Called to Freedom -Galatians 5:13-15
What does Paul mean, “You were called to freedom?” Where were we to begin with? Who held us captive? Freedom has a price doesn’t it? Who is paying for that freedom? As we have freedom, do we have to defend it, fight for it?
Where were we if we were not free? We were trapped by the just law of God. Yes, we are now free from the law and the curse of not being able to keep the law. How did that happen? The one who calls us to freedom paid the price. Christ calls us to live free in the Spirit, living not under the law but released from the law to fulfill the law. Yes, we do fight for the one who gives us the freedom. “The Bible says,” as Billy Graham so often said, use your freedom to love, not to stray away from what is Godly. How does this happen? Guided by the Spirit we live each day free loving as Christ loves us.
Question: What ii the Christian understanding of virtue?
Answer: A Christian understanding of virtue is that true virtue comes from the power of Christ working through us. Virtue is a trait or disposition of character that leads to good behavior. One example is that someone with virtue displays wisdom, courage, kindness, good manners, courtesy, modesty, generosity, and self-control in their life. They treat others fairly and esteem others highly and value the sanctity of life. They treat others better than they are treated. Someone who has virtue has good, moral ethics and makes Biblical choices in life.
Spit and Blood-Isaiah 50:6
Spit and blood. Sounds like a battle and terms not used in polite company and certainly not in a church. But here we are, polite company in a church ready to learn from Isaiah about a faithful servant who gets ridiculed, sworn at, bullied, spit upon and flesh ripped apart.
We question who is this servant and why the cruel treatment? In the ancient Near East, a servant was a “trusted envoy,” a “confidential representative,” or “one who is chosen.” So who sent this servant to be treated so badly? Who was he sent for? Why so much anger and hatred toward him? The servant does not back down. The servant choses to serve, to suffer and be faithful to his calling. Our text reads, “He sets his face like flint,” ready for the battle. Can’t he see that he cannot win?
Question: What are the Servant Songs in Isaiah?
Answer: There are four “Servant Songs” of Isaiah that describe the service, suffering, and exaltation of the Servant of the Lord, the Messiah. All four songs show the Messiah to be God’s meek and gentle Servant. He is a royal figure, representing Israel in its ideal form; He is the high priest, atoning for the sins of the world. Isaiah predicts that this Servant of the Lord would deliver the world from the prison of sin. In the royal terminology of the ancient Near East, a servant was a “trusted envoy,” a “confidential representative,” or “one who is chosen.” The Servant Songs are found in Isaiah 42:1–9; Isaiah 49:1–13; Isaiah 50:4–11; and Isaiah 52:13—53:12.
Credibility Check-Luke 24:26-27
Rev. Dr. Dale A. Meyer, The President of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, recently was a guest speaker on the Lutheran Hour. He stated, “Some years ago I came across two sentences that have had a profound impact upon my spiritual life. I was reading a book called Devotions for the Chronologically Gifted. You’ve got to love that title: Devotions for the Chronologically Gifted! I was reading a devotion by Rev. Arnold Kuntz. He wrote this, ‘Life narrows down, and crisis comes. And suddenly only one thing matters, and there, in the narrow place, stands Jesus.’”
Life narrows down and reality becomes clear. Maybe, you say. What are the conditions that make it true? For those who are blessed to know our Savior, who have been called by Him to serve, yes for us it is true. But what does it mean, what does it feel like to experience life narrowing down?
Two men were walking home to a village called Emmaus. It had been a long weekend filled with grief and sorrow because their friend, their Rabbi had been crucified. And now there were confusing reports of this Rabbi being alive. It just didn’t make sense. What did it mean? And then as their life narrowed down came their answer, our answer. The true credible answer of life.
Question: Where had the two disciples walking to Emmaus been?
Answer: The two disciples (Cleopas and one unnamed) of Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. As they traveled, a man joined them—the resurrected Jesus, although they did not recognize Him. The man asked, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” (Luke 24:17).
“The Voice”-John 1:23
“Remember: you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those are the words that are said as the ashes of the palm branches are placed on our forehead at the Ash Wednesday service. But there is more. Dust is not our destiny. Our destiny is to be with God forever. Paul quotes the Old Testament prophet Hosea, “Death is swallowed up in victory,” and then adds, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54 & 57 Jesus, the descendant of David, fulfilled the promise of a king, a Messiah to come. Jesus was the Word but before the Word came the Voice. Listen to the voice tonight and remember we are dust but buried with Christ we are raised with Him and live in His Kingdom now and forever.
Question: When was the practice of Lent started?
Answer: Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. Early church father Irenaus of Lyons (c.130-c.200) wrote of such a season in the earliest days of the church, but back then it lasted only two or three days, not the 40
Who Shall I Send?” Isaiah 6:8
What attributes does a leader need? Why is someone chosen to lead a project, a team, a company, a nation? Terms such as dynamic, wise, dedicated, and charismatic come to mind. Considerate, tough, kind, knowledgeable, thorough and organized also are terms used to describe leaders. Today, we will look at how God chose a leader that led a nation with his voice. As the Spirit led Isaiah he spoke to God’s people and told them of God’s demands, justice and unending love.
What assets did Isaiah have that made him the right one to be selected by God for this task about telling people about the Messiah to come? Certainly Isaiah had been prepared. Yes, he was in the Royal Court with the advantage of being in contact and knowing powerful people. He was educated. But the first and foremost asset that he and we also have, is he was selected, chosen. Concerned that he was not worthy to be in God’s presence he was forgiven. Then he heard the words, “Who Shall I Send? There could only be one answer for Isaiah and only one answer for us, “Send me!”
Life Received, Life Together, Life Giving- John 10:10
Question: Why did the nation of Israel split into the northern and southern kingdom?
Answer: When Solomon’s died, his son Rehoboam wanted to raise taxes and the northern 10 tribes rebelled. The northern kingdom is called “Israel” (or sometimes “Ephraim”) in Scripture, and the southern kingdom is called “Judah.”
Elijah’s Super Bowl 1 Kings 18: 1-2, 17-40
The word Almighty is used 56 times in scripture and it always refers to God; never to anyone else. God is all powerful, or omnipotent. There is nothing He can’t do. What a staggering thought. In today’s text God, through the prophet Elijah, demonstrates His superiority over the power of darkness – false gods and their prophets. This is the all-powerful God that we gather to worship. So how to you envision God? As timeless, in?nite, all-powerful, unchanging, glorious? Or do you see Him as one who can be fooled or manipulated by human hypocrisy? If one sees and believes Him to be one who has unlimited power and strength we can’t help but ?nd security in him to face any and all challenges and temptations in life. Today we are called to re?ect. How big is our God? If the Lord is God, then it’s time to follow Him.
Question: What is Baal worship?
Answer: Baal was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. The practice of Baal worship infiltrated Jewish religious life during the time of the Judges (Judges 3:7), became widespread in Israel during the reign of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31-33) and also affected Judah (2 Chronicles 28:1-2). The wordbaal means “lord”; the plural is baalim. In general, Baal was a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children. Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples. At times, appeasing Baal required human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). The priests of Baal appealed to their god in rites of wild abandon which included loud, ecstatic cries and self-inflicted injury (1 Kings 18:28).