Summary: Using the story from the hit movie "Saving Private Ryan", this sermon relates what soldiers did for us and how much Jesus has done for us!

"Earn This"

Philippians 1:27-30

[27] Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel

[28] without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God.

[29] For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

[30] since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.

A day set aside by our nation to honor those men and women

who have died serving our country.

This Memorial Day Weekend takes on an added significance.

We currently have soldiers in Iraq.

The last count I saw…says 192 coalition soldiers…

Have lost their lives fighting for freedom in Iraq.

As we come together this morning to worship,

How do you feel about the Memorial Day Weekend?

What are your thoughts?

What are your feelings?

Many, many years ago…I remember coming to this church house

For a Memorial Day program.

They don’t do that anymore.

Some of those Veterans are still alive…but many are dead.

The building which once served as the American Legion Hall…

Is now a church building.

There is still a Legion Post here in Bone Gap…

But about the only thing they do anymore…

Is decorate graves on Memorial Day Weekend…

And provide a Color Guard & Firing Squad

for military funerals.

My Dad says they have a hard time finding enough men for that!

Because my Dad served in World War II…

Some of my alltime favorite movies are about that War.

I loved “Patton”.

How many saw the movie “Saving Private Ryan”?

The movie is set in France during World War II.

The defense department receives notice

that a family currently has 4 sons serving in the war.

Three of those brothers have been killed.

Their 4th son is somewhere in France.

The Army decides that no mother should suffer the tragedy

of losing 4 sons to war.

So they send a team after this last son; Private Ryan.

The team must overcome countless obstacles,

not to mention the enemy,

in their search for Private Ryan.

Along the way, members of their team are wounded and killed.

They begin to ask the question:

“Why is the life of this one private

more important than the lives being sacrificed to bring him home?

Why is his life more important than theirs?

Tom Hanks is the leader of the outfit in search of Ryan.

He does his best to maintain the focus of his men.

He tells them that it’s not their place to question,

but rather to accept their mission

and carry out their orders.

Their duty is to their country.

And their country has asked them to “SAVE” Private Ryan.

Finally, they locate Ryan.

They tell him that they have orders to get him home.

But Private Ryan doesn’t want to leave his unit.

Ryan’s unit has orders!

They must keep a group of German tanks from crossing a bridge,

until adequate air support can arrive.

If they can’t hold off the tanks,

then they must blow up the bridge.

Private Ryan’s honor and sense of duty to his unit

would not allow him to walk away from a battle

that could cost his Army buddies their lives.

He didn’t feel justified in leaving for freedom and safety

and leaving them to fight.

Private Ryan convinces Hanks and his outfit to stay and fight.

He promises to leave with them after the battle.

Well, Hanks agrees,

but only if Ryan will stay out of harm’s way,

so he can make it back home.

A bloody battle follows in which many lives are lost.

Hanks’ entire outfit is killed.

But they save Private Ryan.

There’s a touching scene at the end.

Tom Hanks is dying.

Private Ryan comes to help.

But Hanks tells him to go on.

And then he says to Private Ryan, “Earn this.”

In other words, go home and live in such a way…

That you deserve the lives sacrificed to save you!


In our Bible text this morning…

Paul is writing to the Philippian Christians.

And he tells them, “Earn this:”

Live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s think about that for a moment!

Living a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are we do that?

And what exactly does it mean

to live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

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Earl Stewart

commented on Oct 30, 2012

This is a well developed sermon. It has inspired me.

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