Sunday School Material 4-17-11: Hosanna
(Mark 11:1-11; 4/17/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is Jesus went to Jerusalem in the midst of faulty praise. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure we give proper praise to God.
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Read Mark 11:1-6
I. The Preparation for Jesus. In today's Sunday School material we see Jesus sent His disciples to fetch a colt. He sent them with words to say, if they were asked about why they were taking the colt.
The disciples went to get the colt and were asked about what they were doing. The disciples said what Jesus told them to say, and they were allowed to take the colt to Jesus.
- Sendable disciples. Notice in vss. 1-6 of the Sunday School material the idea of sendable disciples.
Jesus sent His disciples with a script of what to say and instructions about what to do, and the disciples said what they were told to say and did what they were told to do. This sounds so easy, until we try to do the same in our churches.
There are too few disciples of Jesus Christ. There are too few disciples who are willing to simply follow the instructions and script that they are given by the leader.
And in too many cases, there are too few leaders who give clear instructions and scripts. And as a result so little is done. Let's work on being sendable disciples.
This starts with our salvation and discipleship. But it continues with humility and follow through. Without sendable disciples, the church will become a place where we carry on irrelevant conversations about what we used to do or should be doing.
- God's use of the colt. Notice in vs. 6 of the Sunday School material that the owner of the colt allowed the Lord to have His way with the colt.
There are too many who refuse to let the Lord have His way with that which is in our care.
The church is often in a bread begging situation, instead of a bread giving situation, because too many of those who claim to be members refuse to let the Lord use that which is in our care (e.g., tithes and offerings).
It is a tragedy, when we disallow God's program to move forward because of our selfishness. Let's work on letting God have His way with whatever is in our care.
At the top of the list of what God wants to use is our time, talent, and treasure. If we are not giving God our time, talent, and treasure (i.e., tithes and offerings) then we are missing this application.
Read Mark 11:7-11
II. The Presentation of Jesus. When the colt was brought to Jesus in this section of the Sunday School material, the disciples put their garments on the colt as something like a saddle for Jesus to sit upon.
The others threw their garments and branches from trees down before Jesus and cried out expressions of praise and expectation of Jesus being their military/political messiah or ruler.
Jesus looked around the Temple and then went to Bethany, in the evening.
- Right action and motive. Notice in vss. 7-10 of today's Sunday School material that the people had good actions but wrong motives. It was good to honor Jesus.
It was good to worship the Lord. However, their motives were wrong. They thought that Jesus was ushering in a military/political kingdom; when in reality, He was ushering in a spiritual kingdom.
If we are not careful, the devil will have us doing the right thing for the wrong reason, which leads to "no credit" with God. Enthusiastic worship is a good thing. But informed enthusiastic worship is better.
Being involved in serving the Lord is good. But doing it because you love the Lord is better than doing it only as long as you feel appreciated, feel as if you are treated with respect, and feel the enjoyment of what you are doing.
Appreciation, respect, and enjoyment are not the chief motivations of servants. Servants serve because they belong to the master who will bless or punish based on faithful service. Let's work on doing the right thing for the right reason.
- Following God's will into suffering. Notice in this all of today's Sunday School material that Jesus is willfully going to the place of suffering.
Jesus is aware that the larger plan of God includes some suffering for Him. Because of Jesus' love and commitment to the will of the Father, He makes His way to the place of suffering.
We who claim to be disciples of Christ must learn how to move wherever God is calling us to move, even if it is a place of suffering.
We ought not strive to avoid suffering more than we strive to obey God. Often we have to go through some testing, in order to have a testimony. Let's work on following God's will, even when it leads to our personal suffering.
- Assessing before we act. Notice in vs. 11 that Jesus assessed or looked around in the Temple court, before He acted.
Assessment should precede action. If we are not careful, we will jump into a situation and start carrying out an action, before we have given proper assessment.
Too many marriages suffer from a lack of assessment. Too many people are unemployed or underemployed because of a lack of assessment (e.g., assessing the need for proper preparation, assessing the best place to employ one's expertise, etc.).
Let's work on having the wisdom and courage to assess, before we act. There may be some godly things on your heart, but it is not the godly time to carry them out.
Conclusion: Let's work on giving proper praise to God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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