“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee.” – Zechariah 9:9

Readings

Zechariah 9 · Matthew 21:1-14 · Psalm 146

Sermon

These words of the prophet Zechariah were literally fulfilled when the Lord entered Jerusalem at the beginning of His last week upon earth. Palm Sunday was first celebrated in the early history of the Christian Church, and became increasingly popular, being celebrated by processions intended to dramatize the triumphal entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.

Because of the part that children played in praising the Lord with songs at His entry and in the temple, as recorded in the Gospels, Palm Sunday has come to be regarded as a specially fitting time for the introduction of children into the Church.

Certainly it is one of the duties of the Church to see that its children and young people are instructed in the teachings of the Church. For these teachings were revealed by the Lord that men and women might know them and direct their thoughts and their life according to them. The teachings of the Church of the New Jerusalem are the fundamental principles of human thought and life, without which it is impossible for anyone to live a truly sane and rational life. The first essential of all sound thought is a true idea of God. It may be a very simple idea, but it must be true; otherwise the basic falsity will infect all the lower ideas and planes of thought. Likewise there should be a true idea of the Word of God, a recognition of the fact that it is holy, and that it is the Divine wisdom for angels and men. And children should be taught the necessity of obedience to their Heavenly Father, and that all people should obey Him throughout eternity.

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“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” – Ezekiel 3:17

Readings

2 Samuel 18:19-33 · John 8:12-32 · Psalm 130

Sermon

The watchman is a picturesque figure in Old Testament history. We recall the picture of the watchman posted upon the roof in a city beyond Jordan, where David awaited news of the battle with his rebellious son Absalom, announcing to King David one runner, and then another who came with tidings. And there is the watchman on the tower of Jezreel who gave warning of the approach of Jehu, driving furiously in his chariot up the valley from the Jordan.

It was the duty of the watchman to see in the distance an approaching enemy and to give warning of the danger. And if he saw the danger and failed to give the alarm, we are told by the prophet Ezekiel that he would be held accountable for the harm that fell upon the people.

Another duty of the watchman was to watch for the breaking of the dawn. A vivid picture is given us of the watchman in Jerusalem, standing on the high pinnacle of the temple watching for the first beams of the morning sun to appear above the Mount of Olives. Then with the threefold blast of the silver trumpets the signal was given to proceed with the morning sacrifice, and the city awakened to its busy life. This watching for the day is suggested in the passage from Isaiah: “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night,” and in the familiar Psalm: “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”

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“Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” – Luke 24:49

Readings

1 Kings 2:36-46 · Luke 24:33-53 · Psalm 65

Sermon

These words were spoken to the disciples after the Lord’s resurrection, and just before His ascension. They had a definite meaning for them, for obediently they remained in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, when, like a mighty rushing wind came the power of the Holy Spirit for which they waited.

We recall that in David’s time a man named Shimei cursed David, and David left a command to Solomon to take vengeance on Shimei. Shimei was not to be put to death but was to build a house in Jerusalem and not go outside of the city. For three years he kept this engagement. At the end of that time, for the purpose of recovering two of his slaves who had escaped, he went out and brought them back. On his return Solomon had him put to death.

Jerusalem is called a “city of truth.” To dwell in Jerusalem is to live according to the truths of the Word that we know. So will we be safe.

These narratives are not of mere historical interest. Every act described in the Word is dramatic, a representative picture of eternal truth. This fact makes Scripture the Word of God, thus distinguishing it from all other writings.

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“The wall of the city had twelve foundations,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The wall of the city had twelve foundations.” – Revelation 21:14

Readings

Isaiah 54 · Revelation 21 · Psalm 122

Sermon

The Bible is a book of prophecy. Men have turned to it to find out what the future holds in respect to the spiritual state of the world. For the Word itself shows that during all the time of its formation one of the chief things held before the people was the state of the church about to follow.

Some think that those times have gone by. There have always been some who would not believe. There were those among the Israelites who did not believe that Moses could lead them out of Egypt. There were those who did not believe that the Promised Land could ever be secured. And when Jerusalem was in its glory, powerful in wisdom and wealth, there were some that did not believe that sin could undermine her massive walls and fell her towers. When her gates had given way to the triumphant armies of Babylon and the captive train looked back to the plundered city and smoking embers, they believed that its glory had gone out forever.

When again Jerusalem was rebuilt, its people were deaf to the warnings of the prophets and again would not believe that its walls would crumble before the Roman battering rams, that their sons would make glad a Roman holiday in the arena, and the glory of the sacred city come to an end. This they did not believe because they did not receive the prophecies of the Word.

But at the time when our text was given, the old Jerusalem as a dwelling place of Jehovah, where God was known in her palaces and His voice heard in her sanctuary, had passed away forever. The old Jerusalem had served its purpose as a representative character. John’s eyes were opened in vision and he “saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” And in place of the old there was revealed that which the old Jerusalem represented. “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.”

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“I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron,” by Louis A. Dole

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“I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” – Isaiah 45:2

Readings

Isaiah 45:1-2, 13-19 · John 17:1-15 · Psalm 48

Sermon

The children of Israel have been carried away captive to Babylon, and are represented as being hidden away behind gates of brass and bars of iron in the land of their exile. Now the days of captivity are drawing to a close, and through the instrumentality of Cyrus, a just and gentle prince, they are to be set free to return to their native land. Cyrus was raised up for a special mission, namely, to subdue the Chaldean oppressor and to let the oppressed go free. So Cyrus is told that the Lord will be with him and give him might. Let him not fear.

The Lord came into the world to redeem men from the power of evil. The prisons cannot be locked up so fast, the doors and bars cannot be so strong but that the work of this redemption will succeed. “I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.”

