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View from Death's Door - Part 1 - Part A

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August 10, 2020 2:00 am

View from Death's Door - Part 1 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 10, 2020 2:00 am

Many Christians and non-Christians alike are uninformed or misinformed about death. In the message "View from Death's Door, Part 1," Skip shares some biblical answers for questions you might have about death.

This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.

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The focus of most everyone is what goes on here during this life. But we all know that death is a part of life.

We all know, though rarely do we think about it, we don't like to think it's so unpleasant that one day the future real estate will occupy is in our own homes with an acre or two or much smaller, but just a little plot of land six feet underground. We'll be there, our bodies, unless the Lord returns anytime soon, we'll be there for a long time. There are a lot of opinions about what happens when we die, but there's only one authoritative source on the subject. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip gives you biblical answers to common questions about death and the afterlife. But before we begin, here's a great resource that tells a compelling story and explores affairs in the Middle East. Here is Skip with Joel Rosenberg to talk about this month's offer, Joel's book, The Jerusalem Assassin. When Joel Rosenberg releases a new book, I can't wait to read it.

He never disappoints. Recently, I was able to talk with Joel about this book from his home in Jerusalem. It's about an American president who's about to roll out his Middle East peace plan.

Joel Rosenberg's novels are dramatic stories ripped from the reality of today's headlines. Wow. A Saudi-Israeli peace plan. That would be huge. That would be historic.

Let's do it. Let's do a summit in Jerusalem. That's the setup of The Jerusalem Assassin.

Hey, what's amazing about that is this is a plausible scenario. The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg is our special offer this month. Your hardcover copy of The Jerusalem Assassin is our thank you gift when you give $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach with Skip Heitzig. So call now to get your copy. 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. I hope you will order your copy of The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg. You'll get a behind the scenes look at global events and you will be supporting our media ministry.

That's 800-922-1888 or online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay. We're in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4 today as we get into the teaching with Skip Heitzig. You know that if you walk into a store where there's magazine racks, there's publications all about life. There's magazines about hobbies, about news, about people, and many of them use the word life.

When I grew up there was boys life and then girls life and then now there's women's life. There's a magazine called Mac Life if you really, really think that Macintosh computers are your life. There's a magazine called Best Life, another one called Natural Life, another one called Vermont Life, and several states have such titles. You'll probably never find a magazine called Death Magazine or Dying Today Magazine or Dead People. You'll find people but it's all of these living people. You'll never find Dead People Magazine or you'll never find one called Victorian Cemeteries or a magazine called Death Week.

You won't find that. It's all about living. It's all about life and the focus of publications, the focus of most everyone is what goes on here during this life. But we all know that death is a part of life.

We all know though rarely do we think about it, we don't like to think it's so unpleasant that one day the future real estate will occupy is in our own homes with an acre or two or much smaller but just a little plot of land six feet underground will be there. Our bodies, unless the Lord returns anytime soon, will be there for a long time. Malcolm Muggeridge used to say when he was living here on earth, he said, I have one foot in heaven and one foot on earth and the foot on earth is on a banana peel.

He knew that life was precarious here. Doesn't matter if we work out, if we eat right, if we take vitamins, count calories, pump iron, stretch our fishes back, eventually we lose that battle and death will overtake us. There's even a Washington DC undertaker that signs all of his correspondence instead of like we write cordially yours, he always ends his letters, eventually yours. Just to remind people where they're all heading. I've done funerals for over 25 years, I've buried hundreds of people, young, younger, middle-aged, old, believers, unbelievers. I've watched many people die over the years including my own mother this last year and I've learned a few things in doing that and in watching people die. I've learned that you want to live in such a way so that when you die, you're going to be missed and you're going to be ready for the future without any regrets and without any longings that you should have done something different for the future.

