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August 30, 2021 2:25 pm
On Sunday, April 25, 2021 life for our family middle family change suddenly dramatically and profoundly the mother of a few short hours. Our son Christopher known to so many of you died from COBIT 19 and just a short distance from here at atrium in Pineville. I stated that Sunday of the site stated that the side of my dead son and experienced a depth of emotion. I had never known before dicing death before many times with my parents have died to my brothers died, I've had many close friends, colleagues who have died in the most kinds of the number of funerals I've taken so more than most people I know about grief. I know about heartache and sorrow treatment. The shock of sudden loss dealing in situations in life was just do not make sense. I've experienced much of that but had never experienced this profound grief old remains which we know in this lifetime will never be filled job rights in Job 7 verse 10 he says he returns no more to his house nor his place know him anymore.
Many of you know I'm talking about. We miss his voice, his jokes coming into her house, giving us a shoe truck lifting up his little mother which he could easily and many of you have experience that pain that grief that lost that devastation can I say to you treasure those that you love many of you attended general practice of eternal which was held at Calvary just a few days later and that we have received a huge number of letters, cards, emails, text notes sent to us expressing your love and your prayers. Many of you have spoken to us personally by the passing of Chris averting for all of your love for all of your kindness in so many ways we are deeply deeply thankful this community at Calvary has in this time of devastating loss has been of incalculable blessing to us. The Bible say is that when one member suffers, all suffer and we thank you for suffering with us not only with us but many others in the life you at Calvary and you have reminded us, and we needed to be reminded of the promises of holy Scripture, not of clichés, but you pointed us to the word of God and you have reminded us that our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ still stands as the resurrection and the life that he is the resurrection and the life and this book the word of God has been our strong anchor and to its pages, we have turned over and over again is a picture of the Scripture. I try to sort through my one thoughts and feelings, and with all of the implications of Christopher's passing and I asked you to open your Bible with me to first Thessalonians 4 because what good nine what many of you have experience buying is by no means unique and I think how wonderful it is that Paul 2000 years ago writes of this very subject and here it is in first Thessalonians 4 verse 13 he says I don't want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, a beautiful description of death for the Christian there. For the Christian is described as falling asleep.
I don't want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those sort asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. So today I want to speak about a refund grief a living hope and an eternal future. First of all, a profound grief when the say four things about greater many many things that could be said, but here are for at least other many many others, but for things that have impacted me as I thought about the subject and Paul says that we do grieve. First of all, grief is a reality of life in this fallen world. Could you imagine being the parent of one of these fallen Marines getting that knock at the door to be told that your son or your daughter had been killed and that suicide bombing. This is a reality of life in this fallen world, and that many of you most of you have experienced grief. The death of a parent. The death of a child, a brother or sister or close friend a grandparent death is a reality in this fallen world on the part from the return of the Lord Jesus. Every single one of us sitting here will die when I practice law in Scotland, the Law Society of Scotland one year was encouraging people to make their wills and someone in the Law Society came up with the slogan, which I thought was very well done. Said signing your will is not signing your death warrant of the person who came up that slogan understood that although we understand that we are all going to die. It is very very difficult for us to face the fact that we will die other people.other people get killed other people get COBIT. Other people are in car accidents.
Other people have heart attacks but not me that's going to happen away in the future and that many people delay making their wills because they can't handle the fact of their own mortality. I when I was a student at Dallas theological seminary. I remember Prof. talking about funerals and grief and saying to us that we had to face our own mortality and that's difficult, isn't it difficult to think that you will die you may be a little boy you may be in your 90s.
But that is no respecter of ages, people of all ages.face you mentality that is wise by so grief is a normal part of life you will not escape it and can I say it is not sinful to grief to grief. How could we not grieve over the passing of a loved one. It's unimaginable and and I realize that are some Christians.
I'm sure the well-meaning when someone dies to say well it's a great celebration. My don't feel like celebrating. So rather than saying to have a memorial service at it's a celebration of life and I understand what that means my mother died almost 2 years ago and we did celebrate her life. You lifted 94 last couple of years you had some dementia and so we celebrated the fact that no suffering was over and she said she had set a few years ago. She wanted to be with the Lord. She was a godly woman and we celebrated that. But when people die young, and when it comes home. It's very difficult to celebrate his very interesting.
