Pastor-teacher Don Hargrove

Faith Bible Church

Monday, April 05, 2010

http://fbcweb.org/doctrines.html

 

DDR & FBC PRAYER LIST #530

DOCTRINE OF THE 7 BIBLICAL PICTURES OF DEATH FOR THE CHRISTIAN:

#7:  Death:  The Last Enemy

 

This doctrine is also available in audio @ http://fbcweb.org/doctrines.html

 

Preparation for Bible Class

 

            Salvation.    The greatest heresy has always been in rejecting God’s grace by believing that a man can save himself by his own works.  The most common form of this is found in religion which is but a mixture of “grace” and works – which is expressly rejected by God  (once you add works for salvation it is no longer grace),

                                                Romans 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

                                                Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

 

            Christ came to our fallen world and proclaimed the pure gospel of faith alone in Christ alone.  The issue is not sin but the Son of God,

                        John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

                                                John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

            If you have never believed in Christ, I urge you to do so now.  It is not about works, it is about faith alone in Christ alone.    If you are without Christ you are without hope and without eternal life.   The Lord Jesus Christ had you personally in mind when He went to the Cross. Every sin you have ever committed, past, present, or future, was imputed to Him and judged so that right now you can have eternal life.  There is no one too low and no one too high, whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life, Jn 3:16.  God is no respecter of persons, Acts 10:34.

            You can have everlasting life right now, there is no discrimination against you regardless of your lifestyle, your sin, your penchants, your flaws, or your past.  When Christ was on the Cross He was your personal substitute and received the imputation of your sins and the judgment for every single one of them.  There are no exceptions!

            All you have to do is in the privacy of your own soul is place your faith in Jesus Christ and you are saved completely and forever.  He offers His salvation to you - all you have to do is accept it by faith in Him.  He does all the work and offers it to all to you.  There is no greater decision in life.  That moment you place your faith in Him is the moment of eternal life for you. 

                                    Acts 16:31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved…

 

            Biblical Spirituality.   Due to lack of teaching and growth in Christian doctrine, there is enormous confusion throughout Christendom today regarding true Biblical spirituality.   Emotions and religious experiences have become the basis of truth rather than the Word of God.   It should be no surprise that the United States of America finds herself in times of historical disaster.  We live in a time when enormous amount of believers in Jesus Christ live in confusion as to what life is all about – or what the spiritual life is all about.  They made that one decision that resulted in their salvation, but due to lack of Bible doctrine they are in total confusion as to the true nature of Spirituality.  Authentic Christianity as well as authentic biblical spirituality is in danger of being lost in this generation.  This should be no surprise  because the Bible tells us that in the last days Christians would reject Bible doctrine and thus move into feel-good narcissistic “Christian” messages void of Bible doctrine as well as the mechanics of living by God the Holy Spirit. 

                                    2 Timothy 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.

 

                                                  2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.

 

            It is the Holy Spirit Who is the believer’s Ultimate Teacher and He cannot teach the believer who grieves Him, quenches Him, and fails to confess his sins and get back under His teaching, illuminating, and sanctifying ministry, Gal 5:16-17.  If you have unconfessed sins, simply confess them so you can return to His teaching, His illuminating , and HIS dynamics, Gal 5:22-23. 

                       

Death as the Last Enemy

 

            The Bible provides us with seven depictions of death:  1) a gift; 2) a departure or exodus; 3) a restful sleep; 4) a collapsing tent; 5) a sailing ship; 6) a permanent home; and 7) the last enemy.

            Let’s take a look at death as the last enemy.

                                    1 Corinthians 15:26, The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

            We all have many struggles, trials, disappointments, and yes enemies as we live our lives as ambassadors of Christ in Satan’s sin-ridden, evil-dominated, fallen kosmos.  The very last enemy we will ever face on this earth will be our physical death.   That last enemy will be destroyed, if not today, then one day in the future – barring the Rapture.

