Do you know people who make promises and then don’t keep them? Most of us have experiences with people who have promised more than they can deliver. Most of us have been let down, have had expectations unmet. Parents, spouses, teachers, bosses, friends, churches, life. And it is easy to transfer those thoughts and feelings to God. Have you ever questioned whether God has kept a promise? Have you felt let down or failed? Have you ever felt God keeps His promises for other people but not for you? I think there is wisdom in living by the motto of “under promise and over deliver.” Be known as a person of your word, who follows through, does what he says. Is God guilty of over promising and under delivering? Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23) Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11) If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20) If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:19) God causes all things to work for good for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
If you were a random unbeliever reading through the Bible for the first time like it was any other book, there’s a chance you might wonder what all the fuss was over Jesus’ resurrection. I mean, its not like it was the first time someone came back from the dead. So, what’s the big deal? In the OT there are three resurrections all during the prophetic ministries of Elijah and Elisha. In I Kings 17 Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath. Elisha, who is said to have a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, raised two people. In II Kings 4 he raised a Shunammite’s son and in II Kings 13 a corpse came to life when it touched Elisha’s bones. Then in the Gospels there are three resurrections. Jesus raised the son of a widow in Nain (Luke 7), Jairus’s daughter (Matthew 9), and Lazarus (John 11). Jesus’ resurrection is the seventh resurrection recorded in Scripture. So, what’s the big deal? Well it is a big deal because the others are nothing like Jesus’ at all. It is one of a kind.
The apostle John is called the apostle of love. The word love occurs 57 times in his gospel, more than the other three gospels combined. The word love occurs 46 times in his first letter, 27 of which are in chapter 4. That makes this chapter the other love chapter in the Bible after the famous I Corinthians 13. Twice John says God is love. Five times John says love one another. Those two themes go together. After all John has said about love and God, he is not finished, he still has more to say. And when he is done he will not have said it all. God’s love is unfathomable. That’s why Paul prays for God’s enabling grace
What a strange day Palm Sunday is. Here we are at the beginning of Holy Week enjoying our children as they wave palm branches and sing loud hosannas. And we have joined our voices with theirs. And yet we are like Jesus, we know what’s ahead, we know how quickly the hosannas will turn to crucify Him, crucify Him. How fickle is the human heart. How fickle is life. Everything can be going so well, and then suddenly something happens, some bad news, some accident, some change of events, and the darkness and fear move in. As we have been learning how to preach the Gospel to ourselves it became evident to me that the Gospel according to Palm Sunday is a great help and encouragement to us especially when life is unsettling or fickle or just plain hard. Let’s consider seven lessons from Palm Sunday, seven truths of the Gospel from this day.
Until the last century most scientists believed time was eternal. Only in the 20th century with Einstein’s theory of relativity was it discovered that time had a beginning. In other words, there was a time when time was not. Interestingly, if you read the religious books of most other religions they speak of time as eternal. Only the Bible claims time is not eternal but had a beginning. People say the Bible is not scientific and not accurate, yet from the beginning the Bible has been uniquely clear that time has a beginning, and that God was active before time. The reverse is the case regarding the Gospel. People think the Gospel had a beginning, maybe when Jesus was 30 years old and began proclaiming the Gospel. Or maybe in the OT, even as far back as Genesis 3:15 and the Gospel promise that the seed of woman would crush the head of the serpent. I want to explore with you this morning that the Gospel is in fact eternal, it has no beginning, it was with God before time.