FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
Rather than understanding the call to discipleship primarily as a call to exercises and performance, we should see it, at the very heart, as surrender to the love of God. It is surrender to the liberation of truth, to the "exodus" from our own autonomy by embracing the substitutionary atonement of Christ.
- Hans F. Bayer
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Col. 3:1-4; Ps. 116:9; Col. 1:27
Christ the Lord is Risen Today - Adoration
Crown Him with Many Crowns - Adoration
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us - Grace
In Christ Alone - Response
The Strife is O’er, the Battle Done - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.
This week check out Heaven & Earth.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Jesus, Lover Of My Soul
Plenteous grace in thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin.
Let the healing streams abound
make and keep me pure within.
Though of life the fountain art
freely let me take of thee.
Spring though up within my heart
Rise to all eternity.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Father, we confess that we do not live up to the family name. We are more ready to resent than to forgive, more ready to manipulate than to serve, more ready to fear than to love, more ready to keep our distance than to welcome, more ready to compete than to help. At the root of this behavior is mistrust and self-love. We do not love one another as we should, because we do not believe that you love us as you do. Forgive us our cold unbelief. Show us what it cost you to give up your Son that we might become your sons and daughters. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our only righteousness. Amen.
Words of Grace
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Mark 11:1-11
The Heart of the Message
In many ways, Jesus' riding into Jerusalem on a donkey served as his coming out party as the long awaited Messiah. Rather than carefully keeping his true identity ambiguous as he had done up to that point, Jesus publicly accepted the role of Israel's king. As Jesus acknowledged a blind beggar who called him the "son of David," as he drew royal attention to himself by completing his pilgrimage on a donkey rather than on foot, and as he then cleared the temple of money-changers, there was no mistaking that Jesus was making a public claim of authority. As a result, the authorities of Jesus' day and the crowd around him were forced to make a choice: do I surrender to Jesus and recognize his authority, or do I stand in rebellion against him? The same choice is before you and I today.
Before we can answer this question, however, we have to understand a little bit about Jesus' character. Very few of us like being under anyone's authority, and many of us bristle at the very word. Why should we surrender our autonomy to Jesus on a daily basis? Yet, the way Christ uses His authority very differently from human authorities. Christ came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk.10:45). His whole motivation is to set his subjects free through self-sacrificial love. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he alone knew that his clash with the city's authorities would end in his death. However, he pressed on anyway accepting his fate, knowing that in his death he would provide a freedom more valuable than political freedom. In the end, his journey was an expression of love that has the power to melt our hearts that bristle against him. The choice before us, then, is would we rather hold on to our own autonomy and essentially be alone, or would we rather surrender to the love of Jesus and be full under his reign?
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
What authorities have the most power over you in your life? Are they political, social, relational, intellectual or emotional?
How do you feel when someone starts talking about authority?
How is Jesus' authority different from all other authorities?
In what areas of your life is the love of Jesus compelling you to surrender to him?
Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648
Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.