Lent: Our Light

Lent: Our Light Sermon Audio Here

Ephesians 5:8-14

Consider the history of the light bulb – all variations on a concept: power passing through a medium gives off light.

How Do We Live As People Of Light?

Ephesians 5:8-14

  • v8 my favorite verb: peripateo; walk around in the light; we are to MOVE
  • v9 we are to BEAR FRUIT of light: this is a natural result, not forced
  • v10 “find out” less ‘discover’ and more ‘determine’ we are to INVESTIGATE
  • v11/12 “have no fellowship” we are to EXPOSE (shine the right amount of light, like developing ground-penetrating radar of a minefield
  • v13/14 we are to SHINE (this little light of mine)

1 Sam.16:7 – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Lent: Our Peace

Lent: Our Peace Sermon Audio Here

Romans 5:1-11

I’ve been noticing new construction around our town. Have you ever considered all the parts that go into the construction of a permanent dwelling? Jesus said He’d prepare a place for us – we haven’t “moved in” yet, but what do we already have right now?

What Parts of Peace Do We Have?

Present Terms of Peace ~ Romans 5:1-5

  • v1 NOT “we must make peace” but “realize that you already HAVE peace”; this is not a call to cessation of conflict with God – this is an encouragement to let us know that God has already granted us peace because of our being made just according to HIS will
  • v2 access INTO grace? Faith is a VERB here; when we USE our faith, we enter into the grace we’ve been given. Example: a builder constructs a house to specifications, but we have to walk INTO the house to take possession of what we own “on paper”
  • v3/4 suffering leads to perseverance, and then character, and then hope
  • v5 we hope for God’s love; our hope is REALIZED because of the presence of the Spirit; once we recognize our hope, we give God glory in response

Perfect Timing for Peace ~ Romans 5:6-11

  • v6/7 “right time” Kairos; God’s timetable, not ours
  • v8 God gave us what we needed BEFORE we knew we needed it: Christ’s atoning death
  • v9 Jesus’ sacrifice fulfills God’s covenant with us
  • v10 Every blessing we have is because we are connected to Christ. His death paid our price; His Resurrection pulls us into Eternal Life
  • v11 “have now received” Both PRESENT AND FUTURE

“Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. ~Exodus 17:6

God stands before us in our times of trouble with His solution. He has already provided everything you need for peace; you just have to recognize it.

Lent: Our Credit

Lent: Our Credit Sermon Audio Here

Romans 4:1-5; 13-17

Your credit score is based on other people’s estimation of the likelihood that you’ll pay your debts on time. But what if you have a debt that is IMPOSSIBLE to pay? How will that effect your bottom line?

To Build Your Eternal Bottom Line

Deal In The Right Currency ~ Romans 4:1-5 [Don’t trust in your capacity to demonstrate righteousness to God]

  • v1/2 do our works earn God’s favor? NO
  • v3 our righteousness is ASSIGNED to us
  • v4/5 we earn wages from our work; we are ENRICHED by God’s character and choice;
  • in other words, our reception of righteousness isn’t about us at all; it’s about GOD’s goodness towards us

Live In The Right Design ~ Romans 4:13-17 [Don’t Force the Law to fulfill a role for which it is not designed]

  • v13 LAW is based in the negative; you don’t receive goodies for keeping the Law, that is expected; rather, you are punished if you BREAK the Law
  • v14/15 therefore, law brings wrath as its wage (if you break it)
  • v16 God’s goodness isn’t demonstrated by Law, but by Grace
  • v17 Grace can come to anyone, even those who aren’t part of the Law system

God is not a crutch; God is our entire life support system!

Paul makes 2 points we have got to catch: 1) We CANNOT EARN God’s favor; it is ALWAYS assigned to us on credit. 2) the point of the Law isn’t righteousness; it’s relationship. We cannot live according to the Law to be considered “righteous”; the Law acts as a mirror to show us our brokenness, our NEED for God.

Lent: Our Need

Lent: Our Need Sermon Audio Here

Romans 5:12-19

How do we discover our need? Often, we encounter a situation where something needed is discovered lacking; other times, we’re informed that a previously unknown circumstance affects us in ways for which we are unprepared.

We Have A Great Need

A Terminal Sickness ~ Romans 5:12-14

  • v12 No one doesn’t sin, so no one escapes death
  • v13/14 you claim “I’m a good person, I don’t break the law” but sin isn’t about breaking the Law

A Treatable Situation ~ Romans 5:15-18

  • v15 sin is passed generationally; grace overflows directly
  • v16 sin snowballs over time; grace fixes the problem
  • v17 death is passive consequence of sin; grace is active reception of life
  • v18 we receive results from previous choices: sin from Adam, salvation from Jesus

19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. ~ Romans 5:19

Our need is beyond our ability to meet: left on our own, we will die in our sin. Thank God We Have A Great Savior who meets us IN our need and covers it completely!

