Luke 19:28-40 “The Lord Has Need of It”


After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.'” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” [NRSA: Lk 19:28-40]

Luke 19:28-40 “The Lord Has Need of It”
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.'” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” [NRSA: Lk 19:28-40]

The witness is not of Jesus riding in on a mighty war horse. Instead, it is a sign of humbleness and “a labor of love”… instead of a beast of a Cadillac Escalade Jesus arrives riding a base model Chevrolet Colt.

If Luke were our only Gospel, we would have no mention of palm branches, only coats being spread upon the road as ‘red carpet welcome’. So it might be known as Cloak Sunday instead of palm Sunday. It is interesting that tradition has preferred that we take palms from along lthe road over offering our coats and cloaks.

The core of the Colt along the Road and the Coats on the Road
What happens on the road? What happens at the parade?

A multitude of disciples begin telling of the deeds, signs, wonders, and accomplishments of Jesus…
• Praising God
• With Joy
• And a loud voice

17 examples in Luke’s Gospel
• “for all the mighty works which they had seen” (v. 37c). Note the abundance of Jesus’ miracles that Luke the physician records—mostly healings or exorcisms (4:31-37; 4:38-39; 5:12-16; 5:17-26; 6:6-11; 6:17-19; 7:1-10; 7:11-17; 8:22-25; 8:26-39; 8:40-56; 9:10-17; 9:37-43; 13:10-17; 14:1-6; 17:11-19; 18:35-43).
• Luke gives 17 accounts of might works and deeds done by Jesus

Those blessed by Jesus’s might works are praising
Those threatened by Jesus’s mighty works:
The Pharisees ordered Jesus to make the disciples stop the procession, stop with the branches, stop with the mockery of Jesus as {some kind of king.} If I even tried, the stones would speak the truth.

The Stones would speak the truth
• We celebrate the voices of jubilation and praise with our Palms, but it more important to deal with the voices calling for order, quiet, and silence.
• The voices of caution that tell the winds of the Holy Spirit which direction to blow are not voices of God.
• The voices of cold hard stones that have no life about them, will be given voices and become animated if needed.

Where is my voice in the celebration?
• Praising God
• Silent as a stone
• Calling God to keep quiet

Where are we in the story?
• For those who are praising God, we are on the right track
• For those who are the stone quiet already, is the greater call to be useful and purposeful for the kingdom…
• For those who are hesitant or cautious, do be hindered or wait any longer.

The World is divided between good and evil
We need to take a stand…
What good is it to take the side of good and keep quiet?
What good is it to take the side of evil and keep quiet, either?
Riding under the radar is no longer an option

The denomination is dividing whether we want it to divide or not… We can wait for the conversation to sneak up on us or we can face it head on
Elements of persons for extremes have called for action and “the majority” of silent stones in the middle have kept quiet…

Our country, likewise, has been divided into opposing camps and those who are silent hoping evils will reveal themselves and wrongs will right themselves without our taking a stand, hold the foolish thought more of the same will bring change.

When Peter steps up to tell Jesus that he cannot died and will not be killed, Jesus tells Peter that his heart and mind are being led by Satan and not the Spirit. God’s ultimate purposes will not be stopped.

What are we to do? Luke shows us two groups
If we are praising God with our whole heart and without reservation we need only continue
If we are saying things like,
• “Hold on”,
• “Wait a minute”,
• “Someone is trying something new and different”,
• “My way is being challenged.”
• We’ve never done that
• You are making me uncomfortable

On the other hand, We may be the one who needs to keep quiet and let the new thrive.
• The Lord has need of a colt, palms, branches, and disciples
• The Lord has need of the people, then and now.
• The Lord has need of the leaders, in Luke, and in 2022.
• The Lord has need of you and me

The Lord will proceed with or without any of the above.
• Lord Have Mercy on Me when I have
• Not waved the branches and raised your praise
• Not asked your will over my own
• Not spoke up and remained silent

What do we do?
We recognize that if God Needs animals and palm branches

  1. God needs and desires us
  2. We allow God to speak through us and our actions
  3. Pay attention to hearts of stone that begin to sing praises.

Isnt their some middle ground, a safety zone, where I do not have to speak out and do not have to be called out?
As Jesus makes his way into Jerusalem, through his trial and examination, and to the cross, there is no time for quiet/comfort…

The story is the ultimate labor of love on our behalf.
For God so love the whole world that he gives his only son that through his sacrificial death may we know life and know it eternally.

