Sermons

Summary: It’s what’s inside that counts.

Dead Man Walking

"You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth." Matthew 23:27

Dead Man Walking is the title of a book by a Catholic nun, Sr. Helen Prejean, who ministered to death row inmates. Dead man walking refers to what the people on death row are called as they take that final walk towards their execution. As they step out of their death row cell on their way to the execution chamber, one of the guards shouts "Dead Man Walking." It means that this man looks alive, but in reality he already is a dead man. The execution has begun.

We know that individuals and even entire nations can look formidable and strong on the outside but be totally diseased on the inside. One moment they appear alive and well and the next moment they are gone forever. In our lifetime we have seen Communist Russia and the Berlin wall disappear "overnight." What appeared to us as a tremendously powerful adversary was a dead nation walking. Individuals, cities, churches, governments, and nations can be dead men walking.

"Jesus left Nazareth and went down to live in Capernaum by the sea... He taught in their synagogues, proclaimed the good news of the kingdom and cured the people of every disease and illness." (Mt 4:13, 23)

In Capernaum everybody got healed. Miracles were common. There was no stopping the gospel. Jesus performed every kind of miracle imaginable. There was an open heaven over Capernaum and the goodness and mercy of God rained down! However down the road a few miles in Nazareth, things were completely different.

Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house." So he could work no miracles there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:4-6)

Same Jesus, same anointing, same message, same power, but completely different results! Jesus didn’t change, so what was the difference? A spirit of unbelief. Nazareth was full of dead men walking. They looked good on the outside but were full of unbelief on the inside. Jesus wanted to bring the good news to his hometown of Nazareth, but He couldn’t, "so much did their lack of faith distress Him." (Mk 6:6.) Jesus had to leave the city of Nazareth and all the dead men walking, and go to live in Capernaum which became the center of His miraculous ministry.

Churches can also can be dead men walking. The bible says: "there will be terrible times in the last days, men will be lovers of self and of money ... as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. (2 Tim 3:1-5)

Christianity is a supernatural faith, full of supernatural power! Jesus spent an entire 1/3rd of his ministry healing the sick. He also said that the things He did, we could do also, in His name. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12)

Jesus despised sickness and exhorted his disciples to heal the sick. He told his disciples "to teach everyone to do everything I have commanded you" (Mat 28:20), that includes us!

Supernatural miracles were common in the early church. Paul the apostle told the Corinthian Church he was determined to come, not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but with demonstrations of the Spirit and power. (1Cor. 2:4,5; 4:20) May our churches and communities come alive in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit! May Jesus not have to leave our church or community; so much does our lack of faith distress Him.

Our nation also appears to be captive to a spirit of unbelief. We have thrown God out of our schools, government, and cities. We have cried out much like the Jews when Jesus was before Pilate, "We will have no King but Caesar." (Jn 19:15) Following that declaration, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified. Do we have any idea what we will reap when we refuse to have Jesus as Lord in our nation?

Churches, cities and nations are made up of individuals like you and me. I can change nobody but myself and even that I can’t do alone. All I can do is repent of my lack of faith and cry out to Jesus, "I believe, help my unbelief." In the power of the Holy Spirit, as we change one by one, our families, our churches, our cities and our nation will be impacted by the power of the gospel. All I know for sure is, I don’t want to be a dead man walking. How about you?

***** JESUS IS LORD *****

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