Yesterday's Easter service was an awesome time of worship and reverence. Our excellent children's ministry had the kids do a "cardboard testimonies" type of presentation using the names of God as seen in Aaron Jeffrey's "He Is"
This video is great but, IMHO, the kids really brought it to life!
The sermon, "Behold A White Horse", was a follow up to the sermon from Palm Sunday, "Hosanna!" "Hosanna!" was taken from John 12:12-19, a survey of the Triumphal Entry, depicting Jesus approaching Jerusalem on a donkey. Palm Sunday evening, Pastor Scott Ferrell followed "Hosanna!" up with a sermon on Christ's humility, "Humble and Mounted On A Donkey". Taken together, they were a powerful, thought provoking look at an historic day, the first from the crowd's perspective and the second from the perspective of our Lord.
Despite the throngs of people surrounding Him, shouting "Hosanna!" and worshiping Him, His presence on a donkey was not in harmony with the expectations of most of the crowd. They were expecting, counting on, a political/military conqueror, come to free them from Roman oppression and establish a new kingdom in which the Hebrews would finally assume their rightful place as world leaders and God's chosen people. Jesus, choosing to enter the city on a donkey, instead, makes a clear statement that He has come in peace.
What's not quite so clear is that the peace He comes in, is peace between man and God (1 Tim 2:5), not peace between the Jews and the Gentiles. The take-home from Palm Sunday's sermon was, "What will you do when Jesus defies your expectations?"
Our Easter sermon was a study in contrast, taking a close look at the difference between
Aside from the clear evangelistic message, there was a caution to see Jesus Christ as, not merely a gentle, kind, smiling, loving Savior, He is certainly all those things. But He is also a conquering King (Rev 17:14, 19:16) whose wrath will pour out on all sin (Rev 16:1). These are concepts that are startlingly scarce in most gospel presentations today. Much of the church wants to embrace the Jesus who is kind to children and little lambies, but distance itself from a holy God whose aim is, not only to sanctify a bride for His Son, but to demand the "wages of sin" (Rom 6:23) from all those who reject Him.
Wrath, repentance, obedience....words like these are no longer welcome in a culture that is becoming increasingly intolerant of a God who is holy, perfect and pure. Ironically, this intolerance is passionately pursued...in the name of tolerance. Just as ironically, much of the same attitude is expressed by much of His church today. It would seem that even some of the church, the bride He will come for, prefers a kinder, gentler God than we see in the Scriptures.
This is not, in any way, to say God is not kind and gentle. But, being God, He will not tolerate a casual attitude toward sin, a lack of holiness nor the absence of reverence, either in the world...or in His church.
The message of "Behold A White Horse" was, "When the skies rip open and judgment comes thundering out of heaven in unbridled fury, riding a white horse, his robes dipped in blood...what side of the horse will you find yourself on? The side of His armies...or the side He is bearing down upon?"
In order for the church to remain healthy and vibrant in an environment that increasingly demands it conform to their standard of religion and spirituality, it must meditate, study and embrace a fully realized God and present a fully realized gospel. Nothing less will do.
As an aside, to be filed under "Unintended Circumstances", this is one of the photos used to illustrate the popular perception of Jesus. Nothing wrong with the photo but not much right about it either. In it we see a Jesus that is neatly coiffed, smiling, immaculate, good looking and handsome in a chiseled-sensitive-guy sort of a way. Aside from flying in the face of how Scripture describes the King of kings and Lord of lords (Isa 53:3), a number of folks also mentioned that the man in the drawing bears a remarkable resemblance to one of the Bee Gees, Barry Gibb. they may have a point. See for yourself;