|REST IN PEACE
by Martin Eldon Bledsoe of Babylon Forsaken Ministires
Galatian 2:19-20 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Apostle described himself as “dead” and “Crucified” but nevertheless “Alive”. And I am certain he would agree that he was more alive since he was dead and crucified than he had ever been before. Do you know why? Because those who are dead and crucified can only live by ‘resurrection power’. And it is in the resurrection that we find the life that is indeed “more abundant” that Christ promised to those who believe upon him.
Now in the ‘Resurrection life” we find Joy unspeakable and full of glory. A peace that surpasses all understanding, and the infinite love of God that is from everlasting to everlasting. You see this “resurrection life” is what all Christians want, but what the majority of professed believers do not have. Why? Because they are not willing to crucify themselves with Christ and to die. There is no resurrection without death! There is no Pentecost without the cross!
Those who attempt to by-pass the cross and go straight to the upper room are trying to climb up some other way, and there are many thieves and robbers in the church houses today. They can speak in tongues but they commit fornication with their boyfriend. They can shout but they watch internet pornography when they are alone. They prophesy but they are abusive to their wives. They ‘Praise the Lord’ in the Church but they watch, read and listen to the very things that God the Father hates. You see they have a counterfeit spirit, it is not the true life of Christ. And one day many will appear before the Lord who did many wonderful works in his name and he will tell them, “Depart from me, I never knew you, you worker of iniquity”. You see my brothers you can choose to by-pass the cross, you can choose to preserve your old life, but in the end you shall die. Or you can choose the way of the cross, and accept death to your old self, and in the end you shall live.
What I want to do with this sermon is to see how the Bible describes death, and then use it to see if we have truly been crucified with Christ. For you see there are many who think they have died with Christ, but have not. So let’s pay careful attention and lets examine our own selves in the light of God’s Word.
HIS THOUGHTS PERISH
Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
A. What are these thoughts that perish at death? If you have a concordance it is their plans. When a man dies all of his earthly plans cease. Be they large or small they come to an end. Is it that way with you brother? When you were saved did all of your plans die? Did God take away the old plans wrought by your carnal mind and give you a new plan? The new plan is simple. Follow and obey Jesus. I am sure Peter, James and John had plans of increasing their fishing business, buying larger boats, better nets.. Etc. But when they accepted the cross their plans perished. And Christ gave them a new plan, “Come and follow me”.
B. Their thoughts can also mean their ‘dreams’, which also perished. Men dream about what they desire the most. Men dream of one day becoming rich. Or owning a bigger boat, or a mansion. What do you dream about now? Did the dreams of your carnal heart perish? Are they now replaced with Spiritual dreams of glorifying God? I am sure Peter had dreams of riches; but once he was converted he dreamt of saving lost souls to the glory of God.
C. These thoughts can include vain opinions by which men flatter themselves, which also perish at death. When men die they cease to think they are wise, beautiful, or great. When a man dies in Christ he realizes that he is ignorant, weak, and that in this flesh dwells no good thing. It was obvious Peter thought himself to be the ‘greatest’ of the Apostles. He said they all might deny the Lord but he wouldn’t. Yet when he was truly converted his high opinion came crashing down. “Oh I am the one who denied the Lord three times”. Those with high opinions of themselves are not dead in Christ.
THEY KNOW NOT ANYTHING
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
A. No matter how intrigued and involved with this world men are, when they die they become ignorant of this world’s affairs. Nations may rise and kingdoms fall but they are not moved by any of it.
B. Those who are dead in Christ are dead to this world. They are not interested in the latest fashions of this world. They are not amused by the latest amusements of this world. They are not swayed by the opinions of the world. They do not bow to the lax morals of the world. They love not the world, for all that is in the world, the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life is not of the Father, to whom they live; but is of the world which passes away.
C. It is as the Apostle Paul explained: Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world
THEY ARE FREE
Job 3:17-19 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
A. When a wicked man dies he ceases to commit sin. No one is sinning in the grave.
B. When a prisoner dies he is finally freed from his prison. When we die in Christ we are freed from the prison house of sin.
C. The dead slave is freed from its master. Jesus said he that commits sin is the slave to sin, but whom the Son sets free is freed indeed. You see brethren Christ gives us rest and freedom by letting us die with him on the cross. If you don’t have true freedom and rest it is because you have not died with Christ.
RESTING IN CHRIST
Isaiah 58:13-14 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD;
Those who have died with Christ have entered a perpetual Sabbath rest; “we who believe do enter rest” [Hebrews 4:3]. But let us be careful and be sure that we have indeed entered it. This is how you know you have entered his rest:
A. If we are indeed resting in Christ we are not “doing our own ways”. It is no longer “My will”, but it is: “THY will be done”. When we rest in Christ we don’t do it our way, but God’s way.
B. If we are indeed resting in Christ we are not “Finding our own pleasures”; we have turned from the sinful pleasures of the world, in fact we are dead to them, and find no pleasure in them.
C. If we are indeed resting in Christ we are not “Speaking our own words”. What words are these that proceed from the carnal heart? Lying, Murmuring, Gossip, Backbiting, Discord, Evil Speaking, Filthy language, Foolish jesting..etc If you are doing any of these my brethren, then you are not resting in Christ. These are works of a carnal mind that is very much alive in sin.
THOSE WHO REST WORK TO GLORIFY GOD
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
You know that Christ taught it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath; works that glorify God are allowed every day; and they are the only works allowed any day in this perpetual rest. What ever we do it is to be done to the glory of God.
Is all you do, to the glory of God? For our works to glorify God we must have the following mind set: We must:
A. Ever be mindful of God as our Father and our Lawgiver.
B. Ever be mindful of his Word, as a rule of life.
C. Never forget that we are dependent on him for all things.
D. Always give thanks for everything.
E. If pride is involved in your work, then you are not resting. If complaining is a part of your work, then you are not resting. If you are not acknowledging your absolute dependence on God, then you are not resting.
NOT DEAD, BUT SLEEPETH
Matthew 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
A. Often in Scriptures death is likened to a sleep, for it is temporary, there is a resurrection of the body. Here Christ tells the people that the maid is just a sleep; for he was about to wake her.
B. Let us be careful to keep this flesh upon the cross; for if we let it down from the cross it will awake. Not in resurrection power, but in the power of sin.
C. Let us put to death every seed of lust, let us never feed it or engage it. It would be a terrible thing to let the flesh once subdued, subdue us.
D. 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
It is only when we come to this place of crucifixion, that we can truly experience the resurrection power. Maybe at one time you knew it. Your old self was nailed to the cross and you experienced the newness of life. You tasted the heavenly gift and the power to come. But you let down your guard and slowly strength came again to your carnal heart, and now you walk in the flesh. The joy is gone, the peace is gone, the nearness you had with God is gone. There is but one way for you to be restored, you must return to the cross. Go back, REPENT and do your first works; lest he comes quickly and removes your candle stick.
|REST IN PEACE|