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Wanted: Dead or Alive

Dr. Stephen Phinney

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

(Colossians 2:6-7)


For those who are 'fans' of our publications, it is no news regarding my struggle for the lukewarm believers, who our Lord calls, Laodiceans. If any need a reminder of Jesus's goal to awaken "believers," it is certainly this 'jibe' group. If you're unfamiliar with the word 'jibe,' it defines those who shift from one side of the ship to the other. The definition describes the concerted compact of most church members today.

The lukewarm at heart needs encouragement to be advanced with the authentic love in and of Christ Jesus, not the obsessive passion of being 'loved' by fellow disdained opinionates. Rather each needs to discover the riches of Jesus's full assurance of understanding the fulness and mysteries of authentic salvation, which is Christ in you. However, I must say, it is beyond challenging to reach a people of effrontery, masses that have audacious behavior that deludes into plausible arguments. The firmness of faith is as foreign to them as immovable faith.

A few nights ago, the Lord woke me from a deep sleep. He said, Stephen, I have a word for you. As per my norm, I pop out of bed, head to my office, and put my hands on the keyboard. Here is what He said.

Stephen, you say, 'these people will not listen.' I claim before you today that there is a faithful few bathing amongst the tepid waters. Call them out before I release the Lion from the forest to strike them down; a wolf from the desert to devastate them. A ruthless leader is watching their cities; soon, everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces because they have lost their honor of Me. Their apostasies are great. How can I pardon them unless they repent? Tell them I have Grace in their time of warning. But know this, My time of Grace will end soon.

This reminder sent me on a journey to contemplate the most important message for the faithful few bathing in the tepid waters. The only thing that came to mind was the tepid waters of the Dead Sea. More acutely, waters that cannot be consumed without harm.

Millions of visitors visit the Dead Sea to bathe in its healing salt compounds. While these dead waters indeed provide external healing to the body, an advantage of the delights of buoyancy, mud, and minerals - what most visitors don't calculate is the temperature. The high temperatures of the Dead Sea come with a warning to its bathers. When you mix heat and salt, certain death accompanies pleasantries over prolonged bathing. The sign on the beach warns to keep bathing to less than 20 minutes.

One of the Dead Sea phenomena is the gaping earth eruptions – sinkholes opening up in the sea floor's base, pulling swimmers into its abyss without warning. The sign on the beaches also notes this warning: Floating Upside Down. At the same time, the amount of salt in the seawater indeed enables swimmers to float effortlessly, but if you try it once, you also know that the same fact makes it difficult for swimmers to flip or change position, which results in a high number of drownings annually. The final warning is if you feel a little dizzy or weak, get out of the water immediately.

The warning signs on the Dead Sea seem facetious at best. The sign seems to be deserving or inviting ridicule or mockery. Honestly, it's absurd! However, after studying the Dead Sea extensively, the parallel to the message the Lord gave me was clear.

What would happen if a bather ignored the warnings of bathing in the Dead Sea? The outcome is reprehensible. Prolonged bathing would cause death, an eruption could cause a bather to slip into the abyss, and a panic attempt to change their position in midstream could result in eminent death – drowning in the Sea of Death. So, for the reachable lukewarm bathers, I have this encouragement.

For those who have received Christ Jesus into their mortal being, it is time to walk in Him. Know that you are rooted in the Tree of Life, built up in Him, and in the process of being established in His indwelling Faith. Heed the great warning; see to it that no one takes you captive by woke philosophies, empty words without life-transforming powers, duped by human traditions, which derive from elementary demonic spirits of the world – not according to Christ.

You must experientially know that in Christ Jesus, the eternal fullness of His deity dwells in you, and you have already been filled up in Him. However, the greatest challenge is in honoring, accepting, and adhering to the immovable fact that Jesus is above all rules of society and what your friends say, and He is THE authority that is required to walk in Him. If you resist His authority, it is time for another bath in the Dead Sea.

Remember, if he presently indwells you, you were circumcised (flesh cut off) with a circumcision conducted by Jesus, cutting off your old self, nature, and depraved powers of darkness. Jesus requires us to put off the passions and beliefs of old nature by calling to mind Jesus's circumcision of our flesh. Also, knowing that we have been buried with Jesus in the likeness of His death, then baptized into the living waters, not the Dead Sea. Fact. The Dead Sea is dead because the river Jordon, which is alive, drains into this sea. However, the Dead Sea does not empty into another water mass – as into the crystal sea of Holiness. If the living water passes into a sea with no outlet, it becomes a sea of death.

We cannot be grown into maturity in Him through His faith in the powerful working of God the Father unless we appropriate what is true about us in Him. If you are not authentically saved, you are dead in your sins, uncircumcised regarding your flesh, and you WILL drown in the Dead Sea. On t