Summary: Is your faith worth dying for?
Worth Dying For
September 11, 2005
Four years ago the clear skies of New York, Washington D.C. and rural Pennsylvania were pierced by hijacked airplanes and a diabolical plan to pierce the soul of our nation. One year ago we woke up from our dreaming and found ourselves living in a nightmare. One year ago we watched as planes become missiles, icons were reduced piles of rubble, lives were lost and hearts were broken. One year ago we watched as our false security was shattered and millions were drawn back to God in masses only to leave Him once the crisis was over.
Four years ago, we realized how very fragile life truly is and we were given a reminder of the things that mattered. We hugged our kids and grandchildren a little tighter. We told our spouses that we loved them a little more often. We prayed to God with a little more sincerity. We were given a wake up call from the pits of Hell only to allow Satan to lull us back to sleep. Life is not the same as it was on September 12th because we are more like we were on September 10th.
On September 11th, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives at the World
Trade Center, the Pentagon and in rural fields in Pennsylvania. It was the most devastating attack ever to happen on American soil, carried out by 19 cowards who killed in the name of religion.
One thing does stand out about those 19 men, they were willing to die for what they believed in. Did you know that since September 11th Islam is the fastest growing faith in the United States? When people were asked why they joined Islam, the overwhelming response: they will die for their faith.
Radical commitment, even to a false religion, draws people. This is why the church grew so much in the early centuries because it truly meant something to be a Christian. We have so watered down Christianity that it no longer means much to claim to know Jesus.
A recent survey showed this fact. People dislike church and Christianity
• Do not see demonstration of power
• Do not see changed lives
• Do not see a different belief system
The conclusion is that Christians do not believe that their faith is worth a change in lifestyle or a deep commitment.
Do you have a faith worth dying for? Does Jesus mean enough to you that you would lay down your life for Him?
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
1. Christ needs to be exalted
The meaning of exalt
The word exalt literally means to amplify, to enlarge or to magnify. Let’s be honest, Jesus already has the name above all names and the highest place in the universe. How can we do anything to increase the name of Jesus?
The Greek word used means to manifest to an extraordinary degree. We are to live our lives to the utmost for Christ. We cannot increase His name but we can increase our devotion to Him. Paul is saying that we are to strive for a deeper walk with Jesus and by doing so we magnify Him in our own lives.
Living to Exalt Jesus
Paul said that he wanted to exalt Jesus in two key ways.
1.) In his body - This means that Paul wanted to honor the name of Jesus by the way he conducted himself. In other words, he wanted to honor Jesus through his lifestyle.
2.) In his witness - Paul says that he wanted sufficient courage. The Greek word literally mean the boldness to speak. Paul had the desire to honor Jesus by sharing the love of Jesus with other people.
Living in the light of eternity
There is a dual aspect to our lives: we live here on earth with a focus on eternity. Our lives are meant to be lived with the understanding that eternity is what counts. This world is not your home. One day we will all enter into eternity and take our place at the heavenly home that Jesus has prepared. When you die, you are simply going to where you’ve always belonged. You go home.