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A Season of Release


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What is the Season of Release?

That’s a great question.

A question that has been kicked around for the last few days and will be specifically addressed in two weeks at the Ministry leads meeting and as it takes shape you will be getting more details.

I can tell you that the season will extend from now through Easter

I can tell you that the season is not one long sermon series although what we do here on Sunday will be consistent with the overall direction. It’s pretty exciting.

I can tell you that this isn’t something that we are deciding to do, but rather something that we see going on, something that we see God doing that we are calling out and purposefully engaging.

How did the recognition happen?

What time does your watch say?

What’s being released?

We are released (individually)

  • From and into

We are released (corporately)

  • From and into

It is a new year. A time of re-newal. A time for new things. A new season.

We are Re-leased

  • We have a new lease individually
  • We have a new lease corporately.

We have recognized (are recognizing) that God is (has been) starting new things.

God is released

  • How do we join Him in that?
  • How do we make room for that?
  • How do we encourage others to participate in what He is doing?
  • How do we identify what He is doing in and through and by us?
  • And then how do we dive in?
  • What’s being released?

God’s kingdom …God’s kingship…God’s active rule and reign

My purpose for the next few weeks is to announce and give contextual understanding for the season of release. To give context for and announce God’s kingdom. To announce God’s active rule and reign.

But before I announce God’s Kingdom (again) I want to talk for a bit about Kingdom expectation.

CS Lewis

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.

We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

One of my favorite quotes.

Specifically about sin, but applicable to what we are talking about which is specifically not sin. Jesus spent his entire ministry career announcing and demonstrating God’s kingdom and they like us tended to not get it. They were far too easily pleased having their own desires met.

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

Let’s start with an easy one.

This prayer is called the Our father or the Lord’s prayer the reference is Matthew 6 or Luke something-or-other

And I grew up reciting this weekly… in a sing songy voice… with a few hundred other people who were reading or reciting the prayer from memory at the same time.

Let’s read it together. Recite the Our Father

I grew up thinking this prayer was primarily about my sin.

Now it’s true that God keeps me from temptation and when I sin He has forgiveness for me and that I am also to forgive others when they sin against me.

But it is not true that this prayer is primarily about sin. This is a quintessentially Kingdom prayer. This prayer is about God’s kingship and glory and power and honor, which we partially see in his provision, forgiveness and salvation. And we miss the point when we set our expectations of God’s kingship at the level of our sin and His forgiveness. Because there is so much more.

Now “the crowd” that Jesus was speaking to in Matthew 6 didn’t fare much better in the “setting their expectations appropriately” department. They heard Jesus talk about the Kingdom and thought about kicking the Romans out and putting Jesus on the throne of Israel.

They neither imagined that there was a bigger picture, nor conceived that establishing God’s kingdom  would involve one of those. Point at the cross.

They were far too easily pleased

Luke 4: 14-19

Here’s another example. It should work out differently this time. Instead of the crowd it’s church-goers, instead of a windy hill it’s at the church-building, and instead of just talking Jesus is reading from the scriptures.

What could possibly go wrong?

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, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Now when we read this we find out more about what God’s administration looks like.

  • Good news for the poor
  • Recovery of sight
  • Freedom for the prisoners and the oppressed

And we can add these to the list we’re making. Provision, forgiveness, salvation, good news, healing and freedom. And our expectation at the coming of God’s active rule and reign has grown sixfold… but let’s not set our expectations so low.

For you see the Israelites knew the scripture He was quoting from and all of the rich imagery and promise that that surrounded this snippet. Now even though they knew something of the broader context they still tried to kill him, but let us take a look at the broader passage Jesus referenced:

Isaiah 60-62

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

We can add comfort, beauty, joy, righteousness to the list

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

We can add restoration, renewal, position, and wealth

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

We can add honor and inheritance

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

We can add renown and blessing

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.

We have gone well beyond forgiveness of sins.

Isaiah 61 is only part of the literary unit of Isaiah 60-66 which scholars entitle Glory and this is part of the second major section of the book of Isaiah made up of chapters 40-66 and that is just under half of the book of Isaiah and Isaiah is only one 66 books.

And if you were to read the entire Bible and keep a list of what to expect from God’s active rule and reign you would add to that list from the first page to the last.

And as much as God has revealed to us, only He knows completely what the fullness of His kingdom looks like. His kingdom is beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension like nothing ever seen or heard because He is too beautiful too marvelous too wonderful for us to even imagine.

So when we pray to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine we pray simply.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

So we pray and we wait for Him to reveal what it is He is to do.

Maranatha – Lord come.

 

Date Posted Title Listen Download
Jan 13, 2013 A Season of Release Listen Download