n his book, The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis says, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts and civilizations— these are mortal, and their life is to ours like the life of a gnat. But it is immortals that we joke with, work with and marry.”
Jesus said in his Great Commission, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mk. 16:15, NLT)
Children still sing the song that most of us learned in Sunday School: “Everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know who Jesus is.”
The Methodist Circuit Riders who founded Carrollton and this First Methodist Church were driven by the Great Commission and the conviction that everyone in the village was special and that succeeding generations would be precious persons for whom Christ died.
On All Saints Sunday we honor those who have died this last year. Many of you know and hold dear every name read this morning. God knows each one and holds them dear in everlasting glory. This church was the center of the lives of most of these Saints, now in Glory. They are still in our memories and will be until we see them again. They remain as special people to this church, much like the 110+ year old stones that form the walls of our Sanctuary. These departed folks invested perspiration equity and gave their tithes and offerings to this church and they still belong to us. However, their names have been transferred from the Membership Roll Militant to the Membership Roll Triumphant. Every one of them remains in our love.
We who are yet alive are vital to this great church. By profession of Faith in Jesus Christ, every one of us, as children, or as adults, has pledged loyalty. This means that we have become responsible for the care and wellbeing of this precious church, which over the long years has become a leading church in Carrollton and in West Georgia. We will continue to lead our expanding community as we join in chorus to make it even better, in Jesus’ name.
God has given every one of us this higher calling as members of this strategic outpost. We did nothing to earn this privilege. None was born into this church. We decided to accept God’s Grace when we confirmed the vows that our parents took for us as infants, or when we, as adults, made a public profession. Our extraordinariness came as a free gift. All we did was accept it. Salvation is as simple as that; yet, it is infinitely magnificent because it positions us as persons waiting in line for heaven.
My Marilyn commented this week that some folks seem to shy away from salvation because they think, “It’s too good to be true!” Our discussion came out of a television interview we had both seen dealing with Dan Brown’s best selling thriller, The Da Vinci Code. Perhaps good intentioned Roman Churchmen created a movement designed to follow strict disciplines in order to earn salvation. You have no doubt heard of the “mortification of the flesh” devices that inflict pain meant to remind them of Christ’s pain on the Cross. For them, it seems too good to be true that Jesus has paid the price for our salvation and it is something of an affront to act as if we can do something to earn it, apart form Grace through Faith.
As Martin Luther proclaimed, “Salvation is by Faith Alone!” Grace is freely offered to everyone! It’s too good to be true, but it really is true!
Also, today we introduce a one-word Annual Pledge Campaign theme, “everyone.”
We do this each year because; “everyone” needs to experience the joy of participating in funding this great church during the coming year. Everyone’s pledge is sacred.
Clearly, we give
out of hearts of joy in response to God’s leading
us to share in the Great Commission to preach the Gospel to
To me, one of the most powerful moments in our entire year is when we see hundreds of individuals and families bringing their Pledge Cards down to the Altar for dedication to God’s higher purpose of reaching everyone with the same Good News that channeled the assurance of sweet salvation into our souls and lifestyles.
Money maintains the mission of ministry to many.
God’s great purpose for our church is to reach people in our corner of the earth with the Good News. The “All the World,” that is our direct responsibility, is here where Circuit Riders established a mission church so long ago. Everyone in our specific geographical area is our responsibility; our turf, our home field.
Obviously, there are other denominations working the same field, but many folks are conditioned to be Methodists and might miss heaven if we miss them. Billy Graham has even come to understand that some folks fit better in the Methodist mold and he assigns these to us to evangelize. This church is broad enough to not just sell one brand of shoes. We have a selection for everyone: men and women, boys and girls of all shapes and sizes. Folks can find a shoe that is just right for them.
Everyone is special, there are no “mere mortals,” or “ordinary people,” and it is our joy to seek every precious immortal soul! Will you come along and help out?
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor