Posts Tagged Death

Ripe

1 Chronicles 29: 28

Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor and his son Solomon reigned in his place.

Well, if you are following the story this week, our friend, David has died passing, on the mantle of leadership to Solomon. What I find interesting in this passage is that he died at a ripe old age, full of days, full of riches and full of honor. My interest is especially piqued by the fullness of days. There is another passage in the twenty-third chapter that goes along with this. Verse 1 of that chapter reads, “Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.” There is a footnote at “reached old age” which tells us that he literally was “sated with days.” He was full of days, satisfied. Of course, that brings to mind Psalm 91: 16, “With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.”

You should live on planet earth healthy and prosperous until you are fully satisfied. You aren’t supposed to die because you are sick. You are supposed to lay down your body and move to heaven because you are well satisfied. David was ready to turn over the running of Israel to his son and did. Everything was in place, his work done, his life full and satisfied. He left having fulfilled his mission in life.

Christians need a brain washing and this scripture is good for it. We have been coaxed by the world into sickness and death but Jesus is the life so we must adjust our thinking. Right now, each of us already has eternal life. The only difference will be that we will move to heaven at some point. However, for all we know, we may be back on earth someday. The point is, though, that we have begun to think like the world instead of like God and that is a problem. When people ask what you are going to die of you ought to say of satisfaction. When I am full of what this world holds, I will move on and it won’t be because I am sick or diseased. We’ll just lay down these bodies.

Get this mindset working in you that God has promised to satisfy you and don’t quit, don’t lay down until you are full and satisfied.

Judgment Day

John 5: 24

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

I have already had my judgment day. How about you? Do you hear Jesus’ word? Do you believe He who sent him, i.e. God, do you believe God? Jesus said if you hear his word and believe God then you have passed out of death. You have passed into life. You have eternal life. You have it now. There is another part of this verse, though, and something we need to hear. All you hear Jesus’ word and believe God have already passed into eternal life and do not come into judgment. That is a big statement and a momentous idea. You will not face judgment. Jesus has already paid your way with his blood. Hallelujah!

Many Christians have their eyes focused on judgment day. That is not where our focus ought to be. Our focus is to be on Jesus’ word. Will there be a judgment day? Truthfully, judgment is already in the world which is why Jesus came, to save us from the judgment that was upon the world, but you have passed into life.

The thing which is most troubling about Christians who worry about their result on judgment day, is that they work to earn a good judgment. They believe that on judgment day their deeds will render them either a good judgment or a bad one. Here is the unabashed truth of that. They are hardly Christians because they are not wearing the mantle of Christ. They are actually humanists because they are trying to win God’s favor by their good works rather than the sacrifice of Jesus. They believe there is something they can do to woo God and it is, in reality, a stench in God’s nose.

The only thing that makes any of us worthy of gaining heaven is the blood sacrifice of our beloved. There is nothing you can do to make yourself one bit more saved than you are now. You will not face the judgment seat because you have already been judged and passed onto eternal life. You made a choice. You chose Jesus and that choice is the dividing line. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil,” (John 3: 19). A negative judgment is on those who love and choose the darkness. For those who choose the light, they are saved and passed on into eternal life. So, you have reason to celebrate and praise the Lord for you have been spared judgment.

There is one other thing of note in this verse. It is interesting that Jesus did not say this good news is for those who have “heard” his word. He said it is for those who hear his word. Think about that for a moment. What is the difference. Also, Jesus did not say that eternal life is for those who believe “in” God. That is what we read but not what Jesus said. Jesus said heaven is for those who “believe Him who sent me.”

I believe Jesus is communicating a dynamic relationship to us. He wants us to hear, and continue hearing, his word, the word that he is speaking today. Then we are supposed to believe it. We are supposed to believe what God is saying and believe what He has said. Satan believes “in” God. That is no big thing. We are called believers because we are supposed to believe God. We are to believe His Word and even act on it. We believe He is faithful, kind and that He is present right now in our own environment. We believe He is alive and active. We are believers in all Jesus’ words. That separates us, especially when our actions show our belief. We act on our beliefs. Everyone does, so when we act on Jesus’ words, our belief system shows.

If you believe Jesus and hear his words. If you believe God and all He has said throughout the centuries, then you have already passed out of death and into life. You are already living in eternity. Eternal life is yours. That is some good news and perhaps encouragement too.

