Today is Remembrance Sunday, where we give God thanks and remember publicly the sacrifice of those who have gone before us, whether national figures, or our loved ones; People who were important figures in our civic, military and private lives.
Generally, in the month of November we think of those we miss most; while on Remembrance Sunday we remember and salute those who gave their lives serving their country, since the 1st world war.
Now just like the solider we remember today who were KIA (killed in action), we too will face death. And when we are in the grave, I like to ask you, what will we be remembered for? At our funeral will the preacher talk about
- what we did – our professional accomplishments; our degrees, and titles; Or, talk about who we were?
- Will we be remembered for the way we treated people different to us; or, remembered for how we connected to people from different stations in life?
- Will we be remembered as a know-it-all; or, be remembered for our humility?
PURPOSE IN LIVING
7 For no one of us lives to himself, … (For no one of us is accountable to himself alone in our physical life).
Although today, there are many articles and books written on ‘Start Living for Yourself, and Stop Living for Others’ (Now of course a certain amount of self-care is needed, for us to “love others as we love ourselves”!) it goes against the Bibles teaching of ‘dying to self and living for Jesus and for others! Philippians 2: 21 says, (MSG);
- Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus.
And in our passage, Paul is reminding the Roman Christians that “No man (or, woman) is an island.” From beginning to end, our life is connected to other lives.
Now one reason we remember our heroes today who were killed in action, is because they were men and women who made a commitment of selfless service, for us and our freedom. They believed that,
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell.
So, just as a soldier does not live for his or her own benefit, we believers must not live for ourselves, but live for others.
PREPARED FOR DYING
7 … and no one dies to himself; …
- The truth is that we neither live nor die as self-contained units. At every turn life links us to God, and when we die, we come face to face with Him. (JBP)
- … It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between … (MSG)
Now just like the soldier’s we remember today who were killed in action, offering their lives for their country, we believers, offer our lives to the Lord. And in the light of Gods judgment to come, at the coming of Jesus, when we will all have to stand before God for our final exam, where God will do an audit on your life and mine, are we ready to meet our Maker, whether we were killed in action, or died of sickness.
Many people spend their lives trying to leave a legacy behind on earth. They want to be remembered when they are gone. However, what ultimately matters most is not what others say about our life, but what God says. So, leaving a legacy is a short-term goal but soon, our achievements will be outdone, reputation fade away, records broken, and tributes forgotten. So, it is wiser to make use of your days to build an eternal legacy, and be prepared to meet God.
PROTECTED BY THE LORD
And if therefore we should live, if also we should die, we belong to the Lord … (Or, “we are the Lord’s”).
- JBP – … In life or death, we are in the hands of God.
Whether we are physically alive, or we die off or die out, the believer in Christ, is safe in the hands of God. Even the soldiers we remember today, if theyhad committed their life into God’s hands in this life, the soldier is safe in the Hands of God, in the life to come.
Now just like the soldiers who have gone before us, physical or natural death will come our way one day to all of us. That day will be the end of our human existence when we who were made out of dust will return to the dust. And on that day, there will also be a separation between the soul from the body, in our life.
However, because the death of Jesus for the sins of the world resulted in victory over death when Jesus arose from the dead, those who believe in Him are offered life beyond the grave. This is why a Christians can say, ‘whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord’, as they in the safe Hands of God, from the beginning of life, to the very end.
And if … also we should die, we belong to the Lord … (Or, “we are the Lord’s”).
- JBP – … In … death, we are in the hands of God.
Now to those who have opened their hearts door to Jesus and asked Him to come in (whether solider or civilian), God promises an assurance of life beyond the grave, whether died in action, or, died of decease, or, died of natural causes.
But how can we be sure that our sins are forgiven and that we will enter heaven? The 1st assurance is due to the finished work of God the Son. When Jesus took upon Himself our sins on the cross, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘It is finished’. Therefore, those who look to Christ crucified can have peace to know that even in death, they will be safe in the hands of God.
The 2nd assurance is due to the Word of God the Father. Because God does not want us to remain in doubt and uncertainty, He has assured us in 1 John 5: 11 & 12;
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
Therefore, a soldier or civilian believer can say, ‘Because Jesus lives, all fear, doubt, and uncertainty, is gone’.
POSSESSED BY THE LORD
that both (the) dead and living He might rule over (he might be Lord over; or, He might be pre-eminent over; Or, establish His Lordship over).
- JBP – Christ lived and died that he might be the Lord in both life and death.
The Old Testament, identifies God as Lord, while the same name ‘Lord’ is given to Jesus Christ, in the New Testament. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension exalted Him to Lordship, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
The word ‘Lord’ in the original means Master or owner. Now when we refer to Jesus or sing songs using the term ‘Lord’, do we say or sing ‘Lord’, as a term of respect, or in terms of a full surrender? For there are many who accept Jesus as their Saviour from sin, but do not surrender their lives to Him!
Now just like the soldiers we remember today, made a total commitment for a cause, we believers need to do the same to Christ. If you think of your life as a house, and you as the owner of the house, to make Him Lord over your life is to give Jesus all the keys of your house – your education, business, future marriage, your morals, friendships etc…
- MSG – That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death,
A devoted soldier is a person who dedicates his or her life to the honour of the country. Likewise, one way we do so is to offer God our time. Now this does not mean that we spend 24/ 7 in prayer and Bible study but that we get our priorities right, by setting aside time to be with God, and to be with other Christians to encourage them.
Another way we do so is by offering God our talents. This includes offering God our ambitions, and letting God’s ambitions for us, be where we use the talents and abilities that God has given us, both in the church and in the world.
A third way we do so is by offering God our possessions and our money. Now the Bible does not state that owning property or making money, saving money, and enjoying the good things of life is wrong, as long as materialism is not an obsession and we generously give to the needs of those around us. English cricketer, Charles Studd said:
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”