Monday, November 21, 2011

Sermon Excerpt: How to Live and Not Die

By: Min. Angela Lee Price
"If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10;9).
If you could ask God one question right now, what would it be? Chances are it’s “Am I going to heaven when I die?” Going to heaven is the number one reason new Christians give for confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  We are being reminded so frequently of the reality of death so to ask that question only makes good sense. Statistics suggest more than one person is dying every second - 4,000 an hour, 96,000 a day, more than 35,000,000 a year. Approximately 1,700 service men and women have died in the war in Afghanistan and 4,500 have died in the war in Iraq. The Bible speaks clearly about death, "There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die (Ecc. 3:1-2).
Death is real.  No matter how real it is, some people refuse to think about death. Some are nonchalant about it. Others live in fear of it. Saint and sinner, rich and poor, death is no respecter of persons, not for Michael Jackson, Dorothy Height, Osama Bin Laden, Moummar Qaddafi, Pastor Zachery Tims, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, nor Andy Rooney. Just last week, former heavyweight boxing champion, the first boxer to defeat Muhammad Ali in the "Thrilla in Manilla," Smokin’ Joe Frazier, and the “Overweight Lover,” “Money-earning Mt. Vernon,” the rapper Heavy D. died. I liked "Heavy D."  “Heavy D” proved rappers can produce clean raps and be successful.

While I’m rapping about what I’m rappin about, let me sing, too, a few facts about death.
"What goes around comes back around, hey, my baby! What goes around comes back around, hey, my baby!" Beyonce sings this hip hop song, and it is quite popular. However...

1.  You are not coming back again. (Hebrews 9:27)
The fact is you will go around, but you will not come back around, baby!  That’s called Reincarnation. Reincarnation in a New Age and Eastern religion belief.  It is closely aligned with Karma, the belief that good and bad actions in this life must be worked out in the next life. If you are good in this life, you might come back in the next life as rich, if you are poor. The Bible declares in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” This is to say the decisions you make on earth will determine where you will spend eternity. The Bible clearly states reincarnation is not true, Hebrews 9:27 says, "It is appointed for man to die once and for all, and after that to face Judgment.” The Bible declares that for the Christian, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!”

My second “verse” about death is this:
All Roads do NOT lead to heaven (John 14:6).

Though we are sitting in padded pews, we are in transit. We are on the move. We are going somewhere. Ask your neighbor, “Where are you going?” Since you are not coming back again, and we are all going somewhere, you need to maximize your moments in transit. Hear this Word today. Don’t believe the hype. All roads do NOT take you to heaven. Some roads have forks in them.  Some roads are culdersacks and some roads are dead ends.  There's only one road that can get you to heaven.  Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one get to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). This means that Buddha can’t take you to heaven! Muhammad can’t take you to heaven! Confucius can’t take you to heaven! Your good works won’t get you there! Only Jesus Christ can get you to heaven. He says, “I am the Way!”

How can we live and not die? I am glad you asked! There is a road that will take you to Jesus and straight to heaven! It is called The Roman Road. The Roman Road is found on Route 66, the 66 books of the Bible, God’s Super Highway to heaven. When you travel the Roman Road, the first thing you will discover is …

You don’t have a skin problem. You have a sin problem. You are...

Lil Wayne raps in the song "She Will" featuring Drake, “I’m all about “I” give the rest of the vowels back!” Read more:
Lil Wayne, I got news for you. You’d better flip to the gospel station and listen to Bishop Hezekiah because "Hezekiah is on fire!" Don’t you know without “U,” there is no “I?” “Y?” Because “I Need “U” to Survive!” I need you, you need me. We're all a part of God's body. I need you to survive!

The definition is “Incapable of being changed or reformed; difficult to control or retrain.” We are incorrigible. We cannot change ourselves! The Bible uses the word, “Iniquity.” The Psalmist sings...
Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalm 25:11, For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
Psalm 38:18, For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

Definition: Expressing opposition or denial; lacking any affirmative quality. When we have a negative bank account, that means we owe money.  There's nothing "affirmative," or good quality about that.  Our naturally negative natures puts us in arrears with God from the beginning.  We don’t have a skin problem. We have a sin problem. And there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to make up the difference. The Good News is Jesus can fix it if we face it!

Traveling the Roman Road helps us to realize our sin problem and react to our sin problem. The book of Romans says...
3:23 - All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
5:8 – God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
6:23 – The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
10:9 – If we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved.
10:13 – Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 10:9 contains two important phrases. " Jesus is Lord" is a confession of faith. “Lord” is the translation of the Greek word kurios. This is the regular way of translating the Hebrew name for God, “Yahweh” in the Greek. Jesus is not only the “Messiah” in the Hebrew which means “Christ” in the Greek, but He is also “Yahweh,” God. We believe God raised Him from the dead. Mary Magalene, the women and disciples all saw Jesus after His resurrection (John 20). We believe Jesus shares the same nature with God. He was not just a prophet, as the Muslims believe, He is God. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Colossians 2:9, “For the entire fullness of God’s nature, dwells bodily in Christ.”
I have attended a number of funerals over the past month. I had an aunt to past a month ago, too. God showed me that many of the saints confessed Jesus Christ at an early age. My aunt Louise Smith did that. Long before she made it to New York, New Jersey, and Georgia, she realized at an early age that, as Marvin Sapp sings, she never wouldn't made it with the Lord. She woulda lost it all. She realized that if God be for her, that He's more than the world against her! She realized with Jesus in her life, that know matter what the world threw at her, racism, depression, recession, wars, and calamity; no matter what her haters planned for her with their jealous, envious selves, no matter what the devil dished up, sickness, confusion, lies, and malice, she would live and not die!

Jesus said, I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Not only did these people confess Jesus early, they lived life abundantly. I am not saying that once you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior that everything is going to be peaches and cream. God can give you valuable treasures, love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, perseverence, patience, and self control. Also, when the doctors say “No,” God can say “Yes” and extend your life. Ask Magic Johnson. Magic Johnson has been living 20 years with HIV. He said if he knew then what he knows now, he never would have retired from the Lakers. Ask King Hezekiah in the Bible. Once Hezekiah found out he was going to die, he cried to the Lord, and the Lord gave Him 15 more years to live (2 Kings 20: 1-7)!
Paul said “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21 NIV). This means that if I live for the One Person worth dying for, Jesus Christ, that even when I die, I shall live.

The Bible says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Confess Jesus Christ and dare to declare today, “I shall live and not die!” Oh, bless the name of the Lord today for salvation! Jesus saves!

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