Sermon April 22, 2007 : Laying it ALL at HIS feet

Posted in Sermons

Today we have a very special guest. Let’s just give a warm welcome to Dr Bob Bakke, and our English speaking brothers and sisters are going to have a good time today, because they can take their earphones off and we’re going to be translating from up here, so that’s great, and we’re so glad to have you as well, you know, just know how blessed we are to have you as part of the English speaking community here with us today. So, it’s a wonderful, wonderful blessing, so we bless you as well. Welcome, Dr Bakke.

Thank you. It’s great to be here. On the day of Pentecost God spoke a mysterious language and all the people could hear it in their own language. I don’t know Spanish like some of you know English, but I did discern that the language of the Holy Ghost this morning and I know that you are my brothers and sisters and I delight in that. Amen.

The other thing I want to say is I want to thank your pastor, pastor Miranda. When I was a pastor it was a very, very rare thing for me to give up my pulpit to anybody, and when I asked somebody to be a guest speaker and I was present, they better be good or they’re never coming back. So, please pray for me.

He did such a great job. We want to keep him. I feel bad now preaching.

I lead many, many people in prayer but that does not mean that I’m good at prayer. I was a pastor for many years before God convicted me that I needed to be a man of prayer and I began my journey in prayer, not because I was good at it because I was obedient.

I heard someone say long ago, that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly. Let me say that again. If something is worth doing it’s worth doing poorly. That is so many of us are paralyzed because we can’t do something well, and instead of trying and maybe be embarrassed by it, we won’t try at all. But God says, wherever you are, however poorly you might pray, however poorly you may love yourselves or your children, or however poorly you might do anything, begin to do what I ask you to do, even if you can’t do it well.

So, as a pastor I began praying more and more and leading greater and greater numbers of people in prayer, and today by God’s grace I lead millions of people in prayer, both here in the United States and overseas, and it is by grace, not by merit.

A few years ago God gave me a dream: I was sitting in the dinner at 3 am in California. I had a few friends with me. We couldn’t sleep, we had just our television show at Jack Hayford’s church in Venise, California and we began to dream, could we cover the earth in prayer, and the dream was given birth. And over the next few years I began asking other people would they be interested in driving me in this dream, a dream of a global day of prayer on Pentecost.

Finally, I was invited to South Africa to make the presentation for such a proposal. There wre 300 international leaders, from 200 countries and I made the presentation and they accepted. But when I was there I discovered that something was arising in Africa. Just a few months before I made my presentation a businessman in South Africa had a dream. He had dreams of stadiums full of prayer throughout Africa and the nations of Europe and out of the praying of Africa flames were flying into other nations until the whole world was covered with flames. That was just a few months before my presentation.

That year he hired a stadium and 45000 people came. When I gave my presentation to the leaders, just a few weeks before that one stadium had turned into 8 stadiums. 350.000 people.

The next year that 8 stadiums turned into 128 stadiums, big ones and small ones, but 3.500.000 and in 2004 that 128 stadiums became 2000 stadiums across 53 nations. Amen.

Now, the first years of the global day of prayer was in 2005. Now, at 2005 the Africans switched from May to Pentecost Sunday. And in our first year 2005 we had registrations from 156 nations, 10.000 venues and somewhere near 100 million people in prayer.

Last year, year number 2, here in Boston you met in Tremont Temple but around the earth we had registrations from 199 nations, nearly 15000 venues and some were just south of 200 million in united prayer. In India alone a thousand cities prayed.

This is amazing. And yet the great crowds, the stadiums full of people are not in the US. We must arise too. Amen. This is the destiny of the nations.

Now, in England the crowds have been small the last two years. This year one of the major stadiums in London is being rented and the mobilization is from expatriates Africans who are mobilizing white English men to come and pray. Maybe for Boston to pray we need expatriate Hispanics to come and lead the rest of us.

This is the destiny of the nations. Whether this is the last generation or not when the consummation of history comes, God will have summoned all of the nations to the feet of Jesus and every knee will bend and every tongue confess that he is the Lord. ¡Alleluia!

