This is a long post – but I urge you to read it all to get even more excited about the INEVITABLE!
I was asked to do a tribute at the memorial service of my cousin Raymond Middleton who was an amazing trophy of grace, and who will no doubt have been welcomed by the Master with a ‘well done good and faithful servant.’
Raymond’s death was totally unexpected. His attractive and youthful seventy two-year-old wife Janet, had her hubby with her one minute and not the next. Their marriage was a happy and blissful one. Ray was a minister and both he and his wife faithful servants of the Lord. What comfort could I possibly bring to Ray’s grieve stricken wife and sons, Carl, James, and Ian?
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t grieve or shed tears for the loss of a loved one. Even Jesus wept. God created us with our emotions: tears, laughter, sadness.
Make no mistake. No matter how holy or spiritual a person may be, death is no respecter of persons. All the great heroes of the Bible were not exempt. But unlike the unsaved, Janet can draw comfort from the fact that she will be reunited with her Ray again. Yet there are still Christians who adamantly believe that we will not recognise one another in heaven because of a verse in Ecclesiastes 1:11 “There is no remembrance of former things.”
But how cruel it would be for a mom and dad to lose a little daughter never ever to see her face again! Or for a husband to lose a wife or a wife to lose a husband to be told ‘that’s the end!’ But because of the Lord’s compassion, there are loving clues in His word that we will be joyfully reunited with our loved ones again. This fact helped King David with his grief on the death of his child.
God had taken David’s son because it was conceived in some sin David had committed. The child became sick so David fasted for him to live but his prayer wasn’t answered and the child died. David had to live with the pain of a lost son, but he drew comfort in the fact that he would see him again, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23).
David wouldn’t have found such comfort if he wasn’t going to recognise his child!
*The rich man recognised Lazarus in heaven!
*The disciples recognised Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration even though they had died years before!
*The disciples recognised Jesus after He had risen from the dead! His Resurrection showed that we will know one another after death.
If we are looking forward to meeting our heroes of the Bible whom we have never met, such as blameless Job, faithful Jeremiah, & meek Moses, then we are certainly going to meet up with our own flesh & blood again. There would be absolutely no point to life otherwise. The Scripture in Ecclesiastes that some Christians take to believe that we will not know our loved one says ‘no remembrance of former ‘THINGS’ not people! And that ‘lack-of-remembrance’ will be all those not-so-nice THINGS that marred life here due to sickness, selfishness, sin, jealousy, rebellion, strife, and worry!
God did not design the family unit for it to end at death! God didn’t invent families for death to separate them forever. The very reason He came from heaven was to banish that terrible thing called death! He was crucified for the purpose of abolishing the ‘Inevitable!’ And death was then mocked in the very face of Satan…
“O death where is your sting? O death where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). “He will swallow up death for all time” (Isaiah 25:8).
Heaven will not be sitting on a cloud bored! Heaven is a world. A real world. A tangible place of living with our loved ones. A place full of unending joy that God has prepared for us. The ‘Inevitable’ will be the start of living that even a multi billionaire’s lifestyle couldn’t come close to!
That’s what is so wonderful about being born again. The free gift of Salvation brings about life everlasting doing away with death – and what everyone craves for these days: to live for as long as they possibly can to avoid death for as long as they possibly can!
God couldn’t be kinder than to give us assurances that we will not be dead!
“He who believes in me will live EVEN IF HE DIES” (John 11:25).
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14)
I am looking forward to seeing my godly parents again. But I also want to shake the hand and have a chat with some of my favourite people of the Bible such as Abigail, the long-suffering wife who tolerated a fool of a husband called Nabal, who’s mother must have had trouble bringing him up, as his name means ‘fool’. And I want to speak with Mary, who was the chosen vessel to carry the Lord for 9 months; and I long to meet the Apostle Paul who endured so much brutality to bring us the Gospel.
One day, I am going to join my parents, and my cousin Ray, and others, in what they have already had the privilege of enjoying and seeing before me!! The Creator. The One who made the world. The One who allowed cruel people to cat whip Him and drive nails into him so as to destroy what puts fear into people most – DEATH, that ‘thing’ that separates us from our loved ones. THAT is what He came to earth to do! To destroy death!
Satan’s very first lie in Genesis 3:4 was about death! He said, “You surely will not die!” Yet he was unwittingly telling the truth as we will not!
God left the perfection of heaven to banish that incident called the ‘inevitable’ that causes so much pain on the loss of a loved one.
There is so much emphasis these days on how to stay young. We are bombarded with adverts about products that promise to keep us living longer. Chemists are full of such products.
But Psalm 90:10 tells us how long life really is so that we can be prepared for the inevitable if the Lord doesn’t return beforehand…
“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years. Or if due to strength eighty years.”
The Scripture says “life is a mere breath and like a tale told” and this is so true as we look back and ask ‘where did those years go?’
Our real, true, perfect home is one of pure bliss, and never ending pleasure and it’s somewhere called PARADISE, heaven! A real tangible place of uninterrupted contentment that nothing can spoil, no sickness, no sorrow, NO DEATH! Whatever luxury cruise, or ten star hotel, in the most exotic of places someone has had the privilege of experiencing, is nothing to what God has prepared for us!
Revelation 21 describes a little of what it is like, and it is breathtaking.
So never fear death dear Christian! Your body is only the ‘pod’ that keeps you intact and is only your ‘earthly house.’ Your soul never dies and your soul is as visible and real to God as your body is to other bodies!
Jesus wasn’t a ghost when he came out of that tomb of death, making it clear to us that we will be visible and tangible after death. He looked like a person so much so that Mary thought he was the gardener – just to show us that WE too will be a real person! He had a real body. He walked. He talked. He conversed with the disciples.
