Online Worship for Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023
Sermon for Palm Sunday – 4/1/12 – March 20 2016
Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Philippians 2:5–11 (NKJV)
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Our Humble King and Savior,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
“Long live the King!” “God save the King!” “Your majesty…” For Americans, the whole idea of a King is a matter of indifference…at best. We haven’t had a king since the first American colonists asserted their independence from England and King George. If we think of a regal authority at all, we may think of the Queen of England or perhaps one of the despots who rule in the Middle East.
We don’t have a king…we have a president…chosen by the people to represent the people. Well, at least that’s the way most Americans think today.
“Hosanna to the Son of David.” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” We are American Christians, and we have a King. He has all power and authority and rules the universe. He is the one who also came as our High Priest, Jesus the Christ. We have already heard how He came as high priest of the good things to come and offered Himself for our sins. We rejoice to know that He has won eternal salvation for each of us who cling to Him by faith.
We consider this morning how Christ came to be our King. We see what He did to establish His Kingdom. We are urged furthermore to have the same attitude that our King has as we live from day to day. It is our prayer today that God give us the attitude of our Humble King.
May God the Holy Spirit bless us and strengthen our faith in Christ through these words. Amen.
When the people of Israel first asked that God provide them a King…the LORD GOD was not pleased. God did not intend that His people be governed under a monarchy, or be ruled by a single man. God intended that they be a Theocracy, that they be ruled by Him, by God. The LORD wanted them to look to Him to guide them as individuals and as a nation. But they saw the nations around them and they wanted to be like them. God granted their wish. They learned that having a king wasn’t always so glorious.
Saul, the Son of Kish ruled well for a time…but then he turned away from the Lord…and would have turned the hearts of the people away as well. God chose a shepherd boy, David, from the house of Jesse, of the house of Judah…to replace Saul. God was well pleased with David because of his attitude and trust in the LORD. Even though He fell into sin…God promised David that he would rise up a Great King from his family. He promised (2 Samuel 7:12, 16):
12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
God set up Solomon in David’s place…but God’s words were not fulfilled in Solomon. For God promised that the Kingdom that David’s relative would establish would last forever. Solomon’s Kingdom, his ruling authority was concluded when he died.
Did God keep His Promise? God always keeps His promises. God Himself sent a heavenly messenger to one of David’s distant relatives, a young girl named Mary. He revealed that she would give birth to God’s Son and He would be the King that God promised would rule forever (Luke 1:30-33):
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
After He was born foreigners came to the city of His birth…looking for the King of the Jews. They brought gifts and fell down and worshipped the child Jesus as the King promised by God.
However…the people of Israel did not react in the same way. Jesus was not the kind of king that they were looking for. Even though God chose and anointed Him as King, they mocked his claim to be the King promised by God. Pontius Pilate, the Jewish leaders, and millions since have mocked Jesus’ claim to be King.
Many don’t believe that they need to be delivered from a spiritual enemy named Satan.
Some don’t think that their sins are all that serious.
For a brief time…on Palm Sunday…a few recognized Jesus as the King. They took down palm branches and laid their garments on the road before him. He entered Jerusalem as Israel’s kings had before Him, riding on the back of a donkey. They recognized Him as the one foretold by the Prophet Zechariah (9:9-10):
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus may not look like a King…but that’s because when Christ came the first time He came humbly to establish His Kingdom by defeating our enemies. He came to be one of us and to do what God commanded of us. He came to earth, into enemy territory to defeat Satan Himself as one of us.
The Holy Spirit speaks here of the humble attitude of our King. He lowered Himself to our level and died to redeem us…and as a result God has highly exalted Him.
It is important that we see His attitude in coming…because we are urged to have the same attitude.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
What was Jesus’ attitude when He came? He came in greatest humility.
Even though He was in His very form the Son of God…He did not appear in blazing glory as God. He did not think that His Divinity was something to be displayed or paraded. He did not enter this world and demand that He be worshipped as God. He did not appear in a flash of brilliance for every eye to see, but was born of a young woman, a virgin, in an out of the way town in Judea.
There were times when His glory and power were visible. He healed the sick and cast out demons. But Jesus didn’t set out to make a name for Himself, rather He came as a servant to do the bidding of another…God the Father.
He was (and is) the Eternal Son of God and yet He did not take the form of a master, but a servant. He did not appear to be God outwardly, but appeared as a man. He came in the likeness of men. This may sound like it’s saying that Jesus only appeared to be a man…it’s not…He was as human as you are, yet without sin. It’s said this way because of the hidden reality, that though Jesus appeared merely to be a man…he was in form God.
He was God…yet He became human, he came in the likeness of men. He had to be human in order to DO what God commanded of us. He had to be human in order to DIE. This is, in fact, what He came to do.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
We don’t like to be humiliated, to be humbled against our will. We would rather be exalted and honored.
Jesus was willing to be humbled in this fashion. In fact, it says that He humbled Himself and became obedient to death. He humbled himself to be obedient to His own law. The Holy Spirit speaks of His willing obedience to God’s Law and why it was done in the letter to the Galatians (Galatians 4:4-5):
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
He didn’t humble Himself merely to experience what life is like for his subjects. This wasn’t some kind of divine science lesson. He became one of us to do what God commanded of us, to perfectly keep all of God’s Commandments. He lived in perfect love to God and man every day of his life. He kept God’s Law so that His perfect life might be credited to our accounts by faith.
He humbled Himself to the point of death. He willingly laid down his life to redeem us. He did what He was commanded to do by God the Father, as He said beforehand (John 10:17-18):
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
Jesus death is not (as many suppose) evidence of weakness…but the proof of the power of His Love. He could have come down from the cross…but how then could our sins be atoned for?
Jesus died because He loved the Father (who sent Him to die) and because He loved us (for whom He died). He was willing to do what had been commanded of us so that we may have a place with Him in His Glory.
It is because He completed the work given Him to do, the work of saving us, that God has also exalted Him.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He is THE SAVIOR…there is no other. He is even now seated at the right hand of God and is by divine right the highest authority in heaven and on earth. When He comes again in glory…then the world will see the King with all His divine power and glory on display. The Apostle John saw Him in His Glory in the Revelation, and He describes Christ the King in this way (Revelation 19:11-16):
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Now then…you have heard the Spirit describe our King’s attitude…now remember that we are to have this mind, this attitude in us.
We are therefore urged to humble ourselves before God. Our first concern ought not to be our own reputation, but the reputation of our King. Yes, how we conduct ourselves as His people does affect His reputation.
We are not to boast of what we have done, but to boast of Christ and His Cross. When we must stand before the Judge we will not point to our accomplishments or goodness, but bowing the knee before the Lamb, we will humbly say to the Judge: “I’m with Jesus. He is my righteousness. He has paid my debt.”
While we live humbly before God, we are urged to serve God and one another. We are not to serve ourselves, or live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and rose again. We are to live our lives according to His Word, to His Glory. We serve Him…not to impress others, but to glorify God.
We are not called upon to do what Jesus did…only His death can atone for sin. We are called upon to reflect His attitude in our lives day by day. We are called upon to humbly serve and glorify Him.
We can only reflect this attitude of meekness and humility…if Christ the King comes to reign in our hearts. We will reflect His love day by day as we read and treasure His Word.
Then, and only then will we from the heart rejoice in His death…and glory in His Resurrection…and live as if He died for us yesterday, rose today, and is coming back…tomorrow.
Crown Him the Lord of Love. Behold His hands and side, rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified. No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bends his wond’ring eye at mysteries so bright.
Crown Him the Lord of Life who triumphed over the grave and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save. His glories now we sing who died and rose on high, who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.