I was telling the leaders just the other day that I was asked by a newspaper to write a column comparing Islam and Christianity. In Islam Allah speaks one language and to speak to God truly you must speak in that one language and the revelation was through one man to the earth, his prophet, and really at one point in time. But when God began his church in the Bible he spoke a language that was mysterious and in the spirit and every language understood him and he intends to redeem every nation and language on earth, and we represent that today. Alleluia!

But I have been talking about huge marvelous things. I want to turn to very small things. The big crowds and the wonderful stadiums full of people are wonderful. It’s amazing to see the great leaders upon the stages, but I want to turn to a place where true prayer begins. And if we want to see history change it must be like the prayer that we’re going to look at today.

Please turn your Bibles to John, chapter 12 and before I ask Roberto to read this, I want to give you the context, I want to set the scene before you. Imagine this stage, a stage for a play and as the curtain rises on this play, there are many things happening on the stage. First of all the stage is full of humanity. This is one of the high holy days of Israel. If you were a Jewish male you had to be in Jerusalem, that is a Jewish male living within the precincts of Israel. And if you were a Jewish male living beyond the precincts of Israel you had to make your way to Jerusalem at least once in your lifetime for such a feast.

So, for weeks ahead of time the streams of humanity had been pouring into Jerusalem and by the time the high, holy day came the historian Josephus who was alive at that time tells us that Jerusalem which was normally a city of about 30.000 would grow to about 3 million. Could you image 3 million coming to Roxbury? Oh, it would fill everything. So, nobody, not enough rooms or at the hotels, or the inns. People would be living out on the fields, or wherever there was space and at night the camp fires would light up all the hills surrounding Jerusalem and where Jesus and his disciples practiced to camp out on the Mount of Olives.

But the stage is full of people and they’re talking. They’re whispering about this man called Jesus. There’s excitement in the crowd. There’s anticipation in the crowd. There’s anxiousness in the crowd. This is a few days before a man by the name of Lazarus was raised from the dead by this man Jesus and where as many of the people think he might be the Messiah, the ruling authorities, they know, are angry at him and want to arrest him. And the question is, will this man risk coming to Jerusalem? So, there is anxiety throughout the streets and anticipation.

Now, over on stage right, at the ends of chapter 11 we find that the group of man in emergency session. These are the religious leaders of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrim and are angry, they’re as mad as hornets. I don’t know how he translated that. And there was one, the most learned of them, the holiest of them stands up among them and his name was Kaifas, he is a chief priest and he tells them not to worry, this man Jesus is going to die for all the people.

Now, on the other side of the stage, there’s also another man. He was probably the only educated man of the disciples. He was the CFO of the disciples, his name was Judas. He used to steal money. Now, between these men and that man John places one center stage. With Jesus at center stage we are introduced to a nobody. She is not important, she has no power, she is not known by other than the friends of Jesus. She is of no consequence to anyone really and this woman is about to change history.

One more setting, and this the literary setting. The gospel of John has 4 parts overall. It begins with a prologue, an introduction where we’re told that Jesus is God and then is followed what is called the Book of Signs. It’s where John records all the things that Jesus said and did that prove the prologue. At chapter 12 right after his greatest miracle on the raising of Lazarus, the book pivots, it turns towards what’s called the Book of glory. The book of Signs covers 3 years, the book of glory, which the second half covers just a few days and points forward to the cross, to his death and burial and then his resurrection to the glory which he had with the Father before the world began.

Now, where this two books shift from the signs to glory, it turns on this text. Let’s read it.

I want the pastor to read verse 7 again:

The first thing I want us to notice about this passage is how Jesus describes the event. He speaks of a mystery. He spokes of the purposes of heaven. He speaks of a time before history ever began, back before Mary ever was, when God in his foresights saw Mary and looking forward to the moment when Jesus would give his life to the world and he entrusted into Mary’s possession a treasure, that when Mary gave this treasure at the feet of Jesus, and when she did it and the way that she did it, the lamb of God would be prepared to redeem the earth. Did you hear that?

This, before the world began, was foreseen by God. Mary had no idea, she was completely oblivious, this was not in her mind, but God saw it before the foundations of the earth, that when Jesus was so rightly adored, the lamb of God was prepared to redeem the earth.

Let me ask you to do something, hold you hands like this, just for a moment. Tell me, what has God put in your hands? What treasure? What resources? What resumé? What children, what relationships? What treasures has God given you? Great or small, could it be that he saw you before the earth began and he knew before you ever were, and he put that into your hand, that if you would place at Jesus’ feet today something in the heavens would break and God would be prepared to redeem the earth.

