This Week's Gospel Sermons
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July 21, 2013
What If You Had Only ____
If you awaken one nightto the smell of smoke in your house and you discover your house is on fire, and that it is too far gone to put out, you will instantly begin to prioritize. The first thought you might have is of the safety of your spouse or children. Once you discover they are safe, you might next consider going in to retrieve a pet, family heirloom or stash of money. But, definitely you recognize that some items are not worth the risk to rescue.
Imagine with me if you will, that you knew you had only 48 hours to live. What would your priorities be? Well I am certain you would pray and pray earnestly. You would probably not care about your job, nor the many entertainment activities in which you could involve yourself. But I guarantee, you would attend the services of the church, if the 48 hours fell on a Sunday; in fact you would attend both morning and evening assemblies. You would sing heartily and partake of the Lord’s Supper in a spiritual way.
But, what if you had 1 week to live? Well, now you might devote some time to Bible study, for you want to know more of what God expects of you and to determine if you have His approval. You would still probably not go back to your job, nor would you likely take up any of this precious time going to the mall to window shop or take in a movie. Not that these things are bad, but they are just not that important in the bigger picture of life. You would attend every meeting of the congregation, including Wednesday and probably would contact a mature Christian to discuss the afterlife.
Think now about what you would do if you knew you had 1 year to live. What then would your priorities be? Well, now you would have to go back to work, for you have to provide for your family. It is a God given duty. You would likely begin to exercise a little and try to eat right, for you do not want to waste any of the year sick, if you can possibly avoid it. You might even take in a recreational activity or just stay home and watch a TV show, but you would be sure it was not too time consuming, for time is what you do not have a lot of. You would surely talk to a loved one about their soul and apply yourself to get as near to God a possible.
Last of all, what if you knew you had 30 years to live? What would you do different? It seems some people must think they are going to live 200 years, judging by the way they are living their days. They give little or no consideration to the hereafter.
Now the things that Christians engage in and use their time for are always to be good things, but sometimes we make a mistake when we forget to prioritize and keep eternal things first. James 4:13-15 says that we do not know what will happen tomorrow and that our lives are a vapor that appears for just a little while and then vanishes away. Let us remember this and act accordingly.
There are some things that are very important and must be done as soon as possible and kept at the top of the list of things to tend to. Then, if there is time remaining, other things may be engaged in as opportunity and ability permit. May God help us.
Why Did Christ Choose To Die the WAY He Did?
I know that Jesus chose to die out of love for man and the need that the penalty for sin be satisfied. But, why did He choose the WAY of the cross? Due to the prophecies of the Old Testament about it, we know it was “pre” meditated and determined by God. It was not something left to chance. It was God’s will that He SUFFER in death and suffer MIGHTILY. Though the Bible does got give an explicit answer to the question, it does though give some glimpses into the mind of God on the subject.
1) Jesus suffered in death to leave us an example. Listen to 1Peter 2:20-24: “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” See what I mean? Jesus dying in such an awful way leaves us an example should we suffer in some way as His follower. Our Leader leads the way through His own experience.
2) Jesus going to the cross demonstrated man’s need of ultimate obedience to God. Paul says in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus death on a cross underscores just how obedient to the Heavenly Father He was and how this mind ought to be in us, too. There was a big part of Jesus desirous of the cup passing, but there was a bigger part wanting to do the Father’s will. We should have nothing we won’t do and no length we will not go in obedience to the Father.
3) Jesus’ death on the cross was meant to be a cursed thing. In Galatians 3:13 we read, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).” The cross was a cursed thing and those hung on it were regarded likewise. Therefore, when we through faith view Christ dying for our sins, how appropriate? For sin is truly the ultimate curse of man.
4) Jesus agonizingly dying by crucifixion emphasizes how terrible sin must be. For it to have come to this … that the one dying in my stead has to inhumanely be tortured, speaks loudly to the view of God toward this heinous thing called sin. It was God’s will that it be so. How terrible a thing it must be for me to sin!