FEAR NOT #2: Watch & Pray

Covid19PrayerPastor Barry/ The Gathering:  FEAR NOT #2:  Watch & Pray  To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

Note:  Sorry for the late posting of this message our system was down.

Fooled 1 Peter 5:2-4,John 8:31-32

Have you ever been fooled?  I mean really fooled!  Not like by a surprise party or a pleasant deception, but deceived with an evil intent.  If you have then you know it is the worst feeling ever—  a crushing, crashing, hard to breathe feeling that lingers for a long, long time.  A feeling like the disciples must have had when Judas arrived with soldiers to arrest Jesus and then kissed him on the cheek in betrayal.  Of course, this was no surprise to Jesus.  He knew before hand that Judas was His betrayer.  He even told him at the dinner table that night to go and do what he was about to do quickly (John 13:27). Jesus knew everything— that religious leaders would plot his murder, that the Jews would reject him, that the disciples would scatter in fear, that Peter would deny him, that the Romans would crucify him and that he would rise from the dead.  Jesus knew the truth about every person and everything and He wove them all together into a tapestry that accomplished his good mission—to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). 

But we are not like Christ in this way.  After all, it was He who even called us “sheep” (John 10:27) — Like Sheep we are easily distracted, very emotional, quick to follow and easily led to the slaughter by a skillful herder. Actually, a herd of sheep trustingly follows a trained animal to the slaughterhouse called a “Judas Goat” — so appropriately named. Who are the “Judas goats” leading the herd of American sheep towards the slaughterhouse of socialism today?  How is it that we and the rest of the world are so easily distracted by distressing news and emotional rhetoric?  Why do we continue to follow the herd into economic disaster while distancing ourselves from the ones we love? In fact this distancing is ironically killing many of the people we love. Why do we continue listening to the many herdsmen who have lied to us so many times to us before?  Christians– why don’t we turn and run into the threat that confronts us like David did against the mighty giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Why don’t we arm ourselves with the promises of God and hurl that stone of faith– into the face of that blasphemous foe and cut off its head?  Are we so afraid of dying that we refuse to live by faith? 

Have we lost the patriotism of our founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence and served as our nation’s third president?  Who said: “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have”, or that revolutionary patriot, Patrick Henry, who once said, “Give me liberty or give me death”? How about the greatest revolutionary leader of all who said:  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”. That would be our Lord and Savior—Jesus who was quoted in Matthew 10:34 in regards to the loyalty that He expects from His followers.

Many of you this morning may already not like this sermon.  To you I say “stay with me and hear me out!” I have studied and prayed long and hard before presenting this word to you this morning and I welcome anyone who wants to fact check me after I’m finished.  This is a Shepherds cry to his flock and I truly desire to live out my call according to 1 Peter 5:2-4.

My cry to you this morning is for spiritual discernment!  My cry to God this morning for myself and the leadership here is for spiritual discernment!  We are not like Christ in this way—  Jesus knew the truth about every person and everything… we do not!  We are confused by alarming and contradicting statements and instructions.  We are aghast at the things that global leaders have done and are doing.  By nature we are not spiritually discerning, and most of us feel like lost sheep in this present time, but Jesus said: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.  John 8:31-32     Let us pray to that end this morning—

 Sheep John 10:1-18, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Timothy 4:16

How well do you recognize Jesus? When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees they did not understand him, but then again they were so intent on proving that he was a counterfeit that they overlooked the obviousHe fulfilled all the prophesies in the Torah that they should have known so well.  The lesson to learn here is that we will not see what we refuse to see and this is true irrespective of ones    education or social status.  The Pharisees did not want to be led by anyone so how could they     understand Jesus referring to Himself as a Shepherd and a sheep gate?

Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study   genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing (uscurrency.gov/educational-materials/training-course) .

In the same way anyone who claims to be a Christian must study Jesus through the Bible because there are many counterfeits in our world today— “thieves and robbers.” The “gatekeeper” (God) only opens the gate to the Jesus described in the Bible and genuine Christians (sheep) will only   follow Him. This Jesus called all spiritual leaders that came before Him “thieves and robbers”.  He defined Himself as the only way, truth and life—”no one comes to the Father (God) except through Me”( John 14:6).  Jesus also defined Himself as the only one who willfully laid down His life for the “sheep,”  and in verse sixteen He made it clear that  he would bring both Jewish and Gentile believers together as “one flock” under Him. How well do you recognize the Biblical Jesus?  We can not spiritually discern truth without Him.   This is why the Apostle Paul admonished us to handle the word of God correctly (2 Timothy 2:15) and to watch our life and doctrine closely  (1 Timothy 4:16).

