The media’s infatuation with and celebration of the life of Hollywood stars who die suddenly and unexpectedly is interesting on many levels. My primary thoughts in the midst of the current misplaced angst has focused on eternity. I have been reminded again of the unique comfort and peace that Christians have and the assurance of eternal life with God.
Wonderful and comforting are the truths for all who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For Christ promises us life with Him for eternity. In light of this I want to remind all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ of some simple truths.
The first thing I want you to know today is Jesus promises that every believer will experience a reception into the glory of God.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who have fallen asleep, that you may not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to comfort Christians who had lost loved ones. He wanted them to know that when believers die they go to be with God.
Other passages of Scripture confirm this truth. For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 we read that to be “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
In Philippians 1:23 Paul tells us that when we depart this life we are with Christ.
The point is this – we need not sorrow like those who have no hope because the authoritative Word of God promises the believer an immediate reception in glory.
Now, a 2nd thing that I want you to know today is that God promises every believer a Resurrection body.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 says: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
These verses promise us that our Christian loved ones will receive brand new bodies when Jesus comes back to earth for all His children. Revelation 21:3-4 describes this new body as:
- free from pain
- free from sorrow, crying, or tears
- free from sin
- free from death
So, when Christians leave this earth they go to be with the Lord. And when Jesus comes back for His church they will receive brand new bodies fit for heaven.
Finally, the Bible promises us a reunion with Christ and with loved ones who have died before. The Christian has a “homecoming” of sorts.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
So then, the Christian who dies has at least 3 very significant promises.
- Of an immediate reception into God’s presence.
- Of a resurrected body.
- Of a reunion w/ Christian loved ones who have died before.
The reality of death is that it touches us all. We cannot change that fact. But, we can do something about eternity. The promises of God are for all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
There are several things I want you to be certain of today .… three absolutes from the word of God that provide great comfort in times of sorrow to those who have trusted in Him.
These three absolutes make up the cornerstone of an unshakable foundation that is found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
This relationship, what the believer refers to as his or her “salvation,” is a relationship that carries with it eternal benefits, and allows us to face death in a way we cannot understand apart from Jesus.
1) There is only one way to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- John 14:6 – Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
Jesus Christ is our mediator; He speaks on our behalf before the Father, to bring us into a right relationship with God. Jesus died on a cross that the sins of all those who will trust in Him would be forgiven, past, present and future. He was laid in a tomb, and after three days rose from the dead!
Because He conquered death, everyone who trusts Him as Lord and Savior conquers it too! This leads us to the second absolute we can be confident in:
2) We can face death without fear.
- 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
What is there to fear when death has been conquered? Jesus walks with us through the darkest hours of our lives, and promises to stay with us, comfort us and bring us peace.
This is a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4: 7). It’s beyond our comprehension, waiting for us when we become part of the family of God.
3) Nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.
- 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our relationship with Jesus can weather any storm because it is not dependent on our strength, ability, craftiness, worthiness or any other attribute we may think we can offer. It is Jesus and Jesus alone.
When Christ returns to earth, as He has promised to do, to gather to Himself those who have trusted in Him, where will you be? Will you be drawn up into the sky to meet him?
I close with this instruction from the book of Romans:
…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God bless you my friends.