Imagine taking your coat and throwing on the ground on a cold day as a sign of praise and devotion… if I am reluctant to offer my coat, how much less I’m I ready to give my heart.

Philippians 3:4b-14 Pressing On


If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus
. [NRSA: Phil 3:4-14]

Philippi was a retirement community for military and government workers, as well as communities of the poor from the Greek region and from Rome. As a Roman colony, that didn’t have to pay tribute to Rome but was very Rome-like with a patriotic community of transplants in an area where Greeks visited for fertility worship. Finally, as a beautiful place of retreat and commerce, the community enjoyed a diverse group of people.

Located in the foothills of the LAKANI Mountains and mt PANGAION pan-ga-yawn, it sounds like our favorite town.

Paul’s primary theme in this passage is “Endurance in Faithfulness.”

Pressing toward the Heavenly Goal.

Pressing on – is an athletic term in Greek, as in a race.

Don’t give up when the goal is near.

We have the upcoming “run for the Son” race, and I encourage you to register today, even if you are running virtually at home. It is a worthy cause, and we need all who can help us win the prize for the most support. (Take a moment to sign up right now with your name and phone number, and we will follow up)

Pressing on also has a military use:

There would have been those in military service who had been given orders to push forward a line within a battle and the need to “Press On.”

A Time to Yield and a time to Press

There are many who press on when they should stop and yield, at the round-about, for example. There are drivers who neither slow down nor do they yield at the circle. There would be no need for the flashing speed monitors if drivers would approach all of downtown with courtesy and caution. This is not a place to press on.

Paul assures us we are on the winning team.

Know I will win the race before the race is over.

How? I belong to Jesus and Jesus is mine. Together, We are completing what Christ has already done for us, and the world.

The Catch?

If Jesus has won the race, then why bother, our team time cannot be beaten. I will coast along… Why not use the back burner, and let someone else step up.

Paul’s prescription:

Forget the past sufferings and failures and focus on the prize.

Every runner needs to be present in their current race and not think about the misery of training.

Every soldier needs to let go of what has been lost and see the need to complete the mission of today.

Do not worry or be anxious about what we have no control over, rather

Focus on the things that we can give our faithfulness.

Forgetting is a powerful work. It makes room for the possibilities of today and tomorrow.

Wendy’s mother lived with us for the majority of her battle with dementia. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are terrible thieves. The loss of memories has profound pain and anxiety. There came the point when the pain of suffering from lost memories opened the opportunity for Nancy to think she was living at the Hilton Head Island resort and woke every morning hoping that she had not missed the breakfast buffet.

What are the possibilities for trust, fellowship, witness, and service when we let go of what we have suffered through, failed, and left undone and start fresh in Christ?

When we forgive, as we have been forgiven, we are able to count on each other with fresh hearts of faith in Christ.

We can press on because the weight is gone.

In the movie “The Mission”, Robert DeNiro plays the part of a slave trader in South America who follows a tribe of native people at great suffering and cost to his own traveling party. He discovers the village is at the top of a waterfall and scales the mountain carrying his armor, weapons, and supplies in a giant net… as he reaches the top of the mountain, he is exhausted, weighed down, and defenseless as the natives surround him at the edge of the cliff.

He has two choices. Let go of the rope and all his possessions and face the tribe with nothing, or let go of the cliff, keep his possessions, and fall to the basin below. The chief warrior draws his spear and cuts the rope; DeNiro’s belongings and weapons gone, what is most likely his death, frees him up to meet his enemies. The tribe takes him in and saves his life. (Long epic movie worth the watch)

Paul asks a similar question: Are we holding on or pressing on?

Are we pressing on?

Toward the Heavenly Goal?

Do we know the outcome of the race of our life?

Are we Heaven bound?

Paul is describing a both/and/not yet relationship

What we know by faith is proven during “the course” of our life and in the end, our sharing in the resurrection.

To bind is to fasten to, to already bind, in the past tense is bound…being bound to Christ.

My sins are bound to the cross of Christ….

The Power of Forgetting

Nancy and apple pie Paul gives his credentials and says that he trades it all for what he finds in Christ, asking Roman citizens, and veterans to trade their history for a new future.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21  Me, an Ambassador?

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [NRSA: 2Cor. 5.16-21]

A New Creation: No longer limited by our human point of view. Reconciliation: 4 times in 5 verses. Must be important.

