Living Sacrifice: Dying to Truly Live - David Mitts
Unlike the boundaries that come from the outside, what we call laws or rules, the boundaries of the heart are true limits that define what is possible in our human experience.
"Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."" Mar 10:27 (NASB)
This verse follows the conversation about rich people getting into the kingdom, getting saved. The disciples’ world view was that the rich and powerful could do whatever they wanted. So if they couldn’t get into heaven, into the kingdom, then how could ordinary, common folk. Yeshua’s reply was a revelation of the crossroads, the paga, the place of intercession.
At the crossroads, the intercession intersection, God shows up and with Him all things are possible. His plans are always far more than our limited thinking can grasp.
""For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isa 55:8-9 (NASB)
You see, we literally see linearly. We can only see what we think is possible based on what we believe. But in true intercession, we meet with God and suddenly we can see with His eyes. Water can come from a rock. The lepers can be healed. Storms can calm down. Provision and miracles of multiplication can come forth from God’s thoughts.
This is called renewal of the mind. I used to think mind renewal was like checking out a library book or getting an extension on an assignment. You renew leases and car tags. But I looked a little deeper and realized mind renewal was connected with what the Apostle Paul calls, being a living sacrifice. A living sacrifice is an act of love through death.
Love is all about laying down our own agenda in life for another.
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." Joh 15:13 (NASB)
When we speak of a “Living sacrifice” what we are really speaking about is the nature of love. In love, I “lose” my life for the sake of your life. Mostly, we think of sacrifice in terms of the death of the sacrifice. This is why it seems cold. The sacrifice pays the price for our sin, etc. But this is the perspective of death speaking about death. What do I mean by that? Death is not just an event in life, the end of it. Death is also a kind of thinking that pulls us to itself. What death does is invoke fear. This is the crux of the power of this thinking. The cross is about transforming this thought process.
"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Heb 2:14 (NASB)
What is the true source of the devil’s power of death? To answer that, let’s think about power. Take electricity for example. What generates electric power? Well, the simplest way is to move a magnet inside a coil of wire. The transfer of electrons from the magnet to the wire is what we call electricity. Where do the electrons in the magnet come from? They already exist in nature as a charge. Like the planet rotating, magnets are part of God’s created order. What does this have to do with death and the devil?
Death is a polarity. Like the pole of a magnet, it pulls the opposite charge to itself. What is the opposite of death? Life. Death is the power generator that creates a current known as sin. Sin is like electricity. It powers a life, like electricity powers a house light bulb. This is expressed mathematically like electricity.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 6:23 (NASB)
Sin is the electric current of death. Death is like the magnet with a charged kind of polarity of thought life, the movement of which produces sin. The polarity is a result of judgment, the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong. The wire coil in the above model is a human life. Like electricity, there is a kind of power in the whole system.
"No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2Co 11:14 (NASB)
The power system of this world is what is being stopped by this disease. Actually, the disease is really a small thing. The fear it generates is real power. The power of the fear of death is driving the thinking of the world by its pull, which is a pull of slavery to sin. Yet…. Death is not greater than Him who overcame death and death is NOT greater than those who overcome death through Him who is love!
Look with me at Romans 6:1-5
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,” Rom 6:1-5 (NASB)
Living in sin is all about the power that comes from the fear of death. Paul declares, “May it never be!” There is an intercession, a place where the cross delivers us from the power source of death. We are immersed into His death. What is immersion or baptism all about? It is the external expression of a new beginning, a new anointing. The old dies and a new person is born in the waters of immersion. Death which powered the old system of sin now is transformed into the intersection of all possibilities, the place of God’s love and His Glory!
It wasn’t only true that Yeshua died so we could live eternally in heaven with Him. That would certainly be enough. But what I want to suggest is that Yeshua died to transform death itself. Death pulls on life. It frames our life. It is the “end” of our life. Fear of death is existential.
Yeshua overcame death.
"When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." Rev 1:17-18 (NASB)
In overcoming death, personally, He not only resurrected and lives eternally but He also has the keys of death. What are keys for? To open something that was locked. Death was locked before Yeshua overcame it. Think of a locked door that defines the extent of the hall. You cannot open it and what is on the other side is unknown to you. You see others go through it, but they never come back. It frightens you because it is beyond your understanding.
Now, through the death and resurrection, what we celebrate in the Passover and in Easter, there is a way not only to know what is beyond but to use the door for a new purpose. This is so important in this hour where the fear of disease and death is transforming our world into a world of isolation and deception. False prophets are arising like steam off a boiling kettle. BUT, I want you to know that Jesus, Yeshua overcame the door of death and holds the keys!
This means that death is now a tool of life. This is what it means to be a living sacrifice. A living sacrifice is a love reality of the heart. I lay down my life for you. It isn’t necessarily that I die for you, physically, but that I live activating the power of the keys of death, the door of death for you. I live alive with authority over death. Death has no power over me. Death is dead to me!
How is that possible or even accomplished? Through love and only through love. Look with me at 1 John 3:11-18:
"For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brothers were righteous. Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." 1Jn 3:11-18 (NASB)
Cain believed that death was the end of his problem with his brother. Death has that image and likeness. Have you ever wondered how Israel could have gone from shouting Hosannah to shouting crucify Him? What changed? Hope is what changed. Israel had hoped for a physical deliverer. They hoped for Yeshua to lead a movement to throw off Rome. If He could raise the dead, heal the lepers, feed the five thousand, and walk on water, certainly He could throw off Rome. When it became clear that here was a man who was as vulnerable as any of them to the Roman rule, the disappointment and anger took over their hearts and the feelings of hopelessness needed an outlet and so they cried, crucify Him. This is the allure of death. It seduces us with its seeming finality. With death, we see an ally for solving the problems that overwhelm our hearts.
What is paradoxical is that all of this is true but not the whole truth. Yeshua knowing that death and hopelessness would cause a kind of insanity in the sin-laden heart of man declared “forgive them” “for they know not what they do”. How could He say that and why? Because He knew that it was death itself speaking through the children of Israel. He also knew that He was about to change the power of death forever. He knew that He was about to satisfy the seemingly insatiable hunger of death to claim those who identified themselves as the broken children of a brother father and mother.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—(Rom 5:12 NASB)
By dying and resurrecting, Yeshua transformed both death and sin.
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.(Rom 5:17 NASB)
Now, we can reign in life, walk in authority and that authority includes mastery over death. How? By becoming a living sacrifice. What does that mean? We live a life where we let go of our life, our desires our needs, our wants and embrace the life of giving in that choice we follow our Savior who gave His life so we could live free of the power of death.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, 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 up for me. (Gal 2:20 NASB)
Being crucified with Christ is another way of saying, the mastery that Yeshua released over death is now mine as well. I no longer allow myself to think of death as the end of my life that I must fear. No, death becomes a servant to me as I release the attachments to my life as I have known it. Instead, I put on the faith, the inner conversation of my heart that comes alive with His love and the hope of true salvation, which is more than victory over the oppressors in this life, be they people or viruses. I now declare in my authority, in Christ, that:
"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD. (Isa 54:17 NASB)
Activation: This week pay attention to when the fear of death tries to grab your heart and decide for you how you will interact with life and especially people. Decide who you will serve death or Life? Life is expressed in love and giving. Make a concerted effort to live as a living sacrifice wholly alive to the love of the cross, resurrection love.