Prior to the service on Sunday and after Sunday’s service I heard from some of our members significant feedback about interest in the current sermon series, Living, Dying and Healing. We began the series this past Sunday with a very upbeat tone by focusing on the topic of Heaven. We covered some of the blessings we believe the Bible teaches we will experience in heaven. The greatest experience will be to fully and completely encounter God. Read Revelation 4:2-8 and you’ll find a great description that prepares us for how wonderful heaven will be. This coming Sunday we’ll focus on the topic of death. I know bringing up this topic is about as exciting as hearing there is a new broccoli cookbook available. However, since all of us will experience death and all of us have experienced the death of someone we love, we’ll examine passages about death. Pastor John Piper spoke at a conference for new ministers a few years ago and said to them “Get comfortable with death. Death is always at your door. Everyone is one heartbeat away from death. Read about death a lot, so when death strikes, the members you care for can turn to you for help and comfort.” As Christians, death is to be put into perspective based on the death and resurrection of Jesus. We need to take time to consider what the Bible teaches about death to help us build a perspective that is true; not just wishful thinking or escapism. We need a biblical perspective about death that can speak to our questions such as what does the Bible teach happens to us when we die? Many of us have heard stories of loved ones who near the end of their lives, claimed they saw angels or loved ones who had already died. As Christians, should we believe such experiences as these are true or at least possible? My professor of preaching in seminary stressed to our class of ministers more than once some instructions about conducting funerals. He especially stressed for us to keep the funeral sermon brief. He said, “The immediate family of the deceased is numb with grief and chances are at the funeral service, they will hear very little of what you say Don’t add to their pain with a long message even though you’re trying to comfort them.” I think it’s much better to consider before the storm of grief strikes what the Bible teaches will happen to us. It is important to what the Bible teaches so as we hear the experiences of others concerning death, we can do our best to come to believe what is true. The Apostle Paul said it well in 1 Corinthians 15:51, when as he discusses the resurrection from the dead he said, “Behold I will show you a mystery…” We cannot totally erase the mystery of death this side of heaven, but we can use the scripture as a light to provide careful consideration and face the final step in life with courage and hope. Hope to see you this Sunday.
It’s All About Him