ARE WE LIVING AS IF DEAD?
Sermonette April 13, 2006 Eric Snow UCG Ann Arbor/Detroit First Day of Unleavened Bread
Are we emotionally driven by what the world offers to us? Do we constantly think about the house we want to have? Is there a fancy new car we can’t wait to drive? Do we work long and extra hours for material things? Is the American Dream God’s desire for us?
Or, are we living as if we were dead? Are we willing to sacrifice things in this life for the next life? Are we concerned about how high or low our position is in the kingdom of God? What determines where we end up in the kingdom?
Symbolically, we took sin out of our lives by taking the leavening out of our homes and cars. But we need to actually live what we did ceremonially. We need to strive to develop the actual habits of obedience as the Holy Spirit works within us.
S.P.S. In our Christian spiritual lives, we need to aim to help develop more holy righteous character by being dead to the world. By living more dead to the world, we can gain a higher position in the kingdom of God.
Doing rituals without a changed life worth little. Are we really changing any over the years in our developed habits of obedience? Or are our bad habits from 20, 30, 40 years ago about the same now? Deleavening houses without deleavening lives almost worthless.
Purpose and outcome to self-sacrifice. Not just self-destruction for the sake of self-destruction. Self-sacrifice sows seeds for good fruit to be reaped in the next life. If God has us give up material things and physical experiences, this sacrifice is not in vain.
Verse 1-2: “Well, I may sin, because God will forgive me.” Do we turn grace into a license for sin? Teenager temptation: Go into world, come back (maybe), still get damaged by experiences. Sin in haste, repent at leisure.
Verse 4, 6, 11-12: Symbolic similarity between Days of Unleavened Bread and baptism in meaning, giving up sin. Are we living out our baptismal commitment to be dead?
Getting out of water also represents Jesus’ own past resurrection, our own future resurrection. How much do we think about the next life on a daily basis? Does it affect our actions?
I Cor. 3:6-15, esp. vs. 10-15
Verse 6: God creates the positive effects, the spiritual growth, from ministers feeding flock.
Verse 10-11: Foundation laid by Christ’s sacrifice, which we symbolically accepted by taking the Passover Tuesday night, and by His resurrection.
Verses 12+: How many good works have we done? Are we living more sanctified lives? Are we naturally and more automatically obedient to God?
HWA, What Will You Be Doing in the Next Life?, p. 20. Does this describe us any? Are we actively striving for a higher position in the kingdom? Or, are we just going through the motions? Doing just enough to get by, to salve our consciences? God rewards spiritual excellence, penalizes spiritual mediocrity. Obvious incentive to change, not just “get by.”
Conclusion: We should be dead to the world’s ways more, but be alive to God’s ways more. We should strive to develop the habits of obedience and actual righteousness in our spiritual lives. We should aim for spiritual excellence and a higher position in the kingdom. We should not settle for spiritual mediocrity and be contented with just scraping by just well enough to slip into the kingdom.