Peninsula Community Church
Body, Soul and Spirit
April 13, 2014
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
As we look back at the history of America there are several dates that stand out to me. Now you may or may not agree with these but that is ok. A couple of the dates that come to my mind are the following. The first date is the battle of Gettysburg. During the battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863; the causalities of war totaled nearly 60,000 men. These men were devoted to a fight and a cause they thought was right. Many historians suggest that the events of Gettysburg and the massive loss by the South was the turning point of the war. After the Civil War was over America would never be the same. A second date was the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Imperial Japanese Navy. On December 7, 1941, 2,402 Americas lost their life and 1282 were injured. America would never be the same after that. A final date that is still visible in my memory is the day that the world trade centers and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists. How devastating it was to see the towers fall with the knowledge that this was no accident? On September 11, 2001, nearly 3000 people lost their life in this senseless attack. Once again America would never be the same after this tragic event. With each of these events life changed as we know it.
While these three events changed America, I want to also speak of two other events which are even more critical than the dates we have mentioned above. To view the first event we must go all the way back to the beginning of time. While mankind had everything they needed, or could ever want, they succumbed to the one temptation that would forever change their life. To fully grasp what happened that day, we must understand the total effect of Adam’s sin on the rest of mankind.
Man’s life changed that day. In that moment, sin became a part of mankind’s existence. In that moment all mankind died. It was not a physical death but they died a spiritual death, and from that time until now mankind has suffered the ongoing effects of that sinful day. The fact is, this death was greater than any physical death that could be experienced. In that moment of time man’s spirit was darkened and the only hope was for one to come that could restore what was lost on that day. In that moment, we became enemy’s of God destined to devise our own religion, define our self-worth, and devote ourselves to fulfilling the desires of our flesh. Of all of the effects including the emotional damage, the spiritual death, and the illusion that occurred, the worst impact of all is that because of Adam’s failure to obey God, the spirit of man was darkened. It is for this reason, that Adam and Eve cowered in fear when God came to walk with them.
But if that was the end of the story, we would be men most miserable. There is another significant moment in history that impacted the world. The dates we are referring to is that period of time between Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, his crucifixion, and His resurrection. By way of these events, we see that life changed for us. We now have hope and life where we once were dead.
Today, is Palm Sunday. On this day, we celebrate the triumphal entry of Christ into the city of Jerusalem. The reality is that to understand his triumphal entry is to understand the entrance of Christ into our spirit. You see he did not enter Jerusalem to be Israel’s King but to be their Savior. He came not to set up a physical government but a spiritual Kingdom. He came to make us alive in Him. He came to quicken our spirit which had been deadened by sin.
As we view this, you may ask how does this apply to our study of the Body, Soul and Spirit? I am glad you asked, because you see what was darkened is now made alive by Christ’s work on the Cross. Through the work of Christ, we can now experience restoration and healing and we can turn the tables on what occurred in the Garden Eden. You see, the failure and defeat of the Garden was replaced by the success and victory of the cross.
According to Ephesians 2:4-5 God, who is rich in mercy and filled with great love for us did what no religion, no self-help program, no diet, or no amount of money could do. He made us alive in Him. But to experience this change, we must come to terms with the truth that we are lost without God.. The way we have been living our life is not working. We try to live life and things continue to go wrong, we continue to be unhappy, and we continue to be discouraged, rather than believing the truth that we can change. The problem too often is that we try to formulate our own scenarios and ways to bring change. These can be defined by a change of jobs, a change in our relationships, or we turn to outside influences to bring change. We try drugs or alcohol to numb us or to give us a false sense of peace and joy. At times, we try to search out religion and religious ventures but these too leave us cold and unchanged for the good.
What is the answer? Where do we begin? We begin by understanding that we must receive the spirit through new birth – Why is this true? You see when we were created, remember that God breathed into us. We were created by the very breathe of God. As a result, we are unlike any other creature or created thing. In essence, we have the very life of God in us. But, that changed when man sinned. While the breath of God was still in us, our spirits were darkened and our relationship with God was damaged. Since that time, man has been trying to reignite the light of their spirit in so many ways.
The fact is that most of those who have tried many different things to bring light to the heart have never understood the reality of what is truly needed. You see, since man was created by God, since he had the breath of God breathed into him, there is only one thing that will make man alive again and that is the breath of God that comes by way of salvation in Christ. We can call it new birth, receiving faith, a changed life, or whatever you would like to, but the fact is, we need the Spirit of God to touch our spirit again. Whatever you call it, the only way to have real life is through Christ who ignites our dead and darkened spirit.
We see this in our text this morning. God who was rich in mercy has made us alive together with Christ. It is in His mercy and because of His love that He created the opportunity for us to be changed. He could have given up on us. He could have let us die, and He could have left us to our own demise but He came to breathe life into us by way of His death on the cross.
As a result of God’s action to reignite the light in our hearts on our behalf, we can now live a life of freedom. We can live the life that God originally designed for us. Will it be easy? No, because we still contend with people, ideologies, experiences, mindsets, and the sinful flesh that continues to battle against us. But God through Christ makes it possible.
In the plan of God, He did something that was totally amazing. He sent the Spirit to us so that we could be directed and guided into truth. When we accept Christ and the darkness of our heart has been distinguished, we find real peace. It is in that moment that the way we live begins to change. Rather than being guided by the flesh we are now being guided by the Holy Spirit. In fact to live in freedom we must be guided by the Spirit.
But, if we have the spirit in us, we must walk in the Spirit. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all we do. Francis Chan has stated that walking in the spirit is like following our GPS. GPS gives us direction but it does so in a way that is interesting. I have never heard the voice of the GPS get angry. All she says is “recalculating.” When I consistently make mistakes on the journey I am taking, I do not hear her say, “You are stupid! You will never get this right! You will never reach your destination! She just keeps saying “recalculating.” What she means is that you messed up but if you follow me I will get you to where you need to be. It may take you longer, and it may cost you more, but I will get you there. But you have to follow my directions and my plan. The Holy Spirit is our GPS as He guides us toward understanding God’s plan, God’s purpose, and the destiny God has for us.
The Holy Spirit will also make it easier for us to live as we should. When our spirit is in alignment with God’s purpose and plan for our lives, we will find that what we do emotionally will be different. Our actions will be motivated by what is good and right and not by fleshly desires. When we are guided by the Spirit, our responses to life’s crisis will be different. We will name our emotions, we will challenge them and then we will change them. We will be better equipped to take every thought captive to the glory of God. In following the Spirit’s lead, we will be better equipped to fight against the temptations that come by way of our flesh. It is for this reason, that Paul reminds us to walk after the spirit so that we do not gratify the deeds of the flesh.
Look at what Paul says about this. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8).
And finally, look at what Ezekiel had to say about this way back in the Old Testament. So, this is nothing new. It is has always been a reality for us. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
So are you alive this morning? Do you have the Spirit of God living in you? Today, is the day to seek after Him and to allow Him to bring change to your heart and life.
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