All Christians Must Die! (Part One)

2 Sep

Note:  This is a sermon that I intend to preach one day.  For now it will have to suffice only on the internet.  I wrote this while waiting for a bus after someone had stolen my truck.  I will copy it word for word unless there is some profound reason not to.  Take care and be blessed!

Sincerely  –  John

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John 12:23-25: “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Some Christians choose not to die to their own dreams, ambitions and pride – thus they are left alone to reap the consequences of a bitter life apart from the one who suffered in their stead.  The self in us must die completely before Christ can fully manifest his glory in our lives.  Only then will we truly be able to minister effectively with others – leading the lost to salvation and spreading the good news with joy.

Of course, it is possible along the way to bear fruit to God each and every day – even as new Christians – but the longer we are saved the more the Holy Spirit will prod and probe the innermost thoughts and recesses of the human heart.  This process of pruning (see note 1) is designed to bring about a deeper understanding of exactly how Jesus lived and what he wants each of us to do with our lives.  This process is excruciatingly painful – as dying to one’s own fleshly desires is never easy.  Yet, this is a mandatory process for the immature and carnally minded Christian to experience if they truly want to live a life that is pleasing to the God the Father, his blessed Son and the Holy Spirit.

John 12 verse 25 states: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  Although there is a much deeper meaning in this verse, still I believe it is useful in explaining this wonderful yet altogether painful truth.  Those Christians that love their natural lives down here (hence the American dream) without taking to heart the suffering and chaos all around them will themselves suffer great loss in the day of judgement – perhaps missing heaven altogether!  Jesus said in Matthew 25 that he will separate on that day those that reached out to the needy and those who remained idle, standing by.  There is no mention of sins such as adultery, fornication or covetousness, just the sin of doing nothing with the life God had given them (see note 2).

Just because you sit in a pew does not mean you are going to heaven!  Jesus himself warned about this in Matthew 7:22-23  “Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and cast out devils in our name and in your name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me you that are filled with impure motives and lawlessness!”  In other words Jesus will say to them … “Who gave you the right to do the things you do – your heart was not once aligned with my will – depart from me – you who took my name and sacrifices that I made on the cross for granted!”

You see, some Christians try to escape the cross that Jesus has set before them by doing things that they are naturally good at doing – things that are easy for them to do.  Donating money, running charity programs, playing Christian music and even public speaking or ministry may come naturally for many born again believers.  Yet without the inner workings of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct the affairs of the heart  – all that work amounts to nothing – having all been done without the expressed consent of God – thus they are works of the flesh for they are done without God’s approval.

Believers must seek a honest relationship with God born out of a holy awe and respect for Jesus before ever pushing out into any form of public ministry.  This is not to put a damper on personal evangelism for the new believer, as many souls have been won this way – but after a season, just like the apostle Paul, a desert experience is altogether necessary to groom the heart for a more effective witness for the sake of the souls that are suffering alone and apart from God.  Paul had to spend 13 years alone with God before he was truly ready to venture out into a Roman society that was cruel, wicked and abounding in sexual depravity, idol worshipers, pride and every other imaginable lust of the flesh.  The reason God did this was to teach Paul the ways of the Holy Spirit – for it says in the book of Isaiah: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Thus, a great distinction will be made between those believers who allowed themselves to be trained to listen to the Holy Spirit and those that recklessly plunged ahead in what they thought was the will of God, being driven by their own lusts for personal success and larger than life egos.  What a shock it will be when these “too busy to pray” secondary group of believers will have to stand before a holy God and try to explain why they refused to bend their will to the will of the one who created them and loved them.  Mind you, those whom God has called he will train – unless the human heart cries out otherwise!  Many are called to follow Christ – yes – but few are truly chosen.  Jesus Christ himself said: “Strive to enter into the narrow gate for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many follow its path.”

Notes:

1.  Every branch in me not bearing fruit, God removes it. And every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it, so that it may bear more fruit.  John 15:2

2  Here is the whole account of how Jesus will judge Christians in glory: (Matthew 25:31-46)  “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

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