Sermons on Death by Rev. Mike Jones [Revised June 22, 2021]
HAVE YOU MADE YOUR FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS?
Matt 20:17-19 WALKING WITH DEATH
ISam 26:10 THREE WAYS TO DIE
David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish (1 Sam 26:10).
Talking about “3 ways to Die” is probably one of the least appealing subjects I could choose. Most people would love knowing “9 ways to be Happy” (Be here Wednesday Night to learn that!) but most people don’t want to talk about (or even think about) dying.
It’s becoming a subject of tremendous concern to many people, however, whether they want it or not. From the moment of conception to the moment of death man is becoming increasingly puzzled about where life begins and ends.
The Abortion controversy pits those who believe life begins as conception against those who believe life begins at birth (Thus making it alright to kill the unborn).
On the other end of the spectrum, Science continually develops new and better ways to extend the life of a person. Sadly however, these great marvels of scientific advancement increasingly leave us with the question of QUANTITY of Life verses QUALITY of life (When do you “pull the plug” on someone? When do you know that the pain a sick person endures is so overwhelming until it requires you to stop using every resource available to maintain a heartbeat?).
We certainly can’t answer all of these questions today but we can look at 3 ways Death comes to man; and, hopefully, get you prepared to face God when you die.
I. DIVINE JUDGMENT- the LORD shall smite him. There are times that Death comes to men suddenly because of some grievous sin:
A) It Happens to PEOPLE- Ananias and Sapphira sold a possession and kept back part of the price. God brought Judgment on both of them–Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband (Acts 5:10).
B) It Happens to RULERS- Herod failed to give God the Glory and was killed- And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost (Acts 12:21-23).
C) It Happens to PREACHERS- Nadab and Abihu- And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD (Lev 10:1-2).
D) It can even happen to the ENTIRE WORLD AT ONE TIME- Flood- The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth (Gen 6:11-13).
The thing to remember about Death by Divine Judgment is that it is not the result of “normal” causes- If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me (Num 16:29). It is also possible for men to die “normal” death, but in a specified time frame, as a result of God’s Judgment- All Israel over 20 in the desert: For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun (Num 26:65).II. NATURAL DEATH- his day shall come to die This is the death of the Physical body that results from the sin nature in our bodies- But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17). For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 6:23).
Man is given a predetermined time by God- Jesus continually said His time was not yet come. Paul didn’t die until he had “finished his course” (II Tim 4:7). Even the Psalmist wanted to know how long his time was- LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am (Psa 39:4).
It is possible, however, to lengthen or shorten this time: He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days (Psa 102:23). Fear of the Lord can lengthen your life while sin can shorten it-The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened. (Prov 10:27) Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? (Eccl 7:17)
Honoring your Parents can lengthen your days- For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: (Mark 7:10). Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Eph 6:2-3).
III. CATASTROPHE- he shall descend into battle, and perish. Evidently, sometimes men die as they live- time and chance happen to all men (Eccl 9:11). It could be a Natural Disaster, War, or an Accident (As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live: (Deu 19:5)). While I believe that God is able to protect people during these events (The Passengers in Paul’s Ship saved during the Hurricane in Acts 27); yet I know that multitudes of people die in war, famine, earthquakes, etc. God is ABLE TO OVERRULE anything in nature but many times He seems to allow things to progress in a natural order.
While there are 3 METHODS to die, there are only 2 WAYS to Die: Saved or Lost. It’s important that you make the decision about what state you will die in for it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb 9:27). Death is simply leaving the physical world for the Spiritual world; There to be judged by Almighty God. His Judgment will not be based on your fame or fortune but on the fact of whether or not your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life- And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 21:27).
There is no need for you to die without Hope today- For we must needs die, and are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him (2 Sam 14:14)
Jesus wants to give you ABUNDANT LIFE and ETERNAL LIFE. Accept His offer of Salvation today.
Remember, there is coming a day that men will seek death and it will flee from them- And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them (Rev 9:6). Don’t let that deathly day overtake you. Accept Life today.
