Text: Romans 14.9 “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
All too common among Christian people there is a lack of victorious living. A failure to arrive at the fullness of the Christian experience is there – a lack of genuine love for their fellows, a starvation of real joy, no deep-
And church attendance. Recent statistics for Australia show that 62% of professing Roman Catholics claim weekly attendance at public worship. Next below that was 53% of Baptists. Probably only about 20 to 30% of Methodists attend church weekly. Of course statistics can often be misleading. But surely it is better for us to be concerned if that means we will do something about it.
Then what of those who show little or no interest? From the non-
At an open-
Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world's golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying: Christian love me more!
It is time that each one of us, as Christians, examined ourselves to see what place we have given God in our lives. How often we pray, “Your I will be done…” and are cold ourselves to our Lord's commands. In our prayers we cry out, “Lord, Lord!” Yet the one to whom we are praying said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6.46)
“For this very reason Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord...” (Romans 14.9). Is this the Word of God, or did Paul unconsciously lie? If it is true, is Jesus meant to be our Lord here and now? If he is meant to be, then is he? If not, then why have we not allowed him to be?
Firstly, it was to this end that we were created. The Bible says in Colossians 1.16, “… all things were created by him and for him” Also, verse 18, “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
God has created us with a purpose –that we may find in his service our highest joy. Our lives were made for obedience to God, but it was still made a choice. We were given a free will.
The Israelites, God's chosen people, still had to face up to this challenge and be made to “oe the line” We recall that, when Moses was up Mount Sinai, they started to worship a calf of gold. In the time of Joshua too, the temptation was there, and we read in Joshua 24.15-
Even though we are offered a choice, let us not underestimate the right that God has to our lives as our Creator.
If I were to make a watch, it would certainly not be so that it could be used against myself. I would feel, and rightly so, that I had a right to it. I would want to be able to keep it, sell it or do with it whatever I decided. I had made it myself and I would love and treasure it — even the roughest sand castle is loved and treasured by the child who made it. I would want the best for my watch. Yet if, when put on test, I discovered that it was impossible for it to keep good time, I might find it necessary to put it back into the melting pot.
Of course, the watch hasn't much free will — any fault in its construction is my fault. But, with us, God has created us and given us a free will, so that we become responsible to him for our lives. Our God, the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, is a God of Mercy and Judgement as we readily see read the story of the Great Flood. Paul says in Romans 6.23, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” By free will we have rejected God. Now, by free will, we must accept his gift.
Realising then, that God, being our Creator, has the right to be Lord of our lives, let us realise, secondly, the claim he has that death of Jesus Christ.
At the Cross, Jesus overcame once and for all the one would keep us from the Father. By faith, we enter into his victory. He gave himself completely so that we might be saved. What have we given him? One of the hymns in our hymn book (MHB 391) puts it this way:
Thy life was given for me,
thy blood, O Lord, was shed,
that I might ransomed be,
and quickened from the dead:
thy life was given for me,
what have I given for thee?
(Also verses 2-
Let us picture that Sacrifice. At many points Jesus could have turned back. In the Garden, he cried out to the Father; when the soldiers came, he could have called down 12 legions of angels; in the judgement hall, he could have answered back the false accusations; from the Cross, he could have descended to confront his scoffers; he would not accept drugs until his time was finished. Here is the supreme Sacrifice – God-
Thy life was given for me;
what have I given thee?
Count Zinzendorf said, “I thought that I should not be worthy of my Saviour if I did not offer to him what I loved the most.” Read through his hymns, of which we have several translated by John Wesley. This was the controlling thought of his life. His Saviour had done so much for him. He could not repay, but at least he could give his all.
Then let us enthrone him in our lives. Let us cry out with the apostle, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” And with Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” He will make his will plain — perhaps through the Bible, or something said by a fellow Christian, or he may speak directly to us and give us an inner conviction. But when he speaks, what will we do?
Friends, the Lord has a lot of things to do in this world. Do you fit into his pattern? Is he your Lord? Have you taken up your cross to follow him? The Lord needs each of us in his great harvest. Are we really doing our part?
Our church is starting on a Christian Development Program. Many will probably be giving more to the work of the church. Supposing we give a tenth, what of the other nine-
Friends, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1.22) “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord.” (Romans 14.9) Then let us all dedicate ourselves him who created us, and saved us through his own blood.
© Peter J Blackburn, Walkervale Methodist Church, Bundaberg, Qld, 16 August 1958. Slightly edited with Bible references now from NIV.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984..
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