Looking at the Word of God, you see that it is a Book filled with two things that affect every person born into the earth. These two things are death and life.
Both are significant to us because without one, the other does not have the importance that it is designed to have. The Bible says that both, Death and life are in the power of the tongue which allows us to see that our eternal destinies are tied to what we say or in some cases neglect to say. Proverbs 18:21
God knows that we are created beings that often gravitate towards things that promote sin and death. He placed within us a gauge to determine the level of sin that we are able to tolerate. When that measurement reaches a certain point, we begin to make decisions that affect the remaining days here in the earth as well as our lives throughout eternity.
A few weeks ago, my wife preached a message titled, "Life Interrupted. That message caused us to reflect on how at one point, God interrupted our lives, got our attention and brought us closer to Him.
An example of this disruption that she used was the downloading and installing of updates in a computer that temporarily interrupts the way the computer operates so when the updates are finished, it will be more efficient.
What must be understood is that in the same way that God interrupted our lives temporarily, He interrupted the death that was at work in us so we could enjoy the life that Jesus came to give us that's described as abundant life.
However, some people don't recognize the promptings of God's Spirit and therefore when God calls, they ignore Him. It's almost like the prophet Samuel when God initially began calling him and he thought it was his mentor, Eli.
As God began calling Samuel, he didn't recognize the voice of God until he was told to say, "Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.
In like manner, we frequently ignored the voice of God that often comes through circumstances we find ourselves in and most importantly that "small voice on the inside that told us that we need to get our lives right; we need to change; we need to go back to church; we need to heed the words that our family, friends and co-workers were telling us about Jesus Christ.
The more we resisted, the more difficult the circumstances became and the more frequent we would hear about Christ until we submitted to the Spirit of God and gave our lives over to Him. THIS IS WHEN DEATH WAS INTERRUPTED FOR YOU.
If you were to consider every person that ever lived in the earth, one thing that's similar is that except for three people, every one of them has experienced physical death. [Those three being Elijah, Enoch and Jesus Christ].
Unless Jesus Christ comes back and "catches away or raptures His Church, this too is the fate of every one of us. We were all going to die in our sins with no hope of ever having enough money to redeem ourselves. But God interrupted that process of death and replaced it with life.
The questions that must be considered are
When did death enter?
What makes death such a powerful force?
And what is the eternal state of all the people that die?
Answering the first two questions, "death entered when Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and this reveals that it is sin that gives death the authority to destroy.
The fact is, "Death gets its strength from sin. It was Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden that allowed sin to enter the earth and since that time every person born into the earth was born with a nature of sin.
When Adam committed this act of sin it opened the door for all other acts of sin to enter the earth as well.
Because of that, the life of God [Zoe] that Adam had before he fell was now replaced with death.
When he was told that he would surely die if he ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, many people look at that command through the eyes of the flesh and gather that he lived almost a thousand years and had many generations of children after he ate the fruit. Therefore he didn't really die.
The reality is that this death was immediate as it is composed of spiritual, eternal and natural death. At that point death became the prevailing force in the earth and remains so until and unless someone receives atonement for sin that only comes through the Blood Jesus shed on Calvary's cross.
Born with natural death inevitably in our futures and making the choice to remain in spiritual death by refusing God's gift of eternal life, multiple millions of people is going to spend eternity in hell.
What these facts reveal is that from the time we are conceived the process of death is at work in us “ not life.
Many people think that when they reach eighteen years old they can really start living; or when they get the house of their dreams; the ideal job; a new car; have enough money set aside; or take that vacation around the world - that they can really start living.
It's during times when these natural things claw at the inside of us that the voice of Jesus resounds greater saying, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?
Although we go from an embryo, to an infant, to a toddler, adolescent and on to maturity, the reality is that it's only a matter of time after conception that everyone is going to cease existing here in the earth. For some it takes 120 years, and others are not that fortunate.
Therefore it's not life that people are actually experiencing from the time they are born, but the process of death. And unless that process is interrupted, eternal death is inevitable.
Hebrews 9 states, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. If you'll notice, both death and sins are contained within this verse “ one is the cause [sin] and the other is the consequence [death].
When we consider this statement, we often focus on verse 27 without considering that within this Scripture is also the fact that the remedy for the wages of sin revealed in verse 27 is in verse 28 as the sins we committed were charged to Christ's account and we now have an opportunity to live as if we never sinned.
