A. Recent Family Journey
1. In-laws passing away after years of caring for them
B. Impact of Death
1. Humbling process
2. Tears down whatever walls of security you thought youbuilt
A. The Beginning Without Death
1. The original intent of God in creating the earth was ongoing well-being (i.e. “good”) in the context of existential perfection (i.e. no death).
Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31 (NIV)
4 God saw that the light was good… 10 And God saw that it (land and seas) was good… 12 And God saw that it (plants and trees) was good… 18 And God saw that it (sun, moon and stars) was good… 21 And God saw that it (fish and birds) was good… 25 And God saw that it (land
animals) was good… 31 God saw all that he had made (including man), and it was very good.
a. Praise and worship now are built upon the caveat of hope that one day God will get ALL the glory for every single thing He has done.
2. This perfection was disrupted by sin, and death entered. Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, ”You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Genesis 3:17, 19 (NIV)
17 To Adam he said… 19 ”By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
3. Thus, death is the central problem of existence and the ultimate enemy to be destroyed. Just as an event of sin brought death into the world, so will an event promised by God drive death out of the world.
Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
A. In order to long for something, there is a sense of desperation.
B. If we are going to understand the massiveness of having hope with death being overturned, it is first important to feel the weightiness of death in the equation of this age and life in general.
C. Suddenness of death
1. Jordan – My first pet
a. The deep affect Jordan’s death had on me. James 4:13-14 (BHT)
13 Now listen carefully, ᵖyou who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to travel to such and such town, and we’ll spend a year there and do some business and bring in a profit”— 14 you who don’t even know what tomorrow will bring! What is your life like? You are a mere vapor, which appears for but a moment and then is gone.
2. Pastor Gary
Isaiah 40:5-8 (NET)
The splendor of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it at the same time. For the LORD has decreed it.” A voice says, ”Cry out!” Another asks, ”What should I cry out?” The first voice responds: ”All people are like grass, and all their promises are like the flowers in the field. The grass dries up, the flowers wither, when the wind sent by the LORD blows on them. Surely humanity is like grass. The grass dries up, the flowers wither, but the decree of our God is forever reliable.”
1. Number of deaths from 1939 – 1945: 6 million Jews; 5.7 million Soviet civilians; 2.5 million Soviet P.O.W.s; 1.8 million Polish civilians; 312,000 Serb civilians; 250,000 disabled; between 250,000 and
500,000 gypsies; 1900 Jehovah’s Witnesses; 70,000 repeat criminal offenders
a. Total deaths from militaries in WW2 (not including Holocaust deaths): 40 to 50 million
1. 1973 – 2021: 63,459,781 reported abortions; likely much higher
2. Up until the recent Supreme Court ruling, 1 baby was aborted every 37 seconds
a. 98 babies every hour
C. The magnitude of death that history has seen is impossible to grasp
D. Each life matters
1. Therefore, each death carries significant weight and obviously matters
1 Corinthians 15:55 (BHT)
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
A. A sting grabs your attention
1. When you or others around you get stung, it demands your attention. You can’t ignore it.
2. Brave Wilderness – Coyote Peterson
B. No minimizing “the sting”
1. This is the most devastating effect that evolutionism and its philosophical predecessors have had on the gospel: the desensitization of people to the perversion and hideousness of death
a. i.e. News anchors sharing news about death and them being desensitized. “…now on to football…” Gives thought of if Adam could have got a glimpse into our modern news, and how he would have been horrified. Bombarded by death all around us can make us so accustomed to it that we can’t identify it as the ultimate enemy, and testify of the reversal of death and resurrection, etc.
b. If you concede with death, then you lose the potency of the resurrection and the overall hope of the gospel – overcoming death! The resurrection of our bodies is the blessed hope.