Transfiguration: Seeing and Receiving

Transfiguration: Seeing and Receiving Sermon Audio Here

2 Peter 1:16-21

This last weekend, my family and I attended RadCon, a science-fiction convention in Pasco, Washington. It’s a chance for all of us to dress up in costumes, and hang out with others who enjoy fandom and cosplay. My costume this year was Ming the Merciless, based on the old Flash Gordon serials from the 1930’s. We spent many evenings working on our costumes, and our work paid off: we were transfigured – and ended up winning Best in Show! (make sure you scroll all the way down to the end of the post…)

Transfiguration Today is Attainable:
God Changed Moses
Exodus 24:12-18~ God calls Moses into HIS presence, and Moses is never the same

  • Our Exodus text starts with an invitation: God calls Moses to join Him on the mountain, specifically to receive the Law. Moses goes to the mountain and waits for further instruction from Yahweh. The Lord then calls Moses into the cloud of His glory to speak with Him.
  • Moses was before change: a murderer, on the run, in hiding

God Changed Jesus
Matthew 17:1-5

  • Today is called Transfiguration Sunday; it’s the day where we remember Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain top, flanked by Moses and Elijah. The account is found in Matthew 17:1-5:
  • And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

  • Remember, Jesus didn’t hold on to His equality with God, according to Philippians 2:5-8 He became one of us, fully human. And just as Moses reflected God’s glory in his face when he came into Yahweh’s presence, so did Jesus.

God Changed Peter
2 Peter 1:16-21~ Peter was changed because of

  • v16 what he witnessed (majesty)
  • v17/18 what he heard (God’s Call)
  • v19 what he has read (Scripture)
  • v20/21 what he has received (Spirit)

We remember on Transfiguration Sunday that God is STILL in the business of changing lives. He changed Moses from a criminal on the run to the Lawgiver of Israel; He changed Peter from a headstrong fisherman to a heart-strong fisher of men; and as Jesus was transfigured by letting the glory of God shine through, we too can be changed by God’s Majesty, Call, Word, and Spirit.

Ming the Merciless (my personal transformation this last weekend)

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness Sermon Audio Here

1 Cor.3:1-9

The current snowy weather has certainly changed how we prepare to begin a journey. What might have been a quick trip to the supermarket is starting to resemble something from Scott of the Antarctic…

How Do We Get Ready for Wisdom?

Don’t Get Stuck in the World ~ 1 Cor.3:1-4

  • v1 follow up from 1 Cor 2:14-16, distinction between the person living according to the Spirit, or according to the world; Corinthians are living by the world’s standards
  • v2 the world can’t digest God’s wisdom as a whole; if we are caught up in that system, we can’t either
  • v3 indications one is caught in the flesh? They act like the world, with argumentative attitudes
  • v4 They even take spiritual leaders and reduce them to rallying slogans

Focus On Who’s Really At Work ~ 1 Cor.3:5-9

  • v5 simply, God does the spiritual work; we just help as God chooses
  • v6/7 we do different tasks, but God gives the growth
  • v8 God notices our specific help; we’ll be rewarded eventually (that’s another sermon)
  • v9 notice that the Corinthians are not counted among the workers (they’re too worldly); they are the recipients of God’s work, not the co-laborers

Deut 30:19-20a ~ This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

God chooses us for Salvation; We choose to live IN that Salvation, by responding to His Love, listening to His Word, and walking in His Way.

Preaching Schedule for 2017

For a few years now, I have been planning my sermon schedules about a year in advance. I take a few days of retreat in October, and read a lot of Scripture to see what patterns might emerge, which I then hammer out into a schedule that takes me through the liturgical year.

This year, using the Revised Common Lectionary, we’re in “Year A”. The Lectionary texts are used all over the world on a three year cycle (A, B, C), and every other year, I use the RCL to select the texts I’ll be working with.

If you’re really interested, you can go to The Revised Common Lectionary at Vanderbilt to see what texts we’ll be using for the particular day.

