Memorial Day is best known for being the unofficial first day of Summer! And many often miss reflecting on the whole reason for the National Holiday! Some are not even exactly aware of what this Day stands for! Memorial Day is NOT the day we honor our Veterans around us... Though there is never a wrong day to do so! Memorial Day, is the Day we set aside to remember and honor those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice... Given their lives... Dying in protection of their loved ones and this Country's Freedom! An estimated 1,320,000 in our Country's History thus far! It's a time to be mindful of their lives never lived out...Of their families' lives lived with a hollow place in their hearts...
Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children...So we could stand here today... Free, happy and comfortable!
Will you solemnly join with me for just a few moments…And reflect together on the cost of that sacrifice…In thanks to them and their families?! At the end of Saving Private Ryan...
An old Private Ryan returned to the grave of his Captain…Who had died along with others to save his life alone, in WWII... Broken and in tears, he says to his fallen comrade's grave... "I hope that in at least your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me..."Then he pleads with his wife to tell him...
That he's led a good life... Been a good man!
We need to ask that question of all of our lives..."Have we used or freedom, so heavily soiled in blood...In a way that would honor those who died to give it to us?"
What would you think if someone came to you and said, "Well, I am headed over to N. Korea to turn myself into a prison camp today for torture!" My wife is going to separate herself from me forever and probably give herself as a sex slave to an Isis fighter...And Junior... Well, we're just going to send him to China to grow up as a Communist!" And when you asked them why on earth they were doing this, they replied: "Well, since we couldn't beat these guys, we have to!" And when you remind them of the battles won, the price paid, and the countless lives lost, they say: "Well that doesn't count... I didn't have any part in winning them!"
Can you tell me what Psychiatric Ward you'd choose to place them in?! As ludicrous as this sounds... It actually is not! Because this is what we do every day as Christians... Heaven was needing a Hero to die for our Freedom as well...And with all the Price Paid… The Blood spilled... And the War won by Our Lord Jesus Christ!! Many of us act, think and feel... As if HIS Sacrifice was not enough...As if It were an insignificant thing in our lives at best... A meaningless, powerless Act at worst! And our weak commitment to Him at Salvation...Along with our insincere and troubled lives that follow that choice... Prove it!
Please give close, honest attention to what we will discuss today...Because I can assure you...Though this will be a simple lesson. The majority of people listening today...WILL be affected by what they hear... If truthful with themselves! How many came to a moment of Salvation somewhat like this?
You were told to repeat something which resembles..."I know I'm a sinner, I know You died for my sins... Please come into my heart and save me now... Amen." And there is nothing theologically wrong with that prayer...And yes... ACCEPTING WHAT CHRIST DID FOR YOU IS ALL THAT YOU NEED TO BE SAVED BY GOD! YOU CAN DO NOTHING TO EARN SALVATION!! BUT... "ACCEPTING"... Is the key word here...
Jesus told His disciples in the Upper Room, just before Death...That He was giving His Life to make a NEW COVENANT! That Greek word for "Covenant" is diatheke (dee-ath-ay'-kay) Meaning a mutual "contract", agreement, pledge, vow...Requiring an act of BOTH parties...Think on this… If NOT BOTH parties…EVERYONE would have been saved at that moment... Right? God’s Covenant with us is THIS: Jesus did it ALL... Died for us... Gave Us His Life In Return! But... Our part of the Covenant...
Is that that WE ACCEPT HIM... And what He has done for us...
Many, many today mistake that as simply ACCEPTING OUR SALVATION...Accepting our free ticket...
ACCEPTING WHAT HE HAS DONE...LISTEN… BUT NOT TRULY ACCEPTING HIM! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG, UNBIBLICAL...AND LEAVES US WITH A BOATLOAD OF UNCHANGED, UNLOVING, UNCARING, FALSELY CONFIDENT, LOST PEOPLE IN OUR SOCIETY!
It would be like me, showing up at your door to be taken into your house in acceptance (With a gift for you in my hands)...And you, accepting my gift from my hands...Then slamming the door in my face without letting me in... Without ever accepting me or caring anything about me...And saying..."Look! Doug and I are tight now, see?!"
We have this easy believism that is not only common... But mainstream among American Christians today... That is totally WRONG! Think I am exaggerating... Well, what do you do with these Words of Christ then?
Matthew 10:37-39 (NKJV)
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Luke 14:25-29 (NKJV)
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-- 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him...
Jesus said that YOUR ACCEPTANCE IN THIS COVENANT...Meant that you accepted HIM above all else... Saw HIS worth!! Wanted HIM more than anything! He said He did not want a "decision" just to save yourself...Many followers of His time simply wanted this...He wanted a "decision" to become HIS DISCIPLE! To see and want His Worth, Beauty and Love as your own!! To become washed... Start fresh... So you may strive to live for Him! At any cost! (His Words, not mine!) Many today, have twisted this into simply accepting a..."Save Yourself Now Package!"...Using some magical incantation and a happy moment...Which we can refer back to months and years down the road of our partying, lustful, selfish lives... As THAT moment when we accepted Him!
