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Palm Sunday, March 29, 2009
Last week the choir sang two songs that they had written. Each one contained the theme of “Without Me You Can do Nothing”, which comes from John 15:5. As we approach the annual JSYCB concert this June, I ask you to prepare yourself by meditating on this theme.
To help you get started I want to have a look at the text with you this morning to help you understand it a bit better and help you apply it the way it was meant to be applied.
Today is also Palm Sunday: the triumphal entry is the inaugural event of a series of events and teachings by Jesus that culminate in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. As I have said for probably every Palm Sunday service for the last sixteen years – this event marks off the most significant event in the history of mankind. The significance of this week simply cannot be exaggerated.
This week occupies almost 29% of the Book of Matthew, 25% of Luke, 50% of John and 37% of Mark. Now if you are writing the life story of someone it would be a little unbalanced to write half of it about one week of his life – unless that is what His whole life was about.
The True Vine Identified – Jesus
v.1 – “I am the true vine” – Cf. Ps. 80:9-16; Jeremiah 2:21;
Jesus is saying that salvation does not reside in Israel as the chosen people of God. Salvation is in Him and only Him. He is the TRUE vine. Whenever we see Israel as a vine in the OT it is always failing in its work. Continue reading
1I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7By your favor, O LORD,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
8To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9″What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”
11You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 310:1 – “I will extol you O Lord for you have drawn me up”. There it is – the truth of everything. We can worship, want to worship, are received by God in our worship, because He has drawn us up. We have not climbed up to Him. We did not seek Him out. “He loved me ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him…” The hymn gets it perfectly right. We won’t even know that we owe God our love if not for the fact that He opens our eyes to see it. It is all of grace. And when we talk of grace we are talking about Jesus Christ coming uninvited to rescue all that the Father would give to Him. We worship Him because He has drawn us up. What a great truth. All other truths we will imbibe into our hearts will trace their understanding back to this – He came to us. Thank you Lord for your life giving grace.
Follow the line of thinking in this Psalm:
verse 1a – God draws us up
verse 1b – He draws us up to protect us from our enemies – in our case the enemy of our souls
verse 2 – When He drew us up we called upon Him. This is the call for mercy, for salvation
verse 3 – Now we are saved from hell and from participating in the lifestyle of those who are bound for there.
verse 4 – This produces, and will always produce, worship from the heart shown in praise and thanksgiving.
verse 5 – the believer’s life is still fraught with much trouble
verse 6 – the troubles do not cause us to forsake our God. He keeps those He saves
verse 7 – the testimony of the saints will be that God has done great things for them
verse 8 – the troubles keep coming all throughout our lives and we keep calling upon God to help us – and He does.
verse 9 – the purpose of our preservation is to praise God
verse 10 – so we keep calling to Him for help
verse 11 – and we find help from Him and therefore continue to praise Him.
verse 12 – the response of the believing heart is eternal praises to our God. We look forward to an eternity with Him that is free of sin and trouble. This is our hope and it will not be disappointed.