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January 16, 2021 2:00 am
How can mortal man penetrate beyond the grave and find assurance and peace for his own heart? Philosophers won't help--they've been for centuries discussing life and death without any resolve. Scientists don't want to tread into the area of wrestling with such questions. Paul solved the problem when he wrote, "For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord." We don't need to wonder or speculate. Why substitute human speculation when we have divine revelation?
This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
What is the gospel at its core. It's this Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again from the dead. He died securing our salvation. Applying our redemption and that he rose again from the dead, so this is how we know were going to conquer death because the one who said he would do it.
He predicted his death and he predicted his resurrection that he died. Then he rose. So when he makes a promise to us that were going to conquer death. It means something carries way to statistics are often very helpful for putting things into perspective. Did you know that out of the people who are born 100% of them will die.
That's right, the mortality rate of humanity is one death for every one person who's ever more now I know that may seem like a rather morbid thoughts dwell on the floor going to die wouldn't be worthwhile to figure out what happens next well to year and could Skip weekend division Skip Heitzig reminds us that we can have confidence as we face our own mortality because we can know what's coming in the afterlife. Learn more. As we continue this teaching series from the edge of eternity. First, that update from the connect, Skip resource or does God exist, and if he dies. Is it possible to know your answer to those two questions shapes how you see the world skip. I think once wrestled with those very questions himself, you know, I've been teaching the Bible for over three decades before I became a Christian and when I was new to the faith. I studied science and philosophy alongside the Bible as I studied, I grew confident that God does exist. And yes, we can know biography of God. The brand-new book by skip. I think you'll learn to remove the limits you may have placed on your idea of who God is. Everything changes when you acknowledge and believe that God is who he says he hears biography of God is our way to thank you when you give $35 or more today to help expand this vital teaching outreach to more people request your copy when you get online securely connectwithskip.com/offer or call 800-922-1888.
If you have a Bible or mobile device to follow along with today. You want to turn to first Thessalonians chapter 4 as we begin to Skip Heitzig last week I told you about the Greek god Thanatos that was part of the discussion in the ignorance of the early church.
Thanatos was believed to be the God of death and yet the people hated him. They look for all sorts of ways to cheat death to escape death. And so there was a legend of a man who was walking through his city and he came face-to-face with the death and as they passed each other. The creature death looked at the man with a very surprised look. But they pass each other without saying a word.
While the young man who saw dad went to his older, wiser friend and said, what is this mean the older, wiser friend said I think death will call on you and take you away tomorrow. The young man freaked out and said what I got a deal. He said what you need to do is leave town needed to get on your horse and ride as far away from here as you can so the young man got his horse and he rode all evening.
All through the night to the next morning to a very distant town. He got off his horse and that distant town.
He sighed with relief, thinking I've eluted death. Just then he felt a tap on his shoulder and he turned around and it was death who said excuse me, but I've come for you today young man looked very surprised. He said, but I thought I saw you yesterday in my own town that said exactly that's why I look to you so surprised Fry was told to meet you here today in this city you know it is interesting that as Christians we talk a lot about living Christian living, how to live the Christian life, which is so important, we rarely talk about Christian dying, though it will be the fate of us all to the Lord.
Terry Paul found it necessary to do exactly that to dispel the ignorance that was prevalent even in the early church, for in verse 13, Paul says I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep. We talked last week about all of the superstitious thought that the Greeks and the Romans had that would influence the Thessalonian believers.
So how do we as New Testament believers. No with assurance.
What's going to happen. That's where Paul comes in. In verse 15 and says this we say to you by the word of the Lord. The only way we could ever pierce beyond the veil of death and know what's going to happen and have assurance is not by human superstition or imagination, but by divine revelation. So the word of the Lord applied to this area should give us assurance. It's certainly a topic we must deal with, for you know what the Bible says in Hebrews 9 it is appointed to every man to die once and after this the judgment every single day, 365,340 people are born on the Earth. But every single day, 147,276 people died. That means every second. Two people die every hour, 6136 people died and governments around the world are discovering that with this high birth and now death rate.
We have a problem where we put them all word we bury them all their running out of space to bury people down in Brazil one architect just came up with cemetery. That's actually a high-rise building 100 and 3040 some story building that is capable of housing get this hundred and 47,000 corpses. That's the new cemetery. The high-rise the real problem. However, isn't where to put people when they die really the problem according to the Bible is where they go after they die. So we turned once again to first Thessalonians chapter 4 paragraph. We began last week.
