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...have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? - Romans 6:3-4 (NLT)
Sometimes there are ideas that stick around and never get old. Like sliced bread, which is about to celebrate its 91st birthday on July 6 of this year. No signs it’s going away. And Coffee? It remains in the same form as it has for several hundred years since that Ethiopian goatherd noticed his animals getting stoked after eating those strange beans. And Tea is still kicking, its popularity spanning over four thousand years. And water? Yup. We can trace that tech all the way back to the beginning.
At the same time, often things have to die in order to give way to something better. Even really good things. The 8-track tape was destined to die when the compact cassette came out. The rotary-dial phone became passé when the touch-tone phone came along. Even really significant inventions sometimes have to be let go. Gutenberg’s printing press changed the world and led to countless millions knowing God through His Word when it was made available en masse for the first time. But even though it was named the most important invention of the last 1,000 years by History.com... one-time pivotal status doesn’t give it all-time importance.
Jesus reminded us that unless a kernel of wheat fell to the ground and died, it couldn’t give new life. Jesus Himself would enact that metaphor, His life being laid down, His body buried, and new life springing out of a borrowed tomb. Death—eternal separation from God, the pinnacle of the enemy’s designs to torment God’s people—was left behind when Jesus walked out of the grave. And that triumph was not just for Jesus, but for all of us. Jesus’ resurrection proves that death isn’t the end of the story. Rather it’s a picture of what will happen to us one day—and a symbol of His resurrection work in our lives even today.
Yesterday at Southland, people took the plunge to follow Jesus in baptism—to participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Have you? Take time to remember your baptism and why you took that step... or, if you're considering baptism, click HERE to learn more!Share Tweet
“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” - Luke 24:5 (NLT)
How about the re-popularization of shiplap? Slapping together old boards with flaking paint looks pretty cool. It’s common these days to see someone grabbing a few old boards and throwing them together to create everything from wall-decor to furniture to a headboard for their kid’s bed. But mostly, for me, it's just a really fun word to say. (Go ahead, give it a try and try not to smile on the inside...) Shiplap’s origin lies in ancient shipbuilding. It was an ingenious way to waterproof—and thereby sink-proof—oceangoing vessels. But a quick survey of ancient literature will bring to light another fun word that was used to indicate what happened when the shiplap failed and the ship went down. The Greek word, Baptidzo.
Now, when a ship goes down, a salvage operation might bring some of the pieces, parts, or cargo back to the light of day. But once a ship has been Baptidzo’d, that’s pretty much the end. In English translations of the Bible, Baptidzo is “transliterated” into the word Baptism. Just like the sunken vessel, to be Baptidzo’d, we need to go under—to be immersed, covered up with water, and be metaphorically buried. It’s a picture of Jesus’ burial. But with Him, it’s not the end.
Jesus didn’t stay buried—because He didn’t stay dead!! He came to life. And we do, too, when we come out of the water in baptism. Furthermore, in the same way that we don’t stay under the water at baptism, and we don’t have to go back again and again, treating baptism like a common bath. No, you see, as we participate in His death, we also share in His resurrection. Jesus rose from the grave, defeating death completely. We, like Him, are raised to new life in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, we instantly become a new creation. The old has died. New life has emerged. We experience resurrection today And, one day, we will experience it forever.
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! - Luke 24:6 (NLT)
Reincarnation is the belief that people are reborn as another person or animal after they die, according to how well they lived their previous life. In a 2017 survey, the percentage of Christians who believed in reincarnation was a whopping 29%. Almost a third of those who claim to follow Jesus, whom we might assume would also adhere to the guidance of scripture, decided they believed in a teaching that doesn’t even enter the biblical picture. Even more shocking, both atheists and agnostics held to their convictions far more than professing Christians did to theirs in this study. In fact, atheists came in lowest of all affiliations surveyed, with only 7% indicating a belief in reincarnation. Do the math: 93% of people who don’t believe in God pooh-poohed the idea of reincarnation versus only 71% of Christians. Even agnostics beat out professing Christians by 1 percentage point!
