Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Thursday, March 20, 2008

3-16-08-- Triumphal Entry - Palm Sunday - Laying it All Down

I hope this message makes sense. Much of it was still in my head--Here is the audio of this message.

We had Palm Branches for everyone, and they needed them to respond to the end of the message.

Triumphal Entry

John 12:12-15—Palm Branches brought to Him
Matt. 21:4-9—vs. 8—“a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!

Our Lives can be Hindered

Hebrews 12:1b— let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Our sin can hinder our life, it can trip us up and prevent us from running the race God has for us.

Our prayers can be Hindered

Peter tells us that, as husbands, our prayers can be hindered by how we treat our wives. In no way do I think that is an isolated, married man only problem—your prayer, my prayer can be hindered by how we treat others.

Paul encourages us to pray in the Spirit in all occasions, implying that it is possible, perhaps even easier to not pray in the Spirit—there are then things, such as our sin, such as our broken relationships that can interfere and prevent us from Praying in the Spirit. And if our prayers can be hindered, so can our

Our Worship can be Hindered

MT 5:23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift

We are better off leaving our gift and striving for reconciliation than we are just to push forward with an offering of worship. Our human relationships interfere with our worship and need to be rectified before we can truly worship unhindered and undistracted. That kind of rectification requires saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” If God desires this of us in our human relationships, how much more do you think He expects this of us before we come to Him in worship?

In regards to Communion, the Lord’s Supper, The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to say…
1 Corinthians 11:28—“ a man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” This is a sound principle when approaching God on any level—in recognition of what He has done—in light of the fact that our sin, though redeemed and forgiven—still interferes—we should seek to rid ourselves of those things that hinder us and so easily entangle us in coming into the presence of God.

This week is known as Holy Week—when the Gospel accounts slow down to focus on the last days of Jesus’ life—when He is in Jerusalem, in the Temple in the city that will welcome Him one day, but reject and kill Him in less than a week. It slows down even more in agonizing detail of Jesus’ arrest, trial, beating and Crucifixion.

This slowing down, this focus on the last days of Jesus are an opportunity for us that we must not miss.

We must not miss these moments of preparation—we must not enter into this week leading up to the most world changing event in history—without examining our hearts, without calling out in repentance—without seeking reconciliation with each other and with Him. If we do not—we miss something in the heart of God—we will miss something that He wants to show us—we will not experience the full impact of what is happening around us because there will be something that interferes, something that comes between us, something that hinders us—something that keeps us from truly responding to Him and His love.

Part of our problem with Palm Sunday and the Triumphal entry is that we get so wrapped up in the shouts of Praise and the Hosannas that we remove it from surrounding events— just a few days before coming up to Jerusalem, Jesus was weeping—a friend had died, his name was Lazarus—and Jesus was weeping—not just for the loss of His friend, b/c Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He was weeping b/c He knew that people there witnessing this moment would still refuse to believe in Him.

John 12:37— “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still did not believe in Him.

MT 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' "

For all Jesus did and said—it wasn’t enough for some to believe—they were still unwilling. The were unmoved—their lives, their prayers, their worship was hindered and unreconciled. You and I need to respond to His weeping—because that is the heart of God—it grieves the heart of Jesus when we are unresponsive to Him—unwilling to lay our sin aside.

Some shouted—“Hosanna”—but didn’t really mean it.
Some shouted—“Hosanna”—but didn’t really understand it
Some shouted—“Hosanna”—but didn’t let it change them

But notice in the text vs. 8— “a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”

They laid something down—then they Praised Him.

Laying things down before Jesus—Helps You Proclaim His Name Louder

Everyone take one of the Palm Branches from the floor—bring it to the Front—they represent sin—

I want to follow that model of laying it all down before Jesus this morning.

Look at the palm branch I hope you still have. I want you to picture that that palm branch represents everything that hinders—everything that comes between you and God—everything that is holding you back—be it bad attitudes, be it bad habits, be sinful behavior, representing the things that we are holding on to—the things we’re afraid to admit to, the things we’re afraid to acknowledge—the hurts we have felt—the hurts we have inflicted—the wrong attitudes, the wrong spirit—the unwillingness, the hard heartedness anything and everything that interferes with your life, your prayer, your worship and your life for the Kingdom of God.

And I want you to lay it down. Bring it up here and lay it down at the altar—cast it aside—spend some time praying and seeking God.

The first message that Jesus brought and proclaimed was “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near”

This is what we need—this is for us a Sacred Assembly—I time of examination and preparation

JOEL 2:12 "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."

JOEL 2:13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

JOEL 2:14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing--grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.

JOEL 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.

JOEL 2:16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.

Nothing is more important than this! Coming before a Holy and an Awesome God without anything in between. Come forward and lay it all down.

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