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April 14, 2020 11:57 am
The English novelist Somerset Mond relates the following fascinating story, which is set in Iraq and I think we have a map of Iraq showing us where Baghdad is in the story and Samara, there it is. Here is the story told by Somerset Mond. I think you wrote in the 1930s. He said are a merchant Senate sent his servant to the market in the streets of Baghdad. The servant returned, trembling and agitated and said well I was on the market.
I was jostled by someone in the crowd. I turned to look and saw that death had jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture master please lend me your heart so that I can escape. I want to write to Samara. There I will hide so that death cannot find me later that same day the merchant himself was in the marketplace and he also saw death in the crowd.
He said to her, why did you startle my servant this morning by making a threatening gesture death replied that was no threatening gesture. It was merely a start of surprise. I was startled to see your servant in Baghdad, for we have an appointment tonight in Samara. Fascinating story only sorry but telling us of vital truth that all of us. All of us have an appointment with death and life that are sometimes appointments we don't like and we can cancel them or postpone them.
But this appointment there appointment with death cannot be canceled.
One out of one dies and is trying to coronavirus which is creating havoc throughout our world reminds us of the fragility of life and our own vulnerability.
The vulnerability of human existence. CS Lewis said human life has always been living on the edge of a precipice, and we been reminded of that and I reminded of this is during this crisis were living life as it were on a precipice not just because of the coronavirus, but because all of us have an appointment with death and because of that people live in fear. Fear of the virus.
Fear of the declining economy and most of all, fear of death, like the coronavirus death is no respecter of persons you deal with this. You're afraid to die. We sometimes talk about that don't way in order to cover up our fear of it. Woody Allen said, I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be around when that happens, someone else that if I knew where I was going to die I would never go near the place what lies beyond. Surely we must think about that surely must as we confronted with dad that we see thousands of our countrymen here in the United States strike the world, people dying. Surely, unless we are very very foolish. We need to stop and reflect. At this time of isolation and say I'm I ready to meet God. I want us to answer some of these important questions this Easter Sunday because this coronavirus brings these things into focus. I want to read a passage of Scripture which perhaps on the face of it doesn't seem related to Eastern but it does and then I want to consider for things about God as we consider the subject of conquering the fear of death. The passages found in Hebrews chapter 9 and I'm going to read from verse 26 the end of Hebrews 9 the writer says, for as it is he that is our Lord Jesus has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself and just as it is appointed for mine to die once and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered up once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him conquering the fear of death.
First thing I want to remind you is that God is sovereign God is sovereign in life and in that the coronavirus is taught us anything it's reminded us that we are not in control about existence and the supervisor of the United States and all of the governments and all about technology and all of the brilliance and ingenuity of man and woman collectively so far have been able have been unable to stop this violence, God and God alone is in control and even when things seem out of control as they do know nothing spirals out of God's control.
He is the Almighty God. The psalmist says our God is in the heavens. He does all that he pleases.
Isaiah writes my purpose will be established and I will accomplish all my good pleasure. God always accomplishes his will. The apostle Paul writes that God works all things according to the counsel of his will you not in control. I'm not in control of my life neuter you know God is sovereign we say God is sovereign would mean among other things, that God is in control.
The true God, the eternal God is King of Kings and Lord of lords and heroes supremely sovereignly and eternally over the whole universe and that is not one thing that is not one person can thwart God's choices and his control. He rules over everything. The fall of the nation's The Fall of the rain, the fall of the spiral is a thought. It is unlimited and unrestrained by anything outside of himself. He is the Almighty God. I want you to know is Almighty God is the creator of everything. He's a rumor about a thing and he does whatever he chooses. That means he's sovereign is in control. God is always in control and the settling control of the present situation, God is not panicking. We find it will insert. We wonder was going to happen.
God never panics God never is the wonder of what's going to happen because he knows the end from the beginning. He is the eternal God outside of time and space is the Alpha and the Omega, the God who was who is and ever shall be. This is why God is sovereign God can do the impossible. In the beginning he created everything out of nothing. Not only is he the creator of everything.
He is the sustainer of everything. In fact, the Bible says that God sustains the whole universe by the word of his power. That's how powerful that's Almighty God is the hold everything together by his word sovereign, but only does he have the tiniest of babies and is and is not the whole world in his hands, and God is always in control even plan from our perspective things in seem chaotic seem confused and I don't control because God's thoughts are not our thoughts. God's ways are not our ways.
