By Geoff Serpell
From a magazine sourced from 7th Day Adventist called “Signs from the Times”, a Kim Peckham wrote that you could be dead by now. That is, if you had lived 100 years ago. She says we are living so long now that we can receive greeting cards from Centrelink saying, “Happy one hundred and first birthday, and here’s another cheque. If you live much longer, we’ll be a fiscal wreck” The card comes with a gift pack of cigarettes. If you were a baby girl in 1850, you couldn’t expect to live past 40. She also wrote if you go back to ancient times, the average life span drops to 28 years. During these times banks were very reluctant to give anyone a 30-year home loan. That is why most people then lived in tents. Life insurance companies disqualified you then for drinking water.
The point I want to make is, what are you doing with all that extra time? Let us return to this later.
Judas went out into the night; it was very dark! The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was now a certainty.
We have moved beyond this year’s Anzac Day during which the ABC covers the dawn service, Melbourne Anzac Day march to the shrine, and the services conducted at both Gallipoli and at Villers-Bretonneux in northern France.
William Barclay in his Daily Study Bible, states that “The greatest glory in life is the glory which comes from sacrifice”. The supreme glory belongs not to those who survive a war but to those who lay down their lives. Lawrence Binyon wrote:
“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
It was the obedience of Jesus which brought glory to God. Jesus gave the supreme honor and glory to God because he was obedient even to death on a cross.
The full and final triumph of Christ, after dying on the cross is of course the resurrection and ascension. Jesus laid down his farewell one and only commandment recorded in John’s gospel, to his disciples as he washes their feet. Time then was short. He walked a lonesome road. The disciples must love one another as he had loved them, even including Judas.
What does this mean for us and for our relationships with each other? Soon I will invite you to share with the one next to you, how you came to have your faith. When did you accept Jesus as your lord and savior?
Jesus loved his disciples selflessly. His one desire was to give himself and all he had for those he loved.
- His love was given sacrificially. Even to that cross.
- It was given understandingly. Jesus lived with his disciples; he knew them through and through.
- He loved them forgivingly. All the disciples from Peter down, denied Him and forsook him as craven cowards. He forgave them!
We are asked to approach our life and each other with his focus on love.
The kind of love with which we are to love one another is the kind of love with which Jesus loved his disciples. Today the media does not promote: “God First”, it doesn’t even promote “others first”. We live in a world that suggests our needs and our wants must be met first.
Jesus’ love for his disciples and friends was like the love of a father, the Heavenly Father, to whom he taught them, and us, how to pray. He referred to his disciples as brothers. He identified himself with people who were hungry, thirsty, naked, or a stranger or in prison. These examples of friendship, of fatherly love and brotherly love, from Jesus, he commands of us too.
May I indulge myself by sharing with you a mini testimony?
I was a regular attender of both Sunday School and Church during my childhood and during my teens.
During my three month’s service in 1957 with the Army at Puckapunyal, I had a few wake-up calls to deal with away from my sheltered homelife.
My interest in the fairer sex had been awoken and I found that dancing was a good way to meet. “Tinder”, the on-line dating service, was not around in those times.
With all the good fellowship I experienced at Hampton Methodist church, I still had a few things to come to grips with, some unsettling things at home and a workplace in a bank with a less than inspiring atmosphere.
The Billy Graham Crusade came along in, I think 1959, in Melbourne and whilst attending with my mother and sister, I stood up and committed myself to Christ. Later at another crusade, I volunteered as a counsellor at the MCG.
I thus had a personal savior in Jesus Christ and ever since have endeavored to do His work ahead of my own interests.
Jan and I have both just read “The Billy Graham Story” by John Pollock. We picked the book off the bookshelf in the middle room. There is always some great books and good CD/DVD’s there. Between 1949 and 2003, Graham addressed more than 83 million face to face, it would be another billion he reached on TV and radio. 3 Million came forward as inquirers at his crusades. In 1954 he had audience with Winston Churchill, and he was friends with most American Presidents during his lifetime. Queen Elizabeth granted him an honorary knighthood in 2001. He passed away recently in his late nineties.
Our 2019 Friendship book reading for April 27 wrote of Graham, “he said we need to learn to say, ‘I was wrong; I’m sorry.’ And we also need to reply, ‘That’s all right; I love you”. When we learn that lesson, we might also begin to spread this attitude further afield.
How did you come by your faith? Would you like to share with someone next to you, say 2 minutes each how this came about?
We give Jesus the glory for he showed us how to love. We praise Him who loved his mother and father, brothers and sisters, and friends and into relationships even with those who were his enemies.
How are we to show our love and also our faith with others?
As senior parents and grandparents as well as great grandparents too, who among us do not wish to eventually leave this world a better place? Somehow, we mothers and fathers need to lead our children and grandchildren to making Jesus as their best friend.
For this to happen we and indeed everyone needs to stay kind and aim to encourage each other to be kind and caring for each other.
With 25 million of us in Australia, one act of kindness by each other every day equals 9 billion acts of kindness a year.
Jesus opened the way of life for us to follow Him out of the shadows of death into His marvelous light. Glory to Him indeed.
To assist us to become evangelistic, here is a prayer based on our Psalm today, from Eddie Askew, at the Leprosy Mission I wish to share with you: –
Lord, pressed by my own busyness
And self-created doubts,
I lose my grip on you.
The clouds draw in and shadow me.
The mist wet blankets me in billows of uncertainty.
My doubt shouts out for reassurance
And comes echoing back empty handed
Yet still you’re there.
Your presence patient and dependable
And in its magnet field
I turn again to find you.
By which I orientate my life
And praise returns.
“God is Like”