Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Christian's Victory through Death

Today I want to talk to you about death, death for the Christian. I want us to think about death, not as a defeat or tragedy, but as victory and means by which the Christian goes into the glories of heaven. Let's look at John 14:1-6 and think about the Christian's victory through death.

1. Death cannot defeat the Christian because it did not defeat Christ.

Jesus is soon to face the cross in John 14, but there is no anxiety, no worry, no panic, and no fear. In fact, Jesus doesn’t even speak of the cross. Rather, He speaks of what He is going to do after the cross, after He dies. He is implying that death is not the end of Him, and He is implying that death will not defeat Him. He speaks of what He will do after He goes back to heaven, therefore He is affirming His resurrection and ascension – He is affirming His post-death victory and life.

2. The Christian possesses great joy as he contemplates death.

There is a sense in which the Christian feels the violent contradiction and violation of life in the essence and experience of death. Death is not part of God’s original plan for life. The Christian knows it and feels it. But at the same time, the believer knows, as he contemplates death, that death will not result in the cessation of existence, the termination of life, or the displacement of self. The Apostle Paul mocked death when he said, “Death, where is your victory; Death where is your sting? Hebrews 12 says that Jesus endured the cross despising the shame, because of the joy set before Him on the cross. The Christian’s joy in death is to know that death is God’s instrumental means by which the believer enters into the greatest joy, peace, love, comfort, and beauty. The believer in death goes home to God and God’s love and eternal provision for him in Christ.

3. The Christian experiences transcendent glory beyond death.

It is impossible for us to fully contemplate how wonderful heaven, and the Christian’s heavenly experience, is. John spoke of heaven and its beauties in the Book of Revelation. Stephen spoke of heaven opening, and he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Jesus was standing to receive him. Jesus here says, “I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Here is love to the maximum degree; here is our eternal, saving relationship with Christ fulfilled to the utmost. The Bride of Jesus, the church, will be in heaven without blemish, spot, or wrinkle.

Jesus said in John 17:24 in His prayer, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see my glory, which you have given Me…”

Paul referred to this in 2 Corinthians 3:18 when he wrote, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."

Finally, when John writes in the last chapter of Revelation (22:3-4) “There will not longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night…” The longing of Moses' heart, to see God's face and glory, is fulfilled in heaven. The great blessing of the Old Testament, "May His face shine upon you" will be fulfilled in the fullest extent in heaven. Hallelujah!

Application: John 14:1-6

· The eternal promise of the gospel fulfilled wonderfully and gloriously in heaven is absolutely and undeniably real.

o If it were not so…”

· The promise of heaven, along with attending glories and blessings, should be our daily consolation and comfort.

o “Do not let your heart be troubled…"

· The certainty of heaven, for the Christian, is part of our belief in God and Christ

o “…you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

· The way to heaven and all of its joys is through Jesus Christ.

1. Christ’s active righteousness is applied by imputation on the cross.

2. Forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrificial, substitutionary atoning death on the cross.

3. Eternal life through Christ’s resurrection demonstrating His victory over death and sin and affirming His authority, power, and life as the Lord of all.

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