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Palm Sunday: The Triumphal Entry
Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19
After Jesus was baptized and began His earthly ministry, it only took Him three years to become a celebrity. In the first day of the week before He died, He arrives in the city of Jerusalem to a highly anticipatory crowd.
This would have been the most crowded Jerusalem had been all year. John tells us that many of the people had been with Martha and Mary when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The word must have spread quickly through the city as the people gathered patiently and waited for Jesus to arrive.
Jesus prepares to make a statement by riding on the foal of a donkey as He enters the city. This would have undoubtedly caused some people to question what He was doing, but it did not stop the throngs of people crying out, “Hosanna!” (Mark 11:9) and “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38) This upset the Pharisees who told Jesus to rebuke the crowds, but Jesus responded, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
This was an amazing event, but the sad notion was that the people crying out, “Hosanna!” were not much better off than the stones. Jesus had warned us that the road to salvation was narrow and many would say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” But he would say to them, “I tell you I do not know you... Depart from me...” (Luke 13:26-27) So not everyone who saw the glory of God on that day of triumphal entry would recognize what they missed. The next day Jesus would weep at the first sight of Jerusalem and proclaim, “You did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:44)
Let us reflect today as we re-read the stories in the Gospels, to rediscover who this Saviour is that we have invited into our lives, and commit to seeking Him so that we might find our greatest reward.
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Some years ago I had two German Shepherds at the same time (Mike on the left and Josh on the right in the photo above). They didn’t fight but they didn’t like one another. If dogs could talk, Mike would call Josh on the phone and Josh would never return the call. Disrespect ruled!
Then one day, Mike must have heard the quote I John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the Brethren.” Mike was convicted (something not happening much today) so as you see in the photo, Mike washed the face of Josh. The result – instant friends. Totally unlike the past. If Josh went with me in the car, Mike insisted that he must go too. If I failed to allow this, the dog left behind made a statement, which meant I would make use of the mop upon our return.
Since they both sat in the studio when I was on the air, they must have heard me teach Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”. The face washing never stopped.
Now let’s study one of the most convicting texts in the Bible – I John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the Brethren.” I see three miracles in this text:
1 – A Certainty Miracle
Study the use of the word ‘know’ in the Bible. Religion says we have to wait until we die in order to know if we’ll be in Heaven. In contrast, biblical Christianity states you can KNOW NOW (1 John 5:13, II Corinthians 5:1, Philippians 3:10, and II Timothy 1:12).
2 – Positional Miracle
… “have passed from death unto life.” When we are born again, think of what God does for us. I Corinthians 15:22, “For in Adam, all die (spiritually), so in Christ (Positional Truth) shall all be made alive.” Think of it – the moment we are born again, our sins are forgiven, forgotten, cleansed, pardoned, covered, cast into the depths of the sea, blotted out as by a thick cloud, removed as far as the East is from the West, and remembered again no more forever, and cast behind God’s back. That is Positional Truth, and living the Christian Life is transferring Positional Truth into experience.
3 – Applicational Miracle
“We love the brethren.” Let me put it this way – we have the potential to love the brethren, but we don’t always do it. When you want to know what a person is like, don’t give him adversity – give him power! I was the object of a carnal drive not long ago and I had no victory over my very negative reaction, until one night I was studying Romans 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” I can’t assign a theological term to what happened, but I found myself flooded with love from the Holy Spirit, and found myself praying and rejoicing way into the night, and for the first time in weeks I could forgive and love the one who demonstrated in a letter to me the most disrespectful personal comments I have ever received in my 50 years of ministry. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.
When I was preaching in Bermuda, an Anglican Pastor gave me the following:
LOVE IS PATIENT AND KIND
May you be able to lovingly overlook each other’s faults and weaknesses.
LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS OR BOASTFUL
May you seek praise for each other and not for yourselves.
LOVE IS NOT ARROGANT OR RUDE
May you give of yourselves for each other’s needs and treat one another with utmost respect.
LOVE DOES NOT INSIST ON ITS OWN WAY
May you genuinely listen to each other with a willingness to be wrong yourselves.
LOVE IS NOT IRRITABLE OR RESENTFUL
May you be tolerant to each other’s moods, always ready to forgive, never holding a grudge.
LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE AT WRONG BUT REJOICES IN RIGHT
May you experience happiness because of each other’s triumphs and successes.
LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS
May you seek to understand each other’s differences knowing you will stick together through it all.
LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS
May you always expect the best in each situation regardless of temporary setbacks.
LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS
May you give your commitment to work on improving your relationship.
As we begin the New Year, may we have a 1John 3:14 happening “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” The result? John 17:20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
If you have been born again, you have the Holy Spirit, but does He have you? This article was written to help you answer that question.
Dr. John DeBrine is the founder and president emeritus of Songtime USA. John continues to serve as the weekend host of the Songtime Broadcast.
