This morning in worship, we had the privilege of hear our associate pastor, Bill Milligan, preach his final sermon. He retires from his position today and we will be joined at Graystone Presbyterian Church next Sunday by our new associate pastor and his family. Bill and his lovely wife Edie will continue to minister at Graystone - it's in their blood, because they love Jesus - but no longer in an official capacity.
If you had one last chance to stand before a congregation of people to share a final message, what would it be? I'll tell you what Bill shared.
Bill, in his calm, gentle way, delivered what is of first importance to him. It is the same message that was of first importance to the apostle Paul and he preached using some of Paul's words, Galatians 1:1-5.
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
After some introduction to the passage, Bill shared with us the glorious message that Jesus came to rescue sinners like you and me. He rescues us from sin. He rescues us from the world, the flesh, and the devil. And He rescues us from bondage, whatever variety we find keeping us in chains: legalism, substance abuse, pornography, money, etc.
Bill reminded us that all we need to do is cry to Jesus and surrender to Him.
And we will be rescued.
Bill quoted James Montgomery Boice who said, we find deliverance from the power of evil and the values of the present world system through the power of the risen Christ.
Jesus is alive, y'all!
Bill issued the call, an altar call, to come to Jesus, to trust Him with all your heart, to turn to Him and be rescued. Bill also reminded us that the power of God's grace is greater than the power of sin! Perhaps you can understand it better as an equation:
power of God's grace > power of sin
That's Good News math, my friends!
Before inviting people to come forward and give their lives to Christ, Bill concluded with these words:
We all need the Lord.
What stirred in me as I listened to Bill's message was the fact that though I know the Lord, I still let myself get caught in bondage. Lately it has been paralyzing fear and guilt that I am not getting anything right - I'm blowing it as a wife, mother, teacher, friend, neighbor, Christian, etc. Satan would keep me there in bondage. But today's sermon reminded me that God's grace > the power of sin and the power of the risen Lord is mine! There is freedom from this bondage and today I'm claiming it. Period. Hold me to it?
Now, the main reason I share this message is because, like Bill concluded and the Bible says, we all need the Lord: those of us hearing this message of freedom in Christ for the first time, and those of us who have been wandering church halls for our lifetimes. I want to offer you the opportunity today, like I had this morning, to surrender what binds you to the Lord and let Him set you free.
Are you bound by sin? Turn to the Lord and be saved!
Do you know the Lord but find yourself stuck in some specific bondage? Turn to the Lord and be set free!
We all need the Lord. He's ready for us to come to Him. Be free today!