Summary: A decision must be made; will we be a friend of the cross or a foe or enemy of the cross? This sermon looks at the characteristics of both.
FRIEND OR FOE
During a Billy Graham crusade in Australia, a Melbourne daily paper received this letter: "I have heard Dr. Billy Graham on the air, viewed him on television, and seen reports and letters concerning his mission. I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul and everyone else’s needs saving, whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost nor do I feel that I daily wallow in the mire of sin, although repetitious preaching insists that I do.
Give me a practical religion that: teaches gentleness and tolerance, that acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children goodness and not sin.
If in order to save my soul I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned."--- Galatians: Liberated For Life
When we take a mental pole of the eternal destiny of many around us, we as believers, sometimes can be shocked when we realize how many people are dying and going to hell. In reading from Paul’s inspired letter to the church at Phillipi I believe we can see two groups of people in this world. There are people we could call Friends of the cross and then there are those who Paul called Enemies of the Cross. What are some characteristics of both?
I. CHARACTERSTICS OF A FOE OR ENEMY OF THE CROSS. 18-19
A) “whose god is their belly” means their emotions and desires rule their life.
1)Three inalienable rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Many in our day have determined this to mean any thing they want to do, say, or exhibit in public, private, or on the billboards.
2) The desires of man today are more perverse, bold, and public than they have been in the history of this great Country. I believe they are reaching Sodom and Gomorra proportions.
3) It has been said that the only group that is not coming out of the closet is Christians.
B) “Whose glory is in their shame” means they take pride in the shameful things they do.
1) They march to flaunt their sinfulness.
2) They go to court to fight for the right to publicly display their profane behavior.
The National Endowment for the Arts has successfully fought for the opportunity to use tax dollars to fund “So Called Art” such as a crucifix immersed in a glass of urine.
3) These are the minority I know. But many that are lost carry the idea of “Don’t preach to me. I want to be my own person. I want the right to live any way I want to live.
4) You do……..The problem is Hebrews 10:31
C) “Who mind earthly things” means they are distracted.
1) Many people are good people….from the human perspective. They are moral, good neighbors, they give to charity maybe even to the church, they may even have their name on the church role. They are distracted by their works.
2) Many are distracted by their telling of time.
ILL. I went to the national meeting in Lubbock TX. I was napping when we crossed the time line. I got up the next morning to go to the ministers conference….walked up to the door 15 minutes early….they were finishing up the first session.
Someone said “Many people plan to be saved at the eleventh hour and the Lord is going to return at 10:30
3) Many are distracted by the lives of others. “I’ll never set foot in the door of a church because of so and so. He claims to be a Christian and he did….”
It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment; but all those who have the excuse of seeing a Christian do something that became a stumbling block will be excused. ---From the book of I Opinions out of the hope so Bible.
II. CHARACTERISTICS OF A FRIEND OF THE CROSS.
A) Broken hearted over the lost. “I tell you this with tears in my eyes.”
One of the most contradictory and profuse things that can come out of the mouth of a professing Christian is to tell someone to “go to hell.”
B) A citizen of heaven.
I am a poor way faring stranger, While traveling through this world below; There is no sickness toil, nor danger; In that bright world to which I go. I’m going there to meet my father, I’m going there no more to roam; I am just going over Jordan, I am just going over home.
C) Looking expectantly to the coming of our Lord.
1) Faithfully working until He returns.
2) Excitedly telling others about his return.
3) Longing for the completion of his promise in our life as we see this vile, sinful, pain filled body fall away and be replaced by an eternal perfected glorified body.