Summary: 3 kinds of death: physical, spiritual and eternal
Fred was in the hospital, near death, so the family sent for the preacher. As the preacher stood beside the bed, Fred’s frail condition grew worse, and he motioned frantically for something to write on. The preacher lovingly handed him a pen and piece of paper, and Fred used his last ounce of strength to scribble a note. Then he died. The preacher thought it best not to look at the note just then, so he slipped it into his jacket pocket. Several days later, at the funeral, the preacher delivered the eulogy. He realized that he was wearing the same jacket that he’d worn the day Fred died. “You know,” he said, “Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven’t read it, but knowing Fred, I’m sure there’s a word of inspiration there for us all.” He unfolded the note and read aloud, “You’re standing on my oxygen tube!”
I am a hospice chaplain and I have come to talk about death. Would expect a talk on death from a hospice chaplain. Give you what you expect. Let’s face this head on.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.” Billy Graham said, “Death is the most democratic experience in life, for we all participate in it.”
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2, NIV. As long as the Lord tarries, all of us will die, that is our destiny. However, how is it that it is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting? Madame DeStael said, “We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love.” A big reason I find the work of ministering among the dying fulfilling is that people are more open to the gospel when they are faced with the death of their loved one. #1 best time to reach people is when they are young; 2nd best time to reach people is when they are facing a tragedy like the death of a loved one.
People fear what they don’t understand and who can say they understand death? Believing they protect their children, some parents, often shield their children from death and funeral homes. Others choose to bring their children to a funeral home. No matter what we decide about our children, all of us will face the death of our loved ones and the death of ourselves. Our society as a whole does not want to deal with or talk about death.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.” Hebrews 2:14-16, NIV. That is us! Jesus helps us with death.
Thesis: 3 kinds of death: physical, spiritual and eternal
“And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”” Genesis 2:16, 17, NIV.
“And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24, NIV.
Imagine if the Lord just let humans eat from the tree of life, we would be living here forever in a sin corrupted world. Don’t misunderstand me, death is our enemy and we should want to live as long as God allows us to live. We should treat our body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and try to maintain this body as long as possible to do God’s work for God’s glory. However, think about living life forever in this dreadful world. Some TV shows and movies depict those who are immortal, they are living forever on this earth, in this world. Most of the time Hollywood depicts this as a dreadful condition. Why? Because this world is not as it should be.