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November 28, 2021 3:00 am
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“My heart pounds in my chest; the terror of death assaults me.”
David in Psalm 55:4 (NLT)
“…[God] has planted eternity in the human heart….”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
“…[Jesus] set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”
Hebrews 2:15 (NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NLT)
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:11 (NIV)
“…Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?...Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55,57 (NIV)
“…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
Luis Palau’s message to Christians: “Go for it!”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6: 23 (NLT)
Luis Palau’s message to others: “Don’t be stupid!”
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Hey there, thanks for listening to the great glory part just a ministry supported by harvest partners on Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. To learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org by Emily Strobel. It's great to be with you at home with harvest and I like to begin by asking you kind of an odd question. Does your dog hide under the bed. On 4 July is a good chance the death of others and the reason is about 1/3 of dogs have a condition called photophobia which is a fear of the sound of fireworks and so they freak out on 4 July infected you know that more dogs run away from home on 4 July than any other day of the year. Now we may think that's kind but you know what human beings have our own phobias as well and some of them sound a little strange for since there's a phobia called a Triscuit deck of phobia. That's the fear of the number 13 others on fellow phobia. That's a fear of needles.
There's turtle phobia. That's the fear of cheese guy. I can understand not liking cheese but actually some people have a fear of literal fear of cheese. There's a glob of phobia. That's the fear of the sound of balloons popping and here's what I've got Nama phobia is the fear of being without cell phone coverage. I think I've got them. There's even photophobia, which is the fear of developing a phobia so there's all kinds of phobias of people have. But there's another one that is extremely prevalent but a lot of people just don't want to talk about it and that friends is the fear of death, the fear of death and Becky Bruce to verse 15 says people can actually become enslaved to the fear of death, even the King David fear death at times in Psalm 55. He describes out his enemies are harassing him. In verse four he says my heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me so you know you may not want to dwell on it even though it's uncomfortable topic. Maybe, just maybe, the fear of death is your greatest fear and you know the pandemonium has surfaced this and a lot of people, a psychiatrist at Stanford University said we can never completely subdue death anxiety.
It's always there, lurking in some hidden revealing of the mind. I remember when I was an atheist.
I used to think that you know when I die, it's sort of like the light going out the refrigerator when you close a door boom you just sort of snuffed out of existence forever, and when you really consider that it's a frightening prospect. It really is will the Old Testament, the Bible says in ecclesia.
Ecclesiastes 3 verse 11 that God has planted eternity in the human heart that he were there.
It's it's kind of obscure but most scholars say that this refers to God putting a desire in us to live forever, and as a result a lot of people try to somehow achieve in more immortality without God. By creating a legacy you're leaving a mark on the world through their achievements. When my new book is the case, for heaven, a journalist investigates evidence for life after death and I exploring that book, the evidence from neuroscience and near-death experiences in various other areas that show that the biblical teaching about life after death really does make sense, but I also have a chapter in this book about this fear of death, and for that chapter. I interviewed an expert on this topic. His name is Dr. Clay Jones. He's written a book called immortal and he talked to me about several ways that people try to escape this fear of dying, how to cope with it. First he said there's denial, denial, how many times do we go to a funeral and the unspoken thing we never say it, but the unspoken thing is we leave.
The funeral is poor.
Uncle Bob and uncle Bob.Gladys never to happen to me but poor uncle Bob. We think that somehow were the exception. We think that somehow you know if science keeps advancing if medicine keeps making progress.
Then doctors are going to be able to cure anything. By the time I'm ready to die course that's ridiculous is just wishful thinking. Death has 100% rate everyone dies effect get this this is this is sobering. Just during the time it will take to deliver this message. 3710 people around the planet are going to die 3710 people will die just during this message, so denying death that done really do anything.
Second way people cope with the fear of death is through distraction. Joan said we pay entertainers and sports stars huge amounts of money because they're valuable to us. They divert our attention away from the fact that were going to die and then there's a delay we think somehow if I just eat the right foods. If I just exercise enough. Somehow I'm going to beat that.
And yet, a Harvard demographer calculated that even if we were able to cure all cancers. The average lifespan in America would increase less than three years, we all die of something else. Others try to delay death by having themselves frozen when they die so they can be thought out when a future cure is discovered for whatever it is, a Guild of this is becoming popular in some areas. The problem with this is I don't know if you've ever had a cup glass of ice in your poor Coca-Cola or some sort: over it. When you hear you hear cracking that cracking sound of the ice scientists call that sonic fracturing and guess what, that's what happens the brains and organs.