In the Old Testament. Have you noticed this when the patriarchs died. What happens they spent many days in morning and they took great care of the burial of the loved one.
A few weeks ago is when going through Matthew in Matthew chapter 14.
I remember the circumstances of the death of John the Baptist evil headed cut off his head and we read in Matthew 14 verse 12 that when John the Baptist was executed by that evil king and beheaded his disciples and how they must've love John, his disciples came. Matthew says this became and took the body and buried it and it went and told Jesus I think is beautiful is not what we do when the loved one dies.
Take care of the body we show respect. We mourn what we do.
Then we go and tell Jesus love John the Baptist and Jesus must've mourn the passing of John the Baptist.
When Stephen the first Christian martyr diet Luke records and asked a nurse to that development buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. You say, but he was in heaven he got his vision of all of Jesus standing to receive them. Why wouldn't they celebrating know sometimes I think with more spiritual in the Bible we grief. Don't deny your humanity. When a loved one passes away. It's horrible. Many of you don't need me to tell you that it's unbelievably devastating and there is great lamentation. Yes, we rejoice that there with the Lord. So Paul, as you rise to the Thessalonians is not telling them not to grief. Grief number one is a reality of life in this fallen world.
Secondly, in our grief. We know God loves us and is with us your grieving want you to understand this in our grief.
We know that God loves us and is with us as a wee boy I was taught that God loved me.
I still believe that but that does not mean that life always goes the way that I want.
Often it doesn't. But it does mean that the God who made me in his image and that the guard to accomplish my salvation through the glorious work of my Lord Jesus Christ is a God who continues to love me yes love with an ever lasting love wonderful to think that we are loved with an everlasting love.
A love which will not let us go and as Paul so brilliantly argues at the end of Romans chapter 8, he reminds us that there is no force in the whole universe, not all of the darkness. Not all the foes of hell and of Satan.
The death itself can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, we don't always feel it, but in our grief. Remember God loves you and God will never leave me. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me your rod and your staff they comfort me. Psalm 46 that wonderful Psalm. The may give way in the mountains be moved into the depths of the seed to get the picture in some 46. The psalmist life is completely changed that the grinder around him has crumbled us falling into the sea. He paints this terrible natural disaster, and yet he says this God is my refuge and strength present help in time of trouble is present help.
We believe much of it. We were on the wrong people can enter into it. But God is right there is a present help in trouble. Isaiah 41 verse 10 Christopher's favorite verse which was tattooed on his wrist and I'm not saying students going to but my son didn't even ask my permission, but he chose a good verse Isaiah 41 verse 10. Fear not for I bought nothing to fear because God is with us. Hebrews 13 the Lord is my helper, I will not fear I will never leave you nor forsake you.
In my grief. I remember this, God loves me and that God will never ever ever leave me.
Third inner grief. We know that God is working all things for the Mrs. heart but is true is a promise.
Romans 828 Paul writes, and we know we know for followers of Christ that you don't know what for followers of Christ we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. Paul is not saying that everything in life is good is no the death of a loved one is in good is by this unbelievably devastating yet through the darkness through the difficulties through the disappointments through the confusions of life. God is so great God is so magnificent is the Almighty God that he takes all of the circumstances of life.
Even the bad horrible things and he works them for our goods to not only is he a father who loves me.
He's a mighty God can do all things and he so powerful he can take these horrible situations of your life and work them for you. In our grief we have to understand that he is God. We are not is God Isaiah rise Isaiah 45 verse 15 truly you are a God who hides himself, and then our grief is sometimes seems that God is hidden, we can see him.
We can feel him. He may seem to have abandoned us. He has hidden himself. Although we do not understand all of these ways we have to trust in the darkness in the grief and the confusion he is my heavenly father and I am his child, and God has plans for my life and your life and going to say the obvious God's much smarter than you are God's much wiser, much wiser and his plans for us are perfect and rather than seeking answers and explanations and I like things to be explained. Believe me, I like things to be set out in a logical way so I understand them, but rather than seeking answers and explanations. Good night. We claim the promise of Romans 828 that he is working all things for the is the fourth one in our grief.
We know God understands our sorrows and heels. The broken hearted. I find great comfort in the designation given by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah of the coming Messiah generally describes the coming Messiah in Isaiah 53. He describes him as the man of missing it, man of sorrows with the name for the son of God came. He says he's a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief is a strange thing to think.
