Text: Ephesians 2:1-10
In our churches today, unfortunately we have Christians who do not fully realize this life. The degree to which we as the church are fully alive, determines our effectiveness of bringing life and salvation to our community.
Being led by the spirit we will be truly alive and as a result our community will be changed for the glory of God.
Are you truly alive? Are you truly living your life? Or are you going through life as one who is just getting by, getting through this life, but numbed by the cares and entertainment of the world.
Jesus said in John 10:10 that Satan wants to kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life, true life now, and the ultimate promise of life after death.
The Bible talks constantly about truly living, being alive in Christ. (See; Romans 6:1) He is the life! Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
When we allow Jesus to be the Lord of our life, he comes in by the Holy Spirit and brings truth to the way, and abundant life.
“without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living”
Thomas A Kempis;
Today the world is full of people who have no spiritual life; they have natural life and eat regularly to keep that in order; people have intellectual life, reading and learning new information; people have emotional life, and love others as a result; people have social lives and struggle to keep their social status in line with their neighbors. People have a business life, and keep their work and business with diligence. But yet in everyone there is a spiritual void that yearns for true spiritual life and this can only be found in the giver of life Jesus Christ. Are you truly alive?
We think and talk of Christianity as a changed life, or a series of changes that we must make in order to become a better Christian. But we cannot earn our salvation; there is nothing we can do to earn the love and forgiveness of God. God does not offer us a changed life, he offers us the exchanged life, the life of Jesus substituted for our own. We don’t have to produce the perfect Christian life, it is the life of Christ that he produces in us, our role is to release the control that we are trying to have on our life and allow God to transform us.
You may know about the life of William Borden, a Yale graduate and heir to great wealth, he rejected a life of ease in order to bring the gospel to Muslims. Refusing even to buy himself a car, Borden gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to missions. He felt called to the Muslim people of northern China, and after attending Yale he stopped at Egypt in order to learn Arabic. After only four months of zealous ministry in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of twenty-five on April 9, 1913.
The inscription on his grave in Cairo ended with a phrase: “Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”
After his death, Borden’s Bible was found and given to his parents. In it they found in one place the words “No Reserve” and a date placing the note shortly after he renounced his fortune in favor of missions. At a later point, he had written “No Retreat”, dated shortly after his father told him that he would never let him work in the company ever again. Shortly before he died in Egypt, he added the phrase “No Regrets.”No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets. And I would add; but truly alive!
I can talk all day about the need to live in new life and to be fully alive but how do we live this way?
Paul writes in Galatians 5 about the “life by the Spirit”. Paul explains the difference between living according to the flesh and living according to the spirit. We know verses22 and 23 very well; “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Note Paul says fruit – singular. This fruit is the byproduct of a life that is submitted to God and one that is dead to self.
We often pray for individual aspects of the fruit of the spirit, we pray for patience and peace and we pray for self control, when all the time God is offering us a life where the fruit of the spirit is complete as we live by the Spirit of God. Look at the common theme here – verse 16 says; “walk by the Spirit” and verse 18 says; “Led by the Spirit” We need to live lives attuned to the Holy Spirit and alive to Christ. Paul clarifies this in verse 24 and 25 of Galatians 5; “24 those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” As we are led by the Spirit in our lives, the process of becoming more like Christ takes place and we are transformed into living beings who display the fruit of the Spirit.
They key here is to stop trying to be better Christians or better people, working harder at being good. We are trying rather than trusting. Trying to be a good Christian, rather than trusting Jesus for our new life in Christ. Watchman Nee wrote that the difference between trusting and trying is the difference between heaven and hell.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, we need to live a life of faith that is completely given over to Christ for him to be our way, our Truth and our life. Sadly Christianity has been known for a list of rules and things that we should not do, rather than the abundant life that Jesus offers to rich and free. Romans 6:23 states that our salvation is a free gift from God that we can do nothing to earn. When we lay down our own efforts that in many ways are driven by pride, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to become more like Christ in our everyday life, we will truly experience life and life to the full.
William Wallace the Scottish hero once said; “every man dies, but not every man really lives”
Are you really living?