Summary: A 9-11 remembrance sermon.

Luke 9:22-26

“The Art of Being A Hero”

By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, a hero is a person of great strength and courage who is regarded by others as an ideal or model.

Sadly, many of those whom we give the title of hero too are not good role models…

…many people are considered heroes who have achieved a certain level of material wealth or worldly fame….no matter how uncourageous or morally weak they may be!

Many of us in America have gotten our ideals all twisted up…

…but on September 11, 2001, in a matter of a few seconds two symbols of American prosperity came crashing to the earth!

September 11th shocked this nation, and in remembering that tragic day: let us gain a renewed respect for those who have proven themselves to be true heroes!

The firefighters, police, and rescue workers who risked their lives and even gave their lives to save others are true heroes!

And who better than some of these heroes is there…as we remember the events of September 11…to remind us of the Ultimate Hero---Jesus Christ—Who gave His life, not just for a community, but for the entire world?

Jerry Sillcocks is a New York firefighter and a Christian who helped search for survivors at “ground zero.”

He writes that he and his co-workers called this place the “pit.”

“Almost everywhere I looked, mighty columns of steel were twisted into sad, pointless sculptures, towering over the tragic scene as we worked to find survivors…gray smoke was everywhere…

…I’m no theologian—I’m a New York firefighter—but I can’t imagine Hell being much worse than the ‘pit.”

…. “I have no idea what Hell is truly like…” Jerry writes, “But I’ve seen a place so bad that I want to do everything I can to make sure my friends, family, and neighbors know Jesus and will spend eternity with Him.”

And this is the job that all of us are called to do!

If September 11 can teach us anything….anything good at all….

….certainly it shows us that by following the model of Christ….ordinary Christians like you and me can be heroes!!!

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

One thing September 11 has shown us is that we never know…none of us ever know how much time we have—or how much time those around us have…therefore it is imperative that we spread the news of the saving Gospel of Christ with everyone we can!

On the morning of September 11, Jeannie Braca switched on the television to check the weather report, only to hear that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center.

Jeannie’s husband, Al, worked as a corporate bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald.

His office was on the 105th floor of Tower One.

Al had gone to work as he normally did that morning.

Al had survived the World Trade Center bombing in 1993….

…he had even helped a woman with asthma escape from the building.

Jeannie knew that Al would do the same thing this time, “I knew he would stop to help and minister to people,” she said, “but I never thought for a minute that he wouldn’t be coming home!”

Sometimes the cost of being a hero is our very lives.

“What good is it” asks Jesus, “for a person to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

This is a saying of Jesus which is found in all 4 Gospels, and in two Gospels He says it more than once. No other saying of Jesus is given this much emphasis!

To “forfeit” means to lose what is of greatest value.

And that which is of greatest value is eternal life with God forever!

Yet, how many of us forfeit this greatest of all gifts…this greatest of all treasures through the pursuit of wealth, honor, privilege, and carnal satisfaction?

It just doesn’t make any sense!!!

How deceptive are the things of this world…and how crafty is Satan…that so many people are willingly giving up their lives…being caste away to hell for these empty treasures which never truly satisfy!

It’s the great lie that too many of us believe!

It’s the great snare or trap of the devil!

Kurt Cobain, the former lead singer of the hugely successful rock band—Nirvana—spent his entire young life so miserable because he had not yet achieved the fame of being a rock star.

Once he became the most famous rock star of his generation---he was so miserable with his fame that he killed himself at the age of 27.

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