Summary: Let the triumphal entry teach us about what it means to have a "cup up" mentality about worship.
I trust you have been praying about where you can serve…where and how you can give [hold up the “I’m Ready to Give” worksheet]. Eric will be standing by the ‘Serve’ banner after our services, so feel free to stop by and get connected to one of our ministry teams where you can give willingly.
When we give, whether it’s of our time or treasure or talents, you know what we’re doing? Worshipping! That’s right – because worship is, at its core, giving to God because HE is worthy. It may mean our money, it may mean our time, it may mean our possessions, it may even mean our words and praises…but there is never a time in the Bible when worship occurred without giving involved.
In fact, Romans 12:1-2 teaches us this very principle: “Offer your bodies to God, for this is your reasonable act of worship.”
So as we approach this topic today, don’t disconnect from last week. These two topics are related. And it’s true even in our text today. I invite you to turn to Luke 19:28-44, would you, and let’s look at the only time that Jesus permitted a public demonstration of worship on his behalf – the triumphal entry!
With your Bible open, I want you to circle two words which are keys to understanding this passage: the word "comes" in Luke 19:37-38 (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”) and the word "coming" in Luke 19:44 (“You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”)
What these verses/words indicate is that when Jesus came, people responded in one of two ways: Either WORSHIP STARTED UP or WALLS WENT UP!
If you’re wondering what it means for worship to "start up," here’s what it meant for about 40 students at a Christian college in Indiana (Hyles Anderson). Yes, worship definitely started up one Saturday on their bus as they began to sway and sway to some songs they were singing. So much so that eventually the bus tipped over! That’s what the police found on I-94 – an accident from too much swaying! The interstate was closed, several kids were injured, and there were no doubt some modifications to the school’s travel guide! While you don’t want an accident, at least worship started up! (News You Can Use by Mikal Keefer)
For others, though, walls go up. That’s what happened with the religious leaders all through Luke – they continually said “no” to the coming of Jesus. In fact, that is what lays the background of this text – the rejection of the coming of Jesus! Yes, this entry comes on the heels of a bold judgment upon those who are the enemies of our Lord (19:11-27). And what is that judgment: to not take full advantage of the offer of God (his kingdom) is to invite judgment and destruction upon yourself. In saying this to the rulers and leaders of Israel, Jesus was making sure they knew that saying ‘no’ to his kingdom was equivalent to saying ‘no’ to God. He had come, and was about to go away (though they didn’t perceive this). Not recognizing him as from the Father had eternal implications. As T.W. Manson said, “The coming of Jesus to the world puts every man to the test and compels every man to a decision. And that decision is no light matter. It is a matter of life and death.” (Taken from Luke, by Leon Morris)
So let’s look at the two responses:
Luke 19:28-38 indcates the first response was sacrificial (“they brought it to Jesus” and other acts of giving), celebrative (“joyfully”) corporate (“all”), and prompted (“to the miracles”). In essence, they REJOICED that he had come!
Luke 19:39-44 indicates the second response, however, was cynical (“rebuke your disciples”) and destructive (“the days will come upon you”) – very prohibitive. Essentially, they RETREATED at his coming!
You see, First Family, I learn something from this story: When Jesus shows up, worship starts up or walls go up!
In fact, which of these responses most describes you today – Worship or walls? I submit to you today that one of these responses occurs every time you enter God’s presence (which is all the time): Either worship starts up or walls go up! There is no middle ground or neutral area – we either give worship or build walls! This is how each of us responds to the coming of the Lord – we allow it to prompt us towards worship, or we prohibit the work of God and throw up walls. We either rejoice or retreat!
Let me illustrate your choices by showing you two symbols: a cup and a brick. See them? They represent what I want you to remember about worship today – you can either respond to the presence of Jesus with your “cup up” or you can respond by “bricking up” the walls of your life so that God doesn’t penetrate. Best choice? “Cup up!” In fact, would you say that with me – “Cup up!” That’s what you have to do weekly – even daily – as you encounter Jesus. Otherwise, you’re only left with this option: the brick! People who live with their “cup up” are the ones who find that it is overflowing, even spilling over to others! Why? Because it is ready to receive – it is open to the work of God and the presence of Jesus Christ. Then in turn, we use that same cup and serve others! Isn’t it amazing how closely related our worship and our serving is. And rightly so!