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Born to Live to Die (published in The North Weld Herald/Voice 12/22/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:17 PM by Fccea Webmaster
As the man pulled the small boy out of a hole in the ice, he asked, "How did you come to fall in?" "I didnt come to fall in," the boy gasped, "I came to skate."

It is good to have a strong sense of purpose. That was actually one of the things that most dramatically characterized the life of Christ. He knew what Christmas was about. He was born to die.

His earthly father was told concerning His mother before He was born, "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21).

How would He save people from their sins? Jesus knew. He says in John 10:15, "I lay down my life for the sheep. . . .For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again."

Paul made it crystal clear in I Cor 15:3, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." According to Hebrew 9:26 Christ "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

He was born to die -- to die for the sins of all who would believe in Him. He referenced his own death many times during His earthly ministry and was very direct with His disciples leading up to the event, though they simply could not accept it at the time. He was born to die.

But, here's a surprise. We were also born to die! We find that in John 12. Jesus had no sooner ridden into Jerusalem six days before his death than a contingent of Greeks wanted to see Him. Philip and Andrew introduced them to Jesus, but without so much as a 'Hello', Jesus commented, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him."

Jesus is almost brutally blunt here. You want to see me? Well, I am about to die and so must you. Your worldly ambition and rebellion must go. You can have no God but me. You must die to self.

"But, if you will do so -- die to self -- then you can really live! You will gain eternal life." That's worth more than the world could ever offer. And it all comes from repentance (renouncing self) resulting in remission of sins purchased by His death and resurrection. Jesus came to save sinners.

The great church father, Augustine, was renowned for his licentious lifestyle in his early years. Guilt plagued him to the point that he prayed, "Lord, make me chaste -- but not yet!" It was not an honest prayer.

But God eventually got through to him. He gave up self in exchange for Christ. So when an old flame saw him on the streets one day and called out, "Augustine, it is I. It is I," he replied, "Yes, but it is not I."

How about you this Christmas? Is it you or is it Christ? He came for a purpose. He came for you.

By His Grace, Pastor Dave