Summary: Sermon Objective: To encourage the congregation to inspect their lives for the transforming evidence of the reign of God.
The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Heart
Mark Chapter 11:1-11
Sermon Objective: To encourage the congregation to inspect their hearts for the transforming evidence of the reign of God.
A key to playing any sport at a level that is enjoyable is the mastering the fundamentals. If you do that you can enjoy the sport at a recreational and competitive level. That usually requires some specific skills that are germane to each sport as well as some more universal ones like, practicing footwork, hand-eye coordination, and good body control. Once you become adept at these fundamentals even a “mis-play” can be effective since it will not be as egregious an error as a play where no fundamentals are used.
The same is true in your spiritual life. There are fundamentals that are very basic to a daily walk with Christ. As these fundamentals are discovered and “practiced” you grow and see fruit. Just as an infant learns balance, then walks, then runs so a believer’s spiritual walk improves with discipline, practice, and time. Also, you find that your failures are less drastic, recovering is less dramatic, and your walk with Christ is more “successful” and “fruitful.” It is called spiritual maturity.
Chapter eleven illustrates some of these fundamental “skills”. It highlights them. Sometimes it does this by showing their absence and at other times it gives us a glimpse at what can be expected when we begin to reach a moderate level of development.
We are approaching these “fundamentals of Christian growth” from the vantage point of “Evidence of the reign of God in the heart” because they do in fact reveal a walk with God.
In coming weeks we will look at the role of prayer (11:15-19), fruit bearing (11:11-14, 20-21), faith (11:22-25), forgiveness (11:20-25), submission (11:1-6 & 27-33).
But today we will look at worship.
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, ’Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ’The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ "
4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
10"Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"
11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
When I mention worship, we usually gravitate to public worship. When we read this passage, we also tend to think about public worship. That is appropriate but limited.
Maybe a good way to help reframe this and broaden our perspective would be to begin with verse eleven. In doing so I want you to think about “The evidence of the reign of God IN THE HEART” You see, for the Christian, worship is an ongoing act of the heart that is merely expressed throughout the week in corporate / public ways. The temple, you see, is not the church building … it is YOU. 11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Mark’s account of the Triumphal Entry is not a very high profile event. In fact, it is rather “local” if you please. It did not make a stir in the city and once they reached the city limits the people seemed to have dispersed.
This public account of worship and celebration gives us some insight into the private (i.e. local) worship that is intended to transpire within each heart where God’s reign has come. Not every personality is inclined to public expressions of exuberance but every heart is created to worship the living God with freedom, authenticity, and depth.
Maybe there are some things you can learn from this passage about evidence of God’s reign in your heart; especially as it relates to private worship.
I notice three accompaniments of worship illustrated here:
1. OBEDIENCE IS RENDERED AT THE MASTER’S COMMAND (v. 3)