At some point, all of us will die. The sheer inevitability of death provokes all kinds of questions and good deal of unspoken fear.
What will happen when I die?
Are heaven and hell actually real?
How do I cope with the loss of a loved one?
Why should I not be afraid of dying?
Last Sunday, we launched a 4-week sermon series, From Death to Life, that’s designed to answer some of our most common questions about death. I chatted with Gene, our senior pastor, for a few minutes yesterday about what he hopes God will accomplish over the next four weeks. A short, lightly-edited excerpt of our conversation follows. My questions are in bold.
What are some of your goals for this sermon series?
I want Christians to be able to consider their own death with confidence in the joy that awaits them. And I want them to be able to grieve the death of a fellow Christian without hopelessness. I also want us to realize that each and every person around us who does not have a hope of salvation in Christ is facing eternal damnation. If we believe that’s true, then compassion will motivate our evangelism.
What would you say to a Christian who is afraid of death and deals with their fear by avoiding the topic?
Fear is an indicator of a spiritual deficiency. Just like pain can be an indicator that there is a physical problem, so fear is an indicator of a spiritual problem. Facing our fear provides an opportunity to go from dread to delight as we learn to believe that for a Christian, to die is gain.
Do any of us really know what happens when we die? Aren’t we all just taking a stab in the dark?
It really comes down to whether you have reason to believe that the Bible is absolutely reliable. And there we have the testimony of history. Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected. Those are historical facts. If Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, then he has something to say about death. The Bible is anchored on the reliability of his testimony. We’re not talking about a normal book. We’re talking about a book authored by one who has physically defeated death.
Here’s a list of the sermon titles and scriptures we’ll be covering in From Death to Life:
July 6 – Death: Not the Way it Was Meant to Be (Romans 5:12-17)
July 13 – One Minute After You Die (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
July 20 – The Earth is Not Our Home (Revelation 21)
July 27 – Check Your Bags (2 Peter 3:10-14)
An audio recording of the first sermon is available on our site. For those of you gathering in Community Groups this week, here are a few questions for discussion:
- Have you ever been afraid of dying?
- Why is death part of our world?
- What does Jesus have to say about our fear of death?