I heard a story about three guys, they all died in the same auto accident, they were taken up to sort of an eternal holding tank for orientation. They were all asked this question that if during your funeral as people are mourning your loss and they're saying things about you and they're weeping over your casket, what is the one thing you'd like people to say about you? One guy said, well I'd like them to say that I was a wonderful family man and doctor and I was a good man and I was a good family man and doctor. The second guy said, I'd like him to say that I was a great teacher who helped kids out and I loved my wife with all my heart.

The third guy thought about it a while and he said, I think I'd like to hear people say, look he's moving. Now there's a guy who lived with some regrets. There's a guy who didn't want to end it all, he wanted to go back. He lived in ignorance and without any assurance and those are the two things that I want to talk to you about out of this text. I want to talk about the ignorance concerning death and the assurance that as believers we have concerning death. Those two themes emerge side by side in verses 13 through 18 of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. So let's look at those verses together. 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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus. 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. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. And 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words. Now those verses that we just read out of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 will occupy our time this week and next week as we look at a view from death's door. And we want to follow those themes of ignorance and assurance that Paul is writing about. Ignorance concerning death and assurance that we can have concerning death. Because this section will answer many questions that we have.

Questions like we discussed a few of them last week and in that we said we want to answer some of them in this series. What happens at the moment of death? When we die are we unconscious? Are we what some people call in soul sleep? Since Paul says those who sleep in Christ.

Does that mean we're unconscious during that time? When will the resurrection take place? Is it proper to grieve when a Christian when a believer dies? Or though Jesus Christ triumphed over death by resurrection and promises triumph over death to believers. Jesus said whoever believes in me will never die. Why is it the Christians still die? When will death eventually be over with? If what Paul said is correct the last enemy that will be defeated is death. When will that take place? Now just a little background before we jump in and again we're only going to cover part of this tonight not the whole thing.

It'll take at least two weeks to get through it. But here's the deal. Paul on his second trip we called it his second missionary journey stopped by the town of Thessalonica and there for three successive weekends Sabbath days he preached the gospel in the synagogue. People came to faith in Christ. Because of an uproar a persecution that took place Paul had to for his own life get out of town.

But a body of believers was established there saved from the Greco-Roman pagan world. Now they're believers in Christ. Paul had been telling them that Jesus Christ is going to come back be ready for him he could come at any moment. But time passed and during that time relatives friends loved ones died and now they're worried. And Paul gets wind of the idea the fact that they're worried.

They're worried because wait a minute if Jesus is going to come back and start his kingdom again here what about my friends what about my relatives those who have died will they miss out on all of that? They were panicking because some of the people that they thought would share in that glory have died and so he writes about that. So let's consider tonight the ignorance of death and again look at verse 13.

That's where we want to camp tonight. I do not want you to be ignorant brethren concerning those who have fallen asleep lest you sorrow as those who have no hope. Now something that Paul does bring up in this verse that that I do want you to notice is just how widespread ignorance of death is. He's writing to Christians and he says I don't want you to be ignorant brethren who are brethren brethren are Christian believers.

Now you don't tell somebody look I'm writing because I want to dispel your ignorance unless there is a level of ignorance among those you're writing to. So even though they were believers in Christ there was a level of ignorance about death that they held and it hasn't ceased from that time onward. I read a story about a man who got up every morning and read the newspaper but he'd always read the obituaries first every day he read the obituaries. Finally he turned to one of his relatives and he says I just can't figure out how it is that people can die in alphabetical order. Well non-Christians and Christians are uninformed or misinformed when it comes to death and dying.

