When All Is Said and Done

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8

When Lee Strobel researched his book on heaven, he interviewed Luis Palau, the Argentinian evangelist who preached to more than a billion people. “He knew he was dying,” said Strobel. “He had stage four lung cancer….I flew out to Portland because I wanted to interview someone who was about to go to heaven….He told me he’s not afraid of dying. He said, ‘I really believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’”[1]

For the Christian, dying means immediate entrance into the physical presence of the Lord in His great city of New Jerusalem. We leave behind (temporarily, until the resurrection) our bodies of sickness and pain. Yet, in the flick of an eye, we’re there with Jesus among all His golden and gleaming cityscapes.

The Lord will give us extra grace for the moment He takes us home. For that reason, we are confident—even well pleased—to be with Him.

I can tell you from personal experience that, at the end of your life, when all is said and done, you’ll never regret being courageous for Christ.
Luis Palau to Lee Strobel

  • David Jeremiah

Breaking Camp

We would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8, NLT 

Paul was a tentmaker, which means he carefully measured and cut sheets of leather, stitching sides and tops, waterproofing the fabric, and crafting the wood for the frames. He was surely proud of his work, and his tents probably brought a premium price. Still, it was just a tent. Not a house. Not a castle. Not a palace. Just a portable, temporary dwelling.

Recommended Reading:
2 Corinthians 5: 1 – 5
“That’s what my body is too,” Paul must have thought to himself. “But when this earthly tent is destroyed, God will move me into a resurrected, glorified, eternalized body that will be as superior to this one as a palace is to one of my tents.”

Perhaps Paul conceived this comparison while making tents in Corinth with Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:1-3) because he later included the picture in 2 Corinthians 5:1: “When this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (NLT).

In this life, we’re only camping out. Our real home is ahead of us!

Death…[is] losing a tent and gaining a mansion.
Charles H. Spurgeon

 

  • David Jeremiah

Ending Well

Paul encourages us to live our lives fully focused on Christ and complete life by “ending well.”

2 Timothy 4:6-8

It will soon be time for me to leave this life. I have fought a good fight. I have finished the work I was to do. I have kept the faith. There is a crown which comes from being right with God. The Lord, the One Who will judge, will give it to me on that great day when He comes again. I will not be the only one to receive a crown. All those who love to think of His coming and are looking for Him will receive one also.

Have you ever thought about what God will say to you after you’ve finished the course of your earthly life? The apostle Paul was imprisoned when he wrote the epistle known as Second Timothy, and he knew his life would soon be over. Since this letter contains his last words to the young man he mentored, we can assume that Paul was writing about matters he considered of highest priority.

What a blessing, not just for Timothy but for also for us, that Paul took the opportunity to instruct fellow believers and pray for them. He understood that the Christian life is full of struggles, obstacles, and suffering, and through the ages his letter has encouraged Christians to persevere faithfully. And that is possible only if we do what he himself did throughout his ministry—rely on the grace of Christ Jesus (So you, my son, be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus.2 Tim. 2:1).

In addition, Paul urges us to cling to the truth of God’s Word and handle it accurately (Do your best to know that God is pleased with you. Be as a workman who has nothing to be ashamed of. Teach the words of truth in the right way. 2 Tim. 2:15). He also tells us to cleanse ourselves from sin and flee sinful lusts so we can be sanctified and useful to our Master (20 In a big house there are not only things made of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some are of more use than others. Some are used every day. 21 If a man lives a clean life, he will be like a dish made of gold. He will be respected and set apart for good use by the owner of the house. 22 Turn away from the sinful things young people want to do. Go after what is right. Have a desire for faith and love and peace. Do this with those who pray to God from a clean heart. 2 Tim. 2:20-22).

Later in that same letter, Paul confidently writes about the crown of righteousness awaiting him (I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Tim. 4:7-8). If we’ll follow his advice to Timothy, we too can expect to finish life well.

A Passage To Ponder: 1Corinthians 15:35-49

Tonight, I’m concluding a meeting in Marion, Indiana, and preaching from 1 Corinthians 15 about death and the bodily resurrection.

Death.

It is a sobering word. A cold word. A frightening word. We don’t even like to say it. We prefer euphemisms. We say, “She passed away.’ “He expired.” “She’s gone.” In a lighter vein we speak of someone “pushing up daisies”, or “kicking the bucket,” Or being “six feet under.”

