Summary: Believe week 11 ends the first 1/3 of sermons focusing on the "Think" aspect of our faith. We are looking at Eternity today
Believe 10 - Eternity
November 23, 2014
Dwight L. Moody was a great evangelist in the 19th century. Moody would often begin his evangelistic sermons with the statement - “Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto his glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.” Moody would say this to shock his audience with the truth that death would not be the end of his life but would be the start of a new beginning.
His words came true on Friday, December 22, 1899. With his family around him, he cried out, “Earth recedes; heaven opens before me.” His family thought he was dreaming. Then he spoke to one of his sons, “No, this is no dream, Will. It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.” Then it seemed as if he saw heaven opened before his eyes, as he cried out, “This is my triumph, this is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years.” His face lit up. “Dwight, Irene, I see the children’s faces.” He was speaking of 2 grandchildren who died the previous year.
A few minutes later he took his last breath and Dwight L. Moody entered heaven. (From The Life of D. L. Moody by William Moody).
Welcome to week 10 of Believe. Today we are taking a look at eternity. Wow! Now there is a topic to talk about. We can spend weeks on it. In fact, I spoke about eternity and a number of aspects regarding it in 2010. What I thought would be about a 3-4 week series, ended up lasting 8 weeks. Hopefully today’s sermon won’t last 8 weeks!
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The statistics on death have not changed. One out of one person dies.”
We might say those are not great statistics. Most of us would say we look forward to heaven, but we’re just not ready.
Yet, there are those who tell me they are ready. When the Lord calls them to heaven, they hope there’s no delay. There’s not a long slow Alexandria train holding them back, or a snow storm ala Buffalo. Most of us aren’t ready. I look forward to that day, but don’t want it rushed anytime soon.
One day, each of us will die. And so will our loved ones. This is not a fact we like to face. We live in a death denying society. We don't like to talk about it, think about it, or hear about it. We don't even like to say someone has died. We prefer to say he “passed on” or she “departed” or they’re “not with us anymore.” It seems so harsh to come right out and say someone died, to even talk about someone in the past tense . . . just seems wrong.
The thought of death can be very scary. As long as we believe Jesus is the Christ we don’t have to fear what happens after death. Because we’ve been promised we will reside with Him and all of the saints in heaven; and heaven will surpass our greatest images of beauty and power.
As Jesus was preparing for the cross and for heaven, He knew the disciples were anxious, confused, uncertain about what was happening, going to happen and how. It’s the Last Supper. Jesus had washed the disciples feet, He spoke about the one who would betray him. Judas has just left the table, the tension is high.
And Jesus attempted to comfort the disciples and these words are comforting for us as well. I say them at every funeral for a person who is a follower of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”