Posts Tagged 'Ezra'

Lingering in Worship: Enacting

Lingering in Worship: Enacting

Ezra 10:1-6; Hebrews 13:7-16

If we’re going to linger in worship, that means we’re planning on being in God’s presence. THAT means we have to deal with sin, because God will not tolerate sin in His presence.

Can We Surrender Our Sin In God’s Presence?

Learn the Previous Pattern for Repentance  ~ Ezra 10:1-6

  • 1 Serious Remorse in the face of sin
  • 2/4 Costly Repentance to align with the Law
  • 5/6 Solemn Recognition to deal with consequences

=> remember, OT narratives do NOT need to be reenacted exactly the same way today (cf. 1Cor 7:12-16); our responsibility is to find what will thoroughly equip us (2Tim 3.16)

Trust the Permanent Partnership For Redemption  ~ Hebrews 13:7-16

  • 7 Our task today: CONSIDER & IMITATE FAITH (not method)
  • 8 God does not change; our circumstances do- so should our responses
  • 9 GRACE not LAW for growth
  • 10/14 go beyond the Law to the Lord
  • 15/16 we still sacrifice! Not paganism, but praise; not sanctions, but SELFishness

SIN is two things: 1) our broken nature, which we can’t fix (but Jesus already has); and 2) the choices we make based on our nature, which we CAN FIX. Ask yourself: what choices am I making to cope with God’s presence?

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Lingering in Worship: Preparing

Lingering in Worship: Preparing

Ezra 8:21-23; 1 Peter 1:13-19

Quick refresher: Ezra is about rebuilding the Temple after the nation of Israel returns from exile. Ezra the priest shows up in chapter 7, introduces himself to the reader, and then moves the narrative along in chapter 8. He knew the newly rebuilt temple would need ministers, so he calls Levites together to staff the ministry. Then he has to move them to the Temple grounds, through hostile territory.

Prepare for Worship? We Need To Get Our

Heart Smart ~ Ezra 8:21-23

  • 21 FASTING isn’t to convince God of your sincerity; it’s to remind YOU to live in HUMILITY BEFORE GOD
  • 22 inconvenient truth: if you BRAG about God’s provision, you’d better be ready to depend upon it
  • 23 Is this FORCING God to answer the way we want? No – it might be forcing us to LISTEN better, though

Mind Aligned ~ 1 Peter 1:13-19

  • 13 not FOR salvation, but BECAUSE OF salvation
  • 14/16 one sentence: don’t shape your life by your old values; use Jesus’ life as your template: be holy Gk. “up and down, back and forth”
  • 17 live carefully, impartially (like God): THIS TAKES PREP WORK
  • 18/19 You are REDEEMED: not a purchased slave, but a cleansed child of God

We say that “liturgy/worship” is the work of the people. This work can be joyful, fulfilling, and life-changing. It just takes some preparation to get the most out of it.

Lingering in Worship: Teaching

Lingering in Worship: Teaching Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 7:9-20; Colossians 3:12-17

Can we overemphasize the importance of a teacher? If I ask you to consider the greatest teachers you can think of, do you automatically think of famous philosophers who imparted wisdom for the ages? Maybe. More likely, you’ll think of someone who taught YOU something that changed YOUR life.

How Does A Teacher Transform A Life?

Receive Royal Recognition ~ Ezra 7:9-20

  • 9/10 intro: Ezra arrives to study and teach
  • 11/14 search the Law (know your source material)
  • 15/17 collect and use offerings (gather your materials)
  • 18/20 restore correct worship (teach the lesson)

Give What You’ve Gained ~ Colossians 3:12-17

  • 12 you are chosen, so choose the good
  • 13 you are forgiven, so forgive
  • 14 wrap up life in love
  • 15 let peace BE YOUR UMPIRE
  • 16 Word BE AT HOME IN YOU
  • 17 ALL (means all) in Jesus name

What do teachers make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.  One man, a CEO, decided to  explain the problem with education.

He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

He reminded the other dinner guests what  they say about teachers, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

To emphasize his point he said to another  guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie.  Be honest. What do you make?”    Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,  “You want to know what I make?” She paused for a second, then began.

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.  I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.”

“I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class  time when their parents can”t make them sit for five minutes without an iPod, Game Cube or movie rental.”   She paused again and looked at each and every person at  the table, and continued, “You want to know what I make?”

“I make kids wonder.”

“I make them question.”

“I make them apologize and mean it.”

“I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.”

“I teach them to write and then I make them write.  Keyboarding isn’t everything.”

“I make them read, read, read.”

“I make them show all their work in math.  They use their God-given brain, not the man-made calculator.”

“I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in  English while preserving their unique cultural identity.”

“I make my classroom a place where all  my students feel safe.”

“I make my students stand, placing their  hand over their heart to say the Pledge  of Allegiance to the flag, one nation under God, because we live in the United States of America.”

“I make them understand that if they use the  gifts they were given, work hard, and follow  their hearts, they can succeed in life.”

Pausing one last time, Bonnie continued, “Then, when people try to judge me by what  I make, with me knowing money isn’t  everything, I can hold my head up high and  pay no attention because they are ignorant.  You want to know what I make?”

“I make a difference.”

“What do you make, Mr. CEO?”

His jaw dropped, and he was silent.

Everything you do, do IN Jesus. Jesus is your ultimate teacher: are you transmitting what He’s teaching?

Lingering in Worship: Persisting

Lingering in Worship: Persisting Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 5:1-5; Hebrews 9:1, 11-15

Our eyes have a neat feature called “persistence of vision”. When light enters the eye, we see it… but we continue to see it even after it’s stopped. Ever watch a kid playing with a sparkler on the Fourth of July, and watch them draw shapes in the air? Your eyes “connect the dots” and you see something due to persistence of vision.
What do you see in your spiritual life? What is persisting in worship mean to you?

