Categories
Articles

DO HUMANS BECOME ANGELS AFTER PHYSICAL DEATH?

Despite my best efforts to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings or challenge their way of thinking, I know this article will very likely do both of these things. Therefore, please understand that I do not take lightly the subject matter that I am about to undertake.  The title of this article is a question that is not new but is not often addressed or answered.  We have all heard someone say “Well, they earned their angel wings today” or read someone’s email or post on social media that talks about a human becoming an angel because the person has experienced physical death.  Unfortunately and undoubtedly Hollywood has contributed to this notion.  One obvious example is the old traditional holiday flick “It’s a Wonderful Life.”[1] Clarence is the character in the movie who is trying to help George get his life straightened out so that Clarence can earn his wings.  He references his previous human life and shares the frustration he has experienced not having earned his wings at the time of their meeting.  The fact is that humans and angels are completely different creations of God and a human cannot become an angel.  Now that some of you already have your blood pressure going up, take a deep breath and allow me to use scripture guided by the Holy Spirit to show you the difference.

When we look at God’s Word we find that from the beginning there is a distinction between humans and angels.  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.[2] So Adam was made in the image of God but there is no scripture that supports that angels were made in the image of God.  While God’s creation includes angels, they are entirely different than humans.  His Word makes it clear that they are part of His creation when it says The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”[3]

Angels were created to serve God, to be his special messengers to carry out His will.  And while scripture is clear that Jesus Christ was sent to save the lost there is no indication that Jesus’ redemption of humans was applied to angels. When we look in the first book of Peter where this is clearly stated as follows:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”[4] 

This passage closes with “Even angels long to look into these things.”  If angels had been previously human, they would have no need to look into the gospel because as humans they would have already experienced the saving grace offered by our Heavenly FatherTo which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?’  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”[5]  This further clearly states and supports the fact that angels were created by God to serve a completely different purpose from humans and as such they do not have a need for the gospel.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coin and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it.   And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”[6]   While the angels rejoice it is because of their specific role assigned by the LORD and not because they have previously experienced salvation.

Paul tells us herefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”[7]  So when a human passes from this world in to eternity, if they have received salvation, they go home to be with the Lord.  Our spirit passes from the body to eternity and with it we carry our soul (the essence of what makes us who we are).

Luke gives a very convincing illustration of this when he wrote There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. ‘The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’  ‘But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  ‘He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  ‘Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’  ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’  ‘He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”[8]

Even in death the rich man wanted Lazarus to serve him yet he is told that there is a great chasm between heaven and hell and there is no way to cross from one to the other.  The passage tells us that the angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side.  If he became an angel why would he need angels to carry him to Abraham’s side?  It is because it was Lazarus’ spirit that was taken by the angels to be by Abraham’s side.

Let me close with this thought.  Scripture tells us And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.”[9]  The “proper dwelling” referenced in this verse is the heavenly realm not the earthly realm.  Based on the way it is written it is likely referencing the angels that followed Lucifer when he was exiled from heaven (one third of the angles in heaven followed Lucifer).  Paul asks us why would God have humans judging angels that were formerly human? The reason we will be able to judge angels in heaven is because we will be higher than the angels due to our being like Christ.

God created both angels and humans to serve Him but the evidence is clear that humans will not become angels in eternity.  While it may be comforting to think that this will happen because of the earthly image that has been created about angels, God has a much greater purpose and for humans it all begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  So don’t aspire to be angel-like go for greatness and aspire to be Christ-like!


[1] It’s a Wonderful Life filmed in 1946, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
[2] Genesis 1:26.  All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[3] Colossians 1:15-17
[4] 1 Peter 1:3-12
[5] Hebrews 1:13,14
[6] Luke 15:8
[7] 2 Corinthians 5:6-9
[8] Luke 16:19-31
[9] Jude 1:6

Categories
Articles

HOW MUCH IS A SOUL WORTH?

So often in today’s world men are distracted from the condition of their soul and enamored with the condition of their social status.  Men are notorious for maintaining a win/loss tally sheet and they compare their sheet with their circle of acquaintances to determine their level of success.  Many of them are church going men that fill a pew on Sunday mornings but that too is a part of their tally sheet to use in comparison to their peers.

