, especially its emphasis on love, kindness, forgiveness, and putting away anger. Dart on church leaders exercising control over the brethren by means of coercion and fear of disfellowshipment: “I will never in my lifetime have anything to do with anything like that again. It is wrong.”
9614 Obstructionism vs Work
Lesson number 1 for people who hope to win in whatever they do. An inspiring look at Nehemiah and his persistence on overcoming obstacles to do God’s work.
9616 The 21st Elder
The throne room of God, it’s surroundings and the activities taking place in it. What are the beings there like? How do they come before God? How should we approach God? The 24 elders. The 70 elders of Israel. Why praying to angels is wrong. How are our prayers actually heard by God?
9618 Keep the Feast
In the midst of the WCG apostasy, Dart asks “Did God scatter the church? Has He done it before?” As the church fragments, it presents opportunities for many to work, not just a few. Was the Feast of Tabernacles the single most unifying thing in Israel? How might the Feast unify us? By bringing all the churches under one umbrella? Or by building relationships between congregations – to know that while they are independent, they are not alone. An excellent explanation of “where God places His name”.
9621 Prayer - What Does God Require?
Excellent sermon on prayer. Very inspirational. Why does God care about us praying? Why does it matter? Dart goes into great detail, expanding the Lord's Prayer and giving many outstanding insights. Why do we need to ask if God already knows? Why persist? Also, a heartfelt encouragement on forgiveness.
9623 The Unrepentant King
Why was King Saul a failure? How does that lesson apply to us today? Saul was chosen by God, was a good choice, a good man, humble, converted. What went wrong? Dart explores this and shows how, when Saul did wrong and was confronted with it, he lied and blamed others. His repentance was an excuse, and Dart contrasts that with David’s repentance in a fascinating comparison, while providing excellent insight on true Biblical repentance.
9625 It Can Be Done
The Christian walk is a tough one, but that's no excuse. The church is fractured, but the real hope is not organizational or structural, but of the heart, of character and conversion. Paul shows in Titus 3 how we used to be the ones that criticized, judged others, and spoke evil of them, but that was in the past -- no longer. If you find yourself criticizing other churches or their leaders, or arguing with their members, Dart shows that the Bible says this is wrong; that the follower of Christ ought not to behave that way. Love your enemies, for your good. Replace the bad and negative with the good and positive, in your thoughts, words, and judgments. There are people who are doing this; it can be done.
9627 Obedience of Faith
Dart contrasts obedience due to fear with obedience due to faith. When we don't receive consequences for sin, it's not that we have gotten away with it, but that God is giving us time to turn around. In the meantime, our character suffers. We build character by choosing the right, not by God chastising us. It is better to obey due to fear than to not obey at all, but it is better yet to obey because we trust God and respond to what He has taught us. Dart uses excellent analogies to teach the corruptive influence of cumulative disobedience. "Torah" means instruction. Choosing that way builds character, and that is what God is after.
9629 Discipleship or Evangelism?
The church has a commission to "make disciples." What does this mean? Dart looks at the Greek words for angel, gospel, evangelism, disciple, preaching, and how they are connected. The church is to go beyond evangelism and make disciples; enroll them in the school of discipleship. "It is a serious mistake to put a program on the air and sit back and wait." Evangelism is far more than just dropping leaflets from a plane, it is ultimately face to face. In Acts 8, God went to a lot of "trouble" to convert one man, the Ethiopian eunuch, but it was important. Further, Philip had to be prepared. Are you? Dart admonishes everyone to know their Bible. Could you effectively teach from Isaiah 53?
9631 The Friends of God
God seems to have special people, His friends, who will do what He says and will worship Him independent of structure, location, building, or organization. Adam, Noah, Enoch, Balaam, Elijah, the Ethiopian, the 7000, Cornelius, and “much people in this city”. One can be the friend of God, even if isolated. Dart explains how. Friendship with God is personal and does not come via a church, although churches are important.
9632 Rex Lex
Rex is king. Lex is law. Which is greater? Dart examines the relationship between Jesus and the law. Right at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus establishes that He is superior to the law, that the law is the expression of His will for mankind. Sin is its transgression and has consequences. Jesus has authority to forgive sins because He is king. There is still the law, therefore there is still sin, and Jesus is greater than all. Jesus rejected the Pharisaical rules but not God's law. The law of God is a guide to life, not a set of rules. The fact that Jesus may have permitted an exception in no way abrogates the law. The law is not king, Jesus is.
