Posts Tagged 'Kingdom'

Amos: A Nation Restoration

A Nation Restoration

Amos 9:8-15

Got my bathroom floor done! I knew it would be challenging, but there were some unexpected truths I learned in the process. Perhaps my activities have shaded my sermon process; but perhaps the opposite is true: my Scripture reading has shaped how I’m viewing my current situation. Let’s take a look:

To Restore The Nation, The Lord Has To Do

* Demolition: Sinful Structures Shatter ~ Amos 9:8-10

  • 8 **sinful kingdom** Specifically Israel, but not only (ref. earlier chp); SIN will be wiped out (not all people)
  • 9/10 Israel’s judgment as demonstration of God’s power and justice – those who participate in sinful structures will be shaken

* Renovation: the Kingdom Connection ~ Amos 9:11-12

  • 11 God will make the nation whole (and He did)
  • 12 WE, the grafted ones, are included in this promise – God has restored David’s kingdom THROUGH JESUS

* Restoration: Repair and Restore ~ Amos 9:13-15

  • 13 God’s blessings WILL follow (and they did)
  • 14/15 “MY people Israel” as a kingdom, Israel was destroyed; as a PEOPLE, they were restored

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

God intends for us to be WITH Him, not away from Him. Once our sin has been dealt with, we can enjoy our restored relationship.

The Living Word: Being Born Again

Being Born Again

John 3:1-13

One of the neatest things about going to Star Trek: The Cruise is seeing all the costumes. One of the challenges of Star Trek: The Cruise is figuring out what all those costumes are meant to convey. Some are just “hey, I’m into Trek”, but some are much more obscure, and it begs the question: “who ARE you supposed to be?” – as we read in chapter 3 of the Gospel of John, we see this same question raised, and Jesus’ answer is a lot more challenging than a simple answer.

The Process of Being Born Again Raises

* Kingdom Questions ~ John 3:1-8

  • 1/2 implied question: Who ARE You? From God, yes, but WHO?
  • 3/4 Jesus’ response is about SEEING THE KINGDOM; Jesus points back to God’s work, not His own; Nicodemus misses
  • 5/6 now about ENTERING THE KINGDOM; action of the Spirit, not the person
  • 7/8 Notice the PUN: Wind/Spirit are the same word; the Spirit/Wind moves, but YOU aren’t in control; not even when you belong to the Spirit. We move IN RESPONSE to the Spirit (like a hang-glider or a sailor)

* Costly Answers ~ John 3:9-13

  • 9 Nicodemus is all about following the Law of his own will; it must be disheartening to discover that our effort isn’t effective
  • 10/11 Jesus isn’t teaching a new concept:
    Ps.51~create new heart & spirit;
    Ez.11&36~give a new heart & spirit; remove heart of stone, give heart of flesh;
    Jesus KNOWS how the Father & Spirit have chosen to work because He’s PERSONALLY PARTICIPATED IN THE PROCESS
  • 12/13 Jesus tells Nicodemus (and us) that He KNOWS what He’s talking about because He’s BEEN THERE.

Therefore, to SEE and ENTER the KINGDOM is a matter of TRUSTING: is Jesus who HE says He is: the one who came from God to tell us about God?

We either hold to that belief and surrender our lives to Him – or we reject it.

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!


Snapshots from Mark: Stay Awake

Snapshots from Mark: Stay Awake Sermon Audio Here

Mark 13:24-37

I found this WONDERFUL way to remind myself of things: Just listen… Now, wouldn’t it be great if God gave us wake-up calls? Well…

Jesus Gives Us All A Wake-Up Call:

A Call For Caution ~ Mark 13:24-27

  • 24 This refers to The Day Of The Lord cf. Isa. 13:9-10
  • 25 CODE: not actual destruction of stellar objects; language used to denote the end of a ruling era (cf Ezk. 32; Amos 8; Joel 2 – diff. Kingdoms, same ending language)
  • 26 God WILL REIGN (cf. Dan 7:13)
  • 27 cf Deut 30:3-6 (God will gather & restore His people);
  •    Jer. 32:37 (God will bring us back to Himself);
  •    Ezk 34:13, 36:24 (God will bring His people to His land);
  •    Zech 2:6 (God scattered His people to the ends of the earth because of their disobedience, and He calls them back home)

A Call To Clarity ~ Mark 13:28-31

  • 28/29 Cause and effect: summer follows winter; God’s plans bear fruit
  • 30/31 “this generation” = within the lifetime of His followers. A.D. 70 certainly was; hold onto Jesus’ enduring word

A Call Of Self-Control ~ Mark 13:32-37

  • 32 that Day under control of the Father
  • 33/34 each with his assigned task: God has tasked US to be His servants
  • 35 four watches of the night, 6pm-6am
  • 36/37 “to watch for him is to… use the time that remains before his coming in the work of winning others for him. It is to recognize him gratefully in his intermediate comings in the persons of the least of his brethren.”1

We do not need to wait until Jesus’ return to live as Kingdom people NOW.

1. (Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary; St. Mark, by C.E.B. Cranfield, p. 412)

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.