God moves in mysterious way is wonders to perform. Why has he allowed this virus to sweep the world I can answer that question that I get great comfort by knowing this, the God is sovereign God is in control in my life is in the hands of God and I am secure in that I trust God is sovereign, he is God and God alone and God chooses the day of our birth. You didn't choose when you were born Jeremiah were told he was conceived in his mother's womb, God said, I knew you before you were conceived in your mother's womb that you then decide when you were born. Of course not and get on the site. When you die, but as we read in Hebrews 9, you do have an appointment with Dave is appointed unto men once to die, we don't know when that appointment is and maybe today maybe five years. It may be 10 years or maybe 50 years.
We don't know. But God knows because God is sovereign and God is in control and the writer is reminding us of a very solemn truth.
The truth we need to remember that it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment, that when we die. One thing is going to happen is we going to stand before God.
God is the sovereign God. He made us in his image is over creator and were answerable to God and would understand you not going to stand before God is sovereign job. Consider the Lord gives the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the Lord gives life and the Lord takes life and no one really can question God because he is God's sovereignty does whatever includes pleases for his own purposes.
First, then God is sovereign but think of this, the God not only is sovereign God is the Savior. It sure God is Almighty. His power is unlimited. He can do whatever he wants, easily Almighty God. He opposed the whole universe by his power stars in the planets in all of life as we know it is upheld by God such as this tolerance infinite immeasurable but here is the wonder of the true God. That is God. Not only is Almighty. Not only is sovereign is a God who knows you. Not only does he know you. He knows your name. He cares for you fight the Bible tells us this amazing fact that we really can't get over with his difficult to comprehend the God loves us God loves you was God who made you this God who one day you will meet after death. This God knows you and loves you little born of home watching this. Remember that God loves you, young adults, the loneliness of your isolation want to tell you, God loves you older person alone.
Perhaps a little widower divorced, living on your own life is difficult. I want to remind you, God loves you, recovering from an illness dealing with an illness dealing with the coronavirus or some other disease.
I want to remind you that God loves you.
Yes he loves you because he loves us. God has done something wonderful because although he made us in his image that we so often have decided to do our own thing rather than God's thing, instead of recognizing that God is sovereign and therefore must be central in my life and that he is Lord and I must do what he says and to please him because of my fallenness. We like sheep have gone astray, and we've messed up her life and the Lord knows that he still loves us because of the depth of our waywardness.
We can save ourselves. So yes, we will face the judgment. So the question is this God who sovereign is God who loves me, how can I be prepared to meet God cannot do anything or is it just purely the whim of God is really I can do to prepare myself to meet God.
While our verse that I read told us what God has done, because you can do anything you really can't because your sinful you're too far away from God. Listen to the writer.
It says here that Jesus Christ has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Verse 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many central to the Christian faith and we celebrated this on Good Friday is that Jesus Christ was God. God incarnate comes and love to this world to this dark world and dies on the cross and why does he do that. The writer tells us to put away sin. How does he put away sin, not his own sin because the sinless.
I was it possible for your sin to be put away. The writer tells us by the sacrifice of him so he offers himself once to bear the sins of many. He takes your sin and mine.
And so here is this is how it is possible in the wonder of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ for your sin to be dealt with for it to be put away, put it to be canceled for it to be forgiven, not by what you do, but because of what Christ and great love has done on the cross he takes our sin, he puts it away so that as we receive Christ and receive his sacrifice.
Our sins are forgiven and this is the only way in which your sin can be forgiven without on Friday of Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin you thought about that but here is how your sin – your sin can be put away by receiving Jesus as my Savior. We sometimes think bearing shame and scoffing rude in my place condemned, he stood. He is my substitute comes into my place as God who sovereign whose unbelievably powerful and great love he reaches the only does he reach down.
He comes done in his son Jesus Christ to put away my sin forever. So God tells us God the Holy Spirit inspiring pulses. This God commands his love toward us in that while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us. He sovereign he's the Savior but also of course.
And we rejoice this Easter Sunday. God is the computer he sovereign he's the Savior. He's a conqueror because we are celebrating that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, and the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming. Not only is the cross empty the tomb is empty the body of Jesus is gone. No one ever ever produce the body of Jesus.
In fact, after his resurrection, he appeared to many people. People saw him, saw the risen Christ and his disciples when they saw him crucified were absolutely devastated. They thought he was coming to lead them victory over the Romans and when they see him crucified on the cross. They think this is disastrously fearful. The world is turned upside down.
