Summary: Jesus came to give us life, but we are at war. Therefore, we must wake up and fight for our life.
WAKE UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!
OPENING FUNNY STORY: As the coals from our barbecue burned down, our hosts passed out marshmallows and long roasting forks. Just then, two fire trucks roared by, sirens blaring, lights flashing. They stopped at a house right down the block. All twelve of us raced out of the back yard, down the street, where we found the owners of the blazing house standing by helplessly. They glared at us with looks of disgust. Suddenly, we realized why… we were all still holding our roasting forks with marshmallows on them.
OPENING QUOTE: “Has God abandoned us? Did we not pray enough? Is this just something we accept as ‘part of life,’ suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts? After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set. I know, I know – we’ve been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that He means us well. I mean, if that’s true, then why didn’t he ___? Fill in the blank… What is really going on here? Good grief – life is brutal. Day after day it hammers at us, till we lose sight of what God intends toward us, and we haven’t the foggiest idea why the things that are happening to us are happening to us.” (John Eldredge, Waking the Dead).
VIDEO CLIP: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Play until 1:11
In The Two Towers there is a king who is reluctant to go to war. Theoden is fearful and timid. An army is marching through his lands, an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men. Villages fall; women and children are slain. Still Theoden balks: "I will not risk open war." Aragon says, "Open war is upon you… whether you would risk it nor not."
QUOTE: Leif Enger said, “We and the world, my children, will always be at war. Retreat is impossible. Arm yourselves.”
This Bible verse is one of the most powerful but perplexing ones in the Scriptures!
Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
“God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed… There is a thief… In other words, the offer is life, but you’re going to have to fight for it because there’s an Enemy in your life with a different agenda. There is something set against us.” (John Eldredge).
ILLUSTRATION: Look at all of the movies that are most popular: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Braveheart and Gladiator. These stories are all about a great cosmic battle between good and evil, and are a reflection of the true story – the story of God and the Bible!
• Paraphrase the story from the creation of man in the image of God to the fall of man through Satan’s temptation, to our role in the battle today.
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus came to give us life, but we are at war. Therefore, we must wake up and fight for our life.
1. WE NEED TO WAKE UP:
“Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:14-16).
We need to wake up to the fact that Christianity is all about transformation:
“Christianity isn’t a religion about going to Sunday school, potluck suppers, being nice, holding car washes, sending our secondhand clothes off to Mexico – as good as those things may be. This is a world at war. Something large and immensely dangerous is unfolding all around us, we are caught up in it, and above all we doubt we have been given a key role to play.” (Eldredge).
• “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17).
• When you come to Jesus, He transforms your life!
• “The phoenix rises from the ashes. Cinderella rises from the cinders to become queen. The ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan. Pinocchio becomes a real boy. The frog becomes a real prince.” (Eldredge).
• All these stories point to the reality of God’s transformation in our lives.
• Jesus came to give us abundant life, but we must fight for our ‘life’.
• “1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." 4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations” (Isaiah 61:1-4).