January 29

A couple of weeks ago, on its last day in Greensboro, Joyce and I went to see the Titanic Artifacts Exhibit. It was an incredible view into some of the stories of the people and the ship that sailed and sank 100 years ago this April. One of the interesting things about the exhibit is you were given a Boarding Pass and a name of one of the passengers or crew. After going through the exhibit, you were able to look at a list of survivors and fatalities and see whether you lived or died during that fateful night.

I was given the ticket for Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon. He was a proficient fencer and had represented Great Britain at the 1908 Olympics. He of course was a first class passenger. Joyce also had a first class passenger. I figured her chances were good, being a woman in first class. I wasn’t too optimistic for myself, however, remembering “Women and children first,” and figuring that with limited lifeboats I probably didn’t make it.

I’ll share my (and Sir Cosmo’s) fate during the sermon Sunday morning as we speak from Acts 20 and talk about sacrifice, and especially the sacrifice Christ made for the church. Acts 20:28 calls on elders to “be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”

What do you think about the church? Jesus felt strongly enough about it, loved it enough, that he bought the church, and paid for it with his own life. Are you sacrificing for the sake of others in Christ’s church? Our Lord, after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, spoke of His upcoming death, and then added these words: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matt. 16:24-25)

I think there’s a way to know how you would have reacted on that night in April, 1912. Are you trying to save your own life today? How do you spend your time and your money? Do you seek to get your own way, have things done according to your preferences, whether or not it will help others, even if it’s not what they need? Or do you sacrifice for their benefit? Do you love Christ and His church, more than you love yourself?

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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