He Laid Down His Life – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

He Laid Down His Life

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Introduction: As we commemorate Memorial Day, we think about the sacrifices made by those that gave their lives for their country. We honor their memory this weekend for paying the ultimate price. As the saying goes, “All gave some, some gave all.” Today, we honor their memory.

John 15:13 is a verse that has been used by the friends and families of fallen soldiers for ages. The level of dedication, commitment and love that is associated with the sacrificial death of a solder, a sailor, a marine, or a police officer is impossible to explain or describe.

A couple of things I want to notice about the CONTEXT of this verse.

               A. We see THE EXAMPLE – vs. 12 “…love one another, as I have loved you.”

  • 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

               B. We see THE EXPRESSION – vs. 13 “Greater love hath no man than this…”

               C. We see THE EXPECTATION – “vs. 14 “…ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Now I want to turn to the verse itself and examine the power in this verse.

Here, Jesus is referring to the sacrificial, substitutionary death He would die for them.

In this passage, we are given a brief glimpse of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus Christ paid for us on the cross of Calvary.

Several times Jesus referred to His upcoming death as “laying down” His life.

  • John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
  • John 10:17, 18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

This “laying down” spoke of His submission to the Father’s will.

  • Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
  • Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

This “laying down” spoke of His love for us.

  • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

This “laying down” spoke of His desire to purchase the church.

  • Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Without question, that was a truly memorable day.

Tonight, our church will observe the Lord’s Supper.

When instituting the Lord’s Supper or Lord’s Table in the Upper Room, Jesus said:

  • Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

The day that Jesus laid down His life for us was memorable…

I. In its Rarity“Greater love hath no man than this…”

Jesus described the sacrificial love as “no greater love.”

The Bible is clear – the sacrifice that Jesus made for us is a one-of-a-kind sacrifice.

It was rare in its:

               A. Planning

The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was planned before the world was created.

Salvation’s plan was conceived in the heart and mind of Almighty God in eternity past.

  • Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

               B. Prophecies

The first is found in Genesis 3.

  • Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

There are dozens of Messianic prophecies that predicted every detail of His death.

               C. Presentation

The day that Jesus Christ laid down His life was memorable in its presentation.

Matthew 27

  • 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
  • 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
  • 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
  • 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
  • 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was:

  • Ordained by God. – Acts 10:42
  • Organized by religious leaders. – Luke 22:2
  • Orchestrated by false witnesses. – Matthew 26:60
  • Officiated by Pilate. – Matthew 27:17
  • Opposed by Pilate’s wife. – Matthew 27:19
  • Ordered by the mobs in the street. – Mark 15:14
  • Overlooked by billions of sinners. – John 1:11

               D. Preeminence

The day that Jesus Christ laid down His life on the cross is the central theme of the Bible.

The day that Jesus Christ laid down His life on the cross is the center of our reference for time.

The day that Jesus Christ – God in the flesh, gave His life on the cross, all time stood still.

Every person’s response to what happened on that cross will determine their eternal destiny!

The day that Jesus laid down His life for us was memorable…

II. In its Requirement“…that a man lay down his life…”

As we celebrate Memorial Day, it would be wise to understand why the sacrifices had to be made in the first place.

To fully appreciate the sacrifice, we need to know why it occurred.

As Americans, our freedoms and liberties were purchased by the blood of those that died.

There was no other way. Somebody had to fight, and when you fight, people die.

There was only one way to purchase our freedom – the shedding of innocent blood.

Since God killed innocent animals in the Garden of Eden to make Adam and Eve coats, it’s been that way.

God demanded the blood of the innocent to pay for the sins of the guilty.

Turn to Hebrews 9:12-28

Key statements:

               Vs. 12 – but by his own blood

               Vs. 14 – how much more shall the blood of Christ

               Vs. 15 – that by means of death…

               Vs. 16 – of necessity be the death of the testator.

               Vs. 17 – For a testament is of force after men are dead…

               Vs. 18 – neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

               Vs. 19 –sprinkled both the book, and all the people (see Exodus 24:5, 6)

               Vs. 22 – without the shedding of blood is no remission

               Vs. 23 – It was therefore necessary

               Vs. 26 – hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

               Vs. 28 – once offered to bear the sins of many

The day that Jesus laid down His life for us was memorable…

III. In its Recipients“…for his friends…”

The passage is clear – those that do what He commands are his friends.

But make no mistake – when He laid down His life for us, we were not His friends.

In fact, the Bible is clear – we were His enemies.

  • James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
  • Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

TURN TO Ephesians 2

  • 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
  • 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
  • 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
  • 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
  • 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
  • 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
  • 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
  • 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
  • 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Abraham was called the “friend of God” but only after he exercised faith in God.

  • James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

However, Jesus died for us BEFORE we were His friends.

Romans 5

  • 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
  • 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus was called a friend of publicans and sinners

Matthew 11

  • 16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
  • 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
  • 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
  • 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Wounded in the house of his friends.

  • Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends…

Betrayed by His friend

  • Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Matthew 26

  • 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
  • 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
  • 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.