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Sunday 21 June 2020 Message Supplement: “My Oh My! Dead was I?”

If you’re reading this, you are alive. I’m glad of that! Today’s message from Romans 6:1b-11, however, warns of being dead in sin. Thankfully, by accepting redemption from God you are spiritually alive. This means that you are a wonderfully empowered creature with a new lease on life.

Claim God’s promises! Embrace every moment and demonstrate how your lifestyle sets you apart from mere existence. Paul spoke about this wonderful truth. “. . .[J]ust as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4b).

As Jesus was raised from the dead so also are you raised from the death of spiritual sleep.  Rejoice because you are participating in God’s life-giving salvation. You are transformed from death to life, from captivity to freedom. Are you willing to demonstrate your walk with God by living a triumphant life?

Praise God that you have newness of life in God. Overcome anything that stands between you and your God-given redemption. You God-consciousness pushes back against harmful tendencies. You have the power of choice to resist a destructive lifestyle, one that destroys your physical, mental and spiritual health. The mighty essence of God—the Holy Spirit—indwells you so that you can overcome any adversity if you do your part and exert the effort. Are you willing to struggle through anything that holds you back?

One of the great aspects of being a follower of God is that you are alive with Christ, God’s great messenger who demonstrated the power of love. You can also rejoice because spiritual death no longer has a claim on you. God has given you a new life and you can rejoice that the only thing you are dead to is the condemnation under which you lived prior to your spiritual awakening. Are you rejoicing in your spiritual life?

Sometimes it’s not easy to know if you have a healthy spiritual life. Perhaps you go to church, talk about God, sing hymns, participate in communion, and perform many religious rituals. Yet all of these externals are not necessarily indicative of a healthy spiritual life. Spirituality involves much more than public adherence to the outward forms of institutionalized Christianity. God wants all people of faith to become spiritually alive, from the inside/out. How you think, feel and act will then be a natural outgrowth of who you are as God transforms you. Are you spiritually alive beyond the externals of mere religion?

On the one hand, you have a body that is caught up in material existence and therefore subject to death and destruction. On the other hand, you are designed as a spiritual being needing nourishment for your eternal soul. This is why a spiritual awakening also entails changes to all aspects of your holistic existence (body, mind and spirit). As each of these three areas of your humanity are recognized and strengthened you can experience renewal, which leads to a life of wellbeing. Can you perceive yourself as a person who needs and deserves holistic wellbeing?

The conflict between flesh and spirit seems constant, but the two don’t always have to be in opposition to each other. God designed humans to be physical beings and there can be great pleasure in living a well-managed and disciplined biological life. Unfortunately, life entails challenges and suffering. You may become disillusioned if all you cling to is flesh, which is only one aspect of existence. By strengthening your mind and spirit you’ll be better equipped to compensate when sickness or age attack your body. Are you nurturing your total, holistic life and are you building your physical, mental and spiritual resilience?

To return to Paul’s emphasis, consider that only the body withers. In contrast, the human spirit is marvelously imperishable and not subject to the type of decay common to physical things. God’s essence is spirit, and that is the chief mechanism through which humans are connected with God. Along with spirit, love is like the spiritual glue that binds people to one another and also that binds individuals to God. The power of love builds a bridge that can span the great gulf between this life and the next. Are you partnering with God to build and reinforce the bridge of eternal love?

All the splendid changes we’re accomplishing in renewing St. John arise from a shared vision of God’s Spirit. Join me as we advance our mission and claim a bright future demonstrating our faith in the Almighty. Be dead to the power of sin and partner with God as you embrace transformative love.

The preferred choice awaiting you is to embrace God and to help others find the same redemption that gives you newness of life. If you are truly dead to sin then you will seek spiritual life by receiving and sharing God’s love, mercy and grace. My prayer is that we will all be awakened through the power of God’s spirit.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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