Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Life Or Death

Have you died to this world so that you can be fruitful?


John 12:24-26  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels--a plentiful harvest of new lives.

25  Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

26  Anyone who wants to be My disciple must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me.

The main story of the Bible is a story of love and redemption, love that was so extreme that it paid a huge price to rescue us, from Genesis to Revelation we get to know God and his sacrificial love for man.

God called the nation of Israel to be set apart as his chosen people, a people that would demonstrate God's love and point the nations to his salvation but they did not follow through. Instead they became prejudice and narrow minded, they stayed focused inward and they wouldn't live for God and glorify him. Sounds a lot like God's people today!

They didn't see themselves as a missionary organization that would share God's message of love and redemption. God's plan to save people from every tribe, tongue and nation around the world was opposed by his own people that were supposed to help accomplish God's ultimate goal but instead they became a hindrance.

They opposed God's mission for themselves in the Old Testament and now they stand opposed to God's mission for Jesus. The King enters Jerusalem and the expectation is high that he will start doing King stuff but instead he starts talking about death. He talks about his own death and the death of the people that follow him. How will he ever get people to follow him with this kind of talk and how can all of this dying be a good thing?

Jesus death caused new fruit to be produced

Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

Our sins against God are capital offenses with God Himself as our judge, and according to divine law our crimes deserve the death penalty. By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness and became our substitute.

Jesus said in Matthew 20:28 that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” By his sacrificial death he made it possible for us to be righteous, our sins have been paid for, without Jesus death Heaven would be a lonely place completely free of any human.

The seed had to die, it has been planted and now the fields are full of a bountiful crop ready to be harvested.

Our death causes new fruit to be produced

For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.

Do you realize what happens when the fields are harvested? The produce dies, and after the produce dies the seed from the fruit is planted again and then there is an even greater increase in production. Jesus death was the first seed which produced many more seeds and now as each of us dies to ourselves we produce many more seeds.
“Getting rid of the ‘self-life’ is like peeling an onion: layer upon layer—and a tearful process!” -A. T. Pierson
Jesus asks us to see our life here the way that he sees it. Do you hate your life in this world, do you hate what your life is, full of its sin and self-centered and godlessness? Are you willing to abandon what the world has to offer? Have you really died to yourself or are you holding onto the controls?

Those are difficult questions to ponder, our insecurity and fear get in the way of allowing somebody else to be 100% in control, it probably isn't possible to go all the way.
Count The Cost
Luke 14:27-28  And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
As the Bible tells us, it isn't enough to believe in Jesus, the demons do that and yet they don't surrender control of their life to him. That's where dying to self comes in.

Death to self sounds like a high price to pay, that is why Jesus warned us to consider how much he is asking and what is required to take up your cross and follow him. It is better for the cause of Christ that you don't start and then fall away, unbelievers will look at your life as an example of why they shouldn't bother to trust in Jesus, they get the wrong impression of what following Jesus looks like.

Jesus didn't die to offer us a comfortable, wealthy "best life now." If I love my life in this world then I will live for this life and I will live for the same things that unbelievers live for but if I die to myself and live for Jesus then I will be a another planted seed that will produce a plentiful harvest of new lives.

(1 Corinthians 15:20, Colossians 3:3-4, 1 John 2:15-17, Romans 6:5-8)
Four Things Jesus Didn't Die For (thegospelcoalition.org)