 Divided John 10:19-21, Matthew 25:31-39, Matthew 10:26-39

At hearing Jesus the Jews were “divided”.  Some dismissed him as demon possessed and others considered his miraculous works.  Jesus divided believers (sheep) from unbelievers (goats) then as He does today—He will also rightfully do this in judgment too (Matthew 25:31-33), but  He told His “sheep” (we who have received Him and believe)  “not to be afraid”  (Matthew 10:26-33).  He will make all things Known to us  and as He reveals such things we are to proclaim them publicly  without fear of those who can only kill the body.  We are called to divide truth from a lie and expose the enemy to all who will listen and thereby come to the Shepherd of their souls. 

Yes, Jesus came to bring a “sword” (Matthew 10:34-39), and we must be willing to bear a cross of persecution if we are to follow Him, but take heart! We are those who believe in the Biblical Jesus— the resurrected Jesus who will also resurrect us who believe! (John 11:25-26)

“Watch and Pray” Mark 14:38, Matthew 24:42-44

Spiritual discernment, and boldness will only come to real “sheep” who recognize the real Jesus.

When Judas fooled the disciples with his betrayal it was only because they did not listen to Jesus and “watch and pray” as He told them (Mark 14:38) —their “flesh was weak.”  Let us keep watch as we trust in our Good Shepherd’s promises.  Let us live by faith, learn from God’s word, and “watch and pray” as we look for His coming— and His truth will set us free! 

 

 

 

FEAR NOT: STAY

CoronaVirus Pastor Barry/ The Gathering:  FEAR NOT:  STAY  To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

Note:  Sorry for the late posting of this message our system was down.

After the Resurrection Matthew 6:9-10

Last week Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead—       what that meant to the first disciples of Christ was everything:  Jesus’ resurrection          validated all that He had taught them (everything we find in our Bible). It proved that He truly was “the way, the truth and the life” and no power on earth or in Hell could  stand against Him.  It erased all fear and doubt in the disciples and filled them with confidence as they eagerly waited for directions from their risen King.  So what does  Jesus’ resurrection mean to you today? It should mean the same things.  If we are calling ourselves Christian then we must believe in Christ and all that He said is true.  We must believe unwaveringly that He is the only “way”, “truth” and “Life” and that there is no way to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6).  Our fears and doubts about life and death should be cast to the side and with confidence in Christ we should eagerly desire to serve Him on this earth—but sadly today many so called “Christians” are Asleep In The Light as singer/ songwriter Keith Green once sang :

The world is sleeping in the dark,                                                                                                        That the church just can’t fight,
’cause it’s asleep in the light!
How can you be so dead?
When you’ve been so well fed                                                                                                        Jesus rose from the grave, And you—
You can’t even get out of bed!
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead—
Come on, get out of your bed!                                                                                                        Keith Green, Asleep In The Light (No Compromise 1978)

This classic song from the late 70’s rings loud and clear in this 2020 coronavirus “new  normal.”  I know most of you can’t work, can’t fellowship, and can’t congregate but you are still “Christian” and Jesus wants us to “wake up” and do something for His kingdom in this world gone mad.  

Are you just staying up all night watching NetFlix and sleeping all day?  “Wake up!” Jesus has risen! Maybe you’ve just set your mind on Jesus coming again so that you can get out of here, but how about asking His Spirit to fill you up so that you can bring others with you when He comes?  Now is the time to reveal that we are the church even without a building!  Let us all be about the business of bringing His Kingdom to earth (Matthew 6:9-10).

“Greater” & “Anything” John 14:5-18, Matthew 28:18-20, James 1:6-8

In John’s gospel we read the words of Jesus to His disciples on the night that He was     arrested. He sought to prepare them for the dark days ahead.  He said that He was going away (to death) to prepare the way (Salvation) for them.  Thomas and Phillip didn’t understand and so Jesus made things clear to them and to all who would be His disciples thereafter. Jesus proclaimed that: 1.)  He is one with God and the only way, truth and life. 2.) He proclaimed that He proved who He was by the works He did (and would do through the resurrection), 3.) He also proclaimed that those who really believe in Him will do “greater things” and ask “anything” in His name and “He will do it!”  4.) Lastly, He proclaimed that He would give those who keep His commands The Spirit of truth to be with them forever—He will not leave us as orphans!

