A Christianís approach to life situations part 14

Death

 

This is one topic that affects every single person because eventual all of us will die. No matter how hard we try to live forever no one will escape its grip.

 

Ecclesiastes 8:8 ††No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death.

 

When we die our spirit leaves our body (James 2:26) and goes back to God because He is the Father of Spirits (Heb. 12:9) and our physical bodies will eventually turn back to dust as,

 

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

 

Based on the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 we can know that God sends the righteous spirit to Paradise, which is also called Abrahamís bosom and He sends the unrighteous spirit to the place of torment, where the rich man was sent. These two destinations are separated by a gulf that cannot be passed. This entire area is known as Hades and is the waiting place for all the spirits until the Day of Judgment.

 

You and I are in control of what our destination will be because God has given as free will to choose to be a righteous servant of God or to be a servant of the devil and the evil way. Our lesson this morning will primarily focus on how a Christian should view death and what we can do to prepare for it.

 

Death scares some people and they donít even like thinking about it, but like I said we must all deal with it, so there is no need to avoid the reality of death. Our time here on this earth is very short and we must learn to use what time we have to do the best of our ability. In fact, the Bible says a lot about how short our lives really are. For instance:

 

1 Chron. 29:15 compares our lives to a shadow that only last for a short while.

Job 7:6-7 compares our lives to a weaverís shuttle, which quickly runs out and to the wind, which is there for a short while and then it disappears.

Job 14:1 "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away;

Ps. 90:9 compares our life to sigh

And James 4:14 says our life is, but a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow.

 

Knowing that our time here is short, it should motivate us to prepare ourselves for death because there are second chances as,

 

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

 

This is why it is important for Christians to redeem the time they have left on this earth to serve God with all their might. If we are striving to serve God, as Christians we should not fear death because there are many blessing that come from it. In fact, the Hebrew writer teaches us that we should not fear death because Jesus will deliver us from it.

 

Hebrews 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

 

On the Day of Judgment, Jesus will destroy death according to 1 Cor. 15:26 and then we will be able to say what Paul states in,

 

1 Corinthians 15:55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

 

In fact the Bible makes death out to be something positive for all the righteous.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one's birth;

 

Why do you suppose this writer says that a person death is better than a person birth? Well, Paul might answer this question this way.

 

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.

 

Paul understood that while he remained on earth, he could be helpful in encouraging the brethren to remain faithful and he would have more opportunities to share the good news about Jesus. However, he struggled with this because he looked forward to death because he knew that when he died, his struggles on earth would be over and he would be in the presence of the Lord, which is far better. So we should not fear death as Christians. Instead, we can look forward to it and all the blessing that come with it.

 

So lets take a look at the many blessings that a faithful Christian can look forward to at death. As we look at the different blessing from the Bible it should bring great comfort to us and encourage us to live faithfully toward God.

 

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.

 

Sometimes it might make you sad when see some sinful famous person die early because they overdosed on drugs and then you see how much the world praises them and their sinful ways. However, when a faithful Christian dies who has touched the lives of many and has led many to Christ, the world is silent and the only one who sings them praises are a few other Christians. This just shows the difference between the world and those who serve God. When we read passages like the one I just read, it shouldnít make us sad that the world doesnít sing praises about the faithful Christian who passes from this earth because we can rejoice knowing that faithful Christians are precious in the sight of the Lord. This verse should also comfort us as we consider our own death we will have to face one day.

 

Isaiah 57:1 The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil.2 He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.

 

Isaiah is teaching us that when the righteous die, they are taken away from thisevil world that we live in. No longer will we have to fight against the devil or the temptation of this world. We wonít have anything to worry about because we will enter into peace.

 

When we die and our spirit leaves our body it will be carried to paradise by angles just as Lazarus spirit was.

 

Luke 16:19 " There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.20 "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,21 "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22 "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.24 "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'25 "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'

 

This story also confirms what will happen to those who are not faithful to the Lord and how they should fear death because their death will be the beginning of eternal torment. However, our main focus is the blessing that faithful Christians will receive and we can see that our spirit will be taken to paradise where Abraham is and we will be in comfort and this also shows that we will be aware of surroundings because while our physical bodies die, our spirit lives on. We will be able to enjoy the company of those who were righteous and have passed on. Also as we read earlier, Paul says we are in the presence of the Lord, which is far better than living on the earth.