Nowadays we would want the manual fund the mind of excitements. The man of charisma. Savior comes into this fallen and broken world and comes as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He takes sorrows. He takes truly God and truly man later said that no man ever suffered like you think your sufferings are bad sufferings of Jesus were much much more than we have experienced. He grieved and he understands our grief and our sorrows member that amazing scene and in John 11 oh where Jesus is at the grave of Lazarus and these with the sisters Martha and Mary and we read that most point in the shortest verse in the Bible John 1135 we read Jesus wept his Almighty God, he's going to speak and Lazarus is going to come forth with the graves he understands the pain and the sorrow of death and in our grief. Think of this procedure weeps with us. He groans he understands he gave his only son for us.
Psalmist says the Lord is near to the brokenhearted Psalm 34 verse 18 on the Lord Jesus said in these wonderful words. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted and then our deep grief enough prefiling grief. God knows and God understands.
Augustine says in his confessions. The tears streamed on and I let them flow as freely as they would making of them a pillow for my heart on them. It rested like God the Holy Spirit is described as the comforter, he strengthens us he helps us he comforts us.
We appreciate the comfort of our friends and our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is wonderful and that's one of the ways that God comforts us, but he also comforts us directly through the Holy Spirit is the comforter and through the comfort of the holy Scriptures. Yes, death is an enemy. But as we began by reminding ourselves the enemy has been defeated that weeping may last for the night but joy comes in the morning we do grief. The pain, the sadness overwhelming at times. That is a profound belief. But secondly, grief points us to a living hope. The passage that in first Thessalonians 4. First Thessalonians 4 read with you. Verse 13 but maybe to the end of the chapter follow it with me. We don't want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those sort of sleep that you may not grieve as others who have no hope for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with them. Those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who had left until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we would alive were left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words, a living hope the people of hope. Jesus Christ is coming back Peter in first Peter one describes this hope as a living hope, you must understand what a biblical hope is not a false hope is not wishful thinking is not me saying I hope all when hurricane either hits the United States later today that'll be no loss of life. That's a whole is a good hope, but is not necessarily based on reality that's not the way the word is used in Scripture. This living hope, what is it, it is assured expectation of what will certainly occur in the future. How can you say that because the promises of God are always fulfill you make a promise you can be well-meaning but it may not be fulfilled circumstances out of your control America that never happens with God everything is under his control. When God makes a promise. It is absolutely exacted this whole this living hope that we have is not diminished by difficult circumstances. Some of you know I like British soccer and ends on the said were tied to your socket illustrations to back right it could be worse, they could be baseball illustrations right.
Sorry. Or even worse basketball right so I'm talking by great game so I like watching British soccer mom search night in particular. But when the schedule is fixed.
They don't consult with me as the time of the games so really, what's the good life so would we do we record when the greatest devices of mankind with DVR. Give the guy the mobile peace prize of some kind of prize. Watch it in so supposing I record the game and I go home, sometimes even some of you here. Please do not do this. Want to tell me the score right.
I've even gone home and had a voice message and I foolishly listen to it and the person sitting on your team on the laws. But sometimes when I'm watching the game, which is been prerecorded.
I know the score and watching the game and I may put it on and that my team may be playing terrible. They may be behind maybe 30 Downing, but I know this victory is 100% sure because the game is been recorded, it will happen however bad it seems that the time victory is absolutely assured and however bad it seems that the time and however difficult life for you is at moments God has promised his promises never ever fail and as we sang at the beginning of the service. This is a sure and certain hope is, it was the hope. Jesus says in John 14 will come again whenever themes for this year is wait for the return of Jesus. Notice of verse 16. Paul says the Lord himself will descend from heaven. The Lord himself not an angel. He's coming himself for us. He is coming back personally. The Lord himself will descend from heaven. And then there's three supernatural signs he says with a cry of command. John five Jesus says don't marvel at this for notice coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out this kind of command, all those who die in Christ will hear the shunt of commands will be raised from the some of you have loved ones buried in Magnolia Gardens. I like to picture this cry of command comes every one of them is faith is in Christ will hear that voice and will be raised from the dead. A cry of command.
