Sermon Details

Today Is a Good Day to Die

August 16, 2020
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, Indiana invites you to join us for our virtual worship service on Sunday, August 16, 2020. The Scripture Reading is from the John 12:24-26. Rev. John Van Nuys' sermon is "Today Is a Good Day to Die". Jennie Fights Swick sings, "Let All Things Now Living" and "I Love to Tell the Story". Alan White plays the piano for the Prelude and the Postlude.
(24) [Jesus said:] Truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (25) Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (26) Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
– John 12:24-26

Today is a good day to die. Today is a good day to die, but not to Covid-19. Today is a good day to die to yourself. Today is a good day to die – to get rid of the old you so you can become a new creation.
Yesterday I saw the former shell of what was: I saw the shell of a cicada on my front door. Cicadas emerge every summer. We see them flying and singing. But for them to do that, they have to change. Cicadas begin underground as burrowing, blind larvae, which survive by sucking the nutrients from roots. Not a very glorious existence. But a wonderful thing happens: They are called forth; they follow the strong pull to arise. They leave the dirt and they transform: A new self emerges from the old. What is left behind is a dry shell as a new creation is born: One that can fly, sing, and soar in an entirely new way of being alive.

By grace, we, too, can fly. By grace, we, too, can sing. By grace, we, too, can change. Thanks to God’s redeeming, resurrecting love in Jesus Christ, we can leave behind our self-centered existence. We can cease being blind, buried beings that just suck up resources from others.

God calls us forth. Christ bids us to rise with him so that a new self emerges. One that isn’t self-centered, but Christ-centered. One that isn’t selfish, vindictive, and narcissistic, but is instead generous, forgiving, and loving. Thank heavens, we can leave our crud behind as we are born again and again and again as a new creation; one who can soar with Christ and join in the heavenly chorus of life.

But we hesitate to give ourselves fully to the Easter moment before us. We do this mostly because we are afraid. We’ve worked hard to get our lives the way we want them. Whatever power we have we want to keep. Whatever control we have we want to tighten. We want to be in the driver’s seat. But as that old saying goes: “If God is your co-pilot, change places!” If you’ll welcome the larger life God wants to give you, you need not fear. Because God is not only going to help you change, God is going to walk with you every step of the way. We don’t have to fear tomorrow because God is already there. We can trust that as we step forth in faith, God will meet us in love.

What challenge or change are you facing? God will see you through it. What difficulty or defeat do you feel is forever keeping you down? God will raise you up. By laying aside our doubt, fear, and our insistence on being in control by saying “yes” to God, we’ll discover a new way of life that is freer and lighter; one that is more loving and more joyous.

Giving our “yes” to God is not a “one and done” act. It’s something that we must do each day. It’s like swimming or walking or breathing or living. We do it one stroke a time; one step at a time; one breath at a time; one day at a time. As we keep doing it, we cross the pool, complete the journey, take in what we need, and live out what we know is true.

Christ only bids us to die to those things that keep us from living our best life now. He asks us to dump out our crud – to die to our crud — so we can be truly alive in him.

What in your life needs to go? What do you need to let go in order to really get going with God? If you have an addiction, God will help you beat it. If you have an affliction, God will help you through it. If you’ve made a mistake, God will help you fix it. If you’re in a hole, God will help you out of it. If you’re paralyzed by a fear, God will help you face it. If you don’t know where to begin, God will show you the way.

All you have to do is say “yes” and follow your faithful Savior into the brighter day and better future and blessed life that God wants you to have, live, and enjoy. That moment, possibility, and grace is here for you – today. Walk with Christ – right now — into what can be – and who you can become. As you do, you will live.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!