Monday, November 28, 2016
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My wife and I were staying at a little place that we had when we could get away from our work and from our ministry for a little while, and there were some next door neighbors there. We got to know them along the way, John and Vicky. And they stopped to ask us one day if they could pick some of our mushrooms. Yeah, for use in witchcraft.
As Halloween approached, we noticed that they had built a ceremonial circle at their place, which is really somebody else's property, technically. But it had become someone else's through encroachment over the years. My wife was pretty troubled and so was I by the thought of this occult ceremony happening right close to where we would stay occasionally. We had to leave soon, but we felt led to pray, "Lord, do whatever it takes to break up the satanic activity there." We were stunned by the report from a neighbor who had tried to watch that property at Halloween. He said, "Oh, you know, last week there was a terrible accident near here, and one guy is paralyzed with a broken neck. And John, the guy in that house, was killed."
Well, we were wiped out. Well, back in the Spring, we were back at that place, and as we walked the perimeter, we saw a young couple at the house where John and Vicki had lived. Except it was John and Vicki! We couldn't believe it! Then John told us his story. Yes, there had been an accident. Yes, his neck was broken in three places. But, miraculously, he survived. He had planned to give his soul to the devil, he said, at that Halloween ceremony in his yard, but the accident stopped him and turned him to Jesus Christ. John said, "I've been involved in unspeakable evil. But that night I left the darkness and chose the light. I gave myself to Jesus."
Since then apparently John and Vicki have stopped smoking and drinking and doing drugs. They even got married. They burned all the clothes and the attachments of their old life, and apparently really got into God's Word. Well, we were pretty blown away by the mighty miracle God had done. John himself summed it up. He said, "In a way, what you heard about last Fall was true. The man who lived here was in a terrible accident, and that man did die that night."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Walking, Talking Dead Man."
John realizes what it means to belong to Jesus Christ. It actually means a death and then a new person. Our word for today from the Word of God talks about that in Colossians 3, beginning in verse 2, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."
What happened to our neighbor John is exactly what's supposed to happen to you if you know Christ. It's supposed to be the death of the old you. Your circumstances may not be dramatic, or your sin, but the same miracle of a new you is what Jesus died to accomplish.
See, if you have followed the steps to a wonderful, new you, and that guy next door was a good example, first, you go to your own funeral. You declare a point in time where you say, "This is the end of the way I have been living. 'My way' dies today." Secondly, you starve the old you. That means burning all your bridges to the old you, eliminating any things or any associations that keep the old you alive.
Finally, you feed the new you, consuming God's Word along with reading and websites and radio and music that uplifts you and uplifts Jesus, and connecting yourself to other believers who will help you grow. Maybe you've tried to have a foot in both worlds – a little old you and a little new you. That can't be done. You've got to make a clear-cut choice, against the darkness and for the light of Jesus.
A funeral for the old you. And, because of Jesus, the birth of a whole new you.