Archive for the 'Ordinary Time' Category

Autumn Thoughts: Rejoice The Lord Is King

Rejoice The Lord Is King

1Cor. 15:27-34

We should never preach or pray as though Christ is not already risen, but to gain a sense of God’s drama, we also need a healthy sense of incredulity, wonder, and mystery, not in addition to, but as a vital organ of, a living faith.”

…the preacher of [Scripture] will do well to preaching accordingly: never as judge but seeing to it that the Word of the Lord is clearly and plainly stated, that the Word itself will do its work.” – Timothy Matthew Slemmons, Year D author

This last sermon in Year D is a summation of all the previous texts, especially the last month or so as we’ve looked at Jesus’ road to the Cross. As we enter a new Christian year starting with Advent next week, we can view today’s emphasis on Christ as King as a fitting transition. We move from considering the work of Jesus as He prepared for the end of His ministry on Earth, to contemplating God’s preparation for the coming of His Messiah during the season of Advent and then Christmas.

Called By The King? Join In

* A King’s Work ~ 1Cor. 15:27-28

  • setup: Jesus IS Risen! Everything we believe and teach hangs on this (v14); Resurrected for Rule (v24-25)
  • 27 since the Father set up this plan, the Father is not under the Son
  • 28 In Obedience, the Son is subject to the Father; ARE WE?

* A Worker’s Concern ~ 1Cor. 15:29-31

  • 29 Paul isn’t saying this is right; he’s underlining the belief in the Resurrection
  • 30 why work so hard to share the Gospel if you don’t believe it?
  • 31 Paul put himself in harm’s way to share Christ; ARE WE?

* A Willing Character ~ 1Cor. 15:32-34

  • 32 if Christ isn’t Lord, what’s the point of life?
  • 33 “bad company” = be careful to who or what you listen; what you choose to listen to SHAPES your character
  • 34 literally, WAKE UP TO RIGHTEOUSNESS; “your shame” = the whole group. This congregation wasn’t teaching their people the TRUTH that Jesus is King: both Lord and God; ARE WE?

Jesus is given authority (King); Jesus is a fulfillment of God’s promise (Messiah); Jesus is set apart for a mission (Christ) ARE WE?

Autumn Thoughts: The Kingdom of Truth

The Kingdom of Truth

John 18:33-38

There’s a lot of conversation these days in our political climate when the subject of “citizenship” comes up. Who belongs, and who doesn’t. This isn’t new. When Roman citizens moved throughout the known world, they would sometimes have to prove they belonged to the Empire. St. Paul, a Roman citizen himself, writing the Philippian Christians, said, “Our citizenship is in heaven.”

This idea doesn’t make sense to everyone; it certainly stumped Pontius Pilate. When Jesus was brought to him, he tried to figure it out…

To Make Sense of This Summons, Ask

* What Reason For Wrath? ~ John 18:33-35

setup: the next morning after the railroading; they’ve taken Him to Pilate, because the Jews can’t execute anyone; they want Him DEAD

  • 33 Pilate is seeking context; If Jesus CLAIMED this, it could be seen as sedition against Rome (a capital offense)
  • 34 Jesus figures out that this idea of sedition IS NOT from Pilate; it’s more likely that this charge was what the Sanhedrin could come up with to ensure Jesus’ death (THEY charged Him with blasphemy, not a capital offense in Rome)
  • 35 Pilate knows Jesus isn’t trying to overthrow Rome; so WHY are the Jewish leaders so upset with Him?

=> because they’re facing the King of Truth!

* What Kind of Kingdom? ~ John 18:36-38

  • 36 An Elsewhere Kingdom: worldly standards do not apply
  • 37 An Everyone Kingdom: all who listen to Truth are subjects in it
  • 38 An Evasive Kingdom: only those who are willing to chase after Truth will find it

If you are unwilling to see the Truth, He can stand right in front of you, and you’ll miss Him!

 

Autumn Thoughts: Untenable or Intolerable?

Untenable or Intolerable?

Matthew 26:59-64

“Untenable” is a great word: it means “incapable of being defended”, like trying to argue for a four-sided triangle, or a pointy circle. It ALSO means “not fit to live in”, when referring to a condemned building. Some ideas are untenable in both ways: they’re illogical, and you can’t live IN them.
But what about Jesus’ claims…?