Ambassador: on behalf of Christ, God is making an appeal, to be reconciled to God

  • God making God’s appeal through me.
    • What does it look like when I am doing my own thing
    • What does it sound like when I am singing my own praises

Singing someone else’s tune

  • What does it feel like when I am pleasing my own desires
  • God making God’s appeal through me.
    • What does it look like when I am doing the things of God
    • What does it sound like when I am singing God’s praises
    • What happens when I’m not singing the world’s praise?
    • What does it feel like when I am pleasure God’s call and heart?

When am I on-duty for the kingdom? When am I off-duty?

Some things to try as on-duty, ambassadors, chamber of commerce advocates:

First, making disciples is a task for the long game. It’s about building relationships in Christ… but sometimes we know people well but never talk about our faith in some circles:

Everywhere we travel, we are representing the Kingdom of God.

I have heard from many of you that you don’t typically find yourself around non-Christians.

Remember we may often be around folks who know Christ, but are

  • struggling to trust Christ,
  • stumbling to follow Christ,
  • searching to know Christ.

We need Christ Conversation Starters:

By Far the best is the offer to pray: May I pray for you?

“Dear God, I pray for John, help him find strength to do all that he needs to do today and help him know your saving grace, that he is of value to you and you desire to make him whole. We thank you that your son has died that we might live and know you personally. Amen.”

For those who don’t want to use the maybe over popular John 3:16, try Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace in Jesus Christ.” Do you know that freedom in Jesus Christ?

You know the Billy Graham Method has been tested:

God’s plan is for us to know peace and life through Jesus Christ

Our problem is that we are separated from God, free will we choose what does not please God and we become divided.

God’s Remedy– The cross, Jesus scarified himself to pay the penalty for our sin and separation. Jesus bridges the gap between us and God

Our Response – to Receive Christ, We trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior. John 1:12

There is not a singular method… we must find something that is genuinely ours, even if we learn it from someone else to start.

CARDS

The calling we share is to serve as AMBASSADORS for the Kingdom.

To that end I have a card, so you can be a card-carrying ambassador

I had a great visit with the Chamber of Commerce this past week, attending one of their events for those new to town or new to the chamber.

If the Chamber of Commerce can be an advocate for those living and those visiting, then certainly the church can be ready to serve

  • The regular,
  • The seekers,
  • The Visitors,
  • The strangers.
  • Whomever…

Asking Questions / Answering Questions – Honestly and directly.

Last week I invited us to being looking for someone to reach out and invite to church.

This week, I’m inviting us to begin some homework in preparation of those persons God will send to cross our paths.

For those who are not yet Christians, or even struggling Christians.

I offer a top ten list of questions we need to be ready to help people answer.

Paul reminds us: because we are made new in Christ

Because we are reconciled through Christ,

We are to be living examples of the body of Christ… Ambassadors for the kingdom.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Don’t Fall

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. [NRSA:1Cor 10:1-13]

The Driest Baptism

Paul makes an interesting edit to the story of the Israelites and interprets God’s people going through the parted waters of the Red Sea as their baptism. It would settle the debate about sprinkling vs immersion in that one need only pass by the waters of baptism to be included. But this is not to the main point of today’s passage.

Baptized but Fallen

Paul’s main point is that even though we are baptized, we also can still forfeit the power and gift of our baptism. Sin continues to be our struggle.

Fallen and Can’t Get Up

  • It now immortal words of confession: “I have fallen, and I can’t get up” are not just for health monitors.
  • We fall for false news and false fact checkers
  • We fall for what is popular and easy
  • We fall in all manors of moral matters.
  • We know the same struggle of Corinth church
  • Bottom line, we fall like everyone else.
  •  
  • And the fall wall a Jericho,
  • the fall of David’s Goliath,
  • the fall of the house built upon the sand,
  • the fall of humanity in the garden.

What can we do?

What can we do when we cannot return purity

  • When we leave a trail of consequences
  • When the trust is broken,
  • The walls are crumbled,
  • When the giants fall,
  • When the foundation washes away
  • When sin, selfishness, and evil do not save us….

Before we jump and in taking a stand, remember

Standing is a dangerous place

First, taking a stand is not easy.

Most times unpopular,

Usually demanding,

And always intentional.

Why don’t we admint we fell and lay low and wait for someone else to do the standing?

Or, Where We Once Stood

We think if we can just get back to a safe place in the past…

We hunger for the pandemic to be completely over and desire to get back to the life we had before, but we have given up freedoms, we have placed our trust in corrupt authority, and we have given one another permission to be more distant and divided.