9636 The Great Trumpet
Given on the Feast of Trumpets, Dart starts off disputing the notion that the meanings attached to the holy days are limited to the church's traditional teachings. Rather, it seems there are much deeper and wider meanings to the holy days that we ought to explore. Dart talks about two types of trumpets in the Old Testament, and only one in the New Testament. He says there is no historical typology for Trumpets, and so exlores future typology with some very interesting observations, especially about the end time. The "Trump of God" is neither a shofar nor a cornet. What is it?
9638 Malachi - A Prophet for the Church
Not a feel-good sermon. The people were tired of worshipping God and didn't give of their best. The leaders of God's people have not done the job. The people aren't joyous in their worship of God. Malachi provides a strong warning to keep our covenants. The spirit of self-justification is deadly. However, an unchanging, merciful God always welcomes the repentant. Do we serve God only for what we get out of it? Malachi lays down a pattern that applies to us today.
9641 Why the Sabbath Day?
What was Jesus' practice and teaching concerning the Sabbath day? Is it just for the Jews? Did God have one standard for the Jews and another for the Gentiles? What was the practice after Jesus? What was the practice in the New Testament Gentile churches? Explanation of "first day of the week". Explanation of "the Lord's Day". Who made the Sabbath? Who sanctified it? Who is the Lord of it? Who was it made for? Dart answers all these questions and more from the perspective of a Christian.
9642 Why the Holy Days?
In an outstanding message, Dart answers why the Christian should observe the Holy Days. They are commanded; they are God's feasts; they were never just for Israel; if the stranger wants to worship God, there is only one way. Plus, there is rich typology in all the Holy Days. The imagery and symbolism of the Holy Days applies to Israel and to all mankind. They have a historical meaning, a prophetic meaning, a Christological meaning, and a salvation meaning that supersedes whatever meaning it had for the Jews. Jesus kept these days, the early church kept them, and we keep them because they are the days of God. Dart also explains verses that others use to dismiss the Holy Days, such as Colossians 2. The Holy Days mean more to the Christians than they ever did to the Jews.
9644 Thanks From the Heart
Are we truly grateful? How can I show gratitude other than saying thank-you? Where do I get the power to earn wealth? The talent? The skill? The life? We are most grateful when we are most in need. Service to God with joy of heart is an expression of gratitude. If we are stricken, might it be because God is trying to teach us gratitude?
9646 The Law-Abiding Christian
Dart addresses the role of the law for Christians who are saved by grace. As the Sabbath was made for man, so too, was the whole law made for man. Dart likens the law to a picture. While the frame around it may change, the picture never does. The administration may change, from pre-Israel to Israel to Jesus, but the law doesn't. Dart illustrates this by contrasting the Pharisaical administration of the law with Jesus' administration of the same law. The law is not our ruler, Christ is. The law is the teaching of Christ about how to conduct one's life. Also, the law is based on the nature of man and the nature of God, neither of which change. It exists for the good of man; why would it be abolished? The law shows us how to love God and how to love our neighbor. The law cannot save; it only points the finger. In the end, we are law-abiding Christians, who are under grace.
9648 Why Not Christmas?
Dart addresses why the Church of God does not observe Christmas. Historical facts pertaining to Christmas. Biblical facts pertaining to the birth of Jesus. The importance of symbolism in worship. Is the lack of Christmas observance in the Bible reason enough not to observe it? Comparison of reacting to “Merry Christmas” with eating meat offered to idols. Is everything associated with Christmas pagan? Isn’t there value in the acknowledgment of Christ’s birth? Is singing “Joy to the World” wrong?
96F01 The Nativity and Tabernacles
Dart tells of why Luke wrote so much on Jesus’ birth and Mark didn’t even mention it. Is it related to the Antichrist doctrine? Dart is an excellent narrator and his relating of the nativity is very well done. It is important that we know that Jesus was fully flesh and He went through all the associated experiences.
96F06 Be Ye Perfect
Dart looks at Matthew 5:48 in context. Does “perfect” mean future or current? No flaws? Is a wife of 50 years “perfect”? In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul addresses the “perfect”. (Dart recommends movie “The Agony & The Ecstasy”) Is art perfect? The importance of context over strict word definition. We are not a machine that can be brought to perfect precision. We are humans that can be brought to greatness.
