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WE CAN'T GLORIFY JESUS ON THE OUTSIDE UNLESS WE GLORIFY HIM ON THE INSIDE

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT THE
HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
AND
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

24 MARCH 1991

By: Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

John 12:12-16
1 Samuel 15:22
        16:4-7
Isaiah 50:1-11
Philippians 2:5-11

Reading: John 12:12-16

12. On the next day the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

13. took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and began to cry out, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel."

14. And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,

15. "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."

16. These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.

As we have heard from this morning's reading, the people cried out their Hosannas to the Lord as Jesus entered Jerusalem.

And it is quite likely that some of these same people, just a week later, also cried out to crucify Him.

People in crowds seem to do what the rest of the crowd does, and not necessarily what they would do on their own.

All of us who came here this morning most likely have participated in the service; but were our hearts truly praising God, or were some of us just caught up in the moment and were really thinking of something else?

God doesn't want us to come before Him in praise and worship only on Palm Sunday, or Easter, or on Christmas.

He doesn't even want us only every Sunday morning.

Our God is a jealous God. He wants us all the time.

And even more, He wants us to come completely with all our heart, soul, and mind.

God is not as interested in our outward appearance or words, as in their intent; He sees the innermost parts of our being.

Note what God said to Samuel after Saul had turned away from Him, and Samuel was sent to anoint the son of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:4-7):

4. So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, "Do you come in peace?"

5. And he said, "In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." He also consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.

The people knew themselves, just as we all know ourselves, and they knew that they had sinned against the Lord their God, as every one of us has.

They also recognized Samuel as the prophet of God who, by the power of God, could in a moment of time bring the wrath of God down upon them because of their unrepentant hearts.

Thus they had fear in their hearts, as we should have when we continue to live in our sins and stubbornly refuse to repent and turn away from them.

However, before we go on, we need to remember what God had Samuel tell Saul: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice," (1 Samuel 15:22).

Yet even Samuel felt it was necessary to scapegoat an innocent animal to appease the people.

The tragedy of sacrificing an innocent animal is that it really doesn't change the heart and soul of the people to become truly repentant and obedient; it only gives them an easy way out to continue in their sinful ways.

This only glorifies God on the outside! 

And, God cannot be fooled.

But God is also full of grace and mercy, and calls us to turn back to Him.

With a repentant heart, its time to consecrate ourselves before the Lord.

But still, not all who came to the service truly consecrated themselves. Listen as we continue with our reading:

6. Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him."

7. But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

We can all look around this room, and say, "Surely we are all children of God."

But is that how the Lord sees each of us?

He has offered the same thing to each of us, but will only bestow His salvation upon those who have truly consecrated themselves to Him.

Where is our own heart right now?

If there is something there that God would reject, isn't it better to let go of it, so that true Hosannas would come forth from within?

Listen to the Prophet Isaiah speak forth of the anguished plea of the Lord calling to us to return to Him, and of His personal sacrifice for us (Isaiah 50:1-11):

1. Thus says the Lord,
"Where is the certificate of divorce,
By which I have sent your mother away?
Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you?
Behold, you were sold for your iniquities,
And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.

The Lord our God will never completely cut us off when he punishes us. He will always leave us a way to come home; but we have to be willing to return.

We are punished when we sin, as we punish our children when they do things that are against our will.

And as we receive back our children when they repent, so are we received back by the Lord.

But sometimes our children are as stubborn as their parents, when it comes to returning to their Father.

Listen to what the Lord says in verse 2:

2. "Why was there no man when I came?
When I called, why was there none to answer?
Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke,
I make the rivers a wilderness;
Their fish stink for lack of water,
And die of thirst.

3. "I clothe the heavens with blackness,
And I make sackcloth their covering."

All the Lord is seeking from us is the true intent of our heart.

If it's hard and dry as the bottom of a dried-up stream bed during a drought, then we will stink like dead fish.

But if our hearts are truly willing to be healed, then the Lord will do all the work, and He will even clothe us in righteousness.

As we continue, listen to Isaiah speaking for Jesus Christ, 700 years before His actual triumphal entry into Jerusalem:

4. The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples,
That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

5. The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not disobedient,
Nor did I turn back.

6. I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

7. For the Lord God helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Jesus did all this for each of us, even while we were yet sinners, and perhaps while we still are; but He still did it.

He did it so that true Hosannas of thankfulness and release would spring forth from our hearts, as we realize our new-found freedom and everlasting life.

Jesus doesn't want anyone to go to hell, that's why He willingly suffered and died for us; but we must receive this gift to benefit from it.

Follow along and listen, as we continue:

8. He who vindicates Me is near;
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand up to each other;
Who has a case against Me?
Let him draw near to Me.

9. Behold, the Lord God helps Me;
Who is he who condemns Me?
Behold, they will all wear out like a garment;
The moth will eat them.

10. Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

11. Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from My hand;
And you will lie down in torment.

God has given each of us a free will. And whether we like to admit it or not, we know when we do, or don't do, what the Lord desires of us.

And He has given us a way of escape through the Lord Jesus, if we will allow Him to enter in.

We can sing our Hosannas and mean them, or we can sing them because others do, or we can keep silent as the Lord passes us by, or we can mock those who sing Hosanna.

We can do whatever we please, and the Lord will let us, without saying a word; but only those who mean their Hosannas will be saved from the destruction to come.

In Philippians 2:5-11, we are told what our attitude should be like:

5. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6. who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7. but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,

11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Let's keep in mind what we're talking about.

We can't glorify Jesus on the outside unless we glorify Him on the inside.

It doesn't matter what we say, or what we do before others, that glorifies the Lord.

What glorifies Jesus is our humble and contrite attitude on the inside.

This is what Paul and the Holy Spirit is telling us: that we are to have the same attitude in us as was in Jesus Christ when He walked this earth, and when He died on the cross for us, and as He has today.

Our life in this world is not as important as most of us like to think it is.

What God wants is our obedience.

He wants us to hold onto what He says, even if it seems like the whole world turns against us, as it did with Him.

We are to hold on to being obedient, even to the point of death, if God so desires; for Jesus did just that for us.

And when we have this attitude on the inside, our heart sings the loudest Hosannas.

Did you note that we are told that "every knee should bow, and that every tongue should confess"?

In Greek, the word for should has an expectancy to it; that we who know the truth should do it now, while there is still time.

It's part of our free will.

We are not being forced to do it, but we should.

One day, even in hell, when it's too late, those who are there will know that they should have confessed Jesus as Lord and bowed their knee in humble adoration.

But then, as we are told, it will be too late to do us any good.

I know, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, that there isn't one person in this place who doesn't know that what I am saying is true.

Not everyone may want to hear it, but it is nevertheless true.

If you haven't truly and completely let Jesus Christ enter your heart before, then do it now.

Don't fight against the truth.

Don't worry about what the world may say about you. That doesn't matter.

And it doesn't do any good to fake it, for God truly sees our intent.

Glorify the Lord Jesus on the inside, and our Father in heaven will glorify you forever.

Amen.

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