We have lost ground and the new ground on which we stand calls for us to actively become more dependent on God than we were before the pandemic.

The Truth is we are starting anew and can only take our stand in the Savior who can be our eternal foundation!

We find ourselves even more dependent on Christ because we have even more reasons to be the disciple-makers, peacemakers, and witnesses in our lifetimes.

  • Rather than looking for our hope to come in what is popular, easy, we are more like the early church than we dare.
  • Rather than trusting what opinion polls indicate for a given minute.
  • Rather than taking our stand for own self alone, or some cause, we are called to reach out to neighbors and even enemies for Jesus Christ.

Ease of Not Standing

Therefore, we are tempted to not make a stand. We stay in the categories of either falling, sitting, or laying as still. Taking a stand it too dangerous, risky, and makes us far too vulnerable to change our habits and routines.

Contained in this passage is one of the most misused verses. It is usually interpreted as God will not give us more than we can stand when tested when we read that we will “not be tested beyond our strength.”

It is used to blame God for the troubles we endure and with which we wrestle. Instead, it mean that if we are not trusting in Christ, we will fail, we will fall, it is indented to be a word of assurance… so why wait until we are falling or failing to hand the reins over to God?

God promises to come to our aid. We may not find the answers we prayed for, but we can find God working through every situation – often reshaping and making us whole.

Which begs the question for each of us: How strong is our faith?

To which we typically would answer, if pressed or pushed to answer, I don’t want to exactly know the answer. Because I don’t want to be tested.

We think about the servant who feared failure with his talent and chose to not risk it and it was taken away from him.

Would we rather point to sometime in the past where we survived some issue that tempted our tested our faith and we did NOT fall.

When in fact, we need to learn from where we have fallen and see that even in our failures, and see that God continues to love us, call us, and save us.

Finding and Extending Grace

We sing that standard old hymn, “Standing on the Promises”

The hope is that we now will take a stand for the kingdom that cannot fail, and that we will remain firm in trusting God in all things, always.

The first hurdle is to know with more than our head

We know this with our heads, but we are slow to rise, slow to take a stand – to save ourselves from falling.

“If I stay right here, even stagnate, at least I am not falling.

But the truth is like the lepers who know about Jesus and one said to the group, “why do we sit here until we die, let us go and see this Jesus.”

Taking the Stand

So, what does this mean to stand up for Jesus?

It means that if our church is to grow, each of us must take on the task of bringing people into our fellowship and growing our congregation.

The common testimony is our common stand:

There are many causes and issues we might become an advocated, but there is on task that fall to us as a church together, collectively:

  • It means reaching out to people we might not know or be ready to extend
  • It means we lead with grace and forgiveness.
  • It means we reach out to make disciples and share our faith as if we are the only one willing to share.
  • We can’t wait for people to fall into church,
  • We cant’ wait for someone else to do our part, give our gift, teach our lesson, or plant the seeds entrusted to us.

A Challenge for 2022:

  • We have lost members through the pandemic and now it is time to rekindle relationships, make new ones, repair trusts, and mend our fences.
  • We need each member/family/household to bring a new individual or family into the fellowship and life of the church this year.
  • If we do not, we will not be strong enough to weather where God leads us.

We need to be taking part in classes and small groups, it means we need to be adding to Christ’s number daily.

Being a disciple is finding someone to replicate our place so that when we are falling someone can help us stand up again.

  • Taking a stand for Christ is giving witness to the trust we have in our heavenly citizenship, even above all others.
  • Taking a stand is being the voice for those oppressed and unjustly attacked
  • Taking a stand is giving our time, talents, and treasure to the cause of Christ
  • Taking a stand is trying to not fall into the quest for power and meaning offered by society and opinions of the majority, and not lying still avoiding the risk.

Stand Firm under the Wings of Christ

Philippians 3:17-4:1
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. [NRSA]

Luke 13:31-35
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.‘” [NRSA]

  1. Jesus laments that he wished that he could protect Jerusalem like a mother hen.

Quilt:

  • Long before Yeti coolers we had great grandma Brantley’s quilt.
  • Long before people paid for weighted blanks there was great grandma Brantley’s quilt
  • Long before there were bullet proof jackets,, there was great grandma Brantley’s quilt

But a quilt won’t save us.

 so often pray for protection but it’s more helpful to ask Jesus to be with us. Jesus has not come to make life easy, he came to make eternal life accessible.