You should know that this is a section of the Bible that I at least refer to just about every funeral service because of the great comfort. Notice again.
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, the voice of an archangel with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. 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 know when I do a funeral and I stare out at an audience, a sea of faces.
There's an interesting couple of reactions that I see in that crowd. Sometimes I'll share this section of scriptures and others in your see people nodding something even smiling.
The truth connects with them. It means something there, filled with hope. There filled with comfort, though great sorrow is theirs, but their other faces in that same crowd blank, hopeless in total and utter despair.
These truths do not connect what we want to connect with them because in this section of Scripture.
There are four truths that bring confidence and assurance regarding death thing was Woody Allen who said I'm not afraid to die, just don't want to be there when it happens to this you'll be very there when it happens, you will be way there when it happened. More than that you'll be there after it happens and that's why people are skittish and not everyone finds assurance so let's look at. Once again death for the believer in the assurance we have a death. First of all the assurance that a Christian has a death is based upon redemption.
Look at verse 14 for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again. You believe that you believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again because everything else is attached to that belief. Even so, he continues, God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus and that verse, Paul gives the irreducible core of the gospel.
What is the gospel at its core.
It's this Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again from the dead. He died securing our salvation buying our redemption and then he rose again from the dead, so this is how we know were going to conquer death because the one who said he would do it. Did he predicted his death and he predicted his resurrection. Then he died that he rose so when he makes a promise to us that were going to conquer death. It means something, it carries weight to it. If a guy says don't worry I'm a die and rise again from the dead, so that you all will have life but just died and didn't get up again.
It didn't mean much. It's based upon our redemption. That's why when Jesus said the Martha in John chapter 11 I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live. Now that promise means something because of what he did. Listen to this verse. Its first Corinthians 15 a text that will look at more in depth in future studies.
Paul writes, if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men. The most pitiable but now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of all those who have fallen asleep in him. In other words, his resurrection is the proof and the pledge of our resurrection. It's going to happen because it already happened with him in the year 1506 Christopher Columbus died and he died in town in Spain called via Dolan Spain. That's were there still a monument to Christopher Columbus to this day on the monument is something interesting. I want to describe to you, there's a carved lien tearing away at a word in Latin that once formed the motto for the country of Spain you see before Christopher Columbus in 1492 sailed the ocean blue. The Spaniards believed they reached the end of the world they had seen the outer limits of the earth they discovered all that was discoverable so there motto in Latin was neigh plus ultra which means no more beyond there's nothing beyond this, then Christopher Columbus went and came back and discovered that's what is way more beyond this and so there's a lien tearing out the word Navy from the motto or no. So the motto then read plus ultra there is more beyond and we know it's true because here we are in America is more beyond Spain when they will be in heaven looking at each other going have member that sermons right here we are. There's way more beyond that. No wonder Walter Scott said is death.
The last sleep. Oh no, it is the final awakening so this gives us great assurance it's based upon redemption. Jesus died and rose from the dead.
So we have assurance. The second thing that gives us assurance is that death will be marked by relation, we have a relationship right now if you're a believer you have a relationship with God through his son. The relationship you have now will go on. In fact, it will get better after death. Go back to verse 14 and noticed that little phrase sleep in Jesus that's Christian death somebody who is asleep in Christ. In Jesus and in verse 16. The dead in Christ. Those are words that define relationship your sleep in Jesus you died in Christ and in verse 17 so we will always be with the Lord then go back again to verse 14. Notice God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus that happens at his coming for the church. The rapture will obviously they have to first go to him before they can be with him becomes at this day.
Now, death brings separation.
That's why we weep when somebody dies, there's a separation. First of all there's a separation from the body.
When a person dies their soul is immediately taken into God's presence.
There's consciousness there's awareness, but their body is here. Their spirit or soul goes to be with the Lord there separation of the spirit from the body. There's also separation from loved ones, friends, parents, etc. etc. but there will never be ever be a death for a believer separation from the relationship that person has with God.
In fact, that's when it gets deeper, more intimate much better to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord as the spirit is in God's presence. I was going through a familiar passage this week. John chapter 14 and it struck me how Jesus talked about heaven, you know, the passage said let not your hearts be troubled. Don't be afraid. You believe in God believe also in me. In my father's house there are many mansions of or not so I would've told you I'm going to prepare a place for you in it he did. He didn't refer to it as have an insight in heaven. There are many mansions. He spoke of it in relational terms. My father's house. I like that that's very descriptive to me in my father's house to the greatest thing about heaven is where is heaven exactly or will you tell me what will we be doing in heaven like to play football in heaven or watch football or bring my iPod or whatever repents in heaven. The greatest aspect of heaven isn't where or what, but whom in the greatest whom is your father. It's my father's house.