When I share the gospel with men of varying ages it is not unusual to hear a response of “I’ll get to that later, right now I have other things I want to accomplish with my life.”  Not all of those things are bad; in fact, many of them are worthwhile and pleasing to God provided they are done in the way that God has them planned to be accomplished.  Education, getting married, starting a family, starting a career, buying a home, are just a few of the things they list and this list could go on for pages and pages; They’re not bad things unless they become your idol and you leave God out of the equation.

Jesus tells us “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”[1]

This seems to be a pretty clear message that doesn’t need a lot of interpretation.  The man that is trying to build up their tally sheet to compete by the world’s standards will lose it all.  Those who choose to follow the path of Christ will not look to the tally sheet for the score but will look to the Heavenly Father for His approval.  What good is it to gain everything the world has to offer but in the exchange lose your soul?  I find it truly amazing at what some men will sell their soul to gain something that will eventually tarnish and wear away!

Paul tells us “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.[2]  Everything in this world will be subject to the bondage of decay because of sin.  We get focused on “stuff” and Satan loves to tempt us with the world’s stuff and the temporary satisfaction it can bring.  The key factor is the satisfaction is only “temporary” and cannot last so we move on to the next stuff that takes us a little deeper with Satan and a little further from God and soon we are feeling totally separated from God all together.

So some of you reading this may have been in the “tally sheet” mentality and trying to compare yourself to the world’s standards of success.  You are asking yourselves “is it too late for me to get things right with God?”  IT IS NEVER TOO LATE WHEN IT COMES TO GOD (provided that you are still breathing and your heart is beating)!  The gospel does not have an age or time limit. It is available today as it was yesterday and tomorrow it will be just as available as it is today.

It all starts with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Acknowledge He is the Son of God, ask him into your heart, and confess that you need a Savior because you cannot be good enough, rich enough or smart enough to buy or earn your way to heaven.  It comes by faith alone in Christ alone.  Once we have accepted that personal heart relationship scripture tells us Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.   Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”[3]  In this relationship we are living with a heaven-focused approach to life meaning that God is the center of our universe and we no longer need “stuff” to determine our success or value in the world.  We live knowing that eternity is all that really matters because all of us have an appointed time to die; we should live daily with the same desire that our Heavenly Father has and that is none should perish.  The only way this relationship is possible is if we revisit the passage from Mark where Jesus says If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

We must share the gospel if we truly have a heaven-focused heart and mind.  God’s man will use Jesus as his role model.  He will give unselfishly to those around them in need.  He will show compassion to those the world has thrown away or completely disregarded.  He will live everyday knowing that a person’s soul is eternal and if we aren’t the hands and feet of Jesus then a lost person may never know Jesus.  It makes me shudder when I read the words “in this adulterous and sinful generation” because it rings so true when we look at today’s world.  We have taken evil and made it good and we have taken truth and made it unacceptable.

God’s Word gives us a beautiful word picture of how God’s men should be living in “this adulterous and sinful generation” when the scripture that says Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.   Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.    And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”[4] 

I believe this is the meaning of living with a heaven-focused mindset.  This is what God needs from His men today.  God has made it very clear throughout scripture that this will not be an easy or painless journey yet our focus is not in the earthly realm but the eternal realm.  When we think eternally then the present becomes insignificant in comparison.  The book of James gives us the answer to dealing with trials and tribulations. He says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.[5]  This scripture uses the words “brothers and sisters” and when we look at the actual Greek text it would actually mean brothers and sisters in Christ.

God’s man must persevere if we are going to make an impact on lost souls.  There will be times when we share the gospel and it will be nothing more than planting a seed; there will be times that we are watering a previously planted seed; there will be occasions where we must tend the ground around the seed so that Satan doesn’t choke it out with his weeds of deception and lies.  There may actually be times that we get to see the Holy Spirit at work and a person accept God’s gift of grace and enter into a personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ.  In all cases we are living heaven-focused with eternity of a soul being the most important thing over all other things.

