Summary: This is part 5 in our series Guardrail adopted from Andy Stanley's series. The message is written from a Palm Sunday viewpoint and deals with why the Pharisees had hard hearts toward Jesus. We all need to protect our hearts.
Guardrails Part 5 Guard Your Heart
How many of you have ever had a crush on somebody and thought they were the greatest, but when you finally got to know the person, you didn’t think they were all that after all. As a matter of fact, you were surprised that you were attracted to the person in the first place. What happened was, your heart got ahead of your brain, and you let it run wild. Love isn’t the only emotion or feeling that we allow our hearts to run off the cliff in need of a guardrail. There are four others that want our hearts that we will talk about.
We are in week five of our series on Guardrails. We have seen that guardrails 1) Direct and Protect, 2) Helps Us With Friendships, 3) Keeps Us From Falling Into Sexual Immorality, 4) Keeps Us From Wasting Our Money, and 5) today we will see how they help us guard our hearts.
Remember: Guardrails are a system designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off limit areas. Guardrails are designed to cause a limited amount of damage now, to prevent major damage or loss of life later. The guardrails are always placed in the safety zone. A guardrail is a personal rule, or standard of behavior that becomes a matter of conscience. A guardrail is designed to light up our conscience before we hurt ourselves or others.
We are in our final message on Guardrails today, and it happens to fall on Palm Sunday which gives an opportunity to see what happened to a group on Palm Sunday that didn’t guard their hearts. Have you ever seen somebody that overreacted to a situation and an explosion seemed to have come out of their mouths out of nowhere? Have you ever been in a situation in which you said, “that wasn’t me, I don’t know where that came from. I usually don’t act like that.”
Now Jesus would tell us that our behavior came out of a response that was inside of our heart. We would rather say, “No Jesus, my behavior was a response to what they said to me, or what they did to me.” Jesus would argue with us and say “No, your response was based on what was inside of your heart.” Jesus would tell us, “Aa long time ago, there was a guy by the name of Solomon and he wrote this verse in Proverbs 4:23 (NIV2011) 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
What Jesus is saying is that what is in our hearts is eventually going to be reflected or it is going to show up in our behavior. We really don’t know what is inside of us, until we are put in a pressure situation and have to make a decision of how we are going to respond. When we are setting up guardrails in our heart, we need to know what is it that might cause us to drive off the road and have a major wreck with our lives.
Today is Palm Sunday. Jesus has been preaching for 3 to 5 years and is still the most popular religious figure of the day. Although many people had left Jesus because they didn’t want to obey his teachings, a lot of people are still excited about him. His message of God wanting to be in a relationship with people was catching on.
There was one group, called the Pharisees and scribes, who followed Jesus, but they did so in order to try to find something he might say or do so that they could have him arrested by the authorities. Now they don’t know it at the time, but this Palm Sunday is Jesus’ final march into the city of Jerusalem. They don’t know that they will be getting what they want in just a few days, and that Jesus will be crucified and killed.’
Even before Jesus was born, hundreds of years earlier, it had been predicted that the Messiah, the Anointed One, God’s deliverer was going to come into the city riding on a donkey. Jesus sets this up by having two of his disciples go and bring a donkey to him for him to ride into the city. The people got wind that Jesus was coming into the city. Matthew let’s us know that is happening just after Jesus had healed two blind men in Jericho.
Luke let’s us know it was right after the rich tax collector had gotten saved and paid back money to everyone he had cheated. John lets us know that it was after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, and it was at a time for the Feast to take place. This means there were more people in Jerusalem than normal, the crowd was bigger and some of them had never seen Jesus before.