Death

Posted on 03/08/2015 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
With Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
Lift my hands and raise my voice
You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice


EVEN THE MOUNTAINS

We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high

Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name

I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above


JESUS I ADORE YOU

Father, I adore you
Lay my life before you
How I love you

Spirit...
Jesus...


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Well, the title of today's message
probably won't generate a lot of views
on YouTube, unless you count
those who would label their selves
as Gothic. But it's a subject
we all have to face
sooner or later.

"Death."

A friend might die.

Or a family member.

Or you might face
our own imminent death.

And that thought
scares people.

A lot.

We don't want
to think about it.

We turn away
our eyes.

We put makeup
on the deceased
to hide the fact

that their body
is just an empty shell;

an empty shell,
that is dissolving.


In the movies,
we love
happy endings.

There are struggles,
obstacles to overcome,
but at the end,
they walk down the isle,
and as their limosine,
covered with decorations
and the words,
"Just Married,"
drives into the sunset,
the credits start to roll.

But in reality,
marriage is not the end
of their earthly story.

The end of the movie
we like to call "life,"
is laid to rest
in the cold, moist earth,
and the body decays,
and returns to the dust
from whence it came.


And you know what?

That is a beautiful thing.


There is mourning
and deep sorrow
for the ones left behind.

But this too shall pass.


Psalm 116:15 (NKJV) says this:

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.


Precious.

That word "precious"
comes from the
Hebrew word
rqy yaqar (yaw-kawr')
which means:

Valuable.
Excellent.
Brilliant.
Prized.


So when one of
God's beloved
leaves his or her
body behind,

That is valuable.
That is excellent.
That is brilliant.
That is highly prized.

Why do you suppose that is?

Is God happy
at His gain,
despite our loss?

God isn't petty
like one of us.

And besides,
He is with us
while our body lives.

It is His temple,
after all.

Of course,
during earthly life,
most of us
keep our attention
trapped in
the earthly mind.

So while He
clearly sees
the real us,
we don't
truly see Him.

So our death
would be
OUR gain,
not His.


Precious is the death,
valuable is the death,
excellent is the death,
brilliant is the death,
prized is the death,
of His beloved.


As Jen, Mariposa, mentioned,
her stepfather passed away
on February 18th
due to cancer.

But most of those
who said their goodbyes,
knew it wasn't really
"goodbye,"
but
"see you later."


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV) says this:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


So when someone
who has put all
their trust in Jesus
leaves this earth,
we do not mourn
for them, as though
something bad
has happened
to them.

Instead,
we mourn
for ourselves.

For our
temporary loss.

We do not
mourn the dead;

instead, we
mourn the living.


Now, I realize that
not everyone who
you know and love
who dies,
appears to have
put their trust
in Jesus.

How can we
cope with
THEIR passing?


Well, let's consider
the two thieves
who were crucified,
one on either side
of Jesus.

You probably know
the story well.

Let's read about it, from
Luke 23:39-43 (NKJV)

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."
42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

The thief who believed
didn't have time
to get baptised,
or to become
a member of
his local church.

He didn't have time
to be taught theology,
or to understand
the doctrines
surrounding Salvation.

But God granted him
divine revelation
of who Jesus was.

And he put his trust
in Him.

That's all that was required.


How can we possibly know
what goes on
in a person's heart
as they begin to slip
from this world?

If they trust in Jesus
even with their dying breath,
they are secure.


But what about
the OTHER thief?

We generally assume
he ended up in hell.


Well, let's consider
two things.


FIRST:

While it is indeed dreadful
for anyone to end up
in hell,

and we know it is
not God's will that
ANY should perish,
but that ALL
should come to
know Him,

at the same time,
it is perfect justice.

It is a righteous end.

Any other end for them
would be unrighteous,
and unjust.


Not because they're
any worse than we.

But because God
is Holy and Just.

And God is not
Holy and Just, but
ALSO Loving;

Rather,
God IS Love,
and His Holiness
and His Justice
are just PARTS
of the LOVE
that HE IS.


That baffles the mind.

But the mind cannot
truly know Love,
any more than it can
truly know God.

And when its ideas
about Love, its
definitions of Love,
its mental concepts
about Love,
come into contact
with the stories
surrounding God,
and His Justice,
the mind rebels.

Let it.

Come out of the mind,
and into Presence,
and your confusion
will disappear.


And SECOND:

We do not and
can not know
where the other thief
ended up.

Any more than
we know know
that hell is the home
of Hitler,
Stalin,
or your loved one
who, to your knowledge,
never accepted Christ.

Why assume?


Why dwell
on the unknown?


We DO know this:

- God is good.
- God is Love.
- God's judgments are perfect.
- God's decisions are beyond reproach.
- God's Presence is our Home.
- God's Presence is Eternal Life.


Okay. So back to death.

Why do we fear it?

Isaiah 15:54b-55 (NKJV) says this:

54b "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

But we still don't want to think about it.

Why?

It is because we are
attached to the things
of this earth.

We have not
fully surrendered
to true Life.

We are attached
to things that
are passing away.

There is no peace there.
There is no security there.
There is no true joy there.

Your body was born,
and your body will die.

You will leave your body
just as surely as
you put it on;

Like a piece of clothing,
that becomes old and worn;

You were never meant
to wear it forever.

Your body will take
its last breath,
and you will leave.

The body you leave behind
will rot and decay,
as all flesh does.

The nutrients it leaves behind
will be used by various
forms of life, from
the earth worms that
till and enrich the soil,
to grass and flowers
and bushes and trees;

and the oxygen they exhale
will enter the lungs of
man and beast alike,
as it circulates
through their bodies,
giving them life;

and those bodies
some day too
will die.


Don't be afraid to
contemplate the
temporary nature
of your own flesh.

When you cease
to be so attached
to everything you
must leave behind,
you will find Peace.


Some people find
their deepest Peace
as they are on
their death bed.

They finally face
the inevidibility
of the passing
of their physical form,
and they stop fighting
it, and they let go
of that which is
fading away.


The sad thing is not
that people die;

The sad thing is that
most people
never truly live.


As long as you are
holding onto the
temporal things
of this earth,
including

your body,
your possessions,
your relationships,
your titles,
your education,
your beliefs,
your thoughts,
your mind-made self;

as long as you are
attached to these things,
and you take them
to be solid, lasting
reality, and you
imagine them to
be your life,

then you will not
and can not
be truly at Peace.

Nor can you find
true Joy.


Perhaps that is why,
in deep times of
worship, as the Spirit
of God descends in
a way that cannot
be easily denied,
Peace and Joy
can be experienced,
even if for only
a brief period of time.

And this is ultimately
what makes the death
of God's beloved
so wonderful.

And if you die
while you are
still alive,
die to attachment
to that which
is passing away;

how precious,
how valuable,
how excellent,
how prize, and
how bursting with light,

that is.


In closing, let me
leave you with this:


Don't wait for
some other time,
before you consider
what you will do
with Jesus.

Don't assume that
you will be able
to surrender to Him
at the last moment.

Do you want Peace?

Do you want Joy?

Any sane person does.

But most people
on earth today
are insane.

Most people
are like mice
running on a wheel,
never really
going anywhere
at all; passing
the same points,
the same thoughts,
the same reactions,
the same excuses,
the same conditionings,
the same delusions,
over and over
and over again.

Step out of the wheel.

And dwell in Life.