Sermon:  Consequence of Indecision

Summary:  Jesus did not come to fulfill some self-centered human agenda, but to be 
the Lord and Savior of the whole world, which includes outsiders.  Our response should 
be active and open faith that leads the lost to eternal life, not faith hidden in fear.  If we 
do not respond in active faith, our hearts will become hardened and will result in 
judgment against us.

Know:  True faith is one that is completely and publicly devoted to Christ that is bears 
fruit in a believer's life.

Feel:  The desire to be more devoted to Christ even in public, not as a show, but in love.

Do:  Reflect on what Christ's mission is, what our place is in it, and how living out our 
faith fits into it.  

Text:  John 12

Scripture Reading:  Jn 1:14-17

1.  Story of someone who didn't hide his love, he humiliated himself
	a.  Serenade his loved one, while people pointing, looking, laughing
	b.  Other examples:  David dancing in a Linen Ephod
	c.  Other examples:  Father running to the prodigal son
2.  Do you believe in Christ?  Do you Love him?  How do you express it?
3.  Lets look at who Christ intends to be and how we should respond. - John 12

I.  (v.1-11) - Story of Mary
	A.  Setting seems to be a "resurrection" party for Lazarus?
	B.  Mary causes a "scene" during dinner
		1.  Anointed Jesus with Pure Nard
			a.  Other ancient writers mention this
				- Imported from Northern India
				- It was red in color
				- Used in medicinal recipes, aromatic wine, breath 
				  scent, and as perfume
			b.  This is not "imitation" Nard, but the genuine thing
			c.  Valued at 300 Denarii
				- Denarius was a days wage
				- This perfume worth nearly a year's wages!
			d.  Reactions:
				- Judas -  It was a waste, it should have been used to 
			     	   feed the poor (said this with impure motives)
				- Jesus told disciples that it was intended that she 
				   keep this Nard for the day of his burial
				- Jesus approved of her lavishness
		2.  Wiped his feet with her hair
			a.  We are used to seeing female hair in our culture
			b.  In that culture women did not let their hair down in public
				- Women wore veils
				- Only person that saw a woman's hair was husbands
		3.  Mary is acting with extravagant abandon.  Why?
			a.  She loves Jesus; her actions were acceptable to Christ
			b.  She has apparently already accepted Jesus' agenda
				- Will die on the cross
				- The Nard was red, reminder of his blood
			c.  She is "washing" his feet, being a servant as Christ will 
			     instruct his disciples in the next chapter
				- Instead of water, she uses costly perfume
	C.  This is an example of extravagant abandon
		1.  Judas' complaint is more common that we might realize
			a.  We say, "We must not waste our resources"
			b.  Jesus wants us to remain simple, not waste money on 
			      expensive carpet, fancy fixture, stained glass, etc.
			c.  So, let's sell our Nard and use it to feed the poor
			d.  But is this the only thing that God approves of?
		2.  But is Mary's devotion truly an example of devotion for us?
			a.  Is there something to be said for lavish devotion?
			b.  If an expression of devotion is costly, is that bad?
			c.  Is it better to lavish our nard on Christ, or to sell it in order 
			     to minister to the poor?
			d.  It is possible to be both extravagant and acceptable in our 
			     expressions of devotion to Christ?
		3.  Take a look at some of the church buildings
			a.  I remember visiting at Orthodox Church in Belarus
				- Lots of gold, precious metals, stained glass
				- Was a glorious looking place
				- Felt as though you were in a holy place
			b.  In Boston, a poor church community pooled resources 
				- Built Church facilities some said was extravagant
				- Poor people in this community didn't feel that way
				- Wanted something that would honor God
				- STILL active in ministering to poor and needy
		4.  See same sort of thing in scripture
			a.  David stepped out of his palace, and looked over toward 
			     the Tabernacle
				- Tabernacle already glorious
				- But my house shouldn't be more than God's house
				- Wanted to build a temple for God
			b.  Jerusalem had a shining temple, and poor people were 
			     living outside its gates - no one thought this was 
			     inappropriate, including God
			c.   When God instructs the building of the tabernacle, and 
			      later the temple, he is not conservative in what to use
	D.  Extravagant acts of devotion are not automatically inappropriate
		1.  Mary demonstrates full devotion to Christ
		2.  Don't think she was rich, which highlights the level of her 
		     devotion even more
		3.  Are we ready to accept Christ as he is and give ourselves 
		     completely to him?
		4.  **Some "think" they are, but really are not…
II.  (v.12-19) - Triumphal Entry
	A.  There are many overtones in this scene we miss
		1.  What is a triumphal entry anyway?
		2.  When a victorious king, usually a military one, comes in
		3.  Atmosphere is like a victory parade
	B.  What happens at this particular Triumphal Entry:
		1.  Hosanna - Greeting for great kings
			a.  Used in the Old Testament - 2 Sam 14:4; 2 Kng 6:26
			b.  Similar to "God save the King"
		2.  Greeted him with Palm branches
			a.  Palms a symbol of Israel's Political Aspirations
			b.  Used in victory celebrations after Maccabean Revolt (1 
			      Macc 13:51; 2 Macc 10:7)
			c.  It symbolized ruling power
			d.  Used on Maccabean Coins
		3.  Song of the People - Ps 118:10-26
			a.  From Psalm 118, a song of the Lord's deliverance
			b.  To Verse 26, they add, "Even the King of Israel"
			c.  Why?  Nationalism is on the rise in this time period
				- Return to purity of religion, ideals, and identity
				- Coins minted used the old Hebrew script rather than 
				   the current Aramaic script
				- Messianic expectation is high
			d.  Jesus is greeted as a national liberator
				- They see him as a military hero
				- Ready to pick up arms and fight to the death
				- Ready to revolt, kick out gentiles, and restore 
				- Lots of political and nationalistic energy
	C.  Jesus provides a sharp contrast to their images of victory and salvation
		1.  He comes in on a donkey
			a. His song is not from Ps. 118 but Zech 9:9
			b. Behold, your king is coming to you, he is just and 
			   endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey
		2.  More to this donkey than even this… 
			a.  Can you imagine a soldier or knight on a donkey?
				- Comes riding in to save the day, on a donkey?
				- Of course not  
			b.  Donkey not animal of war like a horse
				- A beast of burden
				- An animal of peace, not war and conquest
			c.  Modern day imagery:
				- A horse would be like a tank, jeep, or even an F-16 
				  flyover in a parade
				- But Jesus comes in on an old pickup truck
		3.  Did the people even notice this?
	D.  Unlike Mary, they have not accepted his agenda
		1.  He brings life, not conquest
		2.  Jesus is not coming to make war with Gentiles, but save them
			a. God so loved the "world" that he gave his only son
			b.  v.20-23 - Instead of kicking out gentiles, will bring them in
		3.  Coming of the Greeks marks pivotal point in his ministry
			a.  v.23 - Hour has come for him to be glorified
			b.  This will be last time he teaches publicly
			c.  Will spend last days preparing Apostles for his death and 
			     passing the baton on to them

