(Cross-posted on YouVersion)
Stretch for Eternity
(Message #2 of "s t r e t c h" - Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. - www.oursaviorsbaptist.org; Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 (Notes are mine from 9 and 10:45 am service. I pray they will be useful to you. Please consider praying for me, our church, our pastor.)
What "s t r e t c h" is (Philippians 3:10-17)
--- Stretch for Eternity ---
(1) Know the NEED - why it's a big deal
- Everyone DIES
When you're young, it's not something you think much about. But as you get older, you begin to think about it more and more. It's like a backpack with a coffin in it. When you're young, it's easy to carry, but as you get older, it starts to impact your decisions.
Steve Jobs Stanford Address
Third story: "If you live each day if it were your last day, some day you'll be right."
"Do I want to do what I want to do today?" if the answer is "no" for too many days in a row, it's time for a change.
"Death is the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent."
It changed the way he viewed his life, it should change the way we view our lives but also the way we view every person around us. So what's the big deal? The big deal is that it doesn't just end there.
- DEATH is forever (Hebrews 9:27)
There is no second chance for you or for the people around you - you have a single chance to get it right. What do we need to get right?
God, who created us, has expectations for us in this life.
- Life and DEATH WITHOUT CHRIST IS A TRAGEDY (Philippians 3:16-19)
"I say with tears: Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction [...] their mind is on earthly things."
This isn't non-existence, this is isn't elimination, this is an eternity in hell, away from Jesus.
This is the future for your children, your neighbors, the cashier or waitress who will politely deal with you today.
But it's not just their future, but their now. They're living and struggling and fighting for things that mean nothing in the long-term. You will appear before God... it will not be an account of what you've done, how you've lived, what kind of good person you were, how many people you saved from a burning building. It will be "Hey, Jesus, do you know this guy?"
- Is that FAIR? (Philippians 3:19, Romans 1:19-20)
"Their mind is on earthly things." They deliberately choose to focus on the here and now instead of on God. God has spoken through His creation, God has made His Word available, He has provided YOU.
If the neighbor you flipped burgers with last summer, if the little girl playing in the park, if the guy who fixed your plumbing - if they don't know Jesus, that is a TRAGEDY.
(2) Know the SOLUTION (Philippians 3:20-21) -- THE GOSPEL
- The gospel is
* SOVEREIGN - Begins with God (not the 'big guy upstairs who slaps our hand' - no, this is God - holy, infinite, righteous, our creator, loving Father, wrathful judge who so hates sin, but still so wants a relationship with us)
* SIN - we are all born evil. We are born in sin and we rebel against God almost right from the beginning. All God wants is a relationship with us, but we are all captive to the devil. There's nothing we can do to come to God, God must come to us.
* SUBSTITUTE - When Jesus died on the cross, He suffered the wrath of God, willingly, to take our place. All of our sin is paid for in Jesus.
* SURRENDER - Recognize God's sovereignty, recognize our sin, recognize that Jesus took our place, understand we can't get back to God on our terms. Turn your life over to God, your heart, your will, your life and allow God to refill you. This is the hope that we have to share with people, this is the solution to the tragedy.
- The gospel is not:
* KEEP TRYING HARDER
* GO TO CHURCH
* GET BAPTIZED.
* DO GOOD WORKS
(3) Know how to SHARE THE SOLUTION (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
If we have the anecdote to death, we need to know how to deliver it in a way that it will successfully combat the disease.
- Remember the four Ss
(4) DO IT! -- SHARE JESUS
Look for opportunities to share Jesus with the people God has put in your life. Ask God to open the door and you might just be amazed.
There is hope because Jesus wants to give it to you. Death is the greatest invention in life because it forces us to make choices we wouldn't otherwise make if it wasn't real.
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