Talking about death is never easy. Words cannot even begin to describe the gamut of emotions that are being felt right now. Nevertheless, death is as much a part of human existence as is birth. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time to be born, and there is a time to die. The book of Hebrews tells us that it is appointed unto men once to die. So whether it is a discussion that we like to have, it is a discussion that we cannot avoid, because death is an unavoidable experience that awaits every
single person here this morning.
Today, I want to present to you from God’s Word the cause of death and the one and only power that is stronger than death, and that is the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ.
In a matter of a few days, Christendom will be celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Christmas message is a message of redemption. In the gospel of Matthew, we read in chapter 1.20-23 “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Dear family and friends, The Lord Jesus Christ is here with us today.
Note that Matthew tells us that Jesus, Emmanuel, came to save His people from their sins. Christmas is a redemption message. Christmas is the message of God’s gift to us. But, to understand the cause of death and the power of the gospel, we must understand what sin is and where it began. To do this, we have to rewind the time machine of human history and go back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2.8,9 “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
Genesis 2.16, 17 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Well, we all know the outcome of this story. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and they died. What was the cause of Adam and Eve’s death? Sin. Disobedience to God. The consequence of their sin that they died spiritually. However, the Bible goes on to tell us that after Adam and Eve died spiritually, they went on to live for many more years, and Eve gave birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Eventually, Adam and Eve died physically.
So, death in the bible does mean the end of existence. Death in Scripture means a separation, and must be understood in two ways. (1) Physical death, which is separation from the body, and (2) spiritual death, which is separation from God. Every human being is created in the image of God, but we are also born sinners, dead in trespasses and sins. In other words, every human being is biologically related to God as Creator, but we are spiritually separated from being in His family by our sin.
Now, at this juncture, I have to tell you something about sin. The bad news and good news.
The bad news is that all of us, especially the guy talking to you, are sinners by nature and by choice with no ability in and of ourselves to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Because our consciences cannot deal with the guilt and consequences of sin, we try to atone for our sin with religion; but religion cannot take away our sin. We try to atone for our sin by giving to good causes or by doing good works; but giving to good causes and doing good works cannot take away our sin. The only way to escape the need of atonement for my sin is by being born sinless and living a perfect life.
Well, that is impossible for every one of us. Enter Emmanuel, The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the virgin born, sinless Savior. He came to save us from our sins. That is what Matthew meant when he said that Jesus came to save His people from their sins. Saved from what I used to ask? Saved from the debt, penalty and power of my sin. That is why the gospel means Good News! If we could atone for our sin by doing good, then the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is meaningless.
Luke’s account of the Christmas story reads, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
How does The Savior save us? By living a perfect life, and by dying on the cross as the one and only perfect sacrifice for our sin. By His death on the cross, The Lord Jesus Christ provides a full payment for all of my sin, and when I by faith admit my sinful and lost condition and embrace Him as Lord and Savior of my life,
God counts me righteous before Him, and gives unto me the gift of eternal life. The wages of sin is death, and the gift of God is eternal life through Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Salvation is a gift. It cannot be earned. And it is not deserved. It is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
The bible explains being saved this way in John 3.14-17, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Listen to how a man in Scripture finds salvation through faith in Jesus Acts 16.29-31 “Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Listen to the words of assurance that Jesus spoke at a funeral. John 11.25-27 “Jesus said unto her, I am the
resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
Let me leave you with this appeal from Romans 10.9-13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Yes, we die physically, but through faith in Jesus Christ, to be absent from the body means to be present with The Lord forever.
Life is short, death is sure, sin the cause, and Christ the cure.
To choose to live without Jesus Christ on earth, is to choose to live apart from Him for all eternity. May God open your eyes and your heart to trust Jesus Christ this morning as your Savior and choose to follow Him as your Lord.