Sunday, May 21, 2017

Home Sweet Home: Confronting the Fear of Death

Audio Message:

Home sweet home. We all dream of home don’t we? In your life what are some places that always felt like home to you? For me, when I think of home I think of my grandma’s kitchen. I think of the smell of cooking food, and the heat and steam from the stove. I think of Christmas morning at the house I grew up in with my parents. I think of my aunt Colleen’s living room where I spent so many days during the summers. I think of the people, the faces, the smells, the feelings, but perhaps most of all I remember how it made me feel. I felt safe. I felt protected. I felted relaxed and at home.

But the truth is this world is not really our home. There is always something missing. Today I’m far from home, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. It makes life more difficult. But we can take great comfort in that one day we will be home.

We are human beings. We are born, grow up, and then we become adults. We work, serve, care for others, eventually perhaps have families, children, and even grandchildren. But then we begin to grow old, our health slowly grows worse, and then one day we die.

In fact it is appointed for humanity at this stage in history that we each are born, and then we die, and after we die, the word says we will stand before God and given an account of our lives.

Death is something we don’t like to think about. But it comes to us all. In fact it’s the normal of life, though from God’s perspective death is anything but normal. In fact it’s a result of the fall of man, that our ancestors chose to disobey God. And as a result, all of history was affected, and today in the world we struggle with things like poverty, injustice, starvation, racism, sexual abuse, wars, and so many other evils.

God didn’t do these things. It’s interesting how so many will try to blame God for the evils of the world. God didn’t do those things. People did those things. When a young man or woman decides to become a drug dealer, that’s a choice they made. When that drug dealer gives drugs to a young confused teen, and that teen gets into a car accident and kills a family, one might be tempted to blame God for the death of that family. But God didn’t do that. People made choices that set a course of events in motion that caused suffering.

Some might say, well God could’ve prevented it from happening. Well let’s think about that. If God steps in once to force someone to make a different decision, well, how often should God step in? If God stepped in every time I was about to make a bad decision, and if he did that every person on Earth, well the truth is we’d all be robots. We would have no free will. God has given us the incredible gift of the ability to make free choices. This is the essence of being human, that we can think and reason and make choices. So it’s foolish to blame God for evil. God could prevent evil yes, but it would require turning every human into a robot unable to think or make free choices.

Death comes for all of us. And the truth is many of us fear dying. But we shouldn’t fear dying. Why? Because we have a great assurance ahead of us. We have a future beyond the grave. In this life we have such difficulties. In fact the word says “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” That is a scary thought, that we walk through this low valley, with death shadowed over us like a constant threat to us. But it continues and says “I will fear no evil, for You are with Me.”

God is with us. So we don’t need to be afraid to die. The son of man our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered the grave. He has defeated death and declared victory over death for all humanity across history. He declares that He is Risen and He will cause you to rise as well.

One day we will each behold the face of God. R.C. Sproul a famous theologian said, “When we behold the face of God, all memories of pain and suffering will vanish. Our souls shall be totally healed.”

That is what it means to finally be home. When we talk of going to heaven after we die, of going to paradise, we’re really talking about going home. And home isn’t so much a place as it is a person, our Lord and God is home. And to be with Him is to be home.

In paradise, in the renewed world, made perfect by God, and set right by him there will be no suffering, no pain, and no death.

Revelation 21:4, NKJV. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

We will live forever. Because God was willing to come to Earth on a rescue mission to save us, Jesus our savior came into the world to save us. And Jesus had to offer himself on the cross as a sacrifice for our salvation. Why?

Hebrews 2:14-15 says “14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

Jesus paid our debt of sin on the cross. And though we must all pass through the veil of death, we will rise to life if we believe that Jesus Christ is our God and our savior. And if we believe Jesus personally, for you and me, paid our debt and gave us new life. So believe this. We all face death, you, me, everyone, but after death comes the next life. The truth is, if we trust in Jesus, we’re going Home. We’re going home, finally, home.

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