Enemies of God WILL End Up

* Faking Qualifications ~ Matthew 26:59-60

  • 57/58 The setup: this is NOT the legal trial
  • 59 this is a strategy session to entrap Jesus
  • 60 but they couldn’t find anything “bad enough” to warrant death – TODAY: people will STILL search for any possible reason to reject Jesus; they don’t WANT Him to be right, because *they* don’t want to be wrong

Do WE look for reasons to reject Christ’s Lordship over areas of our lives? Can we ever say “NO, LORD”? That’s as illogical as “four-sided triangle” If we say “NO” to Jesus, He’s not our Lord. If we say Jesus is Lord, then what He says, we do!.

* Facing THE Question ~ Matthew 26:61-64

  • 61 Jesus DID say this (John 2:19), but the context is wrong; How often do WE misunderstand Christ… because we haven’t *actually* done the work in carefully studying the Scripture? Ask yourself: when was the last time you DUG IN to the Word? GO DEEPER – there’s more riches to be found!
  • 62 Since Jesus doesn’t respond to the trap, it won’t work: this INFURIATES the high priest
  • 63 THE ULTIMATE QUESTION: Is Jesus God? Untenable: can any man be God?
  • 64 Intolerable: YES! Jesus WAS, and IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE; Jesus even tells them THEY WILL BE HIS TRUE WITNESSES (as opposed to the false witnesses they tried to bring against Him) – they WILL see Jesus glorified: Judgment Day

Two questions we each must face:

1) Is Jesus God?

2) Is Jesus LORD?

What’s YOUR answer?

 

Autumn Thoughts: Can We Pray Like Jesus?

Can We Pray Like Jesus?

Mark 14:32-41

During World War II, Hitler commanded all religious groups to unite so that he could control them. Among the Brethren assemblies, half complied and half refused. Those who went along with the order had a much easier time. Those who did not, faced harsh persecution. In almost every family of those who resisted, someone died in a concentration camp.
When the war was over, feelings of bitterness ran deep between the groups and there was much tension. Finally they decided that the situation had to be healed. Leaders from each group met at a quiet retreat. For several days, each person spent time in prayer, examining his own heart in the light of Christ’s commands. Then they came together.
Francis Schaeffer, who told of the incident, asked a friend who was there, “What did you do then?” “We were just one,” he replied. As they confessed their hostility and bitterness to God and yielded to His control, the Holy Spirit created a spirit of unity among them. Love filled their hearts and dissolved their hatred.

To Pray Like Jesus, Ask Yourselves

Are We Distressed? ~ Mark 14:32-34

  • 33 Jesus felt overwhelmed. Jesus was troubled. Just because we’re followers of Christ doesn’t guarantee that we’ll always have a wonderful life. Suffering and trouble aren’t exempt from faith.
  • 34 interesting that Jesus both wants his friends close… and yet doesn’t want them with Him in the midst of His prayer. It’s okay for us to want conflicting things WHEN WE’RE CONFLICTED. How can we focus on the response, instead of the circumstance?

Are We Discouraged? ~ Mark 14:35-36

  • 35 Jesus asks what’s possible; He doesn’t want to face what’s coming
  • 36 Jesus knows God COULD change His plan – but defers to it anyway. IMO, toughest prayer to pray ever (and one we daily need to pray)

Are We Determined? ~ Mark 14:37-41

  • 37/38 Jesus is let down by his friends; unsupported
  • 39 Jesus REPEATS His prayer – He keeps asking
  • 40/41 Jesus is resigned to the hour at hand; He submits to God’s Plan (even the unpleasant parts) What are YOU facing? How willing are you to go along with what God plans for you, even though it’s not what you want?

No matter what are YOU facing, no matter how you’re feeling about it, remember: Jesus showed us how to pray IN Distress and Discouragement: with Determination. Let’s make the choice to pray like Jesus when we’re faced with suffering.

Autumn Thoughts: Let Go Of Lording It

Let Go Of Lording It

Luke 22:24-38

On my trip this week, I shared my name with many people that I met. I shared my bank information with far fewer people. I mentioned my hometown, but I didn’t give my exact address. There are lots of ways to identify yourself. Did you know about IP addresses? Unique identifiers to the whole of the internet, so that each individual computer can talk to all the others.

I’ve come up with four I.P. instructions that might help us in living our faith in ways that Jesus wants us to live.

What Are My Spiritual I.P. Instructions?

* Invert Power ~ Luke 22:24-27

We are not to exercise power like the world; instead we serve one another. I asked you two weeks ago: WHO DO YOU UNCOMFORTABLY SERVE? Let me follow up on that question: WHY do you serve THOSE YOU CHOOSE?

* Inherit Position ~ Luke 22:28-30

Jesus places us into His Kingdom; it’s all about WHO you know. Ask yourself: do I know Jesus? Or do I just know **about** the Christ? What steps do you need to take to grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord?

