17 January, 2007

Dead Man Walking

There is a phrase that is used in the prisons whenever someone on death row is spotted. Others will say, "Dead man walking' because that man has already received a death sentence. In many ways, he is already dead, his body just does not know it yet. Life as he knew it is over and his life is now swallowed up with death and that is where his focus is from that point on. The "spirit" in him is gone. Strange thing is, that describes all of us on planet earth before we meet Christ Jesus. We are all dead in the trespasses of sin. The spirit man in each of us is dead because of sin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit "quickens" us when we are born again. That word "quicken" means "to bring to life." I have to ask: Are you alive today?

I was thinking about all this earlier this morning, and I began to think about how so many people in the church struggle so deeply with sin. Now understand, we all sin. The Bible says that if we say we are without sin we are a liar. But I am talking about struggling with the same sin over and over and over. It probably is not even fair to call it a struggle for some, for they don't struggle with it at all... they just live with it.
This just doesn't line up with the Word of God, because the Bible tells us that when we are in Christ, we are dead to sin. Where we once were dead in the spirit, we are now to be alive in Christ, and dead to sin. But to be dead to sin means we stop doing it. Right?
For example: before I was saved, I got drunk and got high every day of my life. I lived for the next high. When I was not high, all I thought about was the next one. While I was at work, my driving force was that I was gonna party the night away after I finished my shift.
But after I gave my life to Jesus, I no longer desired those things. That change took place in me immediately when I met Jesus. Now understand, I was addicted, and my body screamed at me for the next high. But I no longer wanted that in my life. I struggled with this for almost 3 weeks. Thank God, He delivered me from all that; but can you see the picture here? My body screamed for what it deemed as pleasure, while my spirit man cried out to stay holy and please the God that I now lived for.

Romans 8:5-6 says:
"For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."

You see, we who are in Christ still live in these mortal bodies, and the flesh still desires certain things. That is why we must do as Paul says, and "beat our bodies into subjection." There is a war between the flesh and the spirit and we must battle the body and make it line up to what the Spirit of God that dwells in us says we are. This is where we "die to sin."
The problem is, many who are in the church want to keep resurrecting that old man, the old nature and play with him (or her) for awhile. They will surrender their life to Christ; worship Him and truly love him... yet from time to time they "breathe life" back into the old man.

Just one more party. Just one more fling. "Just one more sexual rendezvous with that guy or gal and then I'll ask forgiveness again and serve God."

The problem is... they refuse to bury the old man who is dead!
It's like they carry that old man around with them, "just in case" and then when the temptation comes around, they say, "Yeah, just one more time."

There was a slang saying back in my partying days that I still like. If someone tried to do something, or get you to do something and you did not want to, you'd say, "That's dead!"
In other words, It was not happening.

We in the Body of Christ need to adopt that as our motto once again!

Just a few days ago, I was chatting with someone about the current drug culture, and they said to me, "Don't you ever miss it? Don't you wonder what it would be like to try some of these new drugs they have now days?"
I quickly said, "I never give it a thought!"
You see, if I began to think about it, I begin to breathe life into that old man again.
He's dead... and he is staying dead!

(I know what I am about to say could be taken as an attack to some, and I don't mean it that way at all. I'm only talking about me.)

I listen to some of my friends talk, or read them on the Internet, and they are so hung up on television shows that they literally are addicted to them.
Someone asked on a message board a few days ago if there was anyone in America who has not watched the show 24. I responded that I had never seen it, to which they replied, "Then you have lived a deprived life."
OK, I know they were joking... sort of.
But many of them admitted to staying home from Sunday night church to watch this show.
Some commented how they recorded it and sat and watched 4 hours of it non-stop.
Honey, if that's living... I don't need it.

You see... I look forward to going to church with that kind of passion.
I can't wait to see my brothers and sisters in Christ and to worship our Lord and Savior together!
That's what I live for!

I am dead to those things of the flesh.
A song we sang years ago said,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of of His glorious grace.

Am I perfect?
Far from it.
But I strive to be more and more a "dead man walking."
Dead to flesh and alive to the Spirit of Christ that dwells in me.


The 6 Karns' said...

Amen, and amen. You know - it goes in line with the "P" purity... we have to keep ourselves from things that our old flesh would say do... that only comes with prayer and spending time in the word - and sometimes, being hard on yourself. Telling your flesh NO. Just like the evil word - diet. God most likely isn't going to take the love of tastey fried foods out of our tastes buds...we have to turn away from it ourselves, and over time, the taste buds won't be as eager to eat those kinds of foods...

ruthrap said...

three cheers, Pastor...this is one of your best posts yet! I hope it gets through to many!!

Sean McKee said...

If the Church is going to make a difference in the world Christians (if they truly are) have got to stop being ruled by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life.

I have come to the conclusion that the only hope for the Church is a supernatural 'showing-up' of God in some way to cause Christian's to fall on their face before God and cry out for merrcy and help.