WHO WILL YOU DIE FOR?
When I was a kid, I loved movies with King Author, Nights of the Round table, Crusades, Robin Hood, … just about anything from medieval times. I liked the gallantry, the honor, the fighting for a cause type of thing. The other day in my studies I found what is said to be Gregory VII letter calling for a Holy Crusade
“Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all who are willing to defend the Christian faith, greeting and apostolic benediction.
We hereby inform you that the bearer of this letter, on his recent return from across the sea [from Palestine], came to Rome to visit us. He repeated what we had heard from many others, that a pagan race had overcome the Christians and with horrible cruelty had devastated everything almost to the walls of Constantinople, and were now governing the conquered lands with tyrannical violence, and that they had slain many thousands of Christians as if they were but sheep. If we love God and wish to be recognized as Christians, we should be filled with grief at the misfortune of this great empire [the Greek] and the murder of so many Christians. But simply to grieve is not our whole duty. The example of our Redeemer and the bond of fraternal love demand that we should lay down our lives to liberate them. “Because he has laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” [1 John 3:16]. Know, therefore, that we are trusting in the mercy of God and in the power of his might and that we are striving in all possible ways and making preparations to render aid to the Christian empire [the Greek] as quickly as possible. Therefore we beseech you by the faith in which you are united through Christ in the adoption of the sons of God, and by the authority of St. Peter, prince of apostles, we admonish you that you be moved to proper compassion by the wounds and blood of your brethren and the danger of the aforesaid empire and that, for the sake of Christ, you undertake the difficult task of bearing aid to your brethren [the Greeks]. Send messengers to us at once inform us of what God may inspire you to do in this matter.”
[Thatcher] Gregory VII barely missed the honor of having begun the crusading movement. His plan is clear from the letter. The situation in 1095 was not materially different from that in 1074, and it is probable that Urban II (whose call is recognized), when he called for a crusade, had nothing more in mind than Gregory VII had when he wrote this letter. Gregory was unable to carry out his plans because he became involved in a struggle with Henry IV.
Medieval Sourcebook: Gregory VII: Call for a “Crusade”, 1074
In Migne, Patrologia Latina, 148:329. trans. Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes McNeal, eds., A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 512-13
Gregory’s call may have been noble … but his own kingdom was his priority.
Tough question… Who will you die for?
I have had something said to me when I have been in prison ministering that I havd never had said to me. I was talking with an inmate that had been a gang leader before he came to know Christ through our ministry. We were discussing the fact that many were either afraid or intimidated about coming into a prison to minister.
I must admit the signs and the policy that says
“No hostages will be allowed beyond this point”
…is not an inviting sign to see
The inmate looked at me and spoke with all seriousness when he said that we (the ministry team) were probably the safest men ever in that prison. Why? Because we brought so much of the love of God in with us. How does that make us safe? The man said something along the lines of this:
“Anyone trying to hurt you would have to come through us, we would lay down our lives for you, what you have done for us is that important to us.”
To be perfectly honest, how many of us have spent much time thinking about who we would be willing to die for… and why? Most of us do not even want to think about this kind of commitment and sacrifice.
In the April issue of Moody monthly back in 1989, Pavel Poloz (exiled 1987) said,
“In Russia, Christians are tested by hardship, but in America you are tested by freedom. And testing by freedom is much harder. Nobody pressures you about your religion. So you relax and are not so concentrated on Christ, on His teaching, how He wants you to live.”
We certainly do not ask ourselves …
Who will you die for?
John 15:13 KJV
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 3:16 KJV
Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
It is God given love that should motivate us to be willing to die for our brothers. I wonder if those in the church today “perceive” this love as the scripture describes. Without that… we will never do what the scriptures admonish.
1. Perceiving God’s Love
… perceive we the love of God, …
Intellectual Knowledge vs. perception
You can “know” about, or have knowledge of the love of God without perceiving
Ezekiel 12:2 NKJV
“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house,
which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.
Jesus explained this as being unable to understand or perceive
Matthew 13:13 – 14 NKJV
Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
Festus was a perfect example, knowledge without perception
Acts 26:24 – 26 NKJV
Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
25But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.
Do we have knowledge without perception?
But John says we perceive the love of god!
Hereby perceive we the love of God, …
THIS IS WHAT BELIEVER’S HAVE!
Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:17-18a
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;…”
IF WE ARE TRULY BELIEVERS WE HAVE …
THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM
REVELATION KNOWLEDGE OF HIM
THIS IS PERCEPTION INSTEAD OF BRAIN POWER
IT IS REVEALED BY GOD
2. Price of God’s Love
… because he laid down his life for us
a. IT WAS VOLUNTARY … he laid down his life…
JESUS DID NOT “HAVE” TO DIE FOR MY SINS!
……………HE “CHOSE” TO DIE FOR MY SINS
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
b. IT WAS 100% COMPLETE – NO OTHER OPTION
HE LEFT ALL HIS POWER, ALL HIS AUTHORITY
CAME AS A SERVANT, WITH ONLY MAN’S POWER
AND FULLY 100% OBEYED THE WILL OF THE FATHER!!
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames.
Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat. Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer!
And that is exactly what they did.
Jesus made this kind of commitment on his own
John 15:13 KJV
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
AND HE DID IT FOR PEOPLE WHO HATED HIM!
3. Proving God’s Love — now it is our turn!
… and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Jesus made this kind of commitment on his own… and he requires it of us too.
Say you will die for your brothers in Christ?
- You will not die for the brethren…
…if you will not live for them.
- You will not die for them…
…if you will not love them unconditionally.
- You will not die for them…
…if you are not committed to them.
Unfortunately the church’s reputation says otherwise!
WHO WILL YOU DIE FOR?
It was one thing for Gregory VII to call for a crusade
He was willing to “risk” his life for Christendom, to a degree.
Until his own kingdom was threatened by Henry IV.
Who are our brethren? Fellow believers … His church!
We are asked to die to self, live for Christ, & DIE FOR HIS CHURCH!
BUT CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF ……NOT FOR OUR OWN KINGDOM!
Lord help us, that we are not so busy building and defending our own kingdoms that we do not have time to die for our brothers.
TWO THOUGHTS …
1. Lord, help me to be willing to die for your church … and
2. Lord help me, as part of your church, to be worth dying for!
WHO WILL YOU DIE FOR?
…ARE YOU DOING SOMETHING FOR OTHERS
…… THAT MAKES YOU WORTH DYING FOR?