Summary: Are we ministers of life unto life experiencing the power of God to win souls and edify the saints? Or are we morticians just dressing the corpse and polishing the casket?
I am off to another funeral in a bit but I was pondering while I was getting ready on a thing that I typically hear at viewings/funerals. "They look so good!" "They look like they should get up and walk out of here." "They look better than when I last saw them!" There are other variations of that theme. I’d hate to think I’d look better dead than alive. (I suspect there are some people that might want me dead or alive, but preferably dead.) I admit that I am not looking better every day and once I was young, skinny, and ugly and now I am old, fat and ugly yet alive still looks better for me. I feel sorry for the lads
that will prepare me as they don’t have much to work with and that might be how I will look better dead than alive. Any improvement will do. If they manage to make me handsome then somebody please take a picture and campaign for them to be Morticians of the Decade or something.
As good as morticians are at making the dead look good or alive I am afraid that nowadays we have too many men masquerading as ministers when they are really morticians. They have a talent for making dead people look like live saints and their mausoleums look like churches. It is quite a task but the concept is not new.
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith
he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy
works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to
die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (KJV)
These folks were well known! I suspect that it may have been a mega-church in its day or at least the one were the well heeled and important attended. In the beginning this church might have had a dynamic scholarly preacher that made even the heathen listen when he preached in the public forum or in the church house. Whatever gave them their name had died and they were living off that reputation and past glory.
They hadn’t gone completely into apostasy but they seemed to be ignorant of that which died and that other things were dying as well. They were still about doing church but whatever they were doing was not perfect in the eyes of God. They still had their normal services and ministries and may have even gotten somewhat innovative or possibly more inclusive making themselves more appealing to the culture. There numbers might have been down a little but their offerings were good. Then again they may have actually started to boom in membership and were in their second
building program looking to all the world, saved and unsaved alike, that they were alive. Yet, they were dead in the primary spiritual things and the secondary ones were terminal.
Imagine the skill of the minister morticians as they trimmed this and applied cover up to that and adjusted the clothes just right to make this stunning appearance of life out of a corpse! The building was a
living mausoleum filled with people who were dead though they lived. Many of the true saints may have died and been buried in the churchyard. These ministers would point to those and maybe call out some names
describing scenes of God’s glorious work among the saints and this church back then or when so and so was alive. Still they never let on that nothing had happened lately in that church or there were few if any
at all that they could point to that were of the same spiritual stripe in the current membership. They may have even had pictures on the wall of previous pastors and plagues of praise from various people and organizations but they weren’t very shiny and the last date on an award was thirty years or more years ago. Hey, the roof leaked and it cost 50,000 drachmas but we had the money! The Lord is still among His people! Yes, He was there like a doctor in the ER calling the time of death.
How is your church or my church doing? Are we ministers of life unto life experiencing the power of God to win souls and edify the saints? Or are we morticians just dressing the corpse and polishing the casket? Are we living off of days gone by or making spiritual history? Are we ministers making people entertain thoughts of death, Heaven or Hell for eternity or entertaining people on their way to eternity? Do we have a name but are dead or dying? We have too many of those churches. I have no desire to be a part of one of those. I have never wanted to be a