Paul reminds us “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”[6]

 


 

[1] All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.  Mark 8:34b-38

[2] Romans 8:21

[3] Colossians 3:1-2

[4] 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

[5] James 1:2-4

[6] Philippians 3:13b-14

Categories
Articles

Scriptures of Encouragement and Consideration

This month I wanted to take time to share a variety of short writings concerning Scripture that contain both words of encouragement and/or words that should be pondered and given serious thought.  I hope they will be something you not only apply to your daily life but that you also share with those you minister in the days ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SO WHY DID GOD HAVE TO SEND JESUS INTO THE WORLD?

John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Probably the most widely known verse of scripture, regardless of the person’s beliefs, is John 3:16. Yet the next verse is so important to our understanding what God intended by what is written in verse 16. Jesus Christ did not come to earth, fully man yet fully God, to condemn the world … but to save it. Luke 19:10 tells us “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Someone filled with condemnation would not be seeking the lost so that He could save them now would He? Because of our sinful nature and sinful actions we are separated from God because God cannot look upon sin as if it is acceptable. Yet God desired fellowship with His creation (man and woman), so He had to make a way to atone or pay for the sin committed by each of us so that we could become acceptable in His sight. That is why Jesus had to come to earth. He came to be the sacrificial payment for all of mankind’s sin past, present and future. Because of Jesus shed blood we can be made clean in God’s sight. When we enter into a personal heart relationship with Him we are “covered by the blood” meaning all of our sins are forgiven and no longer visible because of the sin debt being paid in full by Jesus Christ death and resurrection.

You may be one of those people that believe God to be some mean, harsh Divine being that just wants to make our lives miserable and He likes nothing better than to see us fail. If this is your thinking, then I challenge you to read the four Gospels in the New Testament and show me in anywhere of the four where God is defined in this way! God loved us so much He gave His one and only Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sinners. How could a god with that much love be described as mean and cruel? Because our Heavenly Father wanted a way for our hearts to be rejoined with His, a sacrifice had to be made and it couldn’t be like the sacrifices of the Old Testament. It had to be a “once and for all kind” of sacrifice. Jesus was sent to the world to save it by giving His very life for you and me. God’s ultimate desire was to save the world — you and me — through his Son Jesus Christ.

It had nothing to do with condemnation; it had everything to do with love and mercy that only a loving, caring God could provide to His wayward and lost children. God’s Word tells us that His desire is that none should perish yet we know there will be those so deeply rooted in sin and pride that they will refuse to accept the gift of grace that is readily available to all who will receive it. So where are you today? In a personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ, or are you still making excuses as to why you don’t believe God’s Word and direction for salvation. My prayer for you today is that you will be burdened by the Holy Spirit in an effort to bring you to an understanding of the saving grace that comes through a personal heart relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

 

WHO DO YOU CLAIM AS YOUR CORNERSTONE?

Acts 4:11-12 “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Satan has insured tremendous confusion about God and how a person can get to heaven. There are many, even church going people, that say “there are many ways someone can become close to God or something like God (a higher power) and get to heaven or whatever they call their eternity place.” While it sounds nice and very politically correct and socially acceptable, it is completely and 100% WRONG! God makes it very clear that His plan is based on one way and one way only to have eternity with Him. Paul boldly spoke to the rulers of Israel and told them “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” Paul is telling those in positions of leadership they should have been “building” the people to understand the Messiah and His presence among them yet they refused and denied him, primarily because of greed and the fear of losing power over the people (sound familiar?).

Much like people in our world today they didn’t want to face the fact that God has provided the means to build a solid indestructible relationship with Him. When Paul refers to Jesus by saying “has become the cornerstone” he is stating very clearly that a true relationship with our Creator begins with the cornerstone Jesus Christ. The cornerstone is the key to a structure being strong or weak. The cornerstone is what everything else relies upon and if the cornerstone fails then everything comes tumbling down. Too many people are depending on things or people to be their cornerstone and when those things fail everything and everyone comes crashing down with it.

