When I preached a couple of weeks ago on experiencing the power of God I felt like something was missing. My main point was:
When We’ve Experienced God’s Power We Can’t Walk Away Unchanged.
That’s a fine point, but is it true?
The sermon centered on the triumphal entry. I proposed that the people who were waving palm branches and laying their cloaks on the ground were not people from Jerusalem, but rather from Galilee where Jesus’ ministry was centered. They were people who had experienced his power first hand. That was why they were so enthusiastic about his entry into Jerusalem.
Then someone posed a great question, “But Ivey, Weren’t these the same people who yelled to crucify him only a few days later? And if that’s the case, were they really changed by experiencing God’s power?”
Well, I read several scholars who did not believe that the people that announced his entry on Sunday crucified him on Friday. They said that the people that announced Jesus’ entry were several hundred of his disciples who had experienced his power. They said the people that called for his crucifixion were other Jews who had not experienced his power. I took that information and ran with it. It’s possible that the premise for my entire sermon was based on theories from very smart men, and silence from scripture. Were the people at the two events the same or different? Let's be honest, no one has a clue.
Click this link to listen to the whole message:
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had just not connected all the dots. I just plain left the sermon unfinished. So, after much thought, I’m here to finish it.
Maybe the points should have been “When we’ve experienced God’s power we shouldn't walk away unchanged.” But that doesn’t quite capture what’s true about life. I don’t think anyone who has truly experienced God’s power can walk away indifferent. I think even the Pharisees were changed in some way. Yet, the change in my message was all-encompasses-life-altering-God-centered-risk-taking change. Not that-was-interesting-I’ll-keep-that-in-mind kind of puny change.
The more I thought about the whole of scripture the more I realized that there are a lot of people who experienced the power of God and then did some really stupid (And even evil) things: Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, all of Israel, Peter, Judas, and pretty much everyone else in the Bible.
People that experience God’s power can’t walk away unchanged. That doesn’t mean they’re saved. People that have experienced God's power are gong to doubt God and could even crucify him. We’re fallen people. We’re weak, short sighted, impatient, dumb, and forgetful.
So I'm making a small change to my points and adding a new one:
1. When You’ve Experienced God’s Power: You Should Roll Out the Red Carpet
2. When You’ve Experienced God’s Power: You Shouldn't Shut Up
3. When You’ve Experienced God’s Power: You Should Desire His Salvation
...and now the new point that ties it all together a little better
4. When You’ve experienced God’s Power: You’ll Probably Forget All About It
I can imagine what was in the minds of the people screaming for Jesus’ crucifixion. “Sure I thought you were the Messiah, but you’re not. You’re just some goody two shoes from Nazareth. Nothing special. You healed people, and you fed people, and you had some nice teachings. You called yourself God, but you’re not even the Messiah and you’re certainly not God. You’re a disappointment. You’re nothing like I thought you’d be. You’re a charlatan and an impostor. I wasted my time on you. You’re nothing now. Just die so we can find the real Messiah.”
People that have experienced God’s power often forget about what God did. It’s all about what he is doing right this moment. God forgive
Remember back. Remember back to when God revealed himself to you in powerful ways. Remember his power then, because he still has the same infinite power today. He hasn’t changed, and you’ll experience his power again even if you’re in a dark place now.
The same God that was so powerful yesterday is still powerful today. Don’t forget.