Summary: How can we truly prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Christ?
Preparing for Easter
March 20, 2005
Center Point Baptist Church
Deacon reads Psalm 96:7-13.
What does it take to really praise and worship?
Have you heard about the little boy who attended church for the first time and was asked how it went? He replied, “The music was nice but the commercial was too long.”
*Many people get the wrong idea about what praise and worship really is – it’s not just singing and listening to a sermon!
Note: We are entering a season of the year where we make special effort to commemorate the love of Jesus in his death and resurrection.
• It is truly a season when all Christians should worship.
*Easter’s coming – or as I prefer “Resurrection Sunday” – and we must prepare ourselves even now for praise and worship.
How should one prepare for “Resurrection Sunday?”
• We do a good job of preparing for Christmas.
• But Easter. What do you do to prepare for Easter?
*If you’re really into it, you dye a few eggs and buy an uncomfortable outfit and you’re ready to go.
*To Christians, commemorating the resurrection is the most important day of the year – or it should be.
•It is the central event of Christian history.
Read Luke 19:29-41.
1.) Spontaneous Praise
*Scripture speaks of the crowd breaking forth in spontaneous praise at the sight of Jesus.
Who was this crowd – and why did they break forth in praise?
• It was a great crowd – from all the land – people coming into Jerusalem for the Passover feast.
• Many were aware of Jesus and His miracles.
John 12:13 – They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! – Blessed is the King of Israel!”
*Scripture also tells us that they had come because of His great miraculous power –
• He stilled the storm
• He fed 5000 – then 4000
• He walked on the water
• 2 huge catches of fish
• He turned water into wine
• He healed people – He cleansed people.
• He raised people – including Lazarus.
*Some wonder why it is we can’t experience miracles like that today –
• Some people think they would believe in Jesus if they could see a definite sign or miracle.
• Jesus says we are blessed if we can believe without seeing.
• We have all the proof we need in the words of the Bible and the testimony of believers.
*The crowd praised Him for the miracles (dynameon) – or “evidences of spiritual power” – they had seen.
• Their praise directly quoted a Messianic Psalm –
Psalm 118:25-26 – O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.
*We have the proof of His mighty power in our own personal testimony of salvation!
• This great salvation leads us to praise God! – Doesn’t it?
2.) Quenching the Spirit
*There were those hanging around who knew just what their loud “hosannas” meant – the Pharisees.
Jealousy – they saw that the opinion of the people was changing – to follow after Jesus instead of them!
• All of this joy could not be allowed –
-It wasn’t in the program.
-It’s not on the agenda.
-It isn’t in the bulletin.
-We haven’t done it that way before!
*Christians today – blood bought by the perfect life, death, and sacrifice of the Son of God – have every reason to break forth in spontaneous praise, but don’t – for fear of others who would judge them.
Not talking about “out of control” – but “out of coma!” – the redeemed of the Lord have a reason to celebrate!
Matthew 23:13 – Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
*So the Pharisees told Jesus to shut them up – already aware of His humility, they may have assumed He would comply, but –
• He despises the contempt of the proud.
• He accepts the praise of the humble.
3.) Ain’t No Rock Gonna Cry in My Place
Luke 19:40 – “I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
*Jesus is master over nature – and all of nature itself cries out in praise to God!
What if the rocks really cried out in praise – what would they say?
*An evangelist named Rick Ousley researched and explained:
Exodus 17 – Moses tapped on the rock and water came out for the people – God provides for us all our needs!