Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 26 Jul 2015
Heb 9: 27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment,
Here we read of two certainties, death and judgment. They are of great importance to each and every person. This will happen to young and old, important or unimportant. Death doesn’t choose. Death is the great leveller. Things change when you die. Think of the death of Lazarus and of the rich man. A certain black man was an undertaker at a mortuary. As he opened one drawer where a white man was lying, he stroked his white hair saying, ‘when you were alive I couldn’t touch you, but tomorrow I’m going to burn you to ashes!’
If you have the smallest sense, think of hell, which is forever and ever. Death is no small thing, for it could be your entrance into hell. The suffering before death is nothing in comparison to hell. God gave His only Begotten Son, but if you spurn Him and prefer your sin, then hell will be your end.
No one can escape the Judgment Day. It’s true that people don’t like to speak or even think about death. It’s not even common for preachers to speak about death. They will instead speak nice things at a funeral that a person is in heaven while they are burning in hell. God has appointed death and Judgment and God’s appointments will come to pass. We might plan, but we have no power to make it happen. But not so with God. What He appoints will surely come to pass. Who will be the next in our midst to enter eternity?
Children die, young people die and old people die. We don’t know, but God knows. The question is, will you be ready? You cannot escape death. You cannot skip it, no matter how hard you try and plan. Death will hold you fast in its vice grip from whence there is no escape. If it was proclaimed that there was a cure that could make you live forever, everyone would flock there to receive immortality.
Once there was a certain person in America who said on TV he had discovered a certain diet that would make you live to 140 years. As he stood up to leave, he had a heart attack and died on the spot. He was 70 years old, half of his boasted age. Death doesn’t depend on your diet only, but your life is finally in God’s hand. He has ultimate jurisdiction over life and death.
If you know Jesus the Messiah, you should not be afraid of death, for when you die you go home to be with Him. For a Christian death is gain (Philip 1:21). In Ps 73, Asaph writes how his feet almost slipped when he looked at the prosperity of the wicked. But what helped him was when he went into the sanctuary of God and saw their end, how they were suddenly brought to desolation and destruction.
Eccl 7:1 – 2 says that the day of death is better and greater than the day of birth. Rather go to the house of mourning (i.e. a funeral service), than to a great feast or celebration, because every living person must remember his end.
The evangelist, DL Moody, said that before every service he reminded himself that it might be his last and that God could fetch him afterwards.