Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Will You Do?


Can you believe it – it’s almost Easter! I love this time of the year. We will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus next Sunday – April 8th with two special Easter Sunday Services – 9 and 10:30am. 

There is no other season of the year so dear to the hearts of God’s people, Jew and Christian alike, as the season in which we celebrate the blood of the Lamb together. I’m so thankful for the blood of the Lamb …

This year the Jewish Passover begins at sundown on April 6th – this coming Friday – Good Friday for the Christian world – a comparative year which coincides with the year Jesus was crucified in that Jesus was crucified on a Friday as the last Passover Lamb and was gloriously raised from the dead early on a Sunday morning, the day many know as Easter.

The week before Passover is one of the most important weeks of the year. That week begins today – You see, Sunday is the first day of the week, not the week-end as some would imagine. Almost 2000 years ago this week a special event took place near the city of Jerusalem on a Sunday, the Sunday before Passover – coincidently the same day we are celebrating this Palm Sunday morning.

The Gospel of John records in chapter 12 that it was six days before the Passover when Jesus arrived in Bethany and was welcomed into the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus … (tell the story fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah) … we call this Palm Sunday and today we are celebrating that same Sunday – Palm Sunday.

Every step our Lord took on earth was with purpose. As with each, careful attention was paid to these last steps of life as well. The purpose to which our Lord aimed Himself was to:

·        Convert the sinner
·        Comfort the mourner
·        Confirm those who believe

Mark 11 KJV
1  And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
2  And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
3  And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
4  And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
5  And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?
6  And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
7  And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
8  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

A colt tied outside the door at a place where two ways met – a crossroad.

So many in this world are like young colts tied just outside the door at a place where two roads meet and they need to be loosed – and Jesus is sending Disciples to loose these which have never yet been ridden and bring them to Him … For He has need of them.

Men and women, boys and girls do not need a buddy or a best friend in their leaders, their fathers, their mothers, their mentors – they need a spiritual leader. Someone consistently bringing them to God on purpose.

Why – because He has need of each one of them, just as He needed the little colt.

1.   Some today need conversion – a dynamic spiritual experience that changes life forever. Don’t mistake being good for being Godly. True conversion comes from true conviction …

An account is told about a plumber living in Bradford England about 70 years ago. He was a simple man yet simply a Godly man, full of faith and the Word. He always carried a Bible along with him in his pocket even though he could not read for years. His name was Smith Wigglesworth.

It seems that he was riding a train to Cardiff, Wales in a train car with several other gentlemen. He did not feel the leading to witness to any of them as he imagined he would. When nearing the station he went to the lavatory to wash his hands and while there he prayed for a few minutes. Upon returning to the compartment he passed two clerical gentlemen, men of the cloth,  who were sitting together. One of them cried out, “Sir, you convince me of my sin!” Then the man fell on his knees and soon others were on their knees crying out “who are you, who are you, you convince us all of our sin” … several souls were added to the kingdom that day.

No doubt these were true conversions born out of true conviction – the same dynamic change that happened to Zachaeus and Saul of Tarsus.

Some today need a true conversion experience that changes life forever.
2.   Some today need comfort to trust there is a better day ahead

Thomas Cromwell, the great-great grandfather of the more well known Oliver Cromwell, served as the chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 until 1540. At one point King Henry gave Cromwell the title, Earl of Essex and shortly thereafter beheaded him for all sorts of charges of the day. Cromwell took great pride in his religious activities and is credited with the publication of the Great Bible, the first authoritative version in English.

It is recorded by some historians that on the day in which Cromwell was to be executed, it so happened that another member of the entitled royalty was also set for execution – his name was Lord Hungerford. Here is one account of that morning, although I cannot verify it – it does intrigue me:

 “Cromwell, Earl of Essex, going to his death, first called for his breakfast, and cheerfully eating the same, and after that meeting the Lord Hungerford going likewise to his execution, and perceiving him to be all heavy and doleful, with cheerful countenance and comfortable words asking him why he was so heavy, he willed him to pluck up his heart, and to be of good comfort: For, said he, there is no cause for you to fear, for if you repent and be heartily sorry for what you have done, there is for you mercy with the Lord, who for Christ’s sake will forgive you; therefore be not dismayed. And though the breakfast we are going to be sharp, yet, trusting to the mercy of the Lord, we shall have a joyful dinner. And so went they together to the place of execution, and took their death cheerfully.”  – (Trapp)

Some today need conversion, some today need comfort - both of these we find in Jesus. However, after conversion and with the comfort of the Lord -
3.   Some today need confirmation that they can be used of God.

(Briefly recount the story of the confirmation I needed and received in 1984 when considering where I was being called to pastor.)

I ask: What is your need today? Do you need a conversion experience, comfort or confirmation? … Jesus is whatever you need right now - But even more than what you may need … what does the Lord need today?

He has need of you … He needs you to carry Him to the places He yet wants to go - just like He needed that colt – perhaps they are places which He has been before but wants to go now by a new way – by way of you.

More than  hearing what Jesus has said –
More than reading what Jesus has said –
More than studying what Jesus has said –

We need to do what Jesus said …

Jesus wants you go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to do what He told us to do – That’s why (Matthew 28)

(Production Note:  Play The Video – “Clean your room.” – memorizing it just will not work – putting a study group together will not do – telling friends, making T-shirts or singing songs about it will not do) Will you do? Jesus has need of you – What will you do?