Palm Sunday 2020: Finishing well…together-04/05/20

Message: Finishing well… together!’                                        Text: 1 Chronicles 29:1-20

Introduction: Has anyone out there ever started something… but have yet to finish it? Wives, I bet you could name a few things your husband started  but still hasn’t finished. Starting something is the easy part: We start lots of things:

Diets, crafts, projects around the house, new years resolutions…

But, how many times do we give up on what we’ve started? How many times have we failed to finish what we’ve begun?

And here’s what sometimes fuels our failure to finish… it’s when we ask ourselves ‘Is it all worth it?’ Even Christians ask that questions… often.

I’ve tried to live a good Christian life, and where has it gotten me?
My marriage is falling apart, my kids have rejected Jesus, I hate my job… even my dog doesn’t like me anymore!

Is it all worth it? Does faithfully following Jesus truly matter?

I’m getting older and I can’t do what I used to do, at home, in the workplace, even at church.
I don’t have the same energy I used to have and what makes that worse is that I have to spend more time exercising just to maintain my current weight.

Is it all worth it? Does faithfully following Jesus truly matter?

‘I keep struggling with the same old sins. I pray but it seems like God isn’t listening.’

‘Is it all worth it? Does faithfully following Jesus truly matter?’

Christian, the answer is a resounding YES!

The Apostle Paul knew something about the necessity of being faithful, of finishing well, even in the hard times.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7–8)

Paul knew why it’s important to finish well, to continue to be a faithful follower of Jesus, no matter how difficult or how useless we may think it is.

God has called us each of us and He expects us to answer that call, every day. (Acts 20:24)
God has promised to continue to work in us so that we can finish well. (Philippians 1:6)
God has promised blessings for those who are found faithful to the end. (2 Timothy 4:7–8)

Background: In our text this morning, King David is nearing the end of his reign as king and, he’s close to death.

1 Chronicles 29:1-20 reflects upon David’s last address as king to the Israelites.
It is also his last recorded prayer. Which makes it important.
And it’s David’s last recorded words to his son, Solomon.

1 Chronicles 29 reveals that David used the end of his life to teach his son, Solomon, and the Israelites the importance of finishing well… together.

OK, you might be thinking, ‘But it’s Palm Sunday, shouldn’t we be studying one of the Triumphal Entry passages where Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey and all the people shout their praises?

Yes, that would be the norm. But were living under a new normaren’t we? So I wanted to keep to the current series of studying the prayers of the Bible. And I believe 1 Chronicles 29:1-20 will allow us to do both.  And here’s why.

Yes, Jesus entered Jerusalem amidst the shouts and praises of the crowds.
But, understand something, the Triumphal Entry, was Jesus finishing what He came to do… to die.
And how He does it, tells us how we are to be faithful till the end.

The same is true for David in 1 Chronicles 29:1-20

So, open you Bibles to 1 Chronicles 29:1 (Or you can use the Worship Resource Insert you printed out from the email I sent you.)

1. 1 Chronicles 29:1-9  David’ssacrificial giving

And David the king said to all the assembly, “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God.

So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold,

the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble.

Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver.

Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?” Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work. They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron.

And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in the care of Jehiel (Je Hi El) the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

OK, here’s the picture. David so wanted to build God, His temple. But God said no, David was a man of war and it would be his son Solomon, who would build it.

David came to terms with that. But he knew Solomon was young, probably an older teenager, and in the time David had left, he needed to help him learn to be faithful to God, how to finish well.

David told Solomon, and the Israelites present that the house, the Temple Solomon would build,would not be for the benefit of the people, but for the glory of God.  

So, the idea is, they should not treat how they build the temple, like they were putting up a shed in their back yard.

Because, it’s for God and His purposes, and they should follow David’s example and give sacrificially to build it. And David sure did that.

What he gave to building and furnishing the Temple in todays numbers would have been millions of dollars.

