The Lord Needs It (Palm Sunday, 2017)

 

As we have been considering the importance of living on purpose, we have looked at the gifts God has given to us:

  • Word of God (the Revelation)
  • Prayer (communion with His Spirit)
  • Church (Jesus’ Body)

We have also considered how Jesus was resolute and determined to reach Jerusalem…he lived on purpose so he would be able to die on purpose…thus, through his death, we can learn to Live on purpose.

This week, let’s progress in the story a bit and read what happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem.

We refer to this date in the Church calendar as Palm Sunday: which is, today.

On this day, Jesus came into Jerusalem as a king. Let’s read from Luke’s Gospel:

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Luke 19:28-40

The title of my message today is

“The Lord Needs It”

Let’s pray

PRAY

If we look backwards at this story, we see that there was a lot of worship going on at the time when Jesus made his entrance into Jerusalem.

On Friday, we had a lot of worship going on. Children were running around freely and dancing in worship to God. It may not have been what I experienced as a child in church, but it was touching

We need to worship.

  1. We Need to Worship

The truth is, if we could see God, physically, our response would be either automatic worship, or of horror.

Worship, because of Who He Is, and Horror because of the immediate conviction of Sin that would come from being face-to-face with God.

Sometimes just coming into a time of worship, the Spirit of God begins to convict me and I recognize wrong attitudes, thought patterns, etc.

Adam and Eve fled from God’s presence after they sinned because of the perfection of God.

God is the complete opposite of sin and imperfection, so immediately everything that is not perfect becomes conspicuous.

We will go to Alaska the day after Resurrection Sunday to visit with our son and daughter-in-law who are ministering on the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. I wonder if I might be able to pan for gold while there? If so, I would be using a black pan, because the flakes and grains of gold stand out against the black pan.

In the same way, imperfection and sin are visible and conspicuous when God is present.

We worship because we are proclaiming the worth of something.

God is more worthy than anything else in the universe, and so we bow, we pray, we sing and we live according to His Will in honor and worship of God.

On Palm Sunday, people, including children, shouted “Hosanna! Glory to God!” as their response to Jesus’ entry. The enemies of Jesus recognized that they were praising Him, and told Jesus to tell his fans to stop…Jesus’ response was that if they did, then the rocks would cry out.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, he was doing something similar to many other kings.

Solomon had entered Jerusalem riding a donkey that had belonged to his father, King David.

As well, Zechariah had prophesied that the coming king would enter on a donkey.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9

Jesus was doing something that naturally caused people to praise God and Worship.

As well, he was fulfilling Scripture, which doesn’t happen every day (though in Jesus’ situation he fulfilled Scripture, often).

It was natural to praise God on that day.

… Meaning that it was natural to praise the Royalty of the Divine Son and Creator Jesus

The Pharisees should have joined in the praise, too, but they didn’t. Instead, they allowed their condemning nature to rule over them.

The Pharisees needed to join in the worship on that day, and some, later, repented.

In order to live on purpose, we need to be worshippers of God. Otherwise, we worship our accounts, our families, our jobs, our self-centeredness and our rights.

We need to be people of worship, and we need to worship the Lord, Jesus.

  1. We Need to Submit

As well as being worshippers, we must be people who submit to the Lord.

Will we, too, worship God? Will we live on purpose as an act of Worship to Him?

In order to do this, we must submit to God. We don’t accidentally fulfill God’s will, but we do it as we submit to His purposes and live on purpose for Him.

What saves us is believing in the work of Jesus, thus we follow Him and do what He asks.

We live on purpose for His purpose.

Will we live on purpose and worship on purpose?

We need to make this a point in our lives to live in this way.

When we live on purpose, we are not always aware of How God is at Work.

Living on purpose can be to simply just to do God’s Will without realizing What God is doing.

Jesus asked for a donkey colt that had never before been ridden.

I didn’t know that Jesus was a donkey wrangler. J

Jesus was able to ride that donkey without it being trained, and apparently, donkeys are not stubborn, as much as they are dedicated and submit to their training.

Jesus, being the first to ride that Donkey was the one who trained it.

He must have had some sort of arrangement made beforehand, because he sent his disciples to pick up the donkey and lead it to him. All they had to say to the owner was

“The Lord Needs It.”

Could this have belonged to Lazarus, or to Nicodemus or to Joseph of Arimathea?

I don’t know, but the owner submitted to the statement,

“The Lord Needs It,”

and the donkey submitted to the Lord.

We need to submit to the Lord.

[pause]

I make no apologies for this. The kingdom of God is such that

  • He is the King and
  • we are NOT.

There is no room in God’s Kingdom for people who will not submit to Him, and we submit to Him not on our terms, but according to His Word.

As we submit to the Lord, we will be trained, and we will do some mundane things. Plodding along like a donkey doesn’t seem glamourous, and yet, look who this donkey carried: Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

ILLUSTRATION

On the first day of the Virginia General Assembly this year, I participated in a prayer walk around the Virginia Capital.

I encourage us all to try and participate, next time.

I was in a group whom I didn’t know, but we were all Christians and we all believed in prayer. We believe that God hears every prayer, and that God answers according to His will. He calls us to pray, so we pray, and let Him take care of the results.

Prayer walking is something I have done in several countries: Morocco; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Pakistan; Turkey. ThIS is not glamorous, but it is an opportunity to pray and ask God to move in the hearts of people whom we see, and I even pray for those I don’t see.

