We began a new series this last week. Over the next several weeks we will be looking at the work of the Holy Spirit in the communion of the church. In order to appreciate the work of the Spirit in our communion we must consider the reality of the person outside of Christ, or as Paul will say, “what we all once were.”
Have you ever really known your need?
When I was in high School my family traveled to Minnesota to my grandparents lake house. A couple of years we pulled a ski boat, all the way from Florida! To be brief, there was an accident. My cousin’s best friend fell overboard and was run over by the motor. Her aspirations of being an Olympic down hill racer were ended when the keel and blade nearly severed her arm. I’ve always had a sense of being responsible. I wasn’t in the boat, but when my Aunt screamed that they were in trouble, though I didn’t know what had happened, I jumped into a fishing boat on shore and tried to leave the beach to go and help.
I had the motor started and pulling against the rope when my father calmly said, “Let me get the anchor up.” Sheepishly, I recognized how foolish I looked, but still I was going to save whatever or whoever needed my help.
As we came around the peninsula and could see them for the first time, I felt something was more wrong than I had thought. When we came nearer the accident and I saw my cousin hanging over the side of the back of the ski boat, his strength gone, barely able to keep Julie out of the water, I knew I was done. The blood spread across the water seemingly as far as the eye could see. I said to my dad, “I don’t know what to do. Tell me what I should do.” I knew that I was beyond any sense of being able to save that had formerly been my vainglory.
My dad saved Julie’s life.
The Lord was amazingly gracious and provided a world class surgeon in a little walk in clinic. I never have lost the sense of being way beyond my capacity to make something live.
The Bible says that we were dead in our trespasses and Sin. When it says this it doesn’t mean we were mostly dead. It means D-E-A-D, dead. Now, in this case dead things walk and move, but spiritually they are unresponsive.
Think of a dead body. It contrasts a living body in at least a couple of ways. A dead body has no sensation. It does not interact or respond to stimuli. Not only that, but a dead body has no strength. It doesn’t respond to stimuli and it has no power. It can’t move.
Wow! Sunday I was horribly disrespectful to my brother’s paralysis in a way that really only belongs to family. He is the greatest brother. We played whiffle ball in the side yard for eons… and he bought the ball and bat, just so he could play with me. I miss him in those memories. His inability does however picture the lack of life apart from the Spirit.
We can move, marry, create new life and still be dead.
It is what all of us came from. If you are in Christ today then you have been made alive. Every person in Christ was dead. We were lifeless until, God chose to set His love upon us and make us alive again.
We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we were born in Sin. In sin did my mother conceive me. In Adam, Romans 5 says, we all sinned. It means our spiritual death came before our first wrongful act and our only hope is the life of the life giving Spirit.
This is good news. When you feel undeserving… when you have done your worst… when you hear your own voice in the mocking of the Savior who hangs on a cross for you… then you need to know that He chose to love you when you had nothing but death to offer Him. He loved you when you were lifeless. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you less. You may expect yourself to perform better. He knows you better… and He loves you. You haven’t let Him down. He knew your need when you were dead.
Now some folks think they are protecting God’s fairness by leaving conversion to an individual’s decision. But they aren’t thinking of those who never hear. If you aren’t capable of hearing, how is it fair to expect you to choose Him.
No, my friend, all who are His, He chose. And those He chose come to Him. And everyone of them was just as dead and lifeless as the next. A fifty year old man is no more able to save himself than a baby can keep himself from being aborted.
In fact, Paul says, “then He made Himself known to me, as one untimely born.” It means as a baby born unto death, with no hope outside of the work of someone else.
God loves you. The Spirit lives in you if you are in Christ. If you are in Christ it is because He chose to set His love on you before the foundation of the world.
He loves you even more than Miss Barbie or even Mr. Jay. He loves you without beginning or end. He can’t wait to hear you sing your praise to Him for making you who were dead live again. Cry out this week and let someone know you were dead. Scream it loud that even you, who were once dead, have been made alive again. How could anything be any better than that?
In the celebration of the living who were once dead, your brother, and fellow carcass made living,