05/29/11 He Did, So We Should!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Under: Sermon

Memorial Day Service

Text: John 15:11-13 (HCSB)

11 I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. 12 This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”

“And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (HCSB)

Intro: “Memorial Day”. It is more than just another holiday. It is more than just a day off from work. It is more than a day that we can go to the lake or a day that we can have a barbeque. It is “Memorial Day.” It is a day set aside to remember those who have given their lives for the freedom that we as Americans all share. Freedom has never come cheaply. More than a million Americans have died in wars fighting for the freedom that we enjoy today. In the Civil War, 498,000 Northern soldiers were killed, and 133,000 soldiers from the South died. In World War One, 116,000 American soldiers died. In World War Two, 407,000 American soldiers died. 54,000 American soldiers died in Korea
, 58,000 died in Vietnam, 148 died during Desert Storm. As of May 21, 2008 there were 4,079 American Soldiers that have died in Iraq. Of course there were conflicts and causalities as well. More than a million Americans have died in wars around the world fighting for the freedom that we enjoy in this country.

We have the freedom to vote for our leadership in this nation. We have the freedom to debate who one should vote for – or not to vote for. We even have the freedom to poke fun at those who are running office and we have the freedom to say our peace when they win. We also have the freedom to worship – or not to worship as we please. But let me say it again – freedom has never been free. And so we gather today to remember. We as Americans enjoy the freedom that we have because someone has paid the price for that freedom – freedom is not free but it comes with a price. We who are gathered here today realize this fact and we pause on this day to remember.

Today, on this very day in America, people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and faiths are joining together to remember the sacrifice that our service men and women – in wars past and present – have made so that we can enjoy our freedom. Those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I can gather here and remember. And we do – remember. “No one has greater love than this – that one would lay down his life for his friends.” Our service men and women have been willing to do that very thing since the founding of our nation. When is the last time you heard of someone dying for an enemy: Christ Did. Christ laid down His own life so we who are his enemy could live!

GIVING YOUR ALL: A volunteer at Stanford Hospital, was present when a little boy decided to give the ultimate sacrifice because he loved his sister Liza. The volunteer says the little girl was dying of a rare disease, with only one chance for survival - a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother. After the doctor explained what would happen during the transfusion, the little boy agreed to give his blood to save his sister. He peacefully laid still during the transfusion. After a while, he asked the doctor a question that gave great insight into his character, “Will I start to die right away?” Apparently, the boy thought he would have to give all his blood, but was willing to do so to save his sister. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

When was the last time you were willing to lay down your life for a friend?

1. We should sacrifice:

“And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (HCSB)

Let’s ponder that thought for just a moment! “Gave Himself for us!” I’m sorry I have to say this: I really wonder if some of us deserve anyone, let alone Christ – die for us. Christ died in our place, in our stead, as our substitute. Christ tells us: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” John 10:11. “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” John 10:15.

The words “Christ gave Himself...an offering...to God for a sweet-smelling savour [smell]” gives a higher meaning to the death of Christ than just meeting our need. The word “offering” refers to the burnt offering of the Old Testament. The burnt offering was given to God not merely because of sin, but because a person wished to glorify and honor God. A person wished to show his love and adoration to God. This is an aspect of Christ's death that is often overlooked—an aspect that rises far above the mere meeting of our need. God had been terribly dishonored by the first man, Adam, and by all those who followed after him. Jesus Christ wished to honor God by showing that at least one man thought more of God's glory than of anything else. Christ wished to show that God's will meant more than any personal desire or ambition that He might have. The believer is to walk in love, just as Christ has loved us and has given Himself as an offering and a sacrifice to God. The believer is to love so much that he gives himself as an offering and a sacrifice. There is to be no limit to the offerings and sacrifice of our lives to God and to men. Remember: God's love - agapē love - is always an acting love. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8 (HCSB)

We have a hard time grabbing the idea of sacrifice. Let’s face it, it is hard to even give up our place in line - in a 10 items or less line and we have ten items and the person behind us has one. To offer them the chance to go before us, I DON’T THINK SO!

He did so we should!

2. We should suffer:

“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16 (HCSB)

Despite all this, Jesus Christ died for us. He took our sins and the guilt for them upon Himself, and He paid the judgment for them. Jesus Christ died for us. Why? Because He loves us; He loves us enough to die for us even when we oppose and do things against Him and stand against Him. If we love God, then we follow His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We love people just like He did; we love them even when they oppose and do things against us and stand against us. In fact, love is the proof that we really understand the love of Christ. If we love those who do things against us, then we know the love of Christ. But if we do not love those who oppose us, we do not know the love of Christ. We can prove whether or not we know the love of Christ by our love for others, even for those who do us evil. “Christ died for those who hated Him; and the Christian must confront...the world with a love that is ready even to die for the haters.”

“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.” 1 Peter 3:18 (HCSB)

We need to come alive in the spiritual realm!

3. We should Love:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The supreme standard of believers is the love of Jesus Christ Himself. He paid the ultimate and supreme price of love. He died and sacrificed Himself for His friends. John 3:16

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)

Conclusion: “HE did, se we should!”

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

“Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35 (HCSB)

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