Posts Tagged 'Luke'



Learning from Luke: Render Unto Caesar

Learning from Luke: Render Unto Caesar Sermon Audio Here
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Luke 20:19-26

In this political season, congregations find themselves in tough situations. Should we speak for or against a specific candidate or issue? Should we ignore the political maelstrom? How do we live by God’s principles in a fallen world?

Guard Yourself Against

Twisted Motives – WHY This Issue?
Luke 20:19-22

  • v19 context: Triumphal Entry/Temple Cleansing – they’re TICKED
  • v20 they can’t morally best Jesus; they have to cheat
  • v21 1) they lie “we know”
    • 2) they tell the truth “you teach what is right”
    • 3) they set up the sting “you do not show partiality”
  • v22 the dilemma horns: YES =collaboration w/ occupying enemy; NO=sedition against government. Either way, Jesus will be hauled away out of public (which is the whole point)

Misunderstood Terms – WHAT Is Being Said?
Luke 20:23-26

  • v23 Jesus recognized their loyalty: not to KoG, but their masters
  • v24 Jesus uses elements from their kingdom to make His point
  • v25 Jesus makes a statement about ownership via image cf. Gen. 1:26 (who owns you?)
  • v26 their crafted dilemma didn’t take any other viewpoint into mind; Jesus wasn’t living by their rules, but by KoG concepts for which they had no answer

Those who wanted to trap Jesus tried to make the conversation about politics of the day; Jesus tried (repeatedly) to turn the topic to the Kingdom of God, pointing out that we ALL fall short if we try to create a system of right human behavior if we cut God out. It’s GOD’s kingdom; we just live here.

Learning from Luke: Real Repentance

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Isaiah 1:15-20 / Luke 19:1-10

Ever seen the image of the guy wearing a sandwich board which reads repent the end is near? Ken Davis once asked “which end? How near?” (60 years ago!) The call to repent has been subverted so badly that it’s become an old joke. But repentance is no joke to God…

To Reclaim Repentance, We Realize That

Religious Duty Falls Short
Isaiah 1:15-20

  • v15 Just doing religion doesn’t get God’s attention; instead:
  • v16/17 God’s motive is the change of heart
  • v18/20 God’s method is challenge of the mind

Real Difference Result of Salvation
Luke 19:1-10

  • v1/4 Awakening: why would a tax collector want to see Jesus? There must have been something different, a hope for a different response
  • v5/6 Attraction: why would a rabbi want to spend time with Zacchaeus? God sees us through Jesus
  • v7/8 Apology: world rejects our change; we say “I choose to do differently”
  • v9/10 Acceptance: salvation has come isn’t the choice to do better; it’s the reception of Jesus! This PROMPTS us to change after – change is not demanded before the Spirit brings us to life

Stages of Repentance:

  • Awakening – the Spirit has worked in us before we even know it (God chooses us first)
  • Attraction – we are drawn to Christ as He draws near to us (Christ influences us next)
  • Apology – we reject our old ways, and resolve to make a change (We respond to Christ)
  • Acceptance – we realize our new life in Christ supersedes our life of self (we surrender to God’s influence)

God’s goal is to draw us to Deity; when we surrender our heart and are transformed in our mind, our lives will show the difference!

Learning from Luke: Justice by the Pound

Learning from Luke: Justice by the Pound Sermon Audio Here
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Luke 18:1-14

In this sermon title, “by the pound” refers to the woman pounding on the door of the unjust judge late at night. We can and should DEMAND justice; of ourselves, each other, and the world itself.

As We Seek Justice, Remember:

Even the unjust can do just things
Luke 18:1-8

  • v1 we’re told the lesson at the start: don’t give up in prayer
  • v2/6 notice the unjust judge gives into persistence
  • v7 God has His justice in mind the whole time
  • v8 Will WE keep God’s justice in our minds?

