Summary: This is the final sermon in a series entitled life.com, the focus of this message is preparation for death
When I was in Bible College I worked two years at a local funeral home. To say the least is was a different experience – my job was a simple one, I was to greet the grieving family and friends when they came to the funeral home to pay their last respects.
My first week was one of training, I was taught how to greet, how to be sensitive to others needs and how to lock up the building at the end of the evening.
Everything went fine my first week, it was the second week which brought out the difficulty. My first night alone – there were two bodies lying in state. Around 9:00, the families went to their respective homes and I was there are to lock up – that is when it hit me – I was all alone in the funeral home. I have to admit I was a little nervous, maybe I had watched to many horror shows, maybe I was letting my imagination run away with me but whatever it was, I was getting a little nervous. Walking through the rooms I turned out all the lights and then I came into the rooms were the bodies laid in state.
I turned out the lights and began walking out of the room, when I the phone ring. I went in the office answered the phone and that is when I heard it… Ooohhh, Ooohhh
Get hold of yourself. There is nobody here but you!
That did not help… Ooohhh, Ooohhh
As quick as I could I set the alarm run to the back door, turned the key and went home.
The next day I discovered I had left the building unlocked all night and Ooohhh, Ooohhh – was simply the air conditioner cycling down for the evening.
For 7 thousand years, death has been a natural consequence of the human condition – yet it is the most frightening aspect of our life.
Job described death as “the king of terrors”
David said in the psalms, My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. PSALM 55:4-5
While death is a fact of life, it is amazing the words we use to deny the reality of death
• Kicked the bucket
• Bought the farm
• Gone to the other side
Christians are not immune from Euphemisms…
• Crossing over to Jordan
• God took them home
• Sleeping in the arms of Jesus
How do you respond to death thins morning?
• Woody Allen – I am not afraid to die. I just do not want to be there when it happens.
• Vavasor Powell The fear of death is in grafted in the common nature of all men
As God’s people, we can face death with confidence
The Bible gives us an example of how to face death with confidence in the life of Stephen.
Having faced down the religious leaders of his day, he confronted them with their rejection of the Messiah as a result the religious leaders had him stoned to death, yet in the closing moments of his life note how he is remembered…
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen stared death right in the face and saw victory, Stephen faced death with confidence and without fear. How could he be so confident, when he knew his life was about to end?
There are many in the world today who not only do not face death with confidence, but who are terribly afraid of death. Either they ignore thinking about death or they make fun of death. They will do anything they can to keep the thought of death at a safe distance, because they find the reality to be so crippling.
Many fear death, maybe even some here today. Yet there are still some, who like Stephen stare death in the face and see it as sweet victory -- FOR THEM ALL FEAR IS GONE AS THEY FACE DEATH WITH CONFIDENCE!