Updated: Dec 7, 2021
My son and I were watching a video this morning of a comedian not only telling how his marriage was saved, but how Christ saved Him. At the very end of it all, he said “As a man, I wanted something that I want to die for. A Man is not fully alive unless he has something that he is willing to give his life up for.” WOW! If you want the Gospel plea, the submission of scripture, the service of Christ, THIS is the statement. This is the faith of Christianity summed up in simple phrasing. And Jesus is the model of that: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:12-15). This is the love that Jesus had for us. He gave up his place in heaven to live as one of us. Live a life, one that we could never live, perfect to the Father’s will, and He died to pay the penalties of our rebellion against God. He lived in complete service to God the Father and to everyone else, and died for the sake of the lost. This is the love He modeled, and now comes the hard part: is it the life that we live? Many of us, in a hypothetical situation, state that we would absolutely give up our lives for the sake of Christ. Yet, here’s the problem: many of us are not doing it NOW, so the situation in which we would give up our lives remains hypothetical. It’s not merely about giving up our lives at the end of it, whether in an act of sacrifice for others, or at the end of persecution. Dying for our faith is a process we must live every day. Consider the model of Jesus’ life: would you give up your comfort to bring people closer to God? Would you give up your own wants, wishes and desires to live in obedience to God? Would you give up your life so that others may come to know God? I don’t want you to answer these, I want you to examine your life. If you’re not doing any of these things now, the answer is no!
If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us are all too busy with school, families, jobs, and our plans for our lives and future to serve God with everything we have and are, and we certainly don’t have much time to sacrifice our lives for the sake of our brothers and sisters, families, friends and enemies. God understands. I’ll explain it to Him when I get there. Yet Jesus says to those who prophecy, cast out demons and perform miracles “I never knew you. Away from me, you doers of lawlessness.” And what is lawlessness? If all of the law hinges on “Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself,” we’re doers of lawlessness if our lives are not centered on these. We don’t know Christ because we’re not doing what He did, or keeping His commands. The call to Christ is always “Come and die.” If we’re not already in the process of dying to self by serving God and others with everything we have and are, then we’re dying in lawlessness instead of living in Christ. Matthew 7:12-27
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
A Tree and Its Fruit
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Build Your House on the Rock
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”