on sermon summaries: Thanksgiving Sunday, 10.8.06

Today we just had our morning services. We will have the afternoon service tomorrow afternoon after our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at church. The kids will play the traditional soccer game after the service (minus our soccer star, now playing in a Bryan Bears uniform at a locale down south – still winless, but not giving up).

This morning we had a total of 47 in the services, with several visitors. One of our families brought two young teenagers with them, friends of their son. It was the second Sunday for one of them. These boys have no clue about the Bible or church. It is likely the first time they are hearing the gospel – an awesome moment for good or ill.

Another visitor was a co-worker of my son. He has a church background, don’t know the whole story, but he has an interest stemming from the testimony of our kids and his background. Hard to know what he thinks but we hope for more contacts later.

Tomorrow may bring other visitors. May the Lord work in their hearts as they hear the gospel tomorrow afternoon!

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The first sermon today was entitled: Lessons on Ambition. In our chronological reading of the NT, we came to these records sort of back to back: the blessing of the children, the rich young ruler, the parable of the 11th hour labourers, and the ambition of James and John. Each of these pericopes deal with the same subject: ambition. My proposition was this: The key to serving God in His kingdom is subduing our will to His will, making His ambitions our ambitions. First, from the rich young ruler, subduing the ambition for wealth. Second, from the parable of the labourers, subduing the ambition for rights. Last, from the incident with James and John, subuing the ambition for place. The Lord came to give his life a ransom for many. He is the supreme example of subduing ambition to the will of the Father, for the sake of others. I applied all of this to the local church level – God has given me as the pastor a place in the local church. In fact, he calls me a ‘gift’ to the church. So how should I live? Lording it over the people and demanding their obedience? No, I am called to serve them. (Literally to be a slave for them [a slave to God, but for them.) How are the people to behave? Are they to be worrying about how their needs aren’t being met and how folks aren’t treating me right? No, they are called to serve others in the church. Serve ‘one another’, again, literally as a slave to God. If you are thinking about how others aren’t doing enough for you, you have missed the point that the Lord was constantly trying to teach the disciples (at least three major episodes in the training of the twelve, by my count).

The second sermon was on the Triumphal Entry, with the title Hosanna! Save Now! The proposition was: Salvation belongs to those who make Jesus king of their hearts and king of their lives. First, I spent some time talking about the meaning of the cry of the crowd (I called it ‘the crowning cry’) as the Lord entered Jerusalem. There are at least four basic things they were saying, but the most prominent is ‘Hosanna’, a demand to the King to Save Now! It comes from Ps 118.25. Then we worked through these passages leading up to the triumphal entry (along the road from Jericho to Jerusalem): the healing of Blind Bartimaeus who cried to the Son of David for healing, then the conversion of Zaccheus [this is the crowning cry anticipated in saving activity]; while with Zaccheus, the Lord told the parable of the pounds for the purpose of dampening messianic expectations – the earthly kingdom would not come immediately [this is the crowning moment postponed in parabolic teaching]; then we come to the moment of entry to Jerusalem, and the reason the crowd and the disciples can’t bring themselves to get the Lord’s message – they long for relief from Rome, they long for the prominence the Messiah will give them – so this seems to be the time and Jesus seems to be the man, and they cry for redemption. The Pharisees call on Jesus to rebuke the crowd, but the Lord says that if he did, the stones would cry out. I take this to mean that the crowning cry is the will of the Lord, and so it proceeds. The crowning cry is what every man needs to make now: Save Now! Hosanna! Save Now!

Another great day in the Lord.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

P. S. I’ll post links to sermon notes later, probably sometime tomorrow.

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