Dead People Speak To Me

Dead people speak to me. It’s true, they really do!

Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that the dead visit me in my sleep, or that I hear voices in my head. I am talking about the writings of the early church leaders, those great men of God who passed from this earth 1700-1900 years ago. Their writings speak volumes to me about what it means to live as a follower of Christ in a world that isn’t following Him.

I think I am drawn to their writings because they lived in such close proximity to Christ and the Apostles. Two-thousands years after the fact, it is easy for well-meaning people to slightly or significantly alter the message of Christianity. Going back to these early writings helps bring balance.

I have found their writings so personally inspiring that I want to re-introduce some of them to the 20th century followers of Christ, with the hope they will inspire you.

Today’s quote is from the earliest complete sermon found outside of the New Testament, the book of Second Clement, chapter 6:1-7. We don’t know who wrote the letter, but most scholars date the sermon somewhere between 100 – 140AD. It clearly reflects what the early church believed about living the faith.

“Now the Lord says, “No servant can serve two masters.” If we wish to serve both God and money, it is harmful to us. “For what good is it, if someone gains the whole world but forfeits his life?”

This age and the one that is coming are two enemies. This one talks about adultery and corruption and greed and deceit, but that one renounces these things. We can not, therefore, be friends of both; we must renounce this one in order to experience that one.

We think it is better to hate the things that are here, because they are insignificant, transitory, and perishable, and to love the things that are there, which are good and imperishable. For if we do the will of Christ, we will find rest; but if we do not–if we disobey his commandments–then nothing will save us from eternal punishment.

And the scripture also says in Ezekiel, “Even if Noah and Job and Daniel should rise up, they will not save their children” in the captivity. Now if even such righteous men as these are not able, by means of their own righteous deeds, to save their children, what assurance do we have of entering the kingdom of God if we fail to keep our baptism pure and undefiled? Or who will be our advocate, if we are not found to have holy and righteous works?”

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on December 30, 2012, in Christianity, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. There was a quotation by John Eldridge that I always liked which went something like this: “To become wise, hang out with wise – either living or dead”

    I’m also currently hanging out dead people – I’m reading a book of sayings of the Desert Fathers 🙂

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  2. Thank goodness, you don’t “see dead people” Jim! It’s good to see you about good friend. We’ve missed your stuff.

    A quick point… more a question. When I read of these “dead people,” it seems there was little backing down of the urgency for the evidence of grace found in fruit-bearing. They were all about good works. Man, if you want to offend someone today, try to talk like that. I think there are eras of church history where the pendulum teeters too far one direction or the other. I fear we have strayed far away from the duty of each and every believer… to walk in the works that were prepared beforehand in Christ (Eph. 2:10). Blessings

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    • Thanks MT!

      I’ve noticed the same thing. It is crystal clear to me that the Apostles and those who were disciples of the Apostles, understood Christianity in a far different way than Calvin and today’s version of Christianity does. It was, and is, a life to be lived. One must not separate their “faith” from how they live life. In other words, we can’t do anything to pay for our sins and earn God’s forgiveness. Yet, the more one says yes to God, the more they become like His Son. The result is that one begins to live their life more and more the way God created and designed humanity to live. We can’t expereince that life without “works”. We also can’t expereince that without His grace.

      So it is not an either/or. It’s both.

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