Our joking, however, has a tinge of nervousness attached to it. We don’t like death. We don’t like to think about death. And we don’t want to lose our loved ones to death.

Quickly coming to my mind are those I’ve known and loved who’ve died. My Mom and Dad. My brother Bill. My Uncle Raymond. My Aunt Hattie. My cousin Wimpy. My Uncle Oval. And my Granny and Papaw Key.

I think of preachers who’ve encouraged, influenced, and mentored me. Aude McKee. Robert Jackson. James P. Miller. James R. Cope. Ed Harrell. Clinton Hamilton. Harry Pickup, Jr. Homer Hailey. And most recently, our beloved brother, Dee Bowman.

Their passage into the great beyond is one we must all take. Christians, however, live in hope of the bodily resurrection taught in this text. But we wonder about Paul’s question, “How are the dead raised?”

The Greek philosophers considered the resurrection impossible. That’s why they mocked Paul in Athens. If a body dies, returns to dust, and becomes a part of the elements of the earth again, how in the world could there be a bodily resurrection?

Paul’s answer to the elite, educated, and erudite philosopher was simple, succinct, and straightforward. “You fool,” he bluntly retorted. He then gives three illustrations to answer their objection.

Read more: https://thepreachersword.com/2021/09/15/a-passage-to-ponder-1corinthians-1535-49/

Good Friday: You Shall Surely Die

By Bill Smith

 

The Garden had become a place of death. Two cherubim with flaming swords were stationed at the east gate, ready to strike and put to death anyone who sought access to the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden.

God never intended to keep man out of the Garden forever. God desired communion with man; for man to draw near to him with no veils in between. But man sinned and was cut off from this nearness to God.

From the time of the fall until the time of Christ Jesus, God made provisions to draw near to him through vicarious substitutes. Man enjoyed the benefits of temporary forgiveness and communion with God that was real but not enjoyed in its fullness.

Man was kept at a distance, separated by animals, veils, and various levels of holiness. None of these provisions was God’s full intention for man. They were types and shadows of things to come when God would grant full and free access to the Garden once again for man to eat with him at the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Continue at: http://kuyperian.com/good-friday-you-shall-surely-die/

The Good News About Death

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 50 Christian brothers, our bodies which are made of flesh and blood will not go into the kingdom of God. That which dies can have no part in that which will never die. 51 For sure, I am telling you a secret. We will not all die, but we will all be changed. 52 In a very short time, no longer than it takes for the twinkling of an eye, the Christians who have died will be raised. It will happen when the last trumpet sounds. The dead will be raised never to die again. Then the rest of us who are alive will be changed. 53 Our human bodies made from dust must be changed into a body that cannot be destroyed. Our human bodies that can die must be changed into bodies that will never die. 54 When this that can be destroyed has been changed into that which cannot be destroyed, and when this that does die has been changed into that which cannot die, then it will happen as the Scriptures said it would happen. They said, “Death has no more power over life.” 55 O death, where is your power? O death, where are your sting? 56 The sting in death is sin. Sin has power over those under the Law. 57 But God is the One Who gives us power over sin through Jesus Christ our Lord. We give thanks to Him for this.

58 So then, Christian brothers, because of all this, be strong. Do not allow anyone to change your mind. Always do your work well for the Lord. You know that whatever you do for Him will not be wasted.

The Bible teaches that death is only the beginning for believers. God has prepared an eternal home for us, and the condition for entry is clear: Believe that Jesus died for your sins, and receive His forgiveness. Some people consider this narrow-minded and unfair. But God set up that condition for a reason.

Way back in the garden of Eden, the Lord established a rule to protect His creation: Do not disobey Me. Sin was such a serious matter in His eyes that He determined it deserved the death penalty. Yet ever since Adam and Eve’s transgression, we’ve been bound to slip up because we’re flawed human beings. And God knew that. So, to save us from the consequence of sin, He sent His Son to die in our place. Jesus fulfilled the law while taking our punishment. And three days later He rose again.

God promised in His Word that those who receive Jesus as Savior share in His resurrection. When a believer dies, the heavenly gates open, and he or she has the same triumph over death that Jesus did. In other words, when we leave this world, we do not simply disappear. We continue to worship the Lord in heaven.

