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7th February 2014
Do not enter box until exit is clear
This is a sign seen outside an undertaker’s. What a clever play on words! But it is perhaps more revealing than the initial humour would suggest.
The problem is that generally when you’re approaching an undertaker’s, it’s not for you, it’s for someone else, maybe a friend or close member of the family. You do hear of people who organise their own funeral but usually that’s because they’ve been given a limited time to live and have the energy and desire to make their own plans. I’ve not heard of many young people who’ve made such plans. Despite our fairly short life span, we are extremely reluctant to think about, let alone make plans for, our end, departure or ultimate future.
Why is that? Fear of the unknown? Can’t be bothered? Too many more enjoyable things to do now? Why challenge the inevitable? Probably all of the above and many more. But the much more important question is: is your exit clear? And if not, what’s preventing you thinking about it?
In the western world, death can be a bit of a no-go subject, which is strange because it is the only inevitability in life! We’ll happily take lessons in subjects that have limited time benefit, engage in conversations about the weather, global warming, and other topics we can do little to impact, but death, that is even more taboo than religion and politics!
So, come on, let’s talk about death. Well, actually, let’s talk about after death, because that’s something we can change. We are all destined to die, but the problem is that we don’t know when. So if there’s a chance of impacting before, our place or position after, then isn’t that something worth considering?
And this is the moment of potential offence, I’m going to use a word you may not like – Jesus! You see he holds the key, literally, of life, death and beyond. He said things like, I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one can come to the father but through me; I go to prepare a place for you; (and this next one’s a bit scary) today you will be with me in paradise.
Jesus wasn’t afraid to speak about death and beyond, and that’s because he knows that he is the gateway, or to take the phrase from the title, he is the exit. So, make a life-changing decision and find out more about Jesus, but whatever you do, don’t enter the box until...
Posted by Kevin Rose
2nd February 2014
Death is a certainty for us all – something we will all face, all have in common, no matter who we are. Yet it feels so shocking to us, so awful and so wrong. That’s because it is! Death was never part of God’s original plan for humanity – we were not meant to experience it. We do because it is one of the consequences of the Fall. But Jesus has dealt with death! He said:
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)
This doesn't mean we shouldn't grieve and mourn when those we love die. Jesus wept when His friend Lazarus died, and He empathises with our sorrow and loss. But at the same time, He extends hope even in the midst of our grief, because He has undermined death, taken away its sting and finality for us. The Bible describes a believer's death as "falling asleep" – which is followed by awakening in the presence of Jesus!
This certainty of our faith gives us genuine hope for the future. Read and dwell on 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 – there is incredible truth here about what comes next. Death not the end of the story: Jesus defeated death! Now the moment believers die, they go into the presence of God forever!
Listen to the sermon 'Jesus on Death' and download the life application questions here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis