Saturday, February 5, 2011

Culture of Death

Deuteronomy 30:19-20
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
It is absolutely impossible to talk about death without talking about life.  The reverse is true as well.  It seems that the issues of life and death are so completely and inseparably linked that to speak about one is to speak about the other.

The word “Death” appears 372 times in the KJV Bible.  The word “Life” appears 450 times (848 total all forms).  The word “Live” appears 247 times, the word “Living” appears 147 times, and the word “Livest” 4 times.   The word “Die” appears 321, the word “Dying” appears 6 times, and the word “Diest” only appears 1 (700 total all forms).

As you can see both “Life” and “Death” appear frequently in the Bible.  Some have said the Bible is a book of “Births & Funerals” and there is some merit in that statement.  There are literally thousands of both in the scripture.

The words, “Born”, “Birth”, “Conceive”, “Conceived”, “Seed”, “Begotten”, and “Begat” all appear 478 times. 

The Bible truly is a book of Life and Death.  When we witness to people about their soul we have to warn them in the absolute terms of “Life” and “Death”.  The issue of man’s soul is a life and death issue.  Man can choose God and have “Life”.  He can reject God and embrace “Death”.  Any attempt by man to circumvent repentance, which is the way of choosing, is a vote for death. 

Adam and Eve shared the Garden of Eden with two notable trees:  One tree represented “Life” and it was called the “Tree of Life”, while the other tree represented “Death” and was called the “Tree of the Knowledge of God and Evil”.  They made their choice on that fateful day and they chose the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” – they chose “Death”.  By their choosing Adam and Eve sought to become their own god and govern their own lives according to their own choosing. 

When I repented (turned from my sin) and was “Born Again” I chose “Life”.  We call it “Eternal Life” and “Abundant Life”.  Look at the scriptures in the Bible that reflect the issue of Life & Death:
Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:17
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 3:22-24
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Genesis 6:17
And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Psalms 16:10-11
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Ezekiel 18:21
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 

I could go on forever listing scriptures that deal with the subjects of life and death.  Often when you see “Life” mentioned it will be in the same sentence as “Death”.  It would seem that “Life” and “Death” come together.

The very experience of natural birth holds strong connections to death.  The child dies to its womb experience and comes through the birth canal into the world.  No longer is the child nourished by the amniotic fluid of the mother by the umbilical cord but now the child must take its first breath of air.

The struggle that is now going on between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Devil is a struggle of “Life & Death”.

We in the Kingdom of God promote “Life”.  On the political front we say that we are “Pro-Life”, meaning that we oppose the slaughter of children in the Mother’s womb as an act of convenience.  Folks, I am Pro-Life anyway!  I hate abortion but I also hate “Spiritual Death”!  Anyone that is “Pro-Abortion” is “Pro-Murder” and “Pro-Death”.

Today in our world there is a terrible fixation with “Death”.  Our society has become completely captivated by the subject of death.  What is in fallen man’s soul is mirrored in his tastes.

When the Lord began to deal with me about this message it was back in September 2009.  Every time we would go to the store to shop, such as Wal-Mart, I would see dozens of T-Shirts and caps with skulls all over them.  You would see young people going about their activities with skulls all over their clothing.  This bothered me and I asked the question, “What is going on in our society?” 

Our society is very quickly becoming a culture of death.  Death has always been a part of mankind but as we draw nearer to the end of the age we see that people are more and more captivated by it.  What was once found only on rock-n-roll albums you can now find openly being displayed on t-shirts and bumper stickers.  Sin and death grow bolder with each passing day. 

Listen to me carefully here.  People will swim out to whaling ships and block the whalers to prevent them from killing a whale.  Yet these same people support abortion on demand.  Human life has become cheap!  A whale is held in higher esteem than a human baby.

They will boycott Star-Kist Tuna because some dolphins may have inadvertently been killed while fishing.  Yet they support legislation that will make it possible to euthanize the elderly in our country.  People have more compassion on dolphins than they do our elderly.

You can abort as many babies as you want but if you kill gorilla you can be charged with murder in some countries.  What has happened?  

The newest fashion statement of skulls and bones reflects the downward spiral of our society into a culture of death.  Man’s thoughts are so fixated on death that he now wants to boldly proclaim it to the whole world.