The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I seem to be doing more funerals as the years mount – and more of the deceased are friends and family. Not too long ago I celebrated four funerals in a five-day period. It is an honor to help families celebrate the life of a loved one. Most funerals I celebrate are from folks in our community – folks I have not had a previous chance to minister to or with – and I just try to bring them a measure of comfort for the short time I have with them. I usually talk with them on the phone and meet them on the day of the service. I often read the 23rd Psalm at the service.

I love today’s portion of the 23rd Psalm. One of the great hopes and blessings of our faith is that we do not have to fear death. I can usually tell people of faith versus people will little or no faith when I share at funerals. The way we face death is telling.

Read the rest of Ray’s blog at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/the-shadow-of-death-2/

How Christians Look at Death

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2019/02/15/how-christians-look-at-death/

Absent from the Body, Present with the Lord – podcast

https://bellatorchristi.com/2019/06/27/podcast-6-27-19-absent-from-the-body-present-with-the-lord-w-dr-tj-gentry/

3 Aspects of Christ’s Death in a Hymn of Praise

Many people regard Christ’s death as a significant event in human history, but with varying degrees of appreciation.

3 Aspects of Christ's death we can apply every day

Some merely consider His death that of a religious martyr.

Others, by reading the Bible, might value Christ’s death as the death of their Savior, the One who died for their redemption. They appreciate how Jesus died that they would not perish and suffer God’s judgment for eternity (John 3:16).  This is really wonderful!

But in this post we want to go further to see even more profound aspects of Christ’s death. We also want to consider how Christ’s death can applied in our Christian life—every day.

Now let’s consider three aspects of Christ’s death that we can apply every day!

3 Aspects of Christ’s Death We Can Apply Every Day

The Gospel of John presents at least three aspects of Christ death and each of them is full of application to our Christian life. In the following sections I’ll follow the sequence of a hymn of praise on Christ’s death that touches these three aspects found in John’s Gospel.

The Lamb of God — The Redeeming Aspect — John 1:29

In this verse, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the people of Israel by declaring,

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

This word would remind them of the lamb of the passover (Exo. 12:3). Each year the Jews were charged by God to keep the passover in the first month of their sacred calendar (Lev. 23:5).  Experiencing Christ as our passover is also the beginning of our “sacred calendar.” This is the starting point for our Christian journey (1 Cor. 5:7). I believe most Christians are quite familiar with this aspect.

We need to praise the Lord Jesus that He died as God’s redeeming Lamb, bearing all our sins away (Isa. 53:7). His righteous act brought us God’s eternal redemption.

Stanza One – The Lamb of God

The first stanza of this hymn of praise focuses on Christ’s death as the Lamb of God:

Lamb of God so pure and spotless,
Lamb of God for sinners slain.
Thy shed blood has wrought redemption.
Cleansing us from every stain.
Lamb redeeming, Lamb redeeming.
Bearing all our sins away,
Bearing all our sins away!

But do you realize that beholding the Lamb of God is not just for the start of your Christian journey?

We need to behold the Lamb of God every day. We need to come to the Lord Jesus every time we sense the guilt of sin or the accusation of Satan.

Christ’s blood is available to us every moment. For more appreciation of the precious blood of Christ, I recommend a thoughtful reading of a booklet by that title found at ministrybooks.org.

In order to maintain our fellowship with God we need to learn how to apply the blood of Jesus, God’s Lamb (1 John 1:7).  We can do this by confessing our sins and anything that insulates us from God. God’s word in 1 John 1:9 promises,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For this practice, it is good to spend private times with the Lord. Especially in the morning and evening, take time to confess any sins or failures you sense under His shining and ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you with His precious blood.

The Bronze Serpent — The Satan-destroying Aspect — John 3:14

In John 3:14-15  the Lord Jesus said,

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so also must the Son of Man be lifted up that everyone who believes into Him may have eternal life.

Like Nicodemus in John 3, we may feel that we are inherently good and simply in need of the better teachings of Jesus in order to improve ourselves. However, Jesus used the case of the bronze serpent lifted up in Numbers 21:4-9 to illustrate our true condition.

We don’t just make mistakes requiring forgiveness and cleansing. We’re poisoned with the venomous nature of the old serpent, Satan. For this we need Christ as the bronze serpent.

As the bronze serpent, Christ’s death destroyed that old serpent, Satan, and dealt with the serpentine nature within man (Heb. 2:14).

Read more at: https://holdingtotruth.com/2019/04/03/aspects-christs-death-hymn-praise/