Summary: We naturally fear death. However, it is a blessed/happy event for Christians to move from this life to the next.
1. Back in 2014, Andy Russell of Tarzana, CA passed away. His three year old grandson, Bobby wanted to know what had happened to his grandfather. His parents told him, "Grandpa was so sick and felt so bad that God did not want him to hurt any more so he sent the angels to get him." Astonished, Bobby asked, "The whole team?"
2. No Fear of Death! For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. Psalm 16:10
It is commonly known that in many surveys of people's greatest fears, fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld observed that most people are more afraid of delivering a eulogy at a funeral than of being in the casket. Something seems wrong with these surveys. Given the choice, right now, would most people rather die--actually die--than speak in public? That seems unlikely.
Death has always been humanity's greatest unknown and thus man's greatest fear. We tend to fear what we don't understand and can't control. Religions have made attempts through the centuries to unravel the mystery of death. But no explanation of death satisfies reason and intellect, and gives hope to the heart, like the Christian explanation. Very simply, Jesus Christ defeated death by returning to life. Had the resurrection not happened, we Christians would look foolish with our Gospel of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:14, 18).
But the resurrection did happen! Death has been defeated! And we Christians, in Christ, have been given the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). Resurrection is crucial to our faith!
3. The Bible gives us a different view of the death of believers than we would see in the world. -- Revelation 14.12-13
4. Why is death, "Blessed"? -- Consider three aspects of this beatitude:
I. It is Blessed in Its Residence -- "In the Lord"
A. Avoiding the Cup of Wrath -- 14.9-11
1. For Rebellious "Nations" --
Jeremiah 25.5 15 Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them."
Isaiah 51.22 Thus says your Lord, the LORD,
your God who pleads the cause of his people:
"Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
Psalm 79.6 Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call upon your name!
2. We are/were included -- Romans 3.23; 6.23
a. Jesus Drank the Cup of Wrath for Us -- Isaiah 53.4ff
b. We become acceptable to God by HIS merits -- 2 Corinthians 5.17 (new creation)
B. Accepting the Cup of Grace
1. Jesus' cup of blessing in the last supper -- "for remission of sins"
2. Given the opportunity to be In the Lord by his grace -- not our merits -- Ephesians 2.8-10; Galatians 3.26-27 -- 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
II. It is Blessed in Its Rest -- from Labor
A. Many Kinds of Labor
1. Creative Labor -- God (Genesis 1-2); Man
2. Maintenance -- "sweat of brow"
3. Here -- Laborious, toilsome effort; dealing with troubles and temptations
(God tests us to bring out the good; Satan, the evil)
B. A Promised Rest from Labor -- 2 Thessalonians 1.5-8
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-- 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
1. Sabbath was important
2. Sabbath looked forward to a rest for our souls (Hebrews 4.9)
III. It is Blessed in Its Reward -- deeds (actions/behavior/toil) follow
How We Live
Max Lucado shared this story in his book OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE.
[Explorers were sailing through uncharted waters] strong winds blow the ship off course. The sailors spot six uncharted islands rising out of the blue sea waters. The captain orders the men to drop anchor and goes ashore.
On the first island he sees nothing but sadness. Underfed children. Tribes in conflict. No farming or food development, no treatment for the sick, and no schools. Just simple, needy people.