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Death Is Certain...but God - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 22, 2021 2:00 am

Death Is Certain...but God - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 22, 2021 2:00 am

Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Given death's sure nature, we must talk about it. In the message "Death Is Certain...but God," Skip encourages you to focus on your eternal future.

This teaching is from the series ...but God.

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The book of Psalms was used in ancient times in Israel as sort of like the song book, the hymn book for temple worship. To this day Jews will sing or recite the Psalms in their liturgy of worship throughout the year and it was thus used in ancient times in the temple. But Psalm 49 in particular gives us the basic reality of life.

In fact, you could sum up the entire Psalm this way. We live precariously, we die certainly, we must plan accordingly. Death is a sure thing. In fact, it's one of the only things we're guaranteed.

But you don't have to live in fear of death. Today on Connect with Skip Hiting, Skip shares why you can have hope, peace and joy even in the face of death. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will transform your spiritual life as you see God for who He really is. The best biographies make you feel like you personally intimately know the person you've read about. From Mozart to Mother Teresa, Sojourner Truth to Steve Jobs. It's exciting to learn the details of influential people. But one biography stands out above the rest, the biography of God.

Here's the author Skip Heitzig. There's nothing more elevating to mankind than the study of God Himself. Discover the omnipotence, paradoxes and mystery central to God's being and remove the limits you may have placed on who God is. I've noticed that almost every problem that a person has in their life stems from an inadequate view of God. Skip's new book is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air.

Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, we'll be in Psalm 49 for today's study. So let's join Skip Heitzig. There was an elderly man who was feeling his age and complaining. He said, I've sure gotten old. I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees. I fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind.

I can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine takeoff. I take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded and subject to blackouts. I have bouts with dementia. I have poor circulation. I can hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.

I can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. I've lost all my friends, but thank God I still have my driver's license. Uh-oh, look out. You know, at some point we all have to face our own mortality, that we're not going to live in these physical bodies on this planet forever. In fact, wouldn't you agree that the most basic thing about life is death? Psalm 49 addresses that.

It's what we say. Psalm 49 addresses that. It's one of the most practical Psalms in all of the book of Psalms. And you could even title this Psalm, The Brevity of Life and the Certainty of Death. The Brevity of Life and the Certainty of Death.

That is its theme. Years ago, when Dr. Billy Graham was still alive, he was at a university and a student asked him a question. Dr. Graham, what is the most surprising thing you have discovered about life?

And he quickly quipped back its brevity. And all of us who are getting older have the experience that time seems to accelerate the way you get, right? You look back and go, where did that time go?

And even James in the New Testament said, for what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes. If you're around these parts in the fall of the year, down in the valley, on cold mornings, when it's just a little bit moist, that's really about all it is, a little bit moist, you get a morning fog that settles in the valley.

But stand around and wait 10 minutes, because as soon as the sun comes out, that vapor quickly dissipates. But God has a solution to that for us. And it's suggested here in this Psalm. Let's get a sneak peek by going to a couple of verses that we'll look at in just a little bit. Verse 14. Like sheep, they are laid in the grave. Death shall feed on them. The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me. Just a little background on Psalms. Did you know Psalms is the longest book in Scripture?

That is, it has more chapters, 150 chapters. Psalms are written in this book. The longest chapter in the Bible is found in Psalm, Psalm 119. The shortest chapter in the Bible is also found in this book, Psalm 117, only two verses. But the book of Psalms was used in ancient times in Israel as sort of like the song book, the hymn book for temple worship.

To this day, Jews will sing or recite the Psalms in their liturgy of worship throughout the year, and it was thus used in ancient times in the temple. But Psalm 49 in particular gives us the basic reality of life. In fact, you could sum up the entire Psalm this way. We live precariously, we die certainly, we must plan accordingly.

That sums up the entire message of Psalm 49. Do you ever think about your own death? Most people don't. Most people get creeped out by it or somebody brings it up like a parent or grandparent and somebody in the family goes, no, don't even talk about that.

I don't want to discuss it. That's been the trend. In fact, a CBS poll said that most Americans, 54%, don't spend much time or any time thinking, thinking about their own death.

But that number used to be much higher. There is a growing trend and it's a good trend where people are saying, you know, we should at least think and talk about the inevitable. That trend, as I said, is growing where people are confronting death in more than just abstract terms. So for example, there's a phenomenon called death dinners. Oh boy, come to my house for a death dinner. Yeah, we're going to sit around and eat and we're going to talk about dying.

But they have become popular. People gather to talk about the inevitability of the end of their life. Then there's something called death salons where you sit around and talk over death, dying, end of life issues over craft beer. I can only imagine that conversation gets more interesting as the night goes on.

