Temple Baptist Church - 4-14-2013
A. “These all died!”
1. Death is a reality that each of us will one day have to face. There is no escape from it as it is divine in its appointment: Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
2. Death is a timed event - Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3. Death is a physical event - Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
B. One event happens to us all, both to the saved and the unsaved. We will all face the day of death.
1. The unsaved die without Christ and, therefore:
a) Without Help – Ecclesiastes 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. (Dr. Harold Sightler often said that God’s people die well and I agree. I have watched both saved and lost breathe their last and the difference is visible.)
b) Without Hope – 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (Hell is truth realized too late. I have been to the funerals of both saved and lost and, once again, the difference is visible.)
2. The saved die in Christ and, therefore:
a) They have help - Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
b) They have hope - Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (22) But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. (23) For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
C. Now, look at the verses with me.
1. These ALL died in faith. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises.” The verse says that they did not “receive the promises.” A lot of things come after death, not before and God’s people do not always get all that they want when they want it. Too many professing believers, when they do not get what they want when they want it, turn away and quit. I still want to love and serve the Lord as long as I live regardless of what comes. I know that is a strong statement because I do not know what lives ahead but that is my honest desire.
2. These ALL have seen them afar off and were persuaded. “having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them.” I may not get to see all of my family and friends saved in my lifetime but I believe God! I may not see all that I pray for come to fruition in my lifetime but there are some things that I believe with all of my heart and will hold on to the hope within me. Never give up!
3. They ALL knew that this world was not their home. “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” I love life and I love living but there is a part of me that is looking forward to eternity. Satan, sin, and the curse gone; earth restored; a new body to live in; and a wonderful place to live.
4. They ALL made the choice to follow the Lord instead of the world. “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” In days of “falling away” and “turning back,” I thank the Lord that, in these last days, there are still those who have chosen to “STAY THE COURSE” that they began when they gave their hearts to Christ. My salvation was the changing point of my life and I am in it for the long haul.
5. The ALL made God proud! “wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” You see, God has placed you and me in the “Hall of Faith” also if we keep our faith in Him. Heaven will be “out of this world” and there will be no one there who does not want to be there. I, for one, am looking forward to it. I may not understand everything here and I may not get all that I desire in this life but it will still be worth it all when I see Christ.
John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.