In regards to “greater things” we must ask ourselves what is the greatest thing that Jesus ever did on this earth.  No miracle, including His resurrection,  overshadows the fact that the greatest thing that Jesus ever did was to offer Himself up in love as a sacrifice for the sin of mankind.  He said of His own mission: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus provided the way to salvation for mankind, but we (His “children”: John 1:12), have been commanded to do  “greater things” which is to “Go and make disciples(Matthew 28:18-20). that will walk down that path into eternal life.

In regards to “asking anything in Jesus’ name” we are instructed to ask in His will. The name “Jesus” is nothing like the word “abracadabra!” His name is His reputation—all that He is.  When we ask for something then it must be in line with who He is.  He has      revealed Himself throughout the scriptures; therefore, we must pray accordingly and expect His answer.  The apostle James said to ask we must believe (James 1:6-8).

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo , who calls himself a Catholic Democrat, said Monday that people, not God, are responsible for the fact that COVID-19 cases in his state have plateaued.  His state by far is the most affected by the pandemic and prayed for by Christians everywhere. Cuomo stressed that the number of new cases is down “because we brought the number down.” “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that.” In an interview with CNN the next day, Cuomo reiterated his claim. “Our behavior has stopped the spread of the virus,” he said. ”God did not stop the spread of the virus. And what we do, how we act, will dictate how that virus spreads.” “We changed the trajectory of the virus by our actions.”  Evangelist Franklin Graham, of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian charity that operates a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park, urged Gov. Cuomo— “we always must be careful what we take credit for.” “don’t dismiss the power of prayer and the ability of God to work in this crisis and in the ones we will face in the future. He is our hope, and we continue to pray for His mercy on our nation.”  Friend, If you are going to claim belief in Jesus then act accordingly, live and pray like a believer and give Him glory when He acts— or the time will surely come that He acts against you.  “America, America—God shed His grace on you…”

“Stay” Luke 24:45-51, Acts 1:6-11

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared many times over a 40 day period to His disciples  (1 Corinthians 15:4-7) to both prove that He had risen and to instruct them in the things to come. His last appearance and instruction was recorded by Luke in his gospel and in the book of Acts. Before Jesus left them He told them to STAY until they were clothed with power from the Holy Spirit that He had promised (John 14:16).  They, like many of us were thinking that it was a good  time to “restore the kingdom.”  Jesus reminded both them and us that this is none of our business.  What is our business is to bring His kingdom to earth!  Be filled with His Spirit and be His witness now and until He returns— or we return to Him.  Friends—”fear not!” Do “greater things.” “Ask anything.” “Wake up!” Don’t stay in bed or stand looking into the sky   “He is risen”—let us bring His kingdom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter: Where O Death Is Your Sting?

TombWatercolorPastor Barry/ EASTER SUNDAY: “Where O Death Is Your Sting?”   To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

Note:  Sorry for the late posting of this message our system was down.

Hiding In Fear Matthew 14:22-33, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:1

What are your fears this Easter Sunday 2020—this fourth Sunday apart from the fellowship of believers?  What are the fears of our nation and the fears of the world in this Covid 19 pandemic?  What fear has our schools closed, our businesses shut down and our economy moving towards a depression? What fear is it that causes people to stop embracing one      another in care and human compassion?  What fear has us locked away from visiting those languishing in hospitals, prisons, rest homes, and other institutions?  What fear has caused Americans to so willingly lay down our first amendment right?  What fear has caused Christians to “temporarily forsake” the command of our King of kings who said:  Feed the hungry, give the thirsty something to drink, invite the stranger in, clothe the naked, look after needy and visit the sick and imprisoned? Matthew 25:35-36  

The fear of death is a powerful force isn’t it?  We can certainly see that in our world and in our country today.  It has always been a powerful force, in fact it is the driving force behind every failed government and people.  One of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, said:  “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

