Preparing for Easter

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Book of Hebrews and chapter 12. You guys stay there for just a minute. I’m going to give an introduction to the backdrop of this text. If you want to follow along. Apart from that, please feel free to do that. Here’s where we’re going with this. This morning. Easter, believe it or not, is the most important holiday on the calendar because Easter deals with the resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote in Corinthians, If Christ be not raised from the grave, our faith is in vain, right? So. So our faith centers around the resurrection of Christ, his ability to demonstrate to us his conquering over sin, Satan, and death, and giving us the hope of eternity in him, because he Himself has overcome the grave. The promise that he gives to us is that we, as we place our faith in him, may also overcome the grave. Easter is the day of celebration. If you want to refer to it more specifically or more biblically correct, it would be Resurrection Sunday. We celebrate. Doing with the resurrection of Christ leading up to this resurrection, exactly one one week before the resurrection of Jesus was a day referred to as Palm Sunday. The Christian celebrate Palm Sunday as the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It’s recorded in all four Gospels. This was a day also that the nation of Israel celebrated the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem just before his crucifixion. Jesus came that we may know him and enjoy him forever.

Prophet Zechariah in chapter nine. That’s a beautiful slide, by the way, isn’t it? Shalom made that Zechariah chapter nine and verse nine, you’re going to give me a click. I don’t have power here. One more. Chapter nine and verse nine says this rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout out, daughter of Jerusalem, behold, your king is coming to you. He is just and having salvation lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. Could you imagine that you’re gathering together like usual on Passover Sunday? And as a Jew, you you know the Old Testament. Most of them have it memorized and ingrained in their mind. And they know if we were to mention this verse, they could open their Bible and point right to where it would be in Scripture. And they’re gathering in Jerusalem. They’re celebrating this, this Palm Sunday. And all of a sudden they see Jesus, the one that they’ve been heralding as the Messiah, coming into Jerusalem, riding on this donkey. Could you imagine this moment as a Jew realizing what was happening as Zechariah verse chapter nine and verse nine is being fulfilled in their very presence? The Bible tells us that the the people in this moment began rejoicing over what was taking place. It says in Matthew 29 and verse nine, the crowds going ahead of him, talking about Jesus and those who followed were shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! The description around this moment tells us Hosanna is the shout for salvation for the King who’s coming to bring salvation.

This cry before them. And as they’re crying out to the Lord and the Gospels, it tells us that that they have palm branches that are symbolic of victory. In the land of ancient Egypt, palm branches were used in funeral processions to represent eternal life. And here, when this king comes into Jerusalem, customary, when one one of authority would enter into a city, palm branches would be laid before them, as if in reverence to the King and our culture today, it’s it’s somewhat symbolic to rolling out the red carpet. And the description within this passages of Scripture in the Gospels say that people began to throw their coats down in these palm branches down in honor of this king. What’s important to recognize is that as Jesus, when he comes as a king, he chooses not to ride on a horse. But instead rides upon a donkey. When a king would come into a city. If he was prepared for battle. Would ride upon a horse. But when a king would come into a city if he was prepared for peace. He would ride up on a donkey. You know, from Christmas we studied Isaiah chapter nine and verse six unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.

The government shall be upon his shoulder, and he shall be called wonderful God Almighty. Father. Uh, excuse me, wonderful God, everlasting father. He is. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the wonderful counselor. That’s what I forgot. He is the Prince of Peace. In Jesus rides upon this donkey into Jerusalem to establish peace. The people in the streets had already gathered and began quoting Psalm 113 to 118, in honor of this Passover celebration. In Matthew 29 and verse nine, it actually tells us, and in verse 25 of Psalm 118 is where they’re quoting. Says, Lord, save us. Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord from the house of the Lord, we bless you. And the people began to celebrate from Psalm 118 as Jesus comes into Jerusalem upon this donkey, appreciating just this moment, this fulfillment, that Zechariah chapter nine and verse nine talks about. You know the coincidence of this very same psalm? There are just to read, just just a few verses before. It says that Jesus was the stone the builders rejected. He has become the cornerstone. The very same psalm that they’re using to praise the goodness of God’s glory being revealed. And their very presence also reveals that they will be the people that reject the Messiah as he comes. Palm Sunday was intended to be a day of of victory in Christ. A day of looking for salvation that was promised to the Jewish people.

