Many people in our time have lost their “belief in Jesus”. This puts clergy doing funerals in an awkward position. We try to be kind and pastoral and leave mourners with the comforting hope the deceased are in heaven. It would be unkind to share the Biblical teachings that only believers who feed on the body of Jesus and walk in love have eternal spiritual life. The Readings help us understand:
- What is eternal life?
- How the body of Jesus feeds our spiritual life?
- How do we walk in a spiritual life of love?
Many people around us have had visions and experiences of heaven. I recommend the 3 videos by Howard Storm on YouTub to learn what happened to him when he died and was revived. To understand spiritual life we need to understand the relationship between our body, soul and spirit and the functions of each:
- Our body is what gives us physical life - senses, movement, communication, pleasure, pain and is left behind when we die
- Our personal spirit is our spiritual life and intuitive intelligence - know things without knowing how or why (conscience) and where Holy Spirit lives
- Our Soul is our mind, will and emotions - which arbitrates between the desires of our body and the desires of our personal spirit
- Unforgiven sins pollute and weaken our personal spirit so it may or may not not be able to carry our soul to heaven when we die
2. How does the body of Jesus feed us?
Last week we talked about how the sacrament of Holy Communion feeds our spiritual life by bringing us together in the the Covenant of Jesus through belief, confession and Absolution of sins and feeding with consecrated bread and wine. This week we look at how the physical body of Jesus feeds us spiritually by dying in our place so we can be forgiven:
- Things are very legalistic in the spiritual dimension
- You do the crime - you do the time
- Good News of Christianity is that God made a New Covenant through Jesus
- Jesus as His divine-human Son by Mary, who had lived a sinless life could give up His life to pay for the sins of all believers
- Belief connects us to Jesus spiritually
- Forgiveness of sins feeds our spiritual life by removing the barrier between us and God so we can be fed by the Holy Spirit
- Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to believers to feed and guide them in developing their spiritual life:
- Convict of sin
- Comfort and healing
- Gifts of love, joy and peace
3. How do we walk in a spiritual life of love?
Apostle Paul (Eph. 4.25- 5.5 - omitting 5.3-14 on sexual immorality) is teaching the Ephesians how to live a life of spiritual love. Most of his listeners are not Hebrews so instead of talking about the Ten Commandments (as tests of our love of God and neighbour); he warns them:
- “Do not give the devil a foothold” - sin is any failure to love
- “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” - can not be around sin
- Example: “Falshood” and “truthfulness” - False Witness is deception and hence witchcraft, evil and failure to love God
- Examples: Thinking about murder (Anger), adultery, stealing, coveting - is a failure to love God and “All members of one body”
- Paul is teaching them how to test our love of God and neighbour
- As we die to our selfishness and focus on our love of God and neighbour, we grow in our spiritual life of joy
IF WE HAVE DIED WITH HIM WE SHALL REIGN WITH HIM
Thanks be to God!