Sermons

Summary: The story of Pfc. Jessica Lynch is a story that stirs faith and renews hope. She found herself in an unlikely place…greeting her rescuers with deep gratitude. She offered and received "Greetings from an unlikely place"!

Southern Hills Baptist Church

April 6 2003

Philippians 4: 21-23

“Greetings from an unlikely place”

Pastor Mark Hensley

Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Philippians 4: 21-23

Introduction: NASIRIYAH, Iraq (April 2) - Eleven bodies - some believed to be Americans - were found with prisoner of war Pfc. Jessica Lynch when she was rescued this past week in a U.S. commando raid on an Iraqi hospital.

Lynch, a 19-year-old Army supply clerk, was captured by the Iraqis more than a week ago after her maintenance unit made a wrong turn and was ambushed in the southern city of Nasiriyah. Twelve other members of her unit were also feared captured; five of them are officially listed as POWs.

In a green-tinted, night-vision video taken of the rescue operation and shown to reporters Wednesday, she was carried on a stretcher from a helicopter to another aircraft. A still photograph of her showed a folded American flag resting on her as she smiled and looked at the camera.

An Iraqi pharmacist who works at Saddam Hospital told Britain’s Sky television that he treated Lynch for leg injuries, Lynch had two broken legs and a broken arm, other than that she was she was healthy and that ’’every day I saw her crying about wanting to go home.’’

The pharmacist, who gave his name only as Imad, told the TV network that Lynch knew the U.S. troops were on the other side of the Euphrates River and ’’she kept wondering if the American Army were coming to save her.’’

Until Tuesday, Lynch had been listed as missing in action, and her family did not know whether she was dead or alive.

’’You would not believe the joys, cries, bawling, hugging, screaming, carrying on,’’ Lynch’s cousin Pam Nicolais said after the rescue. ’’You just have to be here.’’

The rescue operation included Air Force pilots, Marines, Navy SEALS, Army Rangers - ’’loyal to the creed they know that they never leave a fallen comrade,’’ Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the rescue a miracle.

’’God watched over Jessica and her family,’’ Rockefeller said through a spokesman in Washington. ’’All of West Virginia is rejoicing!

Transition: Placed against her will in a strange location, surrounded by hostile people wondering …praying, hoping against all odds that she would eventually come back home. The story of Pfc. Jessica Lynch is a story that stirs faith and renews hope. She found herself in an unlikely place…greeting her rescuers with deep gratitude.

In much the same way today in a message titled “Greetings from an unlikely place” the Apostle Paul living as a captive in a prison in Rome will relay greeting from a surprising source!

Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Philippians 4: 21-23

Notice:

The importance of Christian friendship

The inclusion of those saved in Caesars household.

The encouragement of grace.

I. The importance of Christian friendship Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings.

Paul remembers familiar faces that were now the source of warm memories. When we read the word Saint, it can be an intimidating word! It’s a word that seems to fit a super Christian, someone who walked with the Lord when he was here, those who saw with their own eyes is amazing miracles and ministry.

If in fact you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you are a Saint! There are only two kinds of people you will ever meet the Saint’s and the aint’s!

The term “saint” is used more of children of God than any other name from Acts through Revelation.

1. Saint or saints is used 60 times.

2. Disciples is used 26 times.

3. Christian is used 3 times.

We don’t use this term much today because it has come to mean someone who has been set apart by God to be holier than everyone else.

CATHOLIC VIEW OF SAINTS

The process begins five years after someone has died

You become “venerable” when your life has been thoroughly examined and approved.

Next is beatification if you performed a miracle in life. Catholics believe for sainthood you had to have performed two posthumous miracles.

But the Bible is very clear that Saints are those who have repented of their sins and received Christ into there lives!

And so Paul wants his greeting to be sent to those who like Him have had their life wonderfully altered by the friendship of God through his glorious son!

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