Accepting Christ as your Savior... Accepting His Gift... Means...Accepting His Death as your own...
Accepting His Life as your own...And accepting His Love as your own...And many people listening to this stream today... Have totally rejected ONE or BOTH of these things... Knowingly or Not! AND YOU THINK YOU’RE OK! Let's evaluate ourselves and find reality today! It may set you free from much heartache! It may save your soul!
Accepting His Death! When you ACCEPTED Christ as your Lord and Savior...You accepted HIS DEATH as your OWN!
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I died with Christ... NOW, He lives in ME! This sounds so beautiful... So Godly... But has become so cliché... And so completely missed! What does it mean? We must get this... Because, herein lies the very foundation...For our comfort, our confidence and our intimacy with Christ! Paul said that we are crucified with Christ... Pay close attention to the wording here!!
Romans 6:10-11 (NKJV)
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
One of the biggest problems people face as Christians...Is being able to forgive themselves for things they've done...Being able to feel lovable when they fail so much...Seeing themselves as worthy of INTIMACY with Jesus! But listen closely… When you feel this way, you aren't being holy and humble...
You aren't even being Biblical! You are taking away the incredible work and sacrifice of our Jesus!
What if I took a long since executed and rotted criminal...To sentencing for all these crimes we found against him? Would I be able to do anything to him? No. Why? Because he is dead to the law that condemned him the first time! He is no longer under the law of the land! This is quite literally who WE are to the Law…Because of what Jesus did for us!!
"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all"
He didn't die for HIS SINS... He had none!!He had OUR name legally given to Him at Execution...
HE DIED ONCE FOR ALL! Look at this! The Law of God did not go away!!!!! But, the Law got it's way... It was completely fulfilled!! YES, WE DESERVE DEATH AND SHAME AND ISOLATION!
BUT DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO FEEL GUILTY ANY MORE?! BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU GOT IN GOD'S EYES! YOU DIED UNDER THE PENALTY OF LAW!
Every time you live depressed, distant and beaten down over your failures...Even after you have truly repented and returned...You are acting as crazy as those people we mentioned at the beginning of this lesson... Turning themselves over to the enemy willfully... Because THEY didn't win the battle!
And you are in effect... Telling Jesus that HE really didn't do enough to defeat Satan with His Sacrifice! WOW! Think on that a moment! Get this! You will never experience the freedom of BOLDNESS BEFORE CHRIST... AND CLOSENESS HE WANTS YOU...Until you first totally embrace THIS... LISTEN...
Colossians 3:3 (NKJV)
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in For God.
YOU ARE NOT ONLY ALREADY DEAD TO THE PENALTY OF SEPARATION FROM GOD...
You are HIDDEN away in His Arms... That CHOICE to save you...Was at a GRAVE PRICE... He joyfully paid! NOT FREE! To not only save you...But have you intimately hidden away WITH HIM!
So STOP thinking HIS CHOICE… HIS DEATH…WASN’T ENOUGH! You were already punished!!
Do you see the power this gives you over Satan's accusations? The bragging rights you have in Jesus?
The freedom to be confident in Jesus' acceptance and love for you? There is no sentence over your head! And if you mess up again tomorrow… What can the Law do? You are already dead! How many of your sins were in the future when Jesus died? All of them!
So what happens if you slip and sin tomorrow? Covered!
How awesome is Our God, to do this AT HIS OWN EXPENSE... To set us free?! So, rather than wallow and worry in your failures... THIS IS WHERE YOU GET THE PEACE AND THE EXCITEMENT TO WORSHIP! Stop looking for mystical and supernatural experiences for you at the altar and in prayer… And focus on this! Glorify God, and just be caught up in loving Him…In the joy and confidence that YOU ARE ACCEPTED! LISTEN… Honor Him…By drawing close to Him BECAUSE of His sacrifice...Rather than run in shame because He had to do it! OTHERWISE YOU HAVE NEVER TRULY ACCEPTED HIS DEATH AS YOUR OWN! Accepting His Life! Now let's see what it means to TRULY accept Jesus' Life!! By returning to Romans 6, and getting the rest of the story...
Romans 6:10-14 (NKJV)
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Paul is spelling out... What many of us miss...Or totally downplay in our lives! He did not do all of this work... Tear His Kingdom apart...Literally give His life in agony...For you to claim His name...And yet wallow in the very things that caused Him to DIE! PAUL SPELLS OUT... IT IS NOT YOUR LIFE ANYMORE! Your life is gone, remember?!
Galatians 2:19 (NKJV)
19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
So you have NO RIGHT to tell Jesus...HOW HE HAD BETTER ACCEPT YOU AS YOU ARE! OR LIVING AS YOU WANT... OR TELLING HIM WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO! PART OF ACCEPTING JESUS' LIFE AT SALVATION...IS GIVING UP YOUR LIFE! Think that is UNFAIR? Think that is an UNHAPPY way to live? Well, it's not unfair to ask you to do what HE has already done for you first!!!
