Shownotes: Are You in? Something to live for, Something to Die for
Are You In this Story?
The stories of the Christian martyrs are stories of courage and selflessness. They are also stories of women and men who had their eyes on something, someone bigger than themselves. In these instances of which I speak, they had their eyes on God in Christ Jesus. It was about how they lived for him and a willingness to die for this same Lord. It is the story of the beginning of the church in many ways. Are you in?
Something to live for. Something to die for.
Fast forward to today. There are countless numbers of our brothers and sisters in countries in the Middle East, the continents of Africa, and Asia, who in the face of death and torture will not deny their Lord and Savior. There are even many who convert to follow Christ, knowing that they are signing their death sentence.
Something to live, to die for. Are you in?
What is Jesus worth to you in this day and age in other places where you are still free to go to worship and all those things? Yes. People do go into churches and shoot people, but at this point, it is not an everyday occurrence. Furthermore, no one has issued an edict that you cannot worship openly. You don’t have hordes coming to tear your buildings down. But, you have issues, don’t you?
What are these issues?
Somebody didn’t like the sermon you preached. Somebody criticized you. Somebody threw cold water on an idea you had. For some of us who are not leaders in the church, we’re lethargic and slothful.
Something to live for? Something to die for?
Your issues may seem big to you, but in the face of the persecution of much of the church, it pales. It is as nothing.
In the face of violence, people are telling others about Jesus because of the life they have in him; because of the difference he makes in their lives.
Are you sometimes afraid and/or ashamed to even whisper Jesus’ name outside of the church context. You don’t want to seem pushy. You don’t want people to think you are like __________ whatever group of people with whose evangelical outreach you have a problem.
Excuses, excuses that beg the question, “do you really have something to live for?”
There is a song that was popular some years ago: “Something worth living for.”
Passion for Christ?
Here is the question: Has Jesus Christ given you something worth living for? Is he making that kind of difference in your life? If yes, how dare you keep it to ourselves. If not, you’ve got a problem. Maybe your life is a mockery of what you profess, an empty shell, in which case you need to go to the altar, seek forgiveness, and seek new or renewed life in Christ.
Something to die for. This has been the church’s witness from generation to generation, even as we profess that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself—2 Corinthians 5:14–20.
There’s a lot there in those verses, isn’t it? With Jesus Christ, everything is different. You are new. You have been reconciled to God and all that comes with that. You have received a powerful message for a hurting and dying world. How are you proclaiming it? How are you living it? Is it everything to die for? Where is the passion?
Passion. It is so easy to lose it in the details of ministry. It is so easy to lose it in trying to please everyone and no one and God. Where is God? In the midst of other passions, where is the passion for Christ?
No God-centeredness=no passion for Christ. Nothing to die for.
Forsaking and Enduring. Are You in?
You know, it’s easy to look at the missionaries of bygone ages and criticize them. Sure, they made mistakes and some were agents of their governments. But there were many who were genuine and forsook all to bring a message of salvation, a message of hope, yea, a message of life to a dying world, lost in sin and its consequences without the reconciling message of the gospel. Not reconciling people to people, as important as this is, but reconciling people to God, for God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. They suffered, they died and today, we . . .
What inconveniences are you willing to endure for the sake of the gospel?
Something to live for. Something to die for. Are you in? Am I in?
Last week in the interview with Patrick Moore he talked about moving past ego, which is really death to self, which is essential. What about physical death?
Here is a simple truth. When the hour of trial comes, it is only in God’s strength that we will overcome and hold fast to our faith and Savior. However, we don’t wait until the hour of trial then to cultivate and deepen our life in Christ. There will be no time. That’s why it is important from now, to live from God’s center. From now, therefore, you hold fast to Jesus and grow in him, and say like the apostle Paul did in Philippians 3:7–11.
If you have never experienced this new life in Christ, it’s time. It’s time to get on your knees before an almighty and loving God who has given you everything in Jesus. Who has given you his very self and say, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
If as a leader you do not have something to live and die for, how dare you ask anyone else for a commitment? If as a Christian, Christ is not all to you, it’s time to realign our passion.
Something to live for. Something to die for. Are you in?
Consider: if you were called to give your life for Christ now, could you? If it’s a, “no,” that’s fine, for we really don’t know. So, pray to God for the grace that should the test come you would, like those of old joyfully with song give your life knowing that the hope you have is not only for today but it is also for eternity. This life is just a doorway to being in the presence of the Lord.
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Music: “A True Friend” by Josh Molen
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