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“Sir, we would see Jesus,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Sir, we would see Jesus.” – John 12:21

Readings

Isaiah 49:7-17 · John 12:12-26 · Psalm 33:1-11

Sermon

Today is celebrated throughout the Christian Church as Palm Sunday in memory of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem amid the acclamations of the people.

Earlier in His ministry, after He had performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, the multitude sought to make Him their king and, knowing what was in their hearts, He withdrew from them. But the multitude followed on to Capernaum, where the next day they found Him. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, told them that they were following Him because of the loaves and fishes. Then He told them that they were laboring for the bread that satisfieth not, and that He had come into the world to teach them the things of eternal life. When He finished telling them of His mission, it is recorded that many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him. They were natural minded and though they had heard Him and witnessed His miracles, when He told them to “labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,” they were angered. They knew the joys of material prosperity, the delights of success in the world. They knew the pleasures of honor and fame. These were tangible things. But “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,” what is it?

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“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
“The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.” – Psalm 87:5, 6

Readings

Isaiah 2:1-11 · Matthew 7:15-29 · Psalm 84

Sermon

The eighty-seventh Psalm, from which our text is taken, is a song of praise to the Lord for His church. In Zechariah we read, “I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” Here Jerusalem is the city of truth and Zion the holy mountain. Zion represents a state of love and those in whom love to the Lord reigns. So the Psalmist writes, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion,” and again, “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” It is not the material city and mountain that are here meant. Again, the angels of heaven were seen in vision by John on Mount Zion: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” The Father is the Lord as to His Divine love, and His name written on the forehead is His truth inscribed in the will. Zion was the highest part of Jerusalem; so our Psalm continues with the words, “The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” The gates of Zion are the truths which lead men to states of love. These are precious in the Lord’s sight, more than all the speculations of science or any other knowledge. For without the possession of heavenly love, no other grace is truly valuable. Love is the fulfilling of the law; it disposes the heart to believe and rejoice in the truth.

The Zion, then, whose gates the Lord loves, and of which it shall be said, when He counts up His people, “This man was born there,” is no material city, but a state of life. We naturally have an affection for the place where we were born, where our childhood days were spent. But as the Lord is no respecter of persons, He will certainly be no respecter of cities, or of any one place over another on His beautiful earth. The place of one’s natural birth does not confer any special benefit. A good man is a good man wherever he may have been born.

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“Thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” – Zechariah 9:9

Readings

Zechariah 9:9-17 · Matthew 21:1-14 · Psalm 48

Sermon

Today, Palm Sunday, is one of the traditional festivals of the church. The first record of its celebration appears to have come from Jerusalem, where it was observed with a procession and special liturgy in the fourth century, A.D., but it probably was of long establishment even then.

The Lord entered Jerusalem as its King, took possession of the temple, cast out the money changers and venders of doves, and healed the lame and the blind.

The Lord came into the world to bear witness to the truth. His truth is the King that should rule in our lives. When Pilate asked Him “Art thou a king then?” Jesus answered, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” Previously He had told them, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” There is no freedom but in the truth; yet there is much that lies behind this simple statement. Some truth may be a simple intellectual concept; other truth may involve moral obligation. Some truth comes easily and gladly to the mind; for other truth one must labor and sacrifice not only ease but also many deeply ingrained prejudices. The truth is not always what we should like it to be.

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“Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanes,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah in Tahpanes, saying,
“Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanes, in the sight of the men of Judah;
“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.
“And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.” – Jeremiah 43:8-11

Readings

Jeremiah 43 · Matthew 16:21-28 · Psalm 80

Sermon

When the king of Babylon took Jerusalem, he appointed Gedaliah governor over the poorer class of people who were left in the land when Judah was carried away to captivity in Babylon. Ishmael, a Jew, stealthily slew Gedaliah, and fled, taking some of the people with him, intending to join the Ammonites. Then Johanan, one of the leaders of the remaining Jews pursued Ishmael and brought back the Jews whom Ishmael had taken with him. But Johanan feared to return to Jerusalem, lest the king of Babylon should visit punishment upon Jerusalem for the killing of Gedaliah, and planned to flee to Egypt. First, however, he asked Jeremiah the prophet to consult the Lord as to where they should go. Jeremiah brought him the Lord’s answer, telling him to go to Jerusalem, where he would be protected by the Lord. But Johanan accused Jeremiah of being a false prophet plotting for his destruction. So Johanan went to Egypt, to Tahpanes the house of Pharaoh, taking with him all the remnant of Judah, including Jeremiah.

In the narrative of the text is presented a graphic picture of the destructive consequences of knowing the truth but reasoning against it and following fallacious appearances. The spiritual lesson lies near the surface. Jeremiah, because he spoke the words of Jehovah, stands for the Word of the Lord, the Divine truth, which counsels and unerringly guides. Jeremiah counseled Johanan and his company to go to Jerusalem, to dwell there, and not to fear the king of Babylon. But Johanan and those with him were afraid to do as the prophet advised, and reasoned that his counsel was false. They chose rather to go into Egypt, to the ruling city there.

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“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” – Matthew 21:9

Readings

Zechariah 9:9-17 · Matthew 21:1-16 · Psalm 119:114-128

Sermon

It was at the beginning of the last week of the Lord’s life on earth that He entered Jerusalem in triumph, multitudes going before Him, spreading palm branches and their garments in His way, and proclaiming Him the Messiah in the words, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”

So great was the enthusiasm with which He was received and so great was His following that His enemies, the Pharisees, said among themselves, “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.” This remark is among other things prophetic of the fact that the Church of Christ would become established in the world, and that its enemies would be powerless to overthrow it, for the Lord is with those who follow Him.

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