"Celebrate Jesus"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 31 07/29/2007

John 17:1-9, 18-21 Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began… I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified... My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

You can tell a lot about a person by listening to their prayers:
Lord, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector....
Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing...
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom...
God bless mommy and daddy and please don't let him hurt me again...
Dear God, why did you let this happen to me? You know I've been good...
Oh God, let somebody else get caught or blind the eyes of that policeman...
Dear God if you get me out of this mess I'll never miss church again...
It's not fair God, I’ve worked hard, never disobeying your law, then he comes home after blowing his inheritance on prostitutes and you throw a party
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!

You can tell a lot about a person by listening to their prayers.

In the late 1970's an informal prayer group was started at the White House. Arthur Burns, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, attended even though he was Jewish and the group was predominantly Christian. No one, among the leadership knew quite how to treat Burns or how to involve him in prayer. While many of the members took turns closing the meeting with prayer, Burns was never asked. However, one week, a newcomer asked Burns to close the meeting with prayer. The regular members were surprised. But Burns, without missing a beat, reached out and the participants held hands and bowed their heads. Burns prayed: Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally, Lord, I pray that you would bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen.

You can tell a lot about a person by listening to their prayers...

Today we read the account of Jesus praying. It is the longest recorded prayer that scriptures attribute to Jesus

It is a beautiful prayer but notice how it ends that the world may believe that you sent me. Jesus is not seeking to bring glory to himself. This is not a prayer of self-justification - this is a prayer that reflects His passion that the whole world will be brought to a saving knowledge of the Father's love.

And that is why we are here today. We are here that the world may believe Jesus is the Christ and offers the only HOPE to a world that is in desperate need.

We are gathered here today filled with hope - eternal hope - because we believe that Jesus is the answer for the world today. Listen to him pray: this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3

The promise of eternal life is not simply something that we claim when we die it starts right here, right NOW. Eternal life is a life filled with hope, it is a life marked by love, joy and peace; it is a life that comes from truly knowing God.

To know God means much more than knowing about God.

God must become more than a word or an idea for us. If we want to have eternal life, we must have an intimate relationship with God. But like all relationships this is not simply one decision made a long time ago. Much more is involved. vs 6-9

A disciple is called to remain in the world. Jesus didn't pray that all of the disciples should be taken out of the world. He never prayed they might escape - he prayed they might find victory.

There is always a temptation to hide from the problems of this world but that is not real discipleship. Yes, we need times of quiet prayer, study and reflection but to be a disciple of Christ is to be in the world, engaged with the issues and caring for hurting and showing the world a different way of living. Through such disciples God's glory is revealed.

Here at the Gathering Place we want to:
· proclaim that Jesus is Lord of Lords, not simply one option among many.
· declare the uniqueness of Christ.
· teach the Bible as trustworthy and true.
· get on with the work of evangelism and church planting without apology.
· see lives transformed and not simply excused.
· see families made whole and not merely redesigned.
· be a church where everyone is welcome but no one leaves unchanged.
· see the Gospel proclaimed with power so the whole world can see and believe that Jesus truly
is sent from the Father.
· help you prepare for glory!

Our goal is to live out our faith in as authentic and as effective a way as possible.

Let me identify 3 themes that will mark our life together:

RADICAL INCLUSION: We are a missionary church. We believe that we have been given good news of great joy for all people ... and that means all sorts and conditions of people!
I like the story about Zacchaeus the tax collector. He was an outsider. Remember how he almost fell out of his tree when Jesus announced that he was going to his house for dinner. Everyone was astonished. Jesus was risking his reputation reaching out to this 'sinner'. Zacchaeus was so overwhelmed by the way Jesus treated him he stood up and said, Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything. I will pay back four times the amount. Jesus said, Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.

Jesus does not merely welcome sinners, He loves them and He calls them to live transformed lives …. What a gospel!

PROFOUND TRANSFORMATION: GOD'S LOVE CHANGED ME! Transformation is what we are to be about. The Bible calls it sanctification. It is great to come to Christ 'just as I am' but we DARE not stay there! We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work deep within us and transform us to become the men and women that God would have us be. God loves us too much to leave us the way that He finds us.

