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Summary: The Incarnation of Jesus Christ drew a line in the sands of time. Jesus Christ is the separation of "old" and "new." As we celebrate His coming we also look forward to a new year and are encouraged to draw lines in the sand.

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Drawing Lines in the Sand

Philippians 3:13-14

Introduction: The Incarnation of Jesus Christ drew a line in the sands of time. The birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ are the "turning points" in world history. It is interesting to note that the purpose of the BC / AD dating system we use was to make the birth of Jesus Christ the dividing point of world history. We designate time in our culture from Christ’s Birth – BC, Before Christ and AD, Anno Domini or in the year of Our Lord. The coming of Christ marked the end of the Old Covenant under the Law and the beginning of the New Covenant under Grace. It is fitting, therefore, that Jesus Christ is the separation of "old" and "new." As we celebrate His coming we also look forward to a new year and are encouraged to draw lines in the sand.

I. Drawing a line in the sand sets boundaries in our lives.

A. Drawing lines in the sand says I will not go beyond this point.

B. Knowing where our lines are helps us to know what we value and who we are. Those boundaries should encompass both what we believe and what we do.

C. Doctrinally we are to set boundaries based on the Word of God. We must stand firm in our faith, or we will not stand at all.

1. 1 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

2. A recent survey revealed that 83 percent of evangelical Protestants agreed that good people of other religions can go to heaven. Ninety percent of black Protestants also believe good people can go to heaven. When prodded further, more than half, 54 percent, of evangelical Protestants said yes, people of religions other than Christianity can go to heaven. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants agreed with the statement.

3. Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

4. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

D. Martin Luther is an example of one who was willing to draw a line in the sand. Luther, who through the church's excommunication for his teaching that the just shall live by faith was declared an outlaw and was summonsed to Worms to appear before the Emperor. Both the Roman church and Emperor wanted Luther to recant his teachings while he was there. But Luther drew a line in the sand as declared, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."

E. Morally we need to set boundaries drawing a line in the sand. Oscar Wilde said “Morality like art means drawing a line someplace.”

1. Christian Moral boundaries are set by living God's way according to biblical principles.

2. The Bible provides the boundaries and barriers for our moral actions. We are to stay within those moral boundaries.

3. Where do we draw the line when it comes to sin? For example, where do we draw the line when we are faced with decisions about drinking alcohol, taking habit forming drugs, or having sexual relations outside of marriage? Where do we draw the line as to what we see, say, or do? Do we see just how close we can get to the line and then convince ourselves we will not cross over the line? Do we run with a crowd that is always pushing the line and testing us to see just how far we will go?- adapted

4. 1 Corinthians 4:6 “...Do not go beyond what is written.”

F. Jesus was asked by the teachers of the law which was the most important commandment. "The most important one" answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31).

II. Drawing a line in the sand says I will not go back or retreat.

A. Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

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