And through the Jewish people, all people would be blessed. And yet we discover within Scripture with. By the next week this popular Jesus had his back turned on him by the people. And he is rejected. And one Sunday, the people are yelling for Jesus to be king. And by the next Friday, they’re crying out that he be crucified. In the same psalm which Jesus is giving praise, Jesus is rejected. Which brings us this morning to Hebrews chapter 12. As I look at the story of Jesus, the question that I asked myself was, Lord, how? How do I avoid that in my life? And seeing the way that you presented yourself and people offering you. Praise God, how? How in this world can can I just be faithful just to follow after you, knowing God that you are my King? Paul opens up Hebrews chapter 12 as somewhat of a summary statement for what’s happening in in the previous parts of the book. Every time you see the word therefore in Scripture, it comes for for you for a particular reason that that you and your mind could could ask the question, what is therefore therefore right? And therefore it is a summation statement of everything that you’ve just previously read, is why therefore is therefore. And so in chapter 12 of verse one, in the book of Hebrews, Paul begins this section of Scripture saying, now in the summation of well, let me just say, whoever wrote Hebrews, right? I think it’s Paul in the summation of this mysterious writer of Hebrews and the summation of chapter 12 and verse one, Paul is is describing now very concisely what were to do with all the information that he’s giving us in the book of Hebrews leading up to this point? Therefore Paul says.

Paul on this example uses Olympic language. Let me let me read this for us in the first just couple of verses. He says, therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Paul takes, therefore, in the summation of the book of Hebrews and begins to draw an illustration for us and the idea of Olympic Games. I don’t know about you, but I love Olympics. When he gets to this point, he really hits home for me. It wasn’t until this winter I didn’t realize how much I could care about women’s curling at 3:00 in the morning. Grayson’s up, and I knew what Sweden and Norway are doing. Right? The Olympics are exciting to watch.

I can remember the Beijing Olympics a few years ago with you. Ask yourself, what? What is it that 2 billion Chinese people can do at Olympics? And? And then you get to see in all its glory. I don’t know how many people they packed into a stadium. Just a celebration of of what was taking place. The Olympics have always captivated our attention and our minds and celebration of countries. And Paul gets to this place in Hebrews as he opens up this illustration summation for us and what we’re to do in the Lord, he uses the illustration of the Olympic Games. And when he begins this word, therefore, the thought that Paul carries with us is what we have. Therefore, thinking of you now as an Olympic runner, it’s important to ask the question, what do you have? Like if somebody said to me, you know, I think that you might be able to compete in the Olympics. My first thought to myself is to immediately take an analysis of my capabilities. Right. What is it I have that makes me compete in the Olympics? There is no way that I could compete in the Olympics. I know, but what is it that I have? And Paul’s looking at this situation. He’s saying, look, you’re called to run in these Olympics for the Lord. But what’s important, therefore, is to understand what it is that you have in order for us to best understand what we have.

It’s good just to review the thought of what Hebrews signifies for us. And the wonderful answer for us is that what we have is not dependent upon you, but upon Jesus. So the book of Hebrews is all about Jesus. Validation of who Christ is and the position in which he is given an authority to our lives. The Hebrews. Chapter one starts former times God spoke to the prophets. Today he speaks to you through Jesus. The story goes on to tell us that Jesus is the High priest. And in the same chapter of Hebrews chapter one, it’s got a picture of God the Father speaking of Jesus, and the father saying to Jesus, Oh God, my God, you are my God. Jesus being elevated as deity. Because Jesus is deity. Hebrews chapter 567 talks about the priestly position of Jesus, even in chapter seven, saying to us that he is after the order of Melchizedek, only being able to hold the position of priests, because the position of Melchizedek has no beginning or no end of days, no, no father or no mother, he is eternal. And in Hebrews chapter seven, laying out for us what it means to hold the. The Melchizedek priesthood is only possible through Jesus. No one else could even think to elevate to that, but Christ alone does. He is our high priest. We have. Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus fulfills the work of the law and the purpose of the temple.