When you try to froze to thaw them out. That's what happens to them. Nobody knows how to fix that one cryonics company suggested maybe you can, so the parts back together, glue them back together come out now you got Frankenstein. Another way some people try to deal with death is through depression, especially among those that don't believe in God, I mean if if there is a God. If Christian is true there's hope. Without God, there's really no hope. One atheist wrote this in a national publication. He said depression is a serious problem in the greater atheist community, and far too often that depression has led to suicide is that this is something many of my fellow atheists don't like to admit, but it's true. On the other hand, recent research at Harvard University, shows that attendance at religious services dramatically reduces depression related deaths from suicide, drugs and alcohol by 33% among men, and by 68% among women with God friends there's hope, there's hope other people try to cheat death by living on through a legacy be remembered for something great that they did so in a positive sense. This can lead to people designing great buildings and wonderful cathedrals are writing profound books or painting masterpieces so that somehow the be remembered through history, but in a negative sense.
This can prompt others to commit horrible crimes just so their names will live on Francis. Why did Mark David Chapman kill John Lennon when he said why he said he wanted a piece of Lennon's fame. He told the parole board that bright light of fame, of infamy and notoriety was there.
I just couldn't resist other seek immortality through their families in the hope that their name and in their memory will at least kept alive through their descendents, but that doesn't work very well either. Let me ask a question, do you know the names of your great great grandparents their full names, first name, what do you know the names of your great that you don't. I don't know the names of my great-great-grandparents this now that I've asked lots of people's question, virtually no one knows the names of the great-great-grandparents.
Besides, even if you do remember their names. You probably don't care very much about it. So much for living on through your family and let's face it, fame is fleeting. The artist Andy Warhol once said, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes and then a few years ago a commercial on television, said somebody once said everyone will be famous for 15 minutes actually removed his name even his fame didn't last very long so it's a challenge to try to deal with our fear of death apart from God. One physician wrote in psychology today.
I've tried to resolve my fear of death in election intellectually and come to the conclusion that it cannot be done at least by me in his book a Clay Jones sums up the atheistic story of dying without God. This way is that when you die, your consciousness will cease. Your body will then decay, where as the first song goes, the worms crawl in the worms crawl out the worms play pinochle on your snout. You have no hope of reuniting with loved ones. You will never again enjoy other people or sunsets or beaches or breakers redwoods or mountains or roses or anything else for that matter soon soon everyone is going to forget you. But even if you do become a footnote of history doesn't really matter. You're still dead. That's a pretty good summary of the atheist view of death. So what's the answer what the Bible provides it in Hebrews chapter 2 verse 15 where it says Jesus set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
In other words, Jesus is the answer to our fear of death.
A robust view of Jesus and who he is and what he is done that France is the antidote to our fear of death to see.
In contrast to the hopelessness that offered by atheism.
Jesus offers the best possible outcome for his followers after they die reveling in God's presence reuniting with loved ones living without tears without struggles without fears experiencing a wondrous world of adventure and excitement and exploration and satisfaction and joy and contentment. Finding love forever.
No wonder that even the atheist philosopher Luc ferry conceded this, I grant you that amongst the available doctrines of salvation. Nothing can compete with Christianity, provided that is that you are a believer and I'm convinced that it is rational to believe in the Christian worldview. I've written several books that talk about the historical evidence of Jesus not only claim to be the son of God, but he back that up by returning from the dead, strong historical data showing that Jesus did indeed conquer the grave and thus prove that he is who he claimed to be, and therefore that means his view of the afterlife is definitive. He created the afterlife, so we'll listen to what he says about it and this is what he told his followers in John 14 is don't let your hearts be troubled another 10 guys don't fear death. Trust in God, trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my father's home. If this were not so what I've told you that I'm going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready I will come and get you so you will always be with me where I am.
I love how he uses this metaphor of home to talk about heaven or if you've ever traveled maybe in 1/3 world country may be under difficult circumstances. I remember spending quite a bit of time in India many years ago and it was in a rural area very primitive area. Conditions were harsh, as sleeping on the ground. The food was very alien to me.
Very different was that what I was use to and after several weeks of this and living out of a backpack begin to long for home you get this homesickness and when you finally get home. When he walked in the door when you crawl into your own bed. It is such a sense of security and warmth and love and contentment.
And Jesus is saying that's the metaphor I want you to remember about heaven that it's a whole that's here only in this world for short time you're going to be in your home in heaven for eternity and it is a home that reflects those characteristics of security and love and comfort and joy and fulfillment and satisfaction was. I was writing my book on heaven.
I did something kind of and usually I flew out to Portland, Oregon to spend the day with the hero of mind.
A friend of mine. An individual who was the one of the great evangelists of our time.
His name is Luis Palau and through his rallies and through his books and radio media activity, and so forth. During his lifetime Luis Palau shared the message of Jesus Christ with a billion people billion people, but he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and he was going to die. He knew he was going to die. He knew he was headed for heaven. I wanted to spend the day with him is his last interview before he died, because I wanted to see what's it like for someone who knows about to leave for heaven.