We ask for protection for Ukraine. Taiwan and the world to keep us from crossing into wars that engulf us all.

Instead of waving a wand of magic protection, Jesus promises to go with us, into the midst of war, seeking peace.

  • Jesus looks over Jerusalem and is disappointed.

Jesus stands with us even when disappointed

  • Frances with a hand gesture of disappointment instead of anger or blame.
  • Jesus is disappointed that the People of God have allowed leaders to lead them astray, where prophets are killed and those who speak truth are stoned.
  • How often I have wanted to be your mother hen, and God allows us to be unfaithful, unwilling, unavailable.

3. Disappointed but Determined and Diligent

Jesus hears those who warm and caution him to lay low, keep out of the spotlight, save yourself.

  • Jesus’s witness is to continue teaching, healing, and calling for faithfulness
  • Living into the prophetic messiah of being determined to enter Jerusalem,
  • With purpose, choice, determination, and deliberation Jesus moves closer to the cross

Following Jesus will require purposeful and intentional choices that lead us to Jesus

The charge is that the Holy City kills the prophets.

  • Means that becoming prophet is dangerous
  • Means only the faithful are prophets
  • Means It is easier to kill the messenger when we don’t like the message

4. Recognizing Jesus before its too late….

  • Those who lives as enemies of the cross, living only to satisfy hunger, seek glory and power, and set on earthly things.
  • Reminder that we have a heavenly passport…. Commercial asking will you at the end of your life wish you had bought newer technology, a bigger house, or rather where you traveled? What you experienced?

Paul invites future transformation… of our body, power, and heavenly ‘things.

4. Stand firm in Christ.

As we have discussed previously, standing firm “in” Christ, is residing in Christ’s righteousness

In what christ determines is right, just, good, and faithful

It is not standing firm in what we believe but stand firm in Christ.

Romans 10:2-17 MARCH 6, 2022  One in Christ?

I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or “Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.[ NRSA: Romans 10:2-17]

First: Hear the Good News Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, including you and me, and through resurrection, opens eternity to all who believe, for all who confess with their lips, or confirm in their mind.

The passage begins we are all musketeers, “All for One and One for All.”

I’m in Christ > You’re in Christ = We are both in Christ

Just like the Gieco insurance commercial say, “Everyone knows that.”


So, Paul speaks of the joy of sharing the Good News. “ How beautiful are the feet” of the one who brings Good News. Instead of being known as Christians, “I wonder why we are not known as the people with beautiful feet?”

We will have a foot washing service on Maunday Thursday this year and many will avoid this intimate reception of love and service because we think our feet are not beautiful.

Paul gives us a new way to look at feet… those who bring the good news are no longer worried about what the feet look like…. We bring prize of salvation when we share Christ with others and one another.


Paul has a more important than our feet

But there is more than hearing the Good News.

There is hearing and believing the Good News

But there is more than believing

There is hearing, believing, and living in the Good News of Jesus.


Jesus gives witness, instruction, teaching, and even commandments to follow.

We will hear people who proclaim Jesus’s inclusive love without also following the right-living, the righteousness, that Jesus calling us into.

Love without transformation of who we were, means that we didn’t need Jesus in the first place. I know I need to be transformed daily!

 

Paul’s is reminding us that it is beautiful to know about Jesus, to talk about Jesus, to sing and praise Jesus, but our relationship with Jesus must reflect Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus.


Paul is calling us to obey the good news.


Paul’s lesson to the church at Rome holds the two ends of this rope together.

One end is believing in Christ

The other is believing Christ desire to shape us into kingdom people through faith.

Paul cautions, and says, “We might think we are in Christ, but we might just be stuck at the start of a relationship that is not growing and maturing.


When a couple marries they pledge their faithfulness to God and one another and the words are lovely and true, but have not been tested.

The subsequent relationship has been established in a covenant, but without the following relationship there is no growth, no maturity, no fulfilment of the promised words.

So it is the profession of our faith in Christ, we activate Christ’s invitation when our mind accepts and/or our lips and words confess, but the nature of being in Christ demands our response to have been welcomed in relationship…

Our theological neighbors might lay a heavy hand of guilt to to make sure that every person has uttered the sinner’s prayers and quote, accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and Savior.” Even if they have spent the rest of their days in questionable choices pretending to be TO BE “IN” CHRIST. 

As Wesley would remind us we can forfeit our salvation. Our belief is the beginning of our journey and the growth of our relationship, is our sanctification. What Paul is referring to our hearing and obeying the word.

