The Fellowship of John 17:21

MORE DEADLY THAN COVID 19

 It's a matter of LIFE and DEATH!

That's the reason we're being told it's SO IMPORTANT to get this CoVid19 thing right! With a mortality rate of 2-5% of those infected, they say it is 3 or 4 times more deadly than the seasonal flu.

But I can't help but wonder, where's the concern for the "virus" with a 100% mortality rate that has infected the whole human race?

Nichols and Wiseman wrote a song several years ago that country singer Tim McGraw used as the title cut for his album, "Live Like You Were Dying." A particularly insightful line says, "Well, I finally read The Good Book and took a good long hard look at what I'd do if I could do it all again..." Perhaps it would be wise to take at least a good quick look at what The Good Book says about LIFE and DEATH?

From the first book of the Bible we read, "The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of LIFE; and the man became a LIVING creature." (Genesis 2:7)  God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden to tend and enjoy, with only one restriction: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely DIE." (Genesis 2:16,17)

Sometime later, the one identified elsewhere in Scripture as the Deceiver and Father of Lies (Jn.8:44), at first questioned whether God actually restricted access (Gen.3:1), then flat out denied the consequences - " will NOT surely DIE."(Gen.3:4), even questioning God's motives. (Gen.3:5) Adam and Eve decided to believe the deceiver instead of taking God at His Word.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of DEATH." (Proverbs 14:12) and as a result...

"Through one man sin entered the world and DEATH through sin, and thus DEATH spread to ALL." (Romans 5:12)

"The fear (awesome respect) of the Lord is a fountain of LIFE that one may turn away from the snares of DEATH." (Proverbs 14:27)

"The fear (awesome respect) of the Lord is a fountain of LIFE that one may turn away from the snares of DEATH." (Proverbs 14:27)"For as in Adam all DIE, even so in Christ all shall be made ALIVE." (I Corinthians 15:22)  Are you in Christ?

"Each one is tempted... by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth DEATH." (James 1:14,15)

"As I LIVE, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the DEATH of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and LIVE." (Ezekiel 33:11)

Jesus cautioned, "...the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction... For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to LIFE, and those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:13,14)

"When you were slaves of sin... the end of those things is DEATH. But now ...set free from sin ...become slaves of God ...leads to sanctification and its end ETERNAL LIFE. For the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:20-23)

"You were DEAD in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked ...following ...the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience ...like the rest of mankind. But God, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were DEAD in our trespasses, made us ALIVE together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with Him..." (Ephesians 2:1-6)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not PERISH but have ETERNAL LIFE. ...Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already." (John 3:16,18)

Jesus said, "I told you that you would DIE in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he (Savior/Messiah) you will DIE in your sins. " (John 8:24)" I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise PERISH." (Luke 13:3)

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise... but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should PERISH, but that all should reach repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

[The word repent literally means to change the mind - to be in agreement with God's Word - and follow through with corresponding actions. Two things lead to our repentance: 1)the goodness of God (Romans 2:4); and 2) Godly sorrow for sin (II Corinthians 7:10). The first repentance moves us from unbelief to faith; the second moves us to leave a sinful, rebellious lifestyle to follow Jesus.  Jesus said, "The time has come... the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Gospel." (Mark 1:15)]

Jesus said, "I AM the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his LIFE for the sheep. The thief comes only to steal and KILL and destroy. I came that they may have LIFE and have it abundantly... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

I give them ETERNAL LIFE and they will NEVER PERISH." (John 10:11,10, 27,28)

"I AM the resurrection and the LIFE; he who believes in Me, though he DIE, he shall LIVE. And he who LIVES and believes in Me, shall NEVER DIE. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26)

Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever believes has ETERNAL LIFE. I AM the Bread of LIFE... if anyone eats of this bread, he will LIVE FOREVER... Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has ETERNAL LIFE... He who eats this bread will LIVE FOREVER" (John 6:47,48,51,54,58) Some of Jesus' followers were so shocked by those words, they said, "This is a hard saying. Who can understand it?... that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to go away?' Then Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of ETERNAL LIFE.' " (John 6:60,66-68)

Some believe with these difficult words Jesus was anticipating the Lord's Supper - Communion - Eucharist - which He would institute during the Passover meal with His disciples the night before His crucifixion. "Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it (saying), Take, eat; this is My Body. Then He took the Cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them (saying), This is My Blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many." (Mark 14:22-24)  Others believe Jesus was metaphorically referring to His identity, "In the beginning was the Word... In Him was LIFE, and the LIFE was the light of men. ...and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory... the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,4,14) He said, "It is the Spirit who gives LIFE; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are LIFE. (John 6:63)  Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man shall not LIVE by bread alone, but by every Word of God." (Luke 4:4)  Perhaps it is best understood, not as an either/or, but as a both/and. For Jesus prayed in the Upper Room that same night, "May they all (who believe) be ONE, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, may they also be one in Us, (a shared LIFE) that the world may believe that You sent me." (John 17:21)