And we we had a incredible day of very deep and profound conversations and I asked him that day. Do you fear death to fear death and a thought for a moment. He said you know I really don't.
He said I'm so convinced from Scripture that when I close my eyes for the last time in this world I go to be with God's of the apostle Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and he recalled how his father was a devout Christian.
They lived in South Argentina.
He died when Luis was just 10 years old and just before dying just before he passed from this world. His father suddenly sat up in bed and began to sing a hymn about heaven bright crowns up there bright crowns for you and me and then his head fell back on the pillow and he pointed upward and he said I'm going to be with Jesus and then quoting Paul's words in Philippians, he said, which is better by far.
Luis told me you know my dad taught me how to die with a hymn in my heart, and with Scripture on my lips and that's how Luis died a short time later how he at age 85 pass from this world in the heaven receipt was Jesus who released him and his dad from this fear of death and Luis told me that Jesus is the first person he wants to see in paradise. He said the first thing I'll do is fall before him with a heart overflowing with gratitude and praise. He said he wanted to meet the great heroes of the faith you want to see the throne of God.
He said Lee just read Revelation chapter 4.
He said it's magnificent it's it's breathtaking it'll blow your mind. The one sitting on the throne has the appearance of jasper and Ruby there is a rainbow shining like an emerald.
There are flashes of lightning and peals of thunder. There's a sea of glass, clear as crystal. There 24 elders in fantastic creatures with everyone praising the Lord, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty said how much of that is literal how much of it is a word picture to point us to something we can even comprehend. At this point said well you know what, I can't wait to find out and then he said Lee I wish I could send you a text message from heaven, and tell you all about it because I know the journalist in you would want every detail that's true. I was a good friend. Why was Luis able to conquer his fear of death was a because he was a great evangelists to who had earned enough brownie points with God because he spent his whole life sharing the gospel with a billion people around the planet. Did he do enough to earn his way to heaven is that why he no longer fear death. No use because of what Jesus did. First John 511 says God has given us eternal life in this life is in the sun see Luis was a sinner just like I'm a sinner just like you're a sinner but Jesus went to the cross as his substitute to pay for all of the sins that he committed in his life. He paid the penalty so Luis didn't have to and he offered forgiveness and eternal life is a free gift of his grace and Luis in gratitude and enjoy an appreciation confessed his sin received this free gift of God's grace. That's why he had confidence he was going to go to heaven to gift I've received.
I hope it's a gift you've received so few fear death, meditate on versus about this message of hope versus like first Corinthians 15 verse 57. This is where old death, is your victory where old death, is your sting. Thanks be to God. He gives us the victory. How through our Lord Jesus Christ. One of my favorite verses first Corinthians 2 verse nine that says no.
I have seen, no ear has heard no mine has ever even conceived of what God has prepared for those who love it.
We can't even imagine how God in his love is going to provide an eternity for us that will blow our minds when we talk about the glory and the adventure and the wonder and the joy of the life the convent, the prospect of leaving this life becomes less onerous would begin to like Luis anticipate what awaits us. After the grave knowing I was talking Luis. I estimate all series and I said you know what if you could send a text message back from heaven. What if you could from heaven after there for a while, you send a text message back to all the Christians in the world. What do you think that text message would say in Luis thought about it for a moment and then he said, I think it would say go for it if I live, I though I don't even go for.
He said take a risk. Tell others about the good news of Christ should remember it's the job of the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sin. He's your partner, let him do his work in them.
You bring them the best news on the planet that there's redemption that there's a relationship with God that there's heaven that there's an eternal property that is waiting for them and he told me how when he was a new Christian in Argentina. His mother, who was a widow at that point would urge him to take the gospel to the small towns around where they lived in a rural area.
He said she kept encouraging me and pushing me she's a go go go go out of reach people with the good news.
But he said I was slow to step out in faith, I say to her mom. I'm waiting for the call and then she got upset. She said to me he said to me she said the call. The call. The call went out 2000 years ago. Luis, the Lord's waiting for you to answer your not waiting for his call and he said she was right to the Bible makes our task clear.
Go out and reach people with the gospel, whether friends or family members or neighbors collies just people we meet along the road of life that should be the default assignment for all of us. The absence of a specific call should never be an excuse for inaction.
And then he said something on never forget.
He looked at me, knowing he had just days to live a looked at me sadly I can tell you something.
From personal experience that at the end of your life.
