Summary: The final sermon in a four part series on gaining an eternal perspective on life.
1. Take out your pencil and paper & answer the questions in this pop quiz I’ve prepared for you. Ah, you thought you had left tests behind back in your school days didn’t you? I think you’ll find this multiple choice test interesting about what scientist have discovered about our bodies:
#1- If your senses are normal, how much must the skin on your face or fingertip be depressed before you can feel it? A. 4/100,000 of an inch B. 4/10,000 of an inch C. 4/1000 of an inch D. 4/100 of an inch
#2- How far away can a person with normal eyesight see a candle flame on a clear dark night? A. 30 miles B. 20 miles C. 10 miles D. 1 mile
#3- A person with a normal sense of taste can detect 1/25 ounce of salt dissolved in how many gallons of water? A. 132 B. 71 C. 33 D. 11
#4- A person with normal eyesight can distinguish between how many different colors? A. 300,000 B. 100,000 C. 50,000 D. 10,000
2. Now let’s go back through the questions & let me give you the answers, The most amazing answer in each case is the correct one. You can feel pressure of only .00004" on your face or fingertips. You can see a candle flame from 30 miles away on a dark clear night. You could taste 1/25 of an ounce of salt dissolved in 132 gallons of water. You can distinguish between 300,000 different colors. 6
3. The body is an incredibly amazing thing isn’t it. God designed our bodies for this life which lasts perhaps 70 or 80 years.
4. This series of sermons which has focused on gaining an eternal perspective on this life concludes today with the fourth sermon in our series. In some ways it is perhaps the most challenging, because a lot of people, even Christians, fear death. One of the older deacons in the church I was ordained in was terrified as he neared death. So much so that some questioned whether he was truly a Christian. I believe he was, but that he needed the perspective I want to offer you today.
5. "The story is told of 6 blind friends in India who could barely conceal their excitement when they heard an elephant would be brought to their village that very day. When the elephant’s owner saw them he stopped his massive beast & invited the blind men to come & learn what an elephant was like. The 6 blind men rushed forward until they made contact with the great animal. The 1st grabbed onto the elephant’s trunk. ’Ah, he said, `An elephant is like a great snake.’ The 2nd happened upon the tusk of the elephant. ’So, he said, `An elephant is like a smooth spear.’ The 3rd bumped into the elephant’s leg & hugging it for support concluded, ’an elephant is like the trunk of a great tree.’ The 4th reached up & felt the elephant’s ear. ’Now I know,’ he said, ’An elephant is like the huge fan the Rajahs use to keep cool.’ The 5th walked into the enormous torso of the animal & knew beyond any shadow of a doubt an elephant was like a fortress wall, broad, tall & impenetrable. The 6th latched onto the elephant’s tail. ’Yes I can see now why an elephant so impresses everyone. He is like a rope which swings freely— traveling wherever it wills.’" 7
6. All of them were right, yet all of them were also wrong. They understood part of the big picture, but failed to grasp the whole thing. The big picture is that everyone dies, at least everyone will until Jesus returns. Two weeks ago I preached on the horrors of hell. Three weeks ago I preached about the wonders of heaven. This sermon today is directed specifically to those who are Christians. I’m not dealing with those who don’t know the Lord. The precise thing that happens to them at the moment of death isn’t what’s so frightening, it’s eternity that will truly be terrifying. I’m going to start in a different place this morning than usual. I’ll start outside of scripture but be patient, we’ll get to the Bible before long. Let’s begin with. . .
I. Common Misconceptions About Death
1. Genesis 5 is not, I repeat, "is not," the most interesting chapter of Genesis. It contains the life story of Adam and his descendants. The reason it’s not more interesting is that it just gives us the big picture. It doesn’t give us the details of each person’s life that we’re reading about. It just gives us the vital information. In reading it you will find several common bits of information about each person: 1) The age when each had his first son born. 2) The number of years he lived and finally, the fact that each of them, with the exception of Enoch, died. (Enoch is one of only two people we know of in scripture who didn’t die.) This passage corrects the first misconception about death.