Summary: So are we dead men walking? Is it a possibility that the Spirit of God has left us? Are we more sensitive to people than the Holy Spirit? Do we really Love God above everything else in life? If so, is it evident (genuinely) to folks around us?
Opening illustration: A popular movie several years ago, based on real events, gave an interesting angle on this. Apparently most states that have Death Row put the execution chamber close to that cell block. When a prisoner comes to that fateful day when he is to be killed, he is released from his cell. One guard walks in front of him and others are behind him and on both sides. At Louisiana's death row, the guard who walks in front of the prisoner shouts out, "Dead man walking." Why do they say that? They're taking him to die, but he's not dead. He is as alive as he has ever been. But Louisiana considers a condemned person on his way to the death chamber as being a dead man already. He's physically alive still, but he's under sentence of death. How many so called Christians are like that?
Introduction: David has seen too much not only with his sin but the sin of his ancestors and forefathers. He knows that his ancestor Adam was a dead man walking after he had sinned and the spirit of God had left him. In fact he was even driven out from God’s protection. David had visually seen and experienced the dire consequences of a dead man walking. Therefore David tells God and hopes that God would not take away His spirit from him after he had committed adultery. He was not tricked into it. He had chosen that path after yielding to the desires of his flesh. He knew exactly what he had done and where he was headed. His final desire was that he would be unlike his predecessors and not a dead man walking!
This morning let us draw out attention to three people whom the spirit of God had left after they dabbled with sin and turned them into dead men walking. Are we following the same path or are sensitive to His Holy Spirit?
1. Adam (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:22-24)
When the spirit passes from the body, the life of the body ends. James tells us, "The body without the spirit is dead," (James 2:26 KJV). We bury the body, and the spirit returns to God who made it, the Scriptures say. Whatever portion of the soul (or the life of man -- that part of us that has functioned within this time and space continuum) which has been saved, also returns with the spirit to God. I think it is most significant to note that, in the Scriptures, it is the spirit which is regenerated but the soul is saved. There is only one place to my recollection, in which it ever mentions a spirit being saved. It is the soul, the life that we are living now, that needs to be saved. That part of it which is lived in the power of the Spirit of God, functioning in relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ as God intended man to live, is saved. Our souls are thus being saved as we live day by day in relationship to the Son of God. That "saved" soul is what we have left after this life, and only that. All else is wood, hay, and stubble, to disappear in the judging flame of God.
In fallen man the spirit that is given to man is dead. This is what the Scripture means when it says man is "dead in trespasses and sins," (Ephesians 2:1 KJV). His spirit does not function as it should. Therefore the soul, which reflects like a mirror the activities of the spirit, reflects a dead and lifeless nature. This is what creates the intense, worldwide restlessness of our race, the inability to be satisfied, and the unending search for answers that are never found. It is all an expression of a wasted spirit, lying ruined within us because of the fall of man. But in the beginning as Adam came perfect from the hand of God, he was a lamp -- and a lamp that was lit -- alive in ways beyond anything that we can conjecture.
One sees the Trinitarian deliberation, “Man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He cannot be allowed to stay here.” It is Adam particularly that God is speaking of as the responsible had in covenant with the Lord God. The man had attained a knowledge of good and evil, but it was not as he anticipated. It was a knowledge for which Adam ever rued the day he had gained. Man had now lost his right to eat of the tree of life. There is the banishment, man and woman are driven out, the gates are locked and the bolts drawn into place. Armed sentry stand on duty preventing any possibility of return. Here is man’s final exodus from paradise, leaving behind sinlessness and blessedness for evermore. Adam is a dead man walking. He has lost the spirit of God within him … the body without the Spirit is dead!