Summary: Paul said he was ready to die. To live fully for Christ, we must be ready to die for Christ.
Ready to Die Ready to Live
Acts 20:22 Going without Knowing – we can trust God when the way is not clear.
Acts 20:37-38 Loving and Leaving – sometimes God’s will requires us to leave people we love. (Crying at 8th Grade Promotion)
Ready to Die: In order to truly live, we have to come to a place in our lives where we are ready to die.
How can we get to that place? We can be ready to die when…
1. When God’s will seals the deal v. 4-5 Paul is going to Jerusalem.
An Argentine evangelical pastor was born again when a psalm book he was holding deflected a bullet fired at close range.
a. Better to be in God’s will than in a false sense of security.
b. We are not persuaded by the voices of reason and logic v. 4
c. Well meaning people will try to keep you down on their level.
2. When God’s voice determines our choice.
a. We open ourselves to prophets and prophecy v. 8-11
b. We hear God in multiple ways.
c. How are you hearing God?
3. When Our devotion overcomes our emotion v. 13
a. Emotions are fine – we all have them. But we cannot be controlled by them.
b. Greg Laurie: Not sincere: it is like watching a military parade.
4. When We follow other examples:
a. Jesus overcame his feelings. Not my will, but yours be done.
b. Isaiah 50:7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.
c. Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
d. Thomas: Let’s go die with him!
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
5. When We experience freedom (Paul is not planning to die)
Australia paid cash bonuses to 16,000 dead people as part of a multi-billion dollar stimulus package designed to kickstart the economy.
a. Some people are not really alive: A person who will not die for something never really lives for anything.
b. The irony of the Christian life is that death brings life.
c. Not the same as fatalism – but freedom (we want to live!)
d. The length of life does not determine the value of life (how we live is more important than how long we live.)
Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live. ~Henry Van Dyke
6. Are you ready to die? Have you given your life to God?
A survey found that 10 out of 10 doctors have determined that everyone dies.
Eternity is Reality. We are in it right now!
"I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived." ~Willa Cather
Most of us will not die for our faith, in a war, or for some cause…
The real issue we face is will we die to ourselves…
• Will we die to demanding our own way?
• Will we die to wanting to be popular
• Will we die to wanting to be noticed
• Will we die to our spiritual laziness
• Will we die to the distractions from God
• Will we die to compromise with the world and sin
"People living deeply have no fear of death." ~Anaiïs Nin, Diary, 1967
7. Heavenly Places: we let go of our hold on this world.
a. We don’t have to die to experience “heaven.”
b. God wants to get us to an incredible place, but we have to let go of our grip on average and mediocre.
c. When we get to a place where we are ready to die, we will really live.
d. I am not trying to scare you to death…but to embrace life.
e. Illus: Rejection Means something better.
"Farther along we’ll know all about it. Farther along we’ll understand why.
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine; We’ll understand it all by and by."
Heidelberg Catechism Question 1: What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yes, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)
While I’m Waiting, I will serve you, I will worship you (John Waller): We don’t know what tomorrow will look like, but in the meantime we love, serve, and worship God.