Jesus was perfect. Jesus now being perfect, dying for our sins to those who trust in him have the presence, very presence of God dwelling within them. And the Bible tells us that we become that temple. First Corinthians 316 and 619. And Hebrews chapter ten and verse 19 as you get as Paul begins to build the significance of who Jesus is, he says as therefore, brethren, since we have you think about running this race and asking the question, what is it that I have? Am I capable of crossing this line that God has called me to in this world? What is it that you have? And he says, therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus. Never before had we been able to experience such intimacy with God. But now, because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, becoming the perfect sacrifice, we may enter into his presence at any time. Saying to us that when God calls you into this world to stand and reflect his glory on behalf of him, what you have is God’s presence with you always. You’re never alone in this world. And so Hebrews chapter ten summarizes it for us. You have this in Christ to run this race. That’s why it’s capable. And so we get to Hebrews chapter 11 and we call it the Hall of Faith. And the Bible describes for us individuals by faith that have walked in Christ, standing for him and to the end of chapter 11, and then begins to describe those who have even given their lives for Christ.

And then you get to chapter 12. And so he says this. Run, baby, run. Or run, Forrest. Run. Right. God’s desire is for you to demonstrate his glory in this world as he makes you a new creation in him. And Paul chooses to do this through Olympic language. Let me just give you an understanding of of why Paul chooses Olympic language as the description for us. In the time that the Apostle Paul was writing this, Olympic Games were were celebrated in multiple locations, but there were amphitheaters all over the the Roman Empire where people would gather together for certain events that would take place when when Olympic races or events would take place. It was it was never about country competing against country. That’s that’s a standard that we’ve established today. When these events took place, it was all within the people of Rome. And so when they would compete, it wasn’t about honoring country, but rather it was about an honor to the emperor. You think about this picture in your mind for just a moment. Never before had you had so many people from just common backgrounds gathering together in an amphitheater. Excuse me. And here in this passage, Paul is reflecting upon now that Rome has come. And now that Rome is established, these amphitheaters have been created where thousands, tens of thousands of people would gather in honor and celebration of what the Emperor was, was doing and able to pull this off.

And so the emperor would arrive, everyone would gather at these games, and there was a specific gate that the emperor or leader would come through. And all these people, in celebration for what he’s put together, would applaud him as he entered into the arena and all his goodness and glory. He would come into the arena, and then there would be a specific place that he had established for himself where he would sit during the event. And as as he would come in or as Caesar would enter into this arena, he would take his position in the seat and down in the arena. Below him would be the athletes or the gladiators who would compete, and religious leaders and governmental authorities. And there in this spot, when Caesar had so many thousands of people gathered together, he would proclaim to the people changes that were happening in the land and new laws that were being passed, and old laws that were being taken away, and the goals for the future of those people. And everyone would stand before the Emperor. And as the athletes would then take their place to compete. During this time, the only one that was ever awarded as a victor was the first person to cross the finish line.

But as the athletes would compete in this game, it was all for the glory of the Emperor. During this time, the Emperor began to be elevated from more than just a man, but to to God. People began to look at him as deity. And the athletes would run around this arena in competition to honor the Emperor, who had put this together for his great name. Paul chooses the thought of the arena very carefully for us. He’s taken the thought within a culture, and he’s redeeming it for the goodness and glory of God. So rather than compete in honor of the Emperor. We compete and honor of Christ. We run the race for the goodness and glory of Jesus as he has made himself known, and he has brought us together in celebration throughout the New Testament. Paul continued to use such words to express the the walk of the Christian life. The second Timothy four Paul says this I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith in first Corinthians 927 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. Philippians two holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I have reason to glory, because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Galatians five seven. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? And revelation two three and you have perseverance, and have endured for my name’s sake.

And Ephesians 611 put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil in Hebrews 1036, for you have need of endurance. For us to pursue Christ. It’s important to remember what we have. I don’t know about you, but if I could tell you the most godless instrument of exercise ever created by man. It is the treadmill. The treadmill. I remember when I first got married, we were coming to Utah. We thought, okay, it’s going to be winter. We want we want to exercise. You know how you buy those things, thinking you’re going to use it when you don’t. So we got a treadmill and then I started using it. And then I realized I’m not going to use this thing I need. I need a, I need an elliptical, which was like half a step better. But but I am not the type of person that can sit on those things and go, because I don’t I’m not going anywhere. I’m not doing anything. I’m just stuck in that spot. There’s nothing going on around me. But, you know, I found out my success and getting on something like a treadmill increased when I put a goal in front of me. So I put my television downstairs and I got my iPad. The point was, it wasn’t just about the toiling, but it was about a goal I was toiling.