Paul gives us the key to re-establishing our relationship (broken because of our sinful nature) with the Heavenly Father when he says “Salvation is in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Is Jesus your cornerstone? Are you building your life depending on Him for providing the strength and stability to accomplish God’s plan for your life? Jesus is the cornerstone and to rely on Him gives us what we need in this life and in addition we gain adoption into the Kingdom of Heaven to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father!

 

WHAT ROLE DOES MY MIND PLAY IN MY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST?

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

I want to focus on the second half of this verse which states “and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Anyone following my post for any length of time knows that I talk about the fact that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ starts and stays in our hearts. This is why it is so incredibly important that we do the things necessary to increase and grow in our faith so that we can surrender our minds to the direction of our heart because that is where our Jesus relationship exists. The mind is Satan’s playground and he uses any tactic possible to create doubt and fear.

A colleague once shared with me that Satan’s use of fear can be interpreted as “False Evidence Appearing Real.” You see he will twist and distort truth to try and get you twisted and confused in your faith. That is why this verse is so incredibly important. We must take every thought captive and not allow Satan to sneak into our minds and create doubt or confusion. If we seek to make every thought, not just our Sunday church thought but every thought every day focused on Christ then we can defeat the efforts to try and make us react in FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).

Studying God’s Word, having a daily prayer life, and surrounding yourself with other Believers who can provide mentoring and support will develop and mature our abilities to allow the knowledge of Jesus Christ in our hearts direct the thoughts in our minds. Philippians 4:8 tells us “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Learning to utilize the direction the Holy Spirit gives us from the heart to control our thoughts so that we can focus on God’s truth and desires for us. This will give us a great shield of defense in our minds to guard against the one who seeks to destroy us … Satan. He knows how the world is going to end and where he will spend his eternity; therefore he wants to take as many of God’s creation with him as he possibly can.

Today determine that you are going to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior!

 

SO WHAT DO I DO WITH THE FREEDOM GAINED FROM MY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST?

Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Let’s call today “Let’s Get Some Things Straight Friday!” As Believers in Christ our freedom comes from the forgiveness of sins which should not be interpreted as a license to go out and do anything and everything you want to do just because you happen to have a “Free Get out of Hell Card.” Paul is telling us that our freedom should not be used to “indulge the flesh” which can be defined as living our lives in such a way to attempt to fulfill our sinful worldly desires. To use our freedom in this way is in direct opposition to what the Holy Spirit has called us to leave behind. Not only is Paul giving us instruction on what not to do but he tells us what to do when he says “serve one another humbly in love.”

Look at the world around us.  We have become so self-centered and self-focused that we act insulted and appalled that someone would dare ask us to serve another person! Humility is viewed as a trait of the weak and to get ahead you have to look out for number one – SELF! Thank goodness that Jesus wasn’t looking out for Himself but humbled Himself to the point He surrendered His life for you and me. God’s Word tells us there is no greater love that a person can give than to lay down their life for another. We mumble and grumble about the condition of our nation and we wonder why we see people doing such horrific and cruel things to one another yet the key and critical question is “Am I living my life to teach others how to serve one another humbly in love?”

We complain about the church and wonder out loud “why don’t THEY do something,” yet aren’t WE the church. What is it that you are doing to help another person learn the true meaning of freedom which can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? What are you doing to allow God to work through you to demonstrate humility by serving someone in need as an example of Christ’s love for us? LET’S GET SOME THINGS STRAIGHT FRIDAY … it all begins with me and if I am unwilling to live out the love of Christ and humble myself to serve others in need to show the love of Christ then I need to stop expecting others to do so. So which will it be?

 

SO HOW DOES GOD LOOK AT MY PAST?

Philippians 3:13b-14 “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I recently attended my high school class reunion. It was good to see some friends that I had not seen in many years and some I stay in touch with regularly but don’t get to see often enough.  As I reflected over the evening I found that there were some of my classmates still trying to live in their past, some who were haunted by their past and some that had moved on with their lives by putting their past, good or bad, behind them. It reminded me of how Satan is always trying to use our past mistakes as a way of distracting us and in fact he will try to use our past to control our future.