Lessons for Living for Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Most funeral homes wish you would write the answers to these questions on a sheet of paper and put that paper in a place known to all your family. 1) What funeral home would you desire to be in charge of your burial arrangements? 2) Where do you expect to be buried? 3) Are you an organ donor? 4) Do you desire a traditional burial or cremation? 5) Do you have special instructions about the burial service (songs, speaker, open casket, etc)? 6) Where do you anticipate the money to pay for your funeral will come from?
Most spouses wish you would write the answers to these questions on a sheet of paper and put that paper in a place known to them. 1) Have you answered all the questions in the previous paragraph completely so I will know what to do when you die? 2) Have you listed all bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, and insurance policies so I will know my financial status after you are gone? (These can be placed in a sealed envelope if necessary) 3) Do you have a list of all email and internet account user names and passwords so I can deal with these accounts? 4) Is there anything you want me to know after you are gone (sealed envelope)?
Most preachers wish you would write the answers to these questions on a sheet of paper and put the paper in a place known to your family. 1) Have you written down your testimony about your relationship with God so I can read it at your funeral? 2) Are there special instructions you want me to know about your funeral service?
One question God wants to know at your death. Are you ready to meet me?
DEATH OF A LOVED ONE
SS Lesson Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018
Mankind fears death, fights death, and formalizes death with funerals but they must never forget that “It is appointed unto man once to die”. Men today define death as when your heart stops beating or when you are “brain dead”. God says, “The body without the spirit is dead”.
The Bible describes 4 types of death: Physical death, Memory death, Spiritual death (She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 1 Timothy 5:6), and eternal (second) death. Just remember, Jesus told Martha, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26).
Scripture for today:
Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. (Acts 12:1-5).
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39).
Which brings us to:
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2:14).
When you, your family, or a friend come to a time that you must “deal with death” it is good to know that we pray to a God who is aware of all aspects of what you are going through and is able to help.
God CONTROLS Death: God, in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways (Daniel 5:23). It is APPOINTED unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
God CONSIDERS Death: Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (Psalms 116:15).
God COMPANIONS Death: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalms 23:4).
Jesus CONQUERED Death: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25).
God COMFORTS us about the end of Death: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
God’s Comfort and Companionship will be with you and your family during your time of sorrow.
HAVE YOU MADE YOUR FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS?
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)
5 Questions everyone needs to know about final arrangements:
1) Why do you think your family will be better able to deal with your death during your death than they are before your death? (Why do you want to add the burden of your final arrangements to the grief of your spouse and family?)
2) What Funeral Home do you want to conduct your funeral? (Within minutes after your death your family must make a choice about what Funeral Home will get your body. Once went with a lady who had to make an “instant choice” and was forced to mortgage her house before Funeral Home would let her see her Husband.)
3) Where do you want your Funeral conducted- Funeral Home, Church- which one? Where do you want to be buried? (2 families of the same man showed up at the cemetery during the funeral!) (Mistress who called and said she was going to the Church service and there may be a fight).
4) How do you want your final service conducted?
A) Pall Bearers
B) Music- Some choices are chosen that you might not choose Are you lonesome tonight?
C) Ministers- Morally Fallen Minister was called because he had been “selected” many years before the husband’s death. Eternal Security Minister preached a very corrupt man into Heaven and 5 sons told me they never wanted anything to do with God and Church now.
D) Visitation and service or combine the two at the same time (What is best for family?)
5) When will you prepare for death? All the details of Jesus death were prophesied. He had made his preparation. Have you made yours?
DEATH ODD NOTES:
Four types of death- Physical death, spiritual death, memory death, eternal death. We can be dead to sin or dead in sin. Death means breath stops but eternity begin. It means a new body, a new home, and new priorities- most of the things we count as important today will have no meaning or value to us 1000 years from now. How then should we live? We are still in a human body so it is difficult not to dwell on human needs and values. We fear death, fight death, funerlize death, and formalize death but it is appointed unto man once to die.
Some men “die” while living- Their body has breath but it does not have joy or meaning.
