This sermon is for Sunday March 16th, 2008. It is the Palm Sunday morning service. This is a three part sermon series that will be that Sunday, the community good friday service and the Easter Sunday service.

MIGHTY TO SAVE PART 1
True praise toward our triumphant King
John 12:12-13
John 12:1-3.

We are starting a new three part series this morning entitled, “Mighty to save.” This sermon series will cover this week, Palm Sunday, the Good Friday community service, and of course Easter Sunday.

My goal for this sermon this morning is to show from Scripture that Jesus just doesn’t want our public praise, but He wants a pure praise that comes from complete devotion to Him.

When I was in High School, I played in the band. There were many times that we marched in parades, while people were gathered on either side. The people would clap for the music, cheer for the floats and take pictures of any famous people or dignitaries that might be on a float in the parade.

I’m sure that many of you probably watched many parades on Television, or have even gone to some or participated in some. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance involved in these parades and they are usually done around a theme. Let me give you an example. You have the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, the Rose parade which is done to coincide with the Rose Bowl. There is usually some type of parade or celebration when a particular team wins its championship. I remember one year when the Spurs won the NBA championship, Laura and I were in San Antonio. We watched it on TV. And when we heard that they were going to be celebrating at the Riverwalk that night, we decided to go, until we saw the cars on TV heading that way. We watched the celebration of TV. And had our Starbucks coffee while the crowd on TV was celebrating with other beverages.

Here in our text we see two types of approaches toward Jesus. One of the celebratory kind, the other of a more intimate kind. Now this sermon is not about saying which kind is really better, but what it is about is the condition of the heart as you are approaching Christ Jesus. There are some lessons that we can learn from our text concerning the two ways to approach the Lord.

Now before we look at these two lessons let me ask this question: Why should we approach the Lord? Well, the title of the series says it all, “He is mighty to save,” and through His sacrifice He has shown His power by saving all those that the Father draws to Him.

Let’s look at our text this morning.

1. The public praise of the crowd.

John 12:12-13 TNIV – 12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

A. This event is what this Sunday – Palm Sunday is celebrating.

B. Here Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem amidst pomp and circumstance.

If you would just use your imagination, you can see the crowds, with great joy and emotion, shouting, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Matthew gives us a little more insight into the event.

Matthew 21:8-11 TNIV – 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

C. Can you just see it? As Jesus enters on this donkey, with palm branches waving, cloaks and palm branches on the ground in front of the donkey, this crowd is shouting with great emotion, “Hosanna!”

The word, Hosanna basically means, “Lord save now!” We need to ask a question at this point, was their praising and joy and shouting because Jesus was their Messiah, or were they looking for some political Savior to overthrow Rome? I think unfortunately, the answer is the former. Why am I able to come to this conclusion? Because the same crowd that is crying out, “Hosanna!” will also be the same crowd that will reject Jesus and cry out, “Crucify Him!” Mark gives us more insight into this.

Mark 15:6-15 TNIV – 6 Now it was the custom at the Festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

D. The point I’m trying to make with the story about this crowd is this: It is not the loudness and impressiveness of our praise and worship that proves its genuiness.

Then you may ask, what does? Well, this leads us to our next point.

2. The praise of the one.

John 12:1-3 TNIV – 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

A. Here, the setting is more intimate.

It doesn’t take place in amongst a large crowd, but quietly in amongst a few in a private place.

B. Let’s look at this woman, Mary for just a few minutes.

She is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She is the one whom while Martha is busy with a meal, she is setting at the feet of Jesus. She obviously loved Him and had a special relationship with Him. While at this meal, six days before the Passover, before the crowd of people are flocking to Him, cheering for Him, Mary approaches Him with one purpose, and that was not just to poor this expensive perfume out on Jesus, but I believe to pour Herself out for Him as well. She did it out of her love for Him. Out of pure whole-hearted devotion.

What can we learn from this?

3. Our praise and worship must come from our heart.

A. Let’s get real for a moment.

B. God is not impressed with our talents, abilities and our impressive structures and modes of worship.

C. He wants one thing from us when we praise and worship Him.

He wants us to pour ourselves out for Him out of our love and whole-hearted devotion for Him.

D. Now why should we worship Him out of whole-hearted devotion?

The main reason is because He gave Himself for us out of whole-hearted devotion.
His life was devoted to one thing, and that was to save us from our sins, to call us from darkness to light, to be the people of God, although at one time we were enemies of God. That is why He is mighty to save. He didn’t come just for His sake, He came to fulfill the will of the Father, which was to draw all men to Himself. Only He could complete the Father’s mission. Only He could calls us to Himself. He whole-heartedly gave Himself up for us.

DECISION

Jesus Christ is mighty to save. He came to do just that, and He accomplished the Father’s mission for Him by dying on the cross for us.

This morning, He deserves our whole hearted devotion. He deserves a worship that is broken and spilled out for Him. Don’t let the style of worship, the music, the talents or lack of, or even if you know the songs or not hinder you from worshipping Him.

He gave His all for us. The least that we can do is to do the same.

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