There Are No Degrees Of Dead

Romans 3:10-12

“As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;

There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”

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There are no degrees of dead.  None.  From the poorest of the poor to the richest billionaire, when their bodily functions cease, they are equally dead…..and dead is dead.
Likewise, outside of Christ, spiritually speaking we are all equally dead in trespasses and sins.  Every single one of us needs saving!  Just as the scripture says, “There is NONE GOOD; no not one.”
Three Resurrection Miracles.
There are three miracles recorded in the gospels where Jesus raised the dead: Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter, the widow of Nain’s son, and Lazarus.
Jairus’ daughter had been dead for probably less than an hour.  The widow’s son had died no more than for 12 hours or so.  But Lazarus…..now his miracle was the most amazing of all.  He was dead FOUR DAYS!  
The point is, though they had been dead for different lengths of time, THEY WERE ALL EQUALLY DEAD.   
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All Are Sinners.
Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
These three resurrection miracles in the Gospel of John also perfectly demonstrate that we are all EQUALLY wicked sinners.  Though we’d like to think some are more evil than others, like Hitler or Sadam Housein for example, God doesn’t see it that way. Nope.  To Him, DEAD in tresspasses and sins IS DEAD in tresspasses and sins.  No one is any more or less DEAD than any other person; and for all of us, there is only one remedy:  JESUS!
Degrees Of Sin.
Having said that, though equally all sinners, there are degrees of sin.  How do we know that?  Because Jesus Himself told us so.
When He was delivered to the Roman magistrate, He said to Pontius Pilate  “He who delivered Me to you has the GREATER sin.”  Just as the three were equally dead, they had been dead for different lengths of time, depicting degrees of sin.
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For those who ultimately, stubbornly refuse to accept His sacrifice as payment for their sins, in hell there are different degrees of punishment, though it is all bad and all eternal.
Why Jesus Came.

Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost.  He didn’t come to make bad people good; HE CAME TO MAKE DEAD PEOPLE LIVE.

It is only human to think that there is some good in us somewhere, but that’s just our tendency toward self-righteousness.  The scripture says point blank that “In our flesh dwells no good thing.” Romans 7:18.

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Self Rightousness.

Self righteousness was the biggest problem Jesus encountered when He was on earth.  Those arrogant, cold-hearted Pharisees were really full of themselves.

They came to Him time and again about various, petty little issues concerning the law, but they didn’t really want answers to their questions.  They just wanted to try and trap Him, like in the story of the woman “Caught” in the act of adultery.

I say, “Caught,” in quotation marks because the whole sordid incident was most likely staged to catch Jesus in some legal technicality, not that the woman was innocent of the charge, mind you.  Long story shor, it backfired on them…..BIG TIME.

Follow the link below if you’d like to read the whole story:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/neither-do-i-condemn-you/)

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Pharisees’ Viewpoint.
Let me give you an idea of how things looked from the Pharisses point of view.
For 1500 years the Jews had been under the law of Moses.  Read through Leviticus sometime.  There are a whole lot of laws regarding how to treat the diseased and the unclean, what food was clean and what was unclean, you name it.  Including the big Ten, there are 613 in all!
All during that 1500, the priests were the central figures.  Everyone had to come to the them when they were sick to be diagnosed and/or treated of diseases.  The priests also had to pronounce a person either clean or unclean according to Levitical law.
Now and then people were healed, though none from any really debilitating diseases, like leprosy.  The only recorded healing of this dreaded disease was Naaman, and he wasn’t even a Jew.  In fact, he was the commander in chief of their arch enemies, the Syrians.  In their eyes, they were the ultimate bad guys!  Amazing!
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(Naaman healed of Leprosy..)
At any rate, it isn’t very hard to imagine that, after a while, the priests began to get all puffed up with their own importance.
Fast forward now to Jesus’ day.  He healed and delivered countless thousands of people everywhere He went.  The Holy Spirit has chosen to record only a handful of them in the gospels; 33 to be exact, which could give one the mistaken impression that those 33 were the only miracles He did.
But there’s a little verse in John which says:  “And there are also MANY other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that EVEN THE WORLD ITSELF COULD NOT CONTAIN THE BOOKS THAT WOULD BE WRITTEN. Amen.
John 21:25
What an amazing statement!
So picture this:  A sea of needy people of all descriptions:  Diseased, blind, deaf, lame, demon-possessed, you name it, no doubt lining both sides of the road several rows deep, along whichever way Jesus would pass.  Each one was hoping for a word, a look, or a touch from The Master.
Ah, but behind Him was a sea of excited people jumping, screaming, crying, shouting and PRAISING GOD!  They thronged the road behind Him because JESUS HEALED THEM ALL!
You know what He told them to do, right?  Go see the priest to be pronounced clean!
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Where previously there had been virtually no one, healed NOW THEY WERE INUNDATED!  Jealous?  YOU BETCHA they were!
Peter’s House In Capernaum.
Jesus created such a stir that a whole bunch of these hypocritical folks followed Him to a home in Capernaum, probably Peter’s house.  They wanted to see Jesus in action for themselves again, not for any altruistic reasons, but so they could find some way to accuse or discredit Him.
The house was packed so full of the curious and the skeptical that the friends of the paralytic couldn’t get anywhere near Jesus.  They had to go up on the roof, tear open a hole, and lower their friend down in front of Him.  It was the only way they could reach the Master.
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“Righteousness” Of The Pharisees.
The “Righteousness” of the Pharisees was based on the “works of the law,” which, of course, is no basis at all.  We can’t keep it.  Modern day “Pharisees” still try to do the same. thing.  Yes, the pharisaical set is still with us.  They preach, “Do good, get good, do bad,” get bad thinking they are preaching the gospel.
THEY ARE NOT.
Such pervayors of legalism do not understand this one thing:  God knows we cannot keep the law even if we do not. However, the Law wasn’t given for us to try and keep in the first place.  It was designed to expose our sinfulness and OUR DESPERATE NEED FOR A SAVIOR!  That it does VERY WELL.  Remember, the strength of sin the THE LAW.

