Summary: Ways that we can survive devastating times when they come into our lives.

Iliff and Saltillo United Methodist

Palm Sunday, April 16, 2000

“Surviving Devastating Times”

Isaiah 50:4-9

INTRODUCTION: On Palm Sunday we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem, people lining the streets waving Palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the king that cometh in the Name of the Lord.” However, this day was only a small segment in the total picture. The Pharisees were trying to get the people quieted down when they shouted “hosanna.” Immediately following these verses we get a hint of what Jesus was feeling--it says, “He wept over the city.” How did He survive the devasting times that lead up to the cross? How was he able to go through the suffering and humiliation that He did?

Today’s scripture in Isaiah gives us some insight as to how Jesus survived the ordeal and conquered death, hell, and the grave. Isaiah prophesied about his own ministry in 740 B. C. as well as pointing out things that would happen at the time of the crucifixion. Today we can draw encouragement from these same scriptures that will sustain us in the “devastating times” of our own life.

When things are not going well for you, don’t you want someone to have the “right word” to encourage you? Don’t you also want to be able to help yourself turn a situation around as quickly as possible? We can’t always do this immediately, but other times we can do a lot to help ourselves survive these difficult times. What can we get out of today’s scripture?

1. KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCRIPTURES: Isaiah says in verse 4, “The Sovereign Lord has given me an INSTRUCTED TONGUE to know the word that sustains the weary...” What does that mean? This prophet knew the scriptures and how to APPLY them to his own life as well as to offer a word of encouragement to those people he came into contact with. Many of the people he met every day were people who were very discouraged. He knew words of comfort and encouragement to give them.

Matthew 7:29 says that Jesus knew the Word and taught the Word as “one HAVING AUTHORITY and not as the scribes.” What does that tell us? Do you know the Word of God and how to use it skillfully by applying it to your own life? Do you know who you are in Christ when things come to devastate you? Can you stand with confidence on the Word of God when the stresses of life threaten to knock you down and crush you under the load? You might say “No,” I don’t have this knowledge of Scripture.

We gradually learn as we read and study. Many Christians do not make the attempt to learn and grown.

II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We study to learn the truths. We don’t have to know everything in the world about the Bible in 10 easy lessons but we are striving to learn a little here and a little there. We put the Word into our hearts and the Holy Spirit helps us to use it effectively when it is needed. We don’t have to pretend that we know the Bible backwards and forwards and brag about how much we know about prophecy or any particular subject. Just begin to study and learn, and you will be surprised at how much the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance when you need it.

I Peter 2:2 says to “desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” We start out where we are and add to our knowledge. Isaiah said, “The Lord God has given me the ‘tongue of the learned”--an instructed tongue.

We know that it was “Jesus’ custom to go to the synagogue on the sabbath day and he stood up to read the scripture.” Luke 4:16. Jesus was genuine--he spoke with authority, he knew what he was talking about. He had the goods. And it showed up in his authority when he spoke.

STORY: Big Man in a Small Town

Joe grew up in a small town, then moved away to attend college and law school. He decided to come back to the small town because he could be a big man in this small town. He really wanted to impress everyone. He opened his new law office, but business was very slow at first.

One day, he saw a man coming up the sidewalk. He decided to make a big impression on this new client when he arrived. As the man came to the door, Joe picked up the phone. He motioned the man in, all the while talking. "No. Absolutely not. You tell those clowns in New York that I won’t settle this case for less than one million. Yes. The Appeals Court has agreed to hear that case next week. I’ll be handling the primary argument and the other members of my team will provide support. Okay. Tell the DA that I’ll meet with him next week to discuss the details. "

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