Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Oct. 31, 2004, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
I VOTED EARLY FOR JESUS
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:15-26
Text: Matthew 27:22
Matthew 27:22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
Introduction: Pilate was in between a rock and a hard place about what to do with this man called JESUS.
His CONSCIENCE said, “Let Him go!”
His COMPANION, Mrs. Pilate, said, “Let Him go!”
But the CROWD said, “Let him be crucified!”
Coward that he was, Pilate turned him over to the crowd, as though he was not able to make a decision. However, in doing so, he had made a decision. He had decided, “Let Him be crucified!”
What will YOU do with Jesus, which is called Christ?
Tuesday might be the day of the most significant President election of my lifetime. I hope that you will vote. More than that, I hope that you will pray for the election, for the President, and for our country.
For the first time in my life, my wife and I voted early. All we had to do was to go to the Dawson registrar’s office last Wednesday, show our identification, and vote. We were in the building for probably no more than 20 minutes.
I’ve seen many political commercials, newscasts, and talk shows since then. I thought, “It’s too late for them to influence me one way or the other. I’ve already cast my vote for President Bush.”
Voting is important in our society, and it is a privilege that citizens of many nations do not have. The people of Afghanistan got to enjoy the freedom to vote this year. I think every Christian in America should vote.
As close as the polls indicate this election will be, all that might make the difference is whether or not Christians will take the time to vote.
Let me remind you, however, that the spiritual wellbeing of America is more dependent upon the character of God’s people than it is upon who is elected President. 2 Chron. 7:14 says that God will heal a land if His people get right, not if they go to the voting booth.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
On Wednesday I voted early for President Bush and others who are running for office. I’m glad I voted early.
More importantly, long ago I voted early on another issue:
WHAT SHALL I DO WITH JESUS, WHICH IS CALLED CHRIST?
When Pilate was faced with a choice, he chose to let Him be crucified.
When Pilate asked the crowd to choose to free Barabbas or Jesus, they chose Barabbas.
I’m glad that I chose JESUS. I’m glad that I chose Him early. If you haven’t voted early in the Presidential election, I trust that you will vote in due time. However, my message this morning is not designed to encourage you to vote for the President as much as it is to encourage you to vote for JESUS. This morning’s message is titled,
I VOTED EARLY FOR JESUS
Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
I. I VOTED EARLY FOR JESUS TO BE MY STRENGTH
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
A. Muscle power won’t save your home, but JESUS can!
1. I pump iron four days a week, but muscles don’t make a man into a strong husband or father!
2. I’m glad I chose early in my marriage to let JESUS make me what He wanted me to be!
B. Money power won’t bring contentment, but JESUS can!
1. I’ve been working this year at improving my own financial management, and paying off debts, but an increase in pay or a decrease in debt does not guarantee contentment!
2. I’m glad that I chose early to trust Jesus to provide ALL my need (Phil. 4:19) and to
be content with what God gives me!
C. Military power won’t bring peace of mind, but JESUS can!
1. In my mind, the choice for President this week is like a choice between General Tommy Franks and Jane Fonda, when it comes to the issue of a strong military.
2. However, a strong Commander-in-Chief is no guarantee that a devil-possessed religious fool won’t strap a bomb to himself and blow up himself and many others in a public place.
3. I’m glad that I chose early to let Jesus be my strength, even if the country elects a coward, a traitor, or Charlie Brown to be President!
Isaiah 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
II. I VOTED EARLY FOR JESUS TO BE MY SONG
Psalms 96:1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
Psalms 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
A. He is my song of passion
(love and romance)
B. He is my song of praise
1. I like the song, “My country, Tis of Thee,” for it includes a verse stating that God is
the author of liberty!
2. I like even better the chorus of Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “Blessed Assurance”: “This is my story, This is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long!”
C. He is my song of power
(victory and conquest)
1. Our national anthem is a song of victory and perseverance
2. The Christian’s anthem is “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch
III. I VOTED EARLY FOR JESUS TO BE MY SALVATION
It is true that God chooses people to salvation. However, God never chooses anyone who does not choose HIM. Everyone God chooses is chosen through BELIEF of the truth:
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
God closed the Bible with an invitation for sinners to choose the Savior:
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
A. It is an individual choice
B. It is an important choice
C. It is an imperative choice
1. We press for a decision, because it is a pressing matter!
“Moody’s Mistake”: D. L. Moody, the great evangelist, was preaching in Chicago on October 8, 1871. A biographer writes, “Before him was the largest congregation he had ever addressed in the city. He concluded with a blunder that he had called the biggest in his life, one which he vowed he would give his right hand to recall. He, D. L. Moody, gave them a week to decide for Christ” (Richard K. Curtis, They Called Him Mister Moody [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962], p. 150). That night the great Chicago fire broke out and many of the people who were there were killed. Moody said that was the last time he ever told anyone to postpone a decision for Christ.
Michael D. O’Neal (Proverbs 11:30), Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church