Jesus is the only One Who can–AND DID–keep it perfectly in thought, word, and deed.  Because of the cross, when we accept Him as our Savior, His righteousness is now credited to us as our own.  He fulfilled it.  We benefit!

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The Pharisses Attitude Toward Gelileans.

Just to show you how arrogant these hypocrites could be, in Luke 13 some Pharisees–well, it was probably the Pharisees, though it isn’t specified–told Jesus that Pilate had mingled the blood of some Galileans with their own sacrifices.  They were more than a little hinting that maybe those who were slaughtered were “Greater sinners” because of the kind of death they died.

You see in those days, most Jewish people despised the Galileans and went out of their way to avoid contact with them.  They were considered uneducated in Holy Writ, had either “mixed (Gentile) blood,” or were just plain Gentiles and therefore suspect.  In fact, if Jews from Jerusalem had to travel to the Galilee region, they gave Samaria a wide berth.  Check the map below.

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(Alternate route to Galilee.)

Tragedy At Siloám.

Lk. 13:2″…..Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent *{metanoia} you will all **LIKEWISE PERISH….
Then Jesus reminds them of the incident in Jerusalem where 18 people were killed when a tower fell on them:
“…….. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent *{metanoia} you will all **LIKEWISE PERISH.” {Note this for later}


*(METANOIA- Change your mind; believe that I, Jesus, came to save you.)

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(Collapse of the tower of Siloám.))

Sadly, the ones who did not “Metanoia,” did indeed **LIKEWISE PERISH** when Tiberius Caesar destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.  There was left not one stone upon another.  Many Jewish people were crushed beneath those very stones.

The famous Jewish historian, Josephus, records, interestingly enough, that NOT ONE CHRISTIAN DIED.  They listened to what Jesus said, remembered and heeded his warning, recorded in Luke 21:20-22. All believers in Y’Shua fled to Petra!

The Parable Of The Barren Fig Tree.

Then Jesus proceeded to tell them the following parable of the vineyard with the barren fig tree:

6 “He(Jesus) also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’

Typologies.

The “certain man” in this story is The Father. God, The Father, has a vineyard and the “keeper” is Jesus.  What are vineyards full of? Grapes, which are for blessing.

Wine typifies God’s love and being intoxicated with His love.  His vineyard, a type of Israel and the Church, somehow has a fig tree planted in the middle of it. The word in the Greek for “Planted” here is in the passive voice, meaning He didn’t plant it; someone else did by stealth. No one knows who.

The first time figs are mentioned in the Bible, Adam and Eve are sewing fig leaves together to cover their nakedness, a portrayal of righteousness by works:  Self-righteousness.

The Holy Spirit is painting a picture of the LAW COMING INTO THE CHURCH BY THE SIDE, BY STEALTH and getting mixed up with grace:  MIXTURE.

Church, God never meant for us to live according to our righteousness, which is nothing more than filthy rags.  In other words, soiled sanitary napkins in today’s jargon.  YUK!

Jesus had come to His own people seeking fruit on the fig tree, Israel.  He looked and looked for three years and wanted to let it alone for one more year. He would dig around it and fertilize it by dumping the dung of righteousness by works on it, hoping it would finally bear fruit. If, after all that, there was still no fruit, it would be cut down.
Sadly, it did not produce any fruit at all.  There weren’t enough people willing to let go of their self-righteous works to be used as dung for the tree.
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Transformed By Beholding.

2 Corinthians 3:18
“18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

It’s the same deal today.  Our pastors need to turn from self-righteousness, teach their people the truth about their righteousness in Christ APART FROM WORKS and give up this introspection, our filthy-rags righteousness as Paul calls it.

You can put away your dressing room mirror.  Turn around and look at Jesus.  It’s the only way that true transformation occurs.

We are transformed by beholding JESUS’ GLORY….. not our gory.  Outside of Christ, we are all are equally in need of a Savior because there are NO DEGREES OF DEAD.

 

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