When people talk about reincarnation, there’s usually an element of the story where something really unique or interesting was true about the “former life” of the teller of the tale. I recently found myself scratching my head when I read about a well-educated doctor who genuinely believes he was a caveman in a former life. (If you were a caveman previously, does that mean you’re doing better or worse today as a white-collar professional?) What we can take away from all this, though, is that there’s an inkling inside all of us that there’s something more than this life.
Now, there are things in this life that, if we could enjoy them again and again, would fill our forevers with beauty and light. But there are too many broken and dark things that come along with living in a fallen world. So I am completely disinterested in just trying again. A cyclical experience of brokenness carries no appeal. No… we don’t need to try again. We need Resurrection.
...Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. - Romans 6:9 (NLT)
Jo Cameron lived over 60 years of her life unaware she had a genetic mutation which meant she could only barely feel pain. Thinking it was normal, she even told pregnant friends, “It’s not as bad as everyone says.” Finally, several years ago, a surgeon realized Jo didn’t experience the significant discomfort others did after a certain procedure and asked, “What’s up here?” In addition to her immunity to pain, she appeared to heal faster than the average person. Jo is now 71 and going strong. And she’s hopeful her life will make a difference in the lives of many as her genetics guide doctors and medical technology to help other people who have long suffered from pain. But in all of Jo’s story, most fascinating to me is the fact that she rarely, if ever, experienced anxiety or fear. Pain, the source of apprehension for most of humanity, is off the table.
What if the worst thing that could ever happen to you was removed as a source of stress, anxiety, or worry being held over your head? From an eternal perspective, the worst thing that could ever happen to any of us would be forever-separation from God. The Bible uses a word—thanatos— to describe this absence or loss of life that’s worth even being called life. That is the bottom line definition of death.
Jesus’ death on the Cross was not the end. He didn’t just die for our sins. He resurrected and defeated death. And there’s a place Jesus is preparing for us when this life is over. Thanatos is off the table, now and forever. So if you’ve lost a sense of hope, you can hope again. Believe again. Trust again. Your life can be resurrected, wherever it’s at today. ...since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8, NLT) Through Jesus, it can all be made new. Today.
When you’re in Christ, the worst thing can’t get you anymore. Eternal separation from God is no longer an option when you belong to God’s family. Give me a shout to learn more.Share Tweet
...the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. - Luke 24:11 (NLT)
My Mini Cooper's alternator conked out the other day. Once that stops working, the battery drains. And when that happens, the car doesn’t like to start. To run, the car needs power. For us to function the way we’re intended, we need God’s power: His resurrection life. Resurrection-life isn’t just a “get out of hell free” pass that we show at the gates of Heaven when we die. Sure, Jesus’ resurrection is something that will happen to us “one day”. But it’s also an entryway for us into the forever-life that we can have and are empowered to live today. If you’re a Christ-follower, you’ve become part of God’s family forever. You’re alive eternally from the moment you came out of the water of baptism. That’s right—you are alive forever right now! So go act like it. Live like it.
As unbelievable as it might seem, like Jesus’ friends who couldn’t initially grasp the fact He defeated death and came back to life, you can really live a whole new resurrected kind of life now. Chase every avenue and opportunity to learn more about what this new reality of being a brand-new person actually means. It’s only as you internalize and embrace these truths that they’ll make a real difference in your everyday life. If you’d also like your life to look different—feel different, even—then dive in. You’ll grow toward…
The list goes on. What does that look like practically? Learn more as you get to know Jesus in His Word. Discover what God says is true about you and then go do your life in a way that’s aligned with those truths.
Want to talk about God’s truth about you and what your position in Christ means? Or how the resurrection of Jesus impacts your unique situation or circumstances today? I’d love to help!Share Tweet