INSPIRED SERVICE the Gathering Place is a servant church. We take our lead from those servants who filled the jars with water - no easy task - but they did as Jesus instructed and Jesus revealed His Glory and the disciples believed in Him. Through our acts of service God's love is made real.

There is an old fashioned poem that begins: God has no hands but our hands to do His work today. And that is what we must be about. We are His hands!

There has been enough talking, hoping, praying, interceding, planning and definetly enough excuse making…. it is time to get at it!

Prepare for glory! We have Gospel work to do today. Jesus prayed, "that the world may believe" Let's pray that God's glory will be revealed and that the world will believe in Him. AMEN

“It’s The Law!”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 30 07/22/2007

The laws of sowing and reaping: Firstly, the type of seed that we sow determines the type of harvest that we reap.

Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Most of us during our life time sow mainly non-spiritual seed and therefore we end up reaping largely non-spiritual harvests.

This doesn’t seem so bad at first glance, but friends there are definitely times when we will have spiritual needs. When we suffer trials, illness or old age we require spiritual "things" to satisfy us - and discover that we lack them.Secondly, the quantity of seed sown is also important because If you sow sparingly you shall reap sparingly; and if you sow bountifully you shall reap bountifully II Corinthians 9:6

It is all about sowing the “right” seed, because if you sow the wrong seed, you are going to reap the wrong crops. Thirdly, we cannot choose to sow at any time that we fancy because to everything there is a season and time to every purpose under the heaven - a time to plant Ecclesiastes 6:1, 2

Fourthly, there is always a lag-period between sowing and reaping and we must not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not Galatians 6:9

Are we over-sowing "seeds of materialism" which will result in an over-harvest of material things?

We must be careful of what we sow in our physical bodies - are we sowing seeds of ill heath with cigarettes, alcohol, overeating, lack of exercise?
Are we sowing "seeds of neglect" with our parents so that we will eventually reap "harvests of neglect" from our children?

Or seeds of rudeness" to them, to reap the same from our children?Are we sowing too little spiritual seeds to see us through our times of trials, illnesses and old age?

Are we sowing seeds of prayer to gather a bountiful harvests of answers in due time?

Are we giving to the needy and reaping God's bounty?

Do we realize that at the end of it all, almost all things are received according to the laws of sowing and reaping - the notable exception is our eternal salvation which is God's free gift!Psalm 126:5, 6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall no doubt come again rejoicing, bringing sheaves with him.
If the past has taught us anything it is that every cause brings its effect, every action has a consequence. The Chinese have a saying: "If a man plants melons he will reap melons; if he sows beans, he will reap beans." And this is true of everyone's life; good begets good, and evil leads to evil. True enough, the sun shines on the saint and the sinner alike, and too often it seems that the wicked prosper. But we can say with certainty that, with the individual as with the nation, the flourishing of the wicked is an illusion, for, without exception, life keeps books on us all. In the end, we are all the sum total of our actions. Character cannot be counterfeited, nor can it put on and cast off as if it were a garment to meet the whim of the moment. Like the markings on wood which are ingrained in the very heart of the tree, character requires time and nurturing for growth and development. Friends, day by day, we write our own destiny… we become what we do."
The implications of this principle (we reap what we sow) are important and certainly worthy of our consideration.


Our attitudes and character are all a result of our actions in the past. Don’t bother trying to lay blame on heredity, environment, parents, society, etc. Such things influence us only to the degree that we let them.

It is time we accept responsibility for our actions, for God will demand it of us one day!

II Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ..
Truly, the present reveals much about our past!


We can change, if we do not like what we are today!

II Corinthians 5:17 if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

But such change comes slowly, not overnight.. We must begin sowing today, if we want to reap tomorrow!

Galatians 5:16-17 Walk in the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. The flesh and the Spirit are contrary to each other. Even today we will make choices which will affect the rest of our lives!

