Summary: This messages challenges people to develop an mindset focused on eternal things.
What is greater than life but worse than death?
It has been a week to remember, perhaps better forgotten
Platte Colorado, gunman walks into high school with evil intent, he is a drifter, living out of his car, carrying a backpack and guns
The story had happened before, only about 30 miles away, in Littleton,
Lancaster county, Pennsylvaina, same week, a angry, demented man walks into an Amish one room school house,
Cazenvoia Wisconsin, 15 year old student walked into his school, intent upon revenge.
His complaint was that he had been reprimanded by the principle because he had been caught with tobacco, and was facing some kind of suspension. He also felt slighted because other students had been harassing him
Closer to home, last Sunday night
4 terrible tragedies in schools this week
Colorado & Lancaster country ¡V death and destruction, eerily similar
Wisconsin ¡V principal hero
Michigan teen boy serving God, life turned around, deacon headed for the mission field
In all these tragedys, people died, and of course, death is always a tragedy. It is common to everyone
Heb. 9:27 (NLT) 27And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment,
1 Cor. 15:19-20 (NLT) 19And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.
20But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again
The issues of life and death are different for disciples of Jesus than they are for the population at large.
In that world, the line is distinct and clear ¡V there is nothing better than life, so live it to the hilt, stuff it with all the pleasure and fun that you can, build your story and make it successful in every way possible¡K there is nothing better than life
Kind of like ¡§eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we die.¡¨
That is the other extreme, death. That is the enemy (biblical, death is called the last enemy to be conquered) It must be avoided at all costs, and when death comes and makes it claims, it is the absolute worst, the ultimate disaster
But for the follower of Jesus, there is something that is worse than death, and something greater than life
Rom. 14:7-8 (NLT) 7For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. 8While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord.
Understanding that helps us to live our lives with a proper biblical balance
What is it that is greater than life and worse than death? Short answer is eternity
Mark 8:34-38 (NLT) 34Then he called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. ¡§If any of you wants to be my follower,¡¨ he told them, ¡§you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. 35If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life. 36And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul„T in the process? 37Is anything worth more than your soul? 38If a person is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of my Father with the holy angels.¡¨
That question in verse 37 (which Jesus is asking of his DISCIPLES) is one that each one of us must consider.
Where does it all go wrong?
Two choices, you can live your life (keep your life) for yourself, or you can give your life (deny yourself, lay down your life) for others & God
Keeping your life for yourself results in self pity, anger, resentment, envy and hatred
Is there something worse than death? Yes, it is dying for nothing, living a life so selfish, full of anger & unforgiveness, that we leave only bitterness and grief and remorse behind,
The Bible also talks about that thing that is worse than death, it is called the second death, and that death is eternal in nature
Rev. 20:14 (NLT) 14And death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death¡Xthe lake of fire.
Rev. 21:8 (NLT) 8But cowards who turn away from me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars¡Xtheir doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.¡¨