Don’t be caught dead without Jesus!
In Heaven there’ll be no more hearses… no more hankies… no more hospitals – there’s no need for them. We are told in Revelation 21v4: ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.’ What a wonderful hope; a wonderful promise! Whatever happens in this life, it’s not the last word. God has already written the last word – the final chapter – and, although we don’t know as much as we would like to, we do know how the story ends, and it’s a glorious, happy ending for those who are in Christ. In fact, it is not an ending at all, but just the beginning of eternal joy. Christians really do get to live happily ever after!
“We have to understand that death was not part of God’s original creation plan. Death was an effect of sin. So, if death defeated Jesus, then sin has not been dealt with, and we are still lost. [A dead Saviour cannot save anybody!] Here’s the deal: If Jesus died and that was it, well there’s nothing remarkable about that. But if it’s true Jesus rose from the dead, then that changes everything. If Jesus rose from the dead that means he conquered the final enemy: death. That means that everything he claimed about himself is true. He isn’t just human. He is God. He is the answer to mankind’s problems. He is Saviour. Jesus didn’t just die. He rose from the dead. That’s what God would do, because an eternal, infinite God can’t be killed off – at least not permanently, by his creation. The resurrection proves that everything Jesus said was true. The resurrection gives Christians power to live in victory in this life, and it proves that life continues after our time on earth is over.” The gospel is good news because of the resurrection.’
Judah Smith, 2013, Jesus Is, Nashville Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, p.180-182
Psalm 116v15 (NLT) says: ‘The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die.’ – The grave graduates us to glory.
Death is not a full stop – it is only a comma.
Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short – then why should I be sad
To soar to endless day
Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
Christianity is the largest movement of all time. It is the only movement that never loses a member through death!
There’s a story told that might help us, about a man of faith who was dying and who asked his Christian doctor to tell him about heaven. As the doctor fumbled for a reply, he heard a scratching at the door… and he had his answer. “Do you hear that?” he asked his patient. “It’s my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has grown impatient, and has come up and he hears my voice. He has no notion what is inside this door… but he knows that I am here.” And that’s the same for all of us: We don’t know exactly what lies beyond the Door, but we do know that Jesus is there.
What does it mean to die in the Lord? Here’s a piece of prose that might help us, titled, ‘Gone From My Sight’:
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean blue.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is only a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky meet and mingle with each other. Then someone at my side exclaims, “There, she’s gone!”
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in hull and mast and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place on her destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “She’s gone,” there are other eyes watching for her coming and heavenly voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There, she comes!”
And that is dying in the Lord.
When we die, we are either in Christ or in sin. Those who die in their sin will have to give an account for it. Those who die in Christ stand in His righteousness. They won’t give account for their sin, because it was accounted for on the cross. They will be rewarded for deeds done while on earth.
Mark Batterson, IF, 2015, Grand Rapids: Michigan, Baker Books, p.128
John Dickson writes: ‘The message of Christianity gives us hope for this life and beyond. According to Jesus, death in not the scary mystery that many of us think it is. It can be the entrance into something incredible. Jesus was always on about ‘eternal life’. He never described it as fairies and angels floating through the air playing harps and listening to choir music. He likened it to a huge party, full of good food and drink, surrounded by great company – God especially. For the Christian, there is great reason for being hopeful about the future.’
John Dickson, A Sneaking Suspicion, p.120
Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.
She Is Gone (He Is Gone)
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Memorial Poem, titled: ‘I’m there inside your heart’
Right now I’m in a different place
And though we seem far apart
I’m closer than I ever was…
I’m there inside your heart
I’m with you when you grieve each day
And when the sun shines bright
I’m there to share the sunsets, too…
I’m with you every night
I’m with you when the times are good,
To share a laugh or two,
And if a tear should start to fall…
I’ll still be there for you.
And when the day arrives
That we no longer are apart
I’ll smile and hold you close to me…
Forever in my heart.
Isaiah 26v19 (NLT) says: ‘Those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy!’
It has been said that other people see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope.
God Saw You
God saw you getting tired,
When a cure was not to be.
So He wrapped his arms around you,
and whispered, “Come to me”.
You didn’t deserve what you went through,
So He gave you rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful,
He only takes the best
And when I saw you sleeping,
So peaceful and free from pain
I could not wish you back
To suffer that again.
A Memorial Poem:
Those we love don’t go away
They walk beside us every day
Unseen, unheard but always near
Still loved, much missed and very dear
To the Christian a cemetery is just a dormitory.
The thing that makes a house a home is the people who are there. And that’s true of heaven too… Jesus knew what heaven was like and so was able to say: ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you and I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going’ (John 14:2-4). Jesus said He was going to heaven to prepare a place for those who trust in him… He didn’t tell us, exactly, what heaven is like but we know it is a wonderful place, almost beyond words to describe… the Bible puts it like this: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
A Christian is the only person in the world who, on their deathbed can still be optimistic!
On eternal life: “Living is death; dying is life. On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that, citizens; on this side, orphans; on that, children; on this side, captives; on that, freemen; on this side disguised, unknown; on that, disclosed and proclaimed as the sons of God.”
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), U.S. clergyman and leader in the movement for the abolition of slavery
If I die I shall be with God; if I live, He will be with me.
Say not in grief that she is no more but say in thankfulness that she was. A death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come.