1. As we began worship today we heard the children sing Hosanna. As we read the liturgy for baptism and as the vows were made, we too said "hosanna." And as we read God’s word we heard both the people along the road into Jerusalem and the apostle Paul cry out "Hosanna!"
2. Some of you may wonder if what I just said is true. You did not hear the word hosanna in the baptismal vows. And you certainly did not hear Paul cry out Hosanna. My wife tells me that sometimes I try to make things fit together that do not fit. Is that what I am trying to do this morning? Fit together Palm Sunday, baptism and a reading from the Year of the Bible? Am I putting a word into our Roman’s passage that does not belong there? Prhaps, but I do not think so. I ask that you listen carefully and tell me after whether or not I am.
1. We start by considering what the word "Hosanna" means. It is a word that was used to praise or show adoration. The crowds shouted Hosanna to welcome their hero, their Messiah, their new found king to the royal city of Jerusalem. But there is another, somewhat related meaning. Hosanna means "O Save." Hosanna is a call or cry to be saved.
2. Both the people along the road to Jerusalem are crying out to be saved or rescued. The people shout "Hosanna" and Paul cries out "Who will rescue me!"
3. But, there are differences in the cries to saved
4. The people on that first Palm Sunday expected Jesus to rescue them from their enemies - the Romans. They hoped that Jesus was the Messiah. The Romans who had taken their land and made it a province of the Roman Empire. They longed to be a free and powerful nation like they were when David was king. That is why they call Jesus the "Son of David."
5. We can understand these people. Have we not also at times called out to God to save us from our enemies - our circumstances, illnesses, or those people who seem to make our lives miserable. God, please get me out of this situation. There are many unbelievers out there who never talk to talk, but when things get tough, call out to God. "God, you' ve got to help me. Get rid of these problems for me."
6. But while they are right in asking God for help, they do not realize that their problems are not out their but rather in here - in their hearts.
7. And that is what we confess in baptism. That Emma’s biggest struggles in life will not be with the world around her but within her. How she responds to the world around her. How she deals with her own sin. Some people find it hard to hear that an seemingly innocent baby as Emma can be described as a sinner or being sinful by nature. But Emma is the same as each one of us.
8. We are born with sin within us. As sure as the blood that flows within our veins. We think more of ourselves than we think of God or of others. We hurt others when they do not deserve it. We walk by those in need and turn to look the other way. Our busy schedule is more important than their needs
9. The problem is that our holy God cannot tolerate sin. Paul says elsewhere in Romans that the wages of sin is death. The punishment we all deserve is eternal anguish in hell.
10. As we read in the liturgy, God sent His Son as a sacrifice on the cross to pay the debt of our sins. To die the death we should have died. So that we might live forever with God in heaven. In baptism we acknowledge that we need to be saved from our sins. And when we believe in Jesus, we are saved from those sins.
11. Yes we should call out to Jesus to save us. But from ourselves. And when we do that, we can face all things because we know that one day we will be with our heavenly Father. And we know that He is watching over us in this life already.
12. If you have not asked Jesus to save you, join that crowd and sgout Hosanna today, but make sure you ask Him to save you from your sins, not the sins of others.
13. Paul realized this. He had received Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, just as many of us here have done. And he had received his salvation and he knew it.
14. Why then is Paul is crying out to rescued? Why should any Christian, why should you and and I ask God to rescue us?
15. Paul gives us the reason why:
Rom 7:18-19 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
16.- Paul needs to be rescued from "this body of death." Here was the great apostle, missionary and theologian. Paul, who was an example of what it means to give our lives to Christ in service. And he is asking to be rescued from sin.
17. Do saved Christians need to be saved from sin? Or is Paul not talking about himself before he was saved or about others? No, he is sharing the continuing conflict with sin that he has to deal with, even as a mature Christian, even as an Apostle! And the entire book up to chapter 7, verse 6, is written in the third person. Then in verse 7 Paul shifts to the first person, indicating that he is sharing his personal story, his autobiography. And from verse 7-13 he speaks in the past tense, but from verse 14 to the end of the chapter he shifts to the present tense. Paul is describing his life after receiving Christ.
18. Do you understand Paul's struggle? Since you became a Christian have you ever said, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do." Have you ever said, "When I want to do good, evil is right there with me." Have you ever said, "What a wretched person I am! Who will rescue me?"
19. Is there a sin in your life that seems to cling to you? A nasty habit you haven’t been able to whip? A person you can’t love? An attitude you can’t seem to change?
20. If so you know what Paul is going through. We struggle with our sinful nature. A spiritual battle between the new spiritual nature we received when we reived Christ and the old nature that remains in us.
21. Is there spiritual conflict in your life, and, if so, what’s causing it?
22. Perhaps there’s bitterness. Someone did something or said something you didn’t like and you’re bitter about it. Your new nature is trying to tell you to forgive, to forget, to trust God to discipline the one who wronged you. But your old sinful nature is telling you to hurt that person every chance you get, gossip about him, take revenge when you can, and at all costs, remember the offence. And what’s the result? Conflict, ineffective Christian witness, sleeplessness, maybe even health problems.
23. Or perhaps you’ve got a nasty habit, like criticism of others. Your new nature tells you to accept other people, give them the benefit of the doubt, concentrate on their good characteristics, let someone else point out their faults, give them another chance. But the old sinful nature says, "If I don’t criticize them, how are they going to know they’re doing wrong and correct it? If I don’t make it public, other people may get hurt. Besides, any dummy can see that what they did was inexcusable." And the result? Conflict within and without.
24. Or perhaps you have a problem with money. Your new nature tells you not to fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (I Tim. 6: ) The new nature urges you to be generous and ready to share. But the old sinful nature tells you to spend your money on luxuries you don’t need, or to horde it for retirement, or maybe even to gamble with it. Of course, even the old nature will allow you to give a little--just enough to ease your conscience, but never enough to amount to a real sacrifice. And the result is internal struggle and conflict between what your divine nature wants and what your sinful nature wants, or between what God wants and Satan wants.- who will rescue us from this?
25. What is your struggle? And how will be overcome it? Through Christ who will rescue us or save us .There are three things Christ does for us.
26. First, remember that when Christ He returns we will be glorified and we will no longer have that sinful nature. That give us hope.
27. Second, we need not fear that these sins will not take away our salvation. For listen to Romans 8:1:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
That give us assurance.
28. Thirdly, as Romans 8 tells us, Christ has sent the Holy Spirit who helps us to live more holy lives.
29. But we do struggle. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that we are to live according to the Spirit. To set our minds on what the Spirit desires.
30. That means that we need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ. To call out to Him to save us and rescue us from our sins. To admit that we need His help. Not to seek to overcome our sins by our own efforts but to daily admit that even as Christians, we need Christ.
31. Not to feel like we are to hide our sins from others, from ourselves, from God. To pretend that being a Christian means to be sinless. That is a sin in itself - spiritual pride. To admit our sins and continued need for Christ.
32. May hosanna be a word not just heard on Palm Sunday, but may we daily ask Christ, through His Spirit, to save us from the sin that clings to us.
33. As we do, we will experience victories, and we will praise God for them. Hosanna in the highest.