96F10 If We Miss Them Now
Given on the Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles. What is the fate of man? Does man have an immortal soul? Is God just wasting a lot of people in order to get some good ones? What about the Jews that rejected Jesus? Dart provides an excellent refutation of an ever-burning hell. Dart examines Romans 9 in light of the "rest of the dead" being resurrected in Revelation 20. There is no historical typology for the 8th day and no prophetic typology suggested, but it is reasonable to tie it to the second resurrection. Beyond the Holy Days picturing God's plan, the Holy Days are revealing it. Dart chastizes the church for its tendency to slack off, making the excuse that "they" will be raised in the second resurrection. Dart defines the Church of God as being made up of "all those in whom the Spirit of God dwells, whether they like each other or not."
96-08-04 HA07 Married to the Method or Committed to the Message?
Dart gives a workshop on evangelism. The Worldwide Church of God's evangelistic method was so effective that people think it is the only way to evangelize. It even helped shape WCG's theology, an example of which is the centralized government that grew out of the centralized message. But what if it wasn't the method that worked, but a combination of the talent of Herbert W. Armstrong and the "wave" that he caught? That wave no longer exists. Is there another wave? Or do we need to switch tactics? Dart directs our attention back to the scriptures for direction instead of church history, concerning how to get "The Message" out there.
1996 The Kingdom Parables
Why does God not speak plainly? Why parables, analogies, and riddles? Dart looks at the 7 parables of Matthew 13 with his usual interesting, insightful style. Excellent explanation of “the kingdom of God is among you” and “the kingdom of God is within you”; how “kingdom” means “rule”, not “government”. One principle of these parables is separation; how God is fair, but people make different choices and therefore have different consequences. Another principle is one of tremendous growth, both for the kingdom of God as a whole, and for the individual.
1996 UN01 Greater Works Than These
Why are our works not greater than “these”? If you do not exercise the power and gifts that God has given you, why would He give you more? Dart explains how this applies to each of us. God has called us to spend us, to use us, not just to save us. Ephesians 4 – how every joint has a role in ministry (service). Even the smallest gift, the smallest service is important.
1996 UN04 The First of the Firstfruits
Given on the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread, Dart goes over the wave sheaf offering, the rituals and laws concerning it, and how it relates to the resurrection of Christ. Dart explains “first day of the week” and how the Greek really means a particular day of the year rather than a particular day of the week. What do the holy days have to do with Christ? Jesus was the First of the Firstfruits, we are firstfruits, and there will yet be more. Dart expresses His gratitude for the insight into Christ that the holy days illustrate. We know God by knowing what He is doing. This sermon is highly recommended for those who want to relate the holy days and Christ.
1996 UN07 Where Do We Go From Here
Importance of goals, writing them down, and deriving objectives within those goals. People must participate in setting shared objectives. Imposed goals don’t work as they tend to foster resistance or apathy. The exception, of course, is the Great Commission of Matthew 28. How do we evangelize our local community? It is not up to the local congregation to support Dart’s radio ministry, rather it is his intent is to supports theirs. Herbert Armstrong, Loma Armstrong, and Ron Dart were all products of personal evangelism. The typical mass evangelism approach is to build a mailing list, work it, get donors, visits, maybe eventually members – but only a trickle. As far as building a mailing list, TV is better than radio, but Dart chooses instead, via radio, to teach the Bible right out of the box, bypassing all the interim steps, but it takes time and patience. Subjects: Radio vs TV; mass evangelism vs personal evangelism; the purpose of the church, its orientation, and the individual’s contribution; how to attract people; how to retain people; the importance of youth ministry; how cooperation between groups stems from a common goal. It is important to let go of the old hurts or pain with the old church. The church building should be a tool for ministry, not a refuge from the world. Given during a Christian Renewal Conference in Unicoi, Georgia, in the spring of 1996.
96-10-19 Halloween, Ghosts, and Spirits
Some of the early Halloween traditions actually resembled Biblical practices. That is no longer the case. Dart discusses the spirit world and the paranormal. How most of what seems paranormal is not. Including fakes, premonitions, hoaxes, urban myths, dreams that come true, magicians, ghosts, stories, miracles. But some is of the paranormal nature. What might be the purpose? Is there any danger in a real paranormal experience? What about demon-possession and exorcisms? What does evil look like? Techniques for protecting yourself. Dart cites interesting Biblical encounters with the spirit world and shows what the real danger is.
1996 CH03 The Seventh Rest
1996 CH09 The Power to Serve
Dart relates the 7 weeks of harvest leading up to Pentecost to the harvest of men now, and how a Sabbath rest each week is commanded, even in the work of God. This rest needs to be not just physical, but spiritual. Time alone with God, time to think, to meditate, in order to grow spiritually and develop courage. A lamenting, yet encouraging view of the 23rd Psalm. Bottom line: TAKE TIME FOR JESUS.