Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audio of The Ride Into Jerusalem

The Ride Into Jerusalem

Matthew 21.1-11
God bless our readers from France, Germany, Russia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, The Ukraine and South Africa today.

Today is Palm Sunday. We remember the event of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt as Passover was just days away. On that day He allowed the crowds for the first time to proclaim Him the Messiah. 

Before this day...
Matthew 16:20 Then He ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.  This was when He was transfigured. He rejected  premature attempts to get Him to announce His messiahship. (John 6 is an example)He told His disciples not to tell until after He had been raised from the dead.

After the ride in He cleansed the temple and healed many. The children shouted Hosanna to the Son of David.

It was a ripe time for the Messiah. It meant deliverance.
Deliverance from
*Excessive Taxes  by the Romans
*Turmoil within the nation and world
*A Religion which had been reduced to a form of godliness.
*A gloomy feeling about the future of the Nation
*A heaviness due to the other abuses the Roman government heaped on them 

Palm Sunday was when hope was reborn in the hearts of pilgrims on the way to the Passover Feast. They looked at Jesus as only the son of David, not as we do, as the Son of God as well.

Palm Sunday was...

1. A Day When Ancient Prophesies Were Fulfilled. v.4-5
Not many of those days. Specific days. Prophesy is fulfilled every day. The prophecy of scripture. Just read the Proverbs. But this was prophcy concerning a specific day. Still one to come.

All the prophesies pointed concerning the coming of the Messiah were in some way wrapped up in this Day. The Son of David, God's Son coming into the temple during the Passover Feast, being presented to Israel.

*Specifically it as Zechariah's prophesy being fulfilled, the Word of the LORD through Zechariah. The donkey was a royal animal, an animal of peace. It was ridden in by kings after a victory. In some ways this was a coronation celebration as well. Scripture was being fulfilled

*It was also prophesy in Psalms.
Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 
Psalm 118

*Prophesy by Jesus Himself.   
Luke 13:34-35 “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, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD.’” 

The prophesies concerning His messiahship all aimed at this event of Palm Sunday. This where the beginning of His reign was publicly announced, where the New Covenant was set up. "It is finished," was in part a pronouncement of the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, an end of animal sacrifices and the beginning of the New Covenant.

2.  The Day When Jesus Allowed the Crowds to Proclaim Him King Openly v.6-9

The proclamation was of the popular notion of a Messiah and what he would be by the people. Please be on your guard against pop theology today. Positive thinking, health and wealth, there is no hell, everyone is going to heaven and whatever does not line up with God's Word must be avoided. Those who minister and live extravagant life styles are just as bad. They do not portray what following Jesus is about!  It does not matter how good they sound. Watch out! Be on your guard! This was the Son of God Who said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18.36) 

A kingdom in which the court is made up of His disciples- ignorant fishermen.
A kingdom without any written bylaws.
A kingdom whose glory is not based on riches.
A kingdom without armed forces.
I want to seek that kingdom more than ever. May Your Kingdom come O LORD!

What was the common notion of Jesus' day for the messiah? 
 They expected him to be a temporal prince, one who would make war upon the Romans and restore to the Jews their lost nationality... they imagined that He might probably restore to Israel the kingdom and set them free.- Spurgeon

3. A Day When the Whole City Of Jerusalem Was Stirred. v.10-11

This happens from time to time. I was there one afternoon when it happened.
Temple Mount most debated piece of real estate on the planet. Hard to fully understand. It is where the temple stood in Jesus' time. It is where the Dome of the Rock now stands. When the Jews recaptured Jerusalem in 1967 from the Arabs a paratrooper put the Israeli flag on it. Moshe Dayan had it taken down. The Temple Mount belongs to Israel but is under the auspices of Islam, allowing the Islamic religion to keep their mosques fully operating there. Dayan understood that this would have precipitated a Holy War.

Once when I was there the whole city grew strangely quiet. Riot Police and Soldiers were dispatched. The assistant mayor had seen a Palestinian flag on what he thought was the Temple Mount. It turned out to be a false alarm. It was on the roof top of a house in the Muslim Quarter. 

