Friday, August 27, 2010
Today’s Topic: Death Brings Life
Today’s Text: But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
Death. The end of life on earth. But not necessarily the end of life. That depends on what you believe life to be.
Yesterday a dear friend died. I first met him in 1987 when I moved to Wisconsin. He was on the leadership board at the church I came to pastor. During my time at the church, we became next door neighbors. My family was invited to all his family celebrations. He treated me like one of his sons. He allowed my family to swim in his pool. He allowed my kids to play in his yard and climb his trees and scare his wife. Over the years we have stayed close. Next week, at his personal invitation, I will conduct his memorial service. He gave me 10 minutes to preach. Hahahahahahahaha.
I was at his bedside with the family hours before he died. I arrived back to his room minutes after he went into the presence of the Lord. We sang a song and prayed. No more crying there, we are going to see the King. No more crying there, we are going to see the King. No more crying there, we are going to see the King. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! We’re going to see the King. The room was filled with the certain hope of reunion in the presence of the King.
Chuck left me specific instructions about what to say in my 10 minute message. Short and simply, it is to be about everyone’s need for salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord and King. As I stood around the bedside with the family after he had passed into eternity, I remember saying this to them – Chuck has not died. As a child of God he was set free from the bondage of sin and death and he simply passed from this life into his eternal one. He never experienced death.
Death was not created into the original order of things. God created everything in perfection. The very mention of the word evolution in any form, even the so-called Christian version of an old earth that allows for it, is a denial of the very nature of God. Death is the ultimate consequence of sin. Death proves that all people are guilty of sin, for all die. (read Romans 5:12-19) Evolution is impossible if one believes in God because death could not have occurred prior to man’s sin. If it did, then what did Jesus die for? If death is not the consequence of sin, then the death of Jesus has no purpose in the redemption of mankind.
The fact that all die is proof that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Except in one case, when one man died voluntarily rather than consequentially. He who knew no sin, had no sin nature, and never committed any sin, died as an innocent one who voluntarily took our sin and guilt on himself. (2 Cor. 5:21) His death became the once-and-for-all payment to God for our individual guilt, and His resurrection guarantees that He is coming back to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. (Hebrews 9:26-28)
Every individual is responsible to God for their sin. Jesus died to make forgiveness possible. Jesus rose from the dead to make eternal life available. But you must decide to trust Jesus to save you. Your church can’t do it. Your good works can’t do it. Only Jesus can do it, and He will if you will just give up and surrender your life to Him in faith. Please read these verses carefully found in Titus 3:3-8. Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us. But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.
Jesus said, “I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” Chuck took the final step into eternity yesterday. But He had already been living in the reality of eternal life for years. You can too. Just come to Jesus and repent of your sin. He will forgive you and accept you into the Family of God. He will qualify you to be an heir of all things in eternity. I know it’s what you need. I also believe it’s what you really want. I would be more than happy to show you the way if you will just write to me.
Thank you for this today, Pastor John. As I continue to walk my own journey of grieving the loss of my dad, I needed to be reminded on this very day.
I liked where you said that your friend “took the final step into eternity” because he had already lived “in the reality of eternal life”. Even a year and a half later, something about saying that my dad “died” bothers me. I think what you said sums up what I feel. I would rather say that he “took that final step.” It is consistent with the way that my brain and heart interpreted what my eyes beheld as he left this earth.