Empty to Filled week 4b

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“The Victory Formation”

Today, we remember and celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Christ.
The key word in this phrase is, “triumphal.” It is to indicate that the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion was one of triumph rather than defeat.
Jesus entered the city for one purpose; to sacrifice His life on the cross for our redemption. What would appear to many as ultimate defeat-- hanging on a cross in open shame and humiliation-- was actually the greatest victory ever recorded in history.
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Jesus rides into the city on a donkey that His disciples brought to Him. The people are exuberant in praise as they proceed to welcome Jesus with the honor of a conquering warrior returning from battle.
The placing of palm branches and clothing on the road before Christ indicated a recognition of His kingship. It was to proclaim Him as the coming King that Israel had been waiting for and anticipating. Their anticipation however was cut short due to the fact that their expectations were focused on Christ as the revolutionary rather than Christ the redeemer.
Our expectations can set us up for disappointment as we attempt to place God in a position He is not called to occupy.
Disappointment comes when we expect God to perform in a certain way.
Disappointment comes when we expect our demands to be met.
Disappointment comes when we expect God to answer our prayers in the timing we assign.
As Jesus proceeds to enter the city, hailed by the praises of the people, the religious leaders begin to become troubled.
Their inner troubling turns into outward demands as they tell Jesus to make the people stop in their display of praise for Him.
Jesus refuses saying that praise is necessary to the point that if the people were to stop, creation itself would respond in recognition of Him as Messiah and Savior.
[Luk 19:37-40 ESV] 37 As he was drawing near--already on the way down the Mount of Olives--the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." 40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."
Prayer . . .
Illustration: The victory formation
It is a common practice in the game of football for a team who has already won the game, but still has time remaining on the clock, to assume the victory formation.
The victory formation is for the sole purpose of playing out the remaining portion of the game with the ball in possession.
The team gathers in tight formation as the quarterback receives the ball to take a knee. Each time this is performed, the clock continues to tick away until the final seconds take place and the team becomes the official winner.
I would suggest that Jesus was in the victory formation as He entered Jerusalem.
He had already won.
The victory was His, but He had to take a knee until the final seconds were over.
The thing about the victory formation is that everyone already knows who is going to win.
It’s just a matter of playing out the remainder of the time.
The worst thing that could happen in the victory formation would be for the winning team to fumble the ball, the opposing team to recover the ball and return it to the end zone for a touchdown.
This would be especially bad if the losing team were only down a few points. If they were able to recover the ball and score they would win.
There are times however when the winning team is so far ahead that there is no possible way for the opposing team to win, even if they were able to score.
The battle experienced in the earlier quarters set the winning team in such a position that it was impossible for them to lose.
They just needed to finish the game.
We just need to finish the game.
We finish the game by getting into victory formation.
Jesus was way ahead.
There was no way the opposition could win.
He had to finish what He came to accomplish.
Celebration before the end . . .
Because the crowd at the football game is well aware of who will win the game, they begin to celebrate and cheer even before the final seconds are over.
It is also common for the winning team to begin celebrating before the game is over.
The players begin to high five one another, throw ice water on the coach, and celebrate with the crowd in anticipation of the outcome for the game.
Picture the Triumphal Entry of Christ as the celebration before the end of the game.
There was great joy in anticipation of an expected outcome.
All of heaven knew the outcome.
We receive the win because Jesus finished the game.
The joy set before Christ . . .
[Heb 12:2 ESV] “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus endured the cross, “for the joy that was set before Him.”
Jesus “despised the shame,” “for the joy that was before Him.”
Jesus “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” “for the joy that was set before Him.”
When was the joy set before Him?
We need the joy of God in order to finish the game.
Learning how to celebrate before the end of the game will place us in the victory formation.
Getting in the victory formation . . .
[Psalm 149:6-9 KJV] “[Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.”
The “high praises” place us in victory formation.
High: to lift or exalt.
It is to celebrate with time still on the clock.
It is to celebrate with a full assurance that we win.
It is to celebrate knowing the outcome.
A “two-edged sword in their hand.”
The two-edged sword is the Word of God.
The high praises place the sword in our hands.
The sword of God’s Word accomplishes the win.
“To execute and to bind”
The high praises enable us to execute the victory formation as the time runs out.
The high praises secure the win by “binding” the opposition to accepting the outcome.
“This honor have all His saints.”
Honor- recognize the victor/seat one in the winner’s circle
Being filled with praise positions us in a seat of “honor” with Christ in His victory.
The triumphal entry of Christ paved the way to victory over the cross.
The “joy” set before Christ enabled Him to endure the cross.
We can praise God now in our situations.
Christ’s victory over death assures us of victory.
We get into our victory formation through praise.
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