Another time, back in days of film, I had left a roll at Antonio's Fortress on the Via Delarosa. I ran back (with the permission of our tour guide) . Shouts were going out along the way, "American in trouble! American in trouble!"

One other time we were walking and suddenly the street grew silent. There were fruit carts turned over and above us Israeli Police with their guns drawn. An Arab had been running from them and they caught him outside the Damascus Gate. you could feel the tension all over as we got out of there quickly.

When Jesus rode in the whole city was shaking , trembling, thrown into a tremor, quaking for fear, rocked back and forth.

He was viewed as a prophet. The people knew His influence.
Psalm 119:136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. 

We need a stir in our nation today, in the hearts of many people who claim to follow Him.  We need refilled with His Spirit. This is a time of remembering the events of that week and even into the  next two months as we remember the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

We are in such great need  morally and spiritually today.  People are dying of thirst for the Living Water. When God's laws are broken our hearts break, if there is not repentance then eventually the nation collapses. Israel in Jesus' time was on that slide, it happened within a generation. America is following- there is still good- Friday evening Alice and I at an Eagle Scout ceremony at St. Pat's... when I left Girl Scouts here... both have in their pledge
to serve

Into Jerusalem and into People's Hearts

On Palm Sunday long ago
Jesus rode a donkey
Into Jerusalem
Son of God, Man of Sorrow

Crowds came to cheer
The end they thought
Of Roman Rule and tyranny
Jesus of Nazareth is setting us free

They didn't know nor suspect
That by this Holy Week's end
The Messiah would lay down His life
for His friends

He sought to enter people's hearts
As He does today
His desire to bring real peace
But so often He's turned away

Jerusalem shut Him out
Yet there were those who believed
Keep spreading the Good News
Planting that precious Gospel Seed

For meek souls will receive Him Still
And He will enter in
like Nicodemus of long ago
They will be born again

Lord, strengthen Your Church
In these last days
Give us holy fire
We'll do your Work
While its still light
Seeking souls deep in the mire.

Lead on O King Eternal
For soon time will be no more
It won't be long until we all
Are gathered on heaven's shore.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Previous Palm Sunday Messages

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this,and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the Day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice today and be glad in it. Psalm 118:22-24

Looking forward to celebrating Palm Sunday tomorrow as the church around the world commemorates this event and the beginning of Holy Week. 

If you would like to read a Palm Sunday Message before this week's is posted there are now 8 years of archived messages here and 8 previous Palm Sunday themes.

God bless you as you celebrate Holy Week!

Here are the links to them:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Audio of The Road To Jerusalem

The Road To Jerusalem

Matthew 17:22-23 When they came together in Galilee, He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief. 

He had spoke of His rising from the dead on the way down off the Mount Hermon when He was transfigured. v.9

Matthew 19:1-2 When Jesus had finished saying these things, He left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.

Mark 10:32-34 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.” 

Next week is Palm Sunday.  

Events led up to that final week of Jesus' life on the earth. A shift took place in the final months. From Galilee to Judea and on into Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday was not an event that "just happened" one day.

1. It was in the timing of the Passover Celebration.

Fulfilling the Law/ The Feast.
Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed   I Cor 5.7

Matzoh and Wine were part of that feast. Symbolizing the body and blood of our LORD.

The lamb was the center of the meal.

The symbolism was great.

There were reasons why Jesus said, "... On this your day..." 
Luke 19:41-42 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 

It was a day predicted by Daniel, planned by the Father, in the fulness of time.

More about that in a moment.

Not only was the time significant so was the place of Palm Sunday and tha Passover.
2. It was in Jerusalem. 

Rich in History.
Genesis 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High

Abraham and Isaac Genesis 22

Captured by David from the Jebusites.  II Samuel 5.6-

Key to unlocking Biblical Prophesies 

Jews from all over the world would come and celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. They still do. "Next year in Jerusalem." Many Passovers had been celebrated in the wilderness... 40 of them.... Many before David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites... Then at Jerusalem.... Then they were exiled for 70 years. When Jesus came they had been there for several hundred years. This time would be different from any time before or after.

