I recently heard the following story. On the same day at a California High School, all four of the military services were giving presentations. The Army, Navy and Air Force made their pitches; the Marines were the last to make their presentation. Knowing that his audience was young, impatient and possibly bored the Marine’s message was short. “I’m going to be straight and to the point. Most of you here will not qualify to be a Marine. If you are serious about being a soldier and you are willing to die for a cause greater than yourself, come and see me.” When it was over, the Marine recruiter had by far the largest number of people talking to him.
The call to excellence, sacrifice and dedication is mostly lost in the church today. The modern church wants to “be relevant”, mushy, tolerant to a fault and does not demand much from its members, and it shows. We, as Christians, have been losing our influence because we are lukewarm and indifferent. Some of us make Jesus want to puke (Revelation 3:16: "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.") When the church is on the move, it is always counter culture. The church thrives when it is persecuted or threatened; people will die for a worthy cause greater than themselves. The Marines are proof of this.
It is high time the church gets back to its “high calling” Christ has given us. Are we ready to lay down our life and with the help of the Holy Spirit, turn our family, friends, and neighbors from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light? In Acts 26:17-18 Paul recounts his conversion experience. The Lord says, “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'”
Brother, raise your head; you are a Child of the King, our God still reigns. Read this (Paul speaking): Acts 26:19-23 -- "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles". If we believe tradition, Paul was beheaded on a road outside of Rome.
We are powered by the Holy Spirit and protected and saved by Christ Jesus (John 17:15-23 – "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one,(this is for us today) Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." Do we honestly believe all the promises and prayers the Lord has made?
Lord, make us willing to lay down our life for you. Let us do the same as Paul. It is time to be irrelevant. May the Good Lord be with us in these days. Amen.