OTC (The Olive Tree Church) Luton is trying something new this week – please let us know your thoughts about this. It is not only for those involved with our weekly gathered worship – but for those unable to make it in person and those out there in Intenet-land who are curious about the love of God as revealed in Jesus.
Recently Rev Michael and I started a conversion about how we could develop God’s wider mission by using this website more creatively to firstly supplement our regular in-person worship and fellowship and then to explore opportunities to reach out into the “digital domain”. After all the Kingdom of God is not bound to this dimension of flesh and blood. Now there’s something said that you may wish to consider, to dispute or to merely acknowledge as interesting!
What follows this week is Rev Michael’s preaching outline from last week’s worship. A service which wonderfully celebrated the life and times of one of our number, Barry, who has gone to join our Lord in a closer, more glorious relationship.
SERMON SUNDAY SERVICE 22/10/2023:
“DEATH IS NOT THE END OF OUR JOURNEY WITH GOD.“
- Death is the most terrifying of all the worries that confront humanity. These are some of the reasons why people are afraid of dying.
- We are worried about what will happen to us once we die and where we will go.
- We fear dying because we may not have put our house in order.
2 Kings 20:1: “During that time, Hezekiah became ill and was on the verge of death.”The prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, approached him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
- We fear death because we are concerned about the financial or physical hardships that will befall our family once we are gone.
Paul begins his honest account of nor being afraid to die in 2 Corinthians 5: 1-5
According to Paul, our earthly bodies are temporary “tents” where our spirits reside. Our bodies do not serve as a permanent residence for our spirits. Our spirits will leave the ‘temporal tent’ and enter eternity one day. For this reason, we should not be afraid of death because:
- Death is part of our mortal life. No vaccination protects us against death, and no Christian can claim perpetual life on Earth.
- Death is not our enemy but the beginning of a new life.
- Death is a rest from severe sickness and pain. As Christians, we should stop
being terrified of natural death because it is a natural aspect of our mortal life.
- Death provides relief from exhausted labour or when we finish our assignment on Earth. It is like when the Lord of the harvest says to every exhausted labourer, Matthew 25:21, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!‘
- Death is a transition. Death to the Christian is exchanging a ‘temporal tent’ for a permanent palace in heaven. In this world, we are all pilgrims or travelers on a journey living in fragile, flimsy, and delicate homes subject to disease, pain, and threat. We exchange all our pains and sorrows at death for eternal lives in the heavens.
As Christians, you should take heart in knowing that we exchange suffering for eternal life in death. In Paul’s words, we moved into a ‘permanent tent’ that God has prepared for every believer to come and stay in forever. Paul expresses his desire to be at home with the Lord.
Paul was not suicidal but believed he was qualified to be with God
(2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
IF GOD CALLS YOU NOW, DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE WITH HIM?
We must live our lives in such a way that when God calls us, we will be ready to go and stay with Him. As Christians, we are compelled by death to live righteously and to offer our lives to Christ.
Rev Michael ends here with a quote from Billy Graham. “For the believer, there is hope beyond the grave because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by His death and resurrection”
Well, I hope that you find it useful to be able to contemplate Rev Michael’s shared message. Please let us know what you think.
Your Webmaster brother in Christ, Roger