Summary: This is a sermon i wrote around the anniversary of my mentor’s death a couple of years ago, it’s a little personal, but hopefully someone can use it.
Country singer Tim McGraw had a great song a couple of years ago called, "Live Like You Were Dying".
The song was written in relation to his father Tug, and his diagnosis of cancer which led to his death a couple of years ago.
He brings up a very interesting point in this song…what would you do if you found out you were dying? How would you live?
Would your life be different? Would you take more risks? Would you take less risks?
I saw an interesting commercial on TV last night, it said 3 things are certain: death, taxes and cable rate increases!
Actually only 1 out of the 3 is truly correct…death. Taxes can be avoided, and at times are. Cable rate increases, for most people, they can live without cable. But as for death…death is batting a perfect 1.000. In fact, in this room, there is a 100% possibility that we are all going to face death at sometime.
So basically, what it amounts to is the fact that we are all dying. Think about it, from the time we take our first breath…our bodies begin the process of dying. It may take 90+ years for some, it may take 50 for others, and still others may never see their high school graduation.
Kind of morbid to think about, isn’t it? But I think this is a concept that we need to grasp hold to because none of us here are immortals. And unless Jesus returns in our lifetime, we are all facing the possibility of death.
So, my question is, what are you going to do with life? How are you going to live, knowing that death is impending?
The Apostle Paul is someone who constantly faced the reality of death. From day one of his walk with Christ, he had a very large target on him as he boldly proclaimed the Gospel of Christ. Today, I want to look at what Paul says about the thought of dying.
Read Text Phil 1:21 and pray
The song we listened to early looks at how to handle the prospect of life and death from a physical or humanistic point of view. Basically, how can you live life to the fullest in the time that you have.
There isn’t anything wrong with this…but it isn’t all right either.
In the 17th century, and English pastor by the name of Richard Baxter found out that he had been stricken with a sickness that meant it was only a matter of time until his young life would end. In response to this he took some time off, an extended retreat, to evaluate his life and see what God had in store for him.
His conclusion was summed up in a quote, “Preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”
What he realized was similar to what we find in Phil 1:21, basically, that we should live like we are dying.
Should we live like we are dying? Yes, we should
So then, how should we do that…there are three keys to living like we are dying:
1. Celebrate life.
For the Apostle Paul, every day he was able to breathe another breathe, it was something to celebrate.
Paul’s life was not the type you would find as an example in the book, “How to win friends and influence people.”
In Acts we see where Paul was a persecutor of the early Church, a Pharisee who was considered a “Hebrew of Hebrews”. His disdain for Christians even placed him at the stoning of Stephen, an early deacon and one of the first martyrs of the early Church.
His conversion is widely known as the “Damascus Road experience” and from that point on his life was changed drastically. His life was now for Christ.
In Gal 2:20 Paul wrote, “I have been crucified…”
Every where he went, his life was in danger…he survived everything from being stoned to a ship wreck. He knew what it was like to face death.
And because he did face death, he celebrated life and took joy in the fact that he had life in Christ and could share that with others.
If we want to celebrate life, we should:
a. Have life:
Read 1 Cor 15:54-5-, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus Christ by His death on the cross has defeated sin…we no longer have to be shackled.
And by His resurrection He has defeated death…we can now live for ever.
All we have to do is accept the gift of life he offers us!