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In January of 2014 I chose a theme to emphasize all year long. The theme was seen throughout the broadcasts, our conference, and the articles I wrote for the newsletters. That theme was, “Be Blessed and Be a Blessing.” My goal was to demonstrate all of the ways we are blessed by God in order to motivate us to live according to our great riches. We believe that the best way to grow a ministry is to bless the people we have and to encourage them to be a blessing to those around them. This comes from a biblical perspective on discipleship. Our staff prays every morning that through our efforts you will be richly blessed and bless those we cannot reach through our own efforts.
I have to say, speaking for the rest of the staff, that we have been blessed by you throughout this year. Your notes, calls, and contributions to this ministry have been an evidence of the hand of God that He is leading us. We saw an amazing conference where we got to meet many of you and hear your stories. We have also had more new listeners and first time callers than any of the years previously since I have been on staff. God is doing something and I believe it is a direct result of stepping aside and allowing Him to get all of the glory.
Coming out of our theme for 2014, I want to spend some time emphasizing how we can be a blessing to other people. This year’s theme comes from one of my favorite verses. Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” So I want to invite you to stay with us throughout 2015 and continue your support so that we can all discover together what it really means to live “Worthy of the Gospel.”
As a means of introduction, let’s frame where this next year is going to take us.
What is the gospel?
It is somewhat ironic to me that in all of my years of Bible school and higher education, I was never asked to write an essay explaining the gospel. Even for my ordination, everyone already either assumed I knew what the gospel was or they were too afraid to ask. It’s surprising then, that after many years of ministry I am finding that people really don’t know what the gospel is and all that it entails. While we have been so focused on defining fringe theologies we have left the basic understanding of the precepts of our faith to private interpretation. I think it is crucially important that we get back to the basics and define for ourselves and this world what the gospel really is before we can even start to live accordingly.
Paul explains the gospel for us in I Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the
Our motto at Songtime is “Many Voices, One Message.” That is because we believe in the power of numbers but more importantly, we believe in the power of our message. That message is the gospel of Jesus Christ and Paul explains what that proclamation is in the latter half of the passage above, “...Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures...” As simple and straightforward as that is, we still need to break it down more.
The gospel means “good news,” but it is what that news is about that is so important. The gospel is more than the story of Christ’s life. It is more than Scripture, it is more than an evangelistic invitation at the end of a service. The gospel is the central message in God’s communication with mankind. It entails everything He has ever said throughout creation, His Word, and the Word made Flesh. It shows us His heart and it communicates the image of God in the way in which God desires to represent himself. It not only demonstrates God’s love, it also demonstrates how we ought to love Him and our neighbors. It not only saves us from our sins and makes us children of God, it also transforms us into the image of Christ. So with all of that power wrapped up in a singular message, don’t you think we should spend some time unpacking it?
We should never assume that we know the gospel. If we truly knew the gospel we would cease from sinning. Our churches would not be divided and society would look to us as the salt of the earth and the light of the world. There would be no need for orphanages, an affordable healthcare act, or government welfare because Christians would be abundantly supplying those needs. When we were persecuted, our enemies would be brought under conviction and many would come to repentance. Why isn’t this happening today? Because we have neglected the gospel.
There are three people who need to hear the gospel; the world, the Church, and you. We need to surround ourselves with the Body of Christ which will communicate that message into our lives on a daily basis. We need to preach the gospel to ourselves every morning as a part of our daily devotions, and we need to demonstrate that gospel to a world that is showing more signs of God’s judgment than God’s grace.
So Join with us this year as we work to that end to understand what it really means to live “Worthy of the gospel.”
Rev. Adam Miller is the president and weekday host of Songtime Radio. Contact the Songtime office to inquireabout Adam’s speaking schedule.
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|A Prayer of Thanks to God for His Victory|
“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,
‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.’”—Revelation 11:15-18
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”—Revelation 12:11
Notice above that the word “kingdom” is singular, reminding us that all the diverse individual kingdoms of this world, comprising various countries, nationalities, and cultures are really all under the domain of one leader, and that’s Satan. But this kingdom in all of its forms will become the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be no place in the entire universe—including hell—where Jesus does not reign. “All things shall be put under His feet.”
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|A Prayer That We Anticipate Christ's Return|
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”—Revelation 1:7
“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!”—2 Peter 3:11,12
The purpose of prophecy is not to satisfy our curiosity but rather to change our attitudes about this life and the next. The return of Christ is always presented in Scripture as a motivation for holy living, and to remind us that it’s not necessary for us to win in this life in order to win in the life to come. In other words, the return of Jesus assures us that (1) we will be reunited with our loved ones, (2) the injustices done on Earth will finally be answered and resolved and most importantly, (3) we shall all be in the presence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever.
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