I love what Paul says in this passage in Philippians because of the way he says it: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Too many people are restrained by their past and therefore they cannot move ahead as a result. As Followers of Christ we must remember that our past has been forgiven and so there is no need to be looking over our shoulder. If we do, we are doing exactly what Satan wants us to do; focus on our past! What we should be doing is looking ahead to seek out what God has in store for us. Not only in His promise of eternity with Him but in the present, what does God desire for me and from me? Are you pressing on toward the goal set before you or are you allowing your past to hold you in shackles and shame?

God’s forgiveness gives us the freedom to lay down the burdens of the past at the foot of the cross and leave them there. We never have to pick them up again and having that load lifted from our shoulders frees us to move on to the greater things God has in store for us. So here’s the simplicity of God’s plan; forgiveness equals freedom and freedom allows us to press on toward being the new creation that God allows us to become when we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t let your past dictate your future! Allow God’s forgiveness to set you free to become the person our Heavenly Father created you to be all along. Keep your eyes on Jesus and go for the prize that God has set before you!

 

ONCE I BECOME A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, WHAT DO WORKS HAVE TO DO WITH THAT RELATIONSHIP?

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I have written often about grace and the fact that it is a gift from God and cannot be earned, bought or stolen. … It comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and no other way. Today I want to focus on the second part of this passage that tells us that we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Our relationship with Christ removes the focus from serving self to serving our Heavenly Father. While this is actually a simple concept, Satan wants to convince us that it is a very difficult road to travel and it is virtually impossible to accomplish. Simply stated, we put others before ourselves just as Christ put sinners ahead of His own life. As we grow in our faith, our understanding of God’s Word and our prayer communication with our Heavenly Father, the easier it becomes to see one’s self as servant rather than one to be served.

No matter what our position or station in life we can serve others to demonstrate God’s love for them. It is important to recognize that God does not need our help to accomplish His work! God is always at work all around us and we can choose to be a part of His work or we can refuse but either way, the work will be done as God has ordained it to be completed. God has had work planned for you before the foundation of the world and He is greatly pleased when you accept the assignment He has for you. However, never forget that God’s work will get done with or without us. We will all stand before God one day and for Followers of Jesus Christ the critical question we will need to be prepared to answer is “what did you do with your life after you accepted My gift of grace?”

I pray that everyone reading this message can say “I took part in doing your work Father and I served others to bring honor and glory to You!” If you can’t give that answer, then it’s time to give serious consideration to asking for God’s forgiveness and then seek His guidance and direction for the work He has for you to do. I can assure you that He will never give you an assignment that you and He can’t accomplish. As it is often said “God does not call the equipped He equips the called!”

 

WHAT DOES A PHYSICAL DEATH MEAN FOR A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST?

1 Corinthians 15:55-58 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

A dear friend and Sister in Christ shared this morning that her dad had passed away. While she shared the emotions involved with the loss of her dad, she stated “I’m so incredibly thankful for daddy always being there and leading us to the One who he is standing before right now, our Savior Jesus Christ. I’m praising through my tears.” As I read her post I was reminded of the passage in 1 Corinthians 15 that describes the victory we have been given over death because of our personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ. What a powerful message in the words “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?”

As Followers of Jesus Christ we know that there can be physical death that separates us from loved ones but this separation is only temporary. God’s Word tells us to be absent from the physical body is to be in the presence of the Lord! But Praise God, we know that we will see our Brothers and Sisters in Christ in heaven where we will spend eternity together. This precious Sister points out the thing all of us as Followers of Jesus Christ should be doing and that is sharing with others the Good News of Jesus Christ. Paul says we are to stand firm and let nothing move us. We are to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord and while at times it may be difficult or challenging, laboring in the Lord is never in vain.

If you are a Follower of Jesus Christ then you have received the greatest gift ever offered to any person and that is God’s grace. With such a great and miraculous gift why would you keep that to yourself? We must share the power of grace and the promises that come with accepting it. If you truly care for a person then give them the knowledge of God’s grace and His desire to have an eternal relationship with them. If we do that, then you and I get the added benefit of being able to spend eternity with that person who accepts a personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ in God’s eternal home.

“Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” We have victory over physical death through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!