Are you Spiritually Dead or Alive…

Rev 3:1 ““And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

“Are you Spiritually Dead!”

In the book of Revelation or Apocalypse our Lord first tells us about 7 Churches in the first 3 chapters.  God is talking about those professing to be Christians. Remember as you read this that in the Bible the Church refers to the people and not a specific denomination.

I would like us to focus on one of those churches today. That is the church of Sardis mentioned in Chapter 3:1-6. The first 4 Churches mentioned had some level of commendation from God and had rebuke and challenge for what they needed to change to please God. Sardis is the only church with no commendation. They appeared to be religious to the world around them but God told them they were spiritually dead. So, what does it mean to be spiritually dead?  First you must be ‘born again’ to be spiritually alive and to be a member of Jesus Church. If you are depending on the Church you belong to you may be in trouble because no denomination is ever mentioned in scripture as being the only one and true church. So hopefully in your past at some time you have recognized you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and you have asked Jesus to save you from the eternal penalty for those sins. So, how can we know if we are spiritually dead or alive?

Let’s look at 8 questions or ways to evaluate our lives to make sure we are not spiritually dead.

  1. Do I have a lack of willingness to receive correction?
    1. Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction
    2. Where to find correction. II Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  2. You boast, ‘I only listen to God and not to men!’
    1. II Pet 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    2. We are to obey the spiritual leaders of our churches and those in government who provide direction that does not contradict scripture.
      1. Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
      2. Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    3. Are you inclined to watch others and point out their mistakes?
      1. Fault finding is not a fruit of the Spirit but a demon spirit. It is the same spirit that satan had.
        1. Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      2. The following are examples of ‘born again’ believers who made the mistake of focusing on others vs. their ministry for Jesus but to their credit corrected the problem.
        1. John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
        2. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
      3. Do you feel you are appointed to fix other people?
        1. You are not God’s Sherriff.
        2. Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
      4. Do you feel you are closer to God than other people? Pharisees feel that way and their lives reflect it.
        1. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
        2. Satan had the same issue. Isa 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      5. Do you demand recognition for what you do for the Kingdom of God?
        1. See question #5 verses about the Pharisees. They demanded the same.
        2. Knowledge of who God is does not alone set us on the right spiritual coarse. Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
        3. Our purpose in life should be to; I Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      6. Is your prayer life mechanical or do you really feel that you are communicating with and listening to God?
        1. God wants our heart relationship with Him and it is not based on the quantity of our prayers. Mat 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
      7. Do I have a critical spirit when I see the workings of the Holy Spirit? If you are not sure be careful not to condemn another brother or sister. It may be the Holy Spirit at work!
        1. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who sought out Jesus. He did not condemn the work of Jesus and Holy Spirit because it did not line up with his spiritual thinking and religious teachings. Read John chapter 3.
        2. No Holy Spirit in our lives equals…. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

So, how did your life stack up? Honesty is vital if we are to change. And if we are honest there is not a one of us who does not need to improve on one of those points.

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and some of these questions challenged you there remains hope from our Lord.

Rev 3:11-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

An autopsy of the Sardis church suggests they were not killed by outside sources. They chose the way they went as do we. Outside sources or our worlds values are opposite God’s values for the most part but it is our choice as to which one we will follow and so was it for Sardis.

Joshua 24:14,15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God’s directive and our choice!

Heb 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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Worthless…How much are you worth…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son

that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Worthless….How much are you worth…

A man was on the side of the road with a large birdcage.
A boy noticed that the cage was full of birds of many kinds.

“Where did you get those birds?” he asked.

“Oh, all over the place,” the man replied. “I lure them with crumbs,
pretend I’m their friend then when they are close, I net them and shove
them into my cage.”

“And what are you going to do with them now?”

The man grinned, “I’m going to prod them with sticks, and get them
really mad so they fight and kill each other.

Those that survive, I will kill. None will escape.”

The boy looked steadily at the man. What made him do such things? He
looked into the cruel, hard eyes. Then he looked at the birds,
defenseless, without hope. “Can I buy those birds?” the boy asked.

The man hid a smile, aware that he could be on to a good thing if he
played his cards right. “Well,” he said hesitantly, “the cage is pretty
expensive, and I spent a lot of time collecting these birds, I’ll tell
you what I’ll do, I’ll let you have the lot, birds, cage and all,…..
for ten pounds and that jacket you’re wearing.”

The boy paused, ten pounds was all he had, and the jacket was new and
very special, in fact it was his prized possession. Slowly, he took out
the ten pounds and handed it over, then even more slowly he took off his
jacket, gave it one last look then handed that over too.

And then (well, you’ve guessed it) he opened the door and let the birds
go free.

