Saturday, April 4, 2009

How Does He Enter? (Palm Sunday)

John 12:12-19 The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting,
"Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!" 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
15 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey's colt."

16 At first His disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

17 Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that He had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him!"

This was one of the biggest feast of them all. Population in the city is swelling.

People are wondering if He is going to show up. Happened before and great things went on.
Word gets out on Sunday that Jesus is on His way—after the anointing of Mary.

There was an interesting contrast here and that of the entry of Jesus a few days later. Mary’s was deeply personal. And her's was a private expression of how she felt while the crowd’s response was a very public outpouring of enthusiasm.

They yell out HOSANNA! Meaning … hoshi ‘ ah-na means SAVE or HELP!
Please read (Psalm of Ascents) Ps 118:25-26. A song they sing and He fits in real well. Palm branches were symbolic of a victorious ruler (1 Macc 13:51; 2 Macc 10:7; 14:4).

This was all spoken of the coming Messianic salvation on the Mount of Olives. Alone, they may be not so important but the crowds pick up one more line that really pushes the event.
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”

So many were tired of Roman rule. Want the end of this foreign military all over their land. They want them out. A few years before—still fresh on everyone’s mind, a revolt lead by Maccabees, tried to ride Israel of Rome. Failed but almost did it! Still that feeling there. Seeing Jesus coming, what with His Power (raising a man from the dead)and authority (No one speaks like this Man!) they were excited! Ready to make Jesus king. Subdue the Gentiles!

Then Jesus blows that imagine by getting not on a horse but on a mule—a colt, in fact. This messed up what they were looking for! Not really a symbol of power. He is doing something new in their sight. Not doing things like the people THOUGHT He would. He calls up another picture: From the Prophets: “Don’t be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt!” (Zech 9:9). He is The King but not the King they thought He was going to be. He was the deliver but, as with Moses, not the one they were thinking of.

Turn to verse 16. They really did not understand. We can because we read the end of the story, but for these poor guys, they got swept up in the flow of the crowds and they too started to believe this idea. Caught up in the sounds and excitement. Lost true North bearings. Got pulled to the side, off the main path. Their compass was broken.

We never do that, right? We always see things as they really are. We never jump to conclusions. We always understand where we are going and why we are on this certain road.
Then the floor drops out. Even AFTER the CROSS and AFTER the raising from the dead, they were still thinking of the rebellion. See Acts 1:6.

The people cried out SAVE US! HELP US! And that is just what He was there for. They missed it. Some of these same men and women, maybe, joined in another crowd just a few days later to call for the killing of this Man on the colt. They changed their minds. Ever do that? Think one way for a long time and then, something happens and BOW, you change your mind. Not really a problem except when it deals with morality. When it comes to taking something that is not yours. When it comes to facing ridicule for believing the Truth. We change but He is the same!

He was to Save them. He was to Help them. That is why He came! But, for the most part, they did not really want saving nor did they really want help.

Much like us. Much like the Israelites in Egypt. After they heard that Moses was sent to deliver them, they got excited but then with it got hard, they changed their minds. Then they were freed, and off into the desert they went. They began to look back toward Egypt and desire the onions, or even the hard times of Egypt. Anything was better than dust and no water~ and having to walk by Faith!

The truth be known, Jesus fits perfectly! He, like none other, makes the Father known. He like none other was coming in His Name. This was His Mission. And most missed it. Don’t you.

John uses some interesting wording here. The people followed Jesus because “they heard He had done this sign.” They are following Jesus because He raised Lazarus from the dead. How can such a story die? The people were really freaked out over this. Some were so upset, they turned against Jesus and sided with the leaders of the Jews, who felt their hold on power was just one man away from folding up. This Jesus who now was leading many people, was, in fact, the Lord of Life! He can really give life! Maybe He can give us our country back, too? Way off course but they don’t see the big picture. We miss the point so often.

Things have to work out OUR way. I grew up, I get a good education, no one in the family get too sick, my Dad gets a great job, I get a better job. I met a wonderful lady who has a great deal of money. We marry, have 3.5 kids. Two cats in the yard. Life could not be so hard. I live a long and productive life. Have many friends and very few enemies. I die in my sleep after a wonderfully fulfilling life and my Grandkids cry at my funeral.

What is wrong with that story is that none of it happens that way. Life is not made up of good things happening to us. Life is hard. There is pain. We can’t always find a way out of our problems. And to make things really true to life, the Grandkids despise you.

So how does this story of Jesus coming into Jerusalem affect my life today?