Riding Fire Horses

2 Kings 2: 11             Tree of Life

As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

We have developed what, to me, is a perverted way of thinking about death. Truth be told, even using the word “death” is an admission that we do not understand or do not believe in the eternal life. I say that because we are living our eternal life now. You will never die but you are going to change addresses. There will be a transition from here to heaven. Okay sure, your body will give up its life but your spirit is eternal. Anyway, what bothers me about our concept of death is that we will die of a disease. Not me brother. That is not God’s will for me so I don’t accept it. Neither should you.

Why don’t we just ride out of here on a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire the way Elijah did? We actually see that happening in scripture, therefore, it is scriptural and you cannot say it isn’t. We didn’t see it happen often, in fact this is the only example exactly like this, but that is not to say it didn’t happen more than once. Whatsmore, Enoch went up to heaven without “dying.” “And Enoch continually walked with God—then he was not there, because God took him (Genesis 5: 24 TLV). So, who is to say this isn’t God’s preferred way of moving us from earth to heaven? Personally I would rather ride in a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire than to get sick to the point of death.

If God is the great healer, why are we all expecting to get sick and die? Does that really make any sense at all? What a lack of faith we demonstrate when it comes to life and death. We have been so molded by an unbelieving generation that we no longer think as Godly people in this area. Today is a new day though. Let’s shake up our thinking.

You should intend and expect to live a long life and be strong and able bodied for the entirety of it. Then, at a ripe old age, 120 or more, just walk out of this body and into heaven. I am not using my faith to believe for you or myself to be sick one single day of our lives. Does it happen sometimes? Yes, sometimes it does but that is the anomaly. Every once in a while the world sneaks up on us, doesn’t it, but we are people of faith, believers in the God of power and righteousness. We need to shift our minds to where our hearts reside and get our mouths in line with the Word. Then we will live a different existence here on earth and go out riding on God’s glory. That is His will for you.

Manifested Life

2 Corinthians 4: 11

For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

As we have seen all week, death is life. In order to live, we must die. Scatter the ashes of your old self at the feet of Jesus and live the abundant life Jesus came here to give you. That was his mission, you know, to bring you abundant life. Consider John 10: 10, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” What does abundantly mean but plentiful supply; more than sufficient; ample. Another definition says: abounding with, rich. This definition as well as Jesus’ use of the word abundant puts me in remembrance of the 23rd Psalm where our cup “overflows” or as it says in the King James version, “Our cup runneth over.” This is the picture of the life Jesus came to give us. Or I like what God said to tithers in Malachi 3: 10, “I will . . . pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (NIV).

My point is this, from the beginning God had a plan to pour out upon us abundant, rich life. When we couldn’t receive it through the old covenant, He sent Jesus to earth to gain that abundant life for us. Still, many of us, though we confess Jesus as Lord, fail to receive cup runneth over life. The reason why, perhaps, is that we have failed to die to self and live to Christ. We are trying to live to Christ, I appreciate that, but we cannot live in the newness of life until we crucify and bury the old life. So we try and try to live the saintly life; we pray for the abundance promised us but we never seem to move into the richness of life promised us. The reason is that although we are sincere in our endeavors, our reasoning is faulty. We can never receive the new life of Christ and the richness of blessing that come with it until we put our self-absorbed old man in the graveyard. When we do, though, all of the life of Christ is able to rush in and fill us. Then the life of Jesus will be manifested in us.

Say “Yes”

Galatians 2: 20

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Here is the result of our death and burial. We have a new life. This newness of life came with our communion with Jesus in his resurrection. What, though, makes our new life any different from our old life? I mean, what is the point of a new life if it looks like the old one that we buried? Paul points out the way. This new life, the life that Jesus bought for us but that we are living out in our mortal bodies is not one of solitude, isolation or independence. The life we now live is the life of Christ within us. We live by faith and in the love which he showed when he gave up his life for us. Now, we give up our life for him. Our lives, these lives which we have dedicated to the Lord, this life which he bought for us at Calvary, we live intertwined in the Christ who loves us and gives us life. We live his life because he is alive within us and we are renewed. We say, “Yes,” to Christ and he fills us with his resurrection power of life and liberty.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,” (Colossians 2: 6 NIV). These verses make sense on the surface of our brains but when we really consider them, they are much more complex than we may first appreciate. However, this verse really is at the heart of the Christian message. This life we live we live in and through him. Doing just that makes all of the difference in our existence.

I was thinking yesterday about raising teenagers. There are so many things that you want to caution them about; drugs, sex, alcohol. I found myself thinking that loving them could end up sounding like a litany of “don’t’s.” How effective is it, I wonder, just telling children not to do this and not to do that. There must be a better way. Then I thought, maybe they need to understand that they are too valuable, too prized to damage their lives with things that will hurt them. Then I realized this is the same message that pastors must consider.

