Summary: In the face of death, many of us make decisions that are radically different than we make on an everyday basis. In the face of impending death we often become very, very afraid. Let me give you some quick facts the Bible gives us regarding death.
FACING YOUR GIANTS
“Facing our Greatest Fear”
1 Corinthians 15:35-36, 42, 50-58
The year was 1991 and it was at the height of operation Desert Storm. A woman named Ruth received the dreaded news from the Pentagon that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Pfc. had stepped on mine in Kuwait and was dead Ruth’s words sound like ours when we have lost someone so close to us... She said I cannot begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For three days I did nothing but cry. For three days I expressed my anger. For three days people tried to comfort me but nothing helped because the loss was too great.
Three days later the telephone rang. And the voice on the other end said mom, it’s me. It’s Clayton. I’m alive. Ruth’s said she couldn’t believe it at first but she recognized his voice and realized he really was alive. A horrible mistake had been made on the part of the military but she didn’t care... The son she thought was gone was actually alive. She laughed, she cried... She said she actually felt like turning cartwheels.
This is the final message in our series of facing your Giants. We have talked about ridicule, depression, loneliness, forgiveness, anxiety, discouragement, grief, family dysfunction, facing debt, guilt and today on this Easter Sunday we’re looking at our fear of death. This woman named Ruth made this remark she said I don’t think anyone could possibly begin to understand how I felt during this time.
But some of the disciples actually might have understood. They spent three years under the teachings of Jesus, watching as he healed the sick, walked on water and one evening they watched as the soldiers came and got him and took him away to be crucified. They witnessed his pain firsthand and heard him as he cried out and said I thirst... As he said my God, why have you forsaken me? They listened and watched as he finally bowed his head and said the words, it is finished. Father into thy hands I commit my spirit. They watched as they took his body from the cross and buried him.
Finished. And all their hopes and dreams were buried with him. Every hope they had was gone. They were afraid. So they hid. The disciples gathered together in someone’s home and locked the door for fear that the authorities might come after them and they would experience the same terrible punishment and death as Jesus.
In the face of death, many of us make decisions that are radically different than we make on an everyday basis. In the face of impending death we often become very, very afraid. Let me give you some quick facts the Bible gives us regarding death.
(1) Death does not show favoritism. Every one of us will faced death. Is appointed that man will die. All of us have an appointment with death. It’s just not on our calendar. We haven’t written it on our “to do” list. Because we don’t look forward to it.
(2) None of us know when that day will be. We know that our life expectancy in the United States is 79 years of age for a man and 81 years of age or a woman. My father was 64. My mother was 91 that is an average of 77. But God knows. He knows the day and the our. And because he knows he alone can prepare us.
(3) Most people, at some point in life are very afraid of death. Hebrews 2:15 CEB
In one study-and there are many of these are the top eight things people are afraid of:
1. Public speaking
4. money problems
As Jay Leno/Jerry Seinfeld put it, many of us would rather be in the casket than to be the one delivering the funeral sermon.
One of the reasons we become afraid is our lack of knowledge about the subject. While snakes are not on this list they could be under number three. I do know many people who are afraid of them and if you ask them the question they will usually give you the same answer. Have you ever held one question of course not. Didn’t you hear me? I’m afraid of them. My sister is afraid of flying. If I were to ask her have you ever tried it a response would be didn’t you hear me I’m afraid of flying. Many people are afraid of public speaking so if I ask if they have ever done it for the most part they would say of course not. I’m afraid of it. But regarding snakes for instance people would typically say (1) I have never held a snake; don’t plan to (2) of never flown and (3) never spoken to a group in public. So if we look at the facts here we must realize that we are paralyzed with fear over something we have never experienced/tried. It is the fear of the unknown. There is an acronym for FEAR... Here it is: false evidence appearing real. And we’ll see this so-called evidence as false-we think it’s real-but there is no evidence-only opinions. Opinions from well-meaning friends, parents, coworkers-people whose opinion we respect for one reason or another. But listen carefully to what the apostle Paul said about death....