Summary: How do I "sign up" for God’s Army?
OPEN: Three military recruiters showed up to address high school seniors. Each recruiter - representing the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps - was to have fifteen minutes. But the Army and Navy recruiters got carried away, and so when it came time for the Marine to speak, he had just two minutes.
He walked up and stood utterly silent for a full sixty seconds, half of his time. Then he said this: "I doubt whether there are two or three of you in this room who could even cut it in the Marine Corps. But I want to see those two or three immediately in the dining hall when we are dismissed."
He turned smartly and sat down.
When he arrived in the dining hall, those students interested in the Marines were a mob.
APPLY: One of the most powerful images, for the US military, has got to be the Poster of Uncle Sam pointing his finger and saying “I want you.” (show “Uncle Sam” image).
In times of war or conflict, those posters are practically everywhere: the Post Office, Grocery Stores, etc., with Uncle Sam telling everyone everywhere “I want you.”
In the same way, throughout the entire Bible God is saying to everyone, everywhere: I WANT YOU!
In one of his letters, Peter declares: “The Lord…is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
God wants you.
He wants you so badly that He paid a high price to recruit you.
In fact, years before Jesus came to earth in mortal form, Isaiah 52:10 prophesied that “The LORD (would) lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
Centuries before Jesus came, God told His people that He would spare no expense in bringing salvation.
ILLUS: Several years ago, there was 14 year-old girl (Laura Montero) whose appendix burst while she and her family vacationed on a cruise ship off the Baja Coast. The ship was hundreds of miles from help, and the crew sent out a distress call looking for the nearest surgical unit.
The USS Ronald Reagan was about 500 miles away – and they answered the call. The Carrier was in the midst of training exercises – but the crew of 6000 stopped and turned its ship around and steamed 250 miles through the night to get within helicopter transport range.
Laura was airlifted on board and doctors performed the life-saving surgery.
The cost: 2.5 million dollars per day. (from an article by Lisa Mikitarian)
Two and half million dollars! That’s a lot of money.
How’s that family ever going to pay for that?
The cost way is too high.
But the US government believed this little girl was worth saving, so gave her a FREE gift of life.
Two and half million dollars!
That’s a lot of money, but God paid a much higher price to obtain our allegiance:
"For God so loved the World that He... (gave His only begotten Son)."
God loved us so much that He sacrificed the most important thing in the world to Him. How are we ever going to pay for that?
As Ephesians tells us: “…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” Eph 2:4-5 & 8
You couldn’t pay for that if you wanted to, the price was too high. But God thought you and I were worth saving.
He wants you!
So, He gave you and I the free gift of life.
So, we’re saved by Grace.
It’s a free gift.
God’s done everything to redeem us.
But, if that’s true, does that mean there’s nothing for us to do to accept His gift?
There are people who teach that once God decides to save you you’re saved – and you don’t have to do anything to be accepted. You’re saved whether you want to be or not.
ILLUS: The US used to have a process like that. It was called the Draft. Back during the Viet Nam War they had a kind of “lottery” where 366 blue plastic capsules, containing birth dates, were placed in a large glass container and drawn by hand and assigned "order-of-call" numbers to all men within the 18-26 age range as specified in Selective Service law.
For example, if they pulled October 11th first… that date was designated as #1. And if you were born on that day of the year, you may as well pack your bags, because you were in the army now.