Is the Grave our Final Resting Place?

tombstonesI often hear people say that they are carrying the casket to a person’s final resting place, which for them means a grave.  But is the grave really the final resting place of people?

First, it’s a person’s body that’s being buried in the grave, not their soul/spirit.  When a Christian dies, their soul/spirit goes to be with the Lord.  When a non-Christian dies, their soul/spirit goes to hell.

Philippians 1:21-24 (HCSB) 21  For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22  Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23  I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24  but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.

Luke 16:22-23 (HCSB) 22  One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23  And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side.

Second, living in heaven with a temporary body and living in hell with a temporary body isn’t our final state.  Both Christians and non-Christians will receive resurrection bodies.  Christians will live on a new earth for eternity in real bodies that are free from any hint of sin and its effects.  Non-Christians will suffer in the lake of fire for eternity because of their unbelief.  So our bodies in the grave, whether of a Christian or non-Christian, isn’t our final resting place.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57 (HCSB) 50  Brothers, I tell you this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption. 51  Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52  in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53  For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. 54  When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55  Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? 56  Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Revelation 20:13-15 (HCSB) 13  Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. 14  Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15  And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Third, if the grave is our final resting place, then the resurrection of Jesus means nothing for us.  The Bible calls Jesus the first fruits of a new creation filled with sons and daughters of God who have been adopted through Jesus into His family.  We will be just like Jesus which means our bodies won’t be in the grave forever.  If Jesus burst out from the grave, so will we!  And what a day that will be.

The grave is a place of sadness for it reminds us that death is a reality as is separation, at least for a time, from loved ones.  But the grave doesn’t have the final word…Jesus does.  And so, as I’ve read dozens of times at gravesides, let these words fill your hearts with hope…

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (HCSB) 13  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14  Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15  For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17  Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. 18  Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Mt. Olivet: Our God Strengthens…The Notes

GOTM_Olivet_Social MediaYesterday I preached from Luke 22:39-53 on how God strengthens us through trials, temptations and the struggles of life.  You can listen to the sermon here.  The notes are below…

Psalm 103:13-14 (HCSB) 13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14  For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.

1. We are encouraged to pray that we might not be led into temptation/trial.

2. Prayer is both an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty and an admission of our need.

3. God may not deliver us out of the temptation/trial, but He always strengthen us through the temptation/trials.

a. Angels unaware

b. Brothers & sisters in Christ…the church

c. Holy Spirit

d. God’s Word

4. Our failure in the midst of a temptation/trial always falls on us, never the Lord.

5. In Jesus, we see how God can strengthen us for whatever is ahead.

Mt. Olivet: Our God Strengthens

GOTM_Olivet_Social MediaToday’s sermon is week 5 in our 6-week series Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.  Today we’ll climb Mt. Olivet to find that our God strengthens us as we look at Luke 22:39-53.

Luke 22:39-53 (HCSB) 39  He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. 40  When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41  Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42  “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”

[ 43  Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44  Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.] 45  When He got up from prayer and came to the disciples, He found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. 46  “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.”

47  While He was still speaking, suddenly a mob was there, and one of the Twelve named Judas was leading them. He came near Jesus to kiss Him, 48  but Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49  When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” 50  Then one of them struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear.

51  But Jesus responded, “No more of this!” And touching his ear, He healed him. 52  Then Jesus said to the chief priests, temple police, and the elders who had come for Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a criminal? 53  Every day while I was with you in the temple complex, you never laid a hand on Me. But this is your hour—and the dominion of darkness.”

Saturday Stuff, July 25, 2015

SaturdayStuff_socialmedia*Flickering Myth ranks the 12 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.  Let the debates begin!

*As the Marvel Cinematic Universe leaves Phase 2 & moves to Phase 3, here’s what we’ve learned.

*Hawkman is coming to DC Comics CW TV shows Arrow and The Flash.

*It looks like Channing Tatum’s movie Gambit will begin filming in New Orleans in October.

*Here’s a new TV spot for The Fantastic Four opening August 7…

6-String Salvo, July 24, 2015

bigstock-Guitar-9506791. Kevin DeYoung reminds us that Jesus loves the little children.

