We have been speaking about a “puzzle.” The puzzle we have been referring to is the pieces of life, and how the bible relates to how we live. And how we use the teaching of the bible to interpret life, in taking different things from the bible to put together these “puzzle pieces.” That’s what we mean about it being a puzzle, for life is difficult, made up of how we make decisions, about the tough things. Those are puzzle pieces, and we have to put them together. The bible helps us do that, for that’s what being a Christian is! We use the bible to put together pieces of our life, according to the will of God. This is a biblical doctrine which is very important, and often not discussed. The title of this message is “No Longer Dead” and that’s what happens when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We move through that relationship according to the bible, and it changes us! He changes us, from death to life! That’s what we mean by “No Longer Dead.” There’s a “piece” of this that is often ignored by religion today. And that is “what happens in death?” The problem of death is that it doesn’t go away. But in this life we have the opportunity to change from death to life. When the Lord has mercy, and if we’re faithful to that, there’s a promise in His Word, that, that continues after we die, and that life carries on. So we have that hope, to be grateful that we’re no longer dead. What is largely ignored, is that there is a death that will not go away. Either in this life or next. If we’re not faithful to the promise of God, if we don’t respond to His extension of mercy toward us, there is a death that will not go away. This is a doctrine in the bible, that we cannot ignore and actually points us to life. If we presume that there is no eternal death, or death in this life, then we actually discount the Word of God, making it less than what it is! There is a message of death, and eternal death, and that is what we are speaking about this morning. So we’re not left discouraged, for there’s always hope. Even though one is spiritually dead, there is always hope available to turn that death to life.
TEXT: 2 SAMUEL 22:6-7, 20, 31-34
20 He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet and setteth me upon my high places.
We get a picture of a God that is responding to a cry, that is in verses 6 and 7. In those 2 verses, is a man that is telling us that “I feel like I am in death.” “I feel like I’m in the grave.” A living man that says “the sorrows of hell compasses me about.” The sorrows of hell. An unusual thing for a living person to say! There’s 3 words in the bible that are interpreted as hell in the bible. Sheol (Hebrew for grave), Hades(Greek), and Hell. In the old testament there’s largely one word used as the grave. And that word has a meaning to the people that read this, and the writers that wrote it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We’re going to through each of the three different meanings to see what the Lord is trying to impress on us, of this idea of death, and His victory over it, and also the consequences for us, as we confront it. It’s important when you put together jigsaw pieces that you get them right. You can’t put “sky next to grass,” instead of where it’s supposed to be in your “puzzle.” When we start to put together difficult things in life, (and death is one of them) in the problem of death, it’s important that we get it right! Sooner than later, or that we suspect, ..we are confronted by these things. This is one of the reasons we come to church, and hear what God has to tell us of the stuff that are the important “pieces” of life. It would be easier to get up here and say things that would “tickle” your ears, and cause you to victoriously shout. But it’s not as easy to preach about things like this, …yet they’re important! Ultimately they’ll create meaning in our lives that will help solve problems. The first place death is described in the bible is “the grave.” When David says, “The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me” it’s as if death itself has become real in this life! Most of the time in our daily lives, we don’t often really think of death. At least not of death confronting us. But there are times it does and we have to deal with that. The thing I appreciate about following Christ (and remember the model we presented to you, that we have a problem that we have to deal with, and then become aware that there has to be a movement to a decision), is becoming aware of the fact in one moment, “I am dead to God !” I am asleep to God, I cannot feel God! “God does not truly arrange my day, or my thoughts.” I appreciate the fact of the moment ..of becoming aware of that! We call that “conviction!” We appreciate it also, when a person is willing to move from that place honestly.
People might become aware that they have a need to “become alive,” that they are spiritually dead, but they are not honestly moving from that to a decision! When a person becomes aware that they are compassed about with the snares of hell, they become acutely aware that, “I am dead !” A dead person has no power! Everything we can appreciate in the moments of life, we cannot do in death! When a person becomes aware that they are spiritually dead, they have an opportunity to move in a decision to become spiritually alive! To do this honestly, we have to remember in a moment that we are spiritually dead! What’s happening today is people are discounting the word of God, making it of none effect! By presuming that they are not really dead! That they somehow want to remove the penalty of death but the movement they need to go through, they’re not going through honestly. They are not addressing the real need, which is “I am dead!” When we do get to that place, we get where we can make an honest decision. An honest decision that when Jesus Christ finds us and can help us! That’s where mercy is! All of these things are so connected! It’s beautiful the way the Word of God works! So we find here, that David finds himself almost spiritually dead! I feel and am surrounded by death! But he doesn’t somehow move from that “religious” experience and say, I’m now alive!” Which many people today are doing. “I want my cake and eat it too. I don’t want to suffer eternal death.” “So I’ll make up some kind of religion that responds to that,” …but when they do that they discount the Word of God! That’s not the way God wants us to deal with it! He wants us to deal with it honestly ! David; “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God!” David cries to God! In his honesty! And God hears him, “and he did hear my voice out of his temple.” God’s temple is heaven. Then, “He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” God hears David and responds to David’s honest cry!
No Longer Dead!