Watch where this is going. He is Lord. He has a plan for you and me. His mind and eye is on that goal. No matter what that goal is, we don’t see it clearly. No matter what He does to show that goal to us, we are too blind to see. (I was lost and I was blind). He comes along side my life and touches me. I notice Him. I read about what He can and did do. I am impressed. I take it for granted that He is going to work THIS way in my life. He, for sure, has another plan. Not to bring glory to my life but to make my life Glory for Him. (It is all about Him). We sing about it. We go to talks that repeat that, but we do not believe it.

Surely He is here in my life to do things my way, we think. NOT!

But He is outside the city walls of our hearts. He is waiting for us to let Him in AS HE REALLY IS! As Lord! As THE One who is in control. His way is Best…not just better. He is Just and fair and not the nice old man who has no real power. He does not share Power with anyone! He is jealous of our love because He has done all to win our hearts.

He is THE One who comes into our lives … A Triumphal Entry into our life. He is the One who leads the dance. We are to follow. Not in a blind, robotic way, but with an open heart.

And the leaders of the people said: Look how the whole world has gone after Him! (v.19). They saw it but the people did not. Great if it were so…

In truth, our God is a missionary God. At first, it was just the Jews who sought Him. One by one, they came. We heard just before the triumphal entry that "many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in Him" (12:11).

Then the Pharisees are seeing that the WORLD is seeking Him. We only wish! There were people in that great city from all over the known world. They were being attracted to Jesus. The religious leaders saw this as a bad thing but not God! He sent His Son into the World to save the world. (John 3:16) All mankind. Jew, Gentile, Roman, barbarian, rich or poor, blind or lame. They all are going to serve Somebody.

Just as the Scriptures say in Zechariah and Isaiah, Jesus continues to bring together HIS Family, from every nation and tribe, all the time outside the way WE WOULD DO IT.

How does He enter our city? Through your heart. Today is Palm Sunday. Today, you can sing out HELP ME or SAVE ME!, but realize that He does hear you and He will act and He will call out your name! You should respond to His Call to you. Renew that call today.

Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come into my heart to stay!


Good day to you! I trust you are doing well today! Let me ask you a question: Has this site been helpful to you? Is there something else we could do to help? How can we better communicate with you? Did you know that you can leave a message or comment on this site? It will be great to get some response from you. Thank you very much for coming to ICCS' site. Please return again next week.
~Pastor Stan

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Church who had it all

1 Corinthians 12:8~10

I am sure that you have seen a paralyzed person. At one time, perhaps, that person had a very active lifestyle. That seemingly healthy person was once moving and acting out his/her life with ease and enjoyed life. Once you see this immobile, not responding, lifeless body now, you can hardly believe it is true. Bodies are supposed to be moving. Bodies are supposed to be healthy, strong and yet, here is that one who is none of those expected realities. The eyes, perhaps, tear up, the body shakes a little…but that person is frozen in time and space. Not that they don’t want to move: THEY cannot move. Jesus dealt with such people.

And we look at them and say, “What a waste!” “How sad!” “Glad it isn’t me!” “What a tragedy!”
Paul has that same response when he looked at the Church that was gathering in Corinth. What a tragedy! They had it all and now they are paralyzed…not functioning, not as the Lord would have them. Because of sin and the lack of personal good judgment, the Fellowship was sick, paralyzed and some were dead or dying.

This Church who had it all was in trouble with the man who was connected with the Mother Church in Jerusalem. Paul was writing to them and expressing a number of things he WANTED them to work on. To set right. To clean up their act and get this Walk of Faith RIGHT.

What was the problem? Why did this happen? Why is the paralyzed situation present?

Somehow, the answer lies in the fact that communication had broken down from the Head to the rest of the Body. Some damage had happened. Maybe not terminal, not necessarily cut off but damaged!

As the result of that injury, members of the Corinth Church were lying lifeless, immobile, not functioning rightly, and they were totally unaware there was a problem. Like driving a car when the red light is flashing and you cover the red light with a thick piece of paper. Or you take out the red light. Here were a people who were totally unaware of what they were created to do and to be! It was a deep waste! But correctable!

Some of the people there were working REALLY hard to make up for those who were not working well or at all.

After a while, the strain and the stress of that dysfunction began to take its toll. A really healthy body cannot continue like that: something will break down. Something will stop. When one part of the Body is overworked because the other parts are not working in unity with the whole, there is a major breakdown and it stops being a healthy body.

Such was the case in Corinth. There was a disconnect. As we have spoken in the past, we NEED to be connected to the Vine, that is, to Christ Jesus. And in that connective-ness, we find our purpose and our strength. Unbroken communication with the Head is critical. NOT ONLY ARE WE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE HEAD, WE MUST BE OBEDIENT TO THE HEAD AS WELL.

So, Paul says: I don’t want you to be ignorant, my Brothers, about Spiritual Gifts. Was this done in ridicule or condescension? Maybe!