I've always loved the little quip about the four year old boy with his dad on the beach four year old boy grabs dad his dad's a Christian man been in the church a long time and the little boy brought his dad over to a dead seagull and said what happened here and the dad came up with the dad explanation. The bird died and went to heaven and so the little boy looked down and looked up at his dad and finally said well then why did God throw him back down? I think that's an excellent question if we're going to explain it like that. We sometimes don't do a whole lot better when it comes to explaining death and the afterlife. Okay the people in Thessalonica were surrounded by a culture of ignorance and I want to explain briefly to you what the Greeks and the Romans thought about death just so you know how important this statement in verse 13 is. Most of you know that the Greek culture was filled with mythology they had several gods in the pantheon of deities that they fought existed and believed in and one of the lesser deities was a god named Thanatos. Thanatos we get the idea of death from that. Thanatos was the personification of death and mortality. Thanatos was the offspring of two gods Nyx and Erebus which means night and darkness and he had a twin brother by the name of Hypnos where the idea of sleep comes from.

According to their mythology Thanatos despised human beings and human beings despised Thanatos and so there are some Greek stories of how certain people cheated Thanatos cheated death and were able to live longer than was expected. Now that's sort of the nutshell of what Greeks believed. The Roman culture displayed as much ignorance as the Greek culture and that's evidenced by reading some of the tombstones you can still find in Rome today. Go down below the city and there's miles of catacombs and many of those graves were filled with the the unbelieving remains of of people who occupied them. Here's a few of the gravestones. Some were apathetic about life and death and on one tombstone it reads I was not, I became, I am not, I care not. Another Roman grave it's on the tombstone reads live for the present hour since there is nothing else and yet another gravestone that expresses some of the religious superstition that some Romans had reads I lift up my hands against the gods who took me away at the age of 20 though I had done no harm. This is what happened when a Roman died. When a Roman citizen died they laid the body out and they put a coin in the body's mouth, the person's mouth. Now the coin was to pay the fare to a deity called Charon who was the sort of the the guardian in the underworld, the ferryman in the underworld who would convey the person's soul across a river. The river Stux and your soul would take the journey across the river where you would be met by three judges who would demand an account of your life.

Three would be impartial. If you were a warrior or a hero your soul was sent to a place called the Elysian fields or sort of an ancient view of paradise. If you were an honorable citizen your soul would be ushered somewhere else. If you really perturbed the gods then you would pay for your misdeeds.

