The Gospel in Red, White and Blue

Isaiah 1:18

About once in a decade our nation’s birthday, July the 4th, coincides with the Lord’s Day. On those special Sundays, Independence Day is known in some circles as “Red, White and Blue Sunday.”   The best remembered was in 1976, the 200th birthday of the USA.Regardless of the day, July the Fourth is a special day for all Americans, especially Christian Americans.  Why?  Because it’s a day to celebrate freedom!  For Christians it is a day to celebrate the freedom to worship and serve our Lord.

On that day we dress in the nations’ colors.  For RED-WHITE-BLUE makes us think of America and our beloved national flag “Old Glory.”

A poet wrote the following of the colors and “Old Glory.”
Here’s to the RED of it; There’s not a thread of it, No, not shred of it
In all the spread of it from foot to head, But heroes bled for it, Faced Steel and lead for it, Precious blood was shed for it, Bathing it RED.
Here’s to the WHITE of it, Thrilled by the sight of it, Who knows the right of it,
But feels the might of it Through day and night.  Womanhood’s care for it Made manhood dare for it; Purity’s prayer for it Kept it so WHITE.
Here’s to the BLUE of it; Heavenly view of it, Star-spangled hue of it, Honesty’s due of it, constant and true.  Here’s to the whole of it, Stars, stripes and pole of it;
Here ‘s to the soul of it; RED, WHITE, and BLUE.Our attention is given to the R-W-B of the 4th of July, BUT what about the R-W-B of the Lord’s Day?  Is there?  I feel there is.  Let me share the Gospel in terms of R-W-B.  The colors can mean more than just a reminder of our nation, they can remind us  and speak of the Gospel message.

I.  Red

A.  Sins

Our text speaks of our sins being red (scarlet).  What are the characteristics of Red?
1.  Red is easily seen
It is said that a red car is the safest because it is easily seen, stands out.
The Red Coat of the British Army was a problem for it in colonial times because it was so easily seen.
I had a red sports coat that always got a lot of attention and comment, (Even got negative criticism at a revival from the pastor’s wife for wearing it).
2.  Red is an identification color used most often by teams, groups and even gangs.
It often identifies man as a sinner, (The Scarlet Letter).
         3.  Red stains are the most difficult to wash away or get out of clothes.

B. Blood of Jesus

Red is closely associated with blood in general and in particular Jesus in the gospel message.
I Peter 1:19 speaks of Jesus’ “precious blood.”  Why “precious?” (1)  It is the Blood of God – Power in the blood and Life giving.  (2)  It is necessary for forgiveness and Salvation – Hebrews 9:14-15, Hebrews 9:22.  For these reasons alone, never cease to preach it, teach it, and even sing it.  You can’t remove the necessity of the Blood of Jesus from the Gospel.I read of instance that was recorded of a conversation between Satan and Martin Luther, the Great Reformer.  The Accuser, Satan, reminded Luther of his many transgressions and tabulated them.  “Is that all?” asked Luther.  “No, there are many more,” sneered Satan who then added more.  “Is that all?”   “Yes, and now what?”  “Now,” said Luther, “write beneath them all, ‘The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin!’”

Red is a reminder of our sins and the Blood of Jesus.

II. White

Our text teaches that God washes away the stain of sin and makes us white, clean as snow.  “White” speaks of our salvation in Jesus Christ our savior.
The Psalmist in 51:7 speaks of being cleansed by God, then proclaiming “and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”  Revelation 3:4-5 speaks symbolically of the whiteness in salvation: “Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.  They will walk with me dressed in white, for they are worthy.  He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”E. Schuyler English, in the publication Our Hope, related an episode in his life that can serve as a great example.  He wrote, “One Christmas we had a tree which we trimmed on Christmas eve.  The whole lighting effect was to be accomplished with red bulbs, and, when our work was finally done, we turned out all the other lights in the room so that   the bulbs on the tree should give out the only illumination.  We saw a starting thing!  Near the base of the tree was a poinsettia plant, having some red flowers and some white ones.  When the other lights were turned out and the red turned on, it was absolutely impossible to determine which of the poinsettia flowers had red petals and which had white – they were all white in the red light.  What a perfect illustration that was of what happens to our sins when they are washed in the blood of Christ!  They may be as scarlet, but when the red of Christ’s shed blood is applied they become as white as snow.”

III. Blue

A.  Water Baptism

Jesus commands baptism in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and water baptism by example (Matthew 3:13-17).  Baptism shows two important aspects of following Christ.
1.  Repentance
Peter preached in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of  you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of Your sins.”
A preacher once correctly said of repentance, “Mere sorrow which weeps and sits still is not repentance.  Repentance is sorrow converted into action, and a movement toward a new and better life.”
2.  Lordship of Christ in your life
Acts 8:26-39 tells the story of Phillip sharing the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch.  After speaking to the eunuch about following Christ as Lord and Savior, the asked Phillip to baptize him, which he did.

B.  Second Coming of Christ

As Jesus ascended in the “blue sky,” so will He come again from the  “blue sky.”  Consider what the scripture says:  (1) Matthew 24:30-31and (2) Acts 2:10-11.  The blue of the sky reminds us that Christ is coming again!
The great preacher Dwight L. Moody said of the second coming, “ I have felt like working three times as hard since I came to understand that my Lord is coming again.”On July the Fourth grateful patriots wrapped themselves up in RED-WHITE-BLUE.  As Christian Americans we will do the same, the colors remind us of even more than our beloved nation – the Gospel in Red, White and Blue.

Chip Smith
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