Although it originated in the Garden of Eden, sin was aroused by the Law that God gave Moses and when sin is evident there is no recourse for it but death.
Because of Adam's sin, God was obligated to initiate the Law, because without it, there would be no identity for sin. As you wouldn't know that murdering someone was wrong unless the law said, "You shall not commit murder.
To support this, Romans 7 states:
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
However, God in His mercy and grace gives every person born in the earth the opportunity to exchange the death that was operating in their members for the life that Jesus came to give us.
And contrary to popular belief, everyone is not going to heaven neither will everyone openly accept and receive forgiveness for their sins through Christ's sacrifice.
Because they are negligent in this one action, they "sentence themselves to the wages of sin which is remaining in spiritual death and eventually tasting eternal death which the Bible says will spent in the Lake of Fire and where there will be crying, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Being the Creator of everything, God set the rules for us to enter His Presence and being Just, He does not have to explain Himself or make excuses for His actions. His rules are Just and Righteous and He presents the way to salvation to each of us and leaves it up to the individual to respond.
When you were given the opportunity to respond, you did so wholeheartedly. When you did, you were delivered from living under the power of the Law and brought to the Cross where God now requires us to live in the newness of the Spirit.
Romans 7 continues:
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet. 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. [V 7 not on ppt]
The process of spiritual and eternal death was interrupted and replaced with life that will never be taken away. This brings me to the point of, "What was our life interrupted for?
Did God get your attention just so you can go to heaven and then spend eternity with Him? This is well and good in and of itself, but we must look deeper and see that God has desires and requirements for each of us.
Some of us have tapped into the purpose for our salvation, yet many others have accepted a religious experience that is void of the power of God and authority that God releases to accomplish things that will advance His Kingdom.
First Peter chapter 2 reveals our first and foremost responsibility before the Father which is to offer God praise that proceeds from hearts of gratitude.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
This lets you see that you were chosen to be different from those that do not know God. Not different because you speak King James vernacular in a society that has a modern dialect of the English language. You're not different because you received Jesus Christ as your Personal Savior. You're different because you're allowing Him to rule and reign in your life.
You have the memories of where you came from; the darkness that God delivered you from; the life of sin that was leading to death that God interrupted and you are so grateful that you are now declaring the praises of Him that brought you out of that darkness and into his marvelous light.
Doing this [giving God praise] is not contingent on favorable circumstances in your life.
A person that is truly grateful to God for saving them won't wait until their body is healed, their bills are paid or their families are saved to give God the praise that He deserves.
They won't even wait until Sunday morning when we get together and sing songs to give God praise.
They will look for opportunities to tell of the goodness of the Lord in their lives. They will think of the goodness of Jesus and all that He has done for them which causes your soul to scream hallelujah, thank God for saving me; thank God for delivering me; thank God for setting me free!
The Message Bible translates First Peter 2 as:
9 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you”from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
The reality is that we didn't choose God, He chose us before the foundation of the world and did so for the purpose of the high calling of priestly work which is ensuring that the work of the tabernacle is done in a manner that gives Him the glory that is due His Name.
Death was interrupted and you are called to be a "holy person. Because of a lack of understanding of what true Biblical holiness is, through the years many religious people and denominations set their sights on the external appearances.
Instead of concentrating on the hidden man of the heart, they began to put in place many "man-made rules to govern the lives of the saints of God and instead of the people of God being free, they were brought into deeper bondage.
Holy means to be "set apart, sanctified, consecrated, chaste and pure. It has the connotation of being separated, consecrated, devoted to the service of God, while sharing in God's purity and abstaining from earth's defilement.
To focus on the outward appearance without giving proper attention to our hearts as the people of God, our focus will always be "What makes the church appear [or look] different rather than what makes the Church relevant.
We were selected by God to be relevant and in doing so we have been given the responsibility "to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you”from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
God had you pegged before you were formed in your mother's womb and in doing so, placed the mandate on you to be His mouth piece in the earth.
To understand that you may be rejected by people, but accepted by God puts you in the league with Jesus where First Peter 2 says:
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Just as God chose Christ, you were chosen and as Christ's death was interrupted by the Holy Spirit yours was as well. You are in great company and this company has the command to go and bring forth fruit that won't spoil.
The Message Bible says it very well: John 15:
16 "You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. 17 "But remember the root command: Love one another.
Let's begin to offer those spiritual sacrifices of praise that will lift the people of God to the place where they understand that they are truly God's unique people and live as if it's so.