Secondly, the 16th, the voice of an archangel, when the poor man died in the story Jesus told at the end of the chapter 16 Jesus said he was carried by the angels to the side of Abraham the believer dies in their current needs by the angels to Abraham's side pictures of parted eyes and perhaps get in the rapture. Michael the gray archangel will all organize all of the Angels to escort believers in Jesus Christ through the territory of the Prince of the part of the air to meet Christ in the air.
There's 1/3 sign, what is it a cry of command. The voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.
The cry of command is for believers who have died and the voice of the archangel is for angels. This trumpet is the signal for all believers in Jesus Christ who would alive when he comes know I love the trumpet beautiful instrument match healing trumpet of God which all believers in Jesus Christ will hear why the trumpet the announcement that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming back as he said I will come again and notice what happens dead in Christ will rise first. I'm often asked what happens when the believer in Jesus dies while the body is buried in the ground there fallen asleep in Jesus, but their soul spirit was immediately to be with Christ. Jesus said to the thief on the cross today will be with me in paradise today so death for the believer is away from the body absent from the body and at home with the Lord.
But when this happens, Christ followers who are presently with the Lord, their souls, but their bodies as their bodies away is a great day of resurrection and then verse 17 then we who are alive be wonderful to be part of that group who had left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. That is, there is a generation that will will not die will go directly into the Lord's presence without dying. I'm sure they disappearance of millions of followers of Christ throughout the world will be explained away. There's all this talk nowadays about UFOs. Perhaps people say well they disappeared and UFOs are the aliens got them.
I don't know but what I do know is this not one authentic follower of Jesus Christ will be left behind. We who are alive will be caught up. Think of this will be united with all of her loved ones kneeling forward to look forward to seeing again.
My parents, my brothers, my grandparents, friends sent me her son Christopher was reunion that will be. Can you imagine the joy. People say well we know one another. Of course, will know one another will be much smarter than that. We are no and Paul is writing this in first Thessalonians 4. To encourage people with much of encouragement, kind of on the north. This amorphous peridot.
There are no bodies resurrected out individuality and that individual identity is presented for all of eternity were caught up.
This is why these verses are such an encouragement to us will rejoice that never ever ever again will be part never again this is a profound grief living hope third and eternal future. You said you believe this, John. I believe this with all my heart that you get the last verse.
There are verse 17 will meet the Lord in the air and then says Paul, so we will always be with large or so. We will for ever be with the Lord forever with the Lord, our Savior, who loves us with an everlasting love our Savior who died on the cross for our sins, our Savior, who rose again for justification, our Savior, who is our great high priest who presently is interceding for us right now at the throne room of God. This one is coming back for us and for all of eternity. We will always be with the Lord.
When we been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun will be no less days to sing his praise than when we first begun will be in a new heaven and the new turn to Revelation 21 and a few comments about heaven and four of them first heaven is the very presence of God. One of the things that happens when a loved one dies is that we think much more about heaven rethink like is it for what actually is going on in heaven will heaven is a very presence of God. Revelation 21. That's one I saw a new heaven and the new art for the first heaven and the first affect passed away and the sea was no more. I was wonder about that because I love the seat but it does say that, perhaps, is whether to install something else difficult for me to think of it, with it seems that we are see in the Scriptures often presented in a negative way with their student was a digression verse two. I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down and I don't heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband and I had a loud voice from the throne saying will hold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. Many questions about heaven. With this we do know that heaven is a very presence of God and in the new heavens and the new earth. God will dwell forever with his people. Jesus said to his disciples in John 14, when I am there. You may be also tells them I'm going to come again so that where I have been there. You may be also. So heaven is wonderful is glorious. Number one because God is very presence of God. Secondly, heaven is the removal of all evil. Verse four he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Life as we know, with its heartaches with its sorrows with its tragedies with his grief with his bereavement with its viruses with fists funerals with his disappointments will be eternally God fear.
What a anxiety that forever gone. Heaven is the removal of all evil everlasting joy.
