Celebration Band

Sermon Date: 
27 Mar 2010
Bible Base: 
Luke 19:28-40

David Jeans

Isn’t it great to praise God?
Question for you:-
What’s the same and what’s different about singing to praise God, and singing along at a pop concert (Mr Creepy?) or at a disco or singing at a football match? (Talk Partners)
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the most important week in the history of the world. In that week Jesus went from hero to zero and back again. At its beginning the crowd with the disciples praised Jesus, cried ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, and gave him a rapturous welcome. By Friday the crowd were crying ‘crucify him’.
The crowd began that week thinking that God’s main priority was sorting out their problems. They welcomed Jesus, who they were sure was coming in the name of the Lord to bring in a new age where they would no longer be oppressed by the Romans and they would be seen to be God’s favourites again.
But Jesus was a great disappointment to them. Instead of telling off the Romans, he was telling off the leaders of the people of God. He seemed to be more worried about things wrong with them and their temple than with things wrong with their enemies. He just wouldn’t do what they wanted him to do. So they turned on him.
In one of his books Bishop Tom Wright talks about how the ideas of Copernicus revolutionised people’s view of the universe. (Who was Copernicus and what did he do?)Before Copernicus everyone though that the Sun and the stars went round the earth which was at the centre of the universe. After Copernicus we had to get used to the idea that in fact the earth goes around the Sun. Tom Wright thinks that there has to be the same revolution in our thinking when we seek to follow Christ. The essence of sin is to think that the universe revolves around us, that our interests are the most important ones, that we will trample others down if we have to, to get our own way. Even when we come to faith in Christ it’s easy for us, often without realising it, to continue to act as though the universe revolves around us, and in particular that God revolves around us. We can think that God is here to be our private chaplain, to look after our needs, to ensure our health, well-being and happiness, and of course to make our church successful and growing. God is now part of our lives, but basically to do what we want God to do. When we think like this we have not realised the full extent of the revolution that God wants to happen in us. God wants our lives to revolve around His purposes, and not the other way around. Of course God’s purposes include our being blessed by God, but God’s purposes are bigger than simply blessing us. He wants to transform the whole world, and He wants to use us to help bring that about.
Praise and worship is great – but praise and worship should change us, so that we orbit God, rather than expecting God to orbit us. It should make us ready to join in with God’s mission of changing the world.
The crowds in Jerusalem wanted God to be part of their lives – but on their terms, rather than on God’s terms. When Jesus showed them that God’s agenda was different from theirs, they rejected him. How about us today? Are we just following and praising God for what we want to get out of God? Or are we prepared to follow God anywhere and serve his kingdom and not our own?
Near the end of this week we find Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, where he wrestles with his Father in prayer. If his Father had been Jesus’ private chaplain he might have said to Jesus ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to go through with it’. But because God loved the whole world, he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. And because Jesus loves his Father and loves us, he said not my will, but yours be done.
So as we approach Holy week and Easter - Do we expect God to be in orbit about us and our purposes? Or are we in orbit about God and His purposes to change the whole world?