When Paul talks about running the Christian life or living for Jesus in this world, it’s not about doing. It’s about remembering what you have. Therefore. We have. Paul says in chapter 12 and verse one, we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, we’ll get to in just a moment here in chapter ten and verse 19 he says, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus. We have. Jesus is with you every step of the way. You have. So an Olympic athlete may not may have dreams to be an Olympic athlete, but as they train, they begin to realize they may not quite have what it takes to get to that stage in this world. But when it comes to the Christian life. None of us do it within our own strength or power. None of us are even capable of doing anything that would ever hope to please God. There’s nothing that you can ever give to God that he can’t already give to himself. And so when we compete, it’s because of what we have in him. And it’s always about his glory and goodness. It’s always about the work that he’s already done in us, and the work that he continues to do through us, that we could just rejoice in what Jesus has done. Remember what you have when Jesus is with you every step of the way and as you remember what you have, it gives you the opportunity to look forward to where you’re going.

It’s what you have in Jesus and and where you’re heading because of Jesus, that you have the opportunity to rejoice that when this world seems difficult, you have a far greater hope to look forward to. Maybe we would say this. That in the time when Jesus was rejected going into Jerusalem. Maybe one of the big reasons that the people rejected Christ is because they feared man more than they feared God. As a religious leaders turned on Jesus, so followed the people. Rather than just follow Jesus. They forgot about the hope of what was to come, and feared the moment more than they feared their God. Remember what you have and look forward to where you’re going. It tells us. And excuse me, I need to go back. It tells us in Hebrews chapter one and in verse two, let me, let me read one and two here for us. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Let us run. And Paul comes to or the writer of Hebrews, whoever you want to pick, comes to this place and he says this let we have or we have. Excuse me. So great a cloud of witnesses. What do we have? We have these these individuals who have gone on before us, who have been faithful in Christ. Chapter 12 is on the backdrop of chapter 11. And chapter 11 has just walked through the Old Testament of those who have been faithful in Jesus. And he comes to to chapter 12 and says, remember these individuals who have run before you in this arena to the praise of God. We we have their examples to look at, and so consider what they’ve done and continue to follow down that path. Randy Alcorn, in his book on Heaven, has an interesting view on this portion of Scripture. He says says it this way that. When we run in this world for Jesus, all those who are with the Lord in heaven are watching what’s happening in the course of history. He refers to the word, the word witnesses in this passage of Scripture as those who are actually witnessing the the events that are taking place. Um, I have the tendency and I brought this up in his illustration. He said, people think about whether or not loved ones see you in heaven. I tell you, other than this verse in the Bible, I don’t have any basis for this.

Okay? Um, and I always, always say in this passage of scripture, Randy Alcorn says this, and I’m not saying this when we talk about witnessing and surrounding that, when people get to heaven, you wonder if the immediate discussion within their mind is, is the course of what God has done in the Old Testament meaning? Meaning our loved ones who have passed on before us there in heaven with Abraham, Moses, Paul. You think they’re talking about what? What happened, what God did the stories of the Bible. What do you think? That God’s still playing out a story in history? People be rejoicing over that? Rejoicing that God’s glory is culminating, coming to a point where his glory would be made known. I would say this the the scarcity of taking a verse like this is to start thinking that we would create ancestral worship, and if if that would be the goal, then that would be vain. But but the point is, is to look at the example. The point of this verse is just to look at the example of what they have done in the Lord, and using that example to spur us on. I mean, you think about loved ones that you may know that have walked with Jesus. I can think of this past year lost my grandfather, who was a giant for Christ, going to his funeral. There were old, older people that my grandfather was almost 80 when he passed, and when he was in his 20s, he he would he helped in youth ministry and he would travel into neighborhoods.

I grew up in a in a low income area, and he would pick up young kids and he would take them to church. And then with extra money that he earned with his job, he would take him to things that they didn’t have money to do, that they could enjoy it together, but he just influenced them. And when my grandfather passed away, people I didn’t even know existed. Stories about my grandpa I didn’t even know. I go to the funeral, and these kids that were young, who were brought up and shown how to be a godly man by my grandfather, came to the funeral and just shared with my family how much it meant. So great a cloud of witnesses. You look at what people are doing for Christ, just celebrating in this arena in honor of the King wanting to see his glory made known and running this race before him. Thinking about those who have gone on, looking not only in what we have, but what is to come in Christ. How easy it is when our eyes are just on the prize to just run with glory for who Jesus is. We look to their example. You think about the back end of this verse. Not only are we looking to this example, but one day this verse for you might be a past tense.