To top it off, in verses 6-9 we find David’s example encouraged the leaders of Israel and all those gathered together, to do the same, to give sacrificially to the work God was going to do in the Temple.

You see, he was also teaching them, and Solomon, to finish well.

‘OK, I know you’re thinking ‘Here comes the money talk, the being good stewards of the money God has given to us.’ Yes!

You know I rarely preach about money. But how we handle our money (and I use the word ‘our’ very carefully.)  
How we handle the money God has given to us, will help determine whether we drop out of the race or whether we finish well as faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Two points of applications.

First, when you give financially to CBC, you are giving your money to God, for the purposes He has for this ministry. That’s exactly what David meant when he said for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God.

Second, in God’s economy, money is not the only valuable currency..so is your time and gifting. In other words, we must also give our time and abilities, sacrificially to God, for the purposes He has for CBC.

That means serving. There are many areas that are are looking for faithful servants: Pioneer Girls, Youth Group, Nursery, and Bible Blast.

David set the example for us in vss1-9 of sacrificial giving and how that is one way to finish well.

After all, isn’t that also Jesus’ example in His Triumphal Entry?

He entered Jerusalem to give his life on the cross for the lost, for you and for me.
Jesus willingly sacrificed everything, to fulfill God’s purposes in sending Him.
Jesus, in the Triumphal Entry, is our example to follow if we want to finish well as His faithful followers.

2. 1 Chronicles 29:10-19  David’sexample of prayer

A. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 David’s praise

Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours.

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious name.

Here David begins his last recorded prayer. And he leads thepeople in an exuberant prayer of blessing to God.

The word blessed here means to praise.

David praises God for His covenant promises made to Israel;to be their God, their heavenly Father.

David praises God for His character for who God is and howHis character dictates the way God cares for His people.

David praises God as the possessor of the earth and everything in it.

David praises God as sovereign, as the One who rules over all things.

David praises God for how He has been gracious to us in providing not only our needs but our abundance.

David praises God for giving strength to God’s people.

I believe contextually, this applies to their strength to give sacrificially, but Im certain it’snot limited to that.

David, speaking for the entire congregation, gives thanks to God and shouts praises for His glorious name.

Sidebar: Here’s something to ponder sometime. We are to shout praises for God’s glorious name.

The word glorious can also be translated beautiful. We are to praise His beautiful name.

Look, I have to admit that I am so upset over the media coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It’s almost all negative.
It’s almost all politically influenced.
Open hatred, division, everyone is out for themselves or their political party, and a lack of truth.

Folks, the media and our elected politicians have made whats bad, the virus, ugly!

And if that’s where we live, if that’s all we take in, it will harden our hearts, make us depressed and we will ask ‘Is it all worth it?’

David praised God’s glorious, His beautiful name.
Live there… focus on that… find rest and peace, find strength and hope  in the beauty of our Lord.

Look, I’m not asking you to live uninformed or to put your head in the sand, as it were. But I am asking you to fill your mind with the goodness, the beauty of God and let that form your heart and influence how you choose to live.

David is telling us that its fitting to praise God, for all things, in all things. That God, and God alone, is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.

And isn’t that also what Jesus was teaching us when He entered Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday?

By accepting the praise of the people, wasn’t He saying it’s fitting to give praise and thanks to God for all that He has done, is doing and promises to do?

You see, to finish well as a faithful follower of Jesus, means that

in every circumstance; in every trouble, in every hardship, and yes even in every joy,
it’s fitting to give praise and thanks to God.

B. 1 Chronicles 29:14-17  David’s humility

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You. For we are strangers before You and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building You a house for Your holy name comes from Your hand and is all Your own. I know, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen Your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to You.

Here David uses his prayer to teach Solomon and the peoplesomething that he lived out and spoke about in his Psalms.

Humility before God

What David was saying is that the people’s generosity to God is actually an extension of God’s generosity to his people.

In other words, had God not been generous with us, in how He has provided abundantly for us, we would not be able to give generously to Him.

