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Sunday Of The Passion/Palm Sunday
Series
A

Option #1: "The Importance of Attitude"
Philippians 2:5-11
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Introduction: Attitude is one of the categories on the report card. Students are rated not only on their performance, but on their ATTITUDE. Palm Sunday is very much about attitude--Jesus’ attitude. It’s about how Jesus thought of himself and of the work the heavenly Father gave Him to do. Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem reminds us of THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTITUDE.

I. It brought him to Jerusalem

A. Right before he wrote today’s text, Paul said: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

B. When small children have guests, they may sometimes fight over toys. When a visiting child plays with a favorite toy, a child will say: "That’s mine! You can’t have it!"

C. Jesus could have clung to his "rights" as God’s Son, but he "emptied himself...he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant."

D. The attitude of sinful humankind made it necessary for Jesus to empty himself. Illustration: the late Astronaut James Irwin commented: "As I was returning to earth, I realized that I was a servant, not a celebrity. So I am here, as God’s servant on earth, to share what I have experienced that others might know the glory of God."

E. This humble servant love is a lesson that Jesus had to teach the disciples often, as in John 13.

II. Jesus’ attitude laid him on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins--text, v8: "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!"

A. Jesus deliberately rode into Jerusalem knowing that his acclaim would lead to the cross--Lk 19:39 passim

B. Jesus knew that the religious leaders were envious of his popularity with the people--John 11:48ff

C. Jesus knew that he had to die in Jerusalem--Lk 13:33

D. Jesus’ attitude of humble love brings those who trust in him to God--1 Pet 3:8 & Rom 5:2

III. Jesus’ attitude of humble servant love still changes lives today

A. That was the purpose of the foot-washing lesson in John 13, especially v7

B. How we imitate Christ’s life of sacrificial love will indicate our love for him, as in Matt 25:40. There was a deacon in a church in Boston many years ago who said to himself: "I can’t lead a Bible class. There are many things I don’t have the talent to do, but I can do this: I can put two extra dinner plates on my table every Sunday and invite two young men who are away from home to have a meal with me." He did that for more than 30 years. He became acquainted with many young men who attended his church and some of them have followed his humble example. When he died, he was to be buried in Andover, some 30 miles away. Because he was a well-known businessman, a special train had to be chartered to convey the funeral party. Any of his friends who had become Christians through his influence were welcomed to sit in a special car set aside for them. 150 of them came and packed that car from end to end. "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." (Dan 12:3)

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THE MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN

Object: picture of a police officer in uniform

I don’t know how much you watch the news, but the last two weeks have been very dangerous times for people who were just trying to go about their business. In one place, they were in a courtroom and a man killed a judge, his court reporter and, later, a police officer and another man. In other place much closer to home, people were at their church on Saturday afternoon and one of their own killed seven of them, including the pastor of the church and his son.

No one knows for sure why people do these things, but we can learn something from them. There was a time when a man came among a group of people and took them to another room where he promised to kill one at a time until he received what he demanded. A police officer was nearby and decided to help. Since he wasn’t wearing a uniform like this K-9 officer, he just blended in with the group. When he had the chance, he shot the man with the gun and he saved the life of all those people.

I don’t like talking about such violent things here in God’s house and not with you, but there is something to be learned here. The world Jesus lived in was very violent. They crucified people to keep them afraid to disobey the laws.

Like the plain clothes police officer, Jesus came to this world, knowing that he was putting himself in great danger. He came here knowing that he would have to die to save the a world full of sinful people. And like that officer, he succeeded. We are set free from sin and its punishment because Jesus died for our sins.

Imagine how the people saved by that police officer thanked him dozens of time for saving their lives. They couldn’t say enough good things about the officer who risked his life to save them.

Now Jesus wants us to go out of our way to save people by sharing the good news of Jesus with them. They will thank you not only in this life, but you will be rewarded in eternal life--all for being a servant just as Jesus was.

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Option #2: "March Madness--Jesus Style"
Philippians 2:5-11
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
A. A righteous man without equal reduced to a man without equal rights

B. A level and humble man leveled and humbled by humankind

C. An obedient and responsive servant subjected to unresponsive and disobedient servants

D. A man of low and no rank elevated to the highest place--the cross

Notes

1. kenoo (v7): make void, make of no effect, make of no reputation, be in vain; to empty, make empty; of Christ, he laid aside equality with or the form of God; to make void; deprive of force, render vain, useless, of no effect; to make void;
cause a thing to be seen to be empty. (Blue Letter Bible)

2. tapeinoo (v8): hollow, false, humble, abase, humble (one's) self, bring low; to make low, bring low; to level, reduce to a plain; metaphorically, to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances; to assign a lower rank or place to; to abase; to be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded; to humble or abase myself by humble living; to lower, depress; of one's soul bring down one's pride; to have a modest opinion of one's self; to behave in an unassuming manner; devoid of all haughtiness. (Ibid)

3. hupekoos (v8): obedient, obey; giving ear. (Ibid)

4. huperupsoo (v9): highly exalt; metaphorically, to exalt to the highest rank and power, raise to supreme majesty; to extol most highly; to be lifted up with pride, exalted beyond measure; to carry one's self loftily. (Ibid)

5. Even our best attempts to imitate Jesus (WWJD) can be only that, imitation, aping the example rather than acting from a mind shaped by Christ. (Douglas Chamberlain) WHJD, then: Look what Jesus had done for us!

6. We live in a society dominated by rights-activism, permeated with the philosophy of "me first," and molded by the corporate ideals of efficiency and success. The Church must be called to remember that demanding one's rights and privileges may be popular, even necessary in some cases, but if it does so at the expense of Christian unity and love, it is not Christ[-like]! (Dennis Bratcher)

7. Today's rooster is tomorrow's feather duster! (Some Wise Philospher)

8. Jumpeth not on the bandwagon if there's a chance the wheels shall cometh off. (Guru Bob)
 
9. The Mayan Indians had a kind of basketball game in which, at the end, the captain of the winning team was sacrificed--killed--by the captain of the losing team. His head was cut off. What was the message? For the Mayans, the "name of the game was to become worthy to be sacrificed to God." The idea of being sacrificed, especially the winner being sacrificed, is an idea so foreign to our winner-take-all culture. Yet to the Mayans the sacrifice of oneself was demonstration of the highest ideal of victory. The one who was sacrificed was the one who was victorious. And the one who was most victorious was the one who was sacrificed. We see the greatest example of the sacrifice as marking the victory in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain," the writer of The Apocalypse recorded. It is because of His sacrifice that
Christians celebrate Christ as the Victorious King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Adapted from Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, New York: Anchor Books, 1988, p135)
 
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:35 PM