Archive for the 'Ordinary Time' Category

Christ Is Our King

Christ Is Our King Sermon Audio Here

Ephesians 1:15-23

It’s Christ the King Sunday, the newest day in the liturgical year. It was first added in 1925 in response to increasing secularization movements worldwide, but in particular to the plight of Mexican Christians who were being told by their government that only their government was due ultimate allegiance. The Church in Mexico remained faithful, holding public parades throughout the land (with significant governmental pushback!) proclaiming “Cristo Rey!,” “Christ is King!” {gratefully borrowed from the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church}

The Benefits Of Belonging In The Kingdom:

To Know The Father, We Know Christ ~ Ephesians 1:15-19a

  • 15 this reason=they have guaranteed salvation
  • 16 if we fully knew what Christ has done for us, we’d be overcome with thankfulness
  • 17 spirit=NOT H.S., but “breath/inspiration” to know the FATHER better
  • 18/19 we MAY know called hope, rich inheritance, & great power

To See The Kingdom, We Show Christ ~ Ephesians 1:19b-23

  • 20 God put Jesus in the highest position
  • 21 Christ surpasses comparison of power and authority
  • 22 Christ rules over ALL; Head of the Church
  • 23 a head can’t function without a body; a body can’t function without a head

We are Christ’s local presence: if the world would see Jesus, they’ll see Him (or not) THROUGH US.

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A Thief in Thessalonica?

A Thief in Thessalonica Sermon Audio Here

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Have you ever been burgled? Home security systems make a big deal of fear to sell you their product. That’s all about preparing for something you DON’T want to happen. But what about something you DO want?

Preparing for the Positive Surprise

Start NOW to Get Ready ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5

  • 1/2 Church KNOWS not to watch times and dates; WE FOCUS on the valuable
  • 3 destruction=because they refused to prepare (silly image: pregnant woman who ignores oncoming labor pains – not stopping that baby’s arrival!) WE WAIT
  • 4/5 DARKNESS; God puts His light in us: WE SHINE (so don’t focus on darkness)

Stay On Guard ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11

  • 6 let us=WE CHOOSE to be aware
  • 7/8 WE GIRD ourselves, dress like a watchman (defensive armor)
  • 9 Jesus wins, we’re on His team; amount of playing time isn’t the issue
  • 10 We are DESTINED TO WIN!
  • 11 encouragement LEAKS! Remember how Paul told them to encourage each other just a chapter ago?

This is an ONGOING TASK: guard duty means choosing to be alert for others’ protection and benefit. HOW? WE SCHEDULE this! We make room in our lives to protect each other.

Theory of Thanatos in Thessalonica

Theory of Thanatos in Thessalonica Sermon Audio Here

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

It seems that every time we watch the news or read the paper, we learn about some new tragedy. Death occurs with astonishing regularity, even if the circumstances surrounding it become more and more bizarre.

How Can We Respond When Faced With Death?

We Can Have Knowledge AND Hope ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

  • 13 WE GRIEVE DIFFERENTLY
  • 16 NO SECRET~ ALL WILL KNOW GOD IS AT WORK:
  • 17 WE JOIN JESUS AFTER HIS RETURN:
    • Day of the Lord order: Return of Jesus FOLLOWED by resurrection of dead in Christ FOLLOWED by our joining Christ in the clouds
  • 18 This is GOOD NEWS: we haven’t missed it!

The Thessalonians were concerned because they’d received differing accounts of Jesus’ return. Paul writes to them to set them straight… and we can be reassured as well: Jesus WILL return, and He WILL take us home: that’s all we need to know, and that’s what gives us hope!

Thriving In Thessalonica

Thriving In Thessalonica Sermon Audio Here

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

In our first week looking at First Thessalonians, we tested thankfulness. Our second week, we measured motive. Today, we talk about flourishing faith:

Faith That Thrives Or Is Merely Alive: What’s The Difference?