There was great fear of death in the followers of Jesus before that first Easter Sunday. The evil of the religious and political establishment in Jerusalem had prevailed, the Roman guard had arrested Jesus, his disciples had fled in fear and he was illegally tried and convicted in a kangaroo court of the wicked. Protesting masses of people ordered him crucified before a weak and crowd pleasing governor and he was brutally whipped until his flesh hung like bloody ribbons from his naked body.  He was forced to carry a cross through the streets in a sick and twisted parade for the sneering wicked and the apathetic hopeless. The disease of death plagued Jerusalem that cruel day as Jesus’ hands and feet were nailed to a cross and he was lifted up and dropped with a thud into the earth below.  From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. At the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema  sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”…   Mark 15:33-34   Then Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into  Your hands I      commit My Spirit.” And when He had said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46  A spear then pierced His heart, He was taken off the cross and buried in a tomb. By all appearances Death was victorious—wickedness had won—hope was gone and the disciples went into    hiding for fear that death would come knocking at  their door next.  Are you like them this morning— afraid that Death will come knocking on your door?  To you Jesus says: “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

 Peter and all of the disciples would have done well to have remembered those words from Jesus in the dark days after His crucifixion and death.  The context of this passage was in a time where Peter almost drowned because he doubted Jesus.  The disciples were terrified when they saw Jesus walking on the water—they thought He was a ghost!  Once Jesus identified Himself Peter boldly and willingly walked out to Him in the storm.  But when he realized that he was going against the norms of earthly reality he feared and began to sink. Fortunately for Peter, he knew enough to cry out for Jesus and he was saved, but Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith and asked, “Why did you doubt?”

Why do we doubt Jesus and the supernatural things that He can do and has done according to the scriptures that we say we believe?  Why are we more likely to believe in the power of ghosts, aliens, the Devil and wicked men over the one who has conquered death?  Why do we sink in our fears rather than walk in faith when Jesus says we can do so?  This Easter I am challenging you to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)!  Stop doubting and believe! 

As He Promised! 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,  John 20:1-23, John 11:25-26

The gospel resurrection accounts are not just an Easter story.  They are eyewitness accounts of a historical true life happening. The apostle Paul said of these accounts in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8  that he passed this information down after hearing first hand accounts for himself (in 55-57 AD. when the epistle was written). At the time of his writing most of those eyewitnesses of the resurrection were still living.  Even the most scholarly of atheists today believe in the historicity of the Apostle Paul’s writings —and Paul believed in the gospel accounts of eyewitnesses and passed them onto us!  (He says so here!)

As we read the resurrection account in John, there are no earthly heroes here.  Mary, Peter, John, the hiding disciples, “doubting” Thomas…they were all fearful that they would be the next to die and certain that Jesus was dead gone—until He proved He had risen!  Jesus had told His disciples multiple times that He would die and raise up again (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31-33, 9:31,Luke 9:22-23, John 12-17), but they didn’t really believe Him—until He resurrected!  Jesus said He is coming again to rule and reign (Matthew 24:30-31) do you believe that?  They believed because they saw Him—but blessed are those who have not seen and believe, said Jesus.  “Blessed are” you and me!  These things are written that “we” may believe and have eternal life in His name!  Jesus keeps His promises.  He walked on water and He raised from the dead and He promised that He will raise us up too if we believe (John 11:25-26).  Do You?

 Victory In Jesus 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, 1 Corinthians 15:55-58

The entire hope of Christianity rests in the resurrection of Jesus Christ—without real belief in the resurrection of Christ our faith is futile—  1 Corinthians 15:12-19 

Is your hope real today?  Then walk by faith not by sight.  Live your faith in Christ out loud…like He may be coming back tomorrow.  The reality of death is always with us.  Rather it be in the threat of the coronavirus, or something else—death is among us but so also is Christ who has overcome it.  Pray to receive His gift of salvation today if you have not yet done so.  Then you too can say:  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where , O death, is your sting (I Corinthians 15:55-58).  Our victory is in Jesus!

 

“Good” Friday

SufferingServantPastor Barry/ GOOD FRIDAY   To hear this devotion and join our Live Stream Good Friday Concert @ 6PM go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

That first night after Jesus died and was buried in a tomb was not a “good Friday” for the disciples— or so they thought.

