Summary: A Message from beyond the Grave 1) Halleluiah! 2) Hang in there!
How do you keep in touch with your friends? Do you prefer the convenience of emailing, or the immediacy of texting? Perhaps you’re among the millions who rely on a social networking site like Facebook. Did you know that you can now stay connected even after you die? Really! Companies like MyWebWill will continue to send “updates” to your contact list even after you’ve expired. Of course these updates are hardly messages from “beyond the grave.” They’re only messages you prepared to send while you were still very much able to tap the keys on your keyboard. Is it possible to receive messages from a loved one who has died? It is. In fact we do so today. Listen to our text from Revelation 7:9-17.
“Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” That’s one message from beyond the grave spoken by those who are now in heaven. Is your loved one among those relaying that message to you this morning? He or she is if they sang this song while alive: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10). “Salvation” or deliverance from our sins, our fears, and escape from a meaningless life and hopeless existence, belongs to God because he designed it, and to the Lamb, Jesus, because he manufactured it. God owns the patent on salvation, you could say, and distributes it according to the standards of his grace (Preach the Word, March/April 2007, p. 2).
Contrast that song of heaven, however, with one of the most popular songs requested at funerals today: Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Many in this world like to boast that they don’t live by anyone else’s rules but their own. They think that God will be OK with this because, for the most part, living their way didn’t really hurt anyone. Friends, is that what you think? Do you figure that as long as you use protection you can enjoy pre-marital sex? You may not contract any disease but you are scarring yourself and cheating your future spouse out of a gift that belongs to him or her. Or do you suppose that the unkind remarks you make don’t really hurt others because “you’re only joking”? Living life as you see fit is a dangerous and foolish endeavour. Continuing to do things “your way” instead of “God’s way” will eventually bring you under God’s eternal wrath in hell.
So which song are you singing? The fact that you’re in church this morning would seem to signal that you’re singing the Song of the Saints. But what about the rest of the week? Do you sing a song about your work achievements, your family, your grades, or your looks? Are these little ditties getting in the way of the one song that matters? I find it interesting that the things John mentions about the saints in heaven, what they’re wearing – white robes washed in Jesus’ blood, and what they’re singing all point to Jesus. In other words, the only thing that will matter in the next life is Jesus – not how many friends you had, how much money you made, or what kind of car you drove. Are you living as if the only thing that matters is Jesus?