Jesus said, "I AM the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me... Because I LIVE, you also will LIVE. In that day you will know that I AM in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you." (John 14:6,19,20)

Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has ETERNAL LIFE. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from DEATH to LIFE." (John 5:24)

"But what does it - the scripture - say? 'The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess (literally, say the same thing) with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the DEAD, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession (saying the same thing God says) is made to salvation." (Romans 10:8-10)

"DEATH and LIFE are in the power of the tongue..." (Proverbs 18:21)

The Jews were the first ones to hear the Gospel proclaimed by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost. Some time later, the Lord directed the Apostle Peter in a dream to proclaim the Gospel to a Roman soldier, Cornelius, and his family, the first Gentiles to hear the Word of who Jesus is, His ministry, His DEATH, burial and resurrection."How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power... He commanded us to preach... and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be Judge of the LIVING and the DEAD. To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name. While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word. ...And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." (Acts 10:38,42-44,48)

"Now the apostles and the brothers (in) Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the Word of God... they glorified God, saying , 'Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to LIFE.' " (Acts 11:1,18)

"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the DEATH of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His LIFE. For if, because of one man (Adam's) trespass, DEATH reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in LIFE through the one man Jesus Christ. ...so that as sin reigned in DEATH, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord."(Rom. 5:10,17,21)

"God has given us ETERNAL LIFE, and this LIFE is in His Son. He who has the Son has LIFE; he who does not have the Son of God does not have LIFE. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have ETERNAL LIFE." (I John 5:11-13)

"We know that we have passed out of DEATH into LIFE, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in DEATH." (I John 3:14)

The Apostle Paul describes that new LIFE this way: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who LIVES, but Christ LIVES in me; and the LIFE which I now LIVE in the flesh, I LIVE by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

 "...it is my eager expectation and hope... Christ will be honored in my body, whether by LIFE or by DEATH. For to me to LIVE is Christ, and to DIE is gain." (Philippians 1:20,21)

"For the law of the Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and DEATH... For to be carnally minded is DEATH, but to be spiritually minded is LIFE and peace... if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the DEAD dwells in you, He... will also give LIFE to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you... if by the Spirit you put to DEATH the deeds of the body, you will LIVE. (Romans 8:2,6,11,13)

"He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap EVERLASTING LIFE." (Galatians 6:8)

Our Creator and Heavenly Father has provided a 100% effective cure from this death-dealing virus of sin for all who will believe and receive it, a cure with the power to extend LIFE, not for just a few more months or years, but for all ETERNITY! "Who (Jesus) Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having DIED to sins, might LIVE for righteousness --- by whose stripes you were healed." (I Peter 2:24)

"Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his LIFE will lose it, but whoever loses his LIFE for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul.' " (Matthew 16:24-26)

The Apostle Paul wrote that those who repent and believe this Good News are buried with Jesus "by baptism into DEATH, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the DEAD by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of LIFE." (Romans 6:4)

"...having been buried with (Christ) in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, Who raised Him from the DEAD. And you, who were DEAD in your trespasses... God made ALIVE together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses..." (Colossians 2:12-14)

"Set your minds on things that are above... for you have DIED, and your LIFE is 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 what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:2-5)

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth DEATH." (James 1:14,15)

"My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from DEATH and will cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:19,20)

The writer of Hebrews points to the end of the age with these words: "As it is appointed for men to DIE once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." (Hebrews 9:27,28)

The last book of the Bible has these words regarding the end of the age: "I am the Alpha and Omega... I will give of the fountain of the water of LIFE freely to him who thirsts... But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire... the second DEATH." (Revelation 21:6,8) "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of LIFE... the Spirit and the bride say "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts, come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of LIFE freely." (Revelation 22:14,17)

Jesus gave these instructions to His followers: "Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to everybody. He who believes and is baptized will be saved (from DEATH to LIFE), but he who does not believe will (continue to) be condemned." (Mark 16:15,16; cf. John 5:24 and 3:18)

The words of Moses to the children of Israel at the edge of the Promised Land echo across the centuries with similar import to our generation: "I have set before you LIFE and DEATH, blessing and cursing; therefore choose LIFE, that both you and your descendants may LIVE; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your LIFE..." (Deuteronomy 30:19,20)

The question facing us today is not unlike the question facing Adam and Eve in the garden: will we take God at His Word, or will we be tempted to question that Word to our eternal peril?

It truly is a matter of LIFE and DEATH!

P.S. See also Revelation 1:8,17-18; 2:4-11; 3:5; 20:12,15

Thomas (Jn.17:21) Mackey