* Invoke Protection ~ Luke 22:31-34

.Jesus prays for Peter. Did you know that Jesus prays for YOU? NOW? Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” And Romans 8:34 reads, “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died– more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU KNEW THAT JESUS WAS PRAYING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW?

* Immediate Promise ~ Luke 22:35-38

Jesus reminds His followers that God provides for what God requires of them. WHAT MAKES US THINK HE’S STOPPED THIS PROCESS? DO YOU TRUST HIM OR NOT? WHY?

Haggai 2:5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

We try to usurp Christ as Lord out of fear: fear that we won’t get what we want if we surrender to what HE wants.

Autumn Thoughts: The New Law of Love

The New Law of Love

John 13:21-38

No treachery is worse than betrayal by a family member or friend. Julius Caesar knew such treachery. Among the conspirators who assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 B. C. was Marcus Junius Brutus. Caesar not only trusted Brutus, he had favored him as a son. According to Roman historians, Caesar first resisted the onslaught of the assassins. But when he saw Brutus among them with his dagger drawn, Caesar ceased to struggle and, pulling the top part of his robe over his face, asked the famous question, “You too, Brutus?”

Today in the Word, August 13, 1992

Every Christian Chooses Between

* The Loss of Betrayal ~ John 13:21-30

  • 21/22 could be anyone; could we? DO WE?
  • 23/25 notice the encouragement in the midst of confusion: “ask Him!” WHO DO YOU NEED TO ENCOURAGE? “are you struggling? Ask Jesus”
  • 26 giving bread like this was a “mark of courtesy and esteem”; reminder-Jesus LOVES Judas; Jesus knows how badly we can mess up AND LOVES US ANYWAY. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT FOR YOURSELF? FOR OTHERS?
  • 27/30 At some point, Judas’ flirtation with betrayal grows into full-on possession by Satan. ARE YOU FLIRTING WITH BETRAYAL?

* And The Law to Be Loving ~ John 13:31-38

  • 31/32 “is glorified” = a future event as if already completed; 5 times Jesus reminds us that He WAS/IS/WILL BE glorified; the Cross isn’t a shame, it’s His FAME
  • 33 does this FOR us, NOT WITH US; If we’re trying to sacrifice something in our lives to impress God, it won’t work
  • 34 “new” = FRESH; loving isn’t new; COMMANDING it is
  • 35 AS we love, we witness to the world that we belong to Jesus; WHO DON’T YOU LOVE? WHY?
  • 36/38 Peter’s excitement overshadows his patience; Jesus knows Peter’s end state (“you will follow later”) even though he’s going to pass through a time of faithlessness

You might be feeling that you’re facing a time of faithlessness; worse, you might not be feeling it at all! Nevertheless – Jesus has faith in YOU – Are you returning that faith in Him?

Autumn Thoughts:The Intimacy of Service

The Intimacy of Service

John 13:1-20

The Dead Sea is so salty that it contains no fish or plant life. What accounts for this unusual condition? There are absolutely no outlets! A great volume of water pours into this area, but nothing flows out. Many inlets plus no outlets equal a dead sea.

Some “Christians” are like the Dead Sea. They have several “inlets” but no “outlets.” To be vibrant and useful believers, we must not only “take in” all we can, but we must also “give out” in service to others!

Every Christian Should Expect

* The Inconvenience of Intimacy ~ John 13:1-11

  • 1/3 Jesus loves ON PURPOSE; He KNOWS terrible things are going to happen, but shows love anyway
  • 4/5 uncomfortable intimacy then; what response today?
  • 6/8 Peter knows how inappropriate this feels! Jesus’ response? “you don’t know what I’m doing” – DO WE?
  • 9/11 this was never about cleanliness, or even intimacy: this is about the cost of caring for others: this is LOVE in ACTION – WHOSE FEET DO YOU WASH? WHO DO YOU UNCOMFORTABLY SERVE?

* The Submission to Service ~ John 13:12-20

  • 12 We STILL grapple with this question “do you understand what I have done for you” DO WE?
  • 13/15 Jesus EXPECTS us to follow His example
  • 16/17 Be honest: do you tell yourself “I’m too good for *that*”? WHEN you do, what do you give up? WHAT BLESSINGS HAVE WE MISSED?
  • 18/20 Jesus USED His Pain to Point to God’s Promise

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:16-17) NONE OF THESE ARE PASSIVE, NONE ARE PRIVATE – Jesus expected it and did it; why aren’t we?


Pastor Ed Backell

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