The question to fan the flames of rhetoric, pious platitudes, and demeaning rebuttals and
 "What happens after we die and why?”



From the Pastor’s heart

Greetings to you all in the name of The Beloved

We live in a world where there appears to be more wrong than right, where Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, and many more "isms” and philosophies abound; each plying for the time, space, and opportunities to practice and promote their ideologies. Each will often promote their cause, dogma, or principles, like a politician on the hustings at election time: by simply pulling down the beliefs of another. This undoubtedly causes friction and factions, and not only from opposing sides, but often from within.

However we choose to describe the various divisions; left or right, liberal or conservative, fundamentalist or modernist, the protagonists of each are usually well versed and schooled in the rhetoric of the other. As each attempts to cast their views, intent on influencing the other, the battle lines are drawn and resistance occurs. The protagonists arm themselves and the war of words begins. Counter-rhetoric is applied as a rebuttal and a counter-strike of what the other perceives as "Truth.”

In this way the battleground of the intellect becomes a replica of the trench warfare of the 20thcentury, which only amounted to a type of "stalemate” with a whole lot of dead, dying, and wounded on all sides, who would never again see the green grass of home or taste the delights of fresh bread in the morning or a loved one’s kiss in the evening.This is serious stuff!

Warfare however, is nothing new. There has been a war raging on long before any of the aforementioned faiths, "isms” and philosophies. Its battleground has spread from the heavenly to the earthly physical world of humankind. It has gone from striking at the heart of God in the heavens, and now aims at everyone and anyone who has a heart or a yearning for God.

The prize of every battle in this war is the heart, soul, and adoring worship of a creature described in Scripture as "…fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). That’s you; that’s me; that’s us. The real enemy, the enemy of our souls, wants to keep the battle raging in the trench-warfare of the mind and world of the intellect where he knows stalemate is victory, because that is where and how he can win battles, even if he knows he cannot win the war.

In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul writes about this battle, the battleground, and the results of this war’s influence. He highlights the only means of achieving true victory, and the evidence it provides. He talks of the vision of all wars: freedom. This war is closer than the majority of the world seems to realize, and without the application of Truth, has but one outcome; Paul says, "…each will devour the other” (v15). In this we are able to see that, all too often, we can be our own worst enemies.

Paul also reveals the way to victory and true freedom is to "surrender and live.” To this end he says; "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (v16). The battle lines are drawn: live by the Spirit and know true freedom, or remain on the side where no-one wins (v19-21). We see it every day and it is not a pretty sight, and it is sometimes closer that we care to admit. What makes this war different from all others is the fact that we already know the outcome.

Though not yet fully apprehended, the enemy of our souls is persistent in the fight he cannot ultimately win. His resolve is to discredit God at every opportunity, break apart His family and take as many as he can to the place of his own permanent punishment, by any and all means at his disposal.

But for those who see through the fog of the battle, hear the urging of Jesus when He says, "Come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), and Paul’s invitation to choose to live by the Spirit. Choose that and you choose to live a life that exemplifies true freedom and will be seen a life of complete contrast. Described by Paul, the Spirit’s work is a pretty sight (v22-23).

In entering into the battle on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, fighting the fight and winning the war, has provided the means, the way, and the freedom whereby all the entrenched dead, dying, and wounded, past, present, and future, can live in true freedom now with a promises of even greater things to come. In winning the war on our behalf, Jesus provides, not only salvation for our souls, but another exclusive gift. It is a gift given to all who faithfully share in His victory celebrations.

This gift only became available as Jesus suffered the consequences of sin, died the death all sinners deserve, and provided the means of freedom for all those held captive by sin’s chains of bondage.

Each "ism” and religion claims exclusive components to their beliefs that set them apart from all others. Amongst other components of faith, a Born-again child of God, a true Christian, knows the living and active "Hope of Glory” implanted in their heart by the Holy Spirit. This surely does set them apart from all others.

Meditated on, and peeled down to the core, the living hope of glory in a Believer’s heart, ultimately amounts to the reality of seeing Jesus Christ face to face, at a time of His choosing.

AND SO IT IS the question we need to ask to fan the flames of conversation without the rhetoric of pious platitudes, and demeaning rebuttals is: "What happens after we die and why?”

It avoids prolonging the entrenched rhetoric of belief against belief, doctrine against indoctrination, and the emptiness of our fancy catch phrases and "PAT” answers. It lays a playing field not a battle field as it puts us all on an equal level and talks of an unavoidable occurrence and a date with destiny we must all face. It opens us up to share faith in the only One who addresses it with everlasting victory and eternal freedom.

The "Reaching" aspect of our "Reaching Out” is going to depend on how others see the sincerity of our hearts and the life we live, influenced directly by the Holy Spirit, and the blessed assurances of the "Living Hope of Glory” that faith in God’s promises brings to all who truly believe.

As the love of Christ constrains us, so "The Exclusive Gift" - the "Living hope of Glory" will sustain us as we sing:

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, O what a foretaste of Glory Divine

May God bless you and keep you

Pastor David.