What it means to be truly alive

I live about a half mile from the local hospital. It is not a big hospital, but by the sounds of the sirens, it is fairly active. I have three German Shepherds (1 is now old and completely deaf, but otherwise does well). The other two hear EVERYTHING that moves, and the sound of sirens sets them off. German Shepherds not only look like wolves, they howl like them too, especially when the answer another’s “call”. So, in the middle of the day and the middle of the night we get a serenade from our pack. Another semi neat thing is that when we are outside in the daytime, we get the occasional good look at a Life Flight helicopter as it makes its’ way to and from the hospital. Those helicopters are also a real reminder of two things:1-There is someone having a very serious medical emergency, their life is danger, and 2-There are people with them working hard to save their lives. This is a mixture of those losing life and those giving life. 

 

 

In John chapter 10, our Lord is teaching His disciples about two ways to live. He gives a visual analogy: a “sheep door”.  You might envision a gate, the effect is the same: its a closed in area with a single entry/exit point. Sheep need a shepherd and they need a particular shepherd. They intuitively know the voice, mannerisms and ways of their shepherd. That’s why Jesus said that they would know the difference between their shepherd who comes through the door and someone bailing over the wall and breaking in. One is a thief, the other is the Shepherd. They do 2 different thing.

 

 

The thief breaks in, he destroys things in his path, and when he finds the living, he slashes their throat, He kills them. He’s malevolent, he is ruthless, he is evil. The Shepherd comes through the door. He is loving and kind. He does things for the sheep that causes them to live. The shepherd is good. 

 

You may already understand this understand this analogy. The thief is Satan. His very first act in the Garden of Eden was to seduce Eve and Adam into death. They died, and so did all of their offspring. His legacy is death, and that death is not simply physical, but spiritual and internal. That means beginning with the first 2 humans to exist on this earth, all people have died spiritually. 

 

 

The shepherd is the good Shepherd, Jesus. Jesus came for one purpose to fix what the thief broke. Whereas the thief has killed Jesus victoriously declares:

 

 

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”

John 10:10

 

 

Like the sound of the helicopter coming to rescue someone whose physical life is perishing, Jesus’ words declare life to the spiritually perishing. Whereas the thief killed us on the inside, Jesus saves us on the inside. Here is why that is important:

 

 

You may be young, you may be strong, you may feel alive and in the absolute best shape of your life, but if you are not born again then something inside of you is deathly wrong. You are merely a hollow shell, or as Jesus said, whitewashed tombs that hold nothing more than death (Matthew 23:27) or in other words you are a fine, fine looking dead man. The physical appearance matters not, what is internal does. You are dead on the inside in the worst imaginable way. 

 

But conversely, your body can be physically perishing, wasting and dying. Your mortal frame can be disintegrating and wasting away, but if you have been saved by the Good Shepherd, you are more alive than you could havepossibly been any other way. That may be strange or foreign but it is true. Jesus came to give us life, and that life is incredible! It is given to us through His love, which is so compassionate and merciful, so gracious and caring that it changes us from the inside out. Again, the physical estate does not matter, in Christ we have life, and have it to the maximum. Think about that for a moment:

 

Again, the physical estate does not matter, in Christ we have life, and have it to the maximum.

 

 

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  • a life of being forgiven
  • a life of always accessible joy
  • a life of intimacy with God

 

This life, eternal life is available and accessible to you through the finished work of Christ on the cross. The death He died satisfied God’s just punishment for ALL sins. His burial and subsequent resurrection defeated death in finality, so that you can have LIFE. The call of the Gospel is that you repent (turn to Jesus for salvation, turn away from anything that would keep you from Him) and call to Him as your Lord, and lay your life at His feet. 

 

He is the Good Shepherd, He promises you life now and forevermore. 

 

 

I AM alive and I always will be. What about you?

 

 

 

 

Posted on January 7, 2016 .