Failure to thrive emotional death. No hope death. Depression death. Walking dead. Living dead. Darkness death.
Stop breathing but do not stop existing. At one time when you stopped breathing you were dead. Later they said it was when your heart stopped beating that you were dead. Now they said it is when you are “brain dead”. God says it is when the spirit leaves the body (As the body without the spirit is dead so faith. James
How dead are you? Will your funeral be easy to preach? Will your loved ones mourn your death or be silently relieved?
The Walking Dead: Living Dead- But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. (1 Timothy 5:6)
Death Dealing Doors- King’s wife whose son would die when she crossed the threshold, Ark door was closed, Lepers at door had to share the Good news, Passover Blood on Door. Jesus at the door knocking.
Jesus had a borrowed epithet-Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews- What I have written I have written.
Jesus had borrowed clothes- Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped Him for burial
Jesus had borrowed tomb- Josephs New tomb- Matt 27:60
THE CIRCLE OF THREE
Four times Jesus admitted the “Circle of Three” (Peter, James, and John) to experiences that would teach them lessons – and each time the lesson was about Death.
1) The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter: And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden (Luke 8:51). The Power of Jesus OVER Death
2) The Mount of Transfiguration: And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28). The gained insight into His coming Death (Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). They were told to keep the vision until after Jesus’s death and resurrection (And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead Matthew 17:9).
3) On the Mount of Olives: And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? (Mark 13:3-4). Jesus spoke of the death of a Nation.
4) In the Garden of Gethsemane: Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me (Matthew 26:36-38). Preparation for Death.
DOOR OF DEATH
Death is not a subject people like to contemplate but it is necessary to face it.
Some People are Worthy of Death: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:32).
Others are not worthy of Death: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds (Acts 26:31). And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go (Luke 23:22).
But Everyone must face a Day of Death (Even the Rapture produces a “change”): It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it (Ecclesiastes 8:8).
That is why we need to look at the “Door of Death”: Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? (Job 38:17). Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death (Psalms 9:13).
There are many factors about Death we need to consider:
Instruments of Death: He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors (Psalms 7:13).
Sleep of Death: Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death (Psalms 13:3).
Sorrows of Death: The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid (Psalms 18:4).
Chambers of Death: Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (Proverbs 7:27).
Snares of Death: The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death (Proverbs 13:14). The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27).
Dust of Death: My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death (Psalms 22:15).
Ways of Death: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).
Sting of Death: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56).
Sentence of Death: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9).
Suffering of Death: But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).
Which leads to the:
Point of Death: And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live (Mark 5:23).
Pain of Death: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it (Acts 2:24).
Taste of Death: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:28).
Power of Death: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Terror of Death: My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness (Job 10:20-22).
But, Thank God, He has provided:
A light out of the Darkness of Death: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined (Isaiah 9:2).
A way of Life instead of Death: And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death (Jeremiah 21:8).
Payment for Death’s Debt: And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).
Victory over Death and Hell: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).
Which brings Companionship and Comfort for those who trust Him as they walk through Death’s Door: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalms 23:4)].
Deliverance from Death’s Distress is simply a Prayer away: Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:17-21).
When you come to Death’s Door; please do not die dead.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Did you know a Christian is already in “Heavenly Places”? And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:6).
Death for a Christian is simply transitioning from hurting body into a heavenly home- Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them (Revelation 14:13).
Sunday I attended a funeral where the person had died as he stepped into the shower- suddenly and unexpectedly. Today we celebrate the home going of a lady whose body wasted away until it would no longer support the life it contained.
Life is a wonderful thing. It is not just the breath you breathe; it is the pleasures you experience and the love you share. It is about enjoying the journey because you are confident of your destination.
Today we want to look at the impact of a life.
1) Life is about things that you DO: and their works do follow them
A) Physical Work- Worked as an office manager for S C Prestress. Talked with someone who knew her from there recently and their description was “tough but fair”.
B) Spiritual Works- Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17).
Not everyone’s works are openly displayed (Hardest part of being a writer is “walking naked in public”)- Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid (1 Timothy 5:24-25).
