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Bear With One Another

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Bear With One Another
John 12:12-19 & Ephesians 4:1-10
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2
Today is Palm Sunday! Hosanna in the Highest!
This is the day in the Jewish calendar that was called “Lamb Selection Day.” It was the day that the Jewish people selected the lamb that would be sacrificed for the annual Passover Meal. The Passover meal was shared four days after lamb selection day. The people gathered together and sacrificed their lamb and shared a meal in remembrance of the days of old when God had brought them out of slavery in Egypt and into the freedom of the promised land.
Can you enter into the picture? A million people are milling around Jerusalem. There are people everywhere! Today would be Sunday, the Sunday before we all celebrate the Passover. This is the reason why all of these people are here: it is our “Lamb Selection Sunday.” Thousands of lambs are being led into town for Thursday’s annual Passover sacrifice event. Everyone is selecting their family’s sacrificial lamb. Think of the tension that is in the air as the Roman centurions walk around—angry that the crowd is so large and unruly. Their swords and shields are ready at a moment’s notice in order to keep the peace. We are there—with a million others as Jesus makes his way through the nearby town of Bethany, he travels down the Mount of Olives and is ready to enter the city of Jerusalem. Jesus has been in ministry for three years. The people have seen Him in action, or they have heard about Him and His miracles. Think of the biggest sporting event or concert you’ve ever been to—and multiply that by 100! This crowd is energized, and the excitement just keeps building and building! Jesus is riding on a donkey and the crowd goes wild. They have been waiting for this day! All of sudden, it’s the biggest parade you’ve ever seen! Everyone is breaking off palm branches from the palm trees and taking off their outer coats, tossing them on the dirt road that Jesus is riding into town on! Are you with me? Can you hear the excitement as the crowd begins to shout, “HOSANNA --- HOSANNA --- HOSANNA! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel.”
The Hebrew word “hosanna” literally means “save us, we pray, save us now, save us--we beseech you.” The crowd is shouting at the top of their lungs, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!”
Today is Sunday. “Church day” was yesterday—Saturday. Our Sabbath day is over and today is the day we select our family’s unblemished lamb for the Passover sacrifice--held four days later on Thursday. This is a really big day—think of the four days before Thanksgiving, or Christmas and you kind of get the idea! Everyone is out! Everyone has something to do! Everyone is super excited about the upcoming holiday celebrations! It’s mayhem and this is the day that Jesus had decided to enter Jerusalem--lamb selection day. The crowds are pumped, and they are shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna --- save us we beseech you --- save us now!” The people are tired of the harsh Roman rulers. They see their King fulfilling the long-awaited Scripture and they are wild with excitement. Zachariah 9:9 is unfolding before their very eyes. The crowd is passionate and praising God with every ounce of their being.
What about you? Can you see yourself in this crowd?
Let us read our passage from John’s account of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Let us pray. “Lord Jesus, during this Holy Week give us eyes to see You in our everyday lives. Today we pray that you will ride triumphantly into our hearts and save us. Hosanna! Amen”
John 12:12-19
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (Zachariah 9:9) 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”[i]
Over the past five weeks, we have been looking the “One Another” passages in the bible. We have learned how to “Greet One Another,” “Honor One Another,” “Be Devoted to One Another,” “Serve One Another,” “Submit to One Another,” “Live in Harmony With One Another,” and “Accept One Another.” Today we will learn what it means to “Bear With One Another.”
Ephesians 4:1-10
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)[ii]
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”[iii]
Show THE SKIT GUYS video on Palm Sunday.
Bear With One Another
I loved the video of the Skit Guys. In this video, these two guys are total opposites: Tommy and Eddy. Can you think of someone in your life who just kind of, sort of, grinds on you the wrong way? You say up, they say down. You say black, they say white. Yep. THAT’S the person this bible verse is talking about. And today we are supposed to hear about how to love them. How to bear with them. How to forgive them? I want to take a few minutes this morning and reflect on the thought of what it means to “bear with one another.”
When you hear those four little words what comes to your mind?
Bear with one another! Do you see what comes just before this in our Scripture: Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Yep, today’s message is going to get personal as we learn how to bear with one another.
