Now it’s not that they are totally without activity, it’s just that they are just without kingdom activity. They find time for other activities, duties and functions but they never have time to work in the church, strange thing that. There’s room in their lives for the Lions Club or school activities or sports activities, but if you ask them to commit time to ministry, they will tell you “Well Pastor, family comes first.” Well actually if the truth was known family probably comes twelfth after work, play, hobbies, school, sports, television, friends, yard work, the cottage, fishing, crafts and defleaing the dog. But God’s work definitely comes after family, regardless of what rank family actually is.
3) The Dead Have No Direction. Now that is really redundant because lack of motion translates so often into lack of direction. Those who were dead didn’t have to know what direction to go in cause they weren’t moving, they was quite content to head in whatever direction they’d been laid in.
Sometimes though we are moving but we’re not sure what direction we are supposed to be going. It’s like we’re all guys who don’t want to admit that we don’t know the way and we certainly aren’t going to ask for directions. But guess what? We got to.
Many people sense a lack of spiritual direction in their life but it’s cause they ain’t asked the way. If you want to know where God wants you to you gotta ask. And when you talk to God that’s called prayer. A sign of spiritual deadness is a lack of spiritual growth or spiritual direction.
God does not direct the dead. Doesn’t have to cause they’re not going anywhere.
4) The Dead Have No Love at one time those who were dead had probably loved all kinds of people, their friends and their family. People that they went to the synagogue with.
But when they died their love died with them. Dead people can’t express their love and neither do dead churches. The spiritual appetite, spiritual activity and spiritual direction, which we have seen is indicative of life, must ultimately produce Love. A love that touches people and communities for the lord Jesus Christ.
How is your love quotient? How do you exhibit your love to the people who surround you? And not only do we have to love people, but we need to tell people that we love them. We need to express our love now because there will come a time that we are unable to express it.
In the Book of the Revelation, which is the last book of the Bible Jesus spoke to the Church in Ephesus, which is the same church that the scripture that was read earlier was written to. And He commended them for all they did and then he said this Revelation 2:4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
That’s not necessarily something I would want said about me or about this church. I truly believe that if we were to try and find a secret weapon for reaching people it would be love. Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek Community Church just outside of Chicago makes this statement. “If you create a loving community, first time seekers will sniff it and say “I want in.” Crusty old veteran believers whose hearts have shut down will warm up again. Arrogant people will have their pride melted.” That’s my desire for Cornerstone.
How do you measure up? Are you dead or alive? If there’s no appetite, activity, direction, or love then it’s probably time to take a spiritual pulse, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that you won’t find a pulse at all.
You have expired, deceased, passed away, you’re no longer with us, you’ve kicked the bucket, you’re done dead. You may not think so, but like Christ said in Revelation 3:1 “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.”
Well then if you’re dead then what do you need, well there are some who say all that people need is a good example, and there are those who do their very best to provide that good example for society. But let’s face it have you ever tried to be a good example to a dead person? It is really quite hopeless.
Oh no someone says, what they really needs is encouragement, they need to know that the possibilities are endless. Now I think that encouragement is wonderful, enthusiasm is contagious. But you can never encourage a dead man to be anymore then dead.
Others would tell us that the most important thing is a person’s environment, that if we can get them out of their negative environment that everything will be all right. But face it even if a dead man’s not in the funeral parlor he’s still just as dead.
And education isn’t the answer either. As important as education is, you can’t educate the dead, although some of my high school teachers certainly tried. But face it if a person is dead then their most pressing need is life. Very simple, when you are dead what you need more than anything is to be alive. The word life or live is mention 1458 times in the bible, that’s almost one hundred more incidence then death.
You say fair enough preacher I need life where do I get it from. After Lazarus died his sister asked Jesus the same question and here is his reply, John 11:25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
And he told the disciples in in John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Life can only be given by the life giver and that is Christ. He gives life, not in teaspoons but in buckets, in 100-gallon drums. John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Let’s go back the scripture we started with Ephesians 2:4-5 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
So did you catch that? Because Jesus didn’t stay dead, we don’t have to stay dead. But it’s not because of how good you are, it’s not because of what you do, it’s all because of what Jesus did and what Jesus offers. That is what grace is all about, remember, getting what we don’t deserve.
Next Sunday we are planning a believer’s baptism in both services, and that is a fitting way to end this series on the dead being given new life, listen to what Paul writes to the believers in the city of Rome. Romans 6:3-4 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Do you see the symbolism? We died to our old lives and were buried with Christ by baptism. And then just as Jesus was raised from the dead we are raised in baptism. I truly believe that Baptism is the first step of obedience for a Christ follower and if you have taken the challenge of following Christ but have resisted his command to be baptised I would challenge you as to why. What has stood in your way of obeying that command? If you think believer’s baptism isn’t necessary then you need to go back and reread the New Testament and see what Paul said about baptism, what John said about baptism, what Peter said about baptism and what Jesus said about baptism.