 

Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

 

So, when we die, we get to rest from our labors as we enter into an eternal rest. As you can see, we have a lot to look forward to when we die as faithful Christians and so we should not fear death, but look forward to it and we should be confident that we will gain all these blessing when we die. Paul was certainly confident of this at the end of his life.

 

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

 

Paul has already told us that he was looking forward to being with the Lord and here is showing his confidence that he had lived a faithful life to God even though he had sinned from time to time. Now we wonít receive the crown of righteousness until the day of Judgment when Jesus comes back again and raises the just and unjust (John 5:28-29). At that time, Jesus will raise our physical bodies and transform them into spiritual bodies that will last for eternity and our spirit will be reunited with that new body. This is seen in 1 Cor. 15. But, until that day happens, the Christianís spirit will remain in paradise.

 

Everything I have shown you so far should make you look forward to death since there are so many wonderful things to look forward to. However, in order to have the right attitude toward death, we must be prepared for it because heaven is a place for a prepared people.

 

The first thing we must do to prepare for the blessing of death is to become a Christian.

 

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

 

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

 

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

 

These 3 verses make it easy for us to see that we must be in Christ Jesus to have the forgiveness of our sins and every spiritual blessing, which would include the blessing we will receive when we die in Lord (Rev. 14:13). Also we must be in Christ in order to avoid condemnation to hell. So how do we become a Christian, and make it into Christ?

 

In order to answer this question, we must use the whole of council of God and not just one or two verses. We must also have an honest heart and believe what the Bible says about becoming saved instead of allowing what mom, dad or anyone else says about this topic because Godís Word is our authority. Now these verses I am going to share with you are just the basic principles of how a person becomes a Christian so they can start becoming prepared for the blessing of death.

 

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

Obviously, a person must hear the Word of God first because without it they cannot know about God or what it takes to become a Christians. The Word of God is power of God to salvation Rom. 1:16 and it will save your soul James 1:21. You must decide for yourself to believe what you hear which brings us to our next step.

 

John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

 

In order for a person to become a Christians they must believe in Jesus. If they donít believe in Jesus or what the Bible says about Him, then they have no reason to follow after Him. If you donít believe, you will die in your sins. Belief alone is not enough because even the demons believe in Jesus (James 2:19). James makes it clear,

 

James 2:17 Öfaith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

 

A person can believe all day long, but until the have an obedient faith and obey the whole council of God, they will not become a Christian. Next Jesus says,

 

Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Repentance means that you are willing to make a change in your life and you will stop living in sin and you will live your life to the best of your ability according the whole council of God. The Bible also teaches us that we must confess Jesus as our Lord.

 

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

Matthew 10:32 " Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

 

A person cannot become a Christians if they are ashamed to confess Jesus as there Lord. If you do not have an obedient faith and confess Jesus as your Lord, then Jesus will not confess you before the Father.

 

John 12:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

 

Notice these men believed that Jesus was the son of God, but they would not confess Him. Again, this example and these other verses show that a person must do more than just believe in order to become a Christian. Everything I have showed you so far has come from the Bible. It has not been my opinion or some preconceived idea that I have been taught. Based on the verses I have given so far would cause division in different denominations because they differ on how a person is saved. However, if you have an honest heart, you should have no problem understanding everything I have shown you is necessary to be saved.

 

Now our next step that brings about salvation is denied by the majority of the denominations out there. Again, I ask you to allow the Bible to speak for itself and donít allow the influence of a denomination or another person to keep you from seeing the plain truth.

 

1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us Ė baptism Ö

 

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins

 

Acts 22:16 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'

 

People can deny the importance of baptism all day long, but it doesnít change what the Word of God says. Notice, baptism saves and its is the point that our sins are washed away. According to Rom. 6 it is when we become united with Christ in the likeness of His death. I want you to remember when I started talking about what it takes to be saved, that I said we must be in Christ in order to be saved. Remember In Christ is where the forgiveness of sins, every spiritual blessing and no condemnation is found. The Bible makes it clear that it is at the point of baptism that enter into Christ where all these wonderful blessing are found.

