A sermon excerpt, given by Pastor Scott on December 1, 2013. Watch the full sermon at: http://simplyjes.us/YThXxI
Now that Halloween is over and everyone has put away their costumes and scarfed down every last bite of candy, it’s time for us to go into one of my favorite holidays of the year, Thanksgiving.
The first question in everyone’s mind is, “What do I have to be thankful for?” For some, this is an easy question. For others, this is a difficult question. There is, however, something we all have to be thankful for this year.
The preacher calls out “Stand to your feet!” and for an inexplicable reason, my heart is pounding uncontrollably. I feel anxious, and somehow I know that if I don’t follow his exhortation to stand, this could very well be the last opportunity I have to choose God. A tug-of-war in my mind ensues; excuses and fears pull my heart away from Jesus, but then unexpectedly, instantly, and boldly, in a moment of faith and courage that was not in me before, I stand to my feet. The crowd disappears, my worries dissipate, and now I don’t care what they think; it’s just Jesus and me. Tears flood my eyes as I realize it is my sin that He paid for on the cross at Calvary… and yet He loves me. God isn’t angry with me; He accepts me even with my extreme imperfection. Then the preacher instructs us to come forward. We gather near the stage, and while I know that he encouraged and prayed for us, I really can’t recall what he said. What I do know is that this moment was both the end and the beginning. It was the end of my life, as I had known it and the beginning of my new life in Christ. It was the most imperative day of my life; the day I was transformed by the grace of God.
Easter provides a unique opportunity for the Gospel as we focus in on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Above is glimpse of what coming forward may have looked like. Perhaps you heard the call to “come forward” as the Spirit of God brought conviction of sin upon your heart. While physically getting out of your seat does not determine the validity of your response to this call, it can be discernably measured. James 2:17-18 says it this way: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…I will show you my faith by my works.” The proof that you have come forward is conveyed by how you go forward.
Did you know that a pint of blood could save up to three lives? By donating blood, you are helping to contribute to the ready supply of blood that saves countless lives. Many blood recipients would not have survived the medical trauma they endured without the extra life-sustaining blood they received.