The JV Team: Secretary and Scribe – Baruch

The JV Team: Secretary and Scribe – Baruch Sermon Audio Here

Jer. 36:1-8/Col. 3:13-17

Background on Baruch – a learned well-connected man, brother to the chamberlain/chief of staff for King Zedekiah, he was willing to help Jeremiah speak to a nation in turmoil.

How Can We Speak To People In Trouble?

By Knowing Baruch’s Bias
Jer. 36:1-8

  • v1/4 Baruch willing to be a helper: wrote down Jeremiah’s prophecy
  • v5/8 Baruch willing to take a risk: delivered Jeremiah’s message to a hostile crowd

By Showing a Risky Response
Col. 3:13-17

  • v13 take the risk of forgiveness- let go of the right to be offended
  • v14 take the risk of loving above all- love is an ongoing choice, not a feeling
  • v15 take the risk of peace- preempt rising agitation
  • v16 How to do that? By allowing Jesus’ words to take the lead in our lives
  • v17 The result of this risk-taking? We do what we do in Jesus’ name with thankfulness

Baruch served Jeremiah through the fall of Jerusalem, and was carried away into exile with the prophet. He was helpful; he was a risk-taker; and most importantly, he was faithful to serve the Lord in times of trouble. May we be found to do the same.

The JV Team: Dr. Details – Luke

The JV Team: Dr. Details – Luke Sermon Audio Here

Luke 1:1-4

We spent 30 weeks going through the Gospel of Luke, looking at details that were noticed. But did we notice Luke himself? What example does Luke the person set for us today?

By Looking at Luke, We Learn

A Different Perspective about God
A Gentile view of a Gentle Savior

  • 1) Gentile who came to faith by Paul’s preaching (not raised in faith)
  • 2) Doesn’t mention himself by name; does use WE to indicate his own experiences
  • 3) writes from a Gentile standpoint; the only writer in the New Testament to do so – and specifically wrote them to persuade people of Jesus’ identity as the Son of Man, the chosen one of God.
  • Luke describes Jesus as the ultimate human: warm, compassionate, able to meet people’s needs through both miraculous works and mundane presence.

Indicators About God’s Work
Luke 1:1-4 why focus on details?

  • v1 they point to God’s promises as FULFILLED
  • v2 God’s promises are HANDED DOWN (intentionally passed on)
  • v3a God’s work should be RELIABLY INVESTIGATED
  • v3b God’s work should be CLEARLY SHARED
  • v4 God’s work can be CAREFULLY VERIFIED

Luke’s perspective noticed details to God’s glory; how does your view of God shape your role in God’s Kingdom?

The JV Team: Ever Heard of Hur?

The JV Team: Ever Heard of Hur? Sermon Audio Here

Ex. 17:8-13 / 1 Tim.2:1-8

Hur held up Moses in prayer; who are you holding up?

Holding Up the Actions of Belief

Join Together in Prayer
Ex. 17:8-13~ Aaron & Hur support Moses; who do you support?

  • v10 Aaron is Moses’ brother; Hur is a trusted man who helped lead (Ex. 24.14), maybe even Moses’ brother-in-law by marriage to Miriam
  • Notice: the Staff is NOT magic (God works through the Ordinary)
  • Notice: Moses is NOT superhuman (God uses everyday people)
  • Notice: Moses is NOT alone (God stood before him to provide; Aaron/Hur stood beside him to support)
  • It is not Magic or SuperPowers that win the day here: it is an act of faith by simple trusting people

Stand Together In Faith
1 Tim.2:1-8~ Timothy to teach the Gospel; first thing first: prayer

  • v1 We’ve been given the challenge that Moses enacted: to stand before God and bring our concerns to Him.
  • WHY? God knows already! But our simple act of faith in prayer makes a difference; and when we band together, like Aaron & Hur did with Moses, something extra happens
  • (cf. Mat. 18:18-20 – two+ gathered in My name, I am there w/ them)
  • v2 topic of prayer: pray for authorities. WHAT? That they would listen to God
  • v5/7 Jesus stands before God, and intercedes for us all; Jesus does it, Moses did it, Paul did it; it’s OUR turn to stand in for each other

vs 8: when we lift up holy hands, we’re lifting up one another before God. We following in the footsteps of Paul, Hur, and Jesus.

The JV Team: Apostles on the Outskirts

The JV Team: Apostles on the Outskirts Sermon Audio Here

Luke 6:13-16

Someone on a JV team (or a character actor) is generally lesser known, sometimes to learn a skill (JV) or to fill a role (cast member); all are important to make a program work.

Luke 6:13-16 ~ what happened to the rest of the list? Peter, James, and John are considered Jesus’ Inner Circle. But what happened to those disciples who weren’t on the “inside”? We know Judas’ story? But what about Philip and Bartholomew? What happened to Doubting Thomas?

Once they leave the pages of Scripture, tracking the movements of the lesser known Apostles becomes more challenging. But no matter the historical sources that are used, three things are true of each of them that are helpful for us to remember today.