“This perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:54), meaning that the corruptible (that which dies) will be changed to the incorruptible (that which will never die).
The Thessalonians were worried about being separated from their loved ones. So Paul comforted them with this…
“We do not want you to be uniformed (i.e. oblivious, unenlightened, ignorant) about those who are asleep so that you WILL NOT GRIEVE AS DO THE REST WHO HAVE NO HOPE. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 18).
There is no doubt that we will be reunited with loved ones again. The unsaved do not have such comforting knowledge as they simply don’t believe it.
The Apostle Paul knew just how exciting heaven was, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain and I do not know which to choose and am hard pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is much better, yet to remain is necessary for your sake” (Philippians 1:21-23).
Paul wouldn’t have been excited about death if it wasn’t something better than life on earth! And Paul wouldn’t have preferred to be with Christ if he thought it meant waiting under the dirt for 2000 years or more until the Lord returned again. Paul knew that death doesn’t exist for a Christian!
God could not be kinder than giving us this promise… ‘absent from the body present with the Lord’!
When we are truly born again death should never haunt us.
My husband often bemoans that I talk of heaven far too much because he doesn’t like to think he may have to live without me one day; and it is true that death does cause pain to those who left, but it is only temporary pain and nothing compared with the everlasting glory to come! When I was preparing for this tribute for my cousin Raymond, it got me even more excited than ever about heaven, much to my husband’s dismay!
I have song for my funeral (even though I won’t be there!) if the Lord doesn’t return before hand…
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home
I saw a band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home
If you get to heaven before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends, I’ll be coming too!
Coming for to carry me home.
Someone asked Billy Graham, ‘Will there be golf in heaven Billy?’ Billy answered, ‘if golf is necessary for your joy, then there will be golf in heaven’
We often hear people ask, ‘what’s life all about? ‘Why are we here.’ ‘Is this it? And we need to get the message out that thankfully, this is not it! Being born again means we have an unearned ticket that says, ‘I am not dead!! I am more alive than ever!’
If ever God called me to take out a message – it would be this one: to excite Christians about heaven as I know some who are afraid of dying yet it is going to be such a reunion, such a celebration, such a party of happiness and laughter, it would make the glamour of the Hollywood awards with their red carpet, million dollar cars & mansions, sequin frocks, diamonds, and banquets, look like a boot sale on a miserable grey and rainy-day in a muddy field!
Of course, I realise there may be relatives you may prefer not to be reunited with! Not that you didn’t love them, but maybe because they weren’t too nice, or caused you stress and heartache! Don’t worry! Those will be the THINGS in Ecclesiastes that will be absent as we will have perfectly renewed relationships, without all the flaws and niggly things that ruined them here on earth.
This next Scripture is almost too exciting for me to take in! “When He appears, we will be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Our humble God is going to make us like HIM!!?
And this next Scripture is even more exciting and shows just how truly humble God is!
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he/whoever believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12).
Greater works than His!? How can this be!? He performed miracles.
>He raised the dead: Jairus’s daughter; Lazarus; the widows’ son.
>He healed lepers and ten all at one time!
>He put the ear of Malchus back where it should be!
>He made blind people see.
>He told the sea to stop causing a fuss.
>He created enough bread & fish to feed thousands with lots left over (a good lesson in waste).
>He made water foment in a second.
>He made a withered hand unwithered.
>He put money in a fish’s’ mouth.
>He cast out demons.
>He healed a man who was paralysed.
>He withered up a fig tree.
Jesus doesn’t lie, so what can that Scripture mean? Even though the disciples did perform miracles, they weren’t ‘greater’ than those of Jesus. And the Lord wasn’t addressing this statement only to the disciples as it says ‘whosoever.’
Let’s be honest, we do not see ‘greater works’ these days. So are we waiting for that special person to come and do these ‘greater works’? What worldwide news that would be! But I don’t think so. That one person would not be able to handle such power and would become the biggest celebrity this side of heaven, something so contrary to God’s humble nature. That person would find it impossible to keep humble or hidden and people would begin to idolise them and see them almost as God! And how would they cope with the protection needed when doing ‘greater works’ as Jesus had to preach from a boat due to the crowds.
This Scripture has to be futuristic. It has to be prophetic because it says, “WHEN He appears, we shall be like Him”
The Scriptures teach that we will reign with Him! “If we endure, we will also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12).
Dictionary definition of reign: when a King or Queen reigns over a country; to control it; to rule over it.
What will we rule? Kingdoms! So He will need to give His authority and power to His children to perform these ‘greater works’ and they will be greater works than healings because the needs will be much greater.
But the promise does have a condition. It is “if we endure.”
“Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3)
And aren’t we all enduring SOMETHNG or other here? (“I am a stranger in the earth” Psalm 119:19). This world’s sinful new ideology pains us more every day wondering what nonsense will be dreamed up next for our children to have to conform to?
This world’s standards are so contrary to Gods He called the world ‘the enemy’ because the world’s ideology is the complete opposite to the teachings of the Christ; and we are seen as ‘stupid’ if we dare believe God’s word, hence we don’t fit in it and are like fish out of water if we know the Lord.
Don’t get too comfortable! You don’t belong here if you are born again!
And the ‘INEVITABLE’ will be the beginning of PARADISE!
“Our Saviour Jesus Christ WHO ABOLISHED DEATH” (2 Timothy 1:10).
But better than all the luxury – will be to actually see the Lord!!
See you there sometime!
Message taken from ‘The Skinny Soul’ by Christine Smith