Sermons

Summary: We must have sacrificial and unconditional love for all people because Jesus showed us this way to love others.

IT WAS NOVEMBER 19, 1863, WHEN PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN SPOKE IN GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, SAYING “...WE HAVE COME TO DEDICATE A PORTION OF THAT FIELD, AS A FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR THOSE WHO HERE GAVE THEIR LIVES THAT THAT NATION MIGHT LIVE. IT IS ALTOGETHER FITTING AND PROPER THAT WE SHOULD DO THIS. BUT, IN A LARGER SENSE, WE CAN NOT DEDICATE -- WE CAN NOT CONSECRATE -- WE CAN NOT HALLOW -- THIS GROUND. THE BRAVE MEN, LIVING AND DEAD, WHO STRUGGLED HERE, HAVE CONSECRATED IT, FAR ABOVE OUR POOR POWER TO ADD OR DETRACT. THE WORLD …CAN NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY DID HERE. IT IS FOR US THE LIVING, RATHER, TO BE DEDICATED HERE TO THE UNFINISHED WORK WHICH THEY WHO FOUGHT HERE HAVE THUS FAR SO NOBLY ADVANCED. IT IS RATHER FOR US TO BE HERE DEDICATED TO THE GREAT TASK REMAINING BEFORE US -- THAT FROM THESE HONORED DEAD WE TAKE INCREASED DEVOTION TO THAT CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY GAVE THE LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION -- THAT WE HERE HIGHLY RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN.”

WHEN MILITARY PERSONNEL GIVE UP THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY’S FREEDOM, IT IS ALWAYS CONSIDERED THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. WE HEAR THE WORDS OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN THAT WE LIVE IN LIBERTY BECAUSE THEY DIED FOR FREEDOM.

IF WE ARE TO MAINTAIN THIS FREEDOM, WE MUST, AS LINCOLN STATED “…BE DEDICATED HERE TO THE UNFINISHED WORK WHICH THEY WHO FOUGHT HERE HAVE THUS FAR SO NOBLY ADVANCED.” WE NEED TO FIND WITHIN OURSELVES SUCH DEVOTION. IF ANYTHING OF VIRTUE IS TO SURVIVE, THERE MUST ALWAYS BE A PEOPLE WHO WILL RISE UP AND PASSIONATELY DEFEND AND UPHOLD IT.

THE SAME IS TRUE FOR OUR FAITH! THE WORK OF GOD’S KINGDOM IS UNFINISHED AND WE MUST TAKE UP THE MANTLE FROM THOSE WHO HAVE COME BEFORE US IN AGES PAST.

WE MUST TAKE THE HELM, STAND OUR GUARD WITH AN UNWAVERING RESOLVE TO BE A HOLY, OBEDIENT, AND RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE WHO LIVE OUT THE COMMANDS OF JESUS TO BE AT WORK MAKING DISCIPLES, BAPTIZING AND TEACHING OTHERS TO OBEY ALL GOD HAS COMMANDED US.

WE STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH SO STRONGLY THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN WORK WITHIN US TO BE WITNESSES IN JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA, AND TO THE END OF THE EARTH. IF WE TRULY WISH THIS TO BE SO, THEN OUR LOVE FOR JESUS CHRIST WILL COMPEL US TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR THIS MISSION.

1 JOHN 3:16, TELLS US “THIS IS HOW WE KNOW WHAT LOVE IS: JESUS CHRIST LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US. AND WE OUGHT TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.”AT FIRST THIS VERSE SOUNDS AS IF OUR RESPONSE IS UP TO US AS “OPTIONAL!” NOT SO! THE WORD FOR “OUGHT” CAN BE INTERPRETED AS “TO OWE OR BE INDEBTED,” AND “TO BE UNDER OBLIGATION.”

JESUS LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US. HE GAVE US HIS ALL AND POURED OUT ALL HIS LOVE FOR US, WILLINGLY, OBEDIENTLY AND ALL FOR OUR REDEMPTION. JESUS LED BY EXAMPLE BY SHOWING THE FULL MEASURE OF LOVE BY LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE AND DYING A SACRIFICIAL DEATH UPON THE CROSS…FOR ALL OF HUMANITY.

WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE WORD “OBLIGATION” WHICH MEANS “AN ACT OR COURSE OF ACTION TO WHICH A PERSON IS MORALLY OR LEGALLY BOUND.” LAYING DOWN OUR LIVES FOR JESUS CHRIST AND FOR OTHERS IS AN ACTION WE BOUND MORALLY AND LEGALLY TO RENDER. OUR OBLIGATION TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES IS WHY SELFISHNESS AND SELF-CENTEREDNESS IS SUCH A WRETCHED ABOMINATION IN THE EYES OF GOD.

PROVERBS 16:17, LISTS ONE OF THE SEVEN THINGS THAT GOD HATES AND DETESTS ABOVE ALL ELSE. THIS ONE ATTRIBUTE IS A PERSON WITH HAUGHTY EYES. ONE WHO IS HAUGHTY IS ONE WHO HAS BECOME THE EPITOME OF THE EGOCENTRIC.

ONE WHO IS HAUGHTY HAS GONE BEYOND THE DEFINITION OF PRIDE BECAUSE NOW THEY FEEL AND BEHAVE IN A MANNER AS IF ALL OTHERS ARE INFERIOR TO THEM. THEIR THREE FAVORITE PEOPLE IN LIFE HAVE BECOME “ME, MYSELF AND I.”

NOT ONLY HAS LAYING DOWN THEIR LIFE BECOME UNTHINKABLE, BUT THE MERE TURNING OF THEIR HEAD TO SO MUCH AS GLANCE AT ANOTHER PERSON IS CONSIDERED BENEATH THEIR OWN DIGNITY. IT IS NO WONDER GOD DETESTS SUCH A SIN!

WE MUST KEEP OUR EYES OFF OURSELVES TO GUARD AGAINST PRIDE THAT LEADS TO HAUGHTINESS. WE MUST KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS WHO LEADS BY EXAMPLE. PHILIPPIANS 2:7-8, REMINDS US THAT JESUS “EMPTIED HIMSELF…TOOK ON THE VERY NATURE OF A SERVANT… HUMBLED HIMSELF BY BECOMING OBEDIENT TO DEATH - EVEN DEATH ON A CROSS!” WE, TOO, MUST LAY DOWN OUR LIVES!

THE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW WE DO THIS COME FROM THE WORDS OF JESUS IN OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE OF JOHN 15:12-13. IF WE ARE TO LIVE OUT THE COMMANDS OF JESUS, WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS HE HAS LOVED US AND, SECONDLY, LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS.

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