Summary: Salvation, (veteran’s day)
[Veterans Day observance.]
Many times when you talk about war in our country you could easily get an argument started. Some people think we should be in Iraq. Some people think we shouldn’t. Some people think all war is bad. Some people think war is sometimes the only way of securing peace. For some people the war is an opportunity to bash President Bush. For some people the war is close to home because a loved one is right in the thick of it.
Honestly I get so sick of the war being used as an item of contention. Many people have forgotten about right and wrong, and here we are today.
You know what I think? I think we need to get used to the fact that as long as we’re on this side of eternity, there’s going to be war! There always has been and there always will be.
As a matter of fact, there’s a war going on that’s way more serious than the war on terrorism. A war that’s been going on for thousands of years. A war whose effects are eternal. I’m talking about the war for our souls. The spiritual battle that will determine where our eternal soul will reside forever.
It’s a battle that no one can escape. It’s a battle that has winners and losers. And it’s a battle whose end is sure.
You see, we‘ll all live forever in one place or the other. We’re all just souls trapped in skin and bones – our souls will live on. And our soul will either live on in the presence of God in eternal bliss or our soul will live on separated from God in eternal torment. But live on, it will.
Would you indulge me in a dramatic reenactment of a plausible conversation concerning the reality of our eternal destinies?
Someone might say, “Hey wait a minute dude! I didn’t ask to be in this fight. I just want to live my life and deal with eternity later. Don’t include me in your God and eternity and soul mumbo jumbo stuff!”
My answer to that person is, “Well guess what bud, you’re in the war, I’m in the war, we’re all in the war together. And guess what else, we started the whole thing!”
And then that person might say, “No way man, no way.”
And I would say, “Way!” You see, we started this eternal war.
1. We started the war with our sin.
[Adam and Eve in the garden illustration.]
[Read Psalm 51:1-7.]
David wasn’t saying that he was some kind of evil infant. He was saying that he was born with a sin nature. That part of us that pushes us towards selfishness. That part of us that births defiance from within. That part of us that thinks unimaginable things. We’re all born with it and there’s no known cure.
Romans 3:23 says it like this, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
All of us, in some way or another, fall short of the standard that God has put forth. And since He created us, He gets to set the rules – plain and simple!
Do you remember what those basic standards are? They’re in the big ten found in Exodus 20:1-17: 1. Have no other gods before Him, (uh-oh…)
2. No idolatry
3. Don’t use God’s name in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath
5. Honor your father and mother
6. Don’t murder
7. Don’t commit adultery
8. Don’t steal
9. Don’t slander your neighbor
10. Don’t covet
Jesus melted them all into the big two found in Matthew 22:34-40:
1. Love God with all your being, (uh-oh…)
2. Love your neighbor as yourself
There’s no question that we are all sinners. Just ask the person sitting next to
you, they’ll let you know. Go ahead and ask. I’ll wait.
And you know, sin has it’s consequences. Some consequences are earthly or temporal. Some consequences are eternal.
The earthly consequences are tough to deal with, but nothing compared to the eternal consequences. The pain from the spanking will wear off. The jail time will end. The embarrassment and shame will eventually dissolve.
But eternity, well, it has no end.
[Read Romans 6:23.]
The price for our sins is our spiritual death. This refers to what Jesus talked about many times in His ministry – the reality of Hell. A place designed for the devil and his angels long before the earth was even created. But mankind decided to go that same route so he gets to end up in the same place.
Sounds like a tough war that we’re in. Sounds like a losing effort. After all, who can be perfect enough, good enough, righteous enough to always do right and impress God so much that He’ll let us into heaven? None of us can do that. Some people think they can, but they’re sadly mistaken.