Here are the themes and texts we’ll be using in 2017:

2016-2017 Lectionary Year A OT Reading NT Reading
11/27/16 Advent: Preparing for the Last Day Isaiah 2:1-5 Romans 13:11-14
12/04/16 Advent: Preparing for the Promise Isaiah 11:1-10 Romans 15:4-13
12/11/16 Advent: Preparing for the Presence Isaiah 35:1-10 James 5:7-10
12/18/16 Advent: Preparing for the Child Isaiah 7:10-16 Romans 1:1-7
12/24/16 Christmas Eve: Who Showed Up? Isaiah 52:7-10 Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
01/01/17 Christmas: What Did You Get? Isaiah 63:7-9 Hebrews 2:10-18
01/08/17 Epiphany: Understanding the Directions Isaiah 60:1-6 Ephesians 3:1-12
01/15/17 Epiphany: Unpacking the Equipment Isaiah 49:1-7 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
01/22/17 Epiphany: Uniting In Leadership Isaiah 9:1-4 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
01/29/17 Epiphany: Upside-down Power Micah 6:1-8 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
02/05/17 Epiphany: Unction and Exercise Isaiah 58:1-9a 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16)
02/12/17 Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness Deut. 30:15-20 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
02/26/17 Transfiguration: Seeing and Receiving Exodus 24:12-18 2 Peter 1:16-21
03/05/17 Lent: Our Need Genesis 2:15-1 Romans 5:12-19
03/12/17 Lent: Our Credit Genesis 12:1-4a Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
03/19/17 Lent: Our Peace Exodus 17:1-7 Romans 5:1-11
03/26/17 Lent: Our Light 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Ephesians 5:8-14
04/02/17 Lent: Our Struggle Ezekiel 37:1-14 Romans 8:6-11
04/09/17 Lent: Our Reception Isaiah 50:4-9a Matthew 21:1-11
04/16/17 Raised With Christ! Jeremiah 31:1-6 Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43
04/23/17 Posts from 1 Peter: Hope is Alive Psalm 16 1 Peter 1:3-9
04/30/17 Posts from 1 Peter: Faith is Precious Psalm 116:1-4 1 Peter 1:17-23
05/07/17 Posts from 1 Peter: Endurance is Trust Psalm 23 1 Peter 2:19-25
05/14/17 Posts from 1 Peter: Placed for Praise Psalm 31:1-5 1 Peter 2:2-10
05/21/17 Posts from 1 Peter: Reasons for Hope Psalm 66:8-20 1 Peter 3:13-22
05/28/17 Posts from 1 Peter: Resisting and Restoration Psalm 16 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
06/04/17 Pentecost: The Breath of God Numbers 11:24-30 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 or Acts 2:1-21
06/11/17 Trinity Sunday: An Ocean of Mystery Genesis 1:1-2:4a Matthew 28:16-20
06/18/17 Gems from Genesis: God Hears Our Laughter Genesis 18:1-15 Romans 5:1-8
06/25/17 PULPIT SUPPLY (Annual Meeting)
07/02/17 Gems from Genesis: God Sees Our Sacrifice Genesis 22:1-14 Romans 6:12-23
07/09/17 Gems from Genesis: God Knows Our Need Genesis 24:42-49 Romans 7:15-25a
07/16/17 Gems from Genesis: God Knows Our Attitudes Genesis 25:19-34 Romans 8:1-11
07/23/17 Gems from Genesis: God Speaks to Our Hearts Genesis 28:10-19a Romans 8:12-25
07/30/17 Gems from Genesis: God Watches Our Choices Genesis 29:15-28 Romans 8:26-39
08/06/17 Gems from Genesis: God Is Willing To Wrestle Genesis 32:22-31 Romans 9:1-5
08/13/17 Gems from Genesis: God Is Aware of Our Situation Genesis 37:12-28 Romans 10:5-15
08/20/17 Gems from Genesis: God Reveals His Purpose Genesis 45:1-15 Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
08/27/17 Roaming Through Romans: Humility Transformed Exodus 1:8-2:10 Romans 12:1-8
09/03/17 Roaming Through Romans: Love Enacted Exodus 3:1-15 Romans 12:9-21
09/10/17 Roaming Through Romans: Holiness Awakened Exodus 12:1-14 Romans 13:8-14
09/17/17 Roaming Through Romans: Faith Accounted Exodus 14:19-31 Romans 14:1-12
09/24/17 Pearls from Philippians: Continuing Conduct Exodus 16:2-15 Philippians 1:21-30
10/01/17 Pearls from Philippians: Conforming Comfort Exodus 17:1-7 Philippians 2:1-13
10/08/17 Pearls from Philippians: Considering Commitment Exodus 20:1-4 Philippians 3:4b-14
10/15/17 Pearls from Philippians: Contending Companionship Exodus 32:1-14 Philippians 4:1-9
10/22/17 Thankfulness For Thessalonica Exodus 33:12-23 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
10/29/17 Thinking About Thessalonica Deut. 34:1-12 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
11/05/17 Thriving In Thessalonica Joshua 3:7-17 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
11/12/17 Theory of Thanatos in Thessalonica Joshua 24:1-3a 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
11/19/17 A Thief in Thessalonica? Judges 4:1-7 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
11/26/17 Confidence in the Incomparable Ezekiel 34:11-16 Ephesians 1:15-23

I hope that’s helpful to you as you prepare to study God’s word!
KFJ – Ed

Pastor Ed Backell

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