In the older baptism liturgy used the word, ‘Expiation.’ As a kid I had no idea, not until Mrs Smith, our 5th grade SS teacher, opened the Websters dictionary with us do we learn this word means Atonement… Our recognition that we are broken, sinful, incomplete, and without Christ who transforms us by love, through faith do we ‘become’ the believers we profess.

It means that we also believe

·      Believe Jesus is the one who makes me whole. Implies that I am incomplete without Jesus.

·      Believe Jesus is my salvation implies I acknowledge I am lost without Jesus.

·      Actitation by words, mouth, mind…

 

This is why we come to the this holy table. For God so loves us, even when we are broken sinful and longs for use to become the people he died and rose to be.

Luke 9:28-36 “Memorial Moments”


Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.  [NRSA: Luke 9:28-36]

In my quest to climb Mt Tabor and see this holy spot there is a church at top with

four sanctuaries.. and Upper and lower devoted to the transfiguration of Jesus and two smaller ones devoted to Moss and Elijah. And a monastery, and a cemetery, and a garden, and remnants of other structures, and a small gift shop. For a location that Jesus gave specific direction for having no need for booths, markers, nor markets to celebrate we have built them nonetheless. 

Some folks have a desire we might label as spiritual jealousy. Saul had his Damascus road transformation, hundreds came to Jesus and were miraculously healed, thousands came and were miraculously fed from loaves and fish, apostles freed from their prison cells, Paul saved from shipwreck and snake bites.

Where is my miracle? Where’s our moment in the divine glory and blinding brightness to seal our faith?

Keep in mind that Peter share in this holy moment, but later will deny Jesus at a most important time.  James and John will let there experiences go to their head and they ask to sit on either side of Jesus in heaven.

Miraculous moments are important and can be transformative, these are signs of what is important. The are NOT special privileges for the favored.

It’s true that Jesus took a small group and not all the disciples. Was it the three who needed the clearest view? Were these who Jesus knew had a more difficult time trusting ? Were they more mature than the others and better able to comprehend the event? Would these who would have the greatest struggle to believe?

Peter’s response was to mark and market the occasion for others, and Jesus’s intent was for Peter to experience a holy moment of revelation of Jesus’s nature, mission, and connection.

One thing that is essential is that we take from this encounter is that the OT and NT messages are the same message: Through Moses with Law, Elijah with the Prophets, and Jesus with the Gospel: God is weaving together a tapestry of invitation to trust, grace for our rebellion, and authority for our doubts and fears.

Another part of this event is that different Memorial moments are intended for different people. Look ahead to the birth of the church at Pentecost, some think the disciples are drunk on new wine and other hear the gospel in their own native languages. 

I will tell you many times it amazing me the number of times someone will say, I hear words that so resonated with me, when you said, and the words they heard were different from what I thought I had said. I never doubt them because God has unique messages for us all.

For those who overhear and recall someone else’s holy moment, what can we take away for ourselves?

Yet another lesson is that the events from that day were not always to be a special secret for a select group, but in a most important time , they needed to be remembered and retold. Peter wants buildings and holidays and ritual to tell the story, and Jesus wants Peter to tell the story.

Some of you may have experiences of angels, messengers, experiences from travels, study of scripture, in a piece of music, and other personal moments of divine disclosures:

  1. These are for your own faith
  2. These are for you to share with others for theimountains88⁸If you cannot recall moments of revelation then it’s time to climb some mountains, its time for spiritual retreats, it’s time to gather in small group with others on the same journey and be where God’s message is being revealed.
  3. If you have these moments of revealed truth and faith this generation needs to hear, see, be encouraged and fortified more than ever in our lifetimes.
  • God wants us to have faith in Christ
  • God wants us to share life in Christ
  • God wants us to live by faith with one another 

We need to recall these moment more than ever… Our Christian neighbors to the north have dropped from 60% to 10% who consider themselves Christian and it is no wonder the church is under attack when the people have forgotten or let go of the moments that are given to anchor our faith.

We can’t force or manufacture a spiritual mountain top experience but we can follow when asked to go.

We cant make Jesus show up on demand, but I can be reading, listening, waiting… I know where to look

We can’t expect my spiritual moments to be like yours, because yours are for you, and mine for me… we might share to encourage one another, but God is calling, knocking, asking and desires in your heart and life.

Transformational markers are personal yet have collective benefits

Retreat ; set aside time and place, this lenten season to receive the word, blessing, and spiritual moments God longs to reveal to you!

