(Hebrews 9:27) And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment,
Recently via Facebook, the local news, as well as word of mouth also family, friends, locally our mayor and my daughter’s pastor, the news has come in regards to young and old who have left this life. From the time that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden ever person born of a woman had an appointment with death except for those that God took straight to heaven. Death is a subject that people really don’t like to discuss even some Christians. Truth be told probably most Christians don’t want to talk about death. Yet unless you are here for the Lord’s return it’s something we all will face.
In a sense our scripture text informs us that we all have an appointment with death. Scripture also warns us that we can be early for that appointment (Ecclesiastes 7:17) Do not be very wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? So how we live our lives plays a part in how long we are allowed to be alive on this earth, now that’s something to think about. In the parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, the rich man dies and goes to hell and the beggar Lazarus goes to Abraham’s bosom. (Luke 16:22) And it happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich one also died and was buried.(Luke 16:23) And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. So as we look at what’s next after this life we see a clear distinction between what happens to the rich man and the beggar Lazarus.
In Luke 12:16-20 we find the story of the rich man who planned on building bigger barns because his current ones could not hold all of his fruits and goods. He is told that very night was his appointment with death. In contrast we find the story of King Hezekiah in Isaiah the 38th chapter he is informed by the prophet Isaiah that he would die and not live. Hezekiah prays to the Lord and is given 15 additional years yet eventually he also dies. Throughout the Old Testament we read of people living and dying then Jesus comes along and in today’s vernacular provides the game changer. In John chapter 11 another Lazarus is dead and Jesus responds to his sister Martha with some very profound words. (John 11:25) Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. (John 11:26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?
In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man Lazarus is carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. In John 11 Jesus lets us know that things have now changed he is the Resurrection and the Life all who believe in him when they die yet he shall live. My Dad always said that a “true child of God cannot leave this earth until they give up the ghost”. In other words you and the Lord are on the same page that your time is done. Amazingly that is how he left this life he talked with my Mom and my brother said goodbye and went on to be with Jesus. John 11:26 presents us with another scenario of what’s next. Here Jesus says “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” WOW!!! So what is he saying here is he speaking about those that will be alive when he returns they will never taste death? Or is he saying that all who accept him after his Resurrection will never die but will simply be translated from life to life eternal. I believe the Apostle Paul sheds some light on this subject when he says (1Co 15:51) Behold, I speak a mystery to you; we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed; (1Co 15:52) in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. As Jesus was on his way to raise Lazarus he told his disciples that Lazarus was asleep. I believe that our loved ones who have gone on before are at rest. They are no longer aware of the troubles and cares of this life. Jesus said they would not die so their spirits merely transitioned and are now at peace with the Lord.
There was a song that they used to sing when I was a child “There’s a Great Day Coming” as Christians we should all be looking forward with great anticipation for that “Great Day” Scripture tells us (1Co 15:22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive. (1Co 15:23) But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, and afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming; (1Co 15:24) then is the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He makes to cease all rule and all authority and power. (1Co 15:25) for it is right for Him to reign until He has put all the enemies under His feet. (1Co 15:26) The last enemy made to cease is death. There is a Great day coming a day when Jesus himself will cause death to cease. For those of us who know Christ we’ll experience a New Life free of sickness, sorrow, pain, disappointment, and most of all death.
Oh what a day that will be when we are reunited with loved ones who have gone on before and as the saints used to say there will be no more goodbye it will always be “Howdy Howdy”. Oh what a time that’s going to be if you’ve recently lost a loved one or someone who has been gone for years still lingers in your mind remember what the Apostle Paul said. (1Th 4:16) For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. (1Th 4:17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord. (1Th 4:18) Therefore comfort one another with these words. Be Encouraged and Blessed Minister Mike.