Far too often people don’t consider the crop they will reap when they "sow their wild oats". This leads to much praying for crop failure!

Either we sow to the flesh or we sow to the Spirit. Those who sow to the Spirit reap everlasting life (abundant life, salvation) They will reap the fruit of the Spirit.

You can't do both Galatians 5:16-17 TWO CHOICES... which shall it be?
a. Sow to the Spirit and reap eternal life?
b. Sow to the flesh and reap corruption?

I HOPE YOU SOW TO THE SPIRIT… We are told to do good to all, especially brethren Galatians 6:10

I Timothy 6:17-19 shows us that as we sow to the Spirit (doing good to all) we lay up treasure in heaven.

We shall reap if we don't lose heart and give up. Be patient. Learn from the farmer
...have faith like a farmer!

Vance Havner once said, Much church giving is to ease the conscience. Singing in the choir, teaching a class, giving five dollars, may be only a nice way of 'paying off' the Lord while the heart really is set on the concubines of self and sin. It is one thing to write out a handsome check for the church; it is another to give God oneself and the ability by which one earned the check!

We should never be embarrassed into giving, nor should we be embarrassed by our giving.

True grace-based giving is the evidence of God's grace working in our hearts.

It is giving yourself totally to God and that includes keeping your checkbook handy for those occasions when He needs it.

When we do this, then we will not be an embarrassment to the Lord, nor will we be embarrassed.

“Darning Socks”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 29 07/15/2007

This will definitely show my age - but there is a Beatle’s song that has haunted me for years, 33 years to be exact. Many times even to this day as I walk in amongst a crowd, or sit and people watch - I think of these words…...
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been Lives in a dream Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door Who is it for?
All the lonely people, Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, Where do they all belong?
Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear No one comes near. Look at him working. Darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there What does he care?
All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong?
Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name Nobody came Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave No one was saved
All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong?

Sadly this song does not just describe the unsaved! Many of God’s dear children are walking under a heavy load of condemnation.

Question; Who Has the Authority to Condemn Us?

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Psalms 31:1-6 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me; deliver me quickly: be my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore for Your name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid secretly for me: for You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit: You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Luke 12:4-12 I say to you my friends, do not be afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you should fear: Fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

What you are afraid of? What can wake you up in the middle of the night, your heart pounding and your stomach tied in knots?
What are the hot buttons in your soul that can turn a sunny day cloudy or a warm day cold?
We all have switches like that.
What flips your switch?

What threatens to undermine your confidence, to unravel your professional demeanor?
I know you’ve got a few answers to questions like these, we all do.
All of us, all these people gathered here today, every single one of them.
We do a good job, at keeping these things hidden, so I'm not going to ask you to answer out loud.
Just think for a moment, what can tie your guts in a knot?
And while the pit of your stomach thinks about an answer to that question, I'll tell you two things that tie me up - first and foremost it would be relationship conflicts…
I don’t sleep, I lose my appetite, I get tremors and my stomach goes crampy… and in severe cases I get the “runs”. Just being transparent.
The second thing that completely terrifies me, and produces the same results as the first is ...I'm terrified of getting up in front of people.
I say this because admitting that you are afraid does not mean that your fears will necessarily cripple you. They don't.
I get up and talk in front of people, not only in church, but in the fire services as well.
All fears extract a certain cost.
Most of us have no idea what the people around us are paying, day after day after day, to face their fears and get on with life.
This is what Jesus is getting at when he berates the Pharisees and the lawyers in the scene immediately preceding today's scripture reference in Luke
He bitterly criticizes them for making a hard life harder, for adding to life's burdens rather than sharing them. You must know, there are people out there who will try to push your buttons.
Those are the people Jesus cautions us about. Look out for people who think they have the authority to condemn you.
What most of us are afraid of is one another. Human beings are social creatures. Our survival depends upon the people around us. We need community.
We need to know that we are safe here, that we are wanted here, that we belong here. We need to know that we will not be shamed, humiliated, excluded, or ridiculed.
We worry, perhaps secretly, about what other people think of us. We worry about where we stand in the group, and we worry that someone might realize we are worrying.
Fear is lonely stuff. Fear is very, very lonely.