It is no good for pastors to spend Sunday after Sunday telling their congregations what not to do. Besides, we all know the list of the things we ought not be doing. The real message is you are too beloved to do these things. I want you to say, “Yes,” to Christ, to living in him. Christ is true liberty. He is true peace and happiness. When we focus on loving him and, just as importantly, his love for us, then we don’t need those things. We don’t even want them. In truth, they become repugnant to us. And if you want to know the whole truth, they are weak copies of the true pleasures in life. Getting drunk or high will never give a person the high they can experience in the presence of God. If one ever experiences being in the manifested presence of God, then alcohol and drugs lose their attraction. All of the world’s pleasures attempt to mimic the exultation we feel in Christ but they always fall woefully short.

So, my plan is to continue to encourage you into an ever deeper relationship with Christ. Crucify and bury the old man with his fleshly desires. Receive the fullness of the renewed life that you have in Christ. It’s not about saying, “No,” to sin; it’s all about saying, “Yes,” to Christ. If you do and if you continue to, then you will not have a sin problem. Those things will just lose their hold over you.

Christ is calling. What will you say?

Newness of Life

Romans 6: 4

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Yesterday we looked at the sixth verse of this chapter which was about crucifying our old self. As we see today, that is not the end. After self is crucified, it is supposed to be buried. The problem many of us have is that we keep digging up that old man. The newness of life, however, is in our death, burial and subsequent resurrection, not in digging up the dead.

We die “so we too might walk in newness of life.” Picture the old you, the you that you grew up knowing, nailed to the cross with Jesus. It may be a bit macabre but it also highlights an important spiritual reality. Watch as the deceased “old you” is removed from the cross and laid in a tomb with Jesus. You are dead and buried. Then see what happens when Jesus arises from the dead. Are you awakened by his stirrings? You arise with him. The old life is gone but here is a new life, a renewal through Jesus. You are born of his resurrection and of his new life. You are a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away.

Get a picture in your mind of how this new you looks. Is there a new countenance to your face? Do you perceive something new or different about yourself? This dying to self and burying the crucified flesh is not just a cute story or analogy. God would tell you this is the real deal. He is trying to show you the reality of what is happening in the spiritual world. You can have newness of life – you were meant to, but it comes in this strange wrapping of death, burial and resurrection, I mean actual death, actual burial and actual resurrection. Although these are spiritual realities that does not make them any less real than physical realities and in truth, they are more powerful than the physical because the spiritual realm trumps the physical.

If you can wrap your head around these verses and not treat them as mere analogies, then you can arise with new breath and every fiber of your being will react to the new life within you.

No Death in Truth

John 8: 31

Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.

We say, don’t we, that we believe in life after death. That’s unfortunate and this verse explains why.  Jesus does not believe in life after death. He believes in life. We get these little ideas in our heads that we think are Biblical but upon closer examination we discover that they are actually misstatements. Reorienting our thinking so that it aligns with the Word of God is how we release freedom in our lives.

The truth is, you will never die. From this side of heaven it appears like death. In truth, your spirit will just take up new residence. People in heaven and other heavenly beings see this truth. They don’t believe in death either because they see a person step out of their body and step into the mansion Jesus prepared for them. They see that person’s life continue.

Jesus said that he came to give us abundant life. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10: 10). We hear about eternal life. We even talk about eternal life but somewhere the wires have gotten crossed and we have begun to think that the path to eternal life is through death. In other words, that in order to have eternal life, we must die. In a metaphorical sense this is true. We have to die to ourselves in order to live to Christ. That is not what I am discussing though. We think that people die but I say that they don’t. Jesus said that if we keep his word we shall never see death. It just doesn’t make sense to me that in order to accept and receive this eternal life Christ has won for us that we have to die. He came to earth to give us life. If we have to die in order to receive this life, why not just wait until we die to give it to us?

The real point, though, is that this thought process, this seeking, pondering and discovery comes through believing what he has said. He is the one who said if we keep his words we shall not see death. I choose to believe what he said so that launches me into an examination of my own beliefs and assumptions. You will be amazed at what God will reveal to you if you take Him at His word. When you read His Word, if you take Him at face value, illumination will fill your mind, heart and experience. Isn’t that cool? Perhaps you also feels a renewed sense of confidence. There is so much the Lord would like to show you. First, we have to accept what he has already said.

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