#10 The Fear of Dying
(Dealing with the Last Enemy)
Psalm 23:4 ESV Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Let’s explore five foundational facts about death:
I. The idea of death is no longer a natural part of life.
A. Psalm 116:15 - Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
B. Hebrews 9:27 - It is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment.
C. 1 Corinthians 15:26 - Death is the last enemy to be destroyed.
II. The Bible uses some beautiful images of death: “gathered unto his people;” “gathered unto your fathers,” or “gathered to your grave in peace.”
III. When death occurs, we are ushered into the presence of God -(Abraham’s Bosom in Luke 16:22; Paradise in Luke 23:43; the temporary state of the body is described as “sleep” in John 11:11; Acts 7:60; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; it is a state considered “far better” in Philippians 1:21, 23).
IV. Death is seen as separation.
A. Spiritual death
B. Physical death
C. Second death is seen as the final misery of the wicked (Revelation 20:11)
Revelation 20:13-15 NIV The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
V. Spiritual rebirth is available to us all.
A. John 3:3-8 NIV Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”4“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
B. John 3:16 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
C. 1 Peter 1:23 NIV For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
D. John 11:25-26 NIV Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Christian Life Lessons
1. We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope.
A. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 NIV Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
B. 1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
2. The fear of death should not be part of a Christian’s life.
A. We may have questions or even shun the unknown.
B. We may fear pain or loss of dignity.
C. Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
3. Death is a journey, not a destination. A valley has an opening on both ends ─ we are “walking through.”
4. We will never be alone. (“You are with me.”)
5. God has promised ultimate victory over death.
A. Isaiah 25:8 NIV He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
B. Hosea 13:14 ESV I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
C. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
D. Revelation 21:4 NIV He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
E. 2 Timothy 1:10 NIV but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
F. Romans 8:38, 39 NIV For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Good news from Uncle Jack
IMMANUEL: THE PROCLAMATIONS
THE PROCLAMATIONS OF CHRISTMAS
Zechariah made a proclamation.
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember His holy covenant, the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:67-79, NIV
2/ Elizabeth made a proclamation.
In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:42-45, NIV
3/ The angel made a proclamation.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12, NIV
4/ The angels made a proclamation.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14, NIV
5/ Simeon made a proclamation.
Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:28-35, NIV
6/ Mary made a proclamation.
Following the announcement, Mary is visiting her cousin Elizabeth. There she offers a poem and/or song often entitled “The Magnificat”.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as He promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55, NIV
Mary speaks to her knowledge of Scripture.
She makes connections to past prophecies and covenants while looking ahead to their fulfillments.
Mary speaks to the Lord’s state of being.
She is ever-growing in her knowledge of God’s goodness.
Mary speaks to her state of being.
She is understanding more and more that she has an unearned and favored position.
Mary speaks to the personal nature of this encounter.
She uses personal terms such as “my”.
Mary speaks to God’s revolutionary work.
She reveals a personal, societal, and eternal work that God is preparing.