But once they see the resurrected Christ. Once they see Jesus is risen from the dead. There transformed from being fearful, very courageous and bold and are prepared to die for Christ as they go throughout the world, declaring that God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. They had seen Christ. They had seen his dad. They knew he was better than that to and they saw him raised from the dead, that he was and is alive our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, including dead and liberating us fingerless liberating us from the stranglehold of dance and suffering and sin itself. How can I be free from the sphere of day. I cannot be liberated.
How can I have this terrible burden in fear that I have the time. I'm going to die." Then it is by looking to Christ that he is alive and he rescues us and will rescue you from the grip of sin and the fear of that. How does he do that he does it by defeating it. He goes into dad he conquers that he rises again. His father raises him from the dead.
Jesus was raised from the dead and is alive so Paul can write for as by one man came death, first parent since Adam sin. All of us are born sinners and therefore all of us die for as by a man came death, by a man has come. Also, the resurrection of the dead. That's our Lord Jesus Christ. One man brings death. One man brings life and hope and liberation and forgiveness of sins, our Lord Jesus Christ.
He conquers that here is the conquering of the fear of death centered in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ is a John. You talk a lot about that as well. It's a reality when I got one dies in the Bible is a lot to say about it. You say, why do we die while the wages of sin is death. We broken God's law and with it breaking of the law, there is the penalty.
The penalty of death.
I read yesterday, New York.
The New York Police Department. Other prophesying, which says do your part. Stay 6 feet apart. Do your part. Stay 6 feet apart in the social distancing and apparently when people are meeting in crowds either. Please first give a warning look at the sign you got to stay 6 feet apart from your neighbor from the person that you're next to in the store but if your meeting together and you ignore the warning of the police there then is a penalty $500 and it may go up $2000 with the law.
Don't come too close. That is the penalty.
That's the way the law works. You break the law and you pay the penalty. We without exception have broken the law of God, the Bible says because of that the penalty of breaking God's law is that the wages of sin is death, but here's the wonder of what God's sovereign God is all-powerful God is God who is so loving that he sends Jesus Christ and when he dies on the cross he is paying the penalty for my sin and on the third day he demonstrated that he is victorious over death by rising from the dead. Death is swallowed up in victory and is only our Lord Jesus Christ who can do this is why the Christian faith is unique but Jesus, who is God comes dies, is buried and so the gospel is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
He was buried, and on the third day he rose again. According to the Scriptures and because of that death is swallowed up in victory. We naturally recoiled from the athlete. We fear it as we as we go to the doctors for four an examination and after the tears we we we fear the bad news week we recoiled from it, but this followers of Jesus. We understand this that – is a conquered enemy and our Savior says to his followers because I live, you shall live also.
When a tremendous promise is Jesus Christ will have absolutely Christian faith is not some rules and regulations is following a person is coming into contact with a person is a living relationship with Christ. This one who is alive and he says because I live, you shall live also.
Jesus Christ is alive, eternally alive. He will never die again. The writer of Hebrews is telling us he died once. Never again will he died. He's alive forevermore and he says not if you come to me and you trust in me. If you are united to me and I to you. You will never ever perish because I live, you shall live also.
That is the hope that is the promise of the gospel. Jesus is saying we hear him.
I've conquered that no follow me. Jesus never asked us to go anywhere that he himself first cousin God is he going into debt. Yes he has. He's conquered that is come through. Death is alive, eternally alive forevermore and he says now if you trust me, I'll take care of you for all of life in and through death and for all of eternity. Christ our hope in life and death, but people say well, no one really knows what happens when you you you die no one's come back and told us yesterday. Jesus Christ went into death.
He came back he is doggedly tells us this is why God sent his son into the world that we would know there's good news that we would not live in fear of that that we would not live in this bondage to sin and to our sinful passions. Listen to his words. Words of hope. Words of power words of life.
I listen, I am the resurrection on the life he that believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
That's why the resurrection. So excited about this followers of Jesus is the pivotal event not only of the Christian faith, but of all of human history if it is true that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Nothing can be the same as another God says to you today just as you sit there listening to this lifestream if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved is Jesus Christ, because he certainly believe that confess that he is the risen Savior and as you receive him, you will be saved.
