TO DIE IS GAIN

Let us look at a few Scriptures relating to life on God’s earth. This first Scripture makes it clear that God knows each one of us before we were born and He knows how we will live out our days.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.Psalms 139:16

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12

David asked God to teach Him. We need to have prayer filled lives and teachable hearts. Note: David wanted a heart of wisdom.

For if, because of one man’s (Adam) trespass, death reigned through that one man , much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17

There is only one way we can reign in this life. It is when we receive through Jesus Christ the abundance of grace (Holy Spirit) and the free gift of righteousness.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.Philippians 1:21-23

It really does come down to how much do we treasure our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we treasure Him above all life’s earthly pleasures? Note the two life options for Christians: fruitful labour for Jesus on this earth which Paul obviously enjoyed or to depart and be with Jesus Christ which he acknowledged was the better option.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:27

We all face death but how different is the fate of those that reject God’s offer of eternal life through His Son. Judgement, the Lake of Fire, punishment and eternal death. Unbelievers should be fearful of the fate that awaits them after death. If they knew perhaps some would repent. Let us do our best to reach as many as God brings across our path with the Gospel of Christ.

THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO LIFE

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13

This is a sobering verse and it is obvious that there is only one gate that leads to eternal life. The answer Jesus gave to Thomas makes it crystal clear there is only one way our Heavenly Father provided to break the curse of death that Adam brought on mankind.

“For our sake He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

The narrow gate is the gate of His righteousness!

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

It is very significant that David was given a vision of the gate even before Jesus paid the price of his and our salvation – “you have become my salvation”.

Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.Psalm 118:19-21

I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.” Psalm 118:17-18

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit that now indwells your Spirit but strive to do as Jesus did and pray daily to the Father “not my will but Yours be done.” God the Father will answer that prayer ensuring that the Holy Spirit directs your steps and you are an instrument of righteousness to God.

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” Romans 6:11-13

“By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” 1 John 2:5-6

WHAT COMPELS YOU?

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again2 Corinthians 5:14-15; NIV

Christ died for us, we must no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ Jesus, and let his love flow through us to others. Will we respond as vessels for God’s love in the present Coronavirus context? Let’s step up, not down, as God’s new normal for us is what it has always been for Jesus’ church in the Spirit—engage with all those Jesus connects us, our family, our church family, our workplace and our community.

The following reflection highlights the way one pastor and church, Mark Nicklas and his community Beaverton Foursquare, are stepping up and participating in the triune God’s normative mission in the face of the Coronavirus.

They are partnering with other churches, the school across the street, and civic authorities. They understand that we are all in it together. They clearly comprehend that this is no place or time to be lone rangers. We need to work together in solidarity. This pandemic truly affects us all.

We are called to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), Mark highlights that the love of Christ is to compel us, like it did Paul and his ministry team. Mark says, “Love is lapped up wherever it is spilled.” God’s love is lavish, so it never runs out. Since Christ died for us, we must no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit guide and direct our every step in love.

Are you living your life with eternity in view? The following scripture is tough but it is true.

Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 19:21-23

YOU NEED GOD’S WORD – IT IS LIFE

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

How good is this Scripture for teaching us how to live the Christian life, to be a Kingdom warrior, to do the will of God, to live life with an eternal focus now.

1. REJOICE ALWAYS

2. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING

3. GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

4. DO NOT QUENCH (OR GRIEVE) THE HOLY SPIRIT – The Holy Spirit indwells the Spirit of every believer. Jesus sacrifice on our behalf made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter. He produces the fruit of the Spirit (9) in our lives and He provides the gifts of the Spirit (9) for ministry.

5. DO NOT DESPISE PROPHECY BUT TEST EVERYTHING (WITH SCRIPTURE)

6. HOLD FAST WHAT IS GOOD

7. ABSTAIN FROM EVERY FORM OF EVIL

LIFE IS ALL ABOUT US, OR IS IT?

‘I bound you to me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and made you my people’ – Why? – ‘for My renown and praise and honour.’ (Jeremiah 13.11)

‘Help us, O God our Saviour’ – Why? – ‘for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins’ – Why?‘for your name’s sake.’ (Psalm 79.9)

‘I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven’ – Why? ‘on account of his name.’ (1 John 2.12)

Revival is waking up to the reality about God. The reality is, to put it simply, that we are not at the centre of the universe, God is. Ultimately, God is not here for our benefit, we are here for his. God created us for his benefit and glory. It is for his glory’s sake that he loves you enough to save you. That is why you may have such great assurance that God who began a good work in you will complete it – not because he is a merciful God and wouldn’t hurt a fly; not because he is love and love is never harsh, but because saving you will glorify him. Our salvation is not so much for our own benefit, but for his glory. His forgiveness of our sins is not so much for our relief, but for his honour. He loves us not so much for our pleasure, but for his praise.

How do we glorify God

If we love his glory above all else, He will love to glorify himself in flowing forth, – healing, saving, forgiving, refreshing, and multiplying those who flock to worship him in our churches, to see his glory in the sanctuary.