Summary: Death is the ultimate destiny of everyone. How to prepare for it is the essence of this sermon.
December 18, 2000
A. Cemetery Marker
Some time ago, a man was trying to trace his family origin. In the process of his research he visited several cemeteries collecting information from the markers. At one place he came across a monument with the following inscription:
Pause now stranger, as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so soon you’ll be.
Prepare yourself to follow me.
Next to the marker, he noticed someone had placed a board with the following words:
To follow you, I’m not content
Until I know, which way you went.
A. The Truth About Our Destiny
1. Death is Inevitable
a. Hebrews 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
2. Death is impartial--No respecter of persons
a. The old must die
b. The young must die
3. Death is often unexpected. How death takes us by surprise.
B. How to Prepare for Destiny?
1. Material preparation
a. Buy a good insurance benefit for the surviving relatives.
b. Buy a nice burial ground
2. Spiritual Preparation
a. Lessons from the life of Paul
b. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8
C. Paul Was Ready to Die:
1. He knew his death had meaning (verse 6)
a. As Paul looked at the nearness and certainly of his death, he realized that his death will not be in vain, but would serve a better purpose. He saw his death as an offering poured out to the honor and glory of Jesus Christ.
b. So many people reach the end of their life, and they have not done anything. They have not contributed to make the world a better place, they have not left their mark. They die and are forgotten, having lived in anonymity, have served no one but themselves. Consuming, not producing. Receiving blessings but never a blessing to others. Taking, but never giving.
c. Before his death, Benigno Aquino uttered this now familiar phrase "I would rather die a meaningful death than live a meaningless life."
d. As profound and inspiring these words in their context, they don’t express the whole truth. And the truth of the matter is--a person can die a meaningful death only when he has lived a meaningful life.
1. Living a meaningful life does not mean that a person will not suffer from any illness, or experience any problem.
2. Living a meaningful life means that a person has done his equal share of making the world a better place. And most of all, of making God as the center of his life.
e. Paul was ready to die because he knew his death had meaning. Bro. Bayasen’s death is not in vain because he has lived a meaningful life. He made God as the center of his life.
f. May we live our lives so that when the final chapter is written--and whether we die young or old, it can be said that we touched someone.
2. He had completed his course (verse 7)
a. There was a story of a woman who ran the Boston Marathon and won it. But it was later found out that she had cheated. Instead of running the course, she had gotten on a bus and took a shortcut. She sneaked off, made her way back to the course and went across the finish line. She was disqualified.
b. Paul had lived his life, fought his fight and run his race without shirking from his duties and responsibilities. He could close his eyes in death with a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. He had taken no short cuts, avoided no obstacles. Instead of circumventing the mountains, he climbed them. He weathered the storms faithfully.
c. How many people as they reach their twilight years and prepare for the next life can look back with satisfaction as Paul. So often there are folks who spent their last days saying, "I wish I had…." Perhaps they should have been a better parent, a better neighbor, a better friend, a better church member, and a better spouse. Instead of making a better living, they should have made a better life.
d. What are you doing now to finish your course? What course has God laid out for you to run? Are you in the marathon, or just warming up? Are you pressing on, or giving up? Are you in the race, or on the sidelines?
e. If there is one reason why God have taken Bro. Bayasen, it is because he had finished his course. He had faithfully carried his duties and responsibilities. As a church member, Bro. Bayasen was a faithful person. He would come to the church early, walking all the way from his home, under the rain, snow, or sunshine.