Luke 6:27-38 “Returns on Investments”


But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” [NRSA: Luke 6:27-38]

 

The Sermon on the hidden hillside turns the world view upside down.

The Setting on the Sea of Tiberias, Sea of Galilee

The one place thousands could gather to hear Jesus and not be seen by watchful Roman guard.

 

This ‘sermon’ is a collection of teachings that describe God’s kingdom how God hopes followers of Jesus will live.

 

So not only do we have a set of instructions, we have view of God’s nature and the perennial story of faith and God’s grace revealed throughout scripture.

 

God Hopes are high, even though God’s expectations are low.

 

The lists that Jesus teaches reveal God’s expectation is for us to struggle and fail are likely, yet God is hopeful.

  • For example, God knows we look to do the least, to receive the most.
  • To take the road MOST traveled, choosing what is easiest.
  • God knows we are likely to follow the crowd rather than follow God.
  • God knows we probably will choose to live contractually, by laws and rules, rather than covenantal,
  • God guesses we will value earning our way, rather than trust, and
  • Seek power in our own success, good works and self understanding.

 

Hear some Good News:

The teachings reveal God lives hoping we will trust! God is Hopeful!

 

For example: There are verses that are misused about blessing and abundance. If we give to God we can expect a good return on our investments.

It is subtle, but the intent is not that we measure our devotion by what we do, give, or earn, rather… God will use all that we do for God’s good work and witness. Bottom line, If we use God’s blessing for our glory and our comfort, they no longer reflect the kingdom, they only reflect ourselves.

 

The lesson here is about generosity. Give with a gratefulness, trusting God, and generosity yields generosity.

 

God seems to have the world backwards and upside down:

  • Trust the untrustworthy
  • Love the enemy
  • Discern without judging
  • Forgive like it is you that is being forgiven
  • And do all these with hope, in generosity.

 

Live by Grace in a big way.

 

God knows we can be selfish, brutish, cruel, and controlling, and yet chooses to love and entrust the work of the kingdom on earth to be conducted through us.

“What is God thinking?’

 

This is where knows God is hopeful, yet expects sin to real and the choices to be difficult.

 

Think of the loving parent that is Hopeful the prodigal son will not squander his inheritance, and yet knowing he has, waits with Hope for his return.

 

Paul would ask, “So if God knows we are going to fail, fall short, and sin, then go for the gold medal?” “No!”

 

The sermon on the mountain teaches us what is good, right, righteous, and from the heart of God. God’s gracious invitation is to follow, trust, and try to grow in fellowship.

 

The world is expecting us to value wealth, excellence, and power. God has all these things. We need only trust that God loves and desires and hopes for us soooo much, that God is willing to risk the world.

 

God wants relationship over good works alone.

How much greater is it to know temptation and to choose what pleases God, rather than just accidentally making the correct answer…

 

I have wondered when archeologist look back to see that knowledge was measured by students bubbling in score cards and those who choose the arbitrary sequence of bubbled ovals receive the scholarships and opportunities, and those who choose fewer are scored as less knowledgeable. Can the correct answers and action replace the relationship and experiences? The lessons of the sermon on the mount say, “nope, not at all!”

 

There is more than meeting expectations. Jesus announces that he has completed the law for us, and thus calls us to follow Jesus, in relationship with God and neighbor, through Jesus, as the way of living out our faith.

Movie, “Bruce Almighty” with Jim Carry and Morgan Freeman, God seems to foolishly hands the reigns over to Jim’s character who looks for short-cuts, self-interested solutions, and skips the very nature of God…. It takes looking from God’s perspective to see what God is hoping we find.

 

It is these verses in Chapters 5,6,&7, The sermon on the mount, that gives us God’s perspective of hope for ourselves and each other.

 

What do we do with this sermon on the mount?

Does my faith serve me or God’s pleasure? Where is my hope and trust?

What do I hope God will do through my household and friendships?

What do I hope God will do through my enemies and the strangers?

What do I hope my wealth will provide for God?

What do I hope will happen in my life for God’s kingdom?

 

If my lists are short then maybe I need to see more of God’s perspective

If my lists are long, then I start where I currently find ourselves and whittle through.

Bottom line, following Jesus is ……..

 

This is the Lord’s Year

Luke 4:14-21

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” [NRSA]

Mattie did a great job last week sharing a call to remember we are gifted with gifts to share. But if she had shared, and my gift is to be the Messiah, we too would have at least mumbled and grumbled, she is so full of herself to say such

But this is the context of our passage today. Jesus is the hometown favorite getting up to read, preach, and teach and he goes off with a Messiah complex. Who is he to say what the completion of scripture and the law is to be.

