It’s related that once in the life of Martin Luther, his wife Katie came down in the morning and greeted him and she was attired in mourning, she was in black, and Luther said to her, “Why are you wearing mourning?”
She said, “Because God is dead.”
He said, “Nonsense, woman, God isn’t dead.”
She said to him, “Well, if God isn’t dead, why do you act as if He were?” And that was a real rebuke to Martin Luther, the great reformer, the great interpreter of Scripture. (quoted from DPM weekly E-devotional)
Jesus Christ is very much alive living and living in this world in His church and in individuals who have been born from above, so why do we sometimes act as though he has no hold or influence on us?
Paradoxically, we can only be alive in Christ if we die to self and allow the living Jesus to take control of our minds and bodies. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Matt 16 v24b-25.
St Paul lived this out and he could say, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
As baptised followers of Jesus we carry with us the wonderful illustration of baptism, where we are taken down into the water, symbolising death and burial of the old selfish nature and we rise up to new life, joining with Jesus in His resurrection.
So in practice how do we live our lives, fully empowered by the living Christ. It is not an easy road, because it is one which involves the suffering of taking up our cross daily. “that I may know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11.
It is a radical decision that involves giving up all our pride, ambition and self-will. It involves giving up control of our lives to the Holy Spirit, to become clean empty vessels through whom the Holy Spirit may flow to a world which is so in need of the love and compassion which the Holy Spirit of Jesus can give working through us.
As we have been learning in our recent sermons it is about being filled daily with the fullness of the Holy Spirit to have the power to live our lives overflowing with the sacrificial love and life-giving power of the living Lord Jesus. This week in the Antioch club we had Neill Stannard, who is starting his training for ordination this autumn, giving his testimony. It was amazing how God had been working in him throughout his life, often through very difficult times, and times of rebellion; God was always there, supplying just the right people and circumstances to lead him on his chosen path, and making a life changing impression on so many people he was in contact with both in his work as a school teacher and in other areas of life like the rugby field.
So, we have a choice, we can live as nominal Christians attending church on Sunday, but living the rest of the week as if God is dead in our lives: or we can live amazing Spirit filled lives with the life of Jesus flowing out to our communities and everyone we meet. Start each day by asking Jesus afresh into your life through the power of His Spirit.