When Are You Going to Die?
Death is a part of life. It strikes near and far. Boston and China, Syria and Oklahoma. There are car crashes and cancer, farm accidents and suicide. Death is tragic, cold, and cruel.
And with reason Paul writes, “The sting of death is sin.” Death is painful because it is so anti-life, antiGod. Death was “born” because of disobedience. The sting of death gives us a small picture of how sin repulses God. I avoid a scorpion’s sting. I will run for the Raid bottle if I can’t reach the scorpion with some other suitable weapon, all to avoid the possible sting.
How zealously do I avoid sin?
When Are You Going to Die?
When are you going to die? Are you ever going to feel that sting? Why is dying to ourselves so painful? Have you felt that sting of death to self when your dreams disappeared down the drain? Have you been mocked by your family? Been told “thanks, but no thanks” by that mission board? Prompted by the Spirit to confess that sin to the whole congregation instead of only in private? Deep repentance (death to self) hurts! Why else does Jesus call it carrying our cross? He knows and understands well that although painful, it is the door to freedom and life. It is totally necessary.
Our dear sister in Christ, Hermana Paulina, was trapped. She was 86 years old. She fought for her breath. Endured pain and sleepless nights in her tiny, bamboo and board-walled room. She had the eternal hope, but her body gave her no freedom to taste it, until she died.
Physical death is imperative for each one of us.
Hebrews 9:27 gives us no wiggle-room. Paul testified of his inner life: “I am crucified with Christ . . .” “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus . . .” And Paul commanded us: “Mortify (make dead) therefore your members . . .” Death is a must.
What farmer fertilizes his field but refuses to plant seed for fear he will lose his investment? Are we any better when we try to live productive lives without dying and without true repentance? Are you dying to your flesh, to the world, and to yourself? Are you trying to fertilize the ground of your life when the seed hasn’t even “fallen into the ground and died”? Are you trying to hang onto your life? Jesus says you’ll lose it. Are you dead to popular opinion, the latest “fad” or “cool” thing? Constantly seeking others’ approval? “Can’t stand” that person? There’s one solution.
Death! Die! Scary? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely!
Who has ever lamented, while enjoying fresh cornon-the-cob, that so much seed was spent to gain each cob? What farmer, walking through a field of golden soybeans ready to harvest, bemoans the fact that so many seeds had to die? “Thou fool . . .” we would echo Apostle Paul from 1 Cor. 15:36. We know that death and burial produce life and resurrection and fruitfulness. Broken wills and hearts are the seeds of the kingdom of God. Continual fruitfulness flourishes from continual death. “I die daily,” Paul testifies. God is not content with only one season of repentance and one crop of fruit, He looks for continual death, so He can reap continual fruit, “. . . that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
Paul wrote, “So then death worketh in us, and life in you.” Paul wasn’t just talking about spiritual death here. He was in real danger of losing his physical life because of his dedication to Christ and the church. Are you that committed to the work? Can you say those words of Paul to your church? Can we say that to the believers in China, Brazil, Panama, and Iraq? Are we sacrificing everything we can for the worldwide church? Ready to die for our Lord? We must be.
We are not exempt in 2013 if we are disciples of Jesus.
Not after . . .
The words, “It is finished” rang over the dark, deathly hill outside of Jerusalem, and the Seed of the universe “fell to the ground and died.” The earth recoiled in horror. Rock atoms were paralyzed when their Creator “ceased” to live. Small wonder the graves of the saints opened up; the eternal Word had died! But what life! Abundant, cleansing life flowing down from the cross. Powerful, transforming life streaming from the empty tomb like the rays of a hundred suns. So every soul on earth “may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Here, and for eternity, where death is abolished.
::Note:: To download a PDF of the entire Newsletter for these two months simply click the link below!July/August 2013 Newsletter