It's not unfair to ask you to do something He KNOWS will only KEEP YOU FROM DESTRUCTION in the end! And it's definitely NOT going to make you unhappy to follow His ways over yours... His plans over yours...Because He knows you best... And He knows your life before it is lived! And because... If you LIVE for Him first...He Promises to give the desires of your heart in return!
Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Although... If you draw close to Him... Truly...You just might find that your desires have completely changed! People take off the arrogant blinders & ask yourself right now...Do you live your life as though it were NOT YOUR OWN... BUT HIS? Do you deeply seek His Plan and Will for your career, relationships, time and money? Do you deeply seek to please Him with your way of life? (Or try to see what you can get away with, or hide instead?)
Do you live trapped in anxiety & fear? Not living His life! If your literal desire & focus is not to learn and follow His Way...You HAVE NOT ACCEPTED HIS LIFE as your own...Meaning you may have not accepted HIM...Meaning you may not have even received His Salvation...You have only tried to accept a GIFT...Without caring for… Or believing in… The Giver!! Stop... And think about this...If Jesus Christ loved me enough to take on my shame, pain & rejection...I will love Him enough to take on His Righteousness and Love.
Doing all I can to bring Him Glory and Joy…As He did all He could to bring it to me! Trusting that He can make my life count for more than I could ever hope... In my simple mind and understanding! THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR! You are NOT just accepting a free Gift, so you can go your merry way...You are accepting HIM...The One Who PAID for that GIFT in LOVE...
He wants YOU... He wants your heart and mind... Not just to hand out free tickets to spoiled brats!
By His own Words...You are accepting His death for your wrongs! And accepting that it WAS SUFFICIENT! So you can boldly pursue Him! By His own Words...You are accepting His New Life... Wherever it takes you! With a new purpose... New attitude... New love...Trusting that His way is better...
Not seeking your own way in anything first!
THIS IS WHY HE SAYS COUNT THE COST FIRST!! He doesn't require that you live in such a way as to WIN your Salvation...He did it all... THAT WAS HIS PART OF THE COVENANT! BUT... He DOES require that you ACCEPT HIM COMPLETELY & TOTALLY! THAT IS YOUR PART OF THE COVENANT! Have you come to Him in Salvation because you desire Him? Because you want HIM so badly, you will give all? Or did you come to Him in need of a Gift? And accept that GIFT gladly...But NEVER truly committed to the One Who loved you enough to give it?
All but a handful walked away from Jesus in His day…When they saw the WAY He wanted to be loved...Which was AS HE LOVED... With EVERYTHING YOU HAVE! YOU have to be honest with yourself...Because no one else can answer for you...Have you accepted His Death as your own? Truly?
If so... Stop living defeated, distant and guilty...And start trusting what that Death meant! Start seeking Him boldly... Start worshiping in confident joy! Live a life of joy worthy of one set free from their mistakes!
Anything less, is to insult Him, and break His heart!
Have you accepted His Life as your own? Truly? If so... Live consciously of His Will in every action...
Every decision... in abandonment… WHATEVER THE COST! Live life, make decisions…As a literal act of worship and trust! And stop just asking Him to bless YOUR Will...But live to be a blessing to Him... By seeking His! The biggest... Hardest step you may ever take...
Is in swallowing your pride... And admitting the Truth your life may reveal about your Acceptance of Christ! Some of you may truly love Him...But you did not realize the depth of what He wants from us in accepting His New Life... So make today the first day of a renewed heart and desire to follow your King!
Some of you may truly love Him...But you have lived broken and defeated in unworthiness...Not realizing the depth of what He it meant to accept His Death...Making you beautiful, untouchable... Hidden with Him!
Accept that beauty... And finally come to Him the way He died to let you come... Confident and embraced! And honestly, some of you... Have truly NOT loved Him at all... Ever...You have simply claimed His Name…And yet continue to make your own path with no thought as to His Desires or Will for your life first...You continue to purposefully sin... Get drunk, get high, lust, live together, withhold forgiveness, live arrogantly, pridefully, selfishly... Or you just live a "good" life... That's ALL about you...
With no real sacrifice for God or anyone else! And you think you are Ok... Because you had that one moment where you "Accepted Christ" You have accepted NOTHING...And you are destroying His Name before the world! And if YOU don't stop to consider the possible Truth now... No one else will be able to tell you until THAT Day... When HE has to reveal your heart!
Matthew 7:21, 23 (NKJV)
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven... ' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Nothing about this message has to be hard or depressing...As a matter of fact... It CAN end as the greatest message you've ever heard! Come to Him NOW... Accepting Him, maybe for the first time!
Not just because you need saving... Though you do! Not just because time is short... Though it is!
But because He loves you so much... And HE is worth it!
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