Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
773-725-8903
   

September 2015

ARE YOU DEAD OR ALIVE?

I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but I died recently (or at least that's what the Bank of America informed me).

To make a long story short, somehow a death notice from another Vernon Wendt in Illinois had been attached to my bank account -- never mind the fact that this Vernon Wendt had a different middle name than mine, was from Skokie and had died in 1982. Go figure!

As a result, all my accounts were frozen, and I had to prove that I was still alive to unfreeze them!

How this even happened remains a mystery, but I did receive a letter from Bank of America beginning with the following words:

Please accept our apology for the letter we recently sent to you incorrectly stating that you had passed away.

Please be assured that we've updated our records and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The Bible tells us that prior to our being born again believers in Jesus Christ, we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:5).

But through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, the Old Adam in us was drowned and died with all sins and evil desires, in order that a new man should emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Consequently, we have made alive in Jesus Christ!

But, even though we have been made alive in Christ -Iesus, as long as we live on this earth there is always the danger of returning to the dead, sinful ways of the Old Adam.

And those who persist in their sins may eventually lose their status as a living saint of God, altogether. As scripture itself soberly and repeatedly warns us (1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Pet. 3:17; Heb. 2:1-3; 3:12-19; 6:4-8, etc.).

And so Jesus warned the Christians in Sardis in Revelation:

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead" (Rev 3:1).

To put it bluntly, the Christians in Sardis were dead! And Jesus was giving them their death notice - hoping they would take heed, repent of their dead, sinful ways, receive His forgiveness that he had purchased for them on the cross, and go on to prove that they were alive spiritually in their love for God and love for their neighbors ..

God promises that he will never forsake those who trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation (John 10:27- 29; Romans 8; Heb. 13: 5-6, etc.). To those who are truly repentant and recognize their need for God's grace and forgiveness, such passages are powerful reminders of the true security that is ours through sincere and humble faith in Christ alone for our salvation.

A person may be restored from being spiritually dead in the same way he or she came to life spiritually, by repenting of his or her sin and unbelief and trusting completely in the life, death and resurrection of Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation.

And so, I ask you dear reader: Are you dead or alive?

If you've been acting as you were dead lately, be warned! Your spiritual accounts have been frozen and your access to throne room of God has been denied (see Psalm 66:18), and if you continue your dead, sinful ways, ultimately heaven will be denied to you, as well.

Thankfully, God loves you with a stubborn love that doesn't give up so easily. He remains faithful even when you've been faithless.

Even though you may be living as a dead person in your sins and rebellious ways, the Holy Spirit is chasing after you (in fact, He may even be speaking to you through this very article), and is doing all He can to get you to repent of your sins and turn to the Savior and live. Our Heavenly Father is running after you with open arms to welcome you back to his household.

For the Sacrifice of Lamb of God has been offered upon the cross, allowing you to receive forgiveness of your sins and become an heir of the riches of His Kingdom. He will clothe you with the robe or His righteousness, shore your feet with the gospel of peace that passes all human understanding, and give you a signet ring by which you can claim all the promises of His Word as yes and Amen in Him .

As Jesus illustrates in the parable of the prodigal son, "For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found. I And they began to celebrate" (Luke 15:32).

As redeemed children of the King, the Holy Spirit works in us the desire and the power to do God's will (see Philippians 2:13) - giving proof to this fallen world that WE! are allive in Christ by our love for God and our love for our neighbors.

Therefore, we daily remember our born-again status in baptism, indicating that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever .

As St. Paul writes in Romans, chapter six: "We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death inn order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life".

Because He Lives!
Pastor Wendt

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die (John 11:25)

DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING COMING SOON!

A true discipleship training program is rooted in the solid rock of Gospel message and our baptismal identity in Jesus Christ and not on the shifting sand of our good works and feeble attempts to keep the law. For relying on our good works results in either fa.lse pride that we're better than others or else despair that we're not good enough. In contrast, a discipleship program that is based on God's Word properly divided, will result in a workman who needs not be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15). Please join us in what it means to be a biblical discipleship of Christ. The Spiritual Travel Guide we will be traveling on will take you on a journey of faith that should bring profitable change and growth to your life - your beliefs, your values, your goals, possible even the direction you are going. Our study will present you with truth that will assist you get the most out of your life journey. Classes will be beginning soon, after worship on Sundays. All are welcome!

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