Young girls that once dressed in pink ribbons and bows are now adorned with chains, black fetishes, and dangling skulls.  Once we would have called these kinds of people Pirates!  And speaking of pirates, what are the biggest movies of today?  Movies about pirates, the walking dead, skulls & crossbones, Vampires, and zombies!

The musicians of our society openly promote suicide, school shootings, cop killing, and even sexual stimulation by strangulation.  Death reigns on our school campuses!

One of the popular games being played in High Schools and colleges today is called the “Choking Game”.  The Centers for Disease Control reports on this:
The "choking game" is defined as self-strangulation or strangulation by another person with the hands or a rope/leather noose to achieve a brief euphoric state caused by cerebral hypoxia. Participants in this activity typically are youths. Serious neurologic injury or death can result if strangulation is prolonged. In recent years, news media reports have described numerous deaths among youths attributed to the choking game. The CDC used news media reports to estimate the incidence of deaths from the choking game. This report identified 82 probable choking-game deaths among youths aged 6--19 years from 1995--2007. Seventy-one (86.6%) of the decedents were male, and the average age of those who died was 13.3 years.  

Hollywood churns out hundreds of movies a year that are filled with gun battles, stabbings, car crashes where people are maimed and disfigured, sexual assaults, drive-by shootings, muggings, murders, rapes, robberies, and various other forms of mayhem.  Our televisions are no better than the movie theatres.

Today Hollywood is obsessed with Vampire and Zombie movies.  Do you know what a Vampire is?  It is a walking dead creature that preys on the living.  Do you know Zombie is?  It is a walking corpse.   Why would anyone want a vicious dead corpse that sucks human blood when they can have the Risen Savior that conquered death?

Death is the number one seller on television.  Entire television series is built around the subject of murder.  The more bloody and gruesome the more people like it.

Look at these startling statistics:
1.                 Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000.
2.                 Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000.
3.                 Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79 %.

Video games are no better than movies or television.  Some young people spend hours on “Shooter” games pulling the trigger and “blowing away” their enemies.  Tens of thousands of acts of “Death” are viewed every year by children as young as five or six on these types of games. 

I was in Wal-Mart one day a few years ago and I overheard two little boys talking.  One of them said, “I took my sawed-off shotgun and I blew that suckers head off.”  The other boy said, “Have you used the machete yet?  I hacked off their arms and legs before I shot each of them in the head.”  It took me a few seconds before I realized that they were talking about the latest video game.  Folks, we are in trouble!

It gets no better when you look at suicide, death by ones own hands.  In 2005, 32,637 people committed suicide in the U.S.  The number is staggering and when you realize that many of those same suicides were young people it is even more horrifying.

What do people idolize today?  VAMPIRES!  ZOMBIES!  THE UNDEAD!  CORPSES!

I saw a girl the other day at Wal-Mart and she had a t-shirt that said across the front, “I am in love with a Vampire” – this is part of that Twilight stuff!  Another shirt said, “I am in love with a Werewolf”.  What in the world is wrong with people?  Do you know what a vampire is?
1.                 A supernatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night.
2.                 A corpse, animated by an undeparted soul or demon, that periodically leaves the grave and disturbs the living, until it is exhumed and impaled or burned.
3.                 A person who preys ruthlessly upon others.
4.                 A woman who unscrupulously exploits, ruins, or degrades the men she seduces.

Why would anyone want to be in love with a vampire?  Because they have bought into the pop culture idea that death is cool!  This is the fad of the day!  Young girls all over America, yea, all over the world, are in love with Twilight (Bella & Edward), a book & movie about teenage vampires and werewolves living among us.

And don’t think this is just fantasy to everyone.  Some people think vampires ARE real. But they aren't exactly as portrayed by Hollywood movies. Some of what Hollywood says is true. Some isn't.  Vampire cults are growing. Thousands of young people now pay money to drink blood in night clubs and are joining 'vampire cults'. This seems to have grown out of the gothic culture and is mixed with various religious beliefs.  Many people think that vampires are not real - but wish they were.

There are those that are joining Vampire Cults.  In Eustis, Florida a group of teenage vampires killed one set of their parents and burned a large V in the chest of the Father.  This is a culture of death!

Our schools are full of young people who die their hair jet black, paint their fingernails and toenails black, and dress all in black.  They commonly frequent graveyards and adorn their rooms with symbols such as skulls, bones, pirate flags, vampires, pentagrams, goat heads, hangman’s nooses, and chains.  They listen to music that is filled with references to death, suicide, and necrophilia (sex with the dead).