God is sovereign God who is the Savior, a God who conquers that and finally a God who is returning. Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has implications for the future and Jesus Christ is returning our text says so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time, not to deal with Satan. The Dell that with sin that his first coming up the cross, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Here's a fact that we often forget on Easter Sunday because Jesus Christ is alive. He is going to return. He's going to come back. He's returning this is Paul's argument in first Thessalonians 4. Let me read it to your first Thessalonians 4 verse 14 Paul says for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again. You believe that I believe it. I believe that Jesus died and rose again. He says even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Was it me to fall asleep in Jesus remains those who die and whose trust is in Jesus Christ, my mother passed away in October and runs an open grave. We sang a song which began fallen asleep lying at rest. We didn't just mean that mom had digested died, but she had fallen asleep in Jesus.
She was safe.
Trust was in Christ as an older teenager she had placed their faith in Jesus Christ and so she was safe, fallen asleep in Jesus and Paul is saying to these Thessalonians and the spirit of God is saying to us today that as a follower of Jesus Christ.
When you die, there's nothing to fear. You fall asleep in Jesus is afraid of what asleep and if you are alive when Jesus returns. Listen to this, we who are alive when Jesus returns what's called the rapture we were alive, who are left will be caught up together with them more than them. Those who fall in the asleep in Jesus. The dead in Christ 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 wearing credible future. We have nothing to fear if I die I fall asleep in Jesus ago to be with the Lord.
If I'm alive at the rapture in a sense even better than I don't even die. There's a whole generation of followers of Jesus Christ who will never die using what you mean mean that one day the Lord Jesus is returning we call that the rapture and that the rapture think of the power of Almighty God as the those who have died in Christ that raised from the dead, and we who are alive are going to be caught up and meet them in the air and so we will ever be with the Lord rapture using Jesus Christ because he rose from the dead is going to leave us. Of course not. He's coming back for his own. The Bible says all happened in a moment, in the twinkling of an yes it may happen today and will happen so fast that it can be measured. The Lord Jesus come like a thief in the night and then there will be that incredible meeting with all of our loved ones who have the are going to be caught up and we were alive when the Lord Jesus returns will meet them in the air and says Paul so we shall be for ever with the Lord. No need to fear because were wonderful people know because of the wonder of Christ is God who is all powerful God of love. This God who is conquered that this God who is coming back and will deal with the whole eternal Vista Savior conquers her say to you, death is not the end of life is the dual into eternity into the presence even of God out of hell itself.
I can't imagine living today without knowing Jesus Christ.
Some of your living with the fear of death.
The fact that Jesus is risen from the dead as we celebrate this Easter Sunday changes everything and I say with job. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that I shall see God. I know that when I die, shall be with my Lord Jesus Christ.
I know that he'll never leave me.
I'm totally convinced that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is alive and that's why I plead with you. Give never done it to place your faith in Jesus Christ is appointed unto you once the die after this the judgment, but Christ calms puts away sin forever receive him as your Savior and look forward to that great day when the Lord Jesus Christ comes yes he conquers that and he delivers us from the fear of death in the stands and says I alive forevermore and have the keys of death and hell, he's the God of the future. This God is sovereign is God who is the Savior is God who is a conqueror. This God who is returning is the one who is alive forevermore and in his grace he offers you salvation to repent of your sin come from your sin in the brace Christ up and give you an opportunity to do that require a virtual choir sang that wonderful song Christ is our hope and life and death. I pray that is true for you.
I'm going to ask you give never received Christ to pray with me, and if you're not a believer in Jesus Christ. You might want to pray this again to make sure that your trust is in Christ pray with me from your heart to the living Christ is the home is quite things done by their some of your listing alone. Some of you with your family. We use about this holy moment and pray with me, Lord Jesus, you're the living Christ admit we have sinned against her going my own way. I repent of my sin in my self-centeredness. Thank you for your love. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for paying the penalty of my sin on the cross. Thank you for putting away my sin forever. I believe that you are the son of God and that the you rose from the dead that you are alive. I know trust you as my Savior open the door of my heart, my life to you come in. Lord Jesus cleanse me, save, measure the living Christ. I don't deserve your salvation, but I call on you not have mercy upon me, save me. I ask your name and your joy if you prayed the prayer to help you grow in your faith this context there is you are on line or on Facebook just with a message to us would love to connect with your you maybe another end of the world are you maybe the next street from Calvary church doesn't matter were here to serve you, but make sure your trust is in Jesus Christ that were going to conclude no with a wonderful song song which looks ahead to that day when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back. So our father, undergarment, we thank you for this magnificent day and we say, even so, Lord Jesus, I pray that every single person lived listening to this lifestream may put their faith in Christ, so that when Christ returns all of us will go to be forever with the Lord we ask is that