Saturday, March 3, 2012

Death - People don’t just, “pass” – they “pass away”


"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Psalm 1:1-6 - KJV


People Don’t Just, “Pass” – They “Pass, Away” - To their own eternal peril, they ignore, euphemize and minimize, the inevitable

It is interesting how the culture "fine tunes" its language. As a child who father was a Christian pastor, I would attend various Christian funerals at the church. Dad never was one to attempt to shelter his children from the stark reality and inevitability of death. Across the dinner table he would freely converse with my mother. He would mention upon occasion that so and so "passed away."

"Passed 'away'" isn't the description utilized (much), anymore, in our culture. The politically correct phrase is, just, "passed." So and so, "passed." The least people have to deal with death, it seems, the better -- so, they think. Softening (altering) the language -- "passed," rather than, "passed away," or "died," is culture's manner of dealing with life's finality.

Our culture does not like to think too much, about "finality." Saying that someone "passed away" or "died" is even considered inappropriate by some, in our culture. It is also, considered inappropriate to take children to a funeral home or to a church funeral. But, it’s okay to allow them to soak up the slice and dice culture of Hollywood, through the family TV screen – but, oh, don’t ever allow them to walk up to a casket of a friend or family member and truly experience the finality and inevitability of death!

Death is a proud stalker

Reality is all around us. We cannot escape the daily news which brings us numerous reports about catastrophes – whether personal, self inflicted, natural disasters or acts of brutal terrorism. One “thing” is the common denominator. It is that Death is a viscous stalker. Death is always lurking behind the scenes, ever nimble and ready to abruptly grab its next victim and do what it does best -– silence a speaking voice; still a beating heart; halt a pair of walking legs; render a hearty smile and laughter, lifeless.

A schizophrenic attitude about death

Our sinful culture is often schizophrenic. It considers death, a relief. Far be it from me, that this emeritus Christian pastor should touch on all the impressions that people have about death. But I do know that one of the most eternally dangerous impressions that many people have about death and its imminence, is that it will finally bring some type of relief to their nagging pain or the relief of continual physical and / or, emotional agony of their loved ones.

Families of the dying often introduce their loved ones into an environment that is designed to assuage the blunt force of the sometimes, lengthy dying process. “Hospice” is the most culturally acceptable mode of practice, whereby family members can say goodbye to their loved ones. And, of course, the dying, to their family members. However, -- even with all the best environment (to die) in the world – death continues to be the unwanted and forbidden visitor. It eventually enters every physical body; ceases all life giving blood flow; and halts every beating heart.

Even in the best of comfortable environments, death stalks its prey with unending ruthlessness. People – human souls, just, don’t “pass,” – they “pass away” – they die; they cease to be what they were. They and their souls no longer inhabit this world, but are now permanent inhabitants, in the hereafter eternity. And yet, family members, left behind, sadly and pathetically consider their loved ones, who have died, to have finally found, “relief.”

However, friend, there is no relief, in death, apart from having died “in the Lord.” The Scripture relates to us that “precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints.” [Psalm 116:15] What makes a “saint?” Having been washed in the holy sacrificial blood of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. That sacrificial blood of Christ is the required "holy clothing" that is necessary for heaven's perfect environment glory. Philippians 3:9 ; Matthew 22:1-14

Those of you who do not die, “in the Lord,” – your eternal status, will be utterly deplorable Friend, whether you realize it or not, you are either a saint or a sinner – at least in the narrow sense. Christ stated (as recorded in the Gospels): “......strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14] If you don’t by faith know Jesus Christ as your Savior from your damning sins of thought, word and deed, then, you are a lost sinner, headed down the path to death eternal. [Hell]

Only those who, by the grace of God, are able to believe and put their faith in Christ will be considered “saints” in God’s eyes. They will be awarded “life everlasting” rather than a just sentence of punishment in hell for their lifetime sins and, for having rejected Christ, as their eternal rescuer.

Sinner - do you see and recognize why Jesus Christ is so important? Without Him you will not stand in the "congregation of the righteous" [Psalm 1:1-6] in the hereafter! You will not stand the (proverbial chance) of a “snowball, in hell.” In fact, without Christ and His forgiving cover for all your sins against God and your fellowman, you will pay dearly and for an eternity, with your priceless soul.

You may attempt to ignore God’s directive, recorded in His Holy Scripture for you to repent and believe – but no matter what you attempt to do or to believe contrary to God’s written revelation, will make no difference. You may even attempt to deny the existence of the life your soul will experience, after you die. You may even hide behind the current and popular euphemism that you will only, “pass.” But no matter what you believe (apart from saving grace) – your thoughts and your efforts will do you no good, and, only spell your eternal gloom for a future spent in hell’s just punishments.

Scripture tells us the truth about death

Death is an enemy and the Scripture says that it is the "last enemy." World culture may attempt to ignore and minimize the inevitable. But, death is a reality of such, that it is an enemy. Scripture talks about it, as the “last enemy.” [1 Cor. 15:25-26] Even to Christians who truly believe, death is a reality that is (naturally) feared. [Psalm 23:1-6] However, even though Scripture states that death is the “last enemy,” Scripture also relates that Jesus Christ stalked that last enemy. So much so, did He stalk the last enemy of death – He also rendered it defeated by his entrance upon our world by his holy birth, life, sacrificial suffering and death and finally, His Resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:1-58

You non-saint / sinner, -- read, listen and study the Holy Scriptures – the Triune God’s most precious gift to you. Read in the Hebrew Scriptures, how sin came to be. Read God’s promise to send His only begotten Son to be the perfect remedy for your sins. Read, and keep on reading and listening, -- and cry out to God, for the sake of Christ, to have mercy upon your sinfully wretched soul. Come, and freely take the water of life He offers you. Isaiah 55:1-13

Amen.

Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins

Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Isaiah 55:1-13 – The Triune God’s invitation to drink of the eternal waters

John 3:14-21 – The “Gospel” which is absolutely necessary for the human soul

John 3:36 – God’s eternal condemnation [damnation] of those who reject His soul saving gift of Christ

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

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