Then there are a little over a hundred cities in America that have death cafes. Same principle, but you sit around over tea, coffee, cookies, something sweet to talk about a sour subject. And then I discovered a YouTube series on social, not on social media, on YouTube called Ask a Mortician. And it's interesting, it's this young gal who is a mortician, professionally trained, that's what she does for a living, that's what she does for a living. And she brings up these unsavory topics and talks about them in a series of videos called Ask a Mortician. And her idea is to help people accept their own mortality.

So it's becoming more popular. I think it's good to think about death. I think it's good to talk about death, but it's even better to prepare for death, to get ready for it. Some years ago, I buried a dear lady from this congregation. She was struck by a disease that took her very quickly. I had talked to her and her family. I prayed with her. She went into the hospital. She deteriorated rapidly. And I was asked to come by the family to her room because they said, she's not going to be around much longer.

Would you just come in one last time and pray for her? So I came and it was in the night. The room was dark.

She was lying down quietly in repose. The family was gathered around and I anticipated a very solemn affair. I walked in the room. Her husband whispered in her ear that I had come. As soon as she heard that I was in the room, she opened her eyes, sat up in bed, raised her arm to heaven, and she said, I'm ready to go.

And I left that room thinking, I want to die like that. That was inspiring to me. So let's look at this Psalm a little more carefully. And let me give you what are some bottom line realities about life and death and about being prepared for it. First of all, life is unstable.

Life is unstable. Look at verse one. Hear this, all peoples give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb. I will disclose my dark saying on a harp. So think of a musician picking up the instrument and he says, I'm going to, I'm going to disclose a riddle.

I'm going to talk about an unsavory topic and I'm going to set it to music. That's the idea of this verse five. Why should I fear in the days of evil? When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me. Now in those five verses that we just read, there's some language used.

We could easily Skip over it, but we should notice it. For example, in verse one, notice the contrast between high and low, speaking of one's status in life. Also the words rich and poor, you know what that is. In verse five, he mentions days of evil, bad days, bad days where iniquity is at my heel. So this poetic Psalm points to life's instability and uncertainty in talking about these common experiences. Somebody might be high, that is powerful.

Somebody might be low, that is not so influential. In fact, even biggerly, one might be rich, one might be poor. And then we all have good days and we all have bad days. What the Psalm is called evil days. And then some days even feel like you're being chased and you can barely keep up. That would be summed up by the phrase iniquity is at my heels. You just feel like you can't get ahead of it. It's funny, Malcolm Muggeridge once said, I have one foot in heaven and one foot on earth and the foot on earth is on a banana peel.

It's very slippery around here. And it's this kind of instability in life that really bummed out Solomon when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. He looked around, he observed life and he used the words vain, vanity, it's all emptiness. And in fact, it turned him into a fatalist. In Ecclesiastes chapter six, verse 12, Solomon writes, for who knows what is good for a man in life, all the days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow, who can tell a man what's going to happen after him under the sun.

You don't want that guy as your counselor. But he's discovered the truth of this Psalm. Life is unstable. Now in the New Testament, we're dealing with the old but in the New Testament, there are three different Greek words that are used, that are all translated into one English word, life. It's always fascinating to me the Greek can be so detailed and English is sort of so sparse. So we call life, we use that term, but in Greek, there were three different experiences all translated in English life.

The first two are unstable, the third is stable. Let me explain. The first word, the most basic word in Greek for the word life is the word bios. We might see it and spell it or pronounce it, bios. It's where we get our word biology from. It is physical life. It's life on the external plane, the physical plane only. It's focusing on externals. And this is where most people spend most of their time, energy, effort, attention, money. How do I look? How's my hair?

I'm trying to lose weight. We spend most of our thought processes on bios, biological life. But biological life. But I think you'll agree that physical life is very unstable.

Why? Because a sudden illness can happen. A virus, a bug, a test, a single diagnosis from a physician and everything changes. Or an auto accident and everything changes.

I had a friend once, part of our flock, young, healthy, hard working. But then one day he didn't feel good. He went to the doctor. The doctor announced to him he had had an advanced stage of brain cancer. He died very quickly thereafter, leaving a wife, children, very difficult time.

To compound that, that widow several months later was in an auto accident and she died. It was like sorrow upon sorrow because of the instability of physical life. There's a second word the Greek New Testament uses, translated in English life, and it's the word psuke. Psuke is where we get the word psyche or psychology or psychological. It means your inward life, your personality, how you process thoughts. It speaks of the inner person and what you think. But that life is also unstable because you can have peace one day and be filled with anxiety the next day. You can be happy one day, sad the next. And many people are alive physically, but they are tormented mentally.

They have absolutely no peace of mind. So those are two types of life that are unstable. There is a third type, illustrated by a third word, and that is stable. It is the word zoe. Zoe is the word for life in Greek, but it is usually translated eternal life or everlasting life. It's life on a spiritual plane.