Isaiah says will be upon their hearts. Sorrow and sighing shall flee away will be neither grief nor pain nor cry to cast a shadow over the eternal day. Heaven is the removal of all evil third heaven reveals the glory and the beauty of God. Revelation 21 verse 10 he carried me away in this matter to a great high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God's radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Verse 23 and the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it for the glory of God gives its lights and this lamp is the Lamb. Think of the beauty of heaven. This world, this fallen world is breathtakingly beautiful, isn't it travel every country's got its own beauty, whether you think about the beauty of a small Florida looking at the expense of the ocean of the stars or the mountains or on the beauty of the newborn baby. This world is beautiful but it's falling is not perfect and you imagine what it was prior to the fall and can you imagine the beauty of the new heavens and the new verse 16 the city. This is the new Jerusalem lies foursquare, its length the same as is with and he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.
Its length and width and height equal so you Jerusalem, which is part of the new heavens and you are is acute and 12,000 stadia a month approximately 1400 miles. Imagine that you 1400 miles 14 x 14 x 14 if you go apply to go into space, as a few billionaires have done. That's only 62 miles. Imagine going up high 1400 miles 1400s and with 1400 in length.
Amazing beauty described herein. Revelation 21 and you say well is this just a description. What would be really like the description is unbelievably beautiful and we who are followers of Christ through his grace, we will be there is going to be the rain of a thousand years of the millennium when we will reign with Christ in my own little way. I think during the millennium.
God is gracious.
I want them to give me just a little part of the Scottish island to reign over and I picture walking with Christopher.
He left Scotland I don't know why, but he left Scotland perfect temperature low 70s for the last-minute temperature but low 70s sun in the morning light drizzle in the afternoon right after walking, and just think of the communion that we will just think of the love that you have for your husband or wife, your son, your fiancé, friends, think of that love perfect think of perfect love.
Think of perfect joy. Think of perfect peace in this on imaginatively beautiful new heaven and new earth and through the grace of God. This is owed eternal future is 1/4 one about heaven I mentioned before, I conclude, in heaven we will see his face. Chapter 22 verse three no longer will there be anything karst but the throne of God and the Lamb will be in Adventist sevens will worship him they will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads and night will be no more will be no need of lights or lamp or sun for the Lord God will be the light, and they will reign forever and ever in heaven we will see God, and know God. Heaven is where the glory of God shines in blazing and brilliant thing about the glory of God's people look at our Savior, they saw something of his glory and his incarnation, but think of being in the presence of God and seeing the glory of God.
But even in heaven we will not be able to comprehend the end infinite glory and beauty and majesty of this creator God, who loved us. But as John we will see his face will see his face. Peter says, whom having not seen. We love in first Peter one never seen the face of God. But I'm going to see his face. Think of this.
What grace is this that God not only in his grace saves us, God not only in his grace forgives all of her sentence. That's incredible totally undeserving based on the direct billing and resurrection of our glorious savior God not only forgives our sins. God is going to take us into his own house into the father's house into his very presence so that we will see his face graces this John says that when he comes, will be like him, for we will see him as this once we are converted to Jesus Christ and saved by his grace God through his own holy spirit begins the work and this doesn't and step-by-step were becoming more and more like Jesus, I trust that's true that's called our sanctification. But we are far from perfect. But one day we will see him and will be like him will be glorified and we will see the face of God turn future is rapidly moving to the greatest of all spaceflights in this spaceflights not reserved for a few billionaires who don't know what to do with her money. No, this is for every believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming, he's coming quickly. He's coming like a thief in the night. I asked her promise what's in says eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset eternity to the wicked is the night that has no son rise for all of eternity will either be in that eternal day out in the eternal night in the eternal day.
That is no sunset in the eternal night in hell itself.
That is no son rise after you ready to meet God. You do know Christ is and what I'm going to church is wonderful to the church is the love of God sends my prayers in the past, that's great God is very gracious.
I'm asking you.
Do you know Jesus Christ personally, time when you've repented of your sin and come to Christ and received him as your Savior.
A profound grief a living hope and eternal future. So we are encouraged and so we stand strong in the grace of the Lord Christ and saying as the Bible ends. Even so, s father, thank you for your grace so much that we don't understand what our own lives about you about your future, but we thank you for what you revealed in your precious word.
We thank you that you so loved the world that you gave your only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life, and father comfort sorrowing. Think of the families even at Calvary. We mentioned draw close to them may be no the reality of this living hope maybe look forward to this eternal future. We anticipate that day when we would be in that great city that beautiful meantime father, you're with us to strengthen us. You help us bless us in Christ