Osoyoos can be a lonely place. A lonely place full of remarkably lovely people.
I wish you could more clearly see what kind and creative and interesting people you are, all of you--how deeply all of you yearn to live as Jesus taught us we should live.
Look around: all these lonely people. Where do you all come from?
Why don't you feel that you belong?
Who are the Pharisees that laid this burden on you? Who is that condemns you?
James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yes be yes; and your no, no; lest you fall into condemnation.

John 8:11 And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.

Be watchful, everyone, Christian or non has a little bit of Pharisee in them.
Do not let people get you to be fearful…
Understand that God is for you. You may not know how kind God is but God has to be at least as kind as the kindest person you know. You may not know how generous God is but He is at least as generous as the most generous person you have ever known. Because that which is created cannot exceed its Creator.

Jesus says. God keeps track of sparrows for heaven's sake! God counts every hair on your head--which is to say God knows how many are going grey and how many have disappeared altogether and how many truly bad hair days you have had in the last month.
Do not be anxious: God is with you, God understands what you can't say clearly on your own, and God will put the right words in your mouth. The Holy Spirit never stammers.
God is with us. The loneliness and the fear that keeps us apart can be overcome by the cosmic reality that is God with us! Let’s be healed of our secret fears and allow freedom to reign!


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 28 07/08/2007

Over a thousand years ago, the world faced it's darkest hour. According to Miller's Church History, the church was wicked, apostate, and very weak. In fact, it's very life was ebbing away. Mohammedanism was growing rapidly; Europe was being overrun by Hungarians who massacred multitudes; fear and violence were everywhere on earth. All mankind had become desolate and panic-stricken. There were multiplied calamities on all sides - terrible famines - indescribable disasters. Plagues and pestilences had killed countless millions. But the real panic was caused by unusual and alarming signs in the heavens. It is recorded that there were strange signs in the sun and moon. Preachers all through the known world began to preach and prophesy that the world would end sometime in 999, just before the 1,000 year mark. The text used was Luke 21:25-27 there shall be signs in the sun, the moon, the stars; and on the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking at those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory

The year 999 was considered the last anyone would see! It was based on a misinterpretation of the word millennium (meaning one-thousand years) found in Revelation 20:1-7

People quit their jobs; farmers quit planting or harvesting; houses and buildings were allowed to decay; historians quit recording facts. The rich and noble, princes and bishops, abandoned their friends and families and hastened to Palestine to be there when Christ returned. He was going to come and set up an earthly throne on Mount Zion. They gave away fortunes - kings and emperors begged to be allowed into monasteries to join holy orders. Crowds of poor people slept in the porches of holy buildings - or at least in their shadow!

People grew hungry, but there was no corn, no wheat, no cattle, no crops, because no provision had been made.

The last night of 999 A.D. was one of panic and restlessness. The wicked had one last wild fling. Jerusalem was filled with those who waited on Mount Zion for Jesus to break through on clouds.
As midnight approached, the world held it's breath. The clocks struck 12 - then 1 minute after, then 5 - no Jesus! The night faded into morning and all was peaceful and calm. The multitudes returned home to plow, to repair the ruins, to plant. All was back to normal.
It happened again when William Miller, founder of the Adventist movement, after 14 years of study announced that Jesus was coming in 1843! Thousands of believers of all denominations became convinced, multitudes went out to a mountain to await the Lord's coming. When Jesus didn't come, he went back to his calculations, confessed he’d made an error and set another date! In 1845, he became president of the Adventists.

Would you believe it happened again? Jesus was to come, September 11, 1988, at sunrise. And what about Y2K’s scare?

Folks, Jesus can come at any time. However, date-setting is misleading - and unscriptural. It misses the whole message and meaning of Christ's coming!

Jesus never intended His body to be so divided over this blessed hope. There is such confusion, such division, over when He is coming.

Some say He is coming in two stages: first, a sudden, unannounced rapture, then the tribulation. Others are "mid-trib", that is, He will come after 3 years of tribulation. Others still are "post-trib", believing He will come after seven years of great tribulation. Pan Trib - It’ll all pan out in the end!

There is great debate over the millennial reign of Christ on earth. There are the pre-millennialists who believe that the second coming will be followed by a thousand-year reign of Christ in peace and righteousness, during which Christ will reign as King on this earth, and after which will be the end of the world.
The post-millennialists say the kingdom of God is now: the world will be Christianized and we’ll experience a long period of righteousness and peace, "the millennium", all evil here on earth will be overcome - then Jesus will come.

The "amillennialists" believe there is no thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, but that there are two kingdoms running parallel: God's kingdom of light and the devil's kingdom of darkness. At Christ's coming, He will set up His kingdom and smash the devil's.

Also circulating, is the dominion theology saying, that Jesus won’t come until Christians take authority over every level of society, political, social and economic - subduing the systems, make the world holy, and then bring Jesus back as king.

I don't see in my Bible, "Be ye always figuring and calculating!", but rather, "Be ye ready!"

I say with Paul, "We beg you, brethren, regarding the coming of our Lord, and by our gathering together to him, that you are not easily shaken in mind, or troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, regarding the day of Christ being at hand. Let no man in any way deceive you" II Thessalonians 2:2-3

Jesus said, "But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, nor the Son, only the Father.... Watch therefore: for you know not when the master of the house comes... lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping" Mark 13:32-36 The date-setters get around this by saying that the problem in knowing the exact day He is coming is due to the different time zones!
Take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is Mark 13:33 Any doctrine about Christ's return, the tribulation, or millennium that robs you of watchfulness, prayerfulness and moment to moment expectancy is not of God!
We are to live hour by hour waiting, watching, and working.

As a young Christian the coming of Jesus was preached in such a way that it scared me to death! Two shall be in the field; one shall be taken, the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; one shall be taken, the other left. Watch therefore: for you don’t know in what hour your Lord comes.... Therefore be ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes Matthew 24:42-44

I would hear evangelists talk of the trumpet blast with millions disappearing, cars crashing, planes falling, trains colliding! It's like that for many Christians. His coming is fearful to them - they live with the dread of the last trumpet! When they came together, they asked Jesus, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? He said, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons... And when he had said that, while they watched, He was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven two men stood by them in white apparel saying, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven Acts 1:6-11

Jesus told of horrible things coming on the earth - so frightening that men's hearts will fail them for fear, as they behold the judgments falling all around. But those gathered ones are commanded not to fear, but to rejoice - when these things begin to happen, look up, for your redemption draws near Luke 21:28
Could it be that the redeemed will see Him descend just as the 120 saw Him ascend?
The last trump symbolizes a last awakening. In ancient times the bridegroom's approach was announced to the bride and her party at least two blocks away, Behold the bridegroom comes! Paul suggests God's holy ones can see the day approaching: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching Hebrews 10:25

For us who make up the bride, there must be no fear when He appears. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy I Peter 4:13 never forget that He will not surprise those who expect Him, who are looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God I Peter 3:12 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory I Peter 1:8

That day will not overtake those who are prepared. He’ll not come as a thief to the expectant! But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief I Thessalonians 5:4

It will also be the Lord's day of gladness! For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise up first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these word I Thessalonians 4:16-18

In Greek, the word "shout" means to incite by word, to excite, awaken, or spur to action.
The voice of the archangel will be heard by all over-comers: "He is at the door!”

Jesus is coming with trumpet blasting, with hosts of angels, with a shout, with a cosmic cry of the archangel. The dead in Christ will arise first to meet Him in the air. Beloved, they will be there rejoicing! And while they are rejoicing, He will send His angels into all the world and gather His children. What a welcome that will be. But here is the meaning of His coming, distilled in a few words: and so shall we ever be with the Lord I Thessalonians 4:17

How foolish it is to argue whether we will be living on earth or in some heaven. Heaven will be wherever Jesus is! Do you desire to ever be with the Lord? Leave the times and seasons in the Father's hands - and live every day of your life as if Christ were coming within the hour.
Until He comes there is much work to be done.