2) Life is about Words that you SAY: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:36 37)
It is at times like this that we think about Words we DID say and Words we DID NOT say. Words of wounding and Words of Wisdom- in days to come will mean so much.
Works do follow them- The “secret seed” Mrs Beatrice planted that may only be revealed in eternity: (Here are a few examples from my own life).
- Riverton- Preached in Twin Falls, Bible study group in Riverton
- Left books in Ohio and chapel in Texas Jail
- Drug addict found book in Florida, saved, went to Jerry Falwell college, Preacher today
Life is about making sure you “Die in the Lord” – Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
The text I used for Mrs. Beatrice’s Mother- Mrs. Lila Tisdale is a good one to bring all this to a conclusion.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).
- Confess with your mouth that Jesus is now Lord of your life
- Believe in thy heart that your sins are forgiven because Jesus died to pay the price and God resurrected Him as His acknowledgment that Death had lost its hold on mankind. (Satan now has an empty gun to threaten us with!). “through death Jesus might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Matt 20:17-19 WALKING WITH DEATH
Jones Paraphrase- I will be given to the Gentiles so they can make fun of me, whip the skin off my back, and execute me by crucifixion; but on the third day I will return to life.
Death is a dilemma that all of us must deal with. I know that on a beautiful spring day when the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming the last thing you want to think about is death. Yet Death is an appointment we ALL must keep. It’s on my mind today because of my consideration of the Easter season.
Resurrection is a reality but in order for Jesus to conquer Death He had to taste death on the cross. And, as you can see from today’s scripture, He faced death with full appreciation for all it’s implications. How could he walk so confidently down life’s path knowing the cruelty that awaited Him at it’s end? How can we?
Most of us think of death in terms of its aftermath. An accident, a heart attack, or some surprise tragedy claims a loved one or friend and we must deal with the sorrow, the sadness, and the shock that follows. We cope somehow by using tears and memorials and the healing balm of time. And, eventually, we close that chapter in the book and go on with our life. It’s hard but there is really no other choice.
But what of those people who must stare death in the face day after day, week after week? What do you do when the doctor says Aids or Cancer or No Hope? How do you deal with Death when it becomes a constant companion that must be communicated with instead of avoided?
That was a dilemma that Jesus faced every day. He knew every moment of His ministry that He had an appointment with death. And He knew it would not be a quick painless encounter. The Death that awaited Him would be extremely painful, filled with rejection, and soaked in despair as even His father would forsake Him.
Three primary factors allowed Jesus to stare death down each morning and share His dreams with death each night. First was His confidence in God’s Plan. He knew that His appointment with death was in the will of God and for the glory of God. Second was His Love for mankind. He knew that man would never reach God unless God took man’s death penalty. He simply loved mankind enough to die in our place. Finally, He could face death because He knew He could conquer death. He knew that beyond the cross was Easter morning. He knew that Death might win a victory but He would win the war.
When death knocks on your door; whether as a long time visitor or a short time acquaintance, the difference in your dying will be whether Christ is in your heart. Is He?
What will enable you to face Death?
1. Commitment- Jim Bonham, lawyer from SC left Alamo to appeal to Colonel Fannin for help. Had 150 men in Alamo surrounded by over 2000 men from Santa Anna’s Army. Returned to Die.
2. Assurance that you are capable of handling the Situation- Ps 23:4
3. Recognition of Rewards Awaiting you.- Missionary to Salvador Brazil. 6 year old son with fever, reached out hand, “I’m reaching for Jesus’ hand” Coma- 2 days later died of bacterial meningitis.
(Funny Illustration) As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a grave-side service for a homeless man, with no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there. As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; and being a typical man did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew, who was eating lunch, but the hearse was nowhere in sight. I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave, where I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long, but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I poured out my heart and soul.
As I preached the workers began to say “Amen,” “Praise the Lord,” and “Glory”! I preached, and I preached, like I’d never preached before: from Genesis all the way to Revelation.
I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car. As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, “I ain’t never seen anything like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”