Richard Baxter was a 17th century small town English Pastor. He was passionate about the gospel and even spent a couple years in jail for preaching it. It didn’t stop him. There was a passion and earnestness in his preaching seen in few men. He knew that life was short, and with that came the understanding that the time to be able to repent and find salvation in Christ was also short. In 1656 he wrote a book called “The Reformed Pastor” a kind of manual for preachers and preaching. In it he lays out his philosophy of ministry.
“I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”
Those are good words for us, whether we are writing, discipling, teaching, or preaching.
We must have a mindset that we are dying people earnestly speaking to dying people. In fact there are 3 ways we are, as Christian women, “dying” women, and a fourth kind of death that should greatly concern us all.
Death of the Body
I’ll admit it, when it comes to movies I like fun adventure stories or light-hearted romantic comedies. I tend to stay away from heavy, depressing dramas. I don’t need to cry my way through a made up story of love or life lost. Real life is hard enough as it is. After all, we are all dying.
This may seem a bit morbid, and many of us don’t want to think too much about it, but disease and death are all around us, claiming the young and old alike. It is with this in mind that we must passionately proclaim the gospel to those around us.
I have no idea how much time God has allotted for me to have here on earth. This is also true when it comes to my husband and my children, my friends and my neighbors. I must be careful not to presume on the grace of God for long life. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or if I will be a even part of tomorrow. I have been given today and so have you.
This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. 118:24
We must not let days go by without pointing each other, our husbands, our children, and our friends to Christ, encouraging them the know Him and grow in holiness.
Death of Sin In Us
It is every believer’s calling to be engaged in mortification: the killing of sin in us. It is hard and dirty work. It means examining our hearts, identifying sin and then drastically or, as the word modification conveys, violently, deal with it.
Jesus speaks of sin this way. If our eye causes us to sin, we are to rip it out. This is not a call to self-mutilation, but sin mutilation. Much of our business is putting to death the sinful deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5).
As fellow sisters in Christ let's cheer each other on in this endeavor, as gruesome as that may sound. Tear out that pride, get rid of that gossip, beat down that jealousy with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sin rebels against all that is holy and it works against the person and work of God. It must die!
3. Death of self
John The Baptist said that, “I must decrease so Christ can increase”. This is not some weird philosophical or mystical idea or dream. It is having a proper view of the place God has created for us. We are all too quick to exalt ourselves above our station. We forget that all we are and all we have has been given to us by God. From our abilities to create pinterest-worthy decorations, to salvation itself, all of it is a gift from God. There is no room for pride, haughtiness, or false modesty. There is no room for self if we want to love God with all of our being and our neighbor like ourselves and so we must, in a sense, put self to death.
4. Death of the Soul
While death in all its forms is a big reality for the Christian, we can be joyful in the midst of it all because we have the promise and sure hope of eternal life: life without sin, without pride of self, and without fear of disease and physical death. And this is made possible through the best death of all--Christ’s death.
But there are many who do not yet know the saving power of Christ’s blood poured out for sinners. Their faith remains in themselves and the philosophies of the world. They are a people with a dying soul and we must hold out the offer of life through the gospel (Mt. 10:28).
We are dying women and we must keep this in our minds and on our hearts so that we will have earnestness and passion for the gospel, the life of faith, and the salvation of the lost.