Living Faith Is FUSED With Life ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:9-11

  • 9 preached=heralded; called out the truth; while working among them, the gospel was talked about (less pulpit, more participation)
  • 10 among you: Paul & team immersed themselves in the lives of others
  • 11 like a good father does

Thriving Faith is USED Throughout Life ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13

  • 12 encouraging, comforting, urging: father/pastor/coach => movement towards worth/value
  • 13 the Word “which is at work”; we’re not intended to just sit

How do we know that God has ACTUALLY called us? How do we know that our FAITH is real (and we’re not just fooling ourselves)? Because we CHANGE. We’re DIFFERENT. The presence of God’s Grace does something in us, and we walk with God into His Kingdom.

Thinking About Thessalonica

Thinking About Thessalonica Sermon Audio Here

1 Th. 2:1-8

Consider all of the tests available today: Meyers/Briggs Personality tests; MENSA intelligence tests, SAT/PSAT-NMSQT academic tests… what about motives? Last week, we looked for genuineness (testing thankfulness); this week, we’re measuring motive…

How Do We Test For Intent?

Watch What Is Dared ~ 1 Th. 2:1-4

  • 1/2 willing to risk sharing
  • 3/4 why willing? Because they know they’re called/entrusted

Check Why It’s Shared ~ 1 Th. 2:5-7

  • 5 flattery= like a politician who says whatever needs to be said to gain a vote
  • 6 apostles are enabled with authority, but don’t use it to gain glory (opposite of politician)
  • 7 nurture, not neediness

1 Th. 2:8 because we love, we want to give more than the gospel, but our selves. Give your SELF away!

Thankfulness For Thessalonica

Thankfulness For Thessalonica Sermon Audio Here

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

eBay has a new verification service to prevent fraudulent goods being sold: they’re shipped to experts who verify authenticity before the buyer gets them.

How Can We Tell If Thankfulness Is Genuine?

Thankfulness is Seen ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

  • 1/3 WHAT we do, WHY we do it, and HOW we do it can inspire thankfulness; this means that we’re being WATCHED by others
  • 4/5 Elements of God’s choice: the Word; power; Holy Spirit; conviction. We’re WATCHED by GOD

=> Don’t let the fact that you’re being watched cause you to be self-conscious. Rather, recognize that God’s work in you is WORTH WATCHING.

Thankfulness is Heard ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10

  • 6 Welcome the Word (even though life can be hard, we can still receive God’s good news in bad times)
  • 7 Reveal Your Reception (don’t be scared to show what God is doing in you; people are probably noticing anyway)
  • 8/10 Sound Your Salvation (rang out=only here in NT, sounded like an echo; share what God is doing in your life)

The Thessalonians were faithful, but not too mature in their faith. Paul shares this encouraging thought with them to remind them that God IS among them, doing His work. Our takeaway: we don’t NEED to have Master’s degrees to be used by the Master!

Pearls from Philippians: Contending Companionship

Pearls from Philippians: Contending Companionship Sermon Audio Here

Philippians 4:1-9

In Boxing, “The importance of a good stance cannot be stressed enough. A good stance provides balance, and is a key to both attacking and defensive techniques. Boxers should be able to throw a punch without losing their balance.”

What’s Our Stance in Circumstance?

Stand Firm With Your Faith Family ~ Philippians 4:1-3

  • 1 STAY IN THE LORD because of love, joy, and want; deep desire to have us all be together in Christ
  • 2 agree=Phil 2:2 (be one in spirit and purpose) we do NOT all need to think the same thoughts; but we DO need to remember we’re part of the same family, and our different points of view do not need to estrange us from one another
  • 3 notice HELP: sometimes it takes the intervention of others to help us see that being one in spirit and purpose is an INTENTIONAL CHOICE. Some days, I feel just plain disagreeable. Other days, I’m worse! Those who love me are kind enough to remind me that I need a little help to be more like Jesus. That’s our job as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Choose To Rise To Challenges ~ Philippians 4:4-7

  • 4 CHOOSE: joy, repeatedly
  • 5 CHOOSE: reasonableness
  • 6 CHOOSE: thankfulness in prayer
  • 7 RESULT: God’s peace will mount a guard over your heart (the answer to the strife at beginning of chapter)

Philippians 4:8-9 “think on these things” means ”to take an inventory” of these attributes. STOCK UP and USE THEM in your life.


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Pastor Ed Backell

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