"THE PURPOSE OF HIS COMING"
To Take Away the Fear of Death
Intro. The Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die, you have an appointment with death. Do you fear that appointment?
I. MAN HAS A NATURAL FEAR OF DEATH.
A. It is partly because of the reluctance of leaving our loved ones.
1. God has given to us beautiful and loving relationships, the thought of being separated from these relationships is difficult.
2. We are never ready it seems to let them go. We hear the phrase hang on for dear life. Often we are hanging on to dear life.
B. Part of the fear comes from the unknown. There is always a certain fear of the unknown. Our first ventures into space. Our first landing on the moon. There were certain apprehensions because of so many unknown factors.
1. For the unsaved, there are many unknown factors concerning, death that if they were known, they would have an even greater fear of death.
2. For the believer, if we only knew all of the facts, we would have no fear at all, but as Paul willing rather to be absent from this body that we might be present with the Lord.
C. In Philippians 1:23
Paul speaks of his mixed emotions, he had a desire to depart from this body and be with Christ, which he said was far better, yet he felt a necessity to live a little longer because of the loving relationships and he felt that they still needed his spiritual guidance.
1. In his letter to the Corinthians he mentioned how that we who are in these bodies often groan, earnestly desiring to be freed, not that we would be unbodied, but we longed for our new bodies in heaven.
2. For Paul heaven was not an unknown. The Lord had brought Paul up for a short visit, and the glory that he experienced was so great, that he longed for the day when he could return.
3. He wrote to the Corinthians that he had been caught up into the third heaven and there heard things that were so glorious that it would be a crime to try to describe them in human language.
II. AS WE APPROACH CHRISTMAS, I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU, "WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU?"
A. Jesus speaking to the woman of Samaria, said, "You worship you know not what."
1. I think that this is true of so many people concerning Christmas, they celebrate they know not what.
2. In ancient days this time of the year, the heathen celebrated the winter solstice, they had many superstitions about the days getting shorter and the necessity to help the sun to regain strength, so they would light bonfires. As the days began to lengthen, they would celebrate with parties and drunken orgies. This pagan holiday was known as Saturnalia. This season many of your friends will be celebrating Saturnalia, but we Christians will be celebrating the coming of God the creator to the earth.
B. John wrote,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In verse 14 he declared.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
C. That is what Christmas is all about, the Word the Creator becoming flesh and dwelling on earth with man.
D. Why did the Word become flesh? Why did God the Son come to the earth? What was the purpose of His Coming?
E. In the book of Hebrews we read:
Forasmuch then as we have bodies of flesh and blood, so He also took a body of flesh and blood; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
1. The scripture declares that He took on a body of flesh and blood. He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, that through His death, He might destroy him who had power over death, that is the devil.
2. The scripture says that people were in bondage all through their lives because of the fear of death.
III. NOW BECAUSE OF HIS DEATH, THERE NEED BE NO MORE FEAR OF DEATH.
A. In the end of Paul's letter to the Corinthian church he cried, "Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory?"
B. He then declared that the sting of death was sin.
1. It is sin that brought death.
2. God had declared to Adam that he was not to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. He warned him that in the day he ate of it, he would surely die.
3. Adam disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit, and in that moment, his spirit died, and he thus lost fellowship with God, For God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
4. Paul in his letter to the Romans said, "For by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin for death passed unto all men for all sinned."
5. Not only did Adam's sin bring immediate spiritual death but it set into motion the factors that would ultimately bring physical death. The aging process began.
6. People began to fear growing older and dying.
C. Jesus in His death bore our sin. God laid on Him the iniquities of us all, and He died for us. He took my guilt and the penalty for my guilt.
1. The fact that we were once sinners no longer means that we must spend eternity separated from God in hell.
2. It means that we will spend eternity with God in all of the glories of His Kingdom.
3. If I had no assurance of eternal life in Jesus, then I would be fearful as I grow older. I would be afraid to die. I would fear the painful sting of death.
4. The sting of death has been removed, God has declared me innocent. I am forgiven.
D. Thus now, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
1. This is a true win win situation.
a. If I live, I live my life in fellowship with Him. I live to please Him and to do His will. I have opportunity to lay up a few more eternal treasures, and a little more time to spend with my loved ones.
b. If I die, I am with Him in that eternal fellowship. I will be delivered from this corrupt evil world and from the limitations of this body that is beginning to feel the effects of the years, and live with Him forever.