Summary: Man's religion is at war with God's revelation.
“The tale is told of a soldier during the Civil War who simply could not make up his mind which side of the conflict he supported. Thus, he dressed in a blue coat and gray pants, and walked down the center of the battlefield confident of his approval by both sides…and was immediately shot by both sides! Jesus tells us we can’t be “fence riders” when the issues involve matters of eternal consequence. We must choose. “You are either with Me, or against Me,” our Lord declares, “but you cannot be both!”
A story is related of an elderly German woman who, as her village was being entered by an American unit during the final days of the Second World War, stood in the middle of the street holding a small U.S. flag. Her friends told her she was crazy; she should hide and wait to see who would win. She replied, “I already know who’s going to win, and I want them to know which side I’m on!”
Often our religion takes the form of social niceties. There is a spiritual battle raging and we speak of our “religious heritage.” The world perishes and we focus only on our own needs.
Christ did die for us and we are called to meet the spiritual needs of the Church, BUT, of primary need is our need to get down off of the pedestal of our life, turn our hearts daily toward Christ and Him crucified and follow after Hi;, in like manner to that which He walked this earth.
We are supposes to be engaged in the battle. Not spectators. A recently produced Christian discipleship film asks the question “Are you a fan or a follower?” Are you living your life connected to Christ or with Christ as an afterthought? Are we living out of the abundance and overflow of a heart which burns with the love of God or are we just going through the motions?
CIT/CIS: Pick up your Cross and follow Jesus. Choose a side in the battle.
I. Jesus didn’t come to bring peace in this world. He brings eternal peace into our temporal experience.
II. He brings a sword in this world.
a. While we are salt and light and love in this world, eternity is primary.
b. When we do good works, we display God’s eternal love and worth.
c. Love of this life separates from Christ.
d. It keeps Him at bay.
e. He calls for our Phileo, affection.
f. Not only commitment but love.
III. Salvation brings with it a radically different understanding of the world.
a. Love (Christ) transforms. Commitment (Religion) only regulates.
IV. Taking up our Cross means that we are prepared to die.
a. Not minor irritations.
b. Not subtle religious duties.
i. The heart’s intent.
ii. When you love something it consumes you.
iii. Illustration: giving Christina flowers, teddy bears, etc.
c. Salvation is not easy. Christ offers it freely but it brings with it a high cost; life change.
i. Those who misunderstand the high cost of salvation always construct “magic formulas” to cling to rather than the truth.
V. When we look at this world through the Gospel lens we find that what we have found is not worth finding.