What’s this treasure that Mary gave? It was nard. It comes from India and is very expensive. It was pure nard, it was highly refined nard. If you were a king, there was nothing better you could give to someone. But as nobody had it and she gave to Jesus.

Now, what was this gift that she gave? It was either one of two things, it was either her nest egg that would have been given to her by her family, perhaps her father, so if she ever found herself sick or alone, or infirm, she would have this treasure to care for herself. Do you have a nest egg? Are you saving for some day when you need it? Some of your nest eggs are very small, some of them are very great.

Now, Mary’s was worth a year’s wages. Now, we just did our taxes so you know how much you made last year. Don’t say that loud, but how much did you make last year? Now, how long did it take you to make what you made last year? A year, ok, very good. Now, how long would it take you to save what you made last year? 5 years? 10 years? 15? Ah! This is a treasure.

Now, if Mary’s father had given this treasure to Mary, fathers if you had given such a treasure to your daughter, and you saw her pouring this out, it would be all gone in 5 minutes. It had taken you many, many years to save up for this …. What would you think about your daughter?

Now, if this wasn’t her nest egg, it was a lot likely to be a part of her dowry, it might have been her entire dowry. Now back then, women did not meet young men at movies, they did not meet in a school dance, they did not meet at work or at Mc Donalds. Marriages were arranged, they were bought. Women only had a few choices back then: they could get married, if you had a good dowry you could get a good husband, if your dowry was like this, well then your husband was like this; and if you had no dowry, well, lot’s of luck.

Now, if you didn’t buy yourself into a marriage you could become a servant in someone’s home and just hope that they would take care of you all of your life. Well, if you were a servant in someone’s home, you’d be out on the street begging. And if you didn’t want to beg, you sold yourself. Those were your choices.

So, now when she surrenders this thing at the feet of Jesus for the sake of 5 minutes of adoration, surrenders and places at risk the entire future of her life. Is there such love of Christ in this room? Is there such love of Christ in this room?

Now, look at the way she gave it. This young woman takes off her covering, the only young women who were in public in Jewish culture with their heads uncovered were selling themselves. Mary uncovers her head, she bows at Jesus’ feet, she breaks the container of the oil and she places it on this young man’s feet. He’s 30 years old or so and she takes her hair and begins to wipe his feet with her hair. She offends everyone in the room. If this would have taken place in this room right now, you and the elders would be running to pastor Miranda, ‘Stop this, stop this, stop this now’. And Mary has no concern over what anyone thinks. A sacrifice of humiliation, complete surrender and she speaks nothing. Her love of Christ is beyond her ability to speak it.

My brothers and sisters I believe the angels in heaven in this moment stopped in heaven and with complete surprise to behold what was taking place on earth and it was on the wake of such praise and love and adoration, an adoration that it filled the room with incense and fragrance. It was upon this adoration that the lamb of God was prepared to redeem humankind. This is where true prayer begins. This is history transforming prayer.

Would you be ready to pray this prayer this morning? We’re going to close the service, but I want to do it like Mary did it. If you are physically able, would you join me on my knees, and as I ask you to hold your hands out as if you held your possessions, would you do it now again? And whatever God has given you, whether it’s small or not, lay it at Jesus’ feet.

The elders who surround the throne right now are taking off their crowns and laying them at Jesus’ feet and they’re falling on their faces before him crying, adore him. Give him what you have. It does not matter what anyone else thinks. The angels have stopped to watch.

Adore him. This room is filled with praise like perfume. Are you a person of no account? Mary was a no one and yet she prepared the way for the redemption of the earth. Could it be that upon your prayers that things are breaking in heaven and you are unleashing things in the heavens that you did not know for the glory of Christ in your home, for the glory of Christ in your street, for the glory of Christ in Boston, for the glory of Christ throughout the nations, for the glory of Christ?

In the name of the Father and Son and the spirit. Amen. You may rise. Leer version en español


Sermon delivered by Bob Bakke (translated by Dr. Roberto Miranda) taped April 22, 2007 at Congregation Lion of Judah Listen | View (100K) | View (400K)
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