Learning from Luke: Seek the Easter Kingdom

Learning from Luke: Seek the Easter Kingdom Sermon Audio Here

Click here to play the file

Luke 12:22-34

Frederick the Great of Prussia once visited a school, and singled out a little girl, held up a stone in front of her, and asked, “To which kingdom does this stone belong?” “To the mineral kingdom,” came the quick reply. “And to which kingdom does this apple belong?” “To the plant kingdom.” Next the king pointed to the picture of a horse and asked her to classify the horse. “It belongs to the animal kingdom,” said the girl. Then, after a pause, the king demanded, “And to which kingdom do I belong?” Now the girl hesitated. Finally, she answered, “You belong to the kingdom of God.” The king was deeply moved by this unexpected reply and said to the girl, “Pray God that I may be found worthy of such an honor.”

Anyone who accepts the work that Jesus has done on the cross can be a part of that Easter Kingdom.

As A Part of the Easter Kingdom, We Can See That:

He is Lord of Everyday Life
Luke 12:22-24~ don’t worry about stuff

  • v22 Jesus’ focus: don’t worry about life
  • v23 Life is MORE than stuff (cf. Abundant Life John 10:10)
  • v24 how valuable are you? Do you agree with God on this?

=> If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, that carried no balance from day to day, allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and finally every evening canceled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. what would you do? Draw out every cent–of course!
Well, you have such a bank and its name is “Time.” Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it rules off–as lost–whatever of this you had failed to invest to good purpose.

He is Lord of Common Time
Luke 12:25-28~ how do you spend your time?

  • v25 we are not in control
  • v26 what is impossible for us is a little thing to God
  • v27/28 God cares for you because of who HE is

He is Lord of Constant Care
Luke 12:27-31~ think about how God values you

  • v29/30 God knows your needs
  • v31 Agree with God about His priorities

=> Queen Victoria, after hearing one of her chaplains preach on the second coming of Christ, said, “Oh, how I wish that the Lord would come during my lifetime.” When asked why, she replied, “Because I should so love to lay my crown at His feet.”

He is Lord of Everlasting Hope
Luke 12:32-34~ let go of stuff; hold onto God

  • v32 We don’t trust God because of FEAR; yet God trusts US
  • v33 trade your old stuff for PERMANENT treasure
  • v34 your heart is connected to your stuff (how do you define yourself?); Jesus reminds us to be connected to GOD, and let HIM define us

Think about your daily life: how do you spend your common time? Are you burdened with constant care over what you feel you need? Let go of anything that weighs you down, and be lifted in the Hope of the Risen Savior. Set your mind and heart on God’s trust in you to live as a citizen of Heaven right here, right now.

Walking in Two Worlds: Kingdom or Republic?

Walking in Two Worlds: Kingdom or Republic? Sermon Audio Here

1 John 5:1-6

In 1908, Methodist pastor Lynn Harold Hough wrote a pledge for the new (at the time) Christian Flag: I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands; one brotherhood, uniting all mankind in service and in love.

The concept of pledging allegiance (to a flag, or a concept, or a nation) brings to mind the question:

What Shapes Our Kingdom Citizenship?

We are marked by obedience
1 John 5:1-2 Obedience sets us apart as Kingdom People

  • v1 belief is our birthright; brotherly love is our response
  • v2 love is shown by obedience

We are motivated through obedience
1 John 5:3-4 Kingdom work is empowering

  • v3 obedience is NOT obligation (not have to, but want to)
  • v4 faith enables our obedience, and so we can overcome

Jesus modeled obedience
1 John 5:5-6 Jesus’ ministry was obedience to the Father

  • v5 to win at life, you need faith
  • v6 water of baptism; blood of the cross;
  • – both acts of submission to the Father

We are called to live as subjects of a Kingdom even as we live as members of a republic. The key to this balancing act is submission: we submit to the Father, and because of that, are empowered to be His servants in a hurting world.

The Messiah’s Ministry: Multiplier of Ministry

The Messiah’s Ministry: Multiplier of Ministry
Isaiah 55:1-5 Matthew 14:13-21
Two years ago, I planted a few tomato plants, and some of the unpicked tomatoes fell to the ground. Last year, I had a lot more than a few volunteer tomatoes spring up. Multiplication at work!
God Is At Work When We See:
* Compassion in the midst of pain (13-14)
* Concern in the midst of problems (15-18)
* Confirmation in the midst of provision (19-21)
A Big God isn’t concerned with little resources; give what is available, and God will do what is needed for His Kingdom.

The Messiah’s Ministry: The Nature of the Kingdom

The Nature of the Kingdom
Ezekiel 12:1-9 Matthew 13:10-16

Why Don’t More People Respond to God’s Kingdom Call?
* Knowledge of God is Demonstrated
Ez. 12:1-9 Look at Ezekiel’s actions & people’s response

* Knowledge of God is Given
10-13 Look at Jesus’ actions

* Knowledge of God is Refused
14-16 What is the people’s response?

Pray for NEW hearts (Ezekiel 11:19 – I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.) BEFORE introducing to Jesus – pray that rebellious and calloused hearts would be changed.

The Messiah’s Ministry: Answer People’s Questions

Messiah Ministry: Answer People’s Questions
Matthew 12:9-21

A friend once asked Isidor I. Rabi, a Nobel prize winner in science, how he became a scientist. Rabi replied that every day after school his mother would talk to him about his school day. She wasn’t so much interested in what he had learned that day, but she always inquired, “Did you ask a good question today?”

As We Encounter People with Spiritual Questions:

Look for The Motive (vs. 9-14)
Look At The Attitude (vs. 15-21)
Jesus demonstrated His Motives and His Attitude in His actions. His actions revealed His character – which shows that He is, indeed, the Answer for the World today.

Pastor Ed Backell

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