What about the legacy you leave? And what do people say about you when they think about the Hall of Faith and you coming to church saying that you walk with Jesus? When people look at your example, do they think of this arena and saying, man, they ran. And I want to run to. You think about your children and grandchildren, what you want them to appreciate in Jesus, and the way that you demonstrate that in life? It’s to say this I had this in Christ is why I was able to run. And I kept my eye on the prize, thinking of this king gathering together with the cloud of witnesses and the celebration that is to come in that I rejoice. And so talking about Jesus in verse three, it says this for consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Jesus has become that ultimate example. We focus on what it was to to come before him. And in verse four it goes on and says this. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding of blood in your own striving against sin. And I would say in reading this passage of Scripture, that verse makes this passage the most difficult verse in the entire section of Scripture that we’re reading together. So interjected with this thought when we began.

How? How am I faithful and and following Jesus? How? How can I just continue to pursue him with joy in this life and not reject him like we we see in the triumphal entry of Christ? And then in verse four it says this. You have not yet resisted to the point of the shedding of blood, and you’re striving against sin. Meaning in Hebrews, the believer is being encouraged to pursue after Jesus. And what they’re acknowledging here is the reason that they stop pursuing after the Lord has nothing to do with their own personal sin. But rather the influence of others. Verse four is talking about persecution. So your faith really hasn’t cost you that much yet? It’s what it’s saying. And you’re striving against the sin. But it’s not your own sin. It’s the sin that other people are bringing upon you to get you to stop running that race. The pressure that you feel from loved ones and friends. Excuses that they give you not to come here in the way that they try to make you feel defeated about your new faith in Christ and the way that you’re pursuing him. You’ve not resisted to the point of the shedding of blood like Jesus did in verse three, and you’re striving against sin. Remember what you have and where you’re going in Christ. It’s far greater than any pressure anyone will ever place upon you. So it says in verse five, and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons.

Okay. Can I just say this maybe as as an exhortation when it comes to your relationship with Jesus and other people. Who cares about other people? I understand that there’s places where we walk in wisdom and the way that we choose to walk with Jesus, but Jesus is coming to this world to give you life forever. And you give that up because of other people. Jesus comes to this world, that his joy may be made in you and and your joy made full through him. Jesus comes that the fruit of the spirit might be manifest in your life, and you reject that for other people. Who cares about other people? There comes a place where you need to recognize that God has created you for him. And unless that works right, nothing else is going to matter. You’ve come to the point of the shedding of blood in your own striving as sin, and you’ve forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons. My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are approved by him. For those whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. I think Paul, in this passage of Scripture, then begins to talk about personal sin as well. But the point is this Jesus disciplines us through different means.

And it’s not because God desires to punish you, it’s that God desires just for you to run that race well. And you think about the way that a runner, what he goes through in order for to finish that no one wants to. No one wants to cross the finish line last. Right. What? Get me in the mix somewhere. What? Discipline? Walking in Christ, allowing Christ to transform you as you pursue him. And if you say to yourself, man, I do, I want all that. I want God’s glory to reflect on me. I want to think about what I have and where I’m going. And I want God to use me in this race. And so my, my, my thought to say to you this morning is, is just pursue him. Let God do a work within you. Like God’s transforming power. Have time with you upon your heart as this world wars against what Jesus wants to accomplish, and we allow the world to inundate itself with its ideas upon our heart. Give Jesus the opportunity to discipline that heart to just reflect his glory in this world. I’m going to share this last verse in the section of Scripture. It’s verse ten and 11. Talking about the walk with the Lord, he says, for they disciplined us for a short time, as seemed best to them. It’s talking about parents. Parents disciplined us for a short time that seemed best to them. You guys can attest to that.

All of us have parents, right? Mom and dad discipline me. It seemed good for them, but did not seem good to me. Whether they did when you’re under 20, they didn’t know what they were talking about. And then when you’re over 20, they knew exactly what they were talking about. Right? Mom. I’m sorry. For they disciplined us for a short time, as it seemed best to them. But he disciplines us for our good so that we may share in his holiness. So when Jesus starts taking things from our life that hurts for his goodness, it’s it’s also good for us. So because God’s always got your best interest in mind. God knows what’s best for your life, and it’s what he’s created you for. And so in verse 11, all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful. Yet those who have been trained by it afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. That verse is pretty self-explanatory, but let me just say this. Um. God created a cloud of witnesses in this previous verses to encourage us, right? And I think he created the church for the same reason. Um, it doesn’t make you godly to endure difficulty on your own. A matter of fact, I think I think it’s the exact opposite, because I think the reason that Jesus created his church is so that we could be an encouragement to each other. This is what I say is God has revealed his glory in all sorts of ways.

