“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV
There are two stories, or obituaries, of Bernie Lyle. One filled with pride, arrogance, sin, and much grief. It is filled with personal accomplishments in the flesh. All the things valued in the world. There would be exaggerations as to my goodness. but there would be great sadness. If I were dead, that obituary would be a dismal read. All of the bad things I did, all the damage I did to others, and all the wasted life, doing things that contributed nothing to my life or the lives of others. There might have been greatness, wealth, perhaps, many adventures. Ultimately, it would be the story of a man who died and went to hell.
Then there is the other one. the story of a man reclaimed by Jesus Christ, saved and cleaned and filled with the Holy Ghost. To the reader, approaching from the point of being lost, it is a story full of loss. So many things falling away, so many earthly pleasures missed, and so many accomplishments failing to materialize. On the surface, one might think the cost of the walk with Christ was heavy. To the spirit filled, the second obituary will be of ultimate victory, of a souls saved from hell, of a man recovered, and empowered to bring the Gospel to others. of a day to day life eschewing sin, praying often, seeking the Lord. A victorious life.
In reality, I am now a dead man. When I was forgiven of my sins, the old man died to sin. That obituary was written, and tossed away. Now a new one is being composed. I became a new creation. I need to be reminded of that day by day, as I find myself drawn by the putrified odor of my past sin. It tricks me into thinking it is sweet like purfume, but it is really the fragrance of death.
I put on Christ as I pray, read my bible, worship, and surrender my will moment by moment. I eschew the values of the world, which run counter to those of Christ. I am an outcast as a result. I find solace when I go to church and spend time with other dead people. I rejoice in being with others who call upon the name of the Lord, living obituaries just like me.
Fellowship, or meeting is the opportunity for believers to get together and be refined by the Lord. We approach the meeting in different stages of decomposition, as some “old men” are deader than others. It can be a time of testing, as emotions can clash, and attitudes run against others. I have to admit, I have been through times when I almost wanted to stay home. But still I attend, as God is working in me through others. And working in them through me. I have learned to submit to the authority of God in my life, and seek His power to live in fellowship.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV
God’s word has given me all the guidance I need to live in community with the body of Christ. It doesn’t stop at the church house door, however. I also take the same values into the world.
Believers, know that you are ambassadors of Jesus Christ as we go out into the world, beyond the walls of our local church. We encounter people who are lost in sin, whose values are dictated by appetite, It is important to show the love of Christ in the church and without, even when we are being hated, and rejected. We have the assurance of heaven, and must be about the rescue of those bound for hell.
Go out and show that the word of God is in you. We are writing our obituaries each day, the obituaries of new men and women, bought by the blood of Jesus on the cross. Make every effort as if you are doing it for the Lord.
We are encountering many marching lockstep into a Christ-less eternity. Sadly, many profess to be Christian. Those are writing a sad obituary indeed.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!