Dead or Alive!

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:10 NIV)

With the promise of the second coming of the Lord and all of the speculation as to when that will happen, we who have a relationship with Him and understand His Word, know when He comes is of no great consequence. Whether we are alive or dead–when He comes–we are assured of our living with Him for all eternity.

We have heard that Jesus is coming back for hundreds of years and He has not made it yet. The delay in His return should not be our concern. If we know we have received Him as our Lord and Savior and we are obedient to His Word, whenever He comes back, He will receive us unto Himself. This delay (or at least this seeming delay) has given the scoffers fuel to add to their derision of our faith. The delay has also caused some–who claim to know the Savior–to err in their need to proclaim exact dates as to when He will return. One group of people has said in their doctrine that He has already returned (my response to them was since I had not seen any dead people walking around, I’ll keep waiting).

What the speculators and scoffers have missed is understanding of The Word. In this passage of scripture we see that the Lord will return as a thief in the night. Not many thieves will “announce” their coming in advance. Jesus has said that “But about that day no man knows the day or hour, not the angels in heaven, and not even the Son,only The Father” (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32) And my personal favorite  is this one–“With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

So, take comfort with this final thought. Jesus will return, whether we are asleep in the grave or alive, and it will not matter to Him because “the dead shall rise and those who are living will be caught up in the clouds and meet Him in the air, to be with Him forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17 NIV).

Lord Jesus, whenever You return, we await that day with great expectations of living for all eternity with You.

The Praising Dead!

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1 NIV).

Without belaboring any discussion about John’s vision, I would like to move forward to the last part of this verse–“God knows our deeds, we have a reputation of being “alive,” but are dead.”

There is absolutely nothing we can hide from God. He looks upon our hearts and knows our thoughts from afar, so our deeds–cannot escape Him. Whatever consumes our thoughts will dictate what we do–and God already knows what that will be.

In spite of the fact that God knows all, we attempt to fool people with acts of holiness and piety, when in reality, we are living what we want others to think we are living. Other people think we are such spiritual Christians–when we: constantly quote scripture (but no idea what they mean), always have a word of prophecy for others (but never hear God’s voice), sing louder, pray louder, and dance longer than others (moved by our emotions rather than guidance by Holy Spirit), and always quick to tell others what they need to do to be saved (but living saved has not been accomplished)–Oh yes, we have a reputation of being alive, but are dead. People think we are “all that,” because of what “they see” not what they know. God knows!

When given an opportunity to show compassion, the response is anything but compassionate and often more judgmental. When given an opportunity to show mercy, we instead condemn others for the same things from which we have yet to be delivered. When given an opportunity to show the love of Jesus Christ, we attempt to show our superiority over others in knowledge and in holiness. God knows, which is why He showed these things to John in the vision. Not everyone is guilty, but so many are.

We are not righteous of our own accord or by what we do. We have been declared righteous because of His righteousness when we are living in right relationship with God. That right-relationship involves hearing God’s voice, following His directions, and living before all men as God would have us to live–even when they cannot see us–God can. Having a right relationship with God brings humility–total submission and awe about His love and leaves no room for superiority, judgment, or condemnation of others. Being religious and not having a relationship with God brings us no closer to Him and will actually widen the gap of understanding.

Our God is an awesome God! He gives us chance after chance to get it right before Him and others. He loved us enough to come down from glory in the person and likeness of Jesus Christ, showed us how to live, then showed us what real love will do–sacrifice self–so others can be saved. That’s the God I serve! I pray every day that my life (how I live) is a praise unto Him and I will not need to expect to hear anything other than, “well done” on that day. I do not want to be, the praising (loud but saying nothing) dead!

Lord Jesus, help us to be all that You would have us to be and to do all things well in Your sight.