Violent sports are growing at a rapid rate, for example, Extreme Cage Fighting, dog fights, and rooster fights.  While man and beast battle it out in a bloody mess others are in the stands gambling over the victor.  It sounds like the coliseums of Rome where Christians were slaughtered in gladiatorial fights.

Abortion is murder.  It is death for convenience sake.  The snuffing out of a human baby in the mother’s womb because someone doesn’t want to deal with raising a child is murder, pure and simple.  These babies have eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, tiny fingers and toes, and they have brain waves – they are aware!

Any self-respecting honest doctor that is not worried about being politically correct would admit this.  They have spent years studying the human body and they know this to be true, but most doctors are cowards, and will not stand up and cry out against the atrocity of abortion out of fear.

Since Roe V. Wade in 1973 there have been over 50 million abortions in America!  This is a culture of death!

Once you cross the line of Abortion then it is easier to euthanize the elderly.  This issue keeps coming up in our country.  Usually it is draped in some moral dilemma involving a terminally ill patient that wants to end his life.  If we ever make it legal for a physician to assist in a patient’s suicide the next step will be to terminate the elderly when they are no longer useful in our society.

Infanticide is the killing of children that have birth defects or are mentally handicapped.  It is interesting to note that Hitler practiced the killing of the terminally ill and the killing of mental patients in Nazi controlled Germany.

Hitler started a “Euthanasia Program” and killed tens of thousands of his own people as well as those in countries that were conquered by the Nazis.  The Nazi doctors in the hospitals would take the children from their mothers as soon as they would be born and if the child had any defects, deformities, or sickness they would be euthanized.  Only those that were deemed useful were allowed to live.

Nazi controlled Germany was a Culture of Death.  Sadly, we in America, and in the rest of the world, are headed down this same path today.

When people come to our churches they are looking for life.  Our world is filled with death.  They should not come to our churches and find that the Church reflects the world of death.  We should reflect the Life of God.

Most church services in our world are so dead they have to be endured.  It is a drudgery to visit.  It is a chore to attend.  There is no life.  There is no excitement.   No one can get saved in that setting of death.

The membership is just as sinful and wicked as those that never attend a church.  They curse, they get drunk, they hate their neighbors, they commit adultery, they are plagued by sinful habits, and they look no different than the heathen and the atheist.  This is not the Church!

In the Church of the Living God there is life.  There is Abundant Life.  There is Eternal Life.  Drug addicts can be delivered.  Drunks can be sobered.  The sick are healed.  The depressed are set free.

Brother Clendennen says this, “What is it that justifies God in maintaining any instrument in relation to Himself and His purpose?  It is not that it has a great history or that it has a name, a reputation: but it is this undying flame of divine life as a mighty testimony against the power of death that is all around us, that alone, is God’s justification.”

If any Church does not shine with the spiritual life of God then it is a misrepresentation of God.

We have to know that the Bible does speak positively about the subject of “Death”.  When the Bible does speak about “Death” in a positive way it is speaking of dying to this World, dying to sin, dying out to the flesh, dying to selfishness.  In those respects death is a positive thing.

Jesus spoke often of his impending death.  He made it clear to his followers that it was necessary for him to die.  He also made it clear to them that they would have to follow His example.
John 12:24-25
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Luke 9:23
 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Our dying, our crucifying of the flesh, leads us to greater potential of life – not our life – but the life of Christ.
Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me 

Our life has been traded for His life!

Eternal Life.  Jesus said if we would believe on him that we would have Eternal Life – Everlasting Life!  Eternal life is not Eternal drudgery and boredom.  Eternal life is Joy and Peace forever.

Abundant Life.  We in the Church do not just exist.  We live!  Our lives are filled with Abundance.  There are no happier people on earth than “True Christians.”  Our life is wrapped up in His Life.
John 14:19
 Because I live, ye shall live also.

We need His Life.  Jesus is LIFE.  Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”.

If you are reading this and you are not a Born Again Christian then let me warn you.  You are not living - you are dead – dead in trespasses and sins.  You are in rebellion against God.  There is no other hope for you.  You must repent of your sins, you must turn from your sin.   Sorrow alone is not enough, you must turn from the sin you have committed and be Born Again.  This is when your life will begin.

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