Remember THIS about the Apostles on the Outskirts:

They were SENT
1) that’s what Apostle means: one who is sent away; like a messenger or ambassador. Even though the lesser known Apostles didn’t have kind of impact on the church that Paul did, for example, they still carried out the charge that was given to them by Jesus: Follow Me.

They were MARTYRED
2) They gave all they had for a very good reason – All of Jesus’ band of followers ended up being killed for their faith. Their faith wasn’t a generic faith that God would be good to humanity; the issue at hand was very specific: Did Jesus rise from the dead? They all were violently killed because they would not deny the Resurrection of Christ.

They MATTERED
3) They MATTERED as they scattered – as the Apostles dispersed, they did not all go the same direction: Andrew went to Russia; Thomas went to India. Matthew went to Ethiopia, while Philip went to North Africa. James son of Alpheus went to Syria, and Simon the Zealot went to Persia. Bartholomew went all over the place: India, Armenia, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia.

The point is that many Christians in these areas of the world consider these Apostles as THEIR Apostle, responsible for bring them into God’s Kingdom, bringing light to darkness.

These JV’ers weren’t talked about much in the pages of Scripture, but they sure set a great example for us to imitate: Follow Jesus, Give it Everything You’ve Got, and Bring Light to a Dark world: THAT will make all the difference.

Learning from Luke: Road Trip

Please note: this is the LAST in the series through the Gospel of Luke this year. I’ll be taking a week off while I’m at our NACCC Annual Meeting, and then we’ll have a new series based on little-known characters in Scripture: The JV Team.
Learning from Luke: Road Trip Sermon Audio Here

Luke 24:13-27

Last Sunday, there was yet another terrorist attack on US soil; how do we cope so that we can help?

Challenges in Unexpected Stress

Get Confused by Circumstances
Luke 24:13-18 – our responses can be bewildered by events

  • v13/14 Bewildered Response: mourning and confused
  • v15/16 BR: we often don’t recognize Jesus among us
  • v17/18 BR: downcast face=very little hope when we don’t see God at work

Know Content, But Forget Context
Luke 24:19-24 – our view can become limited by stress

  • v19 Limited View: a powerful prophet; truth: Living Word
  • v20/21 LV: possible Messiah; truth: Redeeming Lord
  • v22/24 LV: missing person; truth: Risen and Glorified

Choose to Center in the Circumstances
Luke 24:25-27 – to remind ourselves of God’s role in it all

  • v25 trust God’s word
  • v26 remember God’s reasons
  • v27 search the Scriptures

God’s role is to rule; our role is to cooperate with His reign in our lives.

Learning from Luke: A Criminal Response

Learning from Luke: A Criminal Response Sermon Audio Here

Luke 23:32-43

It’s been said that the definition of a criminal depends on what side of the law you’re on. There are blue-collar criminals who steal from individuals… and there are white-collar criminal corporations who steal from entire societies. But what is a criminal response?

To Spot a Criminal Response, Look For:

Innocence out of Place
Luke 23:32-35

Demands out of Line
Luke 23:36-39

Holy Out Of the Profane
Luke 23:40-43 <= this is Jesus’ response to the criminal

  • v40/41 the actual criminal noticed that Jesus did nothing wrong; he sees the difference between the holy and the profane
  • v42 we join with the criminal in his request: remember me
  • v43 Jesus’ response: I will

Remember the mountain where Jesus was crucified? (cf. Isa. 25:6-10a) God answered the criminal – all of us – by keeping His promise. Paradise is still accessible; all we need to is ask on His terms.

Learning from Luke: Talk At The Table

Learning from Luke: Talk At The Table Sermon Audio Here

Luke 22:14-23
During a Passover Seder, the youngest child asks an opening question: Why is this night different from all the other nights? Today, we’ll ask much the same thing: why is this meal different from all other meals? In other words, what’s really going on when we celebrate the Last Supper?

Living the Meaning of the Last Supper

Time to Remember
Luke 22:14-16

  • v14 Passover meal context: a time of remembrance of God’s deliverance (anything more is probably stretching it)
  • v15 Jesus’ desire is to be with His friends
  • v16 the meaning of the Supper: Jesus desires fellowship with us through remembering God’s deliverance

Take On the Relationship
Luke 22:17-20

  • v17/18 Share with thanksgiving what you’ve been given
  • v19 ponder as you remember; what does this mean?
  • v20 recognize the new way: new covenant, new way of doing things (cf. Isaiah 42:8-10)
  • New Life Lived by Relationship, not Rules

Resign or Restore
Luke 22:21-23

  • v21 before we abuse Judas, think of Peter: we’ve betrayed Him, too; the difference? Peter sought restoration; Judas gave himself up to his sin
  • v22 Jesus is the Sacrifice for ALL; if we deny this sacrifice for us, we are stuck in our woe

v23: A good question even today: am I seeking restoration from God, or resignation to sin?


Pastor Ed Backell

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