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Sermon for April 5, 2009

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People are fascinated but not committed

America is experiencing a changing of attitudes regarding Christianity

We interpret it as bad signs

More than likely weeding out true believers from non committed

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Mt 3:11). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

V.) Invitation

What do you do with the king of kings?

Sermon for April 5, 2009

Text: John 12:12-19

Title: The Whole World Is Going After Him

I.) What kind of Christian are you?

A.) How much like Jesus are we?

But Jesus …

•     We take pride in birth and rank, but it’s said of Jesus, He was a carpenter’s son.

•     We take pride in possessions, but it’s said of Jesus, “The Son of man hath no place to lay His head.”

•     We take pride in our respectability, but it’s said of Jesus, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

•     We take pride in our personal appearance, but it’s said of Jesus, “He hath no form nor comeliness.”

•     We take pride in our reputation, but it’s said of Jesus, “Behold a man gluttonous and a winebibber.”

•     We take pride in our friendships, but it’s said of Jesus, “He was a friend of publicans and sinners.”

•     We take pride in our independence, but Jesus gave himself to people and had the woman at the well draw water for him.

•     We take pride in our degrees and learning, but Jesus never went to college and it’s said of Him, “How knows this man letters having never learned to read?”

•     We take pride in our position, but Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves.”

•     We take pride in our success, but it’s said of Jesus, “His own did not receive Him or believe on Him. He was despised and rejected.”

•     We take pride in our self-reliance, but it’s said of Jesus, “He went down to Nazareth and was subject to His parents.”

•     We take pride in our abilities, but Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.”

•     We take pride in our self-will, but Jesus said, “I seek not my own will but the Father’s.” And “If thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done.”

•     We take pride in our intellect, but Jesus said, “As the Father has taught me, I speak these things.”

•     We take pride in our resentment and justifiable pride, but Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.”

•     We take pride in our holiness, but it’s said of Jesus, “He receiveth sinners and eateth with them.”

•     We take pride in the fact we’re the righteousness of God, but it’s said of Jesus, “He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf in order that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”*

* Clipping in my files, attributed to Rev. Milton Hubbard.


Not bad to bad

What is the criteria

II.) The Pharisees and Sadducees

A.) In “Remembering Denny,” Calvin Trillin tells of a Yale classmate from the 1950s who had it all.  Denny Hansen was handsome, funny, and intelligent.  He was a charismatic golden boy from California, who was also a record-breaking swimmer, a genial magnet for admirers, a Rhodes Scholar, and president of everything he joined.  Indeed, all through school days, his friends kept making bets and jokes about the day when Denny Hansen would be elected President of the United States.  But across the years after college, family members and friends gradually lost touch with Denny, in part because he did not answer their letters or return their calls.  As they later discovered, Denny’s career trajectory had flattened out and he had not wanted to say so.  After all, he had not become President, nor even Speaker of the House.  He had never married.  His career was a shameful failure: all he had done was to have authored several respected books and occupied a professorship at the Johns Hopkins School of International Relations.  And he was homosexual in a time when people did not speak of such conditions openly.  Having carried an intolerable burden of promise as far as he could, one day in his middle age the golden boy from California threw it off by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide.



III.) Interested in Jesus

A.) A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend.  He wanted the picture duplicated.  This involved removing it from the frame.  In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph:

“My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart.  I love you more and more each day.  I will love you forever and ever.  I am yours for all eternity.”

It was signed “Helen,” and it contained a P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.”

B.) Often we make it about how well we fit in with the Christian crowd

Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead

Mob psychology

Popularity of Jesus

Public opinion


We like the spectacular

 IV.) Committed follower

A.) In January of 1982, Air Florida's flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River.  Initially six people survived the crash; they were seen in the water, clinging to the tail section of the airplane.  A helicopter was brought in and hovered over the survivors, lowering a lifeline and flotation ring.

The craft could only handle one person at a time.  Each time the helicopter returned and lowered the line, one of those in the water -- a man described as balding, probably in his 50's, and with an extravagant mustache -- passed the line on to one of the others in the water with him.  (We later learned that this man's name was Arland Williams.)

When the other five had been rescued and the chopper returned for him, the man had gone under the water, another victim of the crash.  One of the rescuers in the helicopter later said, "In a mass casualty, you'll find people like him.  But I've never seen one with the commitment."

B.) What kind of a Christian boils down to one word, commitment

Popularity is fleeting

Few really want to crown Jesus Lord and worship him as God

There is a cost

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