You look at creation, you see God’s glory. But I think the most important place that God has given us his glory to be identified is within us. God created us. When he created us, he said it was very good. He breathed in us his spirit, saying to us that when God’s presence is going to be specifically made known, it’s going to be through the life of one who knows him. If you want to see a real miracle take place. It happens in the heart of individuals as Jesus transforms it. And so we’re going into this world and we’re struggling and we’re finding hardships. If we fight that on our own, we’re robbing the body of Christ, of doing what God designed the body of Christ to do. God creates a family here in him that we could encourage one another as a cloud of witnesses before the Lord to continue to run the race. It’s a fight that was never designed to be on your own. When you think about the way God has presented himself. Triune being father, son, and Holy Spirit. God is love, and within that triune being, love has completely manifested itself. God created humanity. When he created man, it was not good for man to be alone. So he created wo man, right? And those to create community and that there’s family. God has always been about community.

God has always been about family. God has always been about relationship. And so to fight fights on our own and to feel like we’re something super human because of of what Jesus has done, is contrary to what Jesus is even saying. We have this great cloud of witnesses. And for a little while discipline may seem difficult, but it’s a battle that’s not ever intended to be fought on your own. But in Christ. Maybe I’ll look at this whole passage this morning and say this. My concern is for those who are fooled into thinking they’re running when they’re not. My concern for myself is to think that I’m running when I’m not. The Psalm 118 the people with verse 2526 they showed up on Sunday for church, and they nailed it right. Hosanna! And then in the week. They deny Jesus. I mean, it’s a beautiful example of Sunday Christianity, isn’t it? Praise Jesus on Sunday. Praise whatever I want on Monday because I gave God Sunday. Second Timothy chapter three and says this. Hold to a form of godliness, although we have denied its power. Hold to a form of godliness, but we deny its power. There. We get to a verse like that and just think, is that me? Hold to a form of godliness, but I deny its power. God does that? Me? I don’t want it to be me. You read this section of Scripture and you find out that what’s happening in this passage of Scripture is that there’s individuals going around teaching what they’re calling God’s truth, and it isn’t it sort of gives this reflection of godliness, but it really has nothing to do with Jesus.

It’s religion masked in Jesus. It’s not Jesus. It’s all about what you’re doing. But it’s not about who you’re pursuing. It’s about the way you’re living, but not who you’re going to. It’s about the power within yourself has nothing to do with what Christ has already done for you. It’s not Jesus. Jesus is a place where the broken find healing. Jesus is the place where we find strength to live for day to day. Jesus is the place where we have hope to face whatever we go through, because we know no matter how dark the day may be, the glory shines brightly in Christ. I don’t want to hold to a form of godliness but deny its power. And so this morning, I would encourage you to join me in the same thought to say to us this. It’s important for us to reflect on what we have in Christ, not in ourselves, but what we have in Christ, not what other people bring upon us and religiously pressure us into. It’s what you have in Christ, and regardless of what they say, who cares? It’s about Jesus. What we have in him. I remember where we’re going in him. We have so great a cloud of witnesses by example that have led before us, cheering in this arena at the celebration of the King who has come and giving us all things in him.

And now we get to join in them and likeness, and just celebrating God and rejoicing and running this race for him. I would say for us, Jesus is more than just a get out of hell free card. He’s a king. We get to appreciate every day of our lives. I love the way revelation ends for us. The book of Revelation will turn to this last verse. You think last book of the Bible, last thoughts written about the Lord. Revelation is a worship book for us. When Jesus came the first time, we got it wrong. When you read revelation chapter seven verse nine, it says this. After this, I looked. Behold. A great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all the tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, salvation. Hosanna belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the lamb. First time Jesus came, we got it wrong. One day. To those who have trusted in Christ. You’ll have Palm Sunday. You’ll have it with Jesus. And you’ll get to stand before his presence. Having run that race for him and finally seeing him face to face and crying out before your King, Hosanna! Blessed are you, God. May I praise your name?

Malachi

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