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Enthusiasm

"And the multitude that went before and that followed, cried, saying," 'Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."

The predominant aspect of Christ's entry into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday was the enthusiasm of the people who accompanied Him that day. To them Christ was the conquering king who would ever-throw the enemies of Israel and re-establish the throne of David and the sovereignty of Israel as a nation. None of them had taken the trouble to try to understand the real mission of Christ in the world and how it was to be accomplished through humiliation and death instead of thru violent, bloody vengeance upon the Roman captors of Israel. They were only thinking of political freedom and the return of the glory of Israel and to them there was only one way - a violent overthrow of the powers of Rome. When this did not occur their enthusiasm for Christ turned into disappointment and even hostility.

I think that we can say that their enthusiasm was not inspired by love and devotion to Christ but by the hope, thru Christ, of seeing their dreams fulfilled. Christ's ability to inspire and lead coupled with His ability to do physically impossible things had led them to hope that this was the long expected Messiah come to occupy the long vacant throne of David. When He didn't follow their pre-planned program for success, they turned from Him and even against Him. As far as they were concerned, the crucified Christ was a total failure because He did not secure for them the material blessings that they were sure was the distinguishing characteristics of the Kingdom of God. For many folk today the Crucified Christ is a failure and they are turning away from the Church and giving themselves to secular and even atheistic causes because they have not been able to wean themselves from the idea that "the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink" Material blessings), but "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Christ did not promise political freedom or economic prosperity or physical well-being for this world. Instead, we hear Him speak of "sacrifice, self-denial, persecution, taking up a cross, persecution, rejection by man.

Ralph Chambers

April 1971


March 27, 1980

THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that shall come upon you."

Job, that well-known saint of the Old Testament, suffered the loss of his children, his live stock, his buildings burned, his friends and even his wife had turned against him, and his health was gone. Yet Job said of God, "Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him." Job's end of suffering and loss finally came and the record says that Job's latter end was better than the first.

For three days and nights, the disciples mourned the loss of their beloved Leader, Christ. The hopes that they had had of a restored Israel had faded away. But Easter came and with it the glorious news that Christ was risen from the dead. With His resurrection came the dawn of hope and assurance that as Christ lived and reigned, that they, also, would live and reign with Him someday in a kingdom that shall have no end.

As Easter 1980 approaches, the world is dark with the sins of mankind, tragedies occupy a large part of our daily news, the financial picture is dark, the political picture of the world is one of utter confusion, strife and violence seems to be the order of the day, the family as a stable institution seems to be on its way out, all of nature seems to be disturbed with violent storms and earthquakes ever increasing in number and intensity. In the midst of all of this we hear our Savior say, "Look up! For the day of your redemption draweth nigh." Truly, all signs point to the coming of our Lord Christian friend, keep faithful for the trial of your faith may soon be over. Rays of light and understanding from God's word assures us that we are rapidly approaching the dawn of the millennial reign of Christ.


WHAT CHRIST DID FOR US

"For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost". (Matt. 18:11) In this Lenten season we are being reminded of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and how it related to man. In our text, Christ announces His mission to the world. But how does Christ save the lost?

Christ saves us from the guilt and the penalty of our past sins by giving His life as a substitutionary offering for my sins. In other words, since the bible declares that "the soul that sinneth shall surely die," Jesus, as God's appointed Substitute, died in my place and satisfied the justice of God and gave me (who was counted as dead in sin and trespasses) a new life. Hence, I can now say, :Therefore, being justified by faith (in Christ's atonement for my sins) "I have peace with God thru our Lord, Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:1) At the time of salvation, I was reconciled to God and became a Son of God and an heir to the Kingdom of heaven, (Rom. 8: 16,17) however, Second Peter 3:18 tells us that we are to "Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ." Hence, salvation is also to be a continuing process.

This growing process was illustrated to me yesterday as I busied myself about the Parsonage grounds. The particular task was two-fold and consisted of removing a pile of broken concrete and other debris from the front of the Parsonage and filling in with fertile soil a portion of the lot at the back of the Parsonage so that we could get some grass to grow. The lesson on growth is this: There are apt to be certain areas of our life, such as bad tempers, bad habits, prejudices, etc., that may remain in our life. These, God through His Holy Spirit and with our permission, proceeds to remove. At the same time, again with our desire and our permission, he brings to our barren life the rich soil of grace, mercy, and love upon which the verdant plants of joy, peace, long-suffering, faith, etc. flourish and grow, thus bringing to our life the beauty of holiness. "Thanks be unto God that giveth us the victory thru our Lord Jesus Christ."

March 30, 1976



 

 
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