2. “Until the gospel message is purified of all its compromises with death, it will only be a retarded message that gives the human heart a retarded hope, which thus produces a retarded response in lifestyle.” – John Harrigan
1 Corinthians 15:30-34 (NIV)
30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I die every day– I mean that, brothers– just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ”Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be misled: ”Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought (“Wake up from your drunken stupor” ESV), and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God– I say this to your shame.
3. If people concede to the product (death), they will concede to the cause (sin). People’s war against sin is in direct proportion to their belief in the reversal of death (i.e. the resurrection of the dead).
a. “The refrain to which this world returns, again and again, is YOLO. ‘You only live once’, they say. Therein lies the sting of death – it is final and puts an end to life. Yet, they couldn’t be more wrong. Death is temporary. Resurrection will have the final word. We will live again!” – Bill Scofield
4. Some of the most deceptive belief systems being embedded in today’s churches fall apart in the face of persecution, suffering, and death.
a. They leave their followers wanting, confused, and scraping for any semblance of comfort when trial begins to creep in. So much is built on creating a belief system that has self-preservation at the center.
b. “The sting” will reveal how hollow those systems are.
A. When facing the sting of death, some level of crisis is inevitable.
1. It is the end of something for all. The question is, what does each person anchor themselves in beyond “the end”.
a. For those who believe this age is it, their faith is anchored in the “now” (what they can get in the vapor of this life) and the crisis level will be extreme for them in the end. Temporary fulfillment
followed by eternal struggle. The sting is severe and that will be the in-your-face reality directly before, and at death.
Psalm 49:6-17 (NET)
They trust in their wealth and boast in their great riches. Certainly a man cannot rescue his brother; he cannot pay God an adequate ransom price (the ransom price for a human life is too high, and people go to their final destiny), so that he might continue to live forever and not experience death. Surely one sees that even wise people die; fools and spiritually insensitive people all pass away and leave their wealth to others. Their grave becomes their permanent residence, their eternal dwelling place. They name their lands after themselves, but, despite their wealth, people do not last, they are like animals that perish. This is the destiny of fools, and of those who approve of their philosophy (Selah) They will travel to Sheol like sheep, with death as their shepherd. The godly will rule over them when the day of vindication dawns; Sheol will consume their bodies and they will no longer live in impressive houses. But God will rescue my life from the power of Sheol; certainly he will pull me to safety. (Selah) Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich and his wealth multiplies! For he will take nothing with him when he dies; his wealth will not follow him down into the grave.
b. But for those who place their faith in the age to come, their crisis has been sufficiently taken care of and they will proclaim, “Death, where is your sting!” They long for the overturning of death!
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (BHT)
51 Listen carefully, I am going to tell you a mystery: Not all of us will die, but all of us will be transformed 52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. When the trumpet sounds, you see, the dead will be raised to life not subject to decay, and we will be transformed.
53 It is God’s plan, you see, for this body of decay to become clothed with that which is not subject to decay, and for this mortal body to become clothed with immortality. 54 When this body of decay becomes clothed with that which is not subject to death, moreover, and this mortal body becomes clothed with immortality, then what is written in the Scriptures will be fulfilled: “Death will certainly be swallowed up in victory!”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
c. Alan Cleaver
(1) Trumpeted this type of attitude in how he walked for Christ and it showed when he was remembered in May 2018.
A. We long for the wrong things to made right!
Isaiah 25:8 (NET)
he will swallow up death permanently. The sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from every face, and remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. Indeed, the LORD has announced it!
1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 26 (NIV)
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive… 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1. This “crushing” event which purges death from the earth is the central hope of mankind. It is not even the “crushing” event that is really the hope, but rather it is what the crushing event produces—
the reversal of death—that is the deepest longing of every human heart. As death is the central problem of existence, so is its removal the central hope.
Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ”Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them (as in the beginning). They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and
be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (as in the beginning), for the old order of things (post-Fall) has passed away.”
Isa 26:19 (NET)
Your dead will come back to life; your corpses will rise up. Wake up and shout joyfully, you who live in the ground! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits