But Nobody Wants to Die

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Scriptures teach us that the service of the Lord should follow a definite pattern. We come to the Lord first, and we receive forgiveness of sins from Him as we confess our sins. This corresponds to the guilt offering in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. Then we hear His Word read and proclaimed, and we surrender to it. This corresponds to the ascension offering. Then, on the basis of what has gone before, God invites us to sit down to commune with Him in table fellowship. That is what we do here, and it corresponds to the peace offering.

Not only this, but we note that this pattern follows the outline of every sacrifice. First, the animal is killed. Then the animal is cut apart and arranged on the altar. Then the animal ascends to God in the smoke of the sacrifice. Note the pattern. We come before God, we die, and then we enter in. Attempted sacrilege seeks to by-pass all this, and wants to enter in without dying. An old blues song put it just this way: “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” This is the central folly of all lip-service worship — seeking to enter God’s presence without dying.

But Christians who walk with God die daily, just as their Lord commanded. Not only this, but in the liturgy of the church, they die weekly, and are raised again to commune with Christ. Death and resurrection are the glory of the Christian faith, and that is what we are eating and drinking here now.

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