WISDOM is the divinely enabled unique ability to know the mind of the Holy Spirit, coupled with a respectful awe of God, in such a way as to receive insight into how knowledge and spiritual truth may be practically and effectively applied to meet a need in a specific situation arising in the Body of Believers.

Another way to say this is that this Gift, given by God Himself to a person, has the ability to discern appropriate principles from God’s Word for complex situations. –The Spiritual ability to synthesize, or manufacture the capacity to design and has a love of study.

Should this be one of your gifts, you would be great as a consultant: advising on foundational issues, directions and designs for a ministry. A poor fit would be for you to the one to detail and implement and lead the work. Hard times ahead for one who has this gift and leads.

You would need a broad understanding of a Biblical Worldview. You should have an openness to be in contact with many people, being exposed to their thinking and new ideas. You should cultivate friendships with decision makers.

You can see a person who has this gift in Paul of Tarsus.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Let's look at a word study on Wisdom: Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 15:33; Ps 51:6; Daniel 2:23; Isaiah 11:2 & Col 2:3; Col 1:9~12, 18~25.
1 Cor 2:13; (-) Rom 1:21~23.
Col 1:28, Jeremiah 9:23~24; Col 3:16.
What is the response of the people in Matt 23:34? They wanted them dead. They would not have them 'speak' to their lives and bring the change God wanted them to experience.

Now, for Knowledge:

KNOWLEDGE is the divinely enabled special ability to bring Truth to the Body of Christ through biblical insight by mastering God's revealed Word in Scripture, so as to organize information for teaching and practical use, by discovering, accumulating, analyzing, and clarifying information and ideas that are important to the growth and well-being of the Body of Christ.

Or, sometimes spoken of as the Gift of the Word of Knowledge, this gift has the capacity to seek out, remember and make effective use of a variety of information on a number of various subjects. Those in the Body who have this gift commonly display rational ability and have objective thinking. They would enjoy gathering of new information, doing research and sharing this information with others. Those using this Gift rightly would bring Unity to the Church!

You would tend to work better with those who have the gift of apostolic gifts when on a team. You would enjoy written reports or a verbal project. Most likely, you would enjoy sorting through a wide variety of information and ideas. AVOID being the lead person with primary responsibilities to lead or carry out the plan you have helped to devise.

You will need to be careful to know how to use this information and know the limitations of the materials plus the benefits of the acquired knowledge. Case in point is found in 1 Cor 8:1!

1 Cor 8:1 (Amplified Bible) NOW ABOUT food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature].

Word study on Knowledge: Isa 5:12, 11:2 & Col 2:3; Rom 11:33; For a powerful verse—2 Peter 1:2~11; Proverbs 8:10.

Here is what happens when there is no knowledge or that it is rejected:
Hosea 4:6; 6:6.
Jeremiah 3:15; Malachi 2:7; Ephesians 4:11~13.

As the Word says later on, and we will be looking at this soon enough, even if we have wisdom and knowledge but have not LOVE, it is worthless...

But in all things … put on love.

April 5th is Palm Sunday. We will be taking a short vacation from Gifts and look at the entry of Jesus just days before His Death in Jerusalem. Please be ready to study God's Word together.
Service starts at 10:30 and we will be having the Lord's Table. This is a time for Believers to remember the Lord's Death on the Cross. It is a good time to look into your own life and examine your heart. Ask the Lord for a fresh heart and repent of your evil and turn to Him. He is waiting for you. He is waiting because He loves you very much.

April 12th is Resurrection Sunday. Come to Kokukoen Station by 7:30 for a Sunrise Service. Brother Ken and Pastor Stan will be sharing a Resurrection Devotional. There will be songs and Scripture as well. A good way to enjoy this most wonderful day.
He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!
During the morning service, we are Baptizing three young people. They will be sharing their story before they enter the Baptism Water.
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. You only get wet in the water. There is no special 'power' in the act...just showing the world that you want to be identified with Christ. The Worship time will start at 10:30.
Parking is close at a Pay-to-Park lot just one block from ICCS. Please do not use the parking lots of local businesses. Even if you buy food at them, you would be better off parking in a pay lot.

The following series comes from a study of the Scriptures and with the guidance from a workbook put out in 1994 called "NETWORK". "The Right People... In the Right Places... For the Right Reasons." by Bruce Bugbee, Don Cousins and Bill Hybels. Zondervan Publishing House/Willow Creek Resources. Also, items were taken from Kay Arther's Spiritual Gifts Precept Bible Study. At times, the material is straight from these text. They have been written really well, so why change it? I have altered some of the material to fit our needs. I do hope this series will help us reach the places God has for each of us as we seek to please our Father with the gifts He has given to us. God blessing to you as you read and live out this expression of your Christian Walk of Faith.