Summary: Part 4 of the series, Facing Your Fears
It was the night of October 31, 1936. Halloween night. The men and women sat at the round table with joined hands. They awaited the message—the message they had been waiting to hear every Halloween night for the past 10 years. But the message didn’t come.
Finally, one woman rose from the table and announced to the others—and to a listening radio audience—“Houdini did not come through,” she said. “My last hope is gone. I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me, or to anyone…. The Houdini Shrine has burned for 10 years. I now, reverently…turn out the light. It is finished. Good night, Harry!”
The woman was Bess Houdini, wife of the famed magician and escape artist. And this was the last séance she would participate in to try to contact her dead husband. Houdini was known as “The Man No Jail Could Hold.” But he couldn’t escape from death (found at paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa103000a.htm).
Have you noticed that it’s hard for some people to say the word “dead”? They prefer to say, “He has passed away”; or, “She is no longer with us.” Death is an unwelcome subject. We don’t like to talk about it. But listen to what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:2: "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." In other words, it’s better to go to a funeral than a wedding. The first three letters of funeral spell “fun.” But funerals are not fun. However, they do make us think. Funerals force us to think about life’s most important questions. Fortunately, we’re not gathered here today for a funeral, but I do want to talk about death. Someone has said, “You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.”
The Bible describes death in many different ways:
• The psalmist wrote that when people die, they return to the dust (Ps. 104:29). God said to Adam, "Dust you are and to dust you will return" (Gen. 3:19; cf. 2:7).
• The KJV calls death "giving up the ghost" (Gen. 25:8; 35:29; Lam. 1:19; Acts 5:10).
• The Bible says that when Abraham died, he was "gathered to his people" (Gen. 25:8). In other words, he joined his deceased relatives in death.
• The Bible often describes the death of God’s people as "sleep" (Deut. 31:16; John 11:11; 1 Cor. 15:6, 18, 51; 1 Thess. 4:14-15). The bodies of believers sleep in the grave waiting for the resurrection.
• The apostle Paul called death a departure (2 Tim. 4:6). It’s like going on a trip…from this world to another.
• The apostle Peter said that death is like putting aside a tent (1 Peter 1:13-14). Our bodies are like tents—a temporary dwelling place for our spirits.
• Job described death as the king of terrors (Job 14:14). Death is many people’s greatest fear. Shakespeare wrote, “He that cuts off twenty years of life cuts off so many years of fearing death.”
Today’s message is called Facing Your Fear of Death. Before you can face your fear of death, you must face the facts about death. Today I would like to share with you 5 Facts About Death.
1. Death will come to you someday.
"It is appointed unto men once to die…." (Heb. 9:27).
Already this year, thousands of people have had their appointments with death. Some of them were celebrities.
• Curt Gowdy, sports broadcaster and the “voice” of the Boston Red Sox, died on Feb. 20 of leukemia at age 86.
• Don Knotts, actor on The Andy Griffith Show, died on Feb. 24 of lung cancer at age 81.
• Kirby Puckett, Hall of Fame baseball player, died on March 6 from a stroke at age 45.
• Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve, died on March 6 of lung cancer at age 44.
There once was an undertaker who signed all his letters, “Eventually yours.” He was right; death eventually comes to all of us.
Why do we die? Have you ever thought about that question? The answer is found at the very beginning of the Bible. God gave the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, just one rule: “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” (Gen. 2:16-17). You probably know that they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit…and people have been dying ever since. Actually, death is a gracious gift from God. He didn’t intend for us to live as we do now—in these bodies and this world that have been marred by sin. Death allows us to leave this fallen world and return to paradise.