You pay off the debt to society only for a period of time. There was never a thought of eternal punishment in the Roman world. So that's the ideology some of them that these Thessalonians were surrounded with. So it helps to know that when you read this verse I don't want you to be ignorant brethren concerning those who have fallen asleep lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. The Greco-Roman world was empty, hopeless, bankrupt when it comes to anything eternal. And young believers in Thessalonica though they heard the gospel and rejoiced in salvation and were told that Jesus was going to come they thought he's going to come like tomorrow like next week or like next month and then months go on and then people die and they wonder well now what's going to happen are they going to cease to exist that's what we've always been taught or have they been taken somewhere else. Those are the kind of questions that filled their minds so the ignorance was pretty widespread. Now that ignorance continues today in our modern sophisticated educated world both among believers as well as in the secular world. I think you know a lot of them already. Ask the average person about death, heaven, hell, afterlife and they'll probably say things like well all you got to do to go to heaven is just die and that's what I've noticed at funerals there's a person who lived his whole life without any thought about God at all suddenly when they die there's some preacher who will say wonderful things and now they're in heaven so all you got to do to get to heaven is die or people will say well if you're good enough you'll get to heaven all good people go to heaven or everybody goes to heaven you know you'll never hear anybody stand up at a funeral and say today we're remembering somebody who's not in heaven you'll never see that at a funeral it'd be very disturbing to see it and yet Jesus taught that only very few people go to heaven right said broad is the way that leads to destruction and many enter therein narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and only a few enter therein so what do people think well the materialist believes in extinction you live you die there's nothing else no hope to look forward to no afterlife nothing at all make the best of it because after death you just cease to exist in complete unconsciousness others who are a little more superstitious more along the new age lines will teach absorption that we're all part of a divine cosmic mind they'll even call it the christ mind and we'll all merge back into that united mind whatever that means though I've read stuff I still don't get what they mean by it in other parts of the world people hold to an animistic belief tribal religions that when you die your soul stays on earth or goes to the underworld where you merge with the souls of your ancestors and you forever eternally wander without any joy without any sorrow at all hindus believe in reincarnation that's a pantheistic world view says the soul is recycled from one form to another it's become very popular in our culture though even in my unbelieving days it did not seem attractive to me the idea of coming back here and going through certain experiences again was not attractive to me I don't want to go through diapers again I don't want to do another first date ever again I don't want to have to take high school English ever again there's just certain things I'd like to just not do been there done that got the t-shirt it's over one of the big causes of ignorance in our culture over the last several years I'll say 30 years is a thing called near-death experiences which used to be more prominent doctors will say you you read less of them because people are more drugged and sedate when they approach death than they were back then but there are several books about that especially from the past Raymond Moody wrote a book called life after life where he interviews several people who have similar experiences they die they're pronounced dead they even hear the word death and death and death even hear the pronouncement of their own death they're out of their body in this temporary state they meet friends they meet relatives and and some of them even most of them even talk about this being of great light that they saw who accepted them no matter how they live no matter what they had done this being of great light is waiting for them of course I cringe when I read that because the Bible does say that Satan is an angel of light and he masquerades as such and he would love people to live in a cavalier nonchalant way all through their life with no worry about eternity at all probably the most famous books was on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 straight weeks was a book years ago by a woman named Betty Edie a book called embraced by the light and one of the unique things about her experience is she said she saw herself pronounced dead she went out of her body and she met Jesus Christ she said but when you read her account it's not the Jesus Christ of the New Testament in fact this Jesus says we're not sinful people that need redemption in fact all of us were spirit beings that actually helped God in the original creation of the earth so you have a lot of these stories where people read and go wow here's a person who's been there they were on the threshold they saw and now they wrote about it but you're only getting part of the picture you're not getting all of those other experiences that nobody wants to write about you go what are you talking about well there was a book put out by a cardiologist named Dr. Morris Rollings associate professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee he was not a believer at all in anything supernatural didn't believe in heaven didn't believe in hell until he watched hundreds of his own patients die and come back and he wrote a book called beyond death's door in which he wrote among other things these words I'm thoroughly convinced that there is life after death and that there are at least as many going to hell as going to heaven the turning point in my own concepts occurred when a patient experienced cardiac arrest and dropped dead right in my office of course that alone didn't change my thinking but the fact that this 48 years old 48 year old was screaming these words I'm in hell keep me out of hell each time he responded to resuscitation efforts did cause me some concern and then he wrote about 50 percent of the revived persons told of having gone to a place of great darkness not light filled with grotesque moaning and writhing bodies crying out to be rescued from this place with overwhelming feeling of eerie nightmarish terror that's Skip Heitziging with a message for you from the series from the edge of eternity right now here's Skip to tell you how your support helps keep these messages coming your way and connects more people to god's word as believers we're called to encourage teach and share christ with one another that's the sole purpose of this radio ministry we want to connect you and as many people as we can to jesus through these bible-based messages and your partnership helps make that possible please consider partnering with this ministry today through a generous gift to keep these teachings coming to you and others here's how you can do that visit connect with Skip dot com slash donate to give your gift today that's connect with Skip dot com slash donate or call 800-922-1888 again that's 800-922-1888 coming up tomorrow Skip heitzig encourages you on the subject of death with the special promise of life that christ gives you immediately upon death your soul is perfected in holiness your old sin nature is eradicated boy i i hope you think that's good news what that means to us is the fight is over completely over there's no struggle anymore with flesh and blood with temptation make a connection make a connection at the foot of the crossing cast all burdens on his word make the connection is on his word make the connection connection connect with Skip Heitzigen is a presentation of connection communications connecting you to god's never changing truth in ever-changing times
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-25 15:39:07 / 2024-03-25 15:48:05 / 9

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