Preaching to the Dead
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit (1Peter 4:6).
WE ARE FOLLOWING THE APOSTLE PETER'S first book. There’s a strong parallel between his time and our time and the things that remain relevant. We humans surmise that we are permanent in this world. That is faulty thinking and feeling. Even though Peter was a life-time fisherman and had spent much of his life in the sun and many times naked in a boat, he was no dummy.
TO THE CONTRARY, HIS WRITING IS SO SOPHISTICATED that some historians and scholars find it hard to believe that Peter wrote the book that bears his name. I hope our brief encounter with some of the verses of his book arouses a new appreciation for his writings.
PREACHING TO THE DEAD. Does this mean: 1. To those who are spiritually dead and have no relationship with God? or, 2. To those who became Christians and then died? Or, 3. Is it speaking of Christ preaching to the spirits in prison after He was crucified and before He rose from the dead?
AFTER SEARCHING OTHER BIBLE REFERENCES relating to death and preaching and spiritual matters, I believe it has to be talking about those who are alive in this world but are dead unto God. People who have no relationship with God. They are dead unto Him.
BECAUSE GOD'S JUDGMENT IS COMING, the Gospel was preached. If the hearers do not respond in repentance and faith, they are as good as eternally dead. Rebels are already dead in trespasses and sins and they will be judged. On the other hand, if one will repent and turn to the Lord, that dead person can pass from death to life. The Apostle John wrote:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24).
REBELS ARE DEAD IN THIS LIFE they are temporarily alive by our human standards. Those who respond to the Gospel in faith and repentance, in this life are passed from death unto life. In this life we have everlasting life. Not at some future time, but now…in this life. (…is passed from death unto life). Furthermore, we will not in the future come into condemnation as lost sinners because we have accepted God’s offer of the death of His son as payment for our sins.
GOD DOES NOT REQUIRE OUR SINS TO BE PAID FOR TWICE. The good news of the Gospel is that God appointed a way for us to be forgiven of the wages of sin (death) because Christ died for us, in our place. This is old hat to the faithful, but it is not old hat to those who have never come to realize just what God did for us on the cross. Neither have most people realized what trouble they are in with God until they repent and humble themselves before Him. We are dead men! Dead!
JESUS SAID UNTO HER [Martha], I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25). Here it is again: “dead.” Bible preachers do not make this up. It is what the Bible says. “Dead.” But the morally, spiritual dead people can be made alive…alive forevermore. That is good news! Here it is again:
PAUL WROTE TO THE EPHESIANS: And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). If you are lost, if you do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in you, you may think you are very much alive and having a wonderful time. I call your attention to the Bible comment about Moses:
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; (Hebrews 11:24-25).
So, if you are skin-deep religious on the surface, but it has never reached your heart, your days are numbered, and you will enjoy the pleasures of sin for only a season—a very short time. If you now have in your body your very last breath, then what is your future?
I HAVE SPENT MUCH OF MY ADULT LIFE IN HOSPITALS AND FUNERAL HOMES and watching caskets lower into the earth. My friend this is reality. The party will be over before you know it. You are headed for the box in the ground. That is your future. Forget about trying to outwit God. If you have Christ in your heart you can survive a fiery airline crash. If they never find your bones, you will get another brand-new body that will never die again.
“When the gospel is preached, one of two things will happen. Some accept it, and if they accept it, they are going to live for God and live throughout eternity. Others reject it, and those who reject the gospel are the men who are dead in sins and are dead to God throughout eternity; that is, they have no relation to Him whatsoever.” (McGee)
Paul is saying the same thing the Apostle Peter said in our verse today.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:2-3). Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved;) (v.5)
MY FRIEND, IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED, you are right now walking according to the plan of Satan for your life and you are under his power. Because of that, you are among those who are “the children of wrath.” The reason for this is that you are copying what Satan did when he was the archangel of Heaven. He wanted to take God’s place.
“I will be like the most High. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15)
ARE YOU A FRIEND OF THE DEVIL AND IN ALLIANCE WITH HIM and rebelling against God? Unless you change your course and repent (change your direction) you are right now, already “a child of wrath.” You are a dead man, a dead woman, that is, you are as good as dead.
In one sense, you are dead because you are disconnected from God; there is no umbilical cord between you and God. And you are dead because you are in defiance of God’s person and authority over you. You think like you please, talk like you please, do as you please with no thought of what God thinks about it. That makes you a “child of the wrath of God” and you are as good as dead if you continue that way.
BUT GOD IS DETERMINED TO HELP YOU if you will let Him. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in your place; to shed his blood so that you don’t have to. You see, the penalty for rebelling against God is death. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
HE URGES YOU TO DO THIS: While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Hebrews 3:15) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
I CAN TELL YOU THE DAY YOU ARE GOING TO BE SAVED because God has told us: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 15, 2018 - THURSDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 26-27 P.M. Mark 15:1-26
Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Song for Today:
There is a Fountain (4:39) (Vestal Goodman and the Gaither Group.)
I notice that singing groups are not tempted to gyrate and circus when they sing this. It’s not a carnival song. I use it often, partly because I never get tired of it and partly because the need for it is never exhausted.
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Beginning this Friday, the week-end Morning Minute will be discontinued. The daily Bible readings for Saturday and Sunday will be posted on Friday and again on the following Monday.