We are not the source of Justice
Luke 18:9-14

  • v9 we’re told the warning at the start: self-righteousness ISN’T
  • v10/12 “I’m not like other men” is a LIE to SELF
  • v13 the counter-truth: I need you, God!
  • v14 God sees our admission of need as JUST; we agree with HIM

when we lower ourselves, we can raise God up in us. Lift Him up so all may see God and be saved! (John 3:14)

Learning from Luke: Let Your Kingdom Come

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Luke 17:20-26

Let’s be honest: we pray every week for God’s Kingdom to be known on earth. Does the world in which we live remind you of life in Heaven? Why not?

We Hold Back The Coming Kingdom When

We Watch For The Wrong Signs
Luke 17:20-21

  • v20 Pharisees used same words, but different meanings; they understood the Kingdom of God to be a political victory over opposinging forces
  • v21 Jesus sets them straight: the KoG is INSIDE, not outside; it’s about voluntary surrender to the King of Heaven, not forced submission to a stronger external force

We Want The Wrong Person
Luke 17:22-23

  • v22 “son of man” = perfect mediator between God and humanity
  • v23 “after THEM” warning about following the CROWD instead of following the LORD

We Wait For The Wrong Event
Luke 17:24-26

  • v24 His day will be when Jesus brings humanity and God together at last
  • v25 He did this at the cross
  • v26 He will do it again at His second coming; like Noah’s day, we won’t be watching

2 Kings 5:8-14 Just like Naaman was upset that the man of God didn’t kowtow to his own self-importance, most of humanity will miss the work that God is doing among us – the quiet surrender of Self to the Kingdom of God

Learning from Luke: The Lay of the Land

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Luke 15:1-10

“Lay of the Land” possible that the term originated because scouts were sent ahead to get the topology of a piece of land before settlers moved in. Refers to determining how an unknown area can be accessed.

Jesus gave “the lay of the land” of the Kingdom to his hearers, and they were unprepared for His report. Are we?

As We Look At God’s Kingdom, Ask:

Who Does Jesus Attract?
Luke 15:1-2

  • v1 Jesus draws sinners
  • v2 this makes religious people uncomfortable

What Does Jesus Address?
Luke 15:3-7

  • v3/4 isn’t it normal to look for what is lost?
  • v5/6 isn’t it normal to rejoice when you find the lost?
  • v7 Heaven is like that; Heaven responds the way we would.

What Does Jesus Affirm?
Luke 15:8-10

  • v8 high value = careful effort to regain
  • v9 once found, community invited to rejoice
  • v10 in the same way: do our values match God’s

The difference is in what is valuable enough, when lost, to find. We like what we’re already comfortable with; we “drift” from our initial decision to follow Jesus to following what we think Jesus would like. Part of our challenge as citizens of God’s Kingdom is to always be “recalculating”, to reorient ourselves on the values and the Person of Christ.

Learning from Luke: The Bottom Line

Learning from Luke: The Bottom Line Sermon Audio Here
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Luke 14:25-33

Consider Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech. It’s one of the most famous “what should I do” moments in all of English literature. How did Hamlet work through the choice to live or die? He compares one state (living with pain) to another state (dying with unknowns).

Long before Shakespeare, Jesus challenged people to make a similar choice; to discover their Bottom Line.

To Find What Is Most Important To You,

Compare with the Cross
Luke 14:25-27

  • v26 notice the large crowds: He points to the Kingdom of God
  • v26 Jesus’ example: Kingdom of God first, THEN family
  • v27 even more extreme: Kingdom of God, THEN life

Consider the Cost
Luke 14:28-33

  • v28/30 count the cost TO COMPLETION (what are your resources?)
  • v31/32 count the cost FOR VICTORY (what is your strategy?)
  • v33 count the cost FOR ETERNAL LIFE (what do you value most?)

What could you possibly have in this life that is better than Jesus? Let go of your old life so you can receive New Life in Christ!

Learning from Luke: Seek the Easter Kingdom

Learning from Luke: Seek the Easter Kingdom Sermon Audio Here

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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.


Pastor Ed Backell

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