2. I wish the media had the guts to ask pro-choice candidates these questions that Aaron Earls offers.

3. Here are some good questions from Dan Phillips concerning the Planned Parenthood fiasco.

4. Josh Hayes rightly (in my opinion) answers whether or not God has a special relationship with America.

5. Luke Gilkerson wisely helps us see the missing ingredient for sexual purity, a much needed help in our times.

6. Jason Helopoulos shows that the killer for Sunday worship is putting on the robes of the critic.

And here’s REO Speedwagon with Roll With The Changes

Preparing Our Kids For Marriage

Madison Wedding Robbie 12I have been alive long enough to know that there are no guarantees, apart from Scripture promises, in life.  This includes who our adult children will marry.  But I do believe there are a few things we can do as parents that will encourage our kids to at least seek out biblical characteristics as they look for a future spouse.

  1. Pray. While I have a strong belief in the sovereignty of God, I also believe that God in His sovereignty ordains the means through which He accomplishes His will. Which means I believe that God answers prayer.  So pray for your adult child and pray for his or her future wife or husband.
  1. Model a strong marriage. Notice I didn’t say model a perfect marriage! Our kids need to see a dad and mom who love another, who are faithful to one another, who forgive one another, and who enjoy life with one another.  When our kids see this kind of marriage, they will desire that kind of marriage, too, and will look for a spouse that will help create a strong marriage.
  1. Love Jesus all the time. It’s easy to be religious. Go to church once or twice a month.  Say a prayer before a meal every now and then.  Get on to our kids when they act up and say that Jesus is watching.  Get our kids baptized so that they’re “in” but then prioritize education and sports over Jesus and His church.  Our children need to see that our love for Jesus is our highest priority.  They need to see our love for God’s people, His church, as second only to our immediate family.  They need to see that we’re more than religious, we’re head over heels in love with Him and He directs everything we do, not so that we’ll be saved, but because He has saved us.
  1. Praise biblical qualities in people. If all we talk about are the pretty people, the talented people, the athletic people, our kids will quickly think those qualities are to be pursued in a spouse. But if we praise biblical qualities, like the fruit of the Spirit, in them and others, our kids will learn that true beauty is found in the transforming work of Jesus Christ and His Word in our hearts.
  1. Stay actively connected to a local church. Our children spend a lot of time at school. They may only spend a few hours a week with church-related activities.  But those church activities can give them opportunities hang out with kids who love Jesus and who have qualities they are looking for in a spouse.  Of course, not every kid that attends church is a passionate follower of Christ, but the odds are definitely higher at church than through the bar scene!  Youth/college/young adult groups that are active through the church will find many guys and girls hanging out together who have an overall passion to love Jesus.  While the chief end of these groups isn’t to help our kids find a spouse, relationships can sometimes “spark” through these church groups.

As parents, we have the great privilege of shepherding our children into adulthood.  One of the responsibilities we have is preparing our children for marriage.  I hope these suggestions will encourage you as you serve your children.

Why Won’t We Listen?

Why aren’t we satisfied with how God has spoken to us?  He has given us His creation, His Word, and most especially His Son.  But that’s not good enough for us.  The reason is because we don’t always like what He says.

God’s creation teaches us that we have a Creator.  It teaches us that our Creator has eternal power and a divine nature (Romans 1:20).  We learn from creation how God has ordered things.  But we quickly reject God’s order and worship creation rather than the Creator because we like our ways better than God’s ways.

God’s Word teaches us of our Creator, of our rebellion against our Creator, of God’s work to redeem us from our rebellion, and of a day when He will make all things new.  Within this grand narrative we find our story.  We learn from His Word that God has created us in His image, that we reject Him and declare our prideful independence from Him through our sin, that God sent His Son Jesus to live a righteous life for us, to die a substitutionary death in our place to satisfy God’s wrath, and has risen from the dead victorious over sin, death, and hell.  We learn that if we will respond in repentance and faith, trusting in the finished work of Jesus as our only means of reconciliation to the Father, we can be saved.

But as with God’s creation, we reject His Word and its truths as we make up our own truths.  We lie to ourselves about the mess we find ourselves in.  We turn a blind eye to His offer of His Son.  And we continue on the path toward eternal death because we love our sin more than the offer of grace.

God’s Son shows us the love the Father has for us.  He did not spare His own Son but gave Him out of love for us.  And God did this while we hated Him in our rebellion.  We didn’t know we were hungry, thirsty and dying.  But God opened our eyes to our condition and gave us the only thing that could satisfy our hunger and thirst and that could give us life, our Lord Jesus Christ.  But as with His creation and His Word, we reject Christ because we don’t want any other lord over us other than ourselves.

Coming to Christ is a humbling act in that we must lay aside our prideful ideas that our ways are right and best.  We must admit that we a creatures dependent on our Creator.  We say through our repentance and faith that only in Christ alone is found eternal life.  Our God has spoken powerfully to us…are we listening?