III.  What lessons are there in these?
	A.  This pivotal chapter is all about the nature of faith and belief
	B.  Characteristics of Faith:
		1.  (v.23-33) - Faith is Total - Jesus uses analogy of a seed
			a.  Some enjoy being a seed
				- Spend the time polishing their husk, look real good
				- Someone says, you have so much more potential
				- What to do?  Be planted.  In the dirt?  Die?  
				- No, I can't do that, I want to remain a seed
			b.  Jesus said - 
				- If love your life, will lose it
				- If hate life in this world, will keep it
				- ie:  If try to remain a seed, it will not work
			c.  v.26 - Jesus said "follow me"
				- The Gospel is an example for us to follow
				- We not produce life the same way Jesus did
				- But we still die as a seed and still produce fruit
			d.  Talking about total commitment
		2.  (v.34-41) - Faith is Decisive
			a.  They listen, they follow him around, but no decision
			b.  They didn't accept Christ, so God hardened them
			c.  It is like saying, "You don't want to accept him?  Fine"
				-  Rom 2:24f - God "gave them over" to their sins
				- There comes a time when God does this
			d.  So faith must be decisive
				- Either committed, or not committed
				- If not, will get hardened
		3.  (v.42-50) - Faith is Frontal
			a.  Some of the rulers were keeping faith private
			b.  Why?  Loved approval of men more than God
				- If they start confessing Christ, make life hard
				- Look at Paul, many fellow Jews persecuted him
			c.  But true faith is open, forward, frontal
				- In confronts people with the Gospel
				- We try to avoid it, but Christ did not
				- ILL:  Some teens are going to Bellevue to confront 
				   with Gospel
			d.  Jesus response is that if they do not exercise their faith
				- Jesus will not condemn
				- His words, which are really God's words, will 
				  condemn them
	C.  God's "commandment" is eternal life - Therefore must act
		1.  ILL:  Like butter or like clay in the light of Christ
			a.  What happens when set butter out in sun?  Gets soft
			b.  What happens when set clay out in sun?  Gets hard
		2.  Jesus, the son of God comes
			a.  We are exposed to him
			b.  Will we be butter or clay in the presence of the Son?
		3.  If we respond in faith, like butter, God will shape us
		4.  If we are indecisive, will be like clay and get hard
	D.  There are only two responses
		1.  Butter is Mary who accepted Christ's agenda, not hide
			a. Served him with abandon, not embarrassed
			b.  Even though her devotion caused a scene, didn't stop her
			c.  We should not be embarrassed and serve with abandon
			d.  May be service, giving, or evangelism - walking as he did
		2.  Clay is the crowd and the rulers
			a.  Crowd did not accept his agenda
				- Wanted a military liberator
				- Did not want to turn the other cheek, love enemies, 
				  accept Gentiles into the kingdom
			b.  Others believed in secret - Faith was private not public
				- Loved approval of men, not of God
				- They remained a seed, produce no fruit
				- They loved their life, and would lose it
		3.  There are grave consequence to unbelief and indecision
			a.  They will gradually become harder, and harder
			b.  How hard?  In a few days, instead of saying "Hosanna" 
			    they will be saying "Crucify!"
		4.  If you need to make a decision, do not wait!

1.  Are you going to be like the crowds?  
	a.  Only accept a Jesus that fits in with what you want 
	b.  Fitting him into your life, rather than other way around?
2.  Will you be like the rulers?
	a.  Keep faith private, remain only a seed, not planted, no fruit
	b.  Never share faith, unless it brings you approval of men?
3.  Or will you be like Mary, 
	a.  Accept Jesus and his rule in your life, to abandon yourself to him and 
	     be lavishly devoted to him and live as he did?
	b.  Live out faith publicly, even when though it may cause a commotion
	c.  Sharing faith, your love for Jesus, abandon self to him - repentance
4.  Decision is yours today - What you do or don't do will change you
	a.  Either become hardened
	b.  Or become softened, so that God will shape you and use you.