 

            How will you face this last enemy – your very last and greatest test on planet earth?   Will you have the strength to face your own imminent death?  It is a dreadful thing to fear the inevitable.   How can you enjoy living if you fear dying?   The Bible tells us that Christ came to set us free from the fear of death which dominates and enslaves unbelievers all of the days of their lives,

 

                          Hebrews 2:14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

 

            The best that the unbeliever can do is live in virtual denial of the ultimate end – the final termination of his physical life on this earth.   Deep down he knows that he is NOT sure about his atheism no matter how he tenaciously suppresses and rejects the evidence of God in him, about Him, and all around him,

 

                        Rom 1:18-20  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

 

            All you have to do is look into the eyes of an atheist and ask him, “are you sure there is no God,” and note their uneasy countenance as they attempt to deny what they, at least subconsciously, are well aware of – namely the existence of God and the reality of their own souls.  In his negative volition the atheist has so hardened himself and is “by golly” willing to take the ultimate gamble with his own soul and will often judge and lash out to God Himself in the self-justification of his own denial.

 

            Back to the believer.   As a believer your last enemy, last struggle, the last thing that you will have to overcome is your death.    Where will you get your strength to handle that Big Event?  I have had the sad experience of watching many Christians, especially Charismatics, express a horrible HOPELESS fear as they or members of their families face death.

             

            For the doctrinal believer I have two thoughts.  First if you are living in fellowship with God and growing spiritually you will not fear death.  You will have the attitude of Christ and the Apostle Paul when facing death and rather prefer to go and be with God than stay here on earth.   What made Paul Paul was not his genes or background, it was  in the execution of the spiritual life.  It was life in the Spirit which gave him the attitude,

 

                        Philippians 1:22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

 

            Far better to be with Christ!

 

            Second, there is the issue of dying grace.   In dying grace God will give you the strength to face death when it comes – either suddenly or through a long lingering terminal illness.   Dying grace just like living grace and greater grace is the means whereby God gives strength to the believer in the face of death.  Dying grace just like the other categories of grace depends upon the strength of God –not our strength!

 

            Dying grace does not mean that you will be free from sorrow or grief, whether at our own impending death or the death of someone you love.   Dying grace means that God gives us the supernatural strength to face down the last enemy with a victorious attitude and be enabled by God to glorify Him to the maximum in our death.   There will be grief for others who leave US, but not with a grief that is like the world’s,

 

                        1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.

 

            Grief is expected, but it is different from the grief of the world.  There is a stark difference between tears of hope and tears of hopelessness. 

 

            ONLY with Christian doctrine in our souls illuminated by the unhindered ministry of the Holy Spirit we can live in these realities,

 

                         Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

 

                        Psalm 73:24 With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

 

                        Acts 7:59 And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

 

            More on dying grace.  The greatest victory and glorification of God over death as the last enemy is through dying grace.  Dying grace should not be confused with God simply giving grace to a believer in death as per that person dying without pain.   Dying grace is indeed a monopoly of the mature believer.   In dying grace the mature believer goes through the experience of physical death under special provision of grace, whereby the believer involved experiences both blessing and happiness while dying as he applies divine viewpoint to the situation. In dying grace the believer truly glorifies God.  The immature believer who finds himself unable to glorify God through the difficulties and pains in this life, does not have the capacity to glorify God in his death.  The carnal believer who does not live in the doctrinal realities daily will not have the strength to really live in them and really glorify God in death. 

 

 

 

 

 

            The believer who does glorify God in life will not be able to glorify God in death.     Dying grace can occur regardless of the amount of pain and suffering while dying.  There could be maximum pain or a minimum pain, but in either case there is maximum happiness and soul stimulation.  In dying grace there is removal of all fear of death as the believer lives in the grand realities of God’s Truth concerning death – that last enemy is to be destroyed.   In dying grace the believer really believes and lives in the Word of God – he really believes what the Bible says!  

 

                        2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

 

                        1 Cor 15:55-57, "O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your victory?  The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the Law, but thanks be to God, who gives to us for our benefit the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  The victory of death belongs to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ because the victory belongs to Christ.

           

                        Ps 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

                       

                        Rom 14:8, "For if we live, we live because of the Lord, and if we die, we die because of the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." 

 

                        Phil 1:21, "For me living [is] Christ, and dying [is] profit."

 

                        Eccl 3:1-2, "There is a right time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted."

                       

                        Job 1:21, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

                       

                                    Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

 

                        1 Corinthians 15:26, The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

 

Christian doctrine matters!

 

In Him,

 

Pastor Don