Dwight L. Moody said it's not the jeweled walls in the pearly gates that are going to make heaven so attractive it's being with God you see folks that's where the relation with God.
It's really intimate that we have a relationship with God. Today we call it a personal relationship that sort of a favorite evangelical watchword. Do you have a personal relationship with God. We understand what that means but honestly how personal can you be with someone you never see the real personal relationship aspect of it will come in eternity. We only experience a level of intimacy then and there been times which greater than others you've had worship services you've gone to her sick man. I felt God's presence so amazing tonight or this morning.
Or maybe you have a devotional time and it's like you connected so close you feel Jesus did say wherever two or three are gathered. I'm I'm in the midst of them, and he also promised low. I am with you always, even to the end of the world, but real total intimacy will never be reached full satisfaction will never be enjoyed until then that's when the relationship really gets close dishonest. Psalm 17 verse 15 said, I will be fully satisfied for I will see you face-to-face. I have a friend is a doctor who actually wrote on a piece of paper and handed it to me, something he read in the graveyard. He was walking by a tombstone at the fella's name on it and then Psalm 1716 and then one big word underneath." Satisfied. There's a man who's now satisfied when this happens when death happens for the Christian there will never again be any distractions that you have to push out of your mind. You know how it is here to endow the Bible your Sonata pray K this is God's time and the phone rings or forget the phone. Your thoughts go to million directions pulling back in concentrator it second service Sunday morning and it's like I can't concentrate with this guy is saying is way out there yet yet to discipline yourself to plug. You'll never again be distracted.
Never again will anything tempt you never will. Anything ever compete for time with God. Never again will you have to close your eyes and concentrate the prayer depend on a certain mood of the worship music will be in his presence.
Face-to-face now want to talk about something in brief that I'll develop in the next several weeks.
At the moment of death at the moment of death, which by the way, the best Bible description that I read about death is James chapter 2 verse 26 says this for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. Think about that first part that defines death, the body without the spirit is dead, and when that happens when a Christian dies today. Their body remains their spirit is gone from the body and goes to be in the presence of God. What is that state like the theologians give that a term they call this the intermediate state. This is before the resurrected body before you get resurrected here in heaven your spirits inevitable it sound like theologians call it funny. Theologians are funny people is like what's the most unattractive term the intermediate state where you going to go to the intermediate state. What are you punished or something. So what is that life will will.
Here's where it gets cloudy and follow me. There's not a whole lot definitive in the Bible about this intermediate state where the spirit leaves the body and goes to be with the Lord. Even Wilbur Smith wrote, however abundant the scriptural data is on the resurrection and life in heaven. The state of the soul between death and resurrection is rarely referred to, she got a cot couple possibilities is to trigger some think some people believe that when a Christian dies and their spirit goes to be with the Lord, the God gives them a temporary form a temporary body before the resurrected body because how can we relate to Christ. How can we relate to each other. Otherwise that's just a thought and a push of cycles will deal with it later. Some people think that when a Christian dies. Their spirit goes to be with the Lord that their soldier spirit takes on some functions like a body or like a form because there is a text one of them. In Revelation chapter 6 says the souls that were under the altar. These were souls. These are people who were killed for their faith in the tribulation. And there souls awaiting resurrection are with the Lord under the altar and the souls under the altar cry out how long, old Lord until you avenge our enemies. So here these souls.
These spirits are able to articulate and feel having some kind of ability like a like a body would all get more on that and in studies to come most important thing to remember since it's getting is that you will be fully conscious in the relationship gets really good.
However, you imagine, that is how you imagine whatever may actually have in your bodies when we die.
One thing we do know for sure without Christ, we can experience eternal life will go to spend eternity somewhere after we die.
The choice is entirely up to you. Today's teaching is titled view from death's door and part of our weekend teaching series from the edge of eternity that it's available for you to order now and connectwithskip.com only $39 plus shipping for all 17 messages.
Find out more and connectwithskip.com or for assistance with your feel free to call us at 1-800-922-1880 you know death comes to everyone.
So what happens when it's our turn will learn more next time here and connect with Skip weekend division presentation of connection you guys ever changing through an ever-changing time