The Great Exchange & The Uncomfortableness of Death

The Great Exchange & The Uncomfortableness of Death
by Jeremy Vess

There’s a Time for Everything.

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
  
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    
a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

Death is uncomfortable.  It can come unexpectedly or it can be something that seems long and drug out.  Whether unexpected or an expected end it can leave us in a place of limbo, feeling disheveled and out of place, left putting pieces back together like the aftermath of a violent storm.   It is not something we like to think about or even acknowledge, but the fact remains that all of us are not immortal; eternal yes, but immortal no. However, Jesus offers us a a great exchange.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12

The beauty of the cross that Jesus suffered for us is that it resulted in his glorious resurrection.  It was a great exchange he was willing to make for our behalf. And athough the awkwardness and uncomfortable feeling surrounding death can still remain, because of Jesus, the sting is no longer present for those who have been bought by the blood of the Lamb.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:55-57‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Pay attention to what is being said here.  “It is sin that gives death its sting and the law that gives sin its power, but Jesus overcame both sin and death and brought us grace and truth!   Another great exchange of the work of Christ!

“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Bible states that there is a time to be born and a time to die.  Although the passage from Ecclesiastes is speaking of physical death, it is also applicable to what Colossians 3:5 says:

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.

You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”   Colossians‬ ‭3:5-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Several years ago I was teaching guitar lessons at music school.  The building I was in was an older building downtown and one day I walked into a horrendous smell in the room I taught in.  I investigated around the room trying to locate the source of the smell and could not find anything.  It reeked of death and the aroma was pungent, but despite my best efforts I could not find where it was coming from.  For weeks I put up with the smell and tried to cover it with air freshener, candles and a variety of sprays and scents, but no matter what I did the smell remained.  It eventually faded over time and then several months later I reached for a lesson book and as I pulled it out I discovered the carcass of a dead bird tucked away, hidden behind it.  It startled me and when I regained my composure I got some gloves and disposed of the dead bird.  Alas, I had found source of my misery for the past few weeks and my room returned to a pleasant odor.  

I was thinking about this the other day and the Lord showed me that for many of us, although we’ve been born again and have been made new, we still harbor dead things in our lives that really produce a stench to the Holy Spirit and to our spiritual walk.  

First of all, we must understand that our sinful nature was crucified with Christ and we have a new nature in Him.  

Galatians 2:20   “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Secondly, we must die to ourselves and this comes in the form of an exchange…

A Choice of Two Exchanges

The Bible presents to us two choices of an exchange for your life.  In the first exchange it’s like agreeing to be an indentured servant or slave to a harsh master, selling or giving one’s life away to be worked by an abusive overlord that ultimately leads someone to their own demise and death.

In the second scenario, it’s a matter of denying yourself and following King Jesus that results in a life of peace, beauty, joy, righteousness and eternal life as we are brought from darkness to light and from orphans to sons in the Kingdom of God.

As Bob Dylan penned, “You’re gonna serve somebody…”

“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:20-21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
 
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Romans 6:1-2

(I’ve heard it said that if we haven’t asked this question regarding sin and grace, then we probably haven’t heard grace taught correctly.  When the logic is “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” it leads to the obvious question, “Shall I continue to sin then in order to abound in more grace?” Paul addresses this by with an emphatic “Certainly not!” and then continues to explain why…)

Romans 6:3-23 continues:

"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.

For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:15-23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus put it this way:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭24‬-‭26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The book of Isaiah paints a picture of what this exchange looks like for us as believers:

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3

We get to put off the old spirit man when we come to Christ in exchange for the new spirit man.  A spirit man united with the Holy Spirit.  So we’re never alone!

Keep in mind that you are triune being. You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in body.  When we are born again our spirit is made new in Christ.  Our soul (our mind, will and emotions) still need work on a daily basis.  Our bodies also need work, but that is a whole other message.  

Lastly, though we may begin as slaves to righteousness, the Word of God calls us sons and daughters of God.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John‬ ‭1:12-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

You are a new man in Christ!  The old is gone so don’t let the remnants of the old man back in. Don't let the old man in! Learn to renew your mind.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬-‭2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


Don’t Let The Old Man In: Ten Ways to Put to Death the Ways of “The Old Man”
according to Colossians 3:5-17:

1. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.

2. Now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

3. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

4. Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

5. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

6. Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.

7. Always be thankful.

8. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives and Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.

9. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

10. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Jesus comes to give eternal life:

“Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” John 11:38-44

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”  John‬ ‭11‬:‭38‬-‭42‬, ‭44‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

It’s time for many believers to be loosed!  To be unwrapped from old grave clothes and the stench of death.  It’s time for the Great Exchange!

“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13‬:‭10‬-‭13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

It’s time for believers to be loosed from infirmity!
 
* The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
* John 5:24 
"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life" 


* John 10:27-29 
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand"


What is eternal life?

* John 17:3 
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" 



Keep in my mind your are eternal not immortal.

“because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭14‬-‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today is the day to fix your eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen and to be loosed from old grave clothes.  Today is the day of salvation and the day of healing. Today is the day for old things that hinder you to die.  Today is the day to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!  Today is your day and this is the day The LORD has made!

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