What Remains In Our Vision of Worship?

The Call to Carry On ~ Ezra 5:1-5

  • 1 prophets’ message: come to ME, get to work
  • 2 rebuilding temple work starts again
  • 3/4 enemies thought they’d won; Israel just on pause
  • 5 This time, even though a letter was written, they didn’t stop working; they kept rebuilding the temple
  • they persisted in the work necessary to worship

Christ Has Carried Us All ~ Hebrews 9:1, 11-15

  • 1 (see much of OT)
  • 11 temple in Heaven is REAL; earthly temple just a copy (still good, still used, but not the original)
  • 12 Jesus is the PERFECT sacrifice; ONCE for ALL
  • 13/14 our works of worship are temporary; Jesus’ are permanent
  • 15 “for this reason”: the new agreement that God made with us was to rescue us based on HIS righteousness, not ours, using HIS work of worship, not ours. The old temple rituals of sacrifice are fulfilled, and no longer needed

Christ’s sacrifice COMPLETES the work of worship; now, when we participate in worship, we’re not working or earning or proving anything: THIS is just about being in the presence of God together, reminding each other of where we are and Who we’re with.

Lingering in Worship: Contending

Lingering in Worship: Contending Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 4:1-6; Jude 1:1-6

When I think of the word “contending”, I think of boxing. I was never a fan until a good friend of mine took time to educate me about “the sweet science”. There’s as much preparation in boxing as there is in chess. They study their opponent as much as they study themselves. As we contend for the faith, what might we face?

How Can We Be Aware Of Spiritual Deception?

The Snare of Likely Fakery ~ Ezra 4:1-6

  • 1 Ask yourself: WHY would Israel’s ENEMIES want to help? What’s their motivation?
  • 2 they THINK they worship the same God; they DO NOT
  • 3 How to answer deception? Speak the truth (nope!)
  • 4/6 When you don’t play along, you’re going to draw ire; YOU’RE NOT ALONE

The Struggle of Living Faith ~ Jude 1:1-6

  • 1/2 remember, God has called you!
  • 3 USING your faith might be difficult; be prepared
  • 4 be on guard against false teaching that deviates from GRACE
  • 5/6 remember: God saves, but those who choose the wrong get judged for it

Our Faith is a GIFT that we’re intended to USE, not just possess! It’s constantly tested, because the world is DESPERATE to see authentic faith that goes beyond mere personal preference. Let them see it IN YOU.

Lingering in Worship: Building

Lingering in Worship: Building Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 3:1-11; 1 Peter 2:4-10

There’s a lot of new buildings going up in our little town; as the foundations are being laid, we can start to determine the intended use of the building. Can we do this for our own lives?

What Is Faith FOR?

Focus on the Foundation of Faith ~ Ezra 3:1-3, 6-7, 10-11

  • 1/3 they start building the altar right away
  • 6/7 they worship BEFORE the temple is completed
  • 10 “took their places” – what is YOUR place in worship?
  • 11 Praise for the Foundation of Faith (USE VS 11 TO CLOSE)

Function of the Foundation of Faith ~ 1 Peter 2:4-10

  • 4 GOD is doing the building, not us
  • 5 we offer worship THROUGH Christ
  • 6/8 because the whole POINT of worship is to TRUST CHRIST
  • 9 we receive these blessings TO DECLARE CHRIST
  • 10 Just like God’s people in Ezra, we have received undeserved mercy: why? Call back to Ezra 3:11

“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.’” We Praise God for the Foundation of Faith… because we CAN Praise God!

Lingering in Worship: Qualifying

Lingering in Worship: Qualifying Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 2:1ff; Col. 1:9-14; Rom. 8:26-30

There’s been a shift in the meaning “qualified”: originally, it meant “to invest with a quality”, as in “I qualified him fit for duty”. NOW it means “to be entitled by fulfilling a necessary position”, as in “you can’t race in the Boston Marathon until you’ve qualified for it.” We’ve heard the phrase “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” But what does that mean for US?

God INVESTS in the Qualified; So…

WHO are the Qualified? ~ Ezra 2:1 and following

  • 1 from last week: God moved these people’s hearts; NOW their bodies have followed
  • 36-43 Priests: you’d expect priests, Levites, and temple workers to go rebuild the temple. Vested interest (The VESTED)
  • 55 “descendants of Solomon’s servants” people who have already been involved often keep going (The TESTED)
  • 59 “couldn’t show they were from Israel” SOMETIMES the vision to do something for God is so compelling, that the unexpected show up (The REST)
  • 68 The VESTED+TESTED+REST=The QUALIFIED

WHAT do the Qualified Receive? ~ Colossians 1:9-14

  • 9 knowledge, wisdom
  • 10 life, fruit, growth
  • 11 strength, power, endurance, patience, joy
  • 12 thankfulness, inheritance
  • 13 rescue, relationship
  • 14 The Qualified -> The Redeemed

WHY are we Qualified? ~ Romans 8:26-30

  • 26 we’re weak
  • 27 we’re spoken for
  • 28 we’re called to HIS purpose
  • 29 we’re IN PROCESS
  • 30 The Qualified -> The Redeemed -> The Glorified (to become like Jesus)

God has INVESTED you with what He wants you to have (the old meaning of qualified), and THAT makes you ELIGIBLE AND ABLE to participate in the race He’s set before you (like the newer meaning). The whole POINT of our faith is to become like Jesus. God started it; God will finish it!


Pastor Ed Backell

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