Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Death: Facing its Reality

PSALM 89:48 – What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah

The first chapter of the book opens with these words,“ You are going to die. Take a moment to let that sink in. You are going to die. One morning the sun will rise and you won’t see it. Birds will greet the dawn and you won’t hear them. Friends and family will gather to celebrate your life, and after you’re buried they’ll return to the church for ham and scalloped potatoes. Soon your job and favorite chair and spot on the team will be filled by someone else. The rest of the world may pause to remember. It will give you a moment of silence if you were rich or well known, but then it will carry on as it did before you arrived. ‘There is no remembrance of men of old,” observed Solomon, “and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow’(Ecclesiastes 1:11).” The title of the book is The Last Enemy by Michael E. Wittmer. Does such a shocking opening make us want to read the book? I hope so because what is shocking is true and we need to think about its topic a lot; the topic of death. Not in a morbid and fearful way but in a Biblical and real way for we only learn to properly live when we are prepared to die.

When it comes to death, people actually attempt to avoid the conversation. I recall talking to a non-Christian and asked, “What do you do with death? We are all heading to the grave so what do you do with that reality?” My point was to take the person to the glorious Gospel and the only answer to death, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. However, the response from my unsaved friend was, “I don’t want to talk about death.” I responded, “But ignoring it doesn’t make it go away” but I was met with, “Let’s not talk about it.

In our Christian circles we may not be as resistant to talk about death as was my friend, but we likely don’t think about it much. Check ourselves. When is the last time we thought about death and the uncertain timing of it happening to us? Oh, we might do so when attending a funeral. Yet, we soon retreat back to the grind and routines of life forgetting the brevity of life, certainty of death, and even the possible suddenness of death. Such forgetfulness imperils our spiritual lives and walks with the Lord Jesus. Allow me to explain. What is the chief element and foundational truth of our faith that separates Christianity from all other religions in the world? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. What did His resurrection accomplish? Victory over death which is the wage of sin (Romans 6:23). His resurrection also does something else–it empowers the Christian life. The Apostle Paul gives his testimony affirming this truth – That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Philippians 3:10). For the Christian, think often on death not only as a certainty but it being conquered by Christ’s resurrection. In doing so, we will learn to live out the power of His resurrection in our lives on a daily basis. We will cry out with praise these words, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”(1 Corinthians15:54-57).

It is true, we only truly learn about life and how to properly live life when we think on death and its ultimate defeat by the resurrection of our Lord!

PRAYER: “Father, help me to see the brevity of life, the urgency to obey Your Word and certainty of my death.”

QUOTE: “We only truly learn to live right and productive when we are prepared to die.”

Because of Him,
Pastor Jim