The idea that Jesus completes us affirms that we are incomplete

Dating card with strengths and weaknesses.

• Anointed to bring good news to the poor,

• release to the captive

• sights to the blind

• freedom to those oppressed

• and proclaim the year of the lord

Jesus fulfills these and call us to share the same…

Begging the question what are the

poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed, and those waiting for the lord to show finding out through us today?

Straight from the news reports,

• poverty continues,

• banks hold mortgages,

• governments and society hold hearts and minds captive,

• people continue to blindly follow rather than question, and there seems to be no justice for those who are oppressed and this day seems like just another day in ordinary-villa.

Christian Rapper ‘Phanatik’ of The Cross Movement Publicly Renounces Christianity

“I began to have doubts…” I could not trust what I have been telling others, so I’m renouncing my Christian faith.

written songs, book, taught classes, and didn’t believe what he was dishing out…

Many would say, I don’t care about rap in the first place, but when we hear of someone giving up hope, we need to pay attention. It might not be just those in the spot light.

Jesus begins his ministry affirming this IS. His use of the words of the prophet Isaiah become declaration of faith:

• what I trust,

• this IS what I believe,

• this IS what I will be doing, and

• THIS IS what God longs for you to do as well.

What is good news to the poor?

There is something more valuable that wealth. One less that is taught over and again when sharing ministry with those who are rich in Christ, but poor in the things of the world, is the ability to prioritize what matters most.

We speak of someone who is blinded by conditioning, majority, coercion, and assumption:

There are something we see by faith when our eyes tell us otherwise. We are called to be people who believe not because they have seen the signs and placed our hand in the side as Thomas but those who live by trust, faith alone.

We are prisoners of our own allegiance, (Quote the Eagles, our own device) to the what the world tells us right/wrong.

There is what world says its good and true and there is the one who created the world and it’s purpose says are good and true.

What do those who are oppressed by wealthy, the majority, the systems of control, institution of power, what do they want to know?

There is a power greater than the powers of this world.

Jesus declares that in him, we find this power, this wealth, this life

In the Lord’s Day,

• is not earth day,

• it is not independence Day,

• it’s not president’s day,

• Its not Santa’s Day,

• It’s not Election Day,

it is the Day of the Lord

• The Lord’s Choice

• The Lord’s Power

• The Lord’s Purpose

• The Lord’s Revealing

Jesus has made a very strong political statement in his first sermon: God’s Day, God’s Way, depends on no other variable.

What that way of life looks and sounds like is this…

There are no more tear, no more fear

no more death, no more misuse of trust and power.

So what can you and I find in this story, sermon, verse?

Where you have placed your trust in yourself, your government, your fears, your power and power of human construction, are just as they were in the tower of Babel

Just as God confused the language,

Jesus’ reading from Isaiah sounds noble and we would expect him to highlight nothing else, but what he is saying is this

Don’t trust those who hold power, wealth, influence, etc to know right from wrong.

He is not saying to ignore the world’s power, rather see it’s limitation and flaws.

Those in the world could operate from righteousness if each day were devoted to the glory of God, but where they do not, they are not God’s instruments…

For example $$$

Money is a necessary means of transacting commerce in a society, it is neither good nor evil. Misuse of the power that controlling money is evil and despite it’s power and influence, God is greater and Jesus has come to make that right

Again it is not inappropriate for us to talk about money in relationship to the church but to tell God what we cannot do because we do not have the money in hand requires no faith in God. Listening to those who hold the money is what we have come to believe is the only way. Jesus is saying money is not love, is not peace, is not justice, is not hope, is not salvation. Money is money, who’s power do we place our trust.

What are we doing with the power, wealth, opportunities, freedom that we enjoy?

What better place to invest than to invest in reversing poverty, providing freedom, release, seeing through the lies of evil power to see the truth of God’s strength.

The final part of the Lord’s Day being declaired in their hearing, points to the urgency not to wait for another day.

What are you and I doing with the gifts we currently have?

What are we waiting to happen to be bold in witness?

When will we have enough to do what the Lord needs done?

Jesus gives us these answers:

Trust the Lord and you will see the kingdom of God in every part of your life.

WWill our response be to grumble, dismiss, or ignore or take up the Cross of Christ and make this day another Day for the Lord…