Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Lesson in How to Die...Take Two

A Lesson in How to Die - 7/24/05
Notes from Chuck Obremski’s Sermon

Sin Meters…it’s often easy to overlook our own sin. Much easier to see other’s sin…but hard to see our own.

Chuck acknowledged that he had been “hung up”…on the 126 week record of preaching and took his eyes off the Lord. Looking at the record…not the Lord. But instead we need to walk by faith, not by sight. We don’t know what is going to happen each day.

Proverbs 3:5-6 - 5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Trusting in the Lord, applies to every area of our life. Walking by faith, not by sight. We may not always be sure what the Lord is doing…or which way he is leading.

While in the hospital God continued to bring people that didn’t know the Lord…and needed him. One person confessed to Chuck, “My life is falling apart.” They need to know Jesus and his death on the cross. Chuck went on to state that while he may be dying, this person knew that Chuck had the answer to a life that is falling apart…and that is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

We need to look at our circumstances and see how we can use them for God’s glory and purpose.

The reality of our mortality. We will all die. In Genesis 3…Adam sinned. Because of Adam’s rebellion against God we will all die, and we all sin. Without God’s intervention we would all go to hell. In God’s mercy he prevented Adam from eating from the tree of life in his fallen state.

We all die…and only have a window of opportunity to get right with God. The only way to get right with God is to believe in Jesus Christ, his death on the cross on our behalf, his resurrection and his ascension.

As Christians, we’ve been adopted into the family of God. This earth is no longer our home. Our citizenship is in heaven. God uses our decaying bodies to reinforce that we will all face death. Are you right with God? Christ crucified…alone…period!

During his last illness, John Quincy Adams was asked by a friend passing by how he was doing. He answered that he was fine…but his body not so fine. "I inhabit a weak, frail, decayed tenement; battered by the winds and broken in on by the storms, and, from all I can learn, the landlord does not intend to repair." Likewise Chuck says, “I’m fine…but my house is falling apart.

In God’s hand, I know what lies ahead. I’m in Jesus’ hands and I’m going to heaven based on his work on the cross. Our citizenship is in heaven. When we are absent from the body we will be present with the Lord. We will be with him and judged by him…based on the work we did after coming to Christ.

What has this cancer done to motivate us (me, my family, and our church) to accomplish God’s purposes? If the answer is nothing…then it’s a waste.

Do you have a sense of urgency? First for yourself. Are you right with God? Have you repented of your sins, trusted in Christ? Do you have peace with God? Are you motivated to act upon it? Do you want to earn those spiritual rewards…or are you giving way to selfishness? Do you reach out to others with the gospel message…or do you get in the way? Do you care about nothing but pleasing the Lord? Are you praying regularly? Expecting miracles, but accepting His will? This is a great place to be.

Are you excellent at your job? At the end of the day, you will be remembered by what you do last. Remembered by how we went out. The last thing we will do, that will impart to those around us is how we die. We can look at the Bible and the example of Jesus and how he died. If we can grasp how Jesus died and how we can do the same, we will be okay. Life and death are our great platforms to reach others.

1) Jesus died with the right attitude.
As he came to his death, he realized that if God would not take this cup from him, he would do what God willed.

We need to get to that place where we say, “You are God and I’m not.” You may not always be certain on what exactly God is doing. But you know what you are doing and that’s okay. So why would you question God and what He is choosing to do? Not my will, but yours! Facing death but knowing God is in control…assured that you will see one another soon. Laughter, crying, happiness, joy and sadness…all in one.

One woman who came to see Chuck commented that she was “afraid to see how this cancer would affect him.” She had known a woman a church who knew God, loved him and served him. When struck with cancer she got angry and bitter towards God. Like Job’s wife…she cured God and died.

We as Christians need to die right. Be a person that shows the people around us that when we are facing the shadow of death, we will fear no evil. Instead we will trust God. We need to be like Stephen. You are the person whom people look to. We claim to know God and to have joy and peace. We know what happens when we die and that it will be okay. Are you that person? Be that person with every person, with everyone you come in contact with.

We need to build up and encourage. We are saved. When it comes to crunch time, we are walking hand in hand with the Lord.

2) Jesus died the right time.
We will not live a day longer or die a day sooner than what God has planned. We need to do our best…and we will see what God does. No matter what treatments, no matter what you do, you will die. It’s a lot of work trying to stay alive. God is absolutely in control! Are you trusting God?

Everything that Jesus did, he did according to God’s time table. As he does in our lives. We need to be careful as believers to watch what we say to others. We need to keep our words Biblically based.

Jesus didn’t die young or old, or live a short life. He died on time, in God’s time. Don’t fall into the world’s way of thinking. Jesus work was finished. He didn’t have to live a day longer to accomplish what God had for him to do. Nor do you.

Have that sense of urgency, that today God may call you home. Are you running out of time? Get busy doing what God has called you to do. Don’t forget, he may not have that much for you to do.

Jim Elliot once commented, “God’s people in heaven…why should he limit it to old people?”

3) Jesus died in the right way.
Jesus prophesied to Peter how he would die and in what specific way. Peter knew ahead of time. It’s probably best that we don’t know when we will die. Instead we should live one day at a time…and be walking with the Lord.

4) Jesus died for the right purpose.
Jesus came to die and be a ransom for the world.

We need to know what God has for us to accomplish. We have a purpose in being here…both living and dying too.

It breaks Chuck’s heart to see Christians who become bitter when dying or at the end of a disease or sickness. It shows an ignorance of God. We take God for granted…and the good health he has blessed us with.

We have an appointment. An appointment that we will not miss. Cancer, accident or other…death awaits as surely as concrete awaits a light bulb that drops to the floor.

The first person that died was not Adam, but Able. It goes to show what there is no one righteous, no not one.

You and I are eventually God’s for eternity or the devils. It depends on what you believe and your heart.

God has a purpose and a plan…and we are not afraid of the future in God’s hand.

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