Archive for the 'Epiphany' Category

Aha Moments: God’s Guest List

Aha Moments: God’s Guest List

Matthew 8:5-13

Not everyone is comfortable in new or different environments. Some people just can’t picture themselves doing a different thing, so they always do what they’ve always done. But what if the Jesus that’s being rejected is just some bad misunderstanding of who He really is? How can we encourage others to truly interact with Jesus?

Go Beyond Invitation

Support the Seeker’s Search ~ Matthew 8:5-9

  • 5 non-Jewish military man seeks out a rabbi; this is WEIRD
  • 6 notice nothing is asked; the centurion just states the facts
  • 7 Jesus: heal=I will serve/cure/restore (not a super definite word)
  • 8 centurion: heal=cure! (more certain)
  • 9 modern vernacular: SAY THE WORD

Foster the Seeker’s Faith ~ Matthew 8:10-13

  • 10 centurion faith isn’t in God whom he can’t see, but Jesus right in front of him
  • 11 reminder: the Kingdom is larger than redeemed Israelites
  • 12 “subjects of the kingdom” → the natural nation of Israel; we have to remember that there is a difference between the chosen people of God Israel and the political state of Israel
  • 13 The command we ignore here? GO!

If we believe that Jesus is doing is work, then we’re to trustingly GO. Ask yourself: where are you supposed to be GOING?

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Aha Moments: Spotted Fruit

Aha Moments: Spotted Fruit

Matthew 7:13-20

We’re all trying to grow as people; how can we tell if something is good for growth? On what should we focus to grow well?

For Good and Godly Growth:

Choose Carefully ~ Matthew 7:13-14

  • 13 “two ways” language is common in Jewish lit.; Jesus challenges us to consider WHY we choose the harder path
  • 14 seek LIFE (cf. Deut. 30:19-20a – choose life)

19This 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… 20and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

Defend Against Fraud ~ Matthew 7:15-20

  • 15/16 look at the LIFE of the teacher, not just the teaching itself
  • 17/18 we act OUT OF who we are, good or bad
  • 19/20 we can view this as a death of our old self

John 15– Jesus is the vine; if we want to bear good fruit, we must stay connected to Him

Aha Moments: The Ongoing Offering

Aha Moments: The Ongoing Offering

Matthew 6:7-15

Contrast Catholic understanding of Communion as an ongoing offering with our use of the Lord’s Prayer as a repeated model

What Does The Lord’s Prayer Show Us?

Ongoing Offering On Our End ~ Matthew 6:7-8

  • 7 “keep on babbling”=vain repetition; NOT an injunction against repeating prayer, but repeating patterns for sound alone sake; we do NOT practice “magic”, and we do not need a specifically said formula or phrase for prayers to reach God (cf. Luke 18:9-14)
  • 8 NOTICE: Prayer is NOT to “inform” God of your needs. We’re not telling God anything He doesn’t know. We’re OFFERING UP our desires as an ongoing reminder TO US that we need God

Pattern Over Procedure ~ Matthew 6:9-10

  • 9 our MODEL prayer, not Liturgical
  • 10 First Act: Admit God is Holy. Second Act: Submit to HIS will. Both of these are all about GOD, not us. Put God First!

Offering As Exchange ~ Matthew 6:11-13

  • 11 “daily” gives translators fits: it’s a uniquely Bible word that doesn’t really appear in ancient literature. Think of daily bread as “Just-In-Time inventory”; we depend upon God for our daily supply
  • 12 we give up OWING as we give up BEING OWED; want to be set free? Stop holding onto what binds you
  • 13 “temptation”=God doesn’t tempt: He allows us to experience testing situations (cf. James 1:13-15)

Matthew 6:14-15 – all about equity: AS (dependent upon) we forgive, we are forgiven. If we do not let go of our RIGHT TO JUSTICE, we have no right to ask for mercy from God. I’d rather have God’s infinite mercy rather than my limited sense of justice!

Aha Moments: The Partnership of Faith

Aha Moments: The Partnership of Faith

Hebrews 11:1-7, 39-40

One farmer said to another: “Friend, I heard that you asked the Lord for that good garden. Is that correct?” “Yes, sir, it is,” proudly replied the man whose flourishing garden was his delight; “only I never pray for a good garden unless I have a hoe in my hand. I say, `Lord, you send the sunshine and the rain, and I’ll keep down these weeds.’ “

How Can We Partner With God?

We Build Our Base Through Faith ~ Hebrews 11:1-5

  • 1 “being sure”=related to foundation; faith is foundational
  • 3 faith here is a verb: we are to use our faith to help us understand the universe
  • 4 Abel used faith as his reason for sacrifice, and it was credited to him as righteousness (like Abraham)
  • 5 “was taken”=translated/transposed/changed; God brought him home; ask: how could you use your faith in a way that would please God?