 

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

 

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body

 

So using the whole council of God we can see that person must hear the word, believe the Jesus is the Son of God, repent, confess Jesus as Lord and be baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins. It is only when we obey all of the things that we become a Christians and this is just the first step in becoming prepared for death and the blessings it brings. Once you become a Christian you must do your best to faithful servant God.

 

Matthew 24:13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved

 

Revelation 2:10 Ö Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

 

This does not mean that we are going to be perfect because none of us are, but thanks to Jesus, we can know that if we are striving to be faithful that we will be saved in the end. The way that we show our love for God and our faithfulness is by obeying Gods commands.

 

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

 

The only way we can do this is if we continue to study Godís word and pray for the strength and guidance to be a doer of Godís Word. If we will follow these simply guidelines given to us by the Word of God then we will be prepared for death and we can look forward to it with anticipation. The most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are spiritual prepared for our death, but there is another aspect of death that we need to look at and that is how we should handle the death of a loved one that is a Christian.

 

Obviously it will make us mourn because that person will no longer be a part of our lives while we live on the earth. Even when Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, when He saw his family crying because of His death Jesus cried as well. While there is a time for mourning, there will also be a time for rejoicing because we can comfort ourselves knowing that they are now in place of comfort and that we will get to see them again on the other side if we live a faithful life as they did. King David understood this concept very well. Although his approach was little bit different.

 

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and got her pregnant and then had her husband killed to cover it up, Godís punishment was that the child would die. Well, David mourned his child day and night before it died, hoping God might have mercy on him, but his mourning did not change the outcome and once his child had died this was his response,

 

2 Samuel 12:19 When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead."20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.21 Then his servants said to him, "What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food."22 And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?'23 "But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

 

He understood that his dead son was gone and there was nothing that was going to change that and so he stopped his mourning and he comforted himself with the thought that he would see his son on the other side and that is exactly what we must do. We need to realize that our Christian loved one is enjoying the comfort of Paradise and that if we remain faithful we will see them again someday.

 

Now there is an ugly side to all of this and that is those who die outside of the Lord. I donít have any comforting words that I can share with you that will make their passing better. All I can suggest is that we learn from their mistakes and donít allow ourselves to suffer their same fate. I can promise you they donít want you to be where they are. Remember the Rich man and what he said,

 

Luke 16:22 The rich man also died and was buried.23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.24 "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'25 "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'

 

The rich man realized that he had a choice in the way he lived his life on the earth and that it was to late for him, but he didnít want his brothers to have to go to the horrible place of torment. No one likes to think about their mom or dad or anyone that you love being in this horrible place, but unfortunately is a reality for all who have not become a Christian or lived faithful lives toward God. These loved ones of ours donít want us to suffer their fate and if they could speak to us today, they would want us to live a righteous life and allow Godís Word to be our guide. They wouldnít want you to be deceived by false teaching on what it takes to become a Christian.

 

I have shown in this lesson how we should deal with death as Christians. We should not fear it, but look forward to all the blessing that come with it. We also learned that when someone does pass away we should mourn for them for a while, but then we should also rejoice for them knowing that they have begun their journey of eternal bliss. Then we looked at the dark side of death and how there is no hope for those who die outside the Lord. The only thing they have to enjoy is their short life here on the earth then they will begin their eternity of torment, but it doesnít have to be that way if you choose to make today your day of salvation.

 

Your fate is your own hands. If you are willing to take Godís word to heart by hearing it and believing that Jesus is the son of God, repenting and confessing Jesus as your Lord and being baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins then why not do it today and began your journey as Christian so that you can look forward to the blessing of death instead of the torments of hell. Donít let something like baptism keep you from being saved. Stop listening to what others are telling you about salvation and listen to what the Word of God says. Donít let the praise of others override the plain truth of Godís Word. So, I urge you to choose to live in Christ today because there are no guarantees of tomorrow and if you already a Christians, but you are out of duty, I also urge you to start being faithful to Lord staring today.