Moral of the Story…The Enemy of the world, Satan, was on the side of
life’s road with a very large cage. The man coming towards him noticed
that it was crammed full of people of every kind, young, old, from every
race and nation.

“Where did you get these people?” the man asked.

“Oh, from all over the world,” Satan replied. “I lure them with drink,
drugs, lust, lies, anger, hate, love of money and all manner of things.
I pretend I’m their friend, out to give them a good time, then when I’ve
hooked them, into the cage they go.”

“And what are you going to do with them now?” asked the man. Satan
grinned. “I’m going to prod them, provoke them, get them to hate and
destroy each other; I’ll stir up racial hatred, defiance of law and
order; I’ll make people bored, lonely, dissatisfied, confused and
restless. It’s easy. People will always listen to what I offer them and
(what’s better) they, blame God for the outcome!”

“And then what?” the man asked.

“Those who do not destroy themselves, I will destroy.
None will escape me.”

The man stepped forward. “Can I buy these people from you?” he asked.

Satan snarled, “Yes, but it will cost you your life.”

So Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid for your release, your freedom
from Satan’s trap, with His own life, on the cross at Calvary.

The door is open, and anyone, whom Satan has deceived and caged, can be
set free.

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Run for your life…

Yes, we need to run for our spiritual life. How well do you do in fighting temptation? Remember the mind is as guilty of sin as is the flesh!

Mat 5:27, 28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The same applies to anger, jealousy, and envy and on and on. Temptation leads to sin when not dealt with as God instructs us to. Yes, while the word sin does not seem to be in our world’s current dictionary it is as real and painful as it always has been.

Of course, step one is acknowledging there is a battle going on.

Run for your life…..

Guard your mind as much as your body. Sin occurs in the mind as well as our actions.

 Mat 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his mind.”

 Rom 12:2a “And be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Choose your friends wisely.
I Cor 15:33 “Do not be deceived; ‘ Evil company corrupts good habits.’”

Choose what you view wisely.
Psalm 101:3a “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…”

Flee temptation.
I Tim 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

I Cor 6:18a “Flee sexual immorality…”

Practice wholesome (Holy) living.
Phil 4:8 “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

Fully surrender to Christ.
Mat 16:24 “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Me.”

 Mat 6:33a “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Col 2:6,7 “As you have therefore received Jesus Christ the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

By Jesus power and not your own strength you can be successful!!!!

1 Cor. 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Philip. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

How Big is the One True God…

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men…”

HOW BIG IS THE ONE TRUE GOD

A little girl, on the way home from church, turned to her mother and
said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.”

The mother said, “Oh! Why is that?”

The girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are.
Is that true?”

“Yes, that’s true,” the mother replied.

“He also said that God lives within us. Is that true, too?”

Again the mother replied, “Yes, He comes into us when we accept
Him as our Savior.”

“Well,” said the girl. “if God is bigger than us and he lives in us,
wouldn’t he show through?”

I like that little girl’s way of putting it. If God lives in us, then
there’s no way of keeping Him from “showing through”.

That’s the essence of Christian living-living in such a way that people
around will see God in our lives. He’ll show through.

A simple question for today: Is God “showing through” in your life?

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Purity Before and After Marriage

1 Thes. 4:3 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:”

James 1:13-14 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

Purity before and while Married

Notice from I Thes 4:3 that it is God’s will that we keep pure. This is a command not a suggestion we’re dealing with. God says, “I want you to be sanctified,” which means to be kept special – not diminished by sex with anyone but your lifetime partner. He says the way to do that is to “avoid sexual immorality.” In other words, don’t be anywhere near where you could mess this up. II Tim 2:22 tells us to flee temptation activities that can trip us up.

Run for your spiritual life!

And then we are told to keep ourselves pure by controlling our own body. Don’t let your body, don’t let your mind get to a point where your passions are controlling you. Then there’s this sudden tack about not wronging or taking advantage of another person. What’s this about?

There is a third person being hurt when two people are physically involved outside of marriage. What’s happening is really four-way theft. First, sex outside of marriage boundaries hurts you, and then it hurts your partner. You’re robbing yourselves of the enjoyment of sex that is guilt free and regret free and judgment free inside marriage. This unique love gift is no longer unique because you’ve given it to someone else, which in turn robs two other people.

Four-way theft: four people, two of them innocent parties, lose what could be so special because someone couldn’t control their hormones. In reality it’s utter selfishness, masquerading in our world’s definition of love.

At the moment you may not know what you’re taking away from the innocent. You may not even mean to be taking it, but it’s gone and it’s impossible to return what you have taken. And yes, you are accountable. There is no such thing as, I didn’t know it was wrong or it wasn’t my fault. Adam tried to blame

Eve and Eve tried to blame the serpent and God said you are both guilty and accountable for your own actions.