It is a theological term that shows up 143 times in the New Testament. It describes a quality, not just a quantity of life, but quality of life. That is, it's not speaking about life in the then and there, far in the future.

It's about life in the here and now that will follow you into the future. Jesus said, whoever hears my word and believes has, not will have, has right now, present tense, has everlasting life. Now that new life comes from the new birth. Jesus said, you must be born again. And when you are born again and you're not just living biological or psychological, but spiritual, you must be born again. You must be born again. But spiritual life, now you have a sense of stability.

Other than that, life is unstable. Second bottom line reality about life and death, the Psalm uncovers, not only is life unstable, but death is universal. We already read this, but look in verse one again and notice how kind of cuts across all different categories of geography. Hear this, all peoples, not just my people, not just my Jewish people, not just my neighbors in Jerusalem. He's addressing a message to all people. Give ear all inhabitants of the world, both high and low, rich and poor together.

So it crosses all social strata as well as geographical areas. He has a message for everyone. And what is that message?

Simple. We're all going to die. That's the message. We're all going to die.

No one gets out of this alive. And it's time we ought to think that through. That death is the great leveler for all of us. Verse six, those who trust in their wealth, materialism, and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever that he should continue to live eternally and not see the pit. For he sees wise men die, likewise the fool and the senseless person perish and they leave their wealth to others.

Now you're reading this and maybe thinking this guy is like a bummer of a worship leader. If this is the song he's singing that day in the temple, if this is a musician setting this to a tune, this guy is fatalistic. But he's not fatalistic. He's realistic.

It's realistic. Hebrews 9 27, it is appointed to every man wants to die and after this, after this, the judgment. Did you know that death is mentioned 394 times?

394 times. You can't escape it. It's mentioned that many times in scripture. One of the most famous, you all know this, if you're as old as I am, you remember a song by the birds that was based on Ecclesiastes three, to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to be born.

I won't, I'll spare you, but it comes to my mind. I think of that. Those who are born will all die. Now, those are realities that are happening simultaneously.

We know this to be true. 4.3 people are born into our world every second. Two people die every second. So more than twice are being born onto the earth than are leaving the earth. What that means is every hour, 6,316 people die. In the next hour, over 6,000 people will die on earth. All of that to say the simple reality of the Psalm, death is a part of life. Death is a part of life.

And I'll get very graphic. One day your home will be six feet under some plot of ground, as will mine be. So you can, you can stay healthy until then.

You can run, you can take vitamins, you can pump iron, you can counter calories, you can stretch your face past your earlobes. But you're going to lose. One day you will keep an appointment with death.

D.C., a Washington, D.C. undertaker signs all of his correspondence, eventually yours. Now, verse seven, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. Go down to verse 11.

We didn't finish that up. Their thought, that is these secular-minded unbelievers who have no thought for God, their thought is that their homes, houses will last forever. Their dwelling place is to all generations. They call their lands after their own names. Isn't it funny how towns have names of people who started them as settlers years ago, the name still sticks. But even us, we who, I was going to say own, are making payments on properties, our names written on the title.

They call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless, man, though in honor, does not remain. He is like the beast that perish. This is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve their sayings. So, not even the wealthiest person with access to the world's best healthcare can escape death. People who tend to rely on wealth, or status, or what they have in their family bank, to rely on that, it's an exercise in futility.

Why? Because he says, you can't redeem yourself, you can't redeem anyone else. All the money in the world can't buy life. You know, it always amazes me, and I've noticed this as a trend, I've noticed this in every generation, that the wealthiest people on earth get to a point where they have so much stuff, and then one day it dawns on them, I'm going to die. And then they say, well, I have a lot of money, maybe I don't have to die. Maybe I could invest in something that figures out a way to beat death.

I kid you not, it's usually a mental disease of the very, very wealthy. That's Skip Heising with a message from the series, But God. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and others to the gospel of Jesus.

In the priority grid of life, God should always come first, and He should be at the center of everything you do. We want to keep connecting others to the life changing truth of the gospel so they might be led to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. And when you give generously, you become part of that life transforming work. Here's how you can give today. Give us a call at 800-922-1888 to make a donation.

800-922-1888. Or give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Your support is vital to help connect more people like you to Christ.

So thank you for giving generously. Now, before we go, did you know that you can watch Skip's messages from the comfort of your home with your Roku device or Apple TV? Just search for his channel and watch thousands of powerful Bible teachings and live services. Find more information on the broadcast page at connectwithskip.com. And real quick, catch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4.30 p.m. Mountain or watch it on TBN on Sundays at 5.30 a.m. Eastern. Check your local listings and be sure to come back again next week as Skip Heitzig gives you a refreshing and hopeful look on how dealing with death can help you live a fuller, more satisfying life today. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-01 06:59:01 / 2024-01-01 07:08:09 / 9

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