Live, They Cannot, Die They Dare Not

While reading a sermon entitled Christ is Best that Richard Sibbes preached at a funeral, I came across the line I used to title this post.  It made me stop and think about how this is the plight of fallen, sinful man? True life cannot be experienced outside of the saving rebirth found only in Jesus Christ. So, unregenerate man is doomed to a life of mere existence. He breathes, he eats, he enjoys all of life’s passions and desires that can be packed into the 70 or so years that is allotted to him, but in the end he dies. And it is in the dying that the final fight begins because every man knows something of eternity. The Preacher says in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Ken Samples, in a lecture he gave in April of 2010 entitled, Dead Men Don’t Stay Dead: The Resurrection of Jesus, made 4 emphatic statements about death. They are:

  1. You will die.
  2. You will die soon.
  3. You will die alone.
  4. You will be dead forever.

These are all very un-profound truths. Each one of us knows that we will face them, but it is the rare person indeed who dwells on the implications of these truths.

As a Christian, I find myself contemplating what Paul said in Philippians 1:21-26,

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

My life here on this earth is for Christ and it is good in that respect. But to die would be so much better! There would be no more sorrow, pain, fear, faithlessness, or sin in my being. I would be glorified and enjoying the glory of my Savior forever more. As I spend time in prayer and have my mind illumined to the revelation of God as He has revealed Himself in His Word, I find myself longing for death; I actually find myself yearning for physical death.

Just last night I was talking with one of the Deacons of my church and we were discussing this issue. Many times as Paul preached, the crowd got so incensed and upset that they attacked Paul. I wonder if Paul preached at times in the hopes that he would be killed for the words he preached. What does that say about most preachers today?

Thoughts? Feedback? Cares? Concerns? Go ahead, share them with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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