Yea, you thought I was kidding right, nope not kidding one iota, to live free in Christ you are going to have to preach your own funeral.
Starting with Colossians 3:3
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Just take moment and say that slowly, for ye or you are what? DEAD! Not maybe, not might be, not could be, but are.
Paul did not mince words here and he certainly didn't stutter. So, be sure that if you want to live, you must die first. In order to be hidden in God with Christ, to be seated in Heavenly places with Him, you must die.
Just curious though, how much are you really living outside of this death experience? Meaning, how much of you is still evidently living for it's own sake? How much life do you suppose you really have? As long as your focus is on external things, you will never have joy or peace that passes all understanding. You will live your life going from misery to misery, trial to trial. Always struggling, always needing Pastor so & so or sister blab, blab to pray for you.
The reason is really simple; you have chosen to hug your humanity to you like an apron covering a stain. The problem is the stain, once it hits the fabric, steadily increases in size and soon not even the apron will cover it.
This is us in the flesh, doing everything we can not to submit our full self over to the death process in order that we may live. Not just live, but LIVE IT UP!
I see some of you religious folks are probably having a coronary when I say that. But I'm going to tell you something; The Lord of Glory, The Creator, the ONLY Creator, called me by name, He called me from darkness and death and HE gave me new skin and a new life, and like David I am going to get a whole lot more undignified.
Why? Because He is Worthy and HE took this wreck of a life that was dying anyway, and said now if you'll go on ahead and die to yourself, I'll resurrect you to look like me, meaning that I'm going to sow your corruption and raise it incorruption (Christ) .... Are you kidding me, I said YES< YES< YES!
It's like sowing an apple seed and getting a Apple Cobbler with Blue bell on it.... (For those of you not living in Texas, that's a Texas Ice cream brand)
I got the ultimate extreme make-over! Eat your heart out ABC...
Not only that I'm getting a new room in a big house I don't have to clean.... Isn't that great? I don't have to pay a mortgage on? I don't owe taxes on..... (in my sing song voice) I'm thrilled to death. I'm not going to ever need any medical care coverage from any President living or dead! Yahooooo...
If you can't get excited about any of that, I seriously doubt you know the God that redeemed me! Like David I will not be ashamed.
I chose to die and He gave me life I could never dream of.
So back to my thought!
You see according to scripture when Jesus paid our sins (Heb. 12:2) Jesus sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Ephesians 1:20 which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.
So this is the scenario, you go on and you decide to keep your life (refusing to die) it gets mixed with some joy and some pain. Mostly you are free to be...so you think....
You're going your own way and out of nowhere like a breakaway locomotive, trials come, sorrow compasses you, you endure many sleepless nights, and end up dead literally or dying slowly from an agonizing monotony of grief and despair.
OR, you choose to die with Christ, being baptized into His suffering. You get to be resurrected with Him and your resting place is with Christ hid in God, who happens to have the best seat in all of a heaven. Right next to His Fathers throne.
Will trials and sorrows come? Sure they will, the greatest thing is that you are dead and hidden with Christ in God. Who better to walk out trials with than Him? The only physician raising dead men that I know of... The only gardener breathing life into decaying leaves. The only musician able to stir notes in melodic harmony across hearts that once thought despair was their bitter calling.
I don't know about you but I'm doing my best to preach my own funeral so that I live with Christ in all the fullness He has for me. I'm tired of being wrapped up, bound up by a decaying rotten flesh, that is keeping me from all the fullness that God has for me. He came that I might have life and that more abundantly.
I can't remember exactly what race of people did this, I want to say it was the "Romans" (somebody correct me) I'm not sure, but when someone committed murder, their punishment would be to have the corpse tied/bound to them. They would have to carry this dead weight around bound to their body like a glove. Dependent on the weather conditions that would determine the rate of decomposition it would either be a slow process or a quick one. One way or the other you would die as well with this dead body attached to you. Either way I shiver **brrr** to think about it. The disease from the corpse and the bodily fluids ***brrrrrr*** not to mention the smell, and the flies... never mind I'll stop there hopefully you get the idea.
My point is this, when you hang on to you, it's exactly like carrying your own dead corpse around. You feel the weight of it dragging you down, the stench gags you, the flies (demons) swarm you feasting on your death state.
I cannot understand for the life of me why we want to live in such denial about sin and death. Why we insist on carrying our own dead self around. The Creator has offered a way out. He's made a once and for all exchange to take that dead sin corpse off your hands, to unbind you and free you. Yet, we will hold onto it like it is somehow going to resurrect from the dead.
Paul said for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
In other words not only in the natural process of death, Paul was saying, look, living hid in Christ is life and dying to myself is gain.
Let's face it, nobody really wants to die. We have whole cities built around hospitals and specialty care facilities. We have cities jammed full of Plastic Surgeons promising to capture your lost youth, Internet & TV infomercials selling gym equipment & cosmetics to restore your former glory. Pharmacy line the freeways on ever corner.
The point being it's all about your glory & nothing about Christ.
I want to live a life so full of God that my face radiates with the ageless Glory of Holy God because I'm seated with Christ in Heavenly places. It is in this place, now watch this because this is awesome, this place with Christ, hidden in God, you are no longer visible to your enemy, did you hear that.
Jesus said Matthew 28:18 all power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Did you hear that ALL power, so when the enemy comes I believes Jesus once again says get thee hence satan... I took the keys of hell and death from you, you are done!
So I leave you with this thought... What are you willing to trade for the honor of being dead and hidden in Christ? What is more important than you putting on Jesus as your shield and refuge. At the end of the day (your natural day of death) will you be able to say it was worth it all. Carefully count the cost and prayerfully consider joining me in preaching your own funeral. If you truly seek to live free, it is only found in the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus & only by joining Him in it can you be raised to walk in newness of life!
If you don't know my Jesus please write me and I will happily introduce you, or seek out a pastor or friend who does and come walk this incredible life giving journey with me! This life I promise will be worth it all!