The Undead

zombie patrolCan I ask you something?  I know I just did, but let me ask you another question!  What is the fascination with the dead or should I more accurately say with the undead?  Do a quick internet search and you’ll discover that the Twilight Saga trilogy has made over $1.8 billion dollars worldwide.  A&E’s “The Walking Dead” has been cable TV’s most watched program for the past two years.  In fact since the year 2000 there have been no less than eight primetime U.S. television shows devoted to vampires, zombies, ghosts and other nefarious beings.  Either regretfully incapable or stubbornly unwilling to embrace death these macabre marauders wander the land intent upon feasting on brain pâté paired nicely with a blood merlot until achieving world domination.

For years people have lamented the Church’s perpetual habit of mirroring the culture.  But…what if we’ve been wrong?  What if Hollywood and the culture have actually been mirroring the Church?  You see the Church is full of the undead.  These “Spiritual Zombies” are those who have been awakened from death and yet have not awakened unto life.  In John 5:24-25 Jesus taught,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”(NKJV)

You see, it’s one thing to hear.  It’s another thing entirely to believe unto life.  For many this is a process, a slow transformation that is often begun but rarely completed.  These are the “Undead” the spiritual zombies of our age.  They have heard the word and have begun to awaken from death, but they have not yet believed the word unto action leaving them not yet truly alive.  On the outside they may appear to be living.  They, like the vampires of Twilight, they may even appear to be the hotties of the age.  Yet it’s all a façade.  They parade about simply looking for their next meal that they can suck the life out of.

Jesus confronted these spiritual vampires and zombies all the time.  Matthew 23:27-28 recounts one such encounter with the undead.  Jesus blasted them stating,

 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.” (The Message)  Not only were they spiritual zombies Jesus said they scoured the earth looking to make others spiritual zombies as well.  15 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.” (Matthew 23:15, The Message).

Let’s face it… the infection had begun!  The macabre marauders were roaming the land looking for their next meal.  Rather than run and hide Jesus took a stand and confronted them head on.  He blew their minds.  He figuratively split their melons with the sword of his word!  I think it’s safe to say that Jesus was in fact the first true zombie slayer!

In Revelation 3:15-16 Jesus tells the church,

 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (NKJV)

Put into today’s vernacular Jesus wants us to be dead or be alive.  He doesn’t want us being spiritual zombies!

So how do we truly kill our inner spiritual zombie?  It begins with getting in the light!  Darkness cannot persist in the presence of the light.   Like the vampires and many zombies of lore our inner spiritual zombie withers under the blaze of the Light of Life.  That’s why in Ephesians 5:14 the Apostle Paul pleaded,

Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (NKJV) 

The apostle John spoke of the power of the light over darkness stating,

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5 NIV)  

Jesus himself promised,

“…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)

The second step is to get truly dead.  What do I mean?  I mean really embrace dying to yourself.  Upon encountering one spiritual zombie who was a would be disciple Jesus said,

… Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”(Matthew 8:22)

He was telling the guy to die to himself and his own plan and follow Him.  You see getting truly dead is a choice.  Jesus taught,

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35 NKJV)

The apostle Paul understood this paradox better than most and chose to embrace it.  He taught,

20 I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

He went so far as to exclaim,

“…I die daily.” (1Corinthians 15:31 NKJV)

He daily chose to embrace death that he might daily experience the resurrection life!

Enough with the undead.  It’s time to die.  Only then will we truly experience the power of eternal life.

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