Summary: Anybody can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God knows how many apples are in each seed.
Have you ever noticed that people need to be around other people? Yet, all too often, what do we do? We tend to build walls around ourselves and keep other people out. We draw lines between us and concentrate more on our differences than our similarities.
A man was a witness to another man jumping off the bridge once. He told the police how it happened. “I was just walking along, minding my own business when I see this guy who was going to jump off the bridge. I yelled to him to please stop, that there was too much to live for.
He asked me what I was talking about and I asked him if he was religious or atheist. He said religious, and I said, ‘Me, too!’ I asked him if he was Protestant or Catholic, and he said he was protestant and I said, ‘Me too!’ I asked him if he was Baptist or Church of Christ and he said Church of Christ, and I said, “Me too!’
Then I asked him if he were Church of Christ Instrumental or non-instrumental, and he said he was non-instrumental, so I said, “Good-bye you heretic”, and pushed him really hard!
This little story was told to add humor to the sermon, but in reality, it shows a very sad truth about mankind, doesn’t it? It goes to show that jokes like these are born out of very real and very tragic divisions that serve to do nothing more than to separate God’s children.
Why push other believers away when Jesus prayed that we would be as one? Why do we have to use words like “Heretic” to describe someone else who is struggling, just as we are, to know the full truth of Jesus Christ?
That’s why it breaks my heart to hear someone stand on their soapbox and proclaim exactly who is going to hell. When someone does that, have you ever noticed how it is always somebody else instead of them?
Jesus was not a giver of condemnation without also offering a way to receive redemption. He never once left someone for dead and condemned them to hell. When he spoke harsh words He always left the door of faith open. He had compassion for everybody.
But, even though Jesus did that, we are too eager to pronounce people condemned, offering harsh words to them, and then walk away from them – leaving them with no chance to receive Christ. We do that while screaming “Evangelize” from the pulpit and the pews each Sunday.
1. A REAL URGENCY EXISTS TO REACH PEOPLE FOR CHRIST
People are dying every day. If Christians do not reach out to others for Christ, the alternative for their souls is worse than we can even imagine. We never know when someone is going to die, so the necessity of reaching them becomes more urgent than ever before. Today, we are going to talk about Christians who cannot identify the real enemy.
This past Friday was the day we set aside to honor our military veterans. Even though this is not a Veterans’ Day sermon, I do want to take this time to honor all of those who have done so much to keep our country free. This is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave, isn’t it?
But something has happened over the last 25 years. We have become disassociated with honor; we have lost the definition of valor; and we have forgotten what freedom is all about. We went from throwing parades for returning soldiers to spitting on them as they returned from Viet Nam.
Today, we still are not honoring our veterans. We are so busy aiding and abetting the enemy by hating the government, that we take all honor away from our veterans. It is all well and good to disagree with any sitting government, but not to the point where we dishonor our vets. Let us remember that our soldiers must do what they are told to do, and we MUST give them honor for doing so. Having been there, I graciously tip my hat to every soldier and sailor who has stood in harms way to protect our right to enjoy our many blessings.
The Bible tells us that much is expected from those whom God has blessed. If that is the case, every American owes God very much indeed. And I thank God that there are some who are willing to pay that price without shirking our duty and without complaining about it.
One such man was named Pat Tillman. I had the privilege of having talked with Pat while I was in Arizona. The last time I spoke to him was about a week before he went to Afghanistan.
For those of you who have not heard of Pat, he was a safety on the Arizona Cardinals football team. He gave up a $3.6 million dollar a year contract and one of the most promising careers in pro-football to join the Army as an E-1. If you are not familiar with military ranking, that would be the bottom of the heap. He decided to join the military after 9/11, saying that he could not take the benefits of living in this country if he couldn’t also defend her in time of need. That is something too many of us are not willing to do any more.