When all is said and done, you will never regret being courageous for Christ. You'll never regret being courageous for Christ. You'll never regret seizing an opportunity to share the gospel with someone you never look back at that's all I wish I had done that and never regret being courageous for Christ friends or if you're a follower of Jesus. Have you been courageous for him. If you really are you taking social risks by telling other people. The good news. Are you looking for opportunities praying for opportunities to share the message when you say in a moment when the time seems right and in and there seems to be an opportunity less than what a restaurant recently and we got in a conversation with the waitress and because a covert she's terribly afraid of of death and she said how do you deal with it and I said you know I find hope in the Bible but but I said I know the Bible is a big book. It's over 800,000 words is a lot to understand in it, but I said would you be interested if I could summarize the essential message of the Bible want you to know in just 21 words one verse from the Bible summarize what the Bible want you to know.
Would you be interested yeah that would be interesting. Well, and I recited Romans 623 for the wages of sin is death by the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. I said the wages of sin is death. What we've heard what we deserve for our sin for the way we rebel against God and and and and and not follow his ways and rejected him. The wages of that the results are that the consequence of that is death, which is eternal separation from God. You don't want that thought the three gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
He went to the cross. He paid the penalty for all your sin so that you don't have to any offers forgiveness and eternal life is a free gift of his grace, and like any gift you just have to receive it you receive it in repentance and faith in you become a child of God, knowing that when you die when your eyes closed for the last time in this world you will open them in the presence of God forever. So here's an idea is a challenge for you if you're a follower of Jesus Christ. Why don't you memorize that first. Romans 623 for the wages of sin is death by the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. What you memorize that kind of a one verse of evangelistic tool you can keep in your head and pray for opportunities you can share it with someone just this coming week because if you're ready and you're willing to share that.
Guess what God is able to use that to change people's lives and eternal destinations will then I asked Luis one last thing I said Luis if you can send back another message from heaven to people who are not followers of Jesus.
What you think you'd say in that message and he thought about it for a moment.
Then he said, Lee. I think I tell them, don't be stupid and we laughed as he met in the most winsome of ways. He had to know the ways he was a very winsome guy. It was not being offensive. The quantity mean adjustment to the do the smart thing to do the smart thing he sadly don't pass up what God is offering out of his love and grace why you embrace evil when goodness beckons.
Why turn your back on heaven and choose hell, why expose yourself to the harmful side effects of a sinful life when you can follow God's path of righteousness and healing. He said, don't miss the party that God has waiting for you in heaven. That's a party. By the way that right at this moment Luis is enjoy friends is easy to die. Now I know it's not my mom went through a prolonged bout with cancer before she died but guess what Jesus walked her through that experience and today many years later, after all these years of being in God's perfect presence in heaven. I would suspect that that difficult time of her death has just faded to her to insignificance. In light of the glory of heaven is natural that we want to leave our loved ones, that we may have trepidation over the death process itself. I get that. And you know what Jesus gets that and that's why Jesus promises to be with us to help us to guide us to encourage us to to give us the strength that we need.
Deuteronomy 316 said this in a different context. But I think it's relevant here to set so be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you friends when you get toward the end of your life. Remember this the best is yet to come. Best is yet to come. Death is merely a doorway to an existence that would be more real, more exciting, more stimulating, more vivid, more satisfying than anything we've experienced in this world. Jesus has flung open the gates of heaven to everyone who comes to him in repentance and faith receives us free gift of forgiveness and eternal life so hope is waiting.
The party is starting the admission is paid. Eternity is hanging in the balance.
Maybe you fear death because you're not sure where you stand with God you confused about that you have apprehension about that your anxiety about that. You know the first verse I ever memorize as a new follower of Jesus is first John 513 says I write these things to you who believe in the name of the son of God in order to may know that you have eternal life guy doesn't want you a sense of anxiety or confusion or apprehension at the end of your life. You can know that your eternity in heaven is secure. How can you know you can know if in a moment in time you will confess your sins you've turned from that you receive God's free gift of grace and when you do that you can have confidence that heaven awaits you. Have you done it will if you haven't IKII couldn't come all the way out here to California and be with you today without offer you an opportunity so if if you want to know for sure. Just like that verse says if you want to have confidence of where you stand with God adopted as a son or his daughter forever, headed for heaven just a minute. Pray a prayer and just in your heart you to sit out loud if you wanted just in your heart. God knows your heart. Just repeat these words I ready you ready are you ready pray these words say Lord Jesus as best I can. I do believe that you are the son of God, you proved it by returning from the dead and right now I confess the obvious that I'm a sinner and I want to turn from that and an attitude of repentance and faith. I want to receive. I want to receive your free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that you purchase for me on the cross.
Thank you for loving me so much. You endured the torture of the cross so we could be reconciled forever help me, Jesus, to live the kind of life that you want me to live because from this moment on I am yours. Pray this in Jesus name, amen.
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