Summary: This sermon was presented at a funeral service on how we overcome the world - the world of temporary setbacks and trouble.
¡§The Highway to Life¡¨
Scripture: 1 John 5:1-5
Text: For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (verse 4)
Having been a trucker, I¡¦m sure Ray has travelled more highways than we can imagine. I would bet though that no route was more welcomed than the one that brought him home.
Experiences like today take us on a journey that is seldom travelled any other time. The passing of one we have loved brings to the surface of our hearts mixed emotions and assessments. We usually reprioritize the pain of relationships and the negative experiences faced in life and look toward the person¡¦s positive traits. We remember the barbecues, the hiking trips or the special vacation. We recall funny moments and relive the joy they brought to our lives. This stage of living, called death is a time for personal evaluation and taking stock. It is a reminder that we must walk this same road some day. We have a tendency to reassess the things that are important to us. This evaluation is all about RELATIONSHIPS and how we will be remembered and the legacy we leave behind.
What is very comforting in times like these is the knowledge that God longs to be in relationship with us. Coupled with this knowledge is the privilege of the experience that God is with me! He shares my pain, feels my hurt, understands my anger, embraces me with my questions and doubts and loves me through the whole process of grief and recovery.
This being so, it is timely I believe to chat for a few moments about relationships and legacies, primarily, our relationship with God and how that relationship as a direct bearing on our relationship to the world. Today¡¦s Bible passage reading speaks to this and how they are related to one another. I invite you to ride with me as we explore ¡§The Highway to Life¡¨.
At first glance you may be thinking, ¡§You mean ¡V ¡¥The Highway OF Life.¡¨ However, my first reference is intended. I am not leading us to talk about this current highway of life but to capture God¡¦s plan for us as we take a journey on the highway TO the life he offers us, which is beyond our physical grasp! It begins with
1. Our relationship with God (vs 1, 3)
Relationship with Jesus Christ and deciding what to do with him is inescapable if we would be in relationship with God. The one premise that determines we are ¡¥born of God¡¦ or ¡¥belong to God¡¦ or are ¡¥part of God¡¦s family¡¦ is our belief and declaration to the world that we believe Jesus to be ¡¥born of¡¦ or is from, God.
Our second responsibility to enjoying that personal relationship is obedience to God.
The yearning of God is to be in relationship with us. He has no interest of being perceived as a cosmic force or a God who is millions of light-years away in some universe called heaven that we¡¦ll never see or understand in this lifetime. He so desires to be in relationship with us that he decided to come to earth through the person of Jesus Christ. Well-known Christian writer and Pastor Max Lucado drew attention to ¡§God wrapped up in a blanket¡¨ when he was born as the baby in Bethlehem. It is this truth that forces us to decide what to do about Jesus. Discounting him is to sever relationship with God.
Life that is everlasting, that is eternal, is discovered by recognizing Jesus as God¡¦s Son and is claimed by acknowledging that truth in our hearts. It is then the temporal existence is overshadowed by the eternal hope of heaven; it is then the realities of this life are eclipsed by the knowledge of the next!
The apostle Paul was in prison because of his faith and declared belief that Jesus is the Son of God. During that imprisonment he wrote his fellow disciples of Jesus in Philippi. The darkness of his
muddy dungeon was broken with the light of a candle on his damp and cold bed, recessed in the wall as he wrote to them, ¡§For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better.¡¨ (Philippians 1:21) His statement of faith essentially tells us that living life for Christ has untold rewards and benefits while dying reaps even better realities! Imagine how that story would be different had there been no Christ, no Son of God. I wonder what would have motivated him to get up in the morning besides the effort to get off a damp, cold, muddy bed and try to get some sunshine to warm his weakened, frail body.
You relationship to and with God is determined by what you decide to do with Jesus Christ.