Dead

Hell: Introduction

This is the first of my series titled, “The Mexican Standoff”. For those wondering where I got the title and the purpose this series, please read this first

“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:7-8

Charles Spurgeon once said “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

There aren’t many subjects of Biblical doctrine that modern Christians will attempt to avoid more than the one of everlasting torment. No true child of God could speak on the horrors that await the unsaved without pain in their heart and tears in their eyes, however it cannot be avoided, it cannot be diluted…..it must not be distorted. (more…)

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Dead or Alive?

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23

Giovanni Aldini was an 18th century Italian physicist, the nephew of Luigi Galvani who pioneered the field of bio-electricity. He believed life was the result of electrical current in the body and that by using it he could essentially “cure” death. Like many scientists at the time  Giovanni began experiments on animals and later moved on to human bodies…..

In 1803  in London, murderer George Foster had just been hanged,  his body given to Giovanni to perform a public display of his somewhat infamous experiments. He inserted an iron rod into the corpse’s rectum and passed an electric current through, suddenly the eyes flickered, the mouth opened and closed, the chest rose and fell and the body even sat up and thrashed about on the table. Many religious leaders and laymen believed Giovanni was invoking demonic spirits into the body and even condemned his experiments as occultism.

The point is this…..even though the body had signs of life, it was still dead.

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.”Romans 6:5-9

There are many people in the church today who have all the appearance of life, they may say and do the right things in public but in private they are still as dead as the chairs they sit on. In some churches it feels like they built the graveyard on the inside, containing only the “chosen frozen” who exist in dead religion and ritual, sadly revival is useless in these places, resurrection is what’s needed! A church may have a lot of money, programs for all groups, high attendance, the best praise singing and yet still be dead.

In Revelation 2&3 Jesus writes letters to seven churches, some to commend and others to discipline and instruct. The church in Sardis had a reputation of being alive but the Lord knew that most of them were spiritually dead or asleep. I have found at least seven signs of Spiritual Death that can occur within the church:

  1. The story of the cross no longer moves you, the blood of Christ shed for our sin no longer seems relevant
  2. You are not doing what you should be doing (James 1:22)
  3. You are consistently absent from church and prayer meetings (Hebrews 10:23-25)
  4. You are attracted to worldly people and desires (Romans 8:5-7, 1 John 2:15)
  5. You have no interest in evangelism (Proverbs 11:30, Jude 23, Mark 16:15)
  6. The Word of God and Christianity bores you (Romans 10:17, Colossians 3:16)
  7. You have left your first love (Revelation 2:4)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the main symptom of Spiritual Death in the 21st century seems to be apathy; faith becomes routine, there is no longer a passion to bring the lost to Christ. Many Christians are not bothered if their church doesn’t grow or even closes, there’s no perception, no discernment, no understanding, no strength and unfortunately no joy. In order to satisfy themselves they will either leave the church, begin to doubt or even twist Scripture to make it more palatable, leading themselves and others through the broad gate away from God and towards destruction (Matthew 7:13).

The average person can only go three weeks without food, three days without water and around 15 minutes without breath before dying, the true Christian also needs their own Spiritual breath, food and water to survive. Remember that God the Father breathed into man’s nostrils to make him live (Job 33:4), the Word of God is our daily bread, Christ’s flesh given up so we could live, His Word is to be taken every day not weekly.
The Living water, a symbol of the Holy Spirit filling the believer and allowing him to be born again, refreshed, revived and renewed.

Six years ago while working in cardiac theatres I was given the privilege to assist with a coronary-bypass operation, I watched as the patients heart was stopped and the monitors showed a “flat-line”. All heart function had been transferred to external bypass machinery, effectively the patients source of life was no longer his own. When we receive the Holy Spirit as believers the old man must die; the natural man is still spiritually dead in sin, his only purpose to satisfy the mind and flesh. While he may do good works these will not save him from God’s judgement; the unsaved man needs to believe, repent and be saved before he can live. In short, we must die to self before we can live for Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10).

The dead cannot do the work God prepared for them just as a dead body cannot do anything; they can only present self-righteousness and their own works which are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) to God. They will stand before the Lord and declare their works only to be told to depart from His throne of judgement for the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Revelation 20:12-15).

There are some believers in the church who will continue to say “I’m a filthy sinner, I’m worthless” etc and I have to ask…. “If you’re still a filthy sinner, then what has Jesus actually done for you?” For some it is genuine guilt or worry, the result of overbearing religion and for some it’s only vain attention seeking. However, if you claim to be born again and still live like you did before then sadly you are still dead in sin rather than dead to sin and on that wide road leading to destruction (Romans 6:1-2, 8:13).

In order to live again we must die to self, die to sin and cease to be slaves to our flesh, our heart and mind. The first commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”, there is no need to serve the flesh any more. Even though we may be alive in Christ our problems will still be there, our ill health, poverty, abuse and maybe even persecution but we will no longer be consumed by them. The chains that held us dead in sin are gone, we should no longer worry about the past or even the present or future as you are now a living child of the living God, indwelt, guarded and guided by the Holy Spirit with a work that only the truly living can do for His glory. When we have died to self and become alive in Christ; those possessions, habits and behaviours we held onto before will fade away into insignificance (Isaiah 30:20-22).

“We urge you, brethren, warn the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22

Those who are alive with Christ should be doing these things. Spiritual death doesn’t have to be final while there is still breath in your body, once the bypass surgery had been completed, the surgeon and his team disconnected the machines and shocked the heart back to life, the patient could not have restarted his own heart… just as we cannot bring ourselves from death to life, only the great Physician can do it by His grace. He came to raise the dead, to give life and to give it more abundantly; He can still do it today!