Generous Living – Making the Dead Alive
In this weekend’s edition of the Generous Living series, Pastor Ed related several views of Jesus that have endured since He rose from the dead. Viewpoints such as Jesus was a great teacher or a moral leader or a model of how to live; everything except Jesus is exactly who He says He is. Generous living can only succeed when Jesus is who He says He is. Pastor Ed made a statement this weekend that is the epicenter of it all; “Jesus did not come to make bad people good; He did not come to make good people better; He came to make dead people alive.” When we receive life from Jesus we receive life abundantly. And this abundant life allows Christ-followers to live generously. In Christ there is generous living in gracious relationships, gracious serving and sincere worship that beckons those seeking the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Earlier in the week I watched a recorded episode of Frontlineon PBS about the current rise of American Nazis. It was a chilling portrayal of unChrist-like thinking, attitude, actions and relationships. As I see it, so much is based on fear. It is the starkest of contrasts to Generous Living. Movements such as is happening with American Nazis as well as many ideologies, both leftist and conservative, sadly flow from the thoughts and writings of dead people. Some have been dead a long time and some, although still breathing, are walking dead. Truth: you do not need to be an extremist ideologue like the American Nazi movement to be dead in your thinking. Any American churchgoer can suffer deadness when deluded by the siren call of the post-modern era that Jesus was just a good teacher and good example. We need to experience transformation from churchgoer to Christ-follower. Jesus did not come to make me better. He came to make me alive.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:1-7 (NASB)