Sunday, July 28, 2013

Preaching To The Choir?

You've probably heard the phrase "Preaching to the choir". If you've been around Christianity long enough you know what it means. In essence it means you are preaching to folks who really don't need to hear what you're preaching. Why? Because they've heard it before. As a matter of fact, they've heard it again and again! So when you hear someone say "That preacher was preaching to the choir" it means he/she is "beating a dead horse". Whoa! There I go with another common phrase. I think you get the meaning though.

But at this moment I feel I really, really need to "preach to the choir". Why? Because we have heard what I am about to share (over and over), but I don't think we're getting the whole thing. The part we may not be getting would revolutionize your and my walk with Jesus...if we just get it. So listen up choir!

The Bible teaches that through Jesus we are connected to His death. "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3) There are two aspects of Jesus' death on the cross. (1) Jesus died a natural death in our place...for us. (2) Jesus died a spiritual death in our place...for us. A deeper understanding of this 2nd aspect of the cross would revolutionize our walk with Jesus. But I must talk a bit about the first one...first.

Why did Jesus die a physical death for you and me? Because we live a physical life, and one day we will die a physical death. We will die a physical/natural death because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Since then man has been disconnected from that form of life which once caused him to live forever; eternal life. Eternal life is realized only through Jesus Christ. In order to provide for us eternal life, Jesus came in a physical, human body. He died a physical death, and 3 days later was raised from the dead in that same body. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the same resurrection power that raised Jesus dwells within us. The same power which brought Jesus up from the grave will do the same for us as well in the Resurrection. 

Jesus also died a spiritual death or second death; the 2nd aspect of the cross I want to talk about. Revelation 2:11 says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death." This "second" death is reserved for the devil and his forces, and those who have have not received Jesus as Lord when they leave this physical life. This second death is eternal disconnection from God and everything to do with Him. 

How did Jesus die spiritually for you and me? The event of the cross completely separated Him from God. I believe this separation began when He was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and lasted until His resurrection. God allowed the epitome of innocence to be wrongly accused, convicted, and sentenced to death in our place. When Jesus hung on the cross He cried out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46) God did not forsake Jesus. But God could not look upon the sin that Jesus became. "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21)

God is holy. Holy as it refers to God means totally separated from sin. Jesus is just as holy and had to come in the form of human flesh, and take upon Himself the sins of the world in order to descend into hell to conquer it and the grave. "Holy" is not qualified to enter the seat of hell (and conquer it) unless it takes upon itself ALL the world's sin, and Jesus did that! He didn't have to do it, but because of His love for you and me...He did! I am eternally grateful to Him!

Some of us will be born twice and die only once. That is, some will be born into this life as a human and will be born again by God's Spirit. It is our choice. They will eventually die a physical death, but never have to face the second death...eternal separation from God. We should be eternally grateful to Jesus for the sacrifice of Himself. Others will be born only once and reject Jesus. When they die, they die without Jesus (First death). In the judgment they will be condemned to eternity without Jesus (Second death). Once again the Bible says this eternal, second death will be spent in the lake of fire that was actually prepared for the devil and his forces.

Just as Jesus died a physical death which provides for a resurrected body (changed in the blink of and eye), He died a spiritual death which provides complete exemption from the second death. I have barely begun to understand this. But I have been overwhelmed at the greatness of our God, who is driven by His love for you and me. I feel like Paul when he got one of his clues which changed the world, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans 11:33)

So there you are choir. Take it to heart and sing really loud about it!

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