Summary: Do we need to be afraid of death? Is this life all there is? What is it we really need to be afraid of?
What do these skulls make you think of when you see them?
Anyone had any near-death experiences?
• Been run over twice, crashed an ultra light, been shot at
What do you know about death? What happens to you when you die?
• 72 Black eyed virgins
• floating around on clouds playing harps
• just disappear into nothingness – is this life all there is?
• WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED
The first law of Thermodynamics says that no mass or energy is ever destroyed, that it merely changes form. When a piece of wood is burned, it is not gone. Some of it becomes heat; some deteriorates into the ashes. But it is not destroyed - it just changes. When a lake dries up, the water is gone. It has evaporated into the air, only to fall to earth again someday. If we can see this all around us in the physical world, is it so hard to conceive of it in the spiritual world? Harry Emerson Fosdick said, "Can it be that God is the most unscrupulous waster in the universe, making great personalities, only to throw them utterly away." If we can see it in nature, can we see it in the sphere of faith? We, too, can have the same confidence that the apostle Paul had when he said, "We shall all be changed."
Have you ever thought about how you live your life in the context of death?
• Normally we only think of death when someone shows us a picture of a skull or we go to a funeral
• What if this picture were hanging on your kitchen wall to remind you each day you were going to die?
• I mean if you suddenly found out you were about to die, would you change anything about your lifestyle – besides getting up a lot earlier in the morning because you were running out of time?
• Not something we think to much about when we are younger, but as we grow older and we start running out of time, we start looking at life a little differently
• Heard of people who have regrets – not achieved what they hoped in life, spent to much time making money to the detriment of relationships
Are you afraid of dying?
• The Bible talks about two deaths, a physical death and a spiritual death
• Matthew 10:28 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
• Only need to be afraid of spiritual death
• How can we avoid suffering spiritual death
A couple years ago, I was in China, we were there in Beijing, and our pastor’s team was invited to come and dialogue with the professors at Peking University. Peking University, which is the only thing still called Peking in Beijing, Peking University is the Harvard of China. Every communist leader in China is educated at Pekng University. About 50,000 students. We went and had a great dialogue and talked with a number of faculty. And after it was over, we took the provost, the No. 2 of the university out to lunch, Professor Joe. He had been a professor there for 50 years in mathematics and economics or engineering. We began to talk and I discovered he was dying of a brain tumor. At that time, my dad was dying of cancer. So I said, “Professor Joe, my dad is dying of cancer, but he’s not afraid to die because he’s made his peace with God. He knows where he’s going when he dies.” And I began to tell him a story. I said there was a man who took his son and his son’s three best friends to the carnival. He bought a roll of tickets. And at each of the carnival stops, he would stop at the ride, give his son a free ticket and three best friends a ticket. They would ride the ride and go to the next ride. He would give his son a ticket and give his three friends he had brought with him another ticket. Next ride, do the same. He said on about the fifth ride, he looked down and there was a fourth little hand sticking out for every ticket. And he looked down at this little kid and said, "Who are you?" The kid said, "I’m your son’s new best friend; and he said that if I was his friend, his father would give me a free ticket.” The dad said, “You think I gave him a ticket? You bet I did. I gave him a ticket.” I said, “Professor Joe, your Heavenly Father, God, has a ticket for you to heaven. It is a free ticket. You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. You’ll never deserve it. It is free. The only way you’ll get it is by being a friend of His Son, Jesus Christ.” And I looked over at this man who had been the provost of the leading institution in China for 50 years (or been on staff there for 50 years) and he said with trembling lips and tears coming down his eyes, "I would like one of those tickets." I said, ”All right. Let’s just finish our meal; and when we finish, we can hold hands, and you can invite Jesus Christ into your life.” And that’s exactly what we did. At the close of that dinner, we all held hands. I led that man in broken English in a prayer of giving his life to Jesus Christ.