Most Memorable one until then.
2 Chronicles 35:18-19 The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem. This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign. 

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel as well as the International City.
God's call to Abraham (later he offered Isaac there) Through you and your seed all nations on the earth will be blessed.
David's mention of all nations in the scripture we read this week as the ark came to rest there.
Solomon's Dedicatory prayer.
Jesus' words that His Father' House is to be a place of prayer for all nations.
God so loved the world that He gave His Only begotten Son.
The Great Commission was given from there. 
Pentecost- Jews from every nation on earth- the 120 speaking in the languages from where they came from. 

His ministry in Galilee had come to an end. He was headed to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. He moved towards the city slowly but resolutely,  ministering along the way.

3. He was going there to be proclaimed King, to die and rise again.

Fulfillment of Psalm 118
Fulfillment of this prophesy made to David you read this week:
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be My son. I will never take My love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over My house and My kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’” 

The atmosphere was charged with emotion on this Passover when Jesus would offer Himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
The Passover was to celebrate the freedom from Egyptian bondage and slavery.

They were in their own land but under Roman occupation.
It made the celebration a mixture of emotions, great emotional swings.

Jerusalem was Israel's capital but they had no king. They had no government.
The priesthood was bought out by Rome.

The Temple stood in Jerusalem as a reminder of greater days in the nation.
-David conquering it and taking it from the Jebusites, finally fulfilling God's Word to Joshua.
-Solomon building the first temple there.
-Zerrubabel coming back from the exile and after Nehemiah had rebuilt the walls, he led in the rebuilding of the temple.
-Roman Soldiers were everywhere and more because of the Passover Feast reminding the people of their lack of government and freedom and the awful tax burden.

4.It was planned out from eternity

God created the earth knowing there would be an earthly Jerusalem. He knew David would desire to build the temple there, that Solomon would build it and that because of disobedience it would be destroyed.  He knew Nehemiah would rebuild the walls. He knew Jesus, His Son, would die there. Jesus spoke of its destruction. It happened in 70AD.

The road to Jerusalem for Jesus was from Galilee but it also was from heaven for Him from eternity. 

So often we think God thinks like we do. 

He knows all things.
He knows the end from the  beginning.
His plan of sending Jesus was in His mind when He created the world.
Amazing Love!

The Road To Jerusalem tells us about God's precise timing, His Perfect Plan and His Love for the whole world.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Winning Spiritual Battles

1 Chronicles 14:8-17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David; and David heard of it and went out against them. Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. David inquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? And will You give them into my hand?” Then the Lord said to him, “Go up, for I will give them into your hand.” So they came up to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there; and David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore they named that place Baal-perazim. They abandoned their gods there; so David gave the order and they were burned with fire. 

We are in a battle today. It is Jerusalem against Babylon. It is the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of this world, it is a battle in the spiritual realm. It is good against evil, Light against darkness. Righteousness against sin. Holiness against wickedness.

We have to come face to face with our adversary at times. 
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 

We should never attempt to deal with the enemy without looking to Jesus.
We dare not face the battle without the LORD with us, directing us. We are soldiers in His Army. He is our heavenly commander. 

God brings us along and in His time we face battles. He has given us all we need to equip ourselves (Ephesians 6). To run from the battle could mean we are running from His will and protection, like Jonah.

Here is where many struggle and fall- they try to resolve conflict without seeing the spiritual nature of it. We can get so  pragmatic that we usher the LORD right out of our considerations. 

David refused to do that. As experienced as he was in warfare, and he was a champion, he realized that the battle belongs to the LORD, that He needed God's help and His direction and that victory would come no other way.

So here is how we win the battles, staying in the battle...

1. Seeking the LORD on how to respond to the enemy is wise.

David sought the mind of the LORD as he confronted his old enemies.

He did not assume what worked once will work again. We cannot repeat spiritual moments. How often we try to do that. God works and it is obvious. Then we try and have the same thing happen a little later. We are presuming upon the LORD. We must realize that reality does not repeat. Manna was fresh every morning and the LORD needs to be sought on each venture.

