Summary: This sermon is about what it truly means to "lay down your life," and to live for Jesus.
Lay Down Your Life
Meridian Church of God Seventh Day
December 16th, 2000
As we begin, I want us to take a moment and think about love, and what it entails. Often times, in love, a rhetoric comes around, I have heard it in “love songs” and other places. “I’d die for you”
I have said this to my wife, I am sure: “I love you, and I would die for you”
We look at this as a Christian way of life, being willing to die for Jesus, and it very well can be. But I want to submit something to you, that is the basis for today’s message.
Rather we are talking to our Lord and Savior, our spouse, or our friend it is easier to say: “I’d die for you,” than it is to say: “I’d live for you.”
That can be for a number of reasons:
1. It is not realistic to most of us that we may actually have to live up to the statement: “I’d die for you” because most of us will never be put in the position where we would actually have to follow through with what we say in that regard.
2. On the contrary, living for someone does require realistic actions. Actions that involve doing what the other person wants, putting them before yourself. It involves self-sacrifice daily, not just once.
A point to be made:
Living for someone, by definition, involves the willingness to die for that someone. As we talk today, I want you to keep that in mind. I am not saying that a willingness to die for someone is bad, I am saying it is not complete.
Jesus speaks about what we are talking about here today in John 15. We will take some time and see what He has to say, and then look at how it applies to our life.
If you will turn with me to chapter 15 of John, vs. 12:
What does this mean to us? What does it mean to “lay down your life” as it is written here in John?
The Greek word “tith-ay-mee” is the word translated as “lay down” So you get a complete picture of what the verb means, it can also be translated as “commit, give, kneel down, ordain, purpose, or set forth”
Often times, we look at this verse of “laying down your life” as “ending your life”
The Greek does paint a different picture. If I were to say to you:
“Commit your life”
“Give your life”
“Ordain your life”
“Purpose your life”
The only translation that could be interpreted as ending your life, would be “give your life,” and I submit to you that it means precisely what it says: “give your life,” not “give your death”
So, why do we think this? (in general- this vs. as “ending your life”)
Generally because when we think of Jesus “giving His life” or “laying down His life” we think of the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
But, what if Jesus had lived a carnal life, what if He had given into the “lusts of the flesh,” then went to Jerusalem and was willing to end His life and was crucified? Would it have been the same?
Do you know what makes his death so powerful? His life.
He gave His Father His life. Look at how much more we have gained from that, not because He died, but because He lived.
In verse 13, where it talks about laying down your life, the keyword is LIFE.
Jesus lived for us, and yes, He died for us as well- but the key here is that He lived for us. He lived for His Father, and He lived the life that His Father wanted Him to.
He was obedient to His Father’s will, even when maybe it was not his personal preference.
Three times Jesus went and prayed “not my will, but Yours”
He said “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” but it was not possible, He was obedient to His Father will. He truly gave His life. The apostles clearly gave their lives, not in death, but in life. They were obedient to the Father, they were obedient to the Son. They gave their lives to Jesus.
Looking at our scripture verse in John, let’s look at the context.
Vs. 14 brings into play the role of obedience. Just as the Son was obedient to the Father, so should we be obedient. In vs. 14 He says we are His friends. Hopefully, He is our friend. He gave us His life, we too, should give Him our life.
GIVE YOUR LIFE
What does that mean, give Him our life? Can we give our life to someone only one day a week, or only a few hours a week? Is that really giving someone your life?