‘They are not meeting my needs’, does not fly with God either. Actually no excuse is accepted by God. That tone reflects conditional love and we are to provide unconditional love as our Savior did for us. Good thing! Otherwise we would still be dead in our trespasses and sins and doomed to eternal hell.

If you are in the middle of a sexual relationship with anyone other than your marriage partner, whether it’s your present or future partner, take this as a warning from God. It is sin. He loves you. He stands ready to forgive you if you’ll honestly repent at the cross of Jesus. In fact, He died for that very sin – one that He wants to forgive you of so you can be clean and know Him personally.

This is also a topic you must have with your children or yes even your grandchildren if appropriate. The enemy is selling ‘free love’ but in reality it leads to spiritual death and the loss of one of God’s most wonderful blessing. The relationship of a man and a woman in marriage.

Keep yourself and help keep your family pure…………………

(Portions from R Hutchcraft ministry of 20 Oct 04)

2 Tim. 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith,  charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Only God could do this…

Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”

Only God could do this…

Had Moses tried to figure out all that was needed to accomplish God’s command!

One of the biggest arithmetical miracles in the world – Moses and the people of Israel were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them? They had to be fed, and feeding 2 million plus people would require a lot of food.

According to the Quartermaster General of the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have 1,500 tons of food each day. Do you know that to bring that food each day, two freight trains each a mile long, would be required?

Besides, you must remember, they were out in the desert, and they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains each a mile long, just for one day. And just think, they were forty years in transit.

Oh, yes, they would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day, and a freight train with tank cars, 1,800 miles long just to bring the water? And then another thing! They had to get across the Red Sea in one night. Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So, there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide, so that they could walk, 5,000 abreast to get over in one night.

But then another problem. Every time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long. Think of it! This space just for nightly camping. Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left? I think not.

You see, Moses believed in God, and God was going to take care of these things for him. Let us take courage, we have the same God. We think our problems are so big. Remember what God can do! Just team up with God and your problems will be His care also. Let Him run your life, and as the old song says, “He will take care of you.”

Author unknown

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Forrest Gump and the Pearly Gates of Heaven…

I John 5:11-13a “And this is the record that God has given us eternal life and that life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God
that you may KNOW that you have eternal life…”

Forrest Gump at the Pearly Gates of Heaven

The day finally arrives: Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is
at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. The gates are closed,
however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter says
“Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot
about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and
we’ve been administering an entrance examination for everyone.
The test is fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get
into Heaven.

Forrest responds, “It shore is good to be here St. Peter. I was looking
forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope
the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.”

St. Peter goes on, “Yes, I know Forrest but the test I have for you is
only three questions.

Here is the first: What days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?

Third: What is God’s first name?”

Forrest goes away to think the questions over. He returns the next
day and goes up to St. Peter to try to answer the exam questions. St.
Peter waves him up and says, “Now that you have had a chance to think
the questions over, tell me your answers.”

Forrest says, “Well, the first one-how many days in the week begin
with the letter “T”? Shucks, that one’s easy. That’d be Today and
Tomorrow.”

The Saint’s eyes open wide and he exclaims, “Forrest! That’s not what
I was thinking, but…..you do have a point, and I guess I didn’t
specify, so I give you credit for that answer.”

“How about the next one?” asks St. Peter. “How many seconds in a year?”

“Now that one’s harder,” says Forrest, “but I thunk and thunk about
that and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”

Astounded, St. Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve??! Forrest, how in Heaven’s
name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”

Forest says “Shucks, there gotta be twelve: January second, February
second, March second……”

“Hold it,” interrupts St. Peter. “I see where you’re going with this,
and I guess I see your point, though that wasn’t quite what I had
in mind, but I’ll give you credit for that one, too. Let’s go on with
the next and final question: Can you tell me God’s first name?”

Forrest replied, “Andy.”

“OK, OK,” said a frustrated St. Peter, “I can understand how you came
up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the
world did you come up with the name of ‘Andy’ as the first name of
God?”

“Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,” Forrest replied. “I learned
it from the song….”Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells
me I am His own…”

St. Peter opened the gate and said: “RUN FORREST, RUN!!”

That was the humor. For the truth side there is a heaven and there is a hell. We will all frequent one of them for eternity? And of course the exam to get in is based on what we did with following God’s truth while on this earth. There are no exceptions so be very sure you are passing the test…………….here it is.

John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again he cannot see the
kingdom of God.”

Titus 3:5a “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by His mercy He saved us….”

Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone would boast.”

So, when you leave this life what will God say to you? Enter or I never knew you…………….