Depending on past victories is a good way to guarantee  future defeats. 
So many times the step of really inquiring of the LORD is skipped and we assume that God is in a box. He will not be  put into one. David was putting into practice now what we had spoken about last week. He inquired of the LORD.

I believe that you can ask God direct questions and start listening and start getting direct answers. David was asking direct questions. God began to give him direct answers and guiding him.

O LORD I am so concerned about the need of $4,000  to get this retaining wall up at least 3 feet inn Haiti before the rainy season starts. Please help us O LORD! Adly goes this this week with the money in hand to do this work. 

How are we going to attack this? So many things are enemies of our faith. Obstacles. But I know if You tell me what to do it will be done.

David inquired of God: As David sought God and looked to Him for guidance he was blessed. God honored David's dependence on Him and gave him the promise of victory.

LORD, should I go up against the Philistines? 
David had defeated them in this valley before however when they came a second time against David, David did not go up to fight them, without enquiring of the LORD again.
Let's learn from David. Take no steps without inquiring of the LORD. In our spiritual battles inquire of Him, consult, get direction then follow it. This is wisdom. 
So often what we need is contained plainly in the Word of God. Inquiring of Him means to read His Word, Pray, Read His Word. So many time He directs us from His Word.

Obey Him... Brother Andrew... Going to church in Czechoslovakia... 1955... Nothing to bring... The remarks to him how blessed they were to have  him there, showing them they were connected to the Body of Christ  and that the believers in Western Europe cared.

2. Listening to the LORD is always the best path.

Let the sound of the going in the tops of the mulberry trees direct us to attend God's motions both in His providence and in the influences of His Spirit. When we realize that God has gone before us let us put on our armor and prepare for action and follow Him. 

I have seen people attempt to fight battles without the LORD. Trying to do the work of God is the power of the flesh is never a pretty sight. Leaning on one's own understanding is foolhardy1  It is a sure way to shipwreck!

This is in all our ways acknowledging Him.
in our distress to flying to Him, 
when people sin against us to appeal to Him, 
when we  do not know what to do, 
It is inquiring of the LORD from His Word
to put ourselves under His direction, 
To petition Him to show us the right way

God will direct us in battle if we look to Him.
When we come to the place where realize it is not our cleverness, it is not our ingenuity, our plans but we surrender to the LORD, then He will open the doors for us in His time which is always perfect.

David had learned how to listen. He had time as a shepherd to think and pray and be still before the LORD.

He wrote:
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
In another Psalm, the Psalmist writes:
Psalm 85:8 I will listen to what God the LORD says; He promises peace to His people, His faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly. 

It is folly to try and fight battles for Him without consulting Him.

3. Giving God the Praise for Battles Won is Right.

 They left their gods there: The Philistines brought their idols to the battle, thinking they would help defeat the Israelites. Because David inquired of God and obeyed God, they burned the Philistine idols.

David was not culturally sensitive to the Philistines. They were false gods and he got rid of them! He didn't need cultural education or sensitivity training  enlightenment.

In a move of God's Spirit people abandon their gods. When they come to Christ they tear the idols from their hearts and lives.

Let David's success encourage us to resist our spiritual enemies, in following Divine directions and dependence on Divine strength. Resist the devil, and he will flee as the Philistines did before David

 Let David's burning the gods of the Philistines, when they fell into his hands, teach us a holy indignation against idolatry and all the remains of it.  Let David's thankful acknowledgment of the hand of God in his successes direct us to bring all our sacrifices of praise to God's altar. 

We ought to offer a sacrifice of praise  when a spiritual battle is won. When God answers prayer we ought to give Him praise and thanks. When the enemy is defeated we should give shouts of joy from our heart to the LORD God Almighty.

Not unto us, O Lord! not unto us, but to Thy name give glory. Let the reputation which David obtained, not only in his kingdom, but among his neighbors, be looked upon as a type and figure of the exalted honour of the Son of David (v. 17): The fame of David went out into all lands; he was generally talked of, and admired by all people, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations. All looked upon him as a formidable enemy and a desirable ally. Thus has God highly exalted our Redeemer, and given Him a name above all others.

Romans 8:31-37 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, Who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:“For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.