Paul says, “Bear with one another in love. Bear with one another and forgive one another as you have been forgiven.” As we “live together” as brothers and sisters in Christ, we get to know each other’s idiosyncrasies and we are faced with this challenge to “bear with one another in love.” When we are tempted to be impatient with one another, we need to think about Jesus Christ and His attitude toward us. Christ has forgiven us. Christ has also forgiven the one whom you are learning to bear with!
The Greek word for “bear” --- ἀνέχομαι (anechomai) means to “endure, to have patience, to accept, the endure something unpleasant or difficult.” Did you hear that? Anechomai—endure with that person, have patience with that person, accept that person, and endure what’s unpleasant and difficult. HOW are we supposed to DO this?
Here are a couple of simple ways that I have learned to bear with one another:
I try to stop and take a good look at myself before looking at the weaknesses or idiosyncrasies of others. The truth is, I have my own weaknesses and idiosyncrasies that I ask others to bear with me. Here are some practical questions that you can ask yourself.
1. What do I do (or not do) at home that irritates the people I live with?
2. What do I do (or not do) at church that irritates my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
3. What do I do (or not do) at work and/or school that irritates my fellow employees and/or teachers and fellow students?
4. What do I do (or not do) that irritates the people that I associate with during the week? You know, the outer circle of your life—sports, drama, the gym, the grocery store, TARGET—all those other places I go during the week.
5. Do I expect more from others than I do from myself?
6. Do I criticize others? Do I hold others to a higher standard that I hold myself?
Paul tells us that we need to cloth ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Forgive One Another, as the Lord has forgiven you. It takes a whole lot in order for us to bear with one another. It is so true that we need to be kind, compassionate, meek, humble and patient with others. Clothe yourself with those awesomely terrific qualities. Thanks, Paul. That’s really not as easy as it sounds.
Corrie ten Boom survived a Nazi concentration camp during WW2. She has written and shared many stores of forgiveness. She shared about meeting one of the guards from the same prison camp that her sister died in, where she was held during the war. The guard had come to hear her speak. I’ve used this illustration before. Do you remember? The guard asked Corrie to forgive him. He stuck out his hand. FORGIVE. It took her a moment, but she did say she forgave him. Listen to this illustration from her book, “Tramp for the Lord.”
“I wish I could say after a long and fruitful life traveling the world, I had learned to forgive all my enemies. I wish I could say that merciful and charitable thoughts just naturally flowed from me and on to others. But they don’t. There is one thing I’ve learned since I’ve passed my eightieth birthday, it’s that I can’t store up good feelings and behavior—but only draw them fresh from God each day.
Maybe I’m glad it’s that way, for every time I go to Him, He teaches me something else. I recall the time—and I was almost seventy—when some Christian friends whom I loved and trusted did something which hurt me. You would have thought that, having been able to forgive the guards in Ravensbruck, forgiving Christian friends would be child’s play. It wasn’t. For weeks I seethed inside. But at last I asked God again to work His miracle in me. And again it happened: first, the cold-blooded decision, then the flood of joy and peace. I had forgiven my friends; I was restored to my Father.
Then, why was I suddenly awake in the middle of the night, rehashing the whole affair again? My friends! I thought. People I loved. If it had been strangers, I wouldn’t have minded so.
I sat up and switched on the light. “Father, I thought it was all forgiven. Please help me do it.”
But the next night I woke up again. They’d talked so sweetly too! Never a hint of what they were planning. “Father!” I cried in alarm. “Help me!”
Then it was that another secret of forgiveness became evident. It is not enough to simply say, “I forgive you.” I must also begin to live it out. And in my case, that meant acting as though their sins, like mine, were buried in the depths of the deepest sea. If God could remember them no more—and He had said, “[Your] sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17)—then neither should I. And the reason the thoughts kept coming back to me was that I kept turning their sin over in my mind.
And so I discovered another of God’s principles: We can trust God not only for emotions but also for our thoughts. As I asked Him to renew my mind He also took away my thoughts.
He still had more to teach me, however, even from this single episode. Many years later, after I had passed my eightieth birthday, an American friend came to visit me in Holland. As we sat in my little apartment in Baarn he asked me about those people from long ago who had taken advantage of me. “It is nothing,” I said a little smugly. “It is all forgiven.” “By you, yes,” he said. “But what about them? Have they accepted your forgiveness?” “They say there is nothing to forgive! They deny it ever happened. No matter what they say, though, I can prove they were wrong.” I went eagerly to my desk. “See, I have it in black and white! I saved all their letters and I can show you where. . . .” “Corrie!” My friend slipped his arm through mine and gently closed the drawer. “Aren’t you the one whose sins are at the bottom of the sea? Yet are the sins of your friends etched in black and white?”