Locked away in solitude, surely each of them numbly pondered the events leading to their master’s gruesome death.   No doubt– Judas was hated by them all for his betrayal — he was dead by then too– hanged by his own doing. Jesus had said “one at the table will betray me” (Matthew 26:21). Jesus knew!

Surely, each of them grieved over their own actions in His time of need.  When He was arrested they all hid themselves away except for Peter who followed at a distance.  Jesus had said “you will all fall away on account of me”. (Matthew 26:31). Jesus knew!

Peter, no doubt, especially grieved remembering his denial of Jesus in the courtyard of the high priest —surely he could still hear the rooster crowing in his mind after he cursed the one he had once called “the Christ, Son of the living God” (Matthew 26:69-75).  Jesus had told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed (Matthew 26:34). Again, Jesus knew!  

What a terrible “Friday” that was – or so the disciples thought.

On that one awful day, Jesus was arrested, beaten, tried in an illegal court, lashed at a whipping post, mocked with a crown of thorns and forced to carry his cross through the city and up to a hill called Golgotha before a hateful crowd. There his hands and feet were nailed to that cross and he was crucified between two thieves and then he died.  Surely all of his disciples remembered that Jesus told them that he would go to Jerusalem, suffer many things at the hands of the Elders, Chief Priests and Scribes and be killed. (Matthew 16:21).  Jesus knew all of this and yet he still came to that place. 

Only the disciple John, with Jesus’ mother and three other women, could recall the last words of Jesus before he died: “It is finished”, he said– and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit on that great and terrible day… (Matthew 19:25, 30).

And the sky grew dark and the earth shook as the soldiers proclaimed in great fear: “Surely this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). 

Then a soldier pierced his side and they took him down from the cross and buried him in a rich man’s garden tomb. (John 19:34, 41)  Just as the prophet Isaiah had foetold it 700 years earlier. (Isaiah 53:9)

On that great and terrible Friday did any of those regretful disciples recall that Jesus had said that He would rise again on the third day (Matthew 16:21)?  Did any of those grief filled disciples recall the words of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 53 of their Torah?  Did they recall the prophecy in verse 11 that read:  “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities”.

They did not recall that, but Jesus did!

Jesus knew that this terrible day for Him would be a Good Friday for any– ever after — who call upon His name for forgivness of their sin. This terrible Friday was necessary to redeem repentant men and women from all their sin and failures by a God that never fails.For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. For those first disciples and for you and I.

He offered up his body and blood as the atoning sacrifice for our sin—once and for all (Romans 6:10). No power in Hell can stand against what He has done for those who trust in Him for deliverance and salvation.  The body of Christ given for you…  The blood of Christ shed for you…  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. I Corinthians 11:26

A BLESSED “GOOD” FRIDAY TO ALL WHO PARTAKE!

Under The Sun #13: The Conclusion of the Matter

Hosanna1Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church  Under The Sun #13 (Ecclesiastes): The Conclusion of the Matter  To hear this message and others Plus Sunday live-stream download our free app at The App Store by searching gatheringconnect.

Jesus Is Just “Alright” Luke 19:29-40, Zachariah 9:9

Jesus Is Just Alright” is a gospel song written by Arthur Reid Reynolds and first recorded by Reynolds’ own group, The Art Reynolds Singers, on their 1966 album, Tellin’ It Like It IsThe song’s title makes use of the American slang term “all-right”, which during the 1960s was used to describe something that was  considered ‘cool(lit. awesome/ great). The song has been covered by a number of bands and artists over the years.  The Doobie Brothers‘  version of “Jesus Is Just Alright” was first released on their second album, Toulouse Street, in 1972.  The band first heard The Byrds version and loved the musical “roller coaster ride” of the sound and “just had to add it” to their album.   It went on to become a U.S. hit, peaking at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1973.  Although none of the individual band members were religiously inclined, the song went on to become very popular among Christians during the early 1970s, particularly those within the hippie counter culture that were involved with the Jesus movement.                             

