Sunday, June 28, 2020

Death Is A Joyous Occasion For The Saint Of God

1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

What a beautiful passage of Scripture! The inspired Word of God is teaching us as believers that death is not really death, and is an occasion to rejoice over for the Christian. When a loved one who has eternal life dies, they have simply changed their residency from earth to Heaven. 2nd Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.There is no such thing as Soul Sleep. The Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.There will be no break in consciousness when we die, because we have the eternal life. We don't HOPE one day to have eternal life; but rather, we have THE HOPE of eternal life! 

Life is predictably unpredictable! We've all known someone close to us, who died at an early age. My little brother, Paul Solomon Stewart (1971-1974) died of heart failure. He was only two weeks shy of his third birthday. I was only 7 years old. I remember my father on his knees praying in a room in our home, crying and saying, “Why God?” Life is not fair, but God is always fair. Luke 4:25-27, “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” Only one widow received food. The others all went hungry, starving to death. Only one leper was healed. The others all suffered and died of their dreadful disease of leprosy. 

Why does our omnibenevolent (all loving), omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), omnisapient (all wise), and omnipresent (all present) God, let elderly people starve to death? Why does God allow lepers to suffer, not healing them when He could merely speak the word to heal them? The short and common theological answer is sin. Romans 5:12 teaches that when Adam sinned, he opened the floodgate of sin and DEATH upon the world. We all have to DIE a physical death at some point, because we are all SINNERS. No one can escape the physical DEATH. But thanks be to God, as the following Bible passage says, for the VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!!! ...

1st Corinthians 15:55-57, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The sting of death is sin the Bible says, because if you DIE IN YOUR SINS without the Lord (John 8:24), you will spend eternity suffering in the fires of Hell (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:12-15). Ah, but if you are a redeemed child of God, then you DIE IN THE LORD.” Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” 

The Apostle Paul welcomed death, and so do I. Philippians 1:21, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.I thank God for every bite I eat. I thank God that I can care for myself. I thank God for my soulwinning website ministry. I thank God for His blessings in my life; despite all the loss, pain, afflictions, frustrations, loneliness and miseries I have endured. Albeit, I would love to leave this world and go home to be with my God and Savior. Until that time I am going to preach the Gospel, to win as many souls to Jesus Christ as possible! Here is a video of Pastor Curtis Hutson singing, I'm On The Winning Side” at the 1994 Southwest Baptist Fellowship, while dying from prostate cancer (he died just months later). As born-again believers, we have the glorious hope of Heaven and a much better life!

The unsaved world has nothing to rejoice over when a loved one dies. My mother went to Heaven in 2001 and my father in 2010. I praise God they were saved! It is never easy to say goodbye to departed loves ones, especially if we don't get a chance to say goodbye. In 1st Thessalonians 4:14 we see the wonderful GospelFor if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.That is so beautiful! That is the simplicity of salvation. Anyone who believes that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and raised up the third day from the dead is saved (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). 

There is absolutely no reason for any child of God to fear dying. I do not fear death, but I would prefer not to die in a traumatic manner. I was horrified when I learned the tragic story of John Jones, a 26 year old married man with a daughter, who got stuck hundreds of feet underground in a cave. John was upside down, trapped by his rib cage that locked against the rocks. Rescuers tried to pull him backwards, from a narrow passage of rock called “The Birth Canal” at the Nutty Putty Cave in Utah. I cried as I watched various documentaries about the tragedy. Despite their valiant efforts, over a hundred rescuers could not get to him under hundreds of feet of solid rock. What a frightening way to day, trapped in claustrophobia. While trapped, John said: “I really, really, want to get out of here!”

John Jones died in the worst way imaginable, leaving behind a beautiful pregnant wife and daughter. Life is not fair! John was going to be a doctor. Sadly, John was a Mormon, which means he didn't go to Heaven according to the Bible. Kindly said, Mormons have another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). That made the story sad indeed to learn about. If you have a loved one who has died, and they were saved, REJOICE with all your heart, because billions of people will spend eternity suffering in the torments of Hell. Mormonism requires turning from sins to get to Heaven, must like the proponents of Lordship Salvation errantly do, which is not the Gospel of free grace!

Psalms 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” I often think of this Bible verse. It matters not if someone is old or young, rich or poor, famous or infamous, free or bond, faithful or unfaithful—the death of every saint is precious to God, because another one of His children is coming home!!! The Bible speaks of “THE FAMILY IN HEAVEN.” Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,For the born-again Christian, death simply means a homecoming! Jesus is precious!!!

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