Archive for the 'Lent' Category

Lent: Our Reception

Lent: Our Reception Sermon Audio Here

Matthew 21:1-11

In computer terminology, a “handshake” is an exchange of signals necessary for two-way communication. How does God “signal” us that He is at work?

God Readies His People To Receive

Notice the Preparation ~ Matthew 21:1-5

  • v1/3 Jesus functions as PROPHET; because of vs 3 “IF anyone says anything”
  • => PROPHET – one chosen by God to listen for and tell others the Word of the Lord
  • v4/5 Prophecy points to Jesus as KING; segue to next section

Notice the Reception ~ Matthew 21:6-11

  • v8/9 Crowds received Him as KING: cloaks on the road just like King Jehu in Old Testament (2 Kings 9:13)
  • => KING – one invested with authority
  • Crowds received Him with joy: palm branches as expressions of joy (Lev. 23:40; 1 Maccabees 13:51)
  • v10/11 Crowds recognized Him as PROPHET

Final questions:
1) Since Jesus is Prophet: How will you LISTEN for God’s Word?
2) Since Jesus is King: how will you FUNCTION under God’s authority?
3) Since Jesus is Savior: How will you WELCOME Jesus as He approaches?

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Lent: Our Struggle

Lent: Our Struggle Sermon Audio Here

Romans 8:6-11

When your engine making weird noises, or your computer is behaving strangely, or there’s a sudden change in health status; It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on internally!

Why Is The Spiritual Life A Struggle?

We’re Stuck With Two States ~ Romans 8:6-8

  • v6 “mind of the flesh” to live according to that state; “mind of the Spirit” to live in the state of the Spirit
  • v7 description of the meat-minded: hostile/OPPOSED; it wants its OWN way, not God’s, and it CAN’T choose God on its own!
  • v8 NOT merely “controlled by” but IN THE FLESH; there’s no separation. We do NOT have a neutral nature that is somehow influenced by a bad fleshly side and a good godly side

we are either living led by the Spirit, or we are quite literally meat-heads

We’re Settled By One Spirit ~ Romans 8:9

  • v9 IF the Spirit lives in you, you aren’t “of the flesh”; Spirit brings life and peace to the spiritually dead (God breathed the Spirit-becomes a living soul); CONVERSELY, if the life lived isn’t of the Spirit, that means the Spirit isn’t present = meat-minded

If a person can’t live led by the Spirit, they’re lost

We’re Saved To Serve Forever ~ Romans 8:10-11

  • v10 NOTE: your body is dead because of sin whether you have the Spirit or not; all flesh dies. The point Paul makes here is that even though your meat-tent will pass away, what is YOU, your SELF, doesn’t need to: when you allow the Spirit to make Your life His HOME, He brings you to life, KEEPS you alive, and produces His righteousness IN you to show you it works
  • v11 God’s Spirit OVERRIDES death; we no longer need fear it, because we will live THROUGH/PAST it; our bodies will still fade, but they are merely temporary dwelling places for our SELVES which have been joined to the Spirit. And since the Spirit (our roommate in us) will live forever, so will we!

Ezekiel 37:14~ I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”

God DESIRES to bring us to life: but we have to receive what He gives on His terms so we know HE is at work, not us.

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!

Learning from Luke: The Lord’s Prayer

Learning from Luke: The Lord’s Prayer Sermon Audio Here

Click here to play the file


Luke 11:1-13

Isaiah 62:10-11- the Isaiah passage talks about God’s urging His people to pass through the gates, to celebrate His goodness towards them. On Palm Sunday, we remember how Jesus passed through the gates to shouts of acclamation and praise. But interacting with God needs to go much deeper than the occasional shout. We NEED to move past the mere waving of palms, and into the deeper places of prayer.

To Go Deeper With God,

Learn the Components of Prayer
Luke 11:1-4

  • v1 Ask God to teach you through prayer
  • v2 Father- close relationship;
    hallowed- holy remembrance;
    your kingdom- submission to God’s will over your own
  • v3 dependence – daily manna
  • v4 Pulpit Commentary: “unforgivING is unforgivEN”;
    conditional nature to forgiveness, LET GO to receive;
    recognize we are VULNERABLE to temptation –
    God never leads us to be tempted (James 1), so this prayer is a reminder that we need to follow God’s holy directions instead of our own fallen nature

Cultivate Constancy in Prayer
Luke 11:5-8

  • v5/6 example of obligation; we are to care for others
  • v7/8 example of boldness; we don’t annoy God with prayer- God appreciates what would drive us to distraction!

Commit to Prayer
Luke 11:9-13

  • v9/10 ask/seek/knock= increase in fervor; keep going in prayer!
  • v11/13 we don’t give rotten gifts, and we’re rotten ourselves – we know to give better than we are; in Matthew, God gives “good things”; Luke is more specific – God gives HIMSELF as our answer to prayer

What prayer could you possibly pray where God Himself showing up wouldn’t help?

This last week, a grandpa “PawPaw” made burgers for his grandchildren, but only one grandkid showed up. Are you showing up for God in prayer?


Pastor Ed Backell

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