Funny thing…  The Doobie Brothers just did the song cause’ they liked the groove but it became a hit because people loved and wanted to praise Jesus!  That reminds me of a line that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees with when they told Him to shut up the crowd that was praising Him as He entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday over 1,983 years ago:

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

So… If the Doobie Brothers didn’t make that song a hit then the Rolling Stones might have done so (pun intended).  What I’m saying is that if the King of kings wants praise He will have it no matter who or what it comes through!  So give your King praise church right where you are— in America and throughout this world —rather the church buildings are closed down or not—people of God cry out praise —because Jesus is more than “alright!”  He is King of kings, Lord of lords and maker of heaven and earth.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the beginning and the end, The Chief Shepherd and Savior of our souls, the Rock of our salvation and the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Praise him!  For He the Resurrection and the Life, the soon and coming King, and He alone will judge the nations!  Praise Him church!  Praise your King! 

As we read the scripture about that historical and glorious day, we see that Jesus orders the days events: He sent his two disciples ahead to find a colt and He told them what to say, because He is King of kings— regardless of what king Herod of Jerusalem thought of himself.  There is a lot of godless entertainers, pundits and politicians, scientists and educators, movie makers and book writers, billionaires and kings, magistrates and masses who think a lot of themselves today too. There are many who hate Christians, our Bible and the all-powerful Jesus we serve.  Some so called “Christian theologians” (Jesus  Seminar and other progressives) even attempt to strip Jesus of His deity, but they forget that Christ is the Eternal King.       

The events he ordered that day were to fulfill an 520 year old prophesy in Zachariah 9:9:  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O 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. NKJV  They threw their cloaks on the road and waved palm branches because that was the cultural way to welcome a king.  They shouted “Hosanna” (lit. Greek: “save us”) because they needed a savior (John 12:13). God knows we need a King and Savior today too!

A King and a Savior Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, John 3:16– 17, John 1:9-12

Now, I have not forgotten, today we finish our 13 week study in the book of Ecclesiastes which ties in beautifully with our need for a king and a savior.  Solomon was a good king—for awhile.  Solomon was a wise king, the richest and wisest king that ever reigned (1 Kings 10:23-24)—for awhile, but Solomon was a man who lost his way like all of us (1 Kings 11:1-6, 9-11).  Of himself at the time of his writing, he said: “The teacher was wise, imparted knowledge, found just the right words that were upright and true…for the people”. Solomon described his wise directions for the people as “goads” (a corrective stick used for driving cattle) and “firmly embedded nails” (which hold an object firmly in place) given by “one shepherd“ (king).  He lovingly called his readers “my son” and warned them not to add to his writings or to study anymore on the subject of what he wrote—the meaning of life.  The further study of such things would just “weary the body”.  He knew this well because he lived all that he wrote.  But just as a child never follows all the wise advice of his parents, or the animal its good master, so the sinner goes his own foolish way despite good advice.  Solomon’s conclusion to his readers is simple:  “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” for in the end He will judge all things. But we don’t like that conclusion do we?  Especially we “self-made Americans.”  But the fact is we are not self-made.  God made us and His commands are given for our well being. You see, all the earthly kings from Saul to Solomon,  from Jeroboam to Zedekiah, failed to keep God’s commandments and therefore lost the people and the land God gave them— and so goes America and the rest of the world— but God so loved the world (John 3:16-17) that He came down to show us truth and to save us from our own sin and rebelliousness.  

On that Palm Sunday, God wrapped in human flesh, ordered the days events to be rightfully proclaimed the prophesied Messiah (anointed one of God) and King, but He also came riding on the back of a “beast of burden” to be a “lamb for slaughter”, a sacrifice for our sin— a savior for all who would call upon His name (John 1:9-12). 

Jesus Weeps Luke 19:41-44, John 3:18-21, Philippians 2:8-11

While the crowd paraded around Jesus He wept over what was “hidden from their eyes”.  He knew the same crowd would shout “crucify” in only a few days because that is what a sinful mob does when rallied by the Devil they refuse to believe in.  Jesus wept over what would  happen to the Jews for their actions.  There are always grave consequences to rejecting God as He has revealed Himself. In 70 A.D. Rome would build an embankment around Jerusalem and destroy the city and its great temple—not leaving “one stone upon another”.  

God so loves the world that He provided one way out of sin’s punishment, but those who reject Jesus will be condemned (John 3:18-21). One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He alone is Lord (Philippians 2:8-11).  The coronavirus is physically concerning,  but sin is a virus that has eternal consequences that will absolutely take the life of every person on this earth who is without the remedy —who is Christ Jesus alone.  “Cry out” to Him!