Pastor Stephen Muncherian
June 7, 1998
Yesterday, as I was talking with __________ - I was thinking about today and what words I could share with all of you. My impression of __________ is really based on all of you - the words you have spoken - the love and respect you have shown - your memories of him as a friend and loved one. From you I have learned that __________ was a very special person.
When we honor the life and death of someone we care about we are reminded that we, too, will die. Death is a harsh reality of life. And, its a reality that we need to accept.
And yet, there’s something mysterious - something uncomfortable about death. All of us struggle with the separation and the questions that death brings us face-to-face with - our own mortality and our need to trust God.
Elizabeth suggested that we read from John 14:1-6, and I would like to share these 6 verses with you.
Jesus is speaking, and He says this about Himself. Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. - verse 6 - I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
We are constantly speculating about what comes next. Because we don’t know. Is there an eternity? What will it be like? And how do we enter into eternity? And today - as there has always been - there are a tremendous number of philosophies - philosophers - religions - and those who say they have the answer to our questions.
But the Bible speaks with the authority of God. And, Jesus - who is God - in John 14:1-6 - speaks with the authority of the only one who has triumphed over death. Jesus was born in a manger, lived in this world of struggles and pain, death and questions, died on a cross, was buried, and is resurrected from death, dwelling in Heaven, and is returning.
And this resurrected Jesus says that He has gone to prepare our place in Heaven. And that He is the way to Heaven, the truth about how to reach that dwelling, and His is the life which leads to eternity with God. And Jesus says to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.”
This is the hope and faith that we share as Christians. Through Jesus - death becomes the beginning of eternity with God.
Jesus said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:26,27)
In this He-who-dies-with-the-most-toys-wins world we all fall into this trap - trying to gain the world and everything in it. And what we’re left with is emptiness and speculation. What good is all of that on a day like today?
The Bible says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the righteousness and holiness of God - we don’t measure up - we don’t deserve to enter into eternity with God. And ultimately, when Jesus returns, we’ll have to give an account for ourselves before God. We’ll be judged for our sins.
Many people today dismiss the idea of sin and judgment as outdated - as too narrow minded - not worthy of a God of love. They want to pursue other ideas and their own brand of religion. And we have that choice. We can pursue any philosophy - any goals - any belief we want. But God is honest with us. He tells us that we are sinners. And, what we earn by our sin is death - eternal separation from God.
And yet, Romans 5:8 tells us, “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God loves us - God desires to give us “Life” - life now and through eternity.
We are sinners in need of a Savior - and Jesus says, “Trust God, trust Me” He is God’s answer to our sin and separation. He is God’s door to eternal life - the way, the truth, and the life. And all of us need to come to the point in our life when we admit our sin - our need for Jesus as our Savior - and trust God with our lives.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” (John 11:25)
Today - even in the reality of death - we share this hope. God is good - God loves us - He is with us and He will be with us.