At the State Capital, we had several different places where we stopped, and we took turns praying according to a plan that was composed by the Family Foundation.

  • First, we prayed for our nation, while standing near the monument that honors George Washington,
  • then we prayed near the Governor’s mansion for the executive branch (the Governor, Lt. Governor and the Attorney General),
  • then to another location for the Legislature,
  • then to another for the VA Supreme Court.

While praying at the Governor’s Mansion, our small group of 6 was praying in a huddle, and there was another huddle nearby. We were close to the gate of the Governor’s Mansion.

The leader of our group would assign different points for each of us to pray for.

Some would offer a word of praise to God, then another, a confession of our need, and then another would read a Scripture, while another would intercede for the particular government branch that we were focusing upon at that moment.

The leader assigned me the task of praying for the Governor, Lt. Governor and the Attorney General by name. So, when It was my time to pray, I passionately prayed aloud for these men who serve our state.

At that moment, I was submitting to God and His authority, and I was submitting to His Will and Word which declares To Pray and Intercede….

 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Simply interceding for all people, and in particular for leaders is something that not only helps us, but pleases God, and when we do this, we are submitting to God’s will.

Most of the time, we may look about as mediocre as a donkey, just plodding along the path that it has learned. It doesn’t want to follow a different path, but the donkey has submitted to the path that it has learned.

On that day of praying at the governor’s mansion, one of the brothers in my group came up to me after we finished our moment at the mansion, and asked, “Did you pray with your eyes open or closed?”

I answered, “they were closed.”

“Well,” he continued, “at the moment when you were praying for Governor MacAuliffe by name, he and his team walked right beside you and went into the gate.

That is interesting to me, though not too spectacular. But I’ll tell you, when we are willing to JUST SHOW UP in submission to God, God wants to use us to reach others.

God not only heard my prayer, but the Governor did, too.

When we submit to God, it may mean unglamorous duties, but it may also mean that we get to speak to Governors, Presidents and Kings!

Let’s be people who worship and let’s be people who submit.

  1. The Lord Needs It

Have you ever felt low like an “it.”

Something without any power or recognition?

That colt had never been ridden. Perhaps it had pulled loads, but it had never before been used as a mount, and it was about to carry the most honored of Kings.

ILLUSTRATION

I played the part of Jesus in a play at West End Assembly of God about 32 years ago.

I was the custodian at that time, and sometimes was seen vacuuming while dressed as Jesus.

For the season of Passion Week, we had several performances.

For the first 20 minutes or so, I did not appear on stage, but once I did, there was a bit of anticipation in the air. I didn’t look like me, as we had great make up artists who colored my hair (I wore it a longer, too) and I had a well-crafted beard on my face.

I came out on stage, and someone brought their sick daughter to me. I took the child in my arms, prayed, and the child was restored and ran across the stage to her mother.

I was on stage with my disciples, and there were dozens of singers dressed like first century Jews on the stage with me.

After doing a few more things, I then led my disciples into the audience, and I would just gently lay my hands upon people as I walked through. Sometimes 3-4 sometimes 8-10. I was enjoying this, especially since no one recognized me. J

We had several performances.

I knew I wasn’t Jesus, but it was great to be used of Him.

The Lord needed me. The Lord needed all of us in that play performance.

The Lord needed a couple in that church, too.

This couple prayed and asked God to direct them, daily. THEY LIVED ON PURPOSE.

As they were going to see the play, they felt prompted to invite a neighbor to join them. She was a single woman.

They sat still in the audience. Their neighbor seemed a little preoccupied.

Backstage, the director told us that we were behind schedule, so he said to me, “Peyton, when you walk through the crowd, don’t take too long, but go faster than before, and perhaps only touch 1-2 people this time, so we can go faster.”

I heard my orders and understood.

The Lord needed me, and if it meant doing it differently than I liked, BUT, that’s OK.

LIVING ON PURPOSE, MEANS LIVING IN SUBMISSION TO THOSE IN AUTHORITY, TOO.

As I walked through the crowd, apparently, I only touched one person.

That young lady had felt that no one loved her. As she heard the songs, she thought, “God doesn’t even love me.”

Then “Jesus” appeared, walked through the crowd, and touched only one person:

And it was her.

Believe it or not, that touch was significant.

She had actually planned to overdose on pills that night and say “good-bye” to the world.

Then her neighbors, whom the Lord needed, invited her to a play at church.

The Lord Needed them.

God LED the director to tell me to touch only 1-2

The Lord Needed him.

Talented people had made my costume, applied my make-up and created my beard to look real.

The Lord needed them.

Talented people sang and acted, and cleaned the church, ushered the room.

I just showed up, followed the direction of my music pastor, and touched the one person God wanted me to touch.

AND THERE WAS ONE LESS SUICIDE THAT DAY

The Lord needed me.

The Lord Needs It, can relate to all of us.

  • We who have the need to worship something, must choose to worship God and God, alone.
  • We who worship Him, must do so in submission to Him. And that means submission to our leaders and submission to one-another.
  • And we who worship and submit to God, must do so recognizing that the Lord needs us.

He wants us to JUST SHOW UP.

He wants us to carry Him into the city, into the place where people who need Him are.

Let’s Pray

 

 

 

 

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