Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hearing & Doing

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2 saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.
3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once."
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" 
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.
8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?"
11 And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."
-Matt 21:1-11 ESV

1. Be Ready for Obedience
Our Lord will ask only that you do anything according to, and in alignment with, His sovereign will. If you feel the Lord is "calling" you to do something, ask yourself... "Does this align with God's revealed Word?" Once His truth is confirmed we need to respond quickly to His will, and do so boldly. Jesus asked two of His disciples to swipe a couple of donkeys! They "knew" their Lord would not ask anything outside of His own will. They trusted Him, in obedience. When I was called to Kenya in 2009 I already knew it was His will to go into all the world with the gospel. Therefore, the answer to my going came swiftly. Even as a new Believer... I knew, when my oldest was ill as a young child, that I should pray and ask the Lord for healing.

2. Study to Show Yourself Approved
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
We can only know the Lord's will as it aligns with, or is revealed directly, in His Word. Jesus request of the two disciples was to fulfill a destiny set forth 450 - 500 years earlier. 
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth."
-Zechariah 9:9
The only possible responses were obedience or disobedience.

As Christians, we need to know our aim, and our goal. If we make up our own as we go through life ....this is not true Christianity; however "good" the thing may be. We must know God's revealed Word to us, and align with it, not contradict it. We must know the "whole" of His word. This provides "context" for our thoughts and actions.

3. Careful That Our Praising Does Not Become Cursing
We must count the cost of authentic Christianity. Our identity in Christ doesn't stem from our exactness in keeping His law. His law is good, and just from Him! However, as fallen people, redeemed only by His grace, do not miss the forest because of the trees. Humbly recognize His graceful life, death, and resurrection ...all for our own benefit. Then, let that grace produce good works.
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
-Hebrews 13:20, 21

The same crowds which shouted "And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" ...were later those who shouted... "Crucify Him!". From the same mouths come both blessing and cursing.
"but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
-James 3:8-12

James 1:19-25 instructs to be "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" and to be "doers", not only hearers, of the word. His word promises.... "But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."