We Receive Our Rewards Through Faith ~ Hebrews 11:6-7,39-40

  • 6 “rewards”=lit. BECOMES A REWARDER: as we seek God, He rewards us with HIMSELF
  • 7 “in holy fear”= moved to minister because of reverence;
  • 7b “condemned” Noah judged the world not worth his time compared with saving his family through obedience to God
  • 39 people of faith might receive individual blessings, but these saints had not received their salvation BEFORE they acted in faith; they stepped out in faith FIRST
  • 40 better for us: Jesus! OT saints trusted God to save them through faith; NT saints (us) trust God the same way: but we have a NAME TO USE

CLOSE: Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Aha Moments: The Complete Covering

Aha Moments: The Complete Covering

Hebrews 10:13-25

Much of Hebrews deals with the Jewish sacrificial system; much of that system deals with blood and sacrifice. Why should we care about it now?

Because we STILL try, in our own power, to live lives according to a scale: if we do more good than bad, we’re “good” people (in most moral systems). But does God weigh our goodness against our badness?

How Is Our Covering Complete?

Salvation is Settled ~ Hebrews 10:13-18

  • 13/14 Our salvation is COMPLETE; God has done what was intended
  • 15/16 the intent is God IN us (not just knowing ABOUT God)
  • 17/18 God doesn’t forget/un-know about our sin; rather, God doesn’t grasp/dwell on our sin – He dwells IN US

Presence is Present ~ Hebrews 10:19-25

  • 19/20 we’re intended to be in God’s presence
  • 21/22 we encourage each other to draw closer to God: no more smoke screen!
  • 23 we HOLD, we HOPE, we PROFESS
  • 24 we THINK
  • 25 it’s pretty tough for us to encourage each other if we’re not around each other: Congregationalism for the WIN!

God doesn’t weigh our goodness against our badness; He weighs ALL of our deeds against ALL of His righteousness. Therefore, we’re completely LOST without Him!

Thanks be to God for the promise in Isaiah 26:12: “LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” Our lives are lived IN RESPONSE to God’s Completed work!

Aha Moments: At Once, At-One

Aha Moments: At Once, At-One

Hebrews 9:11-15

From now until Lent, we’re going to be looking at Epiphany as a season, with the them of A-ha moments: times when we’re faced with sudden clarity. Today, let’s look at how God brings us closer to Himself: the Atonement. {explain 40 step OT atonement ritual}

We Are At One With God:

Able: Christ is Able to meet our needs

  • Heb. 9:11 Christ’s priestly work NOT a part of creation (He wasn’t qualified by what He DID here)

Total: Christ completely paid for us

  • Heb. 9:12 Christ’s priestly work made possible by His own blood; completely fulfilled God’s requirement for all sin ETERNALLY

=> The OT Day of Atonement was a ritual which took 40 complex steps to enact, and had to be done yearly; still observed on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the fall.

Once: Christ’s one sacrifice for sin

  • Heb. 9:13/14 Christ’s priestly offering was done ONCE, cleanses INTERNALLY, and PERMANENTLY

NE (Anyone): Christ’s payment available to all

  • Heb. 9:15 Christ’s priestly offering was extended to all who are called > all who receive the Promise > all who have been set free from sins

 

Snapshots from Mark: Diagnosing a Demon

Snapshots from Mark: Diagnosing a Demon Sermon Audio Here

Mark 9:14-29

I ran across an inspiring quote this last week: “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.” An admirable sentiment; but what happens when the problem is absolutely beyond our means to solve?

How Do We Deal With Devilish Difficulties?

Situations Solved Solely by Jesus ~ Mark 9:14-18

  • 14/16 Why RUN to Jesus?
  • 17/18 When we strike out solving our own struggle

Spiritual Solutions Accessed Through the Son ~ Mark 9:19-24

  • 19 “unbelieving” they’d tried to solve a spiritual problem by natural means
  • 20/22 “if you can”=the father doesn’t understand the spiritual world; he knows there’s a demon problem, but he doesn’t know Jesus’ place in that spiritual reality
  • 23/24 “I believe YOU can fix this – it’s beyond me” = the admission that leads to salvation

Supernatural Shows Up the Merely Natural ~ Mark 9:25-29

  • 25/27 The results of Jesus’ work are often misinterpreted, when viewed through a merely natural lens
  • 28/29 spiritual problems require spiritual solutions

The Disciples were using Jesus’ authority without understanding its origin: Jesus is LORD of Heaven and Earth. The Father has GIVEN all authority to the Son, and so when the Son’s name is appropriately invoked, as an agent of the Son, spiritual forces will pay attention!


Pastor Ed Backell

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