And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, - Luke 24: 5-6 (ESV) This world is passing on beloved. It is dying. It is eroding culturally, with the basest sins celebrated on a daily basis and debated nationally as something to be embraced as “diversity” or even “love.” The love of most has grown cold as Jesus warned it would in the end times. Wickedness is abounding. It is eroding morally as what was taboo just a few decades ago is rationalized, excused and even pursued. It is eroding spiritually as the church finds itself impotent in the last days chasing after the Gods of mammon and Baal, as Israel had done before her. We see 130 million dollar church super buildings being erected while people starve to death in what is supposed to be the richest country in the world. Children go to bed hungry while the body of Christ supports policies which will keep them hungry. With each passing day the return of Christ draws near yet we play church every week, feeding our own entertainment desires under the guise of community outreach or reaching as many for Christ as possible. Even though the Gospel we reach them with is as compromised and dying as the lives they now possess. Today is the single most important day in our faith yet we share it with pagan gods and colored eggs, using any carnal excuse we can muster. The question from the angels in our key verses today has always resonated with me. Why? Why do you seek the living amongst the dead? I remember living in this dying world. I remember the dead things I pursued with zeal. I remember the endless nights of drinking and reveling, like in the days of Noah. I remember the bar God found me in. It wasn’t that the people were not nice or the times were not enjoyable from a carnal perspective. It is that they were empty. They were purposeless. They had no meaning. They were dead. With each passing year they were rotting. Yet still that was where I sought something living for my existence. It was all I knew. Raised Catholic, religion made no sense. I believed in God but was falling for the agnostic lies the world sells. That God is too “big” to understand. That everyone serves the same Master. That there is no point trying to figure Him out. Just keep seeking the living amongst the dead until it is time to meet Him and hope you have lived a good enough life to get into this heaven everyone talks about. Thankfully I found out it doesn’t work that way: Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. – Ephesians 2: 9 (NLT) Yet this free gift eludes so many still in this world. We feel empty and pursue something to fulfill us. Careers will eventually die; even the most successful of ones. Yet how many seek life within their jobs only to be sorely disappointed in the end? We try to fill the emptiness with drugs or alcohol but those are also dead ends leading only to death. Still seeking the living in the wrong places. Lust, pride, ego – whatever we try to fill that place in our hearts we find the end result is death. That’s because that empty place in our hearts is shaped like Jesus and only He can fill it. Only the true living God can fill it. The world fancies the notion that we all serve the same God but only one has conquered the grave. Only one has risen. Only one is not found amongst the dead and His name is Jesus. Even the church today seeks the living amongst the dead. We see the ever increasing theories of church growth abounding and destroying generations of would be believers. We see churches overly infatuated with tithing and money – chasing the dead god of mammon over the living God known as Jehovah. Covenant agreements, stripping church memberships, misusing Scriptures all in an attempt to secure more money. To build bigger buildings. Great and vast structures that rival the Tower of Babel in their pride and excess. Church abuse at its finest, convincing people that everything wrong in their life is due to a tithing problem. Guess they missed the part about God loving a cheerful giver. The Apostle Paul understood this: You see, we are not like the many hucksterswho preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us. – 2Corinthians 2: 17 (NLT) Hucksters seeking personal profit. How fitting even now, thousands of years after the words were first penned. But there is a lack of sincerity. There is no authority or move of the Spirit. There is no fear that God is watching. The church has become a business for too many wannabe leaders. Chasing the living amongst the dead. If it is not mammon then it is Baal. Another idol to bow down to. The modern church has become so secularized that you can no longer tell the difference anymore between the world and the body of Christ. Just as the devil wants it. Lines blurred to the point where salvations are compromised as well. Mega-church pastors will tell you they desperately want to be relevant to their community even though the community is dying and it is the world that is killing them. We should not be in the business of trying to fit church into a dying culture. That too is like seeking living amongst the dead. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. The promises of this world are fleeting at best and empty in the end. Only Jesus has the key to eternal life. In this world of political correctness we must take a stand for truth. We must stand out like a shining city on a hill. We must be the difference the world so desperately seeks. We cannot be just another graveyard for the world to walk through on their search for the living amongst the dead. Rev. Anthony.