Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church Lesson 7/Series Conclusion
The Good in Dying John 12:23-26, 1 John 2:15-17
In referring to His own death, Jesus proclaimed a good thing…in fact a wonderful truth. His death, like a fallen seed on the ground, would produce the life and freedom of many others. The death of Christ alone, of course, paid the price of sin for all who believe in Him (Romans 4:25), but this fact is also true of our death too. Jesus makes this clear in verse 25. The selfish, who live their lives for themselves will one day loose that life—we all eventually will, but those who “hate their life in this world” by comparison (1 John 2:15-17) and live to make Christ known will inherit eternal life with Him. The way that we live and die will also produce the life and freedom of many others… or not! This is then why the scriptures say:
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness John 15:13-14
We can see clearly in scripture that the death of Christ was necessary for the salvation of mankind. We can also see clearly that the death of many soldiers was and continues to be necessary for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” This well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence gives three examples of the “unalienable rights” which that Declaration says have been given to all human beings by our Creator and that governments are created to protect. You can be sure that if none were willing to fight and die for these rights then none of us would have them. We would be slaves to an evil empire and our posterity would be too.
In the same way that Jesus laid His life down for our salvation, and soldiers laid down their lives for our liberty, so are each of us called to lay down our lives for one another. In fact, if it were not for Christians who laid down their lives throughout history for the proclamation of the gospel to others this great hope would have been lost. If we love our life so much that we are unwilling to give it up for anything then we have truly planted nothing of any lasting worth on this earth. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:
“If you haven’t found something worth dying for, you aren’t fit to be living.”
Living for God 1 Peter4:1-19, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
The Apostle Peter encouraged believers to “suffer” in our bodies. In other words he taught that we should deny the temptation of living for ourselves and follow in Jesus’ steps. In these end times (which are always around the corner for any of us) he encouraged believers to use their God given gifts to serve others so that Christ might be praised and to even to “rejoice” in suffering for the furthering of the gospel. After all, this is what we were made new by Christ to do: to reconcile others to God.
Can I Get a Witness? Matthew 5:14-16, Hebrews 12:1-3
Why are you a believer in Christ today, if indeed you are? It is because of someone’s witness in your life. Why do you have hope for life and the ability to face death when it should come? It is because of someone’s witness. When we see another person example Christ, live out the gospel and face certain death with faith and hope in Christ we grow, we bloom, and we too offer fruit to this world. We live as a light to the world and one day we too will die, and like a seed falling to the ground, new life will come from our witness.
Thank God for those who have witnessed to you now. Thank God even for the death of those loved ones who have planted those seeds in you. It is now your turn to bloom under that great cloud of witnesses that went on before you .
Heaven is the Hope John 14:2, Revelation 21:3-7, Philippians 1:21
Jesus promised His faithful people a resurrection from death, He said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”John 11:25 He also promised that He was preparing a place for us and that He himself would greet us and take us there (John 14:2). This same Jesus raised the dead Lazarus (John 11) and raised himself from the dead too (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). The Apostle Paul also explained the process of our resurrection from the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:35-38. He explained: What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.
As the gospel singer Matthew West sings: “This world is not our home, we are grounded until it comes our time to go — and our souls are aching with a void that won’t be filled until we see our mansion high upon that hill… Heaven is the Hope we hold on to!” (Heaven is the Hope/ Live Forever CD)
Jesus speaks from Heaven’s throne in John’s Revelation: “I am making everything new!” The total Morph is coming friends…until then be that witness. “To live is Christ to die is gain”.