“Tried By The Word”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 27 07/01/2007

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life Romans 6:3-4

Water Baptism shows the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and our participation in that.
First, we show in our baptism that we believe in the death of Jesus, and desire to partake in it.
Second and equally important is our experience, a manner of dying, of being buried, of rising, and of living in Christ which must be displayed in each one of us if we are indeed members of the body of Christ.

The next thought in baptism is burial. Death comes first, and burial follows. What is burial? Burial is, first of all, the seal of death; it is the certificate of decease. "Is that guy dead?" asks one, "Of course he was buried a year ago", says another.

There have been instances of people being buried alive, and I am afraid that happens with sad frequency in baptism. I fear that many have been buried alive in baptism, and have therefore risen and walked out of the grave just as they were.

But if burial is true, it is a certificate of death.

If I’m able to say in truth, "I was buried with Christ 30 years ago," I’ve gotta be dead to sin…. But actions speak loud.

I think there are a lot of dead ringers in Christendom!
Fear of premature burial was widespread in 18th and 19th century Europe, leading to the invention of the safety coffin. Over thirty different designs were patented in Germany in the second half of the 19th century.
The common element was a mechanism for allowing the 'dead' to communicate with people above ground.
Many designs included ropes which, when pulled, would ring the church bell, or a purpose-mounted bell.
Some say expressions “saved by the bell” and “dead ringer”, come from this little bit of trivia.
Burial is the displaying of death.

While the corpse lies indoors those passing by don’t know that he is dead; but when the funeral takes place, everybody knows that he is dead.

This is what baptism ought to be.

The believer's death to sin is at first a secret, but by a public confession he invites every one to know that he is dead with Christ.

Water Baptism is the funeral rite by which death to sin is openly shown to the public.
We’ve looked at death and burial; but baptism, according to our text is more, it also represents resurrection. That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Notice next that the man who is dead in Christ, and buried in Christ, is also raised in Christ.

This is dependant upon Christ.

All the dead are not raised, but our Lord himself is "the first fruits of them that slept" He is the first-begotten from among the dead.

Christ was raised from the dead and what began with Him, will continue until all the members of His church partake of it, for…

The Lord by his power has called you out of your grave, and now you are alive in the midst of death.

There can be no real fellowship here for you; for what communion have the living with the dead?

Notice next, that this life is entirely new. We are to "walk in newness of life."
The life of a Christian is an entirely different thing from the life of other men, entirely different from the life before conversion, and when people try to counterfeit it, they utterly fail.

And this new life is an active thing.

We Christians are given an awesome responsibility. We are actively alive, and we begin walking, and so the Lord keeps us all our lives in His work; He does not allow us to sit down contented with the mere fact that we live, nor does He allow us to spend all our time in examining whether we are alive or no; but he gives us one battle to fight, and then another.

The life that is given to those who were dead with Christ is an energetic, forceful life, that is evermore busy for Christ, and would, if it could, move heaven and earth to bring others to Christ.
What did Christ do after he rose from the dead?

To bear any more sin? No, just to live unto God. That is where you and I are.

We have no sin to carry now; it was all laid on Christ. What have we to do?

Every time we have a headache, or feel ill, are we to cry out, "This is a punishment for my sin"?
Nothing of the kind. Our punishment is all done with, for we have borne the capital sentence, and are dead: our new life must be unto God.

I have only now to serve God and delight myself in him, and use the power which he gives me to call others from the dead, saying, "Awake, you that sleep and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."

I am not going back to the grave of spiritual death!
I am not going back for my grave-clothes of sin; but by divine grace I will serve God by faith in Jesus, and go from strength to strength, not under law, not fearing hell, nor hoping to win heaven, but as a new creature, loving because loved, living for Christ because Christ lives in me, rejoicing in glorious hope of that which is yet to be revealed!
I am a new creation raised from the dead by my oneness in Christ.