For an astonishing moment I could not find my voice. “Lord Jesus,” I whispered at last, “who takes all my sins away, forgive me for preserving all these years the evidence against others! Give me grace to burn all the blacks and whites as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to Your glory.”
I did not go to sleep that night until I had gone through my desk and pulled out those letters—curling now with age—and fed them all into my little coal-burning grate. As the flames leaped and glowed, so did my heart. “Forgive us our trespasses,” Jesus taught us to pray, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In the ashes of those letters I was seeing yet another facet of His mercy. What more He would teach me about forgiveness in the days ahead I didn’t know, but tonight’s was good news enough.
Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. The forgiveness of Jesus not only takes away our sins, it makes them as if they had never been.”[iv]
So What? What do the ancient words of life have for me to hear and learn today?
We’re back in the crowd! It’s lamb selection Sunday. And we stand and sit in the company of a million others. We come to this Palm Sunday with shouts of “Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel.”
Yet even in the midst of all of these hosannas, we hold onto our unforgiveness. We do not do this “ONE ANOTHER” very well. We do not bear with one another. We forget to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
In 2012 my wife had a dream that reshaped her heart and life. Jac calls it the dream of the Teflon Heart. In the dream, she was taken up to heaven. Jesus had her stand against a wall of beautiful white marble with slashes of gold. He reached to take her heart out. Jesus told her not to move and this would not hurt. Jesus then reached in and took her heart out of body and held it in His hands. He stood looking at her heart. He started exploring her heart like a pound of playdough. “What’s this?” He asked as He pulled out the rocks and lumps in her heart. Funny thing, Jac said she knew exactly what each rock was. Jesus told her that those rocks were old and so deeply buried in her heart, He needed to remove them so that she could have a heart like His. Slowly, steadily, surely, little by little Jesus removed the hurts, grudges, pain and betrayals by family, friends, coworkers and strangers. Jesus came to one rather large stone, He looked at her and said, “Oh! Wow! You have been holding onto this one for a very long time. You sure are a good grudge holder!” When Jesus finally finished removing all of the grudges, unforgiveness, hurts and pains, he took her heart and coated it with a black solution. As Jesus was soaking her heart, Jac asked what that black gooey solution was. Jesus told her, “Teflon.” After Jesus soaked her heart with Teflon, he started covering her heart with all kinds of precious jewels: diamonds, rubies, amethysts, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, tanzanite—every precious jewel and metal there ever was. When Jesus was finished with coating her heart, He put it back inside of her body. He stood there and looked at her and smiled, “Now you have a heart like mine.” Jac woke up. It was July 4th. She woke up feeling her heart and as she jumped (and I mean jumped) out of bed—she kept saying, “I had heart surgery last night! I mean it—I have a new heart. Jesus gave me a new heart. Oh my gosh!” And she told me how she had forgiven everyone for everything and how good her new Jesus heart felt! Jac now tells everyone about her Teflon heart. “You, too, can have one! Just tell Jesus about all of those grudges and hurts that you bury and carry. Forgive. Just like He forgives you!”
Corrie ten Boom lived for ten long years holding onto the black and white evidence of her hurt, pain, betrayals and unforgiveness. When she finally burned those letters. she let go and she was set free to truly forgive. Bear with one another.
When my wife let go of her deep hurts, pain, betrayals and unforgiveness she was truly free to forgive and bear with those who had hurt her.
So what? Wow. All I can say is that before we can learn how we can bear with one another, we need to make sure we have clothed ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Isn’t that what Jesus does with us? Doesn’t Jesus bear with us? Isn’t it His compassion, and kindness, and humility, meekness and patience with us that makes us a better person?
I have some really GOOD NEWS for us today and it comes from the GOOD NEWS of the GOSPEL.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”[v]
Let us pray …
The Seed Christian Fellowship
Rancho Cucamonga, California 91701
April 14, 2019
Pastor Dave Peters
[i] The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 12:12–19). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[ii] The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Eph 4:1–10). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[iii] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Col 3:12–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[iv] Corrie ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord, 181–183. Reprinted by permission
[v] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Col 3:12–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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