"Double Blessing challenges us to reframe our perception of blessing, seeing God's gifts as opportunities for increased generosity." —Pastor Louie Giglio


Summary: Christians who carry their crosses win the attention of the world.

Sermon: "CROSS ROADS" Rev. D. Anderson

Jer. 15:15-21; Ro. 12:1-8; Matthew 16:21-26

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These words of our Lord which I am about to

read again are not very popular within our

self-indulgent generation: "If anyone would

come after me, he must deny himself and take

up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever

wants to save his life will lose it, but

whoever loses his life for me will find it.

(Matthew 16 NIV)

Our first lesson is from the prophet

Jeremiah. Like all the faithful prophets, he

was misunderstood and abused as he stood

faithful amid an unfaithful generation. He

cries in frustration to God because of the

pain. He suffers for bringing God’s word to

the people and he becomes angry with God for

this. Why doesn’t God protect Him?! Why

should the messenger suffer on account of the


It isn’t fair! The cross of our Lord Jesus

Christ wasn’t fair! It was completely

unfair! It was an innocent man suffering the

penalty for a planet of criminals!

As with the Lord, the best that our planet

has had to offer has been ridiculed and

harmed throughout history. Cain kills Abel!

Angels are endangered in Sodom. Joseph is

thrown into jail on false charges. Elijah

despairs so deeply over the unfaithfulness of

Israel that he wants to die.

Paul sums up the unfair lot of the faithful

very well when he was inspired to write in


37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two;

they were put to death by the sword. They

went about in sheepskins and goatskins,

destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- 38

the world was not worthy of them. They

wandered in deserts and mountains, and in

caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11


No--life isn’t fair toward the godly, and yet

it is through the godly, as they carried

their crosses, that the world has been

changed for the better.

There’s something gripping about that person

who stands in the tempest of worldly ways and

will not let go of God’s truth! There is a

winning power in that individual who shows

godly, sacrificial love in a world where most

people are only looking out for #1!

At this point (I want to warn you in

advance), the message is going to sound a bit

hard... a bit tough on Christians living in

America today. Yet my friends, a true word,

though bitter, is better than all the sweet

falsities of human history!

The truth is that many Christians today are

not committed to Jesus Christ. They place

everything before the worship and service of

God. They are like the "rice Christians" in

China before the communists took over.

The "rice Christians" were converts to

missionary work who became Christians not for

spiritual reasons, but because of the

material benefits that came their way.

One million protestant conversions had taken

place before the communist take over in

China, but these were mostly "rise

Christians" --Christians for personal gain.

In America today (if we simply look at the

ratios of those who claim to be Christian

over against those who are active within a

church body) we will conclude that most

American Christians are "rice Christians"

They seldom worship... they will not

sacrifice personal wants to give

substantively to the financial needs of the

church... and these "rice Christians" avoid

serving in the church.

They want the business connections... they

want a place for family baptisms, marriages

and burials... but the bottom line is that

they want to be served, and not to serve...

They want the sacrifices... but not to

sacrifice. And we see this within our own

parish family....

After the Communist take over in China great

persecution came upon the church. During

what the communists called the "Great Leap

Forward," regular church services were

outlawed. Informal, secret cottage meetings

become the norm, and pastors and Christian

leaders were beaten, killed, and imprisoned.

Yet during the persecution, as genuine

Christians in China carried great crosses,

the genuineness of their faith and love

became infectious and the church of dedicated

saints began to grow.

Christians visited those who had lost loved

ones, prayed for the sick, and even sought

God for miraculous healings. In one case, a

small Christian group cared for a communist

teacher who had become sick. So genuine was

their compassion that by the power of the

Holy Spirit the teacher became a Christian.

The teacher returned to school and was

ridiculed. She was required to go before a

public meeting. Here she protested their

hostility. "When I was ill," she pointed

out, "you did nothing to help me. It was the

Christians who did everything!"

The fact of Christians active in sacrifice

and service shamed the teacher’s critics into

silence. In this way, under the shadow of

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