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Summary: Life is good when the masses are behind us but what about when we find our message has fallen out of vogue? What are we to do when the cries turn from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify”?

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Dakota Community Church

April 5, 2009

When the Crowd Turns

John 12:12-16

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 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!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,

"Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt."

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

As Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the crowds embrace Him and celebrate His coming I can’t help but wonder what He must have thought of their adoring cries, knowing that many of the same voices would soon be raised against Him.

Life is good when the masses are behind us, when their cheering approval is ringing in our ears; but what about when we find our message has fallen out of vogue? What are we to do when the cries turn from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify”?

It seems that western civilization is increasingly anti-Christian.

Read articles on suspended Nurse, British Airways flight attendant, and de-baptism.

What happens when the crowd turns against us?

Marginal believers waiver, there is no social encouragement to remain in the faith.

Church attendance declines, offerings decrease, workers become overburdened from carrying too much of the load.

Leaders begin to look for innovational ways to attract followers. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing but it really is.

1. The audience is not sovereign.

In the book “Marketing the Church”; which I read while still a youth pastor in the early 1990’s, George Barna declares that “The audience, not the message is sovereign.”

This incorrect assertion has resulted in a kind of people driven ministry orientation that has drastically undercut the strength of the Body of Christ.

Rather than leading based on the Word of the gospel we have reduced our churches to entertainment centres that cater to demanding baby Christians that never grow up and continually hold leadership hostage to their whining whims and tantrums.

This method cultivates a finicky membership that insists upon hearing myths rather than hard truth.

Tell me what I want to hear, tickle my ears, make me happy or I will find someone else who will.

Ironically this is the very thing Paul warned Timothy about in the early days of his ministry.

2Timothy 4:1-3

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

When the message falls out of vogue we are not to alter it.

We are to preach the word in every season, you are to be fed the Word in every season.

I often feel the need to apologize for including so much scripture in my messages because there is an almost tangible pressure to entertain and amuse.

Recently Margaret came up after a service and in her lovely accent rebuked me, “You know you shouldn’t apologize for using the scriptures, it’s the scriptures that feed the people.”

How true and how sad on my part.

The gospel does not need a warm up act, it does not need help, it is a universal message with universal appeal and when people reject it they do so because they are sinners and they do not want to come into the light.

This crowd pleasing mentality of ministry has resulted in wave after wave of Christian ministry fads that drain resources and keep us locked in a consumer mentality requiring the latest style be implemented or risk losing the audience.

Just to name a few: Toronto Blessing, Promise Keepers, Seeker Sensitive, Purpose Driven, Emergent, Left behind, Passion of the Christ, Jabez, Extreme Prophetic, Lakeland Revival…

What is supposed to be happening in church?

Ephesians 4:11-15

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

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