Sent Ones (notes for a sermon).

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2014-09-21 by edsirett

Preacher: Garry Janzen
21st September 2014
Readings: Jeremiah 29:1-7; Luke 4:14-21

Jeremiah 29:1-7

1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.)
3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.
7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Luke 4:14-21

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisonersand recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

  1. INTRODUCTION

    1. Thankfulness for this opportunity to be with you and learn of what God is doing in your midst.

    2. What are the new beginnings that God is introducing to you?

      1. A new beginning goes both ways.

        1. A joyful and hopeful new start,

          1. after a good season of discernment.

        2. Yet, there are the glory days of the past

          1. along with the difficult days of the past

          2. and a future that is still in the making,

            1. with some uncertain hopefulness about what the future of Wood Green will be like.

    3. When we get involved with something new we can easily compare it to some previous experience.

    4. What are the past experiences that you remember?

      1. A church that was much fuller?

      2. The help of Mennonite mission workers in the past?

    5. One glory day that I best remember.

      1. My wife and I were missionaries in Botswana 1985-88.

      2. Francistown Christian Fellowship – and English International Church.

      3. A mix of all types of Christians from around the world.

      4. Back story – 10 of 25 came forward, I counselled.

      5. Two weeks later – one getting baptised,

        1. five left the service to prepare for baptism.

        2. In the end, nine were baptised.

    6. What were the glory days for the people of Israel who were exiles in Babylon when they looked back?

      1. The good life in Jerusalem and Judah

      2. Even the good life with the pagan idols

        1. Which is what got them into exile to learn the error of their ways, so as to start over

    7. Well, God’s ways are not “for us to dwell on the glory days”

      1. but to follow him now – and join him in what he is doing.

    8. God’s call is to thrive where he has put us.

    9. Call up group of people to do “sent ones” illustration: Jesus sending us, not us sending/funding the missionary.

  1. EXPOSITION

    1. Jeremiah 29:1-7

    2. Setting

      1. A message sent from Jeremiah in Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon over 1000 kilometres away

        1. to seemingly prevent a revolt (verses 1-23)

        2. but also to remind them that they are sent by God into God’s mission field.

    3. Biblical Text

      1. Verse 1, Do we see ourselves as a people in exile?

        1. That we are far from home, and want to go back

          1. That things have changed so much in the church, that we don’t know our way forward

        2. We are Citizens of God’s Kingdom, Gordon Zerbe.

          1. Refer to Canadian Mennonite article of 16th December 2013.

            1. Read marked areas on last page and explain.

            2. Reaffirming our primary citizenship.

        3. Bloom where we are planted, as a Sent People of God.

          1. Celebrate the new imagination that is arising for you with Steve as your pastor.

      2. Verse 4, The Context.

      3. Verses 5, 6 – Settle and Stay where God has placed you.

      4. Verse 7 – Revolutionary to work for the welfare of the city/town – to which you were taken captive.

        1. It certainly turns the revenge mindset of “eye for an eye” to prayerful concern for the people.

          1. This counsel from Jeremiah anticipates Jesus’ words, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44.)

    4. Significance

      1. What should we do about God’s leading?

        1. False prophets did not distinguish between God’s message and their own wishful thinking.

        2. When we deeply desire a certain result, how can we continue to be open to hearing from God?

      1. What should we do about treatment of our enemies?

        1. What happens to our emotions, our perspectives of other people, when we pray for our enemies?

      2. What should we do about prayer?

        1. How does the power of prayer compare, in effectiveness, to other power sources?

          1. Prayer is not: forceful, destructive, self-centred.

          2. Prayer seeks God’s: way, peace, love, hope.

    1. Luke 4:14-21

      1. Verses 14, 18 (see also v.1) – Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit – key!

        1. Not at the start of Jesus’ ministry – perhaps a year later.

      2. Verses 16,17 – Jesus’ commitment to the written Word.

      3. Verse 21 – Jesus is the fulfilment of the written Word.

      4. Verses 18, 19 – The Anointed One’s work, God’s call of the Messiah, our call to follow Jesus’ Way.

        1. Meaning.

          1. Then/now.

          2. Literal/figurative.

          3. These ministries of Jesus are also ministries for:

            1. our pastors, 

            2. but also for us as people of the Jesus Walk.

          4. God has sent us, let us all respond in faithfulness to the ministries God has set before us.

  1. CONCLUSION

    1. Let’s celebrate that the sending message of Jesus as his witnesses is for us all.

      1. Long-term ministry requires attention to good relationships.

        1. Love for each other.

        2. Support, and participation in your congregation’s ministry.

        3. Let us also be settled in the place where we are and engage the opportunities in our neighbourhood.

    2. Together, as the sent congregation of Wood Green,

      1. may God cause you to thrive in your community,

      2. may God prosper you,

      3. and through you, may God prosper those around you.

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