Don’t we often pray that at our Offering Time in our Worship Celebration?

God, we give back to You a portion of what You have given to us.

When we actually mean those words, we’re expressing our humility before God, for our total dependence upon Him, for all things in life. Even providing for us during a worldwide pandemic and economic collapse.

And that’s what David wanted to teach, not only his young son, Solomon, but all the people gathered before him.

However, notice that David gives a warning to Solomon and to the people when he prays:

I know, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. You know what he’s saying here?

That God looks at our giving, both in times of abundance and times of want.
That God is looking for His people to do the right thing; to give, out of abundance and out of want.
And when we do, it pleases God.

Sometime, just after Jesus entered Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, two Greek men asked to see Jesus. We don’t know if they actually met with Jesus but we do know His response.

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:23–26)

Here Jesus also addresses humility as a trait that leads His followers to finish well.

Jesus submitted to the will of the Father, He humbly chose to die so that He might save all those the Father brings to Him.

If were going to humbly follow Jesus, we must recognize our life means nothing apart from Jesus.
If were going to humbly follow Jesus, we must recognize and live under the authority of Jesus as our master.

And the blessing of humble service to Jesus, is that well end up in the presence of God and until that time, we will live under His favor.

C. 1 Chronicles 29:18-19  David’s requests

O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of Your people, and direct their hearts toward You. Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep Your commandments, Yourtestimonies, and Your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.

Here is where we get to Davids requests. And what does he ask of God? Not something for himself, but for Solomon and the people.

He prayed that Solomon and the people would do the things he said and finish well.

Listen again:

Lord, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of Your people.

God I pray that Your people would finish well.

and direct their hearts toward You.

God I pray that Your people would finish well.

Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep Your commandments, Your testimonies, and Your statutes, performing all

God I pray that my son, Solomon, would finish well.

Christian, are you praying that your children, your husband, your wife, your parents would finish well?

David’s request was that Solomon and the people would remain faithful to God.

Jesus prayed the same thing for His disciples, then and now, in His last recorded prayer that first Holy Week, found in John 17

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You.

Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. (John 17:9–11)

Holy Father, keep them in Your name.

Keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of Your people.

Keep is the same word in the Greek.

Like David, Jesus is asking the Father to keep, to help His followers, to be committed to Christ, till the end. To continue to be His faithful followers.. to finish well.

3. 1 Chronicles 29:20  David leads worship

Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king.

At the end of David’s prayer, he led his son, Solomon, and all the people in a time of worship.

There was time for extravagant praise… they blessed the Lord!
There was time for quiet surrender before God… bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord.

Worship, my friends, corporate worship is a necessity if we want to be faithful followers of Jesus… If we want to finish well.

In Mathew 26:30 on the night that Jesus was betrayed, as they left the upper room and headed to the Garden, Jesus led His disciples in a hymn.

He was on His way to be arrested, humiliated, tortured, then hung on a cross…
Yet, Jesus led them in a time of worship.

Christian,

no matter what’s going on around you,

even if it’s nothing while under our ‘stay at home’ order
or what’s going on within you,
perhaps fear or worry.

It’s always fitting and right to join with your brothers and sisters in Christ and worship your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Even if it’s on Facebook, for a short time.

Conclusion: Do you think God was pleased with David’s prayer? Do you think God honored David’s attempt to teach his son Solomon, and all people present, that it’s right and fitting to finish well?

Absolutely. And we see that when Solomon, later, dedicated the Tempe to the Lord. Listen as I close:

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:1–3)

Will God be pleased with what were doing at CBC? Well, that depends on us.

Will we see what we’re doing here as not for ourselves but for God’s glory and the advancement of His kingdom?
Will we choose to faithfully follow Jesus, in abundance and in want, in peace and in trouble, when it’s easy and when it’s a sacrifice?

Christian, when we choose to surrender all to Jesus, we will finish well. And God will be pleased as we hear Him say ‘Well done, My good and faithful servant.’

Let’s pray.