Monday, July 20, 2020

You Must Die Before You Die

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” – Hebrews 9:27

Have you ever heard a sermon and suddenly you had a new, a deeper understanding of a particular scripture? That happened to me today.  The Pastor was preaching using two examples found in Luke chapter 13.

There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” – Luke 13:1-5

Two examples – in one the people died through an act of violence and the other – a natural disaster.  In both cases, Jesus focused on the fact that the people died. and not how or why they died.  He wasn't being insensitive. Why did they die? We all die. Sometimes it is through violence, sometimes through natural disasters, and other times from illness or just old age – our bodies wear out. Whatever the reason, the fact is that we will all die one day.  We don’t know how, don’t know where, don’t know when. But unless the Lord returns beforehand – we DO know IF. The answer is YES.

So to Jesus’ point.  Since we will all die a physical death, the answer to escape Hell is that we must die before we die. It is likened to John 3 where Jesus told Nicodemus “You must be born again”. You must be born spiritually AFTER you are born naturally. And you must die spiritually to the old nature BEFORE you die naturally.  Born spiritually to a new life – dead spiritually to your old life. Where we were once dead toward God, by faith we have been made alive toward God and dead toward the world and the things of the world – or not.

"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." Ephesians 2:1-3

You see, our problem is that we want to hang on to those thing which we died to – that we still have an affection for. Justifying why it is really OK in our minds and avoiding anything that might convict us otherwise. 

I was just thinking of a joke I heard years ago. It seems there was a man who loved to golf with his buddies.  He left to golf on Saturday and told his wife he would be back by 1:00pm at the latest.  Well, 1:00pm passed, then 2, then 3, 4, 5 and finally her husband pulled in the driveway.  When she asked what happened, he said, “Well, on the second fairway, Bob had a heart attack and died – right there.” “That is terrible!” she replied. “So what took you so long to get home?” To which he replied, “Well, I would hit the ball and drag Bob. Hit the ball and drag Bob. I didn’t finish until 5:00pm!”

That is the way it is with many of us in our spiritual journey.  We “drag” our old-dead selves around with us. It slows us down. Hinders us from accomplishing our purpose and call.  Why, because we really don’t want to give it up – that which we are dragging around.  Jesus was calling people to a spiritual repentance which meant that they must die to the world if they wanted to live.  If you wonder why the Church is not making more of an impact – it is because the heart of the Church is not pure – it is dragging things of this world around with it and calling it good.

I cannot convince you of the truth of this matter, but the Spirit of God can convict you of it. What is it that is slowing you down – you need to let it go and die to it.  That is an act of the will and of faith. We must be willing and then trust God by faith to help us abandon whatever it is. That is at the root of repentance. Godly sorrow and yielding to the Spirit of God. What are you waiting for – an invitation? I just gave you one.

Church – it is time – The world needs you to and God purposed you to